Tag Archives: Electronic Arts

Just for fun

It is 07:14 and I just woke up. My mind came up with a nice idea which is now freely given to Electronic Arts. You see, I am a hockey fan, always have been. I do not care for the other games, but that does not mean that they couldn’t have it. In my dream there was a small altercation between the Shaq and me (nothing violent), I merely accused him of looking down on me, as I would. It then occurred to me that these sport games all have one oversight, a flaw if you like it. When was the last time you had a homie face off? A tournament in NHL, NFL, NBA, FIFA or another sport? A tournament that has a 4-12 player game. So the game gives a grid, you enter the names and you (or them) select which team they represent and you have an evening of friends opposing friends. The grid an be saved and exported and at the end of the evening/afternoon you have one trophy winner and the list of scores to show the victor who ruled that evening. 

EA could even still add it as a patch in all these games and create traction in every game they have. I am merely surprised they never did this before (as far as I know). As such, Electronic Arts get cracking and give the people what they optionally desire. 

And with all the house tournaments with games like pool, ping pong and a few other games, I am surprised we never saw anything like this before, 2K never added it to their games either, as far as I can tell and is that not essential in group plays? I am merely surprised that it does not seem to be there yet.

Enjoy Sunday, my weekend ends in less than 24 hours, yours?

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The old debate

The BBC is hitting us with another version of a debate that has been going on for a while. The article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-61594815) gives us ‘Report blasts “manipulative” video game loot boxes’, first off, they are not lying to you, this is not misrepresentation. In this, I do not completely agree with the point of view of some. The article gives us “The contents of the virtual boxes are only revealed through either game play or by making a payment. While some contain useful tools or desirable extras which improve the experience, others are worthless.” These facts are true. There are two sides here. In the first, why allow for payment? It is the right of a person to buy something, we set ourselves up for that one. Yet in all this, the people who paid 12,000 euro for boxes. No one is debating the utter stupidity of these people. No one is debating that as an adult YOU are responsible for your actions. But the press was all about those poor poor junkies, weren’t they? The other issue is “others are worthless”, what makes the card worthless? It is a direct question. What makes a card worthless? In the NHL game, there are functional cards (stadiums and players), there are cosmetic cards (outfits) and there are support cards, so what makes a card worthless? Then we get “The report authors, the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), say gamers are being “manipulated” into spending large sums of money on the chests.” I have an issue with that. Which games were they? How was there manipulation? The NHL game gave card packs on milestones, and there were a lot of milestones. In addition, you got three free packs a day, and if you connected to the game (logged in) often enough, you got enough markers (there is one in EVERY pack) to exchange those markers for an expanded pack, giving you 12 or even 20 cards. The packs also had a betting coin card. One per pack and these funds allowed you to bid for other cards. Within 3 months I had all the stadiums, all the NHL jerseys and hockey masks, as well as over 100 players. I NEVER spend a cent, this was all free. So please tell me “How was I manipulated into spending large sums of money?” There are always the stupid people who want it all on day one, is that the fault of the game maker? Is it THEIR responsibility for the stupidity of others? The next part of my disagreement is seen in “Critics say the boxes are a form of gambling because players cannot see what they have actually bought until after they have paid to open the contents”. In this it is important to see WHY I disagree. You see in CCG games like Magic, Star Trek, Star Wars, The lord of the rings and more we see that a pack has one rare (optionally one super rare), 2-3 uncommon cards and the rest are common. This is a set formula. So if a game set has 50 rare cards, you would be buying at the very least 50 packs. The optional rest is gotten through swapping with other players at events and at tournaments. It is NOT gambling because one element is missing. The element of gambling is that you lose everything, so until there is a pack where you get all blank cards stating “Thank You!”, it is NOT gambling. You always get a set equation, you always get something. It makes it not gambling. 

In this I oppose the setting of “Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy at the NCC, said: “The sale and presentation of loot boxes often involve exploiting consumers through predatory mechanisms, fostering addiction, targeting vulnerable consumer groups and more.”” Yet there is a sparkly of truth here too and I do not deny it. Players like Electronic Arts played the exploitative element too much in FIFA, it backfired. There is exploitation, especially when the complete pack contains 10,000 players. However I disagree with the ‘predatory mechanism’ part. There is a whole range of predators on YouTube with there ‘card reveal’ channel, there “Do this to get something for free” and that is never a good thing, but these groups did not separate the exploiters from the makers, did they? Lets be clear the makers are not freshly white innocent. Only the people from Mass Effect 3 who introduced these loot-boxes in their multi player element, they were phenomenal and massively innocent. Others used that stage to make big money. 

The article ends with “But the same year Fortnite-maker, Epic Games, decided to let players in its hit video game see what was inside its llama loot boxes before deciding whether to buy them.” And their case agains Apple gained traction. I believe that the Epic Games people are the lest innocent, and their setting will have long term repercussions, it is only a matter of time. The one element not seen was given to us by Android: Netrunner. They gave us a different setting making it fair all around, the expansions were all the same price and always had the same cards, so there was only one pack to buy (once a month). It allowed for a smoother and fair game stage. In addition, the CCG world has something called factory sets. They were slightly different (like a silver border) but that was the only difference. A factory set contained ALL the cards of a game. The game was instantly fully playable, but they do tend to come later. So EA had the option to release a factory set half way through the season, but they did not, did they? Is it on EA? That would be a fair question, and I do not know the answer, merely my feeling in this. Is there a larger exploitation? Yes, but not all of it is on the makers. YouTubers were all over their FIFA cards and the more bang the better their bucks and the numbers of their followers, but we do not see that here either.

The BBC (as well as Tom Gerken) never lie to you, yet I have issues with the article as I have issues with the setting of it. The players HAVE a responsibility and some are pushing it on EA (and others) and the media aided them, which is not fair either. All this is merely my point of view, so feel free to disagree.

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The rock on the road

This is not entirely new. I wrote about it in ‘The Ai setting’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/16/the-ai-setting/), it was back in 2020. Yet I did not put everything there. Merely the outline. You see, the people need to realise two things. The first is that even as the Amazon Luna and the Google Stadia are seen as consoles. They are not. It is a new stage of gaming, it is a new dimension of gaming and they are fitted for very different games. To give a comparison, consider Horizon: Forbidden West. An excellent game, a near perfect game. Now consider that the Stadia and the Luna would allow that game, but with the ENTIRE continental United States as a map, boggles the mind, does it not? That map still needs to be filled, so it would be an achievement of well beyond titanic proportions. That is the stage we are about to see. That is the fear Microsoft has, because it cannot comply with that level of gaming, it goes beyond what they and the companies they buy are capable of. Did you think I was kidding that I have a setting that allows for 50,000,000 more consoles to be bought? But it is not about that, it is about EA and the Mass Effect stage. I Vought it, just like many more. The music was overwhelming, the stage was well beyond nice and after that the disappointment set it. It was a decent enough story, but consider the screen below. It is the first view we get of the Nexus and consider ‘all’ what you saw, that does it? 

Mass Effect™: Andromeda_20220507124243

There was a whole dimension of gaming overlooked. A whole range of gaming ignored and stepped away from. What could have been one for the ages became mediocre. What could have been a 90%+ game ended up being a mediocre 71% rating. 

The New stage
From the image we get three new stages. fabricators, initiators, launchers and replicators. The fabricators make elementals (like titanium and steel sheets and pipes). The initiators create more advanced materials like wiring, solar panels and a few other things. The replicators create industrial and scientific materials for equipment. They all need materials to work and the launchers create robots that facilitate. Three levels. Level one drones can do the simple stuff, the second level drones have also acquired the wiring and panelling stage and the third level can command level 2 and one drones in groups of 10 or 25. Now consider that image again. Miles to overcome. So whilst you have missions, that part almost flies itself, as you find more materials more can grow and the nexus will enable a lot more. 

A stage that was out in the open and it was neglected. It also gives a larger stage of what equipment and what scientific information becomes available, it was all wiped under the carpet.

Now we see the worlds Eos and Voeld, places where materials can be found (and in other places too) but by adding two unique materials (like Quartz on Voeld) we see a staggered increase, we see a much larger game unfold.

How to get there
I still believe that relaunching Mass Effect Andromeda with the added stuff, with the altered stuff and with the new stuff is the way to go. There is a lot of good in MEA, and a lot more could be added. Not finding the memories, they are a joke (and a waste of time) yet having them on the Nexus makes sense. How are we in a stage where copying games, doing the same thing makes us better? The streaming consoles are about getting farther, about going the distance plus and then we can have a lot more oft he same. It is not a flaw in your PS5, it is not a flaw in whatever console you chose, it is because Streamers can go further, it is a new generation because that is what they were made for, to set a new stage and when full 5G comes out over the next few years you could be seeing this, but only if Google and Amazon take the baton and push harder, because they can. So when you see a rock on the road, will you trivialise it, will you ignore it or will you see that you missed something?

And it is time you realise this. 

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Elements of whatever

Another dream, but this time it I different. I had part of this dream before. It did not make sense then and it does not now. Now is even more confusing. The stage is two fold. First the now, because I fear it will leave my mind quickly. I am not sure if it is for. Story, a script, a game or just isolation. I am at the transfer of Dutch KLM. The KLM desk is for a different plane, much larger. There is a PX store. I show a regimental image. I want that shield. I mention that a friend was there. The PX store shows me some wannabe self centred piece of crap. He states to me that the commander of that battalion was a traitor and as such he refuses to give me the shield. OK, I respond, I will talk to the press and ask for clarifications. The man signals another. That man tells me to come with him, with his hand menacing in the jacket. I was holding orange peels from an Orange I just ate. I squeeze them and the peels spray. I merely say ‘Biological!’ And I am gunned down. 

The event is trivial. I suddenly remember the boarding area, almost like a rocket launch from another dream. I pretended to be diplomatic staff. The plane seemed weirdly large. I have been on 747-400, this seemed a lot larger. In the previous flight it was from somewhere in Asia to South America. This I do not know. But the plane stuck. The boarding area stuck. The story seems to matter, there seems to be levels of arrogance, levels of over the top elevation in the boarding areas and it was all linked to Dutch KLM planes. Even now I am starting to remember other elements of the previous dream. The walls were like glass when I looked at them with glasses. They were from some metal. The plane was almost like a Hindenburg on steroids. The plane was like a small town. Like the shop area on a passenger liner. Rooms with chairs, two wide, by the windows, overlooking where we flew. In the Asian part it was overlooking beautiful green forests, mountains and a lot of oceans. It all seemed so peaceful. There are remembrance moments of ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ a who dunnit game based on a zeppelin. I wrote about that in ‘Shadows are Us’ (and a few other places), in this setting I wrote about a change to gaming (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/05/31/shadows-are-us/) which I wrote about n May 2021. This is not entirely the same. My mind is wondering if a return to the days of the zeppelin is too wrong a concept. The idea was abandoned during the marshmallow clambake of May 6, 1937, when the Hindenburg burned down. But that was in the era of Hydrogen, later we got Helium, but the need for speed overshadowed everything. Now, in a stage when we can ALWAYS be connected, we can work everywhere. Is speed really essential? We can all understand that we need presence in places at times. But how we get there is another matter. With the era of 3d printing, light weight shops and a more essential setting of what matters during flights, Consider the image below and the way the materials were made. 

newspaper clipping (date unknown) Diagram of Hindenburg living quarters.

Now we can have twice the strength at only half the weight making a zeppelin much more effective. The top of the zeppelin could have large solar cell panels fuelling batteries and the propellors pushing the zeppelin forward. Did anyone reconsider what a Zeppelin could achieve, especially with todays abilities? Even now Titanium is heavier than aluminium, yet you need a lot less Titanium to get the same strength as Aluminium. The stage is all over and the need for a reduced carbon print (or was that a bacon foot print) is out there. So why do we not look at the old ides and how we can offer a renewed idea for getting to places. It is just an idea and it was in parts fuelled by a game as well as its optional newly launched version on Amazon Luna, but I am genuinely surprised that no one has taken up the baton, why is that? I am no airplane designer, so why is this path abandoned? 

There might be reasons that mediocre me had not considered, I am willing to accept that, but the dream was weird and it came twice around. Even now the first dream comes back in waves even as the second one faded away. 

So is Helium a solution, or merely an element of whatever and no one gives a fig? I honestly do not know, but I do really like the idea of a steampunk version of the Zinderneuf, I really do.

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With a capital ‘S’

Yes, it happens, we all find tuff and wonder how it was possible to make that mistake? It is called Sloppy, sloppy with a capital ’S’. In this I am referring to Skyrim PS5. Now, lets be clear. This is a free update. Yet this is also the 5th iteration of the same game. In this I am ignoring the Nintendo Switch edition. So there was the Xbox 360, the PS3, the PS4, the Xbox One and now the PS5, I did not get the new Microsoft console as it is soon to get the wooden spoon award (dead last in the race), that is if Amazon accepts my offer which will set them back $25M, but it will give them 50M additional consoles sold and that is a careful cautious estimate, it might get a lot higher in 2023. So after 5 iterations I played it again and in this I tool the stormcloak side. It was fr the mere reason to get Hjerim earlier in the game. I also took the Vampiric side, because I needed those 11 perks achievement. So when the Stormcloak campaign starts and we take Whiterun (as we do), the city marker is removed from the map, as is dragonreach and the personal housecarl of the old Jarl remains in the castle, the music is now set to battle music all the time and that is merely what I found. All these glitches (not really bugs) are here and update 1.001.001 does not solve them. So why is that? The PS4 edition did not have this, as far as I remember. The updates fix something (I reckon) yet issues remain. Now lets be clear, it is a free edition, yet it should be better. I did not buy it because if I spend A$80, it better come with a physical PS5 disc, that is how I roll. 

And there is more, but I want to make sure that this is not some bitch against Bethesda who gives away a PS5 edition free of charge (you still need the PS4 disc). I also recognise that the game is so good I never had any second thoughts about the 4 versions I bought, the game has brought 10 years of joy and in gaming time that is more than a lifetime. Yet the design I made of my new RPG as well as the initial TESVI: Restoration was a continuation of the excellence that Bethesda had brought. And there are options of making it TESVII: Restoration, but to be honest it was never with Microsoft at the helm and with them ‘sort of’ announcing that TESVI will not be a PS5 title, the option of Restoration will fall of the map as well. I get it, there was a tactical reason for Microsoft to dish out $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda, but that does not mean that I like it. A brilliant strategy but a flawed one. So should Amazon take the offer I will make it my duty to hand Phil Spencer the Wooden spoon (with golden engraving of ‘Microsoft’), that is what is required. This is not against Phil Spencer. He was given a lousy hand and he is still standing. Giving us that this man could have reached legendary status if the coins did not fall where they did. And consider that their marketing division will have to spin the setting that ‘the most powerful console’ will end up being dead last in a console race. And before Microsoft did what it did, it was never a consideration. I was not mulling over options and hardware opportunities. Anger did that and when I found what I did, I also did not expect to find the option this open. How could no one see it? And even now I am still in awe of the oversight others made. The question for me to me is whether the show of ‘sloppy’ in others had anything to do with it. In a total time that was smaller than a week I came up with TESVI: Restoration, Watchdogs IV, Far Cry VII, Mass Effect 5 and a few more games. Even a new approach to board games on streaming systems. Another week for a film setting, a mini series and a TV series over three seasons. I need to be careful not to blow my own horn but I did this, I found this, I created these elements, so why could they not? 

And the issues is not merely the setting of what is and what could be, the idea that can propel the Amazon Luna has never been done before and that is merely the first wave, the second wave will offer a hell of a lot more and that is when the big bucks come rolling in (minus 10% for me, I hope). And that is all before you realise that the bulk of gamers would really want another Marvel: Ultimate alliance, not version 2 or 3, but version 1. Why? Because it was close to perfection. It brought joy back to gaming. They took the 1985 game Gauntlet and made some serious upgrades and Ultimate alliance was the result and it was awesome. But after that the wrong people got involved. With their ‘what if’ and ‘if only gamers could’, and they never checked with actual gamers and the result was sloppy. The first one I played over and over (I never found all the figurines the first time) and it was awesome to finally find the 5th daredevil figurine (I think it was daredevil). No matter what, the game was awesome and I wonder what would happen if DC takes a shine to Gauntlet, or a Diablo minded game. There are plenty of options for loads of games, yet the setting is up to the designers. I am not a game designer, I am a storyteller and in RPG I have value. I do not feel that I am a great asset towards a new version of Ultimate Alliance. 

So whilst we are criticising Sloppy with a capital ’S’, there is a rather large lack of ‘Standards’, ‘Supremacy’ and ‘Superbness’ all with a capital ’S’, gaming should embrace all those needs as well, not the old discussion of ‘What if we only please 80% at launch date?’ It might sound nice, but that sets the stage of pushing 1 out of 5 to another platform that does not embrace it and so far the Sony exclusives embraced perfection (as close as it is possible), so after three games the other consoles face the risk of having lost three out of 5 gamers. Yet it is a slippery statistical slope, but it is not unrealistic. It is the danger of pleasing 80%. And that is why Microsoft is in danger of getting the wooden spoon (well, my idea is still part of that danger for Microsoft), so it now lies with Amazon (Google does not create games), as such they are absent of the discussion. 

A stage of gaming that required console makers to listen to their gamers, Microsoft blew that stock royally in a few ways, but that is what they signed up for. Angering gamers was the one mistake they could not afford to make. 

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Clouds with a change for gaming

Yup, I started it yesterday, and part 2 is today as I had a few ideas on the subject. These ideas can be used as public domain by Amazon (Luna), but Microsoft will have to pay big time (if they can hand over $7,500,000,000 to Bethesda, they can pay me at least 1%).

Changes (by David Bowie)
The first thing I will do is to introduce Milestones, it is for the most part merely a name change to ‘Achievements’, yet over time it will be a little more. The second is to add a second tier to this, I will add ‘Discovery’ to this, yet all you Susie Dent boffins can clearly see it is a Synonym, yet the function of Discovery is different. As you discover something in one game, it gives you a token that can be spent as YOU see fit. For example if you find a ‘golden chess piece’ in a game like Clue, or a ‘Golden Revolver’ they will become Discoveries that wield the token of a revolver, or a Chess set. In a game like Battle Chess (in normal or battle mode), the Chess token will unlock a Greek Chess set, The golden revolver could unlock a weapon in another game and so on. This is one of the nice parts of the Cloud, we can add a lot more over time and give the people a reason. David Bowie sang:

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes

I think it is time to take a page from that, we see gaming chances in perspective, but never remove you from where you are. I am setting a stage where that is possible, where games have a longer lasting appeal and I am offering the stage where the player tries something else as well. Most gaming options outside of the console and singular streams do not offer you this, merely an optional DLC and an optional skin, I want the token to take on new life and a much larger stage. This is about gaming and this is about making gamers happy. The nice part is that there is no guarantee that the token is there at game 1, I thought it through, yes there are some internet driven completionists, yet it is time for them to smell the reality of gaming.

We have largely ignored the masters of yesterday because they were 8 bit, yet some of them with today’s graphics and better intelligent response mappings could become the heroes of tomorrow and the nice part is that the groundwork is already done. Consider Millennium 2.2 with an upgraded map of this solar system, with additional information, more options and a larger stage, can we truly think it will not matter? I wrote about Murder on the Zinderneuf, Seven cities of gold and a few more in the past, close to a dozen games ready to be ‘captured’ (if the IP was abandoned), and the early bird that hesitates grows its own worms, so let’s get cracking. 

Microsoft throws money at everything, wouldn’t it be nice for players like Amazon (optionally Netflix too) to show them how silly that idea was? You see, I love Bethesda products, I really do, yet I also believe that gamers like the next fresh (and original) game. Consider that the top 100 of all time (by Metacritic) has a top 10 with 3 games older than 20 years and an additional 4 games that are between 10 and 19 years old, giving us that the 70% of the top 10 is 10 years or older, these numbers are in front of everyone and as far as I can tell, none of them are Electronic Arts or Ubisoft and 30% of the top 10 is Nintendo. So I have a clear case here, so why are the different board of directors pushing for some game every year, cool graphics will do the trick or perhaps having the most powerful console is the solution. As I see it, without a really good game they will not continue and that evidence is all over the place. 

So where to go after this? Well that is up to I reckon the Indie developers, they will need to choose an optional winner and in that platform create their original or remastered and revamped game. Consider that Elite was released in 1985, now the revamp called Elite Dangerous has 500,000 active monthly players. Ubisoft has plenty of successful games not being that busy, as such we can see that the old games still have appeal. OK the difference between Elite and Elite dangerous is larger than the Grand Canyon, but the foundation remained the same and that is the pull we need to consider that close to a dozen games released in the last decade could have a great revamped and remastered life on streaming even if they were not that successful in an earlier life. The difference is to truly look into a game and see what is possible. Like a sculptor to take that block of marble and chip away what is not needed and reveal the Torlonia statue and yes, it is not merely about chipping away, in some cases it is about polishing, upgrading and adding which we cannot do in a statue, but the statue could be given a shield, a sword (or trident). All options and streaming will give us a larger and adjustable stage as well. A stage where your game will be in the streaming stores for close to a decade. There are clearly options for streaming and it will not hinder consoles, the console gamers will most likely choose an additional streaming solution on the side.

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Create history with history

It is a stage I have been pondering about. To get there, I need to tell you how I got there, I do believe it matters. I wrote articles of the Afreet in the past. I was introduced to them in a game called Archon 2 by Electronic arts (30 years ago). Archon was a sort of battle chess. Consider chess, but you do not ‘conquer’ the piece when you hit it. It starts a battle between the two and the victor is left standing. So like chess pieces each one has abilities, not to move, but to fight (the higher the chess piece, the stronger his or her ability to fight). The additional part is that black pieces are stronger on black squares, white pieces are stronger on white squares and the board also has a collection of squares that rotate colour from dark to light and in the other direction in several stages. As such standing still there is a dangerous undertaking. The Ifrit, or afreet is like a whirlwind and quite powerful, its opposition is the thunderbird. That was my introduction to the Afreet. Over time I learned more, but that is the start. So when we see time travel stories we tend to go to places, yet what happens when time comes to us? What happens when time becomes a defence mechanism? What happens when the Afreet go back to defend the sands they love, defend the places that threw them out, but in this case as they return they fight for the people? It is merely one part of the setting. 

An Afreet has been part in several series, usually as a temporary antagonist. Yet what happens when the world is dying to a much larger degree, because of our stupidity and the Greek gods come back to defend what they believe is the world of their making? In that setting what happens when the gods of the dead unite in a struggle? Hel (Nordic), Hades (Greek), Afreet (Arabic), Yama (Hindu), Shinigami (Japan) and Mictlantecuhtli (Aztec) they unite because the people are killing the earth, which will then no longer feed them the souls that sustain them. In this they start via the Afreet to start larger wars and to push for population control. 

As the push into one direction we see the battlegrounds move from the Middle East and India to Western Europe and America. The movie shows us the evil and the bad that people do under the excuse ‘the devil made me do it’ (thanks to Tom Ellis for reminding me), yet what happens when there really was some form of devil (afreet) pushing people?

A series that shows the horrors of death, direct, blunt and overwhelming. A stage that has inspiration from some of the horror movies and series, but it is overwhelmed by the interaction of horror and war movies, which apart from Jacob’s Ladder has never happened, and a more brutal version is a little overdue. And it goes beyond of what we see, what happens when it re-inspires faith in people? Are these gods of the dead the safety valve for the other gods?

It is just a thought, but I cannot remember where different ideologies interact to a much larger degree and that in itself makes for a new level of TV history, does it not?

Just a thought, have a nice weekend, optionally one not involving death. And before you think it is an outrageous idea, consider India has 22,000,000 covid cases, another 4200 died in the last 24 hours and over 3 million in total have died of this disease and Australia is opening the borders with India over some bleeding heart stage. So the people (and media) making Prime Minister Scott Morrison a pariah for taking the tougher decisions. As such when the Indian variant runs blatantly through  Australia as per June 2021, feel free to sue those bleeding heart media people. Catering to shareholders and stakeholders by relying on flames and avoiding the harsh realities of choices that Narendra Modi of India refused to make should come with a price-tag, should it not? So whilst he decides to spend $1.8 billion on parliament renovation (not essential oxygen needs), we see the larger inactions, and I have written about it for days, the media avoided it all, but the media is all about happy family pictures and how it is such a sad discriminatory setting. Make sure that your court case includes the reporters and media that relied on flames whilst avoiding a lot of data, because as per June it could be the death of your child, brother, sister, partner or parent. 

So as many rely on the blame game, I merely came up with a new TV series (the creative part in my DNA) and there is every chance that Covid will have a definite presence, with 3,279,018 deaths, how could it not be?

So all hail to the gods of death and try not to choke on your tea or coffee this weekend. 

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The brain race

I am not sure how familiar you are with the ‘race brain’, yet mine went nuts two hours ago. It was a set of circumstances, the first was Dragon Quest Builders 2, I restarted the game only to fall over on the second island (again). As I learned to ‘follow’ the orders nearly precisely I got a bit further, but I was thwarted by the game makers who got overconfident and that is where the wheels came off the car, or was it the train went of the rails? It is almost a crossing between a close question and an open question. If you confine yourself to closed questions, you tend to miss the desired direction, and when you confide in the response of open questions you go in EVERY direction, except the right one. It is a shame really, because the game (island 1) was heaps fun, you are in a stage where the second island seems fun but frustration sets in too quickly and you go nowhere, a game that relies on fun and delivers, at least the first 2 hours, after that it goes nowhere. But that set my brain in motion, or better stated it went into overdrive. As I was relaxing I looked at the new Hogwart Legacy trailer for PS5, within seconds my mind was devising all kinds of trails to make the game ‘better’, and I could not stop it. 

A game that I have not seen yet, I have not played yet and I am already trying to improve on it, 

In one part with an adaption (or DLC) that gives a setting that a group of four one in each house are linked, an idea that has links to an old WW2 movie, but the stage never left me and now it delivered something different. It seems a silly way to waste time, but my brain would not stop. My mind went on towards the stupidity of EA and their sport games. You see, I do not agree with some voices, Their packs are not gambling and I, for the life of me cannot understand why EA is not on the offensive. 

To understand this, you need to see the stage devised by Julius Caesar, I believe it was in De Bello Gallico, he stated that a soldier is in attack, in defence or awaiting response and each links to the other, as such the attack can move to defence or anticipation, defence can move to anticipation or take the offence and so on, as all three states are covered the soldier that can move between the three without pause and move from any stance to attack, that will be the winner. EA seems to be unaware of this option and seems to be between defence and anticipation only. It is a choice but it will be the stage that always and forever leads to losing. I came up with an idea to take the offence in this. Of course as all marketing costs, it might not be cheap but it beats getting slapped around by those giving voice to idiots spending $12K on packs for a $55 game, that is more than ludicrous and the media is eating it up, something they can flame and no one is asking the questions that matter, not even the legal department of EA, or at least they do it in a way no one can hear.

Even the Times gave us 3 days ago ‘YouTube stars ‘lure Fifa gamers into gambling’’ (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/youtube-stars-lure-fifa-gamers-into-gambling-dwk8tcx3g), a stage that beckons response but it seems that EA remains largely silent. So as we get “The company behind the Fifa football video game has been accused of using “exploitative” marketing techniques to lure children into gambling”, so where is the response and the campaign by EA? I wonder where they are? You see, loot boxes are not gambling.

Why?
To call it gambling you need to consider that you lose your money, this would only happen if you buy a loot pack and the only thing you get one card stating ‘Thank you!, but that is not the case. In my case (NHL19), I get a free pack every 8 hours, then each pack has also coins and a token, there are each month 3 packs that can be gotten with these tokens and they are three good packs. Beyond that you get non trade-able cards and the coins can be used to buy or bid for items in the auction part. When you hit a milestone (some small achievement, you also get options for packs and in some cases a specific player.

Within a month I had all 30 arena’s, all NHL home and away jerseys and in three months I also had all the NHL goalie masks and a ton of other stuff, I never spend a dollar on this. One site tells me that FIFA21 does not offer this, I am not sure about NFL21, so why not? It would solve all issues for EA. You see, people are staring blindly on the alleged gambling, but the stage of gambling is never truly properly investigated. You see when we gamble we see two options. The first is ‘play games of chance for money, but that stage has the unwritten law that you can lose and this never happens, you always get cards, common, uncommon and one rare card. The second version of gamble is ‘take risky action in the hope of a desired result’, that part too is not met, because the desired result is always the same, one rare card, several uncommon cards and the rest are all common cards. This stage is not the one we consider because the outcome is always the same. What most people forget is that in FIFA 21 (allegedly) we see “30 official leagues, over 700 clubs, and over 17,000 players”, if that is correct, there is every chance that there are 2,000 rare players, which means that any rare card has a 0.05% chance of coming out, so if you want Messi, Beckham or Ronaldo you need to get really really lucky and lets face it, every club in the world wants these three players. But that part is close to never considered, and when we go back to the adult idiot spending $12,000 on packs, that person need to get his credit score adjusted to -15000. Is there an issue? Perhaps there is and I think that EA made a few blunders on several levels, but that does not make it gambling, and as we never see anyone receiving a pack with only a thank you card, the stage of gambling is, as I personally see it never reached. 

So how did I get there? 
Well my brain will not stop thinking things through in creative ways and it is reason for another case of insomnia. I watched the trailer of the Unholy (which looks awesome) and immediately my brain went towards a remake of Stigmata (a Rupert Wainwright gem), why? I have no clue, when my brain is in this mode it needs to run its course, which is keeping me awake pondering N+1 issues all whilst N was the maximum I could contemplate. So at present I am typing this whilst I am trying to calm down my brain by listening to the Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan). 

The creative brain can be a curse, not an unholy one, but a curse none the less. So whilst we see what is next my brain (overzealously) adapted Hogwarts legacy before seeing the final product, I considered a new version of Stigmata, I am still contemplating a backdrop for ‘How to assassinate a politician’, which at present is set in the Hague and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Then there is the idea I had regarding ‘Keno Diastima’, here I believe they should nearly all be new actors, no famous people there, I will not say to much because the cliffhangers 2-3 and 3-4 will be brutal, which is how it should be. 

An idea came to mind on a prequel to ‘Soylent Green’ with Chris Hemsworth in the lead (almost 2 years ago), yet here I fear that the story is just not good enough, the setting is great but I feel that it would end up being some cult movie and not a real breaking movie, a stage that precedes near perfection is also a dangerous step to make and it could backfire in a horrible way, which is why my mind remains the great dangers. I considered the idea before (2019-2020), but I never figured out the part that matter, no matter how good the prequel is, the stage needs to go beyond something nice, and Richard Fleischer did set the stage in a phenomenal way. One can say it is like buying a raincoat to warn against the rain that has been going on for weeks, the flood will drown you long before the usage of a raincoat is validated. There are other idea’s and I wrote about them before, so I want to avoid repetition, but the stage will soon come that Hollywood will look in other directions for new idea’s. Outside of the Marvel and DC range and there have been so many really good idea’s, I merely wonder why that path was not traversed before by Hollywood, Bollywood or Nollywood. And as my brain is seemingly slowing down, I end today’s article and will try to get some sleep (one can dream, can one not?)

Consider the two sidelines that are hidden between the lines and contemplate why it was done, because there might be madness in my methods, but there is also methodology in my insanity, it is merely what we aim for and whether we realise what we were aiming for in the first place.

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Alternative income

It seems that I hate Bethesda, I do not, I am not happy that they are part of Microsoft now, but that was their right. It is Microsoft I do not trust. So as I was playing (yet again) Fallout Shelter, we need to see how close to perfect that game is and it is a free game. The optionally dropped the ball on two issues, maybe three if they played their cards right, but that was their choice, gamer ended up with a near perfect version of gaming and that is what we all wanted (even though I would have paid $5-$15 for the game). Yet the game is not new, it is innovative adjusted, the origins of this setting goes back to Dungeon Keeper (1997), we tend to forget these little details. And when I say ‘innovate’ Bethesda truly did that to the game and their game rocks. 

It did however made me consider the stage and how it could be adapted. There was a Westworld edition, I had only heard about it, I never played it. The game was too much of a copy. Yet the setting of Dungeon keeper is one I tend to circle back to. It is the origin of that game that drives my thoughts. There is no advantage setting this to a larger Bethesda stage, Bethesda already owns it, but perhaps there are options in the Ultima stage (Richard Garriott), there could be a drive  through Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, there are plenty of options, but it is the drive of creation, with a little grasp of pragmatism (perhaps 1-3 optional micro transactions) that would make it work. The first thing is not the game, it is understanding the drive of the gamer, from that point we can move on to see what optional franchise has the larger cluster. We can chose any game, but if it has only 20 fans, the drive to a population large enough to make it work is one that we have to surpass and greed driven people always want revenue now (not me though). There are the protected franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings) that had its own barriers. There are less known franchises (Ultima) that has dedicated protectors, so we can align ourselves with a protector, or find IP that is no longer protected (which tends to take time). I stated it before and will do so again, on the Amiga Millennium 2.2 had close to all we need, so how to make that a success? To do that you need to understand the mechanics of the game. We can work with clocks, the free game only allows a clock speed of 4 and 5 skip days per day, when you buy anything, even once you get the option of clock speed 8 and that can be avoided by a one time payment of $4 giving you direct access to 16 times the speed and unlimited skips, considering that it takes up 235 days to fly to Uranus (I had to allow for that pun), we see a game that could show us optional revenue. Then there is the stage of the arcade, change your mobile into an arcade machine, play the old games for $0.99 and it will keep a track of up to 3 games, for $4 you can add 10 slots and every month another game is released, another of the classic games that can be played, the amounts of fathers that spend a fortune in quarters can now play their favourite game (optionally) for a mere $0.99, how is that not a guaranteed drive? And the nice part is that dozens of these games were never IP protected, it was not an issue in those days. 

There is a whole world out there ready for the visionary programmer to dig into, covid be damned. 

And when we see that some older games are almost forgotten (Paradroid, Boulder Dash, Spy vs Spy,  Joust, and not to forget Theme Hospital), we tend to think as what is old is useless, but there are real diamonds there. I still believe that a proper set Magic Carpet could do really well on consoles (no micro transactions), optionally mobiles could people forget their destinations when they get sucked into Populous, as such I wonder why the people at Electronic Arts are not awake. Another larger player used to be Epyx, and I cannot fathom why a game like Chip-bits, never was rereleased when the systems grew up, there are other players like Laser Squad, that might have gotten right what a legendary game like X-Com missed when they relaunched. And when the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) relaunched the game as a movie, no one considered that Arcade classic was fun to play and relaunching it might have been an option? I am not sure if there were IP’s in place and who owned it, but it seems that the owners did not move on the IP, as such I merely wonder why. 

As for the number one question you all have, why am I not doing it? The answer is simple. I am not a programmer and I am ready with my IP, but those with the $$$ (or £££) haven’t reacted yet, but that does not stop my mind of remaining creative and if it is a win for the gamers, it is a win for all of us. Life at times is that simple. I know my strengths, I also know my weaknesses and limitations, the latter two you tend to avoid for obvious reasons. Well, it is time to fee the inner person with a shepherds pie, I am feeling peckish!

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The Ai setting

Yes, we have all seen and optionally commented on the blunder that was Mass Effect Andromeda, yet consider that we could undo the damage? Even now as the rumour mill goes on about a remastered Mass Effect. I personally wonder what power Apple or Google consoles gained if they owned the Mass Effect IP (or Bioware). Consider a new console with one of the most revered IP’s in gaming history. This is not some ‘what if’, well actually it is, but consider tens of millions of fans now in a stage where they are confronted with one of these systems holding onto the console so that they can play this game. It is not unheard of, we have all been in that stage before and consoles used to get ahead with this level of creativity in their exclusives list.

So as I (re)designed the Mass Effect concept I did the one thing that had not been done before in gaming EVER. Mass Effect 5 is not merely the fifth game, it would be games 4 and 5 together, yes some things will be the same, but the stage is larger and also has a lot of changes. In the first, the Nexus playing area is at least 10 times larger, and the stage is a combinations of additional and new gaming settings. Of course each of the sister ships of the Hyperion would need to be found, Habitat 7 does not change, it is the introduction to the story and to playing the game. Yet the planets of 4 (Elaaden, Havarl, Aya, Eos and Voeld) would also be there and they would be larger, each with additional missions and additional tasks (making replaying acceptable and challenging). In addition to this  the other parts are mostly there, except for the memories, they can only be on the hyperion (how they could be on planets never visited before is just weird). As I see it, every planet has stages 1. Arrival stage, 2. Post Remnant Vault activation, 3. Phase one of repairs and adjustments 4. Phase 2 of repairs 5. Phase 2 of adjustments

It sets a stage where the planets need to be revisited and in that light each of these planets gets a second area to land and to set up another base, so as one base is scientific in nature, the second one is military in nature. Apart from the Kett presence, the second base will be a lot more about flora and fauna. There will be some Kett, but not to the first area levels, and in addition to that, the player will need to set the stage of building the cars and factories so that they support the nexus best. It will be around choices made, but it will depend on the player. For example in the 4 planets staged (Aya is off-limits), Food will be staged on every planet, yet the return on one is 100%, yet the others will give you 70%-80%, so the need to make the choice is essential, but you have no real choice in location, making the stage of food different, for example Eos is the first planet you reach, yet to give the player choices, we get a different setting, a such finding the right places to grow food and mine for minerals becomes a little bit of a challenge, however we can level the playing field by setting the percentage stage to random (70,80,100 or 110), add to this the nexus and the stage where waking up the right people becomes important, as well as reenergising the nexus so that labs can open up as energy becomes available is a larger stage. 

Most elements that can be compartimentalised in the game could set a growing stage we can adjust to, it also sets Mass Effect to a much larger stage, one worthy of a successor to the first three. For the fifths game we should look deeper into the Kett, we see them as the great evil, but what happens when that is not the case? What happens when their existence is part of a crucible? We need another 4 planets, in this, we should try to set a larger stage and a different stage. So what happens when one planet is aquatic? What happens when one place is like a gas giant (not unlike Cloud city in the Empire strikes back)? A stage where we interact in other ways, as such 2 remain, one should be toxic in origin the other one I leave open (someone might have had an idea), with the stage in that regard, the larger stage to revisit meridian and a stage where we apply a new stage, a stage of resources shared and politics gained. There are a lot of options that a game like Mass Effect allows for and in this we haven’t even looked at the stage where the nexus is attacked and a fight in the corridors, not just that, the damage is ‘real’ and debilitating depending on where the station is damaged, so repairs need to be made (to some degree) before the station is back on track. All these options overlooked in the initial game, the nexus was supposed to equal Citadel, but was less than 10% its size in gameplay. That has to change, and the game is in a much larger setting if the new approach is taken, a game that revisits feelings on a game published and becomes better and stronger because of it. As such no matter where it ends up initially (Google Stadia or Apple console) they would have the setting to add a few million fans right off the bat, when we see the initial hype for Andromeda, that stage can easily be surpassed if the result is properly tested. I wonder if Electronic Arts ever considered that their product could end up deciding who the third most sold console could end up being, the stage is that certain at present, and of course, there is no reason why it should not be on other consoles, yet the financial power that a timed delay for other consoles is could fund a massive part of the development cost and that is when the larger profits comes in (for Electronic Arts), especially if a game like Mass Effect Andromeda sets the gaming bar to a much higher level. We have seen long term gaming in several ways, yet until Bethesda released the Elder Scrolls Online, long term RPG was a little in a corner, now you are given the light where they are no longer alone in this, it sets a different stage for Google and Apple, one they could only have hoped for and it is within their reach to set this stage to their system.

 

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