Archive for the 'Technology' Category


Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

riddick and abbott

Vin Diesel’s inimitable growl introduces you to Riddick.

“The dark,” he rasps, “is where I shine.”

It’s the voice of a man who’s about to kill his way out of the highest security prison in the Galaxy.

Butcher Bay is a concrete monster that descends kilometres below the planet’s surface, a high security centre built to hold the toughest convicts alive. Nobody has ever escaped before, but the folk who built the prison evidently didn’t anticipate containing the likes of their latest inmate.

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The Gaming Intangibles

world of goo 1

American sports commentators have a wonderful expression that they use to describe a general sense of ‘where the team is at’. The team’s morale, how well they gel with their coach and their sense of team spirit are all referred to loosely as ‘the intangibles’. It’s a term reserved for those elements that can’t really be measured, but which undoubtedly have an impact on the team’s performance.

I’ve been thinking about the intangibles in games, those small elements that, while difficult to quantify, can help to elevate a title from being simply pretty good to something great.

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Recently Dante has ventured back into the alternative megaverse that is Eve Online, and by all accounts is enjoying placidly mining rare minerals from asteroid fields and gaining new skills. But it’s in Dante’s nature to always be doing more than one thing at the same time. So, as he sets his ship to harvest he hops over to the 360 and throws cars at helicopters in Prototype.

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Gaming Foibles – Everything and Nothing

Do you know what it feels like to have everything, and then lose it?

Do you know the feeling when one moment you have the power to detroy a sun, to fly, to bring peace to the world, And then, moments later to be jogging along the pavement, barely outpacing that sweaty obese gentleman with the sausage dog?

Well then you obviously haven’t played Metroid, or Prototype, or any of the other million games that do this to you.

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(too much) Hammer Time

Hammer nooooo

Have you ever looked up at a beautiful clear sky and thought ‘that’s a good skybox?’

No? Well then you haven’t been putting obscene amounts of time into the Hammer World Builder, the tool that Valve use to build all of their marvellous maps for games such as Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal and Left 4 Dead.

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Left 4 Dead map – suburban shootout


The new Left 4 Dead authoring tools have been released, allowing any old Joe to build their own masterful campaign from scratch for free. All it takes is time. Lots and lots of time. Instead of posting, or eating for that matter, I’ve been engrossed in the Hammer level editor trying to bang together part 1 of my campaign, currently dubiously called Suburban Shootout (it happens in the suburbs, you see). I’m taking all suggestions for an actual name and a tagline. Screens of my as yet very unpolished first map are below.

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Horizontal gaming – the pros and cons of consoles

Welcome to my ivory tower. Imagine if you will a high backed chair, more of a throne than anything else. And there I am seated upon it, and I’m smoking a cigar. I swish the brandy around in the glass and chuckle to myself, illunated only by the glow of my quad core monster-bastard machine. Meanwhile outside, far below, the masses are, well, massing. Bumping into each other yapping about their Street Fighter IV and Halo 3.

It is I, the PC Gamer Snob, always eager to laud my powerful processor over anyone who dares game on a television. When ports are released it will be I who announces first in a loud booming voice that gaming has been dumbed down, to cater for those small minded consolians. Because PC Gamers are smarter, stronger, faster than their couch potato console counterparts. Amiright?

To find out, we must descend below the jump, into the lands of more reasoned debate.

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