Sunday, August 8, 2010

On Lazers and Explosions...

StarCraft 2 has a game within the game (greetings canine!). This game is called Lost Viking, an arcade game booth found in the Catina within the single-player mode. Despite what everyone keeps telling you, it is NOT a 'secret' game. It is placed directly in clear line-of-sight of the player, so anyone playing the single-player should stumble across it. Secrets are not placed directly in front of you.

Anyways, I decided to give it a go one boring night. Having given it about 10 seconds previously before stopping and continuing my campaign, I can honestly say it is a good bit of fun and shows off the modding capabilities of Blizzard's WarCraft 3 Mk II engine (yes, you know what I mean). The game itself is ... well I wouldn't say it is difficult, but it is definitely not a walk in the park. I had no idea what I was doing but still managed to unlock 3 achievements in one hit. The unlocking of those achievements (big display on screen saying you have unlocked something) are also what got me killed. The video below is this game in action. The player is not very good :S

I will probably return to play it at some point and get the 500,000 point achievement, but only because I enjoyed playing it. Achievement whoring is not something I really like doing in games and I personally think its a cheap method of creating re-playability. But that is something I will rant about for another time. My point is I enjoyed the 'mod' which paid tribute to many a Top Down Side Scroller (or Vertical Scroller) of yesteryear. It is a genre of gaming you rarely see being made anymore, which I find disappointing. I also would like to know why.

Depending on who you talk to, some people may regard these kind of games as mindless. You usually start in a ship that shoots peas and eventually deck yourself out with enough firepower to destroy the universe. Things fly at you, you shoot them and they explode. You also move around. Mindless? Well ... yes to a degree. They can also be incredibly skillful, relying on player reactions and destructive creativity in order to a) simply survive and b) achieve the highest score possible. Some can be so incredibly skill based they can even turn people off. A popular example of this is Ikaruga, a TDSS classic where players can morph between light and dark ship variants to either absorb damage or inflict more upon the same/opposite enemy colours. The following video is of someone playing BOTH players (1+2) in this game.

Yeah ... that. That was on Normal. I tried this with one ship and failed miserably. My neanderthal brain just could not grasp the concept of changing colour to absorb incoming enemy fire as I tried to avoid everything with very low success rates. I imagine with practice I would be better, but my first play session was definetly a slap into my gun-ho, 'shoot everything!!' face.

Anyways, these games are fun. Instant fun at that. Sometimes I consider the days before storylines and character development to be the true pinnacle in gaming awesomeness, skill and enjoyment. Historically these games almost seem to have been wiped out since the birth of the First Person Shooter. It almost appears that as games have become more technologically advanced and more like movies and books, the industry has tried to shed the skin of old relics regardless of their success and popularity. Thinking about this inspired me to download Raiden 3, a game ported from the PS2 to PC quite awhile ago. It still looks awesome, is very enjoyable and will possibly cause me to have a epileptic fit sometime in the near future.

So long story short, these types of games is the game type (lol) I intend on making sometime in the near future. It is the sort of game I have been wanting to make since the last year of my degree, instead of involving forklifts and tanks. A work-in-progress Alpha is currently on standby as things are sorted out. I would like to implement a more realistic control scheme in the form of keyboard movement and mouse/controller aiming but at this point it is not set in stone. Hopefully something significant can be completed before the end of the year.

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