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Monday, July 12, 2010

On the Nintendo 3DS

I spoke recently about the evolution of the DS and my thoughts on it as an anti-emulation technology. Well, my friend pointed out that the next generation of the DS is actually a three dimensional gaming platform. While I haven't researched this extensively yet (nor am I looking forward to buying yet another gaming system), I am interested in the fact that it is similar to my musings on the Nintendo DS.

That is to say that the 3DS, is a technology that will be hard to emulate on most computers. In truth the Wii also is almost impossible to emulate, which makes the three newest Nintendo hardware choices all difficult or impossible to emulate. I find it very interesting.

Now, I will admit that it is hard to find a decent emulator for anything after the first playstation, but the other systems should still be theoretically doable, that is without any difficult things to emulate. If one is using a gamepad especially. I do wonder about the future of emulation, and whether every game company will invent a gimick so that their consoles are more diversified from PC's than they already are. Then again, I may just be looking for a conspiracy where there is none.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blizzard Cancels Real Names on Forums

Funny thing, I've spent most of my week reading about real names on blizzard forums as part of the RealID launch. I've just read an announcement that this will no longer be so. Seems like Blizzard has seen the outcry against their latest feature idea, and has actually done the smart thing: avoided the angry populace. Looks like WoW will survive for now.

-VG

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Eve and Time Commitments

I've recently considered a return to Eve Online, however, I remember how much time I spent on that game. I had a system to make quite a lot of money by running an NPC corp standing service, but it ate a lot of real life time, not only in the actual mission running but also waiting on customers to get online. All in all it was much more of a job than anything else.

If I play Eve again, I will play it enough to buy PLEXes every month to remove the need of a subscription. That said, doing even that could take a lot of time every month. Last time I was playing, I played at least six hours a day, time that I do not have at all now, let alone have that I would want to spend on a single game when there are many other things to do. I'm wondering if it is possible to spend a mere hour on Eve a day and still make enough every month for a PLEX. It strikes me that this would require earning ten million isk every hour, which is doable in many cases, but will lead to doing nothing but that every day. That repetition would be boring which defeats the whole purpose.

That said, is it any different than playing WoW and grinding out the same instances for badges every day? Or really any MMORPG. You are either levelling, grinding for money or gear, or PVPing. It seems to all combine together into one big pile until there is little left but grinding.

Ah well. Sometimes I wish the current generation of MMO's would die so something new would spring forth out of an empty market. Something truly fun to play that you could pick up for one hour or six. I'm just rambling now though, I think.

-VG

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On Returning to Warcraft 3 Multiplayer

Its been a long while since I played Warcraft 3, let along Warcraft 3 on Battle.net. Since I am no longer playing WoW, but I still like the world and feel of Warcraft, I think its time I returned to the multiplayer parts of this game. I've never been very good, but I think this stems from a lack of experience and a lack of specializing in one faction.

As such I think I will play as the orc, though I may decide the overall range prowess of the night elves suits my purposes better. Either way I will play and practice with my chosen faction and try to learn and get better. Expect future posts to detail my successes or failures (mainly failures), hopefully complete with replays for those wanting to ridicule me.

Feedback is always appreciated.
-VG

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On DS Emulation

Oddly enough out of all the emulation software I've seen, I've yet to find a decent Nintendo DS emulator that works properly. There are many that work under certain circumstances, but none work for all games. That said, it is hard to emulate a touch screen without using a touch screen (the mouse can only do so much). That said, I've yet to see a game that requires a stylus to play, they usually just make the game easier (that said I have only played a half dozen DS games).

I think that this may be an important aspect of the DS. It is hard to emulate and therefore, people have to buy the games or at least rent them, in order to play. Instead of getting games for free and having their copyrights just ignored, Nintendo can effectively make their games be bought, provided they continue making quality titles.

Just some thoughts. It may just be a matter of time, but by the time the DS emulators work, there may be some new gameboy out thats emulation technology will be too different for the current ones to work.

-VG

Monday, July 5, 2010

On the Wii

Motion-sensor technology is something that we've wanted for the home console for a long time. There are a handful of games in arcades that use it, and some of them are very fun and interactive. However, these games have problems, and they are very present in the Wii.

I've had my first real contact with the wii last night, and while I'd have to play much more to see a real verdict (mainly single-player parts of it, as I was playing group games), my initial thoughts are not good. I should note this is the newer version of the controllers with the upgraded sensors.

The first problem was the sensitivity of the controller for menus and the like was too fine. This made it hard to use the keyboard to make a Mii. This is a minor inconvenience, but it also meant that during a game, sometimes very weird things would happen. The controllers also have a strange disconnect problem where they will stop functioning for a few moments until they are set down and remain still.

The second problem is that the games themselves (for wii sports and sports resort) are poorly designed. Bowling worked fairly well, but the swordfighting game had no real strategy to it besides flailing randomly. Defending works once, but if you get hit once and your opponent is just flailing at you, you will get knocked off with no chance to recover. The air sports fighting game is pointless as well. Most of the balloon tokens you can get to are spread far enough around that they are hard to get to in time, and the whole game takes place too close to the ground for any real maneuvering. It is a game that is a good concept, but poorly implemented. These designs have me question the potential for the console and the various swordfighting and jedi games we'd like to see for it.

Finally there is a limited range arc in front of the sensor that the remotes are active in. Because of this, playing with four players in anything but a clear room results in potential injury. Even with two people playing there was plenty of chance for injury.

On thing I really like is that multiple players can use one controller in some games. This is much easier than playing a two player game and taking turns with the controllers.

Overall I'll need more Wii time before I can decide if I like the console or not. Its not looking good for Nintendo's motion sensor baby.
-VG

Friday, July 2, 2010

On Turn based War Games

I'm a bit of an addict to turn based strategy and war games. Lately, though, i find that I am playing a lot of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. I'm even joining a fire emblem RPG game on a webcomic forum I frequest. I'm not sure why I like these games so much.

I also play real time war games, like Hearts of Iron 3, and a handful of others (some with more RTS elements than not), but these I don't find nearly as fascinating. HOI 3 is very interesting and complex, but there's something about turn based that is more fun...I wish I could really figure it out.

Maybe its the fact that these games are overtly turn based. No matter how real combat seems it is all based on turns in some way shape or form. HOI 3 battles are turn based, and reload times for tanks and the like makes many "reality based" war games act in a similar way. Maybe this is just because they have to be, because they are computer games.

I think the real truth to it all is that I am a strategist. I enjoy planning out military tactics and executing them. Turn based games make this easier and more straightforward than games that act more in real time. I'll probably just have a different answer for it tomorrow thoguh.

-VG

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Irony of Cataclysm

There is a bit of irony in Blizzard's new expansion. For many years the players in Azeroth have tried and battled against mighty hordes to save their world from destruction, to keep their people and homes safe. They have ventured out of this world and to the top of Icecrown to defeat the malicious lords and ladies that would destroy this planet...

And yet they will cheer when the world is torn and ripped by Deathwing.

Players are EAGERLY awaiting the changes that are coming. Eagerly awaiting the utter destruction of the places they "grew up" in and levelled through. Some are even getting very impatient that Deathwing hasn't destroyed everything yet. Now, I know I'm waiting on some "beach front" property investments to pay off in Thousand Needles, but isn't it just a bit strange that the same people who fought off the Lich King so he wouldn't scourge the world free of the blight of living things are waiting such massive changes to their world?

Just thought it was weird. As you know I will not be playing Cataclysm (though I will be looking at screenshots to see how the zones changed). If you're going to play it, I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers
-VG