July 29, 2013

From Power girl to Power girl

This comic book fan* was spied at SDCC 2013 dressed up as Power Girl.

power girl red son cosplay

We thought we recognized this cosplayer....and sure enough, she'd turned up before as:

US Soldiers use an Xbox controller to drive their robot!

soldiers using xbox controller

It's a slow news day here so we thought it would be nice to share these pictures of some American soldiers using an Xbox controller to control a robot.

There's a few levels of awesomeness here:
  • The soldiers look bad ass, even though they are simply training here. 
  • Xbox controller is controlling a robot!
  • Johnny 5 is alive?
us army robot with xbox controller

I wonder how bad the lag was eh?

July 28, 2013

Eric Osborne talks Destiny and how players can stop to smell the roses

destiny logo banner

 MMORG has done a sweet interview with Eric Osborne AKA Urk from Bungie. They talk about the nature of Destiny being an open world and how players might be able to 'stop and smell the roses'. Here's some quick cuts from the interview:

MMORPG: Destiny has a huge open world to rove about. How important is it to put players in that sandbox and allow them to change things over time? It’s not really worth it if things always stay the same, right?

Eric Osborne: With Destiny, we want to deliver everything that players expect from the very best action games, and some of those elements demand to be rooted in a familiar foundation. We’ll deliver a wonderful, cinematic story with a memorable cast of characters for players who love great narrative to immerse themselves in. But, yeah, we’re going to weave it into a large, living world with destinations worthy of exploration that can grow and change over time.

We can add to Destiny’s dynamic nature with content like ongoing story chapters, but we can and will also focus on activities in much the same way we always had in Halo’s competitive multiplayer. The big difference, of course, is that we can deliver that promise for every type of player, no matter what mood they’re in, extending that sense of newness across story, cooperative and competitive multiplayer, character progression, customization, and rewards, and even the world itself. Once again, it’s a super lofty goal we’ve set out to achieve, but one that we believe is the natural progression of the genre.

MMORPG: We saw plenty of combat in the demo set against an amazing landscape of Old Russia. Will there be aspects of the game that allow players to explore and view the world you built? Instead of just having to battle all the time? Stop and smell the roses, as it were?

Eric Osborne: Behind closed doors with the press, one of the first things we did was head left off the beaten path, up and over the rusted line of derelict cars, to take in a picturesque view of a small lake and surrounding brush and stone and trees. We did that for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to stop and show off more details of our new graphics technology: water with real-time reflections on the surface, caustics, and deformation; blades of grass that blow in the wind, and bend beneath player footfalls; player gear, customization, and cloth simulation to name a few.

Second, because we wanted to demonstrate a very important principle of our world-building approach. We want the destinations in Destiny to feel like places you visit. As the intensity of action ebbs and flows – and it will – we want them to draw players in with mysteries to solve and rewards to earn for exploration and inquisitiveness. That reward might be a treasure chest, a spectacular vista, or a small piece of deep story told through the environment.

There will be roses, just not where you might expect them.

MMORPG: At one point in the presentation the screen changed to a third person view, albeit briefly. Is that something we can expect to see in the game more often? Can we choose to be in third-person, or is it only during the “space magic” skill uses and other cinematic parts?

Eric Osborne: The majority of combat happens in first-person. Destiny is a great first-person shooter, but we are certainly taking a lot of the things that sing for us from the RPG genre, like character creation and personalization. We believe players are really going to enjoy the deep customization offered in Destiny, so we do want to provide a lot of opportunities for people to see and show off their builds.

In the demo, that happened primarily when players used some of the more powerful abilities, like the Warlock’s Nova Bomb, which breaks the camera out for a dramatic third-person view. We’re also building fully third-person social spaces, like the Tower, that we haven’t dug too deeply into just yet – places for commerce and camaraderie that provide players the perfect opportunity to put on their finest armor and gear, and strut.


The Tower - I wonder if that was inspired by Steven King's Dark Tower series in any way. If you've read any of the books from that series you'll know they capture similar genres and themes such as magic and gunslingers like Destiny.

July 24, 2013

This postcard written by a child about Xbox went in a time capsule today. Did he foretell the future already?

This postcard written by a child about Xbox went in a time capsule today. Did he foretell the future already? Here's the story of how this made it into the time capsule.

ME3's Stargazer ending might have been different, even before the Extended Cut

Did you ever play Mass Effect 3 and watch through the end credits to the scene at the end where an old man (the Stargazer) tells his grand daughter about the exploits of a person called The Sheppard? I think it was designed to convey that Sheppard’s efforts were not in vain and humanity survived the effects of the Reaper invasion. Gosh knows how...

But this ending was not always was not always intended to be there as some design artwork by Matt Rhodes suggests. This artwork was named “Endgame_FarFuture” and shows a crashed Citadel and what looks two be two Prometheans crossing a field: 

Who knows what this was actually intended to mean.

Things got messy with the Extended Cut and the new Liara ending (or clearer on your POV)

Mass Effect's EDI concept design art by Matt Rhodes

edi concept art mass effect

The introduction of EDI to the Mass Effect series in game two was a fine move by Bioware. While character introductions are always risky moves (Jar Jar Binks anyone?)  EDI was a great character and she was able to be utilised to explore some great sci-fi concepts and discussions about the role of an A.I. She was so popular that ME3 saw EDI come a character you could take with you on missions.

edi conceot art mass effect 2
A very Tron like EDI

EDI provided to be a visual feast of beauty but a lot of hard work went into designing her. Here’s some early concept work from conceptual artist Matt Rhodes who recently posted his designs on his site.

EDI and Jeff
Here's some EDI cosplay. and here's some Femshep. Just because. OK, here's some Miranda as well. 

Halo maps have really gone to the Pits...

Ah, the Pit from Halo 3 is soon to be the Pit from Halo 4. I loved playing it in H3, it was a map that really suited my playing style and I suspect I had the most Lone Wolf wins on that map than any other I played.

Something about that corner where the shotgun was kept....

pit graphics difference halo 4 and 3
Any way's 343 Industries have gone to their go to guys Certain Affinity to make some new Halo maps, and here's the Pit redux. I hope if Frankie and the lads have had to outsource this map making venture it means thy're really busy doing season 2 of Spartan Operations...

July 22, 2013

Shrodinger's cat from Bioshock as an Easter egg

It's probably been found a million times but I did enjoy this Easter egg from Bioshock, Schrödinger's cat:

Schrödinger's cat: bioshock easter egg

So what state is the cat in if it's frozen? 

You've never heard the Halo theme played this way before!

Just a dude with an acoustic guitar playing the classic Halo theme song. Eat you heart out Steve Vai?

That's a pretty cool version. Not so flashy but with enough flash to make you go BOOM! Remember to put a capo on the 2nd fret if you want to play along....

July 10, 2013

How this Dad has to play video games

daddy by day gamer by night
I'm a thirty five year old gaming fan with a beautiful wife (ha, take that nerd haters) and a bonnie wee boy who is fast coming up to his first birthday (it's technically his second but for some reason that doesn't seem to matter to anyone).

Having a family has changed my life for the better. Any parent who loves their child knows this. It has certainly changed my game playing habits.

I work all day and then head home and it's family time. Feeding, washing and playing with the lad. Eating dinner with the wife. Maybe a bit of Nathan Fillion's Castle or Game of Thrones with her. Then it's time to clean the house - dishes in an out of the washer, clothes washed and put away. Cat and rabbits fed. Wood for the the next day's fire brought in.

And then if I'm not too tired, maybe I'll take the Baby Einstein DVD out of the Xbox and throw in a Mass Effect, Halo or Bioshock and play the campaign till my eyes fall heavy at oh say... 11pm.

I used to be a Halo match making fiend. I arrived late to the Halo 2 party but clocked up a couple of thousand games. Same for H3. Reach not so much (it just didn’t feel right somehow). I was super excited to get H4 when it came out about a week after the Lil Guy was born. He slept all the time which mean I could play a few games here and there.

Now? I’ve found I’ve become a campaign guy again. I find it easier to slouch down across the bean bag and play an hour or so of campaign rather than a handful of rounds of matchmaking. It’s not like I don’t like the new Halo 4, I think it was pretty damn good (except for the Ammo Drops - BORING!). I did the whole season of Spartan Ops but let’s face it, it’s not really match making, it’s simply a nebulous extension of the campaign with more Palmer, less 117.

All that aside, that’s just my current preferences talking. The point I'm making is that my hours of gaming time have decreased dramatically. As as a Dad, I can no longer spend 3 hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon playing Gear of War or all Monday evening on some strange outpost in Mass Effect. I can only do it in the quiet moments around the house when everyone is asleep – which means for some nice uninterrupted play at least.

Who needs sleep though eh? So gaming dads out there - how do you do get your gaming in? 

July 9, 2013

Bungie’s Project Phoenix – Jason Jones reveals what it was

What project Phoenix does not look like. At all.
Uber fans of Bungie may have heard of whispering around the internet that they were working on a project called Phoenix that never saw the light of day out side the walls of the Bungie office. IGN managed to have a chat with the ever elusive Jason Jones and he explained what Phoenix was all about.

“It was a project we were working on at the same time we were working on Halo 1. There was a lot that was really interesting about it, even back in Chicago, before the acquisition. It was a game that was based on a technology that was sort of Minecraft-like, in that it could render… You could build castles out of blocks, for example, and then knock them down. Ultimately the reason the game never saw the light of day was because of Halo. The [Project Phoenix] team got scavenged a number of times, both on Halo 1 and Halo 2, to finish Halo.”

IGN asked if it was basically Minecraft before Minecraft to which Jones said:

“No, the rendering… It was able to render things like Minecraft, but it was… It was trying to find its place. Halo had a time in the desert as well,” he explains, meaning that it was trying to find its identity. “The best thing we can do is just look at the build… I don’t even know if we have one anymore. It was cool. There were big castles and you could knock them down with trebuchets. Knocking holes in the wall, and dudes would come out.”

“This game was going between RTS and… It’s hard to even describe. It was trying to find out what it was, and it hadn’t. It made it very clear at several junctures, ‘Well, should we put all the resources on the team behind Halo, or should we keep working on this game?’ Eventually we made the decision that it was Halo. The team just went away, or the project went away. The people are still here.”

I’m sure everyone was pleased they went the way of Halo. To my mind, Minecraft looks dull as…

July 7, 2013

Just some babes wearing superhero shirts. Nothing to see here, move along.

girls wearing superhero tshirt tops

Babes wearing superhero shirts

If you have a tough time choosing what shirt to wear in the morning, perhaps you could ask one of these ladies? Flash? Aquagirl? Ironette? Maybe you could buy one for every day of the week!

The obvious question is where's Wonder Woman? We think the Flash at the end of the image is getting her 'fierce' on pretty well but that Hulk does seem like she's about to Hulk out any moment! It's a Thorrrrriffic picture eh? 

Jason Jones finally admits he coded the infamous Halo CE Pistol's strength. Bless him for it!

jason jones bungie

Jason Jones has crawled out of his cave  where he masterminds Bungie’s epic quest to take over the world to do an interview with IGN.  The most intriguing takeaway for me was the discussion Jones has with IGN about his involvement in the strength of the infamous Halo Combat Evolved pistol.

IGN: This leads me to one of the most pressing questions on my list. Doesn’t this prove the legend of the Halo 1 pistol, which suggests that Jones personally – and secretly – upped its damage at the tail end of development in order be better at his own game?

“See, that’s almost mythology now,” Jones says with a wry grin. “You can’t set mythology straight.”

“There was a moment towards the end of Halo 1 where we were very close to locking down. The balance on the pistol was such that both in the competitive game, but also in the solo game, it wasn’t where we wanted it to be. It was too late to change the… Well, we didn’t feel comfortable actually changing the data anymore. The game was so locked down that when you changed a piece of data, gigabytes of crap had to be reprocessed.

“What we did feel comfortable doing was changing the code, and so… I added code specifically, when the map was loaded, to change a single number on the pistol. Whether that was ‘ninja style’ or not,” he says with a laugh, “I’ll be happy to let you decide.”

And in manning up for his ‘error’ Jones said “I will take the credit and blame for the pistol in Halo. I’ll take the blame for everything in Halo. That answer, I mean… If it’s important to go micro on something, I’ll do that. I feel like design really is about the details. That’s a huge conversation we can have…”

Jones sounds like a very humble guy - he certainly doesn't come across as a 'look at me!!!' type  like Cliff Bleszinski used to (Cliffy reined himself in a bit in recent years to his credit).

Definitely the most definitive cosplay of EDI from Mass Effect


Here's the best EDI cosplay we've ever seen.

The Mass Effect franchise has proven a boon for cosplayers as there are so many characters that inhabit that universe that are just begging for some cosplay adventure.


The Liaras and Sheppards are the obvious an easy targets but I'm guessing this costume of EDI involved a massive amount of preparation to get right. It's paid off too: 

ass shot of edi cosplay

Extra bonus points for having a pretty fetching pistol accessory !

July 4, 2013

Destiny Wallpaper: Guardians

Bungie have released some sweet Destiny wallpapers, check em out!


destiny wallpaper

warlock destiny wallpaper

July 2, 2013

Can I play Destiny's campaign solely as a single player?

The Pike is great for taking long Sunday drives by oneself
Destiny is looming large and fans and grizzled gamers are started to seek answers to their questions - given Bungie has made a fairly big deal about how Destiny will be a persistent world where players come together on all fronts for what are known as Public Events - punters have been asking if they will be able to play the game as a single player without the need for online co-operation.

Bungie have obliged with a fairly comprehensive answer that should address any concerns:

How does Destiny appeal to people who want to play the game completely single player?

"If you want to cut a bright line through Destiny that takes you through the heart of its central story arc, you’ll be well taken care of. Staten and his stable of incredible writers are focused on ensuring Destiny’s narrative is filled with memorable characters, indelible, cinematic moments, and heart-pounding, blockbuster adventures.

When we say Destiny will have activities for every mood, that includes private moments when players are compelled to immerse themselves in the story. There will be room for the strong, silent type in Destiny. Those rogues will blaze their own trails, only breaking their focused stride when they choose to help a fellow Guardian in peril. Some of these free spirits even work on our team."

A pretty forthcoming answer from the team at Bungie which is great to see but I've always been fond of the saying that "no man is an island"....