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Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

  also known as zed
  & handle of notzed

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Friday, 10 July 2015, 14:45

puppeteer

Took a break from the break from hacking and started looking through the old PS+ games I hadn't gotten around to downloading. Also cleared out some of the lesser ones; things i thought might be worth looking at further but now there's just not enough time for really good games so i know i'll never look at them again. Could always re-download anyway.

Anyway one of those games I downloaded was Puppeteer.

Very impressed with the game. By setting it on a small stage they managed to craft a quite exquisite piece of software. A very solid frame rate with NO TEARING, with very good use of per-object motion blur and decent AA. Very high quality textures and models with detailed and charming animation. Short loading times. Absolutely incredible presentation that makes it look like a real puppet stage setting up and tearing down between stages. I only found it too dark and had to turn up the brightness on my tv.

I kept thinking it must've cost a packet to make ... and in this day and age when a piece of shift flash or phone game passes as 'good enough', and even triple-a games are often a lot of technically incompetent snot, it's disappointing that the game didn't get much higher sales.

It's obviously a childrens game but the narrator and players don't mind throwing in some humour for the adults and even though I wasn't thoroughly enthralled myself (just can't seem to care about anything much) I laughed out loud more than once. And of course the puppet-stage setting is perfect for breaking the 4th wall at any time, which it does often. The two player mode seems to revolve around controlling a faery (in one player mode you control both) so it's also a perfect play-with-your-kid game.

Definitely a case of restaurant food vs chucky-d's. I guess it's a question of whether there is a commercial place for this quality in the 6-12 age bracket? I guess not going by it's sales. It deserves a PS4 port and technically (and for that matter aesthetically) it's already better than most PS4 games i've seen even without any enhancements whatsoever.

Anyway, definitely worth getting if you have kids and a ps3 or even if you just appreciate well-made software. It shows what games could be like if people didn't just put up with jank.

Others

I haven't even looked at the other PS+ stuff yet and I got a few disks last week, and bought some other PSN goodies: resogun+driveclub expansions, astebreed and jamestown. (+ maybe more on sale, i can't remember).

I'm pretty shit at resogun but it's just too good; the added modes aren't as varied as the base game but they're going to take a lot of playing to get good enough to know that for sure. As for driveclub I barely know most of the cars in the base game and although i've nearly finished it I don't really care much about the pre-set races for the most part (they can be good filler though) - and this is all the season pass adds (and mostly super-cars at that) - but well I'm a fan I guess.

jamestown is very 90s arcade stuff and like with those i'm kinda shit at it. Each level is fairly short but fun enough but I need quite a few more DEX points before I can weave my way through all the bullets on screen without just dying. It's no SWIV and i'll probably never finish it but it's there I guess (need another controller and visitors I would say).

astebreed was pretty much on a whim and I went in totally blind. It's the only thing I regret now, at least so far. It's fast and well presented but the gameplay mechanics are just not for me. There are 3 main weapons. A magical machine-gun thing; which you pretty much just constantly hold down the button for. A sword thing which causes damage and destroys yellow and purple (iirc) projectiles; so you pretty much just trigger it constantly, occasionally holding it down for a super-swish. And a ranged/targetted rocket-spray weapon which uses a mechanic I've seen in other jap games that I quite dislike. You hold down a button to target (fucking R3 at that) and then release to fire. i.e. you're constantly just holding that and releasing that as well. So the game pretty much devolves into maneuvering between the red projectiles or beams overlayed with a mass of visual noise whilst you're incessantly pumping the other weapons. There's a bit of timing/rhythm to it but to be honest it pretty much just sucks. ~$25 I could've spent on something else but I guess it's no big deal and maybe i'll find something i like if i play it more later (he says knowing full well he's spent $80 and never gotten around to even opening the box, and he has tons of other things he needs to go through).

No Man's Sky

ign and a few other places have a few bits and bobs about this during this through July. Nothing really new but a few things more fleshed out slowly, presumably as part of the PR build-up to launch.

I'm still blown away by the graphics here but for different reasons I might be blown away by a game like The Order. It's unclear if it's running on a PS4 but it feels quite alive for something running at that framerate (and thank fuck: no tearing). Much like it felt the first time I visited a city in ratchet and clank; except here it is not merely background decoration. Yet all some sad cunts can do is complain about a little bit of latency in the terrain generation around the periphery; jesus get a fucking life. Although it has it, I would myself be fine even if it had no anti-aliasing whatsoever; I find that aesthetic quite pleasing on low-texture models just as I did back on the Amiga.

At first I was a little shocked at how quickly the wanted level escalated into the players death - but then I thought it's actually a good idea. I like the idea that the universe itself is trying to stop you being a fuckwit and just indiscriminately killing every animal that moves and mining every bit of land you see. This is very good.

It also means that it's decidedly not a tourist or walking simulator; it's actually a game with high risks for player actions or even just mistakes. All other things look gamey too; clockwork atro-physics, simple flying and shooting. Nice, although there can be satisfaction in becoming a master airliner pilot; most people just want to have the fun bits.

Crafting looks, well, like crafting in any other game. Seems the point is to buy or find blueprints for the upgrades, find or buy the raw materials, hit a button to combine. Buying new ships/suits/guns will provide a new thing to look at as well as a different number of upgrade/storage slots.

I like the cleaninless of the UI which bares some similarity to Destiny. But it also shared Destiny's shitty finger-cursor-thing. Why then the dpad works so well for this kind of menu? Could redeem itself if it runs of the touch-pad.

Confirmation of rotating planets is nice; one hopes that extends to the whole solar system. I mean Damocles did that on an Amiga (w/ day/night) so it should be the bare minimum expected to be honest. Sure it will be a clockwork universe but that's good enough.

I'm rather pleased that it is a single-player game. The whole point of 2^64 planets is that everyone gets their own game to play - despite it all being in the same universe. I'm not sure how one will navigate given it's size but it should also be interesting to see the galactic map fill out by other players - maybe the blink or light up as they are discovered or maybe you can only find them with effort or locally. And for those that want a 'social' experience; there's the whole fucking internet there to enable that, let alone just turning to those in the same room. I imagine there will be a lot of streams/video recordings and screenshots of this one; i'm sure it wont hurt that it such an appealing facade and it may be the only way anyone else ever sees what you saw.

I'm actually pretty surprised how many people seems disappointed this game doesn't have pre-defined story or NPCs. Surprised just doesn't do my feelings half a justice: baffled, confused, somewhat disgusted to be frank. Are people lacking even the smallest amount of mental maturity that they cannot partake in some activity without explicit directions? Jesus how the fuck do they know when to go do a shit? Minecraft demonstrates that at least some children still have some curiosity bones left so at least it's not everyone stuck with this severe mental handicap. Anyway; there's simply no physical or economical way to create a game this big and put any sort of meaningful pre-generated assets in it. I think there will be some lore related things but hopefully not too many, or any tutorial things. With only a dozen people making it, any extraneous fluff seems unlikely.

Or stuff like base building? 2^64 is a number so big it's clearly impossible to comprehend for most and they just relate it to something they know already without realising it has no worth.

Another good thing is that Hello Games' director Sean Murray seems very set on the game he wants to make and isn't interested in any outside noise. Once you start listening to whiners you can easily break your vision and end up with a broken game or just make silly mistakes. I think the driveclub director gives a little too much weight to internet forums for instance. From the IGN video view count it looks like he's onto a winner anyway, even if many people seem to let their imagination escape reality a bit too far.

It still bugs me that people pronounce this as 'nomansky', have they got 'diagon alley' disease from mr potter or something? (i always thought that was such an awfully cheesy and dumb bit of the movies).

Anyway i'm obviously rather interested in this game; excited even.

From what I know (and because of what I don't know) it seems like the game I never knew I wanted, But I actually always wanted, from the first day I worked out how to play a bare-disk pirate copy of Mercenary: Escape from Targ.

Tagged games.
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