An Assassin’s Creed Countdown? TO WHAT?!

Ubisoft seem to be running with their new “well, the cat’s out of the bag, may as well go full steam ahead with the promo work now…” philosophy.  The official Assassin’s Creed site has had its front page replaced with a mysterious countdown.

It’s frankly a pretty gorgeous little bit of promo work all on its own actually…  What’s really baking everyone’s collective noodles is why oh why is the countdown so short and what the hell is it TO?!  If my time arithmetic’s good (it’s not) the timer’s working down to 5pm Monday (GMT) which may or may not be a more significant time somewhere in America, I’m not sure…

I’m shaping up to really like the setting of this game, the environment they’re setting up with all the snowy American battlefields are really great looking!  And the new assassin looks nifty too, from what little we’ve seen…

Very excited about this game now :D

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Nerdlecraft! Weedlecraft! MEAT

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Let’s keep the theme of romantic + nerd + craft going, shall we? Ok, not yet a theme if it’s only two posts… Let’s START a theme! As you no doubt noticed and possibly celebrated, recently we had Valentine’s Day. … Continue reading

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Man Proposes Using Custom Video Game Code, Ruins Idea for Hopeful Nerds Worldwide

Well, this is a gorgeous story – Jered McFerron, of the internets, has proposed to his girlfriend.  In quite literally the best way possible.

The story goes that back in 2003 Jered took on the pretty awesome task of re-writing the classic SNES game Metroid in C++.  This isn’t to say he somehow hacked the game code from the cartridge or anything, he literally re-wrote the game, by the power of raw observation (aka playing, lots) and much hard thinking to work out the mechanics and gameplay. Anyway, this is something he managed, with what seem to be pretty bloody good results.

Halfway through the project though, Jered was thinking;

Cor, I proper love this girl, I think I’ll ask her to marry m- HANG ON!

And went on to;

D’you know what?  I think I’ll propose by re-writing some of the Metroid game code to direct her to a secret room in which she’s offered a pixel-graphic ring and a text message!

The ring's from Zelda, no good ring graphics in Metroid!

What a legend.  And she said yes!  Although she totally had no other choice, given the method.  You can see a full write-up of the adventure he sent her on here; Jered McFerron’s blog.

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Assassin’s Creed 3 Setting and Art Revealed

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Following a steady stream of will-they-won’t-they rumours all day long after an initial leak that the setting of AC3 might well be the American Revolution, Ubisoft have apparently given up trying to hide it and released their box-art for the finale. … Continue reading

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Finally get Round to Learning that New Language!

I’d want to feature a web service I’ve come across recently that I’m fast beginning to find outrageously useful. It’s called Memrise.

Memrise Logo

Memrise is a webapp devoted to helping you learn things. Languages, mostly, but I believe other large knowledge sets are available, not just vocabulary… It aims to do this in a way which is free, novel enough to keep you entertained, and powerful. Not many other language software packages offer all of those things, on- or offline, and Memrise even manages to do it with a very pretty interface.

I’ll talk through the basic concept, using the example of someone who’s looking to learn a set of basic Japanese vocab. We’ll call this person Steve (Hai-oohhhh! See Borderlands 2 trailers…). So, Steve goes onto Memrise. He clicks login, and is allowed to do so with Facebook one-click login. He can also register manually with Memrise independently if he wants to/doesn’t use Facebook.

Steve then finds himself a course – there are loads to choose from; he just has to click Japanese in the list of languages and he has a great choice – he chooses a basic vocab course. And this is where we get to the meat of Memrise; now Steve’s enrolled on this course, he is presented with his ‘gardens’.

The garden concept is the kernel of how Memrise organises your learning, and it works in stages;

1) New words that you are taught are represented as newly planted seeds.
2) Once you’ve been taught them, you have a couple of initial tests on a word; at first, easier recognition tests such as choosing the correct English from a list for a given Japanese word you’ve been taught before. Once you complete a couple of these for a word, it moves on to become a sprout. You can find it in your greenhouse :)
3) The greenhouse is the place for all the words which you’ve been taught, and have demonstrated the ability to bring back from your short-term memory. The sprouts each have a little graphic that tells you how far along they are on the way to being harvested.
4) When you’ve shown that you’re getting to grips with a word by repeated testing (which increases in difficulty the longer you’ve known the word, to make sure you recall it fully), it’s fully grown and harvestable. When a word can be harvested, you have a window of time in which to harvest it before it wilts and goes back down to sprouty levels. Harvesting consists of another test of your knowledge of the word.
5) Harvested words are moved to your garden, which represents your long term memory. Periodically, words in your garden have need of watering – refreshing your memory with a couple of tests – or they go back down to sprouts and you have to prove you know them again.

Or, from the horse's mouth...

It’s a gimmicky but effective way of enforcing the principle that you should learn a word, and practice recognition and later recollection after increasingly long intervals for the best retention. Along the way, you’re offered fun mnemonics suggested by other members for each word, and you can choose the one that best helps you remember it, or suggest your own.

If you’ve ever wanted to get into the beginnings of a new language, or are already an intermediate user of one, you’ll know that one of the biggest walls is building your vocabulary. This service lets you practise and learn new words in short, effective sessions that you can fit in around the other things you do, maybe in a work break or while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. You know, if you like tea enough that waiting for the kettle to boil represents a frequent, regular time slot in your day.

I’m using it, and finding it way preferable to other systems like basic flashcard apps, or more advanced online language-learning courses. My rating; many stars!

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On Star Wars and Boob Physics, or, Star Boobs

Time for another video game question answered! This time;

What is your ‘guilty pleasure’ game?

Hmm. Yes. Well, this is going to go one of two ways; either it’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2 or it’s one of the (frankly, many) games which let me make/select sexy ladies of choice to ogle. You know you do it too, that’s why they still make games that make it possible. I’ll represent this entire class of games with, let’s say, one of the SoulCalibur games.

I’ll put forward my case for both, weigh up the pros and cons, and choose Star Wars. Kidding! Probably!

Yeah! Blasters and hangars and clone troopers... Phew.

Ok, so Battlefront 2.  It’s really a brilliant game!  I think it even gets good ratings from most reviewers, but at the end of the day, it’s a Star Wars based shooter made in a time when Star Wars was arguably pretty unpopular, what with the trend of hating on Episodes I-III.  For that reason, either a lot of people never played it or just kind of picked it up, had a go, and forgot about it.

Not me.  Oh noes!  I bloody love this game, and I’ve played it well into owning an Xbox360.  I don’t play it online (although technically you still can – when you go to play on ‘Live’, you get taken to that great old classic Xbox live screen, all dark and neon greens etc.  But it still manages to connect!), I just nerd out single player style :)

The play’s along the lines of many other games; third-person shooter where you play one of many in a group, just a soldier in the army, ready to take the place of yet another when you inevitably die.  You’re not anyone special, you’re not the Chief, just a clone trooper/droid of some sort.  Well, you are someone special, since once you get a bit good at it, you happen to be a bit of a god on the battlefield compared to the computer-controlled losers, but technically you’re not.  Unless you take control of a Jedi.  Then you’re kinda supposed to be all up in those droids.

If you play as Boba, you're pretty much expected to awesome too hard for the game to handle. Red ring of death.

There’s also a really great mode (the one I spend most of my time playing when I’m on this game) called galactic conquest.  It’s a pretty basic strategy game in which you take control from either side (Republic/CIS) and try to conquer the galaxy.  You choose enemy-controlled planets to attack, choose a bonus for the fight (things like faster health regeneration for your troops, a Jedi commander etc.) which you have to buy using credits from past battles, and you get given a battle to play though on the map corresponding to whichever planet you chose.  Simple, but really really addictive…

Basically, I can’t get enough of it because it’s;

  1. Fundamentally a pretty entertaining game
  2. Set in the Star Wars universe
  3. (and all subsequent list entries from now on will of course essentially be sub-entries of number 2…) The main campaign follows the 501st legion of clone troopers and is narrated by one of them in that class voice they all have.
  4. At points there are clone troopers with miniguns.  Which actually seem to fire something pretty bloody close to real bullets, which is odd for Star Wars but whatever…

So that’s Star Wars.  Now the case for SoulCalibur;

THAT’S THE ACTUAL POSTER FOR SOULCALIBUR V!!!  I mean, congratulations Namco on the targeted advertising.  It’s already pretty common knowledge, but if you didn’t know, these games actually have an entirely separate physics engine for boobs.  Yep.

Ok, so really I think it’s pretty clear that my guilty pleasure game is Star Wars: Battlefront II, and that this whole one-or-t’other setup was a cheap vehicle to put that poster in a blog post.

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Borderlands 2! Buy Borderlands 2! All the Time! Buy It!

Hey guys, another game trailer based minipost here (I don’t know about you, but I reckon the gaming industry has really stepped up their output on great trailers recently…)!  This time, it’s Borderlands 2, which absolutely has to be one of my most anticipated games of 2012; I absolutely LOVED the first game, and this one’s shaping up to be just as great :D

So, two trailers for ya; first of all the beast that is the new ‘Doomsday’ trailer – dubstep soundtrack, hilarious captioning and good old Borderlands style – enjoy!

I mean, come on! That’s an insane trailer! Love it, and especially the new characters – they all look great. 2:23 to see Claptrap absolutely tearing it UP.

Second up is a serious (read: not) documentary looking at the making-of process for the game.  Just to keep it down to Earth, CL4P-TP’s back again in presenter mode.

HAIOOH!  Two great trailers, and a testament to what a modern media-savvy games company can accomplish.  It’s imaginative and entertaining stuff, and that bodes well for their products ^^.

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