Monthly Archives: June 2014

RPS Doesn’t Know What CTF Is

Rainbow Six Siege is a game in the Rainbow Six series. This much is obvious. So you could look to previous Rainbow Six games to get an idea as to what the new one will be like. This much is apparently not obvious to Rock Paper Shotgun. You know what also isn’t obvious to RPS? What Capture the Flag (CTF) is.

Siege’s E3 demo did leave a bit of a weird taste in some mouths, though, mainly because shoving around a lady in the team-based Hostage Mode like she’s the flag in capture the flag is kind of odd, even if you’re rescuing her.

In the Hostage mode, you play a law enforcement unit of some form breaching a location that has been secured by criminals, who have taken a hostage. Why did they take a hostage? Because they know it will slow down the law enforcement, it will make them hesitate a moment longer before taking a shot, it will decrease the odds of them blind firing into a scenario. The hostage has this effect on law enforcement because of their directive to preserve innocent life. The game mechanic involves a penalty of a loss if the hostage dies, and said hostage must be extracted from danger and secured, as the criminals can recapture that hostage. Continue reading

…and Everything Else

The site has been quiet, but my life has not. Things have picked up in taking care of my daughter, I’ve had some personal illness problems, and a new project is starting up at work. On that same note, I have decided to leave my current job and return to the south so as to be closer to my family as we raise our own family. So now our home is a bluster of packing and paring down, in between diaper changes and bottle washing.

I’ve got a few articles in the works, but am stopping to do this general update one to freshen things up a bit. Today is my 30th birthday, and to mark that I got my first “flawless” Call of Duty game, with 10 kills and 0 deaths. I used quotes because I did not earn the medal, as I joined about 30 seconds after the game started. Oh well. I’ve taken pleasure in my increased ability to predict an opponent who has gone behind concealment and still hit them without line of sight. I’m still usually doing terribly, but I’m catching fleeing targets that I typically would not.

On the subject of multiplayer, though on a vastly higher skill level than my own, and in a higher skill game, there was an excellent Quake Live match between Evil and clawz. The first match isn’t much to behold, but the second was quite thrilling to watch. If you are unfamiliar with Quake Live, Evil is one of the champions, a feared player by most and a respected player by the best. clawz is a relative newcomer, younger than the average member of the competitive Quake community, so in some ways you don’t get more of an odd match up.

So enjoy that, the second match, which is the best, starts at 11:39.

Lots more has happened, but I should probably spend more of my birthday either having fun, or being productive.

What Battlefield: Hardline Could Have Been

Recently there has been some hubbub over Battlefield: Hardline (henceforth referred to as Hardline), with various leaks taking place. At E3 today (this post will go up on Wednesday in theory) we saw a good bit more of it. EA had a big presentation about it, with the news that a closed beta was open now, and people could go register for it. I didn’t bother, partly because I don’t think I have the time to get properly into it, partly because I don’t feel like messing with Origin which I assume it will require, and partly because it just doesn’t look like much.

I joked in a YouTube comment that it was no wonder they closed off modding in Battlefield 3 or 4, if this was the level of content they were planning on supplying. However it does look like a mod, a sentiment shared by the folks at PC Gamer, as seen below:

It is also rather reinforced by this straight gameplay footage, also from PC Gamer:

Other than voice acting, there is one aspect that this doesn’t share with mods: creativity. Mods usually shake up an existing game, rather than simply decorating it. The game appears to be symmetrical, with military grade everything. Really, it looks like Battlefield playing dress up, along with a wooden stock shotgun, taser, and what essentially seems to be one-flag CTF, but the flag is broken into smaller pieces. So with that said, let me put on my armchair designer hat, and take you on a wondrous tour/bulleted improvised list of what I would do with this theme: Continue reading

What Is a Gamer?

I hear a lot of self-identification as a gamer. I encounter it often, usually as either a badge of pride, or a signal of commonality with another. This seems a little nonsensical to me. Games are everywhere, they are constantly being made and released. They are as ubiquitous as they are common. They represent dozens and dozens of countries in the world, for development alone, they depict dozens of cultures, hundreds of ideas and concepts, across numerous genres and sub-genres, and even sub-sub-genres.

I may call myself a gamer, and have nothing in common as far as gaming goes with the next one hundred people I meet who also call themselves a gamer. When I say video games, I don’t think of Secret of Mana, Peggle, Battlefield, or Gears of War. I also don’t think of Dirt, Street Fighter, Tetris, Full Throttle, or World of Warcraft. The term gamer is so broad it is useless. Do we identify as film watchers and announce it? Continue reading

How My Quake Looks

This was requested by onetruepurple in a thread about replacement textures and remakes of older game content with skacky and Daz. This is how Quake looks for me, 1680x1050x32 with the original textures, original lightmaps, realtime shadowmaps from dlights and the world, and a little bit of bloom. I am using a recent release of the DarkPlaces engine by my good friend LordHavoc.

I might do another post later on about the significance of art design, and how games age. You may have noticed that this post got its own category called Quake. Quake is an exception to me, it stands above all other games for a variety of reasons, and I do hope to showcase the game periodically on this blog.

…and Everything Else

First a thank you to those who read, and those who have clicked an ad. The revenue since I’ve put them up just cleared the monthly hosting cost. Having a hobby become revenue neutral, even if just for one month, is a wonderful thing. I guess I could try making the blog a little more optimized for search engines, but I don’t know how many people are even looking for things like “blog where the person games but expects more from games but doesn’t think it is cool to get angry about it and knows something about game development but isn’t a programmer and also thinks most game news sites are bad”. Maybe I could just make that a tag on every post?

I got a proper night’s sleep for the first time in a while, a rare thing with a baby, and so I’m feeling pretty energetic about the rest of this week. I am hoping to maintain this rhythm of three “Real Posts” a week, with one update post, but am also considering doing quick little Aside posts on off-days where I share links and videos I enjoy. I am still of mixed opinions on that, as I don’t have a desire to become an aggregate. I’d rather just opine and observe. That being said, here are some random links:

Continue reading

When Journalism is a Game

The June issue of Men’s Health has a Special Report by Tom McGrath titled “When Killing is a Game”. We’ve seen reports like this before, though they’re usually a bit more blunt in their style (no cuts to a van exploding for example), but I wanted to address this one in particular because it is a bit more insidious. There is a facade of moderation, but the benefit of the doubt is given to those asserting a specific claim on reality.

I’m not sure why magazines continue to accept articles on this subject when they are written by people with such little experience playing video games. Note that I did not say a gamer, I’m not asking for someone who agrees with me, just someone who has a solid idea of what I do when I say I am gaming. According to the article, McGrath has played 55 minutes of Modern Warfare 3 on the Wii. No other experience with games is indicated. This is akin to examining the issue regarding violent film, based upon having watched 10 minutes of any given movie. The author has, as far as he has communicated, arrived upon the issue with a pre-elementary level of knowledge regarding the subject. This is indicated later on with his shock about multiplayer FPSes scoring players by their ability to kill the enemy, failing to call out the asinine concept that the differences between Wolfenstein 3d and Myst is simply the presence of violence, and the conflation of World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto.

“Does virtual violence turn some boys into real killers?” Let’s presume that this is the case. I went to Wikipedia’s List of Best Selling Video Games and tallied up the sales figures on only the most heinous looking games to those who write articles such as this, using the All Platforms top 40. I then checked out Wikipedia’s List of Rampage Killers (what is Bing going to think of me? That’s right, I Chandler). They have a total of 1336 Rampage Killing incidents, around the globe, with no methods or setting filtered out. If video games spawned every one of these, we are looking at a rate of 0.00047578%. Hardly statistically significant. This isn’t particularly scientific, but fight fire with fire, right? (I’m sorry was that violent rhetoric?) In general, just taking their claim on its face, video games still seem more safe than cars, water heaters, or national parks. Continue reading

Improve Call of Duty With This One Weird Trick

Call of Duty has quietly changed in a lot of ways since the release of the initial Modern Warfare. Namely, a lot of bad perks have been gutted, repurposed, or cut entirely. Stopping Power is largely gone, Juggernaut is now the much more interesting Ballistics Vest item, Martyrdom, Last Stand, Commando, and 3x Frag Grenades are gone. But one perk remains that holds the game back. Steady Aim.

An innocuous sounding perk, reduced hipfire spread, Steady Aim is a thorn in the side of Call of Duty’s primary gameplay loop. In Call of Duty the primary concerns of the player are shooting and not being shot. To liven up this dynamic, the game has the ability to aim down the sights of your weapon. Doing so greatly improves the accuracy of the weapon, at the cost of a slightly more narrow FOV, and reduced movement – sometimes drastically reduced. It always takes a moment to aim down sights, but the resulting accuracy is vastly superior to what you experience firing from the hip. Continue reading

A Re-View on the New-U in Borderlands 2

Handsome Jack is a despicable and dastardly individual. He makes a great villain, but he has one major failing. He never went after the New-U stations. You are his nemesis, the great thorn in his side, and the only real threat to his plans. But you just won’t stay dead. Every time they put the boot down and scrape you off the tread, you just pop back out at a New-U station for a fee, and keep on.

The thing is, the game identifies the New-U stations as being a Hyperion product, they talk about it quite a lot even, and Handsome Jack is in charge of Hyperion. The system which is keeping the player alive is on his network and in his control. Furthermore, why isn’t he on the network? Or his lieutenants? Why are the vault hunters from the original Borderlands on the network for that story, but not this one? (And why isn’t That One using a shield? You know the moment). Continue reading