Archive for December, 2010

Season greetings!

27 Dec

Happy holidays everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are planning a smashing New-Year party!

This year, everything was a bit chaotic (because of work and other stuff)… But all went great, and I got a new “Band Hero” from my wife, which is win… Unfortunately, I never guessed I would suck so hard at drums, but I’m improving, practicing in the “slow” setting (oh, the humilliation!).

I’ve finished the first version of the new 3d Studio plugins, to be used in our upcomming secret project (for now)…

Basically, I added on top of the existing plugins (which were already very useful) the deferred rendering part, taking the oportunity to clean up the shader system…

Below, you can watch a video of it in action:

I’ll probably won’t be able to post in the next days… work has been pilling up in the Christmas madness, besides getting ready for the New Year’s Eve… Have to prepare my resolutions for next year! ๐Ÿ™‚


Independent Game Festival 2011 โ€“ Part V

16 Dec

Just some final thoughts on the IGF…

I’ve been following the IGF for years now, and each year, games get better and more polished… Trends are pretty obvious, but not so much as to claim the indy movement is starting to be a seconds, low-budget mainstream.

Why are indy games becoming more polished? Well, you could say that now you have more money to make the games, since they’re real businesses, but I don’t think that’s true for the most part… One thing I feel that has changed are the tools: indies have access to better tools, and that leads to better games, since they don’t have to focus on what they can do so much and can twist the existing technologies and tools to conform to their vision. The other thing is that the indy community is strong and sharing, and that sharing of ideas leads to the strange notion of “more experienced devs out ofย the box”, in which even a person that’s never done a commercial game before can learn from the experience of everybody else and not start from scratch. Indy game portals are also becoming more widespread and better channels for distribution (Steam, XBLIG…), and the fact that we’re all more connected (through YouTube, Facebook, you name it), helps these games to get more awareness…

All in all, it’s a great time to be an indy, and I sure hope to jump on that bandwagon soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Games on the IGF have alwaysย been experimental in nature, but while there’s more “normal” games there, there’s also more experimental titles, that defy established concepts, stuff like “Hazard: The Journey of Life” or “Achron”… Sure, most of them won’t become commercial successes, and some of them are just experimental for the sake of experimentation, but they’re an extremely important part of the indy ecosystem (and even the mainstream environment, now that they’ve started paying attention).

I’ve seen loads of twists on old genres, like Spectre Spelunker Shrinks, which takes an established genre and changes or adds some game mechanic, and that just works…

Multiple platforms also seem to be the rage, with games getting releases in a series of devices (specially handhelds… lots of games are comming out for iPhone, iPad, Android and PC, for example), which is a very positive move; it makes for better software development processes and expands your target audience, which is extremely important in the indy market.

Finally, there are some timid (and not so timid) forays into multiplayer (and massive multiplayer); these used to be the bastion of the AAA-publishers, but now indies are starting to move in that space, not only in the project phase (which we’ve seen millions through the years, kids trying to make the next “super-awesome-MMORPG” with a one-man-team), but in the released phase, with examples of success (Minecraft anyone), and potential success (Infinite Blank).

All in all, the future’s looking bright for indy developers, and if the IGF is a window that shows us that future, we’ll have a whole new slew of awesome games to play!

I’ll take my leave now, but before I go, I’ll leave you with a nice video:

Those guys at Loading Ready Run are crazy… ๐Ÿ˜€

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Work, work, work…

14 Dec

Well, as some of you might know, I have a real job in telecom-related software development…

I’ve changed jobs in September or so, and moved to a new office in Lisboa. Since we already had projects that had to be finished, we didn’t have much time to take care of the office… that’s why, 3 months later, the office just had his floor done, and this is the current look:

Lots of mess and clutter still…ย Another view:

Anyway, we’ve just delivered a big project, a provisioning system, which was very hard to do because we had to master completely new technologies for us: PHP, Java, Google Web Toolkit, MySQL… All these technologies are used to do the frontend for the system, with a C++ backend (all done in Linux, which is also new for me; mastering makefiles sucks)…

So it was a challenging project, but ultimately it was rewarding, since everything worked with just minor tweaks… Now we have some stuff to add on it, but it shouldn’t be a big problem, since the core system is done…


Cataclysm feed, Part III

13 Dec

Well, as you might have noticed, I’ve been having too much fun playing WoW to update my blog…

Since last Thursday, the 9th, I’m a proud level 85:

Since then, I’ve been doing instances (normal and heroic), trying to get my gear raid-ready… Also been levelling professions (already a maxed out alchemist, and almost maxed out tailor)…

This was a great expansion for the game, in my opinion… it had a bit of everything… Blizzard took the formula they started developing in Wrath of the Lich King and squeezed even more fun out of it… quests with cutscenes (ingame, of course), an easierย system to learn but harder to master, and more immersiveness… And that’s the keyword in this last expansion: immersion…

What they’ve done is to give the player a sense of urgency (which actually doesn’t exist, you can take how long you want to finish quests), through good storytelling/writing, they made you belong in the world and actually feel you’re making a difference, even with 100000 people around you doing the exact same thing! This is very great achievement for a MMORPG, one that’s extremely hard to pull off…

Lots of people say that the game is more geared to casual players, but that’s wrong… it might have been partially true in WotLK, but Blizzard certainly didn’t go that route… while the game has become more accessible (which is different from casual), with a big quest helper, marked quests on the map, etc, the dungeon difficulty (particularly the heroics) has been cranked up to the extreme… while in WotLK, even from the start you could just AoE all enemies in sight and still survive, Cataclysm demands players to use they’re classes’ abilities to the maximum, having to resort to crowd-control (which I haven’t used since The Burning Crusade, to be honest) and other less-used skills and spells…

The game has become more tactic in nature, demanding players to adjust from fight to fight, which in my opinion is better, less-casual.

The game still is a lot of fun for newcommers (the Worgen and Goblin zones seem to be ace, as the Gnome and Troll), but demands more of the more dedicated players, giving much less than WotLK for free, demanding effort to actually get good gear… Finally, epics are really epics, not just some stuff you pickup in any instance in the game…

Now, it’s back to work… those monsters aren’t going to kill themselves! ๐Ÿ™‚


Independent Game Festival 2011 โ€“ Part IV

09 Dec

Hi again!

When you’re reading this, I’ll probably be playing “Cataclysm”, getting my awesome mage to level 85 and raid ready! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I’ve prepared this beforehand, and I probably posted on that before this goes online.

So, let’s get down to it: the last part of my IGF2011 showcase… I’ll still do a wrapup post aswell, with some last impressions on this IGF…


According to the creator, “Nimbus” is an open ended puzzle-racing game. The player controls a ship that doesn’t propel itself, instead relying on the stuff on the levels to increase it’s speed (and mainly to go up).

“Nimbus” has already been released (through Steam), and seems like a fun game… unfortunately, haven’t had the time to play it yet, but I’ll be sure to take my turn at it!


Another known name in the indy community, “Overgrowth” is a game by Wolfire Games. Although I’m not a big fan of the game itself, their toolchain and marketing abilities are impecable and well worth taking a look into, to learn “how it’s done!”. The game features is a Rabbit on Rabbit action… Kung-Fu-wise, that is!


“Proun” is a racing game of sorts… the objective is to avoid the obstacles by rotating a sphere around the tube it is travelling on… Some stuff on the trailer is insane, and it looks great.


“Q.U.B.E.” is a game that kind of reminds me of “Portal”. It plays as a first person game in which the player has a glove that enables him to extrude or push blocks of the same color as the glove, and has to use that to solve puzzles and progress further into levels. Looks sweet!

Ray Ardent: Science Ninja

This one has the Silly Factor crank way up! Best way to explain it is that it’s like Cannabalt with more stuff in it… ๐Ÿ™‚

Player has to control “Ray Ardent” in a scrolling environment, avoiding obstacles and bad guys without loosing pace… Simple, yet addictive, if it’s anything like Cannabalt.

Retro City Rampage

If Grand Theft Auto was done in the 80’s, this is what would come out… An open-ended sandbox-y game with 8-bit graphics (that look totally awesome). ’nuff said, I think!


This is one of the most original twists on a shoot’em up I’ve ever seen: you play the game backwards in time… This makes the game look more of a rythm game than a shooter, to be honest, but the result is impressive nevertheless… Basically, the player has to position himself at the correct position where he was when he fired his lasers… weird, hum?

In the video, it’s easier to understand, but I fear this mechanic might be too strange to get acceptance, since it involves a mental paradigm shift to accomodate for the time-is-backwards thing… The execution is also a bit weird, since there are lots of glowy things to confuse the player and misleed him to the wrong position. Still, it’s very impressive!

Shield the Beat

Another mix between a rythm game and a shoot’em up, in this one, the player has to use the analogue stick to control the shield’s position around the ship while changing the color of the shield to reflect the incomming bullets… This all in a “on-rails” shooter context…

It’s pretty neat and innovative, which is always good to see!


Another original one (seems I can’t use any other word to describe most games I’ve chosen for my IGF2011 overview)… In this platformer, the player can take “pictures” of areas of the screen and then move them around the play area to solve puzzles. It’s really weird and wonderful…

Spectre Spelunker Shrinks

Although it has a terrible name, the concept behind this platformer is quite nice: play with the characters’s size. Although plenty of games have done in the past (for example, “Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap”), this is the first time I saw this mechanic applied to a platformer, and to such a good effect:

Spiral Knights

Co-op action RPG? I’m in! ๐Ÿ™‚ Specially if it reminds me of “Darkstone” (an old game I really loved!). I’m curious on what the creator means by “clockwork world” that changes over time…

Strength of the Sword

This one is impressive for an indy game… top-notch graphics and animation, which is rare these days (animation being so expensive to produce, compared to the other parts of the tech/art). The gameplay seems to be a bit too “arena-based” for my taste, but each to his own, to be honest… “Heavenly Sword” was arena based and it was enjoyed by millions… ๐Ÿ™‚

Swimming Under Clouds

Physics-based platformer… The awesome part is that it looks beautifull and includes fluid simulations, which is something I love… The weirdness of the main character (a fish in water travelling through a world) is just the strawberry on top of the cake!


This graphical adventure got me curious because of it’s procedural generated puzzles… I’m extremely curious on how this will work in practice, to be honest…

The Line

Looks good and seems to have an interesting gameplay going on… Just draw and erase lines to get the player character from one place to another. Another game that seems to be a good match for the iPhone.


Another interesting puzzle game, it seems to me this one will drive me insane (if it would come out for Android)… Just lead the trains from start to finish, avoiding collisions… seems simple, right? ๐Ÿ™‚


This is an interesting puzzler, and I wish it would come out on Android (since I don’t enjoy these games so much on PC as on that kind of devices, not sure why)… A puzzle game in which you shift the game world to move pieces together. It’s available for PC, iPhone, iPad and WindowsPhone 7 (an impressive feat by itself, with just one tech guy working on the game, in a short while).

So, that’s it… now back to levelling (well, technically not, since I posted this on Monday, but you get the general feeling!) ๐Ÿ™‚


Posted in Games, Indy


Cataclysm feed, Part II

08 Dec

Well, I’m level 83 at the moment, and having a lot of fun… ๐Ÿ™‚

Blizzard learned some stuff with the previous expansions, creating more tight levelling experiences, with more events and better storytelling… Don’t think the source material is as strong as the Lich King of the Burning Crusade, but maybe it’s just me…

So, photo album:

The first quest hub in the game, in the Vashj’ir area… I chose Vashj’ir to see something different from usual, and I guessed (correctly, appaarentely) that it would be less crowded, since most people don’t like underwater navigating… Here is one of the improvements in the game… if you touch the seabed, you walk as normal, etc, which is easier… if you jump up, you enter swim mode and can mount your aquatic mount (given at the end of one of the initial chains).

Some of the vistas in this game are quite impressive… they went for a vibrant underwater world, instead of just impressing blue…

The sea-horse mount isn’t as bad as I thought initially… it’s extremely fast (so fast that afterwards it makes me think I’m slow in my flying mount!). Too bad you can’t choose which one you want, like all other mounts…

Inside the brain of a BIG creature… ๐Ÿ™‚ This quest bugged so hard for so many people… me included, but I figured out quickly how to solve the bug… Way to go, WoWHead!

In the Vashj’ir area, you have a quest chain in which you have to play with a Naga Battlemaiden, which I thought it was pretty cool! ๐Ÿ™‚

Going incognito, infiltrating an enemy base… Yes, those are squids on my head and my wife’s (the big moonkin)…

After we finished the Vashj’ir area (or more or less ccompleted, we didn’t get the achievement, ‘cos there’s no more quests that we could find… We’re stuck at 150/160… ๐Ÿ™ ), we went to Deepholm…

This was the impressive sight when we got to the Maelstrom… very neat! ๐Ÿ™‚

Another great moment… interrogating the ogre, threatning to let him fall onto the propeller!

In the meantime, I got my alchemy to level 525 (that’s top level)… And now working on tailoring… want to see if I can reach level 85 by tomorrow, so that I can start grinding heroics for gear…


Cataclysm feed, Part I

07 Dec

I call it that ‘cos I like to number stuff… ๐Ÿ™‚

One note, Stormwind is beautiful from the air:

Anyway, spent the morning levelling the herbalism of my wife’s druid, and grinding herbs to feed my mage’s alchemy… This made her level almost one full level (she’s 81 now), just discovering stuff and herbing (this gives you xp now…).

Found out places like this:

or the underwater equivelent:

Think “tentacles” are big with Blizzard at the moment…

Anyway, no idea on what to do with those, just herbed and herbed… I’m pissed because I reached a point in alchemy (520), in which I can’t level it anymore using herbs! I need to do transmutes, and nobody has the gems I need for the transmutes, neither for sale, neither for trade with blue ones… It’s so stupid that an alchemist needs to have mining to be able to level his profession, instead of using the normal pair (alchemy/herbalist)… Now i have to wait for my wife to level the mining on her paladin so I can have some gems for transmutes…

Hopefully in a couple of hours, after some errands, I can start really doing some levelling…


Cataclysm blogging…

07 Dec

Well, while I’m waiting for the servers to come back online (it’s been 34 mins since Cataclysm came out and the servers have been down since, must be a hell of a lot of people trying to logon), I’ve made the decision to try and blog a bit about my Cataclysm levelling experience… don’t worry, if you don’t like/don’t know World of Warcraft, just skips these posts tagged with “wow”… ๐Ÿ™‚

So, to pass the time:

Yes, I’m that bored at the moment… ๐Ÿ™‚

Just want to check out stuff, move on to the new area, etc, before turning in for the night…

My wife won’t be able to play tomorrow until 17h or so (when she gets home from work), so I’ll be levelling my alt druid in the meantime… After that, it’s back to my mage, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, back to trying to logon…


Edit, finally got in, only took one hour… :\

Anyway, totally worth it… flying over Stormwind is an amazing sight, and the starting event on the Vashj’r area was totally awesome… this expansion promises to be great! ๐Ÿ™‚

More bloggin tomorrow… ๐Ÿ™‚


Independent Game Festival 2011 โ€“ Part III

05 Dec

And I’m finally back… the main part of the project is done, now just some tests and bugfixing to go…

Besides that, I have Cataclysm comming out this week and I’m gonna play until my eyeballs drops, which means I have to prepare some posts to come online during this week… ๐Ÿ™‚

So, without further delay, part 3 of my IGF2011 analysis!

Hasta la Muerte

This game caught my eye because of its unusual visuals and because of the simple gameplay… 6 basic game rules, then some polish…

In this game, you play as “Death”, which has to take the souls of the recently expired to the afterlife… take too long and they’ll transform into monsters that can hurt you… There’s more to it than this, but this is the short version…

An interesting twist of the “survival”-style game.

Hazard: The Journey of Life

This is a first person exploration game, with some puzzle solving. The game takes place in a non-euclidean space (which means that going “insideย a room” can leave you in a bigger room than the outside), and supposedly an exploration of the journey through life… Can’t speak for that myself, since I’ve seen only the video, but it’s an interesting concept which can lead to some nice gameplay.


Hero Mages

“Hero Mages” seems to be quite an achievement… looks nice, and has a big feature list, which is impressive for a single-developer game.

It’s a turn based strategy-RPG, in which a number of players (up to 8) battle out for supremacy on a board.

History of Biology

What? An educational game that doesn’t suck!? My world views have been shattered! ๐Ÿ™‚

“History of Biology” is an edutainment product, and seems to be quite a good one at that, mixing actual gameplay (and not just silly actions stringed up together to call a digital encyclopedia a game!) with learning… I always thought that games could be amazingly good educational tools, but it’s taking forever for us to reach that state that game makers and educators can actually join forces and create fun games that can teach something! This one is a step in the right direction, it seems…


Love the visuals in this one, and the gameplay seems to be quite interesting aswell. In this game we control a snake-like creature that has to carry NPCs to a target area. There’s some fighting going on (although I didn’t understand it very well)…

All in all, seems like a polished product with nice visuals and innovative gameplay.

Hue Shift

This iPad game is an interesting twist on the general platformer. The player can shift color, and only platforms of the same color as the player are actually solid.

It’s amazing that people still can find something to do with a beaten old mechanic like a platformer, but there you have it, they actually do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

In the Dark

“In the Dark” is a platfom game in which you control a monster. In this mythos, monsters can only be in the dark, and light acts as a solid barrier. Because of this, the player will have to use shadows and solve some physic-based puzzles to move around the level and reach the goal. Another nice use of the light/shadow aestethic and extended platform-mechanics.

Infinite Blank

Like “Minecraft”, this game isn’t exactly a game, but more of a sandbox multiplayer world where all players can express their creativity. In this case, through drawing.

So, “Infinite Blank” is a multiplayer paint application, in which players go around continuosly filling the world with more drawings and exploring drawings made by others. Quite a neat project!

Jolly Rover

Pirates in a graphical adventure… hum… where have I heard that one before? Oh, but wait, this one has dogs! ๐Ÿ™‚

I included this one because it looks very polished and it’s a graphical adventure, a genre that I have a lot of affection for… But it has a good vibe to it!

Kill Timmy

This game looks sick… and so much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ Basically, this is a sadistic “The Incredible Machine”… the objective is to kill the innocent “Timmy” in each level, placing some stuff in the level and watching it all go… And while this kind of game bores me nowadays on the PC, seems like a perfect match for smartphones in general!

La Mulana

La Mulana is also one of the best know titles in the indy scene… This game is full of 8-bit old-fashioned platforming action, and although the game has already been out for some time (since 2005); so why is it in this year’s IGF? Well, it has been remade for Wiiware, that’s why! ๐Ÿ™‚

Light of Altair

Light of Altair is a 4X game, and I’m a sucker for these… I particularly like the colony building aspect of it, with the hex-grid and limited space, which makes you go more strategic in the empire expansion… Looks very polished and well done…

Light in the Deep

Another game that looks really polished (on a side note, the level of polish on these games have been going up and up and up, year after year!), “Lost in the Deep” tells the story of a girl that wanders off into the deep after some mermaids… The visuals are gorgeous, and its action-adventure-exploring gameplay seems very suited to young girls (a mostly ignored demographic, in terms of actual good games).

Lylian: Episode One

This game is every teen-goth’s wet dream, complete with psyco-girl, insanity, darkness and evil nurses… ๐Ÿ™‚

Nevertheless, it seems like a very interesting game, very well executed and well deserving of a look.


This one is fairly interesting… at first glance, it seems like your average roguelike, but after looking at the gameplay video below, it seems to really be innovative and fun… Instead of just walking about a dungeon, you can actually change the dungeon, by shifting “rows” and “columns”… pretty nifty stuff.


Puzzles in the 4th dimension? Yes, please! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s kind of hard to explain exactly what the 4th dimension is, but in this game you can rotate in a all 4 dimensions in order to solve puzzles… now this must be some great mental workout! ๐Ÿ™‚


Not going to talk about this, to be honest… I leave that to all the 10000 indy blogs and sites that can’t seem to stop talking about i! ๐Ÿ™‚

For everybody that has been living below a rock this past months, Minecraft is the indy gaming version of crack… Notch, the creator has supposedly done a bazillion dollars with this, and because of that 10000 clones are popping all over the place…

Sorry if I sound pedantic, but I’m really tired of talking and hearing about Minecraft… but it is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, that’s it for me, I’ll see if I can post the last part of this series this week (while levelling my imba mage to level 85!)… Cya all! ๐Ÿ™‚

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