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Posts Tagged ‘game design’

July 25, 2011 – Playstation Plus… or Minus

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

So… my “welcome back” free subscription to Playstation Plus expired.  The free trial actually made me NOT want to subscribe to the program because it made me realize that much of the content I was getting was in reality only rented.

In particular, I downloaded the DLC Escalation pack for MAG.  Frankly, nobody plays the DLC so it wasn’t the game mode I was interested in… it was the extra weapons that came with the Escalation pack.  I became addicted to using the Gotha assault rifle and losing it has been difficult.  The abrupt loss of DLC and any free games downloaded while being a member of Playstation Plus seems worst than never joining PS Plus in the first place and simply spending that money on owning the actual content instead of the subscription.  I was only a member for one month and felt the pain of loss on leaving the program … I can well imagine all the content I would suddenly be without if I had been with the program for a year or more.

Apparently the only thing you get to keep is the free avatars or games that you bought at a discount price.  So what do you get by being a Playstation Plus member.. well, apparently you get early beta access, but this seems very limited because betas are often now bundled with other games or available on various twitter feeds.  You get the ability to try a game out for one hour… no big deal as most of these games offer demos anyway.  Early access to demos?  Again, not a big deal as the demos soon come available to everyone.  Some free games, yes, but you lose these when your membership expires, and this applies to the free DLC as well.  Overall, what you seem to mostly get is the rental of some free games (mostly small games available at a cheap price anyway) and some free DLC.  You do get some special pricing, which for some people may make the program worthwhile, but overall I think the withdrawal pains of losing free games and free DLC if your subscription ever lapses is a pain that is difficult to measure, and not worth the small amount of savings you might get on some older games when they go on sale.

Playstation Plus… I thank you for your one month free trial.  It has saved me from making an expensive mistake.

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The possibilities for the PS3… a look back at UT3.

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

UT3 seems to be an overlooked game in the PS3 library, yet it’s a game that showed many of the true possibilities of the PS3 system. Just a few of the things they managed to incorporate were:

Keyboard and mouse support! You could play this game with either the controller or you could use a keyboard and mouse. Why is it that no other game has offered this option? It seems that this would be ideal for single player RPG or RTS type games that often originate on the PC, and the option of keyboard/mouse control might attract more PC gamers to the PS3. While the new Move controller system might attract those that are unused to a console controller, there is still a very large number of PC gamers that simply prefer the mouse/keyboard combo input. It seems that other games could use this input as an alternate control scheme, yet no other PS3 game that I’m aware of has done so. Rather than attracting new gamers, it seems that this might be a way of attracting existing gamers.

Mods! UT3 offered PS3 users the ability to freely download user-created mods, mutators and maps from various web sites and seamlessly load them into the game. There was even a later patch that provided web browser integration and mods could be downloaded directly to the game through the web. Unlike games like LittleBigPlanet, there is no moderation or restrictions. Destructoid recently ran a story regarding The Ball, which is to be released on October 18th on Steam. It’s a UT3 mod that is actually freely available to play for those that already own UT3 on the PC or the PS3. There are many sites that offer downloadable user-created mods for the PS3, and but two of the better sites are: Read more…

July 7, 2011 – Boss Battles

Dear Diary,

I’m still playing Beyond Good and Evil and it’s interesting to be playing “boss battles” again.  So often I play online shooter games and the “boss battle” is that idiot sniper guarding the back of the objective – perched in some inaccessible area where the only strategies might be to throw your own body in front of a teammate to take the hit but accomplish the team objective, or to put on a ninja loadout and spend some time in the back lines doing some sniper hunting (and we all know how much fun it is to creep up behind an annoying sniper then knife them in the back!).

Boss battles against real people are hard.  A more skilled opponent often does the unexpected – like when that sniper knows your coming and moves so that he can do a pre-emptive strike… or when he lays a mine on the path to where he’s camping.  Boss battles in games like Beyond Good and Evil are both easier, and harder.  There is almost always a pattern to the attacks, so you often have to die a few times until you figure out the pattern… and additionally there is usually a “weak point” that has to be aimed for or timed.  Once the pattern and weak point have been established, the boss battle is usually not all that difficult. Read more…

July 6, 2011 – Beyond Good and Evil

July 6, 2011 2 comments

Dear Diary,

So today I start my “Daily Scribbles” which will be an attempt at near-daily blogging.  Mostly I’ll just ramble on about whatever games I’m playing or that jerk that teabagged me and pissed me off while playing MAG the night before.  Today though I want to talk about “old” games.

I downloaded Beyond Good and Evil HD, a remake of the PS2 game that I never played.  I’m really enjoying the game, but am reminded of those early games I played on the Dreamcast.  So often people talk about how gaming was so much better on the earlier consoles, and I’ve always somewhat disagreed.  I tend to play new games instead of older games.  I played old games back when they were new, and frankly I don’t tend to wear the rose colored glasses of glamorizing them in any way.  There were some great games, but there were also a lot of really bad games.  Today I’m reminded that even the great games had their shortcomings. Read more…

Games that tickle the brain

For many who played Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the above quote may have simply seemed like a throw away line… but for others, it was a direct reference to Machiavelli’s book “The Prince”. My degree is in Political Science and that line was a cute poke at Machiavelli’s most famous piece of literature being a fairly short book in length. It also reinforced the entire theme of the Assassin’s Creed game which is largely influenced by Machiavelli’s philosophies. Machiavelli was one of the first political philosophers that emphasized the realities of politics as opposed to the ideals, and the game certainly shows many of the realities of the time period with the governmental instabilities and unscrupulous vying for power by various forces.

Machiavelli believed that a citizen-led militia was more powerful than externally hired armies because they had more to lose and would fight harder… and to a large degree, this has proven accurate but was fairly revolutionary to speak of during his lifetime. During the game we see this theory take on life as the various factions are united under our main protagonist, Ezio. Machiavelli, however, is best remembered for his theories that political expediency (gains) were above morality, and that deception, manipulation and unscrupulous behavior were often needed to acquire and retain stable power. The actual creed of the Assassin’s guild is “nothing is true, everything is permitted“. This saying is almost a distillation of Machiavellan political theory. Read more…

Undies and a Knife

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment

That’s right, undies and a knife! Why should that guy that has played FPS games forever and seems to have the time to play 24/7 be running around with better gear, better guns, better grenades and have the ability to call in dog attacks as a “special” bonus for killing me ten times without dying so he can laugh his ass off while I become dog meat once again? He should be running around in undies and a knife to kill n00bs.

I mean isn’t this guy GOOD? If he’s so damn good, why doesn’t he want a challenge. As people progress up the ranks, as they get to know the maps and strategies, they should get less stuff. Make them choose a gun to throw away and armour to dump. And the very best 1% in the game, those guys or gals at the very top of the leaderboards — yeah, they’re the one’s running around in undies and a knife! If they start dropping down in the leaderboards again, give them back some stuff, maybe a gun or some light armor. I hope they feel bad about it too. I mean wouldn’t you want to be that awesome avatar in the undies with a knife, right? Read more…

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