Haven Editorial: My first three days at Lobotomy Corporation

Lobotomy Corporation values our employees in our growing conquest for energy at any cost. By utilizing the things that goes bump in the night, we will improve quality of life. As our number one employee we value your contribution to the corporation. And accidents hardly ever happens. In fact no one has died in the last month.

At Lobotomy Corporation they put me in charge of running/ ruining day to day operations. By making our energy providing subjects happy through regular interaction and taking care of random interrupting interlopers. Every abnormality in our care has special wants and needs, which I have to cater to. By assigning valued employees to the various facilities in our complex. Which is conveniently hidden from the prying eyes of the people below the crust.

Day 1
The lovely looking AI assistant briefed me on the various responsibilities that comes with the job. Such as assigning my handpicked team of trained professional to a containment chamber. I decided the snazzy Loki should have the honor of getting to know the odd floating as crucifix impaled skull, which wear a thorny red crown. As employee of the week entered the room a slow and revealing conversation took place. It’s much like watching a person confess sins in to as priest. All in all a very nice experience, which led to a better mental state overall and no lost limbs.

Day 2
After being pestered by the white haired AI for a while, I had the honor of picking yet another abnormality. In this case I went for an odd collection of small folks with colorful wings, friendly smiles and roughly humanoid bodies. They seemed to be pleasant enough company. Carlos handled himself like a pro and he looked very content as faeries surrounded him, healing a recent kitchen injury. With the job done, I decided to send him into the chamber with the floating skull. When he got engulfed in a bright green light the fey suddenly surrounded the poor sod and killed him on the spot. Before his body had a chance to hit the floor he was back in the fairy chamber, where they wasted no time consuming his body. Fortunately dealing with the fey folks require no skills what so ever and they never ever escape from containment.

Day 3
The AI came to me with words of wisdom and reprimanded me for the unfortunate loss of life. I just ignored her ramblings and wrote a healthful letter to his family. My people stuck at their job and have virtually no skills and the life expectancy of a boiled lobster.
It became painfully obviously, as I sent him into the containment chamber of my newest acquisition. After the first session everything went well, I acquire a great deal of information and he came out alive. The creature itself, if one could call it that. Somehow it was partially hidden within the solid steel floor. The most striking feature is the fleshy glowing lantern protruding from its lumpy body and two rows of sharp jagged teeth. Due to its similarities to a bottom dwelling fish, we dubbed it the meat lantern. The second session went very bad, as the poor sod seeing the creature was instantly devoured. In hindsight, I should have foreseen this outcome. But I had to deal with a containment breach first, before I could rectify my mistake. Since the meat lantern decided to escaped and hide within the corridor floor. Gleefully chomping down anyone walking by. Which highlighted another issue with the base personnel, they’re blind as a bat and fail to see the obvious lumpy lantern which just led a coworker into its gaping jaws. Due to the ineptitude of my employees, they all died and had to resort to the all mighty Lobotomy corporation restart and rewind button.

I do not like the meat lantern much.

Njål Sand

PHYSICS! Why Unreal and Unity sucks

Physics!

Physical properties given to objects in the world the player and NPC’s intact with. Such as gravity, a force of nature that causes things to fall towards the ground. Our the ever present rag doll, the one where a corpse mysteriously turn into a boneless sea sponge. Which flop around the place when touched by any object with a hit box. Be, it bullets, people, explosions or a flying pebble. Non the less, the biggest offender is the one where I have to intact with boxes of any kind, especially in a first person game. The stock physics of a any 3D engine does bad things to stack-able objects.

Half-Life practically made movable 3d boxes a main stay in modern games. Especially the second installment of the series, which introduced the gravity gun. A weapon that picks up small things which I can fling in the face of danger. Such as saw blades and exploding barrels.

Anyhow, Half-Life 2 is built around the idea of a uniform physics engine, which calculate how anything not nailed down interact. Once I start flinging exploding canisters around, the Source engine calculates how nearby objects react to impact. The good thing though is that stacking objects is a fairly decent affair, I seldom have to deal with. Unlike a game such as Prey (The new one).

Where various upgrades allow me to move and throw almost any inanimate object I can get my grubby hands on. A real can of worms. Especially when throwing a heavy create hurts enemies hard, with a solid TWACK! That’s until I accidentally touch anything solid and instantly drops the thing I’m holding. God forbid I have to move a create out of a hallway. Putting a box upon a box, then jump on to said boxes to reach a ledge sounds easy right? Think again, I can’t count the frustration involved when two or more movable objects interact. It usually ends up with the things getting seizure. Not to mention how hard it is to aim a suitcase at an enemy. However the worst offender I’ve played recently is Hello Neighbor.

A game that’s in theory awesome as all heck. Where towers of crates can be stacked to reach new heights. Until i realize that cardboard boxes have virtually no structural integrity and is way to light. At lest they won’t spasm out like trashcans. It’s simply very hard to leave place one box onto another, without making a wobbly nightmare tower. I’ve also been knocked out by the physics engine, when it decided to rebound a box into my face. There is also a terrible sequence at a spooky mall, where five things go into the cart. I solved this by jumping onto the shopping cart and then dropping the items into it.

The Deus Ex series did the sensible thing at gave most objects a solid mass with some actual weight behind them. Essentially any box i place on a surface will stay that way. Even if I touch a corner.

Essentially I really loath the basic physics engine in both the Unreal engine and in Unity. Seriously do more hard coding instead of relying on a numerical value provided by the software. Especially when said game is built around such physics

Njål Sand

Haven Editorial: Fishy Game Fishing

There is something fishy about fishing fish in games. I have done it, you have done it. We as gamer’s have all been exposed to it at some point. I’ve tried a lot of games in my time and these pesky reward riddled mini games shows up all over the map. That being said, let’s take a closer look at some of these and see how various developers handled it and if the price was worth it.

Stardew Valley has a fairly decent and robust one. Which is also annoying as all hell. A town fellow hands you his old bamboo rod and leave the rest up to you. Equip some bait, apply force and throw the line into water. Wait for a bite and start reeling in, by tapping the button just fast enough to keep that fish inside the slider. Every now and then extra treasure appears as well. Yes it is definitely worth it.

Final Fantasy 15 and the boy band road trip also features one. Because why not flesh out Noctis skill set with something useful. Equip a rod, put on an alluring lure and make sure the fishing line has durability left. It’s one of those where the lure will be lost when the line snaps. Once the proper preparations has been completed, all I have to do is to aim at some fish silhouettes and let it go. Press the key a couple of times until one of the little buggers bite. Getting it to shore is then all about moving my rod in the same direction as the fish, whilst reeling in and reap the rewards of a new recipe.

The one in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time is my favorite one and no other game on this list comes close to that. Even if it resembles the one in Final Fantasy. Some desperate dude has a shop in the middle of Hyrule with Link as his only customer. I just have to pay the price, run around the place and pick a spot. Make some movement with the rod to attract a fish. Reel it in and move the stick a little to the left, to the right and backwards. Combined with a very dramatic camera made for quite an experience. Then turn in the biggest runt for a piece of heart. Or just find that hidden lure and go for that unique and very hard to get fish, which randomly appears. Only to get some extra dialogue for the trouble. Hylian Loach I believe its called.

Breath of fire 2 did it in a very annoying way, I dare say. I throw the line in and press a while hoping one of the fish is close enough to see  it and then bite. The problem is that I suffer from a limited amount of times I can press the key. Especially tricky with a treasure chest, since it will sink, resulting in a precise button timing challenge.

Pokemon has always been very simple in the approach. I place myself next to the water, hit a and wait for an exclamation mark before I click again. At lest you’ll never get a worm waterlogged boot on the hook.

World of Warcraft does it much the same way, but I have to actually click on the lure when things bite. Such as highly aggressive wagon wheels.

Meanwhile Black Desert made it into a directional key input challenge when I reacted to the prompt. Or I could just ignore it completely and let the game do the job for me, when I logged out. Yes almost every skill in the game can be set to afk farming.

All I’m saying is that some games does it well, whilst other botch up the mechanics and make the mini game boring.
That’s just several existing examples I can recall. Since I don’t play fishing simulators.

A safe haven for anyone and everyone.