Saturday, August 29, 2009

My World at War

Since JD_2020, a CR guy at Treyarch, did not understood what I have meant in my reply on Twitter, and is too l33t to receive any direct messages, the only venue I have left is here.

The machine gun class in World at War is just like any machine gun class that you'd come to expect in a variety of first-person shooter games. They are big, powerful, and usually heavy. The idea that people have come to expect out of this class and category of weapon is that users will fulfill the role of support fire. These players will aid their fellow players and teammates in providing support to reaching a goal. In many of the FPS games out there, weapons that fall in this category seem to have a bipod attached to the barrel of the gun. Call of Duty 4 and World at War are no different when they are unlocked for use.

However, people are people and they do as they please. They run around carrying a big and heavy machine gun just so they can mow down anyone they come across with. I have seen it before and I have seen that idea backfire on them when they come face to face with a SMG, often the Thompson or the PPSh-41. But you will find players who, like myself, would experiment around and find ways to make these machine guns better tools than just something people use to mow people down while moving. These small number of people are the ones who lay on the ground, sitting still, providing suppression, cover, and support fire for their teammates. I am one of them, as I don't always go run around.

The bipod is a tool for which these players utilize fullest when they are able to use it. At first, being able to go prone and mount the bipod for superior accuracy, at the cost of mobility, is a benefit that players soon realize can greatly be of help for the team. And there are plenty of places to go prone and there are plenty of flat surfaces around many of the stock maps that World at War features today. Being able to use the bipod is an added incentive to work on the marksmanship for that weapon and for that weapon class. It wasn't about trying to find whatever places you can actually mount on. It was more about trying to find the best location to mount for providing the best support fire for your team. Finding that location means finding a place to hide and one that provides decent amount of cover from those who try to shoot you down.

When the decision to disable prone bipod was made, nothing was said. Nothing was mentioned in the changelog. Yet when people inquired about it...

Second, the Bipod cloning glitch could very well cause entity overflow errors on the PC, and provide the same level of Denial of Service attack as it could on a console game. Considering that this game is cross-platform, the solutions that the get worked into the console with regards to this are the same the PC got - and presently that solution is to disable the Bipods entirely.

Just because nobody posted a video of it occurring on the PC doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Granted the controls are different, and it would be difficult to get the proper directionality with the keyboard that you could with the controller to pull off the glitch, however, it could be done.
It's documented that, on the console versions specifically, it can happen. But you only assume based on the thinking that since it uses the same codebase that it's possible regardless. However, you (JD) said it yourself that the controls are different and it'd be difficult to pull off. Thus if it was difficult to pull off, tacked on with the fact that the majority of people play with a keyboard and mouse, shouldn't it occur to you that it may not be practical in the end?

Ask yourself this: what is the goal of a glitcher? Usually the answer to this is to ruin other people's fun. If this is the case, what good is a glitch that may take more time than necessary to pull off? Would it be practical to the glitching player to spend all that time just to do that one single thing?

Also, people play on dedicated servers. These dedicated servers are run by the people. These same people are the ones who manage and govern the servers for others to play on. They set the rules and they set the guidelines. They are the ones to weed out unruly players and the morons who try to exploit a glitch. When Downfall and Castle had map glitches that enable some players to get under the map, all it takes is one single admin to kick and/or ban those players from the server. Why can't the people do the same for any idiot who may very well try to exploit this? This isn't the console platform where we need to be babied on whether or not we should have tanks. The server operators and admins are the ones who set the parameters of how the server should run.

That argument of intentionally disabling the prone bipod is getting old. I cannot accept your so-called solution just to prevent a bug that may or may not even exist in the first place. The PC platform should not be given the same treatment that consoles get. And there are better ways to resolve an issue that may grow into a problem. The PC players would not have wanted a feature like this to be removed. Yet you removed it anyway.

Treyarch should take a long and hard look at the MG class as a whole. The weapons may be fine but the attachment unlocks are pretty much junk now. What good is getting 25 kills if the unlock you receive is nothing more than a useless piece of metal hanging off the barrel of the gun? What good is a MG if you cannot utilize the bipod the way it was meant to be used? Disabling prone bipod effectively makes the entire MG class of weapons the only category which have absolutely nothing to work for. The rifles, SMG, shotguns, and bolt-action rifles all have something worthwhile to get. There's Aperture Sights, extra ammo, telescopic sights, flash hider/suppressor, rifle grenades, sniper scope, and bayonet. All of them can be used freely wherever the player can use it. Yet why is the MG class the only one that have virtually nothing to use? Oh sure, the Type-99 machine gun also has a bayonet and the FG-42 has the telescopic sight. But what about the rest? And who actively uses a bayonet on a MG anyway?!

I have never seen a weapon class so much in shambles. It sickens me to see that the machine guns are crippled beyond belief when they cannot be mounted up in using the only unlock attachment that makes the weapon class worthwhile to use.

Can you feel my frustration in this, JD? It's one thing when you tweak a weapon. But when you effectively remove a feature altogether, you better come up with something to replace it. I have been waiting for several months for a viable solution that would revitalize the MG class so that it is worthwhile to use again.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sword Impulse Gundam

Perhaps the most intricate and delicate hobbies out there are those who assemble and build model kits. Model kits come in mostly plastics, requires assembly, and is unpainted. Most model kits are designed so that you need additional tools and materials in order to finish it. Bandai, owner of the Gundam franchise, manufactures all sorts of model kits for the Gundam franchise. And you'll find that there are a lot of them to go around. Some of those model kits were released locally in America. But a lot of the big and fancier ones never made it out here.

I always liked that Gundam model kits are unique in its own way, in that they don't require painting and they don't require cementing in order to complete. Granted, there are several parts here and there that probably would hold better with cement. But the kit itself are designed so that they can hold their own for the time being. At least, that's the original idea.

One of the model kits have been continuously sold out and backordered. The design is very attractive and looks to be interesting to assemble and handle. But there's a slight problem. The kit is often out of stock and backordered. Also is the fact that I have not touched model kits in years. The last Gundam model kit that I have didn't exactly turn out well, due to the design being before what they are today. Since then, I have not touched any model kits. I do find that model kits back then were not for those who does not have much experience or have any patience. In order to fully bring out the beauty of the model kits, one has to care for them greatly and have all the right tools and materials needed to finish it, one piece at a time.

After waiting for 2 weeks longer than the usual delivery time for the model kit to arrive, I looked over the parts attached to the sprue tree and the assembly booklet. At first, it looks overwhelming as there are many parts and pieces to deal with. But I cannot assemble the kit just yet. I needed the tools to cleanly cut the pieces off. Each assembly session lasted 3 to 5 hours, with a bit of break in between. But after 5 days, and many minutes spent grinding away the excess plastics, the kit is 95% completed. The rest are accessories, effect parts, and other equipment parts. And so far, the model looks amazing. Granted, some areas do need some cover up in order to hide the plastic discoloring due to grinding and cutting. But overall, the model looks good and satisfactory.

Perhaps the only thing that I will regret in the future is that I did not have the paint and tools needed to make the model more detailed. But perhaps this is one aspect of my abilities that is not suited for assembling models. At the very least, this is something I can at least do and finish. And unlike the previous attempt, the result is much better than before, as I have placed much more effort and put in more dedication to this.

I do not know if there will be more Gundam kits to assemble. That really depends on whether or not I find another one as fancy, nice looking, and superbly designed as this one. I do know, however, that if there is a next time, I may have more tools and materials on hand to be ready for the next level and stage.