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wavey_gravey Blog

Yeah, I have been building again...

OK, I picked up Minecraft again...what of it?  I have had a few days away with my parents down on the coast, and have had no access to any gaming machines, other than Minecraft on my laptop.  It was inevitable really that it was going to happen.

Any hoo, 1.6.2 is the version I am running now, and texture packs have changed to "resource packs".  I am not entirely sure what the difference is, however I have been merrily downloading a few to try out some new types of builds.  As most of you know, I have been working on a medieval style city, however I wanted to mix it up a bit.  I have managed to find a pretty decent low res (32x) modern styling pack and have been building with a more modern architectural style.  Some pics for your viewing pleasure.

Front view of my build

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Back of the build

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The pool area

Pool area


Kitchen

Kitchen



The build is an experiment for the texture pack in all honesty, but I am pretty pleased with the results.  I now have a big project planned which I am excited about.

I seriously think this game is more addictive than crack cocaine!

I am not ready for the next gen...

So, as the dust finally seems to be settling on E3 and all the ruckus that Microsoft's announcement and then hilarious U-turn caused, I have taken some time to reflect a little on the idea of the "next generation" and what this generation has brought me.

Firstly, this generation, I have played and completed more games this generation that I have EVER done in any previous one.  I blame achievements for this.  Love them or loathe them, they have made me feel like I have had my money's worth out of far more games than I ever did before.  Thinking back to my PS2 and PS1 days, I think I could probably count the amount of games I played and completed on one hand, possibly utilising a few fingers from the other hand.  This generation; I think I have played and completed nearly 100 games.  That is a huge deal (to me at least).

Some games have been terrible, most have been ok, some have been great, and a few have been genuinely amazing.  The ones that stand out for me this generation (in no particular order) are:

Fallout 3

The Mass Effect series

Minecraft (obviously :D )

CoD4

Uncharted 2

Bioshock

There is also a huge list of games that have been great such as Far Cry 3, Dragon Age: Origins, Little Big Planet, Gear of War (the reason I joined this generation)etc., but I could go on all day listing games.

The thing is, I haven't finished with this generation yet, there is still a huge list of games that I haven't yet played.  Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Fallout: NV, Dishonoured etc.  I am just not ready yet, nevermind commit to a platform.

What about you guys?  Are you ready for this generation to end?  I see lots of threads, blogs etc. where people are saying they want this generation over already, but how can they?  Surely they haven't played ALL these games yet, or are they not interested in them?  I also haven't seen anything in particular "next gen" that is drawing me in.  What will "next gen" offer that this generation hasn't been able to fulfil?  Will it only be a graphical changes, or are we expecting something entirely different?

 

OH MY GOD - Prometheus

I know I am very behind the times with this movie, but I finally managed to watch it last night and what the hell was it all about?

Well, actually, let me rephrase that.  I know what it was about, so I don't need plot explanations, however... WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT?

This movie annoyed me, not least because of the pedigree of talent involved in it.  Premiere Sci Fi Director?  Check.  Enormoulsy talented cast? Check.  Big budget special effects?  Check? Cleverly written script? Che...no wait.

The first third (maybe) was pretty good, Fassbender alone on the ship captured the isolation of space perfectly, but it all seemed to go to shiiiii when the crew woke up.  MY GOD THE CREW!  I cannot entertain such a crushingly STUPID bunch of people and they are supposed to be scientists.  The brightest of the bright.

I am pretty sure all of this has been said ad infinitum by others more adept at critiquing movies, however I would like to point out some exasperating plot holes:  (SPOILERS AHEAD)

1:  The map guy.  The guy with the little drones that go off and map an area, also equipped with high tech GPS, gets lost!  Really?

2:  The biologist guy, brought along on the journey to help with the discovery of our supposed progenitors is scared of a 2000 year old corpse, and yet is happy to entertain, and get stupidly close to a sentient worm thing THAT HAS ACID FOR BLOOD!

3:  The ridiculous connection between Wayland and Charlize's character that just wasn't explored.

4:  Why, oh WHY, if the moon our hapless crew landed on was a site for WMD did our supposed progenitors provide various maps to the location?  I mean, seriously, the whole premise about the Engineers wanting to wipe humanity out after creating it is around the idea that each progeny secretly wants to kill their father.  The Engineers it seems, were trying to do that before we could get around to it, so WHY LEAVE A MAP TO EXPOSE THE PLAN?

5:  Don't even get me started on the running vertically from a falling ship when running horizontally would have been signigicantly more effective.

6:  Alien pregnancy?  Really?  That is just f**king lazy.

7:  Noomi Rapace perfectly able to rappel from and climb in to a beleagured escape pod with very recent lower abdominal surgery, but struggles to run and perform otherwise fairly straight-forward activities.  I have had a c-section, and I can assure you even sitting up is excrutiatingly painful, let alone hulking the inanimate Fassbender down a 10ft drop.

8:  What were the Engineer crew running from in the holographic impression that Fassbender manages to uncover? It just wasn't explained.

I find the whole thing just inexplicable.  Alien is an incredible movie, in my opinion.  Perfect blend of science fiction, horror and drama, Prometheus is just crap.  What happened? 

Has anyone seen an extended Director's cut?  I ask because some of the narrative leaps suggest to me that there was an awful lot of editing, so many scenes didn't make sense.

 

I bought an indie game

I purchased an Indie game from the XBLIG marketplace the other day for the hefty price of 80pts.  

 

I know that I am probably behind the times a little bit on the indie game scene, however indulge me.  For those that have been following me for a little while it won't surprise you to find out that the game that got my hard earned 80pts was a little voxel game called Xenominer... Yup that is correct... a Minecraft type game!  (Pokecharm, look away now LOL)

At 80pts I thought that it was worth a punt and after playing the demo it seemed much more than just a Minecraft clone in space.  Yes there are elements that are similar, however it seems pretty deep.

You have crash landed on a strange moon orbiting what looks like a huge gas giant.  You are injured, no-one else has survived.  You have an AI companion called DAI-SE (Daisy) who guides you and helps you to understand what you need to do to survive.  You need oxygen, & you need processing power.  When the sun rises you must be underground as your suit cannot withstand the radiation.

Much like Minecraft then the purpose of the game is to mine for materials and upgrade your equipment.  You need to upgrade your oxygen tanks so that they can hold more air, upgrade your suit so that it can withstand more radiation, create health and rad packs to heal and elminate effects of radiation sickness.  To do this you have to give Daisy MOAR POWA!  

There is alien tech on the planet with you and you have to figure out how to use it.  I have a little bot that can do stuff, if only I can decipher the alien language and start programming macros to make it build stuff for me.

Reading the dev's blog it seems that they have a few more updates planned for the game.  Recently they have introduced MP whereby you can enter another person's world and work co-operatively with them to build your survival base, and there are plans to introduce hostile mobs, alien species, weapons etc.

If you enjoy Minecraft (and I honestly LOVE Minecraft) I would recommend you checking this game out.  It is really very interesting, and 80pts is a STEAL.

Check out the launch trailer from a few months back...

 

 

From Dust - impressions

I picked up From Dust the other day in the sale.  It was a complete impulse buy and one that I did have a little bit of buyer's remorse over when I started playing it.

I recall playing the demo when it first came out and toying with purchasing it, but then thinking better of it.  My feeling was that it would annoy me, as the controls seemed a little fiddly and I found the micromanagement even in the early levels a little difficult.

From Dust

It helps that it is a very pretty game

Well, I finished the story mode at the weekend and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There is something reallyquite lovely about the game, perhaps it is the spirituality to the game which, I found to be very soothing.  I haven't ever played a "God" game before, so this was a new experience for me.  Moulding and shaping a world using powerful tools such as molten lava is surprisingly satisfying, however despite the power that you wield as the player, the game serves up a brutal reminder of just how fragile we are in the face of the awesome powers of nature.  

Tsunami

You need to be quick to protect from Tsunami


In later levels the maps become increasingly more difficult and can be quite stressful trying to shepherd your charges to safety through a gauntlet of ferocious tidal waves and exploding volcanoes, however with the exception of the penultimate map I didn't once get frustrated with it.  

The story seemed like a decent length with 14 "maps" to solve, each with some bonus objectives to achieve, like spreading vegetation across 100% of the map, and additional knowledge stones to locate.  There are also some challenge modes to complete on the game, although I am not entirely sure I will do all of them as it seems detracts a little bit from the feeling that the story mode gave me.  All in all a very successful purchase.

Yeah, so Terraria is pretty great

OK, so I have had some time to spend with Terraria... I think that Raptr is reporting about 40+ hours EEEK!

It is great, I love it.  Initially I wasn't too sure, it seemed very difficult and there was a long period of time where I just didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do.  I foolishly chose a "large" world to start off with and it means that I have had to do a lot of digging to find anything useful so for a good few hours it felt very aimless.

One I got myself some upgraded equipment though, and got used to the control system which is actually pretty good once you get your head around it, I was off.  So far, I have beaten the first 4 bosses, and have now entered "Hard mode".  And all I can say is - Hard mode is hard.

There has been a period of aimlessness again in this new section of the game, however I have been better equipped to deal with it.  Death comes easy so it is a lot of trial and error, however when you get it right it is very rewarding.  The co-op is seamless, drop in, drop out, and whilst there has been a few buggy instances, on the whole it is really very good.

My next aim is to take on the first of the hard mode bosses which is "The Twins", I have no idea what to expect, except death of course, however I am looking forward to it.

Quality little game, well worth the M$ points I paid for it and I understand it is even cheaper on Steam.  It is a steal.  It shares many elements of Minecraft, however it definitely has a different feel to that game.  For me, it doesn't quite live up to the appeal that Minecraft has for me, however it is definitely up there with some of the great games I have played this generation.

In other news, I am toying with Defiance.  Has anyone played it?  I will, of course, be getting on XBOX as my platform of choice, but I am interested in people's thoughts on any platform they have played it.  I have never played an MMO before, something about it makes me nervous, however I was tallying up the time I have spent on Minecraft, and various iterations of CoD and I don't think it is anywhere near what I could put in to Defiance, so I may just bite the bullet and try it.

Terraria purchased

So after about 2 months of hype train from angryfodder he who hyped Minecraft for me, I finally got to purchase Terraria today.

I know, I know, I should have got it on my PC, however i don't need to remind you all that my PC is garbage for gaming.  It struggles with Minecraft.  I don't want to overload it. Besides, I like the MP aspect of Terraria, and that is just so simple on the Xbox.

I will report back once I have had time to spend with it.  I have high hopes.

 

It has me again...

Dammit, I thought I was being so good.  I hadn't touched it for at least a couple of months because other things had grabbed my attention, but it was always there, gnawing at the back of my mind...softly calling to me.

STUPID MINECRAFT!  Damn you and your beautiful simplicity.

I "accidentally" logged in to a couple of the servers I play on the other day, just to see what had been going on, get update version 1.5 to see the new blocks and 3 days later, I am downloading new texture packs and building again!

GAWD! I had forgotten how much I LOVE this game. I find it so incredibly beautiful.  And relaxing?  Oh my goodness.  I have, over the past few days been really suffering with a terrible sinus cold.  I have an autoimmune thing called Sjorgren's which basically means a sinus cold is effin terrible, couple that with a flare up of my Rhuemy symptoms and you kind of get the picture.  Minecraft is a god send on these day when playing anything remotely stressful makes me want to vomit.  Watching Mad Men and building stuff has been pretty much what I have done for 3 days.

Some pics for your viewing pleasure... I am in love with a new texture pack called Derivation. It is a 32x res, similar to John Smith (which hasn't been updated for 1.5 yet)  It is great.  Some blocks I am not crazy about, but most look amazing.  The medieval city build is coming along.

 

Wider view of city with wall in background & market area.

Wider city view

 

Town Hall - huge building

Minecraft medieval build

 

Mafalda's Olde Curiosity Shoppe

Curiosity shoppe

 

and a daytime pic of nearly completed Town Hall

DAy time

 

As you can see the sky at night is amazing, I absolutely love it.  It may sound a little like I need to get out more, but watching the sunset and rise in this texture pack is a real joy :lol:

Any hoo... must go, got more blocks to place.

Dragon's Dogma is a surprise

I have been having a bit of a gaming funk recently, nothing has really been grabbing me.  I have been slugging away at Black Ops Multiplayer with my friends and silently dying inside a little bit when I play it, but on the single player front nothing has been around to capture my interest, aside from Minecraft that is...but I need to move on from that particular topic.

At Christmas I received a few games, Dragon's Dogma was one of them.  It was a particularly difficult Sunday at the beginning of February when I was nursing a delicate head after a bout of alcoholic exuberance the night before, and I saw a friend on my LIVE friend's list playing it.  I sent him a message asking how it was, and decided I was going to start playing it.

I was quite taken with the demo when I played it waaaay back whenever it came out, and had resolved to play at some point.  I was intrigued by the Pawn system that the game has and had planned to build a tank character with lovely long flowing blonde locks and name him Fabio to complement my female Ranger.  So I did.

The game is really good.  I am not too sure how many people actually played the game, but I highly recommend it if you haven't.  There are things "wrong" with the game; there is no fast travel system, the dialogue in the game is very limited (internet memes on "taking an arrow to the knee" have got nothing on this game), the inventory system is a bit clunky and the story is pretty much of a non-event (at least in my opinion)  I spent much of the game having NO idea what was happening in the story, rather just moving from one epic battle to another.  

Griffin_zps2d0df9a3.jpg

My Ranger's first encounter with a Griffin

On the face of it, it doesn't appear to be that great a game with all the "problems" I have listed, however what it does do well is the combat.  The game is a lot of fun to play!  You start with 3 classes to choose from - the usual fantasy fayre - Fighter, Ranger or Mage.  The customisation options for your character are pretty extensive in terms of how you want them to look, but in addition to this you can create a permanent "Pawn" that will be your companion throughout the game.  This is where Fabio came in.  You have the same amount of character customisation options as you do with your primary character and you can again choose from one of the three class types.  Customising a second character is really interesting for me as I was totally invested in Fabio in the same way I was for my main character.  In addition to your two characters you can choose to recuit two more Pawns to complement your party.  These can be sourced from "The Rift" an ethereal place where hundreds of Pawns at various levels and various classes are available at any time to assist you - these are Pawns that other players have created and played with throughout their own journey.  Fabio wanders this space.

Something about this really captured my imagination.  Your Pawn learns.  If Fabio was utilised by another player and did a mission that I had yet to do, he would return to me with advanced quest knowledge -  I don't know about you, but I think that is REALLY cool.

Another really cool thing that I am sure will make some of you cringe is the social networking integration for the game.  I love all this kind of stuff, you can share pictures on Facebook (some are inserted in this blog from my game), but the recruiting of Pawns from the rift adds another element.  You can play the game with your friend's Pawn, it is kind of like a co-op experience without the intrusion of another player to break your immersion.

I mentioned above the "epic" battles.  It is here that I think the game shines.  My first encounter with a dragon was AMAZING.  Skyrim can learn a lot from this game in making battles with dragons genuinely tense and challenging.  Don't get me wrong, my first battle with a dragon in Skyrim I was all "WOAH! THAT WAS AWESOME", but after a while they became almost a chore, defeated easily and providing an unwanted distraction all the time.  Not so with the dragon in Dragon's Dogma, it took me and my team of Pawns a full 20 minutes to take it down, chipping away at its health and tactically retreating to ensure that we were all healed.  But it is not just dragons, you fight Chimeras, Griffins, Ogres, Cyclops etc. etc. and each one is a challenge.

Dogma Dragon

This beast took 20 minutes to defeat, Fabio can be seen on the right.


The classes are a lot of fun to play with.  When you reach a certain level you can change the vocation of both your character and your main pawn.  Another 6 classes become available.  Hybrids of Mage and Warrior, two handed warrior, Magic Archer etc..  I actually liked being able to "specialise" a little more and chose a Magic Archer path for my former Ranger, now she can use a Mage staff, daggers and Magic Bow.  Fabio is now a brutish two handed warrior beast.

I finished the game a few days ago and I immediately started a new game plus so that I could change my vocation again and see what some of the other classes are like.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Dragon's Dogma.  I didn't have especially high expectations, and I think that this game perhaps suffered a little bit because its release was kind of close to Skyrim, but if you haven't yet tried it and you are a fan of this type of RPG, I highly recommend it.  Has anyone else played it?

 

Resident Evil 6 - impressions

I received Resident Evil 6 for Christmas. I resisted getting it for a long time after I read how poorly it was received by most critics and fans alike. It was a shame really, as I have in the past been a fan of the Resident Evil series, indeed Resi 2 and 4 make it in to my "Favourite games of all time".

My reticence to get the game was slowly eroded though as my regular co-op buddy has been pestering me to get it for ages, so it made it on to my Christmas list to Santa.

Let me give you some background: I loved Resident Evil 4, I thought it was a phenomenal video game. OK, it did start to lose some of the "survival horror" elements that had previously characterised the franchise, but where that lacked it more than made up with excellent gameplay, in a huge, huge game that was a joy from start to finish. Come Resident Evil 5 and I think I am one of those rare folk that actually enjoyed the game. I relished the co-op elements in it - yes, again the survival horror had been eradicated, but it was still a very well crafted (IMO) game, made more enjoyable with a co-op partner that I genuinely like to play with. In short, I really enjoyed Resident Evil 5.

Now to Resident Evil 6 and I am disappointed. I knew that it had fallen from grace, however I had hoped to be able to give it some leeway as I am more forgiving than most with games. Sadly I can't. So far, I have completed Leon & Chris's campaigns, and about half way through Jake's. There is much wrong with this game, and I am disappointed that Resident Evil has fallen so far. By far the biggest problem I have with the game is the unavoidable death. I genuinely believe that the game WANTS you to die, it is like the programmers scripted in a certain number of deaths in certain sequences in a lazy way to make the game more "challenging". Well EFF THAT, obtuse reasons why you are dying does not make a game "challenging" it makes it frustrating and no fun to play. There are also problems with very annoying camera angles. The camera has always been a little bit of a problem in Resident Evil, however in this game, the camera will pan to a particular focus point whilst you are currently engaged in a battle with an enemy. That still continues, however you cannot see it, or respond to enemy attacks because the camera is focused on something else - it is maddening.

In the beginning I felt that Leon's campaign was really very good, the cutscenes in the game are excellent, and very quickly I was involved in it, however as his campaign progressed I found it more and more tedious. The "Boss" battle made me want to throw my controller. Previous iterations of the game were made fun because of the variety of enemy, each section boss battle was unique. In Leon's campaign you fight the boss no less than 5 or 6 times, each time he just gets bigger and more mutated until you are at the point where you are saying "seriously... JUST F UCKING DIE!" The final battle was the single most infuriating battle I have ever played with a completely obtuse puzzle on how to defeat him, I hated it. Conversely, I felt that Chris's campaign started off terribly, with it playing like a very poor third person shooter akin to Gears of War. The setting and colour was lifted straight from Gears of War 2, and I started grinding my teeth in frustration, however I felt as that campaign progressed it got stronger. I can't really comment on the other two as I haven't finished them yet, but I am feeling slightly anxious about how Capcom can ruin this great franchise further.

There are some interesting things at work in the game. In principle I really like the idea of the 4 stories being intertwined and that no one protagonist gives you the full story of what is actually happening, however the stuff that is wrong with the game is really detracting from this.

I am also having issue with the co-op. I enjoy co-op and my friend and I have been having a laugh playing this game, however the mechanic is terrible. In Leon's campaign we could both be fighting with no problems, misplaced kicks or punches didn't cause any issue, in Chris's campaign and so far in Jake's we are actually hitting each other during close fights which is causing problems. I find this really troublesome, and it is something else that is making me really start to dislike the game.

Perhaps slightly contradictory to what I have just written, I have been "enjoying" the process of playing the game, however because it is Resident Evil and not just a poorly put together game with lofty ambitions, I am finding it VERY difficult to recommend the game. I really wonder what Capcom are going to do with the series because there is a danger they have irreperably damaged it with this particular iteration.

I might write a final impressions after I have actually finished the game all the way through to reflect on it. For now, enjoy.