I’m writing this on November 18, 2014. I’ve just come home from work and I was excited to begin recording a new let’s play series for Clever Musings’ pertinent YouTube channel. I intended on playing a title just released today, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4. But instead of recording a video, I’m writing a rant. Why? Because of Ubisoft’s amazing failure in its Digital Rights Management (DRM) software known as Uplay. While I was able to download and install the game prior to its release, Uplay won’t let me launch the game because “This game has not been released yet. It will be available to play on Uplay any time after the release date.” And while I’m sitting here, frustrated that I can’t play a game that I’ve obtained through legitimate means, I can’t help but think about the pirates that have been playing the game for days prior to its release.
Yesterday, Blizzard announced Overwatch. Not even 6 hours later, Jonathan McIntosh, writer/producer for Feminist Frequency, started saying that the game is sexist due to its portrayal of women. Which isn’t at all surprising; if anything, I’m shocked it took 6 hours. I would have expected there to be cries of sexism mere seconds after the trailer started playing on stage. Anyway, onto the tweets (and my accompanying rant about said tweets) after the cut.
Orborun was developed by Tiny Lab Productions. In-game, you essentially control a pinball and are tasked with navigating through a 3D maze. The maze varies in complexity from map to map and you receive points based both on how quickly you can steer through the maze and on how many collectables you manage to retrieve. I played the recently released Steam version of the game, but it has been out for mobile devices for quite some time.
I’d like to discuss how not to promote a new video game by taking a look at what Overkill Software, a subsidiary of Starbreeze Studios, did with their newly announced game, OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead. Let’s begin with a bit of context for the uninitiated. Overkill Software is known for its Payday franchise which consists of Payday: The Heist, released in 2011, and Payday 2, released in 2013. The Payday series consists of four player co-op missions conducted in first person wherein players attempt to commit various heists by sneaking or shooting their way through security, lockboxes, and vaults. I came to enjoy Payday 2 quite a bit as of the most recent Steam sale.
I always hate it when my fiction turns to time travel for plot devices because it’s so rarely done properly. Blizzard recently revealed its new World of Warcraft expansion called Warlords of Draenor. In a tinfoil hat edition of Know Your Lore, Matthew Rossi delves into what he believes the expansion means for the manipulation of time we’ve seen in WoW. I have a bit of a different take on what the new storyline means and how time travel within WoW works.
Have you ever noticed how much better Guild Wars 2, The Last of Us, and Assassin’s Creed look compared to World of Warcraft? It’s because the artists at Blizzard are lazy! They could have updated all of the old character models by now if they just put in a little bit of effort. I also think we should have advanced character customization similar to Saints Row or Mass Effect. Also, all of the current armor looks terrible, so they should spend a few minutes fixing that, too.
Are you cringing yet? If I were reading that paragraph in a comment, I would be.
Updating the old character models is a monumental task. Last time, I covered the basics of what a model is. Today, I’m going to be telling you about the things Blizzard does that makes a model update more complicated than most players think.
In Grand Theft Auto V, Michael can seek enlightenment through the Epsilon Program, which will have Michael perform a series of missions and make a number of donations. One of those tasks involves collecting five vehicles around San Andreas: the Pegassi Vacca; the Benefactor Surano; the Dinka Double-T; the Enus Super Diamond; and the Declasse Tornado. While it’s possible to purchase some of these vehicles, all of them can be stolen for free around the game. Please note, sometimes the cars are not always where I’ve marked the map. If the car is missing, just grab a taxi to another car location and return afterwards.
Want to make me cringe? Make a post on Blizzard’s official World of Warcraft forums, or a fansite’s WoW forums, and demand that Blizzard updates the character models for WoW. Say that updating the models is easy and the artists are lazy. Be sure to mention how other games like RIFT, Guild Wars 2, or The Last of Us have much better looking character models. Then, include a wish-list of things you want to see on the updated character models.
I cringe because nearly everyone demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how WoW’s models work, let alone character modeling at large. Updating the models is a monumental task. There is a lot going on under the hood. There isn’t some magic button the artists can click that instantly upgrades everything to a higher polygon count. (Even if there were, there’d still be quite a bit of work to do to get the models ready for use in-game!)
Updating character models isn’t going to be an easy task. First, let me try to explain what a model is. We can get into updating the character models later.
At the end of October, Valve will be running their annual Halloween sale on Steam. No big deal, right? That’s more than a month away! Except Valve ran their annual Steam Summer Sale just two months ago, and that’s a bigger sale than Halloween. If you’re like me—weak-willed—then your gaming backlog grew considerably with minimal impact on your wallet during the Summer Sale. Not only that, but the first wave of new game releases is next week, with another coming at the end of November.
Or perhaps you resisted the sweet siren songs during the Steam sale, but somewhere along the way, you’ve accrued a backlog. A backlog that is insurmountable! You have all these games but no time to play them. If you do have the time, which one do you even start with? Do you have space on your hard drive to install the game? How long will the download take? Once you have all of that out of the way, you might not have time to actually play the game anymore.
Personally, I have a few games in my backlog. Let’s just say it’s somewhere between understating-four-dozen and four-dozen. Some of these are games that I have already played, but intend on replaying to write an article about it. I’ve started some games, but played them for only 2 hours before stopping. I have a few games downloaded but haven’t installed them. The rest I haven’t touched at all.
If you’re interested in cutting down your backlog before it grows larger, here’s how I’ve been working through my own backlog.