Another ThreeThingGame happened, and once again I decided to join. Having learnt absolutely fuck all from the last TTG; myself and my friend jumped right in.
We decided to go into the jam this time with a basic idea of a game rattling around and use our words as a theme for it. We joked about making a slightly more elaborate Pong clone.
Once we got our words: “Bunny”, “Kicking”, “Throwing”; I was suddenly reminded and subsequently inspired of the legendary NEO-GEO game from Data-East, Windjammers.
Seeing as I was doing the programming last game jam, this time my friend was doing the code and I was in charge of the art. And instead of Unity, we were using Godot again. As expected, it ended up being the bain of our existence for a multitude of reasons.
Godot continues to surprise me with how certain aspects are really half-baked. One of the first issues we encountered was with the controls, where we couldn’t separate Left Ctrl and Right Ctrl keys, Godot only defined it as one key. Seeing as we were making a multiplayer, this was a bit of a problem. The solution: Hard coding the controls.
The art side of the game, which was entirely my responsibility, went fairly well. The bunny sprite I made was a bit low effort in hindsight, but I really wanted to spend time on playing the game and giving feedback for refinement. But I was fairly pleased with how the points popping up on screen looked. The music choices were pretty bloody great, thanks to OpenGameArt.org.
It wasn’t perfect, but I feel better about this game than the Global Game Jam and last TTG games.
Anyway, if you want to check out Bunny Jammers, you can do so at the link below.
Despite the jam only being a few days ago, I already have an idea for the next jam, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. What I might do in the meantime is port Bunny Jammers to Unity to see if I can get it to play a bit better. But that’s a big maybe.
I started making this game in order to prove a point to my friend about how I thought directional inputs in fighting games suck for controllers, and despite a lot of bumps, progress is getting made.
You can follow development below.
This is only intended to be a prototype though. Don’t expect this to get turned into a full game. I do however intend on getting roll-back netcode working with it. But that will come much later.
A fair few challenges working on this so far. I gave up on trying to do the 3D animation myself and instead relied on Mixamo for the animation so far, but I did setup all the animation states and the programming relating to it. And anyone who watches my Twitch streams likely knows how much pain the camera was to finally figure out.
So that’s the 3rd project I’m working on. The GGJ game is binned, I’ll make the game page public eventually, but probably won’t upload the game. The music visualiser is on hold until I can find a more suitable C++ library to use as SFML is a bit more of a pain than I would like. I might use Godot with Native Script.
Let’s get this out of the way, the game did not get finished within the 48 hours.
We were trying to build a game similar to Slenderman with a shade of STALKER. The player goes around picking up parts, after they pick up the first part, a monster spawns in and starts following the player around. Where it differs to Slenderman is that the monster is supposed to react to sound to find where the player is, and actually attack the player more directly rather than just going insane.
So how did it go? Not terribly from a gameplay point of view. You can start and finish the game, which I consider to be somewhat of a success.
Our problems mostly stemmed from issues transferring models from Blender to Unity. Several of the models had buggered UVs and culling problems. Because of that I had to wait quite a while to even have enough art stuff done to actually get the game up and running to its current state.
The second major issue was the monster itself, importing it into Unity often led to it not having the animations, or when it did have the animations, they would get deleted after converting the model from a generic to a humanoid rig. Once it was converted to a humanoid rig, the bones themselves would cause errors. At this point it was very late into the second day and the decision as to whether or not we should stay up came into question. Based on the amount of work that was still required, we decided to call it a night there.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
Today, I started added additional models into the level, fixing up the collisions, and added more spawn points for the items. I also looked into the monster rigging again and found the bone structure problem and fixed it, but after getting deeper into configuring the model I found that the skeleton was backwards in places. After talking to my friend who helped with that aspect of the game, we both came to the conclusion that it should probably be re-done.
So that’s where the game is at. I’m gonna put a link to the Itch.io and GGJ pages here, and you can check in on them if you want keep up with development.
There is a new Space Cart demo, you can play it at the itch.io link below.
The new demo fixes up a lot of the issues were complaints the last time I made the demo. New navigation UI, better menus, more sounds, music, infinite scrolling, parallax scrolling, and so on. The demo has been out for a while now and I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback on it, the most notable being that the PC controls are kinda broken.
The next milestone for me is going to be in November of this year. Originally I wasn’t planning on continuing development for Space Cart because I honestly wasn’t enjoying playing it when testing stuff. But seeing other people playing it, giving me feedback, and offering ideas; it rejuvenated desire to continue. Follow the game on Itch if you want regular updates on its development.
In C++ news, I finished going through the C++ Programming In Easy Steps book that I’ve had since Uni, and honestly, C++ is nowhere as intimidating as it used to be for me. OK, pointers are still a bit weird to me, but at least I understand them now. Not entirely sure where I would use them in my own programming problems, but it’s good to know.
With that out of the way, I want to get revenge on my old 3rd year project of trying to make a music visualiser. It’s been a mental weight on my mind since Uni that has been dragging me down since. So I’m gonna start over and properly build it this time with my new found knowledge.
Not decided on what APIs I’ll use, but SFML is still around and is originally based in C++, so that’ll probably be a my starting point.
As for the “New Project”, it’s significantly more complex that anything I’ve made so far. Several orders of magnitude more complex and requiring a lot of skills that I haven’t been in touch with for several years.
It’s a fighting game. 3D fighting game with Z-axis movement (Not fully, but some. Think Tekken or DoA). The unique hook is that it doesn’t require complex button presses or input timings. It’s more focuses on positioning, blocking, and dodge timing. The second aspect is that it features stance changing. I won’t go too deep into the details, but that’s the main idea.
The first bit of work I’ve done on it is building a series of animation states within Unity, and getting started with the 3D animation. The latter is the challenging part, even getting the character moving is proving to be challenging.
The new project isn’t really a project anyway, it’s more of a prototype I’ve had kicking around for a few months now. Curious how well it’ll go. It most likely won’t go well.
For my final point this post; I’m doing Global Game Jam this year. Because it’s remote this year it makes it a lot easier to be convinced to go do it this year. ThreeThingGame a couple months back got me interested in joining in on jams again, so I’m looking forward to burning myself out again.
I will try and stream as much of it as I can, and I will do a blog post after the event. It starts on January 28th and ends on the 30th. I hope it goes well.
Another year has passed, and Christ what a shitshow it was. No point in complaining about it, you already know. But in my personal case, a lot of plans of mine have been shelved into 2021 or 2022 now, including finding employment and visiting Japan for the first time.
Enough of that, let’s talk about video games for a bit and then get into why you’re really here.
Going from an action game to a turn-based RPG is a very rare turnaround to see these days, it’s usually the reverse. Yakuza 7 gives it a go and bring its own insane ideas to the table. The job system is hilarious and filled with careers such as Breakdancer, Chef, Musician, and Host. As you’d expect, the abilities these classes have are as over the top as ever.
It’s not completely perfect. It took nearly a month before SEGA patched in the ability to see what abilities enemies were weak to (A feature that was in the original Japanese release). Switching between targets doesn’t work as it should. And the encounter rate on street battles is so frequent that it can drive you insane at times.
The side stories and mini-games are abundant, including a port of VF5; which is the first time it’s ever been ported to PC.
The business mini-game is very tedious, but it does pay out quite nicely.
My last complaint is the difficulty, where it’s mostly easy until Chapter 12 and 14 where it decides to ram you through a wood chipper, bollocks first. The major boss fights in those chapters require you to really understand the best roles for those fights and use strategy accordingly. But every other part of the game, including the last few fights after those chapters require no such strategic planning.
But back to praise; Ichiban is an amazing protagonist. He’s a dumbass with a ton of passion, running into situations head-on, and looking at the world as if it was a video game. I’m serious about that last part, his love of Dragon Quest and other games is why the job system is the way it is and why enemies have dumb names.
He really drives the story. His troubled upbringing helps him relate to the other characters who likewise have had their own problems in their lives, and he really bonds with them over time. I quite liked Zhao whose personality is like a lesser crazy Majima but mixed with a love of games much like Ichiban and a love of cooking.
There’s a ton to this game, and if I really wanted to talk about it for hours I could, but you should probably just play it yourself.
I’ve been wanting to play this game for a number of years now. It used to pop up a lot during indie discussions and I thought the sheer attention to detail in the rice farming was intriguing.
Well let’s start with the rice farming; it is alarmingly detailed. From the start of the farming process; you must manage the quality of the soil by applying fertiliser, plant each individual seed, maintain water levels throughout the whole process, including draining and filling back up again. While the plants grow, you should pull out any and weeds you see. Once they’re ready to harvest, you pull them out, put them on racks to dry. After the crops have dried out you move them into the shed and start stripping the rice off the crop. Then you pound the rice with some kind of mallet, and how much you pound it defines whether it’s brown rice all the way up to white rice. Then to start the process again you need to plow the field.
Now if that sounds a little too much for you, good news; you can skip all of it.
You may be wondering why I’m not praising the Hell out of it, and that’s to do with the combat. It reminds of me of Muramasa Rebirth in terms of 2D platformer combat. But unlike Muramasa, it’s nowhere as polished. Enemies frequently get stuck in walls, getting stun-locked to death can frequently happen, and you can’t block attacks, you can only parry them. The parrying part is the most troublesome part because the enemies attacks will always take animation priority over the player. So you’ll get into the rhythm of the combat, and then suddenly one enemy will throw a punch through your attack and stun-lock you.
Aerial combat and movement is also awkward, the scarf that acts like a grappling hook uses the left-analogue stick instead of the right stick, meaning you must always aim in the direction you’re walking in. It’s difficult to explain why it feels bad without playing it, but trust me, I really dislike this control choice.
I haven’t been super motivated to continue this game, the opaqueness of the game’s mechanics with a really steep combat difficulty curve makes it hard to sink my teeth into this game as much as I would like.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Not too much to say about this. Myself and a friend starting playing this for a laugh and to quell some curiosity into the matter.
Starting this game is extremely overwhelming. There’s a bunch of loot that you get for stating, there’s more currencies than a border exchange, tutorials out the arse, and somehow I’m still very confused about what PSE is. And then I run into players that look like this:
The only thing I really understand is that I should feed my Mag. So I will.
Dark Souls III
Not a ton to say on this either other than I finally finished it with some help from a friend. Pretty good time, but I still think Sekiro is more my speed. I also greatly prefer the ease of initiating co-op in Nioh compared to From’s games.
What The Golf & Crumble
Although I have no problem with dumb physics-driven platformers or puzzle games, I also think that locking behind the more interesting aspects of your game behind doing levels in an efficient manner while dealing with random levels of chance from the physics engines; is a fucking idiotic design choice. Crumble is especially bad for this because small changes in trajectory can lead to wildly different paths. That, and the grappling mechanic can be very spotty.
What The Golf is a little better and mostly shows of the stupid and the funny in the main levels, and then elaborates and expands on the jokes in the challenge levels, most of which aren’t actually all that difficult. But objectives like “Race The Sheep” can be really hair pulling at times.
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
I’ve never played a SWERY game before. Missed out on Deadly Premonition and the other weird things he’s made since. I decided to check this out because it was short. Takes place mostly in the past on a airline jet where the player character, with what could only be loosely described as a Boston accent, is trying to figure out how a passenger went missing.
It abruptly ends after 2 episodes, which is a shame because ends with a pretty dramatic cliffhanger. Maybe I’ll play SWERY’s other games at some point.
I liked the farming, but I still haven’t played enough of it to justify putting this on my list.
I’ll be honest, this is not a good game, but it’s so fucking stupid I can’t help but love it. I mean it has crabs with rockets attached to their arms flailing around. It’s fucking hilarious.
Released Games That I Wanted To Play Or Play More Of:
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
I played a bit of THPS1 in this. Kinda fell off it due to other games and various other things.
Played the demo for this and thought it was cool, but didn’t really have the cash to buy it when it came out. I’ll probably pick it up in the future sale.
Another physics based puzzle game with super destructible environments. Looks super fun, but I had no dosh to spend on it.
Best HD Remaster/Remake
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Compared to the last remake, this is fucking amazing. It actually feels correct to how Tony Hawk should play and there’s no crappy physics glitches. And the visual upgrades are top notch and feel perfectly in-tone with the original. And the original soundtrack is there.
Worst Game I Played:
Star Wars Squardrons
I really wanted to like this game, but it was just so buggy when I played it. The controls are pretty awful too. The story is crap and uninteresting. To top it off, the VR mode made me really ill. I can’t really recommend it personally.
Worst Games I DIDN’T Play
I don’t need to explain this one. You know a game’s bad when mainstream news channels are roasting it.
Panzer Dragoon Remake
My understanding is that this is complete crap in terms of looks, gameplay, and soundtrack. What an absolute disappointment.
10. Resident Evil 3
This isn’t as good as the Resident Evil 2 remake, and it’s nowhere near as scary either. However, I would say it’s better paced and I definitely enjoyed it. Having a lot more ammo and weapons to deal with problems while at the same putting up with Nemesis’ sections. That said, his sections are very on-rails, and not really the same kind of constant dread that Mr. X brought. But I wouldn’t say it’s a complaint, both work.
9. Sakura Wars
Being truthful here, this is less of a game and more of a visual novel/adventure game with occasional action game mech sections. It also got me into Koi Koi.
The girls are great even if the story doesn’t grab me at all. Their defined personalities and attachment to the player character is weirdly endearing. The theme tune is still kick ass though.
8. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Science fiction visual novel with time traveling and naked people in mechs fighting robot monsters in a tower defence mini-game. I enjoyed it, but I liked Odin Sphere and Muramasa a Hell of a lot more.
7. Persona 5: Royal
This is only on the list because the new content they added is a significant improvement to base Persona 5, and the new dungeon and characters are great. It also fixes some of the dumber moments and translation errors from the original, like Ryuji constantly screaming about how they’re the Phantom Thieves.
The new dungeon and boss fight is a highlight, and they at least tried to improve Mementos. Although, Mementos is still absolute shit.
This is mostly on the list because I played a lot of it while it was in early access, and it finally released this year. It’s not Skate, but it does remind me of free skating around in Skate and making videos and stuff. I’m glad there’s a serious community around it making content for it though, it would be very barebones otherwise.
5. Ghost of Tsushima
Extremely pretty is one way to describe this game. I probably took more screenshots of this game that any other console game in the past couple of years. The combat styles are interesting, even if the feel of the combat itself is a tad too much like Assassin’s Creed.
But the sheer level of exploration and uniqueness of it’s waypoint system is probably the biggest highlight. I explored every damn inch of those islands, looking for new weapons, new gear, shrines, and fox dens. The exploration was extremely rewarding, more so than Breath Of The Wild.
I could also pet the foxes. Which is a massive bonus.
4. Half-Life Alyx
Easily the best VR game out there, but it terms of a Half-Life game, I’d probably put it above Episode 1.
The combat in this game is hectic and engaging on a personal level. The sheer combat high from having to physically take cover, manage my ammo, manage reloading, and constantly moving physically to avoid being killed; it’s unlikely anything I’ve had to deal with in a game.
Lunatic levels of interactivity and physics nonsense thanks to Valve’s signature attention to detail do not go underappreciated. I noticed the liquid shader on those bottles.
One thing I didn’t get to check out was the developer commentary, which got added the same day I finished the game. Will get back to it and check those out sometime this year.
3. DOOM Eternal
If Alyx was near the top of my list for visceral gameplay experiences, this is probably at the top. Holy shit I was genuinely exhausted playing this. Constant, relenting slaughter of demons, and a gameplay loop that is persistently keeping me on edge.
Several people have compared this game to a stylish action game akin to DMC, but honestly, I think this is way more vicious than that. Late into the game there’s a section where I had to run around in circles with 40HP or less, making pinpoint headshots to get ammo so I could maybe have enough shotgun shells to deal with the half a dozen enemies chasing me around, where staying still would equal death.
The unlockables and cheats were pretty cool too, and the computer where you can play DOOM just loads the old WADs, so in theory you could load other stuff through that.
2. Nioh 2
Oda Nobunaga did nothing wrong, those monks had it coming.
Nioh 2 is more or less a refinement of Nioh 1 with additional weapons and a story that focuses on the rise and fall of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. Level design has been greatly improved, a few more options and side enemies that provide some nice risk/reward moments, plus a few levels where it’s actually more beneficial to take a side route to destroy or activate something that actually kills a bunch of the enemies in the level. Remember those crystals in Nioh 1 can were linked to enemies, and if you destroyed them, the enemies linked to it would die? Stuff like that.
I haven’t had a chance to check out the DLC, and I think I might just restart on PC honestly. But I’ve heard very good things.
1. Yakuza: Like a Dragon / Yakuza 7
I spent the first part of this post telling you about how much I love this game, there’s not really much more I can tell you. These games always find a way into my heart, and Ichiban is such a great character and the game just does so many things I love, and the story is probably the best it has been for a number of years. It’s tremendous.
My Top 10 Anime Of 2020
This year wasn’t great for anime to be honest, but the good stuff was at least really bloody good.
No Guns Life 2nd Season
Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai? Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen
Nami yo Kiitekure
Nami yo Kiitekure really surprised me with how good it was. I couldn’t stop laughing at the amazing performance of the main character and her bloodlust towards her ex-boyfriend and numerous fuck-ups. Do give it a watch.
Episode 9 of ID:Invaded, Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!
Worst Anime I Watched:
This was my Christmas movie of 2020. Scorsese’s crime movies are some of my favourite movies; Goodfellas and Wolf On Wall Street are amazing.
This movie both lives up to that expectation, but also says a lot about his previous works. The plot of the movie is about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, a person I must admit I didn’t know too much about outside the fact that he went missing, suspected to have been killed. The film spends most of its second-half talking about Jimmy Hoffa’s life as a union president from the perspective of Frank Sheeran, known as “The Irishman”.
I won’t spoil the plot for you, but I will say this; this movie is long. Really long. It clocks in at around 3 and a half hours. So if you want to watch it, dedicate an afternoon or so to it.
I didn’t like the last part of the movie that much. I would say it seems kinda rushed, but the suppose that might be a deliberate choice. But seeing the life of this characters advance over the course of the movie and everything related to that more than makes up for it. And this goes without saying, but De Niro and Pacino deliver their roles flawlessly.
That’s it. 2020 is over, hopefully 2021 is better.
Well over half-way through the year Lockdown gives me a lot of free time, and putting off writing this post just makes it longer. Here’s the highlights of what I’ve been playing and some other thoughts. And I’ve changed the title formatting to reflect the fact that this blog post has been in the works for way too long.
DOOM Eternal is a bit of a mixed bag. I think DOOM 2016 has better pacing and better story. But Eternal is a lot more visceral, the levels are large and really push you to your limits mentally. Furthermore, they’re chocked full of collectables, my favourite of which being floppy discs that unlock cheat codes, and unlock the original DOOM games on an in-game terminal.
I like the game, but it’s an exhausting game. Unfortunately, I don’t have much more to say about it.
To start, this game is really pretty. The strong art style, colouring, particle effects, and general attention to detail; make this one Hell of a game to look at.
I took way too many screenshots of this game. My respect to the art team.
Story-wise, I can’t say it really did much for me. The main character is OK, and all the other characters definitely have their moments; but I wouldn’t say it really stuck out. Jin’s uncle and his whole “Honourable Samurai” shtick, although makes sense, gets rather tiresome to listen to. The game also doesn’t really punish or reward you for doing less than honourable acts of warfare. Because of that, there’s no branching to the narrative like there is in the InFAMOUS games, which does limit the replayability a bit. The ending is a bit weak too.
Combat is nowhere near as good as something like Sekiro or Nioh. It’s a lot like the original Assassin’s Creed. No lock-on and very limited main weapon variety, but it does have throwable sub-weapons like kunai and sticky bombs. Additionally, you unlock stances that are effective against certain enemies. To be honest, it’s very annoying. Much like Sekiro, it’s very parry based; but with a lot less skill required. I would also say that Sekiro’s sub-weapons were a lot more varied and provided different approaches to certain fights, plus a lot of them were hidden.
But to end on a highlight, a lot of customisation and collectables for armour and sword skins. I appreciate that it’s not a bunch of bullshit microtransactions.
One more thing, very easy Platinum trophy.
You can watch my whole playthrough here. It’s a pretty long playthrough though.
Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
This game does not hold up, gameplay-wise. Story-wise, it’s still somewhat entertaining. It’s spends a lot of time having you running around the whole map for what is essentially busy work and and dumps all the tools you need to skip all that near the end.
But the reason I dislike a lot of it, is that it feels extremely self-indulgent in its time wasting. You can’t skip or speed through animations, random encounters suck ass, and the ATB system is still the worst possible battle system. The controls aren’t great either, but it is a PS1 game. The overworld map screen doesn’t list the actual town names, so I had to refer to a guide while playing it.
And just as one final point, while fighting the final boss; just before the last phase, the second phase did an attack that put my whole party on 1HP. This led to me spending a good 5 minutes just trying to revive all my party members while the last phase of the final boss did his ultimate attack, which was a 3 minute cutscene, over and over. Even after getting all the party members back to normal health, I think I still saw that attack animation at least half a dozen times.
Control: Ultimate Edition
This game has great premise, completely let down by most of the character writing and acting being terrible. Furthermore, a lot of the story is hidden behind a vast array of collectables.
Exploring the Bureau is actually fairly entertaining in its own right, provided of course that the constant enemy spawns that can gank you don’t get on your nerves. Or the terrible map screen. Or the Dark Souls style checkpointing.
That said, the game does contain some interesting visual elements and gameplay segments. The Ashtray Maze comes to mind.
Just to end on a highlight, Dr. Dariling and the janitor Ahti are the most interesting characters in the game. If there was a something I would seriously change about the story, it would be to focus it more on those two.
War Remains: Dan Carlin Presents an Immersive Memory & Kokoka VR
These are a couple of short VR experiences based on the first and second World Wars respectively. War Remains has some great sound effects and Dan Carlin’s commentary is fairly novel, but there’s not really much to it content wise.
Kokoka offers something a bit more expansive and provides interviews with veterans and actual interactivity. However, it suffers badly from tracking problems and recentring the headset is impossible.
This is a very underrated game from the developers of the Yakuza series. When you originally see it, you’d be forgiven for calling it a generic cover shooter.
Now it doesn’t have a ton of hidden depth or anything, but it does some neat things in regards to enemy AI and friendship with your teammates. Throw in some very entertaining set pieces and some pretty fun characterisation; it becomes a game worthy of someone’s time. It’s fairly cheap these days, so maybe give it a go.
Just don’t use the voice command stuff. It doesn’t work.
I didn’t think it was possible to have worse writing than Borderlands 2, but here we are. This game really is the quintessential example of why having too much voice acting is just as bad, if not worse, than having too little. Characters just never shut up. There’s a part about 2 dozen hours in where you explore a ship that has an AI in it, and you go there with another AI. The whole fucking time, they argue like a divorced couple, and it’s as annoying as it sounds. Plus a fuck load of memes.
Another problem is that for a game centred around getting “sick loot”, you get fuck all. I think I only got a handful of rare guns that I never got rid off because the rest of the arsenal was just so uninteresting. I wouldn’t pick this up until it was really, really cheap.
Oculus Home & SteamVR with Oculus Quest
I’ve been borrowing my brother’s Oculus Quest on occasion to check out some VR stuff. I bought an Oculus Quest, used off eBay. Oculus Link is far from perfect, but it is a relatively simple process for the most part, although I can imagine some tech illiterate people having real issues getting it up and running (My brother nearly bricked his PC trying).
Oculus Link boots directly into Oculus Home, a little VR hub where you can live out your fantasies of being an interior decorator. One neat thing about it is that I can project windows from my desktop on to in-game displays. Unfortunately the low resolution of the Quest makes watching stuff like that a less than optimal viewing experience.
After booting into Oculus Home, I could then boot into Steam VR, where I could have much the same experience of “pimping my crib”.
The layering of having the base Quest OS below and Oculus Link/Home layer, which is again below the Steam VR layer; leads to some confusing moments of input issues. Not all games have Oculus specific controls, so I end up accidently pressing into Oculus Home or bring up the Steam VR menu because both centre buttons of the controllers bring up each. Fun.
And just as a last point, there’s not really much to play. And what games I do have, I would still be more comfortable playing on a normal display.
I really want to play Half-Life Alyx though, but I’m waiting for a sale. It went on sale while this post was being written and will come up later.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Finally, a good Tony Hawk game after God knows how long. That said, Holy Christ I am rusty as Hell with this game. Even setting up basic combos seems impossible to me.
I kinda hope they re-do Underground or make a new game in that vein. I much prefer not being under a time limit and having a bit more freedom tackling goals.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Time travelling high schoolers who pilot mechs and fight giant robots in tower defence style missions. It’s mostly a VN, but the tower defence stuff can be pretty fun. Especially when you unlock Missile Rain and the framerate tanks.
I’m not gonna say too much about the story, but you should definitely give it a look.
Alan Wake has been on my radar for several years now. I started it ages ago but recently decided to restart the playthrough. Finally getting past the opening sequence and seeing the rest of the game certainly clarifies why people like this game as much as they do.
But before I get to that, the combat sucks. Shining a light on people is one thing, but it also acts as an off-centre aiming reticule, which is terrible. You also end up in a lot of situations where you get stun-locked to death in close quarter situations. So now that the worst part of the game is dealt with; the story is interesting.
Wake often monologues about his life as a writer, his fears and mistakes he’s made, and how much he loves his wife. Seeing him react to the surrealism of the world to the point of almost normalising the events that unfold add to the weirdness of it all. The collectables are story pages that describe what is going on in the game as written from the perspective of Wake’s novels. Unfortunately I didn’t read too much of them, but it’s a neat idea.
Additionally there are TVs throughout the world that display episodes of the fictional show called “Night Springs”, which have some fairly fascinating stories. Really adds to the overall atmosphere, which this game is abundant in.
Finally, shit loads of product placement. Pretty funny, pretty dumb.
Visual Novels are something I go to every once in a while because they tend to be longer than I usually like. 428 Shibuya Scramble has been in my backlog for quite a while, and I finally got around to it.
I love it. The stupidity and silliness on display, along with some of the most entertaining characters I’ve seen; it was an absolute joy to go through.
Now VNs aren’t known for being extremely interactive, but they can be very divergent. 428 takes that in a very interesting direction where you control multiple characters on a timeline, and the choices you make not only affect the character you’re playing as, but also the other character’s stories within that time frame. The goal is to line up all the choices correctly so that everyone can progress. But even with that, there are a few multiple endings.
My favourite characters are probably Yanagishita (Pictured below) and a taxi driver that is prominent in Minorikawa’s story. Their reactions and appearances are easily the most entertaining parts of the game.
Once you finish the main game, a couple of side stories unlock. One of which is a prequel for a character that gets referenced quite a bit, which in turn got an anime which acts as a sequel to 428.
This is one of those games that I end up enjoying even though it’s not particularly groundbreaking. When it originally game out, most people disregarded it. I can see why, it’s not terribly high budget.
That said; being a ghost, walking through walls, possessing cats, and causing electronics to go haywire; is genuinely inspired.
The story also had me second guessing a few times about who the real villain was, and it’s rare for a game to trip me up on that.
Do check it out if you have an afternoon or two to kill.
The Force Unleashed 1 was an OK game with a lot of interesting tech powering it. Furthermore, the story was fairly decent.
Force Unleashed 2 is hot garbage that should be avoided at all costs.
First of all, it starts off in 30FPS unless you patch it out.
The controls occasionally just shit themselves and barely function properly. The gameplay fairs a bit better when it works, but can also be largely repetitive. The boss fights are God awful though.
The story isn’t a saving grace from what I played of it. The voice acting is underwhelming, and the characters from the last game just come off as arseholes now.
Don’t play it. Just don’t.
After 13 years, we finally have a new Half-Life game. Problem; it’s exclusive to VR. Thankfully in the process of writing this alarmingly long blog post, I was able to borrow and eventually purchase an Oculus Quest headset.
So how is the game? In short; the best VR game currently available, but not necessarily the best Half-Life game, and certainly not the second coming of Christ.
The game focuses a lot of the pseudo-horror elements from Half-Life; lots of dark, claustrophobic environments filled with Headcrabs and zombies. That’s fine, but it is a little draining at times as someone who really doesn’t like being in dark spaces filled with things trying to kill you. Once you get out into more open combat areas, I started having a bit more fun and played with the AI a bit more. The combine are a tiny bit more of a threat this time as they can flank you, use shields, and send out Manhacks. But VR allows for the use of a few more tactics such as shooting around cover or throwing random objects at them.
The additional interactivity as led to some weird meta-challenges that I made for myself, including carrying around a bucket full of health stims through a whole level, as pictured above.
Not to spoil too much of the game, I’ll just make a few final slightly more negative points; the start of the game is kinda slow. Getting your first few guns isn’t too bad, but it takes a few hours before you engage with the Combine in anyway, and in that time, you’re mostly fighting Headcrabs in less than comforting environments.
There’s only three guns in the game; a pistol, a one-handed shotgun, and an SMG. Each have their own upgrades (Including a grenade launcher), but it’s no crossbow. The lack of precision weapons isn’t completely surprising, but at the same time, several of the enemies require precise aiming. Mods may add some interesting solutions to that.
To be quite frank, I’ve had this game on my mind since I finished it. Doesn’t help that they added the developer commentary during my last couple of play sessions. So I will be coming back to this game at some point.
I do really wish the Quest had better tracking though.
Not a horror game, not as good as RE2; but I had a good time playing it. It was well paced, even if short.
Halo 2 (MCC)
I know people really like the multiplayer for this, but the single player is pretty shit. But it is a better port than the Vista version.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
I thought this game has campaign co-op, it did not. And the best part of the game is the beginning, because near the end of that game it starts dragging a whole lot and the combat feels monotonous.
And yes, I have played Yakuza 7 / Yakuza: Like A Dragon and Sakuna: Of Rice & Ruin; however, you’ll have to wait till the new year before I talk about them.
That DEKAI sure is SUGOI. The anime is alright, the voice acting is pretty spot on. It does contain what seems to be an ad for the Tottori prefecture. Anime studios got to make money somewhere I guess.
This is one of the best anime of the year. Globe-trotting con-men out-playing other scumbag con-men. The writing is great, the voice acting is great, the visuals are very abstract and interesting; check it out. It’s completely worth your time.
This one is about a manga author creating manga in secret from his young daughter so that she doesn’t become ruined from the degeneracy that he writes in his ecchi series and some indecent photos of himself that get published in the magazine. The original manga is created by Koji Kumeta, who made one of my other favourite manga turned anime; Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei. I think the anime did an excellent job.
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
Another anime about making anime. But this time from the animators behind shows like Tatami Galaxy and Kaiba. This show definitely goes out of its way to show off the creator’s influences and obsessions. The small details are abundant, and there are more references than even I can understand (Although a lot of it is very old anime). A lot of love for the medium in this show.
Nami yo Kiitekure
Very underrated show this one. It focuses on a woman who’s ramblings make it on to one of Sapporo’s public radio shows, and after a short series of events, she becomes a late-night radio show host. This show is a Goddamn riot at times.
And We’re Done
This blog post took from October to December to write. A fair amount happened in that time, including a game jam, and my purchase of an Oculus Quest. But being the lazy git that I am, instead of re-writing the whole damn thing, I’ve just made strikeout edits. But to your benefit, you’ll still be able to read my original thoughts.
The next Den post will be in the new year with my Top 10s of the year. See you then.
Not to suddenly become an animal blog, but I just felt like posting about the adorable and equally bitey creature that has now entered my family and I’s life.
Her name is Summer, she’s a Retriever, and we’ve had her for a few weeks now.
She likes to bite my feet and clothes and sleeps a lot, when she’s not terrorising me.
But now onto other things; my brother managed to obtain an Oculus Quest. Being the curious lunatic that I am, I decided to see if I could get the Oculus Link stuff working and then maybe think about playing some VR games (Mostly Half-Life Alyx, I really want to play that).
While the Oculus software was setting up on PC, I cleared out a space in my room to do VR in. Using the Quest side of things, I set my playspace and ended up within my brother’s home screen.
I’ve goofed around with mobile VR before and I had a very mixed time with it. The lack of tracking often left me with motion sickness. But this; a significant improvement, a near generational leap by comparison. The sense of presence I felt within the Quest was a night & day difference to the pure headtracking on mobile VR/cardboard.
First thing I played on it was SUPERHOT VR. I’ve played the PC version before and thoroughly enjoyed that version. The VR version on the other hand was a bit too limited, especially in the small playspace that I had. I more or less couldn’t move either within the environment or in real life. Basically doing that arm rolling dance move that you might find in a typical 70s disco scene just to get the game to actually progress time. Not great.
During my playtime with that, the PC software finished installing and I prepared to begin the operation of Oculus Link. Which proved to be exceedingly difficult.
At first, it didn’t play ball with my front USB 3.0 ports; kept saying they were USB 2.0. Then I moved it to a 3.1 port on the back of my PC. It worked for a brief moment, but then disconnected.
Following that, I restarted my PC and then tried again. Mercifully, it worked and I managed to give Rez Infinite a go with VR on. And it sure is Rez. A oversaturation of images and sound with a banger of the soundtrack attached.
We tried to give Tabletop Simulator a go, but then my brother accidently quitted out of the Link side of things, which just led to more disconnection errors and an inability to reconnect. I eventually gave up and called it a day.
Which brings us to today, where I tried again. I started by power cycling the Quest. My brother never turns the thing off properly (Leaves it in standby), so I figured emptying out the memory might help. The computer was already refreshed from yesterday. This time, the whole thing worked flawlessly.
I goofed around in SteamVR, placing items around my virtual room. My favourite part being a two monitor PC setup, with a toilet as the chair. Fun stuff.
Games wise, I gave “War Remains: Dan Carlin Presents an Immersive Memory” a shot. It’s a very short VR experience that I decided to try out as I’m a fan of Hardcore History. I’ll talk more about in the upcoming Den post.
Now that I’ve gotten it working, I’m a bit more impressed with the current state of VR. I just wish I had more to do with it. I hope there’s a sale of Half-Life Alyx soon.
I don’t think I really need to point that out to you guys; but in relation to Space Cart, what feedback I got was somewhat useful.
A little video of what the game currently looks like. Let me give you an overview of everything that’s changed.
Borders around the game world are now removed and replaced with a system that loops the player around to the other side of the map. Still needs some work, but it’s better.
Waypoints are now displayed in a circle around the player instead of around the edges of the screen. This makes it easier to aim towards where you want to go.
Information regarding the ship’s velocity and speed have been moved closer to the centre of the screen.
The delivery pages at stations now show what your current inventory limit is, and makes deliveries non interactable if that limit is reached.
Speed is now limited.
Stars and other far background elements are now parallaxed.
Player’s can now change their resolution and window modes within the game.
Waypoints now use a simpler sprite.
Did a first pass on several UI elements, including fonts.
The player’s ship can now have custom paint jobs on it thanks to sprite masks.
Fixed a bug where planets overlapping each other would cause a visual bug.
Debis and space junk now spawn.
Player’s can now rest and repair at certain stations.
Camera zooming is now smoothed out.
Survival systems are now partially implemented.
Various other bug fixes and changes.
Some may argue that list is a little light for three months worth of work, but I would say that the game is now a lot less rough as a result.
I’m quite thankful to those who gave me feedback, it really motivated me to make the game a lot better.
I have begun the process of relearning C++. Every Monday or so, I stream myself doing some C++ programming.
It has been interesting. Now that I’m doing it at my own pace, I seriously wonder why I was having issues with it at Uni. I suppose my sleep deprivation and general burnout may have been the main reason.
But getting back to the point; C++ has a few interesting features that I quite like. Ternary operators are quite an interesting feature. My less liked feature that is still interesting, is having to declare functions before making them. I’m kinda glad C# doesn’t do that.
I’m gonna stick with it.
Due to an influx of spam messages, I am going to disable the Contact page until further notice. If you want to contact me, try my Itch page instead for now.
Yes, I am currently taking a break from development work so I can play Ghost Of Tsushima. I’ve been streaming it on Twitch in case you want to come watch.
On a less dumb note, I’ve been upping my Kanji study by spending most of my mornings writing Kanji and their readings. It’s OK, but I don’t know if it’s sticking in my head much. I’ve been looking into additional phone apps and learning tools to see if I can help that.
Anyway, that’s about it from me. I’m probably gonna do a Den update soonish. Take care.