domingo, 9 de mayo de 2004

Better when simpler (yes, now IT is in english)

(excuse my bad "anglische" I'm just back in home after drinking some alcohol; It's probably still in my veins).

I promised you to translate this when back in home: now I would try to.

You'd probably hope I told you about Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe, the well-known train game. But I won't. I won't do that, since, althought free, OpenTTD needs some files from the original (commercial) version of TTD. You know that version is obsolete, or it would be, if not resurrected by that "plugin" project. But it's still a commercial version. PLEASE don't ask me where to find missing files for OpenTTD: they are warez, unless you buy TTD.

I will talk instead about two games that show how much farther are simplicity and playability from other design problems. A kid can play easier with a ball than with a videogame (at last, that was my case, when I was a little kid). And, when you develop games, the main problem is not how to get the best graphics. or how to get the best AI: the main problem is how to make a game that worths playing.

Virtual Card Table (vcardtable for its friends) is a good example of this point of view. It's a program I found when reading the complete sourceforge java game list (I was looking for games for a friend's webpage) and this one, although not an applet, charmed me for its simplicity.

Many people likes network playing. Why not cards? And, now you have decided to play cards, you want a game that lets you play any cardgame. But, how to make computer know the rules for every card game (and its variants)? Simple: computer does not know rules. It doesn't matter, since it doesn't play.

Thus the program is only a table and a deck of cards. You have to agree the rules with your opponent, and you can play any gameyou want. You don't need anything else.

The second simple game example is an old friend of all of us. When I talked about ANIMAL I told you about an era when computers had no graphics. From text games, one of them has resisted the time: nethack, and maybe angband, also (I've played angband in a mac: I felt sick, or maybe evil, since when I started to play with computers, mac meaned graphics, and everything else meaned text or big pixels). Anyway, I have to tell you this two games have more interesting NPCs and monsters than many other Role-Playing Games, including my favourite, Ruins of Myth Drannor (this one is not free).

And now, boys, you should connect yourselves to the java interface of nethack at forkexec, and try nethack.

(Sorry, I'm in a hurry. I've got to go to the disco. What a pitty ;). I will make a new translation of this article soon).

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