Friday, September 7, 2012

did you really think I'd let you kill this chorus?

[Looking For Group] Shock and Awesome: Is kickstarter not an option?

I've heard this a lot over the past few days. There are deep and inherent problems in approaching this from a crowdfunded angle, namely: while Paragon Studios runs (or ran) City of Heroes, Cryptic was the first originator, and NCSoft is the holder of copyright on the IP now. Would NCSoft release the IP? It's highly doubtful. So, essentially, it would be almost instantly killed as a concept even were it to make it to the Kickstarter launch post page. Why? Because if you don't control the property, you can't ask for money to fund it, and Kickstarter's own internal rules would knock it down--likely before it ever saw the light of day.

[Looking For Group] Gadgette: Kickstarter is ONLY an option if NCsoft agrees that they'd sell the game if X amount of money was made.

Right, but even were that highly unlikely eventuality to come to pass, they'd have to have either already sold the property back to Paragon, or have signed a binding intention to sell with the company. Neither of these are likely to happen, either.

[Help] Airdancer: It is hard to want to do something when you know it's all pointless now. Still I've been here so long i can't think of anything else to do when I get off work
[Looking For Group] Ecco Dolpheus: is all i looked foward to when i was coming home from work
[Looking For Group] Rita Ramjet: and its all you can continue to look forward to till nov 30

Laugh if you want, but think about this in the larger sense of games. How many people plan their lives around weekly WoW raids? I personally know someone who made the choice to travel to BlizzCon, pay for hotel tickets, and pay for content offered there (signatures, admission, et cetera), knowing she'd be coming home to a house empty of food, with rent paid but not power paid, and hoping beyond hope her parents helped her so she could keep the lights on. It was that important to her. She didn't bring food, either--she was humbly, deeply grateful to a friend that heard about her plans on Twitter, and the first night of the convention, dragged up an ice chest full of crackers, peanut butter, cheese, and refreezable ice packs. She also handed over a shopping back of "just add water" soups--both mug soups and noodle pots. That is how my friend ate while she was there.

People do this for games. They suffer a loss, they think of friends online over friends in RL--and to be utterly honest about this, too, some of these folks don't have many friends RL. For many, the game world is their support network.

How many people play in SL, have lives, husbands, and children, yet ignore the husbands, wives, or children they have beyond the screen? It happens, far more often than you think.

[Looking For Group] Shadow Marshal Luger: it is a little fishy that the other money losing games NCSoft owns arnt being suddenly shut down and CoH that makes marginal profit is

The key word there is "marginal". It was making profit for the company, it just wasn't making enough.

[Help] Screaming Patriot: the horrors of learning to ski at the chalet...
[Help] Grand Grimoire: only winter tho
[Help] Jericho Phears: was looking to do that this yer, got the gold in both last year

Well, the Chalet's open again, for what it's worth.

[Help] Boomtown Titan: I'm downloading CO since it's closer to this but damn those graphics are goofy

(from the Champions album; Annika in Millenium City)

I think I've figured out part of why. There are directly photosourced textures in City of Heroes--usually in caves, which is why they're so jarring when they show up--but in Champions, even the photosourced textures have this odd, clean-edged gloss to them. The entire world looks closer to an 80's comic book at times--which may have been the intent.

The problem is, that's also a heavy detraction. I'm not crazy about viewing the world in Comic Sans, or in looking at SL-style, vintage 2008 trees. It doesn't make me want to play the game.

(from the Champions album; Annika and Nighthawk in a cut scene still.)

Take this, for example. There's still self-insertion into cut scenes as part of the experience--on the theory that we tie better to what we see on screen if something we identify as "us" is also in the scene--but check out the shine on that tile floor. If we look up, there's nothing to cast the reflection lights on the floor. And if it's that shiny, the problem becomes--why don't we see ourselves in the reflections?

SL solves this by having settings that pre-generate reflections and/or shadows, though most viewers just don't bother, thereby solving the problem. In City of Heroes, the only places with high reflection and shine were internally solved--and we've seen this in SL, too, where a 'reflective' floor is reflective because a mirror image of the structures above the floor lies underneath it.

In this case, it's just bad photosourcing, with no attempt to correct it.

(from the Champions album; flying in Millenium City)

I don't want to say it's "too clean", because that's not really the complaint. I don't mind clean lines in a game; hells, I play Minecraft, land of the clean sharp lines. For me, it goes deeper into the entire ethos behind the world: there's very little attempt at complication, by design. It's not stucco on an apartment building; it's just olive paint. The places where they do choose to add detail and visual complication are thus jarring and out of place, like photosourced tiles, or photosourced asphalt by the docks.

(from the Champions album; water off the docks in Millenium City)

Or let's talk about water. Which this is. No, seriously.

(from the City of Heroes album; off Striga Isle)

This is a shot taken when flying into Striga Isle. Even though all the oceans in City of Heroes average about two feet deep, there's still a strong impression that it goes down further, and there are active, ongoing, animated reflections on the surface water.

(from the City of Heroes album; underground lake in First Ward)

Or here, where the source light is an unearthly, ambient teal glow, and the water itself is charged and moving with eldritch reflections and colors. Even given the potential supernatural nature of this water, it still looks like water.

The water in Champions? Looks like someone tried to mix mercury with oil, or made one of those swirling bottles that have glitter blended with dyed water. Save that in this case, the water's just vaguely silvery-grey. This is my alternative??

[Looking For Group] Rita Ramjet: sadly this is the real world...and the villains sometimes win.

Yeah. And for me, the thing is, I liked City of Heroes because I liked the storylines, not because I had a desperate need to be a superhero and fly around the city. I'm currently in the (long, long, SO long, and involved) process of downloading Perfect World International, because I already have a Perfect World account (since Perfect World bought out Cryptic, everyone who had a Cryptic account to play Champions had to convert over to Perfect World), and I'm more interested in fantasy games anyway.

But going through these has generated yet another depressing day. I had about fifteen potential entries saved and titled; since last night, I'm down by eight, because I just selected everything and cleared the space. I'll use the title later, but it's just too much right now.

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