Category Archives: Gaming

Inventing the economy

Yes, this sounds bigger than it is (and it is). This is the economy for an RPG. A few places had idea’s, one was particularly helpful. Yet in the stage of the game I designed here, I decided to take a different route. You can barter all you want, yet in the end it is the economy around you that needs to flourish as well. If you do not take that route, you get either a ghost town, or a passively silent one, one that can only move when you are there. It is that approach that is reluctant to me. You cannot create your story, become your story on a blank page where everything is depending on you. That has been the case sine before I was born (in the age of Black and White TV’s). 

So as I was mulling over what I personally believe to be a shortcoming on the Elder Scrolls. I turned in another direction and saw the glitch in Fable 2, but the stage was good, so I decided to take a larger gander and set up my own premise. On September 25th I wrote ‘Recap to the intro’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/25/recap-to-the-intro/) which gives the list of most articles linked to this game.  I will now add:

Behold the economy
(OK, that was way too ego driven) yet the stage remains true, you cannot live or play in a vacuum, so as I wrote ‘An almost ordinary generation quest’, I set out the stage of stamping out the economy, there needed to be a stage where you can grow and optionally through you the town could grow. In t6his we need to take notice that a city takes decades to grow (if not centuries), so the town can only grow to some degree. If we consider the baker, the butcher, the fisherman, the blacksmith, the bookshop, the tailor, the potter and the leather shop we see that these people have average skills (2 or 3 out of 5), we need to see how to grow the town. In one stage I talked about the potter part, it will be a growth stage, so to grow the economy, when you gain skills (in your travels) on any of this, when you return home you can teach the shops the skills you learned, it gives you some income, but the larger stage becomes that a town gets X amount of people travelling through it. More important, when a shop becomes more important, more people will come, so there is a benefit to teaching them, because what they sell, benefits you too. And more importantly, when these shops grow into 4 star places, I needed to add a risk as well. You see, some people are depending on ‘non change’ I insist on change, so there is a small percentage of a chance that when the get to that level there is a small chance that they will pack up and leave for ‘the big city’, in addition to it that risk increases by a factor when they become 5 star places. It creates momentum and it creates a larger stage of movement and turmoil. You or your kids can teach the shop again, or they can move themselves. 

A stage of fluidity that we haven’t seen before in RPG gaming, and I wonder why not. I can not be the first one to come up with this, could I? A stage of increased growth and economic values will also hit the city, when the city grows, the shops have less reason to move (they are revenue driven too). It sets a new stage, instead of having 15 axes, 23 swords, 7 mauls and 2 halberts, we get a stage where we can sell that as scrap to the blacksmith who will create new ingots and create new weapons. That only works when he becomes 4 star or more location. The herbalist has a need for resources, you bring he has no need to move, or to seek out danger. And in this all shops are almost the same, there are shops that will not need ‘feeding’, but their skills too are related to the ranking they have and as you teach them, their value increases and the village grows another step. 

And so we create a new stage, not merely collecting weapons and armour, but a stage where the shops grow what they have and to that respect also the scrap they receive from NPC’s and the new goods that come with that.

I feel happy, I created the foundation of an entire economy in a game, there are a few unmentioned parts and there are a few parts not here, but I am still mulling them over. In the meantime, anyone who wants to create an Amazon Luna and Sony Playstation exclusive RPG, feel free to use these ideas (free of charge) and let’s give Bethesda a run for their money, whilst pissing off Microsoft at the same time (slugging two for the price of one tends to be more satisfactory).  

Have a great day

P.S. WordPress still haven’t fixed colouring, their CEO might be colourblind

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The racing brain

It happens to some of us, the brain shifts into overdrive and will not stop. For me it happened this morning as I was contemplating a few things I saw on YouTube. There are so many expectations, so many people heckling non released products that I wonder where they are coning from. Is their expectation of games that low? I heckled Ubisoft (for good reason) but I also gave them credit when credit was due (and they did several good things). So as we see the next batch of comic book heroes games, I wonder what happened to the old classics. Now I am not stating that they need to be remastered but they could be revamped into a new coat. So let’s take a gander on some of these

1. Commandos
This game was awesome, especially 1 and 2. But instead of doing the same thing again, we could consider redoing the game based on Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children (by Ransom Riggs) and make the game more accessible for the younger players. Maps where you can release the birds that create the time loops and those you can visit to gain more peculiar children. 

2. Suspended
Basing an existing game in a new jacket on a book is not new, it has been done before. Does that make it a bad idea? I do not believe it to be the case, yet how many games are based on a game? When I grasp back to my first week with the CBM-64, I ended up buying three games. The Microsoft Flight Simulator, the very first one with 4 maps and a manual that looked like a novel ($199), the second game was Loderunner (I never stopped loving the original) and the third is todays discussion ‘Suspended’ by Infocom. It was one of the hardest games I ever played in those days and I was unaware that it was one of the hardest games to do, even by Infocom standards. But the setting is actually decently unique, so what happens when you control Iris, Whiz, Waldo, Auda, Poet, and Sensa? What happens when you see what they see? What happens when you take control of a global management system? What happens when the earthquake comes and you have to get things back to some level of normal? Not an easy task is it? 

3. Knights of the Sky
There has been an avid following of Flight Simulators, there is no denying this and those who want to go up against Microsoft, good luck. One does not cross near perfection, yet that does not mean that there aren’t stages where we can become active. In 1990 Microprose did a swell job of introducing WW1 to the gamers and there was a stage where we would welcome the simplicity of a Sopwith Camel. The game also allowed you to choice either the Germans or one of the Allies, a setting that was pretty unheard of and I do get it, there is nothing novel about the resolution of the CBM-Amiga, yet this on a PS5 would be a lot different, that and the fact that the PS5 disc could contain the entire WW1 map from France to Germany as well as have the updates in place for every year of that war. 

We are so overwhelmed by console shooters of mach speed vehicles, we forgot the reality of WW1 where the maximum speed was no more than 180km/hour. It is not specifically the game and stage, it is the realisation that we look at making things fast, we forget that there is still a load of thrill and suspense in a stage where things were not as fast as they could be. In this there is a whole league of Flight Simulators out there that are often forgotten. Yet, we should avoid to redo the same wheel. Knights of the Sky is 30 years old, so it feels that the stage can now be shown more like it was. There are some remakes and some of them are finding their way into the Apple store, we can now get arcade precision and even better graphics on a tablet and it is a great idea, the more people and game developers are exposed to those titles, the larger the chance of an actual new and innovative game will be set upon us all. Even as games like Midwinter are now surpassed by what Ubisoft offers in Far Cry 3+, 

4. Manhunter New York
Even if the location is not important and should consist of a new location, the game spoke to the imagination of gamers, even now in Abandonware the game scores 4.9/5, high praise and the stage of the story has options. One of the games that Sierra on Line would produce in the 80’s and the ten years that followed it. King’s Quest, Space Quest, Manhunter, Police Quest, and Leisure suit Larry, all games that spoke to the imagination of the gamers and what is important here? The story, the story pulled the gamer in and even as we not have more graphic games, more direct control and several other active elements, the stories were often not equalled and that is a shame, the stories were good (for the era), so why do we see a lack of stories in too many games? 

I mentioned before that one of my very first games was Suspended (Infocom), they also made Starcrossed that I saw much later in my gaming days. It would be surpassed by ‘Rendez Vouz with Rama’ and that made sense, the CBM-64 is no match for a decent PC with a CDROM drive. And now? That is beside the point that games like Wishbringer (1985) are seemingly forgotten. This is important, because we all (me included) seem to steer to the games that tickle us, but there is a whole generation behind us that is forgotten, a stage of gaming younglings that  seem to get pushed into the Epic foundations of Fortnite, why is that? There are decades of games out there that could see a new coat, a new interface a graphic world and a stage that parents have no issues with for the gaming not blood driven youthful masses. It matters because it is the one place that is almost completely owned by Nintendo, kids go there because there is no alternative and it seems to me that Sony (Amazon too) need to wake up to that small gemstone of information. 

The stage is filled with options that are ignored, forgotten and discarded, but there were real treasures there and the makers need to consider that these abandoned IP could use a new paint, some additional bells and whistles and it will fuel the imagination of the gamers of tomorrow. Most of them are at present getting trained to become the Navy Seal graduating class of 2029. There is more to life (yes, I will admit to this). 

And this is all based on forgotten and/or discarded IP. And whilst I am typing this, I wonder what happens when we add to the stage with new IP? IP set to younger players, and a stage is given where the player is given their chance towards immortality. To do this the player will have to set traps in tombs (a cross between Infocom: Infidel and Dungeon keeper), the longer the sarcophagus is not transgressed upon, the larger the time reward gets to be. So consider a stage where you get to ‘design’ traps in graves and pyramids and the longer they stay out, the more power you get and the larger the reward ends up being. The stage is not that simple. You see, you design the traps in the time they are build, yet over time technology advances, so you need to go old school there. And every time you redo this, you get the chance to improve on what was and create a new level of protection, just an idea that popped into my head. 

You see that new IP is easily created, but to make it worthy for a game is not stated here, it requires the creative soul to design it. And am I wrong? Consider that Magnetic Scrolls is releasing remastered versions of their games 30 years after initial release. I reckon that they are seeing what I was seeing as well. There is a $135,000,000,000 spending on games on an annual foundation. Why should you not gain some from that granary? It is open season and when you are in lockdown you can stare at the ceiling or find a way to grab some of that cash, it is up to you.

Enjoy Sunday!

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What should be done

This is a personal view. This is based on personal experience and on personal feelings and believes to create a great game, a great RPG. There is plenty to not agree about and you might be right. It is merely my personal view on the matter. It all started a few hours ago when several Hogwarts legacy videos passed by, I looked at one of them, and soon thereafter turned it off. For the most so that I will not be hit by optional spoilers. I also saw a few headlines on how it might be bad, how some people claim to be experts. I am not one of them, I merely give my view and it is not connected to any part of the Hogwarts or the Hogwarts storyline.

Part 1
In part one we need to set the ground rules. As an RPG, I believe that the largest power is replayability. So when we use the HP movies as a backdrop the game will need 20 main story lines. 4 houses, each house has its storyline, with 4 intersecting stories. As such if you start as Hufflepuff, you get the Hufflepuff story and the three non-house stories and one generic story. That makes 20, also each house will have 25 side quests (could be 50). As such we end up with 100-200 side quests in total. Finally there is a red wire and I personally think that JK Rowlings should do that. 4 small books of 50 pages each, every storyline will have 50 hidden pages, it is about (for example) the origins of the house makers, Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. The story is only revealed when all 50 pages are found and then a small booklet will unlock on the system that the gamer can readSo after 4 play throughs all 4 books are available to the player.

In that setting when one game is completed a new Game+ is selected and you go from the beginning, yet in the second game any of the three minus the one you already played becomes available. Now we have a game people will run to the shop for.

Part 2
All what I write would still be possible in the game no matter how it is staged, not even the storyline is messed with, that can still be there. As such the four generic stories will be connected to the house, but will not be connected to it. As for the side quests no more than 10% can be replicated to other houses, so it will be a large stage. It also comes with limitations (I love those). Side quests on potions are only available to Slytherin players (as the potions master was Slytherin), Gryffindor and Ravenclaw will get magical creatures quests and so on. 

As the screen shows, each house has quests that link to a non house, so if you had Gryffindor in game one and Ravenclaw in game two, the second game will offer a rerun of the Magical Creatures side quest, but none of the others. 

I believe that in such a way a massive wave of replayability is offered whilst at the same time offering a large fountain of playability. It would create a direct dent in what Bethesda offered in its games, it would be close to unparalleled. And let’s not forget the number one rule, it is merely my take on the matter.

It is merely a small part, and this took me less than an hour to think through, more? Yes, naturally, please ask the makers of Hogwarts Legacy and if they want to use what I just wrote, it is for them and to at their discretion to use, a simple equation.

And I leave you with the small stage. This took an hour (at the most), so why can’t Ubisoft come up with this stuff? They are the multi billion dollar corporation, so what is taking them so long? 

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The mobile reward

We love the words ‘free’ and ‘rewards’. In this I am no different. This setting all started when I was taking a look at some version of ‘merge life’ iPad game. The game starts nice enough, challenging enough and I saw the warning ‘absurd amount of advertisements’ yet initially when I started that was not really the case. So after 10-15 minutes I had reached stage 2 and the game was oddly satisfying. It was then that the advertisement wave hit me. Close to one advertisement EVERY 30 SECONDS. Yes, that was absurd and after 2 advertisements I deleted the game. But the mind took a wander and I remembered something from the AC Brotherhood time. Yes Ubisoft did do good things, even innovative things. But the idea got twisted in my mind to something more. I wrote in a previous article about games for Amazon Luna, not sure if I did this (I have written over 2000 articles). There are two stages in this.

Stage One
Board games. Most forgot about the power of board games. They are simple games, but a setting we always return to. We do not need to kill everyone (I mostly do). There is tranquility in a game of chess, a game of checkers, a game of Monopoly, a game of Backgammon, a game of Shogun (and so on). But what w forget is that most people prefer to play alone. Now, there is some need to connect to like minded people, people who just want to play a game. For them there are three options. Set up the Luna to facilitate for 2-4 players, connect to up to 3 online players and play alone with computer managed NPC’s. The powers behind consoles and streamers forgot about that, didn’t they? Now the optional connected IP is separate and for another day.

Stage Two
When it comes to rewards, Ubisoft forgot a side (it was fair enough) but when we have mobile games they could lead to a lot more visibility. For the example I will use the Fable Pub games. You play the games and you get the rewards. In the mobile game it might be about money, yet the goal is to get to the 5 star (might have been 4 star) point. When you get there you will get 2 rewards. So each game there (Keystone, Fortune’s Tower and Spinnerbox) will result in a direct reward, a weapon, or an outfit that is linked to Fable in Amazon Luna (just as an example), the second reward is a Luna Key. Each board game will get a Luna Key, so if you play 4 games, each of the 4 games will get a key. And the Luna key will open a special option. So in the examples given Chess will give you a new board and a new chess set, Backgammon will give you a new board and stones (there are Indian, Egyptian boards and stones), Monopoly will give you an NHL, NFL or other city board, Shogun has additional colours and Japanese family crests and so on. Additional rewards that can grow the interest in other games and that is beside the setting that could be offered. All stages forgotten or ignored and why? Is the setting of a Luna Key so complex? Is the setting of offering the player something more not enticing? I would think that with all the bugs Ubisoft introduced they might go overboard pleasing the customers they so often disappointed. 

The stage of giving a player more is important (and growing in need), especially now. There are the bugs the glitches, yet when you add the congestion it comes down to the choice of limiting yourself to urban players, or give rural players options to play when there are too little. There is also the need to feed the beast (the players), they need to go to work, they need to be somewhere else and setting a stage where the player can optionally play a fitting mobile game (like Ubisoft did for AC Brotherhood) where the player can play to get a new unique 5 star blade, pistol, outfit or whatever. A stage that adds to the game, not replace it, or circumvent thresholds. Offer more, offer unique and they will love the brands they embrace even more. Machiavelli stated (in some form) “There is such a gap between how people actually live and how they ought to live that anyone who declines to behave as people do is schooling himself for catastrophe” it gives the setting for leaders to adhere to needs, but there is a hidden side here. “There is such a gap between how people expect rewards and how they should see them that anyone who declines to lead as people expects them to do is schooling himself for massive setbacks” It comes down to the stage of what exactly is a reward, if it needs to be earned (not paid for) it will grow in value, and gamers are all about earning showing that they had the goods to play the game. As an example CDPR (makers of Witcher III) created an in-game game named Gwent, we got to play for extra’s and it became a separate game too, now that game makes well over a million dollars annually. People got into the game and now it is a separate game that is leading gamers to more and the gamer has become willing to pay. The setting is that it is free and as people get into it they will spend the few dollars they need to get more cards and expansions. For streamers it is not that easy. The enticement of a monthly fee needs to be there, so as games add more value, the threshold for gaming THERE lowers and people become more eager to play and will play for all the free rewards, which is an oxymoron. As gamers get more by playing, they will play more and call other people to their cause. Yet we must not forget that at times the player needs a solitary moment and as systems accomodate that, the gaming borrow will become ever more comfortable. Consider the board game Man, don’t get angry (Indian: Pachisi). A 1914 game that so far has sold more than 70,000,000 copies. Yes most in an era that is pre IBM PC XT, yet we have always returned to places of comfort, for nostalgic reasons, for the simplicity of play and for the stage of pure randomness. You see too many games are all about changing the setting of what the dice do, too many are seemingly less random than we think and within ourselves we see that, even if the brain is not detecting it yet. You think it is chance that you are one square away from winning when the ‘computer adversarial pig’ throws double six? We automatically feel that it is bad luck because we see ‘dice’ but we forget it is a computer animation and that setting is starting to bite more and more, so the power of real randomness, of a real chance to win is becoming more and more important. In this as Amazon is developing games and Google is not, they have the advantage (I do not know where Netflix stands at present). And it is up to Amazon to create the most comfortable burrow (read: man cave) we can have before the competitors catch up. For now they are all about ‘Let Ubisoft do the cool stuff’ (glitches included), it is about comfort levels, especially in gaming. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote about this in 1513 (yes over 500 years ago). The greed driven seem to ignore it, the lesson was quite clear and whilst the greed driven come up with more versions of some form of Antón Castillo we can just investigate the list and see that games like Call of Duty did make $20 billion, but it is a mere 20% of what Pokemon made and Pokemon for the most is Nintendo only. There is an upside to tailoring to fun, it is what the people want and it is a lesson Microsoft (Sony too) have forgotten to much, too easily and too completely and it makes Nintendo the real threat to Sony, Amazon could go a similar route and surpass Microsoft more easily than they think (the fact that Microsoft is often in denial helps too). 

As I see it the consoles (streaming or not) is one, yet the ability to correctly connect a mobile or tablet has a lot more going for it than most realise and as that link is more and more visible the connected system (console or streamer) will reap additional rewards as well.

Just a thought, enjoy the day.

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As fiction becomes real

Who remembers George A Romero’s Dawn of the dead (1978)? I remember seeing it in the cinema. And the idea stuck with me. Dreams of having an entire shopping mall to myself. The idea stuck for a long time and even as games entered our lives, the setting was never close enough. The idea that we had an entire City centre to ourselves, preferably without the zombies. Not some game where the enemies spawn again, but a stage where there is a city centre, complete with 35000 zombies, a finite number and as we secure our place, grow our place, we renew the settings of security, safety and goods. And I voiced it before and now we seemingly have the game ‘The day before’ a game that seemingly is close enough to my dreams to make it a reality. The game can be played single player (a must for me). And the idea that the game will grow appeals to me. Consider that the mechanics, once they are ready allows for the game to seek us in other ways too. An alien invasion (Skyline, 2010), a pandemic (Contagion, 2011) and the list goes on. Now, I have no idea on how The Day before is set or how it works, but I saw a small play video and my old thoughts of Day of the Dead returned. The idea that you need to stamp out your safe space. Get goods, get sustenance, get ammo, find weapons and so on is very appealing. You wonder how far you get, how long you will last and none of that respawn shit. One life, and between 35,000 and 350,000 opponents. How will you fare? I wonder how far I will get. And for the makers of that game it offers a new kind of DLC/Expansion. We might have 3-5 locations to start, but the appeal to see how far you get in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, Paris, Moscow and so on, the chance for the makers of The Day before (Fntastic) are close to endless and it does not stop there. The setting of a real final number is appealing on several levels. The idea to redo Day of the dead in Harrods London will be appealing to thousands if not millions of gamers. Setting up the New York City Police Department – 5th Precinct as your own fortress (Assault On Precinct 13 anyone?) is close to intoxicating. And from there the world of us getting close to the movies we watched will be enticing and I reckon for a large audience. In previous years it was merely a ruse, now with the PS5, it becomes an achievable reality. And as I see it 2022-2025 could optionally become great gaming years. 

And when the survival part in us is quenched we can return to our normal daily routine of being a sniper (Ghost warrior), or perhaps a racer (Gran Turismo) some will prefer their daily life as pilots (MS Flight simulator), no matter to what life we return, we do so knowing that more and better games are coming our way, preferably less glitchy then Ubisoft is making out to be. 

P.S. WordPress still has not fixed colours.

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Ubituary

With not too much sadness and some feeling of achievement it is my joy to announce that Yves Guillemot, former CEO of Ubisoft was murdered on the night of Friday 15th of October, he was allegedly murdered by Antón Castillo dictator of Yara. Insiders claimed that the bug of his wealth vaporising on a daily basis enraged him beyond believe. Insiders investigating this (and the pandora papers) stated that Yves went missing in cloud environments linked to server with processor id CFC1E8CA-1DBB-1DCA5E8-60F8E99BD225, the people at the data centre deny that Yves Guillemot ever visited their firm and they also made claim that this processor number in unknown to them, investigative journalists were unable to track 37 of the 153 data servers, the investigation is seemingly ongoing.

So some will clam that I have no sense of humour, or at least a very sick one. You see, at least I am creative, we want to think that Ubisoft is creative, but from my point of view it is the ability to stack a game with bugs and glitches. When we look around we see SVG giving us ‘THIS FAR CRY 6 BUG HAS PLAYERS LOSING THEIR MINDS’, Sportskeeda comes with ‘How to fix the Maine 15f/158 error code in Far Cry 6’ and they also give us “While many bugs are found in Far Cry 6 itself, Maine 15f/158 seems to be linked to external account sources. So far, there has been no word from Ubisoft about what exactly the Maine 15f/158 error code is or what may be causing it” and the list goes on, yet I would like to add the Washington Post who gives us ‘A glitchfest that’s too big to wrangle’ with mention of “Yara, as a simulation of an island, falls squarely in the uncanny valley. Your enjoyment of the gameplay is likely to hinge on how much this bothers you. My first few hours with the game, as I acquainted myself with the brain-dead virtual denizens of Yara, felt awful. I watched AI drivers, honking, run over their fellow Yarans in the streets. In one mission, all of my opponents marched, single file, past me out of the military base I was sent to infiltrate, leaving it ripe for (an anticlimactic) plundering” the people report glitch after glitch, bug after bug and when a game is somewhere between $79 and $149 (there are a few versions) we need to consider why a company is allowed to release a game that is so broken? The problem is that there are more and more. All whilst some game makers set the stage of a non-disclosure agreement for too close to release. All whilst we see that some games are too big to review and so far the amount of bugs set the stage that consumers should be allowed to get full refunds up to 10 days after purchase. Whilst one sources gives us in May ‘‘Far Cry 6’ dev confirms game will not have “Cyberpunk-style issues”’, most can now confirm that the matter is a lot worse, plenty of gamers would love mere Cyberpunk style issues and it is all over the net and also a larger stage on YouTube. Seeking ‘Far Cry 6 bugs’ and ‘Far Cry 6 glitches’ shows how far Ubisoft has fallen of the beaten track. As far as I can tell, since 29 October 2020 when Watchdogs: Legion was released, we see that it was the only real decent release. I played it, and yes it had a few bugs and glitches, but nothing damaging, the fun for that game did not diminish. 

But Ubisoft did not learn its lesson. AC Valhalla, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the Division 2, all flaws games, too flawed as I personally see it and now Far Cry 6 adds to that list of bungles. So is the state of a Ubituary (pun intended) so far out of bounds?

I know that when I buy an open world game that there will be issues, the bigger the game, the larger the chance of that happening. Yet in all this Ubisoft is seemingly releasing games that should not even be regarded as Beta versions, they are that flawed and as I see it, they are getting away with it and that is even worse. So whilst we get the crying Chihuahua gang (ACCC) with claims like ‘Current powers no match for Google’ (you can see that in two directions) we see Ubisoft clearing the masts of BS as the ACCC is overlooking the larger stage and Ubisoft should be held to a larger mirror, they claim to be an AAA+ developer, then they better prove it, because at present there are plenty of indie developers who show better quality products.

P.S. I apologise for not being able to add colours, I will do that later when WordPress stops fucking up!

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Funky mushroom pizza

Did you ever wake up from a dream that was so surreal that it was stamped with ‘weird dream’ by your brain? I do not mean ‘after contemplation’, but a stage where the forefront of every part of the brain is rejecting it upfront and in capital letters. It has happened to me before, but this was surreal. This was not some wild and passionate night with a Canadian goddess, or a threesome with two ladies from Hooters. Those are dreams you know are not real, but the mind keeps a sign in the back of your mind stating ‘perhaps…..if…..’, no this was outright weird.

It all starts on the moon, Procellarum to be more precise. Service agents have taken to the moon, there is a reason for this, the moon has no timeline, the sun is always there, yet the close to the sun’s rim the better. Even as there are settings that work, the edge is colder and the quantum computers with all their locking and cooling stages work better where there is a lot of cold (a lack of heat) and the cost of having larger systems on earth was pushing the cost stages. Also, hackers were more easily controlled. These systems are on-site only. No hacker can get to it and any hacking person on the moon gets thrown into space, no trial. 

In this there was a weird setting (yes, this was not weird enough). Taking a 5 year job in the moon is well rewarded, like really well rewarded. So I was there doing technical support. One day all the systems go nuts, reason unknown and whilst I was checking system after system, node after node we see a change in one of the ‘overseers’, he is suddenly a lot stronger than usual, I mean weirdly strong. He is complaining about headaches and starts referencing systems on a quantum level (no person can do that), but the headaches are massive. We get him to the infirmary, we continue work. We hear alarms and things are going wrong over there, but we do not know the extent. In the mean time we are trying to keep our heads cool and some posh bastard (A UK boss) is throwing his weight around. The UK has set up lines of nobility on the moon, they are larger players and have all kinds of legal based rights, so whenever one shows up we keep as clear as possible. When they leave we see that 2 boxes are gone, but they were never ours, so we do not care. As we go on, the alarms are of a larger concern. But we are all compartmentalised in our tasks and duties. 

In the mean time we notice a UK buggy outside near an old abandoned storage, which is odd to say the least. As out work is done for this region we check it out (from a distance) and there we see the two boxes. The rest is foggy, it was an hour ago when I woke up and the dream is already facing. But the short and sweet I that we had alien visitors, the overseer had something we do not, there is a segmentation in his brain that allows for a different kind of storage and segmentation of knowledge, I do not know how to better put it (a lack of neural education I reckon), one box has an arm, a left arm of a space suit, it looks like ours, but this is different, it is not from any design we ever saw and the elements are like an advanced form of quantum selection. The arm is unusually cool and the inscriptions on the arm are like nothing I had ever seen. The second box had a visor, almost like ours but this too is way more advanced than anything I had ever seen on the moon. Er notice another buggy in the distance. I grab several rocks and place them in the box, so for the other one, we make clear before the buggy returns. There is another foggy patch. The overseer gets to our place, he looks out of his mind, his head hurts and he seems to be grasping at his left arm and his actions do not seem to make sense. Then we get the idea to give him the other parts. We are cautious, he knows that we are good people, but his headache seems to be overwhelming him, we give him the arm which is more solid than the fabric suits we wear, but it is weirdly flexible, almost like a solid resin arm that is pliable like water. I never saw anything like it. Then we give him the visor and suddenly things change, he calms down, he is looking at his visor like the inside has some form of HUD, he starts speaking. “The headaches are fading, data conductors 17-34 are not transmitting data, magnetic instability is crashing the conducting drives”, we report the message exactly, but we are not aware of what it means, the magnetic coil rooms are off-limits. Way above our pay-grade. 

The central office gives us the option to look and fix, we will get a promotion as well as a massive bonus, so we agree and we set foot towards a corridor we have never entered before. 

Thats when I woke up. 

It was so surreal, corridors, the moonscape, I have no idea how my mind got there. I think it is in part the old series like Space 1999, in part levels from Wolfenstein, the new order. It has a moon segment. Whatever it was, I need to get another slice of that pizza, even as I had no pizza in weeks. I think I blew a gasket in my mind, So I need to get some groceries now. No matter what, it was one of the weirdest dreams I ever had.

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Chook chook thinking

Why? Because train of thought reads too boring, thats why! So this all happened, or better stated started happening a few hours ago. Someone stated that IBM Z Mainframes are in 96% of all mainframe places. Now, I have no problem with this, I moved out of mainframes 30 years ago, and I still respect what these things can do (they are just too big for my desk). Yet in this, my first question was, what do the other 4% use? A simple question. I got all kinds of answers, yet none of them answered my question ‘What do the other 4% use, in this it does not matter if it is known, but it is essential to look at.

Why?
Well, in this IBM has a luxury problem, they basically own 96% of that market, but the 4% can become 8% then 16%, at that point the message from IBM becomes 4 out of 5 use our mainframe. When the 96% is 120,000 mainframes it is one thing, when it is based on 960 mainframes it is a whole different story. The numbers matter, that has always been the case (even if Microsoft is in denial now they are shedding market share). 

Reasons
There can be a simple reason. For one epidemiology, if it is about real time numbers, the market is slim, massively slim, compared to that market a size zero model is a mere chunky blobernaut. Cray is one of the few players in that setting and it makes sense that a Cray is there where an IBM is optionally not. Still, I would want to know.

You see, in strategic thinking we have two elements we ALWAYS need to keep one eye on. One is threat the other is weakness. In this example real-time data management is a weakness. Now we need to understand that this market is set to billions and those who desperately need it, that number is not an issue, yet for IBM investing that much for 4% is tactically not sound, not until that marketshare is a lot larger. That makes perfect sense and let’s face it no one owns 100% of a market, if that ever happens we will have a lot more problems than we could possibly understand. 

Why do I care?
Well, for the most I do not, but at present I am not to involved with any SWOT analyses, and the ones I did lately was done for wannabe managers who seemingly only understand bulletpoint memo’s. The idea of any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses that is related to business competition, project planning and capability planning is more important than most people realise. We see it in intelligence, business intelligence and market intelligence. And now we see two new real markets emerging where it is important too. Gaming and SAAS/GAAS. Even as GAAS is still some time away, the need to actively SWOT in all three is there and I believe the players are not too finicky about that and they need to be. As the cloud is oversold and the dangers are underestimated their board of directors need to hold up a mirror where they can tell themselves that it doesn’t matter, and when we understand how completely those people are lying to themselves, at that point you might get the idea that there is a problem. The SWOT has more sides, it tests your capability, your software (Strengths and opportunities) but that needs to be levelled by weaknesses and strength. 

800 years ago
To understand this we need to go back to the good old days (Ghengis Khan). It was he who stated “It is not enough for me to win, my opponents must all fail”. Yes, I admit it is a massively loose translation but it applies to the now. When we stumble over sales people and their unnatural large ego’s, we tend to listen because they make the loudest claims, yet are they valid? Consider Solarwinds and what they enabled criminals to do, when you consider the news last week when we were given ‘SolarWinds hackers stole US sanctions policy data, Microsoft confirms’, it was a weakness and a threat, so when we how long the hack was active and that we now see that policy data is online and open for anyone to look into, what other sides are not yet known? It is not enough for SAAS vendors to look at SWOT, their customers need to do the same thing. So when I considered the 4% is was not because I need to know everything (which at times is still nice as a high executive CIA decision maker has a girlfriend that has size 6 lingerie, his wife is size 11), so who needed to do the SWOT, someone at the CIA or me? One could say both as I am his threat and he is my opportunity. 

The stage of what is what could be remains forever in motion. 

So where from here?
That remains open. For players like Amazon, the enabling of GAAS becomes more and more important, especially when you see the blunders that players like Ubisoft makes, they need to be aware of where their customers are, especially when Netflix becomes active in gaming too. They will have an advantage, but Amazon can counter it, yet there are sides that remain unknown for now and they should not be (not on that level) and there is the rub. Too many rely on external solutions when that solution needs to be in-house. And we can disperse with all the marketing BS that some give like “We are a better company now”, when you drop the ball to that degree there was a massive space for improvement and you merely are on par for not being where you should have been a year ago. An old IBM Statistics wisdom was “You’ll know when you measure”. This sounds corny but it is true, you cannot anticipate and adjust when there is no data and in all this any SWOT analyses would have been usable data. So where was the 4%? I do not know and the poster seemingly did not know either. It might be fair enough, yet when that 4% becomes 8%, when should you have known? It is a question with a subjective answer. Yet in gaming it is less so, especially as I am becoming aware (unproven at present) that Microsoft has one nice trick up their sleeve. There is partial evidence out there that Skyrim will be on PS5 in digital formal only. Several shops now have a ‘DO NOT USE’ for any physical PS5 format of Skyrim. Now, there might be an easy answer for this after all these lockdowns, but it is only 4 weeks away now, so you tell me. Is Microsoft playing its ‘bully’ card? Are they trying to push people to Xbox? It is a fair approach, they did pay 8 billion and change for it, but consider that their actions are set to a larger stage. A stage of millions of angry fans. I solved it for them by creating public domain gaming ideas for any Sony exclusive RPG game. I am not Bethesda, I am a mere IP creator, but when software makers are given a free ride towards Sony exclusives and even if one game hits the mark, the Bethesda market share dwindles to a lower number. Now consider what happens when that happens on Amazon Luna too? I might be a mere 1% factor, but if another one joins me I grow 100% whilst Microsoft dwindles more. For Microsoft Amazon is becoming a real threat and a weakness, for Amazon Netflix is optionally a threat and a weakness whilst Google Stadia is optionally the opportunity for Amazon. 

All SWOT settings that could have been seen from afar from the beginning. It is not everyones train of thought, yet in this day and age, I think it needs to be, the markets and our lives are changing in all kinds of ways too quickly and too large, we need to think head and having a clear grasp on how to apply SWOT in our lives might become essential. 

The difference?
That is a much harder line to follow. It comes down to the word ‘Insight’ and it is a dangerous, a very dangerous word. Because depending on the person this can be Insight, speculated insight, expected insight, and adjusted insight and more than once they are all on one pile making the data less reliable. Insight is also subjective, we all see it differently and that does not mean that I am right and everyone else has a wrong station. No, it is all subjective and most CAN be correct, but as the insight is disturbed by speculated, adjusted and expected versions, the numbers alter slightly. And now we see that 4% was not 4%, is was 7% and 5%, 5% because there were other IBM mainframes in play (adjusted) and 4% was the speculated number and 7% was the expected number. Now we have a very different station, the expected moves us from 96% use our product, towards 9 out of 10 are our customers, which is now a mere step towards 4 out of 5 use IBM. So would you like to bring that conversation to any board of directors? 
They’ll serve your balls for dinner (see image). 

Still feel certain that you do not want to know? In reality most SWOT analyses are seemingly pointless and often amazingly boring, yet in this day and age they are an essential part of business and gaming at $130 billion a year is facing that side as well. So when you consider what I gave you also consider the impact that some shops have ‘DO NOT USE’ for Skyrim preorders, 4 weeks before release, lockdown or not, it beckons all kinds of questions. And to be fair, there could be a simple explanation for all of it, but that too is the consequence of trying to create hypes via YouTube without clearly informing the audience. It is a weakness Microsoft has shown a few times (Bethesda was never completely innocent, but equally never this guilty). 

So what has a game in common with a business setting? It is simple, they both need to manage expectations and that too is a side of SWOT, even as marketing often merely focusses on opportunity, there is a weakness and a threat. The lack of clarity and misinformation are both a weakness (angry customers) and a threat (churning customers) and in the world of gaming the churners are the real danger, they can get the flocking population of angry gamers to come with them and really make numbers spiral downward. In this day and age SWOT is an additional essential way to go, in nearly all walks of life. We simply can not avoid being that naive anymore, not with spiralling energy prices and more and more articles that can at present no longer be found in any supermarket, all whilst plenty of people are in a holding pattern for their incomes. 

It is a train of thought and it is up to you to decide if you want to do it or not, because that was always your right, the right to ignore, but it must be said that it will be at your own peril. 

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What sells better?

That is the question that was racing through my mind today. We all know (or have heard of) the expression ‘Sex sells’. It is used to market, to advertise and to entice (usually the men). But what if that is merely the setting? What if in actuality fantasy is the part that sells better? I had a small daydream this afternoon. I was in Toronto and I was chosen to be the backup goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs (yes, the dream is not very realistic). I was sitting in some cafe, the staff was nice and suddenly addressed by Sheldon Keefe (their coach) and he said to me “Lawrence, today your most desired dreams becomes a reality”, my dry response was “What? You arranged a weekend of wild and passionate sex with Laura Vandervoort?” The team was howling with laughter and the coach deadpan response was “Well almost most desired then” and I was given the 62 Jersey to be the backup goalie that week, and lets face it, not unlike my blog name, if we want to have a fantasy, lets go for the really satisfying ones. 

So there I was with my jersey there were a few other jokes and giggles after that I woke up from my daydream (without the LV special), such is life. But the dream stuck and when I was watching someones drawing of Alice in wonderland I started to put things together. What if we are not looking at a porn or some sex movie, but what we used to call in the old days a soft porn movie (all innuendo and little or no show, except for the boobies). What if the movie is a new take in Alice in Wonderland? We go through the motions (or Alice does) and the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, the rabbit, they are all men with masks and onesies. A movie that is like not some cheap movie, but high end special effects (not unlike The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and a storyline that does follow the book, but with a twist at the end. The end being that [CENSORED]

A stage that reminded me of a movie that impacted with me, Jacob’s Ladder. So what happens if Virtual Reality takes over our lives too much? There are settings (Elite Dangerous) where I would love to have the hardware to do just that, but the hardware for now is too expensive and (for now) not immersive enough. So when that changes (most likely in 2-3 years) what are the applications? What happens when we can dig into the fantasies of any person (like The Cell) 

So what can we learn? I am not merely thinking healing, but interrogations, information retrieval and a few other avenue’s. So when we take the stage and turn on the fantasy, what could be achieved? We have seen this in the past but always as the end goal, as far as I can tell it was never used as a mere waypoint. Why was that? It cannot be the limit of Hollywood, it could be the limit of any producer yet I believe that this path could lead to a load of green as the faith of Americans go. I believe that there is a host of options here, and as streaming channels are competing more and more, whatever we can do that is truly original is one that streamers will entice, I merely hope that they wake up before they cancel the series too soon (way too many examples) because it is the slow start and the deep story that entices a crowd and engages them. Not the Marvel versions. This is not me having a go at Marvel movies, because I love them, but there is more and that part is not explored, or perhaps explored too little. I personally would have loved where Dollhouse season 3 would have taken us. Eliza Dushku, Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj, Tahmoh Penikett, Fran Kranz, Olivia Williams, Harry Lennix and Amy Acker were all beyond good, the story was engaging and enticing, yet we were sold short, a cancellation after season 2. So will a new approach to Virtual Reality as a weapon make it? I honestly do not know but as far as I can tell no one took that route and in a stage where games can almost take us there, the lack of such a direction seems like a loss.

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Stark contrast

There is an old ‘expression’, The people will rally against the injustice of children, yet for the most, only if it hurts THEIR children. It is a saying that most people ignore because there is a string of pain, the realisation that the need of ‘me’ overrules the need for all. And guess what, Apple joined those ranks a while ago. We see BBC News headlines (last year) like “Ricky Gervais slams Apple over Chinese factories” and we laugh, but the pain is a lot more real than you think. There is an ignored side and there Apple does not seem to give an ‘eff’ (as long as the revenue comes in. It is there advertisement section, the one that is ‘hidden’ in games. Games that give an advertisement and that is OK, but then they take you STRAIGHT to the installation page. Where did we sign up for that? And this is not some innocent ‘barbie game’ this is how pokie and gambling sites assault the weary and the vulnerable. They take the game and the problem to a whole new level. You see, the ad is not the real issue. The issue becomes when you want to close the window and the super-small ‘X’ that closes the window is in the top left corner, and if you miss it, the excuse will be ‘We assumed you wanted the program’, but the close icon is small enough to miss it way too often.

So not only is Apple setting a stage, they are doing this in the setting of “We do not want any issues in the schools where OUR children go, we do not care about the rest” it is a stage that is speculative, but consider the impact. How many children get exposed to that part? And they are not alone, there is more and more out there coming to all of us regarding a ‘game’ named coin master. Even if it has an ad with Joan Collins. In Change dot org (and a few other places) we see messages like “I have been playing coin master for about 8 months and saved up all my coins and spins and spent a fortune on the game then one day i open up my game and the 117billion coins i had and 22,000 spins are gone , i had been reset , apparently coin master are reseting accounts with high savings which is against their own rules because they cannot tell the difference between people who play honest and the cheaters”, now this is a setting of accusation that require data and evidence and I do not have any myself. But coin master is important as it is not only vying for your cash (which is fair enough). It is combining with the ‘sentiment and acceptance’ of pokies, but what we see is not a pokie, it is a game that looks like a pokie and there we see a problem. The makers were decently brilliant, but there is a new stage, “what looks like one” is not the same as one actually is and the makers are in the clear and there is a larger station where it is happening under the noses of Apple (and a few other places), but there the stage is not protective, because it is as I paraphrased “in the schoolyard where we see no Apple employees” so no one at apple seems to care. So when we take a look at some media that give us ‘Complaint Website Flooded By Angry Coin Master Players’ we think that there is a case for action, but that article is almost 2 years old, as such they are doing something really really right or Apple just does not give a hoot (or is that hooters) about their consumers? And the stage is rapidly getting larger. Deceptive conduct (like the gardenscape ads), several ads all showing something that the game does not have, or perhaps in some obscure mini game. And the people are getting less and less choice, because the in game advertisements are seemingly not policed. 

And Apple (Facebook and Google too) needs to start acting. 

And here is the rub, we might see the complaints, yet the game was downloaded in extent to 100,000,000 times, so their app will hold what Apple might see as a remarkable advertisement magnet, and there is the problem, when an app becomes too big too fail there is every chance that the three players will not act in fear of driving people to one of the other two channels, but in the mean time your children are just in danger, because if an app (or game) like ‘Happy Color’ can spout these two advertisements, what other apps will expose your children to the dangers of gambling? 

And consider the start contrast hat Forbes is trying to give us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2021/09/04/ios-15-apple-just-revealed-a-game-changing-new-iphone-privacy-feature/) a mere 3 weeks ago. There we saw “We already knew iOS 15 would come with multiple privacy features that will further hurt the data-hungry habits of Google and Facebook. But now, Apple has just revealed that iPhone users will finally get a choice whether to enable Apple’s own personalised ads on their devices” yet, how does that fare for the in-game advertisements? The Forbes article does not bare that out and I feel decently certain that Apple (Facebook and Google too) is not willing to put the foot down there. So in the end how much danger are your children in when they play a ‘free’ app? Consider that nothing is for free and a player like Coin Master makes on average $24,000,000 a month. I did not look into the revenue of Lightning Link, but that is clearly a pokie, so it is clear gambling. The problem there is that kids might not understand the difference. So you thought EA games was pushing a setting? I think parents have bigger problems and in this Apple (Facebook and Google too) have a much bigger problem protecting the vulnerable and that is something the media seemingly tends to shy away from a little too eagerly in my books. This whilst somewhere in February this year we saw ‘Apple slapped with class action suit over gambling apps’ where we also see “according to plaintiffs, users are unable to collect actual cash in the casino games, but they do have the ability to win and therefore acquire more playing time. This system — paying money for a chance to win more playing time — allegedly violates anti-gambling laws in the 25 states at issue in the case” and that is only the US setting, Apple et al could have stopped this by blocking that stage but it seems they were eager to get more cash, so even as some would voice “The people who play, are literally paying to kill time”, it is a point of view that is fair enough in some cases, but the advertisements seen are using the little tricks to get a few more vulnerable players into their fold and that is a larger station. If there was a much larger ‘X’ in the advertisement they might have been in the clear, but they did not and moreover they take you STRAIGHT to the app installation page whilst the sentiment to do so was not there. A stage of deception a few times over and there will be a larger invoice for all the players allowing for this. In a stage where political players all over the field are gunning for their coffers these players did something really stupid, they are making it easy to gun for them and when the politicians get to use the cards ‘gambling’, ‘vulnerable people’ and ‘easy exploit’ together (optionally in one sentence), places like Apple (et al) will be handed a fine that could end up being considerably larger than the $1,200,000,000 fine they faced in march. 

These players see it as mere parking fines. The fines are tax deductible, the 100,000,000 downloads seem to validate a speculative advertisement revenue of $10,000,000 a day in just ONE APP and that is the stage, if the case only takes 2 years, the players are looking at an optional $7,000,000,000 in advertisement revenue, the people do not stand a chance to get a fair shake here, so where can they go?

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