Gravity Ghost – A truly beautiful videogame

I enjoyed Gravity Ghost so much, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a game like this – maybe Braid as the first real memorable indie game. I did get some watery eyes as well. I wrote a very positive Steam review.

The gameplay is great, with great pacing, great art style and music. It never gets old, as continually, very quickly you explore (visually) new kind of worlds and abilities. There are cutscenes, but they tell a great story, in an interesting way. Cutscene graphics could be better, but at least its unique and has a charme this way. The game is short; but being able to play through the entire game in two hours made it all the more intensive and touching. I can only recommend to take the two hours, and play through it in one quiet sitting.

The game is available for an undiscounted 15 USD / €. When you buy the game, you get an extra copy to gift – to someone you love; maybe someone who’s new to gaming.

Running around GTA:V with a physical running device, for charity

Yesterday, a research team from an Australian university did a 24 hour stream on twitch showing off their running device, running around GTA:V, and doing so for a charity.

The charity is beyondblue, which researches and helps with depression and anxieties.

The running device explained in a YouTube video – something one can actually build oneself; especially with a handy documentation:

For 24 hours, they switched people running, as obviously, it gets exhausting.

/Update: A post even summary video

Setting up a well organized Enemy Territory: Legacy Server

Managing servers with a lot of files or addons, and functionality can get confusing, when you have a ton of files mixed together in one folder.

Various files in the server folder, ordered alphabetically, mixed functionality.
A well organized file structure on the server
A well organized file structure on the server

Setting up a server with a well-designed structure can be very helpful for maintenance. I previously wrote about how I set up Nginx with include files, which greatly improves maintainability of nginx configuration. This time, I will talk about setting up a Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory server; more specifically a ET: Legacy server (which is compatible to the first). For a well separated structure, I will make use of the fs_basepath and fs_homepath variabes and specifying paths for configuration files, lua scripts, mapconfigs and mapscripts. This will lead to clear separation and categorization of files. Continue reading Setting up a well organized Enemy Territory: Legacy Server

OnLive Privacy Policy Issues

I wanted to take another look at OnLive today – just launching up the client for now. It prompted me to accept new usage and privacy policies. Reading the privacy policy I decided to definitely not use OnLive and to remove my account.

Choosing to do so is easy for me as I did not invest any money into it gladly. No idea how that would have worked out, because they do not seem to provide an option to use bought products under the then used policies as would be required by law.

Before stating how collected information is or can be used or passed on by them they extensively list different types of information they collect. Yet, they fail to differentiate between any types of data when writing about how they may be used.


When you provide us with your Personal Information, we and/or authorized third parties may use such information for a number of purposes identified below.

Notice we are talking not only about aggregated, anonymized or anonymous data, we are talking about personal information.

Continue reading OnLive Privacy Policy Issues

Removing Accounts in the Free-to-Play Model

In todays time of massive hard disk space I don’t get how as a Free to Play publisher you set an inactivity limit to accounts and delete them upon hitting it.

id Software does that in Quake Live. After my last mail landed in a spam filter my account was finally removed. I may have played again, but now that my account has been removed, I very probably will not. I’m not sure what their thought behind this is. Getting people to log in and play again so the account does not expire? On me it worked twice in the past.

Or maybe getting people who don’t pay out? Well, that worked as well in the end. But they also lost an occasional (/rare) player and any chance of him converting to a customer.

Mafia 2 – console port, issues, no update or fix since release

Wow … Over two years after release, Mafia 2 is still totally buggy.

After launching the game, without ever having played it, it already showed 18% game completion in the game statistics. When choosing story mode and the first option “continue story” the game crashed. Choosing new game worked though. After playing the first chapter, a bit into the second graphical glitches began to appear. A big white smoky texture, flickering across the screen.

The game itself smells a bit of console port as well. The atmosphere at the beginning of chapter 2 was great. But playing the game, I felt a bit limited/restricted (cover system, keyboard layout, scripted stuff …). And how come the audio is so different in tone and place from rendered cutscenes to in-game?

So, over two years after release, this console port has not been polished at all. In fact, it’s still version 1.0 if I can believe the readme that opened on first launch.

Natural Selection 2

I pre-purchased Natural Selection 2 along with Overgrowth as a bundle quite a while back, and played it in the beta. Now, after release I played it again. It has come a long way, looks beautiful and is a lot of fun.

Very interesting and unique.
The gameplay has much variance, making each game an interesting development.
The provided training videos (tutorials/explanations about the game and game mechanics) are awesome! The advanced ones provide great detail about the games mechanics, which I miss in so many other games where you don’t exactly know how you have to control the game for maximum efficiency.

The split of commander strategy and players first person action is one of this games selling points, but obviously the single commander is a single point of failure. I can’t oversee how much influence this has in practice, but if your team does not have a commander and the other does, or your team has a way worse one than the other, this will certainly be an issue. Non-theless you can still have fun even in those cases, and in the end, the other elements of gameplay and general game concepts are very polished and seem to work out very well. Hence, it’s only a minor issue.

Valve and the TF2 and Dota 2 Halloween Events – Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

In their tradition of Halloween events in Team Fortress 2 (this year as well),
Valve implemented a Halloween event in Dota 2 as well.

I think the end-result is a lot better in Dota 2 than in TF2 this year. I’m not talking about the technical or story-line implementation, which are both great, but that in TF2 two event Achievements are featured, and the Halloween boss that has to be killed for them has to be killed cooperatively with both opposing teams. The boss though, and his/the event-game-mechanics strongly encourage you to continue killing enemies / playing against enemies. An adequate coorperation does not occur – at least not in such a high level that would be necessary to kill the boss in the two minutes given.
Again, also out of my own take on the event and my experience with it, I come back to intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation in video-games.
The Achievements encourage extrinsic motivation; the fixed set goal you have to work for, where you rather than enjoying the experience itself you enjoy overcoming the goal. As the boss opens a portal at the end, and killing him is an objective you can strive for, this is a second aspect to the extrinsic motivation – I also believe you get an item at the end.
In the end though, you never reach the goal and it becomes a kind of frustrating experience. You have to be careful and aware to still enjoy the event at all, and not constantly rage at all the players not focusing on the boss 100 % (even then he is not easy to beat). It seems killing him just won’t happen on normal public servers.

From what I saw of the Dota 2 event (checked out a video) it is much more appealing. In the first phase, it introduces an adapted ctf-style gameplay where you play against the enemy team. In phase two, the boss appears but is not ready to be taken on yet. In phase three, your and the enemy team unite, resulting in no player-damage to one another, and focusing on the – still hard to beat – boss.
I feel like the Dota 2 has the much more enjoyable event – even though I did not play it.

Smite impressions

I have been playing a lot of Smite recently. It’s a third person MOBA game bringing a whole new perspective and gameplay to MOBA. Vision, looking around and positioning becomes even more important. I felt it’s a lot more action-packed than the classical MOBAs (LoL), allowing for early ganks and kills, but also the early game not taking too long until the game gets a lot more dynamic, with people being able to roam across lanes, trying to disturb and initiate team-engagements.

You play as a god – gods are available from very different mythologies and religions. The game is fair and seemingly well balanced.

Smite is still in beta, but keys are available without much hassle – be it from one of the streamers or viewers on a Smite live-stream, or the subreddit /r/sharesmite, or somewhere else. It will be free to play, and god-unlocks for the style you want to play are not really a problem – it’s doable after an acceptable timespan of playtime. The godpack with the first 30 gods (not all announced yet) is 30 USD / 24 €, so not that expensive at all.

Awesomenauts impressions

Awesomenauts is awesome. It’s a 2d side-scrolling MOBA game. Its graphics style is a colorful comic style, its music and audio fits the happy and crazy, fun style perfectly. Its a good port to PC. Characters are and play very differently, providing great variation and options.

I had a ton of fun with my Froggy, for quite some time! I Recommend!