Tuesday, October 17, 2017

VR Report: I Expect You To Die

I'll start with the first game I downloaded and played during Sony's VR sale last week: “I Expect You to Die.” This game takes place in a first-person setting where you and your floating hands begin, sitting at a desk in a 1960-70's era briefing room. You're a spy, and you must load some projector film to learn about your mission, where you are told that you will probably die while trying to complete the mission. The game feels like a fusion between the early James Bond films and Get Smart, with sticks of dynamite wired to a timer, champagne and cigars, and laser defenses that can cut you in half. You must manipulate objects around you to solve the puzzle/situation that you are in. For instance, your first mission begins with you seated inside a car that is inside a cargo plane. Your mission is to get the car out of the plane, mid-flight, and hope that the car's parachute system will deploy. As you look around the car, you'll find clues. You need to try different objects out and manipulate them with your hands to make progress: find the ignition key to turn on the car and once the car is on, roll down the window to grab a screwdriver outside, which you can use to unscrew a panel on the car and find a compartment with a knife, which you'll need to cut the wires of the bomb that you discover in the glove-box! This is just an example of the kinds of things you'll be doing, but it's a ton of fun and yes...you will die as you try different things through trial-and-error. One added bonus is that between missions, you accumulate some of the items you've found during missions, so you can play with them without consequence in the briefing room. I enjoyed putting dynamite by a row of books, blowing it up from a distance with my gun, and then tossing a lit lighter at a plant to turn the briefing room into a blazing inferno, all while having a glass a champagne, which I shattered against a wall after drinking. For $10, this game is definitely worth it, but from what I've seen with the trophies, there only seems to be 4 missions total? Hopefully there will be expansions later.

Monday, October 16, 2017

VR Report

It's been a while since I've written anything about Virtual Reality, but I've been active with it, and have been watching for any new pieces of VR news. In the past, I've given a very positive review to the tower-defense game Ancient Amuletor and to the team game Star Trek: Bridge Crew. I've been trying to keep my library of VR games diverse so that I can experience different game styles, especially when there are way too many VR games that are now known as “wave based shooters.” With only a month away for Skyrim VR's release, I figured now was a good time to talk about some of the other VR games and experiences I've been enjoying. Last week, Sony had a VR game sale, so I purchased three different games: Fated ($5), I Expect You to Die ($10), and Arizona Sunshine ($20). I've had a lot of fun, and wanted to share some of my observations with you, if you've been considering getting a VR headset or already have one and are thinking about new games to try...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Writing a Mission Story-Arc (part 5)

I hope you've enjoyed a little insider's view of the upcoming mission, tentatively titled Operation: Broken Citadel. Thus far, I've been busy working on the maps for this mission, because as I've been writing it, I've been finding it necessary to have a clear and precise vision of the area where the first part of the mission takes place. Not only will this mission have a number of map pages, but there will also be a variety of map icons to use for various environmental events and situations. This is all shaping up to be an exciting, action-packed mission, coupled with compelling intrigue and character interaction along the way. Stay tuned for a few future updates over the next month, and a battle report after it is first played over the Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Writing a Mission Story-Arc (part 4)

I have written a tag-along NPC before in a mission called "The Seeds Of Chaos." In Broken Citadel, I'm planning to have two potential tag-along NPC's that will be somewhat at odds with each-other. They will have various roles towards the success of the mission, but because the mission itself was not officially assigned through the team's Operations Sergeant, there will be some gray areas regarding how to proceed. Players will have to make choices to prioritize their own mission goals and parameters as they go, and they will have to consider the different goals and methods recommended by the two tag-along NPC's. They must also do all this under the pressure of a persistent threat and looming time constraints.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Writing a Mission Story-Arc (part 3)

I do plan to have a couple returning NPC characters from Void Hunter, but prior knowledge of these characters is not necessary to enjoy the encounters with them. The behavior of these characters will be rather open-ended, depending on how the players left things with them in Void Hunter or how they react to them as new players. This sounds like a lot of extra writing to sort through, but it isn't; like other missions I've written, the character's motives, goals, and personality will be outlined, and it is up to the GM to act out that NPC accordingly. There will be some interesting moral dilemmas posed through these NPC's, too, because they have very different agendas.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Writing a Mission Story-Arc (part 2)

I'm writing the new mission, Broken Citadel, as both a sequel and a stand-alone mission. If players have already completed Void Hunter, Broken Citadel will pick up exactly where their characters left off. However, if a new group of players are jumping into Broken Citadel without prior knowledge of the events in Void Hunter, it will still be a simple transition for those players. They will hear about the crucial events of Void Hunter through NPC's gossiping about what another team of agents did on the Void Hunter mission, and they will learn more details from an NPC character encounter near the beginning of the Broken Citadel mission. This character will shed light on events for both new players and Void Hunter veterans.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Writing a Mission Story-Arc (part 1)

A few months ago I ran a poll to find out what people were most interested in seeing next for Solar Echoes. The highest percentage of votes was for an overarching story across multiple missions. You may not have known it back when it released in July, but Operation: Void Hunter was the first installment of a larger story. Part 2 of that story is now underway, and it is currently titled Operation: Broken Citadel, planned for release around Thanksgiving. The very first gamers that will get to try the mission will be gamers at the Chessiecon convention over Thanksgiving weekend. But what if those gamers aren't familiar with the events in Operation: Void Hunter?