Surprising Mechanics in Games
Posted on Tuesday, November 3 2015 @ 16:23:15 PST
This weekend my brother, my girlfriend and myself went down south interstate to Melbourne, Australia for PAX AUS 2015. The show was awesome, lots of fun, but that's a story for another time. The opening key note was presented by Warren Spector, a video game designer who was the creative director of the original Deus Ex. In his key note presentation, he talks about games that have mechanics in them that, while in the game, the developers didn't quite realize and players actually discovered it for themselves.
Warren discussed that when he and his mate were developing the dungeons for one of the Ultima games he was working on the time. The two decided that every puzzle in the game must have two solutions. Well, for one puzzle they had nothing, only one solution. It involved a wall of bars that the player couldn't pass, behind the wall was a lever needed to progress further. The player couldn't reach the switch, and thus would be required to have the telekinesis spell to pull down the lever to move forward.
One fella, who was play testing this game, had arrived to this particular area. Warren and his friend thought the tester was screwed because he lacked the needed spell to pull the lever. However, after thinking for a few minutes, the tester used a particular party member, a small rat-like character, to move under and right through the bars to physically pull the switch by hand. This left Warren and his mate with their jaws dropped, they had no idea that this was possible, despite building the dungeon and puzzles themselves.
Another example is the Korean-based online game GunZ. I used to play GunZ when I was a teenager, I played with my friends. For those who don't know, GunZ was a free to play arena based game, where players would fight each other in a third person manner using acrobatics, guns and swords. There was a strange bug in the game, where if players used their swords to attack/block and dashed at the same time, they could end up flying through levels. While this was never meant to be a part of the game, this bug became a part of the GunZ culture and became known as "K-Style".
I really like that about games, how some games have multiple solutions to problems that may, or may not be made on purpose by the developer. It not only surprises the player, but the developer themselves.
One example I personally have... back in 2000, I was twelve years old, playing the classic Perfect Dark, up to the Area 51 level. As Joanna Dark, players needed to essentially escort a hovering crate full of explosives, finding a particular wall, placing the crate beside it and then blowing it up to gain access. The problem though is that the enemies shooting at you may shoot the crate and blow it up. If the crate blows up, the mission fails, but the mission doesn't finish... what I liked about Perfect Dark and its predecessor GoldenEye, was if the mission failed, you would continue.
So I was playing and unfortunately, the crate blew up because of my jack arse opponents. I was so frustrated, angered that I had given the crate so much care and caution, only to have it blow up and not only nearly killing me, but making me fail the mission. As I mentioned just before though, while the mission was over, the game was not.
Curiously, the enemies were all carrying the Dragon assault rifle. In Perfect Dark, all weapons had a secondary function. In the Dragon's case, it's primary function was standard automatic fire while it's secondary function was to throw the Dragon on the ground and it becomes an explosive device that detonates when enemies come near it. I reached the wall that I was supposed to destroy with the crate and instead, I threw my Dragon rifle down on the floor by the wall. Getting some distance, I shot the rifle with my pistol and bam, the rifle exploded and the wall came down like a sack of ****. Suddenly, my mission was no longer a failure and I jumped for joy as "Objective Completed" appeared on screen, allowing me to continue my progress.
This isn't exactly progress related, but another fun mechanic we discovered was in Perfect Dark's predecessor, GoldenEye. Remote mines. Those were fun. In GoldenEye, you would throw a remote mine onto any surface. You would then be required to switch to your watch to detonate the bomb. Alternatively, you could press A + B at the same time to do a quick detonation.
One of the coolest things we discovered is what we called "Hadouken", was throwing a mine at someone and while the mine was flying through the air, quickly press A + B at the same time to detonate the mine in mid air. In a sense, it was like having a grenade launcher, albeit faster firing and I dare say, much more accurate.
It's things like this in games that I really appreciate, where you discover mechanics that are while in the game, are not quite "advertised" as such in the game. These cool little secrets that are found by players are sometimes not actually known by developers at the time of the game's making.
Do you have any cool stories like this, but most likely to be much cooler than mine? Please share in the comments below.
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The Internet Is Angry
Posted on Thursday, May 7 2015 @ 21:35:05 PST
This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.
Disclaimer: This blog entry may contain very minor spoilers to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. May also contain spoilers for other popular fan franchises (Mass Effect trilogy). Blog entry also contains a lot of coarse language.
We all spend a lot of time on the Internet. I'm certain that every person who visits GameRevolution would spend a lot of time online. Whether it's playing games, watching videos of cats doing funny crap, downloading stuff, using social media whatever we do, we all spend a lot of time online. In today's modern world, most people have the Internet at their finger tips thanks to the technology of smart phones, so it's safe to say that yeah, a lot of use use the Internet... a lot.
Within the past few years though, I've noticed that the people of the Internet are becoming much angrier and more aggressive. I don't know how long it's been like this or when it all started going downhill, but as much as I and many others enjoy using the Internet, the Internet has become a dark place filled with very angry people.
I'm probably going to open a can of worms on this one, but recently film director Joss Whedon has “quit” Twitter after receiving some massive blacklash from apparent fans regarding the portrayal of Black Widow in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Everyone has an opinion and really, that's fine, there's things I agree with about the character Black Widow but there's also things I don't quite agree. I had a look online to see what exactly people tried to say to Joss Whedon via Twitter and some of the results are horrifically ridiculous.
“I'm not ****ing kidding. I'm going to curb stomp you until you admit that you're a misogynist who can't write.”
“FUCK YOU JOSS, YOU CAN'T JUST COME INTO THE AVENGERS FRANCHISE AND START KILLING OFF MAJOR CHARACTERS, THIS ISN'T GAME OF THRONES.”
“Joss Whedon is a sexist piece of ****.”
“Block me ugly sexist mayo jar.”
“You call yourself a feminist yet you make rape jokes and treat female characters like ****.”
“Catch my hands right now turn on your ****ing location you neck beard *****.”
“Joss Whedon is a piece of ****. Fight me you misogynistic douchebag.”
That's only an extremely small portion of “fan” tweets to Joss Whedon.
In Joss Whedon's defense, film director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) had this to say on his own Twitter account, something which I completely agree with,
“Most of you are aware of this, but anyone who urges a film maker to kill himself over a movie plot needs to seriously examine his life.”
It's true, hundred percent it's true. I know there are dick head “trolls” who roam around the Internet with nothing better to do but to try and amuse themselves by putting down others, but how can people be filled with so much anger and hatred? There's something very, very wrong here.
People on the Internet are fans of stuff, of a lot of stuff really. We love what we're into, we're so very passionate about it, I get that and that's cool. I'm a huge fan of Mass Effect and while the original ending of Mass Effect 3 pissed a lot of people off (myself included), I didn't take to the Internet threatening to brutally maim (or murder) Mass Effect's director, Casey Hudson. I did voice my opinion (as I am now) saying I didn't like the original ending. I didn't go to Casey's Twitter page and resort to “Hey Casey Hudson you ****ing *****, fight me brah.” I'm not going to judo throw the man, for God's sake.
It's not just men who cop all this crap to, of course not. Love her or hate her, feminist public speaker, blogger and media critic Anita Sarkeesian is another human being who receives a lot of **** that people really don't deserve. I realize she doesn't have the best reputation on the Internet and not everyone agrees with what she has to say, but honestly if you disagree with someone about their views and opinions, a normal human being wouldn't threaten said someone with threats of violence, rape, murder, etc.
Now I'm going to kick a bucket and make a huge mess, but let's not forget indie developer Zoe Quinn of last year's infamous scandal with Depression Quest. I won't get into it but to nut-shell it, there was a lot of controversy behind it and the whole thing really awakened the inner monster in so many people on the Internet, on both sides of the party. Whether they were with Zoe or against her, people went all out in unleashing their rage and hatred.
Stuff pisses us off all the time. I get pissed off when people drive like idiots when I'm on my way to work or home. I get pissed off when a game I want to play is delayed (**** you, Batman: Arkham Knight... actually I take that back, I'm sorry Batman I didn't mean it). When angry though, there are better ways to express one's anger rather than taking to the Internet with your keyboard-sword in hand, slashing at someone's throat with horrific words of violence and more.
Mike “Gabe” Krahulik of Penny Arcade drew up a theory over ten years ago, “Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckward Theory”, where normal person, plus anonymity, plus audience equals total ****wad “shitcock”. That makes sense, it's totally true. What completely baffles me though is with social media being so public, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, most people use their real names and pictures, so in a sense they're no longer anonymous. We know their names, we know their face, and still they choose to behave like a complete sociopath.
I think it's horrible that people make such dreadful comments and threats over the Internet. It's not so much that they're doing it that makes me cringe, it's that they seem to think it's acceptable and normal, that for one there's nothing wrong with them saying these things to that person, and two they think there's nothing unhealthy in their minds about it. Do they think it's completely harmless, just because it's a comment on the Internet? Maybe it's just an empty threat that will never follow through, and most of the time that's all it is, that's all they are, but it doesn't make it “okay” at all, it's completely unacceptable, down right wrong and frankly, very worrying.
Think of someone you don't like on the Internet who you will probably never meet... maybe it's Joss Whedon for the Avengers: Age of Ultron, maybe it's Casey Hudson for the ending of Mass Effect 3, maybe it's Uwe Boll for his **** movies but regardless... would you honestly approach these individuals, threaten them with physical harm, or/and go through with your threat on the spot?
Most of you, hopefully all of you will be thinking “No, I wouldn't." I would be very concerned for yourselves however, if you even considered “Yes”.
[The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. Master Craig is GR's comic creator. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan]
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GR Strips - Takin' a little break
Posted on Tuesday, December 23 2014 @ 19:20:10 PST
I'm pretty sure I'm in the same boat as a lot of people when I say this but I can't believe 2014 is almost done. As I type this blog entry, it's 12:25 PM, Wednesday the 24th of December, Christmas Eve. I still can't believe it. This year has gone fast.
I'm writing this blog entry for two reasons. First, to announce that GR Strips will be taking a brief break for a few weeks, as this coming Sunday I will be leaving Australia and traveling to Japan for a few weeks with some friends for a holiday. Second, to have a bit of a spill about GR Strips and the experience behind it.
Around November last year, I noticed a thread over at GR forums, made by GR's content director and reviews manager Daniel Bischoff. He was asking if anyone would be interested in working as a freelancer for GR, more specifically to review games. While I've never professionally reviewed products or games, I stepped forward and spoke to Daniel to see if other work might be available, in this case, it was comics.
Daniel spoke to the permanent staff of GR and after a few back and forth e-mails of discussion, we came up with GR's own web comic, GR Strips, with our first comic “Maybe She's Born With It” uploaded on Friday the 31st of January.
44 comics later, now we're here.
Unfortunately, I've only been able to commit myself to one comic a week. I'd love to do more, but it is quite time consuming, especially because my colleagues, the staff of GameRevolution are all based in the United States, while I'm here on the planet of Australia. It's been a challenging learning curve, one for all of us I'm sure.
It's easy to admit that not all of our comics have been positive or successful. It's pretty evident when people don't like, or understand a comic. At the end of the day though that's kinda to be expected and quite understandable. You can't please everyone, and sometimes someone might think something is great, while someone else may not quite agree. That's fine, that's the nature of the beast. However in saying that, I know there are some comics of ours that have been very successful and looked upon in a positive light, and I'm very proud of those works and collaborations.
I used to run my own web comic Reckless Abandon with my older brother. We slowly stopped doing comics due to time and motivation. With GR Strips though, it's been a blessing to have, as the schedule keeps me motivated and driven. I get to collaborate with multiple people and it's really humbling to see people reading and enjoying my works. Hell, it's even interesting to have some haters and trolls!
GR Strips has given me an opportunity for many things. For starters, it makes me draw on a regular basis, allowing me to keep practicing with my art, it allows me to experiment and try new things in comics, people see my work and I enjoy the interaction with the readers.
For this opportunity, there's a fair few people I'd like to thank.
I want to thank the entire staff of GameRevolution... Anthony, Nick, Daniel, Alex, Ryan and all the other freelancers and contributors for all of their encouraging support, writing and editing of the comics.
I'd like to thank my older brother Morgan for also helping me write and edit some of the comics.
Finally I'd like to thank each and every one of you, the readers, the viewers of GameRevolution for not only coming to this site, but for at least looking at my work. Whether they've made you laugh, smile, or shake your head thinking “Craig is such an idiot”, I want to thank you for at least looking at my work.
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all have a great Christmas with your family and loved ones and I hope you all have a safe and happy new year. All the best for 2015 everyone!
GR Strips is scheduled to return on January the 30th, 2015.
It's been a pleasure.
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Welcome Home - PAX AUS 2014
Posted on Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:26:56 PST
Last night I returned home from PAX AUS 2014. Long story short, it wasn't perfect, but it was quite possibly the best weekend I've had this year. It was a lot of fun. If you'd like to continue reading, the long story is ju... read more...
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Nostalgia, or something more?
Posted on Monday, June 2 2014 @ 13:05:57 PST
A few weeks ago I had finally finished Dark Souls II for PC. Since finishing that game, I haven't really been playing anything else. I should be, considering I have a few unfinished titles for my 3DD but I prefer to save them for ... read more...
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One month onboard the Normandy
Posted on Monday, December 2 2013 @ 00:11:34 PST
Warning: This blog entry may contain spoilers about the Mass Effect trilogy.
About four weeks ago I was bored, really bored. It was a Saturday night and like the loser that I am I was at home bored. I had recently fini... read more...
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Quick enough for quick time?
Posted on Wednesday, February 25 2009 @ 04:30:20 PST
So what's everyone's thoughts on quick time events?
Personally, I'm not very fond of them, unless they're done right. How they're done right though is a good question because everyone probably has different opinions as to how it should be ... read more...
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