Clone Star Wars : Ambush

December 06, 10

“Great leaders inspire greatness in others …”

You don’t have to be Alexander the Great, or in the stratosphere of modern society in order to lead.  

Most leaders are unknown, and often little celebrated.

Yet, their leadership often laces through generations.  They lead with ideas, empathy and compassion.  They find simple solutions to complex problems.   

They persevere.

Before his ruminations in the Agora, Socrates carried a spear. 

Where there is no hope, they shake the pillars hard enough to form a hairline crack in the sky.  They are always givers rather than takers.  Some takers like to masquerade as leaders, but don’t be fooled.

Maybe we know a leader most when their ability to give staggers our comprehension.

Star Wars Spiele : Personality

November 02, 10

How does developer personality influence Star Wars spiele or game building in general?

Can you make a great game against a well known Universe?  Absolutely.  Yet, we might agree that it doesn’t happen very often. 

There are many reasons for this, way too many to dig deeply right here.

One simple danger is that the personality of the developers is often entirely lost in the translation of a game based on a pre-established world. 

This sounds obvious and trivial, but the effects in practice are pretty far reaching.  It’s quite different from the “not so distant history” of how games tended to evolve. 

Earlier games like Frogger, Pac-Man, Q-bert, Mario, Paperboy, Robotron, Sinistar, Asteroids — left plenty of room for developers to show something and try something.  They had what looks like tiny graphic and processing power to us now, but actually expressed more than many console titles do. 

When I say “expressed” I really just mean offered up a particular kind of play value that has a direct connection to the personality of the developers.  When I experience a flat level, or a game that plays hollow and soul-less, I often wonder if it was a matter of inhibited personality.  And, sneaking in a practical point, you often don’t have the software tools (or time/resources to build them) to go after what you would really like in the game anyways. 

So the equation looks like : no personality + bad tools = flat, hollow, soul-less

When you’re simply executing a level section detail as part of a 100+ person team, against strict brand standards, well, you can figure the difference.  Yes, you can innovate somewhat with a brand, but the range of experimentation is minimal — and here’s the killer: experimentation is the only way to make a great game. 

As in any medium, if you can’t experiment much, you will end up with something that rings flat and ignores the personality of those doing the building.  So developer personality is at the heart of the matter because almost anything new, interesting, captivating or unique in a game comes from the expression of personality on the part of the builders.

I think this holds true way beyond games.

Star Wars Spiele : The Sounds of Star Wars

October 19, 10

This new book is unlinke any other I’ve seen, and an essential part of anyone’s Star Wars spiele library.

A book on sound can be an interesting experience.  I actually love books on sound, but many are a hard go. 

Often times it’s plenty of adjectives and plenty of theory, but not so much on application.

I remember a story about a studio engineer working with Carlos Santana.  When Santana was asked what the basic tone of the guitar might sound like he simply said: “like a sunflower opening up to the sun.” 

Yep.  I’ll dial that right up on the old Revox 2000.  The “sunflower sun” patch in bank B.  My point is that if you find a great book on sound in application, please let me know about it! 

The Sounds of Star Wars  gives tons of sound creation details, and then lets you audition the sounds with a built in sound player that encapsulates the book itself.  Very few books give you much construction insight, but this one gives you everything. 

The book includes numbers to play the sound described, you simply dial it up, and hear the sound reference! 

There’s plenty to think about here in creating your own sounds, meshing them together, layering them up and connecting  them with objects in a scene to use in new and interesting ways.

Star Wars Spiele : IG – 2000

October 12, 10

The Star Wars spiele – What’s the game, match, or play behind this Star Wars object?

It’s always interesting to look at the construction of vehicles that become toys, props, and fit into the logic of a world we like spending time in and around. 

Over time, I’ve become convinced that’s it’s really important to enjoy these and to try and understand their physical and component design influence.  The best place to look is in the world. 

Let’s take a look at that nutty relentless bounty hunter IG-88’s fighter called the IG – 2000 pictured above.

The front of the ship reminds me of an insect mandible.  The IG-2000 features magnetic locking pads that close the jaw of the ship’s front for streamlined flight. 

The Sensor Array projects a beam outward over the cockpit area toward the mandible.  The manuevering thrusters pointing backwards are basically insectoid forward/backward like the beetle.

The main drive engine output is the beetle rectum.  Laser cannons are built into the edges of the final mandible pieces.