Building The Raid

4 05 2016

TR3

For over a year now, it has become evidently clear that there are 2 things I really like. One (given by the status of how much time I have played on it) of them is the PC Game Prison Architect (by Introversion Software). The other one (given by how much I have talked about it) is the Indonesian Action Film The Raid. As a fan of both I thought it might be fun to combine the two. Now, for those of you who know what the two things involve, you may be wondering how I combine a game about building Prisons with an Action film series that mostly takes place in an urban setting. Well, that answer is pretty easy to answer as it happens. Quite a lot of the first act of The Raid 2 takes place in a Prison. Basically, during the first act, there is a fight in the prison yard, when taking a look at the shots surrounding the yard, such as the shape of the prison surrounding the yard, plus the scene where Rama (Iko Uwais) is inside a prison cell, such small details like that gave me plenty of ideas as how to construct a prison in Prison Architect to look like that Prison.

One of the main ideas with a game like Prison Architect is to let your mind flow and almost make a work of art, but seeing as building the prison is only half the battle as you get caught up in prison Management and Administration also, I thought that building a prison based on a Prison I saw in a film would be a good idea. I thought that such shapes and designs could help me come up with something relatively basic, but also help me in the running of a prison on the Large Map game setting. Well after 3 attempts; I have come to the conclusion that it’s not as straight forward as it sounds. Let me explain. Designing prisons based on ones in either real life or even a film as it is probably a real prison, does not mean that something in the real world is going to work in a game, not to forget that it’s just a design, and that it does not mean also that it will equate to the management and administration of a prison too. Those kinds of things come down to service quality, not bricks and mortar.

Prison Admin

On my first attempt to build The Raid, I started out normally. By this I mean I started designing out the look and shape of the prison using the in-game planning tool. This acts like something as like a blueprint sketch, where you can plan out where the walls and objects within your prison are going to go before you start building them. As I wanted to get it right, that was the best Idea. I planned out where Cells were going to be, where showers, solitary, yard, canteens, and other various rooms were going to be, and then I gradually built it bit by bit. In the game, you can acquire grants that provide you with money for completion of a task. It’s a useful feature as the first few prisons you build in the game are likely to have the use of them as money to begin with is short. When a prison is complete you can then go and sell it, and receive money in aid of constructing your next prison. Well, having done quite a few prisons by this point, I had quite a lot to use. In the end, when I did complete the prison, I was nearly out of usable grants, but from what I remember I still had plenty of ownership of my prison. One other way of making money you see is to sell shares in your prison for large amounts of cash, this will reduce your overall ownership of the prison, but it’s a great way of making a lot of money really fast. The other way of doing it quickly is to open your prison early and receive cash injections for the arrival of inmates. Anyway, by the time I thought it was complete; I had near to no money at all or ways to get money. And then things got worse. A fire broke out, and it just engulfed an area of my prison that was strangely made out of rock. Prisoners now had an easy escape route, plus I had no money to fix it, so I abandoned that Prison in the hope that one day I would learn from my mistakes and build a better version.

The Raid 2

Well, recently, back in about February, on the final night of BBC Three as it happens, after a while of not playing this game, I decided to re-install it. After a few games and time to try out some of its new elements such as women prisoners and a finally working Execution facility I decided to try and rebuild The Raid. I went through the same old thing again; design then build bit by bit. One thing about this time I remember though was that I was able to secure a large amount of money and get a lot done before opening it. However, I have sort of forgotten what happened, but given the pictures I took, I believe it had something to do with a Riot. If you look at the canteen area on the below picture, you can see a large area shaded Red, that shows that in that room a riot is taking place, so it’s sort of more like The Raid films, but not exactly great for prison designing. And given by how much money I had, I can bet I was not able to survive. I think in the end, I gave up. I did not stop playing or uninstall the game; I just deleted that save file and start all over again.

The Raid 2 Riot

So, with my having yet another go at building The Raid, I played a few more games in the hope of building up to that again, well I have had one more go. I did things differently this time however. Given by the success I have discovered in imprisoning women as they appear to not riot as much as Men, I thought I would give it a go as a women’s prison. Same thing again, designed it by sketching it out, and then built it from the ground up. This time however, I did not have as much money, so I had to be quick when I did have money. I slowly but surely built up the first bit, and it was going relatively ok.

The Raid 3

Then a riot broke out, and another if my memory is correct. It became clear, that building The Raid was never going to be an easy task. Over the last few games I had actually come up with new ideas on how to design a prison and those ones actually worked out ok, but as the design for this one was so much different, it was not going to be as straight forward. I tried to do things differently by having two separate large canteens instead of one big one, but it was becoming ever clearer, that this Raid was going to plummet before it was even near finished. So just before I wrote this post up, I sold it, and deleted the save before uninstalling the game. Well, I have played on it for nearly 200 hours now (189 to be exact, my most played game on Steam), so maybe it’s time to move on and try something else for a bit. I am not a sore loser or anything, it’s just clear to me that building The Raid time and time again is probably not going to work.

The Raid 3

If anything, this project has taught me, never to design anything in a game based on something in real life. They are two different realities, life and video games, and it’s clear the two are not meant to mix (not unless I get re-inspired when The Raid 3 comes out). Thinking about it, the signs should have been clear. I mean, how many times Video Games and Movies mixed…..have and came out positively. Not to sway your opportunities if you want to try to build The Raid, give it ago, let me know how you get on.

The Raid 3

Now, let’s end on a reflective piece of music.

GENEPOOL (please have a read of my review of The Raid).





The Great Game Sacrifice

6 04 2016

My PS3 (and GameCube)

Since about 2009, I have owned a PlayStation 3. For many years I kept it in the front room of my house which enabled me to play it downstairs, as well as have a good internet access to enable the system to complete any number of the millions of system and game updates the machine requires on a too regular basis. Anyway, for some time my enthusiasm to play on the machine on a regular basis had begun to dwindle, and it had been a long while since I had bought any new games for it. I think the last time I bought a brand new game for it was when I bought Beyond: Two Souls back in 2013 (which then led to a reflective post on video games as a hobby). Well, roughly about this time last year, I decided to move the machine to my room, where I originally used to play on it when I first bought it. Putting the machine up there allowed me to give more of a part in the playing of games on the console, especially as I was no longer standing up. However, very quickly, my interest waned again and it was back to being a console in my room, just gathering dust, with a lack of enthusiasm with me to playing on it.

The issue really was that despite the games I owned for it, not many of them were games I wanted to instantly pick up and play at that time, and for most of the time I was either playing things that I had played too much, or stuff I did not want to play at that time of day/night. My interest had gone because I was not playing anything all that really interesting to me as a player. I needed new stuff to play really. Luckily, back in July I did pick up a bunch of cheap games I had not played before including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas and Lost Planet 2. I played MW3 and enjoyed the experience, but the other 2, I just found rather boring. Once again, playing on the console got un-regular, and on the evenings where I really wanted to play something, I would usually end-up on an entirely different machine. I t was sort of a never-ending sad story for my PS3.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Infinity Ward - 2011)

Eventually, the penny dropped. One night, I was playing on Brütal Legend, a game I really like, but got to a point that I was not enjoying, and came to the conclusion that I came as far as I could. I tried looking at my other games, and choosing one to play, but came to the stark realization, that for a lot of them, games that I really liked such as Brütal Legend, Killzone 2 and even Far Cry 3 (a game I have considered for a long time as one of my top favourites), it was clear that I did not want to play them again, well not at least for a long time, time for them to get interesting, time for me to forget something about them to keep them fresh, because right now, fresh they weren’t. It was there that I decided to trade them in. I cycled through the games I had, kept ones I was sure of keeping at least for now, like Mortal Kombat 9, Killzone 3 and Fairytale Fights, but got rid of the games I have mentioned above, including those I got back in July, and some others I had got down the line.

Fairytale Fights (Playlogic Entertainment - 2009)

Pretty much the following day, while on break from my time working at Barnardo’s shop, I popped into CEX across the road, chose a few games for possible purchase, and traded in my old ones. It was a hard decision to trade in games I loved, but I thought I could buy them again down the line if I wanted too. So yes, I traded in those games, got an alright price for them, chose a game, took it to the desk where I was told it had gone down in price, so I got an additional one too. I also went into GAME where I got an additional game for just 99p. I was both Happy and Excited, I was about to play games I had not played at all. One was a game I had known about since it was first released back in 2009, while the other 2 I had known about for a while but had not considered buying until near that time. But I was happy and really excited to try out something new. Those games were; Haze, Blur and Dishonored.

Dishonoured

There was still a bit of an issue though. While I may have had cool new games to play, I was still unsure about a game I kept. I decided to keep ModNation Racers, a quirky and very fun racing game that was something of Sony’s attempt at making their own version of Mario Kart, which actually worked; quite brilliantly. I sort of decided to keep it as it could be a good multiplayer game to have, despite the fact that I hardly ever play online multiplayer. I decided to keep it as more a split screen multiplayer game. Anyway, one thing that made the game really work for me was the single player campaign and story, which was very in-depth and thrilling from scene to scene. Since completing that part though, repeating the campaign was just so easy, and out of everything about the game, it was the campaign that really stood out for me. So by deciding to keep it, I decided to make it fun again, by deleting all my data on the console. As a result, the story was fun but challenging again, however, due to the deletion, the game kept getting interrupted by a screen demanding I do an update. It was of course an option rather than a demand to be fair, but when I would click cancel, another would pop up less than 5 minutes later. Having had enough over the years of constant updates on the console and its games; I decided to switch the console’s internet access off. The decision and the action of doing such a thing were actually very easy to come to, and do. At the time I did not regret it, and don’t now. Turning it online hasn’t really been of any advantage for me in the first place other to play on MAG. The only thing that was a bit annoying was that I lost some vehicle bodies in ModNation Racers, but apart from that, have had no issues with games, the console, nor any annoying screens telling me that there is an update required. For the first time in a long time, the console is more or less at a stage with which I am more than happy with it. I can now just play games on it and not have to worry about additional issues.

Since then, I have been happily playing on my games. So far I have been playing the story/campaign mode in ModNation Racers, played a few levels of Haze, and am some distance into Dishonoured, which I am really enjoying. Have yet to play Blur, but am sure will get round to it sooner or later, well more sooner than I was before getting it. I don’t know what will happen after I complete those games, whether I’ll keep them or trade them in, but now, am happier than I was before, and am more up for game trading than I was before, because without doing it, the PS3 in my room would be a lot more dustier now than it was less than a couple of months ago.

My PS3 Games (at the moment)

GENEPOOL (Did you notice the dust claw marks on my PS3?)





Top 5 F-Zero Cars/Racers/Vehicles

3 02 2016

F-Zero GX Race

I love F-Zero. My introduction to the series began very early into my ownership of a Nintendo 64 when my Mam treated me to a game, for which I chose F-Zero X. To begin with I was alright, and wanted to be a bit sillier than play it to the full, but when I really got into it, I really enjoyed it. Definitely one of the standout games for me on that console. I then followed it up with F-Zero GX on the GameCube, which also happened to be my favourite game on that console. It’s a game I continue to play and enjoy to this day.

 F-Zero GX

For anybody currently wondering what on earth I am talking about, well, F-Zero is a futuristic video game series from Nintendo. It involves anti-gravity vehicles racing around futuristic locations. The series was a big hit from the start, spawning numerous sequels and was a base inspiration for the Wipeout series on PlayStation. The reason for me doing a post on it is due to me just finding out about Fast Racing Neo, a new video game for the Wii U, which from first glance to me looks a lot like F-Zero. Instead of going into it and trying to find similarities, I thought I would do a post on my favourite vehicles from the game series. This list is mostly based on GX (just thought I should point that out), but that is the one where I have the most experience of the vehicles and the series. Anyway, here are my Top 5 Favourite Vehicles/Cars/Racers from F-Zero (GX).

Wild Goose

5. Wild Goose (Pico) – When I first played F-Zero X, Wildgoose stood out to me for one big reason, because it was Green. Upon realising that cars can change colour, I discovered other Green Cars, however I always had an affinity with Wild Goose for that reason. Upon beginning GX, and having to start from scratch unlocking new vehicles; while the magazines (such as CUBE) suggested using Fire Stingray, I went back to Wild Goose, and for most of the time when I was racing to earn points to unlock cars, I would pretty much always use Wild Goose. Since then the affinity I have had with this vehicle has made it one of my favourites…..and also because it’s a very reliable and easy to control machine…most of the time.

Magic Seagull

4. Magic Seagull (Spade) – When I began to unlock new vehicles and try out new things, I always liked to try out vehicles that had a certain look. The look of something streamlined, and from pure looks looked fast; Vehicles that looked like Planes (or mostly) Jet Fighters. I just thought at the time that in a game where all the cars float off the ground, that something that looks more like it was designed for flying might be an advantage (as such this is one of at least two vehicles in this list that fall into it for that reasoning). Anyway, one of the ones I kept returning to was Magic Seagull. It has this sleek-looking design, with pointed out front wings, and three boosters out the back. It’s maybe not the coolest looking vehicles, or maybe the most beautiful, but it is one of the sleekest, and one of the coolest when under power. It’s also very easy to control, especially on maps that involved curved rounds, and by that I don’t mean they have turns in them.

Rainbow Phoenix

3. Rainbow Phoenix (Phoenix) – One of the most beautiful racers in the game by far. Rainbow phoenix is as true to its name more than any other vehicle (ok Magic Seagull does look a lot like a Seagull). The charm and love for this vehicle comes in what it can do. When changing colours, the shading is not necessarily mat or plain, but rather elegant and bright. The colouring of the vehicle is as it says, a rainbow, and they are nice and bright and very beautiful. While black may be unavailable, a bright Green, Blue, Yellow and Red more than make up for that, even surpassing it. The other side to the vehicle is in its look and one additional feature. The body is shaped like a bird, much like a phoenix, and has two booster engines at the back, like fleet of flames when passing bystanders (although you don’t get to see that). But the additional thing is something no other vehicle has in the game. When you initiate a boost (something all vehicles can do), the wings on the side of the vehicle sprout out. That is as in the fold out from an angular position to a more horizontal position with the bird like wings. It’s a nice additional feature that makes this racer stand out more than others.

Hyper Speeder

2. Hyper Speeder (Beastman) – Upon deciding that Airplane/Jet Fighter based aircraft might have an advantage over others, I immediately started using Hyper Speeder, because if it’s a Jet Fighter you want, what not better than the vehicle that best resembles one (even though it has no wings)? Hyper Speeder is as its name suggests a very fast car. With most vehicles it more comes down to the skill of the driver than the performance of the vehicle, and Hyper Speeder can be a hard one to control due to its enormous length. Time turns can become perilous, however, when driven to near perfection, it is one of the best. I especially look forward to sections of track which are like flying through the air, because then there is a certain level of actually feeling like I am flying a jet fighter. Apart from all those things though, it is a very cool vehicle to look at and race with.

Green Panther

1. Green Panther (Antonio Guster) – Out of all the vehicles I have played with, I think I have used Green Panther the most. It is a very cool car. It’s easy to control, and doesn’t lose control all that easy, it is very durable and can take quite a few big hits before getting into trouble, its fast either from simple acceleration or boost speed, and it has this rather cool paint job, a military camouflage like colouring, which even comes in a cool purple configuration. It’s hard to say why exactly I prefer this one, other than in a race, it is the best one I have used, and continue to use due to how easy it is to control, and how reliable it is. No matter Win or Lose, it always performs, and is always both cool to look at and fun to play with.

GENEPOOL





Timeline Of An Empire

9 12 2015

Age of Empires 2

I recently picked up a copy of Age of Empires II HD on Steam. Upon hearing that many of you are probably thinking: “What, have you only just played it” or along those lines anyway (or possibly even; “What is Age of Empires II HD on Steam? Well, click the above links). No, it is not the first time I have played Age of Empires II. It must have been when it was first released that I played it for the first time. I remember when it first came through and on that evening playing the tutorial mode with my Dad, and my Dad noting the bad attempt of someone from America trying to do a Scottish accent. Anyway, I have played it before, but purchasing this copy on Steam marks the first time I have played this version of the game (which comes packed with previously unofficially unreleased extras), plus the first time in a long time I have played it. And it has been fun. I enjoy playing different skirmish games, attaining new trophies in Steam and just generally having fun playing this game again. I am not too fussed by playing the campaign mode, I played the Tutorial again a few weeks ago, and was so bored, but general Skirmish games I find rather fun. I also find it rather fun playing Empires that I did not necessarily use before like Byzantines and Franks as well as old favourites like the Japanese, Teutons and Koreans. My one hope at this time though is to hopefully have a multiplayer game of it at some point in the not too distant future.

AoE Score

Anyway, why am I talking about this game in the first place? Well, one thing I rather like about this game comes in the end of game stats, the ones that show you statistics of how the game went. Now I am not really all that fussed by Economy or Military stats, but what I am interested in is the Timeline functionality at the far right of the menu choices.

AoE Timeline 1

I like this feature because it features a very detailed colour coordinated graph showing how your empire in the game, and those of the other players fared, and these can be very detailed. Take the above picture for example. It shows the names of the players or AI, what army they were, when they advanced to certain stages, when there was a battle, when a Wonder was built and when a Wonder was destroyed. Doesn’t seem like all that much to gawp at I know, but looking at the way that colour can take over the chart is something in particular to behold.

AoE Timeline 2

When a certain colour/nation fills the chart more than any other, it shows who at that time the strongest empire was. These strengths of colour increase and decrease throughout all the way to the end of the game as it stands (so either as overall victory is achieved, or when someone decides to quit) come the end. Some of these colours of course begin to decrease down to a small-scale as the end draws near for that empire; however abdicating is simply not enough. I have found that even if a nation abdicates; i.e. Loses, the empire can still carry on, on the timeline even if it is just a small slither across the screen. This comes in the form of leaving their buildings and some villagers and ships alive and not destroy them when they give up. Thus to end an Empire outright, and take over the chart that little bit more, you will need to make sure there are no survivors, either people, ships, or buildings. This will cause that Empire to be wiped out and disappear altogether from that moment in time, similarly to real past ancient empires of this world.

AoE Economy

I know it’s something to do a weird post about, but it’s a nice little feature in the game that I wanted to point out and mention. You can be someone who ignores the impact of ancient empires, but something like this can show, at least in a fictional video game stance how powerful an empire can become, but similarly also how it can simply disappear and be forgotten, as other greater, mightier empires forge their own future, quashing competition in their stead.

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

GENEPOOL





A Poem On The Failures And Foibles Of Playing Rollercoaster Tycoon

2 12 2015

Rollercoaster Tycoon (Hasbro Interactive - 1999)

A couple of weeks ago; I wrote a poem in a Limerick format about the failures and foibles that can happen while playing the video game Rollercoaster Tycoon. So here it is. For a little more backstory; recently I have been replaying Rollercoaster Tycoon. I remember purchasing a copy of the game pretty much when it was first released in the 1990’s on the PC, but this copy is one that I purchased off GOG.com about 4 years ago. While playing it, some things happened to the customers in some of my parks that greatly affected my ability to win those levels. Though I should have grown out of and learned over the years that doing such things can cause issues for winning the game, I thought I would use that as inspiration for this little set of poems. They’re kind of bad (near Vogon Bad possibly), it was more a spur the moment kind of thing, kind of inspired by Jim and Yahtzee‘s Rhymedown Spectacular.

Anyway, Here is some Rollercoaster Tycoon inspired Poetry…..Enjoy.

RCT 2

I once built a monorail with a track of brown,

Thinking the exit was above the ground

Completely forgetting the math,

I forgot to build a path,

And as such everyone drowned.

RCT 3

I was in need of extra cash,

So I built a rollercoaster in a flash,

But I threw safety out the Window

And it was something I couldn’t undo,

And eventually it ended in a big crash.

RCT 1

Everyone was getting lost,

So I built a maze of paths at great cost,

Soon everyone got even more stuck,

So much so I would need to ship them out in a truck,

So I built a miniature railway (and even that didn’t solve the problem).

RCT 4

GENEPOOL (I know that last one did not end in a rhyme, but I ran out of ideas).








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