Somewhere : the child of CYOA & ARG

I enjoy narrative stories, stories that make you think, that make you doubt your choices, that make you concerned and worried that you may have made the wrong decision. This enjoyment of course originates with the countless Choose your own Adventure books that I enjoyed growing up, I would often spend evenings being a spy, or a traveller among the stars, but mostly it was attempting to avoid a grizzly death.

At the end of 2017 I had the pleasure of playing the test version of an interactive game, the game is called SomeWhere and it’s kind of a mixture of Choose your own Adventure and an Alternate Reality Game, it takes place in in real time, but with an added twist that you get notifications on your Smart Device, some instantly during conversation, some later usually waiting for an event to conclude.

I have to be frank I wasn’t sure how engaging I would find the game but I was gripped almost immediately, keen to get another update to see how things had played out, the limited test version of the game left me wanting to learn more, I guess that I need to wait until the game launches fully. Then “Take my Money!”

 

The game is being developed by Norseman Interactive and uses the well loved tool used for Interactive stories Twinery, although the screenshots posted indicate the sheer number of routes and options the game will allow you to take. It’s far bigger than any twine game I’ve ever written. Nice feature about using Twinery is that the game doesn’t actually need an internet connection in order to notify you of updates,as it is all scripted into the game.

There is also a nice feature that allow you to explore all avenues of the game, you can track your steps back and make another choice ( yes like holding open that page in your Choose your own adventure books in case you died on page 172.

On Android the Beta Version of the game can be found here : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tanuki.somewhere&hl=en

A New Challenger Appears

I have decided that in 2018 I would like to try and play some of those games sitting on my virtual Steam shelf that have been gathering virtual dust.

I am a Humble Bundle junkie, yes it’s for a good cause as I’m supporting charities, but my Steam Library is now bloated to a massive 800 games, almost 50% of them I have never installed or played.

Products by time played

12 or more hours 85
Less than 12 hours 48
Less than 6 hours 57
Less than 3 hours 34
Less than 2 hours 47
Less than 1 hours 138
Never played 390

* Data from steamdb.info
So starting of slowly my aim is to start chipping away at the list of games in February, I shall select Fourteen games that I have never played before and see how things go.

I hope to blog about some of them as the month progresses.

 

Memorable gaming moments Part 3

Welcome to part three of the Memorable gaming moments, we are now fully immersed in PC gaming.

7 ) We are kicking off todays trip down memory lane with the single player space simulator Tachyon : The Fringe, there were many space sim games over the years but for me this was the one that delivered all the elements that I wanted, intuitive space combat with a variety of ships to kit out and fly, an enjoyable but storyline that sees you choosing sides in a giant space conflict.
All of this from a rather small developer, it was a treat to play and Dok and I spent countless hours discussing the game and tactics.

But for the two big draws to buying Tachyon were:

  • the first was that the main character Jake is voiced by Bruce Cambell
  • the second was that the ships allowed for sliding which being a Babylon 5 fan was an instant attraction (for reference this is when you can maintain the direction and velocity of travel while being able to alter the direction the ship was facing).

 

8 ) Final one for this post is Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, released in 2002 the game delivered an amazing single player campaign, but also gave me my first proper experience with online gaming.

The single player narrative for me was a wonderful glimpse into the use of more action focused games for story telling but with Steven Spielberg on the writing team it’s no real surprise. I think the thing that struck me most about the game was that it jumped between locations and environments, giving you different environments to handle and deal with.

There were moments when you were taking part in street battles, attempting to take out sniper nests before they targeted you or avoid enemy tanks as infantry. The game used AI to control allied troops that would fight around you giving things a more immersive feel.

The multiplayer was fast and frantic, there was a variety of weaponry and the maps were lifted from game locations, some later mods added artillery fire or animated tanks that would periodically fire at known camping locations to allow the games to flow alot better.

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 in this series.

Happy 5th Birthday ETS2

Almost a year ago I was blogging about SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2 and it’s French expansion, well it will come as little surprise to anyone that a year later and as the game reaches it’s 5th birthday, I’m still raving about the game.

Ever had a single player game that you willed the developers to continue to support and develop, beyond the first couple of DLCs, well SCS are still giving this game so much love it’s crazy. Now averaging a Map Expansion DLC per year (Scandinavia 2015/France 2016/Italy 2017) the game has also had some additional bonus DLC’s like the Heavy Cargo Pack which came out mid-year and the Special Transport in December too.

If the Map Expansions were just adding more roads into the game, it would tanked ages ago, what SCS Software strive for is to create an area that is visually different from others you have already played.

  • The Going East! Expansion unlocked eastern Europe giving players more challenges in terms of road and jobs to complete, it also gave players new landscapes and farmland to enjoy.
  • In the Scandinavia Map Expansion there are numerous mountain roads giving amazing views while crossing fjords, there are landmarks dotted around the place, you even have to negotiate roundabouts inside mountains.
  • Contrastly the Vive la France! Map Expansion see’s up delivering to Power Plants, navigating our way through small country lanes and villages, and if you have ever been to France SCS Software nailed the fact there are toll booths EVERYWHERE.
  • The last Expansion Italia has a rich tapestry of environments where we encounter dual lane carriageways winding their way through the Apennines descending into farmland. The climate as you descend into land surrounded by the Mediterranean changes and feels warm in it’s nature ( sounds crazy I know).

List the expansions is easy, however what is impressive with all these expansions is that SCS Software pay so much attention to small details, the look and feel of each area is different, the road layouts and intersections, the architecture of the buildings all lend themselves to creating a much more immersive game. The lighting in town and cities is much better now, there are adverts and billboards that give the word a much more lived in feeling.

As I mentioned the Heavy Cargo and Special transport give the game more elements that mean things have to approached differently, can your truck handle the heavier load? Will you successfully drive that Wide Load taking the correct prompts from the special leading and trailing cars. This gives more things to do it this already busy game.

Thank you SCS Software.

Jumping Ship

Since NCSoft closed the City of franchise, a number of projects have risen from the ashes with the hope to allow those ex-players to find a new home

These are the projects that are in flight that are considered spiritual successors to City of Heroes\Villains:

  • City of Titans
  • Valiance Online
  • Heroes and Villains
  • Ship of Heroes

I have been keeping an eye on these titles, watching videos as the are released and screenshots when possible, I’ve been on the fence for the most part as these games look nice but nothing was grabbing me in the same way as City of did.

Last week I had the pleasure watching a stream from Massively OP that was talking with the folks from Ship Of Heroes, there was a lot of information and development ideas given. I have to say I was very impressed, there was a Q & A taking place in the chat and nearly all the answers were how I would want a Superhero game to work.

One of the ideas that I hadn’t really understood was the idea of the space-ark (ship) and that the game looks to move away completely from a planetary bound MMO. This leads to multiple levels of the ship to explore and each having unique elements to it.

I’d like to see how SoH progresses between now and when they launch a client for folks to test with, I have to admit that so far it’s piqued my interest more than any other spiritual successor has.

You can watch the video of the stream here