Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Yes, That was me on ‘the today program’

If you aren’t from the UK, or are not over 30 you might not know what the today program is. It’s the early morning weekday news program on BBC radio 4. It has a lot of listeners, but it’s impact is way bigger than that, because it’s the #1 place that politicians get grilled by journalists, and news stories are often broken by it.

Famously, it’s also used by the captains of british nuclear submarines to detect nuclear war. A sub under radio silence listens for the today program each morning. If it doesn’t hear the program for several days running it assumes the UK has been destroyed.

No I’m not kidding.

Anyway… this morning they were discussing music piracy, but seemed incapable of calling a spade a spade, and kept calling it ‘file-sharing’ instead, which anti-copyright kids think makes it sound cuddly and harmless. So I emailed them, and they read out my email on the air. bwahahahahah. here it is:

I see you have swallowed the anti-copyright crap wholesale. It’s not
‘file-sharing’ its theft, or piracy. Are you now going to call shoplifting
‘food-sharing’? is car theft ‘car-sharing’?
Stop dancing around the issue. File-sharing is theft and the people doing it
should be prosecuted.

Made me feel better :D

Magazines for Kudos 2

I’m currently writing the code for magazines for Kudos 2. Magazines are something you can buy, but only read once. The upside is that they come out every week, so that you never get into the situation you had with the original game, where you read all the books and thus had ‘finished’ that part of the game.

The downside is that the magazines are an expensive and slow way to pick up knowledge. I’m trying to balance stuff so it’s an interesting decision to make. You can buy books and magazines at your leisure, effectively putting you in control of when to learn, as opposed to evening classes. This means they must have some disadvantages to counteract this. One option is for the magazines to only cover the basics of each profession, scientific_principles_1 basic_law etc etc. The problem si that it’s exactly the ‘late game’ stuff I need to expand on, not the early stuff.

This has cropped up because I’m trying to decide if magazines need a pre-requisite system or not. I’m guessing not. magazines are by definition mass market things. I reckon I’ll make them beginners guides only, just like books, but more relaxing.

Another option is for magazines to be auto-read. Assuming you read a few pages each day, just like I assume with newspapers. This would be possibly the more interesting choice. This does slightly ‘break’ the ‘one-task per day’ paradigm of the game, but it’s already borked with pets and newspapers anyway, both of which have daily effects without user intervention.

I think that might be better…

Snow and websites

I tweaked the code for the snow effect in Kuos 2 today.  I always was unhappy with it, and wanted it to be better in the new game. The snow used to ‘settle’ a bit in K1, but that effect was always a bit poor. In the new game it looks better, plus I also coded a system that lets me adjust the colors of all sorts of interface bits depending on stuff like whether its snowing which makes the game look much more interesting.

As part of doing all this, I reinstalled Deep Space Nine: The Fallen, a game which I remember had awesome snow effects. It’s an old game, but it’s still quite funny to replay it and see just how poor those effects were. Despite using the unreal engine, their snow looks way worse than mine :D.

I also started thinking about the kudos 2 website today. I want a much better website than my earlier games, but I’m not sure I can justify paying a proper pro web designer to do it, and no pre-made templates seem to fit it at all. I knocked up a test page today, but it took me ages, and looks crap as I have zero web design skills. If anyone can recommend a talented and not uber-expensive web designer, just let me know.

Website fiddling

I’ve been doing some housekeeping on my website this morning. Nothing too thrilling, just redoing the page for StarshipTycoon so it matched the same style as the other pages I recently tidied up. over the years, the site has come to look a bit of a mess. I’m only really happy with the Democracy 1 & 2 and KRL websites tbh.

I found a lot of now dead links to older phpbb forum installs, so they are tidied up now, and thus my server error log is less spammy. In other news, the Mac version of D2 should be ready VERY soon, and Democracy 2 is also now on sales through the new Stardock Impulse system.

I have vague plans to a do a bit of fiddling to Starship Tycoon 2 to improve some of the shoddier bits today and tommorow. It’s something I can do thats relaxing and not too like real work. It’s a really old game, and part of me is seriously considering dropping it to just $5.

IT consultants are idiots.

I should know, I used to work as one. But check this out:

I quote:

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

Taking over will be so called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices.

“The mouse works fine in the desktop environment but for home entertainment or working on a notebook it’s over,” declared analyst Steve Prentice.

I hate to burst Steves bubble, but people keep the same laptop for five years quite often. How he thinks that facial recognition will take over in 3-5 years is beyond me. Plus there are approx 500 million people who are comfortable using a mouse or trackpad. How am I going to use facial recognition to select all the files in a folder? And why the hell would i want to learn a completely new interface system to do it?

Someone pays these idiots to spout such crap. Maybe in fifteen or twenty years. MAYBE.