A little over a year ago I signed up for a course on Udemy called “How to Code by Making Games in Unity”. I got through the first two sections and made a basic in-console number guessing game and then I kind of let the course fall by the wayside. As 2016 began rolling around, I decided to set the goal that I would finish up all these half-completed online courses I had signed up for, so the first one I’ve been working on is this Unity development course.
In a games industry where most titles get months or even years of screenshots, alphas, betas, teasers, and trailers leading up to their launch, The Beginner’s Guide was announced just one day before it released. Pretty much no info was given other than that it was by one of the co-creators of The Stanley Parable and that it would be a narrative game reflecting on the nature of game design.
Before reading this article, I highly – HIGHLY – recommend that you go and give the game a playthrough yourself. I purposefully avoided any and all inklings of what this game was before I played it myself and I think the experience was much better for it.
If you’re an avid reader, you might be familiar with the term “book hangover” when you finish a book you’ve become heavily engrossed in. It can be tough breaking out of the stupor you feel as you try to return to ‘normal life’. Recently, I’ve realized that this same phenomenon can happen with games as well. After finishing The Beginner’s Guide, the new story line in Guild Wars 2’s expansion, and even the Let’s Play of SOMA that I watched, I felt those same distinct symptoms I feel finishing particularly good books. So what are these symptoms and how can you deal with them?
Today I want to highlight a really fascinating video made by the Extra Credits channel. They put out a lot of amazing videos that highlight and discuss different aspects of the video game industry, but this video is about something very specific: Blue Shells in the Mario Kart series. Many just see these items as an annoying part of the game out to ruin your First Place fun, but in this video Extra Credits details the design decisions behind what the Blue Shell does and doesn’t do. I love videos like this because I feel that we often take game design for granted, even though it requires a lot of very careful consideration.
If you know of any other intriguing bits of game design like this, let me know in the comments!
For a long time I looked down on League of Legends. I suppose it started in college when my roommate’s then-boyfriend would talk about it and play it all the time. I really didn’t like him and a lot of the other stuff he played, so I transferred that sentiment to League of Legends as well. As the game gained more buzz online and began filling stadiums for tournaments, I continued to brush it off because of the infamously toxic community. Why would I ever want to even try to engage with a community that treated each other so cruelly? Why would I want to participate in a game full of those people? Especially after my previous experiences with Dota 2’s players, I never thought I’d get so far as downloading League of Legends.
I’ve now been playing League of Legends for about three weeks now. It’s incredibly fun and I’m absolutely hooked.
When I join in to a player versus player game – Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, even Guild Wars 2’s PvP – my biggest worry isn’t really how well I do, it’s how the other people in the match will react to me. This isn’t an article about how women who identify themselves as women (whether through voice-chat or feminine-coded gamertags) generally deal with more harassment in multiplayer games. That’s an entirely different, though important, discussion. Even when my gender isn’t revealed, there’s still a cloud of toxicity that permeates any multiplayer game – except for one, in my experience.
Two years ago Steam introduced its Early Access platform to both developers and players. The system allows developers to put their game out on Steam in an unfinished state. The idea is that the system allows players access to games they are looking forward to sooner and from that the developers get more revenue earlier on as well as feedback to help them develop their games. I see a lot of people decrying the Early Access system and calling for others not to purchase any games that utilize it. Personally I feel that point of view makes the issue much more black-and-white than it is. Every game under the Early Access umbrella is different, as is every developer and their intentions and aims. I happily buy games that are still in Early Access within reason.
Throughout my life, I’ve sunk thousands and thousands of hours into city-building games. It started with Pharaoh, then Caesar III, Zeus, SimCity 3000, and on and on. These types of games have managed to capture my attention more than any other genre (MMO’s and their constant stream of updates, not withstanding). The Sierra/Impressions historical builders especially left their mark on me – I can still hear the music of Pharaoh in my head and can picture the purple-dotted fertile meadows of Zeus/Poseidon. Unfortunately with Impressions’ close in 2004 the stream of city-builders, even outside of the historical setting, ground to a halt.
My original plan for my YouTube channel in 2015 was to come back from my four-month-long slump with a vengeance. I was going to get everything back on schedule, finish up series that had been dragging out, and start up new, exciting series too. However I also want 2015 to be a year of introspection and time management. So I have to ask myself, is doing Let’s Plays a good use of my time?
Starting a new MMO can be daunting. Sure, some things can and often are very similar across a number of games within the genre: class roles, the questing system, crafting, dungeons, etc. However each MMO does things slightly differently so that even MMO veterans may need time adjusting when delving into a new game. This is the place I currently find myself in with Guild Wars 2. I’ve been playing for a little over three months now and while I have certainly learned tons about the game in that time span, I realize that I still have heaps more to learn and figure out about the game. And for me, learning the game and discovering its intricacies and quirks can be very fun! Especially when I have other people to play the game and enjoy those discussions with.