Star Wars Battlefront II

November 14th, 2005 by Rory

I read some previews and reviews for Star Wars Battlefront II and it sounded really cool. I hadn’t played the original (which I hear is basically the same game) but I had wanted to try it. I hadn’t gotten much use out of my Xbox Live account with Halo 2 but I can see that SWBF2 will fix that problem. The game is a ton of fun to play. I don’t think I’ve played another Star Wars game before that has captured so much of the action of the movies. Today I manned an AT-AT and picked off rebels running around the snow on Hoth. Yesterday, while I was still learning the controls, I flew an X-Wing around the hangar bay of a Star Destroyer and took out several TIE pilots and stormtroopers. This happened because I hadn’t yet figured out how to land. The different classes and characters really make the game interesting. This evening when I was playing “Conquest” on Hoth, a message at the bottom of the screen asked “Would you like to play as Darth Vader?” Um… YES! After a few large force jumps across the icy terrain, I (as Darth Vader) slaughtered some rebels and took out a couple of turrets. A lot of reviews said playing as the heroes isn’t very exciting. I disagree. I don’t think they are overpowered but they are strong enough to make the gameplay interesting.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

October 26th, 2005 by Rory

Remote Control Device ‘Controls’ Humans

This device reminds me of the “Happy Helmet” episode of Ren & Stimpy where Ren is forced to wear this helmet that will make him happy (the show ends with the famous Happy Happy, Joy Joy song). The technology seems to still be early in development, but the future applications of a device like this are mind-boggling (literally). Imagine prisons where the inmates are forced to follow pre-defined paths from place to place. Imagine an army of soldiers controlled like units in an RTS like StarCraft. Imagine factory workers pre-programmed to operate as efficiently as possible in order to ensure consitent and safe operation. The next step is for an advanced computer AI to take over this technology and enslave the entire human race. We’ll all be dancing the charleston off cliffs in a matter of years, I just know it. Sure, it might enhance video games and virtual reality, but what if the games start playing us? Anybody remember when Freddy used the Power Glove on that rich kid in Freddy’s Dead? Yeah. Not cool.

Serenity and Thoughts

October 24th, 2005 by Rory

I went and saw Serenity again this weekend. It’s hard for me to believe how great that movie is. I was surprised to see quite a crowd at the theater considering the movie has been there for about three weeks now. Any fans of the series/movie should check out The Signal. It’s a neat podcast about Firefly and Serenity. Last week they interviewed Tracy Hickman and this week is their first podcast with spoilers. It should be good.

I’ve been thinking recently about how Michael Uslan (executive producer of Batman Begins) spoke about surrounding oneself with supportive people. I think that’s important, but it’s not like everybody has to be supportive. I think it would be easier to simply un-surround oneself with people who are unsupportive.


October 20th, 2005 by Rory

I watched Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” last night. Great movie, though I missed some of the beginning because I had to have my tongue ripped out of my throat after the grand mal seizure I had during the opening sequence. Seriously, if you thought Pokémon was going to give you problems, watch the opening credits to Salvador. It’s like a strobe light with taiko drums over and over and it lasts for at least five minutes, or at least that’s how much time had elapsed after I picked myself up off the floor. I think Stone was trying to say something with this sequence… something like, “WATCH MY MOVIE OR YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!!” I’m just guessing that was the idea.

When James Belushi came on the screen I intially thought, “Oh great, there went this movie,” but he was actually pretty decent in his role. It’s a shame that the rest of his career hasn’t been as cool. James Woods was awesome and played his usual dickhead role perfectly.

Easily one of the most graphic movies I’ve ever seen. Don’t eat before, during, or after seeing this. Hell, fast for the whole day because you’re going to throw up at least once within the first 15 minutes either from the inevitable seizure or from the rotting, bloated corpses.

Things I Have Learned from Sci-Fi/Horror Videogames

October 20th, 2005 by Rory

I’ve seen a lot of these types of lists recently, so I decided to write my own based on my own experiences.

1. Opening portals into the unknown is a very, very bad idea. If I’m standing around some lab and a scientist proposes this idea, I’m heading for the next ship off planet. This has been the premise of many games over the years and is getting quite old. Why does the portal always have to contain demons? What is it that draws these demons into going through portals? Oh yeah, I forgot, dumbass scientists. What if the portal opened and the Care Bears emerged? The “pandora’s box” theme definitely provides a catalyst for the story, but why not make a prequel that involves stopping these retarded scientists from making the portal in the first place? As you can see, I have a lot of questions. Questions that need answering.

2. Laser guns are the future. Every sci-fi game has to have a laser gun. Sure, they are sometimes renamed the “pulse rifle” or “energy gun,” but it’s all the same crap. In the late 90s it was an excuse to use colored lighting. Now I’m not sure what it is, but lasers seem kind of lame compared to, say, a portable grapeshot catapult mounted on the gunman’s shoulders. Now that is a weapon I have not seen.

3. Training super-soldiers by injecting them with crazy horomones, enhancing their genes, and exposing them to violent media will never work and in the end they will probably turn on you and kill you. It will be a massacre. You might even end up with a zombie infestation so don’t even think about roid-raging one more squad of death marines. I’m just gonna stop because you really don’t wanna go there. Keep ’em clean.

4. Forget about all the hipster wi-fi stuff we have now, ’cause in the future everything will have at least a dozen or so wires protruding from it in all directions. Even non-electrical devices like hammers and frying pans will not escape the wires’ wrath. Fear not, for you will never have to worry about tripping over the 3″ diameter cables that run all over the floor… unless game designers have that in mind for the next generation of games.

5. If you start the game in a deserted town, get ready for zombies. You will luckily find a gun (maybe a laser gun?) and some ammo nearby. I suggest you arm yourself to the teeth and find the richest house in town because the yuppy-ass living there probably knocked some container of zombination fluid off his yuppy-ass desk and is responsible for the whole thing. Never did see a street bum ’cause a zombie revolution and I don’t think I ever will.

6. Dying means you will explode into a pile of unrecognizable goop. It’s not pretty, but it saves on game performance. It’s for the good of nerd-dom, so do your part. Imagine the whole world slowing down just because you wanted your frag-ridden, carcass of polygonal waste to last on screen *just* until the end of the level? Nice try, but it isn’t going to happen. You’ll be gone within the next respawn, ass.

7. Just as we have crates all over the place today, there will be crates all over the place in the future… but they will be FUTURISTIC crates made of metal. Sometimes they are painted. I’d be one to trust these new, metal crates in favor of the balsa wood shit they gave us back in WWII or ‘Nam. When I wasn’t living inside one of those damn things during my time at the VC camp, I found that they offer little or no protection against gunfire. And stones. And aliens.

8. Computers are evil. Plain and simple. If some female voice comes on the intercom and tells you that everything is fine, she’s lying… if computers can do that… but anyway, she’s lying and she totally just turned off the AC on your sorry human ass. She also probably opened up some sort of inter-dimensional portal into the great maw of hell, but that’s besides the point, it’s fucking hot as shit in here. How ya gonna fight aliens/demon/zombies when it’s this hot?

9. As I sorta mentioned before, do not trust scientists. Scientists in sci-fi games are totally evil people and are bent on causing problems, not curing disease or creating edible airline food. Behind those Buick-fender glasses lies an asshole who left the engine running in the bad idea train.

10. Last but not least we have the aliens. I don’t care what game you are playing, aliens are evil. Humans on planet Earth have been conditioned through movies, comic books, novels, and videogames to believe that any and all off-world visitors to our planet are always up to no good. It’s like watching COPS but with the Zergs and the Druuge instead of blacks and hispanics. Every Wal-Mart trained teenager in this country who picked up a copy of Halo 2 and a BB gun in a bit of one-stop, roll-back shopping is going to bust some serious extra-terrestrial ass whenever the aliens decide to land. Let this be a warning to all you aliens who are hovering around our planet and mooching our wi-fi internet. You’re all doomed.

Ludium Map

October 2nd, 2005 by Rory

I forgot to post this here, but I made a map for the CSSW1 conference that took place at IU this weekend.

It was a lot of fun putting the whole thing together. I would have liked to have spent more time on it but I think I say that about everything I do. Just gotta leave it and go on to the next thing I suppose.

GenCon, Days #3 and 4

August 22nd, 2005 by Rory

Ugh, I’m too tired to write all of this stuff. I will summarize.

1. My “championship” level D&D team didn’t bother to show up to the semi-finals. n00bs.
2. I picked up a pen-and-paper RPG called “Polaris” that is more focused on character conflict/resolution and storytelling than it is combat and quantitative character development.
3. I found $30 on the floor. No kidding.
4. I won a Nintendo DS from a raffle at the Nintendo booth.

GenCon, Day #2

August 19th, 2005 by Rory

Started off the day with a grueling 5-hour Dungeons & Dragons open tournament. We barely finished the campaign. We ended up making it to round two, so tomorrow I have to play again at 1pm. At least now I can get some rest.

That is correct, there are official D&D organizations that hold official D&D tournaments. The guys in my party told me that they were championship-level players, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t bluffing. They took the game seriously but they were still some funny dudes.

Immediately after D&D I had to run to life-sized Devil Bunny needs a ham.

After losing horribly in DBNaH I went to the exhibitor hall and met Rich Burlew, the creator of “Order of the Stick.” OOTS is a webcomic about Dungeons & Dragons. It’s really funny, even to ignorant D&D fans like myself. I then went to the Mariott hotel to sit down for a while and saw Mary McDonnell again. I would have said “hi” had it not been for her 300 lbs. bodyguard who vaguely resembled Bam Bam Bigelow. Tonight I go back to play life-sized Kill Dr. Lucky. I can only hope yesterday’s strategy pays off again.

GenCon, Day #1

August 18th, 2005 by Rory

Just got back from my first day of GenCon and boy is my dice-chucking arm tired. Ha. It was a needed break and it is only beginning.

Started out the day meeting up with John H. and Nathan B. We both went to the nerd-filled Steak and Shake down by the Arts Garden and discussed events that we wanted to go to. After that we went to the exhibitor hall and spent the next two or three hours looking at various boardgames, RPGs, and card games.

Our first demo was “Xig,” a puzzle/strategy/card game made by a company located in Tipton, IN. Kind of a combination of jigsaw puzzles and card games. I watched a game being played and it looked kinda confusing. Great artwork.

The second game we played was “The Shadow of Yesterday.” This game is one of the many RPGs published by The Forge, the same people who made the “Kill Puppies For Satan” that I bought last year. As far as RPGs go, most of the stuff pales in comparison to the size (read: merchandising) of anything D&D or d20 related, but they tend to have rules that are very original and well-suited for their settings.

Sometime after finishing this game, I stumbled around a corner and saw Ron Glass from Serenity/Firefly. I also saw Mary McDonnell, Dean Haglund (Langley), Fred Williamson, and Rob Van Dam. It was kinda sad to see that RVD had the biggest line imaginable whereas other people (like Mr. Williamson) had no line at all. I don’t thank anybody knew who Fred Williamson was, to be honest. I had only heard of him because he’s on this B-rated kung fu movie my dad bought be for Christmas two or three years ago.

The next demo was Chrononauts. This was hosted by the actual makers of the game. These guys made Fluxx so I knew the game was going to be a lot of fun. And it was. I ended up buying a copy from one of the game stores later on in the day.

Due to other obligations, John and Nathan had to leave so I was alone for the later part of the day. I visited the Blizzard booth and played StarCraft: Ghost for a little bit. I didn’t get to spend much time with it, but I thought it was decent. I am not a fan of the weapon-selecting system. RPGs work well with menus where you can fiddle with your items/spells and select from various weapons. FPS/stealthy games don’t. I was mauled to death by several zerglings and kindly passed the controller to the salivating gamer behind me. Damn zerg rushes.

At 8:00pm I went to the boardgame HQ and was prepared to play a great Cheapass game called Kill Dr. Lucky. Now, I thought I was going to actually play the real game at a table but this was not the case. I was seated at a computer with what looked like a Kill Dr. Lucky board on the screen in front of me. What was normally an opportunity for nerds to socialize and bicker about who’s going to spend their failure cards became a silent, online-poker style game where each player sat stone-faced and stared at their screen with the intent to fucking annhilate Dr. Lucky and not laugh about it one bit. I suppose this was more fitting to the violent nature of the game. We were all hired killers try to finish off Dr. Lucky with chainsaws, cannons, and pool cues so it seemed only natural that we should be playing the game over far reaches of the internet… five feet from one another. I tried to break up the silence with some messages to the chat box. Sadly, no one responded in the game or in real life. I set myself up so that I was always one step ahead of Dr. Lucky; raiding the deck for cards for at least five turns in a row before offing Lucky with a duck decoy. That showed him. I ended up winning a quarterly membership to and a copy of Battle Cattle. I thought it was pretty funny that I won considering that a player tried to explain the rules to me halfway through the game because he thought that I was unaware of the goal of the game. Funny how my strategy of relentless attempted murders paid off.

Proud with my winnings I headed off to AEG‘s gamer appreciation night for free hot dogs, cotton candy, potato chips, popcorn and soda. Tomorrow starts early — an 8am D&D campaign that will undoubtedly last until early afternoon. So tired, I haven’t slept a wink.

Ares Station Video

June 28th, 2005 by Rory

Click on the image below to view the old “preview” for Ares Station, a project I worked on a couple months ago. We never used the video in the project (there wasn’t really a place for it) but I’m able to post it now and share it with anyone who is interested.

I’ll post more of my work from Ares Station once I get around to organizing it in some sort of easy-to-view fashion.

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