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  1. MarkN

    PlayStation VR

    Argh! Didn't realise Falcon Age came out several days ago. Downloading now. I need to fist-bump a falcon! I'm hoping the lack of Move controllers isn't going to compromise it too much - it says they're optional. I do want a pair of the buggers though, so I'll have a dabble with the game and see if they seem like they'd add a lot. Maybe hold off going too far in it until I can get hold of some if that's the case. Sounds like there's loads of great stuff rolling out shortly too. I'm not sure my wallet can keep up...
  2. MarkN

    The Game Development Thread

    With anything level-based it's worth considering making a full-on level editor, and planning on getting it up to release standard. It sounds like a lot of work, but an awful lot of it will be massively beneficial to you - to streamline your own work flow. There will be a bit of extra work exposing things to the user that you possibly could have lived without, and then a fair whack beyond that making it properly user-friendly and good-looking - but if you commit to it early on, you benefit from its development with much easier level creation, and then at the end you have a great additional feature to your game.
  3. MarkN

    The Game Development Thread

    Harvest A Moon is purely a working title right now, so I'm happy sticking with it. I've got ideas for the real name, but most of them have been used in one way or another, so I'll keep bouncing them around for a while to see if I can find a new angle. It's a strange game to develop - at the moment I'm just throwing mechanics at it really quickly, implementing them rapidly, and then moving on. I do have a time-skip button in so the plants go through stages of growth and can be harvested, but that entirely misses the point of what makes the genre so compelling, so right now I'm trusting that it'll feel good played properly (I've no reason to think it won't, but who knows...?) But my goal right now is to get the basics of creating/mining/foraging items and then handling all the generated items in the various inventories nicely, because that seems to be a lot of what the game is (it sounds really dull to dissect a favourite genre like this, but the game is about building something great out of an unpromising start point, and that's largely about accruing new stuff, and combining it, and for that I want a really robust set of inventories). What's the game your pics are from (sorry for my ignorance)? It looks really charming - a proper country village feel to it.
  4. MarkN

    The Game Development Thread

    Here's a quick blog post update for my Harvest-A-Moon game. Lots of it is about inventory, but underneath that there's a load of gameplay I just flung in stupidly quickly. OK - there's lots of tidying up to do to make it even remotely functional or fun, but to echo what's been said just above - the tools we have now just let you create soooo very easily these days, it's truly magnificent. http://www.bearcatgames.com/Blog/?p=205 I was meaning to get the inventory system up to basic functionality, but got side-tracked by adding all the tools (as mentioned in the blog). But in particular I had to dabble with the fishing rod, because I love a bit of fishing in games (and this will be fishing on an alien world - so the possibilities are endless). I think I need to get this done to a very basic level, and then revisit it as a treat for when I don't really fancy working on anything else (a pet project within the whole thing, if you like). (I also need to get around to creating a proper main character, because whilst little blue astro-boy down there tells you you're in space, he really doesn't look like he belongs with a fishing rod in hand).
  5. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    My preferred play style is to take it slow and go for single colour clears (or full board clears if I get lucky). The first few minutes of this video shows pretty much how I play too:
  6. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    I've just started reading the Complete Uxbridge English Dictionary (CUED). I don't listen to "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", but apparently it's taken from there. It's basically a dictionary full of definitions based on what the words sound like. I've already laughed out loud several times (which could be a problem because I tend to read when I'm out and about walking). I also fear it may destroy my ability to communicate with other people, because some of these will stick with me forever. So you have things like: Acoustic - Scottish cattle prod Bacteria - to return feeling more upset than when you left Bakery - resembling a baker Barrier - even more like Barry than Barry is Comforting - Jamaican lost property office
  7. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    Careful - once it gets its hooks into you it's really hard to get away. It pretty much became an obsession for me the first time around on the PSP. I just could not walk away until I'd maxed the score. And then I've bought every version I had a machine for since, I think (and played each until I'm happy I've got the better of it). One of those games I always overlook when it comes to top 20 games ever lists, but it really deserves to be considered. Very few games got their hooks in quite so deeply.
  8. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    It's not a rhythm action game, but the music affects the gameplay (and for me personally the music helps me remember how I should be playing at any given time). Basically each music theme dictates the tempo of the game, meaning you have to change the way you play to deal with it. For the first few levels you won't notice much difference, but later on there are some major changes that really force you to adapt to survive. The biggest change to cope with is the speed that the bar that erases the blocks moves across the screen. Sometimes it moves painfully slowly, meaning you have to deal with a massive build up of blocks as you wait for it to inch across and clear them. Other times it zips across meaning you're hurrying to slam blocks down in time to get them fully erased, rather than only partially. Sometimes the blocks fall faster than you're comfortable with and you're just trying to do the least damage possible with them, other time you're holding them back cashing in single colour bonuses every time the bar crosses the screen (more than once a pass if you have the right blocks in hand). It's an odd little game. it looks incredibly, stupidly simple - like there's not enough there, perhaps at first. But the first thing you notice as you get better and progress, is that to progress further still you're going to have to get better again. And again...
  9. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    There were 3 or 4 moments, but the one I remember most clearly was this which is the very start of chapter 17: I'm no expert on these things but if he's not breaking the 4th wall there, he's definitely giving it some very funny looks.
  10. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    I just finished The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. A fun little book, that I read mainly because I adored The Count Of Monte Cristo, and because I found it on Standard Ebooks, which meant it would probably be in good nick for my Kindle. Well worth a read. Also does some interesting kinda fourth wall-breaking that surprised me (I'm not sure when 4th-wall-breaking started, but there are bits in here that definitely made me go - "wait, what?", because I just wasn't expecting it. Will read up on it later...) https://standardebooks.org/ebooks/alexandre-dumas/the-black-tulip/p-f-collier-and-son
  11. MarkN

    The first one is still the best one

    This is a great shout. The first game was amazing. In my top 5 PlayStation games, and would possibly make my top 20 on all formats. It's perhaps my second-favourite tactics-style game (Into The Breach nicked the top spot not so long ago). It also had a lovely cheery cartoon-style (albeit with OTT spurting blood that was almost its signature thing). Such a great little game, and I played it through twice to explore all the character paths, and unlock as many secrets as I could. The sequel was horrible IIRC. Muddy graphics, imprecise gameplay, absolutely no charm whatsoever - it's one of those things where it's better to just pretend it doesn't exist. An absolute shocker. Edit: It went from looking like this: To looking like this:
  12. The Spotify thing is a solution, but not a great one. The problem with licensing tracks is that a) it costs a shedload of money - which they probably didn't have, and b) the licenses run out, meaning games get de-listed from stores - which is an awful situation (different scenario, but you can't buy Out Run: Coast To Coast on Steam because the car licenses ran out). But to me the first port of call would be to allow people to use their own digital libraries. Not something I've tried to do myself in my own projects, but I'd imagine is at least as easy as integrating Spotify, and wouldn't come with as large a barrier to entry. It certainly wouldn't have been beyond them to do both. I mean - I'm perfectly happy to play many games without music - but racing games? They need tunes, they really do. They should have covered as many bases as they could, I think.
  13. MarkN

    Pre-owned games sales in freefall (UK)

    The pricing was and always has been a legacy of physical media. In order to keep bricks and mortar stores sweet they couldn't undercut them on digital. It's been the same on every format, regardless of publisher. It's partly why MS wanted to ditch the physical media release. To not be beholden to them. If you're selling physical copies you can't aggressively compete against them by selling digital copies cheaper, even though they're cheaper to produce. You'd be stiffing a business partner. This has been stated time and time again. If you're selling the physical copy at $60 then that's what you charge for the digital copy. Stores are free to sell cheaper, but the publisher isn't. Doesn't matter if you're MS, Sony or Nintendo - you price digital the same as physical. If the original plan for the Xbox One had gone ahead, we'd have got here sooner. The customers couldn't see that, so MS backtracked. Now we're getting back to where they wanted to be. Seriously look back at this, and most of what you see from consumers is "wah wah wah - I want my resale value" (the resale value that never fed back into game development, and only ever benefited the stores that were pushing 2nd-hand over new copies whenever they could).
  14. MarkN

    PlayStation VR

    Eurogamer's preview of No Man's Sky sounds really promising. I haven't played the game at all yet, but I can imagine it being fantastic in VR. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-04-02-no-mans-sky-is-absolutely-stellar-in-vr
  15. MarkN

    Solid little thrillers

    A Simple Plan - I expected nothing, but watched it one night on TV several years ago because I saw Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton were in it. Turned out to be properly great. Three men find a crashed plane in a snowy forest containing millions of dollars, and decide to keep it - what could go wrong? It's an absolute belter. Would've posted a link to the trailer, but it shows far too much. It's a fantastic film - great performances all round, a cracking tale, and the bonus of a lovely bleak wintry setting (I love those). One of my favourite movies - and yes more and more of them are coming from this kind of genre. Under-the-radar belters.

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