03 May 2015

Telltale Games Meets XCOM

A scene from my Volunteer Audition Tape
A while ago I was farting around and playing some old Gameboy Advance games, trying to get into Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis again and looking around at other Tactical RPG games when I came across Rebelstar.

By the same guy who created XCOM/UFO, Rebelstar tells a story how a bunch of kids and a handful of adults have begun their fight against their alien overlords, the variety of whom take away anybody over the age of thirty for some unknown reason. The story itself is pretty good and the system, while a little convoluted, was pretty schmick. But lord did it make me want that corner looking feature that XCOM 2012 has.

The other thing I've been thinking about lately is Borderlands 2.5, aka Tales From The Borderlands, by Telltale Games.

The premise of it is that it's like a Choose your own Adventure book, where you're offered prompts and your options can dictate how the story can go. I've played the demo and had some laughs out of it.

So, with my love of XCOM, and the fun of a good story game, I would love to see XCOM 1.5: The Volunteer. obviously this is inspired by the designers saying that everyone's volunteers are alive, and they disappeared before the ship imploded.

So I can only wonder what happened? Did he travel to another temple ship? Or another alien base? Or has he just landed in the middle of the ocean and makes his way to the closest shore to find himself exhausted and amongst an EXALT cell?

How about rollover? I had a pretty tanked out Volunteer, with Gene Mods, armour, medals for his bravery... its hard to imagine that he would suddenly forget all those effects. Sure, lose his gear, they can be replaced. His armour would be near impossible to tear off. So what would be the go? He rolls up on the beach, radiation poisoning starting its crippling effect due to long exposure to plasma, and he has nothing but the PSI Armour on his back. His mind still reeling from the effect of teleportation, he sees others and hides, not knowing who they are or what their intentions may be. Military outfits, not too strange for the coast of... well anywhere at that time.

But hey, maybe they're secretly part of EXALT! He receives their help and passes out, and next thing you know you're forced to go track down your old commander in his living room while he's drinking mountain dew in his trackky dacks. OOOHHH OMINOUS!

But a little story could be fun! Then let that roll over to XCOM 2, why not.A while ago I was farting around and playing some old Gameboy Advance games, trying to get into Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis again and looking around at other Tactical RPG games when I came across Rebelstar.

By the same guy who created XCOM/UFO, Rebelstar tells a story how a bunch of kids and a handful of adults have begun their fight against their alien overlords, the variety of whom take away anybody over the age of thirty for some unknown reason. The story itself is pretty good and the system, while a little convoluted, was pretty schmick. But lord did it make me want that corner looking feature that XCOM 2012 has.

The other thing I've been thinking about lately is Borderlands 2.5, aka Tales From The Borderlands, by Telltale Games.  Well actually, Telltale Games' games in General.

The premise of it is that it's like a Choose your own Adventure book, where you're offered prompts and your options can dictate how the story can go. I've played the demo and had some laughs out of Tales from the Borderlands.

So with my love of XCOM, and the fun of a good story game, I would love to see XCOM 1.5: The Volunteer, inspired by the designers saying that everyone's volunteers are alive.

So I can only wonder what happened? Did he travel to another temple ship? Or another alien base? Or has he just landed in the middle of the ocean and makes his way to the closest shore to find himself exhausted and out of the frying pan and into the fire?

How about rollover? I had a pretty tanked out Volunteer, with Gene Mods, armour, medals for his bravery... its hard to imagine that he would suddenly forget all those effects. Sure, lose his gear, they can be replaced. His armour would be near impossible to tear off, I assume. So what would be the go? He rolls up on the beach, radiation poisoning starting its crippling effect due to long exposure to plasma (THAT SHOULD HAPPEN), and he has nothing but the PSI Armour on his back. His mind still reeling from the effect of teleportation, he sees others and hides, not knowing who they are or what their intentions may be. Military outfits, not too strange for the coast of... well anywhere at that time.

But hey, maybe they're secretly part of EXALT! He receives their help and passes out, and next thing you know you're forced to go track down your old commander in his living room while he's drinking mountain dew in his trackky dacks. OOOHHH OMINOUS!

29 April 2015

Crime and Dalliance

Apt.
I'm not a big fan of multiplayer. I always feel incredibly incompetent against a human opponent, knowing that at any moment I will just get knocked over in an instant because I'm not looking in the right direction, or just wasn't quick enough on the draw, or didn't pump enough bullets into them before they pulled one casing from the magazine and threw it at my head just to spite my pathetic skills.

So when I get into a gaming venue with friends, I prefer Cooperative formats. In this case I mean Heists, part of GTA Online's latest big update.

Everyone, their mother, their grandmother, and their decease families have been rolling in their graves wanting to get heists happening in GTA, and the day it came, the servers basically up and died just trying to handle the influx of returning players, myself included.

My Brother in Law and his best friend were excited too. The best friend works odd and long hours so it has been difficult to convene with him. But Bro-In-Law and I kicked it off with Gusto.

Lester lectured us about the ins and outs of Heisting, gushing with innuendo involving the popping cherries and future experiences that everyone will encounter.

It wasn't until we began the second Heist that we encountered a problem that not only we had to deal with: a lack of assistance.

Now the doctor was a small step towards resolving that solution, being the third to the required quartet of criminal masterminds. But we had nobody else to assist us. Our only solution was to turn to the Internet, request the help of complete strangers to help us through this transition. We found a few players who were all too happy to help, but there were others that were deceitful bastards, piking out at the last minute, less than a hundred metres from the destination before leaving a mocking card and pushing the ejection seat button.

So many times it has happened and it frustrates us to no end that nobody could simply help all the way through, to profit with the rest of us. No, they must give us a taste of what victory could be and leave like it was the funniest prank ever played.

The petty spite these internet trolls plague other players, those enthusiastic to complete these missions, is too much, driving everyone into madness.

Let alone playing by yourself with a pickup party.  It's impossible.  I would spend hours just waiting on players to connect, seeing invites go unaccepted, seeing interested players join and bail, either after seeing nobody else or after waiting five minutes before giving up like I want to.

I could just give up.  But I won't.  We will find our Fourth.  And we will call him Fourthy, and we will worship him like a god.

26 April 2015

Air vents should be in Xcom

I'm pretty obsessed with Xcom, and I keep thinking of other ways that would improve upon it.  Xcom Long War goes a long way towards that, but I do feel it misses a point when each class is basically recycled abilities with a handful of unique ones to make sure there is still definition between them.
But other things I think about are the covert missions, and how sub classing would be a fun addition to that.  Sure you have your gene mods and can use them to their advantage in mission, but I would like to play out some part of that covert mission using a unique set of skills.  This is pretty much inspired by Splinter Cell, which I have been obsessively watching videos of lately, and wondered what a single character moving about the secret EXALT facilities would've been like, directly controlling their infiltration and their actions, possibly changing the effect of the eventual battle with EXALT in the end by sabotaging communications or the reinforcements themselves, maybe collecting further intel on their whereabouts or striking at further hidden bases.
And you would have your subclass abilities providing bonuses like "sneak peek: cannot be seen at corners unless theyve shot or are on overwatch," or "Monkey Grip: able to hand over ledges or on certain wall surfaces", or "Execution: able to melee kill living enemies with less than 8/14 health instantly."  Maybe that's a bit much, but it's an idea.

22 April 2015

Minecraft for my Mega Drive

Free games are great, aren't they? Its a good thing Xbox have their Games for Gold members, which increases my stockpile of unplayed games fortnightly.

So come the month of April, I'm prepped to download a pair of games that I probably won't get around to for months. One of them I look at and all I are is this poor sod about to get smushed by a giant eyeball that must have fallen off of the rotten corpse of a giant, and a big title saying TERRARIA wrapped in moss and other assorted flora.

alright, I should give it a few minutes at the very least.

I load up the new game and generate my character, making him the closest to a sonic the hedgehog cosplayer as possible, and I was dropped onto Grass Hill Zone, with the world choice of "Small".

Oh yeah, this looks good. Nice colours, and a fella walking around with some boring name. Let's just call him "Knobstar."

I have a chat with him and its pretty suggestive, telling me that building him a house would be oh so very nice. Well that's great, but you've got two arms, two legs, and a digital heartbeat. Do it your friggin self. But apparently Pixelplegia is a natural state for all the NPCs in todays world.

So with a mumbke and a grumble, I said fuck you and built myself a box from the trees I cut down. I listened to Knobstar as he subtly barked orders at me, a "You should build this and that" with undertones of superiority.

Justified it was, when the final thunk of a torch was placed, the fucker moved right on in, putting his portrait in the corner and making himself very comfy as the night rolled in.

My characters protests were silent as I found myself suddenly surrounded by the undead growling at my Door, a metronome of taps from each zombie; children with open skulls, hookers in fishnets, fishermen in raincoats. All knocking at my door as I glared at Knob star in his deadpan, pixelated bastard eyes.

The days went past. I dug down, exploring and finding treasures and beast alike.  I reached the bottom and panicked more and more as demons and fire imps and worms began swarming me while I raided the obsidian towers standing amongst the lava until I eventually died from heat exhaustion...  also known as melting in lava after being pushed into it.

After resurrecting at the surface, I found the map, showing where I have and haven't explored.  What were merely moments going from one side to the other meant so many more minutes traversing that same region.  After a little bit of thought, I worked out that through all the hours of time that I had spent exploring and killing and dying and everything... It was less than 10% of the actual map.

That's when I reeled back in horror.  It had literally been a couple of days since I started the fuggin game, and I had dug and searched and built and died and though I knew there was more... I didn't think that taking five, maybe ten, minutes just to walk to one side of what's called a "small" map.

But... I trundled on until I thought to myself... I should build a Castle.  Somewhere all my NPC's would be happy to live in.  I laid out the plan and dug into the mountain nearby and laid out the stone, the walls and some platforms so I could go up and down.

Then a message popped up.
"An Evil Presence is watching you..."
Well that's unnerving.  But I plodded on, thinking all would be fine.  I finished the lining the walls of my castle, and was ready to start annexing all the rooms when another message appeared.
"The eye of Cthulhu has Awoken!"
And that's when the aforementioned giant Eyeball from the cover came crashing down on my parade (Thankfully not destroying any of my walls). The panic was real. A giant flailing pixelated eyeball was throwing itself at me, or sitting by while it shot minions at me. It took a little bit before I figured out how to dodge his charges and attack when he's not. It all worked well.

Until his retina fell off.  It dropped off and suddenly rather than staring into the blue rimmed soul of Cthulhu, I was staring into the many fanged maw of Cthulhu.  Then the fight started again, jumping and running and striking until it reached the motions and the whites of his eyes plopped down in defeat.

That's the life and times of someone playing Terraria.  And yet there is still more for me to do.  So much more...

Now to figure out how to kill Knobstar...


19 April 2015

Are you, or are you not alone?

I laughed WAY too hard
A few months ago, Jygg made a pretty straightforward facebook post.

"Its 2015. Suppose i should get around to watching Evangelion."

Knowing that Jygg is much like our mutual Blokenstein friends, in that they can rarely pass up giant monstrosities beating the snot out of each other, i was a little surprised that he had waited this long.  Then again, everyone and their mother would warn against Whingy- Sorry, Shinji- and that can turn everyones nose up at it like spoilt milk.  Not that i can blame them.

Worse yet, the last couple of episodes were a train wreck, so the first thing i said to him was to find a way to dodge those and get the End of Evangelion film, since that gives a proper ending.

It got me to thinking though.  A few years ago, there was a reboot that richard had in his collection.  Now forgiving its shitco- sorry, shortcomings- i really quite like Evangelion so I gave it a crack.  I wasnt really disappointed.  In a movie length time, it covered all the basics and changed things up enough to make it feel fresh, rather than just the same old guff.  New visual touchups put it into a darker, and smoother, light; and it really hastened the pace from the original show.

It left me excited to see the next movie, but alas it was a long time away before they would release it.  Since then, i kept a stray thought to the show and delved through online wiki pages to learn more about the Angels and the other behind-the-scene characters and events.

Naturally, Jygg posting about watching it for the first time, and i figured i might see what i can get from Netflix or Hulu.  Sadly the show isnt available through the Apps, but the DVDs are in Netflix.

Just quickly: Netflix is a godsend.

So i put my request in for the first and second DVDs and now im waiting for the third to be available, and now i can see where it really changes up the story.

I had started from 1.11 and plagued through it a few times so that I could pick up on all the nuances that cropped up.  Then one time for the fan service, which was surprisingly not that flagrant.

Then I got 2.22 (or whatever it is, fuck knows why they're doing like that) and immediately began with a story as far off from Tokyo-3 to the tune of a bat shit crazy girl singing along lile sjes goong to school while in a quadrapedal Eva with a lance.

Immediately I sat up wondering where the show was going to deviate and I was happy to find that aside from the overlying tone of deceit from the higher ups and the naivety of the kids, it was practically unfamiliar territory. A new show even, providing information that I didn't know before.

Like, did you know that the entire southern hemisphere is uninhabited, and flooded with blood?  Cos the oceans all turned to blood from the impact on Antarctica.  That completely went over my head in the original, if that was a thing that came up.

The end of the mini movie left things up in the air for me. While there are elements from the original show used in the leadup, I really want to know what's going to happen.  I just have to wait for episode 3.fkn-whatever-it-is to come out for Netflix DVD collection.

I expect this to be part of the next episode.

18 February 2015

GTA VI: London? Could be cool

Four was in Liberty City. Five was in Los Santos. Six could be anywhere, and I vote for London.
London hasnt been mentioned in years in GTA, only one game in the series and it was the old 2D series, and with a long history of mobsters and underworld crime, it would be a shame not to play with it, especially in a parody sense.

But given the chemistry of GTAV with the very cool SWITCH system I don't see why they couldn't bring it back with some new characters. But who would fit the profile for the cast? I have a few ideas of who they could base them on.

Ace (Dr Who)
Ace is one of the best companions in the shows history. Pretty much prepared for anything, she was game to do just about anything. Especially if it involved explosives. As one of the first female lead characters of the series (GTAO characters don't count) the potential could start a new era for the HD series.

Rick or Vyvyan (The Young Ones)
Anarchists at heart, and in life, these guys cause chaos wherever they go. Why not take a more offensive and proactive role by giving them guns and a target to run down?

Bacon or Big Chris (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels)
This seems like an obvious choice, getting any Jason Statham or Vinnie Jones character out as the street wise gangster to level out the extremities of the other characters.

Then there's the Online Component. Sure, you could probably keep using the same toon you levelled up from when you were in Los Santos, have them fly in for one reason or another, but as GTA Online stands, it has the variety that some games lack, but falls short in depth. You get all these different missions, unlocked as you gain ranks, but no motivation to do them aside from different ways to get money, or different ways to be competitive.

So I propose adding some history to your favourite mute. Have him roll up and do his missions with some actual purpose and motivation, not some thinly veiled favour for Trevor or Martin "Mad Mex" Madrazo.

And how about some collectables? I would like a spot in my GTAO garage reserved for a Space Docker, or the various new stock cars that are up for grabs.

08 February 2015

In your face and off your arse



Jenny got a FitBit for her birthday and she has continued to be very diligent with it.  Im rather proud of her. At one point I decided to try and join her, even though I didn't have my own Fitbit.  I downloaded the app and began putting in my details.
On top of that I found a companion app called FitRPG, a very simple app that turns your exercise habits into an RPG game, converting your exercise into health points and equipment.  You could take on encounters, fighting bosses and stuff in a numbers game that you don't really get to see.
Its really basic though.  No interaction or interface, more like one of those strategy games that are a series of countdown timers.
Then I had a thought.  They're doing it around the wrong way for me.  Don't turn the exercise into a game, that just means you have to find motivation to exercise so you can continue with this simple game. Turn the game into an exercise.
Say you're playing a big game, like Fallout 3, or Skyrim.  You'll be spending a good few hours sloughing through levels and missions and such.  But generally, you wont be moving much.  But then you turn on a function, and now every half hour the game stops and wont continue playing until you, i dunno, do ten pushups or situps, or do twenty star jumps.  Or if you've walked for too long, like taken 1000 steps, you have to run in place for two minutes.
I've thought of doing this myself, without forced prompt but thinking I would do it between missions, but I'm incredibly lazy.  So forcing the subject would be much more effective.  I want to play the game, and if I cant play it unless I close this popup and do my ten situps.