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Everything posted by woah

  1. I finished earlier today. Overall it's a good game. Definitely the best single player game in the Alien universe and among the best in the survival horror genre. However, assuming we're talking about the experience of the games in their entirety, I found AvP2's multiplayer and Amnesia more enjoyable in their respective genres overall. In other words, everything is not as rosy as my initial impressions of AI. But first the good: the Alien itself is stunning. It is really amazing how well the developers captured the ferocity of the Alien and--for me at least--they without a doubt created the scariest gaming experience I've ever put myself through. Of course the initial moments of dealing with it were the most frightening, naturally, but even at the end of the game that fear never subsided to a level where I wouldn't feel my heart beating. Even now I still don't like to watch it lunge toward me or kill me, preferring to press ESC and load the most recent save when I know my fate is sealed. And not only is it frightening but it is cinematic and immersive: there are so many moments in my encounters with the Alien where it may as well have played out in a movie. I couldn't ask for anything better in terms of this aspect of the game. Second, and as many others have stated, the artificial intelligence is very good. I don't mean good in the sense that it is very smart (not to imply that it is poor), but rather that it is very unpredictable--at least within the confines of what was clearly the developers' intentions (more on this later). I was never confident that the Alien wasn't going to drop down behind me, abruptly turn around and enter a different area or room (perhaps the room I was hiding in), peek under the table I was crouched under, etc etc. And then other times it would feel like it was so close that it must be just waiting for me to make a move and yet nothing would happen when I did, or it might stand motionless in the vents for a while (not setting off the motion tracker) to perhaps trick me into thinking that it had gone somewhere else (I used to think it was teleporting in many of these cases, but whenever I paid close attention I realized that everything was always consistent with its actual location and the last recorded position of the motion tracker). The above two things are really the crown jewels of AI. It leaves you on edge the entire game and never lets you get too confident with your playing habits--there was never really a moment in this game where I felt like I had "figured the Alien out" and reduced the encounters with it to a set of actions that would unfailingly work to my favor. Most games of this type are all about isolating those context-sensitive set of actions through trial and error and I think this is why many reviewers were put off with AI's difficulty. There is always a real chance you are going to die and there is nothing you can do about that other than reduce the probability of it happening. The key to AI's greatness in this respect seems to be that it makes this both readily apparent and "believeable" ("believeable" in the sense that, e.g., I never just died because the game decided to "spawn" the Alien above me) There are of course other things that are great about AI. Many of the environments are quite stunning and certain parts of the game are just a joy to explore (but not all parts, not by a long shot) . The graphics can be quite good (and quite bad, you can see which mappers took attention to detail seriously and which didn't) and the lighting can be particularly amazing. Some parts truly captured the look and feel of the Alien movies (and, again, other parts didn't). But now we get to the bad. First off, a lot of reviewers have said that the game is "too long." I don't believe that's ever actually a problem. Rather, I think the problem is that if you're going to make a game that re-uses the same general mechanic for as long as AI does, you need to add in *a lot* more variety over time and create a storyline that people actually care about. At about the 50% mark, I was already quite sick of the repetitive objectives and the repetitive overly simplistic gameplay. Go here, turn on/off the power for X, meet up with Y, suffer through some quicktime events, scan each room for green lights and the flashing yellow item glint along the way, then repeat. This became so monotonous that just thinking about it right now makes me sick to my stomach. Eventually I, for example, stopped going out of my way to search for items altogether and just focused on reading the green terminals (I felt like I needed to extract something from laboring around like this, doing essentially the same thing over and over again in what, looking back, now seems like one big haze ... but this segues well into the next point). Now, some games can get away with this repetitive, overly simplistic gameplay if the storyline is interesting enough, but in AI's case it's not. The initial setup had my attention, but after that I really didn't care what happened to Ripley or the other characters, and after a while I even stopped caring about the backstory. With the exception of Samuels, all of the characters seemed to have the same childishly sardonic "tough guy" personalities with the corniest lines and intonations. I could not empathize with any of them, and in the Alien setting (where it is about fear, hopelessness, and survival) this was a major let down. And the degree to which the "everyone for themselves" trope was employed was quite silly too. I mean, there were a few interesting moments, such as the but these do not substitute for an actual good storyline. Lastly (and I suppose this wouldn't be a problem if the two issues above were handled better) even with all of my praise for the Alien, I still believe there should have been more variety with respect to the hide and seek mechanic. For example: - As someone else in this thread said, you can be certain that the Alien is alwayswithin or just outside of your motion detector, and while I can see why they did this, it makes this aspect of the Alien very predictable and thus somewhat immersion breaking. Not saying that the Alien should have an equal chance of being anywhere on the entire ship, but there must be a better solution - The hiding spots are mostly preset and allow little creativity or variety - Certain hiding spots (e.g. lockers, vents) trigger the Alien to come straight for you, which also feels immersion breaking. Thus I decided to stop using them almost altogether, reducing the variety even more - The environments are very uninteractive (one can not even pick up objects and throw them as distractions? Why even bother with the physics then?) and thus feel pretty dead despite being pretty - The Alien does not climb on walls or "stalk" the player (the player almost always knows where it is, while the opposite is true in the movies. This would've added a whole new dimension to the gameplay). It's always thumping about upright on the ground or in the vents - Knocking over physics-affected objects never alerted the enemies for me - You cannot mantle or jump. - The game is rife with quick-time events rather than more dynamic interactions Now, many of these examples can be attributed to the fact that the gameplay was constrained by consoles, but IMO survival horror games, due to their nature, necessitate much more variety with the environment and the way you interact with it. Sometimes AI feels like you were just tossed in any old FPS level and told "okay, now just stay out of the enemy's line of sight." A nice challenge, but way too simplistic. So in conclusion there are things I love and really dislike about AI. I doubt there has ever been a game that has so palpably brought a SciFi creature to life, and as a fan of Alien 1 and 3 and AvP2 this was an absolute joy. But the game has serious flaws, and perhaps one of the "issues" with this game is that it does certain things so well that its problems (or maybe these "problems" would be considered normal in other games) by comparison are painfully apparent, more so as the game progresses. Maybe that is "unfair," but in a way it reminds me of the uncanny valley. If you're going to go the extra mile in bringing the Alien to life in your game, you had better have the rest of the game up to snuff too or else it's going to stick out. If I had to rate the game on a scale of 0-100 it would be in the mid to low 80s, but the initial encounters with the Alien (before the monotony set in) certainly felt like upper 90s. A few other nitpicks/comments: - The Alien seems to get more and more aggressive the less you move. It would seem more appropriate to me if the opposite were true (while still maintaining a certain level of unpredictability), but maybe the devs felt that it was better to create more tension. I just felt that after a while of playing, the game unfortunately rewarded a certain level of recklessness and thus seemed less tense. I could sometimes walk through a good portion of the level without the Alien ever approaching me, but if I stayed in one spot it would practically be on top of me. - When the Alien kills other human AI it feels kind of bland. The general behavior seemed to be to run up to them, grab them, and then headbite them one at a time, but their bodies--at least when I looked at them--remained undamaged. I think it would've been better if they at least showed some damage or if the Alien would drag them up into the vents after roughing them up a bit. - Did anyone else notice that there seems to be a 5ft radius around Ripley that will disrupt all nearby physics-affected objects? This is especially true when laying down--e.g. I might turn Ripley 90 degrees and the garbage can on the other side of the room would get knocked over. As I said before, the enemies never noticed the objects falling over, but regardless it was a confusing oversight.
  2. So I'm trying to locate medical supplies for Taylor and I'm finding that with the exception of under tables, it's almost always finding me. If I hide in a vent, 90% of the time it enters the vent and then I'm finished. And ever since I've entered this hospital area it seems that a new game mode has been activated where if I hide in a locker, it will always come up to the locker and activate the "hold your breath" quicktime event. The thing is, even if I have enough health and get the quicktime event commands right (hold back and RMB), there still seems to be a 50-50 chance that it rips open the locker and kills me. Is this normal? While I can understand vents leaving you vulnerable, is there really no guarantee that you're safe in a locker even if you get the quicktime events right? EDIT: I've ended up just avoiding lockers wherever possible. It without a doubt triggers the Alien to enter the room and check out the locker you're in, so instead I just hide behind/under something and then the Alien doesn't seem to bug me.
  3. OK, I found some time to play some more and now I see what everyone means. This game is ruthless ... to the extent that the game will set you up in situations that are impossible to evade! Of course that may be because I'm playing on the hardest difficulty, but my god, progressing through certain parts almost depends on luck. Regardless, I'm having a blast! And I can't really say that I want the AI to be less difficult, but I do feel things would be more enjoyable if one had more options at their disposal. VR-enabled head tracking would do some good, but man it would really be helpful if one could, for example, pick up miscellaneous objects and use them as distractions (I can't pick up a can?!), gently move an object (e.g. a chair) by hand so one can hide under a desk without bumping anything and thus making noise, maneuver one's body around tight spaces to hide rather than depending on the preset hiding spots, open a locker one is hiding in slowly so you can peek out and make less noise, jump / scale a wall, ... some of these things are so obvious that I can't help but think consoles were a bottleneck in the game's development.
  4. Amazing stuff but I was a bit bummed to hear that it bounced twice and its solar panels are now at least partially shaded by a ledge (decreasing its operational life). Hopefully they're able to locate the lander and optimize the sunlight capture (assuming the lander's solar panels have some level of manueverability). Regardless, I love the idea that we now have a craft hurtling through space on a comet. The pictures really look like science fiction. Now let's get humans to land on one! (seeing as no one but Elon Musk is in any rush to get to mars) Sure, from a strictly utilitarian point of view humans aren't that cost-efficient (although a human on Mars could do in a few hours what Curiosity has done in 2 years) but in addition to science I love the adventure and inspiration of human missions (even if it is only experienced empathically through someone else). It would be nice if my country would e.g. cut its military budget in at least half, reform our insanely costly healthcare system to something similar to EU member states', tax the insane amount of wealth private individuals hold in this country, etc etc and instead direct those resources to areas like this (and other things concerning the welfare of our citizens).
  5. Well, it looks like this didn't end up working. Only 2 of the 8 candidates actually won, both of which weren't very unexpected results. Back to the drawing board!
  6. Was this the DK1 or the DK2? I've heard the DK2 is a major improvement over the DK1--especially if the application utilizes VR well. Of course this is not to say that the motion sickness problem has been fixed with the DK2.
  7. Just figured I'd drop this here: reactions to Alien Isolation on the oculus rift DK2. Looks quite thrilling and fun:
  8. I haven't even seen the Alien yet but I'm loving this game. The attention to detail is quite amazing--they've really got the atmosphere down and the "Alien movie feel" just right. Advancing through almost every room is excruciating (in a good way) due to how unforgiving the game is--it keeps you on your toes at all times (which is great for immersion). Also, if anyone has an Oculus Rift DK2 (or knows someone who does), the game has a hidden VR mode. And it must be well done because a lot of reviews state that with VR the game is no longer enjoyable but rather just terrifying and stressful . http://www.polygon.c...ion-oculus-rift Instructions: http://www.theriftar...culus-rift-dk2/ Of course, even from the standpoint of my preliminary impression, the game isn't perfect. Given how it does so well in certain respects, its flaws really stick out. Actually, I wouldn't call them "flaws" but rather just "glaring missed opportunities." In particular, the mechanics of stealth, the interactivity with the environment, and the physics are painfully rudimentary. I blame consolitis. If only the PC version had Amnesia's solutions to these problems...
  9. I noticed the game let you change your field of view. Does anyone have a recommended setting? Is there a field of view which is tailored better to the game? Seems like in this type of game it would matter.
  10. Really looking forward to this one! I've had it on my shelf for about a week, just haven't had a chance to play it. I've always loved the Alien universe (Alien, Alien 3, Predator, Predator 2) and played avp2 a lot back in the day (especially the multiplayer maps where the alien could be played stealthily). Sounds like the exact kind of game I want to be playing right now.
  11. woah

    Blade Yautja

    Looks interesting, I'll check back when he releases the standalone next year. Until then, the survival horror game Alien: Isolation comes out next week (Oct 7th). The negative reviews say it's frustrating, "too long," and difficult, so it could be the sort of game I like.
  12. Not that big of a deal now, but if it mutates in a way that allows it to spread more effectively than by direct contact, then it could be a huge one. I have no idea what the chances of this are. The 1918 spanish flu that killed 3% to 5% of the world population killed 10% to 20% of those infected. The ebola virus kills between 50% and 90% of the infected. So no need to panic, but best to put a lot of resources into eliminating the virus.
  13. Glad to know I wasn't the only one. You could see it in his eyes. Gotta be tough to maintain an image of beaming joyfulness and playfulness when you're actually hurting inside.
  14. I wonder how well this retains the character of the original textures
  15. Development Kit 2s are shipping in. Here's a review of the Oculus Rift DK2 by roadtovr and it's really positive. If only I had the money and time at this moment... http://www.roadtovr....son-vr-headset/ From the review: ^ This is exactly what I wanted to hear. Thief with "true" black would be amazing. ^ This I'm surprised about. Didn't think they'd nail this down so early. Of course it's not as if there aren't negatives, but it seems that Oculus already has fixes in the works for many of them (or has already fixed them internally).
  16. http://youtu.be/g-27BcV6NUE Haven't perused the thread so I'm not sure if this has been posted already
  17. The second goal of $5 million was just reached! So that's $12 million to test the concept for the 2014 midterm elections. Today was kind of amazing: at 2pm or so we were only at $4 million, but there was a surge of pledges at the last moment. And I fully admit that I didn't think we were going to make it until just a couple of days ago (things were moving very slowly for the majority of the fundraising period).
  18. woah

    E3 2014 thread

    New Alien: Isolation Trailer and it was announced that the PC version will be getting Oculus Rift support
  19. The first goal of $1 million was met in less than 2 weeks and thereafter Lessig was able to get it matched. The second goal just started yesterday (started june 4th, ends july 4th) and we're already at about $400,000.
  20. I thought this was a very good and relevant documentary on US surveillance, Snowden, and the NSA. Just came out about a week ago. http://www.pbs.org/w...tes-of-secrets/ Warning: 4 hours long.
  21. Can't say this would address something like that. We're not looking for perfection--just something better. However, your example is one of the main reasons I am concerned with the NSA's recent overstepping. Probably . But as Lessig says, "Embrace the irony"
  22. I typically don't make politics-related posts, but I know there are some US citizens here and I think this is a pretty cool idea. http://www.mayone.us The short: Basically MayOne.us is a kickstarted SuperPAC to enact campaign finance reform (CFR) and change lobbying law (reform might look something like this: http://www.anticorruptionact.org ) in an effort to reduce corruption and force the US government to better represent its citizens' interests rather than large funders. It uses the kickstarter/indiegogo concept of raising money (so you lose nothing unless the goal is met) and this has made it particularly successful: in less than two weeks (and with no mainstream media attention) we have over $920,000 in pledges. The money will be used to elect candidates that will support campaign finance reform in 2014 and 2016. The first goal is $1 million for this month and the second goal is $5 million, which the main organizer (Lawrence Lessig) believes he can match (for a total of $12 million). This $12 million will be used in a few districts around the country to test the concept in 2014 and then, if successful, expand on it for 2016. The long: First, if you're interested in this, I recommend you watch Lawrence Lessig's TED talks--e.g. this one: The vast majority of Americans agree that the US democracy has been corrupted by a relatively small number of individuals/interest groups that use their wealth to exert undue influence over the political process through campaign contributions, lobbying, SuperPACs, etc etc. With the average senate seat costing ~$4 million (and competitive races reaching as high as $30 million) and the average house seat ~$1 million (and this is increasing every couple of election cycles), congressmen spend the majority of their time courting wealthy individuals/interests for the financial support to run their increasingly expensive campaigns. In addition. public office is increasingly used by congressmen as a stepping stone to highly lucrative careers lobbying for the industries they formerly regulated (passing back and forth through the so-called "revolving door", this is the path taken by ~50% of congressmen now). Thus there are incentive systems and conflicts of interest which have resulted in extremely business-/wealth-friendly attitudes and an almost complete indifference to the plight of the average citizen (and thus it is a "corruption" of a system which is supposed to represent the public interest). This can be linked to just about every problematic issue facing the US today: shitty and overly expensive healthcare, an under-regulated Wall Street, starvation wages for the poor, wealth-friendly tax law, crumbling infrastructure, a bloated military budget, lack of a response to climate change, expensive but poor broadband internet, etc etc. The solution (these reformers and I believe) is thus to change the incentives: if we force elected officials to raise small contributions from a large number of individuals in order to fund campaigns, they will represent the interests of those individuals (for example, give each citizen $100 tax rebate to be doled out as they see fit). This is in addition to several other reforms that, e.g. address the revolving door, place strict limits on the size of contributions, etc etc (again, similar to http://www.anticorruptionact.org ). Money is not entirely removed from the system because: (1) the reality is that campaigns cost a lot of money and thus that money should be awarded in as democratic a way as possible, (2) the wealthy will always find a way to influence the political process and this would provide a substantial small dollar-funded threshhold, and (3) the current members of the dominant political parties will collude to fight any reform which does not give them alternative forms of funding. A SuperPAC like this is being started because while most Americans do agree that this is a huge problem, candidates concerned about this issue, naturally, cannot raise enough money to compete. The average citizen will never even hear about them or have any confidence in their success. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Bernie Sanders) but these are an extremely small minority (and if you look closely, almost all of them have skeletons in their closet--controversial sources of funding that were probably essential to their election).
  23. Well, I've always liked a good deathmatch game and UT--e.g. UT2k4 (I hated the vehicle modes, loved vanilla TDM/DM and the coop), so I can't complain. However, I really didn't like UT3. Something felt "off"--maybe the netcode was bad? I don't recall. Also, sometimes I get the feeling that they add so much detail to the environments that it becomes distracting to the player's eyes and thus subtlely frustrating (and if that's the case, I don't have high hopes for the new UT).
  24. http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/01/zenimax-claims-oculus-stole/ Trouble at Oculus.
  25. This might be taking this thread on too much of a detour, but I often daydream about an "ultimate portable device" that would just be a pocketable computer with a streamlined/simplified, SmartPhone-like OS touchscreen interface on top of a real desktop OS. For example, something like the upcoming Pyra Handheld (clamshell, touchscreen, full physical keyboard, game controls, expansion and docking ports, debian OS, powerful enough but also with extremely good battery life, user-serviceable and replaceable parts (no soldering BS), etc etc). I actually own the predecessor to the Pyra (the Pandora) and while it is an excellent device with amazing battery life, the supported linux distribution is a dated mess (will be fixed with the Pyra). However, I would add two things to the Pyra: First, use a swivel hinge for the clamshell so that the screen can be rotated to face outwards or inwards. For one-handed typical smartphone use, the screen would face outwards and one could interact with the touchscreen as usual to make phone calls, send short messages, do simple web browsing, play simple android games, etc etc. Then, when one needs access to a more capable user interface (say to use a desktop application, play a "real" game, use the terminal, write code, ...) one could rotate the screen back around and use it in the typical a two-handed open-clamshell fashion. Whenever I'm out of the house I always find myself wanting to bring both my smartphone and my pocketable computer because the smartphone is too limited and the pocketable computer does not have a one-handed, simplified interface. The Pyra developers actually considered a swivel hinge (several times) but all of the good solutions are apparently patented by unfriendly individuals. Second, to complete the "ultimate portable device," in addition to the usual LCD/OLED screen, incorporate an E-Paper screen on the opposite side of the of the LCD/OLED--like the Yota Phone. With this, the battery life could be extended to weeks and reading would be comfortable. There are many applications that do not always warrant power hungry, eye-straining OLED/LCD screens (reading books, phone calls, messaging, simple web browsing, terminal usage, coding, ...) and this would be a great way to save both your battery and your eyes (if you're interested in an ePaper-only smartphone--which does last weeks, check out the Onyx MIDIA InkPhone) A device that incorporates all of these things would amalgamate the cellphone/smartphone, portable computer, tablet, mp3 player, handheld gaming device, and e-reader all into one device that has a modern OS and both open software and hardware. And if your desktop performance needs aren't that significant (and you don't need to, e.g., run multiple monitors), then with the docking ports many of your at-home needs are covered too. I would really love to do away with all of the clutter, redundancy, synchronization, closed and gimped software, soldered and underutilized hardware, etc etc of modern devices and just amalgamate it all into a single, open device. The Pyra will be pretty close. It will not have a swivel hinge, a secondary epaper screen, or simplified apps for smartphone-like usage (although it will, like the Pandora, run Android), but it pretty much has everything else covered, so I think my "ultimate portable device" dream is certainly a possibility. When the Pyra ships I may actually look into 3D printing a custom case design that uses a swivel hinge (of course incorporating a custom epaper screen is beyond me). There is also work being done on an Android compatibility layer for ARM-based linux OSs (at this point in time each Android app requires that the user write some "helper functions" but the Pandora community has many apps running this way), or perhaps Android itself could be run within a VM.
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