life problems

•July 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

How long has it been? I’ve been so overwhelmed with classwork and readmission business, I barely even remembered I had this blog. It’s really mostly the Comparative Literature (COM 3) that’s been killing me, because of its absurd workload. I’ve had an essay due every Monday, and a different book to finish every week.

Well, I guess that’s enough complaining for now. I don’t actually have any real news to talk about, except that that terrible summer session is over.

Hopefully I’ll have something else to say next time.

Summer, E3, and 3DS stuff

•June 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m taking summer classes at UCD cause I have to. I also kinda like it here, so that’s ok, too. I spent the last several days moving back into my apartment, so I’ve been pretty busy. I had a bunch of problems associated with the entire process and everything, but now they’re mostly sorted out, which is good.

So anyways, starting where I left off, E3 turned out to be fairly boring again this year. Nintendo showed off their new console, the Wii U, and Sony showed off their new Handheld, the Vita. Honestly, there wasn’t much more than that that was big. A few highly anticipated titles were given more hype/information, but there’s not much actual new stuff that I can remember that’s exciting or anything. Also, a lack of info about Xenoblade (A.K.A. Monado), Lost Story, Beyond the Labyrinth, and Pandora’s Tower makes everything less exciting.

Anyways, aside from that, the 3DS shop opened, and I finally got the chance to play all the DSi Ware games I lost with my old DSi. I also got a few new ones, so now I have:

  • Aura Aura Climber
  • Snapdots
  • BOXLIFE
  • Photo Dojo
  • X-SCAPE
  • Touch Solitaire
  • Mighty Flip Champs
  • Mighty Milky Way
  • Shantae: Risky’s Revenge
  • Picdun
  • Soul of Darkness
  • Surfacer+
  • Inchworm Animation
  • Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology

Aura Aura Climber:
Oh I loved this one when I got it last year. It’s a point based game in which the goal is to climb to the top of each stage by jumping from anchor to anchor. There are 12 or so stages, and also a time attack mode, and there’s medals to earn in both modes. It’s surprisingly heavily skill based, and is pretty tough if you’re aiming for 100%. With the slide pad, it seems a bit easier overall, but the more tricky moves involving rapid direction changing are a bit harder than with the D-pad. Unfortunately, the 3DS’s D-pad is kind of stiff and is awkwardly positioned, so it’s a lot harder to play with that than with the slider.

Snapdots:
This is a new one for me. It’s a puzzle game published by Nintendo which is sort of like picross in that you’re trying to build a picture on a grid. It’s got more similarities with ice block puzzles and sokoban games though. It’s a little hard to describe. Basically, you control a UFO at the bottom of the screen, and can move it left or right, along the columns of the image. you can also rotate the grid in 90° increments. You can’t manipulate the grid/your UFO any other way. Once you’re happy with the positioning of the UFO and Grid, you can shoot a block straight up, which will only stop once it hits something. All the puzzles start off with at least a little bit of the final picture filled in, and has marks for where the remaining blocks need to go (like sokoban games). You have to strategically build walls to prevent your tiles from going too far, so they land in place (like ice block puzzles). There’s also a few gimmick blocks that need to be worked around, so there’s that too. It’s kind of weird and a bit challenging, so I haven’t gotten too far yet.

BOXLIFE:
This is an insanely quirky game that I loved to play back on my DSi. You play as a factory worker at a box making factory, cutting sheets of squares in just the right way so that the entire sheet can be used up making cubes. The R&D mode is where most of the game takes place, in which you learn about various shapes that can fold up to become cubes. Once you complete enough of that (or not), you can go to the factory, where you’re given an endless sheet to do the same, only you’re given a time limit, and can afford to make mistakes. Also, bombs will drop occasionally, and you get points for boxing them up before they explode and kill your paper. Making boxes in Factory mode gets you money, and money is automatically used to buy things for your house on the title screen. It’s crazy stuff.

Photo Dojo:
There’s not too much to explain about this game. I got it when it was free two years ago and it was fun. I had to re-buy it, and that wasn’t so fun, but whatever. Anyways, you take pictures of things/people in different poses and record sound effects for them, and the become your fighters for a beat-em-up style minigame thing. There’s also a 1v1 mode, but I haven’t played it much since my brother doesn’t usually want to. It’s fun, but short.

X-SCAPE:
This one’s new for me. This is a strange game that’s like a fps, only you control a tank. It looks like some crazy retro remake of Battlezone for the… whatever that was. It’s got an actual story, and is fairly challenging. The story is the majority of the game, and there’s also sidequests you can take on. I haven’t gotten very far though. It actually reminds me of another game I have for windows 95 or 98 or something. I can’t remember the name though. It had something to do with VR. Well in any case, it’s an incredibly fun game once you get the controls down.

Touch Solitaire:
This is a very basic, bare-bones package for Klondike and Spider solitaire. Honestly, if I didn’t have it before on my DSi, I probably wouldn’t have cared. I like it’s minimalistic interface, which is something I like in card games but don’t often see. Klondike on easy follows a strange set of rules where you can put any card down on an empty space. Spider has unlimited undos until either a new stack was created or the next set of cards was played. That’s it.

Mighty Flip Champs:
One of the few games I actually had trouble with back on the DSi. It’s slightly demoralizing to have to go and beat all the stages I beat last time again, so I haven’t gotten very far this time. Basically you control a girl who has a wand that can flip through different spaces or something. You can only move left or right and climb up grating. If you fall, you fall straight down and have no control until you land. To navigate to the end (a frog guy…?) you have to flip through all the different spaces which will grant you access to different parts of the level. It’s pretty simple sounding, but is actually quite frustrating if you mess up the order. Each level has a very specific solution, and if you deviate from it by even just a little, you have to do at least a significant portion of it again. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what to do. Speedrunning each level to get an S will be a nightmare.

Mighty Milky Way:
This is another new one. It’s another puzzle game by WayForward, who made Mighty Flip Champs. This time, you play a green alien girl who only moves clockwise along the surface of small planets. You can jump off a planet by making it pulsate, which also damages the planet heavily in the process. This game is partly gravity based, so you’ll just shoot off in the direction you jumped until you hit something or are attracted by another planet. It’d be too easy if that was all, so you also have enemies and planet candy, which can create planets of varying sizes depending on how long you hold down the stylus. Each stage has you navigating a maze bounded by either electrocuted or bouncy walls, or both. The point is to get to the end, where there’s a black hole or something that will warp you to the next level. The protagonist has a name, but I kind of forgot it. Also, she speaks in French.

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge:
Strangely enough, I didn’t get this one when it was released, despite it being extraordinarily highly acclaimed. It’s pretty much the closest you can get to a full platformer game from the DSi Ware shop. It’s a sequel to an old game on the GBC, if I remember correctly. Anyways, you play as a half-genie Shantae, who gets involved with a sealing a magical lamp, which was stolen by the pirate Risky, via her uncle who’s a treasure hunter. The game is actually kind of challenging, due to enemies not getting hit-stunned much, and there being no damage upgrades to your main attack (hair whipping). You can buy powerups to make you attack faster, but they’re kinda expensive. You can gain access to three transformations, a monkey, an elephant, and a mermaid, which’ll help you through various parts of the overworld. The overworld itself is fairly small, but a lot of it is inaccessible until you have the right powers. After that, it’s a pretty standard platformer.

Picdun:
This was released after the 3DS shop opened, if I recall correctly. I got addicted to this game, since it’s like a super stripped down version of Etrian Odyssey. It’s a first person dungeon crawler, where you are the only party member. The point is to map out the entirety of the floor you’re on before moving to the next one in order to reveal a picture. You can find weapons and various items along the way to make you stronger, but they’re all at fixed locations and can only be obtained by doing specific things on those floors, hinted to by riddles. Battle is done via a real-time battle system, where you can guard or execute a horizontal or vertical slash or a stab. A well-timed guard against an enemy attack results in a counter, horizontal slashes hit all enemies, vertical slashes hit only one for more damage, and stabs are weak unless you can hit a weakpoint, in which you can deal massive damage. You can only heal on level ups, at fountains, or by drinking water saved from a fountain. I don’t really know why it’s so addicting. Maybe it’s the OCD factor or something.

Soul of Darkness:
This is another new one for me. A small Castlevania clone, but much less fluid and lacking in a lot of the mechanics that made Castlevania fun. You play as some guy who’s girlfriend got kidnapped by a vampire. You go through the castle and its surroundings to get her back in pre-SotN style, which means each level is usually extremely linear. Throughout the game, you’ll get two weapons, a fire sword that you start off with and an ice spear found later, which you can upgrade by collecting soul points. It’s fairly fun, but it’s also really short and doesn’t have a lot of the things I like about Castlevania, meaning its combat is fairly shallow. For example, there’s no double jump, sliding, or super jumps, you can occasionally deal criticals which are instant-kill attacks with special animations, but they completely screw up your battle timing, you attack with combos instead of single attacks, and you can’t stand on the edges of platforms. It’s still fun for a CV clone, but it lacks replayability once you max both weapons.

Surfacer+:
This is yet another one I didn’t have before. This is like Jezzball, but with circles and powerups. And by circles, I mean flowers. Like Jezzball, the point is to reduce the amount of space on a level, while balls bounce and impede your progress. You click and hold some point on the screen to grow a flower (you can move it while it’s growing), and try to avoid getting hit while it grows. Once you release, it stops growing and falls to the bottom of the level, and can potentially trap balls along the way. Once you cover enough of the screen with flowers, you win. It’s actually easier than Jezzball, mostly because you’re afforded more messups, and partly because of gravity, which allows you to just drop flowers on balls, instead of having to try to make walls as close as possible to them. There’s also temporary powerups that can be activated at random by completing minigames that pop up on the screen. Later, you can activate different powerups at will by making three similarly sized flowers. The larger the flower, the more powerful the powerup. I’m kind of far, I think, but I don’t really know how many levels there are in total.

Inchworm Animation:
This is like the poor man’s cheap DSi version of a knock-off of photoshop, only it’s optimized to do animations. You can draw and/or take pictures/video to make the animation. On the drawing side, you have layers and stuff like that, with each layer having two sub-layers, a top and bottom. There’s all the standard paint tools, the binary pencil, the brush, the bucket fill, the oval, rectangle, and free selects. You also have a nice in-depth color palette, as well a few preset patterns and the ability to make your own patterns. With the lack of Flipnote, this is a pretty good second.

Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology:
This is a collection of three “experimental” games by the guy in the title. Usually, I like things like these, because they have some kind of goal and are kind of fun to play and look interesting, but paying for it kind of makes all that moot. Each minigame comes with an Author’s Perspective, which explains Rohrer’s thoughts when creating the game, but it kind of makes it less fun to play for me. Not that it’s very fun at all, actually. Each minigame has no rewards for finishing, as the goal of each is something like to play through the game. You get a score, but it’s not even saved, and is only there for you to look at. Sure, they can be very deep if you think about it, but gameplay-wise, they’re very, very shallow.

Aside from the DSi Ware stuff, I also have the 3D Excitebike, Link’s Awakening, and Pokedex 3D (though I don’t have Black or White, it was free so eh).

Finals day and a bit on E3

•June 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today is finals day. As planned. Nothing new’s going on on my end. Well actually I forgot to mention I have some projects that are due after the finals are done, specifically a math one due Saturday and a compsci one due next Thursday. I should be able to finish the math one by Friday at latest, and the compsci one I’m hoping to finish asap, but before they’re done I won’t really have time to do anything else.

In other news, I am sort of hyped for this year’s E3 which starts I think Tuesday of next week, and also the release of the 3DS update that’ll give us full functionality. Supposedly Nintendo’s Project Cafe will be revealed, along with the specs and stuff of Sony’s NGP. I’m also hoping for news on the new Kirby Wii game that I’ve heard so little about, as well as stuff like Xenoblade and Last Story (and maybe Beyond the Labyrinth, but that’s a very unlikely long shot). Mostly I want the 3DS e-shop open though, cause I can get stuff from there immediately.

Finals and stuff eat my time

•May 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been so busy. Finals are next week, and there’s a Megaten event I’m working on. All my free time is used trying to max out everyone’s friendships in Samurai Warriors Chronicles, which I’ve been neglecting to do until now. Kinda sucks, cause I want to do more stuff, but I just can’t get myself in the mood to do anything else, esp. writing. Speaking of that, I figure I should start with short stories first, cause something that’s episodic just feels like it’s too long or difficult right now. So I’ll probably get some short stories in a week or so after finals. That is, if the other problems I have don’t kill me first.

Anyways, the Megaten event is to create loading screens. I’m stuck between a few designs, which sucks because the deadline is tomorrow.

First design is this:

which is basically DB Kano taking a rest, after going on a Garm massacre. Obviously I need to add the dead Garms, and make the perspective work better (kano’s bottom half looks spindly, though that’s partly cause his upper armor is so bulky. Also, Nakano isn’t really all that hilly) but it’s pretty ok otherwise.

Next is this:

which is Kano imitating the pose of the Space Marine on the cover of W4K: Dawn of War 2. There’s also this version:

and this version:

‘Course, the last version I kind of threw together really quickly, cause I was pressed for time. I can mix and match any of the heads and arms though. I don’t exactly know where to go with this cause of that. Oh and any text is definitely only for my own amusement. The final versions would say different things.

The sad part is I’ve got almost 0 experience turning these rough sketches into usable line art. I know enough/have more experience with coloring though. So really, once I get the line art done, coloring would be easy. The only problem with that is that I have class all day today, so I don’t really have much free time before friday rolls around.

my life sucks

•May 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, for some reason, a bunch of troubles are happening all at once now. besides the usual classwork woes, it turns out I’m somehow dismissed from UCD. Before, I was on probation, spending a year at home trying to fulfill the requirements for readmittance, but now I have to deal with a bunch of crap about trying to find out why my standing suddenly downgraded. As a result, I missed the signup time for summer session classes, so at best I’ll have to try to show up to a class and add it in person. But that’s not even the worst part. I’ve been having so many class selection problems, mostly because it’s hard to find community colleges which offer corresponding courses to the ones I’m supposed to be taking, and also because of my own stupidity, among other things. I don’t even know at this point if I’ve taken enough of the courses I’m need to take to be eligible for getting back to UCD, and not courses that I should probably take later on, but don’t need to at the moment. There’s also this one course I took because it was supposed to have transferable credits, but it turns out it didn’t, so there’s one more problem there.

Lately, I’ve either been doing work, or playing Samurai Warriors Chronicles to get my mind off of work. It’s hard for me to do anything that I actually really want to do, and also hard for me to get to the work that really needs getting done. I’m not sure why. I guess the best explanation would be something like I’m never in the mood for either, since I don’t want to be doing anything seriously, for some reason. it’s probably because of how screwed up my class schedule is. There’s also the problem that I don’t want to be caught doing anything I actually like doing by my parents, cause they’ll tell me to do work, and by my brother because usually he just demands in some way that I stop being so selfish or whatever and help him with his stuff, and also because his interests are actually pretty different from mine and he has a stupid habit of ridiculing anything I do that’s different from him. That’s an exaggeration of course, but not by that much. I also don’t like to be caught doing work by my parents, cause they’ll ridicule me a tiny bit for actually doing work, or at least they’ll make me feel like they’re doing that, and by my brother because again, I’ll somehow be guilt tripped that I’m not helping with his work. It’s really annoying. It’s become that the only safe thing to do is to be indecisive, or just do things that I’ve been doing all along, aka procrastinate doing anything important. At least when I was at UCD in my apartment, I was procrastinating because I thought I could work fast. Now it feels bad even having the will to work.

procrastination sucks

•May 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I couldn’t keep up with my limit of 2 posts minimum per week last week, cause I really suck at time management. I have a compsci project and homework assignment, and a philosophy essay due this Thursday, and I just started on them yesterday. It’s amazing how bad I am at this. It’s just hard for me to concentrate when the possibility of other people popping in and wanting me to do other things is still there. I just don’t have the willpower to tell them to go away because I have my own work to do. How sad…

Knytt Stories

•May 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Because of NightSky, I decided to go ahead and get the rest of the games by Nifflas that I never got, and update my Knytt Stories with more worlds and stuff. Of the stuff I got, I managed to finish Saira fairly quickly, but I had to system restore to reverse some strange problems, so now I need to re-install it. I can’t really say much about Saira from memory, since I would much rather be able to check what I say, so that just leaves Knytt Stories.

A few days ago, I went to the Nifflas forums and downloaded all the worlds from the first 13 pages of the Knytt Stories Worlds topic. Here are some highlights:

Endless Dream (Me(not actually me)): This is a story about Juni getting lost in her dreams after grabbing a certain rock that’s said to do just that. It starts off pretty slowly and boringly, with things being straightforward and everything you’d expect from a “trapped in your dreams” type of story, but then after the second half, it goes kind of crazy and starts messing with you better than I expected it could. The first part is average, the second is great.

A Knytt in Time (egomassive):  This is a huge level. It’s also very fun, since there’s a lot of work put into the details, like what people say at what time, and also a bunch of little extras you can find if you’re good enough. The entire world is constructed very well and is gratifying to explore, for the most part. Once you get to the end game, where you might want to re-explore old areas a little, it gets really tedious running back and forth. There’s also a basic time traveling mechanic, which means there’s two versions of the same world to explore, and that’s just crazy. It’s very well made. I don’t think I was able to sequence break at all, which seems to happen fairly often with time-traveling things.

THE RECOMING (bradf): This one is just awesome, in terms of atmosphere at least. Going around talking to everyone and etc. is fun, but I think I wasn’t able to finish it since I kind of couldn’t find the next objective after I got delicious juice for Juni’s party. Oh well.

That’s all I got. I should have screenshots, but it’s kind of difficult to do at the moment.