Herp de derp. This space will be filled with words.

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You might have noticed things are going a bit slow on the news front here on ModDB/IndieDB and Desura. There is a perfectly normal reason for that. I have destroyed my right ankle. For the past week I have been in hospital waiting for surgery to have metal plates, assorted screws and wires implanted in my destroyed foot in a hope that I will be able to use it again.

Right now I am sitting at home this is a few days after the surgery and I can honestly say, this is quite possibly the most painful thing I have ever done to myself. I would show you all pictures but it is very discusting. The best example would be something like this

Blueberry Muffin

just not a muffin, but my leg.

I broke the ankle playing Baseball, sliding into second base my foot stopped and gripped onto the ground, my body kept moving, CRACK and then the rest is history. Word of advice don't break bones, it really limits you in so many ways.

Please stick with me while I sort out this mess that is my working life right now, it will get back to perfect sooner rather then later. You have my word.


Henley Blog 2 comments

Even though the MOTY's and IOTY's have been making me work like a dog, the response has been amazing, it makes all the work and other things worth it. So far 12 days into the voting we have already had 96,150 total votes (at time of writing), with the IOTY's smashing the total votes for indies since well forever sitting at 26,000 votes.

It's kinda crazy, we have not even started to announce any of the really cool stuff yet either, so as of yet this years awards have been amazing. We still have over a month left, and I still have videos left to make.

Things I want to get too before the end of the awards:

  • 250,000 unique daily visits for one or more days
  • Get Desura out (not really up to me, but I know the other guys would really like it to happen sooner rather then later)
  • To have IndieDB grow and keep that growth moving into 2011

So not really that many points but those will be quite difficult to complete especially the IndieDB growth, I am still not sure myself how to keep it as popular as it is, I guess the first step would be to make sure content is up and regular on the site, aside from that I am not sure.

I guess time will tell.


Henley Blog 6 comments

Missed my flight, up for $400 AUD. Who knew airlines were so heartless for mistakes like this, the best I could get out of them was $15 bucks off the price, now that is lame. I'm more annoyed at myself for this effort of mine, as I checked the details 4 hours before I was "supposed" to be on a plane, it never occurred to me to check the date as well.

Word of advice to anyone who is thinking about flying somewhere, set alarms, set many many alarms. Unless your made out of money, in that case you should send some of that too me.


Henley Blog 8 comments

Hello, my name is Dave I'm 21 and I just found out I'm longsighted.

I always thought my eyesight was perfect, it turns out I have been forcing my eyes to focus on things close to me when they cannot do it normally, leading to a whole lot of migrains and headaches, so this whole thing has come as a surprise to me 21 years of not looking at things the right way.

It might be a little hard to explain but here is what happened, after the doctor told me my eyesight was bad there was a few things going through my head and now that I have had some time to think about it here was my major concerns.

How effective will they be?

Will the entire world I have seen all my life be really that much different? Will people look different? Have I had trouble reading up till now without noticing a problem? So many different things really, over the past few years since gaming has become that much more apart of my life (thanks to ModDB) I get fatigued playing games, will having glasses fix that?

When I told my mother about what happened he first response was "Why didn't you let us know you couldn't see well?" Well how would I have known? To me it was normal.

What I am most worried about is how this will change the things I remembered, would have my girlfriends looked different? Would have I been better at sports? It worries me as I have already lived a sizable chunk of my life and having been like this from birth I kinda wish that it was picked up earlier as it could have changed a lot of things like how well I did in school.

Knowing what I do, what has changed for me now?

Since I found out what I was doing to self correct my eyesight problem (flexing my eye mussles so that to focuses on things closer to my face, try it yourself and see what I mean I have been doing that for 21 years) its become apparent that my eyesight is hopeless its like I'm surrounded by a ball of grease everything in between 3-7 foot around me is hazy now I just never noticed before.

Lets hope this just isn't me over thinking this but if the glasses don't fix that I will be stuck with that feeling, that sucks.

I have yet to get my glasses yet, but I am not looking forward to how it might change things, if it makes my life easier the past 21 years will be hard to look back on, if it does not change much at all I will be stuck with what I deem to be crappy eyesight that I thought was once really good.

All up this sucks.


Henley Blog 12 comments

Holy crap there is Dust everywhere! I woke up today to see a bright red sky, and the inside of my house was covered in dust (the room-mate left the back-door open). It sucks, I'm sneezing and all that all the time. Apparently this dust storm travelled all over the east of Australia being all dusty and stuff, just goes to show how dry this country is... Enjoy the photo.

Damn my nose... On another note I have finally got off my ass and started to put together the portfolio website, its mostly there so I can keep track of all my stuff I do that is note-worthy, most of the stuff you will be able to find here on this site but its nice to have a place to put all this. Anyways you can find it over at www.DaveTraeger.com awesome address eh? Still needs work but it is a start!

Anyway look forward to some more ModDB stuff soon, lots of things being worked on!

New Headset

Henley Blog 3 comments

Since I work in a house that house more than one person, being loud and having loud sounds from my work PC can be bothersome to both my room-mate and my neighbours. It's an even bigger problem since I don't really keep normal hours of work either, some nights I might work through to dawn in order to get stuff done. That's just what my role on ModDB has become, I'm a dude who will get shit done *throws out some gang symbols*! So in-order to not piss-off everyone around me I use headsets for 100% of my time in-front of a PC so a good headset is important for me, it needs to be functional, needs to be comfortable and it needs to have a decent mic to boot.

My last set was the Speedlink Medusa's. Now this was an awesome 5.1 headset it had a externally powered A/B switch (for all those who don't know it basically means duel input and output with the ability to switch with the press of a button) and AMP along with a fairly decent mic to boot. The thing is, because of its design (6 speakers per ear) and the fact that I used it so often the ear cuffs (on both ends) snapped from the support of the headband more than once. But thanks to some crafty work with glue and small pieces of metal I was able to save them time and time again.

So the new headset that I purchased had to be better than the Medusa's and have a better design all together. After a long session of searching for possible candidates I came across the Astro A40 Audio System which suits all my needs and is a much higher quality product then the Medusa's where. The main reason I purchased the A40 was because of the very powerful Mixamp which supports high (Digital Coaxial, TOSLink) and low (RCA L+R, 3.5) quality input sources, meaning I can have more than one input plugged in at once and the system will automatically change the source over once a connection is found. Using high quality inputs also means the Mixamp will be able to replicate Dolby Digital surround sound, which takes a strane off the headsets weight.

That being said the A40 headset looks and feels great with the design of the headset having a major focus, the weight of the ear-cuffs are taken off from the bands and replaces by plastic cylinders which house the cabling for the cuffs. The cuffs themselves fit around my ears very nicely unlike the Medusa's cuffs which sat on top, they also curve under the ear and have a option to have an open or a closed cover (open meaning that you can hear outside sources) which is a simple as removing the cover.

The only problems I have encountered with the A40 system is in the Mixamp. Because of the ability to have the Mixamp powered by batteries (4XAA) if you don't have any placed in the system the electronic circuit will not be complete making a cracking noise from you mic over any VOIP service. A pain but a simple fix none-the-less just throw in a couple of rechargeable AA's and your good to go. The other personal problem I have with the system is that you cannot have two inputs simultaneous into the Mixamp as one will overwrite the other, I would assume a splitter would work for that but that's just a pain.

In the end it's a great system, a little on the costly side of things all up $339AUD plus $69AUD for shipping and $49AUD for the high quality cables but for myself personally that cost will soon cover itself with the amount of use I will get from it.

Moving with technology.

Henley Blog

I hate having to change things, as a video editor once I have my patterns locked in I like to stay there, content with not having to move on to new things, but the programs I used screamed at me for an update. Fraps for example is a program I use quite often, as it is the main program I use to record content for the site, Fraps was updated recently to include a new codec and higher quality audio and video recording, how could I say no to that?

The problem being that the new audio codec was not supported by Adobe until very recently in fact, it was only supported in the CS4 version of the suite. Since I use CS3 it was apparent that I needed to update that as well, so I stretch the budget and grab the new suite only to find out that all my presets for my animations within Flash don't work with CS4 as the new suite has a different means of motion tweaking. Damn you Adobe! The new animation style itself is really good, just means I have to re-make everything again. Sigh.

So as I write this I'm not a happy chappy, the suite itself is great, lots of new things to play around with, lots of things are different like the normalising options and exporting program within Premiere Pro. It seems now that Adobe has built a dedicated render program I wont have to worry about having Prem Pro open to do the render which is a big plus for my line of work.

I guess all this is basicly like moving house, its always a bitch to do it but in the end your in a new house and that new house rocks. So I guess I'll be happier down the road when I have re-built everything again.

As some of you might or might not know, I have a deep burning passion for Dungeon Crawlers, good examples of this are the Diablo series, Etrian Odyssey series, and basically anything CRPG. I tend to overlook most JRPG's though as they tend to have quite a few character stigmas attached, i.e. young boys who look like young girls commanding huge army's filled with veteran adult warriors who at first despise the young boy but then grow to respect him. Yeah I'm sure your all well aware of all that.

Persona 4 on the other hand has two of my favorite gameplay elements combined into one, the above mentioned Dungeon Crawling and a collecting element similar to that of Pokemon only cooler. This is going to be a very difficult thing for me to explain to you all so you're going to have to bear with me. Let's just start from the top shall we?

Persona 4 is a story about a high schooler (whom you can name anything you want) transferring to an isolated town to for a year, only to be swept up in a murder mystery. Someone is throwing people into a different world found within ordinary television sets, where the victim's hidden personal problems will manifest into a shadow. The victim will then have to face there "true feelings" choose to either deny or accept the truth about themselves, denying the existence will enrage the shadow leading to a gruesome death. The perfect crime right? Not really...

Persona 4Stuck in a TV eh?

Playing as the Protagonist grants you the power of Persona Zero, which in short is the power to control multiple classes of Persona in battle. Persona's in a nutshell are peoples shadows that have been accepted by the victim which the player and his companions can use in battle to fight the shadows of the alternate reality that victims create upon entering the world inside the TV. With great power comes great responsibility meaning it's up to you to save anyone who falls inside. Saving people means you're helping them overcome their problems, and once they accept that they have a problem they too gain the power of Persona and are able to help you save more from the clutches of death.

Saving people is not the only thing you can do to become stronger, you can also create bonds with characters within the game that are both NPC's and PC. Each character has their own Persona Class. Developing bonds with these characters means you can create stronger Persona's that can be used in battle. The higher your social rank with that character the more bonus EXP that Persona Class receives upon creation giving it a boost from the beginning, which grants extra levels and extra skills.

Persona 4Let's do this!!

So the aim of the game is to create powerful Persona's that will help you in your quest to put an end to the killings in your new home. Now that you all (hopefully) understand the idea of the game let's get into the combat system a little bit. The combat in Persona 4 is turn based; as you attempt to save people within the TV you will fight monsters called Shadows which can make up any Persona Class. These monsters will sometimes have weaknesses to certain elements i.e. weak to fire attacks but strong against ice. The Persona's you create and the Persona's that are assigned to your team mates will also have elemental weaknesses and strengths so the idea is to find the weaknesses of your enemies and exploit them while you protect your teams weaknesses in the process. Exploiting your enemies weaknesses means that character that just attacked can have another turn, if you manage to knock down all enemies you and your team can attack all at once doing massive amounts of damage and in most cases is a finishing move. Keep in mind though your enemies can also do the same to you.

Developing bonds with Playable Characters that you have saved from being killed in the TV allows you to unlock extra non-persona abilities in battle. A really great example of this in action is once you have ranked up the social rank of the character Chie she can do a "galactic punt" which she will kick a non-knocked down enemies out of the arena, this can only happen if another character knocks down an enemy. This is a very powerful move as it kills the enemies she kicks instantly, in one case it was a boss enemy that was killed in 1 move because of this awesome power. So as you can see creating bonds is very important but the game never forces you to create bonds at all.

Persona 4Chie kicks it up a notch!

The social aspects of Persona 4 involve you managing your time between classes in high school and days off. You are free to spend that time doing whatever you want, working jobs for a little extra coinage, developing bonds with characters by spending time with them and exploring the inside of the TV world. The only time the game really gets stressful is when the time limit is imposed on when you can save people from the TV world. In the town your living in a fog will arrive after several days of rain, which means it will be too late to save the victim (obviously there is quite a lot more to it than that but explaining the specifics will be a massive spoiler so find that one out for yourself :D). You will end up managing your time between developing Persona's and getting combat experience.

Persona 4Check out my Social Ranks

The last thing I want to mention is the story and the characters personalities. Persona 4 is a complex game but it is also very rewarding as well. The personal stories that the major character go through in this game can be quite sad and do really pull on the heart strings, so you are rewarded with helping characters through these problems and then being able to create powerful Persona's. The storyline of your team as you grow closer together is quite funny, which anyone who enjoys Anime will love. I'm currently in the last leg of the game, and can honestly recommend it to anyone who enjoys long rewarding story based games. Also sorry if you didn't understand anything that was talked about in this review as going any deeper into what everything is and what there meanings are would ruin the experience so if you want to know more. Play the game.

There are a few reasons that point to NeoTokyo coming out soon, one of them being that I myself have played the mysterious mod and can comment on how great the entire presentation was (mind you this was going on 5 months since I played it), how great at that point the gameplay was. There is more other reason which only came to me today, by post infact.

Ed Harrisons fantastic soundtrack for NeoTokyo arrived at my door step today, and it was not just a non-labeled white CD like you would expect but a well presented folding out case that really did shock me with the amount of care and love put into it. With 27 tracks spanning 2 CD's I can honestly say it's worth the pennies to both support the developers and to get your hands on some amazing work. Listening to it now reminds me why a good soundtrack does not disappoint and can only benefit a mod. So you can find more info and place your orders here for Ed's new CD. For now here is a sample track so you can have some idea on what to expect!

Most linear games have a difficulty that will scale the more you play it; leading up to an encounter that will hopefully have you prepared as far as gameplay knowledge in order to complete it. Games like Half-Life 2 normally do this quite well. It's when a game crosses that very thin line of fun verse arse kicking that we have a problem I like to call the "fuck you" point. This is something that everyone must have experienced in one game or another, it's a point in the game where difficulty escalates way to quickly and you find yourself not enjoying what the designers are asking you to do in order to progress and in most cases you will never play the game ever again.

This is mostly found in RPG's where a significant amount of grinding is needed, which is not so bad; it just means you need to prepare more. Though it is a problem if you have played for going on 10 hours and this is the first real point in a game where everything is kicking your face in. The second place the "fuck you" point is found is in FPS games. The idea having difficulty based on your skill not on a number is fine, and if developers decide that throwing a small army at you as a road block which you will only struggle through is a stupid way of extending playtime.

If you're a mod developer and your reading this, keep that in mind, chances are quite a few people will never give your mod and the experience that it offers a second chance.

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