Friday, January 22, 2010

Star Trek Online Impressions and Tips for n00bs

The game is a bit lacking in the diplomatic department, however the game takes place during a war with the Klingons. It only makes sense that combat would be the primary means of advancement. The game is combat focused with skills being allocated to combat (for engineering and tactical officers), and healing/combat buffs (for science officers). I'm Lt. Commander 6 and the game has really opened up. I have missions in almost every sector block. However, the game can be a bit daunting to new players.

Tips for new players:

1. Sulu is in the Admiral's Office (but you can hail with him through your communicator after you make initial contact).

2. Never charge into groups of enemies. While it saves time to go in at full impulse and get the fight started it also drains power from your weapons, shields, and aux power. Full impulse until you're about 12-15 km out, restore your energy settings and avoid instant death.

3. The Emergency Power to Shields I ability will save your life. Find a Science Bridge Officer with that ability as soon as possible.

4. Badges of Exploration act as currency for the Requisition Officers. If you need new weapons, shields, consoles, ect. you can earn Badges of Exploration through exploration missions and purchase these items. Exploration missions open up around Lt. 3, talk to Lt. Grall and Sulu.

5. Pick up your drops, too many people leave the drops sitting in space. Since they can't be picked up by anyone else the materials go unused. The drops are little yellow "things". The drop might contain a new phaser array or shields.

As for beta codes I received mine through, check the STO website for other locations. The open beta runs through 1/28/2010. Head start begins on 1/29/2010 for pre-orders, and the game officially launches 2/2/2010. If you pre-order you will receive a beta key.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How To Apply For

This Google search seems to be a fairly apt acknowledgment of the state of our nation.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Digital Distribution is the Future

Music files are small relative to our connection speeds. Ten years ago, in 1999, Napster really started taking off. The average user had a 56k modem with speeds between 2-7kB/s and a 3 MB .mp3 file took between 30 minutes and one hour to download. Today, the average user has a download speed of between 200kB/s and 1.0mB/s. Average game files (full retail games) are 2GB to 7GB and most games take between two to five hours for download. Ten years from today, average end user download speeds should be about four times faster than now (even thought similar speeds are widely available throughout the world already) and game files will seem smaller (even though they will be larger theoretically).

This is assuming server side services like OnLive fail and users still download game files from a server to install them on a system.

This argument is also ignoring the value to the publishers. Packing and shipping represent a significant cost in game production. The costs of delivering a packaged product to the consumer are much higher than the costs of uploading a file across the internet. By digitally distributing content the publisher effectively eliminates the majority of fixed production costs and reduces variable costs by almost 90%. These savings impact the bottom line (Net Income).

However part of this argument is right, there will always be game stores and physical media. Their roles will change, shifting from the central place you get your games into a more niche business, much like record (vinyl) stores of today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Battlestar Finale Response

1. When the humans create life through technology they are wrong, but when this "God" figure creates life it's divine? God's life is just as flawed as the life that human create.

2. In the end Lee's solution to abandon technology changes nothing. It simply delays what the show wants us to view as the inevitable. Better to keep the technology and address the self destructive nature of humans.

3. More practically the fleet's abandonment of technology is only going to lead to their quick deaths. The environment, disease, hostile natives, and food shortages are just a few of the very real obstacles that the fleet's survivors are sure to face. Like early English settlers in Virginia, they are almost completely unprepared for their new environment.

4. What about the natives? The survivors are sure to bring several very deadly, hyper-evolved diseases with them. Any natives who come in contact with them are sure to contract these diseases and die. So much for spreading language and culture.

5. I find the total acceptance of Lee's idea a bit preposterous. The show tries to explain it away, but I still think a rogue element would find abandoning everything humanity has accomplished absolutely foolish.

6. Why in the hell is everyone separating? These people have fought and died for each other for the last four years(about right?) and now they just take off never to see one another again, it's absurd.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Criterion Knows How to Keep Fans Happy

After the release of te latest update, I couldn't help but put in the game and give it a go. I was initially impressed by the cosmetic change that the game received. The new look is appealing, but not a complete change. However, I was much more interested in the content of the update. Cagney included three new game modes, 70 new challenges and several bug fixes. The new modes are instantly appealing even for someone how hasn't played the game in months (unlike Halo or CoD).With the next update, formerly know as Davis, Criterion is going to include a full day night cycle, and add motorcycles to the game. The best part about the updates is that they are completely free. The inclusion of additional content with bug fixes is fairly new concept for console games and the majority of developers charge a small price for any new content. Gamers are generally more than willing to spend a few bucks on new maps, but what Criterion is doing is setting a new precedent on how to support your game after launch. We can only hope that other developers see the fan response and follow Criterion's lead.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Comments on Carmack

We all agree that first-party PS3 games look amazing, but if Sony can't support the needs of third party developers they are going to have a very real problem. Think about it, third party support is what made the PS2 one of the greatest gaming machines ever produced. How many great third party games are there on PS3? Sony made a choice when they decided to use non-traditional hardware, and they need to support that decision. Carmack even admits that they can make games look just as good, if not better on the PS3. He also says it is just a matter of how much time a developer is willing to spend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Responce to IGN's Metal Gear vs. GTA 4 Grudge Match

I believe the film that Hilary is referencing is Salvador Dali's Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). This is an interesting reference considering that this is a the work of a surrealist and nothing in the film was meant to symbolize anything. Kojima is obviously inspired but Hollywood style Formalism and imitates it to the best of his ability. However, he is saddled with a storyline that is both incoherent and nonsensical. It would be interesting to see what he might be able to produce given a clean slate and a writer who could reign him in.

Since these two games are so difficult to compare because they both mark the pinnacle of their respective series. To me it comes down to narrative and characters. Metal Gear's narrative makes no sense, and the world contains characters that could NEVER exist. GTA is more grounded in an exaggerated reality that is more similar to our own. Niko and his crew are easier to relate to and provide an entertaining story that actually makes sense. Putting all other elements aside (especially graphics Jeff) GTA is the better game.