Progress report: Adventures of the Unemployed

Hellooooooooo everyone and welcome back to the now so weekly Progress report. I can’t of dumped doing this a bit back as I really didn’t have the time, or it was cutting too much into gaming time and I didn’t have that much I wanted to say. There were a few games I might have skipped over because of that as well as the stuff I’ve been watching and doing but.. oh well.

And now it’s back, hopefully as with all the down time lately with being unemployed I seem to have a lot more time for gaming. It’s funny though because it’s more now that I have the time for all my random web searching, funny things, reading blogs, watching tv and anime and just general house stuff and so I have that time solely for gaming in the afternoon most of the time. It’s nice… someone please find me a wealthy donor so I don’t have to work though haha.

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Link Dead Radio: Randomly Redundant

Beware… An ancient evil has take over the blogging community of late. A disease some enticing yet corrupting at the same time and swept amongst the many people. No-one is safe, no-one immune… it will be the end of us all. It’s name is Liebster.

And yes haha, it seem like there was a little less regular blogging this week because of a certain chain award being spread about but, I still have a collection here waiting down in the basement, stored for such a time as now.

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Blizzard Designs and Gender Beliefs

*It was pointed out in the comments that I was rather wrong in my judgement here… So terrible Iz I. See the total number of female characters is actually 6, yes they pulled a Samus switch on me.. Awesome blue robot suit is awesome. Anyway, with that it brings the female design total to 3 femme fatales and 3 that differ.. A decent balance really. OH WELL… rant diminished I guess although that study I linked is still pretty cool. Maybe just take out the blizzard name and add in any other stupid company you dislike atm*

I’m sure nearly everyone has seen the video by now but it’s worth showing off the new character for Blizzards FPS project Overwatch again. Most media sites and people have been going a little crazy over it with titles like “blizzard is really listening”, implying that the recent movement towards better female characters and Blizzards own troubled history with them might be changing. I however am a little less enthused.

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Couch Podtatoes Episode 36: Community Content #2

A great episode with Randark of Return of the retro today about toxicity in gaming. Lots of talks about our experiences, ideas about what the issues are and ways to improve.
I also couldn’t hold back the rant, although I did make it near the end haha

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Me Vs. Myself and I

CP4

This week we’ve gone back to the well again, and this time we came up with Randark from the Return of the Retro podcast and blog. Like the similarly titled episode before it, which guest starred Wolfy’s Eyes, this is a show where the community member comes up with the topic for discussion and we delve into it. As you will hear during the introduction, I plan to make this a regular feature, probably somewhere around once a month or so, and if you are interested in joining us, let us know in the comments or via Twitter. Of course, if I don’t hear from anyone by the time this comes around again, I’ll put out the casting call on Twitter myself. This time around, Randark wanted to talk about the Toxicity of Gaming Communities, so we spent quite a bit of time talking about League of Legends, Smite, MMOs…

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Liebster Love

Well it seems those blogging awards are doing the rounds again. Usually I tend to back out form them, being the grinch of blogging and all but this time I might just join in as it’s a great way to share a little more personal information about myself as well as support other bloggers.

First I’ll just say thanks to Both Aywren and Doone for nominating me
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The Procedural Phenomenom

Over at Bio Break there is a post looking at procedural generation and the reasons why the technology, and implementation doesn’t appeal to him. My comment looked like it was going to get a bit to big so…. posting here for prosperity.

Honestly I do see where he’s coming from. What I enjoy about many of these theme parks I have played lately is that they are all rather well constructed. You have defined zones and characters, stories are well placed and it leads you through the game at a reasonable pace. There is always the next goal nearby to complete, the next quest hub near the last quest. World design that leads you on but also showcases certain special areas and activities. These are a game type that is run by a defined vision, guided by metrics and it is the hand-crafted aspect to this that makes it all work.

Procedural generation just wouldn’t work within this design. The secret world, one of my favourite narrative experiences works only because of this detailed and polished developer crafted world. Many others are like this too. Adding the randomness of procedural generation to these mmo’s would most likely break the experience, goals and the design are what keep us progressing.

I do think there is a place for procedural generation though. In the place of Crowfall I think this design works perfectly. You have many maps of varying rule-sets that each have their own individual world make-up which would make it that much more exciting to explore alternative worlds. I love exploration, just wandering around the world and seeing what I can find – thumping was my favourite activity in Firefall after all and the promise of having many worlds to explore for varying resources. To learn the terrain and objective placement is rather enticing to me. The fact that these constantly reset as well means an endless reason for me to do this activity I enjoy as resources will need to be found again, enemy encampments scouted and then, just random exploration to see the beauty of the world.

Having the same prepackaged set-up would make these multiple month-long campaigns rather boring after a time. Case in point, GW2. Having the same map/s will only last you so long. Eventually everyone knows the complete layout in their sleep, the strategies to engage in at every turn. The meta gets stale, and you don’t want that. Having it change after a time means having an evolving strategy over time, a campaign won’t just involve exploration of terrain but forming new ideas, new plans, new strategies for conflict. It creates a far more dynamic experience.

What it will also allow is creating worlds that are far bigger, and this I think is a perfect fit for the next generation of sandbox mmo’s. Land mass is an extremely limiting factor on a game, for the regular themepark it doesn’t matter too much but for sandbox design, and player driven worlds having the amount of land creates far more options to players and strengthens certain mechanics. Terrain and travel time begin to matter, allowing players to specialise in it.You can make the impact of players that much greater as well, impact on resources since there will be more around, the ability to make their mark with housing and such, and just controlling land becoming a cost benefit analysis… you can only survey and control so much a ta a time. There are a lot of benefits to having space.

The technology has come a long way now too. It isn’t just the boring terrain and basic placement you might expect. Their can be incredibly complex algorithms at work on all aspects of the game. The elevation of terrain and grading, the styles and texture of the land. how it is populated with assets like trees, rocks and such. Sometimes I think these programs do a better job of creating interesting but far more realistic spaces as well. Just looking at games like minecraft and terraria you have huge differentiation in the lay of the land but a realistic scope to the areas generated. There are some complex systems too like the interconnected tunnel networks that get constructed. It isn’t just terrain either as this can extend to the way it places pre built assets like walls, buildings, towns,  as well as creatures. I believe this system is the main reason behind these titles success, it adds inherent replayability.

We aren’t quite there for the voxel tech just yet but I am incredibly interested to see how far it develops and the ways it becomes integrated into our mmo’s

NEW VID: BROFORCE

I’ve been reading about the recent updates for Broforce and it has kind of instilled that pasion once more for me. It was a game I really enjoyed for the over-the-top explosions and gory deaths but when I did play it there really wasn’t enough to keep me engaged for that long.

Now, it was calling to me once again and I’m rather impressed with the amount that has been added. The campaign mode has seen a lot of improvements to make it more streamlined and better defined. rather than the continuous mission structure of before it’s now part of a map where you get to choose areas to liberate.  Each area has it’s own style that you play within for a few missions that then usually ends in a kind of boss fight.

The gameplay is still the same… which is to say insanely fun. Big splosions everywhere. Running and gunning like a lunatic and of course, delighting in what I like to call dumb psychopathic fun. I constantly cackle while playing like a deranged killer, every time something explodes around me, when enemies rain down like meaty pixel chunks and at the ridiculousness of what’s happening. I laugh and squeel when one of my bros dies because I get caught up in an explosion, when they get shot from a far, or when I accidently knife one of the exploding barrels. It’s also a game where I can;t help but copy so many of the silly little sound effects, as well as make up my own… singing stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby… while knifing the bodies around me…. yeh I’m disturbed but SO WILL YOU BE after playing a little of this.

And here’s a little vid where I play some while talking about the mechanics and elements I like with me cackling that has aptly been called by some as a deranged female orc…yeh, bronchitis be kind sucky haha

Ending My Early Entry to MMO’s

I’ve been writing a post about Crowfall lately and outlining the parts I liked in the initial pitch, and it does have a lot of really interesting elements that appeal to me. It was while writing this though that I realised I was trying to justify my own purchase in advance, like i need the idea to be this awesome to cross that certain threshold. I’m guessing that was exactly the plan too. Unfortunately it was here too that made me swear to the great gaming gods, and of course RNGesus that I’m no longer supporting any more of these early access mmo’s, whether they be just an idea or something that will be soon releasing. Not going to happen anymore.

It has been a rather disappointing couple years of mmo’s overall, there have been some great experiences and quite a few games with the potential but nothing that really satisfied my burgeoning mmo interests. It’s no secret to those interested in the pvp that it has been rather slim pickings as well; we can have whatever shit the most recent mmo is dishing out and that lasts a good month or so or, we can go over to the unfinished, unpolished indie games like Darkfall. Yeh, not great options really.

This is precisely why I probably should be excited about Crowfall, and honestly I am. Great concept for constant, but semi persistent battlefields. It’s not the rich, complex virtual world I’m looking for but it will be a game i come back to consistently for some play, much like lobby shooter really. I could pay into that early, and I probably have the money for it but then it’s gotten to the stage where I just can’t be assed even playing these alpha mmo’s. I haven’t touched Repopulation in a long time now. Camelot Unchained is going into it’s alpha soon, which I have access to but I don’t see myself jumping in. I almost got the cheap pack for Skyforge too but it’s all just utterly pointless.

At least for those small indie titles they give you a working game and the development cycle for those that aren’t seems a lot less. Coming back now and then to play around with the new updates and such doesn’t really hurt the experience either, in fact, that’s the optimal style of play there. MMO’s just don’t work like that, they require a bit more focus and dedication, even in these alpha states and to put that much time into something that is terrible unfinished and incomplete kills all the enjoyment for me from then and into the future. I’m done ruining my excitement for games that way. I’m wasting all that time to have it all wiped away. I’m done paying for these mmo’s I’m unlikely to play in a reasonable state for the next few years. And I’m definitely done spending my money on it.

So no Crowfall for me, at least not until it hypothetically releases in the next 2 or more years.

 

Link Dead Radio: the Kindness of Strangers

Following links is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get

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MMO’s and What I Want

One thing that I’ve been thinking with all these recent kickstarter,and the orgy of ideals being thrown around with them is, what do I want from an mmo? That sounds like a pretty simple question on the surface. There is a lot of little things that make up an mmo but in the end, a question like that comes down to fundamentals.

Fundamentals though are a lot harder to pin down. They are the guiding principle to an mmo, the thing that all other mechanics and principles fall back to; that reference and interact together. That mold it all into something workable. Something engaging but it is always those fundamentals that guide development and the game’s systems.

For me I nailed down 3 points.

Economy

Now that is just some token system like the usual mmo has. something to grind  for no reason whatsoever, that has no place within end game systems bar a few trinkets they deem to give you out of raiding. No, what I want is a real economy, one that doesn’t suffer from the same exacerbated inflation, soften of course by more shiny baubles and artificial gold sinks. I don’t want an economy that only encompasses certain parts of the experience. I want an economy that encompasses the entire game, that has it’s tendrils in every aspect of it. That shows growth and meaning as a whole.

Basically Eve in a sense. Something you can look towards and marvel at the complex and integrated nature of it. Where you can find your own little niche within the system and still be considered value. A system that is fulfilling a constant need or collection, creation and destruction.

For Territory and Space to Matter

I am kind of over how the modern mmo seems to delight in obsoleting large tracks of land. For most of it, it’s components, quests, resources and whatever else to be practically meaningful once you’ve levelled beyond it. I want a large world wherein every single inch of it can be considered either valuable or necessary. A place people want and need to go or space that is a necessity for the systems to work (travel time).

But it’s more than that as well. I want space to be meaningful to the individual. A place somewhere they they call call their own. To plant their claim and build up their home over time. Somewhere they can grow from and come back to.

I want space to matter for groups and guilds. Somewhere they endeavor to control and struggle for. That creates meaning to being with a group but rewards those endeavors. That creates continuous short and long term goals to work towards.

That creates global action that is constantly shifting back and forth.

Make Your Own Stories

Now this one is a little more vague but just as meaningful as the others. I’ve had guided experiences for too long now. I know, without a second glance the story and themes that are going to be told to me over a long, boring grind through this restrictive narrative. There is no real place for our own stories to be during that and not enough interaction to make them matter.

I want a world where  I can make my own world around it. Where I can engage where and how I want, in the ways I want and then create my own narrative around that. I want the chance to be able to create my own characterizations and then, live them out in a meaningful way. Mostly, I want freedom of self, freedom to be and freedom to create.