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Rant on game mods and modding in general May. 3rd, 2005 @ 08:47 pm
This is namely for FPS mods. There are plenty of people working on RTS and RPG mods of all sorts, but I don't follow those genres too closely.

Where to start? I've noticed a change in the mod scene since I first started following it years ago. Some changes are inevitable, I suppose. You always want to top what other people have created before you, so every new engine and game that gets released we see modders trying to top the "last engine generation" of mods. And now gamers really expect it. This will be a bit of a rant with random thoughts thrown around as they pop into my head. Ready?

Name: Source
For you HL2 modders. A fine engine to be sure. You've got some nice tools, can have physics objects laying about, and that water sure is pretty. Just...come up with a better name you unoriginal pricks. Stop putting "Source" into the name of your mod. It's a HL2 mod, so of course it uses the Source engine. You don't have to remind us. Even worse is if you have made a mod before, and now you're porting it to HL2 with the name "Old Mod: Source." Look at Alien Swarm: Infested or Frontline Force: Classic for updates that don't have Source in the name. Don't follow Valves example.

Release Early, Release Often
Everyone loves a total conversion. It's like getting a whole new game for free! Mod teams hold on to and work on their mod for months and years before they release anything to the public.

This needs to change.

Stop holding on to your mod for so long. Get it out there, get it played by people, get feedback that you can use to improve the game. People see a cool mod and start to follow it. After a year of development they can lose interest. If you let them play even your half finished version they will help you improve your game and stick around to see updates. Look at Plan of Attack, for HL2. Yes it's early and not as polished as it could be, but it's out there. People are playing it and enjoying themselves, the developers now know of things to change or improve on. I believe the mod will do well because of this.

On the same note, props to Epic making that a requirement for the Make Something Unreal contest. If you entered, you had to have a public release of the mod. Every deadline entry date everyone would have a large selection of mods and maps to play.

Be Original
I'm excited for some remakes. Frontline Force, Zombie Panic, and who can turn down Fortress and CrateDM? However, I'm more excited for the original mods I've seen. Project Hull Breech, Valandil, Dystopia, and The Hidden. One of the best mods I've played in recent years is AirBuccaneers. Pirates in hot air balloons shooting cannons at each other? Its awesome. Remakes are just dandy, but creating something new is much more rewarding. Oh, and if you are making "Yet Another Realism Mod" and can describe it as "Counter Strike meets...." stop right there.

The other side to this section deals with using other peoples intellectual property (IP). There are plenty of mods that do this. Remake GoldenEye or Perfect Dark, Duke 3D on a new engine, the Aliens movies, or whatever else you can think of. Be sure to email the people that own the IP before you even think about starting production. You will save yourself a lot of time and heartache. Many, many mods have been shut down after quite a lot of work has gone into them. Don't be one of them, get permission before you start like Troopers: Dawn of Destiny did.

Make Patches
Please? For me? I'll download a mod thats 300MB full release. Then after a while the new release comes out and its 350MB with no patch, full install only. This pisses me off to no end. The majority of space in a mod is art, right? Models, textures, sounds...did this all get updates or something? I know us modem humpers are getting more and more rare, but we're still around. Even if its only a 50MB savings, thats a good several hours saved of download time.

Ah, now I feel good after getting that all out.

Rengoku - The Tower of Purgatory May. 1st, 2005 @ 08:37 pm
This is mostly a test, so don't shoot me if it doesn't work, but I do believe everything is set up correctly. Now if my anti-viral program will stop insisting that my firewall is a worm, we can get to the subject at hand.

As you may or may not know, I am Que. As you may or may not know, I have a PSP. As you may or may not know, I purchased Rengoku - The Tower of Purgatory today on a whim, and was very sad to see that Gamespot didn't like it. However, there were complaints in various circles that the reviews have been unfair, and that the game is actually pretty fun. Is this just a case of people trying to justify their purchase, or what?

Well, I sat down and played the game for a half hour. I beat the first level, the first boss, and most of the second level. While this is certainly not the most amazing game I've ever played, it's hardly the worst. Granted, if nothing new whatsoever happens in the course of the rest of the game's 8 levels, I will be getting bored, but I am hopeful that the weapons will continue to get more interesting, my character will continue to grow in power, and the enemies will use more impressive weaponry against me. My initial impressions, at least, are not so dismal as what some others might have stated.

First and foremost, the graphics are not the most impressive on the PSP. All things considered, it looks like a Playstation game. The artistry, however, is unique and inspiring. The opening sequences are a joy to watch. Much hype has been made over Jun Suemi's involvement with the art design of the game, and this much, at least, shows. It's a shame that more technical wonders weren't delivered on top of his great art. Galleries of his work can be unlocked as you complete levels, but there isn't any fun gameplay attached to that, which is a wasted opportunity. No secret items to find or anything along those lines.

So what's it about, how does it play? The general idea is that you're an android, capable of absorbing the "elixer skin" that composes you and building new weapons and abilities from it. As you find plans for new weapons and equipment, you can attach them to your head, arms, chest, and legs using the elixer that you collect from opponents. Instead of just holding them, they grow right out of the associated location. Think Terminator 2 but with an infernal/Japanese twist. It's pretty fun to watch your android run around attacking things with a claw on one arm, a sword on the other, and a chainsaw on its head. Nice.

The general plot revolves around the fact that humanity has defeated the concept of war by using insanely powerful androids in their warfare. With the eventual decline of violence and warfare, humanity has no need of said androids. What would they do with them? Well, as any good human knows, you throw them all into a giant tower and make them fight each other for all eternity for your enjoyment! Right? Right.

So how does everything work out? So far, so good. Of course, I can't speak for the entirety of the game, but my initial impressions aren't terrible. It takes a little getting used to, and determining why which weapon might be better than another can be a little weird, but there's some fun to be had. The biggest problem so far seems to be that though the game focuses entirely on action, there aren't really any combos. Basically, you just dodge left, right, front, or back while locked onto an enemy, and then use your various attacks at the enemy, dodging as necessary when they attack. The problem is that all your body parts can overheat if overused, so if you dodge too furiously, you've a chance of overheating your legs and subsequently losing mobility, and if you attack too ferociously, your weapons will overheat and become unusable. All in all, it works pretty well, though there's a chance at it becoming too repetitive because of the general simplicity.

So while the game's longetivity might not be what it could be, despite having randomly generated levels, it's pretty fun so far.

Yeah. So there you go. And stuph.



Would you look at that Feb. 25th, 2005 @ 02:52 pm
Yes, this is another test post. I want to see what it looks like with more than one. Get to test out the  Deepest Sender Firefox extension as well. Hey look, a link!

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system Feb. 25th, 2005 @ 01:57 pm
Little prototype thingy we got going on here. To post game stuff for others to read. Sounds good, no? We'll see....
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