Tag Archives: RPG

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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As the shoe drops

Yes, there is a lot of anger in Bethesda land. As we take notice of “We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made.” Starfield is a Microsoft exclusive and the fans are angry. I get it, I am not angry, it was a brilliant move by Microsoft, it is why I placed all kinds of IP on the public domain (here in my blog) for Sony and Amazon (Luna) so that their independent developers can make a totally new RPG game and the IP is free for them, it is my way to giving Microsoft the bird. These developers are not out of pocket for $8,500,000,000. And they deserve it (I hope). 

So whilst we take notice of “Hines went on to point out that Bethesda fans on PlayStation consoles might not be shut out entirely from playing future titles from the studio”, we do understand that the PS5 is outselling the Xbox 2:1 and it will take some time before cloud gaming is expected to become congestion free, and that is providing that you have a true unlimited account, as some give us the stage of Xcloud on about 3GB per hour, so someone with a new 200GB account will run out of data in about 65 hours, that is likely less then 2 weeks for average gamers and 1 week for what some call the true gamers. After that it will be $30 per hour to game. And that is if it all goes correctly, I feel certain that congestion will hit soon enough. You see some sources give me “Optus now offers unlimited data across its range of postpaid mobile plans. As with Telstra, if you go over your data allowance, you’ll be capped to speeds of 1.5Mbps.” so if it is unlimited, how can you go over your data allowance? And consider that capped data does not allow gaming, not at 1.5Mbps. So we are (for now) locked to our consoles and PC’s. Is it a wonder that Amazon gives you Ubisoft+ at $1? The end is nowhere near here and it is a lot worse in places where you are rural, especially the US, Canada, France, Germany and several others. And in that light we need to see Bethesda. And they do give clarity with “Certainly, there are going to be things that you’re not going to be able to play [on PlayStation]” that is why Microsoft paid billions. They had a bad setting an inferior system and they got the people addicted to certain games across. Even though it is not a given, I feel certain that the new none online Elder Scrolls is most likely going to be a Microsoft exclusive. It makes no sense to get angry, they paid billions and the people on Sony will have to make a choice and I helped them by handing the independent developers on Sony and Amazon IP for free. I will try to add a few more titles and it is up to the developers to create them, but at least I handed them an alternative and I did mention a few more titles for consideration to remaster. 

So whilst some people will get needlessly angry over “I want to be careful. I know it’s a question people care a lot about. It’s also a tricky one for us to answer because, frankly, it can get sensationalised on the internet”, I see it as a BS answer. It is not tricky to answer, it is the result of a $8.5 billion takeover, there was never any tricky setting. The only tricky setting was Deathloop as it was already a PS5 exclusive. At present PS5 is looking at 25 exclusive titles (until mid 2022) and that is not including a few titles that have no clear release date. In addition, the PS5 has crossed the 10,000,000 units sold line whilst Microsoft is nowhere near that, and as we see in some sources “the Xbox team has made it a policy in recent years to not disclose exact hardware sales numbers”, which makes sense when you are the number three console trailing PS5 AND Nintendo  Switch. So the Bethesda move was the only one that made sense for them and they had to pay a massive amount for it (because Bethesda is worth it), and yes, there will be a group of people who will switch as they are dedicated as well as bug nuts for the Bethesda games and that is fine, it is what Microsoft paid for, as such I handed my creativity to Indie developers so that they can make a new RPG on PS5 and Amazon Luna. Will it happen? I cannot tell, I do not know, but at least I did not resort to anger, I merely gave others the chance to take a slice of the RPG cake on two platforms. Perhaps that is not the right sentiment, I offered IP so that they could consider going there. And if I find my IP on these two systems I can raise my glass and give Microsoft the bird. 

No matter how many how many games Bethesda will make Xbox Exclusive (the right Microsoft paid for) it will hurt them to lose out of millions of gamers who will stick with Sony and that is the stage that they overlooked. When Sony gets a new RPG that is Sony exclusive and it does catch on (one hopes) Bethesda will lose out on a lot more and Microsoft will taste the sour grapes that come with a $8.5 billion investment, it was as I state before a brilliant move, and in this day and age as we are in lockdowns, I will add as much Gaming IP for Sony and Amazon developers (for free) and let that be the lesson Microsoft gets to learn the hard way.

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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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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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Mix and match

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

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

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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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Belated brilliance

Some of us know what I am talking about, when we first see it, we think ‘nice’, nothing negative, just a plain nice. We liked the story, the girls loved Jude Law, the men were all over Jennifer Jason Leigh (virtually). The story was good, there was nothing bad about the whole thing, but now 20 years later some are realising just how brilliant David Cronenberg really was at that moment, our computers are catching on, our approach to virtual reality is catching on and suddenly what was once nice, is now regarded as the Koh-i-nor diamond. I am off course referring to eXistenZ the movie. We can take it apart from any angle, but consider the side we can now use on the PS5? What if we create an RPG that is a dream within a dream?

Not unlike the book the Talisman, consider a map, the normal game map set to a normal grid (whatever you call normal). Now we see a second map, that map has relative places in the same place (not the same place), but you are placed in wherever the temple, or resting place was. So in map one we have something resembling Japan, whilst Map 2 is more like New Zealand, as such map one is 50% larger, yet in relative places we see similar places and the resting places is an option to travel between the worlds, both worlds having duties, quests and achievements, but if you are a Shaman in one, you are an artisan in the other, a ying to every yang. Now that we have the power systems (like a PS5), we should use that to fuel gaming imagination, not merely a more buggy and textured killing game, but a sandbox game with several sandboxes, optionally they have very different kinds of sand in that box. Optionally there aren’t 2 worlds, but three or four, the opportunity offered will be staggering. 

Now consider that no game designer has ever considered creating such a leap, well, apart from serious Intel computers, the power was not there before, so why do we see more Assassin’s Creed 2022 LEAKS, with references to Africa, why more of the same whilst the last two games are still buggy? Why more existing IP, and what makes for the massive absence of new gaming IP? The creativity is out there, some of it is 20 years old and never considered for gaming, all whilst that movie was all about virtual gaming. What allows for an iterative mind to exist in a world that relies on true innovation? I mentioned that before, when you try to make a game that appeals to all, you end up with a product that pleases none, I would think that some game makers would have learned that small truth by now. I created (in my mind) in the last three months close to half a dozen games and if I can do it, why not these self proclaimed experts? 

I will let you decide, but if you get jumpy and overly exited when you see the next Assassins Creed, like a teenage boy seeing his first photo model topless shall we say. In a stage when we can be exploring life as a tailor, designing cloths for her naked body, I reckon you got exited for the wrong deal. By the way, according to some ladies that same formula works with Daniel Craig too, so he should be happy for now. 

For me, these ideas came to me as my mind was arranging books and movies, rearranging ideas in all novel ways to make connections that were not there before, so why aren’t others able to do just that?

And if you think gaming is a mess, consider that I completed the concept of a stealth systems to deploy a solution giving the Iranian navy a unique view of the Sea of Dammam (the view from the bottom), so what gives? Northrop Grumman lost idea’s and is relying on the Next Generation Interceptor program to stay alive a little longer? Well, if software iteration x.53 is anything to go by, it will not last long. Iteration was the game of financial stability, it is now the deterrent of innovative leaps ahead, it was the one part that the weapons industry had in common with the gaming world. Innovation was everything, and that is falling away more and more. 

So even as the Wall Street Journal gave us in 2018 “a payload adapter—that failed to operate properly in space”, it is interesting wording, apart from the silly notion that more than one thing went wrong, so as I gave two maps with different scaling, what else causes a person to be in a different place when he falls asleep? The person who never really knew where he (or she) was and that is important in gaming, because there we do not sleep, we merely pass time, so what happens when location and time are triggers? What if one life is set to time, but the other one is depending on a sun and a moon? In a real stage where we have two worlds where both work in a different premise, understanding that premise is essential if you want to efficiently win the game, that has been a cornerstone setting in RPG games for a long time, so why not change that stage, the technology is now powerful enough.

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A path retaken

We all tend to do it for all kinds of reasons, gamers do it to redo that achievement feeling, or just to feel awake and superior, for me Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, the Russia airport scene does it every time, 18 kills, 16 headshots, 100% accuracy; those virtual Spetsnaz kids had no idea who they were messing with (a nerd with a joystick), but hey, I digress.

I got to playing God of War again, it had been three years and when I played it there was no PS5 and that game became even more magical than it originally was. This time around I played the easy version, I wanted to enjoy all the views and I had forgotten just how perfect that game was. The soundtrack by Bear McCreary, the narration, the smooth graphics, especially the witch in the woods (censored identity), she looks as gorgeous on the PS5 screen as she does in real life. The game is all kinds of perfect, and I had actually forgotten just how perfect it is. It leaves little doubt why the game was rated between 94% and 100%, perfection seems to do that and from an RPG point of view, walking through Midgard, Alfheim, Helheim and so on looks overwhelming, and now that I am playing it in easy mode, the adrenaline goes down and I get to relax at times, taking in the beauty of the game more seriously than I had done before. 

Even as I never found everything, and there is every chance I will be in that same situation now, I do not feel bothered, the game delivers in so many ways, the idea that I miss a puzzle or two is mere icing on the cake. The game delivers and delivers again, that is excellence! (Ubisoft please take notice).

Even now as I am designing a new RPG, the feelings that I have replaying God of War matter; if you can hold your thoughts to something as perfect as that, you tend to gain ideas, you tend to open the thinking field and that part matters too. There is no need to copy, there is no need to be alike, there is a need to compare to a game of the highest notion and critically analyse the thoughts you are having. Others might use GTA5, or perhaps Horizon Zero Dawn, it doesn’t matter who you compare to, as long as you do. For me the story is everything, and there God of War delivers, in that I need to consider, if Keno Diastima (my TV series) taught me anything is that the field might have special effects taking the limelight, but it makes up for no more than 10%, any more and you are relying on the creation of a popcorn movie and the writer in me abhors that idea, it’s like a Batman story, complete with the kapow, crash, wham, and sploosh but without the graphics, it tires really really fast and that is what the game designer needs to fight, nearly all the time. When an action sided RPG launches, most of us focus on the perfection of form of the characters, and most forget the room they are in, the helmets that fall to the sky when you hit them, and perfect that ‘ding’ sound when an arrow hits a helmet, even as there are no cymbals in that village, there is a much larger setting here and when you revisit the God of War you see it all, the lack of glitches, bugs and weird issues (we are ignoring the blue dwarf in this case). What is a larger setting is the fact we ourselves need to take heed to not put our idea on a platform and if we do (not the worst mistake) we need to be willing to grab the nearest maul and reduce that pedestal to rubble if need be.

It comes with the territory. 

And I am still a little overwhelmed, I wanted to replay a great experience before the sequel is out (optionally in 2022), the amount of thoughts and the stages (some I had actually forgotten) that I am confronted with is more than I expected and my mind is taking notice of a lot of things more seriously now. 

That last part is not entirely due to myself, the option to compare mental notes to released perfection is rather rare, I named 3 titles, two of them had the smallest needs for alteration (if any), three in a stage of hundreds of games. Metacritic has 3 PS4 games that are 95% or higher (same amount for Xbox One), as such you can see just how limited that list is. And we need to take heed, plenty of games had good ideas, some had great ideas and did not follow through, no matter what the reason is. In this Ubisoft is that shining example. When we consider Far Cry 5 with a 70% score whilst Far Cry 3 had a 90% score you might see a first reason, how much money did Ubisoft deny itself? Because the PS3 was superior to the PS4, or because the game maker did not hold that candle up to its own reflection? I am guessing part two, hence the need to compare to something as perfect as possible (and perhaps not rely on repetition as much). 

There are more examples in other places too but you get the drift, we need to aspire to something bigger and get closer to this to be counted and too many do not. You can copy the idea of others, stay on iOS and hope that the micro-transactions do it for you and as money goes, doing that once is not the worst idea, but it does limit your future as what some would call a legendary game maker. I do not pretend to be one, but I hold their example to the light as much as possible, hoping that the ideas I have can be transformed into something that no one has seen before. If I do that and I end up a mere 70% developer, but if I see the verdict “new and unique” I know I am on the right track, the 70% part might be my lack of experience, we all go through that, not doing it because of that reason is just silly.

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The quest for tea

As we sit in the teahouse we wait for the visitor to come. There is a cup of tea in front of me and I take a careful casual sip, there is also a tea kettle in front of me. The house is empty, it is still early, the villagers will not come for a few hours, as such I am relaxed. I look at the room with merely an old man in the front, the caretaker of this establishment. As I take another sip I see the man relaxedly walk towards me. Hello [questor] he states. I look up at him and noticed him smile. It is getting late, you should try and sleep and his voice slows down even more, I want to react, but I cannot and my eyes close and everything starts to turn. 

It is already nightfall when I wake, the man is still in front of me, but I am somewhere else. He is asking me to relax, take a sip of this, it will waken you up more quickly, he takes a sip first and hands me the drink, it is cold goat-milk. He nods “I am the pottery master. You will learn a lot here. You were invited by a person who requires anonymity for now, yet I must train you. I accepted this, you will accept too, there is a lot to learn and it will take time” This is the intro to the first artisan quest line. The quest of the potter. Pottery is a lot more important in this RPG. Some clays will strengthen toxic properties over time, others will dull them, knowing which pot does what matters, some will inhabit the inner part of a wooden pot, others are flasks, but the ceramics matter. Toxic, healing properties van flourish in one kind and be lessened in another. Some ceramics can withstand heat others cannot; some are great to keep reagents in, others are not and there are rules for liquid and solid ingredients, you will learn them all. In nearly all cases your accuracy will improve and that is a direct result from the skills I will teach you. 

In this game and many others range fighters require accuracy (dexterity) and some arcane skills require that element to be higher, potter covers them all and it also allows you to make fire bombs, stink bombs, sleep bomb and much more. It is a natural progression and as you master this part you will be more apt in many departments. This part will rely on some of the historical ceramic sides we see. Celadon, Tang blue and white, Murano flasks, we will discuss and make them all, it will sharpen your skills and they need a lot of sharpening, let us begin.

This is merely the introduction of the first part, a stage that drives the next two artisan quest lines and you will have to make a choice, that makes the game enticing to play again and again and in the end you will leave your comfort zones a little more and you will desire RPG games even more, because the discomfort zone overcome makes for a much more fulfilling form of RPG, it is not what you are good at, it is where you become good that is where the challenge is faced, some RPG makers forgot about that and I want to rectify it. Consider all the RPG games you have seen, where was pottery a factor? We see alchemy and cooking, but we forgot that the cooking pot is also a factor and generalising that part got them a generic boost, but I am trying to fond a way to get a boost over the whole line. As pottery, masonry are added, we can tweak forging in another direction, one window closes and another one opens and when the player needs to climb out of one window, he might overlook the fact that the door was too generic a choice and now that player is in charge to set the stage of gaming, we can adapt the game to quite a different stage, one with short term benefits and long term costs, because not all choices are a plus, some have quite a nice collection of negatives, it is the total of the game offered that makes us a winner at the end of all those choices. and lets not forget, it is all to make a new and better PS5 RPG game, the others can fend for themselves.

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