Who has Nintendo 3DS ?

Edited !! 

Okay, Silly me … 
i was overwhelmed with all of Super Mario Games when i went to buy a PS3 today. i already have a DSi and was planning to get myself a Mario game, but just realized that i bought Super Mario 3D Land .. HOW COULD I MISREAD THE 3D PART !! 
i’ll check if one of my friends have it  (3DS), i’ll give her the game
if no one does, i’ll send it off to someone who does  …  

Forced

A great example of a coop game done right. Forced is the kind of game that I’ve been looking for since Four Swords Adventures.

It manages to pull off a level of cooperative gameplay that is sorely lacking in many similar games, like Magicka or Castle Crasher. Let’s talk about why.

The most obvious aspect is that every player has a unique character, with different abilities, that make them well suited to certain roles in the game’s combat. However, a lot of games do that, what makes Forced unique?

The Spirit Mentor

Throughout the game the players are accompanied by their “Spirit Mentor”, Balfus. A glowing sphere that drives the plot and provides hints, but is also the integral in how Forced constructs it’s cooperative gameplay.

Balfus has unique abilities that you must use in order to complete each challenge. However, he is a shared resource amongst the players. You must work together to tactically position and use Balfus if you are to overcome the game’s obstacles.

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Balfus, the Spirit Mentor. [source]

There are two major ways in which the game makes players manage Balfus. These two mechanics split the game into two types of levels, Arenas, and Exploration levels.

In an Arena level you are usually pitted against waves of enemies, alongside another goal. There are numerous shrines and other map objectives levels that Balfus can activate. In addition an individual player will often need the spirit mentor to come to him in order to recover from an attack, or be in the right position for a revive (When players die, they can revive on Balfus’ position about 30 seconds).

These competing demands create a situation where players need to decide which map objectives they need to hit. Since there is only one spirit mentor, if you don’t cooperate you won’t end up hitting any. Perhaps a healing shrine to keep the team alive, or a shockwave shrine to drive back the enemies. But you need to destroy spawners too, keep the fog back, and save your stunned ally.

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The spirit mentor, empowered by an explosive shrine. [source]

Since Balfus almost always moves faster than the players, you will to work together to position yourselves so that he can be relayed from one side of the map to the other. Players have to trigger all these various elements of the map, while simultaneously fighting off hordes of enemies.

This is helped a lot by the fact that the game is genuinely challenging. You must make use of the shrines, and you must relay Balfus between players to succeed on the harder levels.

In Exploration levels, management of Balfus is all about his positioning. Many levels require the team to remain close to Balfus - while still fighting and solving puzzles. Requiring the players to manage his position carefully so that they can reach everywhere they need to.

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In this level, players who stray from the white circle around Balfus rapidly lose health. [source]

At other times you’ll need to move him into position to trigger shrines, and get around obstacles that Balfus can’t or shouldn’t move through.

Each player can call Balfus to them by pressing the space bar at any time. This is use by design to allow players to move Balfus through areas that they cannot reach, by pulling him back and forth so that he travels down the path without hitting undesirable locations.

Often time pressure is applied, which like in the Arena mode, requires that players relay him back and forth across the map to save time.

Some of the more challenging levels combine these two approaches. Needing you to move Balfus to hit objectives, while simultaneously constraining you to remain close to him.

This idea of a shared resource is a powerful tool for coop play. What makes Forced shine though, is that it applies enough challenge to make that sharing constraint meaningful.

Forced Website

Captain Forever

It takes the Cell stage from Spore, or the entire game of Flow and Osmos, and brings their gameplay to a whole new level. Captain Forever is a more complete game, in a way that others of the genre simply aren’t, though they share the same general flow and goal.

The basic premise of these games is that you are a small entity in a vast open space. There are much larger entities out there, and you want to become the biggest dog around. You must move around the space and consume smaller entities to grow your own size and strength. Usually the challenge of such games is the mechanism of controlling your entity.

Flow is an enjoyable, and engaging game in it’s own right, but if there is one key thing it is missing, it’s strategy. There’s simply one way to go about playing, eat smaller things, avoid larger things.

This article will focus on how Captain Forever brings strategy to the genre.

Strategy in Ship Construction

In this game, unlike similar games, you are no a homogenous entity. Instead you are constructed of a small square core, with bulkheads, guns, and engines extending your core ship.

Components can be detached and attached - so long as they are not already connected to another ship - at any time.

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You start the game with a handful of loose components from which to construct your ship.

Any component can be attached to an existing bulkhead, or your core. How you position these components, forms the basis of your strategy.

Captain Forever uses a relative control system, where the left and right buttons will turn your ship, and the front and back buttons will accelerate or reverse. Engines that are attached to your ship will only help you if you are moving or turning in the opposite direction they are facing.

Engine symmetry is key, unless you think you can handle lopsided acceleration.

All your guns fire when you press the space bar, but they fire in whatever direction they are pointing. If you attach guns to your rear, you can use them to cover and escape, while if they are attached to the side it is easier to strafe enemy ships.

Each component you add, particularly bulkheads will increase the mass of your ship, requiring more engines to move at higher speeds.

Between these three component types, there is a great deal of strategy to be had in how you construct your ship.

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Assemble your ship quickly, or you might find yourself in a trick situation. [source]

Strategy in Combat

In Captain Forever, you grow your strength by taking components off of your fallen enemies. This, coupled with how guns work, can lead to some interesting situations in combat.

A ship’s life is it’s red core. Only once you have destroyed that, maybe you claim it’s components as your own. However, a ship’s core is surrounded by various components. Components that you may want for your ship.

Meanwhile, engines and guns often break with a single hit taken. While your broadsides might cripple and enemy, you could severely hamper your spoils.

This leads to interesting gameplay, in which you must to balance your need to gain new and better components, with the threat that your enemy poses. Do you have the skill and maneuverability to drill down to the enemy’s core.

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Good luck getting much out of this fight.

Another area where this game significantly improve the combat over games like Osmos, is in how guns work.

Every gun will fire in a straight line from where it is positioned, this creates natural blind spots in each ship’s defences.

To succeed in combat one must both position themselves for an attack, while ducking into your opponent’s blind spot.

The validity of this challenge, is aided by the fact that you cannot move sideway. Typically you can’t keep your guns pointing the enemy, while simultaneously avoiding their line of fire.

By making your entity modular, Captain Forever is able to introduce a lot of strategy into what is otherwise a very straight forward category of games.

Hopefully this example can inspire us in how we approach other casual mini-genres, and how to bring them into a more complex game experience.

You can play the game online in your browser, take a look for yourself.

Captain Forever Website

Role of ITCs in marketing online

Facing the storm development of information technology (IT), Vietnam is increasingly interested in investment as well as the determination to promote IT applications in all aspects of economic life - the socio-political.
According to the report on the application of IT in 2011 of the United Nations, Vietnam has made new progress with rank 83/190 - an increase of seven spots from the previous results. This is considered a positive sign for the industry, the field of work related to the current technology in Vietnam. In particular, a field was born in the era of technology such as online advertising, IT is “assistant” effectively help industry make huge profits and compete with television.
 
 IT creates dominance for online advertising
From the name of the online advertising (online advertising) showed: internet use and ICT elements, even determine the “existence” of this form of advertising. Thanks to IT, online advertising speedy development and the application of IT has created the outstanding advantages of online advertising.
 
Currently, regardless of profession, the field enhanced factor fast - compact - efficiency and application technology is the optimal solution for these requirements. Thanks to regular updates of modern technology, advertising vendors can easily optimize the cost (in terms of long-term), and strong acceleration time. At the same time, updating and application of new technology enhances interactivity and control business performance, especially in applications in assessment, measurement and analysis.
On the other hand, online advertising can make the breakthrough when closely associated with electronic commerce (e-commerce) and the form of payment online. Of course, like to have this relationship - indispensable IT applications.
In addition, make use of IT as a stepping stone to online advertising easy pace with the trend, needs, tastes and habits of consumers as well as businesses. Specific evidence is the proliferation of electronic products or new applications of IT platforms: smartphones, tablets, social networking … have created conditions for online advertising to diversify, expand the scale and impact objects quickly and strongly. In fact, the trend of new technology always attract attention and create a lot of movement in modern life. According to the latest synthetic of TGB, had 326 billion banner appeared on Facebook, spread over 205 countries with 70% of advertising is the emergence of the financial sector, retail, gaming and entertainment. This suggests that online advertisers are smart seize this opportunity to make a profit.
Leveraging IT - online ad effectiveness
With what IT has brought and continues to improve, for sure, no one can deny the role of ICT in promoting development process. As said Vu Manh Loi, Deputy Director of the Institute of Sociology, said: today, the goal of “strong domestic IT” was replaced by “a strong country through IT”. Again, we need to affirm, promote IT applications are essential and really effective not only at the macro level. Similarly, businesses also need to equip certain IT knowledge, which are aware of the advantages of online advertising and how to use flexibility and efficiency.
However, due to the subjective (perceived) or objective (capital, labor, management, etc.) that the majority of Vietnamese enterprises dare not “aggressive” investment in IT or do not know how the efficient investment in online advertising. Therefore, if you do not want to miss the lucrative pie, our business, rather than the one who comes after, need to quickly identify strategies to become the pioneer in its field of operation.
 
Not to mention many business efforts to invest in IT, but not properly, and finally pity accept losses. Nor less advertising provider, the application of modern technology, the occurrence of phase compared to the cultural habits and use of English.

Currently, appears next to the “giant” online advertising is Google, Vietnamese market also recorded a number of representatives. However, in terms of IT applications, seems Admicro are gain the upper hand. By investing in IT, in fact, this supplier has “interest” to constantly improve products, CPC, CPC Plus and tai game mien phi to CPM Mass or CPM to 7000 … Besides, Admicro has many advantages in combination with e-commerce sites and online payment gateway under VC Corp.
 
On the other hand, in an active market and fierce competition today, IT is the factors that make the difference, even identity for the business. Can say, hurry ahead to anticipate technological trends is one of the core objectives help online advertising providers survive on this land. So, the advice given is: the application of modern technology but to ensure the pure English of advertising is one of the leading standards. In addition, enterprises can flexibly combine the forms and means: from online advertising to print, radio or television to convey the right message and hit the target.

Alpha Protocol

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This is a game, that made a number of great decisions in terms of it’s design, but ultimately failed in the gameplay execution.

It’s game which received a very mixed reception. Comments I read complained of numerous technical issues, a flawed combat system, sketchy stealth mechanics, and poor NPC AI. The last two being particularly troublesome for a game that calls itself a “modern-day spy RPG.”

In spite of that, the execution of it’s plot and characters received a lot of praise, and ultimately that is the basis on which I played it. I was not disappointed.

Non-Linear Plot

The basic structure of the game’s plot is broken down in a fairly classic RPG style, which is common in a lot of BioWare RPGs, such as Mass Effect 1, Dragon Age: Origins, and the Knights of the Old Republic games.

There are essentially 5 major chunks to the game. One prologue, one finale, and three separate zones that are opened simultaneously in the second act of the game. In Mass Effect 1, these middle missions are Rescuing Liara, Noveria, and Feros. In Dragon Age: Origins, they are Orzammar, The Dailish, Redcliffe, and the Circle. Similarly, in Alpha Protocol, after the major events at the end of act one, you are given a choice to go to Rome, Taipei, or Moscow.

In other game, these zones are entirely separated in the plot, the order that you deal with each one does not matter - with the occasional exception, such as being able to enlist aid for Arl Eamon in Dragon Age, if you’ve completed the Circle - and the outcome of one is irrelevant to the others.

Where Alpha Protocol differs, is how it seamlessly weaves your previous actions from each mission into your interactions in the next. A certain conclusion to the Rome mission will earn you points with the antagonist’s rival, when you go to Russia. Allying with a particular organization in Moscow, will have repercussions when you break into their base in Taipei. And similarly as you complete each mission you will uncover intel on important characters that will benefit you if or when you confront them later.

This strong focus on a non-linear plot is the greatest strength of Alpha Protocol. Each choice affects future choices, and the dispositions of the various characters, forming a tree of branching decisions greater than that of Mass Effect, or other games that are often lauded for the power of choice they put in the player’s hands.

Dossiers

The aspects of this game’s design that truly intrigue me though, are the several ways in which is maps logical story elements to gameplay changes. The first is Dossiers.

Every character and organization that you encounter throughout the game has a dossier with information on that entity. When you first encounter them, there will be a short paragraph outlining who they are.

As you advance through the game you come across additional information, through contacts or information uncovered during missions that will expand this dossier.

Far from the codexes that you will find in many other games - that solely provide flavour to the setting - the dossiers in Alpha Protocol are often extremely useful in your encounters with those characters. Secrets can be brought in as leverage, or reveal crucial details about the plot. Details on a character’s personality can be used to manipulate them, to improve their disposition towards you.

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A partially complete dossier on Hong Shi, a taiwanese triad leader. [source]

The usefulness of dossiers is not limited to dialogue however. Most dossiers will go into detail about the fighting style of the subject - especially useful if the dossier details an organization.

These elements of the game’s design, do a great deal to reinforce the idea that you are playing a Spy.

Perks

The perks system that Alpha Protocol employs is in some ways similar to achievements that you see in other games, but it is utilized in the game’s design. Perks are awarded for a variety of reasons including: completing dossiers, specific plot choices, or simple tallies - like hacking 10 computer systems.

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Sparing this arms dealer provides a much needed discount on equipment in Saudi Arabia [source]

This system gives immediate rewards to players for their story choices - a favour to a particular organization might earn you a discount on intel from them - but also serves as a meaningful form of progression. Playing in certain ways will often reward you with perks that give you bonuses in those same areas.

Alpha Protocol excels in rewarding players for their choices, in terms of both story and combat. If there’s anything to be learned here, it’s the marvellous way in which the perks and dossier system support the game, rather that being purely token rewards.

Alpha Protocol on Steam

For some further reading on player agency in story telling, I recommend this article on Beyond: Two Souls.

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