RPG

January 5, 2013

Escaping Titan: When science and gaming collide

Escaping Titan sounds like just another space-based RPG, but it’s not only the game that interests me, it’s the science behind the game.

Broken Crown Logo

Escaping Titan is a post-apocalyptic single-player RPG, developed by Broken Crown Games, where our solar system has a new governmental order with Saturn’s moon Titan at the center of it. You are an individual looking to escape the corruption of the new capital city, you must acquire a ship, recruit a crew, haggle for supplies, and determine your destination, all in your attempt to escape Titan. Broken Crown Games aim to describe the game saying that “a simple, but not perfect, way to describe it would be to mix the sci-fi RPG elements of Mass Effect with the plausibility and educational value of Oregon Trail”. But the fascinating aspect of this game is the thinking behind the storyline, Broken Crown Games, have recently launched a forum, ‘Science Behind the Sci-Fi‘, which will serve as a platform from where the studio can bounce ideas between gamers and actual scientists, covering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics. This forum is comprised of a panel of four scientists in fields related to the science-fiction used within Escaping Titan:

Paleobotany: Jamie Boyer, Ph.D.
Neuroscience: Robert Hampson, Ph.D.
Astrobiology: Jacob Haqq-Mirsra, Ph.D.
Astromony and Astrophysics: Amitai Bin-Nun, Ph.D.

In order to draw attention to the scientific content from the panelists the development team will be using previews of the game on the panelist blogs to illustrate how the science has been using to create the story within Escaping Titan. They will be able to focus on all those questions that science fiction throws up in relation to existence as we know it, e.g., How will we breathe on a planet with no atmosphere? What will we eat and will it be nutritionally sufficient? What shelter will we need? What effect will the environment have on the human body? Introductions and biographies of the panelists are all up on the forum now, as well as the first post from Jamie Boyer, ‘What’s for dinner?‘.

Additionally we shouldn’t just think of this interaction between gaming and science as an isolated incident, if we look back to 2011 gamers actually solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade, the results were then published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology – the positive associations work both ways.

Broken Crown Games also has two additional games in pre-production: Surviving Mars and Colonizing Keplar, with Escaping Titan having a planned release date of
quarter four 2014 for PC, Mac, Linux, OUYA, (and possibly Xbox 360).

I think this is something I’ll follow and I’m looking forward to hearing what the panelists have to say. For more information on Escaping Titan and the Science Behind the Sci-Fi forum visit the Broken Crown Games Official Site: http://brokencrowngames.com.

September 7, 2012

CD Projekt Red’s new ‘triple-A RPG’ game is Cyberpunk

Since being introduced to The Witcher (thanks thsoundman) I’ve definitely followed the progress of CD Projekt Red with interest. After the international success of this game, which is based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, the CD Projekt group changed it’s focus to game development – enter CD Projekt Red. It’s great to see that the development side of CD Projekt is growing and going from strength to strength, this year they became the official Polish distributor of games published by Codemasters, an award winning game developer and publisher with over 25 years of industry experience bringing titles such as DiRT, GRID, Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The group has also formed several partnerships with companies such as Blizzard, Astragon, Sega, NCSoft West and Wizards of the Coast; important steps in the company‚Äôs development.

The latest game in development will be a ‘triple-A RPG’ based on the Cyberpunk pen-and-paper game by Mike Pondsmith, it’s development team will be made up from developers from The Witcher series alongside new staff brought in to support the project. There is not much known about this game, which was announced during the CD Projekt group’s summer conference, but it looks like it’s going to follow the same ‘mature’ RPG theme as The Witcher, which means violence, nudity and images and content of a sexual nature will all be in there (done really well I might add), and we can expect that it will follow the rules of a usual RPG game with customisable characters, classes, weapons etc. The game will be non-linear but story-driven, where magic, fantasy and lore is replaced by cybernetics, weapons and implants. Details from an online job posting show that CD Projekt Red are looking for a multiplayer programmer to work in their core development team confirming that future games will be featuring multiplayer modes. Although The Witcher is an amazing game players are limited to playing just Geralt of Rivia. This isn’t really a problem, but many RPG fans want to be able to choose their own character and in CyberPunk they will get that choice.

The cyberpunk scene has been done time and time again, but somehow I feel that CD Projekt Red are the right team to be taking this on and will be able to do it justice; judging by the reactions online to the news of this upcoming game it looks like I’m not the only one and there is genuine interest in what comes from the project team next. It also looks like they will be opening the door for a lot of new players with the news that The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition, already available for PC and Xbox 360, will soon also be coming to Mac later this year. Pure speculation at this point but perhaps they will aim to deliver future games to Mac also on release.

Honestly, there are not enough hours in the day for me to play The Witcher and The Witcher 2, two of the best games I’ve played this year for sure. If you haven’t played either of these it’s well worth picking up a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

October 17, 2011

Dead Island

Dead Island Logo

This title has had tons of publicity and hype built via the internet and with a lot of hype comes a lot of high expectations. Dead Island failed in no way to deliver. Dead Island brings all the fun of destroying zombie hordes with the ability to create and modify your own arsenal of weapons and skills. In this review I will be going over the pro, the cons, and the downright awesomeness of this release.

Let’s start with the bad.

Graphically speaking, the terrain is somewhat spectacular, I know that seems like a good, but where the terrain looks good other aspects lack. Primarily the zombies themselves and the vehicles are a bit simple. For a game this far into the graphically amazing generation that we game, this point cannot be overlooked. I believe that the developers had been using a platform with lackluster performance so as to make the game viable on a large array of systems and the only way to keep size small they didn’t want to make a multitude of different texture packages for each individual zombie. More on this in the good section as it ties with a great aspect.

The bad also continues with a bit of a bug PC version wide. The gamma adjustment setting for the game is off by a long shot making people play the game with a severely over saturated effect. Leaving the gamma default makes some parts of the game a bit too dark but quells the saturation effect drastically. This may be a bit of a hindrance for PC folk, however, it does not seem to affect people running Dead Island on consoles as bad.

The last bad is a bit from player error but it should not be this superfluous in a persistent environment. When you throw a weapon at an enemy and the weapon lays on the ground after its usefulness has been employed, if you die… the weapon is lost forever as the area “resets”. In a game where you are able to throw any and everything you can pick up why would you employ this feature? Ok, maybe I am not thinking within normal boundaries here but to be fair one of the Characters is a Thrown Weapons Specialist. If you throw a weapon you maxed out in upgrades and was a very rare find and you happen to back too far away or die, you have just completely lost your primary hardware for defeating enemies. This may not be a big deal in the early game but later it becomes a bit of a big deal as weapons can cost a lot of money.

Now on to the good, and for every bad I can name at least 10 good aspects. That is a pretty good ratio if I do say so. First and foremost, the environment, I find that the world itself is beyond beautiful. There are a ton of winding pathways and back alleys. There is always at least two ways of reaching your destination, if not more. With that being said, you need a great graphics processor to really enjoy the vast beauty that is Dead Island. With max settings the game looks almost like a window to the outside and that alone is worth the investment. Even on the lowest settings the game is graphically very impressive as it only drowns out some foliage and other non action oriented items.

With this world being as big as it is you need a variety of enemies and with Dead Island it is delivered it ways other imagined. In other games where the world is rather large you find that many of the enemies are just a recolored or reskinned hatchling of a low level mob. Not here, there are so many different enemies that just walking through the game you would think it almost a reality to have so many “people” running around. With this aspect comes the fact that you cannot reskin each mob to reflect multiple levels of graphical detail. The rendering is softened by option but it leaves them looking a bit less than premium at max due to this. Either way, this makes you as a player feel much more involved in a real world situation than a repetitive hack n’ slash style genre.

Weapons weapons and more weapons. Have you ever since “Shaun of the Dead” thought of the multitude of ways to destroy a zombie? This game gives you that and so much more. You can pick up almost any item and use it as a weapon against the hordes of murderous brain eaters or even take some of them and give them a bit of a more lethal edge, for example taking a bat and adding nails to the end. If you really don’t care for that why not jump up and drop kick your opponents and then kick their face into the dirt. The ability to decapitate and dismember these piles of meat via anything sharp makes for a fun gathering of friends by the beach. As for guns, yes there are some, why bother grabbing those up except in the event that your sickle should break or your 2×4 piece of lumber snap in half and already have been thrown at the enemy? There are an array of guns though for those wanting to snap off a few well placed shots and see heads explode into a gory mess behind their target.

Characters, the different style of play are not restricted to the chosen character though each have their specialty they can wield anything you want them to. That being said lets have a bit of an idea of each one shall we?
Heroes

  • Sam B as the Tank-class of the group has the ability to sustain heavy damage and handle numerous foes at the same time. His special ability is “Fury,” which is achieved by filling up a bar by killing zombies. He is also an expert in blunt weapon usage. During a Fury attack Sam can one hit kill zombies with his bare hands. The three branches of his skill tree are Fury, Combat, and Survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Xian Mei is the assassin of the group with a particular predilection toward bladed weapons. The three branches of her skill tree are Blood Rage, Combat, and Survival. Her special ability is to enter a rage mode to deal extra damage to opponents with her knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Logan Carter is the jack of all trades within the team. He specializes in thrown weapons and some blunt weapons. His rage mode allows him to throw an infinite amount of knives at nearby zombies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Purna is the support within the team, and a firearm expert. When her Rage mode is activated Purna has unlimited ammo with her Revolver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RPG element is very well done. It is similar to Borderlands in that you level up and select a skill under one of three trees and progress further as you add points to a tree. You can mix and match and make your character completely unique to the style in which you play said character and to me that is a huge plus. Dead Island does not let you get behind whatsoever. When you level the enemies in which you encounter are as well your level and thus makes the game progressively harder whether or not you quest or grind your way to max level.

All in all I give this game a 9. It could not go lower but no higher either as some elements of bugs here or there make the game a bit non user friendly. That being said I would highly recommend getting this title and start your trek across this island full of insane mutilated killer corpses. Pick up a copy for your friend or family member as the game is co-op and makes for an even funner adventure. You can get a PC copy of the game from our friends at IntKeys.com. They are trustworthy and truly top tier for online key purchasing. Use our promo code for an even higher discount: 224c76cae8

October 17, 2011

Dead Island

Dead Island Logo

This title has had tons of publicity and hype built via the internet and with a lot of hype comes a lot of high expectations. Dead Island failed in no way to deliver. Dead Island brings all the fun of destroying zombie hordes with the ability to create and modify your own arsenal of weapons and skills. In this review I will be going over the pro, the cons, and the downright awesomeness of this release.

Let’s start with the bad.

Graphically speaking, the terrain is somewhat spectacular, I know that seems like a good, but where the terrain looks good other aspects lack. Primarily the zombies themselves and the vehicles are a bit simple. For a game this far into the graphically amazing generation that we game, this point cannot be overlooked. I believe that the developers had been using a platform with lackluster performance so as to make the game viable on a large array of systems and the only way to keep size small they didn’t want to make a multitude of different texture packages for each individual zombie. More on this in the good section as it ties with a great aspect.

The bad also continues with a bit of a bug PC version wide. The gamma adjustment setting for the game is off by a long shot making people play the game with a severely over saturated effect. Leaving the gamma default makes some parts of the game a bit too dark but quells the saturation effect drastically. This may be a bit of a hindrance for PC folk, however, it does not seem to affect people running Dead Island on consoles as bad.

The last bad is a bit from player error but it should not be this superfluous in a persistent environment. When you throw a weapon at an enemy and the weapon lays on the ground after its usefulness has been employed, if you die… the weapon is lost forever as the area “resets”. In a game where you are able to throw any and everything you can pick up why would you employ this feature? Ok, maybe I am not thinking within normal boundaries here but to be fair one of the Characters is a Thrown Weapons Specialist. If you throw a weapon you maxed out in upgrades and was a very rare find and you happen to back too far away or die, you have just completely lost your primary hardware for defeating enemies. This may not be a big deal in the early game but later it becomes a bit of a big deal as weapons can cost a lot of money.

Now on to the good, and for every bad I can name at least 10 good aspects. That is a pretty good ratio if I do say so. First and foremost, the environment, I find that the world itself is beyond beautiful. There are a ton of winding pathways and back alleys. There is always at least two ways of reaching your destination, if not more. With that being said, you need a great graphics processor to really enjoy the vast beauty that is Dead Island. With max settings the game looks almost like a window to the outside and that alone is worth the investment. Even on the lowest settings the game is graphically very impressive as it only drowns out some foliage and other non action oriented items.

With this world being as big as it is you need a variety of enemies and with Dead Island it is delivered it ways other imagined. In other games where the world is rather large you find that many of the enemies are just a recolored or reskinned hatchling of a low level mob. Not here, there are so many different enemies that just walking through the game you would think it almost a reality to have so many “people” running around. With this aspect comes the fact that you cannot reskin each mob to reflect multiple levels of graphical detail. The rendering is softened by option but it leaves them looking a bit less than premium at max due to this. Either way, this makes you as a player feel much more involved in a real world situation than a repetitive hack n’ slash style genre.

Weapons weapons and more weapons. Have you ever since “Shaun of the Dead” thought of the multitude of ways to destroy a zombie? This game gives you that and so much more. You can pick up almost any item and use it as a weapon against the hordes of murderous brain eaters or even take some of them and give them a bit of a more lethal edge, for example taking a bat and adding nails to the end. If you really don’t care for that why not jump up and drop kick your opponents and then kick their face into the dirt. The ability to decapitate and dismember these piles of meat via anything sharp makes for a fun gathering of friends by the beach. As for guns, yes there are some, why bother grabbing those up except in the event that your sickle should break or your 2×4 piece of lumber snap in half and already have been thrown at the enemy? There are an array of guns though for those wanting to snap off a few well placed shots and see heads explode into a gory mess behind their target.

Characters, the different style of play are not restricted to the chosen character though each have their specialty they can wield anything you want them to. That being said lets have a bit of an idea of each one shall we?
Heroes

  • Sam B as the Tank-class of the group has the ability to sustain heavy damage and handle numerous foes at the same time. His special ability is “Fury,” which is achieved by filling up a bar by killing zombies. He is also an expert in blunt weapon usage. During a Fury attack Sam can one hit kill zombies with his bare hands. The three branches of his skill tree are Fury, Combat, and Survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Xian Mei is the assassin of the group with a particular predilection toward bladed weapons. The three branches of her skill tree are Blood Rage, Combat, and Survival. Her special ability is to enter a rage mode to deal extra damage to opponents with her knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Logan Carter is the jack of all trades within the team. He specializes in thrown weapons and some blunt weapons. His rage mode allows him to throw an infinite amount of knives at nearby zombies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Purna is the support within the team, and a firearm expert. When her Rage mode is activated Purna has unlimited ammo with her Revolver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RPG element is very well done. It is similar to Borderlands in that you level up and select a skill under one of three trees and progress further as you add points to a tree. You can mix and match and make your character completely unique to the style in which you play said character and to me that is a huge plus. Dead Island does not let you get behind whatsoever. When you level the enemies in which you encounter are as well your level and thus makes the game progressively harder whether or not you quest or grind your way to max level.

All in all I give this game a 9. It could not go lower but no higher either as some elements of bugs here or there make the game a bit non user friendly. That being said I would highly recommend getting this title and start your trek across this island full of insane mutilated killer corpses. Pick up a copy for your friend or family member as the game is co-op and makes for an even funner adventure. You can get a PC copy of the game from our friends at IntKeys.com. They are trustworthy and truly top tier for online key purchasing. Use our promo code for an even higher discount: 224c76cae8

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