Flood Control

Monday, November 28, 2005

Harping On About Innovation

I think I worked out where innovation got to with games.

People want it, are crying out for it, in fact, but they don't want it at the expense of the tried-and-true titles. Which means that , seeing as every game is competing for players' dollars, it means that people will buy tried-and-true over innovative. And thus innovative games won't sell as well. So people get tried-and-true games until they're played out, and beyond.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I don't want to spend a whole lot of time on a long post, so hey look it's a short one.

I'm single again. Michelle's a nice girl, but she can be infuriating. And honestly, I'm seeing what all the peoples say about Internet relationships. To be quite honest, I was never entirely sure whether it was real or I was just another toyboy, which works in my favour because I don't have to 'break off' the relationship if there wasn't much of a relationship in the first place. Which sounds like I was being manipulated, but she has many admirers. And really my insecurity over the whole thing can't have been pleasant for her, so it's probably the best thing all round.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Random Rapidfire Game: Emotion Cascade

A quick five-minute idea: you're in a building full of people, and each one of them is either angry, happy or sad. You have to make as many people a particular mood as you can, and then you move on to the next building. Your mood depends on what people are feeling around and how you've been moving - if you move quickly and turn a lot, you'll become more angry, and if you stand still, you'll become more sad. Your mood's infectious, so if you make people in an area happy, they'll start being happy and move to reinforce that feeling, which spreads it. People can start out as sad or angry, which sets up feedback loops of its own.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Enough Is Enough

Okay, FF7 fanboys:

"Aerith" is not her name. Not even the name she was supposed to have that Square's translators botched up. There is no 'th' sound in Japanese.

Her Romanised name, in Japanese, is Earisu. Please note: This is closer to "Aeris" than "Aerith". And, incidentally, it's closer to "Alice" than "Aeris".

You sound retarded, like you're huge fans of the game and you don't even know the real name of one of the main characters.

It just sort of bugs me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why I Love This Country

I just found out how they opened the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The premier of the time was going to open it himself, instead of deferring to a member of the Royal Family. Just as he was about to cut the ribbon, a general on horseback breaks ranks, raises his sword and shouts "In the name of common decency, I declare this bridge open!" and cuts the ribbon.

They tied the ribbon back up, but some horsebacked general breaks ranks to open the bridge. I just love that irreverance for authority.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Intelligent Game Design

I said I'd talk about some games. So, let's.

Elsewhere, I had a bit of a rant about indy games. (Basically, it went: complaning about the lack of innovation in gaming is like going to the multiplex to see an arthouse film.) One of the examples I bought up was Introversion's Darwinia, which is sort of like an RTS Lemmings with a TRON sort of feel to it. I'd played the first real rought demo, and remembered that they had a new one that they thought was better.

It's an excellent demo, serving as a tutorial with a self-contained plot set after the game. The Darwinian's rocket is sabotaged, and you have to take it back by first learning combat, then making new Darwinians, then using them, and finally you get this lovely set piece where your Darwinian army attacks the saboteurs on the rocket island. Very satisfying.

But that's not what grabbed me. The Darwinians are a virtual species, and their world is a computer that you see as a series of flat-shaded archipelagos. The game tells you that they built the rockets themselves, and just before you start the final part of the level, the big war, the game zooms out and shows you the world map while 'speculating' on why the Darwinians built the rocket. You see a planet and a series of interconnected stars beyond it, and you're told that the Darwinians made the stars appear because they knew that their server wasn't all there was. The stars represent all the other computers out there, and the rocket might be how the Darwinians plan to explore that virtual cosmos.

They never go so far as to say it out loud, but that's part of the genius of this little plot twist: the rocket is the demo, sending the Darwinians out of their little world and seeing other 'stars'. It's very impressive storytelling.

Anyway, here's the link to the Darwinia download page. While it's a reasonably simple game, it's fun to play and tries new things.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On Love

Love is a curious thing. I expect it's different for each person - for one person it blooms in five minutes, and fades just as quickly, for another it builds over a series of conversations as a person grows on you, or perhaps it blossoms up at first sight and stays strong.

As with most things to do with relationships, I expect it's a personal thing, highly dependent on the people involved and how everything plays out. One could start with lust and then find a deeper connection, for instance. I don't think how it ends is the same as how it begins, either, for much the same reasons.

They say that you can't properly write about love without having been in it. For such a universal concept, it's so personal, so when I write about how I smile whenever I think of Michelle, or how I defended everything I did that I thought she might have a problem with and tried to hide everything I didn't like about myself so that I didn't blow it, or that even when I was sure that she liked me I didn't want to balls it up in case I was wrong, and holding back ballsed everything up, and in the end she's there telling me that she feels the same way I do but she doesn't know how I feel so I went right out and told her how I felt and it made everything so much better, there will be people who understand exactly what I mean when they've never had the same thing happen to them.

It's a weird experience, for someone who's spent a good portion of their life not being especially interested in what other people think, to now be very interested in what a specific person thinks about you. For one thing, I'm pretty bad at it - I've had a family that's either sanded off or comes to accept my idiosynchrasies and forget everyone else. But in all honesty, now I see what they meant by how it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I never did. It's better to have the highs and lows, because the lows heal, than to never risk it at all and never see the high.

I don't know if it'll last, or how long. But I'll have it, if only on loan, and that's a wonderful thing.

It occurs to me that I haven't said anything about computer games or webcomics yet on this blog. This seems like something to correct.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Meta Writing

It's the first of the month, here, and that means that National Novel Writing Month has begun. The aim is to write at least 50,000 words of coherant fiction that sort of hangs to gether in a structure.

You may be able to tell that I'm not super-confident.

The story I'm doing is going to be a murder mystery parody, with three or four incompetant amateur detectives and a police force that knows what it's doing trying to deal with them. Over the next month, I'll probably share some cunning turns of phrase that I come up with.

Also, I wanted to put a post up, and it was either this or my weird iPod dreams. No-one comes here for iPod dreams.