The Conan Lorebook

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Weddings and kids

Just so everyone knows this blog is not only about video games, I have an important question to ask: 

Do we need to find activities for the children during our wedding and reception?  The ceremony will be short.


Sara and I are all for having children around-- if nothing else, they'll add some excitement. Wink  We're just not sure if we need to make any arrangements such as a babysitter, some games or what.  There's also the possibility of our friends  bringing children as well.  So far, the only thing we've done is ask the caterer to provide an option of children's meals.


So, any thoughts?   Or don't worry? 

Mass Effect and Lego Star Wars: the Complete Saga

Just some quick notes on two games I've been playing lately, though haven't finished:


Mass Effect  is a futuristic Role Playing Game (RPG) set 200 years in the future with all sorts of aliens.  

 So far it's a fun game.  The conversation system is unique, and often makes me wonder if I said the right thing to a character, and if not: how it might affect me in the future.  These "cut-scenes", which would normally be out of the player's control, feel almost like being a director or script writer.  They also have a very cinematic feel to them, with interesting camera angles and characters which are in or out of focus.


The fighting is a lot of fun, though the enemy and friendly  AI is probably not that advanced.  It's  fun to give your squad simple orders; it's not so fun to see them just stand in the line of fire even after giving them an order to take cover.  


The most boring part of the game I've seen so far is the Citadel -- a giant space station/city which takes up more time running around/getting lost than anything else. Thankfully, they do offer fast transportation to about a dozen or so hot-spots.   


The vast number of planets to explore is pretty neat.  You start with the Milky Way galaxy, then can zoom into a smaller portion of the galaxy, then a cluster of stars, then a solar system and finally the planets themselves.  Most planets either need to be scanned for resources or already have info in the computer about them. Some, though, can be explored on the ground (to an extent). The latter is where you'll find ancient ruins or space pirate posts to explore.


Fun game so far.  I only wish we had an HDTV to fully appreciate the very nice graphics.


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Christmas with the Conans

Christmas was a blast.


It was great seeing everyone this year, and really cool to see how well my siblings are doing. As the eldest brother, I'm quite proud of all the "bubbas". It was fun seeing the nephews and nieces again, and meeting (albeit briefly) Holly. And of course neither Sara nor I realized until just before leaving how much she enjoyed being there.


The trip itself was pretty non-eventful. 16 hours to Missouri, and 14 hours back. The way back had long stretches of interstate where there was not a car to be seen -- I felt like I'd been transported back in time by twenty years. Total gas cost was around $200 (my little hot rod gets around 32 MPG), though because of the tighter suspension it can be a bit of a less-than-luxury ride sometimes.


I got to test out my new high-definition1080i Canon HV20 camcorder. The only reason I bought it was for our upcoming wedding. I thought it better to spend money on it now than hire someone to do it later, so I researched what was the best mid-range camera of 2007. A short review: Its picture is very nice, but as of 2007, DV tapes are still the best quality available. The unfortunate part is that it's tape, and must be treated like any VHS-style tape. We've been spoiled by digital cameras where we can easily preview or delete what we don't care for. From what the reviews say, the non-tape cameras still have artifacts when moving, and I must often remind myself we bought this for the quality, and not necessarily convenience. And, it certainly seems to have the quality.


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Assault Heroes Review

Well, I spent two evenings on this game...and Voila (not sure how you spell that), I have beat it.

 I would have to say, Assault Heroes reminded me of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.  You are set in a future time it seems, where you are the last left of and elite force.  You drive a dune buggy and a speedboat throughout the game and you are after a rogue cyborg and have to destroy all his little minions to get to him.

 The game is compromised of four zones (levels) with each seeming to have 3-4 areas.  Once you clear each of the areas, you are able to restart from the finished section.  Also, each level has an underground layer where your little guy gets out of his buggy to do some on foot combat.

 The game play is fantastic.  Your left analog drives your car and your right analog shoots in the direction you want.  You get three different weapons on your vehicle, minigun, flamethrower, and flak cannon, all of which you start with, but you can upgrade them with certain items that enemies drop.  You can throw grenades or nukes from your vehicle too.

There is always a lot going on.  Switching weapons to deal with certain foes better, dodging bullets,  and I always like making the car do donuts.  You can also get out of your vehicle to pick up certain powerups or bonuses that are unattainable by vehicle.  Or if your vehicle blows up, you are on foot until your vehicle reappears (about 1/2 minute). This creates another new aspect of gameplay.  Trying to stay alive while outside of your vehicle, but you do get double points for kills!

One thing I absolutely loved about Assault Heroes is the fact that you heal over time.  So many top -down shooters you have to find health packs or the such to heal.  You heal slow, but none-the-less you heal, and it makes a frantic game great.

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Save the Date!

Well, it's official. May 17, 2008 at the Liriodendron in Belair, MD the very lovely Sara DeMart and I will be getting married.


More details to follow ...

Site updated; calendar disabled (UPDATE: fixed!)

Just a quick note: Our website software had a security-related update which they advised to use. Everything went smoothly except that the calendar got broken.

If they release a fix for it, I'll re-enable.


More Eye Candy

The last pictures concerned me, as they looked nowhere as nice in the pics as in-game. So, it made me consider actually having a brighter game level. Note these are the same exact models and textures only lit (I did change one side's cubicles to red). Please click on the thumbnails for larger pictures, then click on the largest size option to the upper-right for best viewing:


Edit:  Newer and better pictures can be seen here



Conan for the Xbox 360

What an appropriate name for a game for an unappropriate website!!!

 Anyways, I have spent the past few weeks beating this game.  First of all I rented the game because I remembered as a kid loving the movies and Arnold. 

 First of all, there is a gratuitious amount of gore (dismemberments, decapitations, etc.) in this game, so, not for the faint of stomach or people who are not a fan of this sort of thing.  

My first impression of the game was this is silly.  The animation was done in strange style.  The back ground is 3-D, but the characters were done in cartoonish aspect, while still trying to hold on to a 3-D image.  After playing the game for a while, it really fit the style.  And the graphics of the gore and fighting are excellently done.  This game is almost a carbon copy of God War I&II, just set in Hyboria.

The storyline in this game is very simple, reminiscient of the Conan movies.  So, if you want to play this game don't get it for the story, get it for the adventure.  This game packs a ton of action.  Very well thought out battle system, multiple fight styles (Sword and Board, Dual Wield, & 2-handed sword), 20-30 different moves in each fighting style, cinematic slow motion of moves, very smart AI, and great environments for use to down your enemies.  Any weapon an enemy has you can use; any spike, boulder, crate, barrel, or stone pillar in the game can be used too.

 The only downfall to this game is the boss battles.  Long (5-6 instances per battle), extremely hard, and no clue what you are doing for the first few tries.  Though the end sequence where you have to push buttons and the right time to get a very cinematic death of the boss is very satisfying.

 Other than the fact that the game is a bit hard and boss battles get ridiculously hard, this game is blast to play, and it only takes about 6-7 hours to beat. 

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Back in Games!

I'm once again working on a video game... sort of.

It's actually a level I've entered into Turbosquid/Gameflood's contest for their video game, Infinity. Here are two pictures from my level:


Infinity is a First Person Shooter (like Halo is) which is set up to allow a large variety of user-made content. It uses a modern game engine which allows for a more-realistic look-and-feel. The following screenshots really don't do it justice, as up-close lighting is pretty neat. For example, the ceiling tiles look like they have some depth, and the metal rails between them as well as the light fixtures are very shiny.


At any rate, here are some pictures of the (hopefully) near-final level. I'm sure there are some tweaking, and bug fixing (the roof really should be bright, not dark), but I'm pretty happy overall Note, none of the small models, like furniture, were done--placement only. The building geometry and the majority of textures (paint on walls) were created by me. The three or four textures not created by me mostly reside in the center area, and were supplied by the game company. I could replace them, but I don't think there's really any need.


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Fun links...

I just wanted to share a couple of nice links I came across yesterday:


General links:

Fight for Kisses: A great video with high quality animation (reminds me of Shrek, actually) for... a razor.


Nerd links:

The Nerd Handbook: How a nerd's brain works, and Care and Feeding

White and Nerdy: a music video to go along with the above

All about the Pentiums: okay, this is older, but great & nerdy itself

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