• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

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The Fall (The Strain Trilogy, #2)The Fall by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit I struggled a bit with this book. I stopped reading it halfway through and got distracted by some Lovecraft (an easy thing to get distracted by), and I only picked it up again due to boredom (and it didn't compare particularly well to the Lovecraft I had been reading either).

The problem is that the story just isn't that interesting, the writing style isn't particularly dynamic and some of the dialogue is extremely hokey. After the interesting twist on the vampire mythology unleashed in the first book this one didn't seem to go anywhere, and took a long time to do it.

The book did pick up towards the end, and it was great that by the end of the book things had changed so drastically for all the characters and the world they inhabit. It's the promise of a changed world that has me reading the third book in the series now. If the big changes hadn't happened at the end of The Fall I don't think I would have bothered, though the book does seem like a long set up for the final novel as a consequence.

Let's hope that The Night Eternal redeems the series somewhat.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Camelot Unchained BSC Days in Review

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Well, what a week! If you've followed the various reveals in the Camelot Unchained BSC (Bat Shit Crazy) Days you'll know what I mean. I thought the week overall was a great success. We got to know the team at City State Entertainment much better, the presentations were a lot of fun, and we got to see why CU might just be the most innovative MMO for years.

First of all a quick recap on some of the reasons I backed CU during the original Kickstarter. A good deal of the reason was the 15 foundational principles and the 11 promises they made to their backers. If all they were doing was creating a Dark Age of Camelot 2, with the tri-realm PvP and realm pride that game had it would have been enough. Tie it into a voxel-based, minecraft-style building system where players and guilds can build their own homes, taverns, towns and cities, and then fight over them, and then add the unique crafting economy... well I was pretty much sold.


They seemed to be doing a lot of things right, and a lot of the things I've written about before. Player-based economies, sandbox game play, mechanics to drive communities, horizontal progression, and the like.

It also helped that I was a big fan of the lore of Dark Age of Camelot, and the new lore they revealed during the Kickstarter campaign felt even better. I loved the idea of the Veilstorms that might crop up where huge battles and release of magic, changing the world as they raged. I loved the idea of trading settlements instead of auction houses. I loved that they were building an MMO engine from scratch in order to deliver battles containing hundreds of players with no graphics lag and high framerates.

Well, what we saw this week has gotten me both infinitely more excited and also a little worried too. The systems they are putting in place are so innovative and off the wall they they really could change the MMO game space and move things forward. They are also crazy enough that there is plenty of risk involved, but CSE made that plain right from the start of the Kickstarter.

This week was intended as a series of presentations to the game's backers of the detailed game systems that will be used. The systems are subject to changes depending on the discussions in the backer forums and the results of internal and alpha testing.

Here's a brief run-down on the major reveals of the week, along with my thoughts on each.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 32 - Into the Light

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Following the frustrations of the previous session this one proved to be much more relaxing; for me at least. I knew before we started it would likely see the end of the Australian chapter of the campaign, one way or the other at least. The only question was which of the investigators would survive.

We began with the investigators still recovering from the shock of their encounter with the flying polyp. Rodrigo staggered back to his feet, dirt still clinging to his chewing lips, his eyes wide and wild.


Kakakatak was eager to move away from the gaping trapdoor in case more polyps arrived, and so the group moved on through the darkness of the city. They travelled through the dusty underworld for hours, passing huge ancient buildings whose extent was only dimly hinted at by the light of their torches. They rested several times. Eventually Kakakatak stopped. "WE ARE HERE".
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Push the Button - Brothers A Tale of Two Sons

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The second game I purchased during the recent Steam Summer Sale, after Jazzpunk, was a very different experience, but on the whole I preferred it to Necrophone's mad cold-war espionage parody. In fact I would say Brothers ATOTS is one of the best games I've played for quite some time.


It's a fairy tale adventure in which you control two brothers who are on an journey looking for a mystical cure for their ill father, and it has quite a few tricks up it's sleeve. First of all it is utterly charming. The environments are imaginative and stunningly beautiful, the characters are well drawn and animated, and the game is full of little touches that both draw you in and deepen the world. I took a lot of screenshots during my play-through; always a sign that a game is good to look at.
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Go Bat Shit Crazy for Camelot Unchained!

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The only future MMO I'm looking forwards to right now is Camelot Unchained. I backed the project on Kickstarter, and have been following the development of the game in the Founders Forums since it successfully funded just over a year ago. It's mix of pure PvP tri-realm combat, housing, and crafting systems sounds really interesting, and the honesty and openness of the dev team so far has been nothing short of superb. I've detailed my thoughts on why I find CU such an exciting prospect before.


Now, finally, the team are ready to show what they have been working on to those of us who are not lucky enough to be in internal testing, and they are going to do so in a rather special way. Next week is the official Camelot Unchained BSC week. It's called BSC week because they are going to reveal all of the Bat Shit Crazy systems that they are putting into the game in a way that hasn't been done before.

For the whole week the team will be live-streaming a variety of content, including competitions, live gameplay demos, presentations on game systems, Q&A sessions and surprises. There are bound to be some interesting reveals (this is a game that really is trying to do things in a new way with lots of its systems). I've never know a development team to do a whole week of content reveals like this before.

So far City State Entertainment has been true to their 15 foundational principles and their 11 promises to their backers. I can't wait to see everything they have planned for the BSC week, but from the programme below it looks like every single day is going to be packed with something worth watching.

If you're interested in the game have a look at the programme and tune in to their twitch.tv channel to find out more next week.

All times are EDT. Click to view large version.