Top 10 Tips for the Next Wave of Part Play

Time is washing us away for the reinforcements to roll in.  Here’s a couple tips for the newbies:

 

 

1. Take in the words.

Everything that is said is really important.  Think not in terms of the game, but in terms of your life.

2. Relate your game to yourself.

Your game gets about 40x more interesting when you throw in a little bit of yourself.

3. Enjoy the free food.

ENJOY IT!

4. Don’t let time get the best of you.

This one’s serious.  Time catches up quick.  Set reminders on your phone or something.  If you’ve got an iPhone, use your Reminders app!

5. Use the spinny chairs to their fullest extent.

The chairs spin for a reason, people.  You’re never too old to have some fun.

6. When you play Settlers of Catan, do yourself a favor and get as much ore as you possibly can.

Depending on your board, this tip could be completely wrong.  Just pretend it’s not.

7. Keep up on your blogs.

The blogs are very easy to forget about… don’t forget!  The Game Master will smite you.

8. Customize your website.  It’s 10x better when you make it all yourself.

Make pretty pictures in Photoshop or Paint (far superior) and then bathe in the jealousy of your peers.

9. Use lots of pictures.

Use a lot of pictures.  They make things look a lot better.

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10. Be good.

Be a good student.  Not just in Part Play, but everywhere.  Be a good student.  Be a good person.  Show empathy and watch as it is returned tenfold.

KNIFE SQUAD: Battlefield 4

Thumbs up, let’s do this.

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Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter set in the close future.  China has decided that they want to dominate the world, and it’s time for Recker and his squad to solve the problem.  There’s a lot of reasons why Battlefield is a great game.  Let’s look at this one:

Graphics.

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If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.  Here’s the full video trailer of the first mission.

This came out before the game was released.  Hype train was at maximum speed, to say the least.

Yep… still awesome.

The Battlefield series is defined by its graphics.  Battlefield 4 follows this pattern with incredible, realistic graphics.  The downside here is that in order to achieve such high graphics the player is going to need a pretty decent PC.  Consoles definitely are out of the picture for good graphics on this one.  The game is most certainly still playable and enjoyable, but not at the same level.  However, there is an argument that graphics do not make a game fun.  I would argue that they do not make it fun, but they most certainly enhance the fun.

 

The controls are pretty standard for shooters: WASD to move around, mouse buttons to shoot and aim down sights.  You can also spot enemies, giving them what many veteran players call a ‘dorito’ (it’s a red triangle) over their head for all teammates.  These kinds of mechanics suggest to the player to use teamwork against the enemies.

 

Battlefield also has a unique melee system which I enjoy far more than I should.  Instead of the old games where your character simply slashes their knife and the enemy dies, Battlefield 4 takes it a step further.  The knife ‘slash’ attack is completely gone.  Depending on your position, you will enter an animation where your character will stab the enemy and take their dog tags.  If the player tries to knife someone from the front, it is possible to be countered by the enemy, killing the player.

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These mechanics transition into multiplayer with interesting effects.  A lot of players have given up on knifing entirely, due to the fact that while you are knifing, you’re unable to kill anyone else.  Also, if you’re trying to knife a player, you have to close the distance between each other.  There’s plenty of time for that enemy to kill your teammates while you’re running up behind him.

 

I, on the other hand, have taken up the new knifing system.  Back in the days of Battlefield 3, I created Knife Squad.  Basically, it was my squad of friends and me sprinting around the map knifing people like maniacs.  It was actually hilarious because when you kill someone with a knife when they have guns, it is oh so satisfying.  We’d even manage to take out tanks and armored vehicles with our tactics… just using C4 instead of knives.

 

Battlefield 4 is a great game, but it had a pretty poor launch.  I’m going to give it 8/10 hats (knives!) because truthfully the first couple months after release were grueling.  The game was bug-ridden and had a lot of glitches.  As of now, most of those bugs have been fixed and the game is much better than when it first came out.  Battlefield is a fantastic series and Battlefield 4 does not hesitate to prove its name.

PREPARE YOUR BODY: Garry’s Mod

Thumbs up, let’s do this.

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Now, this is a game.  Garry’s Mod is the definition of a sandbox game.  Every game has some kind of goal to reach…

Garry’s Mod doesn’t have any goals.  It’s a sandbox.  You’re given a whole bunch of guns, and a whole bunch of tools.  You can make whatever you want.  You can spawn in some enemies and just shoot them dead!  You can build a big car and then run over your friends! (yay?) You can role play as a distressed citizen in the dark streets of City 18, in the Half-Life 2 universe.(cough, Lambda inspiration, cough)

Let’s get into the controls.  Garry’s Mod is a PC game using the Source engine.  For those who aren’t complete nerds, this basically means two things:

The game is very responsive to input.

The game is very capable of running at high framerates even on low-end machines.

 

Movement is done through the WASD keys, as most games do.  The Q button brings up what I call the ‘mega-menu.’  Basically, it’s a menu that allows you to spawn items into the game world.  The menu also has tabs to spawn other things like NPCs (non player characters), entities, and some vehicles.  There’s also a completely separated section that lets you take full control of a weapon you spawn with: the Toolgun.

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Look at that beauty!

The toolgun lets you build what you want.  You can weld together props and make whatever you want.  You can weld together people and create horrific monsters. (don’t do that) You can ignite props.  You can put hoverballs on stuff and watch it float away just like the time you’ll spend in this game.  You can put thrusters on anything you desire.  You can put wheels down to create a little car!  You can do virtually anything in Garry’s Mod.

 

Developer sidenote:  Garry’s Mod uses the Lua coding language, which is apparently very easy to use and is fantastic for game code.

 

Garry’s Mod gets 10/10 hats from me.  I have logged over 1400 hours into this game (that’s almost 2 months of nonstop play) since I played it in middle school, and I’ve never looked back.  This game is a requirement for any aspiring gamer, plus it goes on sale all the time for less than $3!  I love this game so much, I’d buy it for a complete stranger.  If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is.

Real Life Simulator 2.0: ARMA III

Thumbs up, let’s do this.

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ARMA III is the third installation of the ARMA series.  The game is a military simulation, which means that everything in the game is as realistic as possible.  ARMA is a fantastic blend of FPS and strategy gameplay.  Unfortunately for many casual gamers, ARMA is only available on PC due to its extensive use of EVERY key on the keyboard and its heavy graphics requirements.

Due to the sandbox nature of ARMA III (as well as other ARMA titles), I’m going to specifically cover a game mode within ARMA III: Annex.

In Annex, the player is teamed up with others to take down the evil AI army.  The objective is to capture enemy bases and eliminate the hostiles.  These bases are often towns that have been taken over by the enemy.  The good news is that ARMA III has two islands to play on: Stratis and Altis.  ARMA is known for its large-scale battles, but ARMA III takes it to a new level.  The Stratis island is only 20 square kilometers in size.  Sure, that seems like a lot… 20 kilometers!  That’s a good distance compared to most games.  Arcade shooters like Call of Duty and even Battlefield have maps smaller than even one town in Stratis.

 

Ready for your mind to be blown?

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It might be a better idea to open that picture and zoom in to read the text, but basically… Altis is the biggest virtual map ever created.

 

Remember 20 square kilometers?

Try 270.

 

Altis is 270 square kilometers in size.  That’s a frighteningly huge number.  The good news: there is no limit to the amount of replayability a map of this size offers.  The bad news:  you might get lost.  A lot.

 

Servers hosting the Annex gamemode often run the Altis map just for its sheer size.  It helps keep the game fresh.

When a player loads into the game, they’re often already equipped with a full kit of gear.  They’ll have standard issue fatigues, chest rigs, and backpacks.  They’ll carry a set of night vision goggles, some binoculars, as well as a map, compass, and watch.  All of these gadgets work within the game, and provide helpful information.  Squad leaders can mark points on the map for their squads to move to, as well as mark enemy positions.  The map is a huge tool in setting up assaults or even ambushes.

The possibilities are endless.  After the player spawns in, they have a couple options before going out to the battlefield.  They can change their kit, if they don’t like what they start with.  Perhaps they don’t want the standard-issue MX 6.5mm rifle.  They want the MK200, a fully-automatic light machine gun that tears through infantry.  Or perhaps they’re going to act as a Combat Engineer, carrying repair kits for damaged vehicles and rockets for enemy vehicles.  The player can also choose to drop some of their weight.  After all, a full kit of gear certainly takes tolls of fatigue.  Those smoke grenades aren’t going to kill people on their own!

ARMA III is a fantastic game.  Even in a single game mode, heavy themes of teamwork and cooperation are offered to the player.  The truth is, if you can’t work together with your squad mates in ARMA, then you’re going to find yourself riddled with bullets begging for a revive.

 

ARMA III gets 10/10 hats (bullets?) from me.  I’ve been a fan of the ARMA series since Operation Arrowhead, and I’ve enjoyed all of the 600 hours I’ve put into the game so far.