Posts Tagged ‘team fortress 2’


Dear Indie Game Developers…

Last year for E3, I made a post with a few guidelines I would have liked game developers to keep in mind while practising their craft. Naturally, nothing changed but I think I’ve found a new audience to plead to.

Steam Greenlight

A few days ago, Valve launched Steam Greenlight, a customer facing round-table where game developers (typically small companies and indie set-ups) get to present their digital babies and a raving horde of juvenile imbeciles Steam customers either rip the living shit out of them or fawn like drooling nincompoops critique and provide feedback in the hopes of uncovering potential hits and grooming them to take their place in the Steam store itself. It is, of course, a colossal travesty of ignorance and fanboy excess an exciting process to witness! So…

Dear Indie Game Developers…

…not every RPG game has to have blue text boxes and a white font. We get it, it’s ‘retro’! It’s like Final Fantasy! But you’re also drowning in a sea of similar clones who all had the same bright idea.

…you’re not a huge developer with hundreds of employees churning out mountains of quality assets and hours of content for a triple-A game. Stop pricing your slightly-better-than-shareware like it was the next Fallout or Call of Duty.

…I know ‘Hunt for the Ember Lodestone: The Challenges of the Fire-Scorched Demon Mistress from El-quor-Marankta Seven‘ sounds impressive, but unless this is the latest long-awaited part in a hugely successful series of games, maybe you should lay off the subtitles and pick something a bit more snappy/memorable.

…yes, Minecraft was very successful, yes, it wasn’t a wholly original game and yes, Notch has more money than he knows what to do with now. But, no, not every game has to be a multi-player adventure sandbox world-building survival-based voxel game. Basically, if you find yourself appending ‘-craft’ to the title of your game, you’re a joke.

…and while we’re at it, no Slender clones, no Super Meat Boy clones, no Terraria clones and no Day-Z clones.

…just because every major game these days seems to have a near-endless trail of DLC in its wake, like an incontinent goldfish, doesn’t mean you should. Your original content barely qualifies for DLC status alone so why do you think you can piecemeal it even further? You’re offering a game that doesn’t have the backing of hundreds of artist/coders/designers/musicians behind it – you should be offering more, not less (for more money).

…stop using the ‘retro‘ tag as an excuse for producing terrible graphics, ear-grating music and one-dimensional gameplay. We know you’re not really paying homage to anything – you just suck. That goes for ‘old-school‘, ‘classic‘ and ‘nostalgia trip‘ too. You’re not fooling anyone.

…your pretentious experimental art/thought journey ‘game’ might have gone down great guns at Indiefest 2004 but please don’t get too upset if it doesn’t appeal to the knuckle-draggers just coming down from a 8-hour L4D2, CoD, TF2 stint.

…enough with the silhouette artwork already. Yes, Limbo did well and looked great but they used it for atmosphere. You’re just a lazy bastard who can’t be bothered to spring for proper graphics.

…maybe your droning, nasally voice isn’t really suited for promoting the game in your trailer. You’d probably do fine for YouTube unpacking clips, rants about how Blizzard screwed you over in the last patch and narrating your clan’s new CoD kill-fest but for your game, just stick to gameplay clips and music. It’s for the best.

…while we’re on the subject, you and your friends aren’t voice-actors. The professionals get paid for a reason.

…six players at the same time doesn’t make your game an MMO project.

…just because whatever engine you’ve licensed can do a screen full of glows, motion blur, bloom effects and depth of field, it doesn’t mean you have to go crazy using them all. Calm down.  And no amount of post processing will cover up terrible graphics, anyway.

…spell-checker. Use it.

…let me guess, your game is all about zombies, right? Yeah, well, so is 95% of the other games on Greenlight. The rest are hidden object games or dating sims.

…you might have done well with your sub-Facebook game on the iPhone/Android or whatever but people might be expecting a little more meat on the bones of their PC games.

…people will figure out you’re nothing but hot air if all you’ve got to show are renders of art assets. Maybe wait until you’ve actually written some code before trying desperately to stoke the hype train up to speed?

…engines. Nobody cares you used the Unreal/Cryengine/Unity engine for you game as long as it’s good. You don’t get a special badge for mentioning it.

…engines. Nobody wants to play a game you churned out after ten minutes with some tatty game-maker. You might think you can get away with not mentioning it but we all know.

Thank you.


Team Fortress 2 – The Mumbling

TF2 Spy!Pretty sure this is my first ‘rant‘ on the updated site. Quite surprising really. I used to do quite a few of them on the old design. I guess I generally had a lots of insignificant things to spend far too much time losing my rag over than would ever sanely be considered necessary than I do these days. Going to have to change that. There’s plenty of non-events to blow out of all proportions and I’m just the man to do it!

The reason for today’s diatribe-lite is the comms chat on Team Fortress 2. I’ve been playing the game a fair bit recently. I’m still shockingly bad and I seem to have the ‘Wanted‘ effect on sniper bullets – as in they will bend around walls, rock formations and even other team-mates to find their way to my skull. To say I’m a bullet magnet would be unfair to the shot, flame, grenades, bombs, bats and axeheads I also manage to attract with alarming regularity. If I’m anywhere higher than mid-table on the team leaderboard, you know I’m stuck with a bunch of hopeless players sailing on the good ship Sure Loss.

But it’s the people who use the voice comms system to chat to team-mates that I want to talk about. Basically, I’ve boiled it down to a simple rule of thumb for spotting people really who shouldn’t use voice comms. It’s ‘Do you have voice comms?‘. If you answered ‘Yes!‘ (or most probably ‘Why, yes I do, I’m often regaling my team-mates with a highly amusing running commentary!”), then it’s fairly certain that you damn well shouldn’t be using voice comms because it’d be a miracle if you’re actually one of those one-in-a-million players who makes good use of it in-game.

There’s a pretty limited number of phrases you’ll hear over voice comms, it seems…

  • “Spy!” – my personal favourite. Do they give you any indication of his location? Or what class it might be parading as? Do they bugger like. Pointing out there’s a spy is like pointing out every other damn thing you’ve passed as you’re running along to the capture point as it’s always a safe bet there’s a spy playing on the opposition. I fully expect to hear “Steps!”, “Barn!”, “Resupply Locker!” any one of these days.
  • “Go! Go! Go!” or “Get ’em!” or “Capture the point!”. I call these the ‘stating the bloody obvious’ selection. The worse thing about the chuckleheads usually spouting these lines is they just love the sound of their own voice and they’re most probably tin-pot generals with it. I know hearing isn’t particularly finite but I always feel I’m wasting my ears just having to suffer these idiots.
  • “Mmfghmuuhhgaafurrmt!”. Yeah, I’ve no idea what these fools are saying but if they’re trying to pull off the perfect impression of the Pyro, they’re almost perfect. Seriously, if you’re going to pollute the game with your voice, at least make sure you’ve got the mic set up properly and all the volume levels checked. If you’re too quiet, mumble like you’ve been kicked in the mouth by a mule or just sound like you’re playing through a flash flood that’s submerged your room, shut the fuck up, you’re not helping anyone.
  • “Spy! To your left!”. Probably worse than the first case as these people believe everyone else playing the game possesses special psychic powers that allows them to divine who the hell they’re talking about. End result, the fifteen other players on the team are suddenly distracted checking to their left and take a bullet. Sorry… fourteen players take a bullet, one takes a knife to the back as the damn spy has circled around him already.

And this is before you’ve even got on to the morons who think they’re at an open-mic night at the comedy club and are providing lacklustre improv entertainment to their team-mates. No, you’re not funny. You never were. Go back to applying homophobic spray images to the base walls.

Sometimes, you come across a real gem of a player. They provide useful information on opposition movements with reference to actual locations in the map. They offer up strategy and advice (not in that “Do this… NOW!” way that makes you just want to do the opposite right off the bat, either). And mostly, they’re speaking clearly while they do it. But these people are soooo few and far between.

So if you’re one of the clueless listed above, stand. Stand up from your computer desk and slowly turn in a circle. Keep turning. Hopefully you’ll not notice the cable of your voice comms headset tightening around your neck as you turn and with any luck, we’ll be short one moron with a mic before too long.