Friday, September 02, 2011

On like Donkey Kong

I'm a huge fan of Donkey Kong.  We've got an multi-arcade game at the office, so I can play it properly (i.e. standing up) pretty much every day, plus I play it on an emulator at home.  I'm pretty ok at it, but nothing like the "pro" players you hear about from "King of Kong" and such.  How good am I?  Well, the famous Donkey Kong kill screen occurs on level 22.  I can regularly reach level 4, but have never made it to level 5.  My high score is in the 70k range, pros can get millions.

Donkey Kong is hard. Really hard.  Now that I play it regularly, I've classified how I die in to a number of categories.

  • My Own Damn Stupid Fault -  A simple lack of reflexes or a lapse in judgement results in my demise.  This happens less and less as I play more and more.  Still, about a 3rd of my deaths are MODSF.  These are the deaths where I throw my hands in the air and let out a special word or two.  Like "darn!", but with feeling. Typical MODSF errors include failing to jump properly to get a Hammer and landing on a flame guy or not making the leap from the right-elevator to the upper platform on the Elevator level.
  • Tricky Situation Fail - There are many situations in DK that are simply hard to survive, though not impossible.  Barrels spaced too far apart to jump both, but close enough that double jumping each is very hard (I'm getting better at this, however.) Also, the Spring on the Elevator level is always tricky.  While it's my fault when I die as a result of TSF, I don't beat myself up about it, because those situations are legitimately difficult. I've never made it past the Spring on Level 4, though I've read about how to do it.  Very tricky. 
  • Impossible Situations - There are situations in DK that I don't think it's possible to survive.  Getting cornered by flames on the Rivets or Factory level, barrels falling in just the wrong way on the barrels level.  Great players know how to avoid the situations. I'm not great, so I just die.
I've read comments following DK competition record articles where gamers honestly don't think DK is fun.  While everyone's entitle to their opinion, there's no getting around how fun I find it.  I'm going to reach level 5. I'm going to break that 100k score mark.  When? No idea.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Bitten by the Bug, Possibly a Tyranid

It's happened.  I want to play games...with people...again and often.  Since parting ways with Hidden City Games roughly three years ago, I've almost completely succeeded from the hobby of playing games.  What was a daily part of my life  has become something I struggle to do more then two or three times each year.

Mentor Legion Commander, ATTACK!

I don't want to buy any games I'm buried in gaming stuff as is. I want fewer boxes of games in my house, not more. What I want is to USE these boxes of games. First up, quite possibly my favorite all time game, Warhammer 40k.  Only D&D could rival the hours I've spent on 40k, and if you count the time spent painting minis and constructing terrain, it's likely I've spent more time on 40k than any other hobby in life. Even so, I haven't played it in four or five years.

Chaplain with Jump Pack and Power Fist. In the old days, he was quite the tank buster. Not sure how he'll do under the new rules. (I think fine.)

New editions have changed the rules twice since last I played.  Prices of 40k miniatures appear to have doubled since last I played. I'm frankly shocked by the prices. Even if I really start playing frequently, which I doubt, there's no way I will purchase more than a few small miniatures, if any.  If I do want more minis, bargain purchases from eBay and used items from friends would be the most likely option.

I've got Space Marines and Imperial Guard (a LOT of both) and the Marines are ready to go.  The composition of a Space Marine army appears to much as it has been since 2nd edition.

In addition to Tanks, I have a lot of Imperial Guard troopers with heavy weapons superglued to their shoulders.  I need to turn those troopers into two-man weapon team units. I'm going to try and find some parts to do nice conversions with them.  My first project! Awesome!

Don't worry, his Gene-Seed has been successfully recovered by the Platoon Medic.

I've started painting. I don't have all the supplies I need to finish the bases, so I've suspending painting until I get to Hobbytown again. Also, I want to paint some more Ultramarines, but I forgot to buy Ultramarine Blue last time.

My first new painted mini in years.  I'm pleased though I know I can paint better. See the crappy gravel on the base. The bases on my other minis are pretty modest, but that's not nearly good enough. Yes, that's 15 Rough Riders in the background.  I want to field all of them someday.

So the next thing to do is sort out how to actually get playing. If I must, I can probably find a local game store with a 40k night.  Not my first choice, as I have so many friends that play.  I want to play something, not necessarily always 40k, at least twice a month on weeknight evenings.  Not being able to drive might put this off until Autumn, but nice weather has always made it hard to game, so that could be for the best.  Besides, I've got mini's to paint.


Monday, April 25, 2011

What I wish I could say:

Regarding ourWorld players who try to gain access to other players' accounts:

"If we catch you requesting passwords, Emails, or access to another account again, you will be banned.  We're not fucking around."

The actual text we use is somewhat muted in comparison, though in action, that's exactly what we do.

And we're not.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minimum Comics

Not really gaming related, more like a pet project.  My goal is to post 100 strips in 100 days (give or take) then decide if I want to keep going.

Minimum Comics


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Defining the Brand and the Product with Care

In regards to things I really care about, I hate it when marketers or spokespeople refer to whatever their company creates or does as 'the brand' or 'the product'. Both terms are generic and emotionally detached. For the serious fan of the whatever-it-is, that lack of specificity and emotion is at best irritating and at worst insulting.

In general, I want the people who make or run or manage something I care about to appear to be as emotionally engaged with the thing as I am.  

I'm not that emotionally concerned about Tide, so they can call it "product" as far as I'm concerned.

While it helps, this engagement doesn't have to be 100% sincere. I'm sure Disney employees aren't (all) as jazzed about Disney* as the guests, but when everyone's doing their job right, the guests would never know.

Frequently corporate spokespeople don't show that sort of care for their charge, and it bugs me.


*Some totally are!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ourWorld Mobile!

While we're just getting into what a cool ourWorld mobile app (or apps) might be, the latest version of Flash for Android has real ourWorld running, for real, on a phone.

I'm annoyed I have an iPhone for the very first time!

To be fair, it's runs pretty darn slow, but run it does.  


Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't Bring a Resume' to a Flaregun Fight

by Adam!!!

For my entire career in the gaming industry, people have asked, "how do I get to do what you do?"  It's a fair question but difficult to answer.  The real answer is you need to be connected and you need to have skills.  It helps tremendously to have friends in the gaming industry, and if you want to make your living working with them, those friends need to respect what you bring to the table.  It doesn't matter if you're an artist, designer, programmer, or just a nerd with people skills, contacts and skills are the surest way to get in the door.  I've seen many people do very well with huge doses of one and not so much of the other, but most people need both.

 Pick out the genius game designer or artist in this GenCon crowd

Social Skills.  It's a stereotype that geeks lack social skills.  I've seen this first hand at gaming conventions thousands of times over.  That said, as geekdom gets more mainstream, and it clearly has, this stereotype has withered considerably.  The people I consider the coolest people I know now fit squarely in the geek category.  They are good, funny, decent, friendly people who can and do excel in most social situations, even non geeky ones.  Also, they are nerdcore.  My point is that the nerdy talent pool is so large that the total social misfit may have a harder time than they did when the industry was younger, and less polished.  If you really have trouble with people, you'll need to be a genius in other ways.  Provided people don't hate you, being a genius can get you a long ways (so I've witnessed.) If you're a genius and are great with people, that's the recipe for geek stardom.

Do What You Do.  If you want to make games, the best thing you can do is make some games.  If you're a programmer, program. If you're an artist, make art. My view is that until you are making money, you need to share whatever it is you do with as many people as you can manage.  Don't get hung up on getting paid.  If you really are doing work worth being paid for, the money will come.  You have to get noticed and respected first.  If you're a paper games guy, like me, make paper games.  I'm not nearly as prolific as I'd like, and I believe that's why making games isn't my main gig.  My friends who really are game designers design many more games than ever get published, and some that really deserve attention.  I've designed maybe five truly playable games (spent nearly a year on one) and through a remarkable stroke of luck got one published.  That doesn't happen unless somebody is really lucky and really connected*.  At the time, I was both.

Share Share Share.  It doesn't cost anything to share your work, ideas, art, or games.  Do whatever is is you do and get it out to the world.  Do things that get people talking and sharing.  Gaming industry insiders do have expertise, but they have limited bandwidth.  If you don't know them personally, give them another reason to pay attention to what you bring to the table.  If you're standing in a crowded room, trying to get attention, get yourself flaregun.

I said at the beginning you need to have friends.  Doing something really cool is the most effective way to get industry people to talk to you.  Being really cool is the best way to make friends.  Skills and Connections.  Connections and Skills.

*Also lucky was the enthusiasm for our project my partner and co-designer, Luke Matthews, brought to the table.  I wouldn't even have the one game if not for him.