Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shout Out: Dragon Nest

There's no shortage of free-to-play MMOs out there and while most of them fall short of more elaborate, pay-to-play titles like "Guild Wars 2" and "World of Warcraft," there is the occasional exception.

"Dragon Nest" is a good example of a game that is way better than it has any right to be. On paper, it's just another MMO with hardly anything unique or innovative about it, yet somehow it manages to be a lot more entertaining than I dared hope.

If I had to try to put my finger on exactly what makes "Dragon Nest" worth playing, it's simply that it's fun. It doesn't take itself very seriously and doesn't expect you to do so either. At the standard difficulty setting for each instanced dungeon, the game's action-oriented combat (one of its best features) is pretty easy. Yes, you can crank up the difficulty for a greater challenge and greater rewards but that's not really the reason to play this game.

There's a brisk, care-free, whimsical quality to "Dragon Nest" that peaks when you're just cruising through and consuming its content. Increasing the difficulty too high basically kills the fun and turns it into the second job that every MMO eventually ends up feeling like that much faster.

Depending on the class you play, "Hard" difficulty might be more or less hard than you'd expect, so a little experimentation is a good thing but I'd recommend against fiddling with the difficulty setting until you've cleared a particular dungeon at least once in the interest of keeping things flowing.

I've hit level 13 in "Dragon Nest" and it's been a pretty fun ride so far. Would I pay to play it? Probably not but I would definitely consider tossing an in-game purchase or two their way if it manages to keep me interested.

I personally really like the idea of a full-featured MMO that feels good to play casually and in that regard "Dragon Nest" pretty much nails it.

I streamed a little over an hour of "Dragon Nest" the other day, which you can check out over at if you're interested. The stream's video got pretty choppy in spots when the action became hectic but the audio is good throughout and I go into some more detail about the game in that.

If nothing else, "Dragon Nest" will give those of you with no money to spend on the Steam Holiday Sale something to check out. :)

Dragon Nest (via Steam)

Friday, November 30, 2012

PlanetSide 2 Boot Camp

I've been playing "PlanetSide 2" (PS2) since beta and now that it's been released and made available as a free-to-play game via Steam, I find myself playing even more of it than ever.

The problem with PS2 is that it's a very complicated game that does almost nothing to reveal its intricacies to new players.

Some might say that the learning curve is part of the experience and while I can agree with that to a certain extent, there are some fundamental things that I wish I'd known about when I first started playing that I'd like to share with those of you who are interested in the game.

The Basics

PS2 is a first-person shooter about world domination. You play as one of three factions vying for control of a planet's three continents and their respective resources.

For those of you who play a lot of games, PS2 is like a cross between "Halo" (esthetically), "Battlefield" (mechanically) and "World War II Online" (meta game).

For those unfamiliar with those points of reference, PS2 takes place in a futuristic/alien setting and is comprised of a series of battles between infantry of several types, various land and air vehicles, and mounted defenses over facilities that confer territory and equipment and/or bonuses on those who control them.

The overall goal of the game is to control all the territory on a given continent to reap the benefit of doing so for your faction in future battles.

To accomplish this, you must assault enemy bases and facilities to capture them while maintaining control of those your faction already holds.

As you might expect, the overarching goals are not something that an individual or even a small group of players can hope to accomplish on their own; however, there are many opportunities for individual players and small groups to make meaningful contributions to said goals.

Your First Session

There are a handful of things new players should focus on when first starting to play PS2:

1 - Learn to communicate - When you first spawn into the game, you will be dropped into combat with a randomly-assigned squad of players engaged in battle. This is quite literally a trial by fire and you should go into it expecting to die.

In this situation, friendly players have blue names above them, enemies are reddish-pink and those friendly players in your squad are green.

You can press the "q" key to mark enemy targets (those with no name above them) so that others in your squad/faction can spot them more easily.

You can speak to those near you by pressing and holding "numberpad 4."

Be aware that spotting enemies and using this local chat will likely reveal your presence to anybody nearby (be they friendly or enemy).

You can speak directly to your squad leader by pressing and holding "numberpad 7."

And you can speak to your whole squad by pressing and holding "z."

Depending on how things go, you may find yourself getting killed a lot or rolling with a group that's killing a lot of enemies. That's just the luck of the draw but either way, there's something you'll need to learn how to do soon enough.

2 - Learn to Navigate - PS2's game world is huge. Each continent is a significant area divided into clusters of hexagons that represent territories controlled by the various factions.

When you pull up the map by pressing "m," you should take note of a few things.

There is an "Instant Action" interface in the lower left, which can be used periodically to deploy to hotspots on the map where the fighting is most intense or to where you squad leader is at a given moment. This is very handy but can only be used a few times an hour, so use it wisely.

A much more common method for moving around the map is to use the "Redeploy" button in the lower right of the map screen. This will let you essentially teleport to any of several nearby spawn locations or your faction's Warpgate (home base) at any time and can be used as often as you like.

When you're moving through the game world normally, be it on foot or in a vehicle, there are a few things worth noting.

You can use the "h" key to toggle the size of the mini map.

When the mini-map is small, there is a compass directly above it.

When you are near a base or facility and the mini map is small, you will see indicators for any control points relevant to that facility above the compass. Blue control points indicate those held by the enemy. Green control points are owned by your faction and flashing control points are currently being contested.

Larger facilities often have secondary objectives such as shield generators and transportation systems that will be indicated by icons on your heads up display as you look around the game world. As with control points, blue icons indicate objectives held by enemies, green icons indicate friendly points and those flashing are being contested. These icons can also be red if they indicate a facility that's damaged or destroyed and needs to be repaired by an Engineer.

3 - Order the Sampler Platter - There are several infantry classes in PS2 with varying weapons and special abilities. There are also several ground and air vehicles, with faction-specific variants in many cases. A good idea when you first start playing is to try out all the different infantry classes and vehicles. A good place for this is your faction's Warpgate, which you'll always start at in subsequent play sessions and can always be accessed via the "Redeploy" button in the lower right of the map screen.

At the Warpgate, you'll find terminals that allow you to switch your infantry class (indicated by a gun), summon ground vehicles (tank), air vehicles (aircraft) or travel to other continents (globe).

This is also a good place to explore the rest of the game's interface and settings as it's generally a safe haven unless your faction is on the verge of losing the continent completely.

There are a myriad of options and settings in PS2 that are definitely worth taking the time to explore if you want to get the most out of the game. A lot of it is pretty self explanatory and many of the settings such as whether or not the mini map rotates to match your point of view are simple matters of preference.

As important as all those settings and choices can be, there's one facet of the game interface that I want to call out specifically.

4 - Get Certified - When you participate in the capture or defense of facilities or accomplish other goals within PS2, you'll be awarded with Certification Points (CP), which allow you to unlock various abilities, weapons and other enhancements related to the various classes, vehicles and roles in the game.

For example: At level 10, you can spend 30 CP to unlock the ability to periodically drop a spawn beacon when you are a squad leader that members of your squad can deploy to every so often. This is an extremely useful certification for those intending to lead a group into battle.

You can also use CP to buy optics and other attachments for weapons or class-specific enhancements like additional health.

Once you've tried out all the different classes and picked a favorite, I highly recommend focusing on getting as many relevant certifications for that class as you can as they will enhance your abilities and give you a real edge in battle versus other players who don't have them.

It's certainly possible to dabble in various classes, spending points here and there to make a character who's effective in multiple roles but focusing on one or two types of certifications will allow you to access some pretty significant perks early on in the leveling process that you might otherwise have trouble attaining.

5 - Find Your Niche - One of the best things about PS2 is that it supports a wide range of play styles. Want to be a professional pilot who ferries troops around the battlefield? You can do that. Want to be a sneaky Infiltrator who works alone in the shadows to spot or snipe enemies and sabotage their facilities? You can do that. Want to lead a squad, platoon or outfit to victory by setting waypoints on the map, issuing squad orders and using spawn beacons and smoke to establish rally points? You can do it. Want to just run around and kill stuff? Hell yes, you can do that! :)

The point is that there's a lot you can do in PS2– whether you're doing it alone, with friends or total strangers, it doesn't matter because the game provides the tools to accommodate just about any play style.

Having said all that, PS2 is not for everyone. Some folks just won't care for it and that's completely fine; however, if any of this sounds the slightest bit interesting, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. If it clicks for you, you're going to have a lot of fun with it and have some of those special moments that only games like this can provide– those "I can't believe what just happened!" experiences that you'll want to tell your friends about even though you know they're just going to look at you like you're crazy. :) It's that kind of game.

PlanetSide 2 (via Steam)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Shout Out: Frontline Tactics

Things have been crazy as usual lately but I have been finding some time to do a little streaming here and there. Most of it's been pretty low-impact but I have done a couple streams of a cool, new Free-to-Play game called "Frontline Tactics" that's now available for Mac & PC through Steam.

I feel like these particular streams turned out pretty well and were worth bringing to your attention, so I've highlighted them on my Twitch channel and added them to my YouTube channel.

As always, if you want to keep up with what I'm doing, especially now that my schedule is less predictable, please follow/subscribe to my channels and/or Twitter.

Frontline Tactics (via Steam) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chernarus: An original song inspired by DayZ

I've been doing some preliminary work on the soundtrack for my next iOS game lately. One of the things I like to do when starting such a task is to compose a small, unrelated piece to help get my creative juices flowing and blow the cobwebs off all the audio production skills needed to do such a thing, which tend to sit idle between projects.

Back when I was making gaming comedy albums with Yukon, we'd always do a free cover song to help work out the kinks before diving into our own fully-original material. Besides being a lot of fun and serving the aforementioned purpose, these sessions often produced songs that went on to become fan favorites like "Holding out for a Healer" and "I Live to Pwn."

In keeping with that tradition, I decided to pick an upcoming game and make a song that I feel captures the spirit of it and could serve as a title or menu theme.

Having spent so much time with the alpha mod for it over the past several months, "DayZ" seemed like the obvious choice.

Here is the result.

Those of you who've seen my "DayZ" video series on YouTube will no doubt recognize the footage from it and those of you who already follow me on Twitter had a chance to see a work-in-progress version of this a couple weeks ago.

Keep in mind that I am retaining all rights to this song. If you would like to use it in anything or would like to hire me to compose something new, feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Thoughts on XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Note: In this post, "X-COM" refers to the original game form 1994 and "XCOM" refers to the Firaxis remake from 2012.

By now, you all know the drill. This isn't a "review" of XCOM. It's just me talking about the game and letting you all know what I think of it after about 12 hours of play. If you want a review, there are plenty of other places where you can get one. If you want to know what I think, proceed. :)

The original X-COM ("UFO: Enemy Unknown" as it was called when I bought it back in the day) is one of the best games and quite possibly the best turn-based tactical/strategy game ever made. If I were to make a personal Top 10 list from the thousands of games I've played over the years, it would very likely make the cut.

It was a difficult, often brutal game that at times felt outright unfair but that was part of what made it so compelling. Winning in X-COM was never assumed. No matter how well you played or how sound your strategies and tactics, there was always the chance that you'd get screwed by some terrifying event that you never saw coming and the loss you'd feel as a result was integral to the experience.

No manufactured story beat, no scripted sequence could ever match the gut-wrenching feeling of having one of your soldiers blown away by E.T. just as they rounded a corner.

 The problem with X-COM is that it hasn't aged particularly well. It was never a great looking game, even by the standards of its time. The most you could say is that it had a cool style to it. Beyond that, the interface was clunky, the sound effects, while memorable, were pretty basic and the overall presentation of the game made it the sort of thing most would only bother with today out of pure nostalgia.

Thankfully, Firaxis has come to the rescue with XCOM, which could well be the best re-make of a game that I've ever seen.

I said recently that there's no such thing as a perfect game and that still holds true with XCOM; however, it is easily one of very few games in the history of gaming to even approach perfection based on what I've experienced so far.

Sure, the tutorial at the beginning is a bit hand-holdy but it can be skipped. And yes, the camera can get a little unwieldy when you get to the edges of the tactical map or venture inside buildings and ships. And yes, sometimes you get blindsided by things that the game didn't warn you about ahead of time. Whatever. Suck it up. :)

The bottom line is that XCOM is a great game. I don't need to finish it (though I will be) to tell you that because the first 12 hours are better than 90% of the other games out there. If you loved the original and have been hoping for a modern game to live up to your memories of it, this is that game. If you never played the original, go and buy XCOM right now. Install it. Play it. Love it. Thank me later. :)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (via Steam)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Thoughts on War of the Roses

The video game industry, like many others, is driven by trends. A particular style of game becomes popular and seemingly overnight there are a slew of other titles attempting to build on or simply duplicate it.

Fortunately, "War of the Roses" is much more than just a duplication of the multiplayer component from "Mount & Blade–" the game it most resembles. It brings a bevy of new features and a refined level of presentation and gameplay that make it stand out in the increasing pool of medieval, team-based, multiplayer games available to those of us who are into that sort of thing.

To simplify things: If the idea of roaming around castles and countrysides with medieval infantry and cavalry to secure objectives and slaughter your enemies sounds like something you'd be into, you should play this game.

If you're looking for a single-player experience or more elaborate game mechanics, you should probably look elsewhere.

"War of the Roses" does a handful of things exceptionally well. The feel of its combat system is fantastic. The level of customization it offers in terms of weapons, armor and perks is second to none in the genre and it sounds as beautiful as it looks. Having said that, you will not find much in it beyond the core gameplay I've described. That's not necessarily a bad thing but you should go into it knowing that it is a game purely focused on team-oriented, multiplayer combat. It does all of that extremely well but that is all there is to it.

Still not sure if "War of the Roses" is right for you? Check out this video!

War of the Roses (via Steam)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Change in Focus

These past few months have been a lot of fun.

I've really enjoyed doing more consistent and elaborate posts for the blog and getting back into working with video and streaming as it's been a few years since I've had the chance to do that sort of thing.

As fun as all that's been, I have to face up to a simple reality, which is that this blog doesn't generate enough traffic versus the amount of effort I've been putting into it. Viewership has been on a steady decline over the past month and is rapidly approaching the trickle it was before the explosion that prompted me to expand the blog's content back in June.

To some extent, this was a predictable thing. After all, we have officially crossed over into holiday game release season and the vast majority of gamers are too busy playing the slew of new titles being released each week to read about or watch someone else play and talk about them.

This is of course a good thing for the gaming community but it also means that it makes less and less sense for me to spend the limited free time I have updating a blog that relatively few people are interested in reading right now.

I've been following the video game industry for many years and I've learned a lot about the ebb and flow of it as a result. It's for this reason that I've decided to back off on updating the blog for a while.

If this were a site about "reviewing" games, that would be crazy talk as this is prime time for such outlets but as I've been saying for a while now, this blog is about sharing my personal experiences with games and featuring games that in my opinion haven't gotten their due.

There's an ideal time for the sort of content I create and this is not it. Consequently, I will focus my attention on other projects until I feel it makes sense to return to this one.

That doesn't mean that I won't be posting anything new here over the next few months but posts will be less frequent and predictable as was the case before the whole "DayZ" phenomenon started.

I'm also going to stop streaming on for similar reasons. I have some ideas about how that platform could be used to make some truly amazing content but the amount of work involved would simply be too much for me to attempt it right now.

Sorry if this is all coming across as a bit grim. I guess it is. If I had my way, I would spend a lot more time creating free content for you all and I would constantly work to improve the quality of that content but the simple truth is that I can't make that work financially with viewership this low.

Thanks to everyone who's been visiting the blog– especially those of you who were here before "DayZ." You folks are a big part of the reason why I do this sort of thing when I can.

As always, if you want to keep up on what I'm doing, Twitter is the place for that. If I do a blog post or a livestream or a YouTube video or anything else of note, it will always be announced there.

For those of you who are totally bummed out right now, there almost certainly will be a blog post next week as I already had something planned before I made this decision, so look forward to that. :)

Until next time, have a good one folks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The DayZ Update - 09/24/2012

I'm starting to think that a weekly update on this mod just doesn't make sense anymore.

Sure, there are little tidbits of information that have come to light since last week, such as Rocket's attempt to consolidate data about private hives to ensure that future updates to the mod will work with them but that's not exactly earth-shattering news and it's certainly nothing those interested couldn't get straight from the horse's mouth so-to-speak.

I am however excited to report that the next "Hunger GameZ" event, which has been re-titled as "Survivor GameZ" will be happening on October 20th and will be the first event to use a custom build of "DayZ" specifically crafted by the "DayZ" development team for such purposes.

As before, the event is being organized by "QuickNap Gaming" and will be streamed on There's even an official "Survivor GameZ" web site with all the info and links this time, so go check it out and support what these guys are doing because it's pretty cool.

Beyond that, I really don't have anything else to talk about this week. The lack of updates to "DayZ" of late have made it pretty tough to come up with interesting content to post. As such, I think I'm going to hold off on future "DayZ" posts until something worth writing about happens.

As I've said before, I really don't want this blog to become boring and predictable. If I post about a game, it's because I believe it's a game worth your time and attention and in its current state, I don't feel that "DayZ" meets that criteria.

It's clear to me that "DayZ" is going to be an awesome game once the issues with it are resolved but I feel like I've given it more than enough attention over the past few months and believe it would be better to simply stop talking about it until it evolves into a full-blown product.

As I said last week, I may change my thinking on this if version 1.7.3 of the mod hits and addresses the security and polish issues to a noteworthy extent but I've become conscious of the fact that continuing to cover the game each week as it stands is likely to do more harm than good.

So, this could well be the last "DayZ Update" for a while but rest assured that I will resume coverage of it when and for however long that makes sense in the future.

In the meantime, stick around for weekly updates on other great games that I'm playing and be sure to tune in for each week's "Monday Night Madness" live stream on the blog's Twitch channel, which could feature just about any game that streams well, including "DayZ." Keep in mind that following me on Twitter will ensure that you know as soon as I do anything you might be interested in seeing.

Until next time. Have a good one folks! - DayZ -

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Initial Impressions: Borderlands 2

I'm going to keep this one short and sweet. If you're not playing "Borderlands 2," you probably should be.

With most games, it's pretty easy for me to find the "fatal flaw–" the thing that ensures that some people just won't like them regardless of whatever else they might do well but "Borderlands 2" from the four hours I've seen of it so far is a game that should appeal to just about anyone.

Unlike the first game, which was very good despite having some fairly obvious shortcomings, "Borderlands 2" sports a level of polish and refinement that is downright amazing when you stop and think about just how much is happening in the game at any given moment.

One of the most important things I look for in a gaming experience is a sense of adventure. I want to visit new places, fight new enemies, learn new things and be entertained while doing it. Beyond that, I want to be able to share that experience with others. "Borderlands 2" does all those things and more and does them with a style and technical competence that's hard to deny.

I of course have not played enough of the game to judge it as a whole but I would be extremely surprised if its quality fell off noticeably as I progress through it. There's a real sense of passion and craftsmanship to "Borderlands 2" that make it feel like it was created more for the love of games than the love of money and I don't see any sign of that fading as I get deeper into it.

If there is one potential criticism I could see being leveled against "Borderlands 2," it could be that the game is much more difficult when playing solo than it is when playing co-operatively with others; however, I personally see that as more of a "feature" as I typically want a greater challenge from a game when I'm playing it alone. The way the difficulty is balanced just makes sense as it provides a real motivation for bringing friends along beyond simply having a shared experience.

The bottom line is that "Borderlands 2" is a game worth playing based on what I've seen of it. In particular, if you have friends you like to play games with, I will go a bit out on a limb and say it's a "must-play" title.

Borderlands 2 - (via Steam)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The DayZ Update - 09/17/2012

Sadly, it's much the same story we've had the past few weeks with regard to "DayZ." Hacking is still a huge problem in the game despite several "ARMA II" beta patches, which has forced me to play it very casually– sticking to the southern coast and trying to have a little fun before some script kiddie shows up to ruin the experience.

Fortunately, there are tons of other great games to play that don't suffer from such issues but I definitely feel for those who are seriously invested in "DayZ" and don't want to play anything else. In a weird way, I even feel for the hackers. How bored and dissatisfied do you have to be to actually take pleasure in ruining other people's fun? I guess it's all they have, which is sad. :(

For those of you feeling adventurous despite the ever-present hacker threat, "DayZ Commander" has added support for a couple of the most-popular "DayZ" mods. That's right, there are mods for the mod.

While I'm not a big fan of it personally, "Lingor Island" is now easily playable through the launcher, as is "DayZ Takistan," which uses another official "ARMA II" map in place of "Chernarus." Obviously, neither of these mods is official and you'll end up on private hives with different characters if you play them but if you're looking for something different from your "DayZ" experience, "DayZ Takistan" in particular is worth a look in my opinion. I appreciate the spirit of what the "Lingor Island" folks are doing but the layout of the map just feels a little too haphazard for my taste.

In other news, I doubt that I'll be doing much more streaming of "DayZ" until the standalone game is released. We'll see. If 1.7.3 adds enough new stuff when it drops and gets the hacking at least somewhat under control, I may change my stance on that but I don't feel like the game makes for interesting livestreaming content in its current state– especially with so many other, more-established streamers already covering it.

You might see a little "DayZ" on tonight's stream depending on what the group is feeling but it could just as easily end up being more "Terraria" or "Guild Wars 2" or something else. Not sure at this point but I will definitely tweet it. As always, the stream will be on the blog's channel.

Until next time, have a good week folks! - DayZ -

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Thoughts on Battlefield 3: Armored Kill

There was a time when in my mind the "Battlefield" series of games could do no wrong. I was a huge fan of "Battlefield 2," I really liked "Battlefield 2142" and I loves me some "Battlefield: Bad Company 2." I'm sure you can see where this is headed, or can you?

To be blunt, "Battlefield 3" was a bit of a disappointment to me. In some respects, namely in terms of presentation, it is clearly the best game in the series; however, there are several aspects of it that I found painfully frustrating. Without going into too much detail, there were technical and design issues that I felt prevented it from reaching its potential and made it feel like a game that had been rushed to market, which it almost certainly was due to a little thing called "Modern Warfare 3." :)

Many of the issues I had with the game are admittedly of the subjective, nit-picky variety; however, there was one major problem that eventually led to me effectively giving up on it– that being the near-constant cheating taking place on just about every server I played on for about a month or two leading up to the release of "Battlefield Premium" and the "Close Quarters" expansion.

Wall hacks, aim bots and other shady business became so common and flagrant that I finally threw up my hands and said "enough is enough."

I played a bit of the "Close Quarters" expansion when it was released and found it fairly entertaining. It also seemed to me that there was less cheating or at least less tolerance for it on the part of server admins (especially those running "premium" servers) than had previously been the case but I also wasn't enthralled with the "Close Quarters" gameplay. Everything about that expansion felt very competent and well crafted but it simply didn't hook me as it didn't really provide the sort of experience that plays to "Battlefield's" strengths.

There's something about the way "Battlefield" games are tuned that really lends itself to medium and large scale maps. Something about the movement speed of the players, the speed at which weapon switching occurs and the way a myriad of other subtle factors are tweaked just works better in those contexts than it does in extremely close quarters. At least, that's how I feel about it.

The good news for those who agree with me is that the latest "Battlefield" expansion, "Armored Kill" features four of the biggest maps in the series' history that offer four aesthetically and functionally different takes on the wide-open battlefield premise.

Each map has something special about it in terms of visual design and structure that make it feel unique and fresh versus the existing maps already available in the game. With the possible exception of "Armored Shield," which feels a little too reminiscent of "Caspian Border" for my taste in places, I think each of them brings something new and vital to the overall package that make it feel more complete and true to the spirit of the series.

To be sure, there are other refinements to be found in "Armored Kill" such as new vehicles and unlocks but in my estimation the new maps are the stars of the show and do not disappoint in terms of providing fun and functional new playgrounds that really let the best aspects of the game shine.

I'm actually surprised that I'm enjoying "Armored Kill" as much as I am because I figured it would be the least appealing of the expansions when it was first described to me but there's something about the way its content meshes into "Battlefield 3" that just works and I find myself compelled to seriously play  the game for the first time in months as a result.

For more on "Armored Kill" and the "Death Valley" map in particular, check out this video!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The DayZ Update - 09/10/2012

Not much to report this week.

A hotfix ( and a few "ARMA II" beta updates seem to have the graphical glitches and hacking at least somewhat under control but it's still too soon to know the full extent to which they've been effective.

I've seen some very minor artifacting in a couple spots but things are definitely much improved with the new versions installed. I've yet to be hacked to the best of my knowledge since updating but I also haven't been playing very much so I might have just been lucky.

I'm planning to livestream a "DayZ" session tonight at 9 PM EST on the blog's channel. I'll send out a tweet as soon as it starts. Not sure how long it will last. Depends on how everything goes.

That's about it. Things have been pretty quiet on the "DayZ" front lately so there's not a lot to cover and it seems like that will be the case until 1.7.3 is released– at which point we can all start becoming way too attached to AI dog companions such that we weep like small children when they're inevitably killed by bandits or zombies or the like. Thanks Rocket! :)

Until next time, have a good week folks! - DayZ -

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Work in Progress - Orion: Dino Beatdown

There's no such thing as a perfect game. While there have been many great ones over the years– games that defined or defied genres to such an extent that they've become legendary, not one of them is "perfect."

There's a whole separate post just waiting to happen about how games by their very nature can never achieve perfection but further discussion of that topic isn't really appropriate in this context.

I mention it here because the pursuit of perfection despite its practical impossibility is something worthy of note.

"Orion: Dino Beatdown" (ODB) :)  is a game that's far from perfect. It started its public life earlier this year with an initial shipping version that contained a slew of game-crippiling bugs that plagued almost every system in it from multiplayer server browsing to audio to AI to the fact that the game wouldn't even run on computers using 32-bit versions of "Windows."

In short, it was a mess and the reviews and reactions of media outlets and consumers alike reflected that. For a lot of games, the story would end there but then something happened. Representatives from the development team (Spiral Game Studios) including its president took to the game's "Steam" forum and tried to make things right.

Of course, the internet being the internet, this was met with all-too-typical levels of skepticism and angst but after a patch and a few hotfixes that addressed some of the issues, things settled down as everyone still interested in the game waited for the remaining bugs to be squashed.

During this time, I was actually able to play the game quite extensively with several friends and frankly had a blast with it. It was buggy and not particularly deep from a gameplay perspective, but running around killing dinosaurs while using jetpacks and automatic weapons was (and still is) fun.

Weeks turned into months as the developer kept setting and breaking release dates for additional patches and over those months the game's "Steam" forum turned into a bit of a cat fight between those holding out hope that the developer would eventually deliver what they were promising (bug fixes and new free content) and those convinced that the devs were in fact dark minions sent straight from the bowels of Hades to take their money and leave them crying in their beer (or more-likely cereal given the level of discourse I observed from many of the participants).

The latest round of drama climaxed earlier this week when the "Title Update 001" patch for ODB finally hit "Steam" and basically delivered on most of what the developers had been promising.

Is it perfect? No. Did it revolutionize the game and make it orders of magnitude better than it was? Not really. Did it add some new content? Yes. Did it address the key problems that were preventing some folks from even playing the game? Apparently, yes. Having never had much trouble getting ODB running myself, I can only comment based on feedback I've seen in the forums, which would seem to indicate that it is now working for those with 32-bit "Windows."

So, what we now have is a decent game that basically works for anyone who's interested in playing it and is closer to living up to the potential of its premise than ever before but we're not quite done yet.

You see, as you might have asserted from the name of the recently-released patch, more patching and content updates are planned for ODB and the developers are insistent that said updates will come much faster than "Title Update 001" did.

So, the questions you might be asking yourself could well be: Is this game worth buying if I don't already own it? Or, if I do already own it, is it worthy of another look based on the most-recent patch? Fortunately for you, I made a video commentary on it that will hopefully give you some idea of whether or not ODB is right for you.

To sum things up. ODB is not a perfect game. It's not even close to being perfect; however, in my opinion it is a fun game that is only getting better with age due to some pretty serious post-release support. Who knows? After another patch or two, it might even be worthy of a "Shout Out." :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

The DayZ Update - 09/03/2012

Sadly, with the "PAX Prime" video game convention this past weekend, another week has passed without a significant update to "DayZ."

An "ARMA II" beta build was released over the weekend but it hasn't done much if anything to resolve the graphical glitches and hacking loopholes that have been plaguing the version of the mod for weeks now.

In an effort to try to keep things interesting, I've decided to start livestreaming at least part of the Monday-nigt "DayZ" sessions that I've generally been using to produce the YouTube videos I've been associating with these updates for the past several weeks.

As this was our first attempt at livestreaming the group, I didn't announce it in advance but since it went fairly well (until the hacker/stream-sniper showed up :) ) I will be announcing future livestreams on Twitter both before and just as they start.

In the meantime, you can check out some of our antics on the first two servers we visited. Obviously, we'll have to be more careful in the future about not revealing the server we're using unless we're prepared to face the internet's wrath; however, I do think it would be fun to play with viewers and readers of the blog at some point if we can find a way to make that entertaining for everyone.

Finally, if you'd like to check out the official TwitchTV channel for this blog, head over to This will be the URL for all future livestreams and you can check out replays of the streams you've missed there as well.

Until next time, have a good week folks! - DayZ -

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Initial Impressions: Guild Wars 2

MMORPGs have been on the decline of late. Even the mighty "World of Warcraft" has been slowly but surely losing subscribers over the past year due to a variety of factors. In short, to say that there's a bit of MMO-fatigue in the gaming community at large might be stating things a bit too gently.

Fortunately for "Guild Wars 2," it has a lot of important factors working in its favor, not the least of which being that its a very well-made and entertaining game based on the dozen-or-so hours I've spent with it so far.

Rather than churning out a wall of text about the gritty details of the game, I'm instead going to boil this down to the top 10 things that make "Guild Wars 2" worth checking out based on what I've seen thus far:
  • a plethora of desirable configuration options such as interface scaling 
  • a respectable selection of interesting races and classes to choose from during character creation
  • decisions made during character creation provide unique if subtle story and gameplay variations
  • new characters gain early access to fast travel options
  • the ability to harvest crafting resources without "gathering professions"
  • fast-paced and engaging combat with dodging and weapon and/or combat discipline-specific abilities
  • a unique and well-realized art style
  • a location/proximity-based questing system that rewards exploration and group play
  • a vast, open world to explore
  • no monthly fee
For more on "Guild Wars 2," check out this video:

As always, these "Initial Impressions" pieces are not meant to be taken as a "review" of the game. It will be quite some time before I've seen enough of "Guild Wars 2" to make any sort of definitive statements about it; however, I have greatly enjoyed what I've seen so far and would encourage anyone who finds any of this intriguing to give it a look.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The DayZ Update - 08/26/2012

You folks don't mind this being a day early do you? I didn't think so. :)

Another week on version of the mod has left me wondering just how big 1.7.3 will be when it finally arrives.

I imagine that Rocket and Co. must be cramming all sorts of new madness into it but there's been practically no official word in quite some time now.

Rocket has joined the Twitterverse as of this week and already has way more followers than me :( but I'm not bitter or anything. :)

His feed is pretty sparse at the moment aside from a somewhat-predictable tweet about how tricky the implementation of dogs has been but it's still nice to get his perspective on things.

The Hunger GameZ

Those of you who follow the "DayZ" streamers on most-likely already know all about the "Hunger GameZ" event that was organized by the "QuickNap Gaming" clan and caused "DayZ" to be the #1 game on "Twitch" for the first time ever (to the best of my knowledge).

The event was pretty great and had surprisingly few technical problems given how sketchy "DayZ" is under the best of circumstances. There were so many great streams and commentaries happening all at once that it was hard to decide what to watch moment to moment and I'm definitely looking forward to the next one, which seems all-but-inevitable given how well the inaugural event went.

If I had one suggestion for the QuickNap folks, it would be to get their web presence sorted out before the next event so that everyone has a good place to link to for information about it.

As it stands, I'll just direct you to QNOmniKai, who I've mentioned before in a previous post. His stream is generally of a very high quality and he's pretty much the man with the plan where QuickNap is concerned.

Video Bonanza

As this is the first "standalone" "DayZ Update," I wanted to do something a little special, so I've decided to release not one but two full episodes, including the epic "Season 0 Finale" that I hope you will all enjoy as much as I enjoyed making it.

NOTE: It's come to my attention that Episode 009 will not play on mobile and television-based devices or at all in Germany due to a copyright restriction with the song I used in it. Sadly, if you want to see it, you'll need to use a web browser on a traditional desktop or laptop computer. Guess that'll be the last time I use someone else's song in one of these. Sorry for any inconvenience folks.

My current thinking is that I'd like to wait for version 1.7.3 of "DayZ" to be released before I start filming "Season 1" but we'll see how things go. There's certainly more I could do and show of the game in its current state but with glitches like the graphical artifacting present in episode 009 still an issue as of, I'm reluctant to capture a bunch of video that's likely to become a lot less relevant once 1.7.3 is released.

Hopefully, these videos will keep everyone entertained for the time being and with any luck we'll at least hear something official about 1.7.3 in time for next week's update.

Until next time, have a good week folks! - DayZ -

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Thoughts on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

In video game terms, "Counter-Strike" is legendary– a game that spawned from a humble mod to become one of the most popular first-person shooters of all time.

At this point, the game's legendary status is both a blessing and a curse. Despite being highly regarded by those who play it, it has done little if anything to attract new players for quite some time and the reception most new to "Counter-Strike" are likely to receive upon jumping into public multiplayer games can be downright hostile.

Enter "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" (CS:GO), which attempts to freshen up the "Counter-Strike" formula with refined visuals, interface and gameplay mechanics that strive to move it toward the norms established by other, more modern first-person shooters in some regards while remaining firmly rooted in the core elements that define the "Counter-Strike" experience.

If you already love "Counter-Strike," you probably already own CS:GO. You probably pre-ordered it just like I did, have been playing it since the beta and are currently hip-deep in a bloodletting of epic proportions even as you gaze menacingly with your free eye at this blog post, ready to strike down upon me with great vengeance and furious anger should I do anything but praise and fully endorse it.

Fear not hardcore CS:GO player, I indeed do think quite highly of this new version of the game and you can rest assured that the internet agrees with you. :)

Having said that, I feel there's some value in presenting some analysis of CS:GO that targets new and prospective players who may be considering it as their first "Counter-Strike" game or as an opportunity to return to the series after an absence.

For you folks, here's a video I made all by myself. :)

Hopefully, this has given everyone concerned a good idea of what to expect from CS:GO but just to sum up: If you like "Counter-Strike," CS:GO is a great, new version of it that's easily worth your time and money. If you've never played "Counter-Strike" or haven't played it in a while, check out the above video to help decide if CS:GO is right for you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sit Rep 10

Changes are afoot. Be sure to read the whole post.

The DayZ Update

Oh, video game conferences– how I love and hate you at the same time. On one hand, it's very cool to get information about upcoming games from the various publishers who attend but on the other you have small development teams like the one associated with "DayZ" forced to take time away from development to attend.

For those of you wondering why 1.7.3 hasn't been released yet, look no further than the "GamesCom" conference that just ended in Germany as it's all-but-certain that it was the primary reason why we're still on version of the mod.

But let's not dwell on what amounts to just another minor bump on the road for "DayZ." Let's instead focus on the fact that it's likely only a matter of days before we have a sweet new patch to put through its paces.

With valid information about the new version rather scarce over the past couple weeks aside from the downright obvious hints Rocket has been dropping about dogs being included in some capacity, I find myself in a bit of a speculative mood. Ergo, here are the top 10 things I'd currently like to see added, changed or refined in the mod.
  • easier tent placement
  • crossbow bolts as loot on zombies you shoot with said crossbow
  • swimming without losing gear
  • make zombie spawn-ins more realistic (i.e. don't just have them appear out of thin air or appear in the same spawn location and teleport to their proper location when the server gets around to it.)
  • better/more effective pistols– perhaps somewhere between the 1-shot 1911 body kills of the past and the anno dump that's currently required with most handguns
  • dogs as companions/pets
  • zombified animals - dogs, boars, wolves, bears, cows... the works!
  • radios for long-range communication
  • better zombie animation/behavior - even slowed down, they're still too twitchy/glitchy. They still attack through walls and pathfinding is still often a problem. I know this has to do with them using the animal AI but maybe every so often one could use the human AI to make things more interesting? I know Rocket has talked about the idea of a "life cycle" for the infected. Perhaps newly infected could use the human AI then switch to animal as they exist longer or the zombie count goes up?
  • security– anti-hack/anti-cheat improvements
I'm fairly confident that most if not all of these things are already being worked on by the development team but I find exercises like this fun and useful if only to help keep my critical and analytical thinking skills sharp. Of course, I'm sure I could come up with 10 more things to fiddle with almost immediately if all of this was addressed tomorrow but these are the "issues" that have most impacted my gameplay experience lately.

Speaking of gameplay experiences, here's another group gameplay video for you all.

And here's the episode I released late last week for those of you who missed it. Don't forget, YouTube and Twitter are your friends when it comes to keeping up with my video releases.

Finally, for those of you who are experiencing screen tearing and artifacting in "DayZ," there are reports that turning off "Threaded Optimization" for "ARMA II" in the NVIDIA/ATI Control Panels can resolve the issue. I haven't had a chance to confirm this myself but the "DayZ" dev team has tweeted a link to a reddit post about the issue that seems to be helping people on some hardware configurations. Here's hoping a patch resolves this for good without the need for GPU tweaks soon.

DayZ -

Shout Out: Sanctum

Wanted to highlight another great co-op game from last year with this Shout Out. "Sanctum" is a hybrid of the tower defense and first-person shooter genres that expertly combines a lot of the best elements from both into a game that's just as fun and engaging to play alone as it is with up to three friends.

Those of you who read my "11 Best Co-Op Games of 2011" post will recall that "Sanctum" was #8. Since then, a lot of patches and DLC have been released for the game that have made it even better and I would seriously consider bumping it up a few slots on that list as a result if I were to do it over again today.

To help illustrate just how cool and crazy the game can get, here's a little video of me playing the last two waves on the third single player map, "Arc."

As you can see, you not only get to build and upgrade towers but define the path that the attackers take to their objective by building it yourself. This in my view is much cooler than simply dropping towers in pre-defined spots as it lets you get really creative with your gameplay without getting bogged down in overly-complex controls and systems.

I always really liked this game and it's only gotten better through copious post-launch support from the developer. If any of this seems at all interesting, you should definitely check it out. The thrifty among you should note that it is currently available for Mac and PC as a single purchase or discounted four-pack at a very reasonable price on Steam.

Sanctum (via Steam)

Opening the Taps

As you may already know, I've been thinking about ways to improve this blog for the past few weeks. As a result, I've decided to increase the frequency and diversity of my posts as a first step toward a more significant expansion later in the year.

What this means is that I will be doing away with the "Sit Rep" posts that I've been making for the past 10 weeks and instead turn "The DayZ Update" into its own weekly feature. This will allow me to post about other games at other times while still providing regular "DayZ" content updates on Mondays.

As much as I love "DayZ" and remain completely enthusiastic and excited about it, I don't believe it would be practical or sustainable to do a blog that focuses solely on it. Those of you who remember me from "Gaming's Edge" will recall that I play a wide range of games and I honestly don't see myself being happy covering just one in the long term.

The bottom line is that there will be more content here than ever before focusing on more games and gaming-related topics while still providing the weekly "DayZ" fix I know a lot of you crave. :)

Bonus content begins this week. Be sure to stay tuned and thanks to everyone who has been visiting on a regular basis. The extra traffic these past few months has done a lot to convince me that all the additional work required to expand "Vortex-1" is worth my time.

Like an infected corpse, the "Sit Rep" will rise as "The DayZ Update" starting next Monday! Until then, be on the lookout for some sweet bonus content here on the blog!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Set Rep 9

Is this the beginning of the end? Apparently, it's the "end of the beginning."

The DayZ Update

With finally released this past Friday and the long-awaited official announcement of DayZ going standalone, it's been a pretty busy week for fans of the little mod that could.

The new patch brings slowed-down zombies, the return of humanity-based player skins and a host of minor bug fixes; though graphical artifacting is still a noticeable issue around military areas/infected for many.

While new patches are always exciting and I'm happy to receive them with open arms, it's hard not to pine for the 1.7.3 version Rocket has already alluded to that was held back in favor of the hotfix so as not to risk massive problems during the peak weekend play hours.

It seems all but certain based on hints Rocket has dropped in the forums that dogs will be included in 1.7.3 in some capacity– be they friendly companions or evil zombie antagonists. I'm betting on the latter. :) It also seems likely that other major changes will accompany 1.7.3 as they did when we went from 1.7.0 to 1.7.1 and such.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how things evolve now that Rocket has dedicated resources at his disposal to further develop "DayZ" (the mod) even as work on the standalone "DayZ" game ramps up.

Regarding my adventures, I recently acquired my first L85A2 AWS, which I'm pretty excited about pressing into service but as with any good loot, the concern over being killed by hacks, glitches or simple bad luck has once-again reached a fever pitch. It never fails. The longer you live in "DayZ," the more you worry about dying. :)

Still, we're managing to have some fun:

And here's the Bonus Reel from last week. Remember to follow me on YouTube and/or Twitter to know as soon as these are posted. As there's no Bonus Reel for this week's episode, I'm going to be posting Episode 006 later this week and end my content with Episode 007 next Monday.

Shout Out: Spotify

While not directly gaming related, Spotify is a cool music service with a large catalog of music from and inspired by games. I've been using it for several months now and I think it's definitely worth a look for music fans. The "free," ad-supported service for Mac/Windows lets you do most of the important stuff but mobile users will have to pay a monthly fee to access anything beyond the free radio streaming.

To keep things on topic, here's a link to a gaming-themed playlist I did during E3: Monday Music Madness - E3 Edition

The Future

Still pondering the future of the blog. I think I may have come to a conclusion about it but I want to give it another week to be sure before making any sort of announcement.

Until next time, have a good week folks!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sit Rep 8

A bit more free time equals a bigger update this week:

The DayZ Update

Been doing a lot of group/squad play in "DayZ" lately. What can I say? It's just more fun with friends. I feel like we're getting better with each session and it's only a matter of time before we are ready to take on some of the more hardcore areas of the map as evidenced by this week's video.

Unfortunately, we've also started running into a lot of hackers recently. I've always known that hacking was a bit of an issue with "ARMA" and its associated anti-cheat solution "BattleEye" but it seems like the massive popularity of "DayZ" has created a serious gap between the hackers and those trying to prevent their exploits.

A quick look at the "Cheat Reporting" forum for "DayZ" will give you a good idea of just how pervasive and annoying the problem has become for legitimate players.

It's been so bad the past few days that I've had trouble getting decent footage for future DayZ Updates and I find myself torn between showing said footage or cutting it out.

On one hand, I have been posting unlisted YouTube videos of incidents on various servers to serve as proof in the aforementioned "Cheat Reporting" forum but I am very reluctant to share those videos publicly because I don't want to do anything that might encourage people to continue hacking.

On the other hand, I wonder if it's fair to edit such incidents out as it might give the impression that hacking isn't the common and destructive issue that it currently is in the game.

For next week's update, I have some cool regular gameplay footage that ends with our entire squad being wiped out at once by a hacker. I could end the episode before the incident occurs to deny the hacker the potential satisfaction of seeing it but it would give a false impression of what actually happened in the game. 

My current thinking is that it might be best to simply end the episode by explaining what happened to us without actually showing it. This would require you folks to take my word for it but I feel like it would be the best way to accurately convey the experience we had without giving the hackers what they want.

I'm hopeful that these security problems can be resolved with changes to the "DayZ" mod, "ARMA," "BattleEye" or some combination or extension of the three. I find myself wondering if the patch that was originally planned for Wednesday, August 1st has been delayed due to the development team(s) trying to find a solution to these issues for the next round of patches. I certainly hope so.

Finally, for those of you who aren't already following me on Twitter and/or YouTube, here's the Bonus Reel from last week's video. If you want to know as soon as those are posted in the future, subscribe to my Twitter feed and/or my Youtube channel.

Shout Out: DayZ Commander

I'm a firm believer that competition is a good thing when it leads to innovation and improvement so I was keen to check out "DayZ Commander" after it was recommended to me via a few different sources.

Those familiar with this blog will note that I've endorsed the use of "Six Updater/Launcher" in the past as the "official" updating/launching platform for "DayZ" and I still do; however, "DayZ Commander" has a lot of really unique and interesting features going for it that make it worth a look– such as the ability to find friends across servers based on their "DayZ" character name and an automated process for getting the latest ARMA expansion beta running via Steam without having to manually shuffle files around– just to name a couple.

I also have to say that I prefer the user interface in "DayZ Commander" and a lot of the thoughtful little touches incorporated into it like its enhanced server filter that makes it dead simple to find just the sort of server you're seeking.

You should keep in mind that "DayZ Commander" only supports "DayZ" whereas the "Six Suite" supports tons of other "ARMA" mods.

There don't seem to be any issues with having them both installed on the same computer but I would suggest only running one at a time as they both have the potential to manipulate ARMA and DayZ-related files.

The Big Picture

I've been thinking a lot lately about the future of this blog. Now that more people are visiting it on a regular basis, I've been thinking a lot about ways to make it a more worthwhile experience for everyone.

In my mind, there are a few different ways things could go. I could make it more specific and specialized by making it a pure "DayZ" blog or I could expand it a bit to make it more about gaming in general– the way it used to be before I fell headfirst down the "DayZ" rabbit hole.

Either way, I'm also considering the possibility of bringing more writers on board to not only produce more content but provide alternative voices and points of view for the topics being covered.

I can think of a lot of ways that the blog could be improved by going in these different directions so a lot of it simply comes down to me deciding which direction I want to go and being comfortable with that decision.

One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I don't want it to become stale or predictable. I think, much like "DayZ," it needs to evolve to reach its full potential and I'm going to spend some time over the next few weeks figuring all that out.

As usual, comments are welcome. I obviously need to make my own mind up about what direction to take things in but I'd certainly be interested to know what you'd like to see happen.

Until next time, have a good week folks!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sit Rep 7

Didn't have any opportunity to work on this during the weekend so I need to keep things short this time.

The DayZ Update

Continuing the video content this week with my first group gameplay video. Things definitely could have gone better but I think we learned a lot from the experience and I'm hopeful that the video will be useful or at least entertaining for everyone.

If possible, I will try to get the rest of the useful footage from this session posted before the next Sit Rep but no promises.

Shout Out: The 2012 Summer Olympics

No, not the video game based on them but the actual 2012 Summer Olympics taking place in London as I write this. Take a break from button mashing and embrace the spectacle of real flesh-and-blood human beings pushing themselves to the limits of their physical and mental ability.

If you have any appreciation for the human body and the amazing feats it can be trained to perform, you should be watching the olympics. If not, fix that. :)

When I say short, I mean short. :) Until next time, have a good week folks!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sit Rep 6

This is gonna be a big one...

The DayZ Update

I've been doing these for several weeks now and I've come to the conclusion that something has been missing from them. As much as I enjoy writing about "DayZ" and my experiences with it, I feel that words alone don't always capture what makes it such a compelling gaming experience.

So, I've decided to add some video to these posts whenever possible to (hopefully) make them more interesting and engaging for you and better convey just what this whole "DayZ" thing is all about from my perspective.

To kick things off, I have not one but two videos with commentary depicting trips through Balota, which is one of the scariest areas for new players to spawn into in the game.

The first takes place at dusk and has been tweaked with YouTube's automatic lighting adjustment tool to make everything a little easier to see. The down side to this is that scenes that were extremely dark look very blurry when adjusted in this manner but I figured it was better for things to be visible and blurry than completely dark.

I know a lot of people, myself included, don't generally enjoy video of this game in the dark; however, something happens at the end that made it worth keeping and posting for me, so I highly recommend skipping to about 45 minutes in if the nighttime setting isn't doing it for you– just so you can see the end.

The second video is much more along the lines of what I intend to do on a regular basis and should (again, hopefully) be entertaining and useful for anyone interested in "DayZ" videos.

And for those of you who just can't get enough of me playing and talking about "DayZ," here is the Test video I did earlier in the week that has a few minor A/V problems but was still worth posting in my opinion.

Beyond all that, I managed to make a pretty strong recovery from the horrifying incident that led to me losing my precious M14 AIM when I immediately got attacked by a random player with a hatchet as I was logging in while in the middle of the woods. I managed to shoot and kill him as I went down, but was unable to find the bodies having been quite literally in the middle of nowhere when it happened. :(

Fortunately, I was able to use that incident as an opportunity to make the above videos and in a matter of hours was able to build up a new character that has already gotten into all sorts of adventures that I'll talk about next time.

Shout Out: QnOmniKai

I know this is starting to feel like a "DayZ" blog and I promise to come up with a "non-DayZ-related" shout out for next week, but I do want to give it up for one of the best "DayZ" streamers on (QnOmniKai). If you like watching people play "DayZ" live, this stream is hard to beat with its quirky, good-time feel, giveaways, viewer participation and generally positive tone. Chat is well moderated for the most part and Kai generally comes across as a good guy trying to have a good time with a good game and good friends. Definitely worth a look if you ask me.

QnOmniKai (via

Development Update

Wrapping up a lot of the game logic and game data manipulation code this week. It's all still fairly brutal but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Should have it pretty well in hand by the end of the month.

Unfortunately, I'm still very much behind with regard to my self-imposed development schedule as a result of several of these recent programming tasks taking significantly longer than I'd originally predicted. Everything will get done eventually but it's looking doubtful that I'll be able to finish the game before the holiday game release season starts.

This has me thinking that it may be a better idea to wait to announce and release the new game until after the holidays so that I can spend more time polishing it and avoid the situation I found myself in with "Powergrids–" struggling to get media coverage amid a sea of triple-A game releases.

In any case, I'm going to need to start dividing my time between developing the new game and some paying work in the not-too-distant future to keep myself afloat financially but I still have a few weeks left to focus and get as much done as I can before circumstances change.

In the meantime, I'll try to make these development updates interesting, but I may need to stop doing them every week if I can't think of anything more compelling to say than "I'm doing a ton of really boring and difficult work that's essential to making a great game." :)

Powergrids - (My current iOS game.)

Whew... That was a lot of stuff! Until next time, have a good week folks!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sit Rep 5

Yup... Definitely Mondays. :)

The DayZ Update

In good alpha software fashion, last week's "DayZ" update to 1.7.2 was quite the event. For a good chunk of the week, there were some pretty scary problems such as players losing all their gear when changing outfits and enough server instability to make a Windows admin blush but things fortunately got sorted out by the weekend and we were treated to a pretty stable build that has brought the infected behavior one important step closer to where it needs to be.

It's now much easier to dump aggro by breaking the zombie's line of sight and going quiet and their new tendency to not attack what they can't see goes a long way toward dealing with the classic "I'm being attacked through a wall" issue, but God help you if there's a window in that wall. :)

Still, the improvements and tweaks are quite welcome and the game once again feels like it's progressing toward true greatness.

In terms of my personal adventures with it, took a trip up to "Devil's Castle" with a buddy, which was very cool to see in person and yielded a few nice items like a pair of binoculars and an ALICE pack. Also managed to hit up a barracks for an AKM and a PDW, which I'm starting to appreciate as an alternative to the Makarov. Sure, it has terrible stopping power, but you can still kill zombies with a single head shot and the fact that you can use various high-capacity 9mm magazines in it makes it feel more useful than I'd originally given it credit for being the first time I found one.

Even got to do some hunting having finally acquired all the necessities for killing, gutting and cooking animals in the wild. It's funny how excited this game can make you about finding a book of matches.

But the real coup was looting an M14 AIM with 3 DMR mags in a deer stand. I'm still kind of in shock at my good fortune with that one and now live in a constant state of fear knowing that I will eventually lose it.

All things considered, a very productive weekend and a great time for those of you interested in getting into the game with the various sales on "ARMA II" in effect. Don't know about those sales? You would if you were following me on Twitter. :)

Shout Out: Lord of the Rings: War in the North

As promised, I have a special video shout out this week for one of the best, most overlooked co-op games of 2011.

Not sure if this will be a recurring thing or if I'll use more video here in the future. I was immediately reminded working on this how much harder and more time consuming it is to produce video content, but I certainly won't rule it out if only to keep those skills from going away completely.

I should also mention, if you're new to the blog and looking for more co-op possibilities, you may want to check out my "11 Best Co-Op Games of 2011" post as well.

Development Update

Not a lot to talk about this week. Been slogging my way through a lot of boring work with data structures, establishing how relevant game data is tracked, manipulated and stored. It's one of many totally un-glamorous yet absolutely critical aspects of game development that doesn't make for good blog posts but will absolutely make a better game, so wade through it I must. :)

Powergrids (My current iOS game)

That's it for now. Nothing to tease for next time but I have a few ideas. Have a good week folks!