Friday, July 31, 2009

Some ranting, ramblings and impressions.

Its my friends birthday today and instead of a party or anything, he wanted people do him some graffiti on facebook. For those not on the ever increasingly popular social networking site, this is just like a whiteboard art kind of thing where you can draw or write things for other people or yourself. So I thought, hmm that sounds cool I'll do him one when I get a chance. Took a good hour or so working on one, finally got it the way I wanted and then tried to submit it only for it to stop loading when I tried to send it. I refreshed the page and tried a half dozen times or so. Still nothing. So, that was pretty frustrating and spirit-crushing...Eventually I tried to do another one and intended to include a note with it saying my initial piece didnt work. I put a bit less time into this one but was still happy with it and went to send it. Yep, you've probably guessed what happened with this one. Same thing, it didn't send. Maybe its just life trying to crush me even more, maybe I bring out the worst in computers and websites or maybe its just a compatibility problem with Opera browser and the plugins and whatnot on Facebook, whatever it is, it didnt exactly make me the happiest person in the world. Yeah, Facebook won't be getting signed back on to any time soon.

Also, I tried to sign into my inbox tray for Edinburgh Uni today to check up on and sort out anything I need to do before starting up in September for my first year. The mailbox I had before and could check before was nowhere to be seen. It used to be on the page I was on only now it has apparantely dissapeared in the last few months. Perhaps its me being stupid and not noticing it (which I doubt, cos I combed the whole place), perhaps its just that they have moved it and told noone or maybe they just got rid of the whole system and didn't replace it ( they did say it was experimental and a test, but that seems just retarded.) All I know, is the site and the organisation seems pretty crap. For a university, you'd think they have well orgamanised and easy to use shiz. Obviously not.

My speakers have also been making a crackling, popping and screeching noise recently..kind of annoying to be honest. I hope they aren't on the way to destruction

Given the laptop's and internet's hate of me recently..This T-Shirt would be fitting. Tis pretty cool

To cool off and keep the encroaching boredom away, I played some more of the games I'm working on. I played a little bit of Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, but there seems to be a small but ever-present chance that even random enemies are going to wipe the floor with you and make you their bitches. So after losing a good 20 mins or so of progress, I turned it off. That game is good, but at times its too hard. I mean, I come up against a party of 3 Mothman enemies in the Samsara tunnels about 24 hrs in (for me at least,) These guys are not usually hard, they don't look particulary dangerous from their appearance or abilities. When you come up against 2 of them, they are pretty easy in fact, but something seems to be written in there for a party of 3 of them or maybe its just me being unlucky, I don't know. They keep using abilities like Mazionga and similar stuff, which when it hits all my guys, including the exploit of Argilla's weakness, its pretty damaging and they get an extra half turn counter, so the next one does it, or the one that targets one character and usually hits Argilla, so another turn counter gets added, etc etc, they get a couple extra actions per turn. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when they get lucky, they can wipe me out pretty easy. Screw that....I will beat the game some day though...even if I do have to deal with the unpredictable difficulty and battle system which I am beginning to like less and less. . . Anyway, enough nonsensical ramblings on DDS. Chances are you guys didn't understand half of that wall of text.

So for something a bit easier, I put on Star Ocean: Second Evolution on the PSP. I liked the first one and am about 12 or so hours through the 2nd. So far I'd say the voice acting is pretty weak, even laughable in places (ie. Ashton's dragons) I'm enjoying the game even if the pacing seems a bit strange, I'm kind of able to rush through the game quite fast, gaining levels and skills pretty quickly. The initial small difficulty spikes as you go to a new area are one thing that at times frustrates me and aside from boss battles, thats really the only thing that will lead to a game over as far as I can tell. A lot of the stuff in this game is cliched and it isn't the best game in the world, however its definitely better than a lot of other games out there, especially when you consider the fact that this is PSX-era ported RPG. Saying that, it isn't very polished or improved and feels a bit dated.

There is a lot in the game I like, the character design-the new portraits and anime cutscenes by Production I.G. look for the most part very nice. The character interaction and dialogue that you can get is one thing I appreciate as its not really done the same in most other rpgs. I'm trying to make more of the private actions you can do in this one. These basically involve you pressing square outside a town in order for you to split up your party in the town. You can then talk to townspeople and your party members with your main character, opening up new dialogue options, flashbacks which give a bit of depth to some of the playable characters, you can find other characters joining your party and branching stories which affect the way your characters like each other and ultimately, the game's ending. Kind of similar to the party interaction in Tales of Symphonia and Baldur's Gate. For some parts to remind me of BGII is a great feat, because its still one of my favourite games of all time. Its just something about the detailed world with the pre-rendered backgrounds and the characters in your party talking amongst each other, responding to the actions and choices you take. For example, say you ask someone to join your party, other people you had in your party might not necessarily agree with Claude (one of 2 protagonist's) choice and later down the line, from what I can tell, other party members will not be available to join you. For me, that is kind of dissapointing as I love getting different characters to join and ideally would have them all available on my team. However it does add some weight to your choices, making them feel that bit more real I guess. Also it could potentially add to the replayability factor of the game, but I'll see what I think of the game as I get further in. 

Those are some impressions and ramblings on whatnot, think I said enough. 'Til next time =p

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thanks for your interest and support!

Just a quick message to say thanks to you guys. Since I started the blog way back, I've enjoyed posting all kinds of stuff and getting responses and hits on the page. I added a hit counter or whatever you call them kind of recently so it doesnt reflect the hits the page has had since the very start, but I am still very impressed with how many hits the page has got, for a blog that I don't update very often (as often as I want to)

I know a lot of the hits might just be people stumbling across the blog (for example from the whole RPGamer fiasco*) but I just wanted to thank anyone who has been interested in the blog,  followed the blog over google or the feed, or left comments over the years and I hope I can make the blog better from now on. =D

*I updated my profile on forums with a link to my blog a few months back and a bug on the forums meant my profile details including the link got added to every other member on the forums as well as mine. So at first, people thought I might have hacked the boards and people were kind of angry and understandably so. It turned out that it was not the only time the current forum software on there has made problems and they are currently looking to migrate the whole forums onto some different domain I think. I still feel bad for this even though I didn't do anything intentionally. Its a very good site, here's a link.

If you guys have any ways you think I could improve the blog, or things you might want to see on it then let me know. I welcome any feedback, positive or negative as I'm always trying to make the place better.

It feels pretty good when people give me comments and feedback, maybe I'm doing something right, but I know I can do much better! I'll try to update a lot more frequently from now on.

Thanks for your interest and time!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer is here!

As I mentioned in my last post, recently I was on holiday in France for about 2 and a half/3 weeks and got back a few days ago. So I thought I'd post a bit about it and what I've been up to.

We left for France a few weeks ago and went by the newly opened boat from near Edinburgh (Rosyth) to Zeebrugge in Belgium and drove down from there to the Alps over two days-we stayed over at a hotel in Reims. (I think is how its spelt) I don't particularly like travelling by boat...there is always a chance with me it will make me a bit ill, not completely seasick like some people get, but just a little affected. Something to do with the swaying sensation, plus the walls and stuff creaking in the rooms when you are trying to sleep... that kinda sucks. Hehe, it kinda sounds like I went on a pirate ship or some ancient ship, nope it was a brand new.....uh I don't know what you call those kind of boat.

Anyway, so we eventually got to Chamonix in the south of France, high in the alps near Italy and Switzerland. 

Man, the weather was overall very hot down there. Probably too hot for me, but I tried to get a few rays of sunshine rather reluctantly. I guess I don't really like the feeling of being under a really hot sun for too long. Its good for you though I guess, and got a bit burnt and tanned while over there. Not only do I not particularly like the sun, I don't like sun cream..I don't like that slimely sensation lol. One thing I love about Chamonix (I've been there a few times) is the surroundings, the Alps down there are one of the most, if not the most amazing places I've been in terms of scenery. Such epic mountains...I'll upload and edit in some pictures when I can.

So there was quite a lot to do around there(we didn't do all of this); shopping and going to the pubs and cafes in the town of Chamonix(the centre was approx 10 mins walk), paintball, whitewater rafting, hydrospeeding, paragliding (my bro and his girlfriend did this, I didn't wanna though...too scary :3), minigolf or crazy golf or whatever its called-we did this for a laugh, its quite funny sometimes.

Other stuff we did; went in a cable car up to Planpraz(a station on the mountain across the valley from Mont Blanc) and walked about 2 hrs to the next one further down the valley along the same mountain side where we grabbed some food and drinks. It was good, but pretty hard walking in the sun for so was really hot that day. Then got the cable car back down from there.

We hired mountain bikes and went cycling (my brothers hired full-sus bikes and went on one of the downhill routes a 2nd day..I did the first trail, but missed out on the downhill, think I was ridiculously tired or something :[ )

We went in the car to the Sion, in the Swiss canton of Valais one day, which I thought looked pretty amazing as we descended down the windy road from the mountains into the flat-bottomed valley where you could see the city spread all across the valley floor. 

Another pretty cool thing we did was take this train from Chamonix up to the Mer de Glace, a big glacier on one of the mountains up above, on the Mont Blanc side of the valley. There you could see where the ice had cut through the mountainside, pretty cool place up there. I took some photos which I'll try and get uploaded. You can also go down from there right to the glacier, into this cave they have hewn into the ice and filled with lights and ice sculptures. 

Anyway, I'll try get some links to pictures online at some point, thats all for now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quick update...

Just thought I'd leave an update since I haven't done so in a while and probably wont be able to for a while. I'm away on holiday at the moment in Chamonix, France and don't have much access to the internet. Anyway, the time I have here I will most likely be spent doing things I don't usually get to do, such as getting ridiculous amounts of sun and not necessarily trawling the net and posting blogs.

I'm still playing a few games when I get the time, namely Final Fantasy Tactics PSP, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles which I recently started and a bit of Pokemon Platinum, grinding up to lv100. Might talk about them a bit more when I next update.

Been listening to a few podcasts to pick up on the news from E3 onwards and it looks like there are a good few RPGs on the way soon. Here are a few names of stuff I am interested in;
# Golden Sun DS (DS)- I'm looking to pick up the 2nd gba game again since I lost mine a while back but its very expensive... T_T
# Pokemon Heart Gold & Soul Silver (DS) - I'm insanely into Pokemon games, how can I not be interested in these? =p
# Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii) - E3 brought a bunch of new info on this one and it will be out this year =D Its got some nice mechanics that sound unique, similar to the way Odin Sphere is.
# Hero's Saga Laevatein Tactics (DS) - I hadn't heard of this till recently and to be honest, don't know that much about it. Just what I've seen of the art style looks amazing.
# Devil Survivor (DS)
# Class of Heroes (PSP) - there is a sequel on the way to Japan too.
# Crimson Gem Saga (PSP)
# Nostalgia (DS)
# Final Fantasy Gaiden: The Four Warriors of Light - There is a bit of info about this forthcoming game with influences from the original FF games. Countdown site

A whole bunch more as well but I'm getting tired now. Will update some other time...

I'm gonna take some pictures and video when I'm over here and might try putting it up here when I'm back.

Its way too hot here lol, 'till next time ;D