Games

How to steal from a giant spaceship

Heat Signature is fantastic. Here's what happened to me: Docked. Turrets everywhere. Armoured guards with heat sensors, and they're clustering in groups of threes and covering all room exits, so I can't even sneak past. There are four levels of door keycard locks between me and the Euler Contraption which I need to steal in order to pay off my debts. I have no melee or projectile weapons. I have 75 seconds before the ship docks with its destination space station and I'm discovered. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

Returning to No Man’s Sky

Just over a year ago I did something I very rarely do these days, which is buy a game at launch. Due to a daft backlog and not much time to play I tend to wait for heavy discounts before committing, but No Man's Sky grabbed me with its early trailers and I couldn't resist diving in to explore its universe. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

Applying some game design to Quasar

I've now been twice to Quasar, the laser tag venue in Norwich, and both times have felt like I'm missing something. While running around in the dark with lasers guarantees at least a minimum level of fun, there's a handful of changes they could implement to make it much more satisfying as a game. Essentially, approaching it like you might design a computer game offers up some obvious areas for improvement. I've no idea whether any of this applies to other laser tag places, or whether the Norwich version is the only one to be needing some of this refreshing, but here goes... (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

Virtual photography gets easy

By which I mean that it's technically far more achievable than previously; the ability to take good images is a whole other thing, just as DSLRs have made professional quality photography available to all without putting photogs out of business.* I'm specifically referring to game photography here - the art of taking great screenshots, essentially. Games are inherently visual and always have been, with screenshots being part of their marketing since the earliest days. Three distinct changes have occurred which make taking in-game images suddenly more interesting. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

I lost my spaceship in No Man’s Sky

I wrote a while back that I only started enjoying Far Cry 3 when I applied my own artificial restrictions to its free-form playground (in that case, using only the bow, despite the plethora of weaponry on offer). Taking an accidentally similar approach to No Man's Sky, I gave myself a similar limiter: not having a spaceship. In this instance, though, it was entirely accidental. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

No Man’s Sky reminds me of Morrowind

No Man's Sky is more or less exactly what I wanted it to be. It could absolutely be so much more, and I hope Hello Games keep innovating and pushing it forward, but it's already something unique and remarkable. The most surprising aspect for me is that it's recaptured the magic of a very different game:Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls game that preceded Oblivion and Skyrim. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

Oculus has forgotten its reason to exist

Start with Why. Then figure out How. That leads to What. Never start with What. Oculus kickstarted the modern, fledgling virtual reality industry - literally, on Kickstarter. VR has been around in various forms for decades. The Oculus Rift represented a major leap forwards and received massive goodwill and public support. Fast forward to now and there are multiple players in the market. Most notably Oculus (now owned by Facebook) and the Vive from the odd pairing of Valve and HTC. But this industry isn't like home video in the 80s - back then, home video was definitely going to happen. The format war between VHS and Betamax was daft, but it didn't threaten the very concept itself. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago