Random, et Al

29 06 2009

I’m still wound up in Prototype ( which should explain the brain damaged post that is this ) and the TES Construction Set while trying to watch State of Play. It just isn’t working ( easily compared to this pitiable attempt to keep myself eschewing this blog as well ). In any case, here’s some of the notable events that has happened since my last post :

  • Unlocked a lot of new combat moves and powers in Prototype
  • Started working on a new mod, stopped short of a release with a cameo of an annoying bug
  • Found out that a very small amount of Japanese Oblivion players use one of my mods
  • Michael Jackson died of a cardiac arrest
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen grossed $200 million in the box office in it’s first week, paying no regard to the reviews it received
  • Public Enemies was induced into the IMDB Top 250 list before it’s official release
  • I managed to update my collection of music by The Corrs
  • Updated AudioSurf and was made Pro Champion of a few obscure ( according to AS ) songs
  • Improved my standing in the field of Quantum Mechanics
  • Watched The Insider

That about sums it up, give or take. I’ll let Calvin have his say before the last three minutes.

An Opportunity

An Opportunity

Smart kid, eh ?


E3 2009 Day 1 – The Story so Far

3 06 2009

E3’s finally here and I get to see the action ! Not on the spot though, but through GameSpot’s E3 Live Channel. It’s terribly exciting  and palpably so, even at a distance of seven thousand eight hundred nautical miles. Granted, this is my first insight into the events that happen during this time of the year at the LA Convention Center, but anyone who follows the gaming industry ( or plays games at the very least ) would and should be just as excited about this annual event. For the unborn, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual event where game developers and other heavy weights in the entertainment arena  show-off their upcoming games and technologies. This year’s event, unlike the previous year’s, is open to the public. So pop your head in if you can. And while you are at it, take a good look at the exhibitions – There happen to be some really good items in this year’s show. Here are some of the items that were in the spotlight during the first day, it’s motif being “Motion”.

Sony unveiled the PSP GO’s official details ( which is an oxymoron considering it definitely wasn’t the best kept secret in this edition of E3 ). It just happens to be a smaller version of the original PSP with a few differences : No UMD drive ( it’s got 16GB of flash storage instead ) and a slightly bigger slide-up screen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sport a touch screen like the rumors suggested. It’s expected to arrive in the North American market by October the 1st, with a price tag of $249. The PS3 got it’s own motion controller which would let the console employ the dynamics and freshness of the aspect of physical movement in video games, that the Wii had heavily banked ( and reaped ) on. The game line up for the PS3 and PSP was also improved upon with titles like Gran Turismo and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,  God of War 3 and Modnation Racers for the PS3.

Microsoft’s press conference had a lot of things going for it. It started off with the company reveling the New Xbox Live Experience, which brought in a new dashboard, Netflix streaming and Live avatars. Next came news of Final Fantasy XIII coming to the XboX, and the PS3 release subsequently being put off until both[versions] could be released simultaneously. The rumors about Metal Gear Solid 4 being ported to the XboX 360 was confirmed by Hideo Kojima. The new game, titled Metal Gear Rising, will not be featuring Solid Snake. Microsoft also unveiled a motion-sensing camera and revealed news on quite a few upcoming titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Halo Reach, Forza 3, Alan Wake, etc. Nintendo mostly kicked off with news on some of the new titles in it’s console’s game lineup; some of which being  C.O.P.: The Recruit, New Super Mario Bros and Wii Fit Plus. Ubisoft‘s President and CEO Yves Guillemot, talked about the company’s foray into the visual effects arena ( which was heralded by it’s purchase of Hybride, the French-Canadian digital arts studio behind the movies 300 and Watchmen ) and uPlay. James Cameron alos showed up and talked about his collaboration with Ubisoft and the game-adaptation of Avatar, which was being developed by the company.



News about many exciting titles were revealed as well. Crysis 2 got a teaser-trailer, Assassin’s Creed 2 had some gameplay mechanics revealed. Ubisoft also revealed demo gameplay footage from the latest installment in the Splinter Cell series, Splinter Cell Conviction. Remedy showed off some of Alan Wake’s gorgeous lighting effects with their demo footage. A gameplay demo of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 showed an setting where the player actually gets to do some rock climbing. Left 4 Dead 2 was given a release date ( November the 17th ) and Bioware turned quite a few heads with their demos of Mass Effect 2, the sequl to the original game, and Dragon Age : Origins, an action RPG set in a fantasy world.

For a complete list of the events and news that happened/revealed during the first day, take a look at GameSpot’s E3 Day 1 Wrap-Up. Stay tune for Day 2.

Yves Guillemot

The Half Life, Death and Resurrection of one Gordon Frohman

27 05 2009

February 15-ish – That was the fateful day. It wasn’t raining though. I was aimlessly wandering through the jungle when I stumbled upon a site featuring an article about machinima. It was there, innocently sandwiched between two links( both of which pointed to an obscure corner of the web ). I had no idea what it was then – The only reason I’d clicked on that link was because it had something to do with Half-Life ². I hadn’t a clue as to how that particular action was going to affect my outlook on the game ( or machinima for that matter ). 5 minutes later, I was laughing my head off – 3 pages into the comic.

For those who are still reading this, Concerned is a webcomic by Christopher C. Livingston based on the award-winning game, Half Life ² ( the sequel to the genre-redefining Half Life ). Not strictly( using the word at it’s broadest sense ) following the game’s story line, the comic follows the exploits and (mis)deeds of a resident, Gordon Frohman, in the Half Life ² universe, from how he’s always being confused with Gordon Freeman and his attempts to get himself a combine-reconstructive surgery, to his mostly-failed attempt at saving Dr.Breen from the real Froh, er… Freeman. The author has done an excellent job at bringing out the humor veiled deeply inside the HL² universe – Some thing I never thought existed.

The comic mostly a parody, albeit an Affectionate one, of the game. It pulls apart the story, pokes at the game’s flaws and has references to a number of funny things, like the hype caused by HDR added to Lost Coast and the monopoly of Steam. Frohman’s dumbness is only seconded by Chris’ sense of humor – However proportionate they might be. Anyone who’s played the game will have a great time reading through the 205-page 6-paneled bundle of joy.

Unfortunately, as we know, no good deed ever goes unpunished – One must be warned of the consequences of reading the cute little thing. Lose of interest in your own universe is the primary, while the auxiliaries would be a sharp pain in the abdomen due to excessive laughter, the failure-to-stop-re-reading-the-comic syndrome and spoiler-content if you are one of those creatures living under a rock.

Even though the original comic has an ending, a spin-off series has popped up. I haven’t checked it out meself ( found about it only today ! ), but it looks good. Apparently, it continues poor Frohman’s (mis)adventures after his death – With a few sizzling  gypsies thrown in 😛 – and continues the comic into Episode 1. The new series is being created by Norman N. Black, who seems to have wit comparable to Christopher’s.

Concerned : Gordon Frohman

Concerned : Gordon Frohman

For the technically oriented, the comic was created from screenshots taken from inside the game, as it is in machinima. Character and object posing was done using Garry’s Mod, a very good modification for Half Life ².

This is by no means the only good webcomic based on the Half Life series – PHWOnline hosts a large number of high-quality comics. It’s catalog is much more diverse, offering comics from different genres( yes, they exist even in comics ).

So what’s the verdict, you ask ? It’s pretty obvious, I say – Be a good boy/girl/man/lady/creature, visit the website, skip breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner/supper/the midnight snack and start reading, whether you’ve played the game or not. Here’s to Frohman’s long life .

A Concerned Citizen

Concerned : The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman

Concerned 2: A Concerned Rip-Off-The Continuing Adventures of Gordon Frohman