Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My new LG G4

For the last 6 years I've had Samsung phones. First one was the horrible Omnia, and boy oh boy that phone sucked! After that, I jumped on the Android bandwagon and got the awesome Galaxy S2 - I even blogged about it (read that blog here). I loved my S2, but sadly, close to the end of the 2 year contract it died a miserable death. It just failed to boot, and I tried and tried to do the factory reset thing, but it didn't work.

Then I got the Galaxy Note 3. It was slightly bigger than the S2, about 1.4 inches bigger haha. It was great. At first. I say "at first" because at some stage it got so ridiculously slow it wasn't even funny. I backed everything up and did a factory reset, but it never felt as fast and responsive as when I first got it.

I was still a Samsung fan, however, and for my next upgrade I would probably have gone with the S6 or Note 5. 

Then one of my friends came to visit, and she was bragging with her new Hauwei Ascend P7. I played a bit with it, and it was the first non-Samsung phablet I got my hands on. Damn was I impressed with that phone! I don't know why, but I always had this thing that anything that isn't Samsung would just be sub-par. But her phone clearly proved me wrong. 

It was a kind of revelation for me - it opened up my mind to maybe, for my next phone, get something that isn't Samsung. Although I loved my S2, it did die in the end. And my Note 3, which I also really liked AT FIRST, got so annoyingly slow, it kinda made me want to ditch the brand.

My choice was mainly between LG and Sony, and in the end I went for the LG G4. And damn I'm happy with it! It's got a 5.5 inch screen, so 0.2 inches smaller than the Note 3, but a higher resolution. It has 3 GIGS of RAM. 32 GIGS of storage, with the option to add up to 128 gig extra thanks to the SD card slot. A Snapdragon 808 processor. And a very good camera that can even shoot in RAW!

One thing I was quite afraid of was the fact that it doesn't have physical buttons below the screen like the Samsung does. And, being used to that for 6 years caused it to take me a full week to get used to the on-screen buttons. Nice thing though, is you can customize them!

Anyway, I've had the phone for a few weeks now, and I absolutely love it. I know it's too soon to tell, but so far so good. So good indeed! 

If you are a die-hard Samsung fan and would never consider using another Android brand, I was a die-hard Samsung fan too. I am still a fan, just not an exclusive one anymore. For the next two years I'm putting my faith in my new LG G4. It was a lot cheaper than a Samsung Flagship, and it's a damn good phone. 

I will keep you posted!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Takealot - South Africa's best online shop with the WORST searching in the history of searching

South Africa is slowly but surely getting on the online shopping bandwagon, and we have a few big online retailers, but the one I'm going to be talking about in this blog post is Takealot. They used to be called take2, but there was some issue with the name so they changed it.

They've also absorbed Kalahari a few months ago, so I think it's safe to say they're the biggest online shop in SA.

We buy from them often. Especially because they deliver for free if you order over a certain amount, and they have those damn daily deals which are hard to resist.

But, and it saddens me a great deal to say this - their searching SUCKS. Finding an item on Takealot is akin to finding that proverbial needle in the haystack. It's much more difficult than it's supposed to be. So many times I've searched for something on Takealot, then I'm bombarded with irrelevant results. And complaining about this on their social media doesn't do anything.

Now, I'm a web programmer - and by far I'm not the best there is, but I'm pretty good - and I think I know exactly what it is they're doing wrong with their search algorithm (can you even call something as broken as their search function an "algorithm"?).

The other day, for example, I see they've started stocking musical instruments and equipment, like guitars and amps. I'm a big Marshall fan, I still have my Valvestate 65W from my 18th birthday back in 2000. So, I search for "marshall amp" (  I do NOT want to see SHOES in the search results. Nike cross trainers with the word "amp" in the name, but guess what, the word "marshall" is nowhere to be found on the page for those shoes.

What this tells me is that their main search algorithm (there I go calling it that again) is they made the mistake of using the keyword OR instead of AND. So, searching for "marshall amp" goes and queries their database with "give me every item that features one of these words". Instead, it should be "give me every item that features all these words".

Let's use another example - "bluray writer" ( - this gives me huge amounts of bluray MOVIES. DVD Writers, yes. Oxford Dictionaries, yes. Countless other books, yes. Even changing to the right department doesn't give satisfactory results. Maybe they wrote "bluray" instead like "blu-ray" - so I search for "blu-ray writer" ( - this gives you, as you can see, anything but blu-ray writers. Blu-ray players, yes. Countless other things, that DON'T include the word "writer", yes. The thing I'm looking for? Sadly, no.

Takealot - for the love of all that is good and the internet - surely fixing this should be a minor task? But if not, investing the time to fix it will make searching so much better for EVERYONE (and with that, I mean MORE MONEY FOR YOU BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY FIND WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR ON YOUR SITE!). I am quite technical, and I struggle my ass off to find products on your site. For people not as technically inclined - I don't even want to know the hassle they have to go through to find something.

Anyway, rant over. Your service is good, and your prices as well. Just fix the searching.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Unity Tutorial - how to make a Dictionary show up in the editor

I discovered how awesome Dictionaries are this week (yes I haven't been coding in Unity C# that long ok hehe). It's basically a key-value pair fancy array thing :)

Here's how you'd use it:

Dictionary<string, string> nameOfMyDictionary = new Dictionary<string, string> ();

(Remember to include the System.Collections.Generic; namespace at the top of your file, otherwise this won't work...)

Then, you can add stuff to it with code using the Add() function, etc. Similar to Lists.

Anyway, I discovered that they don't show up the Editor like normal arrays do. And that made me a little sad. So, here's a small workaround I discovered. I'm sure it's not the best way to do it, but it works for me.

Firstly, create a struct containing the key-value pair variables, and remember to add System.Serializable to allow them to show up in the editor:

public struct NameOfStruct
public string  string1UniqueKey;
public string string1Value;

Next, declare an Array of your new Struct, like so:

public NameOfStruct[] myDictionaryStruct;

This makes the array show up in the Unity Editor, where you can edit it:

So, fill in a few values:

We're almost done. Now we simply need to assign these values to our Dictionary. We do that in the Start() function with a simple for loop:

void Start () 
for (int i = 0; i < myDictionaryStruct.Length; i++)
nameOfMyDictionary.Add (myDictionaryStruct[i].string1UniqueKey, myDictionaryStruct[i].string1Value);

It works great, now you can use the dictionary as you normally would. For example, let's say I want to get the value of Alpha, I would simply type in:


That would then be equal to "One" - pretty cool hey?

Here's a screenshot of my code:

(click to make it bigger)

Hope this little trick helps you in some way!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to shut down Windows 7 without installing updates

Living here in good old South Africa we get to experience something I think everyone on earth should get to experience - Load Shedding. Ahhh load shedding. Nothing speaks of a government's incompetence as something like load shedding does. Anyway, with our power going out way more than it should, I have to shut down my PC way more often that I would like. I believe in turning the thing on, and leaving it on.

Anyway, if you don't shut down your PC as often, the updates kinda builds up, and when you do want to shut down, your PC decides that this is now a great time to install the updates first. And yes, it sometimes takes more time than what you have! I foolishly thought one afternoon that 15 minutes would be more than enough time. Sadly it was not. In the middle of updating, where the PC says "please do not turn off your machine" the load shedding kicked in. Luckily nothing bad happened, but still.

So, there is a way to shut down your computer without installing the updates first. It's a bit of a pain, but luckily it's not difficult to do. All you need to do is go to the Switch Users screen. Next to the shut down button on Windows 7, click on the arrow, then click Switch Users:

From the next screen you can Shut down as well, and without installing those nasty updates. Anyway, Windows 10 is coming in two weeks, and I plan on upgrading. It is free for a year after all, so I thought why the hell not :) Hopefully this issue is sorted out there...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Terraria 1.3 changelog

Ahhh good old Terraria. The indie game that got me interested in game development. And they've done it once again! Their previous major update was 1.2, and boy was it of epic proportions. It seems that 1.3 will be nothing less, promising over 800 new items. Eight HUNDRED good people! And, no DLC bullsh!t, this is a FREE update - all devs, including every single AAA one can learn from these guys! Best $10 I ever spent in my whole life!

From their forums, here's the list of changes coming on 30 June:

Features and Mechanics:

  • Revamped Town NPCs. They now sit, avoid monsters, socialize, avoid sitting near chests, and fight back against threats!
  • Chest open/close is now animated.
  • You can now join multiplayer games through Steam.
  • Steam Cloud saving is now available.
  • Achievements are now available through Steam and in game.
  • Character Select Menu has been revamped to show additional character information.
  • You can now toggle Screen Capture mode by pressing F1. This allows for taking much larger screenshots in game.
  • Your abilities while mounting have been enhanced - fishing and attacking while mounted are now possible..
  • Added the option to disable Blood and Gore.
  • You can now find the Skeleton Merchant underground. He has some unique items to sell, if you catch him at the right time.
  • There are several new appearance options available during character creation.
  • Enemy Banners now empower players nearby when facing the same enemy displayed on the banner.
  • Worlds now keep track of how many enemies have been killed and reward banners for every 50 kills.
  • The server will announce which player got the 50th kill.
  • When chatting with other players using the Chat Bar, you can now link items by pressing Shift+Left Click on the item you wish to share.
  • The angler always rewards money.
  • You can now remove spawn points by right clicking your bed.
  • You now get fishing rewards for every 5 turn ins, versus the previous requirement of 10.
  • The game will now tell you how much money you dropped upon death.
  • The player’s last death location is now shown on the map, aiding the retrieval of lost money and/or items..
  • Strange Plants can now be located and given to the Dye Trader for new dye rewards.
  • Information Accessories now work from the player’s inventory (versus needing to be equipped), and stats can be shared with players around you.
  • Dressers can now be used as chests. Clicking the bottom of the dresser will still open the color changing menu.
  • You can now purchase items using all money in your character storage - including money in your inventory, Piggybank, and Safe.
  • You can now hammer traps to change their direction of fire.
  • Deleting a world or character will now move it to the recycle bin versus permanent deletion. (Windows Only)
  • Added Minecart, Mount, Pet and Grappling Hook slots.
  • Bosses now have minimap icons.
  • Bubbles and lava immunity bars now appear above your head.
  • Added ability to favorite items by pressing Alt+Left Click. Favorited items cannot be quick-trashed, quick-stacked, or deposited.
  • Added an inventory button to Quick Stack to All Nearby Chests, making inventory management much quicker.
  • Quick stack now creates new stacks in your chests for items you have in inventory if applicable.
  • The Dye System has been overhauled to improve the general appearance of all Dyes.
  • Crafting Grid button now has new graphics for toggling.
  • Smart Cursor now also works for Paintbrush, Paint Roller, Paint Scraper, Buckets, Alchemy, Acorns, and Actuators.
  • Platforms will now automatically place as stairs if placed appropriately using Smart Cursor.
  • You can now right click clickable tiles when the mouse is hovering on them in Smart Cursor.

Expert Mode:

  • Expert mode can now be toggled in the World Creation Menu. This will trigger a host of changes, all designed to provide a greater challenge with the promise of greater rewards. Some of those challenges are listed below:
  • You stay dead longer before being able to respawn during boss fights.
  • Boss health scales in multiplayer depending on the number of players.
  • Weaker enemies gain increased stats as the players progress, starting in hardmode.
  • You drop 75% of your gold upon death.
  • Enemies can pick up your gold when you die and attempt to run off with it. Kill them to retrieve your loot.
  • Monsters have a small chance to spawn in towns.
  • Some normal enemies have been given new AI.
  • Bosses have been given new AI.
  • Bosses will drop Treasure Bags containing powerful expert exclusive items to reward those up to the challenge.
  • Pots now drop more stuff when broken.
  • Ice Monsters gain an additional chance to freeze upon hitting the player.
  • Quest rewards give more money.
  • Bats have a chance to give the new Feral Bite debuff. This debuff will increase player damage but lower player health regen. This debuff will also cause other random debuffs to be applied to the player
  • Life Regen isn’t as effective unless the player has the Well Fed buff.
  • Vampire and Spectre healing is slightly less effective than in normal mode.
  • The Defense statistic is more effective than in normal mode.


  • Invasion Events now have a progress bar, showing how far along the player is towards completion.
  • The new randomly-triggered Slime Rain event is now included.
  • The Goblin Invasion event has been graphically updated and will have a new mini boss enemy in Hardmode.
  • The Pirate Invasion has a new mini boss.
  • The Blood Moon has a new graphical effect as well as several new enemies.
  • The Solar Eclipse can now be triggered with the Solar Tablet summoning item. This event also has several new enemies and rewards.
  • The new Martian Madness event can be triggered after the player defeats The Golem.
  • Cultists will now begin to spawn outside the Dungeon after the player defeats The Golem. Defeating them will start the beginning of the end.


  • You can now craft items from a chest while it is open without having to place its contents in the player inventory beforehand..
  • There is a new Alchemy Table that has a chance to reduce potion crafting cost.
  • Crafting Wooden Arrows now gives 10 per recipe instead of 5. Their cost has been reduced to 5 copper.
  • You can now craft Bone Platforms.
  • Greater Healing Potions now cost less to craft.
  • Holy Water is now slightly easier to craft.
  • You now craft Cursed, Demon, Frost, Ichor, and Ultrabright Living Fire Blocks.
  • You can now craft Gender Change potions.
  • You can now craft the Wormhole Potion. This potion allows you to teleport to any player on your team by clicking them on the map.
  • You can now craft Honeyfall Blocks and Walls.
  • You can now craft Chlorophyte Bricks and Walls.
  • You can now craft Crimtane Bricks and Walls.
  • You can now craft Shroomite Plating and Walls.
  • Beenades can now be crafted.
  • Water Candles can now be crafted.
  • You can now craft Crisp Honey Blocks.
  • You can now craft Sunplate Blocks and Disc Walls.
  • You can now craft Keys of Light and Keys of Night.
  • Pink Gel - and several items that are crafted from Pink Gel - have been added.
  • You can now craft Magic Water Droppers.
  • You can now craft Meteor Bricks and furniture.
  • You can now craft Granite and Marble furniture.
  • Martian Furniture can now be crafted.
  • You can now craft Enchanted Nightcrawlers.
  • Lowered the cost for Meteor Gear.
  • Space Gun now only requires Meteorite Bars.
  • Crimtane and Demonite bars now cost 3 ore.
  • You can now craft Target Dummies to test your damage per second.
  • Avenger Emblems are now crafted from any emblem and all 3 hardmode boss souls.
  • Neptune’s Shell is no longer craftable and is only dropped from the Creature from the Deep.
  • Reduced the crafting cost of Rainbow Rod, Fairy Bell, and Magical Harp.
  • Broken Hero Sword is no longer needed to craft the Terra Blade.
  • You can now craft Spectre Bars.
  • Fireplaces and Chimneys are now craftable.
  • Phasesabers are now crafted at a Mythril Anvil.


  • Platforms now stack to 999.
  • A new friendly NPC - The Tax Collector - will join you if rescued.
  • You can now revert Platforms back to their original materials via crafting.
  • Corrupt and Crimson Trees now drop Acorns.
  • Coins are now animated.
  • You can now automatically break stone piles when trying to place things over them.
  • There are now visible cracks shown on solid blocks and trees when they have been hit.
  • You can now mouse over signs to read them versus having to click on them.
  • Revamped liquid networking code to be much less laggy in multiplayer.
  • Pots now drop more money based on the type of pot.
  • Pots will now drop an additional 10% more money for every boss and invasion you defeat.
  • Living Wood chests will now always contain a Living Wood Wand and Leaf Wand.
  • You no longer take fall damage while on Bunny Mount.
  • Copper, Iron, Silver, and Gold have all been given new ore textures.
  • The Axe now has a 1 in 50 chance to drop from Plantera, down from 1 in 200.
  • Voodoo Demons now spawn more often
  • Golden Critters now have a chance to spawn.
  • Event enemies now run away when the event is over.
  • NPCs now only load their textures when they get in screen range.
  • Setting the window's resolution to a greater value than the maximum will now attempt to maintain its aspect ratio. (e.g. 2560x1440 will no-longer downscale to 1920x1200, but instead 1920x1080)
  • Rain has been optimized.
  • Bees can fall through platforms.
  • Smart Wall is now properly blocked by doors even if they're open.
  • Undead Miners now have a chance to drop Mining Helmets.
  • Tim is more likely to spawn if you need his hat.
  • Critters now have a sell price.
  • Well Fed buff times have been increased
  • Wyverns spawn more frequently if there is a Water Candle buff in effect.
  • Fixed health bar issues for Wyvern and Destroyer.
  • Players now spawn with half their life if the player’s max health is greater than 5 hearts.
  • The Painter NPC now shows up after 8 npcs are in town, instead of 4.
  • The Party Girl NPC now only shows up if there are 14 npcs, instead of 8.
  • The Dye Trader NPC now only shows up after defeating any of the easymode bosses.
  • Changed the spawn order for Town NPCs so that the more important ones spawn first.
  • Chlorophyte can grow in bigger chunks now.
  • Life fruit can spawn closer together now.
  • King slime can now move through platforms
  • Improved summoned minions attack AI.
  • Unicorns are more likely to spawn if a Water Cande buff is in effect.
  • Some Underworld drops are now a little more common.
  • Angry Nimbus more likely to spawn.
  • You can now find Crimson, Corruption, and Hallowed Large Mimics.
  • Spiders can now move through platforms.
  • You can no longer grapple while frozen.
  • Sky quest fish can no longer be found on the surface.
  • Reduced the number of water tiles needed to fish successfully in the sky.
  • Hornets and Walkers will no longer shoot at you while Stealthed.
  • Underground houses have been redesigned.
  • Coin Portals have a chance to spawn after breaking pots.
  • Blink Root growth has been slowed down.
  • Daybloom growth has been sped up.
  • It now takes longer for weeds to grow in clay pots.
  • Meteorites spawn in larger chunks.
  • Damage dealt by others in multiplayer now appears faded vs normal damage numbers.
  • Weapon Imbues now last 20 minutes and persist through death.
  • Increased some of the spawn rates for the rare hardmode dungeon monsters.
  • Dungeon Necromancers are less likely to teleport when hit.
  • Frost Armor is now crafted from Titanium and Adamantite bars rather than Hallowed.
  • Chlorophyte can now revert Corruption or Crimson spread. It also turns nearby dirt into mud.
  • Equipment slots now display a picture of the slots purpose.
  • Duke Fishron now enrages when you leave the ocean.
  • Pygmy’s now have a chance to inflict poison and venom.
  • Pygmy’s now have a larger range and the first projectile thrown will always pierce rather than getting stuck.
  • King Slime can now teleport when not in range of the player for over 5 seconds.


  • There are over 800 new items to discover.
  • There are new powerful items waiting to be fished up in the underground Crimson, Corruption, and Hallow.
  • All 2x2 items can now be placed on tables.
  • Item stack sizes are now universal.
  • Wooden Minecarts are now the default minecart.
  • Added several Yoyos, string accessories, and counterweights.
  • Several items have had graphical updates.
  • Lots of new banners have been added.
  • Signs and Tombstones can now be placed on tables.
  • Staff of Regrowth has been greatly improved.
  • The range of Wrenches and Wire Cutters has been boosted.
  • Slightly buffed the damage of the Musket.
  • The Titanium Armor invincibility armor set effect now only happens once every 30s.
  • Adamantite Armor now provides 4 more defense.
  • Honeyed Goggles drop chance has been increased significantly.
  • Whoopie Cushion drop chance has been increased.
  • Bug net is now only 50 silver.
  • Significantly boosted the speed bonus of the Magic Quiver.
  • Increased the length of time for Spider Turret, Crimson Rod, Nimbus Rod.
  • Chests are now more likely to contain Recall Potions.
  • You can now craft Sticky and Bouncy Dynamite.
  • You can now find the Sparky Painting in the Dungeon. R.I.P Sparky Doo.
  • Molotov Cocktails now do significantly less damage.
  • Bottled water now stacks to 999.
  • Improved Spider Minion AI. They now latch on to enemies and follow the player better.
  • Fountains now cost 4 gold each and are available as soon as you get the Witch Doctor.
  • The Recall Potion recipe now utilizes Daybloom instead of Deathweed.
  • Spectral fish are a bit easier to catch.
  • Bait now lasts a bit longer.
  • The Snowball Launcher and Snowball Cannon now have more damage and knockback.
  • Ice Blade does slightly more damage.
  • Increased critical hit bonus from Jungle Armor and Ancient Cobalt Armor
  • Shiverthorn grows a little faster.
  • Deathweed now also blooms on full moons.
  • Fireblossom now blooms during the evening.
  • Ice Rod is less expensive, and the blocks have a longer duration.
  • Mana potions are less expensive and stack higher.
  • Shadow Chests now contain a new item.
  • Several new fishing rewards have been added.
  • You can now catch Specular Fish in the Ice Biome.
  • You can now fish for biome-exclusive crates in their respective biomes.
  • Wooden Chests contain several new items.
  • You can now craft Web and Silk Rope.
  • Snow Balls now do more damage.
  • Snowball Launcher and Cannon have had their values adjusted .
  • Boomerangs have a smaller collision box for tiles.
  • Dynamite’s value has been lowered.
  • Jungle Bats, Ice Bats, and Giant Bats now drop Depth Meter.
  • Mother Slime, Snow Flinx, Undead Viking, and Armored Viking now drop the Compass.
  • Beach Ball is now sold by the Party Girl.
  • Ice Boomerang and Ice Blade have been buffed.
  • Baby Jellyfish now have a sell price.
  • Rotten Eggs are now less common in Goodie Bags.
  • Pinky has an increased chance to drop the Slime Staff.
  • Lesser Restoration Potions are now just Restoration Potions.
  • The Solidifier now drops from King Slime.
  • Gold Ring now drops from the Pirate Invasion.
  • Uzi droprate has been increased.
  • Sniper Rifle now does more damage and has an increased fire rate.
  • Venus Magnum now fires faster.
  • Invisibility Potions now give full invisibility and reduce aggro when not attacking.
  • Adamantite and Titanium Forges are now animated.
  • Dye Vat is now animated.
  • You can now place fishing crates.
  • Jungle Grubs now fall out of Jungle Plants and can be used as bait.
  • Star in a Bottle now gives the Mana Regen buff.
  • Extractinators can now be found in Fishing Crates.
  • You can now place torches on platforms.
  • Increased Antlion Mandible drop rate significantly.
  • Increased Mining Potion duration.
  • Sickle is now sold year long.
  • Planter Boxes are now sold by the Dryad.
  • Cobalt, Obsidian, Mythril, Adamantite, Mythril Brick, and Adamantite Brick all have new textures.
  • Fire Gauntlet has been buffed.
  • Buffed Ice Sickle and its drop rate.
  • Increased the drop rates for most Hardmode Dungeon items.
  • There is a 1 in 7 chance that a Hardmode Dungeon monster will spawn on any Hardmode Dungeon backwall.
  • Dungeon Spirit spawns have been slightly increased.
  • Hydra and Spider Turret can now be placed on platforms.
  • Keys to Biome Chests are now dropped instead of molds. Biome Chests can only be opened after Plantera has been defeated.
  • Added Fallen Tuxedo. This is sold by the Clothier on a Bloodmoon.
  • Campfires can now be turned on/off.
  • Lihzahrd Furnace is now guaranteed loot in every Jungle Temple chest.
  • Steampunk Wings are now obtainable.
  • Staff of Earth has been buffed.
  • Golem Fist has been buffed.
  • Xmas Tree Sword has been buffed.
  • Flamelash has been buffed.
  • Spectre Staff has been buffed.
  • Flower Pow has been buffed.
  • Frost Staff has been buffed.
  • Trident has been buffed.
  • KO Cannon has been buffed.
  • Flower of Frost has been buffed.
  • Flower of Fire has been buffed.
  • Keyblade has been buffed.
  • Magnet Sphere has been buffed.
  • Possessed Hatched has been buffed.
  • Razorblade Typhoon now uses more mana.
  • Flamelash and Flower of Fire now use less mana.
  • Ice Rod blocks are now slippery.
  • Hardmode Ore crafted swords and Excalibur are now auto swing and do 15% more damage.
  • Chlorophyte Swords have been buffed.
  • Bait can be put in ammo slot.


  • Pirate Invasion now has a new track.
  • The Underworld now has a new track.
  • Goblin Invasion now has a new track.
  • Added Martian Madness track.
  • Added Lunar Event track.
  • Added Final Boss track.


  • Added several new mini biomes to world gen.
  • New Biome - The Underground Desert.
  • Liquid Visuals have been revamped.
  • Sky Lakes now spawn.
  • Added a light effect to the Glass Kiln.
  • Slimes can now have items visible inside them that will drop when they die.
  • Wall of Flesh will now spawn a cage of Crimtane Bricks when slain in a Crimson World.
  • Accessory dyes now apply to particle effects spawned from them.
  • Changed player animations to be less bouncy.
  • Trees now drop Acorns alongside actual tree items (rather than either/or).
  • Palm tree tops now drop Acorns.
  • The Crimson now has aligned fauna: Vicious Mushrooms, Vicious Powder, and Crimtane Thorns.
  • Game default cave parallax is now 60 , rather than 0.
  • NPCs will not climb stairs into another room anymore.
  • Goblins now have gore unique to each goblin.
  • Improved NPC graphics.
  • Pigrons have appear in greater varieties.
  • Sunflowers now glow at night and give a "Happy" buff that reduces monster spawns and increases movement speed.
  • Heads on the map stay the same size (regardless of map size).
  • Updated Fountain Graphics.
  • You can now find Marble and Granite biomes underground.
  • Dirt Rod can now move through tiles when held and is cheaper.
  • Pine Tree variations have been added to the Ice Biome.
  • Honey Patches will now spawn during world gen in the Jungle.
  • Ice Patches will now spawn during world gen in the Ice Biome.
  • Abandoned Mine Tracks have been added to world gen.
  • Added several new walls to world gen.
  • There are now water, honey, and lava drips found in the world. They can also be placed with Magic Droppers.

Bug Fixes:

  • A large amount of bugs have been fixed from prior releases - and even more related to 1.3 itself. This is a partial list.
  • Fixed bug where chandeliers would spawn lit up in underground cabins.
  • Fixed bug where KO Cannon could drop from statue-spawned monsters.
  • Fixed a bug that would place alchemy plants over alchemy plants in pots.
  • Fixed a graphical issue with Alchemy plants. They had half pixels.
  • Angler Vest now draws the player's hand properly.
  • Pharaoh's Robe now draws the player's hand properly.
  • Fixed bug where shooting chain projectiles and aiming directly at the shooter's center would crash the game.
  • Fixed a bug where the Skyware Workbench was made at the Glass Kiln.
  • Fixed bug where shooter NPCs walked slower to the left than to the right.
  • Fixed bug where long hair would draw even if the player is invisible.
  • Fixed bug where Worms would not drop gore segments on death.
  • Fixed a bug where you could spawn a heart/enemy from a statue using wires faster than intended..
  • Fixed a bug where the game could crash if the Rod of Discord was used on the far right of the world.
  • Fixed bug where worms would walk up slopes funny.
  • Dynamic lighting now stays when the game is paused.
  • Fixed a bug where Piranha Statues weren't spawning properly when a world was created.
  • Fixed a bug where the Beds weren't fully drawing.
  • Fixed a few cage types that were drawing improperly.
  • Fixed bug where Skeletron Prime's bombs would not deal damage upon exploding in multiplayer.
  • Fixed bug where dart & spear traps would gain damage bonuses and crit chance from ranged stats in singleplayer.
  • Fixed bug where Broken Armor's time was set back to 5 minutes from 2 minutes in update 1.2
  • Fixed bug where mouse-hover over Slime & Pumpkin Bed would show the wrong item icon.
  • Fixed a bug where Ice Rod tiles could spawn dirt when saving a world.
  • Fixed a bug where Blue Slab Walls from the dungeon weren't considered player housing when the player would place them.
  • Fixed a bug where whether the Stylist was saved or not wasn't saving in the World save.
  • Fixed a bug where switches would attach to a tree when it wasn't a valid placement spot.
  • Fixed a bug where the server could crash when creating a new world during tree placement.
  • Fixed bugs where Obsidian furniture was not surviving in lava properly. Affected Beds, Sofas, Dressers and Pianos.
  • Fixed a bug where Levers placed on walls would float if the wall was destroyed.
  • Fixed a bug where a specific configuration of a slope and tile could cause players to hover in the air.
  • Fixed bug that allowed stacked stairs to act as an ultra-fast elevator.
  • Fixed bug where players would run up stairs when running against them.
  • Fixed a bug where the sloped version of damaging blocks would not hurt players.
  • Fixed bug that prevented Deep Cyan Paint from displaying correctly on some tiles.
  • Fixed a bug where traps could sometimes cause the game to crash when triggered.
  • Fixed bug / exploit where generated chlorophyte ores would not update on clients in multiplayer sometimes.
  • Fixed bug where projectiles did not reset frame on set defaults.
  • Fixed bug where body frames were 1 frame behind leg frames when walking around.
  • Fixed bug where 'defeated golem' flag was passed into newly created worlds.

Wow, just wow. Inventory management and the new biomes excites me most :)

Can't wait to hit Terraria again when this is out!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The epicness that is Unepic

A while back, Jayson and I bought a little game called Unepic. It's a side scroller platform RPG, and it is truly epic!

The story is great as well - you and a bunch of mates are playing a tabletop RPG. You take a bathroom break, and the lights go out. When it comes back on again, you're in a fantasy world with your trusty lighter and your witty comments, and a full on fantasy adventure ahead.

The reason we picked it up was a combination of the numerous yes votes on Steam as well as the promise of co-op game play. As you know by now, we are forever on the lookout for the next awesome co-op experience, and sheesh does Unepic hit the proverbial sweet spot a thousand times over!

The game is also brutal, you will die and you will die often - sometimes it cannot be avoided even! Pull that lever and a massive boulder will crush you. Or make the floor disappear, impaling you on the spikes below. I've never been as cautious of levers as in this game haha!

There's loot, as there should be in any good RPG. The humor is excellent. The game play mechanics, especially with a Xbox controller, is just right. And, the best part, the co-op WORKS! How many times have we tried playing GTA 5 co-op and not be able to properly connect to each other (friends only sessions). Grand Theft Waiting if you ask me...

Just to explain how well the game handles the networking - last night, as we were playing over the internet, Jayson's ADSL dropped all of a sudden. His character decided to run straight into the wall, and continued to run indefinitely. I thought, oh well, there goes all the progress we just made down the drain. BUT, a small miracle happened. Jayson connected his 3G and we got the VPN up and running again, all without closing the game and the session, and low and behold - he was back in again! And we could carry on playing, even with his 3-4 minute absence!

So, Unepic dev guys and gals, you have done something really special with the net code for Unepic - the big leagues can learn from you because it's awesome!

A ridiculously fun game. A ridiculously funny game. An excellent platformer. There's loot, leveling, spells, crafting, Steam workshop. And yes, one hellishly fun co-op adventure!

Buy Unepic here:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The latest 7 Days to Die news

Although we're playing GTA 5 on PC every single chance we get (Jayson and me), I'm still keeping a very keen eye on the 7 Days to Die development, and boy oh boy, the game is impressing more and more.

When we played it a bunch of times last year it was a massive amount of fun (we started when it was around version Alpha 8 or so). Now, the game version is almost at Alpha 12, and sheesh it's going to be a massive one from the looks of things.

Firstly, there's now a craft-able mini bike in the game, the first of (hopefully) many vehicles in the game. The random generated game worlds are absolutely huge, so having a way to get places quicker is going to be awesome!

Then, there's HUGE improvements in the graphics - the update from version 10 to 11 took a good while, because Unity (the engine the game is written in - we're actually developing in it as well!) released a new major version - version 5 - and the devs upgraded the game to the latest version, which included a bunch of improvements, and it really shows! Trees are much more random, and they are really improving the look and feel of the game drastically!

A whole bunch of new recipes have also been included in the update of course, and a bow and arrow has replaced the crossbow as your first ranged weapon (although this has been in the game since version 11) - to name a few!

And, a bunch of much requested features - improvements in the user interface. Especially when it comes to working with your inventory! The video below showcases a lot of the improvements - and to think, this game is still in Alpha! Can't wait for it to get fully released one day (if that ever happens haha!).

See, pretty cool stuff awaits! Check out the dev blog here to see more of the action as it happens...

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'm now a Part-time Indie Game Developer

The bug has now finally properly sunk it's greedy little teeth into me. After taking part in the last Ludum Dare (where you get 72 hours to make a game from scratch!), I decided to give it a proper go as a Indie Game Developer.

I have LOTS to learn. I've dabbled a little bit in Unity, but now I'll put a proper effort into learning the platform. I have teamed up with my best friend, Jayson, and I'm now officially part of Alister Software. Please click here to Like our page on Facebook

Jayson is the lead programmer because he has about 2-3 years extra on me with Unity development - he's even released his first game, Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant, which quite recently got Greenlit on Steam! I have seen how Jayson developed into a full on game developer, and it's something I actually always wanted to do - since I was in school in fact!

I'm not bad at programming myself, just need to start grinding and learning Unity. I do, however, have other strengths I can bring to the team, especially with regards to marketing and social media, and I'm a web designer by day so that will come in handy as well. I have been programming for 14 years already (wow has it been that long!), so learning Unity won't be too big a stretch for me.

We have already started with our first game together. It is called "Catch a Falling Star" - the aim of the game is, well, to catch a falling star - you have a basket at the bottom, and stars fall out of the sky which you must catch, with the aim being to see how big a score you can reach by the time you've lost all your lives. It's a rather simple concept, but we're putting a lot of effort in it to make it very polished and nice! Here are a few images to start putting our ideas out there:

It's going to be released on Android, and if we get some traction and make some money with it, we'll definitely launch it on iOS and Windows Mobile as well :)

Extremely excited for this new side venture!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Playing around with 3D Modeling in Blender

I have always had a bit of interest in 3D modeling. I wasn't too bad at 3D Studio Max back in the day, but I haven't used it in years! Last week, I decided to give Blender a go. It was rather intimidating to use at first, because it's not like Max at all, and there are TONS of shortcuts!

I decided to do a tutorial to make a simple low polygon scene, with the thinking that this will help me get used to the program and teach me how to use some of the features. I'm happy to report that it did! I'm now a lot more comfortable with the program, and the EXCELLENT tutorial I did was this one:

And here's my attempt - not too shabby hey!

If you are keen on learning how to use Blender, do this tutorial, it really helped me a great deal to get started with this excellent free software!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GTA 5 on PC - Awesome Co-op - eventually...

My awesome wife bought me GTA 5 for PC as an anniversary gift. I already own it on my Xbox 360, but I always knew that the PC version will be the definitive version by a long shot!

The game arrived a day late, but I didn't mind too much, since we had some friends staying over and I knew there wouldn't be time to play even if I wanted to. I did the install of the SEVEN discs, and was greeted by a nice 5 gig day 1 patch. Anyway, I let that run and started the game. Yes, this is the definitive version for sure. Indeed!

Sadly, I haven't had much time to put into the game as of yet, but over the weekend I finally got a good amount of GTA 5 in, and my good friend Jayson also got his copy last week, so we were extremely eager to boot up the game and do some co-op stuff! I never played GTA 5 online on my Xbox, so I didn't really know how it works and stuff, but it basically comes down to what they call game sessions. When you join GTA 5 online, you join an existing session which can include up to 15 other random players.

I did, however, see the menu options for creating closed friends-only sessions or invite-only sessions, so we tried doing those. And damnit, it just didn't want to work :( Jayson couldn't join my game, even though he saw my invite and I couldn't join him. We did manage, however, to play together on pre-existing sessions, which obviously included other players...

When you start, there's an optional tutorial section which we both did, and this helped us reach about level 4 with our characters, but after that we wanted to start playing together.

The first couple of things we did was a race here and there, and a few other players joined in as well. We both sucked big time against the guys with better cars and more experience - but, racing wasn't the reason we wanted to play the game together. We wanted to do co-op missions like the missions you do in the single player game, but I couldn't figure out how to do that, because every icon on the map were either deathmatches or races or something where you play against each other...

I hit up Google, and found out that the cool co-op missions only start when you reach level 5. Duh!! hehe...

Anyway, the first night we didn't play too much, only stopping at level 4 - why? Because we spent most of the night just trying to join each other's games - we were a bit disappointed in how much we struggled doing that. We gave up late into the night, and tried again yesterday. We had a lot more time, so we hit up Google to figure out how to get it to work properly.

Once again, it seems that port forwarding on my router as well as our good old fashioned Teamviewer VPN did the trick.

Port forwarding settings for GTA 5 for PC:

For the PC version of GTA 5, you should do port forwarding on your router for UDP ports 6672 and 61455-61458.

Then, get a TeamViewer VPN going between you guys, and it should work a lot better! (here's how to get that going).

How to play GTA 5 for PC online with just your friends:

When that's up and running, start the game as you normally would, but go into the Story Mode first - once you're in the game, hit Esc to bring up the menu, and click on the Online tab. At the bottom of that menu, you'll see it says Play GTA 5 Online - click on that, which opens a new menu with a bunch of additional options, like Go, Closed Crew Session, Closed Friend Session, Invite Only Session, etc.

We used Closed Friend Session (obviously make sure you and your buddies are friends on the Social Club). This means I'm basically hosting the game (I think). Once you're in, your friends have to go to the Friends menu and click on your name and click Join session. This should get you to play together without worrying about other people ganking you the whole time or being mean by killing you over and over hehe :)

So, our co-op experience of GTA 5 on PC

Basically, it's the most fun I've had in a co-op game since we beat the Warcraft 3 Tower Defense map called Burbenog back in 2005/2006. We played about the first 5 or 6 missions given by the NPC's (Simeon and Gerald) and they were an absolute blast! It was what we both were hoping the co-op experience would be. The first missions were really easy, but it got harder rather quickly! The nice thing though, is you can play them over and over again, excellent for trying different tactics or upping the difficulty (gaining more money and experience for successfully completing it!).

I don't have any screenshots to share, but we foresee a huge amount of GTA 5 PC online gaming in our future, and I'm sure you'll be reading lots about it here in the days, weeks and months to come!

Grand Theft Auto 5 for PC is the best version of the game by far. You are missing out if you're a gamer and you're not playing it. Get it, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ludum Dare - creating a game in 72 hours

My good friend Jayson asked me to join him in the next Ludum Dare - for those out there who don't know what that is, it's basically a competition (although there isn't really anything to be won, except for exposure and the oh-so-needed experience) where you can take part in either the compo or jam - for the compo you must create everything in the game yourself, and you have 48 hours to complete your game in, and in the jam you get 72 hours, but you have the ability to opt-out of various aspects, like sound or graphics.

Another interesting part of the dare is they give you the theme! This time around it was "unconventional weapon"...

I was a bit skeptical to join in, but decided to go for it! My Unity skills aren't close to as good as Jayson's, so he was in charge of coding, and I decided to go for the one thing that really makes me uncomfortable - graphics! The whole idea, after all, is to move you out of your comfort zone and to let you push yourself. And I'm very glad I did!

The dare started Saturday morning at 3am for us (local time in South Africa of course), and we were greeted with nice load shedding on Saturday morning between 10am and 12pm. Haha, we had to laugh at the additional challenges we would face being in deep dark Africa. We had load shedding the next day as well, and Jayson had internet woes a plenty!

Anyway, the theme, Unconventional Weapon, was quite not what we expected, so we both wrote down a bunch of ideas for that. I had stuff like Bovine Launchers (a cow cannon if you will), Mainstream guns with which you kill hipsters, and a bar code scanner. Jayson thought of a dog bowl hehe...

We went with the bar code scanner, and after we discussed it a bit, we decided that the main protagonist would be none other than a QR code whose aim is to get to the other side of a supermarket and let yourself get scanned to disarm a bomb. On your path to glory you would face one of two enemies - the evil bar code scanner shooting you with powerful waves slowing your progress (or ultimately bumping you off the shelf!) or a shopping trolley toting a general electric mini gun that shoots pencils - because why not! The game is called AgentQR :D

I'm going to post the images here now, and feel free to mock and ridicule me, as I don't have much of a artistic bone to even come close mentioning..........

The evil bar code scanner:

I made that thing from SCRATCH in Photoshop! The flames really helped bring out the evilness of it! :)

Next, the shopping trolley with the pencil shooting general electric mini gun:

Jayson didn't like the original wheels I had on, so I decided to show my disgust at him for giving the trolley a very nice set of expensive alloy rims and low profile tires. That's right!

Damn that's bad haha!

I also had to design the level, which included a backdrop (which I kinda like!):

And some items for the background inside the supermarket:

I made the fridge FROM SCRATCH hehe, and the cool looking window. Lastly, some items to block the way for our hero, like Milk, boxes, coffee cans, toilet paper and cereal (these were the easiest I could come up with haha):

And lastly, our Hero:

We made the game in the 72 hours we were given. And it was an immense amount of fun, and both me and Jayson learned a hell of a lot! I realised that if I give some effort, I can actually manage to make not too bad graphics, and Jayson made his first ever platform game.

The only thing we opted out for was sound - I tried recording some sound effect with my phone, but that failed miserably!

If you also took part in the dare, please vote for us, and if not, feel free to check it out anyway and let me know what you think!

Play it on the web here: (Just use any browser other than Chrome, they don't allow the Unity Web Player anymore)

Friday, April 17, 2015

GTX 970

Hehe, the title of this blog post really makes me happy. If you've read through my blog, you would have seen that I was due to purchase a GTX 960 graphics card in the upcoming months, but something bugged me a little with that card... It's also a mid range card, like my GTX 560 ti was back in 2011 when I got it. But this time around, nVidia's mid range card is mostly a "power consumption" upgrade from the previous generation. I read that the GTX 960 is a perfect upgrade for a 560, but if you have a 660 or a 760, then it's not really worth it that much.

Also, being stuck at the bottom of Africa means we pay a lot more for stuff than the lucky guys in the first world countries. And, as an added bonus, South Africa is experiencing numerous issues like load shedding (for my overseas readers who aren't familiar with that - basically our local government didn't think of upgrading our power generating abilities as our population grew exponentially in the last 20 years, meaning our power provider, Eskom, doesn't have sufficient capacity to actually supply us with a constant and steady stream of electricity anymore, now they cut power every day or two to prevent a total blackout... fun!). Combine that with the oh so useless xenophobic attacks taking place, we now sit with a weakening currency, meaning we pay an even bigger premium for items that are manufactured overseas - aka all things computer related.

Anyway, I've been contemplating really hard to maybe invest in the GTX 970 instead - yes I know there's the whole 3.5GB RAM issue, but it's still the best value for money nVidia card on the market, and the RAM issue only becomes an issue when you start gaming on extreme resolutions with extreme settings. I'm on 1920x1080, so in my case it's not gonna be such a big impact on my gaming experience - in fact, it won't bother me at all!

So, after deciding that, I started doing some homework, and for a mere R1800 more, I can get a 970 instead of a 960, and I reckon it'll give me a good 2-3 years longer service than the 960 would.

I phoned up my suppliers, and my sales guy at Corex is giving me an excellent deal - his name is Dylan, and he's one of the sales guys at the Cape Town branch of Corex, and I've only ever gotten excellent service from the guys there, and Dylan especially - if you're ok with registering as a reseller with Corex (a bit of a mission but very much worth it believe me!), I can heartily recommend chatting to him - or 021 528 8000 - and here's the purchase I will be making very soon:

That's right, the MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G! And the price I'm paying is less than R1000 more than you'd pay from a big overseas vendor like NewEgg! Makes me extremely giddy to know I'll soon be upgrading to a higher end card like this one, and as the box says, I look forward to JUST GAME!

I'm especially looking forward to cranking up the settings more on GTA V, which I installed yesterday (wasn't happy with the 5GB patch I had to download after installing from the discs, but hey, these things happen!) - my GTX 560 ti only has 1GB RAM (the game shows how much RAM your settings is using, and I was sad to see that the 1GB I have didn't allow for much), so the 4GB will be a huge step up, let alone the rest of the raw power my new addition to the family will serve!

Happy gaming in my future, I foresee! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant mini Review

Edit: Full disclosure - since writing this review I've joined up with Jayson and we're now both part of Alister Software. So, when I wrote this I was just writing a review for a friend's game, but now I'm part of the team and actively working on it. Armed with this knowledge, I hope you can still find something useful in my review below:

My good friend Jayson and I have been playing around with the elusive art of Indie Game Development. It all started when Terraria was released, and I learned that it was coded in XNA. That got me to start tinkering around with it as well, and boy oh boy, what an interesting thing it turned out to be!

One of the first major things I realised was that the maths I so hated at school, actually had a place in this kind of programming. Working with sin, cos and tan, and calculating degrees and radians all of a sudden had a real place in my life!

Anyway, I didn't delve too much in it (although I still want to!), but Jayson carried on. A few years ago he started playing around in Unity 3D, and have recently finished his first proper game. It is called Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant. And for a first title, it's damn fun indeed!

(visit Jayson's blog)

One nice thing about Unity is that you can compile your game for several platforms, including Windows, Linux and Android.

The game is about 2 years in the making, and I know the effort, time and love that went into making it. I was even lucky enough to give some inputs about the game to Jayson, and to help play test it on my PC and phone.

Check this videos out:

The game might look simple at first glance, but there's some deep mechanics at work underneath. First and foremost, it's a turn based game. You have a certain amount of moves, then you hit the end turn button, and the enemies get a go. Secondly, it's Roguelike - you will die often. Thirdly, there are RPG elements present, such as leveling up by gaining XP, finding loot, such as better equipment (like afterburners, long range sensors, bigger shield generators) and weapons (ion pulses, mass drivers, beam weapons and missiles), and earning skill points to improve various aspects of your ship. Lastly, all of this is in a great Science Fiction setting in the Star Chronicles universe (watch this space!).

The main goal is to survive and get stronger, all while searching for a new home world for your people. Each sector (level or stage if you will) has a certain goal, for example kill X amount of enemies, or escape the sector alive, or hack a station for intel, etc. After each sector, the game gets saved, and you have the opportunity to quit to the main menu and assign your newly earned skill points (stuff like making your weapons stronger, or increasing shield capacity or cargo space), and then carry on with your mission.

If you die, you have to start over, but the XP you've earned, along with any skill points, remain.

I really like Delta Quadrant, and it was rather special for me to see my friend write the game from scratch, and see what it really entails doing something like that! The biggest challenge you would think is the coding part, but in my friend's case it was graphics. He is sadly not an artist, but I really think he did an admirable job. The graphics is a little bit on the basic side, but definitely not enough to make it any less fun - the core of the game is absolutely the game play mechanics that Jayson created, and it makes for an excellent time waster that turns many a bathroom break into at least a half hour affair...

To prove to you how much faith I have that many people out there will also find the game enjoyable, I put forth the money needed to get the game on Steam's Greenlight ($100) - and I parted with my money gladly (something I don't easily do!).

Here is a link to the Greenlight Page:

And demos can be downloaded from the IndieDB page

Edit: The game is now available on Steam - Buy Star Chronicles: Delta Quadrant on Steam

If you are in any way fans of LITE Roguelikes, Scifi, RPG and turn-based games, you might just like Delta Quadrant as well, so give it a try!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Terraria Otherworld - more details

The guys over at Re-logic have finally release a lot more info on Terraria: Otherworld, and boy do they look glorious indeed! Check this video first:

The video is pretty sweet indeed, and here's what they had to say, and my thoughts on some of the things:
Combining the sandbox gameplay experience with role-playing and strategy elements, Terraria: Otherworld explores the Terraria experience in an innovative and unique way - providing a fresh approach to the “open world” genre.
The whole "cleanse the world" kinda thing I really like, it gives the game much more purpose than the original Terraria (not that I didn't like the original, it's probably my favourite game of all time! bold words hey!). In the video you can see the machines built in order to fight the corruption, and I saw some really cool looking defensive structures as well - something that was missing a great deal in Terraria.
  • The game will include a core story line – a “purpose” if you will - to give the player goals to work towards - but like Terraria, you are not forced to “go do this, now do this”. Free exploration within the sandbox is still a key element of this game, and embraces the Terraria spirit of “approach a challenge in your own unique way”.
  • This will also include more robust development of characters in the game – for example, the NPCs will move beyond just being “merchants only”, and evolve into characters with a story and lore all their own.
  • In order to build upon Terraria’s very high replay value, the story will not be a fixed narrative - but rather a dynamic mix of key story elements that are used to create a fresh play through every time a player replays the game.
  • Of course, some repetition and/or similar key elements are necessary in regards to progression is inevitable, but we are striving to give the player as unique a story experience as possible with each and every playthrough.
 I really like that they're giving NPC's a bigger role. And the freedom is still there for those who doesn't like the lack of that.

Next, they talk about the Skill Trees:
  • The players’ actions – more than before – will give certain advantages that were mostly left up to chance/RNG in the original Terraria.
  • For example, players that prefer to play a certain style (melee, magic, ranged, etc.) will see their skills with those type of weapons improve over time.
  • However, this is not a “set in stone” choice that the player will have to make (there are no selectable classes or anything), but rather something that just happens: use a sword 90% of the time and your skill with swords will improve. Use a Silver Sword all the time, and your skill with swords AND that particular sword will improve.
  • This way – based on your actions in the game – you can raise up a lower tier sword to be better than a sword that is much higher up the ladder adding to the uniqueness and personality of your character AND customizing your gameplay to your own unique preferences.
Leveling up in specific weapons, and not just the type of weapon (sword) but also what it's made of (silver) really is a nice touch for me - I like the idea of finding a nice weapon, and deciding to stick with it and getting better in that specific one as you play more. Customization is always a good thing!

  • The main objective of the game is not simply to explore, gather, build (although the player is still free to do this – we want to stress the fact that though this is a more structured approach, we are absolutely trying to retain as much player freedom as possible) - but rather to return the world to its pristine form.
  • The player achieves this goal by pushing back the Corruption until it is no more. Your primary method towards achieving this goal will be finding/crafting and then activating Purifying Towers. These machines of ancient design will push back anything unnatural in the world.
  • Not content to simply allow the player to purify the land, the vile force behind the world’s corruption fights back. The resonance from the crystals in the purifying tower attracts enemies, driving them to destroy the towers and re-corrupt the player’s hard-won terrain.
  • The Purifying Towers need to be defended and even the best players would not be able to cover and defend the entire map at once (nor does that sound all that much fun)- so Terraria: Otherworld introduces another strategic element: Tower Defense. Through the use of customizable Wartowers – and any other clever defensive approaches - the player can ward off the advances of the evil forces without having to be physically present.
  • These Wartowers can have a wide range of different weapons and defenses but are not self-powered. They need to be built in the vicinity of a Purifying Tower to get power from the Crystal.

Creating Purifying Towers to drive off the corruption and then defending those towers sounds like a ton of fun, especially the introduction of a tower defense element into the game. Wartowers baby! Yeah!!

Another thing they mention, which I'm totally for, is to not go the whole "early access" route, and rather finish the game, and release it as a finished product. I don't mind waiting for a much more polished game after all!

Can't wait, will keep you posted as I learn more. Oh, and I got the above info from this page:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The sandbox co-op greatness that is Planet Explorers

I am forever in the search of something awesome for online co-op. For a while we've been playing 7 Days to Die, but damn, they really messed up the zombie spawning with the latest patch - the game is still in alpha though, so I'm sure it'll get sorted in the near future, but now, the game is rather annoying to play. Not fun to actually see a zombie pop into existence in front of you. You can never clear an area of zombies and be safe, because if you turn around a new one will be right there ready to rip your face off.

Don't get me wrong, I am crazy about 7 Days to Die, and when it'll finally get fully released will be a glorious day, but that day is not now, I'm sad to say...

Things I like about it - survival, crafting, fighting, building, rpg, loot and most importantly, co-op. So, for now, my fix is coming from a rather overlooked gem that has been out there for quite some time - Planet Explorers.

Now, I haven't put in tons of hours into the game just yet (gaming time is preciously little these days), but the game is huge, and it has all of the above elements. Just last night my buddy and I played a game over the internet - at first I thought it's gonna take the usual 3 hours to get the game running, but I was extremely surprised that it took around 10 minutes to get going. And boy does it run smoothly over the net! It really felt like we were in the same room! No LAG (something that usually troubled us in 7DTD) and no game breaking bugs to speak of! It did entailed some port forwarding on my ADSL router, but after that, the game connected very easily!

So, more info about the game - I'll mostly talk about multiplayer co-op for this post, as I haven't played the single player a great deal yet (but I most definitely will!). It was just two of us, and we opted for a huge map - in the line of 40x40km! Our first task was to find each other, which luckily didn't take too much effort (you can see each other's coordinates)... Anyway, here's what we did:

1. Needed armor and weapons, so chopped down some trees to make tools (shovel and pickaxe)

2. Used scanner in the game to look for Copper, found some very close to our starting location.

3. Started digging and gathered huge amount of copper - side note: what I love about this game is it doesn't take FOREVER to get enough materials to make something - in a few minutes we both had over 500 units of copper! One hit with the axe easily digs up 20 or so pieces of copper - awesome!

4. Made a bow, and then some arrows because without the arrows the bow doesn't really work.

5. Wanted to make armor, but we needed animal skin for that - off to do some hunting...

6. Died a few times - the native wildlife can be quite powerful, especially the fireball spewing bears!

7. Finally get enough skin to make the armor, and we make the armor.

8. We are now relatively safe with our new armor and weaponry, so off we head to find even more precious metals to forge even better armor with...

9. We discover some silver, and mine some. We make better armor (after hunting some more animals for their precious hides that is!)!

10. After searching for another while we find a huge coal deposit and mark it on the map. Also Oil. And we find a small patch of gold - it's enough for gold armor, but we need steel to go with it. You make steel from Iron obviously, and wood. We go in search for the Iron.

11. Carrying on like this, we eventually end up with the Iron we need, and make the gold equipment.

12. My buddy goes into the in-game editor and starts fabricating a vehicle for us. Yes, you make the vehicle from scratch in this game, which is beyond awesome! Yup, the size, shape, where the lights go, the seats, pretty much everything!

13. While he's busy doing that, I go in search of Oil, which we'll need to run our car... I find some, and gather a whole bunch.

14. We see a red dot on the map, and find ourselves intrigued.

15. It's a giant spinning tentacle tower behemoth of a boss monster, and we quickly run away like that cowards we are - we barely escape with our lives. We make a note to not go near red dots on the map - they're bad!

16. The car is finished, but we struggle to actually craft it, and after some Googling we figure it out. I craft the car. It has two seats. And a HUGE freaking gun! We explore and find another biome. There are trees there that light up at night - it's beautiful!

17. We start searching for Aluminium and eventually find some. Why do we need the Aluminium you ask? We want to build a base of course.

18. My buddy says he needs marble to build the base, so I go mine some. We craft the necessary base units (power generator, storage area, repair bay, etc).

19. He builds the base structure - I build SENTRY GUNS. GATLING SENTRY GUNS. IT'S AWESOME!!

20. I lure all kinds of strong and strange animals into the line of fire and I laugh loudly as my multiple-barreled sentry guns make mince meat out of each one that comes too close.

21. Time to make some energy weapons - for that we need batteries - for that we need Zinc. We deploy our car again, and go out looking for the Zinc. We find some, and make ourselves some energy blasters.

22. That's it for the night.

Damn that was beyond fun! And to think, the game is still in alpha - I cannot believe what these guys have managed to create already. Yes, the game has a rather slow start, but damn, once it gets going it's just so much fun!

I can't wait for the final product, which they said will be this year (2015) some time maybe (hopefully!) - but the game is very very playable and extremely stable, and it has everything you want in a game - beautiful graphics, looting, vehicles (that you can make from scratch or download community made ones!), mining, crafting, gathering, building, dying, fighting, eating, sleeping, digging, driving around, flying around, building a colony (not fully implemented in multiplayer yet though), farming, planting, decorating. It's the perfect combination for an extremely good time!

Support them by Buying Planet Explorers on Steam

Friday, February 27, 2015

A few ridiculously awesome looking GTA5 for PC Screenshots!!

I was sad when I learned that GTA5 for PC has been delayed yet again, but on the other hand I don't really mind that much - it just means we'll get a even more polished game. I'd much rather wait for a quality title than have to sit through a massive day 1 patch that I need to download on my African "broadband".

But, to keep us on the edge of our seats, good old Rockstar has given us some extremely hot eye candy of what is going to be the BEST version of Grand Theft Auto Five. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My PC and Console History

We got our first "Personal Computer" when I was 8 years old, in 1990. It was this weird and wonderful thing, and it had games on it! A few of them I remember included Sopwith, Pinball, Bandit (one arm bandit gambling game) and Blackjack. The specs for the time were, I take, quite good - it was a IBM (I think) XT machine, and the CPU ran at a cool 4.77Mhz, which could get boosted to 8Mhz (making games mostly unplayable haha) by hitting the turbo button. It had a whopping 20MB hard drive. a 5.25 inch floppy drive (360kb), 640kb RAM and the screen had just four colours (yellow, orange, brown and black). It ran DOS 3.3 if I remember right. Ahh good times!

The first upgrade we did after that was to get a - wait for it - colour screen! I wasn't too clued up with the stuff back then, but I take it they had to put some kind of graphics card or something to that affect in the thing. Also, we got a very cool 3 button Genius mouse - I tried to play everything with that mouse hehehe...

Then the motherboard gave in, so we got a new motherboard, and a 286 CPU running at 20Mhz!

At some stage we got Windows 3.1 as well, and upgraded the RAM to 2MB, because I wanted to be able to play Sim Ant (I never got it to work though).

Then Microsoft launched this very revolutionary new operating system called Windows 95, so in the thing went again for an upgrade. This time around (in 1995) I started reading about a thing called a "Pentium" - so I begged my parents for that, and they luckily obliged! So, this upgrade was huge - got a 520MB hard drive, a flashy new mobo with a Pentium 75Mhz CPU, and - once again, please wait for it - 16MB RAM (no imagine how the kids at school laughed at me because I would never use that much RAM ever - at that point, you were the bees knees if you had 8MB). And of course, the brand new OS from Microsoft, Windows 95 - it still came on stiffi disks! About 30 of them haha! Last but not least, the Creative Sound Blaster 16bit Sound Card, and a 4x CD-ROM (this pack was bundles with four awesome games, namely Syndicate Plus, Ultima 8: Pagan, Wing Commander 2, and Strike Commander).

The next upgrade I did after that was to put in a flashy new graphics card - a Creative Graphics Blaster, which had 4MB of memory (it sucked by the way, couldn't even play Quake 2 on the thing...)

Next, we upped the CPU, and swapped out the 75Mhz one for a 166Mhz one. I was in heaven again, the sheer speed!

That lasted a good while, and then Pentium II came out, and their Celeron range, and shortly after that Pentium III - so I begged and begged, and luckily my awesome mom told me the line every geeky kid wants to hear - "phone the guys and order the PC you want".


I asked for the following for my brand new PC:

Pentium III 500Mhz
128MB RAM (at this stage, 32MB was a good amount, 64MB an amazing amount, and 128MB was practically unheard of!)
6.4GB Hard Drive (but the guys offer me a 8.4GB hard drive for the same price - yay!)
Creative Sound Blaster Live sound card (came bundled with Unreal!!!)
50x CD-ROM
Cambridge 4.1 Surround Sound Speakers

And, my prized possession - a Creative Riva TNT 16MB Graphics Card.

Also a new 14" Screen.

Damn what a pleasure it was working with such a behemoth of a PC! I still remember the hours of fun I had playing Jedi Knight and Moto Racer - and of course HALF LIFE 1!!!

When I started studying, I upgraded it with an additional 64MB RAM, so it ended up having 192MB, and also a 32MB Riva TNT 2 card at some stage. That PC went on to become my dad's, and he still used it for another 5 or 6 years after I got my first Pentium 4 machine...

I was studying IT and Programming related stuff, so my parents graciously bought me a new PC once again. This time around, the 3Ghz mark was just hit, and again I went kind of all out (for the time).

The next specs were:

Pentium 4 3.0Ghz with Hyperthreading
1GIG DDR RAM (people laughed once again because if you had 512MB, you were considered a god among your friends)
160GIG hard drive
Windows XP Home Edition
Leadtek GeForce FX5600 128MB Graphics Card
And I transferred my Creative Sound Blaster Live to this machine as well, and bought a cheapie for the old PC.

This was an awesome machine, and lasted me quite long! I upgraded the graphics card to a Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT, and later a Gainward 7800GS, which was the highest I could upgrade it, since the Motherboard only had an AGP graphics card slot.

After that one, I bought a new Motherboard/CPU/RAM/Graphics Card in about 2008 if memory serves me right, which consisted out of:

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33Ghz CPU
nVidia Chipset Asus Motherboard (not sure why I bought this one hehe)
Asus GeForce 8800GT
2x 2GB DDR 3 RAM modules

It was great once again :) At some stage I got a 3.0Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU for quite cheap, and installed that, but this machine lasted me until the motherboard conked out in December 2010, which got me to the machine I work on till this very day:

MSI P55 Fuzion Motherboard, Socket 1156, with a Intel 650 i5 3.2Ghz CPU, overclocked to 3.7Ghz thanks to a big ass CPU cooler I have on, and 12GB of DDR3 Memory.

Luckily, the nVidia motherboard that died was still under warranty (it was 2 years and 10 months old, on a 3 year warranty!) - so I took it in, and obviously they couldn't replace it, so I got credit - the same amount I paid for it. That money went towards my awesome Asus GeForce GTX560ti card.

What a journey it's been so far! It's fun being a computer nerd, nothing quite as satisfying as doing a huge upgrade and playing a game you always had to down tune on the settings at full settings! I'm looking forward to my next upgrade :D

Lastly, my Console history - a lot shorter story.

Got a NES in 1989 for my 7th birthday, with two games - Contra and Super Mario Brothers.

And the next one after that was my Xbox 360 in 2009. See, told you it's a short story and a lot less boring than my PC one!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Terraria Otherworld

I had to pick up my jaw from the floor when I learned that there's going to be a new Terraria game called Terraria Otherworld in the near future. If you read this blog, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of Terraria, so this announcement got me all giddy and excited!

There isn't much info just yet, but check out this video so long:

This is the description from their website:
Set in an alternate dimension within the Terraria universe, Terraria: Otherworld places the player in a life-and-death struggle to restore a once-pristine world – now overrun by a malevolent force that has corrupted nature itself – to its original splendor.
Combining elements of sandbox gameplay with role-playing and strategy elements, Terraria: Otherworld explores the Terraria experience in an innovative and unique way - providing a fresh approach to the “open world” genre.
And here's the link to the official Terraria Otherworld site

Is it weird that a game like this excites me much more than any AAA title out there?