Top 5 Lists for 2009

Here are some of my favorite games and movies from the past year. They are in order of how much I liked them.

Videogames
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
2. Modern Warfare 2
3. Batman Arkham Asylum
4. Borderlands
5. Demons Souls

Movies
1. Inglorious Basterds
2. Brothers Bloom
3. Avatar
4. District 9
5. Sherlock Holmes

Photoshop – Snap Shape Layers to Pixel

stupid-edge

When you draw a shape in photoshop as a either as a shape or a path, you often get this lame fraction of a pixel situation that results in semi transparent, soft, stupid looking edges. It’s bugged me for years, but I’ve never taken the time to try and figure out a work around until today. After literally seconds of looking I found this article, which completely solves the problem. I dont know why this wouldn’t come enabled by default but its a freaking miracle that its there and that it works.

Lost Planet 2 – Now I’m Interested

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I have never really gotten into Monster Hunter. I’ve thought about it. I even downloaded the PSP demo, but shitty camera controls kind of threw me. After this week’s Co-Op and hearing what they had to say about the upcoming Lost Planet 2 I am now officially interested. Basically, it sounds like you’re playing a sci-fi version of Monster Hunter where you and a team of up to 3 other players take down huge monsters. Co-Op says that the control and aiming is solid which would be a welcome departure from Monster Hunter. Lost Planet 2 doesnt come out till next year, though. Poop.

Batman Drawing!

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Playing Arkham Asylum has gotten me really into the Batman comics. In the past few weeks I’ve read All-Star Batman & Robin, Batman Hush, Battle for the Cowl, Batman R.I.P., and just started reading The Long Halloween. I guess it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the more I’ve read the more I wanted to draw a Batman picture. I tend to like the short ear style on Batman, so I went with a mix between Jim Lee and the animated series. Click on either the image above or here for a high rez version.

Why is DNG better than proprietary RAW formats?

A lot of camera companies have RAW formats that are specific to that brand. Not only does it make interoperability a pain, but often these files are not really very well constructed and require an extra file to accompNy them in order to see any of the non destructive editing. Enter adobe’s DNG file format. DNG is an archival open standard which in addition to providing a 15-20% smaller file size, also contains any edit data within a wrapper so that it’s always accompanying your image. After I get home from vacation I’m going to convert all of my RAW files.

Gran Turismo 5 – Gamescom News

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Shown last week at Gamescom Gran Turismo 5 was playable in an early build. In addition, many of the games upcoming features were also announced and they have me pretty excited. Among the normal stuff like 1000 cars, 80 tracks (60 confirmed), car damage, improved physics, and custom soundtracks lays a gem– Head tracking using the PlayStation Eye. What this means, is that much like TrackIR the PlayStation Eye will be able to detect your head’s movement and translate it to an amplified version of that movement in game. This means it will allow you to move your head inches and you’ll be able to check your mirrors, look to the sides of your car, lean into turns, etc. Not having used TrackIR in the past I cant really even guess how much this will add to the game, but if it works it should be pretty amazing. Since building my racing setup I haven’t really had any games to play with it so I cant wait till GT5 comes out so I can cut my teeth on it.

PlayStation 3 Slim / Firmware 3.0 Announced

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Today Sony announced the PS3 Slim. So whats different? The price for starters. The PS3 slim is now $299 (down from $399), has a 120GB hard drive, a matte finish, and actual power/eject buttons. What I am most excited about, however is the reduced power consumption. My current PS3 (a 40GB) uses 380W, the new Slim uses 250W. Quite a big drop, which gives me hope that I’ll be able to play games while the AC and gaming computer are on, ya know, without blowing a fuse. It’s good to see Sony finally getting into the game as far as price is concerned. I’d like to upgrade if I can get a decent trade in price for my current PS3… gotta remember to put the 40GB hard drive back in there. The slim is available for pre-order and will be released “The first week of September” shortly after firmware 3.0.

Firmware 3.0 was also announced today. The bulk of the update is to the UI. There are some additional features added to the themes menu including animated themes. I’d really love to see a theme of Old Snake smoking like the loading screen for MGS4. They finally fixed the clock/charge level overlay. They’ve also changed the layout of the friend’s list and replaced the Information Board with a “Whats New” which seems more useful.

Fat Princess Impressions

I picked up Fat Princess the day that it came out and ended up playing it for about 5 hours, which is a clue of how fun it is. In the first week or so there was some server problems, and there are some bugs but over all the game is great and as the problems get patched out it will only get better and better.

The art style is awesome. I love the way the characters are modeled and textured. Its hilarious seeing big teams of butch stumpy dudes running around slaughtering each other. The backgrounds are simple but very stylized and detailed. The graphical overlays used in the game like the princess’s status, and the map tie everything together nicely.

Each of the game’s classes (Priest, Wizard, Worker, Archer, Warrior) has their own set of skills and 2 weapons which each play differently. You get the second tier by harvesting resources and upgrading hat factories. There are several modes from the simple team deathmatch, a slightly more advanced capture points mode, and the full blown capture the enemy’s princess. Capturing the princess is the best mode by far in my opinon and is pretty much all I play. There is also a soccer mode, which is oddly fun.

For $15 this game offers up an insane amount of playtime. I’ve already logged close to 40 hours and still find myself wanting to go home and play it while at work.

lala.com – its pretty cool

Quick! Do you like music?

Of course you do! If you don’t you’re probably either deaf or some barely functioning tree man. Anyway, as a music loving individual you probably want your music to be portable so that you can listen to it on the go. iPods are the solution for listening on the go and they are great, but they only have a limited amount of space (especially the solid state stuff like nanos and iPhones). A few days ago I signed up for this site called lala.com.

If you let it, it can look through your music folder and check against it servers, which then gives you the ability to listen to all of the music online. If their server’s don’t have the music, your computer then uploads it. Having a completely mobile library of literally ALL of your music is pretty rad. It’s free so go check it out. Less exciting, lala also gives you the ability to buy music from them.

Twitter, Free Stuff, and Comic Con

While I do plan to do a full post about Comic Con, today I just wanted to write a quick post about getting free stuff with the use of twitter. So far I’ve managed a free dinner for 3, a free Killzone 2 map pack– a decent haul, but nothing amazing. Today I think I’ve officially bested my previous “freebies”.

Today while waiting in line for the LOST panel (which was amazing by the way), Liz and I were talking to the guy in front of us. He mentioned having won an HD camcorder simply by replying to a twitter update  by “theIHC“. I added them to my followed list and didn’t really think to much of it. A few hours later while waiting for the James Jean panel to start I checked twitter and saw that theIHC had posted a “first four to respond wins a prize” update. Unfortunately it was 7 minutes ago. I tried anyway and sure enough a few minutes later they sent me a DM saying that I’d won and that to claim my prize I had to get over to them in 20 minutes. I ran out of the panel room and across the convention center, outside, and across the street and BLAM! Brand new Sony MHS-PM1 HD video camera. I love twitter.

Disgaea Trophies – Now with less save game distruction!

Originally when trophies were announced for Disgaea 3 I was pretty excited. A few days ago, however there was a rumor that downloading the trophy patch would make any previous save games useless. Disgaea is the kind of game were people spend hundreds of hours leveling characters and items so losing a saved game is kind of a big deal. Well the patch is now out and all those rumors have been layer to rest. I updated my game last night and it worked great.

The Room Review

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To be honest, I don’t know where to start with this one. The Room was released by Tommy Wiseau in 2003. He not only wrote the movie, but also produced, directed, and starred in it. The problem is that Wiseau is a man so out of touch with reality that seeing the world through his eyes is both terrifying and hilarious all at once.

The plot is pretty simple, girl cheats on guy with his best friend, guy gets pissed. Its the way that the story is told that sets it apart. Knowing how human males live Wiseau manages to capture every facet: pillow fights, daily trips to the flower store (without his sunglasses on, the clerk had no idea it was him when he was wearing them), football tossing from 3 feet away, paying for a random kid’s college tuition, and saying “chip chip chip” to antagonize your friends. It’s all there. Is this seriously how Wiseau envisions people living their lives?

While you may not be able to count on this movie for good acting, or believable situations, or really even a decent grip on reality, what you can count on is horrifically awkward dialogue. In the beginning of the movie people keep saying “I’m really busy, I cant talk right now”. While this isn’t inherently funny or ridiculous, the first time it happens the person saying it is sitting in traffic. The second time the person has just ordered a pizza and is then pictured reading a book. Busy indeed. Another gem is when Lisa, the cheating girlfriend, is talking to her mother… and the mother recounts her brother trying to get her house… shes not having it… too bad shes dying. What? Yep she just got those tests back, she definitely has breast cancer. Lisa has no real reaction and instead says “Don’t worry about it, everything will be fine.” This breast cancer thing is never talked about again. At another point in the movie Johnny (Wiseau) is telling his best friend Mark (who is bopping his girlfriend) about a new client they picked up at the bank he works at, Mark wants to know who this new client is buy Johnny cant say. Johnny responds, “I don’t want to talk about it, so how is your sex life?” Needless to say, Mark doesn’t want to talk about that either.

All in all this is probably the worst movie in existence. As such it has somehow managed to bend the laws of the universe and be enjoyable to watch if only to observe its absurdity.