Been a busy week. Handed in my final University project. Went to church. Played some games.
This week I ventured in to a church for the first time since my childhood. My family is not religious, and neither am I but this was a special occasion. Last July my best friend died of Cystic Fibrosis (google it). It wasn't unexpected, but devestating to his friends and family. To tie it in to games, he was a huge gamer. I may have blogged a little about it back at the time but even as he lay there in hospital slpping away I was telling him about Pokemon Black and White, all of the Wii stuff coming up like Goldeneye for Wii. He bought Company of Heroes to play with me just before, and an unopened copy of Red Alert 3 lay on his desk ready for us to play co-op together.
This week I was invited by his family to attend a memorial service a year on for those taken by Cystic Fibrosis. It was a very humbling experience, mostly because of people#s attitude towards religion. 5 or so years ago I was very much defiant against religion but now... not so much. I don't believe it myself, but the ceremony reminded me that as much as people can call it lies, brainwashing, stupidity and a force for evil (given everything that Christianity has caused) there is so much application of religion for good causes out there.
They talked about god in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, but they were people who had cared for people with this terminal illness, and consoled their families. If people need religion for comfort, or to spread good will then I am very much OK with that. I don't wish to hassle them with the same tired arguments about the faults of their religion. They had people of different religions, and even had a Buddhist monk speak.
Quote of the day: "You can't catch God in a net..."
Free to Play games are new to Steam, and who can say no to free? I tried Spiral Knights and I love it. Unlike a lot of the MMOs released Spiral Knights doesn't seem to be competing with WoW in the same way. It's much more of a casual game (though it can get really hard). The art style is very cute, and feels like a combination of Crystal Chronicles for Gamecube and Zelda.
Since it's free to play it doesn't matter how long it holds my interest so I won't give it a critical analysis. It's senseless. The game has been worth my time so far, and when it stops being worth it I will stop playing. Taking a casual approach to this kind of games helps rather than getting super invested.
Yet another design, yet another videogame inspiration, yet another tired art style. Delicious colour pallet though. Makes me hungry for some black cherry cheesecake. Day #168 of my daily design challenge, to celebrate the release of Ocarina of Time 3D for 3DS. I tried to go against the style of the game. Really tempted to go and buy one tomorrow and get this.
Been watching press conferences all day. It is now 4am in the UK. While I was watching the Sony conference I started work on my daily design, and so excited by Mass Effect 3 I put together this design. Won't call it a poster because it's just shepard from the ME3 box art, but still... here it is.
I finished LA Noire for a second time just before Sony's conference started. I used a guide this time round, I'm not ashamed. I wanted to see a perfect run. Not terribly different from my flawed run of the game but I didn't mess up that badly. I did wipe all my save data and start fresh this time so I have none of the cumulative achievements.
This game makes me feel different inside. Different from how games normally make me feel. I felt connected to the characters, I cared about them, their actions, the decisions they made. It was hard for me to play as cole sometimes. Through Mass Effect and many modern RPGs I have become accustomed to choice. A choice I did not have in the storyline of LA Noire. It's really hard to accept some of the things that happen in the game but rather than complain I have given it thought and tried to see it from the game's perspective, or more the writer's.
In any case, I feel it is an important game, and I would happily play something with the same great writing and character development.
I have basically finished my third year of University, hopefully earning myself a BA degree. We decided to put on a graduation show in a local gallery space for industry people and family/friends to come and look at our work. Most of the stuff I submitted was not actually done on the course, but in my personal time and some of you may have even seen it on here before.
I was determined to get something game related on the gallery wall. I was hoping for Pokemon, but that was shot down. In the end I managed to get 3 videogame related pieces in (and many more in my printed portfolio which was available on a table). As a designer games, their character and their style are a huge inspiration, and I wanted to reflect that.
There was a lot of variety at the show. We even had motion tracking projects we coded to use Playstation Eye cameras that were projected on to a wall. There was a lot of printed and video work there too. While I was hoping for more of my work to be featured, I was happy to see that my Dead Space 2 design made it in along with my Pyramid Head design, my Red Dead Redemption poster as well as my 'Gentlemen's Guide to Beards and Moustaches'.
Here are some photos of the setting up of the show and some of my pieces on the wall. Plus one of me for good measure.
LA Noire (second best game this year next to Portal 2), Amnesia: Dark Descent (I got scared and stopped), Phoenix Wright (every night, every day), Magicka, Hoard, Infamous (thanks Sony) and 40 hours of Fable 3 on PC. I completed it on Xbox360 and just had to have it on PC. It's a fairly typical port and grossly unoptimized but looks good. Still hideously buggy. I have a fetch quest for an NPC that doesn't exist. My wife might as well not exist. I can't run while holding hands with people. Still, after 40 hours I have completed it and cleared most of the side stuff. Might get the DLC since I can't help but see everything in my games.
Really in the mood for some RTS action. Think I might play some Company of Heroes again.
I have almost completed my degree, so I haven't had much time for the site or blogging. I'll post a blog about my graduation show soon, as I managed to sneak in some of my game art (though I didn't get a Pokemon on the gallery wall like I wanted).
Valve is making an effort to take money from me all year round, instead of just during the 2 main sale periods. It started with Hoard, one of their new 'daily sales'. 50% is good, right? Then more... and more... and then Ubisoft week hit. I ended up buying some games, some bundles, and gifting a few too. This is not good for someone who is graduating with no job, and who knows when I will be able to find one? I know, I need self control... but they are almost giving some of these games away.
It's one of the biggest joys of PC gaming. Even at retail games are almost half the price of console games but in these digital sales the price doesn't impact my enjoyment or need to play the game in any way. I buy it, and maybe play it a year later. It's both good and bad for my life, my wallet and my hobby.
On the subject of the World War 2 posters I was looking at, I found some highly amusing/disturbing Disney cartoons about Nazis and Hitler. The animation is great, and as funny as you would expect but so racist. They don't flinch at trying to demonise the German's and their allies. In a time of war, I understand, but the racial aspect... just doesn't play. In modern middle eastern conflict there is a lot of racial hatred and animosity, but not to this extent. Here they are, for your enjoyment. I still find them amusing and entertaining in the end, just not so much the racism.
Also, I never thought I'd hear Donald Duck say 'Heil Hitler'
Edit: I found some more. These are great. If you find anymore do share them.
I have been running my Year in Design blog for a while now. 136 days to be exact. Every day since January first, and will continue until the end of the year.
I'm an up and coming designer, and unsatisfied with just my education I have been doing these daily designs to do as much work as I can. I do work based on what inspires me, and in a lot of cases that is gaming. A bit less than 1/3 of my designs so far have been videogame related. I've posted a lot of them here, and some of you may have seen them.
Are Videogames Art?
Cheeky title, not what is meant by this blog at all. I'm not sure if 'art' is the right word, but I have 40 designs pieces. Nobody reads my blog really, so I thought I would do a compilation of the 40 videogame related pieces I have done so far. To view the high resolution version of each you'll have to visit the blog, I can't upload them here.
They are in random order. Some are good, some are OK. Some are bad. Let me know what you think!
What do all these games have in common? Nothing! Nothing I had in mind anyway, except I'm going to write about them in this blog.
Red Dead Redemption
I may be a year late, but I was thinking about Red Dead Redemption and I have 2 designs to do today for my daily design blog. Looking at vintage movie posters (mainly mean streets and the birds) I wanted to make a movie poster for the game. Initially I thought of doing it in the style of a western poster but that has already been done, so I didn't go with the obvious choice.
Personally? I had a lot of great ideas about the smoke forming mexico, the wedding ring being on the gun.... but I didn't combine them efectively enough. There's too much text and too much dead weight around in the composition.
Here it is. Leave comments and feedback, I love to read them. View High Res
Love the game.
Portal 2 finally arrived. I went through it in one 8 hour sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. I could go on for an eternity about how enjoyable I found the story, characters, overall writing and gameplay but I won't. I got stuck a few times because I hadn't seen a surface I could shoot a portal on, but generally the game was easy enough. Like Jeff said on the bombcast, games are thrill rides. I want my thrill ride. Portal 2 makes you feel smart enough without challenging you too much.
Really enjoyed the section with the old test chambers and most of all, Cave Johnson.
I also just made this. A poster in the style of the safety posters during the 50s section of Portal 2. View High Res
Tales of Monkey Island
I have had these forever after buying all 5 chapters in a Steam sale. I have wanted to get in to Telltale Game's adventure games for quite a while but they aren;t the most exciting or engaging games. Apart from being stumped on a puzzle or 2 I have had a very pleasant experience. Love the characters and world they have set up. The graphics are nice but the style of animation is so disjointed it bugs me sometimes.
I might do an illustration of Morgan soon. She has an impossibly thin waist.
I started and finished Limbo today. Fantastic game with a lot of style. Very short, but it didn't repeat itself too much or outstay its welcome. I do a daily design and inspired by Limbo here is day #120. The broken swing set represents the boy and his lost sister.
I ordered portal 2 on Wednesday as a present for finishing my dissertation. First class. Didn't arrive Thursday. Fine. Friday no post due to the royal wedding. Really annoyed. Saturday, nothing. Pissed off. Sunday, no post. Annoying, but normal. Then I realized it is a bank holiday on Monday, so no post then either. I will receive it, at the earliest, on Tuesday. I should have just bought it on steam. So I played through Portal 1 again and made the Portal 2 poster I posted above.
I am very impatient at the moment.
The Tony Hawk TNT made me want to play some Tony Hawk again. I never usually say this, but I'm pretty good at Tony Hawk games. I think Project 8 is great, so I started playing that but my disc is scratched. Disc read errors and crashes stopped me from enjoying it much. I was thinking of getting the PC version of THPS3 but I remember I still have the PS2 version, and I have my PS2 all set up to play because of Persona 4 so... I should really play that some more.
I finished Pokemon White, second run of Dragon Age 2, Clash of Heroes (amazing game) and started Tales of Monkey Island. Gears 3 beta is pretty great. I'm not here to give game impressions, that's not why people read my blogs.
It's day #100 of my design challenge, and I decided to do something I've been thinking of for a long time. I've been playing Pokemon Black and White (up the elite 4), Dragon Age 2 (second run) and Persona 4... which is probably what prompted me to do this.
I did an illustration of Jeff on a date with Chie, and how I imagine it would go. He is far too obsessed with his steak whereas she loves steak so much that she has already finished, and she's fed up of waiting for him. Please post comments, I love to read them. The high resolution version is much better.
I finished Crysis 2 earlier in the week. Very happy with the final product. Incredible graphics and cinematic presentation. Interesting story, if not poorly explained and paced. Satisfying gameplay. Got my SSD back so now I have installed it again with the intent of going through on Super Soldier. We'll see.
Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts
I took part in my first TNT. Really enjoyed playing with the community. Brad too. I had no idea anyone else cared about this game. I think it's one of the most creative and inventive games ever made, and one of my favourites. Sure, it's not the Banjo action you expect but it is a lot of fun. I flew around and crashed in to Brad with my Giant Monster. I didn't get to show off my catapult or my crane! Functioning crane is pretty awesome.