One of my latest loves has nothing to do with videogames. Actually, one may argue that videogames, RPGs in particular, owe homage to the age old practice of tabletop gaming. In my case, the tabletop game of choice has always been Dungeons and Dragons.
I’ve been running various campaigns over the last couple of years, and one of the things that I’ve tried to do is make the big setpiece battles more interesting. Not only from a mechanical perspective in terms of the game’s mechanics, but also from a visual perspective. Either some work in Photoshop, or physical objects that include actual puzzles, carts, elaborate dioramas and other odds/ends.
Once I started doing that, there was no stopping. I’ll pay my respects to someone called “DM Scotty” whose DMCraft Youtube channel inspired me to go out and get my first glue gun. So here are a few creations that I’ve done in the last while. (click on the images to view full or use HoverZoom).
We will be moving providers away from the stale and horrendous Yahoo to a far zippier one. Not that I have a large following on this blog but if you do visit and things look strangely broken that is why.
Hopefully the transfer is smooth and good ol’ covertcreations comes back unscathed.
See you on the other side.
Ah, another day (and year) in the gaming world. SOE gone! An actual VR platform is imminent (and will be so for a long, long time even post-release). Mobile gaming turned either experimental or cutesy.
What more is there? Well for me, I’m about to download Evolve. Other games on my 2015 horizon, in no particular order :
- The Division : MMORPG meets cover-shooter meets post-apocalyptic New York. At PAX Australia, this was my personal highlight, absolutely.
- The Witness : Jonathon Blow’s return to the Myst-style puzzler, whatever, it looks great.
- Star Citizen : I played Elite Dangerous and was sorely disappointed after the VR novelty wore off. Worried SC might be similar but I’ll give it a shot.
- Ghost of a Tale : A little adventure game as a dungeon-delving mouse, looks cute and fun.
- Eve : Valkyrie : Will the VR novelty wear thin on this one? I’m willing to risk it…
- The Witcher 3 : I kind of liked the Witcher 2, but after playing Dragon Age Inquisition, I wonder if my taste for openworld RPGs has faded (if it even really existed).
- Battleborn : Jury is out on Gearbox’s upcoming MOBA but the trailer looked cool enough.
- No Man’s Sky : Super-duper universe-scale exploration MMO, which sounds quite boring if my experience in Elite is anything to compare against.
And that’s about it. My next post will be a review of Evolve. If you’re excited about a game this year, leave a comment! I’d like to learn if I’ve missed anything awesome.
Oh look, a covertcreations post! Yes, it’s true we are back after an epoch. Or two, however much an epoch is.
Gaming has moved on in the last few years, that’s not news. VR is here (almost), sequels come and played and gone again, mobile games come and not played and gone again, and so on, on and on.
In keeping to the spirit of shorter, pointed posts I shall say this : I FREAKING LOVE Elder Scrolls Online!
Oh look, we’re goblins! No, that’s not a selling feature (unless you like goblins). Aside from this random bit of information, I shall provide another. If you like exploration-puzzling-social-crafty-questing-gorgeous-interesting-zomgepicbattles type of MMORPGs, then I will implore you to give ESO a try. We did, and if you didn’t pick up on the subtext here, I’ll just say it again : I FREAKING LOVE Elder Scrolls Online!
Detailed review to follow, hopefully before epoch#3. In the meantime, check out my lovely gamerwifeunit’s Geek Girl Review blog. Peace out.
Planetside 2 has been beckoning me, as daily rants and ideas trickle in from the community of /r/Planetside , a subreddit where the Sony developers have opened the gates and talk openly about their game.
Finally, after a many months of looking over the shoulder of early beta testers, I got my chance to play the new game. I also note that this thing is definitely beta – it goes through a bi-weekly cycle of updates.
So what do I think so far? Planetside 2 rocks. As long as you don’t compare it to the original.
You see, once you start the comparisons, you open up a severe critique. Planetside original (or vanilla, or ‘one’) was a cutting edge game that pushed the boundaries of the technology of the time. They innovated and shaped it into something awesome, carving out a new genre in the process : the MMO FPS. Before the inevitable decline, brought about by a couple of noted expansions and balance issues, we enjoyed massive campaigns in an endless struggle of epic proportions. Tanks, aircraft, troops, transports, resources, bases, hacking… it was endless. And it was fun. There was a place for everyone in the original Planetside, whatever the skill level or latency. The key to PS1 was the scale : your tiny struggle could easily map into larger macroscopic objectives within the game. And this quality is important to remember.
Now, here we are in 2012. The new Planetside is a game that attempts to merge the nostalgia into a modern shooter engine, copying elements from popular squad shooters like Battlefield 3. What I really enjoy is its solid shooter qualities, along with a strong base defense/offense mechanic. The game rewards you for playing the objective. It rewards you further for playing in a squad or a platoon. I enjoy the deep certification trees, reminding me that this is indeed a MMO that we’re playing. I can follow my whims in where to spend my points, and the promise of a vast amount of choice in future is what’s going to keep me coming back. A word to the wise : when you join up, join a squad as quickly as possible. If you luck out like I have, you’ll find a decent amount of teamwork and coordination, and enjoy the experience so much more.
The bad : I know that this is beta, so I expect a fair amount of bugs and issues. What I’ve found most wrong with Planetside 2, ironically, is in the places where it tries to be like Planetside 1. What they’ve cut, and what they’ve added, doesn’t make a lot of sense from a holistic standpoint. For example, the presence of the Galaxy as an airborne troop transport, is not justified in how the game plays out. I can instant spawn all over the place, without requiring me to wait (and wait, and wait) for a Galaxy to land in my area to take me to the next objective. And these things are so weak in the face of deeply certted players in their anti-air capabilities that they inevitably get shot down before they become useful. And the only reason the GAL exists is because it was there in PS1. This is just one example of many. And another riff I can go off on is the wider, macro-field gameplay. PS2 base and territory mechanics leave a LOT TO BE DESIRED. Capping territory has very, very little benefit at all. So you could log in and play for an hour, capture a vast swathe of territory (if you’re good) and when you leave and return again? Lo! You’re back to square one. There is very little inter-connectedness between the bases, no player sanctuary, no holistic benefits to gaining territory, and most importantly : no opportunity to win in the ‘greater game’. PS1 had this stuff, so it makes me want it. And therein lies the issue : PS2 is not PS1. It’s an epic shooter, no mistake, but if it’s going to enjoy any longevity it’s got to improve the meta-game.
Enjoyment without a greater goal is not how epic memories are forged. It’s just a distraction. PS2, for now, is a great distraction.
Planetside 2 trailer from out of nowhere. Unreal! Tell me what you think!
(Thanks for the video link, Mr. Headcrash)
Can I say Nextgen? Oops, I just did. I hate that word. Thank-you Areanet for kicking the bar aside and ratcheting up a whole new one.
Oh Guildwars, how you disappointed.
There were so many good things about it, most notably the visuals, but also the interesting quests, fun combat, an innovative henchman system, cool spell-effects and general polish. For the time, all of these virtues seemed great when held up to WoW’s cartoony, cutesy style.
So what was the problem?
WIPEOUT HD FURY PS3
Driving often makes me think about futurism. How will we be regarded by generations far ahead of us, peering into the soup of the 20th and 21st centuries? I think one of the least interesting aspects of our society is how horribly inefficient modern-day automobiles look and act. We’ve engineered and over-engineered a century-old technology that spends most of its time idle, slow, pollutive, noisy…
LITTLE BIG PLANET – PS3
It’s a tricky little thing. Tricky and weird. My early forays into LBP’s bouncy, plush little world have been entertaining and interesting. Under my girlfriend’s ever-patient tutelage, I’ve finally experienced what everyone else was blogging about last year. Do I love it? Well, there are so many good things about this odd little creation. The visual and quirky style, the polish, the kinked out puzzles and wacky kinetics are just so unique. I expected weird, but came away surprised.
In my clumsy state of console retardation, I die a LOT, I whine and wonder blankly at the wonky camera angles and impenetrable platform logic. The only time I seem to do well is when it’s clearly by accident, or when my lovely playmate rescues us by solving a puzzle or escaping the crocodiles.
This game doesn’t survive long play sessions. I’m used to extended sessions of play, interspersed with unhealthy episodes of bad food and caffeine, but I reach a marked distraction point with LBP. The cuteness wanes into frustration, my nominal attention span wanders. I don’t often care about what I’m doing as I nudge the little puppet along the various platforms, pitfalls and otherworld physical rules. However, jumping straight in for a short visit seems to work well. I get overwhelmed by cuteness, am entertained and challenged, and come away with an overall good impression.
I haven’t finished it. I probably will. My initial understanding was that this was a game of toolsets and creation, of which I have yet to plunder. I probably will. All said, LBP is a fun, interesting place. One I will visit often through my PS3’s journey.