Archive for July, 2009

Airplanes & guinea pigs

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

This recent podcast from Jeff & Casey about airport security reminded me of our current relocation ”issues”. Thing is, we have two guinea pigs at home. Yeah, the same fluffy animals as in G-Force. And apparently it’s next to impossible to move them to another country in an airplane. Dogs? No problem. Cats? No problem. You can take those as hand luggage provided you use an appropriate bag. But for guinea pigs, niet, verboten, forget it.

Of course we got a bit puzzled by this apparently bizarre racism against those cute, innocent rodents. So we asked. It turns out guinea pigs are forbidden in airplanes because they “could escape and eat the cables”. That’s it, that’s the only answer we got.

Hmmm. I don’t know. Are you telling me that the integrity of the airplane can be jeopardized by attacking a maverick cable in a corner, left so unprotected that it is vulnerable to a fucking guinea pig ?!

MAX stuff

Friday, July 17th, 2009

A while ago I started a small shaft model in MAX. I stopped this for months but now I have some time to continue. I worked a bit on it today, and made some progress. It will be included in the next KP release.

Oni re-textured

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

There have been a lot of discussions in the past, about various “re-texturing” projects for ONI. So the idea is simply to replace the old small textures with high-res, modern versions. Simple enough, but because of the lack of artists in the small ONI community, those projects never went very far.

A few days ago though, someone named “Severed” released a bunch of new textures for various ONI characters. Needless to say, I immediately jumped on them and tried them in KP. So, here are some results:

I think it looks gorgeous. Of course, not really next-gen or anything, but definitely an improvement compared to the originals (which tended to be on the small and blurry side, PS2-oblige).

If somebody else wants to contribute high-res textures, you’re more than welcome :)

Konoko Payne, June 2009 release

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Here is a new Konoko Payne release. That’s the good thing about not having a job anymore, you get some free time for side projects :)

The changelist, grosso-modo:

  • AI: added global timestamp for taunt sounds, to make sure we don’t play N taunt sounds from N different characters at the same time
  • fixed bug with console unlocking even when player doesn’t have a datapad
  • added MB steam sound
  • added thug taunt sound (c17_99_01thug.wav, “don’t make me hurt you”)
  • reworked sound for exploding monitors
  • added one more taunt sound for ninja
  • added zoom sound for digital camera
  • reworked transitions for taunt anim from “run stop” motions
  • bugfix: “game over” was not correctly centered in 640*480
  • gun pickup is now easier when a lot of them are at the same place
  • engine: added hot loading of DDS files
  • nothing happens when touched by gun while jumping => should be fixed now
  • added blownup anims
  • added new weapon: portable mortar
  • added explosions
  • crates now glow when hit by plasma riffle & mb
  • added helicopter fight in “compound” scene
  • continued main gameplay/story
  • engine: added DEVIL wrapper in SystemPlugs
  • fixed small hiccup/lag when the datapad is spawned in compound redux
  • weapon overlay not correctly displayed in 640*480 => fixed
  • added sound instances to fix volume issues with sound emitters
  • fixed Muro’s face in monitors (was glowing too much)
  • monitor screens are now dds files
  • added “bonus objects” to collect
  • added achievements (using Xbox360 achievement bitmap & sound)
  • engine: billboards are now depth-sorted
  • + the usual lot of bugfixes and misc tweaks

So basically a lot of random stuff. The first version of the helicopter fight I previously mentioned is in. It’s interesting to see that gameplay, what makes your game a game, what makes your game fun, is not really tied to complex algorithms or clever optimizations. At the end of the day, what counts is all the tedious grunt work required to link A to B when C happens under circumstances D. If the player doesn’t figure out what to do after 60 seconds, start a special event to help him. If he does, make sure the help event is canceled. If he reaches the boss without a weapon, make sure there’s still a way to win the fight. If he defeats all the small guys, start this cutscene to show that the big guy is taking over. If he defeats the big guy, start this other cutscene. If he wants to use this item at that moment on that guy, make sure it works as the player would expect. Etc, etc. Lots of small, dirty, “ugly”, conditional code that wouldn’t win anything in a beauty contest, but that contributes a lot to the final fun factor.

In my role of newbie game designer here, I think the trick is to make sure the player is never bored. That’s probably why I keep adding new gameplay features, at the risk of never finishing this thing. For example this new release now has achievements - yep, the same as on Xbox. In ONI, if you got tired of hand-to-hand combat, you could switch to weapons. Now if you get tired of shooting, hey, you can collect those bonus objects. In the may release I also introduced the “puppet master” mode, which allows you to take control of enemies (like in Ghost in the Shell). It gives the player one more option: if he’s tired of combat, he can try the sneaking / ghost approach and walk undetected nearby enemies. The big issue of course is to make sure all the game mechanics work well together, instead of phagocyting eachother savagely. They must be well-balanced and all that. I’m certainly not there yet!

Another aspect is to make sure you thought about everything the player can try - and implemented a proper reaction. It’s like in Dungeon Master on ST in 1987. Part of why that game was so great is because no matter what you tried, the devs had thought about it first and there was an appropriate reaction in the game. Like, you’re at the very end of the game, seconds away from the ending… and no, you decide to go back all the way from level 13 to level 00 with the Firestaff… and bam! They thought about it too, alternate ending. cialis