The Animal Farm

July 28th, 2006

Apologies

I fixed the cusswords that I found. If there are anymore, notify me and I will delete them.

P.S. I tried to blue-spark my way around the trees, but that ended in tears.

July 28th, 2006

He DOESN’T

I find it interesting that 90% of Zach’s posts begin with, “Sorry I haven’t updated in a month.” The whole situation could be averted if you simply updated more. Meanwhile, my grandparents read this site. I know you’re a big boy and can use profanity at your leisure, but my grandmother may just cut you down. I’ve seen her knife collection. It is expansive.

Your story could’ve used more drifting, though. Like, in Tokyo. I don’t know if it’s physically possible to drift on a lawnmower, but I think that would be extreme.

Fast AND Furious.

July 27th, 2006

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

About two days ago, I got it into my head that instead of sleeping during the night, I should be eating peanut butter sandwiches. Consequently, my sleep cycle has again been inverted. Part of me recognizes this as a bad thing, but another part thinks those sandwiches were so delicious.

Drew and I are attempting to put together a small web comic where he does the art and we both write the strips. I’ve attempted comics before, but most of my efforts came out sub-par in terms of art and humor. Hopefully having a cohort will increase the quality. Meanwhile, it has somewhat inspired me to get back into drawing, so soon I’m going to pick up a new sketchbook and start filling it up.

The Experimental Gameplay Project Site announced a RedOctane competition where you try to think of a non-dance game that could utilize their DDR mats. Design submissions are due two weeks into August, and I’m really interested in this. I haven’t thought of any spectacular ideas yet, but I’ve been thinking hard about it.

Do what you always do.

July 27th, 2006

He lives

Yes, I know I am a bad person for not updating the site in probably over a month. I have no excuse( nor will I try to create one ), but I am updating now and that should be worth something.

Let me tell you a story. Morgan’s mom had asked me if I could cut her old house’s lawn every week this summer about 1.5 months ago. I agreed because I am a either a nice person or a tool. I figured, how bad could it be? Bad. The yard really isn’t that bad and other than 3 or 4 trees in the backyard it is pretty obstacle free. However, Bertha is not one to be bothered with. Bertha is the 25+-year-old-no-gear-shift-handle-because-it-probably-broke-off tractor that I use to cut the grass. The first time went almost without a hitch. Besides the steering wheel slipping causing me to doughnut out of control for a few revolutions, it went alright. The second time I cut the grass, the steering wheel slipped and I was unable to recover. I lifted up the hood thinking I had some natural ability to fix it without ANY mechanical knowledge of vehicles at all. I bent over to see what was wrong and instantly burned my forearm on the really, really hot engine. It hurt and I still have the scar. I couldn’t get it fixed and actually managed to break it more, something that would require a weld on the axle. Someone else finished the yard that week. The next time I cut it seemed to go alright as well, no trouble at all, actually. I was just scared the whole time I was on it thinking to myself that it would blow up sending a blade into my grill. Now this last time I cut it was amazing. The grass cutting was fine, however the beginning was heck. I filled the tank up and decided that I would start her up before I got on her because she was old and needed some idle time before I could lower the cutting blade. I didn’t notice she was in foward gear basically because I didn’t think tractors could start in that gear, or be shut off in gear for that matter. Well, it was and she took off for the brick wall at the end of the garage, pulling me with it. All the while I was desperately trying to pull her to a stop. Turns out I can’t hold back a 20 or so HP engine. She ran over my foot and scraped open my forearm. Both are bruised and the shelf in the back of that garage got pretty beat up as well. Bertha and I do not get along. Thank Gosh I only have to cut the grass one more time before I go back to college.

Speaking of college, I will be moving in to my new apartment on Aug 6th, and spending the first week there basically clowning around I think. Should be a blast. I managed to get 8.5k in student loans that I have little to do with, besides a few months rent before I start getting paid by the school. I decided to spend some of this money on a pretty fly new computer. I am going with a desktop because I get more for my money and I can expand it later if I need to. This laptop will still be around, just not used as much. I can see myself lugging my PC to Sowas’ house every now and again though, so that should be fun.

There are a lot of good games coming out this semester, so you should expect to see updates by both Sowas and myself often.

~Zach

Bertha owned me.

July 26th, 2006

Dead Rising

The new trailer for Dead Rising has got to be the most depressing thing ever. There’s nothing particularly new in there, but it’s executed perfectly.

In regards to the actual game, I won’t be picking it up. It seems to have a great deal of novelty, but (and this assessment is based on trailers, so take it for what it’s worth) the gameplay does not look involved or deep enough to keep me entertained. Furthermore, it’s coming out for the 360, a system I’m not willing to buy until it has more significant games.

It was a rabbit.

July 23rd, 2006

Cobra Commander

It would seem that I’ve nearly abandoned this space. The real truth is that the updates just weren’t interesting. I already posted on my other site about the results of the 72H Game Dev Competition, which (on my end) were marginally disappointing. After that, I’m left with an empty pit of nothing. Not even a good rant. I’m going to struggle, but I feel I owe a proper update:

I’m on the verge of quitting guitar. It’s been since mid-May of daily practice, and I’ve noticed only minor improvements. I can hit a few chords with increased accuracy, but I still can not reliably complete any scale. What’s more, I notice this annoying ringing sound when I hit chords that I haven’t been able to get rid of. It’s a bane on the sound quality. I’m just not sure how to get better, and nothing I’ve tried so far has worked.

Whitney came down today to do stuff to her room, and I was disappointed that I only got to spend about twenty minutes with her total. I suppose that’s alright since she’s moving in in less than two weeks. Doss came down yesterday, and he’s staying with us for a few days. It has led to some video game fun and a viewing of Vampire Effect, which was just weird.

An REU, James, has put up a section called What Would Brian Sowers Do on his site. Most of those statements are fairly accurate.

Tenshi asked me the other day why nobody was using the forum. It got me wondering who still reads this space. I still think Anthony, Ginnie, and Doss do. Ron. Drew. It’s somewhere in Ricky’s rotation. I wonder if Nikki does? I sadly doubt that; she’s probably forgotten me by this point. Jen? No, she’s definitely forgotten me. I’m fairly sure there are a few others who have not outright told me, but who seem to know things I’ve never told them directly. Alex knows where the love is. Does Zach? Zach, are you still with us? At any rate, that’s just idle thought. We never put this site together for other people - it was always just for us to write stuff down. Still, you’d do well to show that forum some attention. Tenshi wants you to, and his name means angel.

I’ve been kicking around putting together Guardian Saga 1. It has occured to me that, with the engine I’ve been putting together for Parodica, I could quickly put together some decent 2D games. I may even try Penguin Push 2 with this framework. Speaking of the framework, it’s been getting a little crazy with the bugs. Most of them are the result of the memory management, which was supposed to be a relatively easy solution to a memory leak problem, but has itself been the cause of some late-night frustrating debugging sessions. I think I’ve got everything all worked out, but it’s only a matter of time before some glaring flaw creeps its way in.

Work on Parodica hasn’t ceased, but it’s been all manner of slow. I’ve been programming in bits and pieces lately, but I haven’t managed to get into any sort of productive swing. Mel has been busy preparing for a convention, and she’ll probably resume once that’s past. The design is pretty near complete - there’s still stuff to be thought through, but most of the major project-outlining decisions are there.

I really want to get a nice, polished game out. Looking at this site, the closest thing we have is Penguin Push. I had Funny Faces a long time ago, but I’m unable to put it here. There was also Dungeon Kid, but that was a cell-phone game. I’m hoping Parodica will be something I can show off with pride.

The 3D programming is somewhat on hiatus at the moment. I still look at the zombie shooter, but honestly, I have no clue how to fix the collision problems I’ve been having. I can think of some hacks, but none of them are ideal (and most of them don’t actually work). I’ve been thinking of just hooking it into a Physics library like Tokamak which would handle the collision for me, but that’s a bit of a sell-out and won’t contribute to my learning any.

Fairly soon, I’m going to look at a different programming language. A memory managed language. Either Python or C#. I still want to stay proficient in C++, because that’s what a lot of the game development industry is still using, but it’s time I broadened things out a bit. Really, that’s not even much of a broadening - Python and C# are just more imperative languages, where the only major difference is syntax and some added/removed features. If I really wanted to go nuts, I’d look at either Lisp or Haskell (functional languages). Those two have a lot of zealots backing them up, but I’m not convinced that I’ll get much mileage out of them.

Alright, I’ve rambled on enough. Hopefully it won’t be another two weeks before the next update.

We mostly play Battleship.

July 7th, 2006

The Sleeper Awakes

Brian is now blogging. It’s not remarkably different from this space, except that Ricky is my cohort, and of course the posts will be different. Don’t fear, though - I haven’t forgotten you. I hope you won’t think I’ve sold out to the man. I’m still kicking it like KFC Original Recipe.

By my will alone, I set my mind in motion.

July 4th, 2006

Of Wild Arms and Candy Kisses Part 2

Last time I stopped short of the full breadth of material to talk about, so today I will be picking up with where I left off.

First is a return to Wild Arms 4. I’ve had a change of heart. I won’t be finishing the game, largely inspired by the random encounter rate, the tediousness of the battles, the rubbish dialog, and the irritating dungeon design. The gameplay issues alone would be tolerable if there were a decent story to fall back on, but I’m fairly certain I won’t be rewarded for my efforts. I have Arc the Lad and Xenogears to fall back on along with the other games I’ve mentioned.

I recently watched Record of the Lodoss War Seasons 1 (the first 13 episodes), and it’s a pretty solid anime. For a show that screams stereotype from its RPG-esque story to its Tolkien setting, it’s pretty inspired. The characters are all solid and enjoyable, and the main story takes a few interesting turns. It’s only 13 episodes, and each one contributes well to the overall quality of the series.

I also have watched the first 7 (out of 14) episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena. The show is weird. Real weird. In an artsy-meets-teen-drama kinda way. But so far it’s pretty good. Despite the volume of repeated scenes (which is astounding), it still manages to stay entertaining. When I have finished the rest, I will be prepared to give a more thorough review.

I’m worried about the arrival of August. Xenosaga and Disgaea 2 are dropping, both of which will be purchased immediately whether or not I have money to buy food afterward. Whitney is moving in, and I believe I’ve already expressed concern over her mental well-being. There’s more, but I’ve forgotten it. So I’ll just leave now and update when I remember.

I’ve got 50 million dollars coming my way.

July 3rd, 2006

Of Wild Arms and Candy Kisses

We have a lot of ground to cover. Excuse me if I skip the usual debauchery and jump straight to the points, which are Superman Returns, Wild Arms 4, Jak and Dexter 3, Viewtiful Joe 2, and Mario Party 7.

First on the list is the only movie to make the cut. Superman Returns is a decent movie but a bit of a letdown as far as superhero movies go. A lot of elements were there - Jimmy was cast perfectly, and whatever Kevin Spacey touches turns to gold. There was some tugging of the heartstrings and some heroic, awe-inspiring moments. And it was a decent reintroduction to the Superman character. However, there was a lot of stuff that could’ve been that wasn’t. For instance, the action just wasn’t there. For a hero that can do practically anything, I was amazed at just how little he did. I could imagine Superman 2 being redone today with our current technology, and I could imagine that movie being amazing. As far as originality goes, I don’t want to spoiling anything, but let’s just say tossing things into space seems to be Superman’s good ol’ standby. I’m hoping that the next movie takes things further.

Wild Arms 4 is the next item, if you’ll look at the list above. You’ll know that I’m a fan of the Wild Arms series, or at least the idea of the Wild Arms series. Wild Arms 1/Alter Code F was amazing. Wild Arms 2 was good (though I didn’t play into it very far). Wild Arms 3 was good until I realized it wasn’t, at which point I stopped playing. Wild Arms 4 is a mixed bag. I like the gameplay - the battles are fast (although a bit more frequent than I’d like), and the overworld travel is kept interesting by some platforming. The Tool system was altered, which I don’t really approve of, but there’s still some decent puzzle-solving there. The real problem is regarding the story. Don’t get me wrong, there are some interesting twists here and there, and one scene in particular that really shocked me. But the dialogue destroys everything. It’s bad. Really, really bad. Really, really, really bad. So bad that I sort of want to put another sentence with ‘really bad’ in there. For that reason alone, I’ve nearly put down the controller permanently. But I’m fifteen hours in and sheer dedication keeps me going.

Jak and Dexter 3 and Viewtiful Joe 2 both seem interesting. Jak and Dexter 3 annoyed me with some troublesome platforming which caused me to put the controller down for a good long while (until I finish with the RPGs on my plate). Viewtiful Joe 2 seems good, but not as good or novel as the first. Both of those games need more playtime before I can give you a more adequate review.

Mario Party 7 is great. Especially with 6 people. I imagine it only gets better with 8. Any game where you can get a bunch of friends together to talk trash and shout vile things at each other is great. Ricky says it’s surprising that the game is so fun, but since iterations 1-6 were fun, I’m not sure exactly where the surprise is.

Kevin Spacey is awesome.

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