Sunday, May 24, 2015

A first person shooter jet pack game should have certain constants built in...

A first person shooter jet pack game should have certain constants built in:
All energy is absorbed at a 1 damage per energy point. Maintaining the shield costs 1 suit active energy per seconds of operation. Maybe you change this to 15 seconds or even 5 second depending on how much endurance you want the shield pack to have. Maybe having the shield pack last for 20 seconds would make an light suit too powerful and imbalance the game. 
This is why I like having fundamental constants:
Every power suit in the game is set at 100 energy
Every humanoid life-form in the game is set at 100 health.
Every humanoid life-form without a power suit has a walk speed set to 2 m/s.
Every humanoid life-form without a power suit has a running speed set to 5 m/s.
All suit jets use 1 energy per 1 second of operation.
Acceleration of the jet pack is set at 10000N*Second of thrust per 100 energy expended. Holding down the jet pack fire button, initiates an acceleration of (Thrust / Mass)m/s². A 200kg light suit would accelerate at 50m/s² burning the entire pack energy supply while a heavier 750kg heavy would accelerate at about 13m/s² after using up the whole 100 energy. An unprotected humanoid could wear a jet pack with no other equipment at have a mass of 120kg and therefore accelerate at about 83m/s² by using up the entire 100 energy. However, the acceleration forces would cause the pilot to pass out and maybe cause lethal collision or falling situations.
It takes a pilot to empty a jet pack of energy in under 5 seconds. The acceleration given by a jet pack is thus divided by five. If a jet pack has a acceleration of 50m/s² per 5 energy, at 4 seconds into the "burn", the player will be at 40m/s² (80% of 50m/s²). In 1 second, the player will be accelerating 10m/s², 1 second later, 20m/s², ect. One cannot just use up all 100 energy in the pack in one second. The rate of usage can be modified by laying off the jet fire button. Stutter firing the jets is more efficient.
Every power suit has a friction value of 1 when walking on solid ground or metal.
Every power suit has a friction value of 0.1 on solid ground when "skiing" when over a velocity/mass of 10m/s/Kg. A power suit, therefore, with a suit mass of 450kg (with pilot) would need to have a velocity of 45m/s before skiing. A lighter suit with a mass of 250kg (with pilot) would only need a velocity of 25m/s before starting to ski. Gravity manipulators and downward slopes can help reduce the initial speed requirement (because gravity is acceleration). The rational behind a need for initial velocity is that trying to create a very low friction on a solid surface would take a LOT of energy (more than the suit has) to constantly modify a large volume beneath it.  
Every humanoid life-form is set at 95kg base weight (assuming clothing, suit inner liner, insignificant equipment, ect.).
Every humanoid life-form hit box is set to 2m in height and .5m wide.
Every humanoid life-form has a head sphere on top of a 1.75m x .5m hit box of .25m. Hitting this "head" does double damage to the health from piercing weapons (lasers, bullets, spears, arrows, ect.)
Every humanoid life-form occupies 100 liters of volume without the power suit.
Every humanoid life-form has a density of 0.95kg of mass per 1 liter of volume (allowing the individual to NOT sink while in a medium similar to water or sea water).
Every humanoid life-form outside of their power suit (which compensates for excess gravity and acceleration) in the game has acceleration (G) resistance set to +50m/s² before G-lock and negative acceleration of -30m/s² before G-lock. Therefore, the relation of a player to a gravity field, natural or artificial, can be tactically significant. If you want to get a better idea of this relationship of speed and time, go here: Acceleration Calculator.
Every suit has an acceleration compensator for dealing with positive and negative G's. It can be set to allow G-forces to be applied to the individual inside the suit before energy is used to counteract potentially harmful or even lethal amounts of acceleration. Damage can be applied to the suit normally but the blast is what is absorbed. Maybe have this set to +50m/s² and -30m/s² before energy is used to counteract acceleration forces. For every +25m/s² and -15m/s² in change it uses up 1 suit reserve energy (which regenerates VERY slowly).
For a comparison, TNT has an explosive velocity of almost 7,000m/s. Roughly translated to an 96kg individual unprotected by a power suit, that is about 75m/s² acceleration (for that one second only). The suit would absorb the 50m/s² leaving 20m/s² gravity to deal with. Maybe the player would use energy in accelerating in the direction of the explosion or "going with the flow" to reduce the acceleration effects. Your jets can accelerate your suit 
Every suit is set to an energy regeneration of 1 energy per 1 second
Every pack that is set to a specific use (radar, stealth, shield, jammer) are all set to a usage rate of 1 energy drained for 1 second of operation. The effects are modified by this constant. No doubling or having the energy usage rate.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The hipster kit as I understand it.

The hipster kit: 
Anything sepia-tone or anything that makes it look like they grew up in the 1970s. 
Anything that LOOKS like they bought it at a second hand store. 
(This the ultimate in slumming : making it look like you belong to the poor class.) 
Wearing facial hair that would make you look like homeless man 10 years ago. 
Wearing glasses despite your healthy vision. 
Wearing clothing that makes your life appear easy when in fact you have $50,000 in student debt from that liberal arts degree you thought would make you a movie script writer.

Bottom line: If you want to be unique, do something unique - don't appear unique.

A thought on technology.


At first, a big fuss is made about how new technologies will revolutionize civilian life for the better.
The first step when a new technology is discovered is to keep it from the civilian population until it can be fully weaponized. It is then kept in a dark, secret place until used effectively (hopefully) in war.
Then once it is used in war and made innocuous enough, it is released to the civilian population in a gimped, barely functioning form for maximum profit for the corporations that basically own "our" government.
Nanotechnology, just as it could save lives, it could take just as many lives just as easily. Turning someone into grey goo from any distance without warning is the ultimate weapon. You think that a powerful government agency would allow this technology loose into the civilian world until they have complete control over it?
The internet was an accidental release that government could not control and it provided a tremendous counter to government suppression of freedom. We know about "prism" and other subversive, unpatriotic programs designed to usurp authority us that that does not belong to them.
I hope to they do not develop this technology.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A UI change I would to see changed in Space Engineers

The original allows you to only enter a number and not choose a predetermined amount at a time.
Something else I kind of wanted to change as well:
Why not have us use the mouse scroll to change between inventory items like they do in Minecraft? It's very convenient!

Monday, May 18, 2015

My views on this SWATTING trend



SWATTING is when someone uses technology to trick the police that an unknown hostile force is threatening a life at a specific location. As with any situations as this, Police respond with Special Weapons Assault Teams to neutralize the hostile force and preserve the innocent victim as quickly and efficiently as possible.

m As I always say to my niblings, pranks should always follow three rules: Funny, Simple and Harmless.

SWATTING is none of these things.

Ways to combat this potentially life threatening prank practice are two fold:

Tell your Police Department that you are susceptible to SWAT pranks because you live stream.

That way when the Police DO get that call, they can respond with less force than they otherwise would. Chances are very great that they will not bust down your door with guns pointing in your direction or worst yet in the direction of a father who has access to a handgun for home defense.

Have a mic/cam mute button easily accessible.
Also, ALL Twitch Live Streamers should have an app or switch that TURNS OFF any and all audio and video if they suspect they are getting this horrid prank pulled on them. Heck, I am surprised that there is not a key dedicated on the keyboard of every keyboard that mutes audio, video or both!
Without audio and video, the basement dwelling loser neck-bearded low-self-esteemed social reject cannot watch the stream while twiddling his spastic fingers in excitement over the temporary power he received. Imagine his disappointment when that is taken from him! A minor win in the favor of the victim.

So, to recap, communicate with Police and deprive your 'prankster' from witnessing his deed.




I believe that to dissuade other basement dwelling loser neck-bearded low-self-esteemed social rejects from thinking of doing this make up class this to a felony. In fact this felony should have a mandatory 25 years to life for anyone convicted of this dangerous practice because it is attempted murder.


Credits:Thank you to Brennen Harley, wiktionary and CrowbCat for the sources.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Laws for first person shooters

I have compiled laws that every first person shooter should follow:
1. Give us access to all we see. If an area looks like it can be explored, let us explore it, even if it leads nowhere. Allow us to pick up items, break items that should be broken and combine items together to create interesting items that could help us in game. We have the technology to do this and if implemented, could give us power over our environment instead of handicapping us to the "looking but don't touch" policy that pervades in the gaming industry. In CS:GO, I laughed when I tossed a grenade into a flower garden and the flowers did not even move. I see that this is possible since Red Faction allows buildings to crumble, in Far Cry 2 foliage to burn, in Fracture make mountains break anything in Breach , break small things in Crysis 2 and pretty much throw anything in the Force Unleashed. Give us control over our environment. We have the technology and it's really fun to change things around!
2. Do not sacrifice interesting gameplay in exchange for amazing graphics. The ONLY thing amazing graphics give us is a pretty environment for 5 minutes then we acclimate to this, leaving us feeling manipulated. Excessive good graphics serve pretty much one goal: the sell more copies of a game. I think this is the number one reason multiplayer games fail to establish a player base. The company hypes the game by showing us visuals and when we hop into game, we become bored after we wow over the 1080p high detailed graphics where even a piece of paper as legible text on it (that has nothing to do with the story). If you want to see an excellent example of gameplay over graphics, look at Tribes 2 (now TribesNext online for free), Minecraft, Quake 1 (I still play that one!), unreal tournament 1999, Metroid Prime, Decent (on Steam), Subculture, just to name a few!
3. If the game has combat, give us movement in all dimensions. Whether they are grapple hooks, jet packs, rocket boots or wall climbing that give us limited (or full) flight, give us freedom in three dimensions. The WORST thing is to be in a game where you see large expansive rooms, caves and vistas and you cannot explore them. Heaven forbid level designers have to work a bit harder to give us this freedom of movement. Even if it's jumping, give us movement in all dimensions. First person shooters have moved beyond doom 3d. This leads me to the next terrible practice lazy game designers use...
4. Eliminate the use of invisible walls. Invisible walls is a lazy technique to give the illusion that a game company put more effort into a game than they did. If you want to limit the play space of a map, put up force fields, landslides and real walls. Heck, even a wall of corpses is better than running to the end of a road and somehow not being able to move one more step. In the past, technology prevented map designers to place detailed barriers due to the constraints of most user systems. We have more powerful systems now and the ONLY reason to do this is because you want to save money. Stop doing it. It easily shows how lazy you are when you do it.
5. Give us interesting tools, weapons, defenses and movement modes to implement power over our environment. The shotgun, pistol, rifle and automatic have been so overplayed it's a cliche. Use some imagination to create new weapons. For example, instead of a boring AK-47, implement a gun that shoots infrared seeking shards of crystal that can either shatter on impact or can explode later when other enemies get close to the impaled enemy. Another example: Instead of the boring pistol with infinite ammo,  have an energy weapon that can be charged up to deliver a slow moving burst of energy or many smaller blasts that can bounce off of walls. If the gun is used too much, have the user be heat damaged and/or the shots fired become more and more inaccurate. Even give the gun different modes for different enemies where the single shot mode is ineffective against hardened enemies but the charged up blast mode stuns them, allowing you to melee them with your energy blade. See? As a game designer, you have the privilege of implementing your creativity for the benefit of others. Throwing a gamer a shotgun and having him take out ineffective enemies is an insult to the player. Give us variety and ... wow us!
6. Give us balanced gameplay in single player, co-op and single player. Taking out 100 enemies with a pistol in 10 minutes without having my health fall below 95% is not only boring, it makes me feel cheated out of the time I spent playing your overly easy game. If your game is very very very story driven, eliminate combat altogether and make a book out of it.
7. Eliminate quick-time events. Again, lazy game design at it's finest. You are taking the freedom of movement away from the player and turn that player into a spectator in his own game. This is analogous to having characters in the  horrid Star Wars prequels, on couches, talking about things we should have been SHOWN. Let us show our skill in game instead of boiling down a situation to button mashing at the right time. If I want to play whack a mole, I'll go to an arcade. Again, it's lazy.
8. Alpha and Beta testing should be FREE. Games in Alpha should be against the law to be sold. Buying an Alpha game is like plopping down $1000 for your family portrait when he has only completed a few rudimentary sketches as he hands them to you on his way to a flight to another city. Beta testing should be free as the game is NOT DONE. Being a paid beta tester is akin to paying a contractor to pour cement for your driveway and
9. NEVER, EVER, EVER pre-order a game. EVER. 
Would you pay a waiter a tip on a meal you have not received yet?
Would you give $40 to a kid who promised he would come back tomorrow to do your lawn?
Would you give $20,000 to an individual for a car he advertised on Craigslist before you have seen it?
Would you give a company $60 before the beta has come out just because it sounds cool?
Yeah, you get the point.
There is NO REASON AT ALL to give a company ANY money before you receive a product or service.
10. Eliminate day one DLC. In fact, operate from the premise that your game is to be burnt onto millions of discs and you cannot go back and fix them once the product is sold. I can pop my Unreal Tournament 3 DVD in and after installing it, immediately get into exciting gameplay without having to "patch", check to see if my friends have the same version and other bullcrap I should not have to deal with for the $40-$60 I paid. 11. The free-to-play model should only be used by seasoned game designers. Free to play is an excellent way to see if the game aesthetics, gameplay and genre is right for you. However, just like a 10 year old with a credit card, almost all companies, with precious few exceptions, use this as an excuse to ruin game balance by giving players that spend more money a decisive advantage over those that spent less. A side effect of free to play models is that the company needs to make the game accessible to a wide demographic. This means that game skills that once took actual SKILL, has been dumbed down to make it so even n00bs can take out skilled players. One more downside to free to play games is the fact that they focus on good graphics and spend less, if little effort, on balanced and creative gameplay. Look at the debacle of Tribes Ascend. Essentially, the unprofessional amateurs at Hi-Rez bought an excellent
12. Eliminate regenerating health. Again, this touches on the laziness of level designers. Placement of health packs and health boost at strategic locations takes forethought and design skill. Eliminate this need to place health powerups and boosts and you have decreased your need to place them in placed the player would need them. The downside to having regenerating health turns all players into the mutant Wolverine. So, instead of fighting in a fair fight, all the coward has to do is run away from the more experienced player until you can heal up and come back and surprise your target when he least expects it. Remove this implemented bug from all multi-player games. It also removes any need to rely on other teammates to heal you directly or indirectly by them tossing you a health boost/heal. It's just plain lazy map design.
13. Eliminate automatic weapons in flight-centric mulitplayer if that games. It eliminates the need to fly and gives n00bs easy kills. Play Tribes Ascend for five minutes if you do not believe me. Everyone runs about in that game with completely out of place automatic weaponry in a science fiction environment. If you NEED to use automatic weapons, make them less accurate as you fire them, give them significant recoil and have them progressively overheat if used for excessively. A new player can always miss with the first 25% of his clip, but the 75% of the rounds that are left will find their mark without need for careful predictive aiming.
14. Give us the ability to skip cut scenes. Self explanatory.

I know I have been harsh on many points, but I think these points needed to be said.

My thoughts on Capcom's Lost Planet series.

I am going to talk about Capcom's title Lost Planet 3.
I believe they went backwards and here are the reasons why:
Capcom focused on visuals and large areas of beautiful set design in order to garner sales. Players would be led to believe that because of they way to designed Lost Planet 1, they could explore every square meter! They had visions of grappling large caverns, jumping over stalagmites and swinging from stalactites while slaughtering enemies with interesting and unique weapons.
Instead they were given invisible walls, designated grapple spots, generic weapons, predictable AI and bad voice acting (their lips did not sinc with their words).
Lost Planet 1 had limited map volume but at least every square meter of it could be grappled. The only problems I had is that the player could not jump AND grapple. I found this annoying and could have made gameplay 100% better. In Lost Planet 1, cover was not a key press used only in certain areas like in Lost Planet 3 nor did I have to find that *perfect* spot to place my grapple. In Lost Planet 1, I could grapple any surface - even enemies for additional damage! I think Capcom looked at Mass Effect 3, saw how much attention they were getting (meaning money) and copy/pasted their combat system without regard to innovation.
Mistakes that are made that erodes gameplay most game companies practice:
1. They give you no option for variable FOV and the option to use first person view.
2. They put invisible walls on maps, turning huge beautifully rendered areas into a museum with only limited pathways.
3. Give the player generic weapons that have no real bonuses or drawbacks in choosing one over the other.
4. Giving infinite ammo with no drawbacks.
5. Enemies that have the AI equivalent of Aliens/Colonial Marines. This is probably the second most insulting thing you can say about a game companies implement of AI next to Mind Hack (which is the WORST AI implementation in the history of gaming).If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to feel good about gaining. Remember the Jedis in the prequels hacking apart the main enemies (droids) by the dozens? Yeah. No tension equates to no elation from victory. Make the AI smarter and more creative.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The theatrics of space combat.

I was thinking about how physics plays a role (or absence of one) in science fiction spaceship movies and video games.
Some things I have noticed:
1. Spaceships seem to always have wings even though this would increase their chances of getting spotted in an environment where visibility is not an problems because there is no air to maneuver through.
2. When space "fighters" do combat, they seem to follow strict rules of "up" and "down" as well as staying perfectly level with their prey on attacking them.
3. Lasers cannot be seen and if they COULD somehow be seen (with a dye or something), the beam would move at the speed of light. So, unless your target is 50,000+ miles away, your lasers will never miss their target if you are just pulling the trigger on the crosshairs. At distances of under 50,000 miles, there is no deflection, unless your target is going so fast they could reach the moon from earth in a matter of seconds.
So, if you COULD see a laser fight, it would look like beams coming from your ship and appearing to instantly hit your target. You cannot "see" a laser bolt apart from another laser bolt. It looks cool but it's not possible.
4. Large starships would look like ships and would NOT have a front/back configuration. In space, no one can hear you scream because there is no medium to carry it. Ships and airplanes on earth have to design their ships to move through a medium, forcing the shape of the craft.
Starships have no medium to move through and so can be ANY shape. In fact, the shape would be dictated by the mission. The more specialized the mission, the uglier the ship would be.

Monday, May 4, 2015

DLC in one picture.

My understanding of Downloadable Content in one picture:

Friday, April 10, 2015

What makes a good First Person Vertical Team Based Shooter?

I am an avid player and admirer of Tribes 1 and 2. The only reason I liked Tribes Vengeance was the single player campaign. I loved it!

So, I came up with some principles, if followed, will make your game a winner to those that play it.

1. Give the choice of a wide variety of equipment to the player but limit the slots that equipment can occupy. This will force the player to choose wisely for the mission or how best to support the team.
2. Every piece of equipment, weapon, pack or base asset should have a counter. What do I mean? Well, if someone is bombarding your base from 500 meters with mortars, get out a sniper rifle and snipe that bomber from long range. Either that, or sneak up and take that bomber out with a special weapon that does one shot kills if done in a certain way (shocklance). Balance is the key to ANY game. Rule of thumb: If gamers are complaining too much about a certain weapon, chances are that weapon was improperly designed and probably needs to be omitted from the game. Weapons do NOT make the game. The way players use those weapons to accomplish a mission is. Always have a drawback for every strength a weapon possesses. If you have a gun that shoots a 1,000 damage in a straight line, have it go 10,000 kph, with infinite range, infinite magazine size with a 50m blast radius, it will ruin the game. You get the point.
3. Health of every player should always be a constant number. I like the number 100 because it represents a raw percentage of the player's health. Factors that prevent health decrease, limit health decreasing, increase health over time or immediately create interesting weapons, defenses and equipment. Even having heavy armor where either a certain amount of damage must be applied before the player inside it is effected. Those who choose a lighter suit of armor may choose a stealthy ninja-like setup where damage is increased if hit ... the key word is hit since that player can go visually invisible and that is his defense. Maybe your player wishes to be struck so the repulsor pack can be activated - pushing them away or activating the EMP pulse. I dunno.
4. Consumed, regenerative personal resource should also always be a constant number. The rate at which this amount is decreased or increased to the maximum may differ and thereby putting the balancing issues on the equipment and not on the player (which is easier to fix).
5. Leave out regenerative health. This promotes running from fights that could create tension and excitement in the game without one running away, healing up, and then coming back for revenge with surprise on their side.
6. Weapons and equipment should have predictive qualities to them. Forethought and skill should be the key to any tactical application of force in a game. If you have players scoring victories with minimal effort, this punishes those who have applied themselves to learn the game and play it well. Automatic weapons should be used sparingly, if at all.
7. Make the playing area large and cut down on frivolous decorations that slow down framerate and do not support the tactics of gameplay. Put in elevators, turning platforms and even maybe trains or something that moves players around the map. These spots are good for ambushes too...
8. Vertical movement is a must! Give us the ability to fly, whether it be by jetpack, low gravity or even magic. As always, put limits on vertical movement but if flight is under 1000ms with full resources that allow flight, the game will still be a running game like Call of Duty or CS:GO.
9. When designing equipment, weapons and the like, be careful to give all weapons the same DPS. Why do I say this? You can tweak a weapon to do 300 damage, with 75-125 splash damage 3m away, but have it fire once every 500ms and have it stray from your aimed spot 10%-15% of the time. A flame gun could have a cone of low damaging fire of 10m and has a 75% of setting anything on fire with a damage over time of 5-10 damage per 1000ms. However, it overheats if not managed correctly and may even possibly explode if struck with enough damage (maybe use a shield pack with it to protect the weapon!).
Even the mighty Shocklance that scores an instant kill needs melee range and the opposing player will not simply turn their back for you to use it on them. maybe you guys could come up with weapons that would require a lot of skill to score a one-hit melee kill similar to the shocklance. I would be interested in what your design would be. My thought would maybe be an energy garrote that take 3 seconds to kill and in those three seconds the victim has a chance to escape somehow (EMP grenade that damages some of his gear?).
10. Consistency of equipmentWhen a player is defeated, the equipment they had on them should be the only items dropped. Maybe if you wanted to make the game a bit more difficult, make it that dropped items are destroyable - with the possibility of blast damage! Additionally, make ALL items that are deployable and destroyable.
11. Populate the large map. Large numbers of players able to play at once.
12. Offer the Client and the Server software to the customer so they can set up LAN party events.
13. Focus on map play architecture and leave the pretty to those who think that is important (it's not after about five minutes of play, trust me). Excess graphics may sell copies but it hampers video card's ability to handle large maps. I would rather have fps than pretty building I will look at once and then concentrate on taking their base or flag.
Bottom line, go into making this game so it's playable but with a team. Supporting other people in completing a goal is enjoyable and satisfying to say the least.
I really do miss the days of Tribes 2 and the 64  person games on HUGE playing areas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How memory may be connected to humor...

OK, so you saw that bit where a guy looks in a comically small bee hive and a swarm of a billion bees fly out  at the speed of sound and sting the cartoon character on the butt. In doing so, his butt enlarges to four times it size and burstsSubstitution (get it?).
If you could read that without cracking a smile (pun intended) then the laws of memory have worked in generating a humorous situation (even if it IS not performed in the realm of reality).
I have written a blog article about memory, so please read it here before continuing if you desire a background on what I will discuss next.
Mnemonics, mnemonics, mnemonics and how I rote how I hate rote.So, according to the story example above
Proliferation
Substitution
Action
Exaggeration

Read the story again with the above concepts in mind. Interesting, huh?

I tried to keep this short and sweet so people might make the connection between the laws of memory and the laws of humor since they both allow the brain to retain information that is both novel in it's presentation and thus important enough for your brain to recall it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New ultra intelligent OGRE brain tank.

Problem is, to make it smarter than any other military vehicle, they had to skimp on armor.