Tag Archives: Games

Weekend Wanderings Diablo and some Typography

This week’s been a little weird on the blogging front.  On Friday I accepted a full time position with a local fundraising company (excited!) – I start on Tuesday.  Therefore I’m back to juggling time a little more with writing and so on, definitely not complaining but you’ve all been warned.

I also discovered some really interesting industry news (Twitter followers will be nodding along at this point, I’ve actually been using my account this week), I’ll be talking about two of the best pieces today.

Weekly Recap

Keen eyed observers may have noticed that there wasn’t a feature post this week.  Rather than making things awkward between us and mumbling for a few minutes with some excuses (which are good) and an apology (implied, sorry folks) let’s just skip to what I’m going to do to get things back on track.  Tomorrow (the next Monday) I’ll be posting last Monday’s feature post on the Two Types of Purpose.  Then on Friday I’ll be posting the one that should have been posted tomorrow; you’re getting two this week to compensate.  My bad.

On Wednesday we also had our first video tutorial (How to Animate a Dodgeball Throw) by Prantic, and the continuation of Jonathan’s 3D 101 series (3D 101 Rendering Fundamentals).

Typography

Skyrill, a creative company run by the Almossawi brothers (Ali and Hussain), recently released a font set.

This particular font set was created by modelling basic 3D letters in 3D studio Max, then using Realflow to give each the consistency of paint.  They were then released from their shape constraints and left to explode; each frame was rendered and the most distressed, best looking, and easily recognisable images were chosen to represent the letter.

When I first saw how the letters were constructed and destroyed I was split neatly in two with both halves suitably impressed.  The first half was quietly in awe (that happens to be the same half that gets distracted by shiny, pretty things.  Also destruction and explosions) while the second simply wished I’d thought of it first.

Either way I’ll probably spend the next year looking for an excuse to do something similar.

Diablo III

If you’re a gamer you’ve heard, if you’re a fan you’re drooling, and if neither you should go and watch the cinematic trailer for Diablo 3 right now.  I’ll wait.

Back?  Excited?  Excellent, I’m there with you.

No concrete release date as yet but I did find something on Blizzard’s site that made it incredibly hard to sit still.  As you might know there are 5 character classes in this installment; barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, and demon hunter.  Perhaps predictably I was drawn to the hunter.

Click on that beautiful image below and watch the class trailer to see why.

Wrapping up for the week

Next week you’ll be treated to two heavy-duty concept posts as well as the Clipping Frames in Photoshop tutorial with James and the next installment of Jonathan’s 3D 101 series.

As always I can’t vouch for next weekend’s post; after my first week at a new day job I may be a little loopy (as if I’m not already) so there’s no telling what I’ll come up with.  We’ll have to see.

In the meantime though comment and let me know what you think of this week’s highlights!

Review: Neverwinter Nights

Click through here to see more information and order NWN!

Intro

Neverwinter Nights is my favourite RPG game of all time, bar none.  Perhaps this makes me a little biased, but what the hell – I’ll go ahead and review it.  Let’s be clear here; when I say Neverwinter Nights or NWN I’m talking about the first game, not the far more recent (and completely different) second version.

Description

It’s been around since 2002 and was created by Bioware (the name was taken from an older MMORPG created by AOL in 1991 and running until 1997).  Based on the Dungeons and Dragons framework, it’s a rich world full of different races and character classes.  The main game itself has a great main storyline, and loads of side quests and points of interest that you’re not likely to discover the first time around.  Because of the customization within the game you can create some really amazing characters, or some exceptionally poor ones; it’s down to you as a player to make the right choices for you and then stay true to them as you gain experience and power.

I’ll be honest, I could talk about this game for days on end; when I was younger I used to sit and play it semi constantly, I’ve tried out a lot of the classes and races, I can’t count how many times I’ve played through areas of the game, and I’ve even tried creating a module or two.  In the interests of keeping my rose-tinted glasses on the desk where they belong I’m going to skip the ‘it’s amazing, buy it now!!!!’ talk and get on with the review.

The Good

  • Character Creation – Because of the structure it’s possible to get through character creation in under five minutes, or it could take you hours.  You’re able to alter every aspect of your character’s stats, create your own portraits and voice sets and import them into the game, and write entire histories that other players can view.  For beginners you can skip right through all of that with basic packages and get straight into the game – it’s as simple or complex as you want it to be.
  • Compelling Storyline – Full of well written characters, a decent amount of twists and turns, and a few things that can surprise you (at least on the first few times you play) there’s nothing to dislike about the story.  Added to that are lots of side quests that have the potential to add their own twist to the story for you character.
  • Fun Interface – You use a combination of hot keys, the mouse and radial menus to play your way through the game.  The menus themselves are intuitive and at times even pretty to look at.  The attention to detail betrays how much work and thought went into getting it right (Hint: it’s a lot).

The Bad

  • Limited Model Customization – The model you see within the game can only be customized up to a point.  You have a choice of two different body builds, and a variety of different heads.  There’s also the opportunity to choose tattoos, skin colour, and hair colour.  Clothing is determined by the armour and equipment you wear.
  • Dialogue Gets Repetitive on Replay – Once you’ve gone through the game once the dialogue can get very repetitive, especially in the earlier areas.  Thinking in particular about the tutorial section (which you always want to play through because it gives you two free level ups); it’s possible to skip completed sections but then it becomes harder to progress through the game.  Something to grin and bear I’m afraid.

The Noteworthy

  • Module Creator – You have access to the tools that were used to create the main campaign.  This means that you’re able to customize absolutely everything in your own modules and there’s even the option to upload them for other people to play and share.  It’s easy to use, though there is a small(ish) learning curve for getting it right.  Almost anything you can imagine, you can then go and create with enough time and patience.
  • Character Portability – At any point during your game you can choose to save the character you’re using and take them into another module, an online game, or another part of that same game.  It retains its stats, equipment, status, everything.  This means that you’re never limited to one particular storyline, and you can keep evolving your characters own story and collecting the best equipment from everywhere.

Conclusion

Obviously I love this game and think that everyone should at least try it.  Not going to mask that fact; I think it’s brilliant!  Assuming nothing disastrous (like, say, loosing my versions of the game, the internet being wiped clean, and the game going out of production all at once) happens I can see myself playing and creating modules for this one until I’m old and grey.  You know, around the time people look at you with that half frown of bewilderment when you say you have a PC.

So, my final message should be pretty obvious; if you’ve not played it give it a shot and tell me.  Using the link below will help support what I do here on my blog, and it’ll also let you read more about it on Amazon’s website.  Might even come and play with you online at some point if you give me a shout!

Click through here to see more information and order NWN!Neverwinter Nights

Starcraft 2: Coming Soon

Starcraft 2: Beautiful Spaceship, Beautiful Game

This morning I received an email from Blizzard stating that I was one of the lucky people accepted into their Beta Testing program.  Am I excited?  You bet!  Starcraft (original) was one of the older (oldest?) PC Real Time Strategy games, though I do have a confession to make here:  I’ve never played the first one.  I’ve seen it played, and I really wanted to, but somehow my copy disappeared before I had the chance.  Will be rectifying that sorry state of affairs as soon as humanly possible.

Anyway, with the chance to play the game in beta mode placed right in front of me, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to [slope off and play video games] tells you all in advance that the review would be due in the next couple of weeks!  I’m also going to fire off an email to Blizzard and see if I can create a video or two to show you (if not, you can always check Youtube – there’s hundreds of clips already up).   Some nice screenshots and I think we may be onto something special here.

Meanwhile, to tease you and provide a taster of things to come, here’s a few screenshots from the company site.  Let me know what you think!