Monthly Archives: September 2014

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Quake Live on Steam – Thoughts

So Quake Live is now on Steam. For whatever reason, some people insist on calling it Quake which is just silly. I won’t be doing that, but I will be abbreviating it to QL.

A lot of mechanic changes seem to be operating under the auspices of making the game more welcoming, an understandable goal for a Free To Play title. But friendly mechanics can only work if the user can appreciate them, and that involves a useful UI. I’m not a UI expert, but if I’m going for a quick game and choose Team, don’t put me in a full game. I didn’t click Play to Watch.

The real crux is in all of the fairly random game design changes. QL is a modified form of Q3A. Q3A was very friendly to new players. Weapons respawned quickly and set the ammo for that weapon to either a minimum, or current + 1, making camping weapons or timing them a low return effort. This solution unto itself had the potency of Weapon Stay without the visual incongruity. Pair this with the mentality that QL is “too hardcore” or something of the sort. This is inane. QL has a high skill ceiling, but five seconds with any gun and playing two rounds on a map is going to teach you the nuts and bolts. The only not quite observable mechanic is in the finer nuances of bunnyhopping. Rocket jumping and plasma climbing are things you can observe. Item timing is a case of noting the time when you see an item picked up, and noting it again when it reappears. The rest is the mental juggling you would want to do, on par with the precision you would want to practice to improve your aim. Continue reading

The Costs of Kickstarting Games in Expensive Cities

Recently Tim Schafer tweeted a little bit about the cost of his Kickstarted project which he raised over $3 million dollars for. Some were critical of the fact that this yielded only one episode of the game. Schafer gave a quick run down which you can read below:

There is nothing wrong with Tim’s math, and in fact it lines up with other industries that labor is typically the largest cost to an enterprise.

Kickstarting has its share of controversy, you are investing in something without an explicit return for that investment should it succeed. Yes, there are rewards and the product – but not equity for example. Still, it has its value and has certainly changed the scene. The question then becomes one of, when is it responsible as an independent developer to source from the public? Continue reading

I Am a Gamer

I told myself I wouldn’t write about this. My concern with this blog is video games. Mechanics, designs, trends, culture, as well as the errors in covering such. I try to keep my politics rather separate, and have recently taken steps to keep politics out of my life per a doctor’s advice. Politics came to my gaming, and I’ve been flabbergasted by much of what I have seen.

I’m not going to talk about individuals, or even the hot topics. I am going to address some mental patterns I have observed among us writing class. This was spurred by the sudden appearance of “gamers are dead” themed articles. I don’t care if they appeared as part of a concerted effort, because grassroots or not, the idea itself is a bizarre attitude to take and should be addressed.

I recently wrote an article titled “What Is a Gamer” which explored how the term can be empty, as it is so broad an umbrella that it encompasses almost too many things. Like a stadium with a roof that could be mistaken for the sky. I stand by that article, particularly regarding the scope of my own life, but at the same time I must acknowledge that no matter how broad an umbrella, it still casts a shadow. I am much more than a gamer, all gamers are, but I remain a gamer.

The idea of “gamers” being dead is laughable, but the volume at which it is being touted by those who hold the megaphones on the internet is alarming. How many times have we seen a declaration of PC gaming being dead in the past decade? That was hyperbolic and inaccurate, and was regarded as such by any serious thinkers when it was said. Now we get a proclamation for not just a platform, but a category of people by the editors and writers of the most prominent sites. Is it any less hyperbolic or inaccurate? No. It is inflammatory writing, and frankly diving so deep in to such strong and divisive language is unprofessional. I’m not talking ethics here, I’m talking simply knowing your craft. This is shock authoring with a veneer of critique to claim a transcendence over an audience you don’t like. Continue reading