Beginning to Play Signalis

Last time I wrote to this blog I was playing Super Mario Wonder. I actually completed that and decided to dig into my pile of Nintendo Switch games that I just haven’t had time to play. At least that was the case. Since I now had some time I decided to start playing Signalis.

Signalis is described as a horror game. I would also call it an adventure game. It has been a long time since I played a game that would remind me of this game. I think Signalis is like something pure that has been missing from my latest gaming experiences. There are actual puzzles and problems for you to solve. Saving is not allowed at every moment. There are these certain parts and places in this game that you are allowed to save your game.

Signalis has been developed by rose-engine and published by Humble Games. It was released in 2022 for Windows, PS4, Switch and Xbox One. I have to admit that I have already been used to these extra sharp 3D oriented graphics that look very realistic. The way that Signalis opens up with its graphics feels amazing. Graphics designers have really done their job. I find the look of this game to be satisfying even if a slight retro feel seems to be present all the time. You can actually tune up the settings so that your screen looks a lot more like it was presented from an old television.

I just checked how many hours approximately it takes to beat Signalis. The web page (HowLongToBeat) informs me that it takes nine hours to finish it. So if I put same amount of effort as I put into playing Super Mario Bros Wonder I should be close to completing this game, say, maybe next week or something like that. It can take several days since I have work to do also. But it is nice to know that this game doesn’t take so long to beat as I find myself sometimes stuck on some games that take a bit longer to finish. Just to inform you I can tell that it takes about 50 hours to beat Red Dead Redemption 2.

I have only gone through the first level. Right now I just woke up and started exploring the first level. It isn’t possible to save your game right in the beginning of the game and that seems logical to me. In the first level there are some areas or rooms to explore. You have to collect some items and solve some puzzles. The problems seem to have a logical way for them to be solved. So you won’t find any humorous puzzles like those from retro type of adventure games like Monkey Island or Leisure Suit Larry. At least I haven’t stumbled on any since I just started to play Signalis.

The game reminds me a lot of Resident Evil. The camera angles are more reasonable although. The horror and anxiety are created mainly through graphics. I don’t even recall hearing any background music while playing. If there is some music it is very soft and in the form of some genre like ambient or something very close to that.

Switch is a nice console to have. The library of games that are available is already huge and it keeps growing all the time. It is also a nice console to collect games for. It was first released in 2017 followed by the release of Switch Lite in 2019. I currently have some tens of games for Switch. As there have been rumors about a new Nintendo console to be released soon we are still waiting for more information about this. A big question is if the new console would have any kind of a backwards compatibility.

It was nice spend some time today starting to play Signalis and as I also finished Super Mario Bros Wonder I think I had a nice day all in all. Today it was very Nintendo Switch related. I am hoping to get to spend some more time with my Switch. I’ll write a new post some day soon. It was nice to see you here and you will get to read something from this blog very soon!

What It Takes to Create Own Video Game?

What it actually takes to create your own video game? Does it take hard work or maybe talent? Well, that depends also on how high you set yor goal. It isn’t so hard to create a text adventure game. For me, the hardest parts are concerning programming and graphics. I have created some minor prototypes and an actual working text-based adventure game.

How did I make my game? I programmed it with Java. If you program some other type of game, like a simple platformer with some basic graphics, you are basically creating a never ending while-loop, inside your code, that will refresh the screen like maybe sixty times in a second. The code updates the screen all the time. It also records every rerlevant key presses and updates the objects that seem for the player to be moving on the actual screen.

This is the basis of a simple game. You can also create event or command based games. This is what I did with my small text adventure game. The game reads your command, like “look around”, and then gives you some new output in a form of text. And the whole text adventure game happens on a command prompt inside your own program or game or what ever you are running your code with.

So, what do you need to do when you actually create a new game. There’s lots of things to work on. You need a simple plot and some kind of a scenery. You need to know how the player of your game can interact with the software, or computer, when the player plays the game.

There are also more areas of knowledge that are needed. You have to come up with whole world of music and sound, graphics, controls and storyline. Making your own game is technically demanding. You have to know your computer and how it works. You know, a good painter doesn’t necessarily know how to make good-looking video game graphics. You might need a voice actor or maybe even three or four of them.

Making a video game is demanding. But it is very rewarding if you can actually make a game that people like to play. Some people might be more interested in finding out how did you come up with your game. That can concern programming, creating the music, writing the plot or dialogue of the game or some other area.

If you still want to make a game on your own, remember to not to set the aim too high. And this is propably a good advice especially when you are just starting out. Remember to try to collaborate with other people that have some of these skills I have mentioned in this blog post. If you feel like it, you can share your source code with other developers. There are also lots of information available online. There are materials and tips for you to use before you try to make everything by yourself.

There’s a saying in Finnish that goes “kukaan ei ole seppä syntyessään”. I am not going to try to translate that. But this means that you have to take your time to learn the craft. I hope you got some new ideas from this blog post. We were moving on some game desing principles here in this blog post. Maybe I will write something about actually playing some video games the next time. We will see that.

The Importance of a Plot

If you think about games and gaming and what it comes to games having a strong inner story, a plot, you can have many opinions. There are two extremes. Some might think that there should be sort of interactivity and action in games and that a plot is just something that doesn’t have such an importance.

This of course depends a lot about what kind of a game you are experiencing. If you have a shooter, maybe a first person shooter, you don’t necessarily want to follow something that is comparable to a story or line that walks you throuhg the game. You are happy to just shoot everything that moves, right?

What about adventure games? Here the plot has more meaning. Also in advneture games the dialogue and conversations bring a lot to the content. You also have some puzzles to solve. You have objects to pick up and use in some situations. That’s how adventure games work.

Can you think about a role playing game wihtout a plot? I hardly can. But of course in a role playing game you are also very interested how your main character or characters develop. Usually there are also choices made inside the game that vary how the story keeps moving on. Some games have a solid story line while others might have various events launched by a decision that the player has made.

If you want an example of a storydriven role playing game I would have to bring up Fallout and Fallout 2. These games had a deep and interesting story that also formed based on the desicions that the player makes.

So is strory or a plot important to you as a player? If we compare games to other mediums like books and movies we can think that games differ from them in that that they have this interactivity in them. Player can move a character or characters and make decisions that make an impact. You could hardly think of a movie that has no plot at all. But if you think about a classic game like Doom you could do fine wihtout understanding it’s story line.

Some games give a plot a lot of importance. Some games give us a slight idea of what is going on and deliver some action instead. Some games, maybe some simple games, might not have a plot at all. There are as many games as there are types of players. And we can say that that is many indeed.

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