Monday, December 27, 2010

War on Christmas

So I picked up a Battlefield Hero Santa suit. EA will give a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Santa suits to support the Child's Play charity. It is too bad that they did not opt for some of the other outfits to improve the amount of donations.

In any event, I created a new Hero specifically for the purpose of purchasing the outfit. I chose a gunner class because gunners are the only ones that can afford to be loud on the Battlefield.

Here is my new hero.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Update: I created a new video to showcase the Santa outfit.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BFBC2 Vets status.

I had to contact EA customer support in order to get my M1 unlock for being a Battlefield Veteran. The good news is Corey from customer support quickly fixed the problem and my M1 showed up. I promptly tested it and it works (no surprise).

In any event, I'm moving onto the multiplayer aspects. My system is definitely at the low end. With the settings at low, I can play. The frame rate drops considerably if I'm in a very fast vehicle. On foot, its okay. I've started getting some unlocks and I am spending a lot of time spotting people with the "Q" feature.

"Q" was the commo rose command from 2142. They have created a hidden form of it. You point to someone and hit Q and it supposedly gives them the right message. If you need health, "Q" target a medic and it will ask for a health kit. It's a bit imperfect as someone can occasionally get in your line of sight. For example, I was trying to spot an enemy and a gunship flew in front of me resulting in a pickup request.

So far I am enjoying my time playing.

In other news, the 2142 1.51 beta is up and running again. The public download is capped at 100kpbs. Last time, I couldn't download the file before the beta expired.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bad Company 2

I just finished playing my first run through of BFBC2 in single player mode. The campaign is fairly linear and not too long. It took me about 8 hours to complete it in normal mode. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. There were some glitches, but nothing game breaking. I have a rather low end system, so I am forced to play with the settings on low. Still, I thought the game looked great on low. I also feel the single player campaign did a great job of providing me with an opportunity to test many of the games weapons to determine which ones I really liked. Obviously, different weapons serve many different purposes in the game and the single player mode did a great job of allowing players to explore these weapons.

I was gifted the game, so woot!

I am also trying to accomodate the console layout of the game. I've already noticed a few minor changes- the absence of a prone position and the commo rose. You have to use E for entering vehicles. It will be interesting to see how the multiplayer stacks up to BF2142.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saw Tron Legacy.

I saw Tron Legacy. It raised some very important issues and provides considerable brain candy for anyone who cares enough to try to think.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Contests at BF:H

I'm entering a holiday contest on the Battlefield Forums site. It is designed to feature the Santa outfits. As I failed to participate in the Cos-play opportunities or Halloween this year, I made up for it by creating a Battlefield Heroes costume. I'm wearing the brown bag of shame. I added a few things: a purple squirt gun and a Chrome bag.

Update: I did not win. Oh well. Maybe I should have gone with a more professional version. There were some very good entries though.

No big deal. Just a note on what I did to create the image. Obviously, the first part is just a webcam shot from my netbook spliced with a Heroes Santa. I created a model version, not included, which used proprietary fonts. Since I was entering a contest, I opted to go for more generic fonts. The image was assembled in OpenOffice Draw. As some people may know, OpenOffice is now owned by Oracle with a fork by the Document Foundation. I use Oracle OpenOffice for now. I hope OpenOffice stays free, but it looks like it may not. That would be disappointing. After assembling the image, I usually complete my editing with Irfan. I like to keep things simple.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Looking ahead

I will be very interested in seeing how the new Battlefield “Play for Free” is received. Gamers are already experienced in Battlefield Heroes and the microtransaction model and they also have access to relatively affordable alternatives like Battlefield 2. A lot of players left Battlefield Heroes in anger and I do not expect them to come back.

As people know, I have been encouraging players not to purchase weapons which provide play advantages until the playing field is leveled between non-microtransaction based players and microtransaction based players. The VP alternative is not a very viable alternative to BF's because of the enormous upkeep costs.

It appears that microtransactions are now creeping into weapons in Battlefield Bad Company 2. So far, it appears to be only one kit. If it expands into multiple kits, it will be increasingly problematic for players. I do not see how gamers will be encouraged to shell out a lot of money for titles if they end up on the microtransaction treadmill anyway. At that point, they might as well play BF:H.

All of this appears rather short sighted.

As a gamer, I have no need to step into an expensive and protracted arms race.

I see this as playing out in a multitude of possible ways.

First, players themselves reject the regime by not purchasing weapons that give advantages. It does not appear that this will happen, although it has been encouraged.

Second, players will burnout of the weapons regime. Companies will tire the players out by releasing new weapons that the player will either have to upgrade to or accept the fate of the free to play players. Die hard players with free cash will continue to opt in, while other players will feel jaded about their last purchases and die out. The difference between microtransaction players and free players will continue to grow less balanced creating rounds that are not rewarding further decimating the player population.

Third, players will stop buying new games. Players that invest heavily in microtransaction models have no incentive to play new games and start from scratch. They have already invested in the old games. Free to play players, like myself, will similiarly see no advantage to necessarily playing a new game where we will be at a similar disadvantage. If I want the free to play experience, I already have enough offerings, plus my old titles which offer play parity.

Fourth, players will simply carelessly consume from one title to the next. This would be the most beneficial model to companies like EA, but it seems to be the least likely.

Fifth, the companies will realize play parity is essential to the game and sell cosmetic items only or offer comparable free alternatives. So far, this also seems a bit unlikely.

In any event, I feel that I can honestly say that Battlfield 1942 is a better game than Battlfield Heroes since it provides players with parity. I probably play more BF:H than BF1942, but I certainly have begun playing BF1942 more and BF:H less. In addition to that, were it not for high pings, I would probably be playing other titles more.

I think a lot of players are beginning to look at older titles in a new light now that the age of microtransactions is looming.

Hopefully companies will be very careful in their implementation of these models.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Battlefield Heroes Wakileaks!

So here are the wakileaks for Battlefield Heroes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What is it like to design levels?

You can find out by checking out Everybody Edits on Kongregate.

It's a very interesting experience for people interested in learning about the challenges of developing engaging online content for other people and their reactions to it.

The environment is an online real-time multiplayer level editor.

Here is a small example of something I created. (Well, not entirely. The circle of gold coins was not my idea and some of the arrows were not mine.) The idea for the floating space room came from someone else, but I implemented it in a way which was effective for my purposes.

It is interesting to see what other people will contribute to your idea. I would never have come up with the gold ring under the LOVE lock, but it makes sense. It is also interesting to see how players will interact with the environment. Some players get frustrated and simply edit their way through the environment if they get stuck, other players will try to figure out what you are doing.

I found the blue heart to be very attractive to players.

There are also a lot of griefers who will simply destroy whatever is created in the public servers or otherwise try to deface creations offering another window into the online community.

The game is definitely worth a look.

Thursday, December 2, 2010