Indie games

Greg talks indie games… again!

My biggest problem with this type of manifestos is, they all end with the motto "let’s make better games", they rarely address the question "better for who?" I’m an Old Turk (almost 19 years since my first game went gold), but my list of favourite games include GTA, Call of Duty, Age of Mythology, Halo, World of Warcraft… all vey high budget games, and all considered derivative in some form.

Greg’s presentation strikes hard at this point, by not denying the value in these games, rather by emphasizing the value of other options. Great stuff there.

Another problem remains, with cheaper distribution available for cheaper games, the risk of flooding the channel is very real. Great games can still be lost in a vast sea of mediocrity. Production values, licenses and sheer marketing dollars are the way game companies have turned to in order to make our games stand out. In a flooded channel, the same problem will arise.

Posted in Uncategorized

DKP Points System

My guildmates in WoW asked me to design a points system to manage the high-end raid loot drops. I’m not sure if they’re going to use it, but since I’d hate to waste the effort, here’s the link.

I’ve also changed the buttons (who were basically ripped Asheron’s Call 2 bitmaps) and changed reply listing to go the more familiar older-to-newer.

Ok this is too funny to miss: WW2 RTS chat

Posted in Uncategorized

Fuck you ESRB

"the ESRB calls on the computer and video game industry to proactively protect their games from illegal modifications by third parties, particularly when they serve to undermine the accuracy of the rating"

Just another reason to be VERY pissed at Rockstar, for stirring this whole mess in order to make a few extra bucks that the rest of us end up paying for in grief.

Posted in Uncategorized


I’ve never been a fan of handheld gaming devices. Everything, from my crappy cell phone to the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS, made my eyes sore due to the small screen.

Then I checked a friend’s PSP with Wipeout Pure. I’m so close to buying one. I’m a convert. That little marvel is really cool.

Posted in Uncategorized

Back to work!

After my 6-month stint at having absolutely no obligations, I’m back to the nutty world of games development at Pyro Studios. Needless to say, I was half asleep the entire day, alarm clocks suck!

Posted in Uncategorized

Life at 60 in WoW – II

As expected, after our more than successful first attempt at the 40-man Molten Core dungeon, a number of people have left the guild, in search of a more dedicated (and numerous) group of players who can guarantee such 40-man, 3-4 hour raids several days a week. Good luck, and good riddance! They are mostly nice people but they are impatient; can’t blame them, however I would have liked to see more of them being upfront about the whole thing: THEY want the big stuff NOW, so there was no need to blame everyone else for "not being there".

The question now becomes, will a casual-oriented guild be able to experience the higher challenges in that game? Our experience suggests that it is almost impossible.

Posted in Uncategorized

Life at 60 in WoW

Well, turned out that the road to 60 wasn’t that hard, but could be terribly annoying. A couple of days when I tried to quest solo in my 50’s I ended up logging out completely angry at the groups of Alliances enjoying a cheap shot. However, the group instances (Uldaman, Zul’Farrak, Maraudon and Sunken Temple) allowed me to play with other people in a gank-free environment.

So at 60 now, free to run any high-level instances with the friends, the shadow of repetition and eventual boredom looms in the horizon, but until that happens, it is more fun than ever. Now, the jump from 5-man groups, 10- and 15-man raids, to Molten Core 40-man raids, must be huge. I can’t imagine the chaos, but we are hoping to give it a try this weekend.

The guild has expanded a lot in order to reach a critical mass of level 60 players that allows regular Molten Core runs. With that expansion has come a whole array of issues that I had heard about related to Everquest: players logging out in anger because they didn’t get the item they wanted, loot point systems like DKP, rules governing the use of alts, attempts at forcing specific talent trees in order to participate… It really is a weird dynamic when you see players switch attention, from playing for fun with friends, to obsession with items and statistics. The trend is terribly destructive in my opinion, but it seems inevitable. As an example, the guild hasn’t yet attempted a Molten Core raid, but there are arguments already about who should be allowed to go and who is not a "team player" because his only focus isn’t MC.

I remember telling a friend a few months ago that "purpose gets in the way of fun", on a completely unrelated topic, but it seems ever so true.

Posted in Uncategorized

War of the Worlds

Well, this story (book and 50’s movie) has been in my mind since I was a kid, a reference for all other stories about aliens taking over Earth. I was hopeful that Spielberg’s version would be the great alien invasion movie, some kind of grandiose version of the book’s idea.

Instead, we got a pretty standard movie, with kids, dysfunctional family, some watered-down horror and some simplistic action. Not bad, but I didn’t feel immersed at any point throughout the movie. A collection of things, if you want, some of them good, some not so. Which actually sums up my view of most of Spielberg’s movies.

Read this from a review in imdb, which is interesting and worth repeating: "Spielberg’s camera is always running away, afraid to look at the destruction, panning away from the effects, terrified! And what’s terrific is that this new "eye" suits the story"

This man’s right, the movie does not look at all like other movies, just like the filming in Saving Private Ryan was unique and trend-setting. However, I’m not 100% sure that this innovation in style actually improves the end result.

In other news, Batman Begins was much more engaging and entertaining.

Posted in Uncategorized

Master in Game Programming

Yesterday was the conclusion of the 1st Master in Game Programming at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. It’s been great! The students had to step up and show their projects in front of a crowd, got their diplomas, and we all had fun celebrating it. They should be really proud of their accomplishment, the projects were quite ambitious but they were able to wrap up quite reasonable versions. Lots of variety, from strategy to racing, 2D and 3D, humour-based and seriuos ideas, singleplayer and networked, there was a bit of everything.

I look forward to repeating the experience next year.

Posted in Uncategorized