Monthly Archives: February 2009

William Likes to Read About Friends

I haven’t really posted anything personal in a while. I don’t feel like the specifics of my everyday life is of any value to read.
Yesterday was my birthday. My mom stopped by earlier this week to wish me a happy birthday. She put $100 in my account for me. gem gave me the record tokidoki watch that I’ve been wanting. It’s really awesome! In the morning we stopped by Disneyland so I could buy an annual pass. Disney gives free passes on your birthday, and I used that free pass to upgrade to the annual pass. Then we rushed to our meeting with professor Ihler before going to lunch at McDonald’s. Almost everybody in the restaurant was eating the fish fillet sandwiches. The beefy Double Cheeseburgers hit the spot for me! Catholics! Crazy! I even had a fudge sundae! It was good but not as good as the sundae I had at Downtown Disney earlier this week!

 
After lunch I headed off to work. I did some general overhead crap and turned in some old cases. Then I got to work on my project for David. He asked me to write a console application for him. He’ll use the tool to help him in his work. I tried to finish it before the SDE (Software Development Engineer) status meeting but didn’t make it. After the meeting David went home early, and I finished the project. Right now it only compares lists of strings though. I need to update it to be generic. I had some trouble with one part though. I got it to work, but I’m not sure I understand. It had to do with passing a function to another function and delegate functions.
After work I went out to dinner with gem, Antonio, Duncan, Collin, Andy, Jon, and Gabby at Gina’s Pizza. It was fun, but service was kind of bad.
At different points throughout the day I talked to Mom, Pete, and James on the phone and Dad on the Internet.
Back at the house we had some cake, and then we played some Street Fighter IV. It was fun, but I’m pretty shitty!
Later gem beat World of Goo! Impressive!
All in all, it was a really good day!
There’s a lot of stuff coming up in school. I have AI homework due Monday, a Classics take home midterm due Tuesday, an AI quiz on Tuesday, a signals project due Thursday, AI homework due the next Monday, a Classics project due that Tuesday, a signals project due that Thursday, my senior design project due that Thursday, and finals the week after. I’m pretty worried about all of it.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to writing a post on box/manual/cartridge art in the near future.
That is all!

Handwriting

We were just discussing handwriting in my tragedy class. The students, at least those who spoke, agreed with the professor that handwriting was declining in general. The professor wasn’t angry; He said his handwriting was very bad as well. They said that handwriting wasn’t needed anymore because of computers and that nobody uses cursive anymore. I disagreed but didn’t say anything. Then the professor surprised me by mentioning that I have really great handwriting that looks like a school teacher’s. Three or four people around me looked at my notebook and were surprised and impressed.
It was weird! I didn’t realize having good handwriting or using cursive was that out of the ordinary.

LBP: Dinosaur Island

Dinosaur Island, Dinosaur Island 2, and Dinosaur Island 3 are very fun LittleBigPlanet levels designed by feistyfrog with every boy’s childhood dream in mind, the dream of playing with dinosaurs! The jungle look is very nice. There are large dinosaurs you run across, huge dinosaurs that chase you, and smaller dinosaurs that act like normal enemies. There are pterodactyls that you use to get across chasms, and there are an assortment of dinosaurs that you ride as vehicles. In Dinosaur Island 2 and 3, you can use the paintball gun to fight big dinosaurs. Also, Dinosaur Island 3 features eight blue mushrooms that you “eat” by pressing R1. For each blue mushroom that you eat, you get a bonus at the end. I highly recommend these levels!

Monster Madness: Grave Danger (PS3)

Monster Madness: Grave Danger almost instantly reminded me of Zombies Ate My Neighbors. This is a very good thing. However, it falls pretty short of it (at least in the first fifteen minutes). The sound effects are really nice so far, giving the game a definite B-movie horror flick feel. The voice acting is just horrible though, and the graphics look like a PS2 game. While not great, it didn’t really hurt the game too much, but there were times that things looked disappointing. I’ve only played one stage so far, but so far it’s been more of a button mashing monster-fest than Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Zombies just kept running at me, and I could just stand in one room swinging my weapon at them. There wasn’t a lot of strategy to it. Maybe subsequent levels will get better. Unless the game gets significantly better, I could see playing now and then when bored, but I doubt I’ll play it too much. It does have co-op though, so I’d like to take a look at that. For thirteen dollars I feel like it wasn’t too bad, but I’m definitely glad I didn’t spend anymore.

Everyday Shooter

Everyday Shooter is an impressive indie PSN game that really reminds me of stereotypical indie music. It’s a multidirectional shooter using dual analog sticks. It has a very simplistic design, and each level has it’s own song and different rules called “chaining.” Each type of enemy seems to make a different sound when killed, and this sound blends with the guitar music. However, the music that’s generated by killing enemies doesn’t blend with the background quite as well as it does in Rez. By playing the game you earn points you can use to unlock various features. One of the interesting features I noticed was the ability to play in “shuffle” mode, giving the stages a random order. I’ve heard the game compared to Geometry Wars. It seems more artsy to me and less “awesome” in an adrenaline sort of way. I’m enjoying it.

LBP: Jack McSetback & the Spiky Stone of Doom

Jack McSetback & the Spiky Stone of Doom is the first LittleBigPlanet level I’ve played that was wonderful without being a fanservice, tribute, or parody. It’s a classic adventure in which you play the role of Jack McSetback, a treasure hunter. You travel to a temple to retrieve the Sun Idol, but when you do (which is early on), it sets off a trap! You drop the idol and must make it out of the temple alive!
The level is mostly platforming with no real bosses or puzzles. However, the aesthetics are great, and the platforming feels correct. I think this level is better than most of the story levels that shipped with LittleBigPlanet. The game engine doesn’t have the response that feels right for tight controlled platformers like Mario, yet most levels aspire to feel similarly. Luckily the engine feels just right for little(big) adventuring!

Three Weeks of Games

Whoops. Three weeks. A few weeks ago I was playing Hellgate London pretty heavily in an attempt to finish before the servers went down. I stopped when they announced they were keeping the game running. Sadly, they meant that they’d bring the game back, not that it would stay up; I didn’t finish, and my character’s gone. Oh well. I also played World of Warcraft a bit! I got to 58, so I’ll be able to check out Outland next time I quest. I’ve spent some time finding the Elders, managing to talk to all the ones in Kalimdor, including the one in Darnassus. It was a little tricky going through an Alliance capital but easier than I expected.
I tried Guilty Gear 2 Overture on 360 and was heavily disappointed. Luckily, I moved on to Naruto Clash of the Ninja Revolution and Guilty Gear XX ^ Core, both for the Wii. While they’re very different from each other, they were both very enjoyable fighting games.
I tried a little Platypus on PSP but grew bored of it pretty quickly. I also pushed forward a bit in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All as well as Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I put a little bit of time in Super Magnetic Neo for Dreamcast in my small gaps of free time. I beat my highscore in Pacman Championship Edition, and completed a few missions in Grand Theft Auto IV. Also, I’m one achievement away from unlocked the second Heavy weapon upgrade in Team Fortress 2. Just today I found a new game to play, TrackMania Nations Forever, which is very entertaining.
What’s been occupying the majority of my time is Dr. Mario! I’ve been playing it on an emulator on my PSP. It’s very addicting, and I’m starting to see falling pills when I space out. I guess it’s like the Tetris Effect, from which I’ve definitely suffered.
It sounds like I’ve been playing a lot, but it doesn’t really feel that way. I played a lot of different games but none for very long. A lot of these games were played three weeks ago, because I’ve been pretty busy with school these last two weeks. Most of the games I’ve played have been in very small time chunks while doing something else or while lying in bed.

TrackMania Nations Forever

I found TrackMania Nations Forever on Steam when searching for free games. Expecting it not to be very good, I didn’t play it for months. Today I finally tried it and was very impressed! As soon as I played the first course, I was reminded of the PC game Stunts. If you’re not familiar with that game, don’t worry. I’ll explain the game. There are four difficulties, each with fifteen tracks. Only the first five tracks of each difficulty are unlocked by default. Finishing a set of five unlocks the next set. There’s also an additional difficulty with only five tracks; these are locked and have high requirements.
You race alone or against ghosts. There is online races, but even then, you’re basically racing ghosts. You can’t physically interact with other cars. While you’re driving, you can respawn at anytime in case you get stuck as well as restart with the press of a button. Some tracks require you to complete multiple laps, but most are one lap in length. In addition, a lot of courses involve tricks such as driving off ramps and aiming to fly through holes. There’s also a level editor in it, which I haven’t tried yet.

 
TMNF looks great. The textures aren’t very amazing, but the models are very nice, and the lighting is also great. It’s not going to drop anyone’s jaw, but it does look very slick. There’s even a mode for 3D if you have the red and blue 3D glasses.
The game is very enjoyable. You can play in short intervals, and it’s very fun. With many tracks, online leaderboards, and a pricetag of zero dollars, there’s no reason to not try this game out! You’ll be in for a treat.
And if anyone does try it out, add me to your TrackMania friends list! It uses a separate list than Steam. I’m MrUser!

Ace Attorney Opera

Griffin McElroy just posted on Joystiq that Takarazuka Revue, a theater troupe in Japan, is performing an Ace Attorney Opera! They’re currently rehearsing, and the show will open at the end of February! Normally I would just share items in Google Reader, but I think this deserves a little more attention!

Super Magnetic Neo (DC)

Super Magnetic Neo is a 3D platforming game for the Sega Dreamcast. It’s a classic platformer in the same vein of games such as Super Mario 64 and Gex: Enter the Gecko. The game is definitely focused on jumping as well as collecting assorted small, spinning things. What makes this game a little different than other 3D platformers is the magnetic gameplay element. Your character can run, jump, produce a positive magnetic field, and produce a negative magnetic field. Enemies are all (at least so far) polarized, so you can either make enemies fly off or attract them, sucking them into a cube on your head and then turning them into small pellets that you can throw at things. The magnetic mechanic is not only for fighting but also for the platforming element. Throughout the stages are pads that are also polarized. Producing the same polarity field than a pad you’re standing on will shoot you into the air perpendicular to the pad. This allows your character to reach great heights and also to propel through the air. Similarly, you can produce the opposite polarity magnetic field than a pad to be attracted to it, useful for attempting to land on pads when you’re moving past them. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played of it. Super Magnetic Neo isn’t amazing, but the magnetism mechanic does give it a little something extra to warrant some attention.