Interlude: Night when the Portal Failed

Silverangel:

I’ve never reblogged on WordPress before, but this post is so remarkable that I have to share it with the world. It’s a reminder that I have to get back to my Elf In Real Life project. Thank you, Eruviel.

Originally posted on The Last Huntress of The Dreadward Tribunal:

All the glorious adventures planned for the night . . . . Not sure how much longer I can endure this computer . . . .

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Weekly Wyrm: Aug. 18, 2014

razer blackwidow ultimateI’m finally catching up with the news that Firefly Online is in development, but it’s for iOS and Android (as well as PC i.e. Steam). So that makes three of my favorite great IPs ruined by game developers.


Something Old: Vampires And Fireflies


A few months ago, years of World of Darkness development were thrown in the northern Atlantic ocean. Last year, Neverwinter was developed as a distillation trap of F2P cash shopping and currencies.

The current official Neverwinter site is now a redirect to a generic game portal, which appears like a storefront loaded with ads and prices for lockboxes and “booster packs”, a fantasy game world converted into an evil borg-like credit card interface.

How can anyone have pride playing that game? How can Cryptic pretend to be the torchbearer of the great and storied Dungeons and Dragons legacy in video games with a presentation like that? They can’t.

The legend ended when Bioware ended, and for me Neverwinter Online ended with my halfling cleric in beta. And now the elusive dream of a Firefly MMO ends with a low-budget IP exploitation mobile game with the original actors lining up happily for their paychecks.

Like with Neverwinter, it’s disappointing. Nothing will ever be more disappointing than World of Darkness though. Some let-downs you should expect. Others you should never forget. Or forgive. Stay bitter until your bitter death.

I don’t know what to look forward to at this point. At least I missed the first two Everquest boats, so that whole scene is new to me, and voxels look cool and unusual.


Something New: Rainbow Razers


A few months ago, I bought a brand new Razer Blackwidow Ultimate from Fry’s Electronics off the shelf, and it was very dusty, had two of some caveman’s knuckle hairs stuck to it, and a key didn’t work. Not kidding.

Since then, I found a keyboard at a thrift store that I tried, and that hurt the fingers too much, so I tried again for a Blackwidow Ultimate, this time from Best Buy. So far, I’m liking it.

I tried to buy any brand other than a Razer, but I couldn’t. They were either too cheap and ugly, overpriced, or didn’t have the audio jack in the side. The jack is the kicker, since I’m so tired of that long headphone cord getting in the way.

Now the cordage is tidy. I can keep on gaming, I hope, without more pain. I also have the backlighting, so I can type this post much faster, saving some time. The default backlighting was eye-searing at first, but the Razer control software has a dimming option.

Razer has a new Chroma keyboard coming out that offers a rainbow of choose-your-own color, but it’s releasing at $180, which is completely cray-cray. I suppose you could call $140 for a keyboard completely cray-cray too.


Something Borrowed


My game development is going slowly. I’m burned out for the moment. It’s nice being able to either do art, write dialog, or code. It’s like trail mix for the soul. I really need to be developing full time, though. Unfortunately I’m too old to live with my parents like some indie heroes these days get her done, and too no-talent to borrow money for this thing.

Angry Joe has an entertaining review up of the Last of Us Remastered. I love that Angry Joe is so Playstation now, while he used to be an XBOX dude who got his angry on hard for Microsoft, and then switched sides. That’s all for now. Kitty out. Happy gaming.


Good Time To Revisit LotRO

I’ve been sort into helpful posts lately, and you don’t have to listen if you don’t have the time. But let me remind you in case you don’t already know– dining out can happen down below.

Down in Rohan that is–cookfires under the stars, fishing pools.

For a few more days (I think until 8/14?), the Helm’s Deep expansion is at a 50% discounted rate, and still offers store points for the purchase, so if you discount store points as well, you’re technically getting either the base or premium editions for around $10.

And then you’ve got a free 100% XP bonus going from 8/27 through 9/1 (labor day weekend in the U.S.).

And that’s all she wrote, except rest in peace Robin Williams.


Optional Progression: The New End Game?

This week I hit level 100 (the cap) in LotRO with my Lore-Master. I’m happy about this, but being an elf at heart, I continue to lament that the class I chose to keep as my “main” in my favorite ever MMO happens to be human and not a Warden.

Yes, my favorite race and class in LotRO is the elf Warden, but unfortunately she is on my second account, and I don’t have time for dual-boxing or otherwise keeping up with multiple accounts anymore. Of course, LotRO does not have race changes or account transfers like WoW.

LotRO does have optional progression, however. That is, there are tons of ways you can progress your character that don’t matter all that much, but they still seem significant: virtues, legendary items, legendary relic quality, and now the new armor slots and skill points.

That’s months and months of daily play to cap all those things out for one character, and yet none of them are necessary to play and be successful in the game. That’s a very well-designed endgame in my opinion.


Rift has a similar situation in the planar attunements, but those are inferior because it’s harder to think of those things as a real game activity, not like finishing an epic volume in LotRO for a skill point, or slaying 100 bandits for a little more Mercy.

Of course, these LotRO progressions are mostly sold out in the cash store, so that spoils the pie, unless you pretend like the free passes don’t exist.


This week I was listening to a lot of game soundtracks. I’ve realized that Fallout 3 might be technically my favorite soundtrack based on number of tracks I’ve repeat-listened, although the Neotokyo sound track is absolutely tremendous.

I’d never heard of Neotokyo, but a random guy on Steam comments said it’s possibly the best game soundtrack ever, and may have to agree on that.

So Fallout 3 OST and Neotokyo OST. Something for a listen on Youtube if you feel like some music. I have a fondness for ambient, smooth jazz, and trip hop, so your mileage may vary widely.


Last night I also purchased a new quality headset that won’t glitch or lose volume. It also looks like I’ll be working my full time job remotely from home soon, which means I could be in a game a lot more on my second computer.

Gosh, that brings back memories of camping rare monster spawns in Rift. Rift’s expansion is coming soon. I still need two more levels. Can I do it? Or should I keep the momentum in LotRO and go for some beautiful raven-themed Dol Amroth Lore-Master armor?

Meanwhile, I want to play Elder Scrolls. We’ll see how that goes. The cup is half full. Enjoy your ebola-free, terrorist-free gaming experience, and give your loved ones a hug.


Free Sorcery! For Android

screenYolari just mentioned that Steve Jackson’s “Sorcery!”, which released as a mobile app for Android a few months ago, is currently FREE on Amazon.com, available instantly.

This game has a truly old school lineage. It doesn’t get more old school than print. I enjoyed the books when I was a kid.

This kitty does not have Android at the moment. She has made up her mind to get a sweet Samsung tablet, but is waiting for the new “Android L” in November, which will offer significant graphics upgrades and presumably hardware support for shadows and things that make me happy as an artist and designer. I do want to support tablets with my video game.

So during the last month or so (or four if you include development of art assets), I’ve transitioned fully to game developer status from player status. I’m hips-deep in my HTML5/CSS3/Canvas/Javascript online RPG project, featuring my own art and fantasy writing.

This has been a fascinating process. I’m constantly reviewing and pondering all of the ideas and concepts I’ve ever had about CRPG design. I’m thinking about all of the criticism I’ve leveled at various titles, and thinking of how to do it right. I could launch into an exegesis on my ideas, but I’m just too busy!

Here is the top of my design principles list:

  • Smiling Jack. You’ve got a friend.
  • Make the story personal.
  • Make the text interactive, not passive.
  • Convincing interplanar travel. i.e. Alice.
  • Romance with LGBT inclusivity.

Most games today fail at all of these things. You meet people, listen to their problems, and then do things for them. Elder Scrolls is the lone outlier that skirts the fringes of this short list. It almost makes it on each score, but in my opinion still falls shorter than it could have even in comparision to the single player titles.

So far this is a solo effort using my passing interdisciplinary skills, but I’m happy to maybe have Yolari online for some combat coding. The thought of a Kickstarter is a pipe dream, but just thinking of any outside funding as a reality allows one to glimpse the amount of pressure this puts on an Indie team or individual like Phil Fish.

Sometimes one wonders, when a questionable or wonky MMO design decision is made, if the devs actually play their own game. No. I think no. Too much to do. Tick tock. Here is a screenshot of my interface in process. I have functional dialog, location movement, core databases and basic code at this point.

Am I taking this too seriously? No. This is really just a student exercise and proving ground. It’s just that I’m really enjoying it and doing well for the moment, more so than I imagined.

I’ve gained two levels so far in LotRO. When I hit 5/5, level 100, I can go back to Elder Scrolls Online. This is the incentive I’m holding out for myself.


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