In the spirit of the many public predictions for the future of video games, I’ve decided to make a prediction of my own. In 10 years, free-to-play (F2P) games will be about where they are today.
Don’t get me wrong, there is going to be a massive bubble of insanely high quality F2P games to breach the global market in the near future. My argument is that the market will not survive it. Let’s break down the F2P model at a high level and see exactly where and why large profits are being made from them. » Read more..
This was an old audio log I created for a planned Kickstarter campaign that I never launched. I ended up funding the book myself and it is now available in most major marketplaces. You can find it as a DRM-free digital download or print on demand HERE.
Note: This post is in response to a question that was raised on a podcast that I frequently listen to. On a website called Epic Battleaxe, the question was asked, “How severely should cheaters be dealt with?”
Cheating is something that we have to deal with every day, even in our adult lives. For someone to be a winner, there ultimately has to be someone who loses to them. It’s this exact concept that stirs angry thoughts about used car salesmen or lawyers or CEO’s of multinational companies. One way or another, we know that most of them had to cheat life to get to where they are. There is truth to the statement that last guys finish last, in the business world and in gaming. » Read more..
As some of you might know, I recently published my latest Xbox LIVE game called Ashlands: Retribution. In Retribution, I used a lot of sneaky tricks to keep C# running at respectable rates. This article will cover just one of those tricks.
The original incarnation of Retribution was called Seizonrenda and, in addition to the impossible name, the game had some considerable performance issues. Resolving the performance issues was a top priority moving into Retribution, a game that turned out so much better than this lone coder could have hoped for.
One of the performance issues that the game had was a result of starving the CPU whenever more than 10 – 20 enemies was on the Orbital Grid (OG: the visible grid around the planet that represented the field that was in play). Many asteroids could be put into play; ~500 was enough to blanket the Orbital Grid. Enemies however had a particularly expensive series of behaviors. The AI would not only chase the player, they would avoid each other and maintain spacing between them and the hundreds of asteroids on the planet.
The AI and projectiles on the OG all had the same issue, they needed to be aware of game objects with a full 360 degrees of freedom since enemies were dropping into orbit and flying around the planet at varying speeds. The original technique involved a greedy search where each AI and every projectile performed a linear search of the entire registry of game objects. This quickly devolved into an O(N^2)+ solution. To avoid some redundancy the projectiles were managed in a separate list, meaning projectiles always checked if they hit something but the AI never bothered to check the reverse of that case. This didn’t help as much as I had hoped since (in Seizonrenda) the player was the only ship who could shoot. This would not do in Retribution, where enemy projectiles could blanket the planet as much as asteroids. » Read more..
Frankly, I am burned out the XBox experience (which mostly consist of advertisements and not playing games) and the WiiU had my attention at a moment of weakness, but it’s fading now. I had every expectation to start saving for a WiiU this holiday, but that fire was put out when I saw the same old hat on stage; singing, dancing, and weight-loss. Three things I don’t do.
The Nintendo Press Briefing at E3 was underwhelming to say the least… The strangest part of it all was that Nintendo had everything to gain. » Read more..
I am about to do a little bit of free-form game conception here. This is less an exercise in brainstorming and more about thinking big inside of a little box. I’ve blogged in the past about my interest in atmospheric games and this is the first step in that direction. If the stream of consciousness below makes no sense, don’t worry, that’s just how my brain jumps through time and space.
I’ve always been a big fan of Metroidvania games and I’ve always liked how the game was less about dialog and more about exploration. I don’t think that shying away from dialog was any kind of intentional design on the part of creators such as Gunpei Yokoi but it certainly lent itself to a subtle kind of story-telling. It allowed people to see more than what the creators intended, allowing the imaginations of young gamers to craft a much larger world. » Read more..
There seemed to be a disproportionate number of f-bombs and gore at E3 this year. After sitting through countless face-stabbings, skull slices, and shotgun induced decapitations, I began to glass over. I’m beginning to wonder who we are trying to appease. It seems that just one year after the Supreme Courts’ ruling on violence in video games we all decided to celebrate by showing exactly how “adult” games could be. » Read more..
Inland Studios is pretty deep in the hole, and making any kind of profit on anything I’ve done thus far is pretty slim. I still plan to release Retribution on the PC with a number of tweaks and upgrades (HD PC resolutions, Mouse & Keyboard support, UI tweaks, bug fixes, no need for QRCodes on PC, and more), but I don’t expect it to move the needle much. I would love to be wrong though. I just haven’t seen much buzz around the game.
Most critics who contacted me during the development of Retribution have disappeared. They seemed to have just taken the download codes and run with them. The sites are still up but there is no mention of Retribution and there isn’t much of a response to my requests. It’s a pretty sad situation but I’m not going to pry any longer. The game is gone from the “New Releases” list which means that it’s lost in the obscurity of Xbox LIVE now. » Read more..