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cowboydb59 Blog

Thoughts on games

Here we go.

  • Super Mario 64 feels broken. (I borrowed it, not bought it.) The Banjo series and Ocarina of Time don't feel broken... why does a game regarded as the most classic, classic 3D game ever control like junk? And it isn't just because it's one of the first N64 games either... Wave Race 64 has decent control and it was one of the first. Plus the "new" Mario is kind of annoying.
  • Water Temple.
  • Two things that if they put in a PC shooter and the rest of the game was at least decent I would buy it: splitscreen co-op and working gamepad support. Battlefront II is the only T-rated shooter I know of with working gamepad support... everything else has to be mapped with a keyboard/mouse input from gamepad program, or has auto aim you can't turn off. Which mostly works fine, except: My gamepad has a bad non-linear input/output graph. The dead zone is a little too big for my liking (and sometimes I think it isn't quite centered properly), the sticks are a little stiff, and when you move them a little past where they start doing something then the input rockets up to almost full. (For a shooter it should be the other way... it should have a curve more similar to the 2^x curve, not the x^1/2 one.) Meaning it's much harder to aim in a shooter than it should be, since you can either make it controllable, but not have a very good turning speed, or you can put it where you can turn around quickly enough but can't aim very well at all. Also, the strafing isn't analog, which also makes it hard to aim, especially in the Jedi Knight series where the strafing is so fast.
  • Rush 2049 is in the mail and should arrive in the next few days...
  • Chex Quest.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (the Lost Levels, not the vegetable one) is hard. I'm getting kinda close to beating SMB1 with no continues, though. I think the farthest I've made it was 7-1.
  • Biggoron sword.
  • Force Unleashed looks good, except a screenshot I saw of Darth Vader still has the grainy graphics. When are games going to move past that? It looks pretty bad... when I saw Indiana Jones in the theater they had a feature about a new Bourne game, and the graphics for that were grainy too.

Banjo Kazooie 4 is in trouble

Banjo and Kazooie may never get to go on their quest to find out what SnS was all about. Help them by making a donation!
Pledge your time to make 3D models and/or SFX today and recieve a free* gift**.

*you pay shipping.

**"free" item isn't really much of a "gift".

Three and a half heavily underrated games

3.5 games I think are very good, yet many people don't seem to like them very much.

The Hobbit:

One of the best games I've played. When played with WASD mapped to a gamepad, it plays kinda like Jedi Outcast mixed with Banjo Tooie mixed with Ocarina of Time. Three games that're always good to borrow from.

The level design is very good, the graphics are good enough, the fighting is done well (the Z-targeting is better than Ocarina's because the camera stays behind you), the story is decent, the music and sound effects are good, and the puzzles are good. It's a fun game.

Jedi Power Battles:

Strangely, this game gets a bad rap... which is undeserved. Sure, it can be glitchy at times, but then there's Battlefront, which people seem to love...

It's a very good combo hack n' slash and platformer. Good co-op, a decent duel mode, pretty nicely done. It's like what Lego Star Wars should have been.

Medal of Honor: RISING SUN (fixed):

I haven't played much of the singleplayer, and what I did wasn't very good. But the multiplayer is very good indeed. The weapons are nicely balanced, it's got a ton of good controls (pretty much everything you'd need), good graphics, and some great maps. One of the very good party shooters.

Which brings us to the half game:

Banjo Tooie: Shootout:

Who knew carrying birds around in colorful mazes with great music and throwing eggs, some of which are explosive, some of which catch fire, some of which can be steered around and detonated, etc., could be so much fun? Great one stick shooter. All it needs are bots and one annoying glitch to be fixed: the players have temporary invincibility after they're hit, which kills the machine gun and makes the grenade eggs too powerful. But there's other glitches that add to the game: explosions go through walls, and if you move toward the edge of a dropoff and hold "aim" right as you hit it, you float down v e r y s l o w l y. Ninja-like.

And, it's only a tiny piece of what's on the cartridge... think of how great it could have been if they focused on it.

Fixing the genres

Before I post this, let me give a small disclaimer. These ideas, while possibly "innovative", are focused on "refining". I'm taking existing ideas and making them much better, which can be better than coming up with a whole new very different idea, especially in video gaming. It's very annoying when Gamespot gives a game a low score even though it has good gameplay and control because it had been done before. I think the most important things in a game are those, control and gameplay, and if it has those the graphics, innovation, even story can be below average (not too far below average, except the innovation...)

What the FPS genre needs: A modular user-edited game.

Picture a shooter with very little core material, just examples of what people can do. Give it all the great features from every shooter... one button grenades, all the basic weapons, many different NPC types, highly efficient online multiplayer, precise controls, bots, etc. Now load it with 3D models of just about everything and even more textures. Throw in an easy-to-use level editor and put it on the PC. Timesplitters almost did this but failed the PC and precise control requirements... the crosshair wiggling kills the game because you'll almost always have to hold the analog stick still at an angle (while your crosshairs stay still) to aim at something...

What the RPG/Action genres need: Better blending with each other, more control over what your character says, more open-endedness on the Action side, and less leveling/items on the RPG side.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to walk around a medieval tavern and learn of an upcoming raid, ask for whatever details you wanted with a complex speaking system (you can ask about or tell anything you've learned, with a "topic" menu, an "emotion" menu, and so forth) and then choose your side as the raid unfolds the next day? With full action control over your character (while not speaking) and no loading screens in between?

What the Super Smash Bros. genre (it isn't a genre now, but it should be): Expansion.

Why don't other companies do this? Take a bunch of characters from unrelated games, put them in a *3D* world this time, give each character their camera, controls, and abilities from their own games, and put them all in one arena!

What the Guitar Hero genre needs: Real Guitar Input!

The RGI system would introduce a new world of video gaming. (Okay, so now I'm getting innovative...) If they make electric guitar tuners, it wouldn't be too hard for them to read what notes you were inputting. The only problem would be the subjective nature of what makes a good solo... but I bet they could find a way around it. Now make the game a rail shooter, where guitar-wielding ninja-likes flip, charge, and rappel down towards you and you have to dispatch them with quick riffs and licks on your real-world guitar. And real-world bosses! At the end of each level you could duel Van Halen, Steve Vai, etc. The final boss: Yngwie Malmsteen.

Any one of these ideas would make an incredible game...

Banjo Kazooie 4

I'm picking up JK2 modding again, and in a big way: I'm going to attempt to fill in all the gaps of the Stop N' Swop saga and put all questions to rest at once.* That's right, Banjo Kazooie 4 is coming out *before* Banjo Kazooie 3, both of which are after the third game in the series, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge.

I may release a demo in about a month or so. Probably not.

Rant: Gamespot's new rating system is pathetic... the individual scores were better, and increments of 0.1 were much, much better. 9.9, 10, and 9.5 are all very, very different.

*Me not being Rare, there will probably be many questions not falling into my "all" statement.

The end of an era

This Christmas cowboydb59, PC gamer exclusively for 11-12 years, got a console. Granted, it was a two-generations-ago console. (It was the best ever in my opinion, if game selection is the main criteria.) I got an N64, with 11 games, plus the Banjo-Tooie cartridge I still had from my failed attempt at legal emulation. Since then I've gotten rid of three of them and bought two more: Rogue Squadron and Ocarina of Time.

But that is not all. I also traded some games for a GBA, meaning I now own not one but *two* consoles. Granted, I have no GBA games (just one GBC game I play on it, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe), but there you have it. If this is any indication, before you know it I'll break down and get a Wii and a 360 at the same time or something.

It's hard to believe I now own Banjo Tooie and Super Mario Bros. These are two of my very, very favorite games that I thought would be virtually impossible for me to own... for a long time anyway...

Rant: Why did they take out the Minus World in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe? I mean, my rank on Gamespot right now is 17: Minus World. If anyone should be able to visit the Minus World...

Different fish, gokarting, and guitars

Gamespot likes to take out my spaces... I click post, there's a machine-gun like clicking flurry sound, and my spaces disappear, then it posts the message. It's getting pretty bad. Know that the lack of spaces many times in this post isn't my fault.

Turns out, they were two different giant catfish (or possibly 3 or more...), because my friend left his hook in his fish, when I caught mine there was a scab/scar there, and we found a dead fish the next day with his hook in it. That means I don't know how long mine was...

I've been trying to buy an Ibanez Made In Japan (if you play Ibanez, you know the significance of those three words) RG570(discontinued since around'03)for a while, and I found one for only $225 last night on the local Craigslist. I asked the seller a few questions, he answered some and said he'd get back on the others,and lo and behold, today he said he sold it to someone else. Either he's faking because he couldn't answer the questionsor I have really bad timing, because he's been listing and relistingit for a couple weeks... Dang, I'm mad either way. I'm trying to try some local pawnshops and guitar stores that have used guitars, but I'm afraid the guitar stores will know what they have. People on craigslist, to put it simply, don't. You can find mad steals on guitars and guitar gear (and probably everything else) on craigslist. Too bad I'm trying to buy one specific thing.

Today we went to a local gokart place with all-day $20 passes. (Actually, the deal ended a few days ago, but they made us an exception.) Anyway, I got more addicted to karting than I was before and nowanother friend and I are looking for some beater commercial-stylekarts (found oneon Ebay for about $280 with 30 minutes left, so we might be able to get them pretty cheap)to buy and race on parking lots and such. About 25-35 mph is what we're looking for. We landed a lawn to mow for a decent price per week, so if we can get two or three more as easily it shouldn't be long before we cand afford the karts... if we decide to go through with it. I need to buy that guitar soon.

I've got too many hobbies...


Hey, I lost my Turkey Day 2006 emblem...

Today was an incredible fishing day at our local pond. First off, I thinkwe caught at least 7 bluegill over 7 inches. The biggest was maybe 10"... huge for bluegill. Two or three bluegill of normal size, too. Only two of the big ones were mine (not the biggest either...) and I didn't catch any small ones...

Then I caught a 13" catfish and a 15" bass, and then the big cat (the reason we came fishing today in the first place) came back.

Yesterday I hookedthe giant catfish on my tiny little ultralight rod, fought him all the way in on 4 or 6 lb test line (I forget which, probably 6) and kept him from diving beneath the dock, then tired him enough to get him horizontal on top of the weeds near the bank. Unfortunately, there's ashort fence on the shoreline, and lifting his head out of the water snapped my line.

Today, I brought two bass-sized rods and my friend brought a bigger catfish rod. The cat moved around our baits for a while, then hit my friend's. He brought it in and we landed it with a net we had thought to bring. Over 23 inches long, possibly 25.After he let it go, a bit later I got a giant pull... same fish. I fought him fora while and tired him out. Then disaster struck... someone walked in front of me, slipped, I heard a snap, and my line went slack. I was sure I lost the fish until I looked down at my reel. The bail had snapped off and line had flew out. Since the fish was tired, I was able to pull him in hand over hand easily and we got him with the net. A nice last hurrah for the reel's bail... I'm not sure where to get a new one, since it's pretty old.

That would be all.

Nintendo, for shame.

EDIT: I have finished my research. Downloading ripped ROMs is illegal even if you own the cartridge and even if you get permission from the company, because you are promoting illegal activity (distributing them is illegal for sure). Dumping them yourself is not. I am going to delete the Banjo Tooie file the next time I use the computer it is on. (I live in the U.S., and here most game dumping devices have been made illegal to sell, too. At least I have an N64 now.)

All right, so as you guys know, I've been emulating Banjo Tooie while owning the cartridge for the past few months. As Flex and Charge will know, the multiplayer gets much more fun once you unlock the speedy little scout, Jinjo, in the single player game, which takes several hours even if you know how to do it, which I didn't.

About a week ago I finally unlocked Jinjo. But hold the fanfare... after ONE DAY of playing with it, while I was on Nintendo's site looking for information about the copyrights of NES games, I happened across their little emulation FAQ. Lies, lies, and more lies... but it looks like their position may be correct anyway, which has saddened us to no end. We just want to blast each other's little jinjos with puppet eggs on our PC, Nintendo!

Let's look at the shameless lies, shall we...

LIE 1 (Nintendo in italics):

What is a Nintendo Video Game Emulator?

A Nintendo emulator is a software program that is designed to allow game play on a platform that it was not created for. A Nintendo emulator software allows for Nintendo console based or arcade games to be played on personal computers. The video games are obtained by downloading illegally copied software, i.e. Nintendo ROMs, from Internet distributors. Nintendo ROMs then work with the Nintendo emulator to enable game play on the computer.

One thing I did find is that emulators aren't illegal, just the ROMs are. Nintendo doesn't say that here, but they do have a history of shutting down sites with no ROMs but a bunch of emulators, saying that they too are illegal, which is a lie.

However, they do say that the video games are obtained by downloading illegally copied software, which isn't true... while it is illegal to distribute ROMs, it isn't illegal to dump your own with a game copying device. You could use that with an emulator.

LIE 2:

Can I Download a Nintendo ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?

There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction of the authentic. Therefore, whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.

This one is absolutely wrong... they're referring, I believe, to section 117 of U.S. copyright law. However, there are multiple parts of section 117... and only one of them, A2, is about archival copies. Section A says it is legal to make or authorize the making* of a copy if it is for A1 or A2, and A1 is about "using the copy with a machine". So it is clearly legal to dump your own, and it might be legal to download them. They quote one part of an "and/or", the part that benefits them, and act as if the other part doesn't exist.

LIE 3:

Are Game Copying Devices Illegal?

Yes. Game copiers enable users to illegally copy video game software onto floppy disks, writeable compact disks or the hard drive of a personal computer. They enable the user to make, play and distribute illegal copies of video game software which violates Nintendo's copyrights and trademarks. These devices also allow for the uploading and downloading of ROMs to and from the Internet. Based upon the functions of these devices, they are illegal.

We cleared up in the above LIE sections that it is illegal to distribute the ROMs you copy, but not illegal to dump them for yourself. Also, Game Copiers have other functions (programmers making legal mods of games) and so they have legal purposes, and are thus not illegal devices. Edit: Most have been stopped from being sold in the U.S. by one of everyone's favorite prementioned video game companies, so here they might be illegal.

That wraps this up. The asterisk in the rebuttal to LIE 2 is the only remaining problem for me... I don't know if downloading someone else's copy counts as making or authorizing the making of a copy for me. It looks like it could... but then it easily couldn't as well. I want to contact Rare LTD and ask for permission, but I can't find a "contact us" on their website, only a "leave your comments to the webmaster".

We've got power

My map compiles. 8)

Some fool said online the problem was that the default Program Files folder has spaces. I uninstalled JK2 just in case, and then tried to reinstall. Tried. It didn't work. Component transfer error.

Turns out my disk got damaged. This is my favorite game I have and now it won't reinstall. :cry:

On the giant trip I was just on, I found that the problem was really JK2radiant being a piece of junk, and I found out that GTKradiant compiles your map correctly, but I didn't bring the JK2 disk so I didn't try to reinstall it on the trip.

When I got home I downloaded a disk salvage program, which told me exactly which file is corrupted but couldn't save it. I ripped all the other files and then realized where I could get assets1.pk3.

Remember my broken tablet?

After a few failed tries, I actually logged on to my account on the tablet. Amazingly enough, I hadn't uninstalled Jedi Outcast on that computer, and assets1.pk3 was there. I transfered it to my gaming computer with all the other files. Now I've got all the files, I just need to burn a new disk.

The disk didn't burn.

I was able to install it anyway, and since it can read assets1 from the hard drive while you play, I can play from my damaged disk. Problem solved.

My map works perfectly, but is ridiculously simple. Basically you start with Kyle's "main" weapons, the bryar and his saber, and then you immediately pick up a stun baton, an E-11, and a bowcaster. There's a bartender to kill in the room you start in, then you go through a maze with droids and a bespin guard in your way. The only way to progress is to kill them, because they block your progress. Then there are some more random droids to kill or ignore, and in the last room a simple reborn you can duel or just shoot, because he's too low-level to block everything. I like hitting speed (slows down the world except for you) and running up and tasering him with the stun baton.

As simple as heck, but now that it works... I'm working on an "outdoor" Kejim Courtyard SP map right now, where you have a strike team of New Republic troops backing you up. The first two "rooms" are done and already look pretty good.

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