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The People's Republic of Clogher
Lisa and I played Before the Storm, which is sort of the prequel to Life is Strange that centers around the friendship/romance of Chloe and Rachel Amber. The stakes aren't as high as in the first game, and it does tilt a bit more into the teen drama angle, but on the plus side, the game play mechanic fit Chloe really well, and the story it does tell is told well. All in all, I didn't think it was good, but perhaps still worth the time. I haven't played the second game.
I passed on Before The Storm (watched a couple of Let's Plays though) as it was made by a different team to the previous game, but I know quite a few people who really like it.
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I saw that Faze thing. Someone should have told that kid not to make that video.



there's a frog in my snake oil
Got a bit carried away again in the VR thread again

GTA WOOOOOO

When this mod came out, some internet bod said: 'That's Project Cars uninstalled then'. And they're not wrong. Project Cars is totally uninstalled. I don't need any other driving sim right now. Or flight sim. This thing is absolutely knocking both out of the park.



Ok... it's definitely not a sim... But where else do you get asked to bomb a moving drugs train from your plane? Just as an incidental thing? Or get told to hide your stolen industrial helicopter from attack copters, with no further advice... (and end up barreling it's coughing frame down gorges, amongst trees, skimming over spuming waterfalls, until you make your escape?)



And in between that, the views just look immense. Crowning over the vinewood sign with your latest stolen 'copter. Seeing the dust in the arid folds on the other side. Seeing the fog forming over the lake as you hit another mountain chain, the setting sun illuminating it in shafts. Seeing all that with free look, and '3D'? Just, god damn. It can do top down cruising too



And on the car front... Where else can you pick up a tiny DeLorean-looking hatchback thing and spin it sideways down alleyways while retro 80s synth-pop plays on the radio? Only to be interspersed with news of that time you drove a lovely sedan through the upper stories of a hospital to help out some nice old crazy English folk?

It... just... does so much

<snip>...many more words...</snip>
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I just want to hug (your FACE)!
CONTROL

WELL WELL WELL!!!!
Since Tacitus' complete abandonment of the Oldest House, I've reluctantly returned to my directorial duties by taking up, once again, The Sidearm.

I still say the general game play is too easy relative to boss encounters, but this game is just so much fun!!! It is gorgeous and smooth. Character animations are tight and powers are an absolutely joy to use. Since my last rambling post on this game, I've picked up a few new abilities and have maxed out health, launch damage, and levitation time. As a result of some of the skill side-trees, I can now psychically catch and launch enemy grenades AND enemies that are low on health. let me repeat that in other words: if an enemy combatant is low on health, I can JEDI style pick him up and launch him at another enemy, killing both. That is so much fun!

Following is a clip recorded earlier this week. While it shows game play in later levels, I do not show the steps involved in unlocking this area so spoilers are at a minimum, if they exist at all. There is arguably a reveal of a character's importance at the beginning during a cut scene dialogue, but honestly if you start playing this game you should already have your assumptions within the first 5 minutes of game play that something is just off with this guy.

Something else to note: while you can only have two variations of your Sidearm active during combat, you can, at any time, pause to switch out the load out. I may have mentioned that before but this may be the first clip of mine that shows that in use. Additionally, you can, at the same time, adjust your weapon and health mods from the same screen. If you find a combination not working out, just pause and adjust. That's nice, but pushes difficulty heavily to the side of OP at times.

I apologies for the slow play through, but this was my first time through this "maze" and I wanted to explore things before moving on. That I didn't die on a first run is more proof that difficulty could be boosted some. Still, it is one of the coolest experiences in the game IMO and has so much personality. Basically, there is an area later in the game that you eventually have to get through. You can walk around it once discovered, but as a security measure of sorts, the Oldest House will not allow you to pass through until you've accessed a certain mission story line. Those steps are not included in the clip. What is included is being handed the key through, and your character then listening to an 80's style metal track while navigating the Ashtray Maze. Metal is apparently the key through

So much fun. I want to reply it now just as a speed run. I can see myself spending the next few weeks just replying this zone.

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there's a frog in my snake oil
Fun little AskAGameDev bit on how Overwatch uses audio cues:

they built a very robust priority system to handle the audio instead. Instead of adjusting by distance, the sound effects that are played are prioritized and emphasized for gameplay reasons. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Enemy footsteps are much louder than teammates’ footsteps so players can focus on threats
  • Every character sounds different when moving and attacking in order to train players to be able to recognize characters by the sound they make
  • Immediately dangerous enemy ultimate barks take priority over other things
  • Friendly ultimate barks are a little lower in priority than enemy ultimates
  • Sounds are selectively played for each player - only the Reinhardt player hears his bark if his charge is unsuccessful, but everybody hears the charge sound effect when he activates
  • Enemy barks use different lines than friendly ones, even if it’s the same character (e.g. Lucio says “Drop the beat!” when he is an enemy, but “Let’s break it down!” when he’s your ally)
  • Sound effects are adjusted based on what sort of objects are between the source and listener so you can learn what somebody sounds like when they are far away, around a corner, in a tight space, in an open space, etc.

All of these small differences combine to form an audio experience that greatly affects and informs gameplay on a subconscious level. Even if players don’t necessarily notice these features directly, they make a tremendous difference in training players to play as well as provide avenues for them to improve and master.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
That's wild that developers are going so deep into immersion. There have been several instances where such audio cues would have been helpful in some games. I guess that while graphics and world environments have improved, that improvement only creates more contrast between the visual and audible details. It's nice to read the inside thoughts here and to know that is acknowledged. I still have to guess on RDR2 locations a lot as gunfire just doesn't sound directional to me unless it's very close.



there's a frog in my snake oil
That is super cool. I love stuff like that, thanks for posting.
That's wild that developers are going so deep into immersion. There have been several instances where such audio cues would have been helpful in some games. I guess that while graphics and world environments have improved, that improvement only creates more contrast between the visual and audible details. It's nice to read the inside thoughts here and to know that is acknowledged. I still have to guess on RDR2 locations a lot as gunfire just doesn't sound directional to me unless it's very close.
Yeah this stuff's grand isn't it

Audio can be the underrated sense in games sometimes, but so often when you think back to stand-out games they have a really memorable audio component. The moan of a crab-head behind a burnt out car in HL2, priming you to danger. Or just curtain-raising it agonisingly as they drag around on the other side of a wall . The ludicrous society-scape and selectable vibe of GTA's radio, filling out the world, while also giving you an added feeling of individual choice amongst it.

And then there's all the games that get bootstrapped up by good sound design. I'd put NMS in that camp. The effort they went to to get that shifting, responsive, music-scape going just adds a ton of 'this is one big adventure' momentum to chains of events. Really elevates the game above its weaker links. (I also love that they modelled virtual larynxes for the creatures, with the aim of creating fitting 'voices' and emotes. Just a shame it didn't really work, and they all sound like squished frogs ).

What's cool about this example is the sheer pragmatism of it, adding clarity and an instinctual armoury to a chaotic multiplayer environment. I love touches like the last one - I can totally imagine deciphering: 'That's a heavy, in the square round the corner, laying down suppressing fire on the far wall by the sound of it. Which means if I dart sneakily down this alley...' ). It's obvious they've gone all in on it.

I think the big issue is that a lot of this stuff takes up a ton of processing. You often notice neat audio tricks getting stripped out or simplified in long-running games (doubtless to make room for something else). In VR there's a huge demand for positional audio, because it works so well. But unfortunately it's exactly the type of fancy effect that gets cut to gain performance

Seems like if you're gonna do it well, you've gotta go all in. And stick to your guns



Welcome to the human race...
Because I'm so good at keeping up with games and also killing time waiting for certain new releases to come out, I finally got around to playing Max Payne 3. I get the impression I should've gotten to it much sooner because I think I may have outgrown the franchise's semi-parodic hard-boiled detective schtick, especially now that it went the same route as Grand Theft Auto IV and tried to ratchet up the seriousness to a degree that was difficult to sustain (especially when it swapped out the distinctive graphic novel storytelling of its predecessors for this Man On Fire-esque plot that even emulates the same chaotic aesthetics of late-period Tony Scott), which definitely watered down the personality of it all. Still, at least it plays like I remember the first two games playing (though the "last man standing" mechanic was kind of a mess - or it just took me way too long to really figure out how it worked - or both) and it's just simple run-and-gun fun for the most part. Not too demanding and I guess it was worth completing, but I definitely feel like I require more out of my games these days (and even now I can't help but wonder if the first two games were that good or if I just outgrew them even though they still seem like my kind of thing in retrospect).

As for what's next - I picked up The Outer Worlds but now I'm questioning whether or not I'll put it off now that Death Stranding is out.
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Because I'm so good at keeping up with games and also killing time waiting for certain new releases to come out, I finally got around to playing Max Payne 3. I get the impression I should've gotten to it much sooner because I think I may have outgrown the franchise's semi-parodic hard-boiled detective schtick, especially now that it went the same route as Grand Theft Auto IV and tried to ratchet up the seriousness to a degree that was difficult to sustain (especially when it swapped out the distinctive graphic novel storytelling of its predecessors for this Man On Fire-esque plot that even emulates the same chaotic aesthetics of late-period Tony Scott), which definitely watered down the personality of it all. Still, at least it plays like I remember the first two games playing (though the "last man standing" mechanic was kind of a mess - or it just took me way too long to really figure out how it worked - or both) and it's just simple run-and-gun fun for the most part. Not too demanding and I guess it was worth completing, but I definitely feel like I require more out of my games these days (and even now I can't help but wonder if the first two games were that good or if I just outgrew them even though they still seem like my kind of thing in retrospect).

As for what's next - I picked up The Outer Worlds but now I'm questioning whether or not I'll put it off now that Death Stranding is out.

I was a big fan of MP3 My taste in gaming doesn't do for inventories and crafting, etc. Let me loose, point me in a general direction and give me some cheap adrenaline.



There is one part in MP3 I really enjoyed because of the music and setting. Made me feel like a little kid in the backyard, tuck and rolling after I saw Raw Deal playing the music from it I recorded off the t.v. :nerd:



The Adventure Starts Here!
Okay, is this on purpose? Every time I see an ad for DEATH STRANDING, I think that main character looks like Norman Reedus. Is it just me, or did they do that on purpose? I don't know anything about the game -- I just keep seeing the ads with that face and I think, "DARYL DIXON!"



The People's Republic of Clogher
That's cos it is Norman Reedus.



Hideo Kojima, friend of the stars. See also: Mikkelsen, Mads

Heck, even Helen Mirren turned up to the New York premiere... although that's mainly because her stepson's head A&R man for Sony Games.



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I booted up RDR II this morning. Last save file - 11.24.19

I remembered how tiresome it gets being forced to ride a horse to listen to dialogue in what use to be a cut scene. Lot of walking in the mud, this game.