Author Archives: Gazza_N

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About Gazza_N

Gazza_N is jack of all trades, master of none, and needs to find first gear in his giant robot car. [Articles]

Eufloria

You may not realise it, but you’ve probably heard of Eufloria already. It made waves as a finalist in this year’s IGF Festival under the moniker of “Dyson”, and for all the reasons you’d expect. It has striking minimalist watercolour-styled graphics, beautifully atmospheric music and sound, and procedurally-generated assets. What really catches your attention, however, is its premise. It’s a real-time strategy game, where you create space colonies using trees.

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Heed

Heed is odd. From the moment you start the game up, you get the feeling that it’s definitely not your cookie-cutter point ‘n’ click adventure. Maybe it’s the surreal backgrounds and stylized art, or perhaps it’s the bizarre and moody background music (containing remixed samples from late-19th-century folk music). Either way, Heed feels quite surreal, and it only gets more so as you play.

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Return to Sector 9

Return to Sector Nine, by Pug Fugly Games, is a collection of nine minigames revolving around a single premise: make stuff explode… IN SPACE! It’s a throwback to the old arcade shooters of yesterdecade – you, in one little ship, blasting the everloving snot out of hordes of enemies while dodging walls of projectiles and obstacles as you rack up enough points to beat your top score. Along the way you’ll unlock new game modes, new ships with different capabilities, and all manner of other useful things.

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Mind Wall

When a competition comes around with the theme “Advancing Wall of Doom”, you know that the games produces are going to be something special. Well, that’s exactly what the Ludum Dare 48 hour game competition did, as we reported a few weeks ago, and the submitted games certainly lived up to the challenge. The overall winner, however, was mrfun’s Mind Wall, a reflex/puzzle game that not only does full justice to the premise, but manages to be fun and innovative too.

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3D graphics with Game Maker Part 3

We’ve covered drawing basic meshes, and we’ve covered the all-important transformation functions. We’ve also covered lighting. Now that we have all these basics down, it’s time to start on some of the nifty tricks that you can pull using what we’ve learned.

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3D graphics with Game Maker Part 2

In Part 1, we learned how to set up a basic camera, and draw the 3D primitives that Game Maker provides functions for. If you took my advice and messed around on your own a bit, you’ll have noticed a few limitations to included scripts. For instance, how do you go about rotating primitives? There are no arguments for that in the functions. What if you want to scale primitives in interesting ways, beyond simply changing the size via the draw functions? Well, in this instalment, I’ll be answering these questions using a single concept – transformations.

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Overseer Assault Postmortem

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 13, released in April 2007.

Overseer Assault is a freak of nature. Now that statement may seem harsh, especially coming from the game’s creator, but it’s true – Overseer Assault is a game that shouldn’t work, but through some dark and twisted means just does. One need only look at the description to understand: OA is a hybrid top-down shooter/turn-based strategy game. It also happens to be the first game that I ever made. Ambitious? Absolutely. Flawlessly executed? Not entirely…This is an overview of the Making of Overseer Assault, and new developers would do well to heed the painful lessons contained herein.

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3D graphics in Game Maker Part 1

It goes without saying that almost every game developer probably started out wanting to make games in 3D. After all, practically all of the AAA games that we played growing up were in 3D, so it comes as no surprise that we want to create our own 3D wonderworks.

What you may or may not realize is that the humble Game Maker comes with the ability to draw 3D graphics. This makes the task of putting 3D games together a lot simpler. However, one thing I would like to emphasize early on is that 3D is just another tool – nothing more, nothing less. Giving a game 3D graphics will not magically make it better. In fact, it can complicate a design that would otherwise work perfectly well in 2D. Conversely, using 3D in GM can also simplify certain graphical aspects of your game. It’s up to you to determine whether it’s worth all the extra effort, and to be aware of the limitations of Game Maker’s 3D functions.

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Multiwinia

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 27, released in November 2008.

Anybody who’s played Introversion’s seminal strategy/action game Darwinia will know the joys of having thousands of little flat men marching across the map in a long green column, leaving the glittering red digital souls of dead virii in their wake. It probably occurred to you that two or more such armies colliding would make for one epic battle. Well, it seems that Introversion agrees with you on that one, because (as our preview two issues ago revealed) they’ve been hard at work on Multiwinia, a brand new stand-alone multiplayer pseudo-sequel to Darwinia. So now that it’s finally been released, how does it measure up? Read on.

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PAA: Episode 2

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 28, released in January 2009

When one talks about the development of episodic games, there are normally two distinct advantages that get touted. The first is a steady cash flow. The other is the ability to iteratively improve on the game as each episode comes out and players are able to dictate what they liked and didn’t like. Episode 2 of On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness (henceforth referred to as “Episode 2″ to save my fingers from an early death) follows this philosophy to the letter. In fact, this review could be boiled down to four words: “Episode 1, but betrar”. [Does a number count as a word when it's written out as a number? - Ed]

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PAA: Episode 1

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 24, released in August 2008.

In most games, the opening cutscene generally consists of hints of a dark secret, a terrible evil that must be vanquished lest it destroy the world. This first episode of the Penny Arcade Adventures series of episodic games is no different. Suggestions of dark plots and nefarious deeds in the shadows of New Arcadia make you question whether this game actually has anything to do with the popular gaming humour webcomic at all. Then your character’s house gets crushed by a giant robotic fruit juicer, and the game’s tone is set firmly to what you’d expect.

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Trilby: Art of Theft

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 22, released in June 2008.

Trilby: Art of Theft is a stealth-platform game created by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw using Adventure Game Studio. Yes, you read correctly – a platformer made in an engine designed for adventure games. As the title not-so-subtly suggests, Art of Theft stars Chzo Mythos protagonist Trilby. So what’s he up to this time? Puzzling his way through haunted houses? Uncovering the secrets of reality-shifting hotels? Well, no. In this game he’s doing exactly what got him his reputation to start with – cat burgling.

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6 Days a Sacrifice review

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 21, released in April 2008.

One hundred and ninety six years ago, cat burglar Trilby escaped the horrors of DeFoe Manor, only to discover an even greater danger. One hundred and ninety six years from now, an unwitting starship crew will stumble upon a remnant of his attempts to avert that danger. And now, at the exact midpoint between those two events, a hero will rise. Yea, for Theodore DeCabe, Municipal Inspector extraordinaire, is going to tell the leaders of that fad religion exactly what his employers think of their constructing building extensions without a permit!

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7 Days a Skeptic

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 20, released in February 2008.

It’s a quiet day in the Caracus Galaxy. The starship Mephistopheles sullies forth across the sea of stars, its six-person skeleton crew boldly scouting what no six-person skeleton crew has scouted before. Of course (being a horror game and all), trouble is inevitable for the intrepid crew, and it comes their way in the form of a nondescript metal box floating innocently through the void…

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Iji

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 28, released in January 2009

Here goes: if one were to attempt classification, Iji could be described as a “Nonlinear Action RPG Platformer”. It borrows thematic and gameplay elements from System Shock and Deus Ex, marries them with tactical platformer gunplay a la Blackthorne, and presents it all using the same basic polygonal graphics that made Another World so visually distinctive.

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