My verdict on Spore: Galactic Adventures?

It’s pretty good, but it’s let down by a few minor faults, and one MASSIVE fault. I’ll start with the minor faults.

Character control is a bit crappy in places. I was flying along in one mission, and I overshot the thing I wanted to land on, so I tried to move backwards. Of course, in real life, you can’t really do that, but I don’t care, because this isn’t real life. Tongue out Thing is, I pressed back, and expected my creature to slow down, stop, and then start gliding backwards. But no! He IMMEDIATELY started to go backwards at the same speed he was going forwards, which, because I wasn’t expecting it, then made me undershoot the target, hit the lava and die. Confused Grrrreat.

There’s also a few bugs which clearly show they didn’t put any effort into testing. I was using the special sprint boost you can equip, which is a little faster than normal sprint, but it recharges the sprint bar much faster. I used it when I had low energy, and when my energy hit zero, I was expecting it to stop and not allow me to reapply the sprint until I gained a bit more energy. NO! The sprint stayed on, even though I had no energy left! And even worse, it wouldn’t allow me to deactivate sprint, because the button was greyed out! That’s probably because the developers coded it so that if your energy was below "X", disable the sprint button. Really stupid bugs that could’ve been avoided if they’d actually paid attention to testing, or if they’d hired proper game testers, not chavs who think that game testing is an easy job that just pays them to play games. Tongue out

Those things are minor, though, and I’ve gotten used to them. Now, the biggest problem? No-one can make adventures.

This is nothing to do with Maxis, it’s to do with the general IQ level and imagination of the Spore community. Out of the seven user-created adventures I’ve played so far, I’ve given FIVE of them a crap rating. Three of them I actually had to quit on, either because they weren’t possible, or they were so mindblowingly SHIT that I couldn’t take them anymore. Like one of them, you’ve got to find a scepter on a planet within 20 minutes and return it to another creature. Lame imagination… and the level was also lame, it was just a boring planet with rubbish NPC vehicles on it. Then when I thought I’d found the scepter, I went to pick it up, and something blew up, and I died. WTF?!
Another crap one, you’ve got to get this sword from the end of this "maze" that isn’t a maze. There are also these creatures along the way who are supposed to be your enemy, but they’re set to neutral, so they wouldn’t attack me… and I could even impress them so they’d become my friend. I got the sword, and after a few minutes of trying to figure out where to go next, I reached the next objective. I had to take the sword to this museum thing, so I did. I put it down, thinking I wouldn’t need it anymore, and it fell THROUGH the building. Then, I went through the portal again, and found out that "Oh no, the planet is exploding!" and I had to put the sword back within 2 minutes. But I couldn’t pick up the sword, because it had fallen through the building. GAH! USELESS NOOBS! Angry

The only truly good user-created adventure that I’ve played so far is Super Spore Bros. and although it was in French, I got the gist of what I had to do. It was a bit badly made in places, and near the end, it got ridiculously hard because I kept running out of energy so I couldn’t do much damage to the enemies, but overall, it was pretty good, you could tell the guy had put some effort into it.

So ya, this is a good expansion, but it’s let down by bad game testing and idiots who saturate Sporepedia with CRAP adventures.

Right, I’m gonna see if I can find a good user-made adventure to play. See yas laters! Open-mouthed

OMFG, NO WAY…

Just checked Clickteam’s site… and found out that build #249 is nearly complete, which (I think) is the one with hardware acceleration, which will completely destroy any framerate drops in most games. Great! Open-mouthed

And THEN, I read this:

"Some of our users may have spotted our earlier April fools day joke on the forums, where we linked to two flash games. For our UK users who might not have seen this on the forums, we are
pleased to report that a Flash Export option is in development. More
details about price and availability will be released when it is
available."

OH MY GOD, Multimedia Fusion 2 is going nuclear! First Java, now Hardware Acceleration, and soon… Flash?! If they finish the Flash option, I’m gonna be able to put a slim version of Ultimate Lame Ship Game on Kongregate! Open-mouthed

Seriously, if you’re making 2D games, and you HAVEN’T got MMF2, you’re missing out on SO, SO MUCH. Tongue out I’m so glad I found The Games Factory, and stuck with it, and kept checking back on Clickteam’s website… otherwise I probably wouldn’t know about MMF or MMF2 today. Open-mouthed

Oh ho ho… I feel so sorry for the guys in the year below us.

No, it’s not because they’re at NEW College. Tongue out It’s because they SUCK!

Before I left college on Thursday, I downloaded all of their Flash games to my hard drive so I could play them at home. And they were all CRAP, MILES worse than all of our years’ Flash games. Tongue out Some of them had good graphics, but hadn’t changed any element of the gameplay at all, and hadn’t fixed any bugs. Some people had given their ship lives or shields, which is good… but still… if the game gets IMPOSSIBLE after level 5 because of the game’s crap coding, there’s not much point in lives. Tongue out

Here’s to none of them becoming game developers! Otherwise, we’ll probably go through another video game crash. Confused

I JUST ordered Spore: Galactic Adventures.

I installed Spore again, and as it was downloading a patch, I decided to check out their website. Seems like they passed 100 million creations, which is quite incredible, to be honest. Then again, every time you make a change in the Creature Stage, it doesn’t save over your old creature, it just creates a new one. Once you take that into account… there probably only going to be about 20-40 million unique creatures. Confused

Anyhoo, I watched the trailer for Spore: Galactic Adventures, and because the trailer was so funnily stylized as a comic book style adventure, it sold me! Open-mouthed It’s not JUST that that sold me, though… it increases the replay value to around infinity, because there are loads of adventures included in the expansion, and then once you’re done with those, there are the community created adventures, which never stop coming. Open-mouthed

Not sure what the gameplay experience of the expansion is gonna be like, but I did like Spore, I mean, I REALLY liked it… but then I started thinking of all its faults near the end of the Space Stage, and then the ending that was trying to be funny just wasn’t funny enough. I was expecting something really bad to go down, and then there be this emergency final mission to stop the galaxy from imploding or something, just something to give the game an EPIC finish… but no! Sad Then the first couple of expansion packs put me off even more, because they didn’t really add anything gameplay-ish to the game. They only added extra components for creatures… and I didn’t buy them, because I’m not the kind of dude that wants to sit in front of a monitor and make creatures all day. Tongue out If I buy a game, I want to PLAY it, not mess around with making stuff for it that I won’t really use. Tongue out

Anyway, I’ll tell ya what the expansion’s like when I get it! For now, I’ll sees yas later! Open-mouthed

Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is out tomorrow!

Or today, for all those who pre-ordered it from GAME. Tongue out I’m not so sure that buying this game is a good idea… because… well… um… it’s technically an expansion… and has nearly all the songs that I personally have played before… and yet it costs £40. Confused

Ouch… I would’ve paid £20-30, no problem… but £40 is a bit excessive for a bunch of tunes from previous Guitar Hero games rolled into one game. Sure, they’ve got drums and vocals added into the songs now… but I don’t sing, and I don’t have a drumkit yet. Tongue out

Ya, I may give this one a miss, or get it pre-owned. Smile

In other news, I have just found the worst song in the world! It’s B.Y.O.B by System Of A Down! I played it on GH4, after seeing my rating was only 3 stars, because I’d forgotten what the song was like. And I have now established that anyone who likes this song has no music taste whatsoever… because… well… it’s not a song! The chorus is good, sounds nice and has a tune… but the rest is just noise and idiots yelling. Tongue out Didn’t improve my 3 stars, mainly because I couldn’t hear the song because it didn’t have any distinguishable tune, beat or rhythm… and partly because I couldn’t be arsed and stopped trying to strum to the music after the first solo. Tongue out

More news, COLLEGE IS FINISHED!! Open-mouthed Well, okay, almost… we’ve got a week off, then we’ve gotta go back on Tuesday and Wednesday to do a presentation to finish off our work. And just as long as I deliver a good presentation and pass all my other units (which I’m almost certain to), I’m gonna get the 204 unit points for the DMM grade I need! WOOTAGE! Life is good. Open-mouthed

Anyway, I’m-a off for now. I’ll see y’all later! Open-mouthed

Spyware alert!

Cath Symonds (I didn’t actually know I was on your contacts list Tongue out), just to let you know… you’ve got spyware! Just got this e-mail from you:

hi
Heya, how are you doing recently ? I would like to
introduce you a very good company which I knew. Their company 
web:www.beltals.com/ They can offer you all kinds of electronical
products which you need, such as motorcycles, laptops, mobile phones,
digial cameras, TV LCD,xbox, ps3, gps, MP3/4, etc. Please take some
time to have a look at it, there must be something you ‘d like to
purchase.
Hope you have a good mood in shopping from their company!

Ya. That’s spyware. If I were you, I’d scan the PC. Tongue out Try SpyBot Search & Destroy, that’s good.

By the way, LMFAO… "all kinds of electronical
products which you need, such as motorcycles"… okay… I thought motorcycles were commonly mechanical, y’know… using fuel and an engine and all that? Tongue out

Spammers and people who make spyware seriously fail at this "smartness" thing. Tongue out

DAZ Studio 3 is here!

Yeah! Just released a few days ago! Open-mouthed So, I was quick to download and install it, to see what was new.

And I’m here to report that… it is… SHIT! And here’s why:

It didn’t start well, because after I loaded it up… the tutorial scene failed to load. Great start… especially if you’ve never used the software before… Sarcastic
Fortunately, I know how to use it… so I loaded up a previous scene (the one with the dragons swordfighting), and tested the new, updated rendering engine, rendering the same image at the same size with the same aspect ratio at the same angle. I expected great things to happen, and I had hoped the lighting would more accurate and the render would complete much faster!

But the render took AGES to do NOTHING! It CRASHED on me! Angry

So… I closed it, and restarted the program. Opened up the same scene, and tried to render again, leaving it for what felt like about 10 minutes… even though (when it HAD finished) it claimed it had taken two minutes. Sarcastic Hehe… no… no, it didn’t.

Let me demonstrate the size of the rendering problem. I’m going to close down every other application on my taskbar (excluding Firefox, of course) and render an 840×525 scene in DAZ Studio 3, whilst timing it with my trusty stopwatch. I’m rendering with no raytracing, no background, and with the same complicated refraction texture in Whirlwind’s sword… so let’s see how long this takes…

Okay, it did it…
Hot
…in 6:28.23. Which is pretty appalling, to be frank… Tongue out

Right, I’m now going to load up DAZ Studio 2.3, and see how that gets on with the exact same render.
Okay, it loaded faster than DAZ Studio 3, and loaded the file faster, too. I’m just gonna start rendering now, let’s see how it does…

And it’s done…
Hot
…in 1:38.56! That rendered nearly 400% faster… and it’s an EARLIER VERSION! Surprised

I’ve just noticed… have you SEEN what DAZ Studio 3 has done to the image?! It’s smoothed out all the bumpmaps, so the objects look smoother, more blurry, and less realistic, and it’s even effed up Shadow’s armour, particularly his head armour, which has stretched way beyond the end of his muzzle! And, in my opinion, it’s completely SCREWED UP Whirlwind’s sword… it looks crap compared to what DAZ Studio 2.3 could do!

Also, after I rendered, closed the current scene and started a new scene, I noticed that DAZ Studio 3 had COMPLETELY fecked up my content directories, so I couldn’t find where anything was. Just what I need… some update to screw up my content directories which took ages to make… Sarcastic

It’s not just the render engine or content directories that DAZ Studio 3 has failed at. I want to be able to see where my keyframes are, like in 3DS Max, because that’s kinda important in an animation package… but they’ve failed to add that. Instead, they’ve added this USELESS animation plugin called aniMate Lite which uses stupid "aniBlocks" to "help" with animation. They have supplied some preset aniBlocks… which is a nice thought… but they don’t work with any non-human figure, such as… say… the Millenium SubDragon, which I have used more than human figures. Tongue out The preset aniBlocks are crap, anyway… the only useful ones are the walking ones. If you want to make new aniBlocks (which you do), you’ve got to manually create keyframes to create the animation… which is hard, because I can’t freaking see where my keyframes are, which is the feature I wanted (and probably many other animators wanted) in the first place! After that, you can save the animation to use later as an aniBlock… but why would I want to do that? Nine times out of ten, if you’re serious about animating (which you would be if you bought a £150 animation package with the slogan "It’s time to get serious!")… you’re not going to use the exact same animation sequence again and again, are you? You’d vary it to make it interesting… and to do that, you’d edit the keyframes.

They’ve added a bunch more useless features, too… there’s the Render Editor which lets you preview your previous renders and compare them, and also change some settings such as brightness. Fine… but if I were going to compare two renders, I’d use something called "Windows Photo Viewer", which is free, and can flick back and forth between many images… and if I wanted to change some settings, I’d use the same program… or I’d use Photoshop, which, if you can afford DAZ Studio Advanced… you should have anyway, otherwise you’re a complete idiot. Tongue out

There’s also the "Shader Mixer" and "Shader Builder", which I can’t use because they’re so blindingly overcomplicated. I suspect that they’re also useless, because when I try to apply one of the preset shaders to an object… I get an error saying that something’s missing. When I tell it to "recompile", it works… but when I render… it looks nothing like it does in the thumbnail. I applied the "plastic" shader to one of my objects… and it came out as pure black instead of… plastic. Useless!

There’s a "shader baker", as well… which gets all the bump maps, displacement maps, basically every texture map on an object, and, in an incredibly long and tedious process, the "shader baker" combines them together into one map. This lets you see your object with more detail in the viewport. One question… why in the name of CRAP would I want to do that?! That’s what RENDERING is for! Besides, adding extra detail onto a viewport object is only going to slow everything down!

They also claim that DS3 has all the features of DS2… but they LIE! There’s this "pin/unpin" button on the title bar of every window in DS2. When you click it when the window is docked, it slides over to the nearest side of the screen, and adds a tab to that side of the screen with the window’s name in it. When you click this tab, the window appears as a floating window, which stays there until you stop hovering over it. If you click the "pin/unpin" button again while the floating window is visible, it becomes a full window again, and docks where you last left it! This saves a lot of space, because you may want the window to be there, but you may not need it all the time. For example, I want lip-sync to be within arm’s reach when I need it, but I don’t need it all the time. It also saves time, because if you closed the window and needed it back, you’d have to go into a menu, go into a submenu, find the window you want, click on it, and dock it into position. In DS3, they removed this unbelievably handy button… which REALLY pissed me off! I either have to sacrifice A LOT of viewport space just so I can have all the toolbars there at the same time, or I have to have a bunch of annoying floating windows all over the place!

So, to sum up, DS3 is slower than DS2… takes 400% longer to render than DS2… renders less accurately than DS2… and has a lot of pointless extra features which do nothing but make the program bigger and harder to download. If, for some reason, you find any part of DS3 better than DS2… you need to go to a mental asylum and/or shoot yourself, because you’re a complete idiot. Tongue out And so… for the first time EVER, I’m going to be uninstalling a newer version of a program, and sticking with the old version!

Right, I think that’s all. Smile Methinks I shall finish this bit of college work off. Only five days left… Confused

Anyhoo, I’ll see y’all later! Open-mouthed

Okay, so what the hell does this mean?

I’m just finishing off my computer games story report… and it’s asking me to comment on "literary qualities". WTF does that mean?! Confused

One site says that it’s nearly impossible to define… whereas another says it’s "A judgment
about the value of a novel as literature. At the heart of this issue is
the question of what distinguishes a great or important novel from one
that is less important. Certainly the feature is not that of interest
or
excitement, for pulp novels can be even more exciting and interesting
than
"great" novels. Usually, books that make us think–that offer insight
into
the human condition–are the ones we rank more highly than books that
simply
titillate us."

It gets on my nerves that they use complex words when trying to explain something, like "titillate". It also gets on my nerves that NEW College actually wants us to put these "literary qualities" into our stories and explain them! I just wrote the story, I didn’t think about specific elements of it… REAL writers who are serious about their stories don’t plan everything… because they don’t need to. Tongue out

Anyway, I don’t know what the hell a "literary quality" is. And if it’s something that makes the reader think… then I’m afraid that my story doesn’t have that, unless making the reader think that they should be more careful with Cillit Bang counts. Tongue out Stories are supposed to entertain, right? Then why do I NEED "literary qualities"? Tongue out

Can anyone clarify this term for me? I’m a bit stuck. Tongue out Thank yous in advance! Open-mouthed

Oh, by the way, Spore: Galactic Adventures (another expansion to Spore) has caught my eye. I liked Spore, and I freaking loved how you could make nearly ANYTHING you wanted, and I loved the game so much… RIGHT up until the point I noticed how ultra-easy the game was, how crap the space stage was, and how the ending was one of the worst endings I’ve ever experienced. Oh, and the fact that the game lasted me less time than I wanted it to, and how there was not much of a way to enjoy the game after it’d ended, because there was near-zero replay value. So… it was pretty disappointing, but this expansion sounds like it could add some good content that is replayable and not boring. If it can do what Bejeweled can do in terms of replay value, I’m sold! Open-mouthed

You peoples who have Spore, info about the expansion’s right here, if you wanna take a look. Smile

Right, anyway, that’s all for now. See ya laters! Smile

WOW, NEW College are getting on my nerves.

Okay, so we’ve got this awards evening tonight… and Grace was nearly literally pissing herself for me to go, because it was "quite important that I be there". So… I thought that it was important… myabe I’d won something that was actually meaningful, instead of "Well done, you were here at least 90% of the time!" or whatever. Tongue out

So, I made arrangements to go, and told Grace that my sister wanted to come, if there was enough space. She said "that should be fine", so I texted my sister to tell her the times and stuff, and she said she’d be able to take me and bring me back. Great! Open-mouthed

However… just as I was about to leave the class, Grace said that I COULDN’T go, because I hadn’t returned the form or something. Which is really stupid… why would I need to return a form when she could just reserve places for me there and then? So, I cancelled the arrangements, and I was extremely annoyed… but I was quite quiet about it.

Today, I found a message on the voicemail that I must’ve missed that was left yesterday at about 9:00PM. It was from someone from NEW College about the awards evening (probably to say that I can now go), and asking me if I could ring in the morning. I find this REALLY fecking annoying, and really damned rude!

Basically, they’ve said, "Oh, you can come if you want to… oh no, you’ve REALLY gotta come, it’s SO IMPORTANT! Oh, now you can’t come, sorry. Wait, no, sorry, you CAN come now…" Damn it, I wouldn’t get pushed around this many times even if I was in a freaking pinball machine! And I bet that if I decided to phone them now, they’d put the icing on the cake and say "Oh, sorry, no, that was a mistake, you can’t actually come."

King organisation skillz by NEW College(!) Sarcastic They fail at organising units, they fail at making units, (one of the units was CHANGED midway through, and only people that hadn’t passed them had to do the unit again, which I find extremely shit) they fail at computing, they fail at organising awards evenings… basically, NEW College fails, a lot.

So… I don’t reckon I’ll be at the awards evening after all… although my sister is (annoyingly) phoning them right now for me… even though I specifically said "I’m not going", because they’ve had their chance to get me there. If they wanted me to think they were serious about it, and that it truly WAS important… they wouldn’t have changed their minds so many times by now!

110% focus on passing the course with at least DDM mark, now… I’d rather not have to go back there and redo the course. Tongue out