Category Archives: Games

Weekend Post on Team Fortress 2: Meet the Spy

The TF2 team has prepared another great video on the gameplay characters. Now the spy is the one every looks (or tries to look) at 🙂

You’ve met the Scout, the Soldier, the Demoman, the Heavy, the Engineer, and the Sniper. Then, for some reason, a sandwich. But now it’s time to meet the stealthiest, shiftiest, most secretive, suit-wearing TF team member of all…

…again…

That’s right, it’s finally time to Meet the Suit-Wearing Secret Sandwich!

No, it’s Meet the Spy.

via Team Fortress 2.

Links

And that’s why I hate Playstation Support …

While I’m rather fond of my Playstation 3 I’m currently really pissed off by (i) the Playstation support and (ii) Capcom support. In November I bought Age of Booty, which is a multiplayer strategy game having earned a lot of good reviews. The SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) release of the game can be described as buggy at its best. It crashed on a regular basis and online games were simply not possible. After some inquiries with Capcom support I noted that the problem was actually there, but only for European users. Capcom managed to let the users wait 6 weeks to present a patch, which led to the utmost bug: The users weren’t allowed to start the game any more, we simply didn’t have the rights 🙂

As it is with purchases around here: If something doesn’t work, bring it back and get the money. That was the start for my discussion with the support. To end the story in a fast and efficient way I just give you the results of 5 phone calls and around 10 emails.

  • Sony is not responsible for the game and its state
  • Sony Germany cannot do anything unless I format my harddisk to prove that the game doesn’t work on a freshly installed system
  • After that the bug report is sent for verification to SONY PSN, residing in UK
  • I haven’t heard from them yet.

On the other hand I tried to get my money back for a non working game

  • Again Sony is not responsible, they say its Capcom
  • Also Capcom is not responsible, they say it’s Sony
  • Certain Affinity (the studio) doesn’t say a thing, it might be able to speak freely 😀
  • Actually it is possible to get the money back, but only from PSN, which resides in UK
  • Unfortunately PSN has no customer support (no email address, no phone number, just an address somewhere in UK)

My conclusion is that they made sheer impossible to get the money back in time as within a month the second patch brought back the game (still buggy of course).

While I know that it is a common thing in consumer electronics to trick the customer (like not taking back opened CDs and DVDs, which is totally illegal around here), I’m still surpised how Sony behaves in this case.

Another thing I really hate about game industry is that you cannot buy a new game, not even for a next gen console. Many many games actually need at least one patch to work as intended.

Why did I blog this? Sony did not respond to my mails and the guys could not do a thing. So I assume that my  complaints remain unheard. So I make them public and hope that – within my limited abilities and reach – they get read 😉 … and of course I’m feeling better now.

Buying Space Invaders & Pac-Man for a 100k bucks …

Midway Games, the famous creator of historical games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, has been sold for 100,000$. The majority of shares is now owned by a private investor – not me unfortunately. I think this is a cool “collectors item” instead of buying old arcade games you can now buy the actual inventors / developers / publishers of the classical games.

Did you know that Midway also holds the license for Mortal Kombat? Just as a reminder for what this actually is some fan art from YouTube 😀

Please note that I’m not in any way related to the people shown on this video *rofl*.

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Report from the Games Convention :: Day 1

Today in the morning I came back from Leipzig, where I visited the Games Convention (GC). I was there to find find potential industry partners and people interested in cooperation with the university. Unfortunately at the Games Convention (GC) you need to have an appointment to meet someone as most interesting people are fully booked. However at some places I was lucky. I talked to a very helpful product manager of RTL-Games, a very interested technical account manager of Emergent Game Technologies and a PR assistant of NCSOFT. Also the sales manager of Techland was open to a short talk. Most negative experience was Crytek, where on the one hand someone had time to talk to me, but on the other expressed that they were only interested if I either came from a really big college with a lot of students or I had a lot of money to give them. Perhaps I just spoke to the wrong person … or they need the money for their development gear as Cryengine is known to take a lot of resources. For many of the approached companies the right people had no time, but people at the reception gave me contact information or took my business card to think about my efforts. All in all I am pleased with the first day leaving aside Crytek and Koch Media.

And now for the fun part: I played S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky in the pre-release version and let it crash several times. The game looks just like the old S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – just a little better. I’m looking forward to the release. I played Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (Ubisoft) with my butt on the Wii with the creative director of the game throwing snowballs at me. That was real fun 🙂 I also watched some Spore (EA) and tested it myself for the DS. I played the new Street Fighter 4 game (Capcom) and lost 2:0 in button smashing to a stranger. I tried the new Need for Speed Undercover and I was impressed by the visual damage the car took in crashes. My Audi look kaputt after my 5 minutes test. However behavior of the car is not changed by crashes, just the look of it. Another new racing game is MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. It’s interesting how the developers combined monster trucks and motor bikes in the same game, racing at the same time. Obviously motor bikes are more fun than monster trucks.

A special experience was to play a preview of Sonic Unleashed (Sega) on a HDTV plasma screen. With such a resolution the speed of Sonic is actually fun. Age of Conan was also here with a kind of LARP battle camp with computers inside. Interesting part was the option to play Conan with three TFTs: I call this “3D cave for the poor”. It should transports the feeling of “being inside” better than with a single screen. The feeling is somewhat limited, but its actually there. At EA I tried the preview of the new Harry Potter for the Wii and battled one EA merchandising guy with my wand. It’s now in the same class of games everyone does for the Wii: Instead of button smashing its more like controller swinging. It’s interesting how fast a new input concept can look old.

The new Call of Duty game and Fallout 3 where completely overloaded although only trade visitors were allowed, so I didn’t get a glimpse of those. However those “most prominent” 3D ego shooters where not the critical mass of the GC. Most people played Guitar Hero World Tour (Activision) featuring a band of 4 people with singing, drums, bass and lead guitar. There was a huge lot of sets on at least 4 locations within the GC. Never seen so great many people fooling around with plastic instruments. All in all I was impressed by the big fuss everyone is making about their own games. Most publishers obviously have enough money for PR.

Games implementation week for high school students

Today an activity week for high school students at Klagenfurt University ended. The high school students chose a topic and worked a week on an implementation. Due to the success of our computer games course there was a topic on computer games. The two university students, Christian and Daniel, who instructed and helped the high school students throughout the whole week, did a very good job and several impressive arcade games were implemented within the week.

For me it was great to see what interested high school students can manage in one week. I’ll remember and tell students in my course about it 🙂

Compute Games Course @ Klagenfurt University: Project Presentations

The computer games course at Klagenfurt University comes to an end tomorrow and all the students’ projects will be presented. The very best project (voted for by the audience) gets an XBox 360, sponsored by Microsoft. I’m very happy to announce also an industry talk of Stefan Berger, Product Manager of JoWood (11am-12am). The event takes place from 9.30 am to ~5 pm in HS 1 at Klagenfurt University. Feel free to join the audience.

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Computer Games: Parallax Scrolling & Sprites

Currently I’m preparing for giving my talk next Friday in the computer games lesson on multimedia issues in games. To underline my words and slides with some code I also coded some easy little Java program visualizing sprite animation and some star field background. The coding was great fun – the third scrolling shooter I coded … always a pleasure 🙂

However there is one thing I found out while coding: Ready to use sprite animation image stripes are hard to get. There is a little tool called simple explosion maker” that came handy and the SpriteLib of Flying Yogi is rather cool, but I miss the great deal of online creative commons content. Perhaps one could point me there 🙂

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Computer games lecture update: Industry talks

As already blogged we offer this semester a course on computer game development at Klagenfurt University. Now three industry talks are confirmed:

  • Stefan Berger from  JoWooD Productions Software AG will talk about game development projects discussing aspects of conceptual work, project management specifics in game dev industry, resources, marketing and QA.
  • Andreas Olipitz from OSIOS Online Platforms GmbH will talk about multiplayer games on the browser platform. OSIOS develops such a multiplayer game: Project Deep Space.
  • Microsoft will also send a speaker and has sponsored an XBox for the best student project.

All the talks as well as the presentation of the students projects will take place on June 20, 2008. If you are somewhere around Klagenfurt and you like to join us (without being enrolled) drop me a mail in advance 🙂

Small Games for Kids – New Release

Besides the two already existing games (GuessWhat and Soundmachine, more information here) I added a new one called SoundVis. The main idea is to animate a kid to make sounds by for instance clapping or yelling. The louder the sound the bigger the blue circle in the center gets. While this sounds trivial it is great fun 🙂 Note that the microphone has to be functional. A simple test is included in the start screen of SoundVis.

Installation:

Find the new package (including source, licensed under GPL) here. Use 7-zip to unzip them. Launchers (.exe files) for windows are included. Linux users might peek at the included batch files to get a clue how to start the games.