Saturday, 25 January 2014

Global Game Jam


Global Game Jam & Socialising




Want to get into the game industry? It’s all about whom you know and whom you don’t know. The last time I have been going on “Informational Meetings”. Essential it’s me contacting people in the industry and asking them to meet for an “Informational Meeting”.  This is a great opportunity to ask questions about how to become a great leader, producer and pick their brains. It’s a great way to meet people in the industry and make sure they know you are not their to get a, you are there to connect, exchange information and experience.

The Global Game Jam in Vancouver

I went to the Global Game Jam as a volunteer… don’t take the time in the middle of the night… it’s nothing going on and still a lot of volunteers… next time I will get a team together or join another one and make a game instead. A really cool game jam any way and my friends who were in it really enjoyed it very much.


Started to work for Victory Square Games and are doing part time project management. Working with a team of 4 people on creating 20 small games in 2 months. I’m also being part of the core team creating a kick-starter that will launch in the beginning of February. If the kick-starter goes well, I will be hired and work for Victory Square Games and it’s a great way to get experience in project management, since it’s very difficult to get into the industry with no experience, I have a bit, but it’s not with Project management.

Working with the kickstarter


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Omerta – City Of Gangster, Game Review

Omerta – City Of Gangster, Game Review



Who doesn’t dream about being involved with the Mafia in the good old times, running a city with your iron hand and controlling everything? I always wanted to play a good Mafia game after 2K released Mafia, sure Mafia II came along, but was not as good as the first one. You can imagine that I was really excited when Omerta came along.



The goal is to become the greatest Mafia leader and build magnificent empire. You have a city map where you pick your quest to start conquer different parts of the city. Sadly, whatever you build up in your earlier quest, it’s not transferred to your next one, not even your “like” or “fear”, this would give a better feeling that everything is connected.  To be liked or feared give you different advantages and disadvantages.

The City View

What did I think about the game? Lets start with the good things… The aesthetics in the game looks really nice, you get sucked right into it and you feel that you are being part of this world. You can zoom in really close to the street level and see people walking and driving around, really neat. The music fits the game very well; if you play it for a while it gets easily repetitive. The voice acting is of really good quality and the voices felt well fitting and I was only aware of one small mistake with the voice when compering to the quest outline.  

When picking a new quest

That’s the good things and now to the things that is not as good… The battle system is a turn-based, where you have three different kinds of character’s; melee, medium range and long range. What the computer / AI does is that it gets close to you no matter what weapon or skills they are using, there is no real brain within the AI.

When you are in your city and picking a location to do something with, I would love to see an indication that you will start a battle or if it’s solved over with only one of your guys. Some times you are waiting to start a battle and the guy you assigned solves it by himself and sometimes you are in a battle. It gets annoying when you had a fight earlier and half of your team is injured and then you end up in a fight without knowing it. When you pick a fight in the multi storage building, you can end up fighting in a warehouse, logic?

Picture of how one battle could look like

The battle system is tricky to get a long with, you have to play by their rules and a miss click can easily cost one of your men his life. To take cover is a delicate sport, sometimes you get a hang of it and then it suddenly doesn’t work, no real cohesion and easy to miss click. 

When you are running around and start ruling the city, no one is stopping you, there is no other Mafia family who is competing with you. Time is the only factor that is in your way and the game would benefit from having other Mafia families coming and making your life difficult, of course you should be able to deal with it in any mean necessary.
It’s a shame that you can’t have a bit fun, for example being able to take over different buildings and make it into your business, not only the once the game deliberated already decided on picking. How awesome wouldn’t it be to take over a church and make it into a fighting club or a hospital into a brewery!

A neat loading screen


Every quest takes some times to finish, everything from 20-50min and you can’t save in the middle of it and if you die, gods forbid, you have to play the quest from the beginning, a really motivation killer.


It’s great to see that they try, but they are not getting far.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

HearthStone – Blizzards version of Free To Play



HearthStone – Blizzards try at Free To Play


 If you have played MTG (Magic The Gathering) you will feel right at home, almost, and I will soon tell you why. For you those who don’t know what MTG is, it’s one of the oldest and most popular card games out there and Hearthstone is based on this card game. What is Hearthstone? It’s a card game that is free to play with the available option to buy more cards from Blizzards in game store. You can pick from different factions and every faction has their own ability and special cards, then you challenge other payers online and you need to get their life to zero and win, hurray! You do this by playing monsters and spells against your opponent. You receive mana each turn with which you pay for these monsters and spells, 1 mana the first turn, 2 mana the second and so on until you reach 10 mana.

Aesthetics

It’s a wonderful game, the art has a great Warcraft feel to it, yes, and you can think of World of Warcraft, yes, I’m old fashioned. Hearthstone has a simple design when you are clicking around in the menu and it looks great and it is easy to use, less is more, simply. When you are playing the game you will see the well designed cards with a lot of details and you may recognize many from the Warcraft series. On the cards there is also a description of what the card does, which is kept to a minimum and it works really well. I have never liked cards with a lot of text.




There are 9 factions which include everything from a Warrior to a Mage. Some of the portraits show too much cleavage for my liking, I know Blizzard can do much better than this based on the Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft series. World of Warcraft has a bit to much cleavage for my liking. 



A really neat thing is that when you attack with one of your monsters with high attack power, the whole board shakes which is really great and you can feel the power rumble through your speakers.

Mechanics

The main mechanics are really basic, but Blizzard makes it work really well; everything runs really smoothly, it’s very easy to understand what to do and it’s fun playing around. What do I mean by playing around? I’m not only talking about killing off your opponent, I’m talking about when your opponent is afraid of you and needs to think for a really long time, Blizzard has added the ability to play around in the arenas. For example, one has a catapult you can fire off and another one has some lights you can turn off and on. Every arena has a couple of things that you can do and it’s a great small touch to the overall game experience.


The only way of communicating with your opponent is by right clicking on your character portrait and then you can say things like: Greetings, thank you etc. Meaning, you can’t spam them with 1000s of things and be an annoying 14 year old and it becomes all about the game. Sure, you can’t really make new friends all around the world, which sucks and maybe they will change that, we will see. 



You get daily quest from the game, which can be anything from winning X times with Faction Y to dealing X amount of damage to your opponent. Completing a daily  quest gets you gold that you can spend on more cards or use to go into the arena. The arena is a place where more or less everyone starts off the same; you are doing something called drafting. You get 30 rounds of cards, every round is 5 cards and you pick one from every round and you build your deck this way, meaning, everyone in the arena has the “same” chance of winning, depending on how good you are. 




One thing I’m missing is that Blizzard usually have when you are clicking on a unit it makes a comment and I would love to see that on your portrait. It’s understandable that they don’t have it on all the cards, but come on, add some fun on the portraits, more then “talking” to your opponent. Talking about sound, the sound experience is amazing! It’s hard to describe, everything flows really well and the sound is of a really high quality, as always with Blizzard games.




There is currently a lack of combos, although not many cards have been released and I can’t wait to have more cards out. It’s still a very simple game, which I don’t mind. The game is easy to play with friends or just for a couple of rounds. Sure, you can buy tons off cards and win easier, but if I’m playing against someone like that, I don’t mind because it’s great to see their cards and if I’m able to give the guy a hard time, I’m pleased. Overall, it’s a great game. Good work Blizzard, now… I wonder how you will add cool cinematics to this…

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

What will happen with me and the blog? This is a New Year update!


What will happen with me and the blog? This is a New Year update!

I have been spending a lot of time with family and my girlfriend this Christmas and New Year in Sweden. She had to last four weeks with my family; she is now back in Vancouver to recover and I will be back to next Sunday.

When I’m back in Vancouver I will start looking for work within the Game, animation or Visual Effect industry as a Assistant Producer, Production Assistant or something similar. Can’t wait to start working and show what I’m capable of doing and create some amazing things together with great people.

The blog?
What I will do is to do one game review a week, posted every Tuesday, because Tuesdays is a good day. Then have every Saturday a post update about what I’m up regarding my progress to become a successful producer and other projects I will be working on.

Next Tuesday will be a review about Heartstone =) 

Here come some pictures from the adventure in Sweden:

 The View from my hometown Sigtuna, Swedens oldest and smallest city, was once a viking city.

 Church ruin in Sigtuna

  Church ruin to the left and Swedens oldest brick building to your right, in Sigtuna

  Here we have Uppsala, important City for me, here is Domkyrkan, as tall as it's long

 
  The Uppsala Castle

  Uppsalas old Train station and the new to the right

  The Wasa ship, a small with the big one behind it. A 400 year old ship, no! not the model, the boat behind it.

  Here is to get a sense of how big it's and it's HUGE!

   And... they really like wheel chairs in here...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Jaipur – Trading Card Game for Two


Jaipur – Trading Card Game for Two

It is really hard making a trading card game for two players, usually not to much competition and hard to make it compelling. This is where Jaipur comes in, it’s a trading card game for two players and it’s very fun, have different strategies and a compelling game. I play it at a website called “Board Game Arena”, free to sign up and not any malware or annoying ads, a great place filled with all kind of different card and board games, I recommend “Seasons” and “Hive”. Go there after you finish reading this blog post, else the link will not work or your computer will explode! 


An overview of the game board
Anyhow, lets get back to Jaipur, the game is designed by Sebastien Pauchon from Switcherland and the goal is to win, surprise. You need the most points for two turns, easy piece, nice and easy which makes the game “a best of three format” and each round takes around 5-10 minutes. You start with 5 cards in your hand and with 5 cards on the table, these cards are either camels or various types of goods. If you get camels in your hand, you place them in front of you and now when the games start, you can do two things.

1.     Is to take the face up cards from the table, you can take all the camels, yes all, then replace them with cards from the remaining face down cards to have five face up cards on the table. Or you can take one card and replace it with a new one or you can trade a minimum of 2 cards, trade it with either only goods cards or only camels and the cool thing is that you trade in both camels and goods at the same time, I know, very high tech.

Three things you can do during a turn


2. You can sell cards, you can sell a minimum of one card of the normal gods being leather, cloth and spices or the more expensive you need to sell at least 2, they are gold, silver and diamond. When you sell three or more cards, you receive extra bonus points. When selling cards, you receive extra point tokens, the earlier you trade, the more they are worth, it’s that the market really wants some gods, when feeding the market, they are getting there needs filled. That means that you want to trade them early in the game to receive the most points.

3 cards = low extra points
4 cards = medium extra points
5 cards = a lot of extra points, jumi!

The value tokens for the goods and.. the CAMEL token!



Then it’s your ENEMIES! RIVAL! Or your friend turn and they are able to do the same two things, trade or sell cards.

The round ends when either the extra cards runs out or three of the extra tokens piles runs out. Then you run through one more round too see if you be the one getting two tokens or you might have to play another round too see who wins. Ooooh, I forgot, you get five points if you have the most camels and I love camels. Hopefully you are the one who got the most points and received the winning token, now you need one more to celebrate that you are the most kick ass trader.

I really enjoy this game, played several rounds of it and sitting and writing this, I want to play more. The game is well explained and it’s easy to understand the rule and gameplay and the cool thing is that you don’t really need to know any languish to play it, you can translate the rule book to any languish and then you can play it, since there is no words on the cards, the only thing you need to do is some math, no no! Don’t be alarmed, can you add 5+6+10? Did you get 26? That’s correct! See, you can play this game perfectly.


Winning a game!
 
What I really like with this game, you can play with different strategies, one is too collect all the common goods and sell them five at a time and that’s a lot of points or get all the expensive once to receive a lot of points for a few cards or just go for the camels… camels… and at the same time you are taking care of the camels… I mean… playing. You have to keep in mind of what the other player is doing and trying to make sure you are not giving him/her all the cool cards they are collecting.

Do I like the game? I hope it has been obvious that I love this game; the game has simple mechanics of trading and selling with some strategies to add and make the game more interesting. It’s of course based on luck as well, sometimes when you take all the camels, all the cool goods show up, but then again you got the camels and you can use them to rule THE WORLD! Same time it’s very strategic, holding of on some resources to block your opponent, trading fast and so much more. Final word would be, play it! 

The winner is... ME! a close run

and if you like it, it cost around $25 and I would say it's worth it, go fetch!