What Do The PlayStation Buttons Mean?

playstation-gamepad-600x320

In a time where most controllers use simple letters or colors to differentiate buttons one game company wanted to be different. Sure they took a risk with squares, triangles, Xs, and circles making up 4 of their buttons, but it was definitely worth that risk.

In case you haven’t figured out what company I’m talking about, it’s Sony with their PlayStation, and in case you didn’t read the headline this is all about how these 4 little buttons came to be. Goto told 1UP the following:

I gave each symbol a meaning and a color. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one’s head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively. People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that’s what I wanted.

So that is what these 4 iconic buttons mean and now you should have no problem out nerding your friend.

[Source: 1UP]

4 Reasons To Use GameFly

Times are very tough right now the economy seems to be getting better however I don’t seem to be benefitting from it in the least. I love to play the newest video games however because I have not been making as much money as I used to it is very hard for me to afford to buy a new game once a week or even once a month. That’s why I decided to try out GameFly and so far I have been very impressed with their service. I wanted to go over a  few things that I really like about GameFly along with some of the things that GameFly could do just a little bit better.

Game Selection

Those of you that have used Netflix before will feel at home when selecting which games you want to rent, essentially you go through what games you want to play and order from what you want to play the most all the way down to the ones you don’t care too much about playing. You also get to see the availability of the games you want to rent which ranges from low to available now. If a game has a low availability chances are you will not get it the higher it is the more likely you are of getting the game and obviously if the game is available now you should expect to get it providing it’s up high enough on the list. Often times the new release games have a low availability for a while and I have yet to get a new game in my mail box the day it came out, of course the games I want to play that badly I usually do end up buying. Overall GameFly is pretty easy to get games the only downside is new release games are harder to get because so many people want to play them.

Trade-In / Buy

If you end up renting a game and you love the game and want to buy it you can select to keep the game from you GameFly account and you will be billed for the game and then shipped the case and manual. I think this is a really nice feature with GameFly because if you rent a game like Red Dead Redemption that could take you a while to complete but you know you like the game you can simply buy the game and get another game shipped out to you rather than keeping one game out for the entire month. Another thing I like about GameFly is the ability to trade in games to go towards your monthly bill or just get credits to purchase games with. Most games are available to be traded-in and can usually get you more money than you would get from GameStop. One example of this is Mafia II which just came out last week, the game will get you $32.10 if you trade it in or you can buy the game used (keep it) for $47.99 not a bad deal at all if you ask me.

Fast Shipping

GameFly also has pretty fast shipping, it usually takes me about 2 – 4 days to receive a game in the mail and I’m not by one of their shipping centers. While it isn’t quite as fast as Netflix is which usually takes me 2 days to receive a new movie after sending the old back, it is fast considering GameFly only has 4 shipping centers currently. The downside however is sometimes it can take a while to get a game, since I’m not close to a shipping center a small delay can translate into a few days which is why I recommend going with the 2 game plan that way you can play one game while the other game is going to the shipping center so you will have minimal gaming downtime.

Quick Summary

gameflygirl

Alright so those of you that don’t feel like reading the entire article I figured I’d just sum things up for you.

  • GameFly has a lot of games to pick from however new release titles are hard to get.
  • GameFly lets you keep the games you like, and the price to keep them is often times less than the price it would be at GameStop.
  • GameFly lets you trade-in your games and often times gives you more than what GameStop would give you.
  • GameFly has fast shipping considering they only have 4 shipping centers; however they only have 4 shipping centers which is a downside. The solution to this is get a 2 game plan.

Currently if you sign up with any of the links provided in this article you will get up to 40% off your first month of service which translates into a little over $10 for the 2 games out at a time plan. So really you don’t have much to lose by trying out GameFly, you can get up to 40% off your first month by using this code. Also by trying out GameFly you are in turn helping to keep this website up and running. Those of you that have tried out GameFly before or are currently using GameFly let me know what you think about GameFly in the comments below.

AMD Killing ATI Along With Most Of Their Processors

AMD has been trying to play catch up with Intel for a few years now which has been great for those of us that like inexpensive processors that are almost as good as the competition. However it looks like AMD has finally gotten sick of Intel having all the glory and have finally decided to kill it’s 25-year-old brand which you may know as ATI.

While I am an nVidia fan boy I must admit that ATI has been the king of the graphics cards for a while now and unless you were to look into who owned ATI you would never know that AMD was responsible for making these graphics chips. So it makes sense to me while AMD would want to rebrand their graphics chips to have the same name as their processors, of course AMD gave different reasons for the switch. Here is what AMD’s vice president of global corporate marketing, John Volkmann had to say:

The first, says Volkmann, was that “the Radeon brand and the ATI brand are equally strong with respect to conveying our graphics processor offering.”

Volkmann says the second piece of information was that the “combination of AMD and Radeon actually proved to be a stronger combination than ATI and Radeon in the minds of processor-aware consumers, by a statistically significant amount.”

Finally, Volkmann claims the research revealed “a high correlation between knowledge of the merger between ATI and AMD and brand preference for AMD vis-à-vis Intel.”

amd-ati-logo-change

So considering ATI is the king of discrete GPU business along with having a good choke hold on the full size graphics card crowd it’s really not surprising they want to rebrand things with AMD. Doing so could help boost sales of their processors and perhaps allow them to take the crown back from Intel.

Graphics products that are already being made today will retain the ATI logo however the newer chips such as the upcoming Radeon HD 6000 chips will be branded with the AMD Radeon logo. The same will be true for the Fire Pro products, however AMD is going to allow OEM partners to choose between using a simple Radeon logo without the AMD badge should they choose to do so.

What is ‘As you wake’?

With the pre-alpha now in the hands of my brave testers, the time has arrived for the first in-depth look at ‘As you wake’, and a look at the core aspects of the game.

Logo-Small

Overview

‘As you wake’ is a 2D science fiction RPG modelled after the classic PC video game, Rogue. With a thick horror atmosphere, ‘As you wake’ is an intense and unforgiving rogue-like different from any you’ve played before.

Unlike most rogue-likes, ‘As you wake’ does not employ high-fantasy conventions, instead focusing on an industrial sci-fi setting. Inspired by the James Cameron film ‘Aliens’ and the John Carpenter film ‘The Thing’, ‘As you wake’ is grounded in a world that feels unique, practical and lived in.

003

The game takes place in the far future, aboard a vast deep space exploration vessel. The game begins with the player regaining consciousness after an emergency has broken out across the ship. You quickly discover that an alien life-form has invaded the starship, and it has eradicated the ship’s personnel. You are the only surviving crew member.

The alien life-form is unlike anything ever encountered, capable of optiolution – forcing deliberate and specific genetic mutations to occur in its offspring. This unique ability allows the alien to leap-frog around the evolutionary web. Instead of requiring thousands of generations to adapt and survive, it only needs one, making it an incredibly deadly adversary.

‘As you wake’ places a strong emphasis on atmosphere. The realtime lighting, unique musical soundscape, exploratory story and relentless A.I., all work together to create palpable feelings of dread and unease that form the heart of the experience.

In addition to the unique setting, enemies, and atmosphere, the game also forgoes the usual 8bit and 16bit styling of most rogue-likes, and focuses on the 32bit sprite work of the original Playstation era. This creates a more visually interesting and diverse world, while still retaining the personality that only 2D sprites can provide.

Im004

Gameplay

Instead of mixing genres, ‘As you wake’ is a pure rogue-like with all of the expected features, updated with a modern interface and presentation, with a few new ideas thrown into the mix, and a couple of major alterations. The first major alteration is removing the mandatory character specialisation present in most RPG character systems.

The first step towards this is also the first major addition to the game: the Evolution system. In keeping with the concept of optiolution, the enemies in ‘As you wake’ evolve and adapt to the player over the course of the game. In practice, this ensures that not only are the levels that players explore going to be unique, but the enemies they face will change as well.

The Evolution system works by populating a level with enemies specifically picked to work together and counter a given player’s play-style. The system observes the player as they make their way through the game, and takes note of their weapons, skills, attributes, abilities and tactics. When generating a new level, the system uses this information to select the most appropriate enemies from a hand created roster to defeat the player.

Screenshot-0171

For example, if the player is favouring melee weapons and using a high armour skill, to simply brute force their way through, the system will react accordingly. The system might populate the enemy roster with a weak fast enemy with a lot of health, to box the player in, a weak ranged enemy with a strong attack, to damage from afar, and an explosive enemy, that damages anything in proximity when it dies. The player will have to swap weapons and change tactics in order to survive.

This system encourages player’s to keep their options open, and explore all avenues of gameplay. In combination with the random nature of the loot system, the Evolution system ensures that play-style changes occur naturally. A player might find a shotgun early on, which grants them a sizeable advantage – but also changes the evolutionary track of the enemies, which in turn feeds back to the player, creating new gameplay experiences organically.

Im002

The second major alteration is a strong focus on artificial intelligence to create the difficulty of the game. In most rogue-likes, enemies do little more than charge towards the player, attacking and using their special abilities, before eventually dying. The difficulty there simply stems from larger numbers of tougher enemies with stronger attacks. In ‘As you wake’, the enemies are capable of so much more.

As the game progresses, the enemies increase in intelligence, and as their intelligence increases, they gain access to new and surprising tricks. They begin only able to see – once the player is spotted, they simply charge in. However, they quickly gain new abilities. If the player locks a door to block passage, for example, the enemies are able to break it down. If the player tries to force them into a bottleneck, a few enemies might manoeuvre around the player and attack from behind – trapping the player.

Things get nastier as the enemies continue to evolve. For example, they gain the ability to hear – and can hear the player opening and closing doors, or scavenging in a cupboard for loot. They’re eventually even able to hear the player’s footsteps, though the player can take off their shoes to quieten their steps. The ability to hear is accompanied by new evolutions – such as blind enemies that will alert all nearby enemies to the player’s location once heard.

As the game continues, the enemies become much more advanced. Once evolved enough, they gain the ability to smell the player, and are able to follow their scent trail around the level. They also gain the intelligence to analyse a fight – and know when to run away. They can form groups, and attack the player when they know they can win. They can create ambushes, and lure the player into traps. Eventually, they’re even able to hack into the ships computer network, and take control of the security systems. Chasing an enemy into a room, only to find yourself locked inside with a hacked sentry turret is a nasty surprise.

Combat

Although the artificial intelligence will provide an immense challenge, the player has many different avenues through which to fight back.

005

The first is the skill and attribute systems. These are interconnected, wherein different attributes improve different skills. While this is not unique, it is combined with the loot system, wherein nearly all armour and weapons provide substantial skill improvement for the player. This enables them to change tactics quickly by changing their equipment, while still allowing them to improve their character in key ways.

‘As you wake’ also features two separate crafting systems, designed for different purposes. The first is the Improvisation system, which focuses on combining everyday objects into new, helpful items. Taping a flashlight to your pistol to help you see, for example. It can also provide slightly more complicated items. Wrapping gunpowder in a sheet of office paper with a piece of string for a fuse, for example, provides a weak explosive. Using sticky tape to wrap nails around it then provides a basic nail bomb. Placing this inside a length of metal tube and adding chemicals to increase the yield crafts a basic anti-personnel grenade, and so forth. The Improvisation system focuses on crafting basic items on the go to help you right when you need it.

007

The second crafting system is the Manufacture system. This is designed around using machinery to create more advanced items. For example, crafting an extended clip for your pistol, adding a second barrel to your shotgun, or even creating armour plates from scrap metal and then manufacturing basic combat armour. Unlike Improvisation, which can be completed anywhere, Manufacturing can only be completed at a Work Bench, and there might not be one in every level. Manufacturing rewards players for their foresight and planning, and patience.

In addition to the skill, attribute, item and crafting systems, ‘As you wake’ also features biological modifications for the player, which grant them special abilities to empower them.

When the player discovers a biomod canister, they are able to select one of two abilities that it holds. Once selected and installed, a biomod cannot be uninstalled or overridden – making these choices incredibly important. Each ability is designed to be unique, and create new gameplay options for the player. For example, the Shockwave ability damages all enemies and objects in the player’s vicinity, granting them more effective crowd control. The Teleport ability allows the player to instantly shift to nearby tiles, making them difficult to catch. The Force Field ability allows the player to block numerous tiles, creating roadblocks for enemies.

001

The combination of all of these systems in unison with the enemies’ evolution and A.I., results in an incredibly diverse gameplay experience across dozens of play-throughs.

Atmosphere

One of the core pillars of ‘As you wake’ is its dark and tense atmosphere. This is achieved and maintained for the player in several ways.

Set aboard the deep space exploration vessel U.N.A. Yersinia, each level of the game takes place on a single deck of the ship. Each deck is designed to fulfil a single purpose – such as storage, logistics, fire-station, engineering, etc. Most directly inspired by Syd Mead’s design work on James Cameron’s film ‘Aliens’, the levels for ‘As you wake’ are highly industrialised; the Yersinia was built for practicality, not comfort.

Sprite001

Working in conjunction with a custom procedural level generation system, one specifically created to produce levels that feel contextualised and plausible, the levels in ‘As you wake’ are highly grounded in a world that feels used and lived in. This focus helps immerse the player in the depths of the Yersinia.

In addition to the industrialised design of the levels, ‘As you wake’ features a 2D real-time lighting system, complete with real-time shadows projected from 2D geometry. This creates a dark and nightmarish world for the player to explore, and helps keep tension high as enemies pop-up out from the suffocating darkness.

WalkAnimation

‘As you wake’ also features a rich musical soundscape unique amongst the genre. Instead of focusing on catchy melodies or sombre tunes, ‘As you wake’ avoids expectations and employs a collection of experimental electronic soundscapes that create a wholly unique personality. Like the levels and the enemies of the game, player’s will never know quite what to expect.

Lastly, thanks to the alien life-forms’ optiolution, ‘As you wake’ features a vast array of creatures for the player to encounter. Inspired by the inventive and horrific creature designs of John Carpenter’s film ‘The Thing’, the enemies are as terrifying as they are relentless. The game begins with the standard infected human Zombies players are used to, and progresses to ever-more inventive designs, keeping the player guessing. Crawling spider-legged human heads, exploding walking pustules, and self-replicating millipede-like horrors are just some of the nightmares cooked up to keep players afraid of the dark.

903300_10151552373984666_376003092_o

Challenge

The final piece of the puzzle is a focus on fair challenge and natural difficulty. Rogue-like staples like permanent death are certainly included, however ‘As you wake’ also changes focus from typical rogue-likes in a few key aspects. Most rogue-likes are designed to provide challenge and punishment by simply providing tougher enemies. As I mentioned above, the enemies in ‘As you wake’ adapt to the player and become smarter as the game progresses. This provides a natural difficulty increase without relying on bigger health bars. This in turn challenges the player to think and learn, instead of simply finding bigger guns, and rewards them accordingly.

The game’s systems are also designed to provide a fair challenge, instead of the random success and failure that occurs in some rogue-likes. This sometimes even means reigning systems in, or effecting large changes. In the initial versions of the A.I., for example, the enemies were able to equip weapons and armour, just like the player. Unfortunately, this lead to impossible no-win scenarios, where rooms of shotgun-wielding enemies could kill the player as soon as they opened the door. This feature was removed, to ensure that the game is as fair as possible at all times.

While punishing in its difficultly, players will learn from their failures, and better utilise skills, abilities and their environment with each death.

Conclusion

‘As you wake’ is the rogue-like I always hoped someone else would make. A sci-fi rogue-like with a dense horror atmosphere, focused on tactics, foresight and planning, and populated with adaptive and ever-changing enemies. Having to make it myself ensures that I can bring the passion and dedication necessary to make the game as good as it deserves to be.

Screenshot-021

With the pre-alpha out in the world, its time to turn my attention to the future of ‘As you wake’. In order to take the game from alpha to completion, I’ll be investigating avenues such as crowd-funding the game through Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. There’s a long and exciting road ahead, so please follow along on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to my email list, to get the latest news and updates as I continue development on ‘As you wake’.

5 Steam mods worth your hard drive space

It’s been almost two years since Valve officially launched MODs on their digital distribution and community platform, Steam. Since that launch, we’ve seen a slew of new, massively popular Valve games running on their Source engine (Team Fortress 2, Portal, Left 4 Dead), a massive redesign of the Steam client,  and the global launch of Steam for Mac. Valve has a reputation for being a “It’s done when it’s done” developer (case in point: Half Life 2: Episode 3), taking their sweet time on games but releasing quality products that they support for eons. They’re also well known for supporting the modding communities that have sprung up around their games. After all, Counterstrike was originally a MOD that ended up being a wildly popular retail title.

There are a handful of these Source MODs that can be downloaded and installed straight from your Steam client. You need to own at least one Source engine game to be able to install these otherwise completely free games, and some of them specifically require that you own Half Life 2, but we’ve noted the requirements of each of the games in their descriptions. Since Portal was recently given away for freein celebration of Steam for Mac, and you did get it – right? – there’s no reason not to check out these excellent games. We picked five of our favorites to tell you about, and can honestly say that they’re worth your time and hard drive space. Check them all out after the break!


header

5. D.I.P.R.I.P.Warm Up (die in pain rest in peace)
With a name like DIPRIP, you’d expect over-the-top action and combat, and that’s exactly what this Half Life 2 total conversion MOD delivers. Developed by a Polish team that recently published a whole new game called Disney Magic Kingdom, DIPRIP is a post-apocalyptic car combat game with deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag modes.  Unfortunately, there is no controller support for the game at this time, so the controls are a bit clunky (as is the case with any racing game when using a keyboard), but now that Zombie Driver is finished, the team has promised to return to work on DIPRIP. Which is good news, considering it can be incredibly tough to find anyone else online to play with. The game offers 24 achievements, and requires that you own any Source game to install it, including Portal.

950074-eternal_silence__14_

4. Eternal Silence
Eternal Silence is a sci-fi total conversion MOD that has two teams – each based on a giant capital ship – pitted against each other both in standard FPS infantry combat, as well as the more interesting space flight combat. Unfortunately, ES is not the best of both worlds, nor is the best of either world, yet it delivers an interesting and surprisingly dramatic gaming experience that simply works, regardless of how well and polished it all comes off. Regardless of our hesitant praise for the game, it’s definitely worth installing and checking out for yourself. As long as you have any Source game (again, including Portal), ES is free to download and play, and has a fairly active community of players around it. The game’s official site even recently announced an upcoming cash prize tournament, so now is the perfect time to start practicing both your strafe-shooting and your dogfighting.

header

3. Zombie Panic! Source
Just like Pirates, Vikings and Knight II, Zombie Panic! Source is a sequel to a popular Half Life 1 MOD. ZPS is a cooperative multiplayer game that takes a darker, more “realistic” approach to the zombie apocalypse. With survival-horror tones, the game places you either in the shoes of a zombie or a survivor, where you’re either tasked with annihilating the remaining survivors or, simply, surviving as long as possible. At the start of a round, there’s only one zombie with a limited number of “reinforcements” (lives). But as the zombie, who has regenerating health, takes out survivors, they’re converted to zombies and the tables gradually turn. Winning a round as survivors isn’t impossible, but it is challenging. Thankfully, this highly polished and fun game has a large following, so getting into a match is as simple as waiting for the game to install, so long as you have any Source game in your library already. Protip: use a microphone and don’t go easy on the voice chat. Communication is key in this game.

maxresdefault

2. Insurgency: Modern Infantry Combat
If you’re looking for a casual, military themed twitch-shooter, this isn’t it.  Insurgency is a realistic squad-based multiplayer shooter, letting you choose sides between the organized military or the guerrilla insurgents. Realistic tactics and teamwork are the best way to play, and communication should be considered required, not to mention a whole lot of practice. The game takes place during the present war in Iraq, but the team behind Insurgency plans on releasing other “theatres” of play, including an all new war and army in Eastern Europe. The game is available for free on Steam so long as you already have a Source game, and although there’s no unlockable achievements right now, there is a lone “Test” achievement listed on the game’s profile, likely signifying a big update to the game in the very near future.

header

1. Pirates, Vikings and Knights II
PVK2 takes the number one spot on our list for a bevy of reasons, not the least of which is that you can play as pirates, vikings, and knights. I mean honestly, what more can you ask for from a game? Aside from the obvious cool factor, the game is supported by a large and talented team who are constantly hard at work improving and adding on to their free project. PVK2 is a first person online-only team-based game with impressive and highly polished graphics, six addicting game modes, and unparalleled level design for a MOD. It was originally released in November of 1999, making it nearly ten years old; however, it still has a large community surrounding it, meaning you probably won’t ever have trouble finding some people to play with. Oh, and this one has achievements, too. Currently 103 of them. So go install it – all it takes is any Source game – and start racking them up.

StarCraft Movie Will Come Out If James Cameron Will Direct

I know what you are thinking right now “but Cody there is plenty of fan fiction I can watch on YouTube!” Well despite what most may think about my thoughts on reading I actually dislike reading and the less reading I have to do the happier I am, so reading fan fiction on YouTube doesn’t really do it for me. However Blizzard has actually been looking into bringing StarCraft to the big screen for a while now except Blizzard only wants to do it if the right person will direct it.

“We’ve always had an interest in seeing our stuff on film or TV. It’s just tricky to find the right partners,” Blizzard’s Rob Pardo told MTV Multiplayer. “We probably could have made a [StarCraft] movie or something on TV years and years ago, but it’s really important to us that we find creative people that are really talented but also really excited about our properties. That’s always been the challenge for us. I think if Jim Cameron came to us tomorrow and said, ‘You want to make a StarCraftmovie?’ we’d probably sign that.”

Okay so Blizzard wants James Cameron to direct their movie, I suppose they liked his work in Titanic and I suppose I would have to agree with that. Of course then there is the issue with that little budget movie Cameron made about those blue people and it was shot in 3D with work like that I’d likely tell him no..

Of course I wouldn’t expect to see a StarCraft movie anytime soon considering the World of Warcraft movie has been in limbo for quite a while now.

[Source: JoyStiq]