PC gamers are notorious for their ability to mod games and create exciting new additions. From basic modifications in games like RollerCoaster Tycoon to astounding recreations of entire games like Black Mesa, it there’s a will, PC gamers will find a way. It is this spirit of creating your own game and sharing it with others that developer Square Enix has embraced with their upcoming title Gameglobe.
Running in a web client, Gameglobe uses the Square Enix Secure Launcher (SESL), a browser plugin utilizing Java. Now most will be doubtful when it comes to a web based game, and rightfully so. The typical connotation is Facebook games and the like. Players should push that thought out of their mind. Gameglobe is an incredible engine of creation. Even run on a middle-of-the-road PC with a basic cable connection, players should have no issues streaming and playing.
The visuals are absolutely incredible for a browser game, especially one in closed beta. Everything looks like it came straight from a Pixar movie. Levels are rife with detail, including realistic water and foliage. Depending on the music used, designers can fill their levels with a pervasive sense of tranquility or feelings of impending doom. I had no issues being transported to some of the impeccably crafted lands thanks to excellent use of the design tools.
Gameglobe relies entirely on its community of players to provide content for one another. Playing another community member’s level grants experience and tokens which can be used to purchase costumes for the player’s avatar and more importantly, building blocks for their own levels.
Each game uses the same basic controls, with WASD controlling movement, and the camera and attacks managed by the mouse. It’s simple, easy to use, and allows players to jump from module to module without fear of learning a new control scheme. But, some community members have become clever with their levels and can make subtle changes to the controls like locking a player on a flying carpet and having the WASD control vertical and horizontal movement. Fortunately, if the controls are modded in any way, designers are quick to point out the controls. After all, what fun is a game you can’t control? And if players can’t control themselves in a game, how will it get good ratings?
Most modules utilize the basic concepts of gaming: puzzle solving, platforming, and combat to varying degrees of success. The controls themselves are spot on and thus, the issues present fall entirely to level design. And with the ability to vote on levels and leave feedback, players can help one another by bringing these buys to light for future revisions of the individual modules.
Levels are constructed by first selecting the plot of land. It can be a small plot or a huge one, but they all allow the same vast tools of creation to be used. There are tutorials available for new players which gradually increase the number of tools used and the sometimes complex options available. Working through the tutorials is an absolute must and its own reward. At the end of each session, I felt quite accomplished and proud of my creation. And the best part is playing it after it’s done! There’s nothing like the sense of satisfaction that comes from actually having fun while playing something you created. And after playing through all of the tutorials, I felt confident in my ability to create an entertaining module of my own.
While most players will start off with same basic design ideas, there are some who are already pushing the design elements of the game for all their worth. Games like In the Shadow by Benjii really stick out because of their unique design. Benjii’s mod turns the typically 3D game into a 2D platformer played out through shadows cast on a wall. It is absolutely brilliant. It’s this unbridled creativity that makes Gameglobe as great as it is. So long as the community stays as strong as it is, there’s no end to the fantastic content that will be produced. And since the game is still in closed beta, it will only get better as the game is opened up to more people.
Despite the modding community being firmly rooted in PC games, it’s hard not to compare Gameglobe to Little Big Planet. All of the tools are contained within the game itself and it is incredibly easy to get started and share your creations with others. With the experience gained from creating levels and playing other player’s levels, it only improves player’s abilities to create better games. Even casual modders like myself will have an absolute blast with Gameglobe. Once more hardcore modders get their hands on the robust tools, only good things can happen. Definitely keep an eye on Gameglobe as it makes its way to open beta and eventual release. You won’t regret it.
GamingClimax.com Writer and Author of ZeroAnd09 Blog