Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Nearing the end of 3rd Year

Hello! No, you're not imagining this, I have actually written a new blog post after nearly a year! This post is mainly to inform you of how my studies and life in general are going.

So, at the time of writing, I am nearly finished 3rd year. It's been a strange year, especially at this time. Whereas last year I was so into getting all my work done even though it was late, I had an idea of everything I needed to do. This year, I'm not sure what I've been focusing on, because as it stands university hasn't been one of them.
Outside the blog world, you might hear me complain about how I wish to drop out and just get on with my dream of travelling the globe. Why haven't I dropped out then, you may ask? To survive in the world we live in today, we need a degree of a sort. A degree, which will allow us to easier attain jobs. Unfortunately, for me, I don't really have much of an interest in developing video games. Don't get me wrong, it seems cool, but as a student in it's design, I have to say it's not what everyone expects at all. I only have an interest in playing video games, like most people my age.

As it goes, this year I have been busy, busy with a new job and even my university work although I can never get much of it done. Even now, I have an essay due for Friday but I have no idea where to start so it's going to be interesting trying to get it done. It's also the reason why I'm writing this blog post, to tell you about my procrastination. In the next few months this blog may change, from a games design blog to just a general ramblings blog. I will include all aspects of what is currently going on in my life, except the more private affairs. I hope you continue to read the blog as it goes on and changes! Hopefully I'll also get better at writing again.

So, look forward to the future of this blog! I know I am!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Mini Review

As a PlayStation Plus member (like most of the rest of the current online PlayStation 3 users), I have been granted access to Uncharted 3's Multiplayer beta testing. This post is essentially a mini-review on how the game is so far. Naughty Dog are still currently updating and fixing the bugs that seem to be present in the game.

First of all, let me just say that I haven't played the Uncharted 2 multiplayer so I have no idea how they differ, ‘nor did I know what to expect.

One of the first things noticeable things in the multiplayer is the ability to customise your character. Unfortunately, at least within the beta, this is not to a great extent. There are two teams of which you may customise your look specifically for that team. These teams are Hero and Villain. You may customise your taunts or clothing, and select one of four character skins (Drake, Victor and Treasure Hunter or Pirate on the villains team).

Next is the ‘loadouts’. You get two options for them: competitive (for general online battles) and co-op loadouts (for when you team up with a partner against hordes of enemies). The loudouts contain weapons and boosters (aka ‘perks’).

You also get Emblems in this game, most likely for clans and such. And, as previously touched upon, the final customisations are Taunts. These are the most pointless things to have in the game; although, a booster does allow you to get extra ammo for taunting over an enemy you killed. But the taunts, especially when used by Drake just seem ... really ... bad. The animation isn't that good, and just makes him look... for lack of a better word ... camp. They are funny for a second, but after that you just tend to forget about them. In the game you are usually moving constantly, and the taunt requires you to stand still. Of course with the map size (which I'll go on to explain in a minute) standing still for just a second could get you killed.

Now, we'll talk about the maps. You get two maps "Airstrip" and "Chateau", both of about equal size. Airstrip has two parts. The first segment is the most interesting part. This section of the map involves a battle for control of the actual plane itself, as it ‘drives’ down the airstrip. Players will be jumping on and off moving trucks to reach the plane, leading to a seemingly cinematic multiplayer experience. These trucks aren’t stationary either, and are often moving as well. The second part is the base, not really much to say about this part apart from the fact that it's a base where the two opposing teams attempt to dish it out.

The second map is ‘Chateau’. It is an old building with a garden both front and back. The interior is old and a little bit rotten. The middle part of the building can be burned down – and there is even a zip-line. This map is particularly well suited for Uncharted, with lots of great architecture for climbing to lay an ambush on enemies. It is also more colourful.

Now, on with the gameplay. So basically, you can imagine, it’s the same as most 3rd person shooters - except with the fact it also includes parkour, which Uncharted is famous for. So there’s not really much for me to discuss. Sometimes it’s annoying as you don’t get much health, and even if you dodge out of the way when you’re being shot at, you can still die - or if you’re punched - but you get used to them. Fortunately, health regenerates fast and the maps are full of different materials for cover. The fighting is very quick, but the game isn’t as dumbed down as titles such as Call of Duty.

Players can climb the buildings and various other objects, rather fluidly I might add. It adds a whole new dimension to the third person shooting. Weapons feel well balanced, where even the incredibly powerful rocket launchers have setbacks.

There were a few early bugs, which included the beta freezing your PlayStation or lag being so severe that even if the game ran out of time it would proceed into negative seconds. This results in you having to force yourself to quit and lose all of your money earned from the match, and possibly an updated rank. Also when this happened and you quit, you were disconnected from the server, and couldn’t get back in until you rebooted your PlayStation. Now, these bugs have been mostly fixed. Earlier today we managed to get through a match, then it froze before we could get the winnings (I was the MVP too).

Now, I’d expect the updates to further improve gameplay. As a games student I find this process quite interesting and I’m really glad that I am able to take part of this beta.  Uncharted 3 seems to be a game that I will, indeed, be definitely getting.

And so ends my mini-review. I told you it was mini, but hey, when you’re reviewing multiplayer you can’t do a full review - especially when it’s still in production. And so closes my first ever review. Peace.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Moving Soon

PYup, the time has come once again after only living in Glasgow for a month. I'm moving back to Dundee this week. I had planned on getting a job up there, but the place I was going to apply to has taken away it's job page which is incredibly annoying. Always wanted to work in a bar. Bar tending has always been a nice little interest for me. Whenever I usually have the money I'll ask a bar tender for their best drink which most of the time they'll happily do, but wouldn't you be happy your talents weren't going to waste by just constantly pouring beer?

I've also been in a nostalgic mood. Anyone who's about my age (19/20) and who watched the old channel Toonami will remember an anime(cartoon for most people) called "Outlaw Star". Well, I've been watching that, as it was one of my first "grown-up" cartoons. Swearing, violence, and a space adventure all in a cartoon, kids were easy to please in the nineties. Also downloading another cartoon called "Tenchi Muyo".

I seem to never have a lot to report which is quite annoying. I'm a man of few words when it comes to blogging. Ah well, one thing I'm looking forward to is the last instalment of the Harry Potter movie franchise. It will be rather amazing.

Hm... There seems to be nothing else to say currently. Well, maybe one thing, I'm currently trying to design tee shirts. What type of tee shirts would you guys like to see? Stick to something that's in my limit :P I'm not very artistic right now.

Well, that's all for now.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Confirmed Results

So after this week, grades have been confirmed. Two of which are fails. One of which I should be able to retake during my third year. However, now that I know WHAT to expect, since I doubt the module will change, then I know I'll be able to pass it. The other one, I'll have a reassessment which I'll be able to do and submit before the summer is over. So, I'm hoping for the best now. I shall keep you updated on my progress and shall inform you of what the reassessment involves so that those interested in a course like mine can know what to expect. So far, however, I haven't received word of what the reassessment will involve but it will be something to do with a game concept, or more precisely, my game concept. As I said, I'll keep you updated.

/University post ended. Below is a more personal post.

So for the past few days, I've just been taking advantage of the PSN Welcome Back Package. I've played inFamous which is actually a damn good game and according to a friend of mine the second one is just as good. So I shall probably be purchasing that.
I've also been playing Burnout Paradise (Free for PSN Plus), I already had it for the xbox but I never quite got into it because I had no friends to play it with, well, no internet for my live in my student accommodation. So I stopped playing, which I now regret in a way. Well.. not really, xbox is broken now, even so I wouldn't be able to play the game as I have a launch console. Yep, I have one of the oldest 360's. It's served me well over the years, but with the latest update and my RRoD.. I am in need of a new one.

Anyway, I'm rambling. One of the things I wanted to mention is that I have been asked by my friend to write reviews as his review site is expanding. So in the next few days, I shall be writing a review for "The Beaver". Which is a rather interesting movie. Look forward to it. I'm not an experienced reviewer but I shall try my best none the less. The site is here: Spoony Bard Reviews

Now, if you don't like personal posts then I can make a new blog and make them there, however if you want to read stuff like this, and my progress in life as I go along then comment below because then I will continue. The reason for not making a few posts in the last while is that I've had nothing to write. Although, I'm sure I can do little ramblings if you want me to keep active.

Now, I'm going to finish watching Torchwood. Leave your comments and please ignore bad anon posts. They are childish people from my old high school who I haven't seen in two years. Just ignore them as they aren't worth the time nor the effort.

Thanks for reason.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


So I got all my results back. Well... Provisional results. Mainly D's. B, D, D, D, Fail, Fail. Now I'm working on rectifying the fails. You guys could actually help with this.I may have a good imagination, but when it comes to interaction designs.. my imagination is limited.

Essentially, I need to do this assignment and then make a case(I only need 1 mark in order to pass this one) to see if I can bring it up to a D. It's not my favourite assignment. I really don't like this module. I'm just lucky that if I pass, I won't have to do it next year.

So, the assignment is an icon assignment.
What is must do is(and I'm just gonna copy paste here as I'm feeling too lazy to type it all out) is:

  • Choose 3 actions that appear to have a universal meaning in terms of icon design. Find 3 different styles of icon for each action that illustrate this universality and find one icon that appears to have somehow missed the point. Explain your choice of icons.
  • Choose 3 actions that do not seem to have a universal icon style and find 3 different versions to illustrate this. Explain your choice and what rationale you think lay behind their design.
  • You are working for a company who has designed a robot to cut the grass completely automatically. You can assume that the robot knows the boundaries of the lawn (perhaps by having been taken around once by its user) and now the user has to make a number of settings. Design an icon for the following items:
    • Increase the cut height
    • Decrease the cut height
    • A warning that the grass box is full
    • A warning that the blades need sharpening
    • Engage the blade sharpening function
    • Set the robot to mow the lawn to produce parallel stripes
    • Set the robot for a criss-cross pattern (chess board style)
    • Set the pattern to diagonal, parallel stripes
    • Use the robot to scarify the lawn after cutting
    • Emergency stop
  • In each case produce the icon design and explain your design rationale
Try to get at least 5 people to guess what the icons mean – tell them that the icons will be on a control panel for a robot to cut the grass but no more.

So for the first one. I just went with whatever came into my head first. Phone, Camera and Block. Although, somehow I can't seem to find any icons that have missed the point with this. Anyway, I'm not asking you guys to do my assignment of course. But for the second point, I cannot think of any actions that do not have a universal icon style and that is seriously annoying me. If you guys can give me ideas for the three actions then I'd much appreciate it. 

I'll just be glad once this is all over.
And no I will not apologise for the inactivity. That's like apologising cause you have a busy life. 

So guys, tell me your thoughts. 

Or you know, just congratulate me on my mostly passing, as most of you will. :P
I was immensely pleased with my B. 

Thanks, Chris.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

2nd Year Done

Right, hopefully that's my second year done. I've now handed in all my coursework(and got extremely drunk to celebrate afterwards), so hopefully what I've did has been enough to warrant me a pass.
For people thinking that I was actually creating a game using a game engine, it was just a report so that's been done too. I have no idea how unreal works, so I just wrote what I could.

Anyway, I now need to decide what I'm going to be posting about in this blog over the summer now. Either daily shenanigans or if I decide to work on stuff like 3D then show you guys that progress or something. I tend not to make plans as I find they don't happen. I tend to take stuff as it comes along. Anyway, lemme know what you guys think. What do you wanna read in the blog?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Game Engines

Anyone have ANY idea how these work? Currently trying to write an essay on how I would make my game concept real using a Game Engine like Unreal or Unity or something.
It's actually pretty difficult I've got a book called Mastering Unreal Technology: The Art of Level Design, although it doesn't seem to help that much. Although I will figure out a way to write this essay. Wish me luck guys.
Also I still need to write the other half of my Game Concept. Should have it done by Friday!
Wish me luck!


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