Monday, July 14, 2014

Never Split the Party!

This is what happens when a non-artist attempts a logo.
One of my new projects is to record a game of Pathfinder (D&D 3.75, basically) that I'm playing over Google Hangouts and Roll20.

For now, you can find us streaming our games live every Monday night from 8:00pm (ish) to 10:00pm (ish) over at Twitch or see our previously recorded session on our YouTube channel! I'm planning on ripping the audio and converting them to audio-only podcasts eventually, but that's time consuming and I'm lazy.

We're also going to be posting out-of-session RP moments via the Never Split the Party! Podcast blog (say that ten times fast. Or even twice, kind of slowly). It's a vacant lot at the moment, but I'll have more going later this week.

Check us out, offer comments, suggestions, or insults, or just laugh at the stupid faces I make when I talk.

Seriously. It's just a big stupid head with stupid faces all over it.
^Made the parchment-looking area all by myself!
We're planning on spreading the NStP brand to other games we're playing and interested in recording, though for now we're just streaming the campaign titled: Pathfinder Society: Faerun Division. You can check out the blog (eventually) for more information on the world we're building.

Other projects include finishing Dragon Age: Origins and all of its DLC on PC (seriously going to happen this time) and eventually getting back into finishing the second draft of my book (which has decreased dramatically).

Oh, and if any artists out there want to throw a dog a bone and mock up a better banner for us, I'd be grateful! And maybe use less cliches. You never know, it could happen.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Must See Fall TV

Gotham's one honest cop, Robin Hood, Flash Fact, WWJConstantine smoke?

JC smokes silk cuts. NBCensorshit.

It’s a unique utopia we live in, when two pilots for new series can be viewed online months prior to their debut later this year. Of course what I’m writing about is DC Entertainment’s The Flash & Constantine. I’m not going to bother reviewing either as of now, but I want to comment on what I think is a step in the right direction for live action DC. While some fans fret over the fact that DC is running far behind  Marvel in developing a shared cinematic universe, it’s important to remember a clear difference in the development and strengths of both companies.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Nerd's Agenda

Howdy folks. Haven't had too much to write about, so haven't written!

My comic book backlog is fairly long right now. I've only bothered to keep current with Saga and Hawkeye, everything else is in a "to read" pile. I've been focusing more on my gaming than comics, however.

I have been reading The Erevis Cale Trilogy, which is a very decent Forgotten Realms set of novels about an interesting group of characters (the title character is interesting for the number of changes he goes through, which is reflective of how often players change their characters over the course of a campaign, by either adding templates or changing classes, etc..). I also picked up Guards! Guards!, by Terry Pratchett, and a collection of short stories known as Wild Cards, edited by George R. R. Martin. I'm pretty excited to start reading those, especially the Pratchett novel -- my experience with Discworld has been focused on Going Postal and Making Money, the former being on of my all-time favorite novels.

On the gaming front, I've still been trying to beat Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, but have gotten side tracked with Dragon Age: Origins, which I've played before but never on PC and never with all the DLC. I picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale, along with Mount and Blade: Warband (never played but am very excited to), Endless Space (a decent 4x, but I've not played enough to know how I'd rate it), and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition (because I'm almost done with the first).
Just taking over the universe, don't mind me...

Beyond that, I've been working on a new project that will hopefully be unveiled soon. You can actually watch us streaming it Mondays at 8:00pm here, but I'm hoping to also eventually turn it into an edited podcast... More on that soon.

For movies and TV, I've been watching Bones with the wife and really enjoying it, and I'm rewatching Season 1 of Arrow, hoping season 2 will magically be on there when I'm done (it won't be, I've only got two episodes left). I'm eagerly anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy, but may have to put that on hold because I'm expected a daughter two days before it comes out! Gah!

Keep busy without getting much done, that's my motto!

Against the Death Penalty

Social Crusader and Sci-Fi Adventurer

How do you make Superman relatable? 

If you answered one of the following below than you may have gotten a closer representation of the American icon after viewing last year’s Man of Steel than the one I believe in.

            Chris Cornell background music brooder

            Budweiser beer drinker

            Getting called “dick spaz” as an adolescent

            Letting Dances with Wolves become Dances with Twister

            Jesus (Gotta hit the audience on the head with that one multiple times. Subtlety is lost on Snyder)

            Smile only once in costume

            Snap the villain’s neck (A little at odds with the whole “He’s really Jesus” thing, no?

            Snap the villain’s neck
            Snap the villain’s neck
                   Neck. Snap.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Steam Summer Sale: Tips and Tricks

Pretty accurate.
The Steam Summer Sale is, in this humble (bundle? Wait, no, stop that) gamer's opinion, the best holiday for gamers.

Sure, there are events and whatnot (the recent occurrence of E3 comes to mind), but they're not accessible to gamers everywhere. Steam, however, is.

We're in day two of the sale. Sorry if any of these tips I'm about to give would have been helpful yesterday. The way it works is that there are two time sensitive sets of deals:

Daily Deals

This is pretty self explanatory, but a selection of games are on sale for one day only. The sale prices range fairly wildly -- currently, there are games from 33% to 75% off.
6/20/14 Daily Deals

Flash Sales

These are titles that go on sale for only 8 hours, before giving way to the new set. Sale prices range again -- currently features sales from 50% to 80% off. These sales are generally better than if the same titles were to be offered as a Daily Deal. It also features games that don't always go on sale that often. The titles are unknown until released, so you need to check back every eight hours if your anticipating a specific game.

Beyond these two, there are two others kinds:

Community's Choice

These are selections of games that, similar to Flash Sales, change every eight hours. The difference here is that you can help determine what these games will be by voting before each selection becomes available. Usually there are two options to choose from, and each has a selection of games with a related theme or genre.

Summer Sale

Many titles on the Steam store go on sale, even when not featured on the three sales above. For example, Baldur's Gate 2: Extended Edition is 50% for the entirety of the Summer Sale (which will last until 6/30).

C'mon, Flash Sale!!
Alright, now for some tips:
1. Always wait for the Flash Sale. It is NOT guaranteed that the game you want will come on sale, so this is a gamble. If you see it on the Daily or Community, it's not a bad choice to grab it then, but Flash will have the best price.

2. Daily and Community are very good prices and no one will think less of you if you grab an item then. If you see an item on the Daily that already seems very heavily discounted, it's entirely possible this is the best deal you'll get.

My most valuable card... at 50 cents.
3. DON'T buy anything NOT on a Daily, Flash, or Community sale, even if it is on "Summer Sale." You have until the 30th to take advantage of standard sales, so wait until then! If, on the 30th, the game you want hasn't made its way a better sale, then go ahead and grab it (this is what I'll be doing with Baldur's Gate 2: Extended Edition).

4. If you want to be notified of a particular game going on sale, at it to your Wishlist and make sure your Steam account is set up to e-mail you notifications! Also, consider having your game-addict/Steam-addict friend watch the sales for you. Alas, I could avail myself of no minions, but you may have better luck!

5. Do you have trading cards but not use them, care about them, or appropriately understand them? Same here! Sell them now, and mark up the price! Steam will tell you what the current average is, but the hardcore Steam folks are trying to get as many cards as they can to make badges and whatnot. If you want to get in on that, go for it, or you could make a little (probably tiny) profit from it.

This sale is the absolute BEST chance to find the game you want at the cheapest it has ever been. Unless you are a pirate. Then you probably don't care that much. Don't be a pirate. Pirates are dicks.

That about sums it up! Hopefully you got what you wanted yesterday and will keep an eye out going forward.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Titanfall: Revisted

So, I hadn't played Titanfall since inFamous: Second Son came out. I haven't played inFamous since I beat it. I've had a very limited about of time to focus on games, and I've also lacked the motivation.

Hearing mention of the pending June update to Titanfall, which will add a "Marked for Death" mode that sounds interesting to me, I decided to load it up again.

I'm still displeased with the lack of options and unlocks, and didn't bother with the underwhelming DLC, but I did want to say that I have never played a smoother shooter. In comparison, I tried Call of Duty: Ghosts again and was immediately displeased with the actual gameplay. You're slower, your mobility is less, etc... Of course it is, Titanfall is future/sci-fi. But CoD also has poor hit detection, flimsy health (no chance to react), latency (knifing, anyone?), and annoying maps/players who abuse them.
Freedom of movement you take for granted after awhile.

Titanfall really did manage to pull away from all of those issues. Your mobility is tied to how smooth the game runs. Even other games that have tried more open mobility (Brink) felt a clunky in comparison. And I may not like the general lack of weapons, but at least I know how they all work. Having 13 SMGs in a CoD title is great, but I'm only going to use two anyway...

To compare to Battlefield 4, I appreciate that everyone is more-or-less able to play the game. Using all the features in Battlefield requires experience and skill when it comes to, say, flying a jet or helicopter. I still can't make jets useful. I'd love to see Titanfall work in their ships/shuttles into battle in the future.

I guess I was (and still am) left wanting more because what's there is very well done. And seeing some of the minor concessions coming in the update (Titan decals, new burn cards), shows that they are at least willing to acknowledge that the game is missing some obvious content. There's no much I imagine they can do to improve that now, but maybe Titanfall 2 will completely blow me out of the water. For now, I'll just look forward to the new game modes...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What is dead my never die...

Not sure why, exactly, I went with a Game of Thrones title on this one, but I like it. Feels very Lovecraftian, and I do love my Elder Gods. Which is a bit of an odd statement for an atheist, but I'm sticking to it!

I've been a bit slow with the normal updates. I've been to the movies a lot this past month (which has been a rarity), but that'll stop now -- the next one on my list is Guardians of the Galaxy, I believe, and that's if The Oncoming Storm doesn't prevent me -- both a Doctor Who reference and what I'm calling my daughter before she arrives (due date is 7/28!).

For comics, I've been reading a bit here and there:
Love this cover, going on my wall!
Amazing Spider-Man - It's back. I'm not loving it, though I'm glad Peter's back with it. I probably won't enjoy it until they get through with Peter having to deal with all the things Otto did in his name. I've always disliked those kind of stories. In this instance, I feel they've changed Black Cat's character for the worse, and, in the end, it feels like wasted time. Let's do something new! Ah well. The Spider-Event coming up sounds good. And I'll cross my fingers for yet-another-chance at a Ben Reilly revival...

Saga - Started up again. Current issue is a time jump ahead, and Hazel is a toddler instead of an infant. The last page makes me very, very sad and I'm really, really hoping it's a trick. But Saga has been happy to go Game of Thrones style on my heart lately, so I'm not holding out too much hope...

The Wake - I've only read the first two issues, but I'm really loving the split current and post-apocalyptic future settings, and both sides of the story are very interesting (even if the future isn't very fleshed out by issue 2). Some more Lovecraftian themes here.

Thunderbolts - I managed to finally complete my collection of every "Thunderbolts" issue, and I've been busy reading that. I still need the "Dark Avengers" issues, when the title actually changed, and then the Marvel NOW! stuff, but I'm not too excited by that due to the deplorable art.

For gaming, I've really not done too much on the video game front. I'm playing through Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and am really enjoying it. I've never beaten the original, but I seem to be in the mood lately... I'm really looking forward to FINALLY finishing and then importing a character into the second game, which is universally considered superior, yet I've never played -- as always, I HATE starting things anywhere but at the beginning. Thanks George Lucas for really screwing that one up, huh?

It's a bit dated, but I'm still loving it. D&D 2nd edition, too...
Possibly because I've been playing a lot of D&D (Dungeons and Dragons, for the odd folks who read this blog but don't know what D&D is...) lately. I started one campaign as DM (Dungeon Master. Seriously, just good these things, you're a terrible nerd) playing with 3.5 Edition rules, and am planning on starting another one using either Pathfinder or 4th Edition rules. I'm also considering doing that one remotely and trying to record it as a podcast, though we'll see how that goes. For now, I'm happy creating stories for the campaigns and am itching to play more so the Players can experience all the awesome events I'm planning and they're going to ruin in some way...
Now accepting donations of all unwanted D&D materials! Please?

But yeah. That's what I'm up to now, and I've not been particularly motivated to do an entire write up about any of it. I'm considering posting something from our next D&D session this weekend, but we'll see how that goes.