Where 3d browser stuff stands

 Posted by (Visited 47272 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Jan 152011

Been awhile since I posted about how progress is going on this front. Everyone is very excited about HTML5, of course, but particularly with the latest H.264 news, Flash is still going to be pretty widely used. WebGL is going to be in Firefox 4, (basically, the OpenGL ES 2.0 API will be available).

To my eye, the WebGL stuff is behind the Flash stuff in terms of framerate consistency and performance — but it does have all sorts of nifty off-the-shelf integration with Web data on the fly, because it is literally “a 3d web page” made out of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Here’s a video of the “Flight of the Navigator” demo — if you have a WebGL enabled browser, you can actually try it yourself.

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Messages in mechanics

 Posted by (Visited 21566 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jun 232010

Gamasutra has published an opinion piece by a Christian pop culture critic that is perceptive and cogent. In it, Richard Clark argues that games that place storytelling in a privileged position in the game design need to be judged by the same sort of critical and moral standards as we judge storytelling in any other medium.

I agree, of course as those who have read the book and blog know; that said, Clark seems to give a pass to games whose experience is more centered on mechanics:

Not all games call for these kinds of questions. Games like Tetris, Peggle, Torchlight, and Doodle Jump make a deliberate attempt to place gameplay first. The story and characters truly are intended to be containers for game play elements.

I think there are implicit lessons to be derived from mechanics too. So I am not inclined to give any games a pass on serious critical thought, regardless of whether they are heavy on story or not!

Is Loved less to be analyzed because it lacks cutscenes or detailed characters? Check out the comments on the review over at Casual Gameplay and see what you think (and if you haven’t played the game — be sure to play it with the sound on). Note how the game mechanics and content alter as you play based on mechanical choices. And notice how the fundamental questions the games raises are based on a mechanic: the choice to obey or not.

Times have definitely changed though — the comment thread on the Gamasutra piece is running heavily in favor of the article, which I don’t think would have been the case five years ago. Hopefully, we see the sophistication level of game critiques — and game content! — continue to increase as we think more about what we do.


 Posted by (Visited 9932 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Jun 102010

On Metaplace there was a puzzle game I designed called Wheelwright. One of our users, known as Obo there but as oscan on Kongregate, just released a game called Trinhex on Kongregate that is inspired by that one. Given that it is hexes, it of course plays very differently, adding triangle swaps and bonus objectives. Check it out!

The flip side: Apple vs Flash

 Posted by (Visited 17550 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Apr 082010

I actually knew about this while writing the other post, but it hadn’t seemed to break publicly on the Net yet. Well, now it has. There’s language in the new SDK agreement for iPhone OS 4.0 that appears to ban using any development environment or toolchain that Apple doesn’t like. Most especially, it seems aimed at preventing Adobe from marketing the flagship feature in CS5: compiling for iPhone standalone apps.

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

CS5 launches on Monday, by the way, so this is a huge blow to Adobe.

There is already plenty of speculation as to whether this catches stuff like Unity, MonoTouch, Appcelerator (they had a blog post up about it, but it’s gone now!), and who knows what else. Basically, all cross-compilation tools, which is a large amount of the middleware out there.

This is the dark side of the last post I wrote. Epically closed means, well, epically closed. And in this case, it means creating barriers to content creation that effectively mean it costs more dollars to engage in the market. That’s what happens when you have closed-off production-and-distribution chains: smaller developers lose out.