Adam Beckett

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Everything posted by Adam Beckett

  1. Having served in the Army, I am neither interested nor interested in getting good in Call of Duty or Battlefield type of multiplayer (arcade) games. I love the depth of Arma 2, but lack the friends these days, to play it - or any multiplayer game - "Shacktac/Dslyecxi" style. Many elements Evan Lahti & Rob Zacny expressed so eloquently in the podcast resonate with my own experiences I have so far with Rising Storm. I only stumbled over the game last week, while playing Stalingrad in Company of Heroes 2 and finally installing Red Orchestra 2, getting the Rising Storm multiplayer maps for free. If you have not bought the game at first, you are limited to play as an Infantry Rifleman only. But even that, or *especially* that limitation, is a perfect setup and introduction to this game? Playing as a Japanese Infantry soldier on the Guadacanal map is something, I want keep playing, again and again. It is an amazing experience. Advancing with your fellow Infantry squad members, cover by cover, progressing slowly. The back and forth of shooting encounters - your squad mate next to you, getting shot, while you are reloading. At the same time you watch your enemy 50 yards away, doing the same thing, hoping you are able to aim and shoot first, seeing him in the eye - feeling the "duration of time" in such moments makes this game very special? The painful length of reloading, is something you have to deal in real life too. During this moment you are helpless and hope not to get shot. You hope, you won't drop a bullet while reloading, you hope your weapon won't jam ... it leaves room for you to *feel* the anxiety, to *feel* the panic or tension of "will I make it", while in other FPS games, this mechanic is just a minor nuisance? I really enjoy "asymetric" warfare too. "Unbalanced" parties are nothing I am afraid of. I do not mind fighting on the "weaker" side, even losing all the time, if you have the game mechanics, which allow for rich gameplay. This game seems to offer this.
  2. Episode 221: Binding With Iron

    I loved listening to this "oral history" of obscure games. While interested in the history of railroads, I never played any railroad game - analog or digital - in my life ... until very recently. Of all the games, I stumbled over one, that is probably considered heretical in this circles here, of strategical masterminds: it's Railworks "Train Simulator 2012" (now 2013). These folks from Great Britain, seem to have found the formula, how to milk the 'real' train fans ("train-fanning" is a term, I learned, just like "trainspotting"). They have about US$ 2000.- of content in the Steam Shop, to this date? The interactivity is rather limited. NOTHING about it is strategical or has any 'depth' beyond, having to couple some trains, or arrive on schedule ... yet it is very addictive and very, very pretty. I would call it an 'ambient game', rather, than a simulation. I am spending hours driving in one of the many - very accurately designed (old) - trains, while listening to podcasts(!) and looking at the landscape and dynamic weather effects. But, as mentioned, this thing reflects nothing what makes trains and railroads the crucial infrastructure of the industrial age so interesting. No economy, no entrepreneurship, no rivalry(!), no railroad building, no management of anything. The highlight, as a player, is to open the editor and create scenarios - or for advanced, dedicated types - build your own routes. Many people do. They sell their accomplishments, on their websites. Yet, everything stays superficial? The hardest thing in this 'game' is to keep the steam engine going, to brake dynamically, when going down the Cajon Pass, or to not drive too fast, keeping the commuters happy on the Amtrak. Although, I am old enough, I never played any of the games mentioned on the podcast. Not even Railroad Tycoon! Did not catch my eye when it came out. I did not play many video games, until later in life. Now, I am interested to check each and every one Bruce mentioned. Oh, and then there is one game, I have to travel pretty far, to play it one day: Brenda Brathwaite's "Train" from 2009 - a completely different "beast".
  3. Excellent podcast, indeed. I fell in love with Relic Entertainment the night before HOMEWORLD was available in stores around the world. The demo came out the day before and it is one of these "gaming moments" which stick with you for the rest of your life, happening to me. Using Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" to open your Science Fiction Space Opera - the black borders disappearing, showing you, the cutscene was all IN-GAME and I can play it now(?!) - was mind blowing to me, at the time. And that game was the FIRST game this company ever made and the first game, most in that team ever made! Company of Heroes was a game I did not buy when it came out. Life happens. Video games matter less, sometimes. I did play it eventually, but never to the level of "pro-gamers" or of some "Shawn Elliott", who could not shut up about it, turning every EGM/GFW Podcast into a neverending tale of "Company of Heroes" griefing stories. Shawn Elliott is the reason I don't play multiplayer games! Also, since all my real world friends don't "waste (their) time, playing video games", I find it hard to "trust" complete strangers to invade the privacy of my home - even if it is only through a computer screen. Yesterday, I too started playing the Open Beta ... and it is glorious! It has all the 'hooks' of the previous CoH. Even someone like me can appreciate the gameplay, which was very innovative at the time? I was very surprised though, when I heard the hilarious one-liners and the voice acting in the game. Ridiculous and funny, which, of course, does not necessarily fit with the setting - one of the most grim chapters of World War 2. But hey, it's a video game! Although, I would like to know how a video game like this one, would play and 'feel' if the story campaign, would not close their eyes, but show the war crimes, interrupting the "fun". Such a "game" (serious, story driven, 'auteur' style) would not only "not sell", but offend at least one faction, probably ALL - even the ones, not represented? Previous Company of Heroes games are already censored in Germany! RIght now, I am just happy that RELIC found a home with SEGA. The game runs smoothly on my machine. The achievements and the RPG (or Call of Duty multiplayer?) style progression and unlocks are like a neverending candy store? Twitch integration works fine (I tested it). The graphics (technically) and the physics offer never ending explosions and chaos, adding to the atmosphere. The sound design is excellent, like in all Relic games.And the Game AI is impressive. Granted, I am a "casual player", I do admire hard (but fair!) games, and I am very interested in Game AI. Having a survey screen popping up in-game, asking for player feedback about the AI is something, I wish many more developers and publishers would do, besides the heatmaps and other data they already collect from player matches. All in all, I did not plan to buy CoH2 this summer, but guess what? Now I have to.
  4. Episode 219: Meeting of the Minds

    Fascinating interview. Rare blunt talk in public on that high level of publishing & business. Kudos to Rob for not backing from the unpleasent questions and kudos to Fred & Shams for answering and not hiding from them. Releasing buggy games ... and making money off them ... "Paradox", indeed? They have an unique position in this industry? I hope they continue to have success and I hope they continue to release games, nobody would touch or think of. Maybe more polished, in the future? Maybe more accessible outside their core audience, which is their bread and butter? To this day, I don't really know how to play Crusader Kings 2, but bought all the DLC anyway. I appreciate what the game CAN do, even if I cannot. I appreciate them taking the (financial!) "risks", as they say in the interview. And don't ask me how I do in Europa Universalis, Victoria or HoI. Maybe, I am just bad and that's all.
  5. Episode 215: Early Access

    I keep my comment in bullet point style notes, for quick reading. You can fill in the sentences in your mind: (Attention is a currency. Attention Economy: what people want from you (and anyone): 1. Your money 2. Your attention.) "Beta" - the developer term - has turned into a marketing term (and money making scheme). Even IF there is a metaphysical intent to uphold some structure of development relevance. The deliberate ambiguity of what "beta" may mean, is where Publishers/PR/Marketing are cashing in? Telling me the "Good News" (= Gospel - εὐαγγέλιον euangélion, Christianity), does not make me turn into a salivating Pavlov's dog, throwing money at you - yet, it works on many? (Early Access - The Emperor's New Clothes) The moment you ask for my money, what I would get - at that moment - is what it is (rough, broken, unfinished). Hence, this "is it worth my money?" moment is the one, you should write a p/review. I don't pay for the imaginary Utopia of what the game may (or more likely never will) turn into. In Linguistics there are distinctions between what things really are and what we want to think of them. Words evoke our imagination. Marketing and PR makes use of this fact. The Psychology to lure the weak-minded "closed beta-access", "early-access", "give-us-feedback" - making people feel good about themselves, making them feel empowered and relevant, is one of the oldest tricks. (see "Denotation/Connotation", Ferdinand de Saussure, Gottlob Frege, John Stuart-Mill) Gabe Newell himself, years ago, mentioned in a video interview, how they at Valve started to see the difference between what people 'say they do' and what 'they really do'. Trust the data. Don't trust the mob. The days of "previews", when print magazines had exclusive access/pictures/cover stories and publishers sent you slide negatives and Photo-CDs (for print) are long gone? Video game previews always tasted like marketing too. Only better written. Sometimes. Even reviews of proper games should mention the build version of the game, since many games are patched years later, get community updates and are improved (or not), while the googlebinged review stays the same (becomes irrelevant)? Be like Tom Chick - I agree. I'm there. Make it a t-shirt. Now excuse me; I have a date with a certain girl from Ipanema:
  6. Episode 213: On Campaign

    I felt so insulted, I had to create an account to chime in here. I am 45. None of my real world friends play (competitive) video games. I myself don't like online multiplayer anything. I don't like to play with strangers. I play computer strategy games since ca. 1999. And, back in the days, when you had to choose between phone connection or dial-up modem, so you could have 4 kilobits per second, "Internet" gameplay was not an option. "We" played this 'new' genre of "real-time" strategy games and the main reason to go through clicking on little dots w a s the story? Was the campaign?! This topic is way to big to be addressed in a random forum post, by a random stranger, like me. I will just say, I agree with user "Fhnuzoag" above: a good campaign teaches me the abilites of the units, etc, step by step, as the campaign progresses. Something (not only, but certainly) Blizzard does well? I need motivation to sit through hours of flawed game mechanics. None of these games is perfect and my (real life) time is limited to learn to play the games AND the complexity of how they fail and what they wanted to accomplish. The campaign is the one part, I am willing to sit through. I see a good campaign as an extended tutorial. At the same time, one of the hardest things to do? (Listen to a previous 3MA on tutorials - a huge subject & also interesting in educational, pedagogic context? Needs way more attention, by everyone, IMHO.) Skrimish or Multiplayer kills all the narrative. Having "Elves" vs "Trolls" battle it out on a map, is not the Tolkien universe I want to live in. It could be easily ANY game at that point. A vs B vs C. For this kind of 1 vs 1, I still prefer chess or equal games. Why do I need to play a 'new' game? In the end, you play your game, I play mine. I don't mind other people enjoying their 'true' aspects of RTS games, but as Tom Chick said himself, RTS games are 3 different games. I like my Single Player campaigns with a hopefully good enough story and against the Game AI. The quality of these campaigns (and the difficulty of making them) is certainly something to discuss. But why would anyone deprive me of this experience? Why say, developers should stop making Single Player campaigns altogether?? Homeworld and Sacrifice are two games that equally prove how RTS games can be a common ground for all of us? Certainly for me. I love and play those games to this day. I even tried online multiplayer with both of them ... but even in their "heydays", no one wanted to play (with me).