Dissapointing Fable 2 News

October 2, 2008

As the Fable 2 launch is fast approaching we are starting to hear some disturbing news about items not in the final version of the game that will be shipping on the 21st. 

The first of these is the online multi-player co-op mode will not be available when you put the game disc in your Xbox, but will be released (hopefully) that week as a patch. I'm pretty worried about this fact since in all of the most recent demos of the game since E3 have shown the multi-player working in the game. They've been touting it being so special and revolutionary, and now it looks as if the first "patch" that actually will add the feature may be a bit buggy. I've been worried that something like this would happen since the announcement of a patch that fixed the Pub Games cheat in Fortune's Tower, starting to make it seem like we may not get everything we were promised in Fable 2 right out of the box. I hope that whatever is lacking from the finished product is put into place asap after release.

Also the limited collector's edition has had some issues. It was just announced yesterday that due to supply issues, the collector's edition will no longer include a fancy tin, the printed "fate" cards, or the Hobbe figurine. To make up for this, they are knocking $10 off the price putting it at $70, but it hardly seems worth getting in the first place. I have been known to snag the collector's editions of some games because of the offerings of great extras. I have the Warcraft III collector's edition, World of Warcraft Collector's Edition, and the Burning Crusade Collector's Edition. Coincidentally, they are all from Blizzard, but Blizzard always does a good job of making them worth the extra money. The art books that came with them are just simply amazing, and worth the price alone. Suffice it to say, I didn't order the Fable 2 Collector's Edition and I'm glad I didn't. If anyone hasn't already done so, I'd change your pre-order to the regular version and save yourself another $10.

XNA Game Studio 2.0
Instead of just playing games, I've decided to try my hand at making games. I've always had a few good ideas for different types of games, but really didn't have the time to invest in all of the development. Besides being able to do the programming, there are lots of additional resources necessary for putting together a gaming experience. It can all be a very daunting task to start with, deciding what platform/language to develop in, look and feel of the experience, artwork & sounds to build.

While I have heard of the XNA Game Studio, I hadn't really taken too deep a look at it until recently. The XNA framework really does a good job of making some of the more tedious game development tasks easy. Handling resource based content loading pretty much all automatically and allowing you to take advantage of very rich classes that expose useful methods that work on either Xbox 360 or Windows platforms. In fact, one of it's greatest strengths is that you can develop a windows or 360 game and change the project to the other rather easily. You do need to take into account some coding differences with pre-compiler directives, but once you know which areas you need to watch out for, that is easy to accomplish.

I went ahead and got the Visual Stuido C# 2008 Express product and the XNA Creators Studio 2.0 (3.0 is currently in beta and also available) and picked up a couple of books to go along with the tutorials they offer online. The first book "Beginning XNA Game Programming From Novice to Professional" is a decent book but I do have some gripes about it. The title of the book is a little mis-leading. This really isn't a book for someone who considers themselves a novice. You need to have a good grasp of programming concepts and some background in C, C++, or C# or you will be quickly lost as you progress out of the first chapter. The code examples in the book are good, but also lack some important information and have some errors as well. They have corrected these issues in the online source code available for the book, but stuff like that can cause real headaches for someone who is a novice. For me, these mistakes of omission actually help me to learn, because it forces me to think ahead of what the book is telling me and decide if I have to do anything else on my own to make a sample project work, which in turn reinforces what I'm learning, but without having 8+ years of real-world programming experience in a variety of languages, I would be frustrated by the missing information in the book. Consider this a book for the intermediate/advanced developer and not for someone who doesn't know anything about programming.

The 2nd book I picked up, also by Apress, was "XNA 2.0 Game Programming Recipies: A problem-solution approach". This book is much better, but it also geared more towards someone who has already got some development experience with XNA. The problem/solution approach provides real world examples of things you need to accomplish for different game types and while I've only glanced through a few chapters so far, I find it to be a good no-nonsense type of approach.

So now all I need to do is solidfy my gaming concept and get cracking. Unfortunately this is the busiest time of the year for me work-wise which means I won't really be hard at development until sometime in November, but until then I'm open to any game design ideas any fledgling game developers out there have in mind.