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  • Gridcannon: A Single Player Game With Regular Playing Cards
    by Pentadact on August 20, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I thought it would be an interesting game design challenge to come up with a single player game you can play with a regular deck of playing cards. My first try, about a month ago, didn’t work. But on Sunday I had a new idea, and with one tweak from me and another from my

  • Why, This Time, Did My Camera Throw Another Hour Of My Life Away?
    by Pentadact on August 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I just lost my third, hour-long try at making a video of my card game, yet again to camera problems. Since I started doing video stuff I’ve lost so, so much work to finding out – at the end of the recording – that something went wrong during it without me knowing. It’s more galling

  • Making A Better Card Feel Worse With UX
    by Pentadact on August 12, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Nowhere Prophet has a power where each turn you can choose 1 card from your hand to discard, and draw another to replace it. Slay the Spire has a power where you draw 1 extra card per turn, then must discard 1 of your choice right after. Slay’s power is straight up better: you get

  • Steam Quirks For Developers
    by Pentadact on April 10, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Talking to people at GDC and Rezzed, especially people just starting in game dev, made me realise I’ve accumulated a load of non-obvious knowledge about how Steam works and how best to use it. Info like this tends to get passed around between established devs, at events and in closed circles, but newer devs and

  • Virtual Reality Development Tips
    by Doolwind on June 13, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Below are my virtual reality development tips. I’ve broken these up into Vive specific, general VR and more philosophical tips. For more tips follow me on Twitter @Doolwind. Vive Specific Ask the user to press a button to begin. Doing this has a few key benefits: – Ensures they have headset on and are ready – Ensures they Read More

  • Phaser with Visual Studio 2015 and TypeScript
    by Doolwind on October 3, 2015 at 5:15 am

    I’ve been playing with Phaser recently and I’m really liking it so far. I plan to use TypeScript for the language as it has a bunch of advantages over straight javascript. I found the Phaser tutorial was a little out of date so figured I would put together a quick tutorial to help others get started with Phaser development in Read More

  • Game Developer Interview: Asher Einhorn – Game Designer
    by Doolwind on July 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Game development comes in all shapes and sizes. I’ve interviewed mostly independent developers from small companies in the past. Today I have an interview with Asher Einhorn who has worked on a billion dollar franchise as a game designer. However, he did not start out as a game designer, read on to find out more. Firstly, Read More

  • Git For Unity Developers
    by Doolwind on March 2, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    We’ve started using Git for our Unity3D projects and this tutorial describes the best way to set up a Unity3D project to use Git for source control as well as some best practices. In the past we’ve used SVN and Mercurial as well and so far we’ve found Git to be the best option. The Read More

  • Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind Review – A Series Of Letdowns
    by Kimberley Wallace on January 24, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Release: January 23, 2020 (PlayStation 4), February 25, 2020 (Xbox One) Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Also on: Xbox One Kingdom Hearts fans are used to crazy plot twists and cliffhangers that leave them with more questions than answers. The core Kingdom Hearts III experience finally provided resolution to hanging threads, but the Re Mind DLC muddied those waters and made me feel toyed with. Re Mind was an opportunity for Square Enix to provide additional context and shore up the story’s weaknesses. Instead, this add-on feels more like a director’s cut, with only a few new scenes and tweaks to battles. It offers flashes of worthwhile content, but Re Mind demands too much of players to see it. Re Mind takes you back to the Keyblade Graveyard sequence – the start of the base game’s final stretch. Sora travels back in time to search for Kairi, hoping to alter the outcome of events. However, to do so in this DLC, he sacrifices his corporeal form. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the overall story is incomprehensible and outlandish. Expect drawn-out explanations for all the hearts and vessels, more time-travel talk, and unresolved beats dangled in front of you as if they’ll be explained soon – but they won’t.  To make matters worse, you get thrown into a sequence you’ve already played through, fighting every Keyblade Graveyard boss in mostly the same places. Going through the motions rewards you with a few new scenes and battles that can play out differently. A couple are new, but most of them play like they did before. To shake things up a little, you get the opportunity to play as keyblade wielders other than Sora, like Aqua, Roxas, and Riku, who have different fighting styles. For instance, Roxas has access to a quick reversal, dual wields, and is more melee-focused. The best part of these fights is the cool team-up attacks that are representative of their bonds and determination. While I enjoyed these moves, they don’t make up for the high amount of reused content and the sparseness of new scenes.  The DLC is at its best when it adds some new elements to fights. One boss battle combines all the core characters, alternating between them as you perform finishers, which creates a spectacle to behold. In a separate showdown, you even get to control Kairi, which fans have been begging for. Sadly, it’s only one battle, and I don’t care for her moveset because she uses floaty attacks that don’t feel powerful. I had to double-check to see if my strikes were even connecting, since I couldn’t feel the impact of obliterating foes with Kairi as I could with other heroes.  Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               That seems to be the trend for this DLC: Nothing feels substantial. You get very little for your investment, and none of the seemingly exciting teases ever lead anywhere interesting. A great example of this is getting to explore more of Scala Ad Caelum, a breathtakingly beautiful place that was only featured briefly in the main game. After getting a closer look at it, it’s more disappointing than intriguing, and full of tedious puzzles like lining up objects to match shadows. Also disappointing is that the Final Fantasy characters are still mostly absent for the DLC. You see Yuffie, Aerith, Cid, and Squall, but their roles are minuscule.  Once you complete Re Mind, an episode called Limit Cut unlocks, granting you access to several challenging boss fights. They’re ultra-tough, and one false move (like not blocking at the exact right moment) means you lose everything. These are comparable to the series’ secret bosses (e.g., Sephiroth), which are notoriously difficult but rewarding to defeat. Those who revel in besting these can spend a lot of time here. But a warning: If Sora isn’t high-level (which is probably the case if you only completed the main quest in Kingdom Hearts III), you probably won't stand a chance. You can go back into the world to grind for levels and items by pressing a button when you load your save, but this is poorly conveyed. Overall, Re Mind is disappointing. Between all the reused content and very few additions to the story, I felt like I wasted my time. Yes, a few new threads and pieces of info are there to unravel, but they are the tiniest of crumbs. The biggest revelation is in the new secret movie, which shows the series potentially moving in a strange direction that makes me more uneasy than excited. Ultimately, you really have to dig for the fun in Re Mind, because it’s buried in all this content you’ve already played. Editor's Note: This review has been updated to correct information on leveling up for the post-DLC bosses. Score: 6.5 Summary: You really have to dig for the fun in Re Mind, because it’s buried in all this content you’ve already played. Concept: Play through an extended cut of the finale, complete with new scenes, new characters to control, and updated battles Graphics: Nothing has changed much from the base game. Some new team-up attacks look cool, though Sound: This is still an area where Kingdom Hearts III excels, but some of the voice acting is poorly mixed Playability: The controls are smooth, and new moves and fighting styles make for great combos Entertainment: This DLC has a lot of recycled material, and the payoff for trudging through it again is low Replay: Moderate Click to Purchase

  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Review – Flawed But Still Enthralling
    by Andrew Reiner on January 24, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: CyberConnect2 Release: January 17, 2020 Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Also on: Xbox One, PC Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot frequently powers up to Super Saiyan levels to deliver awe-inspiring battles between godly beings who can topple mountains with atomic blasts and swing fiery fists to knock each other into the stratosphere. However, when the fight is over and one of the warriors is sent to the afterlife, Kakarot struggles to find a pulse within its sprawling open worlds. Holding true to the 100-plus Dragon Ball Z television episodes it’s based on, Kakarot is an uneven experience with explosive highs and cratering lows. Amid the ups and downs, it delivers enough charm and hard-hitting moments to be enjoyable for a lengthy 40-hour playthrough. Some of the content feels like filler, but I was thoroughly entertained by the battles and retelling of the wild Dragon Ball Z story. Click here to watch embedded media No footage from the animated show is used, and we instead see Goku and his family’s life unfold through beautifully animated in-engine footage for the dramatic moments, and animation-free conversations for the relationship building and mundane story beats. Most of the voice cast from the TV series reprise their roles, once again bringing these characters to life in clever and over-the-top ways. Since the game covers the Saiyan Saga through the Buu Saga, players take to the skies as a variety of characters. Each is similar in build for the base moves, but with a little different flavor in their attributes and super attacks. No matter who you are using, combat is fast and frantic, pushing you to dart through the skies, pepper foes with fire blasts from afar, and then get in close for quick combos. When a foe is stunned or at a specific range, the big moves like Spirit bomb and Super Kamehameha can be used to deal serious damage. In the standard open-world battles, a fair bit of strategy comes from prioritizing targets and bouncing between foes. The boss battles, which can be against a foe with millions of hit points, push you in a different way, where you are more defensive and looking for windows to unleash the heavy arsenal or rejuvenate ki (which is essentially your magic meter). Combat is satisfying, both against low-level foes who you can eventually one-hit kill, and against enemies that are a higher level than you. These battles can last for roughly five minutes, require plenty of healing items, and reward you well with plenty of experience points and loot. The thrill of controlling a powerful hero continues within open-world exploration. Each character flies with the strength and speed of Superman. Flying is a satisfying means of travel, but ends up being the one truly enjoyable part of the open worlds, of which there are over a dozen to explore. Outside of flying around to collect orbs that can be used to buy new special moves, these areas aren’t much fun. Sure, you can hover in the air to take down a dinosaur or spaceship for crafting materials, but no danger or skill is really involved. You’re essentially just ripping across the land to gather supplies. Side missions are periodically thrown at you, but if they don’t involve combat, you’re not doing anything entertaining – unless you like the idea of picking apples. The fishing minigame is too repetitive, and the checkpoint car races are too easy, but they do deliver nice rewards, which are sometimes Soul Emblems. If you love collecting every minifigure in the Lego games, you will likely find similar appreciation for the 80-plus Soul Emblems you can track down. While you don’t get new playable heroes from them, Soul Emblems are the key piece of Kakarot’s most rewarding RPG system. Once obtained, a Soul Emblem can be placed on one of seven different community boards, each giving stat boosts to unique fields like combat, cooking, and more. Soul Emblems represent relationships with certain characters, and you have to think about which board the character on the emblem should be on. You also need to figure out who they should be positioned next to for relationship links and even bigger bonuses. If you track down the best emblems, you can even give yourself a 100-percent boost to battle experience, or reduced cost for item purchases. Kakarot also offers huge skill trees for all of the playable and support characters (who help you in combat), but they are gated by the story. That means even if you have millions of orbs to spend on new skills, you can’t until you reach a specific level or story beat. Limiting progress makes sense in terms of the narrative flow (you can’t have Goku going Super Saiyan 3 out of the gate), but it does take some of the fun out of collecting orbs. Another problem comes from the story itself, which switches who you are controlling without warning. If you pump all of your orbs into Piccolo’s skills, you may not get control of him again for hours. These jarring switches can sometimes hand you an underpowered character for a big battle. You’re just kind of along for the ride, never really knowing who you will be controlling for the next story mission. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               As for the Dragon Balls, they are obviously used for story moments, but can also be gathered in the open worlds. They are listed on the map and are just lying out in the open with no one guarding them. Once you have all seven, you are granted two wishes: You can become rich, get more orbs, or bring bosses back to life just to kill them again for better loot. Having to track the orbs is a bit of a pain, but it does deliver meaningful content if you put forth the effort. If you approach Kakarot for the story and the harrowing battles, it can be amazing. Outside of collecting Soul Emblems, the RPG elements are mostly lacking, even if they do push you to keep leveling to take on harder foes. All told, CyberConnect 2 gives fans a fun way to reexperience this saga. Score: 8 Summary: It can reach Super Saiyan levels of enjoyment, just not in the open worlds. Concept: A lengthy action/RPG experience that prioritizes combat and struggles with side content Graphics: Although many story sequences only consist of talking heads, the big moments are presented beautifully through animated in-engine sequences that look just like the show Sound: The soundtrack and character voices are fantastic. Some open-world chatter is repeated too often Playability: The combat controls are spot-on, and flying around the open world is an empowering delight Entertainment: Some of the content is hit or miss, but the story is told nicely throughout and ends up being an enjoyable way to relive this saga Replay: Moderately High Click to Purchase

  • Mixing And Matching With The Funkoverse Strategy Game
    by Matt Miller on January 24, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Who would win in a fight between Rick & Morty and the Golden Girls? How might Batman and his gadgets confront a wand-wielding Harry Potter? If the very concept of those match-ups has you laughing, you’ve begun to grasp why the new Funkoverse board game seems to hit so many of the right marks. Funko Pops have been a dominating force in the collectible market for some years now; a big part of the joy is finding characters from disparate fictions, and seeing them displayed in a shared (and usually adorable) visual style. Funkoverse extends that same conceit into the tabletop gaming world, with a smartly built tactical skirmish game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and play, but carries enough unique character powers and customization to bring it out onto the table again and again. Pick up any of the Funkoverse packs to start your collection, with characters drawn from varied properties like Batman and Harry Potter, or upcoming releases like Jurassic Park and Aggretsuko. The whole idea is that any given game pack can be played by itself, or combined with others as you grow your collection. Whether you snag one of the two- or four-character packs, you bring home attractive figures that can as easily sit on your shelf as display pieces as stay hidden away in the game box. The Funkoverse characters are significantly smaller than traditional Funko Pops, and each has a peghole for holding game items. But they all feature attractive sculpts and, like their bigger cousins, manage to capture important character traits through familiar, minimalist toy design. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               The rules for gameplay carry over from one game to the next without much in the way of new ideas to integrate. In general, you’re choosing one of the double-sided boards included with each pack, and setting up a squad of characters to do battle. In a basic variant, you’re just seeking to knock out your opponents (which is a great gateway playstyle, for adults and kids alike), but the more rewarding options are included scenarios that offer variants on capture-the-flag, territory control, and others. Games move fast, with playtime well under an hour. With combat and challenges played out through throws of the dice, there’s an element of randomness that could potentially frustrate some players. But given the straightforward tenor of the overall game, if that’s where your head’s at, this might be the wrong pick for you in the first place. The variation and replay value arise through the different character powers and the items they introduce, and the way the designers managed to capture the flavor of such varied settings and have them play nicely with each other. Whether Batman whips out the Batarang for ranged attacks, or Morty loses his cool with his Violent Outburst action, it’s entertaining to imagine the way each scene plays out, echoing familiar moments from the TV shows and movies. Funkoverse game figures double as lovely display pieces on your shelf One of the smartest mechanics at play is the use of a cooldown track for those abilities. Every power demands the use of a specific token that corresponds to its flavor, from finesse and agility-style actions to those that require great strength, and the token then moves onto a cooldown track, and can’t be used again until enough turns have passed. Potent leadership abilities like Rick’s “Get Schwifty” or Batgirl’s acrobatic Flying Tackle can be game changers, but must be reserved for important moments, as you risk taking essential tokens out of play for a time. Picking teams that can maximize their shared token pool is often key to success. With its simple scenarios and light tactical throwdowns, Funkoverse Strategy Game isn’t going to replace any veteran gamer’s sprawling miniature army or heavyweight fantasy wargame. But that’s clearly not the point. Instead, Funkoverse ably translates the simplicity and collectible quality of the Funko universe into an accessible ruleset that can easily expand over time. Here is a game that welcomes younger and inexperienced players into the fun of tactical movement and engagement, without denying more experienced players the chance to tweak and shape the gameplay, and the whole thing is backed up through the inclusion of some of the most recognizable pop-culture figures imaginable. Funkoverse features a unified rule system that works for all the included characters and franchises If you’re interested to check out more options for your next board game get-together with friends or family, make sure and peruse the backlog of articles in the Top of the Table hub, including a look at the best tabletop games of 2019. And if you’re ever looking for personalized recommendations, I’m always happy to field your questions over email. Drop me a line, let me know what you’re looking for, and I’ll help you find the next awesome game for your group.

  • Replay – Doctor Hauzer (Ten Year Anniversary Special)
    by Leo Vader on January 24, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Click here to watch embedded media This upcoming Monday marks ten full years of Replay, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate than with a rarely seen 3DO title from the developers behind Overblood. Doctor Hauzer is looking like it'll be the kind of absolute mess that Replay fans have come to expect over our storied history. We went live earlier today than usual but be sure to check out the archive of the stream above! Be sure to subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live each week! Thanks and enjoy the show!

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