Monday, March 21, 2005

A friend of mine tried Googling my name this week and I was surprised by the results. Searching for "ashley bennett" will show my IGDA membership page as the fourth result. Adding developer to the end will get you as the first result. That's not too bad!
With the PlayStation Portable (PSP) launching in the USA this week I have to rant about game retailers blatantly taking advantage of the early adopters. Searching around for prices on the console at stores such as EB Games, GameStop and Best Buy all bring up overpriced bundles. The console should be $250 on its own, but I can only see the major retailers selling packages of at least $350 with many more being $400+. I'll wait before I get a new portable anyway. Nintendo have another one on the way to go with their Revolution console, and my GBA SP gets little (read: no) play as it is.
The Matrix Online Beta is over with the game to launch on Tuesday. Apparently the last few hours were great, with characters such as Morpheus, The Merovingian and Niobe all turning up for a huge war involving the Matrix's virtual world being set ablaze by a fire virus started by the Machines. After my experience with the game I can say it could be fun to play in the long term if you could get in a good "clan" and there were some more events similar to the last day of the beta. Or of course if you are a rabid MMO fan.
I also tried out the Lego Star Wars Demo this week and I have to say I'm very impressed. Clean, simple fun with basic puzzles, 3D platforming and lightsabers. As long as the levels are a little longer and more complex than that presented in the demo, I would have to recommend this game. The replay value is great since you can go back and play each level with access to all of the characters in the game, each with a unique ability allowing you to open up previously inaccessible areas of the map. Buy it next month.
Finally, congratulations to the boys at Elemental Entertainment who's title Wingmen, which I have mentioned in previous posts, will be featured in an upcoming issue of Computer Arts, top digital design rag, as part of a piece about the MediaLab Arts degree, (or rather Digital Art and Technology as it will soon be known.) Well done!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm back now from GDC and it was pretty damn cool. Highlights include getting completely drunk for free, all the food we blagged each day, getting my arse handed to me in a game of Doom 3 by a professional girl gamer, oh, and the show was there too.
On the first day a lot of stands were giving out beers and stuff at about 5, so we went around each of those booths and had about 6, then went across the road when the show finished and had a few with the Full Sail staff that were there. The next night Playstation held a private party that we all got into.
As for the show, the fact that Microsoft wasn't really showing anything was a surprise. I got to have a go on the PSP a few times and there were some entertaining things to do at the booths. But overall there was nothing amazing gaming wise. It was more showing the new technologies and tools we as developers can use, which was cool to see and try, but its not like E3 - place of shiny things.
We spoke to a few people too, which was good, including getting some good advice for next year, so I would say it was definitely worth the trip. It should be better next year since we will be looking for jobs and should have some stuff to show. It was a bit pointless talking to companies about it now, apart from seeing what they wanted and what they offered (such as internships.)
I just got back this morning and had some sleep. Apparently we didn't have power for 2 days since the power company cut us off thinking we were someone else. I'm pissed.
In totally unrelated news, I'm on the front page of the MediaLab Arts website in a beautiful pic. Lucky me, thanks Chris! ;)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I have managed to get myself on the Matrix Online beta which is pretty sweet. Its the first time I've signed up for something like this and is the first MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) I have ever played at the same time. Signing up involved agreeing to an NDA, so I can't say too much, but it seems like it could get quite deep. I was thinking it would be a terrible game, but being a fan of the Matrix series I signed up for the beta as soon as I heard about it months ago, however it wasn't until Tuesday I was accepted. I have only played for around 2 one hour sessions so far, having to restart with a new character for the second hour since I switched servers to try and reduce the lag. It was bad yesterday, but it was acceptable today. I'm more impressed than I thought I would be, but really don't think I would pay a monthly fee to keep playing. I'm going to try and get the most out of this free beta as I can.
I also had a quick go at Cold Fear for the X-Box today. It looks impressive. A more action oriented survival-horror game, along the lines of Resident Evil 4, but based on a large ship in the middle of a storm. The movement is exaggerated based on huge waves crashing into the hull, making your character sway as they move. After playing I was watching the TV and everything was 'moving' infront of my eyes, which is a little worrying for a 20 min play!
This time next week I'll be at GDC and I'm looking forward to that. Just need to keep on top of the work at the same time!