Titanfall progress and loadout tips

posted in: Games | 0

Hit gen 2 this evening, thought i’d share my stats after 12.5 hours played.

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I think for sure I can probably do better when I get more used to the game, I constantly die to stupid shit like melee attacks and bad engages. That said, I guess as time goes on there will be less new players so who knows.

Here’s quick loadout guide to help you wreck face:

Pilot:

Weapon – Carbine w/ Extended mag is too versatile and generally good at everything right now. The Shotgun is very powerful on maps where you can keep people in short range, should enemies start venturing into short-mid range the CAR SMG w/ counterweight is amazing for that (dont bother with ADS, just sprint around and let rip when you see people).

Sidearm – almost always used in short range, I’d give the advantage to the autopistol for its obscene rate of fire.

Anti-Titan – I’ve personally had the most joy with the sidewinder, but the mag launcher and beam rifle are decent too with their own pro’s and cons. The mag launcher is safest as it has no clear indicator where you are being attacked from and you can fire it without line of sight.

Grenade – I personally love the mines, even though they won’t often kill things, it’s good for peace of mind that you won’t get blindsided if you are holed up in a building. I don’t really think there is any wrong choice here though, grenades are strong vs infantary, arc grenades are all round, satchels have huge damage and blast radius but you’ll probably kill yourself more times than not.

Tactical ability – Playstyle based, I am vastly in the minority but I can’t get enough of the Active radar pulse, it’s fantastic for judging the safest route or planning your next flanking maneuver, it’s probably the most defensive of the abilities, but that’s just my playstyle I guess. Stim is fantastic for run’n’gun though, and cloak is moderate levels of useful all round – i’d definitely consider having cloak on at least one of your custom classes for times you want to spawn and there are 6 enemy titans on the field.

Kit – I use power cell and minion detector on every single class, I don’t even know what the other choices are.

Titan

Chassis – Your call. I hate how fragile stryder is but love dash core, I hate how slow ogre is but love shield core, I dislike damage core but like how well rounded atlas is. I don’t think there are any clear standouts in this field.

Titan weapon – 40mm cannon, chaingun or triple threat. Everything else is kind of trash. Put extended mags on all of them.

Ordinance – Rocket salvo every day of the week, use it on titans, use it on pilots, use it on grunts, use it on the evac ship… So versatile.

Tactical ability – I HATE boarders, so I always use electric smoke to get them off. If you aren’t a fan, the vortex shield is a good call.

Perks – Nuclear eject for sure, for second slot either Survivor or the Core one. Big punch isn’t bad either.

Wraysbury Reservoir

posted in: Photography | 0

Was sort of nearby to my hotel in Heathrow, I wanted to take a walk closer to the airport runways on Wednesday, but started feeling very ill and instead wound up in bed for that evening which is a shame.

This one was taken using the HDR mode on my camera and hasn't been post edited at all. Came out pretty good, i'll definitely consider using it again considering proper HDR photography needs a good tripod
This one was taken using the HDR mode on my camera and hasn’t been post edited at all. Came out pretty good I think, i’ll definitely consider using it again considering proper HDR photography needs a good tripod

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Minecraft with GLSL and SEUSv10.1

posted in: minecraft | 0

So i’ve always kind of wanted to try the whole minecraft with shaders thing, and this morning I came across a rather sexy batch of screenshots from someone testing sonic ethers shaders, in the comments was a pretty simple overview of how to do it so I thought hell, lets give it a try.

I changed some settings half way through, I get the feeling you’re not supposed to use clouds with it. I’d love to see what it looks like with some bump mapped textures but i’ll be honest my computer was about to explode as it is.
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Stay frosty (New CPU heatsink)

posted in: blog | 0

So after my computers horrific stuttering in the latest thief game, I got to thinking if there was much I could do to speed up my system. I made a list of all of the parts in my PC and the date I got them and was kind of shocked.

pcbitsParts I got ‘recently’ in my head turned out to be near 3 years ago, while parts which didn’t seem too old turned out to be almost 8 years old now. (Logitech MX518 still going strong, best mouse ever made.)
So anyway, getting a new graphics card already was pretty much out of the question, it’s dated but it’s not THAT dated, and I dont really feel like spending another £200+ to get something good – not to mention it would need a larger power supply, requiring a whole rewire of my case, no thanks.

Instead I opted for a new heatsink, I was still on stock before, as when I got it I figured it would be fast enough for a while. The plan, get a sweet heatsink, then overclock to compensate for my graphics card a little.
After looking at a few gigantic stack air coolers and seeing issues with high RAM (like the heatsink fitted dimms I have), the Corsair H55 caught my eye, at a rather reasonable £45, I took the plunge and bought it, ebuyer being nice enough to foot the cost for next day delivery for me.

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Before…
After
After

Granted it’s brand new, but it really has made quite a difference already, I was sitting at around 45deg in idle before, now (and bare in mind this is after overclocking) it sits at 30 degrees.
I did have some problems with the fan, in that it was basically going full blast all the time, I managed to get it to quieten down via the motherboard, but for some reason after I started playing around with clock speed it wouldn’t go back to quiet mode, thankfully I had a fan controller in my old PC (currently being used as lounge media PC) so I ripped that out and put it in my PC instead, thankfully my old PC mobo bios supports undervolting of fans and all that jazz so I managed to keep that one quiet as well.

For now i’ve brought my PC to a very modest 4.0ghz , up from 3.3ghz – Still plenty of room to breathe, but the voltage options on this motherboard are strange and confusing – with no obvious way to just set the VCore voltage. Im sure I could get it to 4.5ghz stable, but with no easy way to ensure my VCore stays at a reasonable level it’s not really something I want to mess with too much.

 

Drunken Robot Pornography (PC) Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

DRP is advertised and marketed as a first person take on the bullet hell genre, it’s developed by Dejobaan games, who have actually had a surprisingly decent run so far for a small indie studio. Drunken Robot Pornography is unfortunately not one of their best works.

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Enjoy the song that plays at the title screen, because it’s all downhill from there.

At its core, the game involves floating around a small arena gaining points via world pickups or by killing grunts before having to fight a titan – the titans are generally large boss like structures who spin around whilst firing vaguely in your direction. So you pretty much just grind on some smaller enemies before the titan appears, then the level ends when you have killed the titan(s) that spawn(s) in. There are a few weapon powerups at your disposal which can be found around the arenas, but thats pretty much the majority of the game.

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And now begins the criticism.

To destroy the titans you have to destroy all of the parts of it, generally speaking most of the titans have arms with weapons attached at the end, couple this with the fact that the parts are destroyed and fall off after 1 or 2 shots, and you’ll quickly find that you can strip a titan bare of its weapons in about 2 seconds of shooting at it. Okay, so now we’ve established that you can effectively disable a titan in a few seconds, where do the bullets come from in this bullet hell game then? from randomly spawning grunts around the arena.
If you play bullet hell games, or first person shooter games for that matter, you might be able to see the problem here already – You are supposed to focus fire on the titans to destroy them, yet you are being attacked from blindsides 90% of the time in a bullet hell fashion.

Bullet hell games generally derive enjoyment from the satisfaction of being able to destroy bosses and evade curtains of bullets, yet how do you evade bullets you cannot see? and therein lies the problem with Drunken Robot Pornography – it is mediocre as a first person shooter, and fails as a bullet hell game because every time you get hit, it feels like you were powerless to stop it. If you get hit in a standard top down bullet hell game, or even something like metal slug, you generally feel like you deserved it and that it was avoidable if you had played better, on the other hand, i found myself dying occasionally in RBP due to enemies firing from behind, or even from the titans who rapidly spin around firing lasers.

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No amount of skill will save you from it.

Unfortunately, it’s not like they even tried to put in mechanics to be able to dodge these blindside attacks, there is no way to dash or evade, there is also no way to fly indefinately due to an incredibly limited jetpack. It’s possible the developers intended players to use the environment to evade threats, however all of the levels come with a time limit, which is a rather odd choice, the result of this is playing defensively is not an option, try and play it safe and you get game over’d by a timeout, play it too offensive and it’s around a 70:30 tossup as to whether the AI will shoot you in the back or not.

Another issue with the game is in the level design, arenas on average were confusing and too vertical, this wouldn’t be a problem if the jetpack had any actual thrust to it, but the fuel on it is so hilariously small that it’s more of a float mechanic than something you can reliably use to propel yourself upwards, the result of this is you’ll find yourself stuck on the bottom levels of an arena, unable to get back to where the action is, and subsequently, probably dead due to a timeout.

Oddly, Titans prefer not to use aimed balls as is standard for bullet hells, but an array of lasers
Oddly, Titans prefer not to use aimed balls as is standard for bullet hells, but an array of lasers

The graphics and music are decent, though probably nothing worth calling home about, and sadly, the art style and titan design are the best parts of the game. Music is a bunch of electronic stuff, which felt fitting with the games style and gameplay.

There are some very interesting ideas in Drunken Robot Pornography, however the execution and design choices in the game ultimately make it boring and not particularly satisfying to play. I would have much preferred a larger more heavily armed titan with a health bar, and no grunts. This would quickly rectify the majority of the gameplay problems, but alas.

Verdict:

A first person bullet hell where killing bosses doesn’t feel satisfying, and where getting hit feels unavoidable, Drunken Robot Pornography takes the two most important aspects of a good bullet hell game and inverts them.

Approximate Game Length :  Few hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £1.00/ £12= 0.083
Should you play it : Nope. Bad at being a first person shooter, Bad at being a bullet hell.

Rating: 1/5

 

Hainault Forest

posted in: Photography | 0

Got bored and took a stroll around the my local forest, really muddy, and the main path into the forest was fenced off, but did that stop me? hells no.

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Also, this one from the other day when the sky was looking crazy.

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South Park: The stick of truth Review

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

It’s hard to properly discuss the stick of truth without giving away all of the things which make it so interesting as probably the most entertaining parts are the places you’ll visit and people you’ll come across. As such, i’ll be keeping this review short and sweet.

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Graphically, and aurally, this game is south park to a tee, the cutscenes are indistinguishable from that of the TV show, and the ingame scenes are occasionally difficult to distinguish from the cutscenes, which is to say, you could be fooled into thinking that was part of the show as well.
Character voices are all present (as to be expected) and so is background music, which brings the game to another level of authenticity.

Stick of truth is also filled to the brim with south park references from way back when, with the majority appearing in the environment either as a graphic, or in the form of ‘junk’ loot items which can be sold for cash (examples of such items are things like the Faith+1 album, or kenny’s purity ring). Again without spoiling too much, almost all of the characters are in, including some you probably forgot about, not all of them make a physical appearance but many can be found again in the environment (a picture in city hall shows the mayor with obama for instance).

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The story is fairly standard south park affair, and by that I mean, simple with a bunch of ridiculous twists and turns. They have managed to make travel to the many locations make sense however, again with most of south park appearing in the world map, even beloved Canada (or rather, especially beloved Canada). On a side note, imaginationland isn’t in the game, yet somehow I get the feeling it’s only a matter of time before DLC gets announced, and that area would make so much sense they’d be dumb not to go down that route.

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As an RPG, stick of truth surprisingly manages to hold up pretty well, combat is active and about as fun as turn based combat gets – mimicking a battle system vaguely similar to Mario RPG, or the Mario and Luigi RPG series. There are a small selection of skills and perks, as well as a large amount of weapons, my only complaint here is that the weapons don’t scale to your level and the numbers scale exponentially (ie. 40 damage at level 3, 2000 damage at level 15). You have no control over your party’s gear, which is probably for the best, however you’ll find that certain characters quickly become irrelevant due to imbalance in power between the subcharacters, Kyle seems particularly strong, while the bard and princess Kenny do relatively little.
I had minor issue with the ‘mana’ system which powers the fart powers, you’d think something like this would accumulate on its own through fighting or something, but you can only replenish mana through items which I would constantly forget to do. You don’t really need these powers to play through the game, but it almost feels like a wasted mechanic because you won’t want to rely on them to do damage purely because they essentially use ammo, while your PP is fully replenished after every fight, and will serve you just as well.

I liked the emphasis on using the environment to gain an advantage over enemies before combat, without going into too much detail there are many sections where you can interact with the environment to kill a few enemies, if you manage to get the whole group you’ll even be awarded with the xp as normal. It’s a nice alternative to slogging through battle after battle, and it’s clear the developers didn’t want to penalize players for taking the supposed easy way out of these fights.

The interface, playing with a controller at least, is passable if a little crowded. Everything can be found in tabs, or in tabs in tabs and is navigated by using directions as well as triggers, it takes some getting used to and isn’t perfect, but you’ll adapt to it eventually. I imagine playing with a keyboard and mouse is a different story however, and not really something I feel like experiencing.

Probably my one and only complaint about the Stick of Truth is the game’s relatively short length for an RPG, with the main story coming in at around 10 hours, and main story and side quests coming in at about 14 or so hours. There also doesn’t appear to be masses of replay value unless you fancy hard mode (which can be enabled from the get go anyway), it would have been nice to see a new game+ with more challenge, but I suppose if we are going to be wishing for features then just any end game content at all would have been nice (no ruby weapon to see here folks).

Verdict:

As an RPG, stick of truth is decent, however as a South Park game this is about as good as it’s ever going to get. Incredible humour and south park references galore, this is a fan’s dream come true.

Approximate Game Length :  10-14 Hours
Actual Worth / Amazon Price:  £25 / £28 = 0.89
Should you play it : If you are a south park fan, absolutely. If you don’t like the show however, then most of the humour of the game will be lost on you.

Rating: 5/5

Oh, a word of warning, it’s probably already too late, but try not to watch the trailers for the game, particularly the most recent one they put out, it really spoils some of the surprises in the game.
Also, the part with the girls was hilarious. Sunshine!

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Why the new Thief (2014) game sucks.

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

Had the displeasure of playing the new Thief game, this was originally supposed to be a proper review, but as I play through the game, it rapidly turned into just a big list of things I hate about the game, and so i present ‘Why the new Thief game sucks.’

if only it said 'press [SPACE] to leap to your death and exit the game'
if only it said ‘press [SPACE] to leap to your death and exit the game’
Enemy AI is mind blowingly stupid, enemies will stare straight at you and not notice a thing and will fail to notice anything is amiss even if you dash through a brightly lit area in front of them or extinguish all the lights in an area. Perhaps it’s because i’m playing on normal, but for a game designed around stealth and detection, you would think that the guards would be programmed to be a little less…. y’know… stupid. Even if you get caught, it’s easy to outrun them or ‘outsmart’ them by hiding in a cupboard or simply out of sight. Worst to worst? you can take them head on by mashing R to stunlock a guard until they are dead, your blunt weapon being so strong that they couldn’t possibly swing their sword at you once. Guards also have a mild case of ADD, and will often give up looking after a few seconds and casually walk back to their posts and resume whatever they were doing – because hey, somebody else will catch that thief right? There’s certainly no need to alert the others and actually search around. If you don’t care for the silent pacifist route you can trivialize the game even further by knocking everyone out. Even metal gear solid on the PSX had better enemy AI than this.

I'm hiding in this screenshot because it was early days, turns out there's little need for sneaking.
I’m hiding in this screenshot because it was early days, turns out there’s little need for sneaking.
"god where could he be? i'm sure he ran into this dead end. Lets stand around for a bit then pretend nothing happened."
“god where could he be? i’m sure he ran into this dead end. Lets stand around for a bit then pretend nothing happened.”
Another fantastic example of a guard on alert.
Another fantastic example of a guard on alert.

The city, while stunning to look at, doesn’t actually have much to offer, a majority of the alleys lead to locked doors or brick walls, and windows lead to rooms with little to steal and force you to endure a painfully long open window animation. It’s also confusing to navigate, your waypoint will point vaguely in the correct direction but getting there is an exercise in frustration as you try to navigate the multi tiered streets full of dead ends – and that is of course, when the waypoint feels like working at all, on multiple occasions the waypoint failed to update leading me just kind of wandering around hoping to find the next objective. There are also a few too many invisible walls for my liking, with the player only being able to essentially walk on flat surfaces, it seems a little odd that there is no actual jump button in the game (all jumping is contextual) and as a result garret can get hindered by the tiniest of objects on the floor, or die to the stupidest of jumps – I managed to die while jumping through a climbable rope because of the contextual mechanics.
The game also manages to have a map which is completely useless, one of the earlier missions introduces you to all of the NPC’s that can upgrade your equipment or sell you items, yet if you fail to take note of where exactly they are, you (like myself) will probably never be able to find them again.

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The loot which fill the levels and the city itself glows obnoxiously bright by default and is placed in the most bizarre of places, by all accounts garret should consider quitting his job as a thief and just run around alleys and sewers for the copious amounts of gold which line them. This makes collection more of a chore than a feel good task, particularly when everything is animated, the individual pieces are also small and aren’t really worth much. The loot of course is used to upgrade your character, via equipment and skills, there is some variety here but for the most part it’s the usual affair of upgrading gadgets and a few sneaking skills (faster lockpicking for example).

Do you enjoy mashing E while staring at a low resolution window? this might be the game for you if so
Do you enjoy mashing E while staring at a low resolution window? this might be the game for you if so

Other issues:

I had somewhat of an issue with the second chapter and it’s requirement to use the focus ability, particularly when the game offers you the ability to disable it completely. There are a multitude of switches placed in a secret hideout which you need to press to advance, they blend in and are virtually impossible to spot without using the focus mechanic (and so helix have mercy on you if you have environment alerts turned off as well). I also find it strange that for a mechanic which is essentially the detective vision from batman, it drains so incredibly quickly, and does not regenerate, should you have no way to recover your focus you’ll end up having only a flicker of ‘focus’ to activate, which in practice turns into a very obnoxious blink every time you want to check the environment – which turns out to be very important once they start introducing traps which do hilarious amounts of damage.

You'll be glad to know, this hidden switch to progress the main story is near impossible to find without the waypoint marker and focus.
You’ll be glad to know, this hidden switch to progress the main story is near impossible to find without the waypoint marker and focus.

Cleverly, the develoeprs put in a multitude of HUD options to toggle, so you can turn off hint glows, waypoints, health bars, just about everything. Great! Unfortunately, there are many things which will prevent you from really utilizing most of the things, the biggest problem I ran into in this regard was inconsistencies in movement, granted this may be solved by simply spending more time in the game, but when you give the player a dedicated ‘drop down’ key (and it’s literally called that in the keybinding menu) why then won’t ‘drop down’ always let me… y’know.. drop down? I was caught by some guards in chapter 1 because for some reason they decided to change drop down to right click. Similarly, I couldn’t figure out how to dismount ropes for the longest time because the game wouldn’t let me jump off or use the cancel button. I also ran into a crank clearly within arms reach, which couldn’t be activated – rather I had to shoot an arrow into it to release it, because that’s how turnable cranks function.

Good idea, bad implimentation
Good idea, bad implimentation

Sound is a mechanic which is easy to utilize well in a stealth game, however in thief it does all manner of bizarre things, loud chase music starting up while sneaking around springs immediately to mind, as well as a few other bizarre bits where I could hear people through walls and vice versa.
I also encountered a weird issue where I was hearing a guy get dominated by a woman through a wall for a few minutes (I am dead serious here)

Ridiculous stutter issues, particularly in outdoor environments – Granted my PC isnt the large pixel collider but it should surely be able to run this game at low-medium smoothly, yet ironically, turning the settings down somehow resulted in even more stutter. I’d be happier playing the game at a constant 30, but instead I get 60 frames followed  by 0 frames for a second or two.

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Verdict:

I tried hard to enjoy Thief, yet all I was rewarded with was anger and my brother standing behind me saying “this game is retarded”, for once I’m inclined to agree.
Don’t be fooled by the enjoyable initial 30 minutes of the game, Thief is one steaming pile of shit.

Approximate Game Length :  ??? DNF
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £4 / £30 = 0.133
Should you play it : No, perhaps take a leaf from the game’s title if you really want to try it, dropping £30 into this will only upset you though.

Rating: 1/5

One Finger Death Punch (PC) Review

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

One Finger Death Punch has you pitted against hundreds of enemies and tasks you with taking them all out using only 2 buttons, and yet, somehow, the game manages an impressive level of depth and challenge.

I still can't decide if this is a fantastic title screen or a terrible one.
I still can’t decide if this is a fantastic title screen or a terrible one.

The basic premise of the game is to murder everyone that comes into the zone immediately around your character, when they get close enough you can execute them with the push of a button which will repoisiton your character and hopefully allow you to murder more enemies – the game of course gets more complex than this, rapidly. Later stages have enemies which will dodge to the other side, or require multiple hits to defeat, brawlers for example will require anywhere from 3 to 20 correct hits to take down.
Then there are weapons on the floor to pick up, projectiles to catch, and perks to unlock, all the while explosions, plasma effects and soforth exploding from your avatar.

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OFDP extends this basic premise by adding in multiple modes and challenges on a map to complete. Majority of these game modes are the same but with a different spin on normality, the lightsaber levels for example ups the enemy count and speed significantly, whilst lightning levels darken the screen and make enemies difficult to see. Map/level completion is rewarded with skills – passive abilities which activate upon a certain number of kills, or skills which affect your general combat abilities allowing players to better round out their weak points.

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Another very important aspect of the game which keeps the experience constantly intense is the speed up system – completing a level speeds the game up slightly, failing a stage will slow the game down. It sounds minor on paper, however in practice it means the player is always pushed to their limits, my time with the game has been getting pumped up to 180% speed before getting molested because I can’t physically click fast enough, and then getting set back to 140%.

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It’s really a game which needs to be played to be appreciated, words and screenshots can’t really do the game justice in terms of the speed and fluidity of the combat, and of course, how damn fun it is.

Oh did I mention thumpin’ techno music? because thumpin’ techo music.

Verdict:

One Finger Death Punch isn’t a game you’ll get lost in for hours on end, it will however get your blood pumping for the 20 minutes at a time it captures you, and the rush will likely have you coming back for more sooner than you expect.

Approximate Game Length :  20min X [???] Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £4 / £4 = 1.00
Should you play it : Yes, fantastic fun.

Rating: 4/5