Archive | July 2014

The Coffee Break. 31 July 2014

Hello folks;

 

Found a couple of articles on Gamasutra.com that I think might be of interest to you: if not well too bad I am writing on these topics anyways (humor intended). First off we have Crytek disbanding their Austin studio and shifting development of their online game “Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age” over to their Frankfurt studio from the Austin development team. According to the article on Gamasutra, Crytek has had some trouble making payroll, and after the CEO of Crytek Austin David Adams along with several staff members left the studio citing that the company had repeatedly failed to pay them, the remainder of the development team was let go. However the company does retain their CryEngine support teams in Austin, so not everyone at Crytek Austin will lose their jobs during this re-structuring process. Economic hard times are here for Crytek, and hopefully this company will be able to make some gains later down the line. With some good games under their belt in the past, it would be a shame to see Crytek go so suddenly. Usual rules apply, article is located below this paragraph.

 

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/222223/Cryteks_Austin_studio_is_no_longer_making_games.php

 

Japan’s console market seems to be shrinking according to a report from the Japanese Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association. According to Gamasutra’s article, the country’s mobile gaming market appears to be eating up the market per se, causing the console market to shrink from $4.8 billion to $4billion. The mobile gaming market has reached $5.1 billion in sales during 2013, which effectively places it above the console market for the first time. Now I am not entirely familiar with the mobile gaming market as when I hear the word “mobile” I think of Angry Birds and other terrible Mobile Phone games like Deus Ex The Fall: Totalbiscuit slammed that title into the dirt and rightfully so.

 

That said however I do understand that “mobile” also includes PS Vita, and Nintendo’s handheld systems (I am sorry but I lost track of them all). Based on prior knowledge, I understand that the Japanese gamers tend to move around the city and country a lot: either for work, school, or travel. Therefore it would make sense to take your entertainment with you, and seeing how crowded their trains are during rush hour, there is not a lot of room for a bulky laptop to play PC games – not even a good set up either I might add that helps to prevent pain in the wrists and so on. Consoles are very much stationary, and at the moment it would appear that the current generation of consoles seems to lack a large library of games to make it worth the money for a consumer to pick up on their way home from work. Perhaps Japan’s gaming community needs something more than a box underneath their television as housing space in cities like Tokyo are at a premium, and there is not a lot of room to place large living room appliances. With all that said though, the revenue loss has only been point eight of four billion, rather than two or three billion, so it does not seem to be all that bad coming from a standpoint of someone who is not entirely well versed in market numbers. The article is located below this paragraph.

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/222192/Japans_console_game_market_is_shrinking_fast__report.php

 

Okay folks that about wraps it up for the 31st of July 2014: as always take care out there, and I shall see you next time.

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Standby for Titan- err, I mean – Firefall. The Coffee Break. 30th July 2014.

(Standard format applies: released early to free up time and so on.)

 

That is correct folks, and you eyes have not deceived you: Firefall is out now on PC. This free-to-play MMOFPSRPG (try that on for size) is available to either download and play for free on Steam, or if you want to you can purchase a starter pack from the Steam store front as well before you enter into what is presumed to be an alternate sci-fi Earth.

Firefall logo

Thus far I have only gone through the tutorial and entered the main town per se, and after re-making three times in an attempt to find the character customization that is present in other games at the start (there is none by the way; you customize your toon after the tutorial) I was treated to some fluid combat, some rather pleasing vistas, and of course the chance to change my characters’ voice to a more “English” tone. Newsflash, if you type /dance, the character – with the voice equipped – will sing “God save the Queen:” you have no idea how happy I am that this is in the game (humor intended).

 

Now the game runs relatively well on my PC, and tinkering with both windowed mode and borderless window, it would appear that windowed mode is a lot better for those of us utilizing dual monitors per se – that is if you want to surf the web while waiting in line for a match and so on. Now the game itself was only released on the 29th of July so they will need some time to smooth out the rough spots. Still for a title of this size, launch has been relatively smooth, and the game is lighthearted which is a nice break from the super-serious galactic war “dramas” we seem to be getting here and there. While there are attempts to tug at heartstrings with your HQ handler talking about the good old days when Earth was not being invaded by aliens, I was genuinely not interested in her story but rather more interested in kicking some Xenos ass. Also you can switch between first and third person views by clicking the middle mouse button (default), which is nice for those of us wanting to see our toons after tinkering with the customization options found after the tutorial.

 

Speaking of kicking alien ass, I think I should spend a bit more time in-game before I drone on and on regarding the mechanics, gameplay and other related topics. One last thing I will mention here however before ending it is that the game is relatively well optimized for PC with a large list of options and a field of view slider – if that is your thing. Firefall folks: no Titans, but a lot of combat to be had and then some. Thanks for reading, and I shall see you next time.

The Coffee Break. 29 July 2014.

Hello folks;

Planetside 2 Hossin concept

The usual applies: putting this out early so I can shift my attention to other things. Now: “what has been happening in the world of the writer?” some of you may ask. Well I can honestly say nothing terribly exciting has happened – not that this was ever a new phenomenon. Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 still dominate the skyline, however Mount and Blade Napoleonic Wars has entered the picture for the past couple of days.

 

Summarizing a long story, a friend and I decided to play the game together online, and the outcome was surprisingly entertaining. Not only was the official server very much alive (and I thank the community for keeping it alive), but the variety of soldiers available to the player was – shall we say – different to say the least. Ever wanted to be a drumer for the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards? Well now you can! Yes that is right folks, you can be a military musician during the Napoleonic Era and not some ranker with a musket. Artillery soldiers, sappers, officers, standard bearers; all are available for selection.

 

The game itself is not graphically impressive so do not enter it expecting shiny new effects and so on. Yet whoever said graphics alone made a good game? This title has been in my library for about a year and a half per se, and the time spent on it in the past was always enjoyable – minding of course the dirty chat that goes on which can range from rather questionable topics right up to burgers being weaponized against the French (how that came about, you will have to ask them some day).

 

Aside from that I have been sifting through Mass Effect 2 every so often, and I have recently reinstalled Dragon Age Origins, and Tomb Raider the reboot starring a young and scarred Lara Croft. One has to note that this “fear” that Lara has at the beginning literally washes away and she becomes a hardened killer in an instant: then again it is a game and there is such a thing as too much realism. Sometimes realism is good in the form of weapon recoil, suppressive fire, grenades, and destructible environments. Other times it can really detract from a game because if it was one-hundred percent realistic, you would die in a single shot with no revive chance and you will wait for hours until the match ends as people move about trying to find the shooter who could very well be expertly hidden: no radar, no motion censor, not even a mini map. You are just running around, tired, out of breath, and one slip could get you killed. Should a game wish to be one-hundred percent realistic, you can die of exhaustion, of drowning, of heat stroke, and so on – in other words you will never fire a shot, and die in-game. Makes a game dull and boring does it not?

 

Still I digress, yes I have been sifting through Mass Effect 2 though I am not as enthusiastic as some of the other players around the world. The game is great, but I tend to take it in chunks rather than playing through the game in a weekend: it is just not that interesting to me that I would spent all two days of the weekend plus Friday night shooting my way through missions to see cutscenes: thank the God-Emperor for Youtube. Finally I am – at long last – getting the hang of Battlefield 3, though I still quite enjoy my support class, and have not deviated from the selected path (however frustrating it may be). Light Machine Guns or LMGs are very fun to use, and throwing ammo at friendlies is very rewarding indeed: silent teamwork at its finest if I do say so myself.

Battlefield-3

Well that has been this rather random coffee break for the 29th of July: hopefully this adds a bit of spice to your daily routine as you march on through the work day. Worry not dear readers: it will end soon, and you will be home free to wander around naked and play video games until it is sleep time. Should you choose to do an all-nighter, be prepared for the consequences of those actions. Thanks for reading, and I shall see you next time.

The Coffee Break: 24 July 2014.

Hello folks;

 

Before I go on I would just like to say to those of you reading this on the 23rd of July 2014 that I have dated it for the 24th of July and released it early so that I may carry on with my other activities for tomorrow without fear of forgetting to post this coffee break.

 

Now onto the good stuff: apparently Battlefield Hardline has been delayed to 2015 according to IGN news. Earlier in the week a video was posted on their Youtube channel that details the shooter’s push back to 2015 citing that the developers wanted more time to implement user feedback into the game. Earlier in May I got the chance to play the beta, and looking back at it now it was quite refreshing to say the least. Now I may be in the minority here when I say that I have not gotten entirely bored of the modern military shooter, but to have a Battlefield game centered around SWAT operations is quite the nice change of pace nonetheless. The feedback that I provided to the developers through the beta included some graphical optimization changes so that older PCs can run the game on low, but still run it nonetheless, and smoothly as well. Here is hoping that the extra time given will be to our benefit in the end when the product is released.

battlefield-hardline-3

Well aside from keeping up with gaming news and occasionally procrastinating with this blog, I have been playing a great deal of Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3: not that this is anything new to say the least (humor intended). That said however I have been putting some time into a game I picked up from Humble Bundle titled Call of Juarez Gunslinger. While being a singleplayer-only shooter, the arcade mode in Gunslinger is surprisingly addictive, to which I can see this as adding strength to the game and helping to mitigate the fact that the game lacks a multiplayer option. Currently I am about two hours into the game – mostly the arcade portion – and I think the review I have prepared will suffice to say the least when it comes to giving a thorough look at the title. Stay tuned for that little piece of information.

 

Now onto some general thoughts about the blog: I can see that the Telegraphed Gazette has been idle as of late. While topics related to gaming that I cover are still of interest to me, topics related to Quebec politics have gotten stale as of late. The reason for this is after some thought and analysis I have concluded that this is neither a new phenomenon, nor will it ever show signs of changing in terms of the coming decades. With this thought in mind I have decided to put the Telegraphed Gazette on hiatus until further notice, and instead focus on shorter pieces of which I can produce a fair amount with little difficulty. Lengthy pieces are also quite difficult to edit at times, and aside from being time consuming are harder to produce on a regular basis as the proofreading required takes time; time that could otherwise be spent on something else. Ultimately this blog is a personal interest and one that caters to the writer: there is no moral or legal obligation for the writer to produce Gazettes and as such I will take full advantage of this freedom in order to pursue topics which are interesting to me. Therefore I apologize to those of you who were holding out for a gazette edition – I just do not feel like writing large articles anymore. Hopefully this honesty will keep you around as I continue to write on video games, the games industry, and occasionally military topics: should you choose to unsubscribe and/or move onto other blogs, that is fine. There is no legally binding contract that you have signed, and as such I wish you all the best as you move to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Those of you who remain or choose to remain, expect to see the usual short reads regarding video games, the games industry, and military topics – the regular programing continues on as usual.

 

Anyways folks this concludes the coffee break for the 25th of July 2014: thank you all for reading, and I will see you next time.

 

Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition delayed – IGN News

A note on the British Army’s reduction of numbers, and the reorganization of some units.

Earlier in the month a comment was seen on the British Army’s Facebook page which will be paraphrased here: “the shrinking of the British Army is a step into a unified European armed forces.” Well allow an outsider such as myself (I am not British) to elaborate on this “new phenomenon:” it is not new at all. Britain has and always will be a maritime nation, therefore it is in her best interest to be able to project force abroad, rather than rely solely on ground forces – that and there is not a lot of turf to fight on, thereby rendering large forces pseudo-obsolete per se.

 

The United States and Canada require larger armies than they do navies because of the land mass that they must defend. Germany and France likewise have had a tradition of strong ground forces and smaller naval forces. Britain however is an island nation, and as such her navy is the biggest asset she brings to any coalition sent abroad to snuff out conflict to say the least. The air force and the army all fall beneath the navy in the food chain when it comes to Britain, and it would be in both the air force and the army’s best interest to adapt themselves to this “traditional” role that Britain has always played in the past. True enough wars are won by ground forces, but consider that Britain has a large amount of overseas territories still under her control, she needs to be able to project force in order to defend those who still owe Britain their allegiance. Out of all the European countries, Britain is the least interested in a unified European army, likewise is a good majority of the countries on that continent. Britain is therefore NOT going to toss away her sovereignty, and this new size of 130,000 strong does NOT mean that Britain is preparing for a European army: a maritime nation needs a military that is mobile and adept at taking to the high seas at a moments notice to fend off invasion and to protect holdings.

Planetside 2: Hossin.

Returning to Auraxis was only a matter of time; after all they promised a new continent, and they indeed delivered on that promise in the form of a jungle continent with lots of foliage to hide amongst. Titled Hossin, this jungle continent conjures up thoughts of Vietnam: shame Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam DLC is not as active as it once was, otherwise I wiould pick that DLC up and play it into the ground.

Planetside 2 Hossin concept

Hossin is a beautiful environment apart from all the explosions of course. The vegetation is unique to the environment, and the tall trees ensure that ground forces get enough cover from enemy aircraft so that they can move from point A to B with little harassment from above. Gameplay-wise it is about the same as any other Planetside 2 continent: fight for control points of particular sections of the continent, and if you win your faction colours are displayed on the walls. One thing to note is that this time around it would appear that forces can lock down continents thus preventing their competition from actually ghost-capping their initial successes: a much needed feature if I do say so myself.

 

Now for those of you wondering if the optimization of the game has improved the answer is yes. The reason for this is because now in the initial start up menu, under the settings tab is a new set of graphics options such as being able to adjust shadow detail, and or turn off shadows completely – among others added. Therefore those of you with a mid-range PC can enjoy this game with less issue than before, but due to the large scale battles you might still run into lag from all the explosions and gunfire happening simultaneously. Aim for smaller engagements, I tend to find they are much easier to handle and are less chaotic. Then again war is war, so expect that when you return to, or deploy to, Auraxis for a tour of duty.

 

Hossin everybody: available now under the: “early expedition” program, therefore expect a few bugs here and there as they continue to work on the continent for months to come. Anyways folks thanks for reading, and I shall see you next time.

What have you been playing lately? The Coffee Break 16 July 2014.

Hello folks;

 

Seems about time for another round of what have you been playing lately, would you not agree? Well this past week has been interesting to say the least: I discovered that I really dislike how the tanks handle in World of Tanks, and Ghost Recon Phantoms – despite my praise of the title – gets the boot per se. Now with regards to new additions to the line up of games I play frequently, Planetside 2 has made a comeback thanks to the new continent Hossin: a review of this continent will be available on this blog later on.

planetside2_image1

World of Tanks once gave me ample hours of entertainment, however that time seems to have passed as earlier this week I re-installed the game on one day only to uninstall it the same day after two to four hours of gameplay. “Why the sudden rush?” some of you may ask. Well the answer is rather simple: tanks do not feel like tanks in World of Tanks. Now the game itself is fairly old, and indeed the engine with which the game was released on is dated to say the least. Therefore there will be limitations to certain “features,” such as fishtailing whenever you turn a corner too hard in an armoured vehicle, or rocking slightly when coming to a sudden stop. Yet after playing War Thunder Ground Forces for months on end, with Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, I could not return to the near-childish gameplay that is featured in World of Tanks, I just simply could not. Once you get used to handling tanks in a realistic fashion, you will feel no need to return to an “inferior game” for the lack of a better phrase. After installing it on my external hard drive, it quickly became the first game that I had deleted off the external: though the feeling of deleting something off an external via the control panel felt strange to say the least.

WOT_covenanter

Now with World of Tanks out of the way, one game that does feature decent tank combat is Planetside 2: though the continent of Hossin may not be suited to armoured warfare to say the least. Hossin is a jungle continent, much more green than Amerish, and definitely confined per se with plenty of areas open to ambushes and so on. Hossin is still in an “open beta” phase or an “early expedition” according to Planetside 2. After playing a ton of Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, it was decided that massive open-field battles and large maps was the way to go on my end, and as such Planetside 2 was welcomed back into the family with open arms as the need for warfare on a massive scale returned to the system. Long story short the gameplay has not changed, though the game seems to run a lot better – one can guess that it was thanks to some optimization done when the game was not installed on the system. Regardless it is time for us to return to Auraxis and do another tour of duty alongside some South American jungles and Atacama Desert in Bad Company 2, and the Caspian Border and some oil refinery in the desert in Battlefield 3: damn the soldier I roleplay per se does not get any down time, rather he must sleep on the carrier as he ferries between conflict zones (humor intended).

battlefield-bad-company-2-hd-6Battlefield-3

All in all the dominant games that I play with increasing frequency are Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and Planetside 2: not a bad line up at all to say the least. Also with that in mind, I have taken on the challenge of livestreaming on Twitch, specifically Hearthstone gameplay as it seems to be the most viewed game on that website. Feel free to bookmark the link I am about to place at the end of this paragraph and tune in every so often for some hearthstone gameplay: though let me be honest I die a lot in that game so grab some popcorn and watch me get beaten into the dirt by the AI player, and human-controlled player (humor intended). However with that said the actual ratio of wins to losses is about average, so it is not like you will be watching an endless stream of losses per session, rather I am not an expert player so do not expect crazy “kung-fu” moves that result in sweeping wins on every match that I play.

 

Currently there is no fixed schedule per se as to when I stream so apologies for that: I still have not decided on that aspect yet so stay tuned. Anyways folks have a good one, take care out there, and I will see you next time.

 

http://www.twitch.tv/goober136