Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It looks like our gallant old voyager probe may have just stepped outside the bounds of our solar system.

Thats pretty cool. A machine built here on earth decades ago has managed to not only stay functional, but make it outside the influence of our sun.

Check it out On the discovery website

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some night photography i've been playing with

Recently at the Texas Rennasiance Festival (which I and a few friends got to work at on cast on this year, woot) I got a chance to take some shots by the light of the full moon.

They turned out halfway decent.

Check it out on my Flickr Account

Mini Review: Organ Trail

Today I figured that I would take a look at a mobile game (since I seem to be spending more and more time interacting with mobile media.) So today I'm going to briefly go over the game Organ Trail (not to be confused with Oregon trail). The game is a riff off of the super popular original Oregon trail and presents a very well polished  and clean take on the classic.

Much like in the original Oregon trail you make a few decisions about how you will start out your game choosing what and how much of each kind of supplies that you'll take in your beaten up station wagon in an attempt to survive the journey from one end of the country to the other.

As in the original incarnation, the journey across the United States will not be an easy one. Your station wagon will break down, your friends will be bitten by zombies (and you may have to pull the trigger to end their suffering) , and you wont have enough bullets to take out all the baddies in your way. The same harsh choices that made the original game a classic present themselves in different ways in this new take.

The game, written by a small indie development team called The Men Who Wear Many Hats, comes across as incredibly polished and well done. It's retro graphics look like they came straight off of an old apple and the sound and music design follow suite.

The only complaint that I might possibly be able to formulate about the game play is that, at least on phones, the aiming mechanism for some of the action portions of the game (usually shooting at zombies) is a little harder to pull off than it might need to be. This isn't quite as much of a problem of my tablet since the screen is larger and lets me be a little more precise. On my phone, however, aiming can be quite tricky. Between tapping to move your character and clicking and dragging to aim and release shots sometimes you will find your character moving when you intend to shoot or shooting at nothing instead of moving. On smaller screened devices this can make aiming a bit of a bother.

Aiming trouble aside I feel its a pretty solid game for scratching a retro itch on the go.

Check out their website here

(played on Motorola Razr and Asus Transformer)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mini review: Dead hungry diner

I've been playing video games since the late eighties so it's rare these days that I come across a game that really sucks me in for hours at a go. Dead hungry diner manages just that.

I bought the game on a whim but it turned out to be a fairly polished and thoroughly enjoyable action/puzzle game. Similar to diner dash there are a number of tables on the field at which guests must be seated and served food, but quickly the game begins adding other concepts like guests who hate each other and will fight if placed next to each other.

The difficult ramps up very smoothly allowing you time to get used to each new concept before it cranks things up to an even more frantic pace. Black market games definitely spent time getting the balance just so and it shows.

As the action progresses you will also be able to spend some of your hard earned coin on various upgrades and spells that allow you to avert disastrous fights or soothe angry unread customers.
All of the action is delivered through well rendered 2d illustrations that are smoothly animated (much like pop cap's plants vs zombies) and accompanied via a well thought out score and sound effects that keep from grating even as often as they get played.

If you enjoy puzzle games or just need a break from orc slaying and head shotting trash talking 12 year olds then dead hungry diner does not disappoint.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Starting up again

Rebuilding a couple of masks for the fall ren fairs
We are also hoping to get to hit the Colorado Renaissance fair at the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This year's trf costume.

So as a blogger I fail because I don't think about taking the in process pictures until it's to late but I figure I can at the very least post up the final results.

It's not perfect, but it's a fairly large improvement over the ash mask from last year. The crowds certainly seemed to to want to take a lot more pictures of it. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Replacing characters in mass effect 1

So I went through and saw some neat videos on youtube of people replacing characters in mass effect but I couldnt come across any easy to use instructions for people so I figured I would post some. These instructions are for the pc version of the game.

Say for example you want to accomplish this. Replacing shepard with garrus (which works fairly well, suprisingly) heres what you would need to do.

1) Download and install a copy of notepad ++ (you can get it here)  It's not really a requirement, but it tends to add extra bits into files less often. If you can't or won't install it you can use regular notepad from windows but DONT USE WORDPAD. It may insert extra formatting into the files and screw them up.

2) To replace shepard with another character like tali or garrus (or any of the party members with any other party member) we will need to look at the biogame file. So open windows explorer and navigate to where mass effect has stored your saves and configurations. Typically this is in your my documents folder.

In your my documents folder navigate to the bioware folder, then the mass effect folder, then the config folder.

If you make it to the correct plase you should see a handful of .ini files. The file we are interested in is BIOGame.ini (MAKE A COPY OF ANY FILES YOU EDIT BEFORE PROCEEDING) so right click it and hit edit with notepad ++ (or just regular notepad if you skipped step 1)

3) Now we need to tell the game that instead of loading shepard's character model we want it to load garrus.

You will see that the file is divided into sections followed by the entries for the sections. Scroll down until you see the section named "BIOC_Base.BioEvtSysTrackVOElementsInst" Rolls off the tounge doesn't it? More importantly this is where the entries for party members are located. Looking through the entries you should see a line with lots of the species of character that you want to use. In our case we want to replace shepard with garrus so we are looking for turian.


That fits the bill. But we dont need the whole thing, only the Actor type is important for what we are trying to accomplish so the important part from our line is:


Thats the portion of the line that specifies what type of character to load, as well as what meshes and textures to use.

So copy that portion of the line and start looking for the portion of the file that specifies what shepard looks like. So scroll up and look for the section name "BIOC_Base.BioCharacterImporter"

Inside of that section you'll see two important lines. m_femaleActorType and m_maleActorType. To complete the swap take your selected gender (I have heard that using the male can cause issues with facial animations, but I've never tried it) and delete everything on the line after the equal sign. Next paste in your selected party members code. So for example I am replacing my female shepard with Garrus and my line now looks like this.


Thats it! Save the file and fire up the game. Most everything seems to work pretty well after I swapped to Garrus. Good Luck :)

(If you do run into a major problem you should be able to copy the files you saved before you edited back over the files you edited to restore your game. If that doesn't work, well, you might try reinstalling :-P )