Posts Tagged ‘Anger’

I make no excuses…

Posted: March 9, 2010 in Musings
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…but my laptop died. I blame Vista wholeheartedly. Some new things to browse if you feel like it:

The Cleveland Show: Episode Seven
The Cleveland Show: Episode Six
The Cleveland Show: Episode Five
The Cleveland Show: Episode Four
Bioshock 2
The Cleveland Show: Episode Three
The Cleveland Show: Episode Two
The Cleveland Show: Episode One

Things are coming, but I can’t say when. Still debating the future of any potential comics, as I’d rather just get stuck into some writing. Eat your greens.

Alex’s Week

Posted: November 21, 2009 in Musings
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Alex’s Week

Groping through the complexities of Risk Management like a blind man looking for a penny, this week I was struck by my own self indulgent introverted bullnoogies squarely in the metaphysical balls.

Gaaaah! I exclaimed in a packed open access centre, to which I had relocated from my dedicated classroom while it was stripped of asbestos, startling the loathsome mouth breather to my immediate left.

What in hell am I doing with my life?! I screamed to the heavens, in my mind, I am not that far gone yet, I hastily add. My perfectionist tendencies had gotten the better of me after my father died, my desire to grow beyond the dross of my early acquaintance, into a winner, a success, a bloody legend, had closed me off to the necessary and acute immediacy with which all life MUST be lived if it is to be lived with success and pleasure. My damnable but glorious discipline kept me from complaining as I poured my life into my work and kept every hour of the day available for mental pursuits! No More! I say thee NAY! NAY!

As this metaphysical thunderbolt hit I declared – I will go forward from this place with courage for there is only one life to live and I will dedicate mine to MY OWN enjoyment not to nebulous concepts of duty which have held me back my whole life!

I will harness honour and discipline and industry to my own purposes and I will strike out on my own, for my benefit!

Success? I AM SUCCESS!

-Alex Sullivan-Wilson

Months of Agony in a Second-Long Sound Effect

You know that feeling when you’re really, really full? When your jeans start cutting into your belly and if you don’t undo them, you’re going to explode? Well, it turns out that actually there’s a really simple solution to this, and it’s been handed to us by games. The easy way to get around our wonderful first world ability to eat until we’re sick is to simply hide from the view of the plate for a few seconds. That way you’ll be able to tackle another course of steak in just a moment.

Naturally, I’m being an idiot and we all know it. Hiding from plates for a few seconds won’t solve a damn thing. But the problem is; why do games seem to think this is true? It’s against the course of logic. A few years ago all you had to do to evade an enemy in a game was run around a corner and hide behind a crate until they forgot what they were doing and went back to making themselves easy targets. Even if they’d seen your footprints, found the corpse of their best friend and noticed your graffiti on the walls screaming, I WUZ ERE LOLZ, it didn’t matter a jot to them because they had some patrolling to do.

Back then it was more to do with internal memory than anything else. So what if a guard walked away after unknowingly giving chase? So what if a corpse vanished just seconds after they hit the ground? As long as it kept the game chugging along at the same pace, the gamers didn’t care, and neither did the developers.

But nowadays there is a bigger problem in gaming. The limited internal memory has been almost completely excised from gaming – what with the Blu Ray discs containing room for 50 gigabytes and Wii games drawn on cardboard and animated by ADD-inflicted children – and little room is left for error. Guards now chase you a damn sight longer than they used to. Corpses remain on the floor for the duration of the level. But something much more evil and irritating has crept in to take their place.

I am talking about the recharging of health. A few years ago, a chunky health bar placed somewhere on screen gave a terrifying warning of your own impending mortality. Now there is only a faint red glimmer at the edge of the screen and a thumping vibration in your hands to tell you that you’re squatting on death’s doorstep, begging the reaper to try and chase you off his property. Instead of heath kits, medpacks, medics or magic fairies, the only way to recharge your ailing, bullet-ridden body is to simply not get hit for a few seconds – thus, you must hide behind a crate once again.

Who decided this was such a good idea? When did it creep into games, this idea that removing a permanent warning sign would be a great step forward? It’s one of those things that just makes you scratch your head in wonderment as to exactly why it’s been so readily accepted by the gaming community at large.

The humble health bar was a great thing, simply because there was nothing you could do about it. It sat there at the top, side, or bottom of the screen (or, in one case, on the protagonist’s breasts, forcing you to look down at yourself to check your current status) and every time you got hit, a chunk got knocked off. It was gut-wrenching, intense and forced you to constantly be aware of absolutely everything that was going on around you, to the point where every gamer can remember every single detail about most of the games they grew up playing.

Back before the health bar, there was very little. Sonic had his gold rings. Mario had growth spurts. The Ghouls n’ Ghosts knight had his pants. But the spirit was there: watch your every step! Be aware of your situation at all times!

Nowadays most games have adopted this ridiculously offensive notion that simply ducking out of a hail of bullets is a good idea to inspire you to keep playing. It’s a stupid system that detracts from the credibility of the game. I can understand that maybe the red mist drawing in across your vision is realistic, as is the ‘heartbeat’ vibrating in your hands, but what exactly is realistic about sitting down and taking a time-out?

Heath kits were never a realistic idea – they were always completely absurd, after all, they were just grey boxes with bright red crosses on them – but it was never about that. If you were shot for real, you’d see yourself looking at an extremely long and painful recovery process. That’s the health kit represents – months of agony, hospitals, doctors, unattractive nurses, stitches, x-rays, tutting relatives, sympathetic looks from work colleagues, time off to heal, madness from watching TV alone, lashing out at a loved one, divorce from a loved one, watching the loved one take the kids with them to their new partner they met at whatever event it was you didn’t go to because you were in the goddamn hospital having shrapnel taken out of your arm by a doctor who kept looking at you funny because you’d been shot and he reckoned you were a gang member who had it coming. That’s the health kit, right there. All that trauma compressed into one neat second-long sound effect. Not realistic, not in the slightest, but far and away more enjoyable and intense than the regenerating heath of today.

The main problem with regenerating health is that it lets developers off the hook for whatever bad design decisions they might make. Most games with regenerating health feature incredibly hard and unfair sections that get you stuck like peanut butter to a prostitute’s thigh. Night after night, you’ll wade against a horde of nigh-impossible enemies, constantly hiding to recharge, only to be killed because you needed one more second to collect yourself. If these games featured health kits – limited use, Jesus-I-only-have-two-more-left health kits – you can be damn sure the developers would put a little more thought into what they were doing. Instead, we’re left with offices full of giggling developers, throwing in ludicrously unfair sections over and over again, simply claiming, ‘It’ll look awesome to play, man!’ Even multiplayer is let down by this – what fun is it if the person who killed you is totally fine just a few seconds after your body rots into nothingness? And don’t even get me started on co-op gaming’s ‘tag, you’re alive!’ nonsense.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hide from landlord until he forgets I owe him rent. After all, I’m pretty sure one of us has a limited internal memory and it sure as hell isn’t me.

AAAAAAARGH

Posted: June 18, 2008 in Musings
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So today my hit counter went off the freaking chain. Honestly, I have no idea why. Personally, I can imagine Alex sitting in front of his computer, desperately trying not to do his work, constantly reopening the page.

The previous best for hits was a comfortable 54. That was several weeks ago. Today it currently stands at a whopping 88. Eighty eight. I don’t even know 88 people! Awesome.

Which is why it’s so fucking frustrating that today is the day my copy of Photoshop decided to bugger up. That’s right. I had two comics almost ready, just needing a quick dialogue-up. Then PS breaks down and I’m stranded.

GUMO was going to suffer for a few weeks anyway – I’m moving out of my Uni flat to go back home as I write, and I’m going on holiday for a week and I had no idea when it would be updated – it’s just so annoying that it had to cock-up right at the point when I started becoming happy with the finished product. And I’m damn tough to please.

So, I shall try and crank out a comic for tomorrow, however, the dialogue will be hand written and there won’t be any black. Hell, at least it’s not a Dead Piro Day.

ADAM RAGE

Posted: March 22, 2008 in Musings
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Right. I am so nearly there. So very nearly there I can see the end of the goddamn tunnel. My dissertation is 99% complete, with all the other hand in crap being around 50% there.

On Tuesday Jack and I will get this bound. It will be done. I shall post comics to celebrate! And I shall reward myself with learning how to use Photoshop like a ninja, instead of a n00b. I don’t want shading, or colours or anything, I just want to be able to use it – currently I sit in front of it like a child looking at its first game, going “uhhhh…?” If I could use Photoshop to even half the level of Ian McConville… jeez. That guy is badass. 

I watched Mad Max today. I was disappointed. It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t realise until after the film ended that I’d watched the whole bloody thing in dub-o-vision, with stupid American “everyone sounds the same” voice acting, but that didn’t detract from the way I felt underwhelmed at the end.

Anyway, enough timewasting. Back to the grind.