Tag Archives: Millennium 2.2

The completed list

It happens, we had a list and we completed it. It is nothing dramatic, earth shaking or revealing, it merely is, but it feels like we completed something larger than it is. For me that happened about three hours ago whilst I was contemplating upgraded gaming IP. There was a tank game that I had on the very first iPad, I conquered the game, completed most of it and at some point, I could no longer update that iPad, so I deleted that game (something I regretted more than once), anyway, on my new iPad Air, I got another game with the same basic approach, so I was happy, it was the only game, or app that was missing, now I have an iPad, like the first one, all the apps, all what I need and it makes me happy, it is nothing major, but like any completed list, you somehow feel like you really made an impact, I am no exception there. 

As such, my mind wandered into the upgraded Millennium 2.2, a game I originally had on the Amiga, I got the game somewhere on abandonware (I forgot where I left it), but I think that this game can be remade on Apple, instead of charging people, the game is initially for free, for $3 you can upgrade the game, as such, your plants on the moons work 20% more efficient, the miners will get 20% more and 2 additional resources can be found there. No ads, and all flyable units will be 20% faster. As such, the game can be played and those who love it will buy the upgrade, those who do not can complete the game in a slower fashion and watch a few ads. I also considered what more the gamer could receive, you see, the Amiga had no more than 7% of the power and available options that a modern laptop or even a tablet can have and as such, I think that the makers should consider upgrades. In the first, the solar generator part was way too shallow, in light of that, we should consider adding a part to that. Not merely a generator, but any part of the station (research, resources, life support and production, they all need their own generator, with a smaller addition to power the base as a whole. Research also needs an AI part, and of course that will only work with a more powerful generator, the stage of how much power there is for the AI decides on how much extra he can do, a small sub-game with two sides (not original mind you), one is based on the RAM game from Paradroid.

You get to choose the side, but there is no opposition, as you have more power, you get more bits, the more you unlock, the more efficient the AI becomes, then there is the second setting there the AI has to unlock any new section, not unlike the phone tap in Covert Action, Yet this part is depending on how good you unlocked the first part, a lousy generator means less options and less choices, as such, you have to create a new net every time you update, but you only update when a new segment becomes available.

And you do this for every station you create, but if you are creating a base on a moon near Saturn, you need a much more powerful generator to get anywhere near the basic power levels that the moon requires. OK, not all new and original, but one segment requires miners to go to the asteroid belt, there we can add originality by actually scanning asteroids and when we have done this for the first miner, we can lock the elements in and it will seek for those settings in every subsequent flight (to avoid dreariness), from that point onward a lot will stay the same (the original scored 90%), I wanted to add things as the game can be done in 20 hours, I wanted to add to that so that people will enjoy it much longer, but it remained a game that they can pick up when travelling and have a nice time whilst travelling. The original game sets us on the moon, as does the remake, but the original did not use the moon as a lore creator, there were probes for scanning, but I want to add to that (and if you unlock the full AI set), where we use the actual moon locations, to find debris that will allow more research. For example, the Hasselblad lenses on every moon lander are quite the achievement, they are still on the moon, yet these lenses will allow for upgraded scanners on probes, and over time will allow for more advanced scanning of locations. When we consider what the Americans, Russian and Chinese left n the moon, there is a lot more we can do, we can add to the original version, there defence was limited to a Launch Fighter, or to Activate Laser, when a rover is found we can have a Mobile Laser and when we get three rovers (one Russian, one American and one Chinese) we get Automated mobile laser, which is twice as efficient. We could even consider adding the Israeli Beresheet, should we find it, the laser becomes more powerful. So many options, not enough places to look. 

We can add so much more, without hurting or changing the original game. I had the same approach when I looked at a remastered Murder on the Zinderneuf, that is if EA no longer has a claim to that IP, and the less said on Seven cities of gold, the better, all optional stages for millions in micro transactions, without spoiling the fun for those who cannot afford that, if Igor Bukhman and his baby brother Dmitry Bukhman are any indication, I am looking at at close to half a dozen titles, each with the optional setting of 5-10 million, and in that it is not the silly sales notion of ‘what if’, it is the stage of ‘would you also like to’, the second stage might not seem like much, but when a person gets the option the choice to spend $3, it is all that is needed and a million times over that will start to amount to serious cash.

Will this be a new list? Not sure, I am focussed on my 5G IP, that does not mean I will look away from any new challenging puzzle that show the people that gaming can be fun and it is not founded on pay per challenge, it is the one part that Mass Effect 3 really got right. We forgot about that title, did we not? And even as we look at what other games can contribute, the setting of Covert Action, the stages of Paradroid and a leap towards 7 cities of gold are all stages (providing that the IP is available) that people overlooked, I cannot fathom why and that is before you consider that Ubisoft is also sitting on a few million that they seemingly forgot about.

We all have lists to complete, I merely wonder why some decide to leave theirs in some drawer collecting dust. Enjoy the weekend, and if you hear the US Secret Service knocking on your door, don’t forget that most of the US Administration has been hacked, they might not know where they are. oh… didn’t Activision have something on that?

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Alternative income

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

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

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

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

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

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The Yesterday approach

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

 

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Hoping the best

The earlier piece was merely the introduction, it matters as we all make choices, we all embrace what appeals to us. I have seen this path all the way going back to the VIC-20, and it was a good path. I have seen on system after system how new players made true innovation happen. If we consider the Atari ST/CBM Amiga, it was the ground where Psygnosis made several steps of true innovation in gaming. There was Westwood (Command and Conquer, Red Alert), Bullfrog (Populous, Dungeon Keeper), and there is no escaping the one true original Faster then Light with Dungeon Master.  The list goes on, whether you accept it or not, but the bulk of all new games created have a foundation towards the old originals. Many have forgotten, and many never knew. There is no blame here, we all have our history with games and gaming, some started with Candy Crush, some have been around when games were not cool.

We grew up watching games evolve, when it was limited to the hardware of a system. The foundations of civilization and Elite were set to systems with only 64 Kilobytes, as such you can imagine the creativity that these people needed to employ to get past these hardware limitations and get beyond this. 

As new systems are coming, so is the need for new IP, new ways for software companies to create a cash incentive. Some rely on microtransactions, the option to grind for time and push for additional paid incentives. Yet the treasure trove that is there, the trove that is absent of IP protection is a worthy chest full of new makes. Most have forgotten that and as they try to find a way to appease Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and optionally Google, they look for what not yet is and forget the amazing benefit to investigate what was. A simple list of titles Millennium 2.2, Paradroid, Seven Cities of gold, Laser Squad, Chipbits and even the Ultima series. All games mostly forgotten by all but the seasoned fans. I would mention System Shock, but that is being remade at present (hopefully being released in 2020).

Games that are not merely ported, but games that can be upgraded in all kinds of ways, the new consoles allow for much more options as they are almost 1,000 times the power and ability that the CBM 64 had. I am not merely talking about a new version of a game, but a game with additional sides and more depth then before. 

Consider the option of a game that could be out in under a year, all upgraded to the max of the new systems. That is the race they now face, that is where the initial coin was. Microsoft (and Sony) are at present in the setting where gaming is backward compatible and I am fine with that. Yet you as a gamer, would you prefer a PS4 or Xbox game, or a PS5/Xbox One X game?

I am not going to Speculate what these two larger players will do, yet I believe that the game makers will have additional options, they merely have to look into the right direction. I personally believe that there is a larger option here and the right developer will find a lucrative business, especially with players like Ubisoft being in the shape it is. Consider No Man’s Sky, in 2015 very few knew of him, there was a trailer out and that was it. Less than 5 years later everyone in gaming knows him, one title did that. People might think of him one way or the other, but he is there and he produced a game everyone remembers, that path is open to any developer who is willing to make a run for the gold.

It is great that some want to create a new level of IP, yet with 1.2 million games out there over time, making and creating something new is becoming increasingly difficult. Yet close to 25% of the games out there are old, forgotten and no protection on that IP as it remained unregistered. There is an awful lot of digital gold in the out and the open getting ignored.

This is the opportunity that the big three have, all three have systems capable of supporting an evolved and upgraded game that would stand up to any game created today. That is before you consider the options that are out in the open. EA made a game in the early 80’s called ‘Murder on the Hindenburg’, now combine it with the 1993 game ‘Iron Helix’ and you have the making of a new game, optionally first person with a zepplin mapped out and the need to find a murderer. As you have a library of NPC people you can replay the game again and again with different outcomes every time. So it would be a whodunnit heaven for anyone that loves the genre. Add to this the option to select the detective you play (and the strengths and weaknesses of them) and the game becomes something more. More evolved, deeper even as we merely are in one large location, yet does it need to be? 

All options from two individual games that became more than the sum of both. It took me 5 minutes to work that out, and I am but one person. So how many new games are there at the heart of being picked up by others?

There is a great time ahead for gamers, but will they face that utopian future? Time will tell.

 

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