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Matt Chat 141: David Fox on Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

This week's episode is focused mostly on David's later career, which includes the FMV game Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm, which he'd probably rather people forgot about. ;) Still, the story of its creation is definitely worth listening to. David also talks about his news and iOS projects with Electric Eggplant. Finally, the ale of the week is perhaps the ultimate vintage gamer's ale: 8-Bit Pale Ale!

Download the mp4.

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Matt's Podcast 10: Detoxic Waste

Wasteland 2Wasteland 2Hi, folks, I'm back this week with a new podcast. Topics include Wasteland 2 and Kickstarter funding, brainstorming Matt Chat DVDs and documentaries, Baer vs. Bushnell, and a closer look at the Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco. Don't forget to visit the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter page.
Download the mp3 here.

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Matt's Podcast 9: Massive Effect or Affect?

Mass Effect 3Mass Effect 3I was having such a good time this morning WRITING about Mass Effect 3 that I decided to do a 40 minute podcast about it, too. In addition to elucidating why I like the ending, I also jabber on about why gaming NEEDS this sort of thing--indeed, why sheltering kids from unpleasant realities may do them more harm than good in the long run. I also nitpick about the game and why it needs a lot more variety in its gameplay. (Note: I don't address the internal logical inconsistencies of the story here; I admittedly don't pay enough attention to this kind of thing to care if plot point A in the first game doesn't jive with plot point B in the second and makes utter nonsense of plot point C in the third. I'll leave that kind of thing for the alpha nerds.)
Download the mp3 here.

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Why Mass Effect 3 Had an Awesome Ending

Mass Effect 3Mass Effect 3(Spoilers ahead). Let me start off by saying I only finished Mass Effect 3 last night, having read no reviews or anything before or during gameplay. Afterward, I posted about it on Facebook, and in the comments became aware of the so-called "universal outrage" over the way the game ended. After some quick reading about Why Mass Effect 3's Ending Was So Terrible, I became enraged about the outrage. This all culminated in the following ejaculation: GROW UP, GAMERS. Every friggin' game can't end with the Ewok cuddle patrol dancing and chanting "You sure are special, kid!".

Just to sum up for folks who aren't interested in experiencing the "moment" for themselves, the main character (Shepherd) ends the game with a very tough decision.

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Matt Chat 140: David Fox on Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

I'm back this week with David Fox round III, this time focusing on his epic adventure game, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. David has plenty of great stories about the game's development, as well as Lucasfilm Games development strategies in general. It's really fun hearing him talk about the competition between his company and Sierra On-Line--and speculate why Zak was so much more popular in Germany than elsewhere. The ale this week hales from the Netherlands, so naturally I had to offer a toast to our very own Mark Vergeer. ;)

Download the mp4 here.

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Announcing: Match 3 Invaders, a New Game by Matt Barton

Match 3 Invaders: Oh, hellz yeah!Match 3 Invaders: Oh, hellz yeah!Here it is Space Aces, my latest game: Match 3 Invaders. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to combine the pulse-pounding, sweaty-palms excitement of the classic Space Invaders arcade game with the relaxing strategy games known as "Match 3?" Now you have the chance to find out! Can you concentrate on lining up color matches while simultaneously dodging enemy fire? Can you endure the excruciating time limit as the aliens descend lower and lower upon your position? Most importantly of all: Can you rack up enough points to enter you name on the hallowed High Score Table?

It's Match 3 Invaders by Matt Barton. Now get in there and start matchin' and poppin' like you mean it!

Special thanks to: Triphamer, clok1966, Salty Pretzels, Eigen, Peter Horvath, Nathaniel Tolbert, and everyone else who beta tested and offered advice.

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Dev Diary 019: Match 3 Invaders with Arrays

When I woke up this morning I suddenly understood how to do all my matches with arrays instead of raycasts. There really is something to be said about "sleeping on it" and that your unconscious brain will figure out stuff that just isn't clear to you otherwise. The first breakthrough was realizing that I could create an array to hold all the enemy game objects, then populate each element as I build the fleet. Then I could assign an array column and row number to each enemy. An enemy to the left or right is -1 and +1, top and bottom -6 and +6. I could use the row numbers to eliminate the problem of the leftmost or rightmost columns getting mixed up. Instead of raycasting, I can simply check to see if the element exists and is in the proper row or column. Viola! No more misses!

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Dev Diary 018: Match 3 Invaders with new title screen and trails

Match 3 Invaders : now with cool trails!Match 3 Invaders : now with cool trails!It's been a long day of working on my game, mostly trying (and failing) to find out why it's still missing the occasional match. For awhile I wondered if it might be an issue with rigidbodies; that was a dead end. I next tried moving bits of code into lateupdate and such trying to see if that would help; nada. Finally I removed two "find" commands in the trigger event function. Since then, I've been unable to duplicate the error after about a half hour of beta testing. Sadly, I could just have gotten lucky, so I'm asking you guys to let me know if you encounter the bug again. I'd be willing to bet ten bucks that I'll get it the very next time I play it...But maybe not. I read on some tech forums that the "find" commands aren't very efficient, so I guess it's possible that they were delaying it just enough to cause the occasional miss.

I interviewed George Sanger ("The Fat Man") last week and he told me a fabulous story about M.U.L.E.. Apparently, Bunten was having a horrible time with a similar-sounding bug that made it very hard to get the mules lined up just right on the house. She finally gave up and explained that mules were ornery. Add a little animation of it running off the screen and suddenly that bug becomes a feature! Ornery mules...So I think it's about time to think about ornery invaders! Or perhaps the occasional dud projectile! Damn those cheap imports!

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Matt Chat 139: Labyrinth, Koronis Rift & More with David Fox

I'm back this week with part 2 of my interview with Lucasfilm designer David Fox. In this part, we talk about a lot of issues David faced in the 80s, such as why he disliked working on conversions (ports) and the steps they took to combat piracy. We also talk about Koronis Rift and Eidolon, as well as Maniac Mansion. We start talking about Zak here as well. Lots of good stuff for fans of Lucasfilm games.

Download the mp4 here.

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Dev Diary 017: Match 3 Invaders, Bug Fixes and some new features

I'm back today with some bug fixes--thanks to Trip for helping me find the problem with the aliens not respawning after a restart. I also made a few other tweaks and added some new features, namely a brief (perhaps too brief?) period of invincibility after your ship respawns, and three new types of power-ups: extra life, speed boost, bonus points, and of course ever-popular cannon upgrade. I also took another person's advice and added a "color reminder" swatch just below the score. I'm still getting occasional missed matches. I went back through my code today and still don't know why that is happening. It seems to come in spurts; you can play several rounds without a hitch, but then get it two or three times in a row.

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