Rabbi David Walk, Education Director

Congregation Agudath Sholom | 301 Strawberry Hill Ave | Stamford, CT 06902 (203)-358-2200 www.agudathsholom.org

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Last Of Us Part 2 | Trailer, Gameplay, Story Characters & All The Latest News.



The Last of Us Part 2 wards off blowing us with rough and clashing trailers, yet despite everything we're holding up to hear when we'll really observe PlayStation's most foreseen continuation on the racks. What is Ellie's opinion about the decision Joel made to spare her toward the finish of the last diversion? Where is Joel, and for what reason hasn't he showed up in any of the trailers yet? Who are the unusual religion that have established such a connection in the recording we've seen up until this point? Here's all that we think about The Last of Us Part 2.

  Quick Facts :

  • The Last of Us Part 2 release date: TBC
  • Formats: PS4, PS4 Pro
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

The Last of Us Part 2 release date – When is it coming out?

The Last of Us Part 2 was uncovered with a secret trailer at PlayStation Experience 2016, yet Naughty Dog caveated the uncover with the reality the amusement is still from the get-go being developed, so it'll be a while until the point when we can get our hands on it. 

In an ongoing meeting with Argentinian radio station Vorterix, The Last of Us Part 2 arranger Gustavo Santaolalla said the title is intended to dispatch only for PS4 in 2019. Take this with a spot of salt, yet it appears to be a conceivable dispatch window to us.





















The Last of Us Part 2 story will focus on Joel and Ellie. But Joel is still (mostly) missing.

We haven't seen Joel yet, however we (most likely) know he's still near, as the most recent E3 ongoing interaction demo makes express reference to Ellie's "father". All things considered, that doesn't name Joel expressly, so there's as yet a shot his quality will be a mental one instead of an exacting one. Naughty Dog loves misleading its group of onlookers before its defining moments discharge. 

While talking about the likelihood that the amusement may pursue another cast, chief Neil Druckmann has expressed that "The Last of Us is about these two characters particularly," finally year's PlayStation Experience. "'Part 2' is stating this will be a bigger story; it will be a reciprocal story to the primary amusement, yet together, the two joined will tell this substantially bigger story." So indeed, Joel will be a noteworthy piece of the story. We simply don't yet know in what limit. Joel's little girl, Sarah, was the main impetus of the primary amusement, and, well...


In any case, based on Druckmann's remarks, this follow-up will be significantly more firmly connected to its forerunner than numerous other triple-A continuations. Seeing as the keep going diversion finished on such a superbly equivocal, semi-cliffhanger, we expect The Last of Us 2 to manage the lie Joel told Ellie amid that passionate epilog.

The Last of Us Part 2 Story – What's it about?

Naughty Dog has uncovered that The Last of Us Part 2 happens five years after the first left off, with a 19-year-old Ellie going about as the diversion's fundamental character. Joel likewise makes an arrival, viewing over Ellie as a gradually maturing old man. The principle drive of the account is indistinct, however we know Ellie is, extremely irate about something. 

In the uncovered trailer, she is seen playing guitar, slathered in blood among a heap of carcasses. In the wake of completing her melody, she says to Joel: "I will slaughter each and every one of them." We've no thought who Ellie is so pissed at, however, it's unmistakable annoyance will go about as a center topic in The Last of Us Part 2. Neil Druckmann has affirmed that Westworld's Shannon Woodward will assume a job in the continuation, in spite of the fact that we right now know nothing about her character.


The Last of Us Part 2 gameplay shows Ellie meting out a whole another level  of bloody violence.


As of Sony's E3 2018 introduction, we've now, at long last, had a serious take a gander at some The Last of Us Part 2 interactivity. Furthermore, "concentrated" is in fact the world. Especially taking its signals from the principal diversion's substantial, improvisational, avoidance driven guerrilla battle, The Last of Us Part 2 hopes to take a to some degree snappier, more agile methodology with Ellie as its hero - she can get containers and fling them consistently at assailants without breaking a dash, for example, and her changes between different kinds of cover and battle look significantly slicker than Joel's. All things considered, the level of realistic brutality has unmistakably gone up. 

The Last of Us was an expert when it came to the awkward gut, yet the Last of Us Part 2 ongoing interaction demo is on an entirely another level. Following a delicate scene of kinship and sentiment, we obviously slice to Ellie, cut as of now in a man's throat, gutting him like a fish. It just remains untidy from that point on out, the viciousness delineated as drifting somewhere close to lavishly realistic phlebotomy and dirty, anatomically reasonable repulsiveness. It's terrible, crunchy, stifling, sputtering, and wheezing stuff all through.


Ideally, there's a purpose behind that. The principal diversion was, all things considered, a savage amusement about savagery, in which the unglamourous delineation of executing with repercussions framed a lot of the points. With so little setting for Ellie's activities up until now, it's difficult to know whether The Last of Us Part 2 is accomplishing something astute here, or merely endeavoring to win a 'development' weapons contest with itself. We'll most likely know for beyond any doubt when we get hold of the last amusement.


The Last of Us Part 2 takes place in Seattle (partly)



Fans had just worked this one out quite well, yet The Last of Us Part 2 executive Neil Druckmann affirmed it at PlayStation Experience 2017: an "expansive part" of the diversion will occur in Seattle. 

The first started in Boston at that point went on a voyage over the United States as far west as Salt Lake City. When we last observed Joel and Ellie, they'd headed back east far to Jackson County in Wyoming, wanting to remain at the settlement driven by Joel's sibling Tommy. We don't know to what extent that game plan endured, yet Ellie's unmistakably accomplished all the more going from that point forward. 

In any case, that is only a "huge part". It appears to be improbable that The Last of Us Part 2 will remain established in the Pacific Northwest after how much meandering the principal diversion did. Perhaps Ellie will advance down the drift? We don't know whether things are as awful on the western seaboard as far as disease and military persecution. Be that as it may, it wouldn't be quite a bit of a survival story if Ellie just gallivanted down to Portland and lived joyfully ever after.







Expected To See Greater focus on the multiplayer.

To the shock of many, 'The Last of Us' multiplayer was brilliant. It deciphered the creating and survival mechanics of its single-player into the domain of online clashes impeccably. You could gather fixings and specialty devices mid-coordinate, getting the drop on your foe through a scope of fierce strategies. The collection of instruments was upheld up by a profound determination of matchmaking alternatives, as well. 

One of my most loved parts of the multiplayer was its usage of informal organizations into online movement. A triumph would net you supplies for your group, the individuals from which are named after a horde of Facebook companions. Obviously, they weren't generally stuck in an invaded hellhole, yet the unimportant consideration of their essence gave your activities a swoon yet ground-breaking setting. The Last of Us 2 should twofold down on this thought, making each fight an individual undertaking driving a level as well as a will to survive.


The Last of Us 2 soundtrack will feature the original game's composer.







Gustavo Santaolalla is the man. In particular, a man who is, VERY great at composing music. The Argentine arranger won consecutive Best Original Score Oscars for his work on Brokeback Mountain and Babel, before proceeding to direct The Last of Us' breathtakingly melancholic soundtrack. Druckmann as of late affirmed Santaolalla is coming back to form the music for the Last of Us Part 2, particularly prominent as it's the first run through he's returned for a spin-off.





Thursday, May 23, 2019

Top 13 Highest Paying URL Shortener 2019: Best URL Shortener to Earn Money

  1. Linkrex.net

    Linkrex.net is one of the new URL shortener sites.You can trust it.It is paying and is a legit site.It offers high CPM rate.You can earn money by sing up to linkrex and shorten your URL link and paste it anywhere.You can paste it in your website or blog.You can paste it into social media networking sites like facebook, twitter or google plus etc.
    You will be paid whenever anyone will click on that shorten a link.You can earn more than $15 for 1000 views.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.Another way of earning from this site is to refer other people.You can earn 25% as a referral commission.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$14
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-25%
    • Payment Options-Paypal,Bitcoin,Skrill and Paytm,etc
    • Payment time-daily

  2. Cut-win

    Cut-win is a new URL shortener website.It is paying at the time and you can trust it.You just have to sign up for an account and then you can shorten your URL and put that URL anywhere.You can paste it into your site, blog or even social media networking sites.It pays high CPM rate.
    You can earn $10 for 1000 views.You can earn 22% commission through the referral system.The most important thing is that you can withdraw your amount when it reaches $1.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$10
    • Minimum payout-$1
    • Referral commission-22%
    • Payment methods-PayPal, Payza, Bitcoin, Skrill, Western Union and Moneygram etc.
    • Payment time-daily

  3. Clk.sh

    Clk.sh is a newly launched trusted link shortener network, it is a sister site of shrinkearn.com. I like ClkSh because it accepts multiple views from same visitors. If any one searching for Top and best url shortener service then i recommend this url shortener to our users. Clk.sh accepts advertisers and publishers from all over the world. It offers an opportunity to all its publishers to earn money and advertisers will get their targeted audience for cheapest rate. While writing ClkSh was offering up to $8 per 1000 visits and its minimum cpm rate is $1.4. Like Shrinkearn, Shorte.st url shorteners Clk.sh also offers some best features to all its users, including Good customer support, multiple views counting, decent cpm rates, good referral rate, multiple tools, quick payments etc. ClkSh offers 30% referral commission to its publishers. It uses 6 payment methods to all its users.
    • Payout for 1000 Views: Upto $8
    • Minimum Withdrawal: $5
    • Referral Commission: 30%
    • Payment Methods: PayPal, Payza, Skrill etc.
    • Payment Time: Daily

  4. Wi.cr

    Wi.cr is also one of the 30 highest paying URL sites.You can earn through shortening links.When someone will click on your link.You will be paid.They offer $7 for 1000 views.Minimum payout is $5.
    You can earn through its referral program.When someone will open the account through your link you will get 10% commission.Payment option is PayPal.
    • Payout for 1000 views-$7
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payout method-Paypal
    • Payout time-daily

  5. Linkbucks

    Linkbucks is another best and one of the most popular sites for shortening URLs and earning money. It boasts of high Google Page Rank as well as very high Alexa rankings. Linkbucks is paying $0.5 to $7 per 1000 views, and it depends on country to country.
    The minimum payout is $10, and payment method is PayPal. It also provides the opportunity of referral earnings wherein you can earn 20% commission for a lifetime. Linkbucks runs advertising programs as well.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$3-9
    • Minimum payout-$10
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payment options-PayPal,Payza,and Payoneer
    • Payment-on the daily basis

  6. BIT-URL

    It is a new URL shortener website.Its CPM rate is good.You can sign up for free and shorten your URL and that shortener URL can be paste on your websites, blogs or social media networking sites.bit-url.com pays $8.10 for 1000 views.
    You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $3.bit-url.com offers 20% commission for your referral link.Payment methods are PayPal, Payza, Payeer, and Flexy etc.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$8.10
    • Minimum payout-$3
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payment methods- Paypal, Payza, and Payeer
    • Payment time-daily

  7. Adf.ly

    Adf.ly is the oldest and one of the most trusted URL Shortener Service for making money by shrinking your links. Adf.ly provides you an opportunity to earn up to $5 per 1000 views. However, the earnings depend upon the demographics of users who go on to click the shortened link by Adf.ly.
    It offers a very comprehensive reporting system for tracking the performance of your each shortened URL. The minimum payout is kept low, and it is $5. It pays on 10th of every month. You can receive your earnings via PayPal, Payza, or AlertPay. Adf.ly also runs a referral program wherein you can earn a flat 20% commission for each referral for a lifetime.
  8. Ouo.io

    Ouo.io is one of the fastest growing URL Shortener Service. Its pretty domain name is helpful in generating more clicks than other URL Shortener Services, and so you get a good opportunity for earning more money out of your shortened link. Ouo.io comes with several advanced features as well as customization options.
    With Ouo.io you can earn up to $8 per 1000 views. It also counts multiple views from same IP or person. With Ouo.io is becomes easy to earn money using its URL Shortener Service. The minimum payout is $5. Your earnings are automatically credited to your PayPal or Payoneer account on 1st or 15th of the month.
    • Payout for every 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payout time-1st and 15th date of the month
    • Payout options-PayPal and Payza

  9. Short.am

    Short.am provides a big opportunity for earning money by shortening links. It is a rapidly growing URL Shortening Service. You simply need to sign up and start shrinking links. You can share the shortened links across the web, on your webpage, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Short.am provides detailed statistics and easy-to-use API.
    It even provides add-ons and plugins so that you can monetize your WordPress site. The minimum payout is $5 before you will be paid. It pays users via PayPal or Payoneer. It has the best market payout rates, offering unparalleled revenue. Short.am also run a referral program wherein you can earn 20% extra commission for life.
  10. Shrinkearn.com

    Shrinkearn.com is one of the best and most trusted sites from our 30 highest paying URL shortener list.It is also one of the old URL shortener sites.You just have to sign up in the shrinkearn.com website. Then you can shorten your URL and can put that URL to your website, blog or any other social networking sites.
    Whenever any visitor will click your shortener URL link you will get some amount for that click.The payout rates from Shrinkearn.com is very high.You can earn $20 for 1000 views.Visitor has to stay only for 5 seconds on the publisher site and then can click on skip button to go to the requesting site.
    • The payout for 1000 views- up to $20
    • Minimum payout-$1
    • Referral commission-25%
    • Payment methods-PayPal
    • Payment date-10th day of every month

  11. LINK.TL

    LINK.TL is one of the best and highest URL shortener website.It pays up to $16 for every 1000 views.You just have to sign up for free.You can earn by shortening your long URL into short and you can paste that URL into your website, blogs or social media networking sites, like facebook, twitter, and google plus etc.
    One of the best thing about this site is its referral system.They offer 10% referral commission.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.
    • Payout for 1000 views-$16
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payout methods-Paypal, Payza, and Skrill
    • Payment time-daily basis

  12. Short.pe

    Short.pe is one of the most trusted sites from our top 30 highest paying URL shorteners.It pays on time.intrusting thing is that same visitor can click on your shorten link multiple times.You can earn by sign up and shorten your long URL.You just have to paste that URL to somewhere.
    You can paste it into your website, blog, or social media networking sites.They offer $5 for every 1000 views.You can also earn 20% referral commission from this site.Their minimum payout amount is only $1.You can withdraw from Paypal, Payza, and Payoneer.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$1
    • Referral commission-20% for lifetime
    • Payment methods-Paypal, Payza, and Payoneer
    • Payment time-on daily basis

  13. CPMlink

    CPMlink is one of the most legit URL shortener sites.You can sign up for free.It works like other shortener sites.You just have to shorten your link and paste that link into the internet.When someone will click on your link.
    You will get some amount of that click.It pays around $5 for every 1000 views.They offer 10% commission as the referral program.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.The payment is then sent to your PayPal, Payza or Skrill account daily after requesting it.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payment methods-Paypal, Payza, and Skrill
    • Payment time-daily

Garena Free Fire 1.29.0 APK + OBB Free Download

 Garena Free Fire latest 1.29.0 APK + OBB


===============================================



===============================================

How To Install without Garena Free Fire 1.29.0 APK + OBB  Without Errors and Problems


===============================================
πŸ”ΆπŸ”΄πŸ”ΆπŸ”ΆπŸ”΄πŸ”Ά DOWNLOAD HERE πŸ”ΆπŸ”΄πŸ”ΆπŸ”ΆπŸ”΄πŸ”Ά

🌹 Please use IDM (Internet Download Manager) to download the files without any error.

===============================================
πŸ’˜ To Download Latest Movies In 720P & 1080P Visit My Other Site :- https://worldfree4utechno.blogspot.com/

1- Garena Free Fire 1.29.0 APK + OBB :-
===============================================

Please Install "7-zip and WINRAR" to extract the files.

πŸ’˜ Download Winrar :-
🌹  (32bit PC)
🌹  (64bit PC)

πŸ’˜ Visual C++ Redistributable 2012 :-
🌹 Download

If your PC has no net framework then, you can
download net framework from here :-

πŸ’˜ net framework 4.6
🌹 Download

πŸ’˜ IMPORTANT πŸ’˜:-
🌹 ALWAYS DISABLE YOUR ANTIVIRUS BEFORE EXTRACTING THE FILES.
----------------------------------------------

Thank You For Watching My Video.....

We Are Thank Full To You...

And Don't Forget To Subscribe To My Channel...

And Keep Visiting Our Channel, Keep Supporting Our Channel, And Keep Loving Our Channel ...

Thank You So Much................
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR VISITING OUR SITE.

No Man's Sky [Updated To V1.77 + MULTi14 Languages] For PC [5.8 GB] Highly Compressed Repack

No Man's Sky - is an action-adventure survival game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games and it was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Windows in August 2016, and for Xbox One in July 2018.


Inspired by the adventure and imagination that we love from classic science-fiction, No Man's Sky presents you with a galaxy to explore, filled with unique planets and lifeforms, and constant danger and action.  In No Man's Sky, every star is the light of a distant sun, each orbited by planets filled with life, and you can go to any of them you choose. Fly smoothly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits. In this infinite procedurally generated universe and you'll discover strange places and creatures.
1. FEATURES OF THE GAME

• Be an Explorer: Go beyond the known frontier and Discover Places and things that no one has ever seen before.
• Fearless Voyage to the centre of a shared universe awaits allowing you to explore, trade, fight and survive alone.
• No Man's Sky is up to you. Will you be a fighter & preying on the weak, or Taking out all pirates for their Bounties.
Facing hostile creatures, you know that death comes at a cost and survival will be down to the choices you make.
Embark on an epic voyage: At the Centre of the galaxy lies a Irresistible pulse which draws you on a new journey.

Game is updated to latest version
2. GAMEPLAY AND SCREENSHOTS
3. DOWNLOAD GAME:

♢ Click or choose only one button below to download this game.
♢ You need ΞΌTorrent program to download torrent files, download here.
♢ View detailed instructions for downloading and installing the game here.
♢ Use 7-Zip to extract RAR, ZIP and ISO files. Install PowerISO to mount ISO files.

NO MAN'S SKY [UPDATED TO v1.77 + MULTi14 LANGUAGES] - DOWNLOAD LINKS
http://pasted.co/af29b5ae       https://pastebin.com/raw/9EYeguHE
PASSWORD FOR THE GAME
Unlock with password: pcgamesrealm

4. INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS GAME
➤ Download the game by clicking on the button link provided above.
➤ Download the game and turn off your Antivirus and Windows Defender to avoid file corruption.
➤ When the download process is finished, locate or go to that file.
➤ Extract the downloaded file by using 7-Zip, and run the installer as admin then install the game on your PC.
➤ Once the installation is complete, run the game's exe as admin and you can now play the game.
➤ Congratulations! You can now play this game for free on your PC.
➤ Note: If you like this video game, please buy it and support the developers of this game.
Turn off or temporarily disable your Antivirus or Windows Defender to avoid false positive detections.





5. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
(Your PC must at least have the equivalent or higher specs in order to run this game.)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 | 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.5GHz or AMD FX-4100 @3.6 GHz
Memory: at least 8GB System RAM
Hard Disk Space: 10GB free HDD Space
Video Card: nVidia GTX 480 or AMD Radeon 7870 or faster for better gaming experience
Supported Language: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Portuguese-Brazil, Korean, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, and Japanese language are available.
If you have any questions or encountered broken links, please do not hesitate to comment below. :D

Storium Theory: Inaction In Action

Sometimes, I see players make comments in a game, explaining why they haven't made a move in a challenge so far:

"I don't think this is something my character knows how to deal with."

"I'm not sure she cares about this."

"I think he's just kind of stunned right now.

"She doesn't know what to do."

Sometimes these are indications of a problem in the story - if all of a narrator's players are telling him their characters don't care about the current situation, it is probably time to revise the situation and figure out how to better relate it to the story at hand.

But...more often, they're a statement that is actually pointing directly at a very interesting opportunity for the character: A chance to make inaction your action.

When you're writing the story of a challenge, things are happening, whether your character is acting on them or not. Each move drives the timeline of the challenge forward. When a card is played, something happens, and the challenge moves positively or negatively, or just towards the end of its story.

So...if your character, for instance, doesn't know how to deal with something, and chooses not to act...that's a choice. And that's his "action" for that moment in the tale.

So let it be an action! Make your move! Show your character's uncertainty or confusion about what to do! Show how your character hasn't cared about the situation, if that's the case, and chooses to ignore it! Show how the situation has left your character stunned, or how he's tired and needs rest, or how his injuries prevent him from joining the battle!

Sometimes, those things are treated as reasons not to make a move, but...that's not what they should be. They are, in fact, excellent opportunities to make moves.

Especially...especially...if you have either Weakness cards to play, or a Subplot.

I'm stunned. I'm confused. I'm shell-shocked. I'm injured. I'm exhausted. I just plain don't care about this.

Those are all excellent weakness plays.

When a situation is ongoing and your character chooses not to do anything about it, that's a great opportunity to show what starts going wrong with the situation because your character is not preventing it. Philosophically, there's nothing really different here from if things start to go wrong and your character tries to prevent it and fails because of a Weakness, right? Something goes wrong either way. The difference is just that your character, in this case, didn't do something to stop it instead of doing something but getting it wrong.

What about Subplots? Well, Subplots are great for these situations too! When a character is shocked into inaction, when she finds something she doesn't care about, when he struggles to understand what he's supposed to do in a situation...those are great times to explore the other mysteries in a character's life or the things the character does care about. There are some excellent subplot moves available that show how the character withdraws into themselves, or starts thinking about how all this ties in with their personal problems, or tries to examine where they are right now...and because of all that, something starts to happen in the current situation, and they're not really sure what to do in the face of it...or even if they should do something.

A subplot isn't a weakness play, mind, so chances are nothing ends up going outright wrong right away, but you can certainly hint that something will! While your character is distracted by his own thoughts, or full of self-doubt, or struggling with what he's supposed to do, or disinterested in what is happening, how does the situation evolve?

If your character doesn't seem certain of what's going on, or doesn't know what to do, or just plain doesn't care...don't just drop out of the challenge. Use that to advance the challenge.

Now...one more point on this. Especially in the case of a character that "doesn't care" about a challenge, this can actually be a great way to figure out what would make them care, and therefore explain how a Strength comes into play, or at least how they get involved in the challenge despite their feelings. If you find yourself thinking that your character just wouldn't get involved for some reason or another, put a little time into thinking about what might happen because of that decision.

Then, write a move based on that...and maybe, maybe midway through the move, you'll realize the character now does know what to do, or does care about the situation, as she sees what is about to happen, or starts watching something she does care about slip away.

Maybe that leads to the character using a Strength and turning things around after all. Or maybe the character ends up doubling down on fear or uncertainty, or just takes the wrong action, using a Weakness. Or maybe, the character's Subplot drives him forward, making him engage with the challenge now that he's seen what it could mean if he doesn't.

Now...this isn't something you need to pull in all the time. (And to be clear, if you find yourself constantly trying to figure out why your character would get involved in something, it may be time to talk to the narrator about how to make your character mesh better with the story.) But there are times when an inability to think about something that your character would do can itself be precisely what drives the story forward and makes an interesting situation.

Don't overuse this, but...keep it in the toolbox. It's a handy trick to pull out and it can lead to some astonishingly interesting moments for a character if used properly.

Remember Spider-Man and Uncle Ben...sometimes, when your character doesn't take action, that ends up driving his story more than anything else.

Thoughts On Detroit: Become Human

By Thomas Grip

Quantic Dream learns with each game, and adresses their issues with new features. But with new features come new issues, and lots of juicy design lessons. In this blog post I will talk at length about affordance, then touch upon branching and themes.

Intro

It has been a while since my last design blog, and I felt it was finally time to write one again. And since I just played through Detroit: Become Human, that's what I decided to write about.

First off, let me say that I quite liked the game. I had issues with how they tackled some of the themes (especially in regards to robots), and felt they could have taken some aspects of the world they created more seriously.

What made up for the so-so narrative bits were the production value (such as some very cool environments), and the myriad of exciting scenarios. It's not an easy feat to create scenes that are not just narratively compelling, but also engaging play-wise – especially not in the sort of story that Detroit tells.


On top of this, the branching and the choice possibilities in Detroit are insane. It is a lengthy game, taking well over 10 hours to complete, and yet as the story unfolds there is a constant stream of differences that all depend on your previous choices. Everything to how crime scenes change to how characters make remarks depending on how you played some previous scene is amazingly well done. The scenes are constantly constructed from a wide array of options, but everything flows together into a coherent whole. Other branching games, such as Hidden Agenda, have a much more jarring presentation where the inserted lines and cuts in the flow are obvious. In Detroit, flow flaws are basically nonexistent.

So, it is fair to say that production-wise Detroit is quite a achievement. However, the game starts to stumble as it tries to be just that – a game.

Just like with previous titles from Quantic Dream, Detroit tries to be what is essentially a playable movie. Mixing film and games gives rise to all sorts of interesting design decisions and issues – issues that are hard to see in other games. It is clear that Quantic Dream are aware of the flaws they have had in their previous games, and there are a bunch of new feature that try to address the issues.

But with new features come new issues, and lots of juicy design lessons. In this blog post I will talk at length about affordance, then touch upon branching and themes.


Affordance

The first topic of this blog is how Detroit: Become Human handles affordance. The game takes place in one of the most challenging environments there is design-wise: inhabited real-life spaces. Spaces that contain a bunch of everyday items, such as drawers, pictures, tools, televisions, coffee cups, keyboards, clothes and so on and so forth. These are all objects we are not just accustomed to interact with – we also have expectations of their usage. As a player, you need to be able to figure out what objects you can interact with and in doing so you are constantly battling your ingrained notion of how these objects ought to work.


In Heavy Rain (2010), Quantic Dream's earlier game, the only way to figure what you can and cannot interact with is to carefully check your surroundings and see if an interaction icon pops up. There are some objects that signal pretty clearly that you can interact with them, such as a corpse at a crime scene that you are able to examine. A design goal for a game should be to be able to use your intuition to figure out what sort of items you ought to be able to interact with – but the Heavy Rain never lets you train that intuition. Obvious objects are more an exception than a rule, and thus the player's optimal strategy ends up being doing a brute force search of the room to try and locate all the hotspots.

So why is this bad?

There are two main issues with not being to identify points interaction. The first one is that it lessens the game's sense of immersion. The second is that it doesn't allow you to properly "play" the game. Detroit has some tricks up its sleeve to reduce both of these, but before we get into that it is worth to discuss just what is so problematic with these issues.

Immersion

Let us first go over the issue of immersion.

In order for a player to feel immersed in an environment, they need to internalize the surroundings. This is something I have covered in other posts, but basically it means that players need to actively take a part in the fantasy. And in order for a player to feel present inside a virtual world, they need to have what is called internal representation.

While it may not seem like it, real life also operates on internal representation. You don't simply "see a chair". The act of seeing a chair triggers all sorts of data about chairs: what their physical properties are, what you can do with them, what are your available actions and so forth. All of these combine into the actual sensation that there is a chair in front of you.

Here comes the issue. If you play a game where looking at a chair lacks any situational data, the player's mental representation is empty. They fail to build any vivid fantasy for the virtual scene that the game tries to build. In turn the player is unable to place themselves, as in their actual selves, inside the game world. When games fail to take this into account it results in a world that doesn't feel very immersive.

Play

Secondly, the gameplay issue with affordances is that the player lacks the ability to plan. I have gone over player planning and why it is so important for good gameplay in a previous post, but let's do a quick recap: we don't play games by just reacting to stimuli that the games send our way – instead, most of the gameplay takes place inside our heads. We survey our environments, go over long- and short-term goals, and decide what set of actions are the most optimal to reach said goals. The longer and more accurate plans a game allows the player to make, the better it will feel to play.

As a clear example, let's compare a moment playing Dragon's Lair (1983) to a moment in Civilization (1991). Civilization is filled with possibilities and room for planning. Dragon's Lair on the other hand is just a linear path where you can only get good by memorizing a specific sequence. This is not the most fair example, but should illustrate the primal differences.


Games like Heavy Rain and Detroit, as well as classic adventure games, rely on putting the player in a real-life situation and making that the core of planning one's actions. Taken at face value, it's somewhat easy to understand what your options are when trying to find shelter for the night, because it is all based around elements that we know from real life. It's much harder to know what to do during a laser-wielding vampire bat robot attack.

The issue is that the real world is incredibly complex, and a game cannot possibly recreate all the alternatives that a person could think of. This means that even though you might intuitively make up a certain plan, you can't be sure whether the game will actually support it or not.

Solutions?

The main trick of Detroit, and Heavy Rain before it, is to simply make each scene feel like a movie scene. It gives the player a feeling for how the scene ought to evolve next, and how the character(s) ought to react. So the player gains their affordances not from how they view the scene, but how they imagine the characters (and to some extend the director) doing it. On top of that, the very cinematic structure pushes a narrative that makes up for the lack of immersion.

The player's feelings here depend a lot on how they play the game. If they play as if they are the protagonist, these problems can become quite severe. It is a lot less damaging if the player views their role as a director. Then they are distancing themselves from the game and viewing the whole experience differently. Most of the discussions I bring up in this post are mainly centered around the former playstyle where you actively take on the role of a certain character.

Therefore, imagining yourself as the character in Quantic Dream games doesn't really hold up – especially when the player is supposed to have a more lengthy interaction. In Heavy Rain it is easy to fall into optimizing behaviour and do brute force search to see what you can interact with. This sort of searching turns what is supposed to be a realistic environment into an abstract play field. Heavy Rain also has real trouble giving you a sense of your options. So, most of the game is played based on moment-to-moment reactions rather than deliberate planning. More Dragon's Lair than Civilization.

It is clear that Quantic Dream know about these issues, as Detroit does quite a lot of things to try and fix this. The two major ones are explicit hotspots, and quest lists. The hotspots that pop up make it feel like a "batman mode", where the time stops and the environment gets a line-mesh overlay. When in this mode, all nearby possible interactions display glowing icons. On top of this, all of the character's short term goals are displayed as well, including those that haven't been unlocked yet. Detroit also shows various goals, and even characters' feelings, as big in-world text throughout the game. This gives the player a better idea of what they are supposed to do, and what are the available tools to achieve their goals.

Problems

The problem is that these new features don't really try to fix the underlying problems of affordance. They are more like crutches, propping a flawed system. In a perfect world, these systems should be used as a sort of tutorial for the player. Once they get a better sense of how the game works, they should be able to stop relying on them, and instead rely on their intuitive understanding.

What happens instead is the opposite. The further you get into Detroit, the more prone you get to use these systems. In my playthrough of Detroit I used the "batman mode" quite sparingly for the first few hours – but as time went on I used it more, to the point where I almost stopped trying to intuitively parse the environment at all. Why? Because if I didn't use it, I was more likely to miss hotspots and tasks, and therefore not get everything I wanted from the scene.

In the end, this style of play actually made me plan more. But all of this planning was happening in an abstract realm. I was playing a game of "choose from explicit options given to me by the game's designer", rather than actually making decisions based on the world that was presented to me. This often lead to weird situations where I did tasks that I didn't know existed (eg. go look for a bag I didn't even know was there).


Worse still, it made me act less like the characters I was supposed to be playing as. Detroit features a fair bit of detailed crime scenes that I was supposed to search, but because of the crutches I never tried to analyze the scenes as an actual detective. Instead I was simply searching for abstract hotspots. To make matters worse, the game often told me just how many hotspots there were to find, making me feel and thing even less like a detective.

The important takeaway here is just how important it is to find a way to create a game that actually makes the player engage in the game as it is. Detroit is not the only game that uses this kind of crutch, it's quite common. And it is not always bad, either. For instance in Metal Gear Solid you have exclamation points pop up over soldiers' heads when they spot you. However, they key difference here is that it adds information to the scene that is already in front of you. There are actual character models, sounds and so forth that play into the scene.

When you try to design crutches, you need to make sure that they supply something extra to the fantasy. They shouldn't act as a substitute for the game's actual world.

The magic of narrative

It might seem like I didn't like the gameplay in Detroit – but the fact is that I found it quite engaging. I think this is really interesting. Despite all of the apparent flaws in the system, it still felt like I was part of the narrative. This was especially true for the detective work. The same was also true in the 2018 Call of Cthulhu game. There the detective scenes were even more simplistic, almost like playing a basic "hidden object" game, and yet I found them strangely compelling.

How is this possible? I think a lot of this is in line with the 4-layer approach that I've written about before. The foundational thinking with the 4-layer approach is that when you put any gameplay in the context of story, doing that gameplay feels like playing a story. Detroit does a lot of things right when creating this sort of merger between systems and narrative.

First of all, Detroit is very good at setting up the context. A scene always starts with some sort of cutscene ("cutscene" feeling like a weird word in an interactive film game, but working as a distinction in this context), that lays out the story reasons as to why you are doing the investigation. So when you are essentially searching for hotspots, the whole setup makes it feel as if you are doing detective work, even if you are not mentally embracing the detective role.


Secondly, when you find a hotspot, you always get information that has something to do with the narrative. The actual value of the information varies a lot: sometimes it's useful and sometimes it's just techno babble. But in all cases it feels like narrative feedback. When this is combined with the explicit – and very gamey – feedback that says you just found one of the three clues, it feels more like progressing a case than fulfilling abstract game requirements.

Finally, when you manage to find all the clues, the abstract (game-y) accomplishment always comes with some sort of narrative reward. For instance when searching a corpse, you get to view a reconstruction of what happened to this person. In many other cases you may unlock a new dialog option. And in every case you feel like completing the tasks makes you progress the narrative. So, even though the gameplay is abstracted, you still feel like you are inside a story.

The power of holism

On the surface all of this feels a bit like cheating. But I think that's the wrong way to look at it. Instead it's something to be embraced.

In fact, on our journey to progress the storytelling potential of games as a medium, I am of the position that trying to do it without any form of "cheating" is a dead end. All entertainment is based on fooling your audience. Illusion is an essential part of the craft. The trick is just to cheat in such a way that it goes unnoticed.

What feeds into this illusion is the fact that humans tend to be bad at understanding why they're feeling something. As an example: one tends to find a potential partner more attractive when drinking something hot while around the person. That is because hot drinks activate responses similar to arousal, eg. increasing the blood flow. The brain just tends to attribute these responses not to coffee, but to the potential partner, tricking you into thinking you are feeling aroused.

In a similar manner, when you feel accomplished for finding one of the three abstract hotspots, that feeling gets entwined with the detective narrative. These two parts get mixed into a single whole, and that whole becomes a compelling experience. It is worth to note that both sides can help the other. The narrative makes simple gameplay feel exciting, and the feedback on the other hand can make flawed narrative feel compelling. It is larger than the sum of its parts in the purest sense.

You can get an especially good sense of how this two-way feedback works when the system starts breaking down. I find that this can happen quite a lot in Detroit's action sequences. There the narrative stops being the focal point, there are less narrative rewards upon success, and the input gets less clear (as it is merely about split second reactions). As long as the goals and actions are easily identifiable, eg. hiding and closing a door, the narrative-system symbiosis remains in place. But once it turns into blocking and returning punches, the player (or at least I) get distanced from the action. It becomes more of an abstract challenge than a piece of interactive storytelling.


So in a way, the increased abstraction actually works for Detroit's benefit. By showing some numbers going up, and clear objective pointers, the game manages to add a more concrete feedback loop. As explained above, it also comes with issues, but also gives the game more opportunities for narrative-system symbiosis.

Detroit uses the symbiosis to simulate all sorts of situations, often with quite pleasing results. What stood out for me was an interrogation scene with a stressed-out android, and a scene where I had to make sure a police officer didn't become too suspicious of my character. The success of those scenes came from mixing simple, gamey systems together with narrative in a holistic manner.

If you want to dig deeper into various ways to achieve this sort of merging of elements, Detroit is an excellent case study. Since the scenes featured are quite diverse, the ways of combining systems an narrative vary, and the results vary along with that.

Improvements?

While there are many interesting aspects about the game, it does have lot of room for improvement. I want to discuss that a bit.

Detroit relies heavily on increased abstractions (such as the aforementioned hotspots and objectives), and I don't think that's the right way. I find it better to try and achieve the same kind of affordance by using a story-like world. It is not the abstraction per se that allows to combine systems and narrative, but the player's understanding of cause and effect.

Using abstractions also comes with a lot of issues. In my opinion, the biggest issue is the negative effect on immersion. If the world the player navigates is just filled with simple, systems-specific abstractions, the player can never transport themselves into the world.

At best, the actual rendered world (environments, characters etc.) just becomes narrative background. Instead as a designer, you want the world's elements to be what the player uses in order to be an active part of the game. The aim should be for the player to gaze at a rendered scene, and have a mental model of all the interaction points and how these can be used for various plans, as I have written earlier.

Just compare a scene from Detroit…


...to a scene in Super Mario Bros.


In Detroit, I am not sure what things I can interact with, nor how they would affect me. From just looking at the world as-is, it is impossible to make any sort of concrete action plan. On the other hand Mario is very accessible, at least to anyone who has ever played the game. You can easily see every object, imagine how you can interact with it, and plan your progress accordingly.

The sort of readability that a Super Mario game has is what you want as a game designer. The thing to learn from Detroit is that you don't need incredibly complex actions in scenes to create an engaging narrative. In fact, the actual gameplay can be simple and "dull" – as long as you are able to combine it with a narrative. However, there would be a huge difference if the interactions you partake in are grounded in the game's world, instead of just being abstractions.

There are obviously other things to improve, especially the player's ability to plan. But as a first step, I think having Super Mario level of affordance in the game's world would be a huge improvement.


Branching

Now before I end this article, there are two more topics I want to cover. The first of these is branching.

Before making Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream made Beyond: Two Souls (2013). This game took a slightly different approach to the idea of a game as an interactive movie – especially when it came to branching. The game's story had a ton of different ways to play out, but as recounted in this article by Press X to Story, it went mostly unnoticed by players.

It feels like Quantic Dream really reacted to this because damn, they are now really pushing the branching angle. There is a node tree at the end of each scene, there's visual cues when conversation subjects unlock, there are lists of things you could do, the latter scenes obviously change, and so on.

And it really does feel like the open story and the branching matters. Especially interesting are the node maps. In the maps, all the choices you could have made are laid out, but the ones you didn't make in your current or previous game are blanked out. At first I really didn't like it, but the more I played the more it grew on me. It seems like it had a certain ad-hoc effect, and I can still sort of feel it. Remembering a scene often feels cooler than actually playing it. To me, the Detroit showing you potential paths I could have taken make my choices seem more compelling, when viewed in retrospect.


This might feel a bit like a cheat. But as discussed before, cheating is how entertainment works. Still, a part of me wonders if Detroit could have handled it in a more subtle way. Sometimes it felt like too much to get all the possible courses of events shoved in my face. I would have liked it if the would have treated the overall branching as it did the special dialog and changes in scenes. But at the same time, I wonder if that would have given across the feeling that the story was indeed open-ended and had tons of options – as Beyond: Two Souls failed to convey.

The best way to get away from the trap of being overly explicit is to, as explained above, up the level of affordance. In a perfect scenario, the player should know about the ways the scene could have gone simply by having mentally analyzed the scene. For instance, Civilization doesn't need a node map at the end of a round for the player to know that there are many other ways things could have gone. This is not the most fair comparison, as I don't think it's possible to make a storytelling game that is as systemically driven. But it does give you a sense of what sort of feeling games could strive for.


Themes

Given that Detroit deals with a few themes similar to SOMA, it feels like I need to say something about Detroit's themes to close this off. It would be too much to go over all aspects of the game, so I will just focus on one: robot and human similarities.

I think the game would have been a lot more thematically interesting if the robots didn't look so human. Instead I think it would have been much better if they looked like the robots from the movie I, Robot (2004), or perhaps something out of the Boston Dynamics lab.


Right now it's just too easy to sympathise with the robots. It would be much more fun if the player started the game thinking the robots did not deserve any rights, and the thinking would evolve throughout the game.

The robots' thinking is also too human. Again, it would be much cooler if they felt more alien in how they handled their emotions and so forth. There is actually less neurodiversity between humans and robots in Detroit than there is among real humans overall.

For example, right now it doesn't make much sense for a player to want for Connor to stay an obedient robot. The story pretty clearly pushes the player to want Connor to become a deviant (a robot free from human masters). If the Connor had looked a bit more spooky, or had weirder ways of thinking, it would have made the choice less obvious and forced me to think more about my alternatives.

It would also seem weird that people would want to buy servants that look so human. People can already feel bad for a Roomba, let alone something that looks like a fellow human. It would make more sense for the robots to actually look like robots.

I know that Quantic Dream wanted to show off their facial animation tech, and make sure it was easy to relate to the protagonists. But the point stands: a version of Detroit with robots that are clearly not human would be damn interesting to play.

Archive