Trent Polack's site for cats, games, game development, and undeniably powerful sociological insight all with a healthy dose of narcissism.
mittens's Articles » Page 4
March 14, 2008 by mittens
Following my cohort's lead, I'm going to list some things or trends in video games which bug me in some way shape or form.

Poorly-Placed Checkpoints: In games which have a checkpoint save system, the checkpoints are occasionally very poorly laid out; when the player overcomes a particularly difficult/annoying puzzle or makes it through a rough combat scenario not having a checkpoint immediately nearby does not add to the game's difficulty level. All the lack of a checkpoint does is make the g...
March 13, 2008 by mittens
Not that I spent recent nights playing stuff like Army of Two, Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, Company of Heroes, Master of Magic, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, Bully, Ratchet & Clank, Geometry Wars, Everyday Shooter, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, or God of War: Chains of Olympus instead of actually updating my dev journal or anything... But, yeah. Pretty much did exactly that. I've still gotten a bit done on Asplode! every night but, by this point, I'm mostly making various optimi...
February 28, 2008 by mittens
It seems like it's time for the video game industry to grow up and realize that it needs to start producing games with the idea that the experience they provide to gamers is one wholly unique to the industry. I finally saw There Will Be Blood earlier this week and, after witnesses the absolutely mind-numbingly fantastic performance of Daniel Day-Lewis I came to a fairly obvious realization: games will never provide an experience as fulfilling, captivating, and, most importantly, truly captivatin...
February 24, 2008 by mittens

Former intern-turned-remote-worker Nick told me that I should start posting some of the development journal entries that I have been previously posting over at my dev journal here. So that's what I'm doing. If the idea of developing a top-down space shooter in the fashion of Robotron is an attractive one to you, then I'd recommend reading the backlog of posts as a form of "Previously on the Journal of Rawr" catch-up.

One of my design mantras -- and I use the word 'design' loosely -- is that while coding the game I keep things as simple, quick, and efficient as possible. As one might guess, this can become problematic at times. Less so in the implementation of routines and ideas so much as it is the necessity of shooting down some gameplay mechanics that, while fun, would defeat the purpose of such a simple Robotron/Geometry Wars knockoff. And, really, that's all I'm hoping to accomplish with Asplode!.

February 17, 2008 by mittens
There have been a startling number of PC-Games-Are-Dying sort of statements coming out lately, the latest of which coming from Cliff Bleszinski of Unreal Tournament fame. This statement no doubt related to the poor sales numbers of Epic's own Unreal Tournament 3 and Gears of War PC. I suppose it's worth noting that Gears of War PC was released almost a year after its 360 version and its relatively high system requirements may or may not be a contributing factor in its sales numbers.

Of ...
November 20, 2007 by mittens
There are various aspects of my personality which are decidedly ruled by what is conventionally considered to be the right-side of the brain -- the side that handles the warm, fuzzy feelings and such. I have an incredibly vivid and vibrant imagination that is constantly at work no matter what I may be doing and what I may be focusing on. Anyone who knows me has said something along the lines of "nothing can ever be realistically as fun for Trent as he imagines it to be." This may seem like a sad...
September 25, 2007 by mittens
I watched Saving Private Ryan over this past weekend, since I hadn't seen it in a few years (and had only previously seen it on VHS), and I had forgotten just how great the movie really is. I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it after watching Band of Brothers so many times due to the fact that Band of Brothers devoted so much more time to character development, as it had the luxury of a lengthy running-time as opposed to the time constraints placed on Ryan as a theatrical feature movie. The wo...
September 3, 2007 by mittens
So, I moved into my new apartment a couple of weeks ago off in a city about thirty-or-so miles from Ann Arbor. It's a one-bedroom apartment that is, quite frankly, about one bedroom larger than I really need, but at least that gives the cat some more room to wander and stalk invisible monsters. I'm in the middle of a huge furniture drought which proved a fairly daunting thing when I had my setup arranged in a logical state (bed in the bedroom, and I left my computer in the living room)... So I p...
May 20, 2007 by mittens
Jump to: Introduction :: The First Day :: Three-Week Mark :: Personal Implications :: Conclusion

As of now, I am officially a two-week-old intern programmer at the game development division of Stardock; a company most likely best-known for their Object Desktop suite of Windows desktop customization software (of which I believe WindowBlinds and ObjectDock may be the most well-known). Within the game development scope of things, though, Stardock is famous for their turn-based str...
April 21, 2007 by mittens
Jump to: Intro :: Living Spaces :: Tremories :: Conclusion

Semantics and Generalities
As I was driving home this afternoon for my last at-home vacation for a while, I realized that being that I only have a single exam remaining before my senior year is officially at a close and, continuing with a tradition a whole two years in the running, it's time for that end-of-the-year post where I can get all appropriately nostalgic about things that have occurred over the past nine months. Being that ...
February 26, 2007 by mittens
Jump to: Introduction :: The Big Picture :: Nuclear Hugs :: Tech of the Infinite War :: Conclusion

War is Fought with ACUs
To say that I have been looking forward to the retail release of Supreme Commander is an understatement of epic proportions. With this game, we have a Real-Time Strategy title centered around large-scale warfare -- such a concept may sound unspectacular on paper until you realize that, while some RTSs certainly have an epic scope in terms of storyline and setting, they ...
January 6, 2007 by mittens
Jump to: Introduction :: Upon Release :: DS 2005 :: DS 2006 :: DS 2007+

A Dual-Screened Motivation
Earlier this week I had a discussion with my mother about the Nintendo DS when I noticed, in an ad paper, that the DS Lite was being sold for $150 (a price which I recently realized is nothing special). I made the mistake of mentioning that there was a Super Mario Bros. remake and Tetris DS released for the system. It took only a few nanoseconds to get the conversation to a point where my mothe...
December 27, 2006 by mittens
Jump to: The Apology :: The Personal Touch :: The Geeky Touch :: Games of 2006 :: Parting Sentiments

The Apology
Now that I'm officially engulfed in the first day of my Christmas vacation, I can address an increasingly vocal group of readers who are dissatisfied with the amount of entries that have been written within the last few months in a more-or-less rambling fashion. This method of rambling has been, by and large, dismissed in the favor of far more technological in nature -- read: nerd...
December 18, 2006 by mittens
After a very small and virtually unidentifiable break from the monolithic RTS series, I decided that it was time to put my completely empty wallet's worth of money where my ever-so-large mouth is and get to work on developing some sort of game. Yes, that's right. I am actually going to work on a project that doesn't (d)evolve into me getting obsessed with some component of the overall tech which I eventually spend months trying to perfect. I, this time, pinky-swear (cross my heart, etc.) that I'...
November 26, 2006 by mittens
Jump to: The Introduction :: Company of Heroes :: Supreme Commander :: The Conclusion

The Introduction (Or "Why Delays Are the New Thing")
Let's pretend that this article is getting published in a special part of a unique dimension somewhere in the vast reaches of time, space, and the Intarweb that wouldn't place it nearly two months after the last installment of this -- my four-part series dedicated solely to the fruitful kind of happyhappyjoyjoy feelings that the Real-Time Strategy genre c...