December 2010

2010 – Final posting

Welcome to my last posting of 2010! I haven’t been doing regular yearly recaps on my blog since launching it like 5 years ago (time flies by, eh?), but I think it’s a good idea to do a little recap on what happened in 2010 and on what I plan to get done in 2011. Please note that this posting may contain some personal notes and/or ramblings of mine!

2010 in general was a very busy year for me, but sadly not when it came down to coding. Real life is taking away a lot of my precious time, and I often think about how life would be without all those little unnecessary things in our western world that make you waste time on stupid things (I mainly refer to all the administrative stuff like finances, government, vehicle-related things and all the hassle I had with the fubared health inssurance company of my grandfather). If those were left out, people would have much more time concentraing on more important things like being creative, as in my opinion every human being should do something creative (may it be inventing things, coding games, building something, etc.), which is sadly not the case for the majority of humanity. Maybe this is not only down to all the little unnecessary things in life that distract you from the essence of the human being but also because our mostly degenerated culture seems to have forgotten what life is about (yes, life is not about wasting all your time at work/in front of a TV until you die). Sad but true.

But still, “Phase 2” progressed a lot in 2010. A lot of the planned features are in, there is a whole new GUI and all the people that saw the game in action (either on youtube, or in real-life at my home) liked it and often even asked if it’s a commercial game. Just recently I also got around adapting the new GUI to some of the game’s windows like the transfer market (which got a complete overhaul), and currently I’m in the process of redoing and updating the whole espionage feature of the game (if you remember this will be one of the features that’ll get a lot more functionality in “Phase 2”), which is taking a lot of effort but progress is steady, and espionage is one of the biggest features that’s still unfinished. So once it’s done this will be a big step towards the final release.

As for 2011, I hope to have at least a (more-or-less) final beta of “Phase 2” ready for public testing and (mainly) balancing. For “Phase 1” many people complained about bad balancing, and so for “Phase 2” I want to conclude a (maybe public) beta test in order to get the balancing right, as balancing is one (if not the) of the most important things in a game.  I don’t have a date yet, cause depending on several factors it’s even possible that 2011 will give me less time for coding that 2010 did. But don’t worry, I have no plans to cancel Projekt “W” anytime soon, as it’s actually becoming more and more like my swansong. Though I hope to code games after it’s release, so don’t take this statement too serious, though I don’t think I’m ever going to do such a big game again (or at least not alone).

In terms of gaming, there have been many games I enjoyed in 2010 (I prefer gaming after a day of hard work over watching movies or even TV), but only a few of them stood out. My personal game of the year is, without a doubt, Heavy Rain (PS3). This is the first real mature game I’ve played, telling an interesting mature story, using very interesting gameplay mechanics and having characters with real depth AND all of them have problems of some kind.  It’s nothing like all those stupid Call of Dutys out there with their braindead tube-like levels, childhish storys and oh-so-perfect american soldiers. And despite all odds Heavy Rain sold much more than expected, and so we’ll hopefully get another game from it’s makers. Though it’s still sad that the CoDs, MoHs, Halos and so on sell much better than a fantastic game like Heavy Rain. I think this should be a warning sign for the whole gaming industry, cause it looks like a huge shooter-bubble ready to burst (like the music game genre did this year). Other than Heavy Rain, I was also impressed by the recent God of War III (Greek mythology shown the way it’s supposed to be with a total badass character), Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar sure knows how to tell good storys in open-world-games, and the ending is just pure genius), and currently I’m also enjoying Gran Turismo 5 (yeah, I really like sim-racing, I’ve been racing on PC for years using a Logitech Wheel and the racing mechanics in GT5 are awesome, though it’s far from the perfect game that Mr. Yamauchi promised us!). My personal disappointment of the year was Final Fantasy XIII. FFXIII shows the state of the japanese gaming industry, trying to open up to a western audience, resulting in very bad games.  With the exception of one chapter the game is like walking along a single predefined path with some rendered sequences thrown in here and there, a boring fighting mechanic (just take a look at Resonance of Fate, a JRPG with an extraordinary good battle system and and interesting setting), and the first 20h feel like playing some kind of tutorial. It’s sad, and after recently revisiting FFVIII on the PC I noticed just how bad it is. Maybe they should take a look at Demon’s Souls, hands down the best RPG that came out of Japan for years (followed by 3D Dot Game Heroes from the same developer and Resonance of Fate from the Star Ocean creators).

So that’s it for 2010, therefore I wish all of you a happy new year and we shall meet again in 2011 (as long as Cthulhu doesn’t decide to wake up from it’s eternal sleep to devour us all…)

Newton 2.26 (beta) headers uploaded

I’ve just uploaded updated header versions for the latest beta of the Newton Game Dynamics Engine, namely 2.26. This new versions adds severel new functions and procedures, but no changes within the joint library. You can grab the updated headers over here. As usual they should work with Free Pascal and Delphi (tested both under windows) and should also work under linux, though I don’t test them there.

Note : A user over at the newton forums pointed me to some small errors in the current header. I’ve fixed these (nothing major, some spelling errors, some fixed declarations). So if you encounter problems just redownload the headers. Also note that the version number within the header (see the const-section) says 2.25, that’s correct, cause SDK 2.26 of NGD hasn’t had any header changes.