All About SlowMotionKarma
Lately I've been in a sharing mood. Add to that Skyrim's beautiful vistas and I decided to resurrect my old weblog. I'm "planning" on keeping up with it. Right now I have 2 new posts. They're both Skyrim Photo Journals. I plan to keep updating with more cool screenshots as my second life progresses.
I'm also starting to watch anime again. It's been WAY too long and I have a huge backlog of series to catch up with. Bright side is, I'm going to start reviewing series again. Then there are the game reviews, and my musings. Also, other things I deem worthy of talking about. If you have the time, check it out!
It’s a little early for me to be posting again, but I have so much to tell you all! Gather ‘round children and listen to what I say…
Ha! You actually tried to listen. How can you “listen” to text? Foolish humans. Anyway, there is a lot of stuff I want to type/show you so I figured I’d go ahead and do it now before I forget half of what I want to include. That means this will be a media-intensive post. High fives all around.
Those crazy Japanese people… They come up with the weirdest, most random… and yet awesome “things” I’ve ever seen. This video is no exception. It’s a Flash video made for a remix/mixed song with sound taken from a popular independent/underground/doujin “group” (with one member) Touhou’s game. If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing one of his games, you’re missing a lot. There are 9 games so far, but only 5 you can get for Windows. They’re a top-down shooter genre game featuring insane levels of difficulty, awesome animation, and cool characters. I’ve played the 5 most recent games, and loved them. Today I found this post with links to flash videos and this was one of them.
Even if you know nothing about the games (which would help you understand this video a bit more) and even if you don’t know Japanese (which would help you understand what they are saying in this video a lot more), it’s awesomeness still shines through. It’s so full of WIN, if a loser happens to watch this video, he would actually be “cooler” afterwards. That’s how much win this video puts out.
Fast-paced techno/mix music, fluid animation, and a healthy helping of really bad En-gu-rish make this video my favorite of the week, and absolutely hilarious. Enjoy.
For those “in” on the video game technology news ring, you’ll know VALVe’s Source Engine is about to get an overhaul with full support for multi-core processors. This will allow developers to keep the graphics at the same level and focus on adding more to the games, such as super-advanced AI and physics. These two videos showcase a tech company’s take on what can be done with multi-core processors. After watching them, I gained new hope for video games.
One of the biggest problems in games today is AI path finding. They can get from point A to point B fine, but put an AI character on a path that requires them to navigate tricky terrain, and you might as well go out for lunch. For instance, remember how annoying escorting NPC’s in Morrowind or Oblivion is? Those stupid people can’t walk around a rock, can’t swim in a straight line, and walk right into an epic battle they have no chance of winning. Annoying. But now, with multi-core support, the AI path finding can be calculated in real-time without any scripting or algorithms. All on the fly. How wonderful. So check out this video. Pay attention to the second half when you see the soldiers close-up. They are navigating through changing terrain, and finding paths that current AI technology wouldn’t even consider.
This next video shows the remedy to another big problem in games, AI scaling. As it is now, only AI in your viewable area is “active”. Other characters far away, or behind you, or in a building isn’t active. So, (lets use a RPG setting for this example) you enter a tavern and talk to a few people and leave. After you leave the AI stops. When you re-enter, they are right back where they were. With multi-core enhancements, a whole town’s AI can be controlled with an extra core, completely unobtrusive to the main graphics/AI/gameplay processing. That means all of the other NPC’s are living their lives on their own. This opens up doors for vastly different ways to play and interact with a game’s characters. This video gives a few possible scenarios in an RPG-type game. Remember too, this is just a tech demo for the AI capabilities, so the graphics could look a lot better.
Isn’t that amazing? I can’t wait to see what VALVe has in store for future games. Imagine the interactivity you can achieve with these kinds of AI systems with characters like Alyx and D0G and Eli. Wow. The future is gonna be great. Check out the AISeek site for more videos and their whitepaper. Very interesting stuff.
Now introducing my “Kudos to…” section. This is where I give a personal “thumbs up” to people/places/ideas that I think are deserving of my praise. Without further delay, here we go!
-Kudos to… Nicholas Cage. Yeah, they said you’d suck as Superman, so what did you do? You jumped at the first chance you had to being a superhero. Now look at you… you’re Ghost Rider, in a movie that is sure to be a big hit…
-Kudos to… Fergie. You took “dirty” and made it fashionable. You took “nasty” and made it hip. Not only that, but you made chocolate seem disgusting after spreading it all over yourself in your Fergalicious video. I never would’ve thought someone could make the thought of chocolate make me want to puke. All hail the new queen of Nausea-ville!
-Kudos to… Fox TV. Not only have you replaced House with American Idol, but you put The OC up against the most popular show on TV, Grey’s Anatomy effectively killing The OC. I hope whoever came up with your schedule got some kind of promotion because that’s genius…
-Kudos to… President George Bush. Even with the lowest approval ratings in THE HISTORY OF MANKIND (ok, not really. But darn close.) you still won’t admit you seriously fudged up your term. Still you want to move more soldiers into Iraq. Still. You either have the tiniest brain or the biggest balls…
And there you have it. Let’s have a big hand for those I mentioned.
And the Legend Lives On
I finally bit the bullet and finished Zelda. I failed to collect all the heart containers. The problem with that was, I didn’t keep track of the containers I already picked up, so I would’ve had to retrace my steps and check each spot to see if I had that one or not. I love the game, but 50 hours later and so close to the end? I’m not really into doing it all again, ya know? Everything else I finished though. The bug collection, weapon collection/upgrades, etc. I just couldn’t stomach doing the heart search…
It was a great game! The final battles were awesome! The story was awesome! A little sad… but great still. There’s still a lot of questions as to how this game matches up with Wind Waker, since that game comes next chronologically in the timeline… Meh. I guess the new Zelda game in-development for the Wii will fill in a few more blanks? Hopefully so. The Legend of Zelda is such a great series.
New Old Favorites
House returns next week! Supposedly it will air uninterrupted up to it’s season finale date. I can’t wait! Also, Fox is really playing up the “Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House” line. Every time the mention the series, you’ll hear something about “Golden Globe”, “winning”, and “House.” Not that I blame them; Hugh Laurie makes House what it is. He’s a great actor. Who would’ve thunk it? From Stuart Little 1/2/3 to House? Funny how things just work out sometimes, isn’t it?
In February, LOST returns to TV… finally. And this one I know will air without interruption until it’s season finale. The producers/writers have also hinted at the end for LOST. They say they want to end it while it’s still interesting and popular. And their expert opinion places the “ideal” ending at “about 100 episodes.” Isn’t that a coincidence? 100 is the number of episodes that a series is prime for syndication… hmm. Anyway, I’m confident they’ll do the series right. They haven’t let me down so far…
I’ve also been watching Angel every morning. I got into the series toward the end, so I’ve been blessed with the chance to catch up on all the episodes I missed. It’s not my favorite vampire story… thing… but I like it. Too bad it comes on at the ungodly hour of 5 and 6 am…
And then there’s the still-long list of anime I’m watching… man, I’m not even going to get into that.
Old New Endings
That’s about all for now. There are a few other things I would’ve liked to mention, but I’m sick of typing. Time for another House quote!
“Yeah, and you might want to add chicken soup. It’s just as useless… but it’s got chicken!”
Baby It’s Cold Outside
It’s cold! Sunday night and Monday that arctic cold front came through here. Today I went outside to grab the paper and the grass beneath my feet crunched as I stepped on it. The leaves had about ¼ inch of ice on the top and the car was coated. I would’ve spent a bit more time outside, but it was cold! So I retreated back underneath my covers and watched the second episode of Angel.
The last time it was like that I think I was still in middle school. School was canceled (just like today) and I ventured out in my backyard and played around. Everything was encased in ice. It was a surreal experience; like the world was sealed away and I managed to avoid being caught in it myself. Everything was silent and cold. Clouds hung low in the sky, making you feel the world was a lot smaller. What light from the sun that managed to filter through the heavy clouds took on a blue-ish tinge. I didn’t hear birds, insects, people, machines… I didn’t hear anything. Those moments, they leave this odd feeling in the pit of your stomach. Fear and amazement at the same time? It was a superficial feeling; I knew it was just a weather phenomenon and the world wasn’t actually frozen but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
It’s just odd, seeing everything encased in ice. It’s like God was putting away his toys and didn’t want to get dust on them. Anyway, I tried one of the icicles that formed over the side of our patio ceiling. It didn’t taste that good… I guess the sediment (read: dirt) that collected over the years filtered down into the ice. It’s actually a miracle I didn’t get sick from that. Who knows what kind of bacteria I ingested. Guess I should be thankful I followed the “5 second rule” as I grew up.
How ‘bout I nip this tangent in the rear before it gets out of control? It’s cold outside. I love it! Sleeping is so much fun in the cold months. Lying underneath covers, bundled and warm, knowing that on the other side is the chill waiting to seep in… *sigh* wow.
Taking advantage of the weather, I popped in Kino’s Journey (which I got as a Christmas gift on DVD) and followed Kino on her journey. It fit my mood perfectly. This is probably one of the hardest anime to quantify. It doesn’t really have a “point” to it, but it feels important. There aren’t any direct or underlying meanings to the episodes, yet they seem meaningful. I like mysterious things like this. It keeps me coming back to them. I’ll have a full review out later.
It’s been a while since I’ve done an anime review here. I’ve seen a ton of anime, but I only review anime proper when I own it on DVD. So yeah, keep your eyes peeled for a review. I might be a while considering… well, you’ll see. Anyway, if you’re looking for an interesting anime, check out Kino’s Journey.
So, I’m the new leader of the HeadCrab Union. The previous leader, Sentinelrv retired and he chose me as his successor. So far it hasn’t been to hard. It’s been complicated. GameSpot needs to seriously update their unions system. Doing anything now is a pain in the rear. It takes way longer than it should and even then, the results are limited.
Complaints aside, I’m honored and happy to take up the position. I practically joined GS to join the HCU, so it’s no big stretch for me.
I’m still getting the hang of things, but I have most of it down now. So anyway, check it out!
Speaking of games, I got the WiFi USB connector to work a few weeks back so now my Wii is connected to the interweb! I downloaded Super Mario 64, Gunstar Heroes and Bomberman ’93 from the Virtual Console service with the Points cards I got for Christmas. Awesome!
I beat Mario 64 already. It brought back the memories. I haven’t played that game for years and back then (since I didn’t own a 64) I didn’t have the chance to collect all 120 stars. I was only missing the 100 coin stars and a few of the castle stars, but still! This time I got them all. Even now, that game is one of the best platformers ever. There are a few frustrating parts, but there are also a lot of fun parts.
Gunstar Heroes is one of my favorite games on the Genesis. It’s a side-scrolling shooter. You make your way “right” fighting a horde of endless enemies in 4 different levels. Your gun has two slots. Each one can hold a power. I prefer two flame power-ups. That gives you this long, steady stream of flame (think “flamethrower”). With that I can stand in the center of the screen and spin the flame around in a circle. It’s a shield and a weapon!
I remember playing with Phoenix. He had a long range weapon combination, so we can attack enemies outside of my flamethrower’s reach. We’ve always been a great team. One of the most memorable levels in that game is this board game level. You stand in front of this board game map and throw this oversized die. You move that number of spaces and fight the enemy in the space you land on. There are also a few “item” spaces that let you pick up power-ups or a heart sphere (increases your health, duh).
The enemies have crazy names. I can’t recall any of them, but believe me, they’re outrageous. In fact, the whole game has these funny nuances. I mean, you fight a curry monster, a transforming mecha (that transforms into a cat, a bird, a gun, and 4 other forms), a tiny but powerful soldier, and some crazy guy that can grab onto a spinning helicopter blade to attack you! You get to fight in space too. There’s even a rudimentary storyline, with love interest, comrade turned bad… then turned good again, a great evil power being unleashed that turns on it’s summoner… a great game.
And then there’s Bomberman ’93. Such a great game. Blowing up stuff is awesome! I’m not going to say much about this game because I’m sure everyone’s played it. If you haven’t… what’s wrong with you?!
Another Christmas present, or should I say “presents” is the House DVD box sets. I have both seasons and I’ve watched them all these past few weeks. Man, that show is great! It’s not every day that a show strikes a perfect balance between story, characters, drama and comedy. Hugh Laurie was born to play that role. He’s amazing, and in my opinion, the best actor on TV today.
One of my favorite aspects of the series is how he can deliver these sarcastic, funny lines during a very serious moment, and not ruin the tension. All of those “House-isms” are great too. I only wish the third season was available already. Having to wait two weeks for the next new episode isn’t fair! Stupid American Idol. Seriously, who other than the first winner has become famous? Sure the others have done “stuff” but nothing befitting “idol status”. *sigh* Oh well.
A funny feature in the second season’s bonus content are these “alternate takes” on a few scenes. Cuddy and Cameron act out two scenes from the series as valley girls. Wow, hilarious! Buy House! You won’t regret it, I guarantee it! (not really)
The Final Step: Acceptance
I admitted I had a picture collecting problem. I was mad, sad, hopeless, hopeful, crazy, and calm. All the while I’ve been trying to catch up turning them into wallpapers, and failing miserably. Well, I’m happy to announce… hmm, is it “happy”? Whatever. I’m announcing I’ve reached the final step in this addiction, acceptance. No matter how hard I try to catch up, I’ll always be behind. I’ve been working hard on images lately and I got pretty close to finishing, but a few nights ago I came across a lot of new pics… back to square one.
It was about that time that I realized that I’d never be “caught up” with the pics. It’s a big load off my shoulders. I’ve accepted this fact and I now have a greater focus. I just pick the images I like the most and do those first. All the others I’ll get around to eventually. And I’m OK with that. It’s not like they disappear if I don’t use them after a certain amount of time. It’s a good feeling, acceptance. You all should try it. Got something you’re obsessed with? Just accept it. Accept it and move on. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards. In fact, it made me more productive. Constantly dwelling on “I have sooo many more to do!” only made me not want to work on them. Now I’m at a nice balance. Go me!
The last “real” wallpaper I made is for this awesome Yuki scan I found. She’s my favorite Haruhi character, and I love that loligoth style. Awesome pic. So here it is.
It’s a bit dark, but I think the scan fits well. Here’s another one I don’t remember if I posted here or not… meh, might as well. I’ve had it for a while now.
Another positive about this is the organization. Now that I’m not rushing about, I took the time to re-organize my wallpapers. A lot of the folders I used had hundreds of images in them, making it a pain to find what image I wanted. Now I’ve organized them in more detailed folders, so I can find the image by category. It’s a lot easier to find images now. Oh, the official count is 8,350 wallpapers. Total images? 27,411 images. And of course, that grows daily. I love me some images.
More Changes Here
I’ve decided to alter my theme here more than I have been. I haven’t decided on the frequency yet, but it will probably follow the seasons and holidays. With all the images I have, I can afford to change things up more often. And just for future reference, all of my theme background images will be best viewed on PC’s with resolutions at or greater than 1024x768.
…And Everything Else
I still haven’t finished Twilight Princess. I took a break to play Mario 64 and in-game I’m focusing on the heart pieces and bug collection quests. After that I’m just a few boss fights away from the end.
I saw Children of Men a while back. That is an amazing movie. From an artistic standpoint, everything comes together perfectly. The art design, direction, pacing, cuts, framing, color palate, costumes… perfect! The story is really interesting. I need to watch it again, though. This is one of those movies you need to watch a couple of times to fully “get”, but already I liked it. Highly recommended!
For those Ghostbusters fans (like me), you’ll be interested in the following video. It’s apparently from a work-in-progress game starring the Ghostbusters. Everything looks modernized, from the high-tech proton packs, to the customized Ghostbusters 300M wagon. Check it out! The first is in-game, the second is a look at the Ecto “2”, the third shows the Ecto 2 driving (badly…), and the last is a close-up of a digital Peter Venkman.
All Good Blogs Must Come to an End
I’ve finally figured out how to end my entries! I’m going to include a quote. These can be from anything; books, movies, TV, magazines, President Bush. They can be comical, serious, deep, shallow, stupid, or completely random. Anything I like. So let’s start off the end!
This first one is from House (which I’d imagine you’ll see a lot of quotes from). A cookie to the person that can name the episode/scene this came from.
“Dear New England Journal of Medicine, I took this guy’s drug and still got a headache. Thus, scientifically proving that my arch enemy is an idiot.”
My Recent Reviews
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The Number 23 Trailer
The HeadCrab Union (www.hcunion.com) brings you the teaser trailer for Black Mesa, the upcoming Half-Life remake mod.
The HeadCrab Union (www.hcunion.com) brings you the teaser trailer for Black Mesa, the upcoming Half-Life remake mod.