Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flash Games With A Message

Most people think that flash games are boring and shallow clones of 3 simple game mechanics, that can be played at school or at work to make the day go by faster. While this is true for most flash games, there are a few that try to break this stereotype and covay a message. Iv picked out 5, that I really enjoyed playing.
So, in no particular order, here thay are:

Edit: All games can be played for free, just click on the name of the game.
And If any of you want to share some deep games, id be happy too :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sony Playstaion Hack (part II) – the mistakes made

When I entered my university this morning, I was greeted be loud cursing. My Professor, who is also a prominent game tester and reviewer had just found out that with his stolen personal data from the Playstation network, his Facebook had been hacked and his passwords had been changed…

Currently, Sony is advising everyone with a Playstation network account to change all passwords which are similar to the one used in the network… sounds logical?  This is actually kind of a big deal though! This means that Sony has been saving all the data in raw format, not encrypting it in any way!

Its crazy (in my humble opinion) to save 70million users information on one database, in one location without encrypting at least the important information like passwords and credit card information! If they would have taken the time to do this, the hackers would have to have first decrypted 70 million accounts, which would have given the effected players sufficient time to take action... block accounts, and cards. 

Another thing I heard, although I have not verified this yet, is that the ‘external intrusion’ took multiple days, maybe even a week. If this is true, then Sony really messed up in my eyes. If the database is threatened, I would have been wiser to take it down for a day or two and examine potential weak and entry points… Now the network is down, the data has been stolen, and the first customers are already suing… 

Hopefully the gaming Industry learned some things for the future.
Good luck getting through the coming shitstorm Sony.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sony PlayStation Network Hacked

As you know, recently the Sony PlayStation Network was Hacked. The result, more than 70 million customer profiles were stolen with personal information about names, addresses, birth dates and potentially also credit card information. I personally don’t have a Playstation 3, but generally I like limiting what personal data I give out.
How do you guys feel about this? Do you think its unnecessary for corporations to  have this information, or do you comfortable to give out personal information, knowing that the risk is always there that it might get stolen/ misused.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Game Review – Psychonaughts

Because I have a general lack of time on my hands, I will write a game review for another amazing Indie title and without doubt one of the best games I have ever played. I am talking of course, about Psychonaughts!
Psychonaughts Trailer
The game is a 3rd person action/jump and run / puzzle game in which you play Raz. Raz, or Rasputin is a young boy gifted with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus to try to sneak into a summer camp children with similar abilities. Throughout the game you train your Psychic abilities, and enter other people’s minds to solve puzzles, mysteries an literally sort their psychic luggage. Other than that it like most summer camps, you play by the lake, kill psychic bears, mentally set squirrels on fire, and foil an evil plan to destroy the world.

Psychonaughts, the product of Tim Schafers brilliant mind and developed by Double Fine Productions had amazing ratings, but still turned out to be quiet a financial flop... never even making it into the charts, and almost bankrupting the publisher Majesco.

If you look past the outdated graphics, and are a fan of brilliant game play, hilarious dialogue, and hours of old fashioned fun, I recoment the game with all my heart.
The demo is free (!) and if you enjoy the game, why not support the developers.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sound Design - Not always bad

"Gothic 3" main theme

In hindsight, I now see that my review of sound design in computer games was very negative. In the following post, I’d like to clarify that there are some amazing sound designs out there. A great example is the “Gothic” games which have some of the most atmospheric music I’ve ever heard…

Story Time: While playing Gothic 3 a while back, I was running just around the world, no major quest or epic battle. While striding through endless fresh green meadows, my mother comes in and asks me: “I didn’t know you listened to music like this! Who is the artist?” hehe.
I actually have the full soundtrack, because I bought the special edition box of the game, so I was able to give her the CD. Now randomly, once a month or so, I hear the “Gothic 3” soundtrack coming from her room. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sound design in computer games

If you are unfamiliar with this song, my blog is probably not for you.

Sound design is an important aspect in games. Yet the development of sound design has been minor in the last 25 years (compared to graphics, game logic, computing power etc..). Better speakers are produced, and the game industry uses them.. But rarely dose an a game not work because of your speakers or your sound card (if you even have one). Right now, you could go out, and buy a crap sound card and pair of shitty headphones for 15Euros, and you could probably play ANY game without a problem. In comparison, this does not work with processors, graphics cards, screens…

Furthermore, sound design is often done near the end of a game production. Subsequently, the funding as well as the time is running out. Result being, a lot of sound design is inferior in quality.

Conclusion: Sound design is very important for the immersion of the player into the game world. As soon as there is an atmospheric prototype, the sound designers should start conceptualizing and creating a sound mood that mentally puts the player in the game. Keep this in mind, if you ever make a (even a small one) game. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quo Vadis - [Where are you going](latin)

Like every year, Berlin is going to be hosting the Quo Vadis Entwikerlerkonferenz. Essentially it is a huge 2 day Conference, in which countless people from the game industry give talks and lectures, host workshops, present themselves and exchange contact information. This year, over 130 talks will be held by leading international and German game designers, artists, level designers, programmers, 3d modelers… the list goes on. The Conference is held over two days, and during the first night there is usually a ‘get to know one another’ party on the roof of the Games Academy, one of the private schools teaching computer game design.

All in all, it’s a really chilled environment and you can basically go up to all the game design legends and just have a chat with them and get to know what the industry is like.

Ill probably be getting a ticket for free from my university, in return I have to represent the school and show some of the work we do there. And now comes the only downside… The tickets are really expensive, around 90Euros I think. But can you really put a price on knowledge? .. and the party has free beer^^ So the way I see it, if you drink more than 90Euros worth of beer at the party you get back at the man.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Game Review – Deathspank

Death Spank Trailer

„Death Spank“ is an comedy action hack & slay from the indie Studio Hothead games. The creative mastermind behind the game is Ron Gilbert, the maker of many classics such as “The Secret of Monkey Island” or “Maniac Mansion”(!).

The game features a similar game play to Diablo but is laced with clever metaphors, interesting characters, witty dialogues, and a TON of humor. The game play is simple, yet addictive. The artwork is brilliant, and the story is surprisingly different in an industry of clones of clones of clones…

I personally have not yet played the co-op mode, but am told it lacks meaning. Player two helps out a little.. but has no real purpose in the digital reality. Never the less, it’s fun if a friend comes over and wants to join in the hacking and slashing.

Because the game dose not try to rape the graphics card, it can also be played with older pc´s. The game is a treat to play, and is totally worth 13 Euros (current price on steam).

steam link: Death Spank 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rules of Play – Literature tip

Game design as we know it, has not been around for all too long. In fact, I am part of the first generation of people who is specifically studying ‘game design’. For the people before me, it was all new ground. And their work was ground breaking(!) We are the first generation that has mentors in the field, and we can and should learn from the mistakes they made and find out what made their games great.

“Rules of Play” is book by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, both prominent game designers, and is considered by many to be the bible of game design. How important it really is, is open for interpretation. None the less it lays down a lot of the ground work for computer games to be analyzed and discussed so that people can exchange thoughts and ideas on the topic. It also presents many game design fundamentals and is a must read for anyone who hopes of getting anywhere as a game designer.