Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Month: February 2007 (page 1 of 2)

On Massive Power Upgrades and Content Obsolescence

What do you do for the guy that has everything? Well, if you’re Blizzard, you invalidate all his stuff.

Even despite some of the discussion on the boards, I was surprised when, upon the completion of my first quest in the new expansion area, I got this staff as a drop: The Staff of Twin Worlds. Previously, I’d been using a pretty craptastic dagger. I just didn’t run across another weapon that complemented my shadow priest the way I wanted, so I stuck with the Hypnotic Blade that I think I got in Scarlet Monastery (the last place I did a lot of instancing before my adventuring guild collapsed beneath the shadow of “drama”). So to say I was happy about getting something that was, objectively, about 5 times better in every way that actually matters to a priest is a vast understatement. Continue reading

The Ten Rules of Designing an FPS

A computer programming student has compiled his top ten list of rules on designing FPS games. I found it intriguing, and have only minor quibbles, although I’m curious what more hardcore FPS players than myself thinks.

One ‘maxim’ that I think is missing: Boss Monster fighting shouldn’t require a different skillset than the rest of the game. Also, players shouldn’t be forced to guess whether or not they’re actually successfully hitting a boss monster — in the final boss monster for Gears of War, for example, there was no apparent feedback that the boss monster was invulnerability when he was surrounded by his shadowbats. There’s few things more disappointing than checking GameFaqs once, and only once, during your play experience.

Come to think of it, call the 11th commandment “Boss monsters shouldn’t suck.” I could rant about boss monsters, especially in FPS games, all day long.

Why I Love the DS

Sim City DS is coming to America. Among the new features announced on Kotaku:

Feautures like being able to sign off on proclamations using the stylus as well as put out fires by blowing into the microphone…. I’ve often said that the one thing missing from Sim City was the ability to blow on it.

I find this utterly fascinating, in a “I want to try it, but now I’ll never play this game while in the Doctor’s Waiting room” sort of way.


Ding! 60!

Welp, I’ve finally managed to do it, drag my Undead Priest to level 60 in WoW. 10 more levels before I ‘win’. Or alternatively, start playing the ‘real game’.

At level 58, I headed out to the Outlands, where the slightly higher XP drops made the final two levels a cakewalk. Still, I’d like to point out that all of the cool mojo that Blizzard earned from the initial entrance sequence was squandered when I killed a boar as my first monster in the strange new world. A boar with a mutant mohawk is still a boar.

More on this later…


Original comments thread is here.

Grumpy Warren Ellis Wants Kids, Bondage Gear off Second Lawn

Warren Ellis has been day-tripping into Second Life, and god bless him, he seems to honestly making an effort to scratch beyond the surface. This doesn’t change him from having to solve some problems unique to Second Life.

I went in-world on Sunday evening to pick up messages and to look for some music to stream while I worked. Materialising on my new land, I immediately noticed two pings on the “minimap” radar screen that’s placed in the top left of the Second Life viewer. There were two people on my land….
The first thing I saw in the blockhouse was the avatar of a naked man strapped face-down over a piece of sexual apparatus that presented his backside. I then realised that the blockhouse had been filled with dungeon toys. A couple of dozen of them. And, sitting on a chair I didn’t recognise, was a dominatrix with long dark hair, idly waving a riding crop.

“Please be quiet,” she said. “We are busy.”

“Um, I don’t think so,” I typed.

“Go away,” typed the slave.

“I not tell you to talk,” the dominatrix tapped out.

I resisted the urge to pull a weapon and blow them off my land like an enraged farmer. Instead, I used the Land tools in the menu. You can select every object on your land that doesn’t belong to you and send it back to the inventories of the owners. Therefore, Slave Bill flopped on to the floor as his wooden sex horse vanished from under him. The Land tools also let you ban individuals from entering your space. If they’re already on your land, it takes a moment; and then they quite satisfyingly fly through the roof and are dumped on the nearest available adjacent parcel.

Continue reading

Blizzard Puts Foot Down on Unattended Macroing

According to this random post on Markee Dragon, WoW has filed legal action against WoW Glider, the 3rd party app that allows players to grind unattended.

Blizzard and Vivendi ( www.blizzard.com ) today filed against MDY Industries ( www.wowglider.com ) and Michael Donnelly in the state of Arizona USA. Blizzard is seeking injunctive relief and money damages against MDY. What that means is they want him to stop the production of WoW Glider and they want him to pay them damages. Blizzard believes that Glider infringes on their intellectual property. They believe Glider allows players to cheat, giving them an unfair advantage and that they believe Glider encourages Blizzard customers to breach their contracts for playing the game. Last they claim that Glider is designed to circumvent copyright protections.

Continue reading

My First Vanguard Impressions

4 frames per second. In character creation.

I gotta give them a whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, though. It feels like I bought what was at the time a fairly hotshit Alienware gaming rig just yesterday, but I note that my video card is a 5700 GeForce when the boys at nVidia are up to the 8800s, so maybe it HAS been 3 years since I bought the thing. Looks like I’ll spend President’s Day doing some targetted upgrades.


Original comments thread is here.

Puzzle Pirates Provides a Second Data Point

In a Red Herring article, Daniel James gives some pretty hard numbers about Three Rings, which are interesting, especially in light of the recent Second Life hysteria.

As silly as it may sound, Puzzle Pirates has been a surprise hit with 2 million registered users, 30,000 of whom have signed up as subscribers—worth a tidy $3.3 million in revenue last year for Three Rings. “There’s a huge audience and they are keen to devour content,” says Mr. James.

Continue reading

John Edwards Moves Quickly To Lock Up Virtual Furry Vote

As per Wonkette, it appears that John Edwards has opened up a virtual campaign headquarters in Second Life. Wonkette’s snide comment:

It’s just like the Dean campaign’s obsession with Meetup, except that instead of actually leaving your house to go to a fundraising party, you can pretend to be a huge-chested Japanese woman.

Continue reading

Dear “Blitz: The League”…

You had me at ‘piledrive the opposing quarterback’.

Actually, I’m having a hell of a hard time, as I always do playing football games. I love playing offense, but any attempts to play defense usually ends up breaking the play wide open for the other guys, just as it did in Madden and NFL 2k5. So I spend half the game with my controller on the couch next to me.

Still, I’m sure I’ll persevere and the Austin Larpers will persevere.


Original comments thread is here.

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