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Is it dead yet? [Pokes with Stick]

Apparently not. But, since I’ve been working in my new job for 7 months now, I think I gravely miscalculated the amount of time I’d have to blog. I’m sure you know the drill. It’s a classic, cliched excuse I realise, but quite often I get home and all I want to do is zone out with a book or game, since I’m often sat at a screen all day these days. And then, when we’re in a weekend, I’m typically keeping social.

Anyways, I’m no longer making any guarantees about even the regularity of anime season analysis posts. Frankly, they don’t get all that much use in any case, especially when my compatriots in blogging often put alot more effort into it than I do!!

Well, thats enough about blog-no-mancy. What’s happened worthy of note in the last few months?

Lets start with Aniventure EX, shall we? Originally the goal of that was just an amalgamation of v5 and its expansion, Shimaihen. But over time, I’ve ended up tweaking this and that under the hood, and it has ended up being pretty much an entire re-write based on all the feedback I’ve received over the years, sporting a whole host of new mechanics!!

Version 5 was the first version I felt really worthy of public consumption, but I’m now really quite excited for what EX can do. It is now approaching an early alpha test. Assuming that goes well (and it doesn’t flop like Aniv v4 did to me all those years ago), then creation of the beta will continue and is probably around 3-6 months away, followed by the final version in about 6-9 months. These are also fairly optimistic estimates, so take them with a pinch of salt.

As for the changes, well the biggest is that I’ve finally dispensed with percentile rolls entirely, adding a second dice system all my own to system. We still have Aniventure 5’s Stacks in there, since they are very cool for opposed actions and always have been, but the new roll, which is currently called the “Base Roll”, replaces percentiles for rapid task resolution. As it provides a foundation for the stacks to work off too, ‘Base’ seemed like a good moniker, though its open to change right now. All of it still uses D10’s exclusively.

Anything else?

Well, I’m also rather excited for Wildstar giving me a fresh perspective on MMO’s again this year. I haven’t done much online wise since Guild Wars 2, which I went into for the same reason, but which somehow kind of flopped since there was no real motivation in that game to party up, and often it felt like you were playing alongside people, rather than with them.

Wildstar seems to have a whole bunch of new tricks that are interesting to me. Notably, the Dark Souls esq. combat system; with telegraphs, seems well thought out. Breakout from CC’s too. Nobody likes to be stunned and useless for 3 seconds in an MMO, but now button bashing can save the day! Procedurely generated boss content is a great plan too if they go ahead with that.

The Starbound beta has also grasped me recently, though I’ve given it break for new content for awhile now. It really has potential to be Ultimate Terraria IN SPACE.

I think thats about it for now. Perhaps I’ll return to doing more bemusing philosophy posts like I did in the days of yore, but we shall see.

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And, erm… wait what?

Perhaps it’s just me, but nothing I wasn’t already expecting really came out of left field and smacked me in the forehead.

Certainly, what I was expecting continued to whet my appetite, namely, more stuff on the WiiU and the Trailer for the new X-COM game.

Which you should watch, by the way, it’s freakin’ awesome:

Now, that is how you remake an X-COM game. Long time affectionados like myself might recognise that this trailer partially mirrors the actual intro of the original game, which is a nice touch. I’m beginning to be swayed more; although I’m still suspicious about some of the changes, we shall have to see.

Also, stuff about the WiiU was clarified. Alot of people were somewhat confused that the controller was actually the system and it was going to be some kind of tablet; but not so (even I was when the first news about it came out, even though the months since the initial announcement have cleared that up). It acts as a game inside a game for rather unique multiplayer effects: the main console is always streaming data to the WiiU GamePad (it’s official moniker). For example, in a Zelda play-by-rails game demonstrated, three people used WiiMotes to slash with swords whilst the fourth player used the second screen to aid in archery support. The ZombieU game allows the fourth player to tactically use the GamePad as a map to drop zombies on the others trying to survive. Things like that.

It’s certainly got some interesting potential; and as usual for Nintendo of late, is stirring up the meaning of a games console. If you still don’t get the idea behind the WiiU GamePad, check out this video:

As an interesting aside, Sony have basically confirmed in not so few words that there is no chance of seeing the PS4 this year; and that they’re watching the competition before making a move. The XBOX 720 is also looking like 2013 release. So the WiiU, which is due this Christmas, will be the opening shot of the 6th console generation.

Sony’s conference was… really not very inspiring. They’re trying out a Smash Bros clone of sorts. And there’s more violent shooter crap. And more cinematic action games (argh!). And sequels up the wazoo. No, frankly I don’t care about another Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed III.

I think people forget that was a stage in PC gaming; back with the introduction of the CD-ROM and its (at the time) massive storage space, where “Interactive Movies” came into being; typically terrible games lampshaded by their inclusion of loads of pretty Full Motion Video. But now there are games coming out that are precisely like that again, even touted as ‘cinematic experiences’ (see, for example, Max Payne III) and people are praising them. They’re games bereft of choices and free will that set you on a static path to the end, with no nail-biting difficulty, no real brain teasers, and lumps of instant gratification and simplification. That’s right, they’re not games at all, people. Wake up already!

I also heard ‘exclusive DLC’ in there. Somebody kill that man. DLC is the cancer of the game’s industry. I can deal with Steam. I can deal with cheap and free bonuses with legitimate and actual upgrades to game content (anyone remember the days when you’d buy proper add-on discs a year later?). But when I have to pay £3.99 for half-a-dozen hairstyles? When I get distinct advantages because I pre-ordered? That’s stupid.

And Microsoft’s SmartGlass wants to make me groan. Do I really want to see information about the movie I watch on my tablet whilst I watch it? Gods no… Guys, immersion, have you heard of it? Use my phone as a controller for the internet? Why the hell?

But I’ve never been a fan of device intergration. It’s almost as stupid an idea as social networking sites. I hate smartphones; I still have an antique LG clamshell mobile. An orange is an orange. It doesn’t have to have functions of a banana and grapes. My camera is a camera. My console is a console. My phone is a phone. Do not mix them.

And before you shout ‘hypocracy!’ at me for denouncing Smartglass when I’ve said WiiU is okay; think again. I was also very hostile towards WiiU when I thought it was Nintendo’s attempt at a multifunction tablet device. But nope, its a controller, specifically for the console. So its okay if it sticks to that. Though it might not be; Reggie was going on about video integration or something. That’s not so good. But as long as the game is the main part of it and I can ignore the integration, it’s less of a foul.

So yeah, anyway nothing much inspiring. Bring on the apocalypse. 😀

That’s all for today. Cya soon.

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Yet again, just a tiny little post, updating the spreadsheet once more.

After request for what other features that were wanted on the Crawl forums, spells seemed to be next choice. This took alot of work, as there 134 spells in Crawl that I had to chronicle (no kidding!), so here we are, 20 days later.

Check it out:
Spells are organised by Level, and then alphabetically. Notes are compiled mostly from personal experience and the Knowledge Bots. Each spell has all of its related skill groups, which books it is in, and the backgrounds that start with it (if applicable). A few tweaks were also made the base sheet to correct a couple of errors.

Get the New Version HERE!

Also today, I was dicking around making a new version of the eternal Longcat vs. Tacgnol wallpaper that I made way back in 2010. The old version can be found here. Here it is:
Tokyo is under attack once more! The main improvements are mostly to Tacgnol, who got some much better purple lightning and is being futilely attacked by a wing of F-22’s now. Different panorama, too, now the Tokyo Tower is up in flames!!!

I’ll admit that Longcat was mostly just cut and pasted across. He was pretty good before. Tacgnol now seems to be winning in this picture. And it seems that neither can aim correctly, still. 😀

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Tiny chibi post again today, just to place a massively updated version of the Spreadsheet I previously made for Dungeon Crawl’s 0.8 version.

Naturally, with considerable upgrades to account for the changes inherent in 0.10. Most notably, now includes an exhaustive chart detailing all of the races aptitudes that took me ages.

Get it by Clicking HERE

Preview screencaps:

All Racial Base Stats, XP Rates, Powers etc. listed.

All Racial Aptitudes in an exhaustive chart
Class benefits discussed along with some of my opinions of their usage and difficulties.

All of the worshippable gods and the benefits given, along with some of my opinions on them.

It’s in Excel 2003 format, but I’m sure newer versions can convert it forwards as you require (in fact, I know from my work in the office that 2007 converts forwards fine). Excuse the crappy screencaps, I’m rather tired right now.

All of the information should be correct (and most of it has been checked with the knowledge bots), but mistakes happen (and I’m not a developer!), so don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you spot something amiss.

That’s all for now, enjoy!

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Just another short post today.

Some of you may be aware that the new version of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup was released yesterday. As a result, I’ve posted my new tiles, paperdoll edits, and some recommended settings all together in a combined 7z file. You can obtain it from Mediafire, below:

http://www.mediafire.com/?45k2pcrr0vkrkfl

It adds all of the following outfits and stuff:
Amongst other things, such as extra colours for scrolls and food chunks (for easy, at a glance identification), transparency for demon whips/blades, a few adjusted equipment sprites and a re-tuned tileset for the base dungeon:
Dungeon walls less saturated; and floors are blue-grey and tiled.

Once identified, scrolls take on a categorised colour for easier quick identification. I.e. Purple for teleport effects, Blue for item effects, Teal for identify scrolls, and so on.

These modifications tend to assume you use the Paper-doll editor in game; if you just allow your sprite to change based on equipped items, you might occassionally see something odd occur when you come across a replaced item!

Finally, it also includes some of my interface options (automatically make Crawl go fullscreen if you have widescreen like me), changed colours for the minimap, earlier warnings about health loss (health bar goes yellow under 60%, for example, since that’s a good time to start planning to escape in a game as vicious as Crawl is), and various other tweaks.

To use the 7z, simply extract it to your Crawl directory, maintaining the directory structure. You may wish to backup your originals; and if you do not want my tweaks and settings, choose to extract only the \dat\ directory, and not the \settings\ directory.

As an aside, I only recently realised that I will have to find another place to upload The Enemy Within for public perusal, since MegaUpload was taken down by the FBI. Quite irritating, that. I’ll try and put it up somewhere else soon.

Anyway, good hunting.

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My, that’s a n-nice blog, s-shame if something were to happen to it…

I-I’m not afraid of you! You- You’re Woolen!!

Ahem, Anyway, like gazillions of others, I caved in (ha!) and bought Minecraft during beta, and whilst the vanilla is pretty cool, much like the Elder Scrolls games, its the active modding community that I think really makes things special.

Trouble is, there are SO, SO many mods, it can be hard to determine what you want. There are modpacks, certainly, but you may not want everything they provide. So here, I am going to try to provide a look at what I feel are the cream of the crop. If you need installation help with any mod, most of the big ones provide specific instructions; but ~in general~ the following applies:

  1. You will need WinRAR or 7zip to open the minecraft .jar like an archive, in which you stuff the mods files (literally, by adding them to the jar as if it were a zip or rar file), keeping the directory structure. 
  2. You can search for the .jar by typing %appdata% into your Windows Explorer to find your application settings.
  3. You need modloader for every mod. 
  4. You need to delete the META-INF folder thats inside the minecraft jar. This prevents mods from working.

What do I look for in a mod? Well, not purely new content, thats for certain. There are dime a dozen hundreds of mods that add some new form of unobtainium and tools to go with it. Different ways to do things that already exist are boring. What one needs is something that actually enhances the game and gives you more to do; and more to appreciate. Tweaks are fine, if they obviously address an issue with the base content thats irritating.

Moreover, Minecraft is more Virtual Lego Set than RPG. Don’t get me wrong, Survival is more enjoyable than Creative for the most part, but this is because you’re building something with honest to goodness problems, limits and hard choices; not because you’re playing an RPG element, which is undoubtably the weakest link of the chain. Therefore, mods that attempt to build on the RPG element really need to change something fundamental or risk building on sand out of straw.

Anyway, enough babbling. Click the links to get to the place to download it and review it in greater detail. If a link doesn’t work, it is because the mod is on a forum, and the author changed the title of the forum topic. I will periodically check the list (especially every time Minecraft itself gets a new version), but if you notice something broken, leave a comment please, thankyou! First of all:


The Essentials


Risugami’s ModLoader
The core element. Without this, nothing else works. Just get it.
He also has a bunch of other cool tweaks that distinctly add stuff. Whilst you’re there, I also recommend his Elemental Arrows, the Shelf, the Recipe Book, and More Stackables.

Optifine
It really works. Optimises the code for Minecraft alot, giving you an increase of typically 5-10 FPS.
Utterly essential if you’re on a low-end system or using an older version of java. It also tends to smooth out the lag spikes of death that even hit the higher end PCs. I would recommend Smooth Edition. As an aside, it also unlocks support for high-resolution texture packs (higher than 16x), so its even more essential if you want pretties.

CJB’s Pack
Okay, so this one is open to debate; but I find it essential. It imitates the functionality of several other mods; except they’re all different versions written by CJB himself. In many cases, I prefer the way he’s done them, as they’re also all linked to a centralised interface thats easy to control; and you can choose to disable any features you don’t want (I don’t want the cheats or x-ray or his custom mobs~ so I switch them off, easy!)
It includes the following very handy stuff (I also provide the alternatives in case you don’t agree with me):

  • Mini-Map: Do you get lost alot in Minecraft? I do, and for that, a minimap is incredible. His map is not as functionally rich as the popular alternative, Rei’s Map; but when I used to use Rei’s, I never used any of the optional features it has, so I don’t miss them.
  • Teleportation to waypoints you’ve set: Partially a cheat, I guess, but being able to save travel time between the deepest reach of your mineshaft and your house is what I call a tweak improvement; its only like having quick travel in Skyrim. If you want something less ‘cheaty’, DaftPVF does a mod called Crystal Wing that teleports you back to bed only, has limited uses, and explodes in the Nether for a higher challenge version.
  • Improved HUD: If this was all the mod did, I’d still D/L it just for this. Adds alot of really handy information to your Heads Up Display. You can choose what info you need. Clock, Biome, Co-Ordinates, Lightlevel, Arrows, Item held info etc.
  • Block and Item Spawing: Allows you to spawn anything you want into your inventory. Definately a cheat on Survival; but when you suddenly realise you’re 10 sandstone short of your new house and night is approaching… nothing beats it! TooManyItems [TMI] is the popular alternative. However, I do prefer the version in CJB. Why? Well, it requires you to go to a different menu with a hotkey rather than overlaying your regular inventory. When I used TMI I became reliant on it; as its always there, and that, I thought, sucked the fun out of finding resources for yourself. With CJB, I can resist the urges to just spawn everything I need; and I only use this in an absolute emergency or to generate exceptionally common stuff that is tiresome to lug back and forth (i.e. Cobblestone and Dirt).
  • Mob Filtering: Got Arachnophobia and can’t stand spiders? Creepers ruining your constructions? Then switch them off! Get rid of your most hated mob in a jiffy. Moreover, it allows you to play pseudo-peaceful if you want; switch all the hostiles off but keep the difficulty on, so you still need to eat and don’t get automatic health regen.
  • A selection of cheats including X-Ray vision: Can’t say I use these, but there is alot of them for those that do.
  • Custom Items and Mobs: I use his extra pressure plates, but none of the others, so I can’t really comment too much on them. Also, his animals are somewhat obsolete if you’re using Mo’ Creatures, so I do have those off too (sounds like he’s removing them anyway).

A New Texture Pack
These are directly supported through minecraft itself, rather than modloader. Read the documentation. However, you need Optifine or MCPatcher to use high resolution packs. Personally, I like the 16×16, and myself will wholeheartedly recommend THE PAINTERLY PACK. It looks very good for its size, but most importantly, is vastly customisable to your preferences from thousands of options.

A note about Minecraft Forge
This is a kind of Standard Development Kit for mods. However, not very many mods require it all (most of the big mods offer alternate versions that support it); so its not essential and in fact interferes with several mods if they’re not Forge compatible. Personally, I’d say don’t get it right now, its not needed. However, I’ve never been a fan of SDK’s since my days working with RPG Maker, since they tend to polarise the community, so I guess I am biased.

A note about having lots of Mods!
If you have alot, then I also recommend ID Resolver. It fixes issues with authors of mods using the same ID’s for their cool stuff (the most common cause of a crash from mod conflicts), and changes their associations automatically during every subsequent launch of minecraft. Obviously, Minecraft has a hard limit on the number of extra blocks and items that cannot be exceeded, and if two mods are trying to do the same thing, neither will work, usually. Keep that in mind.


Cool Tweaks


This bit shows improvements to features already in the game that I like.

ExtraBiomes
Increases the variety of your world generation by adding in new environments to the biome creation. All the ones that Notch missed; like jungles, rainforests, savanna, forest islands etc.

More World Types
Probably Definately not compatible with the above, but is a nice alternative. Changes the types of worlds you can generate during a new world. It’s main features for me is maintaining the beta type generation and creating skylands, since I find single biome worlds to be a little silly (except maybe winter theme worlds and the ocean worlds).

Mo’ Creatures
Vastly increases the variety of natural (and unnatural) fauna. Some new hostiles, but again, you can tweak its settings to get your favourites. However, it requires a chunk of extra pre-requisites to work; be careful when installing it (you’ll also need audiomod, GUIAPI and custom mobspawner). Firing your coastal defence cannons against invading sharks is hilarious.

Treecapitator
Another one by DaftPVF. Makes it so that when you hit the bottom trunk block on a tree with an Axe, it is insta-gibbed, dropping all of its wood instantly. Saves alot of time if you’re going with slash and burn land clearance on forests!

FiniteLiquids
Fixes Minecraft’s very quirky infinite water source blocks; and makes most water behave properly with real physics! No more slight waterfalls when your cave meets the ocean (just drown like you should)! No more crazy infinite water pools created with just two buckets. Only works on new worlds.

Enhanced View Distance
Only for those with better PC’s (and Optifine); this reduces the fog and increases draw distance.

Sensible Enchanting
Vastly improves the enchantment system; allowing you to use less ridiculous amounts of XP, cancel enchantments you don’t like, and repair magic items easily; among other things.

Muserae’s Collection
A whole massive selection of very minor tweaks, often annoyance related. Pick and choose what you need. I use Apples from Trees, and Creepers Don’t Damage Blocks myself; since I feel both should be in the original.

Nostalgia Mods [NBX]
A bunch of tweaks that “unfix the fixes”, regressing new versions of minecraft to behaviours from older versions. If you want your favourite good bad bugs back, get your favourites here.


Entirely New Stuff


As I noted above, too much new stuff and you overload Minecraft. So just pick your favourites from these:

Better Than Wolves / Better Than BuildCraft
Despite the title, it has nothing to do with Wolves; instead it adds a massive amount of new content, mostly to do with simple mechanical power.
It’s a cool addition to the stuff you can build; allowing functioning waterwheels and windmills that go on to power pulley driven elevators, circular saws, kilns and turntables for making pottery, and eventually advanced blacksmithery using magical soulforged steel.
Adding Buildcraft in on top of Better than Wolves allows you to put together plumbing and steam engines as well.

WizardCraft
Hey, so we have magical enchanting, but no actual magery? What’s up with that, Mojang?
This fixes that issue by allowing you to craft magical staves that act as focuses for up to four levels of elemental spells. Some of these have truly hilarious effects; and some are rather broken, so this is very much a funny mod to unwind with.

Decoratives
Vastly increases the amount of bling you can add to your home. Stained glass, carpets, coloured woods, concrete and craftable double slabs are all included. Essential for any discerning interior decorator. Oh, just realised this is a forge mod now. Stained glass is available individually as Glasscraft here, if you’re not using that like me.

Fairy Minions
Want minions that aren’t dogs? Here’s a cool alternative. Very comprehensive in its features and includes alot of cool content.


And thats about it, folks. Its not fully comprehensive at this stage; and there are several mods I have my eye on that have potential when they become a bit more polished (eg. Tale of Kingdoms, Swords+); and there are some that are impressive creations but that frankly I would never use the features of (eg. Equivalent Exchange, RedPower2). But for now, these are my picks.

More help for basically everything else is covered exceedingly well on the Minecraft Wiki, so go check that out.
Hope you enjoyed this big report, and happy minecrafting!
<sssssssssss> Oh s4*T, that things gonna blow!!

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Well, here’s a funny idea! A Calendar for 2012 including all of the cool colour sketches I made over the course of 2011.

It also includes 3 sketches that I have never uploaded here (exclusive content!) and of course, they’re all at their full original size in glossy colour, rather than resized or shopped for wallpaper usage. Of course, this entire little thing is for my own usage, but if, for whatever reason, you’re still strapped for a 2012 calendar and would like my artwork adorning your wall, then this thing is available for public purchase below.

It is almost entirely populated by Anime and Game females. Check out the ‘Artworks’ category or ‘Sketches’ Tag to your right for some idea as to what this entails. There’s some fanservice, as always, so the calendar would probably be rated PG-13 for minor nudity. Or something. You have been warned.

By and the by, I make a “vast” £1 from each one, so much like Aniventure I’m not exactly making a song or trying to fleece you. Of course, I realise that at this time of year, calendars start to become cheaper for stock clearance in any case, but oh well, sadly there’s not alot I can do about that. For a 20% discount until the 3rd February: CHERUBUK305
This applies not only to my calendars, but also Aniventure, and indeed anything up to the value of £200 from Lulu.

To visit the purchase page, CLICK HERE.

To view a preview version (all 12 months); click the small “Preview” link available in the above purchase page on Lulu’s website, or alternatively you can click here to view a local pdf copy. The local version is BIG (17mb) so prepare for your net browser to be raped.

This above preview PDF is actually the final version; so theoretically, if you have access to an A3 colour laser printer, 140 GSM gloss paper, and ringbinding ability, you could make your own version. I’m not going to stop you; heck, if you have that kind of hardware, all the power to ya! But if you do and you like it, please leave a comment or something so I know its worth doing this type of thing in the future.

Anyway, I last made myself a calendar for 2008. It was a cool little thing I made in Photoshop and MS Publisher with some of my favourite images from moe.imouto (now oreno.imouto.org). Of course, it made my poor old inkjet die on me. Good times. Naturally, since then I’ve never bothered due to resources, and this is still the case; I’m reluctant to abuse my laser’s toners due their obscene replacement costs; so I suddenly thought, ‘hey, I already have a relationship with Lulu, so why not get them to print me something instead!?’. Its the ‘well duh…’ moment of the year, since they’ve always offered calendar services. Sometimes I can be a bit dense, lol.

Anyhow, cya in the new year. I might <SHOCKHORROR!> actually put up a preview this season; but given the work one of those takes, it might be reduced in size or something. No promises, of course.

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