Home » Archive by category "Gaming"

Indie Graphics Builder – now with a 40% discount

igbWhen Indie Graphics Builder started on Kickstarter I decided to help the project by donating money. I really liked the collection of spaceships and parts which I’ve used in a project of my own called Space Strategy (Dutch page – screenshot).

For a while now the IGB is also available from Steam which makes installation and keeping up to date really convenient.

Indie Graphics Bundle is a content pack comprised of modular graphic .PNG files that can be combined, remixed, or modified to create your own sprites. The current pack includes over 10,000 graphic files with more to come.

Here’s a list of what kind of content is inside:

  • *New – Animated Character Creator Pack
  • *New – Animated Bug Invaders & colorful planets
  • Gems
  • Interface Builder (5 styles)
  • Jungle Scene and Platform
  • Landbuilder
  • Map Maker (5 styles)
  • Platform Pack
  • Puzzle Assets
  • RPG Interface
  • Ship Builder (29 styles)
  • Sky Builder
  • Solar System
  • Solar System 2
  • Space Assets
  • Top Down Landscape
  • Weapon Builder future
  • Weapon Builder modern
  • Weapon Builder medieval

I recommend every aspiring (hobby) game developer to checkout this collection of royalty free sprites. You can get it from Steam with a 40% discount (which seems to end tomorrow).

Which 2013 tablet is the best for gaming?

Just in the nick of time Apple has launched the new iPad mini 2 with retina display (to give it its full official name) to enable us to declare it the best 2013 tablet for gaming. Just a little time ago we declared that the award should go to the Nexus 7, but at that time it seemed as if the iPad Mini 2 wouldn’t appear until sometime in the New Year. The Nexus is a great tablet for gaming, and in terms of specifications there is little to choose between it and the new iPad Mini 2, however the build of the iPad Mini 2 is so much better than that of the Nexus 7 that it wins hands down. Naturally the iPad mini 2 with retina display is somewhat more expensive, but then you don’t get a sleek machined aluminium case for peanuts. With a price tag of £320 for the entry level model the iPad Mini 2 is no toy, but you never know, with a little luck you might find one in your Christmas stocking.

Although the new iPad Mini 2 might be considered to be overkill for gamers whose main interest in games is Angry Birds or who enjoy playing blackjack and poker at an online casino such as Lucky Nugget’s Australian casino for example. Admittedly those kinds of games are not as demanding as some of the high end console type games which are now available for iOS and Android operating systems. The problem is though that once you pick up and use the new iPad mini 2 with retina display it is very difficult to put it down again. You can get by with less, but do you really want to? You might need to pay a little more, but then you are paying for quality.

The new iPad Mini 2 marks a new beginning for hand held tablet gaming. It certainly deserves the awards as the best 2013 gaming tablet and surpasses its main rival, the Nexus 7, but a large margin in terms of build quality and ergonomics.

Why You Should Buy a Wii U in 2014

Earlier today I found a link to a Gamespot video about why you should buy a Wii U in 2014 and I couldn’t agree with it more.

So why should you get a Wii U in 2014 (if you haven’t already bought one). For starters, Nintendo games are great. The current Wii U line up is much better than the PS4 and Xbox One line up and that will stay that way for at least a year to come, which isn’t surprising as those have just been released. But in all honesty the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One games aren’t really that interesting yet (aside from The Order 1886 for PS4, but it doesn’t have a release date yet).

Secondly, it’s a LOT OF FUN to play games on the Wii U. The Gamepad with touchscreen works really nice and if you really want to most game support the Pro Controller as well, which resembles the Xbox 360 controller. And if you own a Wii you can also use your WiiMote controllers.

Thirdly, all Wii games can be played on the Wii U. All you need is a Wii game, WiiMote and the sensor bar (not included in the Basic pack). If like me you’ve skipped the Wii then there’s lots of great Wii games you can now play as well. Up scaled to 1080p on your HD TV.

Fourthly, there are plenty of games that support off-tv gaming. Someone wants to use the television to watch something? No problem, just switch to the Gamepad display.

Fifthly, Miiverse is a lot of fun as well and is supported for every game, even Virtual Console titles.

I always hear the argument that the Wii U has no games? Really? Have you actually looked into it? Let me list some great games that are exclusive to the Wii U (most of these I own):

  • Pikmin 3
  • The Wonderful 101 (my Game of the Year 2013!)
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • New Super Luigi U
  • LEGO City Undercover
  • Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Sonic Lost World
  • ZombiU
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

And then there are the cross platform games that are better on Wii U such as Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. There’s even Call of Duty: Ghosts. Granted, 3rd party support could be better and hopefully 3rd party game coverage will increase. Luckily there are also numerous cross platform games in the eShop available such as The Cave and Castlestorm. The upcoming Wii U games are very promising as well such as Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers, Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kony Country Tropical Freeze, X, Project CARS and Hyrule Warriors.

Now watch the video, then order a Wii U. Nintendo can use some love.

New Year’s resolution: Buy Less Games

I’m a gamer. And so as a gamer I tend to buy games on a regular basis. Looking back at 2013 I personally think I overdid it a bit… The first six months of 2013 weren’t too bad actually. I bought maybe 4 games or something. In went downhill the second half of 2013 though…

At the beginning of the year I had decided not to buy any new games because my backlog was too big – how I manage my backlog will be covered in another post. But hey, who can resist a good bargain?

In March I bought a used PlayStation Vita. I bought it because it was really cheap and since I already have PS Plus for PlayStation 3 it would mean ‘free’ games every month. The moment Sony started with PS Plus for PS Vita I have added the games to my list so I already had quite a few games for that device. For the Vita the year wasn’t too bad when it comes to buying games. So far I’ve only bought ModNation Racers: Road Trip and Killzone: Mercenary. The rest of my PS Vita games come from PS Plus.

But a few months later I bought a Wii U for a really nice price at that time. I really like the console and think Nintendo should receive a lot more credit for it and for the games as well. So with the Wii U as a new console some more games started coming in.

Somewhere starting September till the end of the year games are put on offer a lot and for ridiculous low pricing sometimes as well. And thus the power to resist gets to an all time low level. I’ve mostly focused on getting some Wii U games, only bought 4 PlayStation 3 games (which 3 of I’ve yet to play) and a number of Xbox 360 games. Then come the bundles for PC. You know, those where you pay a few bucks and get like 6 games. I mostly buy these only because there are one or two games I’d like, but it does add to the backlog. Oh yeah, I also bought a Nintendo 3DS XL for a really low price. And what’s a console without games? Boring, so I got 2 games for that as well.

During 2013 I made use of a GoalTracker app that would let me track positive and negative goals. Positive goals are things like going to the gym, negative for me would be buying a game. Because that app has a bug which causes it to stay stuck in the year I started it I no longer keep track of these things (I do for some, but with another app). Total amount of new games in 2013: about 41. And that doesn’t even include those gotten for ‘free’ through PlayStation Plus and Xbox version Games With Gold.

My backlog currently consists of 135 games I’ve got yet to play. I’m busy playing about 22 different games – not at the same time, they’re in Doing list for as long as I’m interested in finishing them. And my wishlist has about 93 games on it… I blame the length of these lists on PlayStation Plus, Xbox’s Games With Gold and the Steam Summer Sale in 2012. And my own weakness of course :-).

For 2014 I plan on not buying a game for a console unless I’m all done with the games I’ve got for it. I will make a couple of exceptions though! A game like Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster and Final Fantasy XIII-3: Lightning Returns will be bought regardless of how many games I’ve got left to play. But that’s about it. I swear!

The positive part about all this is that I did actually finish quite a bunch of games in 2013. I just bought more than I could handle :-P. But this year will be different, just like 2013 was supposed to be!

Quick impression of Rocksmith 2014

A little bit over a year ago I purchased the first Rocksmith on PC to get back into regular guitar playing. In the end I’ve only spent about 13 hours playing it. Not nearly enough to really get through some songs though I did master a couple of them. The reasons I didn’t invest more time in it were due to sound lag issues, the confusing interface (the fretboard is displayed with a slightly angled view), practicing a song was difficult, bad detection (power chords always failed for some reason) and having to play the songs that the game decided was a pain as well.

So I was a little weary of buying the latest Rocksmith 2014 game. For good reasons if I say so myself. But the stuff they showed at E3 such as the session mode and riff repeater made me decide to get it anyway. One very nice thing is that all the DLC you bought for the first Rocksmith can be used in the 2014 edition.

I’m liking Rocksmith 2014 a lot more than the first game. The riff repeater is a great tool that helps you master a riff. You can adapt difficulty and speed so you can gradually master a riff. I’ve done this before with Guitar Pro using the loop-feature and tweaking the speed. But with the variable difficulty setting Rocksmith 2014 makes you learn core notes of a riff first and every time you have a perfect run it increases the difficulty which adds more notes. With difficult parts what helps for me is to turn down the speed to around 80-85% with difficulty at 100%. Then after a couple of runs I crank it all up to 100% and try that.

When playing a new song it starts at an easy level and it gradually increases the difficulty if you’re doing well. This feature was available in the first Rocksmith as well but as far as I can tell all I could do is change the difficulty back to very easy to the highest level. Not really great when trying to learn the song.

I’m only 4 hours in and have almost mastered Bring Me To Life by Evanescence (I’m at 99.7% or something). And with Wheels by Foo Fighters I’ve already been able to master a part of the solo and some other parts. With the first Rocksmith I couldn’t really get anywhere with it.

In the few hours I’ve played I’m liking Rocksmith 2014 a lot more than the first game and will try to play more frequent (daily?) now. I try to play the guitar at least 3 times a week, but never learn anything new. With Rocksmith 2014 I’m finally learning new stuff again. Such as pinch harmonics, which so far have proven to be challenging :-).