Black Friday and Blue Dragons!

Speck! 🙂

Soooo, how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was nonexistent because I don’t live in the U S and A. 😛 Despite the fact we don’t do Thanksgiving over here, we’ve done Black Friday for the last couple of years for some reason. Honestly, I don’t understand. Maybe it’s just because the shops realise they can make moar moneyz if they all discount stuff at the same time, then they end up fighting each other to give the best discounts, then customers start fighting each other to get the best discounts, then it goes on the news and I laugh at all the degenerates scrabbling for the last plasma TV. 😛 But hell, I’m not complaining, it was pretty awesome last year, actually; through pure luck I managed to snag an Intel Core i7-4790K CPU for £50 off the standard price. Oosh! 😀

This year… wasn’t so oosh. 😛 I’d been thinking about grabbing some new peripherals and a new GPU for a few months beforehand. I replaced my legendary Logitech G15 keyboard with a not-really-legendary-yet G910 when I found it on Amazon for about £40 off. Didn’t expect it to go much lower than that (and it didn’t 😛 ). Also before Black Friday, I had to replace my G700 mouse because the mouse buttons were starting to give up the ghost. I got a G700s because the G700 was pretty much perfect. Apart from the metal on the mouse wheel which rusted a bit. And that some of the buttons were squeaky. And that the power lead was quite rigid and generated a lot of friction when it was plugged in, so using it while it was charging sucked a little bit. 😛 The new one’s great, though; same as the G700 but it’s a bit prettier, the buttons feel better and there’s no rust yet. Power lead still ruins the mouse when it’s plugged in, though. I also got a new cloth mouse mat to replace my old busted metal one, as well as a USB hub and Micro USB leads after finding that Arx Control (the smartphone app which is supposed to be a replacement for the LCD displays you find in some Logitech keyboards) drains your phone’s battery like friggin’ crazy, and the G910 doesn’t have any built-in USB slots, so unless you have a Micro USB that reaches from the back of your PC to your keyboard so you can plug in your phone, your battery will run out. 😛

So, I’d bought all my peripherals and accessories, but I was still in the market for a GTX 970. Then, when Black Friday actually came along… POOP! It was awful. Couldn’t find jack all. One site actually had an offer where you could save 40p on a Raspberry Pi. Wooooow! And even after that AMAZING discount, it was still way more expensive than just buying it directly from the Raspberry Pi Foundation! 😛 I noticed some nice cuts on SSDs (but they’re quite cheap anyway these days), and some okay bundle deals, but there were basically no decent offers on GPUs at all. Two of my mates… er… one of my mates got an okay deal on a GTX 970. 😛 They paid about £250 all-in, but it wasn’t that much of a discount.

There WAS a moment where I found a post on Hot UK Deals with 70-odd upvotes advising that you could buy a GTX 970 off Amazon.fr and get it shipped over here for approximately £220. Acting completely idiotically, much like a Black Friday shopper, I quickly placed an order. Moments afterwards, my frontal lobe turned back on and went “wait wait wait, it’s an international purchase; what about import costs?” There’s no import duty from France for electronics like this, but of course; you have to pay 20% VAT, which brings the cost to around £264, which is MORE than it would’ve cost to buy it here! Not a single one of the nonces on that HUKD page had realised. Thank God some of my brayn cells still work. PROFESSIONAL PANDA PANCAAAAKE

It wasn’t a total bust, though. On Cyber Monday I went on Scan.co.uk, the site I’d totally forgotten about. Luckily, I found they were selling an EVGA GTX 970 for £240; the cheapest (real offer) I’d seen over the weekend. Oh, no, wait… apart from an MSI GTX 970 I saw on an Aria.co.uk newsletter for £220, but unsurprisingly, they were all gone within 30 minutes. 😛 Anyway, after some thought and research, I decided to blow my budget for the month wide open, and ordered two of ‘em. 😀 If I’d just bought one, I’d do what I did with my GTX 770 and plan to get a second one but end up not getting around to it. I didn’t spend extra on an SLI-compatible motherboard for nothing. 😛 It sounds like stupid overkill, but according to an SLI review of these cards, the diminishing returns for two-way SLI is actually quite low. It should boost most things that can’t do 60FPS on one card to 60FPS, and boost games that can do 60FPS to 120FPS or close to it (haven’t got a 120hz monitor for nothing, either, and yes, 120hz does make a difference! 😛 ).

I experienced a bit of fury this morning when I got an e-mail saying the products I’d ordered couldn’t be sent because they were “discontinued” (lol no), but after querying Scan with some moderate force thinking they were trying to back out of honouring the price they offered, they said to ignore that e-mail because it was a mistake. They’re just having some… pretty major delays. 😛 Don’t think I’ll get them until Friday, but when I do, I’ll letcha know how awesome they are at running Transport Tycoon. Haha. 😛

Anyhoo, that’s that bit done. What’s next… ah, yes. Heehee. Heeeeheeheeheee! 😀

I started work on a scene in DAZ Studio over a week ago, but ended up stopping a few steps before completion. There were several reasons for this. One of them was because of my mouse; the mouse buttons were so phwoacked that unless I applied a shit-ton of force to them, drag operations had an unreasonably high chance of being interrupted. I would be dragging the mouse to rotate the camera, then suddenly the mouse button would unclick and click during the drag, causing me to mess with a property or switch tabs or hit render or generally do something very annoying. It wasn’t just DAZ Studio; it was definitely a hardware issue because the same thing was happening everywhere. It was probably even more annoying in Explorer. 😛 Another reason was DAZ Studio itself. The crashes… God, the friggin’ crashes! It was just… fucking ridiculous! I tried everything to reduce the crash frequency; I even ended up messing with the processor affinity to restrict DAZ Studio so it could only use 6 of the 8 CPU cores. That helped a bit, but not enough. Restricting it to 4 cores wasn’t any better. It’d still crash the graphics driver every so often, and cause a Blue Screen of Death a bit more rarely. The third reason I stopped was because no matter what I did, I couldn’t get friggin’ specular highlights to show up on the dragon’s eyes. Well, I could, but they looked completely wrong. Like… all speckly and crap. I basically just wanted to punch DAZ Studio’s face in the face.

Since I’d gotten a new mouse, I went back to DAZ Studio last night in an attempt to finish it off. It was still crashing the graphics driver, but it didn’t feel as often as usual. I was patient with it and made sure to close the viewport before a render (if you don’t, and if it crashes the graphics driver, DAZ Studio also crashes and you lose your current render progress, huehuehue oh my god it’s so painfully dumb). But then, after a few crashes… it just… stopped crashing. Completely. Not a single hiccup or anything. Smooth like butter. Caress your lover. Enjoy the mome… yeah. 😛

There were a few new frustrations. As I dropped the shading rate for more detail, DS started taking a psychotic amount of time to do what appeared to be… nothing. After some annoyance and some probing, I found out that Subsurface Scattering (SSS) was enabled on SOME of the Dragon 3 material presets, but not all of them. I was previously using a preset that didn’t use SSS, and that night, I’d switched to a material preset that did while I was trying to work out why specular wasn’t working on the dragon’s eyes. I didn’t switch it back after I found the problem and just switched the diffuse textures instead because… well, because I didn’t know that some of the presets didn’t use SSS, cuz that just would be dumb and inconsistent, right? 😛 This is how I discovered that SSS is goddamn expensive, especially in final renders. 😛

I disabled SSS on everything, finished off the tweaks to the head morphs… then took a deep breath before tweaking the render settings and UberEnvironment to render at final, DJ Max quality. 😀 Then I pressed the render button and left it running overnight. Guess what? This morning, it was happily sat there, displaying a DJ Max quality render like a doge with a newspaper in its gob. It hadn’t blue screened or crashed or broken or anything! It was all like “here is your render (mong)master, may I please you with another?”

Unfortunately, it did have to please me with another; the lighting was too weak in the first render. While I’ve been at work today, I’ve been popping onto TeamViewer every so often, having a gander at the latest render, tweaking some settings and firing off another one. DS’s been super-cool about it all, and I don’t understand why, especially since I lightly overclocked my processor just the other day, technically making it more unstable and more prone to crashing! ARGH DAZ, WHY YOU SO ERRATIC?!?

But no no no, I’m not complaining. I like it not crashing. 😛

Anyway, yes, maybe I’m blathering a bit. That’s because I’m just a li’l bit hyped to show you this. 😀 When I got home, what I believed was going to be the final render was waiting for me. It was good, but there were a few things I wanted to change. After that, I did the actual final render. And here it is:

Dragon.Init() (1080p)
Available in: (1080p) (QHD) (WQXGA) (UHD)

Hahahahahahaaaaaa! Man, I’m ultra happy about this one! 🙂 It’s just… ah, screw it, I’m throwing modesty outta the window for a minute. This is AWESOME! The concept is fun, the scene arrangement and posing really worked, the lighting’s turned out really nice (it’s the first time I’ve used UberEnvironment 2’s Global Illumination), the textures look good, the depth of field (DoF) is perfect, and the only postwork I did was a slight “bloom” effect, as well as the title and signature. I reckon it’s my best render yet! 😀 But my opinion means jack; what do you think? Let me know! 🙂

As I mentioned, I changed a few things after the first final render, which you can have a look at here. The first change was a replacement texture for the awful, low-resolution one I was using for the desk… stone… stone desk thing. 😛 It looks waaaay better. The second adjustment was the addition of a can of Wyvern Energy (frost flavour). 😀 Just a little extra touch to make the image a bit more fun. And somewhat accurate. 😉 The third adjustment was the DoF; even though it was great in the original render, it blurred out the Wyvern Energy can a bit too much, so I had to tweak it. 🙂 Oh, and I increased the size of the PC tower, too. It was a li’l bit small. 😛

Right, let’s see… stats for those who care! 😛 Rendering at WQHD with UberEnvironment 2 on Bounce Light (GI) mode and with the XHi quality preset, with a general Shading Rate of 0.2, the total render time was… 2 hours 10 minutes 5.31 seconds. Took about 9 minutes longer than the version I made before the adjustments; I blame reflection. 😛 It was a pretty heavy job this time; respect goes out to the i7-4790K @ 4.3GHz. 😀 Oh, don’t worry (if you are), I’ll make sure to get 1080p and 4K renders done and add them to the post, too! They won’t be until tomorrow at least. Depending on if DAZ Studio keeps bluescreening the PC (yes, it’s started doing it again for basically no reason). 😉

Right… phew. I think that’s it for now. Crap, this post was technically supposed to be about Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Project Mirai DX. Ah well; I’ll talk about them next time. 😛 For now, though, I’m off. See yaz!

UPDATE!!
I don’t really understand what exactly it’s doing, but DAZ Studio has… well, it’s stopped bothering with non-fatal driver crashes and is more frequently causing the PC to bluescreen through fatal driver crashes. It crashes at random times, sometimes after about 30 seconds, sometimes after about an hour… but it always gives the same error: DRIVER_CORRUPTED_EXPOOL. I imagine it’s a graphics driver crash, but honestly, I have no idea. I’ve tried disabling integrated graphics but there was no difference, and I haven’t done the more extreme option of unplugging the primary GPU and running off integrated graphics yet. I’ll try that tonight, because whatever the reason is, it’s making this 4K render absolutely impossible.

I started it earlier today before heading to work. So far, so good. I’ll leave you with a snapshot of the current progress:

Capture.PNG

Pleasedontcrashpleasedontcrashpleasedontcrash

UPDATE 2!!
WHOOO YEAAAAH ALLLLRIIIIIGHT!!!

Seriously I shouldn’t be this excited or happy that DAZ Studio finally rendered a 4K image on this perfectly healthy, quite powerful PC. A renderer successfully rendering a scene is what should happen. Every time. Because otherwise the renderer fails at its only purpose. 😛

I’ve added links to the 4K (UHD) version and the 1080p version (YES IT DID THAT TOO, HOLY SHIT!!). While this strange unexplainable streak continues, I’m rendering a… erm… a 2560×1600 version, which is a stupid aspect ratio that MacBooks use. I’mma set it as my desktop background on the one I use at work. Maybe it’ll make it faster or nicer to use. 😛

UPDATE 3!!
Finished off that WQXGA render and added it to’t list. Yes that’s the resolution’s actual name. 😛 Any other resolution requests, just lemme know! 🙂

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Good news ALWAYS has to come with bad news, doesn’t it?

I’d start with the bad news, but if I did that, you wouldn’t know what I was talking about until I said the good news. 😛

So, the good news is, ULSG V14 was actually approved. Yup, even the title. When I saw it, all I did was laugh. I really can’t believe they’re gonna let me do it. 😀

However, I stopped laughing when I saw who’s going to be supervising me. A Chinese guy called Zhijie Xu. I absolutely hate him. He just can’t teach. We’re doing shader programming, and we basically copy what he does, and it ends up not working. Then soon after, we get bored of watching him try to code and end up collaborating to fix it ourselves. While we’re doing that, he just deletes what he’s written, then copies and pastes working code from another file and says he’s fixed it. I pay ~£3k a year for that? o_O

He won’t understand ULSG – he’ll fail to see the stupid-but-logical humour. I believe the reason why he was allocated to me is because of the networking, but I’m pretty sure he won’t be of much help on that front because I’ll be using C# and Lidgren3. He doesn’t like C# for some reason.

Well, I might hate my supervisor, but at least it’s been approved. 😀 So yep, that’s official – ULSG V14’s development is about to be kicked up a quadrillion notches. 😀 I’ll get a devblog started ASAP. I can fairly safely announce a release date, too! So… here goes:

On May 17th 2013, Balls* Will** Drop***. 😀

(*of steel **occasionally *** from blue powerup canisters)

 

Devlog is up at http://ulsgv14.wordpress.com. Put dat cookie down and get over there! NAUUUU!

So, it’s official…

I’ve been using Lua for a while now at my placement, and it’s quite a nice language. I’ve learned from it, and I’ve even learned a few things from Corona, even though it’s a hateful SDK with a ton of problems. 😛

This weekend, though, I returned to C# for the first time since the end of second year. I was just wondering if I could make a start on the little engine I’ve been planning on making for a while… well, not really a full-blown engine, more like a code base to make it even easier to develop games with XNA. Classes to easily handle audio, graphics, networking, and so on. 🙂 I call it “JetSquirrel”, a tribute to the team project I worked on in second year:

Haha, it wasn’t actually called Jet-Powered Squirrel – that was just a crazy idea I thought up for fun when we didn’t have a name for our game. 😉 It was named “Fluidity” in the end, but I kept “Project Jet-Powered Squirrel” as the solution name, partly because it was funny, but mainly because I was afraid to change it just in case I messed everything up. 😛

But anyway, ya, this weekend, I returned to C# to make a start on the JetSquirrel Engine. And oh God, how I’ve missed C#, and XNA, and Visual Studio. 😀 It’s so nice working in a proper IDE again. It tells you what’s wrong as you write your code, if there’s a bug, you can use breakpoints to pause the game at any time and inspect properties, and when the game has an exception, it stops and tells you where it went wrong instead of just trying to continue without telling you much… oh yes. 😀 A bazillion times better than Corona will ever be. 😀

There’s a good reason for me deciding to work on the JetSquirrel Engine this weekend instead of heading to Multimedia Fusion 2 and continuing work on ULSG V13 or the ULSG V14 prototype. This is because… well… unfortunately, Multimedia Fusion and I have had a bit of a fall out. 😛

I worked on a prototype of V14 in MMF. The process was pretty quick – I got a lot done in very little time. I posted about it, actually.  🙂 However… when the time came to try and get a second player in, everything fell apart, and I suddenly realised that MMF is not good enough for my needs any more.

I’d been using these things called “Behaviours” in MMF – I assumed them to be kinda like “local code”. I thought that each instance of an object would run this code for themselves, like how a class works. Sadly, that’s really not how it worked. In fact, I fail to understand the point of these “behaviours” entirely – the code is just run as if it was written in the Event Editor… only it seems to run it X times, X being the number of objects of that type there are.

What happened was I had an object called “ULS”, the Ultimate Lame Ship. In the object, there was an alterable value (an integer or double(if you’re lucky and MMF isn’t an idiot about it), you’re only allowed 26 of them per object – another MMF limitation) to identify which player was controlling the ship, and a behaviour which moved the ship by looking at the player’s input device. One of these objects in the scene? No problem. Works perfectly. Add another instance of the same object… BOOM. Player 1’s ship moves at double the speed and seems to break all the rules I set about maximum speed. Player 2’s ship doesn’t move at all. If one of the ships is destroyed, the other ship moves normally again. Yes, I’m giving each ship a unique player number, and yes, the code says that each ship should only respond to its own input device. Yet still only one ship moves… incorrectly.

Because of the progress I was making, this REALLY irritated me – this stupid idiot limitation of MMF. You want to make a player ship that will work in any mode for any player? No, you can’t, MMF doesn’t allow it. You have to make separate objects for each player which contain basically the same code. And hence, if you find a bug in the movement, you have to fix it FOUR TIMES, once for each player. You’ve also got to create separate S.P.A.R.T.A Drones for each player… and separate Balls of Steel… and so on. Yeah, not my idea of fun. 😛

In C#, you can create 4 players from the exact same class, give each of them a player number, and then each player ship runs separately, looking at its OWN values. “Oh, my player number is 2, and there’s been no input from player 2’s controller. So I’m going to stay still.” Not “oh, I’m player 1 and there’s been input from player 1’s controller so I’m going to run my code and player 2’s movement code for no reason WHEEEEEEE” and “I’m player 2 and there’s no input to my controller but player 1’s dead so I should take over player 1’s controller ahahahah” NO NO NO SCREW YOU.

I NEED to go further, and I can’t with MMF2. I’ve reached the program’s limit, and the only way for me to get better and make ULSG better is to take XNA as my tool of choice. So… as the blog title says, it’s official. I’m no longer using MMF. It’s been great using it all these years, and I’d still massively recommend it if you’re interested in games development and want somewhere to start, but for me, it’s time to move on.

If I can bear to wade through the mess of checkmarks that is V13, I’ll finish it off. It won’t have multiplayer, and may have features I planned to put in missing. But all my other projects will be done in C# using XNA – ULSG V14, Dragon Storm, and anything else. And over time, JetSquirrel will get better, so things will be easier to make. 🙂

This weekend, then, I managed to do this in XNA:


(Don’t mind the FPS counter (if you can see it ;)) – the FRAPS recording was making it go crazy for some reason. :P)

It’s not much to look at, but on the programming side, there’s a simple but fully functional game state manager called JetDirector, which is the most important component so far. You create class files for each of your game “scenes”, such as main menu, splash screen, etc., and JetDirector can switch between them. There’s also a SFX class called JetSound, and a graphics helper called JetGraphics. 🙂 All works pretty well so far! 😀

I’ll have to try and find more time to work on it during the week, since I’m at my parents’ next weekend without a computer to use. :/ I’m aiming to get it to this stage as soon as possible:

That’s as far as I got with MMF, until the limitations reared their ugly heads. 😛 Might take a little while, since I’m going with a higher resolution, so I’ll have to redo the HUD and the menu graphics.

But ya, it’s good to be back with XNA again. 😀 When I’ve gotten far enough with it, I’ll make the V14 blog. 🙂

I think that’s all for now… apart from the Shoot ‘Em Up Kit being one of the worst game development tools I’ve ever used – on par with Torque and The 3D Game Maker. 😛 Anyhoo, back to work tomorrow, and we should have our first games on the Android Market and Apple App Store this week – woot! 😀

See ya later. 🙂

Alright, so maybe I was cranky.

Give up on ULSG, Dragon Storm and Dragon Tail?! No way, dude, that is a STUPID idea. 😛 If I was serious about that, I’d have just ended up deleting them, but really, if I did that… well… that would hurt. A lot. Like, REALLY a lot. 😛 WordPress is still a stupid bag of crap, and I hate its stupid interface which has too many pointless features and hardly anything is easily accessible, but since everything’s already here, I guess I’m stuck. 😛

ANYWAY, yeah, I’m back. 😀 What have I been up to these past months? Well, let’s see… let me stick the different things under headers to make it nicer to read. 😀

UNIVERSTY OF DOOM

My university course is going nicely, well, sort of, apart from the fact that I can’t even stand to LOOK at the fail, impossible-to-use, redundant language that is C++, and would rather use the more intelligent, modern C#. Unfortunately, we can’t… for one of our assignments, anyway. 😛 That assignment is rubbish, and the guy who’s teaching us is the most annoying person I’ve ever met. Seriously. And he hasn’t actually taught us anything, hence why we’re all struggling. 😛 In our first assignment, we had to make an engine with a bunch of functions to render different things. Mine looked alright, but it was awful, badly coded and half of it didn’t even work, but I somehow got a C. That immediately made me realise that our tutor orgasms over good graphics, and that’s our basic tactic for the second assignment, since we have to use a 10-year-old engine by some retard who can’t code, and it’s impossible to understand. 😛

As for C#, well, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about it and the XNA framework, which is REALLY easy to use. I’ve been using C# for our team project, and this year, it’s going better than I thought it would. 😀 At first, we had the worst idea in history and I hated the nuts off it. Fortunately, we scrapped it, and changed our idea to something much better, kind of a cross between a side-scrolling-shooter and a helicopter-tunnel-gravity-survival-game-thing. I called it “Project Jet-Powered-Squirrel”. Ya rly. 😀

JET POWERED SQUIRREL!!

That’s until we came up with a proper name, “Fluidity”, although the solution is still known as “Project Jet-Powered-Squirrel”. 😀 I daren’t change it, because last time I changed a solution name… urrrrgh. 😛

We reached Beta a couple days ago, and, well…

I reckon we’ve done an awesome job, but I just wished that everyone was contributing at a nice rate and actually doing stuff we need, not stuff we don’t need, like new ships. We already have five player ships, and that’s about three more than I thought was necessary for this project. 😛 It’s been coded in C# using the XNA framework, which is the shit. 😀 The programming is… um… about 80% mine. 😛

There are things in there that I would have never been able to do if I’d have never gone on this course. That random terrain generator, for example, is pretty advanced. 😉 It’s more difficult to code a game than with MMF2, but it’s incredibly powerful. I don’t prefer it over MMF2 yet, but that’s because it’s got a bigger learning curve. I’m still learning. 😛

GAMES OF DOOM

I’ve tried out quite a lot of new games while I was away. I got Bulletstorm for the Xbox, and it was AMAZING, quite frankly. 😀 The multiplayer is a little shallow (there’s not really that much to do), but the single player campaign is THE most epic campaign I’ve experienced in an FPS. I don’t want to give too much away – you should just give it a try and see. 😀

Also on the Xbox 360, I rented Soul Calibur IV, which is quite good. The story mode for each character is so short it’s ridiculous, and all that’s different is the ending, but the combat system is pretty cool; outfacing at first, but cool when you get used to it. The graphics are just crazy, especially impressive in the character creation mode (the character creator’s depth is just impossible, as in “good” impossible :P). I’ve completed the story mode with Nightmare, Sigfried and Lizardman so far, who were all good, but Lizardman stands out for me. Not just because he looks awesome, but I can seem to use him better than the others, kinda like how I can use Ryu or Ken better than any other character in Street Fighter. 😀

I’ve also tried out Test Drive Unlimited 2, which was… yeah, there’s gotta be at least one… it was bullshit. 😛 The story is shite, the world is boring, the voice acting made me want to vomit, you need to jump through hoops to obtain plot coupons… SORRY, licenses to continue, and the races are so easy they almost made me fall asleep, no joke. Oh, and the multiplayer doesn’t work, or it didn’t for me. After my first few races, I just wanted to stop racing against idiotic bots and stupid times and fake scores and just play some multiplayer against REAL people. Unfortunately, it couldn’t find a game. Didn’t even seem to try. And even if it did, it’d be boring because I’d constantly be at the back, because you race with your own car, and most people don’t restrict their races and everyone races with Ferraris. Do I have a Ferrari? No. Do I want to play against boring bots and do boring missions in a boring environment to obtain a Ferrari? No. So screw it. 😛

On the PC, I got into the Darkspore publicity stunt… SORRY, Beta, and quite liked it. However, that was until I discovered there’s no Creature Creator, and that damn near kills it. This bullshit excuse people keep giving me “it’s not like the original Spore” does not matter – they have the ability to implement a creature creator, they have the code, they have the brains… and they didn’t do it. And there’s no reason for it apart from laziness. I don’t want to play as preset creatures which you can barely modify. I want to make my own. It’s not a bad game, it’s just let down because I know it doesn’t have everything it could have. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t buy a game that I know could have been made better. Another thing that ruins it is the fact that it’s connected to a central server, MMORPG style. And that slows things down, such as buying upgrades, buying and selling items, saving creatures, switching creatures in the editor… using abilities… attacking… MOVING… 😛

I reckon I’d be able to change my mind if I could play with at least two other players… but unfortunately, interest among my friends seems to have evaporated in favour of playing more Star-Boring-Unbalanced-Rushy-Non-Tactical-Hotkey-Obsessed-Play-In-The-Correct-Order-Each-Time-And-You-Will-Win-Piece-Of-Shit-Graphics-Game-Most-People-Who-Play-This-Have-Never-Played-The-Original-Game-Craft 2, which is odd, because one of them has only ever played Darkspore once (and we didn’t even finish because the server spazzed up), and another I don’t think has ever played it at all. Since it’s really boring solo, I guess that means I won’t be bothering with it. I still have a Darkspore beta key if anyone’s interested in trying it. 🙂

On the PSP, I played Patapon, which I thought would be awful, but it’s a really good game. It was let down by its retarded difficulty curve and the fact that getting good units was almost impossible. Patapon 2 is much better, and its difficulty doesn’t wave all over the place as much, but the evolution map confuses the hell out of me. There are so many different types of Patapon, I don’t have a CLUE which one to use – I usually have to figure it out by trial and error. Still, it’s a great little game which looks childish, but it’s difficult, filled with really interesting gameplay, it’s very replayable and to top it off, it contains some pretty cool music. When you reach Fever Mode, the voice that yells “FEEEVERRRRRR!!!” and the fully-evolved version music track which follows it is REALLY awesome, not to mention the epic “Daa DAA da-DAAAA! Daa DA-DAAAA! Daa daa da-DAAAA!” chant when you activate Hero Mode. 😀 I reserved Patapon 3 from LoveFilm, which comes out pretty soon. It’s extremely rare for me to look forward to a PSP game. 😀

Got a bunch more games on my rental list, including Ace Combat 6, Final Fantasy XIII and The Legend of Spyro: Dawn Of The Dragon. And that’s quite weird, since I frown upon the new trilogy with almost inhuman hate. 😛 Although the first part of the reboot was an OK game at its core (just “OK”), tagging it with “Spyro” instantly makes it a part of the Spyro series, which makes me compare it to the epic Spyro 3. And that’s a bad idea, because compared to the old Spyro games, the new trilogy is a can of shit… with sprinkles of bum fluff. And coated in liquid cancer. 😛 It stars a whiney, pathetic, pitiful excuse for a dragon voiced by Elijah Wood, who has an annoying voice. He’s accompanied by a sidekick who serves no purpose other than comic relief… which is a shame, because he’s not even funny and sounds as if he’s not even trying. 😛 If they’d released it under a different IP with different lead characters, that would have been great. I’d have respected the first game to a certain degree, and Spyro’s name wouldn’t be ruined. But no, it’s Spyro, it’s shameful, and the worst part is that the furry community now has their “paws” on him, and he’s not even a shadow of his former awesomeness. You see:

Spyro the Dragon

Define "Epic": A dragon on a skateboard. I'll say it again: a DRAGON on a SKATEBOARD.

Spyro the Urggghhrghhgh

Define "Ruined": When a modern developer plays the original Spyro trilogy and believes they can better Insomniac's damn near perfect character design and gameplay mechanics.

Urrrrggrgghhhh… R.I.P, Spyro. I’ll miss ya, buddy. 😦

Not sure why I’m renting the third. Maybe because the third one was made by a different studio (which I’ve NEVER heard of) and it allows you to free-fly. Don’t you worry, I’ll review the hell out of it when I play it. 😛

I think that’s it for the games section. Apart from that I’m looking forward to Dynasty Warriors 7 (which keeps getting its release date knocked back), Portal 2 and of course, Duke Nukem Forever. 😀 And Dungeons is crap. And that I’m a complete moron for saying that I didn’t like Sonic Heroes. And that I kick so much ass at Bejeweled Blitz, even God wouldn’t be able to beat my score. 😛

WORDPRESS IS THE WORST THING SINCE CANCER

Right. This entry is still being written, since WordPress thinks it’s fucking hilarious to lie about publishing your entry, and instead save it as a draft and delete the last 1000 words. Yes, seriously, THAT HAPPENED. >.<

At this point I think it was the time when I mentioned that it was quite a long entry and offered you a Kit-Kat. So here you go:

A picture showing the latest packaging on a UK...

MmmmMMMmmmmMmmmm.

Omnomnomnom. Finished? Alrighty, where were we?

MY GAMES OF DOOM

Not really done much on this front. 😛 ULSG is progressing VERY slowly, due to University and because it’s as badly coded as WordPress or some C++ program by Jim Adams. 😛 Dragon Storm is moving along a little faster because it’s so much nicer to code and much more advanced, but again, University slows it down a lot.

I don’t really post updates about my projects here – usually I only post major updates here, such as the announcement of a big new feature or announcing when it’s been released. More detailed updates can be found on my Ultimate Lame Ship Game V13 and Dragon Storm Daily Click project pages. Project pages don’t have RSS feeds, unfortunately, but you can bookmark them if you want. 🙂

BLOG IMPROVEMENTS OF DOOM

Unfortunately, I can’t fix the Hundred Irritations of WordPress, but I can add a new section. 😉 At the top right on the main screen, just under about, you’ll see a ridiculous link called “MongMaster’s Epic List of Games and Other (Bad Word)”. 😀 Clicking on it will take you to an unfinished page with a picture of a male chicken at the bottom. 😛 When it IS finished, it’ll have almost everything I’ve ever made on it: games (even really old ones which you’ve never seen before), 3D renders (including some prototypes/tests which I’ve never posted), traditional artwork (I don’t have much of that, really :P) and Dragon Tail.

The games list won’t contain EVERYTHING I’ve ever made, partly because some of the things I’ve made are utilities, VERY unfinished games or pointless apps, and partly because some of them are so goddamn awful that I couldn’t upload them even if I had Duke Nukem’s BALLS OF STEEL… coated in aluminium… and diamond. 😛 I WILL upload my first “full” game, which I believe was Rampage. It might have crappy controls, lame gameplay, an extremely obvious exploit and music ripped from War Wind (it’s good music, though ;)), but when you pump up the maximum number of objects to 20,000 (from 500), it’s crazy. 😀 It does have potential, though, but I’m not sure which direction I should take it. I may make Rampage 2 at some point, or maybe Rampage Reloaded? Or Rampage <Insert Suffix Here>? 🙂

I’ve already shared pretty much every finalised render I’ve ever done at some point on this blog, but there are a few other renders which I never completed. Some of them are quite cool, the most notable probably being some of Shadow practicing Irushkai. Irushkai, in the Dragon Tail universe, is one of the Draconic Arts, which are basically like martial arts for dragons. Since the Draconic Arts don’t exist, no-one can complain about form or anything like that, and that’s awesome, since I know pretty much nothing about martial arts. 😛 Although you could sort of compare Irushkai to Taekwondo, since the Art only involves attacking with the lower body; usually just the legs and feet, but some branches of the style use the tail as well. I don’t know why exactly, but if I imagine dragons fighting like that, it almost overloads my brain with epicness, and I can’t understand why no-one else has ever thought of this. 😀 Posing them in DAZ Studio is possible, but difficult, and it’s even more difficult to get a good render angle, but I’m amazed they can even get into the correct positions. The SubDragon is impossibly versatile. 😀

I don’t have that much traditional artwork, really. 😛 I have picked up a pencil every so often recently and tried improving my skillz, but I have next to no artistic talent. Probably doesn’t help that I only ever draw dragons, which aren’t particularly easy, but there aren’t that many other things that I feel like drawing. Drawing people is boring. 😛 I do have the Notepad of Doom, though… which is filled with crappy art, but it’s totally random and quite funny in places, so I might post that! 😀

As for Dragon Tail… well, I’ll probably only end up posting the first few chapters, and not letting it go too far into the story. That’s because I really don’t know what kind of potential it has. It could be absolutely brilliant and be a massive hit, but then again, it might be awful and embarrassing. I estimate the final word count will be around 250,000 words, and I don’t know whether that’s far too long or just right. My view on dragons, their traditions, their lifestyles, their language (friss ir’s amaka tarakar ovar frenteknara ;)) and their nature may be welcomed, or it might be shunned. I don’t know. 😛 When I make a game, I know whether it’s good or bad, and 99% of the time, I know exactly what’s wrong with it – it’s an instinct. Dragon Tail is different, because it’s my first major piece of writing, and I don’t particularly like reading anymore (I loved it when I was a kid, but nowadays, it’s difficult to find something interesting amongst all the boring bullcrap that comes out nowadays :P), so I have no idea if what I’m doing is actually good or not. 😛 If it does turn out to be a pile of fail, I’ll post the entire thing. Because big piles of fail are what make WordPress. 😉

So yeah, I’ll get those pages finished soon. 🙂

ENDING OF DOOM

I think that’s all. Let’s hope WordPress doesn’t forget half of this again. In fact, I’m gonna copy and paste the HTML into Notepad just in case. 😛

Now, I’m gonna put on an iron shirt and chase Satan out of Eart’. 😉