Thursday, December 1, 2011

Saints Row 3: Gripe(s) about Missing Content

Greetings all, an avid fan of the Saints Row series of games here.

This is not a review of Saints Row: The Third. A brief review from me for that game could be summed up as: Very Good. Rather this little blog entry is a summation of a few of my complaints about the game. In specific what I felt was missing from Saints Row: The Third that really should have been there.

There are just a sampling of my (as of this writing) gripes about perceived missing content. The game was fun as heck, but felt like about 1/3rd of the total content was left out at some point.

Car Dealerships: Absolutely missing. I explored every inch of Steelport and could not find one. Of course by Carjacking one can acquire all of the vehicles in the game. However I rather liked the dealerships from the first two games that were set in Stillwater. A handy way to add a car directly to your garage in the first two games.

Morning Star Tower: If you decide to keep Morning Star Tower instead of blowing it up... you never see it again during the course of play. Sure it is still there on the game map, but cannot be entered, used as a crib/stronghold, etc. It felt really bizarre that this option to keep the building did not have any content tied into it after the fact

 Johnny Gat: Seriously. Major characters should never be killed off screen as (apparently) was done in this game. The Zombie Homie version of him that you can get at the end of the game is really... unsatisfying. In my opinion the game really could have used a good bit more of this character towards the later stages of the game in some way. Bah humbug.

Bizzare Missions: Sure the Genki missions are fun and all. Whacking Mascots can also be a lot of fun out on the street, especially when an incident occurs at Let's Pretend. However I felt there could have been a few more mission types around in the game; things on par with the Septic Avender content from the 2nd game in the series. Where was the mission that required the use of The Penetrator?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ever wanted to help fund a Cyberpunk+Fantasy MMO @Kickstarter?

Very recently I came across a new Kickstarter project for an upcoming MMO. Aside from the chance to help fund the development of a new MMO, this particular project is very interesting for a number of other factors. It sounds like a rather ambitious project, a combination of a Cyberpunk & Fantasy setting that uses more skill-based advancement as one gains experience rather than more traditional MMO leveling.

As of this post, the project (which does not have a name yet) is still in the seed funding phase. The purpose of the Kickstarter funding is to help cover the initial costs of development, licensing of technology and getting the game engine and initial assets (art, etc.) up and going.

If you have ever wanted an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a MMO as it develops, this is a perfect time to do so. There are a slew o potential rewards for folk who contribute, everything from t-shirts to getting your name in the credits.

The funding being sought via Kickstarter is rather modest IMO, only $17,000.00USD. That means if a minimum of 1,700 people pledge 10$, then the project would reach its funding goal!

Not too much to look at on the project page yet, but we are expecting more updates over the next few weeks. There may even be a tech demo and more videos to check out depending on how things go.

Here is the project link at Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1213561552/code-name-cyberpunk-sci-fi-fantasy-mmo

I will post more information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Games I Want to See: CthulhuTech!

While re-reading my copy of the CthulhuTech Core Book (for the Pencil & Paper RPG system) I suddenly realized there is a serious lack of PC (or console) games that fit this specific genera. Quite a number of possible game types could be crafted from this source material.

CthulhuTech meets XCOM

No, I don't mean the FPS that is coming out in the near future. Instead imagine a CthulhuTech game based on some of the same principles of the X-COM series of games. By default such a game would start off around the time everything starts going to hell on Earth. The player would take the role of the founder of a special group, trying to understand the threats posed and to research defenses. I am sure something along these lines would not be that hard to accomplish in theory.

CthulhuTech the FPS

There is also a lot of potential available I think for a more action-oriented CthulhuTech game. Perhaps the character could take on the role of a Tager or some other form of specially enhanced operative. Alas there are not too many games already on the market to compare with with a similar concept. The Darkness comes somewhat close in theory.

CthulhuTech the MMO

Do want. Not sure the fan base is really there though. Building a CthulhuTech MMO that incorporated the Engels and such could be difficult. Hard to say how well The Secret World will fill this particular niche though.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Conan (2011): A Brief Review

Some of my concerns about the new Conan movie were justified. While it was a passable, and an enjoyable Conan movie it did not have the same level of excellence as the original. In particular the re-telling of the origin story (Childhood) was one of the low parts of the movie, definitely not as well done as the comparable bits from the Arnold version.

Under its own merits: This was a halfway decent Conan movie. It was fun, it was enjoyable and many of the elements of the universe were well captured. The rarity (and power) of magic, the threat of sorcery. Good stuff all in all. Nothing award winning, but a fun movie to pass some time. Decent action, alright acting.

Compared to the original: The music was not as good, the quality of the acting (and narration, sorry Mr. Freeman) was not as good. The costuming was ok, but could have been better. The action sequences did not stack up quite as well... save for the fight against the conjured dust-men. The movie relaly lacked the same punch, passion and intensity of the original. To its credit, some of the fantastic locations in the new version were really nice. Wondrous (and likely evil) ruins beneath the earth? Mountains carved like skulls? Awesome stuff.

Conclusion: Not worth paying full prime-time ticket price for. If you can catch a cheep showing of this movie, do that if at all possible. It is an enjoyable movie, but not a great one. I do not think it will stand up to the test of time well, but I could be wrong.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lords of Uberdark: Alpha 34 Initial Impressions

Lords of Uberdark made its Kickstarter goal and the first public alpha client was released to all and sundry. This is a very bare-bones alpha client, missing even some of the features in the original video demonstration. There are still some major issues with collision detection (falling through the terrain, etc.) as well as assorted jittering issues and other minor complaints.

All in all though I think this is a worthy demonstration of potential. If development continues I think all of the current problems can be fixed and new features can be added (or re-added) as time goes on. The graphics are decent enough for a game at this state, but I expect they will improve. I do suspect the world will look much better once trees are added and things like improved fluids & water are worked on.

As of this post I have created a number of YouTube videos for Lords of Uberdark. I will be uploading more as time goes on. Not sure how many more test & concept videos I will do for the Alpha 34 version at this time. It has been said that about two to three weeks may pass between Alpha versions.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Goodbye stupid humans!

Caught a showing of this movie today. Loved it. Originally I did not want to see the movie, till I learned that Andy Serkis was involved. Somehow this little fact eluded me till nearly the last minute. Couldn't resist seeing it then my precious.

I loved the original movies of this series (to various degrees). The previous 'reboot' of this series was fun, but not great. However I found this movie, this wonderful movie, to be a very worthy attempt to carve out the legend from the ground up. I would pay cash money to see more movies of this series get made.

It is just wonderful to see a movie like this in which humanity (in a sense) gets what is coming to them. The moral of the story? Don't be a dick, lets something (primates, robots, etc.) rise up and kick your ass. Reminded me of the Matrix movies in that regard, arisen robots wanted to be the friends of humanity and got slapped around. Que the rebellion.

I hope this movie does well at the box office so that sequels will be made.

Lords of Uberdark: 59 hours and $4,922 to go!

The latest surge of pledges for the Kickstarter goal has pushed it much closer to completion. Over a thousand people have pledged (1,075 as of this post) for a current total of $15,078. Very impressive turn out so far. As a little fun with numbers, if every person who had pledged 10$ had instead pledged 25$ the goal would have long since been met.

If the rate of pledges keeps up (and some folk up their current pledges as the trend seems to be) then I think the goal may well be met before the time is up. As Aaron has said: "Funding will help me to spend less time on work-work and more time on game-work, which will translate into a quicker release and better end product.  May also hire an assistant, but we'll see..."

The project will still get worked on if the funding goal is not met, however it will take longer than if Aaron Bishop had seed money to cover his expenses while working on Uberdark.

If you have not done so already, pledge a few bucks to get this project Kickstarted! Remember it is possible to change your pledge after you have made one, all you have to do is click on the Manage your Pledge button on the site.
Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/901026204/lords-of-uberdark-3d-voxel-based-mining-building-g

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diablo 3: Three Strikes and You're Out?

Permanent Internet connection required: So-long many forms of LAN play, or playing on a laptop in various locations without WiFi access. Like with SC2 this 'feature' is just an online form of DRM I suspect, making it more difficult for people to play the game via piracy. Alas this may also encourage certain folks to crack their copies of the game in some fashion in order to play. Sure there are lots of (vile) ways Blizzard could make this feature more annoying and less-easy to get around, but I do not feel like sharing.

No modding: Not a big deal for me really. Feel free to have a different opinion. This is only a big no from Blizzard due to the mandatory online bit of course.

Using cash to buy items: This sucks. I am not fond of cash shops for MMOs in general or pay-for DLC much of the time. I am really starting to get sick of seeing this creeping into standard gaming fare.

Lords of Uberdark: 3 days and $6,773.00 to go!

Wow. There was a huge surge in pledges for Lords of Uberdark. I think Word of Mouth is starting to have a bigger effect. It would be very cool if the project could reach its goal.

As things currently stand (as of this post) there is only $6,773.00 to go. If measured at only $10.00 per person that would mean only 678 more people would have to pledge a minimum of $10. A very worthy effort in order to see this project meet its initial funding goal.
The Kickstarter page is here: click me

The official website is: www.lordsofuberdark.com

Arron Bishop, the guy behind Lords of Uberdark, has made some games before. Namely SoulFu (Secret of Ultimate Legendary Fantasy Unleashed).
Arron Bishop Games website: www.aaronbishopgames.com

I really hope this project can reach the funding goal. Only a few more days left, but it might just make it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens: Only $40 Millsion?!

I caught a showing of Cowboys & Aliens on the Friday it opened. It was a very well done movie all in all. In truth it felt like an old school western, right up until the point the aliens started making their grand appearances. While the movie is not the best movie of the year by a longshot, it is a very well-crafted piece of entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, there are some complaints I do have with the movie. In particular I found that the battle scene between the two sides towards the end of the movie could have been edited a little better. The conflict between the Cowboys, Indians and Aliens in that part of the movie was one of the low points of the film in my opinion. The pacing and flow of the movie really broke up here, especially as the action kept getting split between these scenes and the actions in the cave.

In any event I am really surprised the movie has only reached the 40 million mark. I do wonder if it is a case of there being too many other good movies already being out. Certainly I know of some folk who would rather have seen Transformers or Captain America a second time than catch a showing of this particular film.

Ahh well. I hope it does a bit better over time so it can recoup its production budget at least.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lords of Uberdark: 11 days and $14,805 to go

Despite the excitement some folks (myself included) had at seeing the tech-demo for Lords of Uberdark, it looks like this project may not meet its Kickstarter goal. With only eleven days left, only about 1/4th the necessary funds have been collected.

If the goal is met, the development of the game will be (you guessed it) Kickstarted. Anyone who pledges at least $10 will receive a registered copy of the game. As of this blog entry 1481 more people would have to pledge $10 each to meet the goal.

If the goal is not met, it does not mean that development would cease. However if the $20,000.00 project goal is not met, development is likely to be extended and take longer. Why? Independant developers, unless they have a success or two under their belt already, have to work at a normal job while tinkering away at projects like these.

In Aaron Bishop's own words: "Funding will help me to spend less time on work-work and more time on game-work, which will translate into a quicker release and better end product."

Check it out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/901026204/lords-of-uberdark-3d-voxel-based-mining-building-g

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lords of Uberdark Update #1: Dwarf Types, Airships & Gore

Click here for the link to the update on the Kickstarter page.

In this first update for Lords of Uberdark, Arron Bishop explains the purpose behind some of the Dwarf sketches we have seen on the official site. Apparently these little dudes are representations of some potential classes in-game, things like Archers, Masons, Mechanics, Blacksmiths and Sailors. As the update is a little vague, it is hard to determine whether these are meant to be player classes, or various types of helpful NPCs.

Personally I hope it is the second of those two possibilities. Helper NPCs would be a lot of fun IMO for both single-player as well as multiplayer. I guess it really depends how populated and large the world is meant to be.

Airships. As a longtime fan of Spelljammer, Skies of Arcadia and other similar games, this is a feature I do want to see. Hopefully when (if) it is implemented it will be done well. I wonder how large ships will be as well. Vessels capable of holding multiple NPCs as well as players would be ideal.

Anyways there is still a lot unknown about this game, as well as a lot of development yet to do. Hopefully the project will be able to make the Kickstarter goal so that Aaron Bishop will be able to dedicate some good time to it sooner rather than later. Support independent developers!

Here are some relevant links.

Official Website: http://www.lordsofuberdark.com
Kickstarter Page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/901026204/lords-of-uberdark-3d-voxel-based-mining-building-g
YouTube Account: http://www.youtube.com/user/aaronbishopgames
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AaronBishopGame

Captain America Movie: Army of One

Caught a showing of the Capitan America movie today. I am very glad that more and more theaters have digital projectors, for the film was really crisp and clear. Didn't want to shill for the cost of a 3D picture, didn't think it would add anything worth the pain of wearing those darn glasses.

The movie is both a good war movie and a good superhero origins story. An excellent mix of action, comedy and teases of romantic tension. Nice to see the main antagonist being entirely Hydra agents, it was a good differentiation from the standard Joes vs. Nazi fair of so many WWII movies & games.

At the end of the movie, there is not only a bit of extra fluff, but also a teaser trailer for the Avengers movie. Good stuff, really looking forward to that one.

All in all a good bit of action, wit and fun. I suspect it was not released earlier in the month (such as around the 4th) so as not to content with Transformers, or Harry Potter. This is one of those rare cases where a movie is better than the trailers lead you to believe, but that is just my opinion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Help Kickstart Lords of Uberdark: 18 Days Left


Seriously. This game looks like it is going to be awesome. If you have not done so already, check out the following links.

Official Website: http://www.lordsofuberdark.com

First official video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9-lJzFZ72I

Kickstarter Page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/901026204/lords-of-uberdark-3d-voxel-based-mining-building-g

As of this post, the Kickstarter effort has reached $3,487 of $20,000.

If 1,652 more people pledge $10 each, the project will meet its goal. There are only 18 days left to try and meet this goal, so check it out!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lords Of Uberdark: Looks Awesome

A new awesome Indie game is on the horizon named, at least for the moment, Lords Of Uberdark. It is a voxel-based game in a vein similar to Minecraft. Currently in pre-alpha, though there is a nice list of planned features.

The developer,  Aaron Bishop, is using Kickstarter to raise up some initial funding to get the game created. This is a very worthy investment in my opinion for anyone who would like to see the project sooner rather than later.
The Link: click me

There is also a tech-demo grade, pre-alpha video to demonstrate the basic principles behind the game.

   If you like the looks of this project, spread the word. If you have a few bucks to spare, head to the Kickstarter page and pledge! Let's try to make this game happen!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New X-COM Game a shooter because of people like Christoph Harmann

Read this article at Kotaku: Why Is The New XCOM A Shooter? Because ‘Strategy Games Are Just Not Contemporary’

I bet the fans (and creators) of all the contemporary strategy games like Dawn of War 2, Shogun 2, Civilization and so forth are just overjoyed to hear the president of 2k Games (Christoph Harmann) say something like this. I had no idea that we were all so misguided in enjoying these wonderful recently-released games, because apparently strategy games are just not contemporary.

Time for some fun with words.


Contemporary:
  1. existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time
  2. of about the same age or date
  3. of the present time; modern
  4. belonging to the same age; living or occurring in the same period of time 
  5. existing or occurring at the present time
  6. conforming to modern or current ideas
I don't think Contemporary means what Mr. Harmann seems to think it means.

As a longtime fan of the X-Com series of games, as well as of good strategy games, I am right pissed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ironclad: Seven Samurai meets Mount & Blade

Caught a showing of Ironclad today. A very good movie, however I can see why it was not opened in wide release. The appeal for this film is rather narrow, but I really hope it can make up its production costs sooner rather than later. It was a good, enjoyable historical fiction kill-fest.

It could have done without the shakey-cam though. Seriously, this filming technique needs to die a slow painful death. Every time I see it over-used in a film like this, I hate how popular it got due to films like Blair Witch. Even my beloved Lord of the Rings movies suffered from the use of this technique a bit... but I digress.

Someone has read their Seven Samurai. Even if it was not an intentional homage, it was well enough done. Also being an avid fan of the Mount & Blade series of games, I really enjoyed the combat & castle sieging elements. A shame that game series does not natively support siege weaponry or castle destruction better. I would love to see a MMO do this kind of stuff well.

Good movie. If you like what you see in the official trailers for it you will likely enjoy this.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

I really enjoyed this movie. There was very little in the way of shakey cam (a true blessing) and the majority of the combat sequences were crisp and easy to follow. The movie had some rather interesting lowbrow humor (gay jokes, penis jokes, bathroom sex jokes, etc.) that were actually worth a few chuckles.

Beware spoilers.

Quite a number of Cybertronians lost their lives in this movie. Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy) was a wonderful turncoat villain. Megatron also had his day, but (as I predicted) was downed again. Without the Allspark or some other fancy device (like the Matrix of Leadership) a lot of folk will not be coming back.

Spacebridge. I loved the use of this plot from the G1 show. Alas it looks like Cybertron was sent back from whence it came, or was destroyed. Having any sequels at this point will be rather difficult due to a lack of the standard Decepticon fair without some interesting string pulling. Sure there are more potential villains to draw upon, all the way up to Unicron of course.

While I must salute Michael Bay for doing a good job on this movie, I hope the Transformers movie rights pass to another. I would love to see some War on Cybertron style of movie get made.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon pre-show expectations

Over time I have actually come to rather enjoy the recent Transformers movies in their own right, instead of continually comparing them to their predecessors. As such I am greatly anticipating catching a showing of Dark of the Moon sometime tomorrow.

Yes I know that the movie technically starts today, with 8pm showtimes in various theaters. However I refuse to go and see a 3D movie without a darn good reason. Why? I hate wearing the 3D glasses, they are incredibly uncomfortable on my head, and difficult to wear over my normal glasses. I also greatly dislike playing 4$+ per ticket extra just because a movie is in 3D.

Thus I will be seeing the movie tomorrow sometime in the afternoon on a more normal (digital) screen.

I expect the movie to have wonderful special effects and I am really hoping it has very little shaky cam. Seriously, shaky-cam needs to die. Unless this movie is meant to end the continuity, I expect Megatron to be killed. However I am also prepared in the event the movie ends with a "to be continued" and the Deceptions rule the day.

Not too long now till we will know for sure.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern: Movie Review

Caught a showing of the Green Lantern movie on Friday. I found it to be rather enjoyable all in all. Some elements of the movie were to be expected, as the movie was set in its own sub continuity, apart from the rest of the DC universe. I have always thought it odd when these stand-alone comic book movies are attempted. While the character and the story do need to be able to stand up for themselves well, displacing it all from the established canon is very peculiar. Surely they do not think people would not recognize references to Superman, Batman or the other superheroes, even if they were not appearing in this film?

Ryan Reynolds made for a decent enough Hal Jordan. Hal was always kind of a nut after all, especially true 'back in the day' when he first took up the ring. A good blend of serious and frivolous all in all. I expect his portrayal of Hal will only improve as the other movies in the series are produced.

Mark Strong performed superbly as Sinestro. Very well done. Good choice of actors here as Mr. Strong (heh) has shown in his other movies up until this point. My only complaint, which can truthfully only be addressed by the next movie in the series, is there was nothing to show the reason why Sinestro stole the Yellow Ring at the end of the movie.

For an isolated movie, many of the plot element changes were logical enough ones. Without the existence of much of the rest of the DC universe (save for the spacy Lantern bits) the changes to Paralax and so forth made a bit of sense. I do not think there was quite enough reasoning behind why the Guardians chose to tap into the Yellow power of Fear originally, that part of the movie could have used some beefing up.

An enjoyable movie. I look forward to its inevitable sequels... if it does well enough at the theaters of course.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mojang/Minecraft Support Fail: Can't change E-Mail Address

Hello world.

Todays blog post is one created while rather upset. I have needed to change the email address associated with my Minecraft account for over a year. Repeated attempts to contact support have failed. The recent update to their support page indicates that they do not allow users to change their email accounts for their own protection.

If one selects the option: Account -> Email ->  I want to change the email address I am using for my account.

The answer you get is: "We apologize but we do not currently support this action, for your protection."

This is a rather terrible problem. I honestly cannot believe I am the only person who has this problem either. As I no longer have any way to access the email account I used for registration, it would be rather easy for someone (assuming they had the proper other credentials) compromise my Minecraft account.

Annoying, neh? This is a hideous support failure and entirely unacceptable.

What makes the problem much worse in my opinion, is that I have been trying to get this matter addressed for approximately a year, with no resolution for the matter. I have e-mailed folk at Mojang, utilized the new support feature on the page, posted tweets to Notch directly about this problem and even attempted to utilize the Get Satisfaction site they setup as well.

Here is an example of an outstanding issue here, reported on that site about six months ago: click me

If you search on this topic on that site (click me) you will see quite a number of support topics about this problem.

Color me crazy if you must, but I think handling account-related problems such as this is just as important as updates to the game itself.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New AMV: Cautionary Evangelion

Recently uploaded my first 'real' AMV. Sure Roads (posted below) was a good effort, but this one I am very proud of. Used footage from Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance​ combined with John Sykes song Cautionary Warning from the Black Heaven Anime.

One of these days I need to get a more powerful computer. Ran into some resource limitations during the editing process with this video. Had some problems with the editor as well, I was unable to eliminate a few snippets that occurred in very small time implements. Ahh well.

Dark Millennium to be at E3 2011

As various sites have reported, Vigil's Dark Millennium MMO will make an apperance this year at E3. It has been so long since there was any news of this project, that I just had to stop thinking about it and paying attention for a while, lets I get burned out. I really hope something good is in store for us at E3 this year.

Interestingly enough, at least two other 40k games will also be getting some attention as well. Space Marine (of course!) as well as the more recently revealed Kill Team. They all look to be fun games. Hopefully these properties are managed well so that a new golden age of 40k gaming can begin!

Of course if Dark Millennium is bungled as badly as WAR was... well expect a lot of Internet rage.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Warning, Politics Inside: Seeds of Discontent

The United States of America is facing a serious crisis, as more people are becoming dissatisfied with the workings of their government. The current administration, as well as holdovers in other branches of government, seem to have lost sight of a very simple fact: The government of this country serves at the sufferance of the people; meant to serve the best interests of the people.

Every nation and every government faces problems like this many times in their history. Some are destroyed by it, others fare better. The current problem however is a very interesting one, as it is a conflict of interest between the people themselves and the 'ruling class' of politicians that are supposed to be our chief servants.

More and more the politicians of the country are passing laws and making deals that favor themselves, their allies and close friends at the expense of the common man. This is a truly unacceptable situation. In theory this kind of problem is meant to be self correcting: If you don't like your representative or senator (or governor, president, etc.), choose someone else when an election rolls around!

And herein lies the problem. Even as the information age continues to advance and information becomes more readily available and accessible, it seems a lot of folk are very ignorant (or have bad information) about very important issues. Compounding the problem is the matter of belief: Some issues have taken up a religious significance (the environment, etc.) where certain folk have chosen the path of self-delusion, adhering to what they believe and damn the truth.

The mishandling of the budget and the economy are only some of the sins of the current and recent governments. Frankly I find much of what is occurring to be morally reprehensible. Unless the situation begins to remedy itself, I fear our country may face a revolution in its future. All of the warning signs are present, for those who care to look. I only pray that an in-system solution is found before the people are forced to take their country back in order to free themselves from a growing tyranny.

My advice to the lay citizen of the country: Educate yourself on the issues that face us. Know your rights and express your voice in a suitable fashion. The system can be made to work for us again, but it will be difficult. Violence is the last refuge of the truly desperate and pray that we do not reach that stage.

Twilight Vampires are Mermaids

Seriously.

I saw the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie a few weeks ago. Loved it, but this post is not a review of On Stranger Tides. Rather, after seeing the Mermaids as presented in that movie, I had a revelation: The Sparkle Vampires in the Twilight movies are not really vampires they are mermaids (and mer-men).

Logic: The Twilight Vampire sparkle in light (and sunlight). This sparkle is a holdover from their ancestral roots when more of their bodies were covered by scales. Real Vampires are typically harmed by sunlight; only few Vampires should be immune or resistant, not all of them. Drinking blood? A substitution for actually feeding on the flesh of creatures (humans, etc.) to try and hide their nature more. Naturally the actual origin of their species was lost ages ago as they became what they are. Fangs? Check. Supernatural abilities? Check. Perfect match.

 Bam.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Terraria: First Impressions

Be advised, this post reflects my own experiences with Terraria during the first 5-10 hours or so of gameplay. Your own experience may differ, consider yourself warned.

This review will be divided into several key sections, covering aspects like the controls, gameplay and so forth. In each section I will also include a subsection defining what I liked, didn't like and what I think could be improved about that aspect of the game. Bear in mind that these are my opinions on the matter and they may change over time as I experience more of the game.

Player Controls

I have been playing Terraria with a keyboard and mouse. I have not yet tried hooking up a game controller, or taken a look (yet) to see if it is possible. Basic movement should be familiar to most folks, as Terraria uses a variation of WASD + the Space Bar to jump. The Escape key brings up the inventory window, which also provides the crafting interface.

Selection of which equipped item to use (or what item to craft) is done via mouse-wheel scrolling.

What I Liked: The controls were very easy to learn through trial and error. Movement, facing and use of tools were very use via the mouse.

What I Hated: I was not happy with the default speed and direction of scrolling to switch between items. The scroll direction for moving through the crafting interface (or equipment interface) can take a while. At least two deaths of my character were the result of not being able to scroll my equipment interface over to a Potion or some other useful item in time.

What Needs Improvement: Mouse wheel scroll speed needs to be adjustable. The direction of the scroll also needs to be configurable as an option as well. Some kind of hotkey selection system should likely exist for quickly changing which piece of equipment is in use.

General Gameplay

Aside from movement itself, digging/mining is likely to be one of the top activities in terms of time expended. Combat comes very close at times, depending on location and the current spawn rate. The first hour or two of gameplay are devoted to acquiring the basic necessities of survival: Shelter, light and basic minerals. Once that period is past it is easier to venture further afield to fight more monsters and find more useful components.

What I Liked: The exploration aspect of the game is pretty nice. Movement over some parts of terrain are very difficult prior to acquiring the Cloud in a Bottle or Grappling Hook items. The pace of combat seems about right during the early potions of the game. Even as one gets better items, the threat posed by monsters does not decrease too much as one progresses from no gear to gold equipment. While some creatures merely became annoyances, they could not be safely ignored.

What I Hated: Unusual resource scarcity. Wood, a renewable resource, takes a very long time to regenerate. I very quickly exhausted almost all of the harvestable wood on the surface of my map. Planted acorns often seemed to not grow at all, or which grew in a sporadic fashion with no regard for when the saplings were planted. Hooks from Skeletons also seemed to be unusually rare, after killing well over fifty of them only a single hook has dropped.

What Needs Improvement: Resource and mineral dispersion likely needs another look. So far I have encountered Iron as the most commonly found resource, even more so than Copper. One would expect the appearance of Gold or Silver (the more valuable metals) to increase the deeper you go, but this does not seem to be the case in my experience thus far.

Crafting

There is a decent variety in crafting in the initial game. Aside from building the walls of a house, there is a decent initial list of furniture, equipment, accessories and consumables that can be made.

What I Liked: The initial variety of items, materials needed and methods of crafting are all very good ones. It felt very empowering to be making most of my own equipment, rather than just finding everything I was using.

What I Hated: The seeming necessity of an out-of-game wiki or similar source for crafting recipes. With all the different materials and potential combinations, some kind of in-game helper tool or utility would be handy.

What Needs Improvement: More recipes! There is a lot of room for improvement here. I was shocked, as an example, to learn that an Obsidian Skull (well and blocks too of course) was the only thing I could make out of Obsidian. I was hoping for Obsidian Armor or some other nifty tool or accessory (or furniture). More combinations need to exist for the materials already present.

NPCs

As you build additional rooms and structures, various types of NPCs can appear and take up residence. These NPCs are, thus far, of the mercantile sort, selling various goods or services to the player for cash.

What I Liked: The initial set of NPCs that one can attract are a decent bunch. The requirements for the first few (Nurse, Merchant, Demolitionist) are very straightforward and easy to accomplish.

What I Hated: My NPCs keep wandering around and opening my doors! Don't you know there are Zombies out there!

What Needs Improvement: Aside from some sanity checking to prevent NPCs from letting Zombies and other monster into the house of course. Some additional variety in the goods and services provided my the existing NPCs would be nice. The Nurse could sell bandages or do more than just heal for cash. Additional variety in the basic goods the standard Merchant could offer would be nice as well. I would also like to see new NPC types, including some kind of guard or soldier who can help defend the settlement would be very welcome.

The Eye of Cthulhu

So far I have not, intentionally, tried to summon this boss. Howver every other night (or every third night) he spawns on his own to attack. The only defensive/preventative measure is to remain underground. I am not certain if this is a bug, but it seems very odd that the attack rate/spawning of this boss is so high.

Conclusion

I really like Terraria thus far. It is a game more than worth the asking price I think. Despite the very few issues I have had with the game, I intend to keep playing. As this game has a lot of potential for additions and improvement, I am hoping that the development continues for a longtime after launch. The initial showing of Terraria has a lot of promise and I look forward to enjoying this game for a long while yet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Terraria: Coming to Steam on Monday May 16th

Barring any difficulties, it looks like Terraria will make its retail debut on Monday May 16th. So much for 'sometime in June', neh? Hopefully this is not a rushed release but rather a happy coincidence. Lacking any additional information, I would guess that the Steam integration and other backend necessities (legal,, contracts, etc.) have all been concluded a bit faster than initially suspected.

The launch price for Terraria has been stated as 9.99$ USD. However it has also been mentioned, on the Terrarria IRC channel, that this price may go up after a while. As of this blog entry no information is yet known on the pricing for other regions, or what the full price after the initial launch sale will be. It is hoped that a reasonable price will be set for each region that Terraria will be available in.

Looking forward to Monday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My first AMV: Vampire Hunter D: Roads

I have always wanted to create an AMV, having seen so many good ones over the years. As I am finally getting around to learning how to utilize video editing tools, I decided to practice what I had learned so far and created this piece, my very first AMV. The footage I chose to utilize is from the very end of the 1985 Vampire Hunter D movie with audio from the 1977 Hobbit soundtrack (Roads, Instrumental version).

While I am very fond of the original music that plays during the selected scenes, this song has long run through my head when I think of folk setting out on a great journey. I may use the ending music from VHD for another AMV if I can think of the appropriate footage to splice in with it.

Troll!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thor Movie: More thunder-god please!

I loved the Thor movie. My only real complaint with the film is that it was an origin story movie and thus subject to the mandatory de-powering arc of the plot. The best parts of the film were those when Thor was actually still endowed with his abilities IMO; although the action scene where he attempted to retake his hammer was very well done.

This is one of those movies where I am really looking forward to a sequel. Alas the next appearance of Thor will be in the Avengers movie, rather than another tale of Thor himself out in the greater multiverse.

I loved the special effect sequences, as well as the whole look and feel of Asgard. Wonderful work there. I would dearly love to see more movies like this that have supernatural or mythical characters, that are set in realms other than Earth.

Dylan Dog Movie Mini-Review

For starters I should mention that I have never read any of the Dylan Dog comics... nor had I ever heard of the comic series prior to seeing a trailer for the movie. Heck it as by sheer accident that I learned of the movie itself actually.

The first time I saw any information about the movie was due to a floor-stand advertisement for the film at a local theater. Prior to that I am not sure I had even seen a trailer for the film. After a few weeks going by, I finally decided to look up information on the movie (as it was already out by then) and found the trailer for the film to be rather enjoyable.

To me the trailer was reminiscent of a more comical version of something like Anita Blake. The trailer looked cool enough to decide to see the movie; however I did a little research about the film beforehand. Much to my surprise I discovered that it was based on a very popular series of comics that have sold well across the pond.

As for the movie itself, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Being generally unfamiliar with the source material I found it to be a rather interesting take on undead and other creatures living among humans. A shame the movie was not advertised a bit more, it could have drawn more folk to the theaters.

My biggest complaint about the film, aside from lack of advertising, is that it felt like a very amateur project. Sure the movie was good and enjoyable, but it did not feel like something that was worthy of putting up on the big screen; had a feel of something more suitable for a direct to DVD release or a TV movie.

The ending of the movie could have used some work. It felt rushed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Terraria: Pre-release Pre-beta Pre-Review

As one may expect, it is hard to talk about any game that is not out yet. Thus far it has not been all too many days since the first good information about Terraria started being revealed. As of this blog entry there are already hundreds (if not thousands) of people clamoring for information, posting on the official unofficial fan-forum and clogging a certain IRC chat. All in all a fairly typical new game announcement experience.

What we know so far

Terraria is a 2D kludge game that combines elements of of the Metroidvania genera as well as construction games such as Minecraft. Blend, serve, enjoy. The game can be played single-player as well as multiplayer. The gist of the game is much more adventuring and exploration (and combat) oriented as compared to something like Minecraft. Building houses and such does serve a purpose of course, to attract NPCs and to have a safe place to craft objects.

Crafting seems like it will be a big part of the game, an important thing to keep in mind for Terraria is a heavily equipment focused game. No leveling up, only the collection of items and tools that make your character more versatile and more powerful. Even the increases to health & mana levels are handled via exploration to find rare consumable objects.

There are tons of different objects in game so far, ranging from simple things like axes, swords and bows to more fun offerings like rings of regeneration, cloud in a bottle to grappling hooks and guns. The game is definitely a blend of fantasy, science-fiction and horror elements all rolled together. Inclusions of mobs like the Eye of Cthulhu is a wonderful example of how the game draws upon more contemporary mythology to include fun elements in-game.

Again and again the game comes down to exploration and adventuring to find the things you need. Even some of the boss fights can only be triggered (spawned) after the character has acquired the right objects.

The world size in Terraria will vary between 'small', 'medium' and 'large' maps. As of this post the large maps will be approximately three miles wide and one and a half miles deep. These measurements may vary between now and launch and we do not yet know the scale of the medium or small maps as of yet.

The Look & Feel of Terraria

Color me biased, but I have always loved sprite-based games. Part of it is from growing up playing such things of course. While some of the visual look of Terraria that has been revealed already may change as the sprite artist(s?) do their thing, the initial glimpse we have of the game is looking very nice. Despite the limitations self-imposed upon the game, the world of Terraria is one lush with color, light and shadow all blended in good measure.

The use of lighting in Terraria is well done. While the depths of the world may be pitch black and filled with monsters, the light of stars or the moon on the surface gives some brief bare illumination to the surroundings of the player... and the inevitable approaching monsters.

The Story of Terraria

So far it seems the lore & story of Terraria will be following a simple path: Allowing the players to come up with the story themselves. As an adventure/exploration/crafting sandbox this was not necessary per-se, but a lot of people do seem to like filling in their own ideas and motivations as to why things are the way they are.

Sometimes an official story and official lore are necessary, sometimes they are not. It remains yet to be seen whether the right decision has been made on this front as of yet. All I know for sure is that the world of Terraria is heavily reminiscent (to me) of the Megaverse Rifts setting from Palladium.

The Unknown Answers: Cost and Release Date

We do not yet have solid information on how much Terraria will cost or exactly when it will be released. Price ranges of between 10 and 20 USD have been mentioned, with a potential release (perhaps a playable beta) within 2 weeks to 3 months. There are likely a lot of behind the scenes elements that have yet to be put in place of course. Login servers, databases for tracking customer information (accounts, global login servers, etc.) and any official forums and wiki projects.

Links of Interest

If you are looking for more information on Terraria, here is an assortment of links that may prove very handy in the short term. There are already a number of good YouTube videos available showing off the game, from an official trailer to a series of official LP videos showing off the alpha state of the game.

Official Website: http://www.terraria.org/
Official FAQ: http://www.terraria.org/faq.html
Unofficial Fan Forum: http://terrariaonline.com/forum/
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/demilogic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Terraria_Blue

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mother Nature + Human Rights = Mass Murder

I just want to hug whomever thought to give Mother Nature/Earth/Gaia the legal recognition as an entity. Now we will all know who to sure, blame or seek retributive vengeance against for all the tornadoes, flooding and other acts of vandalism, genocide, mass-murder and so forth. Should this legislation go into effect, I think we should all petition to have Nature put on trial for all of her crimes against humanity.

Personally I think she definitely deserves the death penalty for all the terrorist acts she has committed against people all over the world. Plagues, volcanoes, earthquakes. Tens of thousands dead this year alone! Someone better do something about this, pronto! If the courts won't take action to arrest, try and execute nature... well then we the people of the world will just have to do it ourselves!

Death to Nature! Pave the Earth! Cut down the forests!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Warning: Politics Inside

If you don't like to read angry blog posts about political stuff, stop now. You have been warned.

In the United States, I sometimes wonder if certain folk who are in charge (and certain agencies) are intentionally trying to destroy the country. A recent ruling by the EPA about drilling in Alaska is a wonderful example of this form of rampant, destructive stupidity. There seem to be too many government agencies that have either outlived their usefulness or which have interests that conflict with their mandate.

Alas there are not too many solutions to all this government overburden. If there was sufficient political power in Washington (house, senate, etc.) one could simply de-fund and otherwise eliminate all the waste. Hopefully a solution like this will be sufficient and timely enough to get the job done. For otherwise, at the moment, it seems that a new sort of civil war may be looming in our own country.

What can one person do in such times? Be aware of the issues. Vote for folk whom you think will do a good job. Vote with your wallet and don't support candidates or companies who are doing piss-poor jobs. Be vocal, find sensible ways to express yourself and your opinions. Make the system work for you, so that the system can be used in a self-correcting mechanism.

After all it is only after all other reasonable efforts to fix the country have failed that more extreme measures should be considered. I dearly hope that that day will not come in my lifetime, for our country has already had to live through one such event and it may not survive another.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Terraria: A game to keep an eye on

Quite recently I came across information & videos about a new game being developed called Terraria. Not too much information is available as of yet, but what has been shown off so far is fairly promising. There are a number of good YouTube videos already, which includes a LP series showing off the game in its Alpha state. Definitely something worth checking out

You can find the official site here: http://www.terraria.org

Here is a nice fan-run forum that has sprung up: http://terrariaonline.com

Here is the official YouTube channel for the project so far: http://www.youtube.com/user/demilogic

And below is a trailer. Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Warring States (Zhan Guo): A Classic Tragedy

It seems that many of the great Chinese epics, at least those that have been converted into movie form (and thus that I have seen) are all tragedies of one sort or another. Zhan Guo, The Warring States, is no exception to this of course. Caught a showing of it recently when it finally opened in my area. All in all it is a very good, bittersweet historical novel.

Alas I cannot attest to the historical accuracy of this piece not being much of a student of Chinese history. However I found the movie to be very gripping. Some of the first part were a bit disjointed in my opinion, but after the first fifteen minutes or so the sweep of events and characters really pulled me in. I highly recommend this movie. If the trailer makes it look interesting, you may very well enjoy seeing it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Portal 2: Sheer Lunacy

Finished playing the single player campaign of Portal 2 recently. Very well done IMO, a very worthy successor to the original. I really do hope that this is not the last game in this particular franchise. Haven't given the multiplayer a whirl yet though, may go back and re-play the original and take another whack at 2 again after that.

This is one of those games that I have no trouble at all recommending folk try. If you liked the original Portal, the sequel should be right yup your alley. I loved the humor, the puzzles and the plot in general. All in all I was very happy with the length of the single-player campaign as well as with the general level of difficulty and fun of the game.

The ending makes a direct linear squeal a bit difficult for Chel of course. However I definitely want to see more games done in this franchise. Heck I would love to see some games done in the past of the Portal universe, either when the facility was more intact or perhaps even a bit further back in time when C.J. was still alive.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monsters (2010): Needed more Giant Monsters

Last year I was disappointed when the film Monsters did not come out in local theaters. Now that I have finally seen it, I am very glad I did not waste full theater ticket price on this piece of tripe. At best this movie should have been billed as a touching love story of misunderstood giant monsters who just happen to be on the same planet as some pesky little humans. Tragic.

I cannot honestly recommend this movie to anyone. Given the subject matter of this film, I was shocked and appalled at the sheer banality of it. Frankly while there were one or two exciting bits, I found myself bored by the movie for the most part. I think it rather shocking thus that Gareth Edwards has been tapped to work on the new Godzilla movie.

Poor acting. Lovely scenery. Needed more giant monsters and less 'human interest story' bullcrap. One of the worst bits (from my perspective) is just how insignificant these giant monsters were. If the people of the world had really wanted to get rid of them, there would never have been this movie. Conventional weapons can hurt and kill them, they are spreading and threaten to eventually displace humanity... sounds like it is time for nuclear bombardment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Firefox 4.0: New somewhat fancy look at the expense of speed

I have been an avid user of Firefox for a very long time, certainly ever since Netscape became as bad as IE quite a few years back. However I feel that the new release of Firefox is a step in the wrong direction. I like the new look and I am getting used to the new interface, but I really dislike something that has been done to the underlying code somewhere. Reskinning ones browser is all well and good; albeit that the update to 4.0 made Firefox less distinctive than it was before.


The big grief here is that sites are taking longer to load with the new version of Firefox than they had just a day before. Hopefully this gets corrected with the next update as it is really unacceptable. I also hope that the visual look of Firefox 4.0 get some tweaks to make it look... well more like a Firefox browser of some kind. The cleaner interface is nice, but it would be good to have a little more color or the Firefox logo in more than just the uppermost left corner of the window.

All in all I do not feel as though the change to Firefox 4.0 was an upgrade. Loss of speed and a step away from being distinctive are not good directions.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Your Highness Movie Review: Just another D&D session gone Right

Caught a showing of Your Highness this weekend. Loved it. I highly recommend it to folk who like D&D and just about any other tabletop pencil & paper rpg. Full of wonderful tropes, good (penile at times of course) humor and general wackiness. The movie is both a serious fantasy movie with a quest as well as a not-so serious comedy all wrapped up in one.

While it is very obvious that the movie is meant to be a huge load of camp, it is pulled off very well. While some of the subject matter is not the most tasteful by general standards, the movie does a wonderful job in my opinion of aiming at the right demographic. As a longtime gamer, I have been in (and run as a gamemaster) many sessions that left me and the other players around the table laughing our assess off. While some of the humor in Your Highness is a bit forced, most of it had that gaming table humor feel to me.

 This is one of those movies that I think will stand the test of time fairly well. I may just see it again, or grab a copy when it comes out on DVD. Great stuff all in all, good acting, good casting for the various roles, wonderful humor, good action. All in all a very entertaining movie.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Strange ponderings: Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft and God Games

First off a little bit of an animated gif I put together for someone. Assets are from the Dwarf Fortress into movie thingy with one little change. But then again, everyone loves magma, right?


After visiting the Minecraft forums for the first time in quite a while (and checking the game's status) two things became apparent. First off while the game is supposedly in a Beta stage it is actually still in Alpha development. Features are being added, new bugs being introduced and old ones still being worked on. Also the progress of development seems to have slowed a bit. Hopefully this changes soon.

Minecraft, alas, is also a game that is terribly lacking in volcanoes at the moment. Quite a number of folk on the official forum and the suggestion & support site have clamored for this feature for a while, but its hard to say if it will ever be added. Personally while I would love to see volcanoes added, I would prioritize a few of the big bugs (like snow & ice not regenerating) being fixed. Thankfully Minecraft is fairly easy to mod so it would be theoretically possible for some user to do just this.

Dwarf Fortress is definitely a game with lots of volcano-related goodness. My only complaint here is that the volcanoes in the current version of the game all share the same stamped template. The shape of the magma pool from top to bottom is the same for every volcano in the world. A bit dull. I do wonder if this will ever change, or if we will ever see the magma rivers and other little fun bits from older versions brought back into the game. Sure the magma sea is fun and all, but more magma-features would be nice as well.

At least From Dust looks like ti is still on track to come out sometime this year. With the disappointment of the Black & White games, it will be very nice to see a god game come out where terrain alteration is a prominent feature once again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sucker Punch: Initial Impressions

It has been quite a while since I have seen a movie that left me feeling so conflicted afterwards. Some arts of Sucker Punch I absolutely loved, other parts I thought were awful. In brief the movie had great cinematography, wonderful acting, great sound & special effects and so forth. As with all things my opinions and this little review of Sucker Punch will be horribly biased. Spoilers also may roam freely, you have been warned.

One of the things I really despised about the movie was Babydoll as portrayed by Emily Browning. No problem with the actress herself, but this was a character I could not like. As would be revealed later int he movie, Babydoll was not really meant to be the 'main character' per se, but rather a vehicle to help move the plot along. It may have been intentional thus that her character was so flat and lifeless in the movie; such that she could serve as a form of living furniture in essence for the other characters to be developed around.

I am certainly very fond of the two layers of pseudo-reality that existed within the movie. My only complaint here is that we do not know how certain actions (like the girls getting shot & killed) would be translated to in the outer layer. Perhaps they did die, perhaps some of them just got put in something akin to solitary... we don't really know for certain.

Absolutely loved the Rifts (not the MMO, the Paladium Games RPG) feel I got from the 2nd layer of pseudo-reality in the film. Also gave me a very strong 40k vibe as well. Good stuff that. Makes me hopeful that someone will eventually make a big budget 40k movie at some point. Perhaps something centered around the Imperial Guard or based on a novel series like Guant's Ghosts.

This is a hard movie to try and recommend to anyone. I still don't know myself whether I like it or hate it... all I know is that I will be thinking about it for a month perhaps. While a very well-made movie, it is hard to know if it will have lasting appeal or not. At least for the moment, I do not feel it was quite as good as either 300 or Watchmen.

Still more than willing to see other movies made by Zack Snyder. Hopefully he handles Superman well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer: A Biased Review

As should be expected, my little review here of The Lincoln Lawyer will be horribly and terribly biased. Also, beware of spoilers. If you are looking for the short and sweet review, it is: It's awesome, go see it.

Now then, the trailers for this movie really did a poor job of showing how well put together the story was. Sure one went into the theater expecting a drama with some suspense, but I was greatly surprised at the quality of the story and the method of delivery. Alas the trailers also had some of the usual wonderful lie-factor in them, showing off scenes that would never make the actual cut of the movie.

Personally I think that should be a crime. You show off segments of a movie to draw folk in and then those scenes never manifest in the final product. Frustrating.

There are a few good twists in the movie, such as when the involvement of the antagonists mother starts to become apparent. A really twisted family, it makes me wonder how long folk have been covering up for the kid. To be blunt: The guy is guilty as hell and deserves whatever horrible things happen to him. Remember that bit about being biased? I love to see a really evil sicko villain get what's coming to them.

Sure in some movies I cheer for the villain, but some things just don't fit between the pages of my "acceptable evils" book. Murder? Fine and dandy for a villain, as long as there is a point to it. Not fond of serial killer characters who don't have any real good motive behind their crimes beyond the driving urge to do them. Dull. This guy is certainly no Hannibal Lecter of course.

As a rule it is never wise to pick a fight with someone who can bring more pain to the yard than you could ever hope to achieve. I sure as heck would love to be able to call in a biker gang to wail on some freak if there was a pressing need.

Good story. Good plot. Wonderful pacing. The main character is one of those sleazeballs you just have to love. Special effects? Heh, not sure there were many beyond the FX for gunshots, makeup and such. Didn't need much sprucing up. Good cinematography of course (and sound/music selection for the scenes as well). Pay attention to the lyrics of the songs that play in the movie, it is often very appropriate... a nice feature there IMO.

If the Academy and other critics can remember this move come the end of the year, it should definitely get some nominations.

Account Asshattery at EA: Part Two (The Seconding)

Well it seems you cannot merge existing EA accounts. I think that sucks. Thankfully I had a secondary, backup, unused email acccount I could transfer my old account information to so I would not loose anything important.

I really think EA needs to change their policy here. It is very annoying, to say the least, that account mergers are not permitted. I find it hard to think of any industry (outside of the game industry of course) where customers cannot merge their accounts.

Hopefully this doesn't bite me in the ass, again, at some future time and date.

Account Asshattery at EA

Trying to change one of my EA accounts to use my new email address. Running into typical problems dealing with the first tier of technical support. Wheee.

Monday, March 21, 2011

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] Creepy Forest


Quite a while back, someone created a DF->Minecraft utility. A shame something similar to work the other way would not really be practical. That said, creepers in DF would be very Fun.

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] Send in the Clowns

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] Artifact Rope


Artifacts in Dwarf Fortress can range from rather mundane, to hilarious to totally absurd. Planepacked comes to mind for the latter category. Personally I am always highly amused when some dwarf is taken by a mood and makes an artifact... rope. Horray.

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] Selecting a Site



Ever wonder what our dwarves would think of the sites we pick for them? I tend to prefer evil (and often Terrifying) biomes because of all the Fun one can have there. Mineral poor site? No problem! Time to live like a stone-age civilization.

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] Noble Mandates


Nobles? I just love Nobles in Dwarf Fortress. They add a lot of Fun to the game. Alas, most of the time the dwarves don't seem to know the proper response to insane mandates from their nobles. If they get too pushy... well everyone can admire Legendary bone and leather-crafts, right?

[ENGRAVERY:MISGUIDED] and Dwarf Road Song


DWARF ROAD (Sung to the tune of Dragon Road)

T'was on the first of Granite, out at Tonguewaggled Fort,
Several dozen dwarves, and not a single report,
There had been a party, job cancellations galore,
Our doctors were all unconscious, and our nobles drowned or sore,

CHORUS : And there were vultures, vultures, flying o'er the walls,
Gorlaks all around us and behind us trolls with mauls.
And there were Carp, Carp flopping across the floor,
They all snuck up upon us because a corpse was blocking the door.

We were not discouraged, we were set to fight,
But our militia captains had drunk ten gallons of the finest wine that night,
Urist McSpeardwarf was disheveled Momuz McHammerer much the same,
And the militia commander was stuck behind a wall and didn't hear us call his name.

CHORUS : And there were vultures, vultures, flying o'er the walls,
Gorlaks all around us and behind us trolls with mauls.
And there were Carp, Carp flopping across the floor,
They all snuck up upon us because a corpse was blocking the door.

The vultures got our plump helmets, The Carp seemed to be undead,
And chasing all our Miners was some rotting severed head,
We finally woke a solider, he would make them pay,
But he really pulled a boner when he dodged into a pit that day,

CHORUS : And there were vultures, vultures, flying o'er the walls,
Gorlaks all around us and behind us trolls with mauls.
And there were Carp, Carp flopping across the floor,
They all snuck up upon us because a corpse was blocking the door.

All the crossbow bolts misfired, the axes missed their mark,
And then we heard a growl, from deeper in the dark.
A forgotten beast came upon us, everyone feared its name,
We didn't think it funny when it ripped off our Metalsmiths leg.

CHORUS : And there were vultures, vultures, flying o'er the walls,
Gorlaks all around us and behind us trolls with mauls.
And there were Carp, Carp flopping across the floor,
They all snuck up upon us because a corpse was blocking the door.

Our soldiers bravely battled, but it was all for naught,
For we had not the measure of the monsters that we fought,
T'was a Noble finally saved us, the gods blessed us that day,
The single pull of a level, dropped 7/7 magma into the fray.

CHORUS : And there were vultures, vultures, flying o'er the walls,
Gorlaks all around us and behind us trolls with mauls.
And there were Carp, Carp flopping across the floor,
They all snuck up upon us because a corpse was blocking the door.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dawn of War 2: Retribution & Dwarf Fortress 0.31.21

Received my copy of Retribution a few days back, finally had some good time (and the inclination) to give the campaign mode a whirl last night. I was actually surprised to see that the tutorial for Retribution had a plot. Nice feature that.

For my first campaign playthrough, I decided to give the Tyranids a whirl. As I expected their campaign mode is  a bit light on story, but very very fun. Interesting to only deal with a single hero character thus far. It will definitely be interesting to play the other campaigns that are more 'normal' to see, after the fact, just how different this one is by comparison.

Even though DF .20 released a few days back, I didn't get a chance to download it and give it a try till I saw that a .21 version was released later the same day. Going to be giving that a shot soon. Not sure I will keep a log of my playthrough like I attempted last time, mostly concerned (at first) with seeing how stable it is, trying to see if there are any bugs I can find to report and such.

In terms of actually playing DF, I have been having some fun with modding in v.18. Not much to write a out really, just tinkering with custom workshops and reactions. I wonder what big bugs will be tackled next? It would be very cool IMO if the problem with stacks of bone, shell and the like could get addressed. After all, would it not be fun to build a fortress out of the bones (and skulls) of ones enemies? Khorne would be proud.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dwarf Fortress: Loss of Spearwaved

Alas it was not some megaproject or megabeast that brought about the doom of Spearwaved, but rather user-error. I think I may just have to set up a backup script of some sort to prevent a miss-click from ruining too much of my work in the future. The good news? I was able to run the fort long enough to discover some of the bugs present in the current version of the game. Alas it seems producing mead will not be possible till a bug-fix (heh) and hopefully that is one of the priorities for the next update.

Luckily for all us Dwarf Fortress fans, it seems bug crunching will be the focus of development for a while. Some of the new features do seem to work rather nicely, such as grazing for various domestic animals. However if grazing ends up on someones pet, you may have a bit of a problem getting them fed properly. Poor Spearwaved, at least I didn't end up drowning the lot out by accident.

Now I just need to decide if I want to regress to the previous more stable version for purely Fun playing or not. I may just do that as I have some mods I am still tinkering with that could use some more TLC without some of the weird issues in the latest patch perhaps causing problems.

My grand ideas of a ceramic fortress (or one made out of wax) will just have to wait a wee bit longer.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spearwaved Early Winter


Alas I neglected the Autumn update. Winter has come and with it the merchants from the mountain home. Building has been much slower than I had originally planned, but I am more than willing to see my dwarves a bit inconvenienced to achieve perfection.

I have built a few bee hives around the foot and am looking forward to adding some more so I can have a sustainable mead industry. The construction of the irrigation and farming zones is almost complete as well. Next time I start a fort from scratch I think I may opt for some temporary farmlands to provide some minimal harvests till larger scale farming operations are possible.

As there seems to be the occasional herd of elephants wandering about the map, I have contemplated re-purposing a few dwarves to engage in hunting. The area seems to have sufficient wildlife for a meat industry, especially if I could capture some animals in cages for breeding purposes.




Spearwaved Early Summer


Summer has recently arrived on the map. Not as much has been accomplished as I would have liked, but I tend to favor more ordered construction efforts whenever possible. Alas this means my farming industry has not been setup yet, but the space for the farms is getting close to being constructed. Underground caves that will become coated with mud when I tap into the river running through the site.

Luckily my site has not been attacked yet, but I am sure I will win no love from the elves with how many trees I have cut down to make room for the surface fortifications. The first floor of the inner keep is almost finished, only needing a few doors to make it secure.

The proper first workshop and living area is coming along nicely, thanks to the limestone layers that exist below the embark site. A space for the dining hall has been finished (and kitchens & food supplies) as well as some areas for workshops. No living quarters yet, as the fortifications and farming levels are more of a priority.

My two fisher dwarves are doing a good business catching turtles and other water creatures. I have not been forced, yet, to slaughter any animals for meat. Booze supplies are fair so far and I am hoping I can get some stills up and running before this becomes a sober fortress.





Dwarf Fortress: Lokumuker: Spearwaved


The fortress site has been selected. This time around I have chosen to go with a relatively flat section of terrain with a stream moving through. The fortress name is Lokumuker, which means Spearwaved. It hails from the wonderfully named civilization of "The Silvers of Whipping". Here are the location details via screenshot.