Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bob Came in Pieces

Bob Came in Pieces is a 2D puzzle platformer with some unique and interesting gameplay elements. In Bob Came in Pieces you play an alien from outer space that encountered a few problems and ended up crash landing on earth with a badly damaged space ship. The crash spreads parts of his ship around the planet and the game is the story of Bob the alien's search for these missing parts so that he can repair his ship.

In the game Bob solves puzzles and navigates the world using his ship. To help solve these puzzles you must find more parts and customize your ship with them and this is were the game really comes into its own. The ship customization is simple but allows you to change every single part of your ship including the structure, the thrusters, and to attach any gadgets you might need.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pixel Art

Pixel art has always been a favourite of mine, particularly in games, and after watching a recently released short documentary about pixel art called Pixel - A pixel art documentary I decided to write about a few games and a video that I think show off some really amazing pixel art (with lots of pictures included, of course).
Note: The still images do not do any of these games justice and I encourage you to play then all.


  1. Small Worlds
  2. Canabalt
  3. Cave Story
  4. Hero Core
  5. DAN the MAN

Small Worlds

Small Worlds was made by David Shute, and is a short atmospheric exploration game.
The game always shows all the uncovered map and therefore zooms out more and more as you play. The amazing art and music of Small Worlds inspire the player to explore the world. I found it very reminiscent of Knytt, and it is the only other game, I have played, capable of competing with Knytt in pure atmospheric exploration.
Images(click to enlarge):

Canabalt is a simple running/avoidance game. The main difference from a normal avoidance game is the number of different types of obstacles, some not even instant death if hit, and the beautiful graphics that almost seem to tell a story as you play, even with the procedurally generated environment.Images(click to enlarge):

Cave Story
Cave Story is an amazing 2D action platformer that has been ported to just about every platform. It has tons of upgradeable weapons and abilities, as well as many diverse enemies and bosses to fight. Cave Story, deservedly, has been called a perfect game. It has an amazing story, great gameplay, fantastic music, and terrific art work.
Images(click to enlarge):

Hero Core
I have already written about Hero Core is a previous blog, but I thought it had too unique of a art style to not write about it again. To reiterate Hero Core is a retro science fiction action adventure game, reminiscent of Metroid. Not only are the graphics done in pixel art style, but it is in black and white. Nonetheless, the games visuals do nothing but improve the overall enjoyment of the game.
Images(click to enlarge):


DAN the MAN is a video made to look like a video game. It has many stereotypical elements, but goes past the defeat of the final boss and rescue of the princess to the unexplored realms of living a normal life after being a hero. Dan the MAN was made by studioJOHO, who have a few other interesting videos already out.
Images(click to enlarge):

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


VirtualBox is a virtualization software package, meaning that it allows you to run other operating systems inside of your current OS. This works by showing the OS is a window on your screen.

When I first heard about this I though, why would use this, it is bound be slow and error prone like other emulators. And besides I can just dual boot, all but the most ancient operating systems.

Having now tried VirtualBox I see the appeal. It was free, fast, and easy to install. It was fast and easy to setup the other operating systems, with the easy to follow setup wizard. and most of all it did not slow down my system at all when running them, even when more then one OS was open at the same time. And best of all, it just works.

The possibilities for testing code or running any app you want are endless. Have an application that you want to try that does not run on any of your currently installed operating systems, virtualization might be the answer for you. Want to test your code on machines that your users are likely to use, you can now do it without leaving your chair of even changing keyboards. Want to use a program without risk of compromising your computer, virtualization is the ultimate sandbox.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tricks and Tips: Windows 7

I just recently started using Windows 7 and I have got to say I am impressed.

One of my favourite improvements over XP is the improved searching, particularly the Start menu's search bar which is very convenient. But as always when I use something I think, how could this be improved.

The following are a few tricks I was easily able to implement to greatly speed up my everyday tasks.

General Tips:
  • To open up a window explorer view of Windows start menu folder. Start Menu>(right click) All Programs>Open
  • All of the Start menu folder (C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu) is searched by the search bar
  • The only folder in the Start menu folder that is shown is Programs (All Programs) and its sub folders
  • The previous 2 points can be used to create files and folders that do not clutter up your Start menu but are still searched
  • Folders and normal folder shortcuts cannot be searched for with the search bar
  • To create a shortcut to a folder, simply create a shortcut with the string: (explorer "path"). for example (explorer "E:\Movies")

In addition to shortcuts to useful folders and files I also created some scripts to duplicate some of the functionality of the command line.
A batch file must be run with Administrator right, so when creating a shortcut use: runas /user:USERNAME /savecred "path".

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tricks and Tips: VLC player

VLC player, a media player capable of playing all (or almost all anyways) video files without the annoying need to install codecs.

But most of you probably already know that, so I am here to show you a few customizations to make it even better. VLC is full of tons and tons of customizations, but unfortunately the labels are full of jargon that even the most experienced of computer users will have a hard time with.

General Info & Tips:
  • Preferences window can be brought up using: Tools > Preferences
  • In the Preferences window the user can switch between "All Settings" and "Simple Settings" using the "Show Settings" menu in the lower left corner
  • Hovering the mouse over a configuration element for a few seconds will show more detailed info about the configuration element
  • Preferences>All>Interface>Main interfaces>Qt is configuration page for startup options

Useful Configuration Options:
1. Allow Volume to be set to 400%.
While their are certain methods to set the volume to 400% without this option set, setting this option will allow you to set the volume all the way to 400% using every volume changing method and will show all the way to 400% on the graph.

Preferences>All>Interface>Main interfaces>Qt>"Allow the volume to be set to 400%" (~ middle of screen)

2. Do not resize window on file change.
Preferences>All>Interface>Main interfaces>Qt>"Resize interface to native video size" (~ 1/3 of window down from top)
Turn option off.

3. Subtitle detection path.
If you are like me you hate having all those ugly subtitles files in your movie directory, but want to have them available; The solution is custom subtitle auto detection paths. Subtitle auto detection paths are the directories used by VLC player to search for subtitles for the curentally playing video, the default being the directory that the video is in (.\).
The paths are separated by the "," character.
Personally I use ".\subtitles,..\subtitles,..\..\subtitles,.\",
this searches in the current directory, and any directory named subtitles either in the current directory the parent directory or the parents parent directory.

Preferences>All>Video>Subtitles/OSD>"Subtitles autodetection paths" (~middle of screen)

4. Auto detect subtitles but do not load.
To auto detect the videos subtitles, but not to start using them.

Preferences>All>Input / Codecs>"Subtitles track" (in first sub section "Track Settings")
Set to 0(zero).
Preferences>All>Input / Codecs>"Subtitles track ID" (in first sub section "Track Settings")
Set to 0(zero).

(VLC version 1.0.5)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eternally Us

Infinite Grace
Eternally Us is a very interesting new indie title by Ben304 and Leafshade.

It has the best voice acting and script writing I have ever heard in any game, let alone an indie developed one. Combine this with the superb stylish visuals and engaging emotional plot this makes one amazing game and a very moving experience.

Their really is not much to say, it is not a huge diverse game. Some might call it short and simplistic, but I say it is perfect at what it tries to be.

When first starting up the game the first thing that you notice is the music and how it perfectly compliments the visuals. A little latter and you start hearing the story unfold with the amazing voice acting. You gain control of your character (Amber) and start interacting with the environment and solving puzzles, not arbitrary puzzles but ones that advance the story. As you progress and travel to new locations the artist seems to undo themselves every time, but the art is not just great it is seamlessly integrated with the story and along with the other parts it takes you on an emotional journey. And that is what Eternally Us is, an emotional journey.

I want to say Eternally Us is the best game I have played is a long time, but that is meaningless and I say it too often. Eternally Us is ... a game were I would not change a single thing, if I had the power to do so. It is a game that I feel privileged to have played. But mostly, it is a game that in my honest opinion enriched mankind when it was created, for are we not the sum of our creations.

But don't buy into my hype too much, or you will certainly be disappointed, as nothing could live up to that last paragraph.

So if you like a good emotional story, check out Eternally Us.

Hero Core

I have just been playing Hero Core and I have to say it is pretty good.

Hero Core is a retro science fiction action adventure indie game, and while it is not much to look at it has some interesting game play that is very reminiscent of Metroid.

Some of the prominent gameplay elements:
  • Lots of weapon and upgrades to find
  • Backtracking when you finally get that new equipment allowing you to get though to a new area
  • Unique, challenging, and fun bosses to fight
So if you enjoy retro gaming and action adventures check out Hero core.