Saturday, January 31, 2009

While My Tea Gently Steeps...

The entire house is sick.

I have Pink Eye. And I swear I didn't eat poo or have someone fart on my pillow or whatever it was that got those guys Pink Eye in KNOCKED UP.

My 3 year old has it and she gave it to me.

Now she may very well have eaten poo. She's done it before. She'll probably do it again.

And word on the street is, Pink Eye is very contagious. Hell, you may get it yourself just by reading this blog post.

Anyway, so I'm waiting for my cup of tea to steep, eager to gulp it down in my American McGee's Grimm mug that I got from GAMETAP last year (thanks Gametap)! It's a pretty neat mug that gives you the dark version of the fairy tail (not sure which one) when it's filled with hot water.

Also ran to Gamestop tonite to grab a few games I've been meaning to play for research. When you are sick, crashing on the couch and gaming is a great way to rest while not going stir crazy. Not sure what to think of LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST. I like aspects of it a lot. It's clearly a well made game with some very fun and very creative elements. And I was a fan of the movies so it's cool to get to play them online. But the success at the combat seems kind of random. Not sure if that is the combat system itself or if it's the nature of trying to process semi-speedy melee attacks with 15 other players online. Again, I do like the game. I think I will play it some more when I get the time. But I'm at that very dangerous point in a game where I'm searching for depth- now that the fun. visceral aspect has worn off- but where that depth is going to come from is not apparent.

Gameplay really is like layers of an onion. You need at least 2 layers to keep things interesting when you are talking pure game systems (shallow and medium). If you don't have that- GOD OF WAR did not- then you better have lots of variety to your level and mission designs to counter the shallowness of the system so you do not bore the player. Now I am not saying LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST is shallow. In fact, looking at the level designs, there's a sense that much thought has gone into the layouts in order to bring out some nice depth. But I'm at a point right now where the core play- the combat- is feeling like it needs to have something else to offer (or needs to have more technique that- once mastered- gives me the upper hand) because right now I walk up to an enemy and it totally feels like luck in regards to who is going to live and who is going to die. But like I said, gonna keep playing, at least a while longer, and see what surprises the game has in store.

Ok ya'll- gonna do some work and then hit the hay. Chat later-



Anonymous said...

Hey man. Big fan of your work. I know this doesn't have much to do with what you posted, but my brother and I were watching a Celtics game a while ago and he commented on how much Kevin Garnett looked like Kratos, so I whipped this up. Thought you might also get a kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you think about things, not just in terms of games, but in a lot of aspects, your *ramblings* are more of the deeper insight into your thoughts, which I like. Anybody can say, this game is crap, but to go into every facet(sp?) of why it sucks, and how it could be better takes intelligence.

I really wish I could've worked on God of War or Twisted Metal with you (even though from the "making of" you can be a little anal) because of that insight into things.

Hope you never stop bloggin

Anonymous said...

yeah the combat system is what most people hated. reveiws said it's shallow with no depth. just basic button mashing with a few moves. that sux i played the demo and was really excited about the game. but if the combat system doesn't go much farther than the demo. than that would make this game stink. amazing how a couple wrong choices can ruin a game. well since you like movie games. checkout the new batman trailer for ps3 360. so far the game looks great. peace chad

grasshopper said...

Nice ya got the open box on at least one of them. Man I love GameStop! When you shop there they are even kind enough to open your games for you so you don't have to...and they put those nice stickers on them.

Why the hell don't you shop at Best Buy or something dude? Reward Zone card...10 bucks back for every $150 spent on in fucking wrappers!
Sorry I'm okay now...

da criminal said...

grass- yeah, I think the Gamestop shopping experience leaves much to be desired at times (open games, stickers, messy shops) and the used game aspect of their biz plan sucks for developers (but will eventually put them out of business)...but right now, they win because of one of the most important aspects of biz success: convenience. There is a gamespot less than 2 miles from my house. Best Buy is a 15-20 minute trip.


Anonymous said...

I found the best defensive strategy in the game is to hop on top of a rock. orcs can't jump.

Too fleshed-out melee attacks and animation-heavy gameplay makes for terrible online play, btw. It just never works competitively outside fighting games(, which still have problems when online because synching animations chokes server).
Animation-heaviness can make for an epic and cinematic singleplayer experience, but if a realtime game has too many complicated animations that the player is giving the character "orders" rather than controlling the character, it can be pretty fustrating.
Ive found that japanese games tend to rely on heavy-animations a lot more than western games, which nowadays are a bit more "analog" and user-friendly. Metal Gear Online can be horrible at times because of this.

....oops. I rambled.

P.S. btw, some ad firm believes I own your website and keep asking to pay me to post ads in entries via email.

Anonymous said...

The new batman game isn't based off the movies.

Played the demo for lotr and wasnt impressed at all. Gamestop is teh bad. Back when I was shopping for a ps3, they lied to me about the specs of the different systems to get me to buy something. Yah gg, I've pretty much sworn them off now. The whole unwrapped games with stickers on them for full price was pretty shit too.

da criminal said...

Yeah, I don't think depth needs to come from complicating the combat system with fancy anims, for example. It could be something as simple as:

a clear sense of giving the hit to the person who clearly swings first


value based on higher ground (which would not always come into play)


making it more stat based (which I know is not what a game like this is going for)


well hell, if Soul Calibur can work online with all its complexities, I imagine you could strip that down 90% or even 95% and still have a solid combat system where it is clear who trumps who and why based on core strikes and blocks.

BUT part of it is also camera in that it is hard to track an enemy. You rush up to someone and swing and miss and then they are out of your eyesight range so you then spin the stick around looking for where they went and by that time, they are either hitting you or running maybe a better camera system for when you are engaged...or perhaps a sort of combat cheat- like we did with God of War and lots of hack and slashers do- where as long as you are close enough to the enemy and as long as the enemy is within a 180 degree cone- give or take- the player automatically turns/tracks with the target so you can button mash and not worry about having to constantly reorient. Perhaps they are doing this, but it didn't feel like it. If they are not, it's not that big of a thing to add- at least I recall it not being a big deal for us- and I would LOVE to see a patch that fixes this....UNLESS doing that breaks something else or doesn't work that well when dealing with 5 live enemies all battling at once (versus 1 human vs. 5 simple AI drones)... who knows...lots goes into making a game- clearly- so it is hard to know what the team knew about and simply could not fix because of limitations we are not aware of and what the team simply didn't see as an issue...or what the team saw as an issue but were not given the time to fix/change...

...ok, heading out to a 24 hour Longs drugs near-by to get some eyedrops...

chat later!


Chris Reid said...

I always thought it was "steep" in reference to tea.

da criminal said...

It is STEEP, not SEEP. Thanks for the catch- I'm sick, what do you want from me :)

Anonymous said...


I don't want to go off on this one but let me just take a bite.

While developing into the deeper levels of gameplay the combat system needs to be set in tiers ... meaning this ...

Say you have some basic monsters ... lets say Goblins.

When you first start the game they should be a pretty tough challenge. As the player progresses through the game, with the hero, they should be acquiring more advanced tactics and then when they encounter a more Advanced Monster + Basic Monsters ... lets say a Dragon[Advanced] with Goblins[Basic] then the player is forced to used some of the newer tactics mixed with basic attacks.

The newer advanced tactics should be able to slaughter the goblins much quicker but at the cost of the player losing some of their POW meter or whatever so that their left with only basic attacks for a short time when left with the Dragon. Now, of course, another player may have approaced it differently and used the advanced tactics to hurt the Dragon then turning to basic attacks(that might do a little more damage because the hero is now a higher level) on the Goblins.

What the heck am I going on about... ok, fucos. I jsut can't get it .... oh, the heck with this paragaph(Spell check this!).

Oh, yeah ... I remember now...

It's essential not to undermind the value of those basic attacks ... sort of like the way a boxer uses a jab combined with hooks/uppercuts to finally cut his opponent down.

It's not like I'm giving any big secret away but it seems studios are missing the key concepts to creating a challenge to the player when it comes to combat design in these types of games.

I'm currently working on 7 different game designs and 3 of them can attribute a large part of their gameplay to mixed combat and hero leveling. Can't give away too much but I would say it's one of the more original combat systems(if it could only be developed then I could see the vision in action).

Alright, let me punch myself in the face! =_- ...(Me left eye might not make it! But the vision appeared and its pink! Oh, I think that is a BLOG infection. Somebody better call the CDC.)

Snap out of it! ... Ok, back to work, uggh, I mean to this comment.

So, I hope you get my point.

Vagrant Story was a great game for its time on Playstation(as far as player leveling and monster challenges). I remember fighting the 1st Dragon in that game(took like 15 minutes to kill ... maybe longer). Cool thing about that game was weapon assembly and being able to build [Affinity vs. Specific Enemy Types]. Replay value was extremely high because of all the weapon classes(which could also be leveled up to gain new attacks). Good 'ole Squaresoft/SquareEnix!

Wow, I think I just convinced myself to go pop it into my PS3 for old times sake. All of you know how that goes ... it's usually never quite what you remembered.

Keep up the ping pong match and get back to the feeling good days my friend.


GamingOwl said...

I was only slightly interested in LOTR: Conquest. But I was going CRAZY for Need For Speed. I'm a long-time fan, sad to see the series turn out the way it did. :(

Anonymous said...

Hey this is off topic but I have a question for you. How well do you think a God of war multiplayer versus battle would work. That would be awesome Kratos vs. Kratos. I read a while back about some online features for GOW 3.It might just be high scores or something.That would be cool too.But a versus battle would be sweet.Do you think that would be possible with kratos's combat system. Chad

Unknown said...

I felt like Conquest was just the same exact experience as the Battlefront games. Nothing's really changed. Just seemed like they copied and pasted LOTR over-top. And as far as the single player goes I'd rather just play the two games from the movie. Even though they're last-gen they're presented way better.

Watching the "big game" today David?

grasshopper said...

@Dave: Hmm...well ya got me there :)

Anonymous said...

NFS Undercover ? Really ?

Isn't that the worst racing game of the decade ?

da criminal said...

I said I was playing stuff for RESEARCH last nite- not fun. Not to say both games didn't have their moments but when I play for research I play EVERYTHING cause there is stuff to be learned form all games, good, bad, and mediocre.


Anonymous said...

u get sick to much.

da criminal said...


so kind of you to say :)

But so you know:

I have very small kids. One is 3 and in pre-school. Like I said, she has eaten shit before (her sister fed it to her), she puts dirt and worms and stuff in her mouth. She picks her boogers and eats them. She is 3.

And I have a 5 year old in kindergarden who comes home each day with crazy new germs all over her little self.

Besides simply living in the house with these two, I am a very touchy dad. I kiss and cuddle and snuggle with them every chance I get.

With all that said, I am stunned I am well as often as I am :)


Anonymous said...

I agree that what you did with god of war's combat. The animations were forgiving and also when performing an attack, the player could still turn kratos and remain in control of the attack.

Anonymous said...

grasshopper said...

"she has eaten shit before (her sister fed it to her)" Damn! How old was the older youngin when she did that? she will thank her for that later.

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