Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unreal Shots

Check out these Unreal shots . . . I've been messing around with Post Processing, thanks to a buddy of mine who gave me some tips. What do ya think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portal Kombat

It's been a while. Hi.

I've been playing through Mortal Kombat 9 and Portal as of late and I've been enjoying both for different reasons.

I've always been a MK fan. I get a bit of grief from the hardcore fighting game elitst friends for liking the game, but I appreciate it for what it offers.

Is it a deep fighting system like parrying in Street Fighter 3? No.

Is it as reactionary with throws like Virtua Fighter? Not so much.

Can I break ribs, gouge eyeballs and cut people in half? Yes.

That's not to say it doesn't have depth, but Mortal Kombat has always been about playing the game with a crowd so they can laugh at the ridiculous violence. The air juggles and combos are fun to learn, and input is intuitive enough to accomplish. Throws feel balanced with blocking, so the player is never stuck by cheap defensive tactics.

The X-Ray mode (press both shoulder buttons when the meter is full and you take 30-50% off opponents health if landed correctly) feels as if it's a game changer that is too easy to initiate. Sitting back and watching your health disappear is about as painful as watching the X-Rays themselves. They are perfect for players just getting into the game, but added to an accomplished opponent means you die faster and easier. I feel though, that Breakers lost their usefulness like in Armageddon, where those were the game changers, not the X-Rays.

I'd say I got my MK fix out of this, and I'm glad I picked it up. It's perfect to pull out at parties, but I don't know that I would be as devoted to mastery like Street Fighter.

As for Portal 2. . . It's Portal 2. Valve spending 4 years of development on the Portal License. How could it be bad? I love that they've gone outside of the usual testing room thematics and it feels more like you are using the environment than a predetermined test. Adding the gels were a great way to vary the puzzles without complicating things too greatly.

My only complaint is that because everything is linear (including the multiplayer) it means that once you go through it. . . there is no real need to play it again. I would have loved to have seen a Portal game type that would have been death match based. (Kill people using a Death Cube, Use Environmental Objects, Hazards, etc.) Really I just want more because I am greedy, but otherwise that game is amazing. Great level design, awesome writing, fantastic art and puzzles that make me feel brilliant when I solve them. Go buy it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh yeah . . . I forgot about this . . .

I remember when I used to update this thing. . .

I've been beyond busy! Work at Carbine has been increasing and the wife and I got a new puppy named Walter. Ergo free time has been virtually eliminated. . .

Mortifera is coming along nicely. Sarah is doing some seriously epic stuff. I can't wait for it to get out to the world. Sarah adds a level of expression to characters that really sells what is going on in a scene. Stoked!

I'm working on a few new I.P.'s for comics in the little free time I have, both of which are vastly different from Mortifera. The artists I'm working with on those are both awesome, so I am quite excited for those to get out to the masses as well.

I'm back to messing around with Unreal again. I'll post some pics of the stuff I've been messing with soon enough.

Throw in Borderlands, Halo Reach, Demon Souls and the new Darkest Hour album and that pretty much sums up my life presently.

What's new with you?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Killzone 2 . . . I want to like you.

Killzone 2 is killing me. Quite a bit. (Also forgive my tardiness in reviewing this, but I finally got around to playing it.)

It looks great, sounds great and makes me feel like I am in a chaotic war zone. Yet I don't like it. Why the hate bro?
The controls are terrible.

The number one thing a game needs to have, is stellar controls. You then work your way from there on everything else. This game feels so loose, it drives me nuts. If I aim a reticule at a dude's head, I want it to stay there when my thumb stops moving the analog stick. However Killzone 2 has a slight shift in weight for the gun. This leads me to not attain headshots. Which makes me unhappy. Gears of War and Halo have a good solid stop when you pull off of the thumb-stick. The reaction time is (essentially) one to one. Same with Call of Duty. Immediate stops. Yet Killzone 2, perhaps, is going for a more realistic feeling stop. I don't like it, and it has cost me my life multiple times. Also when you are zoomed in and you hit reload it won't reload. STOP BEING AN AHOLE GAME! JUST RELOAD MY WEAPON. Work with me, there are loads of grenades, shotguns and automatic weapons exploding around every corner. Just reload for crap's sake.

Also DROP THE 6 AXIS CRAP. There was no need for the gimmicky bomb planting motion controls. Sony, stop forcing people to use this please. It doesn't sell units. In fact, if it was not in the game at all, I'd wager it would sell the same amount.

The cover system is also a bit finicky. There were multiple times where I would be crouched behind a wall, and yet bad guys would shoot the top of my head. They would apparently shoot enough of my hair off for me to die.

The melee attack is also slow and and hard to predict where it will hit. Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty had a great melee system because of it's responsiveness. "HOLY CRAP ZOMBIE IN FRONT OF MY FACE!" Boom, ready with a shotgun butt to the back of the head. "TERRORIST UP IN MY GRILLE!" Blammo, knife to the junk. With Killzone it's often "Man all this armor is weighing me down in this crazy warzone. HOLY CRAP GLOWY EYED DUDE! ERRRUUNNGHH! Crap. I missed! EERRRUNNGGGHH! HIT HIM! Oh wait I can't. I'm dead from swinging my gun around like a jerk."

The story and characters are also pretty generic/boring. "Vargas! Get me some firepower!" screams a commander with another last name name that is easy to remember. "I gave your mom some fire power last night Diaz!" replies the generic grunt soldier who is someone you should apparently care about because they are your squad mate. I know this is an action movie themed game, but COME ON, give me something with a bit more depth here. I frankly could care less if they got wiped out by the . . . uhhh. . whatever the Space Nazi's are in this game. They look great, but I don't understand what their deal is either. Why can't there be a mission where you have to escort an enemy back to interrogation, and you actually get to know him on the path back to the player's base? Something other than "Dudes with the glowy eyes are bad."

I am not, by the way, one of those people who just craps on a game to be cool. This game got glowing reviews pretty much all around. It is not a terrible game, but it is not a great game either. It's a decent one, at best. I think the visuals and the fact that Sony put out a good multiplayer game, got this game a bit higher reviews. I just found it to be a bit overhyped is all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Job!

I am terrible at updating this bad boy. My apologies to all 3 of you that read this.

I recently started a new job at Carbine Studios out in Aliso Viejo, which for those of you that are not familiar with Californian geography, is where the 'Real House Wives of Orange County' live. Looks like I'll need to pick up tennis lessons and lease a Range Rover.

My job title is the Associate Producer of Design. I'm working on an unannounced MMO. No I can't say what it's about, yes it's cool. You can see all sorts of info on the place at

In other news, the Batman: Brave and the Bold stuff had a great reception at Comic Con. Check out this video playthrough on Gamespot. Green Lantern fans will get a kick out of Guy Gardner being a playable character in the game.

I'll update when I get some more news. :D

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Video Games are art, an explanation for critics.

Ahhh Roger Ebert. Admitting you were wrong. Good for you sir. However there is still a tone in the article you just posted that irritates me. I am glad that you are admitting that you had no place saying that video games are art because, well, you never play them sir. However you still say, essentially, that to SOME people it is art. That isn't good enough for me sir.

This debate has been going on for years. The old "Are video games art" debate. The short answer to the argument is yes, they are art. However I would say that, you know, being in the game industry. However I figured I'd use some art history examples that even critics of video games can even understand and prove to them unequivocally, that video games are art.

I am a big fan of art history. Specifically grand, huge and technically challenging pieces. I love artists like Bernini, Caravaggio, Rafael, Michaelangelo, Durer, Delacroix, de Goya. . . these were true masters of recreating movement in a medium of still images. Their works were awe inspiring and command a great deal of emotional attachment for millions of people. I am one of those millions. I am in awe that these were done HUNDREDS of years ago. (well ok de Goya and Delacroix were more recent but still, they are amazing.)

There are people however that disagree with me, and what my definition of what art constitutes. The Dada movement was a group of people that said, effectively, that these artists were not their representations of artistic masters. Specifically people like Marcel Duchamp. He is mostly known for his work 'Nude Descending a Staircase' a work using the Cubist style. Some critics of the time found it distasteful and hardly art at all. Duchamp made a career of challenging what art really means. Nothing is more evident of that than his piece 'Fountain' where he used "Found Objects" and declared them art. At the time there were critics that hated the idea and found it an insult to call these pieces art.

The Pop Art movement that followed followed numerous ideas from the Dada movement. Using simplicity and everyday images and altering them. Andy Warhol is famous for his prints, using photographic images and silk screened pieces. Again, at the time, there were critics that found this to be insulting to be considered art.

These movements made people some critiques wreathe their hands in disgust. The idea though, was to ask "What is art?" Can everything be art? What is the definition? If anything, the Dada movement proved that art is much larger than famous Renaissance painters. They expanded the definition.

But ultimately it comes to this. . . you may not like video games, but they are a creative amalgamation. ARTISTS make ART WORKS for VIDEO GAMES. MUSICIANS create MUSIC (usually considered art) for VIDEO GAMES. Mixed together with technology, consumers of art now have the ability to experience these mediums differently. They can achieve this different experience through interaction.

Just like those critics that could not stand Duchamp, they must admit, that it is art. It is not their favorite type, but it is still art. There are some that are emotionally moved by games the way they are emotionally moved by seeing a painting, a movie or a sculpture. Hence it IS art.

The definition of art has expanded over the past few years, whether critics like it or not, video games are a part of that definition. In summation I guess one could say, if the Fountain is art, so are video games. I respect your ability to admit your mistake, however addendum to your article would be nice Mr. Ebert.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

E3 and other such things!


E3 was a good time. Glad I got to play some Castlevania, Twisted Metal and see some new Mortal Kombat fatalities. :D

Disney also had a great showing this year, it's good to see that they are growing in the right direction. Epic Mickey looks good, and I enjoyed running around in Tron.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold got some pretty positive preview remarks here, here and here.

Also my comic book Mortifera has it's own Facebook page. If you have one of these fancy Facebook accounts you should add it here.

I'll add more updates soon. Hope everyone is doing well in the interim.