Gaming 101

Welcome to the Metagame

2011-04-25 by Macha. 0 comments

On the surface, the Pokémon games are deceptively simple – catch some Pokémon, level them up, fight eight gyms, fight the Elite Four, win. For the main story, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Ok, there are a few exceptions – no amount of work is going to make a Farfetch’d a dangerous Pokemon that’s usable throughout the story. But for the most part, probably because Nintendo are aware that kids play these games, the story is pretty hard to screw up in.

And then you go to the Battle Tower or you play a random wifi match after clearing the Elite Four, and your team that decimated everything gets wiped away as if it wasn’t even there. Hmm. The rules of the story, where everything is fine, and even something rubbish can be improved by just adding ten levels no longer apply there. So how do you improve here? And that is where the metagame comes in.

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Mod my Minecraft!

2011-03-31 by Lucas McCoy. 1 comments

 

Do you love Minecraft? Do you want to take it to the next level? Well that’s where Mods come in. A Mod is when someone adds functionality to Minecraft that wasn’t originally there. Take for example the Mo’ Creatures Mod: it adds all types of new mobs to Minecraft (including Unicorns)! Sound cool? Then how about we get started installing this mod!

What you’ll need:

  1. The Gui API – This allows the mod to add buttons to the settings area of Minecraft.
  2. Risugami’s ModLoader – This makes it easier for the person who made to mod to keep it up to date.
  3. Rosigai’s AudioMod – This adds custom sounds (which will need for the new animals).
  4. Mo’ Creatures – This adds the new mobs (including Foxes, Horses, and new evil mobs).
  5. TFC’s ModManager* – This makes installing the mods much easier.

*TFC’s ModManager isn’t required, but if you’re not comfortable directly editing a .jar file, then I highly recommend you use it. If you would like to do it manually, you can use 7-zip or WinRar to copy the new files into the Minecraft.jar.

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I did a Bad Bad Thing.

2010-09-17 by tzenes. 0 comments

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0U8FeWe-L0

Let me start by saying I am not a “pro-caster.”  I don’t cast professional Starcraft matches and I am not qualified to.  To be a good pro-caster, you need to have a good feel for what it is people want to see, know what’s going on, and to do it in real time.  When you see Tasteless on GomTV, or Day9 run the King of the Beta, you know instantly these guys could be sportscasters for baseball just as easily as Starcraft.  They know what’s going on and how to bring that to the audience.  One of the things that has irked me about the release of Starcraft 2 is the number of people springing up to claim to be “pro-casters,” when they really don’t have the experience or skills to pull it off.

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Rankings

2010-09-03 by tzenes. 0 comments

And knowing is half the battle

There has been a lot of discussion on the topic of Starcraft 2 rankings recently, and I thought we might take this time to sit down and have a chat about them. At their core, rankings seek to address the eternal questions of “Who am I?” and “Am I a man?” and more frequently, “How can I prove that I’m a better person than my friend Bob?”

Throughout the ages, man sought to prove his dominance over his fellow man. This was instinctual ever since we first left the trees for African plains. However, early man lacked the comforts of Battle.net 2.0. Instead, he was forced to resort to cave paintings, local competitions and iCCup. In these days, ranking was not something that happened between you and your 99 friends, but rather a letter grade which was bestowed upon you like a tardy student at the end of 2nd year English.

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The Magic Box

2010-08-31 by tzenes. 0 comments

Pandora's BoxRight now, the Magic Box is one of the most interesting things happening in Starcraft 2 game play (5 rax reapers is less interesting based on its straight forward usage).  At its core is the idea that “Hard Counters” don’t really exist in Starcraft 2 and that, rather, how you use your units is more important than what they are.  Those people familiar with using Speedlings against Hellions or Tanks against Marauders have already encountered this strange Phenomenon.

To help you understand this, it’s probably best if I start by explaining what a “Hard Counter” is.  The concept of a counter unit is very much based in the children’s game Rock-Paper-Scissors.  For those unaware of the game, children simultaneously choose one of the three titular elements, each of which wins against another element while losing against the other differing element (same elements are considered draws).   A first glance at Starcraft seems to indicate a similar trend: Hellions do extra damage to light units (which Zerglings are) and can be upgraded even further in this capacity; by comparison Zerglings do not do extra damage to Hellions and, further more, clump up causing them to take additional damage from the Hellions’ AoE .  This would imply to the layperson that an army of Zerglings will lose to an army of Hellions.  Strangely enough, you’ll see many Zerg players actually employ Speedlings (speed upgraded Zerglings) in defense against Hellions.  While this may seem counter intuitive, if the Speedlings can surround the Hellion (thus preventing escape) they are very effective at killing it.

As Day9 might say, “[Hard Counters] deeply bother me.”

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Macro vs Micro

2010-08-26 by tzenes. 1 comments

Still one of my favorite images

In Real Time Strategy games, and to some extent turn based ones too, there are these two concepts of Macro and Micro.  Macro here refers to the economic theory of resource distribution, and Micro to micromanagement of units. Despite what many people will tell you (and the above image suggests) these are not two sides to the same coin; they are radically different concepts that make up the heart and soul of an RTS game.

While these concepts really apply to any RTS game, most of this discussion is going to be in reference to Starcraft 2 as that is where I have the most familiarity.

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