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fiscope Blog

Working on a game

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Looking for play-testers and level designers to help me on this platformer I'm working on.

It's currently a work in progress, so any testing help and suggestions are appreciated!


The game is called Bonefish (project name), and is a platformer with a very strange take on jumping and even gravity itself. It's impossible to accurately describe it, you have to try it out to get the full picture. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

My wallet is about to take an epic beating...

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This October I will be hit with three must-have games: Project Origin, LittleBigPlanet, and Resistance 2. Thats $150 worth of games....

The burning question will be which one to choose..... I'll probably go for Resistance 2, and then buying LittleBigPlanet. Project Origin will be a rental. I loved FEAR but Resistance is the greater replay value.

Or.... I may just keep replaying Oblivion with different character types.... That would keep me entertained...

Oblivion is awesome!

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I just picked up Oblivion for my PS3, for twenty dollars in the local bargain bin! Oh yeah!

I never got into the game, after borrowing my friend's PC version. I was a huge fan of morrowind, but something about Oblivion seemed out of place on the PC. It felt more like a console game, and I'm fine with that!

After playing on the PS3 I can say I like it much more than the PC version! It loads faster, runs smoother, and the controls feel natural and comfortable. It is also much more accessible, my little brother can now play it whenever he likes, and no issues like patching or tweaking the settings to get it running smoothly.

At this rate, it looks like I may not be a PC gamer for much longer.... It is sad, I know..... but the PS3 is just more fun! The shooters feel better, the visuals are arguably superior, and their is more variety in the types of games available.


I think I'm finally ready to play all the way through oblivion! XD

I'm going for an Assassin, and I'm picking my major skills in a way that will give me the maximum bonuses at each level-up. Gamespot even has a handy guide to help me out! Isn't it great?!...


Of course no one will answer... it's a blog!!! :O

American has some growing up to do

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I spent today with my uncle, he was visiting my dad in sunny Florida for a week or two. They live in Chicago, so the heat here is absolutely intolerable for him, even though us Floridians are used to the scorching sun...

I find it amazing what men will say when inside their comfort zone (riding in the car with my dad and I). My uncle had had some encounters with the local population in south Florida, and he has become very bitter because of it. He described, in colorful terms, how minorities were ruing this country. Now, he never said anything that I viewed as an elaborate or fantastical lie, all of his rhetoric lay carefully bound in the realm of simple observation and plain old experience. As much as a rally behind his concerns, at the same time I know that generalizing is undoubtedly ignorant. Not all African-Americans are savages, in fact I can point to my many friends as examples of minorities that contradict every ethnic and racial stereotype that "white people" have cooked up about them.

Throughout his speeches, I would insert myself from time to time, and bring the conversations back to reality, and make him see that he is being far to harsh on the minority communities. Despite this, I couldn't help but feel that his antics were not induced by white-supremacy mind control but by legitimate, thought out concerns....

He described an ordeal in which he was in a public restroom, and a child was running around slamming the stall doors. This child was black (gasp). My uncle took this the wrong way. The child was not misbehaving because he was black, but because his guardian did not keep track of him. This points to a bigger problem in our society, as I also notice smaller children acting with more selfishness and disregard for others than ever before.

Obviously, the solution is tighter discipline in schools and homes.

My own views are a little deeper, as I feel that we need to drastically tighten the discipline in all walks of American life. It is time for us to mature, both as a people and as a nation. We fall behind in science, education, and cultural appeal, and I at this point I am no longer proud of the country I live in. the moral decay is alarming, and there seems to be, at this point, no simple way to reverse it. I'm optimostic that things will sort themselves out eventually, but we may not have that long.

Condemned 2... SCARY!!!! :-O

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The more I play this game the more I absolutely love it! I love to be scared, and nothing is freakier than a well-designed horror game from the masters at Monolith.

The creepiest moment for me so far was when I walked into a bathroom and as I approached the vanity mirror I saw in the reflection something run up behind me. Now keep in mind that this place is pitch dark, so until that point all I saw were bits of movement in the darkness around the room. The effect was shocking and just plain awesome. I spun around quickly and whacked the guy with bedpost! XD

The combat in Bloodshot is very well done. It's simple to learn and incredibly deep, allowing you to block, parry, and counterattack very smoothly. The enemies are pretty smart and always appear in inconvenient places, so the challenge can be staggering if you aren't aware of your surroundings. You can turn basically anything into a weapon, from piping to baseball bats. Each weapon feels different and feels quite realistic. Smacking up monsters with a baseball bat feels just the way it should, and I absolutely love it. There is a great variety of enemies to face, each with a unique personality and attack style, and it's this delightful variety that keeps each area of the game feeling fresh and new. I haven't gotten very far in the game, but this is what I've seen so far.

The visuals are very similar to FEAR, but have been given a nice new Next-Gen polish, they are highly detailed and the lighting is rigid but effective in conveying a creepy atmosphere. The textures are very nice, and very realistic. All in all the game looks gorgeous.

My only visual complaint is the facial animations, which look absolutely dreadful. But it's a small con amidst a plethora of pros, and I have to say I look forward to spending some more time getting freaked out with Condemned!

On another note I ordered MGS4 off of Amazon, for retail price. No shipping costs. No paying for gas. No Gamestop people acting like jerks. It's so convenient! That's why I love Amazon. :-D

Edit: I just finished condemned 2. It was amazing. My Game of the year so far. Keep it up Monolith!

How a tree killed Uncharted...

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Uncharted is hailed as the graphics king by most, and while I don't explicitly disagree I would like to point out a glaring flaw.

The canopy trees. Yes the shadow-casting foliage is impressive when you're watching its shadow on the ground, but have you ever looked up at what's casting that shadow? I did. I was propelled into a fit of laughter and then of tears.

I have no screen-shots to show because I don't have my Capture Card set up but let me just describe it for you. A green flat gyrating mass that stretched and skewed around in an oval like pattern. It looked absolutely awful. It made my little bro cry and killed my cat, if Uncharted's horrific dialogue hadn't done that already.

And this killed the game for me. What ever immersiveness had existed was drained and tossed out of the window. The experience was akin to playing Oblivion and having the beggars suddenly switch voice actors on you mid conversation. It kills the atmosphere and for a game that banks on atmosphere it is a fatal blow.

I know that no game is perfect, but allowing players to see the innards of your game is like watching a movie being filmed, it just doesn't feel real.

Metal Gear Solid 4

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I was never a Metal Gear Solid Fan, but even I cant help but get swept up in the Hideo Kojima Hurricane! The game goes on sale tonight at midnight. I wont be picking it up, because I didn't reserve it, but I look forward to renting it some time soon.

For now, I picked up Condemned 2: Bloodshot. I'm a fan of Monolith and the demo was aces, so my expectations are pretty high.

It is supposed to be summer but it feels like school! I have no time to play games, and I have bevy of assignments to complete for an online course I'm taking. What a drag.

GTA 4... What a waste of my money!

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I recently rented GTA 4 for my PS3. I was so excited! The game was getting amazing reviews and I couldn't wait to jump into the world of Liberty City for the first time (I have never played a GTA game before...)!

I played for an hour, got bored, and went back to Call of Duty 4.

GTA 4 is like oblivion, minus the freedom and customization. I couldn't go anywhere I wanted. I couldn't live my life how I wanted. What the heck is this?

But I think I went into it the wrong way. I was expecting a life simulator, but what I got was a simplistic linear storyline which isn't bad but it is unbelievably boring! I dont like going on chasing missions, that's lame! Give me something interesting, something new and exciting.... No cigar.

My biggest gripe is the fake city, which is merely a bunch of hollow buildings that exist merely to exist. Why make a city if you can not go into most of the buildings? I know it is alot of work for any Developer but it would have made this game much better. Also, the people should be persistent. Have them go to work or go shopping or have a schedule. That would make things much more interesting!

Causing mayhem is pretty fun, but even that gets old. You can only hit so many people with a car before you either feel like a bastard or you get bored out of your mind.

I know I'm harsh but this game just doesn't cut it for me. It's too boring, and too simple.

Maybe GTA 5? With the direction the series is taking, towards realism, the next installment may be just what I'm looking for. :D

Advance wars strategy for beginners

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I wanted to make a handy little beginners guide to help new people get better and have more fun on-line:

The list order is basically just what I was thinking of, not organized by subject:

Just follow these tips:

1) Learn Unit cost:

It's important that you know most of the unit costs and have them memorized. It seems tedious at first but a large chunk of AW success is knowing how to manage your budget. This becomes very important in the early parts of the match. building the wrong units or not enough can cost you the entire game.

2) Put yourself in the other player's shoes before you move.

What do you think they would do? Playing for 2 is not easy, but this thinking will help you to stay prepared for what your opponent will be throwing at you.

3) During the expansion phase, make sure you keep defence in mind.

As you try to capture those far reaching areas of the map, think about what will happen if that infantry or bike is attacked and killed. You just wasted 1500 dollars. Make sure that you expand fast but also keep what you have protected. A recon or tank will do. Another good strategy is to go for the buildings farthest from you first, the ones close to you can always be captyred later.

4) Know all the units capabilities and weaknesses, and learn their foils.

For example, a Wartank coming at you may seem threatening, but an anti-tank can stop it dead in it's tracks. If you are being swarmed with bikes or infantry, a recon or two can usually mop them up. If b-copters are pestering you, anti-airs are cheap and powerful ways to blast them out of the sky.

5) Bigger is not always better

More powerful units are not always better. building a medium tank during expansion phase will drain your treasury and is utterly pointless. building a bike where only an infantry is needed is also a waste. The little costs add up. That's not to say that a power unit like a Wartank or a bomber isn't usefull, but making simply one of them, or deploying it incorrectly and wasting it is not a good way to go.

6) Know thy enemy

Flares are very useful. They can be used to scout out enemy positions, and avoid traps. If you can now see your enemies, you can attack them and not get trapped by them. They also reveal hidden units in mountains and forests, making them invaluable when placed near long range units like rockets or missles.

7) Look at the terrain first, and study it well

plan ahead on where you plan to go and what you plan to do. For example, if you see there is an island, and it has a factory on it, do not bother transporting massive units via lander, just capture the factory and build the units there on the island.

8 ) Subs and Battle Ships make great company

a bunch of B. Ships escorted by some subs, and maybe a cruiser or two for anti-air, can be a powerfull force. In AW offensives must be filled with units that compliment each other. Spamming tanks or b copters wont work unless you are playing a garbage player. Send units of all different types who's weakness are covered by the other's strentgh, such as a Tanks + artillery.

9) Every move counts

do not make a move just for the sake of moving. Every move you make in AW takes you in one of two directions, towards victory or towards defeat. Plan and analyze each move and dont get in the habit of clicking a unit while you think. Do the clicking in your mind. The more you do it, it will soon become second nature and bam, you will find yourself doing much better.

10) Dont Level feed!

Tossing little units at your enemy is bad!! After a while, his area will be filled with leveled up units and veterans. Now what if he then tossed them all at you? Bam, your done. Make your attacks swift and precise. Attack with intent to finish off what you are attacking soon, because leveled up units are very strong and can pose a serious threat. remember, a unit levels up when it kills something. It doesn't have to kill it by itself, it merely has to deliver the finishing blow.

11) Have fun

No one likes to be bored. Thinking to much can ruin a game for some people, and if you are one of these people, then remember that you dont have to scrutize and plan for every possible scenario, just play and have fun if it's what makes you happy.

added jan 25:

12) If you have the option, cut off your enemy's supplies

As you know, if a unit is occupying a production building, you cannot build on it. If you have the chance, plugging up your enemy's seaports with excess gunboats or placing units on their factories is an excellent strategy. If it is early in the game, your enemy will now have to destroy whatever you have placed on it. This buys time and can throw a monkey wrench in his strategy. Dont do it for every map, it usually doesn't work too well on very large maps.

As you get closer towards the end game, your enemy will manufacture units like crazy just to stop your progress, as you move in, try to stem the flow of units by plugging up his manufacturers, to save yourself from a certain headache.

13) Deploying CO's

You can deploy a CO by clicking on a unit that is in it's respective creation building (ex. a tank in a factory or a plane in an airport), and choosing the CO option. A small area will surround that unit, this is your CO's area of influence. Any fighting that goes on in that area will basically fuel your CO bar, which, when full can be used to unleash some usefull effects. If your CO unit dies, your CO bar gets reset.

I dont have all the CO's so I cant comment any more on which affect are better or worse. I personally choose Brenner, as his CO power adds 3 health to all of your units, as well as a defence boost, which is quite usefull.

14) Effective use of defence units

Different untis are good at different things. Tanks are for attacking, artillary is for defending. Do not attack with artillary, it will be destroyed.

Here are some tips for using defence units:

Artillary: Keep them in areas where the enemy will be funneled through a certain point. Their range is not that extroardinary, and they are not very strong. I dont recommend using them in wide open spaces, as they cant move and attack at the same turn, nor can they counter-attack. Good for smaller maps with mostly ground units.

Rockets: These are great for larger maps and go well when accompanied by a unit that can see far, such as a recon or flare. There attack is strong, but they can only attack ground. They also cannot engage enemies within two spaces of themselves, meaning that if the enemy can get close, they are in danger.

Missles: These are extremely potent anti-air units that have a very large range, and all of the limitations of the Rockets. just like rockets, they should be in a position where they can see very far, and if the enemy is too close, they should be retreated.

Anti-tank: This units is a very versatile defence unit. It can attack many different types of units, and fair especially good against mechanized units, like tanks. If you are being attacked by a group of med or wartanks, an AntiTank can save the day. Their ability to counter attack makes them invaluable defence tools.

More coming soon.

Developers: Laziness, greed, and ignorance running rampant

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There are times when I'm gliding through the game isle at my local store and I have to stop and stare for a moment, wondering what in the world were some of these developers thinking!

Suda 51 recently complained about the sad sales figures that his freakish game, "No More Heroes" was managing to pull.

What do you expect? They took an edgy, violent game, that is really not that great anyway, and put it on a system who's main demographic is younger kids. Then you give it a stupid name and expect it to sell with little to no marketing. Great choice guys! This is why we have brains, so we can use them to avoid doing incredibly ignorant things....

What shocks me more than the awfull decisions that game designers make,is the laziness that seems to be stagnating certain aspects of the gaming industry. As an example,look at what the shooter genre has become? Repetitive and lazy! Lets take Halo 3 (I feel like making some fanboys mad today!): What the heck were they thinking? This game is not a sequel it's an expansion pack! The graphics are what really got me though: it looked like Halo 2 with improved yet still outdated lighting. SO let me get this straight... Bungie, with the financial backing of the richest company on the planet, couldn't do any better than this? A short campaign with rehashed multiplayer and outdated visuals? Laziness!

But game quality doesn't matter anymore, does it? The Wii and 360 have proven to developers that making a good game is pointless. The only games that sell are cheap, stupid games and extremely good games (if you needed to make money which one would you choose to make?). This is breaks my heart, because I'm watching the industry begin to cave in and there is nothing I can do about it. The focus is shifting from gameplay to visuals and cheap thrills. This can be good in certain cases: when the three are employed with expert polish. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. For this we can blame Microsoft and Nintendo almost entirely. MS does not care about their users, as they have proven with their awful hardware and outrageous costs (you have to pay for extras that should have been included free... corporate greed knows no bounds!). The games that are released on the 360 are a drastically mixed package: So what will you buy today, an FPS or a TPS? Want something else? Buy a PS3 or settle for a watered down version of a PC franchise that some developer ported just to make a quick buck.

And the Wii is not helping. The system is great in my opinion, but the revolutionary controller is shot to hell by utterly unimaginative titles. Without quality controll the Wii is beginning to feel like System Wars: Mountains of reiterated filth, with a glowing gem of insight every once in a while. It's sad, really.... and Nintendo doesn't seem to care. What message does it send to developers when good games like Zack and Wiki dont sell, but Wii Carnival does? Devs get lazy and make shovel-ware.

Devs need to do something about it. There is absolutely no excuse for rehashes, bad visuals, or poor gameplay. You have highly paid people who are supposedly experts, making poor decisions that even a child could point out.It's time for devs to free themselves from the grasp of financial greed and start innovating again. Mario Galaxy, Bioshock, AW: Days of Ruin, RE4, etc., these are made by devs that have dared to alter the formulas and rewrite the rules. When devs dont change their formulas, games fail (Halo 3, just to use it as an example again: Is anyone still talking about it?Not nearly as much as you would expect from the biggest gaming event of the year. It was stomped by a multiplat, of all things!).

The problem is that bad games sell well,propelled by the mindless followers of television marketing.

So listen up: The next time you go out and are thinking about picking up this month's Madden, Call of Duty, or mini game compilation, think long and hard about the consequences of your actions. Are you buying a new game, or are you dropping $50+ just to replay a game you already own? Think. THINK!!! That's easy enough, right?

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