December 9th, 2006, 14:43 Posted By: wraggster
First up, some e-Di news (that's electronic distribution for short, to the noobs out there. )
Thatgamescompany had some pretty nice things to say in general about making flOw and their dealings with Sony as a publisher. John Edwards (core engineer) had this to say on their forums:
Our one goal when making flOw PS3 has been to take the experience of the Flash game and bring it into the "Next Generation". At times, this has felt like knitting an antimatter scarf with regular needles, because flOw is a minimalist Zen game, and the Next Generation seems to be about who at Sony and Microsoft can shout the loudest about Features of Questionable Value (while the Wii swings from behind to steal the show?).
FlOw PS3 is not the same game as flOw in Flash, but we're doing everything we can to inspire that same calm and wonder so many people feel from playing flOw in their browsers, without embarrassing ourselves in the face of games like Resistance: Fall of Man.
While I'm not sure I understand Sony as a console manufacturer, right now, I have nothing but respect for them as a publisher (of course, I haven't had to deal with their legal department). Time and time again, I, for one, have over-promised and under-delivered (mainly because I'm young and inexperienced and don't know when to hold my big mouth about crazy-ambitious promises). And every time, Sony has done the right thing by nurturing, rather than punishing.
All of us at TGC have worked ridiculously hard over the course of this entire project. I think a lot of teams, when faced with the same kind of pressure and schedule would have strangled each other to death long ago, but, miraculously, we've all stayed friends, and even hang out on the weekends (oh yeah, because we're all at the office). We want flOw to be a great game, but as we've learned, making a great game takes. Sony understands this, too. FlOw PS3 is nearly done, and we'll ship it as soon as we can, but in the mean time:
Thanks Nick, Kellee, Martin and Hao for being such a great team. Thanks Sony (a.k.a. George, Rusty and John) for being such a supportive and understanding publisher. And, finally, thanks to all of you (Amish) for your excitement, encouragement, patience.
I can't remember the last time I had a breath of fresh air like that post John did. Well put!
It seems Sony is starting to realize the value of an indie platform, as they're starting to extend it to the PSP as well. They have started a service called Kit-Start, which gives devs a free dev kit for the PSP along with technical consulting and support straight from Sony. Perhaps the battle of next gen wont be decided by big-budget games...but rather, who has the bigger indie support. It will be an interesting next-gen race for sure!
So, those Crash Bandicoot impressions...you can read about the install process and controls on the last blog post. But how does it play? Really well, actually...with some problems also unfortunately.
First off, you can choose either original, normal or stretch on the universal PSP menu...however, the normal function still has some black bars on the top and bottom (as shown in the pic above). Even stretched fills the left and right of the screen, but the black bars remain. Not sure if this is an issue with just the one game or not, so I'll have to find out later.
The game itself looks really great...in fact, I was downright impressed once I got to the waterfall/river section. The PS1 could really pump out some splendid visuals back in the day, and the PSP screen makes them sharper than ever.
The controls were interesting. This game came out before analog was available for the PS1, yet I felt much more natural with the analog stick than I did using the digital pad. However, in bonus levels and the 2-d scrolling levels, I switched back to Type 1 and used the digital pad. While it sounds like a hassle, it literally takes two seconds to do this, so its not a big deal at all.
The emulation of the game so far is great, but with a big problem. Bonus games are found midway through a level every now and then, and once you complete it you can save the game. Out of the five times I played a bonus level, the game failed to kick me to the saving menu twice, which leaves me with an empty screen. The game didnt freeze as the music and some effects were still going on, which leaves me to think this is an emulation problem more than the original ISO. And it's quite a big problem...because this game can be notoriously unforgiving sometimes, and losing that progress is just painful.
Thankfully the game also uses a password system, so I was able to look up some old codes on the net and get back to where I left off...but still, this is something that should have been fixed, no exceptions. On the plus side putting the game in sleep mode is instant, and un-sleeping your PSP brings you back to the game in just under two seconds. (I thought perhaps the sleep mode may have caused the save glitch, but I ran into it the second time on a fresh reboot of the PSP.)
I'm really lovin this game so far...it's a perfect fit on the PSP, despite the emulation hitch and the not-so-suitable save mechanism for portable gaming. It seems like a promising start for a service that will grow and expand for the PSPs future, and I'm very excited...and so will you be once Sony implements a PC or PSP download service early next year. For the lucky few with PSP and PS3s, consider it a nice test drive in the meantime.
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