Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Add this to the list of “games I never expected to play,” right up there along with Splatoon. I’ll start by saying I’ve never played a Rabbids game. I’ve heard of them, but mostly because things like this limit break reference:

bwaaaa

Anyhow, when I first heard about Mario + Rabbids, my reaction was pretty similar to the rest of the Internet.

HUH?

But then, miraculously, as game play details emerged, the Net changed its mind. I guess that can happen sometimes! The word was that this mis-mash of IPs was actually charming, fun and made for a good game!

Back in my younger days (get off my lawn!), I was a huge fan of Super Mario Bros. However, over time, JRPGs like Final Fantasy carried me away from the Mario fandom. Super Mario 64 was really the last Mario game I played with any sort of gusto. But the fact that Mario +  Rabbids was made by a team who obviously loved the world of Mario and were given the blessings to make a game from that dedication… well, that won me over.

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Now, since Amazon has changed how Prime members get discounts for new games (only on pre-orders, and not two weeks after release — booooo!), I was sitting there undecided the day before release. I do rely on reviews to give me the low-down on games before I buy — especially expensive games like those on the Switch.

But with the Prime discount on top of some Trade-In credit I had sitting on my account, the game would cost me about $28. I was hearing a lot of good things, even before release, so I pulled the trigger and pre-ordered the last day.

I got the game last night. I’ve only had about an hour or so of time with it, but I’m not regretting the purchase.

It’s Like Playing a Cartoon

While I’m no graphics snob, I have to say the whole look and feel of Mario + Rabbids makes me feel like I’m playing a cartoon. It’s whimsical. It’s zany. It’s fun!

The animations and graphics are so smooth, both inside and outside of cutscenes. Somehow, the world of Mario meshes well with the world of Rabbids. And my concern that the Rabbids would be too over the top was unfounded. I actually find myself liking the Rabbid versions of the Mario characters.

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It’s nice to have a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But at the same time, it’s full of details and references that long-time Mario fans will enjoy. For example, check out this overworld theme, which is a pleasant remix of an iconic Mario song.

 

About Battle

So, this is a tactics game, though a bit different from other tactics games I’ve played in the past. I’ve never played XCOM, which a lot of folks seem to reference when discussing the battle style. Yeah, seeing Mario characters using blasters and guns is a little odd, but I can deal with it.

I do enjoy tactics games, though I’m not always the best at them. I’ve heard that Mario + Rabbids can get challenging later on. But for teaching the ropes and getting through the beginning areas, it’s not been too bad. I like that the stages give you an option to use an Easy Mode if you need it (though I haven’t yet).

Each character has their own types of weapons and special skills. I know that you unlock more characters as you go along, but that Mario must always be in your party.

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I got free DLC bonus with my game (I guess as part of a pre-order reward) that gave me some special pixel-style weapons. These seemed far above better than the weapons I unlocked early on, and they were free, so I equipped them as soon as I saw them.

I like how battles are meshed seamlessly with the rest of the world you’re exploring. You have bits where you walk around the overworld, solving puzzles and gathering coins. Then you come across a battlefield (indicated by Rabbid flags), and must complete the objective in order to continue exploring.

While the story isn’t anything astounding, it’s what you’d expect from a Mario-type game. This is good. In fact, based on the reviews I’ve read, just about everything about Mario + Rabbids met my expectations (in a good way).

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I can certainly say that Mario +  Rabbids will hold me over until Super Mario Odyssey comes out later this year (got that on pre-order). In fact, I’m more excited than ever for Mario, Nintendo and the Switch in particular. I still love the console, am impressed by the releases, and feel a bit of that Nintendo fan-girlism that I had as a kid returning.

It’s a nice feeling. Let me hang on to it. :p

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV Anniversaries – A Look Back in Time

I wasn’t going to belabor the FFXIV Anniversary event, but I got curious and started looking back through old blog posts today. Come to find out, I have actually blogged every The Rising event for the past 4 years, which is pretty crazy. I certainly didn’t expect to still be playing the same MMO after all these years!

Anyhow, here’s a look at the past:

The Rising 2014

The first anniversary event, the importance of the Minstrel was lost upon me. I didn’t know he was meant to represent Yoshi-P, so I paid more attention to the group of cheering NPC friends I’d made through the course of the game.

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I was just a baby bard kitty back then… aw…

The Rising 2015

This was the first year that the dev team came right out and broke the 4th wall. I was so delighted by this that I didn’t want to blog any spoilers. So I didn’t.

I was writing for MMOGames.com at the time, and posted a much more in-depth article about this there, though. Hah, and even back then, I wrote:

Other players have taken screenshots of NPCs discussing the possibility of new upcoming jobs for the game. While nothing can be confirmed, the community seems to believe that Red Mage and Samurai are being hinted at.

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This was back when Tai became my main for a while. Good times.

The Rising 2016

Last year’s anniversary event was a lot of fun. We got to reenact a play of Eorzean history, and the big crystal stage made it’s first appearance.

Unlike this year, last year I was busy with all sorts of other content, so The Rising was one of many things in a long weekend recap post.

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My blue kitty phase. I had to grow out of it.

The Rising 2017

I just posted my delight about the most current anniversary event. It really is incredible that a game that almost failed in 1.0 has gone on strong all the way through 4.0 like it has.

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It’s hard to believe 4 years later, I’m finally a Red Mage. And watching fireworks with Yoshi-P.

As much as the devs use The Rising to thank the players for sticking around, I want to thank them for making a wonderful game. I may not always agree with all the choices they make, and I’m still never going to be a raider or dungeon runner, but this has been one of the deepest and most involving MMO experiences I’ve ever had.

Looking forward to another great year!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: The Rising 2017 – A Nostalgic Trip

You can probably tell by the topics I’ve been blogging that I’ve been taking it easy in Eorzea since finishing Stormblood. I’ve made peace with the thoughts that there’s really no reason to spend my time repeating Expert Roulette for tomes for gear that I’m going to be quickly replacing or earning the equivalent of next patch.

So, I’ve logged in for a run of Omega 4 each week (though I don’t know why, I won’t get the tomes I need for the weapon even if I have the drops), do my duty to keep things running smoothly in the FC, and have spent more time on my alts than I have my main.

Still, I was dearly hoping for one of the seasonal events to renew my interest in FFXIV, and I was not disappointed by The Rising.

There’s just something about the anniversary event that always feels personal in FFXIV. It’s a time when breaking the 4th wall is completely acceptable. Players often get thanks and messages from the dev team, and Yoshi-P himself.

This year was not an exception.

Nostalgic Trip

If you haven’t done this quest for yourself already, go do it! It’s short. It’s fun. It had me grinning and eager to repeat it on all my alts.

There will be spoilers from here on out!

A few years back, The Rising included a FATE where you had to assist the Minstrel (a representation of Yoshi-P in game) in fighting off some bugs. These bugs obviously represented actual software bugs.

This year, the bugs return. And this time, they’ve trapped the Minstrel in a mind-maze. He can’t warp out, so it’s up to you to solve the puzzle to set him free.

And what is the puzzle?

The Cheap Dungeon!

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You think I’m kidding? It really is the Cheap Dungeon!

This is a 2-D sprite maze, something like you’d see in oldskool NES RPGs, such as Wizardry. Thankfully, as you move through it, it maps itself. So put away that grid paper. 🙂

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The basis of the puzzle is that there are two floors: one with numbers and one with letters. You match the numbers to the letters in order to reveal the scrambled password at the end. So far, I’ve had about 4 variations of the password, but there could be more.

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While you make your way through the maze, you “hear” snippets of dialogue that can only be from the dev team themselves. These are funny things such as “When was our deadline again?” “There’s no end to these bug reports!” or “Man, I hope the players like it.”

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All which goes to remind us… there are people behind the game with thoughts, feelings and hopes. These snippets were meant to be funny, but working in R&D myself, they hit close to home. I really do feel that the FFXIV team is hard-working, passionate about the world it makes, and cares about the players.

If that’s not enough, a fantastic 8-bit chiptune version of the Azys Lla theme plays throughout. It really is a blast from the past.

Once you free the Minstrel, you come face to face with Yoshi-P himself. He expresses his gratitude and talks about the struggles of the past 4 years. I’m not quite sure who the knights were around him, though.

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Anyhow, the event rewards two minions, a music scroll and the Cheap Dungeon as a game for your Toy Box. You can also buy another music scroll and a rising balloon housing decoration from the vendor.

The biggest reward of all, though, was the feeling of connection between players and devs, and just knowing the team was grinning deviously as they patched in the Cheap Dungeon for us old skool players.

While I still don’t plan on doing dungeons for tomes, I do feel rejuvenated and ready to play FFXIV again. Inspired by the event and rested from a bit of a break, I spent a lot more time in Eorzea this weekend than I have in a while.

I think I’m finally starting to find a balance between end game activities and making progress on alts. I know that even after almost 4 years of subbing to FFXIV, I’m still committed for the long run. And this is why.

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Preferred World Free Time

A little over a month ago, I wrote how some friends and I started new alts on our server, Midgardsormr, in order to take advantage of the Preferred World status. If you reach level 30 on a new character on a Preferred World, you get 15 free days of playing time.

That started out well, but then I decided to change characters (from Porom to SoYa), and then Syn became busy with work and trips. Amoon and I paused at Sastasha in order to do the dungeons together as a group, but that didn’t come to pass.

Seeing that I was level 22 when I got there (major experience bonus!), and Midgardsormr STILL has the Preferred World bonus, I made it a goal to level SoYa to 30… Only, I didn’t want to do Sastasha without the others, so I did it without dungeons or any MSQ at all.

Thankfully, I’m quite aware of where all the quests, hunts and leves are for that level range. Along with the very nice experience bonus, I was able to sit down and hash out the remaining 7 levels between last night and today. It really wasn’t that hard at all.

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Level 30, no dungeons – proof!

To my surprise, only a few minutes after reaching level 30, I got an email from Square/Enix that told me my 15 free days were applied to my account. Just like that! Wow!

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That was fast!

The only issue now is that I can’t go White Mage until I finish a certain level in the MSQ. XD

Posted in Gaming, No Man's Sky, Steam Gaming

No Man’s Sky: One Year Later Review

Back when No Man’s Sky launched a year ago, I wrote a post about my first impressions of the game. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. I even wrote up a list of suggestions that would make the game better.

I stumbled on this post and realized that a LOT has changed in NMS… so I wanted to do a round-up and take a look at how many of my concerns and suggestions were addressed. So, here we go!

My Annoyance List

Long… long… long… loading screens.

This hasn’t changed, mostly due to the fact that the game has to load shaders and stuff when warping and loading the game. I’ve learned to live with it.

Slow. So very slow.

Just walking (which you do a TON of) has two speeds: snail-slug slow and a little less slow. The “running” doesn’t feel like running, just a slightly faster walk.

Interacting with aliens starts to feel like it takes an eternity. You get something like a cut scene, then the alien takes forever to speak to you and then the relevant game text slowly fades in.

They’ve added ground vehicles to let you get around faster now. Walking and running are still slow, but at least there’s another option.

They actually fixed the alien cutscene and talking slowness pretty early one. You can choose to skip through the Milestones pop-ups and you can now click to speed up the loading of alien text. This was a huge improvement!

In addition to that, you can now insta-warp to space stations from your base, plus the use of portals (which I haven’t done yet).

Inventory constraints.

Just bad. I know you slowly increase your slots, but that seems to be the only real progression when it comes to ships and suits. There is never enough room for any of the things you find.

Inventory is still tight on ships and suits, however, now there is a designated section of slots for upgrades vs. cargo, which helps a lot. Also, you can put holding containers on your base and own your own freighter!

So inventory options have improved a lot, though you have to work to achieve it.

Lack of quest clarity.

I’m okay with a game that doesn’t hold my hand, but I feel like the the little bit of tutorial we do get is not very clear.

There’s still some wonkiness with quests, but the addition of a log makes the experience much better. The new storyline also works as an extended tutorial, and has been pretty solid so far.

Exploration starts to feel redundant.

You do the same sort of thing on every planet – find discarded ships, fix them up to upgrade your ship. Find new upgrades for your weapon and exosuit.

There’s SO much more to find and do now. Many more biomes were added over the last year, plus different kinds of points of interest and different ways to locate them. It’s much easier to be able to build your own signal booster to find what you’re looking for.

I also noticed that there are some things you can’t mine or gather until you have specific upgrades. Some plants require a hazmat type protection while some minerals require advanced mining tools. So, there’s a variation in all of that.

My one major wish is to see more variety in animal life now.

Constantly pacifying Life Support.

There’s no eating in this game, but you have to “feed” the life support to keep your exosuit systems online and not die.

This is still a thing. HOWEVER. They added a creative mode that allows you to play the game without this bothering you all the time. So, now, you have an option.

No way to easily toggle UI to take nice screenshots.

So there is a way to completely turn off the HUD in the PC version, but it requires you to go to the Options menu and turn it off in a setting every time you want to take a screenshot.

I’ve just recently discovered the camera mode, and it is fantastic! Pressing X allows you to toggle between tools, including the camera. When in camera mode, the world freezes and you can change several aspects, such as your camera view, the time of day, that sort of thing. It’s really above and beyond what I could have hoped for!

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My new base, taken with the camera mode, which allows me to see it from above.

 

Space Pirates.

They haven’t killed me yet, but man, they’re a pain in the behind.

They’re still there. BUT. You can now choose to call backup from the local space station, or even pay off the pirates to leave you alone. Shooting them down is worth a lot, however…

Ship navigation.

I like that you can’t crash your ship… or I’d be doing it all the time. But it bugs me that I can’t fly down lower over the surface of a planet, and how much a pain it is to estimate a landing on a planet.

Low flight was added in Atlas Rising patch! This is truly wonderful… I had actually been using a mod before this to achieve the same thing.

Static world.

No Man’s Sky feels like a very static world in that you never see aliens just going about everyday life. You dock in the space station or trade outpost and its always empty of activity… until you’ve been there a little while.

This is still a thing, though it’s getting better. It seems PoIs and space stations feel a bit more lively than they used to. There’s still no aliens to be seen outside of trade posts, or daily life, but having your own base and putting NPCs there helps.

My Suggestions

So I made a list of suggestions that would improve the game, IMHO. Let’s see how things look now.

Building!

I need to build things and make something of my own. Right now, I just drift from world to world, but nothing has any personal worth to me.

Bases were added last year. I am just starting to explore base building, but I like what I see so far!

Land vehicles!

Let me build a little moon rover or hover bike or something.

Yep. They added them. Again, I haven’t built one myself, but I’m looking forward to playing with one.

Give life to NPCs.

I love learning the alien languages and earning reputation with different races. But see above for all my complaints on how static the aliens are right now.

I feel like the game is moving that direction. The Atlas Rising story helps put names and stories to NPCs, which is a good thing. Recruiting NPCs for your base also helps.

Bookmarks, maps or quick return.

I need a way to be able to mark and return to places I’ve explored before.

You can create waypoints to systems you’ve explored before, though I haven’t messed around with that much.

You can also now warp between your base and the space station, which is really nice.

Portals were just introduced in Atlas Rising, but I’ve yet to play far enough to see their functionality.

Also, ships can now be summoned to certain locations. I was stoked when I saw that my ship portaled with me between my base and the space station!

Better inventory management!!!!

Separate upgrades from inventory.

Yep, they did this.

Online encyclopedia.

This is a pipe dream. But what’s the point in discovering all these cool things if you can’t show it to someone else? I’d LOVE an online encyclopedia of your discoveries — a webpage that you can pull up that shows the worlds and creatures you discovered. Something you can link to and send to other people.

While this is still a pipe dream for the overall game, the community is actually working on doing this through the Hub Project. Good work, guys!

So…

Well, dang. It sure does look like No Man’s Sky has either completely addressed or has improved on areas that I had issues with when I first played the game a year ago. That’s pretty crazy, if you think about it.

We all have lists of things we hope that our favorite games will do, but rarely have I seen a game turn around and actually handle almost all of my complaints and issues. Not only did NMS deliver, but it often went beyond what I hoped for… all in FREE patches.

Now, instead of wishing for improvements, I can start looking forward to being delighted by the development to come. Good job, Hello Games!

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Posted in Gaming, No Man's Sky, Steam Gaming

No Man’s Sky: Space Adventure Continues

I’ve been in the mood for chill gaming lately, so I keep coming back to play No Man’s Sky. Thankfully, as of my last post, I did find a graphics settings tweak that fixed the blurry texture issues I was having. I can’t run the game on Ultra due to settings restraints, but at least it’s a whole lot better to look at than it was.

The team at Hello Games has been hard at work putting out patches for Atlas Rising, putting the game at version 1.33 now. I don’t know if all the major bugs have been taken care of, but they are certainly trying hard to fix what they can.

NMS Progress

I finished up some missions and raised my standing with the Gek to move on to the next part in the story line. This has me searching for help to pinpoint Artemis’ location from a lifeform named Apollo.

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I have to say that even though this story remains a tutorial so far, the writers continue to do a good job at keeping things mysterious and interesting. The story has me curious, and has started rewarding me along the way with things such as the Terrain Manipulator.

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I haven’t tried using it yet, but at least I can dig out the crashed freighters if I find one again.

The quest had me leave my previous star system, which was okay with me. Most of the planets there were either too hot, too cold, toxic or had terrible storms which prevented me from doing much exploration.

I was of a mind to head back towards my base planet, anyhow. Then, in the next system, I stumbled upon this interesting “bountiful” planet.

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It’s really a lovely place with bright blue skies, and bulbous grasses that gradient from deep purples to soft greens. I haven’t completely made up my mind yet, but I might be moving my base here. I’m a little concerned about doing that, though, because there still might be a chance I could mess up my story line (though they patched it, and that shouldn’t happen).

I’m not sure, but I feel like the story may have skipped the whole base building part, anyhow. One moment, they’re handing me the matter manipulator, another moment they’re telling me to strap in and look for a means to open a portal. Apollo even noted that I had a base, and that going through this portal might mean I wouldn’t see it for a long time.

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Gonna be very careful about this.

Oh, and remember how I mentioned I had this really cool carrier ship, but I’d forgotten to take a screenshot of it? Here it is!

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I’m still working on paying to unlock the slots on it, but finding a random 29 slot ship is pretty sweet (considering my previous ship was 17 slots).

The space adventure continues!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, IRL, MMORPGs

After the Eclipse & FFXIV Moonfire Faire

I’m just getting back into the swing of things after taking a few days off from life for a mini-vacation on the coast to view the solar eclipse earlier this week. It was an extremely cool thing to see in totality, and worth every mile we drove, even in backed-up traffic.

Eclipse Adventures

Syn and I headed to the coast, where I haven’t been in quite a while. It’s sad that I live about an hour away from a popular beach vacation spot, but I never go there. We spent some time on the pier and at the shore, as well as on the saltwater marsh walk, and through all sorts of shops and eateries.

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The day of the eclipse, we had to drive a bit further south from our hotel, and traffic was a bear. The day started out cloudy and rainy, but luck was on our side.

We found a nice little park that was out of the way and fairly quiet. There was a small group of folks out there — a photography club had gathered to try and snap some shots of the event. But everyone was polite and very into the event. I laughed as someone played Dark Side of the Moon while totality grew near.

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Sunny moment at the park.

The clouds often threatened our view, and even during totality, it was a bit hazy. But we got to see what we came for.

It was pretty surreal during the totality when the sky got dark, all the lights in the park came on, and there was a perpetual sunset on every horizon.

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Darkness falls at 1:47 PM as sunset spreads on every horizon.

This lasted about two minutes, and after that, the clouds moved over us in earnest. So it held out just long enough for us to enjoy the culmination of it all.

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Syn got a better picture of the eclipse than I did.

Solar Eclipse: 10/10
Would eclipse again.

Moonfire Faire

After seeing Syn off to the airport, I came home last night, and somewhat inspired by our ocean adventures, I decided to work on finishing up the Moonfire Faire for my level 30 Alts who still needed stuff from the event.

So, I got the outfit for Ben… who looks like he feels a bit drafty…

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And Zemi, who took to it like a natural.

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Of course he would.

I still have to finish up the event on Tai tonight. He managed to snag some battered fish out of the FC chest, so he’s all set. I just need to finish up the actual quest to get his gear.

As soon as this event comes to a close, we’ll have The Rising starting up. After seeing the teaser image, I’m curious what it’ll be about this year. Looks promising!

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Posted in IRL

Solar Eclipse Party

Monday, the path of the solar eclipse is going to move through my state, pretty close to where I live. Syn is coming to visit in order to view it, and we’re going to have a (hopefully) chill and geek-full time.

Due to that, I probably won’t be back to blogging until sometime late next week. I wish everyone a great weekend, and if you’re viewing the eclipse, a safe time!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Base Beautification – Fun with Painting

So, in between schedules and work trips, our Posse has been able to continue making progress on out longest running 7D2D game in a while. Last time, I talked about how as time passes, we started seeing more dangerous, glowing zombies in hordes. But while designing a base has, up until now, mostly been about function, with the new painting feature and skills, it can now be about form.

Painting is something that was just introduced with this last major patch. This patched in paint brushes, paint, and patterns that you learn from finding recipe books. Paint itself can be found (usually in hardware stores), or by crafting it using the chemistry station and common plants. Thankfully, you make a lot of paint per plant, so there’s lots of room to experiment.

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In the picture above, you can see the base concrete block all the way to the right. The rest of the blocks are concrete with a brick pattern painted over them. Keep in mind that when you paint, it only covers one side of the block. Also, if you upgrade that block (ie. from concrete to steel), the paint is overwritten and you will have to paint it again.

This is fine. For years, I’ve had to put up with bases looking like Frankenstein conglomerations of wood, iron, concrete and steel. Like this:

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Now, I can make it look so, so much nicer!

And inside? I converted that old log cabin into something fairly nice. Even my team members were joking that they’d walked into some upscale hotel or something. In terms of 7D2D, this is pretty nice looking. 🙂

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They also laughed at me because apparently, painting splashes paint everywhere, and makes a loud wet noise. At first, this confused them.

Someone asked, “Do you hear that sound? It’s like water dripping.”

I said, “Oh, you mean this sound?” *paint paint paint*

“Yes, that’s it! What is that?”

“Me painting!”

But the most important thing to know is that you can paint things pink!

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This used to be a washing machine. Not anymore!

If you want to see this in action, here’s a pretty great video that covers painting as a whole. This looks like it’s done in creative mode, so things are a little different in survival mode.

 

Posted in Gaming, No Man's Sky, Steam Gaming

No Man’s Sky: 1.3 Atlas Rises Patch

So while I’ve been talking a lot about GW2 this week, the truth is, over the weekend I mostly played No Man’s Sky’s newest 1.3 patch – Atlas Rises. This marks the game’s first year anniversary and it’s still on sale for $24 on Steam right now if any of this catches your interest.

This patch was really an incredible leap forward for NMS. Much of the community now feels that the game is finally at a point where it is what it was originally advertised to be. Yes, it’s bad this wasn’t out at launch. BUT – the devs didn’t abandon the game, and kept working until it was in a much better shape.

Now we have so much, from base building, rovers, low flight on ships, missions, farming, a new economy and trading system, and a brand new storyline. Really, there’s too much to list…

Oh, and yeah. The sorta-multiplayer was added, which really excited players. It’s very rudimentary, but it’s a foundation for something more, I hope.

Changes in the Universe

The universe was also restructured because many new and unusual biomes were added to the planets. This meant that your home base planet may have changed, for better or worse.

I did start to build a base during the last patch, but didn’t get super far with it. When I left the world, it was this pinky-purple planet, which was kinda pretty.

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Before 1.3

When I returned to my base planet, it had all turned green instead. Which is also kinda pretty.

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After 1.3

Thankfully, this was a positive change. I’ve read a lot of people who had a great home base planet that turned into snow or toxic waste biome. So, I can’t complain too much.

Texture Troubles

The one thing that did eat up a lot of my time was trying to troubleshoot the game’s texture loading issues. The last time I played the game, I was using my old Nvidia graphics card. Since then, I upgraded to a much more powerful AMD card.

I’d forgotten the posts that said NMS had issues with AMD cards. And, well, mine had issues loading the textures that I never had on the previous card. The game played well enough, but all the textures were on low quality, no matter what setting I put the graphics on.

I’d played the game enough to recognize this was NOT how it was supposed to look:

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Everything from the grass to the texture on the rocks to the building… yeah.

So I updated my drivers as a first step, and this actually cleared it up long enough to get those comparison pictures above. But after playing a bit, warping around, maybe turning the game off and back on again, it went right back to being blurry.

I started doing research.

Someone suggested a complete driver cleaning and uninstall/reinstall from a manual download. I did this, and again, it helped for a little while.

I went through several suggestions on the Tech Support forum. I got it to work partways, but still not 100% of the textures load. I may go back and mess with some of these settings again, but I eventually just gave up and played with mostly-loading textures.

It was better than none.

New Storyline

So, there’s a new storyline. It’s not super captivating or anything — mostly the story of an alien who has crashed and is stranded. You have to help them out.

But what the storyline does fill is the huge blank where a tutorial or guidance system was missing. In fact, it feels a lot like a tutorial, which is there to introduce the player to all the different features of the game.

It teaches you to build signal beacons, how to find specific locations, how to earn reputation, how to learn language, and (at this point for me) how to find the new mission feature. Eventually, I heard it prompts you to build a base (which gets bugged out if you happen to move your base’s original location, so be careful!).

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The game’s writing uses the illusion of mystery and grandiose language to try to make the story feel bigger than it actually is (a tutorial). It does cover this well, but the reality is, it’s just sending you on a bunch of menial tasks.

This is fine. I wish the story was a bit deeper than just a story masking a tutorial. But it’s better than nothing, and players seem to like it. I’m going along for the ride since it’s been so long since I’ve played that I don’t know most of what I’m doing anyhow. XD

It’s nice to have a mission-oriented journal type thing that helps you keep track of where you are and what you need to do, too. This might have been patched in back when bases were introduced, but it’s not until now that I actually started to rely on it consistently.

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Overall

The community has really rallied behind NMS after this update. Heck, even before this update, this game had a very dedicated group of players who even worked to create a whole Galactic Hub in order to meet up and map a common system. This is very, very cool, and you should check it out!

Even better, the recent Steam review ratings have gone from Mostly Negative to Mostly Positive as players give recognition where it’s due. There will always be haters, of course, but even I tossed in a positive review for the game (I rarely write game reviews on Steam) because I’m impressed by the dedication of the dev team.

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Despite the technical difficulties I’ve had, I also had great fun playing over the weekend, and hope that I can maintain a momentum to actually build my base this time around. I found this really cool crashed ship — I discovered it was a Hauler — that took me from 19 slots to something like 32 in one shot. (I wish I had a screen of it.)

I still have to raise the money to actually unlock the slots on the ship, but I was so stoked to repair it and get it flying. It might be a good introduction into learning how to haul and trade materials between systems. Maybe?

I’ll have to find out!