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I am currently a procrastinating Master in Computer Science student. My research focus is on AI for games but am interested in all aspect of game development and design. I competed in an international game design competition "Dare To Be Digital". More info about the game(Flux) we developed can be found at

I want games to be the next artform and feel that finally we are starting to get things right in game design(intuitive interfaces, awesome music and good plot lines). We still needs lots of work in areas like intuitive interfaces, camera AI, and challenging players in the right ways... and getting rid of pointless walking in games. WALKING IS NEVER EVER FUN for a player! I also strongly believe that we need to back off on graphics and more processing time on smarter AI NPCs. Players cannot get emotionally involved with Zombies.

Generally known to rant and love a good logical argument.

Favorite saying "The truth is... there is no truth"

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Achievements maybe Microsoft best drug. A sweet little pill of highly compressed gamer greatness that chimes with a sweet sweet seductive song. Most of us at some point have become 'Achievement Whores' characterized by

a) Social/Physical Seclusion.
b) Subjecting oneself to the prolonged exposure to the worst of gaming experiences solely for achievements.

In extreme cases, turned into complete 'Wankers' by

c) The artificial inflation of their 'ego'/gamer score through hacking and cheating.

Either way, love it or...not. Some games have great achievements that can are ironic, confusing and sometimes funny.

My personal favorite is from Dark Sector - whose achievement for decapitating two NPCs with one power throw is a 'Double Cappe Latte'. This one made me have a little laugh at seeing a couple heads pop off and the achievement 'pop up'.

Now I could not find a video of this achievement but below Dark Sector's 'Hero's are Unleashed' launch video that is in my opinion one of the best trailers I have seen....ever.

So - what about you? What is your favorite achievements? Which ones are the most original? Which ones are the hardest? Which ones did you really hate?

Flaakmonkey 's post just reminded me of how much fun I had with D2 back in the day. Hours upon hours of mf'ing, dueling, PowerActs(PA's) and those infamous cows. And let's not forget the fantastic website and the 1.09 patch and the phenomal hardcore mode that is in my opinion one of the best features of the that game. You die and your character dies forever.

Anyway, with waves of nostalgia I'd like to talk about our favorite D2 characters.

My first one is zPerfect, a level 94 barb. Cool because he was a mfer, but also a tank.

The main reason I loved this barb so much is he was using a Golden ThunderMaul known as the "Cranium Basher" that I had found pindling. I used to love mf'ing with him because he had somewhere around 800-900mf with dual Ali's...

Another cool barb I loved was my a unique build I used for running Nith in hardcore hell. He had huge bezerk and maxed leap attack. It was a one jump leap kill with a huge ethereal "Hellslayer".

Anyway- you've got a favorite/unique character from D2 you wanna share? Let's hear it.
Photo Photo

Kinda embarrassed that this is my first post in a while. I can't turn down the op for a rig that nice. Meepjeep, if you haven't already.... please forget about the ps3 contest. :P

For fun... and the inline with of an upcoming blog i'll be writting about game design. A pic of a game I am working on.

Photo Photo

Here's Tripod singing "Gonna Make You Happy" and I promise you its worth the watching every last second.

I have been enjoying playing Ubisoft's new blockbuster title.
I like many of the the gameplay dynamics - buttons use is fairly intuitive and easy to use. But like many others, I have noticed that the controls are often times too easy! This was explicitly done by the developers to attempt to create a more intuitive interface and I understand their motivations.

1) They want to allow a broad spectrum of players to enjoy their game! And,
2) they don't want the difficulty of a task to get in the way of the pacing(story telling) of the game.

However, I often feel cheated by my character's skills and this left wondering ways to keep the simple intuitive interface but at the same time allow players to feel a sense of accomplishment when they do things that would be difficult in real life. One solution would be to use reinforced learning.

Before we start let me be clear about three definitions.

The player: is the user - the person holding the controller(you).
The character: the in-game person, object whatever that you control.
Reinforced learning: the ability to perform a task better with practice. This makes hard tasks easier the more you do it.

Now, let me outline a situation and explain how this could work.
During on of the early missions of Assassin's Creed, your character 'Altair' has to walk along beams to cross a river. The mechanics of the crossing is to line up your character with the beam and press forward. For those of you who have played Zelda: Twilight Princess, it is the exact same. The problem with this mechanic is that it is insanely easy. You begin to dread crossing beams because as long as you keep pressing forward, you never fall. I can't remember how many times I have said "Damn F****** crossings. what a waste of time." To me anyway, this "task" has no redeeming features to the gameplay or to the story of your character.

How do we fix this?
Here is one option that come to my mind.

Give the character trainable skills. In this case balance.
Crossing beams will still require very little skill at first but the player is required to do a little of the balance work. As the player successfully completes crossings, we use reinforced learning on the characters skill so that character now guides itself and needs less input from the player. So minimally, a simple crossing can be done by anyone at any skill level but at least you feel like you have learned the skill. To keep things interesting we allow the player to attempt faster crossings that still requires input. This should keep players engaged and challenged but more importantly, it is your choice as the user to learn/perfect your skills. If you really care about moving across beams quickly then you will spend the time trying to perfect the skill. But, the important aspect is you don't need the advance skills to progress through the game. This allows the game developer to be assured that any player with any skill level will be able to enjoy their time and move forward in the storyline. Just as important, when the player is faced with important tasks, they may take a little more care in their movements as to not frustrate themselves with the negative consequence of falling from a beam. One way to look at this is as automatic RPG skill selection without the annoying and overwhelming selection screens.

Here I have outlined only one skill. We can really have skills affect a number of different gameplay elements. Auto Targeting, leaping, climbing....

The best part of this approach is that algorithmically from a programmers point of view, this type of learning is very easy to program.

In following all the bullshit surounding the firing of Gerstmann because of his review of Kane & Lynch and pressure from a major adverstiser/publisher, Gamespot has once again shown us they are full of ****

Somehow, Kane and Lynch has made it ontothe made it onto Gamespot's best of 2007 Award page even though the game has been reviewed as junk.

Gamespot, are you f**king serious?