Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

The Dungeon Runners Beta

some friends of mine and i are in the dungeon runners beta — and, it’s pretty cool.  the game is entirely worth playing for two reasons:

  1. it’s crazy cheap (free or $5 a month)
  2. the “go to” feature.

the game is basically like a cross between dungeon siege (the controls) and diablo (the mechanics) with a few of the very most basic wow mmo features.  it’s pretty much just bash the shit out of stuff and head back to town to sell your phat lewt.

tho, as we’re all only around level 8, we really don’t have much else to go on.

did i mention the “go to” feature already?  yeah.  it rocks.

all you do is right-click any of your group’s portraits (also, the groups are persistent — logged in or logged out.  like a mini-guild.) and click “go to” to be instantly teleported to where they are.  it’s all kinds of crazy-convenient.  for me, i’m always lost (remind me to tell you about the time i got lost in an olive garden — yes, the restaurant.) so i just warp to my buddies wherever they happen to be.  for our friend kameron, it’s all about warping into a fight to “help out.”

probably another feature i should mention — drops are all pre-owned.  as in, you whack some badass mob, he drops 10 things, 5 are yours, 5 are your buddy’s.  you can’t pick his stuff up.  he can’t pick up yours.  you can, however, pick it up and then drop it again and he has access to it.  totally takes the stress out of worrying over group loot hogs.

pretty much, it’s a grinder’s game.  it’s accessible.  they took some of the most painful parts about group grinding and added some fun features to help.

that being said, the game is still skewed and off-balance.  for example, the skill prices (you buy, not earn new skills — it’s a grinder’s game, remember?) don’t scale right.  i’m a few xp short of a level 8 mage and i just now have enough gold to buy a level 2 spell.

it’s fun.  it’s easy.  it’s pretty pick-up, put-down.  it won’t break the bank.  it’s easy to draft along with your friends.

oh, and i should mention that it’s hella funny.  as you walk away from a merchant after selling some stuff, he says “if you see a bitter woman, send ‘er over here!”  from crazy weapon speed descriptions to “of the liger” suffixes for items, there’s some really pretty funny stuff in there.

i like it so far.  it’s a keeper.


Moving to San Diego

so, i’ve hinted at it, but it’s been officially announced to my corporate overlords (sybase) that i’m moving to san diego to work at areae. i’ll be joining the ranks of:

  • raph koster <– badass
  • john donham <– double badass
  • a few others <– off the charts badasses of all hawtness!

whew. that’s quite the company to keep. i think i’m the only one who hasn’t published a book on making massively multiplayer games.

so, we have to get our house bundled up and sold pretty quicklike (the floor guys were there yesterday) because i have to be down there, ass in seat on the morning of monday, march 26th.

just thought i’d let my virtual peeps know.



The Console Feedback Loop

just ran across this excellent piece over at the inquirer.

The three points of the triangle are cost, installed base and games. If you don’t have two of them, the third will never happen, and if you do have two, the third will come for free.

i’ve talked about it before, but it’s nice to see it articulated so well in the media.


Animation vs. Animator

anyone who’s ever used flash has probably had this happen to them.

okay. i’m just kidding. but, damn that was HAWT!


New About Me Page

i just rewrote my “bookcover bio” at john‘s request.  he said my resume was actually “understated.”

dude.  i suck.

really, who has a resume that’s got weaker material than what you’ve actually done?  i thought people usually “pumped up” their resumes.


Let’s Play a Game

i say, i’m moving to san diego.  you say?


Games Are Keeping Me Occupied

this may come as a shock to you guys, but i love all manner of games.

shocking! see? i told you!

anyway. with all my gaming geekery i’ve surrounded myself with, do you know what has captivated me for the week before last? linley’s dungeon crawl. or, just “sudo apt-get install crawl” for short.

i’m sure all of you guys have played moria or nethack or slash’em or whatever. i know i have. good stuff, but i could never really get into it too deeply. i’d make it a couple levels and have my hack-and-slash satiated. crawl, however, is rivoting.

in fact, my friend maeldron, fresh off the purchase of 2 copies of burning crusade (he’s a dual-boxer sometimes…) and with a week off from work to kill, played… yep, you guessed it. crawl. yeah. he hates me for that.

linley’s dungeon crawl is the very, very best roguelike out there. period.

tho, as much as we (all of us at sas) played it over the last two weeks (not me for this last week. i’ll get to that.), we find ourselves wishing that it was multiplayer. how sweet would that be? a roguelike that was multiplayer! not text-based, zork-like multiplayer like traditional muds, but tactical, graphical multiplayer! (not to bash traditional muds — they are the reason my first semester at college was a 1.7 gpa — whoops!)

that’s what i’ve been doing over the last week. not hacking in a multi-user server for crawl. that’d be a crazy amount of work, but digging up and installing our own private server of the multiplayer roguelike tomenet. (the networked version of “troubles of middle-earth“)

yeah, it’s based on tolkien — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but, it’s hella fun.

it’s a real-time game with shops and dungeons and mobs and whatnot. it’s the only one actively developed on that i could find. it has a windows client (for some of you less nerdy folk) as well as the standard linux fair. it’s open source. (which let me change the terrible, terrible idle timeout value) on the surface, it basically seems like a modern mmorpg only playable at the command-prompt. we haven’t played with it enough to really say “yea or nay” to the game design yet, but, it sure is cool thus far.

that means you can play it on any computer or device with an ssh client. not only computers, but mobile devices too. hmmm… has anyone seen an ssh client for the psp?

well. it’s up and running on our linux server, so let me know if you want an account and i’ll send you some connect information.

if you’ve never played a roguelike, tho, you need to download and play crawl. it runs on just about every platform known to man.


A Bit of Illustrative Fun

i actually got to do some fun stuff at my “real” job the other day.  we were having a world-wide sales meeting and needed a fun theme for some cheesy certificates to hand out.  i, being the only guy in marketing that can draw, was tapped for the task.

the result:  the marketing superhero awards!  (cue epic superman theme)

best of all, that illustration only took about 30 minutes from blank page to colored psd.