Editorial – August 2018: Gameplay the geek way.

August 4, 2018 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

For the past month, I’ve been fitting in some time playing the ‘Fortnite’ game, so you’re going to be short an article from me this month. As I suspect many of you are going to prefer lazing in the sun to heavy thinking I hope I did the right thing.

It also didn’t feel right playing the winter-based ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ in the middle of the summer and it was getting a pain in the back trying to beat Bane. I was also curious to see how a competitor on-line with no bots game played like. All of the below is based on using the PC version, I have no idea how much this is like the other platforms that are out there.

I did set myself some criteria. I would learn purely by playing and not look up instructions or potential ‘cheats’ to get ahead, even if it did take a while to find how to customise the control settings. It quickly became obvious that it made sense to have the fire and run controls on the mouse. It took a while to learn how to keep full sprint without pressing the button. How people communicate using microphones with no hands hasn’t really bothered me although if I can spot the other team members in the landing area, I tend to give a quick courtesy, no bowing control here, than an emote dance as far as I can see, although it looks like some have found the control.

Likewise, I would not buy anything and rely purely on merit. I’ve got a few worthless things now but much of what you need can be got on landing. I quickly learnt to land on top of buildings, smash my way in and gather wood points on the way down to the weapons. Oddly, I’ve gone far without them from time to time providing I keep out of town areas. If you want to go up through the tiers quickly, ‘Fortnite’ is less about shooting opponents and more about surviving. Level 23, as I write this, with only 8 dead and clocked some 67 hours, tends to prove that as I’m top or near top of the leaderboards I’m doing something right. Oddly, if the list is to be believed, less than 20 have any significant scores.

For much of it, I’ve played in squad format and, providing you link up with the other 3 players on the dive down, it can be beneficial, especially if you need help regenerating after being shot if they are close enough without being shot yourself. I still haven’t quite got the hang of building things but getting there but standing guard while the rest of the team do does make sense. As who you get as team members varies, you really have no idea of their experience until you’re on the ground. You get in with an experienced team then your longevity is assured in the 20 minutes it takes to play, providing you live that long and keep in the eye of the storm. Those who don’t pay attention to the incoming storm have to be left although I’m not sure if other members of the team get extra points if I live longer or not. In the space of a month, I’ve been in teams that have come up second place and one in at the end even if I die at that point. In that respect, the game does teach co-operation.

Being shot by other teams tends to depend on luck. For the life of me, I haven’t always spotted how they can be so accurate at a distance unless they’ve upped their screen resolution really high. I’m only tried that today because my laptop have an independent videocard, against speed. It gives more shades but I’m not sure if that helps the game play. I do think there needs to be some adjustment to the targeting area as, being in third person, does work against targeting as I tend to aim with the gun more than with the sights which are much higher. I think, given the choice, I’d rather have a first person shooter or at least have the option here to be that way.

Even though the map has had an update this month, I’m carrying much of it in my head now and a lot of the time it’s only the change in teams that is making much difference. In that respect, I’m finding it remarkable that people can play hour after hour when I’m struggling after an hour to keep going and that’s only to raise my score for this editorial. If you are looking that way, target the quiet parts of the day. Oddly, pre-lunch and Friday afternoons seems to be the quietest. With fewer players, your chance of a higher score is better. If your team only reaches 3 members than there are even few playing so there’s less chance of being killed do get reduced. The game isn’t all about continual playing but choosing the right times. Being continually shot doesn’t raise your scores very quickly.

The odd thing is, though, is that I’m shown that I’m top of the leaderboard, in the top 6 and even in the top 3 for so few ‘deaths’. Either the scoreboards are fixed or there’s very few people reaching the final top 10 on a regular basis or killing doesn’t score very much or they get killed early. It is survival that is important.

It would be interesting to see if different teams would join up than attack which works against the game mantra but would you trust anyone to be that honest? If there is going to be any other development then the possibility of a lone or last player joining a team short of members should be a consideration than just being killed.

An odd thing this Friday night and today, there’s an announcement that there is a glitch and so there aen’t so many players so a great time to make up some extra points.

OK, this isn’t actually suppose to be a review of ‘Fortnite’, just laying down my credentials to say I’ve been playing the game and getting a grip of it. You’ve also got some insight into my thinking when playing blind. Now I’m not an addictive or an obsessive player. I can live within my own rules and, if I have to, stop and can do so. However, that does give me an edge of looking at other players and their desire to win. In fact, it’s very hard to tell the difference when you look at aviators unless their distinctive uniforms is the giveaway that they’ve been paying their way. Everyone appears to die the same way. Paying for other options doesn’t change that. They even say that in the store option.

I do tend to see obsessional play has more a need to belong to the herd and being part of the latest thing but unless you’re got a ‘friends’ orientated team, every play has been with other loners who are gone by the next game. Ultimately, it doesn’t make much difference who you play with as any team can be shot down.

However, tactics don’t just apply within the game but knowing when it’s the best time to play. If that applies to this game, then why wouldn’t it be true of other on-line computer games?

Then again, obsessional behaviour is called that for a reason and I suppose if it wasn’t ‘Fortnite’ then there would be something else to fill the void. I suppose the same even applied in the pre-computer age only there was less information about it back then. If anything, we see more common behaviour in the Internet age than we ever used to. Oddly, I’m finding there are less people like me or we don’t seem to bump into each other here. Are geeky loners really that rare now?

Any sort of computer game is out there for a little relaxation, not to play continually. I do think there is a need for a properly recognised pause button and even to get out of the game quickly. I think there is a way to do that, too, but haven’t spotted that command yet.

I do think all on-line computer games should have a pause after so many hours to allow players to rest. At least that would force the obsessional players to get a few hours sleep. It isn’t as though such things can’t be programmed in. There has to be some form of responsibility for all players. After all, it’s only a game and there’s a lot more that can be done on-line.


Thank you, take care, good night and co-operation shouldn’t be under-estimated.


Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

PS: I don’t know whether it was my switching up the graphics mode, but I then got error messages that would allow me to access the game. If that happens to you, go in through the Epic Games Launcher, select the cog next to the ‘Launch’ button and select ‘Verify’. It’ll take a few minutes to go from something like 97% to 100% but it will sort things out without having to resort to an uninstall and reinstall although you’ll still have to re-enter your email address and password. I down-graded the graphics level to be on the safe side. It works all right from Launcher or Fortnite direct.

A Zen thought: How can thoughts be peaceful when they agitate the synapses?


What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Not understanding the term ‘holiday’.


Observation: In the 1956 film ‘Forbidden Planet’, the Krell/Morbius mind force seems to come in different sizes. When it first invades the C-570, it had to be reasonably small to enter the spacecraft even if the footprint is somewhat huge.

The second time, the Krell/Morbius has to be taller than the C-570. Granted Morbius unconsciously draws on more energy from the Krell machines to power it but it doesn’t actually grow in size. Considering the height of the force field is limited, you would think the Krell/Morbius would just increase in size and crush it.


Observation: Has anyone else noticed how Glen Talbot in ‘Agents Of SHIELD’ with that beard looks awfully like Count Nefaria, who also had graviton powers, at the moment?


Observation: Has anyone ever paused and looked at the mothership from ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ looks awfully like a mushroom?


Feeling Stressed: The world needs a stress pill.


Missed Opportunity:

            If you aren’t seeing the types of book or authors here you would want to read, chances are that I don’t have any reviewers who do them. I’m stocking up on reviewers right now. The extended info is below but essentially, if you can write and breathe and make good observations, you stand a chance. If you make grammatical errors, then I have your back. Email me at: gfwillmetts at hotmail.com

NOTE: Although there are details below, please observe the bigger message elsewhere on site. I’m always recruiting reviewers and this is the time of year to recruit as the nights are shorter and so you might be sleeping less If you’re living in the UK, love books and feel a bit geeky then read the notes below. You have to love reading anyway. You might be what I’m looking for and I do train people up and it’s good for your writer’s CVs and books to feed your reading habit. As some of my team are discovering, they can also interview writers and write articles as well. You can do that without reviewing as well but reading and reviewing is a good discipline. We’re a good team to belong to.

Polls And Opinions: We did have them for a time but the new version was causing a mess in WordPress so until a new version that doesn’t cause conflicts comes around, we’ll have to do without them but please use the answer option at the end of any material to express comments because we do read them.

For the record: For the odd query I have about being linked to media contacts. I do not have either a personal twitter or facebook account. There’s enough of me here to not outstay my welcome. I’m also puzzled why some people see SFC as a blog site when we’re not. We were in this format long before blogs. It’s getting to the point that people can’t tell the difference between blog and butter.

Beware Of Virus Attacks: December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com I won’t bite, although that doesn’t preclude others. In fact, I’ll settle for any more willing reviewers who love to read. Did I say I was after reviewers?

NB: We do get digital books and if you live abroad and not in the UK, then this avenue could be open to you. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me with my address noted in the paragraph above. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now!

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences and saying what they think.

For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle. Repeating this several times is for those who only scan and who don’t want to wind back up the page.

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions below: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor and I can get things right.

BOOK REVIEWS    – Don’t feel intimated by all the info below or linked to. If you’re any good as a writer, much of it should be second nature already. This is just the long hand version.

Do you love books? Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Do you have a preference for fantasy, SF or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers!!! Do you find it the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?

Are you very vocal about what you like and don’t like in what you read?

Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?

Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?

Do you live in the UK?

Can you spare an hour every day to read?

Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?

Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?

If you’ve been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you’re going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first. Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your own skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It’s got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird summer and now cold winter. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

If you’ve survived this far in the editorial, let me reiterate something from the website newsletter and the above editorial. As you can see from the main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers.

Do you think you have what it takes to review a book? It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we need a few more. If you love fantasy, we have more than enough to keep you busy for instance.

Apart from the ability to put words into sentences, you also need to know how to précis, do a little research on associated subjects and can express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

If you like reading books in the genre and can average two or maybe three a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review has to be cheaper than buying a book and a good incentive to see if you have what it takes to develop your writing skills.

Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you can, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

Look up the Review Guidelines by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php”></a> with a press of a mouse button.


We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrownest website. If you can get a short story written well then it’ll make it easier to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse.


We’ve also a teaching ground of one page stories, so check out the rules elsewhere on the website. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

Flash fiction stories by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php”></a> with your mouse.


For those keeping track, I’m actually now caught up but don’t tell everyone as I’m undecided as to whether to keep looking at novel-length story samples, move over specifically to short stories – which we do anyway for the website – or get a couple of my own book projects completed. The latter, I still intend to do anyway and now actually working on but don’t let that put you off too much. If you want me to look over a sample, you can contact me through the links on this website.

Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of storywriting. As a writer, it is your command of the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about writing.

There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in ebook samples, please read the Guidelines by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse here or through the bottom line menu on the opening page of the SFC website.


General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story. Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. Even I do that. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page and what I see mostly <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_commonprobs.php”></a>

with your mouse. It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.

Good luck.





Category: Culture, Games


About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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