Monday, March 20, 2017

SUPERMAN RETURNS - A POSTMORTEM



Very interesting article about what went right / wrong during the development of Superman Returns:

Click here

My favorite part: "In retrospect, we had the tough combination of new game/new engine/new team. Generally you want a maximum of one of these things for a project. Two becomes difficult. Three is damn near impossible"

Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2017

ASSHOLE-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT

An interesting article, I can soooo totally relate to some of my previous companies:

Asshole-driven development

Take a look at the comments, too. Some of them are even better than the original

Saturday, January 7, 2017

TREASURE HUNT 2016


Like every year, I organized a treasure hunt for my nieces and nephews at the family reunion. Each time I try to do something different, with the additional complication of kids growing older each passing year. This means the challenges and rewards need to be updated

There were around 13 kids. I chose 2 captains based on seniority, and each selected their teams by turns. Somehow girls ended up all together plus one of the boys, so they asked him to be moved so it was girls vs boys. It was unfair since it´d be 5 against 8 but that´s how they liked it

I had previously hid poker chips all around the house. The 1 dollar pieces were at plain sight, 5 dollar chips a bit more hidden. Then the 25 and 50 dollar pieces were fairly hidden but the kids could use some hints written on paper (no more than 5 hints active per team). There were also two 100 chips particularly hidden, one per each team, also with paper hints

I gave them 30 min to look around the house and try to find as many chips as possible. I would say they found 70% of them. Girls outperformed the boys here, and despite being less they got 40% more currency. Go girls!

These chips would be used on the second phase: The auction. They were supposed to use that currency to bargain for the presents. This year I went to Flying tiger, trying to offer “more adult” items. I bought around 30 little items raking from 1 to 3 euros each. On top of that I also got 3 gift cards of 10 euro each for the older ones

The auction went like this: I showed briefly all gifts to them, then gave some minutes to come up with their strategy. Then I would go gift by gift asking them what they wanted to offer from the chip pool they had. They would commonly raise the stakes trying to beat the other team. Boys were more aggressive than girls and actually used better their resources. They got the majority of gifts and by the end have used almost all their chips. Girls were much more conservative and the auction ended with half of their chips being unused. Still they got the gift cards which is what they wanted, so everybody was happy ;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

STREAMFRAME


Months ago I gave it a try to a new management tool: Streamframe. Now I finally found the time to share my opinion about it, so let´s go with it ;)

It´s essentially a videogame production tool in the form of a social network. In other words, it´s like Facebook has been adapted for tracking tasks. It´s web based and although couldn´t find confirmation, I suspect it´s possible to use it on your mobile phone (ala Slack)

The visual design is probably one of their strongest points. It´s really nice to see, elegant and relaxing. Aside from that it offers a wide array of small tools to support your organization efforts: Task creation and tracking, calendar, notes, messages and chat. They also added the possibility of "liking" other people´s posts

However it seems to have the same issue than most other production tools: It´s only fully useful for 2D assets. Maybe animations too (ala Shotgun) but for 3D and code there is no way you can review work into the tool. Can´t blame them, no other tool does afaik. Aside from that there were some weird decisions about how you interact with the tool (i.e. you can´t do anything unless you create a "space" - other tools don´t require you to do that -, couldn´t find a way to move an existing task to a new deliverable, no drag & drop, doesn´t update info particularly fast...) that makes it feel like a public Beta, waiting for some usability improvements

It probably works great for small teams where everybody makes an impact on the product, particularly with young / hipster users, other than that I don´t see it working on a big production, tbh

Sunday, October 23, 2016

INSIDE (PS4)


WoW Legion has kept me away from other games lately, but I found the time to play and finish Inside. It was highly praised by some colleagues and I enjoyed Limbo, the previous game of this company. Plus it was reasonably cheap, so why not?

Generally speaking, great game. Not many mechanics but well implemented and always forcing the player to use them in a slightly different way on each new level. Visually speaking has certain personality and altogether gives the title a certain unique mood. You don´t get that so often lately

It´s short (you can finish it in 4-5 hours depending on your ability) but for 20 euros I actually like that. I´m sort of tired of those games that take 40 hours to be completed. I don´t have that luxury. And the best thing of all: While being a puzzle game I didn´t need any walkthrough to finish it. I did it all by myself, and this has some merit because I get stressed easily and as soon as I fail to find the solution 2-3 times I immediately check internet

I´ll need someone to explain me the ending and the internal logic of the world, but other than that it´s a great purchase, interesting, slightly challenging and enjoyable. If you didn´t, go play it. It´s among the top 10 games of the year without a doubt


Monday, July 4, 2016

THE DAY OF THE TENTACLE REMASTERED (PC)


At the time, I hadn´t previously played Maniac Mansion, but as a fan of other Lucasfilms graphic adventures (Monkey Island 1 & 2, Fate of the Atlantis) I was curious about The day of the Tentacle. In all honesty I had a lot of fun playing... but also frustration. You have to remember back in those days there weren´t online walkthroughs. If you were stuck you had to wait until other kid told you how to proceed. Still I was stubborn and no matter how much I had previously failed I played over and over until... well, couldn`t finish it. I guess the puzzles were too difficult for me

Yeah, some time after I finished it with the help of a magazine walkthrough. It was a great experience to finally see the ending. I had a hard time anyway since my hard drive was fairly small and I had to delete the operative system every time I played to make space for the game. Literally

Point-and-click adventures were everywhere at the time, but this was probably the best. It was fun, lots of new ideas and it made sense as a whole. The only game I´ve played in which you can swap at will among different time periods. Still the procedure of "talk to everybody until you run out of dialogues" and "try every object with EVERYTHING" was boring. Today you just go online and find out the solution. In the nineties you were just fucked

Thanks a to a bet I won (yes, I bet Spain wouldn´t win the Eurocup) a friend of mine purchased it for me to get even. I´ve played again and finished not only the game but also all the Steam achievements. Whenever I was blocked, I would check any walkthrough. I had lots of fun and got trapped in nostalgia often. A great game from a time in which hardcore was the standard

Friday, May 20, 2016

UNCHARTED 4 (PS4)


I wasn't an Uncharted fan initially, since the first one felt a little bit "more of the same": Just a nice combination of platforming, puzzles and shooting. All those experiences I knew from other games

And now, I was just waiting for this game to buy the PS4. I gradually realized (see here my previous posts about U1, U2, U3) another aspect of the series: How it achieves to make you feel into an adventure movie, but still interactive. Make no mistake, the story is set in stone and you can't affect the outcome, but there is a combination of visual elements, story tricks (like the use of sidekicks for witty dialogues) and ingredients borrowed from movies that makes the experience unique (you can check out a previous article I wrote about that here)

Uncharted 4 may be the best of the series so far. The main reason is the story, which is much more compelling due to playing with family ties. Aside from that the game features some new functionalities during platforming (the rope and the climbing stick), traversing (sliding) and dialogues (at least once you get to choose between comeback lines, and the optional conversations they used in Last of Us). The rest I think I've seen in the previous games

This is another topic it's important to highlight: Naughty Dog has been building on top of what was developed (and succeeded) in the previous games. They don't need to invent the wheel every time. They use some of the previous systems (like the chases with reversed camera) occasionally but it becomes a nice addition instead of a unique selling point. Still, the game often feels fresh because this variety

On the minus side I could say the game felt a little long to me. There was a little too much standard climbing and shooting here and there I could have lived without because it didn't add anything new. Also the multiplayer is ok but nothing impressive: They've borrowed the challenge systems from CoD this time, and that's pretty much it. No reason for not enjoying it, though

All in all, I highly recommend Uncharted 4. The best game I've played on this generation!