Monday, September 09, 2013

Payday 2: doing something with the safehouse and encouraging stealthy gameplay

Problem: I have a safehouse and a ton of offshore money / loot stashed in said safehouse. At present I can't do much with either.

How to make them more interactive?

The dev team are going to bring in safehouse customisation, but I don't want to just spend thousands of dollars making it look nice. I wonder if it's possible to do the following:

1) More than one safehouse. maybe 3 or 4. I don't really care if they all look the same.

2) It makes sense that the police would be constantly looking for your safehouse / money. The less stealthy you are in accumulated missions, the more likely they are to find your safehouse.

3) Imagine being in a heist and getting message that one of your safehouses is being raided. Do you bail and go to defend it or finish the job you're on?

4) The safehouse customisation should be about shoring up the safehouse. The more cash you spend, the harder it is to breach (locked doors, metal doors the cops can't shoot open and / or drill, barriers, traps, tripmines, glass / boarded / shuttered windows etc.

5) You have to decide which safehouse(s) to keep all your money in, and maybe your safehouse(s) can only hold so much loot so you have to split it up between the ones you have until you can upgrade them. Given how much offshore money you're likely to have, upgrading should be multi tiered and cost serious amounts of offshore money. This would mean you don't just end up with millions and millions of offshore cash and would constantly have to keep dipping into it to be able to make more down the line.

All of the above results in 3 things:

1) It makes the safehouse(s) play an active role in the game, and gives a point to customising them.

2) It gives a reward / incentive to go stealth and not just shoot everything up.

3) If you decide to bail on a heist, you could bring your current crew to help defend and they get a share of some of your cash as a reward (offshore or otherwise).

4) It would increase the feeling of always being on the run.

Here endeth my idea.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

10 thoughts on The Wolverine (spoilers)

1) It's good to see Poison Ivy still getting work.

2) Did they even giver her a name? I thought I heard "Viper" but I could be wrong. Hot damn, that costume is terrible. Wait, she's peeling off her skin. Oh boy, she's going to look like a lizard or a snake underne-

...nope, she looks like a bald woman. Uh, okay.

3) I was massively excited to see a SEGA sign. Shush.

4) "We're going to remind you Logan has been depowered by having him shot every ten minutes."

5) His depowering is kinda weird, isn't it? He can't regenerate but he can jump around on trains and bounce all over the screen? Worst most expensive power sapping spider robots ever.

6) Why didn't he bleed to death when his claws came out? #nerdynitpickbutwhatever

7) Rila Fukushima was the best thing in the film, and she's written out for a huge chunk of it in the middle.

8) "We're going to remind you Logan has regained his powers by having him stabbed like fifty times in five minutes."

9) Good job that Japanese guy had his head conveniently located in the body of the robot instead of the helmet, right?

10) Not content with writing Fukushima out of a significant chunk of the movie, she also manages to vanish from the post credits sequence. At the very least, she should stand a good chance of appearing in the next one.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Flawless victory

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's not me, it's Who

[Note: I'm aware the finale has now aired, but I can't see it yet due to insufferably stupid bullshit so here's a vaguely whiny rant about the new series, most or all of which may now be totally null and void due to whatever happens in the last episode of Series 7. Meanwhile, let's also wonder exactly how many people waiting to see the finale on iTunes will either sit around until they've eaten fifty gallons of spoilers or just go see it someplace else. Protip for the BBC and iTunes: not many. Also, I won't be giving you any more money for your staggeringly late "season pass" episodes. Well done.]

I think I've had this post bubbling for a while; the Rings of Akhaten and one or two episodes from Series 7 all watched in the space of a few days pushed it over the edge.

I'm done with Moffat / 11 Who, I think. It's finally shuffled beyond the point where I just throw my hands up and do that Seinfeld leaving the theatre routine. In fact, I doubt I'll see any tie-up to any massively dangling plot threads anytime soon.

(Exploding TARDIS, the voice saying "Silence will Fall", the entirely convoluted and not-much-sense-making "plan" of the Silence, Rory and Amy waving to themselves, what the Doctor saw in his room during The God Complex etc etc so on and so forth).

I'm particularly sick of the Doctor's increasing tendency - or should I say, the people in the charge of the show - to have him save the all important companion at the expense of everybody else (aka collateral damage). Those people on the ship in Power of 3? Yeah, leave them up there as the ship blows up. The people who were trapped in the computer network in Bells of Saint John? Doesn't matter, a whole bunch of them will be returned to severely brain damaged / non functional bodies, or freshly rotting corpses in the ground or something. No biggie. While it's (reasonably) clear that the big Parasite from Rings was not a Sun, but in fact a large planet so everybody hasn't just been condemned to death by freezing, it's entirely possible they've all just been condemned to death by a large object hurtling through space with no large parasite planet to absorb the blow.

Let's not dwell on the fact that the Doctor claims to have been there before yet somehow wasn't aware they send a child over to die once every thousand years, either.

Probably best to avoid thinking too much of how the Doctor "dies" and River sacrifices herself to a long stint in the slammer to keep it a secret, yet almost immediately he's signing threatening notes to the Great Intelligence as "The Doctor", and getting Clara to join in on the incredibly tiresome Doc-Tor-WHOOOO chant we keep being meta beaten to death with (all those Daleks at the end of Asylum repeating Doctor Who is only funny until you realise he just ran off and left a large contingent of Daleks to go wandering off and slaughtering their way across the galaxy. Ho ho ho).

When Matt Smith started his run, I just wanted a season where we weren't obsessing over some "special" companion. Oh, sorry - here comes Amy Pond. Nope, now we're going to obsess over the "mystery" of River Song except it wasn't very mysterious after all. Well, they're all gone now so we can sit back and look forward t - whoops, Clara can't stop dying and we're going to spend the rest of the season being drip fed teases of a resolution that likely threatens to go nowhere fast. We're going to get River back at the end of the current run, aren't we?

/ Seinfeld

I know it's entirely possible to pin too much blame on the sonic screwdriver as a convenient plot device, but really - if it had a horseshit setting it'd be dialed up to 11 after Akhaten. You can argue that it's supposed to get the plot moving, but isn't that only a good thing if there's something worthwhile in the place of whatever problem solving was skipped to dazzle us with more empty action and Feels of the Year (aka your new favourite Tumblr gifset) emoting in the first place?

 I don't know about you, but being told that opening a large heavy door with advanced technology is "impossible", only to find that - surprise - he opens it within about 30 seconds is just one hand wave too many. Wouldn't things be MORE interesting if they'd spent 5 or 10 tension filled minutes trying to work out a way to open the door? Instead, we got a Harry Potter style wand battle, a chorister that....killed himself? Teleported away? No idea....and a confusing sequence where Clara got stuck to the glass keeping the vampire inside. Apparently the kid did that. I thought Vamps did it. Who knows, gotta keep selling those sonics to cosplayers and kids so you'll never get rid of the damn thing now.

As for the singing: it's someone deciding that Rimmer singing Kumbaya is an actual tactic. The dramatic call to arms of everybody singing along to the Doctor having Those Feels (TM) would probably have been greater if the accompanying music didn't begin with what sounded like a tinny Bontempi keyboard loop from the 80s. I get the feeling that if this had been Tennant and RTD doing this episode, they'd have allowed the Doctor to win the battle himself. But we have to be constantly reminded how special the companions are even when total absurdity is the end result, so of course Clara can now magically pilot space sleds and kills the parasite with a leaf, complete with the most dreadful pseudo-emotive "logic" I can remember in a long, long time.

Waving a leaf at a giant planet sized parasite and claiming the leaf contains an infinite amount of potential for a lost life so you have to die now Mr Parasite Planet does not make this any different to two kids playing wargames in a playground and one deciding he's a tank so he wins, bang bang.

It's just.....nonsensical bullshit. I was also hoping Clara would splat head first into a passing chunk of rock, which would have been hilarious. This will always be remembered as the episode where the Doctor disintegrated a giant space pumpkin by shouting at it.

To be fair, things picked up in later episodes - even if they usually almost, ALMOST make it to the finish line without screwing up then decide to go full Thelma & Louise with hideously contrived "twist" endings.

Cold War: Would have been much better without all the entirely predictable padding filler of "Red Shirts hunt for monster, die horribly" scenes.

Hide: Not mind-blowing but probably the most solid episode of the series. Nice set, nice atmosphere, vaguely creepy ghost, interesting resolution and I'm willing to accept the last five minutes or so as they actually tie into the rest of the episode for a change.

Journey: Seriously, did we need all of the backstory for the brothers? What did it add? Who cares? Also padding: clock watching "Is it over yet" sequences where someone runs offscreen to the left and reappears on the right. PLEASE STOP. Ultimately, we saw very little of the Tardis except for bland metal walls and boring monster of the week chases - with Clara inexplicably pausing to giggle to herself every few seconds.

Shouldn't you be running away? (Hat tip to J. for pointing that one out).

Also congrats to the Doctor whose name is such a super big secret that he leaves it scrawled in huge and prominently displayed books in his library (given how easily Clara spotted his name, I guess it says WITH LOVE FROM STEVE on the inside front cover).

Crimson Horror: I actually thought this was pretty solid (if unremarkable), but the ending - oh boy. The scene with the kids was A) Amazingly stupid, B) Horribly contrived if this is seriously the best thing they could think of to show Clara her "old" Victorian incarnation and C) filmed like something from the Sarah Jane Adventures. Did Gaiman want these kids in his story? I couldn't help but notice they were shelved fairly early on in Nightmare in Silver. Speaking of which...

Nightmare in Silver: The only parts of this which were interesting involved the chess game. Everything else was more Red Shirts running around, kids doing their "We're kids" acting and (for reasons I still don't quite follow) Clara being in charge of a bunch of space marines. It seems Gaiman wanted to do much more with the Cybermen, but the production team nixed a fair bit of it. Silent Cybermen would be awesome - we're stuck with the clank clank clank.

Anyway, that's my whiny rant ramble.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Sleeping Dogs OST Purchasing Extravaganza

I've mentioned Sleeping Dogs before, but one of the best parts of the game - the soundtrack - is also one of the most frustrating. A combination of low availability and baffling Amazon listings makes it a fair trek around the block to simply buy some of the music on offer. Worse still, many of the tracks are listed as being sung / composed by what I can only assume are fictitious, in-game entity style characters who you won't find within a million miles of HMV or wherever by virtue of the fact that they're the creation of "Some music guy in a music room somewhere".

Does anybody know who sings the parts of Vivienne Lu, of "Yellow Fever" fame, for example? I've no idea. Nobody seems to know for sure, although if this post is accurate then it definitely isn't Lucy Liu. Similar issues abound for many of the in-game tracks, especially when dealing with some of the stations such as "Soft". Well, fret no more because I put a fair amount of time into this and now you're going to read it, damn you.

1) My favourite tracks remain those by Bei Bei and Shawn Lee. What you may not be aware of (I certainly wasn't) is that Bei Bei has another album available on Amazon, though it won't show up alongside the former - you'll be told there's 400 odd albums, and none of them look remotely Bei Bei related. Fear not - scroll down to the bottom of page 1 (I know, strenuous stuff) and there she is with Quiet your Mind and Listen. An earlier album than the collaboration, there are no jazz / 70's stylings and I don't recall seeing it before so maybe it's a new addition to the site. Interestingly, one or two of the songs contain many of the motifs used throughout the newer album. So that's a fun thing to explore.

2) Art of Xen. You're not told anything about the track in-game, but ten seconds of Google action will give you a name - Jay Price. He has an album on Amazon with 12 tracks on it, but unfortunately it isn't available in some (or potentially many) locations. On the bright side, "As Featured on Sleeping Dogs" seems to be on sale in a lot more locations and contains 70(!) tracks to boot alongside being completely fantastic. YOU'RE WELCOME.

3) Shanghai Nights and Gao Shan Ching by Celestial can be found here (UK only as far as I can tell, the US store has a CD but that's it). Don't click the band name to find (as you would reasonably expect) more albums from the same band - you'll be taken to a couple of albums by what appears to be a random gospel / soul singer instead. For some reason, Celestial albums are a nightmare to dig out on Amazon - here's the one containing The Crossing. That album is available in MP3 form on both US and UK stores, and there's a third (non Sleeping Dogs related) album floating around with a little more digging.

4) The Cinematic Orchestra, "Burn Out". Well, this one is a bit of a pain to buy, depending on region. The US can buy either CD or MP3, but the UK only has expensive looking import CDs. I believe it's available on iTunes, but you may want to simply purchase direct instead.

5) Yellow Fever by Vivienne Lu. Nope, doesn't exist. Sorry :(

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Posterous: The walls come tumbling down

I'll soon be playing a game of "Will all my pictures vanish", seeing as they're hosted on Posterous and said service is throwing itself off a cliff come April. Unfortunately Posterous quickly went downhill after Twitter took over, with server outages, lost data, a blog interface that would frequently time out WHILE STILL TYPING then place the blog entry into a sort of dead zone should you be brave enough to still hit publish.

I reckon by a conservative estimate it'll take me the best part of the rest of my lifetime to reupload all the images should all the plugs be pulled, so hopefully Twitter / Posterous / whoever at least recognises that hundreds of thousands of blogs left pictureless is probably going to cause a bit of a grumpstorm.

Let's not dwell too much on the horrific UI redesigns with mystery meat icons all over the place (that began even before Twitter grabbed them - though they certainly never made any progress with regards fixing it), baffling navigation, being told I don't follow any blogs (while the blogs I follow would magically phase in and out of existence on my "I follow these blogs" list) and more besides - the writing was on the wall, and it was clear that the service was going to be canned when it turned out the "sign up" page no longer resolved.

Rather than bother to just remove the sign up link, they left it to rot which is somewhat indicative of the service as a whole. Indeed, they couldn't even be bothered to do some basic housekeeping when the announcement was made and the front page still crowed "We've been acquired by Twitter" rather than "everything you know and love is going to perish" but whatever.

You guys couldn't stop messing with navigation that (for the most part) worked fine. You couldn't give me that most basic requirement of blogging services - a stable blog interface. You most definitely can't give me any incentive whatsoever to sign up for a new (paid!) service, when the one you're supposed to have been running has had all of the wheels fall off and explode over the last year or so.

Out of all the blogging services I've tried down the years, for better or worse the one I've always come back to is Blogger. God help us if they ever decide to shut down, I'll be blogging on bits of wood with neon marker pens.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Test post

Move along, nothing to see here (actually there is, Posterous is being turned off in April so I'm making sure posts here reflect elsewhere. It's all very complicated and moderately annoying).