Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

May 12, 2011

The Time Has Come! Off to China!

Well this is it!

I’ve gotta go to my Mum’s wedding this weekend (starting from tomorrow… talk about making a meal of it…) and then I’m coming back and flying to Beijing on the Wednesday. Once I land, I’ll be reintegrating myself into China (i.e. Eating lots of tasty street food) and finding a place to stay. On the Monday I will start my new job, which I may or may not be able to tell you about, so I need to settle in there too.

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Seriously, this was one of the Google Image Search pictures for 'Wedding From Hell'. I will be as happy as this guy when I land in China though...

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Suffice to say, I won’t be available to blog for a while. I’ll see what I can do but don’t expect much over the next 2 weeks. Things are finally getting busy.

Until next time, enjoy yourselves!

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Sam

May 5, 2011

Deus Ex in real life

I just got back from Paris!

Went to visit the Catacombs, felt like I was J.C. Denton.

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"Agent Navarre was out-of-line. I had no choice."

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Might do a little work on Reynolds this weekend, going to apply for my visa back to China tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

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Sam

April 29, 2011

I gots the blues!

Sorry for a lack of action, especially regarding the Facebook Game Review. I’m just a bit bluesy at the moment!

I was due to have a really fun night out with my friends for the bank holiday (Royal Wedding, woo!). Unfortunately it got cancelled at the last minute, like it did last time.

Good news is that I think my employment license back to China has been successful, so that’s going to be sent back to me in the UK and I can finally apply for my visa. My exciting new job is in Beijing and I can’t wait to get out there. In fact, I got the job offered to me in December 2010. I was due to start in January and have been available since then. But the Gods of the Visa seem to have different plans. My health check (a requirement) took about 2-3 months, my application in Beijing has taken just over 2 weeks and all the couriering of documents has added an extra month or so to that. I’ve been between jobs (first time I’ve heard that used properly!) for 5 months now.

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Shiiiii-it, I got the blues!

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Since then I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. My League of Legends champion suggestion projects have been fun and rewarding. I’ve learnt a lot more about the metagame and grown to love LoL (writing a Maokai guide has also been fun), it will be a shame to leave it behind when I move! Still, after working for 4 months on my Hilde suggestion, it hasn’t gone down too well at all on the forums (only 2 comments and a downvote! haha). What really annoys me is that there isn’t any discussion. I don’t mind if people dislike my idea, or have suggestions to improve it (suggestions are great!), but there’s nothing! The DotA hero suggestion forum has some brilliant templates for your designs and people love helping each other out and reviewing each other’s suggestions. On the LoL forum, there’s horrendous formatting, the worst I’ve ever seen, which makes any suggestions an absolute pain to read. All the time I’ve spent working out her gameplay, theorycrafting and explaining my ideas… it’s all going to waste because no-one is reading it!

My Team Fortress 2 map project was also quite interesting and I felt good about learning the basics of an editor (the closest I’ll ever get to programming), but my first test of it was cut short to about 10 minutes of playtime and it really did suck (especially after waiting 3 weeks for a test day). I wanted to get something tangible completed but I think I’m just disinterested in Team Fortress 2 these days. I loved it back in the day, but now it just seems so repetitive… I’m not having the epic attack/defence games I used to have. I’m not sure what’s changed really! I usually relish getting feedback, iterating and improving my designs… but I just can’t be bothered, I’ve lost all interest in Team Fortress. If LoL had some sort of mod tools for champion creation… oh my! I’d be creating tons of stuff!

During all this time, trying to keep my brain from rotting, I really am feeling the burn of being unemployed. And it’s not like a crappy retail job will be able to help. My first real job in Shanghai was very stimulating and challenging, my decisions made a difference and I was learning every day. I’ve given myself this mental requirement on to be in a challenging job revolving around games, anything else just wouldn’t help! As much as I try to keep mentally active, it’s a losing battle! I just hope I’m up to my new job when I finally move back into 5th gear!

I’m sure no-one has read this far, but I just had to type it all out. Not sure why, but it does help mellow me out. I think I’ll be taking a break from blogging for maybe a week, I’m heading to Paris for a couple of days to see a friend (which is SO needed right now). Perhaps I will work a bit more on Reynolds (LoL Anti-Tank), but don’t expect too much!

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Sam

April 1, 2011

Checking in!

Hey everyone and anyone,

Just posting to say I am still alive. Have been in another part of the country visiting friends for a few days and I’ve had some serious writer’s block. It’s bu hao. Things are looking up for my job though, so I might be able to tell you about it within the next week or so!

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Sam

March 18, 2011

What an awful day…

I’ve had a completely rubbish day. New job visa application shit that’s been piling on for the last 3 months (that’s when I was meant to start my new job)… crap with my social welfare… I didn’t get to test my TF2 map today (missed the reservation by 1 place) and I’ve lost 10+ games of League of Legends in a row.

So, I thought I’d do something productive (watching 6 episodes of Modern Family isn’t what I’d call a productive, albeit hilarious, way to spend my time) and rant!

Why I’m in this mood? Well, I’ve actually been playing pretty well today. I’ve been going back to Cassiopeia, a champion which is ranked highest in difficulty and is extremely fun and rewarding to play. Seven out of the nine games I’ve played with her, I’ve had a positive Kill:Death ratio (with high assists). I’ve done my job, that is Cassiopeia’s job… to deal tons of damage. Yet, we’ve lost every single game because 1 person doesn’t do their job. Seriously, 4/5 people can play well but if one person is bad you lose the game. League of Legends is a bitch like that. It’s the greatest flaw in DotA games and it’s something which Riot completely ignores.

Ya see, teamwork in video games is completely over-rated. When you have a perfect, fully functioning team then it’s great fun, probably the pinnacle of gaming. This never happens though. And what’s worse than losing a game? Someone losing a game for you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’d estimate that at least 75% of games have a bad player on either team. 10% of games are good balanced fun (no complete douchebags) and the remaining 15% is taken up by AFKers and general flamers who ruin the mood for everyone. When you play an individual based multiplayer game, you can completely cut out 75% of the bad games. Flamers and AFKers ruin all types of online games, but having a few bad players in a Free-For-All isn’t so bad.

This rant has a little bit of purpose though, because as I think about the past 24 hours I’m reminiscing about my perfect game idea. It’s an idea I’ve had for 5+ years and I cannot wait to make and play it.

The game I’ve wanted to create is similar to DotA in some respects (although I’d never heard of DotA until 2009). It is an online battle arena, but the arena is a living and breathing city. Players pick a character from a gang, each with their own specific playstyles… a bit like DotA/LoL’s champions but with variety more like a fighting game (movelists and such, rather than 4 skills). The goal is to kill the opposition; to hunt them down and to defeat them. Players interact with NPCs, performing small quests and tasks to build reputations. These allegiances with NPCs helps them gather information, weaponry and bonuses to help them defeat the other combatants. Imagine a combat arena with RPG quest elements, which influence the way the city affects the battlefield. There’s a strong single player aspect to it, but always the possibility that your target will come around the corner and you have to decide whether you can defeat them.

Battles in this game would be long, around 1 hour. This gives players a chance to develop their character’s items and abilities. Some characters would be better early game, some would be better late game. Some would specialize in territory control by setting elaborate traps, others would specialize in NPC relations and take control through diplomacy. Players will only have one life, once they die it’s over. Health would be much higher than most games, so that battles are truly epic slugfests. There are chances to escape and fight another day (but health would be persistent)

In my head I’m just imagining things and blurting them out. I won’t go into any more detail, this game is the masterpiece I dream of creating… perhaps one day I will be able to tackle it and share more with you. Until then, I’ve got a lot of learning and even more ranting to do!

I’m in a better mood already!

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Sam

January 17, 2011

I’m back! Tying up loose ends…

Hey everyone,

I’m back and ready to start blogging again! From tomorrow I will be finishing up my DotA hero suggestion, starting The Great CityVille Race and introducing another hero suggestion project for League of Legends.

Should be exciting stuff! Stay tuned

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Sam

January 5, 2011

Sick Leave!

Hey guys,

I’ve been pretty under the weather recently, so sorry for a lack of updates. Realized I’ve got a bit of a blogging backlog to get through! I’ll be updating again when I’m feeling a bit better.

In the mean time, if you’re in Shanghai around the end of January, you should check out the Global Game Jam. It’s the first event of its kind in China and it’s being promoted by Rachel Chai from LevelWan. I’d love to go but I think I’ll be elsewhere this year!

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Sam

December 15, 2010

Opportunities Over The Horizon

Apologies for a complete lack of updates recently. I’ve been very busy with a certain opportunity that I can’t reveal just yet! Alas, The Great CityVille Race will have to be delayed for around a week since I will have no access to Facebook until I return to the UK on the 21st. It will all be very worth it though, when/if I receive some good news… stay tuned!

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Until then, give this article about the state of independent game development in China a read. It’s by one of my awesome colleagues, whose blog, LevelWan, you should also check out!

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Sam

November 18, 2010

DDR and Drummania – They’ve still got it…

It may seem a bit old skool, but I played a bunch of DDR and DrumMania today. I’m in Hong Kong on a visa run and I’ve had to waste the day away. Unlike China with its poor imitators, Hong Kong has got proper DDR and DM machines.

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Dance Dance Revolution

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October 6, 2010

An update

Hey guys,

Sorry for the lack of action recently, especially regarding Project Rumble. Been working on my first game design project at my company which will 100% be shipped! It’s exciting stuff and definitely a challenge. Right now I’m working on designing the narrative, lore, characters and quests. There are some limitations, which I can’t go into unfortunately, but overall it’s a perfect primer for real game design. I’m hoping this leads to more exciting things so I’m getting my head down and I’m determined to do a good job!

Hopefully though I’ll be back here blogging soon!

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It's crunch time

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Sam