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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Today, 12:34 AM

#12779789 Mega Man Legacy Collection (Xbox One, PS4, PC, & NDS)

Posted by Richard Kain on 01 July 2015 - 07:15 PM

I have no issue with only 1-6 being released on this new collection.


The important thing to me is going to be the quality of the emulation and the various historical extras included in the collection. From the sound of it, they are intending to make this new collection archival-quality. If they actually manage to deliver on what they are promising, I'm okay with it. I like the idea of a Criterion-style release of the first six Mega Man games.


At this point I already have all of those games multiple times over. Just another bundle with a lot of titles shoved on it isn't enough to draw my eye. A bundle with the best possible emulation quality, lots of options for display, customize-able controls, and lots of historical extras is what I'm looking for.

#12757190 Cheap PS Vita Games Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 19 June 2015 - 08:10 PM

Maybe Vita will be similar to the DC where everyone will remember how great it was and ahead of it's time but 2/3s of the people that trumpet it will never have actually owned or played one.

I wouldn't say that the Vita is ahead of it's time. Also, I own three or four Dreamcasts. (as well as two GameCube's) When I talk about how good some old systems are, there is personal experience behind it.


A lot of older systems have a hindsight element to them. Once a system's course has been run, it becomes a lot easier to set it aside and look at it objectively. It's also usually a lot easier to get the system for very little money, which takes the "value" of the system out of the equation. It is much easier to evaluate a hardware platform's merits and shortcomings when you aren't attempting to justify its price.


This is why so many older games look favorably on systems like the Dreamcast and GameCube. They were actually very strong systems, with some incredible exclusive titles. And due to market pressures, neither system got a fair shake in their own time. Any interested retro gamers could acquire those systems for a song, and up until recently they could also acquire most of the best games for those systems for very little. This has lead to a significant number of players singing the merits of those older systems.


We will likely see something similar for the Vita. Thanks to some of its hardware peculiarities, there are always going to be a handful of Vita titles that stand out, and are only available on that handheld. Also, the screen on the original model Vita is really, really good. It will likely find a place in the collector's market. A few years from now retro gamers will likely be lamenting the fact that the Vita didn't do better.

#12726988 amiibo Deals and Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 05 June 2015 - 04:51 AM

Yup! Meta Knight confirmed!


Managed to snag one this evening when I stopped by the local Best Buy. A very pleasant surprise. Didn't see any other hard-to-find figures though.

#12726187 PlayStation TV $39.99 @ Best Buy (OOS Online--Pickup/In Store Only)

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 June 2015 - 08:10 PM

With e3 coming next week... Im hesitant to buy a playstation tv. Feels like another iteration is coming out that is substabtially better.

This is a distinct possibility. Sony's current strategy regarding both the Vita and PSTV isn't doing the kind of numbers that I think they want it to. The platform has a lot of potential, and has a decent amount of content available for it thanks to its digital offerings and backwards compatibility. (all those PS1 classics and PSP titles help to fill out it's library) But they are having trouble convincing people to take a chance on the initial hardware purchase.


It would not surprise me if some manner of revised version of either the Vita or the PSTV (or both) shows up at E3. As the technology for this platform is a little dated by now, it's less risky for them to experiment with it. They can play around with revising these systems without incurring quite as much production costs. And the initial high specs for the platform (as a portable console) makes it more future-proof than most other low-end devices. The PSTV's very existence is evidence of this.


I'm personally predicting that we'll see a Vita or PSTV that has some amount of built-in memory, that is sold for a little more than the current standard models. Also, I would not be surprised by a further price drop on the current models. The platform has enough potential that I really don't think it would be a good idea to abandon it outright. But some manner of change would be advisable at this juncture.


I managed to knab a PSTV on the recent GameStop sale. I would be willing to consider another if they have it available at the local Best Buy. I have a few extra PSVita memory cards that I got on clearance, as well as a surplus of PS3 controllers. I could give this as a gift to my brother.

#12724553 GOG Deals Thread: FPS Classics $2.99 and Under

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 June 2015 - 12:56 AM

Amazon has Steam version of KQ Collection for $5.00.  Does GOG sales usually go lower than that?

I've seen it for upwards of 80% off, which would be quite low. It's also worth noting that the GoG versions of classic Sierra titles are DRM-free. Not only does this mean you can back them up, but you can also play them with whichever emulators you please. (Not just the ones they come bundled with)


No guarantees on the sale, mind you. They may not go on sale at all this year.

#12671876 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 01 May 2015 - 07:47 PM

I've tried Unity, which I think works on all of those platforms now, but I could never really get into the vibe of working with a mostly visual game engine after a decade of writing my game engines from the ground up.  Guess I'll always prefer graphics engines over ready-made game engines.  It usually seems like I'd spend more time jerking those types of engines around, trying to fit them to whatever needs might be outside the typical use case, than anything else, so I err on the side of flexibility.


It's an interesting quandary. It took me a while to get into Unity as well. And I can definitely understand why a veteran developer familiar with lower-level systems and traditional OOP structures would find Unity difficult to get into. I had only been working with an OOP extension-based engine for a year or two (Flixel), and switching over to a component-based system like Unity still took me quite a while. It requires some mental gymnastics to move over from full-on OOP to component architecture.


The nice thing is that once you've really gotten it, it becomes possible to integrate both approaches in Unity. After years of practice, I've finally reached that point and my development is really taking off now. While Unity is mainly focused on the visual editor and component-architecture, it fully allows for more traditional OOP techniques. Getting the two to work together is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it.


Quick example, I recently put together a basic "tile" system. The base of the tiles is a standard Unity component, written in the standard style. I integrated a few "tool" functions for adding links to other tiles in that base component. But then I used classic OOP extension to make another script that was a "square" tile. I used the tool functions I had written in the base class to pre-populate the square tile class with the standard eight tile links you would expect from a diagonal-capable board-game setup. Then I created a separate editor script for a Unity-editor window, and put the tools in it for creating a 2-dimensional board made up of standard square tiles. It takes the desired width and height as arguments, as well as a GameObject reference in case you want to use a PreFab, and creates a standard 2D board at the press of a button. It even creates all of the links between the tiles automatically.


Thanks to the OOP structure I used, the base Tile class becomes much more flexible. I used it to make square tiles, but I could also use it to make hex tiles, or tiles with any number of links to other tiles. (for more path-based board games) And since I didn't bother trying to integrate the graphics with the tiles, it can be re-used for a huge number of different game types. Applied correctly, the Unity way of doing things can actually be hugely flexible.


I don't blame you for sticking to Phyre Engine. A lot of coders insist on have source-code access, and that's one thing that Unity still obscures from it's basic users. I'm more of a high-level script monkey, so I don't mind. 

#12658913 CAGcast #404: Shipwreck Dreams of Cables

Posted by Richard Kain on 24 April 2015 - 10:41 PM

Just thought I'd share a little personal experience on the cables subject.


My parents are building a new house, and I've been helping them out a bit with the audio-visual setup that they're planning on implementing. Their builder clued me in to an approach that a lot of professional builders are adopting for wiring a house for HDMI. They actually wire the house for CAT5 cable, and then use an adapter to handle conversion from CAT5 to HDMI. The CAT5 cables carry the video signal, and then it gets converted just before it goes into whatever device is using it.


Apparently there is a finite limit to the length of most HDMI cables, so this approach is commonly used when wiring for HDMI in distances exceeding 50 feet. Another possible benefit is that the standard nature of CAT5 makes it very easy to use for multiple different wiring standards. So if your technology goes obsolete in a few years, your wiring doesn't and can be re-purposed later.

#12596567 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 27 March 2015 - 02:28 AM

What were you using before ShadowPlay? Know of any good software that does internal audio + video capture at the same time?


I stumbled on this today: Qubicle. Was used by the Crossy Road devs for their art assets. I'm in love. Super-easy to create voxel models.

I was always trying to configure one open-source screen capture solution or another. None of them ever worked particularly well. I used FRAPS a few times in the past, but it always drastically killed performance. ShadowPlay is easily the best video screen-capture program I've ever used. It captures audio from whatever you're running, and even gives you the option of providing microphone narration while you're recording. It's everything I've needed.

#12594670 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 26 March 2015 - 06:49 AM

For the past two weeks, I've been revisiting a Unity component I had been working on for automatically calculating and rendering aspect ratios, as well as the letterboxing that goes along with them. I'm much more experienced at Unity this time around, and yesterday I finished all of the main features.


Tonight, I figured how to use ShadowPlay to record a quick tutorial video. Why didn't anyone tell me about this ShadowPlay beta thing?! NVidia basically put out a free version of FRAPS that kicks most other video capture software in the testicles! True, you do have to have an NVidia 600+ card to install and run it. But my gaming rig was already rocking dual GTX 660s in SLI, so no problems there. ShadowPlay is basically the video capture software I've always dreamed of, and it comes by default with my 3D card!

#12583382 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 21 March 2015 - 03:36 PM

Did you attend GDC? If so, any tips for a first-timer attending next year?

I did not get to go this year. But I did get to attend on an Expo pass several years ago. Pack light, wear really comfortable shoes, bring a jacket, but also bring a way to store the jacket. (San Fran can get extremely cold with all the wind, but the inside of the conference center can get warm) You might be tempted to pick up a lot of the swag, but don't. A little swag here and there is fine, especially if its something nice, but you'll just be toting a bunch of extra weight around if you try to get everything. Also, the people presenting look down their noses a little at swag hounds. They'll take you a little more seriously if you listen to them, and don't immediately ask about the swag.


Talk to everyone. One of the big positives about an event like this is to establish relationships. Don't be shy, and ask as many questions as you like. Most of the people attending there for business are supposed to be answering questions, and most of them are going to want to talk about what they're presenting anyway. It's not going to be hard to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone. If you go on an Expo pass, you'll be limited on how many panels you can attend, so a lot of your time there will be on the show floor. You should spend a significant amount of that time talking to a bunch of different people.


I'm hoping to be able to attend next year. It all depends on my job situation.

#12565498 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 13 March 2015 - 04:15 PM

I've been hard at work on my lip-sync project every night for the past week. And I've made lots of progress. It's been slow going, but very steady. Every night I learn new tricks. Last night, I even rolled up my sleeves and started in on some of the art I needed to make. So I finally have something visual I can share...




It's a 3D model of a kitty cat that I sculpted! It's a bit of a rough sculpt, I didn't spend all that much time on it. And my 3D modeling skills are very rusty. But I'm going to be using retopology to produce a lower-resolution of it for in-game use anyhow. The sculpt is just to serve as a base, and for some minor normal mapping. The final version is going to be used to animate various phrases.

#12543927 CAG Amateur Developer's Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 03 March 2015 - 02:36 PM

Oh snap! Yesterday, Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now free-to-develop!


Last year, when they launched Unreal Engine 4 for the first time, they also rolled out a new subscription-based licensing fee. For $19/month anyone could get a valid Unreal Engine 4 license with full access to the source code. The royalties owed to Epic were also reduced from around 30% to just 5%. This was a huge step for bringing UE4 to a broader user-base. For the first time, smaller indie teams could actually afford to use one of the more powerful game engines on the market.


Yesterday, on the first day of GDC 2015, Epic announced that UE4 would now be free for development purposes. The $19/month subscription fee would henceforth be dropped. Anyone who had already sent in their fee for next month would be reimbursed, and those who had been actively subscribing to the service would receive $30 of free credit to UE4's asset store. Anyone wanting to download and use UE4 can do so simply by signing up at UE4's website, no further charges.


The 5% royalties to Epic are still in place for monetized projects. If you make some decent money off of a game you make with UE4, Epic will still be taking their cut. But if you just want to grab UE4 and learn how to make some games, there is now zero out-of-pocket cost. This is a huge boon to the indie and hobbyist communities. One more barrier to entry has vanished, and people looking to try their hand at game making have another powerful tool at their disposal.

#12503349 PlayStation TV 50% off at Amazon February 13, 2015

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 February 2015 - 03:05 PM

Considering this is also a launch pad for PS Now, its very possible Sony will continue to produce them even when selling them at a loss.


You're assuming that the PS TV is being sold at a loss now. It may very well not be. Think about what the PS TV is. It's the primary circuit board from the Vita, stripped down, and slipped inside a very simple plastic case. There are virtually no moving parts, no screen, and hardly any buttons to speak of. (certainly not as much as the original Vita) All you really need are the circuit board itself, one power button, possibly a rest switch, the two halves of the plastic shell, and the necessary assembly to put them all together.


I can guarantee that it is cheaper to produce than the Vita. How much cheaper is a matter of speculation, but if I had to guess I would say much cheaper. I would estimate that it costs Sony half as much or less to produce the Vita TV than it does to produce the Vita proper.


At the recent $40 sale price, Sony might have been taking a loss on the Vita TV. But I would imagine it wasn't a very big loss. The Vita TV was designed from the ground up to be the dirt-cheap Sony video game alternative. An experiment that wouldn't be a financial risk for Sony.

#12448955 Anime & Manga Steals and Deals (Rightstuf, Amazon, DD...etc)

Posted by Richard Kain on 27 January 2015 - 10:23 PM

I have all three seasons of Legend of Korra on Blu-Ray, with the original slipcovers. I was not aware that the value had risen in the second-hand market. I am not, however, interested in selling. I really like that series and those copies are staying in my personal collection.

#12320882 The CAG Backlog Support Group. Check OP For The Gamers Lounge Summer Backlog...

Posted by Richard Kain on 12 December 2014 - 12:57 AM

At the prompting of a close friend, I actually started playing Dragon Age: Origins last week. I finished the main campaign on Tuesday. While it did take quite a while, it wasn't difficult for me to finish. It's a BioWare RPG, after all. The stories they craft tend to be quite good.


I'm going to take a little bit of a break after this, I have some projects I need to work on.