Tag: Games

‘A Gift to Humanity’

 

If we are to be unified, then we must be able and willing to share life. Bill Whittle and company offer a timely reminder of the tremendous good that social media can achieve when people are free to associate across boundaries and to enjoy life together as fellows.

Join Jim and Greg for your Friday martinis! After another week of violence in the streets, Democrats are finally starting to pay attention to the issue after failing to mention it at all at their convention.  Would stronger statements from Biden be credible and would they get the chaos to stop? They also discuss President Trump’s convention speech and why the length and delivery made it less effective. And while certainly not gamers, they get a kick out of the chance to conduct a clandestine operation on orders from President Reagan – which is part of the latest “Call of Duty.”

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Many people find semantics boring. But I never did. An ongoing discussion in Ricochet’s Gamers and Geeks group about the definition of roleplaying games (RPGs) reminds me of my philosophy professor’s lesson on semantics. When trying to clearly identify what a thing is, identifying what it is not can be helpful. Our teacher challenged us […]

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Recently the comment was made that if Ricochet ends, we won’t be figuring out who was the winner, and my thought was “Well not with that attitude it isn’t.” I followed that up with some more thoughts about how I would go about determining who is in fact winning Ricochet, and this post is the […]

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Gathering for a Quarter Century

 

Sunday marks a very important anniversary for me and the world: the 25th anniversary of the release of Magic: The Gathering. 

If somehow you don’t know, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game. Rather than a set box, like Monopoly or Uno, which have a fixed deck of game cards, Magic: The Gathering cards come in randomized packs, like baseball cards, and then players build a deck of cards to play with. Different players can and usually do have different decks.

Magic actually originated the concept of a trading card game, but if you’ve ever seen kids with Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, it’s the same concept. I like to tell people that Magic is like Yu-Gi-Oh! for adults, but really, people of any age can play. (Basically, if someone can read and do basic math, they can play Magic.)

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I have brothers. One is less than two years older than I am, and when we were boys, we spent a lot of time together. It wasn’t necessarily that either of us wanted to spend time together, but we shared a room, and some days were not great for leaving the house. We did have […]

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About a year ago I made a post based on a game Collider uses on its youtube channel called “Save or kill.” The premise is that you are presented with two icons, both threatened with being wiped from existence forever, and must choose which of the two to save; you cannot save both. The game works best when […]

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The dark cloud that the Orlando massacre has cast over all other news will not be lifted anytime soon. So please allow me to summarize events of the E3 game industry convention as promised. Such frivolity might seem amiss under the circumstances. But life is always a chaotic jumble of anger, sadness, and joy; never without […]

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Elite: Dangerous is a space simulation game in which players pilot ships to mine and trade, explore the galaxy, police smugglers and pirates, or become smugglers and pirates. It includes plenty of NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) operated by artificial intelligence to compete with players.  From Julian Benson at Kotaku UK:  Preview Open

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I haven’t been following development of Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Sensua’s Sacrifice for PC and PS4. But this developer diary (common in game marketing) offers a brief and interesting glimpse into how various elements of a triple-A video game are produced. You can see how a combination of game engines and film making techniques have facilitated […]

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Electronic Art’s Game Changer

 

Frostbite_engine_logo_2016During this week’s conference call for investors in Electronic Arts (EA) — one of the world’s largest publishers of video games, from phone apps to console blockbusters — the company announced that its development subsidiaries are all uniting in use of its propietary Frostbite game engine. This could be another big step in the evolution of the $90B game industry.

What is a game engine? In short, it’s a software foundation and toolset for building video games. From graphics and audio rendering, to physics simulations and artificial intelligence, the “engine” provides basic code (increasingly, advanced code as well) that streamlines the creative work of game design. It automates complex processes and ensures that they cooperate with each other without exceeding delegated resources.

The newest version of the Frostbite engine will probably be revealed soon. Here is a demonstration of the old version.

The Upside of Reality

 
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I can’t wait to show my folks the virtual pictures!

Imagine that, years from now, Virtual Reality hardware and simulations have advanced to a point where giant, richly-detailed virtual worlds — each with seemingly limitless potential for experience and interaction — are possible. Imagine, for example, deciding to spend a few hours of your first day of vacation in such a simulated world. Then, finding it a genuinely thrilling experience, you return there on every subsequent day of that vacation.

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In the wake of Justice Scalia’s death, the next week is bound to be full of trepidation and anger. So here’s something frivolous and upbeat to at least begin the week from a kinder frame of mind.  Artistry in video games can take many forms. Occasionally, a game is made that emphasizes beauty, joy, and […]

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Why Gamers Can’t Be Politicians

 

gears-of-war-3-groupAs I’m forced to point out from time to time, nobody complains about hours wasted on recreation like watching sports (and reading about sports, and talking about sports, and dreaming …) or watching TV. Many responsible adults devote entire weekends to such activities but are not thought childish or lazy for it.

Affluence has enabled people to regain the abundant time for leisure that primitive hunters enjoyed before the rise of agrarian and industrial societies. In our society, video games are a normal activity of Generation X — respectable in moderation — but have yet to gain the respectability of being practiced by elders.

Yes, there remains a stigma, in some settings, against happily admitting one plays video games (or “interactive media,” as many developers prefer, to indicate the inclusion of serious themes). But that’s not why no avid gamer will be elected to high public office anytime soon.

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Progressives have often been ridiculed on Ricochet for emphasizing feelings over actions, intentions over results. What good is a hashtag against terrorism or colored ribbons against a disease? Be serious!  But must we always be serious about serious problems? If sympathetic expressions are cheap and easily dismissed, why are emotionally detached jokes not dismissed with […]

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When I was 13 years old I bought this game, Battle of the Bulge, by Avalon Hill. It began a dozen-year romance with board wargames. The game claimed to be a simulation of the Battle of the Bulge. You could play the Allied commander or the German commander and change history – either way. The […]

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