Monday
Nov102014

KickStarter: Momentum, a Physics Based Labyrinth Game

 

So I found out about this game just a second ago, and of course had to take a peek at it. You see this game falls firmly into the category of Independently Developed, and here, at Altered Confusion, we want to help out as much as possible, especially if they actually have a demo to play (Click here to download). If you do download the game you will find that there's definitely some polish to it. Now of course there's also a very fast ramp up in difficulty as well, but I'm sure that through trial and error, and a little strategy you'll find your way through this game. Now of course the music being played doesn't hurt to have going, especially if you're like me and have to restart a lot.

As you might have guessed by the title of the article, this is a KickStarter Project, so here's the KickStarter Video for you to Enjoy:

 

So let's get right into it, shall we. First off as a once upon a time programmer, and somewhat of an OCD person, I'm going to say that there were a couple of things that bothered me about this demo. Now of course I can't speak on the game as a whole as they are still developing it, but I can talk about the demo portion of this project.  Okay so you are going to have a reflective steel ball at your disposal to try to navigate through the paths, twists, and turns of the game. It's probably just me, but since the ball is a reflective surface it SHOULD take into effect all that is around it. The problem is that the ball only reflects what I'm assuming is the skybox back onto the ball. That means that no matter how you twist and turn in the game you are always going to have that 50 percent sky and 50 percent skyscraper/cityscape present on the ball. To me that takes me out of the game. 

Now I do like the fact that there are checkpoints in the harder levels, they have saved me from having to constantly hope I can at least make it so far into a level without screwing up again. The controls (I just used a controller) felt solid as well. Sure the ball sometimes got away from me and flew down to the cityscape, but that was my own fault not paying attention to the velocity of the ball and not moving the level around fast enough. You see you are controlling the orientation of the board, and the ball reacts to that, you do not control the ball. This of course makes the game quite challenging, and definitely makes you want to play as close attention as possible.

Alright so at this point you are either on board and want to kickstart this or perhaps you need to know a little bit more about the rewards, and for that I give you the following:

 

$5: The Highest of Fives: Be immortalized as a backer in the credits
$10: Early Bird: Digital Download of the Game, plus name in the credits
$25: Audible Backer: High-quality digital copy of the soundtrack, plus all previous rewards
$35: Very Audible Backer: High-quality digital copy of the collector's edition soundtrack (contains bonus material not in game), plus previous rewards
$50: Special Mention: Your name in the magic 8 ball, plus all previous rewards
$75: Fortunate Mention: Add a phrase of your choice (within reason) to a fortune cookie ball, plus all previous rewards
$100: Baller: Create your own ball! Design and implement a ball working side by side with the team, plus all available previous rewards (Subject to restrictions)
$250: Physical Backer: Exclusive physical Momentum level as a very special "thank you" gift, plus all available previous rewards.
$5000: Well Ok Then: We'll personally fly to your home town and hang out with you for a whole day, plus all available previous rewards.

Now of course I should just give you the link to the KickStarter Project, and I just did, but I think it's important that we take it a little further with this one. This comes back to the talks that I give at conventions. I understand that these developers have put their blood/sweat/tears into this game, but some of these levels are not inviting at all. I'm just going to grab a couple of them and point out some things that just don't really get a person revved up to donate.

$50: Special Mention: Your name in the Magic 8 Ball, plus all previous rewards

No where on the KickStarter page does the Magic 8 Ball get mentioned. So this begs the questions how clearly will your name be shown, is this a ball that can be used throughout the game, or is it just for specific levels? I think that its safe to say that this also goes for the Fortune Cookie ball, how long of a phrase, when will it be seen, how well will it be seen, etc.

 plus all available previous rewards

What the hell does that mean? Are they saying that there's a chance that they will run out of fortune phrase space, 8 ball room, digital music downloads, hell are they going to run out of copies of the game? I know that developers don't want to over-burden an individual with too much text, but being vague can be very costly as well, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. If someone doesn't absolutely understand what they are getting in return for their money, they are not going to give it.

$5000: Well Ok Then: We'll personally fly to your home town and hang out with you for a whole day, plus all available previous rewards.

I really don't want to be a dick, but chances are no one really knows these developers except for their friends, so the desire to hangout with them is going to be slim. Another thing is what constitutes a whole day? Do the developers decide when they are coming to town? What are they going to do when they hangout? Then of course there's also the "all available previous rewards" part again, does that mean that I pay their airfare to chill with them for 6 hours, and then I don't get anything else involving the game?

Alright so I think its clear that the developers are showing a bit of beginner's marketing, but if you look at the game, it definitely could really have meat on it, and that's what I think in the end we need to recognize. It's people outside the team that can help these developers out, and allow them to make this game. So if you think that this is something you are interested in, go for it, help these guys out, and of course check out the demo.

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Monday
Nov102014

Whoops!!! GGDA Meeting THIS Tuesday (11/11/14)

So I completely messed up on this one, this is actually happening tomorrow, and though I still can't go, anyone who can should definitely go. This will be a perfect chance to catch up with the Georgia Game Developer Association dealings, members, and more.


I know that Altered Confusion won't be able to make this meeting, but that doesn't mean that you should miss out on it if you are in the Atlanta area. This is going to be the first meeting after SIEGE where you can catch up on all that was SIEGE and so much more. This evening's event will be hosted at Primal Screen. For a breakdown of when everything is going down I give you the program as is set in the Facebook Group.

6 pm - Networking and light refreshments
7 pm- Announcements and presentation
8 pm - More networking, women in gaming meetup

Oh there is one more thing that you are going to need to take into consideration, and that is parking. I've been down there a couple of times for other reasons, and I will tell you you are going to need to know where to park. So the leader of the Atlanta Chapter of the GGDA has gone ahead and given us this nice map to give you a better idea of where you are able to park (its all the blue highlighted areas).

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Monday
Nov102014

Get Your Tickets NOW for the Smite World Championship

Unfortunately the Legendary Passes are already gone, but have no fear there are still tickets to be had. We can only hope that the Swag that you would have gotten from the Legendary Pass will be on sale at the Cobb Energy Centre. Now if you don't know if you should go to this event, then my answer to your confusion is that you should definitely attend. I made it out to the Launch Tournament and have been dying to get back to see some more, ever since. So now that I've got you ready to go, lets give you a link to where you can pick up one or more of these tickets, oh and for a little bit more incentive, here's the prices, and what you get:

Golden Pass: $100

This ticket grants general admittance to the event and seating in the Mezzanine (level 2). Golden Passes come with everything included with the Standard Pass, with the addition of Golden Pass exclusive Pins, an exclusive T-Shirt, an exclusive SWC 2015 Poster, and an exclusive to SWC 2015 piece of in-game content. All ticket sales are final.

Standard Pass: $50

This ticket grants general admittance to the event and seating in the Grand Tier (level 3). Also comes with a goodie bag, a dog tag, an exclusive water bottle, and SMITE pins. All ticket sales final..

Now I do want to point out that this is a 3 day event that starts Friday, January 9, 2015 at 8:00 AM - Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 7:00 PM. Now I know that some of us have to work on that Friday, but know this, the real meet of the tournament is going to be Saturday and Sunday, two days that most of us can make. So what are you waiting for?

Get Your Tickets

Oh and here's a little something about the actual event:

On January 9th, 2015, the world's 8 most elite SMITE teams from 5 regions will gather in Atlanta to fight to become the SMITE World Champion.

An intense three days of competition awaits players and spectators alike, culminating in a best of 5 grand final competition on Sunday. Don't miss your chance to watch the action live in person at Atlanta's renowned Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

The Prize pool for the SMITE World Championship keeps growing and you can contribute to it by joining in the Odyssey. Every week we're releasing exclusice items in-game. Each Odyssey item purchased will contribute towards the prize pool for the tournament and will also earn you exclusive rewards! These rewards will only be available during the Odyssey event.

Who’s playing in the event?
The World Championship LAN will be comprised of the 2 regional champion teams from North America, Europe, China, and Latin America for a total of 8 teams from across the world.

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Monday
Nov102014

US President Makes Stance on Net Neutrality

Barak Obama has come out in support of changing customer broadband service classification. Now I know that anyone who has looked into Net Neutrality, and has been praying that the ISPs don't get to hold the power, are interested to see this reclassification to Title II. This would allow for the FCC to control it, and not the ISPs who have been rumored to throttle service, give preferential treatment, and more. Now its not like this is going to happen tomorrow, but one has to think that this is definitely something we would like to see.

As you can see below there is a letter from Obama, I hope you take the time to read it, and I hope that this comes to pass. Companies, such as Altered Confusion, are literally holding onto hope that this comes to pass because if the ISPs can get a better strangle hold the small guys, like us, will disappear. The reason is that we don't have the deep pockets to pay the ISPs. 

 

An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.

The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness.

The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

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Friday
Nov072014

Harebrained Schemes Ready to Talk About Their Next Game

Harebrained Schemes is the team that you might recall brought us Shadowrun Returns, and so much more. So you know that they make polished games that one can get lost in. This game, Necropolis, appears to be one of the toughest, and yet easiest to lose time in. In this game you will have to venture forth into the Necropolis, an ever changing maze, in order to seek fame and fortune. Now of course the joke's on you because the owner and controller of this ever changing world needs adventurers to enter, and then die, so that their essence can power further test and experiments being performed in its depths.

The one thing I am sad to see is that this game is not due out until 2016, but  here's hoping it comes out early. I would love to ramble on about this new game, but I think the Press Release will best sum it up, and you too will see that this is a game that we're going to have to put on our wishlists.

Welcome to Necropolis - a game of brutal combat and survival, set in a magical deathtrap that shifts and reconstructs itself around you. Will you find the exit, or die trying?*

 

*SPOILERS: You'll probably die trying.

The archmage Abraxis took his secrets to the grave.

There, in the depths of a huge complex constructed by magic, lies the greatest collection of magical items and treasure that the world has ever known. After all his conquests and victories, Abraxis retreated to his Necropolis to work his magic, in darkness far removed from the rest of civilization.

 

The mazes and corridors of the Necropolis shift and change at the whim of the Brazen Head, a magical intelligence created by the archmage. Part butler, part taskmaster and part tormentor, the Brazen Head mocks, goads and pushes adventurers deeper and deeper into Abraxis' domain.

This is because, unlike most tombs, the Necropolis invites adventurers in; it needs them. Those who die within its walls feed the magic that powers the shrine. It is a trap, a self-perpetuating machine feeding on souls. Dead adventurers spirits turn arcane wheels, and their corpses are repurposed as Automatons; magical marionettes that prowl the corridors searching for intruders.

And the Necropolis is much, much bigger on the inside than the outside. Oh, and it shifts and changes at the whim of the Brazen Head. And it’s filled with Abraxis’ greatest enemies, and every monster ever encountered during his adventures. Did we not mention that?

Thousands have entered the Necropolis. Legend says, somewhere inside, undead and immortal, Abraxis presides on an onyx throne. In ten centuries, only one adventurer has escaped, and I’m afraid he emerged quite mad. But you... I’m sure you’ll make it out just fine. You seem like the adventurous type.

Features

  • AN ADDICTIVE THIRD-PERSON COMBAT SYSTEM. At its core, Necropolis is an action game. Unlike other popular Roguelikes, Necropolis features a combat system based on timing and animation. It’s fast and deadly - learn to anticipate enemy attack patterns, time your actions for maximum effect, and use smart combinations of heavy and light attacks to defeat your enemies. You can’t just button-mash and win.
  • AN EVER-CHANGING DUNGEON. Every playthrough offers new threats, room layouts, magic items and more. The system is designed to shift and change, even as the adventurer moves through it, and there are areas that allow the player to change modify or “reroll” their current layout.
  • SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. Collect components to create magic potions, and locate mystical books to upgrade your adventurer with runes and spells. The Necropolis is a living labyrinth filled with mystery and wonder; can you unlock all its secrets?
  • A LIVING ECOLOGY OF THREATS. Monsters interrelate in the Necropolis. Learn to exploit a Monster’s favorite food, or least favorite predator.
  • STYLISH VISUAL DESIGN. The world of Necropolis is one not quite like any other. Necropolis features a dark, low-poly aesthetic full of strange shapes, funky colors and unexpected constructions..

In all seriousness, if this team of developers can keep doing what they are doing, this is definitely going to be the kind of game that stands out and definitely will grab even more attention than their previous titles.

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