Entertaining

The Demoscene, as it currently stands

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Remember those whacky demo groups back in the late 80s-early 90s? If not, they basically wrote art pieces for the computing systems they had at hand (Amiga, Mac, Win95 etc.).
Write art? That’s a weird choice of words! But yes, they basically code as efficiently as they can, to create audio-visual demos in the tiniest space possible.

I’ll leave it up to you to read more about it, but yours truly is mainly interested in the 64k category. That is, the entries have to be within 64 kiB. This includes the video engine, the audio engine, the audio score, shaders, everything.

So, summing up, the above video is a direct capture of what a 64 kiB binary does. No hidden libraries (well, except for standard ones that are on your machine already). To put it in a neat perspective, that latest Mortal Kombat game comes at a whopping 60 GiB, and it’s basically a 2D game with mostly non-pre-rendered cutscenes.

More entries here.

 

Not necessarily gaming-related, but certainly artsy!

Showing Love Through Games

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You can tell she loves him because she played this game for him… and of course that he loves her because he wanted to share his awesomest experiences with her. There’s even a marriage proposal discussion appearing at one point… proving the love inducing properties of Dark Souls.

 

But you can reeeaaaally tell he loves her if he played silly cute Kirby’s Epic Yarn with her :D Grumpy swearing Yahtzee playing Kirby :)) ha ha ha

Nintendo E3 2017 Conference

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Again I feel like I have to apologize, I don’t really get/like Nintendo, and I’m not their target audience I guess, and of course these are totally my own personal points of view and it’s totally okay that others feel otherwise, many many millions of people in fact :P With that out of the way, here’s my thoughts to the Nintendo conference with the same things in mind as the MS, Sony, Ubisoft and Ea ones:

– Reggie still looks silly to me, and age has hurt his image even more in my eyes from the original Wii times as I can’t stop looking at his strangely twitching upper lip. Plus the strange fake backgrounds…

– Not just him but others too felt like men in suits who don’t actually play games but are executives who are selling toys to kids or their parents.

-, -,  + Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks silly to me, but feels like there might be a big world there

-, – ,  + Kirby: totally uninterested, but seems decently made and i hear there’s Kirby fans out there. Kirby’s Epic Yarn felt much more stylish to me though.

-, -, + Pokemon: not interesting but it’s nice that it’s there for those who like it and i hope it’s more indepth+story than the mobile city exploring even i tried out

+, -, – Metroid 4: great that it exists.. but JUST SOME TEXT!?!?! that was lame. This could’ve been the one game I might be excited to play on my Switch.

+, -, – Looks cute… but for 5 year olds

-, + Fire Emblem Warriors: looks silly to me, but I can imagine they’ll put lots of story and world there, even if in that style

+, + – Zelda DLC: great that they’re making it, afraid though that it might be just NG+ kind of stuff with re-threading and challenges instead of new world regions.

– Splatoon 2 : whatever (multiplayer)

+ Rabbids + Mario, they’re cute. But probably won’t make time to play it.

– Rocket Leage : whatever (multiplayer)

+, +, –  Mario Odyssey: I like the variety of the worlds, bit still don’t know if I’ll make time to play it

It says though something about my great disappointment with this year’s E3 that I actually started with hopes that Nintendo will save it, which was of course silly given my own tastes and interests for more grown up games. But overall i’d give the Nintendo conference a 2 on a -5 to 5 scale. I didn’t find anything to really excite me, nothing of the 3rd party publisher rain I was hoping for, but on the other hand I think for their own audience Nintendo probably did a decent job. I’m curious how some people who really love Nintendo felt about it.

Sony E3 2017 Conference

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-, + stage music was pretty cool, but i wanted games

+, – Uncharted Lost Legacy, looks good by itself, but a lot of “been there, done that”, with Drake and with Lara, feels very samey without the personality of Drake or the familiarity of Lara.

– sound problems in the presentation

-, + When i saw the Guerilla games logo for a moment i got excited there’s going to be a new Killzone… but then it was Horizon… which i guess is okay

– sound problems, kept switching streams, broke the immersion

+, – Days gone: looks good, and it’s nice to see gameplay, but it wasn’t as cool as the last one. I was hoping to get an open world vibe, but instead got a linear segments like Last of Us vibe

– presenter, with my lack of excitement for what was shown felt a bit pushing it with the “you should catch your breath” after stuff that didn’t feel that spectacular. Good, of course, but not breathtaking.

+ Monster hunter, some interesting setup, interesting dinosaur growth, so so world

+, – Shadow of the Colossus, for a moment i got super excited at a new game, and then same old places… still looks great, but disappointing, I wonder if they’ll get a backlash for just that/if others felt like i did.

– Marvel Vs Capcom looking silly and low fidelity to me, at least the way it was presented here.

+ Call of Duty WW2 nice that they’re making it, but looked a bit bland to me.

– VR games look so dated… and Skyrim again… loved that game, but i played it like 5 times already… how disappointing with so many presentations this oldie is still the highlight. With each one there is a little spark, but then I tend to be disappointed, and then i remind myself… oh, it’s VR quality … VR has come to mean substandard quality to me :P

– weak of Sony to not mention at all Vita or Ps3. Even a 30 second montage (say instead of that orchestra) would’ve helped their case for having a bigger platform including a mobile, but instead they let it rot.

-, +, -, –  God of war: the game could be okay in itself, but i feel they’re stepping and destroying a character they’ve crafted so well over so many great games (just finished an old one, still replaying others). In all games Kratos was portrayed as ruthless and manly casually killing innocents who simply were in his way, now he’s a father of a kid and they’re trying to project a whole new identity on him in contradiction to the old one. Add to that that all the God of War games were a cinematic experience, with brilliantly placed cameras on rails, with epic things in the background… this looks to be a diminutive whatever 3rd person hack & slash with some cheesy narrative. I feel they’ve missed what made the old games great, the fascinating and complicated Greek mythology, gone, the epic setpiece moments nad feeling of scale as you realize your whole world happens on the back of something huge, unique unlovable and yet interesting endearing protagonist, gone… instead they’ve added an old man and a kid and family drama. And instead of the fascinating greek tragic characters encountered along an epic journey, they put in a joke character. Sad for the series :( Does look interesting at times, so at least it’s going to be a high production values. Also the serpent thing was an interesting design.

+, – Detroit: interesting social tensions. The world looks very bland and generic. I’m afraid the choices will be skin deep and in fact still be a “you fail or succeed” instead of how to do things.

– Destiny 2: when it started out this game started with an original world, with old russia, with an interesting fiction. By now with all the MMO-ing it seems to have degenerated into dumb big obvious antagonist with a Warhammer vibe and loot grinding.

-, + Spiderman: there’s some nice dynamics, i think it’ll be fun to play, feels somewhat Batman Arkham City in posibilities of play, however with less coolness, more bland politically correct world. Nice environmental interactions, though who knows how few of them will be kept in the free roaming

Overall I found the Sony conference passable, nothing bad, just nothing impressive. I’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. Decent, though far beyond what I was hoping. No price war surprise, no big surprise titles, no internal studios mega magic, no shocking 3rd party support (where’s Reddead, a new Gta or a new Elder scrolls?)… at least MS had a new console to announce… they had just games, high quality as we’ve come to expect, but nothing surprising. I’m unimpressed.

Bethesda E3 2017

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– found the beginning incredibly lame. From the kids and families to the whole badly drawn/silly Bethesdaland graphics, found it horrible. I laughed hard in approval when the very smart woman I love that I got to watch it with said whoever had this idea for the presentation should be if not fired at least moved to a whooole other department. The only way I can imagine this as justified is as a PR stunt to humanize the otherwise and disarm critics of otherwise violent games

+ Doom & Fallout 4 VR, yep, that’s a reason to consider VR! Finally full games … I’m curious if one can play them without puking.

– Elder scrolls online focusing on player reactions to a (n old) trailer, found it lame

– elder scrolls CCG, might be good, but underwhelming in this context

+, – Skyrim on switch, on one hand exciting to finally have a serious game on the console, on the other hand… presented in that silly style…

+, +, – new Dishonored content, Daud, promising story= yeaayy!!! Downside: seems like cg animation, no gameplay, no location, particularly surprising given the September launch timeframe. Not a good sign.

-, – Quake Champions (though I played the heck out of quake 3 as Anarky) damn, yet another online class based team shooter a la Overwatch, even worse instead of letting it rise or fall based on it’s merits as a game it’s presented with actors and the mandatory politically correct token woman shown winning. Game might be okay but I’m rating here the presentation so for me it was a negative.

+, +  The evil within 2: cool surprise, cool cg, lots of symbolism, multiple mood changes, at times it felt like a Alan Wake wannabe, at others like a Quantum Break attempt, and it even had some Death Stranding weird simbolism before returning to the game in which the actual gameplay/locations were a mixed bunch

+, +, + Wolfenstein 2 epic legendary from the surprise, the world, the cg, the media references, the humor, and then the great looking gameplay and environment design, all wrapped in great presentation. Simply stellar.

+ I was repeatedly surprised by all the games being for this year. Was expecting some kind of at least tease for an elder scrolls, but i understand why it’s smarter to keep the iron hot for titles which are imminent and this was of the conferences I’ve seen so far quite unique and impressive. Was there anything not launching this year?

Overall I’d give it a +3 on the impressions, great games, even if presented in what I found to be lame silly packaging.

Microsoft Conference E3 2017

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– pricing on the Xbox One X : i think they’re doomed

+, – they showed a lot of games, which is something they learned from past Sony success with that, however it was vast majority indie games many of which just made me laugh when they kept putting their branding of ultra HD : you’re looking at huge pixels… NOTHING will make that smoother :P Similarly with other indie looking games, no amount of antialising will take them into the realm of realism or into that of quality pixar stuff :(

– Anthem: worst fears came through, it seems they’re going for yet another multiplayer grinder

+, –  Metro was great (a Stalker would’ve been better) but it’s not theirs

+, – I can’t wait to play the next Assassin’s Creed, but i didn’t see that huge revolution i was hoping for.. and still not MS exclusive. I was not impressed with the crowd simulation/characters in the world, though i did appreciate the environments.

– Forza they kept talking about how great it looks, looked to me just as good as the other N racing games in the last years. And not a step forward “dirty realistic world” kind of good but the same kind of super sterile “clean” graphics (eg. not approaching realism)

– Sea of Thieves… funny presentation, but so-so game & gameplay & world

– Mordor, can’t wait to play it, but not only not theirs but actually looked to me worse, more washed out and silly characters than the original. BAD signs, afraid they could sink it down the drain like they did with Watchdogs

– a lot of the titles were 2018

– the environment destruction one was not just stylized and unimpressive but they actually dared focus live acting which is always a bad sign

– they organized pretty bad, i think at some point they had like 3 games in a row which in my mind blended as they all felt like the same: the hunger games, bunch of people, who makes it last. One looked more interesting than the other but I’m not much into that and the whole push into the commentator sports i still find lame.

– hard to tell what all that extra power is used for, they didn’t have for me a single title that would make me think “wow, this physics is amazing, this water simulation is truly something i doubt any other console could do” or anything like that. And if I a graphics guy feel like that I wonder how many of the general public will care or see enough of “that amazing power” they keep talking about”. PC hardware specs people… maybe? For me I was more interested in the occasional indie game with a well done animation/art style, and i wouldn’t be surprised if many customers will notice that also more than “hey, check it out, if you reaaaaly zoom in on the edge of this car’s outline, you might if you strain your eyes see a huge difference to that care on ps4”. To me all the pixels in the world make no difference in comparison to say a more interesting public in the background with say more interesting animations/personalities.

+ Great to see them sticking to the Xbox backward compatibility, a point where Sony really screwed up massively  (multiple times already, and they’re still not admitting it). It’s at the time possibly my biggest respect point towards Microsoft.

Well, i gotta say I expected much more. I expected to give it a 2-3 at least yet in the end i thin kit’s just a 1 so with the disappointment it felt like a 0. Of course it’s not and they had good stuff, I just expected so much more. We were just itching for an excuse, any excuse really to get us to buy an Xbox One, been planning to for so long…yet we saw nothing worthy, the power was not used to any mindblowing effect, and the small differences they might or might not have is to us not counterbalanced by the asymmetric controller + sony ecosystem + all the optimizations and releases 3rd parties will make to the much bigger install base of the ps4 which unfortunately with the announced pricing and (lack of) features don’t think will be challenged. We’ll probably get one anyway… but we’ll feel bad about it :P Currently for me Quantum Break is the only thing that MS really has that I think i might care about or am at least genuinely curious.

PS: upon reconsidering the many games I am modifying the grade of my impression to 1.5 because indeed a lot of games were show. Can’t give more because I still can’t shake the impression that the presentation wasn’t that great. I found Phil Spencer rather lame and the whole aura he gave thing didn’t feel entertaining or well paced, and that despite the good games like AC shown.

How did you find it?

E3 2017: EA Press Conference

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Well, i gotta say i was a bit surprised. The biggest surprise for me was “Way out” which finally moved for me EA from “whatever, they’re just doing sports and sims” to “hmm, i might be interested”. I totally didn’t expect from those developers realistic AAA looking title that looks more serious than cute. Impressed. Plus I’m surprised and delighted at least by the surprise of  “the return of the split screen” which i totally thought was dead and buried after the many big developers who used to be big in that space which abandoned it in recent years.

The new Bioware title seemed promising also, though distant, Need 4 Speed not bad but not great either and as for the Star Wars Battlefield, I’m curious about the singleplayer campaign but I don’t really trust them that much to not put 90% of their effort into multiplayer.  All in all I found it a better than expected conference, I’d give it a 1.5 on a -5 to 5 scale (other than the expected 0 ). What did you think about it?

GTA 5 references & easter eggs

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I really love the one about the book written by the son of the hero of Red Dead Redemption. Sparks my imagination in interesting ways to think that his son did write that book… what a different life than his father.

Yippie, soon it’s E3! Here are my Top 10 predictions…

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So E3 will take place in LA from June 13th to June 15th this year, but Microsoft will be kicking off the party actually on Sunday June 12th because as more and more companies are starting to have their press conferences and live events, shedules get pretty crowded. There is a German gamer community called Consolewars that I am pretty active on and they are doing some Bingo game every year where every user can pick 16 things that they believe will happen or won’t happen. Inspired by that, here are my Top 10 predictions for this year’s E3:

 

10. Microsoft’s Scorpio will be revealed
I know, that’s kind of a cheap one. Microsoft announced Project Scorpio at last year’s E3 and Digital Foundry already reported on the specs and what Scorpio will be able to do. But when I say revealed, I mean the actual machine, on stage, possibly running some games. We will see the design, get to know the real name and Microsoft will announce the release date and the price for its new console powerhouse. And because – as I mentioned – this one is kind of a cheap prediction, I am giving you a little bonus here: I think the price of the Scorpio will be either $499 or – if Microsoft is willing to take a loss to bump up sales – $449.

 

9. Microsoft’s new games
My next prediction revolves around the games that Microsoft will show off. Here are my predictions on 4 games that I think Microsoft will announce at least 2 of for the first time (so in dev stuff like Sea of Thieves doesn’t count): Forza 7, an exclusive Ninja Gaiden, time exclusive Borderlands 3, Fable Online, Knight of Aegis. Also I hope for another Ryse Son of Rome game (which I kind of liked, similarly to The Order 1886). And Microsoft needs to show Crackdown 3. It’s either completely different than what was announced years ago or it’s dead and burried. If it’s the later, bring on the sequel to Kameo Elements of Power and Panzer Dragoon! Returning already announced games will include Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2.

 

8. Games at the SONY press conference
This prediction is about which games will be prominently shown at SONY’s press conference, and I am talking 3rd party here. I can already see 2 big ones with Resident Evil 2 Remake and Shenmue 3 [Shenmue 3 will not be at E3, confirmed by the dev team]. Destiny 2 will probably also be there with some SONY (time-)exclusive DLC announcements as well as Call of Duty WWII. The one I am not so sure about yet because it would make more sense to show off at Tokyo Game Show is the Final Fantasy VII Remake, but you’ll never know. Oh, and don’t forget that Death Stranding gameplay demo that Kojima will be presenting comfortably between the live demos of The Last of Us Chapter 2 and the new God of War game; because it’s time now. Seriously. Also – I know chances are slim, but: can I please get The Order 1887? I want to know how the story will proceed, how the characters will be developed.

 

7. Ubisoft
With the recent success of Ghost Recon Wildlands and For Honor, Ubisoft is in a strong position and I think Assassins Creed [CONFIRMED] and The Crew [CONFIRMED] will only be two of the existing franchises that will have a sequel announced this E3. Other than that though, I could imagine Ubisoft to either announce a new Watchdogs or a new Division Addon as well. Plus, I expect some Nintendo Switch games, but more on that within the Nintendo predictions. Oh, and FarCry 5 [CONFIRMED] in a kind of Wild West theme [modern Midwest? setting confirmed]. It’s a thing, believe!

 

6. EA
EA has – just like last year – its own event which happens to cross E3 again. The big title this year will probably be Battlefront 2, except for the inevitable new FIFA, Madden, NBA, etc. games. I think we will also see a new Need For Speed announced. But I don’t expect any major surprises from EA. Mass Effect Andromeda went kind of the wrong way, Titanfall 2 didn’t do well despite being critically acclaimed. A new Dragon Age could be announced though. And Medal of Honor is a franchise that’s sleeping for too long now, especially with a WWII Call of Duty coming this year.

 

5. Bethesda
Right before E3, the Morrowind addon for TESO will be released so I don’t expect any announcement there. New Skyrim versions for PS4, XO and Switch are coming this year so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a next Elder Scrolls announcement either. What we know will be coming is a new Multiplayer Quake, but I actually hope that a new Wolfenstein will be announced. I also expect The Evil Within 2 being announced as well as a DOOM singeplayer addon. I mean come on Bethesda, last year’s DOOM sold like hot cake and all we got with DLCs is multiplayer stuff that no one asked for. Got to milk that masterpiece!

 

4. Nintendo
So, after the Switch having a very successful launch and being still sold out in most places (expect to wait 3-4 weeks until you get one if you order now!), Nintendo needs to find a good balance between announcing games that are not too far off and keeping the 3DS platform alive for too long. There is a lot of stuff that Nintendo could announce this E3, and my predictions will be they are most likely some of these: Super Mario Maker for Switch, Super Smash Bros. for Switch, Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2 for Switch, a new Metroid game, the new game by Retro Studios (95 developers that haven’t announced or released a game since February 2014? They will show off something new) and the long time rumored Pokemon Stars. There will also be updates for Super Mario Odysee and Xenoblade 2 but more importantly, I expect at least one exclusive game from Ubisoft (probably the rumored Mario Rabbids crossover [kind of CONFIRMED] and not Zombi 2) as well a Monster Hunter Switch announcement from Capcom [already happened: Monster Hunter XX]. I could also imagine Capcom to be porting either Resident Evil 7 or the Resident Evil 2 Remake to Switch, since they told everyone they were porting the RE Engine to Switch pretty early on. Nintendo will also need to finally disclose some of their plans regarding online service and virtual console.

 

3. What we won’t see
This one makes me sad, but here is what I don’t think we will see: Bloodborne 2, a new F-Zero game, a new Halo game, a Scalebound reboot, a new Syphon Filter, Kevin Butler returning on the SONY E3 stage, a From Software game announcement for Nintendo Switch, a new Diddy Kong racing, a really exciting game announcement from Konami and Mafia 4 (it’s too early, even though Mafia 3 sold extremely well). And Resident Evil 8. I think that announcement’s another year off. Also that return of SEGA as a console manufacturer is not coming. I wish this wasn’t true, but (again) no Dreamcast 2.

 

2. Unpleasant returns
I think there will be two returning franchises that will get an announcement in such a way that most gamers rather would have no announcement at all: Metal Gear Solid and Just Dance.

 

1. Winner of E3 2017
I don’t think there will be a clear winner company wise. I expect SONY to have the best show in terms of show setup and pacing, I expect Nintendo to have a great return to the playing field as a real contender against SONY and Microsoft and Microsoft has the advantage of having new gaming hardware to show and accompany it with new stuff which is always exciting. The true winners of E3 will be us, the gamers. Be excited!

Rhyme Master Sunlightblade [Dark Souls 3]

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Impressive rhyming skillzors!

The Joy of Soulsing

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It’s amazing how much camaraderie such a dark game has inspired… and also the music can describe the excitement of going back in for more fun even if as I prefer you explore the world in singleplayer.

LIttle Big Planet Vs Dark Souls Asylum

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Who would’ve thought?

Fallout 2 easter eggs

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It’s this kind of depth and attention to detail why i still am disappointed with Fallout 4 and even 3 and they feel shallow by comparison in both culture and hidden choices and amount of world content and depth.

Doom – did you know?

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Some quite fascinating data.

From the Dark Finale

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A fantastic ending to a fantastic series, so full of storytelling and immersive speculation into the deep lore of this complex philosophical universe.

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