Because I’m clearly full of arrogance and grandiose delusion, I think I’ll semi-regularly share with you some of my “I AM A GENIUS, OBVIOUSLY” moments from Twitter.
You’re welcome, now put down that knife.
The latest bunch of N.E.O - Near Earth Objects screens before release on the 23rd October.
Watch the skies. ;)
After N.E.O is naught but a memory and SLaVE is totally done, I reckon I may have to make something extreme. Something the obnoxiously-vocal self-appointed moral voice would deem ‘problematic’.
I feel a mighty need to rebel.
I love that, on occasion, I still get the occasional person complimenting me on mt (un)game, Trigger Warning. This kind of thing means a lot to me, and I say that with great sincerity. <3
Just a dump of screens from the Dreamcast FPS SLaVE as it is right now; in-progress, but being worked on constantly of late.
The encryption for seminal shooters Raiden II and Raiden DX has finally been cracked, meaning that they’re now playable in emulators.
It’s actually pretty rare for a game that people are excited about gets added to MAME anymore, but if you’re into the obscure stuff too, you might be excited about Eggs Playing Chicken.
OH FUCK YEAH RAIDEN II.
I’m utter rubbish at it, like most shmups. Doesn’t stop me being a huge fan of their gameplay though. <3
Actually, you know when people generalise about things, like “video games cause [x]” or “[y] causes [problem z]”, these graphs are how I feel about that.
Congrats, you can play spot-the-difference with data patterns. “Statistics do not lie” because they don’t actually communicate anything but raw data, open to interpretation.
I should probably mention in this flurry of activity on my oft-neglected Tumblr, SLaVE is being developed for Sega Dreamcast in cooperation with Isotope Softworks and GOAT Store Publishing.
TwoDashStash ran my favourite article on the game, mainly because there’s a complimentary comparison to Geometry Wars, a game I love to tiny neon pieces.
If you’ve been following the development of this from way back, this may seem like a pretty big thing. To me, it is. Although SLaVE was temporarily-shelved whilst I made other games, I have been very hard at work on the game of late.
Near Earth Objects has been ‘complete’ since the end of August, and is being beta-tested until its October release.
In the meantime, I shall be getting back to development on SLaVE in preparation for its launch in April. I’ve gone back and re-done a lot of the maps though; sometimes re-appropriating old ones to make new ones, with different enemy placements.
You see, I’ve learned a lot from N.E.O that I’m using to make SLaVE a much better game; mostly about difficulty ramping. And what I found is, ramp it up. RAMP IT UP as far as is humanly-possible to beat, it doesn’t matter how narrow a gap there is between possible and impossible as long as it is possible in the end.
But the key phrase there is ‘ramp’. It’s not a step, a wall, or a mountain but a ramp.
You see, designing every encounter; hazardous or not; in a game plays very much on the psychology between designer and player. As a designer, I am the dungeon-master. I furnish the house; lay the traps. The onus is on the designer to steer the ride, and that all depends on what is wanted of the player. The difference between teaching them as they go along and constant unexpected ambush is in the encounter design. Are surprises pivotal or is an air of familiarity going to help the game as a whole?
Or both? Both are acceptable.
But ramp it up. Players will slowly become immersed in the challenges you create and when they reach the top of the ramp, they’re going to want to stay there. That’s when a game becomes addictive.
Of course, I’m making arcade-style games. Lose all lives and start over kinda games. If a player doesn’t want this but wants to stay at the top of that ramp, I’m catering for those too — N.E.O has a continue function (that resets score to zero, I’m not entirely-destroying a balanced mechanic there) plus ENDLESS, YOLO and SADISTIC modes to keep the player at the top of that ramp.
Thus far SLaVE will have an endless mode to that same end. Should the player want to start at the top of the ramp at any point, it is my responsibility as a creator to give this to them.
This is awesome. A while back, a Twitter-friend (hi there Declan!) did their first follow Friday or #ff with this image.
It means a lot to me that a fair few things I tried as a games designer to make my games achieve were noticed here without my overtly talking about them; Z’s “stress panic”, for example was me seeing if I could make the empty space between enemy encounters matter to the player just as much as, if not more than, the actual combat. Press Space actually went through two other colour schemes before the one it eventually landed on.
This kind of thing makes me happy. I’m not very well-known as a developer yet, but it’s amazing that what I try to achieve with my games is nonetheless noticed and appreciated.
There’s been a lot of fallout recently over the whole #Quinngate or #Zoegate or #Gamergate or whatever you want to call the thing, and you know, anyone with a functioning brain can tell you for sure that, nope - sending harrassment to any person via the Internet or otherwise, for any reason, is indeed wrong.
But, for several games media sources to decry, insult and ostracise people who identify as ‘gamer’? A little childish and reactionary, if I’m honest.
I saw it said on some article recently, and this was in regards to #NotAllMen, that although the majority of people (‘men’ in this example, but this is true of all) are inherently good and the bad ones are seriously outnumbered by them, it “only takes a few grapes to sour the bunch”. Like, I don’t know, the 10% poisoned M&Ms analogy.
I don’t buy it. Needless to say, I disagree entirely. Two reasons:
1) People are still inherently positive. The nasty few who decide to be disproportionately-vocal in the most-unpleasant way about any given thing they can throw a firebomb into, they don’t actually change this. What they are doing, is abusing a platform that could otherwise be used constructively; and by spotlighting their actions and reacting publicly to it, you are giving them a voice. Not only this, but providing an opposition that legitimises their tactics; if in their own mind, they are the (anti) hero, you provide the villain that they must fight. And fight they will.
I’m not saying ‘ignore the bullies and they’ll go away’, or ‘do not feed the trolls’, because neither of these work if there’s the slightest hope of eventually provoking a reaction. Some of these tenacious bastards will dig rock with the tiniest toothpick in the world if they think they’ll eventually hit the comedy platinum lulz of the reactions you’re giving.
In fact, I don’t have any answers and it would be audacious and downright stupid of me to claim I do. I do, however, have a suggestion. Why don’t we reach out to these people?
Sounds crazy, I know. On Twitter I’m quite regularly saying “it’s not smart to make enemies out of people who would otherwise be allies”, and this is the train of thought I’m riding to HeyWhyNotLand. Let’s say someone complains about Anita Sarkeesian’s bold and (unfortunately) controversial Tropes vs Women series, insults the living shit out of it. Instead of calling them a misogynist right off the bat, what’s wrong with asking “why, what’s wrong with it?”. And, instead of attacking their response, digging further. The point here is to understand the objections they have instead of going on the counter-offensive.
Why would you do this? Because if you lash out at anybody, chances are their defense is going to be to respond in kind. Not always, of course, and I don’t generalise that #YesAllGamers or whatever are like that. But I offer you this comparison to understand my viewpoint; it is very well-known that many clinically-obese people are so because they comfort-eat. They do this because of their low self-esteem, and that low self-esteem might be because to begin with they were larger than average and some inconsiderate nutbucket called them out on it, called them names. When they could have done instead with support.
And that’s where I’m going with this. Someone relentlessly harasses someone else (online or otherwise), they could be a sociopath. They could be a high-functioning autistic with no other release for their frustration at things that don’t match their narrow world-view. They could be temporarily-depressed and have their judgment impaired because of this. Or they could be a grade AAA jerkweasel.
You’re a good person, right? You like to help people, right? What better help than to help someone stop hurting others. Instead of hurting them right back and actually contributing to the larger problem.
2) And this is where I get a little controversial, but I trust that anyone who reads this is a good intelligent person who won’t knee-jerk at the first idea they don’t immediately agree with. Hell, you’ve got this far; and thank you for that.
Because, generalising ‘gamer’ as all being like one small fraction of the overall demographic is a little too close to profiling for my personal liking.
If a small group of girls kill some people, it is absolutely the wrong thing to do to extrapolate from this the conclusion “yeah, girls kill people”. Wrong, you hear? We all know this. We don’t (or at least SHOULDN’T) profile by gender in this shiny 21st Century we’re sitting in. I’m not even going to give a race example, because my point should be clearer than crystal through brand-new prescription spectacles by now. It is profiling, and that is intolerant and wrong.
So, why the exception now for ‘gamers’? Because it’s a larger percent doing the harassing? Absolutely not. You realise that women are now the largest gaming demographic now, right? I doubt these people include the misogynistic ‘angry dudebro’ stereotype that the gaming media are propagating when they declare war on basically their own customers. And of the less-than-half of gamers who are male? Even if exactly-half of those were the instigators of recent unpleasantness (and I doubt that, personally), that’s actually less than a quarter of ‘gamers’ overall.
I don’t even know. It’s not okay to generalise and profile a demographic like this, it’s not okay to tar your entire readership with the same brush as a few fucking idiots who decided it’s playtime in hatesville, and it’s certainly not okay to turn this into some kind of war. No matter what the reason.
I don’t generally buy into dichotomy, but gamers are either adults or pre-adults (divided into adolescents and children). As the former, it’s actually our responsibility to guide and teach the latter. And to lead by example, which isn’t really going to happen if we’re unwilling to deal with this whole thing like, you know, adults.
As ever, I reckon we should all be getting along with this. United as we are by a love of games, we shouldn’t be making enemies out of people who share this with us. They could even be allies.
I don’t know. I admitted earlier I don’t have any answers. Just an opinion about it all with no foregone conclusion. Let’s talk it out, okay?
Hey, average gamer:
- Do you bloody love videogames, maybe even if you’re a bit too old and the washing up pile is massive but if you can just complete that next mission then it’ll all be ok, ish..?
- Do you read / watch / listen to a bunch of stuff about your chosen hobby, sometimes agreeing,…
Sonic the Hedgehog
Created by Jayextee
Some of my work, reposted and a sheload of notes. Just goes to show how much I suck at finding my own audience. ;)
"Phoenix Rie", "Phenix Rie"
Sega (joined 1984)
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Character Designer)
- Phantasy Star (Creator/Writer, Executive Designer)
- Altered Beast (Designer)
- Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Assistant Director, Animator)
- Mystic Defender (Enemy Designer, Character designer)
- Phantasy Star II (Executive Designer)
- Sorcerian (Graphic Designer)
- Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Graphic Design)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Design)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Zone Artist)
- Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Director, Environment Designer, Object Designer, Event Designer)
- Magic Knight Rayearth (Director)
- Deep Fear (Producer)
- Skies of Arcadia (Producer)
- 7th Dragon (Producer)
"Born in Kanagawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on May 23, 1963, she began her education undecided between art and archaeology. She opted for art and enrolled in a trade school for advertising design. It was there, in 1984, that she met a fellow student who brought her to work at Sega and the rest, as they say, is history.
Quite a history it is, too. Kodama has been involved with some of Sega’s biggest projects, including a obscure little RPG known as Phantasy Star. She got her start doing character designs for arcade titles such as Champion Boxing (1984) and Ninja Princess (1984), as well as some Master System games like Alex Kidd in Miracle World (1986) and Quartet (1987). She also did several characters for a smattering of other Master System games. As one of the few designers at the company, she found herself doing multiple games at once, as many as five or six games a year. Kodama built up quite a reputation as an artist and was soon given a chance to work on something big. To counter the release of Dragon Quest, Sega decided to make an epic RPG of their own. The result, Phantasy Star, was not only a major benchmark title for the industry and RPG genre but also launched the careers of Yuji Naka and Tokuhiko “Bo” Uwabo. Brought on as the main designer, Kodama was responsible for creating all the character designs, the 2D maps, battle-scene backgrounds, and townspeople, among other things. From there, her career blossomed and she went on to work on some of the most successful titles Sega ever produced.” (Sega Stars: Rieko Kodama, Sega-16)
"At a time when most console RPGs were your standard medieval fare, she crafted a Star Wars-esque universe with robots, space travel, and cool, credible characters." (Developer Spotlight: Rieko Kodama, In the Shade of a Wave)
On Phantasy Star’s 3d Dungeons:
"As far as 3D dungeons go, if you want to make them run as smoothly as possible, then it’s not that hard; all you have to do is draw all the frames for the advancing walls. However, if we did that, then we wouldn’t be able to get all the frames into the ROM, and it wouldn’t look as good if we dropped some frames and left others in… so, we thought, how about we make a wireframe 3D dungeon in the program itself
That’s how I ended up having [Yuji] Naka build a wireless 3D dungeon program for me. The basic idea was to take art and place it on top of the wireframes. After that we just had to experiment with which frames we could drop and still keep things smooth and pretty. Once we got it right, we found that we could run around the dungeon faster than we ever expected—several times faster than it is right now, in fact; it was almost to the point where the program, not the graphics, was the main bottleneck.” -Rieko Kodama (Rieko Kodama on Phantasy Star… er, One, Video-Fenky)
On Sonic the Hedgehog’s Graphics:
"It was still hard to display polygons back then, but the graphics in Sonic the Hedgehog were designed incorporating polygonal styles. I drew the whole field using CG-like images. We intentionally created the designs as if they were illustrated artificially with CG tools. To tell you the truth, we drew them bit-by-bit because the software for computer graphics had not been developed much at the time. [Laughs]” -Rieko Kodama (Birth of a Hedgehog, Nintendo Power, January 2007)
On Being a Woman in Game Development:
"Sega has always been a company that judges based on your individual ability rather than gender. As for women in game development, it’s changing. Gradually, and slowly, but it’s changing. I think it’s a bit more common for women to want to get into this field here in Japan. Playing games as a recreational activity for young girls is much less common than it is here. But if they play games they find very enjoyable, the desire to make their own games will certainly go up. I think that as more and more people start playing games, the number of female game designers will gradually increase." -Rieko Kodama (Interview: Rieko Kodama, The Next Level)
Other Links: Rieko Kodama Interview from the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (Video)
Image Sources: The Next Level (Photo of Rieko Kodama)
I love this woman’s work, as both a fan of Sonic and the classic Phantasy Star series. <3