Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Brief Discussion of Star Wars Prequel Designs

Recently, I was perusing a message board where the practicality of science fiction vehicle designs was a common subject.

The discussion became mildly inflammatory (well, mildly by the standards of that particular message board, which is prone to a level of viciousness and trollishness that would make the average message board look pretty polite and civil), and the discussion turned to Star Wars prequel vehicle designs, at which point an individual declared that there would never be terrible designs like this in a certain freeware game that was being discussed and which that individual was working on. (I'm keeping things vague for the sake of being polite; I'm not calling anybody out, and the discussion was well over a year ago by now-it's just that I was just now reading through the really long thread that the message was posted in.)

"This," the "NR-N99 Persuader-class droid enforcer," is a quirky droid tank design which was slated to appear in AOTC, but was cut until Revenge of the Sith. What's important is that it is a bizarre, impractical design. It has a single massive tank tread complemented by what you might call "training treads" (i.e. they somewhat resemble bicycle training wheels) and a set of guns that can only be pointed forward.

It might not be clear from that description, but such a vehicle would have severe difficulties on a dynamic battlefield. Only able to engage targets in front of it and unable to turn, at least with any due speed (the same message board had several posters remark on how it might be able to turn, which earned a response from the poster who had brought the tank up along the lines of "stop talking forever, you people I am casting aspersions at"), the Persuader would become useless if it was pointed the right way.

The point that was trying to be made is that the prequel designs were naturally "inferior" to those of the original trilogy. I myself must respectfully disagree.

Certainly, the design in question is ineffective as a flexible military vehicle. However, it perfectly proves a point that I suspect was intentional: In the prequels, the inhabitants of the Star Wars galaxy in general were terrible at fighting wars.

What do I mean by this?

Well, when it is said that there were a thousand years of peace in the Old Republic, they meant it. We're not talking the few decades of uneasy "peace" that we've seen in the decades since World War II, which have had significant fighting in every one of those decades somewhere. We're talking a near-total lack of large-scale armed conflict. For one thousand years.

For comparison, on Earth one thousand years ago, there was no such thing as internal combustion engines, it was impossible to sail across an ocean, and many people still thought that the Earth was flat and that there were real dragons.

For the Old Republic of the prequels, war was a myth. A legend. Something vague and mysterious you related to your children.

The only military vehicles that anyone in the Old Republic had ever seen were either primarily ceremonial or were literally museum pieces.

Thus, the Separatists (who, by the way, created most of the "bad" designs) had to re-invent warfare from the ground up.

If these people had ever seen battle tanks, it was in a museum. They looked at them and probably thought to themselves, "Hm, those big guns look useful. But what if there were little guys? They'd have a hard time shooting a bunch of little guys. Let's put a bunch of extra guns on there to shoot little guys. Then, let's add some fireball-shooting things or something. That'd be great." A corporate board meeting later, they had a tank that looked like this.

It was stated in one of the Star Wars Incredible Cross Sections books that the combat tanks formed "battle lines," and thus had little armor in back. They were applying the equivalent of eighteenth-century warfare to tanks. I suppose they could have made worse choices, but I'm hard-pressed to decide what those might be. (Granted, the only previous conflicts were probably with test targets, and if nobody's shooting back, the battle line is actually a pretty great idea...)

My point is, these vehicles were designed primarily by dimwitted, cost-conscious bureaucratic corporate lapdogs, not by combat engineers. They didn't know better.

The only reason we know what's practical and useful in terms of design is because it's been demonstrated so elegantly to us by our own endless conflicts. The cultures of the Old Republic didn't have that. (Although that makes one wonder about the comparative efficacy of Republic military equipment... Eh, who knows?)

-Signing off.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Game Review: Cyber Ortek Flier

Cyber Ortek Flier is not a complex game, a thinking man's game, or a particularly hard game. (Well, not on the early levels.)

It is, however, a fun game.

This is in no small part because it was created by Pseudolonewolf, creator of many fun flash games, and a person of multiple game-making talents. (He composes nice music, too.)

Cyber Ortek Flier is one of his oldest games, and the first one to gain him any notoriety.

It's an extremely simple spaceship shooting game. The twist is that your spaceship is a firebreathing...


...two-headed robotic dragon.

Nuanced? No, not really. Fun? Yes.

As shown above, you can breathe fire or spew acid (I'm guessing that's what the green stuff is, anyway) either independently or simultaneously. There might be subtle differences in the damage they do to different enemies, but since most die in one hit, it doesn't matter much, now does it?

Instead, having two weapons that you can use determines how quickly you use up your weapon energy (the blue bar). The more constantly you use it, the slower it replenishes; if you hold fire for a while, it replenishes quickly.

The green bar is your health, and it gradually replenishes, too. I think it does so a bit faster if you're not shooting or being shot, but it's slow enough I can't be sure.

There are little power-ups and things, but they're not especially powerful or important. What's important is that you're extremely durable and powerful, and it's actually a viable strategy to just blindly pound your way through most of the early levels, going headfirst into enemies if you don't have enough firepower.

(What, you thought some puny enemy ships could really hurt a giant cyborg dragon thing?)

Note I say most of the early levels; here's the part where you need to be a bit more strategic.

What would a game like this be without some kind of boss with insane attacks, hm?

As I've said, fun stuff. It doesn't have a gigantic amount of replay value, but you'll still be able to play for hours. (If memory serves, the later levels are terrifyingly hard at points, but then, I'm not the best player of this kind of game, anyway.)

-Signing off.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Orcs Vs. Orcs

(Sorry, guys, got distracted reading Halopedia. Never played any Halo games, and I've got no particular interest in them, but boy, that's some epic storyline stuff, in the real sense of the word. I still have this short notion that I forgot yesterday, though.)

You know what I wonder?

What possessed J.R.R. Tolkein to decide to rename the goblins of Middle Earth "orcs?"

It's an established name from legend and myth, sure, but it had a radically different meaning from the creatures depicted in The Lord of the Rings and numerous imitative media since then.

Mostly, orcs were sea monsters. Aside from the fact that there is a genus of large dolphin often known as orcas (or killer whales-though I might explain sometime that there's evidence that orcas and killer whales can actually be considered different things), the orc was generally a massive, betentacled sea beast, sometimes paradoxically with the face of a lion.

Yes, really.

I also don't know why modern fantasy orcs are sometimes described as "pig-like," but there you go.

-Signing off.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Had a Post in My Head...

...then one of the family cats started puking less than two feet away from me, and I had to take care of it.

So you don't feel empty... cursored?... here's a couple of links, one about a crazy retro-style comic and another (EDIT: oops, posted the wrong link) about an upcoming movie (the trailer's NSFW, but the concept's so awesome [and described independently of the trailer itself] that I had to link it anyway). And here's a link to a site for RTS games, though it looks a bit oldish and irregularly updated in spots.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Game Review: Ultimate Tactics

(Two game-related posts in a row? What was I thinking?)

Ultimate Tactics is, despite its name, a turn-based RPG style game. Its sole unique feature relative to such is an aspect of combat: Movement.

Most turn-based RPGs have static character placement that is vaguely arranged; their placement may affect (and be affected by) combat, but you often can't directly affect it. Ultimate Tactics lets you move your characters on a grid.

It makes gameplay a touch more time consuming than for many such games (though let's face it, the ridiculously long spell animations in many commercial RPGs will offset that with interest), and also has a probably unintentional side effect, that being that mages are frikkin' nuts. Observe the following.

The mage's raw power is offset by the fact that he can only cast a limited number of spells per battle; however, it isn't his power but his range that makes the mage spectacularly strong. In the following screenshot...

...the mage has retreated to total safety, out of reach of any possible counterattack, thanks to his ability to perform an action (such as an attack) followed by a move.

Melee fighters can do the same retreating tactic, but since they are within reach when they start it, it's not nearly as effective. (The Super Robot Wars games, which I've mentioned a few times, have a similar combat system, but you can't attack->move because attacks end your robots' turns.) Making mages even more crazy is the fact that your mage learns a spell called "poison" which does damage each time the enemy takes a turn. While this is offset by the fact that you gain experience based on each individual attack and kill you score (meaning you get less if you use poison), the fact that you could poison strong enemies and then run away is very potent.

While gameplay sounds, from this description, like all mages all the time, only one of your early characters is a spellcaster. The other is a swordsman, and for him, other tactics will come into play. The primary ones are flanking and elevation.

Flanking increases damage done to guys when they're being attacked from behind. You're given the option of rearranging which way each of your guys is facing at the end of each of their turns, allowing you to try to protect them against being flanked. (Ironically, in the screenshot above the flanking damage bonus is nonexistent, though this is the fault of the enemy being attacked, a damage absorbing foe that does little damage.)

Damage done in melee combat also changes depending on relative elevation in favor of the high ground; more particularly, those that hold the high ground seem to score more critical hits while also taking less damage.

Ultimate Tactics is fun, but slow and time-consuming. At this point, I haven't gotten past the first city, and it'll probably be a while before there's any sign of a story (if there ever is one). I'd suggest that, if you prefer games that run longer than many of the flash games I talk about, you'd probably like this one at least some; if you just want a half-hour burst of gaming fun between doing other things, it may not be for you. (I haven't even mentioned the lock-picking minigame, which is also time consuming.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Game Profiles: Star Crusader

I'd have called this a "game review," but it's a little awkward to call a post on a game I haven't played in over ten years a "review." Indeed, I don't think I've even had a computer that could run Star Crusader for at least ten years.

Star Crusader (I mention it briefly here, focusing on a particular subject within the game, and there is a possibly broken link in that article to another site) was one of the really old games. Older than Earthsiege. Older than Dark Forces. Ah, wait, here's a Wikipedia page. Ah, again, here's a YouTube video of the introductory movie. (Can you tell I do this as I go along? I'd have embedded it, but there's more information about the game in the YouTube description.)

It was a very old game, and my memories of its graphics don't really impress me (though for obvious reasons it was in 3D!). It also had some of the creepiest facial animation you'll ever see (seriously, just watch the video).

However, it still had quite a bit of charm to it.

Capital ships were a rarity in the game, mostly because it'd have been really difficult to make good and impressive ones. They were barely bigger than fighters, and easy targets, though they were very tough and could often kill fighters in two or three shots. (It depended on the capital ship and the fighter.) Fighters really ruled space battles, though, partly because they had nearly the same firepower and often had armaments that, while weaker than capital ships' equivalents, still had many uses.

Each faction, of which there were many, had lasers and various special weapons that they used.

Gorenes (the race the player character was) were the most powerful faction, logical enough as they were invaders from another dimension, and had disruptors (stun cannons, though only on one ship), torpedoes (one of only two limited ammunition weapons, and the best secondary weapon in the game for reasons I explain in the old post I linked earlier), and the bonus ability of self-repair systems. Yes, all Gorene ships could repair themselves at will, unless they lost the self-repair system itself.

Tancreds (who appear briefly in the above movie) had plasma torpedoes (despite the name, a recharging weapon, and perhaps the best such, as they packed a punch and had long range) and the vector cannon, which messed with your maneuvering by making you move in random directions (not enormously useful, but amusing). They were also essentially green Klingons.

Mazumas only had neutron cannons, which killed ship pilots, mounted on one fighter, though their ships were generally the fastest and most maneuverable, and in-story they were the most populous group, outnumbering the other non-Gorene factions combined. They looked like blue fish people, but could also shapeshift.

Zemuns had a weapon called the hellfire (or something like that, it's been a long time) which overloaded shields, but was useless against an unshielded target. It sounds strategic, but really wasn't.

The Nuubyans were some kind of space savages with a personal grudge against the Gorenes, and they actually just piloted copies of Gorene ships (which were actually slightly improved-don't ask how).

The Amiens were normally pacifistic guys who had parasitic stuff in their heads that made them crazy, and they had all sorts of peaceful weapons that didn't work well (stun fields that just made your screens blink, and EMP torpedoes that stunned ships for maybe three seconds) despite being really nuts and occasionally smashing stuff. Which was kind of funny.

The storyline was probably the most memorable thing about it, though, because besides the quasihistorical overtones (Tancred, Nubian, etc.), it involved lots of voice work and making a choice. (Although if you didn't learn the game system properly, it'd be hard to realize you actually had it.)

This game has gotten a bit more attention recently on the Internet (it used to be that the page I linked in the other article was the only thing I could find on the entire Internet), and it's a good thing-maybe it wasn't a game for the ages, but it was a good one.

-Signing off.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (43)

From Reptisaurus #2, downloadable here (for your convenience), a glimpse of family life for giant monsters:

That dude in the foreground shoving his butt in our faces is a mad scientist who was trying to control them with a magic machine, and those planes are dropping nukes. Just another day for Reptisaurus and his "murderous mate" (actual description from narration)... or it would be, if the nukes didn't wipe out the babies in the next panel, sending the two of them into a plane-smashing rage.

Bonus: Here's the family tree delineated for your convenience. (This was the only panel that actually had the babies in view, and in fact they weren't even mentioned before this...) Click for full view, because it's a big panel.

I'd say that Mrs. Reptisaurus was maybe a little too loose, except that the babies look at least as much like Reptisaurus as like her (which is to say, not very much at all).

-Signing off.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weird Movers

(Whoops, totally didn't notice that my 600th post was yesterday. I knew it was coming up, but then I wasn't paying attention for a bit... Also, no post at the other blog. I did some heavy lifting today, and I'm too tired to come up with something...)

I was bumming around the ol' internets, and found this video of some of Theo Jansen's "kinematic sculptures."

I might have heard of these before, but I don't think I've ever seen them... that I remember. (If I'd been blogging at the time, I'd have talked about it, I'm sure, but if I had heard of them previously, it'd probably have been before I was blogging.

They're pretty cool, particularly because they're powered by wind and nothing else.

And they're cool enough that somebody was inspired to pay homage in the form of digital animation...

I like 'em. Sure, they're pointless beyond being rather weird works of art, but since when have I ever expressed strong fondness for the practical?

-Signing off.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Transformers Aliens are Awesome

The non-Transformer aliens that show up in Transformers series are often really crazy and cool. This giant sunflower/caterpillar monster thing, for instance.

There's also a planet of hack psychologists and lobotomists; the weird, supposedly organic space dragon beast that showed up as a relatively minor threat in one episode; Nitro, the hundred and twenty foot long, six-legged alien housecat; the monster Chaos, which sheds deadly indestructible/mega sharp scales everywhere that the Decepticons harvest as weapons; and thoroughly weird and ambiguous stuff like the lipoles, Mecannibals, and Scraplets.

I'd go into it a bit further, but I'm low on time; it's clear, though, that being in the same universe as Transformers means that your species is 110% more likely to be huge and insanely powerful, even if they're essentially human otherwise. (That chick in the throne? She once took a Transformer's head off with one blow. Most Transformers can't do that.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dinosaurs in the Woods

Imagine the following:

You're riding on a huge, multi-section trailer attached to a jeep, cruising through the woods. For some reason, there's an assault rifle under your seat. Suddenly, the man driving the jeep announces over a loudspeaker that there's a tyrannosaur to your left. You whip out the assault rifle, hoping to get in a lucky shot...

Alternately, imagine you're walking on a trail through the woods. You can see strange, foreign forms through the trees, and never close enough to see are animal noises that range from violent and raucous to merely vaguely unsettling. Suddenly, you come upon creatures from a foreign time and place...

This is Prehistoric Forest. (Website for the one I'm talking about here. There's another one in Michigan, apparently, that's been closed for years...)

Prehistoric Forest is an old theme park that has an obvious theme-dinosaurs.

Yes, those are supposed to be dinosaurs-Psittacosaurus, to be precise. They come from much earlier in the park's rather long and somewhat chaotic history. Other statues in the park range from outlandish...

...to fairly realistic...

...to artistic license and beauty.

Speaking of art, the full image doesn't do this photograph justice-you need to look at it up close. Be cautious of opening it up in a new tab/window if you've got a slow connection, because my sister's new camera takes HUGE pictures, but despite a bit of graininess, it's a beautiful moment. (You might, if you like these pictures, watch sis's blog over the next two to three days, as there's a reasonable chance she might post more of her pics over there. And, oyah, some pictures of that little Star Wars thing she went to recently are also likely.)

The park also has a couple of other dinosaurs:

That's right-vintage arcade machines. And you thought they were extinct.

You might be wondering just why I'm going on about Prehistoric Forest.

Well, it's pretty much the closest theme park to my home, and it's also the only area theme park I've ever actually liked. I have fond memories of it from childhood and adulthood alike. (So does my mother, who tends to talk a little more about its partner park, Mystery Hill, which is a sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying optical illusion park that can give people vertigo or make you trip if you're not careful.)

The park has had something of a turbulent history, though, even (especially) in my lifetime, going from a style somewhat similar to the Jurassic Park-like format described above (which predated the novel, by the way) to a simpler, less hectic nature walk. Part of the change was brought about when some drunk carousers destroyed several of the more delicate statues. (There's a T-Rex statue/animatronic unit that has a portion of a tire for its nose. It works surprisingly well if you don't look too close, and the statue's actually quite charming... although there's a trailer park visible behind it through the trees.) There was also a period where there was a reptile house, though apparently those became too expensive to keep and the building became a workshop for building the dinosaurs.

And that history may be coming to an end now, because the current owners are retiring, and have stated they have no plans to sell. (Not that I blame them; it seems to be a bit of a rough place to run, for reasons mentioned above.)

The last day for Prehistoric Forest will be September 12 this year. After that, it's anyone's guess as to if and when the park might reopen. My mother's brother will be visiting that weekend, and he'll probably stop by on the last day for nostalgic reasons... Then, there will be one fewer dinosaur theme park in the world.

And none of them will be where I can visit without having to drive for more than ten hours.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Game Review: Fancy Pants Adventure(s)

Fancy Pants Adventure(s) (also "The Fancy Pants Adventure") is a game where you play as some kind of "radical" stick figure guy.

It's probably inpsired, as far as gameplay goes, by the Sonic the Hedgehog games (which I've only seen a flash version of, myself, but from said flash game, even my kid brother agrees that it plays like a "Sonic clone"), because like Sonic, he can run straight up sloped walls...

...and even upside-down, though I don't have pics of that for you.

Though there is this weird-looking picture, which would be incomprehensible without context.

For some reason, the character's lives are represented by a little symbol that looks like his pants. I don't know what's up with that.

Anyway, the game's pretty simple-you defeat enemies by jumping on them and rolling into them, but mostly avoid them by running around really fast, while also collecting power-up type things and trophies and whatnot.

There's also this boss.

And if you lose (which shouldn't happen that often), you see this screen.

The game's pretty fun, though it does have a few flaws.

First, the character actually moves too fast, even from a complete stop, to be easily controlled for fine movements. You have to do little keyboard taps to keep him from flying off ledges and junk, which is annoying.

Second, while most controls are the arrow keys, the jump command is the "s" key. This is kind of a pain to remember. Both myself and my kid brother have a tendency to hit the space bar expecting that to cause a jump.

Third, it's rather too tricky, thanks to the aforementioned extreme speed your character is capable of, to precisely hit most enemies on their "sweet spots" while Goomba Stomping except with a bit of luck. I can't tell you how many darned times I'd just bounce off the darned guys instead of squashing them. Their sweet spots really ought to be a bit bigger.

However, despite the flaws, the game is fun, short, and doesn't require much thought. What more could you ask for in a short-play flash game?

-Signing off.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sorry, No Blog...

...just finished picking my sister up from her trip.

Which happened to be to Star Wars Celebration V. She's very excited.

-Signing off.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Axe Cop and Cool Pictures

(For this week's post at the Writing Blog [goodness, been a while since I could type that], I have a brief but serious discussion of how Axe Cop's world is constructed. No, really. Stop laughing.)

I found a couple of great picture blogs today: concept ships and concept robots. (The lack of capitalization is intentional.) Tons of pictures of beautiful futuristic machinery.

Warning-the sites are some of the worst bandwidth/processing power hogs I've ever seen. The site uses embedded flash for headers, footers, and all of the artwork (presumably to discourage art theft, though I'll point out that "stealing" any image on your screen isn't that hard-print screen button, anyone?), and there are typically five to ten flash objects (not counting advertisements). If you have a relatively slow connection or computer, these sites may not be for you; if you're stuck with a 56k connection, your computer will probably explode. Fair warning.

-Signing off.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

China Loves Giant Robots, Too

In Japan, one of the most well-known anime featuring robots of all time is Macross, which featured jets that transformed into robots and a huge alien invasion. (I talked about it somewhere...)

It was dubbed (by the infamous Carl Macek) and merged with several other series into a series called Robotech, which Americans may be more familiar with.

Entertainment in China is heavily modelled after that of Japan; Japan is something of an entertainment juggernaut, and its works are imitated to some degree in pretty much every country in the world. China's proximity means it imitates Japan pretty heavily.

Thus, "Astro Plan," which is frequently known as "Chinese Macross."

I showed this to my sister a few days ago, and she remarked casually "So the main difference (between this and Macross) is that these have magical girl attacks?"

I sat there for a second, thinking about it, and because I'm used to her off-the-wall comments, I shrugged and said "Well, you certainly could put it that way."

The other significant difference is that Macross never featured lightsabers/beam sabers... (Close-quarters combat was relatively minimal in Macross. The only incident that occurs to me was an image of a Zentradi being slapped by a police mech in an animated GIF on the Robotech home page somewhere...)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Somebody Hire This Guy

A few months ago, I found a video and linked it because it was awesome. A description of the video in question, in case you're nuts and don't want to look at it, is that it took really old movie footage and created an homage to something a bit less old.

Anyways, here you go. If you're a comic book nerd, you may not want to watch this at work, because you'll probably exclaim, laugh, or something.

And for the less comic-book savvy, there are also a few annotations in this video.

Once again: Somebody hire this guy.

(Also, The Other Son. For those of you on that trip.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Great Advancement In Toy Technology

(For sis, who is on a trip: Bombshock, Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee. [Also, on an unrelated note, space slug and interocitor.] She knows what I'm talking about. For the rest of you... Sorry, you'll just have to wonder.)

For more than a decade now, the majority of American toys (at least, the majority of my American toys) have suffered through a brutal requirement in the name of safety: Twist-ties.

These plastic-coated wires have been the bane of many a child's (and toy collector's) efforts to extract their toys from packaging. (As Dave Barry once noted, it seems that the safety regulations are updated because now and again the regulators receive word that a child managed to get a toy out of a package.)

I am happy to report, however, that for the first time in history that trend seems to have reversed.

I recently purchased several Transformers, and upon opening one discovered a significant, incredible change:

They've replaced the nigh-indestructible metal/plastic composite twist-ties with tough yet easily cut-with-scissors paper/string ties.

As someone who has opened multiple Supreme and Leader class Transformers, who tend to have a twist-tie spaced every three quarters of an inch across their massive frames, secured tightly by any means possible, and generally collapsed in exhaustion afterward, being able to easily cut the [expletive deleted] things with scissors without worrying about dulling the blades is wonderful. I could cut the new strings with my tiny, poorly designed toenail scissors.

On the other hand, the new strings probably will keep me from building a five foot tall model of the Liege Maximo out of the old twist-ties, but I guess you can't have everything.

Here's hoping they're a permanent change.

-Signing off.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Japan Loves Giant Robots

I mean, sure, it's obvious enough, but did you realize that they actually have a one to one scale robot "statue" from the Gundam anime just sitting there out in the open?

(That video is a time lapse, by the way.) There are a handful of other things like that out there, like the Chinese statue of Optimus Prime (no joke, although that thing isn't official), but the only thing I can really compare the Gundam statue to is Robosaurus.

Which, I will remind you, I hold to be high art.

-Signing off.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Again With the 3D Modelling...

Once again, I puttered around all day (watching my kid brother for a good chunk of it), and don't have much energy to blog.

I was saving these to put up next week, but I might as well do it now.

You should recognize this from the other day... Of course, there's something else in the image.

And here we can see the legs of another model.

And here we can see the full image of the big one. The only reason it's so big is because I shrank the first one a lot, and doing that made a lot more work for me...

(Also, I considered re-doing these screenshots without the stupid axes, but I didn't figure it was worth it.)

-Signing off.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

(Micro) Game Review: Worm Madness

(A note about a game I reviewed a couple of weeks ago-Backyard Buzzing's aforementioned bug [heh] only applies on sites other than the site that the game was produced for. In effect, the versions on other sites are essentially gameplay demos, while the version on the main site is intended to be the main attraction, and the only place where you can play the full game. However, the bug creates a spot where you can't play past, and ironically enough it's about where gameplay starts getting boring, so I consider the bug to be a plus. Just a little FYI.)

Worm Madness is a game where you play as a worm [/captainobvious].

The game is pretty much pure joy. Difficult pure joy, but pure joy nonetheless.

You play as a worm that tunnels the way sharks swim, and leaps in a way that is very reminiscent of a jumping fish or shark as well. You eat most bugs, which gives you points, and there are burrowing creatures (which my kid brother insists are named "pollywogs") which you can eat to restore your health.

What makes it pure joy is that the controls are so easy and intuitive that they almost don't exist. Essentially, you guide your worm with your cursor, and hold down on the left mouse button and pull the mouse further away to increase the worm's speed. It takes me far more time to explain than it does to understand or do it. It's just that easy.

Nice graphics can go a long way, but for a flash game, pure joy in gameplay goes a lot further.

(Boo on the developing site, by the way, for adding a bug to the distributed version that keeps enemies from respawning after you restart, even if you restart at the beginning. That kind of tactic to force traffic to your site is basically the flash game site equivalent of AOL installers, telemarketers, or persistent spammers.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Should Do This More Often

So the last time I really tried doing anything with Wings 3D was some while ago.

I ought to play with it a little more often.

Now, I'll note that I was using somebody's premade polygons here, but I did the design itself from scratch. I'm pretty sure I could have made something similar from scratch, it'd just be less polished and would have taken longer. (Still, credit goes where credit is due.)

I'll probably tweak it a few more times before I'm perfectly content with it, but I like it.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (42)

A lot of Golden Age heroes were kind of... well, jerks, to be frank.

The Green Lama, on the other hand, is a refreshingly nice guy.

During the war, he was willing to do anything for the troops.

Sorry if that made you think bad thoughts.

-Signing off.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Punchline is Machismo

Don't have time to put together a real post at the moment (well, I do, it's just that I don't really feel like messing around with Paint right now), so I'll direct you to this rather funny little webcomic called Manly Guys Doing Manly Things.

It's written by a woman, but is surprisingly not satirical (though it is highly parodic and full of video game references-though you don't need to be a huge gamer to understand most of it). It's pretty new, and I read the whole archives by looking over my sister's shoulder for about fifteen minutes.

As my sister commented to me, the expressions are brilliant.

-Signing off.