Tag Archives: gaming

Recap to the intro

This happens to us all, we need to remember how we got to where we were and I am the same as many of you. So today is about a recap of what I had written before (links given) and the station of where the setting is going. 

Title
Yes, every game needs a title and in gaming, too often it needs to be bold, to be brave and it needs to entice, but I believe that for RPG games that is not that much a given, it is the challenge, so I decided on ‘An almost ordinary generation quest’, it gives part of the station, it gives part of what you face and nothing beyond that. Too many games are about the spoilers, but the game is about the game and how you fare, you will fare different from your neighbour, that is almost a given, unless he married someone special, at which point you want to end exactly where he did (its a defining rule of the universe). 

Links
The story that drove all this was given to us in The Race is on (Sept 30th 2020), Playing the Stage (Oct 18th 2020), Door two of the Arcane (Oct 19th 2020), Chimes are wind translators (Oct 20th 2020), It’s in the Bones (Oct 25th 2020), RPG Arms race (Nov 25th 2020), Mummy and daddy (Mar 19th 2021), The quest for tea (Mar 23rd 2021), Until the lungs give out (Sep 21st 2021)

Separately influences are found in Eureka, sort of (Nov 26th 2020), What gives experience? (Dec 11th 2020), Building NPC faith (Jan 3rd 2021), First the sting (Mar 14th 2021), Then the bite (Mar 15th 2021), River of Choices (Mar 23rd 2021), Belated brilliance (Apr 9th 2021)

So this is the bulk of it, 16 stories (actually there are a few more) that are the foundation of a new game. As I had stated the story is everything and we are too often given a stage to get into, it makes sense, but is that how people like Roald Amundsen, Jacque Cousteau, Yuri Gagarin or Hugh Glass got started? It is always a challenge to set any beginning. As it is a game it is not set to reality, so we create the variables so that WE can become a larger than life character. In my case, I believe in the open beginning, a beginning with choices and it is not a good or evil choice, it is a direct choice. Will you go east, or will you go west? It is that initial choice that sets a foundation and when it is a simple quest like setting the prolonged safety of your house and household that drives a choice. It creates the explorer, it sets the stage of the adventurer and that adventurer needs skills, knowledge and drive. These three need to be adhered to and that is the choice we face, we face a similar stage in nearly all RPG games.

So what can we do to change the stage? That is the question that was in my mind as I tired to develop the idea of this game. And we always played the antagonist, yet what happens when that stage alters? That issue can be made more relevant as we enhance RPG games with machine learning and deeper learning. There is no workable stage to set the workaround on everything (not yet at least). So before we get into some lofty stage of ego, the one element is missing, it is the story or the main story. In RPG games in the past, we had the main story and side quests, so what happens when we alter it? We have 7 main storylines and as you go about it you will only find 1 optionally a second one. The games will still have side quests, but in a stage where we manage what is sought and found. We see the NPC characters, yet what happens when that NPC needs a set of triggers before additional dialogue is released? I saw that stage when we were treated to Neverwinter Nights, yet over the years no one seemed to have picked it up, so I decided to set a stage of ‘discrimination’(well sort of). Arcane quests cannot be given to no-Arcane people. So those who create a pure warrior will miss out on stuff, yet that same person will find other stuff, if someone abhors a non-arcane person, there will be another person who is the opposite.

As such we can look at the storylines to be 7 lines, or one rather long line over 7 generations and that is where the story takes us. A stage where the generations are important, but then so is the family line and the characters that become family. Because as you start as you, but the one you select to share your life is equally important, even if you have no control. You might not have it at that point, but the next generation is a combination of both and that is how the story unfolds and that is the change of creation, it comes with a handicap. And as far as I can tell, no other RPG has EVER taken that route. So as we consider how to design a new game, look at what I left you, consider the other stories, some with a quest line, some with a background and all with a much larger stage. A stage to replay the same game and find new challenges, finding new options traits and skills that will educate you and the generation that comes after you. As far as I can tell, no game ever considered going there, so it makes for one new true original RPG game. 

Have fun and enjoy the weekend.

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Until the lungs give out

I have been thinking of the RPG game that I set up as a free IP for Sony and Amazon developers, a sort of exclusive freeware IP for all except Xbox developers as a response to their Bethesda tactic. There were several parts set in earlier articles, but over time my mind got bogged. I had a new version of arcane characters, I set the stage to replaying the game in new and never seen before ways and as I looked at the past, my mind went to the future. I added different stealth parts and I added new elements to other sides of the arcane. Yet the fighter class remained. And now I add another part of ranged fighting. As you see in the image (I believe in emancipation, so both genders can be assassinated) yet even in the past there was a stage of armour, and precision. So as you see can see that there are to aims, the size of the circle is influenced by distance, by stamina (out of breath) and the stage is also hindered by people wearing armour, so we have a much larger stage of getting the ranged attack being successful, slightly unlike in Skyrim where I successfully expired people, animals, draugr, trolls and even dragons with my bow and arrow. The Green Arrow, Robin Hood and William Tell would be proud of me. It is a good feeling, although I do know that it is a slightly delusional one, if it was real the digital graveyard I filled would be greater than the city of Tokyo (10 years of Skyrim does that), and as I go forth I considered that we need new ranged weapons, not more of the same, so the blowpipe became a reality. Also there would be a stage to evolve the blowpipe, just a it happened in history. Different woods, different arrows with optional toxins to paralyse, sleep or poison would add to that impact. Than we get to the stage where we always run to a blacksmith, but the blowpipe is different. Several of them do not come from the blacksmith, the stage of that allows for more options in the game, it will also add to additional (read: different) skills to master. 

As we see in most RPG’s the bow and the arrows, this game will have the pipe and the darts, there will be additional darts and there will be an additional ranged weapon. I wanted the weapon to add to your abilities, not forced to set a stage for guided evolution, so I came up with an altered rungu, The rungu is still there, but there is a cup added to the other side of the stick opposite of the ball-end of the stick, making it a rungu able to throw with precision and much harder a stone at the head (or other body part) of any target. With the rungu we set a new need that we haven’t seen in a while, a ranged weapon that needs strength as well as precision. So as we add weapons and add choices the player can evolve more towards what he or she prefers and chose a weapon that fits the need. In addition to this, I want to make add a personal style. I want to add the main-gauche into the fight, not merely relying on sword and shield. I personally always loved the parrying dagger and the stage sets a new style of fighting and we get an altered level of fighting. It is essential to offer a different stage to what Bethesda has, it makes for a much more acceptable game that is a lot less of Bethesda like gaming, we need to up the game and change the game, so I opted for that. I am also considering altering the spear to be adjusted so it can work underwater, a sort of speargun (rubber driven) with a rope, yet in all this we see the need to add to weapons, not to set a stage where we have 15 weapons. A stage thought through so that we have a larger playing field that is new to those who prefer ranged weapons (me being one). The parrying knife gives an added side to stealth (especially when you are seen), and as I loo what I had wrought in the digital world, I see the need for graveyards, the setting of plants only found in cemeteries and optionally a few herbs that have arcane and alchemical uses, all sides that Bethesda never used, so I am adding them to the IP I create for those ready to make money in creating original (read: limited exclusive) Sony and Amazon games. 

A day well traversed and that is when I consider that this was the second article written, I had to make sure that gaming was not forgotten or ignored. And we can do this until the lungs give out after which the blowpipe becomes useless, so there is that consideration. 

Have a great day.

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Gaming to get a degree

This is a state we should consider. We all have had our share of subjects that made us shiver in secondary school and college. Some ran away from these subjects, some cheated to pass these subjects and some dug in. I was the third group, but it was close. There was every chance I could have gotten into one of the other two teams.Yesterday as I was mulling things over I took a look at Law Empire Tycoon on my iPad. Things were happening in the back of my head but it was still a silent whisper. A second part was that I was rewatching the West Wing (I am now at season 3), and it took a little while for things to step into gear. The idea was forming in the back of my head, but it was a whisper, nothing more. Today the idea pretty much exploded in my mind. The game Law Empire Tycoon is an adjusted version of Bullfrogs Theme Hospital. It is not a copy, it is the same style, the same way (in many ways) but it is an original game. The graphics are new, the interface is similar but it has a few more sides to it and a few added complexities. It is an excellent game (as far as I can tell at present), like all games it does need some infusion of dollars, but not too much and even if you do not, you can still play the game, but a lot slower.

I wonder what happened if we turn this system around and make it an educational tool. Consider the White House, congress, US house of representatives and these are three games where the people learn, really learn more about their government. It can be the foundation for similar games in Canada, the UK and Australia. A game all set to teach about government. It will have a few sides and it will have a few questions left, right and centre. Yet it could be an idea and the makers of Law Empire Tycoon have a larger setting ready, so are they the ones creating an educational game that teaches the people parts and sides of their government. It is merely an idea, yet will it work? I am not certain, but it is an option to consider, especially when the student (gamer) gets the lowdown and learns in a way books seemingly are not doing it to way too many people. 

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Missing hardware

This train had been on route for a while, and there are a few reasons for that. In the first my mind took the easy road, but as I pondered the stage again and again, my mind was trying to view another road, even if I remained unaware, I try to not look into the back of my mind. It is a messy place and covered with corpses. We all revere the idea’s we complete, but the others not that much, in this I am just like anyone else. There is no excuse, like a good IT person, I can be as lazy as the next person. 

The new hardware (of course a free idea for Sony and independent Sony Playstation and Amazon Luna makers is set in two parts (I’ll get to them soon enough). The thoughts came more clear as I was finishing the last Harry Potter movie. In the back was also an idea that Peter Molyneux had in Black and White, the gesture system. But it is one of the few times that it was employed. Harry I Potter games are a natural thought and Someone made it a harry potter game as well (Book of Spells), I never played it, but the wand was ugly as hell, It was a mere sign of the times. 

Now consider the image below, a wand we can buy and they are there for nearly any Harry Potter character, now consider that in the next batch onwards it was two small compartments, each for a cylinder that is no more then 3mm thick and 11-17mm long. One at the tip and one at the handle with two small metal points that connect to the inside, so that it can be charged without opening your wand all the time. 

Now consider that the first part is like the observer, like what the Nintendo Wii had, but not in one part, in two parts. One goes to the middle of the upper or lower side of the TV, the other to the middle part of the left or right side of the TV, two parts so that the scan will be much more accurate (even thought the Wii was pretty accurate), the second one, the locators are in this case in the wand, or perhaps a steering wheel, a sword, a bow and arrow and we can go on from there. 

Locator

These locators can be ordered per 2 and are relatively cheap. Yet what is more interesting is that a gamer can now get ‘almost authentic’ wands of choice, the gamer gets to choose and as we see the market bounce back, we see a much larger stage, because who wouldn’t want something almost geeky alike whatever they love? The steering wheel of Steve McQueen (GTA V), The sword of Viggo Mortensen’s Anduril (Lord of the Rings), you name it we tend to get overly enthusiastic on some movie and some special item, the Lord of the rings gets to hundreds of millions, Harry Potter Merchandise is well over 20 billion and that is a mere two movies. What happens when we add the Fast and Furious steering wheel that Dominic Toretto uses? And there is an upside, you can go as expensive, or keep it as cheap as possible, the steering wheel would merely need to two small hidden compartments with the two small connectors for charging. The generic locators would do the work with the scanners on the other side, and as the group of games expands over more devices, the gamers can consider buying two more locators, I reckon that a gamer will end up with 3-5 locator sets, they’ll start with one and buy another one when they get the two games they always wanted. After that they will exchange the locators to their new device of their game of choice, yet a steering wheel can optionally be used in nearly all racing games. The sword in plenty of games and as we see this grow we see a more complete engagement in gaming, something all game designers hope for and by setting the premise of a steer or anything to be as cheap or as realistic as possible will open new markets as well. Yes for the younger players that thing that case with the Book of Spells will suffice, but when that 9 year old turns 15-16, they want something more alike and those wands are anything between $9 and $90, it will be open to the gamer to decide what they spend on, we merely need to add the hardware to allow for that and as their choice of gaming adjusts, the locators can be moved from one to the other. 

A new stage where some will chose the cheap plastic sword and some will go for the Weta Workshop originals (or is that near originals?) It is up to you to choose, but we need the hardware makers to consider that there are parts of any choice that rely on the decision of the gamer. That is how the market rolls and we need to adhere to that because if gaming cannot lead the way the other markets are pretty screwed from the word go. That is a clear sign we have seen over the last 20 years.

Is it an option? I believe so, I believe that the markets are ready to show us that they can offer something new, is it enough? Time will tell.

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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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Blame Canada

Yup, the award nominated song from South Park, the title will forever reverberate in my mind, and in this case Canada was on my mind for a week. The reason? I will get to that, but first we will need to take you through some essential comparisons. In the first Canada is almost the size of the USA, it is a little smaller, but not much. The second part is that it has 10% of the population that the USA has. So nature rules in Canada on a few fronts, including the small fact that most Canadian women are a lot more beautiful than the American ones (A.J. Cook, Laura Vandevoort, Alison Pill, Ana Golja, Annie Clark, Nanci Chambers, Erica Cerra and hundreds more) have graced the screens large and small and they are a fine example of the Canadian women. Yet, this is not about the women it is about nature. You see, we see apps and games on hunting and survival, yet it is always set to a set of parameters, so what if we take that away? What if we create a map from satellites, real and decently accurate map sizing 1000 by 500 Km stretching from British Colombia to Saskatchewan? In this map you get dumped and from there on it will be about TRUE survival. There will be settings like starter, amateur and pro and those three rings will determine hunger, thirst, hypothermia and hostile nature. The program would set all the elements are faithful as possible, giving the people a real taste of survival without harming ones self. The amateur gets a few lives, but the rest is hardcore, one life and that is it. So how long could you survive in a game where everything matters. You see, it dawned on me that it started a little further back when I heard someone claim in a games shop that survival is simple, you merely have to understand what the game needs. That started the entire progress and as I learned more about Canada, I saw the options that they could give a gamer. More interestingly that same map could be used to spawn stories and cultural history on the First Nation, the stories of a collection of ghost towns, the call of the wild and hunting lessons, a game that gives people a decently real taste of that life without killing the animals, or (more importantly) getting killed by them. 

So why did I mention the women?
You can go into the wild just on your own, or for a reason, one reason is that your family (one of the actresses fictively being your wife) has gone down in Canada and a rough location is know. You are dropped off by chopper and with a radio and a backpack of goods, so can you find her? Can you safe them all (if the program allows for that)? A setting where survival is taken on a hype and to be honest there is no place like Canada to test it, it is one of the most rugged places on earth (if we ignore Russia). A stage that could be larger, because if you remember yesterday, the map is merely one side and we can fill it or better stated overlay it with other games. And if it takes a lifetime to explore a map that size, consider what gaming challenges could be added to that map, or perhaps better stated the challenges that a game has and it uses the same map. 

Does it matter?
Not really, but gaming can only evolve when you push the boundaries and we cannot rely on the consoles or streamers to push, they are for the most in a holding pattern until 5G grows up and that will take another 2 years, just as I foresaw and it gives another side. China can do pretty much exactly the same, they have similar settings and they have the space, but they also have 1.4 billion people and a lot more roads. In all this I have always believed that coming first gives you an edge and with IP on mobiles and other sources growing that space for options is diminishing, as such Canada only has a real advantage whilst China does not go that way, will they? I have no idea, yet so far none of the other players have taken their map to such a degree and that opens options as well as opportunities. 

As we see what we have, we need to look at where we could go, not where we should go. This is because nearly everyone does that and as such we get a dozen flavours of the same ice-cream. But at some point someone will figure out that borders need to be crossed and when they do it when 5G does become a solid reality they will be late for well over a year. So why Canada? There are two reasons, they have the space, they have a lot of the knowledge and they have a dozen local software developers, so they are almost ready to get started. They merely need the information from NRCAN to get the map data (and it helps to smile politely at the lost boys of the CSIS). When the map is done they have the largest component for several games, all set to multiple systems. 

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Time slice or lemon tart

That is indeed the question, but the question is not that important at present. It all started with a weird dream. In this dream I was in Montreal (Canada), now let’s be clear. I have no connection to the city, and apart from the fact that they have a good hockey team, I know next to nothing on the place, I know it is in French speaking Canada, but that is all. So in this dream I saw someone, it might be a reflective me, it could be anyone. They saved a hawk, or falcon from their balcony. The animal was shivering and clearly afraid, the person put on an oven mitt and offered his hand. The bird jumped on the hand with the mitt and carefully the bird was taken in the house. He placed the bird on top of a chair and got the bird rare roast beef (it seemingly really liked the rare roast beef) and gave it a bowl of water mixed with a lot of sugar. The bird was no longer seemingly afraid, but it was nervous. The person was looking at the clouds and wondered. He then moved what was drinkable and eatable into the bathroom, the bathroom and this is important was one of the innermost rooms in the house, no windows and no direct outer wall. He also placed a chair and a small table (it was a large bathroom), moved the goods into the bathroom and walked around the house pushing the heaters up everywhere, yet not to the highest setting, setting 4 was used on knobs with a 6 setting, I think that mattered somehow. Then he carefully moved the bird, now aptly named Horus with the mitt again and took the chair as well. He then got into the kitchen, took several items and moved to the bathroom where he set the radiator to high. 

Then it started to happen, Montreal was hit with a cold snap, it was only October, or November, but the cold-snap happened and well over 50% of the people in Montreal froze to death. 

Now, none of this is a mystery. I saw the Day after tomorrow, I played AC Origins, so all the elements (all except Montreal) fell into place, no real mystery or divine intervention.

Then I remembered every time I played a new game of Minecraft. Did you play it? The first day is important, because you need to create a safe location before the sun goes down. That part is important because too many RPG games are a service where it is at your convenience. Whenever you get around to it, and Bethesda has used that setting since I started playing it in Oblivion, in that same setting Fallout 3 onwards has the same stage. Yet what happens when that is not an option? When a house is on fire, it does not help to hand the bucket to the owner of the burning house when you get to level 13. He (of she) needs it now, or really soon. This is a stage we forgot about, the time slice. There are two issues.

  1. Do you have the minimum skills to cater to a time driven need?
  2. Should such a stage be set and always be achievable?

These two setting are important, there are gain two stages we must contemplate. In the first we cannot always be there, that is a mere fact of life and programming around that element is often folly. The second is that if we have a proper RPG, we have houses (guilds), but what if your first guild is not a mage or a tinkerer? So early in the game you see a setting where you can only watch, be that famous Monday morning quarterback and watch others do the job. Then we get to the important part, we need to set these parts to some level of randomisation that instigated when you START the new game. Not when you get there. So we see the need to have 20-40 missions with a decent rewards, but we need to be partially lucky, so that the internet cheater miss out as well. That is setting a larger story, especially when success unlocks a larger side quest. And the second part in all this, it enables and fortifies the replay of a game. So in the dream we can see that Horus was the trigger, but what happens when you never noticed that bird? Would you be ready? Would you make it to any shelter? And most important, without resources you will go hungry, thirsty and optionally will continue with decreased stamina and health (a day without food makes a person weak, try it for yourself if you doubt me).

So is the approach of having time sliced missions a hit or a lemon? I cannot answer that, I think it could be great if you program this properly and it will take proper programming to get it done. Programmers could ask Anunnaki (god of fate), but there is a chance that you will not receive any help from that direction. It will be a challenge on several levels, but should you pull it off you will be the one adding a new dimension to RPG gaming, a dimension that has been lacking for close to a decade, before that systems were just not strong enough.

In this I merely remembered the settings I came up with in Mass Effect Andromeda 2, Base of the pillar. And yes, I will admit that I had some overlapping ideas that I had for Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but I think that a good foundation (as long a the story is completely different) is not a bad thing. I saw the massive mass driven mistake that Andromeda was and there was a setting to fix it and regain credibility, but in that setting ME Andromeda would pack the second game with the first game, and even as a lot was the same, it was added with an enormous amount of changes and different storytelling. One needs to be faithful to the original trilogy. 

Yet all these settings cannot be more of the same, there needs to be a level of evolution. Yes there are plenty of gamers that do not mind more of the same, but they will soon realise that they are stuck in the past and that is as I personally see it never a good thing. And is success a guarantee? No, it is not. I do not offer guarantees, I merely dabble in ideas that can make the next generation of gaming special and enticing.We all might come up with a Nintendo WiiU, and that is fine, but it is not that system, it resulted in the Nintendo Switch and the few who are able to make THAT leap will make it big and that ups the level of gaming for everyone, that I the setting that players like Amazon Luna and Google Stadia (they a little less) get to look t and there is the larger station of play, a setting we have not seen before, not a game that exists everywhere. This is not about exclusivity, but about a totally new level and dimension of play, I think too many are forgetting that we need to push that part and not enough of us are making that leap. 

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To serve the gamer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The gaming mandate

We all seem to know what is best for all, we talk about policies, protocols and even mandates. Yet are they valid? I looked at a game based in the Walking dead on iOS, I looked at it for 5 minutes, saw how it played and deleted it. In my view it was not a game. It looked awesome, the graphics were amazing, but the game play is set to short term events that will get increasingly harder, not challenging, merely harder, and soon there after too hard. The game draws you in and after that it will be about pay to play through microtransactions. Their actions are not invalid, they are not illegal. I merely see it as this being no longer a game, but a mere cash cow. The problem is that these games also attract people who do not really know what gaming is, or sometimes even what games are. That is a shame.

You see, I am not trying to set out some mandate, but there is the joy of gaming and that needs to be protected. As I saw this game of short term bursts of gaming, the idea of gaming tends to be larger, should be larger and often on non-micro-transaction foundations will be more joy. So I started to think, what if the premise of that game is altered?

A different stage of play, a much larger map, even at the same foundation, consider what you know of the Walking dead and now have a Dungeon keeper approach. A map that is set, but in that map we can create a small protected place, we can place a garden (hatchery) that offers sustenance and calls a type of player, we sleeping quarters (lair) that does the same, but lets people rest. And we can see how we can add a workshop, a gym, a guard post and so on. As the game goes from level to level the players gets attacked, walker after walker with a wave or two and  the player can figure out hat to build where, how to get resources and so on, a stage NOT build on micro transactions, but a game build for joy and the consoles are doing their jobs, but soon it will be to the streamers, if they cannot break the cycle of pay-to-play, a whole generation will optionally lose the joy to play at all. Consider that Activision Blizzard generated 5.74 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. That is ONE company. Now we get it, Blizzard is big, and we cannot compete with that size, but there are dozens of smaller ones competing for revenue. Candy Crush generated revenue exceeding a billion dollars in 2019. Now consider that they did nothing wrong, but their game is set on algorithms that are set on you almost making it, and yes for $1 in special candy you could make it, it is ego versus mathematics and the ego will ALWAYS lose. Yet what happens when we invest into that $5 a month Amazon Luna solution? What if we enjoy long term gaming? You see, Amazon Luna (Google Stadia too) have a much lower threshold than consoles do and that is the barrier that is easily broken, to set players into a field where they can explore, enjoy and have fun. You see when we crush short term achievement drives and we get people on the bandwagon of fun we can change a lot and hopefully create a few people to take over the sceptre from people like Peter Molyneux, Richard Garriott, and Sid Meier. We have some really good game makers, but t present there is ALWAYS room for more, especially when their dreams, ideas and perseverance brings us new and original gaming IP. That is what we need on pretty much all systems. When the wish becomes the mandate it can be a force for good, but it is not a given, I merely hope it will turn out that way.

Yet in all earnest, and even as I am ripping old IP apart to use what is good, we need the stage of what is good to hopefully create something new and better. Even now I still think of a game released 24 years ago. It was GoldenEye 007. It changed things and even now it still holds a candle up to what is created today. Some of it is found in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, almost 17 years ago. Games that enticed whole scores of gamers. So what happens when we look back and consider the IP we cast aside? We ignore Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods, a game 30 years old, but even now it still has appeal. Even as graphics need improvement, the makers then had really nice ideas and we forgot just how much fun we had for weeks. Even now, a 23 year old game like Sentinel Returns could still generate a whole score of fans and they are not alone. There have been makers like Peter Cooke who created Tower of Babel well over 30 years ago. Even as it requires an upgrade (graphics), the foundation of these games was good and engaging and we need them, we need to break the cycle of micro transactions. This sounds a little wrong, because there is nothing with microtransactions, yet I see everyone hammering against loot boxes and EA, all whilst the problem of microtransactions is well over 1000% worse. And the issue is not that they exist, or that they are not illegal, because they are not, but the foundation of the kind of gamers we create is. And I am not including the stupid people who go crying to some lame journo on how they wasted $12,000 on loot boxes, all whilst that journo is ignoring the stupidity of the person, but the draw of gaming is partially to blame. By setting the stage to ego (like a puzzle with a diminishing IQ counter), instead of a joy that has no time pressure, we change the foundation of our playing habit, and it needs to change. The old systems were harbouring dozens of games that could be added to any gaming arsenal and bring joy to the gamer Not all of them are RPG, some are shooters, some are platforms and some are a combination. We all have different needs, but we all have an overwhelming need to have fun, and too many games in todays android and iOS environment are driven to make it an ego driven event. If I were wrong there would never be a lego game, but I am not. There are well over 80 games based on the lego concept and they are (for the most) all fun. They are not alone but they are out there and their presence sticks out, they are not alone.

To call for a gaming mandate is wrong, because gaming is different for us all, I get that and some like the match three games, but they are hidden traps and that has never been made clear, The Conversation linked to this in 2014, There we get “During a recent radio talkback discussion, on which I was a guest, parents rang in with extraordinary tales of their children’s accidental and expensive online spending. One parent divulged that his six-year-old had spent A$700 in 15 minutes upgrading to new levels using in-app purchases.”, we still see news on loot boxes and the need to tax it all, yet none of them are looking into micro-transactions and match 3 games, are they? And they are not alone, a source gives us “The mobile games industry shows no signs of slowing down with consumer spending reaching $44.7 billion for the first half of 2021, an 18 per cent increase year-over-year.” And how does that add up compared to loot boxes? I think certain political players are unwilling to look into the directions that they have no hold over, and micro-transactions are not illegal, neither are loot boxes, but their legal status is wrongfully being changed. The stakeholders have a little too much power, so I need to make sure that we can change the premise of gaming before it is too late and in this the streaming solutions are the easiest to tackle, they are the station where the independent programmers could make the larger impact and with disregarded IP on a dozen systems there are additional options. I believe we need to press for this change before people forget that gaming has always been about fun, not ego.

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COMPUTE BigTechPlotGoogle = ‘Lost’.

Yes, we all have to create variables to set a larger stage. We know that age gives us a lot, but the 15 people of age 18, the 7 with age 19, the 3 with age 20 are useless, yet when we group them in an age classification of 18-23 we get a lot more information out of our data. This is not new, this is. setting that market research has walked on for decades. Even before some programs added ‘functionality’, the people behind programs like Quantum were already on top of mentioned groupings. So when I see Google 9 to 5 giving us “Google is adding five games to Stadia Pro for August 2021”, I wonder if they have any clue what thy are doing. Apart from the fact that we also get “Killer Queen Black, inspired by the hit arcade game, Killer Queen, let’s you fight for your hive with three ways to win. Will you claim your victory by hopping on the snail, hoarding berries, or wiping out the enemy’s queen?” As well as “Stadia Pro is Stadia’s premium subscription service and your gateway to the best that Stadia has to offer. With an active Stadia Pro subscription, you get a variety of perks, including free games, exclusive game discounts, and top-tier visual and audio quality”. Here we now see a setting where Google is not merely fumbling the ball, it is giving the court to Amazon. There was always a risk of that, but to do it in such a direct way is rather silly. There is no Google Stadia without decent games and by confusing gamers by giving them “there’s Killer Queen Black ($19.99), Valkyria Chronicles 4 ($49.99), It Came From Space & Ate Our Brains ($14.99), and Epistory – Typing Chronicles ($14.99)” we see a stage where Google will not be part of any gaming stage soon enough. Any platform needs traction, any platform, especially streaming systems will need a cluster of gamers, that like grapes suck your soil dry for EVERY game possible, the numbers and exclusivity decide the winner. So when I saw this last Friday, I had to ponder what this means, not only does the setup implies that Amazon Luna will rule the streaming environment, it also implies that Google would fall dead last behind Microsoft. A stage I had not expected to happen. Not only should Google be first, it should be way ahead of Amazon, which is apparently not going to happen, so when we get “The count now stands at 29 titles” leaving us with the implied setting that at present Amazon Luna is wielding a games list three times the size of Google, how was that EVER a good idea? It also leaves us with the implied stage that Amazon will soon be the number 3 system behind Sony and Nintendo and it gets to be better, in that setting there is a larger stage where the Luna could be seen as accepted NEXT to the Playstation 5 gamer and Nintendo Switch gamer, optionally we will see households with these three systems. This changes the future for Amazon in a few ways, should they think this through, they can offer a new level of social networking, offering a link to Sony and Nintendo players, so that they can partake on the social scene, they can offer a much larger stage that would offer the Kindle to a large population who have ignored it (for whatever reason) and set a new level of consumer staging. In this there is an optional chance that a new Triumvirate could be created. In line of the old version where the world was ruled by Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. This version will be one that gamers want, because they are getting hat THEY want, not what makers think they want. Sony, Amazon and Nintendo will get a larger stage to unite and perfect gamers needs, the rest will merely watch on the sides as they are trying to figure out what gamers (according to their marketing department) need. It will set their agenda’s back for close to a decade and in the mean time these three will excel in giving us gamers what we truly want. This is not a given, but when we unite the news from different sources, there is every chance that we go in that direction, and it would make me happy, especially if that puts Microsoft dead last in that field. Serves them right! Huh!

OK, that might not be called for but my ego took over for a moment. And there is a larger stage, a stage that goes beyond what we merely think can happen, there are options for Amazon to make it happen, will they? That is hard to say, streaming needs a good internet connection and there is time, but in the next year this war will be settled on the streaming winners and Amazon does seem to be in pole position here, I am not writing off Netflix, but I have no idea where they are at and how they want to offer services, in addition Netflix is also seen as a competitor with the Sony streaming services, a setting that Amazon does not have, so Sony would be eager to add to their functionality without impeding the Playstation and Luna is no threat there, more interesting the Luna, Switch and PS5 can easily sit next to one another and that would sit well with all three, a triumvirate in the making and that is where the others fall away.

I have no idea whether this will really happen, it largely depends on the actions by Amazon and their Luna to show it can be done, but the other two will happily accept a brother in gaming that is not taking the wind out of their sails and Google forgot to see and centre their view to the larger ocean instead of calibrating to whatever coastline they are ogling. That setting of wrong focal point is more likely than not, the stage that will cost them the streaming gaming war, it was up to them and they chose (very) poorly as I personally see it. To be honest, I thought that it would take until early 2023 when 5G is more widely spread for the streaming consoles to set their battle lines and now it seems that at present, with the information given to us, Amazon Luna is all but a decided winner even before the race is off. Considering that they were up against Google and Microsoft, it is an achievement that should not be underestimated. 

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