They announced a new Strider at Comic-Con, along with a shortish gameplay video. Am I going to be weird and reactionary and complain: sword not opaque! downhill run no accelerate! Yeah, probably. Making a Metroidvania of it is a good idea, at least. They’ve got Double Helix working on it; it looks like kind of a change of pace for them, but I wish them luck.
Grin did a solid reworking of Bionic Commando a few years ago, but that game had a very solid if somewhat wonky identity around its core mechanic of no jumps, just arm. Simply bringing that forward with better graphics did the trick.
But Strider’s identity was just being awesome for 1989, with giant enemies and slopey physics that nobody else could match. Nowdays everyone has that; the trick will be making a game that feels in 2014 the way Strider did 25 years ago.
Patrick Juola, one of the dudes who used computer analysis to attempt to confirm the rumor that J. K. Rowling in fact authored The Cuckoo’s Calling describes his techniques, and a brief history of the subject:
The idea that we can use quantifiable models of this kind of linguistic choice is hardly new. It dates back at least to the logician Augustus de Morgan (yes, de Morgan’s rule), who proposed in the mid-19th century that average word length could be used to settle questions of disputed authorship.
And the techniques he used on JKR aren’t that much more sophisticated; in the end, a whole bunch of not-particularly-reliable fingers all pointed more at her than not. It did seem like he was in a hurry.
There are those who say that Harry Potter is basically a mystery anyway, so maybe it’s not that much of a stretch.
This morning the former editor of The New Yorker and the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski went googly-eyed at the thought of women having casual sex on campus. I can imagine “Morning Joe” would have bubbled over with mirth had host Joe Scarborough not been on vacation. These grown men and women — survivors of EST, Crosby Stills and Nash albums, and Elton John’s Oscar parties — could not believe Kate Taylor’s findings, detailed at wearying length this weekend. Their bodices wrinkled at one particular case, a young woman who spoke as bluntly as she could:
“We are very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down, so no one wants to be too tied to someone that, you know, may not be the person they want to be with in a couple of months.”
What alarms me about the quote is not the young woman’s describing fucking in fiduciary terms — it’s that it’s taken parents so long to realize the piece of shit world in which they expect their children to “mature,” reproduce, and plunder. It is after all the fault of a society that extirpates the public sector in the name of economizing and reduces the worth of a college degree to admission papers into a meritocracy. If the parents worship Mammon, then how do you expect their children to think otherwise?
Still haven’t played this yet, and I’m sure it’s really good. It’s just those bloody zommers/infected/whatever – I’m just so bored of them. Can we move on to more glamorous antagonists soon, please?
That’s pretty much my feeling on the matter. Well, that and I still haven’t plugged in my PS3 again after the move.
Justin Wong, one of the all-time top fighting game players, lost to Job “EMP Flocker” Figuerora early in the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament at EVO 2013. But that was only the start of an incredible comeback that you’ve got to see.
Some epic, epic matches. Normally Marvel is kind of whatever for me. It’s hard to see what’s going on, and matches so often turn into first hit -> kill one character -> kill the rest of the team as they fail to swap in safely. But EVO brought out really, really good players using all different strategies. Justin Wong’s old-school team of Wolverine/Storm/Akuma went against the grain, resulting in some interestingly varied matches that went right down to the wire.
Catching up on my Steam backlog; there have been too many bundles, of varying degrees of humility. Right now, it’s They Bleed Pixels; a pretty good combat-heavy retro platformer.
It has one mechanic that seemed really promising: once you collect enough purple orbs, either from pickups in the level or from defeating enemies (better combos = more orbs) you can deploy a checkpoint.
It’s a hard game, and its setups require a mix of reflexes and memorization to get through. A frequent problem with such games is that checkpoints are too far apart, like every two or three setups; so you’ll die a bunch to the first setup, then you’ll squeak by and die to the second, and from then on you have to play through the first setup every time you attempt the second, until finally you reach the checkpoint. Under They Bleed Pixels’s checkpoint scheme, you should only have to play past the first setup until you manage to beat both setups OR you get enough points in the first setup to earn a checkpoint, and then you can start from there to attempt the next. And so on, through the level.
In practice, though, that’s not what happens. Pickups and comboable enemies are far enough apart, or there’s not enough bonus for stylishly defeating enemies, that you basically only deploy checkpoints at where they’d be naturally.
All your attacks are on a single button: tap B to kick, forward + B to jab, etc.; I think you’ve got five or so distinct ground attacks, and I’ve died more than once because the wrong attack came out. I think they could afford to split it up a little, but keyboard users might feel differently.
And the wall jump is a little weird. Wall jumps are always a little weird, because pushing away from the wall feels like it should disengage you (as it does here) but you also want to push in the direction you’re jumping. They solve the problem by having jump on a wall always go away from the wall for the first quarter-second or so, giving you time to change your directional input after you jump. Super Metroid did the opposite: pushing away from a wall if you were close enough put you in a preparing-to-wall-jump animation, from which hitting the jump button would trigger a wall jump, even if you weren’t strictly touching the wall. Not that you necessarily want to take jumping lessons from the Metroids; they had their own quirks. That said, I’d be happier if TBP’s wall jump had a short grace period after you released.
But I’m enjoying myself! I’m playing it in short bursts to prevent frustration; your last checkpoint is preserved even if you exit the game.
(though there certainly is frustration: that corridor I’m sliding down in the screenshot, for instance, is an exercise in dying repeatedly until you learn the precise hitbox of the buzzsaws; the proper technique is to let go of the wall and fall to the opposite wall without jumping, and do it early—it’s more forgiving on your head than your feet.)
Kentucky Route Zero. At some point Steam snuck Act II onto my computer without telling me. Screenshots crunched for tumblr don’t really do it justice; it’s all about the giant crisp flat polygons and single-pixel lines, to say nothing of the way the camera brings intriguing things through the foreground as you move around.
There’s an RPS interview with one of the game’s creators:
Something that we stumbled across then was this interesting relationship equivalence between set design in theater, like stage theater, and video game work. We were making these little scenes in Unity, these little 3D scenes, and setting up props and stuff with a whole lot of consideration for the angle the player was going to be looking in from. They started to really look like theater sets. Then we started looking at modern American mid-century theater, and looking specifically at set designers. We found a few set designers that we really liked. That theatrical influence started to really transform the game, and moved it away from being what it was originally, which was a kind of exploratory platformer that was not challenge-oriented, but more about climbing around in the caves. That pushed it more towards this dramatic, more theatrical kind of game that was totally character-driven.
And then they almost totally depuzzlified it, leaving just exploring and conversation; and even there, conversation’s more about ‘what kind of person am I’ than advancing gameplay objectives. It’s neat stuff, really well made.
(another one of those retro-styled games that cheats the tech to be way prettier than anything of the era could have been; but I’m not complaining.)
I do have a minor gripe about the walk speed? But that’s more about my own impatience.
I met Laura’s mom at a Stand for Life event at UCF. She gave me this pic, and asked me to show it to people and spread her story. Safe abortions are NOT safe!
Google it before you show me how ignorant you are =P
No procedure is zero risk. People have died from “routine” procedures such as wisdom teeth removal as well, which should be noted is more dangerous than an early abortion. Even if there’s a fluke every now and then, abortion is still one of the safest medical procedures. The World Health Organization did a large study on the subject.
You know what the real take-away is for this tragedy? Not “Legal abortions are not safe, so all abortions should be illegal!” It’s “Even in the safest and healthiest circumstances, this procedure can be fatal, so anybody claiming they are looking out for women’s health by introducing legal hurdles is handing you a steaming pile of bullshit.”
Just to add: once babby is formed, the choice isn’t between abortion or no abortion anymore! It’s between abortion and giving birth, which is still kind of a big deal and will kill you ten times as often. Not that it the law’s business either way, of course.
Strider! They intentionally gave him that stance to show off how his feet stick to the ground, I bet.