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

Incoming Fighter Planes. VROOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!11111

Something bloody fast, possibly this (the Eurofighter)  just flew over my house. I heard what sounded like a major thunderclap, and thought it was weird, considering the bright sunshine. Then realised what was going on.

I live near Farnborough, where they hold the air show, and you often hear and see stuff like this at this time of year. I’ve seen the eurofighter before, from a hill nearby. Damned thing flew absolutely dead down towards the ground like a missile before pulling out. Adrenaline rush FTW I guess. Pity its now totally useless outside of the remote chance of a ten minute war with the USSR or China before nukes kill everyone. Ho hum…

Overweight Gaming (The Sisko Dilemma)

I’m having a design quandary about characters who become overweight in Kudos 2. I need to really nail down the game play effects of letting your character become jabba-sized.

There are some effects already, in that a few acting jobs require you to be below a certain weight. I could probably extend that to the police jobs, but beyond that does it really matter? The obvious negative side to being overweight is the health effects, but to be honest most of the activities that increase weight are reducing health, and health is directly used in calculating illness. What I may do, is have a locally used (not shown to the player) calculation for obesity, and use that as an extra accelerator in determining illness. Then you have the age old problem of conveying this data to the player. kudos 1 did lots of clever stuff the player was never told about, and I need to be more aware of that this time around.

The other possible uses in game terms for ‘weight’ are all a bit ‘dodgy’. Should being overweight reduce confdence? Should I reduce your chances of getting a job in general if you are overweight? I might not mind how big people are, but is there a real world prejudice there? and if there is, is it ok to represent it in game? I currently don’t have black avatars (another worrying, but budget-related situation), but if I did, should I give them less chance of a good job to reflect society’s racism? For that matter, should I reduce your chance of romance if you weigh too much? Is that just reflecting society as it is, or is that encouraging prejudice?

I guess I’m half way between Ben Sisko and Kassidy Yates on the whole ‘We shouldn’t pretend the world is better than is’ (Ben) and ‘Lets just enjoy the way it should be’ (Cassidy). I’m glad I’m not programming a holodeck.

What do you think?

Bad few days…

Sadly everything seems to be going wrong lately. Sales have not been at all good, last night I got a parking tiket from the bastard scumbags at Hammersmith & Fulham council for not understanding their cryptic parking explanations, and this morning I realise some sad little thug has kicked the wingmirror off of my car…

Plus my shares I bought are in freefall…

So it’s all a bit pear-shaped right now. There are a few potential pieces of positive news around the corner, such as finishing Kudos 2, getting a Mac release for Democracy 2, and a possible portal release for Democracy 2, and also for a slimmed down version of the game for the casual portals. (more on that when I know it’s happening).

Hopefully next week will go better.

“You think with a financial statement like this you can have the duck? “

I’m working on the code for restaurants yesterday and today, specifically how you get into the hip and trendy or expensive ones. This is code from Kudos 1, but I’ll be improving on it.

Great timing then, that last night ‘L.A Story‘ was on TV, which was the inspiration for the idea of hip restaurants in the first game. The best scene in the film is when Steve Martin is trying to book a table at a hip Hollywood restaurant called L’Idiot (pronounced ‘Lidio’). The evil French waiter (played by patrick stewart) is interrogating him to see whether he is the sort of person he wants in his restaurant. He scoffs at Steve Martins job (TV weatherman) and demands to know his bank records, the value of his house and where he takes his holidays, before eventually conceding he can have a table in eight weeks time as long as he only orders the chicken and not the duck.

Even better, is the scene later in the film where someone with an upper class English accent (Richard E Grant) books a table no problem with a 2 minute call. I love that :D

Kudos always had lots of factors that determine if you get to eat at the best places, but I’m really going to town this time. For maximum results, you will need to be a highly cultured french-speaking food critic with bags of cash, a smart suit and designer sunglasses :D. Hey it’s not normal game-fare, but we have slain enough dragons, we need games where the end-level boss is a pompous waiter now.