About Me

My photo
Christian. (That means that I know that Jesus is Lord!) Programmer. Gamer. Weak 3D artist. Geek.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Making my return to Vana'diel and stepping into Eorzea

So, in my last blog post, as I started writing I was uncertain as to whether I would be returning to Vana'diel but by the end of the post I was pretty certain that my return to Final Fantasy XI was inevitable.

That last post was some time ago.

Final Fantasy XIV has been released twice since then, first to collector's edition pre-orders and then second to regular edition owners.

Blizzard have announced their 'Cataclysm' expansion pack is set to be released before the end of the year and pre-orders have opened for the collector's edition version of that.

So what have I done since my last post?

I sold all my collector's editions box sets of World of Warcraft on eBay - getting back the money I had spent in purchasing them (much to my wife's delight!).

I bought Final Fantasy XIV and created a character on day one - taking in the atmosphere of being there at the very beginning.

I also restarted Final Fantasy XI from scratch - not reinstating a previous account.

All in all, the MMO side of my gaming life has been completely turned upside down.

Firstly, why did I restart FFXI from scratch?
Well, I wanted the subscription discounts from running both FFXI and XIV at the same time as well as the in-game item benefits of linking the two to the same Square-Enix account. Having bought the XIV collector's edition, it came with an authenticator key ring so having the two games linked to the same account allows me to use the same authentication key for both games.

When I bought FFXI for the first time, I imported it from the US and so predominantly down the years I've been playing with a US account. Square Enix haven't been very quick to allow the transferal of accounts from one region to another - so fearing that I wouldn't be able to link my EU XIV and US XI accounts together - I opted to simply restart the game again.

(Actually, I've heard, as it turns out that S-E did allow the transferral of accounts to a different region during the launch of FFXIV - but how was I supposed to know that that would happen!)

So far, in XI I've taken my new character, 'Dhylan' up to level 18 as a White Mage, completed the sub-job quest and switched to Red Mage - of which I'm now level 14. I also levelled Black Mage and Thief for about 6 levels each just for a little diversion.

I've joined a great linkshell on Bismarck, TheVolturiTwilight, who have been very helpful as well as encouraging - when to all intents and purposes I'm a 'new' player.

(I've posted a few screenshots in my Picasa feed of Dhylan's adventures if anyone is interested..)

So, how is Final Fantasy XIV working out?
Since coming home from my holiday in France (which is where I posted that last post from), I rushed online and downloaded the FFXIV public beta as fast as I could.
Which wasn't that fast - because the patching system during beta was just a nightmare. I was forced to be downloading unofficial torrents for the patches so that I could manually inject the patch files to get into the game. This has all been sorted out since the public release of the game, I'm pleased to say, that I've had no problems at all with the patch system since starting 'officially'.

I created a Hellsguard Roegadyn (which were called Galka in XI) named Kennedy Forthwright on the Istory server when the game was released - though I played as a Hyur during beta, opting to switch to a more melee focussed character for XIV so that I can enjoy markedly different gameplay types between XI and XIV.

I was also pleased to notice that despite the warnings of the XIV benchmark, which claimed that the game would simply not run on my Macbook Pro, the beta of the game ran(!), very slowly, but it ran all the same.
With the release day version of the game receiving some big engine upgrades - it allowed the game to run relatively smoothly on my laptop. Now, I don't get anything like 30fps but the game is certainly playable with all the settings set to their lowest possible.

Where in XI the player chooses one race and then a job - switching jobs whenever they like, as long as they're in their Mog House - XIV allows the player to change their 'job' (it doesn't call it that) whenever they like, wherever they are simply by just changing their equipped weapon - as that is what determines what their 'job' is.

I've opted to play as a 'Marauder' class at the moment - in my mind a kind of cross between Monk and Warrior from XI - though I wouldn't stake my life on that definition as I'm only level 9 at the moment.

The crafting system is pretty enjoyable, certainly a lot more involved than XI's, where crafting isn't merely a side objective used to feed your main job with money or products - but is an entirely separate, playable, different job. I've been enjoying completing Armorer quests, taking the class to level 7 so far - but I do fail to see where the game is going.

I understand, I really do, that the game is still in it's early infancy and doesn't have anywhere near the amount of content that XI does - and not even what XI had available at launch in the US (There had already been an expansion pack released for it by the time it was available in the US) - but I do spend half the time wondering where I am, who I am, what I'm doing and where I'm going.

The general thread of plot through the game just isn't there yet, which I think is one of the major issues that people are having with the game, they don't see where they're going - I think players want to know what evil they're going to face and defeat and therefore be able to justify the subscription fees to themselves.

I don't think that this is a big problem for me personally as in my mind I'm playing XI as my main MMO game with a little XIV on the side. It's a very beautiful and intriguing game to be sure, but I'm happy with dipping in, levelling a little here and there and dipping out.

In eschewing the regular, and popular, systems of Final Fantasy for a completely new approach to classes, jobs, combat etc. I think that a lot of Final Fantasy players are going to be turned off. I'm enjoying a different approach - but I'm still not done with XI and am still in love with the lore, story and world of Vana'diel.

So, I've returned to Vana'diel once again - and decided to take in a little of Eorzea too on the side.

Having only been married for a little over a year, I'm a pretty busy guy. I spend two hours a day on my commute to my job in Liverpool, I need time to research modern computing in order to affect the growth of my career. I love my wife and love spending time with her - as I rightly should. The question has to be asked, 'do I really have the time for one MMO let alone two?'

I just don't know. I know that I love playing XI and it's a great diversion to just jump on during my lunch hour or for half an hour when I get home - it's XIV that really begs the question.

Every few days I step into Eorzea to look around - immediately annoyed by the game's slow user interface - to level my armorer class and step out again. I imagine when the PS3 XIV gets released that I'll be inclined to visit Eorzea more often but until then (next March) I think XIV is going to have to remain as a pleasant diversion to my real gaming love, Final Fantasy XI.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Returning to Vana'diel

(I wrote this post on holiday in France on the 31st August, so I've back dated the post accordingly.)

What to play.. what to play.. MMOs are a huge investment and the choices are hard.

I started playing Final Fantasy XI when it was released for PlayStation in the US - which was quite some time before it was made available for PC in Europe. I loved the game. I loved the music, the world, the art, the style, the fights, the graphics. I loved it.

I never progressed very far in the game. It was just frankly too hard and too big a time sink for me. As a university student it was perfect - I could spend a lot of time playing that game (and I did!) but as a married game developer, my gaming time is not only very limited in terms of time but location too.

I have some game time available at home, some at lunchtimes in the office and some on the train on the way home - though the train doesn't have a solid internet connection.

A few months ago I decided to switch over to playing World of Warcraft after a very enjoyable test period and cancelled my FFXI subscription.

A few months in and I realise that WoW suffers from some different problems to FFXI.

Initially, WoW had a great starting experience where small stories took me from location to location, unveiling multiple branches for me to explore and locations to investigate - suddenly all these branches dried up and I found myself completely clueless as to where to go and what to do next.

I decided upon the Druid class, attracted by it's many possibilities due to it's shape shifting nature, and found myself in love with the starting area. Roaming around the leafy landscapes and enjoying the mini-quests that introduce me to the local lore - it was one of the best and enthralling experiences I've had in videogames.

This is to contrast against my disappointment as I reached new areas in the game only to find that the equivalent mini-quests don't reward very much at all and that the only fathomable reason for doing these quests is to get that level of understanding I had attained from my starting area.

Don't get me wrong, I had, have, grown to love World of Warcraft immensely. I had tracked down Collector's Editions of all the expansion packs so that I could enjoy the soundtracks and art books, subscribed to the WoW magazine and starting listening to Blizzard podcasts about the game.

It was all very entertaining stuff! But the game had started to slow down in pace for me and my original goal of making it to Northend and to defeating the Lich King was starting to seem more and more impossible not to mention undesirable.

The trouble was, there are no real benefits or balancing if higher level players want to go back and help out lower level players.

Having joined a highly social and helpful guild - it was frustrating to find that the game doesn't offer any incentives to the higher level players to come with me to a dungeon that they finished 40 levels ago.

I also found myself exceptionally disappointed when I levelled up and found that I now couldn't enter a dungeon that I still had outstanding quests in!

Final Fantasy XI doesn't have any of these problems.

Sure, there are social problems the same I imagine that all MMOs do. There are always people who are rude, unhelpful and annoying whenever people gather together under any banner or for any reason.

FFXI had level capped dungeons. Users have their abilities reduced/removed but they were still rewarded.
FFXI added Level Sync (albeit very late in the game) so that lower level players could be helped out.

Don't get me wrong, FFXI is a great game but not a perfect game.

For a start, it's starting to look old. Very old.

I love the fact that I can log in on my PS2 at home and then switch to my PC when I get to work - I hate the fact that my macros and maps still after 6 years don't sync between the two! (I also really dislike the fact there still isn't a Mac client after all these years!)

Final Fantasy XIV starts it's open beta today.
It doesn't appeal to me in the same way that XI did/does.
Graphically it looks fantastic. If I could play XI using that engine and that quality of textures and lighting - you can bet I'd buy a new PC just to play it.
But XIV looks like the kind of game you can play alongside XI just fine - and I think that Square Enix knows this and has structured it's pricing accordingly.

SE are saying that if you are a subscriber of FFXI when subscribed to FFXIV, you will receive a significant discount - which is cool - but lets me know that they're thinking that a lot of people will want to do that.

From a development perspective FFXIV is a daunting prospect. The fact that it's so beefy that it can't be played on my brand new laptop - and would require me to buy a new home desktop, limits it's userbase from the off - not to mention the locations where their userbase can play.

Delaying the PS3 version for 6 months, citing memory issues, is another concern but this does reduce the number of playable locations for me - given that I don't own a XIV capable computer and my work computer (which is used for game development) wouldn't cope either. (I'm fortunate in that my employer allows games to be played on our work computers at lunch time.)

All in all - I become more and more certain as time progresses that FFXI is still the best MMO for me to play. In terms of value for money, ability to play with advanced players in light of a waning userbase, ability to play at work, on my laptop or on my ageing PS2.

I own maps, guidebooks, soundtracks.. all manner of cool merchandise for XI. My investment has been huge and I find myself, every few years, writing a blog post just like this one explaining why I'm returning to the world of Vana'diel.

I guess It's because it's just so alluring that I keep coming back.

Monday, 1 February 2010

My 29th Birthday Message

Today, I turned 29.
I received lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of birthday greetings via various forms of modern communication - but many of those mediums don't allow me to post a long enough message in reply, so here is what I want to say to all my friends who messaged me throughout the day:

Hello all!! Thanks very much for all the birthday messages - this is the first time that I've been able to get to a computer all day (no lie! it was indeed an unusual day for me!) I've had a fabulous day today at the Capcom/Nintendo launch party for Monster Hunter Tri for Wii, popped into the Science Museum to look at the spacecraft exhibits, nipped to Foyles to oggle their programming books and browsed some old retro video game shop/haunts. (Sadly the shops are on their last legs.. :'( ) All in all - it was a day of great fun - defined by my weird geeky tastes. My wife was very patient throughout!!

Tonight, as I go to bed, I brace myself for tomorrow, spent embedded in the sofa with PS3 controller in hand. I shall be playing Dragon Age: Origins and Final Fantasy XI all day. :-) (Then dinner at the in-laws in the evening - yum!)

I am an exceptionally blessed man :-)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

What the Liberal Democrats said next...

Some of my readers might remember my strongly worded email to the Liberal Democrats about the state of their website.

(Edit: I received this e-mail on the 30th September - only three days after my complaint - I just haven't posted it until now.)

This is the rather lame response I received - with an (even then) outdated policy document attached:

Dear David

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately our web site is decided unwell at the moment. My apologies for this. We have got a new team working on it, and the new site is due to be unveiled in October.

In the meantime, please find attached one of our policy documents on Crime but please bear in mind that there will probably be an update when the site is relaunched next month. Obviously this is not fully comprehensive either, but it should give you a general idea.

Best wishes

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emma Peall


I am also genuinely saddened to report that the full policy is still not available on their site.

Go to this page and click the link at the bottom to attempt to read the policy - which is still a dead link.

Epic fail Lib Dems. You've lost my vote and I didn't even get to see your policies.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

First impressions of 'Borderlands'

A couple of days ago I spotted Gearbox's new IP, 'Borderlands', for £25 on Asda's (Walmart to my American readers) website.

I'd had my eye on this game for a while. I found it's art style intriguing, mumblings of 'It's Fallout 3 but co-op, online and local' drew me in, but it was an article, that detailed it's change in art direction late on in it's development, that highlighted to me that this game was a labour of love for Gearbox.

I've read this game described as 'gun-porn'.
A Monster Hunter for the west even.
I won't disagree with these statements at all.

It's the comparison to Fallout that is most irking.

Fallout is a game of masterful story telling with slow paced wondering, intrigue and trepidation as you scour the game's world.

Borderlands is an arcade-like, open world shooting gallery with very similar enemies willingly jumping into your firing line. The AI unable to comprehend that you're now far too strong for it and are about to open a can of whoop.

Don't get me wrong, I had A LOT of fun playing this last night, whilst Jen was out at a Bible Study, but this isn't a game I'm going to play solidly until 'The End' because I remain unsure if it really even has one.

Sure, it has a story (a paper thin tale that I really didn't care about) and a whole bunch of quests (I have no idea how many or any notion of whether they can be replayed after finishing them once.) but I immediately realised this game is one I'll pop in every once in a while to run and gun around but it isn't a 'play once from start to finish' affair.

I'm not disappointed with Borderlands, it's struck me as a great game but it won't be replacing 'Mass Effect' as my current game-novel.

If you like the sound of a put-down, pick-up again shooter-RPG then Borderlands is probably your thing and you should check it out.

If you're the kind of gamer who needs story to drive their action forward, look elsewhere.

I'm somewhere in between - and I'm going to enjoy it every once in a while as a kind of filler in between main courses or when friends come over and we just want to blow some stuff up.

(Impressions of Borderlands for PS3 after about 3 hours of play time.)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

How should I vote?

I found myself considering matters of a political nature this evening, and after some comments from a friend of mine, I find myself wanting to get more involved with local politics - by involved I mean, at least understanding whats going on.

So, having been one of the voters who picks which party to vote for based on who they like the most out of their leaders, and general media representation of them, I have previously voted for the Liberal Democrats, so I figured that their website was a good place to start.

I have no idea what Lib Dem policies are. All I know is that they aren't Conservative or Labour, and I know that the media have told me that they haven't done a very good job, so irresponsibly, I figure let the Liberal Democrats have a go.

Wanting to know more about Lib Dem policies, I went to their website and tried to read their policy on policing and crime management.

The link returned me to the front page of the news section.

All that was available on the website, I've quoted in my e-mail to the Lib Dems below.

I wonder if I'll get a reply. I genuinely hope so.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am merely a generic citizen who knows not very much about politics and for some strange reason this evening found myself desiring to know what the Liberal Democrats think.

The brief summary of your policy on policing, 'The Liberal Democrats don’t rely on tough talk and gimmicks like the other parties: we focus on solutions that really work to cut crime.' doesn't actually tell me what you (the party) actually think about how policing and crime can be dealt with from a governmental level.

I admit, I haven't taken my vote seriously before - but I'm starting to. I've previously voted for the Liberal Democrats but now I'm starting to wonder why.

I also found that when I wanted to download the pdf file that detailed your policy, the link returned me to the front news page of your website.

Where does a generic citizen, who has no knowledge or understanding of politics find out the information that determines how I cast my vote?

Yours faithfully,

David Springate
Manchester

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The first drop: Impressions of Halo 3: ODST

Anyone who personally knows me or reads this blog knows that I do love to play some Halo in my spare time, so the arrival of Bungie's new 'expansion' to Halo 3 brought a huge smile to face. Obviously, I'd pre-ordered and received my Sgt. Johnson DLC code too :)

My wife, the kind woman that she is, had already agreed that I could spend the evening in front of the TV shooting some Brutes in the face. I rushed home from work (the cancellation of a train not helping) to slap the disc into the drive and embark on a new adventure, with a new hero.

You see, Halo 3: ODST, as I'm sure most of you know, is a stand-alone title (not a typical expansion as such) set between the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3. No longer playing as the signature front-man, Master Chief, you now control various members of an ODST squad, who drop into Earth after the arrival of The Covenant in New Mombassa.

It was immediately apparent from the title screen that this wasn't my usual brand of Halo - the music and exceptionally dark look of the title screen had given that away - there was something about the vibe that had let me know that this was going to be different.

I wanted to approach this game with fresh eyes, so I'd avoided almost all other media exposure to it. I had no real idea what to expect from the campaign or the new 'Firefight' multiplayer mode.

Visually this game is no Killzone 2. It's not even a Gears of War 2.. but you'd be forgiven for not noticing. The artists and designers have made some very wise use of lighting, shadowing and closed environments (especially at the beginning of the game) - creating moody, dank locations, a place where it's very clear that you and the rest of your team are very much alone.

Last night I didn't make it very far because (and I admit I'm not the world's greatest Halo player - I love it but that doesn't mean I'm good!) I made my usual, stubborn mistake of starting the game on Legendary difficulty and found my evening being punished for it.

This game is crushingly difficult. Jen was treated to various yelps and wails as she walked about our apartment as I got my ass handed to me by small groups of Covenant comprising of just one brute and a few of their minions.

This isn't Halo 3 as usual (I know I've already said this but I can't emphasise this enough!).

As I played through the first level, I enjoyed the ODST's use of the new visor - which cleverly draws a nice outline around all the 3D objects in the scene (good one Mr. Shader Programmer!), highlighting the good guys in green and the enemies in red, whilst providing much needed night vision.

My only, exceptionally minor gripe, is that that meant that I couldn't soak up the vibe of a battered New Mombassa as much as I would have liked - the lighting all drained out of the scene because of my visor. The recent Batman: Arkham Asylum also suffered from this problem, offering a nice gameplay mechanic to the player that sacrificed the exceptional look of the game.

I guess the biggest thing that I immediately enjoyed about this game is the new found fear that I had for the smaller enemies from Halo 3.

Jackals, who Master Chief used to laugh in the face of, are now a formidable threat.
Seeing a minion (I can't remember their names right now..) running toward you holding two plasma grenades causes you to rethink your plan and tuck tail and run.

I'm looking forward to returning to this nightmare edition of Halo 3 tonight.

Later on in the evening, once Xbox Live had settled down (it seemed to have been taking a bit of a hammering because of the influx of ODST players), I met up with most of my usual squad who had managed to secure a copy of ODST on launch day.

We didn't even try out the ODST campaign's co-op mode and made a beeline for 'Firefight' instead.

The three of us, usually four, have played something in the region of 500 matches together on Halo 3 - and I think I'm the only one of us now that would like to see it still in regular rotation, the other guys have moved onto other pastures such as COD4.

One of the reasons for this is that, and I don't meant to sound big headed, is that I used to beat them to a pulp every single night of the week.

The arrival of Firefight is exceptionally welcome though as it brings an end to all that.

Where, for a very short while, we embarked on Gears of War 2's Horde mode, for a gameplay premise where we stand back to back, shoulder to shoulder, to face off against hordes (ha) of enemies, I predict that this will last us significantly longer.

GoW2's levels are too small. Their players too clunky, chunky and slow. Their gameplay is more like rock, paper, scissors than chess, with a very limited amount of weapons and manner to use them.

Halo 3 offers us, frankly, ridiculously sized environments with vehicles to mow the enemies down in. The maps offer nooks and crannies, places to hide, enemies who'll find you. Huge enemy vehicles to make the most hardened player stop in his tracks.

Firefight was ridiculously good.

Last night I read on Kotaku, one of their writers describe Halo 3's gameplay to being the closest approximation of a boy imagining to be a soldier, jumping in tanks and hanging out with his squad. As I read the article, I grinned and nodded my head, this guy had totally hit the nail on the head.

Driving around large sandy maps, with my buddies as passengers in my Warthog, one gunning down the enemy (rather sloppily) and the other jumping out at the first sign of a Wraith to plant a grenade on it's back - I can't remember the last time I had this much co-op fun in a videogame.

The hilarity that ensues as a little runt fires the fuel-rod cannon at the front of the car, sending you all flailing in a bloody mess. The laughs as you realise your team-mate has long been out of ammo and is fleeing across a plain from a hammer wielding Chieftain.

I heartily recommend Halo 3: ODST, I really do. Even if H3's campaign isn't your bag, the multiplayer is worth the price of entry alone.

Given that ODST includes every H3 map released to date (all the DLC maps plus a few new ones currently exclusive to ODST), a new campaign (which I have no idea how long it is), guaranteed beta entry to Halo: Reach and Firefight (co-op multiplayer 'Horde-like' mode) I imagine that my credit card almost wants to shake my hand (if it had one) for making such a smart purchase.

(Including the H3 maps also means that I can delete the ones on my HDD - freeing me up over 1GB of space which is obviously very nice.)

If you're looking for a game with an interesting approach to a single player campaign and a sizeable multiplayer experience with both split-screen and online experiences, look no future.

Is it better than Halo 3? I don't know. It's just too early to tell - but the fact that I even wonder makes this a winner.

Halo 3: ODST is now available for Xbox 360.

Monday, 21 September 2009

"When somethings lost I want to fight to get it back again.." - Pearl Jam, the Christians and the lost


The new Pearl Jam album 'Backspacer' was released (as far as I'm concerned) yesterday and having pre-ordered it, it arrived on my desk yesterday morning - at which point I promptly ripped it to my Mac and started listening to it on repeat for the rest of the day.

Now, whilst I am already clear with myself that this isn't the greatest Pearl Jam album ever released, something that every Pearl Jam fan has been hoping for for the last ten years with a desire to say "I was there from the start", I am able to say that this is a 'great' album.

Whilst I feel it's too early for a review, my initial hunch is that some songs are just a bit 'meh' whilst others soar into arenas of greatness that their recent albums haven't been able to reach.

One thing I do want to note is their astute observation as to which song should be released as the debut single for the album.

Most popular (read: successful) artists who are associated with large labels have to debate and negotiate with their label as to which single should be released.

Free from the shackles of Sony Epic, new Pearl Jam are able to make such discussions free of corporate pushing.

'The Fixer', the chosen single, is clearly the right choice to be the first single - and I herald Pearl Jam's wisdom at such a decision - it really is 'single worthy'. (I was most disappointed at Metallica's choice of 'The Day that Never Comes' when clearly 'Broken, Beat & Scarred' should have been the first single for 'Death Magnetic'.)

The real reason I wanted to write this post is to mention some great lyrics on the album.

'I'm a lucky man to count on both hands, the ones I love, some folks have just one whilst others they got none.'
'I hide my disappointment 'cos for years I had been hopin' that when she came, she'd be coming just for me.'
'When somethings lost I want to fight to get it back again.'

How is it that such lyrics echo and resonate so well with the audience?
How does one right words that make the heart pang so hard?

Particularly the line of 'fighting to get it back again' rang true, internally my heart nodded with agreement - that is exactly how I feel about it.

But I also understand that I am a total hypocrite. I agree. I do pine for lost things. But do I act on it?

I recently married my Jennifer, and if for some reason I 'lost' her, be assured, I'd fight tooth and nail to get her back again. I'd go to the far parts of the earth to find her. (I'm quite a protective husband I must confess!)

If someone stole from me, if I had been wronged, I would fight to get it back again. (A friend once told me that I had a strong sense of justice - which is one of the finest compliments I had been ever paid.)

How is it then that the Master has been wronged, many are lost and my heart often remains unmoved?

When I think of lost things and fighting to get it back again it's hard to not think of Jesus.

The lost are everywhere, and were everywhere when Jesus walked the earth - imagine the agony of knowing that so many who you love are 'lost' to you, imagine the hard fight of fighting to get them back again? The pain as they turn from you even when you try to pull them to you?

I find that particular fight that The Lord undertook so hard to comprehend! I guess, this idea does make me say 'Thank you Lord!'.

Even when I want to fight to get something back again, I also know, that I don't always succeed.

Jesus has succeeded and is still watching the lost come back to him.

Pearl Jam certainly didn't intend for me to think of Jesus when listening to this song but I'm glad that it did.

If you're a Christian reading this - I know that some of my (few) subscribers are - please pray that I'd have a heart for the lost. To tell them of the faith I have in the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus, achieved at the cross - and to remember that if I can't find the lost and bring them back again, to know that it is the work of the Master and not mine. To also remember that proclaiming the gospel is a work of salvation and judgement. A dividing line.

I guess it would have been too much to hope that a song lyric would encapsulate the gospel.

Thank you for reading this mornings random post. :)

'Tatsunoko vs Capcom' Wii import controls


I recently imported the excellent Capcom beat-em-up game for Wii, 'Tatsunoko vs. Capcom'.

This is a reimagining of sorts for Capcom, as they return to their Vs. series (previously Capcom had made a series of Vs. games with Marvel characters), this time applying a simplistic slant to the control scheme - which suits it's Wii host platform very well.

One of the things I hadn't realised was that there are no distinctive punch and kick buttons like in the other Capcom fighting games.

In TvC there are merely light, medium and hard attack buttons.

I'll save a review of the game for another time but I wanted to post the control scheme for the classic controller, as it isn't obvious from the Japanese 'Options' menu and I thought it might help others who import this great game before it's Western release.

So here it is, the controls for TvC using a Wii Classic Controller (which I would heartily recommend for this game!)

Y - Light attack
X - Medium attack
A - Heavy attack
B - Partner assist
L - ??
R - All three attack buttons
Minus - Taunt
Plus - 'Start' menu

To tag press B and away from your opponent at the same time.
You can also use the R button as a dash button, both forward and back dashes.
Use A and forward or back to throw.

Does anyone know what L is for?

Hope that helps someone out there, if not, it's great for me to keep as reference!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Anticipating Windows 7

Yesterday, I pre-ordered a copy of Windows 7.

Now, I am a hardened Mac fan nowadays - and I'm not really a big fan of Windows. However, I do recognize the need for a Windows OS (from the user perspective).

Occasionally, I need to use Microsoft's Visual Studio - because it provides an excellent debugger and is also the IDE we use at work.

I also like to run PC games every once and a while, Valve's Steam service has some great games on there that I've collected over the years - such as Half-Life and Half-Life 2, as well as being able to play (and indeed edit) games such as The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

I have to admit though, there were a couple of things other than that that made me whip out my credit card.

First of all, it seems feedback regarding the release candidate of Windows 7 has been nothing but praise - I haven't read a bad word about Microsoft's new OS.
Secondly, price. Previous efforts from Microsoft have weighed in at over the £100 mark - and that's just too pricey for software in my opinion. Because the EU ruled that Microsoft aren't allowed to include Internet Explorer in their new OS, apparently this has caused Microsoft to run a pre-order campaign that allows users to buy it for half-price at £45.

Finally, this isn't Windows Vista. WV made me want to tear my short, spiky hair out. It was buggy, slow and had a poorly designed user interface. It was expensive and needlessly 'glossly', chewing up valuable CPU and GPU time on effects that couldn't necessarily be disabled.

According to my friends on the forum I visit, (http://www.rllmukforum.com) my concerns have all been answered.

I have to admit, I'm a little excited about the new OS. Even as a child, I was always excited to find out about all the little intricacies of a new operating system. Yes, I was that kid. The one who installed Windows 95 from 25 floppy disks or however many it was..

I was also persuaded by a fellow geek at school to try out IBM's OS/2 Warp - and not knowing what a partition was at the time, consequently blanked my hard drive.

So, last night as a I left work I left the release candidate of Windows 7 downloading (note: A release candidate is literally that - a piece of software that been through the testing process and is now seriously being considered for release..) and I'm looking forward to installing it in a few days. (I think I might need a bigger hard drive..)

Providing the release candidate for public release is a good move from Microsoft in my opinion. It allows me, the consumer, to consider if I actually like Windows 7 enough to warrant a purchase before the product is even released.

I'll have basically two months to make my final decision before W7 is released in early October.

The question I'm now wondering though is, will my poor little Macbook be up to the task? (Another good reason for downloading the release candidate!)

My Macbook specs at time of writing are:
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2ghz.
4GB ram.
120GB hdd. ( :-( )
Paltry Intel x3100 integrated graphics chip.

It's only really the GPU that lets me down, so I hope that the rest of my, quite frankly, beefy specs, will do fine with W7. But I guess, we'll see.

I'll report back when I know more..

You can download a copy of Windows 7 release candidate here.