[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

September 30th, 2010

Of all the Survival Horror series, one I enjoy most is the Project Zero or Fatal Frame series… if I were to make a website for a game it was either that or Minna no Golf.

Project Zero Work in Progress.

That would probably have been the case if there wasn’t already a nice website out there for the game and also if the game was more true to it’s original feel. With some game series or franchises, things get a little stale or game play or design go backwards instead of forwards. Project Zero is probably one of those who have fallen into this area of progression, with the game starting off to a great start with Zero, then topped by Crimson Butterfly and then holding it’s position with The Tormented… while the latest release Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on the Wii wasn’t improving it seemed the series was heading sideways.

With basically a drought for news on anything to do with the series and Nintendo holding the localised release of the game in western countries… you’d think that maybe the series might be dead. Well yesterday there was a few articles and press releases which contain visuals of the new upcoming work in progress Project Zero featuring the characters from Crimson Butterfly. This could be signs of a remake or Mio and Mayu have matured, but why is it for the Wii again…?

Seeing as with the previous version, Nintendo had rights to the publishing of the game… and their decision was to hold the release of the game in western countries [due to chances the game will not sell well in western regions]. Eventually it lead to fans creating a English patch for the Japanese game. Tecmo did also say that they would try not let this happen again in the future as they are quite sorry the game was unable to reach the western fan base of the series. So what are they doing now…?

I’ve always looked forward to a HD version of the game to play. Looks like that may not be happening, though I don’t see why if they are already remaking it anyway… Also if the motion controllers are what they are after, that doesn’t mean much as the PlayStation Move is now available so that doesn’t make sense. The only reason this could be happening is that Nintendo maintains the license to the series or franchises now as Tecmo may have sold it to them for a set number of years. A move which may have cost the series it’s progression and success.

Anyway here is what the original Crimson Butterfly looked like… comparing with the new graphics up the top there is clearly a noticeable difference. Mio and Mayu have had their costumes modified a little and some other enhancements… really? One thing that was irritating about the Wii release was that in Lunar Eclipse, there wasn’t much difference between the look of the girls you were in control of. Most of them were given enough polygons to emphasize their face and chest while the rest of the body was pretty much left for awkward moments when stretched or animated. The original PlayStation 2 releases of the game seemed to have done a better job… it just seems like they wanted the game to look better than the originals however decided that they would need to cut corners else where [such as straight and stiff looking limbs that fold awkwardly] to maintain that effect.

That aside the Wii never seemed to do the game much justice. Ignoring that Suda did change the way the game play and system works a little, there are times where the game would lag uncontrollably when travelling between rooms or sections of a building. Why does it happen? I even tested it with USB loaded version of the game and it still had the same lagging performance at the same area of the game… this wasn’t a bug that just happens to be on the game because we are running it off a disc. It happened even when the developers were probably testing it off the Wii SDK… which means they should have fixed it in the testing phase. If they were struggling with resources and performance in the first place, why announce another release for the Wii when there are clearly better alternatives out there where the series can succeed on?

Well I look forward to the release of this game… but there is always going to be that thought of how much better this series could have been if they weren’t crippling their ideas and development teams just for a little bit of cash. With the PlayStation Move now available, there is no excuse not to make this in HD if they wanted the motion controllers… Also atleast if they released it on the PlayStation 3 the game would be region free and not force legitimate people to hack and modify their consoles just to play a game they would have gladly purchased if it were released in their respective regions. [Also more exposure for the game if people were playing it online on the PSN or Live with the Trophies and Achievements systems.] In the end I could move over to Biohazard for my Survival Horror gaming… too bad the horror factor in that is pretty low.

July 25th, 2010

Answer: Yes.

Well technically yes, everyone has their way of solving a problem. Unless you are solving a logical problem, there probably is no correct way to how you deal with or solve it. Since this isn’t a psychology site there won’t be any dwelling on that matter.

So what is problem solving skills for when part of a game development project? In most cases it is the game designer/planner, programmer and graphical or non-graphical user interface designer that needs the skill in general.

Just a quick outline of what each job probably deals with on a regular basis…

  • Game designers/planners have to identify flaws in their design before production and find the solution before it becomes a game breaker later.
  • The programmers probably face a lot of problems with balancing visuals and functionality and solve it while bringing a game to surface from the designs.
  • Graphical or non-graphical user interface designers would need to find the solution to making an easy to use interface that is capable of handling the needs of the game.

So how to establish or practice problem solving skills? Programmers have it a little easier here, as they actually practice their logical thinking and problem solving with the more programming they experience.

Exercises for game design can be a bit of work if doing it with designs/works from scratch. An alternative would be to play games often and try to break them, find flaws, bugs and problems and think of solutions that would prevent these problems occurring in future designs.

Do you hate it when you interact with a game or software and find some things are not where they should be? Looking for the close button in the top corner but it isn’t there? User interface problem solving is probably easier to solve than the others, various ways of doing it include applying your own experiences with the controls you are using to interact, then tweaking and testing until you feel others will use it the way you intended, but the ultimate problem to solve is when you hand it to someone to try…

These are all just an idea, they aren’t always how you should find your solutions as a solution can be found differently… An example is the other day I thought of an idea to program but instead of trying with my solution I had offered my friend the exercise to see if he was up for it. I had my own solution and ideas planned for it but as my friend also had his own ways of solving the problem, I didn’t fully explain my methods to him. The result of course was a different solution to the same problem. Granted I probably still feel my solution is much simpler, but there is nothing wrong with his solution either as it does the job required.

Though everyone may solve problems differently there is another skill that probably is required… Identifying Problems. That is of course because identifying problems is the first step to finding a solution and finding the solution will lead you to the Answer.

July 17th, 2010

So I was asked to write about refining ideas… Where should I start? Well with most ideas they sometimes appear from no where, other ideas can come from inspiration or influences. Ideas are always great when they are still fresh and in your head, but they can also not work out so great when you put them down on paper.

Well yesterday I did exactly that… occasionally when an idea that feels and sounds good comes along, you want to put it down on paper… It starts simple but as you start laying out the details and specifics the idea can sometimes look less attractive than you originally thought.

However this is all part of the process to refining an idea. Having the idea down on paper now becomes a design proposal and allows you to see the potential errors in the idea. At this point you should be refining your design if you wish to continue with the idea.

Since this is a game related site, I guess specifically tackling the refine process for the purpose of game play is the point. Currently my problem is the game has no purpose, most ideas I think about always takes down the route of productivity or fun. If fun is dependent on the player’s ability to enjoy what is available then the result may not be that great.

Well with that idea there is still room for improvement and things can still work out given enough time and refining before prototyping. On the other hand there is always games out there that have been published and released.

Games have sequels for a reason, apart from the money making for popular franchises a sequel is a chance for the design to be reanalyzed and modified for the better… a sequel should play the same or better than the original. Anyone ever played a series to be disappointed by the next release of the game? I know I have, in most cases this happens because there was a change in the designer or director involved producing the game.

To finish up, I will say that an idea that becomes a design proposal doesn’t have to always work out, a game idea may not work now… but it may be more suitable later and with a little refining and modifications the results might be better than the original concept.