Archive | December 2012

IN SPAAACE: FTL: Faster Than Light

Oh dear. That doesn't look good...

I’m a fan of roguelikes in general, a good modern example of the classic dungeon crawler being Dungeons of Dredmor. FTL is a roguelike, IN SPAAAACE! It has the twist of your controlling a spaceship rather than a heroic person, and is extremely good.

The objective of FTL: Faster Than Light is to make your way through various sectors of space, and ultimately destroy the Rebel Mothership. You do this using your Faster Than Light drive, which allows you to make “jumps” from area to area. Each sector contains lots of areas, positioned on a map. At each jump you are presented with a dialogue, followed by a variety of situations:

  • A shop, where you can buy weapons, crew members, drones, fuel, missiles, etc
  • A fight with another ship (more later)
  • A difficult moral decision, which may result in the deaths of crewmates, access to a shop, a quest, another fight.

As you journey, you are chased by the Rebel Fleet, who sweep across the sector. It’s really not a good idea to be caught by them…

Anyway, moving on. One of the most important factors of FTL is the ship schematic. At each area, and during fights, you are presented with a view of your ship, showing all rooms, systems and crew members. You can manage your activated systems at the bottom of the screen, and fire weapons.

Systems include shields, engines, your FTL drive, weapons systems, oxygen supply, etc. As they are hit by enemy weapons, they become damaged or destroyed, and you must dispatch a crew member to go and repair them. Crew members also have health, and can be killed by weapons, fires or invading enemies… later on you can even acquire a crew teleporter and invade enemy ships with your army of praying mantises ‘wot you picked up from slave ships or by rescuing them from exploding space stations.

The best thing about playing FTL is that you feel like the commander of the U.S. Enterprise or other ship from Star Trek – battles frequently involve systems going down, frantic micro-management of your crew in order to fix the shields, kill the evil praying-mantises, put out the fires in the engine room, etc. It’s thrilling and the encounters enhance this Trek-like trip by giving you moral dilemmas, just as Spock, Kirk and others so frequently do in the series and films.

The game is well-balanced, difficult, entertaining and well-designed. I have few quibbles with it, apart from a few little things (such as the way weapons stop charging when enemies cloak)

9.5/10

FTL: Faster Than Light is developed by Subset Games (two guys and a hugely successful Kickstarter) and available on Steam for PC and Mac here.

Hehehehe

I, Noogai03, have added myself as admin of this site! Expect a lot more posts…

Humble Indie Bundle 7

BUYBUYBUY

Yay, another bundle! This one has a bunch of pretty good games, most of which I’ve never heard of and never played. It includes the excellent Legend of Grimrock and the superb Dungeon Defenders as well as Kyle Pulver’s Snapshot, Closure, The Binding of Isaac and some others.

Also, some other games (Edmund McMillen’s Basement Collection, the wonderful Cave Story+ and another one of Pulver’s games – Offspring Fling!) have just been added.

The Bundle is open for about six more days – BUYBIYBUYBUTBIYSBBJUHBIGBUVBHYBUUBN!!!
http://www.humblebundle.com

“Software development is a never ending battle between programmers’ abilities to make idiot-proof software and the Universe’s ability to make idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”

-Some guy, words may be slightly inaccurate

Nerdyness: 2013 resolutions

I’m definitely a nerd: fanatical about Star Wars, very into video games, find xkcd funny. However:
A) I haven’t watched any Star Trek
B) I haven’t seen Star Wars: Episode 1 or 3
C) I haven’t read The Lord of the Rings yet

I must do these before I become a fake nerd. However, the fact that I had a dream about switching web browser makes me pretty safe for now… Anyway, some new year resolutions I want to keep!

Others:
Generally reading more
WORK ON MY GAME DAMMIT
Try to minimise swearing – a bad habit

Anyway, happy new year and good luck in any resolutions of your own!

Updates

It’s really hard to get into gamedev: I keep getting distracted. I’ll post here once I FINALLY get a good way into a game… if I do

Rock, Paper, Shotgun

An extremely good PC game review site – I particularly like its writing style.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun

xkcd

xkcd is awesome if you’re a nerd like me. If you’re not, abandon this post, because you will find very few of the jokes funny.

xkcd (name chosen because it’s unpronounceable) is a comic strip on its own website for the kind of people who make jokes about web browsers and particle physics. (You have been warned).

However, it’s also really awesome.

Bastion

It has blue things.

I first saw Bastion as a new release on Steam; it was on the front page of the store for quite some time. However, I didn’t buy it for some time (with my budget). If course, the great thing about Steam is the insane sales, so I picked it up much later for about 3 quid after the initial craze had died down.

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, browser(via Chrome Web Store). It’s also on OnLive, which I don’t use due to my Internet, but I think that means it will run on Android and iOS with lightning-speed Internet connections. UPDATE: I think it’s also on the App Store.

Overview: Bastion is a top-down fighting game developed by Supergiant Games with beautiful aesthetics and a good story, told from the unique perspective of an interactive narrator. This narrator, named Rucks and voiced by Logan Cunningham, is also an in-game character. Bastion is SuperGiant Games’ first major release.

You play as an unnamed boy (Rucks refers to him as “the kid”) with distinctive white spiky hair and a gear-shaped crest on his back. He wields a variety of weapons, two at once with an extra special ability. The weapons are finely balanced and include a large hammer(the first weapon you find, and featured as the stereotypical weapon held by the Kid in artwork), a bow and arrow, an army carbine and a machete (with many others weapons as well). The special abilities are usually specific to one weapon (such as a whirlwind spin for the hammer or a single super-shot for the Duelling Pistols), but sometimes have completely separate abilities, such as hand grenades.

Story: Bastion’s story revolves around an incident called the Calamity, which shattered the world into numerous floating islands. This means that all the levels start as a single island, with paths forming under your feet a you walk. The titular Bastion is a place designed by Rucks to escape to in event of danger, however nobody apart from Rucks, the Kid and several others who I will not name. You have to go out and find “cores” to power up the Bastion, allowing for more buildings.

The game is structured around the Bastion, with you going out from there to complete missions in various locations, via a “Skyway” or portal. You return there at the end of each mission and construct buildings which you can use to change equipped weapon, equip alchoholic spirits (perks such as extra life and so on), add difficulty via “idols”, claim lost items and view achievement-like things. It is the game’s Hub.

The game has a reasonable variety of enemies, all well-designed and beautifully drawn. Rucks also nicknames the enemies, calling minor, floating blobs Squits, pickaxe-wielding ghosts Ghast-Fellers and poison-spitting blue blobs Scumbags. He also calls enemies in general “Windbags” as he narrates through the action in his excellent, gravelly drawl.

Scattered around the map are various so-called Proving Grounds: one for each weapon. They provide a challenge revolving around their particular weapon – the hammer’s challenge is a speed-based debris-smashing game, for example. Completing each challenge in under a certain time, or with a certain number of kills, will give you various valuable items.

Summary: One of my favourite games, with gorgeous graphics, excellent gameplay and a great story. In many ways it’s like Legend of Zelda minus the puzzles, but with better combat and a level hub.

10/10 (I really can’t find any problems with his game!)