Archive for September 2011

Minecraft Multiplayer Minecraft Mods

Even though the official modding API hasn’t been introduced (at the time of writing) many people have produced mods for Minecraft. There are mods for the single player game and mods for the multiplayer game, this article will discuss some multiplayer mods.

The server plugin architecture I have used is Bukkit but there are a few others. I’m sure the others have similar plugins to the ones I have tried out. The reasoning behind trying each of these plugins was to add something to the game without making it silly, ie I disregarded “Everyone is Invincible and can fly and do what they like” types.

The first, iConomy, is important because it has links with other mods.

iConomy adds currency into the game. It keeps tabs of how much currency people have which is then used by other mods to allow payment. Linked with this was a mod I forget the name of which takes money from you when you die – you can set it up so it doesn’t drop you below a certain value, takes a percentage, takes a fixed value, etc. There are other similar ones but this is the one I used.

Jobs
This mod enables you to configure simple jobs which reward people with gold for doing them. An example would be to create a Lumberjack and give money each time they cut down a tree. People can gain levels in a job as well as money and you can limit the number of people on the server allowed a specific job (eg Make a Sheriff job and give money for killing things but only allow one person to have it). People can either have a number of jobs or be limited in the amount of jobs they have.

PermissionsBukkit
Lots of mods which do this which is to basically allow functionality of mods to specific people, so you could have someone joining the server not able to do anything (including destroying and placing blocks), you could allow an admin position and everyone with that rank would be able to do the various slash Job commands like give someone a rank (if you weren’t doing it automatically) and an op position which would allow all commands.

HeroicDeath
A ‘silly’ little fun plugin which displays a message to all on the server when someone dies about the method of their death.

mcMMO
This is similar to the jobs plugin but with a couple of differences. Firstly, you’re not defined by job, it just rewards you with exp and levels for doing things like mining, fishing, killing, etc. So far, Jobs is a better mod. However, what this does is to allow ‘supermoves’ based on your levels. By holding a tool and right clicking you activate the jobs power so with an axe you chop things instantly not just the block you’re hitting but others around it. With mining you can mine things faster and based on your level you have a chance of getting double materials from it.

Essentials
This is more of an admin mod which gives lots of slash commands like allowing teleportation to players, setting warps places you can then go to at any point, etc. To be honest the main thing I liked about the mod (and things I’ve now found other mods do, rendering this one a bit useless) is the things it does with signs. You can place commands on signs to allow people to right click them and trigger various effects. One is to allow people who right click it to gain an item, the sign acting like a chest but one which is never emptied. When linked with the iConomy mod though you can have places where players sell blocks to earn money and places where players can spend money to get items which would otherwise take a lot of faffing about (eg Diamonds).

Cookiez
Silly fun addon which makes zombies drop cookies instead of feathers

Stargate
A mod which allows the creation of portals which are linked to each other instead of linking to the nether. Portals can be linked just with each other or to a number of different ones (you choose destination by clicking on a portal sign). Again this can be linked with the iConomy mod to require a fee before use.

There were a few of other mods I’ve seen which I’ve not tried but look interesting, it’s quite overwhelming really. There is a temptation to try everything but I think that could ruin things.

For more information and to look at the other mods which are available, please visit http://forums.bukkit.org/forums/plugin-releases.17/ or http://dev.bukkit.org.

Posted by Talthinar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Renegade Ops, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Blood Rayne: Betrayal, Catherine, Arcana Hearts 3

It’s time again for a fast summary of games on the market right now so you know what you are letting yourself in for. Wukung reviews a wide selection of games including popular big name games and less-well-known releases.

This selection focuses on console games and includes the newly released Renegade Ops which we saw at the Renegade Ops launch celebration.

Don’t miss the games Wukung has already reviewed this year, including Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Dead Space 2, Kill Zone 3, Little Big Planet 2, Deathsmiles, Bulletstorm, Dragon Age 2,Duodecim, Crysis 2, Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection, Razer Onza, Alice: Madness Returns, Yakuza 4, LA Noire, No More Heroes, Duke Nukem Forever and Infamous 2.

You can see the full list exclusively on MMORPG Info » Wukung’s Reviews.


Renegade Ops (PS3, Xbox 360 (played))

This top-down shooter feels like a tribute to many classic arcade games such as Ikari Warriors and Smash TV… except in buggies. The twin stick controls are wonderfully responsive and speeding around blasting enemies can be a joy but but the game is mired by some serious flaws. Some enemies can do a lot of damage very quickly with some groupings of enemies causing very abrupt difficulty spikes. Clipping obstacles often leaves you trapped upside down for a few seconds unable to evade attacks, which was frustratingly my most common cause of death. The leveling and skill mechanic acts as a barrier to trying out different characters. It feels like you are too much at the mercy of random health and power up drops which can sometimes leave you seriously under powered for big chunks of levels. I ran into some technical issues such as audio popping during cutscenes, very occasionally levels not loading and glitchy triggering of objectives in online multiplayer.

The presentation is excellent, particularly the motion-comic style cutscenes. The story is nonsensical but still joyous for it’s sheer silliness. The in-game graphics are good and apart from very occasional brief bouts of stuttering, runs smoothly. The environments can be a bit cluttered sometimes making it hard to make out what is going on.

There are is no serious game breaking issue here but there are a lot of minor problems which pile up to get in the way of the enjoyment. Even so Renegade Ops‘ fast-paced action is a lot of fun.
8/10

Deus Ex Human Revolution (PS3, Xbox 360 (played), PC)

Deus Ex is a name that carries a lot of weight and Human Revolution definitely lives up to it. Nearly every challenge has multiple solutions depending on the style of play you want. The upgrade system is a bit harsh in the early game, front-loading the cost as well as an initial crawl in upgrades. By the middle, a well-rounded generalist effective at everything is very possible. An enthralling story and wonderfully realised world is let down a little by the final act. Despite the solid story, the highpoint of the game is exploring the hub areas and doing side quests.

The freedom of choice in approach is well played out but the gameplay for stealth, combat and hacking all have their issues. The inventory is a bit too restrictive and lack of storage options a glaring omission. The handful of boss fights feel very out of place and can be a frustrating road block or trivially easy depending on the ordinance you are carrying going into them.

Human Revolution surpasses the original and belongs among the canon of cyberpunk classics. Definitely one for those who accuse current games of being dumbed down.
9/10

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (PS3, Xbox 360 (played), PC)

Space Marine gives you a chance to be the original super-human armoured elite. The game mixes shooting with melee combat. Health can be recovered from performing melee kills against stunned enemies. This works best in the early stages fighting hordes of weak enemies. The risk-reward mechanics don’t scale well against stronger foes later in the game, making relying on your regenerating shield often the better option. The run-and-gun shooting is fun if nothing special. The most spectacular moments in the game come from the ridiculously fun jump pack sections.

The campaign is a little short and the story not especially engaging. It gives a much more detailed ground level view of a well established universe than has been seen before. Space Marine captures the feel of being the legendary elite of Empire of Mankind, which is where much of the appeal lies. Fans of the universe will get the most out of this. However in its own right it is a fun and somewhat unique game, even if it lacks depth or longevity.
8/10

Blood Rayne: Betrayal (PS3, Xbox 360 (played))

Blood Rayne: Betrayal is the 2D downloadable follow-up to the long dormant series. Fast-paced combat is mired by some fairly serious control issues. The graphics are nice and the animation excellent but visuals are far too busy, making it easy to lose track of the action. This is even worse in the fairly frequent silhouette segments, set on dark backgrounds with dark foreground elements blocking your view, leaving you more or less fighting blind.

By far the biggest problem is the sudden jump of platforming difficulty that occurs in the latter half of the game and remains right through. The controls do not offer as much precision as is demanded and some very challenging sections have poor checkpoint placement. All of the boss battles are in their own way frustrating. The paper thin plot would not have been a problem in itself but certainly does not help.

While there are some good ideas here, the problems stack up to make this a very difficult game to enjoy.
5/10

Catherine (PS3 (played), Xbox 360)

Catherine is a mix of interactive story telling and puzzle from the team behind the Persona series of RPGs. The story is well told and beautifully presented. The puzzle gameplay involves pushing and pulling blocks in order to create a path upwards. There is remarkable depth to what initially seems a fairly straight forward block puzzle. The random factor added by some complications can be frustrating rather than feeling like adding a fair challenge. Overall though, the puzzle game is incredibly challenging, satisfying and compelling.

While some people will be put off the anime style, that is a shame. Catherine is unique, well crafted and thoroughly enjoyable game which should not be missed.
9/10

Note: Catherine is out in the US but not yet available in Europe. The game does now have a publisher and will likely be released later in the year.

Arcana Hearts 3 (PS3 (played), Xbox 360)

Fast paced 2D one-on-one beat’em up in an anime style featuring an all female cast. The anime style presentation of the all female cast will put a lot of people off. I seem to write that quite often with my love of Japanese games but many people will find Arcana Hearts 3 particularly objectionable.

The visuals are a little dated and a long way off the high mark set in sprite graphics by BlazBlue; however, the animation is slick. The combat mechanics have a great deal of depth and are heavily geared towards aerial combat and relatively easy to execute combos. The fighting styles of the roster are varied, supporting some very varied play styles. The game makes few concessions to easing new players into its unique mechanics. However, once you have a handle on it, the often heavily pressure play based combat is a lot of fun. For sake of rating Arcana Hearts 3 I’m going to set aside its presentation though this will be a major negative factor for a lot of people. Once you get passed that, there is great fighting game with a lot of depth.
8/10

Posted by Wukung on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Skyrim

*swoon*

No comment necessary, eh?

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Renegade Ops

MMORPG-Info had the pleasure of getting an invite to the Sega and Avalanche Studios launch celebration of the game Renegade Ops. Our heroes Tig and Aach attended to tell us all about it so we have two reviews for the price of one!


Tig:
The SEGA launch for their new release, Renegade Ops, was held in the unique surroundings of HMS Belfast, the WWII cruiser by London Bridge on the Thames.

Aach:
The basics: Entertaining top down two stick shooter for Xbox.

Tig:
The event itself was a chance to primarily drink and play the game on a host of Xbox 360’s lined up for the event.

Looking rather forlorn in a corner of the ward room was a barely clad model having war paint applied to her nakedness to the utter disinterest of a room full of guys furiously playing Renegade Ops.

Aach:
Controls: Direct the vehicle with one joystick, direct the stream of bullets with the other, two special attack buttons which you can ignore and just race about blasting stuff. Easy to pick up and fairly easy to master.

Tig:
I suppose this must say something about the appeal of the game. Let me say now, it is not my genre but I had great fun zooming round like a lunatic playing split screen co-op mode with a friend.

Aach:
The game: I remember playing games like this more than two decades ago as a teenager in arcades (erm not that I hung about in arcades if my mum is reading this). The graphics and physics engine are better (better than great but short of awesome) but the basic game is to drive about shooting things, grabbing power ups and then shooting things some more. A nominal plot links bouts of shooting things but it can be safely ignored as a friendly red arrow shows you where to go and there are few cut scenes.

Tig:
The story arc is interspersed with graphic comic cut scenes but, to be honest, with this sort of game, you aren’t playing it for the story arc.

Aach:
The game-play is fast and fun. The whole thing has a graphic novel feel to it, particularly the back story and plot. All the nicely rendered friable buildings and vehicles look like comic art, indeed one of the characters is very reminiscent of Tank Girl.

Tig:
As a single player game, it’s not really my cup of tea: my play style leans towards MMOs and the odd first person shooter.

Aach:
The four characters each have special abilities, which are clearly designed to improve co-op play letting you stun a group, put up a shield or do area damage depending on your role. There are lots of upgrade options to pick from, I didn’t get chance to develop a character but it seems that you can get some improvements that shift the game-play a bit to keep things fresh. This obviously offers re-playability too as you can level up each character.

Tig:
The multiplayer mode I think is where this game will win out. The furious pace and spectacular crashes as you drive off cliffs in your frantic attempts to co-ordinate shooting and moving will be great fun in casual games surrounded by a gang of jeering mates.

The online game which can feature up to four players also looks like it could hold some tactical group play, with each character able to drop different specials into the mix, which if co-ordinated properly can lead to a much better group performance.

Aach:
The only let down is the AI which is rather predictable but this makes for a short learning curve so this will be a good party game. There doesn’t seem to be much like this in the Xbox catalogue and its arcade gameplay fits the console so much better than the standard first-person shooter formats. I might have been disappointed with this if it were forty quid. At a tenner it is well worth the price tag and you’ll be able to reach into a drawer and use it to entertain visitors for years to come as the style is timeless. If your friends get into it too then there are a lot of hours of game play in this package.

Tig:
Unfortunately, although the invitation promised a free copy of the game, I didn’t receive a copy. I would have given this a longer go to see if it could get me hooked.


The attendees did get a goody bag including a T-shirt, 4GB memory stick with promotional material for reference, a Renegade Ops dog tag, as well as a pen and notebook. Not bad loot for a single evening’s group, I’d say.

For more information, see Renegade Ops on the SEGA website.

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Character Class? Feminist Whore.

I’ve not paid a lot of attention to Dead Island after the Official Announcement Trailer on YouTube. It just seemed tasteless. I couldn’t be bothered trying to analyse my response but pats_quinade on LiveJournal has written up an interesting consideration of why the Dead Islands Trailer is kind of despicable.

So, really not my playstyle, no big deal. As a result, I don’t actually know much about the game. But thank goodness, there’s always Wikipedia for a quick introduction:

Dead Island – Wikipedia

Dead Island is a first person horror action-adventure video game developed by Techland for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It is centered on the challenge of survival on a zombie-infested open world island with a major emphasis on melee combat.

The game hasn’t had an easy launch in the U.S. and is apparently beset by bugs.

News : 2011-09-07 Dead Island Steam Update

Here’s the latest from us on Dead Island PC for North American users. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused to fans who wanted to spend their day crushing some zombie skulls. Thank you very much for your continued patience and support and we are completely committed to ensuring that you have an excellent time with our game.

· First, the correct version of the title is now available on Steam and fans are able to download it now.

· Second, the day 1 patch notes in their entirety are below. Please note that this update may cause incompatibilities between the incorrect version of Dead Island that was released and the fixed version and cause a wipe on some saved data. However, we have a solution to help regain some quest progress: When the game opens, select New Game -> Select the same character as you were using before, and then there will be an option for “Chapter Select” which will allow the player to jump to the last chapter they were playing in.

· Third, Deep Silver plans to announce a “make up” to North American fans who were affected by the day 1 PC issues, stay tuned in coming days for those details as internal discussions are ongoing on our end.

· Fourth, the Bloodbath DLC is still on schedule as planned – fans who preordered the title will still receive the Bloodbath DLC when it launches (date will be announced shortly!) as stated previously.

· Fifth, we are aware of The Ripper activation bug which will not load as a result of the version update and this will be fixed in the next game patch, coming soon.

So, not a lot to see here, really. But as a result of the bugs, people have been looking at the code to see if they can see what is going on. Browsing the Something Awful Forums, it turns out there’s some interesting sub-text.

You can choose one of four characters to play, One of them, Purna, is a VIP bodyguard with an interesting backstory.

From the Purna – Dead Island Wiki we have the following description: “Purna is a former officer of the Sydney Police department. After losing her career when she killed a child molester who could not be touched legally because of his wealth and connections, Purna then turned to working as a bodyguard for VIPs in dangerous places all over the world. She is hired not just for her skills but her looks as wealthy men did not mind showing up with Purna on their arm.”

Sounds like an intriguing character, doesn’t she? It turns out, Purna has some interesting skills. Specifically, Feminist Whore skills.

You think I’m kidding, don’t you…

Apparently, Steam user AlekseiVasiliev was browsing through the files, looking to find out what he could tweak. When he took a closer look at Purna’s abilities, he noticed something unexpected hidden in the depths. He posted his findings to the Steam Users’ Forums:

Data0.pak\Data\default_player_setup.scr

Code:
sub Skills_Purna(){
	Skill("TeamSpirit1Purna");
	Skill("SharpApprenticePurna");
[...]
	Skill("TeamSpirit2Purna");
	Skill("FeministWh*rePurna");
	Skill("MeleeDurabilityPurna");
[...]
}

Note: in the file the skill is called “FeministWhorePurna”. The tactful asterisk in the middle was added by the poster.

Purna also has a “Gender Wars” skill which does 15% additional damage to male characters. Internally, the skill is called “Feminist”. Some have put forward that this was a partial renaming of the Feminist Whore skill but I don’t see it. And honestly, defining “Feminist” as “hurting men” is pretty screwed up all on its own, don’t you think?

According to Eurogamer.net, Techland are disturbed by the reports.

“It obviously violates professional and ethical standards at Techland and should never have happened,” Blazej Krakowiak, international brand manager, told Eurogamer. “We’re investigating this right now and we’ll issue a statement later.

“For now, I can only express my sincerest apologies for this incident and assure you that whoever acted so irresponsibly did not represent the views and opinions of Techland.

“I’m equally sure that aside from the author of that unfortunate line of code, everyone at the office is as disturbed by this as you are.”

I’m glad they acknowledge that it is inappropriate. Still, I don’t know about you, but I can’t see how only one person saw that skill-tree within the development team.

If you watch Purna’s Character Bio on YouTube, she’s clearly intended to show a “strong female” in the male-dominated FPS genre. This makes the code all the more upsetting.

I keep reading that women gamers are the big up and coming market but it’s disappointing that there are still so many game developers who see us as an alien race. Worse, who think that if we believe in ourselves it is damaging to them. It’s just … tiring. Not even the cash incentive of a booming games market seems to be registering on the radar of these guys.

TOP TIP: if you are looking to sell games to women, maybe you shouldn’t refer to your female characters as Feminist Whores, even “behind closed doors” where you don’t think it’ll be noticed. No charge for that one.

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Neverwinter Nights: MMO

This time last year a Neverwinters Night MMO was announced by Perfect World and Cryptic (previously, Atari was to be the publisher), as publisher and developer respectively. The game has had very little information released since that date, but a few key bits of information have been released.

Classes

It has been stated that there will be 5 classes, which, in keeping with typical Dungeons and Dragon’s roles, will most likely be Fighter, Barbarin (or Paladin), Wizard, Cleric and Rogue. No further information has been given on this matter.

The Foundry

Perhaps the most interesting feature announced as of now, is the fact that people will be able to design their own quests and dungeons, with traps, encounters and NPCs, among others, utilising “The Foundry” which will launch as part of the main game. No details have been given on whether rewards such as gold or experience will be available for these custom dungeons. You can see some (rather small) screenshots here if you are curious.

Backstory

The overarching plot of the MMO will be based off a trilogy of books by renown author R.A. Salvatore, with the first book, “Gauntlgrym”, already out. This should give player a rich story to go along with the rich city of Neverwinter, which has been in use in both the RPG games Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, as well as the 1991 AOL MMO, by the same name.

Hopefully more details will come soon, as well as a release date, but until then you can keep track of the game and discuss it with other fans at the site and forum located at http://www.playneverwinter.com.

Posted by Conot on http://mmorpg-info.org.