Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Astral Plane Design Doc

Hi guys, another design doc here.

Since my hard drive combusted all I have is the scaned pages of my hard copy.  I am hoping to clear it up later.

Astral Plane is the concept for a 2D platformer set is a trippy woderscape known as the Astral Plane and saw a young backpacker attempt to save this world form a cruel fast food tycoon.  Hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, 10 February 2011


Hello everyone, just though that I would provide a link to some of my game designs.  So, it is my pleasure to present my dissertation piece, Soulless, a science fiction RPG.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Just Cause 2

This is my new revised review, that a developer required as part of their application process.  Far better than the old one, I have revised my views on the games and made it less rambly.

Considering my prefrence for open world sandbox games, I think it would be appropriate to review the most recent game that I have played from the same genre.  The game in question is the sequel to a highly enjoyable James Bond esque, Just Cause (2006), simply titled Just Cause 2 (2010).  The original was an action packed revolutionary romp through a jungle paradise with lots of gun battles, explosions and farfetched acrobatics.  To an extent the sequel is as well, however, it is severely let down in a few key areas, primarily the narrative aspects of the game, which sour the innocence of the original with poorly written characters, and a clunky narrative.

Take for example the hero, Rico Rodriguez, who was our protagonist in the first game.   He was a lightly developed, yet nevertheless charming Hispanic caricature, which helped to give the game its identity.  However in Just Cause 2, someone at Avalanche seemed to think it would have been a good idea to transform this character into an unpleasant arrogant thug.  Indeed Rico is less the suave Latin gentleman and more Tony Montana, delivering each and every one of his turgid poorly written lines with a kind of brutish snarl, so repulsive that it made me take an almost instant dislike to the man.  The games narrative doesn’t fare any better, suffering from poor pacing, with only a handful of main missions spread wafer thin across a fifty plus hour experience.  Like the characters, the story suffers from clunky writing with several supposedly important plot points being established on mission, only to be quickly discarded in the next, unsubtle intrusive satire and very little emotional impact.

Thankfully, the woeful characters are offset by its superb gameplay and presentation, allowing me to stop complaining and give out some genuine compliments.  Both areas have clearly undergone massive improvements over its predecessor. The game world is vaster and more varied, not to mention even more eye wateringly  beautiful to look at and the vehicle stunts are far easier to carry out, but most importantly the two main unique selling points of the last game, namely the grapple and parachute, have been massively updated.  Rico can now grapple on to almost any surface in the game, which makes getting around both a cinch and a joy, as well as allowing the player to sadistically play around with the hapless goons who get in the way.  Using the grapple in combat is only sometimes more useful than simply shooting your opponents, but it is often laugh out loud fun and a welcome addition to the game.

Just Cause 2 was well received by critics throughout the industry, with praise being primarily given to the aforementioned gameplay, whilst a fair number remarked that the story was nothing special.  From some of the scores given, they didn’t judge it to be a particular obstacle to their overall enjoyment.  This certainly wasn’t the case for me, the characters were so bad that I was unable to just file them away at the back of my mind; the dialogue was terrible, the characters were wretched and the narrative poorly paced.  All in all the game was unable to live up to the childishly fun original and was a big disappointment.

Friday, 28 January 2011


Well here I am, its been four long months since I triumphantly earned my Masters in digital game design and I am still (despairingly) trying to brake into the industry.  I was told it would be hard to get my foot in the proverbial door but I hadn't quite imagined how difficult it really could be.

In a recent rejection notice I was advised to start up a blog in order to keep my designer eye from falling into decay, during this period of inactivity and generally give my mind something to do while I hunker down to ride out this dam recession.

So as time goes on I will make posts about the various games I have played, looking at a game from a design perspective, noting what did and didn't work, what could be improved and so on and if any one happens across this page then I hope you will enjoy reading them.