games

Dark Messiah Demo Review

I've been aniticipating this game for some time now.
I love the source engine, I love the old Might and Magic RPGs on the PSOne. Combining the two would be like combining mash potato and a meat pie (Ha Ha Ha, Cultural Reference!). Marvellous! I thought. A Might and Magic RPG that looks as good as it should. The gameplay looked pretty shit-hot as well.
The demo hit early this morning (Wednesday) for us, what I can I only guess as sometime between Tuesday morning and Tuesday night for America, and, well, nobody cares about everywhere else.
I eagerly attempted to download it using Firefox's primitive download manager when I got home from Tafe (around 8PM). At about 90% of the 1.4GB demo my internet dropped out (another issue I've been meaning to blog about, don't let me forget). Ninety-fucking-percent. And it's like the God's were literally saying, "No, Baines. Thou shalst not partaketh with the Mighty and the Magical!"
Trust me to tempt fate. The internet drops out on occasion but usually only for a few minutes. Just long enough for me to lose every single fucking connection on my torrent, timeout from game servers, timeout from MSN, etc. Not today my friend. A whole 20 minutes of no-nettage caused me to march on down to the router and reset the mother fucker.
So the net came back and I had to redownload the demo. Luckily I was getting it from Internode (my ISP) so it was coming down at a whopping 300kbps which only took, oh, an hour and a half.
Finally launching the demo I was amazed at how quick the load times were. Oh wait, no I wasn't. I remember thinking that Half-Life 2 originally had long load times, and maybe because it's such a young game (pre-infancy?) the load times weren't yet optimised. Then I remembered I was full of shit. It's the same fucking engine. THE SAME FUCKING CODE. If it goes fast on one game, it'll go fast with another game. It's the same core, just with shiney new assets and bloated up code, turning Gordan(o) into a... well I'm not really sure what the main character is. Or who he is. Or what I'm supposed to be doing. But hey, there's this really creepy fucker that essentially holds your hand every step of the way. I call him Uncle Jonas, the main character calls him Master Phenrig. Quite a lot actually. See one of the main issues I get with the demo is a very common issue people get with Half-Life 2 (something I would like to point out I did not get with HL2). The infamous Stutter Bug.
That's right folks, it's back.

Dark Messiah: Level 1 Intro
"Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig where are you?"
"Here I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am"

I soldiered on though. One of the first things I noticed of the game (besides the stuttering) was the mouse sensitivity was unusally high for a mainstream game. For reasons unknown to myself and my bestest-fwend Pound Puppy, the stuffed puppy dog, game developers always set the sensitivity to like, 1. I was bewildered as to why they would ruin such a long standing tradition.
I continued on with the obvious tutorial level. "Do this" "Do that" "Kick that fucker in the back while he isn't watching" "LOL! Look at him fall to his doom!" "Oh, get this sword" "Kill this guy" You know the deal.
The gameplay was great. I really liked how the fighting system worked. After lowering the amazingly high mouse sensitivity I was actually able to hit something, rather than spin around like a nancy boy ballarina that I secretly am in real life. I wonder what the Undead thought of my twirls. They must have been impressed. Before I gouged out their ripcages and spattered them against the ground. Continuing on I found a bow, not two seconds before ending the level I didn't even get to try it out. I was a sad panda, for the next several months...

The second level was aptly named I thought. "Several Months Later...". Aptly named, simply because it takes that fucking long to load. I swear I was there for atleast three months, or what seemed like it staring at an insanely slow moving progress bar.
What the hell could it possibly be loading? Is this what the 1.4 gig is for? The second level? Does it ever load? Is loading half of the game? Is this some tricky way to make the game seem longer than it really is? Is the loading screen really a secret puzzle that you need to complete in order to progress to the game? Will Mark's mum ever be left alone? She lost her husband, her son 's goes to far off planets bause the G-Man tells him to, and now she gets harassed by giant purple guys with huge-arse brains, I mean what the fuck man. Wait, I think I lost my point.
At about 90-ish percent of what we can only guess at was loading the level, the stutter bug reared it's head for another game of piss off Baines with lot's of looping sounds that I can't stop. This was before the level even began. It was very impressive on the bug's part.
I'm beginning to think it MAY have been the video settings that caused the lengthy load, but after checking it out (after it eventually loaded the fucking level) I found that what it had set were apparently "Optimal settings" and I shouldn't change them lest I wish to incur the wrath of a thousand Demi-Gods. So I didn't and continued on my way.
This is where I thought, "Okay, long load times aside, this game is simply awesome, I really want to play the retail version of this and play it I SHALL!". In this level I was introduced to skills, varying enemy types, stealth, levels (of both my player and items), varying weapon types, and I believe I would have been introduced to at least one dragon had I ever got to the end.
It's true, I never clocked this track.
The stuttering was enough to drive any layman insane. Luckily for you and I, I am no layman, for I, I AM BAINES.
Regardless, it was "Loading Time Redux" that did me in like the cold-hearted killer he is. I effortlessly killed myself in a botched attempt to... well I don't really know what I was doing. I saw one of those cuttable ropes that was apparently tied to a weight, which was apparently hovering over the apparently weak peice of apparently wooden plank I was apparently stand on. Apparently. I apparently died shortly after the incredibly heavy piece of whatever-the-fuck-material-its-made-out-of crashed in to my ground. Ground no more, apparently.

It all would have been worth it too, if the level ever actually wanted to load again. Instead this time, I get a new loading screen with a hint about sword strengths. Because apparently that could have saved my life, and I should learn from my mistakes by having stronger swords.
This loading screen was awesome, in that it makes you think it has a progress bar, but all it really has a progress bar case. No actual bar ever showed up. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. But alas! It was not to be.
The God's celebrated this amazing victory by torturing me some more. So when I get bored of games loading, I usually quit. That doesn't really happen that often, but when it does, most games can be shut down fairly quickly and fairly effortlessly. The God's wanted to hurt me just a little bit more. So I hit the Windows key, right click on the game in the taskbar, Close. BANG. Complete freeze. Most games take a minute or two to get out of the system and completely shut down. This one apparently never thought I would ever leave. Why would I? They have awesome loading screens. What? There's a game? No way! Get out! Serious? No way!
So about a good ten minutes of trying to CTRL+ALT+DEL, Windows Key > Close and other such variants, it finally minimised. MINIMISED. I really like how that didn't close, even after I pressed close at least twenty times.
I promptly uninstalled Dark Messiah. I may give the retail version a bash if I get the opportunity, but I wont have very high expectations.
Maybe I just had a bad experience, maybe it works swimmingly for a good deal of other people. Word on the street is no. A lot of other people are having grief with it. I really hope they fix this horribly optimised demo before release, otherwise it's going to bum simply because nobody wants to play a game of progress bars. We did that with Half-Life 2.
I swear, you wait half an hour for it to load one level, you play for 10 minutes, you're back to the load screen, wait half an hour, play another 10 minute level, back to the load screen for another half an hour.

BAINES-O-RATER: 1/10
Awesome gameplay, awesome features.
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad loading time.

Get the Lego Star Wars II Demo instead, it's much more fun, little to no loading times and is probably longer.

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life

L is for Loser

So today I went for my "Learner's Permit".
I had to do 8 give-way questions, 32 road rule questions and 10 road safety questions.
I'd done the online test like a million times last week, so I was fairly confident.
Suprising myself, the test-over-see-er and my mother, I got every single question right. In the back of my mind I heard a deep voice yell, "FLAWLESS VICTORY!".
Then I had to spend half an hour waiting in the cashier's line. Then I had to spend another half an hour waiting for, what I believe to be the most computer-illeterate woman I have ever witnessed, attempt to fill in my information in to her fancy computer database.
Then I had my photo taken. My eternal soul, as awesome as it is, was captured in a single piece of film, which I may or may not recieve in 7-10 days.
So I now have a temporary Learner's Permit to drive with.
Now all I need is a place that sells L-Plates. And six months and 50 hours worth of driving lessons before I can progress on to my Piis (ROLF NINTENDO JOKE!121"!~).

I've added a new sketch to my gallery. 2 Jedi Rabbit poses.
Update: I've coloured the second pose from above.

Posted in life | 17 Comments |
windows

Baines’ adventures with Vista

Baines' adventures in the wonderful land of Vista: presented in HI-DEF!
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Posted in windows | 6 Comments |
tutorials

Using the Pen Tool (Superman Logo)

tutorial-superman

We'll be using the Pen Tool and making paths. The advantage of paths, is that they are Vector, so you can resize them to jinormous proportions and it won't pixalize a bit.

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life

6/6/6

Happy Armageddon day!

Posted in life | 1 Comment |