03 September, 2013

PAX 2013

written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Shadow Warrior

Shadow Warrior was probably the worst of the big three Build Engine games (which also included Blood and Duke Nukem 3D).  But I still liked to turn it down to easy and kill all the enemies with a sword.  The new version gives you crazy magical powers and a scoring system to reward flashy play.  Plus the earlier game's racism and sexism and main character are basically not present, which is fine.  Lo Wang was a one joke character anyway.  But I'm probably still going to talk in his silly voice while playing. :)

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

This looks like one for the folks at work.  Everyone controls a character inside a spaceship, running from station to station to use various thrusters, weapons, and shield arrays to avoid obstacles and fend off enemy ships.  So it's FTL meets Space Team, and it looks like Monaco.  Yeah.  They dug all those games so they'll probably be interested.

UPDATE: It's only two player local co-op, so it's probably much less of a thing for the work crowd.

EDF 2025

I will be playing this game.  But I feel a bit bad for the gal who had to demo it.  She apparently had to demo an earlier version right after the earthquakes in Japan and part of the fun of the game is knocking down buildings with reckless abandon. :(

Dying Light

I liked Dead Island even if it did wear out its welcome after a while.  Dying Light is Dead Island plus parkour plus the slow Romero zombies you fight during the day turn into freaky 28 Days Later run for you life zombies at night, which could be very exciting.  They actually dedicated a button on the controller to "activate slo-mo and look behind you" so you could fully appreciate how scary the things chasing you are.

Oculus Rift

Speaking of looking behind you, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was available for testing, and more than a few of the booths were using it to display their games.

The Oculus Rift is a fine piece of tech.  Even with the current low resolution development version, you can get an impressive sense of a space simply by moving your head around.  It seemed a little shaky with quicker motions, but the simple fact that the world pretty much goes away when you're wearing it is initially impressive.  And in games where you go to high places, simply looking down feels like an adventure.

The problem is that modern games are designed to have your viewpoint locked to a gun.  When it's not, you're aim isn't going to be as great.  Even sim junkies that play Arma and combat flight sims won't want to use it because Track IR and a high res monitor will always give superior target acquisition versus a Rift.  So games using the Rift will need a different vocabulary than normal games and no one will want to dedicate that much effort to tech with such a small install base.

TL;DR - good tech, no place in the current market

Other Stuff

  • I got a tiny bit of hands on with the XBone and none with the PS4.  There weren't any games on them I'm excited about.
  • I got to fist bump with Legion from Mass Effect 2.
  • I got to play Zombie Dice with a couple guys from Valve while waiting to see the Oculus Rift.
  • I got to watch a particularly silly installment of Acquisitions Incorporated.
  • I got to see the GM of said installment driving around in an SUV in full skull makeup over three hours after the event.
  • I played human scale Tsuro.
  • I had travel snafus and accommodation snafus, but I met a man who had to miss two days of the con to be on a dialysis machine, so I'm not complaining.

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