E3 2011 Trailers

Its been a while since I was able to get excited about a game just by watching the trailers, but these three take the cake!

Prey 2 Trailer

I played through the original Prey and it was an excellent FPS game with compelling characters and plot. I really like the look and feel of this video. I hope the new game will live up to it.

NeverDead Trailer

The voice acting is campy, but it only made me laugh! Some of the scenes make me think this will be a funny tongue-in-cheek game.

Tomb Raider (Square Enix)

Wow. Laura looks so gritty! I guess gritty is the new “black” in women’s ass-kicking wardrobe!

DDO Crafting Conundrums: Minimum Level Bugs

From Tolero on the Forums @ 05-26-2011, 01:31 PM

…the minimum equip level on the crafted items is indeed not working properly. The min levels on crafted items are supposed to be lower than they are currently, and in most cases, lower than random loot. (Original Post)
This means be careful about what you craft, you may not be able to use it.

How is it Suppose to Work?

Total Enhancement Bonus = Sufix Shard Bonus + Prefix Shard Bonus + Enhancement Spirit

Minimum Level = (Total Enhancement Bonus * 2) - 1

So for example, you have the following shards:

  • Holy Shard = +2
  • Shard of Pure Good = +1
  • +1 Enhancement Spirit = +1

Total Enhancement Bonus = 2 (Holy) + 1 (Pure Good) + 1 (Spirit) = 4

Minimum Level = (4 * 2) - 1 = 7

So What’s the Bug?

Some shards are ending up with a higher bonus value than expected. In the example above, Pure Good *should* yield a +1 shard, but in actuality the shard is +2. Just click on the image below to view a larger image of the bug.


This creates a higher Total Enchantment Bonus, and of course changes the Minimum Level.

Total Enhancement Bonus = 2 (Holy) + 2 (Pure Good) + 1 (Spirit) = 5

Incorrect Minimum Level = (5 * 2) - 1 = 9

Here’s an example of a crafted item with an incorrect Minimum Level:


More Resources for Cannith Crafting in DDO

A Game I Want To Play (Again) But Can’t: Syberia and Syberia II

Syberia & Syberia II

  • Developer: Microïds
  • Publisher: Microïds, XS Games, The Adventure Company
  • Publish date: 2002, 2004
  • Platform: Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Smartphones

Syberia and Syberia II are probably the best adventure games I’ve ever played. Its pretty classic: you play as Kate Walker and solve various puzzles and follow certain procedures in order for the linear storyline to proceed. As a pure graphical adventure game, Syberia follows the guidelines first introduced by LucasArts: it is impossible to die or to get stuck at any moment in the game. For me its like watching a rerun of a much beloved TV show or movie.

I generally love any thing that comes from Benoît Sokal (Belgian comic artist and video game developer), including Paradise and Amerizone, but I love Syberia because of the story and artwork. Its a mysteriously art nouveau and steampunk world, where most of the devices and machinery are powered by springs and wind-up gears.

Steam (bless their hearts) is finally offering this game as a download for around $7. But the game is so old the, 3D engine borks on my 42″ 1080i HD monitor. I have to dig out my old 17″ DVI monitor to run the game. *sigh*

Acording to the game news gossip Syberia III is coming out, and most likely for the PC and PS3. The story will follow Kate Walker again as she discovers more about the mammoths on the island of Syberia. Of course Microids annouced their work on Syberia III in 2009 and news interviews with Benoît Sokal say work on the game hasn’t even started yet — Frankly, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Update 5/29/2011

I’ve gotten my old monitor hooked up — dang this thing is small and kinda chunky! Its one of the first flat panel monitors to hit the market back in 2000. Anyways, after 15 min of game play, I ran into ANOTHER BUG! Ugh! My game crashed after it tried to play a cut scene.

Syberia does have a bug log and I found this in the file C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\syberia\debug.log

Starting cinematic playback 'C2_HansAnnaB.syb'
...User has task switched: activating.
Insert CD dialog box: Please insert the DVD entitled 'Syberia'
Looking for file 'Video\AN\C2_HansAnnaB.syb'

So basically, the files exist, just not in the correct folder. Here’s the fix:

  1. Go to your Syberia game folder and go into the Video folder. For me its C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\syberia\Video
  2. Create a folder called “AN” (without the quotes).
  3. Take the following files in the Video folder and copy-and-paste them into the AN folder:
    • C2_hansannab.syb
    • C5_hansannab.syb
    • C10_hansannab.syb
  4. Restart your game from a your last saved game point.

A Hero to Admire: Geralt of Rivia

Geralt of Rivia is the protagonist of The Witcher book series by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. Yes I know there are video games, a TV series, and a movie, but Geralt first started out as a charaacter in a book.

Geralt, like all witchers, are monster-hunters who undergo special training and have their bodies modified with supernatural abilities so they can hunt extremely dangerous monsters without dying. These modifications leave them with super-human reflexes, dexterity and the ability to see at night.

Geralt lives in an ambiguous moral universe, yet manages to maintain his own coherent code of ethics. He’s all at once cynical and noble; kind of reminds me of hardboild crime protaganists minus the modern trappings. Geralt treats his ladies like Han Solo does. When she says “I love you,”  Geralt replies with “Yeah, I know.” He’s wisecracking, hard drinking, and tough, but also quietly contemplative — and very much the bastard you grow to love at the end of the story.

The Witcher Books by Andrzej Sapkowsk

  • Book 1: The Last Wish, 1993 – A short story collection of the Witcher
  • Book 2: Blood of Elves, 1994 – First novel in the Witcher Saga

Books not yet translated to English

  • Book 3: Times of Contempt, 1995
  • Book 4: Baptism of Fire, 1996
  • Book 5: The Swallow’s Tower, 1997
  • Book 6: Lady of the Lake, 1999

The Last Wish The Blood of Elves

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

  • Developer: CD Projekt RED STUDIO
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Publish date: May 17 2011
  • Platform: PC

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Sig  bought and tried to play The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, but it ate his system for breakfast. Its a game with heavy requirements, epseically if you want to enjoy all the beautiful eye candy. If your system can muster it, Witcher 2 rewards you with an alluring and finely crafted world that entices exploration. And like all very good RPGs, it promises a lasting, rewarding relationship — this translates to potentially up to 60 or 70 hours of gameplay for me. I could spend hours reading books, people watching, poking around towns, provoking guards, gambling in dark taverns, and getting so drunk then waking up with a godawful butt tattoo of some girl’s name that I had a one night stand with.

Favorite Meat-space game Gone Virtual: Small World

Small World (board game)

  • Publisher: Days of Wonder
  • Publish Date: 2009
  • Genre: Strategy board game
  • Players: 2–5
  • Age range: 8 and up
  • Playing time: 40 to 80 minutes
  • Skills required: Strategy

In Small World, players set out to dominate a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all. Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth. Players much choose the best combinations and special abilities in order to take over the world.

Small World’s variety of race and ability combinations is delightful. Each race has a unique power or benefit, as does each ability. In total, there are fourteen different races and twenty different abilities, so the possible combinations keep you on your toes. The random pairing power-race create some very intriguing game play. Funny combinations include Merchant Ghouls and Flying Giants.

I like Small World because it’s easier to teach and understand, and plays faster than many other strategy games. Of course having a chorus of players sing “It’s a Small World (Battle Hymn)” while Commando Trolls roll in for the taking is quite funny:

It’s a world of slaughter
A world of tears
A world of dopes
And a world of fears
There’s too much that we share
So beware
It’s a small world after all

Small World for the iPad

  • Publisher: Days of Wonder
  • Publish Date: 2010
  • Genre: Strategy game
  • Players: 1 or 2
  • Platform: iPad

Small World is a fantastic board game, but unfortunately the iPad adaptation isn’t all that it could be.  When it first came out, I couldn’t help but feel that it was rushed out the door. Thankfully, Days of Wonder has put out a series of patches that wrap the game up nicely. For almost $7, the price is surprisingly fair for what you get — more so than with other board game ports. And though its only a two player game or vs an AI, the fact that it is a digital board game means you can’t lose any pieces! Great easily play game in a car, on a plane, or at the DMV while waiting for your driver’s license renewal. Its a pleasant way to waste some time with a friend.

Most Surprising Game: Viva Piñata

Viva Piñata

  • Developer: Rare, Climax Group
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Publish Date: 2009
  • Platform: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

I got this game as a freebie with our XBox 360. Little did I know that it would steal many productive hours away from my day. Part Sims, part Animal Crossing and part resource management strategy — a combo that I didn’t expect from a kids game. You first get a junk filled patch of desert soil. You also get a shovel to help shape the land. The goal is to attract living Piñatas. All of them are very charming, cute, and sometimes pretty funny. If you cultivate your garden with care, up residency. Like real-life animals they eat and breed. They also have preferences in environments and neighbors. You use tools and strategy to convince the Piñatas that your garden is an awesome home, all the while managing your resources. Eye-catching graphics, clever use of audio event cues, easy controls and menu interface, combined with a design philosophy that doesn’t penalize you for mistakes, makes a fun game that’s simple and enchanting.

The part that tickled me silly: Occasionally evil Piñatas would come in and eat your livestock Piñatas. You can whack these evil Piñatas with your shovel. Upon bursting, they spray forth candy guts and innards. With an audible “Hooray!” cheer, other Piñatas quickly scramble about eating the candy-innards as fast as they can. A close second were the Piñata mating dances, where they display special little jig unique to their species.

A Game I Won’t Be Playing: Brink, The Sausage Fest

Yes, I went there.

Besides having no female avatars — all in the name of “art artifacts and character styles” — it was shipped with numerous bugs for the PC (my preferred gaming platform). I want to say that Brink is about three or four updates from being awesome. Despite bug reports with AMD graphics cards, it seems that NVIDIA users are in the same boat. Getting sub-20 fps framerates even on a spanking high-end Core i7 and GTX 590 SLI is rather ridiculous. An even bigger fail is that it will corrupt character data if you close the game during start-up, even if you have to because the game keeps crashing during start up! There’s also various reports of major lag such that the game is unplayable.

Why the hate? Well, if I’m going to pay $60 plus tax, I’d like a game that actually runs at start up, doesn’t crash, and if its online play, doesn’t lag me out to a stand still. The fact that Brink has no girl avatars is just an insult. When TF2 came out in 2007,despite the fact it didn’t have any lady toons, I was okay with that because it was funny and it actually ran smoothly.


  • Developer: Splash Damage
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Publish Date: May 2011
  • Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Favorite Video Game Quotes: Mordin’s Song

Commander Shepard: I’m sorry, I know that was important, but *you* performed Gilbert and Sullivan?

Prof. Mordin Solus: I am the very model of a scientist salarian – I’ve studied species Turian, Asari and Batarian – I’m quite good at genetics as a subset of biology – because I am an expert which I know is a tautology! My xenoscience studies range from urban to agrarian – I am the very model of a scientist salarian!

[long pause]

Prof. Mordin Solus: Ahem.

Close second is Tali’s cry when she launches her pet, “Go for the optics! Go for the optics!” Its an homage to Minsc and Boo in Baulder’s Gate II.

Mass Effect 2

  • Developer: BioWare
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Publish Date: 2010
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Worlds to Love: Stark/Arcadia

In the game of The Longest Journey there are two parallel universes, Arcadia: a world of magic, and Stark: a world of science and technology.

Stark is the science half of the twin worlds, and features a great number of cyberpunk traits. In 2209, the civilization of Stark is highly advanced technologically and has reached beyond the surrounding solar system, and to star systems beyond. While Stark offers wealth and power to those willing to seize it, and all the wonders technology can bring, it also brings risks, such as Rapture addiction or virtual indentured slavery as a colonist.

Arcadia is a fantasy realm of the two worlds, where magic, ancient mysteries and a number of fantasy races and creatures are native. According to the ancient balance between Arcadia and Stark, science and technology are almost impossible to advance in Arcadia, just as magic is impossible in Stark. Arcadia is a fragmented and changeable place, with a multitude of magical and non-magical races, possibly due to the greater risk of chaos inherent in magic.

There’s something about a third-person, mouse-driven, semi-realistic/semi-surrealistic puzzle adventure game which allows me to fully immerse myself into a universe like Stark/Arcadia. Its a universe without the fear of making a mistake or the constant need of saving the game. I could say that about any adventure game, but having the added value of Stark/Arcadia and the story of April Ryan, the protagonist, seem to make it a setting far more compelling. I also love the game world of Stark/Arcadia because it represents my favorite genres all in one package. I could see myself living in a place like Stark and vacationing in Arcadia.

The Longest Journey

  • Developer: Funcom
  • Publisher: Funcom
  • Designer: Ragnar Tørnquist
  • Publish date: 1999
  • Platform: Microsoft Windows

Ear Worm: Angry Birds

Angry Birds

  • Developer: Rovio Mobile
  • Publisher: Clickgamer Media
  • Publish date: December 10, 2009
  • Platforms: All Sorts of Mobile Phones, PSP/PlayStation 3, Mac OS X, Windows, Chrome

Ear Worms (from the German phrase Ohrwurm) are those songs that weasel their way into your head like uninvited guests and then proceed to stink up the inside of your cranium by playing themselves there over. And over. And over. And over. They’re those songs that just get stuck in your head, and no amount of screaming, pounding, protesting, and banging your head into your desk will get them out.

For me that song is the Angry Birds Theme Song. I never played Angry Birds when it was first pushed to the iPhone app store. I finally decided to try the game six months later and after watching the Angry Birds Peace Treaty video

I then started playing the game on the iPad. Now they have a version of Angry Birds you can play on Chrome. The song itself is rather unrelenting and on sunny spring mornings, I can’t help but hum the song in my head. My favorite version of the Angry Birds theme is covered by talented duo, Pomplamoose