Unity 3D Tutorial Update

It’s been a while, but I’m back to my semi-irregular Unity 3D tutorial schedule. Last time I left off in chapter 4.3 [Enemy Sight] and it has been quite a while…I’m noticing it the more I try to re-familiarize myself with the Software and UI. But I’ll just see through it, finish the tutorial and move on to Unity 5 fresh and motivated *cough*

Unity Stealth

Not much going on today, due to space constraints I had to spend most of my free time I use for developing or writing on getting Unity back to a working state and figuring out the schedule for the remainder of the tutorial. Yay!

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Difficulty options in games: Are they necessary?

A couple of days ago I read an interesting article about difficulty in games, which proposed that all games should have an easy mode. You can check it out here if you’re interested.

Games had difficulty options for ages and everybody has gotten so used to it, that it’s not even thought about anymore. But there are a few titles made by the japanese developer “From Software”, that seem brutally difficult in todays gaming landscape and also don’t offer a clear difficulty option.

Difficulty: From Software

Many gamers used to the current, approachable games of today, are arguing that games like the Souls series or Bloodborne are too hard and should offer a difficulty option. The article gives plenty of arguments for including an easy mode in Bloodborne and games in general.¬†While I personally don’t think that the Souls games or Bloodborne are actually hard, and also think that they do offer many options to lower the difficulty, albeit more obscured, that might be material for another article.

In general, I agree. If you like a game/genre/setting and want to enjoy the experience, you should be able to and not be hindered by unreasonable difficulty. An option to make the game easier or harder makes sense in most cases and games are usually designed around that choice.

But there are exceptions where making the game easier would have a significant impact on the experience, for examples the Souls games and Bloodborne.

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Linear games: Are they worth playing?

Recently I’ve been trying to broaden my horizon and try out some games, franchises and genres that I don’t usually play or like. Among them were a number of quite linear games like the Call of Duty series and others. My goal was to verify my prejudices I had against a lot of mainstream titles without ever having played them.

In this article I’ll be talking about a few examples of linear games I’ve played recently and what observations I made while and after playing.

Note that I’ll be only talking about the single player portions of games and I don’t necessarily mean, that linearity entails a bad experience. If you like CoD, great, more power to you. There’s numerous of different preferences when it comes to playing games and I’m just talking about my personal experience.

Call of Duty Linear Games

Let’s get started

Call of Duty: Black Ops

This one I actually finished, just for the record.

I’m someone who tries to explore game environments, try different approaches to situations and in general find out what’s possible in the game. This is probably a result of playing too much System Shock and Deus Ex and also exploring the complex secret-riddled levels of Doom, back when it was released.

Turns out that’s a terrible thing to do in CoD. Following the games rules to the letter and staying on the path laid out for you is critical to “your” enjoyment of the game. Any deviation will either lead to death or absolutely nothing, because nothing will progress.

At first I tried getting at least some enjoyment out of the game by letting the AI do all the fighting or trying to skip sections and scripted events, but it usually didn’t work or took ages, of course with the same result, so eventually I caved and just played like I was “supposed” to.

At that moment I started thinking how my experience of the game was different from that of other players and I couldn’t reach a satisfying conclusion. Except for the difficulty and sometimes weapons, you basically have no say in anything that happens in the game, especially how the story plays out. Everything remotely important is presented via cutscenes and the actual gameplay playes more or less in a series of corridor-levels or at least linear areas.

But other than “That’s not the game for me.”, I didn’t really think much more about it after finishing up the solo campaign and getting myself killed a couple of times in multiplayer. But that would change a couple of years later when I tried the next game:

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Warcraft Dungeon Challenge: Scarlet Halls

The current World of Warcraft dungeon challenge is the Scarlet Halls. We’re two low level Gnomes trying to beat dungeons at the lowest level possible.

World of Warcraft Scarlet Halls Dungeon Achievement
Unexpected victory in the Scarlet Halls Dungeon

We did a couple of Blackfathom Deeps runs to improve my gear a little bit, but the desired item didn’t drop. Since survivability was our main concern, we didn’t bother anymore as the item in question was mainly a DPS boost.

In this post, I’ll be breaking down the encounters one by one, what challenges we faced and where we had some interesting surprises.

Current World of Warcraft patch: 6.2.3

Dungeon: Scarlet Halls

Bosses, gear and unexpected challenges

Both characters were level 25 by the time we cleared Scarlet Halls. We originally entered ad level 22 but hit a roadblock pretty early on, before even getting to the first boss.

Our gear was mostly dungeon blues until Gnomeregan and a few quest rewards. No heirlooms and the average item level was about 20-23. As for buffs, we used a few low level alchemy potions and enchanting recipes to give us a slight advantage, but since it’s still pretty early in the project, we haven’t gotten any serious upgrades yet.

Here’s a list of all noteworthy encounters:

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How to keep things interesting pt.1

Compared to other MMORPGs or more traditional CRPGs at the time of release, World of Warcraft, for the most part, was never really challenging, due to Blizzards intentions to make their games as accessible as possible.

dead
I should start a death-counter

With the release of the first expansion, the game didn’t get easier, but you could see a more streamlined design in the zones, that made content progression more straight-forward. The normal questing content was still as difficult as before and the endgame featured challenging raids and, with the intended gear level, very challenging heroic 5-man dungeons.

After that, things started to get easier with every expansion in an effort to remove any and all frustration for new players and to get everybody to the endgame faster. And now here we are in Warlords of Draenor, with crazy fast leveling speeds due to heirlooms, more powerful skills, more interface/profession/financial streamlining and reduced experience requirements.

So nowadays you literally faceroll through all instances and the whole questing content until max level, and except Heroic (Raid) and Mythic (5man/Raid) or Challenge mode content, even there everything stays mostly trivial, which is a shame, because World of Warcraft offers tons of great content, from thousands of quests to dozens of dungeons and raids, which are unfortunately completely irrelevant for todays leveling players. So why not change it up and find a way to make it fun and challenging again? Experience the content with new eyes and maybe even learn a thing or two about a class and encounters?

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Happy new year! With some updates…

Hey everyone.

 

This year I’ll (again) try to be more regular with my updates and also work/progress on learning Unity and talking about Game Design/Development as well as ranting about WoW (since I surely will resub again to repeat the inevitable cycle).

 

Unity:

I haven’t progressed much due to real-life obligations, but there’s just a few tutorials left in the 4.x version, after which I’ll be switching to Unity 5. Then I’ll finally start working on the 5.x tutorial, with the goal of doing the asset work mostly myself and also expanding on the tutorial project.

 

 

Gaming:

Last year I’ve played through most of Bloodborne (excellent game) but there wasn’t much else. I finished “Stasis”, a Kickstarter funded isometric horror adventure, which was fun, albeit a bit short.

For this year there isn’t much planned. Even though I’ve gotten rid of hundreds of games in my collection, there’s still far too many left. For 2016 I’m looking forward fo Dark Souls III and ~maybe~ Deus Ex, although I’m not sure which platform I can play it on since I don’t like playing first person games with a controller and it’ll only be available with Steam DRM on the PC -_-

We’ll see

 

 

WoW:

There’s still a lot I’d like to talk about and there are a number of rough drafts for future posts. I finally finished clearing up my WoW Archive and gotten ever so slightly hyped for Legion, which has put me in the mood of at least playing the test account again and see the Cata zones up to Lvl20, especially on the Horde side, since I’ve been neglecting those since they came out.

The 1-10 Zones/Classes are already done, with some very notable differences in player engagement, gear, gold, story and required playtime. I think the enjoyment a new player can have, heavily relies on the right choice of faction, race and class as some combinations can be quite fun, while others tend to be less interesting. Of course with a higher character level, the gameplay will become more interesting and the questing only gets better the more current the content is. But for a completely new player, the very early content can last for hours and days and with the huge amount of more modern alternatives, new players are likely to “give up” if the first hours aren’t engaging enough.

 

Anyway, before I get more into it, I’ll save this topic for a later date. See you soon!