Category Archives: Games

Games category is mainly related to PS3, however there are some other platforms and topics covered

[REPORT] should video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers?
Date Created: October 4, 2013  Date Modified: October 4, 2013

First off the report title is not the same as the post title, as I have tried to do throughout this blog; The reason for this is however to pose the question: shouldn’t video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers?, which may seem out of place being that the player is removed from the same risks as the solider–A solider risks death, which is certainly a “dilemma” not only for the solider experiencing the death but also his fellow soldiers. With this outcome removed from the players reality outside the game, it would seem unfair to implement the same sorts of penalties. However this superficial appraisal is forgetting to take into account actual in-game penalties. Is it possible that the Playstation generation allow itself to become the war criminals of the present or future, by the moralities of war are being taught by CGI insurgents?

‘Video games and international humanitarian law (IHL)’ is a relatively new and fragmented field of enquiry, spanning a range of discourses. There is little in the way of IHL-focused literature on the subject. This article is very much an exploratory piece. Its purpose is to highlight the potential impact of these games on players’ perceptions of the normative framework governing the use of force.


This report, Beyond the Call of Duty: why shouldn’t video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers? by the International Red Cross addresses this emerging area.

MCC232 – Skyrim Vs Pool of Radiance
Date Created: September 8, 2013  Date Modified: September 24, 2013

Critically discuss the differences and similarities of Skyrim and Pool of Radiance.

By Byron Levene


Skyrim, 2011 (PS3, 360), by Bethesda is a fantasy game, has been one of the most popular and highest grossing video games to date. Although technically not a Role-Playing Game (“RPG”) in the traditional sense, it draws heavily from the RPG genre. Pool of Radiance, 1988 (Commodore 64, MS-DOS), was one of the earlier RPG games and drew its rules more canonically from the board game Dungeons & Dragons (“D&D”)[1]. This essay will critically discuss the differences and similarities between these two games.

Comparing Pixels and Polygons

The D&D rule-set that underpins early RPG’s like Pool of Radiance had a fairly strict style of play; Combat was turn based, as it was with the board game, and battle was played in a different user-interface (or screen) in a top-down 2-Dimensional third-person perspective. A separate interface for movement around the map was used; A simulated 3-Dimensional space, known as bitmap scaling[2] (almost 5 years prior to this “interesting innovation” occurring in Wolfenstein 3D[3]). This gave the player first-person perspective moving within the map. If judging only by geographical characteristics[4], we see how different these two games are.

The psudo-3D movement screen
The top down combat screen

This “discrete” movement in Pool of Radiance is a stark contrast to the freedom of “continuous” movement in an open world such as Skyrim[5]–where movement and battle take place in the same interface, which draws more from the First-Person Shooter (“FPS”) genre. This real time control that the player has in Skyrim gives a feeling, or greater sense of immersion in the virtual world than the more turn based structure of Pool of Radiance[6].

Using Swink’s model for cataloguing game feel[7] may seem unfair, as real-time interactions were somewhat limited to developers of 1988. The real-time interactions in Skyrim add that much more to the sense of immersion for the player, hitting a sweet spot in the centre of Swink’s model; Pool of Radiance on the other hand does possess a rudimentary form of spatial simulation[8], and any question of polish would have to be taken in account of the 8-bit standards of the day.

Is it Because I’m Khajiit?

Race has always existed as a character’s attribute prior to D&D moving to a virtualised space, once the framework migrated to a virtual platform these race attributes remained. However implicit racial undertones of “Nomads”, with Arabic sounding names depicted in crude 8-bit kefirs[9], as seen in Pool of Radiance were outside the race types that could be utilised by a player as per the rule-set[10]. This is not negating Everett & Watkins claim that:

“…to build explicitly raced characters and worlds were limited by… the screen resolution (4-, 8-, and 16-bit), and processing speeds.”[11]

As we see more explicitly in Skyrim evidence of raced characters; Effectively the plot throws the player directly in a Nords versus Imperials race war over religious worshiping rights. The complexity of such a racially charged world would be beyond the limitations of developers in the era of Pool of Radiance[12]. Advances in graphics, sound and processing power have enabled a more racially charged virtual world, where race in Skyrim will effect how the player is treated by NPC’s.

Attributing this solely to technological advances does ignore the fact that Pool of Radiance is essentially a “barbaric” game, where battle is the only way to progress. Skyrim is a far more romantic approach[13], including raced characters adds a darker element to a game where a player can spend hours picking flowers and catching butterflies.

Artificial Stupidity

Pool of Radiance included Non-Playing Characters (“NPC’s”) that could venture with the players party when moving about the map, and when in battle the NPC would fight on the players side without any input from the player. After battle they would automatically deduct their percentage of the loot, and then reassemble with the players party back in the movement interface. This scripted behavior[14] pre-dates any notion of AI that came later, but the similarities are there.

Skyrim also includes NPC’s that will join the player on their adventure, however with the unification of movement and battle in one interface, the NPC’s have much more autonomy in how they may follow you.

Modern games Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) enables NPC’s a “seeking” and “fleeing” ability[15], and its this seeking that facilitates the NPC to follow the player in Skyrim. This simple act of following was outside the technical limitations of both hardware and software in the time of Pool of Radiance, yet as mentioned above the rules of the game required the party to regroup before movement around the map.

What unties these two different approaches is the end result: NPC’s that are expendable cannon-fodder like bots that can be exploited for the gain of the player, which is part of the “implicit rules”[16] a player will often observe when playing an RPG.

Game Over

By critically discussing the differences between these two games not only gives us picture of the evolution of the RPG genre, but also helps us understand the technical advances that have changed video games from being just a virtual place to play a board game, to virtual worlds where we live out our character’s existence.

Pool of Radiance may seem archaic to gamers of today, but it is a fundamental piece of RPG history which many games drew their influence from; Skyrim, even though made 23 years later, is such a game.

“However, although Baldur’s Gate and Diablo may receive far more attention and interest today than Golden Age classics like The Bard’s Tale or The Pool of Radiance, we must forever keep in mind that these earlier games were their direct ancestors.”[17]

Skyrim diverges in many ways from the traditional RPG format, mixing it with conventions from other game genres, but still owes much of its success to its RPG heritage. If we take this into account, then Skyrim is not a bastardisation of the RPG, but more its modernisation. Even when taking into account all the differences these two games have, there is still a definite lineage linking the two.


[1] Apperley, Page 17
[2] LaMonthe, Page 10
[3] Nielson, Page 113
[4] Ibid, Page 137
[5] Champandard, Page 63
[6] Swink, Page 2
[7] Swink, Page 8
[8] Ibid, Page 8
[9] King, Page 174
[10] Nielson, Page 99
[11]Everett, Page 134
[12] Ibid, Page 134
[13] King, Page 175
[14] Champandard, Page 7
[15] Ibid, Page 113
[16] Nielson, Page 101
[17] Barton, online (This quote is referenced from the 2007 online version that later became a chapter in Matt Barton’s 2008 book Dungeons and desktops: The history of computer role-playing games. See bibliography)



Apperley, Thomas H. (2006) Genre and game studies: Toward a critical approach to video game studies”, Sage Publications, Melbourne
Barton, Matt (2007),The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)”, accessed September 2, 2013,
Champandard, Alex J. (2003) AI Games Development – Synthetic Creatures with Learning and Reactive Behaviors”, New Riders, BostonMass.
Everett, Anna & Watkins, S. Craig (2008), The Power of Play: The Portrayal and Performance of Race in Video Games”, MIT Press, CambridgeMass.
King, Geoff & Krzywinska, Tanya (2006) Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions, IB Tauris, London
LaMonthe, Andre (1995), The Black Art of 3D Games Programming”, Wattle Group Press, California.
Neilson, Simon E., Smith, Jonas H. et al (2008) “Video Game Aesthetics”, Routledge, New York
Swink, Steve (2009), Game Feel: A Designers Guide to Virtual Sensation”, Elsevier, Burlington, MA

This rant was posted in Assignment, College Work, Games, Skyrim on by .

Finally we have reached the 21st century
Date Created: January 15, 2013  Date Modified: January 24, 2013

After seeing Lawnmowerman in the 90’s (even before) I have wanted a VR headset. I remember reading in a PC mag 20 years ago about a system that was commercially available at the time that could run… the original DOOM. This new product includes OOTB support for DOOM 3 BFG Edition:

DOOM 3 BFG Edition and Hawken are the only official Oculus-ready titles that have been announced as of November 1, 2012. We hope there are plenty of game developers who soon integrate Oculus technology into their upcoming titles and begin creating new games designed specifically for virtual reality!

also from the FAQ:

Libraries, headers, documentation, and samples for integrating the Oculus Rift with any game. We’ll also include out-of-the-box Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. The Oculus SDK will support PC (Windows) at launch.

From the Oculus FAQ

Dont care too much about Doom 3–when I was reading it for Games Art and Design, I really didnt enjoy it; Im nostalgic for the original but I found 3 “disconnected” and dated, still its a Gamne I own and have modded with. Unity intergration will be fun with the framework being used by many indy developers, but Unreal is where this product will likley shine being that the engine is the core of many games on the market.

This rant was posted in Doom, Games, Modding, Playstation, Tech, Video, Xbox on by .

Date Created: May 6, 2012  Date Modified: August 1, 2012

How can I kill time untill this comes out?

Another playthru of Skyrim perhaps?

This rant was posted in Games, Skyrim, Web on by .

[VIDEO] This is why I need an Xbox (and another copy of Skyrim)
Date Created: April 15, 2012  Date Modified: May 2, 2012

I had been putting off buying an xbox just for Forza 3, but this makes me want to get the box, and kinect, AND another copy of Skyrim. I did buy Oblivion for both PC and PS3 so precident is set.

Skyrim Kinect FTW!!!
UPDATE: Since Im on the Kinect tip, here is another vid that Im posting for me to watch later

This rant was posted in Games, Kinect, Oblivion, Skyrim, Xbox on by .

Week 12 – Tutorial
Date Created: May 4, 2010  Date Modified: May 4, 2010

Has a Game ever made you cry?

Yes. I admit to crying when playing. Im not rerefing to crying when the old commodore64 use to cheat and I would die prematurely, or when that fuc… bloody ghost would appear in bubble bobble. No I am admiting to crying as an emotional response to the plot. And it was not in days of antiquity when I was a kid on 8-bit tech, It was much more recent than that.

Fallout 3, I was am still to July in my late 20′s. Early in the game you encounter Maggie, a young child living in the town of Megaton, she lives with a character called Billy Creel. When you talk to Maggie she tells you a story about how her family were killed and how Billy found her, this is told with child-like naivety, you can read between the lines of dialogue and see a story of a young girl whos parents have been murdered–by Billy, and a child kept as a trophy, subject to whatever abuses can be imagined. Its a sad moment, I cried.

However nobody else in the tutorial descussion admited to crying in a video game–they all could site instances that the game narrative created an emotional response, but to bring to tears–NONE. Perhaps its that I was adding in my own experiences dealing with sex abuse victums that struck me so much about that moment, or perhaps I am more emotional than those in my class. I put the question to a friend [via SMS] who has knowledge beyond the irratic functioning going on inside my head. I mean I am someone with diagnosed mental/emotional/general problems, it could be that Im just being a big wuss.

Games that had an emotional impact on me? shitloads, so many Im not listing them, but the closest to what your talking about (and springs to mind) is the scene in FF8 where you have to save Rinoa(?)from drifting out into space…

I then inquired if ts just me who is overly emotional (tho not in those words). The response was yes.


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This rant was posted in Games, MCC129 on by .

Lightwave Stuff: weapons training
Date Created: October 21, 2009  Date Modified: October 21, 2009

Below are a few early renders of a weapon im creating for a mod. there are no textures yet and there needs to be a bit more modeling done but you can start to se it…

This rant was posted in 3D, Lightwave, Modding on by .

Open Source Games: FPS
Date Created: August 16, 2009  Date Modified: August 16, 2009

Due to my love of computer games I decided I would start off with a list of a few open source FPS games for you to get into, there are thousands of games projects on sourceforge alone that this list is just a quick sample of what is out there, but I will be adding more as time progresses.

D2X-XL is an OpenGL port of the classic 3D Shooter game Descent 2 for Win32, Linux and Mac OS X, containing many enhancements and bug fixes while preserving full backwards compatibility.

Hammer of Thyrion
Hammer of Thyrion is a cross-platform port of Raven’s Hexen II source. It is based on an older linux port, Anvil of Thyrion. HoT includes many bug fixes, improved sound and video modes, opengl improvements and documentation among many others.

Digital Paint: Paintball 2
Paintball2 is a fast-paced first-person game with capture the flag, elimination, siege, and deathmatch (free-for-all) styles of gameplay. This project focuses on enhancing the Quake2-based engine it uses.

Nexuiz is a multiplayer first-person shooter. It is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Version 1.0 was released on May 31, 2005. The current version, 2.5.1, was released on May 11, 2008.

I will expand this list when I have some more time, but for now that shuld keep you from getting board.

This rant was posted in Games on by .

Oblivion… does it get old?
Date Created: August 4, 2009  Date Modified: August 4, 2009

I played 2 different charichters for over 300 hours each on Oblivion for PC, so I know I got my moneys worth. I saw a second hand copy for the PS3, and I had to give it a go–I just wish I could import my killer PC save game.

I going a Kajik this time. Just jumping around and annoying people (tiggers can bounce!). I havnt done ant quests yet, just running around throu aylid ruins…

I was playing it for a while the other pay and I thought–“Man, this game is so much like Fallout, no more like… oh wait.”

This rant was posted in Fallout 3, Oblivion on by .

tools from the source
Date Created: April 10, 2009  Date Modified: September 15, 2011

sourceforge, for those who dont know is an online resource for open source software projects. I have found, and are having a play with some of the Neverwinter tools some of the open source community has developed. I’ll let you know how I go with them but here are a few im trying:

Yet Another terrain tool
. – for editing terrain.
Neveredit – mod tool
ASOMS Hackpack – remember the moonsea from the goldbox games?, hopfuly there is some nostalgic type shit in this hackpack

like I said, i’ll post about these products in detail when ive had a good play with them.

This rant was posted in Games, Mod, Modding, Neverwinter Nights 2, Software on by .

The end dude: Bioshock spoiler
Date Created: March 27, 2009  Date Modified: March 27, 2009

Just finished Bioshock
last night, in anticipation of the sequel to be out later in the year. and I must say that the end dude (which is atlas, who is really fontaine!) is a bit too easy to kill, shit i found nitro splicers harder to kill.

the ending had some unanswered questions and Im wondering if i would get a diffrent result if I rescued the little sisters instead of harvesting them all. guess i have to start over and find out.

This rant was posted in Bioshock on by .

Farcry 2
Date Created: March 19, 2009  Date Modified: October 14, 2012

Im more of a fan of the game engine than the game itself. I love burning down forests, now i can do it in the comfort of my own home. However there were a few plot issues that put me off Farcry2. I was playing it for the first time, gin and tonic in reach, and yet i still kep dying of malaria!, this shat me to no end.

so i shelfed the game at 2%, i had fallout to clock–civil war in Africa is outranked by neuclear war in America.

When I picked up the game again recently I noticed somting that if id known prior, it may have given me more incentive to put the disk in: Player Built Maps!

YES!, you can build you own maps in farcry2, why did nobody mention this to me before? I have been a modder on PC’s for years and never for once thought (ok, little big planet dosnt count) that modding would be a “thing” on the consoles–man times have changed since the first PS console!

the toolset is certainly no NWN2 toolset, but its easy to pick up–I would even assume for those with no 3D experience, and the terrain generator is fairly realistic. Its a little strange going from building worlds on a PC than it is sitting on a couch using a controller to smooth out terrain, but its also a bit more relaxed than at the desk, ciggi ash falling in keyboard and eyestrain from a 19 inch CRT that is on its last legs.

I have yet to check out any of the User Built maps online–I choose to keep the PS3 disconnected from the network for bandwith reasons, but when ive got my little deathmatch finished i’ll share and share alike with the rest of the malaria infected gamer community!

This rant was posted in Farcry 2, Modding, Toolset on by .

Would you want this next to your TV?
Date Created: March 10, 2009  Date Modified: March 10, 2009

this is the worst case mod I have seen on a PS3… I have seen much worse on PC boxes thou…

would you want that in your louge room?

This rant was posted in Modding on by .

Bioshock 2
Date Created: March 9, 2009  Date Modified: March 9, 2009

When i herd this was announced my first thought was “awsome”. but if this article is true, and Take Two announced it early to keep stock prices up then it will be some time before the game is in my PS3 and im killing splicers with exploding shotgun shells…

and Im happy to wait. I waited for GTA4 and was dissapointed with a game thats half finished, so the more I have to wait, the better and more refined the final game will be.

Id rather see it released in 2010 and have a better game, (with more guns and ammo than the original) than have it pushed thru to get in to peoples xmas stockings. This is not a childrens game anyway!, PARENTS DONT BUY THIS FOR YOUR CHILD NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY BITCH AT YOU!. Id rather wait to the first quater of 2010 to not have all the good bits of voilence removed to adhear to Australias draconian cencorship laws (btw: more games are banned in Australia than China and Saudi Arabia combined!), Id rather wait for the game to be perfect and bug free than to have it rushed to the shelfs…

Also, Im still only halfway thru the original–give me time to clock!

This rant was posted in Banned, Bioshock 2, OFLC on by .

Rotascoping in Mirrors Edge
Date Created: March 9, 2009  Date Modified: March 9, 2009

I hated Waking life–fuckin psudo-exestential horseshit. and the rotascoping made me more ill than the story or lack there of. So when I saw the cut scenes in Mirror’s Edge were of a similar style, i wasnt sure if it worked.

My first reaction was: They spent ages making a highly detailed city, and then rotascope the fuckin cutscenes–althou its not realy rota scoping, its probably just a clever flash annimation…

A few cut scenes later and the style is growing on me. this tactic of making games more like television (see my post on Siren Blood Curse) is definatly a good step. A step to interactive TV perhaps?

Im still not going to watch waking life again, however

This rant was posted in Mirrors Edge, PS3 on by .