Okay, so it may be a bit late, but…

my devblog on TDC has been updated. Open-mouthed

I said it’d be ready "tomorrow" two days ago, but yeah. Tongue out

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Ooh, look what Sega’s been bullied into doing…

http://www.sonicthehedgehog4.com/en/index.html

They’ve given in to the fans. Eye-rolling

Okay, so to let you know where I’m coming from, here was the general conversation between Sega and their fans during the past 3 years or so. I haven’t played any of the Sonic games on the Wii, so this just involves the two Xbox 360 games. Tongue out:

*Sega releases Sonic Next-Gen (THE worst Sonic game EVER.)*

Fans: "OMFG SEGA WTF ARE YOU DOING THIS IS A BUGGY PIECE OF SHIT!"

Sega: "Okay, we’re aware of the bugs, and we admit, we DID rush this."

Fans: "It’s not just the BUGS, it’s the gameplay! This isn’t a Sonic game! And what’s with the shitty story?! And who the hell is Silver… he’s a dick! And for GOD’S SAKE LEARN TO VOICE ACT!"

Sega: "Alright, sorry – we’ll take into account what you think."

*A couple years later, Sega releases Sonic Unleashed (A pretty good game in my opinion.)*

Fans: "OMFG SEGA WTF ARE YOU DOING THIS IS SHIT!!"

Sega: "Uh, okay, we actually worked really hard on this one, and we’ve tried to go back to our roots whilst adding next-gen features and graphics. What’s the problem?"

Fans: "THE WEREHOG IS SHIT AND THE GAME WOULD’VE BEEN BETTER WITHOUT IT."

Sega: *sigh* "Okay, we’re just trying to make things a little more interesting… what else?"

Fans: "IT’S NOT A SONIC GAME, IT NEEDS TO BE 2D."

Sega: "Look, we’re not in the 90’s anymore. We’re a big company, and next-gen consoles are DESIGNED for 3D graphics…"

Fans: "JUST DO IT MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!11!one!"

That actually annoys me – it’s as if Sega can’t win. Sega REALLY improved from Sonic Next-Gen by releasing Sonic Unleashed. Their new engine was good, the gameplay was fast and exciting, the levels (daytime levels especially) were really cool, spectacular in parts – the ONLY things that were wrong with it were the annoying side-missions and the slow Werehog parts, although they weren’t THAT bad. And if Sega took OUT the side missions and the Werehog parts, it would’ve been ripped apart for not being long enough, deep enough or interesting enough! Tongue out Jesus Christ people, give Sega a break, and give them credit where it’s due! Sonic Unleashed was a GOOD GAME – I enjoyed it! Smile Even the STORY wasn’t horrifyingly bad! It was unrealistic and very Japanese, but at least it was INTERESTING, unlike almost every other game released in the past year or two. Tongue out

But yeah, Sega seems to be listening to their fans a lot, so much that the games they produce (their Sonic games, at least) depend on what their fans want. In my opinion, that’s quite admirable, but it doesn’t seem fair. Sad The fans have bullied them into making a new 2D Sonic game. When they’re done, they’ll get yelled at by fans because the graphics are too modern, or you don’t go around loop the loops in a perfect circle, or something equally stupid. One day, Sega are gonna be back at 16-bit games, and then they’ll get screwed at because their games are too primitive. Then they’ll go back to 3D, and then they’ll get screwed at because the games they’re making "aren’t Sonic games"! Retro gamers, will you PLEASE BACK THE FUCK OFF?! Retro IS cool, but it’s GONE NOW. It’s the 21st century – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo didn’t spend massive amounts of money on developing consoles with modern technology so you can play the original MegaMan on them… Sarcastic

Although I AM looking forward to seeing what Sonic 4 is like, I got an idea for when you’re finished, Sega. Ignore your fans’ whining for a 2D game. Stay with 3D, and take Sonic Adventure 2 as a base, because Sonic Adventure 2 (Battle) was the best Sonic game ever made – I honestly couldn’t fault it, even if I tried. If you build on that, and release Sonic Adventure 3, you will have made something AMAZING. Open-mouthed Just a thought. Wink

Oh, and while you’re at this business of reviving old franchises, make a new Panzer Dragoon game. It’s been nearly TEN YEARS since Panzer Dragoon Orta, and that was INCREDIBLE. So was Panzer Dragoon Saga. And Panzer Dragoon Zwei. And the original Panzer Dragoon. Open-mouthed I can’t believe you haven’t noticed that you have a franchise which has produced NO bad games. Tongue out I drool at the possibilities of a next-gen Panzer Dragoon… hub worlds with areas that lead to different rail shooter levels… or maybe some levels are more action-flight based… with RPG elements so you can dismount and explore on foot? Maybe with sections where you have to dump the rider in a small area while you cover them with the dragon? Kinda a mix between Orta, Saga, Drakengard and Drakan… with TWO PLAYER CO-OP MODES? Oh my, I’m ejaculating right now. Tongue out

And two words: Shenmue 3. Tongue out And just in case you’re trying to make me look stupid, no, the words in the tooltip for the "Tongue out" smiley don’t count. Wink

Anyway, I’m off for now. See y’all later. Open-mouthed

UPDATE!!

Seems that some people agree with me:

I stumbled across them in a random forum, it took me ONE MINUTE to find them. Open-mouthed

Just finished Bioshock 2… and I’m back to finish my review off. :P

I won’t give away any of the story if you’re a poor sucker and have recently purchased one of the most over-rated games of the past year, and happen to be interested in the story somehow. Tongue out

Bioshock 2’s ending was like being pooed on. I didn’t understand the story. It was a mess. There were a few plot twists which tried to make the story interesting, but quite frankly, THEY didn’t make sense, either. Even the audio diaries didn’t make any sense. And it was obviously trying to milk gametime. Oh, and I think the credits last longer than the game itself. Tongue out It also still had Bioshock 1’s famous INVERSE difficulty curve – it is tough at the beginning and near the middle, but it gets EASIER near the end. MUCH easier.

The gameplay was boring… the environments were boring… the music was boring… there was absolutely nothing outstanding about it… it was just a GENERIC shooter with magic spells… SORRY, PLASMIDS. Tongue out I don’t quite know what’s so unique about it.

… see, it was so horrifyingly average that I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE TO SAY! Well, okay, it DOES pick up towards the end, That’s not enough to excuse the general crappiness of everything else, though, and it’s not gonna save it from the score I’ve given it. Tongue out

So here’s my score:

In summary, BioShock 2 is a short, slow-paced, boring, over-rated generic shooter with magic spells, low FPS and a story that I couldn’t even ATTEMPT to follow. And developers need to learn that games are NOT like Alfa Romeos. You don’t buy GAMES for their looks. Tongue out This score doesn’t involve what I think of Multiplayer, because I haven’t touched it yet, and probably never will do, because I just know it’s gonna be shit. And the only reason I finished the single player game is to get the Achievements. Since I NEVER actively aim for Achievements when playing GOOD games for the first time, I think this tells you something. Tongue out
If I had to sum it up in one word, it’d be "Shocking". Ha-ha, get it? SHOCKING? BioSHOCK? Ahh, you’re no fun. Tongue out
Just… don’t buy it, for God’s sake… and if you MUST, either rent it, or PLEASE wait until the price drops. It’s not even worth HALF of what it’s worth at the moment. I bet that if you rent it at noon, you’d probably be able to complete it by midnight, then maybe check out Multiplayer the next day. Tongue out

Oh, and speaking of stories, I just randomly found this:

ONCE UPON A TIME

idfjsdiofjjgr9jtg0rjfjg9jt9rtj

­roeijt45jt589tpertjpirtwyjerjp­yjtipyjiorjyiorjyiojioyrtjioyj­ij56905i3459392393131`jngjfnnf­d gbbfrt398h89th85h8thdfheritiue­rteruihh845th89h89t98e98t89h5t­h89eh89th89e5t8h9e8h9eh89yh895­yh8ehy89eh89yeh89yh89ey8he5h89­ye5h89yhyioyhthityuhe98trifgew­igrfj4u84uthrthrietrigjdfigjfi­jgdifgjijr5ogortirtojrotiojrti­jodtojiojtoidrjtiojtritijodjto­drtodojtdotortiojrr8uyr8yurdur­u99ry9ryu0dry9ryu9ruy9ruhhhhhh­hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh­hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgdfththgflg­hkyughrejithui9ththrihierhtirt­hhrteruiturteritieitutuhrthier­tuhihturetiureiteirtuieuiuitur­htierhtrtuhritierituiti. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF­FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

THE END

LOL. Well, it’s more interesting than Bioshock’s story… Open-mouthed Tongue out It’s even funnier when a COMPUTER says it!

Anyway, I’m done with talking about BioShock now. Smile It’s shit, but I reckon no-one will listen to me, anyway. Tongue out

What else… ah yes, I’m gonna have an update for ULSG ready for tomorrow (A new Super Special module, FOUR new Drones and TWO new ships! Open-mouthed); it’ll be posted in the usual placeWink Here, just a taster:

Open-mouthed

Oh yes, and afterwards, I’m gonna try and finish off Whirlwind’s textures, too. I’m getting somewhere:

I noticed that he looked WAY too "cutesy" in the last character version I made, which made him look too young, and a bit crappy overall. It’s weird, cuz when I rendered that previous character portrait, I thought it was AWESOME. Just goes to show what a little more experience does. Tongue out Wink
I’m trying to make him look more mature in this version, and also trying to show that he’s been through a lot. I think it’s going pretty well. Open-mouthed It’s difficult to get his expression right, though – he IS kind of a complicated character. Tongue out Just gotta try and remove those distracting chin horns, improve the horn bumpmap, add a bunch more scars, and he’s all done. Open-mouthed

And there’s no excuse for not creating or updating anything next week, because it’s READING WEEK, and I have SHIT ALL to do. Tongue out

Anyway, I’m off for now. See yas later! Smile

Sledgehammer Required.

Oh Jesus. Oh sweet Jesus. I am actually going to die from overexposure to CRAP games. I’m officially pissed off. Angry

Bioshock 2 came out recently, in case you haven’t noticed. And if you haven’t already blown the ~£45 needed to buy the game, I seriously suggest you go to the toilet and wipe your ass with the cash – even THAT is better use for it. Tongue out

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit TOO harsh. But recently, there has been a MASSIVE tidal wave of shit games, and I’m getting sick of it. Just FOR ONCE, I want to play a recently released game and say “YES, that game was GOOD! I’m glad I got it!” Since 2009, I’ve been able to say that to a total of FOUR games. Call of Duty: MW2, Guitar Hero 5, Borderlands, and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. THAT’S IT. That’s less than one good game PER SEASON. Can ANYONE else can see the extent of the problem?

Right, now here is an HONEST review, not a critic review. I don’t get paid for this. Nor have I been paid to say it’s good/bad. Nor am I restrained in what I write. So, if anything, this is better than what the crap “professional” critics write. Tongue out I know most people won’t agree with this, but it’s my personal opinion, and I’m brutally honest whenever I write on this blog. Wink So I suggest you read this if you’re thinking of getting Bioshock 2. Maybe it’ll pursuade you to rent it first. Wink

Bioshock 2 is, in essence, EXACTLY the same as the original. You go around, following a storyline through semi-open environments, shooting bad guys. You also have magic spel… SORRY, PLASMIDS Wink, and passive abilit… SORRY, GENE TONICS Wink, at your disposal.

Like the first, it STILL has its noticeably repetitive gameplay. After destroying Big Daddy, save or harvest Little Sister. Use ADAM to buy new magic spells and passive abilities… SORRY, PLASMIDS AND GENE TONICS Wink, to make the game even easier. Do it again until there aren’t any Little Sisters left on the level. Complete goals, go to next area, do it all again.

And don’t worry, if you die, you respawn at the nearest Vita-Chamber, with the world IN THE SAME STATE AS IT WAS WHEN YOU DIED. And incredibly, this time around, it doesn’t penalize you AT ALL! Nope, no money lost this time! This respawning makes the game impossibly easy. Shoot a Big Daddy lots, die, respawn. Shoot the same Big Daddy more times, die, respawn. Repeat previous three steps until Big Daddy dead. Repeat steps mentioned in previous paragraph. Tongue out

Admittedly, the repetitive gameplay wasn’t as noticeable in Bioshock 1. Want to know why? Because, in that game, there was A STORY I GAVE A SHIT ABOUT. And the only reason WHY I completed the first game is because I wanted to finish the story. Unfortunately, Bioshock 1 kicked me in the ass when I got the ending. I was planning a second playthrough to complete the game on Hard and get the evil ending, but I didn’t want to after getting the good ending.

Bioshock 2’s story goes something like this. You’re a Big Daddy who protects one Little Sister. One day your Little Sister gets captured by her mum(?) and you somehow get mind controlled to shoot yourself in the head. Ten years later (or something like that) you wake up and you’re okay. Even though YOU JUST FUCKING HEADSHOTTED YOURSELF! Sarcastic Is this a case of “HOLY SHIT THERE’S SO MUCH LAG IT TOOK ME TEN YEARS TO RESPAWN!!”? Tongue out

After that, you have to go get your Little Sister back for some stupid improbable reason. And that’s about when I stopped giving a shit. Tongue out Basically, the ONLY THING Bioshock had going for it, the story, was RUINED. Now you tell me… how the fuck did critics give this game an average of ~80%? Are they being fucking bribed or something?! Confused

So, the gameplay is repetitive and uninteresting. The only interesting parts are when you get a new weapon or upgrade an old one, but that rarely happens. And the interest lasts from 10-60 seconds, depending on the weapon you upgraded/picked up. Also, the story is uninteresting. So… let’s get onto the graphics.

The graphics are great, everything looks nice and real. Not much eye-candy, though. I’ve never said “Ooh, wow, look at that, that looks good” yet. Because the environments are boring and repetitive. (These two words are coming up quite a lot, aren’t they? Tongue out) But overall, the game looks good. In fact, the game’s graphics are so complex, it is nearly impossible to not notice the LOW FRAMERATE. Yes, seriously, THE LOW FRAMERATE. THE LOW, JERKY, IRRITATING FRAMERATE! Angry There IS an option in the options menu to “Unlock Framerate”, which increases the framerate to an acceptable level. But be warned, THIS MAY DEGRADE VISUAL QUALITY! HOLY FUCK, that ACTUALLY pissed me off when I read it. “THIS OPTION WILL MAXIMISE FRAMERATE BUT MAY DEGRADE VISUAL QUALITY”.

Why did it piss me off? Well, in Unreal Tournament 2004 (A GOOD GAME), when you INCREASE your graphics settings, it pops up with a dialog saying “WARNING: The changes you are making may adversely affect your performance.” Nowadays, when you GO TO REDUCE your graphics settings, it warns you that “MAXIMISING FRAMERATE MAY DEGRADE VISUAL QUALITY.”! What the hell is with that?! I told you… game developers nowadays spend too much time on trying to make a game LOOK GOOD, and not enough time on trying to make the game PLAY WELL! Angry

Look… if I had £45 spare, and I wanted something to entertain myself, I’d go to a game shop, and buy a game. And when I play the game, I’d expect it to be a bloody good gaming experience for the price I’ve just paid – lots of action/puzzles, good story, fun to play, etc. I wouldn’t CARE about how it looked. Smile Alternatively, if I wanted something that looks nice, and had £45 spare, I SHOULDN’T be at a game shop, looking for a game that was apparently supposed to be pretty. I personally would be on the Interwebs, ordering the most beautiful dragon model I could find from Tudor Mint. And similarly, when the model arrives, I’d bloody expect it to be gorgeous for the price I’ve just paid. I wouldn’t CARE that it didn’t do anything. Smile Nowadays, though… it feels as if I might as well just play with the model and gawp at the game. Sad Seems that graphics really are more important in the games industry nowadays… it’s so sad…

But, onto the irritations that I haven’t mentioned yet. Tongue out

Difficulty. I said the game was impossibly easy, yeah? Well, I didn’t mention that you can choose from three different difficulty levels, AND you can choose to turn Vita-Chambers off. So, I decided to start the game on Hard, with NO Vita-Chambers. I wanted to be challenged, and I wanted to grab two big Achievements in one playthrough. Hot Not the best idea. Tongue out It is nightmarishly hard on Hard, and with no Vita-Chambers, it’s frustrating. You MUST save frequently, because the game ONLY auto-saves between levels. To take down ONE Big Daddy, it will cost me at LEAST two medkits, which are hard to come by. And the most annoying thing… if you DO die, the game THROWS YOU BACK TO THE MAIN MENU. No “Continue from last save?” prompt. Angry

“So?” I hear you ask. Well, loading a game while one is in progress takes 5-10 seconds. Loading a game from the main menu, for some reason, takes MORE THAN 30 SECONDS. So every time I make a slight mistake or if the game decides “Nah, I’m gonna ignore his ‘Use Medkit’ command this time” (though that COULD be the fault of the dumbass Xbox 360 D-pad), I have to wait 30 seconds while listening to INFURIATING MUSIC FROM THE 60’s! Angry And by the way, who the fuck knew about genetic modification in the 60’s, anyway?! This game would have been SO MUCH COOLER if it were set in the future!

But anyway… I decided that I’d turn the difficulty down to Normal, so I could actually try to enjoy the game without having to save every 2 minutes. Guess what? NORMAL IS WAY TOO EASY! ARGH! Angry I’m sorry, but THE MOST ANNOYING THING YOU CAN DO is make a difficulty curve that looks something like this:

This is the most accurate chart EVER.

JUST FOR THIS, I want to punch someone at 2K Games in the face. Tongue out

A few more annoying problems. There’re a few mapping errors here and there. It’s especially annoying when you’re retreating from a Big Sister and you come across one of these mapping errors. Map error, player stops moving, stuck, Big Sister, bang bang clunk, medkit, bang smack, dead, main menu, load game, 60’s music. Angry

Also, a headshot with the spear launcher SOMETIMES doesn’t result in a one-shot-kill. I shot a Leadhead Splicer in the head, BOOM, dead, into wall. I then shot ANOTHER Leadhead Splicer in the head. They lost 1/3 of their health, and flinched slightly. And YES, I DID shoot them in the head, because they were running after me and shooting WITH A SPEAR IN THEIR EYE. Sarcastic Similarly, shots with the hacking tool SOMETIMES go THROUGH the object you shot at and hit the wall behind them. Angry Especially annoying when the thing you want to hack is a TURRET, AND it was your last hack dart, AND you have no more mana potion… SORRY, EVE HYPOS Tongue out, so you can’t disable it with an electric shock. When you try and shoot it, beep beep, chugga chugga, clunk clink, dead, main menu, load game, 60’s music. Angry

It’s also annoying when you’re carrying a Little Sister and you want to hack something using Proximity Hack, but it’s in front of a Little Sister’s vent. Instead of the hack starting, you activate the vent and rescue the Little Sister. Then, when the mini-cutscene finishes… turret, bang bang, dead, main menu, load game, 60’s music. Angry

And I could go ON and ON, but I think that if you’ve read this far, you need a break and a medal and a “thanks for listening to my rambling”. Wink Hopefully I made you lul, at least. Open-mouthed Here’s your medal:

Congratulations. ;)

Wink

I haven’t finished Bioshock 2 yet, but I’ll let you know how the ending is, if I can ever be bothered to finish it. I haven’t played multiplayer yet, either, but I’m expecting that is going to suck balls. PLEASE rent it first, for God’s sake. You could probably COMPLETE it in a rent… Tongue out

Anyway, I’ll post again soon. See ya! Smile

Double-post merged into an entry that’s not a double post.

WHAT THE HELL! So, I write A MASSIVE BLOG ENTRY, and Firefox FUCKING CRASHES HALFWAY THROUGH IT! Then, when it restarts, it recovers all tabs EXCEPT THIS ONE!! ARGH!

Okay, well… I suppose I’ll try to write it all again. This time in Windows Live Writer. And if this crashes on me, I’m gonna yell the longest "FFFFFUUUUUUU-!" in history. Tongue 

out

Oh yeah, Solidus, I BEAT YO’ ASS, WITHOUT using a ration. 😛

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m referring to Metal Gear Solid 2, a game that I never managed to complete in my childhood. Until now. Wink I was at the final boss, Solidus, who you have to pwn with a sword. He’s got a health bar that’s much bigger than yours, too, but you, of course, have RATIONS, the epic wound-healing food of MGS. Open-mouthed After my first attempt, just seeing what moves he had and stuff, I tried again, and SMASHED him, without using a ration. I took him down to half health before he could even hit me, too. Open-mouthed Really easy boss, but it was cool nonetheless. Kinda like Psycho Mantis in MGS1 – piss easy, but you won’t forget it in a hurry. 🙂

On the whole, MGS2 is awesome. Like, really awesome. Nearly everything about it is great. The atmosphere, the gameplay, the characters, the music, everything! After playing this and looking at most modern games, it’s kinda sad to see how boring gaming’s become. MGS2 gives fifteen hours of tension, stealthy moves, awesome action and cool boss battles… you’re lucky to get half that out of a modern game. And it’s rare that a game has a story and characters that interest me nowadays.

MGS2’s story is a bit weird, though. I followed it just fine, up until near the end. Then it just unloads a SHITLOAD of stuff into your brain, like the Patriots, something called S3… and probably some other stuff I can’t remember because I usually don’t remember things I don’t “get”. Tongue 

out And really near the end, it actually… hehe, yeah… it actually seems as if the developers had a MASSIVE week-long drug party. It goes completely retarded – Raiden is naked, and the colonel and Rose seem to be going crazy. Example:

Colonel: “Raiden, turn the game console off RIGHT NOW!”

Raiden: “What did you say?”

Colonel: “The mission is a failure! Cut the power right now!”

Raiden: “What’s wrong with you?!”

Colonel: “Don’t worry. It’s a game. It’s a game just like usual.”

Rose: “You’ll ruin your eyes playing so close to the TV.”

I ESPECIALLY like it when the Colonel says “I hear it’s amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!” I L’d my FAO at that, and actually looked in the carton of Innocent Smoothie I’d just finished and said “What the hell was in THIS?!” Open-mouthed It was purposefully trying to screw with your mind, and I thought it was epic – a moment of gaming I’ll never forget. Open-mouthed Here, have a video:

 

Just a couple of snags, though, one being the controls. I know this is a port from consoles, but for GOD’S SAKE make sure the controls WORK! The key bindings just weren’t working for my controller. I could bind controls to the keyboard, and they’d work, but when I tried to change “attack” to another controller button for a test, it DIDN’T LISTEN TO ME! Even Xpadder didn’t work. Since my controller’s triggers didn’t work, I had to go through the whole game without a lock on button, which probably made it a lot harder than it should’ve been.

The second snag was the first person view. It was a good idea, and it helped me A LOT, but HOLY CRAP, LET ME MOVE AROUND WHILE IN FIRST PERSON VIEW! When you go into first person view, it FREEZES you in place, and you can’t move. You can lean left and right, and stretch upwards, but you can’t MOVE. Dumb, but after thinking about it, I can probably understand why they did it – the game would be A LOT easier if first person view allowed you to walk around.

But even with those annoying problems, I love this game. Open-mouthed It’s got so many moments you can remember about it, which is what I like to have after finishing a game. There aren’t many things in modern games I can remember, because in truth, they’re so mind-numbingly boring. There ARE exceptions – one being Modern Warfare 2. That had a few things that I haven’t forgotten about yet, like the ice climbing, the sequence where you’re unarmed and have to GET TO THA CHOPPA while being chased by militia, the snowmobile chase, and the ending. Open-mouthed Can’t really think of any others off the top of my head. :/

The ending to MGS2 wasn’t GREAT, but it wasn’t TERRIBLE. You can tell they at least TRIED to make a good ending, and I reckon it fits Metal Gear Solid’s “style” pretty well. Plus, as is semi-standard in a Japanese game, it does give you (or at least some open-minded people like myself Wink) something to think about after the end. Open-mouthed It’s not a cliffhanger, and there’re no loose ends, either, so it’s not frustrating. Oh yeah, and there aren’t any plotholes, either, unlike something we know. Tongue 

out

Anyway, that’s MGS2 off my “Games that I was never able to complete in my childhood” list. Next up… Spyro and Spyro 3! Actually, no, screw that. I can’t be arsed wandering around looking for 149(?) dragon eggs and God-knows how much treasure. Tongue 

out Might try Crash Bandicoot instead – that doesn’t require you to find EVERYTHING to finish the game. Open-mouthed

Oh, I’ve just remembered that I have a second entry that I haven’t posted yet. Because double-posting sucks, I think I’ll merge them into one entry. You can take a break if ya want – this is a bit of a long entry. Wink

Have a break. ;)

OMFG DAZ3D FOUND SOME BRAINS, and I practice with shadows.

You’re back/still here? Cool! Open-mouthed Okay, where was I? Ah yes, I’ve started on a few experimental poses in DAZ Studio, with the SubDragon, obviously, putting him into positions that the designer probably never had in mind. And to all those who like to make dirty jokes about perfectly innocent statements, NO! I’ve been putting him into fighting poses! Tongue out Not claws-slashing teeth-gnashing fire-breathing beast-like fighting poses, I mean "proper" fighting poses, like punches and kicks.

Sounds weird? Well, yeah, I suppose it does seem a little weird. But I don’t see anything wrong with it – quite a few of my dragons fight like that in Dragon Tail. Be more open-minded – what if a dragon wants to learn how to fight with more precision and control? Also, (my) dragons enjoy learning new things, and learning how to fight like this would be a great hobby for many dragons. What if a dragon doesn’t want to kill their opponent? What if a dragon doesn’t want to use weapons? What if they want to fight honourably? This is one of the reasons why I love dragons so much – they’re infinitely versatile, and I see no rulebook. Tongue out And if there IS one, I rip it up and feed it to my famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork. Wink

Okay, so why am I doing this? Well, firstly, I just thought it would be interesting to see how versatile they really are. I already knew they were versatile, but I thought this kinda thing would be a barrier – seems I was wrong. Wink Secondly, it’s ultra-unique, and I really like unique dragons, and unique things in general. I hate the “generic” dragon – I’ve seen them way too many times, which is partly why I started Dragon Tail. 🙂 Dragons on motorbikes WIN, but I barely see them. Dragons with swords WIN, but I can’t think of a time I’ve seen any (excluding ones made by myself ;)). HAHA DISREGARD THAT I SUCK at remembering Dragon Seeds. Tongue out Dragons smoking hash WIN – seen only ONCE. I’ve never seen a dragon fight "properly" before, either – I’m sure that would WIN, too. Tongue out And thirdly, ever since I assigned a specific fighting style to Shadow in Dragon Tail, I’ve been thinking about attempting a Street Fighter-style game, using dragons as the characters. Not as DEEP as Street Fighter, hell no, but still okay. Open-mouthed However, seeing as I completely suck at fighting games and my last attempt at a fighting game was nearly 5 years ago (it’s barely completed, and it’s shite), I’m being pretty ambitious.
Tongue out

Now, I CAN make these poses pretty well…

Irushkai - Base Stance 
(Since Shadow is the only one with a defined fighting style, I thought I’d start with him. He practices the Draconic Art “Irushkai”.)

…but sometimes, I actually want to cry when posing with DAZ Studio. Usually, all is fine, and posing isn’t much of a pain – this pose was actually fairly easy and quite interesting to make. Smile But say, for example, I want to lower the character to make them crouch or whatever. To do that, you have to modify ALL JOINTS from the thighs downwards. It may not seem like much, but it is actually a NIGHTMARE. You’ve got to bend the SubDragon’s shins backwards, then bend his thighs upwards. When they’re in place, you can move him down. After a few extra leg tweaks, you’ve got to tweak the feet so they’re in line with the ground, and if you want it to be perfect and look realistic (which you should do), you’ve got to tweak the toes, too. That’s a total of 13 joints… for EACH FOOT. Then, when you’re done, and you look over him again for a final check, you notice that his feet are too far forward, and he looks off balance. Then you’ve gotta do the whole process AGAIN just for a slight tweak! GAH! Angry

What would be EASIER is if you could "freeze" the feet in place, so they don’t friggin MOVE as I move the body down! They’ve had THREE MAJOR VERSIONS of DAZ Studio to do that, and they’ve ONLY JUST got animation (kind of) sorted! They added several features into DS3, but NONE of them are useful – I haven’t even bothered to use the shader editors, and I’ve ONLY JUST discovered UberEnvironment 2, which I haven’t fully tried yet (more on that later Wink). They could’ve added inverse kinematics, updated animation tools that I can USE (not crappy AniMate+) and all sorts of neat stuff! DAZ3D, what the hell are you doing? I thought you were ARTISTS!

But don’t worry, because as the title suggests, they’ve ACTUALLY decided to add some good stuff into DAZ Studio. I was browsing the interwebs to try and find a way to freeze joints, when I came across a thread on DAZ Studio’s forums, announcing a DS3.1 Beta, which features inverse kinematics (IK). AWESUM! Automatic download. Open-mouthed
The new version gives you a really nice little wheel at the top left of the active viewport, which control the current positions of the active joint. You can move them individually using the rings, move all connected joints at once using the arrow icon, or move all axes using the dial in the middle. You can also reset the joint if you feck up.
Then, there’s the REALLY nice button "Pin Bone", which does EXACTLY what I wanted it to do. Select a bone, hit the pin button, and it WON’T MOVE, except when movement of the bone is absolutely necessary to avoid breaking joint limits. So, instead of all that faffing around trying to get your SubDragon to crouch, all you do is freeze both feet, and translate the hip down, while DAZ Studio does the rest. EASY.

Unfortunately, I’ve gotta be quick with the poses – the beta expires sometime in March. I’m gonna try and find a way to extend it, because IK is a killer feature – it makes posing so much easier! I don’t want to wait until DAZ Studio 4, I friggin’ want it NOW! Tongue out

But anyway, onto this other new thing I’ve found, UberEnvironment 2. Just gonna call it UE2 from now on. Wink It’s… actually, I have NO IDEA what it is. It’s… um… it’s like… yeah, no idea. It’s SUPPOSED to make lighting more realistic, which is perfectly fine in a 3D rendering package. In fact, that’s the AIM, to be able to render things as realistically as possible. It adds several special features, such as global illumination and occlusion. I’m especially interested in global illumination, because I am SICK TO DEATH of pure black shadows. Seriously, I’m bored of it.

When light casts a shadow, the shadow isn’t PURE BLACK. It’s like a TRANSPARENT black. It makes objects DARKER. The only time when a shadow is black is when there’s no possible way for light to get to where the shadow is cast. In DAZ Studio, light VANISHES when it touches an object, instead of bouncing. Hence, things behind an object that a light is hitting are NEVER illuminated. Here’s an example:

Shadows - WRONG!!

See the cube behind Whirlwind? The shadow cast from his arm covers the cube in a STUPID pure black shadow. Also, if you notice, his own shadows make his tail nearly invisible! The shadows are realistic enough shape-wise, but shadows are NOT pure black! Even activating Raytracing doesn’t do anything… it improves the shadows marginally, but they still end up pure black.

If you add a Distant Light above to serve as an ambient light, it does help the pure black shadows problem slightly, but there are STILL irritations:

Shadows - STILL WRONG!!

Okay, so the shadows look fine. But what’s that on the cube? A massive block of black shadow! GAH! Angry I’m assuming that’s because the distant light isn’t hitting that part of the cube. To fix these problems outright, you’re gonna have to put about EIGHT distant lights all over the place in every direction, and even that won’t fix EVERYTHING!

Oh, yes, and if you haven’t already noticed, I’m currently in the process of modifying Whirlwind’s appearance. I’ve used a new discovery of mine, D-Formers, to modify his horns in ways that are impossible using the morph dials. Open-mouthed When I’m done, he’ll look REALLY rough – horns chipped and broken, scales covered in scars, stuff like that. He’s not had a great life, unfortunately. 😦

But anyway, I’’ll try using UE2, and add stuff as I go along. I don’t fully “get” how it works, you see, so this is just gonna be a bunch of experiments that some people might find useful and/or interesting. Open-mouthed You put UE2 into your scene, and it makes everything UBER bright… probably showing the global illumination/ambient lighting. Seems you can configure it from the properties panel like a normal object, too. So, let’s try this out… remove that distant light, add a UE2, let’s try “SoftBox”… super-low quality so I can live to see it rendered, ambience strength down to 60% so we aren’t BLINDED, let’s try Indirect Lighting w/ Soft Shadows… and RENDER.

… FUCK ME, this is STILL slow. 2 and a half minutes on SUPER LOW QUALITY! WTF?!! Although it DOES look better:

Shadows - THAT'S better!

Not bad. I suppose all those specks of grey are because it’s on low quality. I’m gonna give Raytracing a try… see you in a future life. Wink

Um… OKAY, WTF?! That took LESS TIME!

UberEnvironment 2 - Test 1

That’s better – shadows are a bit lighter, and the shadow blurs as it gets further away! NICE! Open-mouthed

Let’s try High quality. Open-mouthed Rendering… and it’s taking its time, as I expected. It’s nice that they put the lower qualities there for test renders, so kudos for that. Open-mouthed

Finished in just over NINE MINUTES. :/

UberEnvironment 2 - Test 2

Not bad at all! Open-mouthed Shadows need to be a LITTLE blurrier, but other than that, it’s great! I think I’ll be using Uber Environment a bit more. Open-mouthed

Now, let’s try Directional shadows… okay, I actually see no difference. Won’t post that. Tongue out Wonder what “Bounce Light (GI)” does?

UberEnvironment 2 - Test 3

Uh, okay, that looks like a step BACKWARDS. Tongue out

I think I’ve got the hang of it, though. The other environment maps (I think that’s what they are? Tongue out) are pretty useless… they just make the unlit areas different colours, and screw up shadows, too. And… okay, close up renders don’t work – I’ve still got very noticeable pure black shadows, especially inside his mouth. Okay… let’s replace that spotlight with a distant light… annnnd test render…

UberEnvironment 2 - Test 4

Okay, that REALLY fixed it! That’s friggin’ EPIC! Open-mouthed Please ignore the slash wounds on his neck – they’re SUPPOSED to be scars, but I kinda made them a bit big and they look stupid. Tongue out Will fix. Open-mouthed Also, he’s supposed to be holding a sword, but the texture is so complicated it more than triples the render time. :/

Just a few more tweaks, and he’s complete… I’ll post it here for ya later when it’s done. Open-mouthed See yas later!

*high pitched alarm* “60 seconds left.”

IT LIES! AAAAARGHHHH!! It must have warned me that I have a minute left A HUNDRED TIMES NOW! Tongue out

I think I may need some assistance. Tongue out I’m playing a game called Every Extend Extra Extreme, or E4, on the Xbox. The aim of the game is to self-destruct, and cause massive chainsplosions to score massive points. It scores an 9/10 on the MongMaster Siezuretastic-O-Meter. Tongue out Despite its simplicity and flashing lights, I’ve managed to clock more than two hours on a single game. Confused

I was GONNA play a time limited game, so I could only play for five or ten minutes… but then I wondered if I could reach a quadrillion points in Unlimited mode. (Yes, this game was part inspiration for the "ULSG OTT Scoring System". Wink) Big mistake. Tongue out Time isn’t technically UNLIMITED – you start with 3 minutes, and when you destroy fairly common yellow enemies, they drop time extensions. Each one gives you five extra seconds. So, I started with 3 minutes. I’ve been playing for 2 hours, 9 minutes, 48 seconds. I currently have 54(.750, cuz the Japanese HAVE to be accurate to the TICK… Tongue out) seconds left. LOL. Open-mouthed Just to think of how many extensions I’ve picked up, though… geez… Confused

I remembered getting fairly close to one quadrillion last time I played, but I started to lose the beat, therefore scoring less points. So, I decided to try and time the beat a bit better, which would cost shield time. And once, I left it a BIT too long, and ran out of shield time while I was hovering over an enemy. "YOU CRASHED!!", multiplier reset to 1 (from 100, took me AGES to get it there), ALL quicken lost, me = Angry. VERY Angry. So, I just kept chainsploding without picking up any time extensions, and time ran out. It was an EXTREMELY good score, but I missed my target. Tongue out

Right now, I have 160,748,894,973,848 points. Open-mouthed I’m gonna have to let time run out soon, or I’m gonna be here forever. I just REALLY want to get the 16th digit on my score. Open-mouthed

Anyhoo… I’m gonna go and see if I can reach a quadrillion before I die. Tongue out Whatever you do, don’t end up like me – DON’T freakin’ get this game! Tongue out

UPDATE!!

FUCK, FUCK FUUUUCK! FUCK IT ALL! Literally as SOON as I reached 100x, the maximum multiplier, where I could forget about powerups and just cause MASSIVE chainsplosions, I SOMEHOW crashed. I must’ve been looking at my multipliers MORE than my shields.
That’s the most frustrating thing about E4. If you crash when you’re maxed out, there’s absolutely NO point in continuing. It took me over two hours to get maxed out. Then, a split second loss of concentration, and it’s ALL reset back to the beginning, where chainsplosions are worth a laughable amount of points. GAH! Angry

I knew it was a bad idea… Tongue out

Oh my holy epic God with a stick of WIN…

So… I kinda stumbled across this:

http://www.screamingbee.com/product/MorphVOX.aspx

It’s a voice morpher. And it is EPIC. Open-mouthed It analyzes your voice, and adapts the preset profiles to work for you automatically, but you can still tweak things like pitch and timbre. I started it up today over Skype, and pretended I was a demon, using the Hell Demon voice preset. It actually sounded KICKASS, even if I spoke normally! Open-mouthed It sounded REALLY kickass when I put some extra effort into speaking, though. Open-mouthed We especially had fun with the Space Squirrel preset. Just switching to it for the first time and saying "I’m a SPACE SQUIRREL!" was enough to put us in stitches. Open-mouthed
Plus, it allows you to play sounds over the mic, instead of using the Stereo Mix. Open-mouthed Not very good if you want to do soundboard pranks, but for playing this sound in frustration when you’re playing Call of Duty:

http://mongmaster.webege.com/Shared/LAG!.wav

…It’s PERFECT. Open-mouthed

So, ya, check it out – it’s pretty awesome! Open-mouthed I’ll be messing around with it sooner or later, seeing if I can make some voice presets for my characters. Wink

Oh, ya, speaking of my characters, I’ve made a couple more character portraits. Smile I’ve tweaked Ifri, for a start…

(Recommend you click on all of these to view their full sizes – I swear they look less colourful on this page than when they’re on their own. Tongue out)

He looks a little more "chilled" (Not in that way… Wink) than he did in the previous render. Smile Plus, I’ve edited the lighting a bit, and modified his textures very slightly. Still one or two problems with his materials, but you can’t see them in this render. Open-mouthed
I’m pretty happy with him – I’d sure as hell like to hang around with him. Wink

Now, what’s new? Well, there’s Thunder. I wouldn’t say he’s finished yet, but he still looks pretty good. Smile

I have to put some lightning flashing around his body, as he’s very well connected to his element. Smile I also need to mess up his scales a little bit… remove some scales, discolour him, place some scars, stuff like that. He has been, pretty much, a slave for just over 400 years of his life. May change the pose and expression to reflect that, but he is pretty happy he came across Whirlwind, though. Smile

And, finally (for now Wink), here’s Shadow:

He looks pretty aggressive, but in truth, he practices meditation, he’s very loyal and he’s, on the whole, a really peaceful, kind dragon… until he gets into a fight. Wink He fights fairly, but he usually scares his opponents shitless, and he kicks serious ass. Open-mouthed I love Shadow, he’s so friggin’ awesome. Open-mouthed

That’s all my portraits for now… I still have to tweak Thunder, and create Emerald, DracoSkaar, Blaze, Ice, Dimari, Blizzard and (maybe) Rage. I was gonna make Teraka and Nagira, too… but the closest thing I have to a wyrm is an Eastern Dragon model, which looks nothing like Teraka… and I do have a Sea Dragon model that looks quite good, but it has no expression morphs, and instead of claws, it has flippers. :/ Fair enough, I suppose, but Nagira needs fingers, at leastTongue out

Oh, how I wish I could model properly… I could make Teraka and Nagira look exactly how I wanted them to. Well… nah, I don’t actually. I’d get so bored with modelling, my brain would implode. Tongue out Posing is fun, though! Open-mouthed

Anyway, I’m off for now. I’ll get some STUFF done on ULSG, tomorrow! Probably a couple of Challenges, or implementing the new ships into all game modes… we’ll see. Open-mouthed

See yas later! Smile