12:46 AM on 05.02.2010
12:30 AM on 03.09.2010
Since I live all of five minutes from a Best Buy, I thought I'd just stroll on over for the special Midnight release of FF13. And that's was the jist of it, no giant crowds to fight through here in North Austin. There were about 20 dedicated FF fans waiting by the door, half of which were revealed to be pre-orders. So, in and out in the time it would take to get back home.
Yes, I am totally psyched to finally have this in hand! I will work diligently to carve out the necessary time needed to enjoy...
Anyone brave any late night release shenanigans?
1:37 PM on 02.02.2010
12:17 AM on 02.02.2010
11:07 PM on 01.17.2010
12:05 AM on 02.18.2009
11:02 PM on 02.13.2009
Not long ago it was D-Toid that pointed me towards the amazing chip tuner Doctor Octoroc and his x-mas tunes under the guise of "8-bit Jesus."
Um, it's kind of awesome. Real awesome. Any season of the year.
At his site you can donate to get a physical CD. How could I NOT support such a thing?! But the Doctor also noted he was way behind on getting some more CD's pressed and shipped out, and to be a little patient. That patience paid off as the other day I got my CD's in the mail (I just had to share with friends). Just as amazing as the music itself was the super slick foldout-retro-messiah packaging in all its pixelly goodness.
Huzzah, Doctor Octoroc, you rock!
3:32 PM on 01.11.2009
If you commented on my last post, be sure to check the comments to see if you got one of the original drawings!
Just for fun I thot I'd round out the cast with a couple pencil sketches.
10:08 PM on 01.09.2009
UPDATE: The Dtoid site update wiped alot of comments, alas, these drawings have all been claimed.
"What I did over Holiday"
a) Las Vegas
b) Chrono Trigger
The two went surprisingly well together. I was sooooo looking forward to some time off work where all I had to do was sleep in late, get up and be a total couch potato with the new DS version of Chrono Trigger. Also, strippers.
Not only did I gleefully wile away the afternoon hours traveling thru time (thus far to the Ocean Palace), but was also inspired to do some sketching of my favorite characters from this RPG classic.
Chrono (aka Edco :-), special appearance by Robo
Marle, "mar-ul?" "mar-lee?" I always pronounced it the later... How do you say it?
And of course Ayla. "Edco tough like Ayla!"
Man, this game! Oh how I love it. What surprises me is how quickly you begin to care and get attached to the characters, still after all these years. By the end, well, some of you already know how that plays out. But it's all the little moments in-between that add to the whole. Like Frog's tragic origin, Robo's selfless bravery, and Ayla's unapologetic bravado. Modern games go thru great pains to evoke such things but can't quite get to it on the same level as these cool little sprites. Retroforce Go! did a great episode on Chrono Trigger, check it out if you aren't already a regular listener.
Anywhoooooo... Would you like one of these drawings? Leave a comment starting with the word "Gimme!" and note your attachment or favorite memory for the drawing you want: Chrono, Marle, or Ayla. Say something that would make me tear the very page from my sketchbook and send it to you!
I'll check back in a day or two and choose three different lads or lasses, leaving instructions on how to redeem in the comment thread. The offer is for these three drawings only, to be sent "as is." Meaning they are just sketches done in ink, a bit rough around the edges as it were. (pages are about 5x7") I know they aren't all that, but I wanted to offer to the DToid community if anyone wanted.
12:20 AM on 12.25.2008
On this Christmas day, when many of you may be unwrapping some new games or maybe even a new console, I wanted to share the shenanigans I've been dealing with the past several weeks. Don't worry, it has a happy ending, sort of.
I have wanted a PS3 for some time. I was hedging my bets with Sony for a few reasons, tho I care little for console wars or fanboyishness. So with some extra ducats saved up, I hopped onto ebay to find me a 60 gig. Because backwards compatibility is how I roll. I landed a machine and waited eagerly for it to arrive. It did and I happily launched into Soul Calibur 4.
Strangely, after a few hours, it crashed. Well videogames are no stranger to software crashes so I just reset and kept going. This was also about the time Little Big Planet came out, and a bunch of friends picked it up and we wer all enjoying it. Then LBP crashed. Odd.
I was only about a dozen or so hours into the console, and soon Soul Calibur would boot and freeze consistently. Little Big Planet lasted about ten minutes. These were no mere software crashes, something was wrong and I began squinting apprehensively at my new (but actually pre-owned) PS3.
Then I got this little screen: Sony PS3 error code 80010514. WTF? This required research, and none of it was good news. At least it was known (even here on DToid), there's nothing worse than an error without any type of classification. The internets revealed to me this was a rather fatal firmware error with few workarounds. I tried reformatting, restoring, all that junk. Sadly the ebay seller would not honor his guarantee to refund or replace a defective system, he would not even return my emails looking for advice.
The ebay seller even promoted an extended warranty by a third party company. Which I chose to purchase on this rather expensive piece of used hardware. For those who may be thinking of this, I can't recommend it after my experience. After the ebay seller would not respond, I tried to activate the warranty option. But the warrantee company would not honor any defective merchandise until after 60 days (they never advertise that part). Sounds lame, I know, and it is, but they have their reasons. Might have something to do with getting scammed by people selling defective hardware and expecting the warrantee company to cover it.
So next it was on to Sony themselves, but that did not go any better. You see, the 60 gig PS3 is no longer supported by sony. They will not repair or replace it. An since my system was used, I would have to pay for that service anyways. And even if I chose to pay for that service, close to 200 bucks, they would not srvice the 60 gig at all, instead they would likely send back a 40 gig if they chose to take my claim at all. Wow, gee, thanks Sony, you guys are great.
Woe is me! I delved further into the interwebs and looked for ways to fix the damn thing myself. It's not impossible, it's really just a conglomeration of parts. The PS3 itself had devolved into not reading any discs at all, but PS Online and downloads worked fine. So the crux of the problem was just the drive. Shit, drives can be replaced.
I cracked that puppy open mostly out of frustration and desperation. I just wanted to get a look inside the thing that would not allow me to play games. Indeed everything was pretty modular and came apart well enough. I pondered my options. Whilst discussing the frustration with coworkers, my pal Enrico (the same dood who built that kick ass arcade cabinet) said he'd be glad to take a look. I've mucked around in plenty of machine before but I felt alot better handing it off to a "pro," as it were. Plus, the whole situation had me rather depressed, all I wanted to do was play some new games.
I did get to play. True gent that he is, Enrico loaned me his PS3 to use while he went off on winter break. And before he left he even let me know he found a replacement drive for mine and had some faith in getting it back up and running. But wait, there's more!!!
When I brought the loaner home, I tried to get it up and running, only to see a black screen. I freaked out. In the short span of time since i picked it up and transported it, had I broken (or cursed) my friends PS3?? He was already gone on vacation, and I didn't know what to do. I called another friend and asked if I could bring it over and try it out, maybe all my cables were bad, or my TV shorted something, I didn't know. See, I have just a plain ol AV setup, so I couldn't check to see if the HDMI worked and it was just the AV hookup that busted or something. Sure enough, at my other friends the HDMI hookup worked just fine. Fhew! But not having any HD myself, I was still without some next gen gaming :-(
As it happens I was reporting my sadness of the situation over lunch one day when another coworker offered some advice. It seems that in an HD setup, you have to go into the system settings of the PS3 and make a bunch of selections, and these selections actually turn off the AV access. The potential solution was to BLIND NAVIGATE the PS3 menu system and reset things back to AV.
Imagine the following phone conversation with another friend and his own PS3 as a guide:
"Is it on? Okay, press left a bunch of times"
"Um... press right three times"
"Now press up a bunch to get to the top of the menu. An then press down... eleven times."
"...9 ...10 ...11"
"Press down once. Press X. Press left. Press X twice."
Believe it or not, that shit worked. And it only took two tries! How fucking ridiculous is that? I might go so far as to say redonkulous. But the system was back on AV and the ol' PS Triple was up and running in my living room.
Joy! So I've been spending some of my break gleefully creating custom characters back in Soul Calibur 4. God I love that game. Yet this is all temporary, Hopefully my next post will describe how I got my own PS3 back and in working order. Keep those fingers crossed!
7:40 PM on 11.30.2008
So "back in the day" there was this software, Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit. Lovingly referred to as "SEUCK." It's still one of the pieces of software most responsible for my career to this day.
I was very fortunate to have a father who was not only an artist, but a pioneer of computer graphics. As such, after exhausting the uses of the C64, he had latched onto the Commodore Amiga-- a machine ahead of its time in many, many ways; its graphics capabilities being leagues beyond PCs at the time. While he was busy paving the way for the future of CG, the household computer was all about games for me. Especially the C64 as I'm sure many of you know holds a classic games library, but the Amiga brought with it not only some amazing new games, but a suite of incredibly powerful creative tools.
But when a new version of SEUCK came out (there was a C64 version previously which I surprisingly never knew about), it found a beautiful home with the sweet new Amiga hardware and graphics. Basically it's a shmup creator, but it's all data driven by user imput. No coding, just lots of numbers. It also had a mini paint program inside to make all your graphics. I was totally addicted, because as much as I loved playing videogames, I longed to make my own. Basic programming was just that, it hindered my more artistic leanings with left-brainded coding language my right brain wanted to bypass. Since SEUCK was all GUI, it gave me much more freedom to create than to code.
I spent all my computer time with it, making little shooters and testing out all the features. I exhausted that thing for all it was worth. I wrote the developers letters and told them all the things I was making and sent them my games. The amazing thing was, they wrote back!! They answered all my questions and encouraged me to keep making games, which I certainly did.
There were a couple games I made that I still remember in vivid detail. One was "Spider-Man" which is exactly as it sounds. One of the things I always tried to do with SEUCK was experiment with what was possible in the shoot-em-up genre, just by altering player's perspective. The software gave you a wide berth in making any sort of top down type of game. With Spider-Man, I had the "top down" feature the side of a building with Spidey crawling up it. A building was easy to make with the tile artwork system. Spidey could crawl all around the windows and such, I had falling flowerpots and screaming residents. Why were they screaming? Because at the top was the Green Goblin throwing pumpkin bombs! All Spidey could do was shoot webs, but that was enough, I just gave the bosses lots of hit points. I had a level in a sewer with the Lizard, A warehouse with Hobgoblin, a construction tower with Sandman, and for the final boss, Venom. I wanted him super big so I figured out how to join 4 sprites together to make one giant one... It was so awesome to have a Spider-Man game of my own, considering there weren't really any other ones to play!
The other memorable game I made was also based on a favorite comic. Simply called "Doctor Doom," it had the player play against Kristoff, one of Doctor Doom's robot doubles who became self aware and thought he was in fact Doom. The player had to guide the real Doom thru his highly fortified castle mowing thru an army of renegade Doombots and even fight the Fantastic Four. It was not too difficult to emulate the FF's powers as weapons, tho Mister Fantastic did pose a problem. I wanted him to have stretchy arms, of course, but needed a way get the software to do that. There had to be a way, because arcade games at the time did cool tricks like that with sprites, I just had to figure it out. "If Ikari Warriors can do it, I can do it!" The trick was making Mister Fantastic's hands as separate enemies and program their movement independently. SEUCK allowed you to set speed and movement attributes for every sprite, and allowed yo to attach "child" sprites to "parent" sprites. So to the hands I attached several arm segments, where each different arm piece had a -1 slower speed than the previous. It's kind of hard to describe, but trust me: stretchy arms. I was so damn proud of those stretchy arms, and I didn't realize it at the time but SEUCK was really getting me to think and deconstruct how videogames were made.
Fast forward: I'm interviewing for a testing job at Electronic Arts, and they are asking me all this stuff about the games I've played. At one point I go on and on about Spider-Man and Doctor Doom, and the guy is asking which one, because he hadn't heard of them. I'm all, "Oh, the ones I made myself," and whipped out the disks and asked if they had an Amiga to play them on. They did, the reaction was a mix of surprise and curiosity, but they offered me the job. This of course led to exposure of new, professional tools, and even more ways of thinking about making games. It only furthered my love for videogames inside and out.
From PC to Genesis, SNES, Playstation and on, it's been games ever since. I've done all kinds of stuff in the industry over the years, but all in all I've been making a living making games, something as a kid I never thought I could do. Dozens of times I've been on the other side of that interview, and I can say to everyone who wants into the biz if you want that edge, make games. Over and over I note that people who get hired are people who involve themselves in the creative process on their own. Be it Doom maps, Sim Golf courses, Unreal mods, Little Big Planet levels, programmers, artists, designers-- find a way. I don't claim that SEUCK was the only thing I had gong for me, and it wasn't even the only construction kit I played with. But I garner it helped clinch the deal.
Some kind of Amiga Emulator exists, I'd love to try and get the old SEUCK games up and running again, but I've yet to properly follow up on it. Altho I'm sure as an adult and seasoned gamer my old games may not be as amazing as I thought they were, in retrospect I know they were crude. But I sure do remember making them with a smile.
The SEUCK Vault
Shoot-em-up Construction Kreator (PC translation)
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoot'Em-Up_Construction_Kit]SEUCK @ Wikipedia[/url]
3:10 PM on 11.02.2008
Arcade UFO is an arcade in Austin that features several Japanese-style sit down cabinets, among other traditional cabinet games. This Saturday they hosted a Street Fighter tournament that included Street Fighter II, Third Strike, and Street Fighter 4. Yes, they are rockin' the SF4 arcade.
I actually went to watch the 3rd Strike battles, cause you know, 3rd Strike is ten kinds of awesome. I am warming up to SF4, it's got some coolness brewin' and it has been consistently drawing crowds. But it does cost a dollar (day-um!!)
But the 3rd Strike battles in the tourney were sweet. There is just something about watching top players in a crowd setting. Especially so if you're a fan of all things Street Fighter and can recognize the challenges and nuances of the battles. I probably should have entered myself just for the fun and experience of it, but I had no prob waqtching the entrants go to town on each other. I wouldn't say it was at the intensity of stuff you might see at EVO, but there were some kick ass bouts. There were a couple dudes there from other cities as well, and I can admire that kind of dedication to play. And of course it got a couple friends and I psyched up to get a little SF action going on our own little arcade (see my last post... )