Category Archives: Koshr’s Korner

Everything by Koshr, just Koshr. This probably includes bitching about Mass Effect 2, praising Mass Effect 1 and everything before ME1 BioWare. Lots of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars references. Oh and maybe some funny interwebz meme-type pictures too. And don’t forget: Keep It Koshr!

Xbox One Reveal – Koshr’s First Thoughts

Xbox One

Koshr here to wrangle up some of the Xbox announcements so far released today. So first off, Microsoft showed it off as the Xbox One. I will do my best to leave my opinions out of this post since VaderFan and I plan to do a podcast tomorrow with our opinions. I’m expecting it to get heated. On to more facts. Microsoft went on at length about entertainment features. The Xbox One will feature a snap option that allows you to watch movies TV shows and whatever else while do other tasks. They also showed using the new Kinect to browse television without a remote by simply talking to your Xbox One. Next came the hardware announcements.

xboxonespecs

Personally, I wasn’t surprised at all by its specifications as listed above. This emulates pretty much any current PC. After the hardware they mentioned the controller.

xboxonecontroller

The controller is pretty much a redesign of the 360’s controller. A big change is that the Xbox One’s controller has a built-in battery pack that does not protrude like the 360’s. The triggers will have some form of force-feedback, or so it seemed from the way it was mentioned. After internal software and hardware Microsoft gave the stage to EA Sports to talk about their new Ignite engine. EA has four titles in the works using this engine slated for the Xbox One. Microsoft then announced Forza Motorsport 5 and Remedy’s (Max Payne, Alan Wake) new game: Quantum Break, which has a thoroughly intriguing trailer. Microsoft Studios will releasing 15 exclusives in the first year, eight of which being new IPs. Apparently there is a Xbox Entertainment Studios which will change television entertainment. This leads into them announcing a television series based on Halo that Steven Spielberg will be attached to. Microsoft will also be partnering with the NFL to feature Fantasy Football options directly on the system. Xbox one will “release around the world later this year” with more details at E3. Microsoft finished their reveal with a behind the scenes look at COD: Ghosts and announced that Microsoft will continue to get the COD dlc releases early exclusively. That finished out the official Microsoft reveal. Since the reveal aired, almost all of the major video game websites have announce more information as well as other developers. Almost every major next-gen game has come out saying that their game will be for the Xbox One including Watch Dogs(Ubisoft) and Destiny(Bungie). Wired posted my favorite Xbox One article so far here. I’ve also found articles mentioning that Microsoft is tying their Azure cloud platform into development for the system so it is possible that games that use Azure features will require an online connection.

Again, we’re planning a duo-cast for tomorrow, so keep your ears to the ground for the heated debate between me and VaderFan.

Koshr, signing out.

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Wizard Secks – Hey! What’s in that pipeweed anyway…..

Wizard Secks

Wiley Wizards…

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RIP LucasArts 1982-2013 – Koshr’s Take

So, if you’ve already liked the 1K Crew Facebook Page, then you’ve probably already seen my link to Kotaku’s article about Disney letting LucasArts go. Basically, this article states that Disney has laid off nearly 150 people off and that their two current projects(Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault) are cancelled. They do technically reserve the right to license these titles out to other developers but that is very unlikely to happen. Apparently, Disney has “decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model.” Much like Obi-Wan, when I read this article I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I feared that something terrible had happened.

Now, I personally LOVED so many of the games with the LucasArts “Gold Guy” opening and I could probably say that if it wasn’t for LucasArts games, I wouldn’t nearly have been the gamer I am now. While everyone else was wasting hours away on their N64 in Hyrule, I was saving the galaxy from the Galactic Empire one Tie Fighter at a time. At this time, I was still a casual gamer so I was hard pressed to find a game that held my attention enough to play all the way through to completion. I think Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was actually the first game that I ever beat(I was a late bloomer, so sue me). I won’t even mention the hours I spent trying to beat Boba Fett in Shadows of the Empire or Sebulba in Episode I: Racer.

I can easily remember the moment I realised that I had become a ‘hardcore’ gamer circa 2003. It was summer, nearly my birthday. I had been so impatiently waiting for the release of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can ask VaderFan. We cycled through countless KotOR backgrounds for our computers in the Cybercorps class we shared. I still have a terrible drawing of HK-47 that I did based off of a screenshot in an old GameInformer. As much as I had anticipated KotOR’s release, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had only just recently started playing D&D 3.0 so I was very new to roleplaying. KotOR was the first game that I played and replayed numerous times, back to back, for the story alone. That ‘moment of infamy’ was when I first *SPOILER* realised that I(the character) WAS Darth Revan the whole time *END SPOILER*. Ever since, I have searched for other games to pull such emotional ties as KotOR did and as small as that list is, KotOR still sits very high(just behind the first Mass Effect). With that, I can easily say that I owe a lot of my gaming life to LucasArts and they will be missed, but that’s not all I have to say. There is still a future.

As I mentioned before Disney has shifted their focus of LucasArts from internal development to a licensing model. My first thought is that I hope the Star Wars RPG that Obsidian had pitched LucasArts a while ago can get developed. This might also allow for more amazing third-party-developed Star Wars games. Both KotOR and Battlefront were not developed by LucasArts themselves. They were developed by BioWare and Pandemic, respectively, who oddly enough merged sometime after these games had released. LucasArts being forced to close their doors also sparked Raven to release their source code for Star Wars: Jedi Knight II and Jedi Academy finally allowing for modders to be able to more easily make mods for these games. My speculation is that this could possibly spark enough interest for Disney to consider another Jedi Knight game. (How amazing would that be!) These are my hopes despite Disney having said that they were more likely to focus on social/mobile as opposed to console releases.

With that, here’s to hoping for the best. May the force be with you!

– Koshr

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Koshr’s Motivational Pics – Power To The Redshirts!

Redshirts

They deserve equality too.

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KoshrMeme – Because we all know you’ve been wondering what it’s made of…..

Koshr: Boyfriend Material

Come on ladies, you know he is 😉

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Video Games of 2013, New IPs – Koshr

1K Crew

So it’s a new year which also means new games to play. As gamers, this is the time of the year where our wallets get to recuperate while we enjoy the catch up on the slew of holiday AAA releases. This last holiday season brought us such gems as Lego Lord of the Rings, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Halo 4. Personally, I am almost always excited for the first half of the year for games as this is usually when the smaller releases , sequels, and new IPs(intellectual properties) are released. Some of my favorite early year releases I can think of include Jade Empire of Bioware fame and Halo Wars from Ensemble, both of which weaved incredible stories. Usually, January-March sees the new IPs as wells as the smaller or more clique sequels(2012’s included games such as Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning as well as Mass Effect 3). April and May almost always includes releases of the the first half of the year’s major AAA releases(basically everything released by Rockstar this generation). With this all out of the way, my main point in introducing this is to write a little bit on the next few months of video gaming.

This next year will be one of the best video game release years of all blah blah blah, as most websites would put it, though I beg to differ. We will see many great games including Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto V and Gears of War Judgement. All of which will sell ridiculous amounts of units, but WHERE ARE THE NEW IPs? Don’t get me wrong, there are new IPs in this upcoming year but what happened to years like 2007 which saw the releases of many of the new IPs which are still fueling upcoming releases(BioShock, COD 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Rock Band). I understand that years like 2007 only come around every so often but we definitely haven’t seen one quite like it since. This year will see yet another new IP from the wonderful developers over at Quantic Dream who have yet to create a sequel of any of their games. This game is Beyond: Two Souls which will star Ellen Page of Juno fame(oh yeah and Inception…). This new game will run on the same engine that drove the Kara demo that wowed everyone not to long ago. Quantic Dream has been known to spin wonderfully mind bending tales as they did in Indigo Prophecy(a personal favourite from the OG Xbox). Beyond: Two Souls will be Playstation 3 exclusive just like the next game I’ll introduce: The Last of Us. The Last of Us will be Naughty Dog’s first new IP since the trilogy of Uncharted games that so beautifully blended story and action that it made us wish that there could be a good Indiana Jones game. It will include similar third person action following a pair of characters who are trying to get by in a post-apocalyptic playground of mayhem. I’m really starting to sound like a Sony fanboy(If only there were a new Infamous game coming out!). This brings me to my most anticipated *NEW* IP of the first quarter-ish of video games. -Drumroll- Aliens: Colonial Marines will finally give us the sequel to Aliens that we have always wanted. What’s more? It’s developed by Gearbox? Needless to say I am so down for this game. I know that we have seen disappointment from games with the Gearbox name on its packaging(yeah I’m talking about you Duke) but I don’t feel that any other developer in business today could nearly pull of such a wonderful science fiction world with sticking true to the license, and include all of the nerdy comical references(in any other hands it’d be Game over man! Game over!). Now I know you might not consider Aliens a ‘new’ IP since there have been games in the past to feature the always noticeable Aliens such as the Aliens vs. Predator games. My co-host Vaderfan could easily talk you head off about how the Aliens vs. storyline is a completely separate world and popularized in the Dark Horse comics. I’m going to say it’s new since we have yet to ever see an Aliens game in this fashion(:P).

For the long run of the year, I am super-crazy-excited for Destiny which I have already mentioned in the podcast a couple of times. As a brief recap, Destiny will be the new IP coming from the 10 year agreement that Bungie signed with Activision after handing the Halo franchise over to 343 Industries. We still do not know much about Destiny other than that it should be a whole new sci-fi universe for us all to delve deep into much as they supplied us with the Halo franchise. This brings me to my problem with this year. I have now exhausted my ‘Most Anticipated New IPs of 2013’ list. Quite short compared to how I would like to see it. EA has gone on record many times talking about how sequels are just a safer bet, and I don’t blame them after releases like Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning failing to the point of shutting the entire studio down(I know there was more to it than just the game’s sales). Sadly, this is where we sit as an industry. Video games are making their way into adolescence as an industry, which means that the big playmaker companies are trying to squeeze out as much of a hold on the industry as possible. This causes more of a business approach to the development of the major AAA titles, which I’m not against but it does stifle the creativity and blocks the industry from being able to emerge as an artform as I would like to see at some point. This does, however, allow for the independent industry to boom and I feel that, for the next few years at least, I will be forced into being a player of independently developed games.

To all the great games that will be coming out, and more importantly the many that I will never get to see(Advent Shadow and the rest of the trilogy, mainly!) Good night, and good gaming!

-Koshr

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January 4, 2013 · 2:17 am

Koshr’s Motivational Pics – Magneto: Your Chaotic Good Hero!

Magneto Motivational

Magneto – Chaotic Good

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Halo 4: Halo CE/Reach vs. Halo 2/3

Image

Koshr here of 1KCrew to talk(err, uh type) about the impending release of Halo 4 part one of the soon to be Reclaimer trilogy by 343 Industries. For a little bit of backstory, Halo 4 is the umpteenth Halo branded video game release, actually the 8th(not counting Gearbox’s port of Halo CE to PC as a separate release). Through the many versions of Halo we have all played, we all have our favourite version of Halo.

My favourite version of Halo is still Halo: Combat Evolved. This may be due to the many fond memories of smelly pubescent nights spent with 15+ other friends and friends of friends playing Halo through the night. “The good ‘ol days” is how I’ll always remember select weekends scattered throughout the years of 2002 – 2004. I still reminisce the days of getting a bunch of people together to all play together LAN style. Most of the kids anymore don’t even know this abbreviation: L.A.N. Local Area Network. Local, meaning that you had to play a game in the same room as other people (GO FIGURE :/). So, having proved that I’m completely biased towards Halo CE, I’ll do my best to present my newly found theory keeping in mind that I too did still enjoy Halo 2 and 3.

Halo 2 and 3

On November 9th, 2004 Halo 2 introduced dual wielding, a new main weapon, and a very heavily tweaked game engine now using Havok for physics as opposed to an engine entirely developed by Bungie like in Halo CE. Halo 2 brought the Halo series to Xbox Live, and is considered by many to be the game that brought the Xbox and Xbox Live to the incredibly high level of popularity that it continues to command to this day. Without going into single player, Halo 2 included major changes to the dynamic of what was Halo multiplayer. The new ‘main’ weapon that I had mentioned earlier was the Battle Rifle which was a burst-fire two-handed rifle, which was quite different from the single shot two-handed rifle they had shown in gameplay videos during the previous E3.

This video was probably what caused so much disappointment in Halo 2 for me, but I’ll save that for a different blog. The Battle Rifle changed the dynamic in Halo’s multiplayer by switching the main weapon from having a single-shot, high rate of fire weapon (as in Halo CE) to having a three round burst shot weapon. Halo 2 also brought new animation glitches including the infamous Double-Shot (allowed for two bursts to be shot simultaneously) and the dreaded BXR (literally the button combo of hitting the B, X, and R buttons/trigger in sequence to do a lightning fast punch-shot that would be an instant kill when properly used). Halo 2 was featured in MLG league play including 4v4 gametypes as its major competitions. I personally competed in MLG Halo 2 tournaments when they still were hosting 2v2 a gametype. I did not get very far, though I didn’t care to having already given up on thoroughly enjoying Halo 2 as I had Combat Evolved. The dual wielding in Halo 2 also presented another dynamic as well as a new, and equally annoying, use for the Plasma Pistol. What I have come to consider the ‘Halo 2 n00b combo’ included using a fully charged blast from the Plasma Pistol to relieve an enemy of his shield then quickly switching to the Battle Rifle to finish said enemy with a pinpointed burst of bullets to finish the enemy, as long as this burst was a head shot. These were perfectly valid tactics, I just didn’t like them for balancing because you could too easily get ganked without any notice since these combos could retire you nearly instantly. Halo 3 felt quite similar to Halo 2 for me so include it with Halo 2. It added more melee weapons for single and multiplayer modes as well as a better graphics engine that allowed the game to render three dimensional objects as far as 10 miles from the player in real time.

Halo CE and Reach

Halo CE and Reach both featured ‘main’ weapons that were single-shot, mid to far range weapons that could zoom in for better long distance accuracy. Halo CE’s M6D Pistol was a perfectly accurate shot. Bungie probably used some form of simple Ray Tracing to program its shot since it seemed to always shoot exactly in the middle of its reticle. Halo Reach’s Designated Marksman Rifle also was a more accurate weapon, although Halo Reach did include the ‘bloom’ effect that lowered shot accuracy when shot in quick succession. Bloom was probably the one major detractor to me liking Reach as much as I could have. Halo Reach was mentioned by on of the developers as being “for the fans” at one point and, looking back, I feel that the ‘fans’ mentioned were me and the other Halo players like me who, at that point, were still rigging up old original Xboxes with ‘Duke’ controllers whenever the moment arose. Halo CE did also have its animation glitches and button combos. These included the BLB (punch, grenade, punch) and my favourite, XXY which would allow your weapon to be reloaded whilst wielding your secondary weapon. It would still take the same amount of time to reload but you could still shoot during that period. The game physics in Halo CE required you to lead your shot the further away and the faster your target was moving allowing for more realistic dynamics, even though the game takes place in the 26th century. The newer games did not seem to require as precise shooting though they obviously still require some ‘leading’ of your shots. During the LANs that I previously mentioned, I took part in some of the most epic multiplayer games that I ever have played in any game, EVER! Imagine a capture the flag match where the goals was simply 3 flags to win, and being at the 2 to 2 stalemate. Now imagine having the teams flag, while they had yours (you had to own control of your own flag to score the opposing team’s flag). Well, this match, in specific, lasted for over three hours. The highest kill count was in the range of 350. Tensions were at the boiling point, and wonderful games of FFA Rockets on Wizard with half health and no shields quickly brought everyone back into the fast paced fun of the night. This is the wonder and glory that Halo CE still holds for me to this day. Early in my Halo 2 career, I was playing an online casual match where the match was nearing the twenty minute mark when teammates and members of the opposition were quitting out due to how ‘long’ the match was taking to finish. ?! …. some people I guess :/

Halo 4

Halo 4 will be releasing November 6, 2012. Halo 4 will also be featuring both the DMR and the Battle Rifle. Given that this game’s matchmaking settings will allow for it, I will very quickly be creating a custom gametype that will allow for the player to choose a Halo CE/Reach vs Halo 2/3 gametype. In essence, this will be a DMR vs. Battle Rifle gametype allowing gamers to put their skills on the line to prove their favoured game’s worth once and for all.

So, in summation, all I am really trying to relay is that even though there are a lot of us Halo fans, I feel like there are really two, very different, types of Halo fans. There are the fans that probably started playing Halo at their friends’ LAN parties but didn’t actually own Halo until Halo 2 or 3. These would be the Halo 2/3 archetype. Then, there are the true (what?! I had to…) Halo fans who helped Halo become popular in the first place by supporting an entirely new game console, that most people thought would fail horribly. These would include the Halo CE/Reach archetype. This same dynamic also applies to many other aspects within our wonderful video game culture (i.e. the 2 very different types of ‘Classic’ RPGs, I’ll cover that later).

With all of that off of my chest, I cannot wait to take you out with my DMR when 343 Industries’ Halo 4 releases November 6, 2012. This is KosherFistsOfFury of 1KCrew signing out.

P.S. Don’t forget the hate mail 😉

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Koshr’s Long Road To Game Development – Pt 1

      Like many video game aficionados, I’ve wanted to make video games for a very long time. One thing I’ve learned from working in a video games retailer for many years is that everyone has opinions on the games they play. More so, most have their own ideas clinking around their minds for their own games (Most of which… well, they aren’t too good). Likewise I’ve had many of my own ideas tumbling around my easily distracted brainspace. I am constantly pulling out one of my many notebooks to revise or continue ideas for level up systems, fantasy/sci-fi settings, or whatever else comes to mind; sometimes even poetry (Go ahead: Call me a sap!). At any rate, this compulsion leads me to take advantage of my employee privilege to be able to take a game from the store home to play from an academic standpoint. I’ll play a game just to see how they do certain things (i.e. level up system, camera, combos et cetera). I’m writing this because there was one such game that I’ve been wanting to play for some time now and just played the first half-hour or so.

     This game would be: (wait for it) … Venetica! Okay, so I know your’e wondering: “What the hell is Venetica? I’ve never heard of that!” Well, to answer your inquisitive mind, Venetica is an RPG set in “a fantastical Venice.” You play as Scarlett who, within the amount of the game I’ve played so far, has lost her would-be husband to assassins who’ve attacked her village. She dreams of Death telling her to find the infamous ‘Moonblade’ which you learn later is fabled to be able to kill the undead. You learn that her parents mysteriously dropped her off with the woman she was raised by, and that she somehow doesn’t quite die so easily as being stabbed in the back. Now, all this sounds great and all which was part of the reason I picked it up. The main reason I picked it up was for the fact that I had never heard of any of the companies listed on its covers. These include: Rombax Games (which seems to be a subsidiary of ZOO Games), Deck 13 Interactive, and dtp entertainment AG. I continued then to peruse my way through its instruction manual, which held my first clue (originally overlooked, of course) that this games production value was very low. On page 12 of Venetica’s instruction manual you’ll notice that there’s a screenshot to show the layout of the game’s HUD that has a whole section on the right cut off.

      The meat and the potatoes (POH-TAY-TOES!). Earlier tonight I finally get home from work and am able to load up the game to try it. The game quickly introduces the story and basic gameplay mechanics. Now I had already gone into the menu to up the sensitivity, my usual minhag, but the camera was unbelievably disorienting. So I quickly drop it down to 35 percent, which seemed most comfortable. This game has you starting the combat using a fire poker which does little damage, and I’m still not sure if there’s a ‘Block’ button (I probably wouldn’t use it anyway). After getting used to the annoying camera and clunky combat, I make it through the intro to a somewhat open part of the village that was attacked the night previous. Everyone is telling me how I should leave since the assassins were all looking for moi. I’m still walking around in a night gown btdubs. So I get some clothes that I basically stole from the blacksmith’s daughter, and begin my adventure through the surrounding area. I quickly find someone who was mentioned in the town that I have to help out of a fight. Next, I come across a house that two relative are squabbling over to get the will from the house. I talk to them and they warn me that their uncle was a trickster and that there would probably be a puzzle to figure out. Under their feet are blatantly protruding square step-stones (we’re in the middle of the forest btdubs) that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to interact with. I quickly give up on that venture. I walk around the woods a little longer when I come across a couple assassins that I imagine will be an easy encounter. They weren’t, despite my having found a better sword. I die. The ‘You Died’ screen showed up making me think: “Oh, well I’m sure the game automatically saved at some point.” Next, the ‘Load Game or Quit’ screen shows up and guess what: NO SAVE! Not even an autosave after the opening cinematic or even the tutorial section. And to think: I was really excited to see how the level up system was laid out, and I really wanted to see where her dad and Death were going to come into the story. Oh well, too bad.

      I guess my whole point in sharing this experience is in hopes that I will never forget it for the future when my skills are more ‘leveled up’ and I can make a game. To the indie game developers out there: No matter how awesome your level up system is or your super awesome Do-Hickey Do-Dad of super Phantasmagorical Elephantiasis is: DON’T FORGET THE BASICS! If your controls suck, or your camera fidgety, or your story bland and boring, I won’t want to play it. And even more so, this game truly makes me feel that once I gain those previously mentioned skills that I lack,; That I WILL make some interactive experiences of Badassery that you (people of the interwebs) will LOVE…. hopefully.

      So with that, I shall bid you a fond adieu… Now to get back to refreshing my gmail inbox hoping for some hate mail…….

       – Koshr: Signing Out. . .

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1K Crew

Hello my fellow gamers, nerds, socially awkward whatevers that you may be to be reading this,

As one of the members of 1K Crew, I am here to publish our first post on WordPress, which hopefully will be used more and more often. You may be wondering as to the  reason for 1K Crew’s existence. We created 1K Crew as a way for the three of us, which I’ll get to soon, to talk about video games(among other things). I am personally hoping for people to follow us and to eventually send us/me tons and tons of hate mail/trollspace nonsence.

1K Crew consists of myself: @KoshrFstsOfFury, @VaderFan, and SamiFish(who at this moment is not yet on twitter). To keep the brevity of this post, I’ll only do a somewhat thorough introduction for myself(while leaving the others to post their own intoductions). I have been an avid gamer ever since I got my original Xbox with Halo: Combat Evolved with funding from my bar mitzvah. Okay now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a gamer since I received an N.E.S. for my exceptional first report card, but i don’t consider myself a gamer until the wave of joy that was the first Halo. I spent many weekends enjoying and hosting Halo LAN parties, and furthering my personal gaming community. In high school, I quit baseball to be the founder and elected president of our video game club(yeah, I’m a nerd and probably should have stayed in baseball :/). More recently than high school I’ve struggled with being able to pay for college, being an employee for a major video game retailer. I’m also teaching myself to program for video games and am currently learning DirectX programming. As far as games go, I am a big fan of roleplaying games. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was the first video game RPG that captured me so thoroughly to continue to play through multiple times. Before SW:KOTOR I had few experiences with Dungeons and Dragons, which I rely heavily on as a creative outlet. For now, I’m using 1K Crew as a way to output my fueled opinions on gaming and gaming culture. So that’s me, in a nutshell of sorts.

You can follow us here on this page, over at onekaycrew.podbean.com, on facebook by searching up 1KCrew, or my own personal twitter @KoshrFstsOfFury…

Thank you,

Koshr

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