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NightNord

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  1. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    We've already discussed that above (based on EFF article). Yes, it does allow bypassing DRM, but that's it. But again, I am not a lawyer, I am just plain-reading that stuff. I.e. you can't restore MMO with that, you may only circumvent online DRM (for local play). Can you convert MMO to single-player experience maybe? Well, no, because as you've quoted I.e. you can't use copyrighted material on the server (say quests) and, as per EFF, Library of Congress explicitly disallowed reconstruction of that material. In other words - if you somehow got the server data, you can only use it if you are a library to enable playing the network game only within physical bounds of your library; and if you didn't get server data, you are not allowed to reconstruct it. I.e. unless we are talking about just DRM, but some actual server-side logic you are screwed. Say even Diablo 3 is already out of reach. This is interesting bit, but I can't plain-read it. It's a bit too much legalize here. It does sound like it would allow reversing game protocols to "achive interoperability" with "independently created computer program" (i.e. custom server emulator), but I think the problem of "infringement" still stands - you may create an emulator, legally, but not fill it with contents. Though even if that's it - this is still a loophole - you may create an emulator and then contents will just happen to be created totally independent and who cares if they are illegal - the emulator itself is not. Yet the idea was to somehow force developers expose information required to make process of creating an emulator easier and I do believe that convicing judges to consider that loophole will be problematic. Plus Ross already gave up on US anyway, because US is a land of crony capitalizm and corporation is always right :P
  2. NightNord

    Legal analysis roundup (for USA)

    Yeah, YouTuber Law guy is pretty good one, a lot better than Lennard who sufferes from lack of attention to detail and coherent production. Though it's funny how he calls you "Ms. Scott" P.S. And yes, his solution is actually quite good. Provide incentive, so big companies will start doing it for profit and small companies will do that because it's cool. And if will create a clear single repository you may commit stuff to, which is a lot easier than inventing your own solutions - just put it into library of sorts and then it's library problem. It works for books.
  3. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    I watched the Lenard video and holy shit it got derailed. I mean the whole discussion about is it legally "fraud" or not is like "who cares, is it legal?" and the last part about art work. Games are not art for quite a while now, imo. It's a product and yes, it must be under consumer protection laws even if restricts "artists". Being an artist is not a free pass on anything. But the main part I get from what he said is basically that if there is a company that invented a flying car that works on a very special fuel (totally justified) that only them can produce and then after some period stops producing that fuel because they've got better car that requires different fuel (again totally justified) and everyone got that better car and it's just no longer viable to produce old fuel - they can totally do that. Yes, your old car will be a brick, because there is no old fuel left, but you are not entitled to it. You are entitled to some period of having a fully working car after purchase, but once they've stopped selling old cars they may shutdown the fuel production given that period have passed since the last car was sold. What you saying basically is that they should be legally forced to either transfer fuel production technology to another company that would produce old fuel in lesser quantities to still be viable, or release that technology and any patents to the public domain, or at least publish the fundamental principles so everyone else can have a chance at figuring it out. What I am saying that in that "at least" case they also have to remove patents. Because recreating the fuel with violate their patents and you can't make a law that expects that as reasonable outcome. IMO, of course. You probably talked to non-game developers? I can tell you that if you would ask Wargaming to release just the network communication documentation on WoWS or WoT - they don't have it and it will take quite a while to write it. Because it's a mess. Game development is a mess. Hell, even at Yandex most internal protocols were coded without any documentation or even design or even sometimes version checks. What you call "packet description" is not "packet" as in TCP/IP packet or "game packet". It's "message". One packet contain many messages and each message contain different data. See the huge post I've made above. Basically if you think that reverse is allowed, then just removing the encryption would be enough. If it's not, then nothing short of complete protocol documentation with all the messages and communication quirks will be enough. And if we are talking about "how hard it will be" - figuring out the overall packet structure from dumps is easy-ish, figuring out messages is much harder and will require a much bigger data dump to analyze. Figuring out quirks is so-so - client may just crash, it's simple to notice, may be hard to understand why (especially if you are not allowed to reverse). Or it may desync. If a game that may desync just by itself, because it's poorly written - that would be a hell to find out. No, I believe you understand it wrong. It's only allowed to circumvent the DRM (including online DRM) AND it's for museums and such. Preservation does not imply individual play, from what I can get. Also what Lenard was saying (and it was quite painful to watch tbh, because clearly both of you have not enough technical expertise on the topic, so your questions and his responses were all over the place and never actually covered the actual problem core) - basically if the only thing you are making is the server code and just it - then maybe it's legal (though I am still not convinced you are free to reverse the client to do so), but if you are also producing anything else (any asset) - that is covered by copyright and you can't do that. That's what I get from there - i.e. if you have say a Quake style server that basically just relays the messages everywhere and does some simple movement/shooting logic - it's fine. But if it's say Destiny server that have quest definitions only on the server (while all the dialogs, cutscenes, etc are on the client) - if you reproduce them, you actually infringing their copyright on those quests - even if you've never seen the actual server data (and if you not copy them you probably making derivative work, which is also forbidden by the license). At least in Russian law you can't much such a law as a law. Basically you need a goal of the law. Goal of the law is - games have a chance of being restored by reasonable effort. Sanity check: do conditions and restrictions proposed by the law reach that goal? No - because you can't consider illegal actions being taken as part of restoration process - so unless you are ruling party or just a nice guy or managed to bundle it with some other law that everyone want - that law won't make it through. Now what Lenard says is that you can make it a certification mark. If you can hype-up some certification mark (which is kinda hard/impossible, but let's assume it is) or provide some incentive in using it - say persuade some countries to give tax cuts on sales of objects with that mark - you may demand practically anything as part of certification. Including such gray area stuff as just publishing docs "for research" while understanding in full that it will he used to create possibly illegal works. The only problem is - I think you'll have hard times proposing anyone to create incentive for using that mark with such unclear goals. Maybe you want to shoot further. I don't really understand that obsession with half-backed minimal effort solution - it's not really working for 99% of games simply because there will be not enough people caring about them to actually create the emulator. Nor it's any different for developers from just freaking releasing the server if they have it. If they don't (i.e. server is very complex or something), then they will circumvent your restrictions anyway by fancy license wording. They won't bother with providing documentation, because even if it's 2 days, it's still longer than 1 day needed to change text on a site (probably copy-paste from someone else) saying "by pressing that button you agree with EULA and your license is renewed by 6 month" From what I get from there - under US law (well, actually it's the same in Russian law) you are allowed to cheat people if you tell them in advance that you are going to cheat them. Basically if you are starting a financial pyramid and telling everyone applying that it is a financial pyramid and it will collapse at some point - that's not a fraud. It's just you being an asshole and using people stupidity. On other hand - some other laws may forbid financial pyramids anyway, no matter what, just because they protect people from being stupid. Like forbidding gambling. So you can have a consumer-protection law that will say "you are not allowed to do X" and in that case you'll face penalties steaming from that law if you do X, but most probably it's going to be some sort of economical punishment - a fine, or something like that. And some companies may decide to just bite the bullet and pay the fine and ignore the law and do X anyway (while telling everyone that they do X, so it's not fraud).
  4. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    The thing is - it will be almost practically impossible to clean room reverse a sufficiently complex game protocol. It would take a lot of data to disassemble and there will be lots of trial and error, etc. I don't see how it's much better than having encryption. Of course, if they give you a license to reverse, it's legal to reverse. But they will never do that. It's basically opensourcing a big part of the game and if they use say voip - which is usually third-party - they can't do that as they will be limited by voip software license. Same goes with any game using say unity - they just can't give you permit to do so, as they don't own all rights to all code. 1. Giving encryption keys (it's easy easier than disabling and don't compromise anything) is just ctrl-c/v. No effort. 2. Protocol documentation - depending on how bad the code is it will take from a week to a month to write it. Almost never they will have it outright. The documentation will have mistakes. 3. Disabling drm, anti-cheat and whatnot is basically publishing developer build. So no effort. So yeah, it's basically just protocol docs and if you assume cooperative behavior they can just publish dev build with cheats, console, logs and various debugging features that would make writing the server emulator a lot easier. It won't take any effort from them either, as it's again just developer build. But I am still not convinced that it may work legally. I know that WG before they bought BigWorld would not be able to allow you reverse engineering, as for half of pre-release development of wows we didn't have full server code and were not allowed to reverse it. Also it doesn't take "reconstruction, not repair" issue into account, unless you will also demand developers to allow derivative works as part of this minimal effort.
  5. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    In my understanding it's like cracks. Making them is illegal (unless you are a museum and yada yada), but once you have them - use of them for own use is not illegal. Though yeah, it needs some more knowledgeable input. Most modern mmos are heavily data driven. Meaning you can take that server executable, put different data and boom - you got new mmo. And it will be hard to prove that they are using your server software, unless you start specifically putting some effort in ensuring that. It's not security risk - at least I don't see any immediate problem in that, - but it's definitely commercial risk, regardless if that server code is shared or not.
  6. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    First of all, I am not a lawyer, I am a programmer. I can speak of what companies I worked for would or won't do. I am also not even US citizen. Yet, from the very link you've posted it's imo clear as day that no, it is not. Not only original proposal was not adapted in full, even it wasn't proposing outright reverse engineering for everyone. I.e. it's extension of "cracks are allowed for preservation" case for online only drm. That case does not allow you to reverse the network protocol or the whole game - just enough to shut down the check. (emphasis mine). Basically museums are allowed to possess game servers of they've been given to them. And only museums. And they can't allow access beyond physical bounds of the institution. No reverse engineering. More on that below Case in point. Recreation is explicitly not allowed as it would be derivative work and not original. Still limited to museums and their workers. I think the museum/foundation approach may have some merit though - developers would be a lot more happy to transfer software as is in hands of some established institution, especially if they would be able to take it back if they'll decide to reestablish the game themselves, than just release it into the wild. But from what I read there museums won't be able to provide access to wide public. Nor that would be sustainable. In non US law I know about - Russian law - reversing is forbidden. Period. No one cares of course - it's Russia after all - you won't be punished for doing so, but as far as law concerned - you aren't allowed to do it. So as I've said you better pick your battles - this is not the battle you want be part of, imo. Also, you may want to contact people who work /were working on games you are interested in and ask how much time it will take to make a releasable package. Talk to engineers, not ceos - they may just give you at least a rough estimate, maybe under anonymity. Use journalists if your authority is not enough. Guys like that kotaku editor posting researches on game messups sounds like someone who may get on board and he is quite popular in the industry, a lot of people will talk to him. Also maybe you want to contact people like that eff for legal advice. After all that's the battle they are fighting for quite a while.
  7. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    Ok, it's going to be a long one. I will go slightly out of order with your questions, just to make sure it's coherent[-ish] Before all, I should clear some possible misunderstanding here. You are talking about legal enforcement, not some "gentlemen agreement" between fans and developers. And that means couple things: Any proposed "minimal effort" should be enough so fans can "repair" the game legally. You can't make/interpret a law in such meaning that to repair the game an owner needs to break another law. Reverse-engineering is illegal and it holds in courts. So all those ideas "just give us encryption keys and we'll do the rest" imply reverse-engineering of the client, which won't hold in a court. License you get might be perpetual, but it's limited. It does not allow you to reverse-engineer the game. And developers will fight to the death against that - a loophole that will allow players to legally reverse-engineer the game is practically open-sourcing the code. And there will be legal problems with third-party. You really don't want to go that direction - it's a whole new battle on top of the battle you already subscribed for. This battle is fought by open-source/information freedom activists for quite some time already. And just a well, such a "minimal effort" should be enough so fans can "repair" the game exactly. Again, many of existing game emulators are "derived works" at best. And this is a copyright problem. And it will fail at court. Same thing - developers who ok with derived works are usually not the part of the problem at hand. This is another battle you don't to be a part of - a battle of modding community. With that in mind, you need a bit more than the guy you talked about proposes. How much depends on a game. But in total, if taken all together, that would be: Protocol specification and communication logic All the server-side data and game logic (at least in forms of design) Now in detail about both Protocol specification and communication Game client-server communication (again, depends on the game) may be broken into three layers Low-level. This is usually some sort of "Robust UDP" implementation for PC/Console games or some sort of REST/REST-alike http-based protocol. This is just a definition of overall structures and logic how packets are being resent if lost, acked, etc. It usually also includes a definition on how things are being packed - server usually sends a single "packet" (as defined by the protocol - it might be many UDP packets) to the client containing all the data gathered through the server tick at the end of the tick. In some cases there could be some bandwidth limitation with protocol logic throwing out data that is considered less useful, there could be definition of data compression mechanics - like compressing position of a far-away entity from float3 (12 bytes) to single float (4 bytes) with loss of precision. But in either case there is nothing specific to the game - it's just a set of rules and algorithms that are usually data-driven in some sort. In the most simplistic variants it would be quite trivial, in more stream-alike protocols it would be quite complex. This is the easiest part - it's usually implemented via some sort of open-source third-party library, or not really anything "secret" or special. Aside of fear of embarrassment there is little preventing developers from even open-sourcing any in-house implementations. In fact most big publishers like EA already did that. Plus if it's some sort of crappy in-house implementation, it will most probably be of "simple" kind and even (which is quite probably) there is zero documentation, writing such documentation (if open-sourcing is unfeasible) won't take a lot of time. Game core layer. This is definition of the messages - commands that client and server send to each other depicting certain events or actions required. Now how it's defined may vary wildly depending on low-level protocol, but usually it's some sort of ID for the message and message payload that is defined as set of fields. If low-level protocol does not define how fields are being packed, it might also include some sort of package mechanism that could be quite complex (something like google protobuf). Some commands could be reliable, others are not - say MoveTo could be unreliable, i.e. if the package holding it was lost, it won't be resent in the next package. The reliability mechanism is defined by low-level protocol, but which messages or even individual fields are reliable, which fields are compressed in which way is defined by a message specification. Examples of such commands would be: {CreateCharacter, characterId, templateId, position, whatever else args...}, {MoveTo, characterId, position, ...}. For older games that would be enough, because that's practically how server and client would talk to each other and notify about everything happening. For newer games there is a next layer. But for older games it might not be as easy as just defining a protocol or copying documentation (ha-ha-ha, documentation, ha) Most games I've seen and worked on would have their messages being constructed with code like that And I can 100% guarantee there is no documentation. Structure definitions/protobuf specifications is your best bet, but what inside those fields and what they are and where they are being written and how - that's something very non-trivial usually. Your source probably comes from some business software background if he thinks there will be documentation, because 10 people ask. In most cases there will be 1 person who even touches that code and when it breaks everyone are seeking this guy. When Bungie left MS, Halo was given to new studio named 539 or something like that. I have a friend working for them - they have no idea how network works. If they'll need to publish something like that (they aren't gaas though) - it would be close to "rewrite everything network from scratch". Yes, it is that bad. So this is going to be a problem, especially for games with lots of legacy. In some cases, like mentioned above Halo where they've basically lost all knowledge of that codebase - that may take months to re-construct the lost information AND it will take more months of actual support of fan team doing the emulator, because 146% you'll have mistakes while trying to reconstruct the protocol. Communication logic. This is how the data in the messages are being interpreted by the client and compiled by the server. For modern games that have significant use of ECS paradigm, network communication is usually no event/command-based, but model-based. Basically in most cases server-to-client communication consists of one major message "Update" that sends a data diff essentially. And while it sounds even easier than above, it's not. Because in addition to the diff format itself, now you also need specification of the data that diff is being applied to - component specifications. And if they have good component design, it would be easy-ish - it's just structures. But I rarely seen good component design. In some of the worst cases that would be actual game-logic classes with all the quirks and non-network-related data. Extracting just network related information from that is possible - but with same caveat as in 2. - it will take additional active support time, because you'll surely make mistakes here. And no, no documentation either. In addition to newer games and ECS, even for older games there are various quirks like "character creation flow" (if you'll send inventory items before inventory itself, client will crash), deterministic algorithms (where data is assumed to be changed in exactly same way on both client and server, so you don't need to sync it as regularly - like time ticks, for instance) and other bits and bytes here. And no, really, there is no documentation for that either. And there will be shitload of places that no one even knows about. So, to summarize - for a game with anywhere complex network communication, writing down docs that would be enough to build a working server emulator without resorting to client reverse-engineering may easily amount to rewriting the server from scratch writing documentation while doing so, because it might be the only way to ensure that documentation you'll publish will actually work. And as we talk about law enforcement - if you publish something that doesn't work, then you might be sued for that and get fined. Most game network programmers when asked to define how the network works exactly and without mistakes so someone without their knowledge and access to the codebase can replicate the server - they'll just leave via the window. I worked at Wargaming on their games (World of *) and I can tell you - for them it will be nigh impossible. They won't even try All the server-side data and game logic (at least in forms of design) So to create an exact copy you need to know how it works. And MMOs, especially big open-world ones, tend to have quite a significant amount of logic and data stored on the server. Speaking of projects I know about - Wargming's Wo* games are quite opposite of the scheme you've shown in the video. They have most of the logic and data in a server. Not on the client. And any games working on BigWorld, Spacial OS. Games like upcoming Star Citizen. Well, practically any big MMO, especially without instances or with many people in an instance will have that problem. Client would have 3d models, textures, materials and some movement logic, but that's it. Most of actual game will be on a server. So not only to "repair" the game fan team will have to basically write the whole game from scratch, they will also need an exact specification on how it worked gameplay-wise, because what players see in client might be a result of few complex mechanics working together behind the scenes. And all the data as well - all the balancing, item definitions, treasure tables, spawning formulas and whatnot. Again, for games like Destiny, which is basically p2p Halo with small authoritative server controlling spawns and item generation, it will be quite trivial. For them it will be easier to just publish the server executables though. For games like Revelation (I think? It's using BigWorld iirc) or Wargaming's games - yeah. You can forget about it. They won't open the code - because that will allow anyone do the same game without any effort, nor they will be able to define how the game works, because that's literally "write documentation about the whole game". No one knows how it works. Even if there are some design documentation it usually not up-to-date or complete. Realistic (IMO) scenario We must consider any effort required from a developer to comply with the law against effort required to bypass the law. Bypassing the law could easily be done by making the license non-perpetual. Say 4 month-long with automatic renewal each time you login. So they will have to announce 4 month in advance before shutting down servers that licenses are no longer automatically renewed and that's it. So for: Games with significant authoritative server (i.e. where most of game logic is on the server) that do not have some sort of private server as part of the package (like Star Citizen intend) - it's a lost battle. Either will have to publish too much (open-source) and that will create competition for them, or they will have to basically work alongside with the fan team providing them with support, explaining what is what and how it's done. Refund is also out of the question - they just don't have so much money, they've eaten all the money they've got. Epic only able to do that, because Paragon was never popular. WoT goes into that category Games with lots of legacy, put on support into other's hands like Halo (assuming they would go gaas) - huge effort needed, most probably no one will do that. Games like Battlefield, Lawbreakers, etc - session-based shooters with what seems to be just a dedicated server running on a cloud, but most logic on a client - yes, it will be possible, but usually those games are killed if no one plays them (low community interest - no one will actually build the server) or are killed to avoid internal competition - here there will be either no one to ask from (company goes bankrupt) or they will avoid compliance because that's the whole point of killing the game - go buy new Battlefield! So the only realistic variant is to have companies building new games from scratch or with active codebase building EOL into their games, usually in forms of patching out the server dependency (possible for games like Sim City, the RTS you've once shown on Game Dungeon, Starcraft 2, etc - where online-only is mostly just DRM feature). Maybe, if we are very lucky, "fake" MMOs like Destiny or Anthem. They probably even have private servers running inside the company already, so it won't be much of a problem for them to release it. It's simple actually. Say in WoT case except for being written in Python (hence they can't just release the server executable - it will be disassembled in no time) and having overly complex engine for the their use-case that can't be made easier (BigWorld is meant for big MMOs) - nothing really prevents them from having a dedicated server running locally. Example of that would be console version of WoT which is written on different engine and developers made a Windows-running small version of the server (and their logic is written in C++), which can be made public no problem. Another good example is Star Citizen - they plan on releasing single-player to be-played-offline version of the game and they regularly show developers running local servers on their machines. This may change before the release (Elite: Dangerous was promising the same, but then bailed), but it's clear that in most cases during development programmers create some sort of dedicated servers anyway. If forced by law, they can just make those servers more production quality, limit them to number of players so they won't compete with any possible new version and that's it. So in case of MMO, I don't think it will add much of an effort if considered from the very beginning and designed around. Even dedicated server won't be done from the get-go, I think in 2-4 month time, unless there are significant design issues (which is what "consider from the very beginning" part should ideally prevent) - it will be possible to make "private" server package that will be runnable by the players. This is for MMOs, for arena shooters it will easily be "free". For other games - again, if considered and checked from the beginning, any connection to outside services could be designed to be stabbable/compiled without, so it won't take significant time or effort as well. So technologically, if we consider a brand new game on a brand new code - it will be half-year in worst case, "free" in best case. A month on average case I think. But again - shooters will be more ok with that, MMOs will be very reluctant, because it will allow others to create similar mmos.
  8. NightNord

    "Games as a service" is fraud.

    Just playing a devils advocate here: companies can just create new shell entities to run the game and shutdown the whole controlling entity on game termination. No one to sue - no liability. The point is - I really interested WHY companies are going with game-as-a-service. As you've correctly mentioned - it's a lot harder and actually maintaining the game servers cost money. So while it generates more money, it's also more risky and a bigger investment. Yet publishers seem to be throwing money at very weird projects, that would be quite risky even under normal model. Thing is - if that's just piracy thing or microtransactions, then it would be not so (relatively) hard to "persuade" (using a strong argument of legal gun and a nice word) companies to stop ensure end-of-life plans. But if they have some other reasons - they may fight it to death. And about that "minimal plan". I am a game engine programmer, so I know quite a bit about it. It's not that easy - there are third-party libs everyone are using that bound with license to the product. You can't just "release" the server in many cases - it's tied to client (code share) that uses those third-party libs, it's tied to platforms and SDKs that are usually under NDA. So they have following options: 1. Release source code for the game/server side without third-party. In most codebases I've seen that would be a gigantic work (because most game codebases are a mess). Plus server side software is usually where know-how of a game is. Also depends if they are using some sort of commercial engine - their license may just well forbid it. 2. Release server executable - that really depends on the game. For MMOs that's practically impossible, as MMO server is a conglomerate of executables and services with special configuration, usually heavily tied to the platform it runs on. So basically they will have to provide a hell lot of stuff that will only be able to be run by someone who have enough money to run it on commercial cloud platform. I.e. they will just give it to their competitors. 3. Release game server assets and data and provide information about protocols and stuff. Same thing - most codebases are a mess and such information will usually show much of a mess it is. No one likes to be a laughing stock, plus yes - it may help "hackers" against other games with same tech. Which again may run into legal issues if they are using some third-party software to implement those algorithms. 4. Provide data and means to reverse-engineer everything else - legal problems against third-party. Plus it's like giving everyone a free pass on reverse-engineering their products. Legal teams will NEVER approve something like that. Plus I do believe that in some cases games are being shut-down to avoid competition with a new game. Which kinda kills the purpose if you release it afterwards so people can play the game you were supposed to kill. Not all killed games are like that, of course, but companies will fight against any law that will forbid them doing that. In short - while for some games (say Destiny) releasing their servers is trivial and won't take much effort, for others that will basically amount of giving up very expensive tech for free that can be used to build similar games in outside jurisdictions (i.e. China). So I think it would be nice to distill down use-cases and reasons and try to find some compromise. I think in general large scale open-world MMOs with centralized server are most probably won't be able/willing to provide end of life solutions. They will just avoid legal trouble by moving into other jurisdicions, shell companies and whatnot. Games that are basically single-player with additional multiplayer made online-only (such as Destiny, which is actually p2p with very little on the server, or many of online-only games like Sim City, Diablo 3) - those can be forced to develop such new games with end-of-life in mind. Existing games are probably lost. So it really goes on how much of technology and know-how a game company will have to forfeit to implement end-of-life. It's like enough to build a similar game on similar commercial scale - they will never do that.
  9. NightNord

    Temporary setbacks

    Ross walks in the room, lights are off and there is a dark hooded silhouette against the window. It's dark outside and raining. In the distance one can hear thunder. "So... You thought you can just run?.. You thought you can hide?.. YOU THOUGHT WRONG!". With those words shadow turns and sudden lighting lights up a huge mold mushroom of a face. Mold runs towards and jumps onto Ross. Fade out. From now on all videos are going to be made by mold and Ross will start advocating for killing games, renaming his initiative into "Undead Game News"
  10. NightNord

    ROSS'S GAME DUNGEON: REQUITAL

    Wolfhound is the best-selling fantasy book series written by very popular author back in 90s. Movie is a liberal interpretation of first book plot (the ending and main premise of the movie is completely off and contradict the book and the book character). This game seems to be based on the book a lot more, but also a liberal interpretation. But yeah, Akella aren't exactly known for producing good games.
  11. NightNord

    ALL VIDEOS ON HOLD

    Oh darn it. Didn't want to start a political discussion when I've mentioned Chimea. But hey, that shows that probably the idea of "most Ross fan-base" is from USA isn't that true, if you can drop a name and cause a Eastern-European political flamewar Anyway, the point was - get out of the euro-zone and prices will drop. And that in general means moving East. Though even in Europe you can probably get prices cheaper than Poland (probably Bulgaria? Romania?), but not much and there are going to be other problems. Considering safety and such, most of smaller ex-USSR republics aren't very safe and/or good places to live. Maybe Belarus, but there will be problems for a foreigner as they don't really have embassies anywhere. Ukraine was a good option until recently, but due to economical shenanigans with Russia it's way too unpredictable in terms of living standards and such. And considering that Ross' wife is Polish western and central Ukraine is kinda dangerous. And Eastern is probably way too close to a war zone. For other East countries - that's various asian countries, but they are usually actually quite expensive due to land shortage. So it's kinda only Russia that is left, which is not surprising considering that it takes like most of the "to the east of Europe" There are lots of good/cheap places to live in Russia, Chimea or Krasnodar region (Novorossiysk, Sochi is probably way too expensive) are the best in terms of climate. I wouldn't be too concerned about safety in Chimea, if there will be war in Chimea, there will be war everywhere on the world (considering that it's strategic point for Russia), so it doesn't really matter. With the bridge opening this weak prices should drop and they will drop in few years after railroad bridge will open. On other hand - prices for rent will raise. But in any case, that was just a "you should probably think about it" suggestion.
  12. NightNord

    ALL VIDEOS ON HOLD

    Ross, you should be thinking moving east, not west. Poland is still eurozone, so it's like at least twice expensive than say Serbia. With your normal monthly income from donations page (I would assume that to be around 2k, though I am not really watching it) you may rent a three-story 250m^2 house in Crimea (ok, that probably will take all of your income, sure, but you probably don't need that big of a house). I guess that would solve your concerns about neighbors. Also, better climate. There are tons of options all around the world and with income that doesn't really depend on your location, wherever it's cheaper and have good internet access - is the best
  13. NightNord

    Videochat December 2016

    Are you going to play Supreme Commander or Supreme Commander FA campaign? FA campaign is a bit harder, but overall both are pretty easy even on hard if you ever played ranked multiplayer and know when things gonna trigger.
  14. NightNord

    ROSS'S GAME DUNGEON: DEUS EX - HUMAN REVOLUTION

    Does it applies to random paramilitary corporate security guys as well? I'm just curious. No, it didn't. I'd just say that it's a good game (and I think we're an agreement here too), but it's story is flawed for different (or, in your case, additional) reasons. Not (only) because it isn't true to the original IP, but because it's not true to the original message. And, BTW, I've just finished DX: MD and I may say a few things about it (no spoilers): 1. It's not yellow 2. It's story arc style has a lot common with The Rise of Tomb Rider (binary good/bad characters, west vs. east (west is good, obviously)) 3. It pushes the line of "good elite" vs "bad elite" even further, also pointing out that in "good elite" "elite" is being the main word. Overall the story has a tint of schizophrenia as it tries to mock things and practices it's using. And while it has a very slight scent of various philosophical questions and things, overall it what you can expect from a modern blackbuster like CoD or Battlefield with a slight mix-in of conspiracy theories. It has also a thing of a bad detective - you, the player, are shown all the main bad guys from the very beginning. ----- BTW, on a different topic - oil shortage. Oil shortage problem isn't a exactly a problem. You see - 90% of transport is works on oil, right, but it doesn't mean it can't work on something else, if there gonna be no oil. And oil is not going to just end up instantly - once oil production will go below consumption (and that's not the case right now by a far value) prices will go up and people will be forced to seek another fuel sources. And they do exist already, along with technologies. The most obvious replacement is a natural gas - propane or methane. There are mass-produced cars that already come with hybrid oil-gas engines. Most of Russian municipal and commercial mass-transportation and heavy duty vehicles are already using propane for a fuel (most of cars could be converted to use propane - so it's not like you need to buy a new car). Natural gas is obviously isn't much different from oil - it's just pushing the problem further away. But we have more technologies! You see, the problem is - there is no fuel/energy-storage with mass-to-energy ratio better than oil and gas AND is easily obtainable. We have hydrogen fuel cells and pretty much a production ready technologies - we may start producing hydrogen-running engines in a year or so. But you can't "harvest" hydrogen, you need to produce it by spending electricity. And due to imperfections in the process you gonna spend more energy producing the hydrogen than you may later extract from it. Compare that to the whole oil situation, when you spend like $10 to extract a barrel of oil and then sell it for $60. Who's gonna replace 600%+ profits with something that will give you like 5-10% profits (producing and selling fuel cells). And yes - access to oil fields is restricted, while hydrogen might be produced by anyone with access to the right technology, water and electricity. Another possible solution are advancements in energy storage designs - better accumulators. If you can charge the thing and then extract approximately the same amount of energy out of it (unlike fuel cells), it can hold a lot of energy (better mass-to-energy ratio) and can be used for a few years without replacement - suddenly it doesn't matter how you get the energy - it all the same. Shortage of one energy source will be substituted by an another. And oil or gas is not gonna end instantly - it will take many years of extraction decline to really spend it all. During that time other sources and technologies will gradually replace the failing market and that it. So no economical tragedy for the whole world. But a shift from oil to something else will really tip of all existing power balances. So it may simply end up in war, but not for oil, but for who will control the new power source, whatever it will be
  15. NightNord

    ROSS'S GAME DUNGEON: DEUS EX - HUMAN REVOLUTION

    Oh, well. Ross, I must admit, I'm kinda disappointed. When you've mentioned all this politics stuff in the first Deus Ex game dungeon, I was like "yes, finally someone who can see the real thing behind all this!". I was actually expecting you to pitch on a real DX:HR flaw. But instead you've spend like 20 discussing weird clothing and body language. What? Just to put you into my perspective, I'm going to counter a few of your points. Not to defend the game, but rather to show that it's more like a perspective thing. You view the game as a game of Deus Ex series. I view it as a deus ex game. I'm going to put my arguments into spoilers, just to keep it short and separated and also because that's not the point. Clothing, body language, architecture and 'realism' - DX:HR is a way symbolized game, like a theater. And for good reasons. Police rection: the developer is Canadian. All-Judge-Dread kind of police is the american thing only. For the rest of the world police reaction is just right if not "weak". (might be slightly offensive for patriotic US citizens ) Augmentations, "Cyborgs only", jobs - the main point of the game is in it's name "human revolution". You may replace cyborgs with anything else like mass gene modifications, immortality, space travel, whatever - the idea will be more or less the same. Endings: So I'd say it's a clear case - you've disliked the game for whatever reason in the first place and then you've just picking on things. Maybe that's because it's yellow? I don't know, I don't care. Anyway, in my pespective it's a very much a deus ex game. It has layers and the "third" layer has so much in it - from kinda current social divides, injustice, oppression to AI, transhumanism, philosophical and religions quesions - so it's easily on the same level as the original, if not more. And conspiracy theories made even more grounded and believable, yes. But is it a true "successor" as a game to original deus ex. No. And there is a thing - considering conspiracy theories it has almost the same message as the original, but subtly changed, which turns it upside down. Original game was raising questions about the system itself - if it's correct that some people decide for everyone, but deception and lies or if it's not. It shows you flaws of the system itself. DX: HR shows you flaws or particular instances of the system, but it rather advocates for the system. In DX there were corporations making evil things. In DX:HR there are BAD corporations doing evil things. There are BAD people who make evil things, but there are GOOD people, who do exactly the same thing - lies, deception, etc, but for the good cause. If anything, DX:HR advocates illumination. It just kinda says you - like you see, that's the bad illuminati and bad corporations. And our world isn't that bad, because we have good corporations and good illuminati! DX:HR advocates "leaders" and their "flock" system. You may even see how illuminati choices across the game are actually make more sense - you see abuse of augmentations, you see that lack of regulation lead to all kinds of crime, etc. And there is nothing bad in regulation. But you also see that people who propose these ideas are bad. So it essentially masquerading the bad idea behind the bad people, so you don't actually see why the idea is bad. And being pushed into idealistic or conservative views of Sarif and Hugh, you kind left with aftertaste that this idea would be good too if not... And the only sane option (do not lie and let people decide good or bad) is barricaded behind the suicide option, while there is absolutely no reason why it should be that way. DX:MD goes the same way (i.e. advertising "good corporations" and "good leaders") - it also a way more politicised and biased. TL;DR: DX:HR is a very much a deus ex game and as a game is easily the best one in series, but this time it's developed by Illuminati.
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