Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Hide" by Andrew Shouldice

I'm posting this early because he's declared it "done" already: I think "Hide" might be the first (or at least one of the first) games completed for the Super Friendship Club's first game pageant, "Justice."

It's yet another Unity FPS, sure, but it twists the formula rather well -- the clever way he's done the sprint controls, the smart downsampling effect that makes Unity not look like Unity at all but allows him to stylize some otherwise roughly constructed props, and the really chilling sound design -- among many other things I admire. (I'm totally going to steal the sprint idea / the downsampling technique for my own games, by the way.)

... And that's all I'm going to tell you. It might've been too much already.
PC build is here and the Mac build is here.

(PS: Mr. Andrew, optimize the file size a bit and release a web build!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Justice, still.

Had to throw away a lot of level design because the layout was simply no-good. Going for a more methodical approach this time instead of the aimless free-form improv of before. Also shocked at how much more thought I had to put into constructing my assets and props; I've never had to build expansive interiors in Unity before. Even in this scene, I've scaled all the architecture way too big and now I have to compensate in weird ways.

It's going to be a photo finish for the end of August...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Magnar has finally released his newest Half-Life 2: Episode Two single player masterpiece, "Whoopservatory." It uses a pretty clever mechanic with an equally clever implementation, but I suggest you just go into it without knowing anything more. You'll like it but wish the end was more "meaty." (Disclosure: I beta-tested this.)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Source Shader Editor v0.1

Whoa. If Valve had job titles, they should hire this "BiohazardPro" guy as a tools programmer or something. It also comes a little too late for the now kinda-comatose mod community, but still, Rob Briscoe could get some good use out of it, though it probably doesn't fit very neatly into the Portal 2 codebase they're using for Dear Esther.

Maybe if it dovetails with that ambiguous "we'll make the SDK free" thing, it could be just the defibrillator we need for the mod scene?

For technical details and implementation, check out the surprisingly substantial docs on the wiki.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


2 weeks left to finish a crazy overambitious collab with Eddie Cameron. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dark Past (part 4): The Useful Post (?) or Randy Smith's "valence theory" of level design.

This is a series of posts that analyzes the immersive sim. It's a play on the excellent RPS feature, Dark Futures.

Many moons ago, I began by (part 1) emphasizing the robustness of systems in immersive sims before (part 2) moving closer to level design, then (part 3) criticized both ideas, and now the point of all this: (part 4) Randy Smith's "valence theory" of level design, as applied to the Thief games. (NOTE: he never called it that, but I am.)

We're done with the theoretical basis. Now this is the "Useful Post" of the Dark Past series, a primer on some level design theory for immersive sims with stealth mechanics. It's also particularly relevant, given the recent announcement of Dishonored.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I migrated all comments over to Disqus. I'm told it's better, and I see all the cool kids doing it, so that's why I did it. Please voice any seething anger here... even if it has nothing to do with this post.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How Tutorials Should Be Done

Why make sloppy pop-up text "tutorials" that give away all the mechanics / dynamics (I'm looking at you, BioShock) when you can have extremely elegant level design teach the skills and let players work things out for themselves?

Portal 2 did it. Almost every Stephen Lavelle game does it. Most recently, Impasse (via does it too.

Remember, less talk and more rock.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Love letter to a bridge

Mention the "bridge in de_aztec" to any Counter-Strike player and they'll nod knowingly.

Sure, you might have Aram Bartholl wanting to build a 1:1 scale model of de_dust "in real-life", but why no love of any similar magnitude for Chris Auty's vaguely Mesoamerican masterpiece? Throughout the entire map cycle, The Bridge has no equal in terms of elegance and genius, I'd argue.

As a service to our younger gamers, who, upon being asked, "what's your favorite CS map?" will respond incredulously with, "isn't CS that really old game?" then blow a large bubble gum bubble in your face and go back to texting a fellow bro -- here, you little shit, here's why The Bridge is great.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Super Friendship Club

New pastures and new projects, founded by the Cambridge scene and its many satellites.

The first "pageant" is up; you have a month to make games about "justice."

Also, post your other projects there for some world-class feedback.

See you there!