Archive for February, 2009

22
Feb
09

That’d be nice; Better A.I.

Yes games have come a long way since the days of games composed of whiney static on tapes, and the main protagonist was composed of 4 pixels. We’ve come leaps and bounds since the games industry’s second revival in 1985, I still remember being mind boggled by the graphics of Desert Strike. Graphics have gone from two dimensional sprites in a world of tiled textures to a fully three dimensional rendered world of bloom and lighting effects. Audio has transcended from simple blips and beeps your computer made to dramatic music and delicious ambient background sounds. Stories have gone from saving the princess to epic tales that take multiple games to tell. And now even real world physics are being put into games, soon the games developers will need at least one physicist on the team.

While those have come many miles since their first incarnation, the A.I.’s progress seems to have all the progress of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a mountain. Sure A.I. now is far superior than that of yesteryear but it’s progress doesn’t seem to be as important to game developers. Everytime a developer raves of their A.I. improvements it turns out to be little else than a more refined version of the marines from Half Life. Of course this is an unfair generalisation, but it still seems that the dream of facing off against A.I. that could actually challenge you (without cheating, i.e. catch up A.I., see mario kart and nearly every racing game) has been lost in favour of online play. Only RTS games seem to really get a clever A.I. (Galactic Civilization 2)while us dumb FPS gamers are stuck with A.I. that still sometimes run straight off cliffs or into fire. So I have devised a shopping list of things I would like to see used more in games.

Continue reading ‘That’d be nice; Better A.I.’

19
Feb
09

When Games Go Bad

I’ve been playing a lot of Dwarf Fortress recently and things had been going well on my very first fortress. I couldn’t seem to attract new migrants but everything was ticking over rather nicely. So I decided to expand my base by digging underground eastwards with my head miner, Einstein. Unfortunately the river is also eastwards, Einstein had to run for his short rotund life when that water came. He made it to safety fortunately and I decided to pave over the lower stairs to help cover up this minor incident of losing the whole of my lower levels to flooding.

I enlisted all my mason’s to help and in no time it was done. It wasn’t too bad I didn’t have anything built down there yet and I could always make a well above it. Five minutes later a notice popped up to tell me one of my carpenter’s, Isaac Newton, had drowned. Yes in my haste I had forgot to check no one else was down there before bricking up my lower levels, and as a result Newton had drowned as the water slowly rose above his stubby head.

And how does the game decide interpret Einstein’s day? With two wonderful sentences:

Saw a friend die today. Saw a beautiful waterfall today.

Genius.

Continue reading ‘When Games Go Bad’

03
Feb
09

Worthington: Road To Klamath

A quick note about the temple of trials Worthington just completed. The trials are used as a tutorial to ease players into the gameplay, while providing enough experience to advance a level. In short an brief and easy introduction to the game, nothing to write home about. Worthington meanwhile was thwarted at every turn, frustrated to the point of pure rage, reborn countless times, fooled by simple traps, and outsmarted by killer giant radioactive ants. He also failed to gain a new level. This does not bode well as our hero Worthington now starts the real quest.

Continue reading ‘Worthington: Road To Klamath’