Procedurally Generated - Now With Twice the Let's Plays

On Gold Rushes

So Oculus has set forth a nice bounty for developers to kill each other over. Also the consumer version and some interesting touch motion controls that would be fun to play with, but mainly the 10 million dollars for indie devs to develop for the Rift.

Of course, I’m of the same opinion as LRR in this case.

However, if I were going to chase the dream with my limited art capabilities, I’d try for a niche game based around you being blind/using echolocation. Can basically skip texturing and lighting a scene and instead just worry about the actual shader effect to get the echolocation to look cool while maintaining the helplessness of not being able to see. Probably a horror/stealth gameplay where running lets you see real good because of you tromping all over the place, but also draws everything towards you. And maybe a mechanic where heavy breathing from running gives you echo pings, so the calmer you are the safer you are, but the less you see. Done right, I think it’s a winner.

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Pseudo Review: You Must Build A Boat

You Must Build A Boat is basically 10,000,000 reskinned, with additional slight improvements.

Very Familiar Looking.

Very Familiar Looking.

My opinion really hasn’t changed, nothing here is new or exciting, but is competently executed and capable of wasting a couple hours should you be in the mood for a match-3.

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On Holes To Throw Money Down

Right now is really interesting on Kickstarter, we’ve got 3 massive multi-million dollar projects: Bloodstained (AKA Castlevania), Yooka-Laylee (AKA Banjo-Kazooie), and the next Obsidian entry, Bard’s Tale 4.

The general consensus was that big pull-ins like this were a thing of the past and that people were souring on Kickstarter, and it’s hard to tell if that judgement is valid or not. I don’t think Double Fine could do it again, but if Hideo Kojima went on there for a new post-Konami project, I’m pretty sure there will be enough money thrown to blot out the sun.

And we’ve got the Steam summer sale, which also has a massively multiplayer clicker game this year.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

As usual, the sale isn’t as I tempting as I remember, if only because half the items on the front page are greyed out from being already owned.

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Pseudo Review: Cities Skylines

Cities Skylines is a city-building game that’s basically the Sim City sequel people wanted that EA couldn’t deliver.

And if you’re judging it on that yardstick, it’s a pretty good Sim City game, you’ve got the RCI meter, the constructing a city from nothingness, etc etc. Colossal Order also added in a bunch of traffic simulation stuff to the mix, which is kinda neat.

I enjoyed my time with it (bout 20 hours before I lost interest, no messing with mods), but I have a few issues. Starting a new game effectively erases any and all progress, and your unlocks are related to city size (including some very foundational transit stuff), which makes planning new cities annoying. The unlock system as a whole is silly, you can’t build schools or police/fire until a certain population point, at which point your citizens get suddenly very insistent in demanding those services. The traffic simulation is neat, but isn’t deep enough for my taste.

If anything this game showed me I don’t want Sim City, I want a dwarf fortress level Sim City. Some game where I can have no left-turns on roads, where I’m forced to adapt to terrain instead of getting a completely flat area, and deal with running a city instead of just god-handing one out of nothingness.

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On Avoidable Casualties

Oh. My. Yes.

┬áThat’s really all there is to say on the matter.

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On Rabbit Holes

So I recently noticed this:

Thanks WordPress, that looks amazing...

Thanks WordPress, that looks amazing…

Inspecting the element, it appears to be a usability thing for screen-readers that I feel I can probably kill without affecting any of my readership.

Yep, pretty safe bet.

Yep, pretty safe bet. It’s also a pretty safe bet most of those were comment-bots.

I love having analytics and webmaster tools, even if they’re mostly pointless on a site like this. On that note… Huh, I appear to be pointing the sitemap link to somewhere that doesn’t exist any more. For at least a year. Whoops. Well, may as well fix that while we’re poking around. And whats this?

Analytics Referal Spam? Seriously?

Analytics Referral Spam? Seriously?

I don’t even know how this could possibly be worth someone’s time. At least with comment spam there’s a chance it might get through Akismet, and a chance some schmuck will really want cheap knockoff handbags or whatever it is this month (shoes and cosmetics apparently). Whatever, isn’t worth the effort of fixing. Let’s get back to the minor aesthetic issue and hope we don’t have to dive into the PHP to fix it, or break the theme I made years ago and haven’t touched since.

Aaaaand nope, visual editor can’t do it, so we’re going hunting. It’s <label class=”screen-reader-text”> season. Of course, looking through the PHP for the theme, it becomes obvious that this is a WordPress PHP issue, so we’re left with little resource but to cheat using CSS. Sure, I could mess with the official PHP files, but those would just get overwritten any time WordPress updated.

A little label.screen-reader-text{display: none;} in the CSS file and the problem is dealt with until they change something. Hooray.

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On Cultural Influence

Recently I’ve noticed a lot more of my consumed content has shifted away from video towards Asia-based light novels and manga (with all the broken English that entails), but within that itself a noticeable shift from Japanese to Korean. Despite this, I know basically nothing about Korea, especially in comparison to Japan, where I’ve picked up a fair bit over the years. I’m not sure yet if that’s just a function of time, or if Korean stories are just predisposed to leave out local culture to focus on character or story.

All of this got me thinking of where my influences were coming from, which turns out is not as easy to categorize as you might think. A rough guesstimate is:

55% – North America – Pretty hard to sort out Canada from the US here, but largely the coasts and not much from the center. Television, webcomics, podcasts, the occasional movie.

20% – Japan – Anime, Manga, Light Novels

15% – UK – Panel Shows and the good TV

9% – Korean – Manwhas and Light Novels

1% – Australian – The occasional Australian TV show

Largely though, this opened my eyes to my blind spots. I didn’t really consider streaming and lets plays in my first consideration (despite the LRR streams being a significant chunk of my consumption), and video games were hard to categorize without looking at each individual developer, and even then seemed largely cultureless. I wonder if that’s a function of largely fantasy settings, a mostly western bias, or more of a focus on mechanic interactions. Also of note, I don’t appear to be taking any text out of Europe. Is there a German version of Baka-Tsuki that I’m just not aware of, or is there just no interest in it?

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Pseudo Review: Shattered Planet

Shattered Planet is a roguelike, but with simplified mechanics and shiny graphics.

And mousemove.

And mouse move.

I also dislike it quite a bit. It borrows from Rogue Legacy with permanent progression unlocks, but where Rogue Legacy felt skillful and possible to advance if you just played well enough, this is entirely a death grind so that you can continue. There’s also about a 1/10 chance that the random potion you drink will kill you outright.

In contrast to Dungeons of Dredmor or Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, you have absolutely no chance to win in the first run, and there’s no progression in-dungeon, which makes for a boring adventure. ZHP for the Vita explored similar ideas but is much better constructed.

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On Avenging

Or, my bi-annual Marvel-based reminder why I don’t patronize movie theaters regularly. The rise of the play-along apps has added another 5 minutes to an already bloated opening, and trailers continue to negate the point of seeing the movie they’re promoting.

It was pretty great, and probably close to the best it could be considering the limitations set by being a universe state-change for the next Captain America, currently running Agents of Shield, the next two Avengers, and maybe even next Guardians of the Galaxy. It is very much held together by banter and interplays between characters, which leads me to believe DC is even more screwed than the general consensus. Honestly, the LEGO Movie has the most Justice League potential, if only because it would be entertaining to watch a lighthearted parody justice league instead of the grimdark one DC seems hellbent on putting together.

The truly sad thing is, even if they were at the top of their game, DC can’t ever make a more competent Justice League than they’ve already done. Justice League/Justice League Unlimited was pretty amazing, and the movies are always going to fall short of that mark, because they don’t have the roster or the rogue’s gallery and won’t be able to build it up that far without a massive investment.

Which brings us back around to Marvel. They’re backdooring not-quite-mutants ‘the Inhumans’ via Agents of Shield, the newest TV series ‘Daredevil’ is on Netflix and is well worth a watch (and there’s another three Marvel TV shows heading down that pipe). Hell, Sony can’t help themselves, so they’re rebooting Spider Man again such that Marvel can use him and then they can make another couple shitty movies that everyone pretends didn’t happen (Sadly, Spidey is probably a one-off for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s too much nonsense film rights and tarnishing the brand by association unless something miraculous happens).

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Pseudo Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

MH4U is a game where you, unsurprisingly, hunt monsters. This is the best game for newcomers, and probably the best value for money you’re going to get on the 3ds if this is your kind of game. Whether it’s your kind of game is an interesting question; after 250 hours I’d like to say it’s mine, but it’s a love-hate relationship a lot of the time. The giant monsters are massively unfair, which to be fair, is because they are giant monsters and you are puny.

First off, this is a grind-fest combat-focused game with a dark-souls style die until you learn to not die learning curve. It’s also a thing of beauty when you take down a giant new threat for the first time, and later when you revisit and start taking down multiples. The grind is a standard kill things to get things so you can make things to kill bigger things, and it’s certainly well designed in that respect. You don’t gain levels, but you gain knowledge and certain types of equipment will give you edges against certain monsters and environments.

The game is beautiful, the camera works (except for those rare times you are sandwiched between a wall and a giant monster and it suddenly gets very player-killey), there’s a deulge of free DLC every month, and the online multiplayer is great fun if you’re not pubbing it up. Well worth a look, or a play on someone else’s 3DS.

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