Searching for a piece of your soul? I’d look here first.

This entry’s probably not gonna be long, because I can’t explain this game. I just can’t.

I got Child of Eden from LoveFilm yesterday. Since it’s the spiritual successor to Rez, and Rez is one of my favourite games of all time, I was excited to play it… but I was quite tired. I did play a couple of stages, and even then I was blown away and basically left speechless. I decided that I’d leave it and come back to it the next day, because I thought I’d be able to give it more accurate critique.

And I couldn’t. πŸ˜› I couldn’t find anything wrong with it then, and I can’t find anything wrong now, apart from its length, but that’s not a problem. Because it’s SUPPOSED to be one of those games you can just stick in every so often and play for a few hours. Kinda like Street Fighter. You can’t play this game for long stints.

I want to start with the graphics, but I’ll go with the gameplay first. πŸ™‚ The gameplay is simple – move your reticle over targets while holding A, and then release to fire. Classic Rail Shooter 101. πŸ˜‰ If you get into trouble, you can press B to use a Euphoria powerup, which is basically a bomb which clears the screen of any annoying bullets or enemies you can’t get in time. The gameplay is identical to Rez, apart from three things. The first is that YOU are the player – you’re not controlling an avatar. Secondly, health is now just a (pretty) meter in the bottom right (if you want to see it, that is – you can turn the entire HUD off if you want ;)). You don’t use Progress Nodes to level up your form, nor is your form basically your health – you just have a meter. Thirdly, you can now shoot rapid-fire lasers with either X or RT, which are the only things that can hit bullets or purple enemies. If they’d have added any more complexity, Child of Eden would have been too complex for what it’s supposed to be – a chillout game. Any less complexity, it would have probably become boring. So, there’s nothing wrong with the gameplay, it’s 100% pure Rail Shooter, with no added faggotry. πŸ˜€

Nowadays the market’s just saturated with games where you shoot, slash or blow enemies’ body parts off, and it’s just… the norm. It’s dull. What makes Child of Eden even more refreshing to play is that you’re not just going through Eden destroying things – you’re purifying them. You can just tell this game was designed to make you feel at peace. Not sure what it’s like with the Kinect, it could be crazy using that instead of a controller, but I actually want to find out. And I’m not a fan of the Kinect. πŸ˜€

Let’s get onto the graphics, shall we? Oh my God. I can put my hand on my heart and say that this is THE most beautiful game I’ve ever played. If you don’t believe me, you should look at some gameplay videos, or even some screenshots, but really, the only way to properly experience the indescribable beauty of this game is to play it. And it’s not just the graphics – the way the levels progress is equally beautiful. Take the second stage, Evolution – towards the end, you’re purifying manta rays and whales. When you’ve hit every part of the whale, it starts to fly into space, where you continue purifying it. When you’re done again, it gently scatters into a bunch of stars, which then move to form some sort of shape… a bird. Shapes start to appear near the stars, and after much intrigue, a magnificent phoenix appears from the stars, and starts slowly flying through space as you purify the different targets on its body. When the phoenix appeared, I automatically said “Oh, wow!” πŸ˜€ It’s just fantastic.

In addition, it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve seen a live actor in a game. UNLESS Lumi is NOT a live actor. In which case, HOLY SHIT, I’ve never, ever seen a 3D model that realistic. :O

The music is another big part of this game, and all their music is written by a band called the Genki Rockets. I’ve heard of them before, but never outside of any games made by Q Entertainment. I’ve just read about them on Wikipedia, and well… it’s a really strange band – only two people in the band are actually known, and the face of the band is just a fictional character. :S One of the known people actually WORKS for Q Entertainment, so that probably explains why I’ve only ever heard them in Lumines Live, Lumines II and E4 before. But anyway, the music is goddamn amazing. It syncs with the visuals perfectly. And you even have a say in how it sounds. If you press A, you get a clap sound. When you release a lock and fire at the enemies, you get a sound depending on how many enemies were locked. Letting an octa-lock go on the beat or at a musical climax sounds REALLY awesome, and the game even REWARDS you for doing that with extra points. Every sound is also delayed until the next 1/16th, so you can’t possibly mess up the sound of the music if you fail at keeping the rhythm. πŸ˜›

I’ll do the F.A.G.G.O.T later, but basically, even though you can’t play it for more than a few hours at a time (because it’s not designed to be), this game is the most beautiful, immersive, fantastic, best-sounding game released this year. The ONLY thing that can possibly stop me from saying “Child of Eden is the best game of 2011” is TES IV: Skyrim. And to be brutally honest, I really don’t believe that’s going to be very good. πŸ˜›

Although… that IS what I said before starting up Child of Eden… we’ll see. πŸ˜‰

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I’m getting ahead of myself a bit…

This has always been a problem of mine. πŸ˜›

I’m really eager to get started on ULSG V14. Like, REALLY eager. Leaving behind that messy bunch of code that was in V13, starting V14 from scratch, no old code in the way, being able to build it MUCH more efficiently thanks to my improved programming skillz… I can’t wait. πŸ˜€

In fact, I can’t wait so much that I just went ahead and made a start, even though I’ve still got a bunch of things left to do to get V13 finished. πŸ˜› I’ve done this a few times before for other projects – Beat The Computer 3 was finished before Beat The Computer 2, which was (hilariously) never completed, and I started on Special Services Team Gold before completing the normal edition, both of which were dropped. πŸ˜› It’s not just games, either – I actually started writing parts for Dragon Tail 2 about 75% of the way through the original Dragon Tail, and I started work on Streets of Goong: Stage 8 before finishing Stage 7. It’s a bad habit. πŸ˜›

I’ve not spent TOO much time on it, really… well… okay, maybe I sort of have. πŸ˜› I took an old 3DS Max scene of the ULSG V14 logo that I started a while back, messed around with it, changed the “V14” part of the logo to look way cooler, and played with some animation. I also found a piece of music to use as the intro theme, and hence tried to make the animation sync with that. πŸ˜€

After a while, I managed to get God Rays working, added some motion blur, did a load of test renders, then when I was happy, I started rendering the entire animation, which basically made my computer unusable for several hours. 18 hours, to be exact. It also upped my CPU’s heat to around 82C for the entire duration, too. :S

However, GOOD NEWS! One, my overclock is very stable, two, I made some more progress on Patapon 3, three, the Carmageddon IP doesn’t belong to Gay Enix anymore and a new one’s being developed by Stainless (the ORIGINAL devs who I love, so this new one is going to be epic), and four, the animation looks BETTER than I thought it would. πŸ˜€ Oh, and five, Multimedia Fusion 2 now seems to be able to draw things on top of videos. πŸ˜€ It used to only be able to draw UNDERNEATH vids, last time I checked, at least, which wasn’t very useful. πŸ˜›

Here’s a teaser of my CPU’s 18 hour shift… πŸ˜‰

The flashing “press any button” notifications are selected randomly from a list. Just a little extra thought. πŸ˜‰ As you may have noticed, as well, the game detects happysticks… um, joysticks, at startup. So yes, ULSG V14 will have controller support. πŸ˜€ It sounds easy, but it’s currently my biggest hurdle.

Some people might have several controllers for their PC, and they might not all be the same. I have no idea how Windows identifies game controllers, and the MMF2 extension that I have can’t get the ID of a game controller. What’s more, if the player unplugs both of their controllers and plugs them in in a different order, ULSG will pick them up in a different order.

“Why do you care?” you ask? Well, picture this. Player A starts playing ULSG with an Xbox controller, which is the only controller plugged in, and hence is Controller 1. They configure it to their liking, and the mappings are saved in their profile. However, the next day, Player B wants to join in and play 2-player, but uses a different type of controller, which is plugged in first, and hence becomes Controller 1, whereas the Xbox controller becomes Controller 2. Player A will sign in with his profile, but since Controller 1 is now a completely different device, his mappings are going to be all screwed up.

What I WANT to happen is for the controller’s identifier to be stored in Player A’s profile. When the game starts up and Player A signs in, ULSG will look at every connected controller, find the one which has a matching identifier, and respond to input from that controller.

Hmm… but I CAN get a controller’s NAME. That could be stored as a group name in an INI file… and when a player configures a controller, their config is stored there… and multiple profiles could save different mappings under that group… I may have figured it out… MAYBE. πŸ˜›

Haha, wow. Back when I started V13, I didn’t even think HALF as deeply into ANY feature. Even the V14 profile select window I finished last night is already more stable and foolproof than V13’s. πŸ˜€ I have a load of things planned out for V14, as well – apart from the 4-player local multiplayer and Infinity Mode, there’ll be new ships, Drones and Special Modules (Special Modules will be known as Boosters in V14). You’ll be able to tweak the duration of powerups, and you won’t need to be an achievement whore to unlock everything, because things will cost Creditz instead. πŸ˜€

Anyway, yeah yeah, gotta get V13 finished FIRST. πŸ˜›

OODIARRRR!!

UPDATE!: SoRR V5 download links are now in this entry, since SEGA are utterly ridiculous and decided to order Bomber Games to take the link off their site, even though SoRR doesn’t damage them in any way at all. Then they wonder why their fanbase keeps shrinking and complaining.

Oh, what to start with… two things have been released recently, and they’re both awesome. Okay, let’s do it in order. πŸ˜‰

On April 3rd, Bomberlink updated the Streets of Rage Remake blog for the first time in over a year. And that could only mean one thing. SoRR V5’s RELEASE, BABY, YEAAAH! Even though I had assignments I had to be getting on with, I immediately downloaded it. It was a hefty 200-something MB download, but I didn’t care – I’ve been waiting patiently for this for a long time. πŸ˜€

It has a few flaws, such as Axel not being half as powerful as he should be (Disregard that, it’s actually extremely faithful to the original games – I was using SoR3 Axel, and forgot that his Grand Upper isn’t as powerful as it was in SoR2. I switched to SoR2 Axel, and the damage went up. πŸ™‚ ) and some of the remixes are… well, not good. The new Go Straight remix is okay, but it takes far too long to get to the almost legendary primary melody (the part I sing along to πŸ˜› ), and the Wave 131 remix doesn’t capture any of the funkiness of the original song and sounds… pretty boring, honestly. πŸ˜› (New Wave is excellent, though – the pianos are especially kickass. πŸ˜€ ) The remixes can easily be fixed, though – you just convert a music file to an OGG, replace it with the song you want to get rid of, and done. πŸ˜€ For example, I replaced the Go Straight remix with…

πŸ˜€ Credit goes to Yuzoboy for the track. πŸ˜‰

Overall, SoRR V5 is awesome. Like, REALLY awesome. And I haven’t even tried it 2-player yet. πŸ˜€ I’m not going to say any more and ruin all the shiny new features for you, but trust me, you need to try it. πŸ˜€

UNFORTUNATELY, a company I used to quite like, SEGA, has poked their nose in conveniently as SoRR’s JUST BEEN FINISHED, and told them to take the link down because of copyright infringement.

ALL my respect for SEGA now no longer exists. It’s freeware, it’s taken nearly a decade to create and SEGA’s never going to use the Streets of Rage name again (they won’t use it WELL, anyway). So this hurts SEGA… how? I can’t fucking STAND it when companies do things like this. And it was obviously a malicious move by SEGA, because they’ve had EIGHT YEARS to stop them, and they do it NOW, just after Bomberlink and his crew have completed all their obviously hard work.

Bit fucking late now, isn’t it, SEGA? Thousands of people already have it. I’m one of them. And I’m gonna help others get it. So, if you want it, go ahead and get it from the following link!

Streets of Rage Remake v5

UPDATE 2!!: This link used to be two links, because I used to use MediaFire and thatΒ didn’t let you upload files that were more than 150MB unless you pay for it. Since about 65% of people were downloading the first file but not the second, and downloading half a game doesn’t work, I’ve replaced it with a single OneDrive link. And hey, this also has the added bonus of no stupid ads. πŸ™‚

UPDATE!!: Um, I’ve noticed that a couple people some people more than half the peopleΒ 75% of the people (WHAT IN THE SHIT, CAN YOU READ?!)Β 60% of the people who started a download have clicked on SoRRv5 Part 1, but not on SoRRv5 Part 2. You, er… you need both parts. πŸ˜› Because I had to split it into two, because MediaFire doesn’t support files more than 100MB unless you pay for it, which I can’t afford and don’t really see the point in doing. πŸ˜›

Anyhoo, moving on…

Next, there’s Dynasty Warriors 7. I love Dynasty Warriors… well, not #6. I thought that was disappointing, because of that shitty new Renbu combat system. With DW7, though, they’ve scrapped that, and gone back to the good old Charge system. πŸ˜€ I was expecting the same kinda gameplay as DW5, but with the feel of DW6. And I was right. However, instead of feeling like the same old game, it feels significantly different, somehow. I can just tell they’ve really tried to impress with this one.

I’ve only just finished Shu’s story mode (1 of the 4), and since I started playing the day before it was supposed to be released, it’s obviously got some serious game time. The gameplay feels faster and more intense somehow, and I quite like the weapon customisation system – it’s simple and effective. The missions feel more linear, which is a good thing, since in older DW games, you could easily just run straight to the enemy commander and beat him, but now you’ve got to keep an eye on your allies, complete objectives and prioritise properly.

The thing that amazed me the most, though, was the noticably improved presentation. Besides the nice graphics and awesome effects, the voice actors actually sound like they’re giving it their best shot. Some are still a bit shit, but the majority are good. This is REALLY noticable in the genuinely awesome cutscenes, which actually engage me. I also found myself talking to everyone in the pre-battle camp scenes. It’s not often that a game makes me care about the characters so much, or makes me feel so immersed.

It still has the thorn of repetition in its side, but the story and the action manage to cover it up really well. If you include the brilliant-as-always soundtrack, the psychotically huge Conquest mode that WILL make your eyes pop out when you see how many missions there are, and the sheer FUN of driving a Juggernaut or firing an unrealistically fast-firing Ballista, it’s the best Dynasty Warriors game I’ve ever played. It’s better than DW5, which has been my real favourite for a long time. πŸ˜€ And you know what? I haven’t played it co-op yet, which is where the fun REALLY is. πŸ˜€

But for now, I’ll set the Online part of the F.A.G.G.O.T Rating to “N/A”, which gives Dynasty Warriors 7 a score of 7.7. Which is… hahaha, quite fitting, really! πŸ˜€ And remember, my rating system is from 0 to 10, not 5 to 9.8 like “professional” critics, who gave DW7 an average of about 5, like they have done for every single game since DW3. Because they don’t actually play the game for more than 5 minutes, unless it’s Halo, CoD or some other “big” title. And that REALLY pisses me off.

But never mind, I suppose DW IS kind of a love or hate thing. Give #7 a rent or something. It might just change your opinion. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and before I go, I thought I’d let you know that DAZ3D recently released a DAZ Studio 4 beta. And despite what they say ALL their users are saying, it’s really shit. But I’m too tired to explain how crappy it is right now, so I’ll save it for when I’m more lively. It’ll have more funnies then. πŸ˜‰