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Monday
Jun222009

Street Fighter HD Remix On Sale

Street Fighter HD Remix is on sale for $10 this week on XBLA, rather than the usual $15 price. Here's the long list of features that you get for this surprisingly low price.

If you're late to the party on this game, it's an update to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo where the bottom tier characters are better and the top tier is just barely worse. Many lopsided matchups from the previous game are now less lopsided and move inputs like Cammy's Hooligan throw and Fei Long's flying kick ("chicken wing") are no longer difficult for the sake of being difficult. You even get SSF2T (without any gameplay changes) in the package as well.

You can read a lot more about the game here.

Monday
Jun152009

Buy One, Get One Free on XBLA

This offer is only for today, Monday June 15th 2009. Take advantage of it if you can though, because you get something free out of it. If you buy either Puzzle Fighter, UNO, or Street Fighter HF (not SF HD Remix unfortunately) on Xbox Live, then you get a second download code for free that you can give to a friend so you can play together. Neat. Remember to act fast.

Here's the link

Sunday
May242009

Yomi Card Game Playtest to be at Evolution Tournament

(Larger version)

After years of the development, the Yomi card game is approaching its final form...slowly. At this point, I'm just waiting for Udon to complete the rest of the art (and waiting...and waiting...), though there is still time for minor balance tweaking in the meantime. This is a strangely familiar situation for me.

The deck boxes for the two main characters are pictured above, along with some of the cards. Looking good?

If you're going to this year's Evolution fighting game tournament in Las Vegas (www.evo2k.com), you'll get to see the game in-person, and playtest all 10 decks (not an official event, I just mean while you're waiting around). I won't actually be selling decks there--again, not all the art is there even though the gameplay is--but if you're going to attend the event and you're really intent on buying some decks rather than printing them out yourself, check out this thread.

Incidentally, you can print out playtest versions of all 10 decks yourself (currently one version out of date, but update coming within a week!) and find more information about Yomi at www.sirlin.net/yomi or just download the rules here.

Yomi: Fighting Card game is a simple card game that simulates the mindgames that occur during a fighting game. It's a fixed-deck game, so all you need is one deck and an opponent with one deck to play. There's no rip-off scheme of selling you rare cards in random packs. There will be 10 decks in the initial release, then 6 boss decks in a (much) later release. Each deck represents one character and can also double as deck of regular playing cards. The characters are from my Fantasy-Strike world, and they seem ripe to be in a fighting game someday.

If you are publisher/distributor and are interested in Yomi, or if you are would like to make a connection for me with publisher or distributor, use the contact form.

Saturday
May092009

Stanford Seminar on Gaming

Today I was was a speaker/panelist at a Stanford University event called How They Got Game put on by Professor Henry Lowood of the Libraries and Academic Information Resources department. The theme was professional gaming, examined from several angles. We looked at the perspective of players and how they prepare for events, the challenges of managing teams and entire gaming leagues, and how to take professional gaming to the next level in North America.

Annie "Exstasy" Leung talked about the gaming competitions she's been involved in for the last four years, including Unreal Tournament 3 and Guitar Hero. She emphasized that practicing long hours was vitally important, and that playing games at home is quite a different matter than playing them at a competition with all the noise and distractions. She said she tried to create distractions at home while practicing to simulate this, and at events sometimes wears those big helicopter pilot earphones with tons of noise-canceling.

A professional Fifa player (his name isn't on the schedule, I'll add if when I find out his name) talked about the frustrations of having to learn different versions of a game. Fifa on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are very similar, one is a port of the other. But the PC version is substantially different, with different ball physics(!) so playing that is like playing a totally different game. Ball physics and lots of other things also changed between Fifa 08 and Fifa 09, so he said there is really no way to be good at a game with different physics than to practice it endlessly, even if you are already a master of the 08 version. He mentioned one ridiculous tournament where the organizers required the players play the game using a different camera angle for television purposes, but this of course throws out their months (or years) of practice and is clearly unacceptable. Luckily, the later rounds were played using the standard camera angle because the organizers did find a way to broadcast with the camera angle they wanted while the players played using the standard view.

A top European Quake player joined us via video conferencing

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Friday
May082009

UC Berkeley StarCraft Class, Week 14 (Final Week) 

In the last class of the semester for UC Berkeley's StarCraft class, several students gave their presentations.

Zergling Rush

The first student's topic was the Zergling Rush. The point of this strategy is to take advantage of Zerg's window of dominance at the very beginning of the game. Zerglings are weak, but you can get them out so early that your opponents might very well have little or nothing to defend with.

There are two main varieties of the zergling rush: the 4-pool and the 6-pool. 4-pool means that you only have four drones (resource collectors) when you build your spawning pool (the building that lets you produce zerglings). So you start the game by gathering resources for a bit, not building any drones, and going straight to spawning pool and zerglings. This is an "all in" strategy though. If you don't win with it, you are so severely behind economically, that you will probably lose. The reason to choose this strategy over a slightly more conservative 6-pool rush is if you think getting the zerglings to the opponent a few seconds faster will allow you to win the game on the spot.

The 6-pool strategy is still risky (putting you behind economically if you fail), but you can recover from it if things don't go as planned. The build order is to first build two drones (getting you to six total), then mine a bit, then build a spawning pool as soon as you can, then build another drone to replace the one that you just turned into a spawning pool, then build an overlord. If you do this correctly, these things will happen simultaneously: 1) your overlord finishes building, 2) you have all three larva ready to build units, 3) you have 150 minerals, the exact cost of building 6 zerglings from your 3 larva.

The student said the first goal of a zergling rush is to end the game immediately if you can. As soon as you arrive at their base, you probably have a good idea if this is even possible. If it's not, your next goal is to disrupt their economy. Remember that your economy is already disrupted by you doing a zergling rush (rather than building up your own economy) so you'll have to disrupt theirs just to stay even. If you can't disrupt their economy much, the next priority would be to at least force them to change their strategy or force them into a certain strategy. For example, they might have to build sunken colonies or bunkers right away to survive. And failing all that, at the very least you should harass with your zerglings and force the enemy to spend a lot of clicks to deal with you. The student also pointed out that there is some value in getting the opponent angry or flustered here, too. Zergling rushes are considered "cheesy" by some, so that's great to

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