Is only here to comment and discuss various mods that catch his interest, especially Red Alert Paradox. Has no modding skills or abilities save his ability to flesh out a universe, which is fairly easy to begin with, and to provide handwaves for plot holes. Unless you're a troll.
In my travels around the internet, I've read about the "Gamer's Bill of Rights", and how many gamers are keen on it. Well, for one thing, this is obviously nothing more than some attempt by Stardock to get more sales; this much is obvious. The fact that people flock to it is a sign of its genius. The fact that no one catches on is just proof of how little nerds think critically.
But more interesting is the rules itself. All of them are products of the avarice and arrogance of gamers. All. When I was about your age, I read magazine articles criticizing pirates and how they damaged the gaming industry, but now they're seen as heroes against the "man", and that's just the beginning. Gamers do not deserve a Bill of Rights. Gamers deserve Commandments that THEY should obey first before whining. I think I've thought of the top ten things, and because I like it, it's in King James Bible language.
1. Thou shalt not steal, but instead pay full price for thy game
2. Thou shalt abhor the Hacker, for he defiles all you cherish.
3. Thou shalt not judge games compared to thy vague memory of childhood
4. Thou shalt not demand more of the Game Company than is realistic
5. Thou shalt recognize that you are the minority of customers
6. Thou shalt not put thy gaming preferences above others
7. Thou shalt not put thy pleasure as solely important
8. Thou shalt take responsibility for criticism you say
9. Thou shalt praise the Game Company that does well, not abhor ones that do not
10. Thou shalt realize the Game Company have no lord but money
Some of you who know me may have heard of my "Law of Crimson Skies". Interestingly enough, it's been somewhat misrepresented. Many have taken it to mean a rule of writing, when in fact it's more of an observation on what people write and produce (like the Law of Gravity.) I actually have a great deal of them in my mind, though some are trash, some are just me being petty, and some are just odd. For your amusement, here are two of my most cogent. Perhaps I'll add more later as I clarify them.
1. Law of Aang: A character will appear more heroic or capable when their opponents are competent.
I don't know the characters name, so I chose the next best thing. It came when I switched to random moment of an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender to see if it was indeed as good as others said. It did not disappoint. It involved some character (darn if I know who) was rescuing who I assume to be Aang from a dungeon, but having to get past 4 Fire Nation guards. Upon hearing a noise, they looked at themselves, and one went forward to investigate. When he disappeared, two of them went forward, with one hiding behind a wall. When they disappeared, the last guard ran to blow an alarm horn, when he was attack and killed. This was most pleasing; in most other shows all four guards would immediately run forward, either dieing or being snuck past. With competent guards, the rescuer seemed that much more badass.
2. Law of Enclave: The biggest flaw of an authoritarian villain in a post-apocalyptic setting is a lack of ambition.
For some reason, people don't grasp that authoritarian governments make poor villains when anarchy abounds. In such settings, these "villains" really appear to be shining beacons of law and order in a ravaged land. Often, they have organised armies, settlements, even nations! I don't know about you, but I'd rather be in a fortified town being oppressed instead of scraping algae in some cave so I don't starve to death in "freedom". To that end, any setting will have these villains do evil things for no reason instead of building up the world around them. The law namer, the Enclave of Fallout 3, isn't the strongest example, but is likely the one most are familiar with. Without any knowledge of the events of the first two games, I wasn't entirely sure why I was supposed to mistrust people trying to rebuild the United States. I stopped playing about them for unrelated reasons, but the most evil thing they seemed to do was imprison one (and for some reason, only) of their supporters. Their attempt to reestablish control of the Capital Wastelands seemed a godsend to me; who knows how many slaver camps would be undone by Vertibird insertions.
What do you think?
A shadowy promise of a new CNC game has arisen from the depths of the internet. And like cultists heralding the rise of Cthulu, already "fans" are complaining about how it will end life itself before they even know the basic concept. It isn't hard to figure out my opinion of said people, but I've come to realize that, to be blunt, their opinion is worthless.
I do not mean this merely as a peurile insult, but the fact that the average CNC "fan" (and this means the type that whines about every new development) is obsolete, simply because they're such a small demographic. Casual gaming is the way of the future, and if ten preteens and bored mothers buy a product as opposed to one hardcore gamer, then the company will produce for the former. The fan will howl and scream, to no effect. This is hardly unique to CNC alone; I've heard countless people whine about how the Wii doesn't have good graphics, or game selection sucks, yet, wonders of wonders, it's the most popular system. If EA is wise (and it is), it will ignore anything that anyone who ever mentions "franchise", and do something new to make the casual gamer happy.
What does this mean for CNC? This means the next CNC game, whatever universe it takes place in, will likely resemble nothing like any other CNC game. This is the best outcome possible. CNC is a stale franchise. EALA tried thier hardest to freshen things up a bit, but they were working on what Westwood left them, which was practically the same game four times. It's simply not worth the effort if they do not try new things. My own Red Alert Paradox is always coming from unexpected area, doing new and exciting things, when it would have been so much easier to just make a few new units, and maybe a bland new faction.
It is an exciting new world that EA is bringing us. It is hardly assured success, but better to try and fail than to push out another copy of Westwood's Single RTS. But like all developments, there are those who scorn change, not so much because of worries but simply because they've grown so complacent as to not try new things.
Fortunately for me, those people are rarely involved in mods!
If you're like me, you've probably already pressed the big green button to nominate Paradox for Mod of the Year, and a few times more just to feel it. And why not? It's fun to compete against the world class mods and indie games of Moddb. Winning itself, however, may not be such a great thing.
First off is the prizes. I know very little about the process, but I wonder how much Paradox would actually gain from them. Take last year's prizes, for example. Team Paradox, one would imagine, would get much use from the beanbag chairs (especially if it came with the blonde), but what about the other ones? I don't think Team Paradox has ever had communication problems, so I don't know how the CVDDude prizes would help, and I don't think 3D Total Textures would help, since they seem to be for FPSes. Also, RA3 has it's own servers, and I don't think Team Paradox wants to go professional.
(I only just realized that one of the prizes regards Animating, which would have likely REALLY helped Paradox. Yeah, I'm a bit of a klutz)
Now, if I'm wrong on any of these, correct me, but common sense dictates that prizes for a large competition can't be that specialized. Besides that, there are probably other mods that could better use the prizes than us. Other than animating, I think Team Paradox has it covered.
Another thing to think of is that the fame that it would bring. This can be a good thing, but on the other hand, it can bring dozens of people onto the wiki, and the difficulty in admining them effectively. I'm not saying every newcomer is a troll, but there's always someone in any group. And though I know I'll be hated for this, we may also be drawing people from other projects. Why should someone join, for example, Unleashed, when Paradox won MOTY? This isn't just altruistic; a healthy modding community is a boon for any mod.
At this point I'm probably rambling, so I'll just quite while I'm ahead. Don't get me wrong; I'm going to be voting for Paradox, and maybe getting my friends to, also. But my point is to not get too frantic about the whole thing.
What do you think?
(This is my first fan story I've written since I played World of Warcraft, which is years ago. It is, of course, set in the Red Alert Paradox setting. There is some mature content in this story, so discretion is advised. Constructive criticism is accepted, just saying it sucks is not)
“Come on, man, it’s not like there’s anything in there I can’t see on TV!”
“The boss says no kids, and you’re a kid. Now get!”
Barely leaving time for a squeaking protest, the bouncer used the admirable strength of his Titan Security Armor to pick the teenager up and push him away. Dusting off his heavy gauntlets, he looked at the long line of people lining up to enter the club Daphne’s Garden. He started sizing up the next person in line, speaking up so that he could be heard over the music thumping from the inside, heard even on the street. In doing so he couldn’t notice the destitute looking man sneak behind him, silently pushing through the large glass doors.
The long hallway to the main club was bare as Salvatore walked through it, with little more than a few benches at the side and people wanting a modicum of privacy, all flanked by faded holograms of vines and flowers that did little to hide the seediness of the dark walls. No point in bothering these people, he immediately thought, there are better things that awaited him inside, just through the completely black doors in front of him.
The main room slammed into Salvatore’s vision, and even he was taken aback by the orgy of color and sound. Casting its light over the room and crowd was an entire wall of video monitors, all linked to one large halting video of the various house dancers that gyrated amongst the platforms and cages that hang from a ceiling completely obscured by smoke (tobacco and otherwise.) The wall cast its dim white light amongst the club goers crowding in the center, some twisting in the standard dance of the day, while others simply waved their arms in tune with the music, only to return to their recreational drugs that were being flouted openly.
From large speakers came psychedelic music, a surreal wall of sound made of guitars, dulcimers and gibberic chanting, enough to either dance to or simply be lost in a trip, or as the club encouraged, both. Projected on the walls were constantly shifting colors along with holograms of plants in a vain attempt to keep the theme running. For reasons that confused even Salvatore, there were large glass cylinders dotting the room, and in the center was an unshaven, ungroomed man playing a dulcimer to convince the crowd that they were listening to live music.
All trite compared to what Salvatore has experienced. In any case, without a care he took a Smilex-laced drink right from a man’s hand and gulped it in one sip, barely feeling the effects. The man lifted his sunglasses to get a better look at who just stole from him, realized who it was, and then quietly left the club.
Salvatore hopped over a velvet rope that blocked off the raised section of the floor, probably for VIPs. He belonged here, he thought, as he was indeed more important than anyone else, and woe to anyone who said otherwise. Besides, all the best women were here. The section was deserted except for one party, barely visible in the gloom of this corner of the club. The three people were too occupied with each other to notice Salvatore coming for a closer look.
The man was well dressed, fairly common for such an establishment. His business suit marked him as an executive of some company, though the lack of classical elements meant he wasn’t a true mover. Still, he did have a way with the two women near him. One woman wore an outfit in the unmistakable style of the Sprawl; in her case, a dark blue miniskirt with sunglasses and leg warmers. The other woman was in an orange day-glo stola with her hair up in a bun, the sign of a secretary. The two were laughing, gossiping, and caressing the man, to his enjoyment.
The executive raised his hand and asked for another drink from a nearby waitress, a glint coming from his wedding band.
A man in Salvatore’s place wants one thing, and this executive had three. The first woman didn’t interest him; he (very often) encountered women like that … but the secretary was something else entirely. Someone who would definitely say “no”. Something new. Salvatore walked up and immediately grabbed her arm, pulling her out of the booth and throwing her on the ground.
The executive immediately began to protest, but his attempt was soon over as Salvatore shoved his fingers through his face.
The other woman ran away as Salvatore covered the secretary’s mouth with his free hand, the blood from her boss dripping over her face. She screamed, but no one could hear her, not over the music or his hand. He pinned her down with her knee as she tried to wiggle away, but Salvatore knew how to keep someone down. He looked over her, as a wave of pleasure he rarely felt these days washed over her. The fear in her eyes, the way her body recoiled, it was like a drug to Salvatore. However, he was soon brought out of this rapture by a clicking behind him whom he could not ignore.
“Out of my bar, you filth!”
The bartender had noticed the scene, and he hadn’t come unarmed. He poked the back of Salvatore’s head with a sawed off shotgun. To a normal man, this might have ensured cooperation, but Salvatore wasn’t normal, and the bartender was about to be taught a lesson he would never remember.
A low hiss made the bartender blink and shudder as he realized just what he unleashed. In a flash, Salvatore spun around and grabbed the gun, jamming it upwards. The bartender instinctively fired both barrels, but to no use as they shot into the air. He dropped the gun and ran, but Salvatore flicked his arm. From out of grooves implanted in his wrist came a tiny slug of metal, with a wire no larger than a molecule braided behind it.
As soon as the base of the wire came out, Salvatore rolled his hand, using the sheath at the base of the wire as a handle. With great experience and sadism, he whipped the wire around the midsection of the fleeing bartender. With a quick pull, the wire wrapped around him sliced him in two, stopping only at his spine. The bartender only let out a short gasp as he died in an instant, before falling onto the spot.
Salvatore immediately burst out laughing, as the bartender had literally folded in half, causing his face to fall in his groin. Amongst the thick layer of blood and spilled organs, it looked like he was pleasuring himself.
The laughing faded as Salvatore realized the secretary was crawling away. Furiously, he jammed his hand into her hair and grabbed hard. Privacy, he thought immediately, and followed it without hesitation. Ignoring the varying degrees of horror of the crowd around him, he walked down the stairs and out through the hallway with his sobbing victim being dragged across the floor behind him. He kicked the doors wide open as to not lose his grip, but was dazed by the flashing and bright lights that greeted him outside.
Before even his heightened instincts could react, a turquoise beam shot from the center of the lights and carried him into the air, before disappearing completely. Salvatore tried to land feet first, but he was too close to the ground and hit it with a thud. Coughing out blood before hissing in rage, he raised his head to greet the now very short-lived interlopers, while he crouched and prepared to jump.
Even though every part of his mind said leap, somewhere deep inside he hesitated, as now that his eyes had been accustomed to the light, he realized that he was surrounded by a squad of Legionnaires, the holograms on their armor set to the familiar mode of alternating red fields and blue lettered “Cessazione”. Further adding to the glow was the blinking light bar of the Hydra AFVs that had deployed their turrets. Distressing Salvatore was that the local area was blocked off by pylons that constantly streamed “Polizia di Urbe Libertus” seemingly on the thin air between them, meaning Salvatore couldn’t just leap into the crowd. Slightly less distressing was that every gyrojet on the scene was pointed at him.
Looking to his side for a means of escape, or at least a hostage to take, he saw that the secretary was crawling away towards the bouncer. The Titan Security Armor-clad man helped her to her feet, though when she turned around and saw that Salvatore was still alive, she bolted directly behind the bouncer. The man himself slammed his two fists together and glared at Salvatore.
“Give me a reason, freak!” snapped one of the Legionnaires, interrupting the mutual stare. He tightened his grip on his gyrojet, clearly hoping an “accident” would occur and remove this stain from this world. A different man, one with a briefcase and a device Salvatore recognized as small arms Zero-Point Energy device, sighed as he pulled neatly stapled stack of papers from his briefcase and walked over to him.
“Salvatore Giordano, you have committed two homicides, assault and battery, and probably a lot more I don’t want to know about. I could let these Legionnaires put a gyrojet in your head, but my superiors want me to offer you a contract. Going rates is a full pardon and immunity during the contract length. If you cannot read, a datasoft can be provided for you.”
Salvatore gave a curt nod, prompting the man to throw the datasoft to him. The cylinder fit into a port installed in Salvatore's head during the operation, as it was designed for it. Within moments, Salvatore knew the target. An executive, profits were failing in his company, enough evidence pointed to embezzlement, a very bad man. He knew where he lived, his work hours, even what he looked like. However, one important question remained.
“Women?” Salvatore blurted, to a confused look from the lawyer.
“Does he live with any women?” he clarified.
The lawyer sighed “He’s a married man …”
Salvatore snorted “Too old. Anyone younger?”
“Well, now that you asked, his daughters will be far away in the safe hands of my employers. This isn’t Yoshiwara. Keep away, or the Board of Classics will have our heads.”
“I see you’ve already accepted. ”
Salvatore then realized he had electronically signed the datasoft without realizing it, a product of his impetuous nature. Oh well, he thought, at least it was a good contract. As the Legionnaires stood down and entered their Hydra’s, driving off in a tight formation that could only be maintained by a computer.
Salvatore turned and started to walk away, but a in an instant dodged to the side, purely by instinct. Right past his head an object rocketed by, looking vaguely like a boxing glove. In an instant his monomolecular whip was out again, carving a groove into the concrete as it flailed in preparation for an attack. Salvatore gazed at where the intruding object came from, to see the bouncer attach another gauntlet to his arm, clicking it on inside the backpack that carried his spares. Almost as a challenge, the Titan put up his dukes.
“Sucker, you ain’t getting away that easily. I’m going to knock your head off right here, right now!”
The bouncer yelled his last line as only a former boxer could. Salvatore was unimpressed; many of his fellows were terrified of these glorified brawlers, but he knew they were only a collection of organs, like any other person, and remove enough of those and they always go down. Indeed, the strongest emotion running through his mind wasn’t anything to do with the boxing battlesuit in front of him, but disappointment that his object of affection had disappeared.
As the two prepared to square off, the gull wings of a Hydra that hadn’t left with its fellows opened, and two Legionnaires got out. One took out a AURA remote and started entering in the appropriate programs. His fellow covered him with a gyrojet, and read out the charges as both of their holograms changed to the blinking yellow field and black “Di Arresto”
“Lewis Holmes, you don’t hear too good. He got protection, see? Now you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent …”
With a jab, the Titan’s armor was hacked into. As one the systems shut down, and he was left an immobile statue.
“… and all that other shit.”
Faint cries of innocence echoed from inside the inoperative Titan suit as one of the Legionnaires pushed it over and began dragging it to his Hydra. Salvatore let out a howling laugh as he jumped far higher than any human could, onto the top of a building, and disappeared into the night.
I've noticed a good number of people disappointed in the Open Beta release for Paradox. Such things are understandable; the countdown and date was for the release of Paradox, not Paradox 0.9. Still, I trust them enough to assume something happened to make them do this, and I don't have the knowledge of mod making or team dynamics to dare a comment. I could give you the "you-try-doing-it" treatment, but I ask you this: what would be worse; releasing the Beta on release day, or releasing nothing on release day? At least we get to play with our favorite toys this way.
Still, I was the one assuring people against the Open Beta, so now it's up to me to eat my words. At the expense of sounding like a hypocrite, though, I have to say it's different. The un-completeness others have complained about are a blessing in disguise. Once the real game IS made, then what things we have to look forward to! The heroic arrogance of the Rocketeer! The facial hair of the Confederate infantry! The wild-weasel antics of the Heisenburg! When I talked about Dawn of War, please understand, all the units, voices, and models were in the game, unlike what we have now.
My other words are true, though. When you play the game, take note of the glitches, no matter how small. Try to find out the context of the glitch. This can be difficult, of course. Take the example of the Attack Dog That Couldn't Be Hurt. I couldn't find out why he was invincible, or if AOE attacks hurt it, because it had discovered my main forward base and was guiding vindicators to destroy everything. Still, even mentioning it can guide the team to the answer, or other testers to try and find it themselves, in better conditions.
All in all, don't imagine Paradox as an on-off switch thing. It does not exist one day, and does another. Think of it as a gradual process, with the mod getting better and better. This will help you not only deal with the Open Beta, but also the incremental release of the factions, too.
Happy hunting, and I'll next see you being blown up by my Swan Seaplanes!
A moment of your time, if you please. I know some of you are disappointed that the beta for Paradox will be closed. But there are several things you might not have thought of. Mind you, I'm no developer, but I've thought long and hard about this, and I can't imagine it's too far from the truth.
When I joined the open beta for Dawn of War back in the day, I was of course stoked at being able to play it, but I also took the bug hunting seriously. The game was clearly unfinished. A lot of the visual effects were substandard, visual glitches abounded, all of the cool kill animations were missing, and crashes happened about once a day. I had gretchin manning machine guns while facing the opposite way. Even worse, since it wasn't a demo, I knew exactly what the game was, making the main game have no mystery, no things to discover. In the end, it probably killed most of my interest in it.
And this was a major company's product! Paradox doesn't have a Quality Assurance department, so the Beta of Paradox will probably be even more buggy and half finished than anything else. I give Team Paradox a lot of credit, but I wouldn't be surprised if most of the voices weren't loaded yet, and they used placeholder textures. In short, we get the mechanics of the game, without any of the tinsel that makes a game really shine.
And even if the game is somewhat finished, the point of a Beta is to find bugs. This means careful trials, with detailed bug reports. You have to do repetitive things over with different variables. Does the Icarus cannon keep firing at the Tengu when it turns into the Mecha? Does the Conscript's Black Napalm do much more damage to infantry than it should? Is a Tunnel Rat blocked by a wall, unable to move again after attacking an enemy structure? These, and other obscure questions, are ones that should be asked Logically, such glitches should not exist, but if that were true, there'd be no need for a Beta in the first place.
And all this is easy compared to balance. How do you know a unit is unbalanced by theory alone? If it dominates in a one-to-one fight, but if it's too expensive, it might be unbalanced. Not only this, but you have to be sensitive to the nuances of faction, and what the unit brings to it. Saying the Ranger is underpowered because it's easily destroyed and weakly armed marks you as a poor tester.
It's also important to note that the Beta test is to help Paradox, not a demo that allows you to play before everyone else. This is probably one of the reasons Kerensky will reject anyone asking to be part of the Closed Beta; people who do that just want to have fun, while they know who they can ask that want to altruistically help Paradox to be better.
Keep all this in mind while you fantasize about being a beta tester. In the end, you'll probably enjoy Paradox more once you're given the polished, final product, without having played the flawed version first.
I've read around a bit more on Moddb, and I've decided to lose my humility again.
Tiberium Twilight. From what I've read, it's not too good. There's no real campaign, the gameplay is simplistic, and the story is a flop (not that CNC ever had too great a story). I will probably skip it. Sure, the system intrigues me, but Red Alert Paradox will have a similar system, with the added bonus of steampunk technology, a Crusader-esque background, and a heroine dressed in form fitting plate armor (hubba hubba!)
But you know what? EA tried something new. Sure, it didn't work out, but it's better than making another clone of the original CNC, a game that has NOT aged well, unless you like spamming one unit. And frankly, this makes them better than Westwood ever was, who pretty much cranked out the same product for years.
I stand by what I said. Nerds, video games and beyond, have a great fear of change, and the actions of Command and Conquer "fans" before it was even released proves this. If anyone knew it would have a short campaign or of its story problems, it was silenced by a cavalcade of arrogant and ignorant fan-hatred, just because it made a new system for a RTS. And yet, many of you turn around and complain how video games never try anything new. Maybe, just maybe, it's because you wouldn't buy it if it was sold for pennies.