Sunday, February 14, 2010

Van Hemlock #88

I haven’t posted too much about podcasts lately, but if you haven’t listened to Van Hemlock #88, you really should. I love listening to Tim and Jon discuss gaming topics and show #88’s topic, storytelling in games, was very good. The two games the hosts chose as primary examples of storytelling were Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2 and Star Trek Online. The games were used because they just launched, but both are science-fiction games, and since I’ve burned out on fantasy MMOs in favor of a science-fiction one (Eve Online), the topic had a special appeal to me.

Now, I’ve never played the games of the Mass Effect franchise, and I’m not into first person shooters, so the discussion of Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2 was just intellectually interesting. But when Jon started talking about Star Trek, it brought back memories.

Besides Jon being a Trekkie (while Tim obviously is not), Jon also participated in the beta of Star Trek Online so was able to compare how the game brings the Star Trek universe to the game experience. Besides discussing some of the classic episodes in Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 (did Voyager really have a classic episode?), the pair discussed the challenges of doing so.

Tim summed up the challenges facing any developer attempting to make a good science fiction game, whether it be a single player FPS or an MMORPG.
“Good science-fiction is generally about people rather than technical wizardry and gadgets; it’s about, here is a technical thing that could happen in the future, now let’s examine what society’s reaction is to it, how this affects the individual, what this will mean to us as people.”
While Tim and Jon were discussing Star Trek Online, I started thinking about whether Eve Online is good science-fiction. Yes, another possible blog topic. I wonder if Crazy Kinux has ever made this a contest topic.

Now I need to listen to episode #89, which was posted yesterday. In #88, Tim mentioned he was in the middle of taking Agony Unleashed's PvP class and I'm really interested in what he thought of it.

1 comment:

  1. We just recorded a whole hour on the PvP course today, and I'll be posting it later in the week.