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Windows 10 Review for Dummies
By Ivory_Soul
Posted on 08/11/15
After all these years, and growing up with Windows 3.1, I have seen an entire evolution of computers and software. Touch screens and large resolutions were a pipe dream just 15 years ago. Now it's the norm. Going from a Packard Bell (yes, before HP) that couldn't run 3D Ultra Mini...


De-Ting De-Ting's Blog
Letting Off Steam
Posted on Sunday, December 6 2015 @ 22:59:44 PST

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The Elder Scrolls VI: Beastlord Leaked Info
Posted on Thursday, November 13 2014 @ 11:41:32 PST

A few days ago, I watched an angry review of The Elder Scrolls Online, and it got me kinda riled up. I started to have doubts about the next Elder Scrolls, which is a shame because I've become a big fan of the series, and have contributed to the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages Wiki. I decided to bum around the official website, sort of looking for some nostalgic excitement, I guess. I didn't know what I expected to find, but what ended up happening has my heart pumping, even now. After stumbling upon a web developer oversight in the Bethsoft website, I found an exploit that wired me directly into Bethesda's developer server. I managed to access their team chat by simply joining as a guest. I was able to eavesdrop on their group conversations this way, and gathered a lot of info on their next Elder Scrolls project. After one individual, who will not be named, finally inquired about my presence in the chat list, I posed as a Zenimax employee from a different department, and claimed that I was a big fan of the series and my curiosity had gotten the better of me. To my surprise, the individual actually offered to answer any questions I had about the game, being very excited about it themselves. Keep in mind, I haven't seen any actual footage or images from the game. Everything I saw was through the team chat.

Without further ado, here's what I learned about The Elder Scrolls VI: Beastlord.

The subtitle Beastlord isn't concrete, but it comes from the fact that the story focuses on the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, Hircine, who has "turned natives of Black Marsh and Elsweyr into savages," hunting one another. Societal collapse ensues, and both provinces come under scrutiny from the other leaders of Tamriel. It is your goal to find the source of this curse and stamp it out before civilization amongst the Argonians and Khajiit becomes a thing of the past.

All of Black Marsh and Elsweyr are playable, with talk of Valenwood being added, possibly as part of an expansion. The city of Leyawiin acts as a bridge or "nexus" between the provinces, and parts of Black Wood are eventually explored, though "you will be on a leash in these areas." Black Marsh is almost completely covered in swamps and jungles, with cities built inside and around gigantic trees, and many underground caves are carved out of roots that can span miles. Elsweyr is a vast desert, dotted with lush oases and many secrets buried beneath the endless sand.

Gameplay is meant to be as immersive as possible. Menus are treated less like pen-and-paper and more like a mental picture, as if you're thinking it. Character animations look more organic than ever, especially while standing idle. Combat animations flow naturally, no longer adhering to a single set of animations.

Your character is given a smidgeon of backstory this time, and you get to choose which of the two provinces to start from. In either case, you were living with a native family when savages from the other province killed them, and you were forced to flee to an outpost. It's here you create your character, and an officer debriefs you on the situation, after which you fight to defend the outpost from attacking savages. You can either succeed or fail. Failing quest objectives most often happens simply by being defeated in combat, which will result in allies having to rescue you. Many quests can also be subverted, or completed in alternate ways. For example, having connections with the Thieves Guild can open up optional methods for you to complete certain quests. This breaks the series' usual linearity and offers up branching story paths. The endgame is affected by failing main quest objectives or subverting them.

Quest ideas are all challenged by a checklist of things they should not include, such as boring or tedious tasks. No more following a dog halfway across the map, gathering X amount of Y for random citizen Z, going through a cave for someone's completely insignificant steel sword, etc. This of course means fewer total quests, but more variety; quality over quantity. However, with all of that said, miscellaneous objectives may still be included for the sake of building relationships NPCs. They are meant to be short and simple tasks, none of which should send you on long treks across Tamriel, or even come close to resembling an actual quest. NPCs won't provide these objectives under certain circumstances, which, for example, means you won't be able to trespass into someone's house, have them yell at you, then kindly ask you to bring them a bear pelt.

Also regarding quests, some quest lines cannot even be initialized without the prerequisites being met. If you want to get into the Dark Brotherhood, you'll have to have some basic stealth and combat skills. If you can't spell your way out of a paper bag, don't expect to get in with a school of mages.

Boss NPC encounters have been improved tremendously. No matter what difficulty you're playing on, bosses will be much harder to kill than normal enemies. They may also initiate duels, during which combat evolves into "a test of reactive thinking, not like a QTE, but like a focused sequence of properly placing and timing your strikes and parries." Infinity Blade is a close parallel to the idea, but they assured me it would be much cooler than that. Duels will end in various spectacular ways, depending on who you're fighting and what you're using. Other, more important bosses, like those you'd find at the end of a quest, may also include more intricate battles, like those in Dark Souls. They said they've "taken to heart how disappointed players were with the final bosses of Oblivion and Skyrim, and this time we're really trying to end the main quest with a deeply satisfying finale that properly represents the epicness of this game."

Skills follow a system similar to Skyrim's, but with added depth. Some cool new features include some skills only being obtainable after having been taught them, learning them through books, or after completing a specific quest that involves them being used. Special weapon techniques, magic effects, alchemical possibilities, stealth benefits, etc., can only be made available to you by going and finding out about them. Another feature involves certain skills from one branch combining with skills from another branch. If you're the master of unlocking, you'll get bonuses to other stealth skills. If you can swing a mace with the best of 'em, you'll get bonuses to other combat skills. Simply put, being well versed in a skill of one type will affect other similar skills.

The game will allow you to play with the economy. Merchants may offer you trading agreements, meaning you can sell a type of item exclusively to them for additional gold. You can also open or obtain your own business, and even hire people and manage workers and clients. Each individual business comes with a manager attached, who is automatically and permanently hired to work for it. Businesses will include things from farms and stables to blacksmiths and general stores. This aspect of the game is intended to stay optional, but helpful for earning gold and possibly rarer quality goods.

Marriage in this game is planned to be far more immersive than it was in Skyrim. Not everyone will be willing to commit to you after you've done one little thing for them. Some NPCs will have to see you around town or their place of work on multiple different occasions before you'll be able to pop the question. Merchants may require you to trade a certain amount of gold with them, guards may require you to have some renown in their city, mages may require you to have learned spells that interest them, and in general, being wealthy or well-known will impact many potential spouses. You can choose the place of the wedding as well, but this and many other decisions you make will require your spouse's approval. You can go against their wishes on some things, but doing so will make them less happy with you and likely to leave. Some spouses will be open to new things, and may even give you the option to train them in certain skills and take them adventuring with you, even though they were originally a farmer or merchant. If you leave them at home, they may get upset if you do not visit them for a long time, and some will be frustrated with you if you do not join them in bed or ask them to go to bed with you from time-to-time.

Followers also have much more depth. Some will insist on using only certain types of armor or weapons, refuse to get involved in some activities, suggest they don't take part in something for your benefit, leave your service if you do something they really don't like, may agree to carry out complex instructions, or do something in your place. By default, they will not damage or take damage from you while you're actively engaged in combat. Followers with certain skills will actively seek to utilize them, such as sneaky ones trying to backstab enemies, archers trying to provide covering fire, or mages trying to use the most appropriate spell for the enemies they're fighting. Having multiple followers is possible, though it hasn't been decided on what the maximum number should be. You won't be able to take an army with you, for sure. However, many game spaces are being designed "around the idea that multiple characters should be able to move through them without hindering one another. Many interior cells are therefore meant to feel spacious."

That's all I got. There's some pretty amazing stuff here. I'm glad to see so many new ideas being thrown into the pot. I'm really hoping a lot of them make it into the final product. I feel this is something I can genuinely get excited about after hearing all of this, and I'm sure you must be feeling the same way. I'm sorry if I didn't uncover more, but understand I was freaking out the entire time I was in the developer's server.

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My Short Recipe for Saving Gaming
Posted on Saturday, October 6 2012 @ 02:57:51 PST

This is going to be hard to write without giving away some of my top secret ideas and game plans, so you're probably going to get gypped on some of the thoughts I have to share. Just a heads up.

I've noticed people complaining about how stale games have become, lately. Well, it's something I strongly agree with. However, I can't overlook the fact that I still play them daily. As I continually expose myself to them, I think more and more about how they could be better. Not just the individual games themselves, but the entire "gaming" experience. So, as I sit here typing this at 1:00 in the morning, I'm going to try to share some of the ideas I've held on to.

I. Revolutionizing Controllers

"I NEED MORE BUTTONS" is something that's always echoing through my subconsciousness. The current design of today's controllers has run its course. It was good once, but not anymore. This is one thing that PC gaming has always had a leg up on compared to consoles. But, the keyboard, while obviously laden with a plethora of buttons, is not a very comfortable means of input. Things like the lack of an analog stick are why some PC gamers choose to use controls for some games. Heck, we've even put more buttons on our mice to try to minimize the use of the keyboard.

More buttons give you more control. Game designers shooting for rich, deep, and highly interactive experiences are getting the short stick from the miniscule amount of input options they're given, whether they know it or not. Games like Assassin's Creed have increased their input options by assigning one button the role of "hold me for more buttons." It's a great idea, and shows how much more in depth games can be with more control.

(Now I'm going to kinda ramble off about some controller ideas I have. Skip this if you want.

So, more buttons, and a more effective design are what controllers need. My ideal controller could be held with just your pinkies and ring fingers, comfortably. It has two lower buttons on the backside for your middle fingers, 6 buttons for your index fingers, 8 or 9 buttons on both sides, 4 middle buttons that could be accessed either by your thumbs or your index fingers, and long, clicking analog sticks. I've got these things called Control Freaks that extend your sticks to give you more control over small actions. They actually work, and when I try to play without them, it's really tough. By the way, this thing needs to be pretty big. And by big, I mean there just needs to be ample space between your hands. No more complaints from people with big mitts. Your fingers should never touch their opposites when you're holding this thing. Also, it needs some kind of expansion port. The Dualshock 3 has a small keypad attachment that plugs right into the mini USB port. Stuff like this could be great for developers willing to take advantage of it.

I haven't actually drawn this out yet, but I think you should get the idea. By the way, if you've been envisioning the Xbox controller this whole time, think again. This baby takes after the Dualshock in face button and stick placement.)

II. More Originality

A game gets an automatic -1 from me when I see exactly this copy-pasta'd on the main menu:

Start New Game
Load Game
How to Play
Eye barf.

That's just one point. A more important one is that so very many games are made with rehashed, twice baked ideas. It's like game developers are trying so hard to color in between the lines that they won't even get close to the edges. As if they're more focused on a list of limitations than a list of possibilities. Or, say, they find one developers footprints on the road to success, and try their best to step perfectly in line with them, instead of walking next to them. Some ideas are good, and probably should be followed, but when you don't leave enough room for originality, you end up with the gaming industry you see before you today.

III. Show Concern for the Players

This is especially important with how industry bigwigs are saying that multiplayer gaming is becoming the new norm, or that singleplayer gaming is dying. This is kinda depressing to think about, considering how multiplayer gaming is complete and utter chaos at this point. It's far, far too easy to ruin someone else's multiplayer experience in most of today's popular games. While it's possible that you could place all of the blame on the inconsiderate jerks that are doing this sort of stuff, it's also necessary to blame the game developers themselves for not doing anything about it.

Let me refer to a comment of mine from last week.
"Training should be mandatory for all online multiplayer games. And based on your performance, you should initially be put into matches with other players of similar skill level when you start playing for real."

It's a common thing to see. Players of lower skill levels are getting frustrated by players of higher skill levels, and players of higher skill levels are getting frustrated by being teamed with those players of lower skill levels. And more importantly, the good sportsmen are being frustrated unceasingly by the aforementioned inconsiderate jerks. When you look at it, it's like they're allowing full grown adults and handicapped old people to play in a little league baseball game, but everyone's playing baseball, so it doesn't matter. It's a broken system, through and through.

Let's take a break from multiplayer, though. Another example of being inconsiderate is stuff like the Battlefield 3 campaign. This sin against mankind pretty much just throws you into a dark room filled with pissed off spiders and slams the door. I use this example because it was a recent experience, but countless other games do similar things, in truth. Making things difficult at the cost of enjoyment is a big no-no. Intentionally putting players through strenuous trail-and-error only causes problems. Don't get me wrong, sometimes difficult problems are fun to overcome, but not when you have to wait several minutes for the checkpoint to reload, and end up having to play the last 10 minutes over again to get to where you were...or something.

There's probably more I could add to this, and I might edit it in later, but right now, the window of time I do my best thinking at night in has closed, and once again, the difficult task of falling asleep has presented itself before me.

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Let me tell ya a story
Posted on Tuesday, July 21 2009 @ 01:25:07 PST

   It all started on my younger brother's birthday.

   We were going paintballing out here at a place called Fran-Bar Park. Nice place. Big fields for paintball, and a big fishing pond. And some place called the Haunte...   read more...

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Huge Super Gamernet Thing
Posted on Friday, April 24 2009 @ 21:09:17 PST

(From my blog @

  Paying for XBox Live sucks.

(However, I recommend buying subscription cards off of *winkwink*)

  But seriously, we're buying your console, we're...  

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Achievement Unlocked
Posted on Wednesday, March 25 2009 @ 13:04:14 PST

(Taken from my blog @ )

Here I will do a brief look at both the achievement/gamerscore system for the XBox 360 (Box is what I'll be calling it) and the trophy/gamer level system for the PS3.

Ach...  

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Demos: Use `em or lose `em
Posted on Thursday, February 5 2009 @ 17:38:19 PST

I`ll start off with my main point. I just played the Killzone2 demo I got when I reserved it, and it`s awful. Slow control recognition, out-dated control mechanics, and the fact that I had no idea what to do half of the time.

Now there`s ...  

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After a day of being unsuccessful.
Posted on Monday, January 19 2009 @ 22:28:59 PST

I smashed a package of ramen and it came out both ends....   read more...

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Your chance to win!
Posted on Sunday, September 28 2008 @ 22:55:32 PST

You know promotional giveaways, contests, etc. "Enter for your chance to win," "Many will play, few will win," "No purchase necessary," and the like. Sometimes you fall for it, just wishing day and night that you're goin...   read more...

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