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Welcome Back to the West
By oneshotstop
Posted on 08/01/16
The only thing that stops the dust is the rain. It’s a sweet reprieve, but there is no middle ground. The land is either as dry as the Betty Ford clinic, or as wet as the ocean floor. Everything can be seen from the ridge overlooking Armadillo as John Marston gently bounces along atop...


Tyrranis Tyrranis' Blog
Play-while-you-install: The Good, The Bad & The Annoying
Posted on Friday, December 30 2016 @ 17:31:21 PST

Lately, I've seen a trend emerge with games nowadays that allows users to download enough of the game to run it, then allow for the user to play the title whilst the rest of it downloads. Steam does not seem to have the functionality as of yet, but from what I've seen, uPlay and select titles on the Playstation Network do have this functionality.

Given the increase of game install sizes in recent years, this is a welcome trend. If only everyone did it well, as I've seen some titles use this install method pretty poorly. I have listed my experiences with titles that use this functionality below, in order of encounter. I have also listed the distribution method and platform for reference as well as describing how the title implements the play-while-you-install system.

1. Starcraft 2 - - PC (Digital Download)

My first time experiencing the play-while-you-install system, as well as my first time using a exclusive title, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found that I could play the game while the installation finished. seems to download the game in the order you encounter each mission in the campaign, and as such technically the entire game can be played before the download completes, but at the cost of expanded loading times, if the mission you are up to hasn't finished yet. It can be somewhat disconcerting to be in the middle of a game only to notice the texture work on your units suddenly jumping up a notch in terms of quality.

2. Overwatch - - PC (Digital Download)

This one is a bit of a crock. The overwhelming majority of the game has to be installed in order to play Overwatch, and I suspect the only reason it can be played early at all is that if you played while you downloaded the game, you'd negatively impact the matches as a whole with your larger-than-normal ping. Barely made it onto this list, but technically it can be played before the install is finished, so it qualifies. Not an example to look up to, though.

3. The Crew - uPlay - PC (Digital Download)

This one starts out great, but ends up failing at the last hurdle. You can play the prologue section while you wait for the game to finish installing, and the install for the prologue finishes quite quickly compared to the full install. The prologue itself works fine and everything seems to be OK... right up until you reach the end. You see, the prologue ends inside of the HQ area. An area where you cannot access the menu needed to quit. And once you're inside the HQ, you cannot leave until you finish the install. Which means you have to either wait for the lengthy remaining install time to finish, or you have to kill The Crew with the Task Manager. Yikes.

4. Titanfall 2 - PSN - PS4 (Install from CD)

This one surprised me. I was not expecting to be able to play this game while it installed from the CD, on accounts of it being a Playstation 4 title, as I thought the play-while-you-install system was PC exclusive. Much like The Crew, you can only get a certain point into the tutorial before you have to wait for the install to finish, but unlike The Crew you don't get stuck with nothing to do at that point. During the tutorial there is a 'gauntlet' which you can play through, getting a hang of the controls and movement options present in Titanfall 2, and you cannot move on from this point until the install finishes. You can, however, run the 'gauntlet' as many times as you want, and there is even an incentive to do so, in that the game recommends a difficulty setting for you depending on how quickly you can run the 'gauntlet'. In essence, it'd be like if you couldn't get past the cardboard ship section of the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare tutorial until the game finished downloading.

Overall, I do like the play-while-you-install system. With the file sizes and install times going up as games get more complex, it represents a consumer-friendly move towards alleviating the down-time spent waiting for the magical 100% needed to run the game. Clearly, we're still working out all of the kinks, and clearly its' not suited for every game, but it's still a step in the right direction.

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The inevitable Fallout 4 mods
Posted on Thursday, November 19 2015 @ 16:45:03 PST

So, Fallout 4 is out. And, more importantly, it doesn't suck. It really, really, really doesn't suck. However, if you're like me you'll be siting back (in between sessions of Fallout 4), looking at the modding community, wondering what sort of crazy and awesome content they'll come out with for it.

As someone who used to admin on a game mod sharing website (I helped run the FPS sections of the website Levels4You, back when it did host game mod files), I know a thing or two about modding communities. Enough, in fact, to say that I know of some mods that will almost certainly get made, with or without any intervention from me. As such, I felt it prudent to share my predictions with you guys, both to educate you and because it's been many months since I wrote a single thing on GR, blog or not, and so this also serves as a "I'm still alive, notice me!" message.

The first one we've already started to see, and that's the unofficial patches. More of a recent modding trend, the unofficial patches are the communities way of helping both themselves and others with the games' stability. I can't say I saw a lot of these uploaded when I was an admin, but that's mostly because the games L4Y hosted were for the majority MP-focused (Unreal Tournament, Red Faction, Counterstrike, TF2 etc.) and unofficial patches generally stick to single player titles.

The next type of mod we'll no doubt see is one I like to call the 'Retro' mod, best described by this line: "I liked it how it was, so I'm changing it back". Again, we're already seeing some of these coming out, like the Dialogue mod that changes the Fallout 4 dialogue system to that of 3 and New Vegas, but I wouldn't be surprised if other aspects of 3 and NV started appearing in Fallout 4 mods.

Another mod that I have yet to see (mind you, I haven't been looking too much, as I wanted to give the community time to work) but no doubt will find in time are the 'real world gun' mods. Basically, with any game you find that uses guns (and even some that don't) that people can mod, someone is bound to make a mod that adds actual guns to it. Fully modelled (mostly, some people do half-ass these) and with appropriate sounds (and in some cases, even adding in custom animations to fully make it work), these mods will seek to add familiar and well-known weapons to the game that weren't in it before, and in a series like Fallout, this is rather common. For a good example of this, look to the Fallout: New Vegas Nexus, and look for the user-name "Millenia". You'll find plenty of examples of this.

Not every mod will be as focused on the details as those ones will be, though, which brings us to the next category of upcoming Fallout mods: Animoo. I'm... not going to go too much into this as I tend to stay as far away from these as I can, but from what I've seen, the majority of these mods seem to add/replace characters with anime-style bodies, which in the world of Fallout makes these mods stick out like sore thumbs, with their bright pastel colours being an unexpected shanking to the eyeballs of anyone used to the aesthetic of post-war Boston.

Another category we've started to see come up, but will likely be greatly expanded on is the 'Difficulty Curve Breakers'. These are the mods that set out to utterly smash the difficulty curve of the game into tiny little pieces, by giving the player options to become over-powered. We've already seen scripts in Fallout 4 that give the player 1000 of every crafting material, and a mod that eliminates the need to replace the power core in your power armor, but in terms of the scale of these sorts of mods, these are actually pretty minor. The ridiculously OP weapons and armor are just around the corner, mark my words.

Speaking of armor, there's one more mod types that are bound to surface that are focused on the armor: Tac-Gear. Tac-Gear mods are basically armor versions of the 'real world gun' mods I mentioned above, adding IRL tactical armor and what-not to the game. Basically, any gear not already in Fallout 4 that can make you look like a soldier/SWAT trooper of today will see the light of day. Although not particuarly common in the games that L4Y hosted, it's been a mod type that has been in the Fallout series for a while now, and 4's new armor mechanic more-or-less invites this type of mod.

Lastly, there are the Cross-Game mods, and these are exactly what you are thinking they are; mods that introduce content from one game into another. These can be 'Retro' mods, if they are taking content from previous titles in the series, but they can also be from wildly different sources as well. The main culprit for cross-game mods I've seen has been the Halo franchise, with mods to incorporate Halo weapons, armor and vehicles appearing in multiple other titles, and I have no doubts that Fallout 4 will also fall 'victim' to this trend, though I also doubt it'll be the only game to get modded into Fallout 4.

I could go on about more mod categories, but I think this blog's getting a bit long now, and the other categories are a little harder to define, not to mention their inclusion is somewhat less 'definite'. Still, there are plenty of avenues that the Fallout 4 modding community can explore, these are just the paths most taken in the past, and the paths that are almost certainly to be taken first by them.

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EMSS: Excessive Munitions Stockpiling Scenario
Posted on Monday, August 12 2013 @ 21:45:22 PST

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

We've all experienced it at some point. That feeling you get when playing a game where you've got one of the most destructive weapons the game can give you, and you're not using it. All because you don't want to waste it on a low-level peon, and are saving it for a big boss creature. Then, you get to one of those, and you still won't use it as you're afraid that there's going to be an even bigger one down the line that this would be better used on, and if you use it now, then you won't be able to get another one, or won't be able to find the resources you need to use the weapon in time for that bigger boss.

Usually, the best case scenario for this is you find additional ones or more resources, and do use the weapon successfully, and the worst case scenario is usually when the weapon proves useless by the time you actually use it. However, the most common scenario is that you just plain forget you have it, and beat the game without ever using it.

It's a dilemma most developers face at some point. How do they give the players that 'shove' to get them over their fear of pre-emptive weapon usage and use the tool that they've spent that time to program and code at the time they want the player to use it?

Well, from my recent time in the new Rise of the Triad, I believe that a solid answer can be found.

You see, during my playthrough of the game I never really felt overly compelled to stick to my lesser weapons in order to preserve the ammo I had in my more exotic ones. After some consideration, I feel that the following factors may have contributed to this.

For one, the game provides you with a default weapon that is not entirely useless, but is not very effective compared to the more exotic ones. The fact that the pistols and MP40 had infinite ammo (and did not need reloading, either) meant that even if I did run out of rockets, I still had a weapon I could use to some degree of success. However, relying entirely on these instead of the rockets was not a wise idea, due to how relatively ineffective they were. This meant that, in my mind, the MP40 and pistols were a fallback weapon only, and the other weapons were to be my main source of damage dealing. I could use them in a pinch, but finding and using the bigger stuff was still a concern.

Not that I'd be searching for long, due to how many of the weapons were around. The abundance of said munitions meant that I'd never have long to search for one, and as such I never felt like I'd be in for an extended period without some form of rocket launcher, which meant I could use them regularly.

Though, I think the major factor of it was the fact that you can't have more than one rocket launcher at a time. This limitation meant that I'd have to either choose to abandon a rocket launcher for something else or use the rocket launcher up and then grab the new one, which was usually the option chosen as it meant I'd blown up more things. There were still a few times when I swapped out one weapon for another (usually when the weapon being swapped was low on ammo, a Bazooka, and/or the new one was a Firebomb), but even in these instances it meant that I wasn't waiting to use the weapon for long, it just meant that I either needed a new one or wanted something else that would be more effective.

Plus, and the more important part, using the higher classes of weapons proved more satisfying than the lower ones. It was clear where the development team had spent most of their time when it came to weapon usage, and using the explosive weapons was more entertaining than the pistols and MP40, as the explosives had much more effect on the enemies than the bullet weapons. Mind you, turning people into torso-shaped blood sprinkler systems while their severed hands flipped you off as they flew past you doesn't really compare to shooting people with bullets until they fall over.

Now, I can't say that every game can do things the same way as Rise of the Triad did; however, taking some cues from these elements and using similar tactics to counter-act the EMSS problem, getting people to use the more devastating weapons instead of sitting on them for the entire length of the game would go some way to improving the game experience for the players.

Still, individual instances of these can be seen in other games, and in those it can be seen how little each individual method above works when isolated. Mercenaries 2 provides plenty of air strike munitions, but these tend to go unused a lot during 'serious' gameplay due to their resource cost, and the fact that the fallback tactics (vehicles and infantry weapons) prove to be too effective, eclipsing the potential gain from using the more exotic airstrikes. Resident Evil 5 has some truly satisfying Magnum weapons, though these are usually ignored due to the rarity of Magnum ammo. 

Limited weapon slots tends to be the main way this problem is combated, and although somewhat effective, it can still lead to cases where the player has two weapons, one of which is used all the time and the other is 'just in case', which simply downgrades the scale of the problem instead of removing it. Still, it can be considered a somewhat effective solution.

And, to be honest, I'm not even sure why I'm putting this up here.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick

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Love Thy Mecha: My feedback on the Hawken Beta
Posted on Friday, November 2 2012 @ 13:57:49 PST

Well, my graphics card died a month or so ago. It wasn't unexpected, nor was it entirely tragic. After all, it was like 6 years since I bought the thing. And so, a new card was needed. Me and the family decided that it was a good tim...   read more...

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A look back at one of my T3 lists: Co-op
Posted on Friday, February 17 2012 @ 04:37:43 PST

OK, a couple of years ago, I made a list of games that I reckoned would go well with co-op. The full list and reasons can be found here.

I just was looking at it again, and I realised that of the 10, 4 of them have had sequels and/or r...   read more...

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My First Time (Paying online)
Posted on Tuesday, October 11 2011 @ 02:24:34 PST

Well, it happened.

In the last hour or so, I have spent near $25 NZD on Steam ($14.97 USD, to be precise). Out of the deal, I got 3 items. A Vintage Tyrolean, a tin of paint (Waterlogged Lab Coat) for said Vintage Tyrolean, and a game ...   read more...

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Thoughts on DLC from one who cannot get it
Posted on Saturday, November 6 2010 @ 04:06:22 PST

Downloadable Content seems to be the new thing these days. A lot of developers are wising up to the idea of making more content for their games post-release (and sometimes during), it seems like every game nowadays hits the shelves half-baked, with t...   read more...

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Ye Olde Bloggame, Return-eth!
Posted on Monday, August 30 2010 @ 20:29:35 PST

Just like the last time, I will list some exploits I have done in some recent games, and it'll be up to you to guess which games I'm going on about. As last time, there is 5 exploits per game, but there is 4 games this time.

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The Forever Fiasco: My Take on the Duke
Posted on Saturday, April 10 2010 @ 04:39:58 PST

If you're into gaming (Which you should be, given that you're here on this gaming site), you'll likely know about the Duke Nukem Forever fiasco.

However, for those who might not have been paying attention, the game was initially starte...   read more...

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D&D Campaigns from Hell: The Firetrap
Posted on Wednesday, March 31 2010 @ 05:16:03 PST

Yeah, I got bored and am feeling in an imaginative mood, so I came up with the idea for D&D Campaigns from Hell, which is all about Dungeons and Dragons scenarios that throw a curveball at your otherwise unsuspecting players.

Note that...  

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