For Future Fallout

In my hiatus, Bethesda announced Fallout 4 and providing a bit of gameplay in their E3 demo. While most of the world has seen the video thousands times over and speculating over every pixel, I just saw the reveal in past Saturday. Though the next game shows a lot of progress between New Vegas and now, there is always some room for improvement. From what I’ve seen, the next Fallout has taken the best of the modding community for Fallout 3 and put them into the this game. Most obvious is construction settlements and weapon modifications. Though weapon modifications was touched on in New Vegas, settlements however were seen in Fallout 3 as a mod. Regardless, the next instalment to the series will feature the universe we have seen and probably more. However as I said, there is always some room for improvement.


There were some scenes in the presentation which saws the player in a vertibird as well as views of a zeppelin over post-apocalyptic Boston. Though aerial combat would be a nice addition to the game, I would like to see a fleshed out vehicle system. My suggestion would be the ability to build and salvage vehicles. Either building from shells and hulks in the wasteland or melting scrap into components to build the entire vehicles. Even with that, the vehicles would require a fuel source. With it’s limitations, it would benefit the player into travelling the world. Though the fast travel system in the last two games would turn vehicles obsolete, but how cool will it be to cruise around in style?

Weapons and Power Armour

From the presentation, one thing I was impressed was customizable weapons. Rather than swapping parts, you build from a set of modifications. Each weapon a shotgun, a machine gun and an assault rifle. This from my point of view opens the player to play by their rules. They can be as hard hitting, quick drawing, lead slinging as they want. In the Fallout universe, we have ballistic weapons as well as energy weapons. In the last couple games, the energy weapons did have an advantage over ballistics; slight if not nothing. I think projectile weapons should get deeper if not for all the weapons. Right down to the triggers, barrel, springs and capacitors. Being module is great, but having an intricate gunsmithing system can nitpick each stat.

This goes the same with Power Armour. In the past, Power Armour was something most desired. It had the most resistance to the damage but it would be heavy too. I think in the future, modifying power armour would be impressive. Make it lighter, denser, have special capabilities; it would make the armour more versatile in the end. Especially modifying it down to the pieces; rather than helmet and suit, maybe including the shoulders and appendages.


Within the presentation, you can build within certain parameters; I would assume from the presentation, on foundations of older buildings. Though it’s a step in the right direction, it would be more free if the player allowed the ability to create their house and settlement anywhere. Though this is a new feature to the universe, I am like many expecting to explore it. They have included tools to make these settlements something we would be willing to fight and defend. It would be tough to imagine something I have little experience in, but it would great if the game blurred the feature into the world. They tried to blurred the lines in allowing NPC and traders interact with these settlements, however it would expand further. I’m talking about factions trying to take your towns over or trying to subvert your authority through espionage or by use of violence (like raids as seen on the demo). Perhaps the authoritative factions are choices you can pick as the law enforcers of your settlements? Maybe even setting laws in towns and allowing NPCs to develop into these roles like a simulator?

Farfetched as these ideas are, we all can hope Fallout 4 will outdo its predecessor and improve on developing its universe. Doing bigger and better but even then, there is always room for improvement.


Re: Your First (Videogame) Love

Response to aander14’s blog post here.

For me, I had bunch of small moments that fell in the right place. For me when I started playing video game, I wasn’t much of an enthusiast. My parents were fairly strict and (Dare I say) somewhat backwards when it comes to new technology. Here’s the list of firsts that got me into playing video games.

The first time I ever met the digital world was probably in school when I was a kid. That’s when schools started to teach kids about graphic design and how to draw stuff on computers. The first computer I remember using was a Macintosh, I’m talking the years before the iMac went on the market and every school in my district pretty much had something from the late 80’s. Most distinctive piece of software was the paint program for it where you use dynamite to “blow up” your creations. Later as each classroom got it’s own computer, the district went forward with getting PC’s. Before the Apple computers were phased out of the computer lab, I remember playing Battle Chess or a variant of it. Until my parents finally got an SNES, this so happens to be the first exposure to video games in my entire life.

Then I got the SNES, or Super Nintendo for those who are a tad young and asking “what’s a SNES?” Remember how my parents were so strict on me playing video games? They were probably the epitome of tiger parents before the term even came around as “tiger parenting”. So essentially when they got me the SNES, they thought I was too young to have it and too young to do anything besides go to school and get good grades. My sibling on the other hand turned the argument around and got us the SNES. First game we got was Super Mario All Stars and at the time even with my parents putting money to this game console, the would hardly let us play it until we were done our homework or we had nothing else to do. After awhile, our library to include Super Mario World and Gladius II which was given to use by relatives. Later on in grade school, I met other people who owned the Playstation and the N64. At the time, the PS had GTA but I never touched it until a buddy of mine at the time got it and told me to try it. I mostly stayed on their N64 and my SNES. First exposure with platformers aside, I got into cinematic cutscenes and gun play of Perfect Dark. I got deep into the singleplayer and enjoyed the split screen, big head cheat fun of of PD.

The same buddy that got Perfect Dark got Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and they let me play it. That was when everything just click. I liked sandbox, violence and open world games. Even to this day, these are the tenets of video games I like especially when it’s not overly exaggerated and just allows some escape from reality. As I got older, my parents seemed to relax a little and got me the Game Boy Advance and some games for it. For the most part, I stuck to Mario Kart for the GBA and Pokemon Red. By this time I was coming up to my teen years and I was fairly entertained through cartoon violence. So Mario and friends later got boring to me, lacking the things I want in games. I laid fairly dormant with my GBA until I was around 13 when I finally got my first PC.

Growing up in lower middle class, my parents couldn’t afford what I wanted in a PC so I got something a bit low brow. More attuned to a workstation than a gaming rig, I got this 512 MB with 40 GB computer running the last Intel Pentium ever created. This was my gateway to the world. To top it off my parents let the world wide web into the house with DSL and that’s when everything starting to ramp up for myself when I played the many games I soon to find to be everywhere. Firs it started with browser games that are precursors to Facebook games. Then I got a collection of pirated games from my sibling when they moved away for university; but mostly I remember Mechwarrior 3. By this time, my life starting to go downhill. In my child-like mind, the world didn’t seem as beautiful and carefree. As I entered high school, I already accumulated a lot of time into my first MMO, Kal Online which was a Korean MMO taken place in Korean lore. I got as far as I could in the game but in the end at level 25-ish, I gave up after feeling the grind of the game. Of course I moved on; Silkroad Online, WarRock, and Cabal comes to mind. Perhaps there a dozens I’ve played and forgotten. After my first PC finally gave, I got a new PC and continued playing. First on the roster if memory serves was NavyField which was a Korean MMO naval arena. Of course the game has been updated many times over the years; when I remembered it, the game only had 4 nations (US, GB, Germany and Japan). This second PC lasted me a good while and I even tried to go off gaming to pursue increasing my grades. With all my efforts and looking back on it, it was indeed a futile effort and regardless of any scientific study; it didn’t change my grades, I was still the below average student since grade school. Fondest memory was the closest time I went into Major League Gaming; yes that’s right, I was close to MLG material at the ripe age of 15/16. At the time, I was playing America’s Army with a clan I was in trying to get a team together into MLG. In short, the power went out and I lost my shot at a small pot of cash at a small growing gaming tournament league. I believe the cash prize was about $14-18 grand USD per person. In it’s finality of it continuing to this day, my parents view of video games is damning. Video games is a form of entertainment and not a business you can get into, so they say. Yet I could’ve been the coolest kid in high school since I won $14 000.

By now, it was about 8 years ago where I finally found a job and made some money to get myself a custom gaming PC. This is where everything went to hell in a hand basket and yet opened me to the world of video games on an addictive level. When I got my current rig, I went to town on my bank account and bought games. I spent it as wisely as I could starting with putting it into games I can play on Steam. I bought the Orange Box which as Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2 series and Portal for a cheap price. I went back to my roots somewhat and got GTA IV, I even stuck around cyberspace to explore the free games it has to offer. Before my 8800 GT GPU died and my hard drive in need a refurbishment, I think I played about the same amount of games I had played in the past over a span of 4-5 years. Which brings us to the last 3 years and now.

Now, I’m stuck to sharing games with others. I like aspects of co-op games and sandboxes. I’m stuck to my old ways where I play games I like. If my play time in Star Trek Online isn’t proof of my past, I don’t know what would prove where I was in the past 3 years. Moving forward, I want to break away from my parents opinions on video games. I want to making a small inkling in playing video games. If I can’t, at least I want to do is share my love for video games to the world at large.

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!

Things I’ve learned making Let’s Plays

I’ve never put in so much time for one thing I wanted to do; okay, I put in a lot of time for a few things. However I never been devoted to be a bit creative. It was always something I lacked. I can be creative at times to think of ideas (thus how this blog was born) but I never really been a visually creative person. Start of this year, I decided to make let’s plays on YouTube which somewhat harkens back to my old Black Ops gameplay. I always wanted to do something constructive or creative to develop something I had problem learning. For my new readers, I’m ADHD and I am not a very creative person; quite the unusual irony.

Over the past six months, I learned a few things from playing and recording video games. To veteran recorders and producers of gameplay, it may be obvious; but I do admire the fact the consistent and persistent nature of YouTubers. They remind me the humbling experience of being unpopular, bottom of the pyramid, way of finding a style. To those who haven’t had their mind set on WordPress wanting to do LP’s or record gameplay, I want you to learn from someone who doesn’t have a following and started with pretty much with a lot of time, plentiful amounts of procrastination and no money to put forward to upstart a hobby or interest. Take this as a warning or advice (or both).

Starting off, I needed a recording software. Something light on the system and can record the amount of time you need. For me, I need it to record continuously because I never know if there will be some good action bits. At the moment I’m using Open Broadcaster Software because it allows a one click solution with minimal set up but enough functionality to make changes to the encoding. At the beginning, I downloaded the program to replace CamStudio because the installation file I downloaded for The Dead Linger didn’t work. Both are free, but after having an experience in both products, I’ve come to realize the interface with OBS is easier and built towards online streaming and local recording than for tutorials and short presentations.

When I started with Banished LP’s, I recorded them in large huge batches. I’m talking like files sizes of 1GB times how much time I had. So in under x amount of hours, my hard drive would be capped out on raw video files. I think at one point I had 10 files lined up for uploading and those uploads would take up to 12 hours per file to upload. So it would take about 10 days to upload if you include time for me to just use my internet connection for anything besides uploading. So in the 30 plus episode run, it took a day each. However in TubeStar, the same 20 minute file would take about an hour or two. So if the game is very action based would require more frames. Therefore the file size will be larger compared to text based or 2D games. This is true in OBS by the way, try with your recording software of choice!

In making The Dead Linger, I found a difficulty with sandbox games where travelling is required. For one thing, you have to fill the time walking with something interesting. If you are a quiet gamer, definitely cut out the nothingness. If you have something to talk about, just talk and don’t hold back until you’re done. It can be interesting, informative, funny or just be somewhat like a small video journal about your life while you play. Just let it out and even if you are going to cut it, then cut it but it’s always to have some extra bits to have more to add if the video is a bit short.

Length of the video to me is only the limitation to the audience and your hard drive. However personally, I think people have a bit of a short attention span. With that in mind, I do my best to make my videos 20 minutes or less. At first, I aimed for 20 minutes. Now I end it when I think I have enough content or I set an end point. I guess it’s because Defiance has missions unlike The Dead Linger. So I can end one mission as a video. What I’m trying to say, find a way to end a video.

Early on, I said I’m not a very creative person. The truth really unfolds if you watch my YouTube channel compared to everyone’s LP. I don’t have a visual introduction, no end cards or effects. I just play as is and I do that because two main reasons. First being theory; I don’t really want to promote myself, I want to promote the games I play. The games are the feature on my channel and I want people to find their niche in video games. The large part I want them to see my video and try the game themselves. I think the second reason why I don’t have visuals is obvious. I’m not the best editor or graphic designer. I’m usually the idea man, the guy who wants to do it and get it done. I like to be the person to establish point A and point B and let people define the direction of travel. But at times, I do regret I’m not a visual person. I wish I could have some creativity so I could make graphics. But for now, you got to like where you start out. You don’t have to be established to start something, you just have to start.

Have I learned everything from making videos? I’m just about to get started. I don’t have a job, I don’t have the creativity, I don’t have best of anything. I just do it because I go in knowing I could fail and I would learn something from it or succeed and gain something I don’t really know and I could get interested into it. I might not make money from it because I consider myself small time but it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, I do what I love. I love video games, I love playing video games and I want to share my love with people who are still finding their love.

If someone who loves to teach a noob about graphic design and video production, let me know!

Cubed Mania (Cube World alpha Review)

It seems more and more I’m getting back to my roots to 16 bit and 8 bit graphical games. Recently I got my hands onto the alpha test of Cube World. Though at the moment I’ve explored through the single player and I have not got into the multiplayer.

At the beginning when I start up the game, I am introduced to a 3D rendering of the in-game environment. Which seems less noisy and bring back to something reminiscent to old blocky RPG games from Zelda with simple tiles as well as it’s RPG element with various monsters and bosses in gameplay. The environment features a bit of random generation based on a numerical seed. In sort when you create a world, you can put down a random number and it will do its thing to seed the world. The character creation is simple through a set of types of body parts. Along with the character creation screen, you choose out of 4 classes which also restricts the weapons and armour. Which also at the moment restricts what materials you need to create armour. Good time to get into the mechanics.

In the alpha version at the moment, you can explore the world and participate in random quests in killing monsters marked on the map. The map displays the kingdom and the explored areas visited. Within each kingdom that I’ve noticed is that it contains one city which sells separate set of items from other cities while maintaining the 3 other mechanics available in each city. In these cities you have particular areas to let you trade, craft and get pets while the fourth district in the city seems more for switching subclasses; two for each of the 4 main classes. Crafting seems pretty straight forward from what I’ve experienced in Runes Of Magic where you gather your resources and go to a certain place to craft it. Same with food which heals health over time; which potions do as well without but with higher heals over time while not needing a place to craft. Pet however gets a tad technical which requires killing a bunch of mobs for pet food and feeding it to a certain mob. Wait! Here’s a really weird and complicated part. From the wiki pages I’ve managed to flip though to figure out how to get pets, certain kind of mobs will drop certain kinds of human food; mostly desserts. Unlike Star Trek Online, the frequent game I play, all pets can fight and some you can ride as long as you have the skill.

At the moment at this iteration, the game is fairly repetitive. It’s a slash and kill, open world adventure game.  With these random dungeon quests provides a small layer of non-linear play where you run through a dungeon and kill a boss. I haven’t tried the multiplayer since it is mostly like Minecraft where you have to find an IP address and hope in directly (If anyone wants to send an invite to their server, feel free to comment to this with a server IP). The current redeeming quality to the game compared to something closely comparable is the hang-gliding, boating and mounts through pets. The game size also might entice people to carry the client around to join from different computers. If I could recommend it, this would be partly recommendable if you are into the open-world aspect or just a casual player looking for something a bit halfway of nothing serious to something that can be ridiculously time-consuming. For not much story, content and gameplay; it returns with an open cubed world which is worth a small peak.

Dorky-ness for the win? (Part 4)

Continuing with my pseudo-monthly series, random thoughts brought to you but none other than me. There, is that enough ego for this post or what? So far the last few weeks, I’ve dispensed a lot of ideas from my perspective as thinking points for your consideration. Perhaps they have been turned into some good conversation or some intriguing revelations.

As a thoughtful gamer, I always seem to come across some ideas that seems to be amazing for the game I’m playing at the very moment. Whether it is grinding or questing, the time does pass while thoughts do pop into my head. Especially recent in Star Trek Online when I was using a skill called Photonic Fleet. As a Science Officer, I’m given a pretty handy skill which allows me to generate three holographic ships which fires on nearby targets. When generating, there is a chance for the ships from frigate classes to move up to cruisers and at level cap allows a chances for cruisers to upgrade to battleships.  At the moment, the skill allows the science officer a force multiplier. However the drawbacks are that the ships generated are really weak even if you factor in the chance of having better ships generated. They don’t have the firepower to really hold up in combat. I usually encounter enemies at either 1:3 disadvantage or a 1:5. Though my Tactical Escort can hold up in combat, at times I do need assistance. Of course right now those players out there that say “Eric, use Nimbus Distress Call”. I do have it in my inventory, but it’s rarely used considering the cooldown is too damn high at times when I really need it. With it lasting 30 seconds, it seems more like a renewable consumable than force multiplier at times; goes the same for Photonic Fleet. Cryptic seems to be at the moment to be throwing in more items than renovating the current item system. With the new Legacy of Romulus expansion, they just added more reasons to grind for items you need to push the ships to the limit; however the ships are at the moment, at their limits. It would be ideal if all this grinding was utilized to its full potential and here’s the bombshell I want to drop; what about a skill to utilize ship you have available?

Probably most players in game either discharge their ships to free up space, some keep them on and collect them. For me, they’re as useful as a bank slot than a ship if I don’t need them which disuses the system of having ship slots. When I upgrade to a new ship, I usually cannibalize the last ship and leave nothing more than the hull of the ship unless I have to store some gear. What I propose is a skill that utilizes the ships in some form in a similar fashion to Photonic Fleet. Aside from the upgrading feature, what if the skill allowed you to spawn any 3 ships in that occupies in your ship slots. Maybe have a special fleet ability that allows online members the ability to spawn ships from their fleet member’s ship slots. It would allow players the opportunity to equip their ships and use them at the same time as they use their main. Exclusion to the random rules would be carriers and ships from the same class that has is generated. Former is obvious, hangar pets are really great force multipliers. The latter is more for the sake of putting in some variety into the skill. That’s the general idea, anyways.

I’ve played a fair share of zombie games. I never felt entirely satisfied with zombie survival games. They’re always focused on shooting and healing; never much of a survival component. When there is some aspect of survival put in, it seems to get more competitive; or so it seems. Either directly through PvP or through some sort of economy; examples being Dead Frontier and WarZ (I think they changed their title awhile ago…) What I’m getting at is there is no cooperative survival let alone Minecraft and the like without the competitive piece. I would like to see one zombie survival game done right. One with a heavy emphasis on cooperative play against computer controlled zombies and maybe survivors. Where in an open world sandbox, you have to scavenge and build a lot of things while preventing yourself from starving, getting sick or possibly become infected.

That’s all I got for now, keep on gaming!

Warface’s is awesomely homogenous…

About a few weeks ago, I got my closed beta invitation to Warface, Crytek’s foot in the door free-to-play shooter. From the outside world, it seems like more of another shooter with similar mechanics seen from other games in the same genres. However it does offer some oddities that has been demonstrated by other games.

Quick impressions, the invite redirects me to login and download the game. As of this post, the size seems to be pretty beefy at around 10 GB more or less as well as a client plugin for Chrome (FireFox is also supported). After a 2 hour tease by the downloading bar with a prompt on screen telling me not to close the browser it was downloading from. We’ll get into the the browser aspect later; after I was presented with finally what appears to be the first bit of the game. The game allows you to select a game nickname and your face. The face is a preset of about ten faces and skin colours. After confirming the selections, we jump straight into the tutorial level.

Tutorials are pretty much the same, they run through all the basic stuff every player can do. From WASD keys to planting explosive charges, then to game specifics like combat slides and weapon customization. For the main part, the level is fairly flat compared to the multiplayer and co-op levels.

I was really interested into the co-op levels, so I decided to hop into it as quickly as I can. From what I noticed once logging in, you would have to play through the easy levels before you can jump into higher difficulties. There isn’t much to do, so I chose the tutorial difficulty and hope into a game. The co-op allows JIP (Join-In Play) however you would have to wait for the team to reach the objective or before the chopper touches down. As the rear lowers down, you are exposed into the blinding morning of the Middle East and the rattling of gun fire from your fireteam of five. The map seems expansive but uni-directional, just a group of AI after AI. However they seem pretty intelligent enough to take cover and try and suppress players. This in higher difficulties would force players to learn to move cover to cover. Usually easier to be done while your buddies to lay down fire (so it seems). But having every class in your group does help a lot.

Warface consists of four classes; rifleman, medic, engineer and sniper. The class names and loadouts are reminiscent to Battlefield 3 and Bad Company, aside from the engineer and medic. The medic is more focused on utilizing shotguns and heal and engineers focused on armour repair and submachine guns. Maps sizes make the sniper a more obsolete class but does provide a one hit kill at a distance while the medic offers at the same in close quarters (almost). In the recent update the shotgun seems a bit over powered and the engineer class seems underused since there is no really use for a claymore for most of the time.

The client is browser based, meaning you get the game but everything to launch it would be online. All tying into their Gface social network. I’ve had one from Battlelog (Battlefield’s social network solution) and I think it’s a dead in, but lets just cover it. Gface has a friend list feature as well as a Twitter-ish new feed from friends and community. At the moment, the buddy list in Warface doesn’t sync up to Gface. Also there is not way to see who’s online so the private game feature seems useless as of the moment, or probably I’m missing something to get on the buddy list screen.

The tough part to really let you know how great a game is closed beta game is, for the large part is due to the changes that might happen now and whenever the game is open or released. At the current stage right now, there’s a lot of broken systems. The game functions pretty normally like public game and the social networking features are limited to your status updates and community feeds. Probably in time, Crytek will test and implement the last bits. Though in my opinion, the social networking feature is pretty generic and just some bad gimmick to play. Aside from Gface, Warface is not so polished since there are European players in the presumed US servers so matches do lag and players do drop out from time to time. The graphics are fairly progressively with the times. The verbal commands are simple with each devoted to ammo, health, armour and help requests. The weapons are parodies to their real life counter parts and have various numerical stats like any other free-to-play game I’ve seen from Korea publishers. The ammo is limiting which reprises the rifleman’s role as a munitions provider, excluding explosives which restores upon reaching certain objectives. Co-op levels are fairly linear but provide positions to out flank the enemy and take position, however usually allows one or two classes to be fairly dominant throughout. Most of the game on hard difficulties are focused on cover and trying to maintain distance while the tutorial difficulty is run and gun. The only special part of the co-op is the daily missions which allows you to rank daily and gain a special currency to make purchases away from normal currencies like revive tokens.

Overall experience of the game; it’s fairly average to any free-to-play shooters I’ve played. It’s mostly comparable to how Alliance Of Valiant Arms operates with the graphics closer to EA’s Frostbite engine and it’s iterations and the achievement system of recent Call Of Duty games. The on-the-fly attachment swapping does help the player to overcome some disadvantages of the class, but usually marginally unless they have good attachments like anything boosting accuracy or the ability to use optical sights. I know I’ve said “as of this moment” a lot, that’s due to the unpredictable nature of testing. The end user is the guinea pig and sometimes, not a lot of information is imparted. But as of the moment, I’d recommend the game as a co-op game, I’ve haven’t tried the versus mode yet. If I did, I would probably say the same thing that it’s fairly generic to any other versus mode exception for the sliding the the in-game attachment swapping. Definitely worth a peek when it comes out, though after all the item collecting there’s not much you can really do.

Until next time bloggers, keep fraggin’ !