Category: Misc

Hawken Mech Cockpit

There is relatively little known about Adhesive Games‘ new shooter Hawken. What we do know is that firstly, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Second there are mechs. Third the mechs are gorgeous. Fourth and fifth: firefights and fragging. Let’s be honest though, they had us at “mechs”. Look below to get a glimpse of Hawken taken from gameplay footage.

Are you okay? Do you need a minute? I know I had to pause and get some paper towel to mop up the drool. I don’t think we’ve been this excited for a Mech game since MechWarrior 3. Forget any modicum of unbiased. DO WANT. I really quite indifferent what this costs I fully intend to play it. Want me to sell you my house for a copy? Done. I get to keep the dogs though. Now this gameplay trailer only tells us so much. Firstly, we know it’s a FPS. We also learn that this takes place on a desolate mined out planet starving for resources. And there are guns. Big guns mounted on Mechs. Did we mention mechs?

hawken mech combat

He looks like he just needs a hug.

But it’s in the Hawken Website FAQ that we get a little more information. This is a multiplayer mech combat FPS. There are two unique modes (I’m fairly certain one of them will be a resource capture) as well as a free for all deathmatch and team deathmatch. As of right now they want to bring it to PC, PS3, and the Xbox 360, however it appears as though if they do the console version will most likely be a port since it appears that the PC version is looking quite polished.

As far as a price they say that they want a digital release to help keep costs low. This makes me a tad giddy. We’re somewhat hoping that Hawken can see a Steam release. What we do know is that it’s been far too long since we strapped into a mech and caused some serious collateral damage. What? I’m not a good shot. I admit it freely.

Once we learn more about Hawken we will keep you posted.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Eternity Vault

Oh SWTOR how your wonderful videos seem to always occupy my Fridays. Even on this, the start of PAX I can’t help but me drawn away from all other news and mesmerized by the activation of a lightsaber. In this outing we see a developer walkthrough of the Eternity Vault, something that was showcased not too long ago at Gamescon. In this video we see BioWare’s Dallas Dickenson give us a nice walkthrough of the first pieces of The Eternity Vault in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

What catches my initial attention is that this is not really an optional mission. As stated this is something that happens to you when you hit level 50. While this is not a bad thing I’m more curious as to how this will relate to the rest of the game. What happens if you are engrossed in a quest when you hit that level?

As the trailer progresses we see a battle take place on a capital ship as you work your way to an escape pod as we transition down to the planet and off to the vault. I am a fan of cutscenes that mask the load times between events and areas. It’s a simple an understandable way to totally distract the user from the fact that they are playing a video game and keep them fully engrossed in the world.

From here we simply get a look at how all parties and groups work together to take on some rather large scale bosses. While the battles don’t seem particularly daunting with the right mix of players it begs the question of how you will be paired up when you try to take on the Eternity Vault.

But that’s not the only bit of news we have for you. Over at Metro they recently conducted an interesting interview with one of BioWare lead designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Emmanuel Lusinchi. When asked about the rather unusual style of the visuals in the game he responded with:

Okay, so the art style. We do that on purpose because a realistic looking game will look great the first year, will look okay the second year, and look terrible three years later when people make fun of it. While a more abstract style has more longevity. More polygons, better technology, would add nothing to the style we’ve chosen.

We want people to be able to play this game forever, literally.

Did you catch that last sentence? They want people to be able to play Star Wars: The Old Republic forever. “Literally”. While the ability to play an MMO forever is not outside of the realm of possibility with enough writing and timeSWTOR is a bit different. Since this is a story based MMORPG with voice acting and subsequent animations involved this means that the folks over at BioWare are looking to do something rather impressive with this. But let’s say that 5 years down the road you wish to take your Jedi into the Dark Side and become a Sith. I mean hell, Jedi do it right? Vador, Dooku, Revan. Heck Revan flipped, then redeemed himself. He’s all over the board. Metro flat out asked if this was possible.

So, the universe is at war. The Republic and the Empire are mortal enemies, they are in a kind of cold war. And we didn’t think it would make any sense for you to kind of leave one side and go and work for the other. If you don’t like what your government is doing typically you don’t go and join the enemy, you try to change your government. And so that’s what we’ve explored.

So if you’re born in the Sith Empire you’re not necessarily evil, that’s just where you’re born and because there’s a war going on you care about your people and you don’t want them hurt. So you will fight the Republic who are trying to bomb you into oblivion. But you will also fight the government and all the decisions that they are taking that are terrible and very aggressive.

But as a Republic person you will have Light Side and Dark Side choices. You can be a terrible, and I mean terrible, person working for the Republic. A lot like if you think of Knights Of The Old Republic, you were on the Republic’s side at that time although you could be really evil.

It seems that while you can be a Dark Side Jedi or a pretty nice Sith you can’t just walk away from the Republic and become a member of the Sith. Check out more of the interview to learn a little bit more about Star Wars: The Old Repbulic.

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In a move that sparks both confusion and irritation Madden NFL 12 is letting gamers around the world select players in five categories that they wish to give a perfect rating to. The biggest question this raises is “What the fuck are you thinking?” This is followed in close second by “No seriously, you know this is about to jack up multiplayer games right? What are you thinking?”

I’m not saying the players they’ve selected are bad. I don’t think anyone will deny how good these players are. They are the best of the best and ordinarily they are difficult to stop. However what EA is trying to do here is let players vote on who they want to receive a Perfect Score. I’m only going to say this once, there is no perfect player. You know what, screw that I’m saying it again. There is NO perfect NFL player. This is feels like they should also look into adding HGH into next years MLB: The Show.

Madden NFL 12 Peyton Hillis

What will a perfect 100 from James Harrison do to Peyton Hillis' run ability?

What makes athletes amazing is that they aren’t perfect. They have bad moments, bad periods, bad games, or even bad streaks. But what makes them exceptional is their ability to recover, come back, and steal the show. This is why makes sports so exciting.

However to the corollary this does not mean that the Madden NFL 12 versions of the players will be unstoppable.  During online play they will still be controlled by a human who can still make mistakes. But this does have potential to make for a rather lopsided game.

This also does not mean that if Tom Brady were to win that the Madden NFL 12 Brady will automatically complete every pass attempt. It just means he’ll complete more of the ones that a normal quarterback shouldn’t. While he is still among the NFL elite he is also far from perfect.

This also does not mean that every aspect of the player will elevated to super human levels. It’s just the one aspect of their statistical breakdown. So while Tom Brady may have a 100 throw accuracy he could still have low ranking for his ability to break free of a defender.

I think that what ultimately rubs me the wrong was about the Madden NFL 12 player voting  is EA’s willingness  to say “We plan on transcending any hope of realism and we’re turning the game into a popularity contest. Who do you like best? We’ll make something about him perfect. He’ll glow and shoot ice cream and hot dogs from his eyes.” Ratings that should be based on real performance and skill are now (for 5 players) going to be  based on if people like them more than someone else.

The voting schedule and candidates are listed below.

Aug. 22
Throw Accuracy
Aug. 23
Elusiveness
Aug. 24
Hit Power
Aug. 25
Spectacular Catch
Aug. 26
Speed
Tom Brady Jamaal Charles Ray Lewis Braylon Edwards Chris Johnson
Peyton Manning Adrian Peterson James Harrison Brandon Lloyd DeSean Jackson
Drew Brees Danny Woodhead Patrick Willis Larry Fitzgerald Jamaal Charles
Aaron Rodgers LeSean McCoy Rey Maualuga Calvin Johnson Devin Hester
Philip Rivers Ray Rice Clay Matthews Dez Bryant Jacoby Ford

 

Feel free to start voting on Monday, August 22nd for the Madden 100. I plan on abstaining on principle.

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A story caught my eye recently.  A title that had me showing my O face before I even read the the full story.  However,  I always try to come across as a critic no matter the situation.  In this article, I will go through all the “ways” this article details and give my thoughts on each.  Ready?  here we go!

Delayed/Glitchy Ports

I would say they are about 60% right.  While I do see the glitchy ports……alot.  I do not see many delayed ports.  Even if a port has been delayed, I would hope its for the good reason of working out more bugs.  For this reason, I would rather see a port for my platform delayed than released on launch day only to be unplayable.

Delayed aside, glitchy ports do plague the PC world.  The biggest example recently would have to be Homefront.  A good game that gives the average FPS person a break from the monstrosity CoD or EA’s own fuckup Bad Company.  It gives a dev console, dedicated servers (although dedicated servers tools still need to be released), and a break from ridiculous melee kills.  However, there is always a badside.  The dev console literally does nothing, no matter what you type into it (it may be only used for server admins).  Servers will just randomly drop players or just quit altogether during or after a match.  The friends tab, where you should be able to join a server that a friend is in, does not work at all.  This forced my friends to call out IP addresses to join eachother, now if only the game allowed you to see the IP addresses while playing in the server -_-;.  Even the server browser has issues pulling up the hundreds of servers.  The game will only pull up servers when it feels like it.  I imagine

I imagine all these problems are not true for the 360 port.  Leave a comment if this is not true.

Another big example was Dead Space 1.  To keep this short, the glitches were so bad, I died more because of them than I did by the enemy’s hand/claw.

Dumbed-Down Sequels

IMHO, ME2 was dumb-downed.  I like my crapload of items and pondering whether or not to switch to different armor or weapon sets.  There is a bit of an argument to be made about DA2 though. (Disclamer: I only played the beta, not the full game, at the time of writing)  With DA:O, the gameplay was very much geared towards keyboard and mouse.  The micromanaging was almost akin to a mini RTS in how much you would need consider.  With DA2, it has been simplified to a point where consoles can now have an easier time.  However,  the gameplay allows the PC port to hang on to the complexities that were their in the original.

Overall, I think this one is more of a stab at greedy companies trying to push hasty sequels (*cough* Activision *cough*).  I think this can hurt everyone, although the 360 less because more games are optimized towards that platform.

The Future Isn’t Now

This is the one that I most disagree with.  There is a reason that stigma of “PC Gaming costs much more than a console” has lasted for so long.  Its because the PC game is always evolving graphically, unlike the console game that can only evolve every 4-8 years.  However, with graphics hitting a peak, and lighting now evolved to a point where realism has been realized, there is not much more room to evolve.  The next evolution is ray tracing (which right now, requires 24 servers computing at once to achieve 60fps).  Needless to say, this will not be used for awhile.

I would have to turn this around and say the past is now.  I know its arrogant to keep looking to the past, but hear me out.  There was one evolution in PC gaming that I still herald to this day.  When CoD2 came out for PC, it allowed one to use DirectX7 or DirectX9.  This made about a 50fps difference at the time.  To be able to use older DX level and still enjoy your game made CoD2 all the much more enjoyable and playable.  Now games are starting to use this switch off for DX9,10,11.  However,  the difference is more whether its playable vs. unplayable.

No, the future isn’t now, but it won’t be for quite awhile still.  For now, we can optimize what we have even more to make this platform more accessible.

Lousy Interfaces/Controls

I can attest to this point on many occasions.  The biggest example off the top of my head being Bioshock.  The PC controls were so loose that it would force me to use a controller.  However, this was because of poor pointer acceleration.  This is again a testament to poor quality control in ports.  Just mapping support for keyboard and mouse is not enough.  This is like mapping controls for a racing game to only respond digitally instead of analog (full acceleration or no acceleration).  Not having a mouse pointer for menu screens or being able to remap controls also!?  Like the article mentions, its 2011.  PC gaming is not defined by just mouse/keyboard support and being able to change the graphics.

There Is No Mod

One wonders how much mileage one can get from a game.  When game developers are now releasing less and less maps (and more P2P DLC), I would like to ask you, how much have you spent on one game?  How many times has there been a glitch in a game that the whole community hates but the developer ignores?  With modding support, the community can help themselves.  Whether its newer/better maps, or even an unofficial patch to help gamers who still play the game (Vampire the Masquerade, a horribly glitchy game, saw MANY unofficial patches to help).

Granted, something community driven can fragment the community.  You like to only play surfing maps, others like to only play Aim maps, the other only will play zombie maps.  Where one sees fragmentation, I see variety.  Lets face it, there should always be regular maps and types being played, why not spice things up a bit.  If the first time you played a zombie map was in CoD:WaW, or black ops, then you are sorely missing out.

The Great Divide

Again, this seems more of a wild stab than staying on target.  People will always argue why halo is better than half-life, or why PC gamers would kick the ass of console players head to head.  He makes the best point of, its always about having fun.  When you are not having fun, you are no longer gaming.

Auto-Save

Again, one I do have to disagree with.  This would have be a product of, again, lazy developers who do not thoughtfully map out auto save points.  Everyone reading has had to been through an experience where you get so far in the game only to die because of something random, only to see that the last time you saved was about 45+ minutes ago.  I have gotten so immersed into situations that the last thing on my mind was to save.  With auto-save, it keeps me from having to break the immersion.

Auto-saving does have its follies.  Sometimes that 45+ minutes was because there was no save point for a long time.  Sometimes the auto save comes right after a horrible mistake.  However, if thought out, the auto save can present challenges that would not otherwise present itself with quick save.  Maybe going through a full challenge that might take 10 minutes.  If you mess up, you start over.  It does prolong the frustration, but it presents a unique mindset of fear that puts you “in the moment”.  You start sweating as the in-game character would,  except its not about saving the world, its about saving the next 9 minutes of your life.

Games For Windows

Nothing to say here.  He makes the point, and I agree.  GFW has not been needed in PC gaming nor will it ever be.

Making Us Hate Our Favorite Developers

Now, to clarify more for the writer of the article.  We (PC Gamers) do not hate our favorite developers because they switched to console.  We hate them because they act like they care about the community (which, if true, MW2 would never have seen the light of day on PC.  Same goes for my argument about whether there truly is a god, but that is for another day).  For the rest, he couldn’t make it any better.  No demo, outsourced port, glitches, and delays.  That I can deal with, but the lie tops the chart.

Kinecting The Dots

As a short response, wait for the market to grow cold.  The kinect will recognize its true potential soon.

Non-Existent Post-Release Support

This can depend on your version of “support” after release.  Does the developer release patches post release?….yes.  Does the developer ignore problems the community brings up?…yes.  For the record, provided DLC is NOT considering post-release support.  That is only providing an expansion pack.  As much as people blew up the cheater fiasco for MW2, I have to sort of sympathize with the devil on this one.  IW was in a bad place, the CoD series was being raped more than the Guitar Hero series (although they thankfully stopped for now), and employees were bleeding out.  However, it doesn’t excuse Black Ops.

PS: Remember the time when patches actually brought along free maps…good times, good times.

Dead-icated Servers

Tis a sad day when things like “Dedicated Servers” is being promoted on the box.  I do have to disagree with Bad Company 2.  Although it does technically have dedicated servers, you can not create your own without shelling out cash to rent one.  It still missed the point and got famous for people turning a blind eye.  I could go on with this point, but lets be blunt.  Dedicated servers are being labeled as old technology….I agree.  But until we get something better, they will always be the best form of MP gaming.  Embrace it, make it evolve.  You can integrate matchmaking into dedicated servers (America’s Army already provides level blocks for servers.  Want a noob friendly friendly server, you got it.)

There are many other arguments to be had here.  Many points in this article do apply and I can only hope some developers get a hold of it.  I like to think that I don’t ask for much, but when you have scraped away so much and start hitting the basics of what makes a PC game, it becomes painful to watch.

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I read a post by Jim Sterling on GameFront that got me thinking about journalism and popularity contests. The very nature of Journalism is a popularity contest. We report what people want to read. Rarely does mind blowing journalism pop up that shakes the core of an industry. People write things to put proverbial butts in the proverbial seats. It’s why entities like Google and Bing exist in the first place; to wade through the BS and find the core of the information.

reddit wallpaper

Reddit, Digg, Twitter, N4G, hell even Facebook are asking to be constant targets of blackhat SEO tactics in the video game world to help push a site up in both rankings and pageviews. This isn’t the first time that something like this has been done and it certainly will not be the last.

The websites in question absolutely didn’t keep a close enough eye on their brand to make sure that its integrity was upheld in the online communities. They failed on that and failed big. You have to watch what people say, do, and communicate with or about your property while online. Their crime is piss poor brand management.

However they all owned up to it. Yeah GamePro had fun with it and more power to them.

It’s definitely true that we’ve had some power users recently spamming content on our behalf. We have already stepped in and asked those people not to do this in future.

The reality of the situation is pretty straightforward – Reddit can be gamed, it was gamed by people on our behalf, and those people got busted. We take full responsibility for engaging those people. And yes, we’re apologizing because we got busted. Damn you. We’d have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids. So give us the kicking we deserve, and we’ll look forward to seeing what the conspiracy theorists will come up with.

We’re hoping that the more reasonable of you will respect our honesty regarding our deferred dishonesty, but we’re sure some people will run riot with it, which is to be expected – and in some places celebrated – on the Internet. Ultimately, we respect Reddit and its community, at least the ones who don’t live under a bridge and forget to take their meds. We also believe in our content, but in future we want you, not spammers, to be the judge of it.

A Statement from GamePro *But not verified as GamePro

A long standing source of journalism shouldn’t have to grovel at the feet of the overly opinionated online denizens that are so quick to issue a verbal smack down under the anonymity of the internet when they find an opinion that makes them feel that they have been the least bit befouled. Was anyone really hurt? You got to read something you may have enjoyed. If you didn’t enjoy it then okay. Is your life any worse by it?

I don’t blame the video game websites for wanting to perform better and get bigger numbers. That’s half the fun of a website. It’s the reason they exist. If they didn’t then they wouldn’t be able to employ much of a staff and you wouldn’t have seen them in the first place.

reddit downvote

Maybe you should downvote a little more.

I also don’t blame “MasterOfHyrule” for doing it. He got free stuff and enjoyed it. Can you blame him? Apology accepted. I would wager that well over 80% of gamers lashing out at this situation would have done the same thing. Forgive and move on. It’s really not that big of a deal. It’s easy to hide behind your scruples until the situation is presented to you. Granted he did it to an absolutely staggering degree and when caught he reacted rather juvenile in his attempts to discredit but ultimately he owned up as well.

As a gamer, a website owner, and a full time SEO I admit that I see problems like this from a very different view. What I have yet to see and what would ultimately impress upon me a wonderful and much needed apology is a “we may want to update how we rank things” from Reddit. It is absolutely, as Jim put it, a popularity contest. But what is the best gauge of popularity?

I don’t want anyone thinking I’m saying Reddit is bad, evil, or in any way shape or form anything other than a delight and a phenomenal way to spend an entire day. I’m simply saying that if it wasn’t so easy to game then perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.

Nobody in this dance is as nefarious as online sentiment would make them out to be. They are nothing more than symptoms and effects of a much larger problem. The question is how does a website guard against being gamed for the purposes of personal benefit? Simply put, it can’t. Everything can be gamed. It’s the reason the big players don’t release their ranking algorithms.

Until we find a way to measure popularity and validity without influence you will continue to be gamed. You may not notice it. You may not see it. In some instances you may not even mind it. But you will be gamed. Sucks don’t it?

Afterthought Edit:

Mad props to Deimorz for not just noticing something was up but also for sticking to their guns. Fairly impressive. You get our “Ass Stamp of Approval” for the week.

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