The Long Dark

About the Game here.

Game Trailer here.

I just preordered my copy, which is very rare for me since I do not preorder games at all. This one is different, however, the studio is Hinterland Games which is based right here in British Columbia Canada (Northern Vancouver Island), the game’s setting is also based on the Northern Canadian wilderness, its an episodic game about surviving and the choices you have to make, its voiced by some of the best Canadian voice actors (Mark Meer, Jennifer Hale, David Hayter, and Elias Toufexis), it has 2 gameplay modes (Story and Sandbox), and it’s an indie game.

To me, the story mode is just a bonus because I’ve longed to play a survival based game that does not have zombies in it or isn’t some half assed adversarial multiplayer. For while there, DayZ was great, I played on a server from salt spring islands that had a low ping and a decent cooperative community but it was ruined by the numerous server jumping gear farmers and griefers. A decent amount of the player base is out just to kill you for amusement, and not in any fun way either, some of these online psychos will prone somewhere with a sniper rifle that is trained on the starting area and kill people as they spawn or in high traffic areas, some of the worst players will try to get you do something stupid like writing an ingame essay to convince them not to kill you, or hog tie you and force feed you rotten food to kill you slowly. Sound awesome? if so, you are the worst type of gamer. Don’t believe me? go to reddit and check out some of the stories.

I really enjoyed Tomb Raider (2013) because it had survival elements, a cool crafting system and a pretty decent story. The survival, exploration, and crafting parts of the game were done pretty well and it kept me coming back to it even after I finished it.

I also modded Skyrim and New Vegas (and probably fallout 3 soon) with survival focused mods like environmental mods that force you to consider shelter or better clothing to deal with the weather and temperature, a calorie and/or dehydration mod that affects your overall health and diet that make finding food and water a priority, and health mods that make you clean and bandage wounds or make splints for broken bones before you can heal damage. A crafting system also is a plus for me but is not a major issue if its not an option. With those type of mods I just try to survive, level, get gear, and hunt. I love it, it drives me to play the game repeatedly and try out alternate play styles. 

The Long Dark has a mode that lets you do exactly that, survive for as long as possible against the elements, the sandbox mode. That is the primary reason I preordered the game. I don’t care if it doesn’t even get a crafting system, just so long as it can deliver a compelling survival experience.

Having a story mode with episodic content with the voice talent and composers they have lined up is just icing on the cake.

Can’t wait to get to try this game out when it hits steam early access.

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Salem’s Lot

Just got done with the audiobook, that was great and I can totally see why King brought Callahan back for the Dark Tower now. The story was summed up nicely in Callahan’s palaver with Roland and his ka-tet but it’s nice to finally get to hear the whole story. It really makes Callahan’s redemption arc in the Dark Tower series more meaningful and has a lot more gravity to it when he answers the challenge of the type 1 vampires to put away his cross.

Not the potter but the potter’s clay, and I need no sigul!

The epilogue was good, and alluding to the fire earlier in the story was a nice touch.

The narration by Ron McLarty was good as well.

Glad I decided to go with this book because it adds more layers to the Dark Tower series and I really like stories about vampires or dealing with them.

Now the long wait for my next 2 audible credits for August.

Heaven. Or the divine in nature. The memory of my fathers past. My fellow man. Myself. All pieces of the same thing. Do you know the story of blind men and the elephant?“

"Have you heard the one about the bear that walks into a bar?” I responded.

“I think that is a no,” Shiro said. “Three blind men were shown an elephant. They touched it with their hands to determine what the creature was. The first man felt the trunk, and claimed that an elephant was like a snake. The second man touched its leg and claimed that an elephant was like a tree. The third man touched its tail, and claimed the elephant was like a slender rope.”

I nodded. “Oh. I get it. All of them were right. All of them were wrong. They couldn’t get the whole picture.”

Shiro nodded. “Precisely. I am just another blind man. I do not get the whole picture of what transpires in all placed. I am blind and limited. I would be a fool to think myself wise. And so, not knowing what the universe means, I can only try to be responsible with the knowledge, the strength, and the time given to me. I must be true to my heart.

Jim Butcher, Death Masks

No one just starts giggling and wearing black and signs up to become a villainous monster. How the hell do you think it happens? It happens to people. Just people. They make questionable choices, for what might be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and none of them is slaughtering roomfuls of saints, or murdering hundreds of baby seals, or rubber-room irrational. But it adds up. And then one day they look around and realized that they’re so far over the line that they can’t remember where it was

Jim Butcher, Cold Days

Some Mass Effect 4 details from Comic Con

Apparently Bioware really does not want people to call it Mass Effect 4 right now, kinda weird since it has no name and bioware is being pretty tight lipped on the bigger details.

original info here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=862537

I’ll put the major points here: (straight copy and paste)

  • The Mako is back, they showed video of it, and there are images of it below. It’s apparently quite fast now.
  • “Building a game about exploring places, so you need a vehicle for that ”
  • “We learned some things about vehicle frustration" 
  • They showed off armor renders, viewable below
  • "Sounds like the timeline of #MassEffect will be during Shepard’s lifetime but won’t involve Shepard…hard to tell @GambleMike being cagey!” [Note: Two other tweeters said it sounds like it takes place in another galaxy, though that’s not necessarily mutually exclusive with this.]
  • “Team reiterates that it is not Shepard’s story and that this story one is brand new.”
  • “no timeline was announced at the panel. Some hints were made but I have to re-listen to the audio.”
  • “You will see a bit of old with the new (old characters MAY appear) ”
  • “Competition is critical but cooperation is bigger for us” @GambleMike speaking on multiplayer in #MassEffect / “cooperative MP is bigger for us (than competitive)" 
  • "Spiritual successor” vibe for the next 
  • “It’s ingrained in us to give players as much choice as possible” – @GambleMike #MassEffect
  • “The animation team is now doing stuff we couldn’t even dream about before” speaking on Frostbite 3 for #MassEffect
  • “it’s not called ME 4 damn it! ” [I’m going to keep calling it that until they give it a name.]
  • No announcements on player race choice of composers when asked
  • The internet kept dying for the people livetweeting so there are more details that aren’t here
  • “I got video of the new #MassEffect Mako in action”

Read it all? Okay, treat it as hearsay until its officially said. Why? because this is all from people relaying the info from other people. So things have got to be changed and muddied or slanted by bias or just plain not communicated well.

Alright now, with that out of the way, I see some problems. They had a legit panel and discussion with Mass Effect/Bioware Fans and the result is more questions and concerns rather than answers and confidence.

The time and setting from the game is said to be during Shepard’s lifetime plus a different galaxy. I’m sure there must have been plan b to Shepard in the ME trilogy but it seems like this is really close to being side story rather than being something on its own. It goes without saying that Bioware put themselves into an awkward position with the Endings. Its a problem for them because they have no idea on how to approach it other than by handwaving and saying oh its during Shepard’s life but in a different galaxy. So that is the big problem I see so far.

The info is conflicted and confusing here though so its prudent to give Bioware some leeway here. I hope its just the unexplored part of the galaxy and right at the end of Shepard’s story. There is room for this interpretation because the codex in the game states that less than 1% of galaxy has been explored at the time of the reaper invasion.

The other big detail released is the Mako is back, without the cannon but better handling. Its odd to see such a focus on vehicles here because exploring with the mako in mass effect was just a small part of the first game. I enjoyed driving around in the mako a lot more than the planet scanning and constantly having to buy fuel for the Normandy though.

So to have such a focus and reassurance on the new mako seems odd here, I think its due to the game being so early in development this is all they have to show off.

According to a recruiting tweet, Bioware Montreal was looking for a lead gameplay developer so they don’t have any combat or other non combat gameplay to show off. So that could be why there is only the new mako being shown off here.

The other problem I see in the game is the fandom that demands to see how their Shepard and crew saved the galaxy referenced in the new game. This is a problem because bioware is bad at over arching choices from previous games. An example of this is the the Rachni Queen, in the first game you either save or destroy her, saving her leads to a pretty lame scene in me2 with an Asari who is assisting the Rachni Queen rebuild and delivers a promise to assist Shepard in dealing with the reaper threat. In ME3, the Rachni Queen’s assistance is really her being kidnapped and forced to produce shock troops for the reapers, to which you have to sacrifice Aralakh Company and Grunt to free her. Now before I get angry responses, Grunt can survive the encounter if you did his loyalty mission in ME2 and you get a net bonus in war assets with this choice. It felt like a wash to me and I was better off just killing her instead, as I did not want to sacrifice a current ally to pull an older ally out of the fire. The thing that exemplifies the problem is that even if you destroy the Rachni in the first game, the reapers just space-magically bring them back.

However, this is still up in the air and many things can change but their Comic Con panel really did hurt interest rather than add to it. People left confused and many questions were met with non-committal answers.

I’m a bit more open minded about this than I was a few months before, the cynical me from then would be just reciting the same old shit about the endings and no faith or hope in Bioware or that I wouldn’t be buying it at release.

The me of right now still is bitter about the endings and possibly still not buy it at release but I am a lot more willing to give Bioware a chance to impress me.

I still will probably avoid buying any DLC (because none of the Bioware DLC ever goes on sale and still requires Bioware points which also still never goes on sale) and definitely not pre-ordering anything.

However, this Comic Con panel seemed to be mistake to put up and caused more trouble than it was worth. All I have from it is more doubts and concerns.

With all that said, Bioware has plenty of time to show me something to impress and build interest, like they did with Dragon Age: Inquisition, because the release date is being vaguely hinted at being next year some time. My advice would be to take their time to craft something big to explore and stick to their roots of telling a decent story with compelling characters, romance, and good voice acting. As well as not focusing too hard on making some kind of revolution in coop multiplayer or graphics or gimmicks (like vehicles.)