Should Game Producers Tell the Truth? (Even In a Restaurant)

Here’s an almost true story.

3 game producers enter a restaurant. They order food and drinks. After a bit of waiting, the meal arrives to the table. Producers start eating and one of them makes a remark about how bad the food is. The other comments nods his head and says “same here, I’ll never visit this place ever again”. Third producer says that he thinks the food is okay.

Time goes on, and food disappears from the plates… and it’s time to call waitress to bring the bill.

When the waitress asks “Was all good? Food fine?” every producer nods their heads and says “yeh, sure” or “definitely” and so on.

Whih brings me to my question.

Is this the way things happen?

Is it typical for producers (or for anybody for that matter) to act this way? Is it okay to say “well, I didn’t like the food to be honest”? Is it okay (or mandatory) to do similar at work (like for example when somebody messes things up, we don’t directly say anything to him, but speak bad words behind his back)? Are we trying to protect their feelings or what’s going on?

Why we are like this? (Are you?)

Is this be the correct way to behave?

Twitter Experiment Results (After 1 Year Of Twittering)

About a year ago I started testing Twitter to see if it was any use. I made some comments and remarks about how I feel about twitter after one hour of using it.

Well, after 1 year of owning a twitter account I think exactly the same.

People still tell me what color pants they wear and what songs they sang in shower, but I also find it useful: (1) website traffic and (2) good place to get help and beer. (like for example this thing about Great Escape remake got instant reply via Twitter… before the guy even knew that I would give a beer to somebody for helping me out. Well, that guy is one Guinness pint happier now all thanks to Twitter.)

But really… nothing has changed. Twitter is still filled with crap, but it’s also an easy way to communicate with other devs. I recommend testing it.

Good Prison/Escape Movies? (I’m Doing Some More Research…)

I ordered The Great Escape movie for some research, and now I’d like to get more prison/escape themed movies/series into my hands.

I already have some items in my list, such as Oz. It was a great series about prison life, and I might continue watching it now. Prison Break – first season – was pretty nice (rest of the seasons felt pretty clued on top of everything). I have 2 prison movies in my dvd collection (don’t remember names now) which I will check out too.

Escape from Alcatraz was another great movie which I gotta get. (In fact, I took a break and ordered the movie right away).

Any other good prison/escape movies I should consider checking out? (Anime is fine too)

Alan Wake By Remedy

Alan Wake (only for Xbox 360, damn) is coming very soon available to purchase. The awesome Finnish game development company has created something that – I hope – is memorable again. (Like they did with Max Payne and “bullet time”).

I don’t own xbox console and cannot play the game, but I have been watching development news about Alan Wake for years now. Good luck Remedy. Rumours tell me, that this has been the biggest entertainment title ever created by a Finnish company.

I hope it plays as well as it looks (spoiler warning: don’t watch the video if you don’t want to know anything about the game events).

Throwing Averages Out of The Window

“Have you got enough sleep?” is the question I hear quite a lot these days.

I assume that people think that (1) babies wake up all the time and (2) parents won’t get much sleep. That’s the myth and what perhaps some “study about parents’ average sleep hours” suggest. I don’t know, but that’s what people keep asking me.

I answer something along lines “Well, pretty good. Last night our baby slept about 7 hours in a row, ate a bit and continued to sleep for couple of more hours.” Our baby has a very nice sleep pattern and she sleeps well in the night time. I’m getting plenty of sleep. (Plus it also helps that I can fell into a sleep anywhere, anytime – as long as the vacuum cleaner is somewhere far away).

But still there is this myth about “babies will ruin your sleep”, and when I don’t happen to fall into that category… it’s not “normal”. It’s not “what happens in average”.

Averages are… averages. A kid can have a school grade average 3 (in scale 1 to 5), and that doesn’t tell nothing about the fact that he is great at sports (5) and sucks at math (1). Since according to “average” rating of 3 he falls somewhere in the middle of one big crowd.

Averages need something else. Averages are… beliefs. Myths even.

Out of the window they go.

On average.

“The Great Escape” Remake. Sort of. Anyone Know C64 Emulator For This?

Theme brainstorming got good amount of replies, and somehow woke up the desire for using the jail break theme in my stealth proto. The comments about the game The Great Escape got me even more curious (since I really liked that game on C64 three thousands years ago).

I started hunting for more info (couldn’t find it on some PC emulator just yet), and noticed that:

  • Few years back, somebody started doing a remake of it. (I suppose it got never finished) and got cheered up.
  • I saw some discussion threads where one guy was asking “Anyone know where I can find Great Escape…?” and some other guys wishing for “this should be fully remade using 3D”

Basically, it looks like nobody has done this game earlier… and that there might actually be interest for this. (Not that I care, I only care about me having fun nowadays).

Doing a proto of this sounds fun, so (1) I will try and see if I can find it somewhere to play (or just will check the Walkthrough videos to refresh my memory and see if I can remember what was fun about the game) and then (2) turn my ninja proto into a jailbreak prototype. This could first be thought bit as a “remake” of this fine classic, although for copyright – and for fun design – purposes I gotta change and add some (many) things quite likely.

You gimme the emulator, I’ll give you a beer
In case you happen to know where I could find an emulator to test this game, I’ll just might buy you a beer. Or two if you also tell it to me. But only for the first guy to enter (I know some smart guys would have applied if I would not add “only the first one gets the beer”). Via paypal. M’kay?

Update: Somebody already won and pointed me to (use browser search to locate the game). Twitter isn’t that useless after all.

It’s really great thing to have this blog and write things out loud. I’ve been pondering the theme, the replay value, and “purpose for the stealth” in my mind… and somehow I feel that the pieces start to get into the right places.

Negative Progress Sort of Sucks

I’ve played NHL ’10 quite a bit online now. There’s one thing that seemed really cool to me, but now I wonder if it really just sucks and takes away from the gaming experience. In NHL ’10 you must complete certain amount of games and get good enough rates in 3 different categories (team play, positioning, stats).

In paper this sounds pretty good: you can progress in game!

There’s just couple of issues with this system from a game design point-of-view. It sort of spoils the fun.

First point is that after completing enough games, you also need to have good enough average ratings in order to progress and gain “experience points”. This means that if your ratings are A in one game and C in other, your average is B. Since it’s a team game, your ratings depend also how your team mates play. If they give you good passes, you have good chances to score and get good stats as a right wing player for example. But… let’s suppose you play well, but lose the game and since one player can do only that much, it eventually affects your score and gives you a negative penalty. After one badly played game you need more than one good match to recover.

So, this means that some players rather end the game (I don’t) instead of completing, since they know they would get a bad rating. So… this is a party spoiler feature. I would have chosen absolute measurement in the system. Things like “Complete 100 games AND get 30 points in the last 10 games”. Now your bad history can ruin the fun. Basically, your progress sort of stops at one point (or requires toooooons of playing).

And then to the other bad point. The averages are based on system that you need to play by the game strategy. That’s sort of fun, except that sometimes it’s better not to follow the instructions, pick pocket the puck in the opponent’s side and possibly score a goal. You might get “stats A, positioning B” for doing that sort of thing – which kind of sucks.

And… if you position right (and don’t steal the puck), then your positioning rating might go to A, but stats are perhaps B or whatever. It’s a lose-lose situation since it means you cannot progress. Not very rewarding.

The worst part is that instead of enjoying playing the game (like I’ve always had with NHL ’95) now I’ve started to watch those freaking “experience points”.


Theme For a Co-Op Stealth Game

I started thinking potential themes for my co-op proto (ninja is of course pretty cool, but since I’m so in the beginning now it might be a good idea to brainstorm the theme a bit.) Here’s some of the themes that came to my mind:

  • Dogs stealing food
  • Fox(es) stealing chickens, avoiding farmers
  • Supernatural aspects for ninjas: ki powers that help transform the ninjas into animals, appearance of ghosts, and adding other supernatural things.
  • Jailbreak, like escaping from Alcatraz (although this has been done many times – remember the old C64 game where you needed to escape from a nazi camp?)
  • Cavemen: scavenging for food and tools, while avoiding T-Rex and other known animals that always eat human beings. Camp building and things like that.
  • School: kids avoiding teachers, classes, and stuff that kids do. (Not very inspiring to me right now, but I’m listing this idea here anyway)

Any other ideas to add on the list? Comments on these?