Hello, everyone. I won’t be so talkative today, having already spent my energy on the previous rant. Let’s start with Develop magazine explaining how practical models defined the original Doom. Which is pretty funny, considering how Hollywood went through a period of all CGI, all the time around the turn of the millennium, only to rediscover the value of practical FX. But I had no idea game developers would also resort to props and such in the past. Maybe that would be a better way out of the uncanny valley than even more polygons?
Then there’s Shamus Young with an overview of randomness in games — another issue I tackled myself in the past. In the same key, a thread on the rpg.net forums discusses what card-based mechanics can do that dice can’t. Worth keeping in mind, especially as I gave serious thought to making games based on card mechanics but never got around to it.
Last but not least, it turns out someone is implementing a Civilization clone on a Commodore 64. Which is way cool, and proves once again (are you tired of hearing this already?) just how badly we’ve been underutilizing computer hardware for the past… oh, more than 30 years now. And as a post scriptum, here’s a spoilerific retrospective of Planescape: Torment by Hardcore Gaming 101.
Have a nice week, and see you next time.
The proper use of randomness in games is a serious problem. I’ve written about this before, so I was happy to see other game developers recently raising the same issues as I did, and mostly drawing the same conclusions. But while Craig Stern of Sinister Design writes about board games and what we can learn from them, Jay “Rampant Coyote” Barnson plays devil’s advocate a little — an important counterpoint, as it turns out.
What could I possibly add to this? As it turns out, one of my attempts at making a roguelike actually went far enough that I had to tackle this problem, and surprisingly enough I solved it pretty well. Except I never explained how, and this is a good time for it.
I liked roguelikes ever since I discovered the genre, possibly in 2002 or 2003 — around the same time I stumbled into the modern IF community. But while my involvement with the latter was significant, the former remained a marginal interest at best, despite attempts to change that.
Wait, what are roguelikes? For younger gamers, they are the ancestors of Diablo, although that might seem hard to believe when you see the latter next to, say, Nethack. Connoisseurs will tell you it’s one of the oldest computer game genres, along with text adventures, and with the same timeless appeal due to the use of text as a medium.
They can also be some of the most frustrating computer games out there.