Sloops of War

31 07 2007

Sloops of War is an open source game project me and my friend Mat Booth are working on.

Basically, the premise is a turn based naval combat game with a focus on strategy; not on tank rushes, base building or improbable comebacks. We want to recreate the tactical feel of Advance Wars where you know the outcome of encounters, but remove the troop building aspects that (for me) bogged the game down.

We’re developing for 32-bit Windows and Linux, and thus far have a very nice blue OpenGL screen. We’re still in the documentation phase, and should have a final proposal document finished soon. This will allow us to begin a functional specification; the meat of a design document. If you have any ideas to contribute, or want to sign up to the development mailing lists, hit the Sloops of War Trac page for more info.

We’ll be starting up a Dev blog on the page shortly, so if you’re remotely interested in Open Source games, keep your eyes peeled.

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On Gamers and Gaming

4 07 2007

In the immortal words of Spider Jerusalem, ‘I feel a column coming on!’.
I’ve been sitting all night, drinking a bottle of Pinot Noir and reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. On a whim I pulled up Kotaku and had a browse around the recent news, which I found to be ; as always; well written and thought out. It’s only until I read the comments that I began to realise the bizarre and scarily diversive nature of gamers.
First I need a little background; I’m not an average gamer, I play more than most and seldom go a week without purchasing a new title. For all intents and purposes I’m a gaming neophiliac, whoring myself to the shiniest thing of the moment, a fact that I think this is borne out by the posts on this blog. I can explain this easily; I’m staunchly anti-DRM. I think that Apple has done things incredibly wrong with their online store, and have made my feeling as such known. Conversely I own an iPod and would not be without it, and I lust after an iPhone. The thing is I don’t want these things out of practicality, I want them from the lust of them being undiscovered and exciting; something many other things lack.
This is exactly the reason I took the somewhat drastic move of trading my Wii in for (a part of) a PS3. I see the merit of the Wii, I loved Twilight Princess and I got a thrill from seeing my entire family playing Wii sports at Christmas, but after the initial furore the Wii became mundane for me. Perhaps it was the lack of new games or just animal lust for a new console, but it came to the point where the Wii was completely unused unless I’d had a few and a group of my friends were around. This may fly in the face of previous posts, but the human mind is by nature capricious.
The point I’m gunning for is that people say that consumers don’t buy hardware, but games. I truly believe that to be false, as that’s pretty much the entire reason I bought a PS3. I’m writing this post from my living room sofa via my installation of Ubuntu on my PS3 right now. The Illuminati of the gaming world may pontificate upon the crucial factors of introducing new gameplay ideas, but there will always be people who just want to have fun with something unexplored.
It’s true that the Xbox 360 is seeing huge promise as the de-facto gamers machine of choice for this gen, and the Wii is shaping up to be a huge mainstream success; these are facts that I cannot dispute. All I ask is for people to remember that some choose options for different reasons. Has the PS3 been compared to the Dreamcast unfairly? Only the lapse of time can tell, but until then remember that underdogs can bite just as hard.

UPDATE: Before commenting remember I mentioned the bottle of wine at the start of the ramble, also double semicolons are never acceptable.