I'd like to talk about my latest experience in the indie gaming industry by providing ideas about accessibility. This time we talk Dimension Drive, a new quirky and original Shoot em up game from 2Awesome games
I'm so happy that a new watch_dogs will be released during 2017! It's the best open world game I played in years. I'm looking at this primarily from my visually impaired point of view ofcourse. I discussed at length why I preffer this game over GTA, which was a dissapointment to me in regards of accessability.
So what am I expecting from this new installment of watch dogs ? The same grounded and gritty main quest with a .. maybe less socially entrenched character, but especially I would like the side jobs to be more interresting, diverse and more interactive.
For example, in the sidequest department, the dev could combine gang hideouts, various crime scenes and intrusion missions into meaningful Randomly generated short story chain, with randomized hacking posibilities ? A set of objectives are chosen and different combinations of the already existing gameplay could maybe expand with new and interesting stuff that's still under the lid ?
Instead of having only crime scenes that insta finishes when you kill the enemy, maybe new events can be added as a reward, or punishment. Rather than a guy always trying to escape in an endless car drive (if you don't catch him).
It could be meaningful that if you don't catch him in a certain time, he'll call his friends, the game will basicly set up a new event and Aiden will become entangled in a situation where he now will ahve to solve a hostage situation, or a bomb has been placed in a crowded office (fully manned with office personel). Then the game becomes a race against the time to disarm the bomb ?
The criminal could maybe drive to a nearby hangout of his friends which will turn the escape into a gang cleanup ?
I remember these were my thoughts back when the first WD was release. I hoped that the dynamic NPC stories would evolve into meaningful gameplay. Instead of just text messages about domestic abuse, these could then escalate into gameplay where you have to track the house of the suspect and see if everything ok and rescue the wife (yes Anita take note, it's chivalry not to have sex with her)...
If WD gameplay could be opened up to situations where you have to stealth in office spaces, banks, disarm bombs, block elevators, cause really great chaotic moments when you're in a building full of people when you power down the city, it would make me feel more submerged in the story.
The breakthrough dlc missions where you have to first break into a house of a collector and then find all his loot throughout the city was interesting but I think it can be made more immersive, instead of just turning it into a cache run, Hook all mechanics of the game up to it's event structure, so every little sidequest becomes a dynamic story.
The City As A Weapon
This felt really nice. I loved just driving around opening/closing bridges, using red lights, pipes etc... It was great off-gameplay but also during missions. As I just gave a few examples on how gameplay could improve, I hope UBI will expand on this to also have escalators, elevators, train intersections, river dams, subways, maybe even a nuclear plant (in a story twist) ? The possibilities are endless.
Aiden Pearce 2.0
Quite a few people tend to not like him. I DO though, he's an every day guy with a gritty past and his voice and his reasoning for getting involved in this sounds about right, and he has the right characteristic for this game. I would like to describe the problem that Pearce has by an attempt to compare him with Max Payne.
What made Max Payne (and his vengance background) great, was that he had much more layers of captivating and emotional stories to tell. Aiden Pearce in comparison was really more one dimensional. But that's not because he as a person couldn't be likable. it's just that he's kinda disjointed ingame. You know his past and you know where he came from but they didn't manage to make him "emotionally aesthetic" enough. All throughout the game he's acting like he's really not emotionally connected with the situations he gets into, not even his sister can make him appear caring a rat's ass. No he'll just go after the bad guys and the waerabouts of his sister seems like this nightmare that he wants to get out of while solving one mission at a time. So in that regard, I understand people if they say Aiden Pearce is a bit "empty".
UBI, can make this character better if he's more like Max Payne. More engaged with himself, with the situation and also has more pleasing dialog that makes you feel like he is really worried about the characters he meets in game, you can feel the vengence and where it comes from. So I really want a watch dogs 2.0 with Aiden Pearse. Could Ubisoft do the nessecary brainsurgery to make him the protagonist which that can live up to his own name ? I really would like to think so.
In Dead space, Isaac Clarke went through a strange metamorphosis as well. He wasn't a talking character at all, but from DS2, he started interacting with people vocally. I understand that the nuance here, is that in DS1 you could make up your own mind about him and he would never be boring because in that game he's a silent avatar like Gordon Freeman, and the player fills in the blanks of his personality.
But if sequel can bring a change of character that goes from good to better, then I trust that Aiden Pearce can go from "bad" to "good" maybe ?
I've discussed in another post why I loved watch dogs and prefferred it over GTA5. I loved the character outlines, the on-road GPS and hacking UI because it gave me a sense of direction and I like games that distinguish between the space where the objectives take place and the world around me. So I still have the freedom to enter or leave where I want but I immediately knew where the objective was.
I hope that WD 2.0 will retain the same relevant ui highlighting and waypoint marking as the first one. For a visually impaired person this is very helpful, as opposed to the very meager display of dots and tiny markers without structural UI guidance like you have in GTA. It's an open world game so having enough visual cueues are essential for me to see where the action takes place. WD was very good in this regard.
What i'd like to see gameplay wise is that cars handle a bit better. It feels like you had a few upgrade possibilities in term of types of cars that you could unlock, but generally they would feel like either heavy or light soap boxes. It would be nice that we could tinker our favorite car further (not having it as game character upgrades but for the car itself).
Multiplayer wise I really hope we'll be able to do coop missions together and not be confined to just cleanups. it would be nice if there's a mode where you could do the entire world in coop and it will scale accordingly, giving you and your partner meaningful content to work towards. The mobile device integration was really a good thing but I honestly never played much with it. Because I'm a hardcore coop player and don't believe in gameplay that is "against" people. Never have so I can't give any meaningful info on this.
In regards to other hot topic gameplay restrictions like "not being able to shoot out of cars" or "penalty for killing people". This is what makes the watch dogs franchise great. it gives me the feeling that you're running in a real city where you have to pay attention and see people as people, and focus on your crime investigation. It's limiting yes but this limit has meaning. It prevents the world from becoming a trivialized location where you can just do stuff and render gameplay meaningless. This is often the problem I have with GTA and Saint's Row. The player is free to often regress into "escapism". But it makes the game boring for me. WD is interesting in this way in that it tries to sepparate these forms of gameplay from the "serious story" by putting em in VR gameplay bubbles. I hope this will still be the same outseet in WD 2.0
Last year I wrote a blog post about how hard it was for me to really get great into Dota 2. This year, I got acquainted with a new game called Heroes Of the Storm. This is now my new MOBA-home. The way that game shows you heroes, and the way the UI and ingame helper informatio nworks was crucial for me to get into it much deeper than I could get into Dota 2. And I'll tell you about that in this blog post.
ecently, Games became more and more realistic. a bit too realistic for me. In games like Dead space, this is fancy, because the gameplay and contrast and the way the monsters act is more forgiving for me. Evolve is also a nice example of how visual aids focuses you on teamwork. But at times developers want to make it a bit too realistic without enough visual aids for me to really enjoy it. GTA 5 is such a game. Let me tell you what the problem is for me, and why I don't think I'm gonna have any fun with this game.
A recent uproar about a violent videogame, and accusations back and forth of people calling others psychopaths and children murderers made me think about moral conflicts, intellectual honesty and ... Jack Thompson. How are we dealing with this game's release and our
impending doom way of discussing with it? I'm going all over the place in this article!
There's something music related going on right now and in the lights of the campaign against harassement of women and gamers being assholes stereotypes, there's another thing I need to get off my chest for a while now. It's here for everyone to see that I hate people being envious like in the story that I'm telling, and i would like to take the opportunity that as a musicians I distanciate myself awway from it. It's nice and easy to be old fasioned, that's the case in religion and it certainly seems to be the case for some "professional" musicians.
Who still remembers that classic game from Konami. It was one of the most accessible yet satisfying R Type shooters and it came with a twist. The absence of a sequel (which was promised right at the end of the game) lingered on and now I'm full of Ideas for a sequel myself.
I just throw them up here. I'm not a programmer or graphic designer, but I DO feel that I know what I would want out of it so I'd just like to throw it out in the world, My dream about an Axelay 2.
A new rant. In this article I "rant" about some mishaps that I see in the world of open game development, the attitude and stance of some of the playerbase and overal respect which is lacking towards a developer that tries to make a game, and because I deeply engaged myself to test Firefall, this is the culprit of my new One Big Rant.
I think that it was end may of 2013 that I started playing dota 2. I never felt this mix of emotions before. Usually when I see a game that's not accessible enough for me to play I stop playing, Crysis 2, MW3 etc... With DOTA2 however, I feel this urge of really wanting to play this game and yet not being able to act quickly in "dire" situations (muha). I've tried to tacke a few ever returning accessibility issues that I have discovered in this game, and I'd like to discuss these with outlines on what's the Issue I have with them. Take note that these are personal issues and aren't meant to fault the game on a general level. Obviously 300.000 people playing the game online at the same time can't be wrong. This article is about how my eyesight impairs me to play it at a basic competent level.
I need to rant a bit about the latest development on the console market.