Archive | August 2014

The Coffee Break. 27 August 2014.

Hello folks;

 

The usual rule applies; this coffee break is coming out a day early so that it will hit the 27th of August 2014.

 

After reading the annual report for Games Workshop, I think the company ought to – at least – do some market research within their niche community in order to improve upon their business model per se. Within their medium-sized annual report to their investors, the GW Chairman stated (almost as a ‘thumbing-the-nose’ gesture) that they do NOT do market research or hold focus groups for their business. Coming at this from a semi-regular customer viewpoint, I can see that it is GW being GW. However if this was read by an investor or shareholder who was familiar with other markets but not this one, they might be sweating a bit and looking to withdraw some of their assets.

Gwlogo

Market research is important, and while Games Workshop does NOT sell things like water bottles and so on (thereby rendering the need to improve things like ergonomics meaningless), having some data on what their clients within this niche market would like to see in the future could help their company earn back that 49% loss that they took on this year.

 

Again though I am not a market expert, and therefore my word is meaningless. Yet many of you might agree that doing a bit of market research – just a bit – even fore a niche market can help a company improve overall. People loved Battlefleet Gothic; people loved Bloodbowl; people loved Inquisitor. These specialist games and more were also once produced by GW before they decided to stop the miniature lines all together and focus on 40k, Lord of the Rings, and fantasy. People could appreciate some old classics returning to the world of wargaming and invest a lot of money into it IF GW did some research. Will they do some research to try and improve? Well the Chairman has firmly said: “no,” so throw that pipe dream down the drain cause it is not happening.

 

Whatever the case Games Workshop will continue to exist long into the future, but if they do not do simple things like a bit of market research, then all their complaining of profit decreases and so on will continue because people might not want exactly what they produce. The niche market can be your greatest ally, and it can bring you to the brink of ruin: your call folks. This has been the writer, and I shall see you next time.

Advertisements

EA Origin: saint or taint?

Hello folks;

 

Origin by Electronic Arts (EA): one can see the debate between the two groups of those who accept Origin, and those who are stoutly loyal to the Steam service. While this debate continues, one has to eventually realize that Origin existing is actually a good thing. Certainly EA as a publisher is not the most consumer-friendly publisher out there, but then again all publishers have gone red-eyed insane every so often.

EA-Origin-logo

Origin existing on the PC is good not only because it forces Valve via Steam to innovate, but also to improve their service which has very poor quality control at this point in time. Steam also should never have a monopoly because if competition were to die (say Origin, GoG and so on disappear) Steam could simply stop giving out sales, and force PC gamers to pay anywhere from twenty dollars for an old game, up towards to sixty or eighty at full retail price with very little reason to lower the price other than it is getting old.

 

When it comes to video games, competition is good for the industry. Now killing off a publisher in order to eliminate the competition is very bad for the industry as the urge to innovate or to improve an existing platform, title and so on is erased entirely. Good games come along because at the end of the day – like any other artist out there – they want to make money. Should a story be good, people will buy the game. Should the mechanics, combat, dialogue and so on be excellent and fit the majority of gamers’ tastes, their game will sell.

 

Coming back to my point, Origin needs to exist on the PC because it provides a counter-balance to Steam and its’ current dominance of the market share. Origin does have some good programs in place, namely On the House – where they give away a full game free – and Game time – where a full game is put on trial for a certain period of time for gamers to install, play, tinker with, and see if they want to purchase it afterwards. Now opposite to that what does Steam have? Nothing other than sales and no refund policy – something Origin has as well which surprised commentators like Totalbiscuit who noted that EA is not always the consumer-friendly publisher it is right now on the PC.

On the house EA origin logo

Imagine a world where PC games are this open to the market per se, where gamers could try out full games and see if they like it. Imagine a digital platform where gamers could refund a game if it does not work, removing the risk PC gamers must take on currently if they want to play their favourite titles on their current systems and so on. Imagine the possibilities of a market not afraid of its’ customers, and where they combat piracy not by attempting to stamp it out like a totalitarian dictator, but by providing a better service than the pirates – something TB has also hammered on for years.

 

Origin existing on the PC platform is good, because in the end it gives us – the consumers – an alternative, and hope for a market that is favourable to us the customers. This has been the writer, and I shall see you next time.

New USMC doctrine? The Coffee Break: 20 August 2014.

Let us talk military today folks;

 

Earlier in the week I was playing Battlefield 4 with the U-100 MK5 light machine gun (LMG), and I started to think: “what if I used a rifle-like LMG in Battlefield 3, will my play style translate over?” After finishing the round I decided to hop on over to BF 3 and test out this theory. Initially I was disappointed by the results: no bi-pods meant that I was at a disadvantage, and without forward grips it was near impossible to fight per se. However when I re-attached the bi-pods to all my unlocked LMGs things started to get interesting.

Battlefield-3

Now one weapon I ran into in my travels is the default gun for the US side in BF 3 under the support tab called the M27 IAR – Infantry Automatic Rifle for short. “Wait, writer!” some of you may yell, “doesn’t the M16A4 or M4A1 count as an ‘automatic rifle’ according to the definition of assault rifles?” Well here is the interesting part with the M27; it “looks” like an M16/M4 family member, but it is really based off the HK 416 and it is intended to fulfill the automatic rifleman’s role by giving him/her better maneuverability. The gun weighs in at 9 lbs fully loaded, compared to the familiar M249 at 22 lbs fully loaded. The idea with the M27 is through a high capacity magazine the gun fulfills the automatic rifleman’s role by giving the shooter that amount of ammo and rate of fire while retaining a degree of accuracy to an extent that it can behave like a DMR (designated Marksman’s Rifle) – in short it fulfills the “support role proper” if you wish to call it that for both in-game and real life.

 

Now according to the wiki page the M27 is only in use with the Marine Corps (USMC), and it is following a new doctrine in that rather than having the sound of the machine gun keep the enemy’s heads down, it instead will rely on both rate of fire and accuracy to keep the enemy’s heads down. Noted in the article is the enemy’s slowly developing sense of safety regarding the M249 in that since the weapon is less accurate the enemy forces tend to ignore the suppression given by the M249 and are more willing (I use this with a massive pile of salt so please take it in a similar manner) to engage the soldiers given the suppressive fire is less hazardous per se. The M27 – due to its accuracy and high capacity magazines – can send rounds down range in a more accurate manner, thereby reinstalling the sense of fear – if you will – in the enemy, and forcing their heads down and keeping them down as the soldiers move to secure the area and kill the enemy soldiers who have taken cover and are still pinned and unable to return fire.

Make it happen: Weapons Platoon adapts, overcomes in southern Helmand

Other reasons are that the weapon is easier to clean, less cumbersome and heavy (as noted above), and similar to the M16 rifle thereby making training for the new weapon system less difficult for the unit; all of which add up to make this weapon more attractive in a time when budgets are shrinking but operational demands are expanding. Another – though less noticeable – reason is the shift from open battlefields and into urban environments. The M27 being more controllable will give the soldiers less headaches when they open fire as the weapon will not utterly damage the drywall of some poor fellow’s dwelling: something the Marines seem to take into consideration when procuring this weapon for their units.

 

All in all I have started to have a renewed interest in these rifle-like LMGs which up until now have been largely ignored. Coming from Battlefield Bad Company 2, I was initially annoyed by the developers taking the ammunition resupply from the assault and giving it to a new “support class.” Yet it slowly grew on me, and soon I found myself constantly looking to get into the prone position to deploy the bi-pod so I could support my teammates with cover fire and ammunition packs. Say what you will, but playing support this way have given me a mountain’s worth of ribbons, and makes the game have that extra degree of longevity.

 

Now coming back quickly to the whole doctrine thing, to summarize it would appear that the USMC is taking the concept of “Automatic Rifleman” to a whole new level and no longer relying on sheer firepower to support an advancing group of infantry.  The M27 seems to be the weapon of the future, and indeed with warfare moving into built up urban areas it would be wise to limit collateral damage in order to build good relations with the civilian populace – especially in counter-insurgency warfare. That and it is a heck of a lot cheaper to use standard 5.56mm NATO for ALL guns, and not have to manufacture new bullets for this weapon or new shells for that gun and so on. Allied armies can also share in the ammunition stockpile which helps a lot in larger campaigns where multinational forces are involved, rather than a single nation. Finally the M27 is not replacing the M249, but rather the M249 seems to be going into reserve and remain in service at the company level where commanders can utilize the weapon if they feel it is necessary for the mission.

 

Maybe I will speak more on the M27 and the U-100 MK 5 later on in time, but until then folks keep up that rate of fire, and I shall see you next time.

A week of game time later, I make the purchase.

Indeed folks; shortly after Origin’s game time expired for Battlefield 4, I ended up purchasing it for a total of about twenty dollars Canadian: not bad if I do say so myself. Now the base game was the only real thing I was after as I am not much of a fan of DLC (downloadable content), but thus far the base game has not disappointed me.

Battlefield-41

Gameplay-wise, it will feel familiar to veteran Battlefield players so there is no mystery in that department. However in terms of the game crashing as reported earlier during release, it seems DICE has fixed the issue as now whenever I play Siege of Shanghai the game holds firms when the center tower – the special building that can come down completely – tumbles onto the floor, thereby changing the map. Then again I tend not to run these games on maximum so it could just be me that does not experience these issues.

 

This time around the support class/assault class (BFBC 2) carries a lighter ammo pack than the previous two games – Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 – where you could store an entire ammo box where the sun does not shine. This time around you are given a small pouch to resupply allies with, and in order to get the big ammo crate you will need to unlock it. “Sounds interesting,” some of you might ask, “but how does this affect my ability to resupply my teammates with bullets and bombs?” Well you throw it out, and it sits there for a limited amount of time resupplying – what is said to be – one soldier at a time. Therefore when you resupply a squad, it runs out quickly, and you will have to “refill” the pouch and throw it back out again (no you do not have to collect it, you just throw another one like you always have done).

 

Aside from that the game gives you a red dot sight at the beginning, thereby rendering the need to unlock it for the default LMG (light machine gun) unnecessary. Fun fact, the gun acts very well as both a DMR rifle, and as a LMG: just try not to spray and pray. Regarding the other classes I have little in the way of information available regarding red dots, but I am certain all the default guns come with red dots (the guns you start with and NOT the ones you unlock). Just take my word with a grain of salt though, it could be a different story.

 

Oddly enough the game is better optimized for medium range machines than its previous title; Battlefield 3. This feature in Battlefield 4 comes in the form of a render quality slider, which allows players to reduce render quality to improve performance. One must confess that when the game was first loaded, it took a bit to discover this new feature. However after this feature was discovered, the game quickly began to grow on me, and I was treated to a rather entertaining combat experience. Criticisms aside, it seems that Battlefield 4 is turning out to be a decent title to add to the collection. Earlier issues seem to have been corrected to an extent, and the game is now – at long last – enjoyable. Now if you will excuse me folks, I shall return to the field and take another tour of duty before supper. Thanks a lot for reading, and I shall see you next time.

My only issue with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Exactly as it says on the tin people: this is my short rant on the one issue I had with Guardians of the Galaxy. Great film, looking forward to the sequel – I say it is definitely worth the money. Yet there was one thing that kept biting at my ankles and I have to get it out into the open here on this blog. The following is a prerecorded rant that I wrote, and decided to copy wholesale and post here on thoughts and topics. Enjoy this piece folks; thanks for reading, and I shall see you next time.

 

Okay I gotta complain about this: Guardians of the Galaxy – good movie and all. Yet there was one thing that ticked me off for the entire ending sequence: the Nova Corps – the military of the “free galaxy” per se – HAD NO AA BATTERIES ON THEIR HOMEWORLD!!! You do not sign a peace treaty – an unstable peace treaty – with a war-like alien species, and get away with having no AA batteries on your capital world (AA stands for Anti-Air).

Heck I did not even see infantry moving about during the final sequence. Come on people sure it’s fiction, but if you want to showcase a capital world being attacked, show off some of their awesome military might that won them the truce – don’t hide it like it was a taboo of some sort. Pacifist **&(*&*!!! Ugh, ruin everything. “Peace and democracy have a chance now that the Nova Corps is here! Ha ha ha” *slow clap; sarcasm.*

Learn to bow, kneel and beg people; it’ll happen a lot now that you LOST the war.

The Coffee Break. 14 August 2014.

Hello folks;

 

Been gone for the past few days: sick and also working on other projects of my own (yes I can work while I am sick: it is only desk work)(humor intended). Whatever the case, time to bring you another coffee break for the 14th of August 2014. Recently I have gotten back into both Guild Wars 2, and The Old Republic. While not much has changed – at least nothing major like combat mechanics and so on – I have found a renewed sense of discovery when I booted up these two games for the first time in a long time.

 

When it comes to Guild Wars 2 the major attraction for me at this point is the World verses World: massive fantasy battles where servers fight one another for supremacy and leader board scores. Yes indeed I have finally gotten my act together and located a guild that does strictly World verses World: something I have not gotten around to doing earlier when I was starting out in the world of Tyria. Suffice it to say it has been an wonderful experience thus far. Talking to the guild over a program called Teamspeak, along with other groups whenever the guild is not doing world verses world, is a nice change of pace from the – what I like to call – “mute teamwork” that goes on in Battlefield 3 and 4 (Origin’s game time program lets you try out full games for a limited period of time). Indeed Totalbiscuit’s words related to Planetside 2 can also be carried over to a game such as Guild Wars 2: soloing is fun, but having an outfit (guild) to tag along with will enhance the experience even more, and make the game all that more enjoyable.

Guild Wars 2

Moving along, The Old Republic is set to release its Galactic Strongholds expansion soon – specifically sometime this month. Now having a look at some footage on Youtube, I can say with certainty now that I am quite looking forward to the new expansion. Player housing adds a bit of flavour to the mix, and since the game is mainly PVE-focused (player verses environment), having a “home” to fall back to (sorry starship, you are not a proper home) will be a nice change of pace from the fleet of the respective factions. Currently I am running around as the Republic Trooper, and while I still favour the Empire a bit more than the Republic, doing the Kingpin Bounty Contracts as a Trooper is quite entertaining to say the least. Apparently in the game, the Empire endorses the Bounty Brokers Association (BBA), while the Republic recently legalized them to carry out bounties in Republic space as part of a “tough-on-crime” bill. Regardless, now my soldier can relax and go off to hunt some criminal scum and keep the Republic clean and shiny: also carbonite freezing is illegal in the Republic due to environmental protection laws, but killing, blowing up, and similar are perfectly reasonable tactics – I love this game!!

Bounty_Hunter_Mercenary_Dual

Aside from the two games, I have taken a look into a cursor lock program for PC gaming since my Bad Company 2’s mouse cursor keeps clicking on my taskbar: a behaviour I found really irritating. After some tinkering the program was up and running, and my taskbar is no longer interfering with my game. Though to be honest after cursor-locking the game, I still had the issue with the taskbar being selected: turns out moving it off to either the left or the right fixes this problem: simple things we overlook (humor intended). The game not having a windowed mode as part of the main options, I had to go into the .ini files to play around with the settings in order to achieve windowed mode. Thus whenever the game ran it would not run in front of the taskbar, not unlike games such as Borderlands 2 and TOR where windowed mode and borderless windowed mode both cover the taskbar and push the program to the forefront due to it being available under the options tab in-game. Whatever the case now my high-speed combat will maintain it’s pseudo-twitch style, and my taskbar can stop attempting to grab my attention like a four year-old who does not know the meaning of: “I am busy.”

 

Okay folks that is enough from me for this 14th of August 2014. Have fun, take care out there, and I shall see you next time.

The Coffee break. 7 August 2014.

Hello folks;

 

Let us have a bit of fun today and rant a bit about drivers who cannot see past the ends of their noses and whose conduct is unbecoming of a civilized individual. This will be written in letter format, and will be for entertainment purposes as well as to blow off some steam. Course language and the likes will NOT be featured in this piece so it is completely child-safe (if you even let your young ones read this stuff). Anyways folks enjoy today’s “creative” piece, and I shall see you next time.

 

Dear Driver of (insert vehicle here);

Do you not see the pedestrian crossing the road? Does the colour red not mean ‘stop’ to you? Are you so stuffed in your own coffee, make-up and personal life that you forget that the road is used by all people? Well driver, you are worse than a pile of animal feces. Allow me to compare you to this pile of feces and instill a sense of disgust I have for your kind: yes you do form a separate species from the rest of humanity for you do not behave like civilized people.

People dislike feces: it stinks, it is gross to touch, and it blocks the way in the case of dog remains and the likes. You are such material: forged from the wastes of humanity, you drive along the avenues of the world honking and harassing – occasionally raising the finger to people – and yet you never stop to think that people ignore you because you are a pile of animal waste. Oh how I envy you: so full of waste and remains; unburdened by things like intelligence, civility, duty, honour, and so on. Us paragons of civilization will continue on without you, so you might as well turn yourself into the God-Emperor’s hands early, and feed the worms that do a lot more work than you will ever do in your – sadly – lengthy life cycle.

When a war breaks out, or a famine, or strife and turmoil, you will begin to steal, rape, and disregard all forms of order in favour of yourself. When things become dire, you will stuff yourself silly while your own daughter is taken from you to be used as breeding material for bandits and the likes: as I said, cannot see past the end of your nose.

That is alright though, I fully expect you to turn on your own loved ones: had little hope for a degenerate creature such as yourself. Perhaps one day you will – no. Forget what I said, you will never learn, nor will you ever begin to learn – or attempt to learn. The effort is just too much for your soft, rotten, maggot-filled brain – I pity you.

Now please keep driving fast: a Chinese woman once told me the faster you turn that corner, the faster you will see the gravestone.

 

Sigmar curse you,

 

Writer.