Let's make it simple, I like games. You probably like games too. Then, we're good. I been playing game since I don't even remember when. So let's say Year 0.
Hi. I'm Shadowstew, a currently unemployed engineer. I recently graduated at the University of Maryland, College Park, with some BS in Computer Engineering. Soon to be out in the real world workplace. Somewhere... One of these days...
A Potpourri of my favorite games:
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Super Mario World
Legend of Zelda: Windwaker
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
De La Jet Set Radio
WWF No Mercy
PATIENTLY WAITING TO PLAY Borderlands 2
The Last of Us
Guild Wars 2
CURRENTLY PLAYING Persona 3 Portable
Super Mario 3D Land
Incomplete First Playthroughs Backlog Fallout New Vegas
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Shadow of the Colossus HD
Rhythm Heaven Fever
Mass Effect 3
Completed Games 2012 Journey
Mass Effect 2
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (Third Time!)
Completed Games 2011 Ghost Trick
The Last Window
Saints Row 3
Friends, Dtoid, Cbloggers, lend me your ears! Is a man entitled to another man's life? Or perhaps, a man chooses and a slave obeys. Myfellowbrethren,areyourrelationshipsconsensual? Gaige and I disagree. Unlike you barbarians, Gaige and I formed a mutual friendship. She even asked me to tell everyone why she is awesome and how we met. She would love to be friends with you all. As a good friend, I will talk about how awesome my BFF Gaige is.
Gaige is fresh as Bel-Air
While the other vault hunters are great and all, they still follow the same archetypes of Siren, Soldier, Brute, and Mercenary. As a Mechromancer, Gaige breaks this mold. Now Gaige didn't tell me anymore details of how she will be different; she wants to be as mysterious as Zero. But, c'mon! Just look at her punk fatigues. Speaking of looks...
Gaige's style combines the best of the vault hunters
Gaige told me, “Why limit yourself to one look? Why not have it all?” Red hair like Lilith. Goggles like Mordecai. Bandage like Salvador. Punk rock like the legendary vault hunter Pippy Longstocking. Also, don't tell her I said this: Axton is turbs jelly of her D347-TP robot. Turrets are fantastic, but Mechs are amazing! Axton and I even agree that...
Gaige + D347-TP = Big O Relationship
Gaige and I bonded on the mutual love of Mecha, such as Big O and Iron Giant. Her relationship with D347-TP is the typical "big robot and kid" friendship. I mean who wouldn't want to have a big awesome robot on their side? Just imagine the skill tree inspired by Mecha lore. For all we know, there could be a perk where D347-TP will bend stuff for Gaige. Glob, imagine the carnage a bending robot can do in the Borderlands universe.
Now everyone is probably wondering how Gaige and I met. So let me tell you the story all about...
How my life got flipped...
… turned upside down, and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there. I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air.
In west Philadelphia born and raised on the playground where I spent most of my days. Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, and all shooting some b-ball outside of the school. When a couple of guys, they were up to no good, started making trouble in my neighborhood. I got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said "You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air!"
I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the License plate said "fresh" and had a dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought nah, forget it, yo homes to Bel-Air!
I pulled up to a house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabby "Yo, homes smell you later!" Looked at my kingdom I was finally there to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Drop Ball, Drop Ball is an “extremely addictive, high intensity game designed for people everywhere.” Needless to say, there's not that many Drop Ball video games. So when I was trying out Petit Computer, a DsiWare application where one can write programs in BASIC, I started to think what video game I should make. Maybe I'll adapt Drop Ball into a video game.
While this isn't an in-depth guide on how to use Petit Computer or how to create an amazing video game, anyone can try following along on how to made a Drop Ball video game.
My Drop Ball rules: 1. While in squatting position, grab the ball using your butt.
2. Stand upright without releasing the ball.
3. Only when full upright standing position, drop the ball to score a point.
4. Repeat without breaking your streak.
The graphics were very simple. I only drew nine sprites:
-Player victory stand
-Player crouching left
-Player crouching right
-Alternate Player squatting
-Alternate Player victory stand
Each player sprite was 64x64 pixels and the ball sprite was 16x16. Using GIMP, Petit Computer's built-in sprite editor, and copy-paste, I drew each sprite. I imported it into Petit Computer using PTCUtilities.
Before I started programming, I designed an outline what had to be done.
1. When a button is pressed, the corresponding action and animation must be drawn on screen.
The game controls:
L Trigger: Drops left leg (Player crouch left)
R Trigger: Drops right leg (Player crouch right)
L+R: Crouch (Player crouching)
Touch Screen: Butt Grab
L+R+Touch: Ball Grab (Player squatting)
2. A player scores a point on each successful ball drop (following Drop Ball rules).
3. A player loses the game with a failed ball drop (dropping the ball too soon).
What I programmed
BASICally, I wrote an main loop that checks if a button is pressed during a frame (1/60th of a second). If the button is pressed, the display is refreshed to update the player score, player sprite, and ball sprite. Once the ball is grabbed, an additional check is added when the player drops the ball. When the player drops the ball standing, the score is incremented. When the player drops the ball in the wrong position, the loop stops running (game ends).
Sound design is very easy to do in Petit Computer by using the built-in sound effect and music library. The BGMPLAY command allows multi-track music, and the BEEP command can change the pitch of a sound effect. I decided to add sound effects for each butt grab and ball drop. Additionally, I played around to create a “ONE POINT!” sound, imitating voice. To top it off, I added BG music during the game play.
Testing (And adding some finesse to it)
Test, test, test. The majority of my work is testing the game and fixing its errors. This is where I add some finesse to the game. For example, what makes a video game “a video game”? A title screen. A how-to demo. A game over screen. This is also the time to try to make the game even more enjoyable. I added some jokes during the demo video. I decided that secret achievements made the game much more re-playable, and I added the ability to save the high score and unlocked achievements.
DROP BALL. Yeah, well it is a game. What I learned is video games are a lot of work. Even for simple ones. Below are the QR codes to play and test DROP BALL. Hit this link for a larger resolution.
The head is almost the exact size of the head in the print.
You probably can't read the Nutrition Facts of the lollipop. But, the serving size is 1/9 of it. Serving calories are 60 cal. Total carbs is 15 grams.12 grams of sugar. So that's a total of 540 calories and 108 grams of sugar. How does Juliet NOT have diabetes?
It's a no brainer that handhelds offer great single player experiences. But one may overlook the fact that handhelds have provided unique multiplayer experiences that is unmatched on home consoles. Let's look at some examples:
The Game Boy's killer app was packed with the link cable. This allows players to face off to see who can last the longest in the game of Tetris. What's awesome about this is simultaneous multiplayer on separate screens. Most console games at time didn't really offer that option. It was pretty satisfying and intense playing face-to-face with your friends.
Pokemon: Multiplayer Collect-a-thon
Pokemon offered a nice twist on portable multiplayer. In addition to head-to-head battles, this game has a trading mechanic that forces completionists to make friends who have the pokemon they want. Personal note: I've became a local playground legend by being "that kid with the 100 lvl. Mew."
Advance Wars: Hot Potato
This game holds a special place in my heart for providing quick multiplayer fun with friends who didn't even own a Game Boy Advance. A main issue with handheld multiplayer is not everyone owns the same game, a link cable, or a handheld. The solution? Have a game mode where you just pass the handheld around taking turns. It might not be the first game to provide alternating multiplayer. But, being a turn-based strategy game makes this style of multiplayer work so well.
On an unrelated note: Advance Wars was among the few handheld games that provided linked multiplayer with one game cart.
One of the best parts of a Warioware game is unlocking a dual-player mini-game/souvenir. For those unfamiliar, players share one handheld system with one player sharing the L-trigger and the other player sharing the R-trigger. It doesn't sound fun unless you actually try it. However, the quirkiness of this multiplayer style just works with the quirkiness of Warioware.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures: Marriage between consoles and handhelds
Some may think that the Gamecube/GBA connectivity was a failure. They might have overlooked the fact Wii/DS and PS3/PSP connectivity are pretty common in this generation of games. While the Dreamcast/VMU may have played with this idea, Nintendo pushed this idea (They even had a press conference dedicated to GC/GBA connectivity). I could talk about how awesome the GC version of Pac-Man, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, or even Animal Crossing. But, GC/GBA connectivity really shined in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. What I especially like about this game was being allowed to explore indoors without forcing all players to be inside. The GBA screen is used when players are off-screen. This mechanic is played with when players have to split up in later levels.
Now and the Future:
It's fun to see the evolution of handheld multiplayer. These days handheld rely on wireless connections instead of link cables. Not to mention, players don't need to be in the same room anymore to play multiplayer. Some may argue online handheld multiplayer is diminishing the experience. However, unlike console and local multiplayer, handhelds aren't abandoning the old style of local play.
With the release of the 3DS and PSVita this year and knowing how these handhelds will connect to their respective home console, handheld multiplayer will get better and better. Especially if handheld/console connectivity catches on in the future, gamers may see more varied, unique multiplayer experiences with their handheld. Hell, multiplayer may be what will save handhelds from dying off.
Screen protectors! Something that always runs through my mind when I buy a new handheld. During every honeymoon cycle of buying a new handheld, I believed that I wanted my new toy to be always in mint condition. I always ended up buying some.
But every time (and I swear every time!) I bought one for my handheld, I always go to a few stages before giving up on it.
Stage 1: Optimistic
"Yeah, this is going to be perfect!" I said as I slowly apply the screen protector on my screen.
"Oh no! Air bubbles!"
Stage 2: Fumble like a madman!
I say to myself, "IT HAS TO BE PERFECT!" as I slowly tear off the screen!
"Ahh dust! Must clean it with a cloth..."
(Cloth manages to put more dust on the screen)
I start to hyperventilate.
Stage 3: Applied
"Cool", I say to myself. But why does it look a bit off? I really don't like having a fake screen on my screen. I can see the edges. It's really bothering me...
Stage 4: Fumble to remove it!
"AHH THIS IS TACKY! It looks so unnatural"
Legit story. A Pi trophy fell on it. While trying to get a screen protector off. Somehow.
I always change my mind about screen protectors. I mean I spend a good amount of time when trying to apply a screen protector to a handheld. But in the end, I ask myself, "What's the point? There's gonna be a time where I don't touch this handheld for a month."
But, I'm really curious. Do you use screen protectors?
Let's point the obvious here: motion control is here to stay. Considering it played a vital role in this video game generation and has continue to make money, it's not really surprising. However, there are a huge number of detractors who refuses to celebrate this type of gaming. People who refuse to acknowledge that motion control games can be enjoyable as their "superior" traditional video games. It is understandable if someone like non-motion controlled games more in their opinion. But, it is pretty disappointing to find that some gamers want motion controlled gaming to disappear. They state that motion control is harming our industry. They state reasons such as motion control games are shovelware, casual gaming sucks, game developers are wasting their time with it, etc. The main issue here is people do not realize that motion control has always been a part of video games.
Brief History in Motion Control
Motion Control Arcade Cabinets!
Motion Control Cartridges!
The Average Video Game Controller!
Wait... WHAT? Here in lies why I don't understand all the hate for motion control. My crazy idea is that a traditional controller is not all that different from a motion controller. Why? Can anyone give an exact definition of a motion controller? It's apparent that there's no exact shape or form of a motion controller since it can look like anything. There's no specific body part that a motion controller have to sense since some controllers sense legs, arms, or the whole human body. Most gamers would agree that a motion controller is vaguely described as a "non-traditional way to interact with games where the player uses specific body motions."
That definition is too general. The only thing that separates a non-motion controller and a motion controller is the idea that traditional controllers should look like this.
Anyone see an issue here? Well all these "traditional" controllers are different from each other. Some have more buttons. Some have less joysticks. Clearly, they are all different. (Obviously, due to different manufacturers). Nevertheless, they are considered "normal" compared to motion controller.
The problem with declaring these controllers are "traditional" is similar to finding a clear definition of a motion controller. There is no clear mindset of what a video game controller should look like. People cannot say that traditional controllers should have dual joysticks because dual joysticks recently became popular last generation. The same with shoulder/trigger buttons. The same with deciding how many buttons a controller should have or what shape it should look like. The only thing that all gamers agree that a controller should do is it needs to help them interact with whatever is on the screen.
Look at the video game Pong. The controller for this game is basically a dial which is called the "paddle" Reminds anyone of anything? Yes, it is a metaphor for a ping pong paddle. But, there's more to that. Players uses their wrist when using the paddle in Pong to control their hits. The same way a ping pong player uses their wrists to control their hits. Does that make the Pong paddle a motion controller? The same idea could be applied to joystick. It makes sense to use it to control a plane.
Or even a professional wrestler.
Or even a skateboard. (Probably not)
The idea here is emulation. Emulation is an essential idea in video games. As previously stated, a controller should help users interact with whatever is on the screen. This goes along with the concept of human-computer interaction. Basically, the video game controller needs to be receptive to whatever the gamer wants. The main goal of the video game controller is to seamlessly make players become engulfed in a virtual world. The more a controller satisfy this need, the more gamers become satisfied.
This is what motion control improves upon.
It's common for users to mimic real world actions on a motion controller. As primitive this idea may be, it works. Motion control helps increase usability in video games by making it easier to understand how to interact with the game. This may sound unusual, but the general public did not know how a video game controller works.
Common idea what the mainstream sees when people play games
That is until motion controlled gaming happened. Motion controllers exploit this idea. Yes, motion control had played a role increasing casual gaming audience. Yes, video game developers are still experimenting in motion control because it makes money. Yes, some developers make crappy games to cash in on this craze. But, a huge number of gamers are happy with simple motion controls for their video games. Just think for every unhappy "hardcore" gamer who despises motion control, there's a huge group of "casual" gamers who are happy that they can enjoy a video game. Motion controls had made tons of people satisfied.
As the video game industry evolves, so does the concept of emulation. While graphics become more and more realistic, the next logical step on improving emulation is how real the controls can be. Motion controls plays a key role in improving emulation. It is not an exact solution. It will not replace the so-called "traditional" controller. However, it will become a norm that a "traditional" controller meets. Since motion control is appearing in more video games, it will not be surprising that one day motion control will become a traditional aspect of video games. It should be considering the industry been playing with this idea since video games were created. People need to accept that motion controls will always be a part of video games.