Archive for June, 2010

7.0 Complete (170 MB) / Changes

(+) denotes changes only available when you are playing plus edition of this patch

  • +Repaired Tourette ammo and added XP and redemption for the Gargoyle.
  • +Removed SM clinic combat zone and added netcafe combat zone switch.
  • +Added SWAT rifle ammo model and restored several blunt weapon stats.
  • +Improved Yukie translation and removed GLOCKs from the Hallowbrook.
  • +Decreased bomb timer to 30 seconds and changed endgame Skelter line.
  • Fixed Arthur, Lu, Beckett, Isaac, Victor and killer dialogue issues.
  • Restored about hundred unused floats and removed bad ones for Kiki.
  • Fixed tutorial blood reset and improved Chunk Gallery Noir sequence.
  • Opened beachhouse door on combat and moved blanket to Hannah’s bed.
  • Fixed Gary’s photo sound, Ricky’s glasses and improved emails order.
  • Removed Grout’s trigger after use and Murietta’s key if not needed.
  • Swapped some pedestrians to reduce clones and added Yukie quest log.
  • Fixed Yukie boots, Sabbat ankh and Barabus feet, thanks to DDLullu.
  • Displaced two buggy Luckee Star doors and made the sweeper stronger.
  • Fixed Dane cop, Bertram, Dennis, LaCroix, Venus and Knox dialogues.
  • Repaired Ox, mugger and Heather dialogues and restored Barabus line.
  • Corrected Lily cutscene and stalker hair models, thanks to DDLullu.
  • Fixed Yukie’s shop stats, Maria’s invitation and Venture tower door.
  • Added emotions to Ming’s Temple lines and fixed Hallowbrook script.
  • Swapped Mitnick clone with player model and added Temple door sound.
  • Tried to fix zombies and stalkers occasionally using normal voices.
  • Fixed female Tremere hair, thanks for the skin to a nameless modder.

Enkindle THIS

I have a bad feeling about this!

Many people seem to wish for a Mass Effect 3, that will simply re-hash the already overused “save the world” theme, while everyone kisses Shepard’s ass for the tiniest accomplishment. I say there’s already way too much ass kissing going on! This “we owe everything to you because YOU are so fabulous” really reminds me of this. It’s fake because, in this case, Shepard really didn’t do most things (especially not completely) on his own. I’d much rather perceive such a hero as someone, who’s basically a catalyst for getting things going. Like Batman didn’t do everything by himself in Batman Begins, since even he’s just one guy and can be only in one place at a time. Through his actions he enabled other people to do their thing (e.g. police/DA). This might seem less glamorous, but doesn’t diminish his actions, IMHO far from it.
Seen in this light, I could really enjoy the story and setting of Mass Effect 2. Not only because it (thus) came over as a true middle of a trilogy (like Empire or Two Towers), no – also because the actual mission was almost “invisible” to the rest of the universe and it’s preparation and outcome wasn’t covered by every news outlet on all the hub worlds. The ending of ME1 was really corny, with Shepard standing there in a supposed “heroic position”. Isn’t that exactly what distinguishes a real hero? Someone who does it anyway, because he’s convinced the mission is worth it? If someone has ulterior motives, like fame, credits […] it’s not really the same. This would lessen the deed, not the mission seemingly being of a minor significance (and I’m not even agreeing with that, stopping the Collectors saves “countless” colonies, isn’t that close enough to the cliché – what else do you want?!?).

Just pre-ordered Monkey Island 2 SE (yay!) and got that window after:

Thanks for purchasing The Orange Box? Not that I wouldn’t be completely open to a crossover containing Gordon Freeman and Guybrush Threepwood, but…

I’ll just take a leap and will guess, that all games with gift option (pre-ordering 2 SE comes with a free 1 SE, but everyone who already had it, can only gift it) show this screen. A little sloppy/confusing (at first)…

Loster

Lost always had, IMHO, one big advantage, that kept me at bay with my criticism. Maybe some of the stuff wasn’t answered, but maybe later. So why be annoyed now? Every later episode could still fill in those gaps, thus removing any flaw. And that’s exactly the kind of luxury, that was gone and over with after the finale. Because there would be no more Lost and therefore no more answers than those, already given. Right?

“All characters being dead is not really a solution, it just SUCKS.”

Most people will split into (at least) 2 major groups, the first one, that “only” cared for the characters and the second, that knew every story arc and gave it some thought and loved Lost because it was about so many little details. Said first group seems to be quite happy and pleased with the ending. This unnerves me already, because – how can it be “good”, if the characters they cared about are dead? To me, someone being dead, is mostly fucking depressing. A great character ending for me, is rather them hanging out and having some DHARMA beer, while Sawyer cracks a few jokes. What would have been wrong with playing some more golf? Something like that. Overall I can’t help myself but think, that it’s really just a technique they used, to be able to show all (or most) of the characters one last time (together). That too, could have been easily circumvented, by simply not killing off everyone before, to constantly have some teary-eyed drama scenes… Seriously. 24 already had this “one death an episode” rule, because they apparently believed this would be exciting/surprising. But when everyone knows, that there’s a death coming every episode, it’s really not

I actually liked the “Aloha to Lost” special MORE (than the actual episode). I believe that’s not how it was supposed to be. :D

Now for the next category… It’s so enormous, that I don’t even know where to start. I can’t even say for sure what the biggest problem was. Something about the whole season 6 bugged me. The showrunners always stated in their podcasts, that Lost is basically like a book and every season would be a chapter in it. Okay. The last season however, didn’t really feel like it fit in much with the rest of the show. Sure, it’s with the same characters and it does continue the season 5 finale. And yet everything that happens there, almost tells a new story, without delving into earlier mysteries. The (maybe) sole “bigger” mystery they came back to, was the 2 corpses in the cave (Adam and Eve), but at that point it felt so non-organic, that it was next to meaningless, it was like an example that could be pointed at, if they ever wanted to claim that there was at least ONE mystery from way back they answered/explained. It became obvious quite early in the season (6), that this could only mean that they would never bother to resolve issues the writers raised themselves. The entire structure of the final season, could have been attached after any other season. It devalued most of the built-up arcs, by demonstrating that none of them were necessary to end it like this. This “solution” would have been possible two seasons ago, or three seasons from now. It wouldn’t have mattered. Can something, that doesn’t actually require the show so far, really be a good ending? The producers made a good call in ending Lost as soon as they could, because this method only would have been all the more insulting/horrible, would it have taken place after even more seasons. Further, does it really not trouble the fans, that the resolution to the flash sideways was a theory (they are all dead), that people came up with as an explanation for “everything”, after maybe 5-10 episodes into season 1 back in 2004? Their solution only changed the point in time at which people were dead.

So the island isn’t purgatory,but the voices in the jungle are from souls that can’t move on?Seriously?Hopefully Kate is soon in the picture

Another huge problem was, that the audience never learns if anything was true, if it really mattered in any way, or even the way they believed it would. I’m referring to the nameless (!) dude (yes, they never even named the apparent major bad guy on the show…) and the light, the stuff the crazy (?) lady told Jacob… Would it really have been bad if he left the island? Even when not thinking about what the light could have been, was it necessary to protect it? This matters, because only if all these things would have been true, their sacrifices would have made some sense; only this would have prevented them from dying for absolutely nothing, just like the black smoke said. For all the show told, he could have been completely right. And this is just one of the many points, where ambiguity was taken way too far, when it’s not even clear, if the supposed bad guy was really bad. Even Jacob, the main guy who was staged as someone who had all the answers, knew absolutely nothing himself. He only repeated what the woman (who killed his mother) told him as a child (!). She could have been completely mad, this is even more palpable than she being a reliable source for intel.
With some of the big, overlaying issues in the finale dealt with, I could go endlessly into the other problems of the finale, the sixth season, or even the entire show. What were the rules? They are mentioned quite often, but were never explained or even simply listed. Why wasn’t “Locke” allowed to kill the candidates, although he clearly could? What would have happened, if he ignored them? Why did Flocke want to leave the island in the first place? He, again, didn’t even suggest a possible explanation for his desire. Why did “the monster” see Jacob as a child in the jungle, after he died? Why not the adult Jacob? Why did he turn into smoke, when Jacob threw him into the cave? Desmond and Jack went into it and didn’t transform into smoke either.
The final scene doesn’t even work. Jack leaves the cave, stumbles into some direction, falls and dies. Great. Just before he went down into the cave, Ben and Hurley were in front of the entrance. How did he get up the steep wall again, in his badly wounded condition? It was hard to get Desmond out, with 2 people helping. They just blend from him in the water, to him back in the jungle again. Where did Ben and Hurley vanish to? How shitty is it, to let this guy die alone, on the island that is known to heal even the worst injuries? So he could fulfill this “Live together, die alone” part? This scene alone is so extremely weak, that it breaks the whole atmosphere and reminds anyone that he’s just watching a TV show. I’m not trying to say that every story should necessarily have a happy ending, but having major characters die for no apparent reason, after everything that’s happened, is just so very disappointing. It’s by no means a big heroic thing that gives all involved people the sense of having (at least) accomplished a major achievement. He died for trying to prevent a light to go out in a cave, that for all we know could have been a set of candles. Uh, what? That’s so incredibly weak and miserable. Another big joke was the return of Charles Widmore. The show ends without even revealing his true intentions (his actor even stated this in the “Aloha to Lost” Jimmy Kimmel After Show special, that even after the finale he still wouldn’t know, if his character was “good” :D), after he claimed numerous times to be the good guy. He said they would all die without his plan. They didn’t. Or actually they did. What was his plan? Was it accidentally the same plan (send Desmond pull out a plug) they carried out by themselves anyway? If that was really everything, why didn’t the nameless one escape years before the Oceanic flight 815 even crashed on the island? Desmond lived there years before the arrival of the candidates. Nothing would have been easier for the black smoke, to just walk there, knock on the door of the DHARMA station, tell him Jacob just killed Penny (or have Danielle Rousseau do it, by telling her he has her child) who arrived at the island searching for Desmond and have him pull out the plug, after Jacob would have been dead. Done and done. He would have fulfilled all his mission goals and hurt no rules, without having any resistance. Ben was the leader of the others at this time and clearly never did Jacobs bidding (never talked with each other), thus all people on the island would have been oblivious to the possible danger. And this is only one of many possible scenarios that completely crush everything the last season tried to tell its viewers.

If Monkey Island would have been a show with a shitty ending, you wouldn’t care, because at least there would have been monkeys and pirates!

This video, though it is meant as a joke (and some of the questions in it actually WERE answered), hints at the big picture. As I already tried to point out in the bogus mystery arc, it’s not okay anymore, to leave everything unanswered, that was started with the promise of being more. Having people think things through was never an accident on Lost, but very much intended. Even I can write a super-mysterious, bizarre story together in ~10 minutes, with maybe a dude waking up without his memory and suddenly goons are after him, lots of intense chase-scenes follow and whatnot – but if I end it without ever explaining who he was, why he lost his memory and who was after him for what reason, I’m still a hack. Because delivering these answers, is exactly what would have made such a story MORE. This is, what would have required some skill. This is, what’s hard and is born out of creativity.

  • Ever wondered, what was in these vials, Desmond used to inject himself with in season 2 (they even had the numbers on them)? What was the sickness everyone was talking about? Was it even real?
  • Why and for what did they build the runway in season 3? They used it in season 6, but they couldn’t have known that then. Ben never struck me as the guy, who wanted to have a private jet.
  • Who built the statue when, for what reason? Why did it have 4 toes?
  • What was the reason for the temple? Why did some people hang out there? It wasn’t really to be protected from the monster, because the only protection against that, was the powder they poured on the ground. That they could have done anywhere.
  • What was the powder? Why did it stop the monster?
  • Why did Jacob never ask his people to do anything, when he had so many followers under his command? What were they doing all day long, except killing time?
  • Why was Jacob such a good and determined fighter, when Richard attacked him, but a “helpless baby” when “Locke” came to kill him with Ben’s help? Ben was sent to kill him the same way as Richard all those years earlier…
  • What was the lighthouse? How did that shit work?
  • Sonic fences? How did they build this way back in the seventies, when such tec lacks today?
  • What became of DHARMA? They were “purged” on the island, but it was clear they existed on the outside as well. Were all of them killed on the entire planet? If not, why didn’t they use their stations, which could find the island, to return? If they did stop existing, who is still making the food drops?
  • Why were “the natives” even enemies of the DHARMA folk? Shouldn’t they have been friends? They had the fences to repel the monster, they could have really used those at the temple. They clearly weren’t friends of the monster either (or they wouldn’t have needed defences against it) and fighting/stopping that was the whole point of all of Jacob’s followers (or him having such).
  • What was the purpose of Ilana? Why did Jacob tell her she was important and was needed, when all she actually did was dying in an accident with dynamite? In hindsight it looks like he was pulling her leg, with the most dire consequences (for her).
  • What became of Ezra James Sharkington?
  • How did Locke’s father end up on the island? Ben told Locke at this point, that the secret of the island was like a box and everything you could wish for would then be in there. But now that seems to be complete hokum, no? Since that doesn’t seem to be the case, did Ben’s folks simply grab Locke’s dad? Seems like a lot of work for such a little ploy.
  • Why did the monster kill the pilot? And all the other poor shmocks, that just happened to cross it’s way? Later on it seemed that he would only attack people that would try to keep him on the island and ignore the rest.
  • Why did he gather people around him (like the survivors from the temple), when he clearly needed none of them, except maybe the candidates? He didn’t care at all, when most of his company got killed by Widmore’s mortar attacks. He just saved Jack.
  • What happened to Cindy? Was she killed?
  • Did DHARMA produce any useful scientific data during their stay?
  • When Jacob made Jack “like him”, he mumbled a few words to the drink he gave him. He never told the sentence (or anything else for that matter) to Jack, so Jack didn’t use the phrase when he appointed Hurley his successor. How come it worked anyway? Was Jacob just fucking with Jack? Or didn’t Hurley become like Jacob as a consequence? It really can’t be important/necessary AND at the same time, without consequence if done wrong.
  • What’s up with WAAAAAAAAAAALLLLTTTT? They opened up a whole world of questions about him and then ignored the hell out of it. What was so special going on with him? The way TPTB left it, it seems like there was an intended story arc, that somehow didn’t pan out.
  • Why are certain dead people (like Michael) stuck on the island, whispering? Ben Linus wasn’t exactly an angel and wasn’t condemned to this…
  • When “the others” took in Jack/Kate/Sawyer at the end of season 2, why did they take blood samples? What did they test and what were the results?
  • How did Jacob leave the island, when the woman who raised him stated that she made it, so that he and his brother could never leave? Was it because he drank the wine? And since he was just an ordinary guy, how did he travel? DHARMA had their sub and whatnot, but Jacob had absolutely nothing.
  • Why did the swan station require a human to push the button, if it was always at regular intervals? Why not have an automatic script do it? It’s such a waste to deploy humans just for that.
  • Why did “Dr. Marvin Candle” use a different alias in every orientation video?
  • How did DHARMA fit their VW buses into a submarine? (Thanks go to L for suggesting this question)
  • How did Eloise Hawking (when she was messing with Desmond) know what would happen to the guy in the red shoes? It’s as far out as the moment, when Widmore’s electro-magnetic machine sent Desmond into the “afterlife” and back… Holy *beep*! (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • How did the others return Ben Linus back to the DHARMA initiative, when he was shot by Sayid and miraculously healed after? An almost dead kid suddenly healed again, must have raised some eye brows? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why was the monster unable to alter it’s appearance again, once it looked like Locke? Previous to that, it could assume the form of every dead person. What gives?!?
  • Whatever happened to Christian’s actual body?
  • How did Widmore find the island, when Jack vandalized the lighthouse, instead of using it to signal him like Jacob wanted? Jacob does say after, that he will find another way, but Widmore was trying for ages to find the island and now he suddenly succeeds in no time? If Widmore was Jacob’s guy, why didn’t he help him earlier in his return?
  • Why did the countdown in the DHARMA/swan hatch display hieroglyphics at some point? Further hieroglyphics were visible in the temple, where Ben was fooled by the monster. But DHARMA and the natives were 2 different groups, why would they use similar signs? Were they one group at one time? Do they have common roots? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why/how did Penny know, that she could find Desmond by searching for electro-magnetic anomalies? Why were her guys somewhere in the ice to do this? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Did Kate spend the rest of her days in prison, because her verdict, after coming home as one of the Oceanic Six, was to stay in the same state, which she clearly violated?
  • Why was Ben so obsessed with all that fertility stuff? Why did mothers die on the island? What did the rest of the others deem more important, but didn’t pursue, because Ben was the boss?
  • Didn’t they say in one episode, that Claire was given an implant? And Juliet needed to give her injections? A pretty extreme thing to never mention again. (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • For what purpose did they transmit the numbers on the radio tower? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • What was up with that rocket Daniel Faraday fired and the different time values the test returned? If time passes different on the outside, why did they return to their normal timeline, when they left the island? Shouldn’t they have noticed changes?
  • Why does spinning the wheel always teleport people to this specific spot in the desert? How does a wooden wheel (!) influence light in a cave anyway?!? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why did the smoke monster only begin to exist, when Jacob threw his brother into the cave, when the drawings beneath the temple suggest that the monster existed for a much longer time (the drawings apparently existed before Jacob and his brother were even born). Was there already another smoke monster, before this one, that was defeated like “Locke” by earlier “heroes”? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why did the others have an apparently powerful sheriff, that only existed in one episode? What was her fate?
  • If the smoke monster was behind all appearances of Christian Shephard, how come Jack saw his dad off the island in the hospital one night? Didn’t Christian appear to Michael on the freighter too? The smoke monster can’t move over water without a boat…

All this, without going back and re-watching episodes I haven’t seen in 5 years.^^

I don’t suddenly hate Lost now, because even the most shitty ending doesn’t take the fun and entertainment out of the earlier episodes (personally I enjoyed season 3 the most, with season 1 being second place), but at the same time I don’t intend to make up excuses for this ending to appear better than it actually is because I loved the show. Neither should anyone.

//Update 2010/12/18

“The End” was a finale that was never going to please everyone, and so Lindelof and Cuse’s decision to not even bother trying was admirable […]

Top 10 Episodes of 2010: “The End” (Lost)

Well this is just as awesome an explanation as they come. :D

I finished AP yesterday and I must say I was quite pleased and pleasantly surprised. Somehow I made the mistake again (happens) to overhear some “tests” and let them influence my expectation. Or maybe I shouldn’t feel bad about that part. Sometimes it’s quite good to go into something with low expectations. ;) Anyway, I expected a game similar to the first 2 Splinter Cells, but AP is a lot more complex than that. Missions are non-linear, equipment can be traded, different choices are possible in conversations and during missions, the game is keeping up to current reality by offering nice email banter. I also like the camera work in conversations. Because of this, it offers some replayability (the chosen player character class has a noticeable effect as well). Oh and another definitive highlight of this game are the many boss fights culminating into one of the best showdowns I have seen in a long time. The endgame of AP really deserves this name.
All in all the game features many positive aspects, but few who pull down the fun. Those are easily overshadowed. The biggest minus I remember, were doors, which closed after passing them. The game saves in automatic checkpoints and doesn’t allow saving at any given time, so it’s impractical for players to reload at such a spot, because they would have to replay a certain chunk of the game. It happened to me 2 or 3 times, that I only wanted to look around a bit and had to move on, without being able to go back and loot other rooms. The player has a PDA with dossiers, which are completed by collecting intel wherever it lies around (:D) and I’m quite sure the missing stuff must have been in those rooms. It must have been!
I’m also disappointed, that the/my game ended without disclosing what happened to Scarlet Lake, she was just fighting along the hero, but the escape leaves her out of the picture. It’s weird that she would be left behind.

PS: Like Mass Effect, AP resolves certain situations via mini-games. 3 different types force the player to act fast before the time limit runs out and triggers an alarm. The hacking game requires to assign alpha-numeric strings in a rapidly changing sheet full with signs. The second has some sort of circuit, that can be overridden by selecting the right pins. And the last is lockpicking, where the cylinders must be aligned properly. Often those games are a pain (because a so far successful stealth mission usually goes south because of the hacking game), but I actually got used to them during the course of the game.

“Sis” reminds me of Lucy Devlin from Blade Runner.

During his travels, Mike will find shelter in different, comfy AP safe houses.

Who wouldn’t want a huge wall of TFT monitors in his home full with useless information?

Just doing my job here! Honestly!

Marburg is such a douche!

This place is almost like the batcave!

Safe houses also contain a TV, mysteriously talking about all the latest exploits of the main character.

Ah, voting machines…^^

Selecting 6 Pins in 20 seconds is not really a problem…

Therefore, try 10!

Wow, it certainly has its perks to be a secret agent, otherwise Mina might be pissed.^^

Is there an Alpha Protocol 2 on the horizon?

BP Spills Coffee

The Inconvenient Truth About “The Wild Wild Web”

Offline:

Nothing is logged and stored. Most of the time, at least. That must mean utter chaos out there on the streets! Probably like a war zone! If it appears to be actually quite moderate, quiet, peaceful or even dull, it must be an illusion! Clearly none of the people are aware of the horror of not being measured, weighed and otherwise controlled/judged at every corner! If the “the web is uncontrolled”-crowd will have their way, this is soon gonna change in a quite dramatic fashion. Or it would have to, if their outlook on the world should include some form of an internal logic. Because:

Online:

Everything is (logged and stored) here. Anonymous? In your dreams! Just because nicknames are interchangeable and don’t have to mean a thing, this is still by no means the equivalent of being unknown. Got that? Just imagine it would be impossible to buy bread without exposing vast personal data in the process. This is the standard online… No one does the same in a classic shop. There is no paying with cash in an online store (I’m a little generalizing to avoid to go into too much detail, but still…). Compared to the Internet, the world outside is an anarchistic, post-apocalyptic and dangerously uncontrolled chaos zone. Every crappy click is stored in connection with an account FOREVER.

Lesson:

It really comes down to a fight of the ignorant against the more creative. Seriously. Incredible lack of imagination? The Internet will never be your favorite place.
*beep* who wanna “regulate” more, haven’t understood the nature of “the beast” at all. They only believe they do understand their own regulations, that’s why they try to implement them. Create at least SOMETHING familiar in “the void”, that is this weird, alien cyberspace to them.
They are really like still sociopathic, impatient children, who break toys when they don’t immediately understand them and simply don’t bother to learn how they are supposed to be used. Also, if they don’t have any fun with a toy, no one else shall. Because they can’t have that either.