Monthly Archives: August 2016

No Man’s Sky Disaster — What have we learned?

No Man’s Sky is the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf.  If you’ve literally been on a different planet and haven’t heard about No Man’s Sky, it was the most anticipated game the last several years.  It promised space exploration that even Captain Kirk wouldn’t have promised.  Procedurally-generated worlds to discover, claim, exploit, and kill other players over.  Yep, serious testosterone infusion.

no man's sky video game

The developer, Hello Games, kept hyping and then delaying, until it couldn’t hype nor delay anymore.  It had to happen, and it happened, and it was a huge bust of Ryan Leaf proportions.  But unlike Ryan Leaf with all his ESPN-worthy antics, the game’s biggest problem is that it’s boring.

Worlds are more or less the same.  Space exploration takes time and then when you find something interesting, it turns out to be déjà vu all over again.  Yep, same rocks, same plants, lame creatures, same, same, same.

And of course the biggest hype within the biggest hype was the promise of something awesome at the center of the galaxy.  So after hours of grinding you get there, and what do you find?

Nothing.

At the end, there is nothing.  Atheists would love this.  But no one else.

After several minutes of travel, the game turns white, and then resets to essentially the beginning, stranded on some weird planet with broken gear.

Come on, Hello Games!  Be creative.  Reward your players after all the foreplay.

At the very least have some fun with it and give us the Star Child from 2001.

So, what have we learned from the No Man’s Sky debacle?

1) Procedural generation still needs work. 

Remember Age of Empires or Civilization from the ‘90s?  Generate a new world but essentially it’s the same world with resources here instead of there, or a door or window in different places.  No Man’s Sky is prettier, but essentially the same tech from the 1990s.

2) Under-promise, over-deliver. 

Anyone selling anything would know this.  Hello Games needed to hype less, launch small, build slow.

3) Reward your fans. 

Put all your powerful brains together and come up with something really awesome to put in the Center of the Universe.  Here’s an idea: have it change with every player depending on what they do.  For example, if they’re religious, have them meet their god of choice.  Or some other pleasant surprise, like the Star Child, or Captain Kirk, or Starship Voyager, or Battlestar Galactica.  Something!  Anything!


Without the hype, the game is what you’d expect from real space exploration.  Searching for the Fountain of Youth may sound exciting, but what you’d really end up finding his miles and miles of jungle after jungle.  Same repetitive crap.  That’s probably the same with space exploration.  In fact, you’d probably find nothing more than anything.

So the main thing we’ve learned is…the Fountain of Youth doesn’t exist!

no_man's_sky_space

Lost Ember Teaser Trailer — What Animal Do You Want to Be?

What animal do you want to be?

That’s an awesome pick-up line.  Next time you’re at a bar and see that hot girl or guy, ask him/her, “What animal do you want to be?”  Works every time.

Really, I love that question.  It probably doesn’t do what some people think it does, which is, tell you something about that person’s character, but it is everyone’s fantasy to fly like an eagle or become a grizzly and pounce on well-intentioned but ignorant nature activists.

lost ember video game

Since college, my answer has always been whale.  I would love to float around and sing all day.  Girls thought that meant I was lazy and irresponsible, so I stopped telling girls I wanted to be a whale.  Instead, I said a Silverback that protects all his female companions.  They liked that a little better.

In Lost Ember, a game-in-development at Mooneye Studios, you can be an animal.  Lots of them.  The wolf is the main character here.  But the power of an ember also brings life to birds, goats, fish, mole, etc.  You can swim, fly, climb treacherous mountains and yeah, crawl around in underground tunnels.

lost ember video game

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t look like it has deep sea creatures, like the whale.  Perhaps Lost Ember 2?

The game is set for Kickstarter in the fall.  But it already looks amazing.  As it says on its website, it’s more than just a game, it’s an experience.  Overall, most intriguing animal-morphing game since Zelda: Majora’s Mask.  Definitely a project worth supporting – we’ll keep an eye out for its KS launch.

The Wolfe — Be Free!

It’s 2016 and I still see dudes lugging around their desktop.  Why?  They need the power of their desktop in a laptop situation.

Gamers, video editors, motion artists, etc, are all imprisoned to their powerful yet immobile work-stations.  They are imprisoned, ball and chain.  Will anyone free them?

The Wolfe is here to set you free!

the wolfe

The Wolfe is a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that plugs into your laptop, giving it the graphical oomph needed to accomplish graphics-heavy tasks.  Yeah, gaming, for example.  Guys can engage in some serious online action while out at the local bar.  No more mom’s basement or the man-cave where your wife can easily find you.  Escape.  Freedom.  The Wolfe is the ultimate liberator.

Or you’re a freelance editor or artist.  No longer need to be at your work station.  Work anywhere.

It also allows Virtual Reality on your laptop.  Think about that.  You are sitting in a café and need to hit your VR fix.  Put on those awesome headsets, plug in your Wolfe and you’re good to go.  People will love you.

the_wolfe_vr

The Wolfe is awesome.  And it’s on Kickstarter.  It’s already over $200K of $50K goal with 28 days to go.  Yes, those numbers are correct.  It is the disruption people have been craving for.  Who in the world will buy a desktop now?  Sorry, computer industry, time to adapt or die.

The Wolfe has stretch goals.  Pledge $399 and get your Wolfe at cost.  Yeah, do it now.

Madden Mobile 17 Tips for Success: Should I use the Auction?

To use or not to use the Auction?  That’s an FAQ for both noobs and non-noobs alike in Madden Mobile 17.

The simple answer is…it depends on what you’re trying to do and when.

If your only objective is to achieve the highest-rated team as fast as possible, then yeah, hit the auction.  If you’re really good at sniping, then use the auction.  If it’s June or July, then hit the auction.

Otherwise, I would not use the auction.  At least, not until June of next year.  Definitely not in the first half of the season.

Also, check out my other Madden Mobile 17 posts:

Head-to-head Rivalry Tips for Success

Top Run Plays

Top Pass Plays

Here are 6 reasons why you should NOT use the Auction:

1) The game resets in August every year. 

That means you lose the team you’ve built during the season and have to build a new one all over again.  So, the only real reward for having a high-rated squad is eye-candy when doing legacy events.

2) A high-rated team doesn’t really help you. 

My objective every year is to move up in head-to-head rankings.  Since you play teams at the same level, there’s no advantage for having a high-rated squad.  (One exception is the kicker.  I would use the auction to buy a high-rated kicker early on if competing in H2H.)

In inter-league play, there are a large number of players and leagues to choose from, so a top-rated team is not necessary to compete.  Intra-league tourneys are usually for fun, so no need there, either.

madden mobile 17 video game

No auction, no problem. Still competitive.

3) Auction players are over-priced during the first half of the season. 

Supply is low during the first few months, and so prices are through the roof.  See screenshot below.  An 85-rated Center starts at $50K.  Cam Newton at 88 starts at $100K+.  Come January, you will be able to buy an 85-rated player for $5,000.  That’s buy, not bid.  Cam Newton at 88 will be at about $50K in January, and much less than that in May.  However, you won’t even consider buying those players later because you will already have better players by then, just from packs and completing sets and live events.

madden mobile 17 video game

Auction is over-priced early in the Madden Mobile season.

4) Buy Pro-Packs instead. 

I’m talking about early in the season.  A pack is $7500 and almost every pack will improve your team in some way.  In just the first few weeks, I pulled DeAndre Hopkins (87), Tom Brady (88), Antonio Brown (90), Travis Federick (87), Joe Thomas (87), and Matt Forte (85) from pro-packs.

madden mobile 17 video game

madden mobile 17 video game

madden mobile 17 video game

madden mobile 17 video game

Early in the season, almost every pro-pack will improve your team and help you complete sets.

5) Complete sets and live events for players. 

You will get the players you need just by playing the game.

6)  It’s more fun not to use the auction. 

I know, subjective.  But let’s say you achieve a 100-rated team in October.  And then what?  Bragging rights?  Cool!  I like finding gems in Pro-packs.  I enjoy completing sets and achievements.

madden mobile 17 video game

My offense so far…no auction needed.

Again, the game resets in August.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Last year, I only bought a handful of players via the auction, almost all of them in May and June to improve my legacy team.

Go here to see my team from last year, which ended at #66 in H2H.

Throughout the season, there are enough opportunities to acquire top players via seasonal events, achievements, sets and others.  So, no, you don’t need the auction to have fun and compete.

But however you play, the only thing that matters is to have fun.  So suit up and see you on that virtual field!

Happy Madden Mobile 2017!

Madden Mobile 16 Final Roster — Ranked #66 Overall

Madden Mobile 17 is well underway, but we pause to marvel at my awesome team from Madden Mobile 16.  The team that ended Ranked #66 overall in H2H Rivalry Play.

madden mobile 16 video game

Final Rivalry Ranking: #66 Overall

Offense, Rated 101

madden mobile 16 video game

Offense is Best Offense

QB: Tom Brady, 98

HB: Barry Sanders, 99

FB: Emmitt Smith, 99

TE: Rob Gronkowski, 99

TE/WR Flex: Allen Robinson, 98

WR: Jerry Rice, 99

WR: Odell Beckham, Jr, 99

LT: Nate Solder, 99

LG: Brandon Scherff, 99

C: Joe Berger, 99

RG: John Greco, 98

RT: Rob Havenstein, 99

Defense, Rated 100

madden mobile 16 video game

The defense that won a ton of fans.

DE: JJ Watt, 99

DE: Everson Griffen, 98

DT: Darnell Dockett, 99

DT: Terrance Knighton, 98

LB: Lawrence Taylor, 99

LB: Pernell McPhee, 99

LB: Elvis Dumervil, 98

MLB: Clay Matthews, 99

CB: Deion Sanders, 99

CB: Ronald Darby, 99

S: Ed Reed, 99

S: Adrian Amos, 99

Nickel: Will Hill, 99

Dime: Antrel Rolle, 96

Special Teams, Rated 96

madden mobile 16 video game

Only regret…not getting Hester

K: Billy Cundiff

P: Brett Kern

KR: Tyler Lockett

PR: Earl Thomas III

NOTES:

1) Overall Team Rating: 100

2) The only players I acquired via auction were Havenstein, Taylor, and Amos.  And I got them late in the season (July) to beef up my legacy team.  Everyone else I acquired by completing sets and achievements during the season.  Because the game re-sets every August, I didn’t see a need to spend big bucks buying players early.  My objective was always to end the year in the top 100, which I accomplished and having great players early on doesn’t help in that.  Players also drop in price considerably as the season progresses so don’t buy players early in the football year.

3) Team MVP was Barry Sanders.  Both Emmitt and Barry are 99s, but there was a huge difference between the two.  Barry would break off for long runs much more than Emmitt.  For a RB in Madden Mobile, speed is most important.

4) Gronkowski was also key to success on the field.  The TE was a very important position in Madden Mobile 16.  The WRs were not as important.  I didn’t see a significant difference between Rice and OBJ (99s) and a guy in the low 90s.

5) Only disappointment was not getting KR Devin Hester, 99, which was the award for winning 2500 games as a league.  We fell short by less than 200 wins.  Some of our league mates decided to take a break the last 2-3 months of the season.  I would have had Hester in January had I not changed leagues, but it had to be done since that league was condoning cheating.  Read all about it here in my blog post on force closing.

6) I loved my 2016 team, looking forward to more success in Madden Mobile 17!

 

 

Prey 2017 Gameplay Trailer — I’m on a Space Station, y’all!

System Shock is coming back.  Soon.  Kickstarter funded the remake, and it’s only a matter of time.  But if you can’t wait, then Prey is coming back, which, like System Shock, is about space station gone mad.

Okay, you have to wait for Prey, too.  Until 2017, but the trailer’s here to whet your appetite for desolate space stations.

Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t exactly wow, however.  It shows us it’s an FPS right away.  How?  The hand, of course.  I’m looking at my hand!  It’s real.  I’m on a space station and I’m looking at my hand!

Genius!  How do you show that it’s an FPS in a gameplay trailer?  Show the hand.

Not enough?

Show the hand holding something.  Like a gun.  And have it shooting something with the gun.  Yep, it’s an FPS.

And I’m on a space station!

Another non-wow is the arsenal.  A semi-auto pistol and a shotgun.  There’s an interesting device at :47, which looks like a camcorder.  It doesn’t really show what it does.  The dude looks through it and it becomes like Star Wars hyperspace.  I guess that’s what it does.   It’s like a really cool kaleidoscope.

Or perhaps it makes you see bad guys, which in this case are black shadowy things.  Some are small and insect-like.  Others have tentacles.  Others are more humanoid.  But they’re all black shadowy things.

Well, I wish that was a wow, but it really isn’t.  It actually feels like the developers took a shortcut.  Black shadowy things don’t need too much detail.  Although the ones with tentacles probably took some work to get all the tentacles tentacle-ly.

prey video game

Watch out for…black shadowy thing!

Prey is not Prey 2 but a re-imagining of the original.  That means some RPG elements, which I’m hoping is better developed than the FPS elements shown in the trailer.

Praying that Prey will be awesome.

Coming in 2017 to Windows, PS4 and Xbox One.

Vikings: Wolves of Midgard Teaser Trailer — Why kill when you can turn your enemies into bacon?

Ah, them Vikings!  Gotta love them.

The teaser trailer for Vikings – Wolves of Midgard is more than a teaser trailer.  We get a good dose of gameplay, which looks very similar to Diablo.  Ah, gotta love those STEAM games!

The Action RPG transports you to the world of the Vikings and Ragnarok and all them gods.  There’s a battle going on, villages being sacked, evil creatures lurking and it’s your job to defend and revenge.  Or something like that.  Save the world, basically.  With your war-hammer and Viking might!

vikings wolves of midgard video game

You are either a kick-butt Viking dude or a kick-butt shieldmaiden.  Online co-op allows for double the butt-kicking.

There are all types of creatures to battle, including small monsters to wild animals to Frost Giants.  In the linear top-down world, the terrain is only eye-candy as battles don’t seem to rely on tactical use of the surroundings.

In addition to your trusty war-hammer, the ability to use magic is key.  One of the more interesting spells happen at :47.  Bad scary goblins become cuddly pigs.  Bacon, anyone?

For a teaser trailer, there’s a lot of game already made, but it won’t be ready until early 2017.  Pre-purchase is available now on STEAM.

Lost Soul Aside Trailer — lone developer’s opus ROKs!

Koreans are great gamers.  They’re also excellent indie developers apparently.  My man, Yang Bing (or Bing Yang, American style), from the R.O.K., rocks!  Check out his open world RPG-in-progress, Lost Soul Aside.

Yes, all kinds of comparisons to Final Fantasy XV, and for good reason, but the story here is that it’s ONE dude!

Been working on it for 2 years full time, supporting himself with freelance jobs, then planning to work part-time on it for the next 10 years.

Mr. Yang, my advice to you…

Kickstarter!

No doubt this will get funded.  Easy.

In any case, the gameplay looks top-notch and the whole thing just looks beautiful.  Again, one DUDE!  Someone invest in this game already, get him some help, get Lost Soul Aside done!