Tag Archives: Skyrim

Delusion in two part harmony

There is a time when we get creative, we all do that and we let the mind take a gander into a direction we never considered before. In one part it is an essential journey towards finishing my novel, I left that part alone for the longest of time. Even as I already set out 55,000 words with about 20,000 on the back burner. Things were going from place to place, but it was too linear, too much of an expected anticipation (if that made sense). Then two things happened at pretty much the same time. The first one is that either I am getting hacked (in a clumsy way), or the Optus network is in a massive level of disarray, it is not doing its job, whether it is from a congested network, or services are failing on a much larger degree. But it also gave me an idea for the book.

I will try to explain.
Consider a cube, consider the image of a cube. The absolute centre is a large battery, it creates 101% energy. The corners of the cubes are smaller and in their way they also create 101% energy.

If they are maxed, they hand power over to their neighbour. First the other corners, then the midway points. As such the complete cube consists of 20+1 energy points.

As the power is maximised the system can operate on 100% all the time, the rest is bled out towards a matrix taking the cube to (for example) a hexagonal prism, from there to a 8 sided shape. The issues is when maximum power is maintained for too long. That is what my mind wanted to figure out. It seems silly, but it matters for the story and I believe that the story needs to be as well set as anything else. To let the story go on faith is for fantasy and I have nothing against fantasy, but there is a larger setting here, so I feel it matters that I try to make the story fit on as many parts as possible. 

In the image the symbols are atoms, but in this, what they are cold fusion systems? The problems is that ‘our’ version of cold fusion systems are flawed (to say the least) to get it to work you need two elements (see the book when it is done), one of these elements is on Jupiter (3-5 miles deep), the other one is not in our solar system because the element requires a specific situation, the element is called Celestrium and that is a 8 layer noble gas which we do not have here and it cannot be manufactured. As such we are in a quandary, but I always stated that is where we tend to get really innovative. 

So in this setting we can fuel a large system (or ship) but not all the time, or at least to some degree all the time and the larger this system becomes, the larger the ship or the larger the power output. In all these settings there is an equation, but that one eludes me for now (my science degrees only took me so far). So as I rely on science drenched fiction (which is not the same as science fiction). I see a larger station to add pages to the story and it also gives the larger reality of a place without all the elements and all the facts, making speculation and innovation a larger setting towards reality (or at least as I see it). 

So my delusional mind came up with a few more pages into a tory that might lead to something larger, or so I hope. Anyway, the idea goes back to anther state of mind, It is one I had in secondary school. I considered that a dimensional element has a shadow that is one dimension less. So a line leaves a point as a shadow, a cube leaves a 2d shadow, a 4d shape leaves a 3d shadow and so on. It is simple, lame and clearly debatable, but that was my thought at the time, so my mind was always in the setting that space leaves the shadow like a cube, so what does the shadow of time look like? And my young mind could never figure it out. 

But the journey of learning that I had limitations is also a nice one. You see, limitations are good, it allows us to look beyond and seek new paths to overcome limitations and some journeys are positive and some are negative, that is always the case. In this we rejoice in achievement, but we learn so much more from failure, some learn this early in life, some will never learn it. It is up to the person learning to handle that lesson and we all do that in our own ways. We always do.

The creative person finds a way, the less creative circumvents it, or avoids it, whatever their preference is. I am merely happy that I found another element in a larger story and that story matters, because it started in Iran, in early Mesopotamia, in the age when someone build a ziggurat known as the Tower of Babel (a much larger story) and that part is still important today, even if we ignore it, but not the fable, not the christian lore of apprehension, it is the real part of a story that has larger considerations, or so it is my thought on the matter. When the lore fails, the words can be seen for what they are and there is more into that side. We need to see beyond lore, especially in storytelling and gaming, because that will enable us to create and recreate what was into a story that we find easy and able to digest, because digesting stories is what it is about. It is our own approach to delusion in two part harmony. I have mentioned Bethesda several times in the last few weeks, but they did create greatness, it is seen in Skyrim, who did not consider to live in Skyrim? Who did not want to have a house like Windstad Manor, with our own fishery, a nice comfy bedroom and a cellar where we could smooth the day away? When you realise that want, that internal need, you can start seeing the application of lore, the application of an altered story. This is not about changing truths that are centuries old, it is about an altered narrative that comforts us, not history, but fiction and fiction is all about personal comfort, it has been for decades, even longer when we go back beyond Jane Austen, Charles Perrault, Laurence Aldersey and that already takes us back 500 years. We can go back a lot further, or we can see how far we can move forward. And what can we do to get there? I do not have all the answers, you will not either, but together we can see what is possible. Yet this is merely my view on the matter.

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With a capital ‘S’

Yes, it happens, we all find tuff and wonder how it was possible to make that mistake? It is called Sloppy, sloppy with a capital ’S’. In this I am referring to Skyrim PS5. Now, lets be clear. This is a free update. Yet this is also the 5th iteration of the same game. In this I am ignoring the Nintendo Switch edition. So there was the Xbox 360, the PS3, the PS4, the Xbox One and now the PS5, I did not get the new Microsoft console as it is soon to get the wooden spoon award (dead last in the race), that is if Amazon accepts my offer which will set them back $25M, but it will give them 50M additional consoles sold and that is a careful cautious estimate, it might get a lot higher in 2023. So after 5 iterations I played it again and in this I tool the stormcloak side. It was fr the mere reason to get Hjerim earlier in the game. I also took the Vampiric side, because I needed those 11 perks achievement. So when the Stormcloak campaign starts and we take Whiterun (as we do), the city marker is removed from the map, as is dragonreach and the personal housecarl of the old Jarl remains in the castle, the music is now set to battle music all the time and that is merely what I found. All these glitches (not really bugs) are here and update 1.001.001 does not solve them. So why is that? The PS4 edition did not have this, as far as I remember. The updates fix something (I reckon) yet issues remain. Now lets be clear, it is a free edition, yet it should be better. I did not buy it because if I spend A$80, it better come with a physical PS5 disc, that is how I roll. 

And there is more, but I want to make sure that this is not some bitch against Bethesda who gives away a PS5 edition free of charge (you still need the PS4 disc). I also recognise that the game is so good I never had any second thoughts about the 4 versions I bought, the game has brought 10 years of joy and in gaming time that is more than a lifetime. Yet the design I made of my new RPG as well as the initial TESVI: Restoration was a continuation of the excellence that Bethesda had brought. And there are options of making it TESVII: Restoration, but to be honest it was never with Microsoft at the helm and with them ‘sort of’ announcing that TESVI will not be a PS5 title, the option of Restoration will fall of the map as well. I get it, there was a tactical reason for Microsoft to dish out $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda, but that does not mean that I like it. A brilliant strategy but a flawed one. So should Amazon take the offer I will make it my duty to hand Phil Spencer the Wooden spoon (with golden engraving of ‘Microsoft’), that is what is required. This is not against Phil Spencer. He was given a lousy hand and he is still standing. Giving us that this man could have reached legendary status if the coins did not fall where they did. And consider that their marketing division will have to spin the setting that ‘the most powerful console’ will end up being dead last in a console race. And before Microsoft did what it did, it was never a consideration. I was not mulling over options and hardware opportunities. Anger did that and when I found what I did, I also did not expect to find the option this open. How could no one see it? And even now I am still in awe of the oversight others made. The question for me to me is whether the show of ‘sloppy’ in others had anything to do with it. In a total time that was smaller than a week I came up with TESVI: Restoration, Watchdogs IV, Far Cry VII, Mass Effect 5 and a few more games. Even a new approach to board games on streaming systems. Another week for a film setting, a mini series and a TV series over three seasons. I need to be careful not to blow my own horn but I did this, I found this, I created these elements, so why could they not? 

And the issues is not merely the setting of what is and what could be, the idea that can propel the Amazon Luna has never been done before and that is merely the first wave, the second wave will offer a hell of a lot more and that is when the big bucks come rolling in (minus 10% for me, I hope). And that is all before you realise that the bulk of gamers would really want another Marvel: Ultimate alliance, not version 2 or 3, but version 1. Why? Because it was close to perfection. It brought joy back to gaming. They took the 1985 game Gauntlet and made some serious upgrades and Ultimate alliance was the result and it was awesome. But after that the wrong people got involved. With their ‘what if’ and ‘if only gamers could’, and they never checked with actual gamers and the result was sloppy. The first one I played over and over (I never found all the figurines the first time) and it was awesome to finally find the 5th daredevil figurine (I think it was daredevil). No matter what, the game was awesome and I wonder what would happen if DC takes a shine to Gauntlet, or a Diablo minded game. There are plenty of options for loads of games, yet the setting is up to the designers. I am not a game designer, I am a storyteller and in RPG I have value. I do not feel that I am a great asset towards a new version of Ultimate Alliance. 

So whilst we are criticising Sloppy with a capital ’S’, there is a rather large lack of ‘Standards’, ‘Supremacy’ and ‘Superbness’ all with a capital ’S’, gaming should embrace all those needs as well, not the old discussion of ‘What if we only please 80% at launch date?’ It might sound nice, but that sets the stage of pushing 1 out of 5 to another platform that does not embrace it and so far the Sony exclusives embraced perfection (as close as it is possible), so after three games the other consoles face the risk of having lost three out of 5 gamers. Yet it is a slippery statistical slope, but it is not unrealistic. It is the danger of pleasing 80%. And that is why Microsoft is in danger of getting the wooden spoon (well, my idea is still part of that danger for Microsoft), so it now lies with Amazon (Google does not create games), as such they are absent of the discussion. 

A stage of gaming that required console makers to listen to their gamers, Microsoft blew that stock royally in a few ways, but that is what they signed up for. Angering gamers was the one mistake they could not afford to make. 

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Going through the motions

I have been playing Skyrim yet again. I saw an old glitch returning and two new glitches I had never seen before. Hilarious (to some degree). But it also gave me pause to rethink parts of the RPG game I discussed over time in this place. You see, those who played the game might identify that the cupboard in Breezehome has 143 ingots of metals, 15 wolf skins, 4 goat skins, 8 pieces of armour, 12 necromancer robes, a few great-swords, swords, a dozen daggers and a dew more items. This cupboard is twice the size of a night stand. So do you guess that it will all fit? Then I remember the way it was done in Neverwinter nights and my mind went to town on designing a new system. 

Part 1
Int eh first part lets take a turn back to the middle ages. Cupboards were not discarded and new ones bought. Cupboards in those days were a sign of wealth, they were upgraded, they got new functions and taking that in mind. I thought of setting a new premise. 

Any cupboard has a size and use, yet when the wood sort changes, the maximum load also changes. The same can be applied to ‘runing’ the furniture. In this I used a Raetic approach (it makes sense when you know more on the game), We can upgrade any furniture UNTIL you apply Raetic sigils. When you do that this piece of furniture can no longer be adjusted. So as we have furniture, we can add sigils to add space in the cupboard. So if standard a cupboard can keep 6*10 squares. A rune could add (2-5)*6*10.
Sofa’s and chairs can be given sigils to improve regeneration, rest, healing and other matters. It changes the game. Apart from the rest required, regenerate mana is a lot longer process, we think in Bethesda and other terms towards mana, but what happens when that too changes? What if the recuperation is depending on rest and sustenance? 

Part 2 

We seem to feel that the IKEA approach in these games is OK, but is it? We have become so attached to consumerism and that approach needs to change. Also the cost of what we have in our houses. It is like the Pokemon rage. We have to have it all, and that is wrong. I saw that coming a mile away, so the replay factor is diminished. The learning curve changes. And the need for furniture shops, sigil deployers for wood, stone and metal are a larger stage to add to any game. 

In all this we need to set that part and it gave me the idea of an old concept, the bard!

Part 3
Who remembers the comic books of Asterix? Remember Cacofonix? So what happens when we add a bard to the village we live in? The type of bard we find and the type of bard we invite could change the way the village harmony runs. Some bard are good ay creating a fighting atmosphere, se are for feasts and parties, some instil horror (in the invaders). All parts of a game where we have no real control, but the impact is still seen and felt in the game as a whole. Why have we forgotten the second tier influences in games and in gaming?

So as I am going through the motions I see a whole range of changes and updates that Bethesda does not have at present, and with the choices that Microsoft made for them, there are a few more items that could be added to a system like the Amazon Luna, slipping the Microsoft solution further to the back and as optionally Sony and Amazon pair up, there could be a much larger gain for some, more than the additional 50,000,000 consoles sold that Amazon could have at their horizon. There would be a much larger gain and in this fight these two could get a much larger slice of the $200,000,000,000 gaming revenue that is predicted to be at the end of 2023. Personally seen, if Microsoft only gets 10% of that, I would be cool with that. Anything to make them pay the price of short sightedness. 

I is just a stage, but consider what I designed over the last two days alone. Microsoft may make all the claims they have, but I am pushing it out here (as it is not 5G). And all this is optional freeware for Sony and Amazon consoles. So there!

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Chook chook thinking

Why? Because train of thought reads too boring, thats why! So this all happened, or better stated started happening a few hours ago. Someone stated that IBM Z Mainframes are in 96% of all mainframe places. Now, I have no problem with this, I moved out of mainframes 30 years ago, and I still respect what these things can do (they are just too big for my desk). Yet in this, my first question was, what do the other 4% use? A simple question. I got all kinds of answers, yet none of them answered my question ‘What do the other 4% use, in this it does not matter if it is known, but it is essential to look at.

Why?
Well, in this IBM has a luxury problem, they basically own 96% of that market, but the 4% can become 8% then 16%, at that point the message from IBM becomes 4 out of 5 use our mainframe. When the 96% is 120,000 mainframes it is one thing, when it is based on 960 mainframes it is a whole different story. The numbers matter, that has always been the case (even if Microsoft is in denial now they are shedding market share). 

Reasons
There can be a simple reason. For one epidemiology, if it is about real time numbers, the market is slim, massively slim, compared to that market a size zero model is a mere chunky blobernaut. Cray is one of the few players in that setting and it makes sense that a Cray is there where an IBM is optionally not. Still, I would want to know.

You see, in strategic thinking we have two elements we ALWAYS need to keep one eye on. One is threat the other is weakness. In this example real-time data management is a weakness. Now we need to understand that this market is set to billions and those who desperately need it, that number is not an issue, yet for IBM investing that much for 4% is tactically not sound, not until that marketshare is a lot larger. That makes perfect sense and let’s face it no one owns 100% of a market, if that ever happens we will have a lot more problems than we could possibly understand. 

Why do I care?
Well, for the most I do not, but at present I am not to involved with any SWOT analyses, and the ones I did lately was done for wannabe managers who seemingly only understand bulletpoint memo’s. The idea of any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses that is related to business competition, project planning and capability planning is more important than most people realise. We see it in intelligence, business intelligence and market intelligence. And now we see two new real markets emerging where it is important too. Gaming and SAAS/GAAS. Even as GAAS is still some time away, the need to actively SWOT in all three is there and I believe the players are not too finicky about that and they need to be. As the cloud is oversold and the dangers are underestimated their board of directors need to hold up a mirror where they can tell themselves that it doesn’t matter, and when we understand how completely those people are lying to themselves, at that point you might get the idea that there is a problem. The SWOT has more sides, it tests your capability, your software (Strengths and opportunities) but that needs to be levelled by weaknesses and strength. 

800 years ago
To understand this we need to go back to the good old days (Ghengis Khan). It was he who stated “It is not enough for me to win, my opponents must all fail”. Yes, I admit it is a massively loose translation but it applies to the now. When we stumble over sales people and their unnatural large ego’s, we tend to listen because they make the loudest claims, yet are they valid? Consider Solarwinds and what they enabled criminals to do, when you consider the news last week when we were given ‘SolarWinds hackers stole US sanctions policy data, Microsoft confirms’, it was a weakness and a threat, so when we how long the hack was active and that we now see that policy data is online and open for anyone to look into, what other sides are not yet known? It is not enough for SAAS vendors to look at SWOT, their customers need to do the same thing. So when I considered the 4% is was not because I need to know everything (which at times is still nice as a high executive CIA decision maker has a girlfriend that has size 6 lingerie, his wife is size 11), so who needed to do the SWOT, someone at the CIA or me? One could say both as I am his threat and he is my opportunity. 

The stage of what is what could be remains forever in motion. 

So where from here?
That remains open. For players like Amazon, the enabling of GAAS becomes more and more important, especially when you see the blunders that players like Ubisoft makes, they need to be aware of where their customers are, especially when Netflix becomes active in gaming too. They will have an advantage, but Amazon can counter it, yet there are sides that remain unknown for now and they should not be (not on that level) and there is the rub. Too many rely on external solutions when that solution needs to be in-house. And we can disperse with all the marketing BS that some give like “We are a better company now”, when you drop the ball to that degree there was a massive space for improvement and you merely are on par for not being where you should have been a year ago. An old IBM Statistics wisdom was “You’ll know when you measure”. This sounds corny but it is true, you cannot anticipate and adjust when there is no data and in all this any SWOT analyses would have been usable data. So where was the 4%? I do not know and the poster seemingly did not know either. It might be fair enough, yet when that 4% becomes 8%, when should you have known? It is a question with a subjective answer. Yet in gaming it is less so, especially as I am becoming aware (unproven at present) that Microsoft has one nice trick up their sleeve. There is partial evidence out there that Skyrim will be on PS5 in digital formal only. Several shops now have a ‘DO NOT USE’ for any physical PS5 format of Skyrim. Now, there might be an easy answer for this after all these lockdowns, but it is only 4 weeks away now, so you tell me. Is Microsoft playing its ‘bully’ card? Are they trying to push people to Xbox? It is a fair approach, they did pay 8 billion and change for it, but consider that their actions are set to a larger stage. A stage of millions of angry fans. I solved it for them by creating public domain gaming ideas for any Sony exclusive RPG game. I am not Bethesda, I am a mere IP creator, but when software makers are given a free ride towards Sony exclusives and even if one game hits the mark, the Bethesda market share dwindles to a lower number. Now consider what happens when that happens on Amazon Luna too? I might be a mere 1% factor, but if another one joins me I grow 100% whilst Microsoft dwindles more. For Microsoft Amazon is becoming a real threat and a weakness, for Amazon Netflix is optionally a threat and a weakness whilst Google Stadia is optionally the opportunity for Amazon. 

All SWOT settings that could have been seen from afar from the beginning. It is not everyones train of thought, yet in this day and age, I think it needs to be, the markets and our lives are changing in all kinds of ways too quickly and too large, we need to think head and having a clear grasp on how to apply SWOT in our lives might become essential. 

The difference?
That is a much harder line to follow. It comes down to the word ‘Insight’ and it is a dangerous, a very dangerous word. Because depending on the person this can be Insight, speculated insight, expected insight, and adjusted insight and more than once they are all on one pile making the data less reliable. Insight is also subjective, we all see it differently and that does not mean that I am right and everyone else has a wrong station. No, it is all subjective and most CAN be correct, but as the insight is disturbed by speculated, adjusted and expected versions, the numbers alter slightly. And now we see that 4% was not 4%, is was 7% and 5%, 5% because there were other IBM mainframes in play (adjusted) and 4% was the speculated number and 7% was the expected number. Now we have a very different station, the expected moves us from 96% use our product, towards 9 out of 10 are our customers, which is now a mere step towards 4 out of 5 use IBM. So would you like to bring that conversation to any board of directors? 
They’ll serve your balls for dinner (see image). 

Still feel certain that you do not want to know? In reality most SWOT analyses are seemingly pointless and often amazingly boring, yet in this day and age they are an essential part of business and gaming at $130 billion a year is facing that side as well. So when you consider what I gave you also consider the impact that some shops have ‘DO NOT USE’ for Skyrim preorders, 4 weeks before release, lockdown or not, it beckons all kinds of questions. And to be fair, there could be a simple explanation for all of it, but that too is the consequence of trying to create hypes via YouTube without clearly informing the audience. It is a weakness Microsoft has shown a few times (Bethesda was never completely innocent, but equally never this guilty). 

So what has a game in common with a business setting? It is simple, they both need to manage expectations and that too is a side of SWOT, even as marketing often merely focusses on opportunity, there is a weakness and a threat. The lack of clarity and misinformation are both a weakness (angry customers) and a threat (churning customers) and in the world of gaming the churners are the real danger, they can get the flocking population of angry gamers to come with them and really make numbers spiral downward. In this day and age SWOT is an additional essential way to go, in nearly all walks of life. We simply can not avoid being that naive anymore, not with spiralling energy prices and more and more articles that can at present no longer be found in any supermarket, all whilst plenty of people are in a holding pattern for their incomes. 

It is a train of thought and it is up to you to decide if you want to do it or not, because that was always your right, the right to ignore, but it must be said that it will be at your own peril. 

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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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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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Two to plenty

I have had enough of looking at covid numbers, and I have had enough of several things. As such, I feel the most at ease giving service (I did it for more than a quarter of a century) and creating new IP.  And as I was playing a personal favourite, I realised that Microsoft was holding two massive trump cards and to overthrow that, the other makers need to consider taking a leap, a leap that will make the Microsoft position shaky, very shaky indeed. This solution will optionally fit Amazon the best. Netflix has a chance, but if Google does not change its position, then they are up at the mercy of the developers. It is a choice they made. 

So what is out there? You see, I always knew that our lives revolved around creating places to live, kill things and eat (let’s not forget about the food). Minecraft drilled into that brilliantly and as Markus Persson, Jens Bergensten, and Stephen McManus played on that brilliantly, they sold it to Microsoft in 2014 for two point five billion. Then there was Bethesda who created Skyrim on 11/11/11. A game that for a very long time avoided (not completely) the levels of grinding. And Microsoft offered $8,500,000,000 to the makers. Yes a brilliant move, but it also implies that if someone makes a game like these two for Amazon, the Microsoft gaming share will drop by a decent amount. And it is a tall order, to make something alike and different enough not to be seen as a copy. It can be avoided to some degree. For one, the building materials can be set to marble sorts (Romans and Greeks), giving us all kinds of other challenges and achievements. In a lot of ways Minecraft was brilliant and close to perfect, but it can be done in other ways too and the Minecraft setting will require a streaming solution, which get us to Amazon Luna. But they are not the only player, anyone picking these ideas up can design something for Google Stadia. And it matters, with the massive amounts of revenue to be seen in the next two years, would you turn away a billion dollars? I wish I had been more pressed as a programmer in my youth, I would have done it myself. Alas, I made choices, I have no regrets, but if I was a decent programmer, I could have had more (not in a greed driven way). And now I get to spout other non 5G ideas to the world giving them a chance to take a slice away from the Microsoft pie. 

I will leave it to you, but consider that Skyrim has over 15 million players, Minecraft has 126 million players. Do you still think it is a bad idea? And as the gaming frontiers are changing, as Microsoft is trying to sell THEIR Microsoft Cloud all over the place, the gaming dimension polarises, Microsoft only respects what their board of directors tell others what matters and I have no intention of seeing my devices being overrun by some Azure thin client. As such I see the need to set my dreams and non 5G IP considerations towards public domain, to let you all grow on non Microsoft fields. Azure might have the advantage, but that does not mean that Google and Netflix are out of the race. It is merely a speculative idea and I will let you consider where the race takes us all.

So when you are creating YOUR version of a sandbox game, you can focus on building (and you need to), yet the stage of that can be done in various ways. You can focus on how the Greeks and Romans did it, so you need to create a place create income and become part of an economy. Anything else and you face the dangers that it is too much like Minecraft. As you grow your status and economy, you can opt for one side in game one, the other in game two and every iteration opens up the free game to a much larger extent. If you are in Volos, Larissa or Ladochori (Greek places) you will have to employ different solutions, but in a sandbox game, location is not the key, it is the surroundings you face. A setting that shapes all your decisions. You can only go with the flow and create, and seek, and pillage, and murder and explore. And in all this pillage and murder remains open to addition or choice, but in a sandbox game you make the decisions, you set the tone and you become your own legend (sanctified by Amazon, Google and/or Netflix).

If I feel up to it I will draw out a much larger setting towards real social media for gamers, not marketed messaging for large corporations.

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Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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Then the bite

In support of the previous article, I add a little more. We were talking about the creation (on Sony) of new RPG games, I gave part of that setting in that article but the largest station is not merely the game, it will be the story. A stage where we game away generations, we need the setting of a larger stage, a larger story. The story needs to be bigger than us, or bigger than any person could fit. Not exactly Disney’s ‘Once upon a time’ but you get the idea. It is there that we need to set the storyline.

  1. The drive. Bethesda was pretty good in starting with the prisoner part (Oblivion, Skyrim) and even as that seems appealing, I needed a larger stage (and avoid copying Bethesda). I wanted more than a steeplechase of serving (or servicing) others. In this upcoming poverty tends to be a decent stage, we all avoid that and we tend to van more or less ethical constraints. In addition there is the need to be more than one’s expected self, I tried it, it is mesmerising. In the age when too many people stated that I would never amount to anything, I ended up with a Master degree, the first in my entire family tree, so trust me, it is mesmerising, and that is also the push. If you can relate to a push, the story becomes a lot easier to write.
  2. The Narration. On some early Monday in my youth I actually worked (freelance) for Playboy for a short time and the editor gave me the biggest wisdom in writing that any person had given me in decades. ‘Write like you are talking to a friend’, I have taken that to heart for training manuals, for articles and for other writings and I believe I became a better writer because of it. The narration is more important then the dialogue, the narration sets the foundation, the atmosphere and the chase.
  3. Bullet Points. Yes, I do hate them when they are in some memo, but to get the story train rolling setting up 1-2 dozen bullet points of what you need to cover in a chapter tends to be a decent golden rule, it keeps you on track, it keeps you focussed. For me, whilst pondering the concept TV series ‘keno diastima’, it helped me focus on what was important (at that moment and that part of the story), and if it works there, it will work in a RPG game as well.
  4. Realistic. Yes it is an odd word to find in an RPG, but the realistic approach still matters, sometimes when the bridge is out, it ends, swimming across the stream seems nice, but the rules of thermodynamic are no joke and that is before you get introduced to Mr. Salty, he tends to be where you do not expect him and you never expect him in the first place. In other news, realism also applies when you try to kill an enemy the size of a main battle tank with a dagger, Daniel Boone is the only one who actually pulled it off, if the stories are true. That is one in thousands over the last 200 years, the odds are not good my friends, they are not good indeed.

In previous stories I gave something towards that storyline, but in the end, you are the best storyteller, you need to be, because you are making an RPG, and that is one play-style that cannot survive without narration. In this there are two ways, keep the stories separate (always good) and try not make them intertwining too soon, when you have enough of a narration, you can start to see if they can be combined or intertwined. It is a lot easier to have 12 small stories (300-400 words each) and after that see if and how they can connect, than trying to be clever and make one story of 5000 words that goes nowhere (i tried this earlier in life and failed dismally). 

And there you have a decent winning combination into the storyline for an RPG. Have fun Playstation programmers!

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Yo clodhopper

Yup that was my finest hour in diplomacy, we’ve all been there. Although I just woke up and I just had a great idea, well, I sort of had the idea before, but it took shape and it is now 03:30, so it must be good. 

You see, I have worked on several parts of the free RPG for Sony (as a response to the act of Bethesda), yet I now have a larger stage for the map, the map is not one map, there will be 5-6 maps, yet with every iteration of the map, the map evolves the map changes the presentation of where you are and what is there, but it does not change what is there. Consider the maps from 14th century and the maps we see now (not Google Maps), there is evolution and I set a stage where we have larger differences. A geologist and an explorer have their own versions of maps, that is how their trade set it up, it is how they evolved their maps, yet in gaming we never did that, so I am making a larger change, and in support of that, I also came up with the option of a new game, or a new game plus, making the game a larger evolution stage. Why?

No one has ever done it before and in that regard the larger stage is set. There will also be a cartography shop, run by no one other then Miss Beth Esda (sorry Christopher, I just had to go there). I will tell you later about New Game Plus, because this one is one that is also new, but the stage is that it still needs a little work. 

So as we barge through the land (clodhopping), and as we look towards the sky on where we have to go, I see options I had never contemplated before. We can push boundaries on what we perceive we know, but what happens when the darkness is actually a void, a place where we merely stop being? So as we step in and out of the void, we set a new registration, one that Skyrim but not to the degree that they could have seen it, and my vibe merely picked up on the missed opportunity. It will be some work to set the stage to a larger frame, and it will take a decent amount of brooding, but I think I have an idea how to proceed on it and I will keep you informed. Still there is more, I wrote about it earlier, and as I considered the ideas I had in a new version of ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’, I considered a different stage to the game, yes it is based on that game, but so different it is no longer the same game, and as I considered the game Clue, perhaps you have played it, so what happens when the corner rooms no longer have secret doors, but on a higher level they have doors that lead to another part of the Hindenburg? In addition to that, there will be a stealth and a deception element to the game. Linking that game to achievements in another game. If the new ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ is an evolution of Clue, we could also have an evolution of Hotels, or Monopoly. If this is a Google Stadia setting, then the people would have access to both games, so what happens that relics found on the Hindenburg will unlock new options in Hotels, and Hotels opens up options in ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’? The options are all cosmetic, but they are nice options to find. It is not completely new this approach, but it was seldom trodden and as such, I think it is important to set that stage. The gamer loves any game more if we offer something that they never had before and a cloud gaming solution like Google Stadia (or Amazon Luna) will need to reconsider and re-evaluate what they have, what they think they have and what could be made possible. You see cloud gaming can only exist if people have long term commitments to that setting, a new Ubisoft game is not going to do it, Nintendo is figuring it out, as I see it the long term commitment that gamers have with Animal Crossing: New Horizons show me to be correct, and the amount of gamers that are ‘addicted’ to that game doubly so. 

There is even a larger stage to the RPG that I am only now trying to figure out, it is a new setting in conversations and in localisation, and the setting that it has never been done before is making me happy. Consider that Ubisoft lost 15% of its value over a period of 30 months, and I now show that I have the inside track on solutions that they never were able to innovate, I think that I am on the right track, now, that does not mean that I am better than them, I am merely more willing to drive innovation, is that not what gaming was all about in the past? 

Why have we become so driven to ‘highest graphics’ and ‘coolest effects’, look at Nintendo and watch where that happens (it does not) and still they beat the most powerful console in the world (the Microsoft contraption), as such we need to consider what we could be able to achieve, not merely what some marketing type tells us what great is. We can decide for ourselves what great is and it tends to be the game that baffles us (God of War for example) and a long list of baffling games, and in all this where are some of the creator? They are merely pushing out more of the same and they market it as innovative new, but tell me, which franchise has truly delivered innovation in gaming? 

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