Rust Articles RSS Feed | Rust RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Rust CCTV Cameras: All Codes and Locations Mon, 24 May 2021 13:53:48 -0400 Aaron Bayne

Rust is about protecting what you own, and that becomes all the more important as you expand your base. With more to lose, taking your time and being cautious is at the heart of the experience. This is where hidden Rust CCTV cameras come into play.

Rust CCTV cameras are dotted around most Monuments scattered across each server. With a bird’s eye (and more importantly safe) view of your planned destinations, you can plan ahead or completely avoid certain areas if you see some hostile-looking teams milling around.

While accessing these CCTV cameras is relatively simple, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to follow to get your vantage point in Rust.

How to Make a Rust Computer Station

If you want to spy on those rival clans, you’ll need to get yourself a Computer Station. To craft one, a blueprint is needed, as the Computer Station is not an automatically learned blueprint in Rust Console Edition. You’ll need to search for both a computer station and craft or locate a Research table.  

On top of learning its blueprint, a Computer Station will require some scavenging; a number of resources are necessary to fabricate it. You’ll need to craft yourself a Level 2 workbench, which comes as a default blueprint in your crafting menu.

Once you have a Level 2 workbench, you’ll need the following materials:

  • 75x Scrap
  • 1x RF Broadcaster
  • 1x RF Receiver
  • 5x High-Quality Metal
  • 1x Targeting Computer

There is no definitive way to find most of the needed supplies, however, scrap, receivers, and broadcasters will typically be found in various containers across the map. Some of the higher value materials, such as a targeting computer, may require risky ventures to helicopter crash sites and airdrops, and high-quality metal can be collected using a mining quarry.

Alternatively, if you have scrap to spare, a computer station can also be purchased at the Outpost for 300 scrap.

Once you have all the required resources, fabricate your own Computer Station in your base, and this will bring you to the next step of accessing the server’s CCTV cameras.

How to Access the CCTV

Before you do anything with your new Computer Station, you’ll need to produce an energy source to power it. A simple turbine, solar panel, or small generator will do the trick.

Now that you have a Computer Station set up and powered, you have to set up your own ID. Selecting the Set ID command, you can create a password for your CCTV account, which you will actually have to keep a note of, as it will now be needed to access your Computer Station’s CCTV network. This extra security measure ensures that other snooping players won’t be able to look through your cameras.

With your ID created, you’ll be treated to a blank screen, with a text box simply stating, “Identifiers to add." This is where each of Rust’s CCTV cameras require a unique passcode. Simply entering a camera’s passcode will grant you access, meaning it will now be readily available from your Computer Station.

Rust CCTV Codes and Locations

To access any of the cameras scattered across the entire server, simply enter any of the codes below:



Bandit Camp



  • DOME1

Large Oil Rig


Oil Rig




Monument locations vary between each server, so if any of the above codes do not work, it simply means that that location is not in your server. However, with these codes, you will be able to scout out some of the most dangerous locations on the map. 

How to Make Your Own CCTV Cameras

As well as monitoring monument locations, a Computer Station allows you to use your own Rust CCTV cameras. However, these are a bit harder to come across. You’ll need to spot yourself an Elite Military Loot Crate to find a camera, which has been known to turn up at Launch Site, Military Tunnel, and Oil Rig. As well as locating the crate you’ll need to collect the following materials:

  • 1x Wire Tool
  • 1x Splitter
  • 1x Switch

Once they are set up – and be sure to face them in the best position – linking your cameras to the Computer Station will enable you to monitor the perimeters of your base from the safety of the indoors.

While Rust CCTV cameras can be a lot of work to secure, they provide an added element of safety to your set up, meaning that gathering and building can be a lot more stress-free. Now that you have the knowledge on how to craft them and the codes for each of those on any particular server, you'll be at least a little bit safer. 

Rust Research Table Guide: How to Find & Craft It to Create Blueprints Thu, 20 May 2021 16:54:20 -0400 Aaron Bayne

Rust Console Edition is all about gathering, crafting, and building, and like any survival sim, simple recipes just don’t cut it once you start to expand your base. So, after you’ve fumbled your way to your first little shack, how do you expand your builder’s arsenal? The answer is the Rust research table.

As simple as it is to bash a rock off a tree for wood, the Rust research table will solve a lot of your uiulding issues, allowing you to fabricate your own blueprints. This guide goes over everything you need to know about the Rust research table. 

What is the Rust Research Table? 

The Rust research table is essential to your continued survival in Rust Console Edition. It allows you to create blueprints for any item you currently have in your inventory. While blueprints require you to deposit the item the blueprint is for and cost scraps to produce, the research table enables you to craft any blueprinted item from then on – even after death.

This essentially saves you if you have been raided or have left the game long enough for your base to decay; you can skip past many of the earlier stages of crafting.

How to Find a Research Table

As soon as you have picked up an item that’s worth keeping, and you don’t have the blueprint to craft it, you’ll want to seek out one of these research tables, which can be found dotted around Rust’s map.

Exploring many of the game's various monuments is a good place to start.

Research tables can be found in sites such as Bandit Camp and Outpost and are typically placed inside decaying buildings. Named locations have a higher chance of having a research table; however, picking out a location will require a bit of searching on your part.

While we would never condone this sort of behavior, there is also the option to use research tables that belong to fellow survivors if you somehow find yourself inside an insecure base. That's up to you. 

How to Craft Your Own Research Table

If you fancy owning one of these handy stations yourself, you’ll require both the resources and a Level 1 workbench.

Workbenches are found in small aircraft hanger-styled buildings. If you spot a recycler – more on those in a second – then you’re in the right spot.

Once you have found a workbench, crafting a research table will set you back in both Metal Fragment and Scrap.

Research tables cost:

  • 200 Metal Fragment
  • 75 Scrap

If you are light on scrap, it can be easily sourced from the barrels, crates, and military crates that are scattered across the Rust map. Either opening up a crate or breaking down a barrel will do the trick.

Metal fragments are slightly more difficult to produce, but there are a couple of solutions. For anyone just starting out, you’ll want to collect metal blades, metal sheets, and propane tanks, and dump them into one of those recyclers. While the amount of Metal Fragment you’ll get from your deposit can vary, these recyclable materials will be the most efficient.

However, these materials take 60 seconds to wear down, and that’s a lot of time to be out in the open. For those a bit further down the line and, more importantly, with a safe base to craft in, you’ll need a furnace, a ton of wood, and metal ore.

Metal ore can be mined from the shimmering rocks found on the foot of rocky terrains with a stone pickaxe. Once you have deposited your wood and have your smelter burning, you are ready to produce some Metal Fragments. Smelting your metal ore down to Metal Fragments can take a few minutes, but this is a far safer method that will deliver more bang for your buck.

Now that you have your scraps and metal fragments, you can head to that workbench and craft yourself a research table. 

With your Rust research table ready to go, you can craft blueprints as fast as you can loot. And although you might come back to find it all raided the next day, at least you'll still have your blueprint.

Rust Console Edition Review: An Uneven Survival Experience Fri, 21 May 2021 09:00:01 -0400 Aaron Bayne

Who doesn’t love a good survival game? If you are anything like me, you’ll find yourself in the occasional daydream, wondering how well you’d manage on a stranded island or what you would actually do in the post-apocalypse. Well, maybe we don’t wonder so much about the second anymore...


However, the survival genre negates the need to focus on these what-if scenarios, providing us with the satisfying sensation of being stripped of everything and surviving off the land.  


Now console players will be adding another survival experience to their line-up with Rust Console EditionAnyone that has even dabbled in the likes of Ark: Survival Evolved or The Forest will immediately recognize the game's gather, build, and survive structure. However, like a tired Walking Dead trope, it is the people who are the real monsters here. And they're both the game’s biggest issue and its largest saving grace. 


While this console port may have some issues, it manages to capture the tension-ridden essence of survival, and making it out alive will take wits, gumption, perhaps some negotiation skills, and a whole load of patience. 


Rust Console Edition Review: An Uneven Survival Experience

Rust Console Edition arrives on PS4 and Xbox One a full eight years after its initial introduction on PC back in 2013. Following that PC release, the game quickly garnered an avid community that merrily chopped down trees, chipped away at rocks, and barbarically murdered one another; and for the majority of that time, I was blissfully unaware of its existence.


As I woke up for the first time in Rust, with such little knowledge of the game, I was relatively surprised by the calming sight of a tranquil coast and the easing sound of water lapping nearby. A rusted boat laid askew in the distance, and a couple of half-naked but innocent-looking bystanders jumped enthusiastically as I approached.


I was greeted through in-game comms, and I quietly got excited over the prospect of this social survival experience. It was almost…nice. Then one of those bystanders took out a rock and beat me to death with it.  


From that first bludgeoning, it's clear that Rust Console Edition has maintained its unforgiving (and popular) approach to survival. While elements such as food, water, and the external NPC attacks are relatively simple to handle  at least in the earlier hours of the game those half-naked wanderers elevate the tension surrounding gathering by placing value on the resources you hold. 


Too often would I be obliviously hacking at some trees when I’d hear the all too familiar thud of a blood-soaked stone. Why gather the resources yourself when you can just kill someone that’s already done it for you?


For my first few hours with the game, I found myself in a brutal cycle of collecting wood and crafting the essentials, then being struck from behind with a hastily formed arrow, impaled with a spear, or worse yet, shot by a geared-up player with an actual gun. 



Luckily, rather than become utterly frustrated by this endlessly circular process, I leaned into the simulation aspect of Rust Console Edition as I began to hide in the bushes to avoid detection, scout open plains before charging across them, and yes, even hunting a few hapless souls myself.


I hadn’t realized how much I was enjoying this approach until I found myself stooped behind a rock, watching one survivor flee from two bow-wielding hunters that pursued with obvious hostile intent. As they looted the corpse, I made a run for it, and my heart skipped a beat as through the comms I heard: “I think I just saw someone up that hill!”. 


It was an exhilarating experience that culminated as the two surrounded me. I tried to explain that I didn’t have much to steal, but of course, this did little to dissuade either party, and I swiftly found myself full of arrows. 


However, even though a majority of those you cross paths with will kill you without hesitation for a measly pack of wood, there were the odd occasions where that social survival experience I had hoped for began to rear its head. 


My first night was spent huddled around a campfire with four other survivors. I later bumped into another survivor — each of us with spears drawn — and after I asked for help, they gave me valuable tips on how to get set up quickly.


While the world of Rust can be incredibly hostile, it also contains moments of levity and community, which captures the sense of survival far more than any other game in the genre.



Sadly, by capturing a very real-time sense of survival with growing plants, a day/night cycle, and decaying buildings, Rust Console Edition ignores one of its biggest flaws. Whether you are a half-naked newbie with nothing but a trusty stone and torch, or someone sitting on a mountain of supplies, everything you own is left in the server lobby the second you log out, just waiting to be looted. 


It’s not just your supplies that are left behind, however, as Rust also abandons any semblance of a fair experience for those who only have a couple of hours to play on the weekend.


If I decided that I wanted to play something else for the week, I would first need to ensure that my hut had the needed supplies to stay supported – which requires a daily resource fee of whichever materials your building is made of. And if I didn’t have the time to mine hundreds of rock and wood, I’d be left with nothing but that torch and stone once again.


Quite often, if I found myself without shelter, I would question whether to push on or not, knowing that I only had the time to build a hut that would be invaded the second I logged off. Then there were the times I did prepare a solid hut, with locks and upgraded stone walls, only to find it completely missing when I next logged into that server. 



Many of the server issues could be overlooked if the gameplay translated well from PC to console, but as many will surely expect, that is simply not the case. Running feels sluggish, and mining for materials is tedious. Get into a match against a hostile, and the flip of a coin might as well decide the outcome because of the imprecise, dull, and weightless attacks. 


Base building, on the other hand, is approachable, quick, and simple. Upgrading and fortifying your shelter is merely limited by the supplies you hold, so when my gears began turning on the sorts of bases I could build, it was easy to envision exactly how to do that. 


Gameplay overall, however, leaves much to be desired and asks the player to put in too much work – whether that be through role-playing or relying on Rust's social features – to create an immersive experience. 


Rust Console Edition Review —The Bottom Line



  • Excellent social chat implementation
  • Robust survival experience
  • Unforgiving online players


  • Sluggish gameplay
  • Unforgiving online players
  • Penalizes players that can’t play constantly

Ultimately, there is a great game somewhere in Rust Console Edition. Mixing its social aspects, which allow you to approach and talk to anyone, with such a formidable survival experience is a neat inclusion that makes for some of my most memorable moments in a genre game. I don’t think running into a fellow Scot and chasing down a pumpkin-headed individual together will ever get old, and spotting the ominous glow of a nearby survivor at night continues to give me goosebumps. 


However, with an unforgiving logged-off state and other players constantly murdering and looting you, it feels impossible to imagine having a fully equipped save for any real length of time  at least not within dozens if not hundreds of hours in the game. 


While the console port has no immediately noticeable issues for someone like me (who has never played the PC version), there is an almost indescribable slowness to Rust Console Edition, whether that be through menu management, traversal of the map, or combat. 


However, compare it to the console port of something like Ark, and you’ll begin to see that Rust manages to translate to consoles without ever feeling too much like a PC game. With that said, if you’re looking for a robust survival sim mixed in with sometimes immersive, occasionally hilarious, and often infuriating social aspects, Rust Console Edition may be worth your time.


[Note: Double Eleven provided the copy of Rust Console Edition used for this review.]

How to Play Rust Solo Offline Thu, 14 Jan 2021 12:08:47 -0500 Serhii Patskan

The new Rust players may have a really hard time adapting to the harsh environments of the game on well-established online servers flooded with experienced players, who will never let newcomers thrive.

That's why it's a good idea to start your own dedicated server to play solo for a while, making your way through the game step-by-step safely and without any pressure from the rest of the players. This guide will show you how to create your own server and play Rust solo offline.

How to Play Rust Solo Offline

Download Dedicated Server

The first thing you need to do is download and install the Rust dedicated server on your PC. You can download the official server package here.

Once you've downloaded the archive you need to extract it and follow these steps for installation:

  1. Go to the extracted "Rust Server" folder
  2. Locate the "Run_DS.bat" file and execute it
  3. Wait for the installation to complete

After the installation is over you can start the game as usual, but with the dedicated server installed on your PC.

Configure Dedicated Server

Start Rust on your PC and follow these steps to configure the server:

  1. Press F1 to open the console
  2. Enter the following line into the console: client.connect localhost:28015
  3. Press Enter and wait for the new game to start

As soon as the new game begins you should be playing on your own dedicated server regardless if you're online or offline. One thing is certain -  there will be no other player except you on this server, which will allow you to explore the world of Rust without any hassle from the outside.

That's all you need to know on how to create your own server and play Rust solo offline. For more Rust tips and tricks articles, be sure to visit our dedicated hub page.

Rust Console Edition for PS4, Xbox One Rated by ESRB Mon, 11 Jan 2021 15:13:59 -0500 GS_Staff

Rust has been around for a ripe old time. The survival game launched in 2018 on Steam for the PC after spending roughly five years in Early Access. Now it may finally be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as has been expected. 

Facepunch Studios announced that Rust would be coming to PS4 and Xbox One in late 2019, and though the console version was set to release in 2020, the terrible year that was has now come and gone, and Rust is still only playable on PC and Mac. 

However, a recent ESRB listing for the console port of Rust has reared its head, meaning an official announcement from Facepunch is just around the corner. Rust Console Edition is unsurprisingly rated "M" for Mature for "blood and violence." The ESRB rating also notes that Rust Console Edition will have in-game purchases, presumably similar in nature to those found in the PC version. 

As of this writing, there has been no confirmation from Facepunch Studios when Rust Console Edition might launch. It is likely that it will be soon, though, as we've seen other recent titles, such as Demon's Souls, get officially announced relatively shortly after receiving a rating. 

Rust has seen a resurgence in popularity lately, primarily due to prominent streamers taking to the game since the beginning of the year. The game is currently the third-most-played game on Steam, according to Steam Charts, and has seen its highest peak-player-count since launching: 243,988. The previous peak-player-count came in April 2020 at 125,415.

The Best 5 Survival Games of 2019 Tue, 31 Dec 2019 14:38:32 -0500 Yaneki


1. Subnautica


Subnautica strands players on a vast alien ocean world absolutely teeming with life, and not all of it is friendly. Plenty of fish in the sea may be right when some of them want to eat you. Subnautica is an unrivaled joy to explore, as it rewards you with beautiful scenery and haunting creatures the deeper you go, all the while offering players a story and goal to follow.


While some games like ARK or Conan offer underwater experiences, none of them really come close to Subnautica or the terror of being besieged or chased by alien sea monsters and leviathans.


The Sub Zero DLC is supposed to be even more terrifying and oppressive, with constant blizzards on the surface and much more monstrous foes to contend with. Though I've yet to play the DLC myself.


The only thing some would say is really holding the game back is the lack of multiplayer. Subnautica is a solo experience, so you'll be going it on your own and that leaves out any human interactions that make other games so fun. But it still manages to take the cake in our opinion.




What do you think were the best games to survive in through 2019? With the new decade being rung in, who knows what's to come with 2020 and beyond's survival game offerings. Let us know which survival titles you're awaiting in the comments below!


2 - Rust


Rust offers players the tension of DayZ combined with a unique charm to it, along with the best building system out of any survival game in the market. Seriously, every building system should just copy Rust, please.


Player interaction is what makes and breaks this game.


Rust offers a massive playerbase, so you'll come across all manner of friendly encounters, roleplayers, screeching children and memesters, but for every group like that, there's about 5 more that will cave your skull in with a rock or put a bullet between your eyes for legitimately no reason. Except maybe cannibalism. But hey, that just makes it extremely entertaining to watch on YouTube.


PvP is exceptionally intense as well, with raiding and skirmishes being extremely prominent given how hostile most players are.


More than anything though, Rust's Achille's heel is time itself. With most servers operating on weekly wipes, Rust encourages players to log in en masse on Wipe Day so they can quickly acquire the boots needed to stomp on any players unfortunate enough to attempt joining in after them.


3. Conan Exiles


Conan Exiles has managed to fill in a niche void for players who not only want something more comprehensive and substantial in their survival MMOs, but also for fans who are just missing the good old days in Age of Conan.


The game successfully creates a living, breathing world with multiple biomes and societies, each filled with various tribes of NPCs, while still keep a massing wasteland, tundra, and jungle area to explore and build in. Combat feels good, building is fun, and players can even tame animals or summon gargantuan avatars of the gods to smite their enemies.


4. ARK: Survival Evolved


I would love ARK: Survival Evolved and probably play it way more than the over 2,000 hours I already have in the game if it weren't made by studio developer Wild Card.


The game has literally always had severe gameplay problems and bugs and extremely poor optimization. The base game itself takes up way too much HDD space, which for many just isn't worth it.


I say all this but, again, I've played 2,000 hours of it. So that counts for something.


ARK offers beautiful, enormous maps filled to the brim with plenty of unique environments just begging to be explored, each with their own host of prehistoric animals, mutants, and even robots players don't just have to slap to death -- they can tame them, too.


With so much to explore and so much to actually do, it's easy to get hooked on hunting down Ascendant and Tek tier loot. Plus, dinosaurs are just really really cool.


5. DayZ


It's 2019 and DayZ finally launched it's full release, a feat many thought would never happen.


The game had been in Early Access since forever, and honestly, not a whole lot has changed over the years. Loot is painfully scarce, everything is deadly, and you'll probably starve to death before you get munched on by a zombie. Overall, it's pretty average and boring but sets the standard.


But it's once you get the ball rolling that DayZ picks up, once you have your first precious cache of stuff, a backpack, a gun, some clothes, that's when the game hooks you with this nerve-wracking tension of losing everything in an instant if you aren't careful.


Players are constantly hunting or even abducting each other in DayZ, making it one of the most tense games to play alone or even with a small group.


The end of the decade is here, and what a decade it was. The 2010's brought in a host of the fairly new survival genre of games, each for the most part with it's own unique flavor.


From dinosaurs to zombies, to barbarians to just some random naked guys on the beach, here are the top five survival games that held our attention in 2019 and are sure to dominate our libraries well-into 2020 that won't be forgotten with the tick over to 2020.

Mainstream Survival games are predictable: How can we change that? Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:30:11 -0500 Sjaak den Heijer

Right now, survival games are regaining a lot of their initial popularity after being kicked off their throne by Battle Royale and MOBA games. This is mostly because some of the survival’s flagships are finally leaving or have already left Early Access. The departure will probably cause a second survival game craze, meaning we’ll get another wave of countless Early Access survival titles that all want to share in the genre’s popularity. However, many survival games share the same core concepts and can be very predictable, leaving little room for surprise.

What is a mainstream survival game?

Narrowing it down to the core, in a survival game you usually find yourself in an open world environment with little to no gear or resources. Your only goal is surviving by gathering food, crafting tools and weapons, and building/finding shelter. Besides making better gear and making processes like getting food more efficient, there are no real goals in the game. All the things on top of those mechanics can heavily differ from game to game and really depend on whether or not it’s a single or multiplayer survival game.

In multiplayer survival games like Rust, the end game mostly consists of raiding bases, while the end game for  The Forest, one of the cornerstones of the single-player survival genre, consists of defending your base from weird humanoid creatures who try to hunt you down. But, there's never an end to those games or anything to give you a real sense of completion.

This game design with no definitive end is hated by a lot of players, but is loved by many more. However, when one of these games clicks with you they can be real time sinks; you could potentially pour thousands of hours into one of these games.

Same old, same old

The survival genre has more than enough games that take the core concept and add new things to it. Usually, it’s just the setting or the environment that changes. Some games are set in space while others completely exist in the depths of the oceans. In other instances, things like zombies or dinosaurs exist to make player vs. environment a bit more exciting or there are fantasy elements like magic.

These are changes that make a lot of the survival games stand out from each other but don't really change anything about the core of the survival game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at some point, the core will be burnt out and people will grow tired of these games that on surface level look very different but when you get into them you’ll start to notice it’s the same formula over and over again.

How to change?

For the survival genre to evolve and become something big, like the RPG genre, developers need to play around with the core concept by adding new things, removing old things and overall changing up the same old formula while still keeping the feel of a true survival game.

Game Worlds

There has been a lot of experimenting with game worlds in the genre but it usually ends up with an open world that is big, but small enough to still feel limiting and without a real sense of exploration. I would love to see a survival game set in an open world like the one in Horizon Zero Dawn but much much more expansive, a world you can explore for hours without running into the same little towns over and over again. A world that rewards exploration while still having to survive by gathering your standard food and resources.

Or, a survival game in a more tiny place i.e. someone who is locked in his own home due to a snowstorm that also caused a power outage, where you have to survive in the most primitive ways with whatever you can find in your own home. It would be especially cool if the house would be randomly generated for a different experience every time you play.

Branching out

Branching out to different genres as a sub-genre would make for some really cool games, games where survival isn’t your main goal but something added for immersion whilst not feeling like a burden. A true MMO with basic survival elements could be something really interesting or maybe a heavily story-driven RPG where you have to provide not only for yourself but also for a group of survivors that are in there with you. Or maybe even a Battle Royale game with matches lasting one to two hours where you’ll have to survive the elements as well as outlive all of the other players.

More survival

When it comes to surviving in most survival games, all you'll need to get yourself is some food, water and sometimes shelter for warmth. However, this is a point where developers could get really creative. It would be cool to see basic things like going to the toilet become necessary in survival games but also things like your mental state or getting sick could be added to make surviving so much more interesting. At the very least, developers should try to make basic surviving more than just gathering food and water.


These are just some ideas that could potentially make for great games, but the survival genre should definitely branch out and renew itself to become something even bigger than it already is. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments. Don't forget to stay tuned to Gameskinny for much more gaming content.

What's the Beef: Why Don't More Survival Games Let Players Farm? Sat, 21 Jan 2017 20:07:33 -0500 Neal Cox

Ever since Minecraft officially released in November of 2011, survival games have been a staple of the video game release schedule. Games like Day ZRust, The Forest, Ark: Survival Evolved, and many more have really struck a cord with gamers.

However, there is a feature missing from some of these games that has left a hole in the hearts of many players: Farming. Now, I'm not asking for these games to go all Farming Simulator on us, but there is something important, both mechanic and thematic-wise, that is lost when farming or farming features are left on the cutting-room floor.

Of all of the games I listed previously, three of the four (Rust, Day Z and Ark) had farming mechanics. You may notice that these three are some of the most well known games within the genre. I'm not saying this is directly because of their farming mechanics, but farming mechanics help to serve two main purposes.

 In these three games, hunger is a major aspect of the gameplay. If you don't eat, your stamina, and sometimes your health, will drop until you die. It may take longer than getting shot in the back or falling off a cliff, but it will happen.

So, now that you have to eat, you are presented with two choices: farming, which is safer but may take a while, or scavenging, which may be quick, but is also more likely to result in your death. Some players may decide to just scavenge, living like animals in the forest or among the ashes of a post-apocalyptic eastern-european country.

Farming, however, allows players a chance to build their supplies and be better prepared when dealing with the world around them. Farming also leads to investment, which makes base-building and fending off attacks that much more important. Farming, if done right, leads to player immersion within a game's world. Without it, the world can sometimes feel just a little hollow. However, there's more to farming than what's on the surface.

Thematically speaking, farming signals a change both in the player and in the game world. It shows that, even in its early stages, that the player is beginning to bend the world to their whim. Some games may not introduce farming until the late game, when a base has been established, and enough supplies have been gathered to make such an undertaking feasible. Others may introduce it in the tutorial, and require the player to invest some time in it if they hope to last a day within the game world.

Regardless of how they do it, farming exists as a physical manifestation of the player's power. Imagine what it is like for a player to go from having a small farm to having a plantation. Imagine going from one crop to many. You can see your progress in many things within a survival game, such as a house, but very rarely do other manifestations of power actually provide you with something. By the end, when you've altered an entire field, island, or biome to suit your farming needs, you will have truly seen the effect that you have had on your world. You are no longer just surviving, you are thriving

Now, why don't more games include farming mechanics? From what I've described, it must sound like the best thing in games since the ability to jump. Well, there are plenty of reasons for this. Most obviously, it might not fit what a game is going for. Some games just aren't about taking over the world of a game.

Maybe the game world is hopeless and futile, and the idea of being self-reliant may go against the themes of the game. It would weird if a game like I Am Alive, a survival game set in a post-apocalyptic America, were to focus on farming when everything else was about combat and traversal.

Some games like The Forest are more combat focused. Why waste your time farming some carrots when you could be hacking some naked cannibals to death with an axe? What if, more mechanically speaking, the programmers and designers only have a few features that they could put into the game within their time-frame and budget? If you wanted to make a fun survival game, would you focus on farming instead of movement, scavenging and combat?

Farming isn't perfect for every game, just like Farming Simulator 2017 isn't for every player. However, more survival games should definitely consider adding farming to their list of game-play features. If they want the player to merely survive in their survival game, go ahead and ignore the farming.

But, if they want your character to take on and conquer the world, bend it to their will and become the true master of their destiny, they should add it in.

Alternatively, maybe they just want to get your players hooked on the success of growing fake carrots and tomatoes. Whatever works for them. As long as there are seeds to plant and wheat to harvest. 


The Bartle Quotient: What Makes Games Meaningful to You? Sun, 27 Nov 2016 09:00:01 -0500 Justin Michael

The reason why we play games is as varied as the number of genres there are to play. I'm a firm believer that there is a game out there that fits every personality type and that's where the Bartle Quotient comes into play. 

The Bartle Quotient is a kind of test that figures out what kind of gamer you are and allows you to figure out what aspect of gaming you find most engaging. It gets its name from Richard Bartle, a professor and renowned game researcher from England. 

Bartle Quotient player psychology chart

After a battery of simple, multiple choice questions, Bartle Quotient test takers get a rating for what type of players they are. In my case, I was an "ESGA" type of player, which is a very accurate representation of my typical playstyle. 

Let me explain ... 


Also known as "Diamonds," these are players who prefer to gain "points," levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game. They will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.

Achiever is my lowest scoring area, which has to do a lot with my playstyle. When I play a game, I play it for the experience, not the rewards. In fact, in Skyrim Special Edition, I literally have 0 achievements after 40 hours of play (Yes, I'm using mods, but that's not the point).

My interests in a game have little to do with actually reaching game milestones -- unless those milestones actually come with a reward that advances my player and their skills.


Explorers, dubbed "Spades" for their tendency to dig around, are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places. They often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.

My most favorite thing about gaming is the exploration/story aspect, which is why this is my highest rated attribute. I am a sucker for exploration and lore, which is what has kept me captivated by great RPGs like The Elder Scrolls seriesThe Witcher series, and the Fallout series of games. With so many dungeons to explore, quests to take and decisions to make, these games are incredibly satisfying to me and my natural sense of curiosity.  

 Griefer / Killer

"Clubs" is a very accurate moniker for what the Killer likes to do. They thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.

My second lowest score was in the Griefer/Killer attribute. Rarely do I play a game that has a competitive aspect to it. At one point in time, I used to love playing MOBAs and team-based multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Battlefield 2, but I quickly lost interest in these games because it doesn't fit my personality.

Games like this go hand in hand with achievement-based games, something else in which I scored low. Generally, these types of game are just too fast-paced and have little room for you to explore. While I can appreciate them for the skill they take to play, they simply do not interest me. 


There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself. These players are known as Socializers or "Hearts". They gain the most enjoyment from a game by interacting with other players, and on some occasions, computer-controlled characters with personality. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.

I love the social aspects of games. I remember the first time I played an MMO, City of Heros, and I teamed up with other players to take on an elite enemy. It was glorious. 

The social aspect of games is what enriched my interest in games like Reign of Kings and Rust. It allowed you to have fun and act out a quirky character.

Interesting side note: In Reign of Kings, I was "Steven the Mighty," who was actually a pathetic errand boy for his father, the local lumber mill owner. Even the normally hostile bandit roleplayers took pity on Steven for his earnest, but exaggeratedly awkward presence. 

I mean, that's just awesome! (OK. It's awesome to me, anyway ...)

The Bartle Quotient Tells Us Who We Are (As Gamers)

When it comes down to it, the beautiful thing about gaming is that everyone experiences games in different ways -- even if we're all playing the same game. Whether you enjoy the thrill of exploration and getting lost in the journey, or testing your might against other players in PvP, games give us something to look forward to no matter what kind of gamers we are.

If you haven't taken the Bartle Quotient, take 2 minutes out of your day and try it.

How did you score on the Bartle Quotient and is it accurate to the type of gamer you are? Share your results in the comments below. 

Do MMOs Need to Embrace eSports to Stay Relevant? Mon, 14 Nov 2016 05:02:44 -0500 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

Amidst all the discussion leading towards the Blizzcon 2016 tournaments, a particular topic was abuzz in the World of Warcraft Arena spectators -- namely, that of long-time contender Cdew. Incredibly well respected in the WoW community, this was Cdew’s fourth appearance at Blizzcon, but he had never won it prior to this. His story of tenacity and persistence at the highest level of competition made him an instant fan favorite, and many were rooting for him to finally get the victory he’d been seeking for so long.

And so Cdew and his team Method NA fought their way to the grand finals… and there, following an incredibly close final game that could have gone either way, Method NA was defeated and Cdew’s dream ended. The defending champions Splyce ended up holding on to their title in what is described as one of the most epic WoW Arena series to ever take the Blizzcon stage.

(Video created by Guyd; be sure to check out his Youtube channel)

Many consider eSports to be an extended means of marketing and promoting their respective games and tournaments. To be fair, it absolutely is. But more than that, it shares the same thing that many sports do: a hero to root for, or a team to support and follow through their trials and tribulations. Whether it be players like Cdew in WoW or teams like Team SoloMid in League of Legends, it’s that human element that people are able to spin narratives about once the dust has settled and the tournament has played out.

The biggest eSports tournaments tend to be successful at drawing people into playing their games. I personally was keen to play League of Legends again after an extended break, just because I watched the World Championship finals and was drawn in by the hype. I’m always keen to break out the fight sticks and play a few rounds of Street Fighter with friends after EVO ends.

But none of these games would be quite as successful at doing so if they didn’t inspire that human element. It’s watching players like Faker or Infiltration in their respective games that encourage us to want to get better and play like them, even if that level is certainly out of reach for most.

You might be wondering to yourself by now, “how does this affect MMOs?” Let’s look at it a little closer.

A Price to Pay

In previous years, MMORPGs were being developed in large number, with many AAA developers utilizing all sorts of different licenses and franchises in order to try and match the runaway success of World of Warcraft. More recently, almost all of these games have either done poorly in sales and player retention, or else have had to downsize in order to satisfy a smaller, niche player base.

Whereas the monthly subscription approach to MMORPG payment was once the norm, now only a handful of games seem to be able to sustain this, such as World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Many others have since shifted to a Free to Play with microtransactions payment scheme (RIFT, WildStar) or eschewed subscription in favor of a pay once to play system (The Elder Scrolls Online).

A large part in this shift in philosophy is no doubt because of the success of many MOBAs, most of which are Free to Play with cosmetic microtransactions sustaining them. In fact, the runaway success of MOBAs has shifted the entire way in which the video game market is perceived and developed for, especially in terms of cost.

I knew many who were dissatisfied with having to pay full price in order to play Overwatch upon its release. Since it was comparable to Free to Play MOBAs as much as it was to contemporary FPS games, a number considered the asking price to be far too high, especially for a purely multiplayer game. But by contrast, the exact same price point is attached to every major Call of Duty or Battlefield release with considerably less backlash. In fact, that same price is still effectively the standard for a huge array of AAA games on PC and console alike.

It all comes back to the perception of value and how it’s changed in video games over the past few years. Why pay that price when you can dedicate many hours of entertainment to a game that need not cost you a cent? What makes it worth more compared to the countless other games that are released in Early Access much cheaper or available on sales regularly for a negligible fee?

And this has all come back full circle to MMOs. Often requiring a full purchase price and then additional monthly subscription costs, the value of MMORPGs is suddenly brought into question. Even when paying full price for games was expected, people would still shy away from subscriptions, so now that the market has shifted that seems completely unreasonable to most… and that’s even without factoring in the cost of purchasing additional expansion packs.

In combination with this shift in perceived value, the development and maintenance costs of such games haven’t decreased to match, so the concept of the MMORPG is simply no longer profitable. Even if it was, few are able to match the established giants of the market; all it takes is one frustrating experience or a poorly designed and dull area for people to compare an MMORPG to World of Warcraft, with its twelve years of content update backlog and repeated improvements and feature polish. Guess where they usually find themselves returning to before long?

It’s More Than Just RPGs

So far, a lot of this has been talking about the MMORPG, since that’s the big sub-genre that you’ll see most MMOs grouped under. It’s hardly the only game type that is worthy of the MMO tag, however.

While MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online, this usually isn’t used to define MOBAs such as Dota or LoL. The reason is that first M. Massively often implies a larger group of players in a single server or area, which often equates to a persistent world for people to share. As such, survival and crafting-based games such as ARK: Survival Evolved or Rust are what usually qualify. You could even make a case for Minecraft as an MMO if you really wanted.

Unfortunately, many of these games aren’t doing very well either. Survival games like those mentioned above tend to remain in Early Access for extended lengths of time as developers update them over years. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a game in that vein that ever actually leaves Early Access status. And like the actual games, the player base for the genre tends to migrate from game to game depending on which feels more complete and active at any given time.

In order to survive - no pun intended - some of these games have started moving towards eSports themselves. For example, ARK now runs tournaments called Survival of the Fittest, which see small person teams competing to be the last ones standing on the hostile PvP island. Other games such as H1Z1 have moved into Battle Royale modes that are separate and short term affairs compared to their long term survival modes.

At the moment, many of these aren’t especially popular, perhaps due to lack of marketing and lack of extensive player base to begin with. But should a successful tournament arise and attract attention, that could easily change in a heartbeat.

PvP Is Not the Only Consideration

The biggest detriment to any game focusing on becoming an eSport is that they run the risk of spreading their content too thin. After all, eSports are almost always going to be PvP affairs in anything other than an occasional novelty, such as the WoW speed raids at Blizzcon or the Doom Bots exhibition matches for League of Legends.

While the growing success of eSports and MOBAs has brought more people into competitive PvP than ever before, this is far from the only reason people play games. Some simply don’t want to partake in anything multiplayer and would rather relax and play their own game, and the vast majority of games are built with this in mind.

There are a huge number of players in World of Warcraft that have never touched any PvP elements of the game, and it’s estimated that less than 10% play Arena at all.

No game is launched that is perfectly ready for PvP. There are always some outliers in terms of balance between characters, classes, or other facets that will skew the results of the game. This requires a constant and dedicated team focused purely on attempting to achieve competitive balance, and for a game to remain perfectly balanced while also unique and interesting from aspect to aspect is an impossible task.

Couple this with the need to constantly update and expand with new characters, maps, and items in order to keep the game fresh, and that becomes a significant drain on resources used for development.

But if a game is not purely PvP focused, as few MMORPGs completely are, then this is development time spent not updating or improving other areas of the game. Too much balancing of the PvP can see the PvE players become bored and frustrated, especially when such changes of one aspect can easily impact the other unintentionally. Too little, and the PvP community gets frustrated, which can often see them leaving for greener pastures entirely.

So Where Do MMOs Stand?

As they are, MMOs remain a genre that, while less common than they were previously, still are holding strong. Many maintain their niche with stable player bases, while some larger titans continue to stand as monoliths in the video game market.

Are they as popular or successful as many of the competitive games that have risen to take their place in the spotlight? Not really. It’s hard to top the most played game in the world that is League of Legends, and Overwatch has thus far outsold the most recent WoW expansion twice over.

But the kicker to take away from this is that you don’t need to be massively popular to be successful.

Video games are a product that are designed to make money, whatever other noble aspirations and goals the design team might have. It’s absolutely possible for this to be accomplished without hosting massive tournaments and drawing in thousands of people into packed stadiums as eSports is trying to do. And it is quite likely that many of these games are considered to be successes even in their comfortable niches.

That doesn’t mean that eSports can provide no benefit, however. I spoke at the beginning of this article about the human element of eSports, and that is absolutely true now. There are hundreds of iconic players and names in the MOBA circuits that people cheer for and follow their stories, but there are considerably less for most MMOs.

It’s the human element that drives people to root for their favourites in sports and eSports alike, and that is absolutely the biggest strength and marketing that eSports can provide to a game.

For every Cdew that contended for victory at Blizzcon, there are likely others that could become just as skilled or just as well liked given time. But without that kind of exposure and marketing, it could be that these players are simply never discovered, or never even take the chance to hone their skills and make the attempt.


Do MMOs need to embrace eSports to stay relevant? Ultimately, probably not. It’s entirely possible that they can exist as they are, somewhat more niche than other genres but still the focus of many gamers’ time and investment. But could eSports help elevate MMOs into something more mainstream? It’s certainly possible.

Where do you stand on this discussion? Share your comments below; I’d love to hear them and chat with you on the matter.

Rust Gets Rid of the XP Grind Sun, 06 Nov 2016 23:32:32 -0500 StrongerStrange

The most recent Rust update has brought with it some big changes to the survival game and the way it works, which includes the removal of the XP and leveling system.

The developer Facepunch Studios have stated that the reason why players won't level up in Rust anymore because it "changed the feel of Rust as a sandbox." It turned the game into a race to see who could reach the max level first, but then that made the game boring once you had leveled to the max.

So now instead of an XP system, there is the component system, which makes every basic item within the game craft-able from the moment you start; there are no more locked items or blueprints. Now items that are beyond the most basic, require the use of a components to craft, and these can only be discovered in the world (components can't be crafted). Along with this system, you will see the return of radiation.

You can read more about the latest update on the official Rust devblog.

So have you tried out the new component system in Rust yet? Let me know in the comments down bellow.

Early Access Success Stories – Common Ground Successful EA Game Share Tue, 24 May 2016 04:50:37 -0400 Ray Hachey

For the thousands of Steam users out there, there are hundreds of game developers looking to get money into their digital bankbooks through the steadily growing mode known as Early Access (EA). Perhaps we get so busy gaming and playing this game called Life that we rarely stop to reflect on just how successful Early Access can be for some developers.

There are a number of articles bemoaning the state of Early Access, and others that give fascinating detail on the gauntlet that developers must endure. This article will take a brief snapshot of the top five Early Access games on Steam right now and share what they have in common. Future gaming gurus, take heed!

The Data: In the Steam interface, anyone can go to Store > Stats to find out the top 99 games by Player Count. We used these numbers as well as information found on each game’s Store Page to inform our findings.

Here are the top five Early Access games, shown by their rank on Steam Stats:

Number 3: ARK: Survival Evolved

Number 11: Rust

Number 19: Unturned

Number 26: H1Z1: King of the Kill

Number 42: Factorio

But other than just knowing what these games are, what can we learn from them? Turns out, we can learn quite a few things.

1. Great reviews do not guarantee great sales.

Odd but true. The lowest-ranked Indie game on our list is The Forest, which has 90% positive reviews but sold a fraction of the top-ranked Early Access ARK: Survival Evolved.

2. Multiplayer brings out the worst in gamers, but also their wallets!

The four top-ranked EA games offer multiplayer action. Some include co-op as well, but generally these games involve bringing pain to the gamers on your server.

3. Games do get better with age, like a fine wine.

Only one of the top-ranked EA games (H1Z1: King of the Kill) was released in this calendar year. Rust is indeed getting rusty, as it was originally released on December 11, 2013.

4. Cross-platform brings home the bacon.

Only H1Z1 does not offer Mac and Linux versions along with the PC. Every other game on this list does. It seems that these smaller companies want to reach the widest audience.

5. Early Access does not mean “unknown, small-budget indie team”.

Daybreak Game Company (developer of H1Z1) owns several big-name games, including the Everquest Franchise and DC Universe Online. Facepunch Studios (developer of Rust) owns the highly popular Garry’s Mod. Clearly there is something attractive about the Early Access model that makes financial sense to the big players in the industry.

What does this teach us about Early Access?

To get to the top in Steam rankings, a team needs to develop a game that is both multiplayer and multi-platform. The creators need to keep updating the game with feedback from the community; some of the top-ranked games have had hundreds of patches and bug fixes. Ultimately, it is tough to create a game that pleases everybody, so focus on the final product and prove the naysayers wrong.

Rust will randomize everything from race and gender to penis length Tue, 23 Jun 2015 08:19:22 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Online multiplayer survival video game Rust is populating the barren frontier with a diverse cast of players. The only catch? You don't get any say over customization. Everything has already been randomly generated for you and attached to your Steam ID, so it's yours for good.

Huh, kind of like how genetics work in real life.

The game made waves back in March when it threw skin tone into the mix. "Everyone now has a pseudo unique skin tone and face," says Facepunch Studios Founder Garry Newman. "Just like in real life, you are who you are – you can’t change your skin colour or your face." The reactions have been varied, to say the least. While some have responded with (explicitly racist) complaints, others have praised Facepunch Studios for the update.

The community has begun self-policing racist language used by players in-game.

Race comparison in Rust.

Facepunch studios wants to show players how arbitrary race is, letting them step into someone else's wooden sandles for a change. It's time to say goodbye to white mobs of naked men holding rocks above their heads and usher in an age of racially diverse naked men holding rocks above their heads.

Speaking of which, get ready to see a lot of nudity.

Every player spawns into the world of Rust the same way they spawned into this one: naked, with completely random physical features. Every body part is determined randomly. Every. Body. Part. Penises can vary considerably, as evidenced by this NSFW video shared by Reddit user u/M4STER_TROLL. As expected, this trait has been locked in by your Steam ID. You won't find any male enhancement drugs in the wildnerness.

More excitingly, a recent devblog has shed new light on the upcoming female model.

The female model in Rust.

The developers confirmed that, similar to the male model, they "really don’t want to make the female model unrealistic in the sense of her being aesthetically idealised." Testing in-game could happen as soon as next week.

Personally, I love this system. I'm tired of seeing MMOs populated exclusively by white dudes with the physiques of Greek gods. Maybe experiencing life with a body different than their own idealized version of themselves will encourage gamers to play with a little more empathy.

Surviving The Survivor-Horror Epidemic: The Good, The Bad, And The Early Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:43:39 -0500 Hobo With A Keyboard

A new wave of genre is currently taking the gaming world head on. In an effort to maximise realism and in turn immersion, new games with the ‘survival’ tag are fast-arising in 2014. And they don’t appear to be running for cover anytime soon. The question is: who do they appeal to? From a fair few efforts I have made on DayZ and Rust, I have come to the conclusion that these games aren’t for the time constrained. To have a proper gaming session on one of these titles, you need at least a couple of hours to get anything done.

I have already wasted many an hour lost in the virtual haze of post-apocalyptic disaster, desperately wandering to find food in a resource-strained environment. To accommodate for the mass online audience, a vast map also has to follow suit. So it is not uncommon to be dying of starvation (and boredom), seeking out nearby landmarks to coordinate some sense of orientation. But I have had some of my most enjoyable gaming moments to date on such titles. My heart has raced and sunk like nothing else in DayZ, diving into the thick treeline at the sound of a gunshot, or even the haunting approach of footsteps. You truly fear for your virtual life in games as scarily realistic as this.

I first played the DayZ mod around the time of August. I’d finally ticked off the “super PC” (mid-range I would later discover) from my bucket list that I desired for about 8 years. This game blew my mind. The foliage and the clouds swarming about my head looked so real. I felt like I was planting my own footsteps in these surroundings; searching for rations and any tool of self-defence, in this desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s a game about nothing, where everything feels at stake. Finding a medical kit and an apple, only to be shot dead by a BOLD FACED LIAR who promised he was a “friendly,” was and still is, both heart-breaking and embittering. The shrieks of incoming zombies pierce one’s heart, and pit you right into the location of this nightmare in Chernarus. Without getting too in-depth (as the game has now been realised by most who have seen a computer before), it involves you, the survivor, to….survive. What happens beyond that is a concoction of your imagination, and a fate formed by your own decisions - or lack thereof, as many a strangers’ bullet will dictate. Without hearing much of the surrounding hype, my initial fear and fascination was firmly invested into the zombies. But within the first hour, I discovered the true fear : other people. It is game mechanics in their most unadulterated form, effectively allowing the game to create itself on a blank canvas woven with paranoia and fear.

Rust is very much of a similar ilk, but crosses over into a Minecraft-esque territory. The graphics are relatively average, if not sub-par in places. Long grass and shadows are cataclysmically pixelated, and the night sky looks like the painted bedroom ceiling of a stargazing enthusiast. But that may also seem more so whilst comparing it to the generically associated title that is one of the most visually stunning games I’ve witnessed (DayZ).

Your means of survival are not so much dependant on finding items (aside from blueprints for ‘special’ items), but crafting them from raw materials. You find wood and stone to create a flint hatchet, to cut down more wood, and hunt animals to survive. You use wood to cook meat, and animal fats for lighter fuel to put into your newly built furnace, which in turn allows you to craft basic weaponry such as pistols and shotguns. You create a shed to stockpile resources, then with those resources build a house. It is not time-forgiving, and after about 8 hours I only just got around to finishing my 2 up 2 down detached in the countryside. Prior to this, I built numerous sheds across a mountainous landscape, creeping about my new habitat in the night, like an Al-Qaedan Quasimodo.

There seems to be a willingness from a larger majority of players to co-operate in comparison to DayZ. My first couple of hours saw me collate together a group of 5 strangers; one of whom was slain quite abruptly for his assault on a fellow member of the tribe. We encountered what appeared to be an obscenely large wooden design, that would put the Great Wall to shame. This moment was reminiscent to the end of Monty Python’s Holy Grail, as a gawky invisible American’s voice boomed across the landscape from his kingdom, and demanded that we leave the area. He mentioned the rent was steep, which I initially thought was an act of facetiousness. I realised that in fact rooms were being rented out to players in exchange for raw materials on a weekly basis. We eventually came to an agreement of 200 wood and 100 metal ore for the next couple of days. I continued my gaming session with these fine men, until the point where I realised it was past 5 in the morning..

Since that day, I haven’t roamed with any new-found allies. I found myself gathering resources in an out-of-the-way area, and have not been able to pinpoint my whereabouts. The last time I tried to escape my Deliverance-esque surroundings, I accidentally jumped off of a cliff in the dark. Rust’s main issue is that there is little surrounding you to ever really determine your true whereabouts. Everything looks the same. And, unlike DayZ, there are few permanent buildings to help navigate you around the vast map. But aside from that, it has so far been a very enjoyable experience.

The sandbox horror survival genre is now in full swing, and you can find a platitude of ‘early access’ games of a similar ilk by the bucket load on steam. But the problem lies therein: to contemplate the possibility of “Early Access” for a game, it needs to be justifiable. Titles such as NetherWasteland 2 (both of which I’ve heard positive things about) and 7 days to die (and more mixed feelings on the latter), are similarly categorised “post-apocalyptic” titles that are also part of the first-generation Early access Open World Survivor-Horror games(FGEAOWSHGs, obviously). And it is hard to differentiate between the genuinely dedicated and strong community-based FGEAOWSHGs titles, and those fronted by teams apparently lacking the patience to land a finished product before they turn a profit. This is a cynical statement, but I cannot help but feel that it is far more than mere coincidence that a slew of similiarly-paced titles are now invading our inner thoughts as adrenaline-hungry gamers.

Early Access

In my view, the concept of “Early Access” games is fair enough. For some it has been a great way to back a project and help it develop into a greater final product as a result of additional funding prior to its final release. Minecraft’s Markus Persson was able to leave his day job in order to focus more on the game as a result of alpha-game funding. Rust is devised by Garry of Garry’s Mod, so has a resume – albeit brief – to bear some credibility behind the project. DayZ certainly had valid reasons to open up to the public early. It notoriously has a devoted and long standing community that wishes to see the game develop and blossom into something greater than it has ever been. The mod has survived for years, but never truly been a finished product. And devoted fans want to see just that, whilst committing monetarily and being part of the development process. And it is at the consumer’s discretion to purchase an unfinished game, preferably without complaining non-constructively about all the alleged bugs in the title…. But the problem is, that is exactly what happens. Especially when you unleash an unfinished game upon a new or potential community.

7 Days To Die has a disconcertingly identical appearance to Minecraft’s mechanics and aesthetics. Throw in the erratically twitchy NPC models, and this title gives off the body language of a shifty back alley character seeking your wallet ; a motive to utilise “Early Access” in order to financially captivate an already live demographic of zombie/horror fanatics. It comes across as if the concept of this game was devised by some marketing heads, and set upon amateur coding drones to complete the job. And graphically to say the least, it would appear that way.

But the real tragedy is not necessarily people wasting their money on “fad” games designed to fleece the consumer. The real tragedy it would appear, is that such a conclusion that I have deduced can easily be surmised through speculation. With “Early Access,” a game can potentially dig its own burial spot, shoot itself in the head, and slump into its cold dirt-ridden grave before a final release is even announced; potentially cutting off its finished development. I went into this article believing that this game was of little worth because of what little information I could find through online forums and one or two articles.

But I realised that my bias shouldn’t get the better of me, and I wanted to like the ideas and concepts of this game. I did more YouTube “research” and found more positive outlooks from some regular YouTube video posters. But the availability of opinions on this unfinished game was so thin at the time of writing this. And I could not accept anything less than an unanimous approval from what little information I could gather regarding it. The developers of this game might genuinely be trying to create something new and innovative. But visually, the game just looks really haphazard. It looks as if Left 4 Dead took a bucketful of sulphuric acid to the face and keeled over into a mess of broken of glass. The graphics are more reminiscent of 2005′s mediocre Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green than the survival horrors such as DayZ that it is attempting to compete with. But with its final release I really do hope to get a better idea of its worth, and hope to hear nothing but positivity - as the concept to me is genuinely intriguing.

The grey area that disallows for the possibility of consumers to make educated decisions upon purchasing a relatively unknown “Early Access” title such as 7 Days To Die (due to the lack of trusted reviewer sites or reliable games critics), is what could be so dangerous to new developers. And once they crash and burn on a non-fully released title, they won’t stand a chance in recuperating. To release a priced unfinished game that isn’t up to scratch and looks too bleak to redeem, is effectively getting caught with your pants down with piss all over your shins.

So I would say as a final word, that you must take heed when purchasing early access games. And developers, you should do when considering it as a viable concept to promote your creation. Your credibility is at stake if you try to push a half-baked product onto the mainstream gaming industry. And that industry is in a fantastic place now for independent game developers. There is a juxtaposition by which big companies such as EA and Activision are monopolizing the market with titles such as FIFA, Battlefield, and Call of Duty; but equally, outlets such as Xbox Arcade or Steam allow indie devs to put up their work for sale without the need to globally distribute physical copies. They can use the benefits of “Early Access” also, but the terms and conditions for both creator and consumer are finicky at the moment.

But, it is a new concept. If it does not get flooded with deception and crookedness, it could be another good thing to add to the indie developers’ toolkit. But up until now, the concept is too short-lived to give us any solid conclusion as to whether it is beneficial. Perhaps as an afterthought, developers/publishers could allow potential customers to try the alpha for perhaps one day, so that they can make a formidable decision as to whether they want to help support the future of the title in question. Just a thought. I never said it was a good one.

Game Industry Misbehaving Series: Steam Early Access, Fraudulent or Truthful? Wed, 26 Feb 2014 03:30:47 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

Does the Early Access program steal your money, or use it in creative ways?

Think About the Developer's Rent

Developers are humans and so need to pay for everything. They need to have a roof, and some food, as well as all the other nice things humans need.

Without this sort of system, and no publishers to back the projects, how can small studios make their games? The answer is that they can't, without sacrificing such luxuries like food, or water, or a place to sleep.

Money Grabbers

Developers need houses, yes, but that's only the developers who are just starting out. Take other developers who have already got a publishing deal. Games like Arma 3 or DayZ, in this case the developers are the publishers.

However this does not stop the fact they already have all the funding and houses they need.

So why would these people put an unfinished game on Steam Early Access?

To milk money from an unfinished game and from their fanbase is why.

Glitches were very obvious in the Arma 3 Alpha and Beta.

What Would the Developers Point of View be?

You, the consumer, may see this as a money grabbing scheme from the Bohemia Interactive teams, but they see this as showing you their game. They want to show you how it grows, expands and improves. Simply put to get the game, in an early stage, into gamers hands. They can then optimise the experience to fit the gamers wants and needs, to shape the game how gamers want it, while keeping to their vision. Balancing the game, stress testing the game and generally testing the game, to make sure it releases with as little bugs as possible. Indeed, Arma 3 is the least buggy Arma game, with the best AI.

DayZ was held off for a long time untill Dean 'Rocket' Hall, the creator of the DayZ mod and the head honcho for the DayZ team, held off the release untill he was happy it was ready to be playable, and in a reasonable condition. (Mr Hall is leaving DayZ soon).

DayZ Standalone has a few glitches, but nothing more than the mod.

Should you Always Trust Developers?

Do you trust a developer who releases a game which isn't created to its full potential, making the game broken and difficult to play? The outrage at the Battlefield 4 multiplayer being a prime example of this leading to a significant number of gamers demanding refunds. This then led players (like you) towards not trusting DICE as much as they may once have. So why when a game like, 7 Days to Die comes out (and you are made to pay full price for it, if you want it) is there almost no backlash? Do we just accept poor quality or down right broken games because it bears the mark pre-alpha or the like? Are gamers buying into this purely because the games bear the mark, "Steam Early Access"? Do you have any ideas?

7 Days to Die may have good ideas, but it doesn't make them look good, or work.

Who is to stop a developer just never finishing their game? What if they run out of money because they can't manage said money, and so cannot pay for staff or office/house rent? Will they, in effect, been stealing the money, of possibly thousands of gamers, on a false promise? In my books, that's fraud.

What is an Alpha or Beta for?

For developers:

  • Alpha 
    • When game's story has been implemented, but often unfinished
    • A small part of the world has been made
    • Very buggy or unoptimised
  • Beta
    • When full game is playable from start to finish
    • There are bugs (sometimes game breaking)
    • Optimisation issues a plenty.

For the consumer theses should mean something a bit different.

  • Pre-Alpha
    • When the core concept is there.
    • Game isn't fleshed out.
  • Alpha
    • Building upon the pre-alpha
    • Core concept works and is fully playable
    • Minimal game breaking bugs.
    • Like the state DayZ is currently in.
  • Beta 
    • Fully functional
    • There are some optimisation issues
    • Servers need to be stress tested, due to online features
    • Such as the Titanfall Beta
Attach These Definitions to 7 Days to Die

Is 7 Days to Die in a fit state to be released? I don't think so, but for a game like Interstellar Marines it's ok right? Errr... I'm not sure, do you want tell me what you think?

Interstellar Marines has one of the most open developers out there, Zero Point Software. They often release 'behind the scenes' video logs (vlogs) for small announcements, and they release previews for upcoming updates. All of this really shows how basic the game is, and where they want to go with it. But the game is functional and has only minor bugs, well with the exceptions, and the issues that come with PC gaming, it will crash. Overall the game is very stable, I think in part it's due to Zero Point developing it in public eye and in small sections. It's in a pre-alpha stage, where there is only multiplayer, and no single player as of yet. So this is a good thing right? Even if I do personally like the game, even in its current state, I am waiting for it to be fully released to play it as much as I want to. I payed for it as I wanted to fund the game, just like I wanted to do with their unfortunate Kickstarter. Is this how Early Access should be used? To fund a game in a similar way that Kickstarter uses?

Interstellar Marines was released very barebones, but works. Almost flawlessly.

Is Early Access Just like Kickstarter?

In some ways yes. You give a developer money, before the game is out, to help fund the development process. Only the game has to be playable right? Well not always, as I have explained before, but the developer does have more of an inclination to finish the game as it's playable, and in the publics hands. Which is always a good thing. Look at Broken Age for a great Kickstarter success.

The game may have gone over budget, but it's still great.

The good side of Alphas or Betas

As I have said before, the Early Access Program allows a game to be shown to people before it has been released; as a sort of pay for demo. This allows player feedback to shape the game. Then it's exactly how gamers want it. Think Goldilocks and her porridge, it's just right. I think it also opens the development process of the game up to the public, as they can see exactly how the game takes shape, what features are harder to make (these will often be the features implemented last) or what features get taken out, if any (but hasn't happened as of yet).

The Name: Steam Early Access

Does the name of the program make you think you can have access to games early? Sure. But does it also tell you the game is still in development? Not so much.

I think Early Access says to someone "you can now have access to our game earlier than anyone else, and it will work". Which is not the case. Maybe a more fitting name would be, Steam Funding Access, or Steam Pre-Release Access. Ok, not those, but something which screams. This game is still being made, it will be broken, and/or unfinished. This is purely for funding the game and seeing the progress we make.

My Views

If the system is used well, like with DayZ, then great. On the DayZ Steam page, it says:

They are actively trying to stop you from buying their game unless you want to fund it, or are able to deal with game breaking issues. This is great, as it tells you exactly what to expect.

I hate Early Access when it's used to push out a bad, broken, or unfinished game, and claim it's like that because it's still in development. So I mostly hate the way some developers use the system. I really hate it when the terms Alpha, Beta, etc, are used as get out of jail free cards. I know the game is still being made, but as I can play it, it should work.

I like the idea behind Early Access, but dislike the way some use it.

Readers Your Money! Please?

Now as this article is in an unfinished state, I demand your money! Or you will never get the full article. What's that? This article is finished? Never mind then.

Please leave your mumblings, thoughts, musings, or fully constructed and formatted ideas in the comments bellow. It would be best if all of the above are to do with the article, but feel free to write about anything.

If you cannot complete your fully constructed ideas, please don't ask for money, that's just rude.

Bigger Game Worlds Aren't Always Better! Tue, 17 Mar 2015 05:26:55 -0400 StayNoLonger

It seems that a lot of developers are using a rather flawed idea: "make the map as big as we can!" 

This often seems the case with a lot of the Indie Early Access games found on Steam. A lot of them are survival games that offer you massive worlds for you to explore! Although the only experience I have had from DayZ, for example, (this was the mod for Arma 2, not the standalone version), was running away from zombies for 45 minutes in the dark until I found an axe only to get shot by a sniper through a window. I never actually met up with the friend I planned on playing with because we had spawned on opposite sides of the map. 

Problem with Large Worlds

The big problem with large maps is that you need to fill them with content. Games like Skyrim and Fallout both have large maps, although they did not seem as big as you always come across things to do, such as going into a cave full of bandits or coming across Tenpenny Tower.

The only thing is that a lot of games with big maps only go big to show off that the engine can handle the rigorous demands; this usually leaves the world feeling hollow. You may have a massive terrain to explore, only there isn't anything to do there. A lot of the open world survival games like Rust seem to have a lazy design, making it feel like they have given you a basic world and then set you to work to make content.

Instead of giving you a world and content, then setting you out to find more and more things to do. It is obvious in some cases that they are trying to create the next Minecraft, which is an unbelievable goal. Not even Everquest Next Landmark has been able to do this, and Landmark has Sony Online Entertainment developing it. (One thing they need to do is ditch the patch idea and allow people to use the entire map to build greatness!)

It is no way near as hard to create game worlds as it was a number of years ago. 

There are now tools that allow you to generate areas to use after just inputting a few numbers, or even allow you to simply mold the terrain with in-engine sculpting tools. By making it easier for people to create games and the introduction of Steam Greenlight, which doesn't seem to have any consistency or quality control whatsoever, allows people to develop empty games. These then sometimes get put up for retail with only promises of what the game might contain if developer is able to finish it. We're seeing this a lot: early access or Kickstarter games have run out of money or even just motivation, and the developers have stopped developing the game.

It's a lot like filling a cup with water, the bigger the cup the more water you will need, if you pour the contents of a smaller cup into a bigger cup it won't fill it up.

Problem with Smaller Worlds

One of the biggest issues of using smaller worlds is that it is hard for a developer to allow the player to break from the chains and do what they want. Most games with small maps are very linear and don't allow you that much choice in what you experience. A good example of a game using small maps is Medal of Honor: Warfighter. This game holds your hand and objectives are so much of a checklist that at one point the game asks you to bomb a building that a sniper is hiding in, if you try to move on even if you shoot the sniper you get killed instantly.

TotalBiscuit (CynicalBrit) talking about linear aspects of Medal of Hono(u)r: Warfighter

Advantage of Large Worlds

The big appeal of large worlds is that the size allows you to break out of the linear boundaries of some the smaller maps from games like in Call of Duty and Battlefield. This gives the player the chance to go where they want to go, rather than feeling like the game is holding their hand and showing them where the developer wants them to go.

It is a lot easier to really connect to a world that is big enough to give you the freedom to roam around the map throughout the game. A great example of this is the Mass Effect Universe, this combines lots smaller areas into one big open world game. To this day, I would say this is the series I have had the most attachment to. 

Advantage of Smaller Worlds

Obviously the potential content of smaller worlds is greatly reduced; sometimes this could be a good thing. It is much easier to fill a world with content if it has smaller scale. Then there are some genres that are more suited to it, such as platformers.

Not every game wants to copy games like Skyrim. Look at Thomas Was Alone, it has small levels and only takes 2-3 hours to complete. This is great for a game like this because if it had been any longer it would start to get boring, thus losing its charm. A long playtime would probably lead to most people not finishing the game.

It is still in Alpha on Steam Early Access, but H1Z1, the zombie survival game from Sony Online Entertainment, uses a smaller game world to that of its counterparts. From what I have heard it benefits from this, other than a few misconceptions which got blown out of proportions on Reddit, people's experiences with the game are positive.

As the map is not so big as games like DayZ, you can meet up with your friends quickly rather than having to travel for nearly an hour to meet up with someone. That is, if you even managed to get to the correct place or if they told you the right one.

Sometimes games with smaller worlds can benefit from this, take RTS games like Warcraft 3, you have lots of small maps which you navigate your forces around to complete objectives. If you were to make the maps much larger, it would start to become a pain maneuvering while keeping an eye on what the enemy is doing. This franchise evolved into World of Warcraft, the most successful open-world MMORPG ever made. It still has a higher number of players than any other game in the genre, and this is over ten years after its original release in 2004.

In conclusion

Large open world games are great and I would hate to see them disappear, although I feel that having a big game world just for the sake of it, causing players to get bored whilst traveling through a vast emptiness. One of the first things developers should question themselves when creating a world is "can I fill it?" If you don't believe you can, maybe you should think about making it smaller so that you don't have expanses where there is nothing to do.

New Online Security for Rust, CheatPunch Thu, 13 Feb 2014 03:34:34 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

What does it do?
Simply put, it blocks cheaters.
In more detail, it stops cheaters from using cheats which can make you fly, or give you super speed. Hence CheatPunch, the puncher of cheats.
When is it out?

NOW! But only on official servers, and unofficial servers which will run it.

Facepunch Studios commented:

"We’re testing it out on our official servers to make sure it all works before forcing it on everyone else."
 Will it work?
"We fully expect cheats to be touted as ‘CheatPunch proof’ quite soon, that’s cool. We’re never going to be finished fighting."

So yes, but not forever; they will keep updating it until people give up--if they give up. Will they give up? What are you thoughts on anti-cheat measures? What are you thoughts on Steam Early Access? What are your thoughts on the meaning of gaming life?

Anything put it in the comments bellow.

Rust Diaries: Day Two - The Ten Year Old War Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:08:55 -0500 Brandon Morgan

Disclaimer: The events in this tale did in fact happen to me in-game. I took some liberties with the events in order to tell it from the first-person viewpoint of my in-game character.

I awake from a long slumber, the previous night’s activities lingered in my mind. I found a bandit group that didn’t shun me immediately, we massacred numerous homes in search of supplies with hatchets, and a lone gunman wielding a high-powered shotgun subsequently attacked us.

I foolishly went toe-to-toe with this man, aiming to prove myself to my newfound friends. It didn’t turn out well.

The world around me is darkened; the sun is just beginning to rise in the distance, cresting the mountaintop to the east. I scoop up a loose rock from the ground, back to where I started, I guess. At least it’s a weapon, something to defend myself with and gather supplies.

I begin walking, gathering supplies and searching for better gear once again. Everything I had was gone.

The days passed by; I slept alone in a tiny hovel I crafted from numerous pieces of wood. I finally get a stone hatchet and use it to get myself a pig. I’m living quite well, I’ve even managed to garner some successful trade traffic, friendly survivors passing by looking for some supplies in exchange for others. Through these people I hear rumors from all over the island.

One of these rumors helped ignite a war.

I learned of a valley, completely occupied by new survivors, all banded together protecting each other with their hatchets and rocks. Forts had begun to pop up within the valley, but nothing significant. Mostly hovels like mine are what you would find in the grassy plain. Within each were players trying to survive, gathering their own supplies to horde.

I began going to work. I spread the word that people should meet up at one of the radiated towns dotting the landscape. We were going to clear that valley and rid the island of those young miscreants once and for all.

Squeakers be damned.

Armed with hatchets, pistols, assault rifles, and shotguns, a hefty group of survivors has gathered in unison. It is the first time I’ve seen this number of people working together towards a common goal since arriving in this god-forsaken land. We want these people gone and will work together to achieve that outcome.

We move forward as one mass of angry vengeance.

We can hear the people in the valley shouting to each other, calling for reinforcements as they see the enemy bearing down upon them from the crest of the hill. Guns go off from the valley; pistols and an assault rifle or two fire off from the cover of wooden barricades. We thought they only had hatches, but it was no matter, we were already set on our course.

Many die on both sides, their bodies looted as quickly as they fall to the ground. Ammo is expended and hatches are brought down upon idle heads. Homes are broken apart and looted for whatever goods are hidden within.

There are far too many of these foes, however. We are pushed back and broken; those who did not die rush back up the hill and into the forest beyond the radiated town, away from the battle we had created.

We have lost the Ten Year Old War.

Someone within our group can’t handle the loss; he turns his assault rifle on a few people in our remaining group and opens fire. He killed two instantly; the rest either run or turn their own weapons on him and others. It is chaos as we divert to our old ways, no longer working together. All for one and one for all indeed.

Rust Diaries: Day One - Becoming The Bandit Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:19:29 -0500 Brandon Morgan

I open my eyes with the rising sun, the mountains create a barrier between the glaring orb of light and myself. The tall peaks cast shadows across the valley I find myself in. Two towers in the distance create their own, expanding shadows as the sun rises higher and higher overhead. The empty remains of a small town, irradiated beyond repair, lies behind me, just down the small hill along the cracked, crumbling road.

Ahead of me numerous figures run around in the distance, and without too much thought towards the topic I run towards them.

The simple rock I’ve got to defend myself looks silly against their metal hatchets. Each of them has their face covered in a cloth wrapping, their bodies matching in armor, all of cloth. They stop and eye me up and down, determining whether to kill me and take my stuff or not.

One of them uses the hatchet to bash at someone’s house; the wooden walls are failing their owner as the hatchet destroys it. I heft my rock and begin bashing the wood down as well, showing I am friendly and willing to join their group.

Their thoughts of killing me subside and they return to their work, destroying homes in the valley and taking whatever contents lie within.

One of them stops mid-work and drops some cooked chicken for me, leaving it in a sack cloth on the dusty ground. I thank him and grab hold of it, tearing into the cooked food and satiating my longing hunger.

We return to bashing open homes, knocking down the first and discovering a wooden crate. I open it up and discover numerous pieces of cooked chicken. I evenly distribute it amongst the group of bandits I now call friends. They return the favor with my very own metal hatchet, dropping it before my feet in a token of welcoming.

I quickly ditch my crappy rock and scoop the hatchet up. Back to work. We continue our rush through the valley; we are like a storm destroying everything in sight. We aren’t as lucky in our search for supplies; the other houses are barren besides the telltale signs of a campfire tucked away within their confines.

I look up towards the sun, now setting; we had whiled the day away with our work--bandit work--but work nonetheless in this godforsaken land. I eye the tower looming over us, the bandit home. At the very top a sniper watches over us, the glint of his rifle peeking out over the edge of the wooden structure. I am thankful for this new group, protecting, feeding, and accepting me.

The rifle above fires a shot off, we all stop hatcheting the wooden structure and turn towards the gunfire.

Someone has entered our valley and is looking for supplies of his own. He has a homemade shotgun in his hands and he’s running towards us with it. Four of us on the ground, all armed with hatchets at first. Two of my bandit companions pull custom revolvers from somewhere, the third withdraws and M4.

Being the foolish new bandit that I was, I attempted to prove myself to this new family of the wastelands.

I rushed forward with my hatchet, swooping in upon the survivor like a storm. My arm swung and I struck him numerous times with the edged blade.

The man gets a shot off, the shotgun blast slamming into my chest. I’m still standing and still swinging my hatchet, the adrenaline pumping through me as I attempt to survive this fight. My fellow bandits have encircled us and are taking potshots at the man. A few hit, I see the spurts of blood as he runs for cover. He ducks behind a tree for safety, but is it really safe?

I follow him, sprinting after the, now, wounded man. I come around the tree just in time to see him reload the homemade shotgun. He swings it up and fires. Everything goes black, I feel the ground slam into my back as I hit it. The dust and rocks fly up with the impact of my body.

Learn how to survive your first day/night in Rust.

Rust Guide: How to Build Shelter in Rust Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:28:48 -0500 Brandon Morgan

Building a shelter is a top priority when it comes to the world of Rust. Not only does it offer shelter, but it gives you a place to respawn with the right crafted items.

My Home is my Castle

Building shelter is relatively easy. With enough wood you can craft a simple hut and a door to keep out the undead and players. Though, a wooden door can be bashed open, so be wary. Metal is what you will be after, but on your first day you won't get that lucky. It will take 50 pieces of wood to build your first structure. Another 30 pieces will be required for the door. To gather wood, remember your trusty stone hatchet.

Location, location, location

Tuck your first little hovel away somewhere safe, between mountains is generally a good spot. Some players choose to park their homes right beside other players. This may be a good tactic to keep others away, but you have to worry about the resident beside you as well. But make sure you remember where it is, there is no in-game map, so it is easy to lose yourself and your makeshift home.

The next part will help you to remember your location should you die involuntarily.

Rest your head wary traveler

A sleeping bag will help you out immensely. When you die, if you own one, you will respawn in your hovel in the comfort of your sleeping bag. To craft one you will require numerous scraps of paper, which can be located in crates. 

Your initial accommodations are tiny, but they're home, aren't they?

Up Next: How to get Loot in Rust >>

Learn how to survive your first day/night in Rust.