Mark Sachs (ksleet) wrote,
Mark Sachs

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This LJ post tastes strange. Did you use real butter?

I spent a bit of time yesterday evening playing through After Burner on MAME. Just, y'know, for research. The main thing I learned is that I am so bad at that game. Generally about a dozen enemy planes will appear in front of me, fire a dozen missiles, the whole screen fills with smoke trails, I somehow do a super-cool barrel roll as I frantically try to dodge, and then my plane explodes. It's still a really fun game, though, with a sense of speed rarely matched by any other game, classic or modern. I recommend it, but please, hook a gamepad up to your computer instead of trying to do it with the keyboard.

That said, all this research and thinking about visual style ended up shooing me back to the planet renderer again. I kind of came to the conclusion that I'm aiming way too high here. I can wrestle with GLSL and get normal mapping and all the rest of that crap in there, but as just one guy it's not like I could ever create visual fidelity to match, say, Eve Online's attractive planets. All I could do is fall short. Perhaps I need to back off and think different. It's not like the goal is just fancy graphics, after all; it's a big space exploration game. Perhaps I need a new visual style.

What if there wasn't a graphics card arms race that had been going on for two decades, and instead you were playing the game on an Amiga 500 with four gigabytes of RAM? Simple graphics and deep gameplay and story. That's the direction I should start thinking in.
Tags: games, programming
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