Saturday, February 12, 2011

Exercise Restraint

It's not a quality that's typically required when playing computer games, but restraint is occasionally important.  Like when you're playing a stealth game, and you think, "Yeah, I can take out that thug who's just walked into the room, even though I haven't taken the time to think it through properly.  What's the worst that could bangsplatohnoimdead?"

Or when you're playing a platformer and you just can't be bothered waiting 5 seconds for that moving platform to go away and come back again, so you take a chance and try jumping to reach it and fall to your death and no it wasn't really worth it because now you have to do the whole level again.

Okay, so maybe restraint is required a lot.  In fact, it's probably required anywhere that there exists a risk that can be taken for little tangible reward beyond simple convenience.  It's certainly not emphasised in many games that I've come across, not like it is in Test Drive Unlimited 2 (TDU21).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm not doing this because I love you.

This is for me.

This is going to be about gaming, physics, pedantry and anything else I feel like.  I'm setting these expectations early, so that I have some direction, but I refuse to avoid anything just because it might alienate my audience because, well, read the title.  Expect non-sequitirialism, digressionistic tendencies and general self-indulgence, because that's what I'm here to do.

I've also noticed that in general games reviews tend to sideline one of the chief things that I play games for:  physics.  Yeah, physics.  And I'm not talking about the bullet point feature that appeared on the back of the box of every shooter for three years after Half-Life 2 was released, although I do love me some Havoc Physics, to be sure.  I'm talking about the back-end of the movement system that is a part of every game with even the slightest physical analogy to the real world.  Half-Life 1 has physics, WoW has physics, the original Mario Bros. has physics.  Even Tetris has physics.

Now, one of my passions is the vehicle simulation genre, where physics is basically the be-all and end-all.  There's very little gameplay in there besides manipulating a virtual physical object into another virtual physical position using a complex series of inputs, and I love it.  I'm currently studying a bachelor of Games Programming, and part of the reason I chose the course, apart from my enjoyment of all things both technical and creative, is because I was assured that game physics is a job that is given mainly to programmers.

Physics is also the reason for the title of the blog - it's about games, specifically from the point of view of someone who is passionate about their more analogue aspects.  Most simulator enthusiasts focus on a single genre, like car racing or helicopter piloting, or even a single game, like Orbiter, X-Plane or Live for Speed.  I'm going to be talking about game physics in general, with a healthy dose of simulators included.

Or not.  It's really all up to me, which is the way it should be.