- New Left 4 Dead DLC. I'm assuming that this will add even more cool ways to enjoy one of my fave co-op experiences of the year.
- Lode Runner 3d for XBLA. I played a demo at GDC and had a blast. I have a feeling there will be a few usability/readability issues due to the visual upgrades, and of course there's always the fact that the Xbox controller has no good digital stick or d-pad... But I'm still excited.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I found Tag: The Power of Paint while trolling for student games. It is representative of many of the polished, enjoyable games coming from student game developers these days. As a 3-d puzzler, I enjoyed playing the game for about an hour or so and have a few comments about what I liked and some of the things I'd love to see improved.
- The camera felt too low to the ground (about knee level). This actually made me feel queasy -- which never happens to me in FPS games (well, maybe a bit in Halflife when I peer over a cliff edge). This felt extra disorienting to me before I picked up the paint gun (there was no onscreen representation of my character -- not even a bare hand).
- Some of the initial puzzles may have been too challenging for people not as familiar with FPS controls or who have not played many 3d platformers before. I'm thinking specifically about the wall jump puzzles (which also require figuring out how to time the W and D button presses to use your inertial force).
- The blue paint ("Stick") was initially very disorienting because I ran into the fire hydrant and got stuck to it. This led to my character to being flipped on his back, which totally confused me. The "ground point" arrow might help a bit in terms of orienting me to where the ground (and thus gravitational pull) is, but there might be better environmental cues to use than this like lighting, decals, dust particles, etc. Finally, I wonder if there needs to be some sort of sound/visual cue and FX when I switch to "Stick" mode. If I were playing on a console with a vibrational controller, I would expect a bit of rumble and maybe some camera movement as well.
- There probably needed to be one or two additional checkpoints (or some level redesign) near the first vertical wall and first lateral wall ricochet puzzles. I, personally, needed to retry these puzzles several times to get them right which meant I needed to replay a big chunk of the level each time I failed.
- More of a polish thing: Hitting the "Full Screen" button from the main menu was very disorienting. Without warning my screen blinked and fluttered for several long seconds. Then the game appeared in windowed mode, but I was unable to mouse outside the window so I could not reposition it in order to quickly move between my notepad and the app. I know it's a tough call whether to lock the mouse pointer inside the window (to prevent errant mouse movements from deselecting the game) or allow the user to click outside the game window, but I expect my windows to behave like windows -- and this means I can mouse and click outside of them (and move them around).
- I could add premium content I wanted to my Amazon.com wishlist from the Xbox dash and with a few clicks my fiancee could purchase these items for me on the website and they'd automagically download and unlock on my Xbox.
- XBLA customers could rate, review, and tag (in a Little Big Planet console friendly way) game play content on the Xbox and these ratings would appear on Amazon.com so that purchasers not familiar with these games could use these ratings and recs (combined with gift recipient purchase data) to make purchasing decisions.