My first attempt at writing a video game script begins with the socialist journalist and activist Marina Ginestà, a remarkable woman who died five years ago, at the age of 94. Although she lived an eventful life, she’s most famous for a photograph taken of her when she was 17 years old, standing on the rooftop of a Barcelona hotel, a rifle slung over her shoulder. It’s one of the most arresting images of the Spanish Civil War, in which young, idealistic Europeans like Ginestà fought for democracy, against a coalition of fascists and aristocrats. I’m going to use that photograph as the first building block of my game. You see, I’ve signed onto an online course called Story for Video Games, a six-session investigation of interactive narrative. By the end of the course, I hope to have created a fully fleshed story for a game. There’s no coding or art. I only have to write. The course is run by John Yorke, the author of Into the Woods, a book on … [Read more...] about How to write a video game story
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The Summerset Isles, an area often referenced but rarely visited in The Elder Scrolls games (they were last seen in the first Elder Scrolls game Arena), is finally getting its 15 minutes of fame in The Elder Scrolls Online’s latest Chapter, aptly named Summerset. With a release date set for May 21 for PC/Mac players and June 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 users, it won’t be long before the historic home of Tamriel’s High Elves becomes a battlefield once again as the Daedra are up to their usual shenanigans. If you don’t want to wait, you can actually begin your journey to Summerset Isle today. As of March 21, Summerset’s prologue quest is available in The Elder Scrolls Online for free, so long as you acquire the Mage’s Message Stone from the in-game Crown Store. Using the Stone will trigger the Through a Veil Darkly quest, which will direct you to Vanus Galerion, the founder of the Mages Guild. Alternatively, you can just talk to … [Read more...] about The Elder Scrolls Online Revisits the Summerset Isles In Summerset Expansion
One of the most interesting and controversial features of Steam’s user reviews is the system’s open-ended nature. Reviews can can range from a couple of lines to thousands of words, can adopt virtually any style, and only need to possess passing relevance to the game in question. What results is a system where thoughtfully written reviews reside alongside jokey one-liners, incoherent rants, and political rallying cries. This issue has led for some developers to call for more stringent moderation of reviews, either to separate them into different categories or remove certain kinds of reviews entirely. Yet while the opinions of user reviewers are visible for everyone to see, why users are compelled to leave the kinds of reviews they do in the first place is less obvious. Hence, I reached out to several very different reviewers, each of whom has posted a large number of reviews, to find out their motivations behind what they write and why they write it. Establishing a baseline … [Read more...] about Why users write Steam reviews
It’s been quite some time since we heard about Nintendo Switch’s fabled paid-online play. Although information on Nintendo Switch Online has been around since the system’s reveal, it seems the actual product itself has went through a few reboots. Following a delay earlier last year, Nintendo has officially revealed that Nintendo Switch Online will be available in September 2018. Provided nothing about the service has changed since it was last detailed on June 1, 2017, Nintendo Switch Online will cost $19.99 for a full year membership. Buying into the online program grants access to online gameplay, lobbies, voice chat (via the mobile app), a “Classic Game Selection,” and Nintendo eShop deals. Meanwhile, run-of-the-mill users would have access to Nintendo eShop, friends, social media access, and parental controls. When the plan was first revealed, it was slated to start in Fall 2017. However, following those June recalibrations, the slot got delayed to a … [Read more...] about Nintendo Switch Online Service Officially Launches in September 2018
PC strategy title Eve Online is a sprawling, sophisticated MMO with a dynamic economy, living communities, and a political backdrop that could fill up a library’s worth of history books, but in the next 24 hours it stands to become the backdrop to a one million dollar battle, involving thousands of players and an even larger audience. The basic gist of EVE Online is this; players control ships, weapons, and resources (both material and human) in an ever evolving tug of war for control of a persistent galaxy first created by CCP Games 15 years ago. This has established a fertile ground for feuds, stalemates, and large scale wars, one of which made the news in 2013 for costing a total of $300,000 in terms of player expenditure. But how does that amount of money make it into a game like Eve Online? Well, players are able to purchase subscription time with cash, and sell that resource in-game for EVE Online’s own virtual currency, thus establishing a conversion rate that allows … [Read more...] about The next big EVE Online war is about to break out, and it could cost one million dollars… wait, what?!