Friday, September 28, 2012

FIFA 13 vs Pro Evo 2013: Which Football Game Should You Get?

There are two great football games on the market this week. Most fans will only buy one. It's a tough call.
Alone amongst major sporting series, the battle between FIFA and Pro Evo is actually a pretty fair fight. Both games present compelling arguments as to which is the better football game, depending on who you are and what you're looking to get out of your game.
Given this unique situation, I thought rather than reviewing both games individually and simply preach to the converted, I'd throw them in the ring and see how they trade blows.
Below, I'll be listing each thing I think one game does better than the other. If something isn't mentioned, assume it's roughly equivalent. Hopefully you can pick through it all and, knowing what you prefer in your football game, choose the one that's right for you.


Licenses - Perhaps a little unfair, given this is a business decision, but it's still a significant feather in FIFA's cap. FIFA 13 lets you play in the Barclay's Premier League as Arsenal. In Pro Evo, you play in the English League as North London. Sure, Konami balance this out with some licensed tournaments, like the Champion's League, but the number of official leagues FIFA 13 boasts more than outweighs this.
Animation & Handling - Where Pro Evo 2013's players still move and receive the ball like they've been carved by Geppetto, FIFA 13's players have a fluidity and grace unmatched in all of sports gaming. It's one of the first things you notice when switching between the games (as I have all week), and given the importance of movement and touch is also one of the most critical.
Online Play - It's not even a contest. FIFA 13 has so many online modes tucked away in its EA Sports FC, from seasons to one-offs to challenges, that you can see why millions of people buy this game solely for the multiplayer. My favourite are the new games tied to real-world events, where you can pick any team and play one of their recent (or upcoming) fixtures with the actual squads, injuries and even player form carrying over from reality into FIFA 13. Commentary - Again, no contest. There's plenty of recycled content in there, but in terms of fluidity, relevance and overall entertainment value, FIFA shouts all over Pro Evo's embarrassingly bare-bones efforts. A nice added touch this year are constant crosses to sideline reporters and audible updates from concurrent games.
Tutorial - My God. Where did this come from. Pro Evo used to have the upper hand here, with its training mode, but FIFA has swept in and given us not just the best tutorial in sports, but maybe the best tutorial system in all of gaming. How? You get little mini-game challenges to play while an actual game is loading. Yes, instead of staring at a loading screen (or blindly shooting as in previous FIFAs), you can continually learn things and improve your game, every time, and not just to learn, but you're playing for points. It's genius.


Role-Playing - Both games have the expected "be a pro" mode, where you assume the role of a single player on a team, but where FIFA's is still frustratingly ambivalent, Pro Evo's would be a viable purchase as a standalone game. I'm serious. The challenge of rising through the ranks is scaled just right, you're given constant feedback on your progress, there's the ability to assign custom training regimes, and you even have chats with your agent once a week. There's so much depth there it's easy to forget the rest of the game even exists.

Space - I don't know whether Pro Evo's field is bigger or its players smaller, but Konami's game more accurately portrays the amount of space you have to move on a football field. FIFA always feels a little cramped for my liking, while Pro Evo feels like I've got plenty of space to move and pass (and bigger goals to aim at as well). It's Smarter - FIFA may look sharper with its fancy effects and official kits, but Pro Evo's AI still plays the smarter game of football, especially in the attacking third of the pitch. The computer's players make better attacking runs and are more patient defenders, leading to more calculated and realistic affairs than FIFA's emphasis on speed and attacking play.
Human Beings - They may not animate as smoothly as FIFA's players, but the men populating Konami's game look a lot more like professional footballers than EA's often disproportionate cartoon blimp people.


Like I said, hopefully you can pick through that and sort out which of the two is more suited to you. If for some godforsaken reason you need me to act as a tie-breaker, though, I'm going to go with FIFA. Just.
Konami deserve a drink or three for the work they've done on Pro Evo this year. After a succession of lacklustre games this console generation, the series was probably one or two years from oblivion, but wholesale improvements across the board, particularly in areas more serious football fans will tinker with, mean it's once again a credible competitor. Indeed for many, aforementioned serious fans in particular, it'll be the superior product.
But for me, it still doesn't have the mustard to get past FIFA. EA's product is simply too slick, too smooth and overall too well-rounded to not come out on top. It's got by far the stronger online component, its production values and licenses make it a more "authentic" broadcast experience and while it's not without its problems on the pitch, it still plays a great, flowing game of football.
Good news for EA, then, but in the grand scheme of things better news for Konami and, more importantly, you, the consumer. Stronger competition between these games is exactly what the genre needs to drive innovation and keep each series on its toes, so with Pro Evo quite literally back in the game, we'll hopefully be in for some great football titles in the nex few years.
NOTE: FIFA 13 played on PS3, Pro Evo 2013 on Xbox 360. If you've got any more specific questions, leave them below and I'll do my best to answer them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dishonored Trailer And Information

Dishonored casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress. Framed for her murder, you become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. In a time of uncertainty, when the city is being besieged by plague and ruled by an oppressive government armed with strange technologies, dark forces conspire to bestow upon you abilities beyond those of any common man.

In Dishonored, creatively eliminate your targets with the flexible combat system as you combine the numerous supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your enemies under the cover of darkness or ruthlessly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make.

Friday, August 31, 2012

FIFA 13 demo will be released September 11

A FIFA 13 demo will be released September 11 on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, EA announced today during its gamescom 2012 press conference.
The demo will give players a chance to try out the new Skill Games and Match Day modes. You can also upload your best goals straight to EA's official FIFA website from the demo.
EA Sports confirmed via the game's Twitter feed that the playable teams are: AC Milan, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Manchester City.
The full game launches a few weeks later on September 28.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another PES 2013 demo, available next week on XBLM and PSN

Konami will release a second demo of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 next week, crashing into the nets of Xbox Live on August 28 and PlayStation Network on August 29. Yes, a second demo within a month of the first one. It may seem a bit crazy to release two demos, let alone so close together, but Konami did the exact same thing last year. PES Productions have been hard at work tweaking the game since the first demo, presumably based on feedback. The second demo will offer a more equal balance between attack and defence, improved control for manual passes, and a number of other refinements – including improved refereeing. If only they could do that with the actual sport. The game is scheduled to release around late September on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, and then later on in the year for PSP, 3DS, Wii, and PS2.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hitman Absolution Introducing Contracts

CONTRACTS is a new online mode which allows gamers to create and share their own custom hit challenges within HITMAN: ABSOLUTION. Choose a level, targets, weapons and then set the rules for completing your contract as you play to create. HITMAN: ABSOLUTION will also ship with many pre-set CONTRACTS, each designed by the very best assassins at IO Interactive.

HITMAN: ABSOLUTION is scheduled for release across North America, Europe and PAL territories on November 20, 2012 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

Make Your Own RPG Game With The Source Engine

[In this article from Game Developer magazine's 2012 Career Guide, developer Ben Evans provides an in-depth tutorial on making your own role-playing game in Valve's Source Engine.]
If you want to get into game development, modding an existing game is a good way to start exploring game design ideas and building prototypes without reinventing the wheel. In this tutorial, we're going to use Valve Software's Source Engine (the same game engine that powers Portal, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, and Team Fortress 2) to prototype a mod with RPG-esque quests within Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

Note that this tutorial assumes you have a basic knowledge of Source SDK's Hammer Editor and Face Poser tools, so it's definitely an intermediate-level project. You should be comfortable with building and compiling maps, placing entities, and setting up triggers before following this tutorial, and if you want to add custom dialogue, you'll also need to know how build and save your own scenes in Face Poser. It's okay if you've never used the Source SDK tools before-there are a ton of free resources online that you can use to learn how to use them. Start with the Valve Developer Wiki which hosts a lot of very useful tutorials and references, and then check out design3 (disclaimer: I am a design3 contributor) for step-by-step instructional videos on the Source Engine. The minimum requirements to run these tools are the same as the requirements for Half-Life 2: Episode Two: a 1.7 GHz processor, 512MB RAM, DirectX 8.1 level graphics card, and Windows XP or newer. You will also need a microphone that plugs into your PC.

Gearing up

Before we get started, let's make sure we have everything we need. First, you'll need a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode Two installed. We're going to use this game because it's the most up-to-date and flexible Source engine single-player game available for modding. If you don't have Episode Two, Half-Life 2 will be compatible with most of the elements in this tutorial as well.

If you want to add custom dialogue to your RPG, you'll need some audio editing software. Audacity is a free, open-source audio-editing application that we're going to use to record your own dialogue for your mod.

We'll also need a Phoneme Extractor patch that will help make Face Poser work better with Windows 7/Vista. Download it and follow the installation instructions. Without that patch, the tool that associates dialogue text strings with sound files won't work.

Next, grab GCFScape. GCFScape allows us to open up the cache files that come with Steam games so we can view and extract the files within them. We'll be using it to extract audio for our mod.

If you haven't already, you'll need to install the Source SDK, so open up the Steam Client, go to the Tools tab, and install it. You will need your own map to work with; we'll refer to it as "main map." It can be anything from just a few simple rooms up to a wide-open landscape. Figure 1 is a screenshot of the level I use in this tutorial-if you'd like to use this level for the tutorial, go ahead and download it here.

Figure 1: Our sample level in the Hammer Editor
Right now our level is just a rough prototype that hasn't been fully textured or detailed yet. It's always best to start rough and refine the details as you finalize the level, so just come up with a basic level structure to start with for your own RPG. Also, remember to save regularly! Some of the new features in Hammer are not fully supported in the Episode Two version and may crash your editor.

Outlining the quest structure

For this tutorial, let's focus on the questing aspect of a role-playing game-building a character-progression system with experience points would have to be a completely separate guide. Our game level will have three non-player characters (NPCs) giving two quests each. We can use them to give quests, provide information, fight against the player, or just add life to the environment.

To keep our levels organized, let's use a naming convention prefix for our separate groups of entities, as explained in Figure 2.

Figure 2: This naming convention will make it easier for you to stay organized.
This will make finding the entities much easier, especially when working on individual quests. For example, adding the Level_prefix to entities that only affect the level keeps them all in one location in the list and out of the way of the quest entities.

Before we start making quests, we need to break them down into smaller components. Figure 3 is a table that lists the order in which the components are used in each quest. Note that "" and "" listings refer to the actual game logic within the quests and the trigger to activate the following quest (if there is one).

Figure 3: The anatomy of a quest.
Don't worry about figuring out all of this yet-we're only making a list of what we need right now. This is a list for just one quest, so you can tell we'll have a lot of entities to keep track of by the time we're done. To keep our viewports (and minds) uncluttered, we're going to use Visible Groups (VisGroups) to separate and hide each quest. VisGroups let you define groups of brushes and entities and hide/show them quickly. If the VisGroup is hidden when the map is compiled, everything in that group will be skipped in the process and won't appear in the game. This is very useful because it allows you to selectively view individual groups of objects by themselves so that you can focus on them without all the other stuff getting in the way. We'll start using them in the next section.
Part 2 of this tutorial will be posted next week

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Top 5 Skyrim Mods of the Week : Questing for Glory!

You asked for the mods, we answered! This week's show is chock full of user created quests and storylines! Watch out, people!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing open world video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Skyrim was released on November 11, 2011 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Skyrim's main story revolves around the player character's efforts to defeat Alduin, a Dragon who is prophesied to destroy the world. Set two hundred years after Oblivion, the game takes place in the fictional province of Skyrim, upon the continent of Tamriel, and the planet of Nirn. The open world gameplay of the Elder Scrolls series returns in Skyrim; the player can explore the land at will and ignore or postpone the main quest indefinitely. Skyrim was a critical and commercial success, receiving universal acclaim and shipping over 7 million copies to retailers within the first week of release.

by GameProcess