Saturday, December 06, 2008

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix = ftw

Its been a long time since an update, but here's what I've been playing:
  1. SSF2THDR
  2. Gears of War 2
  3. Call of Duty: World at War
  4. MK vs DCU
I've been playing ALOT of SSF2THR this weekend. The online play is fantastic! Its almost like the person I'm playing against is in the same room. It definitely brings back memories of playing in the arcades in '94. However, people have started bitchin' me out online. My Sagat fireball trap is considered "cheap" and people are smacking me with "unsportsman like conduct" on XBL. I just came off a 7-match win streak with Zangief too. I've been working on my Zang, and I don't think many people expect it online amidst the Dhalsims, Ryus, Kens, and Akumas. I won 1 match with 2 perfect rounds, and I won another match use using Jab and low Round House. Vega is my poison, however. The fucker is too fast.

Friday, October 17, 2008

HOLY FUCKING SHIT! WHAT A COMEBACK!



I come home from a business trip in Dallas to see the Sox down 7-0 in the 7th. I was bumming, and started backing for my weekend in Philly. But god damn it, Sox fans were just treated to one of the greatest comebacks ever!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

YES!

Oh how sweet it is! Sox win 3-2 off a Jed Lowrie RBI single in the 9th.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Crap


12 innings of baseball and the Sox lose. Beckett was off tonight letting up 2 homers. Not his usual playoff dominance. I'm guessing he's not 100%. Also the Sox had the bases loaded against K-Rod in the 10th and couldn't get man home. So disappointing! Lets hope the Sox finish off the series later tonight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brother's in Arms Double Time is OUT!


I should have posted this earlier, but I have some interesting news. Brothers in Arms: Double Time for the Wii is out! After much hard work from Demiurge Studios team and the year delay, we are proud to see Double Time in a box, shrink wrapped, and on store shelves. If you are looking for a good Wii FPS, check it out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It was bound to happen

Pats get blown out 38-13 today against the Dolphins. Defense gashed, and the offense couldn't get anything going. The Pats just flat out looked bad for the first time in a long time. It was going to happen eventually. Hopefully they can re-group during the bye week and get back to their winning ways against the Niners.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gore tech FTW

Yep, stayed in tonight. Did some reading, did some programming, and did some gaming. I checked out Game Trailers and came across the Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway launch trailer over from our friends at Gearbox. Some intense gore tech:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Solid Win

Pats beat the Jets today 19-10. No the prettiest of games, but the defense was solid, and Matt Cassel kept his team out of tough situations. Kind of reminds me of the '01 Pats, where Brady's main job was to manage the offense, and the defense controlled field position.

Two noteworthy stats today. 0 turn-overs and 1 penalty for 5 yards. That is disciplined, Bill Belichek football right there.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Check out my friend's blog

A co-worker and friend of my mine, Eddie, has started up a blog as well. He's a software engineer, and his first blog post is about path finding using flood fill. Its a good post and even provides a code sample. Check out Eddie on Games here:
http://eddiescholtz.com/

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Brady's Knee

Image from espn.com

Damn, that did not look good. Cassel played alright, and the defense stepped up at the end of the game with the goal line stand at the 5-yd line. Of course the defense shouldn't have found themselves in that situation, giving up huge 68-yd pass from Huard to Darling. I'm just hoping we can make it to week 4 with .500 record, take the bye, and Brady will be back for week 5.

UPDATE: Rumor is Brady is done for the season. Fuck. Let the Matt Cassel era begin, I guess.

UPDATE #2: Brady done for the season. Shit.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Much Overdue Update

Its been almost 5 months since I last wrote a blog post, but for some reason I feel compelled to put an entry up tonight. Life has been busy, I've been pretty heads down with work, and I've been lazy. Whatever, no excuses! Then again, this is my blog and I can update it whenever I want :)

Since my last post the Celtics won their first NBA title since 1986, the Red Sox traded away Manny, and the summer has come and gone, and I've played many games. A brief run down of what I've played or am playing:
  • Grand Theft Auto 4*
  • Ninja Gaiden 2
  • Metal Gear Solid 4*
  • Soul Calibur 4
  • Geometry Wars 2
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed
  • Braid*
  • Civilization Revolutions
  • Castle Crashes
* Played to completion

A nice list of games there. Soul Calibur 4, Geo Wars 2, and Civ Rev really can't be played completion. You just play them over and over again in quest to be the best player around. I've played through Castle Crashers MANY times. I love that game. It brings back memories of when my brother Kyle and I would play the crap out of beat 'em ups on the NES. Double Dragon, TMNT The Arcade Game, and River City Ransom definitely. Kyle and I didn't get along most of the time growing up, but when it came to co-op beat'em ups we called a truce. I'll never forget when sat down one day to play Double Dragon II and were determined to beat it on the supreme difficulty setting and get the real ending. It was tough, but we were two young lads on mission to get beat that game and we did. I don't remember the ending to the game, but I remember us being so stoked, jumping up and down, and giving high fives. Castle Crashers definitely brings back those great memories :)

I'll try to keep this blog more updated. I'm always having something stewing in my head to write about, but just never actually do it. I'll be sure to write the those "stewings" more often.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Game Developer's Review: Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Time for my review on Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. I am going to keep the same format I used on my Assassin's Creed review. I'll start with a brief introduction of how much of the game I've actually played. Then I will pick out 3 things I think the game does right, and 3 things I think the game does wrong. To finish it off, I'll wrap it up with a nice conclusion.

Intro
Super Smash Brothers is the third installment of the popular Super Smash Brothers series. Its a competitive 2.5D fighting game that mashes up characters from the Nintendo universe, and now recently characters from other game universes. Personally I've completed the single player Sub-Space Emissary mode, unlocked all 35 characters and 41 levels, and have had about 15 online matches.


WHAT WENT RIGHT
1. GameCube Controller Support
This is huge right here. The fact that Nintendo provided an option to use the GameCube controller instead of the wii-mote. The wii-mote is not good for fast, twitchy fighting games. The GameCube controller is comfortable, proven, and keeps the game familiar for returning players. I tried out the wii-mote controller for a few rounds and it was just too hard to pull off the exact timing for running, jumping, and pulling off moves. It could be quite interesting that the best selling Wii game is one that better without the wii-mote.

2. Depth/Replay
Unlockables galore and fantastic local multiplayer will keep you coming back to play. Many things were removed from Melee, namely wave dashing, changing up how air guards work, and slowing down the game. Its more inviting to a casual audience, but its still packed with depth. 35 characters and 41 stages provide plenty of variety. Yeah some of the characters are garbage and unbalanced, but its not so blatant that it will deter you from playing the game. If you not a tournament player, I'm sure the unbalances will be less obvious to you. The addition of the Smash Ball is cool, if unbalanced at times, but it adds depth. Every character has a "super move" now and it can be executed if they acquire the Smash Ball. The ball appears randomly, so you really can't plan for it.

Also the plethora of unlockables will keep you playing as well. Soundtracks, trophies, and stickers are all worthy of collecting. Particularly the soundtracks, there as so many to get and they are fantastic.


3.
Visuals
Everything from has received a nice visual bump from Melee. The game will not knock your socks off, but it does run at a very smooth frame rate. I haven't noticed any slowdown at all when playing, this is key for all fighting games. The levels are rich and vibrant, and the characters are all easily identifiable.

WHAT WENT WRONG
1. Online Play
Epic fail in this category. No leader boards, no match making, no voice chat, difficult to use friend codes, and lag. Lag I cannot fault the developer Game Arts too heavily for. Fighting games and online lag have a ways to go, because fighting games are all about split second reaction times. When planning moves down to a few frames of animation, lag can make or break a match. We just have a ways to go until we acceptable online lag for fighting games.

The lack of leader boards, no intelligent match
making, and no voice chat are what really hurts the online. Leader boards are not hard to pull off, just track some data, store it on the server, and post it. The idea of "we don't want to hurt players' feeling because they may think they are really good, but find out they are not" is fucking bullshit. I want to see my wins and losses at minimum. Also, the fact I cannot friend people I have played with is short sighted.

The lack of intelligent match making is unforgivable too. I am fully aware of the amount of work it takes to create an online match making system, but this is a big flagship title and nothing should be skimped on. Only ONE game mode for playing with randoms who at random skill levels? If you play with random players, you can only play 2 minute brawls. No stock matches, no coin matches, and it seems like the level is selected at random. Playing with friends is better. Its like playing with someone locally, you have all the options, but don't forget you need their TWELVE digit friend code before you can play them. Lets just use some sort of gamer handle system, Nintendo!

No voice chat is short sighted as well. I have to use my cell phone to talk to my buddy while I play? I've even heard of people of starting private matches in Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 on Xbox so they can chat through their headsets. Its ridiculous that Nintendo didn't incorporate chatting. Talking trash and chatting up is part of the online experience. Nintendo could have at least allowed voice chat in the friend-only brawls.

2. Sub Space Emissary mode
This is essentially the single player mode of Brawl. Its an adventure mode, where you travel from location to and travel through each local like a beat'em up. Characters are discovered and unlocked along the way. Sub Space Emissary starts out strong, but becomes rote and mundane quickly. By the end you just want it to be over and move on. Maybe if it was 4 hours instead of 7 hours it would be tolerable, and the only real reason to play is to unlock characters and trophies.

3. Tripping
Probably one of the dumbest things they could have done added to the game. You randomly trip if you are dashing across a stage. If it was predictable and took player skill to avoid, I might be okay with it. The fact that is totally random is bullshit. Why should something randomly happen that makes me totally vulnerable to an opposing player? It should not happen, that's what!

Conclusion
In the end Super Smash Brothers Brawl is a solid title. It does not deviate too much from what made Super Smash Brothers Melee successful. Maybe the game is becoming a repetitive and played out. You have to ask yourself if the game would be as good if it was just a random intellectual property and not Nintendo characters. Even still, the characters are solid, fun.

Brawl does fall flat on its face in the online category. What could have been a home run for online play is abysmal. Brawl could have been the Halo 3 of Wii online play, but lack of leader boards, match making, and game modes hurt it.

Do not let the poor online play, deter you though. Brawl is a solid title, that will be fun for years to come, and should be in your in your Wii's library of games.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quick Update

I've been kind of a ghost lately. I've been busy with work, delivered a milestone last week. Things that I plan to get out soon, hopefully this weekend, is a Super Smash Bros Brawl review and soon to follow that a Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 review. An idea I've been kicking around is waxing some design philosophy in my posts. I have a few topics I want to hit and share my thoughts on.

In other news, My NCAA Tourny bracket has done well, but the best I can finish in the office pool is 2nd :(


I also wonder, does anyone read this stuff :-P

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NCAA Tournament Almost Here!

NCAA is almost here. Less then a day till tip-off! I love the first weekend of the tournament. Dozens of games, glory and tears. Villanova drew a 12 seed against Clemson. I'm surprised they made the tournament with such a sub par season, but hey they're in.

I finally got online with Super Smash Bros Brawl. Its really hit or miss with the lag. I'll actually get my full impressions up this weekend.

The 5k didn't go so well, but that's what I get for not working hard enough. Lesson learned (again).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The night before the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km

Months ago I signed up for a 5K race with some guys for work. Back then I was running pretty regularly. Days got shorter, colder, and I got lazy. Now its only 13 hours till race time! I am excited and nervous. My performance probably won't be where I want it, but it will be fun time. Any time there is beer, its a good time. For more info go to this link:

http://www.baevents.com/rasnaheireann/

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Work computer back up

Got my workstation back up and running by Dell yesterday. Power supply and motherboard were replaced. Everything is in full swing again and I'm back to making video games :-)

Still playing Super Smash Bros Brawl. Still can't find an online match. I'll have impressions up once I can get some online time, if ever.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Moved into the new office

Demiurge Studios is now located on 130 Prospect St. We hit a few snags, like having to take apart and rebuild the Ikea desks because the assembler got them wrong, but we are in the new building. It definitely feels like we are becoming a "legit" company and not a mom-and-pop game developer :-)

My computer was broken in the move, though. Power supply seem to be shot. Hopefully it will be fixed by Dell ASAP :-(

I just picked up Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. So far, it seems like this game has the stuff of greatness. The online, at least, for me so far has been garbage. I wasn't able to successfully find a match yesterday. I'll post a more in-depth impression once I fell like I've gotten deep enough in the game.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

RIP Gary Gygax

I know haven't updated the blog in awhile. I've been busy and lost interest, but this has to be posted. Co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax recently passed:
http://kotaku.com/363660/gary-gygax-co+creator-of-dd-dead-at-69

Now I'm not a D&D, but the man propelled so many RPG elements into gaming and inspired so many great games. Take Mass Effect, a game that we are working on at Demiurge is based around the D&D. BioWare, the company we are working with, garnered great acclaim and accolade when they did their work with the D&D franchise. BioWare is a stalwart developer in the games industry now and they can partially thank Gary Gygax for that.

I tip my hat to Mr. Gygax. Thanks for your contributions and inspiration.