Horizon: Zero Done

As Seen On Twitter(tm) yesterday, I have finally finished Horizon: Zero Dawn. I had played it day-one on the PS4 but as with almost anything console I struggled with the situational interest. Fast forward several years, and the Epic Game Store had their “buy something get a $10 coupon” deal which, in conjunction with the Holiday sales, allowed me to pick up the PC version of the game for a whopping $15. And that’s with the “Frozen North” DLC.

So yes, I played it on “story” mode, because I valued the story above achievement, and let me tell you: right decision. HZD has earned a lot of public and private accolades, the most worthy I believe to be about it’s narrative. It’s a dark story wrapped up in a parcel of hope, but it threads between the two thanks to a very realized and beautiful world where humanity is not just surviving after an apocalypse, but is doing pretty well for itself despite several late-revealed plot points. There are dialog lines and concepts in the story that will continue haunt me going forward, but the outcome ties up all of the loose ends it had created, and of course creates one more at the 11th hour to pave the way for the upcoming Horizon: Forbidden West sequel.

I also last night learned that there’s going to be a mini-sequel, Horizon: Call of the Mountain, available for the PS5/PSVR2 and now I am sweating. I don’t want another console — which is good since they are still hard to find — and I don’t want to pay the close-to-$1000 I’d need to in order to secure a PS5 and PSVR2 set. I would, however, consider a Horizon game in VR to be jaw-dropping and anxiety-inducing in turn. The teaser showing the tallneck walking by would be like nothing I’ve ever experienced; the idea of turning around to see a sawtooth jumping AT ME would probably give me a heart attack.

Weirdest Crossover Ever?

It was brought to my attention that EVE Online is going to be having an event starting mid January. Normally this would be just another chiron-ticker-bit of info, except that the event is a crossover…with Doctor Who.

Wh…I don’t get it, and knowing gaming communities, I can only imagine the meltdown that has or is happening within the deepest trenches of the EVE community.

EVE is very much it’s own creature, having painted itself quite the interesting picture of lore; that’s not sarcasm, because I really like EVE’s in-game lore. I could not fathom how this game could ever possibly tie in with any other IP out there in the gaming space, nor could I really fathom how it could tie in to any non-gaming IP either since EVE’s plot is so dark and brutal and far away. On the other hand, Doctor Who, loved by millions and despised by just as many, a show which does not shy away from wearing it’s cheesy heart on its sleeve even when it’s trying to be taken seriously, is about as anti-EVE Online as a property can get.

Needless to say I have reinstalled EVE Online and have been getting back into that saddle. Supposedly this event is going to be open to all players regardless of time-spent in the game (although the Alpha-Omega divide might cause issues, as these things usually do), so I hope that I’ll get to see what this oddball event is about.

Sometime the World Ain’t Enough

In other news, I have once again signed up for a whole raft of things in a flurry of intent.

I am supposedly putting together a D&D campaign for friends. Originally I was just going to run an off-the-shelf adventure, but then I got the wild hair to set up my own. I don’t know if it’s old age or the ever increasing exposure to the tropiest narrative environments the world has ever seen, but I have found that my ability to string a plot together with relevant details, side-stories, and red herrings has significantly diminished. I can come up with broad strokes, but that would translate into about 10 minutes of game time, and those broad strokes would normally be about as off-the-shelf as an actual off-the-shelf module would have been.

My first attempt to break out of this trend was to make some maps! So I signed up with Inkarnate. This app is really good at creating world-scale maps, so if you’re looking to create a new continent (and who isn’t, amirite?), then I think that Inkarnate is probably a safe choice.

While Inkarnate is an excellent program that helped me a good deal, it wasn’t cutting the mustard so I went back to the behemoth that is World Anvil. World Anvil is like IKEA: it’s too goddamn easy to get lost in there and resign yourself to a life of eating meatballs and sleeping in dresser drawers on the showroom floor. There’s just too much stuff made readily available, and if you’re the kind of person who sees a textbox and has a sudden urge to fill it, then this app is going to overwhelm.

So I signed up with another map-making outfit, DungeonFog. I had used this app successfully to create some maps for our 1/4 year mission into Star Trek Adventures, and where Inkarnate excels at world-level maps, DungeonFog’s claim-to-fame is street-level maps. I needed to build buildings and rooms, and DungeonFog’s drag-and-define tools make that incredibly easy to do.

Now I have three tools and the same limited about of ideas that I had originally had. In truth, after having written some stuff down, I’ve had some “eureka” moments that have helped to fill in some of the smaller details in a greater story, but now I am wrestling with IDGAF-itis: sitting down to extend my story, everything about the process starts to irritate me. Considering how much time and money I’ve now thrown at creating “the process”, this adventure is quickly going off the rails.


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