Monday, August 22, 2011

Revisiting the dusty shelf and some new games!

So lately I've been really out of the gaming scene. As much as I want to pick up the controller and start playing, life is too crammed as it is to go on a gaming rager. That didn't stop me from picking up some cheapy games and revisiting some classics. These aren't going to be in review format per se, but just a quick post about what I've put back in.

Super Smash Bros. Melee - GameCube -
The best of the SSB trilogy in my opinion. Brawl was a catastrophic failure that left me hanging. I liked the new characters better than some of the ones Melee brought such as Snake, Pit and Sonic. Whereas Melee had the duplicate characters. Dr. Mario & Mario; Ganondorf & Capt. Falcon; Pikachu & Pichu; etc.
But Melee was a drastic change over the original Smash, where Brawl didn't bring anything new to the table over Melee. Just items, stages and characters but Melee felt massive compared to the first. I was hoping Brawl would bring that same scope, but it didn't.

Animal Crossing - GameCube -
Guilty pleasure #92. Animal Crossing. I still feel this will be the best one ever made in the series. Wild World made everything a chore where the GCN Animal Crossing felt pure and fun. And trying to get home to sell your turnips before they wilted? The stalk market was nowhere near as fun when it was in your pocket at all times.

Borderlands GOTY Edition - 360
Borderlands is one of those games I stopped playing and I can't remember a good reason why. Now with all the DLC out, I figured the best way to get back into this one was to buy the Game of the Year edition which includes all DLC. For $40, I won't complain.

Fallout: New Vegas - 360
Fallout 3 definitely ranks as a game that stole much time for me. But time is always spent well in the Wasteland.
I rented New Vegas on its release, on understanding a different studio had their hands on it. First impressions were awful and it was super buggy. I understand patches have been released and there is good DLC; plus it was $20 brand new.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick Response Codes - Why are they everywhere?

Some of you might have run across a QR or quick response code in your day to day life. I had seen these things EVERYWHERE until I finally decided to download an app for my Android phone to see what the hype was all about. The truth is, once you scan a few, you actually see their usefulness.

QR codes read very clearly even on a cell phone camera and they read fast. What the text can be could be anything you want. And creating a QR code is as easy as ever, with online tools and mobile phone applications carrying the ability to create your own codes to share with friends. The one above is my own, linking to this blog, actually.
Most of the time you see these out in your travels, they will like be a URL address sending you to the manufacturers website for anything, additional product information or maybe even a contest. Everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon.
Personally, as useful as these little guys are and their ability to be placed on anything without cramming up additional space, I have to say we probably won't see them around too much longer. If these are still in rampant use in 3 years, I will be surprised. No doubt they will continue to be in use considering the leaps the smartphone market is making, but it won't be widespread like you see it now. But what's to lose? It's fast, cuts to the chase and right now almost everything has it for some reason. Why not download a reader to your smartphone and find out today?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ableton Tips & Tricks #....4? Let's go with 4 haha.

So I couldn't really find out a tutorial on this particular subject, and this is a new thing to me too. But a few of my DJ buddies are telling me about "PA" style DJing and how enjoyable it is to play.
In a nutshell, PA style means you have loads of clips loaded in Ableton or your program of choice, you select certain loops out of those songs, play that loop alongside other loops from other clips, as well as building drum beats and loops to go with your clips. So if you like a certain 20 second pattern from a song and think it would go really well with another clip, you can play those together and loop it. Then slowly change your drum loops and patterns, then select another clip and layer them. If you have the material to build off of, you can make a whole live set for an hour long with constantly evolving clips and sounds.
Here's a simple way to get you accustomed to playing this way.

Step 1: Open a new project in Ableton Live, and open any number of Audio tracks you feel comfortable with.
To get started, I just opened 3 for now.

Step 2: Find your music that you want to clip out, and add it into the Audio tracks. Wherever is fine, just remember you can't play two clips in the same stack.

Step 3: I recommend getting about 8 files in your Audio tracks, and listening to them together. The ones that sound good together, make sure they can play at the same time in Ableton.

Step 4: Open up an 808 drum kit and build some drum loops that mesh or play off your clips.

Step 5: Mix and match, eventually you'll find some that really sound good together.

And really, its that simple. You can play the same loops for many bars then change one clip or one drum pattern and you'll always have a different sound. Put enough clips in a set and you will never play the same music twice.
I would've loved to link everyone to a video tutorial but I could not find one. I do not know much about this "PA" style, and it might not even be called that. I never did find out how its spelled :P
I would be more than happy to create a video tutorial for this, but I don't know much about recording from computer screens. Anyone know a good trial program that won't have watermarks all over it?

To close out, here's an artist I've really been liking lately.


I understand most people will believe this blog is dead, however; this last week I had intended to do frequent updates until I received the news that my manager at the day job was taking a last minute vacation and I had to step in. And when you work graveyards 10 nights in a row, you really wanna sleep in between. Here's a thank you to any current and new followers; yes I have been very infrequent but we are back and will have updates. Should have another Ableton tutorial up today or tomorrow. Thank you ALL.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Unlimited Detail Real-Time Rendering - Or really cool graphics

Hey guys, I know the posts have been few and far between but I haven't forgot about you.
I also know a lot of my recent posts have been related to music, and not so much tech. So here's something that's been receiving a lot of attention recently.
Its called 'Unlimited Detail Real-Time Rendering.' And it could be the next great advance in computer graphics.
Last year, a company named "Euclideon" came out with a technology demo demonstrating the power of their graphics capability. They use this 'unlimited detail rendering' by, instead of using a polygon and using several polygons to create what you what see in say, a video game world for example, all shapes are comprised of many  'atoms' which allows 'point cloud data' to make something that looks better than anything present in most current technology. A year went by and most people compared their claims like vaporware. A well planned hoax or perhaps they weren't as ahead as they led people to believe.
Euclideon came back on the tech world's radar when they released this video to YouTube a mere 4 days ago.

They have been hard at work to come up with this demo, with several comparisons of the graphics technology with current games today. Everything seems pretty impressive thus far, and indeed this could be the next big thing. Several people are already deeming it impossible to run in real time; remember, this demo is like a still image. There is no motion occurring. And because of that, the nay-sayers are telling us that it would be impossible to run this on any typical or above average consumer PC. The end of the video claims they have run tests at 20 FPS, but we haven't seen that yet.
What do you guys think? Is the technology real here? Is it soon?

-Personally, I think its a step but its far from hitting the masses. The claims of the kit being released to game developers within the next few months is quite a heavy statement. Although they did disappear and came back with this, its hard to say whether this will actually be industry standard any time soon. I think they're legitimate and everything is real, but the claims beyond what is shown are too high.