SteamBirds

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Danc gave those who read LostGarden a heads up that Spry Fox was releasing SteamBirds for the Android platform. I have been watching Spry Fox since Dan mentioned it on Lost Garden. Due to being plain busy (no pun intended) I never got a chance to try SteamBirds on the web. Now it is on my phone I get a chance to play it while on the bus!

The premise is you are flying a nuclear-powered steam driven air plane. I encourage you to read the embeded back-story in the initial levels, it is great to see good writing has gone in with the game.

The game is turn based, you control your planes by selecting the type of manoeuvre then dragging navigation icon to the location you wish the plane to be at the next turn; the black line shows the path your plane will take.

If you tap your plane you see the name, health, stats and the manoeuvres it is capable of, as you have probably gathered by now the concept is to shoot down the other teams.

The healthier you keep your planes the more stars you get when you are victorious, the more stars you get the higher the rank you achieve.

I am really pleased I took the time to download this game, and even more pleased that Danc and SpryFox have been able to break away from the mould and start creating well designed, fun and highly polished games without loosing the indie edge.

Steam

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Steam Main Window

The day I purchased AudioSurf was the first day that I even saw Steam (Content Delivery), sure I had heard lots of people talk about it, many people praising its loveliness and many more complaining that it was evil.

I had never had the need to install it, I owned Half Life (Video Game) (never finished it) and had played a bit of Counter Strike 1.6 in my time, but I had never felt the need to take it any further and buy Half Life 2.

While I was downloading AudioSurf, I noticed that there was 9 hours remaining of a free trial of Team Fortress 2 so I set that to download while I messed about else where. Now, I think Team Fortress is great, fun for a quick session blatting away at a couple of foes, that wasn’t what hooked me onto Steam, no it was the ease of it all.

I simply double clicked “Team Fortress” in My Games and it told me about the offer and guided me through downloading it (which was pressing “next” three times), when it was finished downloading I double clicked it again and it launched Team Fortress. I have been dreaming of software like this for years, so simple yet so effective.

Steam has a huge library of games, including some great packs such as The Orange Box, there is also a nifty “gift” system which allows you to pass on games you have two copies of, for example if you bought Half Life 2, then The Orange Box you would have two copies of Half Life 2 one of which you can pass on to a friend.

In summary, I think Valve Corporation has done a top job on Steam, without falling into the DRM traps that so many publishers seem to be dropping themselves into. I will post back when I have played the games a bit more, for the time being pleased with my discovery.

Audiosurf

Friday, September 5th, 2008

One of the many RSS feeds I subscribe to is Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Over the weekend Alec Meer posted an article about a game called AudioSurf.

Essentially you feed in an audio track in one of several popular formats, AudioSurf then analyzes the music and generates a racetrack. On this racetrack ride several coloured blocks. These blocks can be collected in a grid, in much the same way as Connect 4. Once you have collected three or more of these blocks of the same colour in a connecting pattern you will score points based upon the number of blocks and the colour.

There are variations on the theme giving your character special abilities such as pushing the blocks to the side to create more complex patterns, or “mono” mode in which you only have one colour to collect and one to avoid.

Because the track is generated from music the number of tracks available is only limited to your music collection, equally two people can compete on the same track by feeding in the same music.

If you get a chance and have $10 sitting in your PayPal account, it is available on Steam. My current favourite track is Fire Fall Down by Hillsong United.

Credit where credit is due Mythic!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Apparently this was released sometime last week however I had missed it completely, Mythic and its Electronic Arts overlords have decided that they will not be crediting former staff members in Warhammer Online. I really don’t understand it, Ryan Shwayder put it across better than I can.

Everyone who contributes to a project puts something in, even if their product is not explicitly included in the final complete product they are part of the process. Not including someone’s name in the credits of anything be it a game, a film or a TV show is a giant slap in the face. As a programmer I would be gutted to think that I had been excluded from the credits having put years of work into and then moved on to better things a few months before launch.

Open source manages it just fine, huge sweeping lists of credits for relativly minor utilities. Why can a game? Its not like anyone is forced to watch it or read it. Put it as a file in the install directory, or a page on a website.

Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Bought the game last week, finished the single player campaign a couple of days ago. It plays more like being in a film than a game, which for me is great, as a cinematic experience it is superb, the game play is better than any other game I have played before (which doesn’t say much really – have been out of touch of the FPS market over the past few years).

The multiplayer is great fun too. I had some initial issues connecting in the first place due to PunkBuster connect issues, resolved them by updating PunkBuster manualy with PBSetup.exe then running the game as Administrator under Vista 64.

All in all, great game – well worth the spend, and brought a lot of enjoyment to my Christmas.