Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweet Deus Ex: Human Revolution Screenshots, and Video Footage

      Deus Ex: Human Revolutionis the latest and greatest addition to the Deus Ex franchise. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set for release on February 2011, but we all know how release dates tend to be off by a tidbit.
     After a bit of digging I found some sweet information regarding the third edition of the Deus Ex franchise. To begin with the story in Deus Ex: Human Revolution will take place 25 years before the original Deus Ex, this means no nano technological augmentations, just bio mechanical augmentations. You will visit five metropolises, including Shanghai, Detroit and Montreal.
     Unfortunately the team making Deus Ex: Human Revolution has been pretty tight lipped regarding gameplay, but they have let a few things slip.  Augmentations, which any Deus Ex fan knows are a huge part of the game, will be present in the form of four distinct types, combat, stealth, technology and social. The first three types of augmentations explain themselves, social augmentation however is new to the franchise. Using social skills/augmentation players can persuade potential enemies to let them pass, or give up crucial information without firing a shot. Get skilled enough, and you can get through Human Revolution without killing anyone, but the bosses.

The E3 Deus Ex Human Revolution Trailer

Deus Ex Human Revolution Leaked Gameplay Part1 (Shit Quality)

Deus Ex Human Revolution Leaked Gameplay Part 2 (Shit Quality)

The pictures below were not taken by me, I found them on the internet.
Each squad has an identifiable squad leader, see if you can find this squads leader.
Could this be a safe house?

Ahhhhh the doctors office, time to get some augmentations is it?
A nice shot of the cyberpunk shanghai
Another shot of Shanghai

Looks like the stealth approach

Its always a good idea to get some intel before kicking down a door
The labs where the reality that is Deus Ex Human Revolutions is made

The Sewers are great for stealth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

10 Movies Every Geek Should See

      Antitrust is a movie anyone involved in the indie community will love. It shows the tough choices many indie developers face, choosing between a well paying corporate job, and their dream program.  
After choosing to join a big corporation called NURV you watch as the main character Milo Hoffman face the consequences of his decision. While these consequences are far fetched Anti-trust still captures the feel of the indie community, everything from its drive to create something great to the indie vs. corporate feeling.

    Sneakers is one of those old school movies that really managers to capture the hacker zeal for life. Sure the tech is old, but the attitude the same. It isn't about money, or power for this group of penetration testers, it is about the challenge. If like any geek you enjoy a good challenge, you will find yourself relating to at least one character in this movie.  

    Blade Runner is a cyberpunk/sci-fi classic. I am not the biggest fan of this movie, but just because it is Blade Runner it has to make any geeks list. Harrison Ford, that one guy from Star Wars, playing the main character is just the icing on the cake. Watch it, love it, hate it, but it is a classic.  

7. Star Trek
(Any of the movies)
    The Star Trek franchise is a timeless sci-fi classic. Over the years this franchise has pumped out so many good movies I honestly can't choose which one I like best, so I put them all into the number seven slot. The special effects in many of these movies are dated, and portions of some of the movies can get a bit slow. But it is Star Trek, so it has to make any geeks list of top movies PERIOD!  

   Stargate is a classic sci-fi movie. It has spawned two other movies, and three excellent TV shows. If it was up to me I would have this movie up in the top three just because it spawned Stargate SG1, and Atlantis. But in all fairness while a pretty epic movie it isn't as good any of the top 5 movies.

   In my opinion Hackers is truly a geek classic. It perfectly captures the attitude of a hacker. For many this movie is the reason they got into hacking. If you are one of those people who wants everything to be realistic then you will hate it, because the hacking scenes are not realistic. Keep in mind though if they were realistic the movie would have become dated about 14 years ago (It came out roughly 15 years ago). I am a huge fan of this movie and despite how bad others claim this movie is I was really tempted to put it in the number one slot. In fact the only reason I didn't is because there is way too much skating. If you have an once of geek inside you check this movie out, while it might not be realistic your inner geek will wish it was.  

   Serenity is a victory for geeks everywhere. We are the reason this movie even exists. Firefly being canceled was one of the worst things that could have happened to the sci-fi genre, but because of our outcry they actually went ahead and released a movie to wrap up the show. It also involves bad ass cowboys kicking ass IN SPACE!

   The Matrix a movie that could not possibly be realistic, yet there is no way prove that we are not in the Matrix. Anyone, geeks included, who watches this movie should at least be entertained by it.  

   Lord of the Rings is, in my opinion, one of the best trilogies ever made. Sure the final Lord of the Rings movie has a really, really, really long ending, but the rest of it is pure epic (even the ending is good). Out of all three movies I have to say The Fellowship of The Ring is the best movie, it started out the whole trilogy, and is filled with epic moments. Any self respecting geek needs to have watched this movie a few times, because geeks like fantasy movies (Lord of The Rings is fantasy).  

    Star Wars: A New Hope is pretty much the best Sci-Fi movie in existence. Anyone who has not watched this movie either doesn't speak English, or has failed at life. Actually you fail if you have only seen this movie once. Geeks, and normal people alike need to see this movie!  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beat Hazard, The Game Every Music Fanatic Must Play

The idea behind Beat Hazard is actually really simple and I must say that they pulled it off quite nicely. Essentially, they've taken a traditional asteroids shmup style game and added a spice of what you'd see from games like Audiosurf, DDR, or Guitar Hero. The combination ends up being a quite fulfilling and appetizing visual and audio experience.
So what sets Beat Hazard apart from any other game on the market? What the player does is not much different from what you'd expect in any other classic top-down, two-dimensional shmup on the market. That is, dodge the enemies and obstacles while blasting them for all you're worth. However, like I mentioned above, there's a musical twist to the gameplay. The game has a visual feedback experience that follows the tunes you are playing to. What's more, the more intense your song is, the more power your character has. This creates some tense situations in which your song can take a slow break while you have a bundle of enemies on the screen. To be honest, I have never actually gotten a sense of tension from a musically based game and those moments where you are thinking to yourself, "Oh crap, come on music go faster!" are thoroughly enjoyable.
Beat Hazard offers a few game modes to choose from, Normal, Survival, Two Player, and Chill Mode. Normal Mode is exactly what you'd expect, open a song on your computer, and start blasting away at enemies while the light dances across the screen. Survival and Chill Modes are almost quite similar, they both play endlessly (grabbing songs on your computer that are within the same folder), but Chill Mode has fewer enemies, less feedback, and infinite lives (this is actually quite fun if all you want is a little something to do while listening to music). I must say, if there was one thing I was disappointed in with this game, it was the multiplayer. The game does not support net play (this is perhaps due to huge charges that would be drafted to allow people to play together on tunes they don't have -- the RIAA strikes again!) and the limited multiplayer it does have requires that you have an xbox controller (one player will use keyboard/mouse and the other uses the controller).
So let's talk about the graphics, they are simple to be honest. Though, you do not need to have the most spectacular graphics to create a good game, just what works with what you've made. Beat Hazard succeeds at this quite well. The game uses two-dimensional sprites floating around in a picture-esque space atmosphere. These graphics must sound awfully dated, but to be honest the resolution on the textures is actually quite good and even at higher resolutions (I was playing the game at 1920x1080) the sprites had no blurring or visual distortion. This is the baseline before we look at what the developers added to enhance the experience for musical interaction. Across the background, the devs added a floating three-dimensional graphic that changes colors over time as you play, it adds a constantly refreshing change of colors to the mix while you float around battling enemies in two-dimensional glory. Earlier I mentioned they use visual feedback that coincides with the intensity of the song, the players bullets (and a number of other particles on the screen) react to what the music is doing in the background. So what happens is these particles begin strobing along with the music, creating a beautiful effect. The intensity of the strobing varies by difficulty, Hardcore+ difficulties use an intense visual feedback experience where it seems the entire screen might explode from all the flashes happening, while easier difficulties are actually quite tame and it's almost like watching an equalizer in a media player.
So there you have it. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give it an eight. Great atmosphere, great graphics, unique experience, and fun. I just wish there was net play, but there's not much that can be done about that.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is Sol Survivor Worth a Purchase?

     A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a relatively new tower defense game called Sol Survivor. Unlike the many other tower defense games that plague this genre, this one is actually really good. Sol Survivor has a sci-fi theme, decent enough graphics, and multiple game modes including a single player campaign, Co-op mode, and multiple multiplayer modes.
      After I purchased Sol Survivor, via steam, I quickly found very few people play the multiplayer. Because of this single player is most likely where the bulk of your time will get spent. Upon starting a single player mission you choose a commander, which dictates what type of attacks and turrets you can use, and after choosing your commander you set up turrets to defend against waves of enemy soldiers. Unlike most turret defense games these enemies follow a set path as they attempt to destroy your base, so you can't use turrets to tunnel them. The first few waves are pretty lame, for 5 or so rounds just about any moron could defend against the weaklings being thrown at you. Yet by the time the last round comes around you are frantically laying and upgrading turrets, launching waves of missiles and unleashing vulgar comments as you watch enemy units get into you base despite your best efforts. Assuming you finish with less then 20 units reaching your base you get access to a few more units, commanders, or attacks and move on to the next mission. Overall single players takes roughly 20-40 hours depending on which difficulty setting you play on, and whether or not you try to get through each level without letting a single unit through.
      After completing the single player campaign you may want to try out the co-op mode, my advice is to just skip it. The co-op mode has one player playing as backup, which means they can only use missiles, and another setting up turrets. I don't know why Co-op was set up this way, but it really sucks because the guy playing backup just sits there watching for most of the game.
      Luckily the multiplayer is nothing like the co-op. Just like single player you choose a commander, and defend against waves of enemies. You have the option to play against each other or to play on the same team. Either way the result is the same a lot of fun, I guarantee any fan of the rts genre will end up having at least a little fun.
      This game does have a few issues however. To begin with there are no resources out there for the modding community. I feel any type of rts game needs at least a map editor for gamers, also given the fact that this is an indie game a map editor could really help increase the amount of content out there without increasing the production cost. Secondly I have been unable to find any type of multiplayer survival mode, which means once you can beat 27 or so waves of enemies on insane there is not much left to do. And to top it all off you can only play with three other people at a time. Hopefully in the future at least one of this issues will be amended. But even if it isn't this game is defiantly worth the 10 bucks.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Deus Ex, is it still worth playing?

    With the 2011 release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution looming ever closer I decided it was time to sit down and play through one of the greatest action role playing games ever created, the original Deus Ex.
    Deus Ex changed the gaming industry forever by proving that the insane idea of adding rpg elements to a fps was actually a good one. Since it's release Deus Ex has sold over 1 million copies.  So obviously it was a pretty epic game, but ten years later is it still a good game?
    Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first, the graphics in Deus Ex suck, and the AI isn't much better.  However keep in mind that there are plenty of mods out there to improve the graphics, so if you are a major graphics whore slap on one of those mods and play away. Unfortunately there are no mods for the AI so you'll have to make do.
    Unlike the graphics and AI, the game play in Deus Ex withstood the test of time quite well.  In many cases it is better then most modern day games. For example unlike many modern day shooters Dues Ex actually gives you options regarding how to handle a situation. You can use heavy weapons to blast your way through opposing forces, equip a dart gun and silently take down those who oppose you (you can use lethal or non-lethal darts), or even crawl through the vents and avoid enemies all together. Of course there are a few flaws, alarms and loud noises do not always alert units that are well within hearing range and no matter how you take out opposing forces the main story is not altered (in some cases it is painfully clear it should be).
    The story line in Deus Ex much like the game play is pretty good, if you only compare it to modern day shooters. But since Deus Ex is a fps/rpg you must compare the story line to rpgs as well which puts it well below par. Don't get me wrong I love that there are options as to how to answer a question during a cut scene, or which character to kill. But the choices you make have no effect on the game, n fact within about a minute of making a choice the consequences faced due to that choice are dealt with and you are back on an unchangeable story line. The only exception to this is that you face a decision, near the end, which affects the ending cut scene (this decision is actually a pretty tough one).
    Besides for not having a dynamic storyline the story midway through the game starts to fall apart, and unfortunately it doesn't manage to recover until the very end of the game. The main reason the story fell apart is because just about anyone who has seen, read, or played a few conspiracy movies, novels, or games could figure out what's going to happen next. It is almost as if the creators of this game googled conspiracy theories and decided to make a game by combining the most popular ones.
    Fortunately the games atmosphere makes up for the story's lack of originality. In fact it is one of the best cyberpunk atmospheres I have seen in a game. Everything from the streets of Hong Kong and New York, to the underground hideouts which various groups call home is done perfectly. Even the police dressed in riot gear give the player a subtle hint that the world around them is falling into chaos.
     In fact despite not comparing well to modern day games in many categories I would urge people to play through Deus Ex simply because of the atmosphere. It is that freakin good! Also given that the game only costs a few bucks it is probably a good money saver too. So all in all Deus Ex isn't the best game out there, but it still has more then enough awesomeness behind it to motivate a play through.

FYI:  If you want to get the HD textures mod for deus ex you can get it here


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Welcome to The Command Center, my newest blog about anything involving technology.  Like most geeks out there I have a lot of geek stuff to write about, whether it is my latest attempt to make an mmo, an old game I just replayed, a few lines of code I threw together to make life easier or whether Star Trek is better then Stargate.   There is always something.

In the coming weeks and months I hope that some of you will come to value my opinions, but until then just drop by every now and again see whats up, and let me know what you want to hear about.