Category: Opinionated


BatPalm

So it turns out Warner Bros. Montreal won’t be fixing their shit. Batman Arkham Origins, the third in the series of Batman games, won’t be getting any more fixes to the game breaking bugs they shipped with the game. In a forum post to their customers they basically admitted they’re too busy making more buggy broken DLC which you will naturally eat up being the mindless cash cows they believe you to be. Continue reading

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GrumpyXmas

It’s that time of year when everyone invites people to their house they spend the rest of the year avoiding. As you can see, grumpy cat is not amused, I’m taking a break for Christmas now,  see you in 2014, when we will all be older and poorer and fatter….Ho Ho Ho!

QDman

This was the question I was asking myself as I watched the demos from Quantic Dream and Nvidia. They both talk like it’s some pinnacle of achievement to be able to fool people into not realizing it’s a fake computer generated effigy of humankind. Looking at the demonstrations, we still aren’t there yet, regardless of how positive they are being. They talk like it is a goal though, and people clap and cheer at every step the industry takes along that path.

My question was simply, do we really want this? do we really want simulated humans to look indistinguishable from real humans? Have you considered on average, how many times you have killed or witnessed a fake human dying in your video games this week? What about this year? we can deal with it now because for most of us, we can disconnect reality with a video game impression of such a reality. What happens when we can’t though?

When you blow someones head off in a video game and you get some ridiculous brain explosion full of gore and blood, it’s not realistic, it’s just entertaining. With the advancements of virtual reality headsets and better and better computer graphics I worry we are forgetting the primary reason we enjoy this entertainment, because subconsciously, we know it isn’t real. What happens when we can’t tell anymore? How many real people have you witnessed being violently murdered? would that be fun to experience?

We already feel emotional attachment to characters in books, animated movies and videogames sometimes, they aren’t always real but that doesn’t stop our imagination from making that leap of empathizing with them. What is key here is the use of our imagination, we choose to believe in what is obviously not real, but we know this, we just exercise our suspension of disbelief. When we no longer need to do this, is that entertainment we want?

Of course there are other advantages to graphical advancements in technology, making worlds more believable, immersing you within them is an example. Feeling like you are there and that it does exist are definitely worthy goals, I just worry the more we strive to create fake, believable human beings the more we lose the argument that video game violence isn’t the cause of real violence. One day, far in the future, I envision a defense from a virtual reality gamer in a court somewhere in the world, that they thought they were playing a video game, when they murdered somebody.

I love exploding heads, running people over and decapitating fools, but I can only enjoy it because deep down, they never looked real anyway. I may be old and grey by the time we get there, I may even be long gone from this world, but I think it’s a question more people should be asking, how real do you want your entertainment to be?

Friend of Foe?

It’s been a while since I had a bit of a rant so here we go!

Specifically, mmo game mechanics, I’m assuming most of you have played at least wow….everybody has you know, you probably didn’t even notice that was the one you installed. Anyway, so they all create factions, species, teams of players which compete in pvp, pve, crafting, races, matches, whatever. You’re supposed to be allies with people on your side, The game tells you you’re on side A and by association everybody else on side A is an ally because side B are the enemy and you are mechanically designed to kill them and fight against them right..right?

Every mmo I can think of has factions or species that typically associate players with their own team at the beginning of the game. “These are your people, they are the same as you, you’re on the same side”

But are you?

Take a look at mmo mechanics, kill stealing, looting, getting the quest clicky first, getting the achievement before that other “ally” that wanted it. Finishing first, needing the best loot, needing any loot, joining a guild, segregating yourself away from those other, unwashed “allies” that deserve to be looked down upon. The game doesn’t treat your supposed allies as anything more than enemies you can’t kill.

You’re constantly competing, not just with the players the designers title your “enemies” you’re also constantly competing with your own faction, those outside of your guild/group. You might be a nice guy….aren’t we all? well, no because the internet brings out the asshole in everyone!

My point is, mmos never treat allies as true allies, that elf over there is the same species as you, in any book of elves vs dwarves that elf would work with you not against you. In an mmo however despite the game telling you he’s on your side, if you’re both wanting that clicky, loot chest, boss monster you’ve been waiting for…you’re about as allied as oil and water. One of you is going to get it and the other one is going to be frustrated, disappointed and have to wait longer or miss out entirely on the resulting reward.

What kind of mmo design is that? You could invite the guy to group of course, sometimes that works and stops you competing, of course if they are already grouped or if while you’re busy trying to be the nice guy, they jump in and get whatever you were competing for you’d be pretty annoyed. So the best strategy you can form is to “beat them before they beat you” thus the stage is set, everybody is your enemy regardless of faction or species.

But frosty “Developers aren’t responsible for how players play their games” This is true enough, it’s the god issue, god creates world, puts humans on it, humans destroy everything, how can you blame god?

Except that the mechanics developers use are hard code rules, they can be improved, overhauled, developers are not god, they are better, they can refine their designs after creation and in other areas, frequently do. They have the power if not the foresight to design their mechanics to remove the conflict between allied players. If you want an allied faction to work together you don’t make chests lootable by anyone while one person is killing the npc guarding it, if you want allies to look at other allies as friendly you don’t immediately make them question the moral value of them upon encountering they are after the same quest clicky.

So are developers intentionally leaving the door open to grief and hostility for allies? is it their intention to encourage this behaviour? or is it simply that’s how it’s always been done? With so many mmos out there, and so many developers, you think someone, would have the bright spark to actually stop the anti-social competing between allied players, we’re supposed to be allies, why the hell do we have to compete with our own faction for fastest finger first?

There are times when I hate my allies more than I hate my enemies, that’s just bad mechanics.

SWTOR: Why Companions Are Rubbish

Ok so from the header you may have guessed I hate Biowares insistence on forcing me to use companions, not in their single player games, that actually adds something, but rather in the massive multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Here’s why.

Continue reading

Look, New Page Zomg!

Ok so, small mention that I have added one of several new pages…look up top for the rather “wordily” titled “My Gaming Love Affairs Pt.1” Or…you could just click this link if ya be lazy.

It’s the start of my all time most memorable games and machines from my younger years right up to present day. There were many great games and some rubbish ones which I loved for completely stupid reasons and I think they deserve a mention so there it is. NES, SNES, Amiga and eventually PC platforms will follow.