Skip to main content

Mixed Drink Contentment

One game is bound to get boring sooner or later. The premise of Raph Koster's book, A Theory of Fun, offered a good explanation as to why: The brain completely learns what the game has to offer and then the game becomes too easy and boring. However, I've found a couple ways to compensate for this natural process. First, there's actively focusing on paying attention more, which directly combats the brain's natural tendacy to ignore things once it figures they've been learned. Second, and this is what this blog entry is spurred from, there's the diversifying the game load between two or more games.

There's certain ups and downs to playing multiple games at once. Trying to play too many games at once, I've decided, is overkill. I really can't properly appreciate several games when I'm switching between them. Hard working game developers have put thousands of hours of their lives into making this the game, I ought to slow down and find what they've added. However, only playing one game at a time is problematic when that game is lacking in some way or another, which is probably inevitable. Nobody's ever developed a game that can completely satiate all of one's mental desires. Playing multiple games that satiate different desires, however, can be quite satisfying. Like a mixed drink, there's a big difference between a satisfying Dr Pepper/Coca-Cola Mix and a grody Graveyard of everything in the drink dispenser.

I'm currently playing both Phantasy Star Universe and Neverwinter Nights 2, and I'm finding this to be a pretty good mix. Between those two, I've a pretty good basis of play to diversify between. First, there's the background genres, sci-fi and fantasy, the two classic genres of optimism and pessimism synced in harmony. Second, there's the gameplay focus, PSU being a somewhat action-based RPG play while Neverwinter Nights is a somewhat more strategic number crunching game that can be paused (at least in offline mode). I could probably draw more differences, but the point is that this is a pretty good load for me right now so I'm feeling pretty content.

Specifically, what I've been up to lately is Network play in Phantasy Star Universe and a both the single player game and the network game in Neverwinter Nights.

Phantasy Star Universe is considerably more grindy in Network mode than I initially anticipated. I've discovered that the main focus is in obtaining the best possible wieldable item. This bolsters the amount of power output of my character considerably, allowing me to access new and more dangerous areas. However, the flow of Metesa (the currency in the game) is quite heavily regulated and thus far I've been losing the race to keep my weapons fully upgraded before outleveling them. Grinders, which upgrade the weapon at a risk of destroying it, help to bridge the gap a bit... but they're still really no match for a full star-rating upgrade. Through synthesis I did manage to get a top-of-the-line line shield (the PSU equivilent to armor), but I haven't noticed a big difference in what it could soak. Still out of my obtainable reach are vital things like armor slot upgrades and more bullets.

My activities in Neverwinter Nights 2, however, are a bit of a mess. I've got a friend who seems to only be able to tolerate CRPGs when he plays them online with others. I'm glad to have the company, but the way that the NWN2 campaign flows is somewhat dialogue heavy and I feel pushed by the other members of the group to go through it without properly savoring it. It creates a disjointed feeling that I don't really feel like I know what's going on, where I'm going, ect. I'd be okay with that pace had I finished playing the campaign through once so know the story like the back of my hand already, but alas, this is not the case. I have also been playing the game offline, but this is creating a conflict of trying to remember where I've progressed in the offline game. Maybe I should play a different class offline to create a central association to mentally track my plot progress offline versus online. However, having looked at the alternatives to the Monk I'm not sure there's any I'd particularly be interested in at this time... melee characters are relatively shallow, and I'm feeling oddly repelled from spellcasters for some reason. I wonder if I hate this game already or if my lack of contentment has more to do with just not having enough time to properly savor it.

So, that's what I've been up to this weekend and probably will continue to do so until I severely bore myself of one or the other game. It's really more than enough entertainment to last me awhile... I should probably focus a bit more of my effort toward my school work. I'd like to get back on board the City of Heroes train when Issue 8 rolls onto live servers, but I can't see where I'd have the time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Greasing The Grind: Adding Lasting Appeal To Virtual World Sandboxes

Game design, being about entertainment, is not as much science as art.  We're coming up with interesting things that the human mind likes to chew on that "taste" good to it.  Different people find different things, "Fun," and a game designer is tasked with coming up with fun, appealing things.  As pertains to virtual world sandboxes, I identified three of them.

Challenge Appeal.

Dwarf Fortress and Fortresscraft Evolved have the same end game appeal preservation mechanic: wealth equals threat.  The more money your Dwarf Fortress is worth, the bigger the baddies who will come for you, including a bunch of snobby useless nobles who do nothing but push dwarves around and eat.  The more energy you make in Fortresscraft Evolved, the more and bigger bugs come to shut down your base.  Rimworld does something a little different based off of which AI Storyteller you choose, but it generally adds time to your wealth accumulation when deciding what kind of threats to throw a…