30 July 2014

Borderlands? Brought down to a pithy Bitmap game? PREPOSTUROUS

"The existence of the fizz gland explains why
certain games possess us in an inexplicable way"
Having become absorbed into what can easily be classified as my iPad, I have been playing many different iPad games that ask for regular attention.  Jetpack Joyride, Birzzle Fever, Angry Birds Epic, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach... just to name a few.

With my current Fizzyness with Borderlands and it's upcoming Pre-Sequel, I think about it's iPad game "Borderlands Legends".  A somewhat side story of the Borderlands game that is a bit... cheap and nasty, really.

You get your four characters, each with their specific favoured weapons (Snipers for Mordecai, SMG's for Lylyth, Combat Rifles for Roland, and Shotguns for Brick) and the role of the player is to drag each character into range of enemies that are coming from Ecks Direction.

That's all well and good, but for a US$7 game, I would've expected something a bit more in-depth than random occurances of enemies walking from offscreen on a randomly chosen Bitmap environment, between buying items from a Bitmap Vending Machine so you can do it all again.  So it makes me think of what I would do to make for a better Borderlands themed iPad game.

First of all, I would change the format.  Rather than a top-down-drag-click shooter, make it a Turn Based Tactical game.  Grid based?  Maybe.  It could be somewhat original to have a free movement tactical style.  Either way, cover would be of importance as it should always be in a tactical game, and in most Borderlands games too.

Units would be more than just a handful of, but not limited to, Vault Hunters themselves.  Get some generic units, like Ex-Atlas Soldiers and scrapped Robots.  I'm sure there would be characters from town that would throw in their 2 bucks worth as well.

Equip them as normal, giving them two, or even four, weapons to choose from on top of their shields and grenade mods.  Would there be Artifacts or Class Mods to choose from?  What about a new item to throw in the mix?

Then there's skill trees.  Vault Hunters, and maybe just named characters, could have the same options as usual, three distinct trees to change their playstyle.  Between fights you can reassign them as you would in Borderlands, paying to refund your skill points which would allow players to adjust whomever for and upcoming mission.

Currency would be pretty much the same as usual, your dosh as your base, make Eridium your secondary, and then something like Seraph crystals as your rare or trade in currency.

Generic Characters can have a single skill tree which players can pick and choose to customise said soldier as they see fit until they reach a saturation point, where they can maybe upgrade to become something like a Vault Hunter of their own right?  Or maybe just an upgraded version of their own class?  Or maybe they can have three trees as well to change what kind of soldier they are.  Atlas had a wide choice, after all.

Then we go onto the Pre-battle view.  You have your scene, a large map across a segment of Pandora, with Trails and Locations that the player can pick and choose to progress through.  Each battle containing individual bosses, or hordes of enemies, and the player would be required to wade their way through and progress along until they've done accomplished a feat of some sort in the encounter.

The missions may have some longevity, rather than just being one after another they may have to move on through a large corridor, or circle their way around an industrial site, picking up items dropped from enemies such as health packs and being that little bit cautious so that when they reach the final encounter they will be worn down or fully capable.

Have daily missions, where a player can go back and pick up some money or run through a dungeon or something for a chance at a super rare weapon from a boss.  Have previously cleared missions be raided by Bandits, or taken by a chosen enemy corporation/s that have been elected for the story.

Story?  Now that's a tough one.  I would like to warrant that it would be after Borderlands 1, just to keep with the setting of the devastation Dahl has wreaked upon Pandora and the Populace.  Possibly around the Pre-Sequel time?  While the Vault Hunters are going mad on the Moon, this game could cover the events on the Mainland, where Hyperion is taking over everything and Eridium is becoming a Commodity.

The game could eventually expand on to the events in Borderlands 2, the turn of the tide against Hyperion and the rise of the new Vault Hunters.  Further on, as more games come out, another update coinciding with them, featuring side encounters and possibly game linking.  What with this Shift Rewards setup, you could earn Badass Points in all three games and benefit from them, unless they drastically change the Borderlands series after the Pre-sequel.

It's an idea.  A pretty straight forward idea, but it's an idea none the less, and a better idea than what they had for Borderlands Legends.

While I'm on the subject of Borderlands, I read an article about how Gearbox are thinking about releasing the Pre-Sequel for the current generation consoles (Xbone, PS4 and WiiU presumably).  This calls for an update and remake for the previous games.  One thing I know about the Pre-Gen games I have is that they don't display as well as the PC versions do.  And while it's a little petty, I would really enjoy seeing the game get that little bit prettier.

But what I really want is a Borderlands 1 improvement.  While there are some good features to it, there are still so many simple improvements they made for Borderlands 2, such as the AI for enemies, the weapon cards, the general interface. Keep a similar style, by all means, but make those minor improvements that make Borderlands 2 such a massive improvement over it's predecessor.

I know this is a dinky little gamers bog, with little rhyme or reason to the thought process of the majority of it's posts, but damnit wouldn't I love to see those simple features implemented into that first game.

23 July 2014

Halo Tetralogy

I remember Halo: Combat Evolved.  It was fun, using a pistol until someone got a tank and then running for your life because the cheeky bastard has also gotten the Rocket Launcher, the perfect Rock to their 90mm Tungsten Shells.

Uhh, I mean Scissors.

It was a cool game though.  We had plenty of fun, whether we were walking around Blood Gulch with Permanent Invisibility and Sniper Rifles, or playing the Master Chief campaign, taking on everything with just the Pistol.  That is until we ran out of the Ammunition, then we howled in disappointment and put the little hand cannon down and moved on.

My friends and I have kept playing the Campaign as the game continued releasing sequels.  Halo 2, 3, 4, Halo Reach.  I think the only game we didn't Coop was Halo ODST, and that's a bit of a shame.

So hearing about the Halo: Anniversary Edition, I got a little excited.  I picked it up and thought "Yeah!  This'll be great!  Halo 1 updated!"  I was wrong, but I still had fun for what it was, which was simply a much prettier game from back in the day.

Sadly though, I suspect it'll be the same thing for the Halo Master Chief Collection coming out for the Xbone later this year.  Which is a shame.  I would love to see the game updated with all the little tweaks that have been implemented in the series, from AI to the effect of weapons, to action items.

But that's something I doubt will be implemented, since each of the games are very different in their own ways.  Any new players to the series would be able to fully experience the stories and evolution of the game from day dot to it's current iteration, but I have my doubts about whether they really want that.

In which case, I'm tired of the old staying old and just being prettier.  So I may end up saving myself a few bucks in that.

Cross Generation Gaming

And the lesson here is not to force the issue.
Especially Poo jokes.
We are in an age of technology where everything is thought ahead.  Gaming consoles have done exactly that with the current and last generations of consoles, namely with online communication.

I can happily sign into my Xbox 360 and start talking with my Xbox One friends, simply because it was thought ahead when the 360 was made.  The same goes with Playstation 3 and 4.

Because of that, I look forward to games that will play across Generations.

I've always liked the idea of Cross Platform gameplay, because I look at most consoles and see them as the same turd rolled in different glitter.  But because of that glitter they can't communicate, putting an immodium on the plan of cross platform gaming regardless of whether it's the same piece of corn in the captains log.

Cross Generation seems much more capable feature.  One turd might be smoother, but given what's essentially the same cob of corn, the glitter would make little to no difference.

But to stop myself from getting a haemorrhoid, because I'm straining the analogy, I want to get into what brought this up.

Destiny, an MMO-esque shooter coming out for current and last gen consoles.  It was said that they wanted to implement Cross Generation gameplay, but just recently announced that it wasn't going to happen.

The way it began was poor.  One of the reps said that the reason was, and I'm paraphrasing, "current generation consoles have the advantage when sniping, because they can see the target clearer than someone with a last generation console, due to resolution limits."

Essentially, a previous generation console can see two pixels, and the next gen can see four.  And that is entirely unfair.

I flew into a rage.  It was the most pathetic reason I had ever heard.  Two fucking pixels?  You PC Cultured Knob Jockeys.  You make a game and balance the entire system to give a player the same experience across four consoles, and you nullify half the fucking point by cancelling it over TWO FUCKING PIXELS?!

It was something from a culture of PC gamers who can't go a week without having to buy a new graphics card in case they fell behind on their Battlefield Ranks.

Then came another article.  An article that didn't sound so petty, though they still defended the Pixels.  But more significantly, there is actually a technological problem.  Lag times between consoles, and comparable hardware processing.

Yes, the excuses are still a little thin, but it's better than Two Fucking Pixels.  Either way, I do have to be picky with what consoles I get it for.  I'll be getting it for PS4, there's no doubt about that as my Australian friends will have it in that time.  Would it be worth it to buy it on Xbox 360?  If I convince my 'Murican friends to get it, then sure thing.  Even more so if I convince my Australia friends to get it too.

Then there are other games I would like to play Cross-Generation.  Like Skylanders: Trap Team.  If I get mum to bring over some select figures from the enormous collection I left there for the Niece and Nephew to play with when they visit Grandma, then I could be well prepared with Trap Team.  And playing with my Pseudo-Nephew Alex would be fantastic.  I could set aside a morning to let him tell me all of his new favourite skills and abilities while playing missions.

What about Mass Effect?  They're bringing a new series into the current Generation (and possibly remaking the first trilogy too) and there's always the possibility it'll have some sort of multiplayer.  Given that they might make versions for the last gen, there's a chance for Cross Gen again.

Turning the tables, Xbox 360 might get a chip into the next Gears of War series.  Both Scotts I know have Xbones, and if they both get it I'll get excluded if they want to be technologically superior to me.

There's game after game that I want to have a piece of, and two generations of consoles that I have to think about.  I don't want to have four consoles to play.  I hardly want two, but I can live with that.

Maybe next generation, possibly 10 years from now, everything will be more considerate.  Yes the consoles will be 10 years old, which is like comparing the culture of 1788 to now, but it's still something they should consider when the time comes.

16 July 2014

4 Player Podcast

Fuck you and your Fish
A random thought occured to me recently.  I love my gaming friends.  One of the things we do is we play games together, like 4-5 player coop.  And occasionally, we have great discussions about them too.

So why not record them?  That's how most podcasts start, isn't it?  A bunch of mates decide to start broadcasting their thoughts about x and y?  Twitch is also a thing, but that just seems pretentious broadcasting my erratic point of view In a first person game, missing all the good and interesting happenings as is an old habit of mine while I'm concentrating on whatever is apparently more interesting.

But just listening to us as we play?  Summarizing with a discussion of the game itself?  I think it'd be great!  It'd start with my four friends, maybe swap between a couple of different groups, and then the occasional guest player.

It'd be pretty easy too, I'm sure there's an easy way to get a sound splitter for my xbox controller that connects to my headphones and a recording device.  Even if it's the laptop which is making a WAV file.  That itself is a terrible idea, simply because WAV files are fuggin enormous.

In turn, I would have to find a way to do the same for the Playstation, though it does have that share option where you simply upload your own videos, which isn't what I want.  I would rather make it something like a Radio show, hearing guys reactions and discussions without the complicated editing of finding related videos.

Because I'm lazy, you know?

But it'd be entertaining, hearing the highs and lows of a fun level of a new game for a player, hearing the exclamations through the headphones as everyone calls out at the same time.  I reckon it'd be fun.  Now what games would we feature...

09 July 2014

Radio killed Independence Day

Our Hero was confused what
his Rock Out song should be
It was my first proper Independence Day, and I was smack bang in the middle of Seppoland to enjoy it.  Jenny had built me up for it, only warning that I would have to look after Taz while every 'Murican across the country was shooting fireworks during the day and night, constantly and almost dangerously closely.

I was disappointed in that respect.  Hardly a peep until Thursday.

But it was going to be fine, there was at least going to be a fireworks show over at South Haven on Thursday.  Jenny offered to go earlier in the week, taking Taz with us because he freaks out and forces himself back into the closet to hide from the cacophony.

Naturally I accepted.  I wanted to see a fireworks show.  It'd been a long time since I'd seen one, and with a country that ejaculates at the thought of something blowing up I would hope they'd do a good job of it.

And they did.  But one thing confused me.  We had the radio going because they were doing a live broadcast and we began the drive home pretty quickly after the finale.

Now, just quickly, after years of watching American movies, I had an understanding that Independence Day was their separation from the Tyranny of the English.

So why the fuck were they playing The Beatles during and after the Finale?  If that wasn't bad enough, for the next couple of days we also heard The Who and Adelle singing that Skyfall song.

We did hear the Monty Python Theme, but it turns out that is an American Tune.

Now credit where credit is due, they're good songs.  But come on.  I was expecting Kid Rock and Bruce Springsteen to be blaring from every home along the way home as peoples hands were combusting as they clutched those colourful explosives.

But no.  I had the Beatles under the occasional light of M-80's being flung into the sky.  I got more 'Murica from GTA who made available a Monster Truck that looks like George Washington had ejactulated all over it.

Maybe next year.

02 July 2014

Gaming Flops

They said I could be anything...
I was so tempted, so VERY tempted, when I was in JB-HIFI staring as the cheapie bin holding a $4 copy of Haze, one of Playstations Exclusive Gaming Flops.

I have a very silly reason for wanting to play it, and it's simply that I want to know how bad the game really was, not through reviews or word and mouth, but through actually playing it, and then speculate on how I would make a comeback sequel.

Would I put it forward to developers? No, I wouldn't know where to begin to put it in, let alone find a development team who would be willing enough to venture forth.  Then there's IP rights, and whatever, yadda yadda yadda (although that would be rather cheap considering how big a flop it was).

The story seemed interesting.  A soldier part of a Paramilitary Organisation is sent off to take on a Guerrilla Headquarters, surged on by a combat drug called 'Nectar', until he figures out what's going on and changes sides and tactics.

Straightforward.  It's like the first idea that popped into someone's head, with the noble ideal of overcoming evil organisations and it's inhumane practices.  But surely, there has to be more?

Apparently not really.  On top of the limited motives, there was apparently terrible environment design and ham fisted acting, judging from the demo I played moons ago.

That's pretty disappointing.  Especially since the environment is drawn like shit, judging from the Demo I played many moons ago.

So with a new console, the Playstation 4, it isn't entirely unfair to think of how one would resurrect an old exclusive flop.   So why not go back in time?  Go to the start of when this Haze drug was first made?  Expand on the conflict, the espionage, the conniving motives of military based corporations and politicians.  Because that's what it always comes down to, right?

Keep to the Guerilla theme.  Stealth-Action games are pretty popular.  Look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  It's a good game in its own right, and sounds quite similar to what I'm describing.  Lets drop the levelup RPG elements and just have the player find accessories to add to their character, whether it's a weapon they can accessorize, or a Nectar genetic modification they can administer to themselves for an added edge.

Then there's the story.  The main theme of Haze was the horrors of war, how leaders can be arrogant and ignorant only to further their own goals and there is no good guy.  Fair enough.  There is no good guy, so build on that.  Add more motivation to why you're not the bad guy in this sea of bad guys.  Mind, that'll be difficult.

But hey. Why not give it a crack?