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Tycho / 2 days ago

The Banner Saga 3 Promotion Thingy

Hey!  I backed Banner Saga hard, like, so hard that I got to write a Godstone for the sequel and create an item and stuff.  I was asked to help with a promotion for The Banner Saga 3, and I know the second one was a rough ride for the studio so I said yes several times in rapid succession.

They said that I could make three to five items for Banner Saga 3, but if I could make five items instead of three, why wouldn’t I do that?  So let’s go with five.  Also: Twitch Prime is setting up a thing where members can download the original Banner Saga for free through their Twitch Launcher from February 23 through the 28th. And then, from March 2nd through March 6th, Twitch Prime members can get Banner Saga 2 for free via the same mechanism. Here is the novel piece: for every person who downloads and plays either game this way, a dollar gets donated to the development of The Banner Saga 3 - up to $200,000 total.  You can try Twitch Prime free for 30 days here and you’ll get to keep the games (and help out the developer, Stoic) even if you don’t end up subscribing.

That’s a lot of text!  Maybe this incredibly insane video Gabe and I made with Kris Straub will nail down the finer points.


Tycho / 2 days ago

Horizon: Zero Dawn comes out on the 28th here in the States, and March 1st in Europe.  My feeling is that you should buy it.

The introduction has a few very interesting moments, and my daughter Ronia was there for all of them; when the game begins, there are many games it could be.  I like the one that it chooses, but they take their time to let things breathe in this unformed space.  They allow the center to bake through.

Horizon is clung-to by incredibly strange ideas; Ronia doesn’t know much about the game, other than the fact that the protagonist looks like her.  But Aloy is also like Ronia, in that she’s clever, and she often arrives at the conceptual station before her old man does.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say there’s a montage.  I recognized it well, because I’m living in one now.  The way time works when you have a kid her age is that so much information is coming through, so much data is being created and processed, that you can only get it in slices.  It’s like Whatever Rocky Was Doing, but now it’s a few seconds of her holding her white dog’s face in her hands and now I’m taking out a splinter and now she wants to kiss someone but she doesn’t understand why followed by her handwriting is now better than my handwriting followed by tearing a picture she made but doesn’t like in half followed by the realization that there are things even tape can’t fix.

I’m a complete mess, but she’s gonna be okay.  It seems like a little thing, but I saw it happen the moment she saw a self that she recognized in a work of art.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

Update On That Stolen PS4 in New Zealand

A torrent of generosity from the Internet washed the whole situation away, essentially - but there was an opportunity to make a lasting improvement to their Play Therapy department by supporting the playrooms and stock a new teen room they’d planned.  Travis over at Child’s Play did a write up that includes the overwhelemed response from the hospital; you can find it all here.


Tycho / 4 days ago

I like Star Wars, not as much as some but I do like it; there’s always new words in there for me to learn.  “The Last Jedi,” as a piece of nomenclature in English, has a lot of potential weight and finality to it because of how “the” works.  “The” abuts singular or plural nouns, and Jedi can refer to one or more completely mad star wizards.  It is ambiguity adorned with uncertain, enigmatic fixin’s; you’re getting it coming and going.

When versions of the movie’s title came out translated into other languages, it’s completely plain that they’re using the plural of Jedi in a way that English (and the marketing department) left ambiguous.  On purpose?  That was Gabriel’s question.  I am terrified to think that someone could purposefully create this kind of two-tier narrative structure hung off something like this, because I can’t even conceive of conceiving of a play like that.  I have psychic bulwarks, inscribed with runes, to defend me against ninety percent of marketing rays.  But something like this is Inception tier, puncturing the channels I use to think normally and sucking greedily.  God, I hope it’s not intentional.  Because I’ve been thinking about it for a week.

We’ve distilled some measure of the English part, here in the strip, which I believe captures some measure of my everyday torment.

There’s less than a day left on the Wyrmwood Magnetic Game Master Screen, which can be emblazoned with the sigil of Acquisitions Incorporated if so desired.  I’m going to be getting back behind the screen here in a little bit, and I have a fantasy that involves erecting a kind of wooden cathedral around myself.  Having a multipartite wooden cathedral would really help a lot.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

I know that it totally looks like something we already have a mental construct for, one hundred percent, but it’s not actually that.

The official description for Gigantic calls it a MOBA, which, I mean… hm.  I don’t think that’s what this is.  I’m not just being fastidious.  That is to say, I’m definitely being fastidious, but it’s not the only thing.  This came up with Overwatch: if the “classes” you can play as are different characters, that’s not sufficient.  Gigantic is closer to the traditional model, with ability customizing trees and an explicitly enunciated Enemy Base, but if you don’t have creeps to compete for and itemization, I think you haven’t quite arrived at the term.  Eschewing some traditions in the service of a faster, more cinematic experience makes explaining it tough, but it’s worth it.

As established, your team’s Creature is their Base, and vice versa.  I initially typed that your Creature was your Bae, which also has the ring of truth.  Because of how they are drawn and animated, you will feel something akin to devotion for them and you will really, really hate it when people fuck with it - the vulnerability of your beloved beast being pinned by your opponent’s vile monster is…  it doesn’t feel good.  You win by scoring three points for your team, and to do that, you have to put the enemy creature in a Compromising Position.  You do that by killing members of the opposing team, and by gathering orbs from capture points around the map.  The points themselves are a little different than you might expect; you can summon a creature to these points to do some work for you.  Aside from collecting the orb automagically, different creatures can confer different benefits in their radius, and can be upgraded to the level where they are a tremendous pain in the fucking ass.  Your creature has a bar up at the top that shows how close you are to Rampage, which is when they go over to the enemy creature and pin it down so you can strike its “weak point” to score.  It’s firmly delineated in that bar what energy came from what, so you can see what your actions mean right away.  Any energy the opposing team was able to generate becomes a shield for their creature in this pinned phase; it’s not a certainty that you will score a point.  Fights by your creature are for fucking real.  But: score three of these points, and you win the game.

Characters have Ults in Gigantic, but Ults are drawn from the same pool you summon and upgrade creatures with.  The best use of your “Ult” might be to support the team in another way.  It’s a resource, essentially - and that’s a choice I like having.  I dunno; I think you should try it.  Right now, I think the remaining challenges for the game involve legibility for the systems:  it’s a fast game, and I feel like there’s a role for the UI and Audio to communicate hits better in a game that’s so visually lush.  The main thing is that I thought I “got” it, I didn’t at all, and there really is something here.  It’s in open beta on Windows 10 and Xbox One.

(CW)TB out.

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