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1:50 AM on 03.31.2012  

Takedown Kickstarter has 41 hours left on the clock to raise $60,000.

Hi everyone, I know I've been very inactive here (as in not active at all), personal stuff's dragging me down. But I wanted to share this kickstarter for Takedown, an indie tactical shooter. I admit I don't know much about the project; I haven't even donated myself. But I want to help them as much as I can (very little). $60,000 in such a short time may seem like a lot, but I've seen more raised in less time.

As for me, I'm entering an MLG Halo tournament tomorrow! Wish me skill. :3

(there's a very good chance I will forget about this and not reply to any comments... sorry)   read


9:38 PM on 12.06.2011  

URGENT: New Xbox LIVE terms of service, following in Sony's footsteps

Ok, I've been relatively internet-less for the past few weeks, so maybe I'm just missing something. But my search-fu has turned up nothing. I'm legitimately disappointed..

anyways...

Microsoft is following in Sony's footsteps and including a waiver to class-action lawsuits in the latest terms of service agreement.

DAMN IT.

Section 18 of the new Xbox LIVE Terms of Service begins below:

(As a side note, I think it is totally understandable [yet also a giant dick move] for Microsoft to pull this - they are a for-profit company. Which is why this kind of stuff should be illegal.)
(Also I totally typed like 3 of these subsections out before realizing I could copy it from the internet terms. >.<)

18. General Legal Terms, Including Binding Arbitration.

18.1. BINDING ARBITRATION CLAUSE AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER FOR U.S. RESIDENTS. PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY. IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS CONCERNING ANY DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND MICROSOFT IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES FOR PURPOSES OF SECTION 18.1 AND ITS SUBSECTIONS, "MICROSOFT" MEANS MICROSOFT CORPORATION AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AND AGENTS.

18.1.1. DISPUTE. As used in this contract, "Dispute" means any dispute, claim, demand, action, proceeding, or other controversy between you and Microsoft concerning the Service and your or Microsoft's obligations and performance under this contract or with respect to the Service, whether based in contract, warranty, tort (including, without limitation, fraud, misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, concealment, omission, negligence, conversion, trespass, strict liability, and product liability), statute (including, without limitation, consumer protection and unfair competition statutes), regulation, ordinance, or any other legal or equitable basis or theory. "Dispute" will be given the broadest possible meaning allowable under law.

18.1.2. INFORMAL NEGOTIATION OF DISPUTES. You and Microsoft agree to attempt in good faith to resolve any Dispute before commencing arbitration. Unless you and Microsoft otherwise agree in writing, the time for informal negotiation will be 60 days from the date on which you or Microsoft mails a notice of the Dispute ("Notice of Dispute") as specified in Section 18.1.3. You and Microsoft agree that neither will commence arbitration before the end of the time for informal negotiation.

18.1.3. NOTICE OF DISPUTE. If you give a Notice of Dispute to Microsoft, you must send by U.S. Mail to Microsoft Corporation, ATTN: LCA ARBITRATION, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, a written statement setting forth (a) your name, address, and contact information, (b) your Windows Live ID or gamertag, if you have one, (c) the facts giving rise to the Dispute, and (d) the relief you seek. A form is available at www.xbox.com/notice. If Microsoft gives a Notice of Dispute to you, we will send by U.S. Mail to your billing address if we have it, or otherwise to your e-mail address, a written statement setting forth (a) Microsoft's contact information for purposes of efforts to resolve the Dispute, (b) the facts giving rise to the Dispute, and (c) the relief Microsoft seeks.

18.1.4. BINDING ARBITRATION. IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU AND MICROSOFT AGREE THAT IF YOU AND MICROSOFT DO NOT RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE BY INFORMAL NEGOTIATION UNDER SECTION 18.1.2 ABOVE, ANY EFFORT TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE WILL BE CONDUCTED EXCLUSIVELY BY BINDING ARBITRATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ARBITRATION PROCEDURES IN SECTION 18.1.7 BELOW. YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BY AGREEING TO BINDING ARBITRATION, YOU ARE GIVING UP THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE (OR PARTICIPATE IN AS A PARTY OR CLASS MEMBER) ALL DISPUTES IN COURT BEFORE A JUDGE OR JURY. INSTEAD, YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT ALL DISPUTES WILL BE RESOLVED BEFORE A NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR, WHOSE AWARD (DECISION) WILL BE BINDING AND FINAL, EXCEPT FOR A LIMITED RIGHT OF APPEAL UNDER THE FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT. ANY COURT WITH JURISDICTION OVER THE PARTIES MAY ENFORCE THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD.

THE ONLY DISPUTES NOT COVERED BY THE AGREEMENT IN SECTION 18.1 TO NEGOTIATE INFORMALLY AND ARBITRATE ARE DISPUTES ENFORCING, PROTECTING, OR CONCERNING THE VALIDITY OF ANY OF YOUR OR MICROSOFT'S (OR ANY OF YOUR OR MICROSOFT'S LICENSORS') INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.

18.1.5. AVAILABILITY OF SMALL CLAIMS COURT. Notwithstanding Section 18.1.4 , you have the right to litigate any Dispute in small claims court, if all requirements of the small claims court, including any limitations on jurisdiction and the amount at issue in the Dispute, are satisfied. Notwithstanding Section 19, you agree to bring a Dispute in small claims court only in your county of residence or King County, Washington .

18.1.6. CLASS ACTION WAIVER. YOU AND MICROSOFT AGREE THAT ANY PROCEED­INGS TO RESOLVE OR LITIGATE ANY DISPUTE, WHETHER IN ARBITRATION, IN COURT, OR OTHERWISE, WILL BE CONDUCTED SOLELY ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, AND THAT NEITHER YOU NOR MICROSOFT WILL SEEK TO HAVE ANY DISPUTE HEARD AS A CLASS ACTION, A REPRESENTATIVE ACTION, A COLLECTIVE ACTION, A PRIVATE ATTORNEY-GENERAL ACTION, OR IN ANY PROCEEDING IN WHICH YOU OR MICROSOFT ACTS OR PROPOSES TO ACT IN A REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY. YOU AND MICROSOFT FURTHER AGREE THAT NO ARBITRATION OR PROCEEDING WILL BE JOINED, CONSOLIDATED, OR COMBINED WITH ANOTHER ARBITRATION OR PROCEEDING WITHOUT THE PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF YOU, MICROSOFT, AND ALL PARTIES TO ANY SUCH ARBITRATION OR PROECCEDING.

18.1.7. ARBITRATION PROCEDURE. The arbitration of any Dispute will be conducted by, and according to the rules and procedures of, the American Arbitration Association (the "AAA"). Information about the AAA, and how to commence arbitration before it, is available at www.adr.org or by calling 1-800-778-7879. A form is available at www.xbox.com/arbitration. The Commercial Arbitration Rules of the AAA will govern the arbitration. If you are an individual consumer and use the Service for personal or household use, or if the value of the Dispute is $75,000 or less, the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes of the AAA will also apply. If the AAA rules or procedures conflict with the provisions of this contract, the provisions of this contract will govern. You may request a telephonic or in-person hearing by following the AAA rules and procedures. Where the value of a Dispute is $10,000 or less, any hearing will be telephonic unless the arbitrator finds good cause to hold an in-person hearing instead. The arbitrator has the power to make any award of damages to the individual party asserting a claim that would be available to a court of law. The arbitrator may award declaratory or injunctive relief only in favor of the individual party asserting a claim, and only to the extent required to provide relief on that party's individual claim.

18.1.8. ARBITRATION LOCATION. You agree to commence arbitration only in your county of residence or in King County, Washington. Microsoft agrees to commence arbitration only in your county of residence.

18.1.9. COSTS AND ATTORNEY'S FEES. In a dispute involving $75,000 or less, Microsoft will promptly reimburse your filing fees, and pay the AAA administrative fees and the arbitrator's fees and expenses, incurred in any arbitration you commence against Microsoft unless the arbitrator finds it frivolous or brought for an improper purpose. Microsoft will pay all filing and AAA administrative fees, and the arbitrator's fees and expenses, incurred in any arbitration Microsoft commences against you. If a Dispute involving $75,000 or less proceeds to an award at the arbitration after you reject the last written settlement offer Microsoft made before the arbitrator was appointed ("Microsoft's Last Written Offer"), and the arbitrator makes an award in your favor greater than Microsoft's Last Written Offer, Microsoft will pay you the greater of the award or $1,000, plus twice your reasonable attorney's fees, if any, and reimburse any expenses (including expert witness fees and costs) that your attorney reasonably accrues for investigating, preparing, and pursuing your claim in arbitration, as determined by the arbitrator or agreed to by you and Microsoft. In any arbitration you commence, Microsoft will seek its AAA administrative fees or arbitrator's fees and expenses, or your filing fees it reimbursed, only if the arbitrator finds the arbitration frivolous or brought for an improper purpose. Microsoft will not seek its attorney's fees or expenses from you. In a Dispute involving more than $75,000, the AAA rules will govern payment of filing and AAA administrative fees and arbitrator's fees and expenses. Fees and expenses are not counted in determining how much a Dispute involves.

18.1.10. IF CLASS ACTION WAIVER ILLEGAL OR UNENFORCEABLE. If the class action waiver (which includes a waiver of private attorney-general actions) in Section 18.1.6 is found to be illegal or unenforceable as to all or some parts of a Dispute, whether by judicial, legislative, or other action, then Section 18.1 and its subsections will not apply to those parts. Instead, those parts of the Dispute will be severed and proceed in a court of law, with the remaining parts proceeding in arbitration. The definition of "Dispute" in Section 18.1.1 will still apply to this contract. You and Microsoft irrevocably consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state or federal courts in King County, Washington, USA, for all proceedings in court under this Section 18.1.10.

18.1.11. YOUR RIGHT TO REJECT CHANGES TO ARBITRATION AGREEMENT. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this contract, Microsoft agrees that if it makes any change to Section 18.1 (other than a change to the notice address in Section 18.1.3) while you are authorized to use the Service, you may reject the change by sending us written notice within 30 days of the change by U.S. Mail to the address in Section 18.1.3. By rejecting the change, you agree that you will informally negotiate and arbitrate any Dispute between us in accordance with the most recent version of Section 18.1 before the change you rejected.

18.1.12. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of Section 18.1 and its subsections, other than Section 18.1.6 (class action waiver), is found to be illegal or unenforceable, that provision will be severed from Section 18.1, but the remainder of Section 18.1 will remain in full force and effect. Section 18.1.10 says what happens if Section 18.1.6 (class action waiver) is found to be illegal or unenforceable.

18.1.13. SURVIVAL OF PROVISIONS. The provisions of Section 18.1 will survive termination of the contract or the provision of the Service to you.

18.2. Interpreting the Contract. All parts of this contract apply to the maximum extent permitted by law. A court may hold that we cannot enforce a part of this contract as written. If this happens, we will replace that part with terms that most closely match the intent of the part that we cannot enforce. The rest of this contract won't change. Sections 18.1.10 and 18.1.12 say what happens if parts of Section 18.1 (arbitration and class action waiver) are found to be illegal or unenforceable. Sections 18.1.10 and 18.1.12 prevail over this Section 18.2 if inconsistent with this Section 18.2. This is the entire contract between you and us regarding your use of the Service. It supersedes any prior contract or oral or written statements regarding your use of the Service. The Section titles in this contract do not limit the other terms of this contract. If you are accessing the Service within Germany, the agreement located at http://www.xbox.com/de-DE/legal/LiveTOU applies instead of this contract.

18.3. Assignment and Transfer. Microsoft may assign, transfer, sell, rent or lend or otherwise dispose our rights and obligations under this contract, in whole or part, at any time without notice to you. You may not assign this contract or any part of it, or any rights to use the Service or any part of the Service, either temporarily or permanently, to any other party. Any attempt to do so is void.

18.4. No Third Party Beneficiaries; Microsoft Affiliates. This contract is solely for your and our benefit, except for certain Sections of this contract which are for the benefit of Microsoft's affiliates and owners of content available through the Service. As a result, Microsoft's affiliates and owners of content available through the Service are entitled to enforce this contract. Except as stated above, this contract does not create any enforceable rights by anyone other than you and Microsoft and permitted successors.

18.5. No Waiver. We enforce this contract, the Code of Conduct and other user content and conduct rules set forth in this contract, and exercise our rights and remedies at our sole discretion. If we fail to enforce such rules, rights, or remedies in some instances it is not a waiver of our right to do so in other instances. These rules do not create any private right of action for you or any third party or any reasonable expectation that the Service will not contain any content that is prohibited by such rules.

18.6. Claims and Disputes Must Be Filed Within One Year in Arbitration or Court. To the extent permitted by law, any claim or Dispute (see Section 18.1.1 for definition of Dispute) arising out of or relating to this contract or the Service must be filed within one year (i) in an arbitration proceeding under Section 18.1, (ii) in small claims court, or (iii) in court if Section 18.1 permits the Dispute to be filed in court instead of arbitration. The one-year period begins on the date when the claim or Dispute first could be filed. Any claim or Dispute that is not filed in an arbitration proceeding or court within that time is permanently barred. This Section applies to you and your successors and assigns. It also applies to us and our successors and assigns.

18.7. Notices to Parties. You may notify us as stated in customer support for the Service. We do not accept e-mail notices. This contract is in electronic form. We may send you information about the Service, additional information, and information the law requires us to provide in electronic form. We may provide required information to you: (i) by e-mail at the address you specified when you signed up for the Service; (ii) by access to a Microsoft web site we identify; or (iii) by access to a pre-designated Microsoft web site. Notices e-mailed to you will be deemed given and received when the e-mail is sent. As long as you can access and use the Service, you will be able to receive such notices. If you do not consent to receive any notices electronically, you must stop using the Service.

18.8. Other Notices.

Copyright and Trademark Notices. All contents of the Service except user-generated and third party content are Copyright © 2011 Microsoft and/or its suppliers, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399 U.S.A. All rights reserved. We or our suppliers own the title, copyright and other intellectual property rights in the Service, software, and content. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Live, Windows logo, MSN, MSN logo (butterfly), Bing, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, the Xbox logos and other Microsoft products and services may also be either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft in the United States and other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned in this contract may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Any rights not expressly granted in this contract are reserved. Certain software used in certain Microsoft web site servers is based in part on the work of the Independent JPEG Group. Copyright © 1991-1996 Thomas G. Lane. All rights reserved. "gnuplot" software which may be used in certain Microsoft web site servers is copyright © 1986-1993 Thomas Williams, Colin Kelley. All rights reserved.

Notices and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement. Notifications of claimed copyright infringement should be sent to Microsoft's Designated Agent pursuant to Title 17, United States Code, Section 512(c)(2). WE WILL NOT RESPOND TO INQUIRIES THAT ARE NOT RELEVANT TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE. For details and contact information see Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement at http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtInfrg.htm .

Financial Notice. Microsoft is not a broker/dealer or registered investment advisor under U.S. federal securities law or securities laws of other jurisdictions. Microsoft does not advise individuals as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities or other financial products or services. Nothing contained in the Service constitutes an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security. Neither Microsoft nor its licensors of stock quotes or index data endorse or recommend any particular financial products or services. Nothing contained in the Service is intended to constitute professional advice, including but not limited to, investment or tax advice.

Notice about the H.264/AVC Visual Standard and the VC-1 Video Standard. Software provided with the Service may include H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and/or VC-1 decoding technology. MPEG LA, L.L.C. requires this notice:

THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC AND THE VC-1 PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSES FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER TO (A) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ABOVE STANDARDS ("VIDEO STANDARDS") AND/OR (B) DECODE AVC AND VC-1 VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND/OR WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE SUCH VIDEO. NONE OF THE LICENSES EXTEND TO ANY OTHER PRODUCT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH PRODUCT IS INCLUDED WITH THIS SOFTWARE IN A SINGLE ARTICLE. NO LICENSE IS GRANTED OR SHALL BE IMPLIED FOR ANY OTHER USE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C. SEE http://www.mpegla.com

For clarification purposes only, this notice does not limit or inhibit the use of the software provided under this contract for normal business uses that are personal to that business which do not include: (i) redistribution of the software to third parties; or (ii) creation of content with the VIDEO STANDARDS compliant technologies for distribution to third parties.   read


10:49 PM on 10.06.2011  

The trials of indie development.

I briefly mentioned this on my last post, but I have entered the Ludum Dare October Challenge, a 'contest' to development and release a game (kind-of-from-scratch) in one month and earn at least one dollar - donations, sales, ads, sponsorship, whatever. I say 'contest' because there isn't any prize and we are all rooting for each other as much as ourselves.

Myself, I am working on a TowerDefense/RPG sidescroller hybrid that I plan to release for donations before developing into a true XBLIG title. So far, I'm on version 0.3, which includes basic movement (left/right, jumping, sprinting), camera movement, and 'random' level generation... hopefully.

But whatever, it's not at the point where I can show it off yet. That's not why I'm here.

You might be thinking that it's a little ridiculous to try for such a complex game for my first project (this is my first project, btw). But technically, it will just be the first project I finish. Ever since I discovered XBLIG, which was probably 4ish years ago, it has been a goal of mine to get on the channel. It seemed far more accessible and easy (this was before I even knew about steam, and all other efforts [Flash, GameMaker, etc] had failed). Yeah... 4 years with nothing to show for it, except a mildly improved knowledge of coding (which I'm going to put to the test this month!) and game design.

The BS ends October 31st. I am sick of failure and the self-loathing it brings with it.

Anyways, I've written a set of milestones, Versions 0.1, 0.2, etc, all the way up to 1.0 (polish and release). I guess I'll copy them here:

DEADLINE: OCTOBER 31st

[ ] 0.0: fleshed out game concept

[x] 0.1: Player and Camera movement
[x] 0.2: Sprinting, randomized background rendering
[x] 0.3: Animation
[ ] 0.4: Boss movement
[ ] 0.5: Player weapon/s + boss health
[ ] 0.6: Boss weapon/s + player health
[ ] 0.7: Turrets and Traps
[ ] 0.8: Benches functionality
[ ] 0.9: Smaller enemies
[ ] 1.0: Polish and Release!~

Yeah, that's right, I don't have a fully fleshed out game concept yet. Fuck you, I do what I want.

Anyways, like I said, 1.0 will be available for free, but with a large and obnoxious "donate" button. Just kidding, it will only be large. This is the alpha (Oct 31st is the alpha release, no matter what), the beta (2.0) will add roleplaying elements and generally spruce things up, no idea when that will be out. I'll also release the source code with 2.0. After that I'll be adding local multiplayer n all that jazz for the XBLIG releases.

Anyways. Gotta draw some Halo fanart now. It's for a class.

Have fun and game on!   read


10:06 PM on 09.30.2011  

Why are we so mean to our NPCs?

So, I was just watching the footage for Aliens: Colonial Marines. From the comments, most people liked it more than me. The source of my burning rage was first every allied NPC's total lack of *actual* combat ability, and second the player's complete indifference to their plight.

The first one is pretty clear-cut and most irritating. At several points in the video, you can see a marine simply firing point-blank into a xenomorph while said beast simply sits there and takes it, maybe making the occasional lunge at the strange creature with the salt bullets who wont's stop annoying him, but it's kind of like a nice salt bath so he'll just keep the alien on his toes, because cocky aliens are a bitch.

Really devs? Not only in the command center, but also in the engineering and vehicle bay can this be seen. Furthermore, you can always tell that these will be the marines that are pulled into the wall, or help you up off your feet, or some sort of micro-cutscene-y thing (which, for the record, I love when done right [see Dead Space/2]). So I get that you can't have them die because otherwise your scripting would be all messed up. But having them sit there and uselessly pump bullets into the thing is irritating as hell. Let them kill, but route the aliens around them, or give them a reason to not be able to kill anything besides... no reason at all.

I'm pretty sure the only reason that they can't kill anything is so the player has that joy, anyways. How about instead they kill everything and then insult the player for his incompetence?

Now, the second thing, about NPCs dying all around you *and you not doing a single freaking thing.* I think I might be in the minority here (yes, I think there is a fair amount of people who agree with me on the above), but it makes me really sad and upset when I see a marine getting his face torn off by an alien and there's nothing I can do about it. Now admittedly, the player never really *tried* in this particular demo, so maybe you can intervene in these little take-down moments. Just the way he ran past so many screaming people... heartless, man. It's a very common feature, too. Like that one part in Dead Space 2 where someone opens the doors of an elevator Isaac is on, crying for help for a full three seconds at least, before being dragged off by a necromorph. All the while Isaac stands there dumbstruck. That made me quite upset. I wanted to save someone after accidentally shooting all sorts of people in DS1 :[

Admittedly, I don't know what the best solutions for these problems are, but I thought that I might as well vent my problems on the internet with little justification.

- - - - - - -

Also, has anyone heard of the latest Ludum Dare challenge? Pretty intense. After several years of trying to put out an XBLIG indie game, but failing (mostly due to a terrible tendency to procrastinate), I have nonetheless picked up some not-insignificant knowledge of C# - as well as a very strong sense of frustration. This seems like the perfect outlet.

My plan is to make a sidescroller (a "pure" sidescroller - no platforming elements - just to make things easier for me) with some tower defense and RPG elements. In a month. What, is that not naive enough? Well, the plan is to put out an alpha and a donation button (because I actually do need money) and make a more fleshed out version to put on XBLIG and computers (with a port that is actually good, I assure you).   read


9:18 PM on 09.24.2011  

In Defense of DLC: Map Packs

This is gonna be short and sweet.

I can see the problems with DLC. The system definitely needs improvements. However, so many people throw giant tizzy fits and even the slightest hint of DLC, which is just freaking ridiculous. Map packs, of course, inspire the greatest rage.

The argument I see most is something along the lines of "If it doesn't have new voice actors, I'm not getting it, and anyone who does is CLEARLY a giant punk-ass bitch puppy-kicking maggotbrain." Yeah, something like that.

Are you kidding me? Now, I don't have a lot of experience with map packs. To be honest, the only map packs I have ever bought or even seen in action are for Halo. So either Bungie makes exceptionally high quality maps or you people are all crazy.

Do you think that voice actors are the only people who need to be paid for their work? Map packs mean new textures, new map designs (and snowballs if they don't go through a LOT of prototypes), new models, etc.

Like I said though, maybe every GoW map pack evar is just a cube with recycled textures. But somehow I doubt that. Hopefully...

So anyways, map packs are pretty fantastic (even though Halo: Reach was disappointingly short on dedicated multiplayer or firefight when it launched) when done right. By all means, rage your lovely little hearts out when... who's making MW3? Scratch that, when Dice expects you to pay $10 for, like, an abandoned empty warehouse. Seriously, who fights over something like that?   read


4:04 PM on 07.11.2011  

Some quick thoughts on Digital Distribution

So, this last week has seen me spend almost $60 on steam sales. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. hasn't really grabbed me yet, but I think MNC and AI War have potential. I also bought 4 copies of Terraria; never have I gotten so many responses to a facebook post as "Free copies of Terraria! Who wants one?" (Sorry, I'm all out)

Digital distribution is a different breed of gaming that traditional disc games, and it brings many advantages and disadvantages. I need to keep it short today so I'm just going to discuss one problem that really bugs me: The inability to share games with other players on a local machine.

My brother and I both have our own Steam accounts. Unfortunately, we cannot share games between us (except for free ones, which shows this isn't a technological problem). I really, really dislike letting him play on my account, and I don't think he likes it, either. True, we could just use the same account, but then when I move out in a year or so one of us would be left gameless. Not to mention the fact that... I don't want to! A personal account is something special to be treasured and protected, not passed around communally like a, a.. common whore. No! She's my baby!

It's like sharing a toothbrush, or underwear. You could do it, but... ew. Cooties.

I would really appreciate it if Valve (+ other D.D. companies) would look into some method of sharing games among accounts on a local computer. I understand that you run the risk of people installing their games all over the place, like a giant net of people freeloading off each other at no cost. Yearly fee being one new, retail-price, AAA game. Whatever eventual solution they could come up would likely be awkward and difficult, but - it'd be something.   read


8:21 PM on 06.06.2011  

Sony is owning Microsoft - and why that's bad

Yeah, there, I said it, me an xbox fanboy too. But my preferred console maker has been, as of late, ignoring a crucial element of the video game... game... yeah, anyways, Sony is clearly looking long and hard at this opportunity, and I think they will only get more interested as time goes on. I am, of course, referring to PC-Console interconnection.



I guess Portal 2 is the first to do this. Buy a copy on the PS3, and get a free copy for the PC too - not only that, you get to link your Steam account to your PS3 account. Pretty neat stuff, and I bet it swayed a lot of gamers to Sony's side - myself included.



Fast forward to some-recent-date, when Dust 514, CCP's upcoming shooter that links the massively popular (and awesome) world of EVE Online to consoles, was announced as a PS3 exclusive. Your actions in this FPS game affect the strategy-like MMORPG of EVE in a very tangible way. Finally, a game that can link two different genres successfully.

Now, to be honest, the gameplay doesn't look that good so far, but it is in alpha and it does link your EVE regardless. So that's pretty awesome. I predict it will do quite well, as long as it doesn't suck (the eternal challenge). It is totes one of my most anticipated games.

By ignoring this great opportunity for expansion (unless they have something hidden up their sleeve), Microsoft is setting themselves up for failure. Why is this a bad thing? Well, aside from my accumulated gamerscore and saves, it removes competition. The Wii (or Project Cafe) will never kill a "serious" console, be it the PS3 or the 360. They appeal to a different kind of gamer; that's not a bad thing, and yes you can enjoy both, but they won't kill each other - they'll foster creativity because the manufacturers still have to watch what the other one is doing, JIC.



But the PS3 could kill the 360, and that would lead to a monopoly, at least for a while.

I've heard some gamers complain about console exclusives. I don't like them either, but let's get one thing straight: They are very, very good for your gaming experience. We only have so much money, and developers and manufacturers have to make good product to get it. Competition fosters creativity. If the xbox were to die, Sony might get a little too comfortable, and maybe we'd have another Bobby Kotick situation on our hands.

Sorry for not fleshing this out more but I have things to do (like Minecraft :P). Anyways... stop being dumb MS!   read


3:51 PM on 05.09.2011  

Will our protagonists ever learn... [SPOILERS]

No, probably not. Learn what? That no-one likes a silent protagonist. OK, maybe I am being a bit generalized with that, but hear me out.

I can't remember the last time I heard someone say that they actually liked having a silent protagonist, but beating Portal 2 last night really brought my hatred to a boil (yes, it took me that long to beat such an excellent game). While I've been faced with a few silent protagonists over the years, e.g. The Rookie in Halo ODST (which was bearable), any RTS game, ever (which is understandable), and Isaac Clarke (which was changed for the infinitely-better in DS2), Chell really takes the cake (!) as "Person who should talk more."

Now, throughout the whole game, Chell's "smugly quiet" behavior was really disappointing. I'm sure an intelligent maybe-gynoid like herself could have thought up some snappy retorts, or at least screamed in pain once in a while.

However, once you reach Wheatley and attempt to push the stalemate button, resulting in your near-death, something really awesome happens. Perhaps my favorite moment in the game: You don't die.

[embed]200731:38336[/embed]
Seriously, spoiler alert.

Not only that, but you show the most human characteristics you have the entire game; you don't give up, but you stagger up to your hands, look over your shoulder at Wheatley defiantly, and blast that sucker into SPAAAAAACE! Chell 2, robots 0.

The point I'm trying to make is that I connected more with Chell in that moment than I had in any other part of the game, or the first one, for that matter. And yes, you could argue semantics and say that she is still technically a silent protagonist, to which I reply: That's right, and think of how much more compelling that scene would have been if she had shot Wheatley a clever one-liner! It's a little action-hero-cliche, but it's badass.

The theory that a silent protagonist allows the player to herself in the shoes of her virtual alter-ego is absolute rubbish. You can't relate to a character that doesn't respond to anything around her (ironically enough, it was actually easier to identify with robots who talked in chirps and whistles, because at least they talked somehow, danced, high-fived, etc. They were more human that Chell!).

Devs, at the very least, put in more reactions to the outside world that aren't verbal if you're that attached to silent characters.. The defiant I'm-not-dead stance Chell displayed was good, but it was too little, too late, considering it was the first emotion she displayed the entire game. Chell is without a doubt the weakest character in Portal, and that's just sad.


And, by the way, did anyone else see that other human when they were running through Wheatley's ramshackle tests?   read


3:36 PM on 04.09.2011  

Oh My God Hawken

Adhesive Games recently released a first-person trailer for their 'mech FPS Hawken. I really shouldn't have to do anything more than embed this trailer to get you hyperventilating:

[embed]198507:37582[/embed]

However, I know that's not Destructoid's style (nor would it appease my budding fanboyism) so I'm gonna post a laundry list of why Hawken looks so damn awesome:

It's a Mech Game
Ok, it has been ages since I really enjoyed a mech game. I've had little experience with Mechwarrior, grown tired of Mechassault, never got Steel Battalion, and learned about Chromehounds after the online portion had been taken down (regret, regret, regret). There seems to be a resurgence in the mech genre recently, with Trenched, Mechwarrior 5, and now Hawken slated for release. Mech games offer a different breed of gameplay than most shooters: instead of regenerating health or health packs, you have repairs; instead of one or two guns, you have a practical armory; there is no melee, no quickscoping and no similarities in scale. However I am by far most eager for Hawken for several reasons...

Art Style
Hawken's artistic direction is very unique and eye-catching. The haphazard, vertical buildings, with a faint green tinge (instead of the brown or gray you would probably expect from a post-apocalyptic shooter), broken up with vibrant billboards, graffiti and energy fields. It's like a more detailed Mirror's Edge, which is a really good thing.

Immersion
Hawken is a far more immersive experience than Trenched, at least (judging by the trailers). Keeping a first person perspective is a good choice that I think more FPS-makers should take. Furthermore, the 'mechs really have weight to them, and the weapons and combat are intensely dangerous-looking.

WTF? Stuff
Check out that trailer above, and you'll see that the game involves placing turrets and even air support in the form of a giant, badass spacecraft. It looks eerily similar to Dust 514 (also a very anticipated title), except Adhesive Games has released two trailers in as many months while CCP has been dead-silent. These simple, but sadly uncommon additions just make Hawken that much more awesome.


Don't tell me that doesn't look awesome.

Now, what do I hope Hawken will become in the end?

Local Multiplayer
Adhesive, if you release this on the XBLA or PSN without local co-op, it will destroy my heart. That's all I have to say on the matter.

MORE Immersion!
Why are the mini-map and "You killed..." elements of the interface not also placed on some onboard computers? It doesn't even make sense.

Yeah... it shows that I am really looking forward to this as I have only two minor complaints about a WIP. More Hawken stuff:

IGN Interview; interesting stuff.

The Destructoid feature that I somehow missed, because this is Destructoid after all.

The Escapist mirror with some commentary by Andy Chalk and Hawken sound designer Sean Neri.

Hit me with your comments, thoughts, and random banter!   read


12:35 AM on 04.03.2011  

IGR: Super Crate Box

So I just spent the last two-ish hours of my life frantically jumping around platforms, blowing away grinning (sometimes raging) skulls and desperately careening into crates.

Ladies and gents, welcome to the world of Super Crate Box.


That pretty much sums it up.

Super Crate Box is a frantic platformer that has a simple, obvious goal: collect crates. Score enough crates in one round without dying, and you could unlock a new weapon (those are the best), character, or level.

Unfortunately for your character (randomly assigned each game), you are not alone in this land. Grinning green skulls fall down from a slit in the sky in three variates: the small, cute ones; the terrifying monster ones; and the really frustrating flying ones. The first two merely trudge around, bumping off walls and over ledges, but the flying skulls follow your every move - and one hit from any of them is lethal.

Furthermore, at the bottom of each level lies one or more fire pits that "irritate" any enemies that pass through it (only the walking kind do this). They re-emerge at the top of the level, reincarnated as horrifyingly ferocious fiends who will kill anyone who gets in their way.

Seriously, words cannot describe how scary an enraged monster-skull can be.

But fear not - these crates you will sacrifice your life for contain precious ordnance. The ridiculously effective revolver, the hilarious disc gun, and more explosives and automatic weapons than you can hold at one time. Perhaps my favorite is the laser rifle, which forms a sort of laser-bayonet that instakills everything close to you before firing and instakilling everything else.


I really have no idea why the fire has been replaced with a green button...

Perhaps SCB's greatest strength is the art direction. The environments and characters are well-drawn and imaginative, but the enemies are what really shine. The implike skulls are disarmingly cute as they amble around on long, gangly legs. It's hard to describe, but you almost want to die if you could give them a hug. Until they go through the fire, at which point they are screaming balls of terror.
The monsterskulls on the other hand... well, I already described them. Hulking beasts that clearly do not want a hug. That's OK, I'm not asking. The music is also very enjoyable, each level given it's own variety of retro tunes.

As for the mechanics, I cannot complain - the action is fast and addicting. Vlambeer has done a great job with the setup, allowing you to mash enter as soon as you die to jump into a new game, and there is a lot of variety in how the guns work.

My only complaint is that there seems to be not-a-lot of content in the game. I know that seems contradictory to what I was just saying, but let me explain: once you reach a certain number of crates in one game you unlock a new game, and getting a cache of crates overall nets you a new gun. With only two unlockable levels and maybe a half-dozen guns (again, unlockable), all of which I have already gotten, I am really missing that countdown timer that appears after every game. "70 crates to get a new gun... 69... 68..." The soundtrack is also rather short and gets old after prolonged playing.
Sure, there are also game modes to unlock, but those require extraordinary amounts of crates to unlock. I suck too much too much to get them. I guess I'm complaining because I suck. Is that a problem?!

However, none of that should keep you from downloading the game, considering it's free. What are you still doing here? Go download it!

[As a final note, the game also saves your file right next to the executable, meaning it's great to keep on a thumbstick for mobile game. Another one for my collection.]

TL; DR Version:

Pros
+ Awesome guns
+ Cool artwork
+ Free

Cons
- Lack of content?   read


8:30 PM on 03.21.2011  

Videogames are my life

Today during dinner, my mother made stated the memorable quote "What is there to respect about videogames?" While my sister tried to change her outmoded way of thinking, I promptly went down here to write an angsty blog.

But don't worry, I am not going to bore you with tales of how games can have engrossing storylines, foster social skills and a sense of community, challenge you, and just about meet or exceed the abilities of any other medium of entertainment and self-advancement (ie, srs-bsns movies, eg Schindler's List). You're on Dtoid, so you're a gamer, so you should know that.

No, I am going to explain to the world why I consider video games the focal point of my life - and why that is far from a bad thing.



Let's get this straight, 21st century - the stereotype of the lone, palefaced gamer who spends all his time in his basement is so old and pretentious it's unbelievable. How is this myth still around?

Video games are my primary medium of entertainment. I play games with my friends, I play games by myself, I have a videogame blog and read about videogame news.

But I'm not a social shut-in, and overall, am a pretty well-balanced individual. Most of my really close friends play videogames so that is how we spend a lot of our time together. In fact, I would argue that it is something that brought us together. Point in fact - Halo splitscreen. Inviting over friends to play Halo, or any other game, is just a really fun experience that I love to do. I have a ton of memories about this sort of thing. Why are these memories less worthy than those of, say, a board game? However, that doesn't mean all my friends are gamers, or that I can't interact with non-gamers - far from it; most of my friends don't game heavily, but I love to hang out with them. But all my closest friends share my greatest passion (that's gaming, in case you missed everything above this sentence).

Furthermore, I do a lot of things besides gaming! I play traditional board games, card games, and tabletop wargames. I go swimming, hiking, trampolining and stargazing sometimes. I'm an artist, writer, and straight-A student. I'm politically active, self-confident and overall happy.

But throughout all that - videogames are the most important thing to me. Not more important than my family, or friends, or being a good person, but more important than swimming or playing a card game that is considered to be better than a videogame for some vague, abstract reason (the only thing that comes close is politics).

What is so wrong with videogames that they are considered inferior to all other forms of entertainment?
Why do people love board games but deride video games?
What's the difference between a strategic card game and an RTS?
Why are videogames less respectable than movies?

Why doesn't the world [i][b]make sense?

[move]YEAAAAAAH[/move]   read


12:33 AM on 03.13.2011  

Freeware Tiberian Sun; or, as I call it, ULTIMATE WIN

Today, I learned possibly the happiest bit of gaming news I've heard in a long while: Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun, as well as the expansion Firestorm, were released as freeware by EA. Over a year ago, in fact; to promote the 4th Command an Conquer, Tiberium Twilight (which I also never really heard about - apparently it was a flop?).



As I booted up the game, and visited that familiar main menu I abandoned so long ago, I felt a warm, happy feeling in my gaming heart. Tiberian Sun, as part of The Command and Conquer Collection, was my introduction to gaming. Sure; there were other games - Red Alert 2 still has a special place in my heart (it might, in fact, make me just as happy to play it again), and Renegade was fun. At this point, it was still just some fond memories and thoughts on what this would do to my after-school LAN group.

Then I booted up a skirmish, and it hit me.



There was my trusty mobile base, awesome light infantry, and an array of walkers.

And one lone MLRS, faithfully bobbing up and down, missiles primed and badass level set to maximum.

I almost shed a tear, then and again while writing this. I was a little bit stunned. After all these years, I had forgotten how much I loved Tiberian Sun, how much I loved the Mobile Launch Rocket System.

But there was still an enemy to defeat. I got down to business, building power plants and refineries. As more options were opened to me, my memories came back in a rush. Walls, gates, turrets, weapon options, concrete... I could turtle like I hadn't for years! I'm no expert at RTS, but I know one thing: Tiberian Sun is, to me, the greatest one ever created.

I quit because I was so eager to see if it would work on my laptop, and lo and behold, it did without a hitch (protip: If you're having trouble getting it to work, run it as an administrator. That fixed me on my desktop)! I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow, when I can introduce my friends to a great classic (and hopefully kick their butts).

Stasis cannons and drones and artillery and harvesters squishing people and....


Oh right, I had one more point I wanted to make. Why don't you see if there's a game from your past just waiting to be played? Or has this happened to you before? I really want to know. And if you ever wanna play Tiberian Wars online... gimme a shout, maybe I can. :D   read







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