Briefly, A Word

You might be wondering why it has been so quiet around here the past few months.  I can answer that very easily.  After my last post, my good friend that I co-host a podcast and write the occasional article for, Frantic, thought it would be a neat idea to start doing something similar to the posts I did on here over on Frantic Talks.  Enter our weekly columns, where we pretty much talk about whatever has been on our mind for that week.  This is where I have taken a lot of my ramblings to and thus explains why it has been quiet over here.

So what will happen to this place?  Honestly, right now I am not really sure.  It’s not going anywhere but it might see less activity as more of my general thoughts start going over to Frantic Talks instead of here.  I’m also really glad that we did make the decision as it certainly helped me get back into the habit of writing something on a regular basis.  Which was something I was trying to do by posting more often on here, but hey; I guess if the end result is the same then it really doesn’t matter the outlet.  I can say this though, since FT is better suited for the more thought out posts than simply just posting a bunch of screenshots, those will probably be going over there more than here…of which I’ll get to those screenshots here in a bit. Continue reading

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The Beauty of the Dreadnaught

Last week I finally managed to find the time to hook up my HD PVR with the goal of recording some footage to use to play around with in the newest version of Premiere and get used to it again.  I was able to accomplish that goal and was also able to learn a few things that will be beneficial for an upcoming project for Frantic Talks (you didn’t think I’d get through this post without plugging it, did you?) and threw together this simple video of an encounter I had with some Creepers in Minecraft with Freakshow one night when I was playing it with him.  I basically just put in some text and called it at that, but I feel it added a little extra to what happens.  But you know, obviously I’m biased since I’m the creator of the content.  So I’ll let you judge for yourself.

I figured while I had my capture device hooked up yet, I’d also use that time to grab some more screenshots from a game or two.  Well…I could only think of one game to grab some shots from and that was Destiny.  Skyrim was also in my mind, but I knew the minute I started playing it again I wouldn’t actually manage to take screenshots from it.  Skyrim is a game where I can easily see many opportunities for screens but I always get distracted doing quests and odd jobs in the game. Continue reading

The Scenic Route

Apologies for the lack of new posts on here, I’ve been a little busy lately with various things.  This will most likely be a quick update as to what I’ve been doing and playing in that time, but mainly I’ll be showing off some screenshots I took in Destiny a day or so ago.

Anyways, most of what I’ve been playing has been Destiny since the Rise of Iron expansion came out a couple weeks ago.  This is by far my favorite expansion for the game right now.  I was always a little curious about who the Iron Lords were and what the importance of the Iron Banner was, and this expansion dives into that.  Without spoiling anything, it offers a short but epic story to go with.  I think it’s around five missions for the new story, but by the end it feels like you are an Iron Lord.  In the near future I will see if I can write up some more in-depth thoughts (while remaining spoiler free) about what I think of it.  In the meantime, head on over to Frantic Talks and check out the latest episode of the podcast for my thoughts on it.  Also, check out the Magic section of the site…which brings me to my next brief paragraph.

I have recently started to learn how to play Magic: The Gathering.  It’s a trading card game that has been around for…literally as long as I’ve been alive.  I had already known about it because Frantic plays it and has talked to me a little about things related to it as well.  Not too long ago I downloaded Magic Duels on the Xbox One to play it with another friend and this is where I get really interested in it.  It’s not overly difficult to learn as a beginner but there is also a lot of really in-depth aspects of the game (especially with some of the cards in a few sets) that can be overwhelming.  Anyways, I bought my first deck of cards (via a Battle for Zendikar Intro Deck and a couple of Eldritch Moon booster packs) a few weeks ago and have added to my collection of cards since then.  Last weekend I just finished building my own 60-card deck from that collection, I have no idea how well it will work…if at all but I don’t care.  Building the decks is what I thought I would enjoy the most from getting interested in it, and I really enjoyed putting this deck together.  So much so that I already want to start putting together a second deck but I have no idea what I want to put in it.  As with I mentioned earlier with Rise of Iron, I will try to get a post up at some point focused around my current experiences with this and maybe throw in some D&D stuff too.  Old fashioned, tabletop gaming is rather fun.

Alright, now for the screenshots I mentioned that I took from Destiny.  All of these are from the new patrol area from Rise of Iron, the Plaguelands.  This place is going to be amazing for some scenery shots I can tell.  Also, a quick recommendation of someone else to check out for some sweet screenshots I’d suggest someone I know on Twitter.  Relyks has been posting a few images from the daily story mission when they run through it.  I admit, this is what got me to wanting to take some screenshots again.

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This shot was taken in a building in one of the areas in the Plaguelands.  Nothing too fancy about it, but some times I like to show off the interior of structures.  The lighting for these areas can provide some creepy looking places, or even some downright beautiful places to be in.

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I can’t remember exactly where I took this one, but I do remember a bridge.  So there’s that.

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This image…I was really, really happy with it when I was making sure I got a good angle.  Then I went and looked at the shot on my capture feed on my Xbox…and noticed the, well uh, notice at the bottom informing me my HUD was disabled.  I cried a little when I saw that.  Ok, maybe not but I was a little disappointed that the Xbox decided to capture that even though it was like 30 seconds after that message disappeared.  Ah well, guess I just have to retake it at some point again.

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The Archon’s Keep.  I see so many opportunities for shots if I can get the right angle for them in this area.

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This is probably my favorite out of the group I took.  This is in an area between the Plaguelands and the old section of the Cosmodrome.  The Fallen have been busy at destroying parts of the Cosmodrome, meanwhile the SIVA is still spreading throughout the area.

There you have it.  Some screenshots to look at, and a quick update for what I’ve been doing lately.  I want to divulge in more detail about the stuff I mentioned at the start of this post at a soon but later point.  Will I actually do it?  That remains the question.

The Scenery of Destiny

Yesterday morning I took a couple of hours and roamed around the world of Destiny and took some screenshots.  Most of them are from the Cosmodrome, which I’m pretty anxious to see how it will change plus explore the new areas with Rise of Iron coming out in just over a month.  Anyways, I’m here to share a few of those images I took yesterday.

Before I continue and just start posting a bunch of images; there is something I want to say about this game specifically, but all games in general.  Most of the times when we play a game, especially a game that involves continuous, fast paced action, we normally don’t pay attention to the scenery of what we are playing.  It wasn’t until I was wandering around the Cosmodrome in Destiny that I truly realized how amazing the surrounding environments in the game look.  With the ability to turn off the HUD elements (added in the April Update, probably my favorite addition as of late) at most you’ll have your character or a weapon in your view.  Outside of the enemies being disrespectful jerks and not leaving you alone, this really gives you an uninterrupted look at the environment.

That all said, I highly encourage you to stop and take a few minutes to look at the world art of the game you play next.  Maybe turn off the UI if possible, play on a lower difficulty, or if it’s a multiplayer game maybe go into your own private lobby and look at the backdrops and settings of the map(s).  Even if the game is several years old, there might be something that you have never noticed before.  While the artists that put their hours into creating the art for games do get their recognition, I often feel they don’t get as much as they deserve.  As I said before, when we play a quickly paced game we often just run form point A to point B to get everything done and move on to the next task so we really don’t take notice of what is around us in the game we are playing.

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An Image is Worth Zero Words

I know, the cliché saying is “an image is worth a thousand words” but I’m going to start posting the screenshots I’ve taken more often here.  Why?  It’s simple really, I think some of them are rather cool and I can’t think of any place to share them.  Hopefully I can grab screenshots frequent enough to throw up some posts like this on a semi-regular basis but I also don’t want them to be the main thing you see on here.  Now, let’s get into the image-y goodness; I’ll write a couple sentences under each image explaining what game it’s from and why I like it.

Okay, now for the image-y goodness.  The first image is from Forza Motorsport 4.  I was playing the career mode in the game (that’s my Honda Fit towards the right side of the image) and paused the game to go do something.  Saw the photo mode as an option when I came back and decided to play around with it.  This was the result of messing around with the field of view (FOV) slider and focus point of the shot.  Not going to lie, I personally think this would make a sweet picture in a calendar.  It was also one of the first images I used in a review that landed me a spot at Inside View Gaming.

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Next up is another shot from FM4, but I honestly do not remember why I took the shot.  It just looked pretty cool I thought.  I was in the blue car you see in the background and the car in the foreground had just spun out for whatever dumb reason (AI cannot drive in games) and this was the result.

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Screenshots and Stuff

It would appear I like to use the word “stuff” a lot in my posts.  Perhaps I should use a thesaurus next time I decide to write up a post…  Yesterday a good friend of mine that runs his own forum (http://s15.zetaboards.com/CRF/index/) went back and visited some of the older threads that are lurking around there and found the “Virtual Photography” thread.  That was our go-to place if we had taken screenshots from games and wanted to share them with others on the site.  After going back and looking at the thread he told me that I had take some pretty sweet screenshots from Halo and posted them.  I’ll admit, they are some of my better shots I have taken from Halo over the years.  Especially the ones from ODST; the lighting of that game is perfect for screenshots at times.

Speaking of screenshots…here are some that I have taken recently.  Most of them will be from that ODST game I mentioned earlier, a couple from Halo 4 probably and maybe one or two from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.



Interesting how placing the camera in an explosion can change the look.  Simple effect, yet I’ve always liked it.

The shots above use the same effect.  I like the last two more though, and especially the last one since you can see the brute a little more clearly than the third shot.  The next screens are from AC4.  But wait!  “How did you capture these as AC4 doesn’t have a theater mode?!”  Remember how a couple years ago I bought a capture card to start doing reviews for Inside View Gaming?  I bought another one last year (the Happauge HD PVR2) and wanted to see how it handled taking still images.

Only way I’ll ever visit Havana.

No idea why I took this one, but whatever.  That ship and its loot shall be mine!  Spoiler Alert:  It destroyed me…

Thought this one was kind of neat.  You have Edward standing in the foreground looking at…well the sand and the island and Jackdaw as the backdrop.

I leave you with video proof of how stupid brutes are in the Halo games.

Wait, I Can Explain!

Strange title, I know.  Lately I’ve been obsessed with Grifball (as always really) and that has been making me think as to why do I enjoy it so much?  Is it the fact that it is one of the few custom created gametypes in the Halo franchise I truly enjoy?  Is it the fact I’m good at it?  Perhaps the community that surrounds this largely popular game mode?

In part, it is a combination of all of this…well minus the part I mentioned that I’m good at it.  I’m still bad on my own.  When I first played Grifball back in 2008 (I think that’s when it was) I was hooked almost instantly.  I had my reservations about it at first; the fact I was constantly getting betrayed by my teammates was rather annoying and I always wanted to score, so when I didn’t score I got annoyed at that as well.  As the first few years of playing it went by I started to realize that scoring wasn’t everything and betrayals were going to happen.  Betrayals still frustrated me, but only for the reason that they happened when we needed a carrier kill at our plant…and I easily would have had the kill.

Outside of these small things it was a blast to play, especially if you had some friends to play with who knew how to play.  Which back then I only had a few and when we would lose a game they’d want to play something else.  At this time in my “Halo life” I was still really only wanting to play CTF and SWAT.  Yeah I know, SWAT who plays that?  I just couldn’t “let go” of regular shooty Halo until Grifball came along in one of the double XP weekends and it was the only thing I played that weekend.  After some amazing games during that time, I was hooked from there on out.  I still played other gametypes after the double XP weekends had ended but I was really looking forward to when Grifball would come back.

Shortly after the release of Reach I discovered this place called GrifballHub which was a community revolving around this strangely addicting gametype.  They also hosted their own league for teams to sign up and compete against each other.  When I had first found out about the GGL I was instantly thinking “I must sign up for this!!!!”  I decided against signing up as I was just unsure if I would have the time to dedicate to a team.  Skip ahead to last year and I try to form my own team…that didn’t go too well so I figured I was not meant to play in the league.  But alas my stubbornness continued and I thought this past Spring I would try to look for a team for that season.  After a quick conversation with some good friends over Twitter….I somehow landed myself on the Aces.  Currently I am in my third season on the Aces and I really have no plans of leaving anytime soon.

Enough about my history with Grifball though, the community that surrounds this sport (yes I called it a sport) is by far what has kept my interest in the multiplayer side of Halo.  I’ve tried to be a part of other Halo communities focused on multiplayer aspects of the game and quite frankly, since I lack a super competitive personality I never exactly “fit in” at these other sites.  Sure they were friendly and had “recreational” goals, but I never really felt that it was a truly laid back environment.  In my three seasons of playing in the GGL I have never had as much fun in other communities.

Since I have enjoyed being in this community so much it got me to thinking “hey it would be cool to help out a little in this community”.  I still would like to do that…somehow, but quite frankly I still know very little about Grifball in general.  Plus my time is starting to dwindle as the rest of my life carries on and I don’t know how much I could dedicate myself to do anything extra.  Perhaps at some point I’ll step up and see how helpful of a community member I can become; but for now, I am happy just being a player on a team.

On a quick closing note, I’d like to drop a mention to the old GrifballHUB Highlight Frenzy.  Remember those?  Where you’d see league players pulling crazy awesome moves on a group of randomly matched matchmaking players.  I remember when I thought it would be cool to do stuff like that and eventually make my way into one of those Frenzies.  I bet you can tell where this is going can’t you?