Of weather, bugs and gluttony

Just some updates for the end of the week without any particular order or category. First of all the most common and maybe the thing that costs the most boredom; the weather. It’s getting colder and warmer, dry and wet, pale and sunny. There’s no direction to be found and this bothers me, because I wanted to go out these days to take some pictures and gain some experience with my new camera lenses, but nothing. It looks promising right now because the it’s sunny with barely any clouds. Hopefully it’s going to stay this way.

Most of the time this week did I waste with gaming, I finished the single-player campaign in “Battlefield Bad Company 2” and I’m now into the multiplayer part of the game to train for some league appearances, that will hopefully be in the next season. Secondly, I am nearly finished with “DeathSpank”, the game itself got more and more funny in the last couple of hours while I was playing and I still recommend this game, especially if you like “Monkey Island” or “Penny Arcade” like humour. Last but not least, this week was the release of an indie game called “Magicka” which unfortunately lacks of thousands of bugs. Well, okay, it’s not a thousand bugs, but there are lots of errors right now. But I have to admit, the developers take their jobs serious and do a lot to get rid of the bugs and I salute an attitude like this. It’s just a small, independent software company working their asses off to finally create a great product, something that publishers like EA and Ubisoft disregard so many, many times. ~kudos~

Finally, “Straight Edge 3.0” starts on Sunday and this means the time of gluttony is over. There’s not much that changes in particular, it’s mainly that I return to gym and sports and that my whole nutrition is set up much more healthier. Either way was my nutrition really, REALLY bad over the last couple of weeks and it couldn’t have gotten more worth than it is right now. This changes and I will hopefully lose some pounds by the way.

Game of the week #4/2011 – The Ball

If there’s one thing that is popular the most in the world, it’s ball games. It doesn’t matter if you like soccer, basketball or baseball, it always includes at least one ball, like the game of the week. It’s simply called “The Ball” and you may see this game as a copycat of Valve’s “Portal” but it’s definately not. Manipulation of objects using physics is one aspect of the game, but additionally do you also have to fight in this game, which is not part of “Portal”, except the automated guns that stand around. So, what are you actually doing in this game? Well, you push a giant, giant ball in front of you through levels that look like forgotten Inca or Maya places. You don’t push it just by using your bare hands, you’ve got a gun like tool, pretty similiar to the one you got in “Portal”, where you can push, or hit, the ball and you can “suck” the ball towards you from a distant area. Just imagine you play “Portal” and you also have to carry a 5 feet tall ball with you everywhere you go, this is pretty much how “The Ball” actually works.

There’s also a kind of Tomb Raider feeling when it comes to explore the ancient underground world. You have to solve riddles with levers, ropes and weights by using your ball and your, let us say, gravity gun. The only thing that you can’t do in this game is to build portals, but you can fight enemies with your giant ball instead. There are no shooting guns in this game, so you have to use your ball and simply roll it over your enemies. Like many games in FPS style, this one is easy to learn, but relatively hard to handle. Some riddles might take a few tries before they are finally solved, but this is just an issue at the beginning of the game, after making some ingame progress you become one with your ball. Does this sound ambiguous?

The Ball

“The Ball” uses the Unreal III engine, looks very beautiful and well designed and due to the game engine does it take advantage of a Nvidia powered rigs, because PhysX rocks. I recommend this game to everyone who loved to play “Portal”, who likes balls (ya, this is oviously ambiguous ^^ ) and to those who like to play with physics in games. It’s also a recommendation for those who loved the Tomb Raider-series and just want to try out some new ways of how to be an archeologist.

Links:

Official website

Demo download

Champions of the battlefield

Today is the beginning of the free to play era of Champions Online. I started playing this game right after its release but it was not able to catch me in complete. It’s too much instanced and the world felt a little pale compared to a MMO like World of Warcraft, where you can find something interesting under nearly every single rock. So now, where Champions Online can be played for free, I’m going to give it a new try these days and will see if it has changed that much that I can say, “This is my new MMO addiction game”

Besides this did I make this plan with a friend of mine, who also quit in World of Warcraft, like I did, to start a new “esports career”. We had a discussion for month and month what to play and or final choice was Battlefield Bad Company 2, which is in my opinion a good game for “casual frags” and even the “professional” ones. I played the old, basic Battlefield 1942 for a while and I returned to this gaming series after years by the release of the genious, but in the beginning totally imbalanced, Battlefield 2. I skipped Battlefield 2142, which was, for me,  just a re-textured version of Battlefield 2 with a modern setting. Bad Company 2 is the big punch right into the face of the Call of Duty series, the single player campaign is way more fun than any Call of Duty since CoD2 and the multiplayer is without any competitors. To make a long story short, I like Battlefield too much to just leave it behind and to never play it in a more “professional” way. There were other possible choices like Enemy Territory but I played ET in a clan years ago and CoD was an absolute “NOT!” for me.

This is actually the game that comes into play with the Straight edge 3.0 project. Besides the pure physical training and the healthier nutrition is it time to also get some training in first-person shooters again. WoW devastated a lot of skills and it’s time to rebuild them.

Maintenance downtimes

I’ve received serveral emails from my hosting provider that informed me about a couple of maintenances on my website, or better let us say the servers. This also leads to a few downtimes which will be at the following dates:

01/27/2011 – 00:00 am – 06:00 am CET

01/28/2011 – 00:00 am – 06:00 am CET

01/30/2011 – 02:00 am – 06:00 am CET

I hope that everything will work fine and there’ll be no inconsistencies.

Left 4 Unknown

Hardware geeks always suffer from that angst that they do not have the latest and most modern technology at home, same for me. But thanks to Valve software do I now know that my system is too bleeding edge to be known. Take a look at these screenshots

1. Valve announced that my system is a kind of “too new”

2. Here’s my answer to Valve. Of course, did I sent them a record of this “issue”

Game of the week #3/2011 – Osmos

This week’s “Game of the week” is something I’ve chosen, because I actually haven’t really found the time for playing as much as I do it normally. Anyhow, to get a little bit more relaxed and to calm down did I choose “Osmos”. Nowadays would you say that this game is an indie title, for whatever that means, and you can get it for real cheap, like every indie title does. Its game design is very simple to learn but it’s hard to handle. You are a small organism, that’s not an offense, that’s what you play in the game, and you have grow bigger. Sounds easy but it’s not. You can only absorb other organisms when you are bigger than them and you can only move by investing energy. Investing energy does mean that you lose valuable mass and when you lose mass you may become smaller than other organisms so you cannot absorb them.

This whole things happens at a very slow pace and the ambient soundtrack of the game also gives you a feeling that you don’t have to rush anything. I personally really like the ambient soundtrack of that game and this is actually one of the major points why I like this game, besides the simple but ingenious idea behind the game. As mentioned before, this game is something if you don’t feel like playing something with a large amount of complexity, but you also don’t want to play a brawler. This is what you play when you want to chill and relax and I personally recommend this game to everyone who wants to play something different. The setting is nice, the music is great and the whole gameplay feels ‘organic’.

Links:

Official Website

Wikipedia

Rules for Straight edge 3.0 project

So here’s to you, in a very short and simple way, the rules for “Straight edge 3.0 project”. I’ll give some details of the goals of the very project in later post.

1. No smoking!

2. There’s no alcohol consumption on training days or the days before training.

3. There’s no consumption of any unnecessary sweets at all.

4. There’s no special nutrition plan, just eat healthy and well-balanced.

5. There are at least three training days at gym per week and one optional training day with a sport of choice.

6. Every fourth week is a so called “hardcore week” with at least four training days at gym and one optional training day with a sport of choice.

7. Find relaxation and rest on days without sport and training to avoid injuries or infections.

8. Improve hand-eye-coordination and reaction time by using modern technologies.

9. Improve your stamina and reach a healthy BMI.

As you can see, the set of rules is not as tough as it was in projects before for one simple reason, it costs too much time and energy in everyday life and finally leads to a lack of luxury and well-being. To keep all this in balance I introduced the hardcore week so that I’m not turning into a gym addict or something like that. I also find it very important to find relaxation, that’s why I set rule number 7. I got a weird infection during the first straight edge project and I don’t want to let this happen again. Even on the first training days it is very important to avoid any kind exaggaration or presumption.

Rule number 8 might be strange to some of you, but I found out during the first two projects that my “gaming skills” also improved, so I want to train on this, too. To get it all straight, this project goes away from a monastary style of living, more to something balanced and capable for everyone out there. I don’t want to waste my whole free time with training and healthy food, I want to keep a little vice in my life, because I think that this is healthy, too. I erased the caffeine rule, for one simple reason, I love coffee – PERIOD.

Straight edge 3.0 announcement

The X-mas season is over, the snow’s disappearing and it’s getting warmer outside and this yellow circle, simply called sun, appears on the sky again. With all these things in mind and due to the fact that I have to get rid of some, let us say, winter energy resources, I decided to announce the cutoff for the “Straight edge 3.0 project”. It’s going to be January 30th where the healthier way of living continues once again, and once the again the rules will be changed in some ways. I’m not going to make such tough restrictions and the gym and sports plan won’t be that time intense. With the new rules I’ll try to find a good balance between the shaping body aspect and the simply have some fun factor on the other side. The last two projects were good in some kind of way, but the intensity was too strong and room for other activities was pretty narrow or barely not existing. One thing that will last for sure is the non-smoking rule, because smoking kills the stamina and every cardio will be blown to dust (anyone, dust? no?), some changes will be made to the alcohol rule. There will be restrictions but it’s no longer completely forbidden. Actually, alcohol is no longer that temptation that it was before the whole project thing, nowadays do I not have a single problem with going to a party and not drink. Alcohol disgusts me in some ways.

Anyhow, keep January 30th in mind and the new set of rules for “Straight edge project 3.0” will be announced here as soon as possible. This whole project will last for six month and June 30th is going to be the last day for the time being. If you want to join me, or if you want to do something similiar, feel free to contact me via this blog, registration is opened again, here on bloodreaver.com

Game of the week #2/2011 – DeathSpank – Orphans of Justice

This weeks game of the week is something special, a game created by a living legend. It’s “DeathSpank” by game designer Ron Gilbert. You might remember this name  from the legendary “Monkey Island” one and two, the good old “Maniac Mansion”, the ingenious “Zak McKracken” or the amazing “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”. This man created so many great games why shouldn’t “DeathSpank” be as good as the previous games? Well, first of all, “DeathSpank” is obviously a great game, with the typcial sense of humor that you can expect from Ron Gilbert and the design is something really special, but it can’t follow in the footsteps of the previously mentioned games.

DeathSpank - Orphans of Justice

In “DeathSpank” you play the homonymous hero DeathSpank who is looking for an artifact simply called “The Artifact” for his entired life. DeathSpank finds the artifact during the game, but it gets stolen by the henchmen of a guy called “Lord von Prong”. You might have already guessed what comes next, yes, DeathSpank has to get the artifact back and has to defeat the evil Lord von Prong. The game itself is a simple hack and slash RPG with a focus on a good told story. The character customisation is mainly done by getting new items that improve your attributes and by chosing cards on each level increase that improve thing like melee/range damage or the speed of the character. You don’t have to think too much and that is good because this game is perfect after a long exhausting day when you feel like getting easy entertainment but you still want a nice story to be told.

I played this game with mouse and keyboard first but I personally find that playing with an Xbox 360 controller is much easier and faster to handle. You also don’t have to switch between two weapon sets when you play with the Xbox 360 controller and moving the character feels more ‘logical’. The combats are not too easy and not too tough and if you ever come to a situation where you find it too hard or easy you can chose a different combat difficulty. The co-op mode in this game is, let us say, okay but it’s not what you want to play the whole time because the second player soon starts to feel like the fifth wheel of the wagon. The second character can’t loot or improve his skills and equipment, he’s just walking beside DeathSpank, does some damage and heals from time to time. Besides these minor issues “DeathSpank” is a game where you can’t do anything wrong if you like hack and slash RPGs, loved games like “Diablo” or “Torchlight” and if you feel comfortable with the sense of humour from games like “On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness”. There’s a reason why this game is finally the “Game of the week”, so go and get it or you will be spanked.

Links:

Official website

WikiPedia entry

Dead Space Bavaria

If there’s one thing I don’t like about Germany then it’s Bavaria. Once again did this state prove that they are way to much withdrawn and live in the world of yesterday. When it comes to intollerance, you will find Bavarians in front row. When it comes to constrict something, you will find Bavarians in front row. Like they did within the last few weeks. EA’s going to release “Dead Space 2” this January but it looks like as if it is not going to get released in Germany by that time, too. Because when it comes to censorship, the Bavarians are the undisputed masters in the whole wide world. Without a doubt, “Dead Space 2” is a game for adults and truely deserves an age rating “M” or PEGI18. That’s not enough for the old-fashioned bavarian government. They used a kind of veto right against the decision of the USK (the institution in Germany responsible for rating games, movies and all kinds of media) and caused costs and costs and costs for the publisher. EA had to customise the game several times that even the bavarian government will accept a rating for this game. If there’s no rating the game will be banned off the german market and you won’t even find ads, commercials, reviews or reports for/about this game. It makes me sad and angry that videogames are still seen as the root of all evil and that some people make them responsible for everything. But it makes me angry the most that this causeless accusation always comes from Bavaria.