Uncompetative Comments

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  • BioShock creator Ken Levine teases new first-person sci-fi project

  • Uncompetative 29/01/2015

    He should get his procedurally generative 'writer' to name his studio. Reply 0
  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Havoc review

  • Uncompetative 29/01/2015

    I've yet to have Drift come up, but I was disappointed by these maps. Reply -4
  • Titanfall and Season Pass bundle just £10 on Xbox this week

  • Uncompetative 28/01/2015


    Judder, screen tearing, dumb bots that are no threat whatsoever and when the Titans finally drop they sprint around the map, turn too fast and get taken down in seconds by soldiers jumping on their backs and emptying a clip of ammo into their Humpty Dumpty egg shells.

    It isn't worth £10.
    Reply -5
  • Unreal Engine 4 tech demo looks unnervingly realistic

  • Uncompetative 27/01/2015


    Red doesn't like being called 'Scar'.
    Reply +1
  • Valve's economist is the new finance minister of Greece

  • Uncompetative 27/01/2015

    I love him! Why can't he be the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer. Reply 0
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 review

  • Uncompetative 24/01/2015

    I've been reading these PC graphics card benchmarks articles for DECADES and have yet to see a card manage 1080p60. Quite why the Master Race push the detail and post-processing so hard at the expense of a stable smooth framerate is a mystery to me, they could quite easily get 1080p60 if they weren't constantly pushing their game's engines to cough up a slideshow of glorious bullshots. Reply -12
  • David Goldfarb on: The favourite thing

  • Uncompetative 24/01/2015

    A cat seeing a scarf on a windowsill, just out of reach, wonders if its bunched muscles can propel it high enough and far enough to snag the fuzzy trailing strands with one of its claws. Maybe the cat thinks something as formal as, "What if all the cat treats in the world will fall down if I get that scarf?" or maybe not. I'm not a cat telepath.
    The domesticated cat is basically still a kitten. Kittens have evolved an instinct for play to master the necessary hunting skills when fending for themselves in the wild away from the safety of their mother - there are none of these anthropomorphised abstract hypotheses you choose to project onto them and the reason they are not killers is that we keep feeding them so they get fat and lazy.
    Reply 0
  • So, what do you actually do in No Man's Sky?

  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015


    is my procedurally generated universe the same for me as it is for other players?

    However, unless Hello Games uploads every modification to the terrain each player makes to their ever lengthening save game hosted on Sony's always-on server and then ensures all players synchronize with these differences as they enter the same solar system then... No.

    Personally, I think it will feel like everyone is in the same galaxy even though they might find themselves on the same planet as a friend yet be unable to find them because that friend got into that particular solar system when it was "full up" of other random unidentified players and found his Hyperspace Drive took him into an 'identical' parallel universe minus his friend and all the damage he had historically done to the terrain (which hadn't been forgotten about on the grounds of neither being significant or trival, but recent).

    I know this aspect frustrates many who were led to assume (by Sean Murray's woollyness) that this was a full-blown persistent MMO in which they could join up with friends, or at least make new friends, and stick together in a group as they went around committing acts of piracy against noobs - ignoring the fact that this would be horrendously uneconomic given the high cost of fuel and sparcity of PvP encounters at the outer rim where all the new players would spawn. However, Sean Murray has suggested that there is a cap on just how many players can be in a solar system, so it's more like Journey, Dark Souls, Watch_Dogs in terms of its PvP being between 1v1 and 6 randoms in a 'potential' deathmatch, or just passing each other assuming each other are just AI and not the focus of the game which is to cultivate a sense of hostile alien isolation.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @Fox-2076 This may help clear things up:

    Reply +3
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @PirateRoberts What, like Elite?

    Reply +3
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @Havalynii Funny you should mention SC, but as of last night my opinion of it has changed a lot... I was very sceptical, but now seeing the quality of the beta in terms of presentation (if not stability, just yet), I was forced to admit that Roberts had made a good space dogfight if nothing else, with lots of manoeuvrability for players to master and equipment to geek over. I don't much care for the boundaries to the simulation players encounter, but I have gone from thinking this is a con to just having concerns about how they will integrate all of their many separately developed modules as the project matures whilst retaining balance.

    Action starts here if you want to skip intro:

    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    So what exactly do you do, i got about halfway down the article and no answer had been given and can't be arsed reading anymore.
    From what I have read No Man's Sky is a mix of the following:

    Elite: Dangerous without the realism.
    DayZ without the zombies.
    Journey without the scarves.
    Reply -2
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @arty They don't need to release a demo as you can just check out Twitch.tv for the many livestreams there will be. Reply +1
  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @berkeleyrader These links should answer all of your questions:




    Note: the pop-up is very evident when Sean Murray starts flying too fast for the Procedural Generation to keep up, saying that you would never get to fly that fast in the actual game. I think that there will be slight fade-in, but very little to no pop-up in the final build even at the desired 60fps Hello Games is aiming for with them either reducing the resolution below HD or lowering the maximum velocity of your ship - something that would address complaints I have heard from many people about how it lets the player fly into space too quickly as if the atmosphere had no depth to it, whilst they ignore the fact that if the neighboring moon was really that close the tidal effects would be causing biome destroying tsunamis monthly. So, due to the time pressure of a trailer these demos have probably had your ship go faster than it will go in the final game - I expect it to be about 75% of its current maximum velocity when flying through an atmosphere.
    Reply +4
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection's latest update detailed

  • Uncompetative 22/01/2015

    @TPoppaPuff Little known Destiny fact: Shotguns and Sniper Rifles were originally Heavy Weapons. Reply -1
  • Digital Foundry: Hands-on with the Evolve beta

  • Uncompetative 21/01/2015

    900p30 is a bit pathetic. Reply +20
  • GOG Star Wars splurge includes X-Wing Alliance

  • Uncompetative 20/01/2015

    @bafford Watch Twitch.tv and donate! Reply 0
  • Elite Dangerous guide

  • Uncompetative 19/01/2015


    Would you describe you ideal space game?
    Reply -1
  • Sid Meier's Starships announced for PC, Mac, iPad

  • Uncompetative 19/01/2015

    In space no one can hear you yawn. Reply -1
  • Driveclub's free Japan DLC available now via 3.33GB update

  • Uncompetative 19/01/2015

    Enjoyed this new stuff this afternoon. Very pretty. Reply +3
  • Rich Stanton on: Cheesing Destiny

  • Uncompetative 18/01/2015

    I can't believe no one has posted this already...
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 18/01/2015

    Cheesing - verb - Finding glitches or finding an easy way to beat a game. A hole in the game like a hole on cheese.

    All I can conclude is that Destiny continues to be compulsive using the flashing colours, sounds and occasional rewards of a Fruit Machine with Activision giving us just enough encouragement to feel that we are not wasting our lives on a vacuous feedback loop, but never enough to feel sated as they find yet more devious strategies to cultivate our hunger.
    Reply +1
  • Alienware Alpha review

  • Uncompetative 17/01/2015

    A bit pricey, but I would rather have a Webhallen as my Steam Machine.
    Reply 0
  • Sony offering refunds on H1Z1's alpha following complaints about "P2W" micro-transactions

  • Uncompetative 17/01/2015

    This game is so dumb it has trees growing out of a tarmac road. Reply -17
  • The PlayBox is a PS4 and Xbox One combined in a single laptop

  • Uncompetative 14/01/2015

    I've got a 36ONE.

    360 plugged into HDMI IN of my ONE.
    Alright for Skyrim, too laggy for Black Ops.

    I still think the software drought in the next-gen's first year would have been greatly helped either by hardware backwards-compatibility, or some recompilation of fan favourites just for the convenience of being able to launch them - I wouldn't have minded if they hadn't been in HD.
    Reply +2
  • Nintendo experimenting with free-to-play, cross-buy for Mario and Pokémon spin-offs

  • Uncompetative 14/01/2015

    Looks like a lot of fun. Now... nobody download this. Reply +1
  • Xbox One gets tile transparency with new update

  • Uncompetative 14/01/2015

    Someone needs to replace their controller's battery (again). Reply -8
  • Microsoft announces Forza Motorsport 6 for Xbox One

  • Uncompetative 13/01/2015


    Could you expand on why you do not want to see Drivatars, as I felt that was the greatest innovation to ever hit the racing genre?
    Reply +3
  • Xbox One Evolve pre-purchase unlocks characters you'd otherwise have to grind for

  • Uncompetative 12/01/2015

    How much to permanently avoid this crap? Reply +1
  • Make something that makes something: Inside the Procedural Generation Jam

  • Uncompetative 12/01/2015


    It seems that I'm the only one commenting...

    Anyway, UGC can be based on PG and PGC can incorporate UGC - e.g. the Halo 3 Forge is a good example of a user friendly tool that allows that FPS's community to mod its PvP arenas: add scenery and place spawn points for items and players, then tweak a few underlying rules of the chosen gametype to make something unique. People vote on the maps that they prefer and teams of creators playtest their submission to ensure it lacks spawn traps and has sufficient cover and a mix of encounters due to the placement of its weapons and vehicles.

    In theory, the geometry of the scenic objects could be manipulated: stretched, deformed. Pioneers were already "phasing" objects into each other before Halo: Reach made it trivially easy. You couldn't change the actual terrain, other than by sinking objects into it, but Far Cry 2's Map Editor supported all of that:

    It doesn't require much imagination to see how a 'tile' of UGC could be blended at the edges into the surrounding PG terrain of a much larger landscape.

    EDIT: The reason anyone would want to do this is because it is very hard to use PG to create decent PvP maps for a FPS. I know that with Mr Cook's A Puzzling Present he managed to PG the levels for a platformer, but I would argue that the addition of an extra dimension means that human designers are far superior at ensuring a map has interesting 'flow', sightlines and variety of ranged encounters compared to those solely created by automatic means.

    Also, check Adaptive Quake whose description contains the phrase "Some levels will be really fun, whereas others might be quite bad".

    No Man's Sky animates the skeletons of a set of blueprint species from which it then PG a large number of varied creatures. A lizard is taught how to move in a lizardy way and then as it is scaled up the modeling system makes the legs thicker to support the weight and the gait more ponderous until you end up with a dinosaur. A fish is a different enough skeletal shape to need an entirely different blueprint, again with a bird, etc. Now it seems to me it would be possible (though they aren't doing this at Hello Games) to cross-breed creatures within the same species and as it is sci-fi you could have an form of gene splicing explain all of that. GTA Online let players choose their character's forebears to influence their own appearance inside the game, thankfully this was abandoned in the HD version, but it is always worth trying new things otherwise there wouldn't be any progress - it is just a little unexpected that playtesters didn't react to how they lacked emotional investment in a character that was so unavoidably ugly.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 12/01/2015


    I haven't played Silent Hill: Shattered Memories as I'm rather scared of the whole horror genre. It sounds like a fascinating way to pick different pre-prepared playthroughs.

    I like to think of it as GTA VI where there are no defined roles for you to play, but you just have the sandbox and choose whether to mug people or go ride a bicycle up in the hills. The difference would be that every crime or good deed would affect your reputation in the eyes of any witnesses that were in the vicinity, rather than have this 5-star wanted meter that cools down after you have stopped indulging your sociopathic whims for a few minutes so you can go back to your normal life and buy some new sunglasses. I didn't mind GTA back when it had you running over Hare Krishna in 2D, but since the presentation has gotten ever more naturalistic I would prefer this sandbox to have a memory that was longer than that of a goldfish and bring some consequences to bear on the player's character. Obviously, this would require it to allow the player to express themselves with greater subtlety, to embrace a sophisticated articulacy that promoted your ability to talk to NPCs over acts of violence. I would like to see (Y) mean Yes instead of Yank woman out of her automobile - the secondary actions could always come from pressing (Y) whilst [RB] is held down, a 'quasimode' that doubles the functions the gamepad performs.

    I feel that existing RPGs keep removing your character from the world every time you find yourself in conversation with an NPC. This is bad as it prevents the world-simulation from interrupting your one-to-one chat as would be more natural in real life. You tend to be free to take as long as you like exploring a dialogue tree and everything just waits for you to finish your leisurely chat.

    If NPCs asked your character questions what they said could reveal some information about their plans as well as giving you a choice of things to tell you about which you could show more interest in by jumping in and saying Yes, or when forcibly interrogated press (X) to say No, with both sides manipulating the other's perception of what the other knew and lying to each other. So long as the NPC mixed the questions they were prepared to let you know they wanted answers to in with ones that gave you insight into their plans, or were a helpful exposition expanding with every encouraging supplementary 'Yes?' you gave, then it would not be too obvious that the AI was cheating by peeking at your hidden list of active quests and making an educated guess which one of them might have brought you to this particular place.

    As a result there wouldn't be a constraint to your freedom and you could walk off in the middle of a conversation without courteous exit by pressing (B) to say Bye - although, this would lose you respect unless they knew you to be very much more important than them.

    You could also interrupt a conversation that was in progress between two NPCs by gazing at one and pressing (A) to say Hey! You would then say nothing and wait for them to ask you what you were bothering them about. Being unable to say what it was that you wanted to know you would be forced to stay silent and wait for one of them to confirm choices - e.g.:

    "Are you looking for work on the Docks?"

    (Y) - "Yes"

    "Do you know the kind of work we do here?"

    (Y) - "Yes"

    "I don't think you do..."

    [RB] + D-Pad Up to equip 'dime bag' item

    "He understands just fine, Bill."

    "Yeah, but can we trust him, Mike?"

    (Y) - "Yes"

    "Your decision, Mike..."

    At this point you say nothing whilst these two Mafia types decide whether to recruit you to their drugs running operation at the Docks - yet, even if you are rejected due to being seen as 'outside the family' or 'lacking experience' or having not been 'witnessed engaged in a crime' that proves you can't be an undercover cop you will go away knowing that one is Bill and he is subordinate to Mike. All information that is automatically collected in your journal for later reference in order to aid discontinous playthroughs where you would otherwise lose track of minor character's names, loyalties, etc. annotated with your own notes selected from a list of possible hidden motives, which could be entirely mistaken on your part and ultimately mislead you due to your paranoia.

    All this is next-generation stuff and will likely require the development of new tools to be able to expand the scope and scale of games without needing a billion dollar budget. C++ doesn't really cut it here, something that is more rule-based and declarative, where you only need to specify relationships and 'what' you want a system to do, rather than all the steps and hard to synchronize changes of state when you are forced to say 'how' it has to work. We need new paradigms to boost all of our productivity a thousand fold, to do for stories what No Man's Sky is doing for level design.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    Pretentious hipster twaddle

    Unproven bleeding-edge jargon


    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    I struggled with the UI in Minecraft to such an extent that I have been unable form an opinion of it. Having watched Let's Plays of this phenomenon I would hazard to say it's a "collaborative narrative" more than one that is "coauthored" between the player and the game. Sure, you have different worlds to start out in, but the hazards are all fairly standard and lacking in reactive nuance. As far as I can tell there are no NPCs issuing Radiant Quests despite there being a set of Skyrim skins.

    I have, however, heard of interesting stories emerging from the amoral rule sets of DayZ and EVE: Online, but neither of these strictly count in my estimation as they rely on the human intelligence of those in their multiplayer population. I'd be interested in any example of truly sophisticated NPCs that were not merely following branches in a non-linear predetermined narrative, as I am unaware of any strong examples.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    Presumably, you mean this?

    You should realise that all I am saying is that there is scope for more freedom for the player if the story isn't predetermined.

    However, without encouraging the role player to remain in character they are likely to goof off like this and miss all the subtleties:

    Not that there is anything wrong with that if this is the mindless level at which they derive fun.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    Valve have done some of this with their Left 4 Dead franchise: pacing, contextual dialogue, etc.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    Yes. Exactly this.

    That is why I plan on having permadeath and rewind (like in Forza Motorsport 5) to force players to live with the consequences of their decisions. They would be able to rewind time to avoid inadvertent insult, accident, or death - although, I am more interested in exploring the dynamics of social relationships instead of putting a gun into your character's hand at the outset and close off nearly all diplomatic possibilities for conflict resolution - yet feel it would be onerous to rewind hours of choices to get back to an early decision that felt good at the time based upon what they knew about the situation, which they now regretted with the benefit of hindsight, so would learn to live with their 'mistakes' which the game would often reward them with Kudos points for as they would be mistakes made whilst involved in consistent role-play as their now defined character. I think 'fragility' and 'purpose' can so easily be eroded by a Quicksave system, as you just optimise play with the benefit of perfect foreknowledge and unkink the quirks that make your journey interesting and allow your character to develop.
    Reply 0
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015

    I'm interested in coauthored narrative and the potential to test the player to determine the psychological type of their alter ego then define their initially tabula rasa character accordingly and funnel them into thematically coherent, dramatically paced, emergent simulated histories through the manipulation of NPCs that they had become emotionally entangled with by largely offstage factional forces once their character was becoming a person of interest and not a mere bystander.

    I think that GAME OVER has held back the dramatic potential of this new medium as players always try to survive in order to see all the finite content that they have paid for. If the content becomes effectively infinite in scope and/or scale it may be viable to wean them off decades of habituation and actively engage with a role that requires heroic sacrifice in the knowledge that in doing so they will have the opportunity to unlock more demanding roles, such as a Faustian character, or one on the LGBTQIA spectrum, by rewarding their consistent role-play with a kind of Kudos metascore not the usual highscore, XP or K/D systems that warp the way we play away from our dramatis persona towards some unlock progress optimising robot.
    Reply +5
  • Uncompetative 11/01/2015


    Next time get everyone to bring and share their own home baked goods in 'The Great British ProcOff'.
    Reply +1
  • In Theory: Nintendo's next-gen hardware - and the strategy behind it

  • Uncompetative 10/01/2015

    The Wii was successful because it was accessible. A simple motion controller with less buttons on it than a TV remote and games based on Sports invited a broader demographic due to its familiarity to experience this new medium for the first time in their lives. It was a wild success and it was bizarre for Nintendo to not build upon what these new gamers had learnt with the sequel's controller.

    So, I feel that their 'magnifying factor' would need to based around a pair of wireless Nunchuks that had additional buttons underneath the handles to handle the functionality of an ordinary gamepad's face buttons. It would be deliberately simple in order to avoid frightening away casual gamers with a twenty-three input vector complexity and a new player could start off swinging one Nunchuck to play Wii Golf and then gradually progress to Zelda with the addition of a second Nunchuck once they had learnt to master more and more buttons - e.g. Mirror's Edge doesn't need as many inputs to be learned as a Metroid game and Nintendo could put a complexity rating sticker on the box: Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert.

    Maybe they could use the ARM architecture from the 3DS in their new console along with a powerful graphics card as I don't see much evidence of their games needing a lot of CPU performance. Those with the Wii U gamepad ought to be able to use it with the new backwards compatible system, but it would be better if all new games ignored its touchscreen in preference to dual Nunchuks. Essentially, the Wii U gamepad and a 3D TV combination could become a big 3DS through the use of the RealD polarized glasses that you get given at the Cinema these days and would ultimately become a super accessible TV remote, mini browser for checking sites like imdb.com and way to schedule recordings maybe even dim lights in the room you were in.

    I wrote about all this nearly a year ago.
    Reply 0
  • Konami explains MGS: The Phantom Pain chicken hat item

  • Uncompetative 09/01/2015

    Nintendo have a patent on an 'autoplay' system for when you can't cope with a difficulty spike, they could turn Mario into Luigi for these sections using the same 'chicken' logic. Reply +4
  • Apple raises price of 69p apps

  • Uncompetative 09/01/2015


    It's Iranu not Eranu.

    Reply +1
  • PS4 Data Bank dock allows huge storage

  • Uncompetative 07/01/2015

    Will I need to upgrade my PS4's HDD to be able to store the entire universe of No Man's Sky? Reply -1
  • The most exciting games of 2015

  • Uncompetative 06/01/2015

    I feel that Hyper Light Drifter is essentially Destiny done properly.
    Reply 0
  • Xbox avatars to get improved graphics, new features

  • Uncompetative 05/01/2015

    I'm quite happy with mine - I hope I get to keep it. Reply -2
  • Digital Foundry: Hands-on with the Halo 5 beta

  • Uncompetative 03/01/2015

    343i have had too many ideas and there isn't room for all of them on a standard Xbox controller to be operated easily. The control schemes are all weird and hard to adjust to. Even what ought to prove to be the most familiar and accessible isn't really Halo 3's Bumper Jumper because you can't tap (A) to Cycle Grenades and must either stop moving to tap Left or Right on the D-Pad, or stretch your right thumb all the way across to the other side of the pad.

    To determine if a better control scheme were possible I played around with a screengrab, arriving at this layout which has the advantages of being very familiar to anyone who has played earlier games:

    I don't care for their Smart Scope as I feel that only shoulder fired weapons should benefit from the assistance of a traditional, field of view limiting, glass Scope. To give an Assault Rifle or SMG some kind of cybernetic HMD ADS during hip fire is bad enough, but there is evidence that it also reduces the spread of these weapons which rather undermines the whole point of having a (Y) button:

    Once you had memorised the locations where the SMGs were on the map you could run around the close quarters areas and temporarily narrow your spread to take down medium range targets and not have to worry too much about running out of ammo. By no longer needing to switch between mixed range weapons with characteristic spreads, the tactic of having the appropriate weapon ready for the next volume of space on the map would all but disappear. Maybe 343i are consciously trying to make a game that is friendly to neophytes, perhaps that explains why it seems so keen to show you where and when the power weapons will (re)spawn and explains the introduction of synthetic callouts which I personally quite like, but I feel others would like an Option to mute.

    So, clicking (RS) ought to Scope a Battle Rifle, DMR, Sniper Rifle, etc. but merely Zoom with a Pistol, Assault Rifle, SMG, etc. and I would argue not have any kind of reticle on your Spartan's HMD, even an offset one.

    It was a struggle to find a way to pack all the features of Halo 5: Guardians into one control scheme and the main casualty was that I had to remove the button dedicated to the Thruster Pack. However, the majority of its functionality remains accessible through holding (X) down and instead of pushing forwards on (LS) to Sprint, pushing left or right on (LS) to Dodge sideways. What you can't do is use it to Boost forwards and back, but I feel that this is a good thing having encountered a guy using his Sprint, Thruster Pack and Sword Lunge to close the distance to me when he was the length of a school bus away.

    Tapping [LB] remains Jump, but holding [LB] engages the Thruster Pack's Stabilizer to Hover in mid-air. Whilst airborne you can do the normal aftertouch adjustments to control where precisely where you land, or if you are holding (X) push (LS) left or right to Dodge sideways.

    Tapping [RB] remains Melee, but holding [RB] whilst Sprinting would ready a Spartan Charge, but if airborne this would ready a Ground Pound, both activated on release, or cancelled were (X) released.

    Note that you would be able to both click (LS) to toggle Crouch and hold (LS) to temporarily Crouch, which would be useful for Gandi Hops

    Gandhi Hops.

    Obviously, given how much some people might use (X) to Sprint / Dodge / Spartan Charge / Ground Pound there would need to be an option to swap it with [RB] which would make Sprinting a lot like it is implemented in Frontlines: Fuel of War. The reason it is bad to put it on (LS) click is because it would mean that you were trying to make a lateral movement with your left thumb whilst holding in the stalk of the left thumbstick in order to perform a Dodge and that this would be unreliable in the heat of a face-off. I don't think it would be too cheeky to call this the Marathon control scheme.

    As to the game, I have enjoyed the Beta more than I would have expected and haven't had any of the long waits that ruined The Master Chief Collection's launch for me. I do find the weapons hard to see on the floor and Blue team merges into the background of a couple of the maps. However, I will wait until I see what the vehicle maps are like before I decide whether to get it, watch a lot of Twitch streamers to see if Sprint turns it into Section 8: Prejudice, or whether sabotaging an enemy's vehicles remains a worthwhile strategy, or whether 343i have just uselessly remade Advanced Warfare which I've already bought, am 100% happy with, but don't need another clone of it, thanks.
    Reply -6
  • Cara Ellison on: The Poetics of Space

  • Uncompetative 03/01/2015

    My pretentiousometer is spiking. Reply +16
  • Microsoft gives more CPU power to Xbox One developers

  • Uncompetative 02/01/2015

    Do we need voice at all? Do we need Snap?

    Wouldn't it be better to use the tab to the left of the main screen to show Recent games, system applications and third-party applications, organised into three neat rows with the most recently accessed game on the far right so that it automatically highlights the tile for the currently running game when cursoring left from the mini window.

    The Disc tile could occupy the spot currently taken up by My games & applications giving you five spots along the bottom of the main screen for the user's Pins - the stock ones supplied by Microsoft might include a Twitch tile, but if you would rather have something else in that location you could put the cursor on it and press the Menu button on the right of the controller to then select 'Choose Pin' whereupon the screen would slide right to show your Recent stuff and you would cursor over it and more would scroll into each row from the left if you went towards the extreme edge of the screen, pressing (A) to commit your decision and (B) to cancel your search.

    The Settings tile could occupy the spot currently taken up by Snap (whose sidebar functionality would be entirely removed, however in its place the Xbox Home button would now have to be held to return to the Home screen from anywhere in the system and tapped to cycle between a game, or one of the system applications, or a third-party application - all running uncompromised in full screen but for the notifications that your live TV programme was about to start, or The Master Chief Collection had finally found you a match, or a friend had invited you to a Skype call), using fewer VMs as a result so that the 7th core could always be dedicated to the demanding requirements of a game.

    When opened, the Settings application would have its cursor on the tile for accessing all your unified storage on internal and external HDD, replacing the need for a separate My games & applications tile completely. Not only would it download stuff in the background but it would install it too. The system itself could update in the background and install its own patches whilst 'Always On' provided that it had two OSes - one old one which it could run the system with whilst the other was patched before swapping over the active API calls through an extensible indirection table (implemented as a hash) that would keep references on a per-thread basis so that a piecemeal migration was possible when they eventually went dormant (through the natural discontinuities of app-switching even if the XBOX was never turned off) to the newer bundle of functionality.
    Reply +2
  • Games of 2014: Destiny

  • Uncompetative 27/12/2014

    What ought to have been an expansive, interplanetary, experience interspersed with a scattering of difficult to discover loot chests (some hidden away in dangerous dungeons patrolled by deadly extra-terrestrial occupiers) in a vast post-apocalptic wasteland was condensed to a mere shooting gallery.

    What ought to have been enriched by collaboration was stymied by a system that lacked the ability to have you simply wave back at some stranger in order to join their Fireteam and then opt to mute them thereafter - even before MMOs were called MMOs, but were called MUDs it was easier to chat and join others on shared quests than it is with this mess of a 'SWS' as you didn't need to go into a system menu separate from the reality of the gameworld to invite players to your Fireteam or need to have them be on your Friends lists to hear their warnings that the cheap AI opponents had teleported right next to you. How could Bungie make it so that you could Party Up! with randoms in multiplayer in Halo 3 and then take them into one chapter of the Campaign to compete against each other in a metagame to see how well you could dispatch the more freely roaming, sophisticated, Covenant AI yet utterly fail to do the reverse with their poorly implemented but much hyped Character Continuity?

    What ought to have been supported by a coherent story, expository cutscenes, dialogue with NPCs in both the Tower and the City below, seemed garbled and desultory in its presentation. How often did I strain to hear some explanation from Peter Dinklage as I walked away to fight off some horde? Wouldn't it have made better sense to have the community collaboratively unlock the Grimoire Cards for shared access in an additional room within the Tower, staffed by a Librarian, no less? After all, the info soon appeared on wikis for anyone to access, making the smartphone app pointless.

    What ought to have been accessible through an articulate control scheme demonstrated clear signs of a team in love with every idea that they had ever brainstormed, back even to the time when it was called Project Tiger and was meant to be a 3rd person 'Knights of the Round Table at Camelot' affair, set in a land of faery magic, not totally unlike Dark Souls. I suspect when the 'Superhero by night, everyman by day' Project Titan MMO began to lose focus, Activision Blizzard got jumpy and cancelled that and urged greater creative caution on Bungie's magnum opus, cuts were made, their lead writer Joseph Staten left one of the highest paying jobs in videogames to work on something with more... substance:

    What ought to have been an immersive, experiential, FPS was ruined by the desire to rip the camera out of the back of the player's head to "showboat' some Supercharged special move, only to fix the resultant disorientation through an excess of autoaim - for example, with the Golden Gun. This may well be an artefact of code originally developed back when it was all 'Swords and Sorcery' and it is my guess that Activision threatened to cancel a project that had wasted over a year creating lore and concept art and told them to study the hugely successful Call of Duty: Black Ops in order to make a mass market FPS with a Teen friendly sci-fi theme.

    To illustrate my point, here is the Default control scheme for Destiny on the PS4, it wouldn't have made a difference to pick an alternate control scheme out of those which are provided as they are all terrible, clumsy, artefacts of a design team that you'd never think came up with Halo 3:

    First of all let's get rid of those stupid emotes, you will want to be able to Wave back at a stranger by pushing Up on the D-Pad to join their Fireteam and toggle Fireteam chat by pressing Down. Dancing just undermines the seriousness of the endeavour. You are supposed to be an amnesiac zombie that has been teleported back into existence from forensic material found on your sun-bleached skeleton by a Ghost drone of a God like entity who had formerly accelerated your longevity so that you could achieve great things that you can no longer remember and no one has the time to explain even why they don't have the time to explain. Rush, rush, rush! Kill, kill, kill!! Stop asking questions!!! The City is in peril, even though it seems completely unthreatened... not that you go down there much... as if you even care. Who are you? What are you? Let's talk to this robot and see if he has some Bounties for me to collect, to at least combat this pervading sense of ennui...

    Second, let's move the Grenade and recharging special Melee attack off the bumpers onto Left/Right respectively, so that L1 is the oft-needed Jump and R1is plain old Melee, for when you don't want to waste your Fist of Havoc on a lowly Thrall when caught out reloading. This means that Super Ability can reliably be activated by the Cross face button, rather than some tortured bumper button Combo. Crouch gets used plenty, so that should go on R3, swapping places so Player Highlight is Circle.

    See? You didn't need to buy that expensive SCUF controller with those paddles underneath after all.

    What ought to have been an interplanetary MMORTSFPSRPG with emergent gameplay resulting from the opaque internecine strategies being formulated by the forces of The Darkness went from half-baked social shooter, to increasingly repetitious loot shooter, to utterly mindless cave shooter in a matter of months. Don't want players farming caves? Well, make the map a bit larger and prevent the players from having clear sight-lines to where you seek to repopulate the map. Consider shipping in more enemies from the air with dropships. Let players wipe out all life, so it doesn't spring back as in Far Cry 2 on your return to a recently cleared area, force the players to wait for nightfall or just leave for orbit and return 'the next day', after all, who is keeping track of the contemporaneity of this Shared World anyway that only seems to support sixteen simultaneous players in the Tower?

    Elite: Dangerous seems to manage all of this at the scale of an astronomically large galaxy, with a subtle interplay between player actions and its persistent NPCs and emergent coauthored narrative:


    What ought to have been an opportunity to showcase original gameplay only possible on next-gen consoles, became a cross-generational fudge bolstered by undeliverable levels of hype. It isn't even a terribly good business model to sell these Expansion Packs to cover their half a billion dollar costs when the core game is mired in fiddly menu management, the content is endlessly recycled, the story next to non-existent, there are no identifiable characters for you to empathise with, all motivation will soon sap from your bones and you will start to feel like the skeleton your Ghost found in Kamchatka.

    What ought to have been light and ephemeral, subtle and thoughtful, varied and vigourous, epic and adventurous, charismatic and continuous, deep and bounteous was dead and dense.
    Reply +4
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker review

  • Uncompetative 23/12/2014


    They wouldn't have been able to criticise the lack of gameplay innovation in next-generation titles if it had deemed Nintendo's console worthy of inclusion.
    Reply +59
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection gets Halo 4's Spartan Ops

  • Uncompetative 23/12/2014

    I relish being downvoted by pay-per-post Microsoft shills. Reply -13