Friday, May 29, 2020

The powerful presence of non-presence in "Out For Delivery" by Yuxin Gao, Lillyan Ling, Gus Boehling

"Out For Delivery is a 42 minute playable documentary shot with a 360-degree camera. The slice-of-life experience follows a food delivery courier in Beijing on January 23, 2020, the day before Lunar New Year, and the day Wuhan shut down due to COVID-19."
This is one of the few 360-movie experiences that really works.

In the past, I've criticized the VR empathy machine complex and its cynical use of Syrian refugees to sell VR kits, but Out For Delivery wisely sidesteps the VR ecosystem. Without the restrictions imposed by the head-mounted format, such as a stationary camera (a bumpy moving camera makes VR viewers sick) or impatience (VR demos demand constant engagement), the designer and filmmaker Yuxin Gao is free to focus on the actual subject at hand. The camera moves freely, cuts freely, lingers freely. The result is the most difficult aesthetic to achieve in art: honesty.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Tactics games in 2020: game design notes about Horizon's Gate and Gears Tactics

I finished playing two 2020 RPG tactics games recently: Horizon's Gate and Gears Tactics. I've also written at length about Invisible Inc before. I clearly want to make a tactics game someday? Anyway here's my design analysis and thoughts.

NOTE: This post has a lot of mechanics / game design spoilers, but no story spoilers.

NOTE 2: This isn't me trying to prescribe what "good tactics design" is for everyone. I'm just trying to articulate my own personal tastes and rationales.

Horizon's Gate

Horizon's Gate is a retro pixel art open world sailing game about exploring towns and dungeons, buying low and selling high, and getting into battles where you push and pull and surround. It's very good and you should play it. If you don't have much time, you can probably stop after like 5 hours.