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Archive for David Hing

When should game servers be retired?

Posted on 20th Sep 2012 at 10:30 by David Hing with 34 comments

David Hing
Modern game production dictates that everything released must have multiplayer functionality, regardless of development budgets and how appropriate a multiplayer feature might be to a particular title. Although this trend is a headache for many a developer, it can also be a heartache for those who end up becoming particularly attached to a game's multiplayer option as sadly, these features have no guaranteed permanence.

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The world of unknown games

Posted on 12th Sep 2012 at 07:49 by David Hing with 13 comments

David Hing
Slouching awkwardly against one of the hand rails on the train during my daily commute the other week I found myself captivated by a gentleman sat in my line-of-sight playing something on his iPad. Until his gaze flicked up causing me to nonchalantly drift my eyes away and pretend I was just glaring at everything in the carriage like a normal person and not just him, I had been transfixed by whatever it was that he was playing because of one simple fact: I had no idea what it was.

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The incompetent thief

Posted on 4th Sep 2012 at 07:22 by David Hing with 26 comments

David Hing
When Adam Jensen's first act as a freshly augmented trans-human super-spy was to nonchalantly squat-walk into the storage area of a building site and knock over a pile of construction supplies, alerting the nearby patrolling guards to his location, I realised I'd been here before.

As he hopped around with one foot lodged in a bucket proclaiming "I never asked for this" at the bemused mercenary who had come to investigate, the pattern unravelled itself before my eyes. In every game that gives me the chance, I always end up playing the stealthy option. Badly.

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Sony's other handheld gaming effort

Posted on 28th Aug 2012 at 08:00 by David Hing with 6 comments

David Hing
Sony is a company with good ideas. Perplexing, sometimes poorly thought out, oft messy ideas, but good ones all the same. The PSP has always been held up as one of the company's better ideas hobbled by a little bit of poor execution, and the unfortunate fact that it was going up against a handheld gaming best-in-class heavyweight that had been clocking up experience in the market since the 80s.

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Hard Lines iPhone Review

Posted on 26th Jun 2011 at 10:44 by David Hing with 9 comments

David Hing
Back when mobile phones were still thought of as a new idea, Nokia's 3210 was highly sought after in many circles for its built in version of the highly addictive game Snake. Fast forward a decade, and Hard Lines is attempting to be a worthy successor to that classic title.

The mechanics of Hard Lines are simple. With simple directional strokes of your finger, you steer a line around the screen towards randomly spawning markers, accruing points while avoiding other lines that enter from the sides of the screen.

Slick and neatly designed, Hard Lines is clearly influenced by the Light Cycles from Tron, yet it doesn't limit itself to that one style of play; there are several variations. In some modes, you gain points by getting opposing lines to crash into you or the walls; in others you race against the clock, or just try to last for as long as possible. There are also some good bonuses, such as the occasional power up that enables you to crash through any other competing lines without killing yourself.

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Adventures and Adventuring

Posted on 11th Jun 2011 at 10:06 by David Hing with 35 comments

David Hing
Three of my five weapons were offline and leaving small ion trails in space, my cargo hold was full of rare and expensive artefacts and a band of pirates was chasing me down a frantically plotted and improvised course. With a route that picked its way in and out of asteroid fields through systems that were well and truly off the charts, it is fair to say I was panicking. I was also pretty sure that my eyes had stopped blinking.

I loved Freelancer; Microsoft's space trading open world game. It resembled an extremely stripped down Eve Online, but with gameplay replacing the spreadsheets. I'm aware that it was a
condensed version of games that did the same thing better and with more depth many years before, but I found it to be a deep and beautifully realised sandbox. In fact, I'm convinced that most players only ever scratched its surface.

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Chicks vs. Kittens iPhone Review

Posted on 7th Jun 2011 at 07:53 by David Hing with 5 comments

David Hing
In Gaming Digits' Chicks vs. Kittens you’re charged with ensuring the safety of a mother bird defending her nest against a hoard of poultry-hungry kittens. This is achieved by hatching chicks and weaponising your offspring against the feline invaders. As you do.

Games for iOS live and die by their personality, though, not whether their premises make sense, and Chicks vs. Kittens has plenty of personality. Your ammunition flaps around happily while it waits to drop onto enemies, while the climbing kittens are more lovable than sneezing baby pandas, with animations that are clear and crisp even when they’re blown up to iPad size.

As far as the controls and gameplay go, Chicks vs. Kittens is a simple reaction test with a little bit of tower defence strategy thrown in to boot. The influence of the latter is manifested in the way you equip your chicks to perform different roles through the use of hats. Hats can be used to increase the strength of chicks, to upgrade your leaf-based economy or to change the way they attack kittens. Variations are constantly added throughout the game.

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Carcassonne iPad Review

Posted on 7th May 2011 at 10:18 by David Hing with 10 comments

David Hing
The iPad is an ideal platform for board games. It's large enough for more than one person to sit round it for a local game without feeling stupid, and its touchscreen is sizeable enough to make it practical to move pieces, even if you have chubby fingers. Thus, it was only a matter of time before classic board games such as Carcassonne jumped to the platform.

The game itself is easy to learn, and is mostly based around the idea of developing the areas around the titular French town. At higher levels, though, the strategies and tactics involved can become enormously complex, although this iPad version eases you in with spoken tutorials and a full digital manual. It takes very little time to get to grips with the mechanics, with only a few references back to the documentation, and the interface is kept gloriously pristine.

There are a few different basic game-types, including a Solitaire mode that follows slightly adapted rules to the core game, plus online, local and AI matches.

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iPad Review: Sword and Sworcery EP

Posted on 11th Apr 2011 at 10:50 by David Hing with 12 comments

David Hing
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP for the iPad is like nothing else you have ever played. Described as ‘a 21st century interpretation of the archetypical old school videogame adventure’ it uses beautifully crafted pixel-scapes to do for video gaming what the impressionist painters did for art.

A collaborative project from indie studio Capybara, rock musicians and art from the Superbrothers themselves, Sword and Sworcery EP is a essentially a point and click adventure game that sees you cast as a warrior out to destroy an ancient evil. To do that you’ll need to solve puzzles, fight bears and collect an artefact called the Megatome – so far, so adventure-game. What sets is apart from the likes of Kings Quest however are the lashings of surrealism, abstraction and poetry that somehow never slips into infuriating pretentiousness.

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The Rise of the Hobby Developer

Posted on 18th Mar 2011 at 16:33 by David Hing with 8 comments

David Hing
Developers around the world have submitted over 61,000 games made in Game Maker to the YoYo Games site since 2007. The rate at which they are being submitted is that, when I started writing and researching this article, it was closer to 60,900. A new game is submitted every 20 minutes.

As you can probably guess based on the rate of submissions, a lot of these games are more works in progress than stable, finished releases. There’s no real quality control and the content ranges from the likes of Crimelife 2 to Box Dodger.

There are a lot of indie developers who use Game Maker as a way of producing very high quality titles, but what I find more interesting is the number of what I would describe as ‘hobby developers’ there are out there.

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Mod of the Month November 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month November 2014 in association with Corsair

We've chosen six of the best in-progress projects and they need your votes
Mod of the Month November 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month November 2014 in association with Corsair

We've chosen six of the best in-progress projects and they need your votes

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