Star Revolution Update 2

See?

I guess this is planet 'Uglo'.

A 3D sphere for a planet, and 2D blits for the UI. The most basic tech that I needed to add has been completed, but I still can’t start working on stuff specific to Star Revolution yet. Inaria suffered because I didn’t have a state machine system in my framework, so I’m going to add one. Plus, the entire code could use a rework and cleanup. So while I’m going to be working diligently on Star Revolution, I probably won’t have anything new to show for a while. Hopefully I’ll be able to burn through this busywork and get to the fun stuff, where stuff blows up soon.

Star Revolution Update 1

And here’s the first screenshot of Star Revolution!

Look!  Stars!  Ready when you are, Raoul!

What’s that, you say? It looks just like Inaria? Ah, but there is an important difference – all the graphics you see here are actually textures being drawn on billboards using OpenGL, instead of the SDL’s sprite system. Thus, I can combine 2D and 3D elements in the same scene, which will be a necessary technology for Star Revolution.

End of Oblivion

I ended up watching about four hours total of Gamespot’s Oblivion stream before I had to go to bed.

That was a fantastic idea, and I hope they do it again with other games. Watching someone play a game for an hour or two will tell you much more about whether or not you’re going to like it than a review.

Greg played for 12 hours straight, taking only a few short breaks. When he got to the twelve hour mark at 6 AM, he was actually willing to continue playing, but had to stop when the fire alarm went off! The maintenance crew was testing the alarm and had assumed that no one would be in the building at that time of day.

As for the game itself…it’s basically Morrowind on steroids with a lot of bugs and interface problems fixed, and there is nothing wrong with that. I like how bashing someone upside the head with a mace really looks like it hurts. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see anything in town, so I still don’t know how effective the much-touted Radiant AI is. Plot looks interesting, but not really exceptional. Horses were extremely difficult to control, but the “travel anywhere” feature makes them pretty much irrelevant anyway.

I’m still completely stoked about the game and can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy. Collector’s Edition, with the making-of DVD, of course.

PSRD

It has occurred to me that I may need to explain what PSRD is again.

PSRD stands for “politics, sex, religion and drugs”, and represents topics that I do not discuss in depth on this blog, ever. Why? Because they are topics that many people invest with more importance than they merit, and thus become divisive. I understand that giving people a forum where they can flame and fight is actually a good way to boost your blog readership, but you can go to Draginol’s site for that. I’m just here to make games and chew gum, and I’m all out of gum.

Confidence

I recently listened to Steve Pavlina’s podcast on building confidence. It crystallized a couple of things for me.

(Warning: PSRD breach ahead.)

I’ve stated in the past that I’m not very big on God, because I have an engineering mindset and that makes it difficult to believe in things that I have no evidence for. I’ve been asked, “But such belief tends to make the lives of the believers better! Isn’t that sufficient to justify religion, even if it’s not true?” Now, a purely agnostic, atheistic response to that would be, “No! Believing a lie is never justified! Live as we do, undeceived!”

Except that believing in something that you have no evidence for is the essence of self-confidence. Self-confidence is actually self-faith. You believe despite having no evidence, and your belief gives you a much greater chance of actualizing what you believe in.

Thus, the atheistic/agnostic mantra of “It’s always better to live undeceived” is revealed as a lie – there is direct evidence to the contrary.

Does this mean that I believe in God again? No, not really. But even after I fell away from religion, I never developed an antipathy for religion like some atheists do. And now I know I never will. Religion is actually a useful tool for self-improvement…I just don’t feel it works for me personally.

Ditto

I’ll be glad when I can get out of the construction business and back into the restaurant business.

– Joe Bastianich, during the difficult contruction of his restaurant Del Posto

By the same token, I’ll be glad when I can get out of the “convince employers I’m a game developer” business and back into the game development business. For one thing, the game development business pays much better.

Spore

Spore is back in the news, now that an edited version of Wil Wright’s presentation is available on YouTube and Google Video.

We’re all gushing superlatives (myself included), but it’s actually quite difficult to overemphasize how important this game is. Games used to use generated (instead of pre-created) content all the time – read this excellent Guardian article on the creators of Elite for an instructive example. (Try to ignore the completely irrelevant Reagan and Thatcher-bashing.) They did this simply because they didn’t have enough room on their media to store all the data for their worlds.

Then CDs came along, and suddenly that room existed, so we (as game developers) ditched generated content for the much prettier custom-created content. Now we’ve got games on DVD, and we’ve got the opposite problem – so much room, and such high player expectations, that the content takes forever to produce, driving the cost of the game up and driving the actual game playing time down (witness all the games that can be beaten in ten hours or less).

If this game comes out and is successful, it will prove that triple-A titles can be made with generated content. Generated content will become easier and easier, and finally it’ll become another standard tool in the game development toolbox, like first-person controls and streaming levels. This is something that has been needed for a long time.