Monday, 29 December 2008

From Box to Brick (game technology)

Ahhh console evolution its a very unappreciated science people just know the next one will be better but dont ever take time to look at the evolution of this magnificent industry.

Consoles differ so much today from those in the 60s and i dont mean in the obvious way that being performance i mean in design the look the style you can almost guess the decade simply by looking at a consoles exterier casing slightly sad really lol.

Any way down to the tasks... and its plain and simple for the first part yes the industry was focused completely on the interfaces and getting the most out of what was extremely primative technology at the time in other words if you were to take my list of 3 from the previous blog on storylines this is as it was then.
1,gameplay ( extremely simple mostly involving just left and right or up and down motions)
2,graphics ( even more simple and mostly just blocks on the screen that either moved or didnt)
3, storyline (non existant but thats because the industry was more focused on development visually and getting the most out of the primative machines which really doesnt differ much from today).

I cannot argue thought at the time with this being new technology, it did fasinate people much as the realism of todays games compel it was impressive for its time and nobody cared what it looked like on the outside or as a matter of fact what the graphics were full stop. They were perfectly happy with there little white blocks moving on screen ^_^.

These days standards have definatly changed. People like nice looking consoles and it brings me back to my first impression of the N64. Im not sure why but i thought the console was the best looking one i had ever seen as it gave options in colours and even transparent designs, but it was more than that... It wasnt box'y like other consoles of the 90's it had more about it and id go as far as saying it was the the first pretty console lol, that at least started the idea of variations on a commercial level as opposed to sonys silver playstation that was released as a special edition.

Ive always said curves are the future for any design simply because there is nothing cool about a brick. Id definatly count XBOX 360 as a brick but with its custom templates it makes it a bit more acceptable ontodays markets as does the Wii, however the PS3 is a look to the future in almost every way though Sony lack the motivation and innovation of Microsoft and Nintendo to come up with anything different but better graphics.

When it comes down to personal opinion on the user interfaces through all of the consoles i have played, id have to say the the best one i have seen is the Xbox 360's latest one which is just so lush but even the old one was nicely layed out and very easy to navigate. I know many would say the PS3's or a more primative one such as the Dreamcasts or PSX/1 but im thinking of it in terms the most features yet the easiest to navigate and still looking nice and 360's interface has all of that. I cant even knock the controller it may look a freak but its so much better designed than the PS3 controller. It would seem that Microsoft admired the Gamecube controller alot and always said the gamecube controller was one of the best.

By far the worse interface i have ever seen is that of the Gamecube! Although it has a good controller design as most of Nintendos consoles do, its interface just isnt nice to look at though admitedly its got a bit more about it than that of the PS2 or PSX/1. Nethertheless its still harder to navigate than other consoles but at least they ammended this with the Wiis nice and simple interface.

The future of video games is definalty heading in a game pad free enviroment and personally i already think the joystick is dead and buryied! Wii has pathed the way for a new generation in gaming where interactivity is the new major factor and i think hand free gaming is coming in the near future.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christianity, Religion and Destruction? thoughts

On with the theory now, yes it is very controversial and if you are deeply religious then i am sorry if it offends you!!

My theory involves several factors which more than likely will either confuse you or make you think either way it still leaves more questions than answers so lets dive straight in!

The first part of the theory is that religion served two purposes and neither of them involved the creation of life on our planet however they gave a reasoning to a blank subject. The first real reason is that they need answers to unanswerable questions that only science could answer but the lack of technology prevented the answers from being given although now we have some answers now all they have done is produced more questions...

Obviously this doesnt help answer the questions that bug us deep down for every day of our misrable existance on this floating rock in the endless void of space.

The second reason is the most logical reason behind religion and that is that it was used as an early form of law and order. If people believed they were going to hell if they commited a crime well they were less likely to commit a crime!

The problem is at least in Christianity one guy takes advantage of the system and claims he is the son of god when he could have just been a very clever magician of his time, afterall with the likes of Houdini and David Blaine and Darren Brown who are we to think that these clever tricks were not possible back the times of jesus. Not to mention people were extremely nieve and gullable in those days a few party tricks and you could be the new messiah.

This introduces the possibility of possibly one of the biggest hoaxs of all time! Was jesus out to decieve the jewish people into thinking he was the son of god.. to pull the the illusion of being killed via crucifiction all in the effort to unbalance both the jewish faith and the roman religion!

His methods make sence Houdini was famous for his escapology in which jesus could have done a similar trick when placed in the tomb the crucifiction could have been nothing more than a illusion including the so called holy spear which was the the final blow to Jesus in the bible. In order to gain the following in the masses a simple psychological trick could be used and that is follow the crowd!.

We still do it today we follow a crowd because we know theres a reason and curiocity gets the better of us if not we all get the urge and not one person can deny it. So Jesus simply gained a small following of people these would be known as the 12 appostles, but what if in fact they were merely a means of drawing a crowd in the early days with the later intent to spread the hoax across the country and then the world.

however thats obviously missing more proof before something like that could count as a true theory so ill be sure to research and think more on the matter.

Back to Religion in general they say stopping religion would stop wars but thats not true.. we would still fight because we wouldnt have a reason for our existance! So it would be like 2 Cocketals in a small pen without any chickens, when they are left without a purpose or any meaning they fight and we are the same.

Besides religion is the driving force behind finding the answers as once again it provides the questions and to keep sanity provides answers but the answers produce more questions in a sence we will never know the meaning of life through science thats something religion can decide but if we made it up unintentionally then we will never know the answers.

Either way this theory spells destruction and that is true well its tru if we follow religion we will fight , if we dont have religion we will fight.. if the hollocaust comes we are boned because of science as it questions god therefore it can be seen as evil. But then annoyingly that would lead someone back to thinking what jesus said would actually prevent disaster as it would bring peace, to bad its something humans are not capable of, magician or not the guy may have thought the same thousands of years before me now.


storytelling + games = winning formula

Right with this blog im going to dive right into the thick of it and say the best games are always the ones with the best storylines of course thats my opinion and maybe not yours but my order of priority for games it
1 - Storyline
2 - Game play
3 - Graphics
please feel free to post your order of preference but i wont take notice because im stubbern lol.

A few links im suppose to review... well i have had a read through the Maz Payne 2 link which is a review that it featured on Wikipedia so i presume its done by a normal user but any way the focus is primarily on its storyline which means that this is a classic example of what i said above graphics didnt even really come into the equation it even features a picture of 'Sam Lake' who wrote the plot which is rare though granted it was his face used in the original max payne but still he is a well known script writer himself.

It does seem to me now that the seriousness of a decent storyline has hit home with developers as they now hire professional novel writers and the other link i read reinforced this as the half life writer is in fact a graphic novel writer and was very well established before his involvement with Half Life 2 in which dare i say could possibly be one of the best games when it comes to story (along side final fantasy 7 of course ;) ) .

For the first question 'Does a strong storyline make a better game?', Of course it does! people like storys and think about games such as Half Life 2 without its story it would just be a run around and shoot enemys in a 3d world similar to the system using in Unreal Tournament. However not to say that games without a storyline cant be good as rewinding back to my list of three earlier.. crap storyline but excellent game play and graphics can swing a games popularity but a compelling storyline can easily carry both of them and make a game decent get all three of them and you have the same formula Max Payne had and it couldnt have failed.

Back in the days when consoles were primative most games followed what i would call a traintrack when it came to storyline and the player had no choice in what happen in the story in otherwords it was fate whatever happened to the character was always going to happen no matter what the player did this is best shown in final fantasy games which give the illusion of freedom but always follow a set path but these days with more powerful consoles and demand for more clever games the developers have delievered a choice system giving the player the control over the fate of the character usually involving a choice by either motion or dialogue.

A great example of this is in Fable 2 in which at many points of the game the story line direction is left to the player however in a sence its still on a rail its just like a track switch really. The most biggest choice in my opinion is where you are acting as a guard and you have the choice to feed the prisoners or not this leads the direction for your personality and the storyline the game also cleverly tells alot about a person as when i played it i genuinely took pity on the little sprites >_<.

Now this is what i hate is games like Second Life and World Of Warcraft... Second Life in particular as it serves no real purpose but to be a online get away for sad people wanting to escape reality... its graphics are poor and its game play is dier and the storyline is only really what the players play out so in other words there isnt any in fact more storylines come from second life in real life with all the divorves in the papers that have been caused by so called "cheating" in the game whcih i thinks pathetic and its typical that most of its happening in America them and their cultures *sighs*.
World of Warcraft is slightly more excusable but only because of the quests which follow story lines to a degree plus the game looks nice and the game plays pretty good.

I cant believe that question has been raised ' Is Call Of Duty a War Story'. Yes yes yes it is and even if it doesnt follow actually events it still lives out the same or similar lifestyle and storys of every soldier of that era however in the case of number 3 where it followed actually real historic events naturally the storyline was more like an interactive movie which made it quite good but 4 is very different bas its set in near enough the present day and since its made up i cant really call it a war story its more of a representation compared to 1,2 and 3 and now 5.

overall i hope i have got it across that at least im a passionate person about storylines in games and have increased awareness even slightly, if not next time you play a game like fable,COD,mass effect,Half life 2 etc. The list is endless think for just one minute what makes this game so dam good im sure you'll come to the same conclusion as me.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Design documents argggg

Ahhh Game design, the design process of a game... most of this is decided in numerous meetings consisting of brainstorming with the input of countless ideas till the project leader says ah haa yes i like that.

The ideas are then forwarded to designers to come up with a structure for them and is displayed in the form of Design Document which details everything from the game play to the character designs all the way to story lines.

Right so what is this game play thing that was mentioned? well game play is what it says on the tin its how the game plays mostly considering the consumers experience while playing the game. This may be the interactivity of characters,objects and graphics in short it the rules of the game.

Most of a games design is handled by Game designers and it is these people who are paid to come up wit the ideas for games and define how they will work. However this is not always the case and in smaller company's games design may be done by the entire staff who have their input in the game.

All games follow similar principles but some may vary slightly for example a first person shooter's design document is not going to be the same as a 3rd person strategy game because the game play style is different how ever certain elements may be similar such as storyline for instance and a big example of that is between Halo the new Halo Wars game which follows the same storyline in a sence but has different gameplay.

'What's important for you, when you play?' Hmmmm that is possibly the most annoying question i have ever been asked as i cant give a direct answer to it but i know when i play games i have never been one to pick on a game for its graphics i nearly always however have a go if i think the way the game is layed out before me is rubbish and its the only reason i liked halo so much. The graphics in Halo are nothing special but the story and game play are fantastic so i guess thats what i deem important really.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Why the Art Director is so important? no really why?

Till now i never thought about this! For some reason i always assumed that everything always just fell into place and worked but i suppose its not the case as ideas can wonder and not fit in with the general style of the game, i guess this is where the art director comes in.

Art Directors are in charge of making sure the visual essence of a game and artistic vision is maintained during the development process. They oversee the project from its design document all the way through production till release when im sure there is much relief.

They Work very closely with the Art Manager to ensure consistancy in the style and feel of the game this even stretchs to the interactivity of the game.

The job of Art Director does not necessarily have to be creative though seeing as the job would be taken up by an expierenced artist anyways that would probably come standard.

Its a well known fact that games and films are becoming very similar in the sence of structure and even production times but on a artistic level in game cut scenes and story lines are becoming very similar to that of films and more and more art directors are having to follow similar development methods.

The role of Art director seems no walk in the park and really requires years of artistic experience and the ability to know what will work and what will not while at the same time thinking from the perspective of the consumer. So overall a very demanding job with the need for good, motivation, innovation and communication skills.

With me personally the skills i would need to develop are my motivation in which for an artist in general is a key componant and something i will be sure to work on not sure if the job would be good for me though if i was a chess piece i would definatly be a pawn.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Let me tell you a Joke... Video game reviews!!!

Right im on my lunch break at work so i decided to continue my blogging though after reading a couple of the reviews i seriously wish i hadnt neithertheless admittedly they where intriging (especially the second XD).

The first one was on Metal Gear Solid 2 and the guys love for the game but to be honest he said metal gear solid 2 confused him well his review on it confused me more than that game ever has.

You know what actually im going to skip to the second and re read the metal gear solid for a third time!

Right the second was the Rez one and needless to say it turned an inspiring music shooter game into an erotic tale of one womans love for the game, well i say the game i mean more the vibration device that comes with it. Suffice to say alot of blokes probably had to cross their legs by the end of this but if you get past all the sexual nonsence it makes a good point about game reviewing in modern times.

So whats this point you ask? well its simple game reviewing is becoming more personal and less about the games themselves! People are using there experiences while playing the games to review as opposed to old fashion methods which tell you whats in the game and why its good because it has this and that feature. These experiences go right down to to even what they are feeling at the time for example the metal gear solid reviewer felt confused and bewildered which are both mental where as the other one i need not go into details but it was all physical.
But these are not commercial reviewers and although less about the look and gameplay they give an actual sence of what the game is like without the dull details in other words its clear whether its fun or not.

On to the commercial issues with professional game journalists and there is quite alot of them. The obvious problem is lack of staff which of course puts alot of pressure on other employees as they are often under strict deadlines that bump the pressure up even higher and to make it worse they know once one magazine is finished its straight back to the pain of the next issue so its no wonder they rush and cut corners.

Its this pressure that really shows the difference between the user made ones above and the professional writing, because its rushed it lacks any feeling and is based on a generic template which is what really gives the impression that the journalists are lazy and stupid in which they probably arnt.

The objective ranking system well personally i think its phish ive played games before that have been at the bottom half of the list and found them fantastic but it brings us right back to the feeling of the games which is not something the objective style of writing take account for its all graphics and gameplay so the real message gets lost.

All in all SUBJECTIVITY FOR THE WIN!! its more interesting to read and really makes you want to buy the game more or naturally in some cases less but either way most of these people dont get paid for thier opinion of these games except for those on the likes of '' yet they still do it and thank god otherwise we would all be subjected to continuous nonsence you see in mainstream magazines..

oh yeh and ive re-read the metal gear one and still dont fully understand it but you know it doesnt matter really becuase i know the guy felt passionally about the story and the game in general.

As for my style of writing ill let you decide that thouugh i think its fairly obvious...

Friday, 17 October 2008

My Gaming waming History!! part 2 the future!

Ahhhh fingers hurt from so much typing never mind though right to the point because im really tired and modelling with clay is tedious.

My demands in what i want from games are fairly small in number but big in demand! As with any gamer the constant push for better graphics is always going to be one of them but it isnt my main need in a game, in fact the thing i want most is huge online battles... It has been a dream of mine for the last few years now to see a game that gives you this ability and im not just talking about 15 per team like on Halo! Im talking about 1000 per team in one huge online blood fest.

I know im not alone in this and i also know its not down to the developers so much its more down to finding servers and a efficent system that can handle that many players and the constantly changing data.

Id play them the old fashion way although with Nintendos rather interactive view of the future i still think virtual reality in the home would be a far to ambitious vision for anytime soon but i dont think its to much to ask for to have a team fortress type game but just with huge numbers i just love the idea of full scale war online, hell who knows maybe even one day they'll abandon this stupid waste of life we call modern warfare and decide wars and arguements with a good fight online with no loss of life (well its an idea anyways).

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The History Of This Magical Thing Called Games!! 2000 - 20??

the 80's to 90's may have provided great advancements in gaming but all those advancements led to the amazing quality of games we witness today. The developments in this era are vast as there was a huge leap in technology as DVD's replaced CD's as the main format for games. This allowed over 4 times more amount of data to fit on a disc and with the release of the PS2 and Xbox it made way for more powerful machines to fuel the demand for more improved graphics and longer life spans of games.

It was here that i think pressures on the industry began as not only did the PS2 and Xbox allow for normal mapping though it wasn't till later that this was fully utilized for example in games such as 'The Chronicles of Riddick' which at least for me was a landmark title for the industry as it displayed the nearest to next gen graphics and at the same time set the bar very high for other games and there wasn't many games that rivaled its visuals in the last 2 years of the Xbox's lifespan but PS2 topped it with the release of 'Black' which got the most out of the PS2.

The early visuals on the new consoles of the 21st century were not much of a step up from previous consoles but sound quality and game play continued to get better and with the xbox's networking capabilities which came under the name of 'Xbox Live' life span in games increased massively especially in first person games most famously 'Halo 2'. In fact the best way i can display the evolution of graphics and developments is by simple comparison and there is no better representation of this than a video from YouTube provided by Gamespot.

As you can see the difference is amazing but of course with all these advances development teams are put under increasing pressure to deliver high production value games than competitors and with that budgets have got higher and so have production times, even more than that the knowledge expected from employees in the industry has become seriously demanding...

The reason for all this is the consoles of the present day! more powerful than ever and with more memory and even more than that is once again a new format that can hold at least twice as much data as a standard DVD the two formats are HD-DVD (which has now pretty much joined Bettamax in format heaven) the other is Blu-Ray and both of these formats because of memory may take pressure off developers but at the same time increases the pressure on the developers because of just that reason (its a crappy cycle but gives gamers exactly what they want).

The gamers also want HD and with HD comes more detailed textures which is even more of a time consuming process however many artists see it as a chance to better their work as if they are like me they would prefer to put the extra time and effort in and produce top quality stuff that gamers will view and go "wow that looks really really good".

The industry does face other issues other than increasing production values and this is as mentioned before... The increasing production costs especially now more than ever in the current credit crunch means finding publishers to put in these necessary high budgets is getting increasingly harder to do and more work has to be put in to persuade the publishers.

so conclusion is that the 21st century is annoyingly difficult for developers and its only going to get worse as well as by the day technology moves fast!!!

My Gaming waming History!! part 1.5

This is the second part of my gaming history and ill start this part by talking about the first game i played and how it sparked my desire to play games. So the first game i played was around my friends house when i was about 4 or 5 years old i remember playing on the original Nes on the original Super Mario and thinking my god this is crap! but that was a good thing because right from that age i was a major critic of games even though it ended up with a smack on the head from my friend who was mad that i had just said his birthday present was rubbish though to be fair duck hunt was fun.

The problem i found with Mario at the time was it didn’t have any colours and i just didn’t like the fact it was so boring to look at however the Snes version was perfect. But i think the gameplay is why i gave it all a chance it may have been rubbish to look at but it was fun to play.

After that i wanted a Nintendo (not a games console i was only 4 or 5 remember as far i was concerned it was a magic game box)and that christmas i got my Snes.

The latest game i have played is Rock Band which takes peripherals to a whole new level providing a whole load of instruments to play your music in arcade fashion and what could be be a more enjoyable way to hear your music than getting interactive with it and playing along. Its great for partys and serveral times now i have hosted lan partys where Rock Band has been the centre of attention but like anything the novalty does wear off fairly fast.

Hmm all the games i played between this there were very few once again i find worth mentioning but what has kept me going in games is fun and different titles that dont conform to other games because of the genre they fall into. Games like Conkers: Bad Fur Day and Lego Star Wars are games that have kept me interested in games full stop though i am partial to a good FPS like Halo overall they tended to bore me so it was these very few games like these three that kept me loving games.

This was short and sweet but yes sorry for wasting 2 minutes of your life which you cannot have back XD...

My Gaming waming History!! part 1

Hmmm to be honest my gaming history is not very spectacular however it is my religion (much to the disappointment of my catholic mother and the amusement of my protestant father XD).

My love for games started when i got my first console the Super Nintendo which at the time was only a year old and cost an absolutely bomb as quoted by my parents! i remember my first game i ever played was Super Mario on the original NES around my friends house and i was fascinated by the little plumber on the screen who seemed to hate walking mushrooms as much as i did!!

From then on after getting my snes i there wasn't a minute of the day i didn't sit in front of the TV playing it ( i also blame it for my lazy brain before junior school). The strange thing is my parents bought me games now and again it was a huge treat for me and i only got around 2 a year compared to the 2 a month on average i buy now lol, but games like twinbee and Zombies ate my neighbours which instantly became my favourite game and to this day i still hook up my snes just to play it.

It featured really nice graphics and at the same time had puzzle elements while also adding in humour in one word the game was 'genious' and im planning on making a flash version as a tribute to it but here's a video someone has made (sorry that is a really annoying guy doing it but to be fair what he says is pretty much what i though about the water pistol and them standing there in a zombie invasion lol still its just adds to the beauty of the game).

following this game another game which was one of the last games i purchased on snes was 'Star Fox' and this was a huge step up for gamers everywhere at least Nintendo fans as it featured the first 3d dimensional graphics in which was still uncommon on any of the other consoles making it a extremely attractive game and fair to say it sold really well because of it.

The other game i admired in the mid 90's was 'shinobi' on 'Game Gear' which was a fantastic handheld years ahead of any other handheld and im sure if it didn't eat 6 battery's in half an hour it would have dominated Game Boy in the market. But as i was saying Shinobi is a great side scrolling beat em up style game which visually looked stunning and the game play was great to and it was just great as a 2d game and predictably flopped when back in 2002 they gave it the 3d treatment and it pretty much ruined it for me (curse you segaaaaaa *shakes fist*).

oooooo a big step up in my life as a gamer the day i got my PlayStation! my first real taste of a virtual 3d world when i played tomb raider and loved every minute of it however strangely enough there was not many 3d games i favoured on the console in fact although i had over 150 games i only really ever liked 2 of them! One of them was quite well known and it was the sequel to Broken Sword such a great game for narrative and story it was spectacular and sparked a love for adventure and point and click games.

The other game 'Tombi/Tomba(US)' was released in 1997 and was relatively unknown in the UK as it wasn't to well received at the time of its release however deservedly reviews were great for it and i couldn't agree more it so pleasing to the eye visually and has a fantastic storyline about evil pigs ruling the earth its just fantastic unfortunatly my copy of the game broke and now it has reached cult status and is on 'the list of the best games ever' its incredibly rare to buy and costs more than its original retail price on eBay so when i have £45 spare ill buy it again lol (it only cost me £30 at the time i got it) i well recommend you check it out and if your one of these illegal game stealer's you'll have a hard time getting the Rom for this one but there are few out there...

I think games like 'Tombi' created my early personality of randomness. It wasn't fully utilized until i played Conkers: Bad Fur Day which is and i cannot stress this enough my most favourite game its so clever and a great looking game but more than that it was so different, Also the Monkey Island series on PC and finally on PS2 which was once again one of very few games i enjoyed playing on the Sony branded consoles.

The only other game i loved playing on the Ps2 was probably the last game i purchased for it and that was Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. One of the best button bashing titles i have ever played in my life its just so much fun its not really anything special graphically but the game play is superb other than this though and possibly Need For Speed.

No other games on the PS2 or even the Xbox i feel are worth a mention except one on the Xbox and I'm sure many people will agree with me on this when i say this one word 'FABLE' if you expected me to say Halo then your mistaken big time i never really cared for halo until number two and in my eyes i still don't see it as being worthy of a mention. Fable was such a amazing game in every aspect and i eagerly await Fable 2.

moving down the line to the next gen's... i remember arriving at Asda at 7 in the morning on the day before the release of the Xbox 360 i walked in and got a jaw to floor responce from the staff when they found out i was waiting for the 360 midnight release so there i sat for just 15 minutes before i was joined by more people and i spent the whole day there and when midnight came ahhh a sense of accomplishment :).

With this new amazing console i played on my first next gen game and didn't put it down the game was 'Perfect Dark Zero' not the best game in the world but it had a great online setup and the game play was pretty good. The amount of 360 games from here on that i loved are endless so many titles and I'm not going to bored with them all there is one other that does deserve a mention and that's 'Halo 3' which is such a great game and once again not the best looking but in game play and story its first class and the online community is huge.

Right well i must be boring you because I'm even boring myself lol so laters...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The Brief History Of This Magical Thing Called Games!! 1980 - 1990

Ahhh the 80's what a great decade that was, mostly because i embraced the world with my presence lol but no apart from that further advances in technology pushed on quite nicely with the introduction of several new and more powerful computers that were becoming more affordable to the public and of course this opened up a huge market for the games industry.

But to be fair in the early days of this decade not much happened most of the games released were just copys of other games but around the mid 80's games did move on especially in my favourite genre of adventure. Up until the 80's all adventure games were limited to text until a female developer by the name of Roberta Williams concidered gamers satifaction and how empty it seems with just text so she included simple pictures to go with eatch scene in the game and from this was the start of point and click games which later Lucas Arts would dominate in.

but really the major advancements in this decade was the drive for better visuals and similar to air combat mentioned in the previous post. It featured vector based graphics which are cleverly programmed to give the illusion of 3d and a notable game for this was probably 3d monster maze which was the first 3d game to be released on a home computer with a full 3d environment although nothing special to look at, at the time it was a fantastic advancement for the gaming world as it was also one of the first to offer a first person perspective which would later inspire such games as Doom and Wolfenstein .

All this 3d nonsence didnt stop the 2d development either and arcade style games florished as the bits and memory on machines increased allowing more and more detail but this didnt majorly increase until the early to mid 90's when games such as Super mario came into the equation and the original monkey island which displayed more detailed characters that ever before and from personal experience the snes did this better than any other console at the time though the Atari ST handled the graphics reasonably well to.

Genres also increased as developers were given more power to explore new ideas and soon enough as mentioned earlier the 3d first person shooter engine was developed by John Carmack but really he just brought together ideas that had been in development for decades.. Taking the Multiplayer setup from Air Combat, creating a more sophisticated version of the engine used in 3d Monster Maze only with the new technology they were able to place textures on the walls for the first time and added 2d sprites but cleverly scaled and animated to make them seem 3d as well.

From this the first game to feature all of these was Doom and even more than that it also gave the players a feature that is used commonly today in games such as The Sims and Counter Strike : Source that is the famous WADS (Where's All The Data). The WADS gave users the ability to create thier own content for the game including maps and characters which extended the life of the game hugely.

This all led the way for the next big leap in the games industry and the biggest step towards todays games and graphics...So this big leap well it all happened in the late 90's with the new powerful machines for running games but more specifically for running 3d orientated games and thus although a 2d games were still released for the first time 3d games swamped the market with the likes of playstation dominated the market with landmark games one i remember for being quite spectacular was and still is to this day 'Final Fantasy 7'. It didnt feature spectaculor charactor graphics but the environments had so much to them it made up for rather square Cloud but it gave the world a proper taste of narative in game in a more movie style and led the way for epic games and immense cutscenes.

While playstation focused on a more serious way of gaming, Nintendo kept to there more family orientated games in exception for Conkers which was the most unfamily orientated game (thankyou rare :) ) but the N64 (although claiming to be 64 bit infact it was only 32) gave the world a few nice advances in games with the likes of Zelda who made a hugely impressive leap to 3d and looked superb and in all sound quality in games also became better as the capability to use more channels changed games from mono sounds to midi this also applied for playstation to.

Its amazing the transformation that games made during these two decades, graphics were the main change but games became more story orientated and game play became a major factor which it never had before really. Perhaps like i said above the most unapreciated advancement was the sound channels which in many ways gave games more depth and atmosphere.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Brief History Of This Magical Thing Called Games!! 1950 - 1970

There had been very little advances in couch entertainment since the Wireless and Television but two men ( Thomas T.Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann) didn't realise at the time the future what lay in store for the device they just patented simply as 'the Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device' which is quite a mouthful and hardly fitting title for the machine that was to introduce the idea of computers as fun devices and revolutionise home entertainment.

It started in 1947 and was laughable compared to today's graphics produced on the likes of objects a tenth the the size of the monster machine who's graphics consisted of a crude overlay placed onto the screen but nevertheless it was a start.

By 1951 things had started moving in the right direction and a British computer scientist tried and failed to run a program on a inferior computer that lacked the memory to handle his computer version of the popular board game 'droughts' which to a degree i would of been glad of because i honestly cannot stand the game :) but to my disappointment apparently a computer in Manchester was created with enough memory to run a more efficiently coded version of the game.

From this point on the advancements were full steam ahead as machines increasingly got more powerful yet still fairly pathetic compared to even some pocket calculators of today's standards. With the likes of annoying games such as 'Tennis for Two' which allot of people would argue was the first real video game, others would argue that OXO ( a simple tic - tac -toe game) was the first and seeing as OXO came first im incline to agree but then Tennis for Two was the first game where you had real real time control over a virtual object in this case it being the ball.

The 60's did bring one of the best innovations in gaming and was used up until recently this technology was the light gun which took interactivity to a whole new level in the 60's, as the Wiimote did here in the ermm i guess 2010's and was the first peripheral for a console as well as giving birth to the shoot em up arcade games in one sentence (because i cant say it in one word) thank you Ralph Baer for the light gun which gives me something to do during lunch breaks!! good old 'big bucks hunter'.

By the 70's the potential of video games was no longer limited to a few open minded scientists and the first companies started popping up most notably the former gaming giant 'Atari'. I say former because lets be fair they and Sega got out muscled in fact I'm surprised Nintendo held on so well and held there ground against the likes of huge corporations like Microsoft and Sony.

The 70's is described as the golden age of gaming technology because everything moved on fast, graphics upgraded along with increasing pixels allowing figures and sprites to at least be slightly more recognisable than previous sprites which where basic primitives. Computers got more and more powerful and with this came games such as Air Warrior in which i think was a triumpth and under appreciated achievement in the games world as with out this cross network multiplayer may never have even been conceived. Air Warrior was the first real attempt at 3d graphics or at least the illusion of 3d with a clever use of what is essentially vector graphics all in all fair ahead of its time and this at least in my eyes is one of the main games that defined this decade and the advancements (i salute you Kelton Flinn and John Taylor for your vision and sheer ambition but mostly for giving me the the ability to virtually shoot and annoy real people online and not have a guilty conscience).

Thats all im going to continue on that i could go into all the games of the 50's to the 70's but lets be fair most of them were the same games just different graphics and titles then again there still doing that today with the likes of mass effect and gears of war!

Monday, 6 October 2008

About Me

Ah the good old about me section, were people drivel on about themselves and there ambitions and funny enough i am about to do exactly the same woo!

Well first things first, my name is Mark im 19 years old though twenteen very soon (yes the fear of no longer being a teenager does scare me slightly).

There is no doubt that i am a game fanatic and this is mostly given away in my choices of tshirts and the magnet i think gamestation planted in my head when i was a baby so that i get sucked in like a tractor beam everytime i walk past one (the urge to spend then normally follows). Suffice to say i have been a religious gamer since i was quite young and have always critisized game content quality long before i even thought about the prospect of it being a career.

So how did it become a career choice? well it all happened by accident actually since my first job choice was to be an architect so naturally i took graphic design as a GCSE option and it was in this that my friend introduced me to my first taste of 3d modelling... at least in its more basic form. The program was called Pro Desktop and to be honest it was rubbish but at the time it seemed fantastic and i caught onto it fast, so fast my knowledge exceeded the teachers after just 3 weeks and following this i made the model out of card and such which i must say i was proud of :).

The model and the 3d designs were entered into the rotery awards and pitted against the top schools in the county. Funny enough our school didnt win any of the catagorys until the last one for cad/cam in which my name was announced unaware seeing as i was actually asleep up until the point i was nudged frantically by my friend next to me who seemed more startled than me.

Any ways the sponsor of the prize was City College Coventry and i was invited for a tour of one of the colleges and at the end was asked if there was any courses i was interested in... This next bit is wierd because i knew i wanted to be an architect but instead i said games design and i have no idea why but i got on the course and my first taste of how games were made.

Very quickly i latched onto 3d Studio Max, very much in the same way i did Pro Desktop and my first proper model was the tardis which can be found at this address.
As well as this on that site are pretty much all my early models and also my more newer maya models.

But this became a passion and a strange one because although i lack skills in the drawing area i never have a problem with modelling straight from my head. I also branched off and did a bit of flash work including learning actionscript enough to create my own games, when i mention flash most people in the industry shrug there shoulders but i hold a firm belief that its the future of gaming :P and to prove just how entertaining it can be heres a link to a flash version of portal which entertained me quite alot.

Right enough of that to the task!!!