Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga = the game from hell

So I've been focusing on finishing up Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga because I'm so close to the end.  I've even put Dark Souls on hold until I can finish Lego SW.  After this last week I was beginning to think that would never happen.

For some reason I had a lot of problem collecting all the blue barrels in Jabba's Palace.  Not all of my failed attempts were due to my stupidity.  Three times my game glitched on me and I got stuck in a room with no way out except a Jawa door that wouldn't let me through.  It was really frustrating to spend four and half minutes just trying to get through a door when I only have 10 minutes to play the level and my game is going "uh oh, not for you".  It's frustrating.  Almost enough to quit the game no matter how close I was to finishing.

But that level has nothing on Into the Deathstar.  That level is a BITCH FROM HELL level!!!!!  I think I tried that level more than 20 times before I even started to get close to finishing it.  The first couple of times I spent 8 out of my 10 minutes just clearing the first area of the 4 Star Destroyers.  It's kind of hard to find and pick up 8 more blue barrels in only 2 minutes.  Impossible is more like it. 

I even got desperate enough to send a message to all my friends that I thought might have the game and be willing to help me out.  I told them I was desperate.  I was hoping that they would come to the aid of a damsel in distress.  While I was waiting for them to respond I opened up my game to strangers.  Big mistake!  I had a someone jump in and he spent the whole time just switching ships.  He never fired his gun.  He never collected a blue barrel.  He did absolutely nothing.  Well . . . not exactly nothing.  He did change his ship every second or two and then tried to fly in whatever opposite direction I was trying to fly in.  Since you share the screen (even over Xbox Live) you can image how well that got along.  I think I had to kick him out of the game 4 or 5 times before I finished the level.  Well, actually I ran out of time to be honest.

After that disastrous experience I changed my settings to set my game to invite only and thought I would give it one more try before giving up on the game entirely.  It turns out I'm glad I gave it another shot.  I was able to finish the level and ended up with just over 2 minutes to spare before time ran out.  I was completely shocked, stunned and utterly bewildered, befuddled and confused.  But also extremely ecstatic and thrilled.  I couldn't believe how close I was to giving up and crying myself to sleep and never playing this game again when the very next play through I beat it with time to spare.  I haven't listened to the audio for that level yet so I hope I don't sound like a complete idiot.  It's just that I've been working on trying to finish that level for almost 2 weeks and I finally did it.  It will be awhile before that video is posted, just don't judge me to badly for my reaction.

Now that my blue barrels were all collected I could focus on the remaining 4 gold bricks I needed in order to get all 160 gold bricks.  I had to do the original Gunship Calvary level, the alternate New Hope level and the Lego City and New Town levels.  I've tried Lego City and New Town before but could never get all 1,000,000 studs before giving up.  It took a couple of attempts for Lego City and I had to pause my own recording of New Town to watch a video online to find out what I was forgetting to do before I could finish New Town.  But all of those are now done.  Unfortunately I'm not done with the game like I thought I would be.

When I got the last gold brick I waited patiently for the achievement to pop up.  It didn't.  I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to get it to pop.  I even went outside the Cantina and built that gold fountain with all the gold bricks.  Nothing.  After the Deathstar blue barrel fiasco I was so furious that my anger went immediately to a cold blue fire.  Bypass the yellow, red and white hot stuff.  I was glowing blue.  If it wasn't so late at night I probably would have gone nuclear too.

I was able to calm down enough to go online and see if anyone else had problems with getting the gold brick achievement to pop.  Turns out lots of people got all gold bricks but didn't have the achievement pop.  Even back to 2011.  I read several posts that said you need to go in to a level and play it with all your 'super Jedi powers' and then the achievement will unlock.  Eh?  The achievement isn't for playing a level (all or which you've already completed in order to get the 160 gold bricks) after you've got all the bricks.  It's for getting all the gold bricks.  Period.  End of achievement.  If you want someone to play with all those 'super Jedi powers' make that a separate achievement, or put it in the description of the achievement that we're required to do.  It's bullshit and it makes no sense.

I haven't gone back in to a level and played it to unlock it because I realized that I'm not actually done with the game like I thought I would be after I got those last 4 gold bricks.  It turns out I forgot about the "Super Story" levels in each movie.  That means I have to play all those levels all over again and finish each move in less than an hour and I think I have to get 100,000 studs as well.  Yeah me!  My completion percentage is somewhere at 97.6% or something and I still have to play through all levels, all movies, all over again.  Someone shot me now.

I don't remember the game being this torturous on the Playstation 2.  My brother and I played and completed both Lego Star Wars games to 100% but I don't remember it being anything like this.  Since we completed this game on PS2 and I had almost completed this game before my stuff got robbed, once I do complete the game it will be for the third time.  And I will never play it again.  If any of my friends want help picking up achievements or collectibles they are going to have to pay up big to get me help them.  Sorry guys.  That's just the way it has to be for me. 

Right now I've got 6 more levels to play and film and then I'm done.  So at least 6 more hours in hell.  Let's hope that it only takes one run through for each of the super stories.  With my luck this hell will keep me sucked in for an additional 6 hours on top of that.  How many levels are there in Dante's Inferno (the book, not the game).  I'm sure Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga has got to be one of them.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A little less Dark Souls . . . for now

So I've noticed something when I play Dark Souls.  I get a headache.  A very bad headache.  I don't know if it's because the game stresses me out.  Or I just get too mad and frustrated with myself when I play it that my brain cramps up on me.  What I've also noticed is that I also get a headache when I edit my gameplay footage of Dark Souls.  This is not good.

I don't exactly know what to do about that.  I want to keep playing the game.  When I'm not dying I'm actually enjoying myself.  The problem is I'm dying a lot.  And over stupid stuff that shouldn't get me.  But it does.  And now that I've noticed that it is effecting my editing I'm at a loss of what to do.
 
I don't know if it's because I know I would rather play other games that I'm less terrible at or not.  I mean I like Rayman Origins.  And I die A LOT more in that game.  But it doesn't frustrate me as much as Dark Souls does.  And I don't get headaches editing the gameplay. 

I've been trying to figure out what to do and so I've been focusing on finishing up Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  I'm almost done too.  I've only got one level for the blue barrels left (a stupid vehicles mission) and just 4 gold bricks left to do and then I'm done with the game.  I can't wait to earn all achievements in that game.  Every chance I get to film some gameplay has been in that game.  I've got about 9 videos filmed but not edited yet so I'm debating about making all of the videos I post for the next little while Lego games so I can finally be done with the game.

My reward for finishing the Lego Star Wars achievements and getting 100% in the game is to buy myself an Xbox One system.  I can't wait, but I promised myself that I would until I finished at least one retail game on the Xbox 360.  I've completed several arcade titles but I haven't finished the achievements in a full retail game and I would feel guilty about moving on to a new system without having done that.

I've been asking all of my friends what XBO games to get since my budget will be limited.  Of course that means I'll still have time and games to play on my 360.  Which means I will finish Dark Souls . . . it just might not be for awhile.  Does that make me a bad gamer?  I hope not.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Permanent delete is actually . . . permanent

So if you ever get the message "do you want to permanently delete this" you better be sure that's what you actually want to do.  Who knew "permanent" actually mean gone forever.  What's the point of a recycle bin if you don't throw files in it?

Here's what happened.  I was cleaning out some folders on my laptop and I accidentally had a folder called "synced-needs edits" checked off.  This is a folder where after I've synced up my audio and video files I dump them there until I can have the time to edit them.  I had 15 files in the folder.  When I hit the delete button I got a pop up message saying something about the files being too large to fit in the recycle bin so do I want to delete them permanently.  I clicked yes because I was cleaning out my folders and I would have emptied the recycle bin before logging off anyway.  Big mistake.

I didn't realize that my synced-needs edit folder was one of those files.  For some reason when I hover over a folder for too long my system thinks I want to select it.  No, I don't want to do that laptop!!!  But I hadn't realized this is what had happened until I went looking for some videos to edit.  At least not until I tried to find it and open up a file to edit a video.  The problem was I couldn't find the folder.  And that's when it hit me.  I had deleted the folder . . . permanently.  I guess that's what I get for not paying attention.

So, now my folder is gone and all my synced videos are gone.  So I spent most of Sunday and all of Monday night resyncing my videos.  It's a good thing I hadn't deleted the raw videos and audio files when I was cleaning house.  That's 15+ videos that I've got to process, sync and then save.  And to top it off I deleted part 3 of 5 in a new game that I haven't posted about yet.  Luckily I still had the Elgato footage and could piece that together and reprocess before I could then resync.  It's been really frustrating the last couple of days.

Every now and then I have those moments when I don't pay attention to what I'm doing and then end up doing something completely stupid.  Thankfully with this little boo-boo the problem is recoverable, albeit time consuming.  I had some plans that I wanted to put in to place this week but those are now on hold while I try to get caught up on editing.  Maybe in the next week or so.  Barring any other disasters I should be able to put everything in to play by the first week of August.  I'm really excited about those things.  I can't tell you about them now, but I hope you'll be excited to see what I've got planned.  If not . . . it's okay to pretend you're excited.  I won't mind.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The deaths that keep on coming

So, I thought playing Dark Souls would be hard.  I was right.  But there's another game out there that I'm playing that's even harder.  In a way.

Before I even started playing Dark Souls everyone told me how hard the game was and that I should be prepared to die a lot.  Since I usually die a lot anyway, I figured it would be 10x worse than normal for me.  Sure enough, when I started that game I started to see how brutal it can be.  It took awhile before I got my first death, but after that they came along at a steady pace.

It's not just the deaths that are bad.  It's how tough the game is to play, survive and manage your attacks and defense.  It's one thing to die a lot, but another to be aware of when you've lost stamina and need to back out of a fight for awhile to regroup and recharge. 

And then there's the blocking.  It's one thing to hold a shield up and just wait around until the enemy starts hacking at you.  You're protected and you don't take the damage you know is coming.  In Dark Souls, blocking doesn't work that way.  You have to time your parry skill at just the right moment.  If you're too early, or too late, you're going to take a lot of damage.  And there's nothing you can do about that.  Each enemy has a different attacking style and sometimes several variations of moves.  It's not always easy to figure out the best time to activate your parry skill.  It ends up being a lot of trail and error.  With error usually leading to death.

But while I'm finding Dark Souls tough to play, and I'm dying a lot, I think there's another game that I'm having more of a problem in right now.  What game could that be?  Rayman Origins.

Eh?

I know that sounds weird because Rayman Origins doesn't come across as a brutal or unforgiving game like Dark Souls does.  But apparently I die a lot more in that game than I have so far in Dark Souls.  In the video that I editing last night, and should go up this week, I had 25 deaths alone in about 23 minutes of game play.  That's not good odds if you ask me.  And what's funny is that I wasn't keeping track of my deaths while I was playing.  But at the end of the video I make a side comment that "I must have died 25 times".  Turns out I was spot on.  Who know.

Some of those deaths were stupid on my part.  Either because I wasn't paying attention or because I had trouble doing something right.  Other deaths were because the game made getting something, or going somewhere almost impossible to do unless you do it perfectly.  So I guess the game can be unforgiving.  But it's not known to be like that.  Dark Souls, on the other hand, has that for a reputation.  You know what you're getting in to when you play that game.

I thought Rayman Origins would be a fun, light, easy game to play that would break up the brutal nature of Dark Souls.  Turns out Dark Souls might be the game that breaks up the frustrations and agony of playing Rayman Origins.  I still like the game and will continue to play it.  I just hope things get easier.  But so far, it doesn't look like it's going to turn out that way.  No matter what game I play, the deaths are just going to keep on coming for me.  Over and Over again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Posting schedule and new games coming soon

I've finally got things settled down on the capturing front and I'm pretty sure I can set a schedule and stick to it for when I'm posting videos.  It's subject to change, because, well, I'm a girl and I like to change my mind.

I've currently got three games going at the time.  Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Dark Souls and Rayman Origins.  So I'm going to post a new video in one of those games three days a week.  I'm almost done with lego Star Wars so I'll be looking for a replacement for that game when I'm done.  For now, I think I'll post new videos Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I might add to that as I get more games filmed and edited.  We'll have to see.  I would eventually like to get to a point where I'm posting 5 to 6 times a week.  But I'm not there yet.

I've actually done a lot of filming in two other games.  I don't want to spoil those for you now, you'll just have to wait to see what they are.  I think they show a good mix of the types of games I like and the systems I play on.  One is a fun classic and the other is one I would never think of to pick up and play, but I actually found that I like it a lot (except for a pesky boss battle that I'm stuck at). 

Now that I can capture from any of my Playstations or Nintendo systems, the possibilities have really opened up for what I can film.  I'm so excited.  Except for Nintendo's posting videos of their games "system".  I'm doing some research on that.  I'd love to post Pikmin videos, but while Pikmin (the original) is listed on their "white list", Pikmin 2 is not.  Does that mean I can post Pikmin 2 videos?  That's what I've got to find out.  But that's an issue for later on down the road.

While filming is fun and the editing sometimes isn't, I don't mind.  I'd much rather spend my day being frustrated over some editing issues than the work I do for my job.  I get more satisfaction out of the editing than anything I do for my employer.  I'm getting better at the editing and I hope it shows in my videos because I sure do love making these.  And I can't wait to show you what else I've filmed.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Poll Results - What new game should I start next

So my poll has been closed for awhile but I finally have the chance to give the results.

What new game should I start (and capture)?

  • Dark Souls
  • Darksiders
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Dishonored
  • Rayman Origins
  • Red Faction: Guerilla
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

There were 2 votes for Dark Souls and 2 votes for Rayman Origins.  I know who voted so you can't hide from me.  It was a little bit unfair in that I started playing Rayman Origins before the poll closed.  I might even have posted a video before it closed as well.  I really just needed a change in the games I was playing and that one sounded like a good c
choice at the time.

Since the poll has closed I've actually started 2 new games (and picked up some achievements and trophies in both of them).  I've started Dark Souls on my Xbox 360 and Prototype 2 on my PS3.  I'm editing the video for Dark Souls now and I'll get to the Prototype 2 edits in the next day or so. 

I'm really excited about the Prototype 2 games for a couple of reasons.  1) I finally was able to get my PS3 set up to capture video and sound.  It tool a couple extra chords and devices to get it to work but I think it will be worth it.  I used a new audio program for the first Prototype video so I'm interested in seeing how that turned out.  I used Audicity to record.  It's a test video so hopefully things will work out but I'm still tweaking the settings.  And 2) I really liked that game.  Once I got a hang of everything I was having a lot of fun flying through the city and killing bad guys . . . and innocents some time when I needed a snack to munch on.  Don't judge me.  I got all the way up to the Hydra boss battle, which I did have some trouble with but it's still all good.  Look for Prototype 2 videos coming to my YouTube channel soon.

I think I've finally got things under control enough that I can commit to a schedule for posting on my channel.  I'm going to try to post 2 videos a week during the summer and hopefully get up to a 3 videos per week schedule once this blistering heat stops turning me in to a puddle of water with no energy to do anything.  That doesn't mean I won't be posting an extra video or two every now and then.  Just depends on how fast I can record them and edit them while still working a full time job.  Got to pay the bills somehow. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I live in Hell and I'm losing my mind

I think I'm gong to lose my mind.  There's so many things that are frustrating me now in my life that I just want to go stark raving mad and get hauled away to the loony bin.  At least then I might get some peace of mind or at least a mental vacation for awhile.  And someone else can pay for the air conditioning.

Work: I've had so many meetings lately that some days I spend less than an hour sitting at my desk actually getting work done.  Why so many meeting?  I've been there so long that I'm the resident expert on everything so whenever a new project starts up that effects our unit, I'm asked to be the SME (subject matter expert).  Even when I'm too busy and they assign someone else in my place that always fails and I'm roped in later on because the original person can't handle it.  Well guess what?  I CAN'T HANDLE EVERYTHING!!!!

Also, due to the fact that I've been there so long and know everything, I'm also the trainer.  And I'm damn good at it (I did get my degree in education).  We've tried to split it up and have other people train on some things and that hasn't worked out very well.  I have to step in and "re-train" someone because they are so hopelessly confused.  It takes about 6 months to fully train someone so that they can function completely on their own and even then they probably haven't seen everything yet.  We had a new assistant start last June.  He got fully trained around late November/early December.  In January we had another assistant start.  He's almost done training, hopefully in the next week or two.  And guess what?  We have another person starting next month that will also have to be trained.  All these meetings and training are in ADDITION to my regular job.

Video capturing:  I've been so excited to finally get set up to capture video of game play and put them on line.  I've had some bugs and I thought I had everything worked out.  I spent a lot of money to get equipment to correct audio issues and at first it was working just great.  Then I seemed to have problems again.  The same types of problems.  I haven't figured out how to fix it permanently but I have figured out a work around.  Unfortunately that work around triples the time it takes me to edit a video.

Editing:  Now I'm having a new problem come up in the last couple of days.  Every time I go to edit a video when I get about half-way through and try to cut something out my whole video gets corrupted and I lose everything.  Not lose permanently, as I can always scrap the project I'm working on and start over from scratch.  But there is only so many times I can take trying to edit the same video file over and over again after it crashes each time before I start to go mental.  That's why I haven't posted a video in awhile because I can't finish editing any of the ones I've got recorded.  I think I'm going to have to edit in stages.  After I make a few cuts and things haven't crashed then I'll save the file, close out, reopen and try again.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I'm not happy.

Weather:  I live in Arizona and the winters are absolutely lovely.  The summers, on the other hand, are brutal and I hate them.  I've been here for the last 19 consecutive years and I'm starting to feel like that's 12 years too long.  I can't take the heat anymore.  I can't take the endless blue skies with not a cloud to be seen anywhere.  It looks good on paper, but 114 degrees sure doesn't feel good in real life.  Yes, I have a pool and can take a dip to help cool off but that requires getting out in the sun and the heat.  I was only out there for about 20-30 minutes yesterday at lunch and I got burned.  Add a nice sunburn to the "uncomfortable heat" factor and you can see why the summers suck.

I miss a change of seasons.  Where snowy lawns give way to spring flowers.  Where cool breezes give way to sunshine and worth.  And then the air turns crispy and brisk as colder air comes in heralding the first arrive of winter and snow.  It's the cycle of life.  In Arizona you only have 2-3 months of "wonderful" and then 7-8 months of "bake in hell you SOB" weather.  I'm tired of it. 

I hear of other places getting inundated with rain and I openly beg them to send some my way.  Then I start to think.  Why should they send it over to me?  Why don't I just go to the rain?  Or at least somewhere that has weather and hopefully a change of seasons.  It's a scary thought about picking up to move just because of the weather (that and the fact that my job is sucking the life out of me) but I don't know how much longer I can take living here. 

Of course, I feel that way every summer and somehow I get through it.  Then the brief "winter" comes and I love living here.  But then the summer comes back and the cycle of my life repeats itself.  I'm finding this summer particularly awful.  I think we've had almost 2 weeks with temperatures above 110 every day.  That might be new record.  I don't think my other frustrations are helping me.  It's hard to get excited about editing after I've come home from a very stressful day at work.  And then when the editing doesn't work . . . .  You get the picture.

I've noticed some of my crabbiness has been getting into my commentary in videos (at least as far I can tell while doing what editing I can).  I'm trying not to let things get to me but it's hard when you're hot and miserable all the time.  I'm going to push through it and hopefully things will get better.  At leas the weather will get better . . . in about 6 months.  Until then I'll just keep living in Hell and losing my mind.  I'm pretty sure I don't have much left.  It's been fried from one thing or another for a while now.