Tag Archives: Sony

Innovative?

Yup we heard it all. Quotes like ‘Apple is widely considered as the #1 innovative company in the world’, as well as ‘While most companies are lucky to come up with one major innovation, these three continue to develop breakthroughs and don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon’ and Apple it was to some extend true, especially when Steve Jobs was still mortal, around and kicking. Since then they only gave us the Apple AirPods, which is true innovation. The rest is iteration. Microsoft is calling the Surface innovation, wrong! I see it as iteration and a weak copy from the iPad to begin with, it goes on and on, IBM has the Quantum computing cloud, but that has been pretty much it, beyond that most are merely iteration and weirdly enough, they seem to focus on what can be iterated, not innovated. 

iPad fling
I have had a fling with my iPad going back to 2011 when the first one came out. It was a present from me to me when I got into graduate school at UTS. I saw all these eager students with a laptop in one hand like it was a serve platter running from corner to corner trying to find a powerpoint, as such I decided on the iPad, the very first one, which had 64GB, cellular and WiFi. I was happy as a puppy with a fresh bone. This would continue until 2020 when it started to show issues and most parts would no longer be updated, it was too old. There were no tears, with 10 years 24:7 service it had earned its keep at least twice over and my storage never exceeded 50%, the 64GB was a true achievement. As such in 2020 I updated to the iPad Air, now with 256GB, a more powerful processor, higher resolution and that fling feeling came back in a rush. 

Yet the market has changed, this is fair enough and I see the iPad Air as an iteration, not innovation. It was this step that I saw today that innovation was absent, or more precisely absent from the iPad systems for too much. Now, in the larger scheme I do not care, I am still really happy with what it has, and as pretty much all of it is back, I have little to complain about.

There is this one thing
It is there that I saw innovation, where none was and I do not know why Apple did not see this. You see apps, games (free to play) are all nice, but they need to get their money (as much as possible) from advertisers. As such it does not matter how it is setup, the increasing amount of advertisements, a setting that is beyond the borders of harassment are also grabbing my Bluetooth speaker when I am trying to enjoy music whilst playing a game, and it is there that I saw the lack of innovation. I wonder why Apple never looked at the setting to make the bluetooth an exclusive to for example the Music app. I cannot fault app makers to rely on advertisement, but when your speakers get hijacked every other minute, you either listen to music or nothing at all, why did Apple not see this, or even see this coming?

When we have YouTube playing and the advertiser grabs/pushes through the same speaker as YouTube, it is fine, I get that, but I have a problem in the other event when I play a game muted, but the advertiser will hijack/obtains your speaker. Did Apple not see that coming? So whilst we saw in June 2020 ‘13 new innovative technologies and features unveiled at WWDC20’, Bluetooth innovation was absent, Bluetooth iteration too. As such, whilst we herald the addition of “New cycling directions in Maps take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route”, we see iteration, the natural consequence of what came before, not iteration, which is supposed to mean “the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services”, yet here we see the problem ‘or improvement in offering goods or services’, the problem there is that ‘improvement’ is now on a sliding scale, especially in software where a lot of improvements are iterations, not innovations. 

Is this me?
Yes, it probably is, but in that same light, there is a larger group of people that see the addition of one new chip as iteration, not innovation. Marketing departments globally have ‘abused’ the word ‘innovation’ to the degree that we see it as a debatable word at best. This is pure in us, driven through the advertisers and the larger brands need to see that innovation is no longer a calling to customers, it is a calling to investigate the brand in just how loyal one needs to be. In this I will also admit that it might not merely be marketing, but the brief that their board of director gives out to marketing, no matter how you slice it. As such what information to trust, and that is fair enough. Yet the stage we see is larger, larger than even I can consider, simply because I am not the greatest expert in the field and there is also the stage that I do not look everywhere. It becomes increasingly difficult where we see the Internet of things (IoT), consider that a device is suddenly used in a field that it has never been used in, this (to me) is innovation, not iteration and that field is in motion, in rapid motion in all directions, as such what might be innovation is seen as iteration in the way it is brought to us, it is understandable that we see this wrong, but it is unfair to the player bringing it. We can blame it on their marketing, but that is not fair either. As such you need to wonder where the threshold lies and here we have a nice example. Are the Bravia XR TV’s (2021) iteration or innovation? We might say one, but consider that speakers have to go somewhere and Sony is the first one to put them behind the LCD display, does that make it innovation or iteration? I am not certain, but they call it innovation. Is it true or false? I actually do not have a clear answer, yet my view of what is would call it iteration, an iteration I desire, but an iteration none the less. 

It goes deeper and ZDNet gave us that part in January 2021 with a list of ARK Big Ideas 2021, which would include the following:

  • Deep Learning
  • The Reinvention of the Data Center
  • Virtual Worlds
  • Digital Wallets
  • Bitcoin Fundamentals
  • Bitcoin: Preparing For Institutions
  • Electric Vehicles (EVs)
  • Automation
  • Autonomous Ride-Hailing
  • Delivery Drones
  • Orbital Aerospace
  • 3D Printing
  • Long Read Sequencing
  • Multi-Cancer Screening
  • Cell and Gene Therapy: Generation 2

When I see this list, we see deep learning, Bitcoin fundamentals, and Long Read Sequencing and in these cases we expect iteration. 

In case of deep learning (often presented as AI) we see the definition “Deep learning (also known as deep structured learning) is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks with representation learning. Learning can be supervised, semi-supervised or unsupervised”, yet my issue is with the part ‘Learning can be supervised’, as I personally see it to be deep learning, it needs to be semi-supervised or unsupervised, if not it is merely adapted scripting. I will skip Bitcoin fundamentals, it is in my mind an iterative field, but in that I must admit there is a lot I do not know and I never cared to learn it, as such if someone states to me that I was wrong, it would be a fair assessment, but to see innovation paired with a word like ‘fundamentals’ is weird on too many levels. It becomes a different stage when we consider Long Read Sequencing, I get it data is in evolution and transformation and these sequencings are often linked to biometrics, a field that is very much innovation, even the iterations tend to be innovation, so I see the flaw in my thinking here. Yet it compares to naught when we consider ‘Long-read human genome sequencing and its applications’ by Glennis A. Logsdon, Mitchell R. Vollger & Evan E. Eichler. It was published less than a year ago and it took almost that long for me to get the gist of it (armed with a thesaurus). As such when we see Oxford Nanopore Technologies and its applications we do clearly see a large field of innovation, not merely in biometrics, but in an adapted path towards a string of devices all the way from manufacturer to user, where we see an optional path towards identifying digital forensics, I wonder if Mr or Mrs Technology Nanopore from Oxford considered that part of the equation. In a stage where the IoT is in nonstop motion, setting a chain of identifying hardware and connections in a string, an extremely long string might be (for now) the only way to go and that will be (as I personally see it) a much larger stage in digital forensics to find the paths towards organised crime and disorganised corporate crime soon enough. When parts of a path are identified we would optionally see an identifier of non repudiation. Only that person, and that person could have taken that road. Which might also more quickly identify a larger strain of click farms. Not claiming the innovation, merely stating that this might be a path worth considering. At present some will discard the issue with data size, yet I come from an age where DEC had a Winchester drive with 250,000,000 bytes, which was the size of a work-desk and 50 times the weight, all for the price of a house in 11 specific cities in the USA. This happened within a career, as such do not dismiss the idea, as size becomes ever debatable, as speed is increasing in the better hardware, the application of ONT could go a long way and in directions the makers never considered, or at least not openly considered. 

It might be me, anyway, I am meeting up with an old friend (Gaius Julius Caesar) who is giving me the lowdown on his campaign in Gaul, with my rusty Latin, it will take all weekend, so let’s see if I can afford a nice bottle of Italian wine. Have fun!

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Y branch with exits

Yesterday was a day like most other, OK, I gave a new weapons concept to a representative of Saudi Arabia, but all other things were pretty much on par. I watched the movie Bloodshot, saw the trailer and got curious about the movie, which I have watched. There is nothing wrong with watching a Vin Diesel movie, who was also one of the producers. It was a 30% rotten tomato rating and a 43% metacritic rating, this is not a great setting, the movie costed 45 million, took home 37 million and there is no great setting in that remark either, I was pleased to see that there will be a sequel. There are options for Bloodshot. 

The movie got my attention because it has flaws and it has overwhelming moments of great. None of this bears on the cast, the cinematography is good and I never read any of the comics, so I have that against me, I am not aware of the comics, so I cannot see how the stage is set against the movie, you see a comic is not a movie and no matter how close we get (Marvel series), there will always a gap. So we see that there is a gap, Marvel took half a dozen high end actors, Bloodshot has 3 upper level actors, the rest also did a fine job, a great job actually but the nagging feeling was already there, there were flaws (as I personally see it). From my point of view the movie was too much like a comic book. Even as John Wick had the same setting, they did not make that mistake, they optionally created a wave of people interested in the comics, I reckon that this group will be massively larger than Bloodshot will enable. That is not negativity, it is not critique, it merely is. 

So as we see the movie, we realise that we are on a road with a Y-branch, the makers decided to take the left branch, I would have selected the right branch, they both lead to the suburb of Success in the city of Tinseltown, but the end whether they take us to Grab Loot avenue or Desolation Row remains open for debate.

The left branch is all about high end special effects and as many as possible, this is a choice, but I see that this might not be accepted as an outcome that the comic book fans were hoping for. That point is seen in the initial attack in the tunnel. Vin Diesel a hardened veteran is taking shot after shot, yet I do know that these hardened soldiers get out of the line of fire at the all time, as I personally see it the sequence was shot wrong, the stage is for the most right and the shot at the end is perfect, it is the in-between part that bothered me. It is not a bad thing, I still enjoyed the movie, but the right branch is more visceral, it shows how dangerous and how deadly Ray Garrison was in the first place and these people are all about muscle memory, they are about evasion every moment of the day. My old sergeant major used to say. I see no meadows, I see no houses. I see point of concealment, ambush and fire points, I see them everywhere all the time. I cannot tell if he was telling the truth, I was 18, what did I know. I am willing to accept his point of view, those with 15+ years can answer that better than I can. But when you consider those truths, and when we see comic books, we see the need to overcompensate. Art visceral constraints in cinematographically designed visceral constraints are not the same. I think the makers of the movie overlooked that part. 

In all this we accept that this is a movie and that reality is taking a backseat, I have no problems with that, but the stage to add some level of ‘realism’ to the forefront is not too much to ask for. Yes, the elevator fight is nowhere near real, but it is part of the story and I actually loved it, well choreographed and no complaints. The story was gripping and I reckon that the only reason of revenue loss was Covid-19, plain and simple. 

So when the sequel comes, what exit will they use? What choices will they make and which choices are free to select and which are not? The constraints of the comic book remain in place as I see them, it is that group the makers would want to cater too, I get that. Yet what will come remains to be seen, a stage we will have to wait for, and it needs contemplation. In a stage where domestic revenue is a mere 30%, the international revenue becomes increasingly important. 

I reckon that the second movie will do better, even as (with DVD sales) the movie broke a little better than even, I reckon that Vin Diesel is sitting on another franchise, one that could make him a lot of money, yet the way this is achieved is out in the open, part will be artistic choices, part will be the choice of allowing common sense to be part of the equation. In this, I get it, common sense is not the best choice of words, but it sets the premise of the tunnel scene, looking good through special effects is nice and part of it was essential, but in the end, we saw a trained veteran ignore bullets, muscle memory should have kicked in, and it would have made the last scene even more impressive. I saw part of this coming because the trailer gave too much away, a flaw seen too often, not a killing blow, but still a blow where we expect certain matters to come. If you knew the comic books you would not have this option, but I was partially in the dark and the trailer spoiled a few things, yet it needs to be said, I enjoyed the movie. The question becomes what if I had loved the movie, what if the rotten tomato’s would ended up at 60% and metacritic at 65%, what then? Did the makers cut themselves $45,000,000 short, perhaps even more?

It is speculation, but I think that is where the right branch might have taken them, yet that remains pure speculation, I will admit to that part. 

Enjoy the weekend!

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Real life in virtuality

The other night I was pondering the setting (as you might have read in the previous blog) on RPG’s and the setting of a dream within a dream. The idea took another turn as I was considering the interaction of reality with virtuality, and in this a game based on a 1 exabyte setting, an online multiplayer game based on virtuality. A game where players fight each other, they create alliances and they conquer. To get this done, we either create a world that is believable, or we turn it around and let the world create our reality. 

And as I was pondering this, I remember a game called ‘Virus’, in this shooter the game created the levels depending on your hard-drive, that was when the cogs clicked together. 

The new game an entire exabyte of challenges.

The world where we are thrown into is not unlike TRON, but in this setting we become citizens of a cloud environment, we are kidnapped and as we scape we end up getting left to our own devices. So as such we see a challenge, but consider a cloud environment, one that has a dozen Fortune 500 companies, thousands of mid sized companies and a lot more small companies. So will you take on a large player, or do you start small? A game with settings unlike we have ever seen and it is a game that develops further as more players sink into a company, a game without a timeline, but with time as either an ally or an enemy. A stage we have (as far as I know) never seen before and as the cloud evolves, so does the world and the enemies we face. So consider creating a cloud environment for that event and turning it into a game, we are always looking for a challenge, so why not become the infecting part and take over companies, corporations and grow in that way and this is the game with a difference, it is hard core only, one life! You can restart as often as you want, but one defeated you start at square one, until you have complete control of your first company, corporation or enterprise. So as we see and as we get into one cloud, it will be close to an all out war with anyone you face, that is unless you can strike an alliance, and alliances require all parties to see the benefit of one another. The nice part here is that this might (or might not) be the stage where we either love it or hate it. You see this will not appeal to all, there is no doubt it is, yet how can we create the challenge of such a game? We appeal to the player and we set the event that the player will embrace. An approach where the benefit of both sledgehammer and scalpel are seen, and the creation of an environment where both can thrive. And that is the challenge, creating the environment where everything piece of hardware is shown as something, where every router and its components are shown as challenges, I wonder if it can be done.

The question
Yes, I do ask myself the question if it is feasible, if it is even remotely possible. You see, we all have Monday morning quarterbacks in one end, but the other end is also taken. Usually by some manager that has a new plan every Monday morning, but it never pans out to be possible, achievable or even deeply contemplated. I see that, I always question my own thoughts, you see the person who does not question their own thoughts ends up drawing castles in the sky, and then expects a dot matrix printer to print a 1200 DPI photograph. We must question ourselves at all times, especially when we caress our creative side. 

So is my idea a castle in the sky? Perhaps it is, there is no doubt on that. Yet for every 8-10 failures, that one idea will push through and become a real winner. In 1997 I opted and idea to my bosses to use a marketing strategy that used websites as the central core for reaching out to others, my bosses laughed, stating that there was no business model for something that delusional, and stupid me, I listened, 4 years before Facebook, I had the idea for a digital marketing path and it was ignored, silly stupid me, as such I am putting ALL my ideas on the public domain, some will find ground, some will not, perhaps most will not, yet in this I am setting the stage for some to take the idea and push it into a direction that I am currently unable to pursue, for a few reasons, but I digress.

We can try to literally translate a cloud, or we can set the inventory of any given cloud and create a converted one that boggles the mind. Consider that a company has a server, users, computers, routers, Cloud Connectors, Data Center Interconnect Platforms, Mobile Internet Routers and a few other devices, and the larger the company becomes, the larger the hardware and that is before the cloud, in the cloud we see all kind of other issues and to map these out we need a different set of rules, a different set of limits to add to the game, to give some version of ‘reality’ to the game, a set of spawning rules (I hate spawning in games) or to set a better stage, if a cloud is represented in elements (see image) now consider that each company has larger or smaller elements of all, how diverse will be the challenge a gamer has, even as the gamer goes from place to place, he is still in one cloud and there is the larger cloud security to content with. Perhaps the game is a fools errant, yet I believe that if gaming is the edge of technology, the only way we get beyond what we have now, is to push the stage of a new game towards and beyond the horizon of what we now can see. Sony gave us the console to do it, so let’s push into a realm we have never seen before, it is the only way to keep gaming at the height of any system, if we do not do that, we are hopelessly lost.

So where is your virtual gaming life? In a new version of an existing game, or in a stage of gaming we haven’t seen yet? I have nothing against the next iteration in gaming, I played Tombraider, 1, 2 and 3 and never regretted that, yet even there, we saw evolution of gaming. That part was less and less visible in some other franchises and that is a sad part, because only those who push gaming beyond the limits will show a game worthy of conquering. We have all kind of views on this, some hate them, some love them and that is OK. I was never a GTA fan, but a lot are, some hate Watchdogs 2, I loved it (3 as well). Some love Breakpoint, me not that much. That is fine, I always state that those claiming to create a game that appeals to all, will create a game that pleases none, so if I am not part of any equation, that is fine by me. Others, will serve the game I like. 

This is how it should be and in all this creativity will push limits and creativity will open up other doors, such is life and we need to push as many doors as we can if we are to make life better all around us, the iterators never will, they are part of the margin spreadsheet, sailing a safe course to last longer, it will never ever go their way. Nintendo is perhaps one of the shiniest examples. It pushed the Wii, which was a decent success, then the WiiU, an abysmal failure, yet it resulted in the Nintendo Switch, an absolute home run in gaming and there we see that failings will optionally turn to wins, an iterator will never see that, only the innovator will get there. Nintendo at present is close to 75,000,000 switch consoles sold, that implies 2 Nintendo’s for every Xbox, so where is their ‘most powerful system in the world’ now? Iterators always have a good story, but they do not yield results, we will get another ‘We’re not driven by how many consoles we sell, it is the same all over, the losers will say the numbers are shallow, but when they are in pole position, it is everything. A brand gone to the dogs, largely because they ignored the voice of the gamer, I saw that almost a decade ago. And now we see a new world rising, one run by Sone ind Nintendo, it is fine by me, although I needed Microsoft to keep Sony on their toes, this idea will soon be a bust. So the best I can do is to set a stage of creativity and hope that some will Create more and more Sony exclusive games, those who do will be able to use my gaming IP free of charge, I do have commercial needs (income) for my 5G IP, such is life and I do like to enjoy a good meal.

So is my cloud game a bust? Perhaps it is, but for now I will try to envision more and more of that approach, consider a complete created cloud, one where you travel and set the premise of ruling the cloud, yet not alone, it is too big making alliances more and more important, a stage that several have attempted, some a lot more successful then others, I merely want to add to the success rate, or at least attempt to do so. It is the price of creativity and its push to innovation, only the successful continue that battle stronger, the failures continue too, but on a smaller scale, and that is fine, every person will fail at some point, it is what they do next that matters, because Steve Jobs had its successes, but he also had the NeXT computer. We recognise success, but we fail to recognise the failures and where they lead to, it is the flaw in many of us. And this is a larger stage, so how can we set that stage, when people keep on pushing Microsoft and their Blue solution. So as ZDnet reported “Microsoft acknowledged it was a service update targeting an internal validation test ring that caused a crash in Azure AD backend services. “A latent code defect in the Azure AD backend service Safe Deployment Process (SDP) system caused this to deploy directly into our production environment, by passing our normal validation process,” officials said”, a lot of bla bla and yada yada, yet the flaw is not merely within Microsoft, it is the same approach that is replicated again and again. So as we see mentions of Active Directory, we also see ‘a validation ring that doesn’t include customer data’, as well as ‘the SDP didn’t correctly target the validation ring due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently causing service availability to degrade’, so how long until there are more and more failures and the rollback merely adds to the problem? This is what I saw when I considered the NSA approach towards Trust Zero, the idea is good, but larger players will screw up making any rollback a much larger issues over the whole field. This is part of the idea to make the cloud a game, we could optionally see something we never noticed before, because thousands of gamers will kick the one part everyone ignored. 

Whether we see the issue in reality, or merely virtual. We need to look with different kind of glasses, I see that because 20 years ago I listened to the wrong people, those relying on bullet points, memo’s and ego. There is no space for that in gaming, or in innovative design, I wonder when Microsoft will figure that part out, they are now in 3rd position, what happens when they become deal last (behind Amazon), will they blame metrics or will it be a Covid set of variables? No matter what they will rely on, they are in a stage where they are losing more and more slices of business cake, they are losing slices in a time where they should have had the entire pie, as I personally see it stupidity, greed driven short sightedness and ego driven conviction made them lose field after field, and now they are in a ratchet state, they have no ability to get close to Amazon and at the same time there is every chance that Google could catch up with them. When that happens, Microsoft will be holding a losing hand in the both the cloud and the gaming field and as their surface solution falls short, we see them handing over slices of that pie to Apple, a three sided losing streak, it is a rare but slightly satisfying field. Why do I think that Microsoft will fail? ZDnet stated it best with “There is still no publicly available data on Azure sales. Azure is the part of Microsoft’s cloud business that most rhymes with AWS, but is buried in the commercial cloud”. In a lifetime of working in IT, I have learned that when commercial driven players rely on ‘no publicly available data’, it tends to be because someone is too close, they are too far behind, or the results create questions, and as I personally see it, Microsoft does all three, Google is too close, they are too far behind with Amazon and the Exchange server issues call in question issues with the Microsoft cloud as a whole. As we saw (from 2019 onwards) more and more hacks towards clouds, there is every notion that together with one source claiming that 90% of clouds are in danger, Microsoft has a lot is problems coming their way, I do not know if this is completely fair on Microsoft, as all three have issues, but the replicated approach Microsoft has (Active Directory anyone?), we see a larger issue, if hacks can be transposed from one system to the other, Microsoft hacks might be seen as lucrative (from the organised crime point of view), it makes the NSA approach more and more essential, yet I personally feel that any rollback has hidden flaws and flaws are a problem, especially in a cloud where one flaw transfers to a whole number of corporations. I will be the first to agree that my view is speculative, because it is, but to see that part you need to grasp back to 2003 where the people got “Erroneous VeriSign-Issued Digital Certificates Pose Spoofing Hazard”, this needs to happen only once on the cloud and the mess is almost complete and I believe that a rollback will make it happen. So how do you feel about ‘due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently’ now?

So perhaps my idea for a cloud game has a few additional benefits, apart from it being an interesting approach to a new game. 

Have a great day

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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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A repetitive bashing

Yup, I will admit this upfront, that what I am writing is a little repetitive, yet when I stated it initially we were before the Bafta nominations and we were before the actual winners, now that they are out, the repetition sets in. 

So as we took notice of those who made it and those who did not, let’s be sure that being nominated is already a huge step forward, yet there can only be one winner, or in this case two. 

So when we see Nintendo with its switch and we see the wins that Hades and Animal Crossing New Horizons, we see groundbreaking moments in more than one way, Hades where dying is part of life and part of the game, which is a first, then there is the addictive Animal Crossing (I know, as I am as hooked to this just like the other 19,999,999 players), two games taking home multiple awards, yet that was not enough, Sony was there too, taking trophies for the Last of Us part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Sackboy and Spiderman: Miles Morales. All great games, all getting awarded and in some cases Nintendo and Sony were vying for the same title, the moral of this story, Microsoft might buy all the talent (that $8.5B invoice) but in the end the story and originality are everything and the games that the two houses brought did just that. Microsoft (Rare Studios actually) had one win with Sea of Thieves and Ubisoft was absent, my predictions are in part seen in the Bafta’s as they are massively absent, it is the consequences of not comprehending your audience. My advice to Ubisoft? If you try to make a game that should appeal to all, you end up with a game that pleases none. It is a flaw they have shown again and again, yet I must also allow for a part that is not of my liking, it is Rainbow Six, it is not my cup of tea, but for those who do like it, they are raving, as such I was expecting to see them show up, because fair is fair, they have poured a lot of talent into a game that is showing appeal to millions, as such I was a little surprised. 

Another prediction I made was the fact that indie developers would become more and more important and Supergiant Games showed that, it took home 4 bafta’s, a company with 20 people took the limelight away from a multi billion company named Ubisoft, that has got to hurt. And as the media is all about the impact of lockdowns, they better realise that these games were there, lockdown or not, the games were about fun and in that regards both delivered, it seems essential that some of the players start to realise that small lesson, the fact that I (over a few articles) set the stage of a unique RPG game should tell these people that their time is up, they tried and failed (and now these software houses are dying), it matters because I never wanted Ubisoft to go under, I needed them to make gams better, because good games is what we all want, yet last week we were given ‘Ubisoft removes some new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla quests and decorations to address crashing issues’, we are till seeing these things all whilst the game was released on 10 November 2020, a week early because they were ready, well we know how that is ending, do we not? And as we contemplate “Based on the latest financial disclosure, UBISOFT ENTERTAIN has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 36.0%, significantly higher than that of the Electronic Gaming & Multimedia industry” (source: microaxis.com), as such a software house that was nowhere near collapse is now regarded as a lace where their downfall is almost one in three, a stage that they did themselves, but I am not happy, like any other junk I hope for another AC Origins, another Far Cry 3 and I loved Watchdogs: Legion. But I also warned all last year that their next two products better be beyond good and Watchdogs: Legion was, the other (AC game) was not, so as we are treated to ‘Try Ubisoft+ for a week for free’ might be the last attempt by their marketing to stop the flow going somewhere else, but I think it might be too late, if they had a massive great announcement during the Bafta’s, there was a small chance, but when we see special forces comment on Breakpoint on Youtube to the degree I saw, they better realise that the gig is up. They had good game and then they got lazy (optionally Rainbow Six and For Honor excluding), not my kind of games, but I want to make sure that the truth as I see it is given to you as complete as possible. And as we see that subscription services are getting more and more sides, we might realise that Ubisoft is one of many and they are not in a good place at present. 

A stage they could have prevented years ago, if only they had listened to their gamers, things would be different, very very different. Together with Microsoft they are pushing gamers somewhere else and that I still important, You see, Sony is now great, but they became great because the competition was fierce and Microsoft forced them to become good, the gap between Sony and Nintendo is too large making me worry about the PS6 (a extreme future view), in addition, Ubisoft forced both to keep their game high and indie developers are less likely to do this as they often are set to a specific system (example Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch Productions, Guerrilla games, Santa Monica Studio), and I do not mind, but when there is no competition, the high enders tend to get lazy as well, not the software houses, they are competing with each other. 

I still fear a lull in Sony because Microsoft consoles might fall away in 2022/2023, that part is seen as they are more and more promoting streaming gaming on your mobile, it seems that they are trying to get their streaming solution on PC, Android, iOS and other places (not on my system they will), and in all this other sources give me an implied state that sales of Xbox to PS5 is 1:2 moving towards 1:2.5, so I have reasons to doubt the existence of a Microsoft console in 2023, all because (my personal speculation) because the makers were asleep at the wheel from 2012 onwards, all the pushy games they played with their always online whilst that adjustment should have been fixed no later than 2014, that is now 7 years ago. They lost the field and I am actually not that happy, because it optionally takes the fire away from Sony in the longer run. Yet for now, all we can do is be happy for the Bafta Winners and enjoy the games they made, I am still missing Sackboy, but I have all the rest, so I am good for now and as I am replaying God of War in easy mode, so I can focus on exploration and the story this time around, that is besides the amazing views the game gives and lets not forget that this game is almost 3 years old. As such, I end this article hoping you all have a great day and I hope you will enjoy a game or two on whatever system you prefer. 

Have a great weekend!

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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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River of choices

We all have these moments where we contemplate things, you me, we all do. When I am in that stage I tend to play a game to clear my mind, let my subconscious work out what I cannot voice, most of us have a mechanic of sorts to work through this, and I am not different. As I was considering a game, I returned to Dragon-quest builder, on Switch, the second game. I never finished it, mainly because some of the quirks got to me. Let me be clear, I was talking about quirks, not bugs or glitches, although we can argue on glitches. I got the demo which gave us much of the first world and it enticed me, it was fun to play and the word fun os overbearingly important. A bad game is a bad game, a fun game is for the most never ever a bad game. It might not be a great game, some are optionally not good games either, but fun works out the kinks in your armour every single time, so now that I have worked through the kinks, I am going back to the game. You see, I have issues to work through, issues on the RPG my mind devised (and put online in these articles), yet I need to make sure it is about the game, there is no hatred towards Bethesda, lets be clear if you have a program (or a few) what would you do if you were offered eight point five billion? I would do the same. I have a natural disgust towards Microsoft, but that is on different grounds. 

So as I was playing Dragon-quest Builders, my mind worked out a few more settings in the RPG. The stage where you either build a house, or buy a house, a house is for most our most powerful possession, so let’s make it a house of power, a house of family and where you set it has benefits, no matter where you set it. Consider that Bethesda’s Oblivion, in your game you could own a house in Anvil, Bravil, Bruma, Cheydinhal, Chorrel, Imperial City docks, Leyawin and Skingrad. So how many friends do you have who have 8 houses? But what happens when the house becomes a stage of power? Not merely houses that have more or less (and therefor more affordable) power, but different kinds of power. To coin a phrase, in Greek terms, what if the house in Leyawin is blessed by Hades, as such a necromancer would have bigger abilities over time and more powerful as he is in his house more often, as such the child born there would have increasing benefits. But in this RPG there is no Hades, but the idea still sticks, and it was not done before, so enjoy adding that part in your Playstation exclusive RPG.

Yet it does not end there, houses is one part in ones life, the setting is what is added and it is important to be unique, or at least not as much as a copy of true originals as some others are. The houses are just the beginning, as we get into the game, the house itself will optionally be the giver of quests, which does not mean that all houses should be owned, you can at each time only own one and the quests will not come until the next generation is there (born in the house). There is also the stage where one third is some form of copy, so if there are 7 houses (random number), the 21 quests will be there, but 7 will optionally be a revisitation. It allows for replayability of a game, giving it a much larger stage to play, in all the game requires at least one replay as we have three generation and 5 arcane houses, and 5 mundane houses (still working on that), as such you cannot play them all in one play-through, as such there is the evolution of towns over three generations, so the game will be much larger, I had some sort of version in my initial view of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but as they are now Microsoft, I can incorporate the few dozen ideas I had there to fit this RPG, so you have a lot more coming your way.

Consider a game with 5 main quest lines and dozens of side-quests. A station of consideration and in that river, we must make choices, if we listen to marketing we get the vile ‘This should be enough’ and ‘what if we copy that idea, it is easier to replicate’, and that is not false, but that is why the top 10 of best Ubisoft games are 1994 or older, that is 26 years ago. Personally that list is fine, but I would have places AC Origins in there at some point. Ghost Recon Breakpoint had 52%, Ghost Recon Wildlands 69%, games that should have been 85% plus games didn’t make it, why is that? A game that tries to appeal to all, will in fact please none. A lesson that Ubisoft never learned. And that is where I am not going, as such I am relying on a different course, to envision a different RPG that pleases all RPG lovers and if some want to take a leap there they are welcome. Yet some will not like it, they rely on racing games, FIFA and other games and they are welcome there, I wish them the best fun they can handle, and some are totally nuts about FIFA, I am more of an NHL player myself. We all have fantasies and mine is to be an NHL goalie (as sports go). So as I am taking a view on the mundane quests, the economic stage of the island, I want to set a larger stage of bartering, we al needs stuff and let’s face it, cola caps make for lousy food, so how to go about it? We can return to the age of Rome and get paid in salt, but I reckon that in most villages the need for hides and tools will outweigh the need for jewellery (but not always), so as I look into the stage of artisan quest lines I leave you with the thoughts I had. Do not consider out of the box thinking, throw that limitation overboard and make the consideration if my thought had to fit in a box, what shape would that box have?

It is just a thought to entertain.

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Mummy and Daddy

Yes, we know it, we lived it, but we never played that stance. We learned it in school, but I took a page out of the works of Gregor Mendel who gave us the foundation of genetics. So proud Sony developers, it is time to walk into the next level of RPG gaming. The one part that was forever an issue was that Bethesda had to set a stage of rewarding, per cave, per site and that was fine, but spelunking and tomb raiding are not always that rewarding (ask Lara Croft if you doubt me). So even as you started to play as a he or a she, which was your choice, what if we give some kind of a time limit, if you started early, you had a family, as such the partner becomes important, so when we go past the steamy sex part where she rolls like a horny vixen and you get ‘victimised’ towards creating the next generation, you get a choice will the next adventurer be a he, or a she and it is not just there, as the next generation is updated every visit you make, the partner (depending on what gender you are) also brings power to the mix. And that is where RPG have not gone before. So there is a social setting in the village, or wherever you are living, the successful adventurer has better chances, more options, and there the game evolves, as we make a choice if the partner is more artistic, some abilities evolve into the next generation, more arcane gives other choices more power and so on. 

So for example 

Partner’s job
Smith – Strength
Farmer – food as a resource
Artist – accuracy, mapmaking
Carpenter – woodworks, agility
Butcher – armour, meat, leather
Baker – Food, alchemy, arcane support
Textiler – Fabrics, accuracy, armour design

And the list goes on, the idea is to imbue the following generations with additional knowledge. A set of things that you might have ignored but are gifted to the next generation. 

It also requires a much larger stage on the game itself, what we see, how we look at something alters, and getting rid of the simple internet solutions is merely icing on the cake.

Consider what we consider that some golden quest can be found and completed by the first generation, but in many cases the golden quest gives us some treasure and a larger clue, it is up to generations 2 and 3 to complete them, it is basically, to some degree the end of the linear quest person, it is a stage never seen before and I believe that whomever makes that game to the degree we see will make that developer a nice future stage as a new larger development house, and as Micro$oft learns that they lost out again, perhaps they will take the word of gamers against that of business analyst claiming to be gamers. 

There is a set of choices and the idea is to have a game that encompasses three or four generations. The more fame, the more the town grows, the better their setting for gold, for shops and resources. We are so used to do it all ourselves, we forgot that some tasks are too big, and the family still gets there, if the father gave the right clues that the son (or daughter) can pick up on. A new style of RPG and when we add the previous parts that include the 5 stories of the arcane, the set stage of an island the size of New Zealand, which is a place one person cannot explore in one lifetime, especially on foot, as such we can play an avatar (demigod) with a decent level of immortality, or we increase the game in other directions, I decide to opt for option 2 and so far no other game maker ever has, so as Microsoft is playing the same card over and over again, I am offering this to the Playstation developers, to create something quite new, something gaming has not seen before and that is what gamers want, something that is new to them, whilst not upsetting the genre of the game, it will remain an RPG, an evolving RPG no less. A setting that was viewed in the first day, but I saw too much and it took time to digest all my mind created at the seed of light, I merely wonder when gaming gets to this place, because as cloud gaming goes, its power will be in long term gaming, optionally another reason why Bethesda was so appealing to Micro$oft. Too bad I am handing out these ideas to Sony developers for bobkis, what a lovely waste of $8,500,000,000, ain’t I a stinker?

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Somniare atque in posterum

It was a weird dream, even as nothing really weird seem to happen, the dream was weird. It was my first day at Sony, I was given a cubicle. A man spoke to me ‘We liked how you responded to your previous boss’, even as I have no idea who or what response they were talking about. There was a start package on what seemed to be my desk. There was a new watch in 4 parts. It seemed an almost identical fit to the Apple watch, but it was something we had to put together. There was the housing, the band, the battery and the electronics. It was an employee watch. The electronics were specific Sony, the rest generic. The watch kept us informed, seems to keep the company informed of our every action and it was the lifeline of the employee. A future I predicted in 2013, but not to this degree. Patents fuelled to generalisation, to set parts into a stage of some sort of jigsaw combining and partial usage made no difference, the patents caught it all. From mass produced straps (mine seemed like a transparent cheap looking plastic, but tough and resilient. The housing was a generic product, like it was made to fit a million users and the electronics were specific, it gave the Sony display, time, messages, internal (departmental) information. It is a future we are heading for, instant access and companies having instant access to us, it is not a Sony thing, it will be a global corporate thing. The question is not how it will happen, because it will, when it will happen is also not the question, the issue will son become, how complete will this digital transformation be? The introduction will be clear, the stage will be set, but I wonder how it reflects on us. I see generic housing’s to become almost a fashion statement, some will be smooth metallic, some will be titanium, some will be silver, or even gold but they will all house the generic watch given to us on day one. The corporate mobile tether that can reach us from 4G and beyond. 

A stage where managers can be contacted at home, a zoom conference from their Sony Bravia, all as the need of their global bosses require. A sort of time management per cycle, every cycle. 

I didn’t see much beyond that, but the setting threw me, not what was shown to me, but how casual I looked at the watch, like it was in use everywhere, a technology in a stage where it is the one corporate-employee link that all larger corporations rely on. A new stage of technology that we all accept, those who do not will not remain in any workforce for long. A set service that most corporations will rely on, the larger have their own solution, the others use a cloud based SAAS setting and in this day, with cloud transgressions set to 90%, the larger stage is not where we work, but how secure we can work. In all this, some technologies, the law and politics are running behind all the matter that is being hurdled against us. So whilst we are shown on how ‘New German IT law raises hurdles for Huawei’ to set the hurdle for one, but not the other we see “A key question with any cloud computing service is: “where is the data stored or processed?” It is a key question because location is not fixed in the cloud. Unlike a fixed server in your office or at a data centre in Australia, data in the cloud could potentially be located anywhere in the World and even in multiple data centres in multiple copies worldwide. In fact, a cloud service provider may not even know where the data is residing”, with a reference to “Some exceptions to this rule are provided, for instance, when the controller itself can guarantee that the recipient will comply with the data protection rules” and that is a larger stage where we see personal data in clouds where organised crime uses a system like their personal highway to information and the law doesn’t have a clue what to do to protect people, although they had time to figure out how to stop Huawei. Thi stage is about to explode in all our faces. Whilst we see marketing give the clarion call to ‘AI’, a stage that at present does not exist. The marketeers are feeding the legal minds in a stage that is disjointed. As I personally see it, the law is steered by the greed driven to stop some and clear their way to more profit, all whilst the changes will impact billions and no one is looking into the flaw that we ourselves create.And it is happening in a stage where Times Daily reports ‘Nokia to cut up to 10,000 jobs to ramp up R&D in 5G race’, an article (at https://www.timesdaily.com/business/nokia-to-cut-up-to-10-000-jobs-to-ramp-up-r-d-in-5g/article_5c02981a-a87e-5a02-8bcd-3efac378852f.html) that gives a larger premise. If you have to fire 10% of staff (10.000 jobs) to ramp up Research and development in 5G, how far behind are you?

All this, whilst Huawei is already far beyond that point, how desperate have people become? You need not accept my words, but the numbers by Statista shows that Saudi Arabia (one player that embraced the Huawei solution) is at present over 700% faster than the US, it is the number one 5G place to be, so how far behind will we all be in 2022? If the watches are seemingly the place to be, how many developers will divert to a place like Saudi Arabia to make that part a reality much quicker, all that whilst the EU and the US are nowhere near ready, so how long until others realise the bag of goods we are offered by those not able to deliver, will we hold THEM to account any day soon?

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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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