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.

 

 

Concept Art: Part Two

 

 

 

Lambda is getting an upgrade.

IMG_0304

IMG_0305

 

IMG_0306

 

A PC Classic: Team Fortress 2

Thumbs up, let’s do this.

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Team Fortress 2 is a unique FPS game that depicts the epic struggle of teams BLU and RED.  There are a variety of gamemodes to choose from, allowing for a seemingly endless amount of replayability.

The theme of replayability is strongly suggested throughout the game.  Valve, the company that maintains TF2, has a huge in-game economy utilizing microtransactions for aesthetic items, as well as actual weapons in the game.  TF2 is not considered a strongly competitive game, although under the right circumstances, it very well could be.  The weapons are extremely balanced and the ability to purchase them for fractions of a dollar does not add a ‘pay-to-win’ aspect to the game.

The controls for TF2 are pretty standard.  WASD to move, 123 to switch weapons, and the mouse to aim and shoot.  The game is very simple and keeps its controls simpler.

TF2 has nine classes to play as.  Each class allows a different role to be played on the battlefield.

Speed Demon:  The Scout

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I play this class the most.  The Scout is the only class that can double jump.  Scouts are also the fastest moving class, and are equipped with a shotgun, pistol, and a melee weapon of choice (usually a baseball bat).  It’s up to the scout to beat the crap out of the enemy.

 

Bullets on bullets on bullets: Heavy

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THE RIVAL OF THE SCOUT.  MY ARCH NEMESIS.  The Heavy has a TON of health, and carries a huge minigun and shotgun.  The Heavy totally counters the Scout with his high amounts of health and bullets of pain.  The Heavy is a great fight initiator, because of his health.  Many heavies can run into an area and blow up a lot of stuff before they die.  This lets the rest of the team get in there to finish the job.

 

Not Safe with Matches: The Pyro

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The Pyro is a very effective character.  There’s tons of uses for fire.  Firstly, the pyro can check for spies using the fire.  If someone is a spy, they’ll burn.  If not, friendly fire is disabled, so nothing will happen.  These ‘spychecks’ are often key to winning a game of Capture the Flag.  The Pyro wields a flamethrower, shotgun, and fireaxe.  It seems a bit gruesome.  How can a person burn others to death?  Simple.

Pyrovision.

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You’re not burning people.  You’re giving them rainbows and unicorns.  Of death.

 

Those are only three of the nine classes.  Briefly mentioned before, the spy.  The spy can camouflage themselves as an enemy teammate and sap enemy sentry turrets.  The Demoman carries a grenade launcher and a hefty Scottish accent.  He blows stuff up.  The Engineer makes turrets and teleporters to support the frontward movement.  The Medic heals teammates, and can make them invulnerable through an Ubercharge.  The Heavy/Medic combo is very powerful for pushing up the front lines.  The Soldier wields a rocket launcher to handle most threats on the battlefield.  Catch is, the rockets are slow.  You’ve gotta lead the target to get the kills. The Sniper stays back, hitting critical damage from afar.  He’s got a machete, too.  Machetes are cool.

 

Long story short, this game is a must-play for any aspiring gamer.  In fact, anyone should play this game at least once in their life.  TF2 is a fantastic example of a balanced game that is enjoyable for almost anyone.  The game is designed to fulfill this exact purpose.

 

TF2 pulls 9/10 hats from me.  I’ve played Team Fortress since Classic, and TF2 is a prime example of great game design and solid gameplay.

Ignition

The spark has ignited the flame of creativity.  Its wonderful blues and reds shine bright through the game.

 

In the distant future, the world has been overpowered by an otherworldly force, known only as “the Others.”  The war of attrition slaughtered huge numbers off of the planet.  The surviving humans were captured by the Others and repurposed as slaves.  The future was grim.

As human nature dictates, people rebelled against their captors.  These rebellions were met with instant death to those who committed.  The number of humans diminished as the Others continued to run rampant across the Earth.

The player plays as Atlas, a subservient human among the hundreds in Settlement 17.  The rebellion burns bright in his eyes, but is hidden from his captors.  It is Atla’s goal to organize a final rebellion against the Others.  Settlement 17 is in charge of munitions, and Wallace’s plan is to use the large-scale weaponry against its creators.

The humans are malnourished and terrified.  Atlas is no exception; he knows if his plan fails, the Settlement will be wiped off the grid, just as the others were.

Atlas has to persuade the humans to join his cause.  He can’t be detected by the Others, or he’s dead.  It’s up to the player to ensure the success of the rebellion.

 

This story is completely text-based.

Atlas awakens in his cell.  He’s motivated to tell others of his plan.  His cellmate is sitting in the dimly lit corner.  His face is marked with two dark blue grooves.  He’s been blackmarked twice.  Atlas tries to convince him of his plan.

 

The story is choice-based.  Should Atlas successfully convert his cellmate to the cause, the end of his adventure will be different.

 

Atlas fails to convince his cellmate.  The morning labor bell descends from the ceiling and begins to ring, accompanied by flashing lights.  Failure to attend labor periods results in a blackmark.  Wallace exits his cell and moves toward the factory shuttle.  He has a chance to whisper to those near him of his cause.

 

The guard overhears Atlas.  He removes his stunstick, flicks it on, and hits him across the face with it.  The shock sends Atlas to the floor.  The guard flips him over, removing a small scanner from his toolbelt.  He aims the scanner at his face, and pushes down the trigger.  Atlas watches through the guard’s reflective mask as the scanner burns his cheek skin to a dark shade of blue.  The guard remains silent, and returns to his post in the corner of the shuttle.

 

Atlas has been blackmarked.

 

This is just a taste of the story to come.  Phase I is on its way.

Imagination

At first, I’d imagined that my game would play almost similarly to The Walking Dead.  In fact, it would almost exactly copy it, but changing the story completely.

The game that I have planned to create requires too many resources.  I, alone, cannot create a 3D game that would give the player a good experience.  The game would be flawed and incomplete.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t tell the story.

MAXIMUM GENTLEMAN

You kick the bar door open.  You scan the area for your enemy.

There he is.

You confidently walk to him, and as he turns to look at you with that dark stare, the bar grows silent.

“THERE’S ONLY ROOM FER ONE OF US IN THIS BAR.”

The only words heard before the fights broke out.  The entire bar was in battle.

Your cruel red-jacketed foe began stacking his hats.  After slamming a golden shot, another hat was added…

Your perseverance reigned true, for after 16 hats, the man could not dodge the projectiles in the sky, and his stack of hats collapsed.

 

Max Gentlemen is a free indie game on Steam, where the objective of the game is to stack hats. http://store.steampowered.com/app/257710/ 

 

The game offers very simple gameplay that is enjoyable in it’s simplicity.  Stack hats while riding on a carriage, and make your hats hop to avoid the birds and other malevolent flying things coming toward your beautiful stack of hats.

 

Although there is no real storyline, the entire game is mainly comedic.  That’s what makes it fun though; (shirtless) men stacking hats is quite a sight to behold… (or is it?)

Max Gentlemen is a very simple game that everyone should try out.  Go on, don’t be shy.

 

This game pulls a 6/10 hats from me.  The gameplay is unusually addicting and although the game lacks any real story, it does have an astounding amount of replayability.

Game Design Exploration

Lambda.

That’s what I’m going to call this adventure.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what exactly this game should be.  What should the purpose be?  Why would someone play it?

The goal is to have a game that makes you think.  The same way that Part Play makes you think.  This game should be mentally rigorous.  And it’s going to be.

 

I want this game to have a very dark feel.  I want the user to feel uneasy.  There should be decisions that will affect relationships.  They will affect the outcome of the game, very similar to The Walking Dead.

 

When she asks about your past, what do you tell her?

I really enjoy the gameplay in the Walking Dead, and I look to it as inspiration to create a decision-driven narrative.  Another game, A Dark Room, also does a remarkably good job at telling a story.

The interesting thing about A Dark Room, is that it’s completely text-based.  There is no character to look at.  You’ve got the text, and your imagination.  You can check out the game here: http://adarkroom.doublespeakgames.com/

Let your imagination run wild.