What Lego City Undercover Has Proven

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Lego City Undercover is an extremely lite GTA style open-world game for computers and consoles that proves it is possible to make a popular family friendly open world game that is still fun but without profanity, prostitution and excessive gore.  In addition to this, the main playable character in Lego City Undercover is a police officer.  Yep.  That’s right, you play as a cop (Chase McCain) and actually have lots of fun and adventure in the process.

There are many fans of GTA that will always defend what it is. They will say it would never be possible for a similar game to exist that could be as fun unless the profanity, gore and prostitution exists.  I have long believed however that this claim could be proven wrong if only the game existed.  (By the way, I believe it’s actually the profanity and prostitution that is being defended from GTA games rather than the exploration of the beautifully rendered game world.

Enter Lego City Undercover

Lego City Undercover nearly achieves the objective of “fun to explore”.  Note I said nearly.  The world of Lego City has adventure and extensive exploration including flying helicopters but remember, the vehicles, aircraft and characters are made of computer generated Legos.  There is no blood and gore here just broken Lego bricks which is fine for what it is.  The sandbox open world style of Lego City Undercover is fun to explore even for adults like me but imagine if this world was not Legos but was a living breathing world complete with realistic looking people and vehicles.  (Imagine if there was an actual train horn for the trains…. something Lego City Undercover is inexplicably missing.)

If Lego City Undercover wasn’t made with Legos

I believe the concept and story found within Lego City Undercover is brilliant and should be developed into a realistic looking game world.  Even though Lego City Undercover is amazingly fun as it is with Legos, a realistic looking version of it (including a working train horn for the trains) would create a whole new game for me (and others) to play and completely accomplished without prostitution, profanity and excessive gore.

Will we ever see a cleaner GTA looking kind of game?  As of this post, one game to keep your eyes on is Police 1013 currently in development.

 

 

 

 

 


The Crew and the state of open world games

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

My Review of Lego City Undercover on Steam

Police 10-13

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 


Image source

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Would you be interested in a family-friendly version of Grand Theft Auto?

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The question was once raised, “Would you be interested in a family friendly version of Grand Theft Auto?”

And my response is, absolutely.  By now, there are mods available which turn GTA games including GTA 5 into a similar family friendly gaming experience.  Yet I believe there is money to be made for any game company/developer who developed a GTA 5 style open world game without the extensive profanity, sex and violence (specifically against others) which GTA games are known for.  Essentially it could be GTA 5 lite.  This game would feature the same map, same natural environment including AI traffic but different gameplay options.  Police patrol? Yes. Catch bad guys? Yes.  Cause explosions? Sure.  Fly?  Drive?  Run? Yes, yes and yes.

In-game options are always good

Another option would be for Rockstar games to include a filter(s) within their games.  Simple on or off options for language.  Street dialogue profanity on/off.  Assassin’s creed Black Flag includes a similar option to remove blood.

We already see games which feature beautiful scenery but do not focus on swearing, sex and violence at every turn.  The CREW Wild Run is a perfect example.  However, The CREW only features a driving mode.  No running, walking, doing police patrols, exiting your car, etc.  In fact you can’t get out of your car at all.

Just Cause 2 is another example of a great open world game without sex and extensive swearing. In fact, the swearing can be virtually eliminated by lowering the volume for dialogue.  However, Just Cause 2 does not feature a modern American style city nor a map or vehicles like GTA 5.  Additionally, there is a lot of violence in Just Cause 2 (explosions and commando style shooting)—against the bad guys.

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption outside of missions doesn’t even feature all the sex, violence and swearing one can find in GTA 5.  Red Dead Redemption isn’t available for a PC nor does the map feature a modern American-like city.  In fact, RDR is a western game.

Modding GTA games

An open world game that virtually eliminates swearing, sex and allows the player assume the role of a good guy or as a cop will get my business.

At this point I will note the mod for GTA 5 called LSPDFR. LSPDFR is a police mod essentally allowing the player become a cop in the GTA 5 world.   The trouble with mod’s is how they cause GTA games to crash.  In the meantime, I will be waiting for a permanent solution to LSPDFR or even the family friendly mod for GTA 5.  Is Police 10-13 going to be that game?

 

Would you like to see a GTA 5 family friendly version or similar?


The Crew and the state of open world games

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

Police 10-13

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 


Image source

Third-Person Open-World Games Miss the Mark

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Currently third-person open-world (GTA style) games made specifically for the console (Xbox 360, PS4 Xbox One) are ruined by unnecessary content.   Two words come to mind when I think of games made by Rockstar and others:  Unnecessary Vulgarity.   Many of these games such as Red Dead Redemption, Saints Row, GTA may feature great looking graphics and capabilities but that is about where they end in the “great” department.  They all had the potential of becoming quality, high standard games but with so many unavoidable directed narrative missions, unnecessary profanity and vulgarities wrapped in sickening lewdness makes these games simply not worth buying (or playing).

Now I know many people disagree but I believe it’s because there exists no alternatives to the vulgarity that permeates these types of games.   In the end the millions of us who want a competitive alternative lose.

Now I have written previously about my displeasure at gaming companies that will not make a decent, exciting, action filled third-person open-world game geared toward adults like me (and teens).   For example, where’s the sandbox style third person game that does not revolve around profanity, lewd sex acts, nudity, blaspheming God’s name and murder at ever turn?     Of course people (including the developers) probably hate God and have no problem with the list I just mentioned because that is precisely who the developers target.   But what about us who actually care about what God thinks?  What about us who enjoying gaming and challenges but actually care about true justice and doing the right thing?

Let me be clear, I believe gaming should be fun, exciting and action filled.   The bad guys should lose and the good guys should win.   The innocent should be protected and the police praised.   (There is too much of the bad guys winning in real life I don’t need more.)   It’s time for a game company to make a truly quality, visually stunning third-person, action-filled sandbox game that is actually open to explore.    My kind of game would be truly open-world as the name implies.  The map would be huge and there would be no mandatory missions with endless cut-scenes wrapped in a story just to “complete” the game.   A true game of exploration would mean the replayability would be a first.   It’s time for such a visually stunning game to be made that features explosions, driving, trains, planes, cars, helicopters, horse riding, killing the bad guys, stunts, free exploration and action, without unnecessary vulgarities or nudity.   If I was a game company this is what I would do and it would not only be popular but a big seller too.

 

Related Interest

Police 10-13 looks promising

Nearly Perfect Open-World Game

Raising the Bar in Gaming

FullyFreeFilms.com

 

 

Image source

The Nearly Perfect Open-World Game

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Open-World Games Could Be Fun, If…

I have owned an Xbox 360 for a few years now but haven’t ever played an open-world game on it.  Now if you aren’t familiar, an open-world game allows the player (or players) to explore at will a large mapped out area within the game.  Missions and Challenges are usually spread throughout the map area for the player to discover.   It’s true, open world games look fun to me from a limited time playing GTA 4 with a police mod called LCPDFR but most of my knowledge about open-world games come from others—other people playing them on YouTube.    Now you may be wondering, why haven’t actually played much with these type of games if am so interested.  I mean really, it’s 2016 and many open-world games have already been released.

I don’t play much with this style of game is because well, I am a person with a higher standard.   I am an adult who enjoys third person action games probably in the style of GTA (Grand Theft Auto) 4 and 5 or even Red Dead Redemption but in today’s world it is impossible to find this type of open-world sandbox style game that truly rises to my standard for gaming.

High Standard…Really?

What is my standard you ask?    It’s what would make a game decent to play.  Such a game would be one that doesn’t surround itself with gratuitous sex, unrelenting cursing and profanity all bathed in extreme violence.  However the game I am talking about doesn’t exist despite it being the type of game that should be made.

Now it’s true most hard-core gamers mock people like me who want to remove cussing, sex  and extreme violence from a game.  They say it’s made that way for adults not kids.  Well, I am an adult person who likes games that are fun but doesn’t enjoy hearing cursing and words or lyrics of a song that blaspheme God’s name pumped into my head simply while I drive a car or boat fast, jump into and out of planes (or helicopters) and do other cool stunts.   Is this really to hard to ask?  Apparently for the gaming industry it just might be.

Graphically Rich

Why not create a game so graphically rich as GTA 5 without profanity at nearly every turn?  Why can’t a game company make an exciting stunt filled open world game similar to Just Cause or GTA that involves driving cars, planes, boats and trains as the good guy without sex scenes and only blowing people up?

Modding

This brings me to modding.  There are mods for these types of games which do exactly what I have just mentioned such as removing or toning down the excessive violence, profanity, sex and will allow the player to play as a police officer (think LSPDFR).  However, these Mods will only work for the computer version of a game and must be added in before you start the game.   So my big question is, if a mod can be made to “fix” a game that meets or exceeds my high standard why can’t game companies make a game that already accomplishes this?

High Standard Sales

Grand Theft Auto 5 is a game from a criminal’s perspective and it did very well, sales-wise.    And yet I believe a game of similar style could sell even more copies if it was raised to meet my incredibly high standard for what a good quality game could look like.  And while I’m at it, where are the graphically rich games that allow a player to take on the role of cop and do things like pulling over speeding vehicles without always ramming them?

So let me ask you?   If you like playing games, would you play a console or computer game that gives you the option to do fun stunts, drive cars, boats, planes, and trains within as graphically stunning an open and real world environment as GTA 5 but you could play as good guy?

 

Recommended

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

Police 10-13

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 

 

Image source

5 Simple things I wish X-plane 10 would improve on

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I am a big fan of the X-plane 10 flight simulator.  However, there are many simple and complex features both visually and technically (such as ATC) that could be added to enhance X-plane 10.  Excellent airport addons and plugins are already available such as Real Terra Haze which can  greatly enhance ones playing experience in X-plane 10.    In this post I want to focus on 5 visual features that would enhance and do enhance its basic realism for the casual user.

  1.  Depth perception in X-plane 10 appears to be lacking especially in and around clouds.   In real life, when viewing an aircraft from the ground or from any exterior view, as it enters a cloud (s) the aircraft will disappear and emerge out the other side.  In X-plane 10 this does not occur but instead the aircraft is always kept in view despite it passing through clouds.  Not very realistic.
  2.  Contrails or vapor trails in X-plane 10 are not as visible and as bold as seen in real life.  In X-plane when viewing an aircraft from the ground in many cases vapor trails are not visible at all despite the aircraft altitude.  Contrails in X-plane 10 should be enhanced, brightened and even lengthened depending on the humidity and air temperature as occurs in real life.
  3.  Sun reflection on water doesn’t appear realistic but instead appears to be much too defined.   Many times it appears large and washed out. cessna_172sp_2
  4.  Types of Clouds and their height.    Cloud types in X-plane 10.41 have been improved since X-plane 10 was first released.  However, the height of clouds and various types of storm clouds such as Cumulonimbus clouds need to be improved and/or added to the sim.   In my opinion most clouds in X-plane 10 are still without great definition and appear as heavy fog or stratus layers even during a storm and in the distance.
  5.  Realistic atmospheric haze is not part of X-plane 10 by default but adding it creates yet another layer of visual realism.   Real Terra Haze (RTH) in conjunction with the plugin FlyWithLuia creates realistic looking atmospheric blue haze when flying over mountains and varied terrain.  These plugins can be added to X-plane 10 to give that necessary bluish realism (among other enhancements) we wanna-be pilots so enjoy seeing.

What visual enhancements would you like to see in a default copy of X-plane 10?

 

Related interest:

X-plane 10

X-plane 10 ORG

FlyWithLua

Real Terra Haze

 

Images from personal copy of X-plane 10.41 flight simulator

Strings Attached: Revisiting Windows 10 Store and In-App Purchasing

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After a $240 mishap with in-app purchasing in the store located in Windows 10 (also in Windows 8.1)  I have been doing a little research into the monster that I believe is in-app purchasing.

It use to be many years ago (ok maybe only a few) that one could go to a favorite store in town to purchase a complete game for a computer for around $40-$50, take it home and have fun with it, end of story.    Today we find gaming is changing in many ways.  Not only are younger and younger kids getting involved, it is becoming easier and easier to access them.   When we talk about in-app purchasing, it basically means that within the app store there are purchases to be had within games and apps themselves.  Usually these games are free or are available up front for very low-cost.   However, these games and apps come with what I call, “strings attached”  and allow the game or app to be unlocked a little bit by little bit for a small charge (usually $2-$4 and sometimes even $$50-$99 and more).   Perhaps two dollars doesn’t seem like much for a game but like I said there are strings attached.  What can happen is, that in order to advance within the game one must put forward the $2 and to advance to another level or unlock more features another $2 must be charged and so on.  Now imagine if a person did this for more than one game or app.  It can add up, especially if the purchase is $100 and more than once.  Now imagine if your kids or grand-kids had their own computer or tablet complete with Windows 10 and did this purchasing for you–over and over without you aware of it.    Let me hope you are aware of the potential for this to occur (even for adults) so it doesn’t happen.  But if you do know what your kids are doing, even then it is sometimes difficult to detect what is or isn’t a in-app purchase until after it has been authorized.   This where I think it would be nice to be able to disable them completely with ease.

Now, on an iPad or iPhone it is quite simple to control in-app purchasing.  It’s simply a matter of enabling or disabling in-app purchasing restrictions.  Yes Apple, and most smart phones have a toggle switch to do this.   So why does it appear this feature is missing on a Windows computer?  The short answer is, I don’t really know but it’s hard not to think money or a deal with the app developers may be involved.  Or perhaps it’s just a giant oversight that nobody has yet to discover except me.  I doubt it.   Whatever the reason, besides banning your kids from using a Windows computer (specifically Windows 10) or from using a Windows 10 tablet you may wonder how to prevent this inadvertent in-app purchasing.

The only way I know how is to completely remove a payment option from within a Microsoft account you have linked to the store.  It will be necessary to be sure payment options are removed and added whenever a purchase is desired.   Other than that it gets a bit messy because I am not sure all “free” apps can be opened without a payment option in place.  Adding and removing a credit card for every situation seems less than user-friendly.   But another question I want to address is why does appear so easy for anyone to authorize the transactions of in-app purchases in the first place?

I believe the answer to this is actually quite obvious.   First, we know in-app purchases are put in place by developers to make money but at what cost to the consumer?   In-app purchasing is a trap waiting to catch unsuspecting kids (and adults).   Their goal is to not only catch us but to catch lots of us.  Unfortunately, for we consumers it is a developer’s dream that we have allowed it this way because overall this seems to be what we want.   Therefore purchasing apps in a piece meal kinda way has become the norm for how we buy and will continue to buy apps.    Would you rather pay $50 for a program up front or play a game that says it’s free (with in-app purchases available).    In a society where people are driven to seek out instant gratification, many are choosing this way of purchasing which appears “free” until they find out later it’s not all true.

I believe Microsoft is partly to blame–at least for the time being.  I will tell you why I believe so in a minute.   Of course, free apps with in-app purchasing capabilities isn’t all bad for the consumer.    I don’t think there is really anything wrong with trying out a game or app for “free” before you buy.  It’s great for the consumer and it can only help a developer’s reputation in the long run.   That is until we discover there are “hidden” or even hefty additional charges.  When a developer hides their charges, I would consider them more devious and money hungry than helpful.  In addition to hiding in-app purchases, it seems to me to be less than honest to include in-proportionate over inflated prices for simple virtual software.  The “try before you buy” way works fine when one can be certain about additional charges and when the prices are proportionate and value matches with what you get.   Of course a kid doesn’t know what value is necessarily nor even cares about the ins and outs of game prices.  So a parent must be aware of what is going on when it comes to what their kids are doing online.

In Windows Store,  Microsoft doesn’t seem to have an option to enable or disable in-app purchases and I as mentioned already, I have found some in-app purchases are even disguised as part of the game!  This where I believe Microsoft could do a better job of protecting its customers from inadvertent in-app purchasing and mistakes.

So while I don’t necessarily like the way of the future as it pertains to pc games or app purchasing and in-app purchasing procedure, I really dislike the inability to easily enable or disable in-app purchasing from within the Windows App Store.   A simple toggle switch would go a long way in making Windows Store a safer experience for everyone who uses it.

If you have found a way to do this (without the need to connect or reconnect payment options under a Microsoft account or even set-up permissions for a separate user) please share it with me and I believe many people (including myself) will thank you.

 

 

Related interest: http://www.imore.com/problem-app-purchases-and-what-do-about-it