FROM THE EDITOR: Phantascene.com is being refocused to bring visitors the news and information they want on games, gaming and 3D design.

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Final Fantasy XIV Moonfire Faire is back

From August 11 thru September 7th the Moonfire Faire will be held on the beaches of the Costa Del Sol resort in La Noscea.

Adventurer’s should start out in Limsa Lominsa on the Aftcastle at X11,Y13 to begin the quest, which is available to anyone over level 30.

There are some great swimwear sets back from past Moonfire Faire events, as well as a new outfit that for the ladies not only makes a wonderful swimsuit, but paired with a skirt is a nice basic dress look.

Bonus that the new outfits are dyable, so getting a few to make different looks is worth the effort. Also look for the new windchime from the event vendor. Placed inside the house it makes a nice light bell sound with a animated clanger catching in the breeze.

I put three on a pillar in my FC house to create a lovely tiered chime effect with sweet chimes sounding in the main room area.

 

PS4 Destiny Pre-order

As part of my re-directed focus to this site and my readers, I decided it is time to catch up with the rest of the gaming community via the purchase of a PS4.

I was in GameStop today, picking something up for someone else, and decided to make the leap. I had credit at the store from a canceled game pre-order, so I placed that credit on  a down payment on the PlayStation 4 Limited Edition Destiny Bundle, which I will pick it up on the 19th of September when it releases.

I played Destiny when it came out in Beta and loved it. I even per-ordered the game, but the pre-order was accidentally canceled. Since I have been playing Final Fantasy XIV I was not too concerned about getting Destiny, but it seemed like a great chance to both get the PS4 I have been needing and Destiny as a package deal, so I decided to make the leap into the new game system I need to keep up with the world I write about.

I would have preferred to upgrade my computer, but I could not do both and the console was at a position I could pre-order and make payments on it, making it the better purchase for now. Hopefully I can replace my computer as well before it crashes completely.

What makes a good sidekick?

There are some characters that just stick with you, not only through the game as a loyal companion as you play it, but in your thoughts long after you have finished the game.

What makes a character so memorable, though and how can you achieve this in your own creations?

There are more than a few NPCs that have hit the right spot for players. Search online for “Best Video Game Sidekick” and odds are you may not see the same characters named on more than a few of the results. Why not? It is because, like beauty, “best sidekick” is something that is in the eye of the beholder. There are, however, some traits we can filter down to find what makes a memorable sidekick. Traits you can focus on when you create your own game sidekicks.

Responsive to the Influence of the Player Character

In the Mass Effect series we met a taurian named Garrus Vakarian. Garrus seems like any other AI at first, however, fans of the game have praised him for being one of the most influenced NPCs in Mass Effect, allowing the player to shape the way Garrus responds more than any of the other characters in the game.

In fact, it is hard to think of the Mass Effect series without thinking of Commander Shepard’s right hand turian, making it seem odd that it is actually possible, in the original Mass Effect game, to fail to recruit Garrus to Sheppard’s crew.

There are a lot of other NPCs in Mass Effect, but few seem to be as well liked as Garrus. It might be because players like to have some kind of influence over the NPCs in a game. It makes the player feel more connected to them if the things that happen are reflected by the NPCs.

Shared Humor

Giving the player and the NPC some kind of amusing connection is a good way to make the player like the NPC. Shared humor is always a bond former, particularly in a life and death situation. Find some way the two can interact with an inside joke and you will have a strong connector for your player – at least if the joke is still amusing the twentieth time the AI brings it up.

Supports Hero, But Does Not Do Hero’s Job

A good sidekick will offer support, resources, and gear the hero cannot get on their own, but does not actually do the hero’s job for them.

Metal Gear gave us a great sidekick for this in Hal “Otacon” Emmerich, Snake’s longtime friend. We first met Otacon back in 2005 when he was being held on Shadow Moses Island by the Sons of Big Boss. Those who played the original game likely best remember Otacon’s plan for how to break Snake out of the holding cell – give him a packet of Ketchup to fake a serious injury and lure the guard in.

Otacon provided everything a spy would need in on-site support, including the shared humor mentioned above when they return to Moses Island in Sons of the Patriots and Otacon tells Snake that he must switch disks to continue.

This was the same location that you originally had to trade out the disks in Metal Gear Solid back in 2005.

Has Purpose

This might seem obvious, but one vital thing a likable NPC needs is to have a purpose to be in the game. We might think that an NPC would not be there if they did not have a purpose, programming resources are limited after all, but an NPC that has more purpose is more likely to be liked than one that is there just because the game demands their presence.

Your NPC might need to convey information to the hero, but is there anything of their own that they want from life? Going back to the Mass Effect series the crew of the Normandy have all kinds of issues that are important to them, but that Commander Shepard and the rest of the universe could easily ignore as not being important to the primary goal of stopping the Reapers. Each of these non-essential side missions provides a closer bond to the NPC, making them all well worth doing, but they are also non-vital. You can beat the game without finishing them.

Dues Ex Machina Stunt Double

Nobody likes having a god from the machine drop down to save the day, but we tend to sit up and cheer when we see a loyal companion get his fifteen minutes of fame in doing something truly heroic that saves the day and the hero. Your hero should be able to get out of everything you throw at them, but in those rare cases where it is vital he does not, your sidekick can step in to offer up that packet of ketchup that can be used to trick the guard.

These are just some of the things a good sidekick has, but they should be enough to get started in crafting a sidekick that will be useful and memorable. If you have some ideas of your own for what makes a memorable sidekick please share them in the comments.

Have a Safe and Happy 4th

Hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Thief that can’t pick a simple lock? SEMI-SOLVED

I love thieves in games. The poor man in a bad situation who turns to stealing to help himself and others is one of my favorite kinds of thief story. I blame reading Robin Hood as a child for it I suppose.

I was excited, then to see the master thief Garett make a return in Thief. Who does not love a good rogue, and Garett was one of the best.

I pre-ordered the game and played it on Master difficulty through to the last boss battle, then ended up having to set the game aside for a time.

Returning to the game I decided I would do a fast refresher course on normal mode before I dove back into my master save. Everything went beautifully. I stole everything in the first room and snuck out leaving the guy scratching his backside completely unaware he had not a valuable left in his room. Out, across the street, into the bird attic. Everything was going Garett’s way. Oh.. painting… a bit of investigation and a tap of the R2 button on my Power A controler and the painting lifted up without a sound. I’m sure Garett’s smile was much like my own as he slipped the lock picks into the safe lock.

Nothing.

I found the sweet spot on the first pin and tapped R2 again. Again, nothing.

After trying and trying and getting upset because my controller was broken I tore the controller apart to try to fix it. No luck. I had played the game thru in 40+ hours of game time, on MASTER difficulty. I knew how to pick locks, but… nothing. Not even with a new Afterglow controller.

I tried to change which button set the pin, but could not do that.

Mystified I gave up, bought another new Power A pro controller and went back to Final Fantasy XIV. Total controller count trying to pick that lock on Thief: 1 wireless Power A pro controller, 2 wired Power A Pro controllers, 3 Afterglow controllers, and 2 standard PS3 factory issued controllers.

I don’t think it was a controller malfunction.

I forgot about the issue until I tried to play Thief a few minutes ago and once again was stopped cold by a lock that would not open.

I’ve gone over everything again with the exception of I have not broken open any controllers this time. Still no luck. It looks like this is a rather common issue for PS3 users, however, so I will keep trying to find a fix. Hopefully the one that says kill all old saves is not the only fix. >.< I do not want to lose well over 40 hours of gameplay on Master difficulty with with all sidequests done and many of the chapters cleared with no alerts or kills.

Not that it was not fun getting there, I just would prefer not to start over from scratch while also trying to play Heavensward.

I suspect the issue may be with the downloaded version I had for a time corrupting my save data – but am not sure about this. I just know the disk verson worked for me, I picked up the free copy off the PS store when it was a Plus member special, and now it does not work even with the downloaded version removed and me using the disk.

I’ll keep trying and will let you all know if I find a fix for this. This is too great of a game to not be able to play it anymore.

SOLVED, BUT  NOT FIXED

I can not call this a fix, since it forces me to use the original Playstation  controller, but at least I got the thing to work. You have to start the game from scratch using the original controller that came with your system (don’t have one… not sure what to say.)

Once the game is started, and you have began picking up things in the first room where the guy is asleep, then plug in your after market controller and reassign it to port 1.

You should now be able to open the lock using the aftermarket controller.

The pain is – I do not know if this will allow you to still pick locks when you restart the game later on. You may be able to do the same controller swap for save points – I do not know yet.

 

Good point, you can get past the first safe lock and enjoy this great game.

Bad point, this is not actually a fix for those of us that hate the too-small standard layout controllers that come with the systems.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Today is the day. Heavensward is here and Playstation systems and computers from all over are busily burning up the internet in downloading the first major expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.

Early access starts on June 19th for those who pre-ordered the game, so the servers have been down since late last night while everything is updated and patched and made ready for both the new and returning players.

A few things that bear keeping in mind amidst the rush:

  • FAMILY GAME NIGHT Triple Triad can now be played in private rooms and free company houses with the addition of a special gaming table to the areas.
  • I CAN FLY! While you will need to unlock the ability via a quest and unlock flying areas via more quests, it looks like it is true that certain mounts will now be able to fly. Make sure you change the setting in your control panel – default will be tap jump to fly, you can set it to be double tapping jump makes your mount fly.
  • 30 MIN IDLE BOOT If you are idle for 30 minute the game will boot you out, this is to reduce the server strain during this high congestion launch period. They will remove this restriction once again when things have settled back down.

I will be looking closer at all that Heavensward has to offer in future posts as well as providing tips for playing – particularly for PS3 users – as a way to get myself back to regular postings on this site.

No more 3D: Computer can not run Blender

I think my computer is just getting too old to handle Blender anymore. I try to work in it, but my system can not keep up and I end up spending half an hour just trying to get the model to rotate.

Hopefully I will be able to update my computer for Christmas this year, but I am not going to hold my breath on that. I’ve had that same hope for 4 years now and am still running on the old Wal Mart store display discount computer I picked up after my mom passed away in 2008.

So, I am going to focus on game discussion and gaming for a while and give up on 3D content made by me. I will, however, hunt down some good stuff around the internet for those who can work on 3D stuff and share what I find.

My Birthday Today

Happy birthday to me!

I wish I could say I got a new computer, but, alas, I am still working on the old desktop I bought in 2008. I’m also still homeless and the place I am staying is being threatened by wildfires.

I did get a bit of a birthday gift, however, and managed to save enough money back that I could pre-order Heavensward for Final Fantasy XIV. That is my gift to myself to help me stay sane in a world that is rather still beyond my control at the moment.

Low Poly Painting with Frame

paintingOver at ShareCG I found an awesome painting with frame made by Bryce78.

Painting with frame by Bryce78

3D Sword Model – basic concept draft

swordI’m working on the fantasy props I wanted to create to share and the first one I am making is a fantasy staple – a sword. So far I have not done much more than get a basic idea on the general shape I want the sword to be. Here is the test render of the smoothed sword as it is now.

I’ve started getting the marks in place for the UV unwrap, but since I am not sure this will be the final design they are likely to be moved around a bunch.

I am thinking i might make the cross-guard a bit fancier and make the pommel a gemstone, we’ll see as I have more time to work on it how it evolves. I also think I might make the blade bigger, it is a bit small looking right now.