Earlier this year I reviewed The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for PlayerAttack. Because of this, they asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at XCOM: Enemy Within, the expansion to last year’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I jumped at the chance… and was stunned by how hard the game was. It took multiple playthroughs and three attempts at writing the review before I got to the final product.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be asked by Flat Earth Games to help out on their debut title, TownCraft. I worked as something of a design consultant – my first time in that role – and had an absolute blast. TownCraft is a fantastic little crafting/ exploration game for iPad, and has been getting some very positive reviews. I can’t wait to see what Flat Earth do next, and hope they’ll ask me to get involved again!
TownCraft is available now on the App Store.
PAX Australia happened a couple weekends ago, and I had my first experience on a panel. I was invited by Leigh Harris of MCV and Flat Earth Games, and alongside James O’Connor and Dan Wilks we discussed the place, purpose and cultural standing of video game reviews.
I took a little while to warm up – there was a lot of reviewer specific stuff before we got to talk on the issue from a dev’s point of view, but by the end I was having a great time.
Supposedly all the panels were recorded by the PAX crew for ‘archival purposes’, but as yet these don’t seem to have come to light. If they do, I’ll update this post to reflect that. In the meantime, my view!
This month I had my first article published in Australia’s PC Powerplay magazine. They were looking for game developers to share stories about actually making games, so I wrote a piece titled ‘Going Gold’. It covered my experiences in the final weeks of L.A. Noire’s development. The pressure, the stress… and the boredom. Maybe one day it will be available online, but for now, go find a copy of PC Powerplay!
“Great heroes carry the journey’s burdens, not on their shoulders, but in their hearts.” So begins the debut trailer for League of Geeks’ Armello. Stirring music builds. Next, a bloodied sword. Then a wolf stands upright, wielding the weapon, and I’m immediately transported to my childhood love of the universe of Redwall. The trailer only gets better and by the end, I’m desperate for a chance to play the game. Unfortunately, we will be waiting a while to see anything more, but I was fortunate enough to be shown the trailer by one of its creators – Trent Kusters – and to interview him afterwards.
Read more at Player Attack.
“In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.” I first read that phrase many years ago, and dreamed about seeing it in videogames almost from the first moment. Relic’s Dawn of War series was the first time I felt a game really captured the essence of that grim, distant universe. In Space Marine they have done it again, from a much more intimate angle.
Regardless of what else I write, Space Marine should be considered a success. It does a spectacular job of rendering that world, and the role of a space marine in it. Everything is at once familiar and different: seen in a new way. I play this game and remember old White Dwarf magazines, unpainted (and very poorly painted) miniatures and battles lost and won. More recently I remember epic games of Dawn of War. Everything is perfectly recreated, and we are thrown into the middle of it all, looking up at the roofs of incredible gothic buildings, instead of down from above as a god.
Last week I was lucky enough to speak at the AltDev blog’s student conference. I spoke on the track titled “A Day in The Life”, about my experiences as a generalist Game Designer working on L.A. Noire. It was great fun, even if it was a little odd just talking to my screen in an empty room!
I backed FTL when it was on Kickstarter, and have had trouble putting it down since it became available as a Beta to the project backers. I had the chance to talk to one of the two develoeprs – Justin Ma – just before its mega-successful release on Steam.
My ship is in flames, most of the crew is dead, my engines are destroyed and I’m locked in combat with a powerful alien vessel. The final crewmembers frantically try to coax enough life from the engines to enable me to jump out of the system, but the fires consume the remaining oxygen, and they die still at their stations. My once noble craft becomes just another lifeless, damaged ship, drifting through space.
Read more at Player Attack
I’ve been a huge fan of Starcraft II’s eSports scene since its release in 2010. I missed out on a ticket to the Australian Championships, but with Tastosis in attendance, I just had to go. Thankfully, PlayerAttack helped out with a press pass, and in return, I wrote about my experiences:
Upon arriving at the StarCraft II Blizzard World Championships, it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was the real deal, finally in Australia. On stage were the commentators: Taylor “PainUser” Parsons and one half of the Casting Archon – Nick “Tasteless” Plott. In one of the player booths was a legend of the Brood War scene making one last hurrah – Peter “Legionnaire” Neate. And on screen was that most unwanted feature of tournament play in the StarCraft II era, the ‘Waiting for Players’ display.
Read more at Player Attack:
At last month’s Sydney IGDA Chapter meetup – “Bits & Pieces” – I gave a talk on the topic ‘Taking Criticism’, relating to my experiences at Team Bondi working on L.A. Noire. I spoke about how it helped me learn my craft as a Designer, how it helped us better understand the game, and how it became a tool for us to bring the development team closer together.
Thanks go to Rhys Votano of Upstair Studios who filmed the evening. More of his work can be found here.