Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Paid Skyrim Mods: Good Idea or Terrible?

Alright gamers, lets talk about one of the BIGGEST games to hit the market in the past few years; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

This has to be one of my favorite games, easily, and for many reasons that I won't go into. With a game this big, and with such a huge cult following, it's only natural that it came out on multiple platforms (including PC). Since it's out on PC, that can only mean one thing; mods. Lots and lots of mods.

These mods range from really awesome graphic enhancements and new regions, with included quests, to the ridiculous exploding chicken mod. The community of these modders is very tight knit, and Valve unfortunately found that out the hard way.

On April 23rd, Valve implemented an optional "pay for mod" feature on Steam and the reaction was so horrid that it was gone that following Monday. Naturally, after that incredibly severe backlash, there were some that could see the pros and cons of this paid mod feature.

The Pros

First of, lets think of the obvious here. Wouldn't a hardworking modder like to be compensated for the hard work that they do? I personally don't play Steam, but I've seen plenty a YouTube videos with countless mods showcasing some amazing features. I can only imagine the maddening hours of coding that go into some of these mods and I'm sure that these guys wouldn't mind a few bucks tossed their way for it.

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Next you have to think of incentive. If John Doe knows that he's getting paid for a particular mod, wouldn't that just give him a bit more incentive to make the mod that much more amazing? We are talking about a game that lets you go out and kill fire breathing dragons with a sword, which is already incredible. If someone is getting paid to make something more awesome than it already is, just imagine the possibilities.

Should this type of paid modding catch on, think of the gaming companies that would jump on board the modding train. If the companies saw a bit of the profit for their original games coming from these modded codes, then surely they'd be more inclined to support the modding community way more than they do now. And, as always, the option to sell your mod is just that; an OPTION.


The Cons

The modding community, again, is a very close knit family. Because of this, you are essentially putting a wedge in the community because some modders may be ecstatic at the fact that they might get paid for some of their work while others may want to tarnish the thought completely. That could easily sever ties between modders who might be friends and work in conjunction with each other.

Speaking of working together, some of these mods build off of previous coding. For example, lets say you want the exploding chickens mod, but in order for it work properly, you have to have the nuclear explosion mod equipped. The nuclear mod is $20 but you only want to pay the $10 for the exploding chickens. You see where the problem lies here now?

Then you have the issue of the big companies charging for modders to use their materials in order to mod properly. At that point, modders would have to increase the prices for their mods. Heaven forbid it become a legal rights and distributing issue.

The Verdict

There are definitely clear pros and cons to the idea of paid modding, but if a company as big as Valve had to take down this feature only days after implementing it then it might not be the best idea. If any other company decides to give this paid mods thing a try they better get ready for a long and challenging ride.


Content originally published here

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Professional League of Legend Player Hai Lam Retires Due to Injury

"Heroes get remembered, but legends never die..." This is probably what League of Legends (no pun intended) professional gamer Hai Lam is probably thinking right now as the captain of Cloud9 has just announced that he is retiring from the professional gaming circuit.

When a professional in any field retires, it is usually a time of celebration. The person is remembered for their accomplishments, their feats and is able to look back on a (hopefully) long career of doing something that they loved. However, most people retire late in life and Lam is only 22 years old. And when you hear the reasoning behind the decision your heart will go out to him.

Cloud9 is considered one of the best US eSports teams for the game League of Legends, an online muliplayer battle arena game, so it is a great shock for the gaming community, especially those fans loyal to the game, to hear that Lam is retiring. Lam explained his decision on the team's official Cloud9 blog.

In a post, Lam explains: "My wrist injury is something that I simply cannot ignore. It limits my ability to play as much as I need to and my ability to improve. I cannot keep up with the amount of Solo Queue games my teammates play and it's not fair to them. At best, my wrist injury would have only allowed me to play for another split and that wasn't even certain."

It is sad to see someone so young forced to retire from something they are so passionate about and something that they have actually made a career out of doing. Tendinitis and carpal tunnel are common by-products of professional gamers and there are even brand names for certain injuries, like Nintendo Thumb.  

Injuries take athletes out of their prime all too often and the professional gaming circuit is no exception. While it's sad to see someone like Lam retire at such a young age it is good to see him making himself and his physical health a priority.

Content originally published here

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Details Emerge About Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars Celebration recently wrapped up in Anaheim with the largest convention of all things Star Wars in the world pumping out a ton of details about all the Star Wars things coming out in the coming years, including the first big trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the first big trailer for EA and Dice's upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront. Information on Battlefront has been under wraps but Star Wars Celebration has finally pulled back the curtain on a lot of the games features, mechanics, maps and more.

The first thing you should know about Battlefront is that it will be playable first on Xbox One thanks to EA Access. Microsoft Game Marketing Lead Aaron Greenberg tweeted confirmation of the news on Twitter. There still isn't any information on how early the access will be for Xbox One users or if there will be a time limit on how long they can play it, as was the case with Battlefield Hardline.


Next, a release date for the game was leaked, stating that the game may be launching on November 17. salromano, a user over at NeoGAF spotted that the source code for Battlefront's website lists November 17, 2015 release date for the game on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The first gameplay trailer, which can be seen below, confirmed this release date at the end of the trailer.

Speaking of the trailer......wow. The trailer is made up entirely of game engine footage and man does it look amazing! The trailer shows rebel forces (both human and alien) fighting off stormtroopers on the jungle planet of Endor with AT-STs, AT-ATs, Y-Wings, rocket launchers, explosions and magnificence. We also get looks at planets like Hoth and what could be the planet Jakku, which is free DLC that is from The Force Awakens. In addition to that, we also get glimpses of some of the playable heroes in the game, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Heroes will be playable characters much like they were in Battlefront 2. These characters will be seen as "boss" characters in the game and will be high priority targets.


One thing that many people were looking forward to, space battles, have been confirmed as not being a part of the game. However, that doesn't mean that players won't be able to hop in their favorite starfighters and engage in ship-to-ship combat. Players will still be able to jump into the cockpit of an X-Wing, Snowspeeder, Tie Fighter and, yes, even the Millennium Falcon herself and battle out planetside, similar to how jets worked in Battlefield 4.

Developers of the game also answered concerns from gamers that EA would only release a partially completed game, with more gameplay modes, maps, weapons, etc... saved for paid DLC. Talking to Reddit, Jesper Nielsen defended the team's commitment to releasing a game that expands on the strengths of past titles in terms of core gameplay and that there will be plenty of content available at launch.

Neilsen wrote: "I cannot stress this enough; there will be more than 8 maps! Also, the amount of content in the game has absolutely zero to do with DLC. I can say that with all honesty. As for expanding on strengths of the previous games; I think most people will find that it does expand on the strengths of the previous games, when it comes to core gameplay and what the feeling of a Battlefront game is. Just my two cents. Please don't make me break what I can and cannot say, but if you think there's anything we're not including in the game to save it for DLC, I can tell you you're 100% wrong. In this project, I've never heard anyone say 'Let's not do this for launch so we can do it as DLC instead. Ever."
Nielsen also noted that there are a lot of things about the game that haven't been revealed yet and that this game isn't a Battlefield re-skin. Yes it uses the Frostbite engine but it doesn't use a lot of Battlefield code. The game won't feature classes, like most first-person shooters. Instead there will be something different that will allow players to choose their own paths instead of "cookie-cutter roles", Nielsen added.


I, for one, am extremely excited for this game. I absolutely loved the Battlefield series when they debuted on the PS2 and Xbox and it's been far too long since a sequel has been made. The fact that it ties into the new movie is absolutely awesome and if the game looks anything remotely close to the trailer (which it should) it's going to be one of the most beautiful games coming out this year.

You can pre-order the game now, which has two versions available, the original version and the deluxe edition. The deluxe edition comes with instant access to the DL-44 blaster pistol (made famous by Han Solo), ion detonator, MPL ion torpedo, ion shock (exclusive emote) and victory (exclusive emote). Don't be surprised of a special collector's edition pops up when the game gets closer to launch. Check out the reveal trailer for the game below and, just because it's amazing, the second trailer for The Force Awakens.






Friday, April 17, 2015

Grand Theft Auto V Comes to PC and It's Stunning

Photo Credit: IGN
Grand Theft Auto is coming to PC players as of April 14, 2015. GTA Online for PC, which will support up to 30 players, will launch alongside GTA V for PC and will include GTA Online Heists. Online Heists for consoles will be launching in the coming weeks ahead of the PC launch.

GTA V for PC pushes Los Santos and Blaine County to even greater levels of detail, running at 1080p and 60fps with up to 4K resolution and support for up to triple monitor configurations. GTAV for PC also includes the new Rockstar Editor, which gives players a full suite of editing tools to create and publish gameplay clips direct to both Social Club and YouTube.

Photo Credit: IGN
As far as gameplay goes, GTA V on PC  is exactly the same game. The only difference is that the PC version comes with everything console players had to wait for, like online heists and first-person mode. Being that this is on PC, the online component has added support for 30 players, giving your online world a truly populated feel.

But the real selling point here is, obviously, the graphics though. That's the real reason most people will be excited for this game. The ability to run the game at 4K is truly an impressive feat and the option to have the game running in a three-monitor setup (which gives you an immersive view with awesome peripheral vision) is just amazing. The ultimate GTA game is now the ultimate experience on PC.

Photo Credit: IGN
Minimum specifications:
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2* (*NVIDIA video card recommended if running Vista OS)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
Memory: 4GB
Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
HDD Space: 65GB
DVD Drive

Recommended specifications:
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
Memory: 8GB
Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
HDD Space: 65GB
DVD Drive

Photos Credit of IGN

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Guitar Hero Returns in a Big Way with Guitar Hero Live!

Photo Credit: Activision; Roger Reuver

I don't know about you, but Guitar Hero had to have been one of my favorite games as an early teen. To hear after 5 years, that it is returning with a new experience and a true innovation, brings back all the fun I initially had with the game. Jamie Jackson, creative director at Guitar Hero Live developer FreeStyleGames, who previously worked on Sing Party and the DJ Hero series, seems to think that they have done something new and exciting with the game and have created a whole new experience based on some recent interviews.

Guitar Hero Live has you play as an up-and-coming guitarist in a fictitious band. Instead of playing along with computer-generated characters on screen, you will see a first-person view of their band mates and audiences portrayed by human actors.The virtual crowd will still boo or cheer if you're hitting the right notes and your band will also offer either praise or ridicule based on your performance.

Photo Credit: Giant Bomb
Despite featuring music from such artists as the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Green Day, Guitar Hero Live will have actors portraying phony band members resembling real musicians. I believe having the real musicians from the actual bands in the video game could help promote the new game more because it could draw the attention of people that would want to play as their favorite bands and it would just be super neat. Realistically though, that would be impossible for many reasons... but a guy can dream, right?

FreeStyleGames' also changed the top of the guitar's neck by adding another row of buttons.Gone are the days of the five multicolored buttons that fans are used to. The new guitar has 6 buttons layered in a 2-by-3 grid. This is to allow gamers to pull off chords easier and adds a new level of complexity to the game. On the screen the color-coded circles are gone too, replaced with guitar picks that are either solid or transparent depending on which set of buttons you need to hit.

Photo Credit: Activision
What makes this announcement even more interesting is the fact that Harmonix recently announced Rock Band 4. I don't think it's a coincidence that a new Guitar Hero was announced right around the corner from a new Rock Band announcement. Nevertheless, the concept of the new Guitar Hero is definitely interesting. The new guitar layout mixed with the live concert venues could be exactly what the game needs to attract both new and old fans back to something that has been nothing more than a memory for half a decade. Check out the sweet reveal trailer for the game below!



Content originally published here

Friday, April 3, 2015

Full Roster for Mortal Kombat X Includes 29 Characters

Photo Courtesy of BreathCast
Mortal Kombat is, arguably, one of the most well-known game franchises in the entire world. The original Mortal Kombat started as an arcade game from the Chicago studio of Midway Games back in 1992 and brought plenty of controversy with it thanks to its realistic looking fighters, harsh combat and, of course, the extremely graphic fatalities. Parents across the country were horrified and kids and gamers were on cloud 9.

It's been 23 years since the first game came out and now, under the leadership of NetherRealm Studios, the franchise is adding its newest title, Mortal Kombat X. Mortal Kombat X (or Mortal Kombat 10) is technically the 20th game to be released with under the Mortal Kombat brand but gets its name from being the 10th game in the standard Mortal Kombat series.


The game has been hyped up a lot lately, mainly due to the fact that there was a lot of speculation as to which characters would be appearing as playable fighters in the game. Over the years Mortal Kombat has expanded its list of characters to include over 70 kombatants, so narrowing that list down to the handful that would appear in the latest game couldn't have been easy and, naturally, every hopes that their favorite character would make the list. It's like peewee football tryouts, you're just hoping you make the team. 

Well with the game set to be released in less than 2 weeks NetherRealm has finally confirmed a total of 29 characters that will be rounding out the full roster. This roster is highly unique as it adds some of the most well-known and loved characters from the series with characters that are unique to this specific game. In addition to that, this game adds characters that exist in the Mortal Kombat universe but haven't actually been in any games yet.

Photo Courtesy of IGN
Oh, and remember the cool DLC characters that came with the previous Mortal Kombat game from 2011? The ones that included Kratos from God of War and Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street? Well NetherRealm has done the same thing with this game. NetherRealm has announced 5 DLC characters that will make their way to the game. The first is fan favorite Goro, who will initially be released as a pre-order bonus but will be available as paid DLC in the future. Then there's the Kombat Pack which adds fan favorite characters Tanya and Tremor and unique characters Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film series and the Predator alien from the Predator mythos. 

This brings the final fighter tally to a whopping 29 playable characters! To top it all off, each character has three unique fighting styles to choose from, meaning if you're a perfectionist and you want to master it all you will have an astounding 87 different fighting styles to master. I'll give you a moment to process that.......good? This is definitely the biggest Mortal Kombat game to be released and from the looks of it hardcore Mortal Kombat fans won't be disappointed. 

Here's a full list of all 29 characters:

  • Tanya
  • Predator
  • Tremor
  • Sonya Blade
  • Liu Kang
  • Jason Voorees
  • Jacqueline Briggs (daughter of Jackson Briggs)
  • Takashi Takeda (son of Kenshi)
  • Kung Jin (son of Kung Lao)
  • Cassie Cage (daughter of Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage)
  • Goro
  • Mileena
  • Ermac
  • Scorpion
  • Sub-Zero
  • D'Vorah
  • Kotal Kahn
  • Ferra/Torr
  • Raiden
  • Kano
  • Reptile
  • Kenshi
  • Kung Lao
  • Quan Chi
  • Jackson "Jax" Briggs
  • Kitana
  • Erron Black
  • Shinnok
  • Johnny Cage

As you can see the most beloved characters, like Scorpion, Raiden, Sub-Zero and Johnny Cage are still on the list. What's interesting is the inclusion of the children of characters, like Cassie Cage. These characters play into the storyline of the game as Raiden has come to these characters to carry on saving Earth Realm, much in the same way he did their parents. There are still some rumored characters that people are hoping for, including Sindel, Kabal, Baraka, Nightwolf, Stryker, Cyrax, Smoke, Rain, Fujin and Bo Rai Cho. Some of these characters, like Bo Rai Cho, were spotted in trailers advertising the storyline of the game so while some of these characters may actually be in the game their roles may be restricted to NPCs.


This game is definitely high on the list for many gamers, whether they be hardcore Mortal Kombat fans that have played all the games since the original or casual gamers that like the style and prefer to dabble and have fun with friends. However you associate with the game, Mortal Kombat X is sure to be the best in the series. Mortal Kombat X is rated M for Mature and will be released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on April 14 and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on June 2. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Virtual Reality: The Future of Technology or a Passing Fad?

Conquering the world of virtual reality has been a huge dream since the late 60's. Being able to escape reality and place yourself in a different world has become such a huge thing for man kind that there are even TV shows and movies about it. Which is odd, because we watch TV and movies to escape reality, and we have to watch shows about escaping reality.

So for about the past two years we have been hearing about these huge breakthroughs in VR technology, especially after Facebook bought Oculus. Around that point is when things started getting real (no pun intended). Now Samsung and Google have their own versions of the VR technology and are coming out with their own gaming headsets. Everyone has it set in their minds that this is going to be the next big thing in the gaming world. And with all of the hype building up over the past 50 years or so, they could be very right.

The gaming world is also closely related to the world of anime as well. Some people might not see that, but gamers know what I'm talking about. Realistically, the anime "Sword Art Online" is, arguably, one of the best things that could have happened to the companies who are making these headsets. It is one of the biggest anime series to come out since Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon and it is all about being trapped in a virtual world created with a virtual reality headset. So it is a fact that the market for these devices just doubled.

There could be a down side though. Remember when 3D TVs were the biggest deal in the world? Yeah, me either. That's because no one cared, even after all the hype. No one wants to look like an idiot with 3D glasses on while they watch TV, and no one wants to spend 5 bazillion dollars on a 3D TV that doesn't require glasses, especially when it will probably get boring after about 48 hours and you'll just want to watch regular TV like a regular person anyway. Will virtual reality headsets be the same? Will it become more hassle than it's worth to the average gamer? Will the novelty wear off?

There is probably about a 50/50 chance in my mind. It could be the biggest deal in the world if executed correctly. And that means the systems, the headsets, the games, everything. There is just too much hassle and risk involved to make something sub-par. There really isn't that much to say about it. If the fun doesn't outweigh the annoyance, virtual reality gaming will disappear along with the dream of it.



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