Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just as planned

I've been waiting a while for this one. Just a casual look at my anime collection and on seeing both Death note and Code Geass taking up large parts of it, I'm a fan of the just as planned type of move. A big one. This is no secret as elements have come out in several games of mine. What's a secret about it is normally the how.

Yesterday, in one of the final sessions for my current game (not including at least one more combat will (hopefully) take) I finally got to reveal the major one, revealing that an NPC the players have been around for a long time is an avatar of Nyarlathotep, and oh boy how fun this has been~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Complicated systems

Ahh, I'm finally 'officially' running the end game, wherein lies points of no return and such for my game. It was a busy one today, and some weird things came up.

Nothing else has also reminded me of how I feel about Cthulhutech in a long while.

I certainly like the system, its complex set of rolls make the game feel dynamic. It gives it a very anime feel, where even without skill, a little luck can turn an attack into something massive, skill only adds to it. It really adds a lot when not only are you in a fight with some sort of lovecraftian tentacled monsters, either in a mech or in a fleshy monster suit, and it can suddenly turn around on you and leave you very wounded, or go in your favour ripping it apart like something from Evangelion mechanically.

But boy oh boy, rolling six attacks, then six dodges, then six armour checks, then a tenacity check for each of the six attacks that did damage, then a duration for how long the poison lasts every time it works as just one action among many, on top of doing this for combat of all sorts, such a lovely mess.

Mutants and masterminds is certainly just as complex at times, especially with certain plans of mine, but oh boy. A single save or two a turn, combined with only the very occasional defensive rolls, will be such a load off of my mind.

A friend of mine just did a post detailing a recent test, and while we discovered a few issues we're gonna have to work on for my upcoming game, but even in spite of that, simply rolling attack, receiving toughness, then adding trip? Childsplay to me. Adding all manner of other negative effects are just a little more of this. D20 has issues but complex rolls in my opinion aren't one of them.

Another good thing about a new game, hopefully, a fresh start for players and gameplay. One of the funnier things today, having to talk one of the players being very stupidly stubborn into spending a limited but easily enough regained resource to avoid something that'd possibly kill them due to a massive roll. They have a tendency to be stupidly stubborn on these things. Or maybe they were just suicidal, who knows.

In the mess, I offered to even make a secret deal to forgo damage to help me with plot a bit. Then proceeded to get into around an hour long discussion basically about how I'm awful for offering such. Seemed valid to me at the time, I want more then one player dealing with the last game session or two and saving the world and all that nonsense. It'd probably cancel the game, that'd mean a LOT of wasted effort. Maybe I shouldn't have offered such, and normally wouldn't, but circumstances got to me. Still, of all the things to complain about. Mercies like that are rare things, especially from me.

I guess I can only hope that thy won't bitch so much when it doesn't come up with the upcoming sessions, or my next game, I've shown my players this before and happily will again, where sudden and unceremonious death will be not just happen, but likely be standard, because with its circumstances I know I'll always have room for another Player Character to fit in.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strange reminders of childhood

Of all the game genres out there, given how much of an out atheist I am, one of my favorite genres, probably right after that Oddworld style puzzle/platformer genre that makes up my number one, I'm a fan of the god game genre.

It's a tough one to like, There are very few of the games, they're not that popular, and some of the games in more recent times (Black and White) are awful. I tend to have to make do with RTSes if I want them, but it's so fun.

I can easily remember where it all started, but a bit of backstory to explain, I'm poor as all hell, and my television picked up our four local public channels in black and white, I would always watch movies like Godzilla, horror films and sub par pornos on the Special Broadcasting Service channel, but after about 11, my mother would go to sleep and I couldn't leave the TV on making noise or I'd be disturbing her, so I would play my megadrive, (Or Genesis, if you're American) which didn't have a sound cable.

I had a pretty small selection of games, and not that many of them lasted a long time, but one I could just replay over and over. Populous. Due to my cardridge being damaged, It wouldn't even work half the time, so I would spend a half hour taking it out and putting it back in until it would start up right, and play until either I pass out or the sun came up and it was time to go to school. The first time that happened was when I realized I have insomnia.

So many hours spent, staring at that book, its likely to blame for a lot of my issues. Why I flatten all ground in Minecraft, Why I tolerated an entire game long tutorial in black and white, why I didn't replace my non SonyPS1 memory card that liked to randomly delete my saves until Final Fantasy 9 came out...

And now, From Dust is out. I didn't even know about this, let alone that it's made by the same people, but I pre-ordered it as soon as I did. Since it's finally come out on Steam, it's been what I've been playing all day.

Annoyingly, I spent yesterday pulling an all nighter, to get onto 'good' sleeping hours for things, but after being awake so long, I slept 12 hours straight and woke up finding it all messed up again, and I have an important appointment tomorrow, so it looks like I'll need to do the same again tonight.

I've already beaten From Dust, its a very short game, but it looks like it'll be fun for finding alternative ways to beat a lot of the stages, as well as venting any frustration I'll have with the appointment.

If you like god games, I recommend trying a demo at least, it's very true to the genre, but otherwise it depends on how much you value $15 for purchase. It can be VERY frustrating, as opposed to satisfyingly hard, and is a bit too absent in story, in a bad way. I like filling in blanks and interpretation, but it feels completely intangible here, so sadly this is one I think only really has game play going for it. Not entirely my thing.

Still, it'll make for a good bit of fun nostalgia.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Designing a villa- helpful, benign ally

Be warned, Madoka Magica spoilers inside.

A couple things have inspired this. Mainly the announcement of "Sparkly Magic Adventure RPG", a wonderful title that sounds like it came from a very self aware design team, where its few screen shots suggest you play as the character, a concept already done once (though at the time of posting that link's down, but I played it earlier the same day.)

Mohikan5 showing just the beginning of things I've gone through trying to come up with this.

I should note, I will have to try to not give away too much, since I have players that read this place, but a mix of truth, misdirection and avoiding the issue will hopefully work well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More of the inevitable minecraft

I don't have a problem with focus, not at all. I just spent most of the last couple days shirking non job getting duties. Which is a shame, I'll soon have my group back together and have to theoretically deliver a climactic endgame of a year long campaign...

But, even when avoiding things I have to do, even when I want to do, I have a habit of getting other things done. One day I'll learn to apply this. But for now, more minecraft, this time my 'main' world I mess around on.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The inevitable Minecraft post

Like pretty much everyone else on the internet at this point (I hope. If you don't, you need to fix that.) I, and most of my friends play Minecraft.

We usually chill on a friend's server as he has a both good computer and better internet connection then the rest of us, but in celebration of my new internet speeds, we decided to test how my world would work.

We got a bit carried away and spent the entire day messing around. Ignore the creeper damage, we decided to take a break before going to get new glass.


It started a little weird, we spawned in a tree. A tall one at that. On some experimentation, we sound our spawn seemed to move around and encompass a general area around a hill. I'm still not sure if that's a glitch or a thing in the game now. But we decided we needed to build shelter.

We wound up with what we considered the ugliest house in all of minecraft, it was long, short and just floated in the air, save for one corner resting atop the tree. Monsters spawned indoors while trying to sleep if we didn't just wind up trapped in a wall trying to sleep. it was shaped almost like a coffin or tipped over phone booth, and wound up being dubbed the Retardis because of that.

To redeem our shame, we spent the rest of the day building around it with an equally strange building and courtyard, that ended up having a nice look to it if you ask me, very cubist and modern. Inside that top layer, protected by dirt but encased in wood is the retardis, set us so that if the house ever catches fire its shame shall again be known, but until then it will remain concealed from all.

I also built an entire house of TNT, invited my friends inside to check out how I furnished it and then sealed the door with heavy rocks and set it on fire to kill them, destroying an entire island it was on.

The inside of the new house is very nice, is sparse. We found a neat glitch that let us place torches on chests and that glass tube goes up to the dark area inside the retardis, letting Creepers or the like drop down and be pets without becoming dangerous.

Its pretty much only the house, which has one and a half sorta rooms and a work in progress courtyard for now, but it was a fun day. We may develop things further, but that will remain to be seen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Only a short post for now

Not a lot of actual accomplishment significance has happened in the last couple days, I think I'm finally recovered from being sick so I can't use that as much of an excuse anymore.

There has been some interesting things though, the other day I checked out my ISP and it seems they recently overhauled their plans, drastically improving them without telling us. Shadey, but forgiveable when after a single phone call they give you five times the bandwidth limitations and twice the speed for less money.

I am extremely happy about this. As self admittedly internet addicted as I am, this must be what it's like to grow your own drugs.

Other news, not much. I've negected game design in favor of playing the new game from Carpe Fulgur of Recettear fame, Chantelise, which I am awful at, and finally enjoying Limbo, which I didn't try on the 360 because I've never been interested in the arcade.

Chantelise is a wonderful dungeon crawler sort of action game, I am very bad at it but its enjoyable and amusing. It's spiritual prequel from the same translators and Japanese game makers, Recettear has been very influential for amusement among my circle of friends and this has the potential to be the same.

Interestingly I found a more hard/literal translation of the original Japanese dialogue and it seems at least all the charm in this was inserted by the translators, the original was very mundane by Japanese standards, slightly perverted and lackluster jokes you'd find in typical slice of life-esque anime. I'm fine with such, normally, but I'm glad they went a bit off the rails for these games. It adds a lot it wouldn't otherwise have.

Limbo on the other hand is something I'm far better at. I think if I have to pick that sort of puzzle/platformer genre you find in games like Another World(/Out of This World), Flashback and Abe's Oddysee are my singular favourite type of game. I don't know why, but I have so much fun figuring out the exact pattern of control and timing needed to get from one cruel puzzle to another in an endless cycle just appeals to me. It's a shame its a very small genre of games.

Add on a dark and morbid world, unexplained mysteries comprising the entire plot and artsy fartsy nonsense like its entirely in black and white and its like the game was made for me.

That's it for now. I have other ideas I may talk about later that are more complex, but for now I'm just taking a break with videogames. What about you guys? What kinds of niche elements to games make you love them?

Monday, August 1, 2011

In which a person in 2012 complains about the difficulty of finding a job

I've been painfully sick the last couple of days and have spent my time housebound trying to find employment.

This being a hard thing is, currently with the way things are going, is no surprise, but this has been a long term problem for me. Even now at the age of 24 I've yet to find a single paying job despite much, much trying.

This isn't to say I'm unqualified, I've spent years working jobs that include with rough estimates on the time;

  • Gardening and construction (4 months)
  • Brushhand work (5 months)
  • Animal care (4 months)
  • Delivery (4 months)
  • Retail sales (6 months)
  • Werehousing (5 months)
The problem, it's all been volunteer work. How charitable of me, unfortunately volunteer work will get you nothing more then the respect of people. Being as apathetic as I am, that's not terribly valuable.

This causes the weird disjoint, as many people very much respect volunteer work, its also just shy of official at times. I think my favourite time is when I've been told by certain companies that I clearly understand what the job entails, but they won't hire me because I laid qualifications I've been paid for.

I've been told every job advertised gets like, a hundred applicants it needs to sort out, when they only need one or two people, and I imagine this is true with the quality of excuses I've heard over the years, and some of the cutting points are just sad if the company is trying to maintain some self respect.

Now though, with jobs being bad for everyone as opposed to just us misanthropic hikkis and the like. I pretty much approach the finesse of a shotgun. Throw as many resumes out there, pay attention to jobs you actively want that you hand deliver resumes at while you use the internet for anything else you can do without going postal.

Now that I've dropped out of my useless computer class, I'm trying this now. I doubt I'll be able to find anything but I can hope.

If I don't soon, due to Australian laws cracking down on this at the worst possible time (Hey, unemployment's at an all time high, lets ramp up the demand they get a job within a couple months to weeks or lose benefits, that'll endear people to the government and make them not want to leave.), I'll wind up being 'encouraged' to get another volunteer job to get experience I can list on a resume, which is always a good thing, as everyone respects volunteer workers and you get very real experience.

And the cycle will continue again.