Tag Archives: Cooking

Recipe for the perfect game

Games are hugely diverse and expansive, which is why they’ve become such a popular entertainment medium. But with such a vast choice of genres, cooking one up from scratch and ensuring the meal is delectable is a mammoth task. Fear not though, the recipe for gaming perfection is mere sentences away, and it will guide you fully in the preparation, cooking and serving of a most delightful meal.

burger

Shall we begin?

No, we shan’t! Put your cooking tools away and instead sit down and think about what you’re about to cook. The preparation is as important as the act; you need to know what kind of game you’re baking.

The options before you are vast. You can essentially make whichever game you fancy. You must decide which experience to focus on at this early stage and then commit to that idea completely. And there we have the first ingredient: the high concept stock cubes.

Now this idea of yours needs to be strong. It needs to be something interesting, unique, and most of all viable. No doubt the other designers in the kitchen are going to have ideas of their own and it’s important to crush those opposing ideas under the weighty brilliance of yours. And remember, however vicious and heated the argument gets about this key ingredient, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Of course their opinions will be wrong so always stick with your own.

Now you need to purchase the rest of the ingredients for your game. All are available from any good supermarket.

Ingredients:

  • Idea/High Concept Stock Cubes
  • Setting Authenticity
  • Graphics Flour
  • Aesthetic Flour
  • Raw Music
  • Innovation
  • Depth of Experience
  • Gameplay
  • Control and Interface Salt
  • Programmers
  • Level Designers
  • User Interface Designers
  • Publishers

Method:

First of all you need to create the flavouring mixture. Boil some programmers until they scream then add two high concept stock cubes and leave to simmer. As the agonising screams turn to tired moans, finely chop some setting authenticity and add it to the simmering brew.

Whilst the flavouring is simmering, you can prepare your base. Mix together a couple of tablespoons of level designers with graphics flour and aesthetic flour. Be careful with the measurements for both flours; don’t get confused by people telling you they are the same thing. The graphics flour will add technical visual power to your game; adding to the taste and making the finished meal more appealing to the eye, but aesthetics flour dictates the style of your meal; the mixture of colour and texture to each and every bite. The measurements don’t have to be equal but do be careful not to overpower one with the other. Once you have a firm dough to work with, line a baking tray with it and pour on three quarters of the simmering brew, allowing the flavours to soak into the dough. Place the remaining flavouring mixture back on the heat.

Keep the flavouring on the heat until you hear mutterings of discontent from the programmers. Do not allow it to boil over to cries of lawsuits or you’ll find the flavour too bitter. Whilst you wait, you can prepare the true substance of your game.

Cut some of the raw music into small chunks of sound effects and the rest into long strings of melodies. However, there are two things to remember when using raw music: don’t buy cooked music, otherwise it’ll ruin the tone of your dish when you cook it up later. Secondly, make sure you cut off all the high pitched tones from the raw music. If prepared incorrectly, music can kill on consumption.

Now dice up some innovation and marinade it with the sound effects and melodies in the remaining flavouring brew. Add a sprinkling of the wonderful spice depth of experience to really accentuate the flavours, before adding the meat of the simulator: the gameplay. Emergent or narrative based gameplay will be fine, chef’s choice.

The game is almost ready for the oven, but first it needs some kind of topping. You have a few different options available to you at this point, so keep in mind who your audience is and craft the topping to fit. You may want to ensure a more approachable, casual game, in which case mix together another batch of dough, this time with user interface designers instead of level designers, as well as the graphics and aesthetics flour. Then shape the dough to either cover the other ingredients entirely or semi-cover in a pattern of your choosing.

If your audience are gaming connoisseurs then feel free to leave you dish open, to allow your audience to really see the ingredients. Either way, before popping it in the oven, be sure to add a sprinkling of control and interface salt.

Now you have the choice of baking or broiling the simulator. Baking is quicker but there is always a risk of undercooking, broiling is the best option, if you have the time.

With your game cooked, it’s time to bring in the publishers to help you serve the dish. It may be the best cooked meal of all time by no one’s going to eat it if it’s sloped onto a plate with no care for its presentation.

Now bring an unsuspecting tester in off the street and present to them a plate full of your game. Encourage them to dig in, to play with their food, and then ask them what they thought of the presentation and the meal itself. If after a few bites they are still breathing, then that’s a great sign, it means you prepared the music correctly after all, good job! Now take the testers thoughts on-board and adjust your presentation accordingly. If the meal itself raises concerns then try adding a selection of spices. Depth of experience, setting authenticity, or even some whisked up developers and programmers can add spice to your meal.  Now see if the tester finds them suitable solutions, or even begin planning for side dishes – also known as expansions – to compliment the meal. Be warned though, if the tester hates your meal or dies from tasting it then I strongly advise you start again from scratch.

And there you have it, a perfectly cooked simulator ready for mass consumption. Bon Appétit!

Overcooked review

It turns out too many chefs doesn’t ruin the broth; Overcooked proves that the more chefs you have the more fun you can have. But can this delightfully deranged arcade cook-a-thon satisfy your hunger or is it a mere snack?

In Overcooked you are tasked with preparing a multitude of dishes for hungry customers. You must dash around a variety of kitchens, collecting ingredients, chopping, cooking, plating, serving and cleaning dishes to the whim of customers with particular cravings, scoring more stars depending on how quickly and accurately you serve up your dishes.

It sounds so simple, and indeed the concept is, but in execution it turns out to be anything but. Organising your cooking method to efficiently create your meals is a unique challenge to overcome, one made more difficult by the absurd kitchens you have to cook in. What starts as ordinary kitchens, where learning their layout is your biggest challenge, soon turns into crazy scenarios, such as two trucks with half the kitchen in each, speeding down a road and only crossable during small windows of alignment. It offers a special brand of insanity that’s wonderfully humourous to play within and equally difficult to overcome.

Overcooked 1

It’s a pleasant surprise to see what concoction of kitchen chaos is presented in each level, and achieving the full three stars is a satisfying goal. Moreover, just as you think you’ve seen all kinds of layouts, new challenges are introduced, such as rats that steal ingredients. But even on the most ordinary of kitchens there’s still plenty to keep you occupied. Performing all the aforementioned tasks swiftly and efficiently is made all the more interesting by having to watch for food burning on the stove and fires blazing as a result, requiring a blast from a fire extinguisher to quell it.

On your own you control two chefs, able to switch between them at the press of a button and share out the tasks. But Overcooked is by far the most enjoyable when you have a friend or three join in for some local multiplayer. Organising your group of chefs requires constant communication and quickly leads to a room full of people shouting for vegetables, meat and plates, or screaming about fire amongst panicked hollering as things get hectic. It’s delightfully entertaining. Additionally you can play competitively, which offers a fun but fleeting experience, cooperative play is certainly the better bet.

Overcooked 2

On your own however, Overcooked is still a lot of fun. It feels like a very different game, one that’s far less hectic and silly and more of an odd puzzle experience as you try to manage the two chefs so that one isn’t idle for too long.

Unfortunately the multiplayer mayhem is restricted to local play, although it’s certainly well suited to this style, making it hard to fault. It even supports the shared controller method of yore where two players can use each side of a controller. Indeed, as one mistake can send the whole kitchen into disarray and get everybody shouting, local play certainly offers the better experience, although having the option for online would still of been appreciated, and may come in the future.

Overcooked 3

Driving your group of chefs in their quest to chaotically create meals is a wonderfully ridiculous story. The Onion King and his dog, Kevin, have summoned you to satiate the appetite of The Ever Peckish, a giant spaghetti monster. The collection of crazy levels acts as your training grounds. It’s a simple, odd and amusing way to set the scene that does a tremendous job of setting the silly tone right from the get-go, along with its cute, comical art style.

Indeed, Overcooked offers a terrifically fast paced, multiplayer focused experience, with an incredible variety of levels with additional challenges beyond the primary mechanics, such as icy surfaces you can slip on or ghosts moving things. Meanwhile, a well thought-out single player component keeps things entertaining when you don’t have a room full of friends to cook with.

Thanks to Xbox and Ghost Town Games and Team17 for supporting TiX