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New Let’s Play for The Division

I’ve started a Let’s Play series for The Division.

This first video is a bit of a beginning background, some character building, and leads up to meeting Faye Lau.

And, part two takes the Agent through the first two side missions of the game.

10 Things to know about The Division before you play The Division 2

With a new Division game set to come out in March of 2019, it is time to start thinking about what players will need to know before they dive into the new game. Below is a relatively spoiler-free list of ten things that players should probably know about Tom Clancy’s The Division before they tackle The Division 2 next year. For those who want a refresher or do not want to play through the first game before they dive into The Division 2, each item links to a much more concise (and spoiler ridden) article on the topic.

  1. Who is Gordon Amherst?
  2. Who is Vitaly Tchernenko?
  3. Who is Jessica Kandel?
  4. What is the Dollar Flu?
  5. What happened to the Country?
  6. What is The Division?
  7. What is an Agent?
  8. Who is Arron Keener?
  9. What is a Rogue?
  10. What is the Dark Zone?

Answers to the Why challenge

On Friday I presented the challenge:

Weekend Design Challenge: write a brief explanation of why you want to take on the chore of creating a video game.

Today you can put your answers in the comments for this post. If you already posted them on Friday’s post, that’s okay, there are no hard rules for these challenges. They are just to provide you with small tasks that can add up to the end result of designing a game of your own. (Or enhancing one you are already working on.)

My answer:

As a child I wanted to be a camera operator for films. As I grew older I began focusing more on writing. I’ve come to realize that video games are the perfect medium for sharing the stories I want to tell. For showing the worlds of my imagination in a way that let’s others not only see the world as I see it, but to also experience it in a way they enjoy.

Share your reason in the comments, and do not worry if it is not the same as my reason, if it’s longer or shorter … there are as many different reasons as there are designers and there is no right or wrong answer to this challenge, only an answer that you can put in a journal and use as a focus going forward.

Black Friday is almost here, time to play Tom Clancy’s The Division

With Black Friday just around the corner, I have decided that it is time, once again, to play Tom Clancy’s The Division. Perhaps it is extra fitting that I am battling the flu as I type this?

Between now and the 23rd I will be posting a series that I have been working on to bring people up to speed about the world of The Division and explain what I feel are the 10 most important things to know about the first game before playing The Division 2. The last of these will be posted on November 22.

I am also working on a new Let’s Play series that, if my internet allows, I will upload later tonight or tomorrow. In this new series I’ll be exploring the game starting with a new character. At the moment the first video is being saved in HD format on my ancient desktop computer. It’s at 20% as I type this, and I’ll start uploading it to YouTube as soon as it’s finished.

Raven vs Rat in Tom Clancy’s The Division

I’ve started playing Tom Clancy’s The Division again and one of the things that always catches my attention is the interactions the animals have. Such as this raven trying to grab this rat by the tail. I love the defiant “you wanna fight?” hops the rat makes at the raven before it goes back to what in is after in the snowbank.

I spied the raven and rat down the street and zoomed in with my scope, then got as close as I dared, unfortunately the pedestrian got uneasy when he saw me aiming a sniper rifle down the street in his direction and all three took off.

Weekend Design Challenge: 1 – Why?

I went on a trip around the Internet this afternoon, looking for weekend challenges such as the old Weekend Blend challenges that I used to participate in at the Blender Artists Community.  I wanted something similar, but for game designers. So far I have not found anything that matches what I had in mind, so I have decided I will begin my own challenge here on my website.

What I want is a series of challenges that focus on game design on a small scale, that can be built upon or combined over time to help indie game designers create high quality games by working just a bit at a time on them. Most of the things I have found are focused on Game Jams of rapidly building games, or they just do not fit what it is I want out of a challenge: which is small steps each week that build toward the game I want to build.

Starting today I will be hosting a weekend Game Design Challenge every Friday. On Friday mornings I will announce a design challenge for the weekend ahead and ask you to return on Monday to share what you did over the weekend. It is okay if you are late, these challenges are for fun and to help keep us all motivated. Later on, as the challenge grows, I will be creating a challenge page to make it easier to find the challenge posts.  

Today’s Weekend Design Challenge: write a brief explanation of why you want to take on the chore of creating a video game.

(You can find the answer post for this challenge here.)

Broken Time

I took a stroll around the web to browse a few other game dev websites as part of my goal to have this website fully re-built by January 1, 2019. This stroll led me to the Game Career Guide website, a property of Gamasutra, and my attention was caught by a challenge they posted this past Tuesday:

Game Design Challenge: Just in Time

Anyone that knows me will likely know that theme is right up my alley, so of course I decided to take a closer look. After perusing the posting I clicked on the link to visit the forum where they said to go and found…

Welcome to the Game Career Guide Forums.

Unfortunately, this forum has been locked as of 1st September 2017. I would like to thank to all of those that have participated in the many years this forum has been active and a special thanks to all the volunteer moderators and admins.

Uhh… wait, what?

I went back and double-checked the post and, sure enough, the challenge had been posted just two days ago, but it looks like they might have broken time. Or expect the entrants to do so.

I’ll still be participating in the challenge so, if anyone else is feel free to use the comments here or the Phantascene Discord server in lieu of the closed Game Career Guide forums.

That Dragon, Cancer

On May 17, 2017 a video was posted to the TED channel on YouTube about a video game to cope with grief. The TED guest speaker is video game designer Amy Green, who, with her husband, created a video game autobiography of the life and death of her son.

The game is not an easy one, but the difficulty is an emotional one. There is no beating it through increasing levels or better gear. There is only one ending.  Green says: “We made a game that’s hard to play, because the hardest moments of our lives change us more than any goal we could ever accomplish.”

5 Perspectives on Net Neutrality

The idea behind internet neutrality is that broadband service providers should not be able to give preferential speeds to their own services or those of companies that pay an increased service fee.

Imagine trying to watch your favorite program on a streaming service, but the quality or speed is reduced because the company behind the service chose to keep their rate low, so had to decline to pay a premium fee to your broadband provider.

I am not going to try to sort through and reinterpret the issue, instead I have sought out a variety of perspectives posted recently and have collected them here for you to start your own investigation into the latest issues surrounding net neutrality.

(Note: I have included brief snippets from each article so you will have a sense of what you are going to be reading, but the snippets may not accurately represent the article as a whole.)

The net neutrality fight isn’t over. Here’s what you need to know
“Many people agree with the basic principle of net neutrality – the idea that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally – but plans for realizing that uncontroversial concept have been a lightning rod for conflict.”

Why Democrats Didn’t Campaign More on Net Neutrality
“…polling consistently shows that most Americans favor reining in the control providers such as AT&T and Comcast have over the delivery of online services.”

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Net
“The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear a case that challenged a lower court’s decision to uphold the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order.”

The Christian Science Monitor
How ‘net neutrality’ became a political rallying point
“Net neutrality traces back to an engineering maxim called the “end-to-end principle,” a self-regulating network that put control in the hands of end users rather than a central authority.”

Supreme Court Won’t Review Decision That OK’d Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules
“The Supreme Court has rejected telecom companies’ attempts to quash a lower court’s decision that upheld net neutrality rules set during the Obama administration. AT&T and other telecoms had asked the high court to void the ruling; the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality last year.”


And how about we add in one more link here and let the FCC speak for itself on the subject of net neutrality?

Restoring Internet Freedom
“It replaces unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations that were developed way back in 1934 with strong consumer protections, increased transparency, and common-sense rules that will promote investment and broadband deployment.”

Happy Halloween

Hoping you have a happy and safe Halloween this year.

My plans for Halloween?

Relax at home and read books about the excavation of mummies in ancient Egypt, with a bit of playing Overwatch.

I of course have candy on hand, but I’v not had a trick or treater show up in over 20 years (and the ones I saw 20 years ago were my sister’s kids).

Whatever your plans, have a safe and fun Halloween.



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