Saturday, October 31, 2009

Latest Artwork

Handosaurus Sins (30 Oct 2009): I was going to draw a Handosaurus and Handturkey battling but not enough room. Then thought about the Teach the Controversy shirt where the devil is hiding dino bones. So now Handosaurus bites the devil and is doomed by a meteorite. God watches using his universal lensed telescope as the devil reads the bible and has his shovel ready. The devil has 3 hands just to ref the trinity to bother someone out there with symbols.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Latest Artwork

Return of the LMing Dead (21 Sep 09): I've always thought the lunar module looked like a face. So decided to use it as one and that somehow transitioned into the LM as a zombies head. Then I thought up bad movie puns. Sort of fitting though as the once dead project arises from its budget grave.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Emusic Q1 & Q2 09 Recap

Skipped the Q1 as I suspended my account for awhile but have now reactived it. Had nabbed some in Q1 but never mentioned it so here it is combined with Q2.

Bad Brains - 'I Against I'
Crossbones - 'Goin To The Show', 'Incinerator Blues' & 'Stick of Rolling Dynamite'
Devillac - 'Devillac' & 'Three Hours to Coma'
Flipper - 'Blow N Chunks'
Fu Manchu - 'We Must Obey'
Inner Mountain Flame - 'Inner Mountain Flame'
Laudable Sepia Dominical - 'Laudable Sepia Dominical'
Los Deloreans - 'Back to Moldavia'
Mclusky - 'That Man Will Not Hang', 'The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire' & 'Undress for Success'
Melvins - 'A Senile Animal' & 'Nude With Boots'
Minutemen - 'Post Mersh Vols 1-3'
Murdervan - 'Jaundice'
Nebula - 'Charged' & 'Heavy Psych'
Sowbelly Bitchhog - 'Coming Out Squealing'
Turn Me On Dead Man - 'Sunshine Suicide'

Some was getting on mp3 what I had on cassette (Skipped the whole CD thang') - Bad Brains, Flipper & Minutemen. Some was nabbing the other Poison Tree Records artists that tickled my fancy. Some was grabbing my new fav bands I first heard on emusic - Mclusky, Fu Manchu, Nebula & Turn Me On Dead Man.

Meanwhile emusic changed their pricing. While it bumped it up a smidge its still way cheaper than other sources and added a lot more bands (Even if they might be less up my alley its still good). For some weird reason I got a free month out of it too as their site thought I missed a month, which technically I did since I was suspended).

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Latest Artwork

Gettysburg Mechasaurus (1 Aug 09): Started off as Abe as an Astronaut. Then added the dinosaur and then converted it into a mechasaur. The dino then needed some defense/offense so added the turret gun.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fu Manchu - Action is Go (1997)

The Fu was one of my emusics new music loves. Good album but not the best. It never shows up on emusic so got it from amazon. Its currently tied for third with 'No One Rides For Free'. Not quite up there with 'Daredevil' or 'In Search Of'.

Turn Me On Dead Man - God Bless the Electric Freak (2005)

Sometime ago I got Turn Me On Dead Man's 'Technicolour Mother' album from emusic. Never heard of them before but really enjoyed it. Good Alt90s/Acid Rock/Beatles influenced sound going on. Got there newest 'Sunshine Suicide' from emusic too and nabbed Electric Freak off amazon since emusic doesn't have it. While not as strong as there other two albums its still good. Nice to like a band that gets better with each album instead of worse.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mudhoney - My Brother The Cow (1995)

Even though they are one of my favorite bands I never picked up this album. Stumbled across it the other day so I purchased it. At first I liked it for a Mudhoney fix but wasn't sure how much I really liked it compared to their other stuff. Now I can't stop listening to it so its a good sign. So far my favorite songs are "Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme" and "Orange Ball-Peen Hammer". Think I'm just a Mudhoney junkie though.

Only main thing of theirs I have left to get is "Since We've Become Translucent" and "Five Dollar Bob's Mock Cooter…" but neither albums samples make me want to. I have enough of their stuff now to stay entertained.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

NoMeansNo - All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt (2006)

NoMeansNo is my favorite band, with Mudhoney in a quick second. For whatever reason though I'm always slow to get their latest stuff. Was going to get this online but stumbled across it locally for cheap. It was marked as used but looks pristine.

Soundwise it reminds me of NMN's 'Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie'. Its no 'Wrong' or 'The Worldhood of the World (As Such)' but still a solid NMN album. I think I like the last 1/2 of the album more than the first, which is odd since most albums start good and then peter out.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

System Shock 2 (1999)

After this replay, SS2 still holds up as one of my favorite games. I really like the mix of FPS and RPG thrown together. The story is good, the level design great and sound is excellent. I like the small details such as being able to lean forward/left/right and even climb boxes along with the GUI, HUD, Map and all the other bits of the game. Maybe its the C64 simmer/RPGer in me, but I wanted games like this and Deus Ex to continue the FPS-RPG hybrid mesh instead of the streamlined games we get nowadays (Get off my lawn!)

Once you slap on some of the texture upgrade mods then game looks really nice for being from 1999. The levels flow well and it does feel like you are on a ship. Even though its basically the same local for the whole game, I never got bored. Enough tension and little changes depending on which deck helped keep the pace going. Audio is excellent in both the environmental sounds and audio logs from the ship mates. At first I wasn't bugged by the enemy audio since I'd played it before, but over time it started to creep me out again, especially when there were multiple enemies getting close. So much gaming goodness is packed in this game.

I meant to play this time as the PSI guy, but I can never do it. I always end up a Hacker with lots of the Marine weapon skills. I even thought about cheating in some modules to pump up my PSI skills just to play with them. I didn't in the end, though I did do the 'Easy' mode when picking skills to stretch my module usage out, then going back to 'Normal' during play. After a certain point, I never have PSI due to drinking to get health back and didn't want to waste inventory space on PSI boosts. I like to spend my points and time in hacking and modding weapons.

This game doesn't feel old and I had just as much fun with it as other newer games. It adds to my belief that the current quest for ubergraphics pulls to many resources from other aspects of a game and the need for a wider audience acceptance waters down modern gameplay. Only part of the game I don't like is the 'Body of the Many' but its nowhere near as bad as Half Life 1's 'Xen' levels. It sort of made up for it by the next level's homage to System Shock 1 with the old school graphics look and cyberspace feel.

For the replay I did use the texture upgrade mods that are out there: SHTUP Beta6 and Rebirth Beta 01 - Complemented Version. They really make the game still look nice to play through. I also used the dark engine widescreen mod Darkwidescreen v6r2. I used SS2 Mod Manager v1.1 to help manage the mods. I did the no weapons degrade and no respawn both in the mod manager and manually in my ini. I've downloaded a few of the fan made campaigns from Strangebedfellows, a SS1/2 mod site, but have yet to try them.

I need to play SS1 someday as I never have played that one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gravity Bone (?)

Somewhere along the way I ran across this weird Quake 2 mod. I really like the art style. Nice blocky headed people.

Its quite short so try it. I need to try this guy's other stuff. Go here for blendo games' stuff.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001)

After finishing up the Conspiracies mod, I finally went back to actually finish the last mission of the original OFP campaign. For whatever reason, I stalled out on that one but have spent lots of time with single missions and just playing in the editor. Even with its age I still enjoy it thanks to the mod community. Not bad for a game I got on ebay for about $1 with all expansions (Think it cost more to ship it than my final bid).

Even though I stalled out playing it, this is still one of my favorite FPS games. While I prefer RPG-FPS like Deus Ex or System Shock 2, I also enjoy the tactical games. I played Ghost Recon first as OFP was too much at the time, but once I was used to the squad play in GR I dug back into OFP. I've done the 1st campaign, some of the single player missions, and lots of custom mod missions or just random editor play.

Yes, the game can be a bit ugly and clunky, but there is just so much to do from infantry to tanks to air combat. If you don't like the setting, just download some mods to change it (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Cold War, Future Combat, etc.). Even a Mad Max style mod which is the closest to Car Wars/Autoduel I can get besides Interstate 76. Even if you just want to play the original campaigns there are good mods to change the units to look better (I love the models by Sanctuary).

Besides ArmA, I really don't think there are other games out there like it. While there are some tactical games with vehicles, they don't have the scope and moddability of OFP. With OFP, I can open the editor, then either edit an existing mission or just plunk down troops and see how it all goes. Of course, I could do scripting to get even better missions, but I like that it lets any skill level use it. For a change of scenery, just download another island someone has made and see if there are missions for it or make your own. So while some areas could be improved past what Bohemia has done with the patches and users with mods, I still think its one of the best tactical FPS out there.

Now to play the expansions and the multitude of user made campaigns/missions I've downloaded with a liberal use of the savemission cheat so I can have unlimited saves. It's just so easy to die in this game so I don't want to worry about having only 1 save.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

OFP Mod: Conspiracies Deluxe

A while back I downloaded the Conspiracies Deluxe mod for OFP. If I remember right it was sort of a STALKERish inspired mod for OFP that was released before the actual STALKER game was out.

Decent enough little mod that tries to do something different. I really liked the atmosphere in a lot of the levels early on. After the 20th or so level I ran into more bugs and got lost more than in the earlier ones so resorted to some endmission cheats to get past that. It had a nice mix of troop combat and then zombie combat.

Even though OFP is old I still like how it looks for some strange reason. Still amazed by the amount of mods and activity it still has. It really makes me want to try my own mod, at least mission wise, building something postapoc. I also tried some Chernobyl mod but it didn't have any missions at the time (At least that is what I recall). Sort of makes more sense to just replay STALKER but there is something about OFP (and also ArmA) that draw me back.

The author's website is here. Filefront currently still has a link to the mod up here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)

Think I picked this up about a year after its release. Most likely on sale or when it hit the bargain bin. It took about 30hrs total with 1/2 that around the time I got it and the rest recently when I finally went back to finish it. It was a decent enough RPG and a good SW game.

Story was decent enough and gameplay was fine. Its always fun to use sabers, force powers and blasters on the mobs of enemies. I played through on the light side but did pick some dark side approaches, but in the end was still more of a good guy then bad. I know many have replayed it multiple times to see the good and bad endings but I don't feel like playing it again at this time. Maybe some other day but probably not.

While I did like it since it was more scifi than traditional RPGs, it still felt like I was just playing a D&D style game with the Force instead of magic. While there were blasters and rifles, the engine didn't seem built well for ranged combat. I normally had 2 melee people and 1 guy hanging a bit back with blasters but felt the ranged combat was lacking. I always felt too zoomed into the combat for ranged to work well. I think NWN even did it better since I can zoom in or out as I wanted. The last level was also a respawning grindfest.

Even the with a melee/force focus, I think I prefer NWN and its many modules. While that engine is older, I felt like I had more control over the combat vs Kotor. The ability to zoom out in NWN allowed for ranged combat to work better. I also had issues with the path finding during combat as my people would get stuck in close quarters and waste time trying to get to the enemy. I also got tired of opening boxes and remains just because of the slow animation. Though this is games in general since other RPGs I would be bashing barrels but it just seemed slow here.

A little bit better ranged combat by having a more open/zoomable field would have helped my enjoyment. While the dialogue was good it was nothing that could not have been done in NWN1 though Kotor did look prettier. While I enjoyed it I think I'll stick to the Jedi Knight FPS games (Due for a replay) instead of replaying this and I already know to avoid Kotor2.

I only used a few mods during my gameplay as I hated the ship shooter parts. The mouse control was horrible so after suffering through the first few encounters I got some mods to remove that mini-game. I used this link to get kitty kitty's and also the from tk102's posts.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TimeShift (2007)

Another $6 bargain bin game. I wasn't expecting much as there seemed to be a love it or hate it theme going on with all the reviews. Enough people said they liked it so I didn't mind spending the low cash to try it. Glad I did as its now one of my favorite pure run and gun games.

I really liked the scripted events from this game. From the start is was all out battles for the most part. I really liked the retro future ww2 setting. Even though it was linear, the maps still felt open thanks to all the clutter. In some ways it reminds me of the STALKER engine with elements of HL2, FEAR and Quake4 thrown in. I also liked the little touches: Rain on the visor, snow crunch and other environment sounds, blood trails after walking over bodies, cracked visor when you fall to far, etc.

The time altering powers were fun and were essential to some parts of the map. While I rarely used the reverse power, except where needed, I used the speed up and pause a lot. I didn't care that by default the suit selects the best choice for you since you can still override it. Lots of fun pausing or speeding up while I take out the enemy with sniper fire.

While it has the normal set of guns (handgun, rifle, sniper, rocket launcher, etc.), they did the job just fine. My favorite weapons were the crossbow and the flamethrower. Crossbow was like being Rambo since it had exploding arrowheads. Even the shield guys couldn't escape since I could normally at least target their feet. The flamethrower either shot small flame balls or was the normal flamethrower effect. Both were good for ridding yourself of the enemy.

Not sure of my final time, but lengthwise it felt just right. Unlike in FEAR, there was no time where I got bored and just wanted it over. While the story was thin, I liked all the levels and how they linked up. Just something about the level design, art style and setting made me enjoy it more than other linear FPS I played recently. Other games might have done one or two things better, but I think this was better overall and can easily see myself replaying it.

I would like to see more games in this setting. Strip the fantasy aspects out of Arcanum, add some Mecha and smother it in FPS goodness. Guess I should hunt down what I missed that came out around this time to see who those FPS were better. Though I think its just going to be about it lacking the uber HD pretty of other engines, even though its levels seemed for real due to the clutter and amount of stuff in them. Maybe its good I normally play more FPS-RPG hybrids or tactical FPS as it let me enjoy this more linear and scripted altered-history WW2 game.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

F.E.A.R. (2005)

Since way back when I got Shogo, I've enjoyed Monolith's stuff, especially NOLF1/2 and Tron2.0. I had never got around to playing F.E.A.R. as my vid card at the time couldn't run it well in the demo and I'd heard it was good combat but lacking in environments. Retried the demo since I had upgraded my vid card since then and it ran well enough so I picked up the game. I went for the OG version for $7 as I never read that the expansions were that great. So I figure I could just replay the OG game if I want more of the same.

I did enjoy the game more than I thought I would. As others have all said, the combat is really good. While not tactical in the GR/RS or OFP/ArmA way, it still had good AI that would move around the environment, used its weapons well, and tried to flank me. I think this might also be the reason for the sameness of levels to allow for better AI. For a run and gun FPS, it was enjoyable combat. I replayed a few battles just to see different outcomes and these were not even boss battles just basic ones. I did get bored late into the game with always being in an office/warehouse but would forget about it once the combat started back up.

The bullet time was fun to use but I often forgot to use it except during tough battles. I do remember smacking around the guys in the parking lot quickly using it though, as otherwise they would have had me surrounded. Storyline was OK but I didn't think anything was really spooky. A few gotcha moments but any FPS would have those when you run around a corner not expecting someone to be there. I think my favorite parts were the levels where the building was blowing up around you for one reason or another.

I did like setting up ambushes for the enemy. I'd place landmines behind me or on the second route to my position and toss another in front of me. Get their attention and run back to hide. Wait a few seconds and they would be taken out. Main annoyance besides the environment sameness was that it would go from combat to a stretch of just walking. While its a nice way to sometimes add tension it was too formulaic here. You also knew when a big battle was about to occur because you would come across a vest and weapon cache. These offices sure were packing some heat.

It is worthy of a play through and while I could feel it was a Monolith game it didn't have the punch of there other games. Think I really miss the RPG aspects of their previous games and this one steps back to a more straight forward FPS. I was happy the player could lean though as FPS without this feature bug me a bit, though I will still play them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Latest Artwork

Old School Self Portrait (16 Feb 09): Self portrait of me based on an old photo. For a while I've been wanting to do something like this where the person is regular but the background is surreal. Used the photo I did since it was large enough for my needs already.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fallout 3 (2008)

I've been playing Fallout 3 since it release and finally finished the main quest. I still have lots to explore but wanted to finish the main quest and play some new games for a bit before going back and looking around. As a fan of both the old Fallout games, Bethesda's other games and PostApoc stuff, it would be hard for me to not like this game unless it was really bugged or broken. I happily played this one for 41hrs with minimal mods and ended at level 17.

I at first was going to avoid this game due to my old rig but other posts mentioning their systems and the game's min requirements encouraged me to get it. To me it ran as well as Oblivion did on my ol' barton 2500 OC'd to 3200 w 7600GT and 2GB RAM. Save and Load times even seemed quicker. I had only a few crashes compared to the gnashing of teeth I've read about. The few I had occurred when I had one of the radio stations on while entering a load zone so I left that off. Main trick was getting the game to run on W2K, which I did using previous tricks I've learned (Edited DLLs) and help from Win2KGaming.

The PostApoc setting is a nice change from the normal D&D style stuff. While Stalker was more of an FPS with a few RPG additions, F3 is more of an RPG with FPS additions. As many said its Oblivion with Guns, which I don't take as a bad thing though it was meant that way. While OB took many a mods to make the game more fun (Get rid of autoleveling, etc.), the only mod I used in F3 was to the HUD to make it less consoleish (MTUI Hud Mod).

While some of my ingame fighting was done in the usual FPS style, I normally used VATS. Being able to pause and target was nice along with the bullet cam that goes with it. It also helped to get of a nice amount of shots at close range before the enemy could get at you. While I did some non VATS combat, the characters move a bit jerky. Its sort of the issue that all these RPGish FPS style games have where the stats based combat don't mix well with real time. This is one of the better systems though since others just have jerky FPS combat without the pause ability to go turn based.

Main weird design decision I found was how close one of the larger cities (Megaton) is to you starting point at Vault 101. I think it would have been better if you had to go through some smaller communities first before hitting the big city. I figure its that close to help people new to this style of game who would have got tired of scrounging to survive for a long stretch before getting anywhere. Also, while in OB I used the quest arrows mainly as a time saver, in F3 I don't find them as odd since I just assume its part of the Pipboy helping me to navigate.

I never had issues with the lengh of the main quest though as I spent a lot of time doing Moira from Megaton's survival guide quests. While doing these I'd run over the hill to see the next site when something caught my eye. Once I did decide to finish the main quest it did go fairly quickly, but I had already explored a lot. The game does seem to balance those wanting a quick game and those wanting a long game well. For those wanting a longer game just spend more time on side quests or randomingly exploring instead of plugging away at the main quest.

The game does have a lot of scenic moments though. I had tons of screenshots to sift through to find the ones I really liked. I'll probably post some others as I do more adventuring, which I plan on doing for OB and Morrowind, once I go back to those to explore more or finish up their expansions. Someone either needs to make a Wild West or Steampunk mod.