Looking Back…

I don’t know why I always start posts on this place with trying to reason away my absence.  Simply put, since my last post a lot of good (and an equal amount of bad) has happened to me in my life.  Last year I had decided to join the staff of Inside View Gaming, got a position on the review team and then became their community manager.  Almost one year later I’m still helping out around there and I have no plans on leaving any time soon.

We still have content going out on an almost daily basis, plus our social media sites are starting to kick off in terms of activity.  (Totally not a shameless promotion here… https://www.facebook.com/IVGUK and https://twitter.com/IVG_Official).  We’ve started up some new series’ of posts as well, one of which is our semi-regular Xbox LIVE Arcade game reviews in our Arcade Bytes series.  Our other series of posts is geared towards those that take interest in the world of Grifball.  We cover any Grifball related news we can find, but our focus when we first started this series was news from within the leagues.  Such as the International Grifball League and the Good Games League.

Speaking of Grifball, remember how last April Storm and I had decided to try out for a GGL team for their next Spring season?  However, we decided to forgo that idea and start our own team a little bit later on (yup…we did) and thus the Light Redcoats were established.  We played for about a month together, participating in the first Spring Fling ran by GrifballHub and even a Vanilla GRUNT they had a couple weeks before the next seasons sign ups were open.  Unfortunately, after our losses in the GRUNT the team eventually fell apart.

Fast forward until the end of January this year and I begin thinking it would be cool to join a team for a season.  It was sort of like one of those “bucket list” items…only a little more realistic.  So I decided that maybe with the Spring season coming up for the GGL, I’d try my hand at getting on a team.  As I almost always do; I decided to tweet what I was planning on doing and it just so happens that I’m following two people who already have a team in the GGL and are looking for players.  Coincidentally, they both see this tweet at the same time and start telling me I should join this team called the Aces.  After sitting on it for about 15 (or less…) minutes I said yes, I figured it would save me some time (and maybe frustration leading to discouragement eventually) of trying to search for a team.

I’ll admit, at first I was extremely excited but mostly nervous.  This was my first time on a team to start with, I knew once I faced against real teams I didn’t do that well but it seemed like I was doing superb in matchmaking.  Plus I didn’t know too much about Grifball, basically just enough to survive in matchmaking; and add in the fact that I was in my rookie season on a team playing in the Veterans Division.  I was mainly concerned that when our team lost, it would almost always be my mistake.  Apparently the captains didn’t care too much as they rarely had enough people online to play their games to begin with.

My first season started in late March, sadly I didn’t get much practice in with them as I had a personal issue to deal with most of that time.  The result of that was I didn’t play in many games either.  If I remember correctly, the first ever league game I played in with the Aces was a two game series against What the Grif.  This series was also part of GrifballHub’s regularly streamed games they do each Wednesday, appropriately entitled Wednesday Night Grifbrawl.  Aces took game one 7-2 and game two 6-3, we were commented on being such an aggressive team during the live commentary.  Which I guess is true, the Aces do seem to play more aggressive compared to other teams; heck even a group of randoms in matchmaking are less aggressive than we are.  But it works…well only for so long, the Aces eventually finished the season at 3-20.  Despite the record, we made the playoffs based on getting all of the Achieveables during the season.  We drew Hammers of Thor for our first round match, and only played one game in the series before being eliminated.  The curse of not having enough players online struck us again…

Just recently one of the captains had asked one of our other players (elves shame) and myself if we were planning on coming back for another season.  I was already planning on going back for another season, the only question was if I would be on the Aces again or searching for another team.  I decided to return to the Aces for another season.  They are the kings of betrayals after all.  I never thought I would have enjoyed playing on a team as much as I did, it certainly is ten times easier than being the captain of one.  I’ve met some amazing people during this season starting with the captains of the Aces, XeroZebra and ProAceJoker.  If it wasn’t for the two of them hounding me over Twitter to join their team, I probably wouldn’t be on a team to begin with.

Then there are those that I met just by playing in the league, BaconFadays from Captain Crunch and the Cereal Killers last season, now on Church’s Squad for the upcoming season.  Perfect Demise from Sarge’s Squad, now the captain of Church’s Squad.  And yes, the two previously mentioned teams are related.  Vetteking95, the founder of the International Grifball League and also on Sarge’s Squad.
The entire team of What the Grif holds a special place with me also.  When I had tried to start my own team last year, our first GGL event was a Vanilla GRUNT tournament, WtG was our first game of the night.  We almost had them by going up 2-0 quickly on them and then our team got overwhelmed and lost 3-2.  Needless to say when I got to play against them again as a rookie on the Aces, it was awesome.  Just like old times.

I know there are other people I’ve met out there due to this, but now I have some more news (if you could call it that) to share.
I finally had some time to capture some clips from Grifball matchmaking the other day.  I still have some reserved but I need to piece them together and upload them yet.  Here are the three I have uploaded, this first one shows me taking the ball and going (almost) one man army all the way to the goal.

I almost had a goal!  CURSED HAMMER!
This next clip has my good ol’ buddy (and family member) BCX4STORM (Storm) in it in one of his first few games of Halo 4 Grifball.  This happened not too long ago so I have had some league experience already.  While I will admit this was rather lucky on our behalf, it gets better and better each time I watch it.

Yeah, a half court pass right as Storm was getting killed and I was setting up behind the enemy team to clear a path for our runner to score.
This final clip is just a simple pass from Storm to me.  I honestly had no idea it was coming until he threw it…

My last bit of news for this post is in the near future I am going to really be kick starting the activity on my YouTube page.  I hope to start my doing my own videos like the “Let’s Play” series by Rooster Teeth (and numerous other people) and kind of like the ones from my good friends at NuggetHatGaming.  I still need to get some stuff in place before doing these, I’ll need audio recording and editing software along with an external storage device so my videos aren’t taking up all the space on the laptop I use.  Plus I need to learn how to edit videos better than what you see in the above clips.  Once I get started I don’t know how often I will get videos out, right now my current goal would be at least one a week to start with.  It all depends on when I can record and how much time I can and want to dedicate towards this.

With all of that, I shall leave you to…whatever it was you were doing before reading through all this.


Because…Grifball and Minecraft

Would you look at this, a post that isn’t two months after my last one!  I do believe I am getting into the habit of posting on a regular basis.  As of lately I have been busy planning a bunch of cool stuff for Inside View and working a little bit behind the scenes on getting ideas up and running.  We have our second game night coming up on Minecraft; our first one was on Forza 4.  We also have our own clan that we started up recently, you can find out some info about that here.  There’s the contact information for one of our clan leaders and my own in case you want that also.  Lastly, we have our own Grifball team we have started.  We plan on gathering people now and working on some basic team fundamentals; then once Halo 4 is released entering in all kinds of leagues and tournaments.

I’ve been working on on planning some details for a Halo 4 campaign challenge once the game is released for IVG as well.  I know that skulls are returning in the game thanks to the achievement list that was released a few weeks ago; but I do not know whether or not campaign scoring returning.  I hope it does otherwise I’m going to have to figure out a makeshift scoring system to tally results…and needless to say math never was one of my best subjects.  There’s still plenty of time for me to find out if its returning…and work on one if it isn’t.

I’ve also been playing a bunch of Minecraft when I have had the time to game.  It’s interesting looking back at the first “shelter” I made.  I had no clue what I was doing so it was actually made out of a bunch of sand and the living space was very…cramped.

Small living space eh?

As you can see from the above pictures my first shelter was very simple…and made of sand.  Also it was very small as is evident in the second picture.  I think you could call it more of a sand shed than a house.  At times I’ve thought about taking everything out of the “sand shed” and knocking it down and taking the sand for resources.  But then I look at it and it makes me smile as the first thing I ever built in the game.

This is sort of an overview of what my village (a little ways away from my first shelter) is shaping up to look like right now.  I’ve done a little more work on it since this screenshot was taken (my capture card for the win!), the building right in front of me is complete…well it might be missing a roof.  And the tree to the far right of the screen (right above the pickaxe) is gone and a cobblestone arch has been constructed.

Better view of my cobblestone “house”

That is a better view of my new house/shelter/whatever you want to call it.  It originally started as a like a 4×10 square enclosure (I didn’t know how to make a door, how do you door?) with no lighting.  It was dark and scary in there at nights at times…  Also since I had no door or windows I had no idea what was going on outside and each time I wanted to head out into the world, I had to knock down a small portion of the wall so I could leave.  As you can see from the above picture I have expanded it a little bit.  Also since that screenshot was taken, the two buildings you can see are now connected via a hallway.

I was able to figure out how to make Obsidian thanks to one of my Twitter followers (thanks XeroZebra!) so I found some lava underground and made some.  Only at that time I didn’t have a diamond pickaxe and each time I went to mine the Obsidian block…it just broke.  Once I found some diamond, I made the pickaxe and then returned to my Obisidian and mined a bunch of it.  I gathered enough to create a Nether Portal and then I decided to take an extra block and start work on my own Tower of Pimps.  What’s a “Tower of Pimps” you ask?  It’s something I saw Geoff and Gavin from Achievement Hunter using as an incentive for their “Let’s Play” videos featuring Minecraft.  You take four gold cubes (or blocks, whatever you want to call it) and then mount them on one block of Obsidian.  I’m still looking for more gold though to make the last three cubes I need.  I can’t wait to finish it!

Here’s a look into the mess of a cave system I made while mining all the cobblestone I could possibly dream of.  I’ve gotten lost in it multiple times and I am hoping to not have that happen in the near future either.  We’ll see, I’m sure I’ll get lost the next time I play and am searching for gold.

As you can see it is not that hard to get lost just from looking at the screenshots.  Either that or it is real easy for me to lose my sense of direction, even in a video game.  There’s still a bunch more I want to do with my world before I give up on Minecraft.  I’d like to turn the area my new cobblestone “house” is in, into a sort of mini-village.  How this will work, I have no idea; I’ve been on various other worlds where people have done this so I know it is possible.  It all depends on how much time and effort I really want to put into it I guess.  I have plenty of time…at least until October 30th comes around then it’ll be Assassin’s Creed III all the way.

A few weeks ago I had some time to capture some older clips from Reach I had taken after the transition of Halo to 343 Indutries from Bungie.  I still have a few to edit and upload, but I did manage to do that with a couple of my most favorite clips I took…of course they feature Grifball.

This one was taken in Reach (obviously…) from a matchmaking game with the rest of the Grifball team I had originally tried to start (The Light Redcoats) where I was spying on the enemy teams’ runner in a close game.  I somehow manage to slip past their tanks and get to their runner, kill him and take the ball in for the score.  Not to really brag, but I thought that was pretty sweet.

I’ll just let this next one explain itself.

Pretty cool right?  I thought it was kinda neat when it happened.  I believe that is all I have for now.  I am honestly trying to keep publishing posts on a regular basis now.

Community Content

Ah yes, the usual “it’s been a while” rambling.  Well, it has been a while hasn’t it?  Anyways, I’ve been busy a lot lately with the Inside View.  Why?  I’ve been trying to help brainstorm ideas to get our community off the ground.  From simply giving ideas of articles to post, things for the other staff members to look into and getting a Halo themed team off the ground.  About a week later I was just talking with the owner about an idea we had floating around and after giving him my input, I get another email back.  This time, this email is offering me a spot on the management team as their Community Manager.  Knowing I would be able to do this, I gladly accepted the offer.

We have some pretty neat stuff planned for the near future, so keep an eye on our main page.  Plus, why don’t you sign up for our forum; we have a few game nights coming up that I’m sure you would enjoy.  And I would love to play with some of my blog readers from here.

I am going to wrap up this short post with a video I took from Minecraft.  Yes, I broke down and bought Minecraft; I remember the time when I used to say “I’m never going to buy that game as it looks pointless.”  Well it’s good if you have a few minutes or a few hours to waste.  My world I thought sucked at first, but going back to it a few days ago I found some pretty good stuff.  Also, I hate cobblestone…

Yeah, it’s not supposed to be snowing on one half of the house and raining on the other…  Oh, and my house (which is the one shown in the video) has a second story to it now.  It’s not so bland anymore.  I’m also thinking of doing a bunch more to it, but the massive amount of dirt around it needs to go away.  There’s also a river (not seen in the video as it wasn’t there until this past Friday) on the side where I am standing at the start of the video.  No idea what I’m going to do with that as of now, but I’ll figure something out.

News and Reviews

Hi everyone, I come to you today with some exciting news and thoughts.  In my last post I made reference to Inside View Gaming and how I applied for a reviewer position.  I am officially announcing that I have joined the staff over at IVG permanently as their Lead Reviewer.  I am very excited to bring all of my followers of Twitter, here and those that come across IVG reviews for games and the latest gaming news!  You can keep an eye on the IVG front page for all the latest news and a bunch of reviews for games.
They also are looking for content writers.  So if you enjoy playing games and writing about them in your free time then hit this link to send in an application to join.

My other news I have to tell you, is I finally got a capture card.  What’s a capture card?  You know, those things that people use to record footage from their gaming consoles that help them make those awesome montages and walk throughs for levels?  I haven’t had a lot of time to play around with editing videos (Lord knows I need to…) but I have had the time to simply upload three short clips from both Sniper Elite V2 and Halo Anniversary.  I’ll post them in the order that I uploaded them in…starting with the first clip from Sniper Elite V2.

Now, I know the audio is actually ahead of the video.  I’m not sure exactly why that happened but I did figure out a way around that.  It simply involved me exporting the raw file (MP4) into a WMV file and then uploading it to YouTube that way.  See, I was so excited to use the capture card and that I could upload videos directly to YT from the capturing software that I had to wait four hours for this video to completely upload.  So yeah, not making that mistake again anytime soon.  The next two videos tested my theory, which was to export the files out of the capturing software and then upload them.  It drastically cut down on the upload time (a half hour compared to four hours, I’ll take that), my only concern was when exporting the file if the video quality would degrade.  See for yourself if it did or not.

I personally don’t think so that much, especially if you watch it in 480p.  Next subject!

More Sniper Elite V2 gameplay, showcasing my terrible sniping skills.  It’s odd because I used to be decent at this game when I first got it…hmm.  Anyways, if you can I suggest watching it in 720p HD as that will provide the best results…obviously.  I need to tinker around with the settings yet and figure out what caused the delay in video from the very first film I took.  I love the quality of the video from that film, but I don’t want the delay between audio and video all the time.  It will be a learning experience from here on out for a while.

I hope to get the editing down so I can create montages and walk throughs for certain games at some point in the near future.  Editing for montages will be simple enough all it will basically be is capturing the clip, use the software that came with the capture card to trim the clip down then import it into the full fledged editing software to add titles and transitions.  Walk throughs will be a little bit more difficult but follow the same premise as a montage.  Only with those I might have to add some form of commentary, which won’t be a problem as I believe the HD PVR will be able to capture my own voice if I simply plug in my Xbox LIVE headset.  That is something I will have to toy around with and get the hang of.

With that said, I hope you have enjoyed this little (and short) post containing some exciting news from me.  I hope to see anyone who reads this over at IVG now and then!

A Bunch of Stuff

Yes, just like the title says, a bunch of stuff has happened in the what two months since my last post?  Where to begin?  Ah, well we can start with this.  I finally reached 20,000 Gamerscore with an achievement from Forza 4…after all this time I don’t remember what it was even…  I’m not sure if I want to continue my quest towards the amount of 30,000 or give achievement hunting a rest for a little while.  I am trying to get all the achievements from Halo Anniversary; however, some of the achievements are proving a little difficult.

I also completely missed making a post on here, which does sadden me to some extent, but life had taken over at that time.  On March 29th of this year, it marked my 5 year “anniversary” for joining Bungie.net.  I didn’t follow the semi-tradition of creating a thread stating my opinion on the moderation in my time being there or anything else, besides I have to wait another two years before it becomes mandatory.  Honestly because I was so busy at that time I almost forgot about it, only remembering it halfway through the day.

My next piece of news is in regards to my last post where I mentioned I was joining a Grifball team with Storm.  Well we changed our minds on joining a team shortly after I posted that.  Instead we decided to start our own team.  Very long story short, neither Storm or I had people on our friends lists that enjoyed playing Grifball so in order to find teammates, I went to this place called GrifballHub and they had a thread for players looking for teams and teams looking for players.  The day after I had posted that I received a message from this person with the name of oObeX asking about our runner position.  I replied back with my Gamertag and the best day to catch us online to get some games in.  A couple days later I was browsing through the same thread and saw that UCCxZAKORE was looking for a team.  I sent him a message asking if he wanted to join the team and he was interested.  Farther into the future we came to an agreement on a name and thus The Light Redcoats were created.
So far we had our first experience with league teams in a Vanilla GRUNT…it didn’t go too well for us.  Sadly our only win was by a default as one team dropped out.  Since there was an uneven amount of teams that signed up we got a first round bye, once the second round rolled about we got to play our first game; which was a really close game.  We jumped out to a 2-0 lead and were getting ready to score a third time to technically take the game, but we let that game slip out from underneath us.  Our last two games of the tournament were rather…embarrassing.  We got shut out 5-0 in each of them.  Granted they were against veteran teams and we’re only a rookie team.  I still stand by what I have said before, with some time, patience and practice I know our team will be able to hold their own during actual league games.

The last thing I will quickly cover in this very short post has to do with my passion for both gaming and writing.  A couple months ago, I was sitting and browsing through the gaming news blog that a few of my friends and fellow Xbox Ambassadors had started and noticed they were looking for staff members.  So I sent a tweet away to the owner and founder asking if they were still accepting applications, he got back within a few minutes stating yes.  So I sent in an application and they gave me a two month trial period to see if I had what it took to become their lead review.  Nothing is official on that yet, but I have wrote a couple of reviews for them (one on Forza 4 and one on ODST) in that time and they were happy with them.  I’m pretty sure I’ll at least be a reviewer for Inside View Gaming for a little while.  They are looking to expand greatly in the near future, it sounds like they are hammering out the details for some big stuff as well.

That does it for this short post, but it was at least something right?  Remember, always keep an eye on the ever so elusive Grif.  He’s very sneaky if he takes over the right person.

Time for a Decision & An Announcement

Not to sound dramatic with the title of this post, especially since I hate Internet drama, this is more so about what direction that my Halo “career” could go.  Along with some other things as well.As I’m sure you all can tell (even if you just found this blog today) I am a huge Grifball nut.  The past few days I have been looking at GrifballHub’s website and reading over the new stuff relating to the new season of the GGL (Good Games League); in that time I have also been thinking of how cool it would be to play in at least one season of the GGL.  I also discovered that they have a list that people can sign up to be what they call “Guest Players”.  I’ve noticed that they mostly consist of current league players but they mention that since the GGL is a recreational league anyone can throw their name on that list so long as they can abide by league rules.  When I saw that list I thought about signing up for that list, but then I had a dose of reality that made me realize my schedule would not permit it right now.  Then a couple days later I was back to doing the same thing.  After doing some extra reading and finding a topic in their forum that was for people looking for a team and for teams looking for players, I came to the decision that next season I will throw my name in the hat and see if I can land a spot on a team.  I know I had said that my schedule will be busy, but by the time the next season of the GGL kicks off with sign-ups I will be finishing up what is tying me down now.
So there you have it, during the Spring or Summer (I don’t remember exactly when the next GGL season is) I will at least try out for a team.  Whether or not I make it onto any team is a completely different story.

Speaking of Grifball, I have a few games that I recently played in Reach of it.
We lost a person from the start, but we had control of the game pretty much.

Dibs on Defender!  I totally called it!

Good game blue team….ouch.

Bomb meet face, face meet bomb.

And just for kicks, my very first game of Grifball in Reach.

I’ll close out this short post (Hey!  It’s late here) with some clips from Grifball that I have taken recently.  They are rendered so if you have Silverlight (I think that’s what it is) installed and up-to-date you can watch it right on Bungie’s site.  If you don’t you can either download it to watch next time you boot up Reach or I am hoping to have them uploaded to YouTube in the near future.
I’ll first start off with my most recent favorite.

“Be vewy quiet, I’m hunting Gwif.”
Hehe, I love doing that.  I also kind of did it once before in Reach and once in Halo 3.

Nothing too special honestly, but I really don’t think that I was supposed to get the bomb…
Yeah so that’s what I believe (at least they used to call it that) a Grifumble (might be two “f’s” not sure) recovered by the opposing team.  What I believe was supposed to happen was the guy I killed was actually the one supposed to get the bomb while the guy that dropped it was supposed to come after me and kill me.  It seems that something went wrong…somewhere.

“I got a clear path to plate, all I gotta do is kill this dude that spawned.”
“No you don’t.”
Yeah, so that was me coming off the spawn.  Nothing too impressive again but I at least saved us from getting scored against.

Planting Fail!
Yep, I failed at planting the bomb.  I would have been fine if I didn’t jump.  I always jump though, it’s like a force of habit…or nature whichever.  Either way it didn’t work too well.

Haha!  I lied!  A quick update on my quest for 20k Gamerscore.  I am currently sitting at 19,571 which if you do some simple math (20,000 – 19,571 = 429) well would you look at that!  Only 429 away from my personal goal.  I still need to finish the Gears 2 campaign and do some clean up on some easy achievements, plus finish both Dead Island and Bulletstorm (still…) which all should net me some extra points.  I am also still going to try to earn all the achievements for Halo Anniversary with Storm; though it looks like some of them might give us some troubles.
There you have it everyone, I will try to get a full fledged post out sometime soon.  No promises but I have been trying to keep this place updated on a regular basis.

Oh Internet, You Amaze Me

This first paragraph is most certainly a rant so you can probably skip to the second paragraph if you don’t want to read my ramblings.  I cannot bring myself to the understanding of how someone can think a game that has a bug or glitch that erases your story progress completely game of the year material.  Recently there was a thread in a group I am in on Bungie.net that was in regards to I believe IGN’s GOTY article, which they deemed Portal 2 as theirs.  One person in that thread seems intent on trying to convince me that I am wrong in my ways of agreeing with their decision and not jumping on the “Skyrim is teh best gaem evar!!1!” bandwagon.  Okay, so that may not be their main goal but it sounds like it based on the way their posts read.  I guess I just can’t grasp my mind around the fact that someone can think a game is GOTY material when it has a serious bug that erases your story progress.I know in the past I have said the no game is perfect, and I still stand behind that.  I can understand it, if it is something on a little smaller scale such as a character disappearing randomly.  But take and ask this question to yourself:
Do you really want to spend 100+ hours playing a game only to save and quit one night then come back the following day to find everything, all your leveled up skills, weapons etc. gone?  While you ponder that, I shall move onto the next topic.

A couple days ago I finished my first season in the Dynasty I had started.  I finished the season at 14-0 and took the team I always use to the National title game.  I bet you can take one guess as to who it is.  Can’t guess?  It’s the Fighting Illini.  I found out that I evidently have the game on the lowest difficulty…which explains why I can go undefeated through the season.  That does not explain however why I have troubles with Purdue, Penn State and Michigan each time I play them.  At first it was only Penn State that would give me fits (you know, the magic player that would come out of nowhere and sack you or come up with an interception) but now it seems that Purdue and Michigan can be added to that list.  I played Purdue at home in the (with “e” being stressed) Memorial Stadium and they managed to pick me off three times and score on twice of said three times.
I faced Michigan twice.  Once in the regular season and they gave me probably the worst trouble.  I thought this game was going to be whose kicker would be the best.  In the first three quarters it was each team trading a field goal.  It was only until the fourth quarter where we picked them off and returned it for a touchdown.
Since I did rely heavily on my running game throughout the first season I ended up getting my starting running back in the race for the Heisman Trophy.  Unfortunately he kept getting injured in our last few games so his average yards per game went down plus we had a bye week.  In the end the quarterback of Houston won.  I’m not disappointed really, except for the fact that I lost out on a 15 point achievement.

Speaking of achievements, I’m only 599 points away from breaking into the 20K Gamerscore club.  I’m hoping that with finishing up Bulletstorm and Dead Island I’ll be able to snag at least another 100-150 more points.  I need to go back and check to see which ones I can get easily.  Plus this weekend I am going to pick up Gears of War 2 (hey, it’s only ten bucks!) and from asking someone I know on Twitter what it’s like they said it has easy achievements.  As I told them, I’ll take easy achievements any day.  I’ve also thought about picking up CoD4 (aka the first Modern Warfare) however I’m still on the fence about that one.  The only thing I would be playing would be the campaign for it as I am hearing the multiplayer is chock full of modders and hackers.  I’m just not sure honestly.

I leave you with this short post, but at this time I don’t have much more to add to this post.  Hopefully I can finish Bulletstorm up this weekend and grab some more achievements in one of three games.