A Stranded Geek

Being a guy with geeky hobbies is hard when living in a rural area filled with horses and tricycles - there are no bookstores, no hobby centers, no comic shops..... not even dvd rental. ARGH!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

GAMES - Hero Online Closed Beta Testing Today

Image from Netgame

Seems like today is the closed beta testing of Hero Online - makers [or is it distributors] of Legend of Ares. The website isn't that interesting yet and its downloads section practically needs a revamp. Probably the site being at "teaser" mode is the reason for the somewhat lackluster promotional website. The oriental comic art style is refreshing though I think I'll be spending a lot of greenbacks [the cash not the snake] getting a copy of Aion instead. I'll probably download the client later after I try some rounds on the extremely breathtaking Half-life Episode 1.

TOYS - Dunny Series 3 by Kidrobot

Image from Kidrobot

I stopped reading for a while to remove the last traces of Deathstalker out of my system [or out of my dreams, book marathons are really bad for my mental health]. Right now, I'm checking the new Kidrobot Series 3 Dunnies. The series will still follow Dunny traditions: blind-boxes for the fanatics, limited runs on some designs and a special redeemable ticket to a special dunny that will probably make us envious on the 200 guys who'll be lucky enough to find [or buy] all the pieces to complete them all.

The price is still the same [even on the Kidrobot's wholesale website] which is affordable depending on which side of the planet you're currently residing. The problem for me though would be the shipping to the Philippines - they can charge me as high as 100USD for just 6 Munny figures, what more for a box of Dunnies. I'll probably buy these at ebay again if I can find a seller willing to try other payment systems besides paypal.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

MOVIES - Transformers the Movie Teaser Poster

Image originally taken from Aint It Cool News

Seems like Transformers the Movie has an official teaser poster and a website already. Judging from the countdown, there should be a teaser trailer coming out next 25 days from now. For those interested on the whole Transformers toys and collectibles, check TFU.info, a site so dedicated with the whole thing that they have photographed almost all the models [Transformers]. For the look on some of the Transformers cars going to be shown on the movie, check this thread from the Neogaf Forum.

Interesting piece from wikipedia:

Producer Don Murphy has stated that he wishes the original voice cast of the animated series to reprise their roles, especially Frank Welker and Peter Cullen as Megatron and Optimus Prime. The logic to this is that a famous name makes no difference to the one half demographic which is children, while retaining the original voice cast would please the fans. New voice talent is all but guaranteed, since several original voice actors such as Scatman Crothers (Jazz's voice actor) and Chris Latta (Starscream's voice actor) are deceased. Jon Voight has recently been confirmed as playing Secretary of State "Keller" alongside the already-cast Shia LaBeouf as "Spike" and Megan Fox as "Mikaela", the love interest.

Murphy came up with the idea for the film and negotiated the rights with Hasbro. He then brought on DeSanto who had worked on X-Men. The two were turned down by every studio, since the heads of those studios were too old to remember the property. Eventually Mike DeLuca at DreamWorks "got the property" and bought it.

GAMES - Rakion by Softnyx

It seems like I was already a bit late when I discovered Rakion, an MMO game that is more action oriented than RPG. The game is distributed by Softnyx which also distributed the classic style, "Worms-like" international game Gunbound. The good thing with Gunbound is that the game is addictingly good [if you're into strategy games] and it doesn't have a monthly fee. The prepaid card for the game is only used for buying virtual items ingame to upgrade your character to become more formidable. Same goes with Rakion - no fee's, no limits, just play to your hearts content.

The Rakion storyline is somewhat uncommon: about the humans negotiating with White Dragons regarding the balance of things. The White Dragon's left with a promise that they will return after 500 years. However, the promise runs both ways, and the humans must fulfill their own side or face disaster. Two centuries have passed and the tales and promises to the white dragons faded from everyone's mind. The comet Alcon started to shift its course towards the continent resulting to a sudden monster population boom. The honorable Mage Romaan tried to persuade the 4 different nations to band together to fight the monsters to no avail. Nonetheless, the monsters had banded together and destroyed the most powerful nation of that time. The mage together with the other 3 nations allied to stop the monsters and stop the comet. The mage and his companions were able to destroy the comet at the cost of their lives. The pieces fell and it absorbed all those who were present during the battle. Due to this, the shards were kept hidden for fear of its ability to call monsters or to repeat what happened during the battlefield. After 1000 years, the comet shards have been found and they have become the new means in battle.

The game has 5 different types of playable characters: a warrior, an archer, a blacksmith, a mage and a ninja. I believe all the characters have both melee and range weapons, on in the case of the mage - magical skills to do damage. The characters look well made though there are no modifications for the character's faces or looks as of today.

The game system here follows the style made established by Guildwars in that solo characters or party create their own instance maps. The maps are somewhat huge and great - with vibrant colors and highly detailed. Though it isn't the same level of the Guildwar's Cantha or Tyria. The armor and weaponry is changeable provided that you can grind your way to earn gold. For those with more money but no time, they can purchase these items with real money - after they finish setting up their payments system. This is one of the games that have better CG character design than the actual artist work.

The game requirements are not as high as compared to Guildwars or World of Warcraft though they would prefer if you have at least 512 mb ram. Its obviously trying to target home users. The game installer is only like 350+ Mb and it doesn't have any major "2GB worth of patching" like those on Granado Espada. The problem though is when you're trying to party with other players. The game continually checks the connections of the all those in the party with each other and will automatically disconnect the user if his connection doesn't is very slow as to another user. I have a 768kbps adsl account and I still get kicked out from the game due to "my connection to another user is slow." Players will have a hard time partying specially when they're trying to get competent players who will automatically get removed from the party due to the connection problem.

One of my issues here is the game design. The camera view is very limited - you can't view your chars from the top so getting a better angle during mob attacks will be hard. Another problem is the use of the mouse for creating attack combos. If you remember playing the first Diablo [before you discovered the shift and ctrl keys like me], then you'll probably have the same probs here. The mouse is heavily used here to do attacks and combo, which would probably result to a dead mouse after a couple of levels.

Overall, I'll still probably prefer to play World of Warcraft with all the lags than this one. I guess I'll never get used to games that's similar to Dungeon Siege 1. The game is fastpaced but leveling up is almost as slow as RF Online or the top two worst grinding games ever made: Rose Online and Mabinogi. It is still a good game so I recommend this for those seeking an action-oriented gaming with a console feel to it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

TOYS - Customized MAD*L's in Wood

my own ebony wood version of the MAD*L

My first vinyl toy was the series 2 MAD*Ls created by MAD. I was able to complete set 2 so I'm planning to get series 1 when the time comes. I was also planning to get the artist edition but the prices where too much even for me. Since I was on the whole vinyl craze thing but can't afford them at the moment, I commissioned a local artist to make me some wood versions using some local and expensive hardwood like molave, ebony and ipil. I also had some made using cheap wood so I can modify them instead of using and destroying an original MAD*L. Good thing is that the MAD crew is ok with me making these one as long as I don't sell it. Hopefully, I could start painting my own MAD*L again after I finish some work and I get some cheap paints from a hardware store [no hobby shops in 400 kilometers.....]

I'll post more stuff after I get a better bandwidth tomorrow.