Final Fantasy VII Demo

Midgar’s Sector 1 Mako Reactor is now non-operational.

The demo was pretty awesome… as an old school gamer I had issues with the camera control, and I’m still getting the hang of the battle system (I used the “Normal” one, a bit too frantic for my taste but still good, was even defeated once by the Scorpion tank :P).

The little that is shown of Midgar looks fantastic and the music is amazing. I’m definitively going to be ordering this, and any subsequent episodes.

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My PokémonGo quest #13

After the events on November things are a bit boring again… the changes that introduced daily “appointment” mechanics for captures and pokestops have kept me playing in order for not breaking the daily streaks, but the lack of rare catches and the monotony of the game leave only my completionist desire as the driving force to continue grinding endlessly. Even with all the new xp bonuses I barely managed to get to Level 22.

 

 

My Pokemon Go Quest, Update 12

It’s been over a month since the last update; for the most part it had been a booooring month with little to talk about… I was about to give up in my quest, however by the end of October and start of November things started getting interesting again….

The halloween event brought lots of additional candy and creepy Pokemon…

And recent changes in the game have put some fresh air into the experience, you now get a lot of items on your first pokestop, lots of XP on your first catch and the game keeps track of your daily engagement.

 

Leveling up after Level 20 is hard… it took a couple of Lucky eggs and a whole month to get to Level 21!

  • New caught pokemon: Onyx
  • New pokemon via evolution: Butterfree, Victreebel, Polywhirl, Primeape, Gengar, Haunter, Golduck, Rapidash, Tentacruel, Marowak
  • Collecting a lot of nidorano and nidorana candy for Nidoking and Nidoqueen
  • I’m level 21 now, 73.5 km walked, 87/99 pokemon

My Pokemon Go Quest – Update 11

I’ve been posting this on my facebook profile, but I decided the blog would be a better place to chronicle this epic quest. But first, an introduction:

I’ve been playing Pokemon Go. I’m not a hardcore player but I try to play as much as I can, it has led me to walk all the way home to the office and also randomly get up my desk and walk around a park or something, which I think is great.

I’m mostly interested in collecting vs. conquering gyms. And above all, I’m on a quest to take pictures of as many Pokemon as possible.

All previous updates can hopefully be found at this public facebook album. Now, for the update for my quest.

This was my status last time:

September 20 – Bay Area part 2

– New pokemon snapped: Tauros (caught) and Golduck (ran away)
– New pokemon hatched: Machop
– Got the pokemon go plus and started using it.
– I’m about to evolve my Pidgey and Caterpie farm, hope to gain at least one level.
– Level 16 now, 42.9 km walked, 70/74 pokemon

Now it’s time for a new update

October 5 – Back to Medellin

 

Sadly, no new Pokemon pictures to show today after 2 weeks of playing. This is a result of what the game has sadly become for me: I can no longer find new Pokemon… instead I’m hunting low level ones to gain XP via evolution. Lots of caterpie, weedle, pidgey, zubat and others… is this fun? well, it’s a different game now… a game about grinding.

I’m hoping that by leveling up I’ll have better changes to find new ones, but that’s unlikely. I set myself a goal to hit level 20, and I managed to do so via 2 sessions of massive evolution while using Lucky Eggs.

I also already lost my Pokemon Go Plus. I should have used the wrist-strap but I didn’t like how it looked. I hope someone found it and is enjoying it. The short time I had it it was mostly useful to hit pokestops while walking. It was far from perfect, constantly disconnecting from the device. Overall I didn’t really acquired it for its limited functionalities but rather as a sign for being a player. Well, it’s lost now 😦

  • New pokemons: Electabuzz (hatched), Starmie, Ivysaur, Parasect (Evolution)
  • Hatched a lot of not so interesting eggs: Zubat, Caterpie, Weedle, Pidgey, Spearrow…
  • Also hatched a Staryu, Voltorb and Gasthly
  • I’m level 20 now, 61.4 km walked, 76/79 pokemon

 

Leonardo: The Inventor

Back on 1996, “multimedia” computers appeared in my city. It was the SoundBlaster craze, and it was not easy to have one at home (specially if your family was not particularly rich). An aunt of mine used to take me to the local library, were they had set up a room with these amazing machines.

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They had a bunch of software, mostly interactive children stories, but one of them was of special importance to me… it made me realise these machines could be used to transport people into virtual worlds for them to explore.

It was a multimedia package about Leonardo DaVinci. I remember it had a lot of neat content (and probably made me become even more interested on engineering), but what I remembered the most was two games that came bundled with it.

One of them, the one that dug into my soul, was about exploring a fortress, solving some puzzles in order to escape. This one defined many things on my game development life: computers could simulate a lone adventurer, exploring closed quarters on his own. I am a single player games kind of guy, I like the intimacy between the game world and the player.

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Exploring Leonardo’s Fortress

The other one was about flying around the world with mechanical wings, dodging stuff in your way. The music was forever burned in my head… I could remember it perfectly, even after so many years of not playing the game. This game was hard, I could never win it when I was younger.

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God wants to strike me down 😦

So, last month, over one of these nights where I cannot sleep, I decided to look for it. It was not easy… I didn’t remember the name! I just remembered it was about Leonardo DaVinci, and that it was a multimedia thing…

After lots of websurfing, I found some videos on youtube: they were the encyclopaedic part about some of Leonardo’s discoveries.. I never found videos with gameplay from the games, but I was sure this was it!

Some more digging around, and I was able to find it on Amazon. Instaorder.

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Since I was unable to find any interesting information about it on Internet, I decided to do a video including the unboxing as well some gameplay of it. I hope you enjoy it!!!

It was not easy to get it running… It’s a 16bits Windows program, which means it cannot run on 64bit OS (like my noisy windows 7 box). After trying my luck with Wine (unsuccessfully), I went for a full Windows XP VM using VirtualBox. It took some tweaking but I was finally able to get it going!

At long last, after 20 years, I was able to beat the Icarus game! It took a lot of learning, but in the end I managed to do it…  It’s not in the video, since it took me about 1 hour (or more?) of trying, but after dodging cannonballs, planes, more Eiffel towers and even tornados, I found a dragon (!) which I swiftly dodged to get to the finish line 🙂

Now I’m curious… this is version 2.0. May be I should also get version 1, and play around with it… I wonder if it also includes the games…

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Here are some more pics for the curious

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WinXP going crazy!
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Gallery of Leonardo’s inventions
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The main menu, there’s a LOT of great quality content!
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Walking around the fortress
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Finally! I did it after 20 years!! THERE WAS A DRAGON THERE :O
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One of the Fortress rooms
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Walking from the central tower to the middle ring

 

Behind the scenes… the suboptimal process I followed to record this video. I am fully aware iMovie is not meant for this, but that’s the tool I have at hand 🙂

Intro and unboxing (on my macbook)

  • Record myself for the intro using Quicktime Player, using a handsfree earbuds microphone to reduce noise.
  • Put a checkered tablecloth over my glass desk.
  • Put the macbook in an awkward position so that the built-in camera looks almost down.
  • Record myself opening the box.

On the Windows box (running Win7 64bits + Virtualbox with a WinXP 32bits VM)

  • Record videoclips from VirtualBox (stored in webm format)
  • Record audio from Audacity (using Windows WASAPI loopback thing)

Back on my macbook

  • Convert videoclips from webm to m4v using VLC
  • Sync each videoclip with its audio using iMovie
    • It was as fun as it sounds…. the format conversion messed the framerates and I had to split the audio tracks and try to match as best as possible
  • Exporting each videoclip (now with audio)
  • Create the full vid joining all exported videoclips

I could have saved myself a LOT of time if I had set up VirtualBox on my Macbook… I was just lazy to get an external CD drive or fetch the ISOs from some place and take my time to set it up. Then I could have recorded directly with Quicktime Player + Sound Flower, probably to a much better quality. :/