new physics games … better than “world of sand” :-) and more

Small games that simulate real-world physics are just fantastic – I already wrote about a very similar game but this one has far more options :-)

powder

“This sandbox contains a variety of elements which the player can scatter at a mouse-click. Ice, water, fire, the titular “powder” (which serves as the sand). The heart of Powder Game is the way these elements interact. Water that touches ice will freeze. Ice that touches fire will melt. Drop a seed onto some powder and a plant will sprout. Water the plant and it will grow. Touch a flame to it and it will catch fire and burn.

The other key element that defines Powder Game is wind. Powder stacks in neat piles, but a click of the mouse (a right click by default, but this can be changed) sends it spiralling into the air. Currents coalesce, rub against each other, create eddies in the air. Fire creates wind, as does exploding gunpowder. Wind turns ice into snow, creates rivers of particles in the air. When the background effect is set to “BG-shade,” it becomes entrancing to watch.”

There is even a whole website around those physic games:

funmotion

Source 1: http://dan-ball.jp/en/javagame/dust/
Source 2: World of Sand-old article
Source 3: http://www.fun-motion.com/

Augmented Reality Game soon available (full source!)

You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:

Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”

So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:

It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:

lh_4_med

“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “

If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:

The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.

Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage

How to play a shooter in 16 pixel by 16 pixels space

It’s really a piece of art with only 256 pixels space – it’s the remake of the Defender game you won’t be able to play in Full HD:

DEFENDER of the favicon is a JavaScript remake of Eugene Jarvis‘ brilliant arcade game Defender written by Mathieu ‘p01’ Henri and inspired by Scott Schiller‘s experiment with generated favicons VU meter. The idea was to push the concept of generated favicons further and pack a thrilling retro shooter in 16×16 pixels using JavaScript, canvas and data: URIs.”

“Each frame of the game is generated on the fly in JavaScript into a 16×16 canvas element, then converted to a 32bits PNG image and used in place of the favicon.”

To be clear: This is not a joke – it’s an actual game… the size of:

16x16defender

Source: http://www.p01.org/releases/DHTML_contests/files/DEFENDER_of_the_favicon/

How to turn an old notebook into a very stylish Arcade / MAME Cocktail Cabinet

You would need:

  1. an old yet powerful enough notebook to play MAME games
    300px-MAME
    MAME is an emulator application designed to recreate the hardware of arcade game systems in software, with the intent of preserving gaming history and preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten. The name is an acronym for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.”
  2. an IKEA RAMVIK sideboard
  3. go to the homepage of the project to get the details how to build it :-)

IMG_0599_2

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAME
Source 3: http://www.ikea.com
Source 2: http://mamebook.blogspot.com/

Zak McKracken is back! And you can download it for free!

zakmckracken

“”Zak McKracken: between time and space” is an unofficial sequel to the adventure game “Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders” released in 1988. We, the “Artificial Hair Bros.” have devoted our time to create a worthy follow up to this all-time-classic. Capturing the mood and of the original game and creating something new nonetheless.

It’s been a while since Zak’s last adventure. People have forgotten all about our hero who saved humanity from enslavement. His five minutes of fame went by way too quick and the money he earned with his award winning book went down the drains when Zak decided to get his own newspaper off the ground.

But now Zak has to prove his worth once again. Stumbling into his next adventure, Zak gets yet another chance to show the world what real heroes are made of…

Why a sequel to ZakMcKracken?

Zak McKracken is one of the few adventure games that never got a proper sequel. There are no high-res backgrounds and no sweeping soundtrack, this left us with a lot of freedom when we started working on this game.

Handmade backgrounds, elaborate cut-scenes

We think that hand-drawn backgrounds made some of the old adventure games something very special. This is why we decided to keep the gameplay stricly 2D. But Zak:btas isn’t just a pixel-adventure, we have created the scenery and characters in our own graphical style and added 3D cut-scenes to add some diversity.

How long did it take to develop this game?
Work on the project began in 2002. In the beginning starting out as an amateur-game, we soon found ourselves reaching higher levels of quality step by step. By the time we are done 5 years of hard work will lay behind us.

What problems had to be solved when making this game?

One of the biggest challenges has been recruiting a team one could rely on and keeping the members of the team motivated to work on their respective parts. Unfortunately not everyone is motivated and passionate enough to work on a project for free over such a long period of time. But we were lucky enough to find reliable members for each part of development. You really do need a good working team to master a project like this.”

Source: http://www.zak2.org

the Quake family tree

If you ever were into egoshooter / games you would come across the different game engines that are used to create games. One of them is the Quake engine which in fact is one of the most successful. This is the “family tree” of the Quake engine:

“Most games rely on enhanced versions of the original Quake engine with better lighting, more complex model support, better netcode and other modifications.”

g2750

Source: Quake

Count the bodies

The most (in)famous action-flick of movie history now has its third sequel, but nowhere a company producing a proper first-person shooter? It’s kind of strange that nobody seems to be interested in picking up a worldwide-known character.

rambo4 

Is it too much guilty pleasure? Too much far-right, political incorrect or just old-fashioned? Maybe it’s the lack of box-office in the US. Or simply no licence is available.

Anyway, back in the Reagan-era these concerns didn’t exist.

rambo_title

rambo_ingame

The 1985-game with a well-known score by Martin Galway was a huge bestseller.

Jens Heymann

have serious fun with…free 2D physics sandbox tools

The standard nerd knows: physics is fun. Even better: When you play with gravity and friction and water an what-not in a sandbox. Now there are several tools available that allow you to do just that: Play with physics.

The first tool is called “phun” and is Windows and Linux only. It’s a small tool that allows you to draw circles, boxes, springs,… and when you finished: press the “play” button to start the simulation. You can interact all the time with the objects and the simulation by draging and manipulating everything.

phun 

There’s even a video available of phun in action:

It’s serious fun…that phun tool… yeah I had to write that, you know?!

The second tool I want to write about is called “Chipmunk” and is available for OS X only. To be fair: this is not a real drawing tool like phun – it’s more or less a game physics engine that cames with several samples in sourcecode that you can play with if you can… You need XCode and some Objective C knowledge.

tower

So now go and play!

Source 1: http://www.acc.umu.se/~emilk/index.html
Source 2: http://wiki.slembcke.net/main/published/Chipmunk

play this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game N+ now on your PC/Mac

Major Nelson announced this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game: N+. Because this game evolved from a former Flash game you can also get the “original version”:

“play as a ninja trapped in a world of well-meaning, inadvertantly homicidal robots. version 1.4 includes tons of levels (500), organized neatly into 100 unlockable episodes, and features 50 levels made by fans of N!”

n

Source 1: http://www.harveycartel.org/metanet/downloads.html
Source 2: http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/02/18/this-week-on-arcade-n.aspx

Assassin’s Creed: The unofficial Al-Qaeda game

It has been the most awaited game of the year – Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed”. The official plot deals about a member of the legendary assassins, an organization of … eh, yeah… assassins. Your mission as player is to kill nine different persons because they destabilize the peace of the hole Middle East with their actions. So far, so political correct.

256px-Assassin's_Creed

I say this is bullshit.

The historical assassins had been a bunch of fanatical and ideological blinded killers who dreamt of establishing a strict theocracy (think of Iran). This sounds very familiar with what islamic terrorists are doing these days, doesn’t it?

Just imagine a few changes:

– change of time: not the Middle Ages, but the present

– change of scenery: not Akkon or Jerusalem, but Bagdad or New York

– change of armament: not the dagger and poison, but AK-47 and explosive belts

– change of mission: not a hidden single killing, but casualties as many as possible

The rest remains the same.

What about escaping after the kill? Not historical. Assassins didn’t run away – they accepted their death and now you know where the modern suicide assassin is descendent from.

This is of course only a game, but with an interesting setup.

Jens Heymann

today (at least) one 360 died

There was this update. My 360 died right after it. Well: Coincidence?

IMG_7842

The support / repair experience is quite good so far – besides the fact that I have to get a coffin by myself and that they won’t add the lost Xbox Live Subscription Time to my account….

Now this is my second 360 that craps out. If you want to know what happened in 2006 to my first 360 go here.

Source: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,944f2bb2-696b-48fb-b06a-d8734f5a6f44.aspx

Echochrome… just for the PC and right now.

“OLE Coordinate System is trompe-l’oeil interactive software that enables characters to wander along blocks and staircases in impossible ways. While M.C. Escher is famous for his “trick of the eye” works, this piece enables users to create and experience their own Escher-esque worlds. Examples of such animation expressions are: character movements based on a 2D interpretation of attached blocks which are not contiguous in three-dimensional space; falling motions on a single plane, etc. You don’t have to do anything special to create “trick of the eye” images like these. The user just clicks to position the block, staircase or character and change the angle.”

For a better understanding, look at the pictures and the video:

Source: OLE Coordinate System

Forza Motorsport 2 arrived…

… it seems that there people at the Nürburgring do have a problem with tree decimation… the over one year old Project Gotham Racing 3 Nürburgring had significantly more trees…

This is the Forza Motorsport 2 Nürburgring:


(Forza Motorsport 2)

… remember when I had the exact same location pictured before in Project Gotham Racing 3:


(Project Gotham Racing 3)

Beyond the Red Line: Battlestar Galactica game

There’s a free fan made Battlestar Galactica game available…

“Beyond the Red Line is a stand-alone total conversion for the award-winning Freespace 2 released by Volition and Interplay for the PC. It is based on the popular new tv-show Battlestar Galactica. No, not the one from the 70s.”

It’s free and available for Windows, OS X and Linux.

Source: http://www.game-warden.com/bsg/

in game advertising

Hmm… Once upon a time there was a guy with an idea. The idea simply breaks down to this:

“Sell full price games to people and get an extra revenue out of in-game advertising.”

So here we are: I just found pacific city in crackdown literally plastered with Dodge advertising. Once day it was Dell… if you’re playing in the UK you’ll probably get army ads… how sick is that.

The first game that got this kind of in-game advertising was Testdrive Unlimited. The advertising was only available in the US of A and when you bought the game there it wasn’t full-price but $20 less than a full price title – because of that in-game ads. As an european player you didn’t see any ads and you had to pay the full price.

To be clear: I don’t think in-game advertising sucks. I just think that if you’re gaining revenue from in-game advertising you should share it with the players who actually bought the game. (e.g. lower the game price).

In the case of crackdown there’s no lower price. And that sucks.

you are a X-COM Enemy Unknown Defense fan?! read this.

SMKSoftware has something free to play with:

“The Pocket UFO is a remake of the popular game of the last century X-COM Enemy Unknown (UFO Defense) for the Pocket PC devices. The game is a turn-based strategy with the RPG elements. The excellent graphics and exciting gameplay are attracting the gamers all over the world till present. This game is absolutely FREEWARE!”

Source: SMKSoftware

Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe

You are a fan of SIM* games? You want something light to take on your travels and play from time to time? I got good news for you: Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe is available in it’s final version 0.5.

It’s running on Windows, Linux and MacOS and you will need the original Transport Tycoon Deluxe files because OpenTTD just reuses the graphics of the old version.

But when you got all that you get a very very great game that doesn’t need much resources and is insane fun.

Source: http://www.openttd.org/index.php

GTA 1 + GTA 2 + Wild Metal downloadable for free

“In 1999, Rockstar Games and Rockstar North (then known as DMA Design) furthered the groundbreaking gameplay concepts established just two years prior in the original Grand Theft Auto – with the release of GTA2. GTA2 expanded on the top-down, open-ended crime world gameplay formula with a host of new features including the advent of multiple rival gangs – seven, to be exact, including the Yakuza, Scientists, Looneys, Rednecks, Zaibatsu, the Russian Mob and Hare Krishnas. Earn your respect with each gang. Reap the benefits with all manner of shady work-for-hire gigs contracted your way. And climb your way to the top of the criminal pile.

Now, longtime Grand Theft Auto fans can revisit this classic entry in the series – and new jacks who missed out on this early franchise title can further discover Grand Theft Auto’s roots – absolutely free. GTA2 has been completely optimized for play on modern PCs and is available gratis for all registrants to the Rockstar Games mailing list (rest assured your information will not be shared with any third parties, you will only receive information from Rockstar). Simply fill out the form below and check your email for a direct link to the file (353 MB .zip file, includes install .exe, readme .txt file, and a .pdf of the original PC game manual).”

Source: http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/

Atari code posters…

“Like any other game console, Atari 2600 cartridges contained executable code also commingled with data. This lists the code as columns of assembly language. Most of it is math or conditional statements (if x is true, go to y), so each time there’s “go to” a curve is drawn from that point to its destination.

When a byte of data (as opposed to code) is found in the cartridge, it is shown as an orange row: a solid block for a “1” or a dot for a “0”. The row is eight elements long, representing a whole byte. This usually means that the images can be seen in their entirety when a series of bytes are shown as rows. The images were often stored upside-down as a programming method.”

And it looks like this:

Source: http://benfry.com/distellamap/

getting "Crackdown" early…

I just realised that I got my copy of Crackdown more than 5 days earlier than I was supposed to be. Crackdown is available in stores starting Feb. 20. Oh and it’s a great great game. GTA is nothing compared to this one…

Those who are also getting crackdown may want to consider visiting http://crackdown.wikispaces.com/. You can find some great maps there that come in handy when you’re on the orb hunt.

And for those who want to try co-op: add me to your friendslist (gamertag is “bietiekay”) and we’ll do a co-op mission or two.

Super Mario deconstructed

“This is a deconstructed Nintendo emulator that shows how sprites and sprite memory are handled while a game is being played. The intent is to show insight for how software and hardware work, given the relatively simple example of a minimal architecture from an old game console system.”

Source: http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/deconstructulator/

Super Mario on XNA and maybe 360

Yeah baby!! If I’ll ever do a game on the 360, it’ll most probably a 2D jump-n-run. Because that is one of the genres I enjoyed the most.

Christian Liensberger started something which looks nice (and copyrighted) in the first place, and brings back all that love for jump-n-runs in the second place…

“You can control Mario by plugging in an Xbox 360 controller. Use the left stick to move around and A to jump and B to run faster. The keyboard is also supported (added for your guys). Use left, right, down to move around and X to jump and Y to run faster.”

Source: XNA Express + Super Mario is fun! (now with source code)