Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Overwatch ranked play - how I feel about it

At first, I had no interest in playing Overwatch ranked games, but my one friend told me he found it to be a much better experience than Quickplays. The thing is, people playing ranked generally try to do a better job at things and actually do their part in the games. According to my friend at least...

The first season ends tomorrow, so I decided last week that I'll do the placement matches and get some ranked play in as well.

Boy oh boy, I HATED the placements matches. I won only 3 out of the 10. The ones I won was great fun, but the ones we lost was just plain terrible. I somehow always gets placed against a far superior team, with toxic players in our team.

Now, I don't mind if you have a shitty game or make a mistake, but to blatantly join the game just to disrupt it for your team? Last night, with my 3rd last placement match, we had a Mei on our team - as we were all running for the point, she all of a sudden put up an ice wall blocking us all for a few seconds. When we finally reached the point, the whole enemy team was already there ready to wreak havoc on us. And boy did they. Another thing that bothers me is when someone chooses a hero they can't play. Or the wrong hero for the map. I mean, if you're gonna pick Widowmaker, and you end up with little to no kills, then switch to something else damnit!

Well, I wanted the sprays and stuff you get for taking part in competitive play, so I pushed through, but didn't have a good time doing it. BUT, everything changed when I finally finished up with the 10 placement matches (I ended up being rank 41 hehe), and played a proper competitive match. It was much better! So much better!! I had an absolute blast. We were grouped with nice players, and even though we lost about half our matches, it was still way better than anything Quickplay we've done before. The guys we played with actually tried bringing their part, which makes such a big difference, even if they make mistakes and stuff. We had a leaver or two, but at this level that is to be expected.

Anyway, we're definitely going to play much more competitive games next season, it's just a much nicer experience than Quickplay. Quickplays have their place though, where else are you going to learn how to play the new heroes and refine your skills?

It's almost high noon here, and I sense death is about to rain from above, so until next time!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Overwatch WTF Moments Ep.12

My friend showed me this clip of some hilariously funny Overwatch moments. I just had to share it! Enjoy!



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Some Junkrat and Roadhog highlights - Overwatch plays

We had a great time playing Overwatch last night, I even managed to kill someone! :P Really helps if you've got a friend or two with you in the game! Thanks Alister and Papa for joining in on the mayhem!







Check Papa's channel too here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN0W9aEF3NITUoO9gwlX7ew

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Some awesome Youtube Channels

When my son was born, it happened so much that I had to sit with him while he slept. He's been a bad sleeper since pretty much day one.

All those hours of sitting got me to scour Youtube for things to watch on my phone while he's sleeping on my lap. Here are some awesome channels that I'm subscribed to, and can highly recommend:

Unit Lost - with the whole Overwatch craze taking over the internet, this guy (his nickname is Stylosa) makes some really awesome Overwatch related videos. Mostly they are tutorial type videos, and I've found them a huge help. Plus he plays really well, my jaw always drops to the floor on how well these guys play!

SciShow and SciShow Space - I don't know quite how I stumbled upon these guys' channel, but I'm so glad I did. I love learning new things, and their regular videos are great at doing just that! If you find our world and how it works interesting, then you will love these two channels!

Numberphile - Sadly, I didn't do so well with maths at school, but I still find it very interesting. These guys talk about all things number related - for example, did you know that a rubik's cube can always be solveds with a minimum of 17 moves?

quill18creates - I've been making games for a while now, and Quill18's videos are awesome! I just love his way of doing Unity tutorials, and I like how he makes mistakes and doesn't edit it out, because that's how coding is in real life. Just yesterday I watched one of his videos on how to do a simple TD game. Highly recommend!

LinusTechTips and Techquickie - I recently started watching these guys' videos. They're from Canada and they get to play around with the most awesome computer related goodies! For example, ever thought of submerging your whole PC in mineral oil? Ever wondered what a 100TB NAS would look like? How about putting your dead graphics card in an oven to make it come back to life? Yes they have it all!

Vsauce - Vsauce, Michael here. That's how they all start. Hard to explain, just do yourself a favour and check it out. He talks about some really interesting topics.

That's it for now - just don't blame me if you never get any work done ever again ok.

Cheers!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Uh, hello again

Uh, hi :) I haven't posted on this blog for quite a few months! This year started with a bang and it's been quite a ride. One of the reasons for me not blogging as much is just being so damn tired haha! You see, we have this awesome little guy we lovingly call our son. He's turning 2 in October. He doesn't like sleeping. I can literally count on my two hands the times he's slept through in his life. And it's not as if he's crying or unhappy, he's just not that fond of sleeping we've come to realise. I think he's a prodigy of sorts, because only a busy mind keeps one up to such an extent!

Anyway, the last post I made was me celebrating the fact that our game, Catch a Falling Star, got Greenlit after being in the system for over 6 months. At one stage I thought it would never happen, but thanks to Dan from Back To Basics Gaming, our publisher, and some clever marketing from his side, it finally got through. It went on sale shortly after that, and it's actually doing quite well in terms of ratings/reviews - so far over 85% of Steam users have given it a "recommended" - so I'm very happy about that.

As far as gaming is concerned, sadly I don't get to play more than once or twice a week at most. I've dedicated a few nights a week to focus on some more game development with my good friend Jayson - oh and that reminds me, check out our awesome new logo for Alister Software:



My SUPER TALENTED wife, Natalie (check out her site for some awesome graphic design stuff) made it for us, it really spruced up the image of our small game dev company I think :)

But, getting back to the gaming, I've only been playing Fallout 4, Overwatch and now, since it's been release FINALLY, Starbound. Just loving these three at the moment! Check out this short clip of me saving keeping my Reinhardt alive in Overwatch:


Sadly, I don't play it nearly as much as I want. I'm only level 26 at the time of writing this, but I really want to play much more! Just loving how polished and fluid the game is. That's so typical of Blizzard, they really blow any competition out of the water when they make games!

Oh, and I also pre-ordered No Man's Sky. I'm cautiously optimistic about that one. I say cautiously, because I've found that huge procedural based games like that usually look great on paper, but in the end they lack in some area or another. Can't wait to try it though and see for myself, hopefully I'm pleasantly surprised this time around...

Well, here's to hoping I get to blog some more in the near future!

Till next time (which hopefully isn't months from now!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Catch a Falling Star - it got Greenlit!

Last year I started making games with my good friend Jayson. Being my first ever full game that I worked on, we decided to go for something a bit more simple and casual, but to make it very nice and polished so that people looking for something in that genre find exactly what they're looking for.

The game is called Catch a Falling Star. The ultimate goal in the game is to have something to play when you just want to sit back and relax. Natalie, my awesome wife (check her amazing graphic design website, which I made by the way (she designed it, I built it)) created the amazing artwork between working hard for her clients, having very little sleep and breastfeeding our son. I still can't believe how awesome the artwork for the game looks, and it's all thanks to her.


I tried making the game look nice with my extremely limited design skills, but I'm so glad she stepped in and rescued us, because damn, if I were to do it, the game would have no hopes at all!

We started the game part time in about April last year, and finished a public demo in October last year. At the same time our awesome publisher, Dan from Back to Basics Gaming, put the game up on Steam Greenlight. And about a month ago, we got that wonderful email from Steam saying our game has been Greenlit by the community! It was glorious indeed!

The last few weeks we've been focusing on finished up and polishing the game, and as I type this I'm uploading a final build to Dan to check out, before we roll out on Steam.

The game might look quite simple when you look at it, but you won't believe the amount of work that actually went into it. We played for hours and hours to get the pace and everything just right. There are stars that fall, and the main aim of the game is catch them. They fill up your basket, and only once you deposit them by bumping the side of the screen do you get the points. You get bonus points for when the basket is full, and even more bonus points if you deposit on the furthest side from where you caught the last star. Sounds pretty simple hey? Well, the speed of everything increases progressively as you play. There are power-ups too. And hazards. Even ice.

So yes, even for a game with a simple game play mechanic such as our Catch a Falling Star, a lot of work goes into gamess. And I mean A LOT hehe. In the end, we as game developers just want to create something that someone out there will enjoy. I really hope you'll give Catch a Falling Star a shot! I'll link to it as soon as it goes up for sale within the next day or so.

Till next time!

Monday, February 15, 2016

How I farm Death's Breath and Blood Shards in Diablo 3

Ahhh Diablo 3! The gaming comeback of the century! Never would I have thought that Blizzard can turn around the game as much as they did after they patched it to version 2. Diablo 3 and its auction house was an absolute mess when the game launched in 2012, but now, it's one of the games I keep on going back to.

With each new Season, I level one of my remaining non-level-70 character classes to level 70, and now, with Season 5 (I skipped season 2 and 3) I've done so with my Crusader. And damn, what a fun character to play with.

At the moment, I'm at such a stage with the character that I can easily do Torment VI rifts without dying and relatively quickly.

With that, I've discovered a really quick and painless way to farm Death's Breath (which automatically also helps with farming Blood Shards).

Death's Breath is a crafting material you need for most Legendary and Set recipes, and of course, to use on Kanai's Cube (which is where I use it mostly).

With the build I'm about to share - and it's by no manner or means a perfect build - I can do Rift runs very quickly and can easily get 10-15 Death's Breath with each run.

Firstly, I recommend you take the Torment Level you can play without too much hassle, and half it. I can play Torment 6 quite comfortably, so I'm doing the farming on Torment 3.

Here is how I'm geared for this:

Paragon Points

Let's start with my Paragon Points - The important part here is to put every point you can into Movement Speed in the Core section of Paragon - I'm level 175, and that has given me 44 points to push into Core, and with every single point pushed into Movement Speed, I get a 22% speed boost!


On its own, that already makes a big difference in how quickly you can go through the rifts. Speed is the key with this build - you want to do the runs as quickly as you possibly can!

Gear - Sets

The most important piece of gear I have on this build is the Sage's Journey Set. Its very sweet (3) set bonus is to increase Death's Breath drops by 1. Crucial if you want to farm Death's Breath, which is, after all, what this build's about! Sage's Journey is a Set Recipe that you can get from Horadric Caches by completing Bounties. Other than the extra Death's Breaths it drops, it isn't much good.

Boots - Sage's Passage

Let's start with the Boots - in my case it's part of my Set, Sage's Journey - I crafted until I got one with a Movement Speed boost - I haven't even Reforged it yet:


Hands - Sage's Purchase

I use only 2 of the 3 items thanks to my Ring of Royal Grandeur - equipping these gloves gives me my bonus Death's Breath when killing elite/rare packs. I got lucky with the roll and got the added Critical Hit Damage, but as you can see, I haven't reforged this one either:


Wrists - Nemesis Bracers

These bracers are great for this build - each time you activate a shrine or pylon, it spawns and elite pack to kill - another chance to get 2 more Death's Breath, and it makes finishing the rift quicker thanks to those orbs you get when you've killed the leader of the pack:


1 Handed Weapon - Jace's Hammer of Vigilance

The weapon I use is quite cool too - it increases the physical size of your Blessed Hammers, meaning they more easily hit enemies (I think):


You'll see where this is going hehe :)

Shield - The Final Witness

This is one of my favourite items, The Final Witness, which is a Crusader Shield. It gives your Shield Glare the ability to hit ALL the enemies around you, and not just in an arch in front of you. Blinding them all. Oh YEAH!


Those are the main items for this build - the rest is a combination of the Invoker set (massively boosting Thorns damage - I have 4 of the 6 set bonus), and the other items all boosting damage and critical hit chance.

Skills

Now the juicy part - the skills I use. This build is to allow you to run through normal rifts as quickly as possible. There are two main skills that give you a speed boost while active - Laws of Hope's one activated ability, and Steed Charge. Together with this, I use Shield Glare and Bombardment, and my two main attacks are Punish and Blessed Hammer:


Punish

The main reason I use punish is because I have a cool belt that give me access to all the runes for the skill. So it's a given :)

Blessed Hammer

I have boosted Blessed Hammer the most with my skills, including my Kanai's Cube abilities. I'll talk more about the combo for this below...

Shield Glare

With my shield's ability, I blind ALL the enemies around me - it's awesome!

Laws of Hope

The Rune I use is Wings of Angels - activating the Law gives you a big speed boost, plus the ability to run through enemies, together with a shield that absorbs lots of damage - I don't care about the shield for this build, just the speed boost, and the ability to run through the mobs.

Steed Charge

Rune for this one is Endurance - increases the time you have your horse for to 3 seconds. Speed remember!

Bombardment

I use the Barrels of Spikes Runes - mostly because of the Invoker set focusing on Thorns damage, and together with my passive it gets boosted as well.

Passive Skills

The important one here is Lord Commander - it reduces the cool down of Steed Charge and Bombardment.

Blunt is also handy, because it increases the damage of my Blessed Hammers.

Kanai's Cube

The three skills I have active on Kanai's Cube are:

1. Weapon/shield slot

Guard of Johanna - I got this from a shield - it increases Blessed Hammer damage by 250% for the first 3 enemies it hits. Now, if you look closely in the above screen shot, the rune I have selected for Blessed Hammer is Limitless, which basically gives the hammer a chance to split into two hammers when it hits an enemy.



2. Armor slot

I got a sweet pair of pants called Hammer Jammers. And boy oh boy is this the sweetest piece of gear I have (combined with the cool Shield). Here's what it does:

Enemies take 400% increased damage from  your Blessed Hammers for 10 seconds after you hit them with a Blind, Immobilize or Stun.

WOW!! I mean, WOW!!!! So, whenever I start a battle, I quickly blind everyone around me with that sweet shield and Shield Glare, and then spam Blessed Hammers, only to see my critical hits doing almost 3 times as much damage as usual. It kills them QUICK!



3. Jewelry slot

The Ring of Royal Grandeur - everyone knows this one - it's a must if you want to equip sets - it basically reduces the number of set items you need by 1 to get the set bonuses.


Then, last but not least, here's the strategy:

Just do Regular Rifts. And as you enter it, immediately hit Steed Charge and run past/through any non-elite/rare mobs you get (unless they block you when your charge runs out or something) - if Steed Charge has depleted for now, hit the Law, which gives you another boost and the ability to run through the mobs. Once that has finished, Steed Charge should have recharged, and you can hit it again. By now you should have hit an elite or rare pack - if you do hit one, run straight into the middle of hit, and throw that Shield Glare and start spamming your Blessed Hammers. In no time they should die, and if they dropped a Death's Breath, you'll get another one that's to the set, Sage's Journey.

Carry on in this fashion until you finish the rift. At Torment 3 you will get about 70-80 Blood Shards too at the end (correct me if I'm wrong) and if you were lucky about 10-16 Death's Breath. The added bonus is it should only take 3 or 4 minutes to complete the rift like this :D

Oh, and of course, whenever you use a Pylon or Shrine, another rare pack will spawn speeding things up even more.

When you have enough Blood Shards, buy from Kadala whichever item you need. If you didn't get what you wanted, you can take the Rares (yellow items) to Kanai's Cube and turn them into Legendaries (here's where the Death's Breath comes in - you need 25 for each time you do this).

Doing rifts in this manner will also get you lots of legendary drops - in one rift I got 5 legendary drops! You should also level you Paragon levels in this way quickly, so it's overall a very relaxed and quick way to do lots of stuff at once.

Hope this helps! Have fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My LG G4 - a few months down the line

I've now had my LG G4 for a good couple of months. And a good couple of months they've been! I finally got my 32gig SD card from CellC, and that's made a big difference to have some extra storage. The phone has 32gig on-board by default, but only about 22gigs of that is available to use.

The only small issue I have is battery life. It isn't the best, especially when I use the phone a lot during the day. But it is something I can definitely overlook, since I got a spare battery and charger with the phone from CellC - at first I thought I won't use it, but it came in very handy when I was playing with my phone the whole day.

Here is a list of some of the things I love about my G4:

  • Smooth as silk - the interface and everything works great.
  • Excellent camera - I love the camera, especially with the f1.8 lens it has, as well as optical image stabilization. You can even shoot in RAW! It also gives you manual controls for stuff like white balance, shutter speed and ISO.
  • LTE/4G connectivity - I don't get to use my phone a lot when I have a full 4G signal, but sheesh, when I do it's lightning fast!
  • Screen - the screen is gorgeous! It's 5.5 inches and a has a QHD resolution. That's 2560x1440 pixels! It's really something to behold!
  • Custom icons for your apps - that's right, you can change the icons for your apps!
  • Looks - the phone is stunning to look at. The curvature of the back cover gives the illusion that the screen is curved as well :) It has a premium feel and the size of the phone is just right for my hands.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a die-hard Samsung fan. I still like Samsung, but I'm definitely not sorry that I decided to put my faith in the LG flagship for 2 years.

Life's Good after all it seems!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weazel Tours - my first Bootstrap site built from scratch

I've finally decided to get cracking with Bootstrap. I was always a bit reluctant to start building Responsive websites, but it has become more and more necessary in the web design industry, especially since Google started penalizing sites that aren't mobile friendly with that huge update of 2015.

So, early in January 2016 I got an enquiry from one of my clients for a brand new website for her and her husband's motorcycle tours company they're starting up. After she accepted the quote, I decided that from now on all of my sites will be responsive. It was time to make the switch.

I had no more excuses now, so I was basically forced to learn how to do a website based on the Bootstrap framework. I watched a few beginner tutorial videos to get the basics, and I jumped straight in on building my first website in Bootstrap from scratch. Luckily it wasn't a major site, only 6 pages or so, and I think it turned out GREAT! I'm super proud of the site we ended up with, and my client and her husband are super happy with the end result!

So, without further ado, here's the link to my first Bootstrap website: Motorcycle Tours South Africa


And a special thanks to Natalie from Sugar and Spice Design (my wife :D hehe) who did a stellar job in designing such a beautiful site!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

XAMPP - cannot access web server over LAN all of a sudden?

I use XAMPP for my PHP web development. My wife designs the sites that I work with, and sometimes she needs to access my local web server from her PC. Usually that's as easy as typing in my PC's network name in her browser and she can access everything on my localhost.

Since a few days ago, it stopped working. She even tried using my IP address directly in her browser, but that too, didn't work.

Then I remembered, Windows 10 updated something a while back, and I guess it was then when this issue started. Turned out, I had to allow port 80 over my Windows Firewall again. So, if you're running Windows 10, here's how to do that:

Press the Start button, and type in Firewall, then click on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security at the top:


This will open up the Firewall window, which looks like this:

(click on the image to see it bigger if you need to)

What we want to do is set up a new Inbound Rule, so at the top left, click on Inbound Rules:


Then, to create the new rule, click on New Rule... on the right:


That opens up the New Rule dialogue window:


We want to open up Port 80 on the Firewall, so click on Port, and then Next > at the bottom, which will bring you here. Make sure TCP is selected, and type in 80 where it says Specific local ports:


Click Next > at the bottom again, which brings you here:


Make sure Allow the connection is selected, and click Next > once again, bringing you to this screen:


Select the appropriate settings here for your network. In most cases, the Private one should be sufficient. Finally click Next > once more, and give this Rule a name and description, and you're done with this section.

Last, but not least, restart Apache, and you should be all set to go.

Hope this helps!