Tag Archives: Ratchet and Clank

Choices and Wisdom

We all have all kinds of wisdom, what we learned in school and that what as further tempered by work and eduction. Then there is the wisdom we get over time, from the things we have enjoyed doing, or loved doing for decades. No this is not some weird way to tell others that we are all well grown gynaecologists (without a medical education we really are not), yet some events, like photography, music, filming, gaming, reading. These are skills that develop over time. Some will never be great writers, but they grow a knowledge that allows them to recognise good and great pieces of writing, some will see great movies and TV series from the early beginnings, some will recognise a really great game. We all grow such skills, some faster and more complete than others. And here is where I am now. With Keno Diastima I am now at an impasse. I completed the thoughts on the cliffhanger on season 3, and as I see it, it will be one that will make jaws drop all over the field, yet what next? Try to get into season 4? Or end the story with a wide open ending? For some reason the second one is appealing to me. I haven’t thought of where to go in season 4, that is true enough, but in all that the setting of an open ending is appealing. It lets the viewer imagine what would be next. I personally never liked the American approach to finalise everything. The setting is that in the first finalisation is overrated, in the second it is that life is never complete, if we finalise we cannot perfect, if we cannot perfect we can grow, we can become better, the finalised people are mediocre or will never know the perfection they could have been headed to. It is like a lot of Ubisoft games, they are below par. 

Am I correct?
Well, the balance of probability states me to be correct, yet in opposition, we see God of War 4, Ratchet and Clank Rifts apart, Miles Morales. The PS5 is showing a whole host of games that ended up close to perfect, all whilst Ubisoft showed us games that were mediocre between 70% and 80%. So we have two stations, one showing me that I am right, one making it debatable and I am in the middle trying to make a choice. In all this I am wondering what to do. Even as I saw another side of some of the settings that I designed, as I see more and more evolutions in the IP I created, I also see that anything can be improved on, Keno Diastima is no exception. And in this yes, there is more to explore, but the appeal of finishing a story on a high is weirdly appealing. I wonder if J. Michael Straczynski faced this at the end of season 4 of Babylon 5? 

So how should I go about it? I am asking this of myself. Perhaps in a few days I see the light and a larger idea opens up, but it is not a guarantee. And within me the struggle continues shall I move forward, or not? It is a stage of wondering, not a stage of fear. Not a stage where we see ‘US lawmakers have introduced five bills aimed at limiting the power held by Big Tech companies’, bills that were designed out of fear, because overhauling the tax laws to fit all was too dangerous, powerful friends would be out in the cold and demonising a few is preferable, not unlike the Nazi’s who demonised the gypsies, the jews and a few others, remember that? How did that end? So when you see “The bills were drafted after a 16-month investigation into the powers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook” consider that a law on 4 is discrimination, an overhauled tax law including the 4 is the right direction. I have said that for the better part of 2 decades, yet we see an investigation of 16 months. How is there any level of equilibrium? How is there balance on al fronts when 4 are demonised? So when will they limit Netflix and Disney plus to give ‘equal’ way to the others? It is the beginning of dead people trying to live a little longer. Soon America will see a larger setting, soon they will claim the union of patents and IP into the economy, because it will be best for all the people, a limitation of 5 is preferable over the denying to nearly all, and the US still has no plan to avoid overspending by trillions on an annual basis. So whilst I look at the optional ending of a great ride, they are merely looking at the continuation of a mediocre ride and there is the rub, there is the flaw. We see it in movies, TV, games, books and software, yet we do not catch on, life is unpredictable. Those who wield choices to their end are all about staying in power, even though they do not contribute and they are scared, China is on their heels to surpass them technological and economical, a twofold loss. So whilst CNBC gives us ‘U.S.-China relations are ‘still deteriorating,’ says former U.S. ambassador’, we need to consider that the US overplayed itself economically in well over a decade and whilst they needed to strap expenses, they refused to do so, they entered a road of iteration, all whilst a nation without true innovation has no place to go, but to become a following sheep and the innovations by Huawei are proof of that, Apple, IBM, Microsoft all iterative, all whilst I designed more original IP by myself then all of them together. And that is separate from the ideas on movies, TV series and games I came up with, and that is besides the additions to existing games. 

I feel happy in some way and sad that several government are so scared and so dependent on the US that it is almost scary that the media (from a multitude of sources) are merely copy and pasting some news. Consider ‘Romanian president signs bill into law to ban Huawei from 5G’, as well as ‘‘No concrete proof’ of espionage: Malaysia on verge of Huawei 5G deal. For me the issue is that the US and others have NEVER EVER shown evidence that Huawei equipment was used for espionage. In opposition the equipment in use (Cisco for example) allows for example allows for all kinds of sneaky acquisition of data. The sources via Solarwinds are proof of other larger flaws, Huawei equipment is not needed. When you consider that and we see the US accusations, as well as copied accusations by others, all whilst no evidence was ever produced. The Verge gave us “There is no hard evidence to support this notion, and some of the reasons put forward for this notion are weak. For example, the background of the chairmen of Huawei. Huawei founder Mr. Ren Zhengfei once served in the People’s Liberation Army. As we know, serving in the army was one way of getting out of poverty for people in the countryside, which is where Mr. Ren is from. His time in the army was a short one and he was not in any important position”, as well as “Any supposedly safe Chinese product is one firmware update away from being an insecure Chinese product”. The second one is optional, but that applies to all American hardware as well, but the media is not giving us that part, are they? The media did (to the largest extent) avoid for the longest time to look into the Cisco flaw(s), even as Cisco informed their customers close to immediately. So what is wisdom? I am not sure if I am the right person to state that, but I do feel that limiting 5 players whilst they were not illegally acting is wrong on several levels and all whilst the IP and patent stage remains open, as such I will make a case for my IP to be placed in either the UK or Canada. They seem the safest place and when other figure out what I have figured out and the IP and patents of the Fortune 500 end up being registered in these two locations over the US, you will see that I am correct and the US will find them self in something close to a Wall Street free fall soon thereafter. 

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The stage moves on

Yes, today I got the news I was happy about. There was of course the news on Diablo IV coming. But the one bit of news I did not know about hit me about 56.3 minutes ago (roughly). Diablo 2 will be coming to us in a remastered version, as such is there something like too much Diablo? And even as it makes me happy, it shows that some are in a larger stage to resurrect the great old games in a new jacket. I have been stating this for almost a year, and now as Diablo 2, Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 are coming, the good old days of gaming is coming back. There are always reservations, in the stage where we live Mass Effect for years, we will be faced with a game where we go through the motions, yet there are hundred of thousand of gamers who missed out on that and for them I am happy. This stage is not the same for Diablo 2, yes the story is clear but the game was a lot more than the story and that will still satisfy. Even as some wasted time on a relaunch of Bullfrog games, the good games could still be coming. There is Nightdive Studios who is working on System Shock and there are a few others that will bring good gaming back to systems and consoles. It is all the stage and with the $138 billion projected for gaming this year alone. Everyone wants a slice of that pie and some will not care how they get it. 

Even as we all applaud the effort and the choices, we are still in a holding pattern on the games that will redefine gaming on the next generation of consoles. Some are hoping that Ratchet and Clank will bring it this June, most are eagerly awaiting Horizon Forbidden West to bring the goods.  Others are expecting that God of war, who redefined what the PS4 could achieve will see a similar setting when God of War: Ragnarok hits the PS5. A few (like me) hope that Gotham Knights will bring the cheese to the mouse, we are all victims of our own needs and Batman is my obsession, it has been since I was a little fellow staring at Adam West and Burt Ward, it took a while for my mind to grasp special effects, but that was life in innocence, or as some members of the Dark Brotherhood would state ‘it’s life’s greatest illusion’, we can offer no choice, the door was right. And as we accept that illusion we look towards the games that are still to come. 

I am not going to add links to all these great teasers, trailers and spoilers, because in my mind they tend to be all spoilers. Whenever it is a video that does not come from the actual makers, I tend to avoid it, merely for the dangers of seeing or hearing too much. Just like someone stating that in God of War: Ragnarok you will have to find armour 42 made by the smith Anthonius Stark (don’t worry, I made that up myself right now), we all have our ideas on teasers and real parts, even as I hope that Bethesda will add two achievements to their new Elder Scrolls game it will not be a teaser or spoiler towards the actual game. The first one is ‘You stole someone’s sweat-roll’ the other one is ‘He took an arrow to his knee’, those who played Skyrim will know what that is about and optionally giggle for a moment. 

There are dozens of examples and most gamers have their own thoughts on the passing of time whilst gaming. For me it is creation, it is what made me design The Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration (was 6, now 7). I did this in 2013, almost a year after finishing the game on Xbox 360 and PS3. We all have our ways of dealing with time and it seems that stories and creation are mine. So as I look and re-evaluate the stage of almost 5 seasons of Keno Diastima, I need to consider if 5 seasons are optional 3 seasons, a season with more bang for the buck, that is of-course one path. I am still considering on rewriting ‘How to assassinate a politician’, we all need hobbies, don’t we?

It also keeps my mind of my 5G IP, which is now in a wait state, a setting that is not good for the nerves, let me tell you, as such recreating the works I do have is not the worst way to pass the time. Some might consider that the stage is moving on, I merely consider that the stage was never standing still and you either keep up or you are part of those left behind, no matter whether the stage is one you devised yourself or one that others placed in front of you. As such some will point at DARPA with their disruptioneering division. I say hire a politician, they are experts in “have the potential to disrupt current understanding and/or approaches”, their input have had drastic influence in the stage for both the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as well as the USS Zumwalt, and I say (oversimplifying the problem whenever I can) disruptioneering achieved.

The stage moves on, but it is us that defines the stage, not others, others only define the stage when they invite us to it and we are willing to be the tool (read: participant) of the stage we want to be on for either money, fame, continuity or passing the time.

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Lessening the consumer?

After yesterday’s Ignoranus Totalicus it seemed to take another look at this level of ‘brilliance’ (read: active attempt to use sarcasm). And it did not take much time to find it. You see, whenever greed is at the foundations of things, less bright decisions will be made. And that issue was already the case at several places in that industry. Now, it is off course important to make distinction here. The makers do not seem to have this need, other than the righteous desire for the funds of their product. Yet, there is more than one side to the issue at play (isn’t there always?) One of the issues is facilitation. Here we see, as I see it, the consumer betrayal Sony is now starting to give us, which is only now starting to take shape. I initially wrote about this in ‘Pricing a Sony game!‘ in November 2013 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/11/20/pricing-a-sony-game/) this issue was raised, but in another shape. You see Don Mattrick made this speech on how the Xbox One would be mandatory. It drove the public on mass away from that system into the hands of the PlayStation 4. Now we see that Sony is slowly breaking that promise. In the first case (Fallout 4) there was a possible issue as Microsoft has never made the online ‘need’ a secret, which is why people have been flocking towards Sony so strong. Now we see quite a different scene and it is soon to get worse. For me it is the issue of a different matter, it is the part that now stops me from playing fallout 4. You see, a small accident broke my router, so when I initially started the game, whilst in the end of Automatron it told me that the DLC could not be found. Only after I got back online would the game load correctly with DLC and all. Now we get the second part, the fantastic achievement Ratchet & Clank, which came with a weapon called the bouncer (DLC code) was suddenly gone when playing offline. When I got back online, it was still gone and I had to purchase it again and got it at level 1 (purchasing it offline was not an option.

I personally do not believe it is a bug, or an oversight. It is merely another way to ‘force’ people to work online. You see, I have had a few issues with article 7 of the Sony service agreement in those days. The fact that games could no longer be pre-owned, which was my only issue. Even as I personally believe that people should be able to exchange their old games with other ones (just like books, records and movies). I do not have that sentiment when we look at DLC’s. They are separate additions to the game and as such often sold for a mere few dollars. So as the game goes, so do the DLC’s. I have no issues with that. Yet, the need to be online so that the DLC works is another matter. That has never been a requirement in previous systems. I see this move a mere attempt to keep a flair of innocence whilst now Sony and Microsoft are using other ways to force people to be online. They were already, in a feigned way, trying to keep people online by denying gamers their achievements, now the DLC’s seem to be become part of the additional pressure to keep people online. Online data is to be regarded as the profiling data mine of the future, and both Microsoft and Sony want their share of that coffer. So far the only two are Bethesda with their new DLC’s on Sony PS4. On the Xbox One Bethesda had already changed their way as it would not proceed the game without online logging in from the moment Windows 10 became part of the Xbox One, now this need has been added to the PS4. In addition, Ratchet and Clank has added them to the downloaded weapon (I have only one). It seems that the online push is going through. The rights of gamers now starting to be diminished, forced online against their choice (those who prefer to play offline), this issue had been in play for a while and the press had been very interested in ignoring this issue in the past, especially as the changes given came two weeks before the release of the PS4, like any decent prostitute, the press at large would hold off as much as possible for the need of advertisement and circulation. I wonder how the press feels after 3 years, now that it is less about advertisement?

It is hard to state how I feel about this. I am online often enough, but when you cannot continue a game because of a broken router and two weeks away from a pay check tends to make most gamers a little irritated. That is the part most of us know. The other group of gamers, the ones Americans (and Japanese) tend to ignore are the rural gamers, those with less online options, no great connections and those relying on wireless broadband, depending on 5 pounds per gigabyte, those gamers are soon to be left in the cold. Short-sightedness of a small group of people who look at the 90% of their flock and casually forget about the potential 3 million people forced to higher expenses. This is not a local group, there are several groups all over the Commonwealth, all requiring some connectivity to keep on gaming.

A nasty dilemma for those faced with it, a minor inconvenience for those greedy for data revenue. It is irritating how easy those deciding voices seem to ignore the need of the few. Sony has now illustrated itself to be no longer about being ‘for the players’, they are now the players who will exploit at the expense of the gamers, a simple path that was delayed for a mere three years. Now, it is back on track. Yet the interesting part is not just the choice Sony made, it is equally interesting that Japan today reported (at http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/clinton-pivots-from-obamas-asia-policy-with-tpp-opposition). Here we see thee quote “The TPP has been the main economic plank of President Barack Obama’s seven-year effort to intensify engagement with a fast-growing region and counter China’s rising clout with nations that count it as their principal trading partner“, which seems to prove that being the lame quack quack in the White House comes at a price, one that could now cost him a 7 year plan as it falls away completely. The fact that both sides of the American Isle regard the TPP as a disaster can’t be a good thing, apart from the fact that people all over the world had issues with it. There is more to the TPP, partially it does affect the digital world as well. The digital world (read: gaming as a mere fraction here), would be under massive duress due to the TPP, that is still an issue, but it seems to me that it now realises that the bulk of gaming might no longer be coming from the US. The shift of indie gamers is growing strong and even though this is extremely likely not the cause of action by Hillary Clinton (read: most likely financial and pharmaceutical industries), we might see a flitter of hope for gamers as they could profit from the events playing at present and as such, it is not entirely impossible that Microsoft and Sony will have to do a 180 on their current path of forced connectivity.

The last part is a mere speculation on my side, but not a farfetched one. I reckon that the DRM part of the TPP gave path to the ideas Microsoft had initially. The parts we hear now is not a given, one article is not a guarantee for any about face. Yet, the fact that both sides in the US were never happy with the TPP is an initial good sign. If we consider the DRM, than there are sides. Yes, I agree with the quote “deprive the public domain of decades of creative works“, yet in that same part I personally feel that when Bethesda makes digital content, it has every right to sell this material. I would never oppose this, yet if this requires mandatory online presence than the systems are either massively flawed (which is not likely the issue), or just a new path for Sony to walk and Microsoft will be walking the same path.

In the end, consider what you want, take the path you want, just consider that corporations will find a way to the profit they consider they are entitled to, games are just one medium. Which is exactly what seems to be happening in the world of Facebook at present. You see, Facebook doesn’t need to rely on connectivity, when you are on Facebook, you are online. Facebook shows us the next iteration of limited special deals, or perhaps we need to call it ‘intentional discrimination’.

You see, when we see certain special offers and we get the text: “Couldn’t Complete Purchase: We didn’t receive all the information we needed from this app to complete your purchase. You haven’t been charged for this purchase, so please try again. If you keep seeing this error, contact the app developer”, we are given the impression that it was a mere error. Yet, the truth is a lot harsher than you imagine. You see, when the ‘normal’ purchase works without issues, it is no longer about a mere error. The special deal is about collecting information. A special deal that gives you a trinket for the mere option of collecting identity and credit card details. The issue is that the special deal does not give clear indication of this, it does not state “in exchange for your credit card details we will give you an extra trinket”, so why does the offer not show this? Perhaps I am just assuming that and it shows that my assumption is wrong. That would be fair enough, we are all wrong at times, which is why I await initial feedback from Facebook and when that response comes, I will update this story.

 

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