The Animal Farm

August 8th, 2010

See the Light Android Sales Update

It’s time for everyone’s favorite foray into small numbers:

Trials - 1556
Sales - 25
Total Profit - I don’t wanna think about it

Man: Are you Abe “The Rail Splitter” Lincoln?
Abe: Used to be. These days they call me Mr. President.

June 21st, 2010

The Next Android Project: Dungeon Kid

See the Light has wrapped up, and although it will definitely receive updates (1.5 support and a Spanish translation are in the pipeline), I’m moving onto my next project: Dungeon Kid.

Only a handful of people are familiar with Dungeon Kid. Back in my college days, I was tasked with creating a small, charming dungeon crawler for the (Nokia?) t300 and t610 series phones using the Mophun SDK. It was a humble game - the t300 version supported a wopping 101 x 80 resolution - but it was complete.

Complete as it was, it never saw daylight. The Mophun platform was rubbish, and the gatekeepers kept claiming a bug which for the life of me I could never reproduce. After weeks of trying, we finally folded and shelved the project. Which is kinda OK, since even then cell-phone games weren’t making a lot of money. It’s the fate of that market to be constantly saturated by rubbish, but that’s another post.

Fast forward to now, and despite my cynicism, I’m back on cell-phone games part time. I needed a new project; something fresh. But I was concerned about the art requirements. As I’ve stated, the only interested artists I know is already over tasked. But in Dungeon Kid I have a game that only maybe 5 others have seen, and all the content is already done. The workload isn’t trivial, but it isn’t gigantic. And I have plenty of Android knowledge/code carrying directly over from the last project.

So I’ve started.

Thus far, the random dungeon generator is working. Still a few kinks, but it’s working. I don’t have a timeline for this game - the Big XNA game takes priority - but knee-jerk guesses place it between 1.5-2 months. When I’m not feeling so lazy, I’ll grab some of the assets and throw them up.

It’s late. Do I have another blog post in me?

June 11th, 2010

PAC-Match In Review

PAC-Match gets a good review!

The Gamezebo review gave it 4/5 stars. “Much to our surprise and delight, Pac-Match Party brings a number of new twists to the genre that help it hold its own against the competition.”

I haven’t been able to scrounge together other reviews. Unfortunately, running a search gets me a lot of reviews for a different game named PAC-Match. I did, however, stumble upon a forum post where people seem to be enjoying it. Quotes:

“Wow,
right now, I’m in level 21 and I have to admit, it’s my new favorite match-3 game. It’s just perfectly executed. Controls are perfect. There are a lot of cool power-ups, the music and sounds are fantastic (old themes in a wonderful chilly mood). I was expecting half the game I got now. Really, really love it. Highly entertaining. ”
–your personal robot

“This is the most fun i’ve had with a match 3 game. The next closest would probably be azkend. This is a blast, and the price point is perfect. They didn’t gouge on the big name for once. Highly recommended. ”
–sizzlakalonji

There are, as with any forum, some negative words in there (and some fair critiques), but… who wants to mention those?

Will reference more reviews as I find them.

Hope you’re enjoying the game.

April 5th, 2010

The iPad Really *Is* Just a Big iTouch

That’s all I wanted to say.

Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

January 27th, 2010

Heroes Back on Track?

Heroes gets more talk on this blog than any other single show. This is a phenomenon I can’t explain - there are certainly far better shows that I watch, shows which consistently deliver on their promise (we’ll talk about Burn Notice some other time). But every season I watch Heroes, and I’m left disappointed virtually every time.

Except this season? I had my doubts initially, very strong doubts. The Matt/Sylar exchange was farcical, and the Claire/Noah dynamic is as weak as ever. After a bit of time, though, things started to happen right.

It hinges mostly on the development of Samuel. He’s the strongest villain they’ve had since Season 1 Sylar. Part of this is that they’re actually giving him a full season; if memory serves, Monroe, Danko, and Patrelli only received half seasons. The writers are taking their time, and if season one taught is anything it’s that Heroes is better when they slow down.

But aside from giving him time, Samuel is just a better villain. He’s calculated, he’s manipulative, he’s slightly crazy. He’s got more personality than Danko had in a single finger and more depth than Patrelli managed to build in his 20 lines while alive.

The old characters are still the same (and no memorable new ones have really been added), but Samuel is really drawing them together - again, in a fashion that wasn’t done since the first season. Every hero is tied to a single, central entity again. A few of them still wander away to do their own thing (Sylar, Matt, Hiro), but there’s always a place for them to come home.

The show is more fun. It’s not perfect - some of the characters are still riddled with annoyances - and it’s not season one good, but it’s better than season 2 & 3 combined.

It would be nice if Zach chimed in. Or wrote at all. I wonder if he remembers we’re out here.

We’re still alive.

December 22nd, 2009

See the Light: Buy It

!!!

My game on Xbox Live Indie Games. Available right now.

Get it. Rate it (highly). Tell your friends.

March 21st, 2009

Resident Evil 5/Weeds/Happy Fun Times

Had a chance to spend some quality time with Resident Evil 5, which is a lovely splendid game that lived up to every expectation. People are saying this isn’t survival horror, which I guess is true in that the zombies don’t have green faces, but that’s about the only justification. When a crazy-fast maniac with a chainsaw chases me around a confined level, ignoring my limited number of bullets and absorbing various explosive barrels, I get pretty terrified. Then when I kill him and he gets back up after luring me to his body for a key (a classic horror movie ploy that I really didn’t see coming), my fear is heightened.

The only real changes in atmosphere are that the world is less confined and more takes place during the day, which are both complaints I’m willing to ignore because cramped dark hallways are boring. I can’t take another game that’s strictly dark tones and drab environments. Conversely, we still have things jumping out at us, creepy bosses, high-stress enemies, and hordes lurching in as ammo dwindles. I’m happy where things are. The rest of you can turn your TV’s brightness down.

My only complaint is that the story here is a little light. Resident Evil’s never had an amazing story, but there are always a few highlights in there. This one is fairly straightforward, having covered most of the major plot points & twists in the previous games. It’s not a bad story, it’s very solid, it’s just not especially gripping.

Moving on.

I had a chance to see Weeds Season 4. Still one of the best shows around, though they’ve made some dubious choices. A lot more nudity this time around, which was kind of Meh even though Mary-Louise Parker is one of the most gorgeous women ever. More comedy. Andy steals every scene he’s in. I don’t have much to say here. The whole season feels a bit short.

So apparently Dunkin’ Donuts is not open 24 hours here, which is criminal. Open ’til 11? That’s barely night! We called and someone answered their phone at 3 AM but nobody was there upon arrival. Which is weird. Laura hypothesized that they showed up early to start making donuts, which is as good a guess as any.

Oh, right, Watchmen. I still haven’t talked about that. Pretty good, actually. A 95% faithful adaptation of the graphic novel. More action, which was mostly welcome. Gruesome. Very gruesome. And one of the campiest 80’s-porn-style sex scenes since, well, the 80’s. I couldn’t help but giggle like a twelve year old boy.

Lunchtime is nearly over, so it’s back to work for me.

Mr. Flowers?

February 23rd, 2009

Hilarity Ensues

Media to talk about, and fast before a meeting starts:

Y: The Last Man. Awesome graphic novel. About, well, the last man on Earth (all the women are still around, mind you). Lots of fun events, and the main character is an escape artist - how can you not love magicians?

Coupling. Hilarious. It’s akin to a British version of Friends, but more direct and with better humor at times. There are a few moments that had me doubled over in laughter.

Secretary. Weird movie. I believe Ricky said that he wanted to do everything in that movie to Maggie Gyllenhall. Ricky is a Monster with a capital M. It’s not a bad movie, but don’t watch it with your family or small children or any women you want to talk to you again.

Interview with a Vampire. Still one of the best vampire movies around. Upon rewatching, it’s clear that at times the acting leaves something to be desired, but that’s OK.

Supermarket. Also a pretty cool graphic novel. Very short (one volume), very simple, and very stylish. It’s not expensive and doesn’t involve the investment Y: The Last Man does. It’s also recommended by one of the more pleasant clerks in the comic shop, so take that for what it’s worth. A lot.

Fin!

A lack of realistic gore is not a sensible criticism for Chess.

February 1st, 2009

Return from Whence You Came

I just finished watching Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior.

Sigh.

I don’t even know where to begin with this mess. Do I bring up how slow the movie is to take off? Do I talk about how they do a double (or sometimes triple) take of some arbitrary action shot every few minutes? Do I complain that Ting never fought anyone who was really a threat? Do I point out that stabbing yourself with five needles full of what - steroids? - probably won’t have the intended results? Would it be a productive use of my time to point out all the blatant shadow punches or how the setup of each action scene resembles something out of a 1980’s B action movie? If I were to address the suspenseful chase scene that never exceeds 25 MPH, would I be able to maintain my temper and self control?

I made a promise to myself fifteen minutes into the movie, when it was clear this movie was going to take its sweet time getting to the action. I made it verbally, because I’ve taken to talking to myself, which is a topic for another night. Here were my words:

“If he isn’t drop-kicking a helicopter in 30 minutes, I’m turning this off.”

I broke that promise, and for that I was punished with the rest of the movie.

He got hit awfully hard by that hammer.

December 21st, 2008

Gears of Gilgamesh

Two topics in one. In this epic post, I will be speaking of Gears of War 2 (a game) and Gilgamesh (an anime).

Gears is pretty damn good. It’s basically the first game, but with bigger battles and a little more storytelling. Not particularly good storytelling, but it’s getting panned a lot more than it deserves. Perhaps the only failing is that it lacks the epic boss battles of the first - ie those frantic encounters with the Berserker where you’re trying to keep your head from being punched off. The co-op campaign clocks in somewhere around 10 hours and stays consistently good throughout. The other multiplayer modes add a lot, with Horde and Annex both being great, although I’d really like to see the Assault mode from UT4.

I watched Gilgamesh over Netflix during the course of a few nights, nights I would like to claim back were it not for the uncompromising flow of time. The anime is basically an assault on decent storytelling. Nothing outlandish, but nothing very interesting given the show’s relatively promising potential. Moves slowly, uninspired characters, that old dance. And I don’t know when cloning became hip, but now anything from Japan that doesn’t contain at least one clone isn’t meeting some sort of quota. And the ending is radically unfulfilling.

Meanwhile, there’s a Metal Gear Solid DLC for Little Big Planet which is seriously making me consider purchasing a PS3.

You seem rather chipper.