This week, I’m going to get back into recording gameplay for my YouTube Channel. It has been a very long time since I recorded anything, I figured out why. Stardew Valley was the last game I played on the channel and as I watched, it was getting fairly monotonous. I’m going to break away from Stardew Valley for awhile and focus on a new game. “New” does not mean recent; in this case, I’m taking a game I’ve had in my library that I haven’t played and I bought many moons ago in a Steam sale far far away.
Awhile ago I had bought myself a few games; Stranded Deep, Call To Arms, and Prison Architect. As per the title of this blog post, I’m going to start working on these sandbox games since I’ve had them in my library for the longest time. I’ve already recorded and edited a few episodes and it feels much more fun than the last few episodes of Stardew Valley I’ve put together. Reason behind going with Prison Architect was because the developer recently announced they were done with this game and any upcoming patches would just address major bugs. That was probably a couple months ago, which by now should be fairly stable and playable.
I think after I get a good chunk of Prison Architect completed, I’ll start on the next one and then maybe consider revisiting Stardew Valley. For the time being I think I’ll stop and enjoy what I have accomplished. Much like I did with Defiance, the MMORPG, I’m going to leave this one as is until I feel I can play it in it’s entirety.
As the summer starts, I’m starting to think all the plans I’ve set a couple months are starting to fall through. Right now I’m sort of scrambling with finding something to keep myself occupied with for the next a few months. Unlike last year, I think the internet will benefit from this scrambling.
I was hoping I was going to work for the entire summer. I’ve been in contact with my employer and it seems they don’t know what to do with me or I got it easy (or difficult, depending how you look at it). Now a week into June, I’m making some expensive plans for my YouTube channel and perhaps my new camera. I had everything planned; I was going to end my Life is Strange playthrough and start a summer hiatus, then I would spend the remaining days before I was slated to work to take up a hobby and go to the gym a bit more. At the moment, it seems the hobby and gym might be the largest component in my entire life until I have something to do. I might even seek employment all summer; if there is an employer who will hire me in short notice.
Short term futures right now, I have purchased a new game on Steam. It was on sale called Call To Arms, it appears to be a modern warfare RTS game I might be recording . Along with recording a new game, I’m jumping back into Insurgency and Borderlands 2. For Borderlands 2, I purchased the Collector’s Edition so I have a few DLC packs I can record. Insurgency received an achievement and map update so I’ve decided to record a bunch of compilation of some of these achievements as well as maps I’ve may or may not have played in the past. That should cover a month or so of content online. As for personal content, I will have to really coerce myself to the gym and spend the soon-to-be sunny summer days outside snapping photos and hopefully get into a bit of trouble. I promise I won’t end up in jail or on the evening news, haha!
This is all I have for now for updates and progress. Hopefully I have something to show next week.
I’m going to say this right now, since the last time I posted on my blog I am thankful for every game developer out there. Without their games, I would’ve ended up at home curled up in a ball and lost faith in humanity.
Trust to me in important, the way society works. To garner security and resources, trust has to be placed somewhere. You wouldn’t realize it but at this very moment, you put your trust in hundreds of people, mostly faceless, to protect you and make sure you have food and water for the next day. You rely a chain of people who ensure your money is worth something to buy the necessities within your society like clothes. Trust is a very delicate thing but it could create the strongest social bonds.
The scariest thing is when the trust is compromised. The momentary vulnerability can destroy the safety of yourself and those you care about it. Something said in confidence now for the world to hear. It definitely can destroy a person’s reputation and their perceptive character. For me, I can’t trust the person after it. It could be a long time to trust them again; could be years, could be never. Most of the time I hold trust as high as respect, fairness, honesty, loyalty, duty and service; this is the base I gauge my trust in others. Whether they are a group or an individual, these what I hold as above all. A person can have the same interests as I do; if they don’t hold or display these values, it’s unlikely I could ever trust them.
Trust is a risk no matter what anyone tells you. Trust is a culmination of what you know based on instinct. It’s not a guide but what you can build on top of the trust. Until next time, and I hope I can trust you, I’ll see you next time.
I thought it would merit a blog post in itself since I’ve played the entire episodic narrative, Life is Strange. After a long 6 months since I bought episodes 1-5 on Steam, recently I finally put aside some time from work to play. All this time avoiding spoilers I can put in a review down without ruining any plot lines and there are a bunch of plot lines.
Developed by DONTNOD and published by Square Enix, you play as Maxine Caulfield who has travelled to Oregon to attend Blackwell Academy in hopes of being a photographer. Within the first month of settling in, you have premonitions of a tornado. You have 5 days to prevent it happening. Along the way of trying to save the seaside town of Arcadia Bay, you make friends both old and new.
You play in the third person in a narrative where each episode is a day until the end. As you play choices from the previous episodes can effect the story and how it will culminate. The art for the game does exude something resembling of water colours which exemplifies focus on the story while delivering a detailed (but not too detailed) atmosphere. The entire game is littered with story devices which opens the player to character development outside of Max’s journal. If you are an empathic gamer, you will find yourself thinking about these little bits of information as you interact with other characters and help make decisions throughout the game. The voice acting in itself is very professional and does feel very natural and fluid with each choice. The character animation is nothing impressive, there are parts where characters would just talk and wouldn’t necessarily interact with each other. Felt more like talking heads on the news than a theatrical performance. Definitely something work improving is the motion capture to let these characters interact with the space around than standing there and have it be consistent. Max’s time travelling provides a good plot device to allow the player to change their answer if they think their choice is undesirable considering most choices aren’t described fully. Usually the game will give your an explicit choice of actions or a vague noun like “Nathan” or “Joyce” and hope that choice is what you are thinking it would be what is summed in a few words. It makes a logical choice to have the choices concise but a bit more description would be helpful. Then again the time travelling ability really solves all that.
Thematically, the game is about choices. Choices everywhere and if you aren’t tainted by spoilers, these choices are interesting because they carry weight through the game and changes up what you can say and do. The developers seemed to explore the idea of choice in terms of a social sense with moral implications. Choices which challenge vices and virtues, needs and wants, truth and the perception of truth; the does give some good examples of philosophical dilemmas which defines our humanity. Who said video games can’t teach your anything?
If you haven’t decided to get Life is Strange yet and you want to play it, I would recommend getting all the episodes in one package. For the value of a movie ticket and popcorn (like 25 dollars-ish), you get about 22 hours of content (That’s on my count, experience may vary). As much as the first episode is thorough in giving you a preview of things to come, the main attraction is a story which a game can only deliver. There are some faults in quality such as some bugs and some dialogue which fell flat because of the animation. It’s a good play with achievements which can be completed (for you perfectionists out there). In the end after I made all the choices and comparing similarities with my personal life, the title is indeed exclaims a truth. Life is strange, so very strange.
This week since work has been a bit slow, I’ve been working on learning to use Lightworks. Though a new version has released, I thought I would give it a chance to see how it differs from Movie Maker.
At first I found the interface to be simple. However going from MM to Lightworks, I realized I might have to pick up the user manual and read through a few things before I start editing. The terminology is different and the techniques were a bit hard to pick up at first. There was hardly any simple drag and drop method. I use to splice clips, not I have to focus on moving a pointer on a timeline then marking two points to be added to a storyboard. This was the first thing I learned from the program.
Next I had to learn about the intricate bits of Lightworks since I noticed there was a large blank space at the end of the video. Apparently I can add blank spaces wherever I choose however the program will start with about 20 minutes of blank and would slowly empty out as you fill it.
Lastly saving is now exporting the storyboard, this is where the features drop off immensely. As a basic free user, I have access to one option; YouTube (as of 12.6, they have Vimeo as a second available option). Unlike Window’s video editor, I have no control of the sound and video quality. I’m stuck one setting and a few smaller settings to change resolution to a maximum of 720p. As my first video saved, I looked through these export settings and found a lot of these locked out settings to add a variety of formats available only to paying users. As a person who just needs YouTube, I didn’t mind having the one setting. However in the sub sections, even the resolution is capped out to 720p even though the settings include resolutions beyond.
Curious, I began to experiment with using both in conjunction and found my old settings in Movie Maker is more space friendly than Lightworks. The quality is about the same but I could drop a 1 GB file down to about 700 MB.
The upper hand I can see from using Lightworks at the moment is I can simultaneously export multiple videos as well as have more precise editing of all my videos. Though I hardly have space for files on my hard drive, the software does seem to catalogue and save each file it encounters so I can easily switch between raw files of my gameplay.
As well as helping me edit videos, it does also include some effects I can use. Most are much like MM but I have more control to each effect. Example is having effects on top of videos, transitions and wipes. Most I doubt I will use regularly. While I wait for my batch of edits to finish, there is no harm in experimenting.
At the time of this post, I’ve been playing a whole lot of Insurgency. Though there are a lot of boosters for the new Day of Infamy mod from the community, I’m staying close to the base game for the fact I spent over 800 hours to get to this very moment. The very moment: “Bodycount X (Co-op) – Kill 100, 000 enemies.”
In many games now, there are accolades for accumulated kills. Like many games, they award in increments. In Insurgency as the X suggests, it’s the tenth one in the line of Bodycount achievements. As much as I dislike games with an achievement grind, this one I cannot ignore. I want to have it because I’ve spent so much time invested into the game to not complete all the co-op achieves.
I can’t help relating to my predicament to reality. Achievements in life, especially recognized by others, are the hardest to receive. Hardest are for those who seek them rather than doing what they’re doing. When I first starting playing Insurgency, I thought I would give up around hour 250. I’m now coming close to 850 hours and the last couple years feel like nothing. I would say it’s a blur since I’ve been playing the same maps and the same game modes repetitively. I’ve been more or less racking in about an hour or two a day and only recently I’ve been pushing it to gain more kills. Much to my surprise in the past week, I’ve inched closer and closer. Start of 2016, I needed about 20k kills; I’m now almost halfway with a an estimate of a month to finish. After that, I’m not sure if I would play PvP to complete all the achievements.
Much in life, you have to keep doing what you love and your will be rewarded with something meaningful.
Surely every child had dreams and aspirations for their careers. Over time those dreams seem to be replaced with more realistic dreams and compromises.
As a child, I went for the really typical choices. At first I wanted to be a cop, this was like around primary school where you can dress up and run around. It was a weird time since our teacher didn’t allow toy guns nor pointing a finger around like a gun. That dream (because of the teacher) died pretty quick. When I was older I actually thought about it; however realizing my city isn’t a nice and polite place for police, I moved on quickly.
Sometime later but still in primary school, I desired to be an astronaut. Something about being up there floating is kind of cool and exciting. Back then I had the illusion of space travel from Star Trek that we ride on fast ships and having cool gadgets and gizmos to help along the adventure. Unfortunately that’s not the case, however in the back of my mind ever since high school I’ve had an interest in being a colonist of a distant world. I would like to be the idea of being on the frontier where I could be the very few people to see a far away world with my very own eyes.
In high school, I started to look into jobs and career paths which would suit my values in a job and career. For high school, I tried to do a lot with learning history. As boring as learning western history, it made me realize a lot of people died in the name of land and country. Though some were selfless in helping others, some died loyal to a cause. To me I guess they embodied some of the values I wanted in my life. As dangerous as the military sounded at the time, I wanted to join the military as a career path at the time. However obligations held me down to schooling so I carried away from something that seemed so right at the time.
Now closer to today and now, what do I want to do and what am I qualified to do? I know for sure the past decade and more I have been playing video games. Though unprofessionally and not for sport, I think there should be something in there that should merit me in something that has video games involved. I wouldn’t mind play testing games for a living, streaming video games or even making my YouTube channel somehow pay for my expenses. All three are a long stretch but I have little to no determination to earn money through view counts. As amazing an idea sounds, I am limited to my equipment and services provided to me.
Since high school as I said before, I would like to seek out and opportunity with the military and even if it’s just a decade or a life long commitment. I’m not sure how I would carry it out and where it will take me, but I know as long as I put some effort in I could find it rewarding in helping other.
Tomorrow is always a brand new day and a field of new opportunities. All I have to do is dig up the entire field for something I want to do in this world.