• Category Archives Gamer Tips
  • 11 Chrome Settings You Should Change Now!

    How’s it going everyone, I’m ThioJoe, and today we’re going to take a look at 11 settings in Google Chrome that you should probably change. These may be things you’ll want to disable, or cool stuff that is disabled by default, that you will want to enable. Now, I’m using version 63 of Chrome, which is actually the current beta version, so if you’re watching this video at a later date, or you’re not using the beta version, things may look a bit different, so don’t be surprised at that. Play online casino live dealer from your PC in Chrome.

    Anyway, let’s get started. To start off, we have a feature that last I checked is enabled by default that you probably want to disable. So go to settings, click advanced, then under system look for the option called “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed.”

    I don’t know about you, but when I close Google chrome, I expect it to actually close, and not have apps keep running in the background I don’t know about. I mean really, what browser apps do I want to keep running, if I’m not even using the browser? So yea, I’d disable that if I were you and save some system resources. Ok, number two, this one is also in the settings page, but this time under Privacy and Security. Look for the setting that says “Automatically send some system information and page content to Google to help detect dangerous apps and sites”. This one is disabled by default, but me personally, I think it’s worth it to actually enable it.

    If you’re very privacy conscious you don’t have to, but there are so many malicious websites out there that if more people enable this setting, it’ll end up benefitting yourself in the future. Plus, it may make it more likely Chrome will detect a new malicious site you go on even if it hasn’t scanned it before. Alright now all the rest of the settings we’re going to go over are actually in a hidden settings menu called the Chrome Flags menu. Getting there is really simple, you just go to the URL bar and type in Chrome://Flags, and hit enter. It will warn you these are experimental features, so it’s best to not go randomly enabling and disabling features without knowing what they do.

    Again this menu might have a different design based on your version of chrome, but the functionality is the same. So let’s move on. So for number 3, do a search for a setting called “Show Saved Copy Button”. You can either search for it at the top, or hit Control + F and type it in there.

    What this does, is will allow you to load a cached version of a website, if that website either fails to load, or you are currently offline. So to enable it, go to the dropdown and select “primary. That way, you can at least look at a previous version of the website even if it’s not live, which might still be helpful. With this enabled, on the failed to load page, you’ll see a button to load the saved copy.

    If you’re wondering what the secondary option means, it just changes whether the Load copy button is on the left or right, so it doesn’t really matter. Next number 4, this one is really great, it’s called “Parallel Downloading”. So search for that one and turn it to enabled. This will let chrome use multiple download threads to speed up the downloading of a file. This means if a website has a limit for how fast you can download a file, chrome can basically download multiple parts of that file in parallel, so you can cut the download speed to a fraction. There’s not really much documentation on this feature so I’m not sure how well it works, and if it does it every time, but I don’t see a reason to not enable it unless you start having issues or something.

    By the way, there are extensions that can do this as well, I’m not going to get into those because it’s beyond the scope of this video, but you can look those up. Hopefully this feature will make those obsolete and just work as well without any extensions. Moving on, for number 5, look for a setting called “Smooth Scrolling”, which is on be default.

    This is a personal preference, but I really hate smooth scrolling so I disabled it. It just changes the way it feels to scroll on a page, and makes it seem a lot slower and sluggish. You can turn it off and on to compare for yourself, but I find when smooth scrolling is disabled, scrolling with the mousewheel just feels so much more responsive and instant, whereas there seems to be a bit of a delay otherwise. That’s because to smooth out the scroll movement, it has to slowly build up speed, then slow down to a halt. It’s not something you would really notice until you compare it for yourself, so try it out and see. Number 6, this one is really cool, look for the setting called “New omnibox answers in suggest types” and enable that.

    This makes it so you can type questions and other queries into the omnibox or URL bar, and it can offer answers right there. For example, if I type in “2nd president of the USA”, it will give me the answer John Adams right in the auto-complete dropdown, instead of having to do a search for it. The only problem is, it actually really sucks at working half the time, and you can type something in one time, and it will answer, and if you type it in again two seconds later, it won’t. So it’s definitely hit or miss, but I guess not bad to have enabled anyway, and you can always just hit enter to do a google search which will show you the same information.

    Ok number 7, I really like this one, it also has to do with the omnibox. It’s a setting called “Omnibox UI Show Suggestion Favicons”, that you can enable. What this does, is when you type something into the URL bar, and it lists the suggestions, it will now show the favicon, or the site icon next to each result.

    So this is really great if you’re searching for a website you visited previously, and the results are from a bunch of different sites, you can more quickly identify results from the site you’re looking for by the icon. Plus I think it just looks nicer, because before it would just show little icons that didn’t mean anything, and it was sometimes hard to sift through the results. This is definitely one of my favorites I’d say. Number 8, this one is something you may or may not want to enable, called “Automatic tab discarding”. What this will do, is if you have a lot of chrome tabs open, and your computer starts to run low on memory, it will stop running some tabs you haven’t been using.

    This way, those tabs are no longer using up resources in the background. And if you do want to go back to it, Chrome will simply reload the page when you click on the tab again. The only downside I can see is if you have tabs running in the background that are actually doing something, I don’t know, like a game or something, you don’t want that to close, because if you refresh it will mess things up. So you can decide youreslf whether to enable this, based on if your computer runs out of memory a lot, or if you use a ton of tabs, and what you usually have running in those tabs.

    Onto number 9, this is seriously one of my favorite features that as far as I know is not enabled by default for some reason. It’s called “Tab audio muting UI control”, and makes it really easy to mute annoying tabs that are playing sounds. When something is playing sound in a tab, chrome by default will tell you which tab it is using a little speaker icon.

    To mute that tab, you can normally right click it and hit “mute tab”. But if you enable this feature, you can mute the tab simply by clicking on the little speaker icon. Sure, it only saves you one click, but it’s so simple that it’s a no brainer. Alright coming near the end, number 10 is called “Fast tab/window close”. This is another one I like to have enabled.

    Normally when you go to close a tab, Chrome will stop any javascript applets running or anything else, and once that’s all stopped, will close the tab. But sometimes that might take a second, which will seem like a delay when you’re closing tabs, and can get annoying if you have to close a bunch of tabs at once. With this, according to the limited documentation, Chrome will immediately close the tab visually, then shut down anything running from that tab in the background. I like this because if I close a tab, I want it to just disappear because it’s taking up space, I don’t care if Chrome has to take an extra second for it to close it in the background.

    So this is nice. And finally number 11, this feature is really amazing to enable, called “Scroll Anchoring”. Now it does technically work on desktop I guess, but if you’re on Android, you can also enable this, and that’s where it really shines. Basically, scroll anchoring can help prevent the page from jumping whenever you go on a site, and it keeps loading new stuff. For example, how many times have you gone to a site, and you start reading it on your phone, and the STUPID FREAKIN ads start loading, and pushing everything out of the way, SO obnoxious.

    When scroll anchoring is working, you won’t actually notice, because it simply stops the page from doing that. But over time I’m sure you’ll start to take note that it happens less and less often. And I guess this does happen on desktop every once in a while too, just less often, but still worth it to keep enabled. So, that’s everything hope you enjoyed it.

    If you want to keep watching I’ll put some other videos right here you can watch, and on my channel I’ve got a ton of other Chrome related videos you can check out. Be sure to let me know down in the comments if I missed anything, and if you want to subscribe I make new videos every tuesday thursday saturday. And again consider enabling notifications by clicking that bell. Looking forward to hearing from you guys, so thanks for watching I’ll see you next time, have a good one.


  • Video Game High School

    video game

    How’s the long way home, BrianD? Sweaty enough for you? – Can we do this later, K-Pop? I’m late for a clan match! This FPS twitcher thinks he’s gonna be the next Law! What do you guys want, already?

    Same thing every real-time strategenius wants… Resources. Our next guest was PwnZwn’s Amateur Player of the Year… and PetiteElite’s “Hunkiest Teen Gamer of the Decade.” He’s also Varsity FPS captain at best online casinos ranking: casino games reviews by Casinoslots. He’s taken.

    Hold onto your rumble packs, ’cause here comes The Law! There he is! Law ready for this? So, uh… Who wants to see a trickshot demo? Oh, I do!

    She does. It took me three weeks to grind for that stuff! And it took me three seconds. I guess that’s what you’d call, uh… Strategy. GG BrianD.

    See you tomorrow. Yeah! See you tomorrow…

    Forever! Hey mom school was great! Love you, bye! Can I touch them…? – Yeah you can touch both of them! Sorry I’m late.

    Glad you could join us, cap! Alright let’s go! On me! Did you guys see that? That was insane!

    Dude I… Thanks man! So you told me backstage that this is what’s called a “pubstomp?” What else happened backstage, Bella? Anyway, girls… “Pubstomping” is when a pro like me… goes into a random server and lays down the, uh… Let me hear you out there!

    Long arm of the Law! Long arm of the Law! I love this crowd. Left flank… Occam’s Laser on three?

    Just like the Milwaukee Invitational. Let’s go. Get ready to rush the point… Brian! Take the cat out! First I gotta put the cat out!

    It’s like every time! Cheeto… Cheeto! Cheeto… Chee-to! Cheeto…. Cheeto… What are you guys doing? AFK.

    – Cheeeee-to! Here kitty kitty – Oh my God. Guys… We need a new captain.

    Yeah… looks like we got ourselves a server… Why did we just restack? THE LAW HAS ENTERED. THE GAME.

    Alright guys – nobody panic! Got him. So much power. So much power everytime!

    Got him, aw God. Run! Chee-to… Come here Cheeto! Cheeto!! Incredible, right?

    I still feel that rush all the time. Oh my gosh… One time I took out an entire family with that move. Cheeto!

    Cheeto… Cheeto… good kitty… Cheeto… Augh! Ow! Stupid cat! That one got ’em good. Ah!

    Looks like this guy’s AFK! “Away from keyboard.” Let’s see if we can have some fun with him. Yeah…

    Mom! Where’s the iodine? Whatever, kid. Okay…! Close one!

    Hot… Hot! So what was that move called? You know what?

    It’s not really a move… I got– I got… I got…

    Killed. You know, it’s a pubstomp – anything can happen… Who was that guy? Right? Who was that guy? So, uh… Alright I guess, uh… Commercial break or something like that?

    – Law Killer, Law Killer – BrianD you king! And yet the President’s condition is still unknown at this time… A nation waits with… Frag Alert! Hold onto your joysticks, zoners! We got ourselves a late-breaking PwnZwn Frag Alert! ShotBot? What’cha got?

    VGHS superstar The Law humiliated… live on national television by a no-name nooblet… by a no-name nooblet… in a pubstomp gone wrong! My computation? Frag of the century! Peep the replay! Our sources tell us that unranked player BrianD… has already been invited to attend the prestigious and exclusive… Video Game High School, a school whose students go on… to make millions in the pros.

    Yeah that’s right we were TOTALLY with Brian when he got the call for VGHS! We love you BrianD! – Yeah! Brian!

    Give me a break! What makes this flash-in-the-pan fluker think he’s got what it takes? What makes this flash-in-the-pan fluker think he’s got what it takes?

    – Ron… Ron! I completely agree, Ron! VGHS is the most intense pro-gaming academy in the country!

    VGHS is the most intense pro-gaming academy in the country! – Guys, guys, guys! Can I just agree with you for one second?

    Can I just agree with you for one second? – Your agreement’s been noted! Fellas, fellas, fellas! Please! Let’s just… let’s look at their acceptance video, okay? You will not study physics.

    You will study physics engines. You will not study art. You will study the art of war!

    You will learn about biology… by bathing in the blood of your enemies! Sound good? Well welcome to VGHS. – You have been accepted This is actually happening… Everyone says I won’t make it, but… I have to try, I mean… I’ve dreamed of playing on a VGHS team since I was E for Everyone.

    I hope you understand… Classic Cheeto. I’m gonna miss this back and forth. Take care of mom… okay? Brian? Reporters are here. Let’s get you miced up.

    Love you mom. I put some extra food in your bowl. Where are you going? I’m going to VGHS.


  • How To Make Money Playing 💰🃏🎮📱

    If you don’t what that is, you’re not alone. So, what you’re gonna wanna do is open up the mobile app, powered by Skillz. So you can see Bubble Shooter, Cube Cube, Solitaire Cube, Bowling, there’s all kinds of different things you can play.

    So, that being said, there’s no reason you can’t start making money right now. So, there are links in the description below if you want to go ahead and download any of the ones below, there are also thousands of other ones. So, go on their website, that will also be in the description, and you can be on your way to making money just like me. For the sake of this video, I’m gonna show you a game on Solitaire Cube and we are gonna see a replay from that game and that game will show you exactly how I made 90 dollars in less than 10 minutes, thanks to Solitaire Cube. Alright, so as you can see, it’s not that hard to make money in your spare time, while you’re playing games on your phone and you’re already playing games on your phone anyway, so what are you waiting for?

    Start making money playing, by playing games on your phone right now, you have no excuse. Now, if you stayed for this last bit, I am so proud of you because I left out a major, huge piece of information that you are now gonna find out. It is the fact that you can play these games for free! That’s what I’ve been doing the whole time. So, if you want to be like me and play the games for free, go ahead and (funky music) promote your promo code with your friends and when they make a first deposit, you will get 10 dollars in your Skillz account, which you can use to enter the Skillz tournaments and any money that you profit, you will be able to withdrawal.

    So the game that I just showed you was used with money that I got for promoting my promo code. Six people used my code, I entered into a game for 60 dollars and I was able to withdrawal 90 dollars after I won that match. So, you can do the same. To find out how, I provide lessons on how to grow a YouTube channel, Twitch channel and get your own website. That will also be in the description below.

    Founded in 2012, Skillz is a multiplayer platform that integrates into existing games and allows their players to play against each other for money. So, each player puts in 12 dollars, the winner takes 20, Skillz takes four, but they give a lot of that four back, and I’m gonna go through every reason you should be playing in this video. Stay tuned.

    (funky music) So, not only does this game give you the opportunity to play against other people for money, but the people that win the most money actually get to make a really decent size chunk of change in three to six days, and that is from what’s called the pro league. So, thousands of dollars is given out in Solitaire Cube every three to six days, and I’m talking 50,000 or more. If you’re one of the top players in the three to six days, you will take home a piece of the 50,000 dollar prize pool, as you can see right here.

    Not only do they give you the opportunity to win money in the pro league, but every single game that you play, you will receive tickets and those tickets can be used to redeem things like bonus cash, cars, boats, cruises, Amazon gift cards. There is so much that you take away from this game. So, win or lose, you’re still getting something out of your experience.

    So, this is app is definitely something worth checking out, make sure you are making money playing by playing games on the Skillz multiplayer platform. So, as you can see, there is a lot of money to be made here. So, grab your phone, go down to the description of this video and download one of the games below, and you can start making money just like me. Thank you so much for watching. I look forward to seeing you next time.


  • Thief vs. AAA Gaming

    Thief: The Dark Project and its sequel The Metal Age often get lumped praise, usually in regards to their gameplay mechanics, style and story. It’s a freeform stealth game series where the emphasis is on evasion, rather than aggression. It’s got a bold, cohesive visual style that holds up today even if the Dark Engine’s technical prowess doesn’t. The story’s mature and subtle. The world we inhabit is creative and nuanced.

    But I still feel like that’s selling Thief short. On the contrary, I feel like NetEnt slot games of today aren’t scrutinized as heavily as perhaps they should be. They’re let off the hook a little bit, I think. These days, we expect a level of streamlining, lower difficulties and homogenization, but games are far more cinematic, non-linear and better-looking these days right? Well, I’m not so sure about that. In fact I think behind the gorgeous, jaw-dropping art direction these games present us, are often stale, tired, technically restricting, mechanically simplistic creatively bankrupt interiors.

    Without focusing on the reasons why or how the industry’s reaches point. Without focusing on the growing spectacle and the rapidly increasing budgets or the questionable journalism in today’s industry. Without, hopefully, relying on nostalgia or a sense of smug elitism, I’ll strip back the average AAA game and compare it to what is a relatively humble small-scale video game and its sequel.

    Thief: The Dark Project is sixteen-years-old and is still the most advanced online slots canada game ever made and in many ways to one of the best games in general but The Dark Project did so much right that generally only its major attributes are listed as its triumphs. Its other assets to the industry have been forgotten. Let’s go straight past the immediate joys of the original Thief games and onto some things less often recognized.

    To kick things off the original Thief series recognizes that removing elements can be just as impactful as adding them. It’s a subtler, more mature way of designing than the modern industry’s focus on cramming in as much content as possible into a game. It infects every level of a modern game’s infrastructure “Disgusting” Thief (2014) is a good way of comparing the two time periods.

    It’s a brash overly simplified version of the original Thief game containing its service features but little more. To be fair, it’s not the worst thing ever It could have been an action game in the vein of Assassin’s Creed and while it often comes dangerously close, It generally encourages stealth play. The reviews been surprisingly mixed, considering how mostly similar games are often so well received.

    Make no mistake though – Thief (2014) is a AAA blockbuster through and through, with the same big, loud, dumb trappings its competitors suffer from. And the original Thief series, with all the innovations it presented, subtle and obvious, will be further forgotten by an industry uninterested with progression. Thief (2014) follows this modern approach to game development with attempt to cram in all this content, in the hopes of appealing to someone out there. the problem with this ideology isn’t just that the individual game mechanics are watered down and the game becomes a sort of, jack-of-all-trades – master of none, although this is certainly a major concern, A more pressing problem is that your game loses direction and focus. Things will be thrown in for the sake of filling out the product – For the sake of being cool and flashy. Take the implementation of maps in the two games – The Dark Project and Thief (2014).

    In the former, in a way I haven’t seen before or since, the map is a world building story appropriate piece of paper, the player character – Garrett – has at the start of the mission. In the pre-mission briefing he’ll often tell you how he acquired it. In the low security mansions he robs early on, he’ll often have a near complete map, laid out with all the rooms and corridors. “An associate of mine was confined there and has provided me with the map.”

    This makes believable sense Other missions will see Garrett venture into uncharted caves and tombs, so as one would expect, the map you receive is sketchy and incomplete “The map’s pretty specific about where the entrance is. Too bad it’s not as clear about where the Hornet is. Felix did some scrounging before he left and his notes say the horns is in the tombs of some nobles – the ‘Quintus Family’. Guess I’ll just have to explore.”

    Another mission sees your city ruins Garrett’s managed to get his hands on a very old map of the City when it was still standing. So the map has a complete street layout but in the game itself, roads often blocked off or caved in so while the map will serve as a general guide, it can only help you so far and it’s up to you to figure out your actual bearings. Thief (2014), like so many games from its era just gives you a mini-map. It tells you precisely where you are, where the objectives are located and how to get there.

    Of all the complaints hurled at Thief (2014), I’ve yet to see this one. And that makes sense. Of all the problems creeping to the surface, this is not the biggest. But this small detail can have such a huge impact on gameplay and perfectly encapsulates the different ideologies of the two games.

    One game recognized that its gameplay need to be immersive maze-like, story-driven, believable and isolating. The other game just did what every other modern game does, instead appropriately tweak every mechanic of its game to suit the direction. It’s a failure of design and has a large impact on gameplay. You see, when you have a quest marker or mini-map, the player doesn’t take in the game world They’re not playing a game so much as they’re sleepwalking through it.

    It becomes a monotonous grind. There’s nothing stimulating or exciting about it. Go here. Pick up this item. Go here.

    Talk to this person. Rinse. Repeat. “Name’s Halek.”

    This applies to any game that uses a quest marker to structure its gameplay. The Dark Project’s map forces the player to get their bearings, to work out where they are, to respect the environment around them, to get a little bit lost, worried and isolated, to stumble upon things like gold, they might not have found with a quest marker. And then to start learning the unique elements of the level, to help them finally reach their primary goal. “Here we go.”

    By the end of the mission the player knows, respects and cherishes the mission they just conquered. It’s a wholly different experience to one with map markers. Quest markers are the laziest game mechanic I can think of. The usual solution that develops concoct in response is “Well, just turn them off,” and naturally Thief (2014) ships with this feature.

    Well, now I’m just completely lost, because the game isn’t designed with this in mind. Basically, no amount of turning off quest markers or mini-maps will bring back the sublime in-world maps of the original Thief games. Now, we haven’t even begun discuss the core gameplay at all.

    If everything about these two games was exactly the same besides the implementation of maps, The Dark Project would still be the far better game. That’s what’s so baffling. Just about every single AAA video game from the past five years implements the quest marker system, without the developers actually understanding what effect it has on gameplay They have no idea how many things the Dark Project got right. “You’re so in love with the old TV show, you know? And in your mind it’s the best thing on Earth. And fifteen, twenty years later you have a look on it and, and finally, it’s not exactly–” “Yeah.

    Nostalgia. A lot of it is nostalgia and I feel like that’s even more evident in games because they have come so far just in such a short period of time.” All of these things the modern developer is attending to fix up were deliberate design choices implemented by Looking Glass Studios at the time.

    But the industry just plows forward, blind and oblivious without thought or care as to why the Dark Project implemented them in the first place. “What makes a Thief game outside of Garrett?” “Uh, first of all, the point of view.

    It’s a first-person game.” Let’s take another aspect The Dark Project and The Metal Age excel at – level design. Except, let’s focus on an area that isn’t talked about so much.

    In your standard corridor FPS fare, a level will be designed for pacing and direct gameplay primarily. The result is something that feels noticeably gamey The environment will be dressed in a way that it looks like an engineering room, a plane hangar, a cliffside, an underwater tunnel, a bridge, on top of a train, in a courtyard – whatever. But this is generally just dressing – a way to add a stylistic touch to the product so that it separates it visually from other games on the market or just other levels in the game. Ultimately though, a developer will place the appropriate number of bad guys and health and ammo pickups according to the pacing. About to enter a boss room?

    There’s most likely gonna be a crate of ammo outside the room. Going even slightly out of your way? They’ll probably be a minor pick-up to reward your exploration. The best example of the latter I have is that item conveniently placed under the stairwell.

    You know the one. No one would ever leave a crate of ammo under a stairwell, but the developers put it there to reward the player for going off the beaten path. And that makes sense since and it’s a good idea to reward the player agency – for paying attention. But it also feels gamey. It feels like the developers are watching over me, making sure nothing ever goes too wrong.

    The watchful eye of the developer recognizes that a boss fight is on the horizon so they leave me a handful of goodies to get the boost I need. Now, that isn’t to say the original Thief games don’t reward you for going off the beaten path, but it’s handled more appropriately. In the Dark Project and The Metal Age, you’re simply dropped into a mansion, with all the facets of a mansion – the servant quarters the Grand Hall, the kitchen, the large main doors, the back entry, to guard quarters, the bedroom, the garden, library or the music room. And then it’s populated with the appropriate items and personnel. So before you even begin to explore the mansion, you can safely assume there won’t be any gold in the kitchen, because realistically there wouldn’t be, even if gameplay-wise it’s a challenge to actually get there. But you might find a note from the cook saying he’s stolen a piece of gold from one of the nobles.

    Now suddenly there’s a good chance they’ll be a fat chunk of gold hiding in the kitchen. A music room probably doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of gold, but it might have a few valuable instruments. Already the player’s brain is doing real thinking, using its initiative to problem-solve. It’s far more compelling than “Go here.

    Kill these people. Pick this up. Move onto the next room.” Went into the side corridor instead of following the quest arrow? Good boy. Now get back to the arrow.

    It gets even more interesting when player motivation plays a part in finding these items. There’s a mission where we quickly learn the leader of the group of people you’re stealing from is paranoid of his own men stealing his gold supply. What the player finds, unsurprisingly, is a majority of the mission’s gold hidden in the leader’s own quarters, locked behind chests. Now this isn’t necessarily the most mind-blowing thing ever but it’s a subtle change in design principle that makes a resounding difference.

    What an exciting moment for gaming. The ever difficult task of fusing story with gameplay is happening right here. Without leeching off the film industry. Without a single cinematic. Gameplay hasn’t stopped. The story hasn’t stopped either though.

    It’s organically being revealed to you as you play. And the gameplay is still running on all cylinders. This is something that the original Thief games implemented, but it could be taken far further assuming anyone took this approach to level design and ran with it. It’s too bad we’re all focused on accessible, frustration-free quest markers. This is what so greatly frustrates me about gaming today. Thief was never perfect, but it was a huge leap in the right direction for not only stealth, but gaming in general.

    But the industry just plows ahead, blind and oblivious. The modern industry says “Well, Thief was good back in the day, but we want to tell a much better story today, so we’re going to need a lot more cinematics and exposition.” But Thief was never a slouch when it came to storytelling either. It’s not loud, big or flashy but it was organic and mature. It’s subtle. An example of The Dark Project’s organic and subtle storytelling happens midway through the game.

    Narrative-wise, Garrett is a charismatic, cocksure, brilliant thief who fancies himself a challenge. He’s offered a contract to steal a prized sword from a mansion owned by a bit of an antisocial shut-in. When you first arrive, the house seems relatively straightforward. You enter through a back door.

    Guard quarters, food halls, carpet over marble corridors. This reflects Garrett and the player’s mind state – all is going according to plan. It’s business as usual. Bringing it back to the brilliant map implementation of the game, this area mission is clearly documented in Garrett’s in-game map, but no one’s really ventured further to get any information for the rest of the mansion, so Garrett’s map reflects this: There’s just has a big blank space with question marks beyond.

    As you get deeper and deeper in, things get weird. Garden’s appear inside. Rooms are upside down. Rooms get bigger then smaller. Rooms spiral and tilt.

    Booby traps start appearing. Sounds of crazed laughter heard through the halls. And it’s easy to get lost.

    No map documentation and maze-like corridors ensure you’re frantically pacing up and down the level, in a little bit of shock. Once again the mission reflects the mindset of character and player. No longer sure and confident, Garrett’s a little bit shaken. And this is all conveyed organically through gameplay, thanks excellent level design, art design and sound design. We don’t need to cut to a cinematic.

    The developer Looking Glass studios is extremely confident in both themselves and the medium itself. Now, in the end it turns out the man who contracted you in the first place to break in and steal the sword was actually the weird shut-in that owns the mansion, and he was testing you to see how good you were. So now we know him as a character too. Perhaps without the player even realizing it. Just by playing the mission we understand this man is dangerous, strange, mysterious, more than he appears on the exterior, possibly crazy, possibly powerful, a legitimate challenge for Garrett, and not someone to get complacent with.

    Once again I have to stress that this is achieved through a natural dialogue between player and game. No one says to you “this man is dangerous, watch out.” He doesn’t tell us that. Garrett doesn’t else that. We don’t cut to a cinematic presenting us with the strange man from the entrance to the weird center. The Dark Project lets us, the player, uncover it for ourselves through gameplay.

    It’s masterful in the game’s ability to guide you, imply and tell a story in this mission without ever holding your hand or feeling like you’re in a leash. But Looking Glass does have you on a leash. Just as any impressive film, novel, song, or any piece of art does. They’re dictating what you feel and know, and when you feel and know it. But it’s done so carefully that despite this, you as the player are still free to play the game.

    The mission is still just as open as the others. There are still multiple routes and opportunities. You’re still presented with a challenge that must be overcome. All your weapons and gadgets are just as useful as they always were.

    Nonetheless, the game communicate the story no matter how you decide to tackle the mission. It’s shocking how much more seamlessly Thief is directed here than a AAA game is. Take the implementation of the rope arrow. In Thief 2014, the rope arrow can only be used in context-specific locations that the game highlights for you. This has been a source of complaint amongst fans of the originals.

    But the original Thief game also restricted the use of the rope arrow to context-specific locations. Just in a much smarter, more organic way. See, in Thief: The Dark Project, you can only use them on wood surfaces, so if Looking Glass don’t want you climbing a specific wall, they simply don’t place wood in the area. The player is forced out of using the rope arrow but in an entirely believable and natural way that never feels gamey or patronizing. Even the idea that power and wealth are something to be feared is effortlessly communicated to the player organically through gameplay.

    A torch, the basic light source in the game, can be put out with a water arrow to give the player more darkness. Wealthier ares in the game will utilize electronic lights, and these can’t be put out using a water arrow and are usually more numerous. Likewise, wealthier mansions will have marble floors installed, instead of regular stone. Marble is far louder to walk across. The player feels more comfortable in the poorer areas where you can slip into the darkness and race across stone and wooden floors.

    As Garrett works his way toward the truly terrifying and powerful rulers of the city, the gameplay will reflect that. Nothing is more terrifying than a well-guarded set of hallways, all well lit and marble floored. You’ll be frantically laying down moss arrows and scrounging for an inch of darkness just you can collect yourself for a few more seconds. This also calls back my words from before: the original Thief games removing or minimizing its features, not because have time monetary or technological restraints, but to ensure a better product is produced.

    This idea that the modern industry’s all but forgotten. One thing the modern developer loves to give players is choice. The choice to forge a character’s path. YOU tell the story. YOU pick which missions to do. YOU pick what upgrades you take.

    You pick whether you’re going to stealth your way through or force in aggressively. You pick whether you’re good or bad. Now don’t get me wrong. All these things can work depending on the circumstance and the direction of the game.

    But that’s really the problem, isn’t it? It seems like developers consistently forget their direction and just throw it all in. The above-mentioned fusion of gameplay and story would most likely not be anywhere near as effective when you start adding in these choices for the player. When you start giving the player more choice, the developer loses sight of what the player is doing in the narrative will become muddled. In the above level the developers rely on the feeling of vulnerability to convey the uneasiness. They rely on the player to slowly dip themselves into this bizarre abyss, with only their wits and a few trusty gadgets to get them out of danger.

    With the choice of aggression comes a sense of empowerment. When empowered the player will never feel vulnerable. If they don’t feel vulnerable, that emotionally-charged arc contained within the level will never take place.

    If it never takes place, then player will never recognize the character progression in the contractor who hired Garrett. So despite this initial joy you might get from a choice like this, it ultimately serves to impact the experience negatively in a game like Thief. This brings up another point I’d like to stress. Much of the original Thief games’ tension stems from the notion that Garrett is extremely vulnerable.

    This is what makes him such a joy to play. So often, far too often, we see AAA games marketed and developed with the idea of empowering the player. “Can you imagine what it would be given have superpowers? Never has it been so fun, so rewarding to be a superhero. Infamous seamlessly combines powerful moral choices with incredible freedom of movement, and a kick-ass combat system, making you feel like the most powerful man in this crumbling world.” It’s frankly staggering how often I see this happen.

    As though developers or the marketing team of these games don’t have the slightest clue about drama or tension. For any kind drama suspense to exist in any kind of medium, there needs to be a balance between the forces of good and evil, or winning and losing, or some kind of goal. They need game something they don’t have. A tug-of-war. The suspense stems from an unknowing as to how the moment will play out.

    Or a sense of danger because a character is perhaps not as equipped as he should be for this situation. You make the game too easy and you’ll find yourself sleepwalking through the levels. The Empire Strikes Back doesn’t set up the fight between Luke and Darth Vader as an easy, straightforward chance for Luke to show off his massively over-the-top powers. “Force Grip can be used to take down AT-STs. A Force Push can be used to take down an entire group a storm troopers and literally just send them into orbit. I mean, that was just a tap of force push there.”

    Because that would take all the tension and suspense out the fight. No, you present it as a huge challenge for Luke. He’s massively underpowered against the superior Darth Vader, and we can only hope and cheer for him as he stands toe to toe with his nemesis. Now, with this in mind, it’s mind-boggling that we’re actually being marketed to in this way.

    Is this truly how we approach our choice of games? As to how flashy or powerful the player character is? Sure, Garrett is nimble, fast and can be quiet, but barring this it’s almost confronting how regular he is, physically. He can be killed in two blows from a sword, and stands no real chance with guards.

    He doesn’t have any physical abilities barring the mechanical eye he’s gifted with later on. He’s not even that quiet. Walking on any kind a marble surface will quickly get you into strife. No, in The Dark Project and The Metal Age, it feels like only through the hard, patient work that the player puts into the missions, will one yield positive results.

    This gives it that tension that something like say, Dishonored lacks. In Thief, as I sweat in the corner of a dark room as a guard draws ever closer, there’s the understanding that if I get caught, I’m as good as dead, or at least I’ll be running for my life. In Dishonored, I have a vast array of deadly weapons at my disposal, all of which will cleanly slaughter my enemies in a number of satisfyingly gruesome gruesome ways. Getting caught is rarely a problem. There’s always the backup option because the player character hasn’t been rendered as vulnerable in any way. He’s been rendered as an unstoppable killing machine.

    The player has to create their own artificial limitations in their head for any real tension to exist. To further drive this point home, not only do these AAA games present the player with this ridiculously overpowered character to control, but often enough, the real powerful stuff isn’t even really done by you, the player. You’ll just be clicking a button and on-screen your characters has just slaughtered three people in a single move while winking at the camera. “That was just a tap a Force Push there.” This makes it easier for a player to get sucked into a game and see all the cool stuff without having to invest too much time in it. Think about the Arkham Asylum games’ combat.

    The core fighting boils down to pressing two buttons. On-screen, however, Batman’s literally jumping all over the place. He’s doing flips, leaping from bad guy to bad guy, efficiently taking them down one by one. And it’s pretty cool to see and you do feel empowered for a time. But there’s a mismatch there between player and character.

    The incredible moves Batman’s pulling on-screen don’t correspond with the comparably small amount of work you’re putting into taking these guys down. You haven’t achieved anything to satisfying or challenging. In The Dark Project and The Metal Age, at first you’ll be a bumbling, clunky burglar. There’s a learning curve, sure, but give it a few missions and all of a sudden you’re a master thief.

    You’ll confidently stride over areas you deem low-risk, put out lights specific to your needs. Your ears will be finely tuned to the sounds of a guard coming and you’ll know where to run when you do hear one. You’ll remember to lean around corners and scout your surroundings. You’ll stop bothering to black-jack your enemies and instead just sneak right past them without leaving a trace. It’s a fantastic feeling because you, as the player, are achieving these things. Garrett’s just a vulnerable, regular joe by himself, but when you’re controlling him, he can become a professional.

    Now, to even further drive the point home the AAA game not only presents you as an unstoppable killing machine, but gives you a huge variety of ways to do it, all of which aren’t really any more useful than any other. “You know, Force Push, Lightning, duel-wield lightsabers, Force Push. Hit a zombie with an axe, a chainsaw, a baseball bat, a dildo, whatever. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same.

    There’s no more gameplay depth by adding in these new weapons. They’re all just thrown in there for more variety. This idea that you’re just giving players things to do like toys in a toy box is simplistic and juvenile.

    What usually ends up happening is the player will ultimately pick a single weapon that they like the look of, or just figures that something works better than everything else in the game and they’ll stick with that for the rest of the runtime. So this attempt to add variety to the experience has ironically backfired. The game has become more repetitive a result.

    Once again the original Thief games are an exception. Looking Glass craft specific weapons designed for the game and for the game only, and it’s up to the player to recognize when and how to use the weapons appropriately. It’ not a matter of picking up a preferred one. Every weapon is going to be used and it’s up to the player to react to the challenge the game presents them. A water arrow will put out flames to add darkness to hide in. Moss arrows will soften footsteps.

    Noisemaker arrows can be fired in the opposite direction to distract guards. Rope arrows can be used reach areas otherwise unreachable. Every weapon has its own purpose. It becomes more than just a toy box full of neat tricks.

    It becomes a game, with action and reaction, challenge and payoff. “Don’t think you can hide for long.” Once again I’ve got to stress that every mechanic I’m bitching about here has a place and purpose. But it’s important to recognize what fits the direction of your game specifically. How will adding or removing the specific element enhance your story? Will it make the game harder, more terrifying, empowering, belittling?

    Are you putting in this element because the game suits it or are you just lazily following trends? Have you thought through every element of your game? The most disappointing thing about all this is that Thief wasn’t perfect. The entire video was never intended to be pandering to a time gone by or a love-letter to the great era of 90s games. Thief, along with a number of other titles at the time, were doing some incredible things. There was some real gutsy genre experimentation and interesting game mechanics being introduced, no doubt.

    But they were never perfect, and only hint at the massive opportunities games had in store for them down the road. This was to be the tip of the iceberg. The spark set to ignite the behemoth of flames to come.

    What’s so disappointing is that where the games industry could have been this exciting groundbreaking medium set to rival any other medium creatively, it’s only regressed and stagnated. What’s so disappointing is that gamers know this, whether it’s conscious or unconscious. There was always an understanding that Thief 2014 wouldn’t be anywhere near as complex as the originals, but that it could still be a bit of fun, a great deal of fun, even. That, to me, is a major concern for the modern industry Just right out of the box, before anything has even really been revealed, there’s an unspoken understanding amongst gamers that there’s no way this game will exert the complexity of the originals, simply because of the era the game is made in. And whether gamers care or not is another matter, but someone who’s educated in the trends of the industry knows this game won’t be is mechanically complex as its predecessors.

    And that’s disappointing. In some ways, games have advanced massively. Just think about how far technically games have come over the past 16 years. Compare the visuals of Thief 2014 to the original Thief games. There’s obviously a massive improvement technically here. So how then, is it not mind-blowing that the gameplay itself is only regressing?

    How can developers justify the stark contrast between the improvements over the past 16 years made within the technical and art departments compared to the creative and storytelling departments?

    While texture resolution is massively increasing, with new shaders and lighting techniques constantly being bettered, with animations more seamless, more realistic, what’s going on with the core gameplay? And why is the average AAA story worse than Transformers? How is this possible?

    How can you suck out all of this creativity and hard work? How could Thief have gotten so much right and so little has come of it in the following years? And obviously there are very real, very broad answers to these questions that I have no time to focus on here, and so I’ll leave it at that. But I think the most important takeaway here is to never stray away from the direction of your game. That’s your main focus.

    And everything in the product, be it the story, the gameplay mechanics, the art direction, the sound design; it needs to draw from this. It’s not enough to put things in because they’re fun or because they’ll fill the game out. Or because those are the expectations of genre. Defy expectations. Appropriately tweak your game to the direction’s needs. The Dark Project and The Metal Age excelled at this and it’s worth studying them and following in their footsteps.

    Be your own game and consider what effect each element has on the player’s experience. Create something unique and relevant. Tell story through gameplay. And please, don’t use quest markers.