nawkcire

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

Tag Archives: steam

New Game – Prison Architect

This week, I’m going to get back into recording gameplay for my YouTube Channel. It has been a very long time since I recorded anything, I figured out why. Stardew Valley was the last game I played on the channel and as I watched, it was getting fairly monotonous. I’m going to break away from Stardew Valley for awhile and focus on a new game. “New” does not mean recent; in this case, I’m taking a game I’ve had in my library that I haven’t played and I bought many moons ago in a Steam sale far far away.

Awhile ago I had bought myself a few games; Stranded Deep, Call To Arms, and Prison Architect. As per the title of this blog post, I’m going to start working on these sandbox games since I’ve had them in my library for the longest time. I’ve already recorded and edited a few episodes and it feels much more fun than the last few episodes of Stardew Valley I’ve put together. Reason behind going with Prison Architect was because the developer recently announced they were done with this game and any upcoming patches would just address major bugs. That was probably a couple months ago, which by now should be fairly stable and playable.

I think after I get a good chunk of Prison Architect completed, I’ll start on the next one and then maybe consider revisiting Stardew Valley. For the time being I think I’ll stop and enjoy what I have accomplished. Much like I did with Defiance, the MMORPG, I’m going to leave this one as is until I feel I can play it in it’s entirety.

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Gaming Achievements

Don’t know about you guys out there, but I feel a bit off every time Steam tells me I’ve  completed an achievement. I always open up the in-game overlay to see what I did to deserve a pop-up like that. Usually achievements fall under after completing part of a the game or the whole, then there are achievements which are very mundane. Some games are sensible with the achievements but there are are some that can be sinning against the purpose of achievements.

To me, a sensible achievements is story completions. It makes sense especially if you created a game that’s hours long. Another sensible one is when you collect an amount of objects. Makes sense to put a good achievement on a tedious task. If the game has some complex stuff in it, it’s even cooler if there is an achievement for it like saving someone from explosion damage or being able to react to a certain way. However there are a few achievements I don’t want to see even though I might have achieved these on my own account and accord.

I like a good achievements for a repetitive task. However a repetitive achievement for a repetitive task is overboard. As much as I can kill 100 bots, I don’t want to kill a million bots for an achievement. At that point, you’re just playing to kill and not necessarily enjoying the killing bots. This goes the same with FPS games which does the same thing but with a different weapon. I’ve played games which want the player to kill  a thousand with one weapon and a thousand with another. It’s a nice way to push players to try these guns and grenades, but there is no point aside from forcing players to play with weapons the developer is lazy to balance or the player does not which to play with for the duration.

Mystery achievements, as much as they are surprising they sometimes don’t provide any contextual information for their completions. Whether in the icon or description, they can be fairly vague. Most games I’ve encountered have been mysterious but able to convey a point where they want us to do. For most of the time, some of you developers have to give the player some sort of clue.

Then there are games I’m not even sure they’re really games anymore with over a hundred achievements. I have a game in my library which has over 500 achievements. Most of the are hidden since Steam has the courtesy to hide the massive list. I don’t think I have the patience for 500 achievements! Early on I had Team Fortress 2 as the only game with achievements. Looking at it now, it has a lot of achievements that look intense. I did achieve the “Pyromancer” achievements but it was an undertaking. To spent years on a game to complete the list of achievements is as agonizing as spending years in an institution. Which gets me into downloadable content achievements!

This generation of gamers seem to support DLC to games. Nothing wrong with that since some of them are like expansion packs of the past. Most of them would hardly count as an expansion pack, but I digress. I don’t like achievements related to DLC’s, especially on Steam since the service clumps all the game’s achievements. Which means you can’t “perfect” a game on Steam without buying their DLC content. Which sort of supports the argument of games are incomplete until all the DLC’s are released which sounds a cash grab.

Achievements should be an enhancement and not the objective for enjoying the game. I honestly hope more games can do less in achievements.

Re: #472 Where are you Steam Sales?

A response to #472 Where are you Steam Sales?.

I’ve been on Steam for almost a decade (According to my badge, 8 years) and I’ve seen Steam change it’s marketing and this year I think they’re trying to wean their users towards what they want their platform to become.

At first when I started Steam, it was mainly AAA titles getting the holiday sales page. It was tough back then to look online for games other than what’s popular and hyped. With the advent of Greenlight, there has been bunch of submissions and approved games listed on the market. This is where the problem lies with the users and the consumers on Steam.

The indies don’t necessarily have a marketing team running round the clock to advertise their game since they want to produce the product than enhance their own image. Usually these small studios are running on a timeline and a budget unlike larger studios who can afford a bit of time wasted. This race to publish has granted us something unique in the industry at the moment, early access.

In my personal opinion, some of the developers seem smart on when to go fully public on their early releases while some have been just pushing hard to get the funding they wanted. While others are focused too into their product and they create a great product but not enough to generate awareness of it. So most games I found have either don’t reach expectation of the game while some just go under for not being well funded. This is what’s great about Steam. Steam can act as the marketing platform to sell the game on behalf the developers. And I think Steam sees this and it’s why a lot of early access titles are on sale for the holidays. It generates awareness for these games at an appropriate price while giving players the opportunity to be the kid in a candy store to buy a lot of games for a small cost.

Perhaps the lackluster feeling you are receiving is being you are not sure about these games and it feels you are not getting the sales you were expecting. I too felt the same way and it is indeed very difficult to buy a game when most of the catalogue is on sale. To that, I say we take the lessons we learned from Watch_Dogs; we take a risk regardless how much we spend and how popular the game, but it is indeed our risk to take.

Thanks for the article!

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!

Revisiting Global Agenda – New Zones and Such

This literally came just last night or so. The new update to Global Agenda, expanding on their “open zone” PvE has just got (slightly). I managed to download it and play it for about a couple hours last night. For those who are not familiar to the game, it’s an RPG sci-fi shooter set in the future where cybernetic humans have become a reality. From what I gather, some people don’t like that so much and then there’s a war waged against those who oppose (…or something like that). You play as an agent who is rebelling against the man and…well, you get cool looking weapons and items to toy with which will come in handy.

New zone’s set in North Sonora (I think I spelled it correctly, super lazy to check), where the Recursive colonies (robots…lots of robots) are looming ever closer to Dome City (aka safe zone, where you do most of your crafting and selling/buying of stuff). The new expansion takes the lessons from the first zone (“Sonora Desert”) and adds repeatable instances, much more difficult mobs to down (some you will need a group of people to do) and of course….new quests (both story based and repeatables).

From the start, it’s slightly difficult on where to go to receive the new quests or even where to go to really check out the zone (pro tip: talk to the guy you first meet at the end of the tutorial). But after some wandering, I figured out where to go and how to do it. At first sight, you are introduced to a lush and dry environment. the immediate area swarming with bots and allies holding off endless waves of intruders threatening the safe harbour. Just beyond the mouth of the canyon, you can barely make out distance structures of satellite disks and watch towers.

To not give everything away, here’s a list I’ve made of things you will see or able to do in this new playground:

  1. Teleporter network (awesome if you want to go somewhere quickly)
  2. Larger mob concentration (in certain areas)
  3. Team based area for your team based activities (cookies can be found at the intersection, wink wink)
  4. New PvE mission variety (Defence missions and the usual raids)
  5. Lots of people wanting to group up (for the social types)

I’ve managed to complete the story within a day. But I have to say, the terrain makes the map seem larger than it is. Filled with ruins and mounds, without that map button I would be lost most of the time. Though currently somewhat buggy and annoying (i.e. you die and respawn in the middle of nowhere.), I have to hand it to Hi-Rez to deliver on progress. At level 26, doing all the story missions will provide you enough experience for 3 and a half levels. Overall, still repetitive since it’s either you’re raiding or defending some instance. Though I do see progress in more escort/extraction missions, I feel certain areas of the map are just quest places and nothing more. As a player, I’m never going back there but I would like missions which take you everywhere. As for everything else, not much added except for North Sonora. Oh wait, I did find terrain continuity errors. If you looks at the north gate in Dome City, you can see another dome and open terrain. When you load into that area, that dome is 3km away and the first thing you notice is that you’re in a middle of a canyon which disrupts the view from that oh so distant dome. Though it doesn’t ruffle my feathers about that terrain problem.

So what do you guys think of the new Recursion update?

On the Brink!

This weekend, I had the opportunity to play Brink. It was offered by Steam through their recent Quakecon promotion. Like any Bethesda product, it was highly appealing before production. In many ways taking parts of some games and integrated them with a unique environment interaction system.

Before I get into the gameplay and the fun factor, I was introduced to the premise and the scenario. The developers (Splash Damage) spent no time to push you straight into their cinematic prowess. From what I’ve managed to understand, the game places you in a time frame where global warming has plagued the world. Prior to the oncoming turbulent tides, humanity was able to achieve a way to preserve itself. Calling it The Ark, this seasteading superstructure seems to house millions of inhabitants. However as time passes, they were met with people wanting to stay. At capacity, The Ark expanded by cannibalising the ships to build crude shelters attached to The Ark. Unfortunately these places turned into disease ridden slums on the fringe of a utopian society. As political turmoil erupts and divides this city, two factions emerge from the ashes; Resistance and Security. As a citizen, your character must choose to save or destroy what is likely the last vestiges of a species. The Resistance is an organization commanded by a warlord wanting nothing more but his ideology of peace and order through equality of The Guests (the former crews of the ships?). If you choose to preserve and restore order, Security fear a terrorist attack is imminent and send your team in the field to uncover their motives for the recent escalation of protests.

Running my 5 year old machine on this game turned out to be more or less of a challenge since particles effects slowed down rendering. However at any rate, I found the art style and colour orientation to be general sci-fi. Besides setting you up with a red pill/blue pill scenario at the start, the scene transitions all you to feel differently to the environment. While strolling around the maps resembling The Ark, I managed to feel more tranquil and more beauty in the architecture and perhaps once lively. While in the slums resembling much like a junk yard, it felt more like people are living more in desperation and survival. Character customization was really thorough. Allowing you to choose body markings, facial hair and clothes from a pool of clothes specific to the faction. As to this your body choices of Light, Medium and Heavy changed the look of your character but however provides advantages and disadvantages to your combat abilities. To complement, weapon customization left no stone unturned. Letting you pick through barrel attachments, under barrel attachments, top rail equipment like optics and even ammo capacity upgrades. As I looked through the classes, they seemed as well generic. Soldier, Medic, Engineer and Operative gave me a chance to reminisce my days playing Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. As I played the campaign, I began to realize I wasn’t reminiscing. The campaign takes you through the game modes. Besides the obvious capture and hold, escort, bomb plant/defusal and delivery objectives, there’s nothing surprising but the choose-you-own task and class specific/general objectives. If you factor out the artistic side of the game, imagine Enemy Territory (Wolfenstein or Quake Wars, you can choose). If you’re a non-perfectionist, you can complete both campaigns in under 12 hours. In my books, it’s a nice 40 dollar mini-game with a $10 DLC.

Overall, buy it if you really loved Quake Wars or Enemy Territory. In any other case, it’s one of those games you rather wait for the price to drop by half and over to buy. Not likely I would buy the game for the co-op or multiplayer game, Though the co-op may be too easy once everyone has the full arsenal of weapons. Have fun in your Mirror’s-Edge-meets-Wolfenstein/every-other-FPS game.