Best Games - Metal Gear Solid V
Imagine you are in a forest. It’s a pleasant day. You hear birds chirping in the treetops above you. Enough shade to be cool, enough sunlight to be warm. There is a shallow creek in your path that you would like to cross. What do you do?
You could simply walk through the water counting on the heat of the day to dry out your shoes and socks. You could toss enough fist sized stones into the water to create a makeshift bridge. You could fell a nearby tree to span the creek. You could scrounge through the forest for enough deadfall to create a pathway over the water. You could walk until you found a path around the water, assuming it pooled at some point. You could leave and come back tomorrow with a truck or a bulldozer and bend the earth to your wants.
Any of these are possible because this is a real world situation that involves real world interactions. In the real world there are more options than there are constraints. Sometimes there are so many options that it seems like none of them are viable. Unlimited interactions, unlimited choice, unlimited solutions to unlimited problems.
Videogames are not like the real world. Videogames are extremely limited sets of systems that play off of one another. Pac-Man eats dots, ghosts eat Pac-Man, Pac-Man eats big dot, Pac-Man eats ghosts. Repeat. This limited interaction space is one of the things that makes videogames fun. When a player can explore the boundaries of the play experience quickly they can also attempt to optimize for better solutions quickly. Optimizing for better solutions to seemingly random problems is something that humans find fun, so getting there quickly is often a good thing.
What if, instead of creating a small interaction space to get to ‘fun’ quickly, you went huge. Like ridiculously huge. What if you layered systems on top of systems on top of systems and created so many potential solutions that it would be difficult to untangle them all or to determine which ones are viable. While you would never be able to create so many possible interactions that it rivaled the real world, what if you made a videogame that gave you a taste of that real world interaction space. Just enough to trick your brain into thinking that anything you attempt might be possible. What if enough of those attempts actually did turn out to be possible, not because they were specifically designed to be possible, but because there was no restriction against whatever weird garbage you tried. Now you have a different sort of fun. The type where you aren’t compelled to optimize, but to experiment. To improvise. To see how far you can push the simulation before you break it. To push the simulation with the intention of breaking it.
Pac-Man is a fun game. It’s fun for about 15 to 20 minutes. That’s enough time for a couple games usually. Maybe you play really well and you manage to extend one game for that entire 20 minutes. You leave the game satisfied and you can probably go back and play again in a day or two for another 20 minutes. That’s great. It’s a great way to design a game.
Metal Gear Solid V is the other type of game. It’s a game that you explore and experiment with. It’s a collection of systems so deep that you can run the same mission countless times (and you will) without ever exhausting the potential solution space. You can improvise or plan, use the systems or rail against them. You can play it whatever way you want for 100 hours and still never see every possible interaction.
Is Metal Gear Solid V the best game in the Metal Gear series? Yes. And No. I suppose it depends who you ask and when.
Is Metal Gear Solid V one of the best games? Absolutely.
I have had a 3D printer for about 5 years. This is it.
Right from the hop this thing never worked right. Turns out, after running the thing through all sorts of tests, the board that came with it had a counterfeit chip. Oh sure it could move around and print plastic bits, but it never really worked the way it was supposed to. I have had to recalibrate it several times and each time it would run well for months and then suddenly screw up a batch of prints. Then it would be time to recalibrate it again.
I mean look at this thing.
Honestly I would probably have let it go on like that. I mean it works well enough for what I use it for. Then about a month ago I spun it back up and it had no end of issues. Every print came out awful.
Eventually I figured out that this new problem wasn’t with the board at all, but the actual print hardware. The tube that the plastic ran through on the way to the heater was cracked. I figured If I needed some new hardware to get it working again, I should probably swap out that bad board at the same time.
Here is the new board.
The only problem is that the new board and the old board are nothing alike and I can’t mount the new one where the old one sat. So I had to make one of these.
There are all sorts of cases and enclosures for this new type of board, so I could have used one of those but really all I needed was something to keep the board up off the table and stable so I designed and printed (on my limp along printer) this base. In addition to that I made a stand for the new screen and control panel.
I’ll probably put these up on thingiverse in case anyone else is like me and only needs the bare minimum to hold these boards in place.
At present it’s about 80% of the way back to working. Here’s hoping it prints better and more consistently now.
I’ve been doing some work over here. I try to write on it at least once a week, but I haven’t been posting them up because most of what I have been writing doesn’t directly follow what is already there. I have some holes in the story. Great wide gaping ones. Ones that would cause the whole thing not make a lot of sense if you tried to read it. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a story that would be much fun if you randomly came across it.
Nearly every one of these over 400 posts have been written using Google Docs. It’s easy to use, convenient, and it autosaves to a server somewhere that I can access through whatever device I happen to have available. I type most of these on a computer but I have written them on phones and tablets. For whatever reason, I didn’t think that Google Docs was what I needed for more long term writing.
I have tried using a lot of open source and commercial writing apps and none of them really did what I needed. Most recently I have been using Wavemaker. In fact almost everything over there was written using Wavemaker. It works well. It’s multiplatform and it works on mobile devices, but it is just a little bit too fiddly for my purposes. I like it, I just don’t think I need it.
So in the last few days I have taken all my pages, my notes, my character bios, my outlines and backstory, and moved it all over to Google Docs. I use the outliner panel to break up chapters and scenes and I have everything else split up into different docs in a directory. Right now it feels fairly organized. I will probably clutter it all up soon enough, but for now it’s everything I need to keep writing without all of the “writing tools” that I never use.
Eventually I will stitch enough of the holes together so that I can start posting up chapters again, but until then I can at least feel comfortable writing and editing with whatever device I happen to have close at hand. Writing 3 sentences on my phone is better than not writing at all because I don’t have my laptop nearby or I don’t have my files synced up.