What I'm working on:

Various write-ups.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Possible Reasons for the Nintendo Switch's Online App

A little while ago, Nintendo announced that the Switch's online functionality would be primarily relegated to a mobile application instead of running entirely on the console itself. Naturally, many eyebrows and pitchforks have been raised in response to this unusual turn of events. With what little information we have, a lot of reasonable questions have come about. Things like "What if I don't have a smartphone?", "Isn't this an unnecessary inconvenience?", and "Why do I have to manage two devices at once?" to name a few.

Right now, with how vague things are, Nintendo’s application seems like an unattractive proposition, but such a controversial and unprecedented decision can't have been made lightly. With this in mind, I believe that trying to look for the advantages of this strange, segmented implementation of online might help us derive the underlying reasons that led to Nintendo seeing sense in it.

Here's my take.



Technical Functionality


A great place to start is assessing the technical side of things: what technical value can be reaped by relegating much of the Switch's online functionality to an external application?

Though we don't know the particulars of the Switch's internals, it isn't a stretch to say that the console is likely built to facilitate software developers getting the most out of its specs as efficiently as possible. Letting an app take up the duty of online matchmaking, voice chat, and parties would probably free up a bit of ram and processing that'd otherwise have been dedicated to ensuring that these secondary features could be accessible at any given time.

I can think of two potential advantages that could come from freeing up these resources: Greater visual quality and an increased battery life.


What if offloading some online functionality to the app let devs do more and gamers play longer?

In either handheld or docked mode, a little probably goes a long way. Minimizing the Switch OS's footprint instead of having it encompass various online functions probably increases the usable resource pool in a way that allows developers to have more happening on screen than would otherwise be possible or, alternatively, a greater deal of performance stability with the same quality and quantity of assets.

There's also the option of avoiding the use of resources in excess, allowing for the Switch to last longer in handheld mode: freeing up ram, easing the processing load, and sending little in the way of wireless data natively could be a great boon for battery life and make online play a bit more viable in handheld mode.

If relevant, these reasons might be pretty substantial in encouraging the decision to host the brunt of online functionality on external hardware.



Lifestyle


Other reasons Nintendo would want to pursue a secondary app for online functionality may not be in terms of the Switch but the brand outright.

Let's face it, even with handheld mode, not everyone is going to be bringing their Switch with them wherever they go. While it is more convenient than a full console has ever been, the Switch isn't pocketable, it doesn't have a very long battery life, and, as far as we know, doesn't support cellular data. These things make the console a little more difficult to see as a something that'll always be on hand to a majority of its userbase.

However, even though the Switch may not end up being one of most people's lifestyle devices of preference, a cellphone definitely will be.
Wherever you go, Nintendo could end up being just a tap away
By setting up their principle online infrastructure through mobile devices, Nintendo can keep their ecosystem on the mind outside of play, even if you don't have any of their dedicated hardware with you. Setting up through the phone also offers the opportunity to connect players across platforms, foster growth and expansion of the community overall, and ensure that updates and promotions are easily accessible to everyone who can take advantage of them.

This sort of consideration could be a smart play towards making Nintendo a prominent part of your everyday life, and that would potentially represent massive marketing value to the company moving forward.




Convenience


Interestingly, the advantages of making Lifestyle considerations aren't just promotional, but also an increase in user convenience. Centralizing the online infrastructure to an application could bring together a wealth of features that players may enjoy taking advantage of when they're away from their console, including things like the eShop or customer service access. This is the sort of thing Nintendo could consider pushing in a quality of life context.


Imagine a central hub for all your needs no matter where you fit in the Nintendo ecosystem.

Nintendo could even take things farther when working to this end and use the app to make our lives easier even when we go back to our dedicated hardware. An example of this could be establishing a base Nintendo ID Framework. With permission, the app could then log you on to any Switch, phone, or future handheld without any hassle for the transfer of accounts and software purchases. They could even do something like allow you to log your Nintendo ID onto a friend's console for multiplayer, carrying over data and rewards, and earning their equivalent of achievements.

The possibilities are quite attractive, but only time will tell if these sorts of things are actually on the table for the app. Here's hoping.




Parental App


This is more of an aside to be honest, but the one thing I can't really piece together is Nintendo's Parental Control app.

Don't get me wrong, I think that it's a great idea: It can help a parent regulate what, when, and how much a child plays. It can even help folks keep to personal schedules, further adding to it's potential utility.

It also does little that I can imagine requiring it to be a separate application as opposed to being a feature-set of the standard online app.


Hmm... The fact that there are two apps is a little harder for me to understand.

You might think it'd help prevent children from editing their parents' schedule settings, but I don't think that makes too much sense as it'd all be accessible on a single device anyway. Maybe things would get a bit too cluttered by putting those feature sets together?

I can't be sure, but we'll probably see why things have been done this way as we learn more about both of these applications in the future.






I hope you enjoyed this piece, and I'll see you soon for whatever comes next.


Take care!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Way I see it: The Future of the 3DS

The Way I See It is a category of pieces that represent my personal opinions or reasoning on subjects I enjoy or have a lot to say about. Though at times the write-ups may be built on well-researched and verified information, as a general statement, I do not speak with absolute authority on any given matter covered. Thank you for your time.


Recently, Nintendo's Tatsumi Kimishima reinforced the idea that the dedicated handheld space is still a valuable market and that the 3DS may yet see a successor.

The response to this idea hasn't been all too positive.

I've been reading a lot of naysaying on Nintendo continuing to support the DS handheld line even before the recent comments, but it seems that some folks aren't just doubtful of the likelihood of this happening: they're outright opposed to it. That's a little odd to me. While everyone has a right to their opinion on where Nintendo should go on this front, I have to say that a number of the reasons put forward in an attempt to justify doubts and detractions haven’t seemed all that solid to me.

Today, I've decided to dig into that matter a little.

An Elaboration


Like I've done in the previous post in this series of opinion pieces, I'll be outlining and answering some of the more prominent doubts on the matter as a means of constructively explaining my view: I don't think that Nintendo necessarily should or will abandon the dedicated handheld space in service of their latest console.

Nintendo's merged their software development divisions to make games for one device, namely the Switch.


Some point to the merger of these divisions about four years back as something that was done explicitly in order to design games for a singular device. There's no proof or indication of this. The excuse we'd gotten was that the move was made to develop “more innovative and attractive products” and to keep up with the various facets of the industry. This could just as easily be seen as a move to increase the fluidity of production, more efficiently transfer resources and personnel between projects as necessary, and/or increase access to the creative pool. There's no reasonable way to point to this merger as a clear excuse for only creating games on the Switch instead of multiple kinds of hardware; Nintendo pursuing the mobile market and intending to support the 3DS into 2018 -five years after the merger- both reinforce the invalidity of this oft parroted assumption for good measure.


There's no point in a new 3DS if the Switch succeeds because it could do everything a dedicated handheld could do.


I sometimes read this idea put out in order to justify why a new handheld is pointless. However, this perspective doesn't consider that, after the Wii U, Nintendo have relegated the concept of dual screen play exclusively to the DS line. This is something that can't be found anywhere else and, coupled with whatever supplementary novelty they pursue in the future, will easily help differentiate the hardware on a core level. Also worth considering, the Switch may be portable in that it can be taken on the go, but it isn't something that can be fit in your pocket or taken around as a pure convenience. Include the fact that the new advancements made for the Switch allow incredible performance for battery consumption, and you have a pretty sure bet that whatever might come after the 3ds could return to DS Lite levels of battery life at 10-15 hours, adding further to the viability of a truly dedicated handheld.



Making other handhelds isn't smart because it would confuse customers.


Nintendo is explicitly, whether or not people like it, marketing the Switch as a home console first and foremost and framing its portable aspect with that in mind. It's also priced well outside the range of successful dedicated handhelds.

By at least a hundred dollars.

In fact, you can even purchase a 2DS for less than a third of the cost of a Switch. This price difference alone already establishes a hard cut with regards to its placement in the market, as many consumers that'd purchase a handheld would immediately disregard the Switch when it runs the cost of a new home console: a fair number of folks don't at all want a home console, meaning that the features that account for this increase of price don't represent notable value to them. I think it's fairly reasonable to say that just leaving this part of the market empty-handed in the future is a waste of potential.



Nintendo said they wouldn't drop the Gameboy line of hardware when they released the DS but actually did, so they're probably going to do the same thing if the Switch succeeds.


When folks look back at this circumstance, it's reasonable to call out what Nintendo said. It's also fair to assume that they would have come back to the Gameboy if the DS failed. This is because both handhelds were being sold to the same functional market and the DS could even play GB games for two revisions. However, with the Switch replacing their dedicated console outright and the 3DS receiving a slower stream of third party software support, why would the logical response to the Switch failing be to lean on the DS line as opposed to developing a new dedicated home console? Alternatively, if the Switch succeeds, why would they throw away the novelty of dual-screen gaming entirely when it still maintains appeal to a fair portion of the market? It doesn't even make the most financial sense to shut off a revenue stream like that and focus on a single piece of hardware unless you're only considering first party games: Nintendo receives a licensing fee for every game sold on their hardware whether or not they've made it. With this in mind, if there's still an audience open to purchasing a dedicated handheld, it pretty immediately seems like a wasted opportunity for everyone involved if they neglect it or treat it like a contingency plan.

Closing


So there you have it.

As you can see, things aren't necessarily as definite or simple as they've been painted to be and, though I don't speak with authority on the matter, I personally don't think that Nintendo will consider abandoning the 3DS line (or dedicated handhelds) if the Switch is successful but might consider it if a successor to the 3DS ends up being a failure instead.

What do you think? Do you have any perspectives you'd like to share on the matter? Things you think I've missed? If so, please feel free to let me know in a comment below.

Thanks for reading and take care!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #9

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!



Hello!

It's the ninth and final day of Cafe Cucco. We'll be finishing off with one more dessert before we go:

Made with real Chuchu Jelly!
Chuchu Gelatin. A fruity treat for all ages and tastes.

In earlier times, Chuchu were seen as a slow, unusual nuisance to be avoided when possible. Eventually, it was discovered that their Jelly could be used for medicinal purposes. Prepared well, it is the base material in various potions and serves as a valuable health supplement otherwise. It also has the distinct feature of bringing out the flavor of all food it's mixed with. Because of this, its use in desserts has been well regarded as a great means of ensuring that young children get a bit of nutrition with their sweets.

Of course, that gives adults a convenient excuse to indulge as well!



I'm not a big fan of Gelatin personally, but I've always enjoyed how colorful most kinds are.



With this, our project comes to a close! Don't worry, though: I've got a lot of ideas and might come back to a few them for fun. Thanks for joining me on this journey, and I hope you've enjoyed this post and the others that preceded it. If you have any suggestions, questions, or Ideas of your own, please feel free to let me know in a comment. I'll still read them and maybe give them their own spot on the menu!

Take care, and I'll see you for whatever comes next.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #8

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!



Hello!

It's day eight of Cafe Cucco. We've officially broken a straight week of daily updates! Here's another fun one to celebrate:
Long-lasting, flavorful, and  eye catching!
Octorok Candy. A commonly enjoyed and widely exported treat that found its origins here at the cafe.

Many years ago, a young apprentice Confectioneer joined our staff. Living far off, he would brave the long trip to work every morning with his tools and supplies in tow. On his travels, he would always pass by a neighboring lake wherein a single Octorok lived.

Each day, the Octorok would watch the apprentice, who brought with him a variety of strange and alluring fragrances, walk past. The Octorok would cry out to the man in the early weeks, doing little that would draw the man's attention. It then grew bolder, coming closer and closer to the shore with each passing day. Still the man payed the Octorok little mind.

Eventually, the Octorok began to spit its rocks at the apprentice, who now grew wary of the growing inconvenience posed by the creature. The Octorok would spit at him no matter how or when he'd approach the lake until, finally, it managed to hit him.

Falling and dropping his supplies, the man sat in a daze as the Octorok approached him. He feared for the worst, assuming that it would surely make quick work of him now that he was within its grasp. But the strangest thing happened: the creature simply dug through the man's supplies and ate up his samples. He picked up the rock that hit him and watched the Octorok happily enjoy his sweets before it returned to the water.

It was then that he had an idea.

The apprentice crafted his first batch of a new candy at the cafe. It was exceptionally well-received, and demand was almost too great to meet. With a variety of flavors and colors, the novel Octorok Candies found an audience in all who tried it and earned the apprentice full-time employment and respect from his peers. This success was the first of his many beloved concoctions that can now be found at the cafe.

It just goes to show that inspiration can strike from anywhere, even an Octorok.



Despite the play on words, this actually isn't what's traditionally defined as Rock Candy. Also, Confectioneer is a made up word that I feel should exist.


I hope you had fun with today's item. We're nearing the end of this project, so if you have any suggestions, questions, or Ideas of your own, please feel free to let me know in a comment!

I'll be seeing you tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #7

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!

Hello!

It's day seven of Cafe Cucco, and we've got more dessert on the way! Today's dish is:
A traditional Kingdom-wide favorite!
The Triforce Tarte. A well known dessert that's been passed down for generations.

Enjoyed by children and adults alike, this dish is made in honor of the ancient relic of legend. It is often prepared for birthdays in three separate parts so that the celebrated may bring them together and make a wish.



Another short one today. I like to think that this would be something that would have gained its popularity when made for a younger princess Zelda's birthday many generations ago.


I hope you liked today's treat. If you have any suggestions, questions, or Ideas of your own, please feel free to let me know in a comment!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #6

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!

Hello!

Welcome to the sixth day of Cafe Cucco! Today, we start our run through the various desserts on offer, the first being:
You can never have too much pie!

Hyoi Pear Pie. A beloved treat that can't be beat!

A clever housewife originally made this dessert to sway her husband on personal matters. Word got around of its hypnotic effects and the recipe spread, but it turns out that it doesn't actually work to that end.

It's just a really good pie.





Another short one today, but the subject speaks for itself. I don't think anyone could disagree with you for too long if you brought pie to the table alongside your argument.



I hope you liked today's dish. Have suggestions? Questions? Ideas of your own? By all means! Feel free to let me know in a comment.

I think that tomorrow's dessert will be a fun one. See you then!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #5

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!



Hello!


Welcome to day five of Cafe Cucco! Yesterday, I said that we'd be "getting to the real meat of things", and I wasn't kidding. Today's dish is our menu's main course:

A Joy Pendant with every order!

Bokoblin Beef Stew. A special meal prepared by our resident Bokoblin Chefs.

Over the ages, many have believed the Bokoblin to be an entirely war-minded group, but this isn't actually true. They are a race with two definite aspects: Loyalty and Communion. These traits and their simple nature make them easy and lucrative targets for diplomatic arrangements by enemies of Hyrule looking for a great number of unwavering minions.


Though these characteristics have been easily taken advantage of over the ages, some of those who've made a point of engaging cordially and kindly with Bokoblin in times of peace have found them to be relatively courteous hosts with incredible coordination and dedication to their goals. Though apprehension is still understandably common, those who have welcomed the Bokoblin into their societies have found them to be a boon for the development of infrastructure and the completion of taxing labor, increasing the quality of life for all involved.


Interestingly, the Bokoblin have a knack for cooking, making the most delicious foods from the simplest ingredients. Accustomed to constantly traveling in the open air, they've lived off the land and established a fairly nomadic culture. This has encouraged a keen eye for the freshest vegetables, fruit, and animals and an understanding of how best to prepare them to suit their needs. While not all recipes they prepare are considered traditionally palatable, when brought into the kitchen, Bokoblin are swift to bring out the best of what's available.


Bokoblin Beef Stew just so happens to be one of the more popular dishes they've brought to our menu.


Typically prepared during the cold seasons, the stew was made to keep them warm and filled during long journeys. Among Bokoblin, it's customary for every serving to be adorned with a Joy pendant in appreciation of their fellow travelers for their companionship and appetite. Elated to prepare the dish for any who request it, this little gift is always pridefully provided without exception.


Isn't that nice?






I was having trouble deciding between having the Bokoblin make the stew or having the Bokoblin be the stew, but I think I'm happy with where I ended up going with it.




I hope you've had fun reading today's post. Have suggestions? Questions? Ideas of your own? By all means! Feel free to let me know in a comment.


I can't wait to show off some of the 'Great Desserts' I have in store starting tomorrow. Take care until then!




Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #4

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!

Hi again!

Welcome to day four of the project! Yesterday, we finished up our drinks. Today, we move on to an appetizer:
Coming in generous amounts and with a taste that lingers, these are a great way to start your meal!

Made as a holiday party favor at a village closely neighboring deep, dark caverns. A play on the prevalence of Keese at the village border, this treat is well-liked by most who try it.



Not a super long one today. I like to think that during a certain holiday the village made a habit of telling monster stories to children about Keese before bed! They'd be able point out the window towards the bright, piercing eyes moving in the night, whispering tales of how they belonged to creatures waiting to take away those who misbehaved.


If you're reading this, I hope you've enjoyed today's post. Have suggestions? Questions? Ideas of your own? By all means! Feel free to let me know in a comment.

We'll be getting to the real meat of things tomorrow. Take care!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #3

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!

Hello again!

Welcome to day three of our journey! Since we started off with something warm yesterday, today's drink will be a much cooler alternative for you to try out:
This stuff has a lovely glow to it! Functional as a lantern, a mug-full is a great companion for late journeys home.

Refreshing and rejuvenating, Fairy Fountain Dew is a well loved beverage with a curious source.

Long ago, a poor, old craftsman of no renown aimlessly wandered the land in search of work. On his travels, he happened upon an unusual cave, the entrance of which was made by seemingly unnatural means: the surrounding rocks were scorched, discolored, and crumbling as though by a great eruption. In this cave he found a beautiful fountain, carved with intricate patterns and some of the most wondrous architecture he had ever seen.

Unfortunately, the fountain was in a state of disrepair and looked to have been abandoned long ago. A great sense of duty filled the craftsman, and he worked to return it to its former splendor. He toiled tirelessly for many hours, in time successfully restoring as much of the structure as his meager supply allowed before falling asleep at the fountain's foot.

The craftsman woke the next day to the warm, soothing voice of a Great Fairy who floated serenely above the fountain, which flowed with an illuminated water. She explained that this was once her home and that it was destroyed in a time of serious turmoil many ages ago.

The old craftsman extended his sympathies and offered that he may dedicate himself to the upkeep of this fountain and those of the other Great Fairies if need be.

In thanks, the Great Fairy and her sisters rewarded the craftsman with a blessed spring hidden deep in the Forrest. Only the craftsman and those he permitted could find this secret source of illuminated water.

He would generously bring the sickly and tired to rest at the spring whenever the need arose, which lead to stories of its mystical properties spreading to more entrepreneurial ears.

For a short time, the craftsman charged those seeking to profit from the water, but this was only to the ends of his own charitable endeavors.

Though he no longer asks for payment from any who wish to partake in the spring, most establishments and merchants who retail the water make a point of providing compensation to the old craftsman regardless as a mark of appreciation for his compassion and selflessness. 



I'll be completely honest. The only reason I made this one was because I got a laugh out of the name!


I hope you've enjoyed today's post. Have suggestions? Questions? Ideas of your own? By all means! Feel free to let me know in a comment.

See you tomorrow for our third serving. Take care!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #2

Cafe Cucco is a short daily project wherein I create fun little hypothetical foods that might be seen in the land of Hyrule. Any lore or descriptions are made up and should not be taken to represent official canon. I hope you enjoy it!

Hello again!

Welcome to the second day of this little project and the first to include an item from the menu! We'll be starting off slow with some drinks. Today's choice is:
Nothing too fancy, but pretty enjoyable even if you're a little short on magic!

Fresh Fairy Brew! A great little drink that's pretty familiar to most cafe-goers. Normal cups of coffee will wake you up a little, but that dash of magic in Fairy Brew's not just for show: this stuff will take the ache out of joints and right any recent physical ailments real quick!

Where does that hint of magic actually come from?

It's all in the name.

Fairies are a recognized part of life around Hyrule. They aren't everywhere you look, but they have their place in cozy caves and other quiet little nooks where ponds can be established.

Though mostly reclusive, a fair number of fairies can be found gathering food from surrounding greenery when it's available. A common favorite is coffee, the trees of which have been noted to be abuzz with activity. As a result, a generous amount of fairy dust coats them over time, making their fruit excellent, beneficial ingredients.

Incidentally, the faint sparkle of fairy dust is also how more experienced adventurers track Fairy Fountains on their travels.





I like to think that folks in the know would plant trees for fairies as a sort of reciprocation for their unrelenting aid to those in need. Over time, these areas might become bountiful with fruit and sustenance, but the resulting growth would probably attract an excess of animal life that'd have fairies leaving for newer, quieter homes.



I hope you've enjoyed today's post. Have suggestions? Questions? Ideas of your own? By all means! Feel free to let me know in a comment.

I'll be seeing you tomorrow for our second serving. Take care!

A Zelda Project: Cafe Cucco #1

Hello!

I've been feeling a bit unproductive as of late on the public writing front and, wanting to get out of my creative crawl, decided to take up a number of little projects, one of which you're reading now.


One of my older dreams in life was starting up my own bakery or chocolate shop. Though I'd probably set the kitchen on fire even if all I had was an ice-cube (Yes. I'm that bad), I've always had fun thinking of the things I might make given the opportunity. A lot of the ideas I have these days lean towards my love of games as opposed to ending up with anything edible, so I got to wondering why I couldn't just put together a fun menu based on a series I enjoy which, in this case, just so happens to be The Legend of Zelda.


Welcome to Cafe Cucco!



Every day for the next week (or more), I'll be posting a selection of dishes served by this cozy little cafe! I've had a lot of fun writing up a reference filled menu and putting together the accompanying assets.

I hope you'll join me for this daily project and let me know what you think. Have suggestions? By all means! Feel free to let me know what clever and delectable ideas you have.

In the meantime, take care. I'll see you for our first serving tomorrow!

P.S: That's a strange stamp up there... I wonder what it says?

Edit: This project is, as of now, complete! Each post is linked below for convenience: