Sunday, February 11, 2007

subsurface education ... and stuff

I'm working on a project, for my Technical and Professional Writing class, in which I've been asked to brainstorm questions that would be relevant to closing a bridge for preservation and diverting a major thoroughfare in the process. It's much more complicated than that, actually.

I was surprised to realize that I'm instinctively using my Sim City experience as a model for the situation. For example, one of my questions is: "Is the thoroughfare/bridge in an industrial, commercial, or residential district?" I only played the original version of the game, so I can't call on the intricacies which are probably present in newer versions. Anyway, I realize now that Sim City did quite a bit to introduce me to the real strife of urban planning.

It makes me wonder how other games have affected my knowledge or perception of the world in small ways like that.

On a mildly related note: I reviewed a couple of old video presentations of Spore today. It's still the upcoming game I'm most anxious to play. In any RPG that offers character customization, I usually spend hours tweaking my characters to be just right. That part's a game in itself. So the prospect of an entire game built around that particular avenue of fun has me drooling to no end.

I also reviewed some Hellgate: London videos. That one's still in my Must-Have category, but I think the shine has worn off a bit. I believe a lot of that has to do with the underwhelming sound effects, as I previously discussed. I also hate seeing missile weapons (bullets, rockets, arrows, etc) that have no visible force of impact. The punch is important.

I noticed on Hellgate's site that there's a rough release date now of "summer 07". As pleased as I am that I don't have to wait until winter to get my hands on it (maybe... we'll see, right?), I'm irritated when any publisher or developer talks of release more than a month in advance. Even rough dates like that are so often false in this industry that early dates always sound disingenuine. Just tell me when it's done and on its way to manufacturing.

Speaking of false release publicity, here we are approaching March and Alan Wake is nowhere to be seen. I can't say I've ever been that excited about this one though. It got a lot of hype for graphics, but there's next to no information concerning gameplay. I'm betting that it will feel something like Condemned; good for a rental, but not worth buying.

On the other hand, Mass Effect has me more excited than I used to be. I guess I have more of an impression of open-ended gameplay now. KotOR, for me, was a rental. It offered some character customization, but the adventure felt linear. It's hard not to expect the same in Bioware's new work. I love depthful storylines and dynamics, but not at the expense of control. Make it fluid. Bioware started campaigning this too early as well. It makes me wonder if that's a tactic to estimate potential interest and attract further investment than is already secured.

And lastly, there's the game that dropped off the face of the Earth: Possession. There were a couple videos about a year ago, but I haven't heard anything about it since. It was a fun idea, playing as a zombie commander in an attempt to convert the whole city.

Anyway, back to my schoolwork. =/

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