Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Catchup Post: Graphics

Another set of interesting links:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Humble Bundle #2 - Great indy games - name your price!

Osmos - Humble Bundle 2
The independent games humble bundle offer is back again, better than before. It is a pay-what-you-want offer for 5 indy games, all of which have support for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. If you pay above the average, you get the previous humble-bundle pack of 6 games as well! A very good deal for whatever you want to pay! (Makes an excellent Christmas present!) Anyone studying games design or games programming should get these games to learn from them - what works, what doesn't? Braid is a fabulous example of teaching the player the game without needing to give them a tutorial, and many of these games are great examples of the scope you should aim for if you are making your own game.

The games included are:
  • Braid - a side scrolling puzzle/adventure through time. Nicely designed gameplay.
  • Cortex Command - side scroller, not very impressive.
  • Machinarium - a point and click adventure game, nice graphics, pretty decent.
  • Osmos - an ambient physics-based "eating" game (you absorb smaller entities). Good gameplay and a great "programmer-game" (nice graphics). My pick of the lot. (only $10 separately)
  • Revenge of the Titans - a tower-defense (build towers that destroy enemies) game. Nothing special.
The other games are:
  • World of Goo - a construction puzzle game. Lots of fun.
  • Aquaria - an underwater fantasy game.
  • Gish - a platform game.
  • Lugaru - 3D action adventure game.
  • Penumbrac - a FPS/adventure game.
  • Samorost 2 - a flash-based puzzle game.
If you pay 10 USD to get them all, that works out to less than a dollar a game, and I guarantee you will find at least one game you think is worth $10 in the humble (cross-platform games) bundle.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Few updates this month because I've been underground. And I don't mean I've joined some kind of strange sub-culture or gone in hiding, I mean literally 1.5km vertically underground to commission a Transmin automated Rockbreaker (there's not much internet down there!). A few things I learnt / experienced about hard-rock underground mines (most of which are very obvious):
  • Block caving is insane. The idea is to create an extraction level under the ore body, then continuously blast the ore into smaller rocks that can be processed, leaving a massive growing "sink" hole on the surface. You also need a very very very long conveyor belt.
  • The tunnels are quite large, as some very large vehicles need to drive through the mine.
  • All the tunnels have a 'clean' look to them, largely thanks to the use of shotcrete (i.e. concrete reinforcement around the tunnel rock).
  • It takes 45 minutes to drive down to a depth of 1.5km
  • When driving, give way to larger vehicles, or vehicles with explosives.
  • Its difficult to move around quickly, you will easily break a sweat in no time.
  • Batteries weigh a lot when you need to carry them around on a belt all day
  • You use a lot more oxygen if you panic, or move around a lot
  • There is a complex system of ventilation channels with really really big fans providing all the air
  • It is really easy to get lost in a large underground mine
  • There is an underground dining area. It is called the 'crib'. I don't know why.
  • If anything bad happens, you don't have much of a chance, especially if you are not aware of all the intimate details of how the mine operates. (ie: haven't been there for more than a year)
  • Explosions are loud
  • Ground movement is bad and very very loud
  • There is an awful lot of dust
All in all an interesting experience, but all the dust certainly didn't do any good for my eyes or my lungs. I've been coughing a lot even after being out of the mine for a week as the very fine dust just gets everywhere.