A lot has happened in the worlds of VALUE and gaming. I hear you thinking: “But Protosmoochy, how am I supposed to keep up with all this wonderful news? There’s simply to much too read!”. To which I reply: “Hush, sweet summer child. Grab a firm hold of your fears and questions, bundle them up, and drown them in this lake of words, links and pictures.”
Together, we will fill your world with knowledge and entertainment!
Welcome, dear reader, to the 29th issue of Field Reports!
Romeincraft – Starting the Road to Leiden
Our awesome project called RoMeincraft has been mentioned in Field Reports before, and now we’re happy to report that our very first event (in Leiden) was a huge success! Roman forts were built, VR was showcased, visitors inspired, pictures taken, and knowledge dispensed!
We wrote a blogpost about it in Dutch!
No time to relax, however, as our next event is already being prepared! RoMeincraft #2 will be held on the 14th and 15th of October as part of the Dutch National Archaeology Days. Location: National Museum of Antiquitities in Leiden. Check this link for more info. Be there or… be square (yes I had to make that joke – Megalithic). For those who can’t make it, be sure to check our social media for live coverage!
TIPC@WORK – Interactive (Hi-)storytelling
Together with the Curtural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, VALUE organised a workshop on interactive storytelling using the Twine tool on September 5th and 6th. Alice Watterson, who attended the workshop, wrote about it on her column which you can find here.
September’s been an incredibly busy (and fun) month for us, with a lot of events. Our very own Ymir wrote a recap about the first week. Find out what kept us busy!
Waistdeep in the Dead – Digitalfoundry Looks At Doom
Doom is one of my personal favourite games of all time, and I’ve played through Doom at least once every year since I was 10. So I don’t need convincing that the game is a marvel and ingenious piece of software that defined (and still defines) the world of video games since it hit the market. The game has been ported to about every single conceivable platform, and even beyond. Does your machine have buttons and a LCD screen? Then someone’s run Doom on it. Yes, even on your printer, graphical calculator, and in-car audio system.
Digital Foundry puts Doom and every console port to the test, while discussing the brilliant tricks id Software applied to the game. So rest your chainsaw in the nearest Pinky and grab that BFG so you can settle in for this great and informative video.
In Space, No One Is Around To Hear You Scream
“This town, is coming like a ghost town / All the raids have been closed down.
This place, is coming like a ghost town / Players won’t play no more”
Destiny 1, like so many games before it, stands on the precipice of the black hole of its imminent demise. The huge success of Destiny 2 is draining most of its predecessor’s playerbase, leaving behind a digital ghost town. With not enough players to fill strikes and PvP, the last remaining are sure to follow.
Kotaku visits the empty husk that once brought Guardians together in the fight against evil. They also wrote a review on Destiny 2.
Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution
The excellent writer/journalist David L. Craddock (if you’re reading this, David, we still need to pvp in DS2 at some point) wrote Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, a book about the rise of the Apple II and its role in the ‘PC gaming revolution’. Two websites each published a part of his book, Kotaku about Carmen Sandiego and US Gamer about the legendary developer Richard Garriott.
Carmen Sandiego holds a special place in the heart of people who grew up with the Apple II computer, because Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was seemingly installed on every single computer. The cunning and mysterious Carmen would go around the world stealing important treasures and artifacts, while the player was tasked with stopping her. At the same time, the player learned what the true treasure was: knowledge about geographical and cultural facts. YES, YOU WERE SECRETLY LEARNING ALL ALONG! MUHAHAHAHAHA. Find Carmen Sandiego over at Kotaku!
If you’ve never heard of Richard Garriott, you’ll still have heard of one of his many games that’ve defined genres and created tropes that you’ve grown sick of by now but used to be brilliant innovations. The entire Ultima series, Bioforge, Lineage, City of Heroes, and much more. One of the pillars of Garriott’s design was player choice: presenting players a set of choices means he also needs to allow them to pursue their decisions in a fulfilling and satisfactory way. Think along with Richard Garriott at US Gamer!
Concocting a Miracle in a Bottle: The History of The Witcher Games Series
It’s no secret that we here at VALUE love The Witcher, but can you blame us? The games are just…so…good! If you, like us, want to know as much as you can about the entire development process behind these incredible games you should definitely watch this documentary. It’s in Polish, but luckily there’s also English subtitles!
BOGEY ON YOUR SIX!
…and your twelve! And your 3 minutes past half 2! Oh, and your propellor just caught fire, the bombing bay is jammed, the hydraulics are leaking, so is the tailgunner, and the tea’s cold. Crewing a bomber in WW2 was hell packed in a nice cramped tube thousands of kilometers up in the air with added fighter planes and AA flak sprinkled on top. Before the allies managed to seize control for air, bombers were dropping like very heavy and flammable flies. Gamewise, only FTL: Faster Than Light came close to the hectic chaos of running a crew through dangerous territory. But now there’s Bomber Crew: don’t let the cute art fool you because it’s hectic, intense, and brutal.
Read PCgamesN’s review and decide if you’ve got what it takes to command a Lancaster.
Sailing the Ancient Seas
At the outer edge of the Thracian sea, just before Ancient Greeks would enter the Black Sea, there’s an island called Samothrace. According to legend, a cult would uphold rites and traditions in order to assure safe travels across the sea.
A team at Emory University has collected all the literary resources they could find about the Samothracian legend, and created a game in order to present their findings to the greater audience. Thus Samothrace Mariner was launched (from port…because it’s a nautical game, and… nevermind). Because this history is so intertwined with Greek mythology, and the island appeared in the epic of Jason and the Argonauts, they decided to incorporate Jason’s story.
The game’s been released a year ago, but it’s still receiving updates. So board a ship, pay respect to the gods, and hope Poseidon’s not being cranky today.
Head on over to the project page for more information and to download the game!
How Not To Portray the Holocaust
Yup, the Holocaust (and Nazi’s, too) aren’t handled… elegantly in video games. Of course, one of the most horrific parts of human history isn’t easy to represent and handle in a way to does justice to all its victims. But there’s always ways to improve. PCgamesN published a long, complicated, but important article on the history of the representation of Nazi’s and the Holocaust in video games and why it’s important not to ignore these subjects in video games. From Castle Wolfenstein to This War of Mine, this article covers it all.
Visit PCgamesN to discover how we can better represent these horrors in our video games.
Final Fantasy Stops Destroying Vacant Houses for a Time
So some MMORPG’s have actual housing where players can rest for the day and inspect their hard-earned loot. In Final Fantasy XIV these houses are not instanced, which means that the actual buildings are owned by a single player. Normally, houses that haven’t been active for 30 days are demolished, allowing other players to settle somewhere. And then hurricanes Harvey and Irma happened. Because a lot of players probably wouldn’t be able to log in on time to prevent their virtual house being demolished, the developer decided to freeze this period for a while. That, and it must be horrible to have your virtual house destroyed because you couldn’t log on in time because your real house was just destroyed.
Good move, Final Fantasy!
Building RPGs Done Easy – Adventures
Ever wanted to create your own RPG, but couldn’t for some reason? Fret not, because the easiest game-building engine (that’s Twine, by the way) has been adapted so you can easily craft your own dungeon crawling adventures, for free! With a bit of reading, anyone can start writing their own stories. “It’s dark, you’re likely to be eaten by a grue”.
Check out Adventures on their website!
Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like Half-Life
So we put Half-Life 2 in your Half-Life 1 so you can Half-Life when you Half-Life. HL2 confirmed! Yeah, you got that right: some modders decided that the best way to mod Half-Life 2 was to try and recreate the entire campaign in the original Half-Life engine.
The results are… Interesting.
And You Thought 7 Ages Was A Long Board Game
Oh boy, where most people draw the line at playing the same game for an entire evening there’s one that takes the cake. After it’s been rotting in a cupboard for years. I’m talking about The Campaign For North Africa, a board game from 1979 in which the players are required to control every little aspect of the theatre of war in WW2. Have fun calculating if you have enough water to cook pasta for your Italian troops!
…I wish I was kidding.
Its designer, board-game developer veteran Richard Berg, was the last man standing of a giant team of war game veterans and decided to finish the project.
Raiding Tombs On The Silver Screen
Yes, people usually think of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft when they think of archaeologists. But lemme assure you, real archaeologists are utterly different from those games and movies. *Ymir, stop shooting that reanimated mummy, I’m writing here! I don’t care what ancient evil you’ve unleashed while you raided its tomb. And you, Caeda, can’t you just for the love of all that’s considered holy for once stop backflipping through the building and solving platform puzzles? Sjeesh…*
There’s a new Tomb Raider movie in the making! Will it be any good? Who knows! There’s a lot of set-pieces based on the 2013 Tomb Raider game which was a darned good game, so there might be hope!
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I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or if these video games are actually that good, but I just can’t get enough of these old video game ads. What I do know, is that Segata Shanshiro is the hero we all need.
Feast your eyes upon the greatest video game ads of all time!
Improve Your Game By Adding Real World Politics
Normally, people use games to escape their day-to-day annoyances, and politics are generally one of the bigger headaches. But one writer argues that adding real world (hitorical) politics and events are actually a good thing. It makes for a more believable world, better moral choices, and it matures the medium, amongst other things. Curious to know how politics can do these things? Read the article on Gamasutra!
Rooting Your Fantasy in Realism
Fantasy worlds give their creator tremendous amounts of liberty: the worlds don’t have to adhere to any real-life rules or events and the creator is in complete control. But before you start writing your fantasy epos, you might want to read on. Writers need restraint, because even if the fantasy world doesn’t adhere to real-life rules, it needs to adhere to its own rules. You can’t have Orcs suddenly sprout wings, for example!
The Literature Culture wrote an article on why new worlds need to adhere to their own laws.
Player Unknown Suddenly Became Widely Known
Everyone’s heard of Player Unknown’s Battleground. It’s the most successfull game on Steam ever, eclipsing games like Valve’s very own Counter-Strike and Dota 2. It’s breaking record after record, and there’s articles everywhere following the game’s every single fart (and update). But what about the game’s designer, the titular Player Unknown? Polygon engaged in an long interview with Brendan Greenes to ask all the questions about his rising stardom.
Dive into the head of Player Unknown to get to know him better!
Saving Video Games From Oblivion – Preserving Old Games
Cartridges rot, cables break, circuits fry, and batteries die. Old video games are stored on media that are starting to break down, potentially dragging rare games into the dark abyss of nothingness and viruses. There’s been quite a few organisations trying to preserve a certain aspect of the huge collection of video games out there, but it’s not enough. If you want to know what is happening, what we stand to lose, and how to start preserving video games you should definitely read this article Kotaku published.
Save the digital world, start with your own collection!
Fallout New Vegas Was Meant to be Even Better!
Fallout: New Vegas is widely considered by many as the best Fallout game out there. That is, by the posers that haven’t played the original two games that are superior in every way!
…Right, sorry about that.
New Vegas was an excellent game that many reminisce about, and most Bethesda RPGs are compared to its complexity and depth. Funny thing is, the plan was that it’d be even more complex and deep with three different playable races and much more.
Read Eurogamer’s interview with Obsidian’s CEO here.
Outside Server Coverage – Gaming Away From Servers
A lot of Overwatch players struggle with climbing up the ranked ladder, but some face even greater challenges during this climb. Gamers who don’t live in one of the regions where Blizzard has servers are forced to deal with nigh-unplayable lag. African gamers start out on an uneven playing field simply because the entire continent doesn’t have a server. Blizzard might be representing Africa with characters and locales in their game, but they don’t actually support the actual African players.
Read Kotaku’s article why African gamers deserve gaming servers.
If you have suggestions/ideas/contributions or just want to say hi, feel free to send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our twitter @value_project