This happens to me often with gaming - I hit dry spells.
This occurs when life gets too busy and/or games get a bit dry for me. Thankfully, right now I am in the former - just busy. This, in turn, makes blogging more challenging because if you aren't playing then there's not much to talk about. And if you do have time you would rather be playing instead of writing about it.
We call these, "first world problems".
I'm 25 rubicite away from the final crafting upgrade in EQN:L and its probably a solid 3 hour burn/zengrind. Excitedly, there is a patch on Thursday that promises new biomes - SNOW! I love the outdoors and my favorite backdrop is a lake, but also love winter sports/shenanigans so hey, I'll take a frozen lake and snow. This raises a couple quick conundrums.
One is that I like my claim, and where I am. There is a ton to do with it and we are only a couple patches away from claim expansions which makes it a whole new world for building. My good friend Mehlan has joined the game and claimed beside me so logging in now I find him there, waddling away, so I can say hi and hang out. So for those two reasons alone, not moving.
The second is hopefully they have meaningful seasons - has any game? I don't recall. Why can't I have my lakeside cottage.. and winter wonderland for half the time? Something tells me to add that to the "captain obvious yet awesome" list of what would make the same-old MMO the new-awesome MMO. (See: combat mechanics, leveling mechanics, endgame content, equipment issues . etc.)
Oh, EQN:L tip if you are feeling lonesome, /join general (chat) - people are connecting there and always a stream of chatter. Makes the nights fly by.
I'm starting to wonder if I really am done entirely with World of Warcraft - usually I play out the expansion to the end but the daily grind of the uh, daily grind quests of MoP had me leaving early in the expansion. Now I feel less connected to WoW than ever and I wonder if that slide means the end and no Warlords of Draenor for me. My friends still play and I miss their chatter (and envy their dedication).
I didn't get far in Diablo III - level 20 I think? Before I realized this game wasn't as fun as the first two. The potion chugging loot-fest just got boring fast. I heard there have been some nice changes so I may check it out again. I did pay for it, after all. Something tells me I may like the Crusader class but there better be a trial or something - not shelling out more for a game that didn't capture me in the first place.
Speaking of games I didn't finish/start, GW2. Level 37 was my breaking point. I read a lot of bloggers who love it but I now feel I am so far behind the story that I missed out on the game. Is that the danger of too many updates?
I was >< that close to becoming a LOTRO blog for a while and even queued up the Warden (after much bitching about it) but alas, right now its EQN:L or bust. And bust it is.
Again, the worries and problems of a modern day adult gamer. Too much to do, not as much time to do it. Somehow manage to blog about it though.
This sat in drafts and I never got around to finishing it. Now the info is really outdated, but still - wanted to talk about companies that make games really briefly.
First, we have this nice reminder of EA being voted worst company to work for (again)
Add in a whole bunch of short-term stock thinking, churn and burn/crunchtime production mentality and man, I can't help but think:
Is it really a surprise we get crappy games?
Then I read this gem from over at Valve - their awesome employee handbook
And this - the Bteam website
Is Corporate (North) America ready for an epic showdown? Is it all coming to a head as hard working humans reject that they need to be taken advantage of to earn a living?
Can we have purpose AND profits?
(side note: go read Tony Hsieh - Delivering Happiness)
Could EQN:L lead to a full blown platform to make our own games? While I don't think so, I like to be positive and for a change think "why not".
Very blue ocean thinking but take Landmark, add in Story Bricks, and an item editor\creator and quest builder and voilà - you have many tools to make custom MMOs. From my understanding not much programming is needed. The world building tools alone in EQN:L have proven that even I could build simple town assets or landscapes that players could traverse. Programmers are making the tools better all the time, lets make them great, add some scripting and unleash the collective MMOspace's imagination.
The best FPS I have played was community created with Project Reality (by Black Sand Studios) who have literally spent YEARS working for free, in a community across the globe in partnership. Graphics, scripting, game modes - everything!They have produced the best paced, most realistic shooter on a 10 year old engine. Rumor has it this effort will lead to a standalone title - I wish them the best and hope it happens. It has won many modding awards. Imagine if they had even better tools than were available for that old game (Battlefield 2)
Take MMO/World Building tools, and unleash them to the world. You know collectively gamers would come up with something incredible. The landscapes some alpha players have created in EQN:L rival those in published games I have played. Human beings have a desire for art, sharing, and collaboration - all things needed to create a true next gen MMO. Many would share their talents just to get creative license and experience on a project - which could lead to bigger and better things.
We crowdsource funding, why not crowdsource talent? Zooppa does this for companies. Instead of getting one solid idea from an advertising company that has been institutionalized, throw it out to the passionate creators on the planet. Put in an incentive, and watch the magic unleash. The proliferation of cheap HD cameras, computers, and editing software has pushed this renaissance - the tools. Are we really that far off?
Heck, we can build immersive, amazing games on 24 hour contests imagine what we could do with months or years. I believe all of us have a game - or part of a game - to share. Together we could make that a reality - if we only had the tools.
How could a publisher benefit? Many ways. Way back in 2008 I was arguing for different revenue models that could be beneficial for both player and developer. Licensing, % of sales, buying and selling of the creative content itself - EQN:L is building a model to support this already. Picture it on a bigger, grander scale.
Having a glass is half full kind of thought train here. I'll return to regularly scheduled pessimism shortly.
.. but I am having a lot of fun trying. Some shots of my "progress"
A hole you say? Yes. I was able to craft dynamite and threw 10 sticks (one by one) in a single spot. Explosives could end up being a lot of fun in this game. They need to tune it so its more random on the explosions - its pretty perfect cylinder down.
Starting to take shape. I ended up taking out the bottom one and moving it up more to top of the mountain. Still not really a dragon's head, but obviously something with a mouth (obvious, right? RIGHT?)
Distressing and aging rock will be an art form. I did mention my art ability...
The fire doesn't show well. I did fire nostrils and the fire in his throat is actually from the fireplace in the house. Except I can't get a picture of either from front on right now (will need to build scaffolding..) its the angle of everything.
I am just putting this in for the lighting/shadows effects. They are really well done.
I am no where near getting this done or near some really, really amazing pieces of works that pros are pulling out in Alpha but its fun and I feel like I am learning the tools, and getting better. I farmed out most of the top end stations and items in the game so its kind of "hurry up and wait". All you can do is build and harvest. Soon, they'll add water, and underground caverns (etc.) which will then really bring the game to life.
I'll stop posting pictures unless I really get it together - go check out some amazing ones. It has been fun seeing other's create and learn to create as well and I'll start posting less on pictures and more on gameplay, looking ahead, etc.
I have been travelling for work the past couple of weeks (and doing so until this weekend) so I haven't been working on my masterpiece (*cough cough*) in EQN:Landmark. And I am missing the game.
My travel PC is a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and as I have mentioned in the recent past, I love the unit. Its awesome on planes, the battery life is amazing, and I have adopted the pen input to take over what I would have used to have used my mouse for. It's a great machine. Bit pricey, but huge fan.
Problem? Integrated graphics. The stats on a MS Pro 2 are actually pretty beefy:
Surface Pro 2
- Windows 8.1 Pro
- Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in
- Weight: 2 lbs
- Casing: VaporMg
- Color: Dark Titanium
- Physical buttons: Volume, Power
- Storage* & Memory
- 64/128GB 256/512GB
- 4GB RAM 8GB RAM
- Screen: 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen)
- Touch: 10-point multi-touch
- Durable display
- CPU & Wireless
- 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
- TPM Chip for enterprise security
- Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
I am not telling you all of this because I get a cut - I am actually telling you about it because by all accounts, this game should play EQN: Landmark but it doesn't - some texture issue that everything above ground (props) render nicely, and I get great FPS but the VOXELS textures all come up black - so hard/impossible to build, impossible to mine/collect (anything but trees).
I am SUPER excited for when they fix this (they say they are) because I am looking forward to drawing my building items. The pen input and EQN:L should be a nice match made in heaven.
The building bug has hit me and it reminds me of a story we use in our business discussions.
Three bricklayers are all working on a site. A man walks up and asks the first one:
"What are you doing?"
He answers "laying bricks"
He asks the second man - "What are YOU doing?"
He answers "building a wall"
He approaches the third man, who is working with a big smile on his face - "And what are you doing?"
"I am building a cathedral"
Go build cathedrals. Its all about perspective.
Interesting observation as I was travelling through the USA and watching Olympic coverage.
Canada counts good medals as the ultimate qualifier (odd considering their demeanor) for medal standings. Most gold medals is first, if tied use silver as a tie breaker and then bronze as the "rubber match".
A country with just 15 gold medals is better than a country with 14 gold, 10 silver, 4 bronze.
USA evaluates by number of total medals. Each is worth the same. If you have 40 bronze you are better than a country with 39 gold.
Guess which country had the most of what last Olympics in Vancouver.
They should talk it out and come to a fair compromise - 3 points for a gold, 2 points for a silver, 1 for a bronze. I'm sure whoever would "win" under that setup would agree to that!
Neither will and the debate continues. Canada will claim whoever has the most gold medals is the Country who won the Olympics and the USA will claim most medals is. That will probably stay the same unless the USA gets the most gold medals (they have used this argument in Summer Olympics) or Canada actually becomes a sporting dominance outside of hockey.
Information is only useful when used properly. That "properly" is hard to define. How about "when used without prejudice or dishonest intent without personal or representative regard"
Think also - anytime a politician uses data/stats.
(hopefully I get to play video games again so my thoughts can stay more focused)
I haven't been building much but have been playing with the outside of my home. The inside is the intricate work that I don't have a natural eye for (and there aren't that many "props" in game yet).
Outsides are dramatic. People can see them from miles away. Your outside is likely to make people decide if they want to see inside. I really don't care about any of that - I am just trying to learn the tools. With that said, here are some pics!
This is the front entrance. Bit of a rocky path to get there. That design is built in as part of the tools (and it is very popular right now - there aren't many "ornate" ones)
This is the view of my crafting terrace. There is actually a path down through my main room and through the mountain to get there.
This is the beginning of my Dragon's head that will protrude out the side of my mountain. Eventually the mouth will be a second entrance to my house (And to the crafting area). Plans are to have smoking nostrils (torches), glowing eyes (light stone) and a fiery throat (fireplace). We'll see how it goes. Again, ZERO artistic ability, but curious how much I can fake it using the tools.
For example, the bottom part of the jaw I made a flat, elongated trapezoid using line and select tools, then added triangles and angled corners rotated and different sides (to be jagged), and then the smoothing tools to take away too much jaggedness (still needs more smoothing.) I then copied the bottom jaw, and rotated it (see the blue arrows? and placed it away. Now I just need to build out below the jaw and above the jaw and meld it into the side of my mountain. Lots of work to do.
Also, I am currently building it in dirt. Everyone has lots of dirt. After it is done you can "paint" it with stone or other materials to match up.
Couple final shots:
This is the view from on top of my chimney. I put in 4 torches for faux smoke. I see I have a new neighbor... building into the mountain across the way. The box you see is my current "claim area" and restricts where I can build. I haven't figured out how to turn it off for screenshots yet.
Here is the view down from my chimney. Again, the scale and detail of this game is amazing (that is the top of my dragon's head, for reference)
Last but not least there is where I am in case you wanted to go check it out. It is on COURAGE server, Ledge zone (which is a tier 2 zone). Feel free to stop by and use the crafting stations.
It's not pretty. I have zero artistic or architectural ability. I do have patience, however.
I got the LINE tool (which is quite the grind) which requires tier 3 crafting stations. This makes roofs easy to make. Basically its great for slopes, ramps, etc. So, armed with all(?) of the tools in game currently, let's build. here is how she looks so far.
That view is from the back. The left side is a chimney (complete with fire) and the little left side ramp is a basement carve out through the mountain where I put all of my crafting stations. The engine is really good for when you extend anything into the existing geometry, it fits it in really nice.
This is a picture of the inside:
That's a fireplace with copper around it. Yes, it does look warped - I was messing around and testing the shape tool. The game does right angles so well (and so much) I wanted it to look old and weathered. Lots of work to do in that regard. There are prefab chairs, carved table, and iron pitcher (full of beer, I promise you.) The wall pattern is standard stone, and the floor is "granite". I am going to do some mantle work (etc.)
My place has no windows, and I'm sorting out how I want the door to look. Once I sort that I'll get better pictures. I really just planned on teasing you this far.
Oh, the bottom HOTBAR?
In order: My Gold Axe Veridium Mining Pick, Shape Tool, Add Tool, Delete Tool, Smooth Tool, Line Tool, Paint Tool, and Heal Tool.
This last view may give a better idea of how high the plot actually is. That brown rectangle dangling in midair is a sifting tool that just decided to stay there. Again, this is chimney/crafting patio side from almost on the ground (still up a hill, definitely not sea level!
As much as I love my mountain top, when water finally makes it into the game I'll be building lakeside. Always been my dream.
I have a couple of paths I run in my normal "day to day" in EQN: Landmark. There is a sweet, sweet area I found ripe with multiple ores I require for progression, and a hidden forest which is needed for every tool and crafting station (in unfair abundance right now, although they are patching that down as I type this to 60% of current). What is fun about this is seeing other people's creations coming to life. Land claims are non instances (although specific islands are) so you see things grow in real time.
I have started to leave my outskirts location (there is a centralized teleporter to go to other islands/Tiers) because I have requirements that are in higher tiered areas. Currently in Alpha resources are split on Tier islands based on what level you are creating items for. In the future all resources will be on each island, but for now it is easy to sort out where you need to go.
This makes me have to leave my "neighborhood" and venture to the teleporter. Wow, have things changed! It is like going to your home town after 10 years and learning they got a McDonald's, Walt-Mart and Target while you were gone.
Where I am going with this : I hope they don't put in instant travel. If they do, the creating part (which is the main part) will probably be missed in game. Horses? Sure. Just not instantly. Stop and smell the giant castles.
(here's one randomly I ran across)
and here is how players have changed the landscape. (squint)
I have a house now too! (next post =)
Well, now that I see Bhagpuss is
playing testing I need to go claim beside him! Then I can love him and squeeze him and call him George. No, I wouldn't be THAT annoying. I also won't link to his updates every day =)
That silly thought was inspired by meeting two of my neighbors - one at the foot of my mountain (ok, not my mountain.. but im on the peak!) and one accross the canyon...
The bottom neighbor is from the UK AND plays similar times to me. We are constantly running into each other. Sometimes a small chat, other times just a wave as we pass each other. Sometimes we use each other's crafting stations depending on who has what ready.
(Edit: I wrote this a couple of days ago. I logged in today and my neighbor was gone. Land unclaimed - maybe I do smell, or maybe they went to the new shiny server that has lots of sweet claimable spots left....)
Since it is a non-instanced world this starts begging the questions if neighbors have disputes or simply dislike each other there could be some issues. You can block people from coming on your claim but I am curious what tools they will end up having available. Not to focus on the negative, the link above to Bhagpuss has a good community story - and I am even MORE excited to see what collaboration tools SOE provides.
That ledge way off in the distance is mine. Well, the ledge is gone (voxels aren't saving properly) but I own the top of the mountain. I'm thinking art deco chic cottage. Whatever that means. Some random Landmark thoughts:
- build your tools first. Its not as fun until you get the tools! you can't build nearly as well or with as many options.
- it is a grind. You have to grind out mats to make the equipment to craft the tools to grind out mats to make the new equipment to craft the new tools to grind out mats to make the even newer equipment to craft the even newer tools to grind out mats....
- Things break/get lost/don't work/stop working all the time. It is Alpha. Have the right attitude or it becomes not fun really quick.
- Lots of things aren't working - but the fun is on full bore =)
I am 30 burled logs (if you are in alpha, you are pulling your hair right now) from the LINE tool which helps you slope (think roof?) from what I have read. Once I have that, I am going to stop grinding and start building my cabin in the woods.