Blog from the developer of FortressCraft

Blog from the developer of FortressCraft


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  • Fluid Simulation Pseudocode

    Posted on by DjArcas

    It…. almost works.

     

    But doesn’t.

    Tile-based Fluid Pseudocode

    Cap is 127; above this pressure, fluid attempts to flow upwards
    MinPressureToConsiderSideWays is 32; this encourages waterfalls instead of floaty water
    
    if beneath us is not solid
    	if beneath us is less than cap
    		Move (Cap - Below Fluid Pressure) Downwards (don't overfill a tile downwards)
    
    ELSE
    (Alternate left/right every other update)
    
    If Pressure > MinPressureToConsiderSideWays
    if DIR is not solid
    	Calc total pressure of us and DIR
    		Pressure /= 2
     			If our presure is more than half
    				Subtract HalfPressure from us
    				Add HalfPressure to DIR
    
    ELSE
    
    If TileAboveUsIsNotSolid
    	If TileBeneathAboveUsIsEmpty
    		MoveAllFluidAboveCapUpwards
    
    

    Am I missing a critical step?


  • Not everyone on the internet is an asshole.

    I just received this lovely comment on the FortressCraft2D design doc:

     

    Ignore the unwarranted criticism. People these days just don’t understand game design and concepts and just assume that a similar view and art style instantly equals stolen. Back in the day, there was only 2 view types (top down and side scrolling), and very few ways to differentiate your art style. The meat of the game came from mechanics and that’s what made it different.

    That said, you’re game differs from most sandbox exploration games in several ways that change the way the entire game will play conceptually. It’s more of a scavenge survival than a building survival and I think that’s a HUGE difference. Just ignore the naysayers who don’t understand what you’re doing and keep on it. I for one will be purchasing this and giving you input throughout the process to help you make a game that will sell well and really blossom into something you can be proud you developed. 

    The idea is amazing. The mission statement and design direction look great. Your list of incoming features looks stunning. You’ve got at least one fan looking forward to your game so keep at it. 

    Also, port FortressCraft to steam. :)

     

    One nice comment offsets a thousand attention-seeking trolls. Thank you, whoever you are!

    Here’s the latest video I did of FortressCraft2d:

    FortressCraft2D

    (as with all FC2D videos, the rate of development is so fast that it’s already out of date!)


  • Help wanted!

    Posted on by DjArcas

    I’m beginning to realise, more and more, that marketing your game is as important, if not more important (sadly), than actually HAVING a game (let alone a good game)

    The recent surge in the popularity of Kickstarters and Steam Greenlight has shown that the important thing is being able to demonstrate and show off your game before it exists; this remains equally important once the game is out. Now, I’m not *bad* at marketing stuff, but I quite simply don’t have time… I barely have time to code sometimes and, you know, Borderlands 2 is out soon.

    So, to this end; I’m hiring.

    I’m looking for a short-term contractor in order to assist with and produce professional-quality marketing videos.

    You’ll be expected to make videos between 10 seconds and 5 minutes, to a high standard, within fairly short time frames. Previous experience isn’t technically necessary, but I will need proof of your existing work – owning your own high quality PVR is a definite bonus.

    Rates will be mutually decided upon on a per-video basis (This isn’t a free position, but neither is it full-time)

    It is VERY important that you are reliable and hardworking; the best coder in the world is of no use if they don’t deliver. If you meet these criteria, then it’s exceptionally likely that I’ll be wanting you to create high-quality videos for quite some number of years!

    Interested? Pop some examples of your work to JOBS@PROJECTORGAMES.NET I look forwards to hearing from you!


  • Tactics Forever

    Posted on by DjArcas

    I KNOW PEOPLE LIKE TO LOOK AT PRETTY PICTURES, SO I PUT SOME IN.

    THE PRETTY PICTURES ARE ALL REALLY, REALLY OLD, AND I AM UP TO MY NECK IN A BROKEN CODEBASE, PREPARING FOR THIS WEEKEND’S BETA TESTING.

    I EXPECT TO MAKE A NEW POST WITH LOTS OF NEW PICS SOON!

     

    IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO LOOK AT THE OLD AND BROKEN PICS AND TRY NOT TO JUDGE THE FINAL GAME BY THESE WORK-IN-PROGRESS PICS!

    Plus this game looks so-so in pics, but oh wow does it SING in motion. :-)

     

     

     

     

    I’ve always been one for abusing systems in ways they were never be meant to be used. Shortly after I got text rendering working on a Windows form, I made a small Space Invaders game using it.

    Right now, I’m a few days away from one of the more popular LAN parties I frequent,  http://www.thebiggame.org/ .  I’ve been to a great number of their events, and I usually run the LAN version of Tactics Forever there, in order to get plenty of testing and feedback.

    Tactics Forever, if you’ve not heard about it, is, I believe, actually a new game genre. (Assuming someone clones it, of course. Otherwise it’s just a game). Everyone’s been on at me, saying hundreds of variations of “Why not write your own games instead of just copying others?”; well… here you are.

    The game’s basis is quite simple, yet deviously complex and flexible. You design a spaceship, out of physics components.

    Every piece is tweakable; the armour, the direction, the colour. Armour pieces can have one of  many weapons, shields, generators or capacitors on them. I should probably work out how many possible ship variations there are; it’s probably in the quadrillions, however! Your ship’s AI and basic goals can also be tweaked.
    At this point, your job is done. Your ship is free to fight against any of the (hopefully!) thousands of other ships on the system. You don’t to control your ship directly. You can locally fight your ship against any other ship, and see how it fares. However, everyone else is doing the same thing. Your ship might take part in a million fights, over the course of the week (and obviously you couldn’t control it in all these fights!) Taking part in fights levels up your profile, giving you access to more varied gear, as well as special tweaks (like colourising your missile trails)

    So, to sum up! Create a ship from physics components, allow it out into the big ol’ world to fight it out. If your ship tops the leaderboard, you’re going to be the target of every wannabe ship slinger in the galaxy. If you’re at the bottom  of the list, it’s time for you to go back into the editor, and tweak your ship design.

    So, why this random blog post?

    Well, this week should be the first time that the PC version of Tactics Forever is stable enough to begin larger-scale testing. Everyone at TheBigGame will get access to the game. However, IndieCity (where it’s hosted) has no concept of a closed-beta, so I need to work out a way to abuse the system there – so the game WILL be for sale. For £250. If you want to go ahead and buy it and consider it a donation, then you’re more than welcome. I will probably be adding in a special achievement and item, only available to people who purchase it at this point – but I really don’t expect anyone to!

    The game should be available to the beta testers (and other interested parties) at some point on Friday, and will be located at :

    http://underground.indiecity.com/game/TacticsForever


  • Open letter to Re-Logic

    Posted on by DjArcas

    Hi there!

    My name’s Adam Sawkins. Whilst you might have heard of me due to one of the dozens of AAA games I worked on, you probably know me as the creator of the Xbox Live Indie game, FortressCraft. Despite being a game that has many of its own features, the fact it’s set in a destructible Voxel landscape has earned me the ire of the Minecraft community – something that I believe you were also the subject of during your development process!

    Whilst I’ve been shouted at many times by people, about things I cannot sensibly begin to do (“You should change the name of your game!”), one of the things I DO hear often is that I should have asked permission from Notch, in order to write a game with a handful of similarities.

    My next game is called FortressCraft2D, and I’ve been describing it roughly as ‘Terraria meets Borderlands meets Tower Defence’.

    As I’d like to make my life an easier, more pleasant place, I felt it would be prudent and polite to ask you if you minded my continuing with the development of my game; for you to give it your blessing, as it were!

    I can give you a very brief rundown of the game – actually letting you play it is possible, but its in a very, very early state right now! It’s a 2D tower defence game, based around collecting resources from slimes, zombies and robots. You need to seek out places that offer good shelter, fortify them, save NPCs, and escort them to the shelter (your Fortress), whilst weathering ever- larger attacks from the alien horde.

    I would really appreciate it if you could give this game your blessing – I have released my first video, showing off the rope/spring physics, and been immediately accused of ripping off Terraria, something that almost immediately makes me want to stop writing it.

    Would you be able to give me your blessing to continue with this game, without fear of being accused that I should have asked permission first?

    Thanks in advance,

    Adam “DjArcas” Sawkins,
    Lead programmer,
    ProjectorGames Ltd.


  • The Games Industry Needs More Clones

    Posted on by DjArcas

    I wrote a blog post, but Kairi ated it : http://indiegamerchick.com/2012/07/03/tales-from-the-dev-side-the-game-industry-needs-more-clones-by-dj-arcas/


  • Future Projects

    Posted on by DjArcas

    So, patch 9 of FortressCraft is finally released, and hopefully everyone is finding ‘not too many’ bugs with the Zombies. What’s next?

    I’ll be working hard on the Onlive version over the coming weeks; I’m planning on pushing out Xbox patches to keep it in sync; the first of those fruits of my labour will be CP 9.1, which has the 31 player mode, with autobalancing server load (I got up to 31 players in my world, but it was the result of carefully managing server load; this sort of thing is trivial for a computer to do)

    BitStream

    Out soon on Apple devices! It’s like a racing version of Bit Trip:Beat, or like the old GBA game DotStream. It also has great music.

    Locomotion (name pending)

    I’ve also dusted off an old puzzle game that I never completed. No firm timescale on this, but it always looked gorgeous, and I’d be sad if I never finished it!

    Yes, that is the FortressCraft grass. Actually, that’s not true. FortressCraft has the Locomotion grass!

    Tactics Forever

    Tactics Forever has been the subject of a couple of weekends’ recent work now; it’s all becoming quite nice and polished, and it’s a definite favourite of the testers.Sadly, I don’t really expect this game to do well. Despite being probably the best thing I’ve ever written by myself, and despite being rewarding, fun and very original, well… it’s original. That’s the issue. Very few games are original these days, and despite the hordes of people telling me that ‘If you write original games, then people will buy them!’… you only have to look at the fact that large publishers don’t dare stray from established themes to prove that particular statement wrong.

    Original games either disappear from sight, or become massive smash hits. The last original game that I know of that became a smash hit was… er… uh… I think I just proved my own point.

    I suspect the game will gain a small, cult following however; and as long as I’m not on the streets, that makes me happy!

    We have a webpage, tho it’s a tad sparse:

    http://tacticsforever.net/

    Note to self, get some screenshots sorted out!


    FortressCraft 2D : Zombie Survival

    So, I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, and it’s been an idle pasttime for a bit. The plan is for this to become a large-scale ProjectorGames game. I’ve been asked to do a 350-player simultaneous (on one screen!) game.

    The game idea is of a survival game, 2d, set in a procedurally generated, post-zompocalyspe world. There’s a heavy emphasis on traps, farming, crafting (Borderlands-style procedural weapons combined with WoW-style crafting) and long-term investment.

    Sadly, the experience of FortressCraft has rather… burned me. If it was 18 months ago, I would have happily described the game as “Terraria, only without much mining or building, and loads of zombies”. Right now, I think I might end up as suicide casualty if hordes of Terraria fanboys descend screaming OMFG U RIPPED OFF TERRARIA!

    However, as people have possibly noticed, I’m quite a community-focused developer, and I’ve been informed (quite a few times) that I shouldn’t worry about this, and get on and release the damned thing.

    So, here’s my plan. It’s very tentative, and therefore subject to change;

    I know that people are very curious how a game is developed, and love to help steer the direction of it during development. I have a few very strong ideas about the game, but also a great deal of nebulousness. So, for instance, do you play a robot? Are there NPCs to look after? Is the crafting like Monster Hunter 3? (click, and come back in 4 hours once it’s upgraded)

    FortressCraft was never geared towards this sort of community input; the game itself had to veer as far away from Minecraft as it could, in order to avoid the shittons of vitriol I received.

    With this game, however, I would like to consider some sort of… well, let’s say that Project Zomboid is GTA. I want to be Saints Row.

    My plan is to get the game to a bare-minimum-playable state (which it’s not far off now!), and plan a release/update on Indie City Underground once a month. Each month it’s on there, it’ll go up in cost by 50 cents; so at the end of the first year, it’ll cost $6. Think of it like a reverse kickstarter; and the sooner you on get on the boat, the cheaper it’ll be!

    No pictures yet! It’s all programmer art.

    FC:Lite

    So many people picked up FortressCraft a year ago, played it for ten minutes, went ‘meh’, and never went back to it. I’ve had the idea to re-release FortressCraft as FortressCraft:Lite, reduce a bunch of things to get it inside the 80MSP limit ($1), and let those people who haven’t seen it have a look at it. Anyone who purchased FC:Lite would also get something awesome within FortressCraft. I haven’t quite decided what, yet, but certainly a spawn-editing axe, and probably a unique, ‘contributer’-type sky. Maybe a green sky. Something to make it worth purchasing FC:Lite if you own FortressCraft.

    I haven’t decided for definite on the restrictions of FC:Lite. Perhaps only 8 customs, 2 player networking, smaller world. It might even not come to pass!

    As ever, dear reader, your feedback is 100% read, and 1000% important. Tell me what you think!

    FortressCraft : Chapter 2

    Watch this space. It might arrive sooner than you think…


  • KickStarters – the dark side.

    Posted on by DjArcas

    I’ve already expressed my concern about the sudden rash of kickstarters; whilst DoubleFine’s incredible success is to be commended, even THAT respected studio has had it’s fair share of failures.

    But at least that studio has a massive amount of experience, and, more importantly, it’s a large studio. It also has two very experience designers at it’s helm; they have every chance of great success.

    But the millions they’ve been pledged (or actually received?) has started off a rash of me-too kickstarters. It’s the cool new thing to do!

    Now, for those of you who haven’t written a game,you probably think it’s straightforwards. Sit down, write code, ship game.

    I had the… excitement… of  being indirectly involved with a bank-robbery game. It was quite high profile, and used a popular FPS engine. Sadly, it was a GTA-style game, and the FPS engine wasn’t suited.(WARNING : MASSIVE UNDERSTATEMENT) The game stagnated, and eventually got canned.

    The investors didn’t understand this. They were from a film background. In the film industry, you get the money, you make the film, you release it. In the games industry, however, sometimes things simply don’t work. Earlier iterations of Burnout4 had you smashing down buildings to make shortcuts. The idea was too confusing, so we took it out – and it was our 4th game in the series!

    So, everyone now sees Kickstarters as a way of getting the funds together to make your dream game. The issue is, and I’ll write this slowly, Money. Is. Rarely. The. Limiting. Factor.

    The limiting factors are usually time, and people. I might have $100 million, and want to write a game. I then need to find, hire or assemble a team to make it. 6 months later, I’ve spent $10 million, and I haven’t gotten a single line of code written. I’ve got nice new offices tho!

    I predict a massive crash in Kickstarters in the future, just after a high profile game either gets canned, or massively underdelivers. (How that works remains to be seen; “You promised 100 levels, there’s only 99, I want my money back”)

    I suspect I’ve also just located the game this will happen to.

    It’s called “Yogventures”, and it’s a Minecraft-clone (in the correct usage of the word, as opposed to an insult).

    They want a quarter of a million dollars to write this game. As indicated before, this SOUNDS like a lot of money. But that won’t run you a studio with 5 people for a year. And I mean cheap people; as a rule of thumb, a $25k developer is fresh out of college; he’ll cost you another $25k a year to look after (computers, software, taxes, accounting, expenses, power, heat, light…)

    5 people. One year. All graduate level. Bear in mind that, to write a AAA game in one year would require a bare minimum of 100 people, and you’ll kill them in that time. Most AAA games these days have a 150+ team, and the big hitters take around 2 years to write (Put another way; AAA games take around 300 years to make)

     

    So, this game has some nice pics.

    Of course, they don’t have any CODE yet. This is just a picture.

     

    What are they promising?

     

    “The game you’ve always wanted”

    Now, that’s quite a tall order. But wait! They have a feature list!

    ” The game utilizes technology called “Marching Cubes” which allows us to generate fantastic new world terrain that is random and editable. “

    Marching Cubes is a method of rendering voxel entities, but they don’t look like voxels. I’ve seen MANY tech demos of those, but, to the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been one, single game that has utilised it. It’s like neural networks; it’s one of those things University graduates think are a good idea, right until the moment that they start working for a game studio, and it gets slapped out of them.

    • Beautiful, randomly-generated game worlds that are different every time you start a new Yogventure
    • Fully shapeable terrain – with the ability for players to raise a mountain range or create a vast ocean; you can effortlessly shape your world however you imagine it
    Yeah, ok, so you have a voxel-based rendering engine (trivial), rendered using marching cubes. (difficult, but not impossible, as long as you start asking nicely for top-end hardware) I can’t quite imagine how you render a selection cube tho; either you’re working on cubes, or you’re not. Part of why Voxgames work sell is they they DON’T try and hide this away; What You See Is What You Get.
    • A wealth of novel building materials, creatures, NPCs and items
    Well, that’s 6 man-months right there, just to scrape by the bare minimum.
    • A rich underground to mine and explore – bristling with rare outcroppings of gems and crystals, hidden tombs and dark underground terrors that drop rare weapons and loot
    Weapons and Loot? Ok, so we have a Diablo-style procedural loot system? That’s a year’s development. Let’s not even get into the balance issues!
    • A fully-fleshed out crafting system
    6 months. And that’s AFTER the procedural loot stuff’s been done, otherwise you’d need to start again.
    • An in-game physics engine that will even effect the blocks you place in your creations
    Ha ha. Wait, was this posted on April Fool’s? The potential for doing this is great, but, realistically, it’ll either run dog-slow, or you just added in a year’s worth of development. (or 6 months for 2 people). Assuming they’re dedicated physics programmers, with 10 year’s experience between them.
    Edit : Ok, so already their bullet points and delivered features don’t match up. What this means is ‘A few blocks roll around’. However, people will read that (as I did) and expect a proper physics system; ie cut the base off a diving board, and the whole thing will fall to the ground.
    • The ability to customise your own unique avatar or play as one of your favourite Yogscast characters
    Customisable Avatars; the Xbox one took many, many months to create and develop, and that was with a huge team. I’d hazard a guess that the Xbox avatar system took 6 man-years to create. Good luck!
    • Easy-to-use in-game modding API including in-game scripting
    • Ability for modders to have a chance to get their work added to the game

    Ahh yes. “We’ll let you mod it”. There’s another year’s worth of work, right there. Still if you’re a very experienced team, and you’ve done multiple previous games, and you have an idea of the massive risks and issues and sheer amount of code time this feature would take, then, well…

    “This IS our first game”

    Oh dear god. You’re fucked.

     

    TL;DR? Writing computer games is really, really hard; and just because someone promises you they can write you the game you want, doesn’t mean they can. Not even if you give them $10,000!

    I do wish every luck to Winterkewl, but, speaking from many years experience doing this sort of thing, I would say that your chances of success are… minimal, at best.


  • One Year On

    Posted on by DjArcas

    Exactly 365 days ago I released FortressCraft: Chapter 1 onto the Xbox Live Marketplace, and, in doing so, managed to (more or less) single-handedly steer XBLIG down a completely new path.

    At the time when FortressCraft was released, 80MSP games were the only games. To consider 240 or 400 was generally considered absolute commercial suicide. (Case in point : Steam Heroes only shipped about 150 copies!)

    When FortressCraft was released, it was considered that cross-promotion with the web was useless, that Xbox owners simply didn’t go onto Youtube or gaming websites.

    When FortressCraft was released, it was widely held that, if your game wasn’t a Zombie or an Avatar-focussed game, it wouldn’t sell.

    It took FortressCraft about a month before it became the highest-grossing XBLIG of all time, knocking I Maed a Gaem With Zombies In It!!!!111 off the top spot – I’ve seen a lot of people claim that it was going to be there forever. (I’ve also seen a lot of people claim FortressCraft would never be beaten, well, that didn’t last more than about 10 months before it was!)

    Check out OneSek if you want some pretty graphs.

    These days, of course, people shout “If it’s not a Minecraft clone, it doesn’t sell!”. What these people fail to realise is the basic fundamentals of writing a game to make money – “Write the game that people want to buy, not the game you want to sell”.

    Me, I happened to get lucky. “Set out to write a game to rip off Minecraft and make loads of money”? Seriously, if I had that sort of foresight and clairvoyance, I wouldn’t be sitting here in my PJs, eating cereal, fluffling my cat, and writing this post. It just so happened that the game I wanted to write, and the game people wanted to buy matched up. Hopefully that’ll happen again before I run out of money!

    Exactly 1 year ago, I had a highly-paid job in the AAA industry, working on audio code. It annoys me greatly when people say “FortressCraft was only written to create a quick buck”. As I’ve said before, writing a voxel landscape engine is one of those awesome challenges that certain types of people love to overcome. I’m one of those odd people. ;-)

    I should probably touch on money, actually; as I said, I was very highly paid; having been in the games industry over a decade, and having worked on some of the best respected (i.e. ‘selling’) franchises there are. I certainly didn’t want for money, more for creative freedom. Now, FortressCraft has made a great deal of money, well over $2,000,000. But Microsoft need a cut of that. And so does the tax man. I’ve also (sadly) agreed to a very generous royalty-cut for the team (8 people helped out in total, to differing amounts), so at the end of the day, I actually end up worse off than I was when working full-time – with the added level of stress that if I sit in the garden and watch squirrels, I will actually run out of money quite quickly. Oh, you rascally squirrels, you.

    Over the last year, FortressCraft has seen 8 major patches. It would have been 9, but I’m currently moving down from the North of England, back to the Midlands. It’s taking a very long time – I’m not just sticking everything in boxes and dragging it down, I’m going through 20+ years of detritus, and considering if I really want to keep it. Anyone who’s been to my house will know what an epic task this is! I actually have a stack of PSP games and UMD films some 4 feet tall, to take down and trade in. :/

    It’s amazing to see how much has been added to the game, looking back. I was going to re-release Version 1 for download, so people can compare, but a few highlights:

    • World Generation takes about 6 minutes, down from 2 hours
    • Added 32 new blocks
    • Added the Workshop, allowing in-game construction of animated mini-blocks
    • Added literally billions of world customisation options
    • Added a dozen new items as server rewards
    • Automated builder and diggers
    • Copy-and-paste
    • Several game mode
    • And each raft of new features was backed up with an optimisation drive, to keep the FPS up :(

    For a more complete feature list, check out : Feature List. I can barely remember the entire feature list these days, it’s so big.

    So where next? Obviously, Zombies and Gun Turrets.

    However, I suspect I’m going to be reasonably quiet for a few weeks. I like (as much as I can) to keep everyone abreast of what’s going on, so!

    • W/C 9th : 3 day investment meeting, move motorbike 200 miles, attend TheBigGame LAN and get feedback on FortressCraftWorld.
    • W/C 16th : Hire a huge van, drive it ~600 miles (¬.¬), finish moving all the stuff out of my old place
    • W/C 23rd : Clean old house, sort out gas, leccy, internet, bills. Sort out new place as much as possible.
    • W/C 30th : OnLive! Finish achievements and TouchScreen support. Aim for RC1!

    In the gaps in that schedule, I hope to get CP9 out. The final list for that lives here!

    And for those of you who missed it the first time, here’s this year’s April Fool’s joke :


  • Kinect Star Wars

    Posted on by DjArcas

    Sooo, I finally bought my first Kinect game. And a Kinect. After having worked on a cancelled Kinect dance game for some time, I can honestly say that the ‘magic’ of Kinect was lost a long, long time ago. Possibly in a galaxy far, far away.

    So, how is it? The first thing I should probably point out is the dance mode; the game itself goes ‘Ho ho, the files are all corrupt, and this can sometimes be amusing!’; it’s not a serious part of the game or story, and has as much place in a Star Wars game as a ‘huge head’ mode does in a serious football game. I’ll leave you to decide on which side of the fence I sit there. Everyone seems to be tearing into this very light-hearted and self-deprecating mode, when it’s just a small diversion. (Oddly enough, if this was Japanese, everyone would love it. The WTF level is ever so high!)

    The gameplay itself is surprisingly good; the podrace stuff is certainly the best since Star Wars Episode I: Racer, the Rancor arena mode is satisfying (You have to stomp up and down on the spot to walk around, vaguely feeling like a 6 foot tall Godzilla), and the dance mode is a carbonite-copy of the Dance Central gameplay. Light Saber battles are almost exactly like Infinity Blade’s battles; ie a sort of reverse simon says.

    But the main campaign? Eeech. I don’t understand. This game has been in development for 3 years. It’s the best part of a year late. Like Gran Turismo or Halo, it’s not there to make money; it only exists for one reason, to sell Kinects and Xboxes. The game would have had little-to-no budget constraints.

    So why for the love of god is this game SO unpolished? Right from the very start, the protocol droid’s walk animation appears to have physics turned on, so their feet jiggle and intersect with the floor as they move. I haven’t seen anyone’s walk cycle match up with their movement speed. Antialiasing appears to have gone for a wander. Entire cutscenes happen silently.

    Ohhh, cutscenes. I would estimate, in an hour of play, you spend approximately 30 minutes watching really, really bad cutscenes. Actually, that’s not true. You spend 30 minutes ATTEMPTING to skip really bad cutscenes; the ‘hold your hand out to skip the cutscene code’ appears to have been done by an unhappy intern. My plaintive cries of “Xbox, please, please, skip this horrible cutscene”, whilst sinking to my knees, were totally ignored. Maybe I should have shouted “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” instead. But gameplay is basically a short sequence of saber/flying/shooting/whatever; maybe 15-30 seconds, followed by a 10-60 second cutscene. I ASSUME this is so the player doesn’t actually get worn out, but it really begins to grind when you get into a flow, then you’re ripped out of it to see a door open and droids run in.

    But is it any good? Yes, yes it is. I had a lot of fun playing it last night, and I’m certainly aching from doing so this morning (as a ‘hardcore’ game player, I realised that the way to win most hard combats is to jump over things… which you do by jumping on the spot…. ouch!).

    You find yourself reaching out with an open hand, grabbing a droid with the force, closing your hand into a fist, and slamming the droid onto the floor. The game isn’t tracking your fingers, but the urge to FINALLY force-grip and force-choke in a way that isn’t ‘Press X on the gamepad’ is utterly irresistible.

    Edit : Oh! And it has full drop-in, drop-out coop. In my book, that means at least 4 extra points. Works perfectly!

    Is it worth 50 quid? Now that I doubt. This is the problem with so many games these days, they’re just a string of gimmicks slapped together. Once the novelty has worn off, you’re not likely to go back, except to show the game off.

    However, until the novelty wears off, I suspect I’ll be finding a little free time to master my lightsaber skills.

    TL;DR : Possibly not worth a purchase, definitely worth a rental, definitely worth borrowing.

    And now I need to go drive a car load of things 200 miles to my new house, in heavy snow. This post was just a little procrastination, to see if the snow would stop. Apparently not.



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