Star Trek – Horizon

With the latest news about Star trek – Axanar I decided to rewatch Prelude to Axanar, which is an amazing 20 minute short.

Because of this the fan film Star Trek – Horizon, appeared in my recommended lists on YouTube and I decided to check it out.

Being critical of a Fan film for me is akin to judging a baby who’s trying to walk, you know they’re giving it their all and you feel guilty for judging them. As such I’m not going to be as harsh as I would for a normal movie.


Let me start with a big positive. The space CGI was AMAZING, the quality of it was sublime. Really well made, fluid. Easily something a TV Show or movie would have. The alien world they go to, I loved its look, the different colours of the plants, a simple yet effective way to show that it was an alien world, really good.

The acting… was okay, really this is one point I’m willing to over look due to it being a fan film. The actors were trying, and while some of it was clunky, (the fire fights scenes spring to mind here), it didn’t take away from the movie.

There was however one big issue the movie had, and it was a distracting one: The green screens.

Okay, so I said the space based CGI was amazing, cause it was. but any scene that had human actors in front of a green screen just did not work, and it’s not even due to bad green screen. I’ve seen much worth in much more expensive movies.

No, the flaw here is that most of the time, when the actors are in front of a green screen the camera seemed to go into soft focus. I’d hazard a guess as it being a way to make the green screening look better? But the shift was massively distracting.

The other issue I has was that just about every conversation was near close up, very few wide shots. Again, fan film, I can technically understand why. But it was still massively distracting especially since near everyone delivered their lines with the top of their heads cut off.


I actually really liked this film, honestly it felt like a TV show pilot, and a good one at that. It wasn’t perfect, and if a sequel happened I’d like to see the crew be a bit more ambitious with the camera work, and the soft focus green screens toned back. But I would certainly give a sequel a look.

Good work to all involved.

I’m not going to post the movie here as if you’re going to see it you should do so via YouTube not here, but I am going to post a trailer.

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Fix your god damn search engine YouTube!

So I just found out there’s a trailer for a new Five Nights at Freddy’s game.

Here’s my TL;DR about Five Nights at Freddy’s:

I’d never play the games as I hate jump scare based entertainment. However, I enjoy watching it being played and dissected and I think the lore of the games is amazing. So, even though I don’t like the game aspect, I always look forward to hearing the theories about the story.


So, when I found out about the trailer my first thought was: “I have to see this!” meaning I loaded up YouTube and move to the search bar. I knew it was called Sister Location, so I started there.

Typing in: sister location, fnaf sister location, sister location trailer, fnaf sister location trailer. All just graced me with page after page of reactions, not the actual video. And no way I’m giving those thieving cunts any clicks. I want the ACTUAL video.

So I moved to google and typed: sister location trailer. BOOM straight away, Scott Chawthon’s YouTube channel Sister location trailer. The video is called: Sister Location Trailer 1.

But… I searched for Sister Location Trailer. So why was it not in the search listing? So I ran an experiment, and search for Sister Location Trailer 1, the EXACT name of the video. Still only got reactions. And that was sorted by relevance.

Sister Location Trailer 1 has 1.3 MILLION views, but searching for the EXACT name of the video fails to give my that video instead giving me a load of reaction videos. If you ever wondered why people hate reaction channels, it’s bullshit like this. The actual trailer has been buried beneath a slew for reaction channels a chuck of which will have no doubt stolen the video completely.

Its easy to blame the reaction channels for this, they’re the ones that are making the godawful content, but in my opinion this is another issue with YouTube itself. The search algorithm’s need to be looked at to prevent videos from being buried like this. While I doubt it’s ever happen for a big movie or video game. It’s another instance where it’s the little guy that could be hurt the most, and it’s that guy that needs to be helped.

Rambling about Fallout 4: Far Harbour

Gonna try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

So Fallout 3 have 5 DLC’s, in order from my personal best to worst they were:

Mothership Zeta
Operation: Anchorage
The Pitt

Broken Steel
Point Lookout

Zeta I loved because it was a vastly different local to what we had before, new enemies, and at the end there was a pretty unique space battle and you got your own ship. (though I was disappointed that nothing really happened with it afterwards)

Anchorage, was like a game within the game, and at the end you got the stealth suit. which for a stealth gamer like myself was a godsend.

The Pitt made me have to make one of the hardest moral choices I’ve had to make in a game. I hate slavery absolutely loathe it. Nothing was more satisfying to me than depopulating Paradise Falls, or grinding Caesar’s Legion into dust. But taking a baby from it’s parent to be little more than a lab rat? I avoided that DLC for so long just so I didn’t have to make that choice.

Steel fixed the godawful ending.

Which brings me to Point Lookout.


Lookout was the worst of the DLC’s for me, it was bland and boring. It was the only one that added a large wholly explorable area. But it didn’t really do anything with it. On top of that that main quest had you get part of your brain removed which just never sat right with me. Even if the drug trip that occurred around it was cool. It seemed just an excuse to do “Fallout: Deep South”


The Reason why I mention this is that Far Harbour feels a lot like Point Lookout. It has a large, wholly explorable area, that you travel to by boat and go there because you’re searching for someone. Thankfully, that’s just about where the main similarities end. Harbour has a large number of new varied characters, the plot has some good twists, and even asks a couple of interesting questions. Lookout’s world felt empty, but Harbour’s feels to opposite. It has 3 major settlements and a handful of workshop settlements to keep you there wandering. (Even if you are routinely pulled back to protect the Commonwealth settlements.)

I did enjoy it, even though I was forced to make a moral choice I was unhappy with (it was the lesser of the evils I could choose). Certainly better that Point Lookout, almost a “<this thing> done right” scenario. Be interesting to see what they do with the other DLC’s.

 

 

Well that breaks emersion.

So I just started playing the Fallout 4 DLC Far Harbour. I went through the start of it yesterday but I decided to load up a previous save and really dig into it. So I go through the opening and get a couple of side missions. But instead of heading for the main mission I decided to wander for a little bit and do the side missions first while exploring a little.

I reach the location of the first side mission and complete it. I’m just about the head to the second when I’m notified that one of my settlements back in the Commonwealth is under attack.

The fuck?

Going to Far Harbour doesn’t pause the attacks on the Commonwealth? Are you kidding me? So the game is telling me I now have to worry about having to travel back to the Commonwealth while I’m depopulating Far Harbour of nasty’s? And if Far Harbour has settlements then no doubt I’ll have to worth about them while I’m smiting evil in the Commonwealth.

Are you kidding me?

Don’t you realise how emersion breaking that is? “Hmm, I have to get this item to help these people… oh wait, no a settlement’s under attack, I have to take a boat back, then travel to help them, then come all the way back, and go to the nearest fast travel location before resuming the search for the item.

You can’t even leave the settlement to it’s own devices either since no matter how many defences you set up, unless you personally travel to defend it, then it’ll be raided. Making even the attempt at building a defence largely pointless.

Especially since my normal tactic is to wall the settlement off, but the enemies have a habit of spawning INSIDE the settlement, in a move I can only describe as dumb.

The kicker to all this, I can’t even use mods to solve these issues yet. The only settlement attack mod completely turns the attacks off, and has some bugs. I don’t want them completely turned off. what I’d really like is a toggle ability so I could shut them off if I just want to explore or not have to worry about one area while I’m in another. The enemy spawn issue, has the same problem. The only mod for it seems a tad buggy.

Fortunately with the release of the Fallout 4 G.E.C.K, I’m hoping that we get some of the better mods, ones that with solve these issues since the old modding program was good for what it was, but its certainly no G.E.C.K

Modders and Devs

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Let me make things clear right off the bat. I LOVE Mods. Pictured above is my current Fallout 4 character, Jasmine, on the left, and Piper on the right. Yes Piper’s in a 111 suit, shut up, she rocks it. Without mods I wouldn’t be playing F4 or have gotten as much fun out of Fallout 3, New Vegas, or Skyrim. Bethesda games pretty much require modding. Whether it’s the fix the god awful programming so you can actually PLAY the damn games, or just to add something to the game that should have already been there.

HOWEVER, This is my opinion is also a problem. Games like the Fallout series, Skyrim, and X-Com 2 where build with modders in mind. Fallout 3, Fallout 4 and Skyrim, have all had the exact same crashing issues for me, with Fallout 3 and Skyrim saved by modders (New Vegas can be added to the list but it’s technically not a Bethesda game, just their god awful engine). These issues, that were fixed by highly downloaded mod(s), were never fixed by the Devs it was modders.

I honestly can’t help but feel that some devs looked at the issue and said “oh look a modder has solved the issue” and then just abandoned it. I’m not kidding when I say I cannot play Bethesda games without mods. Not because I can’t play the “vanilla” version, but because without certain mods, the games WILL NOT RUN.

Couple this was complaints I have with games like X-Com 2. The original game had a “Second Wave” mode that let to mix things up on subsequent playthroughs. But that ability is missing in X-Com 2, and is said to be because the game is designing for ease of modding so the modders can make the changes they want. So, if that is to believed, the devs pretty much went “fuck it, we’ll let the modders to it for us.”

Day one patches, games sliced into chunks to be sold off piece by piece, now it seems like we have devs looking to modders to finish there’s damn games.

I love mods, I really do. but they should be used to add to a finished game, not repair a broken one.

[Edit] Because I can I’m posting a couple more screen shots of modded comps, mainly to show that really do love mods.

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Curie, looking gorgeous.

 

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And of course, the Great God Amaterasu, armoured up and ready to return life to the wasteland

Alzheimer’s Awareness Advert

So I’m browsing Facebook and I see Christopher Eccleston in a video for Alzheimer’s Awareness. Now the video was muted, I didn’t watch it, I still haven’t but it gave me this idea for an awareness video. No jokes here, at all. Here’s the set up.


A well known elderly comedian walks on to the screen. They look like they’re going to say something but pause. They look around looking confused and puzzled, before walking off screen.

the Narrator then gives the awareness speech.

And it’s suddenly hits you. The comedian, the titan of comedy that’s brought laughter to thousands, perhaps millions… forgot the joke. The day the laughter died, is when the joke is forgotten. And Alzheimer’s was to blame.


Tell me that would not make a good awareness campaign.

 

 

 

Little things that sour games for me.

So I tried playing Dying Light again. The first time I stopped playing was due to it not playing right, and by the time I got it working I lost all drive to play it. This time however it’s the plot that turned me away from it.

You as the character find an airdrop of the anti-zombie meds that the group of people THAT SAVED YOU NEED. You are then told by your boss that you have to destroy the drop. so the character takes one vial for himself and destroys the rest. Then justifies this under the banner of “the greater good”

FUCK. THAT. NOISE!

Men, Women, and CHILDREN, NEED the stuff. I don’t care if you have to take the long way to your goals you don’t reach them at the expense of children! It’s fucking abhorrent to me.

I have genuinely never see someone say “the greater good” without it being attached to a horrific act. Had the main character not have a choice in the matter, had he been controlled in some way, maybe I’d think differently. But to consciously accept an order that creates suffering and possible death and wave that flag to justify it. That man is no less a monster than the zombies he fights, and because of that, fuck him, and fuck that game.


This also brought me to thinking about what makes me stop playing games. Why do I put down a game or worse, excise it from my collection.

The simple answer is: time limits. Or more specifically when the entire game either has one, or every mission in the game has one.

Examples of this are:

Breath of Fire 5. Where you where give a time limit of 14 hours to save the life of a living air filter (I’m not even joking). Of course that 14 hours could be reduced by using special attack techniques. So IN AN RPG you couldn’t really explore the game as it was essentially wasting time you were unsure you had.

Mafia 2 – Joe’s DLC. Mafia wasn’t a bad game, but it was hugely flawed. No more obvious than in the DLC where you got to play as the main characters friend, Joe. The DLC gave you a large open world, something the main game didn’t do properly. And all the missions came in GTA style “go to icon to start”. Which was a lot less linear than the main game. The problem? ALL THE MISSIONS WERE TIMED. They went with this weird “have to get everything done fast” approach instead of telling the story and just letting people tell the story.

There are other examples but those are the two that stick in my mind the most. Time limits aren’t a bad thing, I’ve played a tonne of game that has certain missions or level that are timed. They can add a degree of urgency to a moment. But what you have them for EVERY Mission or have one for the ENTIRE game (especially an RPG). The limit the gameplay so much that it’s just not fun.


Endings also play a huge role in games for me. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, failing that I’ll take a satisfying ending. But games that end with the bad guy winning, the hero dying, or a cliffhanger. Can burn in a fire for all eternity.

I HATE protagonist deaths, they’re so fucking lazy. The obvious example here in Mass Effect 3 a game that says it has 3… well, 4 endings now, yet all the endings are exactly the same. Shepard dies, everyone else dies, Reaver’s win.

I do not buy that they were able to just repair the mass gates. Bioware were in full damage control mode with the extended ending and they were pulling shit out their arse. I’m really not going to go into Shepard dying in Mass Effect. It genuinely hurts me to even think about it. ME3’s ending literally killed the franchise for me, I can’t play the earlier games anymore because of how bad it was.

Suffice to say, a bad ending can kill a game for me.


That’s about all I can think of at the moment of what can kill, or sour a game for me. I’m not saying that all games need a happy ending. I really like the good ending of Infamous 2, which is a character death. So their are exceptions. But for the most part arsehole main characters, time limits, and character death/cliffhanger endings will sour me from games pretty must instantly.