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30/11/2007

5 trucs pour améliorer lees jeux...

1Up revient sur 5 problèmes récurrents des jeux qui sont pourtant connus depuis longtemps ^_^

 

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1. Unskippable Cut-scenes

 
.... Maybe I already played through this thing once. Maybe the voice acting is embarrassing to the point that I want to mute the TV on the off-chance anyone nearby might suspect that I'm enjoying it. Maybe I just wanted to play the game more...

 

2. Save Points

 
...Nobody should ever be faced with the prospect of saying "right after I get to a save point" when someone is calling you to bed. Actually, you deserve whatever happens if you ever actually say that, but the temptation shouldn't exist. In the age of hard drives there aren't many sound technological reasons why I can't save my game at any time....

 

3. Quick-Time Events

 
...Seriously, this is about as minimal as gameplay can get while still technically being described as gameplay. They generally don't even contain the elegance and entertaining deaths of a halfway decent laser-disc game from 1989. Rent a copy of Clash of the Titans and get an old Simon off eBay. Congratulations, you just played through half of God of War II...

 

... 

 

[ 1UP

 

29/11/2007

A History of Matching Tile Games

Si il y a un type de jeu que tout le monde connait, çe sont les jeux qui sont basé sur le placement de blocs géométriques. De Tetris à Bejeweld, de Puyo Pop Fever à DrMario. Ce sont des jeux principalement mécaniques, des cas d'écoles en terme de gameplay, au même titre que les jeux de cartes par exemple.

 

Jesper Jull revient sur l'histoire de ces jeux qui ne disparaitront pas de sitôt ^_^

 

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My interest here is in how matching tile games have developed during the past 21 years, in how new design and innovation has happened, and in the relation between game design and player experiences. The history of a game genre is also a mapping of the issues that face game developers as well as players.

 

Matching tile games are today mostly sold via the distribution channel of casual, downloadable games, a channel that puts conflicting pressures on game developers: Innovate enough to differentiate, but make the game sufficiently like other games that players find it easy to pick up and play1.

 

When developers claim that their game is the original game that inspired other games (rather than the other way around), they are also writing their version of game history. When player picks up a game, they are also using their conception of video game history to understand the new game.

 

Video game history is everywhere, in the development of games, in the selling of games, in the consumption of games.

 

 ...

 

At the time of writing (2006), matching tile games are most immediately associated with the game form or distribution channel known as downloadable, casual games. While there is no commonly accepted definition of casual games, we can point to a few commonly named characteristics.

 

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Broader context

 

  • Demographics : Compared to traditional video games, casual games are more oriented towards women and towards audiences over 35. (IGDA 2005, p.11)

  • Distribution : Casual games are primarily downloaded by users, generally at download sizes under 10MB.

  • Hardware : By convention, casual games target low-end and old machines. At the time of writing, new casual games still support Windows 98.

  • Economic model : Casual games are primarily downloadable of a try-before-you-by model, where the player can typically play the full game for 60 minutes, after which the player must pay to continue playing.

Game design

 

  • Allow short playing sessions : Most casual games can be played in very short sessions; it takes a very short time to start a game, and it is often easy to interrupt a playing session. This does notmean that players in actuality always play short sessions: In a survey on the Trymedia web site, 66% of players reported that their typical play session lasts more than an hour (Macrovision 2006). The key is that casual games allow short play sessions, hence making it easier for players to commit to playing a game.

  • Auto-save : Most casual games tend to auto-save, even if the player closes the game window, so a player can easily put down and resume a game at a later time. Auto-save presumably makes it easier for players to play the games in many situations where more traditional gaming would not be possible - in the workplace, for example.

  • Mouse control : Casual games are almost exclusively controlled by mouse. Though little hard data exists, anecdotal evidence indicates that casual gamers find it very hard to control a game using the keyboard.

  • Very simple rules : Steve Meretzky says that it should be possible to state the rules of a casual game in three sentences. (Barwood & Falstein 2006, #107)

  • Moderate innovation : It must be very easy to learn to play casual games. This tends to mean that casual games are near clones of an existing game with new graphics, or that innovation happens in small incremental steps.

  • Multiple levels of success: Most casual games generally reward the player for completing a subtask in more challenging ways. In matching tile games, there are typically rewards for making combos (several matches at the same time) and for matching more tiles than is needed.

  • Much positive feedback : Casual games tend to be designed to provide players with the experience of success very early on. (Barwood & Falstein 2006, #107)

  • Little negative feedback: Casual games are often very easy compared to other game types, and avoid punishing the player for mistakes.

... 

 

Can we write the history of a game genre? Some anthropological work has been done on game history: Stewart Culin's 1894 article on Mancala, the National Game of Africa (Culin 1894) discusses the spread of Mancala games geographically and historically, noting differences in rules and materials used to play. Writing the history of matching tiles games is slightly different in that the time span is much shorter (20 years rather than thousands of years), developed mostly commercially and generally attributable to individuals (as opposed to the folk game of Mancala).

 

Matching tile games are arguably a less clearly delimited field than Mancala games, and where the development of Mancala is an integral part of the way the game is distributed, by passing on between people who innovate or misremember the rules of the game, video games are software products that can be distributed globally without being changed, but only used differently.

 

It is not uncommon to see mostly journalistic histories of video game genres such as real-time strategy games (Geryk 2001), but my objective here is to look a bit more closely at how history is made and used, to focus on the interplay between different developer and player perspectives on a specific genre. I have limited myself to looking at matching tile games as:

 

Video games where the player manipulates tiles in order to make them disappear according to a matching criterion.

 

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This delineation is artificial, but necessary to limit the scope of this paper. In addition, it is not possible to include all matching tile games in this space, so the focus is on games that have provided some type of innovation, as well as on some popular games, even those who provided little innovation.

 

The goal has been to trace the genre's development during the past twenty years, and to use developer and player perspectives to focus on how innovations have been introduced and been picked up by other games.

 

... 

 

[ Jesper Jull

Il y a 3 ans sortait la DS...

L’actualité, c’est toujours une fin d’année fantastique pour l’industrie. La DS vient de sortir aux usa, Steam a survécut à la sortie d’Half Life 2, l’age d’or est proclamée. Mais je regarde déjà avec impatience vers le futur.

 

Il y a presque deux ans sortait le dernier Zelda sur Gamecube. Je n’ai acheté cette console que pour ce jeu ! Alors dire que les dernières images du prochain Zelda me remplissent d’impatience revient à faire un euphémisme éhonté !

 

Evidemment, les succès de l’industrie le mettent sous le feu des projecteurs. Déjà, certains groupes de pressions appellent à une nouvelle taxe sur les jeu à caractère violent (On croit rêver !), tandis que d’autres ont dressé une liste de 10 jeux à bannir. Sur ces 10 jeux, un n’est même pas encore sortie, et un autre n’a jamais été publié aux Etats Unis !

 

Honnêtement, ce pays glisse de plus en plus vers l’irrationnel, et ce n’est pas bon signe… Ce n’est non plus pas la dernière affaire EA qui va améliorer l’image de l’industrie. Le Washington Post tout comme le New York Times donnent une dimension (inter ?)nationale aux accusations dont souffre le célèbre éditeur…

 

[ AntiPatterns - 2004/11 ]

28/11/2007

November's Rush: Qui ais je oublié ?

Voici donc la liste pour Novembre! En ais je oublié ? Quid de Decembre et de Janvier ? ^_^ C'est quoi, votre liste ?
 

19:30 Publié dans Jeux | Lien permanent | Commentaires (4)

Samourai: Protéger les données critiques...

Quiconque a developpé, utilisé, ou maintenu un programme ou un jeu écrit en C ou en C++ sait à quel point les problèmes liées aux "buffer overflow", corruption de mémoire et autres pointeurs zombies peuvent être rageant. Ces problèmes sont quasi inévitables dans une production d'envergure.
 
 
Depuis des années, de nombreuses solutions ont étés développés, allant des simples design patterns à l'écriture de nouveaux langages, mais le prix à payer en termes de souplesse où de performance est toujours prohibitif.
 
 
Ici Microsoft propose Samourai, une solution un peu particulière, mais intéressante dans le concept ^_^
 
 
Programs written in type-unsafe languages such as C and C++ incur costly memory errors that result in corrupted data structures, program crashes, and incorrect results.
 
 
We present a data-centric solution to memory corruption called critical memory, a memory model that allows programmers to identify and protect data that is critical for correct program execution. Critical memory defines operations to consistently read and update critical data, and ensures that other non-critical updates in the program will not corrupt it.
 
 
We also present Samurai, a runtime system that implements critical memory in software. Samurai uses replication and forward error correction to provide probabilistic guarantees of critical memory semantics. Because Samurai does not modify memory operations on non-critical data, the majority of memory operations in programs run at full speed, and Samurai is compatible with third party libraries.
 
 

19:00 Publié dans Code | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

Trigger Happy, The Book

Il y a une vraie tendance chez les auteurs pour mettre en ligne les livres qui sont épuisés et qui ne seront plus publiés de si tôt. D'une part parce que la production littéraire en générale n'a jamais été aussi prolifique, et d'autre part parce que les courbes de ventes sont de plus en plus courtes dans le temps - les ventes d'un livre après deux ans sont sans commune mesure avec celles des deux premières semaines - comme dans le jeu vidéo d'ailleurs.

 

Ne nous plaignons pas, rien n'est gratuit ces derniers temps. Le dernier cas en date est Trigger Happy, le livre de Steven Poole

 

 

Trigger Happy is a book about the aesthetics of videogames — what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics. It was first published in 2000; this is the revised edition with the Afterword written in 2004 2001. (Update: as requested in comments, the 2004 Afterword can now be read here.)

 

The book is offered under a CC license, for a limited time only. I’m not sure how limited that time will be, so grab it while it’s hot.

 

[ Steven Poole

 

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27/11/2007

XNA Game Studio Beta 2

 
 
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19:10 Publié dans Code | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

Guitar Hero a la rescousse de l'industrie musicale...

Et Dance Dance Revolution, et SingStar, et tout les jeux qui utilisent EA Tracks... Voici une évidence pour certain mais qui se voit enfin confirmé avec quelques chiffres.

 

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Il semblerait que les morceaux inclus dans le dernier Guitar Hero aient vu leurs ventes exploser: 

 

Take The Strokes' track "Reptilia" as an example. The week GH III was released, "Reptilia" sold 127 percent more digital copies than it had the week before. The following week saw another 96 percent jump in sales.

 

That number stayed high the next week as well, as the song saw a modest 3 precent increase. The story was similar for Slipknot's track "Before I Forget." That song jumped up 75 percent the week of the game's release, and an impressive 140 percent the week after. The following chart shows the week-over-week sales increases for five of the tracks.

 

"It doesn't appear to matter if you're in the main game or are a bonus song; huge gains are seen everywhere.  As long as your song ships with the game and you offer the track to be downloaded digitally, you see an increase," the source explained.

 

This jump isn't as easy to spot when you look at album sales, however. "Look at the Weezer title—47 percent increase for an album that came out in 1994 and can be gotten used for a dollar pretty much anywhere, eBay and locally," he goes on.  "Yet the Queens Of The Stone Age didn't [see a large sales jump]... It's hard to draw a conclusion other than GH III can help sell physical albums—sometimes."

 

[ Ars Technica ]

26/11/2007

Crayon Physics Deluxe ^_^

Ca se passe de commentaires ^_^

 

13:54 Publié dans Jeux | Lien permanent | Commentaires (6)

L'utilisation des ressources mémoires d'un jeu XBLA...

Undertow - l'une des dernières nouveautés du XBLA - a publié la répartition des ressources mémoires du jeu. Evidemment, ce type de statistiques varie grandement d'un jeu à l'autre, d'autant plus que la taille finale des données n'est pas proportionnelle aux moyens nécessaires pour les produire, mais ça donne une idée de ce qui consitue un jeu d'arcade téléchargeable ^_^

 

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Satisfying me — and hopefully your — curiosity at long last are the Mustard brothers, Donald and Geremy, creators of this Wednesday’s Xbox Live Arcade twin-stick shooter “Undertow.”

 

They have provided Multiplayer an exclusive breakdown of how much room everything from the explosions to the theme song to Captain Nemo’s submarine occupy in their nearly 50 MB game (49832KB).

 

I think they wanted to show off, because their game packs a lot for being just a Live Arcade download: 15 levels single and co-op campaign, a storyline, 16-player multiplayer modes. How’d they cram it all in?

 

[ MTV Multiplayer

13:00 Publié dans Code | Lien permanent | Commentaires (5)

25/11/2007

"Casual" Burnout ?

Voici peut être une nouvelle qui est passé innaperçu, mais qui mérite qu'on s'y arrête 5 petites minutes.
 
 
Le nouveau Burnout Paradise a changé sa "cover art", passant d'une voiture en crash à une image beaucoup plus esthétisante.

 
 
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If you think about it, box art is a video game's calling card. It makes the first impression, and inspires the consumer, especially those who don't follow game news day to day, to pick the release up from retail shelves for a second look.
 
 
Because of this, box art often tries to capture the essence of the game in a single picture, which only makes us scratch our heads at EA's newly redesigned cover art for the forthcoming Burnout Paradise. The new cover ditches the previous art, which featured a car being smashed like a twisted metal flapjack, and replaces it with a serene, overly white piece that looks like it just drove off the set of an Ah Ha video.
 
[ Joystiq
 
 
Ca semble anodin comme ça, mais ç'est au contraire symptomatique d'une réelle tendance dans l'industrie, un shift de valeur. Peut on parler d'une "casualisation" du jeu en général ?

24/11/2007

November Rush 12 - NFS Pro Street

La dernière version de Need for Speed semble prendre à revers tout ce qu'avaient établis les deux dernières itérations. En tout cas, de gros chiffres de ventes à prevoir en Angleterre ^_^

 

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19:00 Publié dans Jeux | Lien permanent | Commentaires (10)