Friday, July 08, 2005

Episodes

And so it begins... It seems that Ritual Entertainment will be releasing its next SiN game in episode form over Valve's Steam content delivery network. Salient features:
  • 6 hour episodes
  • $20 a pop
  • Released every 3 to 4 months

Interesting. This seems a bit expensive to me, although on second thought, I realize I happily pay $50 for a 12-15 hour game like Prince of Persia. Maybe $20 for 6 hours isn't bad. 3 to 4 months also seems like a long stretch between episodes. Will that be too long to maintain interest in storylines? If the game is good and the episodes each offer something new (gameplay- or story-wise), then I think it might work.

Also of note, Ritual will be developing SiN Episodes on Valve's Source engine. Could this be a small step in the direction of standardized tools? If this works, it could be a good demonstration of the benefits of reusing tools (rather than reinventing the wheel each time around). I'll be watching this closely as it develops.

In other downloadable content news, the new Halo 2 maps are pretty sweet. I haven't played them with other people yet, but even just exploring them by myself was entertaining.

3 Comments:

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Foopy said...

I agree that the price seems a little steep--I'd prefer $10-15, even if it meant issuing a 3-4 hour episode every 1-2 months.

I'm not sure I agree with the "small step in the direction of standardized tools" part. Standardized tools have been used internally by development studios since the days of Infocom's Z-machine in the early 1980's, used with licensing arrangements since at least the days of Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D in the early 1990's, and they've even been opened up for free, non-commercial use through engines like Quake and Aurora in the past decade. Every time we hear that a game is using the engine from another game--and that's a lot of games, including some of my all-time favorites--this means that the developers are reusing tools. So I agree that SiN's use of the Source engine will be a good demonstration of the benefits of reusing tools, but I don't think this constitutes a new or unusual development in any way.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Clubberjack said...

You're right. I think what I was trying to get at was that this particular reuse of the Source engine is in support of episodic content. The engine will be tweaked once and then reused multiple times for multiple episodes. It's the combination of these things that seems new to me (though Aurora is similar).

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Clubberjack said...

Damion Schubert has a few comments on SiN Episodes on his blog, Zen of Design.

 

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