Monday, January 24, 2011

Collecting loot isn't about lore? But sans lore, isn't it collecting database entries?

Wrath of the fuzzy screenshot marked a downhill trend in expansions...

Over at Tesh's blog, a comment by Syl made me ponder...
WoW is goal-focused, or rather: loot-focused. it’s not about identity or lore as much as it’s about the means to get what you’d like to collect.
That prompts me to think - The weird thing about that is that isn’t the very idea of ‘loot’ lore based? I mean, it’s ascribing the lore of ‘this is ye old weapon’ to a set of database entries. Can someone say they aren’t about the lore, when they set about collecting ‘loot’?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tobold, the true believer

There's something genuinely scary about Tobold's philosophical undercurrents. His posts called 'Freedom of choice' and 'Morality' (I'd link, but you don't need a link). Perhaps your sitting there thinking hey, it's a game, your leasure activity, and your playing whatever class you want or something. Oh no, actually there's this social responsiblity you have to play the class you have. Your not playing it because you chose to, but because some system of morality decided it.

"It's just a game, I want to play DPS, and nobody can tell me to play something I don't choose"? Fortunately the question of what is right and wrong has been extensively discussed by clever people hundreds of years ago. And one very good test was proposed by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. It is called the categorical imperative, and invites you to simply think what would happen if everybody acted exactly like you.

Ugh - you know, in real life people can miss out on food or shelter - the very things of survival and some sort of human level of happyness.

So where does Tobold then take a morality meant to help people not die in real life? Into a game of all things, where your character can't even die!

Yeah, so everyone in the game acts like you AND...who dies!?

The only people who have any real life issue with this are those so damn addicted to the game that they can actually be hurt somehow by certain ways of playing it. And you know what, if your in that position, it's not a 'te-he, I'm addicted' thing, it's a AA sort of thing. You have a major problem. You don't blog on morality of others, you instead take a good hard look at yourself and realise your whole life has been set to gravitate around this 'game'.

Morally wrong that people want to play DPS? Even if everyone wanted to play DPS, somehow morally wrong? This is the basic, default sort of dim philosophical thinking that in previous decades would condemn gays - why? "Cause they are wrong!!1!" Why, what do they do? Destroy buildings, shoot people with guns (more than hetrosexuals do)? Something like that? Some practical issue?

Why have gay people become normalised? Well, it depends, humble reader, whether maybe you just find them normalised since everyone else did it and you went with the flow. I really hope that isn't the case and you've questioned it. To me, why they were normalised is because when you actually look at the practical ramifications of gays - they are no different from hetrosexuals.

So here - oh, everyone plays DPS and it's....morally wrong? WTF? I'm starting more and more to think Tobold must look like Stan from American Dad. No - the practical ramifications of everyone playing DPS is - bumpkis. Nada. Zilch. If it's more than that, you've developed an addiction. Think - which would be easier to give up? Cigarettes or WOW?

Freedom of choice must have certain limits, and these limits are somewhere where your freedom impinges on the freedom of others...But I can't accept total freedom of choice without limits, not even in a game.

He says, impinging on the freedom of others in how he can't stand some peoples freedom impinging on others freedom.

It's like the human mind, with Tobolds being no exception from the norm, can't help but feel it's freedom crimping isn't and is simply right (as opposed to wrong!), while the other guys freedom crimping is just terrible and really needs to adhere to X (insert freedom crimping method X to try and stop freedom crimping method Y).

I don't think some peoples brains can really handle others having freedom of choice, even when it's actually a fairly limited range of choice as presented in WOW.

"SHIT! A world where people just do whatever!"

It's like they deny that fact about the real world so much, they go and take their denial into games as well.

Tobolds another guy who so obediently absorbed a morality into his being, he never actually questioned the practical reasons for it, if any. So he can't help but project that morality absolutely everywhere, as he has no rational metric of what physical things it's supposed to be in relation to.

A true believer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Instagib live

Just a short note - I kind of enjoy the insta gib capture the flag games on quake live. In them you just have the railgun, which takes about two seconds between shots. This gives you time to think and see what's happening, where otherwise I'm usually being hosed with a lightening gun or such. Insta gib is an interesting mode - although you still get moments where someone you didn't even see shot you from half a mile away!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Haze Live

Can't we just be friends? Well, okay, I did kill your brother for this bandanna...but can you blame me?

Finally upgrading my internet speed means I could try out quake live. Which means I could try out, apparently, a sort of video game version of hazing.

I'm not sure how their skill checking works. Or whether it works. But it gave a countdown of twenty games before it'd skill match me.

So, perhaps it could say '20 games and then we might stop feeding you to guys who'll eat you and your connection speed for breakfast'.

Looking at their forums, I also notice people suggesting that you don't play free for all at first, and stick with capture the flag, or other team games like clan arena. It's true, I did enjoy these more.

So you'd think they'd atleast guide you towards that with how they offer matches, etc. Because being shot to death by a guy who rocket farts his way across the room in a milli second, or bounces around in a way that's even more erratic than the nightmare bots (I can do hardcore bots, but not nightmare bots) or that you don't even see at all before they kill's not fun. Being beaten, but you can see a few ways in which you could have done better, that's good. Being killed by guys who have learnt the level to an almost autistic level ("I'm an excellent fragger..."), well, that's fun if you have developed that autism too.

At a certain point, there is no play to the activity - thus it ceases to be a game. Often with casual games, they become so easy there is no play, thus they aren't a game. It's interesting that you can actually get to the other end of the spectrum - so hard, there is no play. Well, no actual play for us guys new to the quake crowd. So why are we set against the guys who have been playing it for six months to two years, right from the start?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Small RPG

A small RPG I wrote up...

Explore part of an imaginary world, talking with it's peoples, navigating it's dangers and gaining resources for yourself! Progress up the advancement grid and win!

Prepping the Map Grid
Draw up an area of game world which is a 20 by 20 square grid. Each square represents an area about 100 metres square.

Before play the GM fills in the grid with villages, hills, trees or whatever else the GM thinks would be in the game world and most importantly, some of these, as decided by the GM, will give resource points to players. This is supposed to be a wilderness region, with villages and farms scattered around. There are also a few rare monsters and dinosaurs (most notably are the raptors) around. Some of what the GM decides on could be encounters with NPC's in the game world, even involving conversation between player characters and NPC's the GM has invented. But in such a case, try to keep the conversation to only one or two questions and answers, then it's the next players move. The conversation can always continue on that players next turn, if the GM deems it necessary.

Instead of moving the player can describe his character interacting with what he percieves to be in the grid his characters standing on, in hopes of gaining resources, or possibly even just for fun. Sometimes the GM may allow someone to do this AND move after describing it and hearing the GM's responce, but it is not to be expected.

In drawing up the area, the GM should put atleast 20 places on the grid where simply moving onto that square earns the player a resource point. These can be scattered willy nilly, that's fine. Resources might be taken by one player only. It might help to place a small marker on the map to show such a resource is taken already. Other resources might allow each player to take one point from the spot (expect all remaining players to gravitate to such a square upon discovery - this is valid play).

After playing a map grid, it's not a good idea to have the next game on the same grid. Try and generate atleast two map grids, if not more, and alternate between them.

Players take turns moving one square each (they do not have to move). Players can be in the same square, but turn order determines who gets to a square (and obtains it's resources) first, unless the player declines to take the resources or if the resource is one that everyone can take a point from it. When players gain a resource point, they note it down.

Players start at the south end of the grid at a random position. Their X/horizontal position is determined by rolling 1d10, counting from the west side of the grid. Their Y/vertical position is determined by rolling 1d6, counting from the south side of the grid.

Advancement Grid and Winning
As well as moving, on their turn the player can also decide to roll on the advancement grid, which is the prime method of winning in this game. There are nine squares to advance on, anyone getting past the ninth has won! Everyone gets to try and pass the ninth step, which makes who won first determine precidence of winning. It is possible to fail a roll and instantly be eaten by a raptor! This is the only way to lose.

If one or more players have passed the ninth step, one or more can simply concede their victory and finish playing the game. Some might like to play on and see which position they come in at (if not eaten by a raptor). Other players might prefer, upon seeing someone win, to congratulate the winning player and finish play there. Some players might do one, others the other - a mixed result is fine.

Players who have passed the ninth step can decide to finish play there or they can continue to move on the grid, but they cannot take resources from the grid anymore.

Someone might be inclined not the explore the game world at all and on their very first turn and all following turns, turn to lady luck and roll each time on the advancement grid. This is valid play and this game is designed so exploration of the game world occurs if you want to do it, not because your forced to. It's also designed so the player, if they should win, can be congratulated and simply finish playing the game at that point.

To roll on the advancement grid, roll percentile dice and compare it to the chart below. Each player has a token (seperate from their PC on the map grid) which starts on square 1. The chart below will tell you how many moves ahead you go, or if the dreaded raptor has gobbled you up! The number of resource points a player has influences what it takes to pass or fail a roll. These are detailed on the grid for rolls on the next three steps. In further steps, the number of resources required to modify the fail chance is increased.

80% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead
20% to 6% = Pass & 2 steps up (applies
5% or less = Pass & 3 steps up
If you roll above all of the pass scores, it's a fail! This means you were eaten by a raptor and are out of the game!

Advancement Grid
1 point of resources means 90% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
2 points of resources means 98% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
Square 1.
Square 2.
Square 3.

Now resouce requirements change
4 points of resources means 90% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
6 points of resources means 98% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
Square 4.
Square 5.
Square 6.

8 points of resources means 90% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
10 points of resources means 98% to 21% = Pass & 1 step ahead.
Square 7.
Square 8.
Square 9.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thoughts : Just Cause

Either he's in freefall, or he is the size of a decide!
I played through 'Just Cause' recently after buying it on budget. Few - at first it seemed pretty aweful - the cars drove like wet soap on a tile floor and enemies maybe chipped off a tiny sliver of health? But then the difficulty ramped up, and I enjoyed taking over towns, much like I enjoyed it in GTA San Andreas. The way to really feel the texture of a game world isn't to look at it, but to fight over it :)

It still seems a pretty clumsy effort though - in looking at Just Cause 2 videos, the first Just Cause seems almost like a practice run or rough draft.

I also picked up Batman: Arkham Asylum on budget. Wow, that's a polished game. Also pushing the specs on my computer, which doesn't get fed the newest, make money for the corporations, graphics cards/motherboards/memory.