Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nintendo's E3 press conference 2010 comments

*double click the videos for maximum viewage*

Okay I spent most of my afternoon getting my ass off to finally watching Nintendo's 2010 E3 press conference. Since I know that Wii MotionPlus and the 3DS is up-and-coming, I'm quite interested to know if Nintendo has more to offer.

In summary, Nintendo really nailed this year's E3. It almost looked as if Nintendo brought out all their available guns and reserves to the party AND more this year. No joke. You are seeing familiar titles like Mario, Zelda and Metroid as well as titles that are at least 5 years or more in the making like GoldenEye, Kirby and Donkey Kong.

First part of the video basically introduces the upcoming Zelda title. God this series never ever runs out of ideas don't they? Apparently, Zelda: Skyward Sword, is going to take advantage of the new Wii MotionPlus upgrade. There were some hiccups in the demonstration but I won't doubt that it will be a great game when delivered. Since when Zelda ever failed?

Part 2 began with some new Mario sports games, WiiParty (looks like Mario Party with Miis), Just Dance 2, mostly bleh stuff. Then Golden Sun: Dark Dawn flashed on the screen and you can hear the cheers. GoldenEye was announced right after that and even more cheers erupted. I missed the GoldenEye era but I know it's one of THE N64 game to play at that time.

The entire last 7 minutes were spent talking about this. Wow, it's almost a year since that blog post. Anyway, Epic Mickey looks pretty good on screen, though I'm not too sure about the gameplay idea though. I dunno, it just leaves me skeptical.

The start of part 3 sent me waves of shudders when I saw the really pink and happy Kirby on the screen. Nothing could prepare me for what Reggie was about to show on screen: Kirby's Epic Yarn. The idea was plain genius! I wish I could develop a game like that. Everything looked so darn polished to beautiful that it made me regret not having a Wii.

Before I keep ranting about how I wish I can develop a game like that, we move on. Reggie then goes ahead to talk about the sequel for Dragon Quest IX. It made me wish that I have more DS users around my area.

Of course, not forgetting Metroid: Other M, the next adventure Samus is embarking, coming in stores August 31st, but what really made everyone happy was listening to the music right after that. Nintendo ACTUALLY decided to REVIVE an age-old franchise: Donkey Kong. It was completely nostalgic. I probably haven't heard that tune since primary school. So great to see Donkey Kong in Hi-res colors. Even the sound effects remained the same!

Then 3DS starts to take the stage, with Reggie mentioning how horrible it is wearing glasses to watch 3D and buying one pair of glasses per person. Iwata then came on stage talking about how long Nintendo has been trying to achieve this (yes they had, even had some console that didn't make it).

One thing to take note that is Iwata said that the 3DS is able to play 3D movies, though there are no concrete plans yet. So far, he confirms, that we are able to watch a movie from Dreamworks (How to Train your Dragon), Warner Bros (Legend of the Guardians), and Disney (Tangled!).

Part 4 unveils Project Sora, a 'secret' project Iwata started to take full advantage of the 3DS. It is actually Kid Icarus: Uprising. If you actually know, or searched, Kid Icarus first released on NES. It's quite amazing how the main theme got preserved until now. Who would've thought?

Next we skip to Nintendogs + cats. No comments on that one since I kinda like both...well, maybe more to cats. Hey! No comments! Iwata then talks about some wireless features for 3DS, as well as introducing the third party companies who will be releasing their games on 3DS release (all the fanboys screaming for joy at SE's Kingdom Hearts and Level5). Then we were shown a clip of the third party developer's reactions to the 3DS. You gotta love Hideo Kojima's.

Well, that pretty much sum's up Nintendo's 2010 E3 press conference. Wait, why am I summarizing it again?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fever, part II

Apparently, I'm not well yet. Despite consuming all the medicine, the fever came back, with cough. The fever's not really that bad, not as bad as the first time, but the cough is ridiculously brutal, brutal enough for me to vomit 50% of the time I start coughing. It's that bad. I don't think I wanted to see a doctor so badly.

I suspect it's due to the antibiotics I was given the first time. My vomit tasted a bit like it. I was wondering what could be in my body that's so familiarly bitter.

Anyway, from 2 medicines, I've tier'ed up for taking 7 different kinds of medicine. Half of them 'may cause drowsiness' so I had better be able to get some kind of sleep this time. Also, I don't think I was this heavy on medication before.

The 7 medicines:
1) Cementin for Gastric
2) Vacontil for Diarrhea
3) Maxolon for Vomiting
4) Cycin, Antibiotics
5) Anarex (haha we meet again), painkiller
6) Dhasedyl/Britalin, the liquid dark brown cough mixture everyone loves
7) Lacteol Fort, for my stomach I guess. Why is the name so yandao?

Zzz, now I'm given strict orders to stay home and avoid dairy products. Why doesn't this ever happen during my army days? =(

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I felt as if a week has gone by. This fever is probably the worse fever I've had in months. It was so bad I almost thought the medicine prescribed to me wasn't working.

The fever was quite hellish. I was incredibly awake most of the time and no matter how much I forced myself, I couldn't sleep. Yet my body felt numb and tired. It's like I'm trapped in some paradox.

Oh well, at least I'm recovering. I still find it quite amazing that only 2 days have passed since I've gotten ill. Man, I'm so weak =/

Monday, June 21, 2010

[Touhou] Labyrinth of Touhou, Youmu Boss Fight 3F

I finally managed to upload this in HD after several several several several attempts. Please double click the video above to access the widescreen in Youtube, don't watch from here.

So a quick overview: This is my first game video I have recorded on FRAPS. This is Labyrinth of Touhou, a game that plays very similarly to Etrian Odyssey and other JRPG dungeon crawlers. It's easily available; just google it. I hope my random comments at the top of the video makes it stand out from the rest ^^

I omitted the audio because it lags the recording badly. The songs I've inserted are actually original rips from the stage and boss theme of Youmu herself at the Perfect Cherry Blossom game.

Video description:
The first hard fight in Labyrinth of Touhou, and also the first multiple target boss fight. Youmu has around 28k hp and Myon has 8.8k hp. My save file got deleted before I could check but my characters were around level 10-13 at most (Chen being the level 13 one). I know I'm under leveled for this fight, but it's proven that she can be defeated at those levels.

Audio Tracks:
Hiroari Shoots a Strange Bird ~ Till When?
Ancient Temple

Both are the original versions from Perfect Cherry Blossom, Stage 5. Both are easily google-able.

-----Boss Details------

Myon has 3 attacks, one of which is a group poison spell that could really screw up everything. The other 2 are mildly annoying at most.

Youmu has 5 abilities in total:
- God Slash of Karma Wind: An AE attack. This one can wipe your casters easily if you are not careful. She does this when Myon or her is at low health
- Slash of Eternity: This one is a real pain. It could nearly kill your tanks and will definately kill anyone else if you are unlucky. She does this when Myon or her are at low health
- Cherry Blossom Slash: Standard AE attack. Shouldn't hurt if you are barriered.
- Present Life Slash: Standard single target attack; shouldn't be much trouble since she usually attacks your tanks with it.
- Focus: Increases her MND. This move has a huge delay so attack her as much as you can after she does it. Could also mean she's ready to do her big damage moves.

---General Strategy-----

At this point it should be pretty straightforward, since there isn't much choices of characters
Remilia - Tepes and nuke, tank
China - Self heal, cures, tank
Marisa - Magic missile dps, Master Spark does really bad damage even with concentrate for its SP (MM does 1.5k, MS + Con does 3.5k+) =/
Patchy - Holy Flare
Chen - Idaten Idaten Idaten!
Cirno - AE slow
Minoriko - heal and cures. Too bad she died too fast in this video.
Sakuya - AE Haste


I think youmu really hates Minoriko. This isn't the first time she tries to God Slash of Karma Wind her the moment she got switched in =/

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A glance at 3DS

Seems that there's a lot of talk about the next handheld coming to town after PSP Go, DSi, and all the other minor tweaks made to PSP and DSi.

Nintendo's 3DS, from a glance, looks like the next big thing in town. It's probably going to be rather expensive, but if you consider the specifications, it might really be worth every cent. In fact, I'm amazed how Nintendo managed to pull this console off.

Here are the specs:

Size (when closed):

Approximately 134mm wide, 74mm long, 21mm inches thick.


Top Screen:
3.53-inch widescreen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses; with 800×240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing).

Touch Screen:
3.02-inch LCD with 320×240 pixel resolution with a touch screen.

One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640×480 (0.3 Mega) pixel resolution.

Nintendo 3DS Game Card:
2 GB max at launch.

Wireless Communication:
Can communicate in the 2.4 GHz band. Multiple Nintendo 3DS systems can connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others.

Will support IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2). Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode.

Game Controls:
Touch screen, embedded microphone, A/B/X/Y face buttons, + Control Pad, L/R buttons, Start and Select buttons, “Slide Pad” that allows 360-degree analog input, one inner camera, two outer cameras, motion sensor and a gyro sensor.

Other Input Controls:
3D Depth Slider to adjust level of 3D effect (can be scaled back or turned off completely depending on the preference of the user), Home button to call system function, Wireless switch to turn off wireless communications (even during game play), Power button. The telescoping stylus is approximately 4 inches when fully extended.

A port that accepts both Nintendo 3DS game cards and game cards for the Nintendo DS™ family of systems, an SD memory card slot, an AC adapter connector, a charging cradle terminal and a stereo headphone output jack.

Stereo speakers positioned to the left and right of the top screen.

Lithium ion battery, details TBA.

Thickness is slightly thicker than the PSP. Length seems a bit long I think. Overall, it might fit into a pocket, though I doubt it will be like the DS lite.

The screen is the main selling point. The ability of displaying 3D view without the use of special glasses. This is simply sick. There's even a depth slider to adjust how '3D-ish' you want it to be. Also I heard the power of the system is almost as good as a GameCube (ie better than PS2 graphics).

I wonder how Sony is going to respond to this. They'd better do something better than just introducing touch screen to the PSP.

I hope 3DS doesn't trip and fall on release. If Nintendo fully deliver what is expected of the system, it's going to be one tough handheld to beat. It's set to release by March 2011, but as of now there are around 60 games announced for its release inclusive of: 'SSFIV 3D Edition', 'Snake Eater 3D Edition', a SRW game (name not finalized), Gundam game (name not finalized), and of course the usual Mario and Zelda games. It seems that almost every company wants a share in this 3D phenomenon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review: "Assassin's Creed 2"

Wow, when I said that Assassin's Creed 1 was an alpha/beta test for Assassin's Creed 2, I wasn't kidding. In comparison, AC1 felt like a tech demo. AC2 really felt like a complete game.

You play as Ezio, who unknowingly joined the Assassins against the Templars because his father and brothers were killed by them. Unlike Altair, Ezio is his own boss most of the time and spends most of his free time killing the people responsible for his father's and brothers' death.

There are quite a multitude of new gameplay elements in AC2, and a few restructuring done. For one, scaling viewpoints and doing random shit before killing your target is removed. There is a distinct line between side quests and main quests. You can actually go through the whole game without synchronizing at viewpoints, pickpocketing or beating people up (unless the main quest tells you to).

Blending in with hired help

A new element to the game is the villa and currency, which adds a certain depth to the game. You can buy weapons, armor, medicine, poison, paintings (lol) and bribe criers. You can also spend your money to upgrade the condition of your villa (your uncle's actually) which will increase the generation of income per 20 mins of gameplay. Honestly, only medicine and armor is useful should you happen to miss a step. Weapons, not so much as long as you have the skills to make up for it.

There are a lot of different enemies too. Other than just archers and plain armored soliders, you now have agile soldiers who runs faster than you and can climb walls like you do, brutes who deal good damage with their axes and durable due to their heavy armor, and seekers who carry spears that can remove you from your hiding spots. I also find seekers incredibly annoying to fight. They parry your attacks and counter attacks extremely frequently. Disarm works wonders against them though.

Hey, it's Vienna afterall

There are plenty of add ons that aren't really worth a paragraph. Notoriety value is a gauge of how notorious you are in a town. The more you make non-stealth kills, the more notorious you get. When it reaches 100%, you are officially a wanted man and that's quite troublesome because you cannot walk along the streets in peace. However, the options for removing notoriety is too good. Tearing wanted posters remove 25%, bribing criers remove 50% and killing corrupted officials remove 75%. You should be able to prevent your notoriety value from reaching 100% easily.

There are some technical improvements here and there. I find that the cities are more alive and crowded. The inclusion of a ton of treasure chests littered around the cities lets you do something on the way from point A to B. Epic climbing stages that exists in hidden assassin's tombs are very fun as well. There are other gameplay improvements like enabling you to kill two guys at once, using pistols, able to swim and poison.

Yes pistols. Made by Da Vinci himself too.

The best improvement I find about AC2 is the climbing speed. Ezio scales the walls of buildings at least 2x faster than Altair, which saved me a lot of frustration should I happen to fall. Also, there actually is a good story to boot, and every mission was packaged differently enough to prevent monotony. With lots of things to find, lots of things to unlock, I almost got tricked into spending too much time in this game.

I think I could just give it a solid 8/10.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

ORD lo!

At long last, June 11th arrived! I'm finally (mostly) free from the evil clutches of army. I don't think I have ever wished for this day so badly in my whole life. Honestly, being an NSF is very close to being in prison, with your colleagues or platoon-mates being your fellow inmates. When I collected my pink IC today, I never looked back at the camp.

It feels f***ing good to put a close to this long 2 years of my life. It really felt that time has stagnated between my enlistment and my ORD. Suddenly, I'm free to do whatever I wish, play all the games I want, work the work I want, sleep on my bed everyday, and eat civilian food anytime I wish.


You may think I'm exaggerating, but the more I think about what I've been through, all the shit I did and didn't do, the excessive amount of boredom I've been through, the excessive amount of time thrown away when it could be put into better use, all the trainings, work, in summary, shit, the more I feel overly overwhelmingly overjoyed that it's all over.

I really really really hated it there. Company line, HQ, NDP, posted as a signaller, trained by commandos, posted to a seems that no matter where you go,there's a different kind of hate for each place. It's a dirty and filthy place imo, very similar to the cooperate ladder, possibly worse.

Seriously, army is not a nice place. Despite all the stories about how great it is at the front, you don't know for sure until you actually saw or experienced it. Why do you think we always say to those enlistees "hey it's only 2 years, just deal with it"? Because there is no other way to make army sound good. Unless, of course, you are one of those extremely fortunate ones that got attached to civilian production houses. Otherwise, you can only get to a shitty place, or a shitter place.

Well, at least at long last, I can put all that behind me. I feel so damn out of touch with the current world now. What am I going to do with all this free time? Hmmm ^^

Anyway here's a great vid to express how I feel:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves"

I think I can type out a quick one for this. There isn't really that much to say about Uncharted 2. Imagine Prince of Persia with guns, and with guns, you will play in the third person shooter style that all console gamers are so familiar with (GTA4, Gears of War, Mass Effect, you get the idea). Actually, suddenly it sounds just like Tomb Raider. =/

Basically, you are Drake. Your friend finds clue to big treasure, you join in with hot chick, you got backstabbed, vows to stop him, meet another hot chick, and goes on to save the world. It's a pretty long story with 26 chapters in all. In these chapters, you violently mount trains, participate in mini-war zones, scale the Himalayas and placed under very f'ed up situations time and time again.

Great art and atm

Honestly, if I were to talk about gameplay, it would only discourage you from playing. It's less climb-ey compared to Assassin's Creed and some of the obstacles are a lot less obvious than Prince of Persia. Yet again, I find myself thinking that this game's gameplay is very similar to Tomb Raider, just that it's done a lot better and a lot more dramatically.

The third person shooter section is nothing special at all. *thinks about what to write* Nope, nothing to talk about it at all. If you are familiar with other TPS', you'll do quite fine here.

So for the whole game, you just go from Climbing Game to Shooting Game and back to Climbing Game again. The cycle repeats until you reach chapter 26. Towards the end, you don't (or at least I don't) even want to do the climbing sequences anymore. Although there's nothing special about the shooting part of the game, it's still fun to gun your enemies down. There are trophies that rewards you for each kill per weapon so that give me more reason to use the gun than brains given the choice of either.

Shit happens, you'll see

But truly, what makes this game so good. It's GDC's best overall game of 2010, also winning best audio, best technology, best visual art and best writing. I agree! It has great audio which is clean and polished. It has great art especially the statues, notebook, surroundings etc. You can tell they put effort in those. Best writing, yes; betrayal, love, friendship, save the world, U-turns, screw ups, flashbacks. Heck it's almost a movie.

But that's is it you see. Best technology, best audio, best visual art and best writing. Put all those together and hey! It's a MOVIE. It didn't win best gameplay. I would seriously be darned if it had because if that did, I'd have to redefine my definition of 'good game design'.

So now we know that it has good cinematics and cutscenes. What truly makes this game special is that they decide to take it a step further, to blur the two parts of the game that is cinematics and gameplay. The Uncharted 2 team is very creative with the triggered events that happen during your gameplay and it feels like they are not holding back. You can climb up a pole and suddenly the entire pole breaks, causing you to fall. When you think Drake can make it, he mostly doesn't. Getting to an objective was never so eventful.

Looks familiar? Ya it's just another TPS

But triggered events are just that: triggered events! They are MEANT to happen. I don't see myself replaying this game at all because despite all the events, getting from point A to point B is still a straight line, no other way around it. With these events, they just made it SEEM like it's not that straightforward but in reality, it is.

"Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" is extremely close to being a good long movie. One start, one end, and a lot of drama in between. I think it sets a certain standard for games of this genre; platformer games that are very story driven. (best e.g. Prince of Persia).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random Issues

Okay, a couple of people (literally) brought up issues with commenting on my blog recently. I didn't really bother with it since allowing guest comments brought up quite a lot of unwanted spammage. Nevertheless, when people want to comment and I'm not allowing them, something is wrong. So I randomly googled this thingy called 'Disqus', some nifty commenting widget, to make it simpler for me. Hopefully I won't be spammed again. It was a real pain removing them.

It's only 5 more days till my official ORD. Of the 4 days of leave, I stepped into the arcade twice and set foot on Bugis trice. Today I managed to find enough reason to stay at home. I haven't really done anything productive yet, but now that the weekdays are coming, I think I'll start trying to earn some pocket money. I suddenly lost alot of money thanks to the physical checkup for my university birthdays .

Speaking of spending, there's a bunch of games I have yet to obtain: Red Dead Redemption, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alpha Protocol, Prince of Persia. I haven't even touched John's Assassin's Creed 2 yet. Show how much I need to keep up on. I daren't mention the PS2 JRPG games I should've played.

Aside from play, I did some reading up for my programming stuff. Ideas that I should've learned at poly, but due to circumstances, couldn't. I believe my whole poly life only let me learn how to organize my code structures, and code clean-ups, and integration. Same shit from year 1 to 3 when I should've looked into collision optimization, physics implementation and other more technical stuff. For the past couple of months, I've looked into Verlet Integration and Separating Axis Theorem. It's mostly because I want to eventually do a platformer game, and it's proving to be harder than I initially thought it would be.

I have no plans from now until the start of school. Should I take up a part time job? How can I find one that's worth my time? Well, it's all on short-term basis so I guess it doesn't matter. For now, I'll just help my mum do her accounts for pocket cash. At least I won't feel like I'm freeloading off the family.

On a side note, I remember typing out some DnD stuff on the various classes. I'm planning to take them down and redo them. They are just not...opinionated enough. It feels like I'm advertising the class instead of giving my own opinions. You know what, I'll just take them down now ^^

I'm also taking down the arcade guides one. It's really frustrating to explain most of the stuff using mere words and it really felt like it's going nowhere. So off it goes.