1.  

    June 11, 2012

    Unreal 4: Excitement and Skepticism

    Ok, so I’m looking at my tumbler page, I notice I’m not keeping it REALLY fresh. I don’t update this nearly enough.  I’ll get better I promise! Maybe talk about some Diablo 3 I’ve been playing or talk about the game I’m working on. Now on to my Unreal Engine 4 opinion.  

    The tech demo blew my mind.  I was watching the G4TV premiere of Unreal 4 and I got the long forgotten feeling of excitement to get my hands on new tech.  It

    Excitement!

    Talk about a great looking demo.  Just cool across the board.  Here is some major points that i found extremely exciting.

    Blue Prints how cool is this you can change kismet on individual assets.  That will make customization for a designer so much easier!

    Kismet Changing code and script while your in PIE (playing in editor) is so empowering.  Anyone that has used Unreal should know that is AWESOME.

    Everything else The dynamic lit particle system, Indirect illumination, decals and normals changing on the fly, vector displacement fields…man that is going to be magic in the right hands.  All of these really struck me as exciting and powerful experience building tools.

    Interface Epic took some moves from Unity on letting you move your interface around to what you prefer. nice…

    Skepticism 

    There is only one thing that comes to mind.  WHAT does this require. How much horse power does this need to work.  Will the public even upgrade their consoles right away especially with the mobile market booms the way it is? 

    For an indie game creator is this even an option?  Or am i new studio or one hurting for some cash can I even look this way for an engine?  I haven’t heard what specs are required to run a game with these elements let alone an engine that could create it.  So bottom line how accessible is this? I’m sorry I’m full of questions but no answers :(

    So to sum it up

    Unreal Engine 4 looks amazing but at what cost?

     
    epicgames unrealengine phyreball
  2.  

    October 18, 2010

    Excited about Costume Quest and the status of New IP

    I just wanted to take a quick second and say how excited I am about Double Fine’s upcoming game Costume Quest http://www.costumequestgame.com/ and what it represents to me. First though I just wanna say Costume Quest looks great and it gives a fresh look at some good ol RPG gaming.  Love it! Can’t wait to buy it.  But the thing I’m interested in is this… is downloadable games in general the way for new IP? 

    With how AAA game production is nowaday, new IPs to be become published are becoming a rare.  I’m just thinking that the studios like Double Fine and Twisted Pixel know this and have created opportunities in Xbox live, PSN, and Steam platforms as the new way to blaze new IP.  I tend to agree with them and its awesome. Downloadable games make a strong case to create new games without the huge overhead.  Its also a great way to put your name and game out there.

    Downloadable games are awesome and I’m buying more and more all the time.  I’m all for it and I like it because with everything going on in the world today new IP has got to have a voice.  I feel that AAA games on the shelves are only for the big dogs… and most publishers don’t wanna take that risk of a new IP.  Which is sad but true and I know there are reasons behind that.  So huzzah all you downloadable game developers your leading the charge for future gaming and creating new and exciting Intellectual properties.  Not just rehashing games over and over again.

     
  3.  

    October 7, 2010

    When Gameplay is forgotten: Alpha Protocol

    First off, I’m starting this not as a way to slam Alpha Protocol.  Being in the industry I know the hurdles developers face and insane deadlines given by publishers.  During the final “crunch” of a game or just drama in the studio things get lost in the shuffle.  OR your in development of a game for so long you loose sight of things.  Things that is so blatantly obvious that as soon as you get a good solid day of rest you find that you forgot the huge elements that are forgotten in some games, the twin brother of Story… Gameplay.

    Focus testing does a good way to counteract this, but if you use college students or QA they just tell you what you want to hear…MOST of the time.  I don’t’ want to rant on this much longer but I can possibly see what happened to Obsidian’s game.  They lost track of the almighty gameplay.

    So with that said I want to start with the good things about Alpha Protocol.   Conversation system was great the building of my character felt cool also.  I felt that everything I did in the conversation truly would change my experience.  The development and tweaking of my character felt good and I liked the choice given.  And to end it out the story was interesting and I really wanted to see the end of it.  But I barely made it…due to the fact that the story was not backed up by good minute to minute game play.  The gameplay and presentation was really bad.  I felt that sneaking around was a joke. That if I tried to be a soldier I would get mowed down and the cover system was extremely broken.  It took this fun and well crafted story and made it almost impossible to get through it all because of the broken mechanics. 

    And maybe this is my transition into the whole story vs. mechanics question that seems to be talked about… it’s even…a tie… a draw. I don’t know why people don’t get that without an appealing story or subject matter people are not drawn to it.  But then comes the gameplay part. I can’t get through this fantastic story with a terrible mechanics…its like reading a story with smudged words that aren’t legible.  And there lies Alpha Protocol… A great story but no good means to get through it.  Gameplay is huge! I dare say to me more important! A tad… haha hmmmm.  I need some whiskey to get over this one, I just contradicted most of this post.  My brain hurts and good stuff needed. Jameson Whiskey.

    P.S.

    Alpha Protocol is a C-

     
    Alpha ProtocolGame DesignGameplayWhiskeyJ.J. Williams
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    August 2, 2010

    StarCraft 2 and the fear of the Multiplayer.

    Great Game !  But man the multiplayer is intimidating.  LIKE A GIANT BEAST :)  A lot of guys I know don’t even want to play due to the fact they don’t want to get destroyed.  I know that Battle.net has done ALOT to try to get the player to be less intimidated by the multiplayer and train players up.  But it seems like they didn’t push that out enough to the public eye, or is that something they should have marketed more, or better explained on Battle.net?  I’m not sure.  But personally I’ve been learning the multiplayer aspect by game sessions with tolerating Jedi Masters, I’ve always been a sink or swim guy… so thanks to them I doggie paddle.  thanks Pavel!  Anyway great game but man what can Blizzard do to make the Multiplayer of StarCraft 2 seem less daunting to a new Terran General?

     
    J.J. WilliamsStarCraft 2Game Design