May 2006

Paging Famous People

Don’t suppose Will Wright, Tim Schafer, Warren Spector, Reggie Fils-Aime, or Gabe & Tycho read this blog? I’ve made the promise to get these people and more for interviews on Evil Avatar Radio. And for bonus points, I’m going to get Tim Schafer and Reggie Fils-Aime at the same time, so we can coerce them to get a Tim Schafer game on the Wii. I have no doubt his wonderful characters, worlds, and overall design would make for an excellent coupling with the Wii’s “interesting” tech.

Ah well. I guess I’m off to email them all. I wonder if one mass emailing is overly unprofessional? And if that fails, I could always stand outside of their houses holding a 80s style boombox over my head, a la Lloyd Dobler. After all, to know Jeffool is to love him, right?

Note to self: This is the perfect chance to snag Brett Douville a Wii devkit! Anyone else want one?

Evil Avatar Radio
Project X

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Dear Sony,

I would like to thank you for your press conference Monday night. You took a chatroom full of people who previously took every chance to make fun of the name ‘Wii’, and united them against a common cause, you. Not only was your performance forced and rather boring, but let’s do the checklist!

First a lecture telling us that you’ve sold over 100million PS2s and other numbers. (As if about half of those weren’t people rebuying the system after their died.)

-Gran Turismo 4, slightly retooled for the PS3. Gran Turismo HD? The same game running in HD and you gave it ten minutes? Seriously Sony, what the fuck?

-+EyeToy. A new EyeToy game isn’t a game so much as a nice side item to the game, like R.O.B. the Robot. While you’re playing a CCG, EyeToy sees the cards you play, airing that on TV, with monsters appearing over them and fighting. Interesting, but not really ‘fun’.

-PS3 will have a MySpace-esque service. Yay?

-The online system is referenced as a good place for ‘shopping’. A decided boo goes here.

+A brief glimpse of games not expected at launch like Lair and Afrika. Also games from London Studios and Naughty Dog look fun enough.

And then there was your wannabe Wii controller. You claimed your new “innovative” controller will have ‘six degrees of freedom’, but by the horrible display given on-stage, it seems that it really just recognizes pitch, yaw, roll, and vertical change. So, if you moved the controller to the left without tilting it, the game would never know. It then doesn’t even have knowledge of where it is in relation to anything. So, it can’t do any of the things that the Wii can so far as gameplay. But the question isn’t ever “is the product better than the original,” only “is it good enough?” And to that I still laugh. In fact, the entire chatroom laughed the whole time until the very end when the controller was revealed, and then everyone laughed again.

Yes, when Kutaragi revealed your controller, which looks like a Dual Shock 2 with an Xbox ‘Guide’ button, the audience actually snickered at the man. Then they grew silent, and then made polite applause. And when he said “that’s not all,” I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew what he was going to do; we all did. But I felt like I was in the theater at a horror movie when the young blonde, before the opening credits, gets the phone call from inside the house. You shout “No! Don’t do it! You’ll die, and you’re not really that bad! Don’t get yourself killed!” But Kutaragi couldn’t help himself. It was bloody. And thank you from that Sony. Thank you.


Don’t believe me? Grab it from torrent, (here.) I’m grabbing a copy to watch again to see if I missed anything when I was nodding off from boredom.


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The Lesser Man’s Face Off

Generally Carnival of Gamers posts offer something to the reader. Well, this time I’m asking something of you. I’d like you to grade a test for me.

If you don’t read Tadhg Kelly’s blog, you don’t care enough about games; it’s just that simple. (Here, for later.) In one of his recent posts, he talks of the resume materials brought in to job interviews. Programmers have code samples, artists can show previous model/texture work, (both of those can perform tests,) level designers can bring levels, etc. But what does a a game designer put forth to show his ability? One could show a previous game, but that’s about it. So, Tadhg, in one of his fine ideas, has created a test (over here,) for designers.

Here’s the gist:

The particleblog design test
Place the candidate in a room and give them the following items.

1 deck of cards
4 six-sided dice
A pad of paper and three pens of different colours
1 pack of index cards (blank)
1 whiteboard and eraseable marker pen
1 bag of 50 black tokens
1 bag of 50 white tokens
2 table-tennis bats
1 table-tennis ball

And you tell them that they have 4 hours to create a game.

Here are the rules of the test:

1. The game must only use the components presented.
2. The game must be in a playable condition at the end of 4 hours.
3. The game must be playable by anyone (i.e. no obscure knowledge of trivia etc)
4. They do not have to use all the components. If they just want to create a puzzle game using only the whiteboard and the tokens, that’s fine.
5. They must not replicate a game which already exists
6. They must write out the rules of the game, because…
7. They don’t get to present the game

So, going from that, I’d like to present my game. If it’s not fun, well, I fail. If you have any questions about the rules, I guess I really fail. Well, I tried it. Let’s see how I did.

Lesser Man’s Face Off
This game is played only with fifty black tokens and a deck of playing cards. The ideal number of players is four-five, but this is flexible from two to fifty.

Pre-Game Set-Up:
Divide the tokens evenly amongst players. Remaining tokens may be given to players that are in need of a handicap, if all players agree. Otherwise set any remaining tokens out of play.

A Round:
The dealer shuffles the deck of cards to his satisfaction and offers the player to his right the chance to cut the deck. After the cut, the dealer then starts with the player to his left and, in a clockwise fashion, hands each player as many cards as they have tokens remaining in their possession.

Starting with the player with the fewest chips, (or in the case of a tie, the player that both has the fewest chips and is closest to the dealer’s left,) , in a clockwise fashion each player tells how many of their tokens they are willing to bet. Each following player can lower the bet if they wish, but no one may raise it. When the betting has made a full circle unchanged, each player must meet the bet by putting that number of tokens into the pot.

Then each player, using a number of cards equal to the bet made, must fashion their best hand possible. (If the lowest bet is two, then each player must put two tokens inthe pot and may only use two cards from their initial dealings.)

The points for each hand from lowest to highest is as follows:
single higher card =1
pair =2
two pair =3
three of a kind =4
five straight =5 (+1 for each additional card in a straight)
four of a kind =6
royal flush =7 (+1 for each additional card in the straight)

The player able to make the most points of their hand wins all of the tokens in the pot. If there is a tie, the player with the highest card in their highest point-getting combination wins the pot. If the players highest card in their highest point-getting combination is of the same value, then the winning players split the pot as evenly as possible and leave any remaining tokens in the pot for the next hand. After a hand, the cards are collected and the player to the left of the current dealer becomes the new dealer, and a new round begins.

Losing Condition:
If a player runs out of tokens, then they are out of the game and may no longer play.

Winning Condition:
If a player wins all of the tokens, leaving no more opponents, then he wins the game.

Not incredibly complex, but hey, it’s just a first try. Anyone actually read this far and want to give me a grade?

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