I am a big BIG fan of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls and I consider Morrowind one of the best games ever made (my top 2 are Morrowind and Doom in no particular order). I have put in only a few hours into Starfield (so far), and I have to say I like it less and less. Primarily my complaints lie with all the loading scenes that break the illusion of an immersive, seamless galaxy to explore. It feels like Skyrim with even more disconnected regions.

In Morrowind you could walk from the wilderness into a city with no observable loading, the only loading screens were upon fast-travel (which was not necessary) or going indoors. As you leveled up, you could learn levitate spells that let you fly over seemingly insurmountable mountain ranges or water breathing spells that let you explore underwater. You could learn water walking and even walk across the ocean from the mainland to the new island included in the Bloodmoon expansion, if you were patient enough and didn't want to fast-travel via ship.

Oblivion did away with some of the crazier things (like Levitation and Water Walking), and added loading screens as you move into cities and this trend sadly continued into Skyrim. And yet, I still loved those games and devoured them, spending hours. Something about the ability to look at the horizon and say "I'm going to walk to there" was very captivating.

In Starfield, you get loading screen after loading screen, moving from location to location, outdoor to indoor, in and out of spaceships, launching from the surface, grav-jumping, etc. I know this criticism is not incredibly insightful or novel; many folks have already complained loudly about this online and contrasted it against the illusion of seamlessness in No Man's Sky. I know I'm just adding to the din, but I can't help myself, my disappointment is as vast as the regions in Starfield are not.

There are no enormous planets floating in endless space. You're just an ant hopping from leaf to pretty leaf trying to cross a river. I expected so much more.

I will give it a few more hours, but sadly it's been a dud for me so far. Anybody have a recommendation for a modern open world game that knows how to maintain the illusion?

§1376 · January 18, 2024 · Entertainment, Games, Microsoft · 1 comment ·

Ok, so I've got a little game I've been coding in my spare time. It uses SDL and Boost so that it's pretty cross-platform compatible. In fact, I've built, ran and tested the game in OpenSuse Linux. However, I'm not clear on an easy way of packaging the game up in a download for Linux users. The game has run-time dependencies on expat as well as many SDL libraries (specifically SDL_ttf, SDL_image, SDL_mixer, SDL_gfx, and of course, SDL itself). I'd like something simple, akin to what I do with Windows (which is a batch file that bundles up every file needed, including DLLs, into one ZIP file for download). Can anyone out there help me?

§388 · July 19, 2007 · Entertainment, Games, Linux, Questions, SDL, Software, Technology · 8 comments ·

Orinoco has put up a couple more SVG games that you can play inside your browser (either Firefox 1.5+ or Opera 9+). Read the rest of this entry ...

§342 · March 9, 2007 · Entertainment, Games, QuickLinks, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · Comments Off on And Still More SVG Games ·

I don't like to be reminded that I'm missing GDC this year, but Rob sent me this little video reminder. The video is of a soon-to-be-released game for the PS3 called "Little Big Planet" which allows up to 4 players to construct their own fully physical world, or download other levels from other players and play it as a game. Go watch it!

§340 · March 8, 2007 · Entertainment, Games, GDC, Life, QuickLinks, Technology · Comments Off on Little Big Planet ·

How well do you know your geography? I really suck at it, but I'm getting better by playing these two web browser games:

These SVG games work in modern browsers like Opera 9+ and Firefox 1.5+ and were written by orinoco and published on his Opera blog. I gave him some pointers to get them working in IE+ASV (I updated my guide with these tips too).

He really did some fantastic work - he started with a blank world map on WikiMedia Commons drawn in Inkscape which had all geography stuffed into a single path element and then he broke them out so that each country was its own path, then manually identified them all! It's not an easy task, but it was made easier because the graphics format was an open, well-documented standard in plain text. I hope he continues to experiment with SVG.

Can someone test them in Konqueror and Safari nightlies?

§331 · January 19, 2007 · Games, Opera, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · 4 comments ·