Kingdom Come Deliverance- Alpha Goes Live On Steam

Kingdom Come Deliverance is a first-person, open world, realistic RPG set in Medieval Europe in a time of upheaval and strife.   The game is being developed by Warhorse studio which was founded in 2011 by Dan Vavra, designer of Mafia and Mafia 2, and Martin Klima (Original War, UFO trilogy).

On October 23, 2014 Warhorse studios decided to release the alpha “Act I” version of the game.   While more a demo level than an alpha the release has many backers excited and so far reviews are fairly positive.  Want to access the alpha?  Well it’s going to cost you a hefty $45 but will lock you in for the alpha, updates, and then the final release.

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Having played the alpha I have no regrets making the $45 investment.   Based on the visuals, level of detail, solid game mechanics (i.e. movement, frame rate, etc.) and depth of the development team I am very optimistic this game is going to deliver.

First Impressions of Depth- Sharks vs Divers Equals Crazy Fun

Ever have the conversation with your gaming buddies that started out with this question- “Hey if you were going to make a game what you make?”  Normally what followed is crazy ideas that sounded really fun but not realistic in today’s gaming scene.   One of the ideas that would have fit in that scenario is multiplayer where you could be a Great White shark and take on scuba divers.   Multiplayer carnage Great Whites vs Scuba Divers….never going to happen right?   Well think again my gaming buddies because on November 3, 2014 DEPTH goes live on Steam!  

What started out as a mod for Unreal Tournament 3 back in 2009 later evolved into a stand alone game on Epic’s UDK.   The development team floundered with the game until 2013 when they struck a partnership with Digital Confectioners (experienced Unreal Engine developers out of New Zealand) .  The end result was vision to create a fast-paced aggressive action, and asymmetrical multiplayer experience.

Okay that sounds great but did they deliver?  Well today I had the opportunity to jump on the beta version with gaming buddy JMLitghart and I will sum it up with two words- INSANE FUN!   While it was blast playing both as the shark and the diver we both agreed the game really shines when playing as the diver.   They did a fantastic job with the environment and the sounds and you find yourself in panic mode most of the match.   This is brilliant old school fun and I’m really glad someone took this from “Hey I have a crazy idea for a game” to reality.

Definitely a thumbs up for Depth….anybody seen my right leg?

Homebrew Vehicle Sandbox- Sneak Peak at Steam Version

HomebrewSo the developers for Homebrew were kind enough to share with me an updated version that includes many of the features that will be present when it releases on Steam in November 2014.   I already enjoyed the previous version of Homebrew but this next update has some features that just takes the game to the next level.

While this is a long video it does a pretty good job of covering the new updates and you get a chance to see some of my new vehicles- “Oh Geez!” and “Mars Explorer.”

Here is another great example of why I like Indie/Mod games- The games are creative, fun, and the developers are accessible and interested in their communities feedback.

Heroes & Generals- Shake “The Shadow” Has Arrived

Well what I have worked for so long has finally arrived….shake “The Shadow” will be appearing on the battlefields of H&G at last!  Stay tuned for some serious sniping videos on H&G….cheers!

Gold Ghillie & Gold Camouflaged…goodbye killcam!!

(and yes I did spend a little money….what can I say!)

Squad- New Middle East Tactical Shooter

squad_usarmyProject Reality has been a fairly successful mod for Battlefield 2 making it’s debut in July of 2004.  The intent was to take a retail game that has a solid foundation and increasing the realism level to compliment the game engine.  However, it appears the developers new the engine they were working with was getting outdated.   Along comes the announcement they would be working on a new standalone game- Project Reality 2.  This got many Project Reality fans excited especially as it is being built on CryEngine3.  Things seem to be falling in place until a recent announcement may indicate troubles in the PR2 camp.

On October 10, 2014 a video was released for a game in early production called the Squad.  On their site they state the following-

First to emphasize the seriousness of the project, I would like to highlight the list of our developers, almost all of whom are either current or former PR:BF2 developers.

Squad will be a tactical military game built from the ground up as a cooperative shooter, where high levels of teamwork and communication are supported, encouraged, and integral to gameplay. Complementary with that focus, we are seeking to bridge the gap between arcade shooters like the Call of Duty and Battlefield series, and military simulations like ARMA.

So how will Squad be different than PR2?  Well according to the dev team the biggest differences are-

Squad will be commercial: Our goal from the very start has been to have a commercial game studio with both full time and freelance developers who are able to make assets and be compensated for their effort. As a part of this we will encourage talented members of the community to step up and be a part of this process. By helping to support developers financially using the game’s revenue, we believe we will be able to take the scope and quality of the game to a more serious level.
 
Squad will be released on Epic’s Unreal Engine 4: We firmly believe UE4 is the best engine for the job and it’s capabilities are growing rapidly. We began laying the groundwork for this project before UE4 was released, and in all honestly lucked out with how fantastic of a deal it turned out to be for indie game studios. With a ground breaking subscription model, low royalty fee, source code access, network oriented design, and a huge base of support we really feel there will be few limits on our ability to execute the vision we have for Squad.
 
Squad will use crowdfunding: One major component of our development strategy is the use of a Kickstarter campaign to generate a seed fund supporting the expansion of full time development. Doing so will allow us to ramp up development prior to open alpha, and support full time developers, purchase art assets, cover our server costs, and handle the business related aspects of our game studio’s creation. The more successful such a campaign is, the longer we will be able to flesh out the game without the need for revenue, and thus the longer we can build the community by keeping the game free.


It will be interesting to see how this impacts the PR2 development team and will this turn into a rivalry situation.  For those of us who may enjoy these types of shooters I’m hoping both can put together something successful and support one another.

Is the more room in the tactical shooter market and do you think the Project Reality 2 will suffer and does the Squad have a chance?

Only time will tell…let’s hope for the best.

The First Full Game I Made In 1985- Start of Gaming

imagesRL3P7C3ZAlright it’s 1985 (yeah I’m an old fart) and I’m sitting in my advanced programing class working on my final.   We had to create a game that would not only be played/tested by our teacher but classmates as well.   Now I was not your typical computer geek.   I was more of your typical jock who secretly took computer programming and snuck up to the PC lab at lunch because part of me was a geek…shhh don’t tell anyone!

There we sat in front of our Commodore 64’s, floppy disks whirring, data beeping, and me asking the talented “real geeks” for help on poke and peek addresses.   While I may not have been the strongest programmer I definitely had an imagination and could think of creative ways to achieve a gaming outcome even if I was mathematically challenged.   This time period was the beginning of gaming in my opinion and we were just at the tip of the iceberg.  None of us knew almost 30 years later gaming would be a multibillion dollar industry.  While we did help one another, we kept our programming secrets close to our chests as we quietly but ferociously competed to be top dog.

While others went for the visuals (yes there were visuals back then) I went more for immersion and story.   My game would be an adventure game that forced you to make decisions based on narrative interactions.   If I remember correctly I chose Advance Basic as my language (new about 4 languages) and I dove in head first.   Because it was a narrative driven adventure I ended up with many, many, many pages of programming and so many loops I started to go a little crazy.   I learned quickly how a “bug” could ruin your day and how one small change could leave you dumbfounded and pulling your hair out.   So with some technical support from a couple of my very smart geek buddies (I promised to introduce them to some girls :), many hours of work, and the determination to make a game that stood out I eventually hit save for the final time.

Atari_XL_Euklid_basSo how did it turn out?  Well let me describe how it worked.   Once you typed in “run” in DOS the screen would go black and you would be prompted by a sentence.  Below the sentence would be several options to select from.  Similar concept you see in RPG’s today but without the fancy eye candy.   Based on your selection you would be taken down various paths all with different outcomes.   Certain selections would activate an emergent situation that include an alarming statement “Your being attacked by rats!!!” accompanied by some horrendous sound.  You would only have a couple seconds to decide what to do…react to slow or pick the wrong response and it was lights out.   Every once in awhile I would sprinkle in some animations based on what you selected but they were pretty crude compared to today’s standards.   Each time you played my adventure game it would be a new experience based on how you responded to the challenges and puzzles in front of you.  I wish I could remember the name and my grade but hey…I’m old remember.

Fast forward 25 plus years and I’m still in love with PC’s and gaming.   The PC, similar to this blank sheet in front of me, is an instrument that can be used to express yourself.   While my programming days are over I still enjoy dabbling on the various gaming engines (making maps), doing narrative videos, and of course getting into the action with your gaming buddies.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever lose interest or stop….

Cheers!

theHunter- Shakes 1st Impressions

A Steam buddy of mine convinced me to try out the demo for theHunter and at first I was a little skeptical as I am not normally into the hunting games.   But hell it’s a demo so I can always hit delete if I need to.   theHunter is developed by Avalanche Studios which brought us Just Cause and currently are working on Mad Max.

The Hunter Online_1Alright so soon as I get in the game the first thing that tightens my hunting britches is the scenery/graphics….wholly Batman!  The game is absolutely beautiful looking with some of the best draw distance, foliage, and lighting I have seen in an open world game.   The maps are very large and you truly get the sense you are out in the wilderness especially when you sprinkle in ambient sounds and a day cycle (goes from morning to evening).  Game mechanics were solid and no issues with performance even with everything maxed out on my GTX780.

As there is multiplayer (coop) in the game it was pretty quick to learn the basics from my buddy next to me.   Walking with a couple buddies through the woods not only was intense but hilarious as we kept saying…”You hear that!?”   You can join public servers, create your own server, and even choose to make your server private for you and your hunting buddies.

Okay so in addition to the graphics the game really shines if your into a “slow burn” game that requires stealth, cunning, and most of all patience.  The game reminds me a lot of Vegas.   As your walking your mumbling…”Maybe over the next ridge…around that tree…” and then you stumble across your first tracks (just got 3 cherries!).   Now you start stalking the critter and you can hear your breathing change and you even talk a little quieter to your buddies.   The intensity builds until as you crest the hill or round the bend there in front of you is the jackpot…8 point standing 100 feet away (just had two 7’s drop on the dollar machine).   You bring up the scope and squeeze off a round and drop it like a sack of potatoes….JACKPOT BABY!!   All the walking, tracking, watching, and listening end a climactic shot that rings out through the forest….damn I need a cigarette.

Now comes the rub that some have complained about…the pay scheme.  First off there is some confusion about this game.  It is not a free to play game.  There are several packages you can purchase and/or you can play the free demo (which I am) forever.   In the demo you can go on all of the different lands but you basically can only hunt Mule Deer.  The packages are fairly reasonable and range from $9.99 to $49.99.  You can go HERE to break down on all the packages, what they get you, and how long they each last.   Now as I state in my video below I have spent more than $49.99 on supposedly free to play games so to be honest I don’t have an issue with their approach to getting paid for their work.  The looks and runs great and it not only is intense to go on these hunting expeditions but it’s even more fun with seven other hunting buddies.   I will be purchasing one of the packages just not sure which one yet…let’s hunt some wild pigs…yip yip yip!

Cheers!