Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 5 Most Fun FPS Weapons of All Time

Over the course of FPS history, developers have created many, many weapons. They come in all shapes and sizes; ranging from the realistic, e.g. Counter-Strike and Modern Warfare, to the fantastical, e.g. Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress 2. As time has passed, some of these weapons have stood above the rest.

Whatever it is about these few special weapons, they're just more interesting, more intriguing, and more fun to play with. I'm sure everyone has their own set of favorite FPS weapons from the games they've played, but here's my top 5 picks for most fun FPS weapons.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The MMO I Want

I'm tired of MMOs all feeling the same.  Guild Wars 2 looks to be doing some things different and moving in a positive direction, but it's still a hotbar MMO with classes in a fantasy setting.  I want a departure from the norm.  I want to be a dragon.

Now here me out.  Every MMO I've played has made me play as a humanoid.  I don't know if there are MMOs that let you play as anything else at all, unless you count playing as a ship in EVE Online or STO.  But I want to be something more.

Let me be the dangerous predator in the night.  Let me soar above humans, breathing fire and striking fear into their hearts.  Let me swoop down and snap a humanoid in two with my jaws.  Let them form raids in a pathetic attempt to destroy me.  Let them try to unseat me from my hard earned pile of treasure.  Let me be the terror at the end of the dungeon.

The idea of switching around the roles of Player Characters and NPCs is simply fascinating to me.  There's a lot of untapped potential in different roles yet to be explored.  I hope someone decides to explore it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dota 2 and a Look at Past Dota Games

In a recent article, which can be read here, Game Informer announced that Valve is creating Dota 2. Creating a Dota 2 is a very interesting move by Valve. For years now, Valve has been a FPS developer. That's what they were, that's what they are, and that's their forte. Meaning, Dota is a very interesting choice for a project, and a huge retooling of their source engine will have to take place, or has already has taken place, to turn the FPS engine into an RTS engine.

Not only is it a huge technical project, it's a dangerous one. They're essentially taking something that's free right now, and trying to turn it around into a retail product. This means, that to some extent, they're going to have to improve the product to make it worth paying for, all while not screwing over the well established gameplay. Those are some big shoes to fill.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bored Gaming and Board Gaming

I haven't been posting much lately because I haven't been playing new video games.  I'm still killing some time with Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and Tribes: Ascension but my play sessions have been few and far between.  There's nothing that I'm excited to play every night once my 18 month old is sleeping, and that's weird for me.  I love video games, but nothing new looks interesting or exciting.  Mass Effect 3 is a few weeks away but it's just about the only thing on my radar.

Indie games still have a huge appeal.  I've been investigating them as much as possible.  Between downloading trials, reading development blogs, and contributing to a few Kickstarter projects I've gotten more and more appreciation and anticipation for indie games on the market.

Instead of video games I've actually been devoting a lot of time to board games. Since my co-workers started showing me the world of modern board games I can't get enough of them.  We've played about 8 different games as a group since we started playing board games last month.  They all have their own style, mechanics, and feel.  The best part is that these co-workers of mine have a big backlog of games they want to play, so they keep bringing in new games all the time.

I haven't just been playing other people's games either, I went out and bought Citadels, which is the best board game out of the bunch we've played.  It's actually a card game with some lightweight tokens to represent a few "board game" elements, but there's no actual board.  Since buying it, I've already converted about 6 other people to the game.  It always goes over fantastically.  I'll probably write a post about it soon.

Besides that, we've dabbled in deck building games like Ascension, Rune Age, and Dominion.  We've played what are called Living Card Games(LCGs), which is like a self contained Collectible Card Game(CCG).  In CCGs, like Magic: The Gathering, you constantly have to buy booster packs and invest hundreds of dollars to make decks.  In these LCGs you buy one boxed set which has everything you and your opponents need to play a game.  LCGs like Lord of the Rings the Card Game and A Game of Thrones have been fun.  Dice games aren't usually my favorite, but I had a blast with To Court The King and I went out and bought Zombie Dice which my wife and I are having fun with nightly.

The most important thing I've learned is that modern board games are NOTHING like those old "classics".  Monopoly pales in comparison to the games out on the market right now.

I can't get enough board games at the moment.  A couple of my favorite sites for browsing are Boxed Up Fun, Fantasy Flight Games, and Shut Up and Sit Down.  Side note: Sorry this post has been so link heavy, but I really want to share all these awesome games with you readers.

Here's the most important paragraph of this post.  Readers, do you have any board game recommendations for me to try?  Please tell me you do.  Tell me what they are.  I want to know!  There's a comments section.  You know what to do.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Battle Rifle: One of the Worst Weapons Ever Added to a Game

Halo is one of the best selling and most played franchises in all of gaming. I've been on board the franchise since the original, and have beaten all the campaigns on at least heroic and a fair chunk on legendary. I never got that hardcore with the multiplayer, but I have played countless hours as a casual player. Like everyone else I have given it well deserved praise. However, one red mark stands out starkly in my mind. The battle rifle.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Project Gorgon

Eric over at Elder Game has sent out the call for testers for his indie MMO.  All of his posts about designing his MMO from the ground up have been interesting to read.  It's awesome to watch ideas get planted and then grow over time into a full product.

If any of you are interested in helping out an indie developer by testing his MMO answer the call over on his blog.  I'm sure he would appreciate it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Graphic Fatigue

I'm playing through FFII on my ipod touch and I'm getting sick of looking at the same 2D sprites all the time.

They aren't bad, poorly designed, or ugly to look at.  The problem is simply fatigue.  I've been looking at the same character sprites, spell graphics, attack animations, and re-skinned enemies for over 15 total hours of play.  The problem is most likely compounded by the fact that I immediately went from playing FFI to FFII, both of which have been redesigned in the same style.

For some reason the 2D sprite art style really brought this phenomenon to my attention, but it's definitely not limited to 2D games.  How many games have you stopped playing, not because of the gameplay, but because you were sick of seeing the same graphics over and over?  I know it's happened to me a bunch.

Gameplay is definitely the centerpiece of a game, but don't underestimate the impact of the art style and graphics.  Look at games like Limbo and Bastion to see the truth in that.  They're games with decent, but not wonderful, gameplay but they're unique selling point is their art style.

I really appreciate it when developers take the time to introduce variety and creativity in their art style.  It can keep me playing a game just to see what's around the next corner.  And that sense of wonder and excitement goes a long way.