Tuesday, March 30, 2010

COMPETITION TIME!

Control your excitement, here is an exclusive AGS Blog competition. Design an AGS blog logo better than this one and you will win both kudos and prestige! And you can also pick an AGS member of your chosing who I will try and interview. What more could you want?

From one deluxe to another

CaptainD has reviewed Ben Jordan case 1 deluxe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review the McCarthy Chronicles

Well, it's really hard to shape an opinion for a game that has caused so much controversy for its 2 cup rating. Now 3 however.

The McCarthy Chronicles game is an episode of a soon-to-be trilogy. Its main hero, is left for dead hanging, and through a very fast play we see what brought him there. The game is rather not-so good for me. And I think it's overrated by users, that actually missed what I didn't.

-Graphics:

What is actually praised, is what I'm wondering about. If there are no puddles, and no rain, the graphics are really simple. But that's where Steve did his job well, knowing he's not much of a pixel artist, he put some hard work on them, and with copy-pasting what he did well on other backgrounds and by the lack of color, and by adding some eye-candy, he has presented something himself would agree that it's not worth mentioning, as top-notch.

-Sound and Music:

Apart from the footstep sounds, there's not much into this area. The sound just come when you expect them. The music mostly works as an ambient sound, but has some good moments. The voice acting on the other hand is excellent, and really precisely done. The voices really fit each character, with McCarthy being a personal favorite.

-Gameplay:

And that's where it all falls apart. It may be a short game, and that's why it gets the redemption it does from the fans. Is there actually one logical puzzle, that's not total randomness? Perhaps it's me, but I felt like I was going back and forth, and get item, and back on mansion, and walk there, talk to that guy about that, ecc. A repetitive progress, that wore out my patience. I felt a really let-down there.

-Dialogs:

Initially I was amazed by the really nicely shaped words at the intro. And then again inside the mansion, it was really nice too. But then it actually endep up too much. I could name a few examples, but it's not about specific parts of the game, that actually gave me that feeling. Every time you enter a new room, pick up an item, do anything, even if it's the simplest action in the whole world, you get a really noble and poetical description to go with. And that really breaks the immersion.

*Possible Spoilers Ahoy*
Sarah, is the only one's dialogs that weren't pushed. They felt really natural. And totally just there. On the other hand Victoria felt WAYYY off the hook. It's one thing offering to sleep a night to a stranger, or someone she's seen on the news, and another thing accepting that she's been on the library just because she was accused, and given away by her perfume. First it's totally unrealistic. For a woman being described as very clever, it's really wrong to actually fall for that trick. Michael is the one that actually breaks it for me totally. First, he's always saying that he won't speak of any matter because he either claims he doesn't know anything about it, or because it makes him feel uncomfortable. Then after a while he squeals, without even being threatened. I like the calm tone in which he reveals something totally uncomfortable.

-Story

I won't really go much for it, because there's not really much to tell, without spoiling it, and I'd rather I didn't actually. I just feel it's very cliched. Reminds me of a whole horror genre of films that seem to base their story in old school movies, like McCarthy does of 5 Days An Assasin. A mansion, a finished hero, a dark secret, a sinful father denying his children, a mother dying giving birth to a child, the main character accidentally arriving to the Mansion in pursuit of something else, the doors on the first floor on the mansion on both games are even the same number.

-Atmosphere

And this is where the game actually blows your mind. I don't know if it's the sound, if it's the graphics, if it's all together, but you really feel like you're into this world. A living part of it. It's really hard to accomplish good atmosphere nowadays and McCarthy does it like it's a piece of cake.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AGS History X: Lesson 1 - You thought I'd never find out

Well, it's bad news people. I have found the link to the old AGS forums. I'm going to track what I always craved, but in the meanwhile, your darker secrets are no good.

To help those following the blog remember:

Topic: "My music making days are over!!" by Mods
or well, let's go for a really cheesy one

Page: The best fact page. Sorry the really cool links don't work, but you will see the following:
-Announcement of the first RON game.
-Mods first attempt to Mittens
-Yahtzee posting in the AGS forums


Topic: "Where to go with these forums" by Chris Jones (Pumaman's secret identity.
See how Chris Jones moved the forums from Eg-zboards to UK.

Topic:"Evil Night" by Snake.
See what was Snake working on before Leitor's edge..

Also self-note: RickJ used to be rickj42? You sneaky!!

Artsy Snow

AGS gets a mention in this article on Toronto's Artsy Games Incubator.

Size 32F

CJ has put up version 3.2 Final which will be the full 3.2 release if no-one finds and major issues in it in the next few days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

AGS Episodic games: part 1

I just had the urge to go through the AGS games DB and catalogue how many series actually get beyond part 1. There are many great games in those "episode 1"s but too many of them get no further. Of course, some game series have lots of epsidoes, even though they are not planned as such. Oh, and a demo for "part 2" doesn't count.

So, there are 39 games in the DB described as "Episode/Part/Volume 1". Then there are 12 that are Part 2. And 3 that are part 3. There seems to be quite a tail off. Maybe those extra episodes will arrive some day, and of course I'm not counting some series like Princess Marian, Ben Jordan, Barn Runner, Lone Case and Maniac Mansion that did manage to get a lot of games in. Still, it is indicitive numbers even if they are flawed.

Some are kind to Samarkand

Find Therma reviews Babar's MAGS-winning Samarkand.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lovely, m'dear

So, some lovely media references to AGS have been placed by LimpingFish in his AGSScene blog, after a hiatus of a year or so! Includes a mention of the AGS Awards ceremony game last year, woo, fame and fortune are mine at last!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Interview part 9 m0ds: Indiana Jones meets Beer

Today, on this very cool, very spicy, very don't-wait-nothing-else-than-randomness interview, we feature teh best! teh coolest! teh m0ds!!! Yes..well. Time for total random stuff.
To quote m0ds:
"I'll do this now when I'm sober, otherwise it really will just be junk text..."

1) To start of smoothly, I'm going to give you the chance to tell me what's your favorite AGS game..if any?

No absolute favourite sir, so many are so good in lots of different ways. But I enjoy the games that throw me back to my youth with their retro flair. Recently I enjoyed AeroNuts, it was awesome. Not to blow my own trumpet, but Fatman is still one of my personal favourites - not just because of the whole experience around it, but it's the only AGS game I've got on CD, and I treasure stuff like that!

2) You are the core of the Fountain of Youth team, everyone pretty much is eager with anticipation about the release that we've yet to see. Care to explain what's taking so long?

The game is a team effort and so it's a matter of juggling free time for FoY time amongst real lives. The team members are experts in their field and have so much else to do. Miez runs his own business, Lorn runs his own business, Nacho is now studying in the UK... You notice a pattern - people have commitments so it's better for me to be sympathetic of that than to be cracking a whip (pun intended) and trying to hit deadlines. When you get the best, you get people who are already busy being brilliant in lots of other areas Wink

And also sir it's because it's a hobby project. We all have reasons for making games, and we all have reasons for making deadlines too - if for nothing more than thinking if you don't finish a game you may never finish it. But there really is no strict timeline on FoY. The alternative of course, is to make it under LEC. You pay for it, but at least it exists! So Jim, which will it be? Creative freedom or a price tag?

(Valid points there Mr. Lovegrove..)

3) People have commented that the FOY (once awarded with AGS Best Demo) really feels like a true Indiana Jones game. What do you feel about that burden over your shoulders?

They ain't seen nothin' yet! Seriously, for 2006 the game did exceptionally well - and it's such an honour people were so kind about it. If it hit the right buttons then that is great, but seriously - compared to the material we have going at the moment the demo isn't a patch on the nostalgia you'll feel with the full-game. But this is why we made a demo, and took a while over it - so that we can do everything on the full game perfectly. Seriously, it's no burden. People either trust me or they don't. I haven't left the scene in 10 years and I don't intend to for another 10 either, it's too much fun - and though FoY has this spectacular worth, it is the biggest learning curve of the entire experience and will inevatably be the most rewarding, and I'm not one to argue with or challenge that exciting knowledge! Smiley

4) I haven't actually caught up with the time you were into the AGS pioneering, but I've seen the results. How did you come up with all those ideas that we all love about AGS forums. The Mittens for instance. And then there's the Ben Jordan movie!

Flattery will get you nowhere Mr Jim Spanos! (Well, it worked on how i got this job..!) Stay away from my pants! So I guess it's just what happens when you been kicking around the boards too long and "posts too much" Wink A lot of it is gut instinct. Ben Jordan is a popular successful game series and Francisco is a good mate and I'm good with a camera so it seems only right to do a movie! In the same way the first film being successful pretty much proves the need for a sequel Wink The same process went into Mittens - people obviously enjoy having a BBQ together so why not have a whole week together instead. And in the earlier days there was a lot of discussion but not a lot of making it happen, which is fine - people were busy on their games, but because I wasn't so heavily involved in the game making process at that point I would have time to address these ideas & issues & get them moving. It's questionable if anyone truly appreciates them - but thanks for making the assumption that it is the case, sir! Above all that, it's about making sure CJ is completely puzzled with the amount of strange and wonderful things that happen because of his creation, AGS - in the same way I enjoy the strange & wonderful things that happen because of my own Smiley

5) You're of the few that have actually worked with Yahtzee and lived to tell the tale. How would you describe that experience?

Yahtzee knows what he wants and that's been the key element to a good working relationship with him I think. He's also good at understanding where and where not to use music in games and has understood how to impliment a good soundtrack since the beginning. I'm certainly thankful for the experience - his games are a lot of fun and well made so I was lucky to get in there before he became a ZP celebrity. I'm also honoured that he considered my work to be valuable & complimentary to his games. But there was never much more beyond it than an email here or there about what he needed for the game. I don't think we ever actually exchanged a nicety - ever! But it was early discussions with him that formed Mittens, and also the AGS Awards and of course a role reversal every now and then when he would contribute some prose to my AGS ezines and stuff. I'm certainly interested to see if he makes another AGS game, and although this has been his longest break yet I believe AGS for him is a hobby too, something fun to do - and necessary to satisfy just who he/you/i ares Smiley

6) Last question..and trickiest. Did you showed her your Loom? Did she play with your Grim Fandango? 206 replies and not an answer..we're just sitting in the dark

My Quest for her holy salsa definitely left me with nothing more than my own chunky salsa. But it did create that awesome, funny thread! Yufster(Meowster!!) was always fun to talk with - but eeww no, I'd never go there Tongue You crazy ucking Spanos! Keep up the good work on the blog, and well done for ruining it with this interview of me!

Lets Play Blackwell

There's a Let's Play for the entire Blackwell trilogy.

Who let a new version of the dogs out?

Dog Adventure Game Engine (DAGE) has a new version out, in case you feel like some apostasy. Meanwhile, Rick J suggests porting AGS to javascript...

Take a hike to remakeland

Some guy uses his H2G2 experience to offer advice on making remakes at HardyDev.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lets do the time lapse again

Steve McCrea, he of innovation award winning, presents a time-lapse video of creating an AGS game in an hour, in 6 and a half minutes!

Awards stats

So for the 2009 AGS Awards, I added the nominees and winners to the spreadsheet I did last year and nearly forgot about. I also added a new column of the Awards to Nominations ratio of anyone who has had more than 2 awards. Who has the highest success rate?

Well, top of the table is the host this year, bicilotti. He's the only guy there with a 100% hit rate of getting every award he's been nominated for. Congrats, bici man! Second place is auriond with a 0.555 average, then AGDI and Calin Leafshade. Meanwhile ratracer has had 8 nominations without any awards. Poor guy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wadjetcast

Dave and Erin are apparently interviewed in a podcast, although I can't for the life of me find any link to the media on this page: http://chronicrift.com/node/851

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

China, me old china

If you're interested, I've got a personal non-AGS blog about my living-in-China experience. You guys love Dave G's personal musings, I know, so LOVE MINE TOO!

Awake to new possibilities

Well Clarvalon has an AGS game running in your browser! Yep, his XAGE tool can now output Silverlight code so if you download MS's plugin you can play Ben304's Awakener in IE or Firefox. Amazing! Next stop, the WOOOORLLLLLDDD bwuahahaha!

Monday, March 1, 2010