Tuesday, 15 April 2014

ME3: Extended Cut Analysis Part 8 (and Steve.)

Ah, finally finished the endings to ME3: EC.

The Rejection Ending.

This could've been the great redemption of the Bioware writing team. Just make a simple ending. The main game and EC can keep all their other-ending-nonsense. The Reject ending would be where Shepard shows the kids' illogic through basic explanation and evidence (i.e. EDI becoming a person and waxing philosophical, Legion's individuality and humanity, peace between Geth and Quarians, the constant defeating of AI throughout Shepard's career, having the Crucible as an emergency measure, etc.) Say "we'll take our chances with our own synthetics." The kid, being a supreme being of massive intellect and understanding, realizes he doesn't want to hurt people, and, knowing their Cycle of Destruction solution "won't work anymore", by their own admission, simply, goes, away.

Or, crank up the awesome:

To 11:

I should say something about the good Professor Drayfish, whose original articulate explanation (and current long, rambling ones) allowed many people to resonate with. I for one, see themes and endings as different things, and while it's good measure to resound the theme(s) at an ending, an ending, like any scene, can be about whatever the writer wants their ending to be about. Which to me, is what a theme is (Definition of a theme: what a story is about.) As per ME3's Catalyst reveal, it turns out the theme of survival vs. Space Gods is irrelevant, as the God of the Galaxy sees only "prepared" organics to be preserved, and their struggle with their synthetic children inevitable, and a dead end. That, too, is justifiable, and was only a minor theme in Mass Effect 1 (Shepard vs the Geth.) Unfortunately, the writing team simply didn't do it justice, as all can admit to. Especially using not one, but two Deus Ex Machinas.

Oh, and don't forget to Take Your Place in the STEEEVE!

Done by Generaal Lucas and Retrospective Introspective Videos, who were busy trying to put it together for me at the end of ME3:ECA8, I decided against it, as I am a heartless bastard. They, and a few others, are busy working on the Fixing ME3 series, which we're happily, slaving, lazily working over. Which will hopefully be my last series of Mass Effect related content I do for a long time.

So, if anyone wants to try their best Arnold or Walken impersonation, to the immortal STEEEVE! scene, now's your chance. I'd happily draw some attention to your talents, and conduct an interview with you on all your geeky, video gamey, or other interests.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Whereupon Mr. ME3V (Gerry Pugliese) can't take criticism.

Dear Mr. Gerry Pugliese,

Nowhere in my Analysis of ME3V -- an opinion of your enormous cybernetically enhanced flaming pile of fan fiction/general game re-design -- am I hyping myself up. I'm detailing how bad your ideas are. I do this for fun. In this case, the motivation to write such a piece was disgust. Actually, I can't go that far. Your work is so juvenile, so unintelligent, so ipso facto a regurgitated copy, in that you not only retained several of the problems in ME3, you actually made them worse. I could barely take it seriously as I skipped passed handfuls of pages just to stomach it, that someone -- anyone -- could not even think of the faults of something in order to fix that something, when doing a re-write.

I'm sorry, did you contact Kotaku to get attention on your glorified piece of fan-fiction-game-design, all for the purposes of landing a job, somewhere?
My blog post is second from the top. Hype!
How's that working out?

I'm sorry, how many editors actually looked at your work to make sure it was presentable to any reasonable Mass Effect fan? Or anyone who comprehends storytelling and/or game design? (Let's see...the Savant Class is tech, combat & biotic? With an amazing game breaking skill like "Obliterate:  Project a steady beam of energy that decimates any enemies in its path, even those behind cover.")

The Savant Class. Complete with two Omni-Blade claws...that shatter?
One would imagine, a writer, who makes fan fiction, and game design, would appreciate critical analysis, from another writer, who has made actual fan fiction/game design of the second in a series they themselves worked on*. "This is how I would've done it, because X." That doesn't make it right, good, or bad; it's just one interpretation. The same way I critiqued your work, and found X good, Y bad, and Z painfully, stupidly horrible.
*shameless self promotion.

The difference is:
1) I did it with others who were highly critical of each others' ideas.
2) We did it for fun.

So hey, Ger? I think you should get a job. Or get some of those friends who helped make this cacophony, ditch them creatively, and, go get some more and then do your own thing. Read some actual science fiction: Asimov, Banks, etc. Watch some Bab 5. Lay off the porn. Get someone who actually doesn't like your ideas. Then, see how the marketplace buys them.
Gerry also didn't take this seriously.
...or these.
That pretty much sums it up.

Because if you can't stand up to criticism, and disregard it because you think the critic is hyping up their own ego (?), then you have no business writing fan fiction, being an amateur game designer -- or any artist for that matter -- all for the hopes of getting a job. You spent the time to make it; I spent the time to read it. To summarize: it wasn't even a passably satisfactory re-write, if all you're doing is tweaking a pile of shit.

You didn't even fix the problems. You couldn't even get to the polishing stage.

I'm sorry, but it's very, very bad.

I gave you a gift, Ger. 'called my attention and intellect, on a topic I'm intimate with. It's better than most.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

BiowareWTF: Garrus Body Pillow (April Fools)

(That is one bouncy Add To Cart button.
Sadly, the comments section shows an interest in the product.)

Highly Overrated: Since when were characters in fiction overrated?

This is the story of League of Legends
StarduskLP recently showed me an article on IGN titled "GDC: 'Plot is Highly Overrated' in Games, Says Devs", a presentation by two people in the biz. Riot Games' Narrative Lead Tom Abernathy, and Microsoft Game Studios' Design Lead Richard Rouse III. They gave a presentation titled "Death to the Three Act-Structure."

I wasn't there. I didn't read the brief. I don't know their "extensive research" on the matter. But as soon as they say:
...that plot itself doesn’t resonate with a majority of players. Characters, on the other hand, do

There is a great disturbance in humanity. Or at least my brain.

1. Plots come from characters. You cannot remove one from the other. In data modeling, we call this a composition relationship. It would be like removing your heart and saying you are still a living human.

Now, this may tell us that game makers don't know this relationship, and haven't crafted particularly decent stories, but that doesn't mean we don't care for it. (See the comments section of that article.)

2. Riot Games' Narrative Lead. Riot Games has a Narrative Lead? Riot Games: the makers of League of Legends. Let that title sink in. How do you get this job, let alone there being Lead, implying there's Intermediate and Junior Narrative titles? What does Mr. Abernathy do all day? A game based on the genre called a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) where the narrative is nearly moot. (While I can argue there is a narrative to everything, that is not the point of these kinds of games, even in DOTA.) If he's using his amazing stats of 30 million+ players, about LoL, how can they appreciate LoL's narrative? What, the Journal of Justice thing that no one reads? (And why that exists, I cannot say.) That's like making a sci-fi porn flick and stating how "studies show us that no one cares about our special effects."

Everyone I've talked to (in person) about a stand alone, single player, LoL game based on their favorite character(s) would love to play it. Riot Games must have no personal idea how important the animation, voice acting and personalized skins (and the idle joke/dances) associate ourselves into these games, and how we identify ourselves into such characters. They certainly have the resources (and inklings of lore) to do, what, 1 game based on Teemo Chogath? Doubt doing so would take away from their cash cow.

3. Richard Rouse III, who made 7 games, including The Suffering & its sequel, were psychological horror video games where Choices Matter. Players can import their save using 3 different morality status (good/neutral/bad) that determined the transformation of their monster form and their attacks, which eventually determines what kind of ending players get. Confronting ones nemesis, MPD, orphan child suffering, and a general journey of self-discovery determined through game play, are a few of the themes present.

If he got stats from that kind of game and came to that conclusion? Game Over Man: humanity is doomed.
“So the question is,” he (Rouse) later continued, “how much does the third act pay off, that you’re putting so much work into, as you’re trying to structure your plot, intricately. How much does that matter, when the fact is that a majority (2/3rds) of your players are never even going to see it?”
I don't know, Rouse. Do you want to ship unfinished games, and just do some random game play end boss scene because "plots don't matter"? For the people who actually care, yes; Yes, we want you to finish your games. Properly. We want you to put your soul into everything, not just the game mechanics. If you got a story, write and produce it properly.

We may not be the other 2/3rds who don't finish your games (if you can call his 1998 Centipede or Drakan: The Ancients' Gates worth going through.) But for God's sake man: if you bother to put a character with a plot and an arc in your potentially uninspired shooter series that won't end, you do it right, or not at all; how one should with everything in life.