[TLDR]

I am not making a game, I’m making an interactive experience. This post is basically about how restrictive the term “game” makes you feel restricted as a designer, and also (often) puts false assumptions in the user’s mind when approaching a “game”.

Also, check out the last segment for some nice guidelines to make more interesting things

[/TLDR]

I have been thinking about “video-games” lately as I usually do, but more deeply than most of the time because I am actually in the process of making one. In times like these, I need to know where I stand when it comes to “video-games”. In my opinion it feels like most of the games being made the past few years have barely innovated anything for a very long time (even when it comes to indie games for the most part). Note that I am not talking about graphics here of course, since that area been advancing in an almost exponential rate (although, I would predict that it will finally slow down now, almost entirely until we have a paradigm shift - but more on that some other time perhaps). Take a moment to think about an old game like the first Half Life game for example, think about how little we’ve advanced when it comes to interacting with the world in a way that makes us feel like we play a part. We have really only scratched the surface when it comes to sucking you in and making the player truly immersed and emotionally invested in our creations. The only genre that I think is really starting to get somewhere (after doing so much things wrong when previous horror games did so much things right) is the horror genre. Which is partly why I am curious to explore what more can be done with it.

Routine

Routine - an extremely promising upcoming horror game by Lunar Software.

Evoking emotions in someone is something that is not easy to do, at least when it comes to complex emotions. For example, a comedy movie can make you laugh or at least feel a bit entertained with not too much effort, while a David Lynch movie makes you experience very esoteric feelings, you don’t even really know what they are. In movies you have to be a real master to accomplish something like that. However, I feel that our medium is a much better tool to invoke feelings in someone. Simply because we have interaction, thanks to this a player can be given (the illusion of) responsibility for what they do for example. I think you are more likely to feel things when you are interacting and have to take action on different events - rather than passively observing something, like you do when watching a movie. We are barely using this fantastic tool that our medium provides us with, even though it is such an advantage compared to what other forms of art and entertainment have… Why?

I think this comes from multiple different places. When designing games, I think we are looking for answers in the wrong places for many things. While there are things to learn from other mediums, there are also a lot of things that should be avoided, just because something works very well in a movie, doesn’t mean it belongs in an interactive experience. So having the goal to create a cinematic experience is for the most part not a good idea. Although it could definitely be interesting if experimented with properly. We need to almost ignore other mediums for a while and try to establish a good foundation for interactivity and true immersion. One of the most significant problems with video-games are that they are called games. Think about that for a second, what does a game mean to you? The word “game” is usually coupled with “challenge”, “competition”, “score”, “winning” and so forth. If you look at our roots, it has always been about beating the game or getting a nice score, being skilled, mastering the game - primitive things like that. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but it’s harmful to think that all “video-games” should be this way. But if you remove those things and the things related to it, do you still have a game? No, no you don’t, you don’t get a game. That’s the problem, we are only making games. We currently don’t really have a suitable word for what we are doing. I use the terms “interactive experience” and “interactive art” a lot because I think it’s a more fitting term. You can have any interactive experience be of type “game” but not “game” be any kind of interactive experience. I think it is important that we go beyond “games” and create other things too with our medium in order to take advantage of its full potential. We shouldn’t ditch the concepts of games completely, you can remove a lot of the game like stuff but keep some things and it might end up not being a “game”, but it might still be an interesting experience. As long as we keep the term “game” we will also put the player in a certain mindset that grants them false assumptions about what they are about to experience, and for some people when things don’t go as expected: they rage.

Admittedly, something else that is holding us back right now is what we can do with current IO devices. It should be interesting to see what the future holds. Luckily it seems like VR is finally making some progress, which is one of the things I am the most excited about so I just had to slip it in here. Still, we can’t blame that much on this because we don’t really use our current stuff to its full potential.

John Carmack Doom 3 BFG headmount

John Carmack using his VR headmount to play Doom 3 BFG.

The thing that separates our medium from others is interaction, so why not start with just that and build from there. Don’t decide to do something like creating a first person shooter, or an RPG - it will only limit the scope of what you can do. It is important to sometimes forget what you’ve learned to come up with something new. You don’t need to challenge the player’s skills, and you certainly don’t need a way for the player to fail. Most designers are so occupied with creating something that will be “fun” for the user, which again is not a bad or evil thing or anything. But it does limit their ability to create something with meaning quite significantly. Keep in mind that there are many ways to challenge a human, I’m not saying that you need to challenge someone at all - “traditional” challenge comes with the possibility of failure, so you should probably consider how failing would affect the player - will that say something that you want to say with your “game”? If so, by all means challenge the player! But again, there are a lot of other ways to challenge someone, it might be mentally, intellectually, or emotionally or something else. I think emotionally is probably the one with the most impact, because if someone feels, they are reflecting on what they are experiencing.

What I am trying to make is something that will be challenging emotionally and mentally (fear can be very mentally draining), but also intellectually - although not as much the way we are usually doing it. For an intellectual challenge we usually rely on puzzles, I’m not saying that I won’t have any puzzles, just that it isn’t a big focus for this project. I want to challenge the intellect of someone by speaking to them through the environment and through more or less everything that will happen. So the “challenge” would be to interpret why things are the way they are and why things happen. Of course, many people might ignore this completely, which is fine (but maybe slightly disappointing for me) and focus on the experience!

I am also hoping to eliminate the possibility of failure breaking immersion, you will still be able to die in the game, but I won’t have the game yelling at you, saying that you failed, it will simply be your death. The protagonist is you, you died - end of story (this time). Some call it permadeath, but that usually comes with frustration over the fact that you died, I’m hoping to get the player in a state where it can accept that it reached the end through death. It will probably be difficult though because gamers already have it tattooed on their forehead that dying means failure - I don’t see a reason why it always have to be.

I think it is important to keep all things like this in mind very early through the process of making an interactive experience. It is so easy to fall into the same patterns that everyone makes just because that is what we are used to, and it is good to constantly remind yourself of what you are actually out to achieve. It is just too uncommon to find a game that says exactly what it needs to say and nothing more. Not that we shouldn’t draw inspiration from other works, that is of course extremely important too - but it’s too easy for it to go overboard so it is best used with caution if you are directly drawing inspiration (I am saying directly because all works are inspired by something, even if it wasn’t intended) from someone else. Just keep in mind that you might quickly find yourself working on something that someone has already done, and at that point you will have a hard time separating yourself from the crowd - unless you are willing to strip some things out; killing your darlings is also extremely important to be able to do, but that’s not a subject for today.

When I talked earlier about the fact that we need to think carefully about implementing the wrong things from other mediums for example movies, it’s easy to point your fingers at storytelling and blame it for the problems that are introduced. I mean when a player can’t advance to get to know about the rest of the story the experience can be ruined entirely; and with heavily scripted set-pieces that can and would be memorable if everything goes as expected, are interrupted because of a mistake by the player it causes devastating repetitiveness and completely takes you right back to reality. There is a whole slew of problems caused by traditional storytelling. So why not ditch it entirely? Well you could do that, and it often ends up great! But I don’t think storytelling is the problem, it is our current approach to it that makes us feel like games kind of have grown stuck in a way. If you approach it correctly, I think, nay know that it can have a positive outcome! Just the other day I bought and played a “game” called “Thirty Flights of Loving”, a sequel to one of my absolute favorite mods: Gravity Bone. It performs an interesting take on linear video game story telling and successively avoids all frustration that we usually see, and I highly recommend you check it out. It costs around €5 and will only keep you busy for 15 minutes at most ( speaking of which, I should talk about game pricing some day). It might sound like a lot of money for such a short game (although I don’t agree with that statement) but it tells a great story and actually covers a lot within it’s timespan, so it is a great example of a game that does nothing more than it set out to do - and it is so well done.

Thirty Flights of Loving screenshot

Thirty Flights of Loving.

I am not trying to tell anyone what to do with their games, I mean it is your game, not mine. I am just trying to spark some thought to help us all get out of this rut I feel like we have been stuck in for many years now - and I want to change that at least with what I make. So to sum it all up in what i just decided to call “BitPuffin’s guidelines to progress”:

  • Start from scratch with your mechanics, add only what is needed to portray the vision you have.
  • Ignore what others are doing, do not tie your game to a genre or try to appeal to as many as possible. Just finish your idea in your way.
  • If you are learning from other mediums, think really (really!) carefully about how it would work in an interactive context - and if it would work at all.
  • Don’t get too caught up with making a “game”, your “game” doesn’t need score, enemies, puzzles, upgrades and all that jizz. What matters the most is the interactivity, see what you can get initially with just that and think carefully about what mechanics you add to your game. Simplicity is in many ways the highest form of sophistication.
  • Try to anticipate where technology is going and what new things it would enable you to do.
  • Do not just do what I say, come up with your own ideas and follow them.

Proteus

Proteus, a fantastic experience.

And there you have it. I just threw that together really - I am getting a bit tired of writing this post because it is getting loooooooooong! There is lots more to say that I’m having trouble putting to words right now; and I don’t want this to be too overwhelming (like it’s not already!). I’d love it if we could start a grand discussion in the comment section or something, but not too many read this blog, and I doubt too many will read the whole thing, there’s always hope though! At least we can all laugh at the lack of comments if no discussion occurs! You can also send me an email (BitPuffin@lavabit.com) if you don’t wish to have a public discussion, or just want to tell me to fuck off and do not have the balls to do it where everyone can see what an ass you are if that’s what you decide to do; just remember that you won’t get anything out of it if you do - I have immunity.

I am glad we could have this talk, son.

Comments

Why good day everyone. Long time no see!

I haven’t written anything on this Tumblr in like 3 months or so. Why? Well I’m not going to lie to you - simply put: I’ve been slacking off! I haven’t worked on anything really as far as games go, no progress, no nothing. I’ve been a little busy with school and such but that is not really a valid excuse. I need to get myself together, and the way to do that is to open a personal concentration camp! So I’m making a game. And it’s not Holochrist (and not “TLBSS” if you follow me on Twitter), because that sort of requires that I have a budget, and I really don’t have that at this moment. But I’m still doing a horror game - and it’s going to scare the fuck out of you, I promise!

I’m kind of enforcing a slightly unrealistic deadline upon myself, I want to be done this year. Is that possible? No, but I’m doing it anyway. And I think that with a good plan and extreme discipline I’ll be able to manage. So far I have an abstract plan of how the development should go down:

  • Two months & two weeks of engine and tools creation
  • Two months of graphic asset creation and level/game design
  • One month of Music composing and sound design
  • One month of bug fixing, polish, play-testing and story that wasn’t done in the second two months. Plus marketing!

That’s not an easy set of tasks! And if I succeed I’ll be able to launch either very late this year or very early January. And that would be spectacular!

I’ve been looking at what how I should approach this, what language etc. I’ve decided to go with D as it has a nice syntax, modern features, freedom (like C/C++) while still running native code! It feels well designed and thus kind of makes you write good code by default! And that is definitely a positive thing.

I’m writing my own renderer because I’m just crazy like that. Really though, OpenGL is not too hard when you start to get it. I love computer graphics so it is a nice challenge. It doesn’t have to be too advanced anyway. I am relying on the following libraries for other aspects though:

  • GLFW3 - Window creation and input
  • ODE - Physics Engine
  • OpenAL-soft - Audio library
  • Derelict3 - D Bindings to different libraries like GLFW and OpenAL

There’s probably other things that I need, like image loading (SOIL?) and so forth.

I’ve already figured out the basics of how the engine should work, but I’m probably saving that for one of the next posts. Some juicy details that I’ll say though -  are that I’m going to use Squirrel as a scripting language, and the *engine* will most likely be released as free software (Zlib<3) that you can use later on to make your own game. The assets won’t be freely available though, so don’t think I’m saying that the game will be free. Only the cogs and pipes driving it!

This was just an introductory post (thus 0/20) and there will be many ahead. I will tell things I learned and details about the engine. Probably no real details on the actual game will be revealed until later, except for maybe some minor teasers! ;)

Cheers

Oh, and be very afraid.

Comments

Howdy, let’s learn how to compile the GLFW library in Ubuntu. GLFW is a small clean library to develop OpenGL application. It simplifies cross platform input and getting a window with a context etc etc.

First you probably want to sudo apt-get install build-essential libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev xorg-dev 

You might want to omit the mesa ones if your graphic driver comes with OpenGL and GLX headers. 

The next step is to download the source code archive from here, extract the archive and enter the directory from the terminal. (cd path/to/sourcedir/)

Then type make x11 and after that sudo make x11-dist-install

If this gives you an error then you can do a workaround. The thing causing the error has been fixed in the upcoming version 2.7.4. Here’s the workarond:

make x11-dist-clean

env LFLAGS=’-lrt’ make x11

and then finally run sudo make x11-dist-install.

You might need to run sudo ldconfig to update ld paths

Now you should find glfw.h in /usr/local/include/GL/

That’s it for compilation. Have fun using GLFW! :) 

Comments

I haven’t posted much in a long time because I’m working on moving this blog (don’t worry, you’ll still see my updates being posted on here so don’t unfollow haha). Anyways here’s a video that you can enjoy of my monster being terribly animated and nicely rendered. Cheerios!

Comments

So I was starting working on a teaser for Holochrist during a few weeks to have something to hand in to my animation teacher. The process was extremely slow, tedious, boring and hard work. Not exactly the way to go. So I’m scrapping all that hard work to start afresh. There was no way that it would be possible to even finish. So the decision was hard, but obvious.

And the scene became too heavy anyways!

So I’ve spent the morning starting the work on the “new” teaser. Check it out!

Just basic groundwork

Comments

AMD needs to improve their Linux Drivers..

Using properly accelerated Open Source drivers now though. Was worried I wouldn’t be able to develop Holochrist code in Linux :)

*Edit, no I can’t. Drivers don’t support OpenGL 2.0, Unless I use proprietary. Which I refuse to do. Guess I’m getting a new GPU*

Comments

apt-get install build-essential clang

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu /usr/lib64

clang++ foo.cpp -o foo

clang++ <filename> -o <desired filename>

./foo

woop

Comments

After showing my latest post about what libraries I’m going to use for Holochrist to some people. I got introduced to a different rendering engine than Ogre3d. This one is called Horde3d and seems much more like something I’d like to use.

Horde is much more “minimal” than Ogre, Ogre isn’t just a rendering engine. As it also handles things like input (Ogre depends on something called OIS which stands for Open source Input System, I saw OIS in the Ogre3d wiki and assumed it stood for “Ogre Input System”, sorry about that). Things like that tends to become a bit messy. Horde is nothing but a rendering engine. It is small and lightweight. And it renders with great quality, definitely fitting for modern graphics. And of course, open source.

I was also told that Horde is way easy to set up and easy to extend, which is a big plus indeed. There is also different tools available for it, like a scene editor. I may not need to develop Carnage after all. This could be a better option.

As Horde doesn’t handle input and window creation, I’d have to use yet another library. Initially I was going for SDL, but the same guy who told me about Horde3d also introduced me to GLFW. Which is more or less the same thing, except cleaner and more easy to use. There is also some Lite version that has the exact same API but smaller code, I think that’s what I’m gonna use.

Horde3d in action.

So with all this said, here is a final list of all the libraries I’m going to use. This list is probably solid as a rock and I don’t think I’ll change it. Consider it a constant array if I don’t change it within 1-2 weeks:

Horde3d
GLFW (lite)
Bullet
OpenAl (soft?)

This should be very interesting and fun to work with. I have something else to tell you. As of the 16th of January, I’ll probably write a development post each work day of the week, unless I didn’t do anything that day. Because I’m switching to a new sleeping schedule which will give me a decent amount of time to work on the game. The schedule can be (poorly) represented by the following image:



Let me explain. With some approximate times. You some of these may vary since sometimes school starts/ends earlier/later. Anyhow:

2am-7am/02:00-07:00 => Game Development
7am-3pm/07:00-15:00 => School
3pm-8pm/15:00-20:00 => Homework/Spare time
8pm-2am/20:00-02:00 => Sleep

This should give me about 5 hours of game development a day, which gives me a fair chance of completing the game. And with good discipline I can have a pretty okay amount of sleep too!

Anyhow, let me end this post with a list of links to all the various different libraries so anyone can find them!

Horde: http://www.horde3d.org/
Glfw: http://www.glfw.org/
Bullet: http://bulletphysics.org/wordpress/
OpenAl:

Take care!

Comments

I’ve been thinking a little bit about the various different things I shouldn’t take on by myself for Holochrist development. If I want to release within a reasonable timespan and have a polished product. I want to release around the time I graduate from highschool(about one and a half year away from now). Keep in mind that’s only an unrealistic estimate.

I’ve thought hard about which pre-existing libraries to use, and I think I’ve been able to narrow down the best ones. And they are all Open Source! (Kind of)

Without further ado, here they are:

  • Ogre3d
  • Bullet
  • OpenAL (hold your horses)

Ogre

I’ve actually considered Ogre for Holochrist a few times already. The only thing that’s been holding me back is the fact that I am so incredibly interested in the rendering subject, I just want to do it all on my own you know? Anyhow, Ogre gives me everything I need; and saves me a tremendous amount of development time I can spend on polishing the game. And to be brutally honest, I’m not ready to tackle the graphics on my own yet.

I will probably learn quite a bit about graphics using Ogre anyways, so hey! What the hell!

Ogre render
Ogre renders some damn fine stuff eh?

Bullet

What’s there to say really? Bullet Physics are some of the greatest out there. And they are not just used in gaming. If I’m not mistaken, Inception (or some other movie) used it during the production; which really says a lot.

The hardest part will probably be figuring out how to bake a physics simulation. If I can do that somehow, I can bring to life one of the most memorable set-pieces I have planned for the game. So I really hope I can do it.


OpenAL

Or at least some form of OpenAL. OpenAL itself isn’t actually open source(although free), but there are open source implementations like OpenAL Soft. Writing sound from scratch is something I’ll probably never do for a game, and OpenAL seems pretty powerful indeed. Much like OpenGL.

Sorry for the lack of polish in this post. It is 4am and I am writing this for the third time. This time in a text editor because of fucking tumblr.

I’m glad I can have these powerful libraries at hand when making this game. Because there’s is still so much I have to do. Not only do I have to glue everything together in C++. I have to make a ton of 3d Assets, Music and sound effects, Write a nice script and find a good voice actor to read it; and polish it into a scary game. And deal with every other problem. I’m starting to wonder if the development will be more scary than the game itself. All I know is that I will not stop until it is done. And worthy of release.

Thank you for reading.

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Oh tools.. How I don’t like any of them.

Holochrist development more or less froze when I came to realize that UDK is just way to clunky. Just importing an asset was nightmarishly clunky. I couldn’t bare with it. Then I turned to unity. I have to say I like it but it still doesn’t feel right to use these kind of tools to me. I’m a homebrew sort of guy.

So the last few days a crazy idea sparkled inside my tiny brain. What if I make the game a WebGL game!? After getting a canvas and everything set up. Sense started to return to my head..

Okay so graphically I can do it no doubt. But Holochrist is a horror game, getting good audio for an HTML5 WebGL game would be a real pain in the arse. Sure you can have sound playing, but you would be dealing with great latency and having the sound be 3d would probably be hell too. Also how the hell would I be able to handle the bandwidth? I’d have to make the game cost like $20 or something, but nobody would buy it then, and it isn’t worth that much. I plan for it to clock in at around  one or two hours (because I have to hire a voice actor for this game and can’t afford it to be long, also then I can make the game perfectly focused).

So no Web based horror game at this time. It would be nice, and fitting due to the shortness of the experience.

I know I’m going to homebrew the engine at least. Now I just need to decide on what language to use.

I am making the level editor with LWJGL and TWL with Java. I should be able to make it export into something that I should be able to import to any language, the fact that it is Java doesn’t matter.

In reality, it comes down to C++ versus Java for me. The main reason to use Java is that LWJGL is easy to set up and comes with everything I need in one library, on the flipside; it requires you to install a runtime environment and I don’t like forcing someone to do that. With C++, I’ve got everything I need. It is just harder to set up. Probably because I don’t know how to. But really, that doesn’t really matter. The code is what would be a bit more tricky. I should be able to manage it if I use Clang(++) because it is a fucking babysitter. And there’s always help from IRC and all that stuff.

Plus, I’ve got a fucking superbible by my side.

The portability of C/C++ is unmatched also. With Java, I reach out to the main platforms I want to reach, but if I want to port it further, my hands are tied. Eventually I’d probably want to support Haiku for example (although that will be a while, we still need to get Hardware Accelerated OpenGL stuff over there).

It just appeals to me when something runs natively, playing a game written in flash outside (and inside) a browser just feels plain wrong. And to be honest, using Java is even more wrong with this in mind.

Should I use C++?

Or maybe just plain C.

It's coming

Expect the horrifying.

Comments

So the year is coming to its end and some people are going out to blow shit up. Not me though, I like to take it easy. I’ll be spending the evening eating dinner and things with my girlfriend (a real one!). As silly as it is, I’m currently looking back at 2011 to see what I’ve achieved.

Other than having a great girl put up with me for a year since the 27th of December(♥). I can’t say that there’s much else. And I think I see the problem.

I spend too much time reading about new technologies and learning about programming and all that instead of just creating stuff. Thus I have nothing to show that I’ve created. Which doesn’t feel too good I must tell you. In 2012 I’m changing that for sure.

Instead of just reading about things I’m actually gonna spend time creating things. Some people say that you should use what’s popular because that’s where you can easily get help. I disagree though. I like trying things out and getting involved with the smaller diamonds.

It is always a great feeling when I find something that not many use which turns out to be awesome. I’m talking languages, frameworks and all that good stuff. One of my newest projects is to implement something like Rack in Io, I’m calling the project Shelf. So that’s something I’m about to work on.

And I know you are going like “Wtf? But you are a game developer!” and I know. But game programming is fucking hard, at least the way I like doing it (tool less). Not making excuses though, I’m still gonna keep working on games. But I’m developing Holochrist rather than “Cheerful Island”, so forget that February release stuff, that ship sailed long ago. The game was horribly unoriginal anyways. I can’t work on something that’s been done a million times, I just can’t. I might still make it though, because I came up with some sweet tunes for it, but it won’t be what I originally planned.

Other than that I need to create a website for my Game Company, the domain is just hanging there pointing to a “coming soon”-ish site. I’m also moving this blog soon. To my own personal site, I want to own my own content ya digg? ya digg. I’ll be making those sites with Camping, Rails and Riak.

I will also try to get to develop some website as a freelance worker. Because I need to earn some cash.

Anyhow, I guess my “New Year Resolution” is to MAKE STUFF!, and lots of it! Breathe code, stop being so fucking distracted and make stuff!

What are you guys gonna do?

Happy New Year everyone, don’t give up on whatever you wanna do that you’ve wanted for a while but are having second thoughts about, stick through mkay?

Cheers!

Comments

(Drawing by Boba2009 or something)

So I just happened to get my copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Collectors edition :D) in my mailbox one day before its actual swedish release. So of course I dropped everything I was doing (some ruby coding) and plugged in my Wii and I have now spent around 5 hours or so with the game!

I thought some of you would be interested in what I think so far, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. There may be some minor spoilers though, but nothing you haven’t already seen from trailers and such.

As I’ve stated before (probably) my favourite game of all time is The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, with other Zelda games close to it. So this game finally arriving feels huge!

Anyways here’s what I’ve got so far:

Game play

I think this is the part where Skyward Sword differs the most from other Zelda games. The motion plus certainly changes how you play the game. Enemies now require much more attention when fighting, it’s not a waggle fest like Twilight Princess was (to some extent). You actually have to swing your sword in a way that you hit the enemy where it’s vulnerable, you’ve all seen it.

I really do feel that motion plus makes this game much better, not only because of the extra fun you get with the sword. Also because things where you have to aim controls so much better. I remember in Twilight Princess when trying to aim with my Bow for example, the cursor would start twitching at some parts of the screen. With motion plus all of that is completely gone! As it does not require you to always point towards the screen when aiming.

The game play sure has a very grand feeling to it a lot of times. Like when diving out in to the sky; calling your Loftwing to catch you and let you fly it. Your Loftwing is pretty much the Epona of this game.

Design

In the design department, the game also differs quite a bit from how many traditional Zelda games are played. More often than not, the “worlds” consists of one big overworld where everything is connected. In Skyward Sword this does not seem to be the case. Instead you have the main sort of “Hub” area in the sky where your home town (Skyloft) is located. From where you fly around and dive down to the various different areas.
The areas themselves have a very dungeon esque feel to them, not entirely but you sort of have a feeling that its more linear. Which is one of the things I can’t really say that I embrace entirely so far. It’s not too bad or anything, and it does make sense when you think about the sky area. Which is so beautiful I really wouldn’t trade it for a huge overworld. Even though there isn’t that very much you can do in the sky place.
One thing that is pretty good with the more (at least so far) linear approach is that it never feels entirely overwhelming. And there is still plenty to explore anyways, can’t exactly say that it feels like a corridor shooter if you get my drift!

Art


I can’t say anything bad about the games art even if I try as hard as I can. It is absolutely stunning. Everything works together so beautifully and is always appealing to the eye. I love the cartoony sort of style, although this looks like a more “mature” toonish look than Wind Waker. I don’t really think many will come with the crappy argument which was used agains Wind Waker, “It’s Childish”. Which was stupid, but that’s not really the case here, it’s more of a colorful painting.

Anyways the art is gorgeous, it makes the game look so incredibly appealing. And since the Wii isn’t exactly a beast, it’s great that they can’t rely on polygon count to make their game look good. And that is something no game should do.

Sound

Another thing that they completely nailed and smashed out of the park! The soundtrack is finally orchestrated and not synthesized, like everything before it. It sounds fantastic.

And all of the new songs I’ve heard so far are amazing too, they definetly stick with you; and will without a doubt be considered classics by me. There’s even some throwbacks to older games with new tunes added to them. And I’m running out of words here, they sound marvellous!

For a while I was afraid that the puzzle solving chime was gone, but it just isn’t used for smaller puzzles. Which is great because it adds variety. In dungeons it seems like they are used exclusively though.

Tech

The game seems to be powered by a heavily modified version of the engine that powered Twilight Princess. I’m not exacly sure, but things like water has a very similar look.

Gotta hand it to the programmers though, the game actually has some pretty cool physics. Things break exactly like you slash them and fall down in a cool looking way, sort of like that Metal Gear game where you could tore people up!

I dunno it just seems weird that some physics simulations are so fluent and look pretty perfect to me, and run so well on the Wii. Like cutting spider web, it looks freaking cool man!

Story (Might be a tiny bit spoilery! But don’t worry)

I’m not gonna say much here because I don’t wanna spoil. I just wanna point out that I really love the relationship between Link and Zelda in the beginning of the game. I don’t know they have some pretty great scenes. And it makes you a bit sad when she’s kidnapped (OH NO DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING DID YOU?).

And yet it didn’t feel like a very big deal that she was gone. Her dad was like mkay.. And you didn’t really have villain. But after a while it feels like that is starting to change.

Overall I’m definetly happy with the game so far, and I’ve heard it gets even better when you get further in to the game (like all Zelda games), and I’m definetly looking forward to the rest of the game!

I will post my final thoughts whenever I’m done with it!

Cheers!

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GGUHGUGH

Tumblr DELETED the text while I was writing it. Guess I’m starting over! 

Anyways I just got done with the first Zelda game and I was amazed with how many of the elements from the first game still remain as what defines modern Zelda games. Things like acquiring items to progress in the game and dungeons would be the most obvious ones. But also just things like entering a room, and then having to kill all of its enemies before being able to progress.

Areas seen in the game are also very much familiar. Places like Death Mountain and The Lost Woods. Even most of the enemies have made an appearance in later games. Does this mean that Nintendo is just rehashing old ideas these days? Hell no, people comparing their franchises to game series like Call of Duty are morons. Its laughably silly just to imply such a thing. Nintendo kicks ass at adding new elements to their games to refine the experience.

Anyways another thing that is very impressive is the sheer amount of stuff they managed to pack in to the game on such a “primitive” system. Not only content wise, but also design wise. Managing to think of interesting ideas that are do able for a top down game like this on the NES is definitely a challenge. And it shows, you’ll see many of the same puzzles repeated many times in the game. And I think that’s one of the weaker parts of this game. I’d pretty much prefer it to be shorter instead of repeating itself so many times.

It would also be cool to have a few more songs in the game, but again its understandable due to the size of the game!

Another thing that I am not sure how much I liked was just how random it was. Sure, its definetly part of the charm. I love the fact that it lets you figure out where things are on you own, it almost shows what I was talking about in an earlier post about Objectives.

And I don’t mean to contradict what I said in that very post, and I don’t think that I am. Because the game is just quite large and the game mechanics aren’t very narrowed down enough to point you in the right direction, it can be very hard to figure out what to do. Of course many of these random things are secrets anyway so you aren’t really supposed to depend on them. But some things remain a little too random, which is why I’ve never finished the game before. And part of the reason why I used a guide for this particular game (also because I won’t be able to complete all the games if I don’t).

The difficulty curve is also a little bit unbalanced, the first parts of the game are more or less easy (at least if you get all items that make it easy) up until the 6th dungeon(Dragon), which I felt was almost the hardest part of the game except the last dungeon (thanks Jebus for that!). But the boss in that dungeon was Piss easy and went down in one hit. Although figuring it out can be a bit tricky I guess. After that dungeons are easy up until the last one. And then the last boss (Ganon) was easy as hell too. Although also a bit tricky to figure out.

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Nevertheless a damn great game from the NES era. Definitely a challenge. And it’s a great experience for a Zelda fan to see how the series started out.

Until next time, Cheers!

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To prepare myself for the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which I’ve been anticipating for oh so long now. I have decided to play through all of the console Zelda games after chronological order (after when they were released).

I will play through:

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3d (3DS)

The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask (N64)

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (NGC) — My favourite game of ALL TIME

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (NGC/Wii)

Until Friday, the glorious day where I’ll get my hands on the Special Edition™ that I purchased today!

I will write a post about each game with just some general thoughts that I had while playing. NOT A REVIEW.

I will probably “review” Skyward Sword though when I’m done with it. Although not on the blog probably, only if I’m doing a written version. Don’t worry though, I’ll link to it.

Cheers!

EDIT:

I’m skipping Zelda 2 as it might is hard enough to complete this in time. And also I’m tired of level grinding already. Peace!

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As I was hanging out in IRC hearing people talking about their games I started thinking about objectives in games. Why do nearly all games rely on Objectives?

I know that it’s a great way to move the game and story forward. But I think it’s sad to see that not more explore what can be done without objectives. Or perhaps just having one objective.

I am not talking about games where you can’t do anything. A game mechanic can for example induce a specific behavior from the player. Why not just throw the player in to a world which is designed after a specific mechanic. Not forcing an objective upon him/her. Let the player be in the moment.

 

Dear Esther is a game that really only has one objective. You just explore and listen to the narrator. That is all, yet still its an amazing experience. As far as I can remember, the game never told me “Here is your objective, do this do that”.

What I mean is, even if the amount of things you can do in your world is extremely restricted. I think that not forcing anything on the player makes it do things in a very natural manner. Thus enhancing the experience significantly.

A good example of this thing would be a game I wrote about a while ago called January.

By not telling me to go catch snow on my tongue to “Win” it effectively made me so incredibly relaxed and allowed me to just be there. I didn’t have to think about anything, it was a very self reflective experience in a way I can’t explain.

And I know that these kinds of games aren’t for everyone, so what? You don’t have to target everyone. If I would get one, just one player to feel the way that I felt when I was playing January, I would see this as one of my greatest achievements. Because it rids you of all the stress for maybe just a moment. And I think that that is amazing. You just put the player in an environment and let it do what it wants. And if it doesn’t evoke a behavior which is natural for the player. Maybe the game wasn’t for him or her.

I really want to explore this area, because our interactive form of art is the only medium that can do this. And yet so many games miss this opportunity. I don’t think all games have to do this though, I just think it’s a shame that not enough developers and designers are doing this.

Because things like this really make observer feel free. And the sense of freedom is just so very important in life. There’s almost always something that makes you feel like you aren’t free. You feel trapped way to often. And I think it’s HUGE to give someone the opportunity to experience the sense of freedom.

Even if it’s just for a moment.

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