You don't have time, the world is ending!

There is a bunch of games where your task is to stop the end of the world, but instead of structuring the game as a corridor of events leading to the final showdown, it is open. You can go and do whatever you want. In these cases I invariably feel I can't just go about doing whatever. A big part of me always feels this need to finish the quest. I can't go screwing around when the world is ending!

Take Skyrim for instance. Alduin the World Eater is flying around waking up dragons. You are the only one who can stop him. On my first playthrough I did minimal of the sidequests, I really leaned into those main quests though. I just felt I couldn't mess around while Alduin is supposed to make things shittier by the minute. But you could fuck around for years in the game without anything really changing. It breaks some of the immersion for me, and so I need to stop the end of the world. Fast.

Morrowind was better at that. Your very first quest is to deliver a package. When you do so, the recipient Caius Cosades turns out to be a member of a spy network. The package contains a letter saying you are supposed to become a member of the network. The first mission he gives you? "Go out and do whatever. Join a guild or something, fight some bandits. Just do stuff to make an alibi, this spy network is secret." No "you have to stop Dagoth Ur fast or he will destroy the world!". In the context of the story of that game you are free to just do whatever you want. Hell, you are encouraged to!

This brings me to Majora's Mask. Recently remastered and released on 3DS, a lot of people have shouted out both in favor of it and against it. I am part of the crowd who love it. A part of the smaller subset who thinks it is the best Zelda game out there. And a part of the even smaller subset who thinks it is one of the ten best games I have ever played. One of the main gripes people have with the game is the "three day restriction".

"You've met a terrible fate, haven't you?" Yes, I actually made a papercraft version of this guy.

The game works like this: You arrive in Termina three days before the moon is to hit the ground. You literally have exactly three in-game days to stop the end of the world. These three days pass on rather fast. A quick Google search yielded this chart:

1 Termina hour = 45 seconds

4 Termina hours = 3 minutes

12 Termina hours = 9 minutes

1 Termina day = 18 minutes

2 Termina days = 36 minutes

3 Termina days = 54 minutes

Inverted Song of Time - Triple the amount of real time

1 slow Termina hour = 2 minutes 15 seconds

4 slow Termina hours = 9 minutes

12 slow Termina hours = 27 minutes

1 slow Termina day = 54 minutes

2 slow Termina days = 1 hour 48 minutes

3 slow Termina days = 2 hours 42 minutes

So without messing with the time, which is easier to realize you can do in the 3DS version, you only get 54 minutes to save the world. I can see how people figure that out and think "hell no, this fucking sucks". Even with the Inverted Song of Time you only got 2 hours 42 minutes. Not that long time, right? Well, with that you can finish dungeons without any problems. I actually only learned about the Inverted Song of Time after beating the first two dungeons back in the day. And I was like... 12 years old or something. So it can be done on the normal time as well. How you say?

When you think about it, after that first day you steal money from the bank every time you withdraw rupees.

You don't have just 54 minutes/2 hours 42 minutes to beat the game. When you play the Song of Time you can travel back in time to the first day. Everything is reset, except certain items. You keep your bow, but your arrows disappear. You keep your bomb bag, but no bombs. Your upgraded wallet remains, but all your rupees poof. If you spent your last three day cycle getting to the entrance of a temple, finding the Owl Statue there, you can simply warp there right away. So the time constraint isn't "save the world in three days", it's "do whatever you want/need in three days". Want to beat a temple? You got three days. You want to roam around gathering rupees? You got three days.

And this is one of the reasons why I love this game. It has a time constraint that actually works. The world will end in three days. It actually will end, killing you and everyone else, forcing you to reload. In any other game I can think of the end of the world never happens, as it has not been scripted in to actually happen after a set amount of time (if there are any games I would love to hear about them! Ah, just remembered Fallout has that, so I can think of one game.).

If you only had those three days, the game would be super stressful. Even if those three days was real-time days. But with the Song of Time, a crucial part of the story, you sidestep the stress once you learn how it works. The first few cycles of days I was really stressed out. "Ok, I am at the beginning again, but I only have three days to beat this temple now! FUCK!". But you quickly figure out that you got plenty of time. Hell, you got all the time in the world. This also gives you an in-game reason why you can just fuck around for a long time. If you want you can spend a three-day cycle just unwinding. Taking in the sights. Have a vacation so to speak, without breaking the immersion. I know I would do that from time to time.

So the three-day cycle, one of the reasons why a lot of people dislike the game, is actually one of the main reasons why I love it so. It's like a perfect blend of "THE WORLD IS ENDING SOON" and "Eh, do whatever you want man, it's all good". And yet I understand why it turns people off the game. But for me, it is one of the greatest games out there.


Exploring Space - The First Trek

So the adventure begins!

The first jump on the way to Coalsack Nebula. I did not catalog every system I visited, and will not do so. But some I will highlight on my trip. Since you cannot plot a route that far ahead, something it seems they are expanding in a future patch, my first plotted stop would be Khronos. Mostly because it's the farthest system I can plot to, but also because of the name. I like it.

While not needing to scoop fuel just yet, I still do in a few systems on the way. It takes some time, and can be quite dangerous, so I'll mostly refuel at stations along the way, and use the scoop as a backup.

Khronos awaits!

First stop, and nothing has really happened so far. Mostly just flying from system to system. I am still in trafficked space, as evident from the traffic report at Evans Hub.

I refuel, and also sell whatever I can from the data I have collected on the way. As far as I know the price is set, and won't rise the further I get. I might be wrong about that though.

I also decide to check the bulletin board. Might be some fun missions to do while I am here.

That doesn't seem that bad. No fine for failing or abandoning it, and I was going to see if I could get some bounties anyway. Sure, I'll kill some pirates!

And what do you know! I find Ian Cotter, idiot wanted what I had in my cargo hold. Which is quite empty, and more or less not there. After a short, but one sided fight, he manages to flee. I really need to do something about that. I can't even follow the FSD wake yet.

I try to find more pirates, but fifteen minutes of searching only yields battles long finished, wrecks and cargo slowly spinning through space. I decide to push on.

I see some sights on the way, both dim...
... and bright.

Finally some action, as I am pulled out of supercruise heading for my next stop. Sadly, I have no pictures of it, as it happened a bit too fast. The scoundrel in question was called Captain Sparrow. Yes, I kid you not. It was a long and difficult fight, only helped by the authorities. But while fighting, one of them flew between me and my target. Only for a split second, but long enough to be hit by one of my lasers. This resulted in a bounty on my head of a whooping 100 credits. It also meant I had to escape as soon as Sparrow was space dust, as missiles was flying after me.

But I got to Edgeworth in one piece, where I quickly settled the bounty, while delivering the bounty for Captain Sparrow worth about 34.000 credits. Here it is time to take a break, before I resume my journey tomorrow.

Start the Conversation

Exploring Space – The Tools

Before I set out on the long journey in Elite: Dangerous, which I plan to start this weekend, I wanted to write a bit of what I use to play, and what my Eagle is outfitted with.

I am not that familiar with it so far, but I got a cheap HOTAS, which had a lot of good reviews. Many of them specifically for this game. And as I am on a budget, I am glad it turned out to be as good as it is. The name of it is “Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick“. I know for a fact you can get a lot better, but also a lot worse. I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is for the price, so I am happy with it.

I got Voice Attack set up, but don’t use it all the time. I have found it easier to just use the buttons on the Hotas so far, but it is cool to be able to say what I want the ship to do.

Here is a quick tour of what I have equipped. Most of it is cheap, starter gear. Grade G and E for the most part, but I do have a D class FSD, which will help a bit with how far I can jump. Right now I can do jumps up to 10.22 Light Years. I also got a Fuel Scoop, making sure I won’t get stuck. Did that once, never again.

I am aware I should try and earn some money “on the road” as it where, to upgrade several components. Especially the FSD, but also the Discovery Scanner. With a better one I will be able to earn more by exploring.

I guess that’s it. I am ready to fly when I got time. See you out there!

Start the Conversation

Exploring Space - Planning phase

I briefly got into Elite: Dangerous before it got out, but realized I wanted to play it with proper equipment once it released. Being slow as usual, I only got my cheap HOTAS setup early January 2015. I set it all up, got into the game, and played for a bit, before being swallowed up by Warframe again. But I had already hatched a plan, a trip I wanted to do. And by writing this I will commit to actually doing this.

First of all, I had to get to the system where my Eagle was parked. This was a ship I got for pre-ordering, and it seemed better to me when it came to exploring.

My humble ship.

Doing that, and also earning some cash to install some systems, especially a bigger jump-drive and a fuel scoop, I took a new look at the map.

My current location. Catchy name, right?

This is where I am going.

So yeah. Coalsack Nebula is my first destination. I haven't figured out the exact system I'll call the end though. This is also just the beginning, really. Not sure where to go after that, but just getting there will take some time. I will make new posts every time I get closer, with updates about what has happened on the way. Stay safe out there! And please, if you encounter Cmdr. Matthew Auleyhill, don't shoot! I am just a humble explorer!

Next I plan to make a quick post about what I actually use to fly with, as well as the components installed on the ship. I'll probably make each installment a new post, but I won't share it anywhere. So if you want to explore with me, either just check back, follow me, or check out my "website". It's a glorified blog really. Now I need to go to sleep, as I have work in six... no, five and a half hours. Fuck.


NaissanceE - An experience you should not miss

I have to thank @drewbert a bunch for making me aware of this game. Without Drew talking about the game on the Game of the Year 2014 podcast I would probably never have bought it. But he did, and I did. And I am richer for it.

Early architecture in NaissanceE

While I want to write a lot about the game, what happens, what I think happens, and show images from some of the more impressive stages, I won't. Doing so would be a disservice to the game, as discovering those things yourself is what makes the game so good. But Drew was right. In the beginning there are cubes and blocks. Put together in various ways, sure, but blocks nonetheless. So the moment you encounter a circle... it's weird, in a way. There have been more impressive sights before that, but it still resonates in a way. And it keeps on piling on things.

The closest game I can think of is Journey. In Journey the main event for me was the exploration and feeling of discovery. The music paired with the visuals made it onto a cheerful, sometimes melancholy, thing. It was hopeful, open and vast. Meeting other players made it a happy world. NaissanceE is at times pushing you down, it is claustrophobic, and actually scary in a way. Helped a lot by the sound design, but also by the stark visuals. The hard edges, the black and white. And while it is just as vast as Journey, it almost feels sinister. These are of course feelings, and feelings are highly subjective. Your mileage may vary, but I loved every second of it. Or nearly so.

It has it's bad moments as well. Namely the first person platforming. And there is a lot of it. Mostly it works, and it doesn't task you with that difficult jumps. But there are a few sequences that really ground me down. At a few of them it actually seemed like the game did some course correction, moved a few blocks, thus making it easier. But I am not sure about that, might have been my imagination. If it did, then cool. A game with first person platforming should make steps to make it easier when someone fails at one part over and over. If not, then space and time is even stranger in NaissanceE than I thought.

But for every time I felt frustrated by the platforming, there are three or four moments of slack jawed gawking at something that at first made my mind go "Holy fuck". Then I believe I smiled. Grinned even, as spectacle out of sheer visuals is hard to do these days. I am sure you look across larger areas of space in games like Far Cry 4, and yet the areas of NaissanceE is magnitudes more impressive. And when some of those moments got interrupted by a scary fucking sound in the wall nearby, it quickly turned into "Oh no, I need to move!". And onward you push into the unknown shadows. Which brings me to another thing this game does masterfully, light and dark. The lighting system might be simple, I don't know, but it is really impressive. If there is one game where it is important to follow the suggested gamma settings, it is this.

So I'll echo Drew. Play this. More people should.


Making a "game" in Twine

I've always wanted to make a game. And so, throughout the years, I have have dabbled in scripting. Didn't understand enough to stick with it. I tried Gamemaker. Did tutorials and that was it. I've made mods for games like Morrowind. The one I spent most of my time on was a big player house on a separate new island. It was a Dwemer ruin, with everything you needed. Even had a fast-travel portal system, with images of where you would end up making the illusion that you actually just walked through the portal. Got too ambitious, never published it.

So I have a track record of trying out something, then not sticking with it. There are several reasons for this. I only have so much time, and I already stretch it pretty thin between work, girlfriend, books and games. I am also impatient, and want to see results fast. And I get bored. My book-review-ish blog hasn't been updated in months, even tough I promised to write about every book I read this year.

Maybe this is something I can finish. Twine is a lot easier to use than any of the other programs I have tried. The fact that it is only text based (you can add images and such, but I cannot draw for shit) means it takes less skill. So in one fell swoop I can make a "game" while honing my writing.

I'm still at the beginning of the story, but I already see how easy, or how complicated, I can make it. I got branching points, a hidden points system that will determine what you can do later on, I got different color text for how you perceive your companion.

I thought Twine was only for making simple "choose your adventure" games. But you can do a lot more!

I don't have my own website, so I don't think I can publish anything of what I am doing yet. Haven't looked into it, but I will make some sort of teaser version and post it somewhere. Will update this when I do.

Anyone else made something in Twine? I know there are a lot of talented duders out there, and it would be fun to see what has been made!

Start the Conversation

Movember 2014!

Oh yeah! I am joining the Movember movement this year, as my first year. If you have no idea what it is about, read this handy Wikipedia page.

As I don't have a big network of friends, I decided to post about it here, on my blog. Not going to share this around the site myself, so only the very few of you who follow me for some strange reason might read this. Would be awesome if anyone donated just a tiny bit. But what would be even better is if at least one of you could check if the site I link to works for you. I am afraid it might only be in Norwegian you see, which would make it a lot harder for me to share this with the world. Don't think many will bother with wading through Norwegian gibberish to find a way to donate. If I am "stuck" with only my own country, then it will be more difficult for me to get the word out as well. But it does have an "English" button on top, which switches it to English at least. Which I just found myself. So I guess its alright. Alright!

Anyway, this is the link to my "mo-space" as they call it.

And this is the beard that will disappear 1st of November, then gradually replaced by a moustache:

You can see how the beard is scared of what is to come.


It is on! My face is pretty much shaven, a moustache is on its way. So please, fellow duders, help men live longer by donating! As usual, don't have to donate much, but if a lot of my fellow duders chip in it will make a difference fast :D

Had some fun when the beard came off.


Yahooo! Wahaaa!

Soundtrack for this post:

I miss platformers. Especially the kind where you have wonderful worlds to explore, where you collect myriads of things. I want a large overworld where you move between these smaller worlds. I want a cartoonishly evil antagonist, and maybe a goofy animal or some shit as the protagonist. I want to unlock new items, skills and moves as I go along. I want stupidly addictive music. And I want it for PC.

Can that be done? I mean, the only recent ones I can think about are the Mario games on WiiU, a system I don't have yet. I know there are several games like this on PC, but I cannot for the life of me think of one at this instant. Would be a plus if it is recent as well, with those new cool graphics the kids love these days. Just one good action-adventure platformer. That is all I need.


"Wait... did this actually exist?"

Most of the games I grew up with are games everyone knows about. Or at least almost everyone. Super Mario was one of the first, but I also played a lot of Startropics and some jet-plane-fighter game I haven't managed to find (I don't remember the name either, so maybe someone can help me? You had to take of and land on air-carriers, watch your map or radar for bases and such to bomb). The next console I got was the N64, and that is where it got really magical for me. Mario 64, Lylat Wars and Pilotwings was the big ones (then Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask, that last one is one of the best games ever made), but I also borrowed a game from a friend that I actually thought was a fever dream a few years ago. No one seemed to know it, and I couldn't find it again. Mostly because I had forgotten the name, and searching for "robot shaking kids" didn't really work when I tried. Now I can actually find it by searching "robot shaking kids nintendo 64" though, so that's good.

Anyway, the game I wanted to write a bit about is the best "robotic maid shaking kids" simulator ever made. None other than Mischief Makers. I fell in love with this game right away. The graphics was weird, the music was weird and the mechanics... oh my. It's a 2D platformer, where you pick up things. People, kids, pots, ninja stars, rockets, flowers. Anything really. You can then throw whatever you hold in any direction, or you can shake it. Shake shake! Then throw it. Actually, shaking weapons and bombs can make them act differently. The story is weird, the levels are weird. The controls are weird. It's a weird game. And it is fucking awesome.

I never felt I beat it properly though. To get the final cutscene you need to get a gem on every level. And you need to have a good average rank. The gems was a bitch to get, so I didn't have many when I finally beat it the first time. And the thing is, the final cutscene actually plays, it just stops when you run out of gems. So I got to see a few seconds of it before it just cuts out, teasing me with the rest. I never got enough gems to watch the whole thing, and to this day I don't know what happens. I could probably find it on Youtube, but I don't want to ruin the mystery.

Before this week I thought almost no one knew about this. Someone must have played it, seeing how it is in the database, but still. Then I heard music from the game in some random Game Theory YT video a few days ago. I think it was about the theory that Humans are Pokemon. And I am currently watching the archive of the SGDQ2014 speedrun of it. So people know about it! But why don't more people know about it? Is it actually a bad game? Was it too weird? Did it have a limited release? Beats me. I loved it at least, and really hope it get some kind of re-release someday.


Games where you fail, but it all works out.

Being home for a couple of days puking every hour leaves you with precious little to do but think. When I finally managed to do something else I started playing Jak and Daxter (the trilogy is free on European PSN+ right now, or was a few days ago anyway). As I was already in a weakened state my mind wandered a lot, and I began thinking about the quest you where on. Stop Gol (which funny enough is the name of the town I grew up in) unleashing Dark Eco everywhere.

I then realized that in every game I have played where you are to stop some sort of scheme like this you always do. You never fail this quest. Why? I mean, if it is done in a good and clever way, without it being telegraphed heavily before it happens, wouldn't it be a breath of fresh air? Or would people just be really angry?

Then I took it a bit further. What if Jak and Daxter not only failed their quest to stop the Dark Eco, but it turned out that it actually helped and improved the world dramatically. That you had actually been working hard to stop something that seemed bad, but turned out to be very good for everyone. Again, if this had been done in a clever way I think it would be kinda cool.

I have a question here as well though: Are there any games that does this? Or anything close to this? 'cause I cannot think of any... And if there are any... spoilers I guess? Just telling about a game that does something like this means the ending is somewhat spoiled. But I still want to know if this is an untapped "end of game" scenario, or if I have just been playing the wrong games.