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How to make a Good Superman Game.

I've read many articles criticizing the many brave and foolish developers who failed at creating a good game about The Man of Steel. The consensus is that it's incredibly difficult to stay true to the godlike power of Superman while confining him to game mechanics. The glaring problem being Superman's invulnerability, the minute you stick a health bar on him as a developer you've lost.

This got my old hamster wheels turning. How would I make a Superman game if given the chance? Surprisingly I have not one but three solutions which would make awesome Superman games.

Let's take a look at the big picture. As a player I would like to have access to a true Superman experience. I want all his powers, and I don't want any gimmicks limiting those powers. What that means is you end up handing me a game which I can't lose. Essentially being Superman means you will always overcome anything thrown at you. Video game wise being Superman also disrupts several mechanics I look to for enjoyment. There literally is 0 room for character progression or leveling because Superman's powers start at the strongest they can be. There also is very little to discover, as I kind of already have an idea of what I'm in for. I'm going to Punch things and fly. If there are swarms of things you mix it up with heat vision or ice breath.

Shoehorning Superman into a traditional action or RPG game will end up in disaster every time so you have to innovate!

Idea 1.
Crime Management (Choice and consequence)

We take Superman and give him an open world. All powers are available to you from the beginning. The game world is persistent and the most important feature is the A.I. Each citizen is living and aging making daily decisions, that affect the other citizens. If a building is destroyed citizens die, and structures take time to be rebuilt. I'm talking about an A.I. so advanced that even your criminals aren't just nameless faceless thugs but they have family and their actions cause ripples in the game. Then we take this living world and light it on fire. As Superman, you can stop many of the problems happening around you, but you can't stop them all. What you choose to ignore, and what you respond to shapes the world that will in time become unique to the player. Taking a hands-on approach may lead to the creation of smarter more deadly super-villains while a hands-off approach may create rogue metahuman vigilantes that you have to deal with. To take this idea a step further, you're not only limited to protecting Earth. You monitor a few dozen planets which always seem to be on the brink of a planetary disaster.

Idea 2.
Brain before brawn. (Creativity provides progression)

We take Superman and once again we need to give him a vibrant world worth protecting. The NPC's don't have to be as advanced as those in my first idea but we do need buildings to be populated and for people to be able to flee, die or be saved. The enemies you face can't destroy you. Some may if they have kryptonite but the problems they present can't be solved by simply punching through waves and waves of trash mobs. You have to use your powers creatively as well as develop tools in the fortress of solitude (maybe some gathering crafting magic/science) in order to avert tragedy. Essentially each crisis will have it's own invisible clock in which you have to figure out the true threat, find out how to neutralize it with the least amount of casualties, and repeat. You lose once the planet is destroyed. It would be best if the crisis can be procedurally generated so the game continues to feel fresh. In between each major crisis, Superman can spend time handling street level crime which provide subtle clues as to what the next big event may be. You're also free to use the downtime between crisis to invent things in the fortress and test out your own super experiments.

Idea 3.
Super Simulation (Emotions are key)

We don't have full control of Superman but can direct him to handle certain tasks. We manage his daily life and his Super life as well as his interaction with others. The resources you manage are supermans emotions, and his overall mood is determined by the outcome of events. Sometimes he saves the day, sometimes he's not in time. All you can do is try to make the people happy and try to keep superman happy because a happy superman performs better under pressure. You also get to manage his love life, maybe lead the justice league and try to spend time as Clark Kent as well. All in a Sims like way.

New York Home Paternity Test. (Identigene Collections $100)

If you bought the Identigene kit and realized that you can't perform the testing in NY state. Have no fear your certified DNA collector is here. I did a brief stint as a drug test /DNA collector and I am offering my services to anyone that needs them for $100 I come out to you and perform the collection anywhere within the 5 boroughs. It's actually a great deal considering my competitors charge anywhere from $200 - $350 for the same service. Also here's a pic of me performing a collection in a french newspaper for anyone that wants to question my experience.


If you're ready to book your collection appointment purchase online, or call me at 347-635-5766.

Sony's huge opportunity to save the PS Vita, with PlayStation TV.

The PS Vita is a wonderful gaming device, I own the system and the games that are released that I think I would enjoy I purchase. With that said poor sales, and a lack of games have sent the system into a death spiral that seems impossible to recover from. Fans of the Vita often champion the power of the machine and all the potential it has to produce amazing gaming experiences, while a larger more vocal majority are content with saying the Vita is dead and moving on to playing their 3DS or mobile phone games.

If you aren't familiar with why exactly the vita is failing there is a very compelling argument on Extra Credits Youtube channel.  

From my time spent perusing through gaming forums Vita owners usually claim that the reason the Vita isn't selling is because of: 

  1. Lack of advertising from Sony. 
  2. The proprietary memory cards are egregiously overpriced. (I agree with this as well)
  3. The system is overpriced
  4. Sony not being able to retain console exclusivity of Capcom's Monster Hunter series ended the Vita before it began. (The lack of good games argument)
  5. Sony gave up on the Vita, which was substantiated by this article on Sony providing less first party support for the device.

I however believe that Sony can turn the Vita around with the PlayStation TV. Sony is positioning the PS TV, as a budget console/streaming box. Essentially it's a PS Vita that you connect to your television and control with either a Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4 controller. The PS TV will retail for about $99. This device will be an attractive buy for those who aren't willing to shell out between $299 - $399 for one of the big three next gen consoles on the market this holiday season. 

The PlayStation TV launch library for first time buyers will appear to be massive. The Vita suffered from a trickle of games coming in over time always leaving it's owners with the feeling that there are no games to play. Here we are close to 3 years later and the native Vita library has grown considerably not to mention the PlayStation TV will be able to draw games from the PSP library, PS1 classics, as well as from the PlayStation Now streaming service. 

By removing Vita from the PlayStation TV name I think Sony hopes to give the console a fresh start by removing the stigma that the Vita is dead from the new console. When first time consumers search for the Vita and encounter page after page of negativity I'm sure that has a negative impact on sales. A quick Google of PlayStation TV and the consumer isn't greeted with even 1% the amount of sales damaging chatter that the Vita faces. 

If the PlayStation TV sells, and the Vita install base grows it will mitigate some of the risk with game developers which means they may be willing to take a chance on the system bringing more games to the platform and reversing the death spiral. Of course if those memory cards could get another price cut with the introduction of the 64GB that will incentive new buyers, as well as current owners. With the price of memory cards being so high and the push for digital only games Vita owners simply don't have the space, and I think the same will be true for PlayStation TV owners.

Most importantly the PlayStation TV will require some very clever advertising campaigns highlighting that the price point of the system itself is extremely competitively positioned. Many users suggested that Sony bundle the Vita with the PS4 in order to help increase the install base, and after this weeks Gamescom announcement that the PS4 has sold 10 million units that may have worked, or it could have slowed PS4 sales. This was clearly a risk Sony wasn't willing to take. I think that a PS4/PlayStation TV bundle could be a worth while venture. The bundle could be priced at $479 selling the Vita TV at a 20 dollar lose which will be recouped from PS4 owners now having to purchase Vita memory cards (brand new revenue stream) this also enhances the value of PS plus to new buyers who I believe should receive a month free with the bundle. 

The marketing pitch I envision for the bundle is one console for two rooms. I can also see ad campaigns where people are enjoying PS4 gaming without the PS4 anywhere in view with the tag line being where's your PS4? This can also be modified to push the traditional Vita with the answer to where's your PS4? being everywhere.

With Sony continuing forward with the release of  PlayStation TV is proof enough that they haven't abandoned the Vita as a platform. They are approaching the problem at it's core; if you grow the install base then you save the Vita. 

Cheers and Gaming Teddy Bears!

NYC Product Photography (New Service)

Product Photography Package from Joshen Reborn on Square Market
*spoiler* I'm going to be offering goods in addition to all these new services soon!

I'm proud to announce that I will be officially offering product photography, and it's available for purchase now. I am equipped to shoot products against a black, or super white back drop with either shadows or natural reflections. The pricing for this service is $10 per product, and $10 to retouch with a 10 product minimum. If you have less than 10 items use the contact page to get in touch with me and I'll be happy negotiate a fair price with you. 

As you can see purchasing the package online nets you a $50 discount and for all you early birds use the promo code REBORN at checkout to take another $50 off. I know your probably thinking that is the "cheapest product photography in NYC" and you're absolutely right you wont find affordable product photography anywhere else but these deals wont last (I feel like I've heard this before, looks like years of television ads are finally paying off). There is a limited supply of promo codes so don't hesitate.

I can pick up and drop off the products from you anywhere in the 5 boroughs, or from any stop on the Metro North railroad. If you are not NY/CT local the products can be shipped and returned to me at your expense.

Product Photography work flow from raw to final image.

Cheers and Expanded Skill Set Teddy Bears

App Prototyping, and Wireframing Service.

Wireframe Package from Joshen Reborn on Square Market

I'm always excited when I can announce new services to my current and future clients.

Today I'll officially begin offering mobile app prototyping for both IOS and Android. The basic package is three screens for $200. Single screen purchases are $75 each. The end product is an html file which can be launched full screen on your phone giving the appearance of an actual finished application. You will also receive a PDF document containing each static screen, a video chat consultation, as well as a white screen video showing basic app flow similar to the video below. (voiceover not included)

We will take your notes and sketches and turn them into a clickable prototype so you can display your high level concept as well as begin to lay the foundation for your UI/UX (user interface and user experience).

App development is very expensive, and one of the barriers to entry is just being able to get your concept out of your head and into the real world. 

Cheers and Startup Teddy Bears.

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