Friday, April 21, 2017
Those are just a few examples of films that were interesting to me in terms of what they could have been rather than what they were. It's unlikely that any of those three scripts will ever be conceived as a motion picture in their original form, but perhaps those lost and buried concepts could see the light of day in the form of a video game.
Friday, April 14, 2017
|Internet piracy may not exactly be legal,|
but it is paradoxically non-profit
"What's the big deal?" you might be wondering. People sell used games all the time through E-bay or upscale pawnshops (usually referred to as "Gamestop"). True, but I'd argue that the majority of the games you see for sale at those stores were trade-ins or simply the result of people getting rid of stuff they're never going to play again. Steam codes being sold on websites such as G2A though are more often than not an online fence for scammers and thieves.
|Steam trading cards? CS:GO cosmetics? |
It's all bitcoins to me...
Online credit card theft is a serious problem, but the thing is once the thieves get the info they need they have to find a way to turn it into a quick profit (before the owner figures out what's up). One way to go about it is to hit up an online retailer and purchase digital copies of video games in the form of download keys. Then quickly put them up on G2A for cheap. By the time the credit card owner blocks the charges the thieves have already laundered their ill-gotten gains...hang on though, it gets worse.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
For one, the game developers like to use the term "psychosis" to describe Senua's mental illness. The problem is psychosis, by definition, can mean anything from trivialities like a child's imaginary friend or night terrors to dire issues such as schizophrenia or hypothyroidism. Each classification has it's own particular set of symptoms and subcategories. Schizophrenia, for example, has five separate subtypes including "paranoid," "disorganized" and "catatonic," each of which has its own rigorously defined set of symptoms. I get the impression that the developers of Hellblade (at least initially) simply read a bunch of articles about what it's like to experience various kinds of psychosis and thought, "Hey, this is creepy and interesting. We should totally make a game about this sort of thing!" The problem is, it becomes a kind of insanity blender that doesn't have much to do with real mental health issues. Of course, that's fine if the source of the madness is supernatural in nature, say in Silent Hill or Call of Cthulhu. However, the devs have taken great pains to make the game feel authentic. They've gone so far as to bring on two Cambridge professors (one a historian and the other a psychologist) as consultants. Even Senua's character model has been meticulously detailed all the way down to her fingerprints.
|Hallucinations are influenced by personal experiences,|
but have shared aspects between individuals as well.
|Close your right eye and focus your left eye on the black spot. |
At a viewing distance of about 6 to 8 inches from your monitor
the "+" symbol should vanish from view.
What tastes or smells good to one person might be foul and disgusting to another depending on how each individual's brain interprets olfactory data. Even eyesight has this to a degree. The human brain is constantly trying to apply patterns to visual data and fill in the blanks. A really easy way to demonstrate this is with the blind spots we all have due to the way our eyeballs connect to the optic nerve. The reason you don't have a blank patch in each eye's cone of vision is because your brain automatically compensates by guessing what's there. In the case of someone suffering from dementia, they are increasingly unable to apply patterns leading to a decline in cognitive function. Meanwhile a schizophrenic applies patterns haphazardly resulting in wildly incorrect interpretations of external stimuli. Personally, I'm curious to see what the game developers do with this sort of phenomenon in terms of puzzles and atmosphere - ditto for 3D sound and the controller rumble.
Sadly, story-wise I don't things are going to end well for Senua. Effective antipsychotic medicines didn't exist until the 1950s. Worse yet throughout most of human history the extremely mentally unwell were subjected to "treatments" such as bloodletting, trepanning and a variety of trials by ordeal involving water. None of this helped, and in most cases did considerable harm. Regardless, fingers crossed that this turns out to be a psychological masterpiece (albeit inevitably tragic in nature). If the developer's track record is anything to go by it's unlikely to be a very long game. My guess is six hours tops. That might be good thing though all things considered. I just hope the time spent in her messed up head feels worth it.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
In the debut trailer for the game, the narration explains that the Old Ones built towers that reached the sky. This might be an exaggeration, or it might not. Amongst some of the text files that players can find scattered about the world, several mention a project called "Far Zenith." Much like the Zero Dawn project, it was an attempt to preserve humanity in the face of its imminent destruction by the Faro Swarm. Instead of going underground though, the idea was to use a spaceship called the Odyssey to relocate to a neighboring star system. Sadly, it was a total failure due to an matter/antimatter power generator accident while exiting the solar system. That might make it sound like a dead end story-wise, but in order to build something like the Odyssey, I think there would have to be pretty extensive infrastructure setup in orbit around earth. Things like an space elevator connected to a ring habitat and geosynchronous assembly yard would definitely be within the realm of possibility. Here's the kicker though, "why would anyone go up there?" As it turns out there could be a very good reason to do so.
Story aside, I think there's also some room for technical improvements. For one the water physics could use another pass, particularly with regards to how it interacts with things moving into, through, and out of it. Lip Syncing and facial animations (while not as bad as Mass Effect: Andromeda) could stand some improvement, as could the way robotic herds operate. Instead of remaining in at set zone, think it would be a lot more interesting if they migrated across large portions of the map. This might make it a bit harder for the player to find particular types of robotic animals, but I think the problem could be circumvented by having hacked Tallnecks constantly update the player via moving map icons. I also have this idea of a nomadic desert people who shepard robotic camel/turtle robots that have a big tank (or two) of fresh water on their backs. Being able to ride a Sawtooth would be cool, or even more awesome - a Stormbird. Fighting against ape-like robots in the jungle or forest might be fun as well. Although that last suggestion might be a bit too on the nose given the name of the developer that made Horizon: Zero Dawn. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what the come up with next.