a cesspool of interwebness

Motley, but capable

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-30 0 comments

For about three months now, I've been watching this crew. It started near the end of spring with my primary interest - the Remnant arms dealer who calls himself Gunn. I'd been following him at the direction of my Great Schema* but for what purpose I am still unsure.

It would be two weeks after I'd picked up Gunn's trail that he would cross paths with another warrior of note. The Grigori and he stood off at first, but I'm certain they recognized each others capability and value - they continued to travel south together.

In this broken world they are Ronin, but in different times and places each would have served mighty Emperors and been given their due. While listening to them trade guarded stories of their pasts over food and drink, I overhead the Grigori speak his name: Raksha.

Further south they traveled, and I followed.

It was twelve dawns ago, as I watched them scour ruins for anything salvageable in the morning mist, that they chanced across a scene of an Ophanum warscout who had captured a Seraph Nephilim in a ruined pit that perhaps once was a foundation. I observed that the oppressor was still fighting to maintain control using a whip like bond held tightly around the Seraph's wrists, a fact not lost on either of my pseudo-companions.

I had seen the Grigori fight once before, but the fury with which he plunged himself down into the space where the Ophanum stood was greater than in earlier encounters. With a smooth motion, Gunn brought his firearms to bear on the monstrous black winged creature and squeezed off a short burst.

Even with Raksha's hand weapons dug deep into it's back, and it's inky blood spraying freely, the Ophanum easily moved to get out from under Raksha's weight. Moving defensively forced it to release the bond over the Seraph and quickly it found itself surrounded by three deadly opponents. The Seraph retrieved his deadly blade from the ground and pressed the attack.

I watched them kill it.

They had the situation clearly under control, so I did feel a need to intervene. I found myself admiring how quickly they adapted to working together. The synergy was not lost on them either I guess - even though we reached Farthington more than 6 days ago they have stayed together as a unit. The Seraph calls himself Solo, but I can see that he finds comfort in some companionship. They are unfamiliar to one another, but they are effective together.

I've just spoken to my Great Schema and she has instructed me to stay with them, but the objective is still unknown to me.


* a wise and venerated teacher in Necrosi culture

During Assembly (Kit 7778)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-29 2 comments

Here she is, partially complete on my desk at work:


Isn't she going to be a beauty?

Mario. Naked.

Posted by James Davie On 2 comments

And that's it. I got nothing else for you, except shame and another destroyed childhood memory.

Farthington (2280)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-28 0 comments

Farthington was built on the ruins of the city of Atlanta in the former American state of Georgia and is a Freezone town on the rise. About 5,000 people make their permanent home here with another 2500, or so, travelers making their way through town on any given day. This constant influx of new people brings trade (and plenty of rumors), legitimate and otherwise. If it were not for the rampant corruption that plagues the town, Farthington could become a truly great community.

Farthington’s people suffer under the yoke of organized crime and politicians whose ethics are so utterly rotten that it is sometimes impossible to tell the two groups apart. To get anything done in Farthington you have to grease the palms of half a dozen different individuals. Everyone’s hand is out, everyone is on the take and by the time they have all had their ‘taste’, those who work for a living often barely scrape by. Could be worse though, could be out in the barrens.

Great place to start up an outfit, no?

Selling our TempurPedic Queen

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-20 1 comments

My turn for a vid

Posted by Selbonaut On 3 comments

Proof of concept for a D&D app for the Microsoft Surface.


Surfacescapes Demo Walkthrough from Visual Story TAs on Vimeo.



Hellz Ya!

okay... okay... one more video

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-10-19 6 comments

(cracks me up)

Hold on to your sanity

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-10-18 4 comments

Who You Gunna Call!

Posted by Toad008 On 2009-10-15 5 comments


Taking a lead from Kyro, I figured we needed someone to review games who would be willing to review Xbox360 games. So I'm going to start with some reviews. That said, my first review is a cross-platform game, but one I think many Schittheads will enjoy:

GHOSTBUSTERS!

Total Time: 6-10 hours. Harder for me to lock down, as I restarted once.
Played on: Xbox360, available for PS3, Wii.

Verdict:
If you like Ghostbusters, this game is a must play. The story is a typical Ghostbusters story. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who wrote the movies, helped with the script. Dan Aykroyd is quoted as saying "It is essentially the third movie". It helps immensely that you know the plot of the two movies, as it takes place 2 years after Ghostbusters 2, and involves elements from the previous movies. Also, most of the cast contributed voice acting, making all the characters sound like you want them too. They also keep a lot of the humourous banter that makes Ghostbusters entertaining.

You play as "Rookie", a character who never talks, and never gets named, as they don't want to become too attached to him. At first I was upset at this, because I wanted to be a "real Ghostbuster" but I quickly changed my tune. They did such a good job of capturing the personalities of the Ghostbusters, I enjoyed being the 5th wheel. If I was, say, playing as Peter, I wouldn't have been so set on impressing the female character. I much preferred leaving the AI to being him while I wrangled me some ghosts.

That is where Ghostbusters shines. Trapping ghosts. You start with your Proton Pack and they nailed how it should feel to use it. You blast the ghost to weaken him, then it automatically switches to capture mode where you struggle to move the ghost where you want him. Usually this is where I realize I neglected to throw my trap down. Release him, throw trap, and quickly re-capture. First ghosts are easy. Then you fight a couple at a time. Then they add possessed people, who you have to slime to knock the ghost out of the body, then capture. Possessed items which you can just destroy. They did a really good job of making a lot of variety while maintaining the same weaken then capture gameplay. They give you a couple other weapons too, your slime blower, Shock blaster, and Hadron Collider, that are better on some enemies for weakening them, and add some puzzle elements. I found I spent a lot of time using my good old reliable proton stream though. Which will cause explosions if you cross streams for too long though.

You can trash almost everything. Infact, that's half the fun. Fighting Slimer in a pirate themed bar? I broke so many bottles of liquor, set chairs on fire, blasted art work off the walls. They actually tally how much property damage you do. It's also very satifying to pick up your hot trap with the ghost you just wrangled, and survey the smashed, burning wreck of a "room" you left behind.

The difficulty of the game was perfect. It was challenging, but not frustrating. Typically the boss fights took a second to figure out what you had to do, then it was just a matter of doing it right. Usually your Ghostbuster teammates will shout out tips, or hints. So if you are stumped, you can just try to stay alive until hints make it more obvious. Once I got to the last level, it was dark, and confusing to navigate, but it was a maze, so that was it's intent. If you just follow your teammates, often they will lead you to the next key area, but I'm not very good at that. The last boss was epic, and a beautiful environment to fight in, but easier than the couple ghost attacks just before him.

Downsides to the game?

First annoying thing is the save system. It's all autosaves, which is fine, but they used very confusing messages when you launch the game. Also, there was no way to turn off autosaves, resulting in me over writting my first play through as I was showing a friend the cool intro video, and first boss. (Seriously, the first boss you fight is Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, how awesome is that!)

Second peeve, the Multiplayer portion. It's a lot of fun, but has bad network code, resulting in a lot of lag. Also, it was written by a different company, giving a very disjointed feel to getting to the multiplayer. Gameplay-wise it is very similar to single player, but with less intelligent AI.

They made a big deal about the face animations of the characters, and how amazing it was they lined up with what they were saying, but I really didn't think it was impressive. Or even close a lot of the time. Compared to other titles coming out, it wasn't a feature they should have promoted.

Some of the Achievements / trophies. I don't really care about the points, but I dislike things that are impossible to figure out without a guide. They have things that involve cooking a ham in 1 specific level. I didn't even notice the ham when I played the game. It was smaller than a plate, in a banquet hall.

I've also heard reports that they rendered the PS3 version with lower quality textures, a move that seems stupid to me, but I can't confirm that.

The credits. When you finish the game, it starts the Ghostbuster theme, which is awesome! Then it interrupts it to go to a less exciting tune, after about 20 seconds. Then the credits go on for 10 minutes. It's a bit understandable, as it's a big title, and they had a lot of companies involved, but honestly, does Dan Aykroyd's legal representative's personal assistant's secretary really need a mention? This is a peeve of mine for a lot of blockbuster games lately though.

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing it. If you like Ghostbusters, it's a must play. However, due to it's length, and limited replay value, I'd say you can rent it, and finish it one weekend. (Or if you own a xbox360, borrow my copy for a weekend)

Cut Scenes of the Patriots

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-11 2 comments

Total Time: 39+ hours

Total Cutscene Time: around 15 to 16 hours, I lost track (that's an astonishing 38%)

Difficulty Setting: Naked Normal

Verdict: I really loved this game, even though in places I was bored as shit and the story really didn't make a ton of sense. I guess that's going to require some explanation, so even though I started with my verdict let's back it up and take a look at some of the details.


First off, I think there is a handful of main things you have to talk about when doing an analysis of MGS4.

Sure, you can talk about polygon counts or the use of Blu-Ray or system exclusivity, but who really gives a f*&$ about that nonsense; this is where it's at...

Tragic Story
I think MGS4 is best described as a tragedy. I absolutely loved the way this story was emotionally framed. Even though I literally "lost the plot" at a few spots (see my Q&A a bit further down), it was clear that Snake was dying and at no point did I feel assured that the power of the leading character would see him through to a victorious conclusion. This was a refreshing change of pace from the usual: good guy wins, gets the girl, walks away into the sunset (usually rich and/or powerful).

Focus on Cut Scene
More than any other game in history, MGS4 makes extensive use of the age old cut scene. It's hard to imagine, but this is a game where at some point in a cut scene you are going to say: "WTF is going on here? didn't I buy a game?", and you'll be right. That said, most of it is top notch and very engaging - except for some of the Drebin voice only sections whici I'll proudly admit I skipped right through a couple of times.

Mixed Gameplay
It's hard to say what this game is. Action? Sure it's got action. Espionage? Yes, actually there were lots of situations where stealth and avoidance produced more effective results than direct combat. Romance? Ahh.. well, sorta, it was. You don't get to play that part of the game sadly, but there are these weird romantic sub-plots all over the place. I'm not sure how you'd make that sort of thing playable without it being juvenile or cheesy. The one title tag that really feels like it has no meaning is "Tactical". Honestly, this game is no more or less tactical than hundreds of other games out there that don't have tactical in the name (try any hockey game, they are almost all more tactical by default, but don't brag about it - can you imagine? NTHL 2010? ridiculous).

Q&A

Q: Why can't the storyline make more sense?

A: It's a Metal Gear game: there is a lot of lost in translation going on and a ton of game history to try to keep straight. If you want it all to make sense, go back in time 20 years and play each game in it's entirety, then go download the MGS4:Database from the Playstation Store, finish the game on one of the higher difficulties, then read all of the database.

I can't be bothered to do all of that, I finished the game on normal difficulty and missed plenty of earlier games, so I'm going to have to live with the fact that I didn't completely catch all of the weird references to Hound-Die, or Fox-Trot or Revolver Oscilloscope or whatever. So sue me. The complexity seemed more real to the game characters than to me, and I enjoyed watching them go through the drama. When the game finally ended, I felt like I had just watched an entire season of a TV Show, and at 39 hours or whatever it's basically the same length as one.

Q: Is the extensive use of cut scene a strength or a weakness of this game?
A: I hate to answer a question with a question (especially when I asked the first question) but I think the only way to figure this out is to ask yourself (once you've finished the game): would it have been a better experience without all of that in there? In my opinion, the game was made far better by the additional story background and attention given to each character's emotional state; even secondary characters were given lots of showtime.

Q: Does the world need a MGS5?
A: I don't think it does. Here's why: as I said above, the story is a mess with 2 decades of history and tons of characters. From what I can tell, this game achieves as much coherency as can be expected in such extreme circumstances. I would say they should leave this franchise with MGS4 as the crowning achievement of a very complete gaming experience. I know there is a hand held MGS of some sort that is imminently arriving on the PSP and that's fine. I doubt I'll be playing it though, I really feel like this story is concluded.


If you have a PS3, I highly recommend you go play this game when you can find 40 hours to do so. Really, just take a week off of work and play it end to end in a single week. Or play the long game - I stretched it out over 4 months (maybe that's why I had trouble with some story) and really loved it.

Need I say more?

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-10 3 comments

1984 Here We Come!!!

Posted by ScrewLoose On 2009-10-09 2 comments

Bored of the same old games? Need some cash? Have an annoying neighbor you hate? Well now is your chance to make some cash while turning in everyone you know for even the mildest of offenses!

Photobucket

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-04 3 comments

Sorry for those broken images, Photobucket recently beefed up security and I had to login and do some maintenance before the images would serve again. I have local image caching enabled, so I wasn't initially seeing that images were missing (thanks for pointing it out LordJim).

Anyway, we're back in business now.

But while the topic is open, would people like change of theme?

How To Start A New World Order

Posted by James Davie On 2009-10-02 0 comments


Next time you get a piece of junk mail with one of those prepaid-postage envelopes just print off this great little pamphlet and send it back.
After all the world changes one person at a time!