Notes from EA’s E3-Adjacent Press Conference 2016

Battlefield at EA
EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson steps out only about 7 minutes late and is excited about “content creators.”

He’s welcoming Peter Moore who is hosting in London via remote stream, so they’re co-hosting?

But then back to Andrew Wilson quickly in LA.

Respawn’s Vince Zampella is onstage to discuss Titanfall 2, and has a video of multiplayer gameplay which will be on Playstation 4 for the first time. Looks fun, I hope that it gets more players on Windows this time, Titanfall 1 was fun.

As was leaked, and Zampella joked about, he’s announcing that Titanfall 2 will have a single-player campaign. A single-player trailer ensues. Release-date October 28th 2016.

On to football with Madden 17 footage. It looks like Football, and Peter Moore is in London telling people who don’t care about American Football about American Football video games.

Peter Moore is now talking about eSports. EA will have three new kinds of events.

EA’s live streaming video interface is so awful I switched to the YouTube player where at least when you click “hide chat” it stays hidden and doesn’t pop out again. The gaming community is out in full force to demonstrate how awful they can be.

A video plays to tell us about how amazing the Madden 16 competition they’re going to have is. Nobody cares. Back on the LA stage an announcer talks to the competitors and makes jokes that nobody thinks are funny.

Back to Peter Moore and he’s talking about how much money they’re putting up ($1 million) for competitions.

Aaron Flynn is on stage from Bioware to talk about Mass Effect: Andromeda. He’s leading by talking about how different the Andromeda galaxy (the game) will be from the previous games. He promises more detail this fall and walks off stage so that a trailer can start. “To Andromeda, to build a new home for humanity” The trailer cuts between in-game footage and shots of animators and artists animating and artisting character models and environments. Protagonist appears to be a woman, get your pitchforks ready gators.

Here’s that trailer:

Back to LA stage, crowd shot where everyone looks bored and they show guy looking at his cell phone. The trailer wasn’t that boring.

Andrew Wilson is talking about how much they love their community. You still can’t gift games on EA’s Origin storefront. They really care about their community. Their community is currently tossing epithets around in their chat. Amazing community.

Now discussing charities. They’re going to add some baloney to various games and donate a million dollars to charity. Well, charity is equally important as eSports to EA in terms of dollars.

Back to Peter Moore in London and discussing FIFA 17, finally he’s talking about the correct football for his audience. A trailer shows how the game has changed over time. It’s now using the Frostbite engine as a logo with a bass drop confirms. Back on stage Alex Hunter (no idea who that is) is here in his Dr. Tracksuit cosplay talking about his dreams of playing football.

Apparently there was a real Alex Hunter who played for the Tottenham Hotspurs, according to Wikipedia. I assumed that team was a joke made up by A trailer demonstrates his career path in FIFA 17’s “The Journey” which is a single player campaign.

Peter Moore is back to tell us that for the first time Premier League managers are appearing in-game. A bunch of bizarre uncanny valley screenshots of faces that look like they’re made out of clay appear on the screen behind him. Moore introduces Manchester United’s manager onstage.

Peter Moore assures us that the manager’s model in-game looks great, it looks terrible.

They chat a bit. It is not entertaining.

Peter Moore introduces FIFA producer Aaron McHardy. He has another trailer to show us. The trailer has gameplay improvements to ball handling and lots of discussion of balls without any hint of irony. FIFA is serious business.

Patrick Soderlund is here to tell us about how they surprised us last year with Unravel. It was pretty surprising. He reintroduces EA Originals which I’m pretty sure was originally the name of something they had back when Mirror’s Edge came out. Well, it’s back, in pog form, to fund third party developers.

Klaus is here from a third party studio in Sweden under EA Originals to tell us about a game called Fe. Fe is apparently about our relationship with nature. It looks like a 3D platformer and very much reminds me of Ori and the Blind Forest. Klaus tells us that the game is going to be open-ended and won’t have much direction in-game telling you what to do. The trailer looks good and very stylized.

Jade Raymond is now on-stage to tell us about the Star Wars games EA is working on. Opened the chat for a second and saw a “Sieg Heil”. Closed the chat again.

Jade tells us about a new game coming from Visceral in 2018 with Amy Hennig but no footage so far. Respawn’s Star Wars game is mentioned.

A trailer plays to tell us about what braaaaand experiences EA is working on. DICE talks about updates coming to Battlefront. Respawn shows an embarassing mocap session with actors. Capital Games talks about their terrible free-to-play garbage game for mobile devices. Visceral is talking about grounding the familiar in the unfamiliar. We finally see some in-game footage from her game but it’s very short shot of a desert planet scene. I could really go for a dessert planet right now, haven’t had lunch yet.

Patrick Soderlund is back to tell us about Battlefield 1 and it’s unique take on World War 1. We get some footage of the game with a bird trying to escape a tank. Odd. Biplanes attacking an airship.

Patrick Bach from DICE is on stage now. He has a gameplay trailer. Here it is:

From the side of the stage we see Zac Efron and Jamie Foxx who will apparently be playing the game after the show.

Patrick is Bach to tell us about how the game has changed. Destruction is supposed to be much improved as well as weather effects. Vehicles get an upgrade with behemoths, airships, armored trains. The game comes out October 21st. I am psyched. Open beta this summer. Maybe the game won’t be so broken at launch? Unlikely.

We now see more of the same trailer we saw earlier. Bird flapping about tank, etc. See it embedded above. A burning zeppeline falls to the ground on a town, looking quite impressive. It’s not clear if this is multiplayer or single player. Horses with riders armed with swords stampede to attack an armored train.

Peter Moore is back to close things out. He quickly gets back to Andrew Wilson and that’s the show.

A bunch of obnoxious YouTube personalities are now broadcasting some Battlefield 1 gameplay. I’ve got to mute it because they’re really loud and really terrible. Gaming culture in 2016 is the worst.

Space Combat Sims for fans of X-Wing v Tie Fighter Part 1: Hardware

porkins

A lot of people like myself miss the old days. Let us then reminisce, and also blow the crap out of our enemies.

To get started, you’ll need some kind of joystick. I use Logitech joysticks because I like the twisting functionality on the stick itself for adjusting yaw on helicopters and jets in games like Battlefield 2 and sometimes roll in space sims like Freespace 2.

The two Logitech sticks I have are the Force 3D Pro and the Extreme 3D Pro. Names are kind of goofy, but they get the job done with the features i like and a reasonable price. Unfortunately, some games don’t support the force feedback. However, that can been taken as an advantage seeing as how the version without the Force Feedback costs half as much.

If you’re really cheap, you might even find an older USB stick at goodwill. I found an older USB Microsoft SideWinder there that I haven’t even tried yet. Adapters probably exist to go from gameport to USB, but I doubt they would work for joysticks unless such a product is designed specifically for them. Older gameport joysticks often required special software, unfortunately.

In my next post I’ll talk about some of the games you can play with these sticks.

What do you think? Are there some sims you want to see covered? Or maybe some sticks that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Wars fans are decadent and depraved

I have always considered myself a big fan of George Lucas’ Star Wars. Having watched all but the first release theatrically, and then having seen the re-releases and then prequels on the big screen, I feel that Star Wars holds a big place in my entertained idea of self. From birthday cakes, to Halloween costumes, common quotes amongst friends, to lists of greatest screen villains, the stories from a galaxy far, far away strike a chord with me. However, it was recently that I found out there exists another level of fan — the likes of which I do not even approach.

Sir, Duke of DorkWhile browsing the web, I came across a forum of Star Wars fans that cannot be rivaled. I sat and I read for literally hours the messages of a group of people who study every piece of minutia in Lucas’ alien galaxy. Their love is recreating these worlds and people, right here on earth, in the form of costume and prop. They study screen captures of each scene from the films to get every detail right. Forum threads (each containing double-digit pages of posts) record the back and forth of analysis and approximation to correct recreation. Hundred of hours are spent laboring and then broadcasting the achievements attained in recreating the Star Wars universe. Obsession is the name of the game.

Each forum is comprised of many threads of messages. Each thread is devoted to a certain aspect of the Film (character, weapon, make-up, piece of clothing.) Those that claim to be a part of the Vader community do nothing but study this character and his four film incarnations. They devote themselves to recreating his costume as the bounds of each films dictates. (In each Star Wars film in which Darth Vader appears, his costume has subtle variations due to budgeting and taste of Lucas and fellow creators.) So page after page of this thread is dedicated to a member’s recreation of Darth Vader as he appeared in The Empire Strikes Back. Other members weigh in on the photos that are uploaded by the re-creator. Accuracy is debated and checked. High definition screen captures are studied. This goes on until completion and then perhaps the work is shared as it is sold to other admirers in the form of casts of the newly created molds of chest boxes and helmet tusks.

I sat in amusement reading about those who put my once lofty levels of fandom to shame. I also laughed at the absurdity of it all. The literally hundreds of man-hours spent recreating the paltry few hours of film that actually portrayed this intergalactic escapism leads one to laugh at the silliness of it all.

Should one laugh? What gives me the right to heckle one man’s use of spare time over my own pursuits? Should that which society deems a more productive use of free time be held up against those of our aforementioned super-fans? Does working on one’s lawn, following a baseball team, or reading all of Hemingway’s prose amount to something of more worth than festooning your Vader helmet with correctly colored (film accurate) lenses?

Well, if we are to be moderate in all things, then yes, obsessively studying the fit of movie character’s armor should be criticized. However, in doing so, one should also realize the frivolity of one’s own desires and immoderate pastimes. A virtue reality check, if you will. Han shot first!