Tail Concerto – Part 7

•July 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Let’s rescue the Archeonis! I also talk a little about how refreshing it is to play this kind of game in an age of first person shooters.

Tail Concerto – Part 6

•July 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

More mines, and we fight Alicia and the gang again!

Half-Life 2’s Bizarre Legacy

•June 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I beat Half-Life 2 again for the first time in about 10 years. The game has aged INCREDIBLY well. Unbelievably well. For a game that came out in 2004, it has better animation, lighting and textures than a lot of games today. First person shooting and platforming feels just right. Physics-based puzzles are unique and feel like there isn’t always one, clear answer, and you won’t solve them the same way twice. There are some dull moments, parts that go on a little too long, and occasional instances where it’s unclear as to where the player is supposed to go next, and it can take you a little out of the experience. However, for the most part, HL2 still stands up as a masterpiece you must play before you die.

What’s really fascinating and amazing to me, is the fan-created content HL2 spawned that is sort of this bizarre legacy it has left behind. The Source engine was made with user generated content (UGC) in mind, but I think the users generated more content and WILDER content than Valve ever imagined. It started with just simple maps and mods, but Garry’s Mod changed everything when you could import any model made for the Source engine into a puppet playground. There are kids today who grew up watching GMod animated videos on YouTube with characters from the very serious video game Half-Life 2 doing very silly things, and that’s wild to me. And this was several years after the game’s release! Even today, people are still doing things with Source and HL2 content.

Everything from mods to games to obtuse film projects have been made using Source, and although the tools are quite old and many struggle to interface with current versions of Windows, they are still being used today to make art because of their accessibility. And I think that’s really fascinating, and makes Half-Life 2 one the most unique games in history, for its ability to tell a good story with quality assets, then make all of those assets available for others to make their own story.

The Source engine is a gift that keeps on giving, and while Half-Life 3 may not be a game we will get to play in the foreseeable future, Source will regardless forever be Valve’s greatest and most memorable contribution to mixed media storytelling and UGC.

Tail Concerto – Part 5

•May 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Exploring the Mines…

Tail Concerto – Parts 3 and 4

•April 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I uploaded these almost back-to-back, so here they are in one post!

Checking out Airleaf, and then investigating the mines of Ferzen.

 

Tail Concerto – Part 2

•March 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Playing more Tail Concerto!

Random Thoughts: KoTOR and Game Design

•March 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’m replaying Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and marveling at how great the game design is. For example, when you get to the Lower City on Taris, there are a few directions you can go. Some of those directions have hostile characters and will get you engaged in combat, and the other directions will require you to have skill in persuasion to get anything done, and failing that, at least give you more objectives to let you stall while you gain more experience.

My character is not specced for combat, but persuasion, so direct combat with multiple enemies is just going to get me killed. But going the other ways allows me to talk my way through things, and I think that’s really cool you have clear control over how you progress through the game. Not a lot of games do that, especially today. Take Fallout 4, for example. If you don’t have at least some skill in combat, you’ll die pretty quick in the wastes. That’s not a game you can just dump points into charisma and win by charming everyone, though admittedly it’s a harsher world.

Any game with combat mechanics kind of requires you to have some skill in defending yourself if you want to survive, but KoTOR often gives the player choices in how they want to progress, whether they want to take the talking route or the killing route. Notice I didn’t say “tackle a given situation”, but make progress in the game. Like real life, there are some situations you just don’t get the option to talk things out: the other person/ party just wants you dead. So, here you get a choice of specific paths that have different journeys, but the same outcome: you make progress towards the ending of the game.

 
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