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I am working to design some game assets for fantasy gaming in Blender with my goal being a modest 100 individual items.

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Destiny Beta is the Biggest Beta in This Console Generation

The Destiny Beta that ran from July 17th to July 27th attracted 4,638,937 unique users into the world of Destiny. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, said “This is the biggest beta of this console generation by a wide margin and the largest console beta ever for a new video game IP to date.”

Hirshberg went on to say “Hosting a beta at this scale is an incredible feat, so we’re thrilled to see the phenomenal response. But the beta is just a taste of what’s to come. We’re counting down the days to our launch day, September 9th.”

The massive beta test allowed the game developers and programmers to gather vital information that will aid in the betterment of the finished game, and yet the scope of the beta was far more than Bungie had anticipated. Pete Parsons, COO of Bungie, said of the beta test, “We were totally blown away by the number of people who played the beta. We surpassed even our own goals and the feedback was invaluable. We cannot thank the community enough, the response was humbling and in the weeks ahead we’ll be working hard to ensure that Destiny lives up to the expectations at launch.”

 

 

Destiny Beta – game review

Bungie gave us all a sneak peek at Destiny in a  open beta that gave players a glimpse into the world of Destiny, and for a brief time the Moon as well.

There were a few errors of being booted and having to reconnect, but the game was being prodded at while we played it and the Bungie Twitter feed expressed their gratitude as things came to an end…

Destiny-guardian-hunter So, what did I learn from my time in the world of Destiny? The Hunter class is most definitely my kind of character class.

A big hand canon, a sniper rifle and a big knife, all in one? Yes please! Sign me up! The hunter can even get a shoulder cape and hood. What’s not to love for an avid thief and assassin player like me?

Then we have the Titans, the soldier and mercenary types with the big guns and a charge in and take everyone out attitude. I got to see this class as well, since it is the one my regular co-op partner enjoys, and I have to say, I am impressed. In the Beta my hunter got a second weapon a bit into the area. A sniper rifle. I was so happy. For my co-op partner on the Titan, he got a shotgun, his weapon of choice in all situations where close up major damage is highly desirable.

The Titan also got a really powerful punch in melee, where my close quarters move with the Hunter was a fast jab of her hunting knife.

I did not get a chance to check out the Warlock, but if the Hunter and Titan are any thing to go by then the Warlock should be a great character for anyone that likes to do battle with magic-style attacks and powers.

The world seemed to flow nicely, with no discernible lags on my end using a PlayStation 3. There were times when I was booted, but I attribute those to the programmers playing around while I was. I also noticed a small change in the AI of the Fallen when trying to get through to the ship. As the Hunter I was noticing rather good responses. They searched for me at times and would back off to regroup when they found me and I killed one. They also responded to were I shot my rifle from, cautious enough of that area I was able to sneak around to snipe another from a different location. Not always, but it could be done. Sometimes they seemed to be wise to the danger of only watching where the shot came from though.

Unfortunately, that intelligence dropped to near zero when I watched my co-op partner do a solo run through that area. The AI did not seem to know what to do about a maniac that charges in guns blazing. At one point they just stood there while he popped them off with the assault rifle one at a time. We attributed that loss of IQ on the part of the AI to the programmers doing brain surgery though and had a good time of it.

Something that was really neat that I only got to see my co-op partner play with was the bike. In the open space, before getting to the ship and back to the city, my co-op partner summoned up a small speeder bike. I can’t wait to play with that in the fall.

So, disappointments? A few. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of full customization capability on the character creation. I play a male half the time and there was no strong high jawline human males that did not end up looking more Native American than Caucasian. I would have liked to be able to at least change the eye shapes on them. Which leads me to disappointment number two. I have this liking for characters that have black hair and purple eyes. No purple eye color, but at least there was grey, my second choice in eye color.

The other issues, which were more serious in my humble opinion, were the lack of “Are you sure?” prompts in a couple of places. I and my co-op partner both accidentally skipped half of the intro video when we bumped the O button. It would have been nice to be asked “Are you sure you want to skip?” The second was in character creation. I tried to move to facial markings and moved too low on accident, hitting FINISH on an unfinished character. No “Are you sure?” prompt meant I had to delete that character and start over.

A couple of places I want to comment on that are not really much to do with a review of the game are the shotgun. You fire the shotgun and you see a dozen or so little 17′s float up. Each pellet hits and damages. Very kewl and something that made us love watching them get hit by it.

The other point was when I logged in with my character there was a rush of guys coming up to me and dancing or sitting beside me or generally following me like lost puppies. It took a few, but I finally realized I was the only female character in the area. It was not so bad, until one of the ones that decided they wanted to follow me decided they also had to keep all the other guys away from me. That was the point I decided to just call it a night and logged off, which means I unfortunately did not get to redeploy back to the level 2 area or get to see the Moon, and I missed the closing party dance-off. Pity, I would have liked that. Next beta, I need to remember to use my male character and not a female one, but… that would not have worked here. The PlayStation user name is displayed rather than a character name.

I would like a customizable name over the head, so players online don’t see ShadesDaughter over top of my male characters. ::facepalm::Overall, I had a lot of fun and can not wait to get back into the world of Destiny in September.

Square Enix CTO Yoshihisa Hashimoto leaves company

Yoshihisa Hashimoto, Square Enix’s Chief Technology Officer, has left the company for what is so far only identified as personal reasons.

Hsahimoto worked as the technical director for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and manages the company’s Advanced Technology Division. One of his latest works was to head development of the new Luminous engine.

Part of the company since 2009, Hashimoto will continue to serve as technical adviser to Square Enix on both Final Fantasy XIV and Luminous.

Hashimoto’s replacement has not yet been determined, but reports indicate there are already well qualified persons taking on the positions until an official replacement can be hired.

Remi Driancourt will reportedly manage the Luminous team during the transition. Driancourt is a senior engineer who has worked on Agni’s Philosophy, Final Fantasy 14 and the upcoming Final Fantasy 15.

Final Fantasy XIV’s lead programmer Hideyuki Kasuga will temporarily take on the role of technical director for Final Fantasy XIV.

Destiny Beta

I know I am a bit behind on getting the Destiny Beta, but I have been busy and distracted.

The good news is that when I logged in on the PlayStation this morning I had to step away to get my coffee and because of that delay I noticed the Destiny Beta is there. And before my coffee even! I admit, I’m not sure how long it has been there, the whole snake in the grass sort of thing, but I have been logging into Final Fantasy XIV pretty quick after turning the system on lately.

Excuses aside, when I saw the beta I hopped on it and started the download. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this game, so I am excited to get a peek at it.

So, what is Destiny? In Destiny the players are Guardians of the last city on Earth. The solar system is a different place, with players taking on the roles of hunters, titans or warlocks and traveling not only from the Earth to the Moon, but also from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. With four different enemies to battle and a variety of story modes, Destiny is designed to immerse players in a universe filled with cooperative, competitive, public, and social activities, that all promise to be seamlessly connected. It should be awesome if it lives up to the things I have heard about it.

The full game is scheduled for release on September 9, 2014 and this beta is going to provide a sneak peek at the world of Destiny and what we will be able to expect in the full version when it releases.

Destiny-guardian-hunterDestiny Beta

Players: 1
Networked: 2-14

Rating: T
Animated blood
Violence
Online not rated

Final Fantasy XIV: Hotkey to summon mounts and minions

After finally getting my drake from the Amalj’aa, the first thing I did was create a hotkey for it. I use a PS3 to play the game, so your setup may be different, but here is what I did.

START > System > User Macros

Select an empty Macro space and create a new macro. Name it whatever you want, mine is named Smaug, the name I have given to my little drake. You can also assign it a icon from a selection of icons. There are not a lot of them, I picked the sword in a gold border.

Now, the code for the macro is…

/say Let’s go Smaug!
/mount “Cavalry Drake”

Pretty simple, huh? You can put anything you want in the say line. Then hit square on the controller and assign your new macro to the hotbar and when you hit it rather than the standard drake mount hotkey your character will say “Let’s go Smaug!” and blow the summoning horn for the drake.

I placed both the standard button and my created one side by side on one of my hotkey sets so I can tap either one. “Let’s go Smaug!” is annoying if used all of the time, and it does not fit if I use the hotkey instead of L3 for dismount.

You can do the same for minion summons. My arcanist summons the Emerald Carbuncle using the following macro sequence:

/ac “Summon” <me>
/wait 7
/say Go Kirara!

The /wait 7 causes the /say command to delay until right when the Emerald Carbuncle appears.

Final Fantasy XIV: Beast Tribe Quests: Getting from Friendly to Trusted

I have been working at the Amalj’aa Beast Tribe quests for some time now, since they came out in fact. I had to take a long break from the game and recently got back to playing it, and back to doing the Amalj’aa quests. Yesterday I finished the quests and everything looked good, the tribe  talked like I was all finished, however, I was still on “friendly” status and could not figure out how to change that.

Today I went back and talked to the guys with the quests and did 6 more quests for them. When I turned those in it told me that I already ad maximum approval with the Amalj’aa. I was a bit at a loss for what to do and so I looked online and found I was not the only one that got a bit lost in the sudden drop at he end of the Amalj’aa story.

It turns out that after you finish the quests and have hit rank 3 with 510 points into that level (effectively hitting rank 4), with the Amalj’aa, you need to go back to UlDah and talk to the guy there at the Immortal Flames who originally gave you the quest. It had been so many months since I started that quest I had completely forgotten how I had originally got it. I now have my little drake and am so very happy.

When you do unlock the drake you will need to purchase him from the Amalj’aa vendor for 120,000 gill. I suggest also buying the Amalj’aa Supply Carriage for an additional 26,136 gil to give your new mount somewhere to sleep other than the chocobo stables. Fire breathing drakes do not do all that well around dry straw you know. I got a supply wagon and put it alongside the chocobo stables at our guildhall so the chocobos and drakes each have their own places.

How to Fix Netflix Play Issues on the PS3

Netflix has had some trouble since their last patch when it comes to playing videos on eh PS3 system. The trouble is when you try o play a video on the PS3 there is an issue where the controller stops responding. When that happens the video can no longer be paused, rewound or stopped. In fact, you are completely locked out on the controller aside from the PS button, which you can press for a few moments to bring up a system sub menu that allows you to do a few things, including exit the program.

When the controller stops responding it also causes three more things to happen. First: The video plays to he end and a black screen appears, forcing you to cold-kill the Netflix program using the PS button. Second: The video will not auto-cue the next episode of a series, forcing you to cold-stop the program and restart it to watch the next episode in a series. And Third: The video stops where the controller stopped responding, so if you have to stop the program thirty minutes after the controller stopped responding, then you will have to fast forward to the point you left off (and hope your controller does not stop responding while you do that, or you have to cold-stop the program and everything all over again.) It is very frustrating. Especially if you are like me, and need to pause the video to deal with real life things while watching stuff.

Reports online indicated that tech support for Sony knows about the issue and is working to fix it, however, if you can’t wait for an official fix, there is a way to fix the issue yourself, at least until someone sorts out the bug and releases a stable patch for it.

First you will need to delete the updated copy of Netflix on your system, That will be version 2.17.

Next, go to the Netflix icon under “TV/Video Services.” and hit “options” and delete. the program.

Now, go to Netflix icon under “Game >> Game Data Utility” and again select the options and delete the program’s data.

Look in “TV/Video Services” for the Netflix icon and install Netflix and then enter your login data. You will be prompted to upgrade, go ahead and let it start the upgrade by selecting “OK.”

When the next screen comes up, hit the “back” button on your controller to cancel the upgrade and start the older version of Netflix. You should now have error-free viewing on the PS3.

At least until you restart the program, then you will probably have to tell it to update and then cancel the update once again. Annoying, but nowhere near as annoying as the way things are now for PS3 users.

Big thanks to people like Crusius for discovering this easy work-around for PS3 Netflix issues.

Final Fantasy XIV free to play weekend July 18-21

Don’t get too excited, because you have to have had bought and played the game in the past to participate in this free to play weekend event.

If, however, you have previously played Final Fantasy XIV and have been thinking about seeing what it is like now, then this is your chance to check out all that is going on in the game.

From July 18th through July 21st, anyone that has played the game in the past and let their subscription lapse is welcome to come back and see what has changed in Eorzea.

And if you find yourself on Goblin server, look for Kalianna Wyvernrider and say hi to me. :)

PS3 controller stops working on Netflix

A gaming friend of mine expressed an issue where their PS3 controller would not work sometimes when he watched Netflix. It seemed odd, but I assumed it was just his controller was going bad. Until last night, when I tried to watch Netflix for the first time in at least a week or more.

Everything worked fine, until I settled in to watch The Walking Dead for a little while. Around 30 minutes into the episode I wanted to pause it, but my controller would not work. Well, it worked, I could power it up from standby and the PS button brought up the system menu, but none of the buttons had any affect on Netflix. I contacted my buddy who confirmed that was the same issue they had been having with their system and told me the only thing to do was use the PS button to quit Netflix and restart it. So, I did.

I quit Netflix and restarted it, found the episode I had been watching and the restart point for the episode was only a few minutes into the program. I started to fast-forward through to get back to where I had been in the episode and Netflix froze up and the buttons stopped working.

I went through the reset process again and got the episode working, but once again the controller stopped responding after a few minutes and I was forced to exit Netflix using the PS button. I do not know what the problem was, but it was not low batteries or controller connection issues.

Electronic Arts is Making a Shift

logo_EAlogoINTERIMrgbEA has had some pretty rough times when it comes to consumer satisfaction, in fact, times have been so rough for the past few years that in 2013 EA was the first company to ever win the Consumerist’s Worst Company In America title two years in a row.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, says that the company now has a plan to turn their image and company around and make a shift in the way that EA does things. Wilson gave Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo the inside story on just what EA plans to do in their effort to change the way EA designs games that goes into detail on the new plan to make their games play good early in he process, test them more thoroughly, delay game launches when it needs to be delayed and let the consumer know about the games sooner.

Yes, that’s right, they plan to let people know more about the games sooner. Battlefield: Hardline is one good example of their move forward. The PC BETA test for Battlefield: Hardline went live after this year’s E3 announcement and there are plans for more BETA tests later in the year, including a beta for PS3 users. Another example of their new, more communicative, structure is seen in cosplay events at conventions. A recent episode of Heros of Cosplay featured the unveiling of one of the new companions for Dragon Age: Inquisition and in a post on the Bioware Blog, the company announced the release of Dragon Age Character Kits to be released for use by everyone from cosplayers to cake decorators.

In reference to the new, more open, policy, Wilson told Kotaku, “The world is changing. This Hollywood blockbuster mentality of ‘keep all of the information to yourself’ is not something that makes sense in today’s world. … we can’t keep a secret anyway so we may as well just start talking about it.”

Will the new policy of being more open about their upcoming games and promises to work harder and longer on them make a difference in how the company is viewed by the consumer? It’s hard to say, but hopefully, along with all their other plans, EA has a plan to provide consumers with a full experience up-front, since a lot of the issues of the past have stemmed not from the ability to see what they were doing, but from games that were released incomplete and a feeling by some consumers that the company was trying to get them to spend a lot on a game and more on added content.

Wilson commented on this to Kotaku: “For me to sit here and say we will not have issues again would be disingenuous. It’s not possible. The only way you get to a point where you can almost guarantee no issues is if you’re not pushing the boundaries, if you’re not innovating.”