Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Dawn Is Your Enemy

I'm going on two weeks of hardly any sleep. I have permanent bags underneath my eyes now which cause me to look something like this:

If you've seen Adult Swim back in the day, you'd get the reference. :)


BETA Cinema:

The Internet Skit has been posted!

Can you count how many trolls are in the video? :) Maybe I'll give a prize to someone who has the correct answer...

Codename: EPIC:

Progress is going great on the project, but the user interface needs a lot of work still. It's very monochrome, and I'd like to change that. I'm hoping to have some real screen-shots of the game before the end of May. We'll see how that goes!

I'm going to meet with the artist of the group (and a friend of mine) later today (tonight) to discuss some of the character concepts and some of the re-designs. So I'm looking forward to that. Eventually, we'll have to get a new title screen and game over screen so there's a lot of work to be done art-wise.

The game is coming along nicely though, and it seems that we're on track for an end-of-summer release date for a small demo of chapter 1!

Pokemon I'm giving away this weekend:

Until Monday. :D


Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Opinions on Final Fantasy XIV Patch 1.17a

And this is my character with an egg hat. >.<

See also: FFXIV Patch 1.17a notes

So I logged on Final Fantasy XIV the other day to check out some of the new quests introduced on Monday. I'm pretty pleased with them so far. The first batch of quests weren't all too interesting, the second batch (introduced in 1.17) were a little more thought out and had the introduction quests for companies, and this patch (1.17a) brought more quests into the three main city-states as well as some of the outlying towns outside of Limsa Lominsa and Ul'dah. None for Gridania, but there may be a reason to that (which I'll explain a little later.)

Quests and Features:

There were some new quests in Limsa Lominsa, and I got my friend Artamie to help me with these.

We did a quest that involved killing some crabs on the shores near a town called Aleport, we went to the town next not expecting anything, but lo and behold there was a new quest there as well! It was a simple one which had us collecting seashells in an instanced zone, but I'm glad they're starting to give some attention to these little towns, they had little to no storyline or lore behind them.

Next up, we took a trip to Thanalan and checked out the Golden Bazaar north of Camp Drybone for two more quests. These had an interesting story that had us killing beastmen. We had to kill some newer level 30 ish mobs near the Halitali camp.

I'd also like to mention that the addition of these two icons scare the crap out of me.

But not in a "game is going down the wrong path" sort of way. They literally scare the crap out of me. You make a party and then WHOOSH it flashes on the screen with a loud sound effect and disappears. Other than that, it's quite nice. They're paying attention to the small and large details at the same time, and that's the right way to getting to the overhaul that XIV needs.

There was also a recent post that suggested that they were changing the zone of the Black Shroud. They've said in forum interviews that they were looking into resdesigning the areas due to repetitive pathing and excessive usage of copy and paste, so I'm looking forward to that. (And that's also why they probably didn't add any quests to The Black Shroud, in order to not waste development resources.)

There's also a hint in one of the quests that Cid is coming!

They also added daily guild tasks, but I am not a crafter or harvester. I honestly can't tell you how those are. -_-


They also updated the FFXIV Company Webpage by adding a few more details to the new generals of the companies.

Notice that this guy's weapon is the "Death Penalty" which was Vincent's ultimate weapon in FFVII and Corsair's ultimate weapon in FFXI.

The Claustrum was the Black Mage's ultimate weapon in FFXI. Might it be more of a hint that we're getting Black Mages soon? With the designs and the announcement of the Job System coming soon, I would hope so!

Notice this guy's name? Look familiar? Yeah, he shares the same name with the infamous Blue Mage from FFXI. He even wears a Tizona which was Blue Mage's mythic weapon in FFXI. Still don't know who I'm talking about? Yeah, this guy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Selection of Video Game Music (April 2011) - Part II

You can see Part I here.

#11 - "Ancient's Village" - Final Fantasy III (NES/DS)

Hard to believe you get such a emotional theme in an 8-bit generation, but Uematsu did pull it off well. It's a shame we didn't get this jewel of a game until its remake came out state-side in 2006, and now we can hear it in all it's remade glory.

Original (NES, 1990)

Remake (DS, 2006)

#12 - "Gunmetal Action" - Wild Arms 3 (PS2)

I originally got into this series through a demo disc I received about 10 or so years ago. I never got around playing the series until my close friend gave it to me as a birthday gift. I'm about halfway through the game, and I stopped playing it for some reason, now hearing this theme makes me want to go back and play it.

#13 - "Cascade Capers'" (Waterfall Theme) - Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)

Even though this game is considered by many to be the worst in the series (including myself), it's still a great game. It's like the bottom of a top-tier trilogy. Anyway, Eveline Fischer composed most of the music for DKC3 on its original Super Nintendo incarnation. David Wise (the composer of DKC2), scrapped all of Fischer's work on the GBA port of DKC3 and made his own soundtrack from scratch. So, unfortunately, this theme isn't in the Game Boy Advance port of this game, but still worth a listen.

#14- "Justice" (Leo's Theme) - Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (Sega CD, Sega Saturn, PS1)

Lunar has to be one of my favorite RPG series. They have two main titles, Silver Star Story, and Eternal Blue. Unfortunately, I've only played the second game in the series (this one) and haven't had a chance to experience Silver Star Story, but I heard it was re-released for the PSP recently, so I'll have to find myself a copy. Anyway, this is the theme when one of the main characters "Leo" is encountered.

#15 - "Athletic" - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES/GBA)

Boy does this game bring back memories. I got all the way to the final boss on the SNES version, and bam the cartridge save battery failed, I was a very sad ten year old when that happened. I eventually ended up getting the GBA version and I have no freaking clue what happened to that copy of SMW2. I'll beat it eventually. But the sequel "Yoshi's Island DS" is way too hard and bland for my taste, and the music doesn't match up well like this game did.

This particular song usually played on the chaotic levels in the game, with lots of platforms and lifts and jumps. Oh, the memories!

#16- "Janus Control Center" - Goldeneye 007 (N64)

Back in the day, when Rare was actually good, they had a good slew of musical talent working for them, like David Wise and Graeme Norgate. The latter composed most (if not all) of the soundtrack for Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64. All of the soundtrack is actually very catch, but if I had to pick one memorable theme out of the game, it would have to be this one. This song plays at the Control Center, one of the hardest levels (in my opinion). I remember being really young playing this on my N64 and I kept getting Natalya killed on accident.

#17 - "Main Theme" - Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)

Have to admit, I've never actually played this game, but it is one of the main themes of the Smashville level of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. My friends and I have a certain inside joke that a hardcore biker gang would roll to this theme. (Yeah, I know. We're weird.)


Smash Bros. Version:

#18 - "Meet the Creeper" (Rob Zombie) - Twisted Metal III (PS1)

Now this is a classic. My best friend at the time got me into this series (and also introduced my brother and I to the PlayStation). I wonder whatever happened to him, haven't seen him in years.

I'd have to admit, Twisted Metal 2 was loads better than Twisted Metal III. But III had a far better soundtrack that made up for it. This song played at the intro (seen below) and as the final level on Calypso's blimp. (Primeval boss too, what a b*tch.)

#19 - "Ulara" - The Legend of Dragoon (PS1)

I got into this game last year (after wanting it for countless months) and beat it in about two months or so. It was a great RPG, hard to find nowadays though. But if you ever get a copy-, I highly suggest it.

This song in particular plays in one of the towns near the end of the game (I believe in Disc 4, I may be wrong. Memory fails me!)

#20 - "A Moogle Kupo d'Etat - Evil in Small Doses" - Final Fantasy XI (PS2/PC/XB360)

This was one of the add-on expansion final boss themes added in 2009 to the MMORPG in the Final Fantasy XI series. The player fights a giant moogle as a boss. It's meant to be a hilarious sidestory to the normal seriousness of the game.

Special Mention: The pause music from Battletoads.

If it weren't for the Angry Video Game Nerd, I'd have never heard of this jewel.


Codename: EPIC Positions


-Icon Artists (For weapons, armors, etc)
-Monster Artists
-Ruby programmers (Mostly concerned with user interface tweaking, and battle system re-design)
-RGSS Scripters (Mostly concerned with user interface tweaking, and battle system re-design)

Filled Positions:

-Musical Composer [X]
-Sprite/Battle Artists [X]
-Logo Designer [X]
-Character Artists [X]
-Storyline Writers [X]
-Protagonist Artists [X]
-Antagonist Artists [X]
-Title Screen/Game Over Screen Designers [X]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April Random Rant Ramble

Hey all!

This blog post is going to be mostly a somewhat unorganized collection of my thoughts. I guess I'd attribute that to my lack of sleep this week. Not to mention I am very stubborn and work with a one-track mind, it's hard for me to focus and I'm easily distracted if people are talking to me during the daytime, so I generally work on my projects during the late night when I'm not disturbed.

Where was I going with this tangent?

I had a discussion with some of my team members for Codename: EPIC project the other day, and while that went well, I think I'm going to move the day of meetings from Friday. It's hard to get the whole group of people together when everyone has other commitments and schedules. Such is life. So I'll need to coordinate with several meetings in very different time frames to get everyone involved, it's going to be a lot of work. Perhaps I should get a daily planner...

Anyway, after said meeting, I came across an article/guide about game development and designing with RPG Maker VX (but can really apply to other game makers as well). It really fits the situation I am in with the Codename: EPIC Project. If you're planning on going into game development or design, it has some good starting points for building RPGs and NPC behavior/events as well. Benko (creator of the guide) made it easy-to-read, accessible (and not to mention free!) and I highly recommend it.

Speaking of interesting game design, if you haven't seen this, I think it's amazing what this guy did with an active battle system on an RPG VX engine.

Anyway, I think all of this comes from some kind of hurt feelings from when I was told up-front by one of my (now ex-) friends that project would never be anything great just because I use a pre-made engine. Her lack of support hurt my feelings enough that I stopped talking to her permanently because of it. In fact, it motivated me enough to make sure that it is a project the team and I can be proud of. :)

The focus of this project is to work on my design skills as a game designer rather than my programming and animation skills. I want to emphasize fun and compelling gameplay, that's just how I like doing things. Presentation is important as well, heck one could say they go hand-in-hand. But if a game is fun, people will play it no matter what engine it runs on. That's my philosophy, though. Everyone is entitled to their own views on it.


Now for a change of subjects...

Also, today I'll be breeding a bunch of Zorua eggs in honor of today. (Whatever that may be in the real world. :P) If you would like a Zorua for your Pokemon Black or White Version, let me know and I'll save you one.

Until Tuesday! I'll maybe try and get some sleep, before I die/pass out due to exhaustion. :|


Friday, April 22, 2011

I have one year!

First, I'm going to need some motivational music...

Ah, there we go!

So, I posted a couple of days ago on Facebook about the 2011 Pokémon World Championship being held this year. I was seriously considering going to it next month, until I noticed this rule:

Players may use Pokémon found in the Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version Unova Pokédex, from No. 001-148, and No. 151, that are caught in the game, or received by an official event or distribution. Pokémon from the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, or Sinnoh Pokédex cannot be used.

Now I really like this rule, it gives fair game to only Pokémon being used in this generation. And I'n happy that I can avoid battling people who use strategies like this:

It's cheap, but effective. And I'm glad a strategy like that can't be used this time. (Unless there's a new Pokémon set that does that. Probably is. I'll have to keep an eye out for that.)

But anyway, the bad news! Most of my main team I've had with me since 2008 and is mainly comprised of Pokémon I've raised in Pearl, LeafGreen, and SoulSilver versions. I only have maybe three that are remotely ready for this tournament and only one of those three are properly EV trained for said event:

So, there is a lot of work to be done. I'm giving myself one year to EV train a team of 9 Pokémon to use in the Championship for next year. I need to be able to have one specific Pokémon for every kind of cheap tactic one will throw in the way. That means I'll need to study a lot of the Generation V setups and see what we can do and how I can get a team that will work in my favor! I'll probably release some of my team, but for the sake of not being killed due to people just looking here for research, I'll try and keep some of my Pokemon and moves scratched out and censored off.

Anyway, win or lose, I think this will be somewhat of a fun goal to do in spare time. (Since I usually play Pokémon in my dead time. Thank you, Nintendo DS!) Even in Anime Expo last year, I met a lot of fellow Pokemon Trainers on my SoulSilver game. I'm hoping I can do something similar for my Black Version. So in the very least, I'll make a lot of new friends at the event!

Anyway, Black Version. Prepare to get played a ton over the course of this/next year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Four, Two, with a Zero! (Favorite 2011 YTPs thus far.)

I was going to write a somewhat thoughtful blog entry, and then I realized what today was, and decided to put it off until Friday. So I'm here to ramble about random stuff. If you're looking for something deep and informative, then you just may want to go back to the link you came from (depending on how you're directed here.)

This blog post (since it's technically considered a holiday by many), will consist of some of my personal favorite YouTube Poops that were posted this year. Much like what I did on the blog post for Christmas last year.

Anyway, I found an interesting two-part YouTube series the other day which I posted on YouTube. I don't think anyone got it due to my habit of posting random funny stuff without providing a sense of context. So I'll take my time and provide it here!

Dinosaur Poop, Time Travelling, Trains. That's all you need to know, really.

I will probably put Part 2 in my favorite YouTube Poop for 2011 at the end of the year, we'll see if anything better comes out. And if you don't like it or find it to be crude, well then I blame your lack of a sense of humor. :P

And King of the Hill:

As for this one, it's fun-fun-fun-f-f-f-f-fun-fun-fun-fun! :D

Now this movie, this is one of my favorites this year. It's a spoof of the show "Pappyland" (though I've never seen the actual show), and the old Nickolodeon cartoon "Are You Afraid of the Dark?". It was done by Waxonator, who is somewhat of a legend in YouTube Poop comedy.


Other honorable mentions that have been posted in earlier blog posts:

Though not considered a YouTube Poop series, this one should get a special mention. It's a good parody of the anime series "One Piece", appropriately titled "None Piece". There are only two episodes out thus far, but this series has great potential, and I wish it had more views.

Monday, April 18, 2011

4/18/2011 = 1.11 * 10^-4

For lack of a better title.

This last weekend I took a break from my projects and laid back to do some reading and catch up on some sleep. Also, gaming.

Developers' Interest Group:

Or is it Developer's? I guess both of them make sense. I'm using them interchangeably. I know I'm probably making English freaks cry (whoever is reading).

On May 4th and June 6th (and future months after that), I will be attending this seminar for developers. I'm hoping to present Codename: EPIC there at the end of the year. We'll see how that goes. (Maybe have a trailer ready for presentation?) I'll keep information about this posted as I learn more about it. I'm excited to be going in a few weeks. :) If I end up presenting the game, I'll encourage you all to come and check out its debut in the winter.

EVE Online:

Saturday, [Jodin Kangra] introduced me to the game EVE Online, and we went through a three hour tutorial of the game. I can easily say that that is the hardest, most-thought out game I've ever played. Everything is so in-depth, it's actually inspiring for two reasons. One, it's good to see a game that's not oversimplified to the point where it insults the player, EVE is not one for someone who is casual, not in the least. Two, I know not to make my games so overcomplicated in the future where it confuses the player. I'm not a big fan of metagaming, and EVE seems to require a lot of that in order to be successful. I'm on the fence on whether I'm going to stick around permanently. But I'm going to lurk around while I'm on my free trial and go from there.

Game Music:

I've been listening to a lot of old video game music lately, and I came upon "The Star Onions", again. It's a music group of composers of Final Fantasy XI. Think "The Black Mages", but only with XI tracks.

You can check out a lot of their music on their album. Or listen to their individual tracks. Though, I'll save the hassle and post my two favorite themes that they've done:

1/ Kazham

This remix has a heavy jazz theme to it as opposed to the original rendition heard in game. I like both of them actually. This song has a really good laid back beat to it (which I like by default!)

2/ Ru'Lude Gardens

This remix completely changed the original theme from its core. If you clicked the link you'll notice the song has a traditional theme, but for the remix they pretty much made a whole new arrangement only using snips and pieces of the original melody.

I went ahead and uploaded this version to my YouTube profile since this song wasn't on the list (much to my disappointment). I guess not very many know about this version.

Final Fantasy XIV:

Most of Saturday night was spent killing Notorious Monsters. We were able to get one of the mages in the shell her hat from one of the wolf NMs [Bardi], but then after that, all of the drop rates of every NM we fought after that went to hell.

We did get this picture, though!

Also, this gunblade was found in the XIV data files. -_- Now after playing both VIII and XIII (in my opinion which are the worst in the series), why would they put this in there? :|

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Naoki Yoshida "Yoshi-P" Part V + My Opinions on FFXIV Patch 1.17


Useful information you should know before reading this blog entry:

See also: Patch 1.17 Notes

See also: Notorious Monsters Announcement
See also: Grand Companies of Eorzea
See also: New Notorious Monsters

See also: Letter from the Producer, VI
See also: Letter from the Producer, VII
See also: Letter from the Producer, VIII

See also: Naoki Yoshida Part I

See also: Naoki Yoshida Part II
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part III
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part IV


So earlier this week, I made a very disappointed rant about how I was losing hope for the game and I wasn't planning on playing more than once a week from there on out due to my dissatisfaction and slow update of the game progress.

Shortly after, Letter from the Producer, VIII was posted by Yoshi-P and I felt bad for posting said rant, given that the lack of messages or development was due to him being away on sickness. (I've since edited the said disappointed rant.) A lot of what I posted earlier came in one fell swoop and the new patch for Final Fantasy XIV came out on Thursday. Still skeptical about what could have changed given the not so impressive batch of side-quests of Patch 1.16, I logged on Thursday and Friday to tackle all of the new content that was added, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with this update overall.

Patch 1.17:


The party size has been reduced from 15 to 8. This has gotten some criticism from various people saying that it really eliminates the use of large-scale content. I'd have to disagree though. The UI looks much less cluttered, and the HP, MP bars are thicker. It's much easier to see people's names and targeting commands and things like that. They also give incentive by adding a buff to full parties of 8 and smaller parties of 4-7. I also like this change because it gives a good reason for players to fight in a team rather than their own.

The new quests are pretty detailed. They add a great sense of lore into them. Last patch I ended up being very disappointed that the quests turned out to be "fetch 8 of this item and bring it back to me." - These quests involved some fighting and some of just talking to NPCs. While companies weren't added in this patch, they added new quests in the Musketeers', Gladiators', and Conjurers' Guild explaining the three companies and their purpose and the people behind them. It's really setting some exposition and I'm interested to see where they take this.

The addition of NMs. And I'm not talking super high level ones, either. I can coordinate events with my LS to start knocking these out weekly until we can get all the members the gear that they would like. I'm very happy that they added this. Repeatable content that we can do. More so, the NMs have a very short respawn time. I'll post more information about this later, but I hunted a lot and it was very enjoyable. (Unlike XI when I would sit there for three hours at a time and no drop or someone else takes it. Ugh!)

UI Toggle! I don't have any pictures of it, but you can it in the patch information. Personally, I don't like a cluttered UI, but people like being able to see different information on the map. But I like how it's optional and not really required to have it visible unless you really need it.


The only bad thing I can say about this patch so far is that there is a notable lack of cut-scenes. A lot of what has been added quest wise is just mainly text and a couple of instances here and there, but no real cut-scenes. I imagine they take longer to do due to the motion capture technology they use, but everything quest wise is in the chat log.


Final Fantasy XIV took one giant leap in the right direction this last Thursday with the release of 1.17. Unfortunately, it still has a long way to go before it's still ready for a PS3 release, and before I can openly recommend it to people. Yoshi-P and his team are doing a great job with improvements on the game, and I'm feeling optimistic about the future of XIV. There's still a lot of work to be done, though.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mid-April Updates! (Game Development/EPIC/BETACinema)

Hello, blog readers!

Spring's in full-swing and I've been working on several different projects. I'll go into them in more detail a little later, but it has been causing me to get into some random inspirations at random times in the middle of the night. (Probably inspiring the tone of this blog entry, too.)

I've been reading this book almost non-stop (whenever I get some free time at least).

It's called "Introduction to Game Development" by Steve Rabin. Rabin has 10 years of game development and currently works at Nintendo, and also contains various publications and contributions from several people in the IGDA (which I'm also a member of.) It's actually a good read if you're interested in the game industry. (And it's a thick book, don't let the picture fool you. It's about 900 pages.) Believe it or not, it was the textbook we were required to get for my Game Design course we took last year, but the professor hardly used it. He didn't seem to know much about games in general, but this book was still a good buy, even if I'm just now reading it six months after I took the course.

(I ended up getting an "A" in that class, in any case.)

The book seems to understand what I want to do, even if most people do not. Most people seem to get the misconception that I want to do game programming and/or video game 3D modeling and what not, and don't really understand the true meaning of what exactly I want to do with my dream career.

I want to be a game designer. The one that makes the rules of the game, the one who comes up with intricate level design, and/or directs the progression of the project. A game designer can be programmer, and most do start as that, but I'm really not one to sit there typing lines of code, it would drive me nuts after a while. (Well, I'm not exactly the patient type.)

Not that I sit there and think programming is boring. (It's not.) It's just not something I would want to do a full-time career in for the rest of my life. I have a lot of leadership qualities and creativity, and I'd rather actually put those into motion as a designer or engineer rather than be the programmers behind it. Programming is a logical talent, design requires a lot of different talents. More of a "jack-of-all-trades", if you will. Even reading through said book (above) in great detail, I've learned an equal amount of computer science, psychology, and statistics.

Anyway, going off of that tangent, onto progress on projects!

"Codename: EPIC"

My own game projects have been appearing in my dreams too, it's been weird. I've been so engrossed in getting this game project progressed, and I'm very inspired to keep working on it. (Probably much to the disgust of the team, which has to endure my random thoughts, posts, and screen-shots on a constant basis. Sorry, guys!)

However, I still don't feel that any of the work I (or any of the team) has done on the project is worth showing to the public. Not yet, at least. I want to have at least one big picture of the project to show by the end of next month.

Here's a pic of the world map (in development):

World Map designs. I've spent most of this week coming up with a decent flow of the game, testing out possible things the player may enjoy, and getting it to be enjoyable. But on the other hand, I have a bad tendency to make things WAY too easy for the player, and I'm glad I have Jon to call me out on it.

I'm hoping to have a playable demo of one part of chapter 1 done by the end of the summer and all of chapter 1 done by the end of this year. That's the goal, at least. There is a lot of work to be done.

Still need a permanent monster designer and someone to do trailers and promotional work. I'm talking with several different people, but I'm trying to look for someone who'd be more willing to contribute and get a share of the project rather than ask for a flat fee. That's not exactly easy to find, you know.


Three new skits are coming: The Tube Skit, the Internet Skit, and the Math skit. I don't know what order these are coming in, though. The Math Skit was originally supposed to be finish on April 1st, but we had some postponements getting some of the scenes, so that will be posted in early May.

I'll have to get on Ryan's case for finishing the others since we have the footage for that.

I also need to get working on AdSense...

So much to do, so little time!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Patience wore out! :(

Edited (4/12/2011) - The patch outline for Thursday has been posted.

I'm normally very patient, but I think time has caught up with me. I'm finally starting to lose hope for Final Fantasy XIV. In fact, I guess I could say I had 7 months of optimism before it ran dry.

As it currently stands, I'm logging in once a week as a commitment to the linkshell, and it will remain that way for the foreseeable future, but there isn't just any motivation to play, and a lack of noticeable improvement or hope coming from the development team. Enhancement of battle effects, really?

I guess you could say that the main driving force for this is seeing the road map for Final Fantasy XI for the next year. They seem to have big plans for the game, and even if it's not anything I'm particularly interested in that would warrant me returning, I kind of wish they had some kind of updated structure for XIV and in a sense it's making me long to return to XI.

I don't know why, or even how Square-Enix managed to make this XIV release such a colossal bomb. I just don't know how, they spent five years on this project and we get a handful of zones, a very minimal amount of story, and no chocobos we can ride, airships we can board, or even Cid!

I applaud Naoki Yoshida for taking over for a game that was in a state of other chaos. (Hell, he even became one of my game design idols because of that.) But his team is going very slowly trying to understand the immature Crystal Tools technology and re-engineering a five year project in 6-7 months. I do think the game will eventually improve to a point where it is enjoyable by many and playable, but I don't think it's going to be a reasonable enough time-frame for gamers to want to give it a chance. Or the playerbase will eventually get fatigued (as I did) and move on to greener pastures.

Anyway, as far as this post is concerned, I think I'll remain logging in once a week to do LS events and keep looking at updates, but my optimism has long dissipated and I know I can't fathom recommending the game to friends for a long while.

I'm hoping one day I can look at this post and laugh because the game will have changed for the better, but I don't know. I just don't know.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Selection of Video Game Music - (April 2011)

^ (Credit to "Leno" for this drawing of Mario.)

Today's blog entry: Some of my favorite video game tunes. I'm going to go ahead and make this a monthly series of sorts, where I choose 10 from a list of my favorite video game themes. I don't want to pick ones that are overly cliche, but some you may recognize.

Note: I'm going to jump around back and forth between newer games and older games. I like some of the old pieces with old-fashioned 8-bit themes and I like orchestral music that is used with some of the current generation games and systems.

These aren't in any particular order of interest, but they're numbered in order to note the same song in the post:


#1 - Yoshi's Story - "Ending" (N64)

Anyone who knows my gaming habits will know that this is my stage/song of choice in Super Smash Bros. Brawl Matches. Stage: Yoshi's Island with this song playing. Personally, I like the cruel irony of four people beating the hell out of each other to such a sad song.

And the Super Smash Bros Brawl Remix!

#2 - DuckTales "Moon Theme" (NES)

Seriously, one of the most underrated songs of our time. I haven't even heard of the game or the song myself until video game music enthusiast Brentalfloss did a remix of it. (Below)

I don't know who at Capcom was doing the music for that game, but they are an 8-bit genius.

#3 - Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals - Sinistral Battle Theme (SNES)

This has to be one of the most badass boss themes I've ever heard. Ever. I used to beat this game repeatedly when I was 6-7 years old just to hear this over and over.

Taito and Natsume really had a good series going from them, Square-Enix owns the rights to this franchise now, and they recently re-did the game for the DS. While it is a great action RPG in its own right, the remixed soundtrack doesn't hold a candle to the SNES classic.

#4 - Final Fantasy XII - The Paramina Rift / "Seeking Power" (PS2)

This is one of the Final Fantasy titles that veteran of the series Nobuo Uematsu didn't do any of the regular compositions for and just contributed the main theme. Hitoshi Sakimoto contributed the other themes to the soundtrack, and this is my favorite out of the game.

#5 - Super Mario Land 2 - Star Maze (Game Boy)

I actually forgot about this game's soundtrack, I haven't played this game in years, since I had a Game Boy Pocket. Recently, I heard an interesting YTPMV remix of this theme starring Jack Black's appearance on Sesame Street by cs188.

#6 - Pokemon Black and White - "Emotion" (Nintendo DS)

My friend sent me a URL to this song a few months back out of the blue. I'm very surprised to hear this out of a Pokemon game, they really put some new directions in their pieces, and this one was an unexpected twist. (As I hadn't gotten that far in the game when he sent it to me as he completed the game before I did.)

#7 - Breath of Fire III - "Life's a Beach" (PS1)

Breath of Fire is an underrated RPG series by Capcom that was primarily developed in the 1990's. I only played the third in the series, but this theme is really catchy! Probably my favorite in the game for sure. (I will need to play through it one of these days.)

#8 - Final Fantasy XIV - Track 50 (PC/PS3)

I have not heard this theme in-game yet, but I have to say that it's one of my favorite newer themes from Uematsu. I think if the game didn't have such of a catastrophic launch, then there would possibly be more cutscenes in which this theme would be used, but everything got kind of put on hold. I'm looking forward to hopefully hearing this in game soon.

#9 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - "Bramble Blast" (SNES)

Probably one of my favorite 16-bit era platformer themes. David Wise composed the music for DKC2 and I find it to be shameful he wasn't signed on for the new DKC:Returns for the Wii. Donkey Kong Country 2 had the best music and gameplay in the series by far, and this is one of my favorite themes out of them.

There was also a Brawl Remix and a fan remix involving the Fresh Prince.

#10 - Super Mario 64 - Bomb-Omb Battlefield / Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Throwback Galaxy

These two share the theme, but it's a classic. This game did a lot to the 3D platforming genre, and is probably one of the most memorable themes of the N64 and the 3D Mario era.

Koji Kondo FTW. :D

Friday, April 8, 2011

I think it's time for a break.

For the last few days I've been extremely stressed with my second game project, almost to the point where it's not any fun anymore. I mean seriously, I've been up until 3-4 AM with rolling headaches working on this and lacking a good amount of sleep. (3-4 hours a day average!) Call it obsessive-compulsive, but i am trying to get minor details right and just fixing one thing takes me hours if it's not perfectly centered or does not perform what I want it to do.

On Saturday, I'm going to teach one (maybe two) of my friends the program and the ins and outs of how it works. I'm hoping with a few others doing some of the event work (which doesn't require programming knowledge), I can go more into the "nitty-gritty" and program some features in Ruby that I would like to appear in game that events cannot really do.

Earlier, I kind of got put on blast for only using a simple "beginner's" tool to do this project, but I'm well aware of my team's abilities. We all have ambition, but no experience. I'm barely learning Unity and Unreal myself, to teach others how to use these advanced tools will be too much work, especially if we're trying to tell a whole story. The amount of things to model, the amount of areas to build, and the team required to do all of that will take way too long to be remotely reasonable.

With RPG Maker VX, I can easily teach the team how to use a program I've practiced with for almost 10 years now and we can have a pretty good game with their event knowledge and my programming skills in coming up with an interesting battle system (which is my goal for this year.)

I just want to note that this game project does have an emphasis on story and game-play elements rather than the actual graphics. Personally, I'm not too picky on the graphics. However, I am aware a consistent art style does help - If a game doesn't at least look visually appealing, then no one will play it no matter how good the story is or how well it plays. So there's a long road of development ahead of us.

Like I said, I really can't reveal any huge details about the project (are there any?), and there is an overwhelming amount of ideas and things are being worked on.

I'm hoping once these stress headaches clear up a bit, I can actually focus on working on drawing an overworld map, we will see.

Until Sunday!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One step forward, one step back.

Where to start?

Codename: EPIC:

Yesterday was a great advancement on the second game project. We have finally started digitally inputting all of the resources and started literally building the game.

Up until this point and for the last four months, we have been working out designs and writing out a plot to go from.

Unfortunately, it also called for a reshuffle of the leadership team on the project. We now have a new art director and character designer which will set us back quite a bit on progress. We're essentially taking five of the characters back to the drawing board to be redesigned by Fuego (new art director).

I'm being very cryptic about these details because I don't like to mention anything that's not set in stone yet. Tomorrow I'm going to get some help from one of my closest friends to start writing up some guidelines for the new team, such as:

1/ All submissions from team members become property of the group (as a whole) after x amount of time has passed.

2/ Members of the development team will be required to accept a non-disclosure agreement [NDA] about the project which states that they cannot freely talk to anyone about explicit details about the project while they are members of the group. (To save from people leaking details about it.)

3/ Members will be required to give a one week advance notice before official departure. If doing a short notice resignation, then we have one week to remove anything submitted by them that has not passed the x amount of time needed to become group ownership.

If I had these tentative rules in from the start, I don't think this would have been an issue. Now some people may look at these rules and consider it a little harsh, or a form of socialism. But I want to make this following fact crystal clear:

Not everyone is getting an equal share in the project. The project will be split in contribution percentages. (The more contributions to a project the person does, the more they will be compensated in sales percentage.) After an x amount of time (yet to be determined) the person will be unable to retroactively bring their resources out of the project, but they will get just compensation for their resources they submitted once the project goes live.

My Leadership Policy:

I've been criticized by many to be way too soft and accommodating. That's just the type of leader I am. Normally, I'm really not one for contracts and the like, but what happened yesterday was a big wake-up call that I need to have some kind of rules in place or I get walked all over by people who abuse my kindness.

I've said this once before and I'll say it a million times, I'm very fortunate to know very talented artists, voice actors, musicians, and writers and friends from all different backgrounds.

I'm also very happy to have Fuego working with us as the new main art designer for the project, and hopefully the project itself won't be set back too far because of these unforeseen circumstances.

We're also in need of monster artists! ^_^;


Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Over!

Spring Break, that is.

Along with half of my freedom. And you know what? I didn't get to beat Final Fantasy XIII. That was my one main goal for the last three months. And I failed. Did I mention that it makes me sad when I don't accomplish a goal I've set for myself? Maybe it's the leader in me talking. I hate breaking promises and not making goals, that's one of my personal pet-peeves...


During this Spring Break I did beat Barthandelus (finally) and made it to the end of the next chapter (Chapter 12), which is where I'm stuck on.

And if I know my Final Fantasy lore, apparently this guy:

is a modern remake of this guy:

Not that you all would care, anyway. But the latter was so much easier! I beat it like 12 years ago first try with little difficulty. This, on the other hand is a pain in the ass. It seems that I'm stuck because of the linearity of the game I can't go to a decent place to grind so I'm stuck killing soldiers!


Enough of that, yesterday we had another BETACinema meeting!

...and I happened to have learned something very important from said meeting:

The town I live in does not take well to humor. We were still flipped off multiple times, heckled at, and some other stuff. It's sad, really. Don't get me wrong though, I love the scenery and the atmosphere, but the people here are so snobby that maybe I do want to move out of the town once I graduate.

I don't plan on having a "hissy-fit" because someone I don't know decides to just hate on us being random and not harmful towards anyone. It motivates me to do these fun skit gatherings even more.

Anyhow: Here's a trailer I quickly edited together for one of our shorts that will be posted soon:

That's about all I got for this blog entry. Sunday nights before the first day of new classes are always hectic. You don't know who you're going to meet, who you're going to run into, or how your teachers are. Well, actually I've had all three of my teachers before, so I should know exactly what to expect. But I've not had these particular classes with these professors, so this is going to be quite interesting.

Until Wednesday, blog reader(s)!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Four, Two, but no Zero!

This is unfortunately to be the last blog post of my Spring Break before it's back to the grind on Monday. (Albeit nothing as close as excruciating to what I had to deal with last quarter)

I'm taking a quarter off on Computer Science related academia while I focus on getting my Math and Physics requirements out of the way. Even though I'm not officially taking any programming courses in the university this term, I want to focus on getting my knowledge of Ruby and C# for when I take Video Game Programming (CSE441) in Spring 2012. I'll rant about that a little later.


New Skits!:

There are two new BETACinema videos! I posted one of them as an afterthought in the last entry, but it is "If Jon Ruled the World" written by Jon and myself and edited by Jon. Check it out below:

The second movie is an afterthought and I edited it in about 4-5 hours as a last minute short-term replacement to "The Math Skit" that was supposed to be released as an April Fools' Day skit. Due to circumstances outside the group's control, however, it has been postponed. I don't like to go back on promises, so I edited together some of the funniest footage that could not make it into our actual skits (for lack of continuity, didn't make sense, bad footage, etc) and I compiled it into a ten minute movie! You can see that below:


Nintendo 3DS:

I got a chance to play some of the Nintendo 3DS and Super Street Fighter IV over a friends house. He got it on release day and let us play it for a while. I have to say, I LOVE the console. I originally was skeptical about the 3D effects, but they really give a whole new dimension to the gameplay and I really like it. It's something everyone should see first hand, definitely. YouTube movies and trailers of it do not do it justice. My friend got the black colored console, but I'm hoping to get this particular color. What can I say? I am a sucker for blue colors. :)

The only foreseeable downside I have (personally) with the Nintendo 3DS is that I cannot handle the 3D effects very well. I have the depth slider at almost bare minimum and any more makes my eyes cross-eyed and gives me a terrible headache. But even on the minimum, the 3D is clearly apparent and gives off the impression that the characters actually bounce off the environments. (Your experience may vary.)


Programming Goals / Codename:EPIC :

Like I mentioned earlier, I am taking a break from programming classes at the university to focus on some self-study in order to prepare for what is to come. I've been in university for three years and I still don't feel confident in my programming abilities, so I'm giving myself about five months (the Spring and Summer) to change that. I would like to improve my skills in these areas to be ready for classes like "Graphics Programming" and "Operating Systems".

Anyway, for now, I'm expanding on my own Ruby skills in order to program some of my own systems in the game for the project. Since Ruby is a scripting language and RPG Maker VX allows for Ruby Scripts, I'm expanding on my foundations using this website and this book (below) as a reference.

I've had it for a couple of years now and I want to focus on actually getting through it and start doing some development on the side with the in-game systems while the art infrastructure and algorithms of the game are being implemented. Hopefully screen-shots are to be shown of the progress in the next couple of weeks. The game is going to be in a long development.


April Goals:

-Complete Final Fantasy XIII. (It's been these goal lists for three months now?)
-Do well in Spring quarter courses.
-Start and have initial screen-shots of Codename: EPIC.
-Finish "Math Skit" for BETACinema.


Here's to a happy and cheerful quarter! ^_^

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to lead a linkshell event in six hours.