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I spent a good chunk of yesterday with Destiny. It’s definitely got some solid RPG hooks. The desire to go back in for one more mission is strong. Someone during my Twitch stream yesterday asked if it lived up to the hype and the honest answer is “no I don’t think so.” but to be fair what game could? I’ve been playing games a long time and I cannot remember a game with this much hype surrounding it. It is not the second coming of Christ. It’s just Halo by way of Phantasy Star Online and that’s pretty cool.

For the last three years or so I have had a policy of avoiding massive previews. It has improved my gaming experiences greatly. Going into games not knowing exactly what to expect has been a real treat. It was hard to avoid Destiny stuff just because it was everywhere but I still managed to not know about the PvP. I thought you could play Destiny single player or Co-Op and that was it. Yesterday while I was playing, I unlocked PvP and was really surprised. I had no idea it had traditional “multiplayer” in that sense. I dove in and ended up having a ton of fun. Taking my custom character with all my skills and gear into a deathmatch sort of environment was a blast. It really is similar to battlegrounds in World of Warcraft in that you are matched with players around your level and then you get to bring your custom shit to the fight. If you’re a console gamer who hasn’t played an MMO my guess is this feels pretty incredible.

Speaking of consoles I chose the PS4 to play Destiny on. I did that for a couple reasons but the biggest one was the Vita. Bungie went out of their way to include a custom control scheme for remote play on the Vita and it works great. I know a lot you are wondering why the hell I’d want to play a game like Destiny on a little tiny screen but as a Dad I have to say this is a killer feature. The fact that I can sit on the couch and play Destiny while my four year old is watching Spongebob or just playing with his cars in the living room is awesome. Normally I’d probably wait until the kids were in bed to go hard on a shooter like Destiny but with the remote play I don’t have to. This was something I loved about playing the old Call of Duty on the WiiU and it still holds true. The custom control scheme is fantastic and doing a mission in bed before I go to sleep is pretty cool.

Overall Destiny is super solid and feels very polished. I’d say The dialog from the Ghost is probably the worst part of the game. I know that’s been beaten to death since the Beta, hell they even made a shirt, but holy shit that is some terrible voice acting. Tycho suggested Peter Dinklage was phoning it in but honestly I think he had someone phone it in for him. I don’t think he could even be bothered to pick up the phone. It is especially bad when compared to Cortana and it is impossible not to be constantly comparing it to Cortana because you are essentially playing Halo. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I mean these are the folks that created Halo and fine tuned that “feel” over the years. There’s no reason that work shouldn’t be present here. The reality is I bet there are a lot of Playstation fans who have never played a Halo game and those people are in for a fucking treat because I think Destiny is the best Halo yet.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 1 week ago

Some 3-Day PAX AUS Badges Available

We refunded a few 3-Day passes for the show, which means that they’re now available for purchase.  A few other varietals are also available.


Tycho / 1 week ago

Earlier iterations of ourselves spent a lot of time worrying about this or that webcomic or the scenesterism which was (and perhaps continues to be) whatever the fuck it is.  This sort of thing always made Robert exceedingly angry.  “I don’t care about that,” he would say.  “That’s not where it’s going.”  He said that if we ever felt like worrying about something that was actually substantial, just for a change of pace, we could worry about Rooster Teeth.  He said this like ten years ago, and if you are looking at the actual world, Robert probably had it right.

When we were told that The Internet, proper noun, was going to revolutionize media it was easy to see how that might be.  It took a physical process and, functionally speaking, turned it into what might as well be a mystical one.  We invented the oracle.  So when fleet little carnivores came in to roost in the old flesh, I sorta thought, well, there you go.  Revolution over.

Except they were only comparatively fleet.  Communication is getting progressively more mammalian with each round, and this one is down virtually to the individual.  There’s a kid on my block who came to PAX, and she was despondent that she’d come on a day when CaptainSparklez was not there.  I nodded, but I don’t actually know who that is.  She literally had to tell me about the Z at the end, just to give you an index of my profound irrelevance.  There were a ton of incredibly high profile “YouTubers” at PAX and I didn’t know them from Adam.  This is where people are investing their trust, now.

Reddit is part of that atomization, also.  People often ask me what news sites I read, and implicit in this is the idea that they’re looking to shift an allegiance.  But I don’t read sites out of allegiance, and it barely matters what they have written - and not just because most of it is insulting or aggressively stupid.  It doesn’t matter because I just strip it off the wing bone in one quick pull.  I need a button for my jacket that says “I’m Only Here For The Organic Compounds.”  I process their text like a Perl script, shucking nonsense, and then I make pixel sculptures out of them with my best friend.  My needs may be different.

Much of the content on “the big news sites” is simply reposts from Reddit, encased in their acrid saliva.  Once you realize this, you can’t really read them in the same way.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I don’t get many opportunities to play games at PAX.  I’m not complaining about it, believe me.  But I’m not gonna cut lines, or whatever.  I lucked out once at the Dreadnought booth, though, because I had watched it in stunned silence for so long that the place I was standing had become the head of the line.  No shit, that is a real thing.  Pay attention to this game.

(There was an Irish dude behind me I talked to for a second, and he pronounced “Th” with the hard T I heard in Dublin.  I asked him about it, and he said that he only spoke that way because the way he actually speaks nobody can understand.  I asked him to give me an example, and he was totally right.  I couldn’t parse it at all: I didn’t know where the words started and ended.  I had been to towns in the Republic where Gaelic was their “daily tongue,” but I don’t know if this was proper Gaelic or if it existed in some state where it was deeply informed by it.  Anyway, that was a high point for me.  Thanks for coming to the show.)

Along with my ADC Morak Cavanaugh, we were part of some kind of social media blitz for Gauntlet where we played the game with MC Frontalot (new album!) and Jesse Cox presumably in order to activate Twitter and/or trend a hashtag.  In reality, having a scheduled time to sit the fuck down and play a game was rad all by itself - but we were surprised at how much we liked it.  It started to gel when I figured out it was by Arrowhead, the crew behind Magicka - it was felt most keenly in the Wizard, who isn’t just a model swap but uses their button presses to dynamically generate different types of elemental spells.

The original Gauntlet is, like other games in its doomed strata, largely about eating children’s money.  Things are happening on the screen, but as MC Frontalot correctly observed on the couch once the first quarter is in it models free to play mechanics flawlessly.  So, how do you make that again?  One of the more Genius reinterpretations of the Old Ways is Pac-Man Championship, by the game’s original creator.  It succeeds by enforcing harsh time pressures, which recreate the “fun stress” of those games.  It makes them a race, essentially.  The new Gauntlet cleverly does the same thing in the mode we played, turning it into a rigorously scored, semi-cooperative race from Death.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 2 weeks ago

PAX Dev Storytime

I guess I’m technically a game designer now since I am designing Thornwatch. It still felt very strange to be invited to speak on a panel at PAX Dev though. I’ve always avoided the show because the entire point of PAX Dev is to give developers a space to speak freely without fans and media around. We built a treehouse for them and I didn’t want to spoil that.

I was asked by Mike Selinker to sit in on a panel with Patrick Rothfuss though. I was under the impression that it was some sort of world building panel where we would field questions from the audience about creating stories for games. I figured I had some experience with this and I’ll pretty much do anything if Pat is involved. The three of us sat down a few minutes before the panel was scheduled to start just to go over the details. Selinker pulled out a stack of paper and explained he would be reading a story about D&D that he had written. He said it would take about fifteen minutes. Then Pat pulled out his story also written down and explained he’d be reading a story about playing games with his son. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I think it was something like, “What the fuck guys?”

I told them that I thought we would be answering questions from the audience and so I had done zero preparation. Selinker said the panel was a “story time” and each of us was going to have time to tell a story about games and how they intersect with family. I may have shouted the next part “I don’t tell stories! I’m the drawing guy not the story guy!” This was the first time ever at any PAX I was honestly scared to go on stage. I had nothing prepared and I had no idea what I was going to do. Then I remembered my Minecraft CSI post. I’ve never just gone on stage and told a story but the news post was pretty fresh in my mind. I figured it was my best chance at not looking like an idiot up there.

Well it turns out the entire panel was recorded and Selinker just posted it this morning. Pat and Mike both delivered incredible stories and I highly recommend watching this panel to hear them. You can also watch me trying not to panic while I deliver a slightly embellished version of my Minecraft CSI post.

-Gabe out

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