Monday, December 20, 2010

By reading my blog you tacitly agree you owe me $100. Sounds stupid? Exactly.

I'm really astounded about people understanding of the legalistic/police structure that hangs above them.

In fact this is exactly the same principle I've described where people complain about gankers ganking them, never thinking the ganker could not without the programmer putting in the ability.

It's like all you have to do to become utterly invisible to people is that you get someone else, who was otherwise incapable of attacking them, then arm that person and send them on the attack. The only thing the target will think about, apparently, is the person attacking them. You, the arms dealer - your invisible! Enjoy your stay at club blindness!

And so it is here

The idea that somehow, magically, other people in the world just mystically have the capacity to obtain your tacit agreement to use your copyrighted property.


No they don't.

Instead there is a legalistic/police structure where for some reason. Somewhere in that mess are people(s) saying that if someone uses your copyrighted property and you don't 'move against them', you've given them tacit approval.

Except everyone blames the person either using the copyright material or the one suing them for it - they are all blind to a third party. A third party who is an ass. As well?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Would you pay 20cents to play a naked orc game? No? That sounds silly?

Is it an observation to say that what seems to be the cool thing, though not much to do with the game...

Is done here in the second video?

I dunno, perhaps there in the current wow there is more running around in the word and massively hammering stuff as part of gameplay (I'm not sure pissing about in crossroads counts as part of gameplay)?

It also raises the question that if you pitched a game where you said "Hey, in this game for two hours you can run around as a naked orc and wail on something to not much effect" the very people in this video would be unlikely to buy it, or even download such a game for free. Yet here they are, doing it, no doubt for roughly two hours or so (including getting there, etc).

People act like they have high standards and pretend they aren't into certain game stuff, so much so they wouldn't buy it. But they are. It's hard when your actually trying to make games, yet people wont admit they wanna do X. Even to themselves.

Oh, the twenty cents I pulled from the idea of playing five hours a day multiplied by say thirty days. Then divide $15 by that.

Far cry: Search for treasure, Philip!

I really think farcry 2 could have done with dual currencies. I'm playing it and I keep thinking that.

You work in rough diamonds (blood diamonds), and once you buy a gun with them, you have an unlimited amount of them.

I really think that if they used paper money as well as diamonds, it'd add more of a sense of currency to the game. Like the diamonds unlock the gun, but if you want a replacement after because yours got lost or rusty, it costs paper money.

The environment is pretty spartan - really there isn't much point to exploration, and yet at the same time nor is it like space invaders and shuttling you instantly to the next war (ie, there's lots of driving, but not much to see).

While if your collecting cash here and there, it makes the world seem more textured as there, like, actually appears to be something there. Even if you have more cash than you really need, there still seems to be more to the word if you can actually grab something from it that's potentially of use.

Perhaps they were shooting for a grim, nihilistic, empty world feel. But that's the problem with shooting for feel like that - it might make actually playing the game (as opposed to looking at it) not very fun.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Far Cry 2: Mercy

In farcry 2, you can wing someone and they just end up wounded - on the ground, using a crappy pistol.

The funny thing is, no matter what, they will keep shooting at you, if you get close enough. They will never give in to you or do any other approach.

What's interesting to me is that in this circumstance, trying to shoot them in the leg so they don't die, as some sort of mercy, really, definately and is scientifically proven to be pointless.

It's really strange to contemplate the hope for a better world that mercy is, being utterly pointless. Like, there is no point. Just kill them. Nothing can change, ever. Mercy is a stupid, pointless move.

It almost feels like a flickering candle in a infinite darkness, flickering out. Except it's just a game. But it's strange to even get a remote sense of what the end of hope is like.

Oh, who knew I'd end up philosophising on this blog?

Monday, December 13, 2010

"I'm so addicted!" "It's so addicting!"

Mr Shouty thinks this game is addicting...

It's really surprising how in terms of online multiplayer games, or even single player, the phrase "It's so addicting!" is said with a possitive inflection.

I mean, just chew on that for a second. Is that really a possitive quality?

Perhaps to the person addicted it is. But I imagine people on heroin probably think the world of heroin as well.

Anyway, I'm off to play farcry 2 some more, as I've got an itch to play it...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Far Cry 2: Whiplash

There's alot of driving in far cry 2 - and it doesn't mean much to the larger game. Or atleast doesn't mean much to what the game focuses on - shootin'! Your driving around empty bushland and nothings there. Sure you might run into a rock or tree...and, you just back up and go around. It wont matter to what matters!

I was thinking it'd be cool if there was a 'smooth driving' health bonus. If you drive for long enough over a certain speed, you get a small bonus bit of health. This might be thought of as including car crash damage in reverse - in real life, if you crash, it's not just your car that gets hurt, is it?? Here we reverse it for fun - avoid hitting things, get a bit of extra health that'll stave off some hurt in the next fight.

But as it is, you do alot of driving around empty land. It's a bit of a 'dodge rocks and tree's, otherwise you'll get there slower', but it doesn't tie in neatly.

On another subject entirely, the games pitched me a moral choice (or however you'd like to describe it) of either choosing to rescue my buddy in the game (who has helped me out on many an occasion, but is pretty much a cut throat mercenary) or save a priest (who I don't know except as the title 'priest', he's helped me with malaria pills and others with transport papers).

I had to save and quit, to think about it. Just couldn't decide that one on the spot!

It shows how easily a game can engage that level of play. Good stuff!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Farcry 2: Hey buddy, why so shooty?

I'm playing far cry two and sometimes the badguys (or as they are otherwise known, the only people in the whole world) get wounded. Yet they still pull a gat and will pop pistol rounds at you if you get close.

I think it'd be cool if you could actually offer mercy to these guys sometimes and it'd perhaps pay off in a longer term. You tell them to surrender and maybe give them a healing syringe and perhaps at some point latter on, when your screwed, one of them will show some mercy to you.

Indeed I'd love a first person shooter with a sort of political diplomacy element to it that you can engage, to try and bring some peace. Or atleast some geneva conventions to fighting! It'd be interesting. Then again, in Dues Ex, I spent alot of the time sneaking up behind people and cattle prodding them into being knocked out rather than dead. Similarly in splinter cell.

It's just not terribly interesting in itself to kill.

And it takes alot of skill to not kill a man.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Farcry 2 - Yo, bud, help a guy out?

"Alakazam!" - the new Harry Potter movie and it's 'wands', were deemed a break from the prior cannon...

I like the 'buddy rescues you when your down' thing in farcry 2. I bought it recently on budget. Indeed, it's funny - in the same way there is no black loading screen when you enter a house by it's door, it makes the 'grevously hurt' transition an organic one. In a vast number of other games you get a reload screen, or a black loading screen that how they do it in the movies? Or to be more exact, which is more fun or engaging - perhaps in a comparison between a black screen and some sort of movie cut aways, doing something like the movies is more fun and enjoyable instead of a savagely black suddeness (though that's probably what sudden death is like...ahem).

The first time I 'died' in the game, it was simply from jumping off a tall thing and missing the platform I was aiming for (how the hell do I get that diamond case, anyway?). There's my bud, picking my up off the ground and stalking around angrily, looking for the badguy that pushed me off. Yeah, you go find that pushy bastard that did that to me, yeah, cause that's what happened.

The second time was a more dramatic, as I was on one of those prop boats and another had smashed into me and proceeded to hammer me with its mounted gun at point blank range - just as my gun jammed! Given I was on the water, it was quite an interesting transition, fading to black, only seeing my wobbling hands and my bud trying to get me moving - the fade in and out happened three times and we were quite a distance away (well, 50 game world meters away) in the end. To be honest, I've seen this sequence in the movies so many times and it was really enjoyable to both be in it, and at the end we were still in a two way firefight related to the first encounter, so there was this low, then the potential for a high (determined by gameplay).

Really fun - more on Farcry 2 soon...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Perma death and the psychopath problem

What's an orbital laser platform? Why am I getting really warm all of a...
One thing about perma death in a multiplayer game is that, contrary to real life, someone else can all too easily not give a hoot whether they die. This makes you very likely to die. It's kind of like having 80% of the population be suicide bombers.

I wonder if you put some sort of forced deposit, upon attacking, that lasts say a week or so. Like a huge sum of gold. If you start a fight, then for a week X amount of gold will be lost if you die.

Of course there might be edge case get arounds, but basically the main thing of someone coming up and shooting you has more of a cost than "I logged in, hit create character and ran at the first person I saw". You'd need to earn all that cash, and your the one vulnerable in terms of cash.

But that'd require a cash sum that's available to your next character if your prior one dies. Though that's not exactly a crazy setting breaking thing - we have banks and wills in real life. We don't have spirit runs from the nearest graveyard (that I'm aware of, anyway)

Friday, November 26, 2010

No one has played world of warcraft

Yay, this has happened 79 times! It felt really different than the 78th!

No one has ever played world of warcraft.

There's an apparently incongruent idea.

Remember before you'd ever drunk any beer? Okay, imagine you started drinking your first beer, but you get through say a quarter of it, then throw it away.

Have you drunk a beer yet?

Perhaps you'd say no.

Now, what if you did it again? Drank a quarter, threw the rest away. Again and again. Have you ever really had a beer?

Okay, now, have you ever finished a game of world of warcraft (or any other mmorpg, for that matter)?

"But it's different! It's supposed to be endless"

So? It still means you haven't finished even one game of it.

"It doesn't matter, world of warcraft and other mmorpgs get an arbitrarily shifting definition of play so I end up right on this matter!"

Fair enough.

Note: I'm wondering about warhammer online, with it's city sieges. These perhaps qualify, in the way many a person measure it, as an an ending. So perhaps more people, many more people, have played warhammer than have played wow? Heh.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meaning and fat characters

Like a man casting a shadow, the shadow of arbitrary, pointless oblivion is meaning. You can't just decide something is meaningful - it's only ever defined in the contrast to pointless oblivion.

I was watching a TV program and it's characters didn't grip me, because they were 'fat', they just were entirely insulated from any pointless death. So their characterisations seem 'fat', obese with ivory tower safety.

I think the same goes for computer games. Just alot of fat characters out there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Party game for nerds - End game your favorite game!

Here's a party game - take a game where you can, like, just play it right now. Like quake live or counter strike or such. Now imagine you had to go through 80 levels first, before you could actually play like that. What would it add? What would it do to those game? Would it make the 'end game' seem somehow more interesting for all the effort you put into it? Perhaps it would? Would it have been increased in interest enough to warrant the time spent before you could actually play the game.

It's a party game - call out a game and then 'end game'-ify it!

PAC MAN! End gamed! How would that end up looking? Then at level 80, you can play...regular pac man! But now it's epic cause of all the levels! Surely if you spend hundreds of hours on something, it has to be epic!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coding burn out

Oh, how I love you computer - debugging is sheer bliss...
Was writing something about burning out while writing game code on another forum and aught to be included here.

Just describing personal experience in terms of burning out - I think to a certain extent you can develop as much as what you've already made is somewhat fun already. It's kind of like a budget - if what you've already coded is a bit of fun, that gives you the drive to code more. The tactic is to then take that and code something else which is a bit fun. Which in turn gives you more 'budget'. Because if you go and code some monsterously huge code which is all support infrastructure and boring, you'll likely burn yourself right out/run out of budget.

Anyway, trying to do a massive project which is completely boring and even painful to look at until it's 100% complete, I think, is a recipe for burn out. Try and always make little things that'd be fun right now, even before the projects fully complete.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Driftwurld - current stuff in development - escape forts and automaton attacks, oh my!

I've been working on a world map sort of thing. Using a string in each grid entry to hold a series of data, then the explode function to extract them for individual use.

Just on the test server (my computer! heh) at the moment I've got it that goblins send out magically animated wooden automatons, to steal from and even try to kill villagers - and you have a choice of fighting it directly, or trying to keep safe and just help villagers get past it without sticking your neck out (though the villagers will get hurt...). Which ever you choose, it records your game name along with the result.

Also I've made it that you can build escape fortifications - these are for escaping from raptors and drift monsters, who can bite or claw through a car engine block in one swipe, so you seriously don't have the armour to stand there (let alone hit points, you'd just be cut in half). You can choose to do a quickie job or really put in some effort make a safe set up. Again it records who built the escape fortification.

Latter I'm hoping to impliment a way your character can gather the ingrediants for thermite, then when a raptor or drift monster assaults the escape fortification trying to get at the player to eat them, they can attack back to some degree (the creatures skins are, through mystical enhancement, steel tough)

Still haven't implemented Jacks suggestion of climbing a tree! LOL. Will get to that, as it'll let you see if there are escape fortifications in neighbouring grid positions (ie, a safe route to take), and a chance to see any raptors or drift monsters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buying sparkle ponies and levels

Ahhh! What happened!? Will this give me cancer!?
I wrote a comment on Tesh's blog which warrants it's own post

Apparently warhammer are letting you buy levels now, if you want. I think, much like going on a long journey on foot is an accomplishment (yet just involves grinding footsteps), so to are levels an accomplishment and this is a way of buying an accomplishment. But to me - it doesn't seem that big a deal of an accomplishment so it doesn't seem that much of an issue to me.

For the people complaining, it'd be interesting to find out if there is any level of accomplishment they wouldn't care about losing? Like, a really minute accomplishment? Or like someone with a nut allergy, does any tiny bit of accomplishment taken away from them cause massive swelling?

And on the matter of sparkle ponies, it's a kind of interesting (in how it's twisted) situation of supply and demand.. Prior to selling the sparkly horses, there was no supply of that commodity. That increased demand (yes, for an, as yet, unmade product). People wanted mounts. They could not buy them. All demand, no supply. But as it's supplied now, so does demand taper off.

The perverse thing here is that throughout history supply has been controlled by environment - how much food you can grow depended on the weather. Now, how many sparkly ponies you can supply depends on how many you want to release. It instead becomes a corporate game of psychological manipulation of the feeling of demand.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unconcious Vs the total toughness of being like totally killed...then cloned...

There was a post over at mmocrunch, which mentioned this, and it was worth making a post of here...
"Honestly, I don’t care what Bioware chooses, as long as it’s not this sissy “oh you don’t actually die you’re just unconscious” garbage."

If this is garbage, then the whole 'oh, your cloned' is absolute sewerage! How dumb is cloning - hey, do you treat identical twins as being the same person? No? Then a clone of your character is not your character. You cannot continue to play the guy as if your continuing the characters story (sorry, EVE, you can't), because as much as identical twins have their own seperate personalities from each other, so would a clone. Your character died and anyone who's playing the character as if it's the same person is really missplaced in their fantasy. Hey, instead of Luke getting his hand cut off and going semi unconcious (which is lame apparently), he dies - and the rest of the story is about a clone of his. C'mon, you know that's even lamer!

Seriously, if going unconcious is bad, cloning is about twenty times worse. Even if you buy it, what's the point - there is no real death in that case. Why bother having death in the game, then adding rediculous setting elements to basically remove death again? It's a pointless two step dance! Just don't have death in there, then you don't have to tack on this cloning malarky to counter that first bad move.

There's no hard, macho thing about death if you clone factory it all away a moment latter. Don't bother trying.

If you come back, it's not death. You can't have death be in the game, yet also get to keep playing your character no matter what. Make a choice, instead of a weak ass 'Oh yes you can die...oh, but then there's clones'.

Eve, I'm looking at you as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Endless Running...

Endless running? Does it, under the guise of exploration, let developers pad out the time of a mmorpg or even a single player RPG?

One of the things about grand theft auto is that if you wanted to get out and jog amongst the roses, you could. Or you could steal a car and put your foot down on the accelerator. I think that choice is pivotal myself. I really hate seeing the opening of a cave mouth, for example, and knowing all I'm going to be doing is waiting for it to come, then outside there'll be a stretch of empty land no doubt, which I'll just be waiting for that to go past.

I guess in fallout 3 I went with it, but there seemed to be more stuff crammed into a smaller space there. Mmorpg developers think making a world means simply incrementing the space between interesting things by ten or twenty times what it was before.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

World of Crevice Craft!


I was going to post the video and then caught myself, realising I was passing around the advertising. So I'll just link it, which is entirely different (not)

I mean, watch the video. This is the real voice over.

"See this!?? THIS!?? WE PUT A CREVICE THERE!!!! And that? That!? WE PUT A CREVICE THERE AS WELLS!!!!!1!!!"

$60 at a retailer near you. And buy our newest sparkle pony....NOW WITH A CREVICE IN IT!!!!1!!!

Crevices! Because an absence in the ground makes for content, not a hole!

I think the rest would be better if a guy with a ripped shirt, a chick and a plucky little kid hid in the mouth of a cave while two slightly badly animated dinosaurs had an awesome fight. Because B movie is good when you embrace it, rather than try and pretend it's something bigger.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fallen Earth : Gratuitous screen shot

Ah crap, I parked around here somewhere...

Fallen earth looking good. Back when I started tabletop roleplaying and there were no fancy computer games (sprites had pixels that were an inch across and all one colour! And we liked it!), this is how we'd imagine our bad ass antics. I even remember we invented the bullet dodge way before the matrix, by rolling a natural 20 to dodge we were so good at dodging we could walk around the bullet and look at it as it went by...well, that's what we said, anyway!

Sadly though, could you actually go and peel metal away from one of those cars (no, a single node out in the middle of it all doesn't count)? Or work on one to at least get it rolling (if only foot powered)? Graphics may have improved, but in a way were still just working with pixels an inch thick. In a way minecraft shows that, as it is more of a genuine 3d world - but with very, very, very grainy pixelisation of each fragment of the world (note: I'm not talking about graphical pixels, but more like physics pixels...perhaps I should say molecules...)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mitey Dynasty Worriers!

Helecopter, helecopter, please come down! Do your duty on the ground!
The upcoming dynasty warriors mmorpg has a certain thing in beating a bunch of guys at once. However from the animations I've seen, the guys all clip into each other, when they get knocked back the all go back the exact same distance and all do the exact same 'been hit' animation. Which makes it look like a sort of esher-esque line dancing.

As usual, no doubt, the mmorpg will also absolutely drain any fun in doing such an attack, by having you do it eighty million times before it accomplishes something. I mean, the idea of beating the crap out of a dozen guys at once is that it feels as if doing so is meaningful and will lead to something. But that feeling of meaningfulness actually needs to be matched by what actually happens in terms of game conditions. Or does it? For you, is just the feeling of meaningfulness enough? Even after the seventy millionth time?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Massive Suck : Social gameplay leads to grind?

Quick thought for the day - do MMORPGs actually need to be unfun to play?

More specifically, do socialised MMORPGS (which perhaps some would say they all are) need to actually be unfun to play and...essentially suck?

The thing is, the whole emphasis on social means player skill can't get you out of suck ville.

No, for a social game, the way out has to be social. That you have more friends, or have a big guild, grants you resources that get you out of suck ville.

So the game has to suck. Not at the most shallow level (thus explaining why gamers seem to fetish graphics), but the heart of the game has to suck. And not suck in a 'your the last starfighter and only pure skill will get you out from the aliens evil grasp, even though it sucks to be put in such a position', because as said, it can't be player skill.

So it just has to be plain, out and out suck. Just in a way that you don't have X and...that's it, you don't have it. No zing, no surprise twist on aquiring it. It takes ages. It's grind. It sucks. Unless you got other players on your side to give resources or make it go faster.

Having socialising first and foremost as a priority of the game necessitates having grinding, sucky gameplay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nice legs, shame about the cash

I will avenge my greenhouse!!1!! With my knee gun!
I've heard a few people around the net comment on player vs player games and the cash shop crisis that lets some people effectively buy their victories by buying the better weapons with real money - weapons you can't get without spending money. It's often described with some bitterness.

I think I get the bitterness now, as it comes from actually finding some attraction to the game, only to suddenly find that attraction scoured away unless you pay cash. It's a bit like one of those stories you hear where a guy gets picked up by a chick and he's feeling pretty big - then he finds an enormous bill at the resteraunt she drags him to, as it was a honey pot operation.

I was playing epic duel, which for a slow connection is good for PVP as it's turn based. I was quite enjoying the game...but then you realise how much cash stuff there is. Not only that, you find you only have one character slot and if you want to change class, cash it up, my friend. Do they tell you this choice is permanent unless you have cash? No. Wanting money is fine - but put the price sticker up front. You don't get shops where there are no prices and when you hit the register they charge whatever (well, perhaps in boutique stores, but this isn't boutique, is it?)

But beneath all that there is a chirpy, likeable game. It's just that that game has a pimp.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Show Called Dungeon Crawl

If your in Australia, specifically Melbourne, there's a show on called Dungeon Crawl. I've seen these guys do a show called +1 sword, where they talk about D&D and roleplaying, but here they seem to actually be running a game. And I've really wanted to catch up to a session. Hoping to get there this saturday at the bedtime friendly (lol) time of 6pm. I'm really keen to see it! Three shows only - I would have liked to have gotten to the first, but as I don't drive it's a long way out for me. Anyway, excuses excuses - hopefully this saturday I'll see it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Challenge doesn't need a penalty? What if it's for exploration of an aesthetic?

Ready, Set, Crow!

I read an interview in the Australian game magazine 'Game Informer' on bioshock infinite with Ken Levine, Irrational president (I love how that title comes out) and Irrational creative director (love that one too!).

The question
In Bioshock, vita-chambers essentially made death inconsequential. Is that mechanic changing in Bioshock infinite?
The responce
My feeling about the vita-chambers was this: I think they set a certain tone for the game in twerms of how it felt and the progression. It was not a game about dying and restarting. It was a game about experiencing the feeling of being in Rapture. Certainly there are arguments to be made about whether there was enough disincentive to get killed.

I think that's a reasonably legitimate concern. I would say that it's unlikely we'll have the exact same approach we use in Bioshock 1 as it shipped - without any option to turn it off or any penalty.
Notice the penalty.

Now the first thing I thought was that they were reconsidering supporting gamist play to win/play against something that, through penalties, might be too tough for you to complete (not everyone can climb everest).

But then I realised I was projecting my ideals into it. No, why he's considering a penalty for 'death' is to further the experience of being in the setting he's making. The penalty, atleast to his mind, is possibly necessary to the aesthetic of the experience. Here's a post of someone trying to weve a mechanic into the aesthetic of a game, as an example.

Now the funny thing is if he's considering it because of fans who actually carry my idea - a hard game. Where a penalty is the thing that might stop you getting to the end. Like, alot of people might be able to climb a cliff - it's when you put several in a row (like everest) that it becomes an even bigger thing. Anyway, that's a real crossed wire - if he's into some sort of 'experience the aesthetic' but the fans here are into a hard game - they just want two different activities. Each of which just gets in the way of the other - and even if you compromise, your just doing one or the other activity to a lessened extent, in a sort of nerd fallacy attempt to include everyone.

But the main point was : Penalties - part of the explorers experience, perhaps?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feel sorry with me!

Reality TV cooking shows take a turn for the worse...
Gah, someone tugged on my heart with this post - an small company making a horror game called Amnesia (screen shot courtesy of)

Also an author I like, R Scott Bakker, has brought out 'Desciple of the Dog'. A guy with total recall investigates cults. And shoots vampires. Well, maybe not the latter part, but I don't know, I'm waiting on getting it! The first two bits are true and Bakker carefully studies how crime fiction does it's thing, so it's bound to hit those notes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FFXIV: How to make money (as a company) without (the player) really trying

I should start logging some of my ideas earlier so I can do more 'told you so'. I've said in some places before that leveling time in mmorpg is primarily for the sake of subscription money. It's how the company makes their money. But someone who plays an unhealthy amount gets much farther ahead than someone who plays short, enjoyable bursts.

FFXIV tactics has a spin on this to simply slow down and stop you leveling after a certain time, so your not ahead of a predetermined leveling shedule.

To me its always starkly appeared to be the competing interests of making money and players wanting fun now.

Years ago when I played wow I thought of the idea of being able to wander out of the tavern, slay just a single monster, then waddle back inside and RP or log off, and for that first monster every day you'd get say 100 times the XP, but trickled out slowly to you (online or off). So if you didn't want to grind, you didn't - slaying a single monster would be an achievement. But if you killed more you'd get both.

That's another way, probably more towards player fun now. There are lots of ways to implement it, all with their own nuances.

Anyway, here's the video on it, where they are more honest about the behind the scenes than I would have expected. Though the bit at 4:53 is a bit rediculous 'If you really think about it, it works!'. How a game works is that it's fun. So it's like saying 'if you really think about it, it's fun!'. No, things don't become fun if you think about them real hard! However, thinking can dispell knee jerk assumptions of unpleasantness. However, the human brain is predisposed to work in extremes, either majorly pro or majorly dismissive. It has a hard time sliding the gear shift back to nuetral.

Oh, did I mention a video?...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hear and obey: Kingdom of Keflings

I have been told to spread the word of Kingdom of Keflings. I hear and obey!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Defeat Penalties: TLDR version

If you complain about rewards in mmorpg games "Success is it's own reward, I don't need this gold or XP or gear! It can just say I win and that's enough!" AND if at the same time you complain about penalties in mmorpg games "Failure is it's own penalty, I don't need to lose gold or XP!" then your cool. You really do like just doing some individual challenge in the game, and don't care about advancing yourself in the larger picture of the game.

But if you like accepting the advancement in the games larger picture, but complain about a larger picture setback...this is just complaining about losing while being all for it if you gain.

Defeat is the penalty; we don't have to penalize you a second time.
And guildwars 2 will be trying to cater to you. On something I'm not sure can ever be adequately satisfied - wherever there is a potential for advancement, it casts a shadow. Which is the potential not to aquire that advancement and fall backward instead. You can't be satisfied until advancement does not exist, for the shadow it casts (Ie, I went backward! It's a penalty!!!).

Ohhh, poetic!

I think there are better penalties than simply guiding a character along for X amount of minutes. I can't find it now, but another blogger was suggesting fighting your way out of death (and if you can't even manage that, default to the jog of shame). The death jog is a bit like the jumping level in a FPS - a jarring change of core gameplay. Except jumping levels atleast require some skill.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Defeat 'penalties'. The bigger picture.

I wrote this on someone elses blog and thought I'd put it here. Though google bots will hate me for 'duping'.

Now, basically if you see it as a penalty, your (selectively) losing sight of the bigger picture and missnaming everything. Imagine you have a game of snakes and ladders that lasts for 600 hours. Is going down a snake a penalty? No, it's part of play.

Now you could even take out all the snakes and have either a few squares of advancement, or jumps up a ladder. Would not going up a ladder be a penalty? No, it's just part of play.

Well stick with having snakes for now because it's clearer.

Okay, what's happening is your looking at the short term picture and inventing a game there - your thinking 'Hey, I'll shoot for that ladder - hope I can make it! That's the challenge, to get to that ladder!'. Then you hit a snake instead and go 'Aww, what's the point of this snake! You don't need snakes/penalties to have the challenge of getting that ladder!

Your problem is, your focusing on the small picture, and when you do, the snakes become penalties instead of just normal gameplay elements.

Even if you removed the snakes, you'd probably treat not hitting a ladder as a penalty. After all, in wow death means earning less in one hour and you already see earning less as a penalty.

You think you can have challenge without penalty. It's only because you cherry pick, seeing the bigger picture when it's a ladder, but when it's a snake you only see a smaller picture and go 'what's the point?'.

Think about it, do you say '1000 gold? What's the point? - it could just say I win! I don't need to earn 1000 gold for it to be a challenge!'. Do you? No, I see no rants on that! On complaints about the apparent 'penalty'. You only say 'I don't need a penalty for it to be a challenge'. You never say 'I don't need a reward for it to be a challenge'!

Inside, you like winning in terms of the big picture, but when you lose in terms of the bigger picture, you game ambiguity, look only at the short term and call it unnecessary 'penalty'. Equally the 1000 gold is unnecessary 'reward' if your really only interersted in the short term challenge, but you don't complain about that, do you?

Neither is reward or penalty. Just ladder and snake on your way to the end. And yes, unless you buy the hype the game is endless, there is an end as much as Die Hard had an end, despite Die Hard 2.

Was that even an ad? Or zeal for the emperor?

I have to say this zelot take on this video is different. It's like their not even trying to sell you a game! They are just so damn focused on the empire retaking a certain sector, it's like them just getting pumped about it, rather than trying to assure you it'll be fun.

It's an interesting take - certainly someone that focused on the fiction of their gameworld is atleast interesting to watch exactly how they'll get hyped next!

Defeat penalties - a peace offering middle ground which will no doubt not be enough

Tesh has made a post about a line I looked at awhile ago with Guild Wars 2 : Death and other inconveniences

Okay, I had an idea, but honestly I suspect until a full on explorationist agenda is supported by games with no real trace of play to win, it wont satisfy. Ironically the explorationists wont be happy until the play to wins are driven before them and they hear the lamentations of their womens. I'll describe it anyway.

Something like if you go for ten minutes and kill X number of monsters in that time all without being defeated or dying, you get $$$ bonus gold. Fail = don't. Actually that's a little like the optional extra challenges you can take on in doofus, if you've ever read about them.

But I suspect it'll still be taken as a penalty, as the person who is defeated isn't having taken gold away, but they are missing out on extra gold. And aren't we all being a bit limited in our view by having (any) play to win challenge?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to attract customers - "Your about to become the victim of a brutal ambush!"

I love the pitch that your going to be royally screwed if you come play our game. It is indeed refreshingly different. Also perhaps they could say 'Hey, why climb a bell tower in real life and be gunned down by cops, when you could express your dark bitterness in our game (after an extended subscription because 'time is on your side') pretty much endlessly, without being riddled with cop bullets that are probably banned by the geneva convention?'

Ya know what, no ones going to remember that they ganked you months ago. They can't even remember their own passwords half the time.

I think lawyers should start pitching the idea of marrying, so you can really get someone in a divorce years latter (Time is on your side!), and the lawyers obviously garner up the moolah from it. Same principle - set up dysfucntional human relationships for cash-money!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Penny Ivory Arcade

I'll be late to the party and comment on penny arcade.

If I am purchasing games in order to reward their creators, and to ensure that more of these ingenious contraptions are produced, I honestly can't figure out how buying a used game was any better than piracy. From the perspective of a developer, they are almost certainly synonymous.
I wonder if Tycho thinks buying used cars is grand theft auto? (Wait, was that a word play on my part?)

I'll repeat a comment I made elsewhere - So he’s buying it to reward creators.

Okay, so how does that matter in some bigger picture?

Woops, my middle class ivory tower radar just went off – he’s acting as if he’s some sort of patron of the arts when he buys a game. And if he’s doing it, then that’s what everyone else is doing or else.

Sorry bud, perhaps some people are buying objects, not funding starving artists. And by the way, no, THQ doesn't know you even if you do buy a game. Go donate enough of your clearly disposable income money to some charities so that, with what you have left, you don't feel in a 'donate to artists/creators' mood, but still feel like gaming. Your feet might touch the ground then.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Faux Death in video games

After having a taste of perma death in torchlight (twice!), it's interesting to be playing the...I dunno, is there a name for it? Perma death has a name, but not ever being able to die is given no name.

And it's funny - the shadow of death permiates playing with no death. But it's just a feeling. A strong one, but just a feeling because it's not there.

It reminds me of when I first played wow, having only played in imagined game worlds before in table top games where you could die (though to be honest, rarely did).

As in the feeling of possible death gives the world oomph, and yet it's completely BS oomph.

Indeed, when I was playing hardcore, stats became important to me. As important as they seem to get to people who play on no death games.

I'm wondering if, for people who get intense about the stats, the feeling of possible death just does not fade over time with them? When I play hardcore I feel drawn into the world because of the need to survive. Do people who try to collect all the stuff have a feeling of possible death that drives it - it's not just the collect everything urge? It's both?

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Torchlight - another lamentable death

One of those tree things that spews poison. Man my health went down fast from full! I think maybe it multi critted me!

Nah - just too much time to get this far with the character. If it had a checkpoint system - say every two waypoints has a checkpoint. If you die, you go back to it at the level you were when you hit that waypoint. Perhaps with no gear (wade through the first levels to get basic gear and gear up again).

Even the brutal hydorah has save points (a limited number)

Trying to do it all in one chunk - well, lets say I've played table top where ostensibly your character could die, but it never really came up (for various reasons). But really we never played for hours and hours with one character. I guess I'm just not into huge permadeath. Not when it actually, and slightly ironically, eats up a large chunk of my own actual life time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Driftwurld - latest update

 Yay! I've added the next stage, which is harvesting crops so you can trade the food to a shady mercenary, for your first real firepower - omega frag grenades!

But the reason that power is needed is because of the raptors sneaking around!

Once you have 30 tactical skill (the skill aquisition is accelerated to this point) you can harvest.

I like what I've done with the harvest game - it combines the 'spot that your in trouble' keep your eyes peeled game I did with tactical combat along with a memory game, as the raptors north/south position is flashed ever so often and when the time comes to move, you have to remember it so you can go the other way!

I'm enjoying how I'm fitting in somewhat challening obstacles in my game (which is better than I've seen on a professionally laid out vampire game on facebook)

I think this is a little bit of fun to play in itself, AND your building up your account in the game. There seem to be alot of browser games out there with many players, but the game play just seems to be clicking and not fun. I hope I can draw some people who want game play that's a bit of fun.

I've also made an no log in version if you want to try it out. Of course it's not going to record your results in the database, is it! :twisted:

And congrats to is (screen name: iz) for getting top brawl skill and top tactical skill! If you play the tactical game you can see his victories showing up on the event field!

Thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

RIP Torchlight character: Anna Kist

Damn thingie that summons skeletons and shoots out a red crackly beam...but my fault for trying a lost dungeon that I guessed might be a bit over my characters level.

Hardcore mode. You have been warned.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking at : Torchlight - very difficult takes awhile to...get difficult

I chose very difficult for my first play of torchlight. Or whatever the highest difficulty there is, but without the use of hardcore mode. Hardcore, which I'll probably try out sometime, as the natural direction to take is to make a waddling tank - will that be fun? I'm curious, but this topic is about difficulty.

But after about seven hours of play only now is it really presenting difficulty and requiring manouvering. On the upside it's doing it on a consistant basis - I'm guessing if I did more side dungeons I'd be higher level and have better gear.

Sadly I obviously went through six hours and 59 minutes of not so challenging play - I don't know why I'm drawn to it. Moth to the shiny flame? Already spent money on it, may as well try?

I think it 'pushed back' so to speak near the start, but really, the solution was to keep the attack or magic button held down and a finger over the heal potion button. That's it. I guess that's a timing skill as atleast these potions take a little time to heal you instead of insta healing you like in diablo. Instant heals just mean buying tons of potions and mashing the heal button over and over will be enough.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Torchlight - Return of the ghost run

No, not the name of a sequel. It's pretty much looking at something which seems even to be embedded in the upcoming and ground breaking guild wars two.

It's that when you 'die', you pay a bit of money, then go for a jog.

Granted Torchlight has an option to respawn on the spot, but the cost in experience and fame is a mighty one - it seems quite the non optimal path to take.

So instead you pay some gold and get sent back to the start of the level.

Why? Why this jog? Essentially the same as the wow ghost run? And is repeated in guildwars two from what I understand of their death penalty

If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a waypoint.
Why? Why send the player back to a waypoint - because it doesn't feel like death if you don't do a little light jogging?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Challenge: Can you NOT win?

Tesh put forth the hypothesis that you can have challenge without risk - risk is like a seperate thing, like oxygen is seperate from hydrogen (...though you can't have water without it...).

So, talk or perhaps make a game and let that do the walking for me!? Introducing proof of (bad) concept!

The bullets, they head toward a ship you can move around. What will you do? If you don't happen to do anything, does it matter at all?
Can you win? Can you not win?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Follow the yellow brick road, follow follow follow, cause googles waiting...

They did realise, didn't they? That those are the flowers that if you frollic through them because it seems like a bit of fun and saves you some time in getting where your going, the flowers pollen seduces and drugs you? Then you fall into a complacent stupour that turns into a complacent coma?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quake Live: What's happening with log in?

Quake live updated its homepage recently, and although I had firefox remember my password, it didn't seem to work.

Okay, so go to forget password - it says its sent of an e-mail with a password. Nothing has come for days, even after numerous attempts. Then I put in a help request - it sends a confirmation of having sent the request (though it said in the e-mail it repeated what I wrote, yet it didn't?), and still nothing happening?

Anyone else having a hard time getting into quake live? Because I have a slow connection I just play the bots, but all the same...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Being seen - do you like your name in the charts?

I'm thinking of a positioning chart (like a highscore chart) for my browser game - but here's the thing, it'd have four special highscore positions that can't be won by anyone else for say a day or two after they've been won. So there would be a top ten and you could work your way up - but so could someone else an hour after you. But get onto the four long term charts, the fourth position has to be free to get on it. Then the third has to be free for you to work up to it, etc. But the big bonus is you stay there for a much longer time.

But you have the top ten so you can get somewhere as well.

All this and your building up your fighting skill, which will be shown next to your name.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brief look at 7million...

I've been looking at 7million, which I heard about awhile ago and seems to be freeplay now. Pretty small client at around 150 meg (though maybe it'll download a heap more latter).

Nice premise of being burglars overcoming security systems with minigames that probably give you a mild workout (more so than hitting 1,2,3,1,2,3 on your keyboard over and over)

PS: The video doesn't seem to sit properly in the column - sorry. I'll look into it latter.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Do words control your will?

Imagine this - there is a button in real life, within arms reach of you - pressing it will set off a little program called 'combat'. It'll use some stats called bonus to hit, armour and hitpoints, creating their values from a small random range.

Okay, I've said these words 'Your standing in a big open field that's really really empty with just some grass around and the sun above'

Then I say your in charge, the GM or whatever, and you take it from here.

Assuming you accept that position, would you find some mysterious, magical force stopping you from pressing the button that runs the program called 'combat'?

Cause I'd think not. But if I'm wrong, I'm absolutely fascinated - because I can and I want to learn more about this phisiological difference!

But most of you would probably go 'Wha? Of course I can reach out with my hand and hit the button, don't be absurd!'

I assure you, I'm not so creative as to be this absurd!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guild Wars 2 : Will the levels/game run out 3/4ths in?

Guild wars 2 has a bit of a different leveling format, apparently.

The thing was, I was kind of put off in guild wars 1 by getting to top level before the story ended. Indeed, I stopped playing - not out of rage, just lack of draw.

Before that point you could go out and pretty much do anything, including followng the story, and you got XP, which meant more power, or atleast some edge. It was a reward mechanism.

Then that got taken away entirely UNLESS I went out and hunted specific elite skills and things - ie, I couldn't do what I pretty much wanted and be rewarded.

So I had PVE fights which IIRC, didn't feel like I did much toward the outcome, and no reward for doing them except to see more of the story which...isn't game. I'll read a book if I don't want any game with my story.

So will they run out of levels, or more specifically, the ability to do pretty much what you want and keep getting rewarded? Will I top level about a three quarters and then only specific activities will garner me anything and doing whatever will result in nothing much in game terms?

Levels aren't exactly a great mechanic to begin with - what's the point if you go from +1 to +2 to attack if the monsters go from +1 armour to +2 armour at the same time? Not alot. But even with a shaky reward mechanic, if it runs out, jeez...

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Z or not to Z

Almost there with the zombie patrol game! I'm just wondering if I'll pass on having weapons in it (or pass for now and maybe do it latter, with a fair chance of never). What do you think? Essentially with what I have in mind everyone who works their way through all the weapons will end up with the same one at the end. I could do that differently, but I definately don't want to for this project.

What do you think? Zombie fighting weapons? A must have? 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Browser games - more accessability

When I look at browser games, what I'd like to see is an offline demonstration of play - so I don't have to sign up to see what it's like, I can just, like, crazily enough, play. No typing in my e-mail, no trying to make out capture images and waiting for e-mails to click on the activation link in them. Just play.

The funny thing is not only that, but so many browser games have the most plain, non descriptive front end - can't really tell anything about the game from it? Does that work for the vast bulk of people - some kinda mystery that draws them in? Just puts me off.

Anyway, I'm coming up with an offline version of my new group zombie hunting add on to my Driftwurld browser game. I think it'll be fun - just have to decide whether to release it soon and then the online version latter, or wait alot longer and release both at the same time?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Developing: Zombie to the grindstone

Few, you get your PHP code to a certain size and it's STILL not done.

I've got it to the point where you can, on my offline version, fight a zombie along with a couple of other players. Faked players for now AND even in the full version it's just pulling their name and stats from the database, not a syncronous play.

Indeed that's one of the extra things to do. That I don't really wanna.

But yeah, I get to the point where the game is pretty much fun as a game and I strictly don't have any reason to make fun funner since it's already fun. Yet the extra stuff like pullling other players in, showing a highscore, accumulating favour points and possibly the big one, gathering zombie crafting gear...well, I guess I kind of envisioned because that seems to be the online game template of success. But honestly, while it does add some more fun - my game is already a kind of fun. It'd feel like making a chocolate cake - then sweating alot to whisk milk into cream to pile onto the chocolate cake - it seems a bit much AND alot more work, now I'm at this point.

I'd like to get it out there - I intended to put an offline version on my site first. I may put a barebones version on first. Though it was supposed to be a teaser for registering, so it'll be a teaser for nothing. I dunno.

Anyway, here's a link to my game, incidentally (standard plug)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

'You can't out-WOW WOW' - a fallacy?

I've heard this one before and I've even subscribed to it for awhile. But I'm thinking it's rubbish now.

For the simple fact that WOW (world of warcraft) 'out-wowed' other mmorpgs. It took components from all of them and 'out-wowed' or more technically apt 'out-mmorpg-ed' them.

But even there I don't think its subscription numbers are due to 'out-mmorpg-ing' other prior mmorpgs.

It just had a wicked hot advertising campaign! An advertising campaign that quite possibly started well before the idea of seriously making a mmorpg even occured to anyone at blizzard.

The warcraft RTS games - it's all advertising for wow. Years in advance. Every single session of play, millions of them - promoting that warcraft brand.

Then every single other company goes 'HAI I WANTS MONEY LIKE THAT 2!' and makes a mmorpg. They even make, arguably, better games/mmorpgs than wow. But they don't do as well.

They just lack years of indoctrination...sorry, I mean propaganda...sorry, I mean advertising!

The guys who made torchlight, they put it out as a single player, with plans for some sort of big multiplayer in future years...they've got the idea!

Literally years of advertising before the product even exists. Advertising that people paid to aquire - an advertising campaign that profited in itself, let alone in terms of the eventual product sales/subscriptions. Think about it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Failure is not enough

Failure itself is punishment enough
I read this phrase recently. Try out this thought experiment - your walking a character through a forrest when a goblin runs out starts hitting you, your HP score rapidly going down! It gets to the bottom and...resets to full! The goblin keeps hitting and it keeps going down and...reseting. Up, down, up, down.

Is failure to avoid this is punishment enough?

No, not really. It's a complete non moment - the health just slides down, then leaps up, slides down, leaps up. It's just a red bar bouncing. A non moment. Nothing.

It's not even failure, let alone a failure that's a punishment in itself. It's a non moment. Nothing.

Okay, lets take a common model - your HP go down to zero, then they are put up to full, but your 50 feet back from where you were, at a prior checkpoint (From what I've heard Bioshock did this - indeed on I heard people talk about the 'strategy' of whittling down enemies by hitting them once before dying, then coming back again and again...masterstroke 'strategy' that). And let me stress, all enemies are dead between you and the point you died, they don't come back when you die.

Still pretty much a non moment AND it's essentially the world of warcraft ghost walk.

Failure to notice the goblin or the fireball coming at you is not anything, in itself. Let alone enough of something.

The only model that really works with challenge first, and has been used in a billion shoot 'em ups, is that when you die, all enemies return - you can only get as far as you can survive.

Now maybe we could dumb down the enemies till they move like molasses. That just lowers the skill. But mmorpgs, like wow don't do that, except perhaps in the peripheral - ie, if you take long enough to get back to where you died, the monsters have respawned. Though if you can beat the ones around your body, then you haven't lost progress - and thus entering back into 'non moment' territory again.

Actually that's an interesting point - once you start fighting those monsters, your putting effort into playing a non challenge game. If there's ever a way of turning someone from X and having them start doing Y, it's to make it look like they are doing X, but really they are putting effort into Y. Once someone puts enough effort in, they are lothe to stop doing it - indeed, they are conditioned to do that thing, even if it's Y and they actually intended X to begin with. It's how you train dogs - you give them a little treat for doing something, they do it for the treat, but latter on they just do it, sans treat - doesn't make sense, really.

So no only is failure not enough in itself, it can actually twist the player from what they intended, to something else (and hey, if you say 'no, I'd resist that', well you can only resist what your aware of)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guild Wars 2 : Death and other inconveniences

Quoting from the healing and death page of guild wars 2,
Players who have recently been downed several times will take longer to revive each time. If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a waypoint. It's as simple as that, and why not? Why should we debuff you, take away experience, or make you run around for five minutes as a ghost instead of letting you actually play the game? We couldn't think of a reason. Well, we did actually think of a reason--it just wasn't a good one. Death penalties make death in-game a more tense experience. It just isn't fun. We want to get you back into the action (fun) as quickly as possible. Defeat is the penalty; we don't have to penalize you a second time.
Now the interesting thing about this compared to a board game like chess, or a quake live match, is if you lose/are killed, well, you just lose. That's the end of the game. While the idea (perhaps not very good idea) of a mmorpg has you...well, still there - the games still going.

Really death in a mmorpg is perhaps more like being hit by a single bullet in quake live. Or perhaps a rocket!

And yet it still involves hurt that matters in the bigger picture.

I'm not sure a lack of a death penalty works out, as dying doesn't matter in terms of the bigger picture. It'd be like whether you dodged all the rockets or got hit by every single one in a first person shooter doesn't matter in terms of the bigger pictures. So instead of 'ROCKETS!!!!1!' it becomes 'Oh, rockets...whatever'. And it's correct - it is indeed just a matter of whatever because it wont affect a thing.

Now I'm inclined to agree on the whole ghost thing, as you can't lose at it except to get literally lost and waste alot of time. That is boring.

And a debuff? It's a death spiral - it's like if your hit in a FPS, you become slower and so get hit even more. So I somewhat agree there.

But after going past those options, they seem to have gone to the extreme and have no penalty at all! Unless you count that small gold fee they mention.

Not to mention the whole 'tense <> fun' thing - plenty of people lose matches of FPS each day - the tension of whether you lose is part of that.

Now what I imagine they'll have is that you die, come back and you waddle up to where you were before in a mission or 'quest' and keep going. Why bother having death at all in that case, since your just going to waste time running back from a waypoint (same as the whole ghost thing) or someone raises you on the spot and...big deal, it wouldn't have mattered if you die. The whole 'downed and last ditch dramatic attempt to live' isn't dramatic at all, because it doesn't mean much except for potentially a ghost run.

I don't think this works out at all. But I'll grant it's what alot of other games roughly do already (that's not to say that it works in those games either).

It just seems to generate the illusion of danger/danger of losing. Really when you look at it, defeat isn't a penalty at all - it just has the illusion of being so.

But in reality all they are coding is an inconvenience, as much as the ghost walk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brink head : Didn't they see what the logo looks like?

I was watching the promo videos for brink, the first person shooter for slightly parkour people.

See that logo above?

Now in the first video,  they seem to have started thinking that the fun sport of trying to beat someone in a video game actually makes a story. They have a guy killing a guy who is killed by a guy who, in a twist only Nostrodamus could have forseen, is killed by a guy.

But then I realise what I always thought about the logo - it's all about who's got the biggest dick. The logo looks like the head of a dick! It does! And the movie is all about who's got the biggest one in the end - who's the guy at the end to kill but not then get killed by another completely random guy - he must have the biggest wang! And so instead of being a completely vapid story, it essentially does tie to something - the biggest dick head. As pictured in the logo is the head of a penis.

I'm serious - when I saw that logo that video went from utterly vapid story to the most thinest, most tenuous primordial conflict, yet the one that all too readily gets taken hugely seriously.

Sometimes you gotta read between the lines for there to be anything worth reading at all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Driftwurld : Brawl now!

Yes! Basic PVP brawling is now implimented in my Driftwurld browser game!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's always comes down to a tavern fight!

PVP in browser games seems very popular, so I've been looking into making a brawler add on to the Driftwurld browser  game I'm making! The screen shot from above is from my work in progress so far! It's a very simple game so far (I'm not really focusing on PVP) of stat vs stat, with gear coming in latter. Anyway, that Fred and Wilma, always into yaba daba domestics....wait, that sounds really wrong!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Leveled up, Leveled Even

On his blog, Tesh is talking about level playing field PVP. It reminded me of my own idea for it, from awhile back, to have seperate 'even' and 'whatever gear you've collect' matches, from each other. And not allow people to constantly play in only one of the types:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Driftwurld : Highscores

I've implimented a high score system in my browser game, Driftwurld! I think it works!? It updates once per half hour. I'll be posting a rough tutorial with the code for a high score table in awhile.

It also has a system where it only shows the first two letters of names not checked out yet. I really quite hate it when games go to all the effort of having nice graphics and depictions, only to let players have crappy names (ie, not a jot of connection to the fiction, or any fiction for that matter) and display them everywhere. I'm checking them manually in the DB at the moment.

I'm wondering whether to make it that when you log in it takes you to the high scores then you click to homebase, so as to emphasise high scores, or just keep high scores as a button on the homebase screen?

Also implimented the ability to gain these scores (power factor) by only three per hour, so far (ie you play for five minutes, get the points, but then it'll be an hour before you can do so again). You get one point at the end of each paragraph of the story completed.

Latter I'll add a lords system that uses the power factor to determine who is promoted to one of the limited number of lord positions for a month!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My browser game WIP! #1, Introduction to Driftwurld!

Yus! I've got a little work in progress browser game going now! It has a short story and a combat system where you have to watch out for the monster special attack! Also a timed weapon system - maybe you'll get lucky and get quad damage!

Here's the link! (recently edited due to migration)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting browser games...

I've been quiet because I've been busily coding a browser game! I've just uploaded it to a free host and by and large, it worked! Just need to hammer out a few more parts then I'll give a link!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yet another idea for perma death

Basically you have characters who never die, as per usual. But you can make one which you can toggle to perma death.

What leveling the perma death character does is unlock certain stat bonuses/rewards which are either A: Small and can only be gotten from leveling a perma death character or B: Larger and either you unlock them by leveling a perma death character, or you can spend gold to temporarily aquire the bonus for a few hours.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Secret blizzard transmission intercepted

A blizzard presentation to shareholders somewhere in a secret location...

Blizz dev: "Things have been going great and weve got this great new idea for an expansion! We just need three or four million for development, and it'll make us even more money - and given how we make millions each month, we were thinking..."

Shareholder, in a faintly german nazi voice: " vew thinkink..."

Blizz dev: "Could we have a few million to make this amazing new game world's bound to be a profitable as every subscriber will buy one for around one hundred dollars a unit and..."

Shareholder: "...we have heard of somethink else you haft made..."

Blizz dev: "..."

Shareholder: "Something called a....sparkle pony?" *the shareholder withdraws thier long filter cigarette, acrid smoke spewing from their lips, and slowly taps the burning ember into a rotten ashtray*

Blizz dev: "Ah yes, but, but we have this new game world idea..."

Shareholder: "Be tellink much did this sparkle pony be costink to develop?"

Blizz dev: "...around five hundred..."

Shareholder: "Five hundred thousand?"

Blizz dev: "*cough*, five hundred dollars...and actually...alot of that was the pizza we ordered...."

Shareholder: "So you are tellink me you want four million dollars to make around a hundred per subscriber?"

Blizz dev: "Yes, it's a great opportunity and.."

Shareholder: "When with the mere pittance of five hundred dollars, we could make twenty five dollars from millions of subscribers?"

Blizz dev: "Yes, I know it sounds good, but the game world..."

Shareholder: "I am thinking...I am thinking, yes, you will begin work on sparkle pony. Perhaps a star pony this time, yes? Perhaps one around the theme of...death?"

Blizz dev: "But my lord, I really must protest, we could...gah! gah! *Blizz dev starts clutching at his throat and slowly rises into the air, until his feet leave the ground, he face red as he chokes. Eventually he falls to the ground...dead!*

Shareholder: "You, the other one, your in command now. I want that rebel base found and I want this death star pony deployed now!"

Newly appointed blizz dev: "Yes, lord Vivendi" *bows and hurries away*

*Duh duh duh der da der der da durrrrrrr*

Kind of an addition to this.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When game cyclic events get larger and closer to real life cyclic events

From an interview on guild wars 2

It’s important to clarify that the event system is cyclical in nature. Events will occur again in the game world; they go in cycles where chains of events cascade out based on decisions and actions taken by the players. These events change the world when they occur, but it isn’t a change that lasts forever in the persistent world, it’s a change that lasts as long as the event chains in the area continue along that path until they cycle around into other events, all driven by player actions.
 Now, part of my intellectual mind says to me this is effectively simply another scale of orcs standing around, picking dasies. Something the guild wars guys aren't fond of

You then get a quest which says, "Kill 0/10 ogres" and you proceed to kill a bunch of ogres standing around in a field picking daisies. Since every player in the game needs to be able to do this quest, the ogres will never actually threaten the character's home - they will just eternally pick daisies in the field. The ogres aren't actually doing what the quest says they are - the game is lying to you!
I mean, aren't the orcs dynamic? Can't you interact with them, kill them, and hey they are cyclical dynamic events too - coming back in one minute. Aren't they just as much dynamic events, simply at a smaller scale (side note: Actually reading this again it looks like the GW2 guys primary concern is that the orcs aren't attacking the farm, but nm)

But the funny thing is, real life is a set of cyclic events which are at a larger scale. Go hunt and kill a rabit - another rabit will 'respawn' over time, after the others have had babies. Whether from day to day, or the seasons, are cyclic events. Forests regrowing after being cut down is a cyclic event. All of these happen at a much larger, more complicated scale and longer time span. But they too are cyclic.

So I think that's why GW2's dynamic events have appeal (atleast to me), as opposed to the "over the standing there doing nothing and comes back in a minute orc" from above.

Although perhaps no one else see's the orc and GW2 dynamic events as merely the same thing but at different scales, so I'm arguing about something I just see. Oh well.

I'm thinking of writing up some stuff on more naturalistic cyclic events - where monsters respawn by the old fashioned way - breeding and rearing young, and such (remember how you imagined monsters before they just appeared outta thin air)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wow, a website for people to celebrate how tiny minded microsoft moderators are

I'm looking at this - there's a building in town here with chinese good luck symbols that I thought were swastikas. I was wrong - but this moderator just keeps calling the pic in the guys bio swastikas.

Yet this site is a 'haw haw, lookie the stupid people tink dey were right', while the moderator is being wontonly culturally ignorant in order to 'protect people'

Hey, there might be some books with the chinese good luck symbol out there too - perhaps burn them, for the good of the people?

Then this one, where the guy was soliciting something which is impossible to get, apparently.

All this from a brief skim of the first page?

I'm not laying into how moderators forget they are human and think they are as correct on a matter as some sort of god would be.

No, it's the celebration of ignorance as being right and the one true way that appals me!

The man who is absolutely certain is the man who absolutely does not care what happens if he is wrong.

Yeah, there's other stuff which are more clear cut - but it's all being treated as equally clear cut. Real ignorance there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If you stripped you fave game bare of graphics, would anything remain?

  A lot of people put emphasis on graphics ("Oh, it looks beautiful!") in games - as if it's the significant factor. For myself, I think you can play chess with stones and pebbles and its still as good a game.

So what if you strip out the graphics of your fave game? What's left? Much? Anything? This is a particular question with current mmorpgs.

Someone was already kind enough to experiment with that with greek and wicked, a graphical reduction of the god of war hydra fight
  Greek & Wicked
  The game and watch game!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guild Wars 2: One step how about the other foot as well?

Some press release on guild wars 2 over here at mmocrunch

Taking a quote from it
Johanson spots another flaw in the basic quest design used in traditional MMO’s, “what the quest text tells you is happening in a quest is not actually what is happening in the world.” Johanson mentions that often times the events you are supposed to alter, say slaying a group of goblins that are attacking someone’s farmstead, actually don’t effect the game environment. By slaying your 20 goblins you are supposed to kill, you won’t actually save the farmer’s home, those same goblins will simply respawn, ready for the next adventurer to take the quest, thus, in the game world, perpetually putting the farmstead in danger. Johanson says that this is an unacceptable form of questing. With the new Dynamic Events System, if you don’t stop those 20 goblins, they will destroy the farmer’s house, or oppositely, if you defeat them, they will be gone and the farm will truly be saved.
However, look into this further information and you find things are actually cyclical

I wrote the following comment at mmocrunch and thought it'd make a good post here, starting with quotes from the press releases:

“if you don’t stop those 20 goblins, they will destroy the farmer’s house, or oppositely, if you defeat them, they will be gone and the farm will truly be saved.”

“These events change the world when they occur, but it isn’t a change that lasts forever in the persistent world”
So the farm is saved for twenty minutes, or half an hour, or something?

And their example of Skritt? It makes it sound like you have to go through Skritt, somehow, to get to the ending. Like it’s B in A, B, C and D, where D is the game end. In other words, the bigger picture is linear, no matter how many ways you can approach Skritt.

That said, even with that critique, they still seem to be taking a giant stride ahead of other mmorpgs!

And the non subscription plan seals it for me – I’ll buy it. But I really think this is just a giant stride ahead. In the end, that farm is still put back into danger.

If they could procedurally generate new farms, or have player built ones somehow, and after being saved X number of times that particular version of a farm is permanently saved, that’d be taking the next big step.

The step to actual world persistancy.

But beyond dismantling their missuse of the word 'persistancy', it sounds fun in itself and buying it will help fund actual development of mmo's into something new. Unlike a certain company who, from the millions they make each month after expenses, developed a...sparkle pony. And needed $25 from millions of customers to recoup the massive R&D involved, of course. The guild wars team seem slightly more ambitious than that...bless 'em!