Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[PS3] Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: patch 1.3 / Solitude

Installed this cautiously on Saturday.

I'm lucky I was even able to download the whole patch without my line disconnecting.

Result: No freezes, no lag, resistances fixed. I think the bookshelves are still acting a bit strange, so I won't use them. The textures seemed improved, smoother but I did encounter some weirdness especially when walking near moving water. It's not broken, so that's a relief.

Reached Solitude and of course, the first thing I did was to go around and take pictures. (iPod Touch 4, camera+ app)




The Blue Palace

A residence in Solitude

Guards practicing archery

Saturday, December 10, 2011

[PS3] Skyrim - Windhelm



[PS3] Skyrim - Kynesgrove and Windhelm

After slaying a dragon at Kynesgrove, went to Windhelm for some sightseeing.

Patch 1.3 will probably arrive next week to fix the bugs in 1.2 -- Magical resistance and broken bookshelf.




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

[iOS] Junk Jack - Church

No way to zoom out to a framesize that I would like.

Lego vs Minecraft

Walked into a Lego store, looked at all the beautiful new sets they have, noticed the price and thought to myself, "Minecraft costs less and has limitless bricks." Walked out of Lego store.

And no I haven't gotten into Minecraft, although I am intrigued by it. I've been playing some minecraft clones and adaptations on my idevice, but not the official Minecraft Pocket Edition. It's definitely something I would get into once they add crafting and mobs to the the mobile edition.

Monday, December 5, 2011

[PS3] Skyrim - Ustengrav

(Pics taken off the screen with iPod Touch 4, camera+ app. )
I have noticed that if you hold the device further away from the screen, the shots look a little more realistic. A lot of things in are too "rounded" or smooth on close up. Black and white processing looks best because most shots taken off the screen are a bit blue-ish.

Cave entrance -- An adventurer's life is filled with peril

Watch your step.

Necromancer's dining table -- I took the bread.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

[PS3] Skyrim - Whiterun

Taken off the screen using iPod Touch 4, Camera+ app.

Whiterun Marketsquare

Temple of Kynareth

Saturday, December 3, 2011

[PS3] Skyrim - Morthal

A nice riverside town with seemingly not much going on. Well, there was one mystery and an unpleasant discovery about one of the townfolk but I took care of that. After that, I walked around and took some pictures. (Like a tourist...) The guards were curious but they were happy to pose for some pics after I explained to them what the device was for.

[Photos taken off screen using iPod Touch 4, camera+ app - black&white photos seem to turn out best.]






Thursday, December 1, 2011

[PS3] [Elder Scrolls V Skyrim] Game more broken after patch than before.

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim -- A bit crestfallen to learn that there are more glitches after the patch than prior. That'll teach me to update games so eagerly. The only thing I manage to spot from a few minutes after the patch was that the bookshelves were glitchy. Checking the forums, this is a problem reported by a few people and has been compiled in a list. And if one looks around, there are also reports on broken resistances and dragons that fly backwards. (Every platform, not just PS3, is affected by these bugs apparently.)

I'll continue with my game, but if the bugs get too annoying, I guess I'll just delete the entire game and reinstall and play it at 1.0 until a real fix that actually fixes everything comes along before I patch it again. I'll lose my save and hours of a character* if I do that, but at least this is an open world -- I don't have to do things in the same order.

Not happy.


*(15 hours on my second character, not a lot compared to other more dedicated players, but time lost is time lost.) 2 weekends and I only got 15 hours? I have 10 hours on my first character which I stopped playing because I felt that my skill points were all over the place. Still not a lot compared to most fans of the game, what can I say, see blog title.

Dec 2nd, 2011
Update from Bethblog

[iOS] Junk Jack screens

Just waiting for the new patch that adds more stuff.

New forge and cloth working area.

Grocery Store

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why a lot of new iphone games just look awful

...to me these days.

Maybe I'm just feeling jaded.

I was definitely more enthusiastic about trying new games a year ago. And also, not so critical.

Friday, November 25, 2011

3DS -- 3D rather redundant still

I really should just stick to creative things...


And I just saw something about mobile games not killing console games -- well no, both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, I just think they will both exist. Handhelds vs handhelds still remains to be seen.

3DS -- the 3D is feeling more and more like an unnecessary gimmick with 3D games having no interesting features over regular DS games other than being "3D". Sure it looks pretty, but with some games, one has to ask, is it necessary for a game to be 3D, and how does the gameplay design use 3D or not at all. Pity.

The games for the 3DS are still mostly mediocre. Harvest Moon seems to be another disappointment. There are couple of puzzle games, a Pokemon game (I was wishing for new pokemon rpg or even a remake of the Black/White, but so far, I've heard nothing.) Cooking Mama 4 is out. Harry Potter year 5-7 is out (not sure to get the PS3 version or the 3DS).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

[iOS] Junk Jack screens: another cabin in the woods


Not sure if I should stick with wooden ladders or tiki ladders...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

[PS3] Skyrim journeys

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim patch 1.2 will come after Thanksgiving according to a Tweet by one of the developers. I hope it addresses the lag issue (mainly a PS3 problem in this case) that I've been hearing about. So far I have not encountered any slow downs or crashes, but I'm not that far into the game, nor do I play it for many hours at a sitting. But slow downs and crashes are things I expected because every open world game by Bethesda that I've played have had these problems. I save the game every 15 minutes at least, on top of having the autosave function turned on.

The glitches I've encountered are graphical ones mainly -- an instance of missing wall graphics in Whiterun, and jagged edged shadows in the snow.


There is much to like about the game. And I can go on and on about how awesome the quests are and how interesting they seem and the clever twists and revelations. But I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might be reading this. And I recommend those who are thinking of getting the game and haven't yet, not to read any of the reviews or editorials about the game because of the risk of spoilers.

The only thing in the game that seems to be done poorly to me at the moment is the over-world map. It's bad design in terms of practically and useability. Very beautiful, but you can't use it like you could in previous ES games where maps can be used to find roads. Luckily, the game includes a paper map, but it only shows the main roads. On a side note, one observes that the roads in Skyrim are not as well defined as roads in Cyrodiil (the locale for ESIV: Oblivion), it's a bit more wild and not as busy, and not as well patrolled. Cyrodiil is almost too busy and choc-a-bloc with too many dungeons in one spot sometimes (dungeons = castles, caves, temples). There aren't as many types of flowers and plants to pick in Skyrim. I suppose it's the cold.


Also I vowed to stick with my first Breton character when I first started playing, but I have restarted and am now playing a Nord, leaning towards hunter type skills of light armor, one handed, sneak and archery. More to my playing style than a magic user. I will play a magic user down the road to experience the life of a mage in the north.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Junk Jack screens

Cabin in the woods with underground storage space

Castle, with library on the left and glass tower on the right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Junk Jack screens

My room

Art Gallery and shelves for various treasures to display

Treasure room

Welcome entrance of castle

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Junk Jack screens

Just a couple of screens of my creations in Junk Jack.

Library with underground link to main tower

Main tower is still a misshapen mess.

Bedroom with collection of mushroom toys

3-storey glass tower

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3) -- thoughts

I have about 5 hours into the game at the time I'm blogging this. I haven't much wandered too far off-course. My first run is always one where I stick close to the main quest.

From what I've encountered so far, there are quests galore. Simply walking through town and eavesdropping, you could already get a sense that there's a lot going on, people need help with various tasks and a lot of things to do in this game.

I'm really happy with the new skill tree (they call them perks now) -- very elegant, very beautiful and befitting of this epic fantasy world. It is the best improvement imho. They have completely revamped the character creation -- there are no longer classes and no more major/minor skill choices at the beginning. I think we are all better off since everyone tended to choose the same few key skills, resulting in generic and predictable builds.

Melee has improved, feels less like hitting tin pots and more like you are hitting flesh and bone; spell-casting needs a bit of getting used to.

Quests actually feel like those of Fallout 3, where one thing can lead to another and what seems like a routine "go fetch" can turn into something amazing and memorable.

There is more crafting in this game. You could use materials to make weapons and armor, improve on them.

Graphical glitches do exist, there's a slight lag in certain places as it loads up but no floaty characters or odd outlines. Character faces have improved. Character dialogue has improved as well, less nonsense. (I miss the mud crab talk.)




Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Collector's Edition) [PS3]

They had it, so I thought, what the heck, I'll get it.

The box was so huge I thought I might have accidentally bought another console.

The dragon figurine is largely responsible for the large size of the box. It was packed well in a styrofoam box.

Included in this collector's edition: A high quality leather-bound, approx 200-page artbook, and a Making of...DVD.

There is a map made from good quality paper. I would've preferred a cloth map but I don't Bethesda ever made cloth maps for even their special editions. (Might be wrong there...)

The game? It is sweet sweet heaven...

(Note: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is also available on the PC and Xbox360.)


Alduin Statue

The Art of Skyrim Coffee Table Book

Friday, November 11, 2011

Junk Jack - Basic Wooden Furniture

Wood Wall

[  ] [  ]  [  ]
[  ][Wo][Wo]
[  ][Wo][Wo]

where Wo = Wood block


Wood Table

[Wo][Wo][Wo]
[P]  [N]  [P]
[P]  [   ]  [P]

where P= wooden plank
N = nail
Wo = wood block


Wood Chair

[  ][  ][P]
[  ][P][N]
[  ][P][P]

where P = wooden plank
N = nail


Wood Window

First you need
Glass:

[  ][  ][  ]
[  ][Sa][C]
[  ][  ][  ]

where Sa= sand
C= coal

then the Wood window itself is:

[ G][ P][ G]
[ P][ P][P]
[ G][ P][ G]
where G= glass
P= wooden plank

Drawer

1 wooden plank = 2 short planks

Then:
[  ] [  ] [  ]
[sP][  ][sP]
[sP][N][sP]

where sP = short plank
N = nail

Closet

[ P][D][P]
[ N][D][N]
[ P][D][P]

where P = wooden plank
N = nail
D = Drawer


Small Closet 

[  ] [  ] [  ]
[ N][D][N]
[ P][D][P]

where P = wooden plank
N = nail
D = Drawer


Wood Shelf

[  ][  ][  ]
[P][P][P]
[N][  ][N]

where P = wooden plank
N = nail

Junk Jack - Bookshelf, Iron objects and clock objects

 Junk Jack is an excellent game available for the iPhone/iPod Touch made by Pixbit. It is an open world, gather resources, and crafting game, a sort of 2D minecraft-like.

I made this page to share some recipes with friends. It's simply easier to type them into a blog.

Note: Some objects can only be made if you have a work bench, anvil or forge. 


Book:

[  ] [  ] [  ]
[  ][Pa][Pa]
[  ][Pa][Pa]
where:
Pa = Paper


Bookshelf:

[P][N][P]
[B][B][B]
[P][N][P]

where
P = wooden plank
N= nail
B = Book


========

Iron Ingot

[ ][ ][ ]
[ ][I][I]
[ ][ ][c]
where I = iron ore
c = coal

Iron Bar

[ ] [ ] [ ]
[ ][Ii][Ii]
[ ] [ ] [ ]

where Ii = Iron Ingot

Iron Chain

[ ] [Ib] [ ]
[Ib][ ][Ib]
[ ] [Ib] [ ]

where Ib = Iron Bar

Iron Fence

[Ib][Ib][Ib]
[ ] [Ib] [ ]
[Ib][Ib][Ib]

where Ib = Iron Fence


====

Clock

[ ] [Ib] [ ]
[Ib][W][Ib]
[ ] [Ib] [ ]

where Ib = Iron Bar
W = widget


Cuckoo Clock

[N] [P] [N ]
[P][C][P]
[P] [Wo] [P]

where P = wooden plank,
N = nail
C = clock
Wo = wood block


Wall Pendulum

[P] [Wo] [P]
[N][C][N]
[P] [Wo] [P]

where P = wooden plank
N = nail
C = clock
N = nail

Junk Jack - some miscellanous recipes

 Junk Jack is an excellent game available for the iPhone/iPod Touch made by Pixbit. It is an open world, gather resources, and crafting game, a sort of 2D minecraft-like.

I made this page to share some recipes with friends. It's simply easier to type them into a blog.

Note: Some objects can only be made if you have a work bench, anvil or forge.

Note 2: An excellent Beginner's Faq by Tye-Dye can be found on The Official Junk Jack Forum.



====

single stone block = reinforced stone (packed stone)
single dirt block = reinforced dirt


Vase

[g][ ][g]
[g][ ][g]
[g][g][g]
(where G=glass shards)


Clay Pot

[ ][ ][ ]
[c][ ][c]
[c][c][c]
(where c = clay block)

2 iron ingots = 1 iron bar

A single iron ingot = nail (I don't know how many since I haven't had to make them yet; I have plenty of nails from breaking boxes that I find)


Chandelier

[ ][Ic][ ]
[T][T][T]
[P][N][P]

Ic = iron chain
T = torch
P = wooden plank
N = nail

Bamboo bridge

[ ][ ][ ]
[b]]B][b]
[b][N][b]
(B=bamboo, N=nail)


4 pages = 1 book (for decoration it says)

4 gems = 1 gem block

4 sand blocks = 1 sand wall

4 leaf things = 1 leaf block

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Anticipating Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (PS3)

I hope it gets out here on Saturday like they said it would. I didn't preorder since I don't foresee the console versions selling out. If I had the time, I would be playing this on a computer. But if I play this on a computer, I wouldn't be doing anything else but play. And many things will be neglected.

In the meantime, I guess I would have to back off the other platforms.
iOS -- the game apps I will buy are dungeon crawlers of the rogue-like kind.
3DS -- nothing to buy for this until next year.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS)

 
The latest Professor Layton for the DS packs another great collection of puzzles and brain teasers. The US version comes with London Life. Basically, it's a social sim, kinda like animal crossing but far more relaxing. It's cute, but not something I can play at for long. Have to say that it is very charming, and that's probably something they were going for with the art style.

3DS -- I thought about checking out the new Harvest Moon. But the last few were such disappointments, I'm simply dragging my feet about getting it any time soon. (Add: a peep into Gamefaqs reveal complaints about the game freezing up during play...)

I am thinking of giving up one platform but just can't decide which one or if I should even have to decide at all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seen on FB: Zynga's cross promotion of their games

"Seriously Zynga??? Don't appreciate being forced to kill and rob people in that STUPID game in order to get an animal for a game I do like.... BAD TASTE!!!!" - a Farmville player on Facebook.

I guess the farmers are about to lose their innocence and get real blood on their hands.

Zynga's cross promotion of their games get the better of a friend's usual cool demeanor here. Apparently, she has to play some Mafia Wars in order to get a special animal for her farm on Farmville. Mafia Wars is a pvp (player vs player) game which is very different from the cooperative nature of farmville -- instead of peacefully building a farm, the game is more about killing other players and robbing them of their goods. The player base between the two games are of course, different -- many farmvillers who play Farmville enjoying the peaceful farm maintenance and coop play are not likely to  enjoy the "violent" nature of Mafia Wars. This does show that Zynga doesn't care who plays their games as long as they get numbers in. Farmville is still the most popular facebook game, I suppose the developers thought they could get some of them to play Mafia Wars, it would certainly be a gain for them (Zynga).

Mafia Wars did use to be fun until it became a real chore to play. Much like Farmville, it requires you to constantly recruit and pester your friends. The game is designed in such a way that having 501 friends playing it is good for your character/gang. (501 is the maximum no. of people you can take with you into a "fight".)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dark Souls - Taurus Demon has trouble discerning small objects

clinging to walls.


I killed him on my fourth attempt. The first time I died was due to pure ignorance. The second time I was too brave and tried to go toe to toe with him, there just wasn't enough space to roll away from his blows. Dead. The third time I got stomped on. The fourth time, I killed the archers on the top, and used the tower to deliver my first blow on the Taurus Demon from on high. I did it twice more -- and when he managed to jump on the tower where I would be, I would stay on the ladder by the wall going up to it. I notice that he couldn't see me and jumped up and down the tower top looking about for me. I lopped a couple of fire bombs and stabbed him from on high again and he was dead. It was still a close fight.

There was no encounters after that until I reached a bridge. As I was crossing it, a red dragon swooped in on high and singed me to half health with its breath of fire. And now it's crouching on the other side, breathing steam. Backtracked to the last bonfire to recuperate.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dark Souls - a log (spoilerific)

I am really enjoying this very much.

And I'm really starting to see the difference in world design between this one and Demon Souls. The open world concept is incredible and very well done, expanding on what they have done in the previous.

After the prison and reaching Firelink bonfire, I actually had a few choices before me. At first I didn't know that and wondered down some steps to a graveyard. The graveyard had a few tough skeletons and was near impossible to progress very far. After countless deaths and defeating a few skeletons, a large one at the end gave me trouble and I was sent packing.

Finally decided to cool off a bit and examined the area around the bonfire. I discovered a way leading down to an entrance of a sewer but decided not venture in as I don't know what's down there. I rather be outside anyway.



Then I found a path leading up a hill and into the distant walled city of sorts. This way was easier -- the undead soldiers were slow and careless (but of course still dangerous, and the path up was narrow and I fell off it once trying to duck a blow.) Found an entrance to a tunnel, and within was large undead rat feasting on a corpse. I made the stupid mistake of taking a high swing in that narrow passage way, hitting nothing and leaving myself open. The rat lunged twice and I died.

The next time I went in, I stabbed the rat with a hard thrust of my sword. Two more and it was depleted. I learned that it took more stamina for that but that was the only way to attack in such a narrow passage, and nearly caused me to stumble.

Made my way up and found the second bonfire. From there, I proceeded to explore the surround area finding more paths and a new merchant who seemed to sell a good spread of weapons and items. Bought a bow and learned how to use it. Clumsy still. I intended to use the bow and arrows for purpose of luring monsters one at a time out from where they stood.



Everything costs in souls, even arrows.

To do, exploring for possible short cuts.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dark Souls (PS3) - Prepare to die, or don't pick up this game at all.

The mantra of Dark Souls is also its official website address: preparetodie.com.  This game is not for the faint of heart and it's not for tourists or people who think they can grind their way to victory. Elder Scrolls is a game for tourists, so if you want game with lots of exploration where you can pause anytime you like to enjoy your surroundings, play Oblivion or wait for Skyrim. I'm not being disrespectful saying it like that, I love Elder Scrolls for what it is, a big open world exploratory RPG.

I'm not going to repeat all that has been said about this game in reviews by Gamespot, 1up or any other website that you can find on gamerankings.com. The game is also available on the Xbox360.

I loved Demon Souls and it's why I got Dark Souls, because I expect more of the unforgiving, no nonsense challenge -- an action RPG where every fight requires attention and care. Sure enough, I am not disappointed.

There are no easy monsters in this game. All of them are dangerous if taken lightly. The game is hellishly unforgiving but doesn't play unfairly. If you die in this game, it is your own fault. There is no cheap death. There are no cheap victories either.  You won the fight because you knew what you were doing. You died because you didn't.

The game environment is beautiful and detailed, worth going over carefully, and not just because there might be traps and pitfalls; careful exploration may reveal a shortcut or a treasure chest. Monsters are all formidable at first and some even seem impossible, but the game isn't impossible, you just need to persevere, to observe, learn from your mistakes, take your time, strike at the right time and keep your head about you. Each fight is a duel. Each step you take, there's a sense of risk and danger. Every milestone and bonfire you reach, there's a sense of accomplishment few other games can match.

As for the RPG elements, you can improve your character's stats as you level up using the souls you collected from defeated monsters. You could direct your character build any way you want, no matter what starting class you picked. Equipment can make killing certain monsters easier. However, the game is not about grinding or kewl loot. There is no point where you could become an uber character invulnerable to even the lowest ranking skeleton warrior. You'll die for your mistakes and carelessness in this game, makes no difference what level you are if you don't learn to play skillfully and thoughtfully.

Personally, to me, playing a character in this game is like being in hell. I feel like my character has been sentenced to a nightmarish dimension, doomed to fight over and over, wounded and killed repeatedly until she learns to deal with each encounter.

I think I'll try a few character classes before I stick to one.  I've got a long hard journey ahead.




(It's worth picking up Demon Souls if you are not sure about this one, as one can probably find the earlier game in bargain bins or used. Demon Souls is not related to Dark Souls in terms of story and world, but the gameplay style, challenge and character building system are exactly the same. Dark Souls seems to have better enemy AI. )

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs - thoughts on ill thoughts on the man

I don't know enough about the man, all I know is that he is responsible for managing Apple, and I love my Apple things -- my mac, my ipod, my ipad, etc. I am grateful for his Company and the direction he led this company, that led me to buy these products, that led to thousands of hours of pleasure working and playing on these gadgets, that led to making friends with those with similar likes.

I can't say much about him as a human being. Some people say he's a good man and a great human being, some people say he's a ruthless businessman and a control freak. I don't know because I don't know him, and so I can't judge him on that bit.

What I do find off-putting is people who continue to use memorial threads and websites to attack his character even after he's dead.

To internet critters: If you hate him so much, well -- he's dead. Heaven doesn't require you to bring attention to his flaws which you probably know little of since it's safe to say most of you don't know the man personally. Perhaps it's time to reflect on your own self and to think about whether you can achieve all that you can before your time is up. Will you be able to leave behind a legacy that your friends and love ones will carry in their hearts and that strangers will pick up and adopt, or will people remember you as being loud, full of opinions and nothing much to show for? Or worse, people don't even have anything to remember you for at all.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One way to have fun on Disgaea 4 (PS3)

Put your friends in the game.
(Valvatorez and Fenrich are story characters, so I left them on top of the unit list.)