Posts Tagged ‘Let’s Play Badly’

GamingRant

Retro-prep?

Sniper Elite V2If you watch any of my Let’s Play Badly videos from my YouTube channel (erm, probably not the Minecraft ones so much – I’m talking about the Borderlands and Just Cause 2 videos), you’re probably aware than I’m a little keen on games that feature sniper based combat. I do enjoy popping the old heads from a safe vantage point, yes siree!

So when Sniper Elite V2 came up on sale for cheap, I thought I’d snap it up and check it out. I’d never bothered with the original game and it is a Rebellion game so I wasn’t really expecting great things. But as with most games I pick up for pennies, I figure if it manages to keep me distracted for a few afternoons, it’s a fair exchange.

So I gave it a bash yesterday. I only played the first level – which is basically a tutorial – before I had to come away and think about what the game was trying to teach me.

It all started well enough. The grumbly voiced actor told me that the Nazi Army were still the bad guys and how the game centres around V-2 rocket shenanigans. Then I was on a mission to assassinate a defecting General. Creeping through the ruined city, I was encouraged to string a trip mine across a doorway (to protect my rear, and help with my escape, apparently) then booby-trap a recent kill with a landmine. Use this cover, hop over that gate, clamber under this debris – all the regular tutorial checklist items such a game would be expected to tick off.

Then it was onto the main event and I held my breath, pulled the trigger and watched a lump of metal shear through the air until it found its grisly x-rayed target, the General’s skull. All good fun so far. Of course, the ‘S’ hit the ‘F’ and I had to leg it. Aware of my presence, the soldiers fell foul of my landmine but before I could crawl back along my previous route, a tank burst through the wall, blocking the way. Another path was found and my trip mine had done its job. I probably wasn’t as stealthy as I could have been and a lot more skulls began to sport ventilation where previously there was none. Eventually, I hopped one final wall and the mission ended. Here’s your score, well done.

But the thing that stuck with me was my preparation. How I’d dotted mines from my limited arsenal in the hopes that they’d bear fruit and make my life as a sniper elite that much easier. But when the game features scripted events and clearly isn’t averse to throwing me down alternate routes, how am I supposed to know when placing anything isn’t going to be just a waste of time (and vital resources)? It seemed to me that the only way to make sure that I got the most out of my kit was to memorise the mission and use that knowledge to replay it.

I realise that in real-life situations change and the best laid plans can go out the window but this is a game. The very first mission out the door basically tells you both that a) preparation is important and b) your preparation could become completely irrelevant due to a level designer’s decision to script an ‘exciting’ set-piece to spice the mission up. Is it a conflicting design flaw in the game? Are developers under pressure to include modern scripted ‘events’ (all the cool kids/shooters are doing them, you should too!)?

It hasn’t completely put me off playing the game but it will make me more wary/blasé regarding preparation. If it’s merely a case of guessing when the game is/isn’t going to render it all irrelevant, why bother putting it down? There’s no skill involved and I won’t learn through experience in-game how to maximise the effectiveness of my tools. So is the only time I can ensure my traps are useful is when I fail a mission and armed with foresight, can prepare retroactively?

Gaming

Strange customs

Back when I was still creating content for my YouTube Channel, I was always wondering how to add Customised Thumbnails to my videos. Seemed like every other channel and their dog was already using them so why couldn’t I? If you’ve seen my site recently (maybe on a post like this one), you’ll have noticed something has changed…

Normally, when you upload a video to the service, it only gives you the option to pick from three specific frames of your video that YouTube chooses. I believe they’re picked from the beginning, middle and end of the clip but unless you’re fanatically timing your videos and calculating which frames you need to alter, you’re just going to get a random image. Sometimes you luck out and one of the three perfectly represents the whole video with a great image. Most of the time, it’s a set of blurry, random, meaningless images that could be anything if you squint.

I’d looked into Customised Thumbnails before and the dreaded phrase ‘Monetisation’ came up. The information YouTube supplies isn’t precisely clear and led me to believe that the only way they’d allow me to add custom images was if I loaded all/some of my videos with dreaded adverts. Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of that plan given that a) I have a hard enough time getting people to watch my videos in the first place and b) my content, being solely videogame based, isn’t really mine to make money from. I thought that excluded me, completely.

Well, just recently, I got annoyed and went on a bit of a Google rampage to try to track down some snippets of stories and comments to find out what the real deal was. Turns out I could have Customised Thumbnails on if I wanted. Yes, I did need to go to my Channel Settings -> Features and turn on/agree to Monetisation. The thing is, after that, you don’t need to actually monetise any of your videos. I think YouTube automatically turned it on for one of my videos – my Clipper Ship, probably because it had the most views. Easily solved, go to your Video Manager -> Uploads and turn it off (either individually, or if unlike me, your channel is super popular and multiples are monetised, just select all and remove).

So now I have the ability to add Custom Thumbnails to my YouTube videos and it wasn’t the arse-ache I was expecting. As you can see above, I’m already in the process of adding them! The Let’s Play Badly series (Borderlands, Just Cause 2 and Minecraft) aren’t too bad but a couple of my regular Minecraft builds are gone to the sands of time (okay, okay, a petty server owner) so getting source images for the thumbnail just isn’t possible. Those are going to have to look a bit generic. But they’ll get added and now when my videos thumbnails come up, or when they’re embedded in the site, you’ll get a proper front image instead of a some random frame. Cool!

All I need to do now is to start producing new videos… uh, yeah…

Gaming

Video vault

Back when I took a break from playing Minecraft, I also took a break from making YouTube videos (man, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 have a lot to answer for!). Each time I created a video for my YouTube channel, I’d follow it up with a post here but when I stopped, I still had a few videos that I hadn’t shown. So, in a hopeful prelude to starting up again, here are the three videos than never got posted.

The first video comes from my Let’s Play Badly series on Just Cause 2. If you remember (long-time imaginary visitor), I play Rico Rodriguez, Agency operative, under cover as a mercenary for hire doing odd jobs (the type that requires mayhem, killing, explosions and more killing rather than fixing the guttering or mowing the lawn) for various criminal gangs.

This mission for Bolo Santosi has you infiltrating a military supply depot. It’s another one of those escort missions where you need to watch the back of a tech-head as you lead him to the centre of a base. Unfortunately, I should have watched out for rocket launchers instead.

The next two videos come from my Let’s Play Badly Minecraft series. This series details my adventures in a single player Minecraft survival map, adopting a cave and turning it into a fort. The earlier videos show the transformation of the exterior of the mountain hill I laid claim to but these two are focussed on the interior.

In the first of the two, I decide to finally sort out a proper storage solution instead of simply adding an increasing number of chests to the main room of the base.

The second Minecraft video shows me transforming a previously unused section of the base from a grotty tower interior into a glorious (but still relatively grotty) tower interior containing an Enchantment Table. Mucho wasting 30 levels of exp on useless enchantments abound!

And there you go. I really do hope that I can start producing videos again. I enjoy putting them together even if I don’t manage to elicit any likes/follows/etc. (though I did manage to piss off some numpty on a forum who convinced a couple of his numpty friends to go through my videos randomly ‘disliking’ most of my vids – yay?).

More Let’s Play Badly videos from Just Cause 2 and Minecraft should be on the cards and like I mentioned before, I want to do a walkaround of my Minecraft builds from the new multi-player server I’m on. LPBs of Borderlands might be a little odd after playing so much Borderlands 2 but I wouldn’t rule it out. I was even considering doing a series based on my Steam Stack of Shame, checking out games that I own but I’ve simply never got round to playing before. We shall see!

Gaming

Home Sweet (New) Home

As mentioned in my previous post, this is the second part of a post about my new outing in Minecraft. The first part is background, this is just a look at my newest build on the new multi-player server. All the images are thumbnails so click on them if you want to see the larger screenshots.

Minecraft New Home 1So this is my new base of operations I built on the fledgling server. It’s quite small as I wanted it to be more ‘functional’ than showy – there’s no fake furniture filling up the corners here. I didn’t want to be tripping over staircases pretending to be chairs or whatnot.

I’ve plans to create a bit of a sprawl in this area, starting with this hub and expanding over the Jungle biome behind the build. As you can see in this first image, I’ve already started to build a pointless tower on top of the roof. No idea what it’s for yet, where it’ll lead or how high it’s going. It just needs to be there.

Minecraft New Home 2The whole build is raised from the ground slightly since it’s not a multi-storey monstrosity. I figured it’d probably look a little ‘short’ flush to the ground. Plus with it sat on the edge of the water, the walkway that skirts the edge of the build looks a little more interesting raised up.

As with the fort in my Let’s Play Badly series on Minecraft, I’ve adopted the castle parapet style but switched it up slightly by adding it to a wooden structure. My hope was that it would look a touch more inviting than a building made entirely of stone blocks.

Minecraft New Home 3As mentioned before, the interior is quite functional. Okay, there’s a few potted faux bushes in the corners just off-screen to break up the walls a little but there’s no four-poster wool-block bed or table made of pressure plates and fence pieces.

There’s stairs going up to the roof and stairs going down to the basement. I’ve a vault in the far corner (where I’ll be keeping my loot, naturally) and a room containing an enchantment table. While my main storage is downstairs, I’ve some chests next to the crafting table, anvil and wall of furnaces for stuff I need ready on hand.

Minecraft New Home 4Speaking of enchantment tables, this is the little broom-closet I set up so I can spend my ill-gotten exp completely failing to obtain the enchantments I desire. On a server where creeper explosions and TNT has been nullified, it’s amazing how many times I get blast protection!

So while everyone else is swanning around with the type of enchanted picks that can wrest a full stack of emeralds just by looking funny at some ore, I’ve got a hodgepodge of low level enchants that leave me feeling all kinds of inadequate. Oh well.

Minecraft New Home 5Probably my only concession to any of the new stuff added to Minecraft in the time I’ve been away is the floor of the basement – created using the new Quartz blocks. Yep, they look nice so I’ll have some of that.

This is the main storage or Storage Prime as it’d probably be known if I was into needlessly naming things. People have said I should have used those new item frames for my chest labelling but I dunno, I still like a nice clean sign. While you could probably use a drop from a monster for your Monster Bits chest, it wouldn’t really be all-encompassing enough, I think.

Minecraft New Home 6The final shot is of the roof, taken from that pointless tower I mentioned earlier. I was up here, staring off at the sunset when I noticed the roof on the stair access looked a little plain and empty. That’s when I added the smiley face. Then I added a balcony to the pointless tower just so I could look at the smiley face (and the sunset, I guess). Sometimes builds evolve like that. Sometimes the evolution is a little less daft, admittedly, but you take what you can get.

It was great fun getting back into Minecraft and doing so on a server full of people who aren’t going to randomly ban you for some imagined insult is a huge relief. Fingers crossed for lots more posts on future builds and maybe even a YouTube video or two – man, I really need to get back into doing those as well…

Gaming

Bordergasm!

Borderlands 2 LogoBorderlands 2 is out this week! This week! Thhiiiiiiissss Weeeeek! Depending on how good/crappy your luck is, it’ll be out midnight tonight… or on the 20th… or, if there’s some spectacularly idiotic dumbass in the release pipeline deciding when games hit the shelves in your country, you’ll have to wait until the 21st. I’ve got to wait. Damn you, dumbass!

In a bizarre case of backwards planning, that other great loot-em-up, Torchlight 2 is also out this week. Two great games in one week? Bet all those game droughts earlier in the year you spent playing Solitaire totally felt worth it now, eh? Oh well, never mind, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 are out this week! Woo-hoo!

Anyhooooo, I’ve got another three videos from my original flavour Borderlands Let’s Play Badly series to show you.

In the first video, we’ve sorted out the Catch-a-Ride and gotten access to our very own death-on-wheels (okay, so the ‘death’ in question is very often mine but that’s just splitting hairs). No more traipsing around on foot like an idiot for me… except for all those times we visit new ‘dungeon’ areas, which makes up for like, 99% of the game. Still, turbo boost!

Those bandits get to experience the nuances of high-speed vehicular impacts when we go looking for a mine key and repair some wind turbines. I have to say – hitting a bandit with the front end of an Outrunner is a lot easier than hitting them with a bullet. Pretty much every kill is a headshot! And a legshot… and a chestshot… oh, let’s not forget the giblets…

Finally, we charge into Headstone Mine to show the leader of the bandits, Sledge, who is boss! Turns out it’s him. But after repeated attempts, we manage to scrape by with a cheap victory and escape from the Arid Badlands once and for all. Okay, we’ll probably be back – Dr. Zed can’t seem to get anything done without me!

Gaming

Five Cause meal

My Let’s Play Badly series for Just Cause 2 is still going great guns having accrued another four videos since my last post.

Destroying vehicles, and structures alike, nothing can stop Rico’s righteous rampage through the jungles of Panau – well, nothing except those pesky soldiers with their “Oh, look at me! I’m so clever! Nyah, nyah, nyah!” rocket launchers, all smug and stuff! They suck!

Ahem.

So, if you want to check out the latest installments, you can either have a neb at my YouTube channel (where you’ll find all my Let’s Play Badly series, for Just Cause 2, Borderlands and Minecraft) or you can simply click the link below to expand this post and view them all embedded, like.

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Gaming

Minecraft LPB

Minecraft SkoardyRecently, Minecraft updated to 1.3 (or 1.3.1, or 1.3.2 since then) and added a bunch of new features – trip wires, emerald ore, trading, editable books, new stairs and half slabs, cocoa cultivation and experience gained from mining and smelting. All in all, it was a fairly hefty update and a great time to start a Let’s Play Badly series using Minecraft.

I’d always intended to create one and thankfully, I’m still having a blast with the other series (Just Cause 2 and Borderlands). But unlike those other games, Minecraft is relatively free from structure – there’s no over-arching storyline to guide the player and no series of missions to dictate what and where you go next. Beyond making sure they survive the first night, the player is free to define their own journey as they go along.

As such, the aim of this series will be an exercise in setting myself goals, then trying to achieve them. Hopefully, without falling into lava, or getting molested by the many denizens of the night that inhabit the game.

So far, I’ve created three videos for the new series. They can be found on my YouTube channel or you can view them directly after the break by clicking the link below.

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Gaming

Beatings in Borderlands

Borderlands ClaptrapSo Steam was doing the whole ‘pimping Borderlands 2 pre-order’ bit last weekend, by having the original Borderlands available free to play for the weekend (and at the knock-down price of a fiver for the DLC-filled GOTY edition if they managed to hook you). It kind of reminded me how much incredible fun Borderlands was to play and well, you know, that set me off and I went and created some Let’s Play Badly videos for it.

I’m not giving up on my Just Cause 2 series, I’m merely spreading my mindless violence and explosive mayhem even further.

So far, I have five videos done and have managed to die quite a few times – mostly by thinking I was ‘all that and a side of fries‘ while up against a couple of bosses. Turns out, I’m not even a soggy, cold chip, never mind ‘all that‘. If you’d like to have a look at these videos, you can either pop along to my YouTube channel or just click below for the extended post with all embedded fun and bonus wittterings.

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Gaming

Minor mayhem

So in Just Cause 2 we’ve tackled the three criminal organisation’s first set of stronghold missions and liberated three shiny new bases for them to decorate with chintzy curtains and throw cushions. Taking a break from leading their nerdy scientists to get their hack on, Rico spent the next three Let’s Play Badly videos doing minor missions for the gangs.

All aboard the fail bus as my first minor mission has me rescuing an Ular Boy spy from a bridge and helping him make a quick getaway at a local airstrip… and failing miserably. Still, second time is a charm.

Next up, the Roaches have a little traitor problem they’d like me to deal with. Time to hop over to the main Airport on Panau and hunt for the miscreant as he makes a break for it. This mission shows the more flexible side of dealing with the game’s problems as I fail to heed Razor’s instructions and accidentally goof my way to success.

And finally, the Reapers need a snazzy armoured car liberating from a military base. Once inside, the fun starts as no-one on the road, friend or foe (mainly friend) is safe from my newly acquired auto-cannon.

At the time of writing, the Steam Summer Sale is currently under way (July 12th – July 22nd) and if you’re lucky, they’ll be flogging Just Cause 2 for a song. It really is a great sandbox game that’ll keep you entertained for hours and hours. If you see it and you still haven’t got it (shame on you!), snap it up.

Gaming

Fan service

Fair enough, they’re Wind Turbines, not fans but hell, they’re certainly going to need servicing after Rico is through with them. A new lick of paint, at the very least!

Here is another of my Let’s Play Badly series of YouTube videos where I bungle my way through Just Cause 2 wreaking havoc (mostly intentional) as an international man of mystery armed only with a grappling hook… and a never-ending supply of parachutes… and an absolutely insane arsenal of weaponry. But nothing else!

Wind Turbines are amongst the many things you can destroy to further your chaotic goals on Panau so remember to take down any you come across. While often not part of a mission or a requirement for base takeovers, they do all add on to your overall completion percentage.