AppleApple announced new iPods today. I'm tempted to get the iPod Touch since it will probably be hackable like the iPhone, but I realize I'm never anywhere where I could make good use of the Wi-Fi without my laptop. And even then, there's not a lot of storage on the device. It is, however, really cool. I even think the Starbucks integration is neat, though I hate their coffee and all the music they play is kind of lame. Also, there's no "squirting," but you can buy songs online and have them downloaded to your iPod, which is kind of cool.
So I think instead I'm going to buy one of the 160GB iPod classics. The new OS revision seems to incorporate a lot of the features of the Zune OS that I liked (search, themes), without me having to buy a Zune and then move all my music over to my Windows machine in order to synch with it (as well as give up all my videos). Unfortunately, it also has Cover Flow. What is it with Apple and Cover Flow?
In any event, I'll try both of them before deciding what to buy. My 20GB iPod 4G will last me for a little while longer even though it's now "full" (according to iTunes).
AfterGlowAhh, now the meat and potatoes. I bet you guys thought I'd go on about the iPod forever, didn't you?
I think I've spoken before about the three big deficiencies Glow had. At that time, I promised to go further in depth about how I'm attacking those deficiencies in the design phase, and so here we go.
Today I'm going to talk about the lack of content in Glow. I don't like to discuss hard numbers, so let's just say there's going to be at least 12 "levels" in the second game. Between each major level you have the opportunity to switch between the two main characters, and also to visit the shop, where you can purchase additional implants and weapon modifications, which are permanent and specific to the character.
Each main character also gains experience and levels up independently. Each character is better at a different style of gameplay, so it is in your best interest to use the proper agent for each mission. Given these two requirements, you should be switching off which agent you use each mission to make sure both of them are fairly strong. However, despite this, you can always use whatever agent you want. I will not hokily constrain the player to only using one of the agents for any of the missions, because that annoys me in almost every game I've ever played that has multiple player characters.
Implants I've explained already, but I have a decent list of them already and I'm always looking for more.
I don't know exactly how weapon mods will work: I had them planned out for Glow and had a partial implementation, but it was difficult to work with the "pick up weapon of same name to add its ammo to yours instead of adding up another instance of the same gun to your inventory" system. I'm going to make it work this time, because it's important. The "Ammo Charger" system is gone; weapons will take specific types of ammo, which helps to resolve the concern with "modified" weapons.
In terms of resource management, you now have two additional resources to keep track of: money and energy (or "E"). Money is used to purchase things at the shop, and energy is used to power your implants. Obviously, money adds additional incentives to explore, since in the grand tradition of The Chaos Engine, there are wads of cash hiding in the unlikeliest places in levels.
In terms of characters and plot details, there are a lot more characters planned, and there will be a lot more conversation. I'm also adding "in-game" (non-radio) conversations, which will work sort of like comic books, with word balloons and everything.
Finishing missions also unlocks additional plot and background details, which can be read at your leisure from the "Unlockables" menu. Wait, unlockables? Does this mean there are new unlockable minigames? Will Blockhead actually be implemented in this one?
Does this seem like a lot of content? This is the primary reason why Afterglow, despite having basic gameplay that remains mostly unchanged from the previous game, will take longer to finish. I think I can do it, and still deliver a pretty damned good game.
Next time I'll tell you all about how I'm going to add variety to the levels, make them more obvious and help smooth out the interface for players using hand-polished special-case logic. Hint: I've watched hours and hours of other people playing Glow.