No Man's Sky: Procedural Design

The big buzz on the street is Hello Games title No Man's Sky.  It is a space game that is completely procedural based.  So everything in the game is random in a way.  As it says every atom is procedural.  So the world is completely unique and unexplored.  Not only that world but every world.  Apparently not only can you climb every mountain you see but you can fly to any star in the sky and that star is a sun with it's own solar system of planets.  And you can explore each one.

This sounds mind bogglingly huge so everyone is talking about it.  I really hope it is all that we the consumer
dream it will be but the game designer in me has to question it.  I'm not a fan of procedural design.  Call me old fashion but I don't like putting design in the hands of programmers.  Sometime you end up with a pretty tech demo rather than a game.  While I love open random sandbox game play I still think there needs to be a designer guiding the fun.  If not No Man's Sky could be an entire galaxy of the same few algorithms that you quickly tire of looking at.

This is all speculation on my part.  I'm really just like the rest of us watching the video and keeping my fingers crossed.

UPDATE August 2016: Well now we know don't we. ;)

Waiting in Line Simulator

A game for modern times.

Waiting In Line 3D

Keep awake by punching yourself in the face but not too much.  Yup, that's the game play.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

For no particular reason I put in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and played it a bit last night.  I bought it quite some time ago and never really played it much but I heard it was entertaining so I decided to give it a chance.  Right at the start two things came to mind. 

One, the gameplay is just like Burnout: Paradise rather than the original NFS: Most Wanted.  Jumping through billboards, really arcade-ish effects, etc.  I’m actually a car enthusiast so I don’t like it as much.  I prefer things to be a bit more realistic which leads me to the second thing I noticed immediately which is controls.  I’ve been playing a lot of GTA: 7 which has great driving controls
considering it’s not the focus, but I find the camera and the controls in Most Wanted sooo sluggish compared to each other.  Doesn’t seem to matter what car, from the Dodge Charger to the Veyron they all feel slow.  Drive a car in real life and crank the wheel all the way to the left or right, you will spin out.  Not in Most Wanted, there you slowly turn.  Also there are so many unnecessary camera shakes when the car accelerates or hits something.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but it also feels like the camera dips to the corners if you hit something or turn a corner which for me really throws off my feeling of control.  I find myself steering to compensate for the bouncing camera rather than the car.  This often gets me into a weird back and forth of over compensating one way then the other.  AND WHY IT THE ROAD ALWAYS WET???!? Worst driving conditions EVAR!

The biggest disappointment for me though is the story or lack of it.  Whether EA realizes it or not they were onto something with the original Most Wanted.  They added a story, a bad guy, a love interest, all in a racing game which is something nobody does and it worked.  Having been a real street racer I can say that there is definitely real stories and rivalries happening out on the streets and it was so awesome to have that addressed.  I thought it could have delved much more deeply.  Although the Fast & Furious movies got way out of hand I think they are a good example of what can be done with racing beyond just the cars.  It could really expand the sales base beyond hardcore racers.  The opportunity is still out there if someone has the brains to pick it up.


Kickstarter Woes

I’d like to say a few things about Kickstarter.  So many independents are using Kickstarter as a way to not only fund a project but also to establish their company.  I personally don’t understand how they can live like this, such uncertainty would drive me crazy.  There does seem to be a lot of great project getting off the ground using Kickstarter but for me I've hit the wall with this.

As we saw with Double Fine  just because a project gets funded doesn't mean it will get produced.  They ran a second campaign asking for more money to cover additional costs.  I personally have funded four projects, Colossal Kaiju Combat, Stonehearth, Armikrog, and Massive Chalice.  Some have asked for
more money and some have even been involved in lawsuits over their product.  Just like a normally funded game budgets run out and milestones drag on longer.  Regardless of the reasons I have yet to ever get a product through Kickstarter and this has left me feeling very burned.  I don't know if I'll ever see a return on my investment.

I've seen many interesting projects come and go asking for Kickstarter money but I have decided to just keep an eye on them and pay normal price IF they ever release.  Maybe if things work out with my currently funded projects I’ll come back to Kickstarter but not until something positive happens.

The Next Gen Question

Because of my job I get asked a lot which console to get, Xbox One or PS4.  I personally am not getting either for a while.  There are bugs in both and after the 360 fiasco with the “red ring of death” I’m not jumping into anything.  I am currently on my third Xbox 360 after two systems went red ring.  Also there are no games on either system that I can’t live without yet. 

So what have I heard as a dev?  Well speaking to industry friends that have worked on titles such as Call of Duty: Ghost they say the PS4 runs at a higher rez.  I was told this is completely Microsoft’s fault because they refuse to allow devs to use the resources allocated for the Kinet.  Even if the game doesn’t use Kinect functions they won’t budge.  So the Xbone will always be second rate compared to the PS4.

So when the time comes (and it will) for me to buy a next gen system I will without question get a PS4 first followed by a Xbone.  If I had to choose only one I would go PS4.  There, that’s my opinion.

A Little Rearranging

I decided to change my blogs.  Unhealthy Obsession has been moved to it's own place and this space will now be used for my blogging about games and gaming. Click here for Unhealthy Obsession.

Updating my website takes longer than blogging so I decided to go this route.