Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mainstream media article on virtual gold farming

It is interesting to note how mainstream media has first started noticing the online / virtual world, and subsequently giving recognition to online gaming as a recognised social activity, with their latest article on gold farming.

Academics have already studied gold farming to some extent, and for gamers, gold farming existed for as long as there are complains about grinding (repetitively killing monsters / performing same tasks).

The article from AsiaOne is interesting because it detailed out a particular transaction between gold farmer and the journalists, with description on the different steps of the transaction. Another interesting point is that there are actually gold farmers in Singapore too, lolz.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New login page graphic for World of Warcraft

The latest patch for World of Warcraft (14 Oct 08) has installed a new login page graphic. I think with each major patch / version they do change the login layout. I think they changed the background music too if I'm not wrong. Here's 2 screenshots.

Afternote: The changes from this patch are very interesting, especially the achievements. Lolz, 'love the critters' as an achievements, really?? I've 'loved' some toads, snakes, and squirrels. Here's the screenshots while the game loads.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Flash Game: LUT!'s Straw Hat Samurai

I was visiting one of the local blog aggregators and came across this website with a game nominated for Golden Joystick. The local game developer LUT! has done up a couple of games on his own, and the nominated game is 'Straw Hat Samurai' for the category of 'E4 Grand Master Flash Award'.

Out of curiosity, I decided to try the game out. I managed to finish it, and here's a couple of screenshots about the game. In the game, the player control a samurai character in his quest to 'beat' the enemy chief. It's basically a 2D scroll game with very simple control. The samurai has his sword as a main weapon, with option of bows and arrows. This is the general overall screen, where the samurai (guy in white with a straw hat) can 'move' about.

In the game itself, the player presses the mouse left button and 'draws' lines across the screen to use his sword. If the player is using bows and arrows, the control is via the shift key and mouse button. The health level of the samurai is shown as a green bar located at the bottom of the screen.

Once the last 'enemy' is killed, the screen turns red. Enemies come in different forms, including knife welding types (easiest), archers, and spearmen. Spearmen may try to rush the samurai, and thus a bit tricky. The more tricky enemies are those with shield. Since the shield could block any fronter attack, the trick is to 'slash' low, i.e. below shield level when the enemy is walking, or slash from behind when the shield bearers squat down.

Along the way, the player could pick up items boosting health or increase the chance to dodge. Locations with treasures are marked with a mini-treasure box.

There is a second phase to the game where the player could 'deploy' troops (in blue) to help him break thru enemy grounds. So the trick is to slowly make the way towards the main enemy camp. The game mechanics for this part is not well explained, but generally if the blue number is bigger, it is easier to win over the red area. Seems a little bit like the board game of 'Risk'.

Here's another picture. The player could move the samurai into red area, which will trigger another fight, similar to the first phase, i.e. 2D scrolling with mouse button as 'slash'.

Once the player reaches the centre camp where the big boss is located, it will trigger a big fight between the two. Killing the boss ends the game, where general statistics will be shown. Generally this game is worth a try. The gaming experience is alright, with short learning curve. Needs a bit of intuition to figure out some of the game play though. My only complain is the game music, which lacks variety. I guess that could be improved in due time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Machinarium by Amanita Designs

I've always been impressed with the game developments from Amanita Designs. Their Samorost and Samorost 2 are wonderful games that require minimal learning, and yet are great games that tease the minds to solve interesting puzzles. I've provided reviews and game clues in previous posts (Samorost and Samorost 2).

They are in the midst of developing a new game, named 'Machinarium', which utilises the similar feel and designs from the earlier ones. The animation techniques are different, but still provided that familiar 'strange' machina look. Here's the 1 minute video of Machinarium provided by the developer Amanita Designs.

Machinarium Preview from Amanita Design on Vimeo.

The graphics look good, and there is also this interview by Indie games with the developer. According to the interview, Machinarium takes place
in a strange rusty metallic place populated only by robots. The story is about a little robot who has been unjustly thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city. In the game he returns to the town where he meets the bad guys from Black Cap Brotherhood - they are just preparing a bomb attack on the central tower where the town ruler has residence in. Of course our hero must stop them and also rescue his friend robot-girl.
Well the game will be released (hopefully) in the 1st half of 2009 (according to the website), and I'm sure it will another award winning hit.

Afternote: Found the latest preview of the Machinarium:

Machinarium Preview 02 from Amanita Design on Vimeo.