Working

I’ve been working on writing up game design documents and have neglected writing Native 3, but Rakshasa is done and being sent of for printing soon! I do have about 6,000 words done with the 3rd book and hopefully I will double that by the end of summer. I’ve been a little slower lately, but I’m trying to juggle school as well as writing.

Hope you guys enjoy the book and I will post a link as soon as it becomes available for purchase!

Silent Hill Series

The only Silent Hill game I have played all the way through was the first, but it truly was a masterpiece. It was one of the original game that used environments and ambiance as a character in it’s self. When you heard the sirens you knew shit was about to get real, and the blaring noise made your whole body tense up in anticipation of what was to come. The game did a great job of making you feel powerless, yet able to get through enemies without having to resort to running away. Many other games, such as the Clock Tower series, made you feel like you were worthless against enemies and struggling wasn’t really worth your time. Might as well restart because as soon as you are spotted you are going to die. While this is part of the draw to a Survival horror genre, it’s important to keep the player interested with gameplay, otherwise they might as well watch a movie.

Survivor Horror can be a unique genre, as it opens its self up to many different types of playing experience. Even an FPS can be a Survival Horror game, such as with F.E.A.R, where the player has full control of combat, but the experience can be mind bendingly terrifying. With the Silent Hill series, much like in Resident Evil, there are some favorite characters/villains that can make their way into the series. Pyramid head wasn’t in the game I expressly played, but he has such a neat feel that he’s been in the movies and a couple games. In this series the victims are always brought to the town of Silent Hill, a place that changes slightly based on what area you are thrust into, but players can find some familiar areas they have explored before in other games. This opens up an very unique situation, which I wish the developers would delve deeper in. Why not have cross storylines effecting at the same time, much like in Resident Evil 2 and 3, when Leon’s actions affected Jill’s game. Why not have whispers or flashes of past heroes in the current game? Now they may have done some crossing over, but I would really like to have explored this more to the point that it seems the games were planned out.

Watching the playthrough of Silent Hill: Downpour, I can’t help but notice the intricate level design in some of the areas, especially in the “Hell” worlds. When Murphy is sliding down and has to push himself out of the way of flying objects coming towards him, going through puzzle rooms, and having unique environments (such as the clock rooms) makes the game very appealing to me, but it’s bogged down by bad inventory management, slow combat and terrible save states. As a player I think it’s really important to give the player the ability to save frequently, as many of us have schedules that don’t allow us to just casually play a game for hours without worrying about the time. I digress.

With the new movie coming out I felt it was important to look at the series as a whole and figure out what makes the series so appealing. What is it about the town of Silent Hill that makes players want to go back? How do developers utilize or bastardize these sentimental feelings of the player and express their vision through the games? Building a franchise is one of the most  difficult things to do, but when you have one, it’s almost as hard to keep that franchise alive. Sonic will always be an icon, but the games Sega has put out have not reached the potential financial success the originals had achieved. But games like Uncharted have only gotten more awards and loyal fans as the franchise has gone on. As a Game Designer I think about what makes a franchise successful or a failure, and with Silent Hill series I’m just not sure. There have been some pretty bad games in the franchise, but then there have been better ones then the first game. Obviously I still have much research to do, but I just wanted to share my musings.

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Game Review 1
Currently Playing: Wolverine Origins.



PS3 Batman Arkham Asylum Review
T for Teen
Rocksteady in association with Eidos.
84% completion of game and 61% Trophies achieved in first playthrough.
Written by Paul Dini

Overview: Batman has been in all types of mediums, in written word, moving pictures and rendered three dimensional graphics. He is one of the most iconic comic book superheroes and easily recognizable to people who don’t read his stories or watch the series. Arkham Asylum is the story of Batman returning Joker to the Asylum only to find that he has walked into a trap. The game has cameos from Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Bane and Scarface as well as the Joker. During your travels around the island you can pick up Riddler trophies while you solve some trivia about the Batman universe. Although the game is slightly open world, with gadgets allowing you access to areas as you progress, the story was very much linear. This is a good 6-8 hour story, but with riddles and extra content you can stretch out your gameplay much longer.

Writer: Paul Dini is my favorite comic book author, so I am a bit biased when it comes to his writing. One of thing Dini does well is write female characters that have their own personality. Too many times in games and movies I find woman are written primarily to reflect the main male protagonist. Since we are talking batman, let me break away and talk about the film “The Dark Knight.” In this series the female love interest is Rachael, but she doesn’t come across as an individual, only an outlet for Bruce Wayne to express emotion and to force him into change. Rachael is one of those characters that are background noise and the story wouldn’t change drastically without her. When Dini writes a female character, he writes her with spunk and personality. Harley Quinn was his original character that he introduced into the Batman universe in the animated series. While she isn’t a role model, she has depth and a large personality. She is essential to the story and through interview tapes we learn about her history of being a psychiatrist and how the Joker warped her mind. Joker is written exceedingly well and entertains the player with his commentary over the P.A. The only real fault I found with the story telling of this game was just the banter between the inmates. The dialog between them was repeated often and I never felt like any of these thugs were individuals.

Favorite parts: When Scarecrow hits you with the fear gas the player is transported into the warped parts of Bruce Wayne’s psyche. We see how the death of his parents still haunt him and how villains have affected his mind. The third Scarecrow fight was my favorite part of the game and reminded me of Metal Gear Solid’s Psycho Mantis fight. The other thing I enjoyed was figuring out how to get to Riddler Trophies and figuring out his riddles. So many times I would sit and ponder what the clue meant or run around trying to find all the secret spots to use gadgets to get at trophies.

Graphics: While the environments were very pretty, I only really liked the design choice on the Joker. Harley seemed extremely thin and horsefaced, there were only a few character models for the inmates and Batman’s face seemed expressionless. Too many times I would be put off by some of the design choices for the iconic villains. Scarecrow didn’t seem very scary and even during his boss fights I never felt like the gas was making him seem frightening. Everyone seemed very blocky and unrealistic. I understand that they wanted a darker tone for this game, much like the movies series has done, but I missed some of the cartoon feel from the comic books. I would have liked softer facial expressions and a wider variety of character models. Still it was better than Rockstar’s blocky character models.

Gameplay: The combat was smooth and the control was almost perfect. The only thing that bothered me was some of the camera placements and running into outcropping walls or pesky corners. When I found myself unsure of what the game wanted me to do, I got helpful hints about what I was supposed to do. Such as using a batarang to confuse a giant thug when he charging at you. The most aggravating parts were the ones where you couldn’t use your grappling hook and you had to climb up the old fashioned way. While games like Uncharted do this type of platforming very well, Batman wasn’t built for it and I found myself constantly falling down when I went for an outcropping that I assumed Batman could attach himself to.

Acting: The voice acting done by Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy was amazing, even Arleen Sorkin joined the cast once again for her role of Harley Quinn. They reprise their role from the television show, but change their voices slightly to go along with the tone of the game. The rest of the cast was fine, but no one else stood out as being unique or memorable.

Result: I would say that this game got a solid 8/10. It had a few minor issues, but I had fun playing it and wouldn’t mind playing through a second time.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. Let me know what you thought of the game and if you had any questions about it. 
Rakshasa

I am finished with the first draft of Rakshasa. I hope people enjoy it! I wanted to expand on the universe and get deeper into the Vampire/Werewolf controversy. Image for the front cover will be coming soon!

Can I ask where you're from? Or if India is your real name? One or the other. I once knew an India in Missouri who liked to write about werewolves and I'm kind of wondering if you're her. :)
Anonymous

My real name is India, but no I have never been to Missouri. I live in Florida. Hope you someday find your lost friend. :) Hope you enjoy Mohegan!

Mohegan on sale

http://www.booktopia.com.au/mohegan/prod9781936202805.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mohegan-india-jackson/1105062490

Mohegan is still only available as an E-book on LT3, but you can visit the above sites to buy the physical copy! :) Please enjoy!

Currently writing Rakshasa 21,000 words done.

Books

Hello,

I just came back from Yaoi-con and I have physical copies of my book! Wow, these look amazing! I really hope that for those of you who have read Mohegan already go online and get a copy of the soft cover whenever it becomes available. I will post on here once it’s on Amazon and available at the LT3 store. 

Thank you so much to the people who have bought my book at Yaoi-con! I hope you all enjoyed them!

India

Yaoi-con

I will be attending Yaoi-con 2011! If you would like to buy a physical copy of my book they will be available at the Less Than Three booth in the dealer’s room! I will be happy to sign any books as well. :) Hope to see you there!

Hi. I was just reading your first chapter of Rakshasa, and I really enjoyed it =) I thought I'd just point out that the printer's gremlin was at work (sneaky little bastards); in some places you have exchanged "than" for "then". I'm sorry for this, but it's a force of habit in my line of work. I'm really looking forward to the entire book. // Annie
Anonymous

I am glad that you liked it. I am working on it, but haven’t gone over and fixed the grammatical problems yet. Anything I would have put up here is mostly just first drafts, Mohegan: Native Instincts is the only one that is completely done. Thanks for your interest!