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  1. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    My preferred play style is to take it slow and go for single colour clears (or full board clears if I get lucky). The first few minutes of this video shows pretty much how I play too:
  2. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    I've just started reading the Complete Uxbridge English Dictionary (CUED). I don't listen to "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", but apparently it's taken from there. It's basically a dictionary full of definitions based on what the words sound like. I've already laughed out loud several times (which could be a problem because I tend to read when I'm out and about walking). I also fear it may destroy my ability to communicate with other people, because some of these will stick with me forever. So you have things like: Acoustic - Scottish cattle prod Bacteria - to return feeling more upset than when you left Bakery - resembling a baker Barrier - even more like Barry than Barry is Comforting - Jamaican lost property office
  3. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    Careful - once it gets its hooks into you it's really hard to get away. It pretty much became an obsession for me the first time around on the PSP. I just could not walk away until I'd maxed the score. And then I've bought every version I had a machine for since, I think (and played each until I'm happy I've got the better of it). One of those games I always overlook when it comes to top 20 games ever lists, but it really deserves to be considered. Very few games got their hooks in quite so deeply.
  4. MarkN

    A Lumines Thread

    It's not a rhythm action game, but the music affects the gameplay (and for me personally the music helps me remember how I should be playing at any given time). Basically each music theme dictates the tempo of the game, meaning you have to change the way you play to deal with it. For the first few levels you won't notice much difference, but later on there are some major changes that really force you to adapt to survive. The biggest change to cope with is the speed that the bar that erases the blocks moves across the screen. Sometimes it moves painfully slowly, meaning you have to deal with a massive build up of blocks as you wait for it to inch across and clear them. Other times it zips across meaning you're hurrying to slam blocks down in time to get them fully erased, rather than only partially. Sometimes the blocks fall faster than you're comfortable with and you're just trying to do the least damage possible with them, other time you're holding them back cashing in single colour bonuses every time the bar crosses the screen (more than once a pass if you have the right blocks in hand). It's an odd little game. it looks incredibly, stupidly simple - like there's not enough there, perhaps at first. But the first thing you notice as you get better and progress, is that to progress further still you're going to have to get better again. And again...
  5. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    There were 3 or 4 moments, but the one I remember most clearly was this which is the very start of chapter 17: I'm no expert on these things but if he's not breaking the 4th wall there, he's definitely giving it some very funny looks.
  6. MarkN

    What are you reading at the moment?

    I just finished The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. A fun little book, that I read mainly because I adored The Count Of Monte Cristo, and because I found it on Standard Ebooks, which meant it would probably be in good nick for my Kindle. Well worth a read. Also does some interesting kinda fourth wall-breaking that surprised me (I'm not sure when 4th-wall-breaking started, but there are bits in here that definitely made me go - "wait, what?", because I just wasn't expecting it. Will read up on it later...) https://standardebooks.org/ebooks/alexandre-dumas/the-black-tulip/p-f-collier-and-son
  7. MarkN

    The first one is still the best one

    This is a great shout. The first game was amazing. In my top 5 PlayStation games, and would possibly make my top 20 on all formats. It's perhaps my second-favourite tactics-style game (Into The Breach nicked the top spot not so long ago). It also had a lovely cheery cartoon-style (albeit with OTT spurting blood that was almost its signature thing). Such a great little game, and I played it through twice to explore all the character paths, and unlock as many secrets as I could. The sequel was horrible IIRC. Muddy graphics, imprecise gameplay, absolutely no charm whatsoever - it's one of those things where it's better to just pretend it doesn't exist. An absolute shocker. Edit: It went from looking like this: To looking like this:
  8. The Spotify thing is a solution, but not a great one. The problem with licensing tracks is that a) it costs a shedload of money - which they probably didn't have, and b) the licenses run out, meaning games get de-listed from stores - which is an awful situation (different scenario, but you can't buy Out Run: Coast To Coast on Steam because the car licenses ran out). But to me the first port of call would be to allow people to use their own digital libraries. Not something I've tried to do myself in my own projects, but I'd imagine is at least as easy as integrating Spotify, and wouldn't come with as large a barrier to entry. It certainly wouldn't have been beyond them to do both. I mean - I'm perfectly happy to play many games without music - but racing games? They need tunes, they really do. They should have covered as many bases as they could, I think.
  9. MarkN

    Pre-owned games sales in freefall (UK)

    The pricing was and always has been a legacy of physical media. In order to keep bricks and mortar stores sweet they couldn't undercut them on digital. It's been the same on every format, regardless of publisher. It's partly why MS wanted to ditch the physical media release. To not be beholden to them. If you're selling physical copies you can't aggressively compete against them by selling digital copies cheaper, even though they're cheaper to produce. You'd be stiffing a business partner. This has been stated time and time again. If you're selling the physical copy at $60 then that's what you charge for the digital copy. Stores are free to sell cheaper, but the publisher isn't. Doesn't matter if you're MS, Sony or Nintendo - you price digital the same as physical. If the original plan for the Xbox One had gone ahead, we'd have got here sooner. The customers couldn't see that, so MS backtracked. Now we're getting back to where they wanted to be. Seriously look back at this, and most of what you see from consumers is "wah wah wah - I want my resale value" (the resale value that never fed back into game development, and only ever benefited the stores that were pushing 2nd-hand over new copies whenever they could).
  10. MarkN

    PlayStation VR

    Eurogamer's preview of No Man's Sky sounds really promising. I haven't played the game at all yet, but I can imagine it being fantastic in VR. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-04-02-no-mans-sky-is-absolutely-stellar-in-vr
  11. MarkN

    Solid little thrillers

    A Simple Plan - I expected nothing, but watched it one night on TV several years ago because I saw Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton were in it. Turned out to be properly great. Three men find a crashed plane in a snowy forest containing millions of dollars, and decide to keep it - what could go wrong? It's an absolute belter. Would've posted a link to the trailer, but it shows far too much. It's a fantastic film - great performances all round, a cracking tale, and the bonus of a lovely bleak wintry setting (I love those). One of my favourite movies - and yes more and more of them are coming from this kind of genre. Under-the-radar belters.
  12. MarkN

    What’s the worst film you have ever seen?

    A bit late to this, but I decided never to watch this film back in the day, because the trailer I saw in the cinema was in such poor taste. It was a shot taken from the point of view of a bomb dropped from a plane as it fell, watching the chaos that had already been unleashed as it fell, until it reached the ground and inevitably added to it - killing, maiming, destroying. It is a truly horrible concept, given an enormous budget to enable its creation. Not just bad - actually abhorrent. I still haven't seen the film, and honestly never want to.
  13. MarkN

    The Game Development Thread

    Crikey, I've not posted in ages. I did do a little more work on Road Bastard, but hit a point where I wasn't sure about it. It's a fun little thing, but it wasn't quite grabbing me enough and introducing things like physics to all the cars broke so much (all the cars sliding and spinning about in a fun manner stopped happening, so I'd need to put a lot of work in to get that back, for example). But then I got side-tracked by playing My Time At Portia, and thinking about another project I've had at the back of my mind for a long time, but always dismissed as being too big. Harvest Moon in space. However I gave it a go - re-purposed an existing backburner project (a Moonbase simulator) - and quickly switched it across to being a farming game. After a few hours I realised that much of it seems fairly simple - the game is largely about inventory management, and time. You take something (a seed) out of your inventory and put it in the ground, you wait it becomes something else (a crop), you harvest it and store it before selling it or cooking it or whatever. The big problems here are surmountable - I'm going to need animated characters for the player, and critters etc. but it's stuff I've done in the distant past to a passable degree (I just have to learn to use Blender to get there (admittedly from the little I've used Blender in the past I hate it with a passion, but apparently you can beat it with a stick to make it behave like Max a bit more which should help a lot). There's also going to be a lot of GUI work, which will require a lot of learning (something I'm not fond of unless it's in very quick snippets). But I have soooooo many ideas for this it's untrue, so this is the most enjoyable thing I've worked on in ages (and I just keep on jotting down random new ideas for cool stuff). Anyway, too much waffle. Here are a couple of quick screenshots - the first was the quick implementation of farming into the old Moonbase prototype (those space radishes had been planted, then grew through a few stages to become crops (not yet harvestable - that will come soon)). The second is a bit of a graphical overhaul (not necessarily final), but it's where I'm at now). I hope to get a blog post up soon, because it's moving fast enough that I'll soon be playing catch-up if I don't make a start. The major problem I've got now is thinking up a name. It's a game based on Harvest Moon, where you farm on a moon. I'd love to call it "Harvest A Moon" but I'm not sure that will wash...
  14. A Fall Of Moondust was my first thought too. Then Moby Dick, but that's probably not quite what you're after (it fulfils the basic brief, but probably isn't true to what you were actually after - although it's a cracker of a book in so many other ways (probably my favourite of all the classics I've read)).
  15. MarkN

    The Alan Partridge Thread

    The bookcase bit was properly great - quintessential Partridge. Not the funniest bit, but it's just exactly what he'd do. After admiring the action of the doors he realised there was probably just about enough space in there for him to be shut up inside, so he couldn't not try it out. Turned out he was probably wrong... The swearing section was great. Especially loved the scattershot bleeping out of the first half of "country" - note perfect again, that bit I think. A few things miss the mark for me, but it's definitely up there.

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