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As a parent of a young one who is starting to game, I have a lot to watch out for. There are ESRB ratings, online interaction and of course, the games themselves. On the other hand, if my oldest truly enjoys gaming, then I am not going to keep him from having a new hobby. When behavior is good and grades are good, moderated gaming is perfectly fine. The other side to it is that gaming can be educational and fun. A parent just needs to know how to make that happen.

 

Your Own Education is the First Step

An educational game like a LeapFrog game is wonderful for younger children. For a pre-teen, an educational game probably isn’t going to keep their attention. They will want to play the more popular titles that are available.

Every title has an ESRB rating. Those ratings are there for a reason. They tell you what age group the game is appropriate for. If a game is eated “T”, I need to take a look at it first and play through it. If a game is rated “M”, it’s not happening until he’s older.

MMORPGs and online titles like Minecraft are iffy. It is up to you to monitor their chat and who they talk to. Anyone in the world could be talking to your kid in those games. A parent needs to learn how to use parental controls, a chat filter and how to supervise online interaction. In my opinion, if you can’t do this, then your kid should not be playing these games.

 

Start with Reading

making games educational rift

Reading to and with your children is so important. They will learn more about reading with you than they will learn in school. Reading books you choose together is also some good family time. Games can also be a reading tool.

Most games require reading. One has to read abilities, quests, information, item information… I could keep going! With my young one, I keep him occupied by asking him to read something to me. If he can’t figure out a word, I get up and go to his screen. We sit there and break the word down until he’s able to sound it out.

After that, I move onto some reading comprehension. If we are playing an MMO like RIFT together, I will ask him “Hey, what did that quest say again? Can you tell me what we need to do?” This keeps it part of the game and engaging, but requires him to recall what he read. If he can’t recall it, I’ll ask him if he can check the quest again.

 

Move on to Math

making games educational minecraft

Almost every game a kid can play will require math. For my young one, it’s Minecraft and some MMOs. An auction house is a great place to start for some basic math. I don’t ask him to solve complicated problems, but I will use it to drill him on some basic math.

If he puts an item up on an auction house, I’ll ask him how much it goes for and create a quick problem in my head for him to solve. In Minecraft, we will be working on a build and I’ll ask him how many more blocks of an item I need.

Minecraft has a great way to create some math problems without the kid knowing what you are doing. I will start building a house or a project and lay out my blocks, but only half of them. I call him over and ask him “What other block should we use? How many do we need?” Or, I will put one too many blocks or layers in and ask him “How many do I need to remove?”

 

Problem Solving and Creativity is Always Present

making games educational rift dimension

In RIFT, my young one could spend all day building a dimension. RIFT‘s housing system is very robust. It requires a lot of thought to build a good dimension. When he’s in his dimension building away, I might leave and go quest, but I always keep myself available.

I’ll often pop back in and check on progress. If he’s having an issue, I’ll encourage him to solve it on his own. What’s going on here? How do you think you can fix this problem? What else might fix it? If he’s “stuck” then I’ll help with suggestions. Sometimes, I’m stuck too! I think it’s OK to admit that and call in some outside help from a friend.

When we play World of Warcraft together, he sometimes gets “lost” on a quest. Again, I make sure to ask him to read and recall what he’s read. If he’s still a bit lost, I bring up questions to help him remember. I try my best to leave the problem solving to him.

Every single game we play together encourages some creativity. In RIFT, it’s his dimension build. The two of us decided last December to build a dimension based on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. It took us months to finish the build, but we created our little slice of “Whoville” after the Grinch was “happy again”.

Minecraft adds a huge element of creativity. Even though I try to keep the educational elements going, sometimes I just tell him to go build. It’s amazing what he comes up with in Minecraft.

Games can be educational, but they are also fun. And that’s the main point of playing a game with your kid. Make sure you are educated and that it’s always fun and encourages creativity. If you can manage that, the educational aspect will come along easy.

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minecraftcreeper

Although the rumor has been swirling around on the internet for the last week or two, Microsoft confirmed on Monday that they would be purchasing Mojang. The Swedish developer is best known for creating the immensely popular world-building game Minecraft. After its purchase, Mojang will become part of Microsoft Studios, creator of the Halo series.

Microsoft has offered some new directions for the Minecraft series that focus on cloud data and mobile gaming. They hope that these approaches will improve player communications, development tools, and allow for greater world-building. Minecraft creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, has stated that he will have no part of the IP after Microsoft’s acquisition.

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I haven’t heard many people in-game talking about the Warlords of Draenor release. What I have heard is a number of people in chat (both public and guild channels) complaining about the lack of things to do. What a lot of people aren’t thinking about is the number of achievements and events that are going away with the new release. Of course, those that did start wrapping up your achievements back in August are probably all caught up. But there’s rarely a shortage of things to do! First off, let’s talk achievements, and a few things you won’t be able to do on WoD release.

Get Your Mounts!

As always, group achievements are rotating out with the release of new raids. The “Ahead of the Curve: Garrosh Hellscream (10 and 25 player)” achievements are going away, and so is your last chance of getting Reins of the Kor’kron War Wolf.

While the Kor’kron Juggernaut may not be going away, you’ll certainly want to make a grab for it before Draenor release, as the chances of it dropping will plummet.

Reins of the Pandaren Phoenix will be available to you in all colors (account wide) if you already have any one of these.

On a side note… Now would also be a good time to get the Water Strider mount from the anglers. No flying for a while, so walking on water might be a plus!

wow wod wolf

Title, Achievement, and Challenge Mode Changes

Warlocks: You’ll still be able to get the pretty green fire, but if you get it before the new release you’ll get the title “of the Black Harvest” along with the achievement “Breaker of the Black Harvest”.

Challenge modes will be rotating out, and so will the titles that were able to be earned: “Mistwalker” for those who, at any point, held realm-best time and “the Undaunted” for players who completed 9/9 at least at bronze level.

“Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!” is going away with the Upper Blackrock Spire changes, but “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy…?” will still give you the Jenkins title.

“Ahead of the Curve” and “Cutting Edge” achievements for Garrosh are going away.

“Proving Yourself” bronze through endless (at 90) achievements, as well as “You’re doing it wrong”.

“I Thought He Was Supposed to be Hard?” for defeating Ra-den (Throne of Thunder) without dying.

Most of these are being converted to Feats of Strength or Legacy Achievements.

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Here we are at launch day for Smash Bros 3DS. Yes yes, I know some people got the game ahead of time and streamed it, while there was also demos, but even though I’ve tried several different versions of the game before, I’m still excited to finally be able to play the full version without any restrictions (aside from my poor Japanese skills). Also, as someone who gets stuck at work and can only read so many current event articles and linguistics papers before I go a little batty, I’m sure other people at work with little to do can appreciate written text over videos.

Join with me past the cut as I update this post live starting sometime soonish for the next few hours about my thoughts and feelings on the game, plus give a special gift to the first reader looking to try out the game.

First, a little background. I’ve played the E3 demos for both the 3DS and the Wii U. The lack of a C-stick and other control limitations certainly make the 3DS version more difficult for me. Also, for some reason, my hands get cramped up a bit playing on the 3DS like this. No other 3DS game does this to me, so it’s something of a personal concern. The first reader to put the following code into their eShop’s code redemption area can try an unlimited demo of the game and see if they feel the same: A05V8R3P05EBFCST (If you claim the code, please mention it in the comments so other readers know it’s been taken). For other readers, note that there will be a 30-use demo code available for the game starting September 19.

From the past demos, I really like Mega Man and Villager. Mega’s got some great smash moves and aerial moves, but it’s hard for me to control him quite as well as I did at E3 on the Wii U. I’m still debating on how I feel about him though. The Leaf Shield doesn’t seem to do a lot as either a shield or a projectile unless someone shoots a small projectile; don’t try to use it to protect against bombs! Mega’s throws aren’t so great, but his down A slide attack is a nice way to move around a bit and deal some damage. However, his forward, down, and up A smashes are all quite powerful and don’t have too long of a delay. What’s most interesting to me, though, is his Up A and Up A aerial attack. The aerial especially is good at moving people up, but they really need to be directly above you. His B and side B attacks, while useful, feel better for some light ranged damage or fooling people into leaving themselves exposed for a larger attack, like your side-A buster smash.

Villager’s got some good recovery moves in both his lateral side B which allows him to ride a gyro like a rocket, plus his balloon fighter helmet that lets him fly like Kirby for a bit. The kid’s got a good mix of utility with her pocket grab (B), ranged net, and is a well rounded toon in general, but his/her most powerful moves are usually kind of short range: side smash’s bowling ball really needs to be close, but it’s powerful. The item literally falls, so you can drop it on people below you. and the character’s  quite light, so you’ve got to be careful. However, the tree/axe move (Down B) does nothing in the air unless your tree is fully grown (planting can only happen on the ground but watering acts like Mario’s FLUDD) so that kind of sucks. I played the heck out of these two characters on the demo, so I think I’ll be trying out other character first, like Palutena or Pac-Man.

For returning characters, Pikachu’s aerials A attacks aren’t quite as electric, so players don’t go flying across the screen, but move in a more floaty way. They’re forceful still, just not like they used to be from what I recall.

Mario feels the same as he did in Brawl, but Link is a bit different now. His running dash is sort of a jumping slash now. You’re a little open when you jump, but the hit is more powerful, so while it’s a bit less reliable now, those who master it will find it more useful I think.

As for new items, the beetle claw we got in Zelda: Skyward Sword is nice for getting what feels like a nearly guaranteed kill. Wind mechanics come up with a few new items, which are nice because while they don’t deal damage when blowing at you, you’re still fighting their force. The steel diver’s like the laser gun with a different kind of “dance” needed to avoid it’s shots since they start slow then pick up speed. The beehive and cucco are similar, in that they deal damage but it’s more of a light annoyance that something to really worry about. The raccoon ears and and jet pack should be nice for super casual players who might not be very good at triple jumping (like my little sister!). Finally, we’ve got a nice canon you build out of parts: Day Breaker. Big damage and force if you can hit with it. I find it more fun than the Kirby glider we got before. Finally, for old items, the super scope’s bullet is less round now and more, um, blurred I guess.

If you’re reading this before 6pm PDT, I’m probably sleeping or getting ready to grab the game as soon as my local game shop opens. For some reason, Pokemon X‘s release (from my first live blog) was big enough for them to open the doors early, but for some reason, Smash isn’t.

Pre-Release Update: Anyone with the Japanese demo, good news! The local play option is region free, so you can play with friends who have the demo (at least, between NA and JP versions). What’s nice is that the training mode gives you tips about how to use various moves for your character. Like the last version, players vote on which stage they want before the match begins. The host chooses when the game begins, but you can’t pause games.

Update 1: What a line! Anyway, first of all, you can’t use the full version with someone who has the demo it seems. The demo only works demo to demo. Also, if the game can carry over your coins from the demo, it’s not automatic. If I notice some way to do it, I’ll mention it ASAP!

Update 2I found out where to customize a Mii fighter, so this is the first thing I’m trying. You get to choose your Mii, a name for them, type (I chose sword user), stats, and the moves. I’ve made mine all about speed and using the third option just to do it quickly.  I also found the options, and being able to turn off the “up” direction on the circle pad as the jump key makes the game feel a whole lot more comfortable. My Mii kind of feels like a mix between Link for many of his moves (not just the basics, but for the up B I chose), though I have Falcon’s down B and Mega Man’s B. Starting the main game, you have 500 coins to wager from the start. I wagered only 80 coins. At the end, I chose the path that lead to a fight with Master Hand and Crazy Hand. They’ve got a new set of moves but on the difficult I tried, it wasn’t too difficult. When you beat the game, fight the names in the credits! I didn’t realize this, so the first time, I only completed 97% of the puzzle, which gave 97 coins. I also got to fight Falco to unlock him. Not sure what triggered it but hey, it’s nice.

Update 3Just for kicks, I’m trying out the Mii Fighter with all his moves on the second option in All Star Mode on easy first. The second up B attack is Fox’s. My down B turns back projectiles while my normal B throws ninja stars.  While I earned trophies in the first game setting, All Star is giving me coins, though between matches I can find trophies in the resting area, which also gives you several different healing items: a fairy, a heart container, and Max Tomato. The theme of the fights is based on when the characters were created, which is pretty cute, especially for a gamer like me who remembers when Pac-Man, Mario, and Little Mac were some of the only video game characters! Second time beating the game, I only got 94% of the puzzle. Probably didn’t have moves quite as good for this task as last time. Ah well.

Update 4Switched my Mii Fighter moves again to test things out. These are the first option, which consist of a down B counter, a leaping side B that’s nice for recovery (but dangerous on small levels), a rather suicidal up B that goes up and then dashes down (it’s pretty powerful though), and a regular B that creates a good sides tornado that travels across the stage. I tried it in the 100 man melee, and while not bad, that Up-B was both great at clearing but ended up costing me my life.

Update 5So um, be careful with the Mii Fighter! I accidentally sold the items for customizing. I tried to reset but it was too late. Ah well! I decided to move on and try out Pac-Man. Wagered enough for level 4 difficulty this time. I also realized that the fighting Miis are… my Miis! Many, I’ve killed my current girlfriend, brother, my ex, and even myself many, many times now. The horror! I did, however, finally get 100% on the clearing credits and got 100 coins. Oh, and a challenge from Ness. You fight him in Magicant, or at least, what I remember it looking like from Mother 1. I’m a big fan of the series and know the regional differences. The Japanese version of Mother 2 (Earthbound) had an iron statue of an octopus that blocked your path at one point, but it was localized into… well, something else, for those who’ve played the game. I wonder if that version will make it to the US version of the game. Unlocking him also unlocks the stage, which was really nice for me. The level is just so… if you’ve played the series, what Sakurai did for this level really brings a tear to my eye. There’s so much love for the series I could write an entire article about it. I won’t though. Ness, though, largely feels the same, except for his final sash. You can now control his PK Starstorm like you can control Lucario’s smash, but I feel the Starstorm moves faster.

Update 6: I found some sort of Streetpass set-up, but I just wanted to test it out. It almost seems like pool, if pool was about knocking the balls off the table. And you were the ball able to shield yourself. Not sure exactly how it works, but it gave me coins, so yay! Decided to try out Ness on Smash run. He’s a bit light and not the best at running around and killing stuff as you’d probably guess. He’s not fast and a bit float, and his moves can take a bit to go off, especially his big ones. However, it was fun, and I unlocked some customization options for him. I’m thinking this is the option for getting unlocks for customization, but the stat changers seem rare. Poor me!

Update 7: I just noticed, I think they took out the funny little titles you could win at the end (like “Predator” and “Hungry”). It still records things like travel distance and suicides, but I’m not seeing the other stuff, or at least, not in the single player modes. Anyway, I went with level five difficulty with Ness in the main game. Also, I think where you defeat the credits counts more than how many you hit, so move around and hit them. After beating the game again, I was challenged by Dark Pit (Black Pit in Japan). Usually the main game isn’t the only way to unlock stuff but… is it this time? I’ll try a run on easy mode and see what happens. 

Update 8: Playing the game on the lowest difficulty with Greninja (“Gekkouga” in Japanese). The rewards certainly are lower when you don’t invest, and so is the challenge! You can only fight Master Hand at the end of the easiest mode so it really is easy. Nothing was unlocked at the end, so perhaps one of my other battles unlocked something already. That, or you just don’t get anything for something that simple.

Update 9: Upped the ante. 550 coins, and I’m using Mega Man for the first time in the live game with controls that feel right by me. Quick note, Mega Man was my man at E3 when I battled other press for the rights to an official Smash shirt; I think they did the same thing at PAX this year and maybe Sand Diego Comic Con. One thing kinda funny just happened: I got a Starman from Earthbound as an assist trophy. However, they’re also enemies in the Smash Run. Thought that was an interesting move. The rewards are also much better. Higher pay out per match plus the random rewards you get are better: more gold, more trophies, more customization options. I zoned out for a sec and missed the turn for Crazy hand, but I also noticed I was playing with the custom characters. Maybe that blocks my chance at unlocking stuff? Just the same, nice rewards. I’ll try one more time for my final update.

Final Update: Sheik’s my old main from Melee (don’t ask about Brawl, it’s too painful). It’s reckless since she’s undergone some changes, but I decided to do level 9 and use the max amount of coins: 2,200. I actually lost my very first match, so it was quite expensive! The rewards are pretty nice though. Up to 4 trophies/customization parts. When you lose and you’re broke, like me, you can continue, but the setting falls a little each time as do rewards. I didn’t do so great, to be blunt, falling down to level 4 and losing some of those nice rewards along the way. On a side note, Sheik without Zelda is very, very different. The new down B is cool, and the cool little flip for side be is nice, but not having the other character there really makes Sheik less versatile.

 

Well, that’s the live blog! Hope you guys find some useful information in there!

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At a time like this, when Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn starts getting dull, especially for people like me who are unable to devote time on a static group for raids and Ramuh EX, a Letter from the Producer is like rain in the desert, bringing us something to look forward to before we decide to unsubscribe. Only that… the rain wasn’t quite enough to rouse that adventurous soul that is fading away since patch 2.3 was launched.

First things first– we found out that 2.38 is coming out in a month. However, judging from what happened in 2.35, one wouldn’t expect much. Personal housing is definitely the star feature in 2.38, but what does Square Enix think we play FFXIV for? Sims 4 is out with more furniture readily available and things to do, plus you can build your own house in your own style.

The next chapter of the Relic Weapon saga will also be introduced. If you manage to get your Novus or are nearly getting there, then this is good news. Some more grinding is to be expected. If you had chosen the Soldiery weapon, then well… Coil T9 is coming to Duty Finder in 2.4.

Patch 2.4 is more promising with the coming of the Ninja class and and Shiva. Many of those who have already unsubscribed will be back for this. If there is one thing more enjoyable than raids in this game, to me at least, it’s getting to level a new class. And Patch 2.4 is bringing both a new class and a raid.

ffxiv producer ninja

According to Yoshi-P, Binding Coil of Bahamut will conclude in 2.4 and a new raid is on the way. Both Second Coil of Bahamut and Second Coil of Bahamut (Savage) will be made available via Duty Finder in Patch 2.4, so that is the more reason for me to happily spend some money on a subscription again for sure.

More achievements and possible rewards are on their way for people who are loved by others (a.k.a. those with lots of Commendation). They will be out in 2.38 or 2.4, so if you are one of those people who loves to collect achievement rewards, you can start hopping back on the Loving Wagon now.

The LIVE Letter also revealed bits and pieces of the new expansion. A new race is coming (betcha it’s Lady Yugiri’s race). Although it’s a little disappointing that there seems to be only one new race coming out, I’m still excited. Question is, would the new race be worth my Potion of Fantasia and to replace my sexy Highlander body? (Probably not, Yugiri has the body of a normal Midlander).

The level cap will be raised in the new expansion. A whole new raid will be introduced, and you don’t need to complete The Binding Coil series to undertake this new one. More information about the new expansion will be released around October 17th so stay tuned.

Although it is unknown as of when Square Enix will introduce Gold Saucer, it is confirmed that there will be a Gold Saucer. Chocobo Racing and Triple Triad will certainly be there as well. Yoshi-P also said they have plans for other mini games. Let’s hope they will be more exciting than the long forgotten Toy Box mini game at the inn.

On the darker side, there will be no Ultima Weapon (Extreme) in the near future, which is kind of disappointing. Ultima Weapon (Hard) was one of my most favourite fights in the whole endgame business.

Also, more bad news for casual players who love serious fights like me– Square Enix is not going to lift the one-run-per-week restriction on raids. Not now, maybe not ever. According to Yoshi-P, they’re concerned about item level inflation. But seriously, after introducing The Hunt and Syrcus Tower in patch 2.3 which gave people the opportunity to get ilvl 110 items with just a little grinding, they’re worrying about ilvl inflation? That is funny, Yoshi-P.

Last but not least, Fan Festival is coming and I’m nowhere near any locations to attend one. There will be FATEs popping on the ground, a party of people Behemoth mounts… FOR REAL! Imagine me cosplaying my sexy Paladin… riding Behemoth like a boss… Although I might get some retribution from “a certain someone” for exposing too much skin in public afterwards, the Behemoth ride alone is worth it. But I’m not able to go sighs.

ffxiv producer letter mount

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This week, I sat down with Nick Robalik, the creator of Sombrero. Nick is a one-man show, doing all of the development and art work for the game. Sombrero is a 2-4 player multiplayer platformer for Windows, OSX and Linux. Players can choose different game play styles like a classic “capture the flag” or a free for all “deathmatch”.
You can find Sombrero at pixelmetal.com

Candace: I’ll start with basics. Tell me a little about Sombrero and what it is for people who don’t read websites?

Nick: Sombrero is a competitive local multiplayer game with a bit of a spaghetti western-tinged theme. I say “tinged” because, while it’s mostly western, there’s also some odd characters that pop up, like aliens, robots and the like.

It has the usual deathmatch mode, but also some interesting twists on capture the flag-style gameplay as well as what I’m calling “loot”style so far, where the player has to grab as many bags of cash on the map as possible, while capturing campsites that act as score multipliers, and the player with the most loot at the end of the round wins. So far, people have been getting pretty pumped up playing that one.

 

Candace: How are players able to play Sombrero together? Do they need something like Hamachi or is the multiplayer support already in the game?

Nick: It’s local or “couch” multiplayer as of now. I suppose it COULD work over hamachi, but I haven’t tried that yet. In the long run I do plan on looking more deeply into internet-based multiplayer, but as a single developer doing all of the art, animation, sound effects and development – the music is being done by Nathaniel Chambers of Bubble Pipe Media – I need to pick my battles carefully so I don’t get end up working on the game for the next 10 years.

sombrero 1

Candace: Wow, I didn’t realize you were the sole person on this project save the music. That’s really admirable. Back to Sombrero game play! It has a really old school arcade style look and feel to it, was that an inspiration for the game?

Nick: Kind of. I’m old enough that I remember all of those old arcade games and still play them. I even still have my original Atari 2600 console, and it still works. I still enjoy games with unexpectedly deep gameplay like some of those old arcade games, where you’re given a limited amount to work with and it comes down to player skill to determine the winner, not just gadgets and weapon upgrades and the like.

Sombrero’s look is based more on old Warner Bros. cartoons, and on more modern stuff like Samurai Jack.

 

Candace: Did you create Sombrero to require a higher element of skill or strategy in the game play?

Nick: Compared to some other games in the newly-popular couch mutliplayer drama I’d like to think it takes a bit more of both than is provided elsewhere. Since you can shoot in any direction, but have to deal with weapon reloading time, it takes a bit more skill & strategy than just shooting at everyone else. In the “loot” gameplay style especially, it’s possible to win without attacking any other players directly, using the environment, which contains exploding barrels, ricocheting shots & destructible platforms to your advantage. Or detriment.

 
Candace: The “loot” game play style looks like it’s the most popular but there is a simple deathmatch game. Since Sombrero does require some skill elements, do you ever see a possibility of the game having any competitive edge to it? Maybe some small tournaments or being part of other gaming groups?

Nick: I don’t see why not. Every player is given the same tools and, if they get good at using the tools available to them, it can become very competitive. I expect in the near future I’ll be running a small tournament at one of the playtest nights in NYC I’ve been bringing Sombrero to so I can get feedback, work out bugs that only pop up when 4-players are playing for a few hours, etc.

While I still consider it in an alpha state in terms of content & features, the gameplay that’s currently available has become extremely polished thanks to feedback from all of public playtesting, and the feedback has been very helpful for me in terms of focusing the game on the gameplay elements people have responded to in a positive way.
I want people to play the game and enjoy it, so being able to get comments, feedback & criticism from people who actually play games has been awesome.

sombrero 2

Candace: How long do you think it will be until the game is out of it’s current stage and will be “finished”? Of course, we know a game is never fully finished. Always new content and tweaks.

Nick: It’s getting more complete every day. My goal is to have the initial release out at the end of this year or beginning of next year. After that, I’ll be working on a few DLC packs that will be available for free. I’m not especially comfortable with charging for DLC, so what I’m planning to do is release the game for a lower price, then raise it after each content pack, so those who purchase early can expect additional content for free, while those purchasing later will be paying a small amount more, since the game they’re buying is a bigger game than those who purchased earlier. I don’t see it going over $12$15 though. It’ll probably start at around $8-$10.

 
Candace: Before I ask about release of the game, let me ask a few questions about what players see and feel when they’re playing Sombrero. At the beginning, there’s a character select screen. Do the different characters offer different game play styles or is it strictly aesthetic?

Nick: It’s strictly aesthetic. I had plans at one point to customize the character’s handling somewhat, but with 20+ playable characters planned, that’s a bit much for me to handle. The upshot there’s a good chance that there’s at least a few characters in there everyone will like to play as.

Candace: Then you choose a stage and jump right into the action, right? How long does an average game take?

Nick: Players will be able to set the length of each round as well as how many rounds in a match to whatever they want. The default is 120 seconds a round with 3 rounds. Which is kind of a shame, really, because the soundtrack Nathaniel created has much longer tracks, but that’s what felt right as a good starting length based on playtesting feedback.

 
Candace: How large are the maps? We know already there are elements like exploding barrels and other things, but can you utilize the walls or pitfalls and other obstacles to your advantage?

Nick: You can definitely utilize the pitfalls to your advantage, and do something like, say, using an exploding barrel to remove a platform above a spiked pit , causing another player to fall in. No wall jumps as of now, but that may be added in as a time-limited powerup.

Candace: O.K. time to wrap it up a little. Do you have any “super secret” things about Sombrero you can tell me?

Nick: Hmm. Well, I guess I kind of gave one away when I mentioned powerups, since they haven’t appeared in any public builds yet. So, yeah, powerups will be a thing.

 
Candace: I noticed that but I didn’t say anything. So, powerups will be a thing. You read here first!

Nick: Oh! And there’s also a number of guest characters in the game that are cameos from other indie games by developers who I respect and who are making other awesome games. They’ll be available as player characters as well, for the first time, when I show the game at the Boston Festival of Indie Games on Saturday, Sept 13th.

 
Candace: Nice! So any readers who are at the festival need to come check out Sombrero! Last but not least, what platforms can we find Sombrero on?

Nick: At the initial release it’ll be available on Windows, OSX and Linux. After that, I’ll be looking at the consoles. I’m a licensed Nintendo developer, so who knows…maybe a Wii U version is in the future in additional to the big two.

Candace: Awesome. Thank you so much for giving us a peek into Sombrero.

The post Sitting Down with Sombrero appeared first on JunkiesNation.




I know, I know, you guys probably hate all the stuff Japan’s getting first, or at least hating that the 3DS is region locked. Trust me, I’m right there with you, except that… well, I at least get to play. For those who have a Japanese 3DS, go to the eshop. Go to Smash Bros page. Click this icon:

Dairantou Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (JP)

Then click the wave icon, followed by the right most option until the game starts. Be warned, as the game will display your real life name you registered your system with (and if you didn’t register it, I don’t think you can download the game, sorry!). The left side option once the game has been launched is just for you to play against the computer. The right side is for local play, if you have friends nearby that also have a Japanese 3DS and Smash fever (lucky you!). Only Mario, Link, Pikachu, Villager (Murabito), and Mega/Rock Man are available, and only on Battlefield (Senjyou), but hey, better than nothing! And considering it’s on your account, perhaps that means the coins will carry over in case you get the full version. I’ll be able to test in few days as the game releases here and I do some live blogging.

Edit: Update! You can hit “X” on the level screen to change Battlefield into a single, flat platform just like Final Destination (Shuuten).

The post Smash Bros 3DS Demo (For Japan) appeared first on JunkiesNation.




Update 9/11: Trion posted a few extra Patch Notes tonight.

Yesterday Trion Worlds presented the last  ArcheAge live stream before Head Start which begins on Friday 10am PDT (GMT -7).

Associate Producer Amanda “Amary” Fry, Producer Victoria “Firecait” Voss, and Senior Community Relations Manager Evan “Scapes”  Berman shared the following in this live stream, emphasizing meetings taking place with XLGames employees today currently at the Redwood Office to discuss everything ArcheAge:

Marketplace

  • The Marketplace will be available at the start of Head Start
  • Labor Point Potions (Workers Compensation) will have a 12hr cooldown
  • Costumes will have stats removed and will be vanity items only
  • Character slot expansions will be available from the start, for 1000 credits per character slot

Auction House

  • Free-to-play players can buy AH listings via the Marketplace or on the Auction House
  • Everyone can purchase from the Auction House
  • Listing is not shared, you need to unlock it for every character

ArcheAge Patron Exchange

  • APEX is a tradeable item bought for real money that is exchanged for credits or cash points. It can be used to buy items from the Marketplace and can be sold to other players in game
  • APEX pricing is identical to RIFT: $10 for 1250 credits
  • 30-day patron pass requires 2 APEX: 2 x $10 leaving you with $5 to spend on the Marketplace

Loyalty & Patron

  • Loyalty Tokens are not shared on EU & NA continents; they are separate
  • Patron pricing is the same as RIFT: $15 per month
  • Your patron period starts the moment you log in whether in Head Start or launch

Labor Points

  • Everyone will start with 0 labor points

Archeum

  • Database statistics have been analyzed and it has been found that Archeum drops are not high enough. Adjustments will be made
  • Archeum Crates on the Marketplace are intended as a BONUS, not a main way to drop Archeum

Housing

  • Housing will be available at the start of Head Start
  • There is no limit on how many houses you can own. Taxes will increase exponentially after 3 PER ACCOUNT – not per character
  • You can craft your own tax certificate– get it off the loyalty store or from the Marketplace

Mounts

  • Have been normalized in ability to be used as a vanity item with the stats of the mount you choose
  • Donkey and Cow mounts will remain the same in the lower tier of abilities

Crafting

  • Fishing boats were accidentally removed and will be replaced

Healing Weapons

  • Clubs are being added as a healing item class reward some time after launch

Founder Packs

  • As soon as the game launches on September 16th, Founder’s Packs will be removed and starter packs will be added
  • Founder perks will only be sent to your first 6 characters
  • Only your first character will receive the Daru chests and crest brainstorm

Launch Servers & Characters

    Will be the same 8 servers from open beta on NA and EU. These will be the only servers until further notice
  • Servers have been reset to prepare for Head Start
  • Auroria will be unavailable until further notice
  • You will only be able to have 2 characters per server to begin with: 4 per server maximum, 6 in total PER continent. (NA & EU) will become available later

Downloading Launch Server

  • Launch build is the open beta build so it’s already available for everyone. Any updates will be done as patches

Future Patches/Resets for EU & NA

  • Head Start begins at the same time for both continents. Launch will occur at times suitable for the continent
  • Bi-weekly restarts may occur if needed to keep servers healthy at times suitable for the continent. These will be announced on the ArcheAge official forums

Security

    IP Check: location verification security added to the Glyph client
  • Chat filters are being improved continuously. Unwanted blocks will be less common
  • Chat system kicks spammers
  • In-game system also checks for kill rates. Players that kill too much stuff for too long they will be put on a list. A human will review the list and kick/ban where needed/justified
  • Character deletion cooldown: It scales from 10 mins (level 1-10) to  24 hours (level 11-30) to seven days (level 31-50)
  • The reporting bot system is in place as mentioned here @Junkies Nation

Other subjects also being bought up with XLGames include but are not limited to the skill queue, windowed borderless mode, PvP flagging, and inverted mouse which Trion hopes to implement at later dates.

Op

Tips for Head Start:

  • You may already download Head Start as it is technically the open beta server– Any updates will be via a patch
  • You will only be able to make 2 characters per server to begin with (6 in total on one continent)
  • The first 6 characters created receive the Founder’s Pack rewards
  • Your first character only receives the crest brainstorm and Daru chests. The items in Daru chest are tradeable
  • Open beta servers are the launch servers where you may have already saved character customization sets
  • Bag space should be a priority for any good ArcheAge player – 130 credits per extra slot for private bank, 100 credits per extra slot for warehouse bank
  • Tag quests are the most difficult to accomplish with busy servers. Joining a guild/raid to quest can be very helpful
  • Doing just storyline quests in a raid is the fastest way to get enough Gilda and get your first house plans to claim land in your chosen area

Servers:
North America

  • Aranzeb
  • Naima
  • Kyrios
  • Ollo
  • Tahyang
  • Salphira

Europe

  • Shatigon
  • Kyprosa
  • Eanna
  • Dahuta

Need a Guild?

Hopefully by now you will know what faction and class you will enjoy most and have stocked up the pantry and fridge with time allotted to hug loved ones in between levels!

Have any more questions? Check out the Official Archeage FAQ or let us know in comments below!

Have fun all, and see you out there enjoying ArcheAge! #HeadstartHYPE

The post ArcheAge: Trion Live Stream Summary & Tips for Head Start appeared first on JunkiesNation.