How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

Published a long while back, don’t think I ever linked it here. A long-suppressed rant at mainstream action game design.

“The instant the first character speaks, I reflexively want them to shut up. If there’s text on screen, I’m not reading it. If there’s a cut-scene, I’m skipping it. If there are no enemies to shoot, I shoot my friends, and if I can’t shoot my friends, I shoot just next to my friends and then swing my crosshair onto them as quickly as possible in a lame attempt to glance them with a bullet I know won’t do anything. I thought that was normal.

Then, playing Bulletstorm the other night and hating every second of it, I had an awful realisation: this is my fault. I’m the reason games suck now. I’m the lazy, belligerent jerk every mainstream shooter seems to be designed for, and it’s because of gamers like me that they’re built this way.”

The creative director of Bulletstorm responded to me, which led to an interesting discussion.

Ibb And Obb, A Co-Op Game Where The Ground Has Two Sides

In a platform game, the screen is usually divided between solid land and empty space. The empty space is the fun bit – you can jump around in it, fight enemies, solve puzzles. Usually nothing very interesting happens inside the solid ground beneath your feet.

In Ibb and Obb, the solid ground becomes the empty space for another platformer, one that takes place upside-down.

My preview at PC Gamer.

What I Learned From Gunpoint, And How To Make A Game

I wrote a feature for PC Gamer in which I look at each of the easiest tools you can use to make a game, and interview indies who’ve made great things with them. It’s the Indies’ Guide To Game Making, and I’ve just updated it with some more detailed answers we didn’t have room for in the magazine.

Oi, aren’t you making a game?

I am, but I haven’t finished it yet. I’ve learnt a lot so far, though, and at Minecon in November, I gave a talk about what I’ve learned so far, and what I’d do differently if I was making my first game today. Here it is! Continue reading “What I Learned From Gunpoint, And How To Make A Game”

Gunpoint At Minecon

Gunpoint will be playable at Minecon in Paris this weekend! I’ll be around to answer any questions. Say hi if you see me, I look like this.

I’m also giving a talk on the Sunday, about what I’ve learnt as a critic making my first game. That’s at 10.30 AM Sunday, in the Indie Theater, which is in the New York Convention Centre. That’s just a name, it’s in Paris like the rest of it.

If you won’t be there, my talk should be going online afterwards.

Gunpoint Level Editor Trailer

Gunpoint will have a level editor! Here’s a quick video of what it’s like to use:

This is by far the most requested feature both from people who’ve played it and people who haven’t. I always planned to add one after release, but when I came to see if it was feasible, it turned out to be easier than I thought. It’s working nicely enough now that I can have it in for release. Which will be… in the future.

Here are some cool things about the level editor: Continue reading “Gunpoint Level Editor Trailer”

Adventure Time Game Post Mortem

On the weekend of the 15th, Fantastic Arcade held an Adventure Time-themed Game Making Frenzy. It meant anyone could make a game with Adventure Time characters for the purposes of that compo, which is rare, so I did.

I finished mine at 2am that Monday, left the next day for a work trip, then spent all of last weekend working on Gunpoint, so I haven’t had time to talk about how it went. Here’s how it went! Continue reading “Adventure Time Game Post Mortem”

My Borderlands 2 Review Is Up

“Then there are the robots. I was dubious about how much fun it’d be to shoot metal instead of flesh, which now that I write that down doesn’t make me sound like a particularly great person. But I needn’t have worried. You can’t headshot robots, but their joints are weakspots. If you’re taking a lot of damage from a particular droid’s weapon, you can aim and blow that arm off. Continue reading “My Borderlands 2 Review Is Up”

Adventure Time Game Jam

I did Ludum Dare once, where you make a game in a weekend, and it taught me loads about how to be ruthlessly efficient and cut things before you waste time on them. I’ve skipped every game jam since then, and every event except the IGF, to focus on Gunpoint.

This weekend, though, I’m letting myself do one. Because a) I made loads of progress on Gunpoint last weekend, and am very close to being able to show you a new feature I haven’t announced yet, and b) this will probably be the only chance I ever get to legally make an Adventure Time game. Continue reading “Adventure Time Game Jam”

Game Idea: Slumber

The theme for this weekend’s game-making competition is evolution. As usual, I’m gonna stick to working on Gunpoint but write up the idea I’d do if I had time to get distracted.

I think if you’re going to make an evolution game, you’ve got to actually model evolution. God knows gaming misuses that word enough – we need to repay science for every time a game has claimed some magical goo caused our character to ‘rapidly evolve’ into a superhuman. Continue reading “Game Idea: Slumber”

The Good And The Bad Bits Of The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin’s current show about a TV news show was panned by reviewers, but I quite liked its first episode and thought its problems were fixable. The reviewers had seen the first four. I now see what they were talking about.

It’s such an extraordinary mix of exciting potential and staggeringly clumsy writing that I’ve had trouble stringing together a sentence about it that uses the word ‘but’ fewer than five times. So I’ll give up on a coherent overview and just list the things I like and don’t like. Continue reading “The Good And The Bad Bits Of The Newsroom”