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.