12 is Better Than 6 – Funded

Ink Stains Games are pleased to announce that their Kickstarter for classic Western inspired 12 is Better Than 6, has successfully reached its main goal!

12 is better than 6 kickstarter

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The Wolf Guard gears up for Space Hulk

Danish development studio Full Control today revealed the first chapter expansion for Space Hulk, the 3D digital turn based strategy game based on the best-selling board game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  Scheduled to launch in late 2013, the Space Wolves chapter expansion will includes a three missions based on the classic “Fangs of Fenris” campaign, that first introduced the ferocious warriors of the Wolf Guard into Space Hulk.

Space Hulk

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Space Hulk – Messenger of Purgatory

Full Control have announced the launch of the brand new “Messenger of Purgatory” campaign for Space Hulk, the 3D digital turn based strategy game based on the best-selling board game and set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe!

Space Hulk - Messenger of Purgatory

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teamPixel and Indiegogo to Save Homeworld?

During the news about THQ’s assets having been sold at auction yesterday, there was no word of the Homeworld franchise.

Rob Santos, lead developer at teamPixel, enquired about the series and whether it would appear at auction, but was told that Homeworld is part of a “legacy assets bucket” and not yet up for sale.  So for now, teamPixel are holding an Indiegogo campaign called Save Homeworld!

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Left 4 Dead 2 – Deathcraft II

Deathcraft II is a rather impressive mod and campaign for Left 4 Dead 2.. turning it into something that looks just like Minecraft!

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Left 4 Dead 2 – Cold Stream

Cold Stream is a new campaign created by modder Matthew Lourdelet, who previously created the 2 Evil Eyes campaign.

Having received some well-deserved support from Valve, this became available for players to beta test last night.

I got round to playing it this morning.  We first spawned in the stream itself..  I thought this was a very pretty location with the rushing water and trees..

We decided this first part of the map could maybe have done with a few more pointers on direction, as once you’ve headed into the trees it’s fairly easy to lose your sense of direction..

We also wandered in and out of a small building before realising we were supposed to jump out of the first floor window to carry on.. maybe if this window had been broken it would have given us a clue, but as it was it looked like a recipe for fall damage.  Minor points, though.. and they didn’t hold us up for long 🙂

In the second map, we emerged in a tunnel full of rushing water.  A minor complaint here was the lack of sound for the water.. noticeable in the tunnel where you’d expect to really hear it.  I think it was around here that we started talking about how cool it would be if the water were to push you along, as it certainly looked fast-flowing..

I think the foggy lighting here would be great cover when playing as the Infected.. 🙂

Towards the end of this level we were nearly wiped out by a sneak-attacking tank, who incapacitated most of the team with a massive rock which came crashing down onto the group.  We hadn’t even picked up the bots by the time he got to us, and after I threw the bile on him, he sent me flying past the still-incapped Ellis..

The bile brought enough zombies to kill him off, and we carried on through a building and back into a tunnel full of water.

This time, there was a push behind the water!  Straight ahead there appeared to be a drop to the death, but we headed right and down a set of stairs with more water flowing down them.  I was rather pleased with this bit 😉

On the third level we were surprised with an explosion, sending cars and trucks flying and leaving a large hole on the bridge we were crossing!

I liked how this changed the map right before us, but wonder how this feels in Versus mode.. whether the infected get trapped here, or whether it allows insta-kills over the edge.  I need more friends who still want to play this game 😉

We had noticed a witch crying, and before the explosion I had been looking for her, hoping to beat The Undoer to the kill 😉

She turned out to be standing on a surface below the bridge, with no way up.  I noticed that this bug has been mentioned on the Steam forum dedicated to Cold Stream, along with the bug we got at the beginning of the Finale level..

That’s me, spawned on the outside of the safe room.. oops.

Using the radio in the safe room starts a cutscene with what we assumed was a rescue helicopter that crashes down into the trees.. all which needs some kind of voice acting as it just feels a bit strange.  After this, we were free to run out to look for the helicopter, or an alternative rescue..

A little further along, I thought the game had crashed when everything seemed to stick.. then we realised it was just a slow-motion effect.  At the time this seemed rather impressive, but I’m now thinking it should maybe have been left out.  In games like Homefront and Call of Duty, slow-motion is used to allow you to respond quickly to a threat.. here, it just seems to be used to add to the explosion, and after the second play-through I think this would be more of an annoying delay than something to be impressed by.

For the rescue, again, hindsight comes in..

Presumably attracted by the fire and smoke from the wreckage of the first helicopter, a second helicopter was waiting to rescue us.  I think this should have been the other way round, with us having to wait and hold out against a horde.. this would have been more challenging.  Instead, we almost discovered the ladder by chance, and with the common infected piling on Ellis and Rochelle, we were free to run up the ladder to safety.

Having run through this campaign though, I realised quite how much I miss playing the game.. the adrenaline rush, the need for really close co-operation.. the awesome feeling when you and your friends survive despite the AI director being harsh.. 🙁

Are Games Too Short?

The subject of game length has come up again at work this week, with complaints about Homefront’s short single player campaign of four to five hours.  I got rather annoyed with the double-standards of some people whining about Homefront but being perfectly happy with the length of the single-player campaigns in the Call of Duty series.. they’re all about the same length!

Personally, I think five hours isn’t enough if that’s the entire game.. I really wasn’t happy when I completed Half Life 2: Episode 2 in just a few hours.
However, in most games there are extra modes, and for Homefront and the Call of Duty series, there is a lot of playability in the multiplayer part of the games.. though if you are only interested in single-player, that’s no consolation.

A short game with great action and really memorable sections should be considered far superior to a longer but less fun game.. but it seems that some people dismiss a short game as being poor value for money regardless.  I wonder where this leaves us for the future.. I hope it doesn’t lead to devs padding games with boring travel sections or pointless dialogue..

While talking about Call of Duty 4, we all agreed that the single-player was rather short, but overall the game was fantastic.. even months after playing, we remembered parts of the game we enjoyed.. such as the One Shot, One Kill mission, which stood out as a real highlight.

Another game I look at favourably is Half Life 2, which was a lot longer, but was also paced nicely so that you could stop and look around between the more action-based parts if you wanted to.. and when devs have gone to the effort of creating a good game environment, I’d feel I was wasting that to speed through as fast as possible.

As for pacing.. I recently had early access to a game with rather annoying, nagging NPCs which made me push on all the time and I found myself getting angry with it, especially since I knew the game was fairly short.  Sure, I could have ignored the NPCs, but their constant barked orders were irritating.. this just spoiled my enjoyment in looking around and made me want to get things over and done with just to shut them up.

That’s not the feeling I want in a game, if I’m honest.. so short and rushed rates badly in my books.

I saw an argument last year for games being too long.. since many gamers have unfinished games in their collection, they must be getting bored before finishing them: therefore games are too long.  Now, I have a horrible record for completion, but this is nothing to do with the length of the games in question.  The reasons I don’t complete my games are a lack of time after the grind of work, lots of cheap games (I’m looking at you, Steam sales!) leading to there being more in my collection, and the fact that when I do have time, my friends are around to play as well.. and I’m hardly going to tell them to sling it while I get on with a single-player campaign.  Recently I would also blame WoW, as it’s rather too easy to just pop on for half an hour, which turns into a few hours that could have been used to advance the story in another game.