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Showing posts with label E3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label E3. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

The 10 Things I learned at E3

This year, I was fortunate enough to attend E3 in Los Angeles. For those that do not know, E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo and spotlights the upcoming video games and other things electronic (mostly just video games) from all the top developers in the world. E3 is much like being at Las Vegas, if Las Vegas was on Red Bull and hadn't slept for 48 hours or so. And while it's hard to focus on any one thing in particular, I was able to learn quite a bit during my two days in California.

1.) Teaming is everything.
Games are moving away from the simple premise that it's you vs. the computer game. Now, it's you and your teammates vs.
people from around the world in a variety of combat situations / simulations. Games are more about 'team sport' and 'high performance' than about solving riddles or achieving simple goals. And gamers are taking this 'team thing' seriously as there is now a Professional Gaming League for most of these games. If your parents ever told you that you couldn't make a living playing video games, THEY LIED TO YOU. The top gamers now make six figure incomes playing games and are treated like 'rock stars' at these events.

2.) You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Just because Star Wars is almost 40 years old doesn't mean it's going softly into that good night. Let that sink in for a minute… Star Wars will turn 40 on May 25, 2017. FORTY!!! Even so, this year E3 featured four Star Wars themed games and all of them looked AWESOME! Maybe the best of the bunch is Star Wars Battlefront (20 vs. 20 multi-player combat game) as it provides you the opportunity to not only fight on the ground (alongside Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader) but also pilot various ships. I'm not sure how much cooler a game based on a 'worn out' 40 year old premise can get!

3.) First person shooters games aren't going to be first for much longer.
Not every upcoming game is focused on killing your opponents (I'm looking at you, Nintendo). E3 featured a smackling of games like Yoshi's Wooly World, Splatoon, Rock Band 4, and Roy Mcllroy PGA Tour (albeit there's a lot of damage you can do with a 4 iron) amongst the otherwise violent staples. Interestingly enough, many of these 'tamer' games got very positive reviews and were very well received which goes to show that a well done game is a well done game and can be appreciated on its own merits.

4.) You can't polish a turd, but you can still roll it in glitter.
Batman: Arkham Knight for the PC is a beautiful but very broken game. Thousands of bad reviews won't 'patch' this game on the PC anytime soon.

5.) Sequels are good if you do them right.
If it worked once or twice or three times, you can most likely get another title out of it. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Payday 2, XCOM 2, and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End are just a handful of the sequels coming out this fall. And if you liked playing these games the first time, you'll appreciate the opportunity of déjà vu all over again. Not sure we need a Street Fighter V, but I guess these franchises will live on (at least for another year).

6.) Twitch isn't just a short, sudden jerking movement.
Twitch is a real thing! I guess I'm shocked that an Internet channel dedicated to broadcasting professional league battles of various video games is a real thing. But at E3, it was Twitch that was broadcasting live from almost every booth just like a major network. Twitch has actual commentators, features professional gamers, and announces video game battles just like announcers would do for a professional sport. It was wild to hear commentary of in-game battles and have announcers describe the action. I'm pretty sure that they were making most of it up as they went along; BUT, they were making it up as they went along. I remember doing the same thing as a child when playing my favorite Atari 2600 games. Of course back then, my parents thought it was weird and had me quiet down. Today, I'd be a rock star with my own show.

7.) Behind every successful E3 visit is a fabulous pair of shoes.
E3 covers a lot of physical space. I averaged walking almost five miles a day to cover all the ground in both convention halls.
Honestly, I don't even like to drive five miles. Glad I brought a good pair of shoes.

8.) A man, a tan and a plan.
Okay well, maybe not a tan. It's hard to see everything at E3. As such, I planned what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go beforehand. Even with a plan in place, it was challenging to see all the exhibits and games I wanted to see. Worse yet, most games had a one to two hour wait in line. Heck, the wait to see the 12 minute movie for XCOM2 took nearly 50 minutes (a 50 minute line to see a movie about a game – smells of Disneyworld). But, I did get to play Witcher III, SMITE, Alekhine's Gun, Battlecry, Blood Bowl 2, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. Very cool games, but they all required a bit of planning and patience (and possibly pushing people out of the way) to experience.

9.) Every day is a fashion show and E3 is your runway.
I found it hard not to stare at people who were dressed up in elaborate costumes of their favorite video game characters. Boba Fett, check. Chun Li, check. Lara Croft, check. I'm not sure I'd ever take my love for video games to 'this level', but it was commendable to see others so dedicated to 'their game' (and honestly if you're going to walk around a convention hall in a Princess Leia bikini, you should be commended for your bravery).

10.) E3 is CodeWeavers oyster.
Not many Mac or Linux titles on the horizon. There was obviously 'some' titles coming to the other platforms, but it's still a predominately PC world. To this effect, I think CodeWeavers can help in supporting some of these titles for Mac or Linux users in CrossOver. We'll be looking to get Beta of many of the top games from E3 to work on support for the coming version of CrossOver. And while we might not get every game, I'm sure that there will be one or two or more games that will run very well in our technology.

MacOS and Windows software bundles, save up to 90% off the normal retail price only at BundleHunt.
 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It’s All About the Team at E3 The Super Bowl of Computer Gaming

This week, I am at E3, the Super Bowl of computer gaming! Right off the bat, I noticed that game studios have fully embraced this whole team aspect thing. It's not you vs. the bad guys. It's you and 15 or 20 of your teammates vs. 15 or 20 people on another team fighting to the death within a certain time limit in a confined area no bigger than a phone booth. Mass carnage with surreal graphics in mind-blowing locations at a frantic pace. And again, it's your team vs. the world. No team? No problem! These games are more than happy to put you on a randomly created team from a pool of available players just waiting to get a taste of the action.

As I step up and play on a random team, I instantly notice the lack of cohesiveness that results in decisive victory (the kind of victory where someone on the other team might just quit playing). And to that, I don't know 15 or 20 people that would be willing to team up with me to take on the world. Which, in hindsight, is probably for the best as discearning victory usually requires practice. PRACTICE??? Who's got time for practice? I'm lucky with my schedule that I even get to play games at this stage of my life (husband, father, suburbs, three dogs). So, I'll be sticking to random teams – for now. I just wish that the time I spent in my youth on Atari 2600 and Nintendo wasn't so largely wasted leaving me unprepared for today's gaming.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't try (even at my age – 43) to prepare and compete in these games against vastly superior and considerably younger gamers. I try. I bought a headset with a microphone. I spend countless hours at work playing a variety of these team concept video games. I even sneak away in the evenings to log in an hour or two just to increase my rankings. HECK, I'm even spending some of my entertainment money on upgrades and add-ons for these video games (just to compete). My problem is that I'm not willing or able to commit the 60 hours or so a week it would take for me to actually be GOOD at these games. I can buy all the upgrades I want, but it doesn't negate the fact that these 13-year-old kids are twitchy and fueled by Red Bull.

Soooooooooooo…. E3. Team based games? Check. Games where you can be Darth Vader, a mythical god, an elite sniper, world class soccer player, or even vicious dwarf? Check again. From what I've seen so far, the 'must have' games for 2015 are going to Star Wars Battlefront, a 40 vs. 40 mass assault where you're battling as either the Rebels or the Empireon the ground and in the air on worlds like Hoth and Endor; Smite, a seven vs. seven arena based combat where you can be an actual mythical god battling other mythical gods; Rainbow Six Siege, a five on five strategic assault where you are either a member of an elite military unit or part of a faction that is a threat to freedom; and the impressive list of games from both established and indie game studios goes on. The games all appear incredible and the action is non-stop. You attack. You die. You restart. You improve. And you do it again!!! It's like that Tom Cruise movie, 'Edge of Tomorrow' – LIVE. DIE. REPEAT.

How do these games impact Mac and Linux users? Well, they don't. That's the rub in all of this. Most of these games are PC only. However, you might still be able to play these titles on your Mac or Linux computer when they are released later this year using CrossOver. In the coming months, CodeWeavers will have support for DirectX 11; better controller support; and further improvements to overall GPU performance. While these incremental improvements for game support may seem small (at first), the cumulative improvements for game support will allow for many of these games to 'just run' when released. And when more games 'just run' in CrossOver, it won't matter if you're battling against Thor or Apollo using a PC, a Mac, or a Linux computer.

MacOS and Windows software bundles, save up to 90% off the normal retail price only at BundleHunt.