Tag Archive for gameplay

EVE adding a ground game

If you dig around this site you’ll find that I occasionally praise the design of EVE Online.  Which is funny, considering that I don’t play it.  I did, at one point, but unless you have the desire and time to get involved in the forums, corporations and politics of the game or like the economy jockeying, the mechanics of the game are fairly boring.

CCP, the company that makes EVE, is looking to change that… sort of…

Enter, DUST 514.  I read about this over at Fidgit, and here is what was said:

DUST 514, featuring first-person shooter and RTS-style gameplay, will interact directly with EVE Online, CCP’s critically acclaimed flagship MMO. This interplay between the two games opens the EVE universe to console gamers and gives them a chance to become part of one of the most massive cooperative play and social experiences ever.

The primary gameplay of DUST 514 features brutal ground combat that takes place on the surface of planets from EVE, delivering the visceral, adrenaline-fueled experience of futuristic firefights. Developed for the current generation of consoles, DUST 514 combines equal parts battlefield reflexes and strategic planning, giving commanders and ground infantry real-time configurable weapons and modular vehicles to manage dynamic battlefield conditions.

Again, CCP seems to be taking risks by trying something that isn’t exactly mainstream.  Sure, console FPS games are old hat, but the idea of integrating that console FPS with a PC MMO and tossing in some RTS style elements has my interest piqued.

This article includes a video showing what I can only hope is in-game footage of combat.

I am excited to hear more, which they say we will at CCP’s Fanfest in October.

A Focus on Graphics

Over at Nerfbat, Blackguard has posted about the need for good graphics in games and its gotten me thinking…

I am one of those people who says that the graphics of a game shouldn’t matter. And to a point, its true. For a really good game, the gameplay should be compelling enough that enjoyment of the game shouldn’t be affected by the graphics. However, as Blackguard points out, graphics are how most people get their first glimps of the game, and advertising is based almost entirely around screenshots with game features coming later more through word of mouth than actual ads.

Where my issue comes in is that I feel that too often the graphics lead the game instead of suppliment or compliment the gameplay. Too many games spend so much time working on realism or fansy shaders and animations, and push the envelope on system requirements, that they lose track of making a game worth playing and that a large enough portion of the public can play. At the rate technology moves, and the fact that game developers keep right up on the bleeding edge most of the time, if you are at all serious about games you probably need to buy a new computer every year, or at least a few hefty upgrades. Of course, not everyone can afford that.

I think one of the major successes of World of Warcraft is that they game runs well on moderate, even low end machines. Personally, I’m running a 1.2GHz Althon with 1GB RAM and a 256MB ATI 9800 video card. It runs very well, except in Ironforge and in open PvP with a hundred or more people running around. I play Half-Life 2 on it also, another success. I tried to play EverQuest 2 on it, and it just died. I got the game to finally run smoothly by turning down the graphics so far that it wasn’t worth my time. 8-bit or Nintendo style graphics I can handle, but fuzzy blobs running around fuzzy blobby landscapes I can’t. City of Heroes ran fairly well. I didn’t have all the highend particles turned on, but not many people do. City of Villains upgraded the graphics engine just enough that I had to tune down the graphics just below the threshhold of “playable”. When the faces lose their eyes, its actually borderline disturbing.

And that leads into another issue I’ve got… why haven’t any companies made a game that actually tunes down? Why isn’t there a slider to reduce polygon counts and use “flatter” textures? Instead, as the sliders move toward the low end, you lose definition and the world begins to look like you forgot to put on your glasses, like a bad runny watercolor painting as things blend and smear into each other.

Perhaps I just need to accept the fact that I need to put in my budget a thousand bucks a year on computer upgrades… no wait, two thousand because I have to upgrade the wife’s PC as well. I can’t imagine having a family and needing to keep three, four, even five PCs up to date. Five grand a year just so the family can continue to game together. It makes you want to go buy some board games

Pretty as a Picture.

The City of Heroes website has posted a few new screenshots in conjunction with the announcement of their participation in the “launch” for the GeForce4 cards. If they can keep the game this pretty, without lag, and have gameplay to match, I may just be done with EverQuest.

In City of Heroes News…

.. the people on the official CoH Message Boards continued to discuss how cool the game is even though it doesn’t exist yet! They talk about the game disecting each frame of the admittedly damn cool gameplay movie. They roleplay. They create characters (most of them will end up bitching when someone steals their idea before they get their hands on a copy of the game). They form super teams.

Let me repeat… The game does not exist yet!

This isn’t a new thing. It’s happened with most games that have come out recently. See Dawn for an extreme case of people defending a game that will NEVER exist (I have my Beta account set up anyway so I can laugh at it properly). Mostly though, this kind of religious ferver just results in disappointment and general community divisions and hatred as people bicker and bitch about whether or not capes should be in the game.

I think the first sign of the coming apocalypse is any time two people argue about something where not only can neither of them win, but even if they could it wouldn’t matter because its not up to them to decide.

The Next Game.

Currently I play Everquest. I used to play Ultima Online. I tried to play Asheron’s Call. I beta tested Anarchy Online. I never considered World War II Online. And I’m currently beta testing Dark Age of Camelot.

But what has me really excited these days is City of Heroes.

Most people who are willing to look beyond the minor inconveniences of most games will tell you they play them because they like the fantasy setting. They wanted to hurl a fireball, or draw sword on a dragon. Me, I always wanted to fight crime.

I’ve been reading comic books since before I could even understand the words. I’ve got 15 long boxes of comics (soon to appear on Ebay) of what I have collected over the years. With every page I read, I dreamed myself into Batman’s cowl, I wore the Green Lantern’s ring, I fired bullets while wearing the Punisher’s boots, and every now and then I’d save the world all while wearing a silly looking costume and proud to be wearing it.

There are lots of games on the market. And lots more slowly heading towards it. Of all of them, this is the one I hope for most. This is the game I drool at the thought of playing.

Yesterday they released a “gameplay” demo. Not really much of gameplay, but it does show the in game graphics and some of the interface, and character creation. I am in awe.

This is the game I want to play. I just hope I can survive until Summer of 2002 to do it.