Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Three Words

For some reason I find video editing very engrossing. I planned to spend an hour working on MoG and then deal with some outstanding emails. Now suddenly it's over four hours later and MoG is nearly done. At least it will be done for tomorrow now but I'll have to be up late to finish dealing with my mail! This month I've got a bit of a theme. I don't think I actually mentioned it on here but I recently started replaying Fallout 3 to help get in the mood for Fallout: New Vegas. There are three words at the beginning of the opening narration in all the Fallout games that inspired me to the theme. I even let it influence the choices of games to play this month. More on all that tomorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Completed: StarCraft II

Well completed the single player campaign anyway. Obviously there is a lot more to StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty than the story campaign but having completed the story it feels like the right time for a more detailed review.

The Campaign
The story mode of an RTS game always feels different to the basic verses mode as story brings objectives, characters, troop restrictions, time limits and things like that. In StarCraft II I found the campaign to be lots of fun. The missions where challenging enough (on medium setting) but not so hard they became frustrating. There is always at least one mission when you have a fixed number of troops and no base to build more so you have to be careful. Those kind of RTS mission nearly always get on my nerves. StarCraft II had 3-4 of those but I didn't mind this time, they were well structured and provided reinforcements at reasonable intervals. The story itself is admittedly fairly basic, tough guy rebels against fascist government and rescues girl from aliens, but it's extremely well presented. The only downside is the fact that Blizzard have split the campaign in to three separate games so we only get the Terran side of the story for now and have to wait for the Zerg and the Protoss. Part 2 StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm featuring the Zerg doesn't have a release date yet!

The cinematic scenes telling the story between each mission are all top quality. Apparently some are pre-rendered videos while others are rendered real-time in the engine. I have to say that if that's the case I never noticed any difference (with graphics setting mostly maxed). Great shots, good voice acting and excellent music tied it all together nicely. I think I still prefer Command & Conquer's FMV approach but this would come a close second. Also good was the spaceship hub from which you choose your mission. Making it not entirely linear allow replays to be more fun. Now of course it's not as complex as a full RPG but there are a decent number of choices.

It might be that I played them the most in the original (I don't really remember) but the Terrans feel the least changed to me. All the units I remember from the original are still there and most still look extremely similar (except higher res!). Still I have to resist the urge to turtle with them until I have a fleet of Battlecruisers or a bunch of Thors.

The Zerg to me have always been the most complicated race to play. I guess it's a bit of a cheese tactic now but I've always been a fan of the 'Zerg Rush' despite the fact I can rarely pull it off correctly and not leave myself totally undefended. With them not being playable in the campaign they're the race I've played the least of so far, I don't recall having even built an Ultralisk yet. I have built plenty of Zerglings though!

I'm sure the majority of people out there will agree that the Protoss are all about air superiority. While it can be fun sometimes to surprise someone with a bunch of Colossi and Archons, usually a fleet of Void Rays and Carriers is the way to victory. When playing verses matches I usually choose 'Random' for race but so far it feels like I ended up Protoss the most and I've really enjoyed playing them so far.

Now the next step for me will be to start playing in the leagues. As I've mentioned before I've played some 2v2 in the practice league and didn't do too badly, but now I'm planning to join the 1v1 league and get an official placing. I bet I end up in the bronze league, though I guess that will depend on my opponents, I might get silver. I'll have to clear an evening for that soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Live on DVD

I'm not quite sure how it happened but I seem to have bought a lot of live concerts on DVD and BD recently. I guess it started with Maiden's Flight 666 but since then I've bought Annihilator, Nightwish and two old Maiden ones: The Early Years & Live After Death. Finally there's three new ones from Slayer on DVD (which were only on VHS before) and there are more on my Amazon wishlist!. I've just been watching War At The Warfield while doing some work. It's an excellent show. I've seen Slayer live a few times but never as the headline act, it's always been as support or in a larger festival bill. I'll have to fix that one day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Music for Mog

I've been looking for some ideas for some music for my next video. I was looking for something a bit faster and a bit more metal than I've used in previous months. All the music I've used so far has been from the same site and I've pretty much browsed though everything instrumental that has been posted (this year at least). However I found another interesting site, this one called Jamendo, which seems to have a good selection. Time to listen to some new tunes!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What To Watch

With 24, Lost & Heroes all ended or cancelled I'm looking for new shows to fill those gaps as the new TV season starts up over the next few weeks. However the worry of early cancellation hangs heavily over all the new shows these days. So many times now have shows I've been following ended abruptly. Angel, Firefly, Deadwood, The 4400, Drive, Heroes, Dollhouse all gone before their time and that's just what immediately comes to mind, I'm sure there are more. That's starting to make me wary of investing in a show from day one now. Unfortunately of the new shows premiering this season nothing has really grabbed my interest yet, other than perhaps the new version of Nikita. This has led to start looking at shows that are not new but that I've not seen yet, in particular Warehouse 13. I've been half following this show for a while trying to decide if I should be watching it or not. It first got my attention because Jane Espenson was on the writing team, but any of the reviews I read only seemed to rate it as average. I got the impression it was another cheap SyFy series that wouldn't last very long. However now it's in season 2, getting great reviews and has been renewed for season 3. It's sounding like something I should be watching again, but I still have that worry in the back of my head, will it last?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Bioware DLC

Coming on September 7th are two new DLC add-ons for two of my favorite games. First is Witch Hunt which will be the final add-on for Dragon Age: Origins before Dragon Age II comes out. It will conclude the biggest hanging plot line left from the main game and I'm definitely looking forward to it. I still need to play two of the other DLC stories, Leliana's Song and Golems of Amgarrak so I think next month's gaming will be heavy on Dragon Age.

The second one, coming out on the same day is Lair of the Shadowbroker for Mass Effect 2. This is a storyline I wasn't expecting to visit again until Mass Effect 3 but I'm just as glad to have it now instead. That will hopefully mean that Liara's story will leave her free to join the team again in ME3 rather than being tied up in her Shadowbroker investigations anymore. I've got an unfinished second play though that's in the perfect place to install this add-on. September is going to be a busy Bioware month!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Impressions: Worms Reloaded

This game has been a long time coming, I just looked at my CD for Worms: Armageddon and it says ©1998 on it! That was the last proper Worms game in my opinion. There have been numerous attempts to revive the franchise over the years, either in 3D or on consoles but they've never been anywhere as good as the originals. Now finally Worms is back home on PC and in 2D. I've only played for about an hour so far but it's been awesome. It's got the look and feel and of Armageddon era only updated to a higher resolution so it looks great. The sounds and voices are still great too, I suspect some of them may simply be copies of the originals rather the new recordings. It's got the humour, it's got the fun, it's got the same play style and now it's got online multiplayer, leaderboards and achievements too, it's a great package. Oh and you can also make your Worms wear hats! I decided on a nice velvet top hat for my team although I have to admit I nearly went with a Fez because we know Fez's are cool!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Didn't work as planned

I had planned to do a full StarCraft II review today after completing the single player campaign. I knew I was up to the final mission and thought I would play it last night. I did attempt the mission but failed to finish it, twice! It's not the first mission I've failed the first attempt at but it was probably the most frustrating. Guard the artifact against waves of Zerg while waiting for it to charge, I got to 97% the second time! That will have to wait for another day now. So close!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Same As Sunday

Busy busy, not enough time etc. I should be more organized. When I started doing this I posted mostly around tea time but since then it's got later and later to the point when I'm not leaving myself enough time. I must do something about that! Fresh start tomorrow (maybe), for now I'm just going to go and play StarCraft.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Work

Ah the joys of working on Sunday have kept me busy for most of the day and left me with no time to think about what to write today. Well I suppose there are a couple of things I have in mind but there's not enough time to do them justice before my midnight deadline. So they'll have to wait for another day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More StarCraft

Although this time not StarCraft 2 but StarCraft: The Board Game which is based on the original version of the game. It's a long and complicated game to play but still lots of fun. Had a game this afternoon, but did not win. Have plans for some more multiplayer of SC2 tomorrow as well.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's A Kind Of Magic

It's actually been a while since I last played the Duels Of The Planeswalkers computer game. The last of the AI battles in the campaign was being annoyingly frustrating and I expect I'd loose badly if I played online with random people. So I guess I'd moved on from it already. However a couple of days ago there was an offer which popped up on Steam, "Register your game and get some free (real not digital) cards". Sure it was just a scheme to get you to give Wizards Of The Coast your email address and to get you hooked on the card game, but it worked damnit! I took my voucher to the comic shop and got my free cards as well as buying a starter pack too. I am now a proper Magic card owning geek!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Final Frontier

I've only listened to it a couple of times so far but I'm really enjoying the new Iron Maiden album. Something about it makes me want to come back to it again, much more than A Matter Of Life And Death ever did. I've been trying to decide what my favorite track is, I'm still not sure but I think it might be The Man Who Would Be King. It's definitely odd that they released El Dorado as the single, that's nowhere near the best track. However there isn't really an obvious single choice on there. The songs are all long and varied, there is no short and fast one. Nothing like Wildest Dreams or The Wicker Man. I recommend it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


New trailer for Dragon Age 2! I'm still a little concerned about how different this seems to be from the first game, but taken on it's own I expect it will be good as is usual for Bioware games. Trailer looks great though and now we have a release date.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SC2 Multiplayer & Maps

A couple of nights ago a friend and I decided to see how we would fair as a team in the StarCraft II 2v2 league. Playing against humans rather than AI is very different (as humans are less predictable) and it's a highly competitive world. However to our pleasant surprise we were not completely trounced and even won some games. Admittedly that was only the practice league and we're not ranked yet but it gave us hope that we could be in the future! I doubt we'll be able to get in to the Diamond league but we might manage a decent place in Silver or Gold.

Also for the first time yesterday I had a look at the Map Editing software for the game. There are some parts of it that seem a little unintuitive but it can't be that bad if that's what Blizzard made the game with. I probably just need some more time with it to get used to it. I've seen some complaints that the in-game system for playing custom maps is not particularly good, but hopefully they'll have patched that before I finish anything.

View my StarCraft II profile: http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/468115/1/Slayster/matches

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toy Story 3

I'm a bit late to this as it's been out nearly a month now but I went to see Toy Story 3 (in 3D) yesterday evening. It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since the first film was released. Pixar have have a pretty successful journey over that time. I've seen nearly all their films and enjoyed them. Toy Story 3 was no exception. Fun and exciting right from the start all the way to the end with some really emotional moments along the way (which I won't spoil). My favorite from Pixar is still Wall-e but Toy Story 3 rates very high (it is a tough choice between it, Up and Nemo though).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scar Night

Alan Campbell is a relatively new author and Scar Night is his first published work. I really enjoyed reading it a lot. The first half of the book largely serves as an introduction to the world and the denizens of Deepgate. We learn about physical and political structure and meet a number of key people. It is not until much later that the main plot starts to emerge. That is not a bad thing, the world is described in vivid detail while making you understand and feel at home in a city hanging by chains over an abyss. I personally have never read anything quite like it, though I'm sure someone out there could come up with examples. The character of Dill starts out as the one you'd expect to be the hero but that turns out not to be the case. Perhaps he will come in to his own in the next book, but here once the plot started moving he was overshadowed by Rachel and Carnival. I'm not even sure why now but I instantly liked Rachel when she was introduced. I'll have to go back one day and figure it out. Something about her forthright yet modest nature clicked with me, something that's never happened to me before so quickly. If there is anything to complain about it would probably be the ending. While it does have a good ending it's not really a conclusion. Obviously Campbell has had more than one story planned for this universe for a while but that gives the final chapter an 'end of part one' feeling. There are two more volumes in The Deepgate Codex waiting for me to read, I don't know if there are any plans for more. Iron Angel is next and I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Call of the Wasteland

It's one of those days where I'm finishing work late and don't have a specific topic to post about about, so I'll be short and sweet. In addition to Starcraft II of course I've also been replaying Fallout 3 recently. I'm going to go any play that now. Ooh except I see Mr Joss Whedon made one of his rare posts on the internet. I'll read that first! Purple prose -> http://whedonesque.com/comments/24608

Friday, August 13, 2010

Over 700,000

721,000 to be more accurate. That's how many copies Starcraft II sold in the US during its first two days on sale. Apparently it was over 1.5 million worldwide and they're expecting it to reach 6.5 million by the end of the year. It's not the biggest selling game ever but that's very good for an RTS which has never been the most popular type of game. I've been trying to decide if it's my favorite RTS ever. I think that for now, while it's still fresh, that it is. We'll have to wait a bit longer to see if it's got the longevity that classics like the original Starcraft, Warcraft III or Age of Mythology had. Hopefully I'll have to time to play more this weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I remember always enjoying the Superman films but it's been ages since I've seen any of them. I've had this big DVD box for a while but never got around to watching until now. It has 13 discs including two versions of Superman I and two versions of Superman II along with Superman III, IV, Superman Returns and on top of that 6 discs of bonus features. Where do you start with a set like that? Well I figured I'd start with the original theatrical versions and watched Superman: The Movie last night followed by Superman II this evening. There was a lot in the first film that I actually didn't remember whereas the opposite was true for Superman II so I guess it must have been the second one I saw most when I was young. Like many older films there are some fairly dodgy visual effects which get shown up in extra detail on DVD but for the most part it doesn't spoil the enjoyment. Now my question is do I watch the Richard Donner cut of Superman II next, which I have never seen, or move on to Superman III and come back to that later? I suppose I'll get through them all in the end anyway, I might even manage it before Smallville season 10 starts!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So today I'm seeing rumours that Duke Nukem: Forever is still refusing to die. In development since 1997 this game has become one of the gaming industry's biggest jokes. We all thought the project was finally dead after the developers 3D Realms went bankrupt in 2009 but after a series of lawsuits it seems publishers Take Two now own the rights to the name and are shopping it to other developers, today's rumours saying Gearbox will take over. Whether any of this is true is any one's guess. The length of DNF's development is now being compared to all sorts of crazy facts such as: When it was announced in 1997 Google, eBay, and the term "weblog" didn't exist or during it's development the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and five James Bond films were filmed and released or that Bill Clinton was still president when it was announced. Of course as a Brit that should say John Major was still Prime Minister! If the game ever does get finished and released I don't see how it could ever live up to the hype anymore, they really should just let it go. It'll never make enough sales to be profitable after 13 years development although it might make a record for most pirated game ever!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Maybe Tomorrow

Too many distractions from work and other things today along with a lack of inspiration for topics which means I have nothing interesting to write today. :(

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Very Late Post

Not paying enough attention to the time today! Will think of something more interesting to post tomorrow.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Worms Reloaded

Yay for the return or Worms! In 2D form! I pre-ordered this a couple of days ago so I'll get my exclusive in-game hats! LOL. Worms was a great old game which never really worked when they tried to do it in 3D. It's good to see it back and on PC. Now with the Steam multi player system it should have a nice new & long life. Only a couple of weeks to go till it out but there's still plenty of Starcraft to keep me busy until then.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


What would we do without IMDb? Answers to all film and TV related questions! That is of course if you know at least someone who is in it anyway. Not a week goes by when I don't go there and look up something. Yay for IMDb!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I had something in mind to post earlier, but I've completely forgotten what it was now! There was a link I found on a website I was planning to talk about I think. I can't find it now though, never mind. I did find out something interesting about the hits I was getting on the Moments of Gaming video that I mentioned. It turns out most of the hits were coming from searches for Eve Online not StarCraft II which is surprising!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Random Links

Torchlight 2
Coming in 2011 along with co-op multi player! Should be great unless Diablo 3 finally comes out before then (which it probably won't).

Fear Factory
After the gig in Sheffield their tour bus set on fire! Fortunately everybody is ok.
Full story here and Video here!
Also my photos from the gig here if you missed them.

166 Sunrises and Sunsets
Nice if you need a new wallpaper!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fear Factory Live

Off out this evening to see Fear Factory in concert. It's been years since I last saw them live but I have seen them twice before. Should be a good show.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Editing Choices

So far this month's Moments of Gaming has had quite a lot of views. It's not the most viewed episode yet, but the if current rate keeps up it will be by tomorrow. It too soon for the You Tube stats to have generated so I can see where the hits are coming from, but I'm guessing it's coming up in searches for Starcraft 2 as that's only a week old and still a hot topic in gaming circles.

One thing I decided to avoid this month was the 'character spin' shot. That's something I'd used more than once in all my previous videos, where I'd leave the player character in one spot and rotate the camera around them for a view of the scenery. When you're dealing games using a third person perspective with the camera always pointing the the character it can be hard to avoid. However I didn't want it to become 'my thing' so although I had recorded a few of those month I decided I wouldn't use them. I had plenty of other footage to use and I think it turned out well.

The music I chose this month started off quite a slow and quiet so I tried to mimic the build up in the visuals as well. I don't know if it's noticeable but the length of shots and the level of action in the shots is sort of building up along with the music. That means that nothing (other than a TV) gets killed until the 3:30 mark.

One first for this month, there was actually one game I had footage from but decided to leave out completely. The game was Wolfenstein 3D. The huge age difference between that and the other games makes it very different visually and as such it stands out a bit too much. Also I didn't have a lot of footage from the game so I decided it was best to just leave it out.

Thanks for watching, if all goes to plan I'll be playing some multi player Starcraft 2 with humans rather than AI this evening which I will of course record for August's MOG!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Moments of Gaming (July 2010)

Moments of Gaming for July 2010 is now complete. Of course there's been quite a lot of Starcraft 2 in the last few days, but the majority of the month was taken up with Dragon Age: Origins. I've tried to keep things more subtle this month with a basic cutting style and less added transitions and video effects. I'll talk about that later but, if you're going to, you should watch the video first. If I explain it first you'll be looking for what I mentioned rather than simply enjoying the video. So watch the video and I'll be back tomorrow with further comments. You can now view Moments of Gaming (July 2010) here:

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Short post as I'm short on time. I thought I'd be doing some video editing about now but instead one the servers I administer has stopped responding, so now I have to figure out why. Hopefully it's an issue at the data centre which means it's not my job to fix! :D Though I'll still have to deal with customer questions. :(