söndag 3 december 2017

Game review: Life is Strange: Before the Storm

So, I have been playing Before the Storm deluxe edition on my brand-new Xbox One X. Is it better than the first game “Life is Strange”? I would not say so. Its not as comical for starters and it supposedly only have 3 episodes, not counting the bonus episode that you get from the deluxe version. In this game you play as Chloe Price, who has a new voice actor in this game doing the talking. Even though I prefer Chloe’s old voice, the current one does a superb job as well. Chloe was in the first game, but more as a side-kick to Max, sort of. The first game “Life is Strange” is what happens after “Before the Storm”. In the first game Chloe has blue dyed hair, which has not happened so far in this prequel. She still has brown hair after that I finished episode 2. I wonder how and when she is going to dye it. She will probably do it in the last upcoming episode, 3, or, in the bonus episode. It’s really only a minor detail it would seem. But somehow, I have a keen sense that it will be an important part of the story when she dyes it. Of course, I could be wrong, one of the reasons she dyed it because of reading manga. But then again far from everyone that reads manga dyes their hair blue because of it. Why is this even interesting? I just happen to think so; the important parts of an investigation are the details after all.

This game isn’t that humorous, but, it has an interesting story. It is entertaining, sure. I mean it’s not like there are no jokes and no humor. It’s just that the humor is low level and kind of masked into the gameplay. For instance, assuming you made the choices I made, Chloe gets to perform on a theater stage. While you are preparing for the play in the dressing room you are supposed to read and memorize a script of what Chloe is going to say in the drama. The underlined funny part is that you can smoke weed before you go up on stage. At least I found that funny. In a real-world scenario that may not be so fun, which is understandable. Something else which is noticeable compared to the first game is that most choices seems somewhat meaningless. Most “crucial” choices don’t seem as severe as they do in the first game. However, that may be somewhat good considering that you can’t go back in time to change the stuff you do in this game. You can however if you want, go back to a previous checkpoint in the game in case it hasn’t automatically saved the game before you do so. Counting in all the elements this is a good game, despite my criticism mentioned here. There is a clearly outlined red thread that binds together the story well. And as always, I recommend playing these kinds of story games on a TV. Maybe I happened to recommend that because I’m used to playing computer games on a laptop. Laptops aren’t exactly game friendly by definition.

måndag 16 oktober 2017

Game review: F-Zero

I played this game, and managed to beat it when I was a kid. My bro had a SNES which I could play it on. On those days tube tv’s was still in use and no such thing as flat existed. The first thing you hear when playing this game is the epic main menu 16-bit music theme. Now why is this game great? You get to choose a futuristic racing car and see its stats on a chart. The chart animates the cars top speed as well as acceleration on it. Science on an old-school racing game, wow.

The game itself is fun to play with both varying maps as well as music. Some games even today insist on playing the same melody over and over, but already back then they understood the importance of music in games. The game levels gradually increase in difficulty as you beat them. This provides you with a challenge that you can beat. Personally, I don’t like no-challenge games. If a game is not challenging it is usually not good. Something that the game sort of requires unless you go with the car with the highest top-speed is that you must on a level use a “boost” to fly over an obstacle to beat the track. You only have a certain amount of lives and if they run out you loose and have to re-play everything. This “boost” is not easy to know about and you must discover how to use it yourself unless you are able to have and read a manual, in English, while not being English or maybe not even able to read to begin with. ¯\_()_/¯. Since I didn’t know about the “booster” thingy until some time, I had no option but to beat the game with the only ship that could jump over the super long obstacle without using a boost. However, this pink ship also has a low acceleration speed, but really, the top-speed makes up for that anyways. In my opinion the low acceleration super top-speed pink ship might be the best ship anyways. My first favorite space ship was the yellow one though, maybe because of its many “rockets” on its back. It also has the highest acceleration which is cool.

The levels in the game are well planned and made, the AI is the AI (it works), the game is challenging (many obstacles that can damage you, even bumping into enemy AI can damage you). Different race tracks with in-racing line options while racing (different paths to take). Cool animations and sound effects. I am planning to make a game like F-Zero, maybe not as good music-wise, but, probably good fun-wise.

And if you wonder how a SNES looks like, here it is: 

lördag 7 oktober 2017

Half Robot on MS store

So as I have mentioning in earlier posts, here and here, I have worked on a platformer PC game. Just recently I released it which can be found at the Microsoft store here: https://www.microsoft.com/sv-se/store/p/half-robot/9p93l2bhq7jx

The game is sort of similiar to MegaMan 1. Some differences are that my game is much shorter, has less monsters and much less content in general than the original game. But... it is still worth trying out the game. (You can try it for free for 24 hours). Its worth trying out because its pretty challanging. Its not like the everyday buy to win or spam commercials games. In fact its actually addictive I've been told. So go ahead and download it now if you have windows 10. Microsoft has already made sure that it doesnt contain any viruses.

måndag 7 augusti 2017

Game review: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

This game is a merge of two game series, Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright. It’s a sort of collaboration where puzzles and exploration is made like in the Layton games and evidence gathering and court trials are held like in the Ace Attorney games. The two companies who made the game, Level-5 and Capcom chose to bring in their own main game characters. You get to play as Professor Layton and some kid companion of his and Phoenix Wright together who is paired up with a female companion. The female companion is also somewhat young, but not a kid. Shortly into the game everyone is transported into a medieval world full of magic and witches. Normally in Ace Attorney you get to have trials in a world where stuff like fingerprints and normal criminal forensics exists. In this game however, people are reasoning like if they lived in the 13th century and magic existed. This leads to the fact that you get to be the defense attorney for witches. And when you argue in court you need to reason given certain spells and such things. So, you get to use logic in a world where supposedly ‘magic’ can cause stuff to happen. On the professor’s side, you get to solve cool puzzles. I think the game may be a bit too easy on people not being able to solve the puzzles. You can namely spend coins to unlock hints for the puzzles. As far as I can remember the puzzles were fine in the game. It’s a bit ridiculous that the assistant to the Professor has such a friendly personality. You keep hearing 24/7 in the game that the assistant is a “gentleman in training”. Supposedly that should mean that he is not a gentleman, but trying to be? If not, then why would he be training, unless it means that most people besides him are not a gentleman and he is just boasting nonstop. But you get used to that nonsense as you play the game. When you have played a few hours, and heard the sentence “a gentleman in training” a thousand times your brain will finally go with it and not care.

Should you get this game? Yes. It is very funny, challenging, easy if you use hints and it has an interesting story/plot. Do not read YouTube comments or whatever for this game, or else someone will probably spoil the story. The catch is that you need a Nintendo 3DS or DS to play it. I borrowed a 3DS, and I also borrowed the game. I should consider getting a 3DS if they are to make a sequel or if I’m going to play one of the new Ace Attorney games. Is this game worth getting a 3DS for? I guess it might be if you have cash. You could just sell the 3DS when you’re finished with the game…

In the courtroom, the judge believes in magic and have no clue about modern forensic evidence like fingerprints. But he is possible to persuade using rational thought and logic. Even if the evidence is 100% based on magic spells and magical wands. As long as there are rules, the rules can be used to come to conclusions and prove which conclusions are correct. The witnesses are goofy and whatnot. They will lie and cheat, so it is your job to make that clear for everyone. In fact, you will see many suspicious characters everywhere in this game which is something to take note of. This game is one of the reasons, or perhaps the main reason, that I also recently bought “Layton’s Mystery Journey” that I also blogged about. I haven’t really played that game a lot yet, but I felt that the puzzles in this game “Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney” had better and more challenging puzzles overall. But yeah, the mix of puzzles and court trials in a magical world was top notch. Get this game.

söndag 6 augusti 2017

Game review: Lifeline (recycling old post)

A long time ago I made a post on another blog called the boring blog. I haven’t really made many posts at all on that blog. I did make one game review however that I would like to recycle by copy-pasting it into this blog. It is written in a bit of a jokingly manner so read with caution:

Ok so this page is about gaming ON. A. PHONE.

The evolution of gaming has really taken a turn for the worse! awesome. However, every week Apple launches a "free app of the week" and sometimes that free app is a fun game... or a terrible children’s app with no imagination.

The latest free app of the week I got was called "Lifeline" and is a story (visual novel) game where you get to make binary choices from time to time, but instead of having a yes or no button there is sentences on the buttons instead of just "yes" and "no". It seems to be written by someone either pretending to be young or really is young. The character in the game is called "Taylor". Taylor is stranded on a moon in outer space. He was a student that won a lottery ticket and got to board some random spaceship that later on crashed on a moon. That pretty much sums up the introduction of the story line.

So in this game you make yes or no.... err I mean complex decisions that affects whether or not Taylor finds a way out of the moon and other moral issues. I died on my first try, and I slayed one of the people you had an opportunity to save (by accident of course). My impression of the game was that you run into various obstacles and then Taylor starts to whine about how difficult it is, that he can’t do it, its physically impossible etc. and you have to press the "do it anyway" button a hundred times. If you DONT press the right button one hundred times it only takes on click for Taylor to do something else. This was kind of an issue for me at first because I didn’t fully realize this, but when I did the game got a bit easier. And Taylors anxiety is very contagious. There are even some attempts to break the 4th wall in the game but not very successful ones imo. The game was quite good overall although a not very professionally written story, however the user interface was excellently, sorry if that isn’t a real word, made. What I really think made it look space-ish was that there’s like a graphically constructed glass overlay above the text so it looks like you’re looking at a monitor on a spaceship. I give this game 4 out of 5. I even got myself the sequel called "Silent Night" for approx. 1 dollar. The original game is better though. The game is unfortunately no longer free but it was sort of fun so I recommend getting it.

Game review: Layton’s Mystery Journey

I recently started playing Layton’s Mystery Journey due to having a positive experience of another game that partially included the same game concept. That game was called "Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney". I may do a review of that other game soon. I have just begun playing this game and is far from finished playing it. In the game, you get to have some form of case given to you and your agency that you are to solve. As far as I have experienced it yet, you don’t really need to do anything but talking to people and travel to destinations pointed out for you on a minimap and the game eventually tells you that the case is solved. So not much problem solving in that perspective but that’s not why I bought the game. Btw I got the game for iOS. Furthermore, the game is childish, or at least kid-friendly. The game has mentioned a murder at one point so it being children-friendly or not depends on how sensitive you are. The game is rated age 4+. The game universe takes place in a jolly good ol’ place called London where everyone is really friendly. Just like in real life, friendly and outgoing Londoners, right? Not that I have ever been to London, but I can imagen that it may not be like that in real life. It being kid-friendly is somewhat part of the game concept I would guess however. Another thing I noticed playing on the phone is that conversation text is a bit small, I would like the text font to be bigger. It is readable but still a bit of a nuisance. Besides just having a too small text font it gets worse by the fact that the story is so far from action oriented you can get. No explosions or horrors or anything thrilling at all. So, in my view the reading conversations and following up with the story is not all that interesting in my view. Probably a very subjective thing if you like a story or not. The reason I got this game is because that this game has something surprisingly no other game tends to focus on. This game has puzzles, well-made ones, that required thinking to be solved. Some of the times at least, absolutely not always… Sometimes the ‘puzzle’ blurs into being a riddle perhaps.

What I can say about the puzzles in this particular game is that they have been OKish. Most puzzles have been way too easy to solve. This may be due to the fact that this game isn’t for adults? Some puzzles are harder though. What annoys me is that sometimes I get the impression that the answer to a puzzle is wrong, or that the instructions for a puzzle lack information or explains it wrongly. To give an example, one small puzzle with two options went like this: “Which path should you choose given this road sign if you want to avoid traffic? One path is always busy so everyone taking this road choses the quiet path. Chose the quiet or the busy path.”. My reasoning for solving this riddle was that given the instructions the busy path is always busy. We do not know how many other cars go through the path we are currently at besides us. Given the instructions we know that one path is always busy, and the other path may have a chance of being quiet. Therefore, I reasoned that the quiet path had the highest (or only chance) of actually being quiet. The answer was that you can never rely on an old road-sign to tell you if a path is busy or not. Then it also said that everyone chose the quiet path so it would be very busy and no one would take the busy path so it would be free of traffic because of it. I could comment on many things here, but what annoyed me is that I got the impression that the instructions implied or said that the busy path was always busy and not that the “old” road sign said it. Also, while choosing an option to submit as a result, there was a picture of the “old” road sign. All that was on the picture was a sign with two arrows with the names of the given paths. I have learned in this game to never trust the images. The images are very misleading and have made me try to reason given what I have seen being displayed on the image of a puzzle. On another occasion, the artwork for a puzzle showed digital numbers. So, I thought that I was to solve the puzzle given the numbers being showed on the image. It was later that I discovered that the digital numbers being displayed on the image were supposed to be “off”, i.e. not showing. When the puzzle was solved another image was showed with the digital numbers being lit as if the machines having the digital numbers were “on”. I must be honest though. If I had been smarter and understood the instructions better I could have arrived at the correct result by myself. You can spend “coins” in the game to use hints to help you solve a puzzle. After using many hints, I managed to solve this puzzle. The puzzle was good, it’s just that I was misled by the image and didn’t understand the problem sufficiently.

I guess the game is OK in general. Maybe a bit too happy and not so problem filled so far for my taste. Something that I haven’t mentioned that this game also has showed some anime clips that also were a bit long. Anime clips being long in a game is good in my opinion. Usually I have found them to be very short. There’s also tons of artwork in this game if you like that. They have focused on making pretty drawings. The characters in game are ugly/goofy or childish though. The puzzles are okay but sometimes a bit too easy.

tisdag 1 augusti 2017

Game review: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies is a visual novel developed by Capcom. As far as I understand most games in the series “Ace Attorney” are for the Nintendo DS game console. However this game is also available for phones, both Android as well as iOS. Gaming on a phone compared to a DS or 3DS is better in the sense that you have a HD screen (unless your phone is trash), as well as all the other conveniences that comes with using a phone. Portability being one of those conveniences, instead of carrying around both a phone and a DS you just need to carry a phone. So already this game gets a plus for being available for smartphones.

In Ace Attorney you follow up with certain characters who are attorneys in the same agency. These people are named Phoenix Wright (age 33), Apollo Justice (age 23-25) and Athena Cykes (age 18). Phoenix Wright also has a ‘daughter’ Trucy Wright (age 15-16). Athena Cykes is a ‘new’ character in this game has supposedly just recently finished her education as an attorney and earned her badge. Due to her young age, most people don’t believe at first sight that she’s an attorney.  As an attorney in the Wright agency, you get to defend clients in court. Defending in court is the main part of the game. Usually before you end up in court however you get to investigate a crime scene and interview various individuals before the court starts. This is very important in order to gather evidence (you can’t skip this anyway, but still very important nonetheless) and to get some idea(s) of how things looks like regarding the current case. When you are in court you get to listen to either the defendants or some witnesses’ testimonies. When that is done their testimony is split into pieces which you can press the person being cross-examined for further information. 90% of the time your job is to check what evidence you have available to you and present one such evidence to the part of a testimony that contradicts the given evidence. If you get it wrong you get a so-called penalty by the judge. Too many penalties and you lose the game. This isn’t really a problem because the game lets you just continue back from where you left if choose to do so.

What is different about this game is that you need to think and figure things out before you can make progress. You need to listen to what is being said and be able to work out what is correct and what is contradictory yourself. Often testimonies and evidence change or is added which means that you must rethink everything that you once thought were correct. This is a very common occurrence in this game unless your Einstein and can figure out what happened before the trial begins.

The game is well made, like many Japanese stuff. You get to watch anime clips every once and a while. Watching clips helps you to get a mental image of the story, and it is also entertaining. All attorneys have a special power. This power can be used to help you during tough times in court or when investigating. Phoenix can untangle mind locks, Apollo can sense twitches as a reaction to a lie or an uncertainty and Athena can hear emotions. In court, you get to use Athena’s power to find contradictions between a testimony and the emotions being felt. All in all I found this game fun to play and hopefully I also learned a thing or two about debating and objectivity. This game is worth the money. If your still hesitant getting the game moneywise, you can buy one episode at a time. The first episode is also the cheapest.

It’s kind of hard to talk about what happens in the game without spoiling the story. There is a red thread spinning across most episodes in the game which is good. It makes you want to investigate more and keep playing new episodes. What I can say is that the bonus episode is sort of weirdly both not connected to previous episodes as well as a little bit connected at the same time. I guess they wanted to keep some stuff as obvious without spoiling the story in the game. Or, the bonus episode just takes place in some sort of strange time period in between the normal episodes. I liked the bonus episode but the normal ones were a bit more exciting.

måndag 24 juli 2017

Gaming & Runescape

At the moment, I’m not playing that many games. This is sort of supposed to at least partially be a gaming blog. I have an Old-school Runescape account that I log into like one every other day. All I do on that account is buying and selling at a place called the grand exchange. Which all in all takes about 10 seconds, but I sometimes stay on for 2 minutes anyways and then I log out. After all, you have to report the bots and expose all scammers you see before you log out. Many times, I have traded with bots who are begging and just after they select to accept a trade I decline it, which often results in the bot saying something and then logging out immediately. When I started buying and selling stuff I had about 250-400k. k means 1000. Probably a shortening for kilo. Everyone knows what a kilo is except for people living in the US which are using the imperialistic measurement system. I earlier thought that as a funny reference to Star Wars but surprisingly it’s called that. Anyways, now, today, I have some more money. I have just used all my money to buy stuff that I will sell but when I have done that I will definitely have over 5m, 5 million. I got perhaps at least 300k in between this time from a drop party that occurred though. And maybe another ~150k from some people dropping rune armor. It’s surprising how many events you can bump into from just logging in for a brief moment every now and then. If I keep buying and selling using all my money at a time I estimate that I eventually will make 2.7m each time I do so. But it’s still a bit of time before I get there. 2.7m is what an old-school bond costs which can be redeemed for 1 week of membership. So, when I earn that much money I will have free membership forever and ever. Not that I plan to play too much Runescape anyways. I may however try to increase my ranged level in order to “pk”, that is kill other players (pk = player killer). The thing about Runescape is that it takes a lot of time to level up various skills that exists in the game. I mean a whole lot of time. Some people easily spend over a year in gameplay maxing their stats (besides socializing, questing and whatever you do in the game). Taking time is no issue if the game is fun though, right? The problem is that it is extremely BORING to level up and extremely repetitive. For instance, to level up your “mining skill” you have to click on rocks in the game, wait for the player unit to do some animation and repeat this process many, many times. When your inventory is full you may also want to place the mined ores you get from the rocks in the bank. So, you must waste time running back and forth to the local bank. I bet banking is easier for members however in the game. To put it bluntly, Runescape is not worth your time. I saw that a game from the Professor Layton series is available for iPhone so I might buy that game in the near future. 

söndag 23 juli 2017

Oils and fat

I have recently read a book from 2007 about fat acids and oils and their health affects on us humans. I learned that we consume way too little omega 3 in correlation to its opposite called omega 6. The book also brought up some other general stuff and it compared different oils and how the author thought they were good for us or not. Examples of oils mentioned in the book was rapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil etc. Some oils were good but most of the ones mentioned in the book were apparently bad. Coconut oil is good for frying since it can handle high cooking temperatures well without having the fat acids break or turning poisonous. I also read from a source outside the book that coconut oil shouldn’t be mixed with sugar since it will increase the likely hood of gaining weight and in long term make the body more insulin-resistant. As a rule of thumb, cold pressed oils are healthier since they will not have trans-fat. Trans-fat is created when refining oil because of the heating process involved. Usually this will only cause about 0.5-1.5% of the fat turning into trans-fat, but nonetheless trans-fat is still not healthy. Natural trans-fat from wild animals are according to the book okay to eat however. In general, the author claimed that the organs in human bodies tries to protect itself against trans-fat as much as they can but every now and then small amounts slip through anyways. Trans-fat is poorly structured building blocks for cells unlike proper fat. It increase the likely hood that cells will turn malignant.

There is saturated fat, unsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. It’s not like you should stop eating fat. Otherwise the body will start its own production of fat. Polyunsaturated fat is sensitive to heat and light. Oil should be stored in a dark place, no higher than room temperature and sealed from air. Preferably oil should be stored in the fridge if you don’t consume it within a week. Polyunsaturated fat or unsaturated fat is fat that can contain omega-3 and omega-6 acids, as well as many other types. Most often these acids are found in creatures living in the sea. The sea is cool, mostly oxygen free and protected from sunlight which means that polyunsaturated fat can exist there without going bad. So to consume more omega-3 you should eat fish and seafood. To get enough omega-3 you should eat fish almost daily. I don’t do that so I have started taking fish oil capsules twice a day as a substitute. Hopefully that should make me healthier.

lördag 15 juli 2017

Book review: Programming in Lua, Fourth edition

I have read a book called Programming in Lua, fourth edition to learn how to code using Lua. My aim has been to integrate Lua with other languages, in particular C++. Because when you code in C++ things quickly become messy and you must write a lot of redundant code that also pollute the project file tree. In C++, you are sometimes forced to create two files for a class, one header file and one source file. In most other languages that I know of you only need one single file to store a class. Lua also offers an automatic garbage collector so that one doesn’t have to fiddle with freeing up memory in a program. I should of course mention that it is usually favorable to divide objects into two files in C++ by default. Lua should in theory simplify things and let me make modifications to a program while it is running.

I have therefore read the book cover to cover to learn about Lua. Presumably I have some insights about the book that could be good to know before reading it. I did not read the last 2 or so chapters properly however. This book has provided me with a solid overview regarding lots and lots of important details about the language and how to implement it. The book also has exercise tasks that are good to do to get an even better grasp, but I didn’t do any of those. Yet I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Personally, I have already from my past have had quite extensive experience of programming and computer science in general, as well as math. This book is like an information shotgun with tricky code examples to explain some of the info. Not only does it tell you everything at once but it also does so in a way that can be hard to read unless you really pay attention and focus. And even then, it can be difficult. Out of the blue this book often assumes deep insights of specific areas in mathematics or computer science without providing any details, which all piles up to the difficulty of reading the book. Luckily though for the reader is that Lua supposedly is an easy programming language. Some parts of the book are easy to read, probably because there is no need to over complicate simple and straight-forward information. I guess that is also the case when people in a normal context would teach Lua.

To stay motivated to keep reading this book and not stopping after the 1st chapter, you need a true interest for learning Lua. But even that might not be enough so you need to make a deal with yourself to read at least one chapter a day. Or else you may never finish the book. Now why is motivation a problem for this book? The answer is that this book is all about difficultly presented information without exception. I read this book as mentioned cover to cover and I did not come across one single joke in the entire book. Some books at least have an inspirational quote at the beginning of each chapter. Here it’s all about having a serious face all the time.

To sum up: this book was difficult to read. On the flipside, I might not have learned as much if it wasn’t difficult to read.  If you want to make sense of this book you also should make sure to read the chapters in chronological order starting with chapter 1. Each chapter pretty much assumes that you know everything written in previous chapters. So, make sure that you at least decently understand a chapter before you read on. I am glad that I read this book because it provided me with so much information. When I started reading I knew basically nothing at all about Lua. When I finished reading it I felt like I was a pro at Lua, despite not doing the exercises. It goes without saying that this book is not for everyone. Although I believe everyone can understand the most basic and fundamental topics about Lua explained in the book. As mentioned I really don’t recommend continuing reading upcoming chapters if you don’t understand the one you’ve just read.

onsdag 5 juli 2017

Game review: Freelancer

Freelancer is a PC game that I got the summer 2001 or 2000. Probably the former. I had played it before that on the demo version. This game can be played in single player with a story mode, as well as multiplayer online. There have been multiplayer mods in the past but I don’t think too many people play this game anymore. The game is basic in what you can do in it. In the single player game mode, you start out as a guy named Edison Trent on the planet Manhattan. While on a planet you can at most visit 5 different places (by clicking on icons on the top of the screen). The places you can visit are the spaceship launch area, bar, spaceship shop, goods shop and upgrades shop. The goods shop allows you to buy or sell stuff which you can’t use, only carry in your ship. The goods will have different prices in different space stations or planets which allows you to earn money by trading them. Some goods are however illegal and can cause police units to attack you. Just carrying goods in general will increase the probability that NPCs will attack you (even friendly ones).

The planet Manhattan is basically a futuristic New York. As one will see from playing the game, many star systems and planets are named after real cities. The background story for the game is that “ark” ships flew away from earth to begin a new life far away in unknown space. The earth and its nearby planets as well as moons were controlled by humans but apparently, they were at war all the time with each other. Then suddenly one day an alien spaceship uncloaked out of nowhere and blew up the sun with a single missile. Thus, killing everyone except for some guy on the dark side of Pluto. This survivor then headed out into space to warn the “ark” ships that had fled earlier. The ships had fled due to the war and such stuff. The game of course hardly tells you anything about this as far as I’m concerned. I only learned this from seeing the extended intro for the game on YouTube. These ark ships were each sent from different countries/continents or fantasy lands. I’m confident that the “Liberty” ship is meant to suppose the American “ark” ship. This sort of explains why many planets are named after real cities, namely because the founders came from earth.

Anyways, the main character, Trent, is as usual minding his own business in the local bar having a drink. I guess he has been doing that all his life. Then for some reason I can’t really remember he gets a job offer from the police who needs him to help them with a mission, which includes escorting some cargo ships. Trent manages to impress these two police. One of which is a main character in the story, named Juni. Juni is the police officer giving Trent new jobs each time there is something new happening in the story. So eventually one job leads to another and suddenly Trent and Juni are involved in some heavy stuff. In between story missions you get to do whatever you want. When you have reached a high enough level you are allowed to do a new story mission. To level up you must earn money or complete missions. I think there is a limit to the maximum level you can achieve while not having finished all the story missions so you are basically forced to do them. You will want to do them though, because the game is kind of boring unless you follow up on the story. While not doing story missions you can get hired to do small missions like killing a few space ships, destroying a base, arresting someone etc. Missions where you get to kill a few spaceships can be compared to online MMO games where most quests are simple and tell you to kill 10 silly monsters. Now also take into consideration that one mission can take like 15 minutes to complete. First you need to fly a good bit to wherever the mission is at. Then you must complete the mission, and lastly fly all the way back to a station or planet just to get a new mission. Hopefully the new mission isn’t to kill another 10 spaceships.

There are hidden and hard to find ship wrecks on secret areas in space containing loot. The loot can be goods and usually some special and quite good weapon. You can buy lots of different ships in the game and configure them a bit by mounting different turrets as well as missiles on them (there are also mines but they are pretty boring). You can also upgrade the shield and engine for the ship. The way you are supposed to find the ship wrecks is by talking to people on space stations providing you with clues about mysterious areas. Then you follow patrol ships going about in those areas. Eventually you will be able to either spot a ship wreck on your ‘scanner’ or see it in your mini map as a red x mark. The easiest way to find ship wrecks is to just google where they are and flying to their corresponding locations on the map. You can mark locations on a map by which you then easily can navigate to. You cannot however mark “up” or “down” on the map though. The game is in space and in 3D and some wrecks are not in the mid area which should be noted. Pretty much all ship wrecks are in dangerous location, usually with radioactivity damaging your ship.

In the game, you can explore different star systems by flying around and going through “jump gates”. There are many “known” star systems on your “star map” that you can set waypoints to but there are also quite a bit of hidden star systems that you must find on your own. These tend to be located at the very edge of the known universe. There is even a star system that is very far away with alien space ships. These space ships will drop one of the best weapons in the game. I didn’t find out about most of these hidden star systems until random people I met online playing multiplayer brought me there. These hidden star systems also have places where you can get the best ships and upgrades. These ships and upgrades costs a fortune though. All I got to say about single player mode is that it is great, given how old the game is. Mostly because of the story. The game music is very creative and suiting for all things that happen. Many great games also have good music I have found out. I like the vastness of the world and that there are so many interesting things to explore. You feel quite free while playing the game and not so boxed in. One important thing I mainly found out in multiplayer is that you can temporarily boost the speed of your ship by pressing tab. This is actually really important to do during combat. I think the introduction in the game missed to point that out.

The multiplayer mode for the game can give you a varying experience. Many servers are heavily modded and the game experience will vary depending on where you play it. In general it can be fun to fly around and explore with other people in a gang. But it can also be really annoying having gangs or individual players on servers constantly trying to kill you if they get a chance. Usually these annoying people guard important planets in the game making it all worse. You can also do missions as a team with other players, but these missions quickly become repetitive and boring. It would have been better if there were some sort of story mode for the multiplayer gameplay as well instead of just having that in single player. However, that is understandable that they didn’t put too much effort in the multiplayer gameplay. As far as I know most people didn’t play much online multiplayer by the time the game was made. Like I said I got it in 2001. The game was probably made somewhere around the year 2000.

tisdag 20 juni 2017

Game review: Life is Strange

I played Life is Strange on a PlayStation 3. First of all, I should mention that I really think this is a TV-game. Play this on a big HD TV with good audio while sitting on something comfortable. Life is Strange is in its core a visual novel. You get to make decisions that will impact what happens in the game. On the surprising note; it also includes problem solving in the forms of detective work and extremely difficult moral choices. The main character in the game that you get to be is some random girl named Maxiene Claudfield, nicknamed Max. She is born 1995. One day in school she finds out that she can travel in time. She can do big time jumps by staring at photos she has taken with her polaroid camera. (After playing this game, I made sure to have one of those cameras myself, see image.).

Her main superpower throughout the game is time travel. Most often however this only includes short jumps. Big leaps always result in strange events, spoiler warning I guess. Btw, never EVER read comments about this game on YouTube until you’ve finished it. The top comments for videos will reveal the ending of the game in one sentence. I finished it of course before reading comments about it, but beware.

Seemingly, this game looks like it is nothing special. Judging the game by its cover that is. I would perhaps never have played this game, let alone pay for it, if someone I know hadn’t gotten it. Normally I don’t play visual novels either. Sometimes I wonder how this person has the ability to find so many good games. Most likely your intuition has already told you that I think this game is good by now. It’s tricky to review a visual novel without spoiling details that are vital to the story in the game. It’s so much easier to just say, it is good and you should play it. Did I mention the first episode is for free on Steam? No I didn’t, however this game is a TV-game please don’t play it on a computer monitor.

Not that I know what normal is, but Max seems like a very normal person. I think it’s best to describe her like that. 90% of everyone Max meets is all messed up and have lots of problems. Since Max is such a kind person (or is she? You decide.) she tries to help everyone using her superpowers. This results in her what to others seems suspicious in the game, getting deeply involved in dangerous dramas. Every now and then Max has to do a critical moral choice (you get to choose it), which inevitably results in something immediately happening. Something that in an obvious way shows potential hazardous consequences that may happen because of that choice she (you) just made. All these vital choices are binary, you get to choose either A or B. There is no C, D, E or F. Only A and B, both of which are bad. Your job is basically to choose the one you feel like or the one that is the most moral in your eyes. Or you may just choose whichever is the less worse. When a choice is made you see the outcome from it, but you may go back in time and see what happens if you choose the other choice. You can do this, travel back in time and change choice, how many times you want. But after you decide to go with a choice and continue the game, the choice can never be changed unless you replay the whole chapter. It makes sense to call it chapters now that it actually is a visual novel.

All in all: lots of drama, politics, humor, danger, darkness and impossible obscure moral choices equals me like. When the game was new, you could play the game even though it wasn’t finished. So you had to wait approximately 2 months between each episode, and there are like 5 of them. That gave me plenty of time to reflect over how the upcoming chapter would be and the choices I made, whether they were bad or not and how they would affect the “big picture” in the story. I was somewhat disappointed that the choices didn’t really have that big of an influence in the game all in all. Although there was some noticeable impact, I felt that it wasn’t quite enough. The game was still good though. Something I also noticed is that they are going to release a follow up for the game. Though, it is not actually a follow up. It is about what happened before the story in Life is Strange. I didn’t think any follow ups for this game would get my attention but by judging from the trailer for the follow up, my expectations are high.

torsdag 15 juni 2017

Game review: Age of Empires 1

Age of Empires (AoE) was my first favorite PC-game. AoE is a real-time strategy game. You usually start a game with a town center and a few villagers. The villagers are used for constructing new buildings, walls and towers. They can also be used to repair the buildings as well as boats. Villagers also can attack other units, though, that is not advisable since they do insignificant damage and easily die. One of the main reasons you have villagers is to gather resources. Resources are needed for making units, researching technologies and building stuff. When I played this game as a kid I always cheated so I can’t say that I was good at this game. You cannot cheat in the demo version however which I played before the real game.

The game itself is simple. There is a limited set of buildings you can make and very few distinct kinds of units. Furthermore, the game mechanics don’t work that well. If you select a group of units and make them go somewhere you will notice that it is quite buggy. Units move clumsily if at all, and often fail to reach their target altogether. Another simple thing is the game AI. It is stupider than a banana. Of course, you can adjust the difficulty settings in the game, but the AI won’t get any smarter. Most of the time all you must do in order to win a game is to spam war ships and attack anything that’s within the boats reach. If the AI has villagers gathering recourses you can easily attack them with the boats and they will still come back to the same place you attacked them with even more villagers. The AI will also send some military ground units but war ships, at least in the demo, are hands down the strongest unit in the game. Boats have lots of health, can be repaired by villagers, deals lots of damage and move fast. Melee units cannot even reach boats and must instead flee (the AI way of fleeing is to move only one unit, the one being attacked). The AI may be stupid, but somehow that stupidity makes the game fun to play and quite unique. The game can also be very challenging despite the stupid AI. All in which let you come up with strategies that only work for stupid AIs.

What I like about this game is that it lets you be creative when designing “cities” and battling opponents. Even though the number of different army units are few, there are quite a bit of completely different ones. I.e. Axe-men, archers, horsemen, catapults, hoplites and of course the legendary priest famous for ‘wolololoooing’ enemy units to join your side. Or vice versa if the enemy has them. Lots of okayish and fun single-player games exists in “campaign-mode”. I have heard that Microsoft and those who made AoE never though it would become as popular as it did. Thus, noticeably improvements can be seen in the successor, AoE2. Which kind of clearly shows the differences between a properly designed game and a kind of so-so designed game. As a kid, I think I mostly liked AoE over AoE2 but occasionally that could vary. AoE2 just doesn’t feel the same and is kind of slow to play.

måndag 5 juni 2017

Some Progress

I have managed to figure out how to proportionally scale up the world map as well as the player image. Some big challenges that remains are preventing the player from falling when standing on top of a ladder. And the other are positioning maps next to each other, making it possible to seamlessly cross through maps as well as scrolling some kind of game camera when the player moves around on the screen. In the same time, it should not scroll the game camera if the player is by a wall, also known as a dead end. Once I solve these big issues I think the rest will be pretty easy. Apart from creating the AI. Making a smart AI can probably be really difficult. I say probably because to be honest I don’t have too much experience with it. One possibility is to make the AI a finite state machine, but Bob Nystrom warned that that really limits what the AI can do. So I rather find and do the correct way, whatever that is. There are of course many expensive and thick books about game AI that would let me know. I’d prefer to learn it quickly though.

In case you didn’t know, I do have a YouTube channel. I’m called Xfsadsbot047. I don’t have a lot of videos or many good videos. But I’m considering starting to upload some more vids. And perhaps, you even get to hear my voice someday. I could stream some “let’s plays” but then I almost would be forced to using my stationary computer, since my laptop only supports wireless connections. Using wireless internet would at best produce a choppy stream, if any at all, If I am to use a high resolution and frame rate. Wireless internet produces lots of ‘packet’ loss. A packet is a way to embed data using a protocol like IPv4 or IPv6. There are other protocols that are used to send data, but not as common perhaps in the world wide web. In the end, it’s just 1’s and 0’s that are sent. A protocol is a way of making sense of those 1’s and 0’s. If you connect a normal ethernet cable, in contrast to having wireless internet, there is hardly any packet loss at all. Or at least that is what I have been told. Now why is it a problem for me to use the stationary computer? Well I just really don’t like using the stationary PC since it’s so noisy and produces lots of heat. I have solved these issues by moving the PC out of the room when I use it and closing the door. Then I have some extension cords that go from the computer to my room. I use those cords to connect things like the mouse, keyboard etc. I still don’t really like using it though. 

söndag 4 juni 2017

Almost, forgot, posting

Almost forgot to make a post today. I haven’t made a whole lot of progress in regards of programming really. I also guess I may need to loosen a bit on the “one post a day” thingy. I must have like at least some time in the week when I can rest and stuff. I’d also like for people to comment if they read this blog. That would provide me with feedback as well as possibly ideas about things to write about.

Hmm… What should I write… I like video games… Oh yeah, I used to play a lot of Civilization 3 back in the day. It is a strategy game, which is like a board game but way too advanced to be an actual board game. This game is like the ultimate proof that computers can enable us to create super mega board games that wouldn’t ever be possible to have with a physical cardboard and a pair of dices. You start a normal game in Civilization 3 by just having a settler. You can use the settler to found a city and then your so-called turn is up. This is a turned-based game which means that you and your enemies have a restricted set of possible moves or modifications that you can do during one turn. When you have decided that you are finished you must register that into the game and await the following turn that enables you to continue playing. It could be seen as when playing chess where each player makes one move and then waits for the other to do his move. However, as with another miracle of “computer board games”, is that when playing in multiplayer mode online you can have so called simultaneous turns. Which means that every player (up to 8 in this case) makes their move at the same time! Imagine playing monopoly and having everyone throwing a dice and buying and selling streets at the same time. It gets too messy to even imagine it. I guess that is just one more thing to add to the list that inspires me to program and create games.

To continue with the gameplay; after you found a city you can research technologies. These technologies give you numerous benefits, like stronger army units, enabling building stuff in your cities as well as government types. You can use your city to build army units which are needed to explore the map and defend against barbarians. You can also build more settlers if you have enough citizens or workers to make improvements in the area around your city. And you can build stuff that give various bonuses like barracks, that gives new army units one extra health. Some buildings cost you tax however. And it’s not only buildings that cost money; army units, research and corruption are also things that add up to a pile of money which you will need to find a way to pay for as you play. And you better have all those things if you want to stay competitive with the other players (you don’t want corruption of course, but it will cost you to hold corruption down).

When you have chosen to research something you can start exploring the map, negotiate deals with other civilizations Donald Trump style, build new cities, attack other players etc. There is also a limited amount of both strategic recourses as well as “luxury goods”. The strategic recourses have various importance throughout the game. I.e. iron, oil, aluminium, uranium, horses are such recourses. Iron is important throughout the entire game and if you don’t have it you’d better attack whoever has it like a crazy orangutan as soon as possible or you will be at a major setback. Luxury goods keeps your citizens happy, which prevents riots.

When I first started playing this game I didn’t understand English. I can’t really say that it taught me much English either, but I did enjoy it. I did eventually learn English and then the game started to make much more sense. One thing that I didn’t learn until a long period of time is about the government type that you start with, despotism. It really limits how much your cities can produce in terms of food and money. So, to sum up, get rid of despotism as soon as possible. What I ‘liked’ about despotism was that you can sacrifice citizens to hurry a production in a city. That can be beneficial during wars, but now that I know how much despotisms limits you it is not worth it. Unless you play with a peculiar game style involving spamming as many cities as you can and mass-producing army units.

lördag 3 juni 2017


Some issues in the game that I will have to solve are how to make the player unit interact with the game world. In Such a way that he can stand on blocks, climb ladders etc. The world entities aren’t even connected to each other yet. But that’s not the main issue. On one hand I will need to draw the player to the screen by using coordinates somewhere between (0,0) to the corresponding width and height. On the other hand I want the player to interact with the game world by using a separate set of coordinates. Depending on where the player is within the game he will also have to be able to interact with the world, which means that the array grids that now are used as maps also have to know their own coordinates somehow. This has gotten a bit messy quickly. As always when writing code, there is no right way of doing it, only ‘less worse’.

A possible solution for this is to create a class that stores a map, which is an array grid of numbers, and the corresponding drawable texture for it. Besides this, the class should also have its own starting coordinates representing where this map piece is in the world. In other words, it could have a coordinate for its upper-left corner (if anything here sounds stupid it is because I made this up as I wrote it). I already know that a map will always have a width of 20x20 and height of 15x20. To display these maps on the screen I simply scale up the drawable images that I generate for them. By first loading the grids from text-files and then draw to an image in the code 20x20 blocks representing each number of the grid. So anyway, a map coordinate will go from an unknown value, (x,y), to (x+20x20,y+15x20). Likely I will need to initialize a starting position for a map and then write a function that calculates the other connected maps coordinates which are in the same world. The question that comes from this is how I will determine in what map the player is currently in. I should always easily have the players coordinates available by looking in the “entity class” that I have made for the player, but what I fear is that I might have to loop through all map classes for a world in order to find in which of them the player is in. I need a smart way of organizing the map classes in perhaps an array of some sort so that I can always instantly know where the player is at, instead of doing something that takes a linear time, O(n). The big O notation is used to discuss theoretical speeds of algorithms. For instance, if there were a million map classes and the algorithm to find the player was O(n) there is a possibility that the program needs to run one million times all the time as you’d play the game.

I need to know that if I divide the player coordinates x with the map width (20x20=400) and y with the map height (20x15=300), that I always will get the corresponding number for the map inside of a 2D array, containing all the map pieces. If you didn’t know, you don’t get any decimals when dividing two “integers” programmatically.

After I have solved the problems mentioned above, I also will have to correctly draw the player to the screen, possibly by subtracting its current coordinates with its present map coordinates. But then the problem arises, what if the map coordinate is negative? Do I instead add the players coordinates with the maps coordinates? Most likely not.  Also, I will need to draw the map it is currently in on the right location of the screen as well as neighboring maps if certain conditions are met. “The right way” to position a map on the screen may entirely depend on how far to one side the player is. I.e. if he is by the edge of the map I may need to only display half of the map.

fredag 2 juni 2017

More Code

Writing a blog is like sharing a private diary with the entire world, but whatever, here goes. I feel like I did too little progress yesterday. I already had previously made spaghetti code from a bad game engine I was working on earlier. So I re-wrote a little bit in that engine and made it so that it created text files with a 20x15 array grid of numbers. I intend to use these text files for generating the gameplay maps.

If you wonder how a "map" text file look like, here’s a picture:

1 means brick wall.
0 means empty space.
2 means ladder.

This is one example of a map that I now easily can produce with my game engine.
If you wonder what U,D,L,R means, it is like so that I plan to connect these maps to other maps so I can have one big map of maps as one level, the letters will indicate what neighboring map is up (U), down (D), left (L), right (R). I'm not entirely sure how I will decide to implement this in my final solution but this is how it looks like now.

When I have made games in the past, I have mostly used the Model-View-Controller pattern. But after reading a book giving tips of game design patterns by Bob Nystrom I noticed that he didn’t seem to use that pattern. I can attest that MVC simplifies a lot when making many type of games. But as I started to suspect, real game developers don't always use this pattern. In the book I noticed that Bob Nystrom, some guy who has worked with game development for 8 years didn’t mention MVC at all. Contrary, he showed code examples breaking the holy laws of MVC... So now I try to act like the professionals by not entirely using MVC in my game. I’m not sure if this is going to be beneficial in the long run but it already feels quite different. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the worse.

The rationale behind not using MVC is that the logic in game is much higher coupled to what happens in the view. I guess this ought to be true in some cases. However, I have decided to cheat; I am not going to use MVC in my game, but I will pretend that I am using the pattern as much as possible. Unless I get to cases where I may need to break MVC in order to follow in Bobs footsteps, I will try not to. 

torsdag 1 juni 2017

One Post A Day

Okay, I have realised that if I am to have someone reading this blog I will need to make new posts continuously. So I have decided to try on the idea of writing at least one blog post per day. So make sure to check on to this blog pretty often from now on.

What am I doing now? As Ive said in an earlier post Im working on a platformer game mainly for PC, but I might port it to android if I managed to produce something playable. I think my biggest challange as for the moment is how to create a decent game engine. I plan to divide the game map into squares with the ratio 4:3. These squares will contain 20x20 pixel blocks, 15 from top to bottom and 20 from side to side. The game camera will be able to scroll the map from side to side by letting each "big map square" know which neighbours it has; up, down, left and right by using pointers. A map square will also contain a set of units belonging only to that square. That way I wont have to spend CPU time to process all the units in the game all the time, just those in the current square that the player is in and its neighbouring squares.

The challange however is to make a way to store information about each map square in a text file and to create an engine that will enable me to create fun maps and that lets me easily adjust which the neighboring maps are as well as if its a "dead end", AI unit positions, which the type of units are in the map and most importantly lets me create 20x20 pixel blocks that units can stand on top of, or if they are dangerous (like spikes) get killed by...

So thats it for now.

onsdag 31 maj 2017

New Website

I have started a new website called "Fullrune.com". On this website I intend to list new games that I have created. As for today I have only released two games which both are for Android. I plan to create a platformer game for PC which I am currently working on.

The first Android game is called "Nine Men's Morris" and is a classic boardgame. I have to be honest in that I didnt create it 100% by myself. The game was originally for an assignment in school that I did togheter with another person. However the game turned out to be okey enough for a real world-market release so eventually I got an Google Developer account and uploaded it. The stuff that I didnt work on in that game was the game logic.

The other Android game is called "Area Shifter". There is trailer for the game here. In the game you are supposed to transform as much area as possible by surrounding it with lines. The lines are created like in the classic game called "Snake" with the slight difference that the lines never go away unless you fail to cover an area. While you do that you must not collide with your unfinished lines and you must not collide with evil enemy balls or let them collide with your lines. I didnt come up with this game idea by myself; I played a game like this way back on a 90s (I think) cellphone. Ever since I havent seen a game like the one I played on the cellphone so I really wanted to bring it back for the world to see (and perhaps even make some money while doing so). Ironically I still think the pixely 90s version of "Area Shifter" is much better lol.