The Relationship Between Developers and LPers

Recently Notch has tweeted about what happened with him and the Yogscast guys, which basically involved them apparently being assholes at MineCon. Now Notch might (though I really doubt it) be embellishing the truth, but even if he was, this would be an interesting topic anyways. So while on Twitter I could mostly just make a series of curt, 140 character tweets, here I can go into more details. Anyways…

The tweet from Notch that stood out to me was this…

And they claim they’re the reason minecraft is big and that we should thank them more than anyone else in the community. They’re total dicks

Now, I find this particularly interesting, because I got a lot of attention for I Wanna Be the Guy due to Lets Players Ultra J Man and Cloud…. but are they the reason IWBTG succeeded?

No, they’re not. Not exactly, anyways. If you make something good that’s spreading with word of mouth, and the game is fit for LPs, of course someone is going to LP it. A great new, unknown game creates potential opportunities for LPers and in turn, they create the necessary buzz for your work. I benefited from J Man and Cloud and I’m pretty sure they benefited from my work. It was Win Win. If they didn’t do it, someone else would have gotten the notoriety instead. If I didn’t make IWBTG, well, their are plenty of other games to play. It’s not always an even exchange, but at the end of the day, no one is beholden to anyone — this is a symbiotic relationship.

Yogscast has over a million youtube subscribers and they have ads. Clearly they’re doing well for themselves. But I refuse to believe they brought over a million views to Minecraft. Surely a lot of their success has to do with having minecraft to play…. but making videos while having over a million subscribers certainly creates positive buzz, even if every single one of those subscribers owned the game. Notch seems to understand this (or at least isn’t a dick) and Yogscast doesn’t.

So basically, if you’re a game maker, be happy if you get wonderful, funny and talented people LPing your game, and LPers, just be happy that games are being made that you can use to display your talents (be they gaming skills of comedy)! No one entity is the king of this ecosystem and acting otherwise is just being a dick.

Edit: Makaris has a good summery of the events that transpired after Yogscast had a chance to respond. Notch was probably just mostly talking out of his ass. I recommend clicking on the comments section.

I Wanna Be the Guy: Source Code Release

I haven’t touched IWBTG in years. I don’t have MMF2 installed. I don’t have the capability to fix the game in any way and it’s just sitting there, doing nothing.

So here’s the source code and the rules for using it (which are extremely liberal)

I’m hoping everyone who liked my game will be able to get a community backed, improved version, while also allowing budding designers a chance to look into the guts of an awfully programmed game. Hopefully everyone will win.

Brave Earth Prologue: Sinlen

Bio

Name: Sinlen Rothschild
Age: 19
Race/Nationality: Aistorian Human
Height: 5’6
Occupation: State Sanctioned Sorceress

Stats

Offense: Variable
Defense: Low
Range: Very Long
Speed: Fast
Mobility: High

(art by Neolucky)


Sinlen Rothschild is a rather pompous noble-born Aistorian Sorceress. Coming from a powerful and wealthy lineage of mages, Sinlen had all the talent and resources she needed to thrive in the magical arts. Due to her abilities and social position, Sinlen has developed quite a superiority complex that has made it difficult for her treat others as equals. While she enjoys being the life of a party and the center of attention, her conceited nature has left her with few actual friends.

Fortunately, with to a friendship between their two families, Sinlen and Naomi have been childhood friends. While one of Sinlen’s only ‘real’ friends, both their competitive natures and Sinlen’s arrogance make it often appear as a rivalry. While Sinlen has traditionally had an easy time placing her self as superior to Naomi, she sees Naomi’s growing strength as a threat to their friendship.

Sinlen also harbors animosity toward the Holy Aistorian Church and it’s various organizations due to forcing mages in their region to conform to the standards of church doctrine.

Sinlen is a long ranged, glass cannon. Due to the damage she takes, mobility is very important to her survival. Sinlen has the fastest walk speed and highest jump of all the characters, as well as the ability to change direction in mid-air. She even has the ability to levitate for short periods of time by manifesting a magical disk to sit on beneath her.

Her primary attack depends on which spell she is carrying at the time, though in almost all cases she still has longer range than any other character. While her attacks are also often very damaging, her attack energy drains with each shot. Sinlen’s energy operates slightly differently from Naomi’s. While they they both have a maximum of 20 units of energy, Sinlen’s energy slowly recharges and she does not gain energy from destroying enemies. Certain spells also weaken in power as Sinlen’s energy gets lower, so Sinlen has to be very careful in managing her enemies.

Sinlen’s magic lineage also gives her access to forbidden bloodmagic techniques. She can use these techniques perform a unique “magic crash” attack with each spell by pressing her Special button. These Magic Crashes are more powerful versions of normal spells, but they don’t drain energy. Instead they feed off of Sinlen’s life force and reduce her max energy capacity instead. While this max energy can be recovered by picking up gems, overuse of Spell Crashes can leave SInlen unable to attack fast enough to defend her self. Sinlen’s levitation disk can also cause her to experience energy drain, so be careful with how much you use it!

Gunner


Sinlen’s “Gunner” spell is her default attack. While not as great as her other spells, it has excellent range and reasonable damage and a fast rate of fire. Sinlen creates a spell-circle in front of her and rapidly shoots in a single direction and can easily dispatch a large amount of weak foes with ease. Unfortunately, she cannot walk while attacking (though she can attack during a jump) and the spell tends to drain energy rather quickly. Her shots also reduce and size and power as her energy approaches zero, though her shots also become cheaper.

Magic Break: Gun Slicer


While the Gunner spell is somewhat mediocre, it’s Spell crash, “Gun Slicer” is quite powerful. It produces an initially slow moving, high damage, accelerating projectile that can cut through special enemies in one blast and comes out instantly. Gun Slicer can give Sinlen a great emergency source of damage when her energy is low.


Renka


Sinlen’s “Renka” spell functions similar to Gunner, forcing Sinlen to create a spell-circle and remain stationary. Contrary to gunner, Renka fires a spread of high damage rings a moderate distance in front of her. At point blank range, when all rings can hit, Renka can dish out incredible amounts of damage. Like Gunner, it’s efficiency also decreases as Sinlen’s energy does, with the attack firing less rings in a tighter cone.

Magic Break: Burst


While Renka is generally superior to Gunner in all aspects but range, Renka’s Magic break, “Burst” is somewhat less effectivel. When surrounded by enemies, Sinlen can use Burst to create a sphere of renka’s around her body that shoot out in the 8 cardinal directions, hopefully killing everything around her. While useful in a pinch, it lacks the pure destructive power of Gun Slicer.


Chakrams


Sinlen’s “Charkam” spell produces one of 3 boomeranging pentagonal rings which can slice through enemies and can be shot while moving. Chakrams don’t have high damage, but they can often hit enemies multiple times and can cover a lot of the screen. They also have a high energy consumption and no more than 3 can be on screen at a time. Still, due to the coverage and the ability to shoot on the move, Chakrams are one of Sinlen’s most powerful spells.

Magic Break: Soul Nova


“Soul Nova” is chargable beam Spell Break that Sinlen can use to hit whole lines of enemies and do massive damage. Upon pressing Special, Sinlen creates a spell-circle in front of her that she can charge by holding down the Special key. While down, the circle grows and Sinlen’s energy is slowly drained. When released, a beam, who’s size is determined by the charge time, blasts out and can easily reduce a whole swarm of enemies to ruin.

Sinlen can move while the spell-circle is charging, though the spell circle remains in place. Also if a chakram is on the screen when Sinlen presses special, it will convert into the spell-circle instead.


Forbidden Dagger


Not a spell, per-say, but a powerful Rothschild heirloom and bloodmage artifact. Sinlen can use the “Forbidden Dagger” to rapidly slash in front of her at blinding speed and can even attack while moving. In fact, Sinlen can keep attacking as long as the attack key is held down (or until her energy reaches 0). While massively powerful, the hungry dagger reduces Sinlen’s maximum energy every time it’s drawn and will quickly drain her normal energy until it is re-sheathed. This can be offset by killing enemies, which will recover a portion of her max energy. Generally if she can kill multiple enemies in one draw, offset the cost of drawing the blade.

It’s gruesome nature has had weapons like it and bloodmagic in general branded as witchcraft by the church, though the Rothschild family still practices it in secret.

Magic Break: Forbidden Ritual

The Forbidden Dagger does not have a typical magic break. Instead, Sinlen turns the blade on her self. By stabbing her self, she sacrificing some health to completely refresh her energy gauge. While certainly a gruesome technique, it is sometimes necessary when the Dagger has left Sinlen without enough energy to even attack. While mostly used to return her energy capacity to normal levels, it also can be used merely to gain a quick 20 energy and thus keep up a powerful offensive.

Too Much Talking Episode 35: The “Who are these people?” Episode


Featuring: Kayin, Flick, Eric, Patito, Alex?!?!, Trynant?!?!?!?!?


Too Much Talking #35 “Who are these people?” 11/08/11

April had to duck out before we could start, but fortunately did we have Trynant on (as we had planned) but we got a surprise Alex, who has not been around for the cast in many many moons. But thanks to the magic of Skype, it has happened.

This episode clocks in at almost 2 hours and contains a huge variety of topics I won’t even get into. It’s just 2 hours of utter pandemonium with a strange cast. I do talk about the wonderful Indie Games for Good Charity though, which I got to take a small part in!

Be sure to try and join the live show. Between the pre show, the extra long show and the after hours Dark Souls I streamed, we were casting for about 5 hours! So even if you think you’re late, something will probably still be going on. See you on the 14th/15th!

RSS Feed / iTunes Feed

Multiplayer and Demon’s/Dark Souls subverting my hatred of Co-op

So I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls thanks to Too Much Talking listener Trynant, who was kind enough to buy me both of the games as a surprise. Despite knowing I’d like these games, I skipped on them due to time commitments and I’m glad Trynant basically forced me to play them (how can I not play something someone bought me that I know I’d like? That’d be like the rudest thing ever!).

So I beat Demon’s Souls and it’s probably my second favorite game of this generation (Behind Bayonetta) and might get bumped to 3rd if Dark Souls continues it’s wonderful pace and I have a lot to eventually say about both, but right now I just want to talk about the multiplayer.

First off, I am notorious among my friends for hating co-op, ESPECIALLY in otherwise single player games. Single player co-op mostly involves people getting in my way, or making it so I can’t pause and get a drink or take a piss without forcing someone else to wait. I have to play considerately. In games, I am willing to die many many times in a row to do things ‘my way’ or ‘the hard way’ or something. As soon as I made it to 1-1 in Demon’s Souls, I must have died 10 or 20 times in a row, just because I wanted to learn the parry timing, which is something I couldn’t do if I was playing the game with another person early on. I don’t get the joy other people seem to get from ‘doing things with friends’. I’d rather talk to them about other stuff than tell them what alien to kills.

Even in team based multiplayer games, things can be rough. I can’t stand MOBAs due to the roll of team work. Lots of “Cog in the machine” gameplay. Low player counts mean I can cause multiple people to have a bad game, or conversely, allow a friend to really piss me off…. and it goes on forever. I personally enjoy games with public servers, where players come and go freely and things are more relaxed. I enjoyed TF2 quite a bit back in the day because even if my team sucked, I could still enjoy rocketing people. I like my multiplayer teamwork to be ‘optional-yet-encouraged’. I’m a rather self centered gamer, in that regard. I prefer 1v1s, where my success and failure are all my own and that I can experiment liberally or basically just do whatever I want.

I’m in the minority on this one for sure, but I generally don’t feel bad about it. I just don’t play co-op in games and that’s that.

But then I was playing Demon’s Souls. Now I played through most of Demon’s Souls while dead. I had White Tendency, so I did more damage while dead and all I lost for it was 25% life and a ring slot. Being alive was nice, but I really didn’t care and as such, experienced very little multi-player content. I also never felt the need to invade anyone. White character tendency was nice, being alive was overrated, and fucking with some poor guy just seemed unnecessarily. Once I did the Old Monk fight, I got to enjoy sPvP and started getting curious about the multiplayer. On a whim I put down my blue eye stone, and did some co-op. Then I kept doing it.

I found this weird. A lot of my complaints about co-op seemed to still be true, but it seems that Demon’s Souls did enough other stuff to win over a salty introvert like me.

You and the Host are not equal. One thing I enjoyed about the co-op was that I was helping something. I wasn’t doing something for me. I didn’t have to worry about beating the boss. Becoming alive again didn’t matter to much, it was just fun to try and help someone out. I was expendable. If I died, oh well. I wasn’t needed, but whatever I could do would be appreciated.

No communication.These aren’t my friends. This works on several levels. First, this makes the interaction transient. When you play games with a friend, you generally play through a lot of it together. You’re involved. It becomes an activity. You plan for it. In Demon’s Souls case, I decide “I want to play with some other people” and I spend up to 20 minutes playing with another person with no commitments. If we beat a level, that’s it. We probably won’t see each other again.

The game is legitimately hard and the advantages of co-op are something that is earned. Co-op doesn’t seem like “This thing you just do to get through the game”. One of the real advantages of being alive is being able to summon help and staying alive is hard. When you’re offering your self as a phantom, you’re helping someone do something legitimately hard. It feels more rewarding than any L4D campaign I’ve forced my self to play.

My only problem with the game was the invasion system. Mostly skilled players picking on less skilled ones. You could go do some mutual PVP stuff with Old Monk or by using a Red Eye Stone, but that’s it. Dark Souls unfortunately suffers from some network issues relating to it’s lack of a dedicated server, but the multiplayer concepts intrigue me in theory. I haven’t experienced any yet, but let me talk about why I think it helps.

Firstly, your typical invasion is somewhat limited and requires a special item that is used up when you use it, adding a higher cost to the invader than what existed in Demon’s Souls. Secondly, more varied and interesting interactions are added to replace this. You have the Blades of Darkmoon, whom invade players who have gotten into “The Book of Guilt”, a book that lists players who have either betrayed characters in game or have ‘illegally’ invaded other players worlds. This gives players a guilt free way to go invade another person’s world. There are other covenants that protect certain areas of a game. So if a player enters such an area, you could be summoned to defend it. Another one of my favorite ideas (though it doesn’t seem to work well in practice) is the gravelords, who put down sigels that make the games of 3 other players in the same area as you harder. IF they die, you get half the souls they drop, and if they find the sigel, they can counter invade you. Unfortunately the difficulty change is minor and the sigels are usually so well hidden that you’ll never find them. Hell, you’ll never know that you’d even want to find them. But the idea is great. A Passive aggressive situation that allows your average player a guilt free reason to go PVP. He’ll want to PVP because you’re an asshole. That’s amazing!

There’s also other covenants meant to aid in finding PvE partners and reducing the chance of invasion (Apparently, due to the game’s mesh style peer-to-peer setup, this is done by making you more likely to connect with friendly nodes or something, which I find interesting). Hell, there’s a covenant about mutual PVP where you fight to become more like a dragon and this is all seamlessly integrated with a single player game.

There is just something appealing about this setup for me, as it gets me to play co-op, when I usually wouldn’t, and makes me play a competitive game without all the effort I usually put into learning how to play a game competitively. It’s just there!