Category Archives: Gaming

RPG Arms race

Yes, I had not forgotten my promise, so before I start resetting the Saudi Airforce from the American options to either the BAE Typhoon or the Chinese Chengdu J-20, all whilst bagging myself a rather nice (and large) commission, I have a promise to keep. It took me a whilst, yet when Bethesda made the Elder Scrolls, they had the alone stage for Fantasy RPG and they grew it rather nicely, close to perfection. Yet I am no ones second fiddle, as such I thought it would be nice to change the game. In the setting where you are a ranged ‘fighter’, or a stealth type, I decided on the Indonesian blowpipe. It has the benefit of stealth, speed, some distance (not overly large) poison dart options and a few more, as such the blowpipe would be in, there is the Trisula (Indonesian version of the Japanese Sai), the Gollocks, yet they also have swords and spears, so there is a whole range of new weapons giving the RPG lover a new set of discoveries to make in how to best give the realisation of mortality to your enemies. And as I was taking a look at the weapons, I came to the conclusion, that as I spread the power of magic, the same could be done to the weapons. Even as we might like all weapons (some people do), giving them the power of one (agility for the blowpipe) removes strength for the sword and spear. It is a little more natural that way. Stealth still has knives and blades, but that person would be less in other weapons, the other way as well, those adapts and better in swords and spears are lousy in the precision of the blowpipe, they can still use knives for stealth parts, but not much more, the stage to reply is set. As I set the stage of magic and weapons, the third need would be there.
The support of the craft of artisan. The agile are good at pottery, but slow and less able to be the armorer or blacksmith, the blacksmith would be less of an alchemist and pottery person, item can always be bought and the fighter can still be a good alchemist in nearly every way, yet the division pushes a person to become passable and average n all directions, or set towards excellence in one or optionally two directions. Too many RPG’s are about inclusions, the ‘you can be all approach’, yet as I have stated towards Ubisoft for the longest time, a game that states it pleases everyone, in the end will please no one. That setting set a larger stage, a stage where you can reply the game, optionally multiple times and face the stage where you see new things at least twice over, it makes for longer joy in a game. 

And all whilst doing this, I got the inside idea of yet another game, based on a golden oldie. It was done by Melbourne House in 1985, yet not unlike the older version, you have to grow your skills, go to places and unlock abilities and unlock moves. So what happens when the stage is not all, but you get one night to do it, you get 5 hours until the final showdown where you are the challenger, and every time you play the game, the powers are somewhere else, so no running to the 6 points to get the max character, you get a stage where the skills you acquire are the skills you have for the final fight, yet the stage is not who presses the button faster, it is more like Nioh, a tactical challenge, we keep on forgetting that the old games have actual diamonds in the rough (sorry Disney), actual gems that can shine, even now on the PS5 can bring joy to millions of Playstation gamers (as such all ideas are always free for Sony Playstation exclusive games). 

So as I finished the ideas of fighting, artisans and magic, it is time to think of a storyline, a main story where we need to set a new level of adaptability, because if you are in one place in one chosen group, you will not face the same story, so what happens when the main storyline is not one story, but there are 5 for you to find? How to go about that part? I can tell you one thing, that has never been done before, I wonder why not?

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Military

The Old stuff

I have it at times, I do not know about you, but at times I want to see the old movies, play the old games, listen to the old sounds. It allows me to balance my feelings about a game, let me mesmerise on other ideas, contemplate thoughts, a whole range of actions become available when I do that what I had done before. So, as I watched Robocop (2014), It’s a wonderful life (1946), Planet of the Apes (1968), listened to the golden oldies by Madonna and Rammstein, my mind wandered as I was playing Fallout 4 again, thinking of Fallout 3. Two games I really liked. At that point my mind started to wander, what if we could play Planet of the Apes as a RPG. Consider the 6 original movies. What if the setting of the game was in the era of Charlton Heston, but covered close to the entire east coast? Optionally merely Rhode Island (the state) and as DLC’s within a year to add Massachusetts and Connecticut. Consider the amount of exploring one could do, find the old stages, create villages against a physical and morally superior force. Finding books setting the stage of a history group, a science group, a medical group. Find books for them to evolve, finding books to teach the next generation. Finding skills that can be transferred to books teaching the next group. A multigenerational game, so as the previous group becomes to old, you can transfer (with the right group enabled) to the next generation. No RPG has done this before. When you consider this, is it not weird that no game (in light of so many copying each other’s concepts) that something original can be staged. 

I am not sure when the ideas started to mingle, but the setting is there. A stage where the game is NOT on one person, but it is your stage to create a much larger foothold as you create generations for you to move from one to the next generation. It should also have drawbacks. The older person learns faster and learns more, the younger person can find more, can achieve more faster, a set of balances to chose from.

I also see the interactions with other books, for example (an idea I had last year), the setting of a prequel to Soylent Green with Chris Hemsworth in the lead. Yet what if we add Soylent Green (without the dead people) to the mix? What if the sea becomes the larger food provider again? The setting where the books and skills result in advanced options? It is merely a setting, a stage to draw and see what connections we can make. If great apes cannot swim, is the start on an island not perfect? It will not get you far, but as a training, the game can help you get the maximum out of the game, before you find a small Rigid Inflatable Boat. The initial game with a mapped 3,140 km² before we add 27,363 km², another thing we have not seen before (that is apart from my version of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration), the continuation of a game, you keep what you create and we see  much larger consideration when the expansion comes, will we start again, or do we go on? OK, it might not be completely feasible on 1:1, yet 1:100, or 1:1000 might work. Yet in that stage we ned to adjust. And that is before you realise that it will be a much larger consideration when we add regions that are internationally largely unknown. Apart from the fact that (as far as I know) has never been done before becomes the creation of a much larger IP for any software house.

And whenever you go over the old stuff, the chance is that your mind makes silent Connections that could be diamonds for any one person to consider. It is the power of the old stuff, because we were done with it and we forgot what it contained. So as our minds see it again, time will be a larger stage for our minds, it does not re-create old links (will to some degree it does), it will create new connections, because you have seen other things over the last 3-7 years that you had not seen this work, or listened to it. I reckon that not watched Planet of the Apes for almost 2 years and a lot of things happened in that time, so we see things differently and we connect to it in other ways too. I have no evidence of this, it is merely my thought on the matter, yet s it got me a new concept (apart from the 4 I already have) not a bad days work.

Well, that is it for me for today. Perhaps I have more to add to the idea of Simian World tomorrow, you never know what Spinach does to the brain. For me it is agony, because for some reason I feel the massive need to have Tourte Pascale, my mum used to make it and now for some reason I want it, now after 3 decades (it might be four), I feel the massive yearn to get my fingers on a slice. Life is hell at times, so I will leave you with an image I found online, so that you will become as equally hungry as I am at this very moment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Media

I see dead people

There is a stage we all see and we all think we seem to know, I am very set on the ‘seem to’ part. I stumbled upon a 5 years old article by TechCrunch, it is about Peter Molyneux, a person I personally know, so I was curious. It was the beginning that got to me. With “the British game development hero that spearheaded famous studios Bullfrog and Lionhead, but who also always had a reputation of being fluid with the truth. Molyneux was the guy who made Populous and led the studios that created Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, The Movies, Fable, Black and White, Magic Carpet and many others. But Molyneux was also a teller of tall tales, a maker of wild promises in interviews that had little chance of being realised” the game is on, you see it is about the games, and Bullfrog let by Peter delivered again and again on CBM64, Atari ST, Amiga and PC. I still miss some of these games. They opened the mind, the made us creative and it pushed us to think different. So when we get to ‘a teller of tall tales, a maker of wild promises in interviews that had little chance of being realised’, we are b being misled on two fronts. The first is that (as far as I know) Peter has always been in the business of pushing gaming boundaries. It is hard to prove this, but I have an example, in those days I had a mouthwatering PC, it had all the bells and whistles and it would make coffee for me if it had hands, so here I am with a high end graphics card that can do anything with was, so even as Black and White is fun and amazing, it was that merely fun and amazing, about three months after the game releases there is a new graphics card and I install it, I had nothing real to do and I restart Black and White, so when the temple is built and I walk inside my mouth drops, it blew me away. Black and White was the first game that was ready for the nextgen graphics, it was the first time this would happen to me. Even now I still hope for a remaster of Magic Carpet on the new consoles, a rerelease of dungeon keeper, and only team bullfrog can deliver on that.

The second part is the one TechCrunch does not mention, in the early 90’s, the media was on gaming like nothing you ever saw, the journo’s at the ECTS were renowned, worse than paparazzi and always looking for a sound-byte, an exploit and that part is not mentioned, also the words of Molyneux have been pulled out of context more than once, he did something other gamer makers did not achieve, he surpassed the boundaries of systems. That can be seen if you compare the reboot of Syndicate with the original, the original remains vastly superior 20 years later. The reboot got a mere 66%, it is vision that get us games and Peter Molyneux had just that. Then we get a part the is hard to dispute and most likely correct “The other reason Molyneux thrived was that his team delivered. There are, and will forever remain, disputes over exactly how much he was involved with some of the titles to his name (Glenn Corpes, Sean Cooper, Demis Hassabis and a variety of others deserve their credit) but what was inarguable was that Molyneux had managed to create an environment in which great games happened”, yes Peter was not alone and we all get that, but Peter made it happen and it is undeniable, great games happened at Bullfrog and Lionhead. The titles are still revered and people still yearn for another fable, another dungeon keeper and another theme park, even now, even 20 years later, that is gaming at the edge!

Then we get a gem “He would combine those ideals to form an exciting story for what a game might be, often road testing a certain phrase or image with you before using it with the press. This, I gather, is not unlike the way Steve Jobs seems to have been”, the man was part visionary and could recognise visionaries in coders, that is part why his games were so great (the original concept is part of that), until Bullfrog, who had considered being the bad guy in Hero quest would be entertaining? And that is the foundation of great gaming, bel to turn the equation upside down and get another nugget of gold, he had this. I particularly like the end of the article “Ambitious design, big ideas and bold visions are what propel the games industry forward. When all is said and done, create-a-cash-engine mentalities are only ever temporary, but it’s the ambition that makes video games forever. I for one hope that Molyneux rises from the ashes one last time to teach us this lesson again”, it is all the parts Ubisoft forgot to be, it is all the sides the spreadsheet driven BI executives at EA and likeminded companies are dumbstruck on. I hope that he gets a few more notches on his 6 shooter with new titles on nextgen, optionally Google Stadia too. Consider the titles we saw at the beginning and consider that those who knew the games still remember them and love them 20+ years later, that is an achievement only Nintendo has been able to equal. 

So when it comes to Bullfrog, its staff and the man behind it, I tend to see dead people, it is the press behind it, not the makers of games, they have proven their grit, they did it several times. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

I gave them a chance

Yup, at times we have to give others a chance, not because they are nice, not because they are working on it, or even if they are considering moves, sometimes you do it so that you are not the caged junkyard dog released from the chain. It is a civil act, but one that you do merely to please yourself. I am kind of that person. Ubisoft had been in a stage of near death for a time and that was not because of the issues in their firm, it was merely set towards their product. As I see it, before the end of the year Yves Guillemot is lucky to get out, find a nice house in France, bring half a dozen women to please him and I reckon if he does it for $369,000,000 he is lucky. You see at this point the company is worth 10 cents to the dollar. I watched close to a dozen of videos on gameplay on Assassins Creed Valhalla. Some have a sense of humour ‘Odin would be bored here’, ‘continuing mediocrity’ and a few more of those jabs, they are funny. I saw issues with guards running in circles, I saw a guard hit by a row, flying off like Yoshi getting kicked by Mario. And these videos all had different issues and glitches. One had a boat getting stuck on a small branch and the boat went 30 degrees like it was stuck under a stone bridge, the issues go on. Even as Watchdogs: Legion had a few issues, they were nonsensical, small little glitches that do not upset the gameplay (there were a few), but this stuff is what I feared and Ubisoft had their chance, and ever as they went live early this now bites in the other direction. A franchise destroyed by short sightedness, it is too infuriating. I did not like AC3 much, but it was on the mark, even as some bugs showed up that would pester the franchise for at least 3 games, then they released a good game which I still do not regard to be a real AC game, it was Black Flag, after that mediocrity, bugs and shortcomings hit the franchise until AC Origin came and that was on the mark, it was a bulls eye. Yes it had bugs, but none spoiled the game, it had a few issues, yet the larger gameplay was never affected. And that is the end of it, even as some ‘official’ reviewers say that it is the best they ever saw, it seems that I get a clear picture who butters their bread. You only need to search for ‘AC Valhalla rants’, or ‘AC Valhalla issues’ and the videos come streaming. It is hard to stay neutral and focussed, but try it is worth it. Some give us the lack of some parts but in the story it seems to fit and in those days not everyone had a hammer, or a knife. Iron was for the people with money, it led to health. All the people you slaughter and not one had a decent weapon? Chests (in bird planes at times) with resources, books of knowledge (which is actually a good thing). The game has taken leaps in one direction and forfeited looking behind itself, like really properly testing a game. 

The videos show a game with really good moments, an good graphics and some of the glitches tear it down in a rather nasty way, so I reckon that the gamers are promised patches upon patches in a time when the PS5, Xbox series X and PC have 4K capabilities, so these patches will be larger than before (with Breakpoint being the way it was, it will be a speculated nightmare).

Some will also come with positive things and we need to take notice of them too, one gives the right tone rating that this game is not for everyone, if AC Odyssey did not grab you, than this game will not either. I specifically like the mention towards a movie called the 13th warrior, I liked it, it showed a time that seemed pure and it seemed direct, the is a good mention for AC Valhalla, as I stated in the past, I will steer clear of this game, unless it will be for sale on Black Friday at 30% of the price, then I might c consider it. So here we are, Ubisoft, with in my personal opinion one decent hit (Watchdogs: Legion) and one clear fail (the other title). Two fails would mean the end of Ubisoft, now? I reckon they will limp towards what comes next, but if the does not include original IP and a really really good game they are pretty much done for. A carcass for other hungry game studios to poach, because the graphic people are good, the sound people are really good, so they will get poached soon enough. When those seeking a slice of $135 billion revenue cake that is online gaming (2020-2022), they will wise up fast which merely makes the end of Ubisoft sooner, not later. 

Yet at this stage I do not feel righteous, I do not feel superior, and I do not feel happy, I feel sad, because Ubisoft was a giant, it did bring original IP and it did make us happy. Like a junkie I would want to feel like that one more time when a Ubisoft game arrives. I reckon that 2020 was a bad year for a few reasons, I do not think the any gamer will be happy to see the end of Ubisoft, but the is just the way the cake crumbles at times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

A,B,C,…..D?

We all have ways to promote the thinking pattern within ourselves, we all have our way to get about it, I am no exception. Yet, today is a weird day, I am overwhelmed with a thought and a sensation from the 60s. I was a wee young lad (a little piss ant is more like it), I was never a saint, especially when I was young. And in all this we all had our own ways to deal with ourselves, again, I am not exception. 

The sensation that bugs me today is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. It is like a nuisance that keeps on bugging me and I do not exactly know why. It is a drink, in the Netherlands it was for a small time (in the 60s) decently wanted. The bottle was long and slim, with a light blue lid, it contained some form of a tangerine drink. That drink has been on my mind for a while now, and I miss it, but until recently it’s been nagging me and I do not know why. I looked up a few things and I noticed that there is no decent tangerine liquor. The drink I used to have was a lemonade, basically tangerine juice, settled with a third ingredient like water, still water. So why was it on my mind so strongly?

I had been considering a lot more from that era, mostly TV series, it was all before the house of Pong set up its shrine (a manhunter New York joke). And then it hit me, it was 1968, the Dutch TV series ‘De Fabeltjeskrant’ created by Leen Valkenier started, the UK got it later titled ‘The Daily Fable’, the setting had connections to the fables of Jean de La Fontaine, Aesop, and others. No matter how simple it was then, it was close to unequalled until it ended in 1989 after well over 1600 episodes, a gem too many had forgotten about, The adventures narrated by Mr Owl, with Miss Stork, 

Mr. Cunningham the Fox, Mr. Crow, Boris the Wolf, Bert and Fred Beaver, Zippy the Hare,Shelly the Tortoise, Miss Ant, Gerald the Pigeon, Milord the Horse, Harold the, George the Guinea Pig in the British version, Mumbles the Mole, Myra the Hamster, Greta the Cow, and Zaza the Zebra. There were more characters, but I stopped watching when I grew a little older, yet consider the simple fact that this series ran for over 1600 episodes and consider all the old tales as well as the tales of Grimm and others, what a treasure trove it could be, even today, we are all looking at the hi-tech series, but there is a reason that Tim Burton struck gold with the Nightmare before Christmas, stop motion animation is still an art that can move all the senses we have and we forgot about that tiny detail. We seemingly forgot about the situation where what was is still good, but how to embrace it? The fair part is that children do not mind, they embrace the story, the interactions, the inclusion, it is the inclusion that tends to take the cake, but it is merely one of a few factors and to be around for 22 years, that matters, that shows that you have a winner. So can it be relaunched? That is the question we need to face. E can remaster it, it can be remade, but in the same way? It is like the original Mass Effect, these gems are close to timeless, in 15 years when we have the Playstation 6 and the Zbox (or XboxX), a game like Mass Effect will still have a value that equals its weight in gold, so TV series too will have their moment and the IP and its owner sees a new life where none was expected. It is the showing of a real visionary, a game like Mass Effect (the original trilogy) is truly one of those. 

So whilst my mind focussed on a tangerine smell and a faint taste of what was, the reason was lingering in the back of my mind and the Daily Fable is not the only thing from those days. Netflix is investing a little over $17 billion in this year alone, but on how much actual IP? What if a fraction could get them several series that could give them a much larger offering of series? As the workflow comes back (after another lockdown), we see that there is a need for materials that will be there for the younger and the not so young viewers. 

It is about series, games, streaming and non streaming. It is all directed via IP, but it is not the only option, there is a whole league of games that lost their IP protection years ago, the same for TV series and the clever mind is one that looks in the past and find the troves most forgot about.  A setting we need to take another look at. So consider on what Netflix is spending and then add the billions that DisneyPlus is spending and see what some can get at a mere farthing per pound, a setting too enticing to ignore, but the will be the name of the game soon enough. 

It links to an old joke, what is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant? A zookeeper has a $10 note and hands you 10 $1 coins, an accountant squeezes the $10 note until it gives up 11 $1 coins. We can laugh at the or realise that the Netflix has an optional $1,700,000,000 around, all because not the right accountant took a look at the $10 notes. We can laugh at the joke, or we can consider that there are parts none of them looked at, why is that? Or better stated, where are the gemstones? You already saw one, let me give you one more, it was a Swedish series called ‘Den vita stenen’, a series based on a 1965 award winning book. In a collection of nations, a mere 2 options and that is before you realise that France, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. They all have the gemstones no-one noticed or they forgot the impact they had focussing on a local market tends to have that impact and the time goes short, soon more than one will catch on and when they get it done it will be too late for them.

Such is life, as such, did you get to point D? If so, is it a square, a rectangle, a trapezium or a parallelogram? All options and none are the same.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Media

Reality helps out gaming

Yup, it happen, it is a little rare, but not unusual. So as I was setting the stage of a post apocalyptic game in Sweden, I was a little stuck. Yet reality was there to help me out. Yup, the Local SE newspaper gives us (at https://www.thelocal.se/20171101/why-sweden-is-home-to-65000-fallout-shelters) ‘Why Sweden is home to 65,000 fallout shelters’, we assuming that this is partially true, because 65,000 is a bit much, but it is something to work with, and as such we now have shelters, a lot of them, so the game is still in concept stage, but with that many shelters, the idea is starting and in this, Norway is helping out, they apparently have the Sentralanlegget (read: Central Facility). As such we now have a start and I am not one to be the minor, so I am setting the map stage from Alesund (Norway), to Sundsvall (Sweden) and the map is everything south of there, so it is a huge map. Instead of travelling everywhere, the stage would be that you get to chose the top of person you are and from the you wake up in a place (somewhere), and that age is the beginning. I have a few twists in mind, but it will include seeking strawberries on Gotland (the Swedish readers will get this). 

I will not give away the whole enchilada, because the gamer needs a surprise or two, but I want to set the stage where permadeath will make the game a lot more challenging (yet not essential), in addition to that with Oslo, Goteburg, Malmo and Stockholm in play, we have a lot more to see and to do. Yet it all started with one shelter and as we have no idea where we are, the sage is set for RPG, mystery and a whole dose of challenges. 

Wow, that took mot of the day to think this through, but I was hindered by the fact that Fallout is a really good product and I wanted to avoid the overlap, it cannot be completely avoided, but it can be minimised to the least and that is how I went to work. 

In this, the stage was about setting a new game based on a foundation that we have seen dozens time over from the C64 up to the current generation of consoles. 

So the news in the Local dot se was really a nice find, they give us “The country is home to around 65,000 bunkers, fit to host seven million people in the event of war, and an official report has now advised the government to start building more, following a 15-year pause”, implying that every bunker is for around 100 people, that is something we can work with. If the bunker is too big, it might not be operable with one person, with 100 that is still a risk, but a lot less likely. With that starting point, the stage is set for a story, because as I said before ‘the story is everything’, and in that resetting stage we see a larger need to find, to travel and to achieve. 

And the timing is right, some sources are confirming the fears I had regarding AC Valhalla, I will not give them here, because I would merely be repeating their reviews (read: rants). I have not seen it, and mot of the evidence has (as I suspect) been based on previous (pre gold edition) alpha’s and beta’s. So I will wait and take another look in 32 hours when the game becomes available. I know a person who is getting the game and I am not willing to spend a nickel on it (at present), I can wait for Black Friday and get it at 25%-50% of retail value. The other thing is that I am still playing Watchdogs: Legion. Now, that game has a few issues, but it is definitely a step up from one and needs you to engage in more sneak than number two demanded. It can be a good thing depending on your view on what hackers do. Yet there is little to no question, Watchdogs is a decent hit (it is better than a lot of other Ubisoft titles), even as Eurogamer gives us ‘Watch Dogs Legion review – a bleak and buggy retread of Ubisoft’s formula’, I particularly liked “Legion is too terrifyingly real, and just a tad too grim. I doubt the very real climate in the UK is helping much – which clearly isn’t Ubisoft’s fault – but I usually play games to escape the ills of Westminster, not to be smacked over the head by them. I appreciate that terrorist attacks and food banks and too many homeless people add a frosty layer of authenticity to this fictional vision of the capital, and I know this isn’t Ubisoft’s fault, either, but good grief, it’s depressing to recognise so many signs of a fictional dystopia from your local real-life news reports”, perhaps after the American President events it is a little too real, but that too adds to the positive, the hackers and their need to act. The ‘frosty layer of authenticity’ is as I see it positive, not negative. It is about hackers for a reason. Yes the game has issues, but nothing that will break the bank or glitch into reset. In some cases a better description (read: rant) might have been the solution, but such is life. 

Overall, after playing for a while, I do not disagree with “it will eventually grow stale as missions rarely deviate from this template”, yet as a hacker I signed up for the, did I not? Not to get shot in the face when a hacker should have far too little firearms experience against Albion special forces. So the article (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-11-03-watch-dogs-legion-review-a-bleak-and-buggy-retread-of-ubisofts-formula) is good, yet I feel that there is a setting that is partially overlooked. Yet I do understand and like the words Vikki Blake give us “Watch Dogs Legion is dark and unpleasant in more ways than one, and it doesn’t matter how many protagonists a game boasts if you’re unable to care about a single one of them”, it is an eye of the beholder view, agree or disagree, it is up to you. That part matters, because Ubisoft got a small reprieve, if AC Valhalla is near perfect they get a shot to survive, if not they might end up being part of Microsoft too. Microsoft is unlikely to pass up on 23 houses with fps experience, especially if they can get it for 5 cents on the dollar and lets face it, they spend most cash on Bethesda anyway. 

So here I aim handing out free Sony exclusive materials because that is the guy I am (when pissed off an absolute nightmare), and I did have some fun designing a way to sink the Iranian fleet (we all need hobbies). As such setting my fingers into a post apocalyptic games was also essential, you see it was an actual snow globe that gave me the idea on how to meltdown Bushehr 1 (a still untested concept), and that side might actually help me to design a few missions for the Swedish post-apocalyptic game which I aptly renamed ‘glödande godis’, and we all need candy, whether we glow in the dark or not. Ah well, such is life.

So even as reality can help out a gamer, we need a fair amount of indiscriminate imagination to get it all to work and lets face it, at present only the Japanese know what life in a post-apocalyptic setting has been (small reference to August 6 1945).

So whilst we will get to know what is the truth around AC Valhalla in a little over a day, the stage of finding an alternative to fallout will take a little longer than that.

In the mean time we will sit back, relax and enjoy the Trump show (as he is getting fired), for me it means that we can enjoy a more global version of the news in 1-2 days and that has been sorely lacking at present.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

The new setting

I had a partial start on Bethesda’s Elder scrolls, but not one for their Fallout series. You see, you do have the right to sell your IP to a third party (Bethesda to Microsoft) and set the agenda of forcing a million dedicated players into the arms of what I personally see as a disreputable solution for gaming, but I am entitled to create IP free for Sony exclusive solutions that offers the people an alternative. The idea that I am handing out free dedicated IP for Sony developers was probably not in consideration for Microsoft (who paid $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda software), yet the idea of me handing out free lollies was not on their mind either, and PS5 directed IP even less so. 

As such here I am watching Jason Bourne on Netflix whilst my brains is considering a larger stage for a radiated world to survive in. Yes, I can’t just be like any other normal guy enjoying porn, no my mind has to create puzzles and RPG settings, life can never be simple, can it?

Whilst I was starting all that, there was a larger (read: additional) stage I wanted to create. A longer stage. An idea to interact the PS5 with both (read: either) Android or iOS device, creating mini games that give an additional stages to the game. It can all be done on the PS5, but I considered that some games are interesting if an element gets added (for free), so here I am considering my old NBC knowledge the decontamination parts that were not really in the Bethesda games. Yet that part could be a stage in the game, finding the plans, creating the solution and managing it. Even if it is part of the game itself, management parts of that game can be set to automatic (after the elements are set), but if we create management apps, giving the player an added 30% return on doing so, we create interest, the need to participate. 

The game needs an enticing environment, yet we have seen so many games in the US, What if the stage is not there, but the setting is Stockholm? It is relatively close to a lot of places and what if we use that setting to create a haven, not like in other games, but one that requires fresh water, fresh meat and of course a red wire collecting images of the Swedish bikini teams between 1975 and 2175, fair is fair, and if you play a girl, you get to find the collector cards of Swedish fireman and park rangers (fair is fair). We just know (read: assumption) how you ladies want to see images of Alexander Skarsgård and Peter Haber, fair is fair after all. Yet we need more than simple alternatives for snow globes or pip-boys, but the setting is one that needs adjusting. We need more than a race from item to item and that is not by creating places to are to, but by creating a narrative that goes beyond what w expect, that shows the larger stage of the repercussions of radiation, not by taking pieces away from the adventure, but by adding to it, by creating an additional awareness, one the previous games only hinted at. I am not blaming the games, they were and till are fine games, but I want to create something new, not by creating a copy, a copy is second rate, yet if we skate on the fringe, if we add to the narrative we et something new and that is the are for the gamer, that is the race for those who love to play games, to get more, not to merely get more of the same. The difference is distinct and gamers know this, I know this, so we get create more as we create something new, something that differs and is different. 

That is the challenge, that is the perspective we require, one we have not faced before. It is how I got to think out the Palyar prerogative playing in Amsterdam, that is how I got the previous answer to a new IP, holding an answer to Bethesda and the Elder Scrolls and over the setting of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, which I came up with in the past. A setting to Watchdogs IV and a few more ideas, all new IP, all in advanced concept stages.

Life tends to be about new settings, for the most it is about adapting to them, for some it is about creating them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

Rule of thumb

It started with me wondering what else I could do. I have been involved with gaming since 1984, I started testing and reviewing games in 1986, so I have been around for a while. I met the giants in gaming. Sid Meier, Richard Garriott, Peter Molyneux and a few others. They and the games they made formed the views I have on gaming, there are of course more others too. 

My normal job was in technical support and teaching, as such I had a firm grasp on technology. I learned to teach, teach software and technology and as such, my life was a decently happy one. 

Still, I wonder what else is possible, you see only the delusional ones think they can do everything. I agree that any person can do anything and if they are given, committed and enthusiastic, they become good at it. I believe that to be true for everyone, no matter gender, race, religion or age. 

It kind of intertwines with the elections in the US, after 4 years we see a shift and now I wonder if anyone in the media has the balls to set an image of Donald Trump tomorrow on page one, with the text “You’re fired!”, providing Joe Biden gets the 270 he needs. I wonder when that stage will be reached, and if it will be reached. They all claim that Biden will win, yet there is a decent. Chance that Pennsylvania will remain in camp Trump, with 89% counted and 20 votes, the advantage of 2.6% there is no given that Biden will win and even if he does, the difference is too small, so a recount is inevitable. In Arizona the roles are reversed, yet here only 11 votes are up for grabs, giving us the optional score of 254 for Biden and 234 for Trump, it is a setting weirdly close and like the old series the West Wing, two states might set the end and at this point President Trump has the lead. Those three sites are Georgia and North Carolin with 16 and 15 votes. I am careful not to set the stage of what might be, I am Republican minded, but I am definitely no President Trump fan. So as I take notice of ‘Stop the count!’: Angry Trump supporters amass at counting centres’, I wonder just how stupid Trump fans are to call for an end to democracy. A vote is a vote and they should all be counted, that is how democracy works. And this is where the brain started to twist. Whenever we are in any RPG, it is about our actions, it is about what WE decide should happen. It matters not what the RPG is, that is how the game is set.

But what happens when we change that, what happens when we sign up for a game with a political stage? What happens when our actions becomes pro or counter RPG government? You see, when I initially designed the idea of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration (before they gave their soul to Microsoft), I had not considered it, yet in MEA 1+2 and optionally Citadel: Incursion (I had to give it. Name), that stage becomes a larger issue. Politics is at the fibre of any stage and we ignored it in RPG to a larger extent mainly because of system limitations. The new systems will have computing power in abundance, so it becomes less of a hindrance and setting that stage to a proper foundation, especially in a game like Mass Effect Andromeda is has an influence, because as we unlock more and more pods to wake up, the political stage on a station like the nexus will also alter, it sets a larger stage, a larger application of what we need to do. Even as the stage is not always on what we need to achieve, the general direction will alter and so fr no game took this into account (as the systems weren’t powerful enough). 

This changes what gaming provides, yes we like to make decisions in our RPG and that does not change, but there is the greater good and the larger picture to consider, it becomes even more interesting if that picture is not available to the player, the story could take a few interesting twists along the way. To illustrate that, we can look at a TV-series called Babylon 5. When we were in season 1, we see the Narn, Centauri, Minbari, Humans, Vorlon and others. Yet the Narn and Centauri are arch enemies, so working for one makes the other off limits and that is a mere extreme example. If we decide to act alone, we might side with one group and optionally piss off another, it is the nature of the game and gaming will become less black and white and more grey tones. It is also a lot harder to program. For example it is not like in the old The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you could only buy certain houses when certain fame levels are reached.   Yet what happens when fame and infamy are more fluidic? What happens when missions are only offered to the infamous (or famous) and above certain ranks? It will not change the game, but it will colour the stage to some degree, that same stage will be influenced when we colour a governmental stage, like the US, Blue, Red and Green. We see a larger stage where working for the ‘other’ party is allowed, but at that stage, we gain infamy a well as political points. See it as a new complexity level in RPG gaming. There is no doubt in my mind that this is where we are heading, mainly because it os now possible to do just that, and as we see the need for games with a larger value to replay a game, the setting of another level of complexity is pretty much a guarantee. We might want to lean back and reach back to the original D&D rules of thumb rulings, but I reckon that console gaming has surpassed it a few times over. Even as Ubisoft stated in a game ‘Cull the herd’, that stage is one we seemingly walked away from. We do not oppose the eradication of the horde (it’s an Orc thing), but it also leaves us open to eradication as well. And as such we need to set the stage to a larger frame, because that is what we do.

Extremes are nice to colour the stage, but it is the blending of values that give a larger appreciation of any story, there is plenty of evidence out there and as I see it, there is a much larger stage to fill it up, how it is done is up to the gaming visionaries.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

The edge of IP

Yup, another bout of insomnia, another idea in the IP range. I state this casually and carefully, because even if the stage is altered, there might be a setting where it in not entirely my IP. In the first I came up with a new Mass Effect Andromeda, I wrote about it previously and to make the story fit, the game would contain a remastered and rewritten part one (the bad version we saw in 2017), a lot would be used, but the game would be different, even if the planets are not. That was only part one, the stage of part two is in three parts, the Nexus, the missing ships and 5 additional planets. Also we would revisit the planets that were cleaned up with a lot of additional materials. Yet my mind kept on racing. It was the Prothean Vigil VI who gives us “They used the conduit to gain access, but the conduit is only a prototype. The portal only links in one direction, so they were trapped on the station. I do not know what became of them there, it is unlikely they found any food or water, they suffered a slow grim death”, the game is 13 years old, and I have lashed out to Microsoft on a number of occasions, but this one, this one they got right, and the second game was even better the the first one, optionally one of the best RPG games EVER produced. 

So what happens when a group of people makes it to the Citadel, about 2 millennia after the reapers. The station cold dark and we get to see the restart of the station, the keepers are setting the parameters for races to come, yet what happens when teams Humans, Salarians, Drell, Turians, and Protheans make it to the Citadel? Not the original station as shown in the game, but the station in its complete complexity. Each race starts in the original building that was meant for them, as they could dock there, but after that, it becomes a chase, a challenge, of puzzles and wit to survive, to create the stations energy settings, the interactions that are required and not to mention as you play one race, all the others become NPC’s, with the option of a previous completed race to use your achievement as a template to equal. Something like that has as far as I can see never been done before and to that extent wasn’t even possible until the PS5 (and its Microsoft equivalent) were released. Not to mention there is every chance that the Google Stadia might keep up, so that is three, all whilst it would be possible to link a friend and set his milestones as one for one of the NPC’s. 

You might wonder why that and not a new station, a new environment. Yes, that is true, but to create all the races and all the settings takes a lot more and these races have been clearly established, also there is a danger that we might inadvertently copy parts of another Citadel station (System Shock), as such I wanted to get head of the curve (as I am not getting any sleep)

It would still be a large undertaking, The idea was bugging me when I was redesigning MEA and MEA2 in one package, the setting of the size of the station was never that clearly represented, also the cryogenic unlocks made little sense, there was too little pro and con options. A setting where we see the plusses on one sided and we weigh that, all whilst the minus side was largely ignored. So as I went out to create a new version in my mind, I kept on looking at the larger stage, the larger needs and it kept on kicking me back to Citadel station, especially the parts we saw in ME1 and ME2, I thought it was time to kick it in another direction and this is what I came up with in a mere 2-3 hours. 

Consider the screenshot, it is part of the citadel, 5 arms, one arm holding dozens upon dozens of skyscrapers, each building (or at least several of them) explorable, yet there is also the danger of that needle and haystack expression, there needs to be a clear directive on what is required, what are we seeking for, and not all are in the same arm, so paths are needed, airlocks, and larger cargo spaces so we can travel between the arms, yet the keepers (now under clear Reaper control) must also be avoided and changes need to be done whilst they are not looking. All whilst ever building is getting cleaned and sanitised by worker drones. 

It becomes a much larger setting and it might be one that the explorers under us (Dora too) might like to get a handle on. And let’s not forget, there are 5 teams, optionally some with advanced knowledge. All this and the Andromeda challenge too? What a luxury! I would love to make it a Sony exclusive, but Microsoft already has the beat on the IP, so if there is exclusivity, it might be Xbox (something I really would not like).

Well, it is 2:14 now, I have no idea what I will come up with next, but I got roughly 4 hours until the sun comes up and I forgot my Maui Jim glasses. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming

Pointless versus useless

Yup, consider that part and consider just how useless government oversight really is. To show this we get to the articles about three weeks ago, I noticed them, because I had the aggravated issue with deceptive conduct in advertisement for a while. Several sources give us ‘Ban for annoying puzzle ads which don’t represent the actual game’ (or a version thereof), with the sub-line “The Advertising Standards Authority has banned ads for Homescapes and Gardenscapes”. I have nothing against the game, but any match three game is rigged from the start, it is a clever way to get you to try and perhaps you will make a small purchase, and then she are caught in the addictive need, some just quit. I am ahead of the curve and I steer clear of all these match three games. Yet, The people behind these games (not just these two, others too), made an actual brilliant advertisement jab at the games giving us a DIFFERENT game where you have to select a solution, as such we see “Paid-for Facebook posts advertising games with puzzles – but which did not represent the vast majority of actual gameplay – have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)”, this is what got to me too and when I saw the news, I was happy. So what happened today? Gardenscapes advertisement (the bad one) now shows up in Fallout Shelter in the iOS version, as such it seems to be bloody pointless. Perhaps it is the price for $8.5 billion, perhaps it is the price of joining Microsoft, yet these so called banned advertisements are back, or they never left. Sometimes vacation does not end, it merely changes location.

This gets me to the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/8593c8b5-5a98-4002-ac5a-68b59fbb6463) which was given to us in May with the headline ‘Russian brothers behind ‘Gardenscapes’ emerge as lockdown winners’, and we also get “Two Russian brothers living in London have emerged among the big winners of the lockdown, with their mobile games Gardenscapes and Homescapes making $200m from in-app purchases in April alone”, which sets the station that when you are rich, the ASA might not do anything, OK that is just speculation, but the stage is clear, and nothing seems to be happening. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for Igor and Dmitry Bukhman, 200 million in a lifetime is nothing to be sneered and they are making that each month, I merely wonder if the deceptive advertising was essential to make that much money. 

So here we see the stage of pointless (having little or no sense) versus useless (not fulfilling or not expected to achieve the desired outcome). You might think it is the same, but it is not. The difference was seen in my Pencak Silat classes when I was a young lad (when I was 63.8% smaller roughly). Defensive systems (like Judo) are pointless, you are under attack, only countering doesn’t get the job done, there are pure attack based styles which are useless, if you are under attack, one needs defence, so the best martial art is one that decently covers attack and defence. Yes, we have seen all those movies on how great defence is, yet those grandmaster have been at it a decade or two and that tends to be far away from those starting some form of martial art. It now gives rise to the same setting with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), they can go after Facebook all they like, yet when the advertiser moves to advertise via Bethesda games (Fallout Shelter) how useful was the jab at Facebook?

And when the advertising server moves to the USA, or perhaps Canada, or Saudi Arabia, how will that affect the verdict? It seems to me that the leading man, Guy Parker who has been chief executive of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) since June 2009; living of £120,000 a year might be able to keep up his income and fruitless actions, yet I merely wonder at present what he achieves, do you not feel the same way? When I see advertisement (the deceptive kind) move from place to place, I wonder why we need a man making well over $250,000 a year, it seems a pointless action and a useless way to spend that much money. Feel free to disagree, but there is a massive digital failure in that regard and I reckon I am not the only one thinking that. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, IT, Media