Above are some images I’ve collected while working on my new game, currently titled “Space Cart“; and I quite like the look of them. And yes, this post is mostly an excuse to dump them on my site.
But getting to the point, random generation isn’t for everyone. But also, this isn’t technically random, as there are some bits in the code that define shape and positioning. Regardless, there are a lot of negative opinions about random generation of worlds.
Most of these views are along the lines of; unfocused design, laziness, “soullessness”, and so on. Then there actual complaints about bad RNG and bugs with collision or scripting.
While I’ve been working on this game, I’ve been learning things about this type of creation method and coming face to face with a lot of its drawbacks. With the example of planet generation, some of the sprites used to create those planets can look Godawful at times and point out how much of a video game this is. Take a look at this.
Look at the planet there, and you see a sharp square edge where the sprite isn’t properly alined or sized correctly. It looks awful. Thankfully, I know how to fix this issue, so it won’t be a problem in the future.
That said, there are other issues with positioning. Currently the planets are so rare to spawn that they don’t collide or intersect with each other. However, on the few times it does happen it looks very bizarre. I don’t have an example image to show unfortunately.
When I originally started making this, I thought about making all the planets from scratch. Then I realised that would be bad idea as I could potentially spend a lot of time doing sprite art instead of making the damn game. Doing what I’m doing now was probably the best choice in the grand scheme of things.
But aside from random generation there are other issues with my game, mostly the noisy art style that makes it difficult to differentiate objects on the screen.
I’ve been unable to find a job that I’m qualified for, and not just because my degree grade isn’t great; but rather because a lot of the lower positions at companies are starting to get out-sourced out of the UK, meaning what’s left are senior roles that I couldn’t hope to get.
I’ll keep looking, but I don’t have much hope. I’ll work on improving my portfolio in the meantime.
Video game wise; I played some Dreams, but I found the creation tools to be kind of overbearing. There’s a lot to learn, but using a normal DualShock isn’t really all that intuitive when using their editor. I feel off it pretty quick.
I finished playing Prey. I enjoyed it but it has a lot of caveats, mostly relating to the combat. If you’re into the System Shock or Deus Ex games, you might enjoy it.
Finally, I’ve been playing some Tokyo Xanadu. It’s a bit Persona-esque in that there are social aspects to game. It does things differently though by letting you explore the world openly during your free time, and only limiting your interactions with others using a consumable, something that you can gain more off by taking on some optional dungeons. On the subject of dungeons, you can revisit them as many times as you want without penalty. No cat telling you that “you’re tired” and that you should “go to bed”. Hell, there’s no talking animals in general. Plus mini-games that you can actually play.
Persona has the advantage in terms of personality though. A lot of this game from the writing to the dungeon aesthetics to the menu design seem really flat and uninteresting. Thankfully the action game combat and enemy variety stop it from being too boring, just don’t expect a high budget.
That’s all really. Demo Day 32 is happening in under two months, so I’m gonna try and focus towards that. Knowing how frequently I post, I might not write again until that demo is ready.
Finally, as a reminder, you can follow Space Cart’s development on my Twitch channel every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Feel free to follow too.
It’s that time of year again. The time where I make my Top 10s of the previous year. But before we get to that, I want to chat about a couple of games and such.
Star Wars – Episode IX: Rise Of The Skywalker
OK, this isn’t a video game; but I do need to say something about this pile of trash movie. You won’t find spoilers here, just to get that out of the way.
Disney’s sequel trilogy is a complete mess of rushed out, homogenised, convoluted crap. It doesn’t really know where it’s going, it isn’t differentiating itself from the previous movies, and is trying hard to push it’s new badly written and unlikable characters, while still trying to pander to “the fans”.
Episode IX is more or less a melting pot of everything wrong with this series. It goes from place to place without any real reason, the character writing is insufferable, the new characters they add don’t really have anything to contribute to the story (Babu Frik is kind of entertaining though, so I’ll give them that), and the actual plot is just a blatant excuse to bring back old characters because they couldn’t write better ones.
It sucks. I wish I could go into more detail, but with every passing day my brain systematically tries to remove the memories of this god awful trilogy. I think I preferred the prequels.
I want to talk about Shenmue for a bit. My opinions on this game are “mixed” to say the least.
It still does things I like. Having all the NPCs be individuals with a certain look, name, and schedules; is still a very welcome feature. It definitely brings a little bit of life into the towns. The variety and quantity of food stalls and shops is also something I enjoy, especially when the store owners disrespect each other in order to try and sell you their goods. Finally, the minigames and gambling are still somewhat enjoyable, even if the classic SEGA arcade games are nowhere to be found.
Getting on to what I don’t like, there’s a lot.
The voice acting is bad, even in Japanese. The characters often talk with long pauses inbetween sentences, and Ryo going “Souka” (“I see” for those playing in English) at damn near everything has progressed from a meme to just being downright annoying. Ryo himself still has little to no character of his own and it’s starting to wear thin. Shenhua isn’t much better, this should have been the time when the questions relating to her appearing in Ryo’s dreams and her actual importance to the overall plot should be explained; the but game doesn’t bother. Most interactions with her involve either stories of her growing up, asking Ryo about his life in Japan, or telling you about things within town that you likely already know about.
The character animation is stiff to say the least. The wonky wax-like character models don’t help either. It’s a very unappealing look. The world on the other hand has decent enough texture work and modelling though; all the houses, markets, shops, and various other things have a surprising level of detail to them.
The fighting system is both dumbed down and indisputably worse than the previous games. Shenmue I & II were made on a fighting game engine, therefore the timings for the combat and QTE sequences were extremely responsive, providing you knew the inputs for the moves. With III, moving to Unreal, an engine known for its input lag in fighting games; there is a significant delay in every single input. I’m talking at least a good second from input to on-screen action. It is dreadful. Thankfully, once you obtain the move “Tiger Thigh”, every fight in the game becomes a joke. All the fights are extremely similar too, no real diversity in terms of fighting styles during these sequences.
Did I mention the QTEs are trash? Because they’re fucking trash.
To top it off, this isn’t even the last game. There’s still more. And considering this game goes absolutely fucking nowhere in terms of plot, I sincerely hope the development team is planning on picking up the pace a little for IV.
As an original Kickstarter backer, I’m not particularly satisfied with what they’ve done, but I won’t say I’m unhappy either. If they actually bother fixing the shortcomings of not just this game, but the series as a whole, and relearn the improvements that made Shenmue II such a appreciably better game than the first; maybe it can be better.
Game Pass and Forza Horizon 4
I don’t have too much to say about this so far, I’ve only had it for a few days. But being able to access a few dozen PC games for £1 is pretty neat. As I don’t use my Xbox One much these days though, I don’t know if I’ll be renewing it, but we’ll see.
As for Forza Horizon 4, well it’s just more Horizon really. I still don’t really like Forza. Sim-Cade as a genre is not something I enjoy and the lack of options for making the cars be as arcade-like as possible is extremely limited. The options are limited to “Hard realism” or “Really loose, but still very sluggish realism”. It’s no Burnout Paradise.
It is nice to be playing a game set in the Highlands though. Beautiful part of the UK.
Alright, we both know what you’re here for.
Top 10s of 2019
2019 hasn’t been super stand out year for either games or anime to be honest, but it wasn’t completely boring either. The prevalence Japanese games this year that were either of a relatively high budget or just generally stand out as compared to the run-of-the-mill trash that Western companies put out was rather alarming. The amount of Japan-made games I played this year is probably the highest it’s ever been.
My Top 10 Games of 2019
Before we begin, some additional categories.
Puyo Puyo Champions – It’s a fun, barebones Puyo Puyo game. I’m not very good at Puyo Puyo, but I still think this game is a blast.
Released Games I Wanted To Play Or Play More Of:
Onimusha Warlords – A remaster of the first Onimusha game. I actually got gifted this but never got around to it.
Jump King – Played a little bit of this. Reminds me of Super Meat Boy. In that I got so frustrated that I rage quit.
Death end re;Quest – Started this and originally thought of it as another “kusoge” Idea Factory game, but it started getting interesting. Unfortunately my PC broke and I haven’t gotten back to it yet.
Samurai Shodown (2019) – Still waiting on the PC release.
Super Mario Maker 2 – Held off on buying it because I heard it wasn’t that much different to the first game, and I didn’t play much of the first game to begin with and didn’t want to waste my money.
Control – Waiting on the Steam release.
Crystar – I was torn between getting this or Death end re;Quest. I think I chose poorly.
The Outer Worlds – I got this on Game Pass, and it only just finished installing as I’m writing this post. I’ll get to it soon I guess.
Best HD Remaster:
Metal Wolf Chaos XD – Finally, I can play this game. And you know what? It’s actually really fun.
Additional shoutouts to Catherine: Full Body and Blood: Fresh Supply.
Worst Game I Played:
Super Neptunia RPG – Speaking of Idea Factory “kusoge”. This game feels like shit to play, and it’s version of active time battle is stupidly slow and makes fights more drawn out than they need to be. Plus, if you buy the DLC, you become an overpowered God, which then makes the early fights stupidly easy and long.
There’s one more thing I need to say before getting to this year’s list. And it’s regarding last year’s ranking.
I very mistakenly put Dragon Quest XI at number 8 last year. Having played more of it since making that list, I must make a correction. It should be number 4.
And with all that out of the way, here is the numbered list.
10. One Finger Death Punch 2
A decently challenging and fun game, in a simple to understand package. Lots of hilarity to be had in it’s animations and special items.
9. Ion Fury
A real throwback to mid-to-late-90s FPS games. Even using the Build Engine for added authenticity. I’ve only played the first episode or so, but it’s fast paced action and harsh difficulty really has me hooked.
8. AI: The Somnium Files
I have my gripes with the localization work on this game, but the investigative sequences and character interactions are so endearing that it still made its way on to my list. Particularly the intros to the investigative scenes featuring Aiba, like this one.
It’s not perfect, but I had a good time with it.
7. Death Stranding
As someone who loves Euro Truck and American Truck Simulators; the idea of spending the whole time delivering things from one place to another doesn’t sound all to bad. And it’s not, that aspect of the game is actually alarmingly addicting for me. The black goo monsters known as BTs are both terrifying as well as annoying. Particularly later in the game where fighting them isn’t really necessary. The boss fights are rather lacking though, considering this is a Kojima game and the Metal Gear Solid series had some of the best boss fights ever.
The licensed soundtrack is fantastic though, providing you like Low Roar.
6. Devil May Cry 5
I’m gonna be honest here, I’ve only finished DMC2. I’ve played a lot of DMC1 and a bit of DMC3, haven’t played 4 yet. That other one isn’t related as far as I’m concerned. So coming into DMC5, I was expecting to have a more difficult time than I did. Now I wasn’t playing on the hardest difficulties or anything, but they’ve made substantial strides in demonstrating each character’s movesets. Due to that, I actually knew what I was doing moreso than the previous games I played. Dante is my favourite to play as though, the different styles and his character specific weapons are my preference.
V is pretty entertaining though.
5. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
I’m still playing this one. However it is very clear to me that this is a very special game. Not only is it a Kickstarter game that is actually good, but it actually takes what made the post-SOTN Castlevanias fun, and puts them all together in one game. The Shards are more or less Souls from the Sorrow games, the hub with all the NPCs is akin to Portrait of Ruin, and some of the larger boss fights remind me of Order of Ecclesia (Which I really want to play).
Throw in a ton of Easter Eggs, references, and real goofy fun to use items; it becomes clear how much effort went into this. There are some drawbacks; I don’t like how easy it is to get stunlocked, the hitboxes are a bit wonky, and I think the character and world art clash a bit; but the journey through has been so engrossing that I can overlook these shortcomings.
4. Resident Evil 2 (2019)
I once saw the original RE2 being played back in the late 90s. It fucking terrified me so much that I feared sleeping in the dark till I was a teenager.
Other than that traumatising experience, I’ve never played a Resident Evil game to any significant degree. I think I might have tried playing the demo to RE5, but that’s about it.
This game. This Goddamn game is expertly designed from start to finish. The placement of items, the atmosphere of each area, Mr. X chasing you round for half the game in a fashion that can only be described brutally intimidating; incredible.
And it’s one Hell of a cure for constipation.
3. Tetris 99
In 2018, I found myself enjoying the PC version of Puyo Puyo Tetris more than Tetris Effect. And in 2019, this game makes the precise point as to why. Competitive Tetris doesn’t get much purer than this. You VS 98 others. Good luck.
I was playing this every night for probably about 2-3 months before getting a win. I don’t play it as much now, but it’s my go-to Tetris game on Switch. Especially with the additional modes they added.
2. Judge Eyes/Judgment
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios ends up on my list again with Judgment. Focusing on being a detective, it provides a slew of new gameplay experiences that gives some additional life to the now overused city of Kamurocho.
It might not have a ton of mini-games, but the inclusion of VF5 and Motor Raid more than make up for it.
Throw in the usual whacky sub stories, intriguing main plot, and probably the most favourable cast of characters this team has made; no self-respecting Yakuza fan could say no to this game.
That said, this series could probably do with going on a break for a bit.
1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This is my favourite From Software game, and my favourite game from last year.
I have never felt more intune with a game’s combat system more than this game. It takes the aspect of Dark Souls where you need to learn bosses attack patterns and movements and extrapolates that onto every enemy in the game with a core set of patterns.
Initially this starts off very difficult, but as you start to learn, obtain new moves and equipment, and move on to harder and harder fights; you almost gain an attachment to the character’s limbs, as if it’s an extension of you. After understanding the movesets of harder enemies, weaker enemies become such a cakewalk, that it resembles Samurai films where a character would defeat someone and then quip about how they aren’t worth the effort to fight.
By the time I got to end I had such an understanding of the game’s mechanics that fighting the very difficult late-game bosses almost put into a zen-like state of automation.
The boss fights on to themselves are a way and above that of the Souls games in my opinion. There’s just something a lot more intimate about them. Possibly because of the amount of man against man fights, as compared to large monsters. Genichiro Ashina is a noteworthy highlight.
Throw in the addition of more verticality to the level design, and absolutely stunning art direction that just flaunts Japanese artistry; it became very clear to me that this game is my jam.
And now for the anime list, which is just going to be a standard list because writing prose for all of them really isn’t worth it.
My Top 10 Anime Of 2019
Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai
Nande Koko ni Sensei ga!?
Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai
Worst Anime I Watched:
Egao no Daika
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu
Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo
Africa no Salaryman
Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san
Bungou Stray Dogs 3rd Season
Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?
Joshikousei no Mudazukai
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen
Before I head off, I want to talk about one more thing really quick.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
I got the Blu-Ray for this using my Christmas money, and I quite enjoyed it. That said, it also makes me think maybe Tarantino should do more movies that don’t have violence in them. I won’t spoil why, but let’s just say that the difference between the character focused scenes and what little violence there was; stood out more than some of his other movies.
It’s pretty damn good though. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio do a fantastic job as the main characters. And the movie’s visuals and soundtrack are top notch.
Right, well that was a long blog post. Till the next one.
A fairly entertaining Xmas break. Shenmue III ended up being both terrible and exactly what it should be, Death Stranding was a very interesting game, and my computer broke. Again.
So about a year ago now, my storage drive failed, and soon after my motherboard. This time, the remaining hard drive kicked the bucket. And seeing how Win7 is getting killed later this month, I finally decided to upgrade.
This time, I bought a 4TB HDD to go along with a 2TB I bought to replace the one that failed, and installed a NVME SSD that I had being sitting on since May. And then went about installing Win10.
The first installation had a problem where part of it got installed onto my old SSD, and formatting said SSD caused the whole thing to be completely ignored on boot. So I did it over with just the NVME SSD and it worked just fine after, and then added the SSD after making an unallocated drive.
Today, I spent most of my time reinstalling all my previous applications. It took longer than expected due to my sister visiting and causing the Internet to fucking tank.
Anyway, that’s been my life since Christmas. Not doing much other than fixing this thing. Check in three months from now when something else eventually breaks.
Moving on to the real reason you may be visiting; my next Den post featuring my Top 10s of the year. It’s coming, but seeing as I was dealing with all that bullshit for two to three weeks, I feel like taking some extra time to play some of the games I was rushing to play before the end of the year. Particularly Bloodstained.
Happy New Year. I hope it’s better than last year. Guess we’ll see.
I’ll keep this short. I finally made an Itch.io page for the game I’ve been working on. I’ll be posting updates there and playable builds (Hopefully). I’ll still be making regular updates here as well.
P.S. New Den post soon as well. I have things to talk about.
Before anyone lynches me for the somewhat pretentious and “My game is clearly important to society as a whole” title decision, allow me to just say that I wasn’t quite sure how to explain my thought process in regards to what’s happening here.
So I mentioned in my last couple of posts that I started a new project (Which I have been streaming on Twitch) and I seem to be spending more time making art assets than programming gameplay. That’s the stark opposite of what was happening when I was working on Bullet Hell Lane Shooter.
I’m making sprites for stuff, figure out how I want it to animate or move, and then just making the game based around that. It’s an interesting approach, because of which BHLS, I used generic shapes and then built the gameplay before doing anything art related. I’m not sure if the reasoning for this is due to the switch from 3D to 2D, or maybe my disdain for how shit BHLS looked. Everytime I showed off the game in Demo Days, it looked like programmer art; and the lack of artistic cohesiveness mixed with a low effort presentation just made it look like crap. Even though the gameplay was decent enough, the absence of “juice” just made everything feel unresponsive or uninteresting.
In this new game, because I’m done some of the art before hand, I can feel a closer attachment to the playable ship. It feels reactive, more natural, grounded even. It’s hard to describe.
But getting back to the title. When I started this project, I had the idea of a “Kart Racer in Space”. Therefore I went about making a basic ship sprite and had it move around Unity a bit. Then I made the ship rotate. After that I made it shoot stuff. Following that I decided to animate some exhausts for the ship to have it feel right, because otherwise the player ship just felt floaty and loose. At that point, I realised that trying to make a tightly controlled and responsive kart racer in space using the controls and movement that I had made; was a terrible idea.
Once I realised that, I decided to start goofing around and ended up deciding that having an open area was the best strategy going forward.
Subsequently, I’m still in a brainstorming phase where I’m trying to figure out if I want to make a top-down/side-on shooter similar to stuff like Galaga or Thunder Force, or make a Space Trucking Sim sticking to the over world entirely. To be frank, I’m leaning towards to latter as it might require less art.
So that’s where I’m at. Guess we’ll see where I end up. Stay tuned to my Twitch channel for now I guess.
P.S. I will publish an Itch.io page for this game with a demo once I’ve added a few more things. The page is there, but there’s nothing on it right now and isn’t accessible publicly.
Nothing particularly interesting happened, but my prescription is gonna get a tiny bit stronger. Hopefully that means I’ll be able to read stuff a bit easier.
Also, another update on the new project.
I added some sprite animation for the thrusters. It looks better than I thought it would, although the ship still doesn’t look great. I also got it to shoot, with some help from someone in my Twitch chat.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do next because I don’t have a plan for the thing. So I’ll probably start brainstorming some ideas soon.
P.S. WordPress’ new block system for making posts is both interesting and annoying, but it does let me do dumb shit like that, which looks cool.
P.P.S. I also watched Spaced. It’s alright, a bit dated in parts though.
But this time I’ve decided to stream every time I work on it to help motivate me to finish it, as well as get immediate feedback.
So as you may know by the widget on the side of every page, I have a Twitch Channel. I haven’t streamed on it for a number of years, but now I’m back and streaming as often as I can. Most of the time it’s going to be games, but several times a week it will be this new project or something game dev related. Either way, you should follow me and maybe spread the link out so that more people can watch it, meaning I get more feedback.
So after the last post I made; I decided to rebuild most of my PC, do a fresh install of Windows, and reinstall a bunch of stuff. I’m now generally back up and running again and haven’t had too many issues with the upgrade (Except for Metro Exodus, which I’ll get to later).
But looking at BHLS, I decided that it would need to be rebuilt. And then I lost all motivation to rebuild it because frankly, Unity is a pain to deal with.
So today I’ve decided to completely wipe my whiteboard clean and start something new… Or get back to finishing my “Gaming Backlog Sorter” that I was working on at one point. Either way, Visual Studio is gonna get reinstalled. And maybe I’ll fiddle around with Godot. Maybe.
Getting back to Metro Exodus; it runs like shit. Even though I’m getting above 60FPS most of the time, the stuttering is insufferable. It makes playing the game really difficult. I managed to help it by moving the game to my SSD, but the issue still persists. The only real solution is to set the graphics settings on low. So I’m thinking it’s a texture streaming issue or something. Either way, it’s very annoying.
It also doesn’t help that the game really isn’t grabbing me at all. The stealth is awful, the AI is awful, the enemies are irritating to fight most of the time because the visual feedback and bullet sponginess is terrible, and the gunplay is crap. It’s desperately trying to be STALKER-like, but ends up eating it’s own identity to do so. Throw that in with the performance problems and the game just ends up being a real pain.
At least the gun customisation is neat. Pulling up to a encounter, pulling out the backpack, and then switching out parts to take advantage of the situation is one of the few parts I like.
And to end on a happy note: Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 are really good games. Thank you Capcom for finally digging yourself out of that hole and making games people actually want.
That’s it for now. Don’t know when the next post will be, but I’m sure it’ll be a happier one.
And so, here are my Top 10 lists for 2018. As per usual, these are my own opinions. Not gospel.
My Top 10 Games of 2018:
10. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory
9. Dragon Quest XI
8. Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon
7. Tetris Effect
6. Detroit: Become Human
5. Valkyria Chronicles 4
4. God Of War (2018)
3. Soulcalibur VI
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
1. Yakuza 6
Monster Hunter World
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Released Games I Wanted To Play or Play More Of:
Monster Hunter World – Didn’t get very far.
Dragon Quest XI – Still playing it.
Taiko no Tatsujin – I don’t own it, but I want to play it.
Best HD Remaster/Remake:
Shenmue I & II HD
(Burnout Paradise is still pretty fucking excellent though)
Worst Game I Played:
Ni No Kuni II
My Top 10 Anime of 2018
10. Harukana Receive
9. Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
8. Asobi Asobase & Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
7. Back Street Girls
6. Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
5. Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san
4. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby
3. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori
2. Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
1. 3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season
Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet
(I liked FranXX and SSSS.Gridman, but I didn’t feel like they should be on my list.)
There will be a regular blog post within the month, probably.