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12:56 PM on 04.23.2010

My Indie Projects - Shameless Self Promotion

I finally uploaded some videos of the few indie game projects I've been involved with.
You can check them out at my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/solivagant
or just view them embedded here:

[embed]171884:29341[/embed]
This is Pocket Bogart, a Detective Adventure for the DS, this is just a demo. I developed it using PAlib, it's a great easy to use library. It's inspired by Ace Attorney and old film noir movies. I wrote a lot of stuff for this, and is my favorite pet project. I'm trying to port it to iPhone. Forgive the fast video, it's a framerate bug.

[embed]171884:29342[/embed]
This is me playing with the game on an actual Nintendo DS. As you can see it runs fine.

[embed]171884:29343[/embed]
This is Flashlight, a platformer multiplayer shooter I made in Python with some friends, for University. If I had the time I'd polish it and make some more levels, it's got a great concept (platforming with darkness with multiplayer) I think.

There you go! Nothing special but I loved working on these concepts. I still got a 3d concept to show you guys but it's nothing to look at, just a mouse picking test with a flaming man walking around.   read


4:36 PM on 03.16.2010

Happy Birthday Destructoid

It's been 4 years since the start of the great site. I check it everyday for the latest gaming news. If Kotaku is the women's gossip magazine of Gaming, Destructoid is definitely the Maxmen or Playboy. I've been here since the very start, and what a journey! Unfortunately I haven't met any Dtoiders yet. I live in Portugal if anyone wants to make a meet! Destructoid PT, how about it?

The Community blogs feature is unrivaled in any game blog or website. It is a great community that I'm proud to be a part of. As a token of my affection here's my great Paint work celebrating four years of journalism!



Also, this is just a suggestion, but I say we make a day of Sterlingtoid in honour of honourable Jim Sterling's contributions to the site. I know Destructoid is much more than Sterling, for we have the great Rev's Indie discoveries, the lovely Cole Bennett's love of all things silent (and hilly) and also Hamza AZIZ (were you part of Something Awful? I suggested a guy's crazy programming support forum for Weekend Web and never got an answer back!), Dale North's all around awesome averageness and of course Sterling's raw brutality. There are others that I don't remember, but I love you all guys the same, except perhaps the lovely Cole Bennett more than others because of her love for all things silent.

Also did or did not Dtoid birth the great Rev's sister amazing series Hullo Josh whatever arst thou perusing in thy video game console? Congrats on that.   read


7:22 AM on 03.02.2010

Activision's shenanigans

After killing The Silver Living and apparently getting into a quarrel with the top heads of Inifnity Ward, the peons who fetch the money from Activision's infinite golden COD mine, I've received another GoG notification about how this is Activision's Month (guess it's February AND March) and that Phantasmagoria 2 and Return to Krondor are now / will be available for cheap bucks and DRM free.

It's ironic really, the GoG partnership seemed like a will of good faith. Sure the King's and Space quests were already on Steam, and while Steam is what I call "friendly DRM", the GoG releases feature none of that. After the drama though, it just looks like a move to grab some bucks.

Steam wouldn't be an appropriate channel for Return to Krondor of Phantasmagoria, I think. It has some classic games, but GoG is the place to get the really old and perhaps not so universally acclaimed games. So this is just Activision wanting some bucks for old IP. Of course, naturally, companies exist to make MONEY! So it's all fair and good. But they're sending a mixed message.   read


4:12 AM on 02.23.2010

Redemption

Ok folks, last time I blogged Yakuza 3 on the West was just a mirage, and now it's real.

Also, I've arrived to some new conclusions:

On the PC:
I NO LONGER HATE BETHESDA. Giving Obsidian the chance to make Fallout: New Vegas was a good move on them, and not something that any company would do, i.e., giving a chance to some of the old developers from Fallout 2 to take the franchise for a new spin. I still hate Fallout 3 though.


I AM IN LOVE WITH BIOWARE AGAIN. Dragon Age is amazing, I've barely just touched it (I've just completed the nightmare with that sleepy demon guy in the Wizard's Tower), but it is awesome and brings back so many memories of Baldur's Gate I can't help but love it.


Simone, my character in Dragon Age

Also, I gave a chance to Mass Effect 2. It's great. I still can't play the first one, the shooting bits are pretty bad, but ME2 is fantastic. I haven't completed it yet, but I will!


I hate default Shepard. I tried to make the roughest tough-guy I could imagine


SYSTEM SHOCK WITH MOUSE LOOK: Someone made a mod so you can use proper mouse look on the oldie System Shock. This makes the game instantly more playable than it was before. Now it works like a true FPS. The game is incredibly deep for a '94 game, when games were just mere distractions for kids, or so they thought. In fact, this game is incredibly deep for a 2010 game!

[embed]164675:27715[/embed]


BIOSHOCK 2 IS GREAT: Another one that I haven't finished, but it's looking very solid. Love the hack tool, it solved the hack problems I had with Bioshock that I mentioned in a previous post.

On the PS3:

AFTER 2 YEARS, I FINALLY FINISHED GTA4. Incredible, it took me more than 2 years to finish that game. It was very hard to resist the compulsion to steal a car, run over a bunch of people and start shooting random cars and then escape the police and start destroying helicopters. It's all because of the Euphoria engine, it makes chaos so beautiful and irresistible, I would spend a whole day just to arrive at the spot of a mission, killing hundreds in the way.


LAST GAME I GOT FOR MY PS3 WAS BAYONETTA. It fucking rocks. Here's a game for the action fanatic. This one I've already finished, but it's immensely replayable. It allows you to turn off acquired upgrades and abilities, and it show you the full history of game time and points for every stage, once you finish the game. Since one of the unlockables requires a less than 3 hour completion time, I don't need to replay the whole game to achieve it, I can just try to reduce the time on the stages I took longer. The game is filled with jewels like this.

I'll change my header and profile text since it's no longer all true.

Also, just tried the Mount and Blade: Warband beta, it's looking pretty good, though I wish there was a full Campaign-mode multiplayer.   read


7:35 AM on 09.27.2009

Rumour: Yakuza 3 coming to Europe in March

Hey folks your friendly Fallout 3 hater is back. I wanted to give a spin on the new community blog features that the good dtoid hackers managed to implement!

Here's something I haven't seen around here yet, THE LATEST RUMOUR (Right after the Yakuza 1 & 2 playable on PS3 through PSN and that Yakuza 3 is coming to the west by means of a company I forget the name):

YAKUZA 3 is coming to europe in march! (or so sayeth a spanish magazine) (courtesy of Sega Nerds, courtesy of The Vandal)

So what does this mean? Is this god damn game finally gonna be translated?

I don't know, but listen to this awesome battle theme from the first game:

[embed]150112:23015[/embed]
GET YOUR FUNK ON

Anyone that tried the demo can attest that this game rocks, even if you don't understand crap about what they're saying. The combat system is just sweet, using those nunchuckus (nunchakus?) to unleash PAIN on those bastards is great. Batman also shares this characteristic with the Yakuza series, where you really feel the BEATDOWN you are deploying on those poor guys (mostly through a slow-down finish on the last guy and by EXTREME punching and cracking sounds).


NOT PICTURED: Excruciating sound of PAIN

I finish this post with the obligatory hot hostess:

Free hot picture for your pleasure

Even if this is just bullshit, we all know this game (and 4) must come to the WEST! And don't forget Yakuza Kenzan. Though I guess that one won't be coming here, since it features some kind of slave girl market or whatever.   read


7:49 PM on 07.10.2009

Art of the Game Box

Throughout the years since I first started gaming I witnessed, as many of you, the evolution of the game box.

My first games were Spectrum games, so the boxes were simply regular tape boxes with great covers, that most of the time didn't even had that much to do with the actual game. They featured great art that set the imagination on fire, which helped when the game's graphics were most of the time really simple.

Then, I got my first PC games, and they came on cardboard boxes, big ones that attracted the eye when one wandered through the shops. First the boxes contained floppies, and then these were replaced with cds. Besides this, the boxes contained manuals, sometimes large, sometimes small, sometimes maps, and sometimes other stuff, like quick reference cards and weirder things like Leisure Suit Larry 7's Smell-o-vision piece of paper that had 9 different smells, that you would smell as instructed during the game.

And then, sometime in 2000, 2001, or 2002, games started to come in DVD boxes. Manuals had to be shortened or neglected at all, maps became extremely scarce, and the box artwork was diminished, miniaturized. No longer could a publisher use the width or size of a larger box to call attention to itself. Every game now occupies the same space, and has only that cover artwork to sell itself.

Nowadays, game boxes are under the risk of disappearing, being replaced by Steam and Direct2Drive releases.

What follows is a sample of photos I took of my best looking game boxes, from my best games.
Click on any of them to go to the full set of photos.
Enjoy the ride.


The great collection. People just don't make boxes like this anymore.


All of these games' manuals and maps stacked together. Nowadays this kind of stuff only comes in special editions.


The game that started it all.


Fallout 2 Manual's Introduction, written by the Vault Dweller of the first game.


The map of Baldur's Gate. The ingame city is as big as depicted in here, with as many nooks and crannies.


The manual of the game that kick started the PC Action RPG genre.


Diablo's manual, open. It's in Portuguese, and it makes it all the more mystical. Gorgeous artwork.


Absolutely amazing.


Planescape: Torment poster. The best written game on any platform.


Behold Bioshock's father, Ken Levine's and former Irrational Studios fairest child: Shock 2.


The evolution of the Ultima series, as depicted on the box's cover panel. Peculiar how Ultima VII is above all the others.


Promotional flyer for the cancelled Warcraft Adventure game.


I heard this game is getting a sequel soon...


Jagged Alliance 2, one of the finest turn based experiences.


The map of the Northern Kingdoms, The Witcher's world.


Here's the collection again, this time ordered by year of release.

There are many more photos of these and other game boxes from my collection on my flickr account, specifically on this set.

Here's hoping that collector's editions keep bringing back the big cardboard boxes, the manuals, the maps and the extra trinkets of old.   read


6:16 AM on 04.12.2009

Assassin's Creed 2: Venice

In the latest Game Informer all previously leaked information from Ass' Creed 2 was confirmed. The game takes place in Venice, therefore expect some kick ass buildings to climb and jump around, such as St Mark's Basilica.


This holy place will probably show up in the game. Kick ass.


The view will be like this, only without any recent buildings!

Also confirmed is the main character's name, Ezio. It's a cool, foreign sounding name, but does it beat Altair?

Here's hoping that for the third outing, Ubisoft sets the game in Barcelona, in the modern days. If only to climb Gaudi's still WIP Sagrada Familia:

Altair would love to check this out.   read


2:40 AM on 02.25.2009

A Home for the Yakuza


RYU GA GOTOKU 3

Anyone that's been following Yakuza news knows that Yakuza 3 is going to be released in Japan on February 26, with currently no plans to bring it or the samurai spin-off, Kenzan!, to the West. This needs to change!

After some folks on Gamefaqs chatted up Sega, a hopeful response came through: "show us thereís a strong net community for Yakuza and we will think about releasing the games there".

Thatís when a couple of members of the gamefaqs forums banded together and created Yakuza-3.com, currently being maintained by Pixel.

Letís show Sega that there really are Yakuza fans in the USA, Europe and Australia and elsewhere in the world.

It has a good wealth of info, and while the site itself still has a lot of work todo, we already have forums up and a wiki, so the sooner people start pouring in, the better.

Our objective is to organize the Yakuza fans, currently spread over the various general gaming sites, and strive for our goal: to bring Yakuza 3 to the west.

______________________________________________________________________________________
That said, I leave with you my own personal experience with the series so far (it's long):

Iíve been playing Yakuza 1 sporadically, ever since I got it, which was a good while before Sega started talking about finally bringing Yakuza 2 to the West. I read about the spin-off set in samurai times being released, and then the announcement that there would be a real Yakuza 3, continuing the story.

Yet, I havenít finished Yakuza 1. Between getting a PS3 and playing some recent (and decent) PC games, Yakuza kept getting forgotten. But now Iím back to finish the job.

Yakuza is a game that doesnít give a great first impression, at least from what I can tell from my own first reaction and my friendsí. The game was released in 2006 in Europe, and while the cover looked awesome, the game didnít really grab me. I mistook it for just another brawler, like Final Fight: Streetwise and the like, and probably a crappy one at that.

Huge mistake.

The fans of the series already know what makes it special, but for those that never played it, hereís the gist: details. The game is crammed with stuff to do, stuff to read, details to discover on your own. At its heart, itís a fighting game, with a couple of combos that you will use from the beginning until the end of the game, but with plenty of new moves to learn at your own pace, using experience points gained after finishing enemies and doing side-missions.


The city looks gorgeous for a PS2 title

The game takes place in a neighborhood of Tokyo, a faithful recreation of Shinjuku. I donít know how faithful it is, but it sure feels like Iím moving around Kyriuu (thatís the main character) in the crowded streets of the Japanese metropolis. Thereís neon signs everywhere, lots of characters on screen, and you can even overhear conversations while walking around, displayed in dialog bubbles. When you bump on someone, they get knocked back and wind up a bit; itís great for a game from 2005 on a PS2.

Wandering about you can reach various shops, bars and gambling areas of the neighborhood. Itís up to you if you want to run over to the next story mission, displayed in glowing red on the map, or if you want to explore the place and see if you can find characters needing help. While doing this youíll have some random encounters, though since the enemies are already on screen when you reach them, the game really makes it feel like itís not a random encounter, just some bastard that was already waiting for you up ahead.

And then the fighting starts. Like I said, itís not terribly deep, but thereís enough realism and brutality in the fighting that it really feels as if youíre punishing some punks for pestering that girl. Youíll pull the two-punch, two-kick combo plenty of times, but when your special spirit bar is filled up you can do some different moves.
During these fights thereís usually some piece of furniture standing around, waiting for you to pick it up and bang it on your foesí heads, a use meter making sure itíll break quickly. If you have your spirit ON, you can use a special move thatíll show Kyriuu smashing the whole item on top of the enemy, destroying the object no matter how much uses it had left, and most of the time killing / knocking out the enemy right there. Thereís an early mission that happens on a graveyard, and itís awesome that you can pick up a tombstone and smash it on top of the poor folks ordered to kill you.


The fighting in the game is brutal

All of this is accompanied by great sound effects, every fist hitting flesh, every object breaking heads, and when you dispose of the last enemy thereís even a slow motion effect to show off your might.
Kyriuu is taller than his enemies, which is one of those details that really make you feel like a famous ex-Yakuza of great strength and might. Walking around amidst the smaller enemies, youíre a force to be reckoned with and can lift them easily, throwing them on top of other punks or headbutting them until they fall down.

This kind of atmosphere isnít usually on display on games that feature brawling or beat em up gameplay. Devil May Cry is too floaty and light, while God of War, which is very brutish, is too supernatural to be compared to the ďrealĒ pain of Yakuza. Only No More Heroes achieves a similar effect, even with all the blood (or ash, in Europeís case).

But the game isnít just fighting. There are also diversions, like a batting minigame, and the hostesses, virtual girls that you can chat up and offer gifts and the like, hoping for some more intimate encounters. They donít go very deep, finishing on a pink screen probably reflecting Kyriuu ďgetting it onĒ, butís great that the featureís there, even if it kind of reeks of dating sims. In Yakuza you really have to pay even just to chat with these girls, it really is a service that youíre paying for. And it isnít cheap!

Other details worth mentioning is how you can buy real drinks in the various bars, a lot of them from Suntory (if youíve seen Lost in Translation, you know what Iím talking about, itís a very famous Japanese beverage brand), and every time you drink a beverage that you havenít tasted yet, you gain a couple of experience points. Itís just cool that the game rewards you for trying out the drinks, reading their description and checking them out on the table of the bar.   read


6:27 AM on 02.19.2009

One of the Best PSN Days...

First off:
YAKUZA 3 DEMO (Japanese obviously)


Download that shit mother fuckers ITS FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! I've played it and it's really awesome, sure I don't understand ZIP of what they're saying, but the combat system from Yakuza 1 and 2 has been improved and flows much more freely. The graphics are amazing and the music continues to amaze.

GET A JAP ACCOUNT ANY WAY YOU CAN heres a simple video for you non-readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hUJ4rrzi9c

Second off:
NOBY NOBY BOY IS GONNA STRETCH AROUND YOUR SOUL


No words can describe this game, not even the Keita GOD himself. I'll buy this and the world will end.

Every Katamari Damacy lover (and HATER) needs to buy this and play it until we get the size of the GIRL character around the whole UNIVERSE (the GIRL character's size is determined by the size of ALL players on the PSN, and she starts off around Earth and expands outwardly).

Check the trophy list for the game, its not only revealing of the gameplay but also has a great design that forms a giant WORM when you get them all. This is how trophies should be.
http://playstation.joystiq.com/2009/01/25/trophies-noby-noby-boy/

Third off:
I don't know about anything else hitting PSN today worth mentioning, if you guys know, post a comment.   read


2:16 PM on 02.02.2009

New Yakuza 3 Pics Are the new Hotness

I must confess, something that I've kept from my "10 things you dont know" post.

I'm a crazy Yakuza fan. I haven't even finished the first one but I got the second one all geared up for when I'm done with the first one, and then if Kenzan never makes it here I'll have to import it, unless of course, SEGA has published Yakuza 3 here in the meanwhile.

I'll post my "Why Yakuza rules" article later on, right now this is just a knee-jerk reaction to the shots posted on dtoid itself: http://www.destructoid.com/new-yakuza-3-images-are-fantastically-horny-action-packed-120220.phtml


This one is particularly awesome, I can imagine the kerpow that will follow after this attack, and the billboard thingie smashing into a million bits on top of the bad guy's skull.

Of course, Dtoid also linked to CVG's new gallery of girly action:
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=207205

Just remember folks, the girl on the second picture is actually the cg model of a transexual:


What the hell is a guy supposed to feel when looking at that? Is she hot, is he totally not hot, which is it?   read


12:27 PM on 02.01.2009

10 things you don't know about Solivagant

1. Solivagant means Lone Wanderer. It's an english word.

2. I enjoy writing most about things that I love, even though you'll probably only know me by my bashing, specially since I get a kick out of posting hateful comments in news stories whose writer decides to add a funny (read: crap) line.

3. I hail from the great nation of Portugal, whose current accomplishment is being the home of the winner of the award for best football (or soccer if you call it that) player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo.

4. I'm a budding game designer and writer and will share my evil plans for world domination with all of you one day.

5. Playing PS3 and being on the computer are concurrent activites for me, since the console and the computer share the same screen, therefore I'm always switching source and losing track of what I was doing in each.

6. In music there are three bands that have my utmost respect and love: Tool, NIN, Rammstein. Each of these bands has crafted its niche, perfected it, and then torn it apart and reinvented themselves proving that music genres are just pigeonholes.

7. The Matrix Trilogy are my all time favorite movies and get incensed everytime someone mentions the sequels as the inferior ones. After those films I favor thrillers and all sorts of strange films. I'm currently getting learned on Alejandro Jodorowsky.

8. Own a DS, Wii, PS3, PS2, PSX, N64, SNES, Mega Drive and had a gameboy thats gone the way of the dead. And a GBA.

9. I'm currently finishing my computer engineering degree and I'm on the limb whether to keep studying or go to work. Tending towards the latter.

10. I consider that the truth of life lies in the passion with which one does his work and lives his life.

11. I don't know how to count.   read


6:34 PM on 01.30.2009

Reviewing a Fallout 3 Trailer.. yes, back to the hate

Hello folks, back to your non-scheduled programming: Fallout 3 hating.

So I guess the nfans (new fallout fans) have seen the latest videos concerning OPERATION ANCHORAGE dlc, wherein Bethesda invents "a battle of Fallout lore" and uses it to their advantage. Basically if you read "batle of Fallout lore", you might think they finally decided to actually read the Fallout Bible released by Chris Avellone of Black Isle and currently Obsidian fame. But no, they didn't. They just made up shit.

So, about the trailer. Well I could only stomach one and now I'm going to nitpick the hell out of it. By the way, I know I'm writing like an idiot and complaining just to complain, but since Fallout 3 is such a huge success, I guess that as a tfan (tru & proppah fallout fan) I should be allowed to piss all over it since no one else besides the guys at the rpg codex will do it.

Ok so this is the video im talking about: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/44826.html

Right, it starts off with Bethesda's trademarked way of starting off DLCs and quests that pop out of nowhere: a fucking green box in the middle of the screen. Instead of allowing the player to find about this "distress" signal on his own, no, Bethesda KNOWS the player of today will want this shit fed to him to the vein, so they just put a stupid huge IMMERSSHUN BREAKING block of text in the middle of the screen.

Then the guy checks the radio. Poor voice acting rears its ugly head: the raider actually sounds like a mutant! Eh eh, guess you guys will be saying "you dont even know that Mutants don't talk?" or whatever, well they could in the first games, and on Fallout 3, since the plot is basically a ripoff of Fallout 1 and 2 combined, cept on the East Coast (really, to all farts (old fallout fans that embraced Fallout 3) did you guys really eat that excuse of A NEW PLAN TO PUT VIRUS ON PEOPLE AND TURN THEM INTO MUTANTS based entirely on the East Coast? What goddamn shitty excuse is that? The FEV plan should have been, and was, the ONLY plan to.. shit I sound like a Star Trek fan!).

That previous phrase got too convoluted so I'll just continue. When the guy goes and opens the door (shouldnt it be locked?) he gets three dialog choices. I'll resume them, the top one is "i'm a good guy that IGNORED the huge BLOCK OF GREEN TEXT, the second one is I'M EVILLLL and the third one is I'm a good guy that FOLLOWED the huge BLOCK OF GREEN TEXT. I guess that if the character had enough Intelligence he would get an Intelligence option that would read "I'm a good guy that FOLLOWED the HUGE BLOCK OF GREEN TEXT + I CAN SEE YOU GOT A PROBLEM HERE!", just like Fallout 3 which has a lot of examples of this kind of crap dialog.

Oh yeah then the guy asks "how did you find out about this EXCLUSIVE broadcast?", Well, no duh! Bethesda TOLD ME!!!

Then they show a guy with cliche sergeant voice, and then the first good model i've seen of Fallout 3, a chick with cool blonde hair. And then she spits out shit. Simulation? Fallout 3 had that crap right into the plot, I take this chance to ask: WHY? Is this Fallout 3, or the Matrix? That kind of shit DOES NOT make sense in the valve huge mainframe world of Fallout 1 & 2. It's a cop out to put out shit by Bethesda.


Then the lady says that they will put this NEWCOMER THAT CAME OUT OF NOWHERE, he will get into the simlation because he has the necessary pipboy and because the Brotherhood of Steel or whatever the shit these guys are are cool and stuff, and "you are attached to it". Even though, if this was Fallout 1, they'd rip out the pipboy out of your arm and leave you to die. Oh yeah, I know, theyre the Outcasts. Or maybe they're the originals, but theire called OUTCASTS because the Brotherhood of Steel that rules East Coast, who were the original outcasts, now dominate this scene, so the originals, are now the Outcasts. -Great JOB, BETHESDA! I congratulate your writer. And I wish he would quit writing.

Then a terrible animation of the char entering into the pod ensues.

And then MATRIX shit.

And I'm a huge Matrix fan. But I dont want any Matrix on my Fallout, just like I dont want any Fallout on my MAtrix (even though the Matrix's Real World has a bit of the vibe).

And then the video ends and you guys creamed your pants.   read


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