Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Tag: electronic arts

Forward Planning

Now that things have settled down, in both work and life, I should be in position to resume writing here more frequently. It probably won’t be regular because I’m still never quite sure when things of note are actually going to happen, but they do seem to. Which is nice.

Let The Issues Be The Issue

This post was actually written before the American elections finished so I will only touch on Obama’s victory briefly (at least until I can digest the results fully). While his platform of change became popular enough to secure the White House, actually effecting that change will still be an uphill struggle, particularly in the current economic climate where massive financial bailouts have left America’s national debt even more monstrous than previously. The rest of the world, however, is breathing a collective sigh of relief β€”arguably less that Obama is in and more that Bush(‘s cronies) is out and Palin wasn’t allowed anywhere near! I also particularly liked ad agency Grey NYC’s recent campaign inverting the races of the two candidates, urging voters to vote on issues rather than race. Londonders will likely have seen it on the cover of yesterday’s Metro. The posters quickly became collectors’ items.

Fallout 3

Currently I am preparing for the glut of high quality videogame titles heading this way. Although the numbers are roughly the same it seems significantly more daunting when combined with a job. Gabe and Tycho’s Operation Myriad is not far off. Better make those holidays count, I guess. I’m currently exploring the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. in Fallout 3 and the feeling of isolation they have captured is fantastic, travelling between small communities.  Rather than just being quest hubs, there is a real sense that these isolated pockets are just people trying to get by.

Mirror\'s Edge

I am also very pleased to announce that the demo for free running game Mirror’s Edge has placed it firmly at the top of the pre-orders list. I already loved the clinical art style of the metropolis and the videos they have released, but with jump puzzles generally being the bane of any first-person game, devoting an entire experience to exactly that would require a seriously impressive control system. Fortunately, that’s exactly what they have delivered with a surprisingly intuitive system for vertical interaction with the environment. The momentum you build up as you run is also key, particularly if you want to land on something soft after ziplining between buildings, since your momentum is conserved as you drop. The bottom line is that it can make you look and feel as cool as Assassin’s Creed, but without taking all control away from the player like that game’s one-button mechanic. I’m really impressed by this new EA, turned from churning out sports games, sequels and movie tie-ins to producing some really impressive and innovative new IPs.

Creature Creation

I am well slept and recovered from the Bird & Bird summer party last night, a perfect way to celebrate a good IP & Commercial exam (though I don’t actually finish until Tuesday). It was held at The Eve Club, resplendent in its Moroccan themed decor although sadly a little too small for the rapidly growing firm, which must make these events harder and harder to arrange each year. The crowded venue meant it did not quite live up to the riverside Boat Club do two years ago, but it was nevertheless good fun with a chance to meet a few more future trainees to fill in most of the missing gaps. This year’s summer students were invited too, so it was odd already not being the “new kids”, though it was pleasant to know everyone was watching them and not us!

DownLow, made with the Spore Creature Creature

A trial version of the Creature Creator for Spore, the forthcoming game from Sims creator Will Wright, has been released and I recommend everyone tries it out. Although limited in terms of body parts, the ability to totally shape the body means the trial still allows massive scope for possibilities and EA have announced that over 300,000 creatures have already been uploaded by people in the last few days. My first creation was the gravitationally challenged DownLow on the right. The real surprise for me was how intuitive the editor feels, something you can only really experience by trying it out rather than watching Robin Williams playing with it.

Spore is essentially a game based around evolution so that you start of as a single-celled organism which you gradually evolve first as an individual then a tribe, and finally a planet-conquering species before heading out into the stars. With the Sims many people spent half their time just in the editor recreating friends and family, so releasing the creature creator for free seems like a bold move. However with Spore it seems much of the fun will be in seeing how they animate and interact within the game world, whether they work well or not. I suspect the DownLow, for example, may have significant balance issues…

So download, give it a spin and share what you come up with.

"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

(CC) BY-NC 2004-2023 Priyan Meewella

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