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It is usually said that every great rock band starts in a garage. For video-game companies I always thought the equivalent was a basement or a dark-lit bedroom. According to Ars Technica it is a lot more varied than that in the case of indies. None of the indie companies there are in a basement or dark-lit bedroom (the ones that fit that category are well lighted!) but still very interesting. It is also interesting to see the things all of them have in common despite of the different team sizes or location. 🙂

For those interested on it, you can give it a look here:

Where the world's best indie games get made

P.S.: I am reorganizing the categories here. I decided this might be a good time to do it before there are so many posts that it gets hard to organize. Right now I made a few new categories and moved the relevant ones to become subcategories. I also changed the categories of some of the rambling posts to fit better with the new structure. Right now the idea is for the "Everything Else" category to be short posts, usually with links, that don't fit anywhere else. Also for my attempts at humor. Ramblings will continue to be for all those really long ramblings that don't fit any of the other categories. Dunno how long that will work though. I might end up getting confused in the future and post a parody of the Odyssey on Ramblings or post a critical analysis of why the sky is blue at Everything Else. But we'll see.

Not too sure about the categories look in the side-bar right now either. I will be tweaking that in the next few days though until I get something I like. Or that I can at least live with. Whichever comes first.

EDIT: Ops! Forgot to give a title to this post. Fixed now!

6

Casimir on a rented chocoboI have been in an isolationist mood recently which means not playing MMORPGs. Still last week there was a humongous patch for Final Fantasy XIV which, among other things, introduced chocobos as mounts. Because of that I decided to log in quickly last week just to check it out. I was holding on making a post until I took some screenshots and tested a few other things out. Given my mood though it seemed a better idea to write this post now before the patch becomes old(er) news.

Despite the title of this post I do not have a chocobo to call my own yet. It is just a reference to the system's nickname back when it was announced. That and it amuses the hell out of me. Anyway, right now there are two ways of getting a chocobo mount. The first one is by renting a temporary chocobo. The second one is by joining one of the Grand Companies, earning their marks and buying it from them. My only option right now is renting so that is  what I got to test.

Rented chocobos are.... pretty slow actually. That was probably my biggest disappointment. It might just have been my impression but it really didn't feel like it was run much faster than my own two feet. Probably just an impression from the animation since it looked like the poor chocobo was running in slow motion. Another thing that I found disappointed was the price. It seemed a little expensive for my perma-noobie pockets even more so considering that there is a 10 minutes limit or that the chocobo goes back to the stable the moment you unmount. Again, might be a question of wrong perception.

By contrast the permanent chocobos I could observe were pretty fast. They could easily make me eat dust while I was running around on the  rented chocobo. Also they don't have a time limit and you can summon and unsummon them at will according to the patch notes. No clue how easy or hard it is to acquire one yet. As I mentioned before you need to be in one of the Grand Companies for it and my level is too low for it right now.  In both cases you can't fight while mounted on a chocobo. Something about the animations being a complicated point if I recall correctly....

What I did like though was... well, it is a chocobo! As a mount! It even had the traditional chocobo theme music as you ride it. I will admit that is something that just someone who enjoyed a Final Fantasy game will understand. For someone who never did all I can say is to give it a try.

Another thing that this patch changed were the crafting recipes as well as some materials. I didn't give a try yet but I plan to do it next time I get in the mood to play Final Fantasy XIV. I am looking forward to it because it looks I can finally craft appropriate gear for my own levels. Also hopefully being able to move from my current potato sack outfit to something with some actual color on it.

I also found interesting that Yoshi-P considers the patch as a halfway mark to make the game into a true Final Fantasy game. I don't know what is Square-Enix's definition of a Final Fantasy game is these days but there are definitely a lot of things this patch brought that makes me think of a Final Fantasy game.

Besides that there is a ton of stuff this patch brought that honestly I can't comment on right now. I just lack the game knowledge to say how it changed things or if something new it brought is interesting. If anyone is looking for a more in-depth look at the patch (or anything Final Fantasy XI/XIV related) I will just point you to the Mog Log, a column by Eliot Lefebvre at Massively. Unlike me he actually plays the game in a constant basis and has actual knowledge about the game.

For now, my analysis of this patch is.... I am actually excited about Final Fantasy XIV! Well, not enough to break my isolationist mood. But enough to start seriously considering keeping my subscription whenever they start charging it. 🙂

EDIT: Added a screenshot of the rented chocobo.

2

As the title says, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon has been released.

I must admit this feels kind of surreal after keeping a close eye on news about the game for so long. Not that I ever doubted it would be released eventually, quite the contrary. It is just that after some time a game like this gets a near-mythical quality to it. Kinda like when you are a child and you know one day you will reach adulthood but it still feels very far away. Then suddenly one day you are an adult and needs to go job hunting to pay the bills. The difference is that Frayed Knights release is undisputedly a good thing. While being an (technically speaking, at least) adult is still something I am still debating about.

You can download the demo and/or buy the game here.

My suggestion, give the demo a try at least.

Oh, expect the usual posts about my gaming experiences and thoughts about it at some point. I didn't create a category for this game for nothing! 🙂

Time pass so fast.... It seems Final Fantasy XIV's one year anniversary is close by. Yet it doesn't feel like that. Of course, it doesn't help either that I barely played the game during that time period. Anyway, giving the event it seems like a good time to finally write a bit about my experiences with the game as well as my thoughts about it. Unfortunately there isn't much of the first and too much of the second. So I will try to balance them as much as possible and try to aim at something coherent. Just in case though I am filling this under ramblings as well. Alright. With all that said, on with the show!

Casimir looking out at the stars from Limsa Lomnisa

Time pass so fast.... It seems Final Fantasy XIV's one year anniversary is close by. Yet it doesn't feel like that. Of course, it doesn't help either that I barely played the game during that time period.

Anyway, giving the event it seems like a good time to finally write a bit about my experiences with the game as well as my thoughts about it. Unfortunately there isn't much of the first and too much of the second. So I will try to balance them as much as possible and try to aim at something coherent. Just in case though I am filling this under ramblings as well.

Alright. With all that said, on with the show!

...continue reading "One year of Final Fantasy XIV"

People who read this blog are probably reading the title right now and wondering what this Frayed Knights games is and why the trailer being released is a big deal.

To answer the first question, Frayed Knights is an old school, comedy, indie RPG that has been in development in the last few years by one guy called Jay Barnson aka The Rampant Coyote aka the guy behind Rampant Games.

As for what the big deal is, it means that the game is getting very close to be released.

Ok. I guess none of that says much. So... uh... Let me see what I remember about the game's premise both from the Rampant Coyote's blog as well as a from the pilot.

The game happens in ye olde fantasy world. In this world all adventurers worth their salt are part of the Adventurer's Guild. The Adventurer's Guild is a very respected group since they provide a series of services for its associates as well as ensuring that people don't get killed trying to tackle something beyond their capabilities.

Thus enter our party of intrepid heroes... Or heroes to be as the case may be. Or... ok, they are just adventurers. The thing is so far they have not have a very successful carrier, so much they got the nickname of Frayed Knights. At the beginning of the game they are finally getting a chance to prove themselves to earn their membership in the Adventurer's Guild. That would not only mean more and better opportunities towards fame, glory and money for the party as well as a little more respect from their peers. All  they have to do is to not screw it up....

As for the gameplay itself, it follows the same style as games like Eye of  the Beholder and the Wizardry series. The main difference being that you don't make your own characters instead you start with already pre-made 4 characters with their own history and personality. For those who like that kind of old school style this part might be a turn-off but from what I played of the pilot version of the game (released ages ago) it works pretty well. Specially so because a great deal of the humor of the game comes from all the bickering between these four people while they are adventuring together.

You do get to customize them to your own tastes through equipment, feats, skill points, etc. just like you would expect in an old school RPG game. So fret not, there is plenty of ways you can develop your party.

Alright, so that is it about the game. Before I give a link for the trailer and where you can find more info about the game, just a note. This is an indie game. That means you will not find the latest graphics with voice acting by a celebrity on this game. What you will find though is plenty of content and game play that you will most likely not find in a mainstream game. At least not anymore and unlikely any time soon.

Ok, so you can find the trailer here, courtesy of You Tube. You might want to set it to 480p to be able to read the character's dialogue, since that is the main selling point of the game (to me at least! 🙂

You can check news about the game (as well as a lot of well thought articles) on The Tales of the Rampant Coyote.

The game also has an official site, which you can check here. Though according to post at The Tales of the Rampant Coyote it should get an overhaul before the end of the week. So you might want to wait until then.

Lastly, if you are still wondering who is the guy who developed this game and wondering why you should care about this game at all, he gave two interviews about it recently, one at the RPGWatch, and another one for IndieRPGs.com.

That is it for now. Once the game is released you may see me talking about it more. 🙂

P.S.: The more astute of you may have noticed I mentioned a pilot version of the game. There was indeed one, long ago, which the Rampant Coyote did release to the general public. Like the name suggests, it was kinda like a pilot episode for a TV show to see what people's reaction would be to it. I don't think it is available anymore and from his blog posts it seems the game has evolved a lot since  then. It will probably have a demo available once it is released though, if so, I will post here to anyone interested.

2

Cold off the presses, come the news from Rock, Paper, Shotgun*, that the venerable adventure game Monkey Island will be remade as a FPS! Just go click the link and read the news. They even have videos. Don't worry. I will wait.

...

Back? Alright! In case someone doesn't know it, this is another classic game being rebooted as a FPS. Other already confirmed games to receive such treatment are X-Com XCom and Syndicate.

To those more enlightened of you, this will come as no surprise. After all the adventure game genre is dead. Even more dead than the the strategy game genre. But what do I know right? I am just some random blogger who has been playing games for more than 20 years. All the funs I had with non-FPS games were obviously moments of pure delusions. Thankfully we have people much smarter than me turning classic games into FPSes!

But I will do my part too now. I urge every reader of this blog (the two of you) to write an e-mail to your favorite game company to stop everything they are doing now and turn their games into a FPS. Therefore we won't have to suffer with sub-par games anymore!

I will start it by writing an e-mail to Hasbro for a FPS version of Monopoly. I bet it will be the best version of Monopoly ever!

* Just in case it is not clear in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun article, that is a joke. A pretty good one but still just a joke. Unfortunately, X-Com and Syndicate being rebooted as a FPS is not.... Well, I guess it could be a bad joke depending on how you see it. *shrugs*

Oh, and this post is also a joke in case it wasn't clear. Please don't throw stones at me! I love all game genres equally! *mutters* ... except the ones that don't love me back. *shifty eyes*

2

This is a rant that I have been thinking about for the last week or so. I have avoided writing it earlier because all my thoughts about the subject seemed disconnected and not really going anywhere. That would end up leading more to confusion to any reader than really giving some food for thought. I think I may have found a good way to flesh out the subject enough to achieve my goal though but we'll see. Let me warn right now that this is will be a very big rant, with most of it probably not making much of a sense. Hopefully it will still be an interesting read to someone out there. If not, let me know in the comments and I will strive to do better next time. Oh, yeah. If someone found  this because they googled Deus Ex: Human Revolution, sorry to disappoint but there is only a mention of the game by the end of this long rant. Still stick around for a bit and see if there is anything in this blog that you like. :)

This is a rant that I have been thinking about for the last week or so. I have avoided writing it earlier because all my thoughts about the subject seemed disconnected and not really going anywhere. That would end up leading more to confusion to any reader than really giving some food for thought. I think I may have found a good way to flesh out the subject enough to achieve my goal though but we'll see.

Let me warn right now that this is will be a very big rant, with most of it probably not making much of a sense. Hopefully it will still be an interesting read to someone out there. If not, let me know in the comments and I will strive to do better next time.

Oh, yeah. If someone found  this because they googled Deus Ex: Human Revolution, sorry to disappoint but there is only a mention of the game by the end of this long rant. Still stick around for a bit and see if there is anything in this blog that you like. 🙂

...continue reading "Player freedom vs. story in games"

3

Kahlef showing off his new shawl and crafting outfit
Kahlef showing off his new shawl and crafting outfit

Today Kahlef finally got both his Earring of Solstice and Blessed Coldain Prayer Shawl. I was going to wait until the next Game Update (which should be arriving tomorrow) to get the rares necessary for them but decided to give do it today instead.

Why I was waiting for the update? Well, there will be a new AA tab that, among other things, will have an AA to increase your chances of getting rares. Since I have very little patience for harvesting that seemed like it would be a good reason to try that new AA and see if it really makes a difference.

However, Gracee, my guild leader on Crushbone, offered to help me with a few rares so I decided to accept it and then pay her back later. She also helped me by crafting some of the stuff I needed for both quests and the rest was made by Jaylah and her awesome army of crafters. To both of them, my deepest thanks. 😀

Now only a few more factions to get then gotta raise his tinkering and he should be self-suficient in all things decoration. 🙂

4

This is a sort of follow-up post to the previous one. You see, someone in the The Perfect 10: Why Elves are the Scourge of MMORPGs article commented that we don't need games with more elves. Instead we need a game with more gnomes. Kinda like the multitude of different elven races we often see in fantasy worlds. That got me thinking about how that would work out.... Follow after the jump to see what it could be if there were a dozen gnome races in a fantasy world! Disclaimer: I do not hate gnomes. In fact I find them quite funny and their inventions useful. Well, useful until it blows up that is. The only reason I am doing it with gnomes instead of another race like... say, orcs, is because it is easy. Which also goes to show another good point of them: flexibility. If I get crazy enough though I can try doing it with other fantasy races. :p EDIT: Ops! Forgot one of the gnome variants. It was added now.

This is a sort of follow-up post to the previous one. You see, someone in the The Perfect 10: Why Elves are the Scourge of MMORPGs article commented that we don't need games with more elves. Instead we need a game with more gnomes. Kinda like the multitude of different elven races we often see in fantasy worlds.

That got me thinking about how that would work out.... Follow after the jump to see what it could be if there were a dozen gnome races in a fantasy world!

Disclaimer: I do not hate gnomes. In fact I find them quite funny and their inventions useful. Well, useful until it blows up that is. The only reason I am doing it with gnomes instead of another race like... say, orcs, is because it is easy. Which also goes to show another good point of them: flexibility. If I get crazy enough though I can try doing it with other fantasy races. :p

EDIT: Ops! Forgot one of the gnome variants. It was added now.

...continue reading "What if gnomes were like elves…"

4

Most people who have played MMORPGs with me are well aware of my hatred towards elves. I rarely, if ever, explained much about it though, making it look like it was just prejudice against an innocent fantasy race. In fact I have very valid reasons for it.

Being the lazy bastard pragmatic guy I am, I will just point you to Justin Olivetti at Massively who expertly wrote all the reasons of why elves are such a dangerous plague to the fantasy landscape:

The Perfect 10: Why Elves are the Scourge of MMORPGs

Hopefully his article can make more people aware of the threat posed by those pointy eared freaks to everything that is good about fantasy. Or at least why they are so annoying.

Just one small note though. Do not lump the half-elves together with the elves. If anything they are as much victims of those tree-huggers as the rest of us are.

In a more serious note, I have been having some technical issues in the last few days. More fleshed out posts will resume as soon as possible.