Sunday, February 25, 2007

Minute changes for now, big ones coming


So we all know that you access this blog by going to 360prophecy.com and not http://360p.blogspot.com, right? RIGHT? There is a reason for this of course, it's because it was always my full intention to create an all new site. Well that new site is coming very soon and for a little while the URL will direct you to a "coming soon" page. Hopefully that will be in the next 48 to 72 hours. But just in case you get a "this page can't be displayed", now you know why.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Co-Op with an Arcadian

I finally managed to grab some co-op time in Crackdown last night with Bamelin from 360 Arcadians. We focused more chatting then really playing. I admit, I completely forgot that I could have scored an achievement if we finished a meeting. The co-op play pretty much works as advertised, with the exception of some pretty bad lag but I hear that a patch is supposedly coming out today to fix that.

One thing that Bamelin and I are pretty much in agreement of is that, while two players is nice, four would have been better. Still, the game is great. I expect to see everyone on my friends list online tonight!

Comic Update: Episode 14 is off to Microsoft for posting. Soon our friend the Master Chief will make his return!

Monday, February 19, 2007

360P Ep 13: Crackdown - I think I can

Wow, three posts in one day. This must be some kind of record. The latest 360P comic is now available on XBOX.com.

This comic is obviously inspired by Crackdown. I would also like to mention that it was even more inspired by my apparent complete lack of depth perception. Ever been so sure you could make that jump, only to miss and fall to your death? Yes? No? Well I've been there... many times.

I would also like to mention that the release of a new Live Messenger avatar pack is immanent. Prepare yourselves.

Powered by Google

It's no secret that I am a huge advocate of cool technology. Increased love is especially given to web based technology. I was, after all, a web developer for a very long time before moving into my role as chief media designer. This blog is powered by Google's blogger service, my RSS reader of choice is Google's RSS Reader, and I make constant use of Google's Docs and Spreadsheets application.

I was listening to Major Nelson's most recent webcast this morning and he mentioned that he too uses Google's RSS reader. He asked his army of dedicated listeners if they would be interested in seeing some of the stuff he reads via the sharing feature built into the software. I replied to his thread saying, "Hey, you should just put a little gadget into your website that lists the shared items feed. I'm going to be putting one into 360P's new design!"

And then I thought, "Wait... I can do that now". And so I did.

Now if you look in my right column you'll find the last five items that I've shared from the zillion or so feeds that I subscribe to.

It's almost time for Co-Op!

I spent the entire weekend with Crackdown and managed to level all my skills to four stars, clear out Los Meurtos and Volk, and pick up a few of the juggling achievements. All in all, the game is still great. What I’m looking forward to most is tomorrow’s North American release. Why, you ask? Because you can fully expect me to jump into your games unexpectedly and throw trucks at you. ;)

While I’ve been having a blast with the single player experience, what I’ve missed out on is having community people to play with. If you’re looking for a co-op partner and you’re not already on my friends list, send Sinnix (that's me!) a friend request and append the message “Crackdown!”.

Here’s another thing I didn’t realize at first that new Crackdown owners should be aware of. Get your strength skill up early. Not only does it allow you to throw cars around, but for every level of strength that you have, you gain an extra health bar. This is a little tidbit of information I wish I had earlier on.

Episode 14 of 360P is now complete and will be heading off to MS later this evening. I’m guessing Ep. 13 is going up tomorrow. It’s an educated guess though, based off the subject matter. *cough* Crackdown *cough*

Friday, February 16, 2007

Crackdown - Retail vs Demo

I spent a good four or five hours with Crackdown last night and thought, since MS was nice enough to send me a copy, that I should go ahead and let everyone know how it plays and how it compares to the version we all downloaded from XBOX Live Marketplace. The biggest difference from the demo is, of course, that it saves your progress. After playing through the demo several times I promised myself that I wouldn’t play it again because it almost feels like you’re wasting your time. No longer a problem!

Another big difference from the demo is that the entire city is open to you from the start. Just drive out to Los Muertos, hit the bridge and drive to any one of the other three islands you like. Just understand that while you can go there, I don’t recommend doing so right off the start seeing as how the baddies are a lot more powerful. If you’re looking for an easy ride you might want to pop into Volk, snag a rocket launcher (the best way to get your explosion rating up), and then continue on with your campaign in the starter islands.

While the demo both accelerates and caps your skill progression, the full retail version finally allows you get to the third and fourth star rating for your skills. After playing for a few hours and vigorously hunting down green and blue orbs, the only skill I’ve managed to get to three stars are agility and explosive power. Individual results will probably vary, I did take some time out to just explore the new environments and didn’t focus constantly and feeding my need for orbs.

While I was taking it slow, apparently the game had other ideas. The first island was cleared out very quickly, indeed too quickly even. To make matters worse after you kill off the general of the island, all the baddies disappear. While this does let you hunt for orbs and complete races unimpeded, it doesn’t do anything for your combat oriented skills which can now no longer be upgraded until you head off to Volk to continue the story. For me this indicated that I should really stop playing the story in Volk and strictly focus on upgrading my abilities before continuing. It’s not really a problem mind you, it was just a little unexpected.

I think my favourite aspect of the game is how you can really affect the world around you. For example, if you take out the car thief, the enemies will be driving beat-up vans instead of sweet sport cars. If you take out their recruiter, suddenly there are less guys on the street. The difference is noticeable to a point. Taking out the sub-bosses doesn’t necessarily make the game too much easier, but a little easier for sure… especially when it comes time to take out the main island general.

All said and done, I’m really going to enjoy clearing out the last two islands and working on some of those more interesting achievements. You’ll be able to pick up Crackdown for yourselves mid next week.

Link Buttons





A few people have requested some link buttons and who am I to refuse? Please have these link to http://www.360prophecy.com

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I've got personality

Hey look at that... if you go to XBOX.ca > Community and look in the right column I'm listed right there under Jade (and above Major Nelson. HA!!! Take that Larry!).

Now all they have to do is get the URL for my blog right. ;)

360prophecy.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Change of direction

Well, Episode 13 is off to Microsoft Canada's mountain top headquarters to be scrutinized by whomever approves that kind of stuff for posting. Expect it to be live soon. I'm also happy to report that #14 is also nearly complete (just the background left) and will also hopefully be appearing in a browser near you relatively soon.

While I'm here, I'd like to point out that the fine folks at MS have updated the URLs for the comic. You will always find the newest comic here and the archive here. This is a big step forward for us, and I'm really psyched that we managed to get this done!

In respects to the focus of the comic, which I've been giving a lot of thought lately, I think I'm going to make a few changes. It is no secret that before working with the XBOX Canada guys I had never really drawn a comic before. I've made my fair share of mistakes and I've been experimenting a lot with both my writing and my drawing style. Believe it or not, the hardest part for me is writing the script, keeping it relevant, and appeasing the Microsoft censor. Not that my comics are really censored mind you, but let's put it this way... you aren't going to see a comic featuring Mario and Luigi appearing on XBOX.com anytime soon. Anyway, my point is that pretty much from this point forward all 360P comics are going to strictly deal with funny things about 360 games or humorous Canadian community moments. Last months Lost Planet comic is a good example of where we're going to be moving.

This change of direction will help the comic stay focused and give me new material to work with every month. I like the idea, but what do you think? Sound off in the comments.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Vista Box is Done

Contrary to what other people are saying, I really like Vista. I am happy to report that last night I managed to build a computer from scratch and get Windows Vista running on it without any problems. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it was smoother than any XP install I have ever done (and I've done a lot of those). Here's the specs for the tech heads out there:

Intel Core 2 Duo 6400 2.16Ghz
ASUS P5B Mainboard
2GB OCZ PC6400 RAM
320GB Seagate Barracude SATA2 HDD
nVidia 7950GT 256MB Video Card
Building the computer took the longest, a lot has changed in the five years since I've completely assembled a computer from the ground up. Everything had different connectors than I'm used to but overall it wasn't that bad. I think the thing that surprised me the most was the size of the CPU heatsink and fan. That sucker is huge. The first PC I ever built myself (286) didn't even have a CPU fan! Pertaining to Windows Vista, the install was easy and painless. If it took more than 20 minutes I'd be surprised. All of my hardware worked at first boot and the only additional driver I needed to update was for my video card. I installed a few games that I had lying around and they all ran flawlessly. Overall, I'd say that 'impressed' is an understatement.