Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vital Resources for the Serious Glitch Player

I've mentioned that I'm completely addicted to Glitch, the new non-violent MMORPG. Let me make a list of web sites and spreadsheets that will help you optimize your game play.

Basic Stuff
Glitch Strategy Blog: they have the location list for the ghost-hunting quest, a rundown of real estate, etc.
Glitch Strategy group: Glitch group for discussing strategy.
Glitch Wiki: Lists of stuff and what it does.
Greasemonkey Scripts: Let you queue skills, see what places you haven't visited, and what achievements you haven't gotten yet. All of these scripts use pages in the Glitch Encyclopedia and your data to show what's going on. There's also an auction sniper, and a site that tells you how to learn skills most time-efficiently (warning: might not be most fun-efficient).

API Pages (see here for more)
The Glitch Resource Database: Where stuff is, like wood trees.
Glitchpedia: Compare what food you want to make with what you have.
Alchemizer: Compare what powders you want to make with what you have.
The Glitch Market: Market stats.
Glitchian Commodity Exchange: More market stats than Glitch Market. Includes under- and over-selling.
Zog's Glitchy Tools: Lets you see live auctions and which ones would be profitable to buy and sell back to a vendor. Also has location directory and am-I-wasting-space-in-my-inventory.
Agent 86's tools: Skillifier lets you see what order to learn skills most efficiently; Favorsaver does your donation maths.
Startling Fecundity: Lets you look at your entire inventory all at once, and make auctions from your ipad.

Location List: List of locations that count toward travel achievements.
This picture of Ajaya Bliss shows the names of the rock places everyone references. I think Neva Neva is just as good and not as crowded.

Google Spreadsheets
There are a few Google docs out there made by dedicated users. I have faith in the Glitch community (and I've saved my own copies) that if a doc is editable you would edit it with only correct information.
Skill tree
List of street phases (for street building projects)
Food tree (compare to the Wiki's food stat sheet)
Chart of all when Rook attacks occur
Auction Spreadsheet (here are directions for use)

So, there you have it! Hopefully you are not AFK yet. Let me know if there are any resources I've missed.

an afk gltich

Monday, October 17, 2011

GEEX 2011

GEEX is a gaming and electronics expo in Salt Lake aimed at gamers and their fans, and a few people who like to make games (stemming from Utah's demo party, Pilgrimage). I went last year, but this was the first time I had been to a convention with an official press pass (it is basically an excuse for me to be friendly).

I got to play a little of Twisted Metal, a circus-dystopian themed car shooter coming out next year. It's not my kind of game, but it allows your car or helicopter to affect the environment, which is difficult to program and cool. There's also an ambulance car where you can release your old man in a gurney to be some sort of bomb, which struck me as extremely not cool (why not just make him a dummy and not perpetuate video game ageism?). 

Infinity Blade, originally on the iPhone, is awesome on the big arcade-quality touch screen. It's refreshing to play a game that was obviously tailored to touch-screen capabilities. In this case, your finger slashes are sword slashes and you can parry, dodge, defend, and counter. It started out easy enough for me to quit before I lost, but the story has generations of the vengeful bloodline coming back with the game getting harder each time. They're using the unreal engine, and the characters are lifelike. I found myself feeling a little intimidated by my enemies' little challenge animations.

ChAIR talked about how they developed Infinity Blade; basically, they wanted an original game tailored to the iphone's playing experience. They make battles be intervals of two minutes, figuring that many people are on the toilet and after two minutes their legs will go numb. Just from their presentation, I think ChAIR is doing design right--they're thinking about their platform and user experience right from the start (or if they didn't, I think that's how good games should be made). They're not overextending themselves and concentrating on making good-quality stuff.

Now, enjoy a few photos of cosplayers (awesome Star Wars costumes courtesy of various companies) while I talk about one other presentation.
this guy is from Star Wars, some relation to Boba Fett?
Roger Altizer's  presentation was also excellent (former games journalist turned U of U professor and game designer). He went over the basics of game design, which I've been studying, and it was fun to hear how he had to apply game design principles to a game for children with cancer. Physical therapists wanted the children to make certain movements, psychologists wanted it to help them keep a fighting spirit, and doctors wanted it to not be the wii, whose radio waves can interfere with hospital equipment. Sounds like a sonnet of a game structure to me!

another Madelorian? Or is the costume not indicative of that?

I watched some of the Starcraft 2 finals and they were awesome. RGNPerfect (Protoss) and ePValkyrie (Terran), both top 25 (or 100?) players, went head-to-head in the last round. Perfect won one game with 4-gate and awesome forcefield micro. In the final round, he built an expansion before a zealot or cycore, right in front of the enemy scout! The shoutcaster was like "what?" Perfect scouted really late, and somehow knew that banshees were coming and built an observer. More awesome micro through his vulnerable period, and then he won! It was great to have a Protoss win a tournament (and wow, I don't know how sports journalists do it, it was more awesome than it sounds). If I can find replays somewhere I will post a link.

There was also a game-a-day competition, where programmers make a game in one day, themed around 8-bit, disease, and gems. My husband participated, and helped Bryan of make a top-down shooter (I think you can tell where their engine came from). The winning game was a two-player game where you try to pipette cells to make them your color. It's fun to see what people can make in one day, and many of the participants were familiar faces from indie game night.
Chewbacca, I am pretty sure.
 Do you remember that poster of a bunch of pixel guys making up megaman? This one:
I think this design would be great on a phone cover or something, but I'd prefer just few big cute pixel guys for my wall.
 Turns out the artist is local!

Anyway, I could go on about university sponsors, but I just want to do highlights. Let's end on a picture that describes my feelings about Duke Nukem:
Duke, what a lovely... creature you have there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Glitch has me hooked!

Glitch is an MMORPG with all the fun things like cooking and crafting and without combat. It's an environment to figure out and play around in, milk butterflies and petting trees along the way, all from within your browser. The art style is cute and funny, paper trees talk in haikus, and every once in a while giant crows called rooks attack, and little glitches fight back with the power of their imaginations and donations to the giants (gods). You can play music for other players, as well as hug and splank them (it's what it sounds like).

To learn skills, your familiar and pet rock reads them for you. Even when you're logged out, the timer to learn skills keeps ticking. Instead of being tied to level, your skills are limited by how long you've been playing and adding skills. Level affects other things, like... hit points? You get money and favor with the giants for leveling, so it's a good thing. It sounds really weird, but trust me, it's fun! It is, however, highly addicting for the procrastination-prone like me. I have one more invite, so let me know if you want to join!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Utah Indie Game Night September 2011, part 3: Completed Games

For the last part of these series of posts covering indie game night, here's a quick rundown of the finished games I saw and played a little at home:

-Cardwood is a short experimental game Vazor made in two days. I played through it, and I'm not sure if I understand everything that's going on, but I like it. I like clicking on the buttons while I'm reading and trying to figure it out.

-Tile Factory, over on Kongregate, is a machine-building game with a factory theme. You have machines that duplicate tiles, conveyor belts, barriers, spray-painters, etc. It has a good tutorial and also tons of things that people who are really into building games like sandbox mode. Jon's working on a sequel which will have user-generated levels (and he's looking for an artist). Here's a screenshot:

-Frayed Nights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a first-person party-based RPG in 3D. From the little I've played, I'm impressed with the depth of the combat (your rogue can disappear for a while and surprise the enemy) and the humor (to restore MP you can take an insta-nap potion). The game has an interesting mechanic where progressing through a dungeon gets you star points that can be used to regain health etc., but these points go away if you exit the game and load it later--incentive for a longer play session. I also like how your party members are actual characters who talk to each other, and their character designs reflect their personality. Also, battle seems to be dice-based, kind of like D&D? It's the accumulation of years of work by Rampant Coyote, and it's for sale over at his site, along with a free demo. Go play the demo and see if you like it! Here's a screenshot; the pus golems are the first monsters you meet in the temple to the god of acne and boils:

-Link REALMS is an isometric MMORPG in open beta, also a game that has been a long time coming. I believe I saw it last October and I can tell you that the enemy AI system is really cool and ridiculously complex. It has an Oblivion-like leveling system, so you choose your specialties based on what you do, not some arbitrary race or class. I like that kind of system but it does have the drawback of being somewhat grindy (okay, this spell has to fail how many times before I get to level 5?). I haven't been able to fully explore the world yet, but it looks like there are cooking and animal husbandry systems along with magic and mauling and clairvoyance (!). Take a look at their wiki to see if they implement your favorite skills. The click and drag system of inventory leaves me feeling a bit disorganized, but it works. They're still working out a few bugs, but it's highly playable as long as you can figure out the double-clicking and targeting stuff.
all I want to know is if I will be punished for killing that puppy
There you go! Two browser-based games for playing on your work break and two bigger games for multiple-hours-investment-fun, made right here in Utah.