Game Music: Gunbird (ガンバード)

April 15th, 2011 No comments

Everybody who knows Shoot’em’ups probably knows Gunbird!  This is a classic that doesn’t need much explanation and as so often with this game genre it’s soundtrack is outstanding and Gunbird’s music is a particularly brilliant aural feast so it shouldn’t be missed in any listing about game music. Let’s listen Gunbird – Trick Tramp Train …

 

Categories: Audio, Gaming Tags: , , ,

Game Music: RayForce (1994)

April 6th, 2011 No comments

Another tidbit of smup style music worth to be mentioned … Rayforce (aka Layer Section, aka Galactic Attack, aka …) from 1994. The Sega Saturn version followed the Arcade version in 1995 and the outstanding soundtrack was composed by no other than Tamayo Kawamoto of Zuntata fame (Taito’s in-house music crew). Let’s listen to the very eclectic RayForce – Cracking! (take an Electro tune, switch it down one or two gears in tempo, add melodic leads and bells and this is what you get) …

Game Music: Thunder Force IV

April 4th, 2011 No comments

The Mega Drive once again proves to be among the finest game consoles when taking it’s sound capabilities into account. Here’s one of countless tunes that gives you the full spectrum of beauty of Yamaha FM soundchip engineering craftmanship, Thunder Force IV’s “The Sky Line” …

 

Game Music: Einhänder (1997)

April 3rd, 2011 No comments

Back in the 90s during the heights of the PSX (or Playstation 1) we find Einhänder (アインハンダー), a horizontal shoot’Em’Up with an excellent Techno soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui. The only downside to this track is that it’s too short. Let’s listen Einhänder – Dawn …

hexagonstar.com Launched!

March 1st, 2011 9 comments

I’m proud for today being able to finally announce the official launch of hexagonstar.com!

Wait, what?? That site has been up like, for years! That’s true but so far it was pretty much permanently under maintenance and never officially launched. Instead this blog acted as a main site for a very long time. But this is going to change from now as I’m going to slowly move over more and more to the top domain site.

So what will you find over at hexagonstar.com? The site will act as an outlet for indie game development and a release platform for games and software. Right now there is a small but fine selection of affiliate indie games that are being offered plus my free software releases and a few bits and pieces on RPG design writing. In the future I will hopefully concentrate more on writing some more about game design, RPG design, stats and game development geekdom topics as well as talking about the game engine I’m working on called “tetragon”, which is a huge thing btw.

I will leave H1DD3N.R350URC3 open to occasionally write about various topics here or post gaming videos etc. But my main focus on game design and development will move over to hexagonstar.com.

So head over to hexagonstar.com quickly! And remember to stay a while, stay forever!

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

PC Repair vs. Mac Repair

February 14th, 2011 9 comments

Here’s how PC repair works:

You build your PC by yourself after checking on the web what components are of good quality and work well together. So after picking the motherboard, RAM, harddrive, PSU etc. etc. you assemble it all and after plugging in the new creation it boots up happily. You’ve owned five PC so far and four of them were built together by yourself. If something breaks you check information on the web about the problem (if you’re not already familiar with it), you soon know what component is broken, then you go buy a new one and replace the broken one and the PC works again. But the thing is: so far none of your four self-built PCs were ever broken!

Here’s how Mac repair works:

You buy a new Power Mac G5 from Apple. It works alright but after roughly 1.5 years it starts to get into trouble booting up. More often than not you push the power button in the morning but the Mac wont boot up. You search the web for infos on the problem and scarcely find something useful. After unplugging the power cord from the Mac, waiting for 30 minutes, holding the power button for six seconds (to reset something of unknown nature inside the Mac) it might boot again … for now. This goes on for about one or two months, sometimes the Mac boots rights away, but more often it doesn’t boot, not even after unplugging and waiting for 30 minutes five times.

Eventually you give in and call Apple’s repair service. Surprisingly the service person who is on the phone happens to be friendly (it’s usually not the case). One day later your Mac get’s picked up by the delivery guy and two days after that he brings it back promptly. Apple’s repair service tells you that they replaced the power supply (makes sense), the graphics card (??) and the DVD drive (???) in your Mac. You don’t bother too much about why they replaced the graphics card and the DVD drive because your Mac boots up again, that is … until some days later when the problem starts to appear again … one morning you switch on your Mac and instead of booting up it only makes a short power-on appearance and then shuts down again. You start wondering WTF Apple’s repair service actually repaired or if they instead roll dice to pick some arbitrary components to replace to make it look like an important repair! (Optionally: You throw away this PoS called Mac and buy a PC).

… This is what just happened to our (more specifically my wife’s) Power Mac. I’m sure you can imagine the frustration of  realizing that the problem is far from being gone, after believing that the machine was finally fixed. Instead the trouble starts all over and you’re at the mercy of Apple’s repair service because there’s no way to fix the hardware by yourself.

This just again proves for me why using a blackbox like a Mac is a bad deal and is just not worth the trouble. My wife would switch to PC in a second if only she could install and run Mac OSX flawlessly on it! But of course Apple only allows to run their OS on their crappy hardware. Do yourself a favor and don’t buy a Mac, they are way too overpriced anyway!

Categories: Misc Tags: , , , , ,

Spiral Galaxy Generator for Filter Forge

December 27th, 2010 No comments

… While we’re at it … here’s another filter for Filterforge I’ve created recently, a generator for rendering galactic disc images …

Actually this filter has been “on hold” for a while because it was crashing the host app on some tester’s machines due to a map script contained in it that was responsible for an optional control which would display the rendered galaxy in a tilted perspective (similar like on the image above). This view mode however was just for convenience to see the graphic in a more practical use case in an instant. And so, because the script seemed to make the filter unstable, I threw it out. So you will only get a semi-cool looking render of a galaxy, but of course that’s no problem because Photoshop can fix the rest easily. If this filter doesn’t cut it for you, you might want to check out my Photoshop Galaxy tutorial, which is a lot more involved though.

Get the Spiral Galaxy filter here.

Terrestrial Planet Generator for Filter Forge

December 17th, 2010 No comments

Every once in a while the Filter Forge fever grabs me and then I start creating filters for it that turn out to be actually useful. So I’ve made a couple of toy camera style photo filters recently but this planet generator is my newest creation. I’ve initially built it to create some more varying worlds for my RPG project but there’s no reason why I should keep it only for myself.

In case you’re into Filter Forge and coincidentally need to render planets you can download this filter here. But be warned that this filter is a tad more difficult to use is still a bit rough around the edges because many of the slider controls have no properly defined limits so you might want to approach it with sensitive finger tips. Hitting ‘next variation’ wildly will probably lead to anything but something good looking. Also, while I added optional clouds, please don’t use them! They look awful! If I learned something from making this filter then it’s the wisdom that trying to create realistic looking satellite imagery cloud layers are a pain in the butt to make! Still, there are some decent results you can get from this filter.

Terrestrial Planet Filter Forge Filter

Flash gets Low-Level 3D API, golden Times for Game Devs ahead

October 26th, 2010 6 comments

I’ve heard plans and rumors about this before but it seems now it’s official: The next versions of the Flash and AIR runtimes will have a low-level 3D API on board that utilizes DirectX, OpenGL and OpenGL ES. Maybe this racing demo video will convince most game devs who were skeptical about the Flash platform before.

The demo was coded by the guys who maintain Alternative3D, one of the the few software-rendered 3D engines for Flash that are better suited for 3D game development. The engine has recently been made free of charge for commercial development. The makers only require a back link to their product website in your game now.

I find Alternativa3D quite attractive, in particular after seeing videos and screenshots of War.ru, an online multiplayer Role-playing game that reminds me of RPGs classics like Wizardry, just with better graphics. Unfortunately the whole game is in Russian only for now and so far I haven’t been able to log in, the load procedure is very slow and always gets stuck at some point for me.

Still the game looks very promising with some nice looking 3D environments. The actors (NPC’s and creatures) seem to be inanimate billboard sprites though so they only look impressive on a static screenshot but imagine what would be possible with the newly achieved 3D power! I’m looking forward to create vast 3D environments with autonomous actor AIs a’la Oblivion or Fallout 3! The only bottleneck will – yet again – be the content creation.

Good Old Games gives Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games Freebie for Beta Users

October 21st, 2010 2 comments

This is a great gift from GOG.com! For anyone who has registered an account during their beta period (which lasted at least over a year, I think) they are giving away a copy of Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games for free to anyone.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will probably know that JA:DG counts to my absolute favorite games (together with JA1) so expect utmost nerdiness whenever I mention this game. For anyone who doesn’t know this pearl of a game yet, it’s a turn-based, tactical strategy game with role-playing game elements where you control a squad of mercenaries around wilderness areas of enemy territory to fulfill various foolhardy missions. The main difference of JA:DG to it’s prequel is that it doesn’t come with a particular story or campaign but with a collection of scenarios and an editor that can be used to create your own scenarios and campaigns. The biggest fun part of JA:DG are however the many characters that you can choose from to assemble your team, which all have their very own quirks and perks.

If I wouldn’t already own the original box of this game I’d probably be even more looking forward to this gift but as it stands I’m going to enjoy getting this game yet another time. There’s something to the first two JA’s that the later and newer Jagged Alliance 2 titles lost. Maybe it’s the story of JA2 that I didn’t like so much or it’s simply the cozily tootling MIDI music of the first two games in this series.