Friday, June 26, 2015

Screen Share: To Train a Dragon

To Train a Dragon
To Train a Dragon

The land of the lizards, Kunark. Deep in the jungles hide dungeons and temples to gods of old and lost forgotten. Some gods still linger, and need to be brought down a peg to the level of mortals.

It’s time to train a dragon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Serial Game Monogamy

This is what happens when you're a gaming hermit
This is what happens when you're a gaming hermit

Serial Game Monogamy is that phase I fall into once in a while when I find that perfect game. I start nesting around my desk, pull out sheets of paper to make charts and take notes on, and constantly daydream while at work about being home playing it. After going from game to game, sometimes you just have to let one take over. The game this time is Space Engineers.

I had played it some last month, but sort of lost interest when the ship I wanted to design seemed a little out of reach with the current build of the game. So what’s changed? I looked into the mods. Oh boy, was there mods for this game. Stuff that patched up the weaker parts, stuff that added to the experience, stuff I didn’t even know I needed. Now it’s back on.

In Space Engineers, the premise is simple, survive. You’re given tools to do so, and it’s up to you how to accomplish this goal. By the time I figured out how to survive, I had a couple of ideas on how to do it better. Next thing I knew, it’s Tuesday, I have 6 pages of mods subscribed to, a blueprint of a couple of ships I want to build, a brother that’s too busy but I bug him to play anyways, and an insatiable thirst to keep improving and coming up with new designs.

Nothing to see, move along, just an organized mess.
Nothing to see, move along, just an organized mess.

Last time this happened was in Minecraft. I fall for these Rube Goldberg like games easily. I’m given some tools that interact with each other, and next thing I’m trying to see how big and complex I can take it.

I’ve fallen into hibernation mode, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped all activities. I’m still making my rounds (as lite as it may be) and trying to support my fellow bloggers. Once I get this out of my system, it’s full power and… hmm, power… got to go, just got another idea.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Screen Share: Insignificant

Space is big. Like, really big. It’s so big that your momma jokes look small in comparison. One of my idols, Neil Degrasse Tyson, could go on long speeches on just how big space is.

It provides so many resources, a near unlimited amount, and enough room to make even the biggest stars look small from a distance. It doesn’t take much to feel insignificant.

I won’t leave off there this time, but with a quote from Dr. Tyson. “So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thoughts on Bethesda, Fallout and the Elder Scrolls series


Another year and another E3 comes a bunch of great announcements and news to look forward too. Like the XBox One Backward Compatibility or maybe A FREAKEN FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE! Then there is also Bethesda’s news on Fallout 4. This has me thinking on big picture stuff now with Bethesda and one of my favorite brands, the Elder Scrolls series.

With Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) in full swing now on consoles, this probably means we won’t get to explore the entire continent of Tamriel in a single player Elder Scrolls game in the near foreseeable future. It could also mean we won’t get to see a cooperative mode either as both of these would directly compete with ESO, but that doesn’t stop new games from being made. What that could mean is a more engaging storyline and an open world built around that, sort of like Skyrim. Instead of an entire country to explore like the previous three games, we’ll probably get a few large towns and villages that are within or just over a border. That could still mean large open worlds but not the entire country any more. Think GTA or Red Dead Redemption. Both are large open worlds, but they don’t consist of the entire country, but of large connected cities and surrounding areas you go to.

I still hope for that true cooperative, all of Tamriel, Elder Scrolls experience (that’s fully moddable) one day, but for now, it looks like I’ll settle for ESO. I’m looking forward to spending time with it soon.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Screen Share: Knocking on Heavens Door

Knocking on Heaven's Door
Knocking on Heaven's Door

As explorers, we welcome finding ancient gates to unknown places. It makes you wonder what could be behind the door. With mysteries, there could be great riches, vast knowledge, or horrors beyond description. When you reach this point, do you knock on heaven's door?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mechanic Breakdown: Starbound [Spirited Giraffe]


Starbound, an endless explorer game with tons of possibilities. Some missed, some realised, and some not quite there yet. Currently, the game is still in Beta, update 5 right now. It’s calling the current version ‘Spirited Giraffe’. For those who’ve played this during the ‘Koala’ phase, there has been a lot that’s changed. I’ll try and go through what's different between the versions in this review.

Combat is pretty simple. Equip what you find or make, swing, shoot or charge it at an enemy and *poof*. Your enemy is nothing more than pixels (the games form of currency). None of the armor or weapons have any requirements, you can equip them right away. The progression in this game can be analogized like so,  “use your hammer to build a better hammer”. You can circumvent the progression by going onto a higher level friends server and they can give you the better stuff. No muss, no fuss. But not to fear, the progression is pretty fun, so no need to skip it.

Since this is more of a sandbox, the combat isn’t its best feature, nor should it be. It was put in since it is a sandbox. Just another toy to play with.

Bottom of the ocean
What lies at the bottom of the ocean?

Crafting is a bit more complex, but still easy to grasp. When you harvest materials, you learn recipes that use that material. Pretty straightforward. The depth comes in by needing specific crafting tables. Once you have those, you need to upgrade them to be able to craft even more stuff. You also need to go to more difficult planets to find the rarer materials to craft with.

I think they have some missed opportunities here. Being a sandbox, they were trying to add another toy, but I think they could have experimented more with this system. Currently, you harvest the materials, then make sure you have said materials in your personal inventory, click on the crafting table you need, then on the recipe and finally click craft with how much. My biggest suggestion here would be for customization. It would be nice if they opened up crafting like they did the character creation, and let us pick which blade and hilt we want, or which barrel on the gun, and what color for all this. Clothing is fun to find, but the amount you have to craft feels lacking, to me. I wish there were more I could craft from the get go.

Here is Starbound’s bread and butter. I’ve spent hours just wandering the surface looking for towns and dungeons to explore (and raid). It’s also fun when you delve deep into the planet and find a secret pocket of technology left behind, or a closed off abandoned dungeon deep below.

The planets in Starbound are procedurally generated, and there are thousands of them to go to within hundreds of systems. If you get bored of one planet, it’s cheap to just hop over to the next.

You can even find some interesting stories in the form of codexes in some places. My only suggestion here is to possibly have more of the story told through these dungeons and cities by the locals. That would breath more life into them. Maybe even point out special places to go see.

Lava lake of doom
Apparently boats are immune to lava

Here is where much of the game changed. Before, the game depended on the crafting system for you to progress through the story. It was in the form of some special item you’d see in the workbench and wondered what that did. Built it, then used it and then *BAM!*, boss fight. They would drop an item to build the next workbench and start this cycle over again.

What’s changed is that Starbound now has a bit of a themepark going on where they direct you more with story and quests. I like this change because now it adds more to the sandbox, questing. I believe they had some sort of quest system before, but it wasn’t much. They also included an outpost and an ancient gate for the story. The outpost provides quests and ways to upgrade your ship. I haven’t figured out the ancient gate yet, but my guess is it’s for the final boss. What I read is that it isn’t in game yet. I could be wrong though as I’m still going through the story.

Starbound has opened itself to the modding community. There are tons of mods out for it. However many are obsolete since they were for the Koala build and broke in Giraffe. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any left. Some of the most popular ones are race mods that give you a different race to play as. I would have used this, but I decided to play one of the default races, Avian. How many other games let you play as a bird?! I had to try them.

Here is where it gets dicey. Starbound isn’t setup for multiplayer very well. By that, I mean you have to do some things on your end to get it working. I hope they improve on this and make it easier to join other players, but for now, you have to go through some steps first. I followed this Starbound setup multiplayer guide.

Starbound is well worth your time. For a measly $15, you can get in on the action, explore, fight and craft your way to the top, while making the house on your favorite planet, or customize your ship. I want to reiterate, this is a sandbox and it’s still in beta. If you don’t like sandboxes, then you will have problems with this game. If you enjoy exploration and building, you’ll enjoy Starbound.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Awards and Achievements

The Newbie Blogger Initiative ended, but there are still residual effects being felt. I suggest we call the Ghostbusters, but while we wait on them, lets enjoy the fruits of our labors. (Sorry, no ‘u’ guys.)

NBI 2015 Achievement
Achievement unlock. We successfully completed the initiative. Make sure to add 100 points to your achievement score, and receive your ‘/pat on back’ emote from the claims window.

Good Monicker Award 2015
It's all in the name
In all the chaos and destruction, I ran away with the “Good Monicker” award while noone was looking. Apparently Tyrannodorkus appeased the vets well enough to grant me this pretty spiffy digital plaque. Many mentioned to me they liked the name, and one I’m pretty proud of that my brother and I came up with.

That was not the only awards given. The Adventurer’s Staff award went to Lair of the Wolf Dragon. The Epic Bard award went to Gamer Girl Confessions. The Frontline Champ award went to Randark’s Review. And all the sponsors and mentors received the Herald of the Dragon award for being cool. Stay awesome guys.

However, not all awards were decided yet. Murf’s Safari contest is still underway. I voted for my favorites (still no ‘u’), I suggest you go through and give your votes too.

There was also a poetry slam ran by the awesome Joseph Skyrim (no, not after the game).

Thanks four (here’s your ‘u’) all your support, and doing what I can to give back. There are a lot of great blogs I’m going through, and still adding. Let’s make 2015 a great year.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Screen Share: Space Jam

Space Jam
Space Jam

There exists a place, far outside the borders of any civilization, where you can safely come together and Get Jiggy With It!

Join the Klingon Empire and the Federation of Planets as they get down in the IKS Space Jam!

Is that what it’s really called? I have no idea, but it sounded cool. My little Orion ship happened by it and could only dreamed what went on that bedazzled vessel.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What's up: Hey June

I don't have a planned post today, so I decided to just write up a quick "What am I doing" sort of post. I'm taking a page out of Eri's book and going to "just post that s#%t"


I've been getting into Starbound recently, enjoying the update from koala to giraffe. The new structure is easier to play and gives better direction. It has some faults with letting you know what you should be doing next to continue sometimes.

I also been playing a little Star Wars: The Old Republic with my brother. Trying to determine if we're ready to subscribe again and play through the stories. If anyone has any suggestions for someone like that, give me a shout out. I'm not sure if I should power through the story and then do side quests, do side quests then story, or mix it up. Or just ignore the side quests altogether. Back when we last played, the side quests were fun, but then they started to drag on long after finishing the story quests on a planet.


There are a ton of great blogs and posts I have in Feedly. Following 40 to be exact, and growing. I'm trying to go through it when I can, so keep an eye out for my likes and comments. They're coming, I promise, I just need a little more time, please don't break my legs.

I have a cool blog post project I've been working on for a bit. It's my theory about the Purple guy in Five Night's at Freddy's. It'll be my longest post yet and hope to get it out soon.


June is going to be a busy month for me. I'm planning on moving in with my brother, so I'm trying to finish projects for work and help them find a replacement. I have until July before I move, so I have time. 

After my move, I'll have some time to myself before I try to look for another job. During which I plan to do some side projects like working more on my blog here, going back and doing more Youtube videos and starting up my a web comic I've been cooking up for a while. If anyone has any advice doing a web comic, I'd love to hear it. How should I host it, any legals I should be aware of, and any good resources I can read through. That sort of stuff.

The Newbie Blogger Initiative has been a great experience, and I loved getting your comments and replying to them. This has definitely been added to my list of lifetime achievements.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Party like it's 2005!

It's over 2000!

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for dork kind!

I hit a milestone, one I didn’t think to set, but kind of sat there and went ‘wow’. I hit 2005 page views and published 19 posts. When I started this, I didn’t think to really make any milestones, I wanted to ride the waves and just take it as they come. It didn’t matter to me if I reached a million people, or just one person, still doesn’t, but it mattered to me that what I said was important.

I wanted to be thought provoking, I wanted to be influential, I wanted what I say to matter. So when I didn’t feel like I was moving the world, I felt disappointed. It wasn’t perfect, in my view.

This got me thinking (along with all the support I’ve received) not to be so harsh on myself. When I set out to start all this, what I ended up saying isn’t what I wanted to say, or how I wanted to say it. Well, not entirely anyways. It’s not how I thought it would be, how I wanted it to be. I wanted everything to be perfect. But that’s not reality, and rarely does something come out the way you want it to.

2005 page views shows that 19 posts had meaning. In the end, what I need to do is to work on my self confidence and let my work speak for itself.