A little bit of this, a little bit of that

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(Image Source: OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Yeesh! It has been a busy few weeks for me! Moving onto new projects at work equals new challenges, so I have been arriving home feeling deader than dead. (That’s a whole lot of dead in case you did not know) As a result other, things as usual, have fallen to the wayside.

Still, I have managed to find the time to scribble down many game design ideas and additions to current projects such as CV: The Game! and I am hoping to get some serious design and development time in over the next couple of weeks. CV: The Game! is a great idea that needs to be finished and sooner rather than later will only benefit me. So that is my priority going forward.

In the meantime I have been doing the eternal task of tweaking my LinkedIn Profile and CV just in case something comes up or somebody stumbles across them.

Why am I so excited for a HD Remaster?

FFX HD RemasterAs it gets closer and closer to release I find myself getting more excited to play the HD Remaster versions of Final Fantasy X and X-2. I suppose it has something to do with the major nostalgia factor that Final Fantasy X has for people around my age. Sure I had played Final Fantasy VII through IX on the PSone but when FFX hit the PS2 in Europe in 2002, (almost a year after its release in Japan!) I was 15 and at just the right age to really understand the key themes and thrust of the story in a way I had not with the previous games.

Tidus’ journey into adulthood with the innocence of his youth being stripped away as the hours of gameplay went by reflected certain aspects of my life at the time. It also helped that Tidus as a somewhat annoying character (but not as annoying a Squall that mopey bastard) was surrounded by one of the best casts of characters in a Final Fantasy game. (Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below!) The world of Spira was a setting that mixed the post-cyberpunk/neo-gothic stylings of FFVII and VIII with a traditional fantasy setting to deliver a unique world which has not been touched or replicated since X-2. It very much stands apart from the other Final Fantasy games because of this. It does not quite fit into the classic Nintendo or PSone eras of the franchise or into the modern cross-media hit and miss of the PS3/Xbox 360 titles. Hell it does not really fit in with the other PS2 era Final Fantasy games which both went for very traditional settings. X and X-2 are unique to the Final Fantasy franchise and I find it really odd that SquareEnix have not gone back to that particular well to plunder it for more spin-offs and new games. Such as my idea for a Blitzball Manager game for iOS. (Think about it. How awesome would that be?)

Also it helped that at the time of its initial release the game was one of the best looking games ever made, had an awesome combat system and non-linear character progression that was way ahead of its time. But hey I liked the world and the characters. A lot. It is also the only Final Fantasy game that whenever it is brought up in the eternal argument of which is the best Final Fantasy (hint: It is NOT Final Fantasy VII) that causes everyone to pause for a second and ponder before returning to their original and most likely, incorrect pick. (FYI the actual best Final Fantasy game is close tie between IX and XII)

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Tabletop: Prep, Prep and More Prep!

Look at all the dice!

Man it has been a crazy amount of time since I have written anything tabletop gaming related!

Despite doing the odd bit of tabletop gaming from time to time over the past few years I have not really had a chance to do any concentrated lengthy gaming or delve into things like RPGs. Well one of my New Years resolutions was to rectify that and get more tabletop gaming on the go in my life.

That change starts this weekend which I have dubbed The Awesome Weekend.

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Filler Post: Daniel Cook: Game Design Theory I Wish I had Known When I Started

I figured for the weeks when I am too busy to write anything in depth or in the rare case that can’t think of anything to write. (Like that would ever happen!) I will throw up a short Filler Post.

This is one of those Filler Posts.

This brilliant video is a great overview of a lot of great game design principles that are very handy for whatever project you are working on. I also find that it is a good video to put on in the background when working because it usually helps me break down an idea or mechanic I have come up with using a method I have not considered.

Callum’s CV: The Game! – Update

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Callum’s CV: The Game! is one of those long gestating ideas that I have been slowly tinkering with in the background for the past six months or so. I have managed to fill a notebook with everything I want to do in and with the game and I have only just really got to the point were I can really start putting things into practise.

Two things have been learned from this longer than planed planning phase:

  1. I need to get off my arse and do more game dev stuff outside of my work as a games tester. (Gotta build up that portfolio!)
  2. I really need to incorporate a method digitising the scribbles, notes and doodles I make in coming up with game concepts. Especially considering that a notebook crammed with game and game mechanic ideas decided to go walkabout earlier this year.

Still, I have managed to get everything back on track and I’m sure the missing notebook will resurface at some point, so here is the first “proper” update post for Callum’s CV: The Game!

This week’s update is all about creating the small but crammed with stuff (S.B.C.W.S is an “Official” game design term ;) ) World Map for the game.

Woooo!

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Site Update!

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I’ve been a busy bee and have updated the following sections of the website:

So please go check them out and tell me what you think. Feedback both good and bad is welcome!

You might also have noticed that this place has a new look and layout. I do not know if I will keep things this way but I kind of like it. Certainly makes a change from the old look of the site!

Expect more updates and changes soon!

The following is a work of fiction….

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(Image source)
The scene: two people are arguing in a crummy loft apartment. One dressed all in black with a giant green X painted on his face. The other dressed in black with PlayStation logo painted on his face.

“My console has more graphics than your console and therefore it is better.”

“No my console is better-er because of the graphics and the cloud!!!!”

*BOOM! An arrogant PC gamer bursts in through the skylight with a huge PC tower strapped to his back*

“You all suck balls! I am PC! I have the bestest graphics of them all if you are willing to spend a fortune and constantly worry about game/hardware specs for the rest of your life!”

The arguement escalates and a huge fight ensues. Disks being used as throwing stars. Controllers as small, oddly shaped clubs. Etc.

Outside a mother walks by handing her iPad over to her overweight four year old.

“The password is: IamStupid don’t spend too much on virtual bird bucks.”

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I GOT A JOB!

Man Wearing Blank Sandwich Board

Yup things have been quite around here recently for a reason!

In a turn of good fortune and after many, many, many months of applying for various jobs in the UK games industry someone finally got back to me, got the ball rolling and it eventually lead to a shiny new job! It has been a hectic month and a bit because it was a case of having a few offers and interview chains come up at once. (I wonder what I did to suddenly make myself interesting to employers?) I won’t go into the nitty gritty but for one I was chained to my computer for several days researching and preparing. Another I was chained to my computer for several days researching and preparing…you get the picture.

So what is my new job?

Well you are looking at a newly minted Functional Games Tester at Sony Liverpool! So my job will be to test a variety of PlayStation games and products. Finding and reporting all the bugs, glitches and errors to help make the game more playable for you, the gamer to enjoy. So basically this is now my life,

test all the games

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