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Leave your problems out the airlock!

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This isn't a proper review or anything special; just a summation of thoughts about 35 hours of gameplay.

I 100%'d LEGO Lord of the Rings today. I plan on doing similar for all of the Traveler's Tales games in a kind of morbid, painful adventure. As much as I hate the repetitive nature, there's things about the formula that appeal to me, such as the stories/licenses, the colours and the kind of mix-and-match gameplay that sporadically appears.

I like Lord of the Rings, which is why I decided to play it first. Prior to this, my previous TT Game's experiences were LEGO Movie, Indiana Jones 2 and then the three Star Wars games. If it's not clear; this was really my first full experience of an open-world(-ish) TT Game. I can't be sure when they started, but I know that there were still things that weren't exactly right; the lack of a minimap, certain gates and doors remaining locked half the time you spawn in, a wide variety of clipping issues...but honestly, it was actually kind of fun to walk around Middle-Earth. Looking at the map, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a pain to get around (especially since you can't spawn in vehicles), but it's actually a lot smaller than it looks, which is good for easing in movement.

The "parkour" challenges were made awful thanks to a unique bug that has spawned thanks to a prominent feature in this game; there's a "character wheel" which means that you can have a party of 9 or more characters at one time, and you can select which you want to play as (or in Free-Play mode you can also get the full character selector). That was actually really handy; what wasn't so handy was the fact that the game has a lot of trouble discerning between when I want to swap between 1P and 2P, and when I want to open the character wheel, since they're both tied to the same button. Many times, I would be at the top of a parkour challenge and needed to make a final swap to another character with a specific ability, when suddenly the game would pull the rug out from under my feet and switch me to 2P. 1P would then jump down to the ground, and I'd lose all progress. There were also weird instances where, upon selecting a free-play character, instead of just setting 1P to that character, the game would switch me to 2P and then switch my character. I can't even fathom how that works logically.

There was a lot of bollocking in this game. The game is WAY too happy to steal the camera and point out the bloody obvious (I'm pretty sure even the kids the game is aimed at know what the f**** was happening and don't need it shoved into their faces for 20 seconds). Thankfully, it seems like the dynamic hints option wasn't as annoying as The LEGO Movie Videogame, but that might just be because I either tuned out. There's also a plethora of bugs; characters moving half-way across the map during QTEs, Gollum/Climbing characters moving into awkward positions if they touch a speck of dust while wall-climbing, items that can be collected multiple times (no benefit in doing so though), many AI pathfinding woes...

Is it all just negative? Surprisingly, no. I nitpick because I really wanted to love this, and in the end I did kind of like it. The voice acting was just straight-ripped from the movies (aside from the Quest characters who were probably just people inside the studio), but at least it wasn't poor imitations. The animation work is almost flawlessly entertaining like always, and there's a lot of really satisfying polish (bits of vibration, camera shake, colour, sounds etc). While they did cut out some of the plotlines, they managed to keep the important stuff (and even add characters not from the movie; that's pretty damn good). The Bonus Level (and Sauron's attack) were very satisfying. Some sections of the game were actually really fun to play.

Of course, it does get very tedious and repetitive at times. Certain sections edge along unfairly (such as any time you're requires to jump on the thin planks, thanks to poor invisible wall placement), and somebody was clearly taking the piss when they decided to keep doing that thing from LSW where you have minikits during the run-towards-the-camera sections (multiple times!). TT Games really haven't figured out the money problem, since the point at which you have more money than you actually need comes quite early in the game (especially if you get the red brick multipliers, which can total up to around x3800). There was also a substantial lack of fanfare for making the 100%, but I guess that's always been a bit of an issue.

If I had more time or patience, I'd probably do a full review and breakdown of every bit of the game, but I wanted to give a kind of quick summary. I don't hate this one. Unlike LEGO Movie Videogame, it feels like this had a bit more time and a bit more love was put it into it. The problem is that Level Design clearly dropped the ball on many parts of the game, and while they get certain sections absolutely perfect, others they get terribly, terribly wrong. I figure that if they had just a few more months, a lot of the bugs and issues would have disappeared, and I'd be a bit more satisfied.


If ever asked, I'll deny myself as a feminist or a liberal or any of that bulls***. There's only one label that I feel fits me best; "Egalitarian". I've spent months trying to understand the word and its connotations, but I've come to the realisation that I knew what it meant all along, because it's exactly how I live my life. Allow me to explain;

I grew up in a sort-of-Religious family in Australia. As in, we'd sometimes go to Church, I went to Church camps (mostly just for the camp bit), I went to Catholic schools and all that jazz. I'm not here to discuss my beliefs on the Church or their beliefs, but rather to discuss the one thing that stuck with me through the ages; "Love thy neighbour as you love thy self." Think about how f****ing powerful that message is. Hell, it's the entire basis for Australian life. My life in Australia has been beautiful because there were no limits and no wrong-doing. I could call anybody anything, and they'd laugh with me, shoot a joke insult back, and we'd laugh even harder. I never cared if somebody was female, black or handicapped, and it never mattered. What did matter was the standards you held, and the things you were wiling to sacrifice in order to achieve. Hell, for most people I didn't even (and still don't) bother remembering their names, since I remembered them through their key characteristics, and they would always do the same. That's the life I want my children to have. That's the life I want everybody I know to have.

I grew up in a family of funeral directors. We're surrounded by death constantly, and the thing that keeps us sane is the humour. Death doesn't mean anything to me because life is one big jolly when you think about it. And as I grew up, humour became more than a coping mechanism; it was a way that my friends and I expressed our views. It didn't matter how stupid, stereotypical or insulting it sounded; every joke was there to let us know that it was okay to be open about the horrible realities that life presents us. Jew jokes, blond jokes, retard jokes, nerd jokes. That old phrase "We call our mates 'cunts' and cunts our 'mates'" rang true in my circles. Depression wasn't fixed by being gentle; it was fixed by getting people to live a life better than what they had been. I still remember all the conversations I had that helped rehabilitate people, and without humour, I doubt those people would be in the incredible state of living they're in now.

In about 10 rewrites of this blog entry, I wanted to cover how my views relate to common social media trending issues, but I've decided not to. The thing is that I do my best not be offended by anything except the most inane stuff that I can write off as comedy (such as getting angry at the s***ty chairs in my local RSL). I refuse to be sensitive or fragile, because in the end that (in my view) makes me a weaker individual towards my end goals of creating high quality works or to become a mentor-like teacher. If I allow myself to get offended every time somebody pronounces somebody's name wrong, makes a joke or overall acts in an "uncivil" way, I don't know how I'd cope with the life I lead.

I certainly don't have any German in me, but I believe I have a lot of German qualities in the harshness of my critiques and my adherence to standards (most of the time, when I'm not being a lazy dickhead). That's where we need to be. If we don't keep pushing each other, how will any of us learn to do the great things ahead of us? Thankfully, most of my German critique is embedded in the form of humour, which sometimes makes it easier to swallow.

Anyway, this blog has been all over the place and it's mostly because I got really tired half way through, went to get a coffee, came back confused and wanted to wrap this up. The point I guess I'm trying to make is that what may come off as me being an arsehole really is me being an arsehole...because that's how I express deeper, honest opinions. I'm not going to hold back because somebody will get their feelings hurt in the process; the truth and the freedom to speak is the most important thing we hold as humans, as that is what enabled us to get to where we are today. I will embrace my right to speak, and my right to treat everybody exactly the same; all as the glorious cunts who keep this world spinning.


To the Director whom this concerns;

I remained silent when you unfortunately modified the rules and regulations, allowing for members with no pants to join. I remained silent when you permanently terminated the "Cow Car Fund", which would have raised funds for our very own security tour bus which we would use to visit offending members in real life, so that we could ban them permanently. I even remained silent when you destroyed the need to be an active member of RRU society (mainly because I decided to become less active after such offence to spite you).

I unfortunately cannot remain silent any more. The recent behaviour of forum members has been erratic, foolish, and downright insane. There has been an alarming rise in unquestionably "revolutionary" actions, specifically involving the use of forum avatars and status updates to post "hidden" and "secret" messages which push an anti-RRU agenda. Clearly, a rebellion is happening right below your nose, and you have failed to pick up the scent. When I sent you cases of evidence to support my argument, you simply brushed it off as "RRU being RRU".

I must therefore step down from my position as Senior Overlord Constable Pants Enforcer Major. This move has not been made in haste, nor was it done without considerations for where my true purpose lies; I have already made the proper arrangements to join with RRU's "HAZMAT" department, and will be taking on the role of "Master Commander Sergeant of the Dark Knight's Round Table" with the responsibility of cleaning up this mess that you have failed to prevent.

For the benefit of your department, information is strictly on a need-to-know basis. With that said, I have been given authorisation to inform you that we will be specifically targeting several known problem users over the next few weeks. RRU HQ has confirmed that we will be paid a bounty for every unsavoury avatar, status update, blog entry or gallery image that we quash.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours, and I look forward to cleaning up your mess by fighting fire with fire.


Master Commander Sergeant McJobless of the Dark Knight's Round Table.



What separates you from your enemies?

© Ben Steenson 2015

Note! This is a work in progress! Come back every day for new updates, gameplay features, story, images and more!

Welcome to the design proposal for a new video game, LEGO Ultra Agents: Retake Astor! This proposal is being written as a hobby of mine and is not intended for real production, but with that said, I would like it serve as an example of the cool things you can do with LEGO in Video Games without the limitations that TT Games set in place by using their horrid formula.

As a general rule, this game will be darker and edgier than most LEGO products, and for the most part the previous two revisions of the LEGO Agents line (2008 - 2009) will be ignored, with maybe a few mentions here and there. I have considered a multiplayer mode, but decided against it at this point in time only because it would mean its own entirely separate design document; the multiplayer mode would still be part of the main game, but would require new gameplay elements outside the scope of this current project.

Proposal Overview

What Is This Game?

LEGO Ultra Agents: Retake Astor (name pending) is a Single-Player Third-Person Platformer/Shooter hybrid (with Metroidvania-elements) which teaches and stresses the importance of creativity, consistency, teamwork and respecting a good framework. It features mainly characters, locations and themes from the LEGO Ultra Agents line, but also uses a few things from both the Agents line and the Alpha Team line.

Why Would People Care?

LEGO is an extremely popular and powerful toyline, but its presence in digital media has been unfitting for its powerful abilities to teach children and inspire adults. The TT Games have been following the same old formula for long enough now that people are starting to realise that the games don't have a strong or interesting core, and it doesn't help that the games are grounded in technical issues due to a reduced development cycle. This game is a fresh new take on the LEGO Media medium, and is actually built with the core themes and messages of the LEGO brand in mind. This game has been designed to be open enough to allow all players their own means of expression, giving freedom through both the gameplay as well as the customisation.

Who Is This Game For?

This game would primarily be for children and adults, aged 12 and upwards. The darker themes of this game and its gameplay mean that it's less suited towards children younger than 10, and the game's similarities to the Batman: Arkham-series of games means that adults will likely find enjoyment that younger audience members will not. This is a product aimed towards those who already enjoy the LEGO product, and more specifically to those who are excited by the concept of Heroes and Villains, since the game's antagonists are all essentially super-villains using special powers. While there is no real gender-preference, conceivably this game will appeal more towards males. The client for the game will be The LEGO Group, and we hope this is a title that they can proudly boast as representing the company's key goals of the LEGO product, even if it is less suited towards their usual younger market.

Gameplay Elements

Goals and Objectives

The overall goal of the game is to defeat every single Super-Villain and disband their associated gangs in the streets of the city of Astor City.

There are 3 Acts of the game; Act 1 and 2 are similar, built to train and reinforce the same concepts which will become important in Act 3. Act 3 represents the Point of No Return, and it is here where the player's skills are really tested.

Act 1 & 2

In Act 1 & 2 (both being based off of Series 1 and Series 2 of the Ultra Agents line respectively), you are given a set of Super-Villains to contain, as well as a stack of side-quests which may be required (depend on the player's play-style) in order to complete the overall goal of defeating each Super-Villain.

There are no barriers preventing the players from chasing down each villain whenever they want, aside from how the player wishes to accomplish each target, and the tools they need. Each antagonist NPC is spread over different parts of the city, and are actually active within that area. When the player feels they are ready to attack, they simply need to locate each target NPC (by listening to radio reports, following police squad cars, flying around etc) and either give chase or defeat the villain. Each hostile NPC holds its own behaviours and strengths/weaknesses, and this will be something players need to adjust for.

One NPC in each Act will require that every other NPC is already caught. These NPCs (Terabyte for Act 1, AntiMatter for Act 2) require the use of every single power you used to capture the previous NPCs (for example, you need water to finish off one individual NPC, and then water allows you to stun Terabyte for long enough to use other powers so that you can eventually capture him). This is a way of reinforcing to the player that different abilities have more than one unique use, and that the player should mess around with each item and power in order to find new strategies.

In order to acquire the powers and tools needed to finish off the NPCs, you need to have access to Bricks (more details in the Resources section). Bricks can be acquired in several ways;

  • By defeating all the members of a gang patrol roaming the streets. These only give you limited bricks, and you cannot get any special items, but defeating a patrol allows you to interrogate a member of the patrol (using the dialogue gameplay mechanic) for hints on special locations, such as the location of the associated NPC or the nearest vault.
  • By raiding a gang vault with stolen bricks and confiscating those bricks. You will get a larger amount of bricks this way, and you will also get access to special bricks and possibly even other treasures.
  • By finding NPC "treasures", such as their plans, laptops, vehicles and other items. These give you limited bricks, but you also will damage the NPC/Gang's reputation/power, meaning there will be less patrols (which is important earlier in the game, as patrols have very powerful weaponry and armour) and the NPC will be easier to find and possibly even less powerful.
  • By completing Civilian Quests. These are quests given by citizen NPCs, and usually involve defeating a gang patrol before they rob a store or doing surveillance work to determine who is blackmailing citizens. Completing these gives you limited bricks, but you also get access to the police network through the Constable who requests your assistance. The Police Network will grant you radar scanning abilities, and will also allow you to summon either Police or Super Secret Police to a specified location on request. These missions will also permanently open up new interior areas.

These are all types of measured side-quests. A player simply looking to get through the story will only need to do a few of these to get the items they need to capture the NPCs, but will of course find the game more difficult. Furthermore, while there are permanent changes between Act 1 and Act 2 (some of the buildings are destroyed, characters and gangs change etc), all of the original side-quests are still completable, alongside a stack of new ones.

Act 3

The final Act of the game introduces a new villain, and starts with the levelling of nearly the whole city. The player's single goal now is to take down the final Villain, and in order to do so they must learn as much as they can about the villain's behaviour, set appropriate traps and then attack once the villain is inside the trap. In order to set the traps, the player will need to convince each of the captured NPCs to help them through dialogue scenes. Successfully convincing each NPC will give the player new intel and items which they can place in the world in order to effectively create traps.

The player can only successfully interrogate each NPC if they are able to establish information about the new villain. By watching the villain do something (such as blow up a water reservoir), the player will unlock dialogue options. The more dialogue options unlocked, the more routes and the easier the player will find it to convince the NPCs to help the cause. Players can also talk to the remaining citizens, ex-gang members, police officers and Agent NPCs to see if they know any important information.

The very final battle between Player and Villain will require the player to build the "ultimate weapon", and depending on how well they studied the villain, they may be capable to defeat the villain in one hit, or it make take them a long time, based on the upgrades and bricks they use.

The game creates a special autosave once the player enters Act 3 that allows them to return to before they finished Act 2 so that they may complete all the side quests, similar to Psychonauts.

Other Goals

There are a few more goals which can impact a player's experience through the game;

  • The player can "witness" enemies using certain attacks, and learn new special combo moves. In order to trigger a witness-moment, the player must find a gang which is either attacking another gang or is attacking a citizen. If the player uses their scope and stays watching the gang, they may be able to unlock a new combo. These combos are randomly generated.
  • In order to grant the use of the largest vehicles, the player must complete a number of "challenges" for the Overseer. If the player completes these challenges (usually involving finding specially-highlighted gang members or citizens, or using a specific move to take out a target), the player is granted Authorisation and will be given the chance to call in either the Mobile HQ truck or the Helicopter while outdoors. Challenges are not measured towards game progress, and Authorisation(s) is/are not required for game completion, but may help.
  • Hostage Situations and Alpha Team Member rescues. The Ultra Agents and the Alpha Team members are all being held captive, and now that the original Agents have either been fired or permanently terminated, the situation is dire. There are phones ringing around the city; if you manage to pick one up, you will enter a dialogue scene, and you will decide the fate of that agent. Meanwhile, the Alpha Team members apparently do still exist even though they were officially disbanded years ago. They've been captured and locked in individual vaults under the city, which can only be opened by locating the guards in the underground tunnels that have the keys.

    Successfully saving each member will unlock you new prefab vehicles and character customisation parts, as well as a limited amount of bricks.

Actions, Rules and Procedures

As this is a hybrid of multiple genres of game, there are a combination of gameplay elements, as well as character states. Players must earn new gameplay actions by completing goals listed above, and the more effort a player puts in, the more elements of the game they will get out.

Default Character State

The default state that your character starts in is as such;

  • Player can freely roam the entire exterior city without restriction. Most interior buildings are closed off, the main exceptions being the Ultra Agent HQ and the Police Station. The player cannot fast-travel until they unlock at least one significant location.
  • Player can move forward, backward, left, right (with a locked-strafe mode by holding a button down, similar to Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal). Player is allowed 1 level of jump, and can sprint by holding the sprint button.
  • Player can climb ledges and small walls (things like chain-link fences). Player can tap the sprint button while holding a direction button to roll.
  • Player may use their own vehicles or any vehicles parked on the street. Flying vehicles are not available until Act 2. Players will not get access to Challenges/Authorisation until they meet the Overseer.
  • Player has two weapon slots they can switch between. At the start player may use their default weapon, a lazer pistol, and will need to find or build another weapon to fill slot 2. Player may do simple punch melee by pressing the melee button, or a heavy melee attack by holding the button down. Player has access to 1 special combo; by pressing the melee button in the right order, they can activate a knockout-punch. Player may target enemies by using the targeting button.
  • Player may initiate dialogue with any friendly or interrogated NPC (interrogated NPCs will have a dialogue sequence inside a locked room inside the Ultra Agent HQ). Player will not have access to all dialogue options.
  • Player cannot initiate customisation options until they collect a brick and report to Ultra Agent HQ after receiving a briefing from the Overseer. Afterwards, player may use the remote customisation device to customise their appearance, and create weapons/vehicles on the spot. Said device only works outdoors. Players may also use a fixed device (a "Customisation Station") that do the same things, and are spread all over the map.
  • Player cannot respond to citizen requests until they meet the Police Chief.
  • Player can access the Journal and Area Map, but will need to fill in the extra content by playing through the game.
  • Player cannot use the Police Radar (double-tapping the Radar button, opens up the Journal/Area Map interface but adds the police communication audio and locations to the Area Map) until they have completed a single citizen request. Players can use the Local Surveillance Scope (an infra-red scanner that highlights NPCs, objects and any quest-relevant object within a certain range) by pressing the Radar button.
  • Player cannot save the Ultra Agents until they see the Overseer, and they cannot save the Alpha Team agents until an announcement plays on the big screens from Terabyte.

Completed Character State

This is the final list of abilities the player has (additions and changes to the default character state only), without the use of player-selected upgrades;

  • Player has access to a number of interior locations, as well as the entire exterior city. Player can also traverse the aerospace and the underground tunnel network which provides shortcuts and can be trapped.
  • Player can climb walls, provided they visit Ultra Agent HQ went after receiving a message about training.
  • Player has access to cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, mechs, bikes and boats. Citizens will offer their vehicles to player, and player can also hijack gang-vehicles.
  • Player can use a wide array of weapons, and may also take weapons from enemies for a limited period of time (until the end of the enemy encounter). Player has a number of combos which involve multiple buttons, but can take out many enemies at once.
  • Player will have witnessed all events, seen enough locations and unlocked enough other content in order to open up all dialogue options.

Brick Customisation

One of the big elements of this game is the ability to customise and create your own solutions to problems. Bricks as resources will be discuses in a later section.

There are 4 levels of customisation. Each also includes prefabs, so that players can build off of a stable prototype;

  • Character Customisation: This part of customisation is purely aesthetic, and does not require bricks. Players collect new body parts as they progress through the game; meet each Ultra Agent unlocks the Agent body parts, defeating the Villains unlocks the Villain parts, helping citizens unlocks miscellaneous parts and so on. There are a few categories, and players may enable or disable certain parts like hats and capes.
  • Character Abilities: A number of these will be outlined in a little bit; they give the player unique abilities, but the player can only have a limited amount of them active at one time. They are unlocked by either finding power bricks (only in Gang Vaults) or doing specific side quests.
  • Weapon Customisation: The player is allowed to build their own weapons, or use prefabs as a base. The size of the weapon they're allowed to build is determined by how many bricks the player has collected (weapon size = the weapon's power; you don't spend bricks on increasing the size, but rather as you receive more bricks, when you hit a certain range you unlock the next size of weapon). In order to make the weapon actually work, players need to add power bricks, and can only add a limited number, depending on how many big bricks they have.
  • Vehicle Customisation: Similar to weapon customisation, except that the type of vehicles you can build is also dictated by how many bricks you have. Once again, power bricks unlock new bonuses for your vehicle.

A few examples of the different types of abilities you can unlock with Power Bricks:

Character Abilities

  • Tracker: A tracker device you apply to yourself or others. It allows you to keep constant track of that character through your Radar, but more importantly allows your NPC allies to also know where you or the tracked target is so they can provide assistance on your call. You can throw the tracker onto another character by switching weapons and throwing it, but you cannot recover it. You must get a new one through the Remote Customisation Device, but this will also disable your current one if you have one active on a target.
  • Jump-Pack/Jet-Pack: The former allows you to double-jump, while the latter allows you to hover and fly to a certain height. Obviously, one is accessible before the other one, and you can only have one on at a single time.
  • Treasure Mapper: Displays all of the side-quests on the Radar.
  • Hacker: Allows you to overload any nearby equipment and also shock/stun enemies that are vulnerable to it.
  • Lead-Weight: Allows you to fall on enemies with enough force to immediately knock them out.

Weapon Abilities

  • Skeletonizer: Immediately converts an enemy to skeleton, causing them to run away in fear.
  • Water Jet: Creates a thick stream of water which can stun or incapacitate enemies depending on how long you shoot it at them for, and can also create puddles.
  • Harpoon: Allows you to create ziplines that you can travel on, but also allows you to drag enemies towards you and even stop cars.
  • Hwacha: Fires rockets down on a selected area like rain.

Vehicle Abilities

  • Nitro Boost: Makes the car go faster.
  • Claws: Allows you to grab onto other cars, and even rip bricks off them.

Different players will have different ideas and skill levels for customisation. While the prefabs should give less-inclined creators the ability to still pick and choose, the building system is set up similar to LEGO Digital Designer, the only exception being that there are minimum and maximum height, length and breadth values, and that players will only have access to a maximum amount of bricks based on the level they've unlocked. For the vehicle designer, players are not required to use a vehicle base, but must have a minimum amount of wheels/engines/rudder etc, while the weapon designer requires players to select either a base piece the minifigure can hold, or use a backpack base as seen in the Ultra Agents sets (this latter option means that players cannot use certain abilities such as the Jet-Pack).

The vehicle/weapon designers also include smaller prefab "Components", which are pre-built sections that the players can put together. While they are not full vehicles or weapons, they do represent a chunk of pre-constructed parts, and the player may remove the individual parts from this section once it has been placed (i.e., after placement, a Component becomes individual bricks). For example, a component might be the front bumper with a number plate and car grill, or it could be an entire engine-design.

Individual bricks each have their own unique properties which can be edited via a special window; for weapon Power Bricks, you can assign each brick to one of the either two triggers (meaning you can fire multiple "gun pieces" at one time), and you can also change each brick's colour and if they have a sticker/print, even after placement.

Vehicles can have an "Alt-Mode". All prefabs contain an Alt-Mode until the player modifies the prefab (changing the layout of the bricks may make the Alt-Mode impossible). Players can also design their own Alt-Mode for any customised vehicle; they're not allowed to add or remove any parts, but may flip hinges or detach pieces and reassign certain parts (for example, wheels might become booster rockets and the Alt-Mode might be a hover-bike). The player can use the Switch Weapon button to change between the different vehicle modes in-game.

Finally, each different customisation item can be shared amongst different people by simply copying the save files (each new custom item you save is saved to a new, individual file). These will appear in the "Saved Items" tab, which is next from "Prefabs". If you don't have access to the bricks required to build saved custom item, that item will appear greyed-out. This means you can also share items between your own multiple game saves/careers.


Another core gameplay mechanic is the dialogue system. Dialogue operates similar to most RPGs; you can approach any NPC in the world, and provided they have conversation options available, you will be presented with a list of potential dialogue options. This conversation continues until the player selects appropriate dialogue option that ends the conversation, or in an emergency instance where, for example, the player/NPC comes under attack.

The dialogue system in this game is focused entirely on what the player character knows and learns. While some dialogue options are available by default (Such as "Who are you?"), others need to be acquired, similar to trading cards. Since the player character is new to Astor City and the Ultra Agents, this gives the justification for the player's "amnesia"; they simply know nothing about the situation they are in.

Some of the ways you can learn about the ingame story and unlock extra dialogue options include;

  • Long Dialogue Chains: A smart player can simply talk with multiple NPCs, and in doing so they may unlock information about a location, person or so on that they haven't actually physically seen yet.
  • Locations: Whenever the player enters a new region of the city (which will be discussed in a later section), or comes across an important landmark, they will unlock new fast-travel points, but will also open up any dialogue options that relate to those locations.
  • NPCs: By either looking at, talking with, or seeing a picture/listening to a radio report etc of an NPC will unlock that character's related dialogue options. Unlike locations, there are actually levels of information about an NPC that the player can know about. For example, knowing that one of the villain's weaknesses is ice might not be immediately obvious, until you talk with more NPCs or stumble across the correct information source.
  • Hints and Abilities: Either through use of your own unlocked abilities, witnessing an NPC use an ability or through normal discussion, you can unlock tangential information on how to defeat bosses or do interesting things inside the game.

Dialogue is recorded to a log inside the Journal. If the player hits the "Log" tab, they can view all the previous conversation chains, whereas if they view the "Information" tab, they can see a summary of everything the Player Character knows about the game world. There is also a "Quests" tab (name pending) which gives them some information and stats on how many villains they need to deal with, how many vaults are left etc; the side-quests do not actually show up until you find the first of each. It is yet to be decided if the total number to find is displayed, or if you must purchase/find/use dialogue to unlock the total number.

Movement and Combat - Normal Gameplay (Non-Bosses)

During normal gameplay, the player has access to a movement and combat suite which give them freedom to explore the map and defend themselves/engage threats.

With everything unlocked and without the use of the extra abilities, the player can climb up walls, similar to Assassin's Creed, jump/roll/slide over small ledges, car bonnets and other obstacles, lock-strafe like in Ratchet & Clank 2/3 and have the ability to do a single jump and sprint. Players should ultimately feel as though the world is their playground/sandbox, and their movement through the world is what will define that feeling. Players need to be encourage to explore the bounds of the movement system, as this will give them incentive to actually study enemy behaviour and unlock new gameplay, and also lead to players acting more tactically.

The Player Character is an Agent, and therefore is not as physically strong as some of the opponents they will be going up against. Similar to the Fallout health system, each limb has its own health, and the total health bar is a composite of those bars, as well as some other factors. The factors to take into account when deciding player's health are as follows:

  • Overall Health: The player has a health bar, and can take a finite amount of damage before that is reduced to zero. While taking off the player character's limbs will reduce the player's health to low levels, they will still be (barely) alive. The player must continue to take just enough damage to permanently kill them.
  • Limbs: As mentioned before, each limb has its own health, and when they reach critical damage, they will simply pop-off the character and the player will no longer be able to use that limb. This usually means limiting their move set, and reducing the amount of damage they can deal with a melee attack. Players can actually still be alive, so long as they still have their torso and head, but they will no longer be able to attack or do any form of parkour, and instead can only crawl around. Limbs can be reacquired by going to a Hospital, the Agents/Police HQ or any customisation station.
  • Bleed-Out/Environment Damage: If the player starts taking damage, or if they enter an environment that can cause lasting harm to them (such as sub-zero temperatures or a gas-filed sewer), players will start losing health, and the rate/length of this is determined by the player's current state (a healthier player will put up a better resistance) and the level of the damage (a bigger blow to the head or breathing in deadly toxins will do far more damage than other forms). Losing a limb will cause permanent bleed-out until the limb is replaced.
  • Abilities: Some abilities may increase health, auto-heal the player or reduce the amount of bleed-out/environmental damage.

When the player loses all of their health, they fall apart (literally). After a black-out transition, they will wake up in either the Agents HQ or a Hospital (whatever is closer), where they will be (again, literally) reassembled. If they will killed during fighting a gang or taking a boss, any damage they did/NPCs they terminated will persist. NPC gangs only respawn after you take out their entire gang and some time has passed (and if their associated Villain has not been defeated), and Villains will occasionally attempt to heal themselves back up to full if you die too many times or take too long getting back to their location.

Combat in the game can be performed through the use of vehicles (either by mounted weaponry or by using the vehicles as battering rams), weapons and the player's melee abilities. Vehicle ammo is infinite, but may operate slower than minifigure weapons, and the weapons can also be ripped off by enemy NPCs. The player's weapons do not have ammo, but can overheat, similar to Mass Effect. Certain weapon abilities, such as the Harpoon, do not overheat the weapon and can be operated while the weapon is overheating, but do not do any damage themselves. The player's melee ability involves the use of combos; by pressing the buttons in certain sequence with the right timing, they can do devastating damage to enemies. A list of potential combos will be added in a later update to this document.

Just like in Batman: Arkham City, there are a variety of enemy types, and each enemy will be part of a different faction. Unlike in Batman: Arkham City, gangs will now attack other if they believe they are encroaching on each other's turf. Players can use this to their advantage, but otherwise must analyse each group of enemies beforehand and plan accordingly. Some of the types of generic enemies that are non-specific to gangs:

  • Grunt: The bare-bones troop. They can punch, and that's about it. Their punches are very hard, so players will need to either get an Armour upgrade ability, or dodge with a roll whenever the enemy gestures to attack (enemies use the 1/2-second gesture from the Ratchet & Clank series so that players can pre-empt their attacks). Grunts don't have armour and don't generally use cover, but will hide if they see the player mowing them down with guns.
  • Troop: A step up from the basic Grunt, they use guns (randomised between tasers, laser guns and rifles) and will use cover sparingly (preferring to stand out in the open), but otherwise are essentially the same.
  • Heavy: These guys are armoured and make use of Rocket Launchers, Chainguns, Flame Throwers and other heavy weapons. They move a lot slower and don't use cover at all, and their head/part of the back is unprotected, so a player who is a good shot or can sneak up on them will be able to defeat them quickly.
  • Sniper: Low armour, high-accuracy. They can instantly remove one of your limbs with a well-timed shot. Similar to the Jackal Snipers in Halo 2/Halo 3, their eye gear glows to make it a bit easier to see where they're hiding. The key is to remember that if you can see them, they can see you.

These "generic" types of enemies will appear in all gangs. Aside from these, each gang will have its own specific special enemies; these special enemies have powers based on their boss. Some bosses may have a few types of special enemies, others may only have one. A few of the special enemies you might encounter include:

  • Flame Spitters: Enemies with a resistance to heat-weapons, and who have a grenade-launcher that throw two types of ammo, "Inferno Grenades" and dynamite. The Inferno Grenades explode on impact and will set whatever they touch on fire for a period of time, whereas the dynamite will explode on impact and create a crater in whatever they impact with. They are specific to Infearno's gang.
  • NerveTroops: Toxikita's personal guard (a sign that you are getting closer to her position). They have stealth field generators that make them partially invisible, and they like to stab enemies with their Nerve Toxin syringes. The Nerve Toxin causes the player to loose control, and the player will need to keep pressing QTE-buttons; failure to do is will cause the player's limbs to start falling off until they die.
  • Robo-Spiders: Spyclops' little pets. They create web traps (either making a web that covers a pathway that the player might walk into, or shooting web-balls at the player) that the player will need to use QTEs to break out of. The spiders are rigged to explode when they get close to the player, and they can also move close together to become a massive spider, similar to the Constructicons in the Transformers universe. This big spiders acts as a mini-boss and mostly uses its front legs to try and squash the player.

Lastly, every Boss/Villain and his/her gang is affected by a "Reputation" bar. The Reputation bar represents how much power they hold within the city. As the player finds and confiscates vaults, defeats gang patrols and saves Alpha Team/Ultra Agents, the reputation of that gang goes down. In the story of the game, this means the black-market providers for the equipment and goons have less confidence in the Boss, and are therefore providing them with less. In terms of gameplay, as the reputation bar goes down, more and more patrols will disappear. The special units will become far more rare, and the Villain may become weaker, as they can no longer source whatever powers their weapons/abilities/vehicles. On the converse, a player who dies a lot will increase reputation of that gang/villain, giving them more power and more patrols.

It is not just the player who affects reputation. Every Villain is looking to expand their individual control of the city, and so there are frequently gang wars, where bordering patrols will attempt to duke it out to see who can gain more ground. Obviously, the winning gang will walk away with a higher reputation, while the losing gang will walk away with a lower one. Furthermore, any time the gang positions change, different gangs will take control of the Vaults, giving them further reputation boosts.

Movement and Combat - Boss Gameplay

While specific stats and tactics will be discussed in a later section, the Villains/Bosses change up gameplay slightly. Each Villain at the start of the game owns a district. While their ownership of the map changes as their reputation changes, the Bosses are all active in the gameworld, and for the most part can be found at any time, provided you hit the right "trigger". The exceptions to this rule are the 3 Big Bads, Terabyte, AntiMatter and Ogel, who can only be found after dealing with all of their subordinates.

The Villains you encounter and their triggers are as follows:


After Triggering/Locating a Villain/Boss, you have the opportunity to capture them, provided you can knock them unconscious first. Knocking them unconscious requires different things for each different boss, and while the overall logic remains the same, there are a number of ways to solve each boss. The logic for each is below:


For further explanation:

  • Tremor: He pays little attention to the damage he does, only thinking ahead. This also means he's easy to sneak up behind, because his helmet and gloves make it physically difficult for him to look back.
  • Psyclone: His over-reliance on technology is due to his own lack of confidence in his physical abilities, and he uses the size of his equipment to make himself look far bigger than he actually is. Unfortunately, he isn't a technical genius like Terabyte, and so his equipment comes apart fairly easily if put under enough stress.
  • Infearno: Infearno is the newest villain, and spent most of his money on the hover-board and the flame-throwers. Infearno actually has a fear of water, and since his equipment is poorly constructed, being splashed with water all means his stuff will short out.
  • Spyclops: Spyclops' power is actually connected to his robot spiders, as he has connected himself up to the hive-mind system they use.
  • Invizable: His main skill is running away to a point where he can enable his stealth technology, since his invisibility takes a bit to activate, and whenever he enables invisibility he becomes extremely susceptible to damage.
  • Drillex: Drillex is hinted (within this game's story) to be Tremor's twin brother. While their appearance might be different and their original career might also have gone down different paths, they both share similar traits. Drillex doesn't look behind him, and he doesn't care to support any of the tunnels he makes because he believes he can dig himself out of any situation.
  • Toxikita: Again, she's a biologist and an environmentalist, not an engineer. The main problem is that she has such little faith in technology, she attempts to create toxins and other biological tools to destroy technology, but then uses technology to distribute her toxins. She's also not completely immune to the toxins she creates, even though she has visible skin defects from the various surgeries she performs on herself to give her as much immunity as possible. Hence, in Act 2, she has to create a special dome she can hide in.
  • Adam Acid/Retox: Adam Acid acts as Toxikita's Clyde during Act 1, but he really dislikes the cold. Retox is actually an undercover agent during Act 2.
  • Terabyte: Terabyte might be a technical genius, but he tends to push his equipment too far when the situation gets dire, since he doesn't want to back down.
  • AntiMatter: AntiMatter is incredibly powerful and requires a brand new, specific use piece of equipment. He is the one Villain who has only one solution to taking them down, which hints at the amount of power he has unlike the other villains.

Many of these hints can be found by talking with NPCs or by exploring the world, as explained in the Goals/Objectives section. -explain multiple solutions further-


I was going through, organising my room for college, and I found a lot of LEGO stuff that wasn't in my LEGO bag, so I decided to collect it all and take some pictures.

Because of that, I think it's time we shared our LEGO collections for the fun of it, and so we all know who has what. Because I expect a lot of images and text, let's keep these to blog posts.

I'll first post pictures of my actual LEGO stuff as it stands, and then post some screenies of what my entire set-listing should be.


I had a LEGO-themed 18/19/20-th birthday (can't remember which), and so I've kept a lot of the (clean/unused) pieces including the popcorn boxes, cups, plates, cake decorations and (unpictured) wristbands.

I have a LEGO Sorting Head and one of the lids from the big boxes of standard LEGO bricks. There's a bunch of Subject Book stickers from a LEGO magazine.


I've lost everything except some of the parts and the board for the classic LEGO Board game, "Race to Build It". I bought that LEGO Movie sticker/activity book for the minifigure, and I got that Crazy Action Contraptions book as a present one year. Thankfully, it still has all its parts inside.


Since I got both the Collector's Edition and the Special Edition of The LEGO Movie blu-ray, I kept the Collector's Edition but took all the goodies from the special edition (sticker book, vinyl cover) and added them to my Collector's Edition box, then gave the discs away to my college for the animation department.

My Darth Vader alarm clock is weirdly enough something I use every day, and I've had that thing for 2+ years now. I have technically opened up the LEGO Club magazine package, but since it's the last one I ever got (somehow I received it while not even subscribed to them since I quit my subscription when they went to paid a while ago)I want to keep it in "decent" quality.


Not pictured is my blue LEGO Racers 2 disc I got from another 3 Pack (blue discs and all racing-games this time instead of Yellow and all LEGO games). I'm missing the case of the original Bionicle movie. The Creator and Alpha Team discs are f****ed to hell, to the point that light shines through them. That 10-pack of LEGO games is mostly in Italian, and LEGO Island is German (kindly provided by one of the members here at RRU).


All the minifigures (including the Limited Edition Vitruvius from the movie Collector's Edition box) are now part of my bricks collection, but I can confirm that I still have them in good quality. The Ultimate LEGO Book I bought upon reminiscing reading another copy from my local library, but the pages are falling out of the spine.


Lots of banners here.


I bought the Bad Cop flashlight, and I got the President Business one for my birthday. I haven't deconstructed the Sea Cow yet (thousands of parts takes a lot of time), but the box contains every single other set I had in my room which I've deconstructed in the past 72 hours, as well as bags of sorted parts from my previous attempts to organise my collection.

You can also see an official RRU sticker! Thanks Cyrem! You might also see a (mostly destroyed) green LEGO Club sticker. I used to own a giant sticker board with lots of Bionicle and LEGO City stickers, but I threw it out when I found it taking up too much space in my room.


You're looking at well over 10,000 parts sorted by colour in individual bags, locked in a draw until I can count them all and purchase replacements for the missing or broken ones.


Blacks and Light Greys. You can see my Spybot, which no longer works due to rusted battery springs and (probably) damaged internals. At least all the peg holes are in working order and the battery cover is still there. I even have the remote and the serial cable (in another bag).


The brown box contains minfigure torsos and legs that need to be shuffled around to their correct order, as well as heads that are too faded for use and other LEGO parts that need sorting. The blue box contains broken parts which I use for animation purposes.


The pen is still in my bag somewhere. I swear I'm missing a white 1x1 plate, but I won't know for sure until I finish up counting all the bricks.


I guess I must have lost or traded in my LEGO Stars II PS2 disc, but I still have the guidebook (which I bought as a talking point for my cousin and I) and the PSP version my friend gave me.

The batman mask was from EB Expo, and does contain an image of Batman's mask on the opposite side.

Now that we've seen the images, let me show you my set list:

Rebrickable - McJobless Sets


In total, that's (an estimated, there may still be old sets I haven't figured out based on what parts I have) 113 sets, with around 30,000 parts.

Unfortunately, I've lost some stuff as well, including:

  • LEGO Club Australia Wristband (a red rubber wristband with studs on it, given out with one of the magazines)
  • One LEGO magazine from the 90s, and then every LEGO Club Australia magazine from 2001 - 2010 (thrown out, destroyed and generally mistreated)
  • LEGO Bioncle Alarm Clock
  • LEGO Toa Tahu Nuva Wristwatch
  • LEGO Island Xtreme Stunts, LEGO Rock Raiders discs (Yellow, part of a 3-disc multi pack)
  • LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy PS2 discs
  • Every piece except for a hand (x303c01, black) and a limb (x313c01, black) from the Galidor Gorm set (8311-1)
  • Pretty much almost all of the boxes and over half of the instruction manuals to the sets


I'm hoping there will be only 2 parts to this: This one, and then the install where everything works great. Let's not think too hard about the future, though.

Here's what I got:


Total price with handling and postage is about $2800. That's a lot better than what I was originally thinking.

I wanted Windows 8.1 Pro and an EVA GTX 980, but both were out of stock. I also decided that the 4790 was much better value than the 4790K, and the only other ones available were the 5th Gen 8 Core i7s, which were $1000 too much.

I'm a little concerned about the PSU and cooling, but we'll see how everything works out when we get to that part. I might need to buy a heatsink for the CPU.

What are you thoughts, guys? Personally, I'm extremely excited. This is my first hardcore gaming machine ever. I've never had a device capable of running new games at 60FPS. It's about time I caught up with the crowd.


The "Gift" of Public Speaking

I'm not here to break apart whether "gifts" really are, or if they're a state of mind. What I'm here to do is provide some kind of assistance to those who are put off by public speaking. Here's a quick list of top tips from an actual PR representative and hobbyist-lecturer.

  • Always go first for presentations and speeches. I know that sounds terrifying and silly, but trust me. The longer you leave it, the more tension that rises. This will lead to more mistakes, and even if you have really good points, you'll be let down by inner-torment. Moreover, the longer you wait, especially in the case with the markers, the less concentration your audience will have. The markers will award less marks as they will be bored, and the students "listening" to your speech won't care. That might sound good, but it means there's no point for you to speak. They might even hold it to you if you make them stay there for a really long time.
  • Your voice is a weapon. Be loud. Be confident. Speak at a nice easy pace. Interestingly, almost all people who go to a speech speaking at twice the speed of their practice runs. If you really must, you can try centre yourself, as if you're in a small room with just yourself. Most important job of your voice isn't just to communicate information, but also to make people excited. You need to break the ice, and combat awkwardness. By not being one of those boring people, and by using inflections, exaggerations and other vocal tools, you can make people really care what you have to say.
  • Throw in a dash of comedy if you can pull it off, but don't if you can't. Comedy has very little do with the strength of your jokes. It's all about the atmosphere and your timing. If you can't nail the timing, and if you aren't lively enough to melt the awkwardness in the room, your jokes will become cringe-worthy. That said, having good jokes will absolutely increase audience retention, and should make your markers feel a little more inclined towards your presentation. If you do put in jokes, make sure to only give a very brief laugh (don't go on and on forever, because it soon becomes painful to watch), and don't overload your speech with jokes. There needs to be serious content in there somewhere.
  • Don't overly prepare and memorise your speech. What you'll end up doing is, in the event that your miss a line, end up panicking and screw yourself over. To reiterate, don't memorise your speech. Instead, memorise the content, and know it well enough that your could speak about it in your sleep. Therefore, if something goes wrong, you should still be able to discuss the content without having to scramble to figure out what line you missed.
  • Don't hide on stage, and stay still. Be relaxed. Your body language is as important as your speech itself. Just calm down, stand in the centre of the stage and keep your legs still. Don't slouch too much, just give just a bit of lean to show people you're comfortable, and they should be too. Use your hands as tools of expression, to show what you're speaking about. Also, remember your facial experiences, and use them to your advantage. Don't be sitting or stand behind a podium, unless you're sufficiently taller than it.
  • The less you rely on palm cards, the more your audience will care. I don't use them at all. Your audience didn't come for you to read to them dry content. Furthermore, if you're looking at the palm cards, your voice won't be directed at the audience and so people up the back won't hear you.
  • Don't put ANY words on your Powerpoint presentations, except for presenter notes. I rely on presenter notes to keep me up to speed with what I'm talking about, but all my slides are just visual stimuli that relate to what I'm speaking about. If the audience sees anything to read, they won't listen to what you have to say. Force them to listen to you.

Oh, and that thing about imagining the audience in different clothes/naked? Total crock of s***.


Moving Along.

From this point forward, I will be moving a lot of my better-quality blog entries to my very own personal blogger which I have full control over. I made this decision based on a couple factors, such as the need for more exposure, but all to prevent any flooding on this site in the event I have any outlandish opinions.

I will still notify you guys when there's new writing from me up, but be prepared for a lot of my stuff from the past year to be moved. It is likely everything from 2013 and backward will stay in this blog on RRU, and anything specific to RRU, LEGO or gaming news will still be posted here or in RRU Gaming.

Thanks. I have already made one new blog entry which is up only on the blogger site. As well as the link above, the proper URL is


Let's just get down to this in dot-point form. I'm barely in the mood for writing, but I want to get my thoughts out now.

  • Depression Quest showcases the entirely wrong way to make a game that is supposed to bring awareness to a significant health issue. Depression is very serious, and it's important people seek treatment options where possible. Normally, just like you would have seen with Coming Out Simulator, the developer makes a nice, small, personal game that is very engaging and relies on the age old "Show, don't tell" principle, so that the audience can come to the conclusion themselves, feel smarter for it, thereby making the message stick. Depression Quest did not do this at all. It is a poorly designed interactive fiction that has attempted to brand itself as a video game, while failing to uphold the tenants of any video game. It is nowhere near engaging, and actually makes me despise the main character and their struggle, as opposed to Coming Out Simulator, where I was VERY moved by the events of the plot.
  • As a common courtesy, do not take advantage of your partner in any relationship for your own game. The fact she cheated on her boyfriend (I'm sure he might not be completely innocent, but nonetheless) with at least 5 other guys is absolutely ridiculous, and it doesn't matter who you are, whether you're some random on the street or a world famous actor. The idea of being in a relationship is that you can trust your partner, and breaking that is a serious breach of any ethical code.
  • If you engage in any form of social media, don't be a f****ing dickhead and use death/rape/other serious threats, personal insults, pull personal information or so on against a target or their family/friends. You have the right to voice your opinion, but you should not (and probably don't) have the right to be an absolute prick to anybody about it. You may not understand this, but there is a person behind that monitor who will read those messages, and just like if you received the same level of hatred, they will suffer from it.
  • If you are a journalist and you know you have any form of bias towards something you are prepared to discuss, unless you're in some form of debate or you make it clear that you have that bias (and maybe let people know where the bias stems from, such as playing a game franchise since childhood or being friends with the developer), you should make it a must to remove yourself from reviewing or discussing the content. We right now are plagued with journalists who have significant biases, are not telling people, and allow those biases to shape the content that is published. It is a breach of free speech, and it is disrespectful to your audience. Furthermore, the developers who rely on the reviews as a means to get feedback on how to improve their games will suffer if you give them straight As, as they will never grow or learn and will continue to make mistakes.
  • If you do not play games, do not study games, or have only the most bare-bones relationship with games, you can only provide a very narrow scope of opinions about games. Until you are involved in any part of the industry (from player to developer), understand that your agendas may not be valid due to misinformation, and that you honestly should be discussing and focusing on issues that are closer to your personal interests, be that music, movies, politics, war etc.
  • Men and Women think about fundamentally different things in different ways. The games industry has been a male-centric industry for its entire lifespan thus far, but we are now reaching a point where more women are entering and bringing new opinions. We absolutely need to have a fair discussion about these issues, but we must remember to be respectful of each other, and know that there thousands of developers out there, making thousands of games, so that there will always be a game to fill every certain niche. We don't need every game to do the same thing, and that's okay. It's okay to have games for entertainment and games for education. It's okay to have AAA titles and indie titles. Let's be mindful that we are a community of many different ideals and interests.
  • The use of parody, deconstruction, humour and sarcasm is generally to allow for discussion of serious issues. It's a way of brushing out the harshness, and allowing for people to look at the issue in a much less negative light, and hopefully reach a more peaceful communication line. We all need to understand that life is not about being safe and ignoring the "dangerous" topics, because if we do not, life will become a more dangerous place. The issues presented by this entire scandal have to be discussed. We need to reach conclusions that will hopefully better the industry. It has pointed out flaws, and it is time to take a serious look at these flaws and reach a means of solving them. Aside from a few egos, nobody has anything to lose from this communication.
  • There has been a blatant stream of miscommunication and wrong facts in almost all areas of this entire situation. Everything from the people involved in the sex scandal to the semi-related Phil Fish/Polytron dox. It is massively confusing for the majority of people (myself included) who don't religiously follow the entire Internet during this time of "crisis" to see a line of "facts" with fictional evidence and no real supporting claims, and this creates a lot of fallacies during the ensuing arguments. If you are going to have a major opinion in this, please do your research.

I'm sure I had more, but I'm going to stick with this for now.

I've bounced between "sides" during the past 7 days, but right now I'm going to stay neutral, because in the end it doesn't really affect me as much as I thought. I'm going to make the games I want and I know will actually both engage and teach players, monitor and plan out my social communications, and I'm going to keep my professional relationships separate from my private relationships. Those are really the key lessons to take away from this.

Be mindful of your actions, be respectful, but also don't ask to sweep the issues under the rug. It is clear that, in the aftermath, problems inherit within gaming media and the player community have become apparent, and we need to work together to solve these issues.


Birthday Presents

Let's cut to the chase. This year I got an awesome haul:

  • The Sea Cow (LEGO Set). It took me 9 hours to finish it.
  • The LEGO Movie (Everything is Awesome Edition + Special Edition). Two different people bought me different editions, which means I get all the neat content :D
  • LEGO Sort & Store
  • President Business LED Light (Similar to my Bad Cop one)
  • DK LEGO Minifigure Year By Year: A Visual History (Book)
  • Klutz LEGO Crazy Action Contraptions
  • The LEGO Movie Master Builder's Attack Sticker Activity Book
  • DK The LEGO Movie Ultimate Sticker Collection
  • M&Ms Jumbo Share (not) Pack
  • A couple LEGO posters
  • The Tarot - A Myth of Male Initiation
  • $40

Thanks for all the birthday wishes guys! This year was great.


If I may, for a second;

I'm not even going to grace this with a description. Let's just get to ripping apart the quotes.

"I think we're going into almost a golden age of gaming, where it doesn't matter where you are, at any time, any place, any price point, any amount of time, there's a game available to you,"

Yeah, so long as you have the equivalent of a $1000 US to buy that shiny new PS4 in Brazil. What if you live in Afghanistan or Antarctica. Could I play games there too?

"And our job as a company is to provide those game experiences. And then on our big franchises, tie them all together."

As a company, you've successfully failed over the previous decade or so to provide any of those experiences without hindering the player in some way. Your practices net you the Worst Company in America crown. What do you say to that?

And what's this about tying franchises together? Am I going to kick around a soccer ball with my Normandy team against Faith and the guys from Battlefield Bad Company 2?

Tying games together is likely in reference to EA's well-stated "games-as-a-service" model, where the publisher hopes to provide unified experiences across franchises like Battlefield and FIFA through tie-in games and the like.


"I think the challenge sometimes is that the growth of gaming... there's a core that doesn't quite feel comfortable with that, I don't get frustrated, but I scratch my head at times and say, 'Look. These are different times.' And different times usually evoke different business models. Different consumers come in. They've got different expectations. And we can either ignore them or embrace them, and at EA, we've chosen to embrace them."

By ignoring your long-standing relationships with your previous clients. Great to see you in charge as COO.

Gaming as a business is not like other industries. Microtransactions only serve to hurt developers and gamers. Even if they didn't, could you honestly say that the way EA has done it so far hasn't hurt people?

And let's look at a different yet specific example. This is from a post on the steam community:

"A simpoint is worth 10 cents. So everything on the Sims 3 store costs approximately $74,486.50. As for DLC/the game itself, the total is $439.81. So grand total, you're looking at $74,926.31 to own everything the Sims 3 has to offer."


"There is a core--controversial statement coming from me, sadly--that just doesn't like that, because it's different, it's disruptive. It's not the way it used to be. I used to put my disc in the tray or my cartridge in the top, and I'd sit there and play. And all of these young people coming in, or God forbid, these old people coming into gaming!"

You ever think that maybe that's what these new people want too? To just sit down and play the feckin' game? I don't think anybody new to gaming would stick around for long if they new they had to keep forking out of their wallets to continue progressing.

"I think the core audience that dislikes the fact that there are play-for-free games and microtransactions built into those... fine, I get that, I don't think anybody has to like it. I think that's where it goes. It's like me; I get grumpy about some things, but if the river of progress is flowing and I'm trying to paddle my canoe in the opposite direction, then eventually I'm just going to lose out. From the perspective of what needs to happen in this industry, we need to embrace the fact that billions of people are playing games now."

We need to embrace the fact that billions of people are playing games that are not yours. There are successful F2P games, but the formula is extremely difficult to get right, and turning almost all of your games into this horrible scam can only serve to destroy the integrity of the original design plans the developers wish to turn into reality.

You will lose out because you're a businessman, not a gamer, and you fail the grasp why gamers enjoy what they enjoy. We're happy to fork out $60 on release for a new title. Hell, I put down $220 for a Halo: Reach preorder once. But once that game is in our hands, that's where the transaction should end. We go off to play, you go off to fix the game (since apparently all AAA games are now released as Alpha/Beta versions and then just patched as they go) and then make a new one.

"We just have to embrace it, we as an industry have to embrace change. We can't be music. We cannot be music. Because music said, 'Screw you. You're going to buy a CD for $16.99, and we're going to put 14 songs on there, two of which you care about, but you're going to buy our CD.' Then Shawn Fanning writes a line of code or two, Napster happens, and the consumers take control."

You might be so familiar with games as music then, because you own some extremely boring franchises. How come games like Fez, the original Halo, Deus Ex and the majority of Nintendo's title are always being replayed when they don't offer any extension content? Maybe it's because they realised how important it was to get the core gameplay experience correct before gipping the consumer?

"You have to embrace social media as a plus rather than a negative, everybody has a megaphone now. Everybody has an opinion, and you learn to filter the rant from the constructive feedback."

You might want to fix your filter then.

A Complete Mess.

  • Human life is obsessed with patterns
  • We strive to learn patterns so we never have to relearn them again
  • Games are about patterns
  • Good games teach how to solve patterns, not just give answers to patterns
  • Games therefore are teaching devices [can be described as art]
  • Games therefore should be about things important to humanity
  • We need to get over conflict, fighting etc, as it costs us resources including lives, money, food, etc
  • Therefore, shooters are a waste
  • Humans unfortunately still enjoy cheap thrills (WHY?)
  • Furthermore, people enjoy nostalgia (HOW?)
  • Many other art forms have high quality art [like Game of Thrones] and low quality art [like South Park]
  • Movies started off for years as minor experiments and sketches
  • How come people still haven't recognised the trends between movies and games?
  • Games need to be personal
  • Personal self is quite chaotic atm
  • 7 billion people in the world
  • 1/7,000,000,000 chance of having an original idea and implementing it before somebody else does
  • Most games now are just clones of other games with little variation
  • Means that we're on the verge of some massive changes
  • Skill level nowhere near high enough for industry standard
  • Chance of successfully building popular games: 0%
  • Therefore, new goal required
  • Chance of modifying current education system: 0%
  • Chance of mocking people in charge of the current education system to the point change is considered: 0.01%
  • Still sounding ridiculously crazy
  • As crazy as those feminastys?
  • Gotta prove education > just yelling about social justice on Tumblr/Twitter
  • Gotta makes educational games that don't look/feel educational that can become popular to satisfy ego
  • To do that gotta obtain necessary skills
  • Unfortunately, reached "peak efficiency"
  • Brain at point where it's putting minimal effort into everything == not having to do work, therefore meaning it's "successfully" living life
  • Need to disrupt this somehow
  • Mind way too distracted
  • What is beauty?
  • Holy hell, clouds are 3D...I can actually see their dimension...

A short snippet of a train of thought (about 30 seconds - 1 minute) I had about a week ago. Now I'm trying to record these in full so I can turn them into a giant mindmap of all the crazy stuff that goes on in my mind.


This is something I've wanted to do for a long while, but I horrible at concentration. I can't really vouch for the validity of the order I finished these games in or bought them in, but that's not really the point. The point is the lessons I've learned because of what I have learned. As such, it's very likely there's going to be a LOT of games I won't list, because of shoddy memory, or because they just weren't important enough.

Also, I had to remove images for most of the cases. Apparently list urls don't like them.


We don't ever stop developing. That's at least one thing that separates us from animals. We continue to grow right until we grow out of our bodies.

Ignoring the quasi-religious joke, it's been some of recent for me to look back at my "gaming heritage". I find it kind of fascinating to see where I've come from. How far I've come. How much further I've got left to go. I feel it's pretty prevalent to understanding who I am and why I am. Naturally, it also serves as a nostalgia shock for me :D

PlayStation One - The Childish Era

I was born, according to your own definition, in the early to mid Nineties. The exact same year as the PlayStation One, as it turns out. I feel it kind of fitting we were both brought into the world at the same time. I'd like to think we'd both have the same level of impact on gaming in some way or another. That's wishful thinking for my future, though.

Kids love to interact and play. That's how they learn, through experimentation. I couldn't necessarily "play" the games, but I certainly f****ed around with them. I didn't see pixels, polygons, hearts, lives, rules, boundaries or anything like far as I know, even though I couldn't put it into words, I saw this natural extension of myself. This grey box which made loud noises allowed me to do things I could only dream of...

The Initial Games

My first few games were either demos, racing games or Ape Escape, which I'm inclined to believe came with the console. My Dad loved the racing games, as per his enjoyment of motorsport. Specifically, the first few games I remember were:

  • V-Rally - 98 Championship Edition
  • Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace
  • Destruction Derby
  • Ape Escape
  • Gran Turismo
  • Formula 1 - 98 Edition

Note that of those games, only Ape Escape and V-Rally were full copies. Although I eventually acquired full copies of everything else (except Destruction Derby), I was mostly stuck with demos. I have a feeling that my need for having the "full game" (why I was willing to fork out $220 on a game we'll discuss later) spawned from this.

It's important to note that V-Rally's controls are quite frustrating, and it's no better with most other PS1 games. They're not awful, but at times they can be ridiculously precise, or too restrained and you get characters/cars that move on 35 degree angles. I think that's had a rather negative effect on the way I play today, as I'm always under and over-correcting everything. If I had to blame any game that was most guilty of this, it's V-Rally, which was also one I probably spent the most time on. Thanks, Rally game I never actually won a race in...

Like a Library for cool things...

You guys know Blockbuster? Let's not dwell too hard on what's happened to it, but rather focus on what it was; a video rental store. Kind of like a library for cool things. Well, I dunno if you guys had it, but Australia had a direct competitor called "Video-Ezy", and my Mum got herself a membership there. As it turns out, they allowed rentals for video games.

I could never afford games. I didn't get pocket-money like all the other kids. It was irrelevant anyway, since, up until this point, I didn't know any other games existed (I didn't even know there were other consoles). This place, however, provided me with a new opportunity. I could finally try out some games anytime my Mum wanted to watch a new (old) movie. The end result? I got to try out some of these titles (and later, I purchased some of these games for myself):

  • Rugrats: Search for Reptar
  • Rugrats: Studio Tour
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • *insert some generic racing game either made or published by psygnosis here*

Aside from the racing games already in my collection, these games, which I only had a single week to beat, have instilled in me possibly the most poisonous and hated attribute I have today. Speed.

I don't know if I've slowly developed ADD or if I'm just less focused that I should be, but I can't sit straight anymore, and it's most apparent when I play video games. I was doing a playtest for somebody's game, and my teacher noted how, in comparison to other players, I just frequently blitzed through everything until I died, respawned and then attempted to do everything again with the same speed. Even though the game called for a slower, more strategical outlook, I had to rush through. It's a f****ing miracle I can play RPGs at all.

The Most Important Game I Ever Played


What were you expecting? Pokemon? An RPG? Halo?

I'm sure you've all experienced some kind of story, where something/somoneone is credited as the non-literal father of something/someone else. This is where I came from. This is my progenitor.

This was the first video game I ever remember getting for a birthday. It would have been about 6PM, sitting in the kitchen, right in front of my cake. A 6yo me tore open the wrapping and was utterly amazed. I was pretty interested in bikes at the time, but more importantly, I actually got a video game as a present.

I remember the game being easy, but fun. I spent weeks practicing, and I think it's the first game I remember actually feeling as though I was getting "better" at it. I can still remember those times when I finally nailed the stunt jumps and won my first bike race...good times.

But for me, there's something more important. Up until that point, I had never ever considered *creating* games. I had just seen these amazing worlds, and been so awe-struck, I never imagined how they came into being. That's when I discovered the level creator.


It was limited. Annoying camera. My designs were basic and horrid. But I f****ING LOVED IT. All those years of practice with LEGO finally paid off. I got my first taste of being a creator.

I don't think I recognised it back then, but the seeds for the future had been planted.


Seaborgium's Mobile Dilemma.

I'm not going to discuss the recent personal issues between members. Instead, I'm going to discuss a certain post.


The article is badly written, using mostly second hand quotes and reports.

It's written informally for audiences who don't spend hours a day reading through encyclopedias and aspire to become verbally overwrought. I prefer this style of writing as it makes the article more interesting and personal.

Platforms are changing every few years now, and every time a new one comes out, game developers tend to just dish out the same old first person shooters, just with shinier graphics and on a better platform. The lack of creativity in the gaming industry is dire. It's simply not woth it to spend over fifty dollars to buy a new version of a game you pretty much already own, just with better graphics.

AAA developers/publishers like to play it safe. They are in business to make money, and they don't like spending money without some acknowledgement they will get a successful return. It's security, something natural to the human condition. Flashy visuals are eye candy that marketing drools over, and so do the "fans". The hype-train is what makes people want to spend that $50.

Furthermore, there is no "lack of creativity". What there is happens to be a lack of respect for indie developers and the incredible effort they go through to produce interesting titles.

People will realize this and stop buying platform games.

No, they won't. That's like saying "People will realise McDonalds is making them fat, and they will stop buying it."

Phones provide cheap, easily distributable games and levels the playing field because you don't have to spend millions of dollars for graphics and sound that really don't effect the gameplay if your making a game for a phone.

They also offer limited controls, much less visibility due to the sheer amount of people trying to "cash-in" on the market, and much less credibility as far as "serious games" go.

People nowadays have the attention span of fleas, but are sluggards and do not have the patience that insects possess. We want cheap, easily consumable, OK games. Basically we want the game equivalent of McDonalds.

Getting bored of games =/= Short attention spans. People are viewing very predictable patterns in the games they play, and as such they either require deeper gameplay, or just more frequent bouts of stimuli, which only increases the problem.

Saying "People want OK games" is essentially insulting the intelligence of everybody. I'm offended as a game developer. Please don't make such general, broad and insulting remarks when you're highly incorrect.

Almost all the games are first person shooter of fighting games with no integrated plot that give us a jolt of pleasure by blowing some computer generated goons head to pieces. The level of hand holding for RPGs is dire.

You complained about poor writing skills from the article, and yet you could barely string the first sentence together?

No, there is no majority of FPS games. They're more prominent in AAA titles because they have a marginally wider market-share, but the same people who play FPS games also play many, many other genres as well. The jolt of pleasure comes from success in a challenge, not from seeing the blood spurt out.

Hand-holding is present in all genres. It's about trying to get newer players in the games easier, so they can attract a wider audience and make more money. It's based on a fallacy (that new gamers are idiots who can't learn things for themselves), but there's a twisted logic working there.

Back in the eighties you had rpgs with such integrated plot that you had to keep a notebook to keep track of all the plot threads(having played many games from the eighties I know.) Nowadays no one would make game like that.

Are you trying to impress people? You're assuming we've not played such games either. You're also assuming that every title in the eighties was of high standards. I can assure you, that's not the case.

Back then, there were less resources to work with, so the player was forced to have a vivid imagination to compensate. These days, we've been given massive increases in resources, and as such we've yet to find the perfect way to balance it all.

Since the quality of game play isn't much better than what you get on phones, it wouldn't surprise me if people started only doing phones.

So you're saying:

  • ALL Mobile Games don't feature quality gameplay
  • Desktop/Console Games == Mobile Games
  • People will automatically shift from Desktop/Consoles to Mobile, because they're going to be playing the same games anyway ??


I hope this guy is wrong, but unless game developers start innovating, stop talking down to plays, and make engaging games with well designed gameplay, this is probably what will happen.

Talking down to players is bad, because people assume you're a bit of a c*** for talking down to them.

Developers talking to players...not always a good idea. It's good to gain perspective, but players lack the critical understanding that developers have and can frequently suggest things that would only harm the game. They're great with feedback as far as bugs and sometimes features, but you need to have a strong objective focus to be able to listen to them.

You're making a lot of uninformed assumptions based on your own experiences; exactly what a younger me did. Unfortunately, that doesn't fly around here. Try again later.


We have technology in the modern day called "Video Cameras". Most of our mobile and desktop technology now comes bundles with some form of "web camera", we have VR sensors like the Kinect and LeapMotion. Many vehicles, including trucks, buses and police cars have cameras installed to record incidents that might occur on the road. Many places in public we visit also use Video Cameras to record for security purposes. Most importantly, a significant number of people doing incredible physical activities, from snowboarders to surfers to Police/SWAT officers to Military Personnel all use Video Camera technology (such as the GoPro) to record the things they do from their own perspective.

A hundred and eighty years in the future, why the f**** aren't military personnel on extremely important missions in dangerous territory given any kind of camera to record what happens to them?

We know that other sci-fi games like Halo have this tech. We know that recording hardware exists in Mass Effect, since it's used consistently throughout the series. We know that a lot of the headwear Shepard and Co use can be fitted with all kinds of crazy and awesome tools.

If Shepard had just recorded his incident with the Prothean Beacon and his conversation with Sovereign, the council (even "Reapers" Turian) would have HAD to agree about the existence of Reapers, and as such the galaxy could have probably prepared a lot earlier.

Now, granted, it probably wouldn't have done *that* much in the long run, but at least we'd be all feeling a little less annoyed by the Council.


Fourth-ward March.

I totally didn't even plan that pun 4 years ago.

So. 27/03/2014. Heh. Never really thought I'd make it this far without dying by train, being sent to a loony bin or wasting away on alcohol. And while those things have all been pretty close to happening, here I still am.

The Austrexican Lives. The Pants Enforcers reigns supreme.

4 years ago, I found a little email in my old High School email account. Supposedly, I had seen RRU at some stage, and signed up for a newsletter...without registering. The logic is mind-bending. Regardless, a much younger, and grammatically-incorrect, smilie-hating me made some kind of odd judgement call.

I want to join this website.

Maybe it was the tools. Maybe it was the chance for a community. Maybe I was bored and drinking lots of coke. We'll never really know. What we do know is that stupid me posted all my personal information and a link to a broken free forum for a mod project that was never feasible in the first place, and yet probably is the reason I'm in Game Design right now. Talk about lunacy.

I'm not exactly sure why I decided to stay for longer than it took to write the introduction. Most of the time, I join a website to download the cool stuff I need, and then run like a panicked maniac. Yet, somehow, the illustrious charm of RRU shined through. The awesome members, the active modding community (in the Renaissance period of LegoRR modding), the chance to get one of the useless things I say quoted...I didn't know Heaven could be coded in HTML.

I don't think I have enough time, coke or words to describe the vast history that's happened, or the magnitude of the effects RRU has had on me. Frankly, the way I see it, if I hadn't of click that link in 2010, life would be a right PoS.

I'm not exactly sure what to do to say thank you. If I'm honestly, I've been pretty lazy about preparing for this entire thing. Lazy being one of my main attributes, as I'm sure every member who ever heard of 7EPS knows about.

I guess I might as well do two things.

The first is "The Package". It's kind of a nice collection of RRU tributes. All the images I've collected from our Skype chats, alongside all of the RRU-related audio, and some other stuff I located. It's not really the super amazing present I'm sure some of you would be interested in, but hey, at least it's not a screenshot of a poorly constructed LDD model...

I've also dumped in a few images from my travels in Australia. Again, nothing fantastic, but hopefully you'll get a bit of a chuckle from something.


Secondly...I guess a few kind words are in order for some of the older members. No disrespect intended to the newer members (even those who I regularly have a go at), but it's hard for me to say much when our entire conversations were "DO NOT BUMP THIS 50 YEAR OLD THREAD HOW COULD YOU THREAD BUMPING KILLS KITTENS DO YOU LOVE KITTENS YOU ARE A KITTEN MURDERER HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!?!?!1111?"

Without further ado, and in the order of greatest hair;

  • Sideburnsy. Let's get the record straight. If your glorious chops were any larger, I could probably climb them like Jack and the Beanstalk. Seriously though, I don't know if any other single member has really inspired me as much as you have. You're like Einstein without the accent. Whether or not Time Raiders will ever reach the door is irrelevant. You're an incredible dude, so keep at it. Thanks for not sending this account to the deepest pits of hell!
  • Addict. I don't know if you're reading this, but with the insane programming quirks you've developed, I'm pretty sure you've built some kind of surveillance system capable of detecting terribly constructed praise. I don't doubt for a second you've got a legendary status ahead of you. You have a dream, a passion, skills with programming languages I can't even imagine in dreams of having, and the rampant insanity to knock the other freeloaders in line. Whatever happens with your projects, I look forward to seeing what you create. It's going to be crazy.
  • Antilles. If anybody can put up with me delaying watching their favourite show for a good long while, that deserves a badge of honour. More importantly, somebody who can bring a smile to a really pissed of Australian probably deserves a cold, frosty beer on the house. I swear, if you keep up the logical and sound reasoning you always have, I'm probably going to start imagining you as my conscious. Then again, considering you are the smart one, that's probably not a bad thing. As with the above two, you've got a huge amount of talent. You know what to do. Finish the fight.
  • McStudz. Where would I be without the Can-I-be-LZ-adian warrior? That said, I think we all know you're the one who's doing his best to try and get the News Team to be doing their job...reporting stories about Twitch Plays Pokemon. But, who am I kidding? A cheery attitude, a positive thinker, apparently a very talented musician and a good friend. These forums wouldn't be the same without our resident Maple Syrup Aficionado. I can't really say just how big you're going to be, mainly since I haven't seen your dongle. But, seriously, you've got a f****ing future ahead of you. Just be ready for whatever comes your way. Now, let's just promise not to slice each others necks next time a forum war lashes out, right?
  • Alcom the Acorn Baker. I'm not sure what's more hilarious, your constant deadpan snarkiness or the image of your pants-on-head-wearing-Minifigure roasting over a chestnut fire. Of course, I'm kidding. You remind me of one of the Master Builders. I can't say which one, since you seem to be better than all of them combined. Normally I get jealous of skilled LEGO builders easy, but with you I think I might just be a fan. You've got an incredible talent, and I know you're also trying your damned hardest to be an awesome Game Designer/Programmer/someone in computers in case my memory is mistaking you for another LEGO nut. I can tell you, you're going to achieve everything you want to achieve. Just don't ever let go of that snark; it's sometimes the only thing that cheers me up on a s***ty day.
  • Drill Master. I'm not really sure one can master drilling, but you've proven you can master just about everything else. So long as that doesn't include driving, choosing between lyrics and not lyrics, and figuring out if I know what a pound key is. If I were a Forerunner, I'd sure as hell be praising you right now. I know things might not be looking so grand, but with a little bit of optimism, you'll reach far. Just remember to keep creating. It doesn't matter what, just so long as it's awesome, which I know you can do. And please, if you get the Forward Until Dawn set, don't brag about it. I will actually hunt you down and kill you. Maybe.
  • (Cell) Shading. Once upon a time far, far ago, two mortal enemies duked it out constantly in the Shoutbox. Who could ever imagine them becoming good friends? I surely can't, WHO THE f**** SAYS HALO IS SH...I mean, coming all the way from my first RRU enemy to my trusted sauce of what's good or not in Sony/gaming in general, I don't think I could be happier with the result. You got an amazing charm, and we share pretty similar opinions about the leagues of stupidity on the Internet...aka, Tumblr. Don't ever let the assholes get to you. You're a damn inspiration, and I have many thanks to give you for the f****ing incredible 4 years. Let's go raid Micro$hit sometime.
  • Pascal. I think we both know exactly what's up. Loud beats, enough weed to cover a forest floor and a bunch of girls who need a right slapping. There's really not much I can say to you without coming off as a kind of insane, obsessed lunatic. I'll spare you the details and keep it short and sweet; you've got the passion and the talent to make crazy and awesome games. I'm pretty sure you've also been hiding from me some DJ talent. Don't ever give up. You're going to run The Pascalands soon enough.
  • Tauka. I still remember the early days, and you decided to charge head-first into the fray. So long ago. We've spoken so little since, which is a real shame, since you're a f****ing nice guy. I'm pretty sure you've done some awesome drawing work, so keep it up. You've got a great talent.
  • Kir(k)by. If I knew programmers could come with the fantastic British wit and accent that you do, I probably would have signed up ages ago. I'm not really sure why we got lucky enough to draw you into this muddled mess of insanity and sloppy hardcode, but frankly, I'm pretty glad you're in with the rest of us. You're an awesome, level headed coded with industry experience and somebody who I respect far more than the things they work on. You've got a crazy awesome future ahead of you, so long as you don't get nailed by Nintendo QA first. I'm excited to see where you're going to go from here.
  • Xiron, Le717, Fush, pranciblad, jimbob, prototyke, gryhpon. Unfortunately, I can't really say we've had enough interacts for me to give you a personalised message that makes no sense, and I know a fair few of us have had..."creative" differences in the past, but needless to say, you've all grown on me in some way. And thankfully, I don't mean like genital warts. You're all pillars of the community, as far as I'm concerned. Don't ever stop being as awesome as you have, especially in the face of assholes like me. You keep this community together. And insult the living s*** out of Tumblr, which I like.
  • Doc. Hi.
  • Joe. If you're reading this, GET BACK TO WORK. WE HAVE AN ISLAND TO CONQUER.

There's people I've probably missed, and members who will likely never return again, so to anyone who is missing a message, just imagine a generic thank you being shouted by an army of killer robots shooting fireworks. That'll be exciting enough.

Now, there's two members I did miss. Not to pick out favourites or go insane fanboy or anything, but for whatever reason, my brain's decided these guys deserve a few more crappy jokes than the rest.

  • Jamesster. Jimmy Jams. Customer Sir Mounted. I'm not sure if you're actually a LEGO manager who happens to be so disillusioned by the new LEGO games but can't get access to the old products and their code, and so goes undercover as just a regularly-incredible fan in some kind of weird bid to try and save LEGO Media from itself. If someone were to tell me years ago I'd be even able to talk to the Lord of LEGO Fans, I would have punched them in the face to make them sure they're probably dreaming. I still remember seeing your obsession with everything LEGO start to spread through the forums, and going, "I'll never get respect from that guy. How the hell is he even on RRU? We're just some pokey old game website..." I'm pretty sure you're probably waiting for the day you can finish me off, steal my game design books and run into GDC screaming "I am now the Confucius of Game Design! Fear me and my bricky ways!" Nonetheless, you've been one of the most interesting people to talk to, and to watch you develop your game ideas has been nothing short of inspiring. I don't want to start any wars or say anybody is better than anybody else, but as far as you are concerned, I can already see this brilliant designer with the awesome ideas right in front of him. Just keep calm, get the spicy pizzaz, and do what you were born to do. Make me look like one of those LU fangame kiddes.
  • Cyrem. Lord Mercy. Darth Vader. Every name under the sun. Being a part of this...*vibrant* community probably wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have another fellow Australian to share some sweet tunes with. I don't even know what words can describe what you've done for me. It's not just music, it's not just member ranks, and it's not just the things we've discussed. This whole experience has been more-or-less your doing. In a way, you're like a crazy being in the sky. You've created this little world inside the middle of world's greatest battlefield, and even with all the nukes we've dropped on ourselves, you managed to keep this ship (or building) running as long as possible. There's no denying Cirevam's incredible ability to be an awesome admin, and you've moved on to some FANTASTIC things which I look forward to seeing more of in the future, but nonetheless. I think legend would be quite insulting to you. You're way above that. Thank you for everything, sir.

I remember sometime ago being called a "Kangaroo-loving Douche-bag". Well, I can tell you that now I'm a kangaroo-loving douche-bag...with purple hair.

Keep up the awesome times, RRU. Let's hope for another awesome 5 years.


This is a entry in my "Quick-Write" series. Basically, just some minor thoughts quickly thrown into a blog entry as a kind of progress update on how I'm doing.

Anyone familiar to Creative Theory on RRU or the Skype chats would know that Jamesster's been doing a lot of LoZ stuff recently. He found that brilliant essay, and recently he's been playing the first game for numerous reasons. As I'm sure anybody from RRU knows, once one popular member does something, it quickly becomes infectious and everyone does the same thing, and I got swept into finally playing LoZ for the first time.

Originally I was saving it for some kind of video series called "McJobless does X for the first time", but I doubt that'll ever come into fruition, so I decided that, with my newly founded game observation tools, I'd crack open LoZ and see what kind of good old school gaming is.

Why wasn't I born in the 70s?

I grew up as a Playstation fanatic, in an era where 3D was finally mass-market, and it looked like 2D games would fade out. Thankfully due to indie developers and mobile gaming, that hasn't occurred, but a much younger, s***tier me would of wished it had. The reason, you ask? A much younger me didn't know about mechanics. Didn't understand what made the game a game. Didn't get that, behind the façade of polygons and music, there's a beating heart which many, MANY 3D games simply lack in their desperate attempt to try cash-in on gamers looking for "next-gen graphics" and what else lies in the "concept" of a game.

The Legend of Zelda came from a simpler time. Maybe not literally, considering how difficult it still was at the time to make individual bits move on the screen, but overall lacking the high complexities of today's insane market. It was a time when games weren't produced to be interactive movie, but instead to actually bring you into that adventure, and make you feel like the hero. Gamers of that day and era could look past the relatively simple graphics, and see a whole world for them to conquer and save.

I'm going to stop with the sugar-coating at this point, and get to the real meat of this discussion. My experience in the first 30 minutes of gameplay. And, because this is a quick-write, and not a full entry, I'm going to do it dot-point style, which makes it a little easier on all of us.

  • The game's opening midi sequence was epic, despite its subtle midi soundtrack. The story and objective were clear from the start, and you even got a great look at all the tools and items to find on your quest.
  • Beginning the game, there was no cutscenes to faff about with, no boundaries, no forced tutorials. You were given a world to explore. If you didn't pay attention to the opening, that's your fault. That made the world immediately feel free.
  • Loading each new area (which I shall now call "Rooms", based on how LucasArts used to name their sections of point-and-click adventure games) was a very simple, beautiful scroll from the previous room to the next. There was no giant loading screen, and no need for complex dynamic loading systems. It was all very simplistic and yet fancy.
  • The game was clever enough to record which enemies you killed, and which you didn't, meaning when you exit and return to a room, it doesn't respawn enemies you've already dealt with. This made the world feel real. I wasn't fighting against an infinite amount of AI controlled by game designer scripts; each enemy was planned, and while their spawn location was randomised, I felt like I was having an effect on the world.
  • When you start the game, you had to retrieve the sword from a cave. This was clever, because, without railroading the player, it gave them a subtle lesson that caves contain secrets and important quest-related-items/knowledge. Furthermore, although things may change in the road ahead (according to Jamesster), I never found myself confuse on any of the items in my possession. It sometimes took a little time to finally realise a concept, but then I felt clever for working it out. I wasn't having a billion information popups shoved in my face, telling me about an obvious concept.
  • The sword has a special ability; you throw it when you have full health. This was very clever, and really made me have to think carefully about positioning, since I never wanted to lose that special ability. When I did lose health, I had to think even more carefully about how I would retrieve the health to gain that special ability; either go into melee combat to get a heart/fairy and risk enemies charging me down, or try and find one of the hidden fairy ponds.
  • On that, after gaining another heart (increasing maximum health), when you die and spawn again or use a fairy on low health, you only start with 3 hearts. This didn't feel like punishment, but rather extra challenge; now, if I wanted to use my special sword ability, I would have to work harder to obtain it. This meant that the game was giving me a trade-off; by gaining "experience", it would be harder for me to obtain and use my abilities.
  • When you die, the game doesn't reset you to a checkpoint like you're some baby having a tantrum. It allows you to keep everything you earned, but places you back at the start of the overworld/dungeon. This is okay, because I never felt frustrated or angry. I always felt as though, if I did slightly better, I would completely own this entire level. This death punishes you by removing your progress (as far as enemies are concerned), but that punishment really isn't too harsh in the long run.
  • After you acquire them, arrows are infinite in supply. However, you must pay one rupee for every arrow you use. Suddenly, there was a new challenge; arrows are extremely powerful and kill those b****** water things instantly, but they cost the money I need to upgrade Link. This trade-off made me very careful about how I used my extra tools.
  • Dungeons really changed up gameplay, with their slightly different layout, and the fact that, unlike the overworld (which required you to make your own map if you want to memorise where everything is), looking carefully through each dungeon will find you the map, compass and/or hint. Suddenly, I felt more compelled to explore these areas and find everything I could, especially after the first dungeon gave me the bow, heart upgrade, boomerang, more bombs AND a piece of the Triforce.
  • Bombs were interesting, because the game made me compelled to use them. You could find secret entrances blowing walls up with them, and they were pretty devastating against groups of enemies, which is most of the areas in LoZ. Of course, they were limited, so effectively using them was a careful decision process I had to make.
  • The music never got tiring or boring. It's a theme I could carry to my grave. It made me feel like a hero.

I'm sure there's a lot more I'm missing that I haven't written about. For now, I don't want to cover experience loops, skill trees or any of that until I've finished the entire game.

Anyways, thank you based Jamesster for getting me into this. At the same time, curse you, because I doubt I'll be able to put it down.


Apparently I Need to Fire Myself

Ohboy. It's Spam Message of the Day time. I removed the link at the end, since I sure as hell don't trust it.

MESSAGE TITLE: Why you should fire your boss

Hey there,

Ezekiel here again.

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I don’t know why people even put up with having their future and their family’s future determined by someone ELSE.

There are FAR too many hard-working folks who spend years working for bosses who don’t appreciate them. And or what… just to earn low pay that barely covers their bills?

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You can spend more time with your kids, play golf every day, and really enjoy your life. No more alarm clock, no more bosses, no more stress about being fired.

Does this sound like something you’d like to do?

Well, if so, you need to make sure you keep an eye out for my next email because the webinar page will be live, so you can sign up.

Remember, on 9th, 10th & 11th April 2014, I’m putting all the secrets I’ve learned over the years into a 3-day live webinar.

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Renowned Forex Fund Manager & Coach

[link removed]

P.S. I want to empower YOU to follow in my footsteps to fast retirement and better life… so get access to the “Holy Grail†of making money in the Forex market!

The next email you get from me will let you take that next step to financial security… so keep an eye out for it!

I've always wanted to go golfing with the kids. Preferably using them as the balls.

Thanks Mr Chew!


Can We Talk About How Terrible Java Is?

It's a useless pile of s***.

The f****ing thing won't work correctly on my sister's machine, and barely runs correctly on mine. The main problem on my sister's machine is that it keeps deleting the core .exe files. Java.exe, javaw.exe and a few others are constantly deleted anytime you try to run a Java app after installation. Putting copies of these files in the folder doesn't help, since it deletes them too. Completely cleaning my computer of everything Java related; every folder, registry entry, plugin, and looking for any trace of Oracle's bulls*** doesn't help, since on reinstall it does the EXACT. SAME. THING.

It even does it for older installations. This is glorious. It's a monument to stupidity. However, the really piece of cake is this.


From Java's support section. $25.

I'm done. I'm not formatting the computer just to get Minecraft working for my sister. Thanks, Oracle.


Life is an interesting beast.

"And remember, the universe has a wonderful sense of humor. The trick is learning how to take a joke."

~ Orvus, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time

Life is one of those insane things that happens.

It's like, there for years, and then it's taken away. It's pretty crazy. And the older I get, the more I look on it and think about what life really, truly is. See, I think people have been asking the wrong questions for years. There's no one singular purpose to life, because everybody is individual. We can't all achieve the same end goal. We all have different directions to take, and different things to achieve.

I kind of despise people who live an existence of knowing and not caring. I live in a society where effort is disregarded, and everybody lives in their own little sheltered world filled with routine and sport. For these people, to be "normal" is considered optimal, and to be normal one must live in the work, sleep, eat routine and never break from the conventions that are strangling society. It sucks, because we have such a rich collection of cultures, and yet everything is being smothered under the "Please be like the Leader" attitude.

For those who don't know, I attend a college in Sydney, where I do Games Design. This is an art college, and as such, the variety of people and mindsets is quite high, but more important, people are "themselves". Being "weird" is embraced, and nobody is shunned or humiliated for doing what they please. It's a great little environment hidden within the otherwise depressing natures of the rest of Sydney.

I'm quite a weird person. This is a known quality about me. The reason is that, in my own words, "I don't give a s***." I do what I please, where I please. I'm okay with walking around in public with my Lombax hat and fingerless gloves. I'm okay with being loud and having fun. I'm okay with all of the weird things I do and say, because for me, life is too short, and structure is such a foreign concept to me.

See, what I don't understand about life? Why is the economy structured as it is? Why do we have Governments? Why do the laws work? How come we have these work and school routines? It just seems to me like a very fragile timeline that could collapse at any minute. How did these start? Why are they still in effect, when clearly they're not working as well as they should?

I've decided on my purpose in life. I want to make people happy, and help where I can. To that effect, I've already started. When I walk around the shopping mall, and I see people smiling and laughing and asking me for autographs, I know my job is done. I don't care if people are laughing at me or with me, because I know I look, sound, act and am an garish rapscallion. I just want people to break from the monotony of life. Even if it's only for a few seconds. It's just nice to know that, for some people, this is going to be some that changes them. If I'm so lucky.

So, knowing all that, here's my mission to you guys, dare you accept it.

Stop caring what people think. Just do as you please, and think about what you do, and why you do it. Go out of your way to help people. Go try make people laugh. Play loud music and get people to dance alongside you. I don't care. Just don't become one of those people who are so inherently focused on their routine, that they never see the proverbial walls and try to climb over them.

There's a whole world out there to explore. Go for it.


The End of an Era

It feels. Empty.

The closing of the old Quotes topic, is rather fitting, given another thing that happened today. Had the Quotes topic not closed, I probably wouldn't even have posted this update, due to the CoS that arrived to wreck havoc on the forums. But, in the weird way that the world works, it's best to talk about it.

For those that don't know, today I gave away my Xbox. Not going to say where or to who, because that's irrelevant. The point is that, as fast as things happened, internally it's weirdly been a slow process of adjustment. I think we all remember that time when we had to give up our fondest childhood toy in the process of maturity (I still loved my original PS1, too...).

I think the big thing about giving up this Xbox was all the memories. Life for me, as of recent, has been getting much better. I've become more social, met more people, getting money, learning new skills and generally living much happier than previously. And, I think it's a little weird, but, there seems to be this connection between my switch from console to PC gaming. I'm not here to argue which is better, but rather to say that, I think I used my Xbox a lot more than my PC for gaming, and that might be the reason I have so many fond memories with it.

I remember staring at the Xbox memory screen for twenty minutes before purging it all. Looking at everything that had been done, and would be forgotten. There's so many games I now refuse to play because all my saves have been lost, such as Trainz Simulator, where I lost this amazing world I made over the course of 3 months. It's hard to think that I might never re-experience the games I played that took me through High School, just because I lost the physical memories.

Before Xbox, I had a PS1. That was it. I played some games like Ape Escape, Gran Turismo (demo), Rugrats: Search for Reptar and a few others, but generally I had very little variety. I believe I also got my first computer; an old beige IBM running Windows 98SE, for which I'd play Matchbox: Emergency Patrol and a few other low quality titles. For me, that's a nostalgic time, though. I didn't get the most amazing and brand new stuff out there. I made do with what I had, and I had fun. I think it was because I played such obscure titles that I might be as weird as I am today.

The first time I saw an Xbox...its tough to place times. I think it was some time after I got my PS2, which is my favourite console of all time (we'll talk about it in some other blog entry). My cousin was now a permanent resident in Australia, and his family finally had a home and unpacked. I remember going over there, and just like we had played Ratchet & Clank: Deadlocked at my house, we played Timespliters 2 at his. The Xbox controllers weren't too bad, if a little bulky, and the game was super fun. I remember staying over at his house once, and getting up early just so I could screw around with the map editor.

What really caught my attention, though, was when we played Halo 2 for the first time. I was amazed. I was astounded. We first played Blood Gulch (called Coagulation in H2). The Warthog was my instant love. We played Juggernaut on Containment, and we made a big in-joke about how I would scream "THE JUGGERNAUT IS COMING" in a cowardly voice (a la "GAME OVER MAN!") whenever I thought the Juggernaut was close to the base I kept stalking (for the tank/warthog). We played on Headlong, and I remember forming the Warthog Protection Society, while my brother became a legendary sniper. Those were the days.

Sometime in the future, 2007 came, and my cousin got his Xbox 360 and Halo 3. Holy. I was beautiful. The graphics? The new weapons? The custom gametypes? The player customisation? Up until that point, I had never experienced ANY of that. My Windows XP machine was still too poor to handle the majority of games, and my PS2 hadn't got any new games since LEGO Star Wars II: The Complete Saga. To experience all that for the first time, it was amazing. I remember Sandtrap and just how incredibly expansive it was (and fiddling with the Elephant), before deciding to become a commentator who annoyed other players on the battlefield by asking them questions (because I was losing the game and I decided it would be more fun to act as an obstruction than a target). Hell, just like I had Halo 2, I even got to try some of the campaign out, and while I paid no attention the story, I could tell there was something good go on there.

I can't remember the exact year I got my own Xbox 360. I just remember getting that awesome wireless black controller and Halo 3 Limited Edition (with the steel tin), and being the happiest I've ever been. It was true bliss. Right away I loaded up Halo 3 and put on Sandtrap, and I just lost myself in the game before looking at my Halo 3 Official Strategy Guide, and finally learning what "Equipment" was and how to use it.

This is where there was an explosion of events. Things are a little hazy from here, but I remember the important things.

Sometime down the track, I started to watch the Behind the Scenes videos, and I fell in love with Bungie and their team. That may very well have been the start of my dream to be a game designer (outside of Halo Gilroy which lead to me getting Halo: Custom Edition and starting to make maps). I finished the campaign of Halo 3, slightly confused, and went back to playing Halo: CE and Halo 2 to finally understand the story. I got my Xbox wired up to the net, and for a good deal of time I became one of those annoying kids on XBL. I met some awesome people on XBL, and we made some cool maps, and I also was able to get some cool maps and gametypes in return. My brother and I exploited the Halo 3 campaign, multiple times. I also pissed off my brother because my failure to understand that achievements and armour only unlock for individual accounts lead to me getting a Stepping Razor...for myself. Things went on from there. To keep it brief, I made friends, and I experience things which would change my life. I'm a big believer in the butterfly effect, and the Xbox may very well have been that tiny butterfly which changed everything.

Staring at my Xbox last night, I thought about it all. And I knew that, if that's what the 360 did to my life, the kids who will have it now might too just be able to experience things they never thought possible. And that's what made my decision to wipe that Xbox clean a lot easier.

In one instant, everything was gone. That Xbox didn't recognise me anymore.

Right now, things are changing. I'm becoming more social, financially stable, powerful and happier. And I'd like to think that everything in my life went right because gaming helped me. And I know that, as much as I love my laptop and my old PC and the PS2, the Xbox (and Halo) really did jumpstart everything that's happened so far.

I'm going to miss you, big guy.


Wot I Fink: Video Gaming

Original post with comments that clarify some of what I've said:

I don't like the gaming industry as it is. Everything sucks. AAA is less about trying to take chances on making something incredible and more about pleasing the lowest common denominator, of which many screech from the tops of mountains, belittling those who actually have a valid opinion. Publishers no longer are PUBLISHERS but instead feel as though they are the ultimate gods of gaming, purchasing out the licenses to the best gaming franchises and milking them for all their worth. DLC practices are getting worse and worse, and the push to have more "free" (Read: Missing content designed to fool the non-informed consumer) online games. Hell, the industry is pushing more and more towards complete digital, online services, believing everyone in the world to already live in the future under the benevolent rule of Skynet.

The Indie market too is not doing so well, and it's oversaturated by mediocre titles by developers who don't have a passion for gaming but simply want to make a quick buck. The last console not to be produced by one of the three "mighty" titans was absolutely bollocks and showed that its creators were just as evil as the people making the other consoles. Games as good as Minecraft (in terms of what it did for indie gaming) are few and far between, and typically spawn a bazillion clones because these clone-developers believe that "if ain't broke, don't fix it" actually was supposed to be "if it ain't broke, remake the entire thing in Unity but miss everything that made the original good because we're unoriginal and we don't understand the golden era of video games."

Let's Plays by Pewdiepie apparently somehow are able to warrant millions of spoiled brats supremacy of YouTube, and Kotaku can write whatever random garbage spews from their mind and there will always be people who won't bat an eyelash. Some developers are leaving the industry because they receive enough hate over tiny decisions to match the Sun, whereas other developers are complete degenerates and it takes only a tiny realisation that nobody is laughing with them for a s***storm to start. People review games by comparing them, not based on the games own merits, and people believe that all manner of "technical issues" (LEIK GUIZE ITZ LOCK'D 2 30FPS DIS R s***E) should detract from the game's overall score, when it's clear they're the only one with their problems.

Console and PC wars continuing to rage on, and yet no developer wants to properly merge the gap out of fear they might actually convince gamers its okay to choose what works best for them. Ubisoft f****s PC games daily, Bethesda (generally) gives console players the cold shoulder, and Microsoft loves to screw with everybody equally. People still have it in their minds that console-exclusives are a good thing, and there are still "hardcore" gamers convinced that because a game has no more than the occasional button-click here and there, it shouldn't classify as a game. Meanwhile, "casual" gamers spend money on buying new items for Farmville or Angry Birds, items that take no more than 5 minutes to make and rake in hundreds of thousands of kilos worth of cocaine every day, giving the big publishers the incentive that suddenly all gamers are like that, so they can begin to push DLC right down the unwilling gaming public's throat.

I'm not done with gaming, but I'm pissed off that we've come to this. Only a few years ago, we were still in the warm and fuzzy period of gaming where things weren't as bad. YES. Some of these problems have been a constant. But they were nowhere near as drastic as they are now. This industry used to be about put players into places they've never been before, to experience things they've never felt before. The people who worked in it did so with passion for what they did, not so they could make it rich. Publishers weren't obsessed with licenses or DLC, they just wanted to rake in some profit off the side for distributing the games, as they rightfully should. Back then, you could look inside a game store and find a huge library of amazing games, not just a few awesome titles scattered through a lot of waste. Mario changed the industry forever. We need a new Mario (NOT A SEQUEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS, NINTENDO).

Hate me if you will, but that's my perspective. Your move, gaming industry.


Wot I Fink: Stories in Gaming

One of the biggest problems I come across in gaming is story. It's a tricky element to get right, and people are both going to want it or going to hate it. The biggest problem is that if you go for a story, you either have to keep it basic as a way to establish why the player is in the game in first place (I call this the "Call to Suspension" trick), or it becomes a core part of the game (I'd call this an "Experience", as you would have noted in a previous Wot I Fink).

There's going to be a little less opinion on what method is better this time, because as I explain later, they both have their own appropriate applications. Really, this is more to give people a general idea of how they should approach the type of story they need to write. I certainly want to go more indepth on what makes a good story, and common rookie errors and things that could improve any story.

NOTE: There are games with NO story at all. I still believe they're under Call to Suspension; they just presume you'll create your own story from the very get-go by giving you the tools you need to build a story.

Type 1: Call to Suspension

Suspension of Disbelief. Whenever you watch a movie, read a book or play a game, that's what the author wants to happen. Hell, even your dreams are based around this principle. You know the idea of the "lucid dream", where you realise you're dreaming and can go crazy? Have you ever "woken up" while playing a game seriously, and suddenly tried to mess around with the engine in crazy ways? Same ideas are at work here.

I call this the "Call to Suspension" because the principle of the story writing method is not trying to throw a player into this deep and riveting plotline in which they must follow carefully to make any sense of. The idea here is that the player is that you simply need to give a purpose to the player's actions. You're calling them, telling them that this is what you're going to be doing, and then if they like the premise they'll suspend disbelief and get lost in your world.

This is what most games do. Think Mario. Simple premise: As a mushroom-addicted plumber, save the princess from the lunatic steroid-addicted turtle. It gives you a reason to play, but after that, there's no specific plot line, no story to follow aside from going further through the acid trip and eventually getting a kiss from Princess..."Peach". That's peachy, but what about something else? Let's try something like an MMO; EVE Online. You're a spaceship. In space. Drilling rocks. Watch out for anything else that moves. Especially if they look like this.


The point of this method is that gameplay is your focus. Typically, this is where most indie developers start (See: Minecraft). The point is that you're playing a game for fun. You shouldn't need a big over-arching story to drown in. You just need to have a reason for being their, and a good set of mechanics which don't get boring fast.

Now, there are some games which are an advancement on that. EVE Online doesn't have quests. What about (my interpretation of) LEGO Universe? There's a story (something about creepy evil skeletons with a fetish for the colour purple and a bunch of barbarians with dashing good blonde hair), and then you can get quests in the game. It's the exact same principle. The overarching story (fetish skeletons v. poncy barbarians) doesn't connect with the side-quests, and in fact there's no real "way" to complete it; it's just giving you purpose to be there. And the side-quests are giving you extra stuff to do in the world, but they don't have elaborate setups where the entire family of a drug lord is now being hunted down by Jedi Jesus, who himself is on a redemption mission after setting alight a school of children clothes with nothing but tattered rags collected from a crashed get my point.

Type 2: Experience

Experience needs to be well written. Story is the core of your game. Everything needs to be fleshed out, and well. Even if the players can never find out the true story of every character and object, you must have giant scripts written of every motivation, every action, every line spoken, and hell, every time a character goes for a smoke.

The experience is just that; your gameplay is probably solid, but you're beyond gameplay. You want to tell a story using game technology as your communication device. You therefore need to think like a game designer, but craft like a sculpture artist and write like a poet while thinking like a movie director. If that didn't turn you to alcohol, then you're on your way to becoming a good story teller in gaming.

I will come back in another Wot I Fink and explain more about what makes a great gaming story. There's a lot of little intricate things that make a story work, the important one being tension. Nonetheless, what I want to say here is that this type of story in gaming requires significant more effort on the part of the Creative Director/Lead Designer/Script Writer etc. It's not something that can be tested by loading up a map on a debug version and going through a checklist. It requires hours and hours of a variety of people to run through the game, giving their thoughts on if the story is interesting or not. If the story fails, gameplay WON'T save you, unlike the other type of story writing. Even if you have the most amazing mechanics in the world, they're supposed to be the support element to the world you want to put the player in. You will be lambasted if you epic tale of the ant who couldn't walk straight fails.

The most important thing to remember about this type of story, is that the player needs to be involved, and they should have no questions about their actions, unless that's your intention. If you've ever played an RPG like Mass Effect or KotORII, you should know this well enough. Every action the player can take is given proper context, and the player has choice. Furthermore, there's plenty of foreshadowing of future events to show the developers know where they want to go with the story, and it gives players proper tension and allows them to feel like the world isn't just a static "do this because EXP". There's things going on and the player is a part of it. Of course, you don't need branching storylines, player choices or even morality systems. It's up to you how far the player interacts (compare Heavy Rain, The Walking Dead [Telltale Games], Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Fallout 3). The important question is how the story works around the player.


I don't want to come off and say which method is better in this Wot I Fink. I think that's a little obvious, but more importantly, it's not true, because they work for entirely different games and do entirely different things, so therefore neither is better than the other. The important point to focus on is the understanding of your medium. You need to have an advanced understand of how ideas are communicated through games, and need to consider what the most effective way to get through to your audience is. Game theory is more complex than you might appreciate at first, but by learning it, either through college, through self-teaching with books or by studying popular games, or even by talking to successful designers, you'll be able to gain the understand you need to start creating the exact type of story you need for your game. You wouldn't go back in time and kill Edison to turn off your light switch, just as you wouldn't create a giant plot for a game like Peggle.

And that's Wot I Fink.


Wot I Fink: Copying

*sigh* Peer pressure.


I'm going to be honest. A certain part of me has been both laughing and cringing at the recent influx of members who have taken to the blogs to express their feelings after certain events transpired (and a lot of me didn't want to acknowledge it with a Wot I Fink). However, it has been interesting to see everybody's thoughts laid out before I get to writing a Wot I Fink on the subject, and because of that, it's given me a lot more things to consider and talk about. So, put your flaming torches down for just a second, because I've got a fair bit to get off my chest.

First, let's start with something I want to nitpick on. There seems to be a common belief here that "copying" and "plagiarism" are interchangeable terms. They are, for all intents and purposes, pretty close, but whereas "copying" is just replicating something someone else created, "plagiarism" is completely stealing it and passing it off as your own without acknowledging the original source. The difference is in the acknowledgement (or at least the referencing) of the source material.

I'm not going to name names or cite examples, but I think that explanation makes it pretty clear that these blogs are all regarding the latter term. Plagiarism is, in most civilised states of the world, a very serious offence. Supposedly in Los Angeles, plagiarism in school is enough to put you on a public register and have you expelled, so that all the schools know you've essentially been cheating, and they too will refuse you entry. It's considered a very serious crime by most people, and for a good reason.


The thing with copying is that, while you are essentially recreating something someone else has done, you still admit that it's not your idea and then, in most cases, you will add something new to the copy or tweak it in some way to give it a new purpose or breath new life into it. That's essentially what fan-fictions, music remixes and video game mods are, and so long as the author has no reservations about how their work is used (I'm not going to completely explain IP laws and patents right now), everyone remains happy. Even the use of Deconstruction qualifies as a good copy, as long as the deconstruction is done well and isn't played straight for the sake of being played straight (and therefore just becoming a copy).

With plagiarism, you're completely doctoring the thoughts and words of somebody else, without indicating that you didn't create the work (or the idea for the work) in the first place. When somebody creates something or writes something, it becomes their intellectual property (unless you're in a job where your contract specifies the disclosing party owns your work). They own it. Simply making any piece of intellectual property look like you created it (by rearranging words, rewriting in your own words or throwing in bogus content) should be considered an immoral action, and one that should be treated as such.

Why? Because it undermines the very core of our political and economical structures (unless your communist, where you can ignore this entire blog since the Government owns everything you make automatically), and more importantly, it ruins the way that we as humans grow and learn. If we could simply cheat our way through life and gain nothing from experience, we would not be as advanced as we are today. Charlemagne didn't say he created all the books he used to rebuild civilisation. If he had, he would have become an emperor, and having a barbarian as an emperor could have only led to some dire circumstances. Furthermore, what about the creators of the intellectual property? If you sell the work as your own, they don't get paid. If you claim you did it, who are the people going to believe, and if it's not them, how will they be able to build their reputation up?

I don't think stealing intellectual property is on the same level as murder or arson, but it's definitely a crime that deserves punishment more than just a simple warning. As a creator of a lot of new intellectual property, I know the sting when somebody steals your work, and it truly is the one thing that sends me into a rage unseen by the members of this site (and most people in real life). The worst part is when the plagiarist themselves don't (or simply refuse to) understand the implications it has on not just the original creator, but on everybody in society. In many circumstances, the plagiarist can't even accept the fact it is hurting the original creator, even if they know and interact with that creator in their day-to-day life.

Using other peoples ideas to strengthen yours can be okay. That's how we got Star Wars, BioShock and even the Printing Press, which is a big reason for you and me being right here and right now. The thing is, they used basic concepts, and went in a different direction from the source material. They looked at the underlying reasons for why and how the idea worked and what implications (positive and negative) they could find buried in the implementation of the idea. Most importantly, though, if you looked at any of these works, you would notice that they don't shy away from what they reference. Most people know about "Ayn Rand" being rearranged to form "Andrew Ryan". Star Wars is pretty good as an allegory for WW2 and the Vietnam war. The printing press looked pretty much exactly the same as the wine presses it was based off. The difference here is that they were going in a different direction to the original work, and/or they were even attempting to comment on the original work. They acknowledged their original sources, albeit in creative ways.

When you plagiarise someone's work, the deepest meaning behind it is that either "you're lazy" or "you're a scumbag". It's a despicable practice and everyone is better than that. You might find that, if you spend effort slowly crafting your work, it may turn out much better than anything ever created before. And even if it doesn't, you'll gain more from the experience than just copying what somebody else did. Therefore, turn off the internet. Stop yourself from reading your friend's answers. Think carefully, and ask for help if needed. We all have a duty to bring something new to this world, and your failure to do so hurts everybody in the end.

And that's Wot I Fink.

P.S.: I think it's also morally unacceptable to straight copy somebodies work, even if you do acknowledge the originally source. That is, without a valid reason. For example, ORR is not in this category, because we want a version of LegoRR which we can modify beyond the normal game.

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