Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

03
Jan
10

Ludo’s Playlist

Hello! It has been a long while since I’ve posted anything on this here blog. My games writing has moved to Gaming Daily and The Reticule leaving MVH a little quiet. Meanwhile I figure this frees this site up to let me write about other stuff that occupies me from day to day. This is a bit of a mammoth post about a Spotify Playlist I’ve been obsessing over for the past couple of days. I took a song from each of the artists I’ve listened to over the past year and added them, and then arranged them into an order that made some sort of odd sense when listening to it. Descriptions of each track lie below. There were a load of artists I couldn’t find on Spotify, but many are on there. Feel free to suggest music you’ve been into in the comments thread, I’m always looking for new stuff to listen to. Here’s the link for your audio pleasure:

Ludo’s Playlist

Right, let’s get started.

Continue reading ‘Ludo’s Playlist’

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20
Nov
09

Avatar Demo Impressions

The Avatar demo is out so I though it was time to strap on some space marine gear and dive into the neon jungles of Pandora to take the fight to the tall gangly blue Na’vi on their own homeworld. Imperialism, hurray!

Continue reading ‘Avatar Demo Impressions’

12
Nov
09

Gaming Daily

A quick note to say I’m now writing stuff for www.gamingdaily.co.uk!

New things will appear there every Thursday, I’ll still be writing here as well of course, probably about Dragon Age which, like some sort of evil giant B-movie blamonge, has absorbed me completely and refuses to let me go.

 

29
Jul
09

The Downer Ending:

kingkong

Warning, beneath lie spoilers, I can’t even tell you what games I spoil, because that  itself would be a spoiler. Read on at your own peril.

I don’t know how many of you have played Ubisoft’s loquaciously named Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Offical Game of the Movie (yes that really is it’s full title). It’s a clever little game by Michel (Rayman, Beyond Good and Evil) Ancel, it has a minimal HUD, a clever ‘ecology’ system where creatures eat one another, and an ammo light philosophy which often sees you improvising with thrown spears.

And you die at the end.

In telling the iconic King Kong story, Ubisoft were forced to tackle something few developers had before, a sad ending. Nowadays more and more developers are choosing to take on the challenge of ending a game in defeat, putting their story above standard gameplay win conditions. Who are they? How successful were they? The mother of all spoiler collections lurks beneath the cut.

Continue reading ‘The Downer Ending:’

18
Jul
09

armchair developer – prototype

Alex Mercer

Open world games have a habit of closing off much of the world and revealing it bit by bit as an indicator of progress. We’ve seen it with GTA’s islands and Assassins’ Creed’s horrible glowing blue walls. As we talked about in our last podcast, this is counterintuitive in a game where there’s so much joy in sandboxing. Prototype gets it right by giving you the whole city straight away. Then there’s an issue with keeping the player’s interest in the environtment. Prototype’s shifting influence structure provides an answer to this, you don’t unlock new environments, you change the existing one.

It doesn’t go quite far enough. Currently there’s a few changes that you’ll notice in the infected areas. There’ll be infected running around and causing havoc and there’s a fierce bit of colour correction turning the skies a suitably apocalyptic blood red. The actual geometry of the city changes little, which seems like a missed opportunity to properly warp the world.

The quest design is really uninspired as well. Kill X number of hunters. Destroy X number of water tankers, out of which Hunters will appear. Disable X number of viral detectors. Absorb this target. The objectives feel as though they have nothing to do with plot progression, character progression, and nothing to do with the territory system which goes for the most part completely unused. The story is pretty weak too. Cutscenes interject every now and then with no relevance to the missions that surround them. The web of intrigue montages are for the mmost part devoid of real information.

So, the task is to properly utilise the territory system to incorporate it with the story and create a more unified experience. This is going to involve a fairly heavy rehaul of the game. here goes.

Continue reading ‘armchair developer – prototype’

17
Feb
09

Racebending, Heroes, and what your Avatar says about you.

Epic

Epic

There’s a reason I prefer western RPGs to JRPGs… well, actually there are several, but only one I’m going to talk about here. I like the ability to craft a hero of my own design, something far more often seen in western games. I like to make choices in the my appearance and dialogue, to have a vast field of options open to me. I like to have the choice to play as a malevolently evil sorcerer, complete with Ming the Merciless beard, a burly and stalwart Warrior, protecting his friends with his might, or a lithe and slippery thief, whose allegiances are never fully known.

Yet it never turns out that way. Given the option to customise my character in actions or appearance I nearly always end with the same template.

He is a good man in a tough world. He takes the path of good, but he is no Lawful Stupid Paladin. He does not smite evil indiscriminately, but he is no pacifistic hippie. He values the lives of others, and will risk everything to save them, but he is capable of making sacrifices if necessary. He respects the law, but will go outside it if he sees it as unjust. He will make morally dubious choices in pursuit of his goal, but nevertheless has a line he will not cross. He’s usually an older man, a grizzled veteran, often bald, almost certainly with some sort of facial hair.

He’s also black.

This is my attempt to explain why.

Continue reading ‘Racebending, Heroes, and what your Avatar says about you.’

20
Dec
08

Coming soon!

screenshot1

We’ve been rather quiet recently, many apologies for that, but we’ve been working on a game, which turns out to be an incredibly time consuming endeavour. Nevertheless the Symposium of Game Journalists and otherwise interesting Actual Game Developers who happen to be involved in the rather interesting email Symposium have thrown up some points that have caused some argument in the Man Vs Horse household, and these are arguments we will soon chain to text once we have removed all of the violence and expletives.

We have also been busy playing all of the games that have been released over this Fall/Xmas period, so expect opinions on Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Far Cry 2, Prince of Persia, Red Alert 3 and more.

Merry Christmas to you all, and a happy new year!




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