Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Tag Archives: coop

Settling Into The Holidays.

I’m almost done with work. Just a couple more weeks, then I’m going on a month long gaming binge. Recently I’ve been spending a couple hours a day at a time recording and editing. It’s been kind of bit slow since I haven’t hit the gym in a couple month, I should return to the gym but video games are so much fun. I would like to push hard to record all those games I bought so many moons ago, all 4 games. I doubt I would complete them within the month since most of them are sandbox games; I would like to at least finish Prison Architect, Call To Arms  and one more (Skyrim if I can binge the entire game). Speaking of which, I’m about $30 away from owning the entire Skyrim collection; just two more DLC’s!

Speaking of games, I’ve been looking around to all the people I’ve met who would like to play more cooperative stuff. The last coop recording I did was in Insurgency which was fun, but I think I should do something different and interesting. Trying to see if there is a game I have and someone wants to spend a few months or more on it. Space Engineers does take forever to get somewhere interesting. I have Star Trek Online, I could do the story campaigns with someone in odd ships.  I might return to The Long Dark, not co-op but I would like to at least die in the game. However The Long Dark suffered more like Stardew Valley where I lost interest. Ryan, the guy who I use to play a lot of Pulsar:Lost Colony, had Empyrion: Galactic Survival but I would like to go the survival stuff with a partner or a group. Especially starting from scratch and ending with a large ship or completing the massive project.

As I’m editing my gameplay, I’ve been watching a lot of livestreams. Not sure if I ever mentioned or tried to look up what I need to stream, but I recently looked up how much I really need to stream in HD. Safe to say, I’m no way close to a bandwidth to stream; maybe a 480p stream, could be less. So I can hardly play a game with a live audience, maybe some day when Canadian ISP’s were cheaper. For now and until next time, I’ll keep recording and playing.


Frontline Tactics–Modern warfare at one turn at a time.

Steam’s free-to-play category is filling up every so slowly with new game titles. Looking through it and finding games to play, I decided to playing Frontline Tactics. It’s a recent addition to the store, but a fun and challenging one. With single player, multiplayer and co-op elements; the game does require strategic thinking and planning which makes every move and important one. 

If you’re playing on PC, the 1.03 version is way below the 300mb size when installed onto your computer making this very lightweight in terms of storage. Textures in-game are low quality but are detailed to illustrate the environment around your units and the units themselves are detailed to recognize some of the stats they represent. Installed and ready to go, you have the opportunity to register an account in game to use the game server for co-op and multiplayer.

In single player, you can build up your units through missions. Gaining credits in missions, for every win you also become one win closer to unlocking something. That something is four things; credits, single player maps, game modes, and more units. Under single player mode, you get 4 random missions to choose to play. The maps at the beginning are very small map. After 5 wins or completed missions, you are offered and unlock which you can choose out of 2 tiers which can be unlocked in any order you choose them from. As you progress, the missions will randomly generate based on what game modes you have unlocked and enemies will generate based on units you own. For example, if you have a unit with A weapon and another unit with B weapon; the AI will be equipped with weapons A and B. So when your units get decked out with all the highest level items, the enemy units will spawn a variety of weapons that you have at your disposal. The units you make in single player can be carried over in multiplayer and co-op so the rifleman you’ve been building can used in co-op. To get more weapons and abilities, you have to unlock them by spending credits and credits are gain through the co-op and single player modes by completing missions which sounds simple, but after awhile the cost of everything goes up and it starts to be more of a money farm. Of course, the game shop sells credits for real life currency.

In the multiplayer; there are only two modes, co-op and VS mode. VS mode is straight on an elimination match between x amount of units from player 1 and x amount of units from player 2. From the looks of it, not much in terms of balancing at of version 1.03 so you can potentially find yourself at a loss when you enter one of these games. Upside to this game mode is currently there are no rewards given for these matches. It’s kind of like a practice PvP kind of deal, only thing you get out of it is the pride of winning against someone. Cooperative mode is a mix up with single player and multiplayer. You have a randomly chosen game mode and map, under public co-op you are also partnered with a random player as well. The deal breaker is even on larger maps, each player is restricted to 3 units while single player allows up to 9 units (so far).

Overall, the game is pretty fast pace for a turn based strategy especially when it comes down to playing with people who are actually online and not just checking in for moves and such. The game on Steam seems very new so there is potential for additional content if the developers want to make more. Also the price of zero dollars and zero cents makes it a nice little addition to your list of games on your Steam account which is also free. If you’re into the whole modern warfare thing and turn based strategy, I would recommend trying this game.

See you all in-game!

Ding dong, you’re dead!

Start of the week is pretty incredible considering I received on Steam Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft. Well it wasn’t a gift from Ubisoft, but was a gift from someone I know not relating to games and stuff of that nature. Anyways, got home on Monday after eating turkey and pie to get down to killing stuff.

So I downloaded it, which took about an hour or two to finish. Not surprising now games are about 6GB and onward (either we’re going to need free internet or smaller games), so a popped that install button and just let her run until I was done. After that, I had to go through the whole process of getting a Ubisoft account. Which I was not amused and not at all surprised, this stupid thing about client-ception has to stop. Sorry Ubisoft, went with this on EA and I’m not at all enthusiastic with the whole “we haz own social thingy” concept. To me, it’s a company self-esteem issue. But back to topic, I got the game, got an account and started it up.

I did play Advanced Warfighter 2 a long time ago and I was pretty happy with some if not all the features in the game at the time, but this really takes the cake. I’m all for weapon attachments so it does make me feel good that I can customize my weapons as I play through the single. No spoilers but you do get more stuff as you do the singleplayer, which is great. I haven’t played through the whole campaign, but I can safely say I have attached myself to several attachments and certain weapons for certain times. Once again no spoilers, but safe to say I have 3 favourite attachments plus a few weapons I already like to keep around just of the way the weapon stats are, you can really have a weapon for anything.

For those people who are into the textures, graphics and pretty colours; graphics are pretty great. Especially if you have the latest DirectX drivers, you can really experience some of the most detailed models I’ve seen so far. To put it simply, the colour palette is a mix of Battlefield 3 for weapons and the environment of a Modern Warfare 3 campaign map. You experience darkness and different weather environments as closely replicated, the mix really does provide a sense of mood and speed to the game at certain parts (once again…no spoilers).

Gameplay does keep it to the original Ghost Recon games I’ve seen and tried. The elite soldier with the most high tech gear sent to kill the baddies. Many tried their way of setting that up for you, but this turns it into a bit of a strategy and less of a juggernaut situation like the last level of Modern Warfare 3. Cover is important, stealth is important, speed and creativity is important. Though I’m on easy mode, I’m still getting shot up pretty hard. Likely the fact that I’m more of an up close and personal kind of person when it comes to assaulting positions. One thing I really found hard to really grasp is the whole coordinating with the team and time. Most of the game allows you to be the best modern ninja but you have to really time it right to avoid those few baddies standing about. Though the levels are fairly linear, it does provide a lot of ways to approach objectives which does change up play one way or another. Ever since I played Battlefield 3, I loved the idea of stealth kill animations. In Future Soldier, there is no shortage of times when I would just approach from behind and whisper sweet death with the back of a rifle, a bullet to the head or a quick snap of the neck. Plays like an RTS version of chess, you have to think of your next move before your opportunity passes. And you are always outnumbered on the board about many to 4. Controls are pretty easy to adjust to after you notice there is no jumping, usually some people hate it but I like the fact you can’t dodge bullets like a bunny. However I did find myself in certain situations where I need the interface to be much more precise. Example #1: Stealth kill behind cover. Example #2: Switching gadgets. First off, it’s really hard to do the whole “ding dong, you dead” move while undercover, I’ve tried many times and only a few times I really pulled it off. Most of the time my guy just jumps out like it was a birthday cake to reveal his position to the guy I’m trying to stealth kill. Just makes it worse when I can get killed in a harder difficulty if it was a harder difficult. The controls are great, no denying it makes my hand happy to the fact that I don’t have to extend or contract my hand too far to reach of things I need. However the whole switching between 3 things with a mouse wheel is difficult especially when it’s an asset that makes noise or a very important asset you don’t want to spend too quickly in a stealth shooter. Too many times I’ve threw grenades when I wanted to throw a sensor down. The game should really reinforce the fact you can use the number keys to switch or just make the HUD a bit better in terms of really telling you’re really using. The HUD is a HUD, styled for the game but very minimal. Outputs just tell you weapons, ammo, gadgets and any mission/control info about the weapon. I like that it doesn’t obstructs the view so I don’t have to move around too much to see what I’m up against. The AI is pretty great on both sides, since they do take cover and do their best to avoid getting shot. Though sometimes they do the darnedest things. In the game, you’re given optical camouflage which you can use to move without being detected but at a certain distance, you can be detect (which is about a good 5 metres in front of the baddy). At certain points of the game I’ve seen my allies literally walk right in front of them without being detected. Either that AI was dumb to notice a blurry crouched man or my camo is way more inferior. Good balance overall even in easy mode to make me die or fail a few missions. In real life if there were Ghosts like these, I would be hitting that “Reset to last Checkpoint” at least five times before the mission ended.

From trailers and previews I’ve seen, the multiplayer is fairly much deathmatch. Kill each other, that’s about it. I really wanted the game for the co-op considering the “Guerrilla Mode” is something that intrigues me. Essentially bottom line it plays like a singleplayer campaign (I think the campaign also has co-op too), but you go through rounds of enemies like any other co-op. Just survive until you have to infiltrate another building and repeat. To me, this is new. Usually you’re given the building and you have to hold it out. With this, you get to do it yourself then to survive more baddies. At a certain point after those baddies are eliminated, you get goodies like sentry guns and stuff (according to the Ubisoft video clips). So far, I want to finish the singleplayer as fast as I can and then move to Guerrilla mode as soon as possible. Which means maybe have a Fun Friday in Ghost Recon, I’m totally okay with that.

So for anyone wanting to get the game, want me to join in on a “let’s play” or want to join in on Fun Friday in Ghost Recon. I’m not sure when I’ll be done the singleplayer. But from the feel of the game, I’m just over halfway. I’m taking names for anyone who are willing to play the co-op campaign or Guerrilla mode. You can find me in-game as “nawkcire”. If you like, leave a comment about the game and/or your screen name below and I’ll get back to you.

Well, back to my diet of cola and games. See you all next week!

America’s Army 3.3–Now with co-op kinda

Recently an update to America’s Army added their largest map yet and the beginning of their co-op mode features. As a long time former player of their old 2.x game and AA3, I gave it a chance (yet again) and play through the new content. To my surprise aside from the account wipe, I enjoy the gameplay despite the servers hosting the same game types repetitively and without bias; hint to things to come.

Before we get gritty with the new stuff, here’s what I know so far for playing this game for about five or so years. You play as a U.S. Army soldier sent to a fictional country with a Soviet-like atmosphere. From what it seems, the country starts to become unstable and the United States is called upon to render aid to the country. A couple old maps return to be part of the whole open-ended story. You go from training to combat in about hour. Honing on fitness, marksmanship and weapons familiarity. Summing the the tutorials to easy pieces to help get the feel for the game. Along with the Basic need to know, you receive additional training which allows the use of some additional equipment like a first aid kit to heal teammates and optics for your weapons. You can play without the training, but you would only be privy to getting the basic gear to get moving.

Now that we have that squared away, lets get into the new stuff; the co-op. So how AA has set it up is a co-op with a competitive mode added after a certain threshold has reached. Meaning you can play through the AI specified levels as one team until the server decides the threshold has reached to split the teams; more meat on that in a bit. A large step with co-op they made a large step by adding Airfield, a long open stretch airfield where the objective is to capture and deliver a target to the extraction zone. Currently, I’ve seen only the carried objective where you carry a briefcase to the area and the escort VIP to the same area. So right down to it; you spawn on one end, fight your way to the middle, grab what you need, fight your way to the other side. Kind of disappointed so I tried the other maps with the same layout; start east, move to middle, grab, move west, win. Now the AI on the other hand makes it more of a challenge than the previous incarnation since they do react and move in a certain way to allow them to survive much longer and aside from shooting at you, they do throw grenades of the smoke and fragmentation variety. Also the AI are given spawns in this map to allow them the opportunity to flank the human team to keep them on their toes. Due to the layout of the map being long and relatively flat; the AR (Automatic Rifle) and their M249 SAW is at a disadvantage. The game currently doesn’t boast a bipod for this beast, so accuracy is only limited to about 100 metres and any kills is fairly pray and spray. The advantageous roles are the others which essentially are riflemen with their M16 and M4 carbines loaded with the optics of your choice. Because it’s semi-automatic, range is fairly admirable especially with the ACOG 2x optics which is unlocked through training; making any rifle a designated marksman rifle. However the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifleman?) has the biggest advantage in the entire map when it comes to range. Equipped with a ACOG 4x, the M16 for this roles is powerful. Which provides a more role dominated gameplay considering CQC is fairly nonexistent and even with room clearing, most of it can be done with semi-automatic on.

Competitive co-op provides a storyline twist and adds a PvP element to the game. Along with the enemy force to fight against represented by the AI, rogue elements represented by players have the same objective as your team. However it’s not the usual death match where you go down, you stay down; with the MEDAVAC system where tapping out will place in you in a queue with 4 others to back up the current forces on the ground. So you keep spawning in until the round is over. Which is a major plus to keep playing, however with a big drawback. To enlist on this queue, you sacrifice losing your current weapon and a chance to receive a different role and weapon. In my opinion, it’s kind of a downer since as you read the M249 machine gun is the weakest in most of the gameplay for Airfield. Other maps however like Ranch and Bridge, the M249 would have more of an edge. Back to the competitive co-op aspect, it’s kind of a trick to get people to play PvP. Have they even considered people want to just have a co-op? Also it’s not necessarily co-op if players are playing against players. Probably just me, but the combination doesn’t mix well. It’s a good concept to look into, but at the moment and bias I don’t really enjoy it.

Overall the new content is great but much to improve especially adding CQB maps and some way to steady the machine gun for longer distances. Also the gameplay is linear so likely seeing many objectives would go far. Like a mix of escort and capture and hold or escort and briefcase/intel gathering, or just have random objectives pop up and once finished to add more time to the round and do the next objective. For now, I will server hop to just play the co-op.

If I ask, would it come? In dire need of a co-op game!

The topic has landed more than once on my blog, but I really wish I could stop saying “oh, it’s like the other game”. Perhaps someone from the game industry could stumble upon this and maybe be inspired to make it happen. Though most games have a teamwork concept and commendable it is; needs more than just zombies, powerful AI and grouping systems.

If I could, I would do just more than provide a mediocre stamped on experience in coop. In fact, I would throw challenges in there as a reminder there’s x amount of players and much overwhelming horde wanting to rip them up. Though I can understand the pointin a casual coop and it’s fun and all, but considering all obstacles and the only change is the NPC; I would want it feel like a multiplayer rather a lean back with people who knows what will come next. Unlikely an indie studio would pick up AI programmers to make them super smart, but ambition breeds possibilities. And rather one ultimate goal and all you would do is shoot your way through, random challenges or game events that slows the players down. Harder wouldn’t mean more fun but it a set up to more ideas like puzzle elements in a shooter and not just any puzzle. Something to give the brainy and brawny players, puzzles that would require thinking or working as a cohesive unit. Having players pushing a blinking button is not really engaging, it’s just a game mechanic to have someone watch your back. However if the button broke and the player had to figure out a bypass to make the button work makes an interesting play. This could expanding to have various puzzles or events linked for a larger grander puzzle. Sounds like I’m leaving the shooting out of this, I am; the combat mechanic is not really affected. Sure making the puzzle to require a set of actions to work, but have the team split to cover the buttons isn’t really teamwork; that’s cannon fodder. If that would be the case, it is better to have it as a singleplayer game.

By designing systems to change up the base would keep players moving and not just remaining stationary unless the game wants them to defend something. There has to be more than that; in terms of combat, zombie games like Dead Frontier has it right. Limitations for players to overcome but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming restriction or advantage. Limiting ammo is one thing, but too little or too much would just turn into a DPS-fest or a shoot or scoot mentality depending on ammo count. It is acceptable, I like the idea but like cooking, needs more salt. Of course, restricting the use of certain ammo over the rest is a start and weight to prevent a Doom scenario (carrying more than you could compared to real life). I was thinking something inspired by America’s Army, weapon jams. They would be random, but it forces to player to find cover to fix it. Far Cry has something similar for weapon deterioration, but only great if you had an MMO with a repair system. Just weapon jams; imagine you firing away taking everyone then…click, weapon jams. While we are at it, the jams would require the use of an unbound key and the key would be difference. Not necessarily a QTE (quick time event) but more a tactical event where the player would have think quick to find cover and then resolve the malfunction. And maybe for a sci-fi game, weapon malfunctions would be different in terms of sounds or handling to notify the player of a malfunction. Of course this is a puzzle, but probably the easiest compared what I listed below.

Since we are on the subject of combat mechanics, low health. I’m talking, you could die even at 100%. A couple good shots in the right place could incapacitate requiring players to be revived by teammates. This is very common, not new; but now the ballsy thing I would like to see, self revive actions. Say everyone is down and no one can revive, game is over. Now the proposal is more than just have an item to self revive, a QTE where the player fights a death timer while rapidly hitting a button rapidly, kind of like getting injured and you bandage yourself. In this case, players would have time against them before having to deal with a failure. However for this to be a challenge, the timer would be extremely short to prevent easy self revives. Most annoying thing in games that I tolerate is debuffs and permanent debuffs until an action is taken. That is not fun, but it provides a workflow challenge where you have to consider healing up or try and fight them off. Simples example and likely common one, poison to drop health. Now permanent debuff is a bit of pain where players would take more damage or slows them down. Maybe idea for FPS’s is hitbox specific debuffs like shot in the arm, or bruised stomach. And these would involve debuffs to either lower overall HP or hinders performance or both. Would make sense to bleed to death than tanking a lot of damage.

Like I promised, here are some ideas I have for puzzles.
-wire cutting, think of old school “red wire/blue wire” but with tools to help determine which to cut
-puzzles where one end must be connect to another
-hidden tools that could be made to do something else though removing it would be a puzzle in itself without injuring your a puzzle within a puzzle
-anything utilizing the player’s environment; build towers of debris to get high places, using a wall panel likea shield, able to connect objects with duct tape to make a long pointy stick etc.

If you have ideas of stuff that would be great in a co-op game, feel free to leave me a comment. What would you want if a game solely on co-op?

Posted from WordPress via Blackberry Playbook.

Boots on the ground, eyes out…

If you read my last entry, you wouldn’t find it a surprise. Though I will likely drone on about this topic a few times before I stop. I’m just so excited after a few days settling into Battlelog and setting up my account to play co-op and (after co-op) multiplayer. But lets go back around Friday and start our story there.

After much deliberation, I decided on getting my sister a present. Because of how things have been going for her, it would be a small feat in the whole picture. “What to get her?” I thought. A few red flags popped into my mind considering I’m not too sure about her likes and dislikes. Likely a gift card would be pretty lame. A CD or DVD would be hard to find since I’m not too sure what she would want, same for soap or some hygiene product (I feel awkward walking into a Body Shop or Lush, also it would make me the only dude there which would make it even uncomfortable). So out of options I just began looking around at game stores downtown. First the usual electronic haunts, then I realized she never really owned a video game before. So with that in mind, I wanted to give her something that may interest her. I know she’s pretty fond of FPS games, which saved me tons of time. Long story short, wait for Modern Warfare 3 or get Battlefield 3? So I began looking around and seeing what I would want and what she would want. Of course, there was bias to this decision since I really wanted a Battlefield game than a Call Of Duty game (I can always wait for Call Of Duty, never really had nice freebies anyways…except if you pay over $100 for the Prestige Edition). So BF3 it was; no surprisingly, I went back to Best Buy for their last two copies. Out of stock, really? First my Touchpad and now this? Future Shop the. I looked at the monstrous game shelf by the latest software of 2011/2012, not sure if they’re out of stock or they don’t have it. By now, I’m desperate so I went to EB Games at Eatons. Guess what? Yeah, out of stock. My outlook on this hunt was grim. Luckily the guy knew there was a Gamestop across the street. Yes, a promising lead. For being Yonge Street, it’s got a nice streak of having this game out of stock; bring it to a total of 4 shops with not a single copy in sight. Called a buddy up for suggestions; “…did you try Game Shack?”, “Game Shack?”. He instructed me it was located in the Bay Atrium. How did I not remember this place?! I always pass by it and never really noticed it. Walked in and stood in line while 3 people check out on some movies and some Wii(k…get it, Wii-k?) games. Luckily that insanity of a console wasn’t in everyone’s mind, guy in front of me had a PS3 game released awhile ago; bless his heart. So as almost like an urgent little kid waiting in line at a candy store, “You guys have BF3?!” Oh so calmly, “Limited Edition or BF3?”. I was hysterical since they had both. Quest complete! Bought two copies and got the hell out of there. I went home pretty happy, though it was late. I waited for the right time to really give a copy to my sister. Saturday, lets wait Sunday; until then, lets run the game for the first time…Campaign…Hard difficulty. I did it in 10 hours, according to Origin. Sunday morning, I realized a flaw in my plan. Modern Warfare is out on Tuesday. Damnit, I have to make it an early birthday present just in case my sister plans on getting Modern Warfare by mistake! Called her up to hang out and as we left her place, I whipped it out like a BAMF and said “Happy Birthday!” Her smile was good enough for me.

So now Tuesdays, I’ve been persuading her to get her computer back so she can play. I did promise her that I would play co-op with her only if she finishes the singeplayer at least once (on hard mode, if she wanted. She insisted easy, I am disappoint.) So now I’m just persuading her to get it back so she can get all her Limited Edition perks before it’s too late. For those who don’t know beside the Act Of Valor promo dog tags; you get 2 variants of the M1911 pistol (suppressed and tac light) and 2 Mass Effect dogtags. Not a bad deal, I would’ve went with the preorder. But I think the M249 is satisfactory for me, though I wish they added the P226 pistol in there as well. So what now, Eric? Well, we wait. We all have to wait. Well you can wait until the next blog while I go play singleplayer again for the shear fun. Also made a challenge to do the whole thing without dying. Hard even on easy but it’s possible.

Once I run through co-op with my sibling once, then all you can have a piece of in the multiplayer. Yup, call out all the BF3 players reading this. Lets play some BF3 sometime…in 2 weeks or so. Also, I’ve set a new email address for anyone who wishes to contact me. I don’t like people using my personal address so I’m sending you guys to a specially made one; not because I don’t like you, I like you in a platonic way. And on this momentous occasion, lets be friends and play online sometime in Battlefield.

You guys can contact me here. Just leave you nickname in the space. If you don’t have a email client, just go to with the subject headline “Re:Boots on the ground, eyes out…” I’ll add you guys when I get a chance to. Probably see me on and off online until my sister starts playing; after that, we can go murdering some people on Operation Metro or something. If you are super mega lazy or doesn’t care who adds you, post in the comments.

Also if you got feedback or want to send me ideas or opinions to talk about, feel free to do so at that email address.

Going back to my campaign carnage, until next time!

Update: OH SH*T I have a present from Steam? ❤