Articles about games

Flash is not the 99%

An "infographic" showing some data points in the epic HTML5 vs Flash battle has recently made its rounds on Twitter and other sites.

I don't care much for whether Flash is the bees knees for games, but I do care about people misleading people with data. And some of the data points depicted in the graphic didn't quite sit right with me, so here's an attempt at figuring at least one of them out.

Flash is supported by 99% of web browsers

Playful math

The team that brought you Progress Wars now brings you yet another single page browser game.

This time, it might actually be useful. Probably not to you, though, unless you’re around 10 years old and learning about negative numbers.

Introducing Progress Wars

Today, I am stoked to bring you Progress Wars – the ultimate game of progression.

If you enjoy spending time on Facebook “games” like Mafia/Pirate/Ninja/Viking Wars/Clan/whatever you’ll most certainly be thrilled by Progress Wars!

  • Unique gameplay experience
  • Unlimited amount of missions
  • Play as much as you want, when you want
  • No need to invest time you don’t have
  • Super simple learning curve – anyone can join
  • Advanced algorithms tailors missions to your playing style (patent pending)
  • It is absolutely free to play
  • Progressive, automated difficulty levels

I have analyzed popular Facebook games and distilled their enticing gameplay into their core game mechanics. What’s left is only the stuff that makes a game like Mafia Wars tick – none of the fluff. The result is Progress Wars.

A small part of me on wow-europe.com

Considering I am a World of Warcraft player and previously pondered applying for a webmaster position at Blizzard Europe but decided against it due to not feeling like moving to Paris, it’s pretty cool to notice that a small part of me have still made it onto the World of Warcraft website.

Their new World of Warcraft game stats page uses one of my activity indicators to, well, indicate activity.

Blizzards spinning ball is clearly the same as mine, and has most likely been lifted from Napyfabs collection.

Putting stuff into the public domain and seeing it pop up in unexpected places like this is extremely cool and has so far been my favorite thing about putting together the collection of animated GIF progress indicators.

The power of advertising

Danish television is currently airing a Gears of World ad= featuring war torn buildings, full automatic assault rifles, and galactic mega spider monsters, all to the sound of “Mad World”.

I didn’t really know the song before I heard it in the Gears of War ad, so I went to the iTunes Store to see if I could locate it. Lo and behold, there it was, as the top song on the danish iTunes Store: “Mad World (from Donnie Darko)”.

Seems like advertising does work. Heck, I’d even like to have the game as well (oh yeah, and the XBox 360 that goes with it).

Announcing WoW Snitch

WoW Snitch (now disbanded) is a small application of mine that eases the pain of uploading data from your World of Warcraft AddOns to multiple websites.

If you know what Matt Millers fine UniUploader is and does, you can think of WoW Snitch as multiple UniUploaders in one application. Each task you create is more or less able to do what UniUploader does.

I personally use WoW Snitch to upload data to my guilds Guildspace website, Census+ data for Warcraft Census (mmm, stats), and for keeping my character profiles on RPG Outfitter up to date. Unfortunatly it’s currently not possible to upload to Allakhazam, Thottbot, or any of the other sites that employ their own, closed uploading mechanisms.

WoW snitch is the first Windows desktop development I have done for ages. It is a nice break away from the dynamically typed scripting languages I usually work with. There’s something soothing about that compile phase (probably because I haven’t reached 30 minute builds yet), and I really do like the warnings and errors a compiler can catch. That said, I definatly don’t mind giving up that in favor of the things made easy by for example Rubys ducktyping.

Having previously ranted about Windows applications and raved about OS X ditto, I sure hope I have managed to add some of the sexyness that’s so badly missing in many Windows applications to WoW Snitch. ::crosses fingers::

Head on over to the WoW Snitch website, download the snitch directly, and drop me some feedback in a mail or the forums or here, thanks.

Kameo: Websites of sour

Today the website for Kameo: Elements of Power was launched. Having played the game a bit, I figured I’d visit and see what it was all about.

Here’s the story of my first visit, in the form of a thinking-out-loud usability test session. Something this website could have needed prior to being launched…

First time around

  1. Open kameo.com
  2. Huh, what is this? A location selector? Hm, I’m in Europe, so I’ll click that.
  3. Uh, “United Kingdom” or “Ireland”? None of those are really a good match for me. I wonder if I am not allowed to visit the site if I am from another country. No worries, I’ll commit a bit of fraud and pretend I am from England.
  4. Waiting for some kind of navigation to appear…
  5. This music doesn’t really mix well with Korn coming out of iTunes. I better kill the Kameo sounds. At least the button to do that is reasonably easy to find.
  6. Hm, no navigation seems to be available. Running my mouse over every element of the screen to see if anything appears clickable.
  7. Oh, I can click the Kameo logo in the bottom left corner, that might reveal some navigation. ::Click::
  8. Uh, no, that just reloaded everything.
  9. Screw this, this site has nothing but a pretty picture and sound. ::Close tab::

Then I thought, “Hey, this stuff will make for a good rant”…

Here we go again

  1. Reopen kameo.com
  2. Aha! This location selector is no match for my deception-fu. This time I will fake being from “New Zealand”, mate.
  3. Same intro stuff again. It wasn’t interesting the first time around, it sure isn’t the second time around.
  4. Gah, the sound still doesn’t mesh well with my iTunes. Didn’t I already turn this off?
  5. It seems nothing has changed now I am coming from New Zealand. Why do I have to bother picking a location at all?
  6. This time I wait and see what happens…

A minute is an infinity

A minute later, a navigation menu appears at the bottom. One minute! That’s more than 60 seconds of doing nothing. 60! Without an incentive I have an attention span somewhere below 10 seconds. The target audience of the game probably has even less. Why would anyone force anyone to wait that long? It gets even better: I have to wait 60 goddamn seconds each and every time I revisit the page.

Navigational pains

The navigation gives me these options: “Anger management”, “Kameo Lore”, and “Characters”. Where would you click to find screenshots? Release information? Supported platforms? Price range? Retailers? The hard cold facts that you might actually be interested in?

You better choose wisely, since you’re in for at least 20-30 seconds of penalty time after each click. Oh, and make sure you don’t follow one of the most common website interactions: Clicking back to the frontpage to start over. That is the full minute of waiting. Again.

The verdict

Kameo.com is a waste of my time. Microsoft and Rare, you won’t see me again. I sure hope the game has better interaction designers than webdesigners.

PS: As a aside, it should be noted, that the Kameo community site which is hidden behind a hard to see, anonymous link at the bottom of the main site, is a usable, pretty website. It has a bunch of interesting info about the game. Why they’ve chosen to make the good stuff unaccessible is beyond me.

9 signs you play too much EverQuest

An entry I found laying about as a draft. I probably never published this because it really isn’t that original nor funny, ah well…

  1. You always carry at least 5-6 bags with you
  2. You try to deposit bags of spider webs, bodyparts and clothing in your bank.
  3. You tap your shoes when you are in a hurry
  4. When moving into a new area you pause for a few minutes
  5. You rely on your safe fall instead of taking the elevator
  6. You try to loot roadkill
  7. You shout “TRAIN” whenever you see more than 3 people following each other
  8. You send text messages to people standing next to you
  9. You believe randoming or duelling solves every dispute

Meeting the loons behind the toons

This recent weekend 3 danes, 4 hungarians, and 6 british people met in Copenhagen. For a lot of them this was their first meeting eachother, and the only common denominator was that they all play EverQuest together.

The weekend marked a milestone in my EverQuest experience. The fact that 13 people, who only knew eachother from an online enviroment, could get together, spend an entire weekend (and then some) and simply “connect” was a great experience.

Tons of fun was had, good food was eaten, beers were drunk and EverQuest puns were numerous. I’d do this again anytime – and will be this coming weekend, although on a smaller scale.

The virtues of online games

I tried out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic the other day. The game seems decent, but has a number of annoyances – in particular one I found to odd.

The game lags.

Now, SW:KotOR is a singleplayer game with no network functionality and no packets to lose, so it can’t be lag, period. Still, on occasion I lose control of the character, it freezes and starts warping all over the level. The emulation of actual, online packetloss is near perfect and my initial thought was “so this is what Star Wars Galaxies is like”.

Then it dawned on me: This is the first step in a money making scheme. Game developers must have noticed how online games retain their popularity for years on end, while singleplayer games falter and is put back in the closet after a few weeks. So they started adding online game characteristica to single player games.

Soon, we’ll be able to launch the newest action game in singleplayer mode, fight against idiot bots that cheat and spew worthless insults at you while we all lag around and lose the connection.

Other bots will add you to their ICQ list with the splendind reason of “omg u r teh best!!11!”, while the losing bots will send you e-mails detailing your mothers escapades last night. They will post messages to your favorite boards “proving” you have no life and live with your incestious parents in a trailerpark, and create accounts with other names to agree with themselves.

The game will launch flood attacks against itself all while it connects to your IRC channels and spams “BIAOTCH!!” until it is banned, whereafter it will get you G-lined by complaining to the network admins that you are distributing pirated, homo-erotic images of naked children.

Ah yes, singleplayer games sure lack the virtues of online games.

Human-rights violations

After seeing how discrimination against Haitians supposedly disappears by having Take2 remove the phrase ‘Kill the Haitians’ from GTA: Vice City, I would like to file the following complaints on behalf of selected minorities.

Russians

In the game by IO Interactive, Freedom Fighters, the phrase “Kill the Russians” is frequently heard, often accompanied by the words “Find the red” and “Destroy”, and by degoratory describing members of the Russian-American minority as “obstacles”. This is clearly a violation of the human rights of the proud comrades of the glorious motherland.

Jedis

The Jedi Council of Koruscant points out to me that on numerous occasions during George Lucas popular movie hexalogy(!), Star Wars, the phrase “Kill the jedi” or variations thereof with the same meaning and intent is uttered. If this isn’t removed from the movies and the memories of those who have already seen it aren’t wiped, the Council sees no other resolution than to take legal actions.

Bills

It has been brought to my attention, that an entire movie has been dedicated to teaching the youth of today to “Kill Bill”. This indoctrinating message have been prominently displayed in trailers downloaded off the Internet, on a dedicated website, and on huge posters. This is an atrocity against the civil liberties of Bills – both big and small.

Ugly consoles

Recently some supposedly concept images of the PlayStation 3 circulated on the gaming websites. Hopefully they are the real deal, since they look pretty neat, which brings up another thought; Why the heck are all video game systems so ugly (or at least boring)?

Consider the existing systems – none of those are exactly objects of beauty that you can proudly to display prominently on the entertainment altar in your living room, are they?

Have Sony seen the light and is trying to turn video games systems into something that people can place under the Beovision Plasma TV and still remain hip?

NFS: Underground - the online experience

A guide to playing Need for Speed: Underground in too many easy steps:

  1. Connect to the online part
  2. Choose username
  3. Realize you have to accept the terms of usage again, accept them
  4. Choose username
  5. Choose your car
  6. Verify that you have chosen the right car
  7. Choose the kind of race you want
  8. Locate a chatroom with free space in a list of hundreds of chatrooms
  9. Find the list of created games
  10. Hope you are able to get into a game before it fills the 4 slots
  11. Hope the creator of the game actually starts the game before people leave again
  12. Hope you don’t get the dreaded “cannot connect to the host”-message that noone really know what means. If you do, go to 7
  13. Look at a silly textmessage and not the nice looking cars while waiting for all 4 people to connect.
  14. Pray that none of the opponents are one of the way too many online cheaters
  15. Win the race
  16. Pray that you actually won the race and not some other player that you just couldn’t see on your screen
  17. Wonder why you didn’t get the points you just won
  18. Go to 7 – alternativly log off, wondering why anyone bothers playing it online

The singleplayer part is kickass though.

Velious custom helmets

The velium helmets have the possibility to be customized via a quest, making for a very unique look. I will try to continually
update this page when I locate better images.

Coldain Ring Quests

The coldain ring quests are 10 quests bundled into one long quest, each of them awarding a gradually stronger coldain insignia ring. It is the melee-equivalent of the coldain shawl quests.

This is in no way supposed to be the ultimate guide to solo-questing the coldain rings or anything like that, merely a description of my experience with the quests so far - me being a warrior without any fancy spells or abilities.

The Iksar Handbook of Infiltration

Or just "A (not 'The') guide to getting evil races into Good-Race cities"

I was asked if I could summarise my steps to get my Iksar into most of Norrath, and I will. I will emphasize that these are my steps and not nescesarily the best way.

My name is Jakob, I am a gamer

Tim Bray writes about playing games, or more notably about playing an MMO-game:

So, did I just waste two years of my life? I don’t think so. First off, I had some fun. Second, it’s about the world’s most cost-effective entertainment, if you divide the dollars by the hours. Third, I met some cool people.

My situation differs a lot from Tims. Mainly because I am a gamer by heart, but also that I don’t really have a family life at the moment, so I have plenty of time to invest in my MMO-addiction of choice: EverQuest.

I started playing EverQuest primo 2001. At the time I had avoided the game, because I knew what it would end up doing to me, but all it took to shatter my defenses, was a friend of mine saying he was playing it. I went and bought the game and now, two and a half years later, we both still play.

Before EverQuest I have had a carreer in Quake 2, Action Quake 2, Quake 3 and Urban Terror – not to mention the countless numbers of singleplayer games I have gone through – all of which has now taken a step into the background. Fact is that if it wasn’t EverQuest it would be something else, games are in my blood.

Do I regret being sweettalked into starting EverQuest back then? Do I regret having spent thousands of hours developing my virtual personas? No, not really, and for the same reasons as in Tims quote above. I have had and am still having tons of fun, and I know that I am part of making the game fun for other people. That is definatly worth my time,and boy, does it demand a lot of it.

Something fishy

Something fishy, or should I say Blizzard’esque, is happening over at
the official EverQuest site.

I suppose they are about to announce their coming addition to their everexpanding EverQuest franchise (this one likely being a realtime strategy game), and are trying to create some hype by gradually releasing hints about the game.

I really like this kind of thing – I especially like how the community seems to come together trying to solve the puzzle at hand by gathering and comparing theories and bits of information.

The world is safe yet again

Ah, got Splinter Cell beat finally – at the expense of last nights sleep. But when the world is threatened by international terrorist conspiracies, things like ones beauty sleep have to be prioritized down, right?

The last mission of the game is great (as is the entire game). It’s a long mission where you really get to use your hitech ninja skills, plenty of tight situations where you need impecable timing to make it undetected past the guard, and some tense actionfilled moments.

I have a feeling I’ll be going back the next few days and retry some of the earlier missions, just to see if I can avoid detection in this and that spot.

I'm oh so tired

…and I’m blaming Splinter Cell. I recently installed the game and it has sucked me in. Quite odd, as I never found the demo particulary interesting, but the full game has managed to get me to the point where “I’ll just finish this mission before going to bed” and end up going to bed at 3AM after 2 more missions have been finished. Great game.

Withdrawal

Sigh, with the newest EverQuest-expansion hitting the gamingstore shelves and the online servers yesterday, we should've seen this coming: Massive downtime. It is no surprise that Sony/VI cannot release a major expansion without having to bring all the servers down. For the last 3 days they have been down more than they've been up. I am closing in on a week without EverQuest, I can feel the shakes already.

World of Warcraft preview

Preview in Danish, originally published at Daily Rush.

Noget af det mest interessante, der skete på dette års ECTS messe i London var Blizzards overraskende annoncering af deres hidtil hemmeligholdte projekt, World of Warcraft. Spillet bliver Blizzards forsøg på at ride med på den bølge af succes, som Verant har fået med EverQuest: Godt 400.000 betalende spillere er noget, der kan få selv det mest succesfulde PC-spilfirma til at kigge sultent på Verants efterhånden gamle MMORPG.