Aaron Bostian blogging at the Fancy Wars.
Aaron shares the many ways that he gives back in his community. Jonathan discusses the 3 mile walk he is doing on May 18, 2013 to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis. You can DONATE HERE.
We also discuss:
Prison Architect is a fun and challenging game. It is currently in Alpha but is a stable and enjoyable game for Windows and Mac OSX.
Jonathan apologizes in this episode for confusion he caused last time. The Ray Harryhausen episode was mistakenly referred to as Episode 39. It is actually episode 38. This Prison Architect episode is #39. Please accept our apologies.
On Geeks Explicitly we try to avoid the rigidity of plans, schedules, and deadlines. Drew and I usually don’t choose what to talk about until five minutes before we record an episode. That free-flowing, laid-back, casual style hopefully enhances our charm. This time we’re breaking free from convention and telling you what the topics are for some upcoming shows. Please note that they are liable to change if needed.
June 14 – No show because of technical difficulties
June 21 – What Jonathan Geeks (I’ll talk what I geek out about)
July 5 – The Hot Dog I Ate – Commemorating the 4th of July with Mike of The Hot Dog I Ate to talk about hot dogs, beer, and gaming
July 12 – Game Night Guys Interview – Brian and Curtis join us to talk about games and have some laughs
Do you remember me asking if you would listen to a Troll in the Corner podcast? No, I didn’t think so. I did, though. Pinky swear.
That post was my not so secretive way of telling all of you that Troll in the Corner is taking podcasting more seriously. We’re drilling into your ears with shows on a myriad of topics that you simply must listen.
The first of these new shows is Geeks Explicitly. Geeks Explicitly, oh yes I did just use the podcast’s name to both end one and start another sentence, is a 15-20 minute long show co-hosted by my buddy Drew McCarthy and myself. We chat about geek life in general. Anything from movies, gaming, TV, music, comics, toys, our jobs, our lives and MORE exists under the umbrella of Geeks Explicitly.
This month I had the great pleasure to attend Katuscon 2012 in Washington D.C. It was my first time there and I was pleasantly delighted with it. Not as huge as some of the more popular conventions it had comfortably sized crowds.
Held at the GayLord National Resort and Convention Center right in the National Harbor, Maryland. This giant hotel and convention center sported plush interiors just ripe for amazing cosplay photography. The rooms are expensive but large and comfortable. Lots of elevators and escalators for exhausted con-goer’s tired tootsies. There was plenty of parking at a very reasonable price and the National Harbor food options ranging from quick and cheap to expensive elegance.
Like most anime conventions this one boasted of some amazing outfits. From last minutes home-brewed concoctions (like mine) to competitors for the World Cosplay Summit. The lovely venue and perfect sunny weather provided excellent opportunities for photographs and cinematography. For a good time just Google Katuson 2012 for some beautiful videos and photos.
My favorite room was filled with upstart artists selling paintings, jewelry, clothing, and more. Several artist were available for commissions. My favorite item was a D1: A simple clay Mobius strip with a one painted on it. No matter how you flipped it you always knew what you’d get!
So many awesome things! Mostly Anime and Japanese products but several booths had dice and game books. Rare DVDs and video games were to be found alongside mini figures and plushies. Clothing styles spanned the range of Gothic Lolita, cyberpunk and steampunk. And so many giant robot toys!
This large space was host to several large tables set up with different consoles and games. Atari, Sega, Playstation 3, Wii, Kinect and more. Several large arcade games were set up in the back for good old nostalgia gaming. Several competitions were held throughout the con and gaming went far into the night. One featured retro video games which, when I was a kid, were just called video games. The Magic the Gathering tables were always filled with players.Sadly there were no empty tables for tabletop gaming. I had carried my dice around all weekend hoping for a quickie but alas it didn’t happen.
Like most conventions you get out of it what you put in. The higher profile panels had long lines, you had to walk a ways to get fed or pay for an expensive one. Chasing down someone to take their picture can get old. But being surrounded by lovely people having fun is always a delightful experience. I try to enter conventions with little expectation of how they’ll be and I’m always delightfully surprised by what I find. That way I’m never disappointed by panels I miss or friends I won’t meet up with. Most important rule: Enjoy yourself!
Name, rank, and service number, eh? Col. Paul Blake, reporting for duty, service number India-Papa-Lima-Alfa-Yankee-Golf-Alfa-Mike-Echo-Sierra. No, I’m not going to be filling the post of “resident Grognard” or anything like that. It’s just that, when one is given an honorary title, one might as well use it – even if it was given as the result of an outdated personnel list.
So, what kind of person is this Colonel Blake fellow, anyway? Why should we care what he has to say?
I’m glad you asked that, hypothetical asker of rhetorical questions. I’ve been a lot of things in my time: Professional clown, juggler, conjurer, origami aficionado, toy designer, game developer, and yes, I was even fortunate enough to hold that lofty title of “Used Video Game Store Sales Associate.” I’ve traveled abroad, seen exotic locations, and helped liquidate the contents of a South Pacific toy store. My life has been everything I could possibly want, and so much more. One time, I even got to ride a moose.
Okay, a little more down-to-earth: I’ve been actively designing, playtesting – and on a few occasions, even publishing – tabletop games for the past fifteen years or so. I don’t really consider myself any particular kind of gamer: I’m equally comfortable sitting down to a 3-hour session of an epic civilization-style game as I am trying out a twenty-minute beer-and-pretzels filler. I like games. Video games, tabletop games, or even abstract conceptual games which only exist in the minds of those who play them.
So, yeah. I’ll be writing about games, game design, game publication, and occasionally Doctor Who. No, it’s not relevant, I just like Doctor Who.
Normally I’m posting about literature in some form, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a beta weekend of Star Wars: The Old Republic and I really wanted to talk about my experience. I’m also curious about the opinions of others who’ve participated in any of the beta weekends, the whole beta, or who haven’t participated but are interested in the game.
First let me start by saying I’ve played several different MMO’s in the last five or so years (including City of Heroes/Villains and World Of Warcraft). I’ve played enough to know what I like and what I don’t like. This was my first opportunity to play in a beta. My testing in SWTOR was limited to a few hours a day and I limited myself to one character–a Smuggler (Human female) whom I took the Gunslinger route once I leveled enough to open that up. I had planned to play Smuggler from the first time I read the character descriptions, but it was this trailer http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/return that made me want to run as a Gunslinger. Based on the number of Gunslingers I saw listed as online whenever I played, I’m not the only one influenced by the trailer. I managed to level her up to 15 and completed a part of the Smuggler storyline that got me a ship. It figures, I get the really cool toy and beta weekend is over!
My overall impressions of the game from this limited experience are that it’s a creative, exciting and engaging game. I loved it and I can’t wait for the game to be released. I was impressed with the story line they are creating for the Smuggler class and I loved having a choice on how I wanted to reply to the people. Not all responses gain you light side or dark side points, but they can help convey how you want your character to be seen by other players and NPC’s. And apparently I’m fixated on having my character come off as a (keeping this kid friendly) witch. The scenery is impression—I got dizzy the first time I looked over the side of a tower on Coruscant! I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring outside of areas related to my quests because of the limited time, but I’m looking forward to doing that once the game launches. I felt less forced to take every quest that came up as available with this game and, at least in my experience, the familiar “kill 10 of x” quests/missions didn’t seem as numerous as they do in other games. A majority of the missions like that I encountered came up as bonus missions while I was in an area, so I could choose to do them since I was in the area anyway, or I could ignore them without preventing my character from advancing the quest line with that quest giver.
On the whole I had a lot of fun and minimal issues. I had maybe one or two disconnections and the only time I experienced noticeable lag was while on a team and in combat. But then this was a “stress test” and they’d allowed a lot of people in and if I understand things correctly they gimped their servers a bit to inflate the demand on their system. There were some minor graphics things—like having an odd piece of floating metal follow my character around for a few hours. And my companion (basically a sidekick) also had his weapon missing a few times, so he sometimes appeared to be firing an invisible blaster. There was nothing that hindered game play though.
I’ve seen people complain about how buggy the game was and that has me puzzled. As I said, I’ve never participated in a beta before, but I knew going in that this wasn’t a finished product and the idea for giving people access was to test what was done and see where things needed to be fixed. I expected graphics glitches, lag, crashes, characters getting stuck in places they shouldn’t and other problems. To me there didn’t seem to be a lot of these. I’m just wondering if people had unrealistic expectations of what they would encounter in an unfinished product. I’ve also seen people complaining that they had to grind at higher levels. Granted I didn’t get higher than level 15, but I never felt like I had to slog through missions to gain experience. The complaints seem to come from people who on one weekend ended up with characters over level 40. I’m wondering if it was really grinding they experienced or burn out from spending so much time pushing one character up the ranks. I can’t imagine getting a player up that high in a weekend in any game. Then again, I have other things and non-pixilated people I need to devote time to on the weekends, so I don’t have as much time to game as I did back when my husband and I were first starting to game.
Has anyone else had a chance to beta test the game? Complaints? Concerns? Are you looking forward to it or have you been turned off by the experience? I had to go back and edit this as I was ready to submit it since I’ve had an email today telling me there is another beta test this weekend and I have an invitation to that. I’m up for suggestions on whether I should keep trying to level my Smuggler or give something else a try.
[tags]star wars,swtor,video games,pc games,[/tags]