News and Insights
February 20, 2010
Starcraft II can be released now!
It took me about three months to play through all single player campaigns in Starcraft and Starcraft Broodwar. It was not the goal to get there as fast as possible and a lot of other things distracted me on the way, but I wanted to get back in the Starcraft universe, which was a great journey. It has been a time of joy and fun all around!
The difficulty, specially in the last Zerg Broodwar missions was challenging, but rewarding. The conversitions between Kerrigan, Rayner, DuGall, Arcturius, Mengsk, Duran and others, have been a pleasure and really motivated me to try the mission as long as I reached the goal. I also felt, that quite different goals were set in some of the fights, so I did not get bored, always just slaying all the enemies. A lot of missions had to be started over again, due to human failure on my part of the deal, but that is just part of the game and the more it is a reward to finally see the video trailer at the end or to listen to how the campaign evolves.
I also tried to work on my play skills, using shortcuts all the way, remembering some build order, forcing myself not to stay calm but to actively approach the goal of the mission, spending the minerals not collecting them, getting groups mixed up nicely, positioning the building in an effective way and a lot more...
Alright, I think I did my part, now it's Blizzards term to release Starcraft II. If the game would be just as good as Starcraft and Starcraft Broodwar, it will be something every honorable computer player needs to have in his shelf! I'm really excited now, also on how they will further develop the main story and what will be picked up from the previous Starcraft titles. I guess I'll have to be patient.
November 06, 2009
Starcraft II Preperations
Some would say it is a little bit early and others might argue it's not needed, but two weeks ago I started to play Starcraft I again in single player mode. I finally took down the zerg overmind as I progressed through the 10 levels of each race.
The game was published in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment and still is played today within the vastness of the Battle.net. I really enjoyed the different races, the many possible strategies and the interesting intelligence of the computer enemy. I focused mainly on using the keyboard short-cuts, got to know the advantages and disadvantages of each unit and reactivated the epic story. I think the last time I played through the campaign is about 8 years ago, so it was about time!
The next milestone will be to play through the expansion. Hopefully it will be as much fun as the first part. I will also play some Battle.net games just to get beaten once or twice. ;) I can only encourage you to refresh your memories or (for those that never touched starcraft) to try it out.
Starcraft II will hopefully be released in 2010. Until then we are well prepared and ready to go!
October 16, 2009
LineCollector is Alive
Yeah...I just finished my first milestone and can now proudly present "LineCollector", which is a classical, game programming beginner clone of tetris. I worked on it for about a week in total. I almost did the entire art first and started programming afterwards, so I had a good picture of where I wanted to go. The game features a ghost block, soft-drop, a hold block, a three-piece preview and a highscore functionality. It has some very simple sounds with a groovie old N64 Tetris background music. You actually can win the game, if you make it to level 23, which should be fairly hard. ;D
I will also publish a little postmortem in a few days, that sums up the developing process and will state some things that went well and some that went wrong. I really would like to encourage everyone who tries the game, to give feedback in any way you like. You can download the binaries, the source code and the postmortem from the portfolio page.
Happy Line Collecting!
October 10, 2009
Things that bother me on Farmville
1. Clicking on every single cell 3 times every four hours drives me nuts!
I know I could plant other seeds that will take longer, or I could exchange cells for decorations or anything else I don't have to click on, but I reach out for effectiveness. I just want to tell my avatar to harvest/plow/plant all, or selecting a whole area at once...without paying money for gas...
2. I want to be able to see, what I will earn for collecting the master points.
It already takes forever to get those three master points, so I at least want to see, what I'm doing this for and if it's worth the effort.
3. I want to build trees, without going back into the menu everytime.
It is just annoying! Nothing else.
4. I want to rotate the gamefield.
I have certain animals on my farm I can't reach without moving something around it. I don't care if it is rotatable freely or just by certain angles, but rotate it should. My farm is twice as nice, when I have to angles to look at it.
5. I want to see the level it took to unlock certain things, eventhough they are already unlocked.
I want to be reminded on how good I was. I want to help other people by telling them, when something can be unlocked, for example if they don't sit on their own farm right now.
6. I want to see my friend on the farm.
I visit a different farm, and no one is there. I know its hard to synchronize such things but at least there could be an immobile avatar standing there to interact with.
7. Whats with the coin flipping while I'm plowing?
It took me forever to even notice it. Then the next question was, what does it do? The text is too fast and the money (100 coins) you get is hard to figure out. I hate things that happen all the time but can't be looked at correctly. Either they don't happen, or I get enough time to enjoy them.
8. I want the seed to be sortable also by amount of time it takes to harvest them.
Well, the general strategy is to pick the seed, that fits best with what I'm doing in real life right now. I want to pick the one that fits best and that is decided by how long it takes until harvest. I don't care if it's a fruit or grain.
9. I want a gift history on all friends I send a gift.
I am a fair kind of person, and I want to know what gifts I already send out to whom. Who has gotten the most gifts and what kind?
10. Introducing the Wish-Gift.
I want to be able (like in Mafia Wars) to wish a certain gift. And to top that...the button to automatically send the wished gift to all people who have an item on their wishlist.
11. I want Farmville in my own language.
I personally don't have a problem with english, but I just do not know all the seeds by name or understand the ribbon texts fully.
12. I want to hover over a ribbon to see, what I got it for.
If you get all ribbons, you can't tell anyone anymore, what you them for. That is just not right..
13. I don't want to open the gift menu, if I have multiple gifts of one kind.
Like before, it's just annoying and wastes time.
14. I want to be informed, when I get FarmCash.
Besides beeing informed, I really want to know how to get FarmCash. Even if it's supposed to be random, a little bit of information about when I receive it, would be nice. Right now, I have some FarmCash but do not know how I got it...that's not good.
15. I want to reply on message signs.
I like the message signs, but it would be even better if I were able to put a reply on the message sign. This would allow some kind of public discussion, next to all the choices I have in facebook already build in. It would make it more social, what it's actually meant to be. And once we're on there, I want to be notified, if someone put up a new message sign on my farm!
I just finished integrating the google blogger into this webpage. It has some really cool advantages over what I had before, like comments, backlinks, tags and easy post generation and management. For everyone who already signed up for the rss feed, I encourage you to update the link, because it changed to the blog intern feed.
Why am I doing this?
"Artists – and a game designer, is an artist, working in the medium of games – artists begin with imitation. If you want to be a comic book illustrator, you begin by trying to draw Spiderman, or Superman, or like the Hernandez brothers. If want to be a rock musician, you begin by copying the stylings of guitarists you admire. If you’re a writer, you begin by writing fan fi c, or trying to imitate the style of writers you adore. And if you’re a game designer, you begin by trying to design a game like one you enjoy." Greg Costikyan, I Have No Words & I Must Design
I just read those few words and thought, that this is really what I aim to do here. By starting on classical games I really enjoy and enjoyed playing, I want to dive deeper into developing and designing games.
Game Portfolio goes live
Finally I got myself in motion to create this portfolio webpage for my upcoming games. My goal is to clone classical computer games such as tetris, pong, frogger, space invaders, snake, pacman, android and bomberman to better learn computer game programming. I also want to deal with game design and maybe give some insights on the problems I faced producing those games. The quote on top of this page is out of the book Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman which will accompany me on my journey.
A great course of game programming at the Technische Universität Berlin, my own previous attempts to create games and my long interest in computer games in general will now hopefully pour into this webpage and the games I want to program.
I'll try to update the news frequently and will publish my code under a free license that I didn't decideon yet. Maybe some others can use it for their own beginnings or find it useful in any way.
If you have any suggestions, criticism or anything else you want to tell me, then do not hesitate and contact me right away. I should also be addressable over facebook, twitter or xing.
Alright, enough talk for now!