25 Years of GoldenEye Dev

I had such a great time at the Centre for Computing History, indulging myself in memories of the years where my friends and I regularly gathered together around a TV to play the GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. The panel session with three members of the development team is now up on YouTube, along with the post-talk Q&A. Both are well worth watching.

They developed the game with very little help from other teams at Rare. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges of having so much going on in the game without the frame rate suffering to an unacceptable degree. Who knew that the placement of doorways on levels would have such a huge bearing on processing?

Some of the game features — such as AI characters that go off to do things other than running straight at you and the inclusion of a sniper rifle — are now standard elements that you expect with any first-person shooter. Multiplayer was added to the game only four months before their deadline; remarkable as the game probably wouldn’t be as celebrated today without it.

I managed to get tickets to the event through being a Patreon of the Centre and being altered before they went on general release. If this kind of thing interests you, it is well worth setting up a small monthly donation to help them to continue their work.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Played this at a dinner party last night. A simply fantastic game, a bit like SpaceTeam but with much more depth and difficulty. You play the part of someone who is presented with a time bomb that you have to defuse by solving a number of puzzles on the device. Other (real life) friends in the room can’t see the bomb but instead have a giant manual of instructions that they can refer to. The puzzles are a real challenge and you gradually learn how to become competent at each type. This video gives a good idea of how it works. (Note that they absolutely nail it here and the game actually starts off a whole lot easier than this.)

You can play on a laptop but we used a Google Daydream headset along with their Pixel phone; my first experience of ‘proper’ virtual reality. It was incredible and extremely addictive — I really wanted to explore the environment and wander around the room the game put us in. It was weird to see the controller in my hand in the game itself (it would move and rotate exactly mirroring what I was doing with it in real life) as well as the swivel chair I was ‘virtually’ sitting on moving as I rotated my body around. When I took the headset off I felt very disoriented and I can see why they don’t want children under the age of 13 using them.