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Tycho / 23 minutes ago

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 / 3 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 / 3 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.

Thornwatch on BoardGameGeek

Thornwatch is so close to finally becoming a real thing. It’s coming together so fast now that it has literally been improving every day for the last couple weeks. We took a prototype to Gencon a few weeks ago and while we were there we sat down and played the game with folks from BoardGameGeek. If you have not had the chance to see Thornwatch at a PAX, this is a really good look at the game:

I was also on a panel at GenCon called “Betrayal to Thornwatch” lucky you, that was filmed as well. Mike Selinker ran this panel about Lone Shark Games and their pretty ridiculous catalog.


-Gabe out




Rocket League Got Some PA Goodies!

PAX is just around the corner and the folks over at Rocket League have added some cool Penny Arcade/PAX items to their game!

Hopefully you’ve been watching the Acquisitions Inc. series on YouTube. If not you should catch up on it now because the live game we play at PAX will pick up right where this series leaves off.

If you can’t make it to PAX, the Live game will be presented as a Fathom event this year which means you can watch it live at a movie theater near you. The Twitch stream isn’t going anywhere but there’s something about watching it with a big group of folks and the theater going audience even gets some bonus stuff. So if you can’t get a seat at Benaroya Hall, you should grab some tickets and watch it with nerds near you!

If you have been watching the series then you might like the new shirt we just posted in the store.

Jim Darkmagic, Wizard Cop. Coming to NBC this fall.

Not really, but I wish.

-Gabe out



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