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Sameth`s Avatar
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Flow of Time131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
*sigh*
I hate these threads where people discuss their views on science and try and pass them off as fact.

First off, F77, the effect you're noticing is pretty much as Rabbid said in his original post. If time really did flow slower while you were in a boring class then we should all go spend out time getting lectured and we'd live a lot longer. Time doesn't really flow differently, it's just your perception of it.

Xskill, the idea that time "doesn't exit" is pretty redundant. You can measure time. You know how long it took something to happen, or how long ago an event was. Sure, you can't have a box of time but equally you can't have a box of length, or temperate. Are you trying to tell me that they don't exist either?
Time is just a way of measuring things, just like length, mass, charge, and whatever else you want to quantify. But yes, the way we measure time is totally arbitrary. But so is every other unit in existence (except for radians) and we've got to do it somehow.

coreyj, don't just make statements of random things that you've heard but obviously know nothing about. Sure, it's theorised that time is the fourth dimension but just saying that doesn't let anyone reading this thread understand anything about what it means. It's a continuation of Einstein's theory of relativity, that basically says that time essentially slows down for an object travelling very close to the speed of light (see the Time Travel thread where I rip apart some more pseudoscience). I know almost nothing about spacetime (the theory that time is a fourth dimension) seeing as I'm a Biochemist, but it does have some interesting effects. For example objects with large enough gravity can "bend" spacetime, which is just weird, and the neutrinos that were recently found travelling faster than the speed of light are theorised to have jumped across a lump of spacetime, allowing them to get somewhere faster than light. Spacetime can be imagined as either a four dimensional graph, where there would be four axis (x,y,z,t), three representing space and one representing time. You can then plot exactly what happened when on this graph. Kinda neat, no? Alternatively, spacetime can be imagined as a membrane, which is where the weird effects mentioned above come in. If you can imagine bending the membrane, you could link two places by skipping out the bits between them, hence why the neutrinos could have travelled faster than light.
But anyway, yes time is relative (as explained in the time travel thread), but again, please explain what you mean. To me that means something, but to anyone who doesn't do an absurd amount of reading or had a decent amount of formal education in physics, it's just words.
You can define time by light, the past is an event that we can observe the light of, while the future is an event we can send light to. That's a pretty obsolete statement though. As I said, explanations would be good.

Finally, Ribbit, while I ultimately agree with what you're saying to coreyj, I dislike the way you're making scientific theory seem like just an idea someone cooked up while they were in the bath, or something. Newtonian physics is true, as is relativity. Sure, you can argue about extra dimensions until the world ends, but it doesn't change the fact that there's scientific fact that proves that relativity is a real effect, and by extension that spacetime is a valid theory. Some physics is entirely theoretical and based upon maths almost exclusively, but there is proof for relativity in your sat nav. An incorrect scientific theory is not a lie. It still makes sense, and it can still be true. Consider this: [LINK] . While I can't really be bothered to work out if the equation in that comic is actually true or not, it doesn't really matter, because it shows that the maths can be totally correct, and dimensional analysis works but something can still be wrong. Calling something a lie in science is not something you can do easily (if at all).
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Sameth`s Avatar
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Time-Travel131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
Firedrake915, I get the feeling you have no idea why Time Dilation occurs, do you? It's actually a very well understood Physics concept and nothing at all like you described. Time Dilation is an effect of Relativity. The two postulates of Special Relativity are as follows: 1) The speed of light is the same in all inertial reference frames (i.e. the speed of light is always measured as 300,000,000 m/s, regardless of how fast you're going) and 2) The laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames (i.e. Newton's Laws of Motion still apply, regardless of how fast you're going).
Note: An inertial reference frame is one where you're not accelerating or turning, so there's no Force acting on you.

What all this means is that the speed of light must ALWAYS be the same value no mater how fast you're going when you measure it. So if I'm standing still and I get a ruler and a stop clock and I measure how fast a photon of light is shooting past me, and you measure the speed of the same photon while running past at 10m/s then we're both going to measure the 300,000,000 m/s (or c). Similarly, an alien flying past in his space ship at 299,999,999 m/s who measures the speed of the photon will measure c, just like us. This seems counter intuitive when you think about it. Think about it on a slower scale. If I'm running along at 5 m/s and you run past me at 10 m/s then (to me) you're going to look like you're running past me at 5 m/s (Imagine being overtaken by a car on the motorway, it will be traveling very fast 60+ mph, but it only looks as if it's chugging past you at a measly 2 or 3 mph). This isn't the case with light. If you where a photon of light, you would still appear to be going past me at 10 m/s past me, instead of five.

Why does this occur? Well, it's because c is the speed limit of the galaxy. It's impossible for anything to go faster than the speed of light, including light itself. Imagine you're travelling at 10 m/s away from a photon of light, to you that photon should seem to be travelling at 300,000,010 m/s which is faster than the speed of light, so to stop this effect Relativity kicks in, causing Time Dilation (and Length Contraction) which makes you observe the speed of light as 300,000,000 m/s. Similarly, if you had a train moving at 299,999,995 m/s and a child ran up through the carriages at 10 m/s, the child wouldn't move at 300,000,005 m/s because of Relativity.
It's an odd world.

So why don't we all look all stretched and weird all the time, and move at strange jumpy speeds, or something? Well it's because we're moving very slowly compared to light. Light moves at an order of magnitude that's 6 to 8 times greater than we achieve on a day to day basis. The speed of sound (considered to be VERY fast) is only 343.2 m/s. That's almost one million times less than the speed of light. It turns out that Time Dilation only comes into effect at speeds very close to the speed of light (I mean you need to be going at 90% of the speed of light for even the tiniest effect to become noticeable). This is to do with Time Dilation being related to the square of your speed divided by the square of the speed of light, which means if your speed isn't ridiculously close to the speed of light, you get numbers with so many zeros after the decimal point it looks like a joke.

Anyway, back to time travel. Time Dilation essentially means that (by a round about way) you can travel at in a "different time" to the rest of the universe. Essentially you perceive everything (time) at a different rate to the rest of the universe. The universe would be "going slower" than you. It's more complicated than that, but I can't explain it very well without a lot of time and maths, so you'll just have to take my word for it. But anyway, you could hypothesise that if you travelled fast enough, you could "Time travel" into the future (hence the story of twins, one of which could stay on Earth, the other could fly away in a ship at close the speed of light then come back to earth to see his twin having aged much more than him). In practice this doesn't work because of General Relativity.

The difference between Special and General Relativity is fairly subtle. Special is about the specific case when a body is in an inertial reference frame (moving at a constant speed/not experiencing any forces). General means that a body is acceleration (in a non-inertial reference frame/experiencing a force). General Relativity is more complicated than Special Relativity, but the long and the short of it basically ends up being that as you accelerate and decelerate to your "very close to the speed of light" speed, the effects of General Relativity cancel out the effects of Special Relativity, so in the twin scenario, both twins would have aged the same amount. Like I said, it's an odd world.

Another upshot of all this is Length Contraction which, along with Time Dilation, leads to Relativistic Mass. At a very basic level, as an object approaches the speed of light its mass increases. The closer to c you get, the heavier you get. This is an exponential process, and because it requires a larger amount of energy to accelerate a heavier object it takes an infinite amount of energy to get a massive object (that is, an object with mass, not necessarily a big one) to the speed of light. This is why the only things we know of that can reach the speed of light are photons which are massless (Physics is rather beautiful sometimes) and light can obviously not go faster than the speed of light because the entire universe is programmed to stop that happening.
Hence, the idea you propose that if you could get a particle to travel faster than the speed of light you would travel backwards through time is pretty impossible to begin with (from a practical point of view) and your logic for why it would travel backwards through time is flawed.

For anyone that "doesn't believe" in Relativity of whatever, to begin with it's used in Satellite Navigation because of the time lag between sending signals through space (because of the distance the photons have to travel), and numerous experiments have been conducted to prove it exists, including flying atomic clocks (the most accurate clocks possible to build at this time) around the world and seeing if Relativity has caused them to show different times as well as this very famous example: [LINK] which basically started the whole idea of Relativity and is repeated all the time when more accurate equipment is available to ensure it is still correct.

But anyway, moving onwards to your next comment, you seem to be confusing Anti-matter with Quantum Entanglement. Anti-matter isn't some wonderful substance that's exactly opposite to "normal" matter. In fact, Anti-matter is exactly the same as normal matter, except that it has an opposite charge. For example, an anti-election (or positron) has a charge of +1.6x10^-19C, as opposed to -1.6x10^-19C. Meanwhile an anti-proton is negatively charged instead of positively charged. That is the only difference. They don't travel backwards in time or faster than light, because they're still matter, just like the atoms that make up your body. They just have the opposite charge. Hence why (as you stated) we can interact with them.

Quote:
One problem with this is that no matter where you are, the beginning of the universe appears in the past, though this may be because we have neither the ability ti interact with, nor any understanding of everything outside of our universe


Very true, but this has nothing to do with time itself, but more to do with the fact that light (which is how we see, well, everything) takes time to propagate. This means that if we look at a galaxy 100,000 light years away, it has taken 100,000 years for that light to travel to us, hence the thing we are observing is 100,000 years in the past. Conversely, the definition of a light year is the distance light travels in a year. This is why if we look at objects that are incredibly far away, we are looking at the beginning of the universe, because those objects are billions of light years away, so we're essentially looking billions of years back in time.
Also, the way you say "no matter where you are, the beginning of the universe appears in the past". I don't know whether you just worded that badly, but the beginning of the universe WAS in the past...?

But anyway, back to anti-matter. One particle of anti-matter does not have an exact "twin" with regular matter. They are not tied together by some invisible force or information bridge. Any particle of matter can interact with any particle of anti-matter. As I said before, they just have opposite charges.
What you're thinking of is Quantum Entanglement which, I must confess, I know very little about. Quantum Mechanics is a complex business but one of the upshots of it is Quantum Entanglement, which means that two particles (they do not need to be one matter and one anti-matter particle) can essentially share a link, whereby information can pass between them, regardless of how far apart they are. This is of interest for Quantum Computing, as it means that computers could do more than one calculation at a time, increasing their processing power. This is where quibits (Quantum Bits) come from, as a bit that can be 1, 0, or both at the same time. One of the major areas of research in Quantum Mechanics and Theoretical Physics is into how Quantum Entanglement works, but as it's a concept that relies on the existence of extra dimensions, it is theorised that the transfer of information would occur in a fourth, fifth etc. dimension.

Anyway, sorry to shoot down your post, but it had a lot of scientific errors, and I didn't really want anyone going away thinking that what you said was totally true. I didn't mean to victimise you, so I apologise
profusely if you feel I did.

But as for my own views on time travel, they basically amount to what aiox82 said. The only ways hypothesised to travel back in time is by invoking the concept of infinity, which send the alarms of impossibility ringing straight away. Relativity, Black Holes, Singularities and Quantum Mechanics all hold nuggets that some form of time travel may be possible, along with other possibilities of even greater significance (parallel universes and the like), but as of yet, we don't know enough about them to do anything about travelling to the future, and even if we did, the probability we would be able to achieve of survive the conditions necessary to do so would be so minute it's almost laughable.
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago The MARDEK Editorial Series: Chapter 8 - Rounding Up.131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
The MARDEK editorial series is a set of fan written articles looking at various aspects of the MARDEK universe. This final chapter will be concerned with looking back at the core points of previous articles.

Possible Spoilers bellow!


Rounding Up

So here we are at week eight of the MARDEK Editorial Series, and at the conclusion. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and have gained some greater appreciation for the series: I most certainly have through writing these articles. At this point I think it might be a nice idea to take a look back over previous articles and summarise some of the points raised in them and hopefully provide some insight into the reasons they were written. Where appropriate I may discuss some of the comments and hopefully give a new perspective on the subject. Also included are links to the original articles if you missed them (just for you, NinjaNo1).

Chapter 1 – Five over eight
[LINK]

In this article I considered the benefits and disadvantages of shortening the MARDEK series to five chapters. This served two purposes; first I hoped to highlight what could be lost to Pseudo by only releasing five chapters. Secondly (and much more importantly) I wished to show fans why they should be pleased that the series was being shortened. It’s not often the fans are happy when Pseudo abandons or delays a project, so I hoped that people could see that it can be somewhat selfish and short-sighted to be displeased with such an idea.

Chapter 2 – Where do we go from here?
[LINK]

The purpose of this particular editorial was to underline how important it is to have a challenge in games and the serious risk that MARDEK runs of eliminating its element of difficulty, and at the same time how alienating starting fresh from Chapter 4 could be for new players. Part of the reason for writing this article was also to show how difficult it must be to balance a game and to come up with new and refreshing ways to do so.

Chapter 3 – You can’t beat me ‘cause I’m actually four blokes!
[LINK]

Last week’s editorial spoke about the core mechanics being the unsung heroes of MARDEK (and video games in general) and this article attempted to show that the same was true for the enemies. The variety of enemies in MARDEK is what games it such a pleasure to play and hopefully the article got people thinking about some of the great battles they’ve had playing MARDEK, as it did to me while I wrote it.

Chapter 4 – Watch out behind you!
[LINK]

Ahh, the joys that can be had speculating about the MARDEK plot! This is where the Editorial Series truly started taking swings at plot information in future chapters and did so by looking back. Reflecting on past ideas is something I would urge everyone to do as it is a rather humbling experience and definitely worthwhile. Regardless, this article showed me how unpredictable the MARDEK plot really is and that each chapter can still exist as a standalone experience for the most part.

Chapter 5 – And in front of you!
[LINK]

Probably the most exciting comment in the entire series was on this Chapter. Pseudo’s comment showed how the MARDEK series is constantly evolving as he grows as a developer, and even gave a little hint that perhaps MARDEK could be worked on again sooner rather than later. That’s probably more interesting than anything I could say, so we’ll leave it at that.

Chapter 6 – The second first chapter
[LINK]

Much like Chapter 1, I hoped to give people an appreciation of the situation Pseudo is in with regards to the decisions he has to make with regards to developments. There are reasons for and against having another short chapter and hopefully people will remember that before berating Pseudo for not making the game exactly how THEY wanted.

Chapter 7 – To The Core!
[LINK]

Finally we have last week’s article. Again we discuss often forgotten parts of what makes MARDEK so fun and popular. By now I truly hope that people begin to think about the series a little deeper and see how wonderful it is on more than a superficial level.


So, all that remains now are the thanks. Thank you all for reading these articles, they’ve been a pleasure to write and I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Thank you to all that have rated, commented and given feedback. It’s very much appreciated. In particular I’d like to thank Rating Orb freedomcaged who has given me a lot of support, and check out his article of foreshadowing in the MARDEK series here: [LINK]

Finally, the most important thank you goes out to Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf for making the series that inspired these articles, and also for creating this website and forum, allowing me to post them. Thank you for all the hours you put into making such amazing experiences that you give to us for free. As always, keep up the good work =)

So there we go. Chapter 8 is over. You know what to do: leave your comments bellow.
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Sameth`s Avatar
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Square Enix? What's going on here?131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
vincenacen said:

Another thing about Square publishing games, I'm starting to think that they make so much money off of publishing that they don't have to spend so much effort on making good games. That probably means that the smaller companies like the one Sakaguchi and Uematsu moved to will probably create the games that we look forward to playing like the games we mentioned here. Who knows? Maybe the growth of the company was what caused those two to leave.


You've probably hit the nail on the head there. Square Enix is such a huge company that they can afford to spend millions on a single game and for it to be a critical and commercial failure. Mistwalker (the studio Sakaguchi started) relies on a single title for all its income, so has to make that title awesome. Square has half a dozen re-releases on the go, a bunch of FF spin offs flying off the shelves, as well as all the games they publish but didn't actually develop, so financially they have no worries if one of their games flops.
I expect there were plenty of reasons Sakaguchi and Uematsu left, with Square becoming too much of a corporation among them. Without such genre legends behind the company it does seem that Square may not be destined for the dizzying heights they once achieved back on the SNES days... A shame really.

BTW, I love how this rant thread has become a nice serious discussion (with a healthy dose of insults at Square =P).
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Sameth`s Avatar
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago The MARDEK Editorial Series: Chapter 7 - To The Core!131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
The MARDEK editorial series is a set of fan written articles looking at various aspects of the MARDEK universe. This chapter will be concerned with the gameplay mechanics that make MARDEK such a great series.

Possible Spoilers bellow!

To The Core!

The last few weeks have been focused mostly on the plot of the MARDEK series. This article will be returning to the basics of what makes MARDEK so enjoyable and allows us to experience the story to its fullest; that is the mechanics. Often the unsung heroes of games, basic gameplay mechanics are what allow us to experience the flashy graphics, amazing sound and/or the outstanding story of our favourite games. So with the help of an old friend of mine (a top five list), let us explore the best gameplay mechanics that make MARDEK so special.

Number 5: P-dialogue

In today’s world it’s an RPG staple to be able to casually chat with your party members (thanks, Bioware), but the MARDEK series is almost unique amongst Flash games that it does it too. If you need any convincing that P-dialogue is awesome, just think about how much we all learnt about Zach’s background or the relationship between Steele and Gloria. If that’s not enough then surely you just need to consider the laughs you had reading Legion’s ramblings.
The MARDEK series is all about the characters, and the P-dialogue system is an ideal way to find out more about them. You periodically find out more about your favourite party members as they level up, and even get to hear them tell you to shut up in a different way depending on which location you’re in. What more could you want?

Number 4: Interfaces

The Final Fantasy games always got a lot of things right. They had expansive, open worlds, fun combat, epic storylines, memorable characters, and by far some of the best music in video games. One thing they never quite managed to get spot on however was their battle interface. Sure, it was clean, orderly and made sense, but it was never all that pretty, not to mention you often had to remember if your party member was poisoned. To add insult to injury the poison sprite was always curiously similar to the bleed sprite, which was also rather reminiscent of the daze sprite. Then when you get around to healing your party member of their vague status aliment, there was always that moment when you weren’t quite sure if the arrow was on the right party member.
You know all those problems mentioned above though? None of them are present in MARDEK. It’s always clear what’s wrong with your party, what your enemies’ weaknesses are, which character’s turn is next, along with countless other convenient pieces of handy information. As the icing on the cake it’s all presented in a beautiful graphic style that ties in perfectly with the rest of the game. All in all, a job well done.

Number 3: Encyclopaedia

Many RPGs have a bestiary. Some keep track of the places you visit. Few offer as comprehensive a guide to their game’s universe as the MARDEK encyclopaedia does, however. Keeping track of every monster you’ve beaten, every place you’ve visited, every important person you’ve spoken too, any exciting information you’ve picked up, and all the dreamstones you’ve collected. There’s also the extensive help section on hand too, a big graphic list of your key items, all the medals you’ve collected, a big list of your stats, and a handy map. I can think of nothing else you could squeeze in there, and I’m thankful for it, because that’s already an awful lot of reading you’ve got to do.

Number 2: The Elements

The universe that Pseudolonewolf has created for MARDEK has quite firm rules about Elements. Fire beats air, air beats earth, et cetera. It’s also a world where elemental affinities are not set in stone (if you’ll excuse the pun). The flexibility of the Elemental system in MARDEK is one of its greatest strengths, enabling players to create elaborate armour sets thereby allowing them to absorb a character’s weakness, be weak to their strength, or just resist everything.
This isn’t confined to player characters either. Enemy monsters also have their own unique sets of affinities, which can easily be viewed from the (previously mentioned) battle interface in just a single click.
Pseudo has indeed mastered the elements in a way that no other RPG has quite managed too.

Number 1: Reactions

I, like so many others, played the original versions of MARDEK Chapters 1 and 2. In case you didn’t, or else have forgotten the old days; let me explain how reactions used to work. You only used to have three reactions, and had to choose which one to use. There we no pretty bar at the bottom to press X to stop at the correct time. You had to make a vague guess when your character attacked while tapping the key that corresponded to the correct reaction. It was far from the perfect system.
When Chapter 3 came out, reactions were retroactively altered to the current streamlined state. It’s gotten to such a point where I wonder how we coped with the old system. Remember I just mentioned how fun the elements are to play around with? Well that’s only possible because of the reaction system. As are the inversion spells that spruce up the Crystal Guardians’ battles. Imagine how silly those spells would be if they were only effective if you wore a very specific armour set? How about Moric’s battle at the end of Chapter 2? That was redesigned to take advantage of the new system. There was no Vim skill and no Zombification ability to make for one of the most interesting and clever battles in the entire series.
Ultimately though, what makes reactions the best mechanic in the MARDEK series is that they are totally unique. Sure, other series have similar systems, but nothing quite as elaborate or fun to play around with as Reactions. In my opinion, they were the best thing added with Chapter 3’s release and definitely something that should stay for the rest of the series.

And yet again, here we are, another article gone. So, sound off bellow and let me know what keeps MARDEK interesting for you.
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago The MARDEK Editorial Series: Chapter 6 - The Second First Chapter131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
The MARDEK editorial series is a set of fan written articles looking at various aspects of the MARDEK universe. This chapter will be concerned with to advantages and disadvantages of having another chapter in the MARDEK series of the same length as Chapter 1.

Possible Spoilers bellow!


The Second First Chapter

In this series, I have already stated that I believe the MARDEK series will be split in two, with the second half mirroring the first. This gives us a good indication of what it to come in future chapters. Here I am referring specifically to length. One of the most obvious features in the MARDEK series is the progression as the chapters go on. Chapter 1 had two short dungeons. Chapter 2 featured five full dungeons (plus the areas linking them, the arena and the optional dungeon), while Chapter 3 contained at least eight (not including linking areas, Dreamworld locations, the arena and optional dungeons. My prediction is that Chapter 4 will be more inline in number with Chapter 2. If my guesses turn out to be correct, we’re looking at the second half of the series having two midsized chapters, one long chapter and a single short one.

If my prophecies are true then there will be a second chapter around Chapter 1’s length thrown in with the full length RPGs of Chapter2/3 size. This may be unexpected to some people. There are pros and cons to this, as with any idea, and the purpose of this editorial will be to discuss them. So without further or do, let us begin.

First of all, there is a nice symmetry, which we all know Pseudolonewolf is a fan of, with this plan. This would add to the whole overarching (and planned) feel of the MARDEK series, something that people who have played every iteration will surely appreciate. Not to mention the parody/comedy that could be injected if the series finishes the same as how it began.

Secondly, it gives a lot of importance to the single event that happens in that chapter. Pseudo is a master of storytelling, and has proven this through all three chapters of the MARDEK series, as well as Raider, CBC and the unfinished (and unplanned) Deliverance, which - despite Pseudo’s arguments - is still fantastic, both in terms of story and gameplay. Such a superb storyteller would appreciate that any events that transpire in such a short chapter would need to be pivotal. Take Chapter 1; the main event in this chapter is Mardek getting possessed by Rohoph – the driving force behind the events in the rest of the series. The only other time where such an important story moment would be present would probably be the finale, therefore a short and to the point chapter would serve as excellent punctuation to signify the end of the series.

Finally, as always, I would like us to consider Pseudo for a moment. The poor guy will have ended up working on the same series, with the same characters, the same story, the same gameplay, the same engine, the same graphics (I think you get the point now) for years. I’m pretty sure that if he’s not already totally sick of MARDEK by now he will be when Chapter 8 rolls around, so perhaps a short one or two dungeon long chapter to finish everything off is a nice way to wave goodbye to the series. It’s not as much work as something of Chapter 3’s length, and it would probably end up being a mostly plot based chapter anyway, which I’d think is a lot more fun to create than all the scaffolding that props it up. I’d much rather work on a short project to wrap up the series that’s taken over most of my life than a long one that’s going to take another year or so to complete.

As I said before however, there are problems with having a short chapter, especially at the end of the series, and I have touched upon this already: growth. Because the MARDEK series has grown, both in story and gameplay, as the chapters have gone on players will expect this trend to continue. Some people may feel disappointed by only a measly hour or two of gameplay to finish off their beloved series, that they have sunk so many hours into (e.g. I myself have spent over 100 hours playing the MARDEK series). The MARDEK series has a pretty high standing in the Flash Game community, and where there are expectations there will undoubtedly be disappointment.

There’s also the problem of the final chapter feeling rushed if it’s only a short, two or three dungeon affair. There would probably be a lot of loose ends to tie up at the end of the series (which Pseudo may resolve with paid chapters, but that’s another story). If everything was to be resolved in such a short amount of time the final chapter could end up being rather full of text and quite intimidating, not to mention boring to some. Pacing was always going to be an issue when you have eight chapters to deal with, so it remains to be seen what Pseudo has up his sleeve in this regard.

Following on from what was said above is the matter of accessibility. It’s going to be difficult (and actually a bit stupid) to enter a series at its eighth incarnation, but so far every chapter of the MARDEK series has worked as a standalone game. Chapter 8, as I’ve described it above, would not function as an individual experience. That’s fine for people who have followed the series from the beginning, but that will push the ratings down from newcomers, potentially cutting down the amount of money Pseudo could make off of the final huzzah of the series.

So there we have it, yet another week, yet another article, and yet again if you have anything to add there is a lovely section for you to comment in bellow. See you next week.
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Square Enix? What's going on here?131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
You make some good points, Vincenacen, and you're totally right about the remakes. With services like the App Store, Virtual Console, XBLA and PSN, Square have got more avenues than ever to pump out remakes of their NES and SNES classics (as well as their PS1 games, come to think of it). I have no idea how well these games sell, but judging by how many remakes and re-releases they churn out it must make them a fair amount of money (much more than Mindjack did anyway).

Your statement about Nobuo Uematsu is mirrored with Hironobu Sakaguchi, original creator of the FF series, who left Square Enix in 2004. Both these people now work at Mistwalker, which this year produced The Last Story, a Wii exclusive RPG that got rave reviews in Japan (Famitsu gave it 38/40), and was one of the games Operation Rainfall was fighting to get localised for the US, along with Xenoblade (which I've already talked about) and Pandora's Tower. If The Last Story turns out to be anywhere near as good as Xenoblade then it will be painfully obvious to me that Square really have lost their grip on the JRPG genre and if you're looking for any genuine inovation you should look elsewhere.

I also agree that the future may not be all black, as you said. I haven't played the iPhone game you mentioned, but it does sound pretty good, which is always nice =P I am more inclined to think of FFXIII-2 and FFXIII Versus for hope though. While I will not be playing FFXIII-2 owing to how bored I am of that battle system, I am very pleased to see they are making that game. Sure it's just a cash in because they already have all the resources (engine etc) to make the game relatively cheaply, but at least they're listening to what fans actually want instead of just rehashing FFXIII. The sequel is supposed to have much more open environments with more exploration, there's towns and interactions with people, and it looks like they've tried to spice the combat up a bit with summons, super moves and QTE to try and give a bit more control back to the player.
FFXIII-Versus has no connection at all with the original FFXIII, which is probably a good thing, and is more of an action-RPG. From what I've seen so far it retains the high production values of FFXIII (as well as the distinctive Japanese-y style of all FF games) but tries to be a lot darker and moodier, with a bit more freedom than FFXIII. As for how it will turn out, I have no idea seeing as so little footage has been released, but it certainly does look more exciting to play than FFXIII.

It might be worth pointing out how good some of Square's portable games are, while we're at it. The Dissidia series on PSP is supposed to be excellent (I've never played it, but I know it gets a lot of love from both fans and reviewers) and The World Ends With You on DS is an amazing game, frequently called one of the best on DS, and one of the most inovative JRPGS in quite a while. Perhaps it's only their big budget, core releases that miss the mark spectacularly?

Finally, as for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, that was only published by Square, and not developed by them. The same goes for the Call of Duty series, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Just Cause 2, Blur, Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, among others. I wouldn't really consider any of them to be Square Enix games. It was an Edios game, a company that (despite being owned by Square Enix) have proved time and time again that they can produce good games.

I don't mean to pick holes in your post, or make it feel like I'm trying to attack you or anything, but I'm just wondering why you don't feel any game deserves a 5/10? Surely if the lowest rating you'd willingly give a game is a 6/10, then perhaps you should consider setting a 6/10 as a base of 0/4, there by actually having a scoring system that has a point to it. If you wont give a game lower than a 6, then what's the point of having ratings 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5?
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Dawn of War II: Retribution131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
Hey there guys. I'm just wondering if there's any Dawn of War II: Retribution players here that want to hook up online. I mostly play Last Stand (Farseer) but I'd be happy to do some co-op or versus games as well =)
My username is FlutterguyCLB.
Thanks.
-Sameth
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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Sameth`s Avatar
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago Square Enix? What's going on here?131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
Fair point. You can't argue that Square Enix has fallen from grace in recent years. I'd say their last great game was FFVII. Back on in the NES and SNES they brought out some totally amazing games that I feel are still masterpieces today, like FFI, FFIV, FFVI and Chrono Trigger. I even love FFII even though the main leveling aspect is seriously pretty flawed, but at least it was something different and exciting, and probably far ahead of its time. Square's peak was definitely in the SNES era.

Since they popularised JRPGs with FFVII, other companies have poured out of the wood work screaming "HEY! We can do that too!" and have consistently done it better. As Lyle says, just look as Atlus' Persona Team, or the Tales series of games. This in turn paved the way for the Western RPG to hit big with games like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Mass Effect taking the world by storm.

Meanwhile, Square have been sitting in the background getting rather stagnant. Take Final Fantasy XIII. I played it recently, and I really enjoyed the first five hours. Lightning was a cool character, and the combat was initially pretty fun. You are destined to spend 60 hours doing exactly the same thing you did for the first five hours, however, to advance a plot of that is almost totally incomprehensible (and very poorly told). Sure, the production values were off the charts on that game: the visuals were great, the music was fantastic, menus were clean and easy to use, and they even re-did all the lip synch in the cutscenes for the English translation. That doesn't make it okay for them to trap you in a 60 hour long tunnel, forcing you into repetitive fight after repetitive fight after repetitive fight. By the time the game actually became somewhat fun (when you get to Gran Pulse) I was so sick of the core mechanics I just gave up. Players do not want to wait 60 hours for freedom, when they should really have been given at least some degree after the tutorial.

On the other side of the coin, I've decently been playing Xenoblade which came out last Thursday. It's on Wii, so it doesn't look as amazing as FFXIII, but let me tell you, it blows my mind. This is how an RPG should be. The combat is just as amazing to watch as FFXIII but so much more fun to participate in (read, battles don't fight themselves). There is so much exploration to do that I spent almost 10 hours in the first area, when I could have progressed the story after just one hour. The characters are much more likeable. Even though this game had a fraction of FFXIII's budget it ends up being how FFXIII should have been, and as I play it I almost feel as if it's Monolith (the developer) is giving a sneaky middle finger to Square Enix.

Also, I'd just like to clarify, I personally like Square Enix as a publisher, just not as a developer.Their games have been so generally poor recently that I mostly blame them for the JRPG being considered by many a genre best left in the past.

EDIT: I just remembered Zero Punctuation's review of FFXIII [LINK] and one line in it sums up Square Enix's attitude to gamers very well. They've gotten to the point where they take so much control away from the player they may as well be making a film, which is obviously what they've wanted to do since Spirits Within.
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Rating Orb Sameth, True Neutral Thief – joined 8 years ago The MARDEK Editorial Series: Chapter 5 - And Infront of You!131.111.XXX.XXX6 years ago
The MARDEK editorial series is a set of fan written articles looking at various aspects of the MARDEK universe. This chapter will be concerned with plot speculation for future chapters.

Possible Spoilers bellow!

Chapter 5 – And in front of you!

Last week’s editorial dealt with the predictions players made about past games, and this article is finally going to look ahead at what may happen in future episodes.
To kick us off, let’s start with characters. After MARDEK: Chapter 3 was released; Pseudo stated that there would be fewer playable characters in Chapter 4 owing to how difficult it was writing all the dialogue for the extra characters and all the extra work it was dealing with them (e.g. making extra equipment, etc.). I believe that Chapter 4 will be shorter in length than Chapter 3 (somewhere between the length of 2 and 3), so it would make sense to have fewer playable characters, my guess would be at 5 to 7. Let us begin by looking at characters from Chapter 3 and how likely they are to return in the next chapter.

Mardek – Basically Guaranteed.

Vehrn – Likely. Having appeared in both Chapter 2 and 3 he seems to be on the right track to become a recurring playable character. He’s also learned an appropriate number of skills in each chapter and still has a decent amount of room left to build a bit of plot around (maybe with Vudu).

Zach – Very likely. Much like Vehrn he seems to be a recurring character. I’d bet he’s going to need rehiring (again). Perhaps this chapter we’ll get to see his homeland as was mentioned in Chapter 3’s P-dialogue.

Donovan – Extremely unlikely. He’s King now, so will be rather busy doing errr... Kingly stuff...

Sharla – Extremely unlikely, once again. I suspect the romance between her and Donovan will lead her to become Queen and stay with him doing the aforementioned Kingly stuff.

Sslen’ck – Somewhat likely. The Blatantly Evil Chancellor is up to something in Xantusia, and seeing as we didn’t get a chance to see what during Chapter 3’s epilogue, I suspect we’ll find out at the
start of Chapter 4. Sslen’ck may be dead and we have to deal with the consequences of that, or else we may see Mardek teaming up with him against the Evil Chancellor. Either way, he’ll be back in Chapter 4 in some form, but whether he’ll be playable or not remains unseen.

Solaar – Quite likely to be playable. Solaar didn’t manage to fulfil his goal of recovering the Dark Crystal in Chapter 3, and has little stake in Donovan’s Kingship, which makes him a candidate to accompany Mardek on some adventures in Chapter 4. He did learn the Galaxy Burst spell in Chapter 3 though, which may make him too powerful to be playable in Chapter 4.

Elwyen – Fairly unlikely. She’ll be back, that’s guaranteed, but I doubt she’ll be playable. Interestingly she’s one of the few “good” characters with what could be considered to be a “bad” alignment (Chaotic Neutral). This may suggest that she could potentially become an antagonist (especially considering Chapter 3’s ending), perhaps on a mission to purge Mardek of Rohoph or something.

Gloria – Equal likelihood either way. Her reappearance probably depends on whether Mardek is going after the rest of the elemental crystals, what Steele’s involvement in Chapter 4 is, whether she feels she has to return to her position as Shaman (or else help Donovan), what Meraeador is doing in Chapter 4, and whether a suitable replacement mage is available.

Meraeador – Unlikely. He’s finished making Legion and is rather interested in Gloria, it would seem, so doesn’t really have much of a reason to join Mardek on any more adventures. He also comes as a package with Legion (owing to his Repair skill), who is also unlikely to appear again (see bellow). He would also need a whole bunch of new weapons to use, which would take a lot of work to create (on Pseudo’s side). All in all it would seem that Meraeador is a rather unlikely candidate.

Legion – Unlikely. As I mentioned above, he comes with Meraeador, who seems unlikely to be playable again for his own reasons. Legion seems unlikely purely from a gameplay point of view. He had learnt a ton of skills at the end of Chapter 3, and it seems unreasonable for another whole set of around 20-25 skills to be available for mastery all over again.
I also see Meraeador, Legion, Gloria and Elwyen coming together as a single package, and I simply cannot see all four appearing again, two games in a row. I do think that they will all have an important role to play in later chapters (Legion and Elwyen especially).

Aalia and Bartholio – Both seems fairly unlikely, however having already teamed up with Mardek once they may be prepared to do so again. I can’t really think of any good reasons for or against them joining your team, so for that reason they’ll go in the “unlikely category”.

So far out of the 6 or so characters expected, we’ve recruited 4/5: Mardek, Vehrn, Zach, Solaar and possibly Sslen’ck. Who could fill the new slots? Let us consider some possibilities.

Deugan – Unlikely to appear as playable in Chapter 4 as it seems too early for him to reintroduced properly again. I see him having a similar role that he had in Chapter 3 (maybe appearing a bit more often, somewhat like Clavis). It would be interesting to see Deugan be playable as the Lone Wolf, without Mardek knowing it’s actually Deugan, allowing for that dramatic unveiling to occur at a later date.

Emela – Unlikely. She saw no reason to join you in Chapter 3 and I don’t see what would change in Chapter 4. She may join out of the necessity of having a mage with access to multiple elements, but that role could easily be filled by Gloria again or an entirely new character. While unlikely to happen, it would be amusing if Emela was in your part under the guise of the Water Guardian along with Deugan as the Lone Wolf, meaning Mardek would be totally oblivious that he’s travelling with his two companions from Chapter 2.

Saul – I think of this as a serious and interesting possibility. While not terribly likely to happen, having Saul in your party could be a nice way of shaking things up a little. He could have a Meraeador/Legion type relationship with some form of undead character. He’s a very minor character who’s fleshed out a surprising amount for him just to get left behind after just a single quest. I could see him returning in later chapters, most probably as a villain, but it would be fun to get to play as him. And don’t forget, we’ve yet to play as a Dark element charcter.

Enki – Unlikely to be playable, but very likely to appear. The entire world map has basically been explored now, meaning we need new places to visit in later chapters. As Enki is in the Northern Wastes it’s conceivably possible we’ll end up travelling there. His reappearance fits in nicely with another theory of mine, which we’ll get to later.

Lykel – Why give such a seemingly minor character a name and an encyclopaedia entry? Probably because he’s going to be integral to progress in later chapters. I can see him being the key to finding Enki and exploring the Northern Wastes (like Zach will be essential to explore his homeland). I’d like him to be playable (maybe with a gun as a weapon) however it seems a little unlikely, but we can all hope.

Muriance – Despite everyone’s hopes that Chapter 3 would see him become playable, he remained an enemy, which I see being his position for the entire seires.

Priestess Gail/Gallovar – Both seem quite unlikely, but neither have had very much of an impact on the story yet. Perhaps some form of involvement with the quests for the Air and Light crystals respectively could give them more of an active role in the plot. They (like Lykel and Saul) beg the question, why does such a seemingly unimportant character have an encyclopaedia entry? Gail is fairly obviously Sharla’s mother and guards the Air Crystal, which gives her some importance, but as for Gallovar, he could simply have been a “Priest of YALORT” or something.

A new character – I’d say we’re guaranteed for one new character. Who will this character be? At this point in time, with so little information, it seems silly to even speculate, but here’s hoping for some more interesting characters to use (like Elwyen or Meraeador) or another non-human character (Solaar or Legion). One new character seems very likely, but two wouldn’t surprise me (especially if you have the same level of control over your party organisation as in Chapter 3). As yet I have not been able to pin down a mage as playable in Chapter 4, so it's quite likely our next Emela/Gloria would be a totally new character.


So what about the story? I’ve already alluded to some of my ideas, both in this, and previous, articles.

First off, I believe Pseudo intends to split the series in two, with Chapter 4 containing the event that will do just that. Chapter 4 will be the last MARDEK game in the current format. Pseudo’s recent Alora Fane blog post [LINK] gives some standing to this idea. Alora Fane shares a lot of similarities with MARDEK; eight chapters, following the main character through different stages of his life, similar ages for the most part of the story, and even similar lengths to the chapters.

What will this series defining moment present itself as? Well, Mardek is modelled after old school NES and SNES era RPGs, and what better example than Final Fantasy VI, which has one of the most memorable moments in gaming. Half way through the game, a recurring boss (but seemingly not the main antagonist) succeeds in gaining the power of the gods and destroying the entire game world, causing half the game to be played in what is called “The World of Ruin”. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to envision this happening in the MARDEK series.

Consider this: The Mystery Man (Steele) has the Dark Crystal. If he uses its power and manages to acquire the rest of the crystals (or heck, even if he doesn’t and just uses the Dark Crystal) he could become incredibly powerful, fulfilling the Runari Seer’s prophecy/vision as seen in Dreamstone #13. Gaspar’s assault on Belfan could trigger Steele’s transformation from just a nasty guy to a world destroying demon, assuming it’s not just Gaspar’s attack that does the destroying.

I’ve previously mentioned Lykel and Enki’s important roles (as Enki is implied to be the Captain of the crashed ship, which incidentally has a room which is suspiciously inaccessible). I believe they will allow Mardek and his allies to travel into space, providing the divide in the series. That’s right. Chapters 5 – 8 will take place in space. The world map will become a galaxy map, and the rest of the chapters will be about travelling between planets, tracking down and killing the remaining members of the Governance de Magi, before culminating with an epic face off against Steele, who will have now acquired the Violet (i.e. Fig element) crystal. It will become a battle between Steele’s Elemental Crystals and the Soul Crystals that Mardek/Rohoph have now collected.

For these events to transpire, I imagine Chapter 4’s plot to unfold something like this: The beginning of the game sees Mardek acquiring the rest of the Elemental Crystals before Gaspar launches an all out assault on Belfan. During the battle Gaspar is killed and his soul sealed by Rohoph, while Steele has an opportunity to steal the crystals Mardek has collected. This causes him to become incredibly powerful, so he finishes off what’s left of Belfan, leaving Mardek to track down Daddy (reuniting with Deugan and Emela) and escape with his allies on Enki’s ship. Cue credits.

Chapter 4 will also tie up most of the loose ends of the series so far. Gail will have some role in the Air Crystal’s acquisition. The Blatantly Evil Chancellor plotline will come and go. Gallovar will do something epic. Saul will either join you, or Steele (as a lieutenant). Something interesting will happen to Muriance.

Belfan will still be habitable, albeit it will look very different. It is my belief that the final battle will occur on Belfan after Mardek has had a chance to re-explore it and see what’s changed.

The World’s Saviours will obviously still be around, causing trouble. I can see Bernard ending up as the one that revived Steele after the Gem Mine incident or something, causing the destruction of Belfan to “liven things up a bit” (with the Zombie Actor scene being foreshadowing).

Well, that’s this week’s article, and I’m sure it contains plenty of errors and unanswered questions. You know the drill by now, sound off bellow, let me know what you think, and please post your own theories, too.
Since when has war been civil, anyway?
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