Category Archives: Gaming

Coder creates self-driving car in GTA V.

Video series. This is the most recent video.

 

 

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Grand Theft Auto’s wanted system & Ghost Recon Wildlands

I’ve been playing a lot of Ghost Recon : Wildlands recently.  It’s a fantastic co-op game – because of Grand Theft Auto.

Thinking about the most exciting times in the game, they all involved Unidad.   Unidad is the in-game police force. It fights both enemy NPCs and human players.

The more you fight them, the more of them you fight and their armoury changes.  They come with miniguns and helicopters.  Soon you’re faced with overwhelming odds.

It’s the wanted/star system from GTA.

But let’s think about what a leap in logic (and technology) it must have been to implement GTA’s wanted system in the first place:

It affects a small set of NPCs

Gives them tools no other NPC has

Affects NPC AI

Introduces dynamic difficulty based on player behaviour

The wanted system breaks the rules of the main game.  Can you imagine trying to pitch that in a planning meeting?

Everyone I play with is wary of Unidad.  Everyone I play with is worried they’ll get involved and excited when they do.

Because the thing that makes Wildlands – and I think makes any co-op game – is forcing players to deal with overwhelming odds.   Because those are the shared moments when co-op play is most important and most difficult.

Whoever invented the wanted system, I salute you.

 

BBC story on blind cheerleader

BBC story on blind cheerleader competing with the GB paralympic team.

Disabled sports are thought-provoking because the rules always seem to take mechanics into account.  How do you adapt a sport so disabled people can take part and how do you rate their ability against other disabled athletes?  (And why does that cheerleader’s accent swap between English and American?)

Wheelchair rugby is particularly interesting. Player ability is rated on a point scale: the less disabled a player, the higher their point rating.   A team can only have players worth eight points total.

There are seven classes ranging from 0.5 to 3.5 with functional characteristics identified for each athlete class. In general, the 0.5 class includes those athletes with the most disability and the 3.5 class includes those athletes with the least disability or “minimal” disability eligible for the sport of wheelchair rugby.

In international wheelchair rugby the total number of points allowed on court at any time is 8.0. That is, the total points of all four athletes actually playing cannot exceed 8.0 points. A team may play with a lineup that totals less than 8.0 points, but not more. 

My bold.

 Must add a wrinkle to team selection; more players with less mobility or fewer with more?

I believe a similar points system is used in Warhammer 40K.

http://www.iwrf.com/?page=classification

 

 

 

Gears of War without the Gnasher

Gears of War 4 without Gnashers is a game about flanking and fixing, not running and gunning.

During my weekly Gears session, I suggested that the group play without the Gnasher shotgun.

The Gnasher is a force multiplier.  A good player can destabilise the game.

On the lobby screen – before the host chooses a game – we removed the shotgun from our loadouts, swapping it for a Hammerburst or Enforcer.

It forced everyone to play differently, calling out enemy positions and working together, instead of rushing in alone.

I was wondering what it would be like to assign a Gnasher to a player, making them the close-range attacker,  when the host had an idea: change the weapons that spawn on the map, replacing boomshots with shotguns.

Now Gnashers would be available, but we’d have to work for them.

We had to fix and flank, but the Gnasher took its rightful place as an special weapon.   It’s the only gun that can take out multiple players one after the other, without hampering the user’s movement or risking blowing themselves up (hello Boomshot).

By making  them weapons that spawn, the playing field is immediately fairer and there’s a sense of danger when the enemy team picks one up

It won’t be easy, but it will make the game feel fresh again.   Try it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to use the Gnasher in Gears of War.

Don’t aim down the sights.

If had a videogame spirit weapon – that is, a weapon that seems to suit better than any other, and perhaps more than in any other game – it would be the gnasher in Gears of War.

I think it was because of my kung fu training – the digital equivalent of sitting in horse stance with cups of boiling hot tea on my legs.

 

A lot of my time playing Gears on the 360 was with Americans, so I had to deal with lag.  Somehow though, I became lethal with it.  It wasn’t unknown for me to take out teams by myself, even as the last player on my side.

I’m not sure why or how it happened, but at some point I decided to stop aiming.  I’d walk around (I’d walk) and try to keep the end of the gun pointing at around chest/head level.

I picked up Gears of War 4 a couple of weeks ago, to join in with that same group of Americans.  Despite not really playing any of the titles in years (and the gnasher being borked), I soon warmed up.  Same story when I hopped into a public match.

Don’t aim down the sights.   You’re using a close-range weapon.  A cudgel.  By the time you’ve aimed down the site, the opponent has moved.  You then release aim, turn, then look down the barrel again.  Wasted time.

Walk around, use your stick to keep the gun pointed up a little and pull the trigger.  That’s how to use the gnasher in Gears of War.

 

 

Forza was the wrong game to showcase Scorpio.

Digital Foundry announced the Scorpio specs today. Microsoft’s nextBox.

I thought it was disappointing the featured game was Forza.

Racing games are not interesting examples of console power. Yes, you’ll get Forza at 4K, but how important is 4K in gameplay terms?

I’m playing Ghost Recon Wildlands at the moment.   There, a powerful 4K console would be great because it would a) allow me to see enemies farther away with greater clarity and b) be able to put those enemies farther away, because the console was simulating more of the world at greater distances.

I’m struggling to think of an equally meaningful change in racing games. Better weather physics? Maybe, but how different will that be to previous versions?

AI drivers – yes, but they can only interact with you in very limited ways. Again, how would that seem different?

Suspension? Same issue.

Racing games aren’t necessarily good platforms for stories and adventures or emergent gameplay.  But it’s precisely those engaging experiences that keep people coming back to games – see GTA V.

So far, the exciting thing about Scorpio is 60FPS.  But is that enough to warrant a new console?

Blind SFV player wins tournament match.

 

Really interesting video.   I actually thought the blind chap was playing Akuma at first, which is either a testament to his skill or my inability to read the game.  Probably the latter.

But what I like best about this, apart from the fact a blind chap is taking part in a tourney, is that it forces us to ask questions about his tactics and therefore about the game.

It looks like he’s working on audio cues and that makes me realise I don’t pay enough attention to them, or information we can glean from them and their absence.    I know that there’s a sound when someone uses an hadoken, but I don’t know if the audio lasts for as long as the fireball is on screen.

If I closed my eyes, I could tell when a fireball was thrown – but then do I only know how far away it was if I stand still and block?  Does that mean I need to block multiple times to understand my opponent’s preference for distance?

I might watch this a few times to see what he does that looks like its happening because he’s blind – for example jumping back and punching when perhaps Akuma isn’t in range.