Tag Archives: Elder Scrolls

Expanding story time

Yes, this happens. Sometimes we get more to a story, but when was that when it was expanded on the main system and not a DLC or expansion? When was the last time that you were confronted with an additional story in the main game? I reckon that most of us cannot clearly give an example. And when someone pushed a demo of the Unreal Engine v5 to YouTube showing us a broken down version of Riverwood, my mind went 145% on the body and thoughts came to mind. Now in this case it will not apply, because Riverwood is decently fresh in the mind of all gamers, but when they see the new (older looking) Riverwood they should catch on.

What happens when we add a few villages, not unlike Riverwood, off the beaten track, off the caught setting and all storylines by themselves. A setting that some might recognise in Spinalonga Island on Crete. It had its own story, but remains a ghost town even now. So what happens when we find the story, evolve the story in the now, solve the story, the riddles and the curse (or other reason for abandonment) and when we find refugees, traders and other people we could direct them to the empty village. Riverwood had a trader, a smith and an inn. There is no stopping us from adding shops, and it would fit the equation towards building the local economy as well. As I wrote earlier. Too many RPG’s are depending on US to build the economy. Yet what happens when the NPC’s are in a secondary stage that they too become drivers of an economy? What happens when traders build economies, adventurers do, mercenaries do and as such, some places will grow even larger, grow more and grow distinctive. In this we can set markers like you need to have certain ranks in the main quest, and side quests as well as levels of fame before your word is accepted, but at that stage your influence grows too. We need to realise that in RPG games we are NOT the machine, we are a mere cog that fuels the machine, but we are one in many cogs and that has never taken a larger stand in RPG games and that has been overlooked for too long. I do understand that some might state that this was not possible until the PS4pro. I believe that this is not merely that case. Game makers are too often in an iterative mode, we get more of the same (Far Cry, Assassins Creed), there are leaps forward (Fallout and Elder Scrolls), yet I believe that more could be done and I also believe that the PS5 now shows that more is possible. And it will not take long for the streamers to show that they are capable of more. And until these players consider that the main quest is nothing more than an outspoken side quest we will not see the leaps forward that RPG’s are capable of. The fact that I came up with TESVII: Restoration and the fact that I am still finding new ways to grease the system into other directions, directions that TESVI:unknown place might not even touch on is speculative, but not entirely impossible. A stage where we see that RPG makers are for a lot about more of the same (not their fault) is a little troublesome and When I wrote about a new RPG, a generation one that I summarised in ‘Recap to the intro’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/25/recap-to-the-intro/) which I wrote last September and even now I am still gaining more ideas that could grow that IP to larger stations is interesting to say the least. The side quests are merely one setting. Growing a virtual economy is another one, but it all sets the station where we have an RPG game where there are two stations. The station of you the player and you the influencer, both important, yet influencer we can become through skills, through power and through achievement and they all interact to some degree, and it is those influencer sides that give a much larger unknown to the game and how it shapes. We need to do it in that way, so that the system is free to evolve, if we merely have two settings with a clean and a deprived location (A Fable II event) we lose the plot, we will not see the impact of flourishing villages.

I believe that this is the expansive side of gaming, it fuels replayability and optionally dampens grinding. The last part is not a given or a real event, but could be the impact of influencers, it is merely a thought. So when did you see your last creativity on the sliding scale of something you haven’t figured out yet? A station that keeps me busy, why? I can tell you that I can, but for some reason I feel more comfortable with the thought “Because I have to”, and I am not sure why at present.

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When the plot thickens

This happens, it happens all the time. We notice it in movies and books, we sometimes face it in real life. There are moments when the plot thickens, but it tends not to happen in games and in RPG games fit rarely happens. There the NPC threat in singular directional, it always awaits your command, your action and your dialogue. So why is that?

It cannot be the technology, the technology was on par 1-2 generations ago. Is it gaming technology versus scripting? It could be, I am not the best source of information on this. 

We tend to see the Louis 14 approach in gaming, the world revolves around the gamer, it is like the missions. As the missions are lacking time needs, as the missions can be completed at YOUR convenience, we get to do it all. I think it is wrong and I think we need to alter our perceptions here. We cannot do everything, we can not please everyone and we cannot be everywhere. Just like good RPG games need an economy, it needs a transitional stage, it also needs  servicing stage. Mercenaries and guards that do take charge. Games like Shadow of Mordor invented and realised a nemesis system, I reckon that was a real step forward in gaming. So why did we not adjust RPG gaming to be more challenging? Was it that much of a leap? 

There is nothing like a stage that has no opposition, it becomes docile, it becomes a stage of non-stress. So what happens when you are there but so is the stage of mercenaries that can finish your jobs, making you lose fame and more important making you lose credibility. A stage we have never faced before. There is always the more seasoned adventurer, this happens. Yet in gaming we do not see that part. We are denied the challenge. Why is that?

When you create a career and you grind the same levels, we think we are being clever. Yet what happens when you lose out to a lot more? What happens when another adventurer becomes the famous one? Not in a multi player environment, but a single player environment that has its own nemesis system, not merely opposition, but a setting of peers and antagonists that become more that a mere hassle. It sets your career mode in a mode of bland anticipation. A station where you are not the best thing since sliced bread, you are merely the last resort and starting the game out like that is not the worst idea either. It shows the player that they need to be on their A-game all the time. And so far the RPG games have not been facilitating in that degree. Why is that?

It cannot be that I am the only one thinking in this direction, it cannot be that technology stayed behind. I believe that Bethesda pushed RPG into mainstream gaming and left a few things out. It is not their fault because their Elder Scrolls and Fallout series are pretty amazing. Yet by pushing that into mainstream they left something out and we all lost a little, it is a shame and at present there is no one replacing or contesting them. I pushed a few ideas to the surface in earlier articles, yet I also overlooked that part in RPG games. I apologise and I am trying to alter what I have at present to add that setting to future games, or at least inspire others to reconsider what they have and there is a lot that could be done. Will it? I hope so, but at present there is no way to tell, so we will have to see who picks this gaming direction up first.

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Height of the threshold

We all have thresholds, one allows for choices, one bars choices, one allows, one denies. You can go on with that premise for a long time to come, it is how we roll. I saw (on YouTube) some of the NHL22 video’s. I also saw a few complain video’s and a few other videos. I understand the complaints, they do not bother me (I am no NHL player, alas), but I get that some of the issues are there and they will not be resolved any day soon. 

I gave my largest attention to the PS5 version of NHL22. Now I need to be clear. I am not certain if this was a final release version, or a beta. What one states is not always the case. But the thought came to mind as I was considering a few items.

Pro
The look and feel is awesome, presentation has taken a large foundation and it looks good. The previous version I has was NHL19, so over three years there is bound to be some improvements. And as we see the way things present, it looks good.

Con
I saw a whole heap of glitches. Now, I might have missed them if I was playing, but compared to NHL19, the glitches are a lot more profound and ugly I might add. The unnatural skate movements that players make, the way the fallen player gets up and the unnatural skating done at that point. It was riddled with glitches and that is why I wonder whether this was a final version. The look of the players is really good, the rink looks good and the names are nice, but no everyone will like them. I cannot vouch for controls as I was watching and not playing. 

I saw more video and more complaints about puck dynamics and puck response, I also saw a few more glitches and a few that are not really glitches, but it did not add up. This can be my view on the matter and I prefer to say that upfront. The game on the PS5 did look decently amazing. So it did not quite blow me away, but it did impact. And I have not seen all the modes, so there might be more good news that I missed out on.

Threshold?
For me there was a threshold. You see my team (Capitals) won the Stanley cup. So I was eager to get the new edition with Ovechkin on the cover, but EA Sports decided that for Australians, it was digital only (bloody bastards). I am not paying $89 for a digital product and I am not interested in some digital subscription. As such, a threshold of frustration was reached. 

What will happen to NHL22? Well, apart from budgets in play. There is still the issue of a physical copy. I get it, NHL is not on the Australian mind, it might have something to do with water not turning solid in almost all of Australia, so I get it. But the fact that it cannot be ordered, that it is digital copy only is a problem (for me). This is how it is, plain and simple. 

It also related to another setting. As I was brooding over two pieces of IP, a third option came forward. Now, it is too early to comment on it, because there are a few sides that need ironing out, especially on the privacy side of the matter. Yet an idea is starting to take shape and depending how it irons out, I will put it online too (too busy with other options at present). 

It is how we see the digital world that matters. Or perhaps not see it, experience and feel it at present. I have been brooding on making domotics and wearables a larger stage, but that too is fraught with obstacles. We want to have it all, we want to offer it all, but how long until a third party exploits it? As the law fails its citizens, I feel that the threshold of publication rises and raises a lot more questions than I am happy with at present. Can we in all honesty fight for revenue in domotics when it endangers the privacy and safety of people? I feel that it is wrong to push for one setting whilst ignoring another side of that very same coin. As such we see thresholds. 

You see, to get back to the beginning I need to push towards a program called SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). They had a procedure called PLANCARDS. The simplest stage is “PLANCARDS produces profiles, or cards, from a plan file for a conjoint analysis study”, this is all fine. But the problem is that today that data is used in very different ways, often in ways that the ‘targets’ were never made aware of. An optional context could be “By using a fractional factorial design such as this it was possible to get the information for each of the sixteen sport event product profiles displayed”, now we need to see this as a clever way to get insight, but it can nowadays be warped. You see, the setting of Fractional Factorial design is seen as “A fractional factorial design allows for a more efficient use of resources as it reduces the sample size of a test, but it comes with a tradeoff in information”, the problem here is that ‘efficient use of resources’ still relates to the 80’s-90’s setting of computer resources. These computations would take hours. Now it becomes a very different field, but the people using that often forget the part ‘a tradeoff in information’, or even more accurately stated ‘a tradeoff in lack of data’ one glove washes the other would be cruel and unjustified, but that setting is actually the one that matters. You see people with a less clear intent towards your good choice, they will be all about exclusion, not inclusion which was the initial PLANCARDS setup. The intentional creation of thresholds. Almost what Microsoft did by buying Bethesda. That amount was the hope that their failed console would be bought by Sony players who were missing out of the next Elder Scrolls and the next Fallout. It is a brilliant strategy, but I decided to make a new RPG, an optional new way of playing RPG’s online and make it public domain for Sony and Amazon Luna. The reality is that this approach does not really stop Microsoft from using this, but the visibility that they paid for Bethesda whilst the new game has many parts that were online and free would be a decent reason for firing the board of directors of Microsoft. Yet that is not the point, the point is that any iteration or innovation towards inclusion can also be used to do the opposite and push for exclusion, a side we all (including me) seem to forget until it is too late. It is for that same reason that I published a way to sink the Iranian fleet, whilst not putting online the solution to melt down their reactor. Not because it shouldn’t be done, but because I figured out that the ramification are a lot larger than I initially considered (I was happy that I did in time). 

We can look at what exclusion does and what inclusion does and see how our solution impacts all. And I for one failed that considerations a few times in the past. We all do because it is in our nature. It is (as programmers state) the dangerous setting that THROUGH and THROUGH TO tend to have a little different impact, but do that a few times and you end up losing an entire population cluster. We all faced that and when we do we go ‘Oh bollocks!’ We can redo the setting, or if we were stupid we get to redo it all, it is not that you make a mistake, it is the impact of forgetting about rolling back data, that is when you end up getting royally stuffed. 

Thresholds are a way how we keep issues we care about in check and they are personal thresholds, yet in domotics it is not merely about your house, it will be (for the wrong kind of people) to learn where YOUR thresholds are, we all have them and for the revenue greedy people it will be about finding the exclusion threshold, because that is when they can offer THEIR package and you will vacate your old provider. As I see it large players have seen them and they are looking at the setting where they are most likely to entice you and that is in part on what makes you dump your current solution and select THEIR solution. In this domotics and wearables will change the game as the larger true 5G network rolls out on the global plain and its solutions are accepted by most of the people looking at more ease, more comfort and less hassle. Yet there is the danger, like the tradeoff we saw in one part, here the tradeoff is less hassle means more outspoken data of what you want. Did you consider that?

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Inventing the economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day

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

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To serve the gamer

Yup, that is a topic that is open for debate, but in my case it comes from a different angle. I need to explain how I got here. You have read my ‘displeasure’ with Ubisoft, they bungled (again and again), yet I also clearly stated that AC Origins is one game they got right. I actually disagree with the high 80’s scores the game had been receiving, I believe it to be low 90’s, but that is my view. The topic rose as I (due to lockdown time) decided to play it again and get some of the achievements I missed out on, I got half a dozen so far and I finally got to the Curse of the Pharaohs. I had the DLC, but my PS4 crashed to death somewhere in 2019 and as I had a little manoeuvring (covid retirement savings) I ended up with a PS4pro in 2020. And until a month ago I had no time for it, but in the last three weeks with being locked down I decided the play it again. So whilst gunning for ‘Old Habits’, I stumbled on ‘Where’s my Black Flag’ and a few others. But it was the Curse of the Pharaoh that made the difference. The first time I entered Aaru my jaw dropped. It was amazing, the field of reeds, the places, it was amazing and the boats made it all slightly surreal. The makers outdid themselves here. But this is also the place that gave me an idea. It was the side mission ‘Love or Duty’, the mission does not matter, the interaction does not either, but the mission clicked something in place. I had some similar ideas for Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but as it was not considered, it could be set to other RPG’s and even the one I designed. 

Your home is your castle
In nearly all RPG games, we are confronted with a house, unless you had Oblivion and you completed the Battlehorn Castle mission, in that case you have a castle. And there is the crux. In the light of Magic Carpet I want a castle with archers protecting what is mine. I had a few idea’s like the Magical armoury (a very different mission). And now the idea comes to add servants and more important make them a lot more useful. Consider that a person (a he or a she) is driven by needs, so if you can make one person happy (really happy), the others will pick up on it, and increase the power of your place.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy
To get to this stage consider that you have servants, some through concern and protection, some bought (yes in fantasy games slaves are real) and the proper treatment of them makes them more useful, yet if we can give one of them real happiness, an elated feeling of achievement or recognition they will become a sort of Uber-servant, a person that infects the people around them to be better and more productive. When we take the Battlehorn location, we see the Forge, the kitchens, the walls, the stables, we see a person in charge, but if we can fulfil the personal needs of one servant in that area, we get an area that is twice as productive. The house is cleaner, thee is more food, the weapons are better and the list goes on, it changes a 100% castle in a castle with 150% resources and optionally 150% defence (250% defence after the magical armoury mission). 

In RPG games it is all about us doing the missions, but a setting where we influence another to be the better person and set a non directive, a automated directive is almost never seen and that is a pity, because a game can become a lot more rewarding that way. Consider the old classic Dungeon Keeper, the monster we had fought for themselves, we could train them, we offer options, but we cannot set the marker on them, merely on the area. That element is often missing in RPG, it is not a fault, it is not a flaw, it is a choice and it is not used often enough, too many are about giving ALL the power to the player, but the world never goes that way, we forgot about the fact that we are not the deciding power, we tend to be merely influential. There is the thought that the reward is not 100% plus, but it is a random number between 150% and 200%, making it optionally a stage where we please a second person in that area, but the game also denies a red line approach, so the missions are not given directly, they need to be found and they depend on the persons we have, implying that we might never get more than one option, or even one setting. It is the second flaw on RPG. The ‘we always have an option’ clause. At times we should not have one, it is the hand dealt to us, and optionally it is a hand that sucks. That is the RPG we need to see but were never given. In an age where consoles will in be surpassed by streaming systems, the need to evolve gaming in general and RPG games specifically will become more and more pressing. To be another version of a game we have known for 20 years will soon come to an end and then? That will be the cruncher and streamers with one central game hub will have a lot more manoeuvrability than any of the consoles, the consoles will not phase out, not for the next decade, but when we do get to 2031, the field is highly debatable who will be in there. Because of stupid decisions in the 5G field, there will always be a need for consoles, as such there will be a Nintendo and there will be a Sony PS6/PS7, but streamers at that point will be a much larger field and optionally there will be a streamer next to a console in well over 50% of the cases. 

And in that light the need to evolve RPG’s (and a few other game forms) will become essential, it will show for the streamers, yet those who evolve gaming will survive (Nintendo and Sony for sure), the rest will be close to forgotten when we get to 2031.

Doubt me? Fair enough, just remember I said it first, I was the one stating it a decade earlier.

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River of choices

We all have these moments where we contemplate things, you me, we all do. When I am in that stage I tend to play a game to clear my mind, let my subconscious work out what I cannot voice, most of us have a mechanic of sorts to work through this, and I am not different. As I was considering a game, I returned to Dragon-quest builder, on Switch, the second game. I never finished it, mainly because some of the quirks got to me. Let me be clear, I was talking about quirks, not bugs or glitches, although we can argue on glitches. I got the demo which gave us much of the first world and it enticed me, it was fun to play and the word fun os overbearingly important. A bad game is a bad game, a fun game is for the most never ever a bad game. It might not be a great game, some are optionally not good games either, but fun works out the kinks in your armour every single time, so now that I have worked through the kinks, I am going back to the game. You see, I have issues to work through, issues on the RPG my mind devised (and put online in these articles), yet I need to make sure it is about the game, there is no hatred towards Bethesda, lets be clear if you have a program (or a few) what would you do if you were offered eight point five billion? I would do the same. I have a natural disgust towards Microsoft, but that is on different grounds. 

So as I was playing Dragon-quest Builders, my mind worked out a few more settings in the RPG. The stage where you either build a house, or buy a house, a house is for most our most powerful possession, so let’s make it a house of power, a house of family and where you set it has benefits, no matter where you set it. Consider that Bethesda’s Oblivion, in your game you could own a house in Anvil, Bravil, Bruma, Cheydinhal, Chorrel, Imperial City docks, Leyawin and Skingrad. So how many friends do you have who have 8 houses? But what happens when the house becomes a stage of power? Not merely houses that have more or less (and therefor more affordable) power, but different kinds of power. To coin a phrase, in Greek terms, what if the house in Leyawin is blessed by Hades, as such a necromancer would have bigger abilities over time and more powerful as he is in his house more often, as such the child born there would have increasing benefits. But in this RPG there is no Hades, but the idea still sticks, and it was not done before, so enjoy adding that part in your Playstation exclusive RPG.

Yet it does not end there, houses is one part in ones life, the setting is what is added and it is important to be unique, or at least not as much as a copy of true originals as some others are. The houses are just the beginning, as we get into the game, the house itself will optionally be the giver of quests, which does not mean that all houses should be owned, you can at each time only own one and the quests will not come until the next generation is there (born in the house). There is also the stage where one third is some form of copy, so if there are 7 houses (random number), the 21 quests will be there, but 7 will optionally be a revisitation. It allows for replayability of a game, giving it a much larger stage to play, in all the game requires at least one replay as we have three generation and 5 arcane houses, and 5 mundane houses (still working on that), as such you cannot play them all in one play-through, as such there is the evolution of towns over three generations, so the game will be much larger, I had some sort of version in my initial view of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but as they are now Microsoft, I can incorporate the few dozen ideas I had there to fit this RPG, so you have a lot more coming your way.

Consider a game with 5 main quest lines and dozens of side-quests. A station of consideration and in that river, we must make choices, if we listen to marketing we get the vile ‘This should be enough’ and ‘what if we copy that idea, it is easier to replicate’, and that is not false, but that is why the top 10 of best Ubisoft games are 1994 or older, that is 26 years ago. Personally that list is fine, but I would have places AC Origins in there at some point. Ghost Recon Breakpoint had 52%, Ghost Recon Wildlands 69%, games that should have been 85% plus games didn’t make it, why is that? A game that tries to appeal to all, will in fact please none. A lesson that Ubisoft never learned. And that is where I am not going, as such I am relying on a different course, to envision a different RPG that pleases all RPG lovers and if some want to take a leap there they are welcome. Yet some will not like it, they rely on racing games, FIFA and other games and they are welcome there, I wish them the best fun they can handle, and some are totally nuts about FIFA, I am more of an NHL player myself. We all have fantasies and mine is to be an NHL goalie (as sports go). So as I am taking a view on the mundane quests, the economic stage of the island, I want to set a larger stage of bartering, we al needs stuff and let’s face it, cola caps make for lousy food, so how to go about it? We can return to the age of Rome and get paid in salt, but I reckon that in most villages the need for hides and tools will outweigh the need for jewellery (but not always), so as I look into the stage of artisan quest lines I leave you with the thoughts I had. Do not consider out of the box thinking, throw that limitation overboard and make the consideration if my thought had to fit in a box, what shape would that box have?

It is just a thought to entertain.

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Destined to entertain

We all want to be an entertainer, most of us (not all) have that feeling inside of us, the need to be entertaining, our social structures have also pushed it, but in the stage where it is a sort of PC (politically correct) version of that what entertains us, it is in that setting where some of us become actors, some become writers, some become directors and some become game creators. There are a few more options, but the foundation of books, sound and vision have been upon us for centuries, last century vision (movies, TV) was added and about 35 years ago games were added. Yet the setting of games remains new and they too are going through the motions. A stage where they are relying on re-using any wheel instead of inventing a new one. We can agree that there is a stage of sequels that some accept (some do not) but that stage comes with labels and warnings. The God of War has pulled it off 4 times and they did it well, Ubisoft with its Assassins Creed did not, yet from my point of view, they did do a decent job and pulled it off with WatchDogs. Yet these makers have an issue with the story, they forget that the story is the driving factor. It is easiest seen When you compare God of War IV or Mass Effect to the Assassins Creed stories (Unity, Syndicate, Odyssey) you get a first glimmer why the AC range was failing, they had a great thing, they bungled it, then they seemingly fixed it with AC Origins (which was amazing) and then they bungled it. Even now, AC Valhalla is according to some too shallow, to much chasing after something whilst forgetting the Assassins path. I cannot vouch for AC Valhalla as I stayed away from it, but the critique makes sense, and that is before we consider the fixes to bug and glitches. This is why new games like Horizon Zero Dawn are cherished (and it is a really nice game too), or the mere fact that Skyrim is still being played on new consoles 9 years after its release. The story is everything, Ubisoft forgot about that, Bethesda seemingly did not. But this is not about Ubisoft bashing (even though it is entertaining), Bioware is in a similar stage, They messed up ME4, and they now rely on ME1,2,3 to fatten their coffers so that they get a chance at ME5. A setting that is dubious, but if they really fattened the pot and make ME5 a game that breaks the mould, they might pull it off. It is funny, it took me less than 2 hours to think through a sequel all whilst ME4 collapsed. Yet I digress, you see, to become the entertainer you need to be a creator, all whilst silly people at some game companies relied on Business Intelligence, but entertainment cannot be set in that way, you merely get a setting where you try to include everything and in that setting you never satisfy anyone. And as such creation falters (AC Odyssey is a prime example). And a we now see that there are more games coming, that some indie developers are changing the game (Hades), we see that gaming is not dead, but the story mattered and so does game play. 

So as gaming becomes a rather large stage (due to Covid issues) we get to see a new stage where some game developers are losing options and optionally their firm and some shine. And in all this it is not about the highest graphics, That is seen with Animal Crossings: New Horizons. A game that surpasses 20 million copies, which implies that 1 in 2 Switch owners has that game, it is almost unheard of. It shows that gameplay is just a important as the storyline and the fact that this game is a long term game, not something you finish in 100 hours has close to never been done before, and Microsoft (Sony too) are a little bit in the dark, that is why Nintendo is such a competitor. I said it 2-3 years ago and it is coming true, gaming is more than relying on a Business Intelligence analyst, it is a setting where a painter and a storyteller unite to give the traveller a story that this person has never experienced before, and that is what Skyrim and Mass Effect (1-3) delivered on, others did too, so why are some game makers blind to that part?
It took me a day at the most to give the Elder Scrolls, WatchDogs, Mass Effect a sequel on a new storyline, a new creation, so why can’t they do this? OK, there is still an Elder Scrolls coming, but I  made the first design 6 years ago, Mass Effect 4-5, 3 years ago and Watchdogs 4 last year. Now consider that I am a nobody and these high and mighty game designers can’t come up with the goods on several fronts, so what are they missing. How come Nintendo is on the ball, Microsoft forgot what a ball looks like and and Sony is seemingly slipping a fraction, and all this has close to nothing to do with new hardware, games are paintings, the console is a palette and the palette becomes bigger or change shape but the creator adjusts view, adjusts grip and continues.

So in this, and as we see what is coming, what makes them destined to entertain? 

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Copyright? Copy left

As a trained IP attorney (minus the experience), I am always in line with IP and the traps and tricks are to some degree well known to me, so one question with any design my mind makes is “Is it more alike to the previous version, or not?” This is important, I have no doubt that making TESVII: Restoration myself implies that Bethesda (or their legal team) calls and demands all the materials I copied with an added cease and desist and that would be fair, IP is protected and I will not copy what is not mine, but a good idea is a good idea and that is a larger stage. As such, my mind has been considering a new version of seven cities of gold and when I saw new, I mean totally new. The part of exploration is pretty much the only part that not all mine, but that is too generic as such my version has options. 

As such the game is in two settings, the first one is the original world, with all the bells and whistles and the gamer can start (and should start there) so that he or she can get their feet wet. After this and after the immediate training, you can start a second game, a new game, yet this version will redesign the world, so you will be in a massively new area, an area that differs largely from the original. It will design a new map roughly 1000 by 1000 miles, you start in one part, and that is 200 by 200 miles. You get to explore, map, set sights and start foundations. You get to build a fort, from the fort you grow a trade post, from there a village, a town and if you are good enough a city. But it is not merely ‘building’, you have vassals for that. A city with infrastructure, religion, logistics, a setting that grows with every choice you make yet it is not that mundane. As I was thinking it through, I was listening to Jordi Savall, and a  consideration grew, what if music is part of growth? As the town band grows, its music increases, all production goes up, yet not always, some react to the beat, some to tempo and some to melody, as you set the stage for the local music, you set in motion a choice. We explore and we find, but there is a sort of randomiser in play, so not everything will be there, some parts will be, some will not, some area’s will have hides, a forest has lumber and as we explore what is and what can be grown, we alter the foundation of growth, the game needs to be entertaining, but it can be educational as well. When we played Civilisation, we had the research to make changes, what if something like that is in the game, but different? What if we had writings, but we set a larger stage with laws, we make choices, common law or civil law, later the introduction of accounting, criminal law and taxation, but they can only come into effect if certain conditions are met. And when the addition is made we see the larger benefit, politics, republic, monarchy, all choices that impact the bottom line of life, but we need to see the changes in a larger stage, the settings of natural laws, the benefit of a nameless religion (in the beginning there was a benefit), yet all these elements are in a different shape, this is not civilisation. So what happens when the world is a 1000 by 1000 miles and you can run through it all? Transport becomes important, we start with horses, and as we see more and more challenges, we can also fathom the impact. We get to shape the world as we see it, as we want it to be. Run around like in AC Brotherhood, but here there are no shops, no banks and no buildings, we get to build it all. Build to close together and space becomes a problem, choose the wrong location and you might be cut off from resources a town needs, we want an exploration game that is true to reality and the new consoles allow for that, cloud gaming allows for that. So when you see the AC Brotherhood map below, consider that 25 times the size, if the X and Y axes represented 10 miles, consider it now at 50 miles in each direction, and that is merely stage one.

What more, whenever you make a new game, you get a new map and you have no idea where you are so navigation and cartography become important, no YouTube in that space, in 1607 JamesTown was founded, consider that stage and see if you can do better, a game that has its own little sidesteps, because wildlife could kill you as you ride too far away, no option to get back in time, as such you will see the results of choices. Seven cities of gold was a great idea and what they got out of the CBM64 with 38Kb of space was pretty awesome, so we can take that idea and evolve it into something really serious and from there we get something entirely new, something never seen before, and all this in a third person view, not a top view that is map like, but the actual view, and consider that you might be playing a very different set of rules from your best friend, you can actually consider discussing what the best road to act is, a game setting we rarely see. 

Is it doable? 
I believe it is, the new consoles, PC’s and cloud consoles (Google Stadia) can easily deal with it, the question is, can it be done in such a way to entice the player to dip its toe in the exploration waters and see what will come next? I am game, but I am merely one view, there is a commercial side to this and a game designed to appeal to 10-499 people is not a triumph, it is a niche that has no place to go, it is the 3-5 million group we want to reach, that makes a setting achievable and something worth pursuing. It is merely my view on the matter, but I believe that banking on value for money is never a bad idea. 

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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?

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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.

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