Friday, 17 October 2008
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
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!!!
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 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
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
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
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. 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!!!