Dynames Productions Blog

A blog to showcase my creative and technical work. Talk about what I like to talk about.


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The Souls Charm

hype-meme-0a79c29f1f3235b7e1d08393bbbe03c2There was once a time where I wondered why there was so much hype and rave about Dark Souls, and the Souls series as a whole. I played it once I got the opportunity to, and then the charm took me over. The Souls charm won me by a landslide in comparison to any other game I have played to date.

The way the game is designed at its core seems to adhere to some of the most basic game design principles. It doesn’t go for any fancy gimmicks, instead the series focuses on solid combat, strategic/critical thinking and exploration. Perhaps due to the level of simplicity it possesses for a new player, but at the same time the complexities needed for veteran players was what won me over.

dxg-dark-soulsI first started with Dark Souls, then got Dark Souls II and finally had the opportunity to get Demon’s Souls recently. Playing a test run of Demon’s Souls to make sure it worked fine on my PS3, I was hit with instant nostalgia for Dark Souls. Keep in mind, I haven’t finished any of the Souls game yet. I’m more than halfway through for Dark Souls, but decided to put it down for a while as I felt I was getting a little burnt out on it. No fun in playing a game that feels like it is wearing you out.

I was in love with the series the moment I picked up the controller in Dark Souls. So many good co-op sessions, and epic boss fights even if they do follow a pattern that with enough attention and patience can become predictable. Not to mention the complexity of the world we transverse through, all of it culminates to a brilliant game and game design.

425-3-1370142006Now the Souls series would be nowhere near as good without it’s death mechanics. Every Souls game has seemed to changed the penalties for death somewhat in the past. But that feeling of dying remains the same in any game. There is a constant fear of loss when you first start out. You know that the more souls you carry, more is at stake. In some games, it limits your health lower than 100% as well. That fear of death can either paralyze you, or create a sense of adventure to keep on pushing forward.

But once you overcome that fear, so many options will open up to you in how you choose to play. You can be a lot more daring, or still play passively.

Let’s also not forget the character evolution in these games. You can start out as one particular class, but evolve the character into something else as you progress through the games. This level of freedom allows room for great experimentation.

darksoul_facebook_miniDark Souls III is going to release only on the current gen hardware (PS4, Xbox One & PC), sadly I won’t get the opportunity to play it. At least not right now, but when I do, I’ll savor every moment like I do with the rest. These games alongside Bloodborne are a necessary existence in the gaming industry, it shows other devs that there are still gamers out there who yearn to be challenged both mentally and skill wise when playing their games.

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Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed that post! Stick around for more! πŸ™‚

~ Mohit

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Slice of Life is the King genre

Let me preface this post by saying that whatever views are expressed in this post, are my OPINIONS.

women-sunset-landscapesHaving read manga for a long time, watched anime for a long time and occasionally reading fiction books, I’ve come to a conclusion. By far my favorite genre regardless of mediumΒ  easily has been “Slice of Life”. Slice of life for those unaware is, taking the mundane life of a character and presenting it in a mysterious, adventurous and positive manner to the viewer/reader.

In fact your life, and my life itself is slice of life. Whatever happens everyday to us is considered slice of life. If you think your everyday adventures (or routine, whichever your prefer) are boring, then look again. But look at it with a more positive mindset thinking of the fun you can have in every activity you do. Think of the little adventure every activity provides.

man-cleaningFor example, something as simple as washing dishes can be fun. Knowing that you’re the one doing the hard work and see it pay off with clean, shiny dishes again is a reward in itself.

Slice of life is the ability to take pleasures in the simple things of life. I love this genre more than any other because of the positive messages it sends, and the happy feelings I get every time from reading it. This genre has also taught me a lot in the past, and still continues to do so. It has taught me that even in the toughest challenges, there is some fun that can be derived from it no matter what we may think or feel like.

8a1dcc058f13ad94c3fb3872d5ac17f7No matter the negativity of the world, there will always be some positivity. It is our job to feed off of the positivity to keep our minds healthy rather than turn to the negative thinking. There are enough negative thinkers in the world already, so I would rather make an effort to remain optimistic and positive.

Slice of Life is a genre that will keep on giving no matter how many stories you read within it. It is a genre to teach you countless lessons, for which you will be grateful for as time goes on. My most favorite cup of tea will always remain to be “Slice of Life”. πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. Please indulge yourself in my other entries in this blog.

Hope you stick around for future posts.

~ Mohit


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Are Reaction Channels the Bane of YouTube?

Are reaction channels the bane of YouTube?

Reaction channels are in my opinion quite a weird trend. They were extremely popular last year, some are still this year. But of course the fiasco with the Fine Bros. and how much Reaction channels have been called out, such popularity maybe seeing a decline. But they do seem to amount up a fair size of subscribers.

Now it has always been quite a curious thing to me, why would people want to watch other people reacting videos? But then I got the answer within context to these “YouTubers” specifically. Majority of the people are not watching the reaction, they’re watching the videos those people are reacting to. Basically in place of the original, they watch the content stolen by the reactors. Yes, I know I used the world stolen. Quite a heavy accusation I’m sure some of you may be thinking right now.

Let’s look at the effort that goes into making a reaction video:

  • Get a video to react to, or in most cases, steal it.
  • Record computer screen with a camera recording you live.
  • Play the video and react to it, or not as the case is with some reactors.
  • Put the original video in as a small box inside the reactor’s live recorded video. If they care about fair use at all, they may bother doing some edits to change things up a bit.
  • Post the video and watch them YouTube views and money roll on in.

Let’s look at the effort that goes into making an animated video:

  • Come up with an idea/concept.
  • Script and storyboard it out.
  • Draw out your characters, and any other concept art you need.
  • Start animating (a long and tedious process requiring great patience). Depending on the length and fluidity of the animation, as well as manpower, this can take anywhere from a couple of days to months.
  • Record and or download any sounds required.
  • Edit the animation together. Add in the sounds and do any other editing required.
  • Post up the video and hardly watch those views rise (unless you’re already big, in which case watch the views come in).

Compare the two, you can clearly see a lot more effort goes into making an animated video than a reaction video. Yet reaction videos get more views and more money paid out to the reactors. They get paid money to react to things that are created by other people. In most cases, reaction channels (Fine Bros. excluded) have taken the content of others without their expressed permission. This is downright content plagiarism/stealing.

These YouTubers make money off of someone else’s hard work. Would you like it if I did that to you? Probably not unless you just didn’t care about the potential loss in revenue. And believe me, there will be a loss as the viewer has already watched the video. What point is there in going over to the original content creator’s video? The only time you would want to do that is if you wanted to check out other videos by them.

From a publicity standpoint, it is a 50/50 bet. Some people may go over there, some may just be happy with watching that video one time and moving on. But then there is also that loss in view numbers that could have helped the original content creators. Let’s not forget, as I mentioned before, these channels don’t seem to abide by Fair Use as much as they believe they do.

In my previous post about fair use, one of the conditions was that the content has to be transformative. Reaction videos that don’t contain many verbal reaction aside from just facial changes don’t count under fair use. Again, people are not there to just watch your face, they’re watching the much flashier video playing in the corner.

Next point is, they use the original video in its entirety. So not only is the majority of their content stolen and not transformative, but also unedited. There really is a simple solution to this, edit the video to keep only the best parts in. You’re not showing the whole video, and you’re still able to show off your best reactions for that particular video. This is a far better method that can be covered under fair use.

Also as I said before, majority of the time no permission is acquired. Before I said Fine Bros. are excluded from this because they tend to license the material they want their staff reacting to. Meaning, there is legal work taking place in the background. It isn’t a case of just pick, choose and hope for the best. No permission, taking the content and showing it off in its entirety. Not to mention making money off of it. Not only is that rude to the original content creator but also potentially dangerous to their livelihood.

So are reaction channels the bane of YouTube?

Yes. Plain and simple answer is, yes they are.

They are a trend, and like all trends they will have to die out at some point. But for now, lets just say they’re setting a very low bar for quality entertainment. Why people enjoy these videos who genuinely watch it for the reactions is beyond me. But I suppose if they’re having fun, then more power to them. Me, I’m happy sticking to something more substantial as my choice of entertainment.

Thanks for reading! Hope you stick around for my other posts.

~ Mohit

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Do Let’s Plays (LP) fall under Fair Use? #WTFU

Recently on Twitter I had a discussion of sorts with a Let’s Player regarding #WTFU within context to LPs. Now I love watching LPs, especially horror ones from one chap in particular, “Helloween4545”.

For those that don’t know what #WTFU stands for, it is: Where is The Fair Use.

An event that has started in response to the evidence of how easy it is for companies to abuse the copyright system of YouTube and get away with it. Not to mention how broken YouTube’s system is as it hardly does anything to protect its creators (unless you’re a big name and bringing in lots of revenue of course). But that maybe a conversation for next time, today we focus on fair use and video games.

Do video games fall under fair use? Yes, well no. Okay maybe they do, then again maybe they don’t.

So which is it?!

It is a muddy territory we get into my friends whenever we discuss fair use. Let’s first start by getting an understanding of fair use here. There are 4 terms (or questions) people must adhere to in order for their content to be protected under fair use. The terms are as follows:

  1. The purpose and character of your use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount of sustainability of the portion taken and
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market

Source: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/

If you’re sitting and scratching your head, I wouldn’t blame you. Legal jargon never has made much sense has it now?

Let’s look at what we as consumers and the non-legal persons need to worry about. The material you used under fair use, is it “trans-formative” by any means? And what effect could your LP of a game have on the potential revenue market for the original publishers and developers?

What do I mean by trans-formative?

Simply put, does it change the content in anyway from it’s original experience? This can deal with things like the material being used for commentary, criticism and or parody purposes. I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that popped up in my research.

In LPs, people normally commentate over their gameplay, whether it be during or after the play has been recorded. Now this one is 50-50 in how it would work. If you’re a quieter LPer, you probably can’t get away with this as majority of the base experience with observing a game is still there. If you’re talkative for the most part during your sets/videos, you’ll have fulfilled the trans-formative aspect of fair use (from my understanding).

What about the impact it could have on the original market?

This really depends on the game. If you are playing a game that is very story driven and extremely linear, it probably won’t have a positive effect unless your game is really good and recommended to others. But why is this so? Because a story heavy games primarily have their experiences woven into learning the story. So if you watch an LP of the game, what is the point of playing that game then?

Now if we have a horror game, or some other game that is based around inducing certain feelings out of the player (ie. Journey, Alien: Isolation), then the LP falls under Fair Use. Again, why? Because the game is not relying on something people observe to understand alone, the game itself is an experience that you’ll only truly understand once you play it for yourself. Games that give you “unlimited” freedom such as Minecraft also fall under Fair Use, because there is no linear narrative (aside from the story mode now, which does not fall under Fair Use to some extent) and you can go around building whatever it is you imagine. Minecraft is more about the experience of using your imagination within a game world to build something.

I’ll personally attest to wanting to get games that I saw were more experience driven than the story driven games. Most of my games library is composed of more experience driven games with an occasional mix of great story driven elements to them.

Whenever video games rely on story alone, such as TellTale games, I would wager they aren’t covered under Fair Use due to the impact they can have on their market. But when a game relies on something more than the story, it relies on the gameplay to provide an experience, to some extent your game and LP does fall under fair use. I say to some extent because no game is going to be 100% Fair Use material, game development does not allow it.

Plus one should keep in mind that basically all components of the game are copyrighted under an intellectual property. Meaning whenever you make a video of the game, you’re using their copyrighted work. But thanks to Fair Use, you’re protected to a certain degree.

Is Fair Use a confusing world to be in?

Yes, especially when you’re not a critic or a parody maker. LPers are probably in the grayest of areas, it all depends on what they play and how they choose to play it. Games with choices will fall more under Fair Use, compared to a completely story driven, with little gameplay and linear game.

At the end of the day, we can only do what we think is right from our understanding of Fair Use as flawed as it maybe. Fair Use after all has no set definition, there have been multiple variants of it over the year through court rulings.

What are your thoughts on this?

Comment down below if you’ve more to add to this or a counter-argument perhaps.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mohit

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What makes JRPGs so fascinating to play?

Hey everyone,

Today I bring sort of a discussion topic. What makes Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPGs) so fascinating to play through?

Now before I get into the discussion, I know not everyone likes JRPGs. But this topic is more aimed at those that do and find a certain feeling within these games that they can’t seem to find in others, not even Western RPGs. With that out of the way, let’s get into the topic.

I have for the most part found that JRPGs tend to follow a pretty standard formula when it comes to story telling. The battle systems are usually similar as well in some respects, while minor things about it may differ to help make it a little different. From the JRPGs I’ve played so far, the combat from my experience can be categorized into three categories:

  • Turn Based: You and your opponents fight when it is their respective turn. Example(s) being: Older Final Fantasy titles.
  • Active-Turn Based: Normally a system where both the opposition and player are allowed to attack at any given time. But there is a limit on when you can attack. Sometimes this limit can be in the form of a gauge that needs time to refill before engaging in another attack. Example(s) being: Final Fantasy XIII Series, Tales of Series, Ni no Kuni
  • Real-Time Based: Anyone can attack at any time they please. Example(s) being: Dragon’s Dogma, Souls Series, Bloodborne

For the most part in Western RPGs, I have noticed that the Triple AAA games tend to stick to the Real-Time based combat. Not going to lie, it is fun when the battlefield becomes a land of confusion and you’re just fighting to ensure your character’s survival. But of course this is less strategic, but more about tactics. It also relies on your adaptability as a player to the ever changing tides of battle. But this point is applicable to every battle system I suppose.

So what exactly makes JRPGs fascinating to play? Well for one their battle systems will usually be in-depth, and at times complex requiring some time to grasp it. This is all a part of the fun, as overtime you’ll definitely notice improvement in your own combat abilities in that game.

The next point is the level of customization we get with some JRPGs. Now Western RPGs have done this quite well for a long time now actually, starting with Fallout 3 and above (according to my knowledge, I’m sure there were many fantastic games before Fallout 3 that had great character customization options). But if you look at a JRPG like “Dragon’s Dogma”, you’ll really see the level of detail and complexity that went into being able to customize your characters, the battle abilities and behavior in combat.

Finally, as I mentioned before the story. Even though the stories have started to follow certain trends after being over-saturated in the Japanese gaming market, they still seem to work somehow. All of the characters almost always will tend to go through some type of development, Tales of Xillia is a good example of this. But this does not ensure that the pacing and the writing of the development will be good, there are several Mass Effect characters who have had far better development than some JRPGs characters I’ve seen to date.

In conclusion, JRPGs are great at the things mentioned above because they’ve been doing it for a long time. Japan is one of the countries where RPGs gained a lot of traction in video game form long ago. This also meant that since JRPGs have survived this long, developers and writers have had a great amount of time to practice their art of JRPG game development to a higher level every time.

What did you think about this post? Leave a comment down below as your feedback helps! πŸ™‚

~ Mohit