Substance Designer – Tech Wall

I’ve been working on a Tech-Wall for a reactor in Substance Designer.

It is entirely procedural, using an octagon and a lot of FX maps to create all the different scifi walls. ¬†It’s a good thing high-tech future is all 45 degree angles.

Eat It, Vid Boi

Coming up rather soon, like August soon will be the 10 year anniversary of Marathon: Durandal, our port of the then 12 year old game to the Xbox 360.

I’ve got a rather hot take for you. ¬†Marathon is a good game. It was in 1995, it was in 2007 and it is in 2017. ¬†I dusted off my old Xbox 360, ran a few updates, discovered I still pay for Xbox LIVE and fired up the old Marathon.

Damn it’s a good game.

In no particular order these are observations:

  1. ¬†It’s fast. ¬†I’ve been mostly playing Destiny and No Man’s Sky. ¬†Marathon is so much faster and twitchier than these games. ¬†Aiming could be a little smoother, we have aim assist in, but it isn’t very aggressive.
  2. Total Carnage is hard. ¬†The enemies hit very hard, when you can’t jump or fly, it’s hard to dodge the shots. ¬†Hunting for health charge stations change how you play. ¬†Modern games have you pushing forward all the time, the reward for clearing an encounter is health/ammo/loot. ¬†Not in Marathon there is no reward, just more taunts from Durandal. ¬†I ran a specific loop in We’re Everywhere to keep hitting the 2X charger.
  3. Ammo is sparse. ¬†In Total Carnage you have no ammo carry limit, but you chew through a lot of it. ¬†You pretty much have to know where the secrets are to have enough ammo. ¬†Always consider punching. ¬†We even added in a quick switch between punch and your current gun (it’s mapped to B on my preferred control set, also the default control set. ¬†You can do that when it’s your game).
  4. The Fusion Pistol is the best weapon in the game. ¬†It handles the most situations, and won’t kill you (well other than an overload or firing in water). ¬†It’s highly accurate and you can charge it up going into battle.
  5. Bungie should of done Fusion Charge Stations instead of batteries.  Not only would it solve Ammo issues, but it would be a different mechanic to juggle, and just make the gun more interesting.  Then you could do the same for the Alien Weapon on alien levels.
  6. Enemies should drop ammo, but that makes no sense, so they should not.
  7. The levels are beautiful, complex and just beg to be explored. ¬†I got the itch to play after seeing the Marathon: Infinity speed run. ¬†I would love to speed run Durandal, but I can’t help but venture off the path to explore, and get secrets.
  8. Durandal as a character is great.  His tone, his snark, he would get along great on Twitter.
  9. the Major Damage difficulty setting is the most under used/unloved setting.  If you are going that far up, you go Total Carnage.
  10. I wish I had hidden 7 skulls in the levels. ¬†I mean, whose to say I didn’t.


If you’ve got an Xbox, fire up the old Marathon this summer and relive it. ¬†If you don’t, you can play, for 100% free all 3 Marathon games, in beautiful HD with the same HD textures from the Xbox game (some even high resolution than what the Xbox shipped with). ¬†Support the Aleph One team who keep Marathon alive and kicking.

See ya starside.

Merchant update

After a really really long time, I’m dusting off Merchant to the Stars. There’s a few tasks to be accomplished. We got a notice from Apple that Merchant is due to be unlisted due to not being 64 bit or updated in a long time. It’s now 64 Bit and seems to be functioning just fine. There’s a bug with GameCenter achievements, we just need to update the code, we are using some old GC stuff that has been depreciated.

While in the code I took some time to improve some quality of life.

‚ÄĘ Raised the level cap to 75
‚ÄĘ Readjusted the level curve
‚ÄĘ Readjusted pricing of sellback
‚ÄĘ Readjusted some of the hero settings to give better heroes

I rather like the visual style of the game, it’s not just 8 bit pixel art (it’s not 8 bit at all) but has sort of an old PC throwback style. I did adjust some of the art a bit, adding some better dithering in hero assets and a few menu assets. Nothing major, just a bit of adjustments.

Finally it was brought to my attention that the game assumes every hero is male. That’s not good. The game now will procedurally generate and assign genders as needed and no longer assumes any hero is male. There’s also a few new bad guys.

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