The Division: Game Feasibility

I posted a review of The Division earlier. The game plays quite well and if you’re looking for an FPS to play with your friends then The Division should fill that hole nicely.

The plot though!

The plot is barebones, with most of it being shown to the player in hidden conversations between NPCs throughout the game instead of directly telling you what’s going on (a good story device!).

In the game an evil scientist has altered the small pox virus to be extremely lethal and resistant to treatment. Continue reading

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The Division: Game Review

On a friend’s recommendation I purchased Tom Clancy’s The Division, that some people are calling a “Loot Shooter”.

I’d been wary of The Division due to a few reviews I’d read of it. Fortunately, all of the problems I read about are gone!

Zero latency issues. The game crashes occasionally, but I’ve come to expect that from Ubisoft, so it doesn’t phase me.

The tutorial missions no longer have any of the snafus that were present at launch.

Most of the enemies in the game take a believable amount of bullets to eliminate. Only the elite enemies take more, AS THEY SHOULD! If they took the same amount of damage to eliminate then they wouldn’t be elite enemies would they?

I’ve just tasted the end-game content and it is definitely the most exciting part of the game. The mix of PVE and PVP is amazing and tons of fun.
Continue reading

Overwatch

Who watches over the Overwatch?
Who watches over the Overwatch?

Blizzard announced an entirely new game at their latest Blizzcon extravaganza.

This won’t be a game based off their existing brands like almost every other game they’ve released. Warcraft to Starcraft, Warcraft to WoW, WoW to Hearthstone, and Everything to Heroes of the Storm making Warcraft and Diablo the only truly original games they’ve made.

The new game is a first person shooter called Overwatch set in the near future. The animation style is similar to Team Fortress 2 and Disney’s Incredibles.

I said Incredibles because the FPS has characters that you choose to play before each match and each character has a set of super abilities they can use during the match.

The super powers are simple enough. One person can teleport, another can fly, another one can create a big energy shield, etc.

Blizzard has already released a bunch of videos on Overwatch’s website including a trailer video that introduces the setting and a few of the characters.

So why be excited about this? I haven’t played a true FPS in over half decade, why do I care?

Well first of all, Blizzard has a very successful track record with their games. If they release an FPS its likely that it will perform well and attract a lot of people to the genre from other Blizzard games as well as increasing competition in the FPS field.

Second, Blizzard is branching out! Like I said, they haven’t come out with a truly original game in over twenty years. Are they too rusty to do well in a market without a pre-established fanbase? I don’t know.

It’s entirely possible that Overwatch will flop because Blizzard doesn’t know jackshit about what people want from FPS games. I doubt that will happen as Blizzard has enough money to attract designers who will prevent that from happening. It’s unlikely that Overwatch will fail, but will it succeed?

At this point… Hard to say. The game doesn’t offer any new mechanics. Everything the characters can do I’ve seen in other FPS games. The setting isn’t really new either. Its a cross between Team Fortress 2’s animation style and the futuristic setting of Halo (maybe a little bit less techy than Halo, but close).

But is there any FPS that’s really unique? Mount and Blade to some extent, but its so different from most FPS games that it falls into the realm of simulation games.

Halo wasn’t unique when it came out. Doom and Goldeneye both had the same weapon swapping and ammo systems. But Halo was massively successful. It was one of the first games you could talk about at school without having to be embarrassed that you were a gamer.

Will Overwatch reach that same level of success where gamer society embraces it? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Either way, “The cavalry’s here, luvs!”

-Mister Ed

Twitch.tv Panels

I did a little bit more work on setting up my Twitch channel and I think it is close to its “final form.”

Twitch has these things called panels that hang out below the video of a channel.

Panels Down There

Normally you’re just watching the channel or using the chat and not paying attention to what else is on the page. But what if you want to know a little bit more about this streamer?

That’s what the panels are for.

I added a little bit of basic bio info, some Disney Channel level interview questions, my computer specs, and a list of what games I play.

Here's what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral
Here’s what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

What’s next for the channel? Well, one of my friends keeps bugging me to wear silly hats while I stream, so that’s probably something I should do.

I still have a random frame dropping issue that I need to deal with. The easiest way to fix that is unfortunately just dropping the quality of the stream slightly.

That sounds bad, but having slightly less detail on the video is probably better than a huge ten minute section of my video having 1 frame per second.

Which brings up another issue, my internet speed. Bad news on that front as well.

There are only two significant internet providers in Davis, Comcast and AT&T. I use AT&T currently and I’ll be damned if I sign up for Comcast ever. That company is run by Satan.

But I already have the fastest upload speed available to me with AT&T. There is no way for me to boost my streaming quality except signing up for the better upload speeds offered by Comcast.

That’s just not happening. One of my friends posts a Comcast horror story every couple months. The most recent one was this guy who spent a year arguing with them on the phone for an erroneous $2000 charge. Comcast ended up calling the guy’s work and getting him fired because he wouldn’t pay their bogus charges.

Just… Not gonna get involved with a company like that.

Back to the stream! The internet speed thing means I can’t stream my League of Legends games. League of Legends eats up to much of my bandwith. If I stream at the same time the video quality will be reduced and my League game suffers some lag problems as well where I can’t react as fast to stuff in the game.

This is fine. I can get by without streaming League, but it creates another issue.

I’ve been wanting to stream my Sunday hangouts with my friends. We get together to play D&D and some video games nearly every Sunday.

The video game we play most often is League. We play at least one game every Sunday.

So if I’m streaming on Sundays, there’s gonna be this random gap in the stream when I leave to play League.

And this is also very strange for a Twitch channel. I imagine a viewer being like, “You’ve stopped streaming so you can play League of Legends? The most popular game on Twitch?”

Another option I’ve considered is throwing a switch to reduce stream quality while I’m playing League of Legends on Sunday. That’s probably a good compromise. I wish AT&T just offered better internet speeds though.

The final thing I’d like to do for the stream is to establish a weekday night where I stream every week on that night. Even if its just for half an hour I’d like to have some consistency. I think that’s the best way to build a fan base. Along with wearing funny hats.

-Mister Ed

Rice Husks and Video Games

I was dehusking some rice seeds today in order to sterilize them.
I was dehusking some rice seeds today in order to sterilize them.

Rice seeds grow with a husk around them. After the husk is removed they look like the rice you buy in a store.

Sometimes the seeds from a particular strain don’t grow right.

The lack of growth often happens because a fungus infected the seed from the start.

The fungus is removed by washing the seed.

The husk needs to be removed first to ensure the seed is fully cleaned, just like you have to take off all of your clothes to ensure your body is fully cleaned when you shower or bathe.

While I was washing the seeds in diluted bleach I talked with one of my friends in the lab about streaming Hearthstone.

The oldest member of the lab besides the professor (I sometimes call him the lab fossil) overheard us and was curious about what streaming was.

We described it to him and he was a little surprised that people would want to watch others play video games.

He’s seen his son play first person shooter (FPS) games and he dislikes them, but not for the usual reasons.

The lab fossil dislikes FPS games because they don’t match reality.

He feels they teach people that if you die/fail you can just get a do-over where you try again.

The real world and the real battlefield doesn’t work that way. If you die in real life, you’re dead.

You can’t respawn, you can’t start over from the beginning. It’s over.

He told us about when he was in the army for two years.

All the time they would do drills and the drills were about staying alive.

Not about shooting and killing others no matter the consequences to yourself like in FPS games.

One of the first things the lab fossil learned is that if you hear gunfire, you should immediately drop to the ground (something people in gang neighborhoods already know).

He told us that the way you survive a battle is by finding cover, not shooting your gun.

He said bullets are heavy, you don’t want to waste them, you might need them later to survive.

My past experience with army veterans is that they never want to talk about their experiences.

Out of respect, I’ve never asked them to recall memories that might be painful for them.

This was one of the first times I actually got to talk about war with a soldier, even if he’d never been actively deployed.

It was a good learning experience.

-Mister Ed