Saturday, August 30, 2008

Heat Vision and Jack

Heat Vision and Jack is a TV pilot made by Ben Stiller starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson back in 1999. It's a parody of the action TV shows of the 70s and 80s - the opening credits are even inspired by the Six Million Dollar Man.

I found it funny - but I am a Jack Black fan. Anyway, you can check it out below.

This is what video on demand is all about. Thank you internet!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Born from an egg on a mountain top

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame) worked with Chen Shi-zheng to create the music and look of Journey to the West, an opera based on the Chinese epic novel of the same name.

Aussies, Kiwis and Brits were introduced to this Chinese story through Monkey - a Japanese TV show filmed in China and dubbed into English. Click on any of the above links to find out more.

What's really cool is that the BBC used the Jamie Hewlett animations for their Beijing Olympics coverage. Check it out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More on Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People

I've been playing the Wii version of Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People and am enjoying it. I like the interface, it works well with the Wii.

The controls are simple - every on screen object takes a single click to look at, use, pick up or talk to it (if it's a person). The conversation system is easy to grasp - it's represented by a few visual icons that make Strong Bad ask about the image from the icon when clicked on.

Getting around is also easy, you can pull up a map and jump to another location at any time. You can also double click and hold the A button to make Strong Bad run faster to wherever the cursor is on the screen.

There's also a neat little treasure hunt side game where you can use a metal detector in each location to look for treasure.

The only problem I've experienced so far is that some of the initial goals aren't quite clear enough. I had to visite to work out what to do on two occasions. Unfortunately the thing I was supposed to do wasn't obvious (at least to me) and I wasn't getting any feedback from the game world to nudge me in the right direction.

It could just be me - I am a little out of touch with adventures and they do require a certain mind set to play. But as a first installment it would have been nice if the goals were a little clearer.

Apart from that, I'm having fun playing the game (thank heavens for!). It's worth checking out if you're a Homestar Runner fan and like adventure games.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some adventure games

Jay Is Games is a great source for indie and casual games. They cover a whole range of games so if you haven't been there I thoroughly recommend you check them out.

They've previewed a few point and click adventure games recently and I've been playing two of them.

Dirty Split is a stylish murder mystery inspired by the works of Josh Agle - an artist with a fifties/sixties commercial art bent. Developed by Dreamagination the game is very slick and is totally free. Grab it here. You can also download the soundtrack.

The other game I'm playing is Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (episode 1) on the Wii. Developed by Telltale Games it's proving to be fun to play on the Wii - a system that is made for point and click adventure games.

It's worth checking out even if you're not too familiar with Homestar Runner, the website/comic that it's based on. The humor is broad enough for even non-fans to have a chuckle - and the interface and puzzles aren't too difficult (so far).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Adventures in Facebook

In case you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, you can play the Facebook version of Brainiversity here. It's been up and running for a few months now and the user base has been steadily growing.

Facebook is a great platform to develop for - I get to use my Flash, HTML, PHP and SQL skills all at once! Not to mention I also get to brush up on my art skills :-)

One of the interesting things about game development on Facebook is that it gives you a direct connection with the end user - more so than with downloadable casual games. You can react to feedback almost instantaneously - you launch faster and build your game with the players - making game dev a more evolutionary process.

Very cool and definitely the way of the future.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dial Up Internet

I'm on vacation near the beach with my wife and kids and we are having a blast chilling out.

Once a day we check email using a dial up service (nope, the place doesn't have broadband!). I had completely forgotten what surfing the web was like not that long ago when everyone had dial up. Needless to say, it's slooooooow.

No wonder people had a hard time predicting the rise of online Flash games - these things would have been a pain to play back then. Heck, they're a pain to play now with dial-up. It's amazing that broadband has opened up a whole new way of playing games.

I can't wait to get it back again :-) Long live broadband!