Thursday, February 16, 2012

open world games are bad for my productivity

The past few months…could have gone a little better in terms of productivity. This game called Skyrim came out, and lots of people were talking about it, and so I thought I’d get a copy for myself and try it out. Well, 570 hours of play time later, and only 4/50 achievements still locked (gotta love Steam), I’ve managed to explore the play space quite a bit. I’ve tried out several different characters of varying races and skill tree builds and played through the game to varying degrees with each, noting the differences in game play between each one. Not a whole lot of progress as far as making games for neocade, though.

Still, if there is one thing to be learned from this, it’s that open worlds are absolutely fascinating to me. I love being able to explore the fantastic randomly generated worlds of Minecraft, and have to stop for a moment to marvel at the grand vistas within the world of Skyrim. Before these, though, I would be doing speed runs through Super Metroid, playing through and re-playing Zelda game after Zelda game, and living an alternate life as a master criminal in Grand Theft Auto 3.

Minecraft is particularly fascinating to me for a couple of reasons:
1) It’s able to generate entire three-dimensional worlds at runtime that are believable enough to warrant exploration.
2) The player is able to build a huge variety of things within this world.

The block selection UI element of Patience is somewhat inspired by Minecraft. It just seems like such an obvious way to do it that it would be silly not to interact with the blocks that way. Earlier prototypes of the game did involve building up a 3D form out of the blocks, but I couldn’t quite put a game around those. I’m seriously considering adding some kind of block form editor thingamajig as an update. I just want to be sure that it fits into the game.

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