Category Archives: Gaming

The power of push

Yup, push is by far the greatest power in levelling the playing field. So when I heard that Bethesda had joined the Microsoft farm. From a tactical point of view, it was a brilliant move, the research a few weeks ago showed that merely 1 in three would select a Microsoft system, 1 in 3 is set to 3 in 9, but now there is every chance that the purchase might give Microsoft a shift towards 4-5 in 9, this is an important shift. We might see that it is a shift that cannot be avoided, but I see it as the opportunity to add to the power of Sony. You see, every RPG game is the same, there is land and there is a story, but what happens when we change that? What happens when the map is not defined by the story? What happens when we set it in two different dimensions? So what happens when the story has a localisation part? What if the map is wherever we need it to be, and we add the story on top? What if we can add the story to the map wherever it is? There is off course the need to transfer the map of the world into a playable map (which is not initially possible), yet the segregation of the two is a first step in a much larger frame, a frame that RPG games have not considered in the past. Yet it is only one of two parts, the second part is the revitalisation of the maps we play on. Yet what happens when the actions of a first game transfer to the second game? I am not talking about merely a change to an area because of actions (Fable), but the stage where the castle we add in the first game will be there in the second game as an existing location. At present, games are designed retroactively to avoid issues (Harry Potter), yet what options come alive when we embrace them? I thought in the direction before, but not to this degree. So consider the stage in a land, as we play the first game we offer quests we offer choices and so forth, but what happens that even beyond what we see in Mass Effect, the impact is not merely people, what happens, when we add and destroy locations, so the second game has the added/removed parts? We have seen shadows of this in games, but not to this extent, it is a larger stage of the accountability of the player. We accept that some will choose to only add locations, but in all this we forget that any RPG can have two sides, so what happens to the power core of any land, when there is no destruction? Bethesda did that quite nicely to leave us the options to save or destroy Megaton, but the is merely a fraction of what is possible, in that game the trade routes and the surrounding locations were not impacting by a shifted economy. So what happens when (in Fallout 4) the vaults become power villages? Each with an economy? That was in the back of my mind as I was looking at the Ultima setting, but that game is not alone. Yet there is no good example, because it has never been done to this degree before and it opens up all kinds of new settings and options in RPG gaming. 

In all this we need to thank Bethesda, no matter what reasons they had (the number 7,500,000,000) is a pretty nice reason, the station is now a larger setting, all kinds of needs to see a larger RPG change and even as Microsoft has the lead with its (as some say) 23 first person studio’s, it was a guy like me on a sofa who came up with the idea that no one ever brought to a game, not to this degree and that is where 23 studio’s came up short and Sony has the option to make a change to gaming, a larger change and that is what they have always done, I wonder how they will do it this time. I hope that we get to teach Microsoft another lesson, they have already been inclined to the fact that not listening to their gamers comes at a cost (only 1 out of 3 decided to buy the next Xbox), but there is every chance they get to learn that money does not solve everything, if you do not have the grasp of those who can create, you have nothing.

The power of push tends to hand a lending hand, but this time not to Microsoft.

 

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The house of RPG

Yup, the news only just hit the walls of the internet and a new stage is already underway. This is not about slamming Bethesda, they made a decision and I reckon that 7 billion plus is a nice looking bandaid, but now the house is falling over, because the stage of gaming is set into another realm. Do you think that Sony will like the age of dependancy of Microsoft? So as Bethesda becomes a Microsoft institution, Sony will have to look in other directions. Yes there are good RPG’s out there. There is the Witcher and Cyberpunk is about to arrive, yet the stage is largely untapped and now we see that there is a larger need for an exclusive option for Sony. Lucky for them there might be an option. Richard Garriott created the Ultima series in the early 80’s, yet it was in 1985 that Ultima IV: Quest of the avatar was born. It would take RPG’s to new heights, heights that would not be equalled for well over a decade. Now consider a first person RPG (like Skyrim) with its own rules, its own places, and a storyline that can surpass most RPG games out there. On a map that would be close to 6,000% larger than Skyrim. The map of Britannia (Ultima 1-9) was almost completely designed by the time Ultima 4 was there and the game only got better. The stage would add new dimensions to RPG gaming, something that could be done again in a 1st person setting. It would add new directions in gaming from the original setting, something that had not been done for some time. And then there is the story. Even now I see new stages in shrines and stones that the original never allowed for. There is the stage to combine Ultima 4 and 5 in a much larger setting in sequence in one game. It implies a gaming size that surpasses most RPG’s in hours and way the game is played. The Ultima series set a larger stage with the use of ships and that could remain, so there would be more in the game and more challenges. The largest is to stay original to the Ultima formula and not be swayed towards more of the same. A game that becomes a journey, a journey that we have not seen before and in this Bethesda opened the door by becoming part of Microsoft. I hope that they will remain on the Sony systems, but there is every indication that Microsoft will take a time advantage and use Bethesda games to push people towards their console. That move makes sense because there are plenty of Elder Scrolls and Fallout fans, but that also means that Sony now has the task to protect its core gamers by offering an exclusive brand of their own and that is where we see the value of Richard Garriott optionally go through the roof. I believe that for Richard Microsoft buying Bethesda might seem like the opportunity of a lifetime. No matter how Bethesda phrases it, they are quoted to have stated “all future Bethesda games will release on both Xbox and PC, but their appearance on other consoles will be determined on a “game by game basis”” this is what I would call a dicey setting for Sony, but not all is lost, they could look towards what was and redesign it to the new. Ultima is one of the most likely franchises and the stage is much larger than you think. Microsoft has paid over $7 billion for Bethesda (actually they bought Zenimax Media, the parent of Bethesda), it is a clever move, but if Sony counters it with new RPG, that price might be a little sour, especially if the RPG marketshare brittles away from Bethesda. Microsoft ends up in a stage where the overpaid for a brand that is well worth it, but as Sony counters what was not set to value, the value of Zenimax media will take a bit of a dive. So not only is there an alternative, my mind has already seen the optional design for an adjusted RPG game that would be every bit as satisfying as the original, more so when you consider that the original was never first person, but in my mind I added a stage that the Elder Scrolls never possessed. It is not merely good news for Richard Garriott, it would also be great news for Iolo, Jaana, Julia, Dupre, Geoffrey, Mariah, Katrina and Shamino. They can dust off the weapons they hung up in 1992. And the world would optionally see them back into action as early as 2022 if Sony gets a deal with Richard Garriott sober rather than later, because Microsoft was sly in getting the deal, but was it a clever move? I am not so sure about that. If we are to believe some market research results, only one in three opted for Microsoft, the rest went the way of Sony. I had issues with the results as it was against two systems and Nintendo was left outside the choice, I believe that the Microsoft numbers are not that great to begin with, but that is pure speculation from my side. Will I be proven correctly? 

I actually do not know, but the Bethesda move has set a level of shock on me, that is true enough, yet I have made up my mind, I will not get the Xbox, and if that leaves me without future fallout and elder scrolls games, so be it, yet it took me no more than an hour to set an optional new stage of Ultima, so there is always an option, there will always be RPG, the question becomes will Bethesda be part of that? I actually do not know, there is too much unknown at present.

 

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And that was a hard sell?

OK, we all have these moments where we think ‘I can do that’, in my mind I can be an NHL goalie, becoming the wall in a goal that no one can pass (Wayne Gretzky eat your heart out). I can be as delusional as I want to be thinking that I could be the goalie of the Edmonton Oilers, the San Jose Sharks, or perhaps the Vancouver Canucks. Yup, nothing wrong with my capacity to dream, but what happens when we truly believe that? When we create something bigger than ourselves? I have created the IP of 5G, of videotapes that have not yet released and the other day I came up with the concept of a new TV series, based on an all time classic. Yet what happens when we add our own spice to the equation? In my case it is a space station, it is about 500 meters, roughly vibe shaped and when the 8 people wake up, they realise that they are no longer home, but they do not know where they are. It is that setting that I used to create a new series. So far 8 episodes per season. 

As I started, I got to (avoiding spoilers as much as possible)

Introduction, backstory

Here we start the introduction of the 8 people, it seems a little familiar, because that is how introductions tend to be. We see it from the first person, then the second person, all are confused and all are a little scared, both the males and females alike. The 16 represent different people, the pragmatic lady where we see flash backs where she is a bag lady in Chicago, now cleaned and like the others in some kind of a white overall, the African American who is on the flashback a hedge fund manager, cold and calculating, a mechanic from Paris Texas, looking at the rooms around him, having his own thought. The story continues and as we see the rooms who are all spic and span, we end the episode where they see a large window with fish, corals and no light in sight. The fish are according to one of the man, really deep sea fish.

Where are we? (+ continuance backstory)

The story continues, but more focussed on the where they are, with here and there a small back story recall. We see the icons on the doors, the coloured icons on the wall, the 3d maps and icon based settings of the rooms, as they are setting in their new environment, three groups form, two groups of 5 and one of 6. At that the groups start to focus on the icons on their overalls, speculating on the icons of gender and trying to work out the meaning of colour.

Symbols, iconography, Rosetta Stone (+ continuance where are we?)

One of the 5 groups finds a stone, The icons that are around them and on them and the stone gives three other versions of the symbol, the gender, the setting mechanical, financial, medical, logistical, and many more, they all reflect on what is on the station in one way or another. It is the that another group finds a tablet, and group three finds another display tool. When they unite they compare notes and they united in the rosetta stone room to share the knowledge they have found and what they think things are.

First breakthrough, water

They are still in the setting that thy do not know just how deep they are, there is nothing to set the stage of how deep they are, the entire setting is a little unnerving. Yet they start to identify icons and when they see the icon for water, they all rejoice, their first stage of survival is found, they now have water, thirst and the need for a bathroom.

That was a bidet. second breakthrough food, first 24 hours passed

As they approach the first 24 hours in their new environment, they find the food stash, the C-Rations give light to them being in a military experiment. 

The map room, memories, the last hour of some

In this episode they find a map room, giving them status, giving them a view of the size of the station, and we see the last moments of some of the members, their abductions are in a stage where they were in a bad place.

Coffee corner with coffee, the map room continuance, more water

As they are outside to the map room, the corner there is a place where they relax a little. The setting is one where they discuss what some of the systems are, and as they are somewhere deep in the ocean, they are not willing to test the devices that much, fear sets in, but everything looks OK, they sit together translating the icons as much as they can. It leads to a different water symbol, one that turns out to be the showers, they have found a place where they can clean up.

Almost 48 hours, the view of a lifetime, where are we? and what is that?

This starts in the so called coffee corner, there is a button that was out of sight, one of the women finds it and presses it, the wall moves up and they get to see the vast blackness of the ocean, or so they think. So as the stare t the blackness, they see the light come from the side, it is bright light, and as the view becomes more in sight, they all realise that they are staring at the sombrero galaxy, almost a dozen times bigger than the Hubble telescope can project. Then one of the men realises something and they run through the corridor to the other end of the corridor, where a similar wall is, they press the button and they get to see the spiral galaxy, it is absolutely huge, they are not in the ocean, they are in space and they are far from earth, the view ends season 1. So far I got most of season 2 designed with a rather spooky cliff hanger towards Season 3 and I got to be a little eager beaver when I set up the cliffhanger to season 4, but left the rest of season 3 alone.

Yup, that was my creativity, and I reflected on the Rendez-Vouz with Rama, a book by Arthur C. Clarke, a book he wrote in 1973. My introduction to the book was a video game produced in 1996 by Sierra On-Line. It was my introduction to the story, it is what drove me to make my version of it whilst trying to embody the thoughts of Arthur C. Clarke (based on 2001). 

So when will you design something unique to you? I got my creativity with me, the list is long and distinguished. And I do not care where this ends, I have a plan with my 5G IP and it will more than set me right for life. The direct way to deal with greed is to make the other thoughts public domain, so that no one can claim them and they are basically free to use, that too is an option in IP, only the greed driven forget about that part of the equation. Should you deny that part, then have a little look at the HSBC bank and the FINCEN document leak, look at that level of greed and consider where we are. When we see the facilitation to crime to this degree and we realise that governments are basically doing nothing, you know where you are and I bet you haven’t even realised that you are without a paddle. I think that Arthur C. Clarke got it right when he named the vessel the Rama. He got it right 47 years ago, so how wrong have we been for the last few decades?

Just a thought to consider.

 

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Sto what? It’s the Rage that we get to see

Yup, IGN gives us ‘PS5 File Sizes Revealed for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls’, which is not really that much of a surprise, yet there is a part that was a surprise “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch Edition will require at least 50 GB, while the Ultimate Launch Edition will need at least 105 GB of space as it also includes a remastered version of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man”, so even as IGN gives us that there is more gaming with Miles Morales, the stage that the game is that extra is a nice surprise for the PlayStation people. Yet the issue is the storage, I saw this issue coming a long time ago, basically, storage issues were on my radar since 2012, when Microsoft was a lot less eager to listen to its users. In the stage now, we see that Microsoft is finally listening, we see the stage the I foresaw in the Xbox One series X, 4K gaming requires storage and a lot of it. Now both systems will have space for an additional SSD, so there should be more than enough storage when the additional drive is installed. There is however the newness of the NVMe SSD. Even as the 2TB drives are not cheap ($368), it is the 4TB (at $1199) where the price tends to really matter. Now the are generic NVMe SSD, as the PS5 one is less generic, even faster and currently not available, the stage is coming to larger upgrades and there is no doubt that Microsoft has its own version. 

So even as we need to take to heart the message that IGN gives us, we also need to consider that there is a real setback for those relying on the digital edition versions of either console. When we consider that the PS5 dic holds 100GB, and when we also consider that the games are 50GB or larger, consider the patches that you have to download, and consider the download of any new patch, and people are surprised that I am a DISC fanatic? 

You see, before 5G is completely deployed (For Sydney that is the time of now until somewhere 2022), consider the no less than 175.000 systems (Microsoft and Sony), and the setting that the bulk will need to download 50GB optionally more than once a week. Congestion is the only path that remains. Consider that normal usage during the lockdown forced YouTube and Netflix to downgrade their streams, Netflix would not show 4K movies (as I understood), so what do you think that all the downloads of games and patches will accomplish? 

And in all this, the fact that until the systems have enough storage, games might have to be downloaded more than once, we see more congestion and IGN gives us that 2 games amount to 20%, so now add Skyrim, Fallout 4, the new TES game and the new Fallout game and this list will go on for a while, so on both systems we are likely to see 99.3% filled drives, implying the until the additional drive is installed, more games need to be installed multiple times and it will add to congestion. Now consider the stage in the UK, London, where we see 6 million people and there is every chance that there will be a little over a million nextgen consoles in London (both Sony and Microsoft), so how much congestion will they face? Consider that the lockdown will continue in the UK, a console might be the only relief that a lot will see and in all this, they will be screaming congestion next to YouTube and Netflix, did no one catch on?

It is the simplest of settings and we will see congestion all over the EU, the US, and most Commonwealth nations. So when we realise that last March we got “Sony Will Throttle US Game Download Speeds to Help Ease Internet Congestion”, how do you think it all goes when two companies launches their nextgen consoles on a global scale? When we consider that the new games are at least 20% larger and millions will take the ‘cheaper’ edition that is digital only, do you have any idea the level of congestion we will face? It will go down somewhat AFTER we get the additional drive, but for some that might be a year away, and now we will see a group of people relying on the digital edition, so no drives, that sets the stage to millions with downloads only, I wonder how many people have the bandwidth to deal with the console needs, because at $10 per GB, that bill will add up really fast. 

In the end people will trivialise their digital needs, but in about 8 weeks the first groups will set the threshold on an international stage and the news will suddenly be about how gamers use all the bandwidth, they will suddenly be the bad guys. Yet the stage we see now is all about a digital shift the the business world is not ready for and the vilification of Huawei is not helping, but I reckon that we will see the impact during the holiday season of 2020, the final numbest is unknown, because the total sold systems from Sony and Microsoft will not be clear in the initial setting, they are both part of the issue, this is nothing against either, this is the future of gaming and this will be the first time when the internet not the system will be the bottleneck, it is a new situation for all of us.

 

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It was tempting

Yup, there it is, my option to consider another part of IP, or talking about the console war. There was temptation for a few reasons, but the console war won. In the first we look at Notebook Check, here we see “Convincing PlayStation 5 price leak and latest IGN poll all but confirm victory for Sony and the PS5 in the first battle of the next-gen console war”, which is certainly one way if losing at the situation, we could also include “if the figures are genuine then gamers planning on pre-ordering either a Blu-ray console or Digital Edition model are likely to be satisfied. Another IGN next-gen console poll shows huge popular support for Sony’s devices, regardless of the recent appearance of the Xbox Series S”, we have a start and it would b e quite the start, yet I believe them to be merely side reasons. You see, the real reason is also the reason why I dumped my Xbox One and all the games, I have no further faith in Microsoft, who is not ruled by deeds, but by marketing hypes. Microsoft through stupidity on the Xbox One, lost me at least twice over, and as I personally see it, there is no coming back from that one in the near future. Consider that I would be more hyped to get Super Mario 3D All-Stars free at $69, then whatever that new console will cost, so consider, I am more interesting to get a remade Mario game on the Nintendo Switch, then the new Microsoft console, their credibility is THAT low. 

I have written about these issues in the past and this is not a reuse issue, so lets get back to the article (at https://www.notebookcheck.net/Convincing-PlayStation-5-price-leak-and-latest-IGN-poll-all-but-confirm-victory-for-Sony-and-the-PS5-in-the-first-battle-of-the-next-gen-console-war.493457.0.html), where we see “An IGN poll asking Twitter residents the question “Now that we have more info on some next-gen console prices, which do you think you’re most likely to buy first?” has now closed, and perhaps unsurprisingly it has been a convincing win for Sony.

The PS5 attracted 55.3% of the votes, followed by the Xbox Series X on a respectable 23.5%, PS5 Digital Edition on 12.9%, and Xbox Series S on 8.4% (out of 138,045 votes)”. It is here that we see the 138 thousand people gave large support to the PS5, 55% to the full edition and 12.9 to the digital version, as such 2 out of three select Sony, the rest selected the other brand, yet I feel certain that Microsoft would be hurting a lot more if the Nintendo Switch Pro was part of the question. I personally have a little issue with the phrase ‘respectable’ but OK, I’ll let that slip. Microsoft only has itself to blame, it did NOTHING to listen to their fanbase, they hype and twist, but the two largest issues were not resolved for 8 years and nw they get to pay for that. The idea that many would select the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console is something that they will have to deal with in 2021, but by then there is every chance that they are more nervous of Google or Apple sneaking up on them from 4th position, than the next Nintendo system, especially as Nintendo is already in sec and place in the console war. A good system does that and the fact that its users are looking forward to a $69 game a lot more than the next Microsoft console is a warning to the size of: ‘Careful what you wish for Microsoft!’, for them it doesn’t get much more painful, but they achieved it anyway. Oh and I do believe that pricing has nothing to do with it, if the PS5 would start at $699, I would still take it over whatever a Microsoft console goes for, I want a good game, not an exporting console, the lesson Microsoft never learned. 

Tom’s guide also gives us a forecast, in this it looks good but I am not sure if I could agree, even as Sony is a little lower, Microsoft will be a lot lower, all because of Nintendo and either Google or Apple (that fight is nowhere near settling). I think the consumers are forgetting that these two will influence the field. It leaves Sony optionally impacting 3-7 million systems up till 2024, Yet there is every chance that Microsoft will equally be impacted between 6-12 million systems up till 2024. It is a personal speculation, but there are plenty who take the PS5 next to a Nintendo, the rivalrous setting of Microsoft is a lot less so and the Nintendo Switch pro with 4K will impact the Microsoft a lot harder. You see, the Xbox Series S will be around $299, there will be a drive that is a lot harder that people think, instead of this, I can get a Nintendo Switch. Weirdly enough, they will have the Nintendo and a PS5 on the side (reversal of fortune), don’t ask me to explain it, I cannot, but I always felt that a Nintendo is welcome next to a Playstation, whilst Microsoft has aways about ‘Its only us’ and that ill hurt them a lot more then you think. 

And I am giving you this a day before Sony unleashes internet hell with their presentation, I believe that there are a few surprises for all of us, yet I do not care, I have made my decision, I made my bed and I will snore like a sawmill. I believe there is a lot more to come early 2021, but it depends on how competitive Apple and Google will get, if they decide to unite Microsoft will be done for, if it becomes a fight between the to (most likely) I feel that on personal grounds Google will win, but that is NOT a given, more of an expected vibe. In this either has a chance to push to third leaving Microsoft on 4th position and basically in the dirt, it will be the harshest lesson they ever received in 15 years. And that is merely the opening setting, there I more, but the waters are fluid and it involves Ubisoft, I wanted to go all out here, yet after reading some of the CNN stuff, I get the feeling that Ubisoft is not getting a fair shake, and that offends me a little, do not get me wrong, I’ll happily make fun of Yves Guillemot at the drop of a hat (any hat), but I have always been fair and based on things I myself can corroborate, not on expected whims lacking evidence, that is merely a no-go for me (it sucks having principles). 

Still, Ubisoft is important here, if Microsoft loses out (which is a lot more likely than you think) it will hurt Ubisoft as well, they are on all platforms, but now we get to the quote I had two days ago. With “What if we use the power of Sony and for example Google Stadia to the max what that system can give? Will the gamer not end up with a much better experience? If you doubt that, consider Metroid Prime 1 and 2 on GameCube, a game that is still mostly unsurpassed on Xbox One and PS4 11 years later, an entire generation later”, there was method to my madness and as Microsoft loses foothold, players like Ubisoft will lose massive foothold too. Their position can only be held if the systems are on equal footing and that has not been the case of at least 5 years and as one system slips behind Nintendo, the fault line becomes at least unnerving. 

So as we see Sony’s intent this week we muster the coins we have, because preordering early is massively needed. And in 2021? Well, I merely wonder how many will choose the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console, because that too will happen more and more. And if the docking slot with an extra game slot is true, I will be on board as soon as I can. It is just too tempting.

 

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The set stage

It started a week ago, not directly, but the thought was born at that point, it was the realisation that the stage is set to the player, the stage is empty, especially we set the stage as we are playing an RPG game, it is perhaps the largest issue that a game can have. The danger of repetition. To get there we need to return to 1985. I was a happy chappy. I had my CBM-64 and the whole world was in front of me. That year two games came to my attention, well, not completely, the first game I had already seen as a friend had a BBC Micro B. Yet getting the games was an issue, but there it was on a Friday I was made aware that a shop in Breda (90 minutes by train) had both games. It was odd as I was living in Rotterdam, but there it was a dealer in Breda had both Ultima-3 and Elite, both for the CBM-64 and I was off to the races (the train) and a little less than 2 hours later I was in Breda having bought 1 copy of each game. My love for these two games continues to this day. Of course Elite is now Elite Dangerous (and a few thousand times bigger) and Ultima no longer exists, but the stage is there. Yet as I remember my days in Elder Scrolls Oblivion, we tend to set course for the most beneficial route, but what happens when that is not an option? In case of Ultima, what happens when 3,4,5, and 6 are played, but in this, what happens when we influence the development of the game for others? Ultima is an excellent example as the map remained close to the same in 4,5,6, and 7. But those who have played Oblivion, perhaps you remember the Rockmilk Cave north of Leyawin. Because there are two fighting parties, you get to have the drop n those who survive and get a lot more loot, early in the game that matters, and it is close to a city, so it is a ka-ching moment. But what happens, when everyone does that? We get away with it the first time, but what happens when the people in that cave become a lot more adapt? What happens when the second time around the people are suddenly 1 or 2 levels higher and that happens in EVERY subsequent visit? This takes me back to Ultima 5, near Empath Abbey there is a good source of Spider Silk, so what happens when everyone does that? What happens when we suddenly have to ACTUALLY explore to find what we need? I have been thinking of a first person approach (an Oblivion approach) to the Ultima games. You see, that game had everything from the get go and it would take plenty of designers 10 years to get close there, so what happens when we get the stage like Oblivion, but with the entire land of Britannia mapped? The 4th game would b a great start, but even as we start, we set our mark on the land. As such roads will develop different. We will end up having much better roads between Britain and Paws. There was some form of an economy in Ultima 7, but that can evolve from the 4th game onward. This sets for a very different game, as such when we start Ultima 5, we are set in a land that evolved from OUR actions in Ultima 4, not just that, as markers of thousands of players are aggregated, the map might evolve differently, We could see that New Magincia and Buccaneers Den would be much larger cities the the places we had (and reset) from 4 up to 7. It is a set shape of RPG that we have not seen before, and that makes it exciting. Even as I was (initially) designing Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, I had something similar in mind. Not merely a stage for a quest, but a stage where we set in motion the action, but beyond managing resources, we get to have no say in the matter. 

It is  stage that is enabled and disabled by us. We tend to forget about the latter part, but it is an equally important stage, because it sets for a different stage of replaying a game. Consider Oblivion and Skyrim, what happens when we set the new Dark Brotherhood? What if we choose not to place the new sanctuary not in Dawnstar? What if there had been an option to place it near Whiterun? The choice is then set for re-playability, which was a focal point for me in TES7: Restoration. 

In addition, I had set more than one red line in the design, a red line the follows markers as you play the game, but markers that cannot be influenced after voices are made. Basically, you get to sleep in the bed you make, you do not get to design the bed. Makers of RPG’s have been so involved in getting everything there that we drown in options, but at times, the gamer can merely inhabit the stage, he/she does not design the stage, it is the cornerstone of something we want to replay and when you consider that Skyrim is still going strong since 11.11.11, what do you think happens when we take away some f the training wheels and give the player the fun of playing and the consequence of choice? It is something that had been lacking in RPG’s for the longest time. I set that in motion in my design, but in the end, it is what the owners of the IP decide to do. 

It was the only issue I had with Skyrim, the grinding to get to the legendary dragon, and I know there are part I missed (not many), yet it gets me back to the avoidance of grinding. What if levels are not the only way of measuring? Why if the player class needs to have at least 1,2 or 3 skills at 100? The thief might have bow, lockpick and sneak at 100, but what would the Mage have? What  would the fighter or assassin have? We forgot to set the stage to a larger field, I cannot tell whether that was intentional or not, I reckon that the PS4 already had the power to take care of these matters, but that is me. What if every skill will give the player an ability at 100? Not skill point driven, but automatically, it could be something trivial. For Sneak it might be pussyfoot for 60 seconds, for the Bow it might be the arrow dagger, for Restoration it might be paralyse soul, for illusion it might be daylight, and so on. We seemingly have forgotten that there are any rods to a solution, but some of the makers (due to no fault of their own) have made most missions a linear stage and we have to evolve from that. Limitations is one way to do that. When you were playing Oblivion (or Skyrim), how many benefits did you get by going to White River Watch on the second play (Skyrim) as soon as possible or Crumbling Mine (Oblivion)? We can up the NPC level on subsequent plays, but what can we gain by limiting what. Person COULD find at the first few levels? What happens when we set a randomiser to some loot not on whether it is there, but where it is? In Skyrim some books are always in the same place, what if that changes? Consider that we have 4 levels of loot, what if those levels (when it is not a quest item) are 4 mixed piles? As such, we could run to the Milkrun Cave, but what we get there would not be a guarantee, in addition, some loot can only be found ONCE! As such certain loot will not be there to spike our personal coffers, just a thought. 

In this day and age, we are not merely on one system, as such we should see what benefits the games could get, it is my personal belief that this is not done enough. I get it, makers like Ubisoft (merely an example) like to be on ALL systems, but what if we set another premise? What if we use the power of Sony and for example Google Stadia to the max what that system can give? Will the gamer not end up with a much better experience? If you doubt that, consider Metroid Prime 1 and 2 on GameCube, a game that is still mostly unsurpassed on Xbox One and PS4 11 years later, an entire generation later, the is the premise we need to return to a field that is maximised, not equalised by the lowest system around. 

Just my point of view, have a great weekend.

 

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The Yesterday approach

I was looking at the Google Stadia setting for games, and naturally I got a list of the games that is on all the other systems. The problem is that Google is just starting, and even as it has good games, it also has a few titles where we can wonder how many disappointments the gamers will be introduced to, this is not about bashing Ubisoft, but they do not have the best track record at present, giving the Stadia almost half a dozen games less. One option would be to renew the old games, and I am not merely pointing towards games from the PS3/Xbox360, which is not the worst idea, but another level of gaming. I mentioned Murder on the Zinderneuf in a previous blog, but today I was re-confronted with an old classic, Tower of Babel, it was a Rainbird production in 1989 and made by Peter Cooke. We might think that the game is simple and that is only partially true, what is important the this is a game that the younger players can play, it can be upgraded to 4K if need be, but the moment the Internet congests, I wonder how much playtime people will get. The game fitted originally on a 1MB disc, as such the game could be upgraded to some degree, but it was already a good game, and as I see it, the amount of puzzle games is a little on the low side on nearly all platforms. And it is not the only game that could make it there, I mentioned Millennium 2.2 in an earlier blog and as such there is a rather large game pool that can be connected too, and that shows the larger flaw in the Google Stadia arsenal. We see what some call ‘the cool games’ and plenty of others too, but for any console to copy the other ones, is merely an exercise in catching up at best and yes, the Google Stadia has the potential to make it to third position, but if they want to differentiate themselves they need and a larger arsenal and a different level of additions. Puzzle, strategy, RPG, but not merely the ones already advertised, they need more and the old games were really good, as such a streaming game that is an upgraded version is still a lot smaller than some of the 30GB games and in streaming that counts as well. And that is not all, NBA 2K21 is supposed to be coming, yet the games has all kinds of issues on the other platforms. Park not working, players are prevented from joining games, we see mentions of ‘hailstorm of issues’, which let’s be honest, was always going to happen, but on a new console, the more games with issues, the less appealing it is. Yes the Microsoft and Sony solutions had the same thing, but they had a pol of titles to rely on and Google does not have that. Nintendo has had this a lot less and they have the advantage there, but for Google being on par with Sony and Nintendo was never going to be realistic, as such Google needs its own pol of games, games that have been properly tested and they will need close to a dozen games added, a dozen Google games and the old games are a good option. So how many Chess games are there on non-PC systems? What is the range of games per category? I am actually a little surprised that Google lacked in that regard, at least according to their own pages. So I wonder who were the deciding voices at Google, especially as the Stadia list has Breakpoint, a game regarded as the worst game in 2019, and that is before we consider some of the other titles (without judgement), titles that have been ‘heralded’ as ‘more of the same’, is that really how Google wants to start a new console? There are a few other titles, but that would be kicking certain makers whilst they might be really wanted by other players, my view is merely my view for the games that I like, others like other games, yet no one will like a lack of games and in this Google has its work cut out for them. 

 

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Software as a salad

Yup, we all have our moments of creation, although this is a redesign, the idea is out there and it is set to be an open invitation to the owners of the game Clue, to take it to a next level. What happens when we change the tally? It dawned on me when I was walking in a mall and I laid eyes on the Harry Potter edition of Clue, it looked nice, it looked revamped to be as close to the Harry Potter world as possible, but it was still the classical game of Clue. It was funny, because around an hour earlier I was sitting down sipping on a coffee and try to wake up (well a fair attempt anyway), I noticed two tables over a gorgeous young lady (19-21) and she was talking to her friend (no idea what about) and she was getting slightly over enthusiastic over pictures of Professor Snape (Alan Rickman is cool). I had to giggle internally and I would have given anything for Alan Rickman to be blushing one table over, but that was not the case, yet it started a thought and after the coffee when I noticed the HP Board game, when a thought started to take hold, what if one game could lead to another? What if we take the EA original Murder on the Zinderneuf (yes, it was original in 1983), make it a first person adjustable mystery, yet every game unlocks specific randomised new options. What if the game unlocks the game clue, but what happens when the game, a game that is different every time (apart from the stage). The game offers a challenge already, but when you get a different murder mystery every time you play it, in addition, you get the board game Clue to play at home or online with opt in players or a computer character, as well as a stage where you could optionally unlock the HP edition, the Downton Abbey edition, the Walking dead edition, the Asterix edition, a Scooby Doo edition and so on. The idea of opening a game an unlocking the other skins one at a time sets a larger premise, sets a drive to play the game, especially for those who love the game. The game would not alter too much, but the location, people and object skins do and that are cosmetic items. The option to seed the game like a minefield with other cards (like the ones in the game), but with different outfits, so the game keeps on looking fresh. Then there are the stage where the initial game when replayed will offer a person to find objects, like a Golden Snitch, the Resurrection stone, An Asterix flask, Scooby Do’s bone and so on. A game with a long lasting half life, because there will be options to unlock for a long time to come, yet who took on considering that approach in gaming until the Google Stadia became a fact? Let’s face it, I never saw this for the years that Steam was out. 

There is no end towards what is possible, but what should concern you is why the makers of current games aren’t thinking the far ahead, or that much out of the box. This is my 7th game IP concept in under a year, and in the gaming industry, these so called captains of industry haven’t come up with 50% of that amount of IP. So I leave you with that thought, will you buy software, or will you mix it up like a salad, it might not taste the way you think it does, but it is more likely then not an original taste and that counts in gaming. The stage of ‘I never had that before’ and it remains true, it is not for everyone, but when you set the goal to make a game for everyone, you merely make a game that pleases no one. 

 

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The stage I partially ignored

We all have that, we hear and see something and partially ignore the small print (if it is stated at all), she deals are good. I have made no secret of my aversion to Microsoft, that remains, yet I thought that the Game Pass was a great idea, so when I was shown ‘Xbox Game Pass is a steal — so why aren’t people using it?’ (at https://www.laptopmag.com/news/xbox-game-pass-op-ed) two days ago, I was a little confused. I might not be a Microsoft fan, but there are plenty who love Microsoft and Xbox, it is their choice and they are welcome to it, in that part I would think that they would love the Game Pass, yet the article give me a few items that I was not aware of.

The first part is “If you’re in the middle of a long RPG like Final Fantasy XV and it is removed from Game Pass, you’ll have to buy it. In Game Pass’ defense, the service gives you a month’s warning when games you’ve downloaded are about to leave. You also have the option to buy the game at a discount”, as well as “Some players feel more comfortable buying and downloading games individually rather than getting them through a service like Game Pass. It sounds like semantics considering you’re downloading games regardless, but perception is key, and to some, knowing they are getting a game through a service turns them off. In their eyes, Game Pass removes ownership” it gives a stage where we basically never own games, we merely rent them and there is a plus side and a down side to that, it is slightly more clear when we set the Microsoft store quote next to this “Get 2-4 free games every month and save up to 50% on game purchases”, so basically you pay $15 a month and that gives access to some games, whilst buying a game is up to 50% cheaper. So imagine Assassins Creed 15 (whatever version) and any AC fan wants to own them, so that month the bill could be at least $65. How long until the basic setting of the game pass is no longer a real sweet deal? 

And that is not the end, the more people are hit with the temporary setting ‘removed from Game Pass’, the gamer gets the setting of an expensive pass. I am actually amazed that Microsoft did not do a better job there. How long until we see that the games that they offer have a mere 1 year (or perhaps even 2 year) shelf life? It is not a path I expected Microsoft to make and when we see “Game Pass is $9.99. For $14.99, subscribers get Xbox Game Pass for Xbox and Windows PC along with Xbox Live. This also includes access to play online games. An additional $5 on top of the $10 for Xbox Live doesn’t sound so bad, but to some gamers, it could very well be a deal-breaker”, which is not news, but when we see the temporary approach to ‘renting’ games, the entire matter changes. There is no denying that $15 is a good deal if the games are forever yours to play, in a temporary setting and the obligation to buy some games afterwards the setting becomes a non-deal for a fair amount of gamers and when we see this on top of the other stages that Xbox gamers have been exposed to since 2012 we see a stage where Microsoft might only have its Cloud and mobile gaming left, they squandered whatever advantage they had and now we see a stage where Xbox ends up in fifth position behind the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and Apple Arcade, that might be a setting I get to see in 2022, as such if Microsoft does not adjust its path they will end up dead last in a game where they could have been in second place.

That is the price of setting a business stage in a world where you do not comprehend the participants.

 

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The console stage

I made a claim last week and I forgot to follow up (my bad), and here it is. I was watching on the games out there in the past and games that might have a lovely return. First is the Sentinel. It caught my eye on the Atari ST in 1987, I played it them and I got the remake in my fingers on the PC in 1998, complete with the addictive music by the one and only John Carpenter. I believe that this game would be a nice asset on the Google Stadia (or Sony/Nintendo console), it is a game that you can play, put down and play again when you feel like it. Each of the systems can outdo the PC 1998 graphics without impeding on playability. I believe that the Ultima RPG games, but now with a Elder Scrolls first person look would be another game that could rise to fame (again), the important part is that games 4,5,6,7a and 7b would be one great game, a station that evolves as you play and they set a much larger stage that has not been achieved EVER. As such each of these systems could bank on a million fans almost overnight when properly transferred. And that is only the top of the chart, the state we see when we take the games that were not entirely at the top of the charts (like Paradroid) and we tweak those, we get a whole new range of games that would be out there for a renewed chance of more and more gamers. Another setting is seen in Mega-Lo-Mania, the game was good, not great, but it is set on too limiting a setting. It should be improved on, especially as RAM and hard drive are no longer an issue. The same could be said for forgotten Ubisoft gem Conquest: Frontier Wars, there are a few tweaks suggestions, but for the most, the skirmish part is all that is needed to give thousands of gamers fun for many many hours, and it could be ready for Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch et al quite quickly. I reckon that the Nintendo is especially interesting as it has no real space management games of that magnitude and it allows people to play by themselves and online against one another. Two stages that are easily achieved, Ubisoft does have the knowledge to run out to those fields (and they can use any win possible). In that same stage, who could forget 1989 addictive game Archipelagos, made by Astral Software? I reckon that in its original shape it is slightly too dull and too shallow, but the stage was good and when we consider other games from that era and we can spice things up a bit, the stage changes it from better than average to really good. It is not really a fair setting, because the original was better than ‘better than average’, but it was a game designed on a system lacking resources and as such improvements and additions are an option, yet there is a stage where we see that the 80’s and 90’s gave great creativity on the lacking stage of hardware, and as such we see that there is a whole range of games that can be revived on these systems. 

Yes, we all want new IP, but lets not forget that great IP remastered is still a good place to start and a lot of it is up for grabs and for those not up for grabs, the original makers could get a new lease on life and an additional pay check for the IP they know really well, gamers and game makers both seem to forget that part.

A stage that is in motion, and could set the console wars to another stage, the actual and factual stage where it does not matter how powerful your system is, it becomes a setting on who offers the most fun and that part has been forgotten to the largest extent, I wonder why?

For me, I still remember the many hours I rejoiced playing Fur Fighters on the Dreamcast, the PS2 version sucked, but the Dreamcast edition was massive fun and I still wonder why that game never made it to PS3 or XB360, now that most of the games can make it to a wider selection, I wonder if anyone will pick up the treasure trove before it is too late. Or perhaps the original makers will consider the larger stage that is now open to them.

2021 could be a great year for gaming and not just the new IP, golden oldies could be a genuine important stage for all systems willing to step into that mix.

 

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