Saturday, 26 February 2011

Stuff: Star Wars Invasion - Rescues

First off a big shout to CDR who has joined the followers of the blog - nice to have you here!

Time for some more Star Wars goodness from Dark Horse Comics in the second run of Invasion set during the Yuuzhan Vong War. While the war pushes on and spreads to a galactic scale the story still features the trials of the Galfridian family and boy were we in for some shockers in that journey (for background on the Galfridians see my last post). As ever this was a great opportunity to explore visually what we had mostly read about in novels as well as having a great original story focusing on the Artorian refugees. I'm afraid to say there is no map as Dibrook has yet to be given a reference on the Star Wars galaxy map.

so we'll get started with some

New Jedi

I don't know the species of this guy - he looks Chiss, but that's unlikely even this late into the timeline. This unfortunate Jedi had been captured by the Yuuzhan Vong and was being experimented on so that the invaders could learn more about their most dangerous enemies. Tsalok came to interrogate him to learn the identity of Finn who had spared him on Rychel. Yuledan held out using the force, but eventually succumbed and told the Vong all he knew. After that he was moved offworld with the Vong to endure more of their experiments.

Dray is an unusual fellow with force powers. Finn briefly bumped into him on Nar Shadda as a crazy homeless person, but Dray quickly revealed himself to have more than meets the eye. Giving Fuinn a holocron that only worked in his presence he was able to warn him about an attack on his father and bring him back. He had long had visions of the invasion, but had split from Skywalker's Jedi long before and had since gone insane. In his brief moments of sanity he warned Finn of a powerful plot in motion by the Vong and warned that action must be taken or all would be lost.

New Ships

Dibrook Space Station
That's no moon...sorry couldn't resist! This large station was used by the new Republic to harbor immense numbers of refugees from planets invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong. The station was overcrowded and conditions poor but it kept the people alive until it was discovered by the Vong. The small number of fighters available were overwhelmed until help came from an unconventional source...

and that's your lot, we did get to see a few Vong creatures in this arc, but they'd mostly been referenced before, but we did get to see thralls - people of different species mutated to serve the Yuuzhan Vong against their own wills.

New Planets

Only one featured and like I said, no map for it.

Dibrook is an inhospitable world with an atmosphere and weather conditions to sever for most living beings. The New Republic Housed a refugee station in orbit above the planet likely as it would be thought unstrategic to attack. But the Vong attacked nonetheless and finding themselves well adapted to the harsh weather quickly set up a base on the planet.


It's mostly been covered, but I'll fill in the gaps. After recieving a warning through Dray's holocron Finn disobeys orders and journeys to Artorias. He is too late to save his father, but shares some time with him and hears about how his mother was once a slave but was freed by his father and fell in love with him and loved him, despite him having two young children on his own, his father also said he knew Nina's secret and loved her anyway. Finn also shared with his father that he was able to sense Yuuzhan Vong and that there was something strange inside him, then got his people safely offworld before journeying to Nar Shadda where he met Dray and recieved his message about the future.
Nina and Kaye arrived at Dibrook and fought off a Yuuzhan Vong fleet, but realised there were prisoners on the surface. Kaye led an army to the surface, but soon faced an army of refugees mutilated into Vong creatures that her soldiers were hesitant to fight. The battle continued at tremendous cost until the Vong were forced to flee. Under stress from the battle Nina nearly revealed her secret - she herself is Yuuzhan vong!!!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Heroes: Slow Burn

I'm going to finish off the content from Heroes if you'll indulge me with a final set of webisodes from the show. 'Slow Burn' follows the lives of the members of the Carnival a group of people all bearing abilities who mask their powers by performing tricks that seem like magic to viewers, but who also have an agenda of their own.

The webisodes centre around Lydia who follows Samuel the leader, but also knows the danger of his ambitions. She tries to keep her daughter from the group for this reason, but she is increasingly unable to control her dangerous power. So she joins the group and'll see. This set provided interesting info that fed into the show as it went along.

There are ten episodes, which is a bit much for a post so I'll post five now and the rest soon.

OK, like I said I'll finish off the episodes soon and that'll likely be the end of Heroes content on the blog, but I'm sure there'll be more TV bonus content for me to post up before long.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Avatar Kinect

Kinect has been a great addition to the Xbox 360 - OK it hasn't been everything I'd dreamed - I can't lazily command everything on my Xbox by my voice, but it has a number of cool capabilities and has made the Xbox a viable option for a social gathering - Party mode on Kinect Sports was a big hit at my house.

There are other social options such as Video Kinect, which allows you to chat with other kinect users, or even with Live Messenger users who have a webcam. Video kinect is a nifty way of chatting as it can pick up your voice anywhere in the room and the system is already used to tracking you so if you shift in your seat the software is used to following you and if someone else sits down it know and wide angles to get you both in - great stuff. Well it's about to get better...

Why am I posting about this? Well mainly because I see some future potential for this blog in it. I've always wanted to maybe try another medium but not had the technology or the know-how to do something like the 'Podcast of Impossible Things' crew in Cardiff who host podcasts (obviously!) I see this as a way to have a more interesting medium of discussion to liven up the blog a little bit, I'll splash out on some Star Wars avatar gear, get a few friends around and discuss the latest movie, game, comic or whatever. Maybe if you have Kinect you could get involved too.

This looks like a golden opportunity for this blog and I hope it can be used to add some variety and life to it.

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

SF at the Movies - February '11

OK, in an attempt to be in date I'm gonna do this in date - I think I'm gonna change how i do them too. Instead of me yammering on I'm gonne let the movies speak for themselves and embed a trailer here if I can - enjoy!

Released 14/2/11

I am Number Four
Released 23/2/11

That's your lot this month, but for good measure I'll throw in a trailer for the new Assassin's Creed Brotherhood DLC which features Leonardo Da Vinci captured by a mysterious cult and some new multiplayer content too.

Have a good month all!

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Wall - January '11

Late to make a change, but anyway - here's a look at the Sci-Fi stuff I was into last month. This was actually quite a slow month for me Sci-fi wise so there's not a great amount here.

1. Kinect

Ok, not exactly Sci-Fi, but a decade ago, a device like this would have been borderline Sci-Fi, to control an interface and even a game with nothing more than the movements of your own body was something only dreamed of. And ok, the medium may still be in it's infancy where we can play mostly gimmicky fun games like the sports and adventure titles currently on offer. But think about it, I can control something by my voice or simple gestures. How long before this technology gets refined to the point where I can use it to play a shooter, or use it to type on a keyboard that isn't there or is represented by a hologram, like in Mass Effect? Yeah this thing is a toy, but come on - it's also a vision of the future.

2. Halo 2

OK, so nothing new here - like I say it was a slow month. But I've been replaying Halo 2 with my girlfriend and introducing her to the story. It's been a fascinating process, both rediscovering all the bits of the story I'd forgotten while introducing the story to her. She no Halo novice, having played Halo 3 and the first game as well as reading the Halo Encyclopaedia, but it's a different thing knowing the story to being in it, and we're really enjoying our play through.

3. Abstergo Industries Hoodie

I was really chuffed with this and I'd like to make a plug for Ubi Workshop, a division of Ubisoft that makes promotional items from their games. This is an 'official' Abstergo employee hoodie, the kind that an employee of the evil corporation might wear. It's so great to have something from a videogame that is authentic, not just with a logo slapped across the front or a picture of Ezion or something, this is part of the game world, something tangible and I love this hoodie! This is just the kind of thing that has me completely suckered - i don't go for cosplay or anything like that or spend money on game related wear, but this thing - it had me and there's so much more to come, such as the hoodie and t-shirt that Desmond wears in-game. The Abstergo hoodie is sold out, but there are more items available and I'm hooked and certainly going to spend more at this place!!

More soon!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blogga's video Game Diary - 16/2/11

Ok so this is the final Halo Reach post - I'll be moving onto The Force Unleashed II soon and then onto the Mass Effect 2 DLC as I replay the game so posts will be sporadic...not that that makes a change!!

This, if you didn't know, is the post-credits 'Lone Wolf' level, there isn't much new here, but it does allow me to cover any things I missed in covering Reach so far. Well I'll reverse things a bit and do the...


Not much here: With the Pillar of Autumn speeding away from Reach for it's fateful mission Noble Six is stranded aboard Reach, which is being glassed by an aggressive covenant Armada. He takes a stand against the covenant ground forces, slaying them in large numbers, but is eventually overwhelmed. He is eulogized by Catherine Halsey, and thirty years later when life has returned to Reach, so does humanity journey back across the stars to recolonize the world.

New Stuff

Colony Ship

This unnamed colony ship is featured at the end when Noble Siz is eulogized and we see humanity returning to it's former home, indicating that peace has returned to humanity. I like the sleek white design, indicating an upgrade in technology over the intervening period. I wonder if we'll see more of what happens in this time period.

Missile 'Hog

Also known as a M12R Light Anti-Armor Vehicle this is the latest Warthog variant to be used in a Halo game, we also have the troop transport version and the formidable Gauss hog too. This vehicle is use as an effective anti-air and anti-armour vehicle sending barrages of homing missiles at a target, bringing down even the toughest enemy armour.


One of the enjoyable aspects of Reach was being able to hop into Civillian vehicles. How many times had I wondered around New Mombasa in ODST wishing I could hop into one of the cars there. In Reach even the forklift trucks are available, though they have zero speed - they can't even splatter a grunt!! The Spade was a worthy addition, featutred in the campaign and a good drive too. With no gun it isn't for combat but it's a fast ride from A to B and carries a few passengers. In the campaign it's great when Jorge jumps on and uses his big gun as a turret, basically turning the thing into a big Warthog!

Space Banshee

Fairly obvious this one, Banshees, but in space! You fight these in the Anchor 9 mission alongside Seraphs, they complement the other fighters well as they are nimbler, but lack the shielding of the Seraph.


A nifty little addition to the covenant ground forces - basically a wraith meeting a ghost halfway. It has a weaker version of the wraith's plasma mortar, which is still devastating against infantry units, it also boasts greater speed and manoeuvrability, making it harder to take out from range with heavy munitions. It has an additional seat for a passenger who can defend the driver at close range. These units were used in large numbers on Reach.

and that is it - well apart from daily challenges and the like, I hope you've enjoyed this forray into Reach even if it did get horrendously out of date! More games stuff soon!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

SF at the movies - January '11

Late again!! Well let's just get on with it...

The Green Hornet

Released 14/1/11

Maybe not 'pure' Sci-Fi, but this action flick has enough gadgets and superheroes to qualify I think. This flick has a more comedic feel to it, which is a refreshing change I s'pose. I do like the idea of a hapless superhero, who yet has the gadgets and resources to ably fight crime. I don't know much more about it, but this action hero remake looks a worthy watch - and it's still showing so go while this post is fresh!!

And that's it - oh well, more to come I've no doubt!!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

He's just doing his job!!

Would you kill this guy? Why? Ok the clever ones may have spotted that the guard in question is actually an assassination target and therefore fair game, but if he was an ordinary guard, would you kill him?

I probably would not if I could help it - unless it was particularly important or I suppose if
the guard was particularly annoying, but generally speaking I dod try to complete games with
as little bloodshed as possible, games like Assassin's Creed in particular.

I've wondered why this is, it's not that I'm particularly squeamish, I've mowed down countless enemies in games like Halo and Prototype with no remorse and I love to go off script and beat up a civilian as much as the next person, but I will really go out of my way to avoid killing in certain games - why?

Because I'm enjoying them - is the simple answer! A really engaging game is not just there for me to spill blood and blow stuff up, it's a chance for me to escape and be part of a story, play the part of a character for a little while. And so while I am that person I strain to act as much as they would - it doesn't strike me as realistic that a trained assassin would go fighting guards without provocation so I don't do it. In fact because I'm so into the game, I imagine the guard as a real person who i don't want to kill unless it's part of my mission.

I'm clearly not the only one who thinks this way, as this Penny Arcade comic shows...

So if he's about to raise the alarm, yeah he gets a dagger in the throat, if I need no witnesses then he might get shot in the back, but if I'm just on my way and cross his path then I'm much more lenient. At one stage in AC2 I had a method for dealing with rooftop guards - I would assume they could swim and toss them into the nearest body of water, failing that I would take them down in a fist fight, leaving them unconscious, but alive.

My best example of this is playing Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy in a level where you face Nohgri warriors. This group had been stranded and were following orders from the long-dead Darth Vader. Now in Star Wars continuity noghri have since joined the new Republic so are technically allies, even though they don't know it, so killing them was a bad idea - so I managed to complete the whole level without killing a single Noghri, even though they absolutely swarmed the place!!

Another bi example is Mass Effect where choice and morality play a huge part in the game, I've found that over the course of the game I have a clear sense of the character of Shepard, who is loosely based on me, and the actions he might take. mine is good (maxed out Paragon!) but also pragmatic, taking the most practical option and leaving no risk. For example I chose to blow up the Geth base rather than risk overwriting them and it failing to work. But all these decision come from a clear sense of what the character would choose, even though in a sense I made him myself!

There is a big change then, when I go off script, for example when collecting flags in assassin's creed, if my sole purpose is to find them and not to do a mission then the streets are sure to be littered with the corpses of any guards who pass my way!!

Waht about you - how do you play?