Posts Tagged ‘Gaming’

Hey all,

Since 2013 came to a close, I’d been looking into rebranding my YouTube channel and revamping my overall appearance online for 2014.
As part of the big change, I’ll soon be moving to a new domain and host. In addition, there’s been some changes to my YouTube channel and new art and logos are up and all over the place.
While this page may not follow suit with the exact artwork or theme, it will still have a tie-in of some sort.

So, enjoy the video and make sure you’re subscribed to this page as well as my channel so you don’t miss any of the latest updates.

Watch myself and fellow YouTubers attempt to survive the zombie-infested world of Roanoke!
New episodes every Friday!

Watch Episode 1 now!

The Action-Packed Trailer!

Watch as I and fellow YouTubers try to survive the horrors of a zombie – infested Roanoke!

Hey all,

There’s been activity on my YouTube Channel recently.  Finally..

I’ve been playing a bit of Garry’s Mod and the associated hilarious addons.  It’s fun.  Really fun.  So much fun that I decided to make a video series out of it.  Currently, I’ve got the first episode up.  You can check that out here.  Episode 2 will be out 5.30pm on Tuesday (GMT +8).  Episode 3 will follow a couple of days after that.

The plan is to have two episodes per week.  I’ve decided to have one episode release mid-week, and another towards to the end of the week.  Not sure if this is the right sort of schedule, but it’s one that I feel I can suitably maintain.

So, check it out guys and subscribe if you haven’t already.  It’s seriously a fun game to watch even if you aren’t a gamer.

Image

Hey all,

So I was recently playing a bit of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 again.  Yes, that’s right, I was actually playing CoD.  Plus, it’s not the latest Black Ops 2 or even Modern Warfare 3.  Nope, MW2 for me.  Why, you ask? Well, firstly, I was bored and I wanted a simple, straightforward shooting game that (brace for potential flame-war here) didn’t require a lot of hefty thinking.  Hence, I went into my Steam games library and downloaded MW2.  Of course, I wasn’t about to shell out any cash just because I was bored for a moment, so I went ahead and pulled out that old title and blew the dust off it.

It was intended to be nothing more than a mere one hour session.  However, to my amazement, I continued playing well past three hours and, bizarrely, I wanted to play more.  I was not expecting this at all.  Mainly, because I hadn’t really enjoyed Call of Duty much after the first Modern Warfare instalment since I didn’t like the overall design and feel of the game.  It always had something of the “console” feel to me and always felt inferior on the PC.  Much in the same way the original Halo felt when I played it on my PC.  The combination of low field of view, lack of any form of atmosphere and claustrophobic maps always made it feel like a casual player’s shooter to me.  Strangely, that’s what made me like playing it in the first place.

See, while I was playing, I had this revelation.  It finally became apparent to me what made this series so damn popular.  It makes you feel good for playing it.  Simple as that.  Every time you get a kill, it flashes up a big sign on your screen to congratulate you on your amazing achievement.  The more you kill, the more it would pat you on the back.  Conversely, the more you died without scoring, the more it egged you on to keep trying.  It even gave you a small boost, in the form of a death-streak bonus, to help you get back into it.  Sure, some might argue that death-streaks actually reward bad playing.  But I disagree, I believe that it pushes the player to fight back by stringing them along with this bonus.  It’s not much to even speak of.  You won’t become instantly God-like by getting a death-streak bonus.  In fact, as I discovered, some of them don’t even appear to do much at all.  For example, I was using the “Painkiller” death-streak, which is supposed to boost your health for a certain period of time.  Logically, more health would mean that the enemy would require more hits to kill you.  That should provide you with a significant advantage.  However, I found that, on some occasions, I still died within the same amount of time regardless.  Sure, it could be that I’m absolute crap at this after not playing for about a year and a half, but even so, it’s the psychological effect of having something that simply appears to give you an advantage.  Like a placebo, if you will.  Regardless of the actual intended effect, I found that all these bonuses simply made me more daring, which in turn, helped me take risks that sometimes led to brilliance.  And yes, it felt good.

But what is it that truly kept me playing?  Was it the graphics? No, they were good, but not great.  Was it the level design? Gosh, no.  Was it the aesthetics of the weapons? Nope, as far as I could tell, they weren’t all that different.  What kept me playing was this ultimately compelling feeling of need to complete that next challenge, or get the next unlock, or rank, or whatever.  Yes, it was that progression system.  You know, a friend of mine in the past used to always rave about Call of Duty games.  He used to always go on and on about getting to the next “Prestige” level or something or rather.  And this is exactly what he was talking about.  It’s this addiction that the game cleverly inputs into you.  It dangles little morsels in front of you and praises you to high heaven for accomplishing rather simple tasks.  For example, it asks you to get five headshots and win a weapon skin.  Plus, it flashes your achievement right in front of your face with a resounding metal scream.  All of this, to get that little bit of euphoria flowing and keep you going.

To be honest, it’s a very addictive feeling.  Who doesn’t want to feel good?  In that sense, Infinity Ward have made a great game.  I don’t honestly believe that it is a good game to play, but it does make you feel good for playing it.

However, all is not rosy.  Because of how Call of Duty is set up, it is a very accessible game.  Hell, I didn’t play for more than a year and I went from zero kills to positive kill/death ratio with double-figure kills in about three to five rounds of play.  It has become easy for just about anyone to pick up and play.  Sure, you do need some level of frequency to actually do well in the game consistently but it isn’t difficult to start.  Compare this with something like Planetside2 or any of the Battlefield games and you’ll see what I mean.  Those are games that punish new players very hard.  Call of Duty doesn’t.  It picks up the new players and welcomes them with open arms.  The problem with this is, Call of Duty is quite possibly the worst game to learn FPS gaming with.  Once you enter the arenas of just about any other game, especially on the PC, you’d be in for a very serious culture shock.  Call of Duty is almost unique in the way in handles and plays that no other game could possibly compare.  In fact, it may even warp a player’s expectations to expect all shooters to play the same.  Then, they’d be limited to games such as Halo, Gears of War and other similarly accessible shooters.

That’s not to say these games are bad.  It does, however, limit the scope for developers.  If the FPS community were majority CoD players (which given the popularity of consoles, it just might be), developers would then have to cater to the demands of that demographic.  We wouldn’t be able to have complex FPS games at all, simply because nobody would want to buy it if wasn’t like Call of bloody Duty.  Imagine a world where all FPS are CoD clones.

Now stop imagining, because it could actually already be happening.  You see, not that long ago, a game existed named Counter-strike.  Some of the mainstream CoD players may not have heard of this game, because the players were 90s kids or older.  But anyway, the game was simple.  Two teams, one objective.  Pick your guns, stick with your team, and off you go.  No levelling up, no weapon attachments, no progression, no killstreak rewards.  What it had was, tactics, recoil patterns and good old fashioned shooting skill.  Nowadays, shooters are leaning towards the way that CoD did things.  Almost every FPS game now has a form of progression system.  There’s also a points system and some form of reward for special actions in almost every FPS game.  Also, what annoys me most, more and more games are ditching recoil patterns in favour of wide cone shaped spread.

Of course, there will be many that disagree with this opinion and that’s fine.  It’s merely an opinion.  And before I get carried away with this topic, I’m going to end this here.  I just find that the direction that FPS in general started moving in since 2009 to now is highly disturbing.  Ironically, it may end up being games like Battlefield 4 that start to shift things a bit further in the right direction.  I’d just hate to see all FPS games go the way of the MOBAs and start copying each other.

Hi there,

I’ve come to realise that since I haven’t got much in the way of gaming to talk about this week so I’ve decided that I’m actually going to do some actual blogging on here too. This is just something I’m going to do every once in a while when there’s no games to review or no big news to comment on.

Right, on with it.

So, this past week has been rather interesting. I’ve just started a new job, working at a Steakhouse near home.  This is not the sort of thing that I’ve done before nor is it something that I would’ve ever thought of doing.  But since I’m also studying right now, I do need a form of income to support myself and my various addictions (read: gaming budget and leave it at that).  But yes, waiting on tables and clearing plates is what I do for money.  It’s not glamorous but hey, it’s sort of fun.  Even if it is a bit tiring.

There’s also been some developments online too.  I’ve recently participated in my first online get-together with a bunch of YouTubers.  We played Terraria and there were so many of us (I believe there were about 10 or so) that it was absolute chaos for the most part.  Zeckpressstart did his best to moderate us but it was just so much chaos.  (Check out his channel here. The video should be there of that game, eventually).  It was definitely enjoyable, even if “somebody” destroyed the house FoxyFauna and I built 😦  But, definitely it was one of the most fun online gaming sessions I’ve had and hopefully, next I’ll actually have my recording software started up to capture some of it.

Yes, it was that much fun that I actually forgot to record any of it.

On that note, I’d like to give a special mention to all of these awesome people who were there.  Links to their channels included!

Zeckpressstart

FoxyFauna

SharkyHatGamer

Dro205

_ThatGuyMatt_

NoshGosh

UnderInspired Games

Smax Gaming

Check out all of these guys, they’ve got some great content that’s definitely worth your time and attention.

What else is new? I’ve recently purchased Garry’s Mod.  It’s an interesting thing.  For just $9.99, you get a game that comprises many other games and content made by users for free.  Of course, it started off as something of a sandbox physics simulator for people to create loads of random nonsense with all the tools included.  But now, it’s also become an avenue for modders and budding developers to create whole new games from.  Ever heard of Prop Hunt? or Trouble in Terrorist Town? Both of these have been making waves through the YouTube gaming community and they aren’t full retail titles.  They’re free gamemodes made with Garry’s Mod.  Simple as that.  Amazes me that community content creators for some games can really show up some of the big developers, simply by going back to basics and creating something that is fun.  That’s really all you can ask from for a game at the bare minimum.  A game can have poor graphics.  A game can have bugs.  A game can be made from old tech.  But, if a game is fun.  Then that’s all you really need.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a well-made game.  The thing I don’t like is the stance that many of the big developers in the industry have taken where they focus on things like technology and graphics so much that they sometimes forget about the core elements that make a game.  Objectives, obstacles, challenges, and ultimately, fun.

Well, that’s all from me for now.  Be sure to check out my channel on YouTube and if you have any questions, thoughts or feedback, let me know in the comments.

dusk-of-dawn_gametitle_promo

Hey there, guys! I recently spoke to Patrick Nimmich, Founder of Fjord Games, the team behind the upcoming browser-based cyberpunk collectible card game, Dusk of D.A.W.N.  I had some questions for him about his game and company as well as other topics such as CCGs in general and indie development.  We also talk about the unique world that surrounds the game and what makes this CCG truly unique.

—————————

PanzerSG: What is Fjord Games all about? How did it start?

Patrick Nimmich: Fjord Games is, just like so many other independent game development companies, the realization of a long-time dream. At the moment we are a small team of four people in the process of developing our first commercial game. We came together in the fall of 2012 and have spent the last winter trying to figure out the exact game we would like to debut with. After a couple of WebGL tests and prototypes and the realization that a beautiful 3D game is just too much to complete in a short amount of time, our game designer Marcel came up with the idea of creating a collectible card game. We developed a prototype and after that went smoothly, we started with actually developing the game back in May.

PzSG: What is Dusk of D.A.W.N.?

PN: Dusk of D.A.W.N. is a collectible card game set in the year 2089. When the artificial intelligence D.A.W.N. went haywire, she took control of most electronic devices on the planet. Governments broke down. Wars seemed inevitable. It took a lot of effort, but a group of hackers from all over the world was finally able to disassemble her and give civilization a breather. Mankind is now at the dawn of a new age. In this world, now controlled by megacorporations, the player finds himself waking up from years in cryostasis. The player no strives to rebuild his former corporate empire from the days before D.A.W.N.

When you first start out playing, your pool of cards is a bit limited. After all, you have to rebuild your corporation from the ground up. You battle other corporations, be they human-controlled or AI-driven to regain power. To do this you have four card types at hand: Units, Buildings, Strategies and Tactics. The first three all have a place on the game board and are your line of defense. The Tactic cards are played instantly and can really turn a game upside down. When you play a match, you also have a chance to receive loot cards from your fallen enemies and for every completed match you gain experience points. With each level you gain this way, you unlock specializations which support you in setting up specific strategies.

Of course, as in any CCG,  the whole process of building your deck plays a strong part. As you get more and more cards you can try out different compositions. With over different 100 cards available at launch, there are quite a lot of possible ways to approach your enemy. If you happen to have a surplus of certain cards you can also invest them into research. This gives you a chance to develop stronger cards to use in the game.

dusk-of-dawn_focused_maintenance

PzSG: What makes Dusk of D.A.W.N. unique, compared to other computer-based Collectible Card Games?

PN: On the technical side there is the fact, that this is a pure HTML5 game. You just need a modern browser and you can play everywhere you want. On your tablet, on your PC at work, at home on the couch with your laptop. There is no hassle with installing plugins. Just just fire up the website and you are good to go. Still, it feels a lot like a client game due to its clean and polished graphics. Switch your browser to full screen mode and you probably will forget that you are actually playing a browser game. To set things further apart there are now click & wait mechanics like the ones you see in many browser games. You connect with your friends and other players and play in realtime.

On the other side there is the broad range of feature. Apart from the standard modes for PVE and PVP matches, the Deck Management and the Research & Development feature we already have a lineup of other features we want to implement. There have been rumours going around about the game needing “runners” which seemed very fitting for a cyberpunk universe. But we also want to include a friend system, clans, tournaments, a PVE campaign. There is just so much on the horizon right now. And think about the advantage of this platform independence. If a friend sits at home with his tablet and you have a break at work on your office PC you could just fire up the game and start playing with him.

Finally there is the art style. With Hjalmar Boulouednine as an artist, we have someone in our team who gives the whole game world a very unique look and a consistent style.

dusk-of-dawn_rearrangement

PzSG: Dusk of D.A.W.N.’s world, as I understand, is quite unique. Can you tell me more about it?

PN: Usually, when you play a TCG or CCG without a franchise in the background, you get a rough setting for the game. It might be categorized as high fantasy or a WW2 scenario and that’s it. We are trying to take it beyond that, because we actually want to tell a story.

The moment where the player wakes up, the world is in a state of chaos. Imagine today’s world, where even refridgerators can have an internet connection and transport this vision over 70 years into the future. Everything will be connected. D.A.W.N. had very little trouble getting into almost every system on the planet. She has been disassembled, but there are rumours going around, that parts of her might still be residing in closed off networks around the world. Throughout the course of the game cycle we intend to explore what exactly happened to her. And it is possible, that she might reappear in some form.

Then there is the fact, that a few people have emerged, displaying psionic abilities. We don’t know yet why or how this happend, but their number is increasing and their story is one that should be heard. Is this the next step of human evolution? Did this happen, because of the prolonged exposure to the digital matrix? If the player sticks around, he might find out. And finally there are the more worldly concerns. Most governments have broken down. What kind of an impact does that have on the world? Megacorporations already made territorial claims and some of them are building their own armies. This will have an impact on how the player interacts with the world.

dusk-of-dawn_dog_drone

PzSG: What made you choose this particular setting for Dusk of D.A.W.N.?

PN: There were a number of reasons. The first iteration of the concept was actually going to be set in a fantasy/medieval realm. But somehow we didn’t find that very engaging. With our game designer being an avid Shadowrun player himself, the leap to creating a cyberpunk world was not very big. I also did a bit of research on the topic and almost 90% of the online card games I found, were fantasy games. Then there were a couple of animé and mixed-genre ones and very few who truly embraced scifi/cyberpunk. I have to admit, cyberpunk can be a hard sell. Producing a niche game in a niche setting is a gamble. And that gamble can only be taken by an independent company, because the big players are usually too afraid of the risks. We wanted to be brave enough to stick out and I think right now, we are doing just that.

PzSG: When is Dusk of D.A.W.N. going to be released? Is there a beta program running currently?

PN: We are only a few days short of releasing our first alpha build to the public. We want to involve players as much as we can into the development process. You can already sign up for the alpha and the beta on http://www.fjordgames.com/duskofdawn/beta

Still, there is no strict release date right now. We do have a schedule, but this is our first project and I don’t intend to become the one who breaks his promises, when he publicly announces a date. At this time we are trying to gain some momentum. Our ingame trailer will be released shortly and we are also in the process of preparing our crowdfunding campaign. This, again, will be hard sell, because browser games rarely do well in crowdfunding campaigns. We hope to prove the nay-sayers wrong. So depending on the outcome the public beta release will be in early 2014 and then we will take it from there.

dusk-of-dawn__homezone

PzSG: CCGs in general, lost popularity quite a few years ago. With the reappearance of the genre with games such as Hearthstone, do you foresee CCGs coming back to the gaming scene for good in the near future?

PN: We talked about this in our team when Hearthstone was announced, which was about a month after our decision on creating Dusk of D.A.W.N. At first there was a moment of shock, but then we realized that Hearthstone could be very good for other TCGs/CCGs. Back in 2005 it was World of Warcraft, who finally opened up the world to MMORPGs. Of course there were others before, but they opened the genre to the average gamer. This could happen with CCGs as well. We will really have to see how things progress. Will more CCGs be played during the next years? It is most likely, yes.

dusk-of-dawn__match

PzSG: As a company that is relatively new to the scene, what do you feel are the biggest challenges indie developers have to overcome on their route to success?

PN: There are two primary challenges. The first one is about money. Very few people can afford to work full-time on a game that doesn’t pay their bills. That is also a challenge for us. If you want to promote your game and do some progress, 2-3 hours a day usually won’t cut it. You have to be engaged and connect with the world, you have to build a following. But you also have to eat, and pay rent and insurances and everything else that comes with everyday life. It is a challenge we are facing as well. If the game doesn’t progress in the alotted amount of time or the crowdfunding campaign fails, I will have to take a day job again and that will cut down my development time and the amount of community work I can do.

The other major challenge is visibility. Right now the world is flooded with independent game developers. Very few are able to make the jump to form a professional company and even fewer are able to stay on that level. We have to fight to be seen. Reviewers on magazines get so many mails per day that they can’t review any game. That was different a few years back. So you have to prove yourself. And if you have a special hook a great game and enough staying power, there is a chance for success.

PzSG: Dusk of D.A.W.N. is planned as a free-to-play game. What is your view on free-to-play games and what made you decide to produce Dusk of D.A.W.N. with this model?

PN: I have a very critical stand, when it comes to free-to-play games. Most of those games include so many mechanics just focused on milking the game for all it is worth. There is a constant debate about pay-to-win and I really dread the moment, where we make a mistake and become the target of such a discussion. There have already been a couple of inquiries about our model and it is amazing how many blind accusations you have to face. We hadn’t even revealed our plans and already people claimed to know how it was going to work.

Right now, I am very satisfied with our concept. We don’t have any payment-exclusive content in the game and we have mechanics in place to even the score between paying customers and customers playing for free.

I know where the free-to-play bias stems from and I totally understand it. But I wish people would differentiate between the big kahunas and the small indie devs. We create games because it is our passion. Otherwise we wouldn’t have worked for almost a year now without earning a single penny from it. Were we creating a title for a different platform, we might even have chosen a different payment model. But with browser games you can’t really go many other ways. Advertisements don’t really work, so you need some kind of shop system. And not having to pay might increase our chance of people actually checking it out. Also gamers usually don’t pay upfront for a browser game. So free-to-play was the best way to go.

PzSG: Do you have any tips for any aspiring game developers out there?

PN: Tips are always difficult at this point. If we had already made it, I could speak from a point of experience. Now I have to speak from a point of belief.  I believe that in order to make it, you have to learn, try really hard to get better, connect with other game developers, embrace criticism and communicate your own opinions constructively and honest. This way you will gain the respect of your fellow developers, you will grow and your game will go somewhere. Don’t stand still, move towards your goal or you won’t get there. Make awesome games.

—————————

Dusk of D.A.W.N. is a Collectible Card Game, currently under development by Fjord Games.  It features full browser-based functionality with no client-side downloading required.  Register for the beta here: http://www.fjordgames.com/duskofdawn/beta

Definitely worth checking out even if you aren’t a fan of card games, simply due to its rich world and backstory.

Also, check out my YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/PanzerSGGaming

I make gameplay videos and commentaries!