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The B-Log

Not as good as the A-Log, admittedly, but it's Blaise's weekly thoughts on MMOs, and why he is or isn't playing one at the moment. A General Thought blog by someone who is studying at Uni, awaiting his moment to start working... in quality assurance.

Author: Blazz

P.S. Sorry for the late reply

Posted by Blazz Saturday May 29 2010 at 9:39PM
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Yes, that's Ringo Star's voice actor from the Simpsons going through my head.

Hey there, now before, I was merely a guy doodling with XNA for the fun of it. For the last four or five months, however, I've been the main programmer for my team making a 2D side-scrolling platformer and oh god I don't know what I'm doing and nobody else does either.

That was how we all felt like at the beginning, but as I worked on the game my ego was stroked and stroked until it became a massive thing, overshadowing the project itself, climbing sky scrapers and destroying the planes coming in to bring it down.

Recently, say, two to three weeks ago, I realised that the game had many bugs, and that the object oriented programming I had been doing "We need enemies? ENEMY CLASS! We need moving platforms instead of regular platforms? MOVINGPLATFORM CLASS!" was fairly dodgey, and that I really should have done some preparation before starting to code anything. But it wasn't my fault, I swear!


If you're going to make a game, and you need to have it done in, oh, 14 weeks or so, make sure you all decide on the following things FAST:

- Will we have to 'refresh' the level? Respawn enemies, put the player back in place, etc.

- Does the player have lives? Will he have to respawn when he loses one?

- Do you have multiple levels?

- Do you have menus?


For bigger projects, the obvious answer to all of the above is "Yes", but we were told to make a small, fully functional, and hopefully fun game. We were expected to be able to make one solid level. I am coding in the five levels I still have left to do now.

It's been a ridiculous ride this semester, with me changing from Design to Software Technology (programming) as my major, and also learning as much about XNA as I have has been fun, really rekindling my passion for the specialty.


Heroes of Newerth (HoN) was finally released, and sucked some time out of me, even when it was still in open beta. It's been developed by S2 Games, and is a fantastic remake of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), one of the biggest maps for Warcraft 3, ever. It's probably an unfortunate thing that the community from DotA has remained with HoN, but it's just to be expected, when remaking a game but updating the engine considerably, that fans of the first game will move to the newer, shinier, and more flexible game. S2 Games also made the Savage games, which I believe were the first well-recieved first/third person shooter + role playing + real time strategy games released. Making it a FaTPSRPRTSG. I won't continue rambling on about it, but it was a pretty rad game, and the 2nd one is still pretty rad as well (and follows a Free2Play system which I believe isn't overly inbalanced!)


Perpetuum finally sent me an email confirming me for the closed beta, so I started that game up... it's alright, but I find the starting 'tutorial' is lacking somewhat. It tells you how to fight, how to mine effectively, and then how to 'enter' the giant building that is nearby. It leads to a lot of assumptions, and a reasonably experienced gamer like myself can see what they mean, but I just wonder about 'the average Joe', and how they would handle the experience. Would they notice the little green ring around the tiny interface buttons at the top right of the screen? That's already odd enough for any windows user or WoW player, which are the majority of people that might notice that Perpetuum is also an 'MMORPG' and try it out. I don't know... once I found that menu, I clicked on the tabs, looked at things, and it's very similar to EVE's interface in a lot of ways, which is alright, because I love EVE's interface. All of this said, I've barely scratched my itch for knowing what's in this game Perpetuum, which seems to be EVE, but... not in space, yet.


And that brings me back to EVE online, that game which has managed  to keep my subscription even through University, simply because I can progress without having to play it much. I spend most of my training skill time these days investing into the learning skills. I have about 18 attribute points across the board, which is better than a friend of mine who has been playing for maybe two years now, which really brings to mind the idea that a new player can specialise in "something" and be better at that "something" in a few months than someone who has been playing for a few years, and specialised in "something else" themselves.

I recently trained Battlecruisers II, and Cruisers III, which means I can now pilot a Hurricane, and maybe get a piece of the Wormhole action, where my friends have been raking in hundreds of millions of ISK from salvaging the sleepers inside the wormholes. One of them just up and gave me 60 million ISK so I could afford the Hurricane and the needed skills to pilot one... I love my tiny Corporation.


Back to uni work for now, though... the game is due on Wednesday, along with a 2500 word Game Concept document - which no one will tell me what they want. So yes, fun times ahead. CRUNCH TIMES.