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Mad max game looking almost as awesome as the movie

Posted August 6, 2015 into Games by John Birmingham

Games spun off movies are notoriously rubbish. But this looks pretty damn fine.

4 Responses to ‘Mad max game looking almost as awesome as the movie’

Singo ducks in to say...

Posted August 6, 2015
I am excited but it's hard to say what in that trailer is gameplay and what is cut-scene.

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ChrisB swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 7, 2015
FINALLY! A chance to drive the Falcon XB GT! Unless JB has one he's willing to loan...

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Peter in the bleaches reckons...

Posted August 7, 2015
WITNESS!

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DrewfromOz ducks in to say...

Posted August 7, 2015
Movie was awesome.Was talking to a tattooist mate who also loved the movie, about Furiosa's brand......he said he had a cancellation next day.....bad thing to say to me.....

Game will hopefully be epic. Will I be able to split my heart between it and Fallout 4?
I will be finding out. Both on pre order.......

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Glass of water for Mr Barnes!

Posted June 4, 2015 into Games by John Birmingham

The Fallout 4 trailer is out. And it looks teh AWSM.

29 Responses to ‘Glass of water for Mr Barnes!’

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Sparty2 mumbles...

Posted June 4, 2015
wastelands 2 is also very enjoyable if you like baldurs gate kind of games. Playing after watching Mad Max is recommended

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Trashman asserts...

Posted June 5, 2015
Meh.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 5, 2015
Totes water.
I am looking forward to wandering the wasteland once more, where there are no heroes, only .......survivors.

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Shifty Tourist puts forth...

Posted June 5, 2015

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!

FALLOUT YAAAAYYYYYYYY!!! SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Phew..... deep breaths..... calm down..... you're not a twelve year old Beiber fan, your...... you're a gritty, five-o-clocked shadowed survivor. Deep breaths, cowboying up....

(clears throat, Baleing up the voice) War, War never changes.

Oh bugger it . SQEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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GhostSwirv would have you know...

Posted June 5, 2015

Clean up in Bunk Bed Three for the Shifty Tourist - STAT!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted June 5, 2015
This reaction is enormously unsettling.

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Shifty Tourist is gonna tell you...

Posted June 5, 2015

.... ok, ok I've calmed down.

On a related point. Do you what would make a great game? Dave v the monsters. And I don't say that as author-ego-stroking.

I thought this after reading the set up on the longreach. The Helo ride, the slowly building tension walking through the rig, to the reveal of the Orcs. Couldn't help seeing the start of Half Life when I think about it.

Makes me wonder what type of game it could be. I think in many ways a DMC, God of War type thing would be a great way of exploring Daves abilities.... Food, power bars, almost seem like a perfect gameplay mechanic... as well as nerfing his powers near Thresh..... Lucille could be upgraded... uh... somehow. Bonus levels where you play as a certain Russian Spy (of course that would not necessarily gell with the POV rules.)

However, pure beat-em-up, while not terrible at having good characters, not the best genre for character exploration. So maybe even a Telltale type game. Think of the choices you may have for Dave. ..... (Karen will remember that)...... You could even have scenes where you are Threshy..... also, awesome dialog options.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 5, 2015
Yeah, I would not disagree. I hadn't though about the structure of the story in that way, but I did think it would make a some decent IP for any game developer with a sufficiently large cheque to wave in my face.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted June 5, 2015
Professor X would be so unhappy if people aren't talking to people about a videogame deal.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted June 5, 2015
Although I admit that, when caught in a quandary or must decide between
two or more difficult choices, I ask myself "what would X do?"

Shirty Tourist mutters...

Posted June 5, 2015

Professor X would be all over this thing.

The main Dave vs the Monsters game.

DLC, Karen as a playable character

Pre-order addition with Threshy plush toy

Wii Fit Dave vs the Monsters dancing game

.... the merchandising, won't somebody please think of the merchandising.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted June 5, 2015
You left out a film deal. X would make sure the Dave movie is in development.

Shifty Tourist reckons...

Posted June 5, 2015
of course, not to mention the seven series HBO long form drama.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted June 5, 2015
Not HBO. They are looking for something to slip in when Game of Thrones runs its course. The Dies the Fire would fit that bill.

STARZ, however, would be a good place for the Dave to land (STARS is looking for more original content).

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted June 5, 2015
Not really related, but I thought it was not a bad line. I was reading an author talking about signing a contract with a film company. He said, the odds of it turning into a film was about the same as kissing a woman and it turning into a 30 year marriage.

Rhino mutters...

Posted June 6, 2015
Huh? Isnt' me, what? What did I miss?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted June 6, 2015
I was drunk when I posted that. It seemed worthwhile at the time.

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Sparty2 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 5, 2015
Sadly I think "revolution" ripping it off and then failing killed that chance of postapocylyptic retrograde porn

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted June 5, 2015
I have to disagree. Revolution has the same relationship to the Change as Bewitched has with Mad Men. Sure, the share similarities, but one is silly and its counterpart is magnificent.

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted June 8, 2015
Agreed. I really miss Bewitched.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted June 8, 2015
Darren was totally correct to forbid Samantha from using magic to do the dishes and housework or to make them fabulously wealthy or extend their lifespans.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted June 8, 2015
Are you making any distinction between old Darrin and new Darrin?

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pi is gonna tell you...

Posted June 5, 2015
Bethesda makes a pretty game alright. Just this night I've been playing Skyrim. I've had it for years, and decided to give it a go again. Amazingly expansive game.

I've never done the fallout thing, but it sounds pretty good. I think I'll probably give this one a go.

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Spanner swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 6, 2015
Take. My. Money. Now.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 10, 2015
I wish they'd do a bit more QA before throwing it over the fence.

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drew-mo ducks in to say...

Posted June 16, 2015
I am willing to trade in my Vortex Manipulator for that Android-capable Pip-Boy......

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My new XBox

Posted April 24, 2015 into Games by John Birmingham

It's taken a few months, but the last of the equipment destroyed by the Storm Gods has been replaced by the insurer and installed. So I now have a new working Sony Bravia hooked up to a new Xbox One. The television is a bit of a wonder, and not because it's a 3-D model; there's almost no 3-D content to play on it.

No, I'm just amazed by how much lighter it is than my previous model of Bravia. Probably about half the weight. The high-definition screen is actually high definition too, unlike the bullshit pretend hi def in the earlier model. That's not always a good thing though. With so much TV and even movie content now being shot on video, there is a sort of flat, harsh reality that can get in the way of suspending your disbelief. Example? Sets really look like sets and if the make-up hasn't been properly applied to the actors it can be horribly distracting.

Still, great TV set.

I haven't had a lot of chance to play the Xbox. Nothing unusual there. I was kind of disappointed to learn it was not backwards compatible with all of my 360 discs. I managed to get about 30 bucks trade in for them at EB Games. I restarted my play-through of GTA V on the new machine and was suitably impressed with the work that Rockstar had done to upgrade the game for the new console. It looks gorgeous and plays beautifully.

Lucky thing I hadn't played much of it on my 360, because I couldn't find that many great titles to play on the Xbox One. It's been out for a while now and I would have expected a much deeper library of games. Maybe this partly explains the collapse in revenue for the XBox reported in Wired this morning. If lightning had not destroyed my old box I doubt I would've forked over good folding money for a new console with such thin selection of titles to play.

23 Responses to ‘My new XBox’

Blarkon reckons...

Posted April 24, 2015
There's a couple of issues at work - most titles are cross platform now anyway, and cross platform often also means 360/PS3 as well as XB1/PS4. You have stuff like Uncharted which is a PS exclusive and TitanFall which is an XB exclusive, but the economics are such that developers are a lot more reluctant to tie themselves to one platform exclusively now.

Some of the Kinect games are fun if you have kids the right age - the adventure rafting one keep Blarkon Jr entertained for a while, and the niece and nephew like Kinectimals. And there's Minecraft for XB1 (there's Minecraft for PS4 as well, because Microsoft's all "cross platform" now)

Our XB1 primarily gets used for NetFlix, movies from the store, and Blu Rays.

The biggest change coming down the pipe is that later in the year XB1 is going to be running Windows 10 - so stuff that is published to PC as a Universal application will also run on XB1. Cortana will also be coming to XB1 - and having a consistent Cortana profile across PC, Phone, XBox and HoloLens will be interesting.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2015
My favorite thing is probably getting up and saying "XBox Pause" when watching something instead of hunting for the remote.

In the middle future full Skype integration - again something that really requires Kinect - sort of points at using the living room TV in a way that's different from just "content consumption". The "play" is that at some point we walk into our living room and interact with parts of the world through Cortana. Turn on the TV, say "Cortana, Call Havock" or "Cortana, order pizza".

Who knows if any of this will come to be - but it is an interesting SciFi vision of the future home.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 24, 2015
Pity I didn't get the Kinect kit. It would uglify the Ive-like simplicity of my media room.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted April 24, 2015
It's the eternal dilemma, the calm zen like experience of one big shiny white button that does a limited number of things in a frictionless manner versus being almost able to do anything in something that looks like the bridge of the Nostromo.

Sudragon has opinions thus...

Posted April 24, 2015
I'd rather have Javis than Cortana. There's just something about the slightly snarky english butler type of AI that just works better...

damian puts forth...

Posted April 25, 2015
I'm impressed: I didn't think space lizards would have even head of Joseph Conrad

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 26, 2015
Space lizards are all about Conrad and hold a special affection for the Secret Sharer. But, in this instance, I suspect Blarky is referring to the USCSS Nostromo (reg. 180924609) a mining vessel (Lockmart CM 88B Bison M-Class starfreighter) owned by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and used as a commercial hauler between Thedus and Earth.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted April 26, 2015
I assumed it would be something like that, but I'm not familiar with the franchise in question. Is it the one with the guy Brianna Wu says she looked up to till he came out as a f***w*d, ****, **** last year?

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted April 26, 2015
You've never seen Ridley Scott's Alien?

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 26, 2015
Not for a couple of decades. And the name of the ship doesn't really stick in the mind well enough to override, you know, Joseph Conrad.
Relieved it's not Firefly though...

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 26, 2015
I'd find it no more defensible to avoid a television show for the politics of one of its actors than I would the excuses made in the McCarthy era about banning the movies of people who had communist sympathies or those used to excuse banning the scientific theories of scientists who didn't meet the governing regime's philosophical world view.

Works stand on their own independent of the politics of their creators or participants.

damian would have you know...

Posted April 27, 2015
Whose avoiding what? Thing hasn't come to a medium I trouble with...

damian puts forth...

Posted April 27, 2015
"Works stand on their own independent of the politics of their creators or participants."
That's nonsense. Of course one's knowledge of the participants and their background colours one's reactions and perceptions. This "purity of the text" stuff is very 1940s New Criticism: not necessarily intrinsically bad, but not exactly the last word.
<font color="#333333">Also - are you comparing the choices I might make about how I use my time to the persecution of dissidents? I guess that does prove a point, probably not the one you wanted to make though.</font>

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted April 27, 2015
When you've got to the point of allowing reactionary social media politics to dictate which culture you consume, you're probably beyond any form of rational critique.

damian asserts...

Posted April 28, 2015
You're making an incorrect assumption.

I will probably never see Firefly, mostly because the time I have for that sort of media is very limited and it's not something my wife is likely to be interested in. Never even looked at the Stargate spinoff series for the same reason. If it had been on real television at a convenient time we might have looked at it. But it never had that kind of airing, which says to me the creators did not believe it could compete in that sort of space. It's not special here, I'm unlikely to ever see a few things you might think of as canonical - Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, any of the Marvel comics stuff.

The social media world you refer to here is also something I have very little time for. I do use facebook a lot because most of my friends and family are there and it's convenient. I almost never look at Twitter and when I do it's almost always to catch up with people from this blog and the community around it. If I refer to stuff that involves Twitter, it is usually a result of following events in more traditional media.

I *am* interested in the history of feminism, a major component in our shared culture, and I do take an active interest in the anti-feminist backlash, which clearly isn't but seems disruptive enough to be concerning. I'm concerned about the influence the latter has on impressionable minds and framing people's world views, and I mourn that people seem to live in a smaller world than the one I know and wonder how to change that.

Blarkster, I'm sure you're quite capable of more nuance than you've demonstrated in the few years I've interacted with you here. But you generally come across as dogmatic around a set of core assumptions that really need more examination. That doesn't make you unique, I'm sure the same applies to the best of us, but you must appreciate that belligerent dogmatism does no-one any good, least of all the person doing it. Especially when you're wrong.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 25, 2015
si onusto

NBlob mutters...

Posted April 26, 2015
potest esse bonum, quando aliquis habet pecuniam

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 26, 2015
si tacuisses philosophus mansisses, and all that? Oops

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted April 26, 2015
"potest esse bonum, quando aliquis habet pecunia"

After posting my question, I realized that might have been your point - to which I am forced to agree.

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Legless is gonna tell you...

Posted April 26, 2015
I've an xbone and play at least once every few days. Here's my rundown on what's hot or not.
Halo - Master Chief collection.
Fabulous single player. Lets you play all of the missions you loved in high def. Lets you switch between the original graphics and the new graphics. Stunning. Downside? Multiplayer sucks. As in it really doesn't work.
Shadow Of Mordor
If you like hack and slash - buy this. Single player but really, really fun.
Call Of Duty - Ghosts.
Fairly good single player - kicks arse multi-player. It's the game I play most. The best multiplayer modes are:
Safeguard Infinite. Impossible to win unless you have a really good team. With a really good team, still really hard to win.
Extinction. To play all of it you need to buy the DLC (I have ) but I love and normally play First Contact. It's hard. With noobs who won't listen and do the challenges, it's impossible. If you try and play this mode, without an experienced player, you'll fail hard.
Destiny. Shit. It sucks. A lot of money for a boring game. It's only slighter better than:
Titanfall. Better name would be Titanfail.
Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare - shit.
But the game you really need to play is Dying Light

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted April 27, 2015
I have a growing professional interest in the music that accompanies these games. Anyone care to comment on the evolution, the good, the bad and the ugly of it? Is the music that accompanies a computer game different from music that accompanies other kinds of visual media?

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If I was ever going to totally steal somebody's story idea this is the idea I would totally steal

Posted November 5, 2014 into Games by John Birmingham

Lovecraftian horror vs the robopocalypse. I so want to write the novel that I'm seriously thinking of asking the game devs for permission.

For now it's just a Kickstarter. But by the slithering tentacles of Cthulhu this game needs to be made and this book needs to be written.

UPDATED. Tragedy! The Kickstarter has been cancelled. Oh woe be unto all who wanted only to see giant robots battle giant hell squids from hell.

24 Responses to ‘If I was ever going to totally steal somebody's story idea this is the idea I would totally steal’

Barnesm mutters...

Posted November 5, 2014

Are Lovecraftian horrors the most mash-up friendly concept ever, I mean you have: the above kickstarter (amazing fun looking); the entwinement/ententecularization with the spy thriller in Stross's Laundry files, the RPG CthulhuTech, the Milkweed triptych which combines WWII nazi superman vs British wizards summoning eldrich horrors by blood sacrifice and those are just what I been involved in this last week.

anyone else terrified of the concept of a Cthulhu-signal in the sky.

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Timbo mutters...

Posted November 5, 2014
If you don't do it Birmo, someone else will. But not as good.

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Elder Peanut would have you know...

Posted November 5, 2014
Aww. It was cancelled - didn't get the 1.4 million wanted by October 21. :(

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted November 5, 2014
The kickstarter was cancelled. Planetary Annihilation - the kickstarter Uber had beforehand was released in a somewhat unfinished manner (I contributed to that one, have the game, and wish they'd spent more time on it)

Nez reckons...

Posted November 5, 2014
I contributed to PA as well. Given how much fun I've had with it I'd say I got my money's worth, but I can still see why people are pissed with Uber. Having said that though, some of the vitriol and pure hatred I've seen sent their way lately is over the top. We gamers tend to get a bit precious at times.

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2014
Releasing a game where you can participate in huge battles but not save the game mid-battle still boggles the mind.

It's not about being precious. That's pretty farking basic functionality in a strategy game of that type.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted November 5, 2014
What a fun idea. If there is any need to get permission, I bet it would be easy to get.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 5, 2014


I would definitely buy and read such a book if it was written, particularly if that writer was someone who was good at 'splosions.

How much better would the original HPL stories have been if they'd had more 'splosions?

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2014
They would be unrecognisable.

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insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted November 5, 2014
OT but as an Excel geek I find it inneresting - pixel spreadsheet

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Nez swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
I was pretty disappointed this one got cancelled, I backed it the day the Kickstarter campaign launched. Such a great concept.

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SZF mutters...

Posted November 5, 2014
Finally, a game that perfectly encapsulated my profession (and they even kept the name).

Devastated it's been "performance managed" out of existence.

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Shifty Tourist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2014

I wonder how this would work as a novel.

Clearly its a story where the titantic struggle between the ultimate evil and the... electronic ultimate evil. Thus the robots and creatures are the characters. But they would make terrible POV characters (it would also rob them of their mystery and evil if you see inside their brains/circuits). So the Humans would need to be a the POV.... but basically they are just there to be terrorised.

Maybe it would be the human struggle to put both genies back in the bottle, you might say.... I'm predicting by sending a signal into space to recruit the assistance of a "friendly" advanced alien civilisation.... no way that can go wrong.

JB, you must do this... how much can they REALLY sue you for anyway... I'm no lawyer, but surely their has to be an awesomeness exception to copyright.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted November 6, 2014
Actually, that is a good question for Professor Boylan.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2014
The production company, or someone associated with it, owns the copyrights to the visual and even auditory aspects of the short vid. No one can copy them or create images, etc. that are substantially similar to the ones depicted.

But we are talking about a book and, as long as the cover art doesn't reproduce or closely mimic the images in the C'thulhu/robopocalypse mash up vid posted above, then there is no copyright violation risk.

However, if the idea itself has "secondary meaning" then there is a problem. "Secondary meaning" is what happens when the public associates a certain person or company with a concept. When I say "Big Mac" people think "McDonalds" and when I say "Tarzan" people tend to say "Edgar Rice Burroughs."

Secondary meaning is the connection made inside the mind of a consumer. And if that connection is made, then permission from the person or company associated with an idea/product has the rights to exclude others from using that idea/product without their permission, and that means without paying them - even though decades passes and the work itself that contains the idea has passed into the public domain.

That is why no one other than George Lucas (now Disney) can make a movie titled Star Wars. Even though titles are not copyrightable, that particular title has secondary meaning associated with George Lucas (and now, by contractual extension, Disney). And it is why Disney had to pay the Burroughs Estate for permission to make Tarzan into a cartoon.

With this in mind, there is very little likelihood that anyone can claim that a C'thulhu/robopocalypse is associated with anyone in particular, including they guys who made the vid that started this discussion. So the technical answer to the question is "take the idea and fuck the creators."

But the pragmatic solution is to acquire the rights - if they can be acquired cheaply enough. As pointed out, any claim to the idea is tenuous at best, so it wouldn't take much to buy them. If the creators are approached properly, they might very well just say yes in exchange for a thanks and acknowledgment in the book's preface.

But if they are dicks about it and demand a million million dollars for permission to use the idea, then just take it. The idea belongs to no one and anyone at this stage, no differently than the idea of an alternate history where the K/T extinction event never took place.

And John, thank you so much for the opportunity to work for free.

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted November 6, 2014
and here I thought pro bono meant you worked for Itunes and loaded the U2 song with your new Apple release.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted November 6, 2014
It means that also. Context is everything.

Shifty Tourist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2014
Thats funny, I thought it was a latin term for a male escort.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2014
Whereas I always thought it was a term describing a distinctively canine attitudinal penchant.

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 6, 2014
You mean to say that it's not an investigation into dead Beatle's wives?

insomniac mutters...

Posted November 6, 2014
Huh? I was thinking Pattie Boyd, but yours is much better

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Shifty Tourist puts forth...

Posted November 6, 2014

JBs lawyer "Your Honour,

It is not disputed that the idea was reproduced without the permission of the creator.

It is not disputed that the idea reproduced is 'substantially identical' to the idea originally proposed.

However your Honour, I would submit for the courst consideration that the 'offending reproduction' is a book detailling a stuggle between, MOTHER FRACKING KTHULU and FRAKING SKYNET!!! lets do this thing Mother FRACKERS!!"

Judge: "After careful consideration, I have come to the only possible conclusion. Case FRAKING DISMISSED MOTHER FRAKERS!!!"

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Towncraft for Mac and iPhone

Posted April 29, 2014 into Games by John Birmingham

I'm forever bemused at the talent of some fuckers lurking around on this blog. One of them, Leigh Harris, from Flat Earth Games, gave me a heads up about the migration of their iPad hit, Towncraft, to both bigger and smaller screens in the apple grove.

Deets here.

Seriously, how do people do this stuff?

5 Responses to ‘Towncraft for Mac and iPhone’

Bunyip mutters...

Posted April 29, 2014

With an eidetic memory for code and coding syntax, a discarded social life, luck, and a box outside of which to think.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted April 29, 2014

Of course, being able to copy and paste is a big help.

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Aaron Charcoal Styles would have you know...

Posted April 29, 2014

Well, we could also ask you "How the hell do you write a book?"

I think the answers to those two questions are the same. (Perseverance and alcohol)

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted April 29, 2014

I'd like to also throw into the mix: a lack of fear regarding self-employment.

@Bunyip: plenty of folks in the public service ain't got no social life.

Bunyip mumbles...

Posted April 29, 2014

A friend of mine got a job interviewing public servants about how they found their work enivroment, face to face (This story is at least 25 years old). One woman sat down, and just gave neutral monosylibic answers to all the questions, until she was asked if she had any hobbies. She leapt across the table, grabbed my friend by both wrists and dragged her forward until they were both almost nose to nose.

"Hobbies? HOBBIES??? I get up, I go to work, I do my job, I eat my lunch. In the afternoon I work some more, and then I struggle home via public transport and the shops. I somehow put some food together, and then I just listlessly sit in front of the TV until I fall asleep. Hobbies? I HAVE NO TIME FOR HOBBIES!!!":

She then let go of my friends wrists, slumped back in her chair, and quietly asked if there were any more questions.

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GTA 5, first look

Posted September 17, 2013 into Games by John Birmingham

Moko asked me on the twitterz about my first impressions of GTA V. Long story short: brilliant. I’m going to write a long essay about it, probably next week, so don’t want to go into great detail here, but a few things stood out. The scripting is every bit as good as any you’ll find in an HBO series. That’s on the micro level of dialogue, of course. I can’t vouch for how the characters play out over the long arc of the story. And it is a very long arc. Most of the pro reviewers are talking about a minimum of 30-35 hours game play on the main storyline alone. For a punter who doesn’t live with a controller in his hand that would probably mean two or three times as long.

In writing terms it’s nothing like a movie, with which games are most often compared and, to be fair, the art form Rockstar has been most obsessed with emulating, if not imitating. But as more than one critic has written, GTA V more closely resembles an epic, character based TV series like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos. And it’s the uses to which character are put that really, really stands out in this edition. The decision to write three playable protags has had enormous implications for everything from the narrative structure to the mechanics of combat.

It looks like a triumph, but I’ll make my own call on that next week.

Below are some extracts from the most significant reviews, all of them going straight to this issue:

Edge:

Franklin is the most traditional GTA antihero, brought up in poverty and working to escape it, ideally by honest means but knowing the reality will likely be different. Michael, the retired bank robber living in Los Santos under a new identity after faking his death at the climax of the opening flashback, is, by contrast, a character who could never anchor a GTA game by himself. His story – a faded hoodlum in therapy, whose wife cheats on him, whose kids hate him and who finds himself increasingly irrelevant in a city that prizes youth and beauty more than anywhere else on the planet – simply doesn’t fit the traditional GTA mission template. Yet his inclusion enriches the story and its setting, adding in modern Californian themes like therapy, infidelity, the emptiness of wealth and young America’s unquenchable yet unfussy thirst for fame. You can’t shoot your way round those. His story can be cutscene-heavy, but is so vividly realised and finely delivered that you won’t even notice, much less complain. And even if you do, there’s enough bombast elsewhere to make up for it.

Most of that bluster comes from Trevor. He’s brilliant, blessed with most of the best lines, an unstoppable ball of aggression, hate and pathological violence. He’s the sort of person who’d pick up a hooker then run her over and take his money back, or uppercut a hiker off the top of a mountain. The kind of guy who’d bring an RPG to a knife fight, and who’d wake up on a beach wearing only his underwear and spend a couple of days doing missions in his pants. If Franklin is the lens through which we have traditionally seen Grand Theft Auto and Michael is the story its creator has long wanted to tell, Trevor is the character who best embodies the way tens of millions of GTA fans actually play the game.

AusGamer:

Interestingly, throughout my time with the game I’ve found that it has more in common with Red Dead Redemption than GTA IV. Freaks and Stranger missions are on offer as distractions from the main quest[s], and you’ll often come across a random, emergent event in your general travels. These might be related to performing a good deed, or just being duped by a bunch of stooges. None are essential to take part in or complete however, they’re basically in play to help bring the world to life, though a few of them do offer pretty interesting rewards if you’re willing to roll further down the rabbit hole. V’s lighting and less urban parts of the environment are also embracingly familiar to Rockstar’s Western opus, which still stands as a current-gen benchmark as far as open-world games go. And in keeping with said familiarity, it’s not only rich with character, but also wildlife you can interact with in a variety of different ways.

Initially I was a Franklin fan, purely because he’s just a cool character and his plight is familiar in the GTA space, but the further I got into the game the more Michael spoke to me. In many ways he’s an allegory for the modern games industry: beat-up and run down, undeservedly rich yet commanding of respect for his years of effort and sacrifice. Lifting him out of his rut, as you can bet your life you will, is a glory I’ve not experienced in the videogame landscape before and when you literally take flight with the character, you’ll colourfully see that design and direction maturity from Rockstar I talked about earlier -- honestly, it’s one of gaming’s greatest moments.

Happy with his comment, Havoc left the online discussion.

Polygon:

Grand Theft Auto 5's inclusion of multiple protagonists makes considerable headway in the series' struggle to sustain a narrative thread over more than 30 hours of story. The three leads share the central storyline, but also have their own handful of conflicts that, over time, weave in and out of the broader picture. It's a television-style serial structure, with missions playing out like episodes, the entire game a season. Now, dozens of characters and conflicts help to shoulder the burden.

Better yet, a single character no longer has to act as a narrative catch-all for the variety of mission types the game throws at the player. Appropriate missions are served to the most fitting character. Big-shot Hollywood missions go to Michael, a 40-something reformed criminal millionaire going through a midlife crisis. Low-level crime goes to Franklin, a disenfranchised up-and-comer conflicted about which side of right and wrong he falls on. And mayhem belongs to Trevor, a sociopath who loves to kill people and blow up expensive things.

Gaming Trend:

Buying real estate, trading stocks, and dropping off hapless tourists into the hands of nearby cultists will make a little money for you, but heists are what generate real wealth. I would be a terrible reviewer if I told you anything specific about them, so I’ll paint in broad strokes. Each character is capable of kicking off a heist, and all of them have very different planning methods ranging from scribbling on an apartment wall to a more tactical corkboard approach. You’ll need to do a bit of planning and resource gathering, so don’t expect it to be a quick score. You’ll usually have a loud or quiet approach, and a choice of exit methods, but all require more than the trio of main characters. As the story unfolds you’ll encounter all sorts of unsavory people, and these accomplices can be used in heists. Each of them has a skillset package that grows the more often you use them. The choices matter because the slightest screw-up can suddenly make your quiet heist into a loud smash-and-grab. They can also screw up and get caught, costing you whatever portion of the take they might be holding. Since a proper heist can net you millions, a single bag can be a painful loss.

There is one huge reason to replay Grand Theft Auto V – experiencing the same mission from another perspective. For instance, when one character finds out that his girl was sleeping with someone else you can experience this in the first person as that character, or you can experience it as another character as you drive up the driveway and see the cheater bailing out of the second story window. This is just one purposely vague example, and this game is absolutely chock full of them. In fact, there are a total of 69 missions, 42 hobbies and pastimes, 14 random events, 20 “Strangers and Freaks” side missions (repossessing vehicles, stealing random things from celebrities, etc.), and much more. If you felt like Grand Theft Auto IV took out your favorite hobby, there is a fair chance that it’s here for you to discover all over again.

Joystiq:

When you tire of randomly wreaking havoc, the story is prodded along by accepting missions, and Grand Theft Auto 5 introduces a new type: heists. Heists are multi-tiered missions with big cash payouts, and they typically begin with a recon overview that outlines the overall objective. Once the story behind a heist is established, you're given the chance to plan how it will play out. Two different options of execution are offered. Generally you're given a "smart" way to complete a heist that lengthens adversarial response time and initial resistance, or the "loud" way that often brings the full weight of your enemies down on you like a hammer.

In the first heist, for example, you can use the air ducts you spotted during recon to knock out the customers and employees of a jewelry store with sleeping gas, allowing your entire crew to focus on cleaning the place out. Or you can go in loud, forcing one of your team to keep the crowd in check. Based on the crew you select and how well you execute your part of the plan, your take of the payout can change. When selecting your team, you have to weigh each crew member's take – their asking price of the total score – against their abilities, and your greed can come back to bite you if you're not careful. During a jewelry heist, I hired a gunman with relatively low stats. His asking price was lower than someone of greater skill, but he was ultimately sideswiped by police and knocked off of his escape motorcycle – along with a million in jewels. The choices you make all have their effects, running the gamut from changing the difficulty of a mission to altering how much money your crew can pull in.

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3 Responses to ‘GTA 5, first look’

Kerrod puts forth...

Posted September 17, 2013

After a day of play (and no, I'm not the Kerrod that was at the midnight launch but I'm regretting that now) this is simply the best game of its generation. The level of detail shown by Rockstar is phenonemal.

Loving every minute of it so far. Wonder if I can get tomorrow off as well now. ;)

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Moko would have you know...

Posted September 17, 2013

I'm hearing really good things about it. I'll pick up my copy tomorrow.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted September 18, 2013

http://www.theonion.com/articles/gta-v-a-sophisticated-gaming-experience-says-man-w,33893/

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