Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dark Souls Fun: Artorias vs Manus

The best thing about games on PC are the mods and when a game has a big enough fan base you get all kinds of crazy stuff.

Now the video below might not be of a "mod" but it is a cool example of what you can do with games on PC. Some how this guy got Manus, who is the last boss in the Dark Souls DLC (and arguably the hardest fight in the game) to battle it out with Knight Artorias.

The arena you see is where you clash swords with Artorias; how he got Manus there is beyond me*. But the epicness of this battle is ... Epic.

*Apparently there is a "cheat engine"  that lets you spawn NPCs and such. The owner of the video spawned Manus in the arena and then made him hostile to NPCs.

In Dark Souls Lore Artoias does indeed battle it out with Manus - but we never get to see it.

Well now we can

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Loads of fun with Loadout

I am a very competitive person.

Some might say that's a bad thing and that I should relax but I enjoy it. It makes games fun for me.

In fact most of the games I'm really into have some sort of competitive component. Dark Souls and World of Warcraft would have to be two games that have totally consumed me.

I PVPed like mad in WoW - in fact my first toon is ranked champion while my last toon, a warlock, spent most of his time poping heads in Athari Basin.And in Dark Souls I love invading peeps and claiming souls. There's something about gearing up and going out of your way to collect stuff which you then use to wreck other players. Now I'm not saying that I'm hot shit at it, in fact I've learned to channel my competitiveness a little, but I do really enjoy playing against other players.

I've never been one for online shooters though until I wrapped my virtual trigger finger around Team Fortress 2. Then I started playing that for hours upon hours. I even got into collecting those damn hats >_<

Well recently I started mucking around on the beta servers for an up coming third person shooter called Loadout, and this thing really has me hooked.

My Loadout home screen
I actually can't remember how I came across this game but I do remember going nuts trying to get my hands on a beta key. It didn't take too long as a simple Facebook message to the games page returned a link to a key for me to grab.

Since then I've been having a blast with Loadout. The best way to describe is that it's like Team Fortress meets Unreal; in that it's very cartoony looking with the action being arcady.

I know these days we judge our online shooters with such games as Call of Duty or Halo, but Loadout is more about casual fun, at least to me.

Rather than trying to be "real and authentic" with its gameplay, Loadout is over the top and frantic.

A typical Loadout match gets very hectic. You might have the occasional sniper with a 10 kill streak but he probably died like 20 times himself. As soon as the countdown timer ends, the screen is splashed with blood and body parts. The death animations are actually a lot of fun to watch and you can't get head shot without letting out a "o shit hahahaha" when it happens.

This is my baby
The biggest pull though is the games loadout system itself. You don't just pick two guns and an item, instead you actually get to craft your choice of weapon right down to what kind of trigger it has to fire. The closest I've come to this would have to be the Free to play shooter Black Light, which has tones of weapon customizing, but Loadout takes that concept and pumps it full of crack - because the results are just insane.

The cool thing is that even though you have people running around with lightening chain guns and 6 barrel rocket launchers that fire like anime mechs, everything is so well balanced. When crafting an item everything has it's pros and cons - so you don't make something that is the best "killer" but rather something that best suits your play style.

Aside from the awesome weapon building you also get to create your toon. Currently the game has two hero characters that you can customize, one of them looks a lot like Rambo and the other Mr T, and the devs have said they'll be releasing a female character as well sometime soon.

The main theme of the game seems to draw very heavily from the action movie culture of the 70s and 80s. Think Terminator, Commando, Cobra or anything else staring the cast of the Expandable and you'll find some reference to it in Loadout. One of the cosmetic options is even the jacket that Arnie takes from the punk in Terminator 1. In fact it's called "stolen punk jacket"

I've got two skins I role with, one being sort of a post apocalyptic theme and the other a rip off of Rick from Splatter House.

I actually cost me game money to take that shirt off.
 Both have the same weapon set up - but I have some other muck around builds as well.

I actually just keep things pretty simple. Yes the weapons with the light shows are fun but nothing beats a slug to the face. But this could change as every time I see someone using an interesting looking weapon I have to try and build it for myself. There's actually an area where you can try out all the guns you've made, but what I would love is a way to share and view other peoples schematics.

There are a few draw backs though as the game currently has a limited number of maps, and in game currency to buy weapon parts and cosmetics are hard to come by. Plus even though there are a huge possible combination of weapons - everyone just uses rockets. Including me :P

At the end of each match you get a wheel to spin, which in turn rewards you with various prizes like weapon parts and "space bucks". So far I've been getting a lot of XP and very little cash. So I went and bought a starter pack.

You're weapons level up as you spend rank points to open up different tiers in the weapons components. The most I've invested in is the Harbinger you can see in the pic up top.

Loadout should be out of closed beta soon and when it hits Steam you should definitely check it out if you're a fan of online play. The community are a pretty cool bunch, but all online groups have the occasional ass, but so far I haven't run into one. The Devs are petty cool to and you can tell they really love what they have and are constantly keeping touch with the fans for ideas and suggestions. You can also catch some live streaming of their games every now and then too.

Now watch this awesome trailer:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Day At the Beach wins a World TV Award.

And then I won a World TV award.

A short film I did with my FBC TV crew called "A Day At the Beach" won the World Television Awards 2013 Science/environment category for the Best TV Programme on “Creating Ozone Safe Generations".

Now I get to present the Film at the Asia Media Summit, which is a global gathering of broadcasters from around the world, scheduled for the the 29 May in Manado, Indonesia. That's where I get presented with my award too :)

According to the website there's going to be 500 representatives from various broadcasters at the summit so it should be very interesting. 

I was so damn excited when I heard that I had won. It was 1am on a Saturday Morning and I had just finished a few hours of playing Loadout when I got the call from my Boss who had gotten an email telling him I had won. I actually just sat there kinda like "o really... awesome"

Inside though I was kinda in shock because this was my first international award, and a World TV award at that - which is pretty huge.

The film was a made as part of the workshop I had attended in Malaysia.

 As far as films go I never make anything I wouldn't watch. So when I set out to make something on Ozone Depletion one idea just jumped into my head.

After hearing all this talk about stop ozone depleting substances by the year 2050 I started thinking about what kind of effect that would have on us here in Fiji. Can Fiji or the whole Pacific wait that long? What will happen before then? or after that?

Check out the "Boom Mic"
So what came out in scripting was a ravaged Fiji in the year 2063 and the rest just fell into place.

Drawing from such things as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and even a bit of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories soon the script was locked into place.

I had a great crew working with me too so after about a week of planning and a day of shooting we  knew we had something awesome going. I'm lucky to always have a crew that sort of trusts me with concept and planing and especially direction.

I wanted to make the short informative, while still being accessible, so I had written a father and daughter reflecting on all the things that happened to Fiji for it to be the dry, barren place it was in the script.    

We shot the project down at the Sigatoka sand dunes which gave us the perfect back drop for our story.

Before the actual day of the shoot my buddy Samu Soqoyawa and I went up to the dunes to check out the location. I shot a small video of the location on my handycam just to get a feel for the place. I then cut this into a little "mood video" that I showed the crew to give them a sense of what I was trying to capture. I also used this is a site reference when scripting.

The Day of the actual was shoot was a lot harder as the area gets a lot of rain. So it meant packing equipment up now and then, sometimes in the middle of takes, so we didn't get it wet.

What was also interesting is that I had planned to have a  CGI character in the story as well. A computer that talks to the father and daughter, explaining things about the Ozone and the effects of the depletion.

The design for this A.I was pretty simple but looked great - and I owe a lot of thanks to our graphics guy and my friend David Whiteside for his designs. I'm lucky that he is a huge video game buff like me so he had a lot to draw from. In fact he designed all the graphics I animated based on a few crude sketches I had given him. though our render resources and such was pretty scarce - I thought the end product with the AI turned out great.

Lending her voice to the AI, that we named Jacki-0, was the lovely Jacqueline Speight from our very own FBC TV news desk.

The score for the short was done by our very awesome sound guy Jone Nakasamai, who actually composed the main theme a day before we submitted the film for the award.

Our two leads Peceli Rokotuivuna and Ny Vann were great sports. As we had one camera it meant we had to do a lot of multiple takes to get the different angles. Even Seremaia bui Cabecabe who was our drive for the day helped with carrying equipment up and down those mad high sand dunes.

In the end we had something we were all very proud of and to have something that is essentially a work of passion recognized with an award like this is truly amazing.  

Here's the trailer for the short - which plays on FBC TV on the 15th of May at 6:30pm. I'll have a copy online soon after I get back from Indonesia.

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