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10:18 PM on 02.01.2013

Insects! A history of creepy-crawlies in videogames

Allo allo! I'm back with episode 3 of The Bestiary, in which we take a look at how insects have been used in videogames over the years. I had some audio issues with Youtube normalizing the volume of the video for some reason, so it is a tad quiet.

Click the image to be magically whisked away to Youtube!



Also, I've just purchased a new pro-microphone, so future episodes will no longer have tinny, sub-par audio :)

As always I love to hear opinions and criticism. I'm still getting used to the whole process of narration and production, so I really appreciate any and all feedback.

Thanks everyone!   read


10:20 AM on 02.01.2013

One sentence and a photo: My sister found a box of my old stuff in her shed...

...stuff I thought had long since been lost in a house-move when I was but a wee boy; words cannot describe my joy.



<3   read


7:03 AM on 01.29.2013

A thing I'm doing: Scattershot - A short webshow about videogame culture

Hey guys! Long time no post, but with good reason... ok, sort of good reason. I've been working more on video stuff lately to get better at production and video narration. If you're wanting a short vid to add to your stream of Youtube content, why not add Scattershot! It's a short videogame webshow about news, previews, art, music, writing and videogame culture.



As always, I love any feedback you're willing to take the time to give me - positive or negative. I'm obviously still pretty amateur at this stuff, so I'm always looking to improve however I can.

Cheers guys and gals! Hope to see you over on the channel :)   read


8:07 PM on 09.29.2012

Dinosaurs! A history of dino videogames.

Allo allo. Here with the second episode of The Bestiary! This time around I focus on one of my absolute favourite things in the entire world: dinosaurs. I go through a heeeaaaap of titles in this one, like Megaman, King Kong, and Dino Crisis. I try to put the spotlight on games that are different mechanically and thematically to keep the pacing tighter, so I apologize if I skipped one of your most loved games!


Clickity clack dang ol man on that thur link I tell ya what.

Doing this is so much fun. It's great having a reason to go back and play through some of my favourite games, and I'm also discovering some new titles that I'd never heard of before. Ever-refining my production and editing process; it's still a bit all over the place, but I'm getting there!

As always, please let me know what you thought! I'm always up to hear some helpful criticism if you'd like to take the time to give me your opinions and thoughts.

Thanks guys and gals!   read


1:05 AM on 08.17.2012

A show where I take a look at different animals in videogames

Man, it has been so long since I've posted an entry here. I generally just lurk these days.

I've been really inspired by shows like JonTron, Continue?, and The Completionist, and decided to start up my own little series where I take a look at animals in videogames and talk about/poke fun of how they're implemented. It's just a little activity I'm doing in between uni work and the rest of life (eating and sleeping).


Click this ol' image to link to that thar video.

I get an excuse to play some of my favourite games, I get to practice video editing and script writing, and it gives me a chance to get used to talking to an audience. I've already learned heaps about video pre/post/production from doing this one vid, so it's already been immensely fun and helpful.

If you have a minute to give it a gander, I'd appreciate any constructive criticism!

The Bestiary 01 - Canines

Thanks!   read


8:48 AM on 02.17.2011

Dead Island - The open world, zombie survival, FPRPG

Complete with awesomely, awesome trailer:

[embed]194337:36314[/embed]

Seriously. Wow.
One of the best trailers I've seen for anything in quite a while.

I've been following this game for fucking years now. I honestly thought it was dead. But it is not!
Which has brought me out of my hiding hole to do a quick no-bs blog about it to raise awareness for this awesome looking title.

Basically an island resort gets taken over by zombies. There is an emphasis on using your environment and fashioning weapons. It's not a first person shooter. There are guns, but they are the likes of pistols or rifles, and the ammo for them is extremely scarce, so you'll be saving your bullets for when you most need them. That means no light machines guns or RPGs!

The focus is on melee combat, and you can use any item that you can pick up. For instance, pick up a chair and break it over a zombies face, and you can pick up the leg of the chair and use that as a bludgeon; but be warned, all your weapons degrade as you use them. It's open world so you can wander around the island and meet other survivors that you can help/screw over. Theres a day night cycle, weather effects, etc. It also has 4 player drop-in drop-out coop.

[embed]194337:36315[/embed]

The main draw is it's multi-layered damage system. The game utilizes 3 layers of gore for their zombies. Skin, muscle, bone. By using different weapons you can pretty much mutilate people contextually depending on where you hit them, and what you hit them with. Knives, machetes, bats, broomsticks, pipes, etc. There are also elements such as electricity, fire and water. Skin can burn and melt, and bones can shatter and break.





IGN has tiny writeup with the promise of more info, which you can find over here - http://au.xbox360.ign.com/articles/115/1150368p1.html

It's by techland, the people did the wildly underappreciated Call of Juarez games. Bound in Blood was a solid western with a lot of cool mechanics. Very bland when it came to the enemy types and interactions, but with their detailed gore system and dynamic environments, techland just might pull off something very unique. And it will be very, very pretty to boot!

So keep your eyes open for any info about this! If the trailer is anything to go by, we are in store for a very survival oriented game that focuses on story and characters over running and gunning. Which is exactly what zombie themed games need after the deluge of twin stick shooters and crimson mists of l4d and dead rising.

Don't let us down, Techland!   read


9:27 AM on 09.26.2010

Xbox still alive 1 week after surgery. Musings on Reach. Why no dinosaur games?

So a week ago I scored a free Xbox360 off my sister . The reason? It had the ol' 3ROD issue; faulty hardware somewhere in it's overprotected belly, most commonly caused by overheating. Channeling MacGyver, I managed to fix it with a few coins, some electrical tape and a screwdriver.



If you want to do this yourself there are many tutorials on Youtube. You just need to search for: Xbox 360 coin fix. It was amazingly easy, obviously just try not to badly scratch or dent the motherboard in the process.

As far as the console goes it's been working absolutely fine all week with nary a hiccup. Got myself a gold account, so if you want to play Reach or Gears of War 2 some time feel free to add me: SkribbleStyles. Turns out the account links across your PC and Xbox360, which is kinda cool I guess. Spoilers for Reach follow...



Have to say Reach is damn fun. Spent over an hour playing Gruntocalypse with bottomless clip Rocket launchers today. Condensed fun. The campaign, while fun and diverse, didn't really capture me with it's story, and the deaths of Noble team lacked any kind of drama or consequence. Music was suitably awesome as has always been the case with the Halo games. I particularly like the armor abilities in Reach, a lot more than I ever liked the item pickups from Halo 3.



Dinosaurs are awesome. There is no denying it. So why are there so few dinosaur games? The Turok series instantly comes to mind, and while the originals were good in their day, they don't really stand the test of time; although fighting weaponized, laser shooting dinosaurs is still a blast. The new Turok was OK, but got repetitive and dull quite fast. Had there been no dinosaurs, I'm sure I wouldn't have even finished it.

Dino Crisis 1 and 2 where sooooo good. I have the original on my PSP and it makes a perfect portable game. Also, Dino Crisis 3 never happened. If Capcom made a new Dino Crisis on the MT Framework I would pretty much implode from happiness.

There was that mod a while back, Dino D-Day. which has Hitler create dinosaurs to fight his war, which was also OK. Trespasser, the game where it looks like the dinosaurs are wearing rollerskates. Oh, the Jurassic Park game on the Gensis was awesome; you could play as the Raptor.



Speaking of Jurassic Park, the Telltale Games guys of Sam and Max fame are apparently making an episodic Jurassic Park game, along with Back to the Future, that are going to be more action oriented than their previous games, with a focus on new gameplay and genres, "The agreement broadens Telltale's product offerings into new genres and new styles of gameplay"

Dan Connors, CEO of Telltale Games says, "We are all huge fans of both of these franchises. For Back to the Future and Jurassic Park we will leverage Telltale's expertise in story-telling and game design to deliver on the unique elements of each series with our goal being to create compelling cinematic adventures paying homage to each franchise." - Telltale Games Official website



I can't wait to see what they do with the game. I'd love for it to be a more adventure based game rather than a shooty-bang-bang game, so I think Telltale having the IP is a good start. Here's hoping they can pull off whatever it is they have planned. I hope their game is successful and developers jump on dinosaurs like they did with zombies.

Anyway, I've ranted enough. If you survived this long, add me on Xbox Live for some hot Reach action: SkribbleStyles   read


8:39 AM on 09.13.2010

Just fixed the RROD and scored a free Xbox 360 :D

So I haven't ever owned an Xbox360. I bought a PS3 a little after it's release and it's served me well. I also have a decent PC, and seeing as most of MS games have been released on that, I haven't really needed one. A few gems like Alan Wake, Shadow Complex, Gears of War, etc made me think twice every time I passed one in store, but I resisted.

But as of 20 minutes ago I have a free Xbox 360! Here is how I went about it.

Step 1: Get free 3ROD Xbox 360 from my sister. (Out of warranty, so she just bought a new one)




Step 2: Open console up and apply thermal paste




Step 3: Wrap four pairs of pennys/5 cent pieces in electrical tape and stick them on the motherboard chips




Step 4: Hail to the king, baby.




Just in time for Halo Reach :)

I have a lot of experience in building my own computers, but I'd never opened up a console before. It was heaps of fun! I totally didn't expect to get it working, but I'm happy I did. If you've ever made your own computer, fixing your xbox is a total cakewalk.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my efforts ^__^

I'll post once I get a gametag and shiz in case anyone from Aus wants to add me.


Until next time, gentlemen!   read


12:39 PM on 05.10.2010

A game about riding/battling dragons with guns, swords & bludgeons

Over the last few weeks I've been, very slowly, programming and developing an idea I have had about flying, fighting and adventuring on dragonback. I've done a few sketches and concepts, as well as written a few story ideas down. At this point I have a working platform concept in Flash that allows me to walk/jump/doublejump/walljump around, hop on a dragon and fly about, collect/use/equip/manage/throw items, get missions and upgrades, take notes in-game, swim and a couple of other boring technical things like parallax backgrounds and grid-based segmental level loading.

There aren't any real animations accompanying the concept yet, so it's all placeholders and programming at the moment, and again this obviously isn't a completed project so it's still buggy.

Also, click on the images to see their full versions.



I've currently been working on a story that revolves around a few different regions in a made up world with a distinct feel of the 1700-1800s; there'll be a little steampunk, some victorian and a lot of top hats. More importantly war is on the horizon, and you'll play a specialized Messenger who travels on dragonback, delivering letters/packages to those on all sides...but I dunno, I tire of it's dynamics. One of my goals was to make something unique and fun, and I plan to do that somehow. I might take it in a more sci-fi route, or see if I can bend the themes in to something more my own.

I love the feel that you get from good fantasy games, though. It's different to what I feel when I read/watch a good sci-fi. Something about not being able to explain everything, leaving elements shrouded in mystery, like curses, magical objects, ancient prophesies, etc.

Obviously there will be more to the story than just a random war and a messenger dude, but I'm not going to describe every idea I want to implement heh. Like I said, I'll keep working on it.



More than just making a game engine with a coat of paint, I want it to actually be enjoyable to play, and to have the world be something the player is interested in.

Eventually I want to have the player flying around levels that bleed in to a world map, where they can collect missions off people and complete for cash, weapons and upgrades; this system is already in place, albeit very basic and a little ugly at the moment. There will also be platforming puzzles that utilize a doublejump, walljump, ceiling grab, glide and other abilities you pick up - those are just the 4 implemented right now - as well as puzzles that will have you needing to use your dragon.

You'l be able to battle other people and dragons from the air and land, both while on a dragon and on foot; see "net launcher". You will be able to equip a melee weapon and a projectile weapon of your choice that you can switch between at any time. The mid-flight battling will have a simple radar/arrow system that will tell you where your enemies are coming from, as well as an auto-aim system for the projectile weapon; close combat in the air will also have a slight lock-on system to guide melee attacks. In addition to this, you can upgrade your dragon to slash, swipe, bodyslam and even breathe fire, ice or acid.



Test animation for the dragons walk cycle.


Quick preview of some gameplay elements - Super Metroid music for extra awesome
[embed]164005:29751[/embed]

My life has been pretty messed up over the last 6 months and I'm coming out of a biiiig slump - I haven't done much of anything but ferment, so I thought I'd share my latest idea to see if anybody wanted to comment. Might keep me motivated or something? Hopefully hahah. I really would like to know what your initial impressions are, if you have any ideas, or references you think I should look at? I've just discovered McFarlane's Dragons series which is completely awesome, and has inspired a few new ideas.

Anyway, thats it. I look forward to hearing what you think.


Cheers guys/gals!   read


8:59 PM on 02.09.2010

AvP Multiplayer Fix Wishlist

I really, REALLY like the new AvP. Itís a fun, tactical and intense experience all delivered in one neat little package. Itís not perfect though, and the following are a few things that I think Rebellion should definitely consider ďfixingĒ.


Insta-kill Conga-line of Death!



Probably the funniest thing to just stand by and watch in a multiplayer match is the congaline of death. Once another alien and I just sat on those two vents in the main room and watched EVERY SINGLE other player enter in to the conga-line. I know Rebellion wanted you to have to think before doing the instant-kills, but obviously people donít want to think about it and just want to execute a cool death, and seeing as they are such a big part of the game, it only makes sense to balance it a little.

The solution:

A simple buffer. Give the executor 1.0-1.5 seconds before they can be executed so they have time to turn around - if theyíre smart. You can still ATTACK them while they are performing these moves, you just canít execute them . This prevents the conga-line and encourages people to use melee tactics for at least some of their kills.


No auto-aim for hand to hand combat, thank you very much



The way The Predator and Alien so viciously auto-lock on to things when in close combat is, to put it bluntly, really lame. It removes any kind of skill or fighting element from the game and turns it in to somewhat of a button masher, only itís less satisfying on PC because we are just clicking a mouse. The Marine gets no auto-aim so why should they?

The solution:

Remove it. Or at least lower the massive ďsnapĒ feeling you get while trying to fight so that you actually have to AIM at your target instead of just button mashing/clicking in their general direction.


One giant leap for man


(Picture unrelated, itís just awesome)

You have a pack, 3 guns, armor, helmet, combat boots, etc... I get it, you are a big heavy guy, but a midget with no legs can jump higher than you. Seriously. You literally canít jump more than a foot off the ground, so what is the point of even having it? It doubles as a climb button, sure, and thatís handy sometimes, but when I canít get up on to something that meets my knees it starts to get really annoying.

The solution:

Give the Marine double the jump height he has now and it will actually be a useful asset. Forcing players to walk around tiny obstacles like a 2 foot ramp is just really irritating and arbitrary. The marine could lift his leg higher than that.


What, you ainít ever been hit before?



What is with every race not being able to attack while being attacked? The Alien, Predator and Marine canít fight back until they block or play out the recoil animation, and that is just balls. Why canít I swipe wildly for lesser damage, or fire my gun in sporadic, innacurate bursts? This isnít a boxing match, but Iíll be damned if I havenít been caught in a fisticuff circle with a Predator a few times; blocking, punching, blocking, circling, etc.

The solution:

If I am hit by a Predator as a Marine, I should be able to continuously fire my gun while being pummelled. The few shots I get off could be the difference between life and death. Likewise if I am an Alien and I get attacked I should be at least allowed to flail my tail around or randomly swipe. It would feel a lot more like fighting for survival.


/ beep \ beep _ beep: /_\



The Plasmacaster is probably the most overpowered weapon in the game, giving the Predator the ability to dish out 1 hit kills from a long distance with splash damage. Combine that with the fact that you remain targeted despite line of sight and that makes it one tuff little fucker to beat. I know I've gone a whole match without dying once after getting that weapon.

The solution:

They could do a few things really. Make the plasma ball smaller with less splash damage, give it a slower movement speed, or lose targeting when line of sight is broken. Any of these would be a good step towards balancing that weapon, because as it stands it is devastating, especially to Marines who canít just leap out of the way.


Open servers



Iíve never understood why any game would not allow people to enter games while the server is up and running. A lot of people donít want to sit around in a lobby waiting for a game to start, they just want to jump in, and a lot of people just leave mid-game because they are losing and the match ends up being 1v1.

The solution:

Allow people to join games in progress. Itís not an outlandish request. Itís been standard for a while now with most games having the feature, while only a few make the mistake of not including the option. I think the MP will really suffer by not having the option to let people jump in to a match.


I know most of these will never see the light of day, but hey, a man can dream can't he? Hope you are all having as much fun with the game as I am! Hope to see your entrails soon >:D   read


11:40 PM on 02.07.2010

Youíre dying a lot in AvP, arenít you? Itís OK. Iím here to help.

If youíve been playing the AvP demo like I have, youíre in one of two groups of people. The first have played a maximum of 5 games and have come to the instant, logical conclusion that the game is crap, simply because it was slow to find a game and they arenít a pro with every race in a game theyíve only just started playing.

The second have come to love the game despite its few flaws and balancing issues. Youíve managed to look past the bare bones matchmaking system, around the conga-lines of trophy kills and in to the eyes of a marine as your tail suddenly juts out of his mouth; where it entered even I do not wish to know.



First off, something a lot of people donít know is that all characters have a block move and counter attack. The Xenomorph and Predator both block by holding down their STRONG and LIGHT attack buttons; the Marine simply holds down their MELEE button. Tapping your attack key directly after blocking will score you a counter attack that should knock back your enemy; the Marines counter attack button is their melee button.

What follows are a few tips and hints for each class to help you better understand how to use them. This is not a run and gun game! Timing is everything, and the one who rushes in head on will die a swift death. That said, please enjoy!

Xenomorph:



My favourite character, hands down, are our dear alien friends, the Xenomorphs; probably the hardest control scheme to pick up due to disorienting angles while moving and a weird jumping mechanic. Those who fail at the alien often forget what being a Xenomorph is all about Ė Sticking to the shadows, intimidating your prey and attacking when they least expect it. I know the 10 minute, DM time limit doesnít account for this, but you might as well start practicing!

- THEYíRE COMINí OUTTA THE WALLS
As an alien, you have enhanced vision for seeing in the dark, but this can sometimes cause you to ignore environmental helpers like shadowy areas and walls that feature the same texture as your skin, perfect for blending. Sticking to the ceiling will more often than not make you completely invisible, and you should almost never be walking on the floor. Use the "Transition" key to drop from ceilings/walls and on to the floor; this is handy when you want to simply get to the floor for a quick kill without having to line up where you are going to jump.

- Standing still takes you places
The motion tracker is your biggest threat against the Marine, which is why staying still is often a good cause of action. A fun tactic is guessing which corridor a marine will come down, sticking to the ceiling and waiting for them to pass; drop down and claim your kill. Beating the Predator, however, requires a little more line-of-sight stealth tactics, he doesnít have a motion tracker, and he canít see through walls like you can.

- Now, everyone can hear you scream
Disorientation is one of your biggest powers as a Xenomorph. Climbing on walls isnít just fun, you need to use it to confuse your enemy. Using your hiss and jumping to a different location, scratching walls and metal, as well as just running past your enemy, letting them glance at you, all play a key part in confusing and taking down your enemy.

TLDR: Use the shadows, walls and ceiling, don't run in to battles head on and think before you attack.


Colonial Marine:



Poor, poor colonial Marine, you just canít get a break can you? Being attacked from all angles by naturally engineered killing machines, and stalked by an invisible alien race, born from an ancestry of the universes greatest hunters, each equipped with more teeth, claws and strength than you could ever hope to match. What the fuck are you going to do? Die. Quite a bit. But goddamn it if that asshole Gorman can take some of those fuckers out in the process, then so can you!

- *tick* *tick* *tick* *tick* *(boop)*
The Colonial Marine Corps Tactical 8K Motion Tracker. Has a certain ring to it, doesnít it? This little baby is the difference between you living and dying, but it has limitations. It doesnít deal in height, it is slow to update and, obviously, it canít track anything if it isnít moving. Hearing that heart-stopping *boop* in contrast to the usual *click* is your cue to face that blip on your radar and look up, down, left and right; walls, ceilings, assholes and elbows! Donít rely solely on your motion tracker; looking at it too much gets you dead. Just get your initial bearings and then rely on your eyes and gun.

- Blocking and the One-Two Punch
As said before, you can block a Xenomorphs light attacks, and to some extent, heavy attacks; this can be extremely handy for lowering the damage of attacks you canít avoid. In addition, you can knock a Xenomorph on its ass with 2 melee hits, giving you enough time to spray a clip in to its face; melee, melee, shoot, that is your one-two punch. When it comes to the Predator, however, all bets are off. You stay away from that motherfucker or you are getting your head ripped off; your only upper hand is the Smartgun, which auto-tracks targets, even invisible ones.

- PILLS HERE!

You have healthkits/stim packs/meds/etc. You can use them by pressing the corresponding key in the options menu; more than likely H. Stab one of these in to you if you have 2 seconds to spare and regain some health! Don't walk around, bleeding all over the place like a damned fool. You can also restore your health at the recharge stations littered around the level; make sure you check your six, because it takes about 3 seconds to refill.

TLDR: Don't rely completely on your motion tracker, always look above and behind you, and remember to melee.


Predator:



Humans fucking up your holy ground, Xenomorph scum slithering around the place, spewing their secretive resin everywhere, getting blood all over the carpet; makes you fucking sick, doesnít it? Itís time to put these pathetic beasts out of their misery and show them a thing or two about Predator holy law.

- Go-Go-Gadget Wristblades!
You have a bunch of weapons at your disposal, both long and short range. Like the spinning razor discs that act like boomerangs, ricocheting off walls and other objects, your chargable Plasmacaster that decimates anything with one hit, and even your wristblades can kill in a couple of well placed swipes. Knowing what your equipment does, what equipment to use, and when to use is it, is key to winning as the Predator.

- Anytime... or all the time.
The Predator has lots of cool gadgets, but none cooler than his cloaking device. Seriously, just have it on all the time; ALL the time. You have infinite cloaking for a reason, but be warned, one attack and your wrist-terminal routes power to other utilities and your cloak is toggled off. Remember, Xenomorphs can sense you, and will still see your outline, and Marines can still detect your movement. Keep on the move, and try using Xenomorph movement to mask your own.

- You are a hunter, act like one
Sure you can take a bit of damage, go invisible and get a shoulder mounted, auto-targeting, plasma shooting alien ray, but that doesn't mean you just go flaunting it. You are staunch, but that extra second you take to swing your arm or bend your legs could be the difference between victory and death. Survey, choose your weapon, and don't be afraid of attacking Xenomorphs head on if necessary, you will more than likely win. Humans on the other hand, are surprisingly fatal from a distance.

TLDR: Stay invisible all the time, collect as much equipment as you can and survey the area before proceeding.


I hope this has been helpful to those wanting to last a little longer in the world of Aliens vs Predator. Stay frosty!   read


8:28 PM on 02.03.2010

AvP Demo is available on Steam RIGHT NOW!

I've just downloaded it but I don't think anybody knows it's there and I haven't been able to get a game going. So I thought I would let you all know! It's there, it's about 1.5GB and you can be killing Aliens, Predators and Marines in no time!





Also, here is the new video release for the games "Infestation Mode", where a team of marines goes up against, initially, 1 alien. Whenever a marine is killed, they become an alien. I think you can see the potential for awesome here.

[embed]162510:27131[/embed]

Go! Go! Download!

:edit:

I just got to play a few rounds, and it is fucking awesome. As you would expect with 3 different classes, it has a bit of a learning curve, but I got the hang of the Alien after a few minutes of moving around; it's not as difficult as some would have you believe. Even got an awesome kill coming from underneath a Predator who was standing still for just a little too long, and got the awesome inside-alien-mouth-kill.

Then I played the Predator and got completely fucked on by the other Predator. His jumping is a little iffy in certain positions, like being too close to the ceiling, but overall his shit works great, and using the plasmacaster will never get old.

I still haven't played the Marine yet, going to try that out next.   read


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