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Gabe / 5 hours ago

My Gears Team!

Tycho and I will battle at Gears of War 4 in just a few days. Let me introduce you to the team that will win.

Ryan Hartman will be the first to tell you just how great Ryan Hartman is at Gears of War, and he’s right about himself. During the previous For the Watch battle Ryan was actually on Tycho’s team. We all know how that turned out. The reality is that Ryan has always been my agent and his placement on Tycho’s team was simply my first move in the larger meta game. Now he has come home to roost and believe me, this motherfucker is going to roost hard.

Levin Sadsad is a good friend, a talented graphic designer and an ancient demon. His true name is Levin’oth Sadnog lord of the seven pits. He wears the skin of a man so that he can blend in among his prey. After we win he will drag the losers back to hell with him were they will suffer for eternity in his agony wells. Also his girlfriend is on Tycho’s team which seems kinda weird.

Van Blumreich returns to my team after helping me secure victory in the last For the Watch event. When not editing the Automata web series, he tells me he is doing Gears of War pushups. I didn’t ask him how those work exactly but he assured me they are very difficult to do and he claims to be able to do quite a few. So I told him to do as many as he can and then do one more. That’s the kind of hard ass I am.

might be my ace in the hole, if I understood poker metaphors. She plays games professionally and streams seven days a fucking week. She is a skilled gamer and a fierce competitor. I have a number of talented players on my team but Anne is the only true professional. This is what she does and she does it so well that she has made a career out of it. Come Friday evening she will clock in and go to fucking work. Victory is her job and she is my employee of the month.

The watch is mine and it will remain mine.

-Gabe out

My Team 4 Gears Of War 4: FOR THE WATCH (4)

It occurred to me later that we could have gone with Gears Of War: 4 The Watch.  I like that a lot.  But I can’t think about all that, now.  I can only think about how I’m going to saw Gabriel and his misfit army into CORDWOOD.  Here are the tools I will use to bring about that scenario:

Kiko Villasenor is short for Francisco Villasenor, but long for Lucifer.  He and I used to tear it up on Gears back when Wingman became a thing.  One of the most underrated gametytpes in history, it took the traditional 5v5 and instead made it 2v2v2v2v2 and we were one of the 2s in that equation - the ones at the end, ass-deep in viscera.  There was a bug in matchmaking back then that made getting into a round take twenty minutes.  Or more.  Did it.  Worth it.  And now, we form the diamond-hard core of of this precision Gabriel grinding machine.

Amy Falcone, who hails from the Wytchwild. We met years ago, when she was a contestant on our kinda sorta reality show Strip Search.  What I learned was that she was quite real indeed, and after playing on her team every night for a couple months in another, lesser game, brought her onboard.  I understand that her boyfriend chose to be on Gabriel’s team, which, you know, maybe not a strategic choice.  If I had the choice between a golden chariot and a coffin, I would opt for the former.  I’m the chariot in this metaphor.  And Gabriel is the other, bad thing.

Kris Straub is an incredible creator, as evidenced by his ongoing work at Chainsawsuit, Broodhollow,  and the startling video output at Chainsawsuit Originals.  But he is also an incredible destroyer - no doubt because, with such intimate knowledge of the act of creation, the reverse comes so naturally.  Perhaps too naturally.  Will he be a danger, even to his own team?  He’s an evil force I can barely control, but I’ve decided to take the risk.

My Fifth Horseman is not something I am prepared to reveal yet.  Basically all you need to know about him is that he will draw his scythe across the earth, and reap a terrible harvest.  He is also pretty good at Gears of War.  You mighta heard of him.  In fact, I guarantee you have.


Networks are one of the new features in Titanfall 2; like an IRC channel that has become frighteningly aware, it’s something I can see coloring a lot of my experience with the game.  Naming conventions have historically been a source of raw comicium in the past, and it’s no different today.

It reminds me in some ways of the lowest tier of experience in Chromehounds, a game I bring up whenever I can because even if it didn’t set the world on fire - it was essentially Robot Lego + “Fuck You” levels of opacity for new players - people who make games played the fuck out of it and sometimes you can see the effects.  Essentially, a Network is a purpose built-lobby, and you can join games directly out of it, inviting the Network to join you.  It’s already cool; you can incentivize people in your Network by setting a “happy hour” in which people earn more credits.  Conceived of as a platform for internetwork interactions, though, it’s hard not to see how pushing rivalries and tracking blood oaths with novel rewards couldn’t be really, really powerful.

  I had a chance to play some more over the last weekend, I really like playing it, even if there’s no smart pistol.  One of the greater conflicts in general, though, between proponents of the first game and the mechanics of the new one is the fact that Titans don’t have regenerating shields in the way that Pilots have regenerating health.  That’s a whole deal by itself, but jumping on a Titan as a pilot used to mean firing into its brains and killing it, and now it means something else the first time, which only compounds the other thing.

What happens now is that jumping on a Titan as a pilot - “rodeo,” in Titanfall parlance - has a completely new interaction, where you create a kind of resource by removing the battery.  You can then put that battery in a friendly Titan, and grant them a shield.  I like it as a design space because I think anything that embroiders the asymmetry between the two scales of play is good.  Simply granting a shield is too reductive for me, though, because I can’t stop thinking about all the different things that could happen there.

To my mind, that’s something you configure at the pilot tier.  If you hit up the official forums, everybody has a different solution for this shields/battery problem.  I think Respawn should weaponize that authentic community drive, harness it, and let people do what they want with that resource.  Damage buffs.  Regenerating shields.  EMP.  Removing batteries could be a space like that, too.  The way you would choose different grenades, we should be able to play with that ecosystem to our benefit and the benefit of our allies.

It comes out October 28th, just before PAX Aus, so all the nerd shit I’m talking about is probably just some combination of annoying and impossible.  Titanfall is enough different from a typical shooter that it’s hard not to think about how to shape it, to adjust these levers, to flip up the protective shield over the red button and see what would happen.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

PAX Dev Tickets And Infoburst

PAX Dev still has tickets available, so come get ‘em.  August 31st and September 1st, come learn from and with industry peers at the Westin.  Learn what, you may ask?  We have a full schedule available for your perusal.  Suffice it to say: good stuff.

Geoff Zatkin of Experiment 7 and EEDAR is doing the Kickoff this year, and he’s somebody you want to hear.  I’ve never had a conversation with him where I didn’t gain several I.Q. points by the end.  Who knows what you’ll be able to accomplish by the end of his presentation; spontaneous human flight is not out of the question.


Tycho / 4 days ago

There’s more story in the Tutorial of Titanfall 2 than there was in Titanfall, and I love the personality they’ve brought to the bots themselves.  I really liked the Titanfall 2 test as a generality; I also liked Tribes 2, and Gabriel and I were the only ones.  I suspect that it was a pretty rough weekend over at Respawn.

As I was playing it, and liking it, I was also making assumptions about things that weren’t true.  For example, I wasn’t aware that Burn Cards were gone gone.  I read an article where a developer delivers what I would describe as “ineffective argumentation” about that, specifically calling out one of the coolest manifestations of Burn Cards - the Atlas Refurb.  Essentially, it allows someone to start the game with a Titan.  When I start a match, and I see one of those fucking things fall, trust me: that’s not a bad thing.  It’s scary in the best possible way.  That is something that reinforces their loop.  I believe Titanfall more than I believe other shooters, and part of that is that there are multiple scales of engagement: it’s not just fast hitboxes running around a post apocalyptic aquarium.  Judicious shortcuts of their loop, gated by card rarity, I mean…  that’s a bad example.

Amped Hardpoint is baller supreme.  And I love Bounty Hunt; it recalls Kingpin’s Bagman mode, a type of play the Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention - I refer to it myself, here, purely to make me look old.  But the collection of “value” from game interactions that can be deposited or stolen is a fascination of mine.  I like the wave-based dynamism and I like the terror that comes from sitting on a huge pile of cash before I can drop it off.  But those modes are no substitute for Attrition, also known as “Titanfall.”

I thought for certain - for certain - that we’d see an entrenchment of Attrition’s deeply clever competition for resources in the form of AI Bots.  It’s just something I can’t get enough of; Splinter Cell: Conviction’s underrated Hunter mode plays with this also.  Where I expected it to go was deeper into the place they had charted: something MOBA inflected.  That game could be in here too, somewhere.  Still like it.  Might even love it.  But it’s strange to think that we had such different ideas about what they had made.  I wonder if they felt that they had not succeeded in some way in their first at bat, and the sequel is a chance to do it “right.”  I should ask, and see what they say.

It’s true that Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series: Season One: Yay has just wrapped up.  But that doesn’t mean the adventure is over: now your torso can have an adventure all its own, with Gavin’s supernatural Wizard Cop tee:

I will marry this shirt the moment the law allows for it.

(CW)TB out.

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