Early Access games – Think twice before buying

On Steam it is possible to buy games that is in Early Access, which means that the game-developers is releasing a game that is far from finished.

This is somehow strange that it is allowed because who would buy an unfinished game?

Well I did. And a lot of other people did too. It has probably something to do with curiosity, especially if you have seen a youtuber play it first.
Most EA games are playable, but there are some games where they just release an environment, and no content. That is sometimes fine, if only the updates comes with a bareable speed, but if the game-developers are too slow, then people starts to feel cheated and gives the game bad reviews.

Tamed Raptor

Other games are updated constantly, like Ark: Survival evolved, and gets updated for several years, before the game is considered a ready and finished game.

People do like that games get updated regulary, but only to a certain extent. If we for example look at Ark then it has changed from a simple survival game with little but fun content, to a huge survival/breeding/building game with way too much content that both slows the performance and also confuses people because the behavior of content, like animals and weapons, is changed too often.

The bugs from all these changes is also a nuisance, which makes the updates even more frequent because of bugfixes. It is like the game-developers are experimenting with their possibilities to show off in a “See what we can do” way. In this case I wish I had waited with buying the game, not that I didnt enjoy playing it at the state it was, but its a totally different game now than when I bought it and I do not enjoy playing it anymore, even that I took a break from it to play 7 days to Die instead.

Another thing is that you do get burned out if you play a lot. Normally it would be because of doing the same thing again and again, but the opposite can also be true, if you constantly have to adapt to new functionality and new content. If I knew this a year ago or more, then I would have waited with buying the game, and probably never would have bought it, because it doesnt interest me now. It has simply become a whole different game.

 

The developers of 7 Days to Die has a different approach than Ark. They have been very very slow with their updates and are only releasing a little change from release to release, which makes it 4 years or so that the game has been under development.

They started with an Alpha 1 release and are now on Alpha 15, with Alpha 16 to get out as an experimental build very soon. Alpha 17 and 18 is already being planned too, so there will be several years before this game is finished. I first started with Alpha 15, that has been updated 2 times with small changes that you hardly noticed, and thats fine with me, because then I can play my games as I like and is used to.

The new update Alpha 16 is a larger update with new environment, content and also new functionality, that makes the game harder to play. It has been a huge annoyance for some players that they felt the game was too easy, so they will probably be more happy now to play. I am OK with it for now, but I hope that they wont do the same as Ark with putting way too much content in so the game is almost unplayable unless you are a hardcore FPS gamer.

Then there is all the bugs. In an EA game it should be expected though, because it is an unfinished game, but when update after update comes out and no bugs is fixed then people get pissed. I wonder how games like ARK can live with all their bugs and still release tons of new stuff that is also filled with bugs. Some people defend this strategy with that it is better to get the content out first and THEN fix the bugs, but for me that is a strategy based on bad code that isnt well structured, and means that the developers probably have lost the overview a long time ago.

If you want to build in a iterative way then you have to be extremly structured to make sure that you can keep an overview at any time. The developers had probably started wrongly and programmed with their creative emotions and enthusiasm and forgot all about thinking of the end-result.

 

Anyway, it CAN be fun to play with an EA game if you dont mind small or huge changes to your game, and if you dont mind bugs here and there, but it is very buyer-beware (buy at your own risk), if you choose to.

Ohhh!!… a bird nest – Exploring 7 Days To Die

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Bird Nest

Anyone who has played 7 Days to die have probably said this many times: “Ohhh!!… a bird nest”.

Some of the most important things in the early game is finding a bird nest and collect feathers, which you use to craft arrows. And those bird nests are not easy to find! They are usually hidden in the grass on the ground or behind a stone or a tree.

 

 

 

 

7-days-logoAnyway, I have thrown myself into a scary world of being hunted constantly by zombies, and its an odd game because it has this addiction-element that you dont really count on before you start to play.

 

20161121103412_1Its a cool graphical environment and the ambience is scary enough, so you feel very uneasy and creepy a lot of the time.

You wont be in doubt when a zombie is near, because they sound very tormented….

But there is also quiet time with birdsong, which is very nice until a zombie destroys the peace!

 

20161121103027_1The base-building-part is one of the fun things that you can do, and you also need to have a strategic plan for how you can and want to keep zombies out.  You are depended on making a base that can withstand the 7 days horde of zombies that comes, yeah, every 7th day. It is a voxel game (created in Unity) which means that its build with blocks. All is blocks. You build with blocks with different strength and you can upgrade the blocks too.

You can alter the terrain too (blocks) and dig deep under ground, make huge caves and live there instead of above ground. The zombies will find you eventually, anyway though. They can dig in the ground too.

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At the same time you need to survive and have to eat and drink, be dressed for warm or cold, and you do also need some decent weapons that you can either craft or loot at various houses and cities around.

You also have to smelt iron ( if you got a forge), and later you can make steel. That is really needed to keep out the zombies, because they chew on everything if they can and it will quickly crumble if it isn’t strong enough.

It gets harder and harder the more days you stay, and those annoying zombies will do anything to get to you, so its a important thing to build a very solid base that they cant breach through.

hub2x hub-cityx

 

 

 

 

 

 

The looting-part is a fun part too, because at the start you for example will need the right things to be able to cook your food, and it takes a while before you are able to craft it yourself.  So quickly you find yourself running around looking for stuff in cities and houses, and when found, you go inside to look in all the trashcans, fridges, desks, cabinets and if you are lucky you will also find a gunsafe. Its really addictive somehow.

There are also different types of zombies that each has their traits. Some are easy to kill and some are harder.

zombiedog

Damn Dogs

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Zombie Joe

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Nurse Zombie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

funpimps_header-1FunPimps who build this game, are still working hard on making it better. Its on early access on steam and has been that for several years now, but after the last version, Alpha 15, people got hooked on the game because its now a stable version and then Funpimps got enough capital to work harder and faster, so we will hopefully see an Alpha 16 within the next few months.

You can follow Madmole from Funpimps (Joel Huenink) videos on the progress here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFrUPm0uNQgiPRos3TYOpEA

 

dlbackground insl_logo_colorI love the openworld games because you can explore so much. Its almost like running around and explore in a virtual world, except in games you usually have a goal for exploring. A few years ago, around halloween, I made a sim in secondlife where you could shoot zombies too. It was fun to design and build it, and I also got a combat system that wasn’t so bad, so people did come to shoot around. It was just poor animations for the zombies, where 7 days to die has mocap animations, which is much more realistic.

 

Well this was my attempt to describe the game and here is Funpimps description and a link to their homepage:

7 Days to Die is an open world, voxel-based, sandbox game that is a unique mix of First Person Shooter, Survival Horror, Tower Defense and Role Playing Games combining combat, crafting, looting, mining, exploration, and character growth. From the ashes of the 3rd world war rises an unknown virus which transforms the surviving humans into an army of the animated dead, acting as a single-minded being. You play a survivor trapped in the savage, gritty, zombie infested world of Navezgane County Arizona one of the last true Eden’s on Earth. Scavenge the abandoned cities of the build-able and destructible voxel world for supplies or explore the wilderness to gather raw materials to build your own tools, weapons, traps, fortifications and shelters. Play alone, with friends, run your own server or join others.

http://thefunpimps.com/

 

If you like to watch how people play this game then you can watch it on Youtube.
Here is some youtubers experience on 7 days to die:

 

 

 

Ark: Survival Evolved dino-bashed by community

20160507080716_1Holy dino, a big blow in the head to Ark’s developers did occur this last week.
The developers of Ark got that “great” idea to release a cool DLC that people had to pay for.
Now Ark is in Early Access which means that its not a final game and people are actually paying for helping with the test of the game.

 

 

When that is said the game has been playable ever since it landed on Steam, with a few bugs here and there, but nothing that prevented people from playing for 1000 of hours.
Anyway people got really pissed off by this new DLC, not so much because of the cost of 20 euro, but because they feel that the game is still and alpha or maybe beta game and to have to pay for an unfinished game (more than paid initially) is apparently too much for a huge amount of players.
The game-forums around is filled with people complaining and worse is that on Steam the rewievs is now mostly negative, where it until the new DLC was mostly positive. More than 10000 people has given it a bad review all because of a paid DLC. Its a bit of a shame if that scares someone away from buying it, because its a really great game.
Many youtubers did what they could to hype the DLC by streaming from it already the first days, but that is apparently not enough. The bashing goes on and on now, still on the 8.th day since release.

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All this made the developers of Ark (Wildcard) to send out a statement:
We’d like to provide our official take on the Scorched Earth Expansion Pack, and the future of ARK. Put simply: we are absolutely committed to driving aggressive development towards a solid, feature-robust game launch for ARK: Survival Evolved. Everyone at Wildcard wakes up every day thinking about how we can make ARK into a better game today than it was the day before. It’s not always easy, but our intent is ever-forward progress towards a retail release that will be far more ambitious in scope and features than our original vision when we launched ARK into Steam Early Access in June 2015. Your feedback enables us to continually expand the game to become better than ever!

Scorched Earth: Our original vision for ARK always included the creation of Expansion ARKs, along with the infrastructure and technical systems to transfer data dynamically between live ARKs. We determined that it is more sound to iterate on these systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn’t “get it right”. While that meant unveiling the first Expansion early, it also means an easier time integrating further post-launch Expansions into the ARK network. We understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and we appreciate the enjoyment people seem to be getting out of this initial view of how Expansion ARKs can work. Now that we have the systems in place to support them, we can ensure minimal integration issues with subsequent releases after ARK: Survival Evolved itself has launched.

 

OMG! Nosulus Rift…

nosulus riftNo, I didnt misspelled the name, because this is an actual thingy.
One of my favorite youtubers was invited by Ubisoft to play for them at the GamesCon in Cologne, Germany and this is what he was introduced to: The Nosulus Rift. It is so far just a kind of a joke I think, because its not in production and I doubt if it ever will be.

 

 

 

It works that way that you place it like the Oculus Rift, but lower….yeah, on the nose.
Then when you play a game and you press a “Fart”-button, then a “delectable” smell blows right into your nose! This is such a womderful idea…not! Well maybe someone with a perfume-company can find a use for it, but in games with blood, sweat and farts I doubt it will be a huge success.

500px-Fart.svg
Anyway, Look at Keralis playing South Park here: https://youtu.be/sVgvakFDtIw

New game! Planet Coaster – Park Building and simulation

GameSummerNews 2016 – Park Building and simulation: Planet Coaster
planetcoaster 9d

It has been a long waiting for a new good rollercoaster-building game, since Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 which is from 2004. But now its finally on its way.

Planet Coaster is a alpha-game in the making by Frontier, the same company that made RTC 3 and the expansions for RTC 2, together with Atari.

 

Planet Coaster is a step up when it comes to building, because its made in a way, so that it is extremely easy to build, and we can build both rollarcoasters and buildings, the terrain can be shaped and there are a lot of animated stuff to decorate with. There are also several premade parks to play with and of course a sandbox to build your own park. I hope they also make a campaign, because I always prefer to play campaigns before going to a sandbox or a premade environment. Campaigns are the best tutorials even if there is a specific tutorial.

I discovered the game on Youtube where people aready have started to play the Early Access game, that is available at the games homepage. Its not on Steam yet and is not expected to go there until Q3.
This is one of the videos I found:

 

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Playermade park.

As in RTC 3 you can configure the rides and there will be an economic simulation too, so it is possible to make money from the visitors and to see how they feel about a ride. The interface is more intuative, and it seems very easy to learn, even though there are a lot of options to configure and several ways to twist and turn a ride.

planet coaster 6

This turtle is made from editing the terrain!

The terrain editing functionality is the best sculpt-tool I have ever seen in any game or sculpt-tool at all. Its so easy to shape the ground into whatever you want it to be and it is also possible to paint the ground with many options to choose from, so we can get the perfect look. It is like a mix of Sims 4 and Maya.

planet coaster 9a

Cool Castle.

The building tool is also intuitive and very easy to learn, even that you have a wealth of content to mix and stack. Everything can be copied so you dont have to build the same thing more than once. To build a rollercoaster is so easy so you can twist and turn it around like it was made of rubber. Its great how it can interact with the buildings and also the terrain, because you can build under ground too and it automatically makes tunnels for you.

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OMG! There are some very awesome builders. Look at this…

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Everything can be colored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yiieeehhh !!

Of course there are little people that can ride on your rides, and it seems they have a lot of fun. You can also ride it yourself.

 

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Looks very inviting…

Here is the description of the game from the homepage:
Planet Coaster is the future of coaster park simulation games.
We’ve created a living world where every guest is an individual with their own personality and money in their pocket. We’re giving you limitless freedom to build rides and scenery piece by piece, and to seamlessly blend them with your own hand-sculpted terrain. We’re building a connected global village where everyone can share in your creativity. And that’s just the start. The homepage of this game: https://www.planetcoaster.com/

P.S. There is also a new version of RollerCoaster Tycoon coming out soon, called RollerCoaster Tycoon World. It is again Atari with another little LLC  who is responsible for that. So far its not even worth a look, so hopefully they will soon step up a bit to make this better than the old version.

P.S.S. I am not paid by Frontier and I do not have any interest in promoting this game, except for my own pleasure and exitement about the game.

Copyright infringement takedown

copyright-symbolNo this is not in Secondlife or in any other virtual world. This is in a PC-game.
We learned so much by now about takedowns in SL and how the content get removed from innocent buyers of sad content, but it seems that being a game-developer also have to live with that someone claims the right to parts of their work.

Here is a little story about a game-developer that probably very innocent (or not) developed a little zombie for his game. Another game-developer somehow recognized that zombie as his own work and immidiately sent a lawyer with a DMCA in his pocket to claim the rights.

 

That provoked an immidiately takedown of the infringers game, that was already published as early access game on Steam, AND it also provoked a strike on several youtubers that had made videos with the illegal zombie AND put those youtubers on a limit for a certain amount of time so that they couldnt upload videos that lasted more than 15 minuttes and also a limit for how much they could upload a day, PLUS they deleted the videos that included the illegal zombie.
Eventually they settled somehow, so the game is back up on Steam and some youtubers is back to normal, but it took more than a week to get this settled for all.

Now we can say that Linden Lab is fairly soft when it comes to takedowns. At least they dont punish the end-buyer that hard.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Why-7-Days-Die-Was-Removed-From-Steam-60086.html

Age is not really a problem!

For some re0_street_views_-_portobello_road_looking_e_elderly_people_zoom_in_082296ason many people think that playing a videogame or living a virtual life is something for young people. That is probably because the virtual entertaining haven’t existed that long, and older people is more or less known to decline new systems and technology because of the harder learningcurve than the ease of turning on a TV.
Well, I have news for you….this is not correct!

 

According to Statista (http://www.statista.com/topics/868/video-games/) there are just as many people playing games as younger people. This is the result from a survey they did:

Age breakdown of video game players in the United States in 2016 

age gameplayers statistic

The 36 to 49 years oldies are probably busy with kids and career, so that might explain the lower number.

me sl_001

Me in Secondlife

me in ark

Me in Ark

Anyway, age is really not existing in a virtual world or an online game. People has anonymous characters that looks young and healthy and they do rarely reveal their real age or gender. Ok, you can get an old person look in Second Life, but for some reason there isnt many that use them. Everyone is young, pretty, highly styled and cool looking. In games there are usually not as many choices to style your character as in a virtual world, but the characters do always look young.

 

So you will never know who you meet in an online-world. It can be a young person, old person, physcial handicapped person, mentally handicapped person, skinny person, overweight person, beauty-princess, bodybuilder, famouse person or even a kid…..

And you know what? It doesnt matter at all, because its all about how you interact with other people. Old people can have a young mind and young people can be precocious.

We are though affected by what we see and maybe thats why everyone wants to look young. It could be interesting to make an experiment in Second Life to see if people interact different towards an old character than to a young one.  If you have any experience with this then tell about it in the comments.

What is Skyrim?

The 100 Best Skyrim Mods

LIVE ANOTHER LIFE, IN ANOTHER WORLD
Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of The Elder Scrolls is realized like never before.

Whiterun_Skyrim

ALL NEW GRAPHICS AND GAMEPLAY ENGINE
Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons.

wallup-131761

YOU ARE WHAT YOU PLAY
Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions.

skyrim-dragon

DRAGON RETURN
Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.

Virtual Worlds will never be the same anymore!

20160507080158_1I have been a loyal resident in Second Life since 2007. It has been fun and has brought out a creative side of me that I didnt think I had. I have been making zombie-sims, mall-sims, art-galleries, history-theater, all sorts of dance-places and of course my scripted curtains that people like so much so that they are willing to actually pay for them. 🙂

Anyway, the last year or so I have started to play PC-games that includes an open world. This means a game where you can run around peacefully and explore the surroundings without any goals if you want to, or you can follow a storyline and RP to reach certain goals and of course that also includes fighting for your life sometimes. I have been attracted by these games because it somehow is very inspiring when it comes to making stuff in SL or opensim. Not copy-like inspiration though, just an inspiration of what is possible in a virtual world.  So far I only got to the inspiration-level. I havent really made anything in SL that could arise from a PC-game, yet!

The best games I have played so far is Skyrim and Ark: Survival Evolved.

What is Skyrim? Read more here

What is Ark: Survival Evolved? Read more here

It is very impressive what is possible to make when it is made for a game. There is a huge difference in how a virtual world like SL have to limit everything for performance-issues, and how the game-developers can use much better physics and graphics to create an interactive world. I do really wish that it can be like that in a virtual world one day. Maybe the new Sansar from SL will be something like that.

 

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What is Ark: Survival Evolved?

me in ark

Me in Ark

 

Ark, as its normally called, is a survival game where you have to chop trees, stones, metal, harvesting berries and craft different paste and narco to tame the animals.

You play on a server and you can play with other people on PVP or PVE servers, or you can play solo on local.

The game is still an alpha-game and is on early access on Steam. So there are frequently updates to the game which mostly are improvements, but sometimes it can make life harder for the survivor, intentionally or not….

 

 

The game has a steep learningcurve, so it is important to learn some basics before you start. There are a lot of youtube’s from people playing and tutorials too.  One of my favorit youtubers on this game is KIC gaming. He has made a huge amount of youtubes where he plays the game back from the start of the game-release until now, and its very entertaining watching that.

You can find him here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkKAE7Kev-6h-YAkg_svRIA

The game also has a homepage and a wiki: https://survivetheark.com/

Me out in the wild

Me out in the wild
 

Mainland and Islands

There are so far 2 maps on the servers to play on. The Island and The center. The island has a more natural feel on it and the Center is a kind of fantasy world. Both maps has caves to explore and The center has an underwater world too, to explore. You can spend many hours just exploring around the maps but its very dangerous to walk around without protection from some tamed animals, unless you are on a flying animal, or you have crafted a raft.

 

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The Center map

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The Island map

 

 

 

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View from my house on the Island.

 

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Beautiful view on The Center map

 

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Dangerous mountains on The Center map

This is the official description of the game:

As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing and starving on the shores of a mysterious island called ARK, you must hunt, harvest resources, craft items, grow crops, research technologies, and build shelters to withstand the elements. Use your cunning and resources to kill or tame & breed the leviathan dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the land, and team up with or prey on hundreds of other players to survive, dominate… and escape!
 

DinoWorld

The animals are different dinosaur-types, small or big, swimming or flying, more or less dangerous for your life. You can kill and harvest the animals, or you can tame them and if you have one of each sex then you can breed little babies too.

You can also craft a saddle and ride most of the bigger animals, plus they also have individual skills so your harvesting gets easier.

Be prepared to get very attached to the dinoes. Its easy to get a tear in the eye when your loved dino dies after being attacked by a larger dino.

Tamed Raptor

A tamed Raptor (Olga)…smiling to the camera. Olga is unfortunately not in the world anymore. She got attacked by a swarm of  flying ants!

 

Flying around on a Pteradon (Pomfritta). Pomfritta is no more in the world, because she drowned after a violent descent from a mountain.

 

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Me on my Trike (Polle) on the Island. Polle is still alive and is only used to gather berries and thatch.

 

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Me next to a Brontosaurus. Fortunately they are plant-eaters. They only get mad if you attack them.

 

A little Dodo

A little Dodo

Home sweet Home

At first you will need a base, so you have a more or less safe place to stay when not running around and harvesting stuff. So you can build a little thatch house and then upgrade it to wood, stone or metal later on. It is not like building in a virtual world, but more like building in minecraft.

You can make staircases and several floors on your house and some very creative people have made some fantastic houses or castles, but it takes a lot of time to gather all the ressources, so if you are alone then be prepared to start small.

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My first house on The Center.

 

Unfortunately a thatch-house isnt very safe when you meet a T-rex and it follows you to your home….

My first house on The Center Map, half eaten by a T-rex!

It is possible to color your house and other stuff, if you have the right ingrediens to craft some dye.

You can also make a little garden with plants to get berries or vegetables that is used to make the dino’s favoritmeal: kibble.

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A plant!

 

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Mt house inside on The Island.

Surviving

You need a fireplace to cook the raw meat you get, when you kill an animal, so you can get something to eat yourself. Drinking water is also important.

Fortunately there is a level-system, so you can level up when you have enough experience-points. The game gets easier when you reach the higher levels, so you have to be prepared to a rough start as survivor. Most people dies more or less constantly. You dont loose your levels or experience when you die, so thats good.

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Inventory and Character-screen where you level up.