Archive for June, 2012

So, hope you all enjoyed episode one of my little experiment here.  I really need to get some screenshots next time I log in.  Anyway, here is episode two of this writing exercise.  I hope it gets you in the mood for some zombie stomping.  So far I’ve had much more luck, since I’ve had time to learn the game and get my bearings.  I’m still struggling with some controls and tactics but that’s to be expected.  Arma II is a complicated game by itself.  So, without further ado, here’s the next episode:

End of DayZ Journal:  Callsign XamotDB

Incarnation 02, Day 01 (again?)

It was all a dream – the run through the quiet neighborhood, finding weapons, the farmhouse, all of it.  I woke up on the rooftop again – walkers all around.

One of them found the roof – I climbed down and ran for the woods – too many, I stumbled, fell, they were on me…

Approximate survival time @ 1 hour

Incarnation 03, Day 01

Ran for the hills after climbing out of the sea.  Been told there are walkers looking for other survivors – didn’t see anyone.

Saw some buildings through the trees.  Moved closer – started hearing them – walkers and a hopper.  Moved away quickly – no weapons.  Headed down the hill looking for landmarks.  Have to stop and rest, more later.

Day 02

Getting lost heading too far inland – didn’t know whether I had come in on the south or east coast.  Turned around and retraced my steps back down the hill – found the coast with a parallel road and tracks.  Looking at the morning sun over the ocean, I knew I was on the east coast – turned south on the road – walked until the road turned west.

Wasn’t long before I found another survivor limping along the road.  Helped him toward a town.  Approached docks on the beach.  Had to crawl, then swim, too many of them.  A hopper came close, didn’t see me laying near submerged in the sea.  Moved on when he wandered back.

Made it to docks in Kamyshovo – warehouse but no supplies – many walkers – stranger calls himself Saber – ex-military too?

Stuck on the docks – no supplies or weapons.  Only option – swim around.  Water is cold.  Made it into the hills.  Found a deer stand – need sleep – near dark.  We camp away from the stand – will search for supplies tomorrow.

Day 03

Morning – searched the nearby tree stand again – nothing.  We moved on.  Too close to town and no means of defense so we headed north into the hills.  Have to be more tree sands or a farm house.

Moved north with Saber – saw a barn east of a small town – no zeds in sight.  Saber moved west to the town to check for survivors or supplies.  Found some supplies in the barn and a survivor – sleeping.  Tense but no hostilities.  Saber came from town – followed by three walkers – put them down but I took a wound – out of bandages.

Left the barn and crossed field – deer stand in distance.  Unnamed survivor shot at walkers while I moved around field – Saber held back.  We let zeds chase the stranger – too many – nothing we could do.  Didn’t see him again.  Deer stand was empty – moved on to the next.  Saber missing.

Next deer stand is empty except for an entrenching tool, need to find bandages, blood, something.  Move south – have to find supplies.  All around zombies, no buildings are clear.  Vision blurry.  Cherno is close – maybe help…did I pass out?  Can’t go much further…

Approximate survival time @ 5.5 hours

Incarnation 04, Day 01

Salt water still clinging to my clothes – east beach?  Walkers too close – I can see docks so I run – they chase.  Just made it.  Something about the concrete docks – they won’t step on them.  Where am I?  A sign – Cherno.  I’ve made it.

There’s a church close – doors are open.  I lay and wait – the walkers will lose interest if I don’t move.  I wait.  Finally they are gone – I can go in.  Moving quick – but quiet – into the church.  There’s too much to take at once.  Gather what I can and get back to the docks.  No way I’m going to sleep but I need rest – eat a bit – have some water.

Day 02

Daylight – no walkers close but someone’s shooting.  Moved quick to search the church again – more ammo, canteen – two handguns.  Shots are closer – time to move.

Rush the docks – east.  Whoever is shooting is distracting the walkers – might make it into the hills.

Got out of the city – could still hear the shots.  Nervous to pass the mass grave but none of the bodies got up.  Walked north east – crossed the road and tracks and headed for the treeline.  Kept walking until I found a tree stand, need something more powerful than these pistols.  Put down three walkers on the way – no supplies.  Need rest while it’s safe.

Day 03

Moved on – headed west.  Found an old radio broadcasting a message – someone named Cobra, near Cherno – looking for others.  Turned south after no luck with supplies and met him between Cherno and the airfield.  Decided to check the buildings south east of the airfield – too many walkers.  We tried to take them out but they kept coming.  Cobra was wounded – finally lost the last one in the woods and made for the docks in Cherno again.

Made it to the docks – lost the walkers.  Cobra and I looted a couple buildings – found an enfield and other supplies.  Now one can sleep while the other watches.

Still alive @ 3 hours

That’s all for now, need to play more to get more stories.  Will post when I have more to tell.

This is one I’ve seen going on for a while, and being a huge fan of the classic Robotech, I’m always surprised when people are so heated when they talk about hating it compared to the original version.  A little background for all the readers that aren’t in the know.  Macross is an anime series released in Japan in 1982 by Studio Nue, and later adapted in 1985 by Harmony Gold for release in the United States.  The U.S. version is called Robotech:  The Macross Saga.  The series is about an alien space craft, later dubbed the SDF-1, that crashes on Earth.  The realization that we are truly not alone causes the Earth’s countries to form a world government, which also sparks a long war.  Eventually the war is won, the spacecraft is rebuilt and adapted for human-sized crew (it is originally designed by giant aliens), and everyone goes to the island to celebrate the ship’s maiden voyage.  The real action starts when aliens that had been searching for the ship finally track it to Earth and seek to reclaim it.  The series is full of action, drama, romance, love and loss.  It touches on mature themes, not sex or graphic violence, but death, sacrifice, and dealing with fear.  Having watched the entire Robotech series I can safely say this classic will appeal to kids and adults alike, and is a fond memory of my childhood.

I have wanted to write this up for a while, but have yet to see the original Macross until recently.  After I did, my assertion that this debate is pointless is even more concrete.  Sadly I couldn’t get very far in the series.  It was the same as Robotech, for the most part, but I had some issue with the voice acting mainly.  Watching something more than once can be fun, I’ve rewatched plenty of series and movies, but rewatching something in a version that you find inferior is nearly impossible, even for research.  I know, shock and awe, I called Macross inferior.  It’s my opinion, and I’ll explain shortly.

Like I said, I watched the first few episodes of Macross and I couldn’t honestly get much further.  It’s not bad mind you, but to me it wasn’t as good as Robotech in enough places to make me want to sit through the entire series.  But, first the good.  I liked the music better in this series for the most part.  Some of the Robotech music had a tendency to be redundant and blaring, sometimes not fitting the scene it was placed in.  Robotech didn’t have bad music at all, but when I watched a couple of episodes of Macross I noticed that I liked the music there much better.  Other than that, what I liked about the series is the same as what I like about Robotech, because they are the same show.  The story is the same, animation and sound effects are the same.  I did notice that Robotech cut out little bits here and there, if I’m remembering correctly, and I imagine that was due to making it fit U.S. TV show formats at the time.  Nothing major mind you.

What didn’t I like about it?  Well, really the thing that made me turn it off and send my discs back to Netflix is the voice acting.  The casting of the english voices and the acting was awful in my opinion.  Here you have a story about a military organization fighting to save the world, and most of the characters sound and act like whiny teenagers, especially the hero Hikaru Ichijyo (Rick Hunter in Robotech), who sounds like he’s about thirteen.  Now, I watched the dubbed version I imagine, and I’m sure purists would recommend you watch the original format with subtitles, but then we are back to square one.  Watching the same series but reading dialogue instead of listening.  I just couldn’t get over this, having watched Robotech, where the voice acting was dramatic, adult, and very well done for a children’s animated series.

I can’t say the show is bad though.  It’s exactly like one of my favorite animes of all time.  There’s just a couple of things that make me like it a little less than Robotech, and therefore no reason for me to watch it all the way through.  I do intend to watch the rest of the movies and shows that come after if I can find them, and I will pray the voice acting is better.

Now, onto Robotech.  What can I say that hasn’t already been said.  I love this series.  It deals with the human experience of war, love and loss with the backdrop of impending world annihilation by an alien invasion force.  It doesn’t avoid difficult topics like fear and death, like many children’s series did at the time.  While it’s an anime series which is normally considered an adult market, this show was released in the U.S. at a time when animated shows were still for kids.

I have fond memories of watching this show on TV (yes I’m that old) with my mom and brother.  My mom, at the time, said she liked it as much as some of her day-time TV, which says something about the writing and direction of this series.  It is different, in little ways, from the original series, Macross.  Voice actors and the narrator are different.  Music is different, but the core of the show, the animation and the story are the same.  I bought the complete series on DVD some years ago, complete with all the extras and bonus material, and watched it through completely, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The series holds up well over time and with both of us having matured many years since last I saw it.

I’ve even taken to reading the books that were put out quite some time ago.  They are fun little reads, and I think would be good for adults and children alike.

Now, why is it pointless to debate which is better?  Because they are the same!  Sure, like me, you can have a reason why you like one over the other.  You can have an opinion on whether watching in its original form is more entertaining, but you can’t really lay down a definitive fact about which is better.  I’ve seen some of the dumbest, elitist, arguments about this and it just makes me shake my head.  One of them…well I’ve seen this more than once, but the one that really makes me want to choke kittens is, “The animation in Macross is so much better.”  WHAT?!  The animation cells are EXACTLY THE SAME!  The only difference I noticed in the show’s animation was some coloring, and I may be remembering this wrong on both accounts, and a few tiny cuts in the length of shows.  As far as the actual animation goes, there is no difference.  All in all, debating which is better is completely pointless.  Tell each other which one you like better and why, but for goodness sake, stop trying to prove that one is factually better than the other.

First off, don’t let the title fool you.  I love this mod, and am not ranting about it.  I’ll explain more in a sec.  Second, if you come here from the DayZ forums, make no mistake…you will not get away with the things here that you do there.  If you post here and it is abusive, profane, trolling, flaming, or downright immature I will delete it and block you without hesitation.  The DayZ guys may not care, that’s their call, but here we are open to all manner of readers, even my mother and maybe yours.  Keep that in mind when you post and don’t cry to me if you are a jerk and get booted.  As they say over on the forums, your tears will only strengthen me with their sweet, sweet sadness.

Again, love this mod.  The guys behind it…if you are reading this, keep up the good work and put more lotion on that thick skin.

That’s what I’m here to rant about…those forums.  Damn is that ever a cesspit of whiners, babies, children, trolls, and cyber tough guys.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lot of good people there too, but trying to sift through the garbage just to have a meaningful discussion is almost pointless.  So, going to lay down some stuff here for you guys.  Some of you will find it helpful, some of you will find it funny, and some of you won’t get it.  Either way, posting it on the forums over there would be a waste of time and maybe here it could help someone.

Let’s start with the juvenile fits about wasting money, and being disappointed, etc.  If you believed the hype without doing research on your own…if you listened to your friends tell you how awesome it is and shelled out money without even going to the site…if you bought Arma II, and got DayZ for FREE, knowing it was in alpha stage, and are crying about getting ripped off then you only have yourself to blame.  It’s $30 firkin dollars to get into this mod, and you get a fully functional shooter and the expansion for that price.  You don’t pay a dime to get DayZ itself, nor to play on its servers.  If you shelled out money on the word of some strangers, or a friend, without even looking to see what you were getting into and realizing it was an alpha stage mod, then you need to go outside right now and hit yourself with a stick.  This mod is rough people, it’s not polished, it’s buggy, it’s broken, all of that, but it can still be fun.  DO NOT get into it thinking you are getting a fully realized game.

Next you got the geniuses talking about how impossible it is now, no guns to start, zombies are harder, everything’s harder, waaaaaaa…mommy!  First of all, get a dictionary for me.  Go on, go get one.  Got one?  Ok, look up impossible.  Did you look it up?  It’s a definitive word right?  It means pretty much what we all know it means.  It doesn’t mean hard, or nearly impossible, or so difficult you want to scratch your eyeballs out of your head in frustration…it means impossible, cannot be done.  Now that we have established that, let’s look at some facts.  I, myself, have managed to stay alive for nearly  6 hours, with no gun.  That right there is all we need to disprove the theory that the game is impossible.  If that’s not enough for you, look at the number of people still alive, it’s right on their site.  So, if you say it’s impossible, but other people are doing it, what do you think you should do?  What does it make you?  There are tons of guides, tips, material to read, hints, and videos to help you.  If you keep running into a town and getting ganked by zombies, it doesn’t mean the game is impossible, it means you are being an idiot…stop it.  If you can’t learn from your mistakes then gods help you, what will you do if you are in a situation where one mistake means the end for real?  Now…go get that stick.

Now for the worst of all…the people that want this game to be easier.  What the hells has happened to us?  We have been handed a game that’s an actual challenge.  No linear story so you don’t have to think, no fully equipped avatars so you can just fire away at anything.  No healing, no respawn fully equipped, no spoon feeding.  We’ve been put in a position that no other game puts you in, literally the bottom of the food chain.  The weakest thing in the game, now see if you can survive.  What other game does that?  There might be some but I’ve not played them.  Every game I’ve ever played, after about an hour, becomes predictable, and easy.  Especially shooters.  AI is repetitive, tactics are the same, game is easy.  The best part is there is no end game…this is a survival mod, the objective is to survive, not win.  There’s no big boss to defeat, or princess to save, or war to win.  All the glory goes to the guys who manage to stay alive the longest.  Despite all of that there are still people calling for huds, off-the-shelf shooter mechanics, make the zombies slower, make them easier, make the game easier, hold my hand waaaaaaaaaa.  Stick…get it.

Now, the community is just as bad on both sides.  Believe me when I say I’m not coming down on just the crybabies and whiners.  The elitists, hipsters, jerks, bullies, and people that think they are somehow better because they have been with the mod since day one…you go get a bigger stick.  I see so many posts where someone just asks a simple question and he gets flamed to high hells for it.  How hard is it to answer a damn question?  Post a link to the wiki or the user guide for Gods’ sake.  Be a community that is better than what we see on EA’s forums or Bioware.  Especially you ‘anti-gamers’ that think you are so leet cause you jumped on this ‘anti-game’ before it became popular.  You’re no better than the trolls over at EA.  Here you have an opportunity to grow a community of independent gamers that can see what it’s like to play something that isn’t mass produced, marketed, and candy-coated for the general public, and some of you, instead of nurturing that and making them feel welcome, you flame and bash.  Get over yourself, you aren’t tough, you aren’t cooler than anyone else, you are just like all of us.

So, my advice, now that I have said all of that, for new players.  Read and watch.  I probably spent just as much time reading the wiki, the forums, the beginner’s guide, and watching videos as I have playing.  Maybe more.  Don’t jump in blind, this game isn’t like any other, it’s not going to teach you how to play with a tutorial level.  It’s going to throw you right in the mix from the moment you enter.  If you go in blind, and complain…stick.  Get it.

Alright, I think that’s enough for tonight.  I’ll say this again though, don’t come here and think you can act the fool.  I will delete and ban with righteous fury, anyone that can’t be polite and respectful here.

My wife and I just finished this anime series last night and we both enjoyed it quite a bit.  This sci-fi anime caught us up in the story pretty fast, but didn’t spoon feed us the story which I like.  Each episode left you with questions, kept the mystery rolling, so that you wanted to watch more to find out what was going on.

I don’t want to give away too much, but the basic premise of the story revolves around a post-apocalyptic world where humans live in domes with android companions.  The spread of some sort of virus causes the andriods to deviate from their programming, something that most humans see as a threat to society.

The series follows a woman named Re-l Mayer and a man named Vincent Law, as they seek the truth behind events involving beings called proxys.  They are joined by an infected android, known in the show as AutoReivs, named Pino, a child-like companion model.

You can find out much more info on the story if you want, but I don’t want to ruin anything with spoilers, so I’ll leave it up to you to seek more if you want to know.  The show was entertaining for sure, with great animation (both 2D digital cels and 3D computer modeling), sound, and voice acting.  The story was solid for me, keeping me interested, and asking questions right up til the end, which is good.  I tend to have most stories figured out quite early on.  I would recommend the series to anyone who likes anime, especially sci-fi and/or suspense series.

The 23 episode series is produced by Manglobe, and directed by Shuko Murase with screenplay by Dai Sato.

Here they come!

Borrowed from DayZ

I started playing this game a couple of days ago…well this mod to an already popular FPS game.  It’s a zombie survival mod for the game Arma II, and so far I’m impressed.  It is still in the alpha stage, so there are a lot of rough spots, but overall the game is fun, and the vision is amazing.  Let’s just say, I hate most zombie mods for FPS games because they are too boring, too much like an arcade game.  This one…well it’s like playing fallout, with Arma II graphics and controls, and with your own story.  I would normally do a review, but there is just too much, and it’s way too early to give it a fully fleshed out review.  I’ll just leave you with a couple of links and an experiment.

First, the links.  DayZ is the mod, and you can get your hands on all the official information here.  There is also a ton of great information at the wiki, including guides for new players, and quick reference for vets.

Now for the experiment.  I’m a writer, and that’s something you have to practice at.  This blog is part of that, but I also like to do short stories in between bursts of working on my novel.  I figured, what better way to get people interested in this game than to write a pseudo in-character journal for my game persona?  So, here goes.

End of DayZ Journal:  Callsign XamotDB

Incarnation 01, Day 01

Washed up on beach, disoriented and lost.  Ran along water until I came to a dock.  That’s when I saw them.  Walkers and crawlers, they didn’t seem to like the dock.  Nowhere to go so I searched the crane.  No supplies, no weapons, still surrounded.

Led them to the side of the dock, then hid until they wandered off.  Made a dash for a building, spotted – no supplies, no weapons, no exit.  They’re coming…

Survival time: @ 1 hr

Incarnation 02, Day 01

Finally climbed out of the sea onto a dock.  Could see a few walkers.  I moved slow so they could not see me.

Another survivor, running, drawing their attention.  He said to just run so we made for a warehouse – they can climb ladders.

Got out and onto a roof – let the other guy keep going and draw them away – I was bleeding and passed out.

Came to on the roof.  Other guy was dead – walkers gone.  Climbed down and searched the neighborhood.

Found a dead man in a booth – took food, flares and ammo.  Also found a flash light.  In a house at end of street found food, and a crossbow with three bolts.  Good weapon – no sound.

Decided not to press my luck and headed for the hills to a farm house – need to find a safe place to sleep.  Is there such a thing?

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little snippet.  It’s not much now, I’ll probably wait until I have more entries next time.  As I said, this is just an experiment so who knows how long it will go on.  If I get a lot of positive feedback I will try to keep it rolling as long as possible.  Stay tuned.