Tag Archives: Star Wars

Alternative income

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

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

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

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

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

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As crazy ideas go

OK, lets be clear, Ubisoft is not suddenly a good place (not judging on the massive amounts of pushed events), yet they have the advantage through Watchdogs 2. So what happens if the map is increased, what if it is close to identical to the real deal? Now we are going to add things, not some almanac we have to chase, but events we have to fix.

Consider San Francisco, now add episodes of Charmed, the Streets of San Francisco, Full House, Monk, The Circle, Blue Jasmine, the Rock, Bullet, Pursuit of Happiness, the Presidio, so many movies and TV series that were made and based in San Francisco, what if you have to fix it all, fix productions, get the rights scripts to the right people. Props to the right locations, Hunt for people out to get the actors (wink at the Dead pool) and so on. It has never been done before and what is more, it is a game that is expandable, that is the nice part of San Francisco. OK, Ubisoft has one hell of a legal predicament to work on, but it would be original, and it could be an eye opener for the nextgen systems. In all this, a stage to look forward to, and let not forget, the overwhelming group  of gamers, they do love their movies. So whilst I am brooding over the next part of my short story, this idea came into my head. 

So you start s a young executive (a real Joe does it all), has to get the actors to the set, has to get the props, has to place the crew and scripts. Yet the stage is not as straightforward. There are things he can delegate, and things he cannot delegate. For example, the diamond prop in the jewel store heist (one of the TV series) are also needed on the set of the Presidio, so you are racing from place to place, getting the right stuff and delegating the right tasks. And as we go from level to level, more stages, more scripts and more challenges. All this whilst you need to build up credibility, revenue and stage bigger margins. As the game goes forward there is the need for more of everything and over time as we add more and more series and movies, the unlocks increase. It was only a first thought, but something like this has not been done before and it is not easy, some studios are very protective of their IP, so the game is not an easy fit, but it could be a nice challenge. I wonder who at Ubisoft had looked at that, with the larger need for exclusive gaming, Ubisoft has its challenges ahead of itself.

Anyway, it is more appealing than the hundreds of messages about a fly on the presidential debates. And whilst the world watched the, I had a first inkling of a new idea, I feel that I am on a roll. Yup, I have earned my mac and cheese tonight. 

In light of all the remasters and re-releases (which is still a good thing), I came up with an optional new game. I am still thinking o it and also trying to convince myself to create more new gaming IP, you see so much has already been done, coming up with a brand new IP is a much larger challenge than one thinks. I had the idea of a time thief, but the stage is much too large. The idea came to me when Assassins Creed gave us the original bonfire of the vanities DLC. The person was real, there was a Girolamo Savonarola, he did start ‘ethic cleansing of art’ by having his own kristalnacht, so what happens when you go to the night, copy the artwork and steal to original without being seen. As such what can be done before 7 February 1497, what can only be done on the night, with art treasures the in today’s world would exceed a billion dollars. Hundreds of pieces of art. So how far would you get? Being spotted ends the game, and makes you restart it, or you can retire, but only the successful retire rich. And it is not the only time this happened.

The obvious moment is WW2, yet it was not the only case, WW1 has had its share of events, there is the 17th century fire that destroyed much of Brussels, 1654, a gunpowder magazine stored in a former convent exploded in the Dutch town of Delft (I lived there, which is why I know), destroying the works of Carel Fabritius. An optional art education on top of all this. The 1734 fire of Seville’s royal palace, destroyed hundreds of pieces of art, including works by Diego Velázquez, Leonardo d Vinci, Anthony van Dyck, El Greco, and Raphael. And there are several of these events. So what happens when we realise the tie theft is very very expensive (power for time travel and so on), so one can only progress if enough is ‘saved’. Two ideas in one day, not a bad call, is it? And if you wonder why all the big houses cannot one up with original idea’s, I will shrug my shoulders. I got this done with a gatorade and the need for Mac and cheese in my belly. All this before 11PM, sometimes I even scare myself. So whilst there is a Star Wars movie in the background, I wonder if anyone has considered a slightly more arcade version of Knights of the Sky, and in light of Star Wars Squadrons, did anyone consider a viper simulator for the Battlestar Galactica. It is merely an idea, but the series has plenty of fans, and shooting down Cylons? Not the worst way to spend time (sorry Grace Park). We see the easy marks, yet how many had considered Time theft? We can go 1st person (thief), take a Commando 2 approach guide several characters, use a third person approach (Dead Space), all whilst we consider the choices here, I am considering another game. Oh well, there is no stopping the creative mind.

Have a great weekend (Friday is prep-day for weekend).

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Light of creativity

In creativity we normally see a theme, or perhaps better phrased, some (like me)( are thematically driven, it might change per project, but in me there is a drive to think thematically, it is how I set the the stages of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, Watchdogs 4: Refugee,  and Far Cry 7: Timing

In this I have spoken about the Elder Scrolls and Watchdogs before, but not too much about Far Cry, in this game the stage is a little bit different. The game has two sides, a day side and a night side, yet that is not really made clear in the beginning, The game is stages in Japan on the Island of Amakusa, the man is in the city as it is today, yet when he falls asleep he becomes the boy or Girl named Sage. For the kid its 1945, for the adult its 2010, and the stage is different, the man learns skills that the boy has when he falls asleep, the kid finds things and places (and avoid US troops) the difference is that this is a game without guns, the US troops have them, but the boy/girl cannot fire them. The man learns to be better and more apt with knifes, and it helps the other one, but is only deadly to animals. The story starts in 2010, the man is evicted, he lost his job in the meltdown, he is making it on his own and when he gets to an abandoned house, he finds an engraved phalange, and as he holds it, he falls asleep. 

At that point it becomes morning 1945 and the boy takes over. 

It is the foundation of the game, in this we see the entire island twice, once as the boy in the midst  of an American occupation, with lose combats against the Imperial army, we see the game starting in one stage in July 1st 1945 and July 1st 2010 in the other stage. The idea of having two stories that intertwine is interesting, the 2010 story sets the stage of what knowledge is gained in 1945. This stage is depending on stealth, that is often not important in 2010, as we try to gain the treasures and rare items to pay the debt, as that unfolds, we see two stories unfold as well as two needs to be scored in a single night, and as the stage unfolds more and more we get to see a WW2 story from a Japanese side, yet the Americans are not shown too evil, but they are scary to a 11 year old child. 

That is merely the beginning of the setting and it took no more than two hours to come up with it. So when we see “a small team at Visceral also worked on a pirate game code named Jamaica. That game wound up being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and EA wound up with a bigger a bigger priority for its “genre” studio: a Star Wars game”, a quote a mere three days old, yet I was able to (semi)create three games in a week, so where is their creativity? I came up with the setting of the game Evolution which was came from an Idea I had when I was playing the game Mercenary on the CBM64 and was based in Amsterdam, The centre of Amsterdam was completely mapped and I came up with a map change which I got from the documentary Zero Hour, as I see it, the lack of creativity from some of these large software houses baffle me, it really does.

Well, its fine as I see it, I came up with 6 games (completely) original in its foundation, as such the entire stage of ‘being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ passed me by completely. And in that regard, we see that even their version is not that original, Sid Meier set that stage with Pirates, as such I wonder what they will create next, and beyond that, which of them will actually make it to the consoles, because that is another setting.

As we see all over the place ‘Apple clashes with Microsoft, Google, and Facebook over cloud gaming’ no one is asking the question, who will hand us original games? In this the setting that only Sony and Nintendo remains is not the weirdest idea. So as the others are fighting on how to gain the largest slice of pie in the GaaS game, some will focus on originality and make the largest gains. 

So what games will you play and which system will focus on original games? Is that not important too? 

 

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Confirmation!

It is always nice to see confirmation, as the large players have now made their presentation, I see that the battle lines are drawn in my favour, in favour of PlayStation players. Make sure you get this, I am not stating that Xbox lost, or that they have bad games, in the world of games, the ones I prefer to play, Sony delivered! The Last Guardian coming in 2016 is pure poetry by controller, Horizon is taking post-apocalyptic views to a new level and the small demo gives a clear view that we have new levels of gameplay to adhere to. Agent 47 is coming to PS4 and the console is also giving us new versions of the old, classics like Streetfighter, with new and awesome graphics, but the same play line that Streetfighter fans love. I saw a new part of actual gameplay of No Man’s Sky, the vreator (not a typo) was showing it off and getting the limelight he deserved. He is showing a level of exploring never seen before, the more I look at it, the more that I see on how Elite: Dangerous and No Man’s Sky together are the perfect experiences non shooter addicted gamers will likely see this generation.

It is scary, but it is true. Consider the past. Most of those over 30 grew up seeing Steven Spielberg as the one creator of movies. After that we now get on his level Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams (not dismissing any other directors here). In games we had a few more, but over 20 years, the big names have been Peter Molyneux, Sid Meier and Richard Garriott. Now we get Gareth Bourn (No Man’s Sky) and David Braben (Elite: Dangerous). In the ‘old’ days David was the man of one game (one game I loved). Now we see that same game evolved beyond our imagination blowing me away and that is not all, so as we see more exceptional movie makers, we will also see more exceptional game makers. These Virtual Creators (vreators) are raising the bar by a lot, One on Xbox (me growling a little now) and one on Sony. Personally I truly hope that both consoles get to enjoy both games, because no matter which console you decided on, both games are as I see it, an absolute must!

Sony also showed a few games that were out there. Firewatch and Dreams, dreams is completely off the wall. Different and unique, which means it will completely appeal to the artsy gamer. Firewatch is set in Wyoming, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, you’re all alone. A mystery that involves two missing women, so good luck with that challenge. And this is just the top of the games. More clear appeal than Microsoft offered, more pure gameplay we had not seen before and this is before we get more on Metal Gear Solid 5. So both systems have unique offerings, and offerings on both, you the gamer gets to choose what gaming style appeals to you. For me, Sony delivers what I desire (apart from Elite: Dangerous).

Sony did not ignore the younger players. With Disney’s Infinity 3.0 it will be giving the Star Wars universe with a limited 1 month exclusive for PlayStation players. So, parents who want to imbue the passion for Star Wars to their kids, they will have the materials to do just that. Loads of options and exclusives, which will be opened for all others after 30 days, some will remain exclusive until the holidays. At least it is a temporary thing for none Sony players. Looking back at the presentations, it seems to me that we got twice the value from Sony in the same time that Microsoft was ‘hyping’ some of their exclusives.

The best thing is to go to www.IGN.com and look at the Sony presentation yourself, download the movie, watch online of stream it to your tablet offline. Everything Sony showed is telling me that we are in for an excellent year of gaming. I reckon that most of us will have plenty to play until the end of 2016. The show ended with Drake, a smooth introduction movie with a nice twist at the beginning, which shows us that the beginners that brought a ‘Crash Bandicoot’ is still reeling the wow factors of players today, with games like ‘a thieves end’ whilst ‘the Last of Us’ still has not stopped appealing the players. Yet so far, the one part that was never truly answered was the gossip and ‘leaked’ news regarding the Mass Effect trilogy on Nextgen, which seems to be not happening as far as I can tell from the news released, but I did see the question all over IGN, they all accept that for those new on consoles, Mass Effect is an established game that can grab the imagination of new players, whilst fulfilling the desire of the seasoned gaming veteran. So we must wonder how much can we rely on this information as such, if not, then why can you pre-order the game in some online shops (with a clear TBA mention though)?

The E3 is still going on, but for me, the important parts are done. Tomorrow we will see Square Enix and Nintendo. I still have my Wii in a box somewhere, I never got the WiiU and to be honest, I have no intention of getting it. The Wii started strong, was messed up by Nintendo Marketing, as such, Nintendo lost a market share part. Yet, last year they regained a lot of visibility with Splatoon, a game that amazed and impressed, it was released this month. For now, Nintendo has nothing new to offer and what I have (3DS) works really well, yet an upgraded version of a Gameboy advance game alone will not do it. Nintendo has work to do, whilst Sony keeps on amazing. Square Enix is another matter. Deus Ex is the big ticket for me, yet the remastered Final Fantasy VII should not be ignored. So far the news all over the place are stating almost the same. Sony delivered!

So as Sony ended one part of the presentation of Dreams with the music ‘life is but a dream’, I will say: “Thank you Sony!”

 

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About them copyrights

It’s all good and fine to get through the day, to read on how it is all ‘sooo’ virtual, so available. Yet, in the end, is this ‘the truth’? Consider when we see the article, again the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/taylor-swift-uk-itunes-out-of-the-woods), so we could say how it sucks to be Taylor Swift at this point. You see, when you use the ‘excuse’ “due to a new strategy my record label is working on in the UK“, we can safely assume that this is about something else. Likely commission, possibly ‘better’ kickbacks, or better margins, yet overall the fans will suffer and they are now looking at other means like uploaded records to get their music.

I wrote about such events in ‘The real issue here!‘ where I stated “So, almost 20% end up buying the discs (implying 80% will not)“, I had written about such issues in gaming, in movies and as Taylor Swift will soon learn in music too.

By playing for tougher deals, you end up losing a lot. And in this case, as I see it Team Swift only have themselves to blame. Just like the gamers of day old were ignored by the US at large, music fans will not tolerate delays on such events. That is the drawback of the digital age. When you offer it NOW, you better offer it to all. So when we see the quote “Out of the Woods is likely to be available for at least some of Swift’s fans in the UK soon, then. But many will have turned to other means to hear the track: for example, there are already a number of uploads of its audio to YouTube“, you better believe that fans will find another avenue. In the end, her real fans will buy it one way or the other, yet Taylor lost out on a vibe that could have gotten her a few hundred thousand, perhaps even a million additional downloads. She will miss out on that one this time.

So is this fair to Taylor? Does that matter? When you decide on a strategy that leaves one out, that one will either find an alternative or will move on to something else. Such is life. In gaming, when this happened in the 80’s, people had no choice but to copy or wait for outrageous prices. So, those with copied games got to play it, those who had no contacts ended up waiting in excess of one year. The digital age now has given us the option to get it ANYWHERE fast, usually at a base price and often as fast as day one. In the age where product outstrips demand by a lot, the digital age becomes a different field. An opportunity missed is a chance lost, not delayed. Music is exactly that to a massive group (the Taylor Swift fans will always buy), but that leaves a large group missed and it loses out to potential new fans, but is that a given?

No it is not, yet we see that the digital wave tends to attract the curious, those who get one song and then learn that the music is interesting to seek out more. Through Audio Galaxy in 2000-2001, I got to know the Corrs, Bond, and a few others. Now, I have almost all their albums, which I bought in the record store, it started with one simple song. That market relies on the new waves of songs, not anticipated waiting.

So, is this me changing my view on copyright? Not entirely, when a movie comes out, one should buy it. I have no issues with buying a movie or watching it in the cinema, so when I decide to buy a game, movie or album, when it is released, I expect it to be released. When we get an alleged form of discrimination where the consumer is discriminated against, should such injustice not be fought? I am not talking about a simple delay like we tend to see it in games, where movies tend to be out in the US one moment, and a few weeks later the rest sees it. That part I have no real issue with. Yet, in the case of Star Wars Episode 1, where the movie was released in May in many places, it would take 5 months until it was released in the Netherlands, for a movie like that, such a delay was just unheard of and as such an illegal download of the movie was circulating within a few days. Many would still see it on the big screen, but not all. Evidence of such events have been seen for decades, so why would the team of Taylor Swift be this ‘uninformed’ (ignorant might be a better word) in thinking that the fans would accept it, and beyond that the rest would just ‘wait’ for a girl named Taylor Swift?

Some might, most will not.

And if you want to consider alternatives, then think of the time, the line and the timeline. Our world is changing, it is less about the product that is convenient for us, it is more and more when it becomes convenient for them, not us (cinema and TV marketing has been all about that for far too long). We could read it as a form of maximised profit, yet overall it is about marketable momentum. That is seen as we see at present that ‘analysts’ already are stating that they predict ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ will make $1.2 Billion at the Global Box Office. The movie is nowhere near release and these predictions are already made. As we see that this movie is coming out in 2015 as a summer release, so much can go wrong! And we are already been ‘tailored’ to fit a 6 week gap.

People are still in a financial depressed era. Even though it is now starting to pick up, the longevity of our economy is currently not a given, with the Tesco issues still  in play in a hardy way, there is a real issue in the UK, even though there unemployment is now down to 6%, yet overall the cost of living is still rising faster than most of the incomes correct for, so as such, income is still not in the level that we see where people en mass (especially those with family) can just go to the cinema. The last movie to really make it was Avatar in 2009; it was a unique wave not unlike Titanic, they are still the first two movies in the all-time box office records. So, at present SW7 is already ‘anticipated’ as one of the top 6 movies of all time. That, whilst the first Avengers movie, making 1.5 billion, took the cake in 2012 and the anticipation of the second movie is extremely high on many minds. Beyond that there will be Fantastic Four, Pan (with Hugh Jackman) and at least three additional movies are on the list for the summer of 2015. Now consider that until the economy is truly repaired families might have the option to see two of these movies. What are the chances that they choose Star Wars? There is no denying that Star Wars will be very high on the list of many, but then so are the Avengers. That is if nothing else happens, like new games, new records and shifting time lines.

So as we see the escalations of ‘needs’ and ‘options’, we will see a change on how people perceive copyright and translate this into the ‘right to copy’, welcome to the new economy of those who cannot afford it!

So as we see what team Swift thought would be and what Team analyst expects it to be. I would state that the truth is nowhere in the middle, and that the truth is revolving around two points of flexible perception, whilst a placement of either is not a given either positive or negative, but what will be, is not linearly in the middle of what would be and that what is expected to be, that what is, is not a given ever in marketable approaches!

But what ‘might be’, requires us to take another look at what we see that is currently done to us. As we are all reduced to ‘product to purchase’ and no longer regarded as ‘consumers to buy’, we see a changing market of expected anticipation.

Is this a negative evolution of marketable industries?

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