Ok where do I start, Starcraft 2 Beta is finally with us, the game I have been waiting for 12 years.
Yes here I gush again about the game I hold so dear
Is this not the most bad ass Starcraft illustration ever made... my money is on someone in the cinematic team cooked that one up, you sir... I salute you:
I remember when the announcement video came out, an amazing cinematic, teasing me with It's visual depiction of a universe I thought id never see again, rendering in gorgeous 21st century definition:
An amazing leap from the originals cinematic
It ended with the phrase 'It's about time'
And then the developers proceeded to mull about for another 3 years!
But alas they did good work in this time.
I spent the last few months fretting about getting a Beta testing key to play and use the game and It's editor before It's release. As I had an idea for a MOD to sell on there proposed built in e-store.
Well after trying to win a key in a monthly competition which I managed to get 3rd place in (key on for 1st!) I was dying...
I watched as the beta ease release in pain, watching others play and enjoy it... and then I checked my inbox and I had only gone and received a key!... blood rushed to my head and face... I felt a sudden warm burning sensation as my face filled with blood, id imagine at this point any lesser man would have fainted with a mix of fear and joy.. is this real, is this a joke, what if it doesn't work I don't want to get my hopes up, I bet it'sa cruel joke and I'm going to be devastated.. I can't look...... I sat there stunned... then scrambled to see if it was the real deal and if it worked... and it did! and it was joyous, and it was everything I had ever hoped for (rare for someone as pessimistic as me)
Id literally spent the day just resigning myself to never getting the key and watching others thru an impervious metaphorical pane of glass stroking at it from the other side, id even downloaded the game illegally knowing full well it wouldn't work without a login, just sat there watching it install with It's sexy installer graphics and sound effects, and then watching it load, and watching the animated 3D background as the operatic music swells, as it teased me with it;s login screen and as it threw me right out with a helpful denied message of woe and suffering... on top of all this I was having worst day ever for many other suddenly compounding reasons... so receive the key was just nerd bonerdom.
So here I am, I have played it a fair bit, and It's outstanding, sure many kinks and irks but for a Beta, It's pretty damn spiffy one, It's prettier than I thought it would be, some units (Terran) look shit and having looked at them closer.. It's because they are shit. My outstanding optimism will sadly probably nose dive from It's dizzying height once the game is released, as no doubt every lil issue I come across now, I just assume they will surely fix it and improve it by release. But even if it nose dived it would still be pretty damn high. The only thing spoiling my SC2 experience thus far has been my loosing, but even that is taking a slow turn for the better as my brain scrambles to work out the complexity thrown at it without so much as a intro guide... you get thrown right in at the deep end into competitive online play, online play against other beta testers.. a demographic surely made up of mostly pro gamers and mad enthusiasts... that's my excuse anyway.
The editor now I hear may not make much if any appearance in the beta period, which is lame, but having the key will still surely be helpful in seeing the capabilities. And I have already managed to hack out some 3D models and textures from the game and re-render them outside the game. My MOD idea consists of a lot of re-texturing of existing units, so I can actually start that before the game is even out.
My modified Battle Cruiser, just playing about, some of the Terran unit models suck so bad compared to the others.
And Blizzards ooh hi-def realtime cutscene version of the Battle Cruiser that I rendered, man that is one bad ass model, let alone hat It's used in realtime for the cutscenes.
This game is highly sexual.. nerd boners all round
Starcraft 2 in all It's 3D glory below:
And the original:
Oh yeah bad ass graphics at 640x480 max
So yah the game is sweet, I don;t even care that I'm loosing so much.. ok I do care, but it just makes me want more. And I'm finally getting the hang of it. Though It's all relative because as soon as I get the hang of it, it will no doubt shove me up against even tougher players and I'll be back to feeling like a dumbs again
I still haven't figured out quite how the ranking works and how I ladder up...
It was disturbing quite how little it 'felt' that playing Starcraft 1 didn't help... I thought id be starting of with at least some semblance of competitiveness, oh no the game has changed quite a bit, just enough but not too much, just enough change to shake everything up and completely stop you relying on almost any exact tactic or build order you were ever comfortable with, and that's good... but I did spend and still do spend a good deal of time midst battle just going... ok wf do I even build to counter that unit I have no idea. But that phase will pass... well once Blizzard stop mucking about changing all the unit stats around during the beta period at least
I look at learning Starcraft as a real long term thing, not like I would think about ANY other game, as this is the only thing I'd ever dram of playing competitively and as a 'sport'. It's something I'll work on over years and enjoy for decades I hope, especially if they keep bring out the content updates with the 2nd Campaign and the 3rd planned.. oh yeah I'm a big fat nears when it comes to this... I even have a Starcraft 2 hat and shirt.. but I won those... and.. they don't come close to fitting me so It's all good... In fact I promised if I got the key i'd sit in all my nerd attire I won and just like play all day straight and fly in some twinkles or corn dogs or some horrible American delicacy and pretend I'm the fat comic store guy from the Simpsons and thoroughly enjoy the lack of balance nutrition... so goin to do that... watch this space
It's official I have a drink problem... in that I have too many!
Just received delivery of some more spirits id been eyeing up online. And yesterday I received the first part of my shipment of spicy spicy hot sauces... liquid pleasures indeed
Slightly obsessive? hoardish?... probably, given the drinks are all quite expensive for what they are, but at the same time I blow more on a monthly basis on train travel and taxis easily... and that really is depressing... this however fills me with joy
Most of this is all exploratory, finding things I like, some I like some I don't, I will admit there is a disproportionate number of cherry brandy and baileys bottles there *grins* I love that stuff.
A couple of the hot sauces are really nice too, the 'Pain is Good' ones, lots of BBQ flavour and while they are spicy they are not instantly lethal like the other 3 I got at the same time... the Red one on in the far corner is insane, but interesting at the same time, it has a weird deep burn that starts in the throat then your tongue explodes and you start panicking -_-
Add lights around underside of cliff faces
Can floor tile in an arranged way so that all hexagons line up and could fade from one color to another?
Make some floor decal doodads for printing on
Make more patterns and weaves for flooring
Widen up the pits, they should have massive overhangs, scale is rubbish here, no idea how powerful boolean/cropping terrain is in order to even do this?
do same thing again with concentric circles rotated off each other and inset into ground, mockup with tron hard edge into space
Add some hexagons protruding from ground like pillars
need some lights
hexagonal piles and clusters say around ramps or jutting out the sides of cliffs
tilted ground hole with hex coming out
Giant electric tree with lava crack like veins at base
what about water, make it look like those glowing outdoor pools
Yes I have finally received my Fanatec Porsche Force Feedback Wheel woo yay woo
I have watched the thing travel the world by boat, travel Germany by road and now It's here after countless delays and setback the wheel I ordered in June -_-
I was expecting it in September.. no such luck it seems, some folk have had this pre-ordered over a year ago... anyway... what is this thing, this shiny technological masterpiece...
It arrived with good timing in one way as Dirt 2 just came out so I can play it first with my new wheel!! all the newness and awesomeness!
Here it is, taken at night so photos a bit grainy/blurry and washed out etc, but it still looks cool!
And here are some videos below in the links of me messing about with it in Dirt and Shift, I need to make a video of Richard Burns Rally which is by far the most fun despite It's age.
Naturally videos and pictures do little to convey the forces that are being applied to your hands as you drive, so use your imagination
Sure it was expensive, but it is the only wheel on the planet that supports everything, xbox, PS3, PC and looks good while doing it as a bonus.
It has immense force feedback, Rally Driving will jolt your arms all over if you are not careful, racing games will give you the subtle feedback as tyres are about to loose grip and when you need to counter steer a slide thus preventing a crash (they will at least if they properly simulate tyre deformation and contact patch which few do). Overall it provides a big deal of immersion into a game which may normally be a rather passive experience, suddenly you are drawn in and engaged and given extra sensory perceptions that not only make it more entertaining but easier to drive well.
It isn't as well made as a real porsche wheel, it has some defects, stitching is rough to touch, buttons have a bit of a gap and one button is really wonky to touch, the wheel is quite hard; theres no padding under the leather so it feels a bit hollow and hard, but compared to other gaming wheels.. it licks them all and it is a bit cheaper than a real Porsche wheel
This is It's closest competition:
hahahahah.. look at it... hah... get out of here, It's not any cheaper either really. Pedal Shifter on it are better though by the looks of it, which isn't difficult as the Fanatec's are so useless and rough I had to unscrew them and just use the buttons underneath, which work fine and I quite like them but it makes shifting while steering very difficult.
Biggest pest with this wheel is no game works with it properly by default, not the wheels fault as games are A. designed for retards who cannot drive, and B. are designed for weak ass regular geared wheels.
But you can always tweak and hack and disable all the dampening and aids to unleash It's power if you want.
Richard Burns rally needed a Max Torque tweak hidden away in some physics file which made the game... scary, I recommend using Drift Mode and a lower FFB if you do this though to simulate some kind of power assisted steering.
Below I shall detail how I went from a casual arcade gamer to full blown racing nerd with a wheel to proove it.
First racing game for me was really Need for Speed Underground, I don't count any games before that especially not the very first which would have been Burning Rubber on the Amstrad CPC+ shown below for amusement
It was a shit game then and it sure as hell is shit now
Anyway NFSU was a great introductory game, it was fast, easy enough to control with a keyboard, exciting stuff...
Then came NFS Most Wanted, which I felt was a great game too, nice graphics for It's time and this time I played on xbox with a analog controller giving much greater control over steering and acceleration.
Then came Forza 2, I tried the demo, thought it was an amusing insight into how real cars might handle, amusing in that they must all handle like ass thanks to It's overly difficult handling down to bad tyre physics.. ok the ewer not bad but they were on the sadistic side when it came to locking up.
I thought the game was bland and boring, and it is... really... but I changed my mind later...
I next got myself into Colin Mcrae Dirt, wow what a blast, it was fun but way more challenging than previous arcadey games I had played, still in the arcade realm though it is no sim.
The graphics also blew Forza out the water and still do, it looked the part and was a blast, so I splashed out on a Microsoft Force Feedback Wheel. Relatively cheap lil thing especially as I got %% off due to damaged packaging.
And it was an epic experience playing it with the wheel, took ages to get used to it, but once I had there was no going back. The level of immersion shot thru the roof, the fun, the swet on my brow... It's the best fun id had gaming in a long long time.
I then tried Forza Demo again and it came alive.. .suddenly it made sense with a wheel, what is the point of a car simulator if you then drive with a thumb stick... it makes no sense. With the wheel the feedback made the cars fun and drivable, it gave you a sense you would eventually just know and feel/untuit when a car was about to screw up and you would have already automatically counter acted it via the wheel.
The graphics were still horrendous and the gameplay was still dreadful, but the driving was fun with all the nuances you would expect.
I quickly realised the wheel I had while good for It's price, was no match for the high end wheels that only worked on PC and PS3.
I looked at PC Car Sims and thought of buying a wheel, but all the PC sims looked dull... lifeless even more so than Forza.
Then I heard Need for Speed were doing a 'sim' racer, and Forza 3 was coming.. and Dirt 2... and I danced, oh how I danced
Dirt 2 above... in game.. no really in game, graphics so good It's actually sexier than real life, I could lick it
How crap does Forza look now.. this is Shift looking very nice indeed
NFS Carbon had came and gone and had been shit, NFS Pro Street had came out, was a piece of shit, NFS Undercover had came out and was a piece of shit... pattern forming stuff... fortunately NFS Shift was by someone else entirely, and they have done a brilliant job, it feels like pretty damn good sim under the hood especially after some hacks. And the graphics and immersion are way above what anyone else other than Codemasters has been able to deliver.
Anyway, I heard of this Fanatec wheel when Forza announced they were supporting it shown below with a motion rig.. and i'm like finally!
Forza 3 looked really good too (from a distance), the wheel looked like a must have... then I saw the price... thought harder about it... and decided what the hell, I earn money to spend it and have fun, and this definitely looked like a top top quality product not only in aesthetic thanks to the Porsche styling genuine leather and paint and genuine badge... but more importantly it was quality gear inside that only the likes of the Logitech G27 can come close to... and man that wheel looks like a toy POS to me.
Anyway Forza 3 then came out, I bought it, turned out to be ok, but still ugly and dull as sin compared to what NFS and Codemaster were putting out, but it was all forgivable-ish as the handling was huge leaps better and it was class leading before. They have now full tyre modelling for deformation which is a big deal in how it affects the car handling and tyre slip/grip.
Forza is a driving game, Shift is a racing game.. big difference. Driving around on your own in a nice car in Forza is actually a pleasure on the few scenic road tracks it has.
Forza still has a plasticy look to it down to the bad car shaders which they could get away with better if they did any post/color correction or even get basic exposure right. They should really use normal maps on the cars instead of high poly as you can see dings and dents in them which could be easily avoided and make it fast enough to have more cars on track., another huge huge let down as It's limited to 8 cars a race.. ugh what a waste of time driving round a 10km track with 8 cars thinly spread over it.
Looks pretty good above sure, but in game and on older tracks especially it looks pretty sad at HD res.
Sorry for the rant/history lesson, but I want to show how I went from casual arcade racer to full blown top of the line limited edition force feedback wheel. I'm even looking at some of the hardcore PC car sims that I previously wrote off as ugly and dull. Got into outdoor 60mph karting And thinking how I can realistically buy a Lotus Elise to do the real thing-ish...
And theres also GT5 to look forward to on the PS3, which looks better than Forza, but it still looks like it might be quite sterile and dull in gameplay... though who knows, I shall wait to try it before judging, I commend them on the amount of content the game will have and if they add weather and day/night I will have to have some pretty bad gameplay to not still be a great game.
Ok another GT5 preview article just came out and the thing looks outstanding on paper, they are adding weather and night racing... yay oh yay! finally! ooh and damage-to what exact extent i'm not sure but they even say they have interior damage for 100 or so cars'
How such a major part of racing has been left out of most.. nay all games, I don't know. All you ever hear about during F1 races or Rally or GT or anything is how the weather effects the tyres. My only hope now is for some real endurance race type stuff, but to have the computer pick the tyres for yo.
Which reminds me of another point I love that in Forza you can go in a tweak the car's setup and parts, it has It's own fun to it, but I'd also like to be able to forget about that entirely and just be a race driver sometimes too and have an expert team behind me setting all the stuff up and leave me to racing and trust my car is ALWAYS competitive, in Forza I feel like half the time I loose is cuss my car is junk... yah It's alll the cars fault
And that above is all I've got to go on right now regarding the night racing
You'd have thought being given a world exclusive they would have put bigger images in -_-
So is this wheel worth the money... yes, and if you want a longer answer to that... yeeeeeeesssss
it was worth my money, whether it is worth yours depends on how much you value your money and how much you would enjoy racing games really.
Now who wants to buy me the full setup for Christmas? I want to nerd out!!!!! they have a motion rig coming soon too... I need more money for this hobby
And before you say that the 3 screens is overkill, It's actually quite a big deal with car games, as without periphery vision you can't make tight turns as accurately as you can't see the apexes or see cars to your left and right that you may drive into. Aaand you judge speed from your peripheral vision, stuff whizzing by on your far left and right really makes you feel and see the speed you are doing which is why sims feel like you are driving slow and to the 200mph you are doing in game, try driving with a box on your head and a slot for your eyes... tunnel vision is not cool to be race driving with.
Carrots, Swede, Peas, Onion, Chinese Cabbage, Lamb Kebabs, Tomatoe
Spicy Ham and Chinese Cabbage, Onions, Tomatoe, Spicyness! (Learning to use various Indian spices I have)
Chicken Pasta Bake, Oat Bran and Cheese Topping = Yum (Sauce was Tuna Napol...)
Tofu, Chinese Leaves/Cabbage, Onion/Peas/Pepper, Rice
Chicken cooked into Garlic Nandos
Tofu and Leaves cooked in Soy and Chinese Herbs and Vegetable Stock, they soak up the flavour very well.
Tofu and Chinese Leaves/Cabbage
Cooked in Soy, Herbs and Sweet/Sour Sauce
Gloriousness is a Costco Tiramisu
Failed Cake, just tasted too damn sweet, though it is meant to look like that.. mostly
Inedible sausage of forever cooked, not my fault or doing!
Chinese Leaves simmered in soy sauce
Thick noodles + Chicken in garlic black bean thingy thing sauce :-p I forget
Trifle I decorated with a Cherry Brandy moat ;-P
Alexs new invention, the double wrap... tasty!
Enchiladas - Pain is Good BBQ Flavas - Peas - Cheese and Ham fried in tomato chutney stuffed inside the enchiladas - Sundried Tomatoes and Chilis - Diced Tomato - Onions - Peppers
Sweedish Meatballs - Pasta - SunDried Tomato - ChilliPepper - Peas - Grilled Cheese
Yes most if not all the food I eat looks pretty disturbing, messy, mushy... but I tell you what, It smells good and tastes great and is simple to make
Fried ham in spice, Juicy Green Jalepeno Peppers, Boiled Potato mixed with Pataks Rogan Josh sauce and Heinz Beans with melted cheese on top and grilled
Variation on the same:
Thicks Noodles + Meatballs
Meatballs and Pasta
Pasta Bake with Soup andCheese grilled
Thick Noodles + Sauce + ham + Rice
Thick Noodles and cooked ham+sauce
Thicks Noodles plus tomato sauce plus spicy meatballs
Red Thai Curry with.. stuff!
Real Mince complete with far too much fatty oil, learned to drain it in future and dab with paper towels or just use fake/Quorn Mince to save arteries!
Chorizo Sausage or Lincolnshire Sausage cooked in Barbados Mustard Pepper Sauce, with Onion Gravy and bubble and squeak (Cabbage/Mash)
Some restaurants I have visited
Sticky Chicken - Thai - Red Orchid Canal side Mailbox Birmingham
Tapas at Mechu - Birminhgam, best Tapas ever
2nd Visit to Mechu:
La Tascas - Good Tapas! = Fat
Indian in Manchester by River - East East Restaurant
Thai Restaurant Mailbox Birmingham
Good very spicy indian food aimed at indian people - StarCity Birmingham
Favorite Ingredients and Meals
Tesco - Sundried Tomatoes (they look disgusting but dice them up and they taste delicious, add a lovely tart and rich flavour to almost anything)
Tesco - Merchant Gourmet Roquito Hot Sweet Chilli Peppers (amazing juicy sweet spicy nom!)
Star - Jalapeno Peppers - Juicy Spiceyness Lovely!!
Nandos - Hot Peri-Peri Sauce, lovely flavour, real taste, and good on spice/hotness too, comes in different strengths too along with a variety of flavours.
Chorizo Sausage, why buy normal sausages when you can have chorizo, spicy and rich flavored and no less healthy than normal sausages I believe.
I just recently bought some Chorizo & Pork sausages and the are fantastic. Too Strong to eat on there own you'll really want to put it with something else like Patas Bravas or what I had it with Bubble and Squeek
:-Dor just onion gravy and mashed potato or something. Such basic and simple food but it tastes really good. Slightly worrying how much fat /oil drips out of these things though, the Pork+Chorizo are not as bad as the full on chorizo and I think they taste better too.
Thick Chinese Noodles
These are fantastic if you can find them, I get them from a chinese super market Sing Fat
They cook reeealy quick and go well with so many things.
Morrisons - Quorn - Mince - 1.99
Quorn Mince, looks pretty weird but tastes great and is essential if you like mince/meatballs etc as the real beef stuff is horrendously unhealthy you can just see it dripping with oil and fat
Quorn Italian Style Meat Balls - Very very nice
Quorn Chicken Style Pieces - need a fair bit of oil to soften them, doesn't taste much like chicken at all
Quorn - Peppered Steaks
Frozen rice and Frozen Diced Onions are a must if you do a lot of stir fry. It makes cooking effortlessly fast and simple.
Morrisions Own - Frozen Vegetable Rice (Mushrooms Peas Rice) - £1.29 - BUY
Sainsburys - Frozen Diced Onions - 500g - 69p - BUY
Sliced Water Chesnuts
Great with noodles, they add a lovely lil crunch to what might ordinarily be a rather mushy blend of noodles. And they don't have much flavor really, try them!
Chilli Bean Sauce, this stuff is epicaly good, goes nice with:
Red Thai Curry Paste, I like to stir fry meat in it such as ham, gives the meat a brilliant spicy tang.
I hate the word Gourmet, perhaps as it reeks of pretensive and elitist... anyone who can taste the difference of crap from good food and has the money and wisdom to choose the better stuff read on
I am no food expert but here I shall collect some of my findings of stuff I find particularly delicious
It doesn't inherently have to be expensive, I like simple foods, not everything has to be aged 100 years to pass my palate.. id rather eat at Pizzahut than a authentic Italian Restaurant, I'm not a big fan of nouvelle cuisine where they server you tiny ass amounts of food in some kind of sadist fashion of making you want it more... pseudo expensive I call it, where people try to make stuff seem expensive by either covering it in fake gold or just giving you hardly any of it in order to make you feel posh because you are that superficial.
Anyway I could rant on forever, to the food and drink!!
I will be paying special attention to things local to me in and around Birmingham
Killer food, simple food, healthy (relatively) and spicy is always good in my book
Good pizzas but always leaves me feeling like a fat bastard, a good treat now and then but for gods sake don't go regularly and go at a time when the kids are not around
Great great food, the Tapas are wonderful not as good as Mechu but pretty close
Random Tapas Place by Canal
Mechu in Birmingham
Very nice classy place, good prices, amazing Tapas