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I love gaming, and I have followed the industry and its technology since I was a kid in the 80's. I have gamed primarily on PC since 2000, though I still follow console news and hardware as well.

I worked as a mapper and beta tester for the mod Action Half-Life. My maps, most of which have vanilla Half-Life Deathmatch versions, are available on my website.
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Hoffman did a cblog a couple days ago about what upcoming games he was looking forward to. A lot of us responded with our lists as well, but I figured it might be fun to double-check mine and share it in little more detail. So I present to you my most anticipated games of 2015 - now with pix and links (and Links!). Most are multi-platform or PC. Not all of these will make it out in 2015, and some are already available in beta/alpha form. So this is all approximate...


I backed this on Kickstarter. Glorious pixel graphics, and a mix of platforming and shmup. <3

Batman Arkham Knight

Looking forward to this not just for the gameplay, but some incredible visuals like Origins.

Defender's Quest 2

The first game is my favorite tower defense game ever. Want this so bad.


Still mad they never made the QuakeCon preview public. Probably won't be till 2016 but whatevs.

Grand Theft Auto V

I never liked GTA much, I am more a Saints Row or Just Cause guy. But this... so pretty...

A Hat In Time

Still a rough alpha, but this is looking like a true N64-style platformer. Do want.


Look at that, what do I even need to say?

Legend of Iya

Another platformer with pixel graphics that I backed on Kickstarter... just shut up, you.

Killing Floor 2

Because I love gore in games, and KF2 has a whole system for it.

Pillars of Eternity

So pretty...

Road Redemption

More or less a 2014 version of Road Rash. Hell yeah.

Secrets of Grindea

A bit like the old NES/SNES Zeldas, but bigger and more complex. Please be good.


Updates to the beta have been slow, but a big one is coming soon...


So much potential here. The beta is just PvP and I have put a ton of time into just that.

Vector Thrust

Looks like Afterburner, but cell-shaded and more complex. Gimme.

The Witcher 3

Looking amazing.


A 2.5D, Alice-ish platformer. The alpha is already very good.

Zelda U

Yeah, I'm going to have to buy a freaking Wii U. Screw you all >.<

I really want a Fallout 4 or Metroid U announcement, too. Just let us know they exist! What surprised me most about this list is how many were either PC exclusive or "PC first" releases. I guess I'm on the right platform for me.

I feel like 2015 will be a better year for gaming than 2014. With new-gen consoles entering their second or third year, we should finally see some games that were really designed for their hardware. Plus, the fruit of Kickstarter will continue to blossom, giving us a lot of great smaller games to fill the time between big releases. It's going to be a great year :)

Jinx 01
3:12 PM on 11.04.2014

I take a lot of screenshots, so I thought it might make for an interesting kind of blog to cover what I've been playing visually. With plenty of commentary, of course, and lots of relevant links in case anything catches your eye. So here's what I've been playing this last week or so. Most images are linked to their original, full-resolution versions.

X-Wing. I remember this game from back in the late 90s in undergrad. I didn't have a PC then, but my friend TJ did, and that's where I got to see Doom, Master of Orion, and X-Wing for the first time. I didn't get to play X-Wing much, but I remembered it being cool, so I snagged it immediately from GoG when it was released (you can get Tie Fighter as well). And it is cool, but it's also flawed in a lot of ways. The main issue is the difficultly. There is no "curve" where the game slowly gets harder, it's just random. Worse, many of the difficult missions still rely on luck in terms of how things turn out with the AI allies and enemies. Pretty annoying when missions might take a good 20 minutes to complete. I don't mind hard games, but X-Wing is just frustrating. Yet I still keep playing it, so it must be doing something right.

"Escort Mission: The Game". (more shots)

Epic Mickey 2. I was really thrilled when I saw this show up on Steam. I thought it had been canceled, but apparently it got a tiny retail release a few places. It has a lot of technical issues - it hates my CPU so I am just going to wait till I upgrade to play. It looks okay, though, and there are so few N64-style platformers that I'll take what I can get.

Pretty game, but it hates hexacore processors and is locked at 30fps.

A Hat In Time. Speaking of N64-style 3D platformers... here comes one with the potential to be great. It's only in the alpha stage, but I'm digging the visual style, music, and initial levels. You can buy into the alpha (via Steam) on their website, though it's a lot more expensive than just preordering. I spent the extra cash because I just had to check it out.

This level reminds me of Mario 64, but on a bigger scale (more shots).

Castle of Illusion. Back to pretty good Mickey games, I picked this up on Android. I have the PC version, and I was expecting this to be cut down. Nope. It's the same exact game, and it looks beautiful on my Note 3's 5.7" screen. The controls are actually half-decent, too. It's still rather play on PC or console, but if you want a higher end game for on the go this is a good choice.

Great platformer, and a real treat if you are a fan of the original 16-bit version.

 Freedom Planet. Another great platformer! White it's inspired a lot by the 16-bit Sonic games, it also has shades of Rocket Knight and feels more like an evolution or spinoff than a copy of Sonic. The visuals are beautiful, and even better if you add scanlines. The music is great and sounds like it could easily have come from a 16-bit platformer. If you like classic Sonic and/or 2D platformers you should look into this one.

I really don't know why this game hasn't gotten more attention (more shots).

 Blazerush. I don't even remember why I bought this game but holy crap am I having fun with it. Just silly racing fun with weapons and knocking people off the track and lots of play modes. I haven't gotten to try the multiplayer (online and 4-player local) but I can imagine it would be a blast. If you have a controller and just want to sit back and have some goofy fun it's a great game for it.

A frantic and crazy game, hard to capture in a still image (more shots).

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. I've been following this for a while, and they just released a demo for Halloween. It's a truly "2.5D" game, in that while the camera is set, and gameplay is mostly 2D, you can go into for the foreground and background sometimes. The demo has three very different levels and they were pretty enjoyable. Definitely one to watch if you like platformers and/or the Alice games.

This part is more 3D, letting you go into the background Double Dragon style (more shots).

Evolve (alpha). I played a little. It was kind of "meh". It's kind of like fighting a boss monster, but with no level beforehand to build up tension, no worrying about conserving supplies for the upcoming battle, no foreplay. I really don't see how this concept can carry a whole $60 game. And I have a feeling, like Titanfall, it will launch light on content then expect you to buy the season pass to fill it out. No thanks.

I only played a couple rounds. But that's because I got bored.

What's next? Well, I'm really looking forward to Valkyria Chronicles next week - I don't have a PS3 so it's new to me! I'm passing on most full-priced AAA titles this winter, though. Too much backlog, I can't justify spending $50 on a new game when I have equally good stuff I haven't even gotten to yet. I think I'd rather save for a big HDTV or maybe a 1440p monitor anyway. Hmmmm...

See you next week maybe? If people think this is fun they should try it, too. Either weekly, or just do a best-of blog with your favorite shots. Screenshots are a good way to share our gaming experiences, but a lot of them just sit around in our profiles unenjoyed.

Jinx 01
12:03 AM on 09.04.2014

(HIGH BANDWIDTH BLOG, avoid if you aren't on wifi!) I'm having stress issues, so rather than commenting on the latest drama I decided to put together another compilation of my goofy memes, images, screenshots, etc. Yeah, I'm probably not as funny as I think I am, but hopefully people will gets some chuckles from these and maybe we can all de-stress a bit together. I provided a little commentary on most of them, just so I don't look too lazy...

I started making Jem memes for another blog I didn't finish... I'm at 60...

Eat a dick, Microsoft.

And this is why you don't buy Day 1.

Motherf*cking bears, man.

Pretty much what's happening.

An exaggeration, but it sure ain't the 80s no more.

Something about the word "monetize" infuriates me.

So yeah this is probably my fave. I love Dog.

"Deleted scene" from my Squeenix Tomb Raider article.

Made this for my blog giving Squeenix hell for selling out to MS.

I forget the occasion. So many it could have been...

Coming full circle back to R.O.B. amiright?

I like any piece of hardware that looks like it will give me cancer.

PCGMR FTW bitches!

Me when I have to use a console.

Well this was unfortunately prophetic :(

Was gonna do a series of these with a car called "Burnout Bob". I'm glad I didn't, too.


Steam has finally been noticed by Japanese developers it seems.

PS+ sits oddly in the middle, but I won't argue that it isn't a great deal.

Not sure why Nintendo gets a pass on everything lately. They used to be the big evil corporation that ran everything!

Me when I bash the Wii U...

Don't forget the pre-order bonuses you'll miss out on if you don't buy blindly before reviews are out. Sketchy as fuck, this industry.

Or I can Force choke you. Whatever works.

Almost posted this on the Kuro review. I saved it just for you guys.

Can't remember what Japanimation game this was for, but teasing weeboos about being peedoos is funny.

I'm pretty patient but yeah this shit is getting ridiculous.

Went through this awful phase last Fall where all I wanted to play was Triple Town...

Luigi, out-death-stared.

Or I have so much I can't decide, I really don't know.

My controller concept for Ryse and other QTE games.

Well it sorta fits.


Ugh why did I do this.

Wizard of Oz and 60s Spiderman. I don't even.

This would be the end of us all...



Google had a playable logo, I think for the Roswell incident. Notice the similarity to E.T.?

My friend's girlfriend made him this. Pretty sweet.

Response to someone, not so funny out of context...

I played Shadowrun Returns with an infinite zoom hack and noticed this couch... stuff from Half-Life, Borderlands, Doctor Who...

Went in to change during a defense mission and got interrupted in the changing room lol

More like #juststalkerthings

Nice side-article placement, Dtoid!

Unfortunately this vending machine in Borderlands 2 does not, in fact, dispense boobs.

Speaking of boobs...

Pay attention to the mission names in X-COM, there are some good ones.

Me at the goth club...

My bank statement from a year ago... notice a pattern?

It's tough but you can set up a third-person view in Borderlands 2!

So I DJ at goth-industrial clubs sometimes. Made this custom collar inspired by Gaige's from Borderlands 2.

When I was surfing for images to make custom grid images in Steam for Deadpool I found the *original* art from this scene. If you look close you can see just how badly they photoshopped clothing on them. But their bras are still hanging on the wall behind them lol

I'm a smart ass...

*strokes his PC*

So yeah. That's all, folks. Hope at least a couple of those weren't awful. If you did enjoy them, I did another entire blog of these a while back.

I will not be responsible for any terrible side-effects looking at this blog might have on you.

The Joy of Steam's Grid View

I made several for this game... and I don't even own it yet.

For years I neglected the "grid" view in Steam – I preferred the "detail" view because it seemed easier to navigate. Last winter, though, I decided to try the grid view as a way to limit what games I had in front of me at any given time so I could focus on finishing them. The easiest way to do this is just to create a set of Favorites and switch to grid view. You can also select to show any category in grid view now, which is a huge improvement – it used to just be "all" or "favorites".

Grid view is easy to tweak in terms of scaling the tiles to show more or fewer games at once, and you can easily toggle between grid, detail, and list view as needed (all in the upper right hand corner). Part of the reason I'd avoided grid view before was because I felt it didn't show enough games on screen at once. But even at a medium sized scale it shows a lot more games than the "list" view, though not as many as the "detail" view. So you actually aren't giving up much.

When I got in on the Survarium beta the first thing I did was add it to Steam.

What are you gaining? Well, for one you're actually using most of your screen, rather than having 80% of it basically blank while you squint at a tiny list over on the far left. Second, you are getting a way to really appreciate your library visually. Having your games in grid view is the virtual equivalent of having them on your shelf – except it's prettier because it's like having all the box art facing out.

Well, in theory it's prettier. The problem is that some Steam games have mediocre images for the tile view. Moreover, any non-Steam games or emulators you add to your library will not have an image at all and just show the icon instead. You should also know that these are the same images that get displayed in Big Picture Mode. If you are using that interface, replacing ugly or broken images is especially important.

Making images for NES games is tough because all the box art is vertical.

Luckily there are a few sites like the Steam Banners Booru which have custom grid images uploaded and cataloged. If a game has a poor or missing image in Steam you will probably find one, and maybe some neat alternates to use as well. Even if the default image for a game is nice, I may change it out sometimes to keep my library looking fresh. You can also upload your own custom images to that site, which is what I do with mine. And that, of course, is the other option – simply make your own images!

Making Custom Images for Grid View

Original image from the art book. Crop, add logo, pow you're done.

The key to making custom images is finding good art to work with. This can be difficult because the art for most games was designed for vertical boxes, making is awkward to use in a horizontal layout. I typically use Google Image Search to find images to use, just downloading anything potentially useful into a folder to tinker with later. In addition to the game's name, you may also want to add in keywords such as:

"steam grid image" or "steam banner" - Hey, someone else may have already made one that's good! You might also limit your search to 460x215px images under advanced options (the size of grid images).
"box art" - This can narrow it down a bit, getting you more art and less screenshots.
"art" - Sometimes you can find stand-alone versions of the box art (no logos etc) uploaded by fans or the artists themselves. Invaluable and very cool if you are a fan.
"logo" - Finding a stand-alone version of a game's logo is great, because it gives you far more layout options. It also saves the grueling work of cutting a logo out of the box art. You can often find .png files that already have a transparent background – those are very useful!
"manual" – Sometimes scans of game manuals have different art, or the box art without logos etc. plastered all over it.
"wallpaper" – Both official and fan wallpapers can be a good resource, especially since wallpapers are often in a letterboxed layout. You might just need to resize and crop it to make a tile!
"arcade" or "cabinet" – If it is an arcade game, or a port of one, sometimes the original cabinet art can be a great way to go.

Screenshots can be another source of imagery – either online, or from your own collection. For Saint's Row: The Third I took a screenshot of my custom character, then cropped it and added the logo. And my current Skyrim image is from a screenshot I took in my (modded) game.

This was made from one of my favorite screenshots.

I would like to make a more detailed tutorial, but that's difficult because everyone uses different image software – and it would require a crash course in image editing. I use an ancient copy of Photoshop 7, but GIMP (link) should provide everything you need. If you have some experience with basic image editing, it shouldn't be too hard to pick up. A few basic things you need to know:

* Grid Images are 460x215, though larger variants (same aspect ratio) of that seem to work.
* You can use .jpg or .png format. I suggest .png as you don't lose quality that way.
* Try to find a .png version of the game logo with a transparency. It increases your options because you can paste it on any artwork as a layer and arrange it as you like.
* To make a logo/text stand out, try using "outer glow"… but instead of a white glow, set it to "normal" render mode and use black. This can help the text stay visible by darkening the background around it, and is a lot more subtle than a bright glow.

Even if you don't have much image editing experience, you can sometimes just take a wallpaper and resize/crop it – not too hard to do in GIMP.

Enjoy That Library

A sample from my library with a lot of my custom images.

Overall, Grid View can be a great way of both browsing and displaying your PC game library. Custom images are crucial to keeping things looking nice, though especially if you add your non-Steam games like I do. So once you've weeded out the duds into the new "Hidden" category, run through your library to add or update your images and make your library look the best it can.

One last thing – I love making these, so if you have some you can't find on the Steam Banners Booru, let me know in the comments and I'll try to make one for you!

In case you're playing the pre-alpha of the new Unreal Tournament...

It was revealed this week that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be coming "exclusively" to the Xbox One. I put that in quotes because the phrasing of the announcement left it open for the game to release later on other platforms. Will it? Who fucking knows. I suspect a late PC release is, at the least, very likely. Harder to say with the PS4, based on Dead Rising 3 and Ryse. You won't get a straight answer from anyone involved, in any case. That would be too courteous.

Even if we ignore the series’ long history as a multi-platform title, the whole situation is a big "fuck you" to the fans who – across five platforms – made the 2013 reboot successful. It isn’t just a matter of what is happening, either. Exclusives are fairly common. It’s more the situation surrounding it, and Square Enix and Microsoft’s inadequate reassurances to frustrated fans.

That's what I want to talk about here. Why is this situation different from other "console exclusives"? How have Square Enix and Microsoft made things worse? The outrage might seem over the top, with no one involved able to make so much as a Facebook post without receiving an onslaught of replies from angry fans. But I think the outrage is justified, and both Square Enix and Microsoft deserve every damn bit of the hell they are getting.

Precedents and Expectations

Part of what made this so bad for fans is that it came out of left field. I see some apologists saying this is "just another exclusive", but that's just not true. Rise of the Tomb Raider is the immediate sequel to a game that was on other platforms. It is not from a studio or IP owned by Microsoft. When Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced everyone was right to assume it would be cross-platform, or at least show up on the PS4/One/PC if it wasn't feasible on the PS3/360.

Speaking of cross-platform, let's not forget that earlier this year Square Enix released the “Definitive Edition” of the first game on PS4/One – encouraging people who bought it on PS3/360 as well to repurchase it. I think if someone bought the original game twice it’s not too much for them to expect the immediate sequel to be available to them as well.

And finally… it’s 2014, people. It’s a multiplatform world. There’s a good piece over on Eurogamer about what a backwards move this was by Square Enix. I guess it’s our fault for assuming they were with the times.

The Story Factor

Part of the issue here, though, is somewhat unique to Tomb Raider. The reboot was a gritty, personal game about the brutal experiences which forged Lara into the woman she is. It was a story-driven game which left fans with an emotional investment in Lara's fate. The immediate response of fans to the sequel was excitement. Finally, we would get to see Lara's story continue! Then a few months later we were informed that if we didn't own a One we were shit out of luck.

In what other media does this kind of bullshit happen?!

Can you imagine reading an amazing book… then being told you weren't allowed to read the sequel unless you bought a $400 book light? Or if the next season of your favorite TV show was suddenly only viewable if you had Time Warner? What if you could only get in to see Avengers: Age of Ultron if you had an iPhone? Only in the game industry does this kind of bullshit fly. And speaking of flying bullshit…

The PR Bullshit Nightmare

The most utterly in-fucking-furiating thing about this situation is how it has been handled by the parties involved. There have been statements from Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics, but both ignore the two questions everyone is asking:

"Will Rise of the Tomb Raider be released on other platforms?"
"If so, how long will we have to wait?"

Microsoft shoves the question off to Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, saying that they have nothing to do with whether it is released on other platforms after the exclusivity is up. But Crystal Dynamics will not clarify any of this either. I suspect part of the "deal" was that both the length of exclusivity and other platforms remain undisclosed until after the One gets its sales boost from the "exclusive" release.

The whole tone from both camps has been both condescending and evasive. We know the game will probably come out for other platforms, just fucking tell us already. Nobody likes to have these kind of bullshit PR games played with them, especially when it comes to something they care about.

The worst to me is actually Crystal Dynamics. They actually have the nerve to say that they aren't "walking away from our fans who only play on Playstation or on PC." That is the goddamn definition of what you are doing you lying assholes. These guys are literally sell-outs, having taken Microsoft's money to deny a huge percentage of their fans access to this game.

So yeah. Fuck these guys.

It's Just Business! It's Nothing Personal!

This is what the apologists are saying. It's "just business". We have no right to be angry, after all it's nothing "personal".

But isn't it? These companies lure us into making an emotional investment in their products. They encourage us to form an attachment to characters like Lara. Hell, they spend millions in marketing to make it personal. Yet when they screw us over, we're supposed to suddenly turn that off? We're expected to be loyal fans and customers, but to expect no loyalty in return from these companies? What kind of sick fucking relationship is this? One it's time to get out of, that's what kind.

So here's the deal. I'm going to be passing on Temple of Osiris this Fall I think. And if Rise of the Tomb Raider does come out on PC? Yeah, I'll wait for it to be $10 in a Steam sale. I'm not paying $60 for a game that isn't new.

Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have not shown any loyalty to me as a fan. Why should I show them any loyalty as a customer?

Don't get mad, guys. It's nothing personal.

I made a batch of custom images to use in the larger Steam grid view for Transistor. The default image is okay, but not terribly exciting:

To use a custom image for a game in the large grid view, just right-click on it and select "Set Custom Image" to pick the one you want to use from your PC. You can always remove it (pick "Remove Custom Image") and Steam will automatically go back to the default.

Anyway, here goes:












I've been making a lot of custom images lately, including some for Survarium, Stalker: Lost Alpha, and even some NES classics. I've uploaded most of my work to the Steam Banners website to share. You can check out my work there, as well as find a ton of custom images for your games.

I've been planning a blog on making and using these in general, life has just been a bit of a mess since last summer. It's definitely refreshing to use some nicer images, though, or even just to change them around to keep your library looking fresh. In parting, here's a glance at what part of my library looks like right now, with quite a few custom images in use:

(click to enlarge)