The Infamous Noob

May 27, 2010

Make Way for Short Drunken Men

Filed under: Design, Dwarves with Swords, Games — Tags: , , — infamousnoob @ 12:32 pm

I’ve hit a wall in my game. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve come to the part of it that requires more eloquent thinking than I can simply dish out on demand, or because I’m at a crossroads and don’t know which direction to follow. Probably the best thing for me to do is just pick something and push forward with the development. This would keep me thinking about it in new ways instead of letting it stagnate like I have been. I’ve made excuses to myself about how I’m too busy, or too tired, or too something else to really dive in and get this done, but the real reason is that I’ve just been too lazy.

So now that I’ve cleared that up and gotten it out of the way, it’s time to dive into the work that I’ve so coyly been avoiding. Here is Dwarves with Swords:

Prototype is a board game, so turn-based strategy (instead of RTS or akin).  The rules that have been swirling through my skull dictate that the “units” manipulated are, in fact, groups. Each group can have up to 5 members of different classes. Each slot in the group provides a slot bonus, and an additional bonus if matched to a particular class. Each class has unique abilities that it provides to the group, and the stats of all group members combine to form the final group stats that are used in combat.

Additional mechanics that I have been trying to work in are the use of special, one-time-use effects in the form of cards drawn from a deck every turn or some such thing, and the incorporation of booze in every facet of the game. Dwarves love them some drinkin’, you know. Mostly, the humor that goes into it is what will drive the fun. Anyone can walk to the local toy store and pick up a strategy board game for less than $20. Uniqueness is how I can be “more fun” than everyone else.

Anyway, I’ll list the classes and their respective abilities/stats once I have them in some sort of working order. (I think this is what’s known as a teaser :P)

Advertisements

May 25, 2010

New Beginnings

Filed under: Design, Games, Real Life — Tags: , , — infamousnoob @ 12:50 am

I finally got organized enough after the recent culmination of my higher education to apply to what I imagine to be my dream job: Game Designer for Blizzard Entertainment. Even though this has almost nothing to do with my extremely expensive piece of paper proclaiming my qualifications, I’m very excited at the prospect of it. I’ve been preparing for the interview that probably won’t happen by reading, listening and watching everything I can get my hands on by famous game designers.

The latest installment of this endeavor was a lecture by Brenda Brathwaite given at the GDC about how video games are a powerful medium to convey emotion. She talks a lot about her game Train that attempts to convey some idea of what happened to Jews in Germany during the 1940s. It’s very interesting (titled “Train: or How I Dumped Electricity and Learned to Love Design”), but I think that it plays too much on political charge. Her other projects currently in progress are about how the Irish were driven of the island and how the American Indians were relocated to Oklahoma. All of which are very much the same vein of politics, if not exactly the same events.

The secondary point that she makes is how design is not about writing lines of code or anything like that, but more about imagining a complete experience and using a corollary to Sid Meier’s “interesting decisions” in the form of interesting designs to elicit a particular response from the audience. I think that this is the more important part, though she doesn’t spend much time talking about it. I hope to be able to get enough practice to become deft enough at wielding game mechanics to tailor the response I want to get a more refined emotion that just “happy” or “angry”.

June 19, 2009

The Joys of Whitespace: The Worries of Acceptance

Filed under: Design, Games, Real Life — Tags: , — infamousnoob @ 12:44 pm

I’ve been reading a bit about Python lately, and I like it. It will be what the back end of my game ends up being written in. I’m still debating with my cohort about whether the front end will be browser-based or downloaded, but in the case of the former, I have a sample game screen written in HTML/CSS already. In the case of the latter, I guess we’ll just Python more.

The whole process has been quite interesting so far. It’s something that very few people (I think few, anyway) ever do, but it’s given me a unique perspective on things. Most notably, when I see WoW patch notes, I think about what must have been the conversation that took place and I wonder what the other options were before whatever I see was decided on. Actually, now that I think about it, everything about design is simply a decision-making process. Ironically, that’s what my schooling has been about so far too, even though I didn’t know it for most of the time.

I think the thing that I worry most about, though, isn’t whether or not my game will be “good”. I know what quality it will be already. I won’t let it be any less, and I don’t think I have the patience or motivation to make it more. I’m worried about how it will be received. Even though I don’t expect it to reach more than a dozen people, I want them to enjoy it. I don’t even <i>have</i> a game yet, but I’m worried about what people will think of it. I must be going crazy.

What I really need now is a good way to store and retrieve the boatloads of information that I’ll be passing back and forth from server to client. I’m sure there are tons of very good methods out there already, but since this project is one of educational flavor, I think I’ll just start from scratch and see what I come up with. Maybe I’ll even get something completely new, and sell it to Google for a million dollars! And then go have a beer with Santa and the Easter Bunny and Jesus! Or maybe I’ll just learn what I can and then implement what’s already been developed by more knowledgeable than me. Either one.

June 9, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect (I hope)

Filed under: Design, Games — Tags: , , — infamousnoob @ 2:16 pm

I’ve been away from blogging for a while, but with good reason. I’ve been in hiding with the good Doctor trying to iterate through the game design process. It’s mostly an excuse for me to learn HTML and CSS and then segue into Javascript and Python. We’re working on a web-based app that might actually be fun at some point, but the main direction of it is to provide really good experience programming in those various languages so that next time around we can do even better.

The biggest problem that I’ve foreseen with this project is the graphical part. Neither one of us are artists by any stretch of the imagination, and the general public has come to expect a certain amount of shiny in their games. The stopgap solution that we decided on was to hire a starving art student to draw for food and see what we end up with.

In that same vein, I’ve come to realize that to make it anywhere, I really need to be on YouTube. The public virtually demands a face to put to a product for whatever reason. I’m not sure what my little talking head will be about on the magic box part of the internet, but I need to come up with something to cultivate an honest, personal, genuine interaction with millions of people simultaneously in a commercial and assembly-line manner.

So, once that’s all figured out, I really just have to have some kind of product for the masses to give me money for. Then it’s time to retire while I’m sill young enough to jump out of a working airplane and not die from the heart attack it induces.

April 6, 2009

The Ultimate in Customization

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — infamousnoob @ 4:13 pm

Today, I spent some time looking at the game Little Big Planet. I love the idea behind this game. User-created content really makes it easy for game developers to sit back and enjoy watching other people enjoying their game. I haven’t had a chance to dig into the controls and look “under the hood,” but I’m pretty confident that I’ll enjoy it.

I think the thing that makes me like it so much is that unlike Löve, I don’t have to know a programing language in order to take advantage of this system’s level development package. Also, it harkens back to the days of 2D scrollers, which anyone my age has a soft spot in their heart for. I’ll reserve my final judgement until I get my grubby mitts on a copy and make a few levels and such myself, but I think this is a good jumping-off point for further studies in game “balance” for me – if there is such a thing.

January 20, 2009

3.0.8 hits, Most Users Still Whiners. More to Follow.

Filed under: Real Life, World of Warcraft — Tags: , , , , , — infamousnoob @ 2:07 pm

I’ve been trying to keep up with people on the role forums about what they want from the game. In particular, the tanking and healing forums have me very, very confused.

They both complain that content is incredibly easy (this sentiment is echoed throughout most of the subscribers, however). But when talking about the nerfs to Circle of Healing/Wild Growth, or the removal of the Titanguard enchant (BEFORE it was even in-game!!), they both cry out that these things are unfair. That’s the part that confuses me. There are dozens (possibly hundreds) of posts about how easy the game is, but when it’s made harder, that’s bad too. I think the problem is that the game caters to too many kinds of people, and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Instead of having several great games that have specific target audiences in mind, we get one huge game that is good, but mediocre in several places in order to accomodate everyone.

The biggest culprit of this is the constant struggle to balance classes for both PvP and PvE. Some abilities (everything that involves huge burst damage) work fine in PvE, but are considerably overpowered in PvP. In fact, when it comes to this situation, the two facets of the game are at opposing ends of each other. Everything about PvE is focused towards how well you can kill bosses, and this means sustainable damage/healing/suvivability. In PvP, it doesn’t matter if you can sustain 5,000 dps/hps if you can’t put out 20,000 damage/healing in 4.5 seconds. The introduction of PvP tanks with this expansion helps to close the gap, but I don’t think that it’s a viable solution right now. PvE and PvP really should be broken away from each other, so that the debacle of Retribution Paladins through the Beta isn’t repeated.

I think that this is pushing me away from the game, honestly. I still thoroughly enjoy raiding and completing content, but I’m becoming increasingly intolerent of the other players. For as much as people complain that the current available content is too easy, there still aren’t very many people I’ve met who I would voluntarily go into a heroic/raid with. Sadly, my DoIKnowYou is filling up with red marks, while the only green marks I have are people who I knew already. I suppose that’s the nature of the beast, though.

My brother has told me that he’s quitting WoW in March when his account expires, and it’s made me consider what I like about the game. I think I would be just as happy playing an offline console RPG (<3 FFVII) as I am on the occasions where I am able to complete content (a.k.a. raid) in WoW. The downside to this is that I spend time outside of raiding collecting materials for item enhancements, upkeep on my characters, building reputations, etc. Most of those things are “required” in offline games too, but they don’t have timelines. If I want to raid in WoW, I have to put in X amount of time each week for the attempts we make, and the support activities that go along with that.

One of the reasons that I chose the specific name of this blog, instead of something WoW related, is that I knew <i>eventually</i> I would stop playing. Whether the game dried up, or I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, I knew that someday I wouldn’t be writing about World of Warcraft. But I’ve always had a passion for gaming. I enjoy board games and card games, tabletop and video games. I like puzzles and riddles. I just like figuring out the system that’s presented to me and understandig what makes it tick. So, in the event that I’m not covering WoW anymore, I’ll still have some hobby to ramble about. But don’t worry — that’ll definitely be after Ulduar is released.

Currently, I’m trying to diagnose what went “POP” in my Windows computer, and attempt to replace that part before the warranty runs out. I’m fairly certain that it’s the power supply at this point, but I still have little bits of power around the motherboard so it’s not completely dead if it is the problem.

As a side note, I definitely need to post more than once a week. I end up with about four different topics in each post because I can’t decide what to cut out.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.