Ah shit, things just got real son! From the looks of this trailer the 40K mmo being developed by Vigil is shaping up to be the sort of MMO that I was hoping it would be, the excitement meter just busted!
This is a test post from my Motorola Droid to see how well this WordPress App works. They seem to have greatly improved the UI since the last time I used it.
Will attempt to live update my blog from the show floor.
Upon my daily perusal of RockPaperShotgun.com I discovered an article about a (currently) browser based FPS game called Interstellar Marines by an indie dev named Zero Point Software, located in Denmark. I popped over to the official website, installed the Unity Engine, and proceeded to give their recently released ‘Bullseye’ target range a try and found it to be nothing short of awesome. I didn’t even have to register to demo it, good move!
I then DID register, played it again, kicked some ass, had my score recorded, and then checked out the Vault. Inside I ran down a ramp into a staging area and as I entered this staging area a 3D screenshot (sounds good to me) materialized in front of me. A snap shot of a raging battle between Shark Creatures (yes, that’s their name) and marines. You can walk around the scene from all angles checking out little details. They also have separate rooms off from this staging area for each of the elements represented in the scenes.
What most of you will wonder about is the performance of an FPS in a browser and I’m happy to say that it performed very well. I never felt like I was missing due to performance issues or lag nor did I feel the game was helping me with any noticeable auto-aiming. It was just a fun experience, fun enough that I decided I wanted to support the team. I signed up for the Spearhead account ($39).
Zero Point Software has something pretty special going on here and I for one will look forward to tracking the games progress.
One small negative, and I’m sure it will be addressed, but the Unity engine has crashed on me when going full screen and then exiting, so just be mindful of this if you’re working on stuff in the background you don’t want to lose. (UPDATE: Crash seems to related to hitting “Escape” to exit full screen. If you use “Tab” it seems to be fine.)
Below is a video showing off the just released ‘Running Man’ game. You have to pay to play this one.
Well hello there! What could get me all percolated into posting on my blog again? Nothing short of awesome! That’s right! I’m referring to the recent announcement that the eagerly anticipated (at least by me!) Warhammer 40k MMO will be shown at E3 next month! It’s being developed by Vigil Games, whose most recent title was the relatively successful DarkSiders.
I’m not only a grizzled MMO veteran, but I’m a huge 40k nerd, more in regards to the universe then playing the actual table top game. (Can never find time to play!) So expectations are pretty high for me.
Below is some concept art that was released a while back.
Well, hello there! Been a long while since my last post so I’m taking advantage of the holiday break to go through some of the photos on my laptop, figured I would at least scratch the surface of the giant photo pile.
I enjoyed the SP component of Halo 3 and felt Bungie was going in a good direction and so I didn’t feel any trepidation in picking up ODST. This new installment in the Halo franchise is also a new direction for Bungie and from a production and design standpoint that transition is a frightening, unpredictable, but with potential to be very rewarding experience.
Stealth Gameplay: I’m a fan of stealth gameplay in general, when it works of course. The stealth gameplay in ODST worked fairly well, while not overly complicated the functionality worked in most cases. It was hard to tell sometimes when I was safely hidden in the shadows and when enemies could see me. I noticed the bottom section of my UI would change, a grayish strip would vanish and then reappear, wasn’t clear at all though if that had anything to do with stealth.
Story/Narrative: The story wasn’t mind blowing, but it worked, I also liked the concept of tracking down, discovering/playing through what happened to your downed squad mates.
Optional Comm Data (Narrative Pickups): I like when games include the optional narrative pickups that provide back story to your surrounds. There was only one story line you could discover, and while the VO was top notch and the dialog well written, something about the audio playback made it blend in to much with the normal surrounds, the first time I heard it I thought a cut scene was about to play or the people were stand behind me. I also wasn’t able to find all the comm data given they can be hard to find in certain sections. The only way to find them was using your VISR and the color coding used doesn’t allow them to stand out enough.
Two Disks: I applaud Bungie’s decision to have two disks for Halo: ODST, the SP campaign disk and the Multiplayer disk. I feel it’s a good decision from a design standpoint if it means a stronger component on each disk. Sacrificing content just so the game fits on one disk is painful. So while it might not always be a justifiable solution, it should at least be seriously entertained.
Firefight: So far I’ve only been able to play Firefight by my lonesome but I enjoyed the experience. It is boring solo, but with three other mates it would be a blast. I liked the inclusion of the random “Skull Mods”, like enemies throwing more grenades. In basic functionality it feels like Horde mode in Gears of War, which isn’t a bad thing. Bungie’s own spin, aside from the “Skull Mods” is that players must make it through five rounds and each round consists of five waves of random enemies.
What I didn’t like about Firefight is the lack of online matchmaking, I think this really hurt the potential of Firefight. Hopefully this gets rectified for Halo: Reach
Vehicle Combat: Vehicle combat in Halo games is always enjoyable. I’ve even started to like the vehicle physics used for the Warthog…barely. So it was fun to romp around with your little A.I. buddy shooting, blowing stuff up, and making Covenant road pancakes along the way.
Getting Sniped: On several occasions I would get sniped from a great distance by a grouping of pixels. I know this is to promote using cover but the sniping archetype could do with a group awareness, so if there are multiple snipers that have you in their line of site they don’t all shoot you at the same time over and over again.
Animations: The animations were rough, almost seemed like animatic animations were just left in to save time.
No Duel Wielding: Not 100% sure why the decision was made to exclude a positive feature from Halo 3 from ODST.
Sound FX/Music: I’ve always been disappointed with the majority of the sound effects in ALL Halo games, and ODST is no different. At times dialog would get lost due to sound effects or music getting in the way, not being lowered dynamically to allow critical sounds to be heard. The musical score doesn’t always feet with the situation you’re in and can harm the immersion factor, this is compounded by the frustrating fact there’s never been a way to turn off the music.
On the Fence
VISR: I liked the VISR concept but felt it was underutilized, especially since it was mostly useless during the day time missions given the exploding sun effect if you looked at day light. I also felt better color differentiation could have been used to allow the various interactive elements to stand out better. An example, it was easy for me to miss communication data on occasion because the bold yellow lines would get lost behind non-bold yellow lines.
Open World: While I liked the open world gameplay, at the same time there was no incentive to explore other than to avoid combat, which of course then removes elements of gameplay, and find communication data, which was difficult to find at times and I wasn’t compelled to look. There are ‘secret stashes’ if you can track down the bonus communication data in various sections, which helps a little, but not enough.
Multiplayer Disk: I get the feeling that I paid extra for Halo: ODST because of the inclusion of a fully packed multiplayer disk, which in some ways is appreciated, since I’m not a huge fan of Halo multiplayer and I haven’t bothered buying all the DLC and now I have it. This doesn’t change the fact I’m still not a huge fan of Halo multiplayer and probably won’t get the % of money worth from the disk I paid for.
End of the Day
At the end of the day I liked what I had experienced after completing the Halo: ODST single player campaign. I commend Bungie for taking Halo in a new direction and I think now that a new foundation has been laid they can build upon it for the next game. Unfortunately I did feel that Halo: ODST wasn’t worth a $60 price tag and this put some unneeded pressure and expectations on it. This isn’t going to hurt sales of course, at least not that I’m guessing, but given the content of SP, a price of $40 or $50 felt like a better deal.
If you’re not a die hard Halo fan you might want to wait for a price drop before picking up Halo: ODST.