Dear Resident Evil 6 Developers

This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write a real video game review/critique, why is this? because I’ve been a fan of RE since I was a kid and its one of my favourite franchises. While I will say I liked RE6 the game left me very frustrated and I need to talk about it.

RE is increasingly suffering from an identity crisis, is it a survival game? is it an action game? it’s getting more cinematic but at the same time someone is pushing to add more gamification. These goals are kind of at odds, you can’t just smash them all together and expect it to work.

Action vs. Survival I think going for a bit more action than the early games is fine and in my opinion you had the right balance in RE4, since then things have gotten weird. Melee seems to have gotten way more important to the extent that I’m using it when it doesn’t even make sense (this is detracting from the cinematic feel too). The mutations have also got a bit out of hand and I feel like I’m being penalized for headshots - shooting zombies in the face is one of the reasons I play RE. Most importantly the ammo conservation system is now broken, in RE4 I felt in control of my ammo supply and I could conserve in easy situations, in RE6 I felt like I was always scrambling but not in a good way. Finally when you gave enemies real guns it kind of tossed the ammo conservation aspect out the window - some guy is shooting at me but I have no ammo so I’m gonna run and punch him in the face what? (not very cinematic either..)

Cinematic vs. Gamification  The gamification is at odds with the cinematic grandeur of the game - I should have my gun raised looking intently at the next door or checking my back but instead I’m looking down at the guy whose brain I just stomped hoping to god that he drops some ammo so I’m not totally screwed in the next room - and then guess what he drops experience, fucking experience. My memories of RE6 should include the epic boss battles or being startled by a surprise monster but instead I remember running around after killing everything picking up swag and kicking boxes in looking for crap. Tell whoever is pushing the gamification to shove it and make the game epic!

tl;dr

  • Reduce/Remove the item drops, it makes the game less cinematic. Same goes for skill points just calculate it somehow
  • Melee is sick don't get me wrong but it should be used when it makes sense (think cinematic)
  • The mutations and enemy variants made sense in RE4, no need to one up it
  • I like shooting zombies in the face!
  • If enemies have guns we need more ammo

P.S. I just bought RE4 HD for PC and I am pumped!

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Weekend Project - Install SteamOS

This weekend I championed my way through installing SteamOS (the Debian distro by Valve that will be the installed on the upcoming Steam boxes). I had to do some pretty crazy stuff to get it working including dropping out of the automated install to manually inject grub-pc and then compiling the drivers for my wireless card. All in all it was a triumph!

and then finally:

This was an early beta release but they made some weird choices - like handicapping the basic Debian installer by fully automating it and only supporting efi. I was actually a bit disappointed when I finally finished because the end result is not really different from simply installing Ubuntu and setting Steam big picture mode to auto start, I am not sure what exactly I was expecting though. SteamOS is much more for OEMs than the DIY crowd at the moment but I can see that Valve is super invested in Linux at this point with a ton of additions to their own repositories. Good things are going to come of this I can feel it!

* Edit *

Almost all the hacking I had to do has been wrapped in Ye Olde SteamOSe 

* Edit 2 *

Wow Valve released an updated version of the beta addressing a lot of the problems Ye Olde SteamOSe addressed and they allegedly collaborated to get this done! This is why Valve is going to win the next generation - working with the community. Full story here

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Book Review: Android Application Programming with OpenCV

I was asked to do another book review for Packt Publishing which I announced a little while ago. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job (which is awesome! I’ll probably make a post about it and all the stuff I’ve learned soon!) but I eventually finished giving the book a quick read through.

It was a good book! I wish I’d had the time to follow along and make my own app but unfortunately I didn’t have time. The book has lots of detail and screenshots to guide you through making your own app which is helpful for working with more graphical type things like Eclipse. I think this book would save a developer looking to get started with Android and OpenCV a lot of time and remember people time is money (money you could spend on this book). Reading the book really made me want to start an Android OpenCV project, I think the mobility of the platform makes it so much more fun! To think all my computer vision projects have been tied to a desktop or a best a laptop until now is such a shame.

I think I like this model of offering premium lessons and documentation at a price and as long as it stays clearly on the premium side and not “a pay to even get docs” situation I think it’s a good way to get some money back into Open Source and the people who make it happen. Packt does it right too paying some of the highest royalties of any publisher of IT books.

tl;dr If you’re planning on doing some OpenCV Android development buy this book - it will undoubtedly pay for itself in time savings

You can get the book here: bit.ly/1fjbs0t

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