I've just come away from a few hours of playing The Crew, the new open-world racing game from Ubisoft/Ivory Tower and felt the need to share my first impressions of what I've experienced.
I'm playing it on the XBox One (insert appropriate cheering/booing), having gotten my beta key earlier in the day and had actually been a little excited to get home from work and give it a go. I had some mixed expectations of the game after first seeing the hyped up trailers from E3 for the game and then reading reviews of how it fared in reality, the news not being all that great, but trusting that time and development would improve the game before it reached my hands...and I have to say I'm not all that impressed from what I got now it is in my hands (sort of).
First off, let me say that I'm a pretty dedicated racing game fan, having recently poured a few dozen hours into Forza Horizon 2, another 'open world' racing title and have been enjoying it immensely. I've played other racing games such as Formula 1, the old Project Gotham Racing series, Burnout in many of its different iterations, as well as having been a loyal Need For Speed player, particularly enjoying the last couple of offerings EA has offered. So the prospect of The Crew offering up what is touted to be 'all of the US' to drive around in does seem to be quite the prospect, along with the gritty/campy storyline elements ripped from a Fast and Furious film (something about avenging your brother and taking down a state-wide street race gang) and social aspect of driving around with your friends in your own 'crew' got me interested.
Now, the game I'm experiencing is touted very much to be a 'Beta'. Something that was made very clear by the fact there's a watermark constantly present at the bottom of the screen, so we should expect that there is still stuff needing to be done before the devs let the game out into the wild proper. However, you'd expect a few things to be present at this stage that surprised me a little right off the bat. Screen alignment for example; that watermark I mentioned, is currently not fully shown on my screen, the first little bit of it cut off due to the fact the game seems to think my TV is bigger than it actually is and there is no option to adjust the screen boundaries, so a few HUD elements are either dangerously close to the edges of the screen or even slightly cut off.
However, that's just me nitpicking...I'll admit, the slow download of the file which would allow me to play the rest of the beta after I'd completed the opening tutorial section left me to ponder this nitpick for a while, but that was probably due to the amount of people trying to get the Beta downloaded at the same time as well.
The tutorial seemed to be well-structured for the kind of game it's trying to be, throwing me into a truck in a police chase right off the bat through some nondescript countryside outside Detroit before offering me a ride in a more souped up muscle car to take part in a race, some healthy doses of plot being offered up with it. I won't bore you with the details, but one thing in the story leads to another and eventually you get to pick one car out of four free ones and given a few more tasks to complete before going to your garage to plan your next step, where I was then stuck with having to wait for the rest of the beta to download.
That first half hour or so in this tutorial allowed me to tinker with a few of the settings and led me to wrinkle number two: as I mentioned, I'm a racing game fan and so I checked to see what kind of difficulty settings the game would offer and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could select a manual gearbox setting, having expected it to perhaps stick to a more Need For Speed 'things are gonna be way too quick for us to trust you to change gears' kind of outlook. However, this is where I found out that The Crew uses the rather unique setup of using the right thumbstick to shift up or down and then no way to change this. Any other racing game fans who don't own a wheel might also find this a little odd, most other franchises using face buttons as defaults for changing gears and then offering the choice to switch the control scheme if you wished.
The non-inclusion of an option to change control scheme is a bit grating considering the choice to use manual gears is offered, along with a host of choices to tune other things like steering sensitivity and brake pressure through the controller and will also limit the ability to use the right thumbstick as a way to look around your car if you want to or even if you need to look behind you, the left bumper instead being dedicated to the 'look back' role. I tried to get used to the thumbtsick-shift for a while, but after many years and many games of not using the stick that way, it felt very awkward and I eventually gave up, switching to an automatic setting after a while.
There's a couple of other odd choices with being able to choose an overall handling setting from 'all assists on' to 'sport' to 'hardcore', but no options to choose individual handling settings such as ABS or Traction Control. Considering I'm allowed to choose how sensitive the throttle can be, not being able to keep my ABS on but turn my traction control off for a bit of sideways mucking about seems a bit offputting and another point of frustration.
Just wondered how many people out there in the RT community are currently or have worked in the games industry and if there were any stories you'd like to tell or projects you'd like to be associated with. Or perhaps you have questions about getting into the industry if you're so inclined to get into games.
(I'm aware there may be contracts that have been signed or NDA's to adhere to, so apologies if you can't talk about much...or anything at all)
I myself am a QA Engineer at a small mobile games company in Scotland called Outplay Entertainment. However, I'm lucky in the respect that I get some more responsibility in the games development process. I don't have to just log bugs, but also create and edit test plans for our games and get to talk to the designers and devs about our games and get some (hopefully) genuine input into the way our games play. Of course, I'm still only on the bottom rung, so my day does usually consist of running tests on our games when we update them, which is frequently, what with the changes we have to make to keep up with competition.
Compared to my previous forays in retail, I'm very happy with my job and satisfied with what I'm doing. Yes, I have heard the horror stories, but thankfully haven't had to deal with the hell that is crunch and lucky enough to be in a company that is financially stable and growing...for now.
I suppose one story I can talk about is before I got my QA gig, I did some play testing for a AAA game at another small company in Scotland, who were outsourced to develop the multiplayer DLC portion of the game. There was some extensive testing done with some really cool game types that spiced things up and that we testers were pretty pumped for, but were oddly surprised when it never arrived on the marketplace. I found out later that the outsource company I tested with had coded the entire pack incorrectly and had never checked if it worked with the retail copy of the game and when it was delivered to the parent company, it failed to pass the most basic checks, meaning a good few months of development and testing had gone down the drain.
Anyone else out there who makes the vidjya games?
2 years ago
So, RWBY's finally dropped and we've been given a taste of what the latest offering RT can give us hungry, hungry fans.
Right off the bat, what I've seen so far has shown a lot of promise, but I'm reserving judgement until I've been allowed to see more.
When I saw the 'Red' trailer, I was hooked. Cute girl with a massive, awesome combi-weapon that saw her kick serious werewolf ass, Monty Oum style? Colour me intrigued, RT.
Though I'll admit that the rest of the buildup to this series did cause me to pause and wonder if this was such a good idea. After watching the Black and Yellow trailers, I had my doubts as to the way things were going. However, it was not for what I saw, but what I heard.
Yes, it is a topic that has most likely been argued to death, but the voice acting did jar me slightly. Call it shallow, but any animated or machinma series has to have a strong VA cast to carry it and breath life into the characters they portray. Were those just the first takes? Most likely. Was the final product going to have improved lines? Definitely. And yet it was something I was going to focus on more than anything else unfortunately.
And so I'm very glad to say that the first episode was able to cast the doubts I had about the VA's aside. Barbara already proved herself that she and Yang are pretty much the same and thank goodness Lindsay isn't as squeaky anymore. The rest of the cast I've heard so far have also been up to scratch with what we can expect from RT with a lovely unexpected cameo by Jen Taylor to get us going.
And so that allowed me to take in the rest of what was offered. Of course there was the initial fight to help set the scene and help introduce our shadowy antagonists, giving us enough info about the world lore and 'dust' to give us a brief idea without drowning us in exposition and some much-needed character interaction, setting up the plot nicely.
Stuff I can nit-pick? The drawn-animated section in the airship was a little jarring to see, I suppose...
Awesome Monty-driven fight scenes aside, I do want to see how well this series is able to carry the story based on what happens in between the gun-scyth stuff. With Miles at the writers helm and with his track record in RvB, I'm sure we're in for a good ride, but again we need to wait and see.
I'm pleased RT has decided to do something so different to what so many of us have come to expect, but worried that it may not be as dazzling as many may hope it to be.
However, it is very early days and we've yet to get into the nitty-gritty. A few more episodes and we'll see what Monty, Miles and co. have in store for all of us.
tl;dr - First I was like then I was all like but gotta wait for when I can be like or
4 years ago
...it has been a while, hasn't it?
So it seems my long, long period of being dead has continued unabated. Much of what I was planning to do seems to have not really come about, what with my need to find work and money having taken up far too much of my time.
Not sure even if anyone's going to even be reading this, but hey ho.
So hopefully this will be another 'new leaf turned' as I get back into trying to type witty things to make people laugh. Who knows? Instead of simply passing the time, it could be fun.
Of course, I've been wrong before...
After another phonecall from my dad demanding I send my Xmas list to him today and then composing a hasty head-scratching e-mail trying to think up various gift or stocking filler-ideas, I ask the RT Forum:
What is top of your Christmas list?
Whether it be something real, or something that lets you stretch your imagination, what could you possibly want?
A question has popped into my head, and it is one that I would like to pose to the RT forum:
Is there anything that can be found in or about Simon Cowell that is good or moralistically right? Is there anything about the man that could be viewed as 'good'?
And any answers that go along the lines of 'he shows us that we can never be as big a c**t as him' don't count.
Hey guys, need your help with something.
I'm going through my 4th year of Games Production Management at University and I'm writing a dissertation that is focussing upon the need for good narrative within games today. I have written up a survey and I was wondering if it would be at all possible to get a few responses.
Ideally, I'm looking for anyone who has some experience with the games industry or has some sort of development background. Even if you've thought about making a small i-Phone game or app, your opinion would be highly valued.
I appreciate that other activities may take priority over something like this, but if you have about 10 free minutes to take part, please do so. And please, no joke answers or trolling please (as much as that request will probably attract the trolls).
Thanks in advance guys.
5 years ago
It's been a turbulent couple of weeks for me, trying to retain the lease on my apartment and trying to keep my bank off my back and out of my room to repossess the stuff I'm still paying off. Then there's the job I have that seems to be sapping my soul, and finally the holiday in Geneva, Switzerland that wasn't as relaxing as I'd hoped it would have been with my friends not so much wanting to relax, unless their definition of 'relaxation' involved going out every night to do something, whether it was seeing an air show, a fireworks display or terrify me as they drove up the mountain roads...in the dark.
And then my laptop broke.
I've been meaning to get around to becoming a more 'giving' member of the RT community, particularly amongst the 'Freelancer Program' people by posting another fanfic large enough to choke a horse, but as I just said, my lappy broke and I've been forced to pull out my old, crappy desktop that doesn't even have a word processing program.
So for those for you who think I may have just been slacking off, next week I should have something up.
...unless I slack off.
I'm not exactly sure where to post this, seeing as it could be defined as a 'movie' of sorts, but is based online, I thought it would be correct of me to bring the RT community's attention to a project that started in about 2004, something written by Doug TenNapel, a man better known for Earthworm Jim. A series that has attracted the talent of the brothers Dan and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) and Doug Jones (Hellboy).
I am talking about 'Sockbaby'.
Now, I may seem to be biased when I start taking/ranting./spewing nonsense about this little webseries he created, but instead of me laying praise in this thread, I believe a better method of allowing unbiased opinion is to simply provide the good RT community with a way in which to view said webseries.
So, without further ado or waffling on my part, if you think you have the time to be entertained; sockbaby.com
(I do suggest though that you begin with Part 1, rather than the more attractively advertised Part 4.)