Tag Archives: Fallout

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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Presented choices

There is a flow in two directions, it is in most of us, it is stronger in the people who actively engage in critical thinking. It is often mistaken as ‘the devil’s advocate in us’ and I have made the same mistake. This is a dangerous place to be, not precisely dangerous, but hazardous. You see, we want to give ourselves time to mull things over and often that is good, nowadays with COVID, vaccines, lockdowns and other things happening at the same time it is hazardous. You see the media is no help, they are in it to create click bitches and stir flames, which gets them digital advertisement funds and traction. When you mull things over too many people are in a stage of making up their minds whilst the media is trying to cross them over to a field that benefits THEM and not the reader. Unless you are able to reject ALL media at a moments notice, that place you are in to mull things over goes from hazardous to dangerous and that is when things fall apart. The doubters get pushed into a place where they are slightly too uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to forcefully take a stand.

This matters as gaming is in a similar place, or better stated the gamer is in an RPG game and is left to mull things over in doubt on what to do. There is a correlation of inaction towards too much signals as well as no signals at all. The brain seems to find the stage of non-signals too unnatural. And that is the stage any new RPG will find themselves in.

In the past it was not an issue for the mere reason that technology was not ready, now that it is too many gamers expect there virtual life to signal them in a similar way and even as technology is there, the game makers are not. 

It is not a setting of what to do to make it fit, it becomes a stage of adjusting the gamer to the ‘new life’. I was reminded of that in the last two days as I was rewatching the Harry Potter series. In the third film we are given the choice between what is easy and what is right, which fits the storyline of Harry and his gang (plus owl). Gaming and real life tend to not have that question, yet I see a larger wave go towards ‘What is easy or what is pointless’ and that is not the bill, but it is a concept of the two choices seemingly given. The mind loves a choice, even a fictive (or virtual) one and that gets us in hot water. 

So whilst we await the Hogwarts Legacy game, we wonder what is in it. We tend to compare to the RPG games that were truly fantastic and there we see Skyrim and Witcher 3 being the larger stage. So will Hogwarts have the Harry Potter CCG as an element? It is extremely doubtful, but there is an internal need to get a new RPG with some Witcher 3 Gwent game. We would want to be able to have our own house decorated in OUR style of choice (Skyrim) and the list goes on. This pushes the needs towards pointless, yet where is the setting on what the line from gaming to pointless becomes and that line differs per gamer and that low range and high range of that line is a gap no smaller than the Gran Canyon and that makes for an awkward programming stage. The opposite side leads to easy and grinding which could spell an early death for any future RPG game, so where to go? Fable 2 had an awesome solution towards vocations (Forge, Bartender, gambling) but the stage becomes how to remain unique, have elements like mini games and larger ownerships without breaking the IP and that is not an easy task. Even Skyrim with its levels of grinding is so close to perfect that people still desire this game 10 years later. I myself had the game on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and optionally (hopefully) in 9 weeks and 3 days I will have the PS5 edition, optionally a little later as I face all kinds of budgets, but the message behind this is strong, a good game lasts a very long time and that is where the game makers need to be. I believe that the best option is set towards a trilogy solution. We can play, we can alter and we can circumvent. Alter is adding a CCG or mini game option. Instead of looting the same place with consistent time, we can have the CCG to make is smarter, the mini game to make us richer and a combination for investments. It takes the mind of grinding. The CCG element could give us cunning, intelligence and the cards we win could lead to unique items like clothing that are rewarding depending on the class we play. We could get rare items that we need to make special potions (like the golden cauldron in Harry Potter CCG), and the list goes on. In Fallout New Vegas we were given the useless Snow globes that is until we met a person who paid dearly for it. There are the Vault-boy bobbleheads in Fallout, so what can we do to create the part that adds value to the game?  That depends on the game maker, but the objective would soon become a race to avoid the pointless borderline. 

The second borderline is less visible. Metal Gear Solid got there and it was not their intent because the last game was magnificent to behold, yet they got there, the game had gotten too big and soon in the game you felt like you were in a stage where it felt pointless (it was not) the game was too big for its own design and even if you consider revamping the stages, at some point (ACT 3) you started to wonder what it was for. I got there a few times and I loved the game, so we need to design carefully and become weary of what signals we give the player, too many and the gamer seeks the easy route, that same route gets trodden on when there are no signals, so there needs to be enough signals to make it worth your effort.

I believe that we are due for more time based stories and the best way is to let the conversations with NPC’s progress that, but there too too many of those and the game gets to be regarded as pointless. So how to go about the presented choices? One option is to limit NPC’s to optionally give quests in a set of two parameters. The first is the day of the week and the second is a correlation of conversations with other people in town. It gets so that each town has optionally 2-3 side quests a day, so beside the main quests and storyline quests you can score new quests each day in one place, to throttle the over-quest danger we limit the chances we get to the pointless border. By having enough signals we also limit the dangers of people heading for the easy line and on top of that, if we create a random partition that directs all the quests to a day at the beginning of the game there is a chance that two players end up having very different experiences making all players more and more curious on what more is there and how to find it. 

There are more things to do, but this is enough for today, today was to address the dangers of the pointless borderline and that borderline is a lot more dangerous than you think. 

If you do not head that line you could prematurely kill your own game in month one, an eerie setting that no game maker would ever want to face. More importantly, it also shows how we are treated by the media in todays events and that tends to reverberate in us too. So when we escape towards games we really need to get that signal stopped as soon as possible, it is perhaps the one danger any RPG faces, we tend to push ourselves into our RPG games the way we were before we started that game, emotional baggage and all, we cannot really hope to stop ourselves, but we can demand that whatever RPG game we play takes that feeling away within the first 10 minutes of gaming. I reckon it is part of the success of Skyrim.

Have a great day!

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Mix and match

I was having a few thoughts on the matters that I have been writing on these last two days when a thought reappeared in me, I thought of it before, but now the idea was forming in a few ways. As my thoughts go it is best released in streaming games first. Others can and will have it too, but this is something that will take a few attempts to get right. You see, I love RPG games. Yet in all the years none of them EVER mixed the setting of Simulators with RPG’s, not that the RPG needs to become a simulator, but a setting where we train people around us. So in case you own a castle, you get to improve the ‘programming’ of the NPC. So as I see it, the approach is towards the use of deeper learning to ‘educate’ the guards. So you can imbue your bow and arrow skills on the guards on the high walls, you can imbue your weapon skills on the patrolling guards and so on. It has never been done and it could open up a lager playing field. Consider that we can train our troops, but the skills are also transferred to 75% of your skills, or the maximum they already have to all other NPC’s? So it is no longer merely about the level of the opponent, their skill level will up the game for all gameplay in an RPG, so why did no-one think of this? Perhaps they did, I do not know. Yet with the evolution of deeper learning (what some erroneously call AI) this is no longer a thought, there are several ways that NPC’s can evolve in any RPG and it gives us a much better game to look at, so why was this not yet done? I am not accusing anyone, merely asking. If I can come up with a TV series, a mini series, a movie and several games, I remain amazed how the others are empty of new ideas and they are merely hiding behind sequels. OK, not all, Guerrilla games is one of the few exceptions. We see remastered games (I am happy about some of them), we see sequels adapted for the next generation consoles, which is nice too. Yet real new IP remains largely absent, a circular movement surrounding 2 decades of gaming. I do not think it is all wrong, I myself opted to a few parties to remaster their old games, actually it was remaster and upgrade severely towards the new systems and there is a lot that is available out there. Yet how many real upgrades have some RPG’s received? Again, not an accusation, yet when you consider that we know Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. Now consider that I got the idea of empty holo-tapes that could be used to add to the story and the functionality of the character before Fallout 76 was released, which was almost 4 years ago. So am I the only one thinking out of the box to increase the level of games and gameplay? One would think that if you pay a group of people well over 7 billion, one would imagine that they would be far ahead of me, but that does not seem to be the case. 

Yet this is not about pointing fingers, or blaming people. It is merely an idea I was having to increase the value and power of a game. We are all gamers and some of our ideas are whacky, some are brilliant, some can bridge a massive gap between the game maker and the game player, we cannot blame the maker for not thinking of EVERY corridor, that’s where we come in. And this stage is more easily adapted in streaming, because streamers are in a stage where they have one environment to consider, the one that goes to ALL players, so they do have a few advantages and I reckon they need to home in on those advantages. There is no real benefit to have the same Ubisoft game on all four consoles, yet a streamer and a console? That could pan out the be a very different cattle of fish. 

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Playing the stage

In light of the actual brilliant move by Microsoft to buy Bethesda, Sony has a bit of a problem, or t least they had one, so I decided to set a new stage, if Bethesda is limiting their exposure to Sony, which we get from Eurogamer, who gives us “Bethesda games don’t have to launch on PlayStation for Microsoft’s $7.5bn deal to pay off, Xbox boss insists”, in addition we see in 

IGN “When I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us,” Spencer continued. “Whatever that means.”” With the emphasis on ‘I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support’, I see it as a clumsy way for Microsoft to give the news that Sony is done for from a Bethesda release point of view. I reckon that they will not make a change immediately, projects were on route, but there will be delay upon delay for others. In a stage where one out of three were Microsoft fans and two out of three were Sony fans, the purchase of Bethesda by Microsoft is definitely a genius move, but the gang fans are not without options. I am hereby offering whatever I create to be used freely for any Sony exclusive game. 

Houses of Magic

Any RPG that is set in a Middle Age stage has always been depending on magic, this is how the world we created worked, which does not have to be the case, but there it is. So in that trend, I offer the five houses, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s start at number one.

House of Forests

This is the house where druids are created, to set a stage for druids, it implies a close knit connection to forests and fields. Yet there is more to druids, in Gaelic past they were seen as legal authorities, adjudicators, lore-keepers, medical professionals and political advisors. Instead of merely focussing on the tree and magic part, being these gives the setting where in the new game you an be an in-between between two disagreeing factions, you can advice on options to lords in castles and you also will be a healer. The lore-keeper can write magical scrolls, can wield wood into stronger bows and stronger staffs. Giving the druid the only one to create a wooden knife, a mistletoe knife. Setting the fight environment, staffs and wooden weapons are 40% stronger, the mistletoe knife 400% better, so as we look into the character, charisma is much higher, so is intelligence. A druid is a better dealer and much better healer. All healing potions are twice the strength. So this is the ability in the game, the setting of the druid requires a backstory. 

In need of a bandaid?

It started a long time go, 3500 years in facts. In a village was a young man, he was obedient and he did what he could to forward the needs of his father and their family. He was a proud man, worshipping the gods, yet he felt an unnatural pull towards Hades at times, the darkness appealed to him. Now, it is important to note that he was not evil, he felt he understood things. He was not unhappy when the old crops whitened and died. The wheat was captured, the dead leaves became straw for the cows, it made sense to him. So every year he would praise Hades ‘Thank you for taking the remaining crops, let new crops be bountiful’. He would always bring wheat and fruit as homage to Demeter, but after the harvest, after it was all done, he would also bring homage to Hades. It felt right, such as he was. As he was in the courtyard he heard a slam, like a bag of flower hitting the ground. He looked, yet he saw nothing. He walked to the edge of the farm, he looked at the waters of the Aegian, yet he saw a staff, the serpent on the staff was alive, yet the tail of the snake was part of the staff. He heard of it, yet a simple frame like him would never be shown the Staff of Aesculapius. He walked towards the staff, but kept his distance, it was then he saw the man, he walked over and helped him back to his feet. Greetings young man, I am Therapeutae of Asclepius, I tend to the need of the gods. I upset one of them and here I am. The young man offered his arm and it was at that moment when the snake was close enough and bit his leg. The man was scared for one second, then he looked around and set on the low wall surrounding the courtyard. He looked at the land, and softly whispered ‘Hades, I am done for, a snake got me’, Therapeutae looked at him and smiled. You are in a fortunate side young man, this was not intended, but it happened. The venom of the snake makes you an immortal. It is clear that you are a good man, I am back on my feet. The staff flew back into his hands. He shimmered and faded into nothingness. It was today, the man was thinking back to the day where his mortality had diminished, it had been almost 25,000 moons, yet he remembered it like it was yesterday. As he looked into the distance he saw the tavern and the corrupt bailiff and his cronies. He walked towards them, and as it was set, he was quite angry. The two cronies did not see him coming, they were taking to their boss, he hit them both with one swing, he then hit the boss, but did not hit him squarely enough. The Bailiff got up and drew his word. The druid spoke ‘That does not work on me’ and as he stood still, the Bailiff struck, the sword swiped from left to right and the Druid was struck. Then something happened that had never happened before, he felt the spilling of blood, and he looked down. The wound was closing and he focussed again on the Bailiff. He slapped him from left to right to left again and one over the skull for good measure. He looked down, he was whole again, and apart from the small scar, there was no evidence that he had ever been wounded. But what happened to his powers?

So that was the first start of an origin story and the setting of one class, I will try to set out another class perhaps the Floating house, this took me a mere hour, so I might have something more tomorrow. I have nothing against Bethesda, but they deserted Sony and their population, I need to make Microsoft understand how expensive a bill of $7.5 billion is when it misses it objective as Sony will have a somewhat delayed answer to Bethesda Elder Scrolls, and perhaps I will continue to set something to counter Fallout as well, which is a little harder, I know. Will it work? I do not know, but there is a stage where Bethesda will face not only the loss of Sony clients (which is huge), but Sony will get you an alternative, as such Bethesda will end up gaining a contender.

Perhaps Microsoft will learn, perhaps not, Whatever they decide on, it is a lesson that came with a $7,500,000,000 tag, lets see if we can teach them a little more, they seemingly part with money easily enough.

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The power of push

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

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

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

 

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The house of RPG

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

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

 

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Rad 451

Yup, creativity bone got active again. It is a thought I had before and in light of the PS5 coming and the time of a new Fallout (Fallout 5), I decided to think things through. I loved Fallout 3 and 4. I never played Fallout 76, for the mere reason that I am not in multiplayer games. And in all this the idea floated to add to what Fallout 4 brought and in this I started. The first thing I did as consider Fallout shelter, what if the players can transfer the three vaults to the game? Your own vault, they can all become places to live (once they are cleared out) and the game will set a stage based on the amount of rooms and on the locations used. There is a form of randomisation in this, but consider the situation where you the player have created a vault and it can become your new home. In addition I thought of a way for Bethesda to gain a few millions by making one change to the game, but that is for another time. So there I was thinking on the additional vault(s). So up to three vaults can be added (as Fallout Shelter has three vault options), and the stage is set to add it in another way as well. Each vault becomes a larger storyline in several ways to gain a larger stage. The new game is set around Seattle, from the Atlantic, the Olympic National park, Raymond, Centralia, Mineral, all the way north to Bellingham. It will be some area to explore. As such, one vault will be around Forks, the second around Blyn and the third will be around Yelm, these three will be additional to the Vaults in play and the stage that is set will aid to more exploration and a larger stage of exploration. The story in this game will be around restarting a new city, so the build option is required. In Fallout 4, it was limited to about 20, now it will be up to 100 for a city and three need to be created, beyond that there will be chapters on growth and chapters on each of the actions required. Filling it in will take time (this took me two hours). When we set that stage we have to evolve short and long distance weapons, we get a form of experience, each experience can be set to holo-discs and be used to create a stage of experience. Yet the holo-discs are rare, really rare. So we need to find those as well as holo-readers (one for each town). The challenge is to make it non-repetitive. In this game there will be 5 by 5 sectors, there must be a ring of non towns around the town selected, so that there is ample distance, in addition, the towns each will have one speciality (greens, fishing, hunting, building, tinkering, vehicles, armouring or X (currently unknown). The second part is that certain items will be class E (Exclusives), they will be placed in selected locations, but the 70 places will get 50 items seeded (so 25 remain empty) and they will be shuffled every new game, so there is a new situation, running after a guide or solution is a thing of the past. The idea of the 25 empty locations is to keep the pressure on and to allow expansions (or DLC’s) to add a few items over time. Then there is the situation of the Shelter locations will stage 5-15 additional spaces. 

There will be 10 main stories, one for each of the shelters, three for the villages created and there will be in addition a railroad, a synth, a story of a Brotherhood of steel equivalent, and a Mariner story. Apart from the 10 main stories, I was considering adding several stories founded and connected to the native American tribes that were part of that region. So there are 10 main stories and 5-10 connected stories and after that smaller sub-quests that players could be connected to. 

The idea is to set the stage where we get a adventure that is well over twice the amount that Fallout 4 allowed for. 

In all this, there is a need for me to address the small issue I had with number 4. The workbenches  made sense and were accepted, but what I saw from Fallout76, having a mobile one that we can place wherever. As such we get the second part, not just the mobile part, but to get a piece that like the holo-disc is really rare. It gives the game another dimension. As the title implies through innuendo, there was a thing in Fallout 3, There was the need to find the ‘pre-War books‘, here we will add 100 titles (out of 300) to a loot class, so 100 books will be set in locations, even as there are 200 locations, first 100 from 300 will be set, and they will be spread over 200 locations. Just a thought.

There is more to come, yet in an age of iterative gaming that gives us more of the same (certain Ubisoft titles), I have now given the readers 5 games (over the past stories) with highly innovative parts in gaming, so what is keeping makers like Ubisoft giving its gamers true innovative gaming?

 

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The thought counts

I am still in some level of debate on this, Alex Hearn published an article last August (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/aug/20/from-cyberpunk-2077-to-the-outer-worlds-are-role-playing-games-getting-too-predictable) and I happened to re-read the story this morning. The main hitter was ‘are role-playing games getting too predictable?‘ I believe it is a valid train of thought to have, yet in this situation is it the game, or the gamer that bears the guilt? As we see the first paragraph we are confronted with: “Not only is it directed by Fallout creators Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, it shares a lot of DNA with Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas – a spin-off with a reputation as the best in the series“, you see there are two trains of thought, the first (not the most embraced one) is that the game was designed by a ‘one pump chump‘, you see a one trick pony is too harsh here. The second is the one I embrace, it is set on two principles.

  1. Relation
  2. Online cheat guides

The relation factor is how you relate to it all, It is easy in the Elder Scrolls, or Fallout, these are plain drives concepts and for the longest time, we go along with it. Even as we are offered options, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 still try to guide you, yet the reality is that you can go wherever you want ignoring the first stage altogether. The Elder Scrolls 4 (Oblivion) gave you a clear option after you get out of the sewers, The Elder scrolls 5 (Skyrim) did so a lot less, but left the door open to explore. In that beginning we get the option to grow and either you start staging the story, or the game leaves you a little in the dark. In a lot of cases you are a little in the dark, this is seen in Witcher 3, you can go in any direction, yet if you avoid all the missions in the first stage, your character tends to be too feeble to get around, and you die a lot. Until you grow skills you tend to be on your own, now we can see that the first village is an introduction (like the sewers of Oblivion), and yes after that you can explore and decide the way you want and that makes Witcher 3 an amazing game. In that same setting we see Horizon Zero Dawn, it is storydriven, but you can explore your heart out, merely consider that too far away, without proper upgrades your life does not tend to make it for a long time. Still, the origin story that Guerilla Games released is as awesome as any RPG that was EVER released.

It is in that stage we need to see a game like the Outer Worlds, there is a larger stage of introduction and it tends to make the gamer fumble a bit, that is the foundation of RPG, you have to feel your way into any RPG game. Yes, New Vegas was amazing and the stage is still among the very best, but there we get it, when we start exploring, we need to realise that the enemies a little further ahead can make short work of you really fast if the beginning is absent of exploring. Still, New Vegas did one thing better than all others, you have a good and a bad you and some cases can only begotten when you decide on the bad you. It gets to be even better as the third option (Caesar’s Legion) comes into play. It was an RPG founded on replayability, making it one of the very best.

The second stage is another matter, those who rely on online hint/cheat guides. They all go the same direction and it is clear that there are thousands of them (all claiming to have done the path without help), as such the foundation of ‘are role-playing games getting too predictable?‘ becomes slightly less reliable. And for the most, the story is partially that simple and partially not so simple. That part is revealed in Horizon Zero Dawn, the story is so overwhelming that it pushes you from stage to stage, it really was one hell of a trip. The cut movies over the entire game add up to almost 6 hours, almost 6 hours of story and information and some parts are not that small, the story truly is everything and it pushes the player in a direction and not on a path, Guerilla games really outdid most designers. In opposition we see Fallout 3, which had moment, not a story that pushes you and it pushes you more towards places. The article then gives you the Cyberpunk 2077 line with “But the fundamental skeleton the games are built on is so constricting that, given an hour to show off everything they could be, both developers independently converged on a near-identical script“, I personally am not convinced that this is so, in the first there was a quote “open world feature to their upcoming RPG. Players are given the freedom to explore the fictional Night City, take on the side quests that they want to, and be a part of the world that CD Projekt Red has developed“, in the second there is the option to be a Netrunner (hacker), techie (a badgetteer) or Solo (Assassin and direct action). The class you select will influence to some degree the way you play, or the way you play will push you into a class. It changes the way you overcome missions and locations and this changes the game (not the main story). As such did the game become too predictable? 

Well that is still out in the open, yet predictability is often depending on lack of choice, CD Projekt Red (Witcher series, Cyberpunk 2077) has never had that, and overall neither did Bethesda (Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout). Yet it is the way WE play that gives the impression of lack of choice. In the Verge we are given “Obsidian Entertainment’s new role-playing shooter The Outer Worlds, I met a man miserably playing a corporate mascot, his head semi-permanently enclosed in a large, ghoulish moon mask. I spoke to him for several turns, hoping there was something I could do to help. But if there was a way to improve his life, he never suggested it, and I never found it“, as such I never met the man (or played the game) but if we consider that we can help, ignore or optionally kill him, is that a lack of the game, or a lack of the player? You see that is the foundation of RPG, the gamer decides and that is where I oppose Alex Hearn’s statement (not his point of view) ‘are role-playing games getting too predictable?

I believe that the statement is a little out in the open. The makers of New Vegas had an amazing setting (especially after Fallout 3), from one mission you decide whether you go to ‘The House Always Wins 1‘, ‘Render Unto Caesar‘, or ‘Wild Card: Change in Management‘, Obsidian created a phase where we are confronted with a level of brilliance and definitely an opposition of predictability. But Alex is not entirely incorrect, we might agree that there is a good and a bad choice (each with their options) but not much more. the Fable series tend to have them too, as did Mass Effect, but the last one is less RPG set. Yet how many genuinely found the 4th option in Mass Effect 3? I see all the people nod ‘yes’ but in the end, they learned of that options like me, in a YouTube video. Only a few actually found them by their own choices, it tends  to oppose ‘too predictable’. And then we get to a beautiful line in The Verge: “by the end of the game, you’re still one of the most important people in the world“, it shows the largest flaw in RPG, the truth of the matter is that you never mattered, that truth is often pushed out of the RPG, you are merely flock people, you either suck up to the needy as a newcomer, or you decide on what someone larger and more powerful needed and you are the fixer, you are almost never yourself, the person you want to become, the RPG left that out of the equation as it is close to impossible to program too and it does not make an RPG ‘Too Predictable’, it merely makes an RPG ‘less unpredictable’ those two are not the same, not by a long shot.

However, the words of Alex Hearn are still in me and we see that view emphasized in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2019/10/23/the-outer-worlds-review-roundup-heres-what-critics-are-saying-about-obsidians-new-space-rpg/#2350c4927d34) where we see: “The Outer Worlds, we were promised the kind of RPG we know and love. And that’s exactly what we’re getting, a familiar experience in a new setting” it is the stage of ‘the kind of RPG we know and love‘, and ‘a familiar experience‘, which basically gives Alex the power of his words, an RPG might be many things, but when it is a new title, those two are the foundation of predictability, the question becomes, if that is what the gamer wants and searches, is it the game maker adjusting its view on commerce that is wrong? Is predictability a dangerous part? I believe it is, but is it any less an RPG? That part was not in debate, yet from my side, when I play a different RPG, I need a different stance. Put Elder Scrolls against Witcher and you get that, in either direction, put Elder Scrolls next to fallout and we see it less. Even as the story and the graphics change, we are not the in the stage of countering predictability, we are in a stage of gaming in a different hall, yet doing the same dance and that is where RPG’s tend to fall short (a little) and that is why I loved Horizon Zero Dawn. Even in my own design, as I drew up Elder Scrolls: Restoration and Watchdogs: Refuge, I continued on the franchise as they already had it, new elements, yes, but the setting remained in part the same, so as such am I enabling repetition and as such predictability? I believe that if we move away from “by the end of the game, you’re still one of the most important people in the world“, we can start that the premise, and predictability (to a certain extent) goes out the window. 

He also gives us “every now and again, a game comes along which shows that innovation can happen without putting people off and revives a genre in the process“, yes that is the part I can agree and align with, there were parts in Skyrim that went beyond Oblivion and id just that. Yet what is also a consideration is that both opened the field by allowing everything to be done and it took the replayability away to some extent, as such in Elder Scrolls: Restoration I went back (allegedly) to Morrowind (which I never played) and left a barricade in place, as such not all classes could be done at the same time, a student of one could not join another path. In addition, the end of the mission often would result in the loss of location and a transfer to other places. One cannot be in University all the time, you are replaced as you are merely a student in one. that path lowers predictability to certain levels, even more so as I set the stage where choices were abundant, but limits choices later on. Without going towards a Red wings match in a Blackhawks Jersey (which tends to get you killed). Yet these settings give a much larger joy towards replayability.

RPGs forgot about the stage of limitation. As we are set in a game, we want to do it all, we ourselves become predictable, not the game (although the game did allow for it).

In Watch Dogs: Refuge I decided to set gender and language as barriers, the stage of pushing for time to drink and eat (in Watch Dogs one and two) I merely did weeks of actions on one fruit drink, so how is it I survived? An RPG should take that into account and make food and sleep an essential. You could try to get through a week on red bull without sleep, but you end to look like the zombies in university (in the 3 weeks before final exam). We took options away as debilitating factors, yet when you consider that Okinawa is a cuisine haven (as is most of Japan) making that a factor as overlooked. I reintroduced the option with an optional achievement or two, considering that one should never go for the stressful places loaded on Cheesecake, you get the idea that a lack of food and sleep can be a debilitating factor, we merely programmed that part away, but is an RPG not about the stage of a whole day, not merely the part you crave for (battle and mayhem)?

So why Japan? Well most gamers of Watch Dogs are non-Japanese, so pushing you into a place where you cannot read or comprehend anything sets you in a much larger stage, when we  get everything in english, we see what we need to, yet what happens when language becomes an actual hurdle? We forget that, did we not? for those who are still in the dark, try watching Passion of the Christ without subtitles. When Aramaic and Latin are your only companions, you either get smart (real fast) or you tend to forfeit your life. Italians (Romans) were really not to be too discriminating to people who did not speak their language (they were all considered slaves).

To set the stage where we counter the RPG in ways we forgot, I still wonder if that is because of the hand holding that the RPG maker is willing to make, or the side where we are just too shabby a player of RPG. I am not certain where it goes, but there are plenty of indicators that both are factors, as such we might consider that RPG games are too predictable, yet I remain in a stage where the makers became too enabling. 

It is merely a point of view and whether it is gaming limitation or predictability, it is a setting that are two faces of the same coin. I am still unwilling to say that Alex Hearn right, but he makes a fair point, even though he seemingly forgets that part of the predictability is the gamer him or her self. 

 

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