Posts Tagged ‘video games’

MegaRace

One of the earliest computer games I played was MegaRace, which came bundled with a Quantex Pentium 60Mhz PC by dad bought sometime around the end of 1994. It was a cheesy game (really cheesy), but it was fun to play. The FMV race tracks were visually impressive for the time and the combat racing was exciting despite only being able to move cars side-to-side.

MegaRace: Particle Accelerator

The chiptune soundtrack, composed by Stéphane Picq, was particularly memorable. For those interested, this fan site has Ogg Vorbis encodings of the music for the race tracks as well as an MP3 of an FMV ending sequence. Well worth a listen.

Master disks for Doom

Caught this tweet from @idSoftware showing the original master disks for Doom:

Doom master disks

The Craftsman

I loved the music in Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and particularly Deus Ex, so I was happy to stumble across the the website of Alexander Brandon recently. I love his work and enjoyed listening to the new music he’s posted to Bandcamp. Below is one track I particularly like.

For a bit of nostalgia, if you have Unreal, Unreal Tournament, or Deux Ex lying around, grab the Modplug Player which will allow you to play the umx files within the music directory of those games.

Todd Replogle interview

I don’t remember what I was searching for, but I came across this interesting interview with Todd Replogle, programmer and co-creator of the Duke Nukem series. The interview was done by Peter Bridger in December 2001, well after Replogle’s retirement from the industry in 1997.

Todd, how do you pronounce your last name?

Good question. The name originates from Germany, I think. The first syllable ‘Rep’ the ‘e’ is short, as in ‘rep’resentative. The next, ‘lo,’ is pronounced ‘low.’ The final syllable ‘gle’ is tricky. It’s pronounced ‘gull,’ as in sea’gull.’ Rep-low-gull. There were times when I was embarrassed during the first day of school where new instructors had a tough time pronouncing my name. Very embarrassing at first to hear my last name pronounced Rep’loogie.’ I often had to correct him/her. After the name sinks in however it seems the name ‘Replogle’ is difficult to forget once one hears it for the first time. Its uniqueness makes the name stand out from the rest, I suppose.

How’ve you been doing since Duke3D?

Wonderful! I found a small town in Oregon to live in, where I’m slowly buying up the surrounding land at fair prices. My goal is to dig several new home sites for families optimistic about the future, and for the elderly (who aren’t so optimistic.)

Do you still have that ‘I NUKUM’ licence plate?

No, the misspelled plate vanished when I sold the NSX. Lately I’ve been owning larger cars (without custom plates.)
Much more safer than a low-to-the-ground vehicle. I’d rather drive a car that’s taller than the tires of a big rig.

What stands out in your mind as a key moment, or moments even, of your time spent developing Duke3D?

Inventing/programming subways. I enjoyed laying the laser trip-mines along side the walls and watching the subway charge through the tunnel, setting each one off one at a time. Very cool to watch! I also enjoyed (and now miss) working with such an excellent group of people.

If you could go back in time now, with the knowledge you have now, what would you do differently in making Duke3D?

Hum, I’d have to say rework the sounds effects at higher sample rates (44khz) and have Jim Dose find a way to get the sounds effects to not sound ‘choppy.’ There was something about the sounds that didn’t seem right… I guess another issue would be in the actor AI field. After Ken programmed the DukeBot my actor AI seemed even more redundant and boring.

How easy was it to build on all the sound, control, weapons, monster etc.. code for Duke3D, on top of Ken Silverman’s BUILD engine?

Working with Ken’s BUILD engine was very simple to work with. Ken understands that interfacing with engine must be effortless, with routiens that are easy to understand and implement.

Are you surprised by the way Duke3D took off, both commercially and with the community?

No. I knew that both Duke’s smart mouth attitude, well-written/distinctive code and fun gameplay would take Duke3D to new heights with the video game community.

It’s June 1991, Apogee have just released Duke Nukem (the original side scroller), the sound effects made by Scott Miller. Should he write some PC speaker sounds effects for DNF?

HAHAHA! Speaker sound effects are only appropriate with computers lacking digital sound capabilities, something uncommon in all but the oldest tabletop PCs and laptops. Scott also did all level design for Vol. I of Duke I too. Scott and George, unlike me, are good level designers, and know what the customer wants with respect to puzzles and indepth gameplay.

Do you plan to get back into the games industry?

No. I’m not sure there is a future for the video game industry. Unless one has the capability of using both the left and right hands independantly, I doubt video games will sell like they used to.

If John Carmack called you up today, and offered you a job at id software, would you take it?

No. I’d be a tempting offer. Again, what is the future of video games? Oh BTW, John deserves credit for helping me code some low level code in Duke Nukem One. I’m not a very good assembly language programmer, and John was kind enough to help make Duke successful with well-written optimal assembly.

What are your plans for 2002?

Make money through property ownership and management, I hope. 🙂 I also found a shifty way to take gold and silver away from the American public (including J.P. Morgan/C, Goldman Sachs) by both ‘shorting’ the metals market at the right time, then taking delivery during minor ‘squeezes.’ Paper money is not wealth, IMHO. I’d also like to raise a family some day.

Thanks for taking time for this interview Todd, happy Christmas!

Thank you Peter. Happy Christmas and a merry new year to you too.

Quake 3

I have a bunch of old video game magazines I’m sorting through. I love the old issues of PC Gamer and it’s awesome to see some of the old ads and articles. Here’s a gem from the September 1999 issue:

quake 3 ad from Sept. 1999 issue of PC Gamer

I didn’t play Quake 3 until well after release, as the case is with most games I play, but for Quake 3 in particular I couldn’t play it until I got a Voodoo 3 as it required 3d hardware acceleration. I didn’t play online much, but I had a blast playing thru the single-player tiers. That said, I was disappointed with the lack of CTF, the dialog from the bots seemed stupid (attempting and failing badly to mimic how players talked online), and the lack of variety in level design was disappointing (transitioning only between the tech arenas and the hellish, fog-filled ones)… perhaps not an issue in multiplayer, but in single-player, the maps took a front seat to your soulless opponents. A solid game and great deathmatch experience nonetheless, but I remember playing Unreal Tournament much more, both online and off.

Paper Half-Life 2

Incredibly impressive,

Dress codes

At the Mana Bar in Austrailia, which is co-owned by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw (the guy who does Zero Punctuation, for those too lazy to click the link).

mana bar dress code

Would be awesome to have something similar in New York.

Doom boxart artist dies

Don Ivan Punchatz, the artist who helped id Software launch Doom to a greatness by designing the artwork on the box and promotional materials, has died of cardiac arrest.

Don’s work was best known to gamers for his efforts on the Doom packaging – the iconic image of the space marine shooting down into the hellish hordes – but that was only a small part of his work. His styles varied hugely between photo-realism and surrealism and he was affectionately known as ‘The Godfather of Dallas Illustration’ for his work in founding Sketch Pad Studios, which helped launch other artists to greatness.

doom boxart

h/t bit-tech.net

The commercial shortcomings of Beyond Good and Evil

From NextGen,

Ubisoft plans to make the sequel to Beyond Good & Evil more “accessible” than its predecessor, in order to avoid the commercial shortcomings endured by the original.

Apparently, Ubisoft evaluated the original and somehow came to the conclusion that difficulty was the reason the title flopped at retail. Maybe, but from the comments garnered by the article this doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, I dug up the old gamespy review and “low difficulty level” is actually listed as one of the cons.

Well, here’s another explanation, the reason I didn’t buy the game was that I played the demo: great characters, interesting environments, etc., but I had the game crash or freeze on me multiple times to the point where I just gave up and didn’t bother even finishing the demo. Now, this may have just been an issue with the demo, or maybe the PC version, or a graphics driver issue but, simply put, the demo left me with a very negative impression of the game’s technical quality and even now, when I pick it up for far less than the initial $45+, I’m apprehensive to do so. Maybe this was just my experience, but it certainly seems to be a more plausible factor (among many others) than difficulty.

Fallout Tactics and Cockroaches

I’ve finally gotten around to playing Fallout Tactics, which is a game I’ve wanted to play for a really long time. I played the demo when it first came out and instantly loved it, but never bought it (couldn’t afford it) and then for a long time I simply forgot about it or couldn’t find a copy. I discovered the Fallout Collection selling a few months ago which includes Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics and snatched up a copy right away.

It’s an amazing game, I love the Fallout universe and the Fallout-style post-apocalyptic atmosphere. I’m also a big fan of the squad-based tactical combat, and I really wish there were more games that focused on this style of gameplay. The only similar game I can think of is a not-so-popular game called Shadow Company: Left for Dead, I played the demo which was pretty decent and fun, but I didn’t find it incredibly compelling or memorable.

Despite my overall love of FT, I absolutely hated the cockroaches level. Why the hell would you make a level where all you do is kill roaches…

ft roaches

It just seems like total filler, there’s absolutely no substance to this level. It doesn’t really tie in to the overall plot, the combat isn’t fun, your being poisoned constantly, and it sucks being killed by a damn cockroach. You also waste a ton of ammo (a precious resource at the early stages of the game) and you don’t get anything from looting the bodies (well, yea, they’re roaches).

Oh, and at the end of the level, there’s a boss, a really big, master roach *rolls eyes*.