Thursday, March 03, 2005

This Week: GL-Pong... Really.

So, Darwinia is supposed to be out tomorrow, and there is still no Linux demo available. That's certainly no way to make me happy, but the game is so good I'll let them slide on that one. Sure, you can play the Windows version of the demo via Cedega, but there are quite a few people out there who either can't or won't install Cedega, myself included. Let's just hope that the Linux versions of both the demo and the full game are out sometime soon enough. Anyway...

My post two weeks ago was titled "Next Week: GL-Pong". Honestly, I sort of intended it as a joke. Little did I know that there are actually quite a few 3D Pong variants out there, the most interesting of which is Pong2. See, most 3D Pong clones are just the original Pong with 3D graphics, nothing more. While it's not the first to try this, Pong2 moves the whole operation into actual 3D space.

There's just one problem. Actually, there are a few problems. The first is that Pong2 is just not fun. Playing by yourself, this game is literally impossible to win. No, it's not hard - it's impossible to win. You're not playing against an A.I. or even another player, it's you versus, well, a wall. Yep - one big, infallible wall. Network play is supposed to be the heart of Pong2, and here's where another problem comes into light. If you want to play Pong2 against one of your buddies, you need to know their IP addresses. I'm sorry, but in this day and age, this is simply unacceptable. Server Browsers aren't the way of the future, they're the way of now. Hell, with the right utility we didn't even have to worry about this shit in Doom.

Another problem: Pong2 just doesn't feel right. There are a couple different camera modes you can try out, but none of them really feel like you can see what you're doing as much as you'd like to. Your paddle is green and transparent, so there's no missing shots because you couldn't see the paddle or because you couldn't see through the paddle - but there are quite a few occasions where you miss a shot simply because you were sure you had the paddle in the right place but, thanks to the camera, misjudged your paddle placement a little bit.

OK, you do have to keep in mind that Pong2 is only at the 0.1.0 stage, so this is a release where bugs should be expected, and I got them. Actually, I've had to re-type this entire post because while trying to switch Pong2 to fullscreen mode it, for some reason, saw fit to crash the X server, thereby erasing the entire post. Keep that in mind, and maybe Pong2 will keep you entertained for, oh let's say, 5 minutes? Maybe.


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