Moving Day

I will be moving this blog over to sebastiengrobelny.wordpress.com on the 1st of September 2014.

Feel free to update your feeds, bookmarks and whatnots.

In the meantime I will post similar content on both.

By Sebastien Grobelny

Welcome back to Springfield! *Duh*

If you love the color yellow, pop culture and onomatopoeia, you’re in luck. Starting today FXX is launching the ultimate marathon. They will show the Simpsons 25 seasons, 552 episodes, in chronological order for 12 days…

I remember when the Simpsons first aired in France…I was a kid and we were recording the shows on VHS to watch it with my brother and father. For a long time I thought of my father as my personal Homer: he was going with thinner and thinner hair, was drinking beer, but most of all, the place he was working at was nicknamed The Central.

I have not watched an episode in recent memory even though I stumble upon runs and reruns. I followed from afar and thought I would be able one day to look back to Springfield but I never had the opportunity like I had for Futurama and Family Guy (through Netflix and Hulu).

Celine (aka the best wife ever) plans on recording all the 552 episodes on our Tivo Roamio Pro but it could itself prove to be a challenge as Tivo seems to have an hard limit on the number of shows you can schedule. We can record 450 hours of show and so far use only 9% of it but Tivo only plans to record the 200 first shows. Our hope is that as soon as it recorded one it will schedule the next one.

I wonder if it aged well, the same way that South Park did.

And you do you plan on following the marathon?

By Sebastien Grobelny

PhLearn: Photoshop Tutorials

If you ever edited with Photoshop, you know there is not one and only one way to do the edits. You can go from the most complex and obscure to something very mundane and easy. PhLearn.com is an amazing source of photoshop tutorials. I just finished viewing all my backlog and instead of creating one post per tutorial I will today group them in one post.

  1. How to create a sunset in Photoshop: Transform a regular picture in a photo with a gorgeous sunset light
  2. How to clean background in Photoshop: A technique I had never seen used before based on the median blur.
  3. How to create a double exposure in Photoshop: A artsy technique to blend 2 pictures.
  4. How to create freckles in Photoshop: Always loved freckles and I am amazed how natural this technique is.
  5. Change the color of anything in Photoshop: All is in the title…
  6. How to create a lens flare: For all the JJ Abrams fans
  7. How to change hair color in Photoshop: Not as easy as you might think due to highlights and color ranges…
  8. How to remove anything from a Photo: A very detailed step by step tutorial to remove stuff you don’t want

I love these tutorials as you can understand the thought process behind it. Don’t hesitate to share your tips and tricks in the comments…

By Sebastien Grobelny

What does the fox say?

The fox says let me play on the slip and slide!

By Sebastien Grobelny

Beta Review : Destiny

Last week end I had the opportunity to try my hand on the open Beta of the new game from Bungie (known for the Halo franchise). The game is called Destiny and is set to be released on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Ps3 and Ps4 on the 9th of September 2014. I played it on Ps4 for about 2-3hours on Saturday and about 1h on Sunday.
I think one way to define Destiny is to say it’s a MMO-FPS-RPG. For those not familiar with the acronyms here are some additional details:

  • MMO: stands for Massively Multiplayer Online. It basically means that a lot of different people are playing the same world as you are and you can team up with them at your will. World of Warcraft is a MMO-RPG
  • FPS: stands for First Person Shooter. In this type of game you are equipped with shooting weapons and you will have to use them to stay alive. Call of Duty and Battlefield are FPS that you can play online.
  • RPG: stands for Role Playing Game. You create a character and with the experience won you develop or upgrade some of the attributes. Skyrim is a RPG.
Destiny Beta My Character

My Character in Destiny. It was an Hunter / Exo / Male

The first step when I logged in was then to pick a class. You had 3 options and I picked Hunter as I am no fan and expert of FPS and thought that hunter were close to the rogue class. I was able to customize a lot of my features but unfortunately as you can see above they are not always visible as my equipment is hiding it. I didn’t see also a place where I could customize my name…After this customization I got the below loading screen that I find gorgeous and revived my love for space-opera.

Loading screen

Loading screen

You have a quick mission and get a companion Ghost voiced by Peter Dinklage and then fly to the Tower, ie the safe hub where you will buy, sell and have specialized characters. After some mandatory errand I flew back to Old Russia,Earth.

Destiny Old RussiaHere are some screens of a mission

You can see here the Ghost scanning

You can see here the Ghost scanning

A vehicle

A vehicle

At the end of a mission you have screens like the one below.

Advancement screen at the end of a mission

Advancement screen at the end of a mission

All in all, I’m glad I was able to join for the Beta as this game intrigued me for quite some time.

Liked:

  • The character creation page
  • Beautiful landscape and space opera feel
  • The menus are very neat and polished
  • The idea of the Golden Gun
  • Peter Dinklage

Didn’t like:

  • I didn’t see anything that let me think that there would be any stealth component.
  • I did fight 3 boss and all had a similar pattern of staying within a defined zone and attacking me while I was out. I basically played duck and cover with them.
  • It felt like enemies were progressing faster than we were. At level 1, they were easy kill but when I was level 3 they were level 5 to 7 and I had to use a lot of clips to take them down.
  • I didn’t see any fire from cover or cover option for that matter. For a FPS in 2014 it seems like a big miss.
  • If you switch from one special weapon to another, you lose the ammunition for the special weapon you just had. For instance if you have 12 shells for the shotgun, switch to the sniper and then switch back to the shotgun, you will have 0 shells until you find special ammunition again.
  • The vehicle felt awkward to drive
  • My character customizations hidden behind garbs.

Conclusion:

I don’t think I was ever the intended target for this game. Yes I do love space opera and I played RPG in the past. One reason I love space opera is the loneliness and the crazy creativity. You can create alien civilizations and mythologies and let go of some rules of physics. Destiny on the other hand seemed like a pretty standard MMORPG with its quests and errands. The class are non-standard but so far not really that different and revolutionary. The weapons are futuristic but classic (knife, guns, shotgun, sniper…). The BETA is now over. Bungie says it was a tremendous success. GameSpot has 7 big questions for the future of Destiny.

Let us know in the comments what you thought about Destiny…

By Sebastien Grobelny

Quick Review : Bastion

Bastion is an Action-RPG game from Supergiantgames that was released some time ago on various platforms. I played it in the iOS version on iPad and finished the game about 1 week ago.

  1. The Story: You are “the Kid” and wake up some time after “the Calamity”. You wander through your memories in search of shards that will help you to restore the Bastion. The Calamity changed the environment and you will have to fight it to reach your goal.
  2. Control and Combat system: You point where you want to go directly on the screen and can stop by clicking on the shield. During your adventures you will find different weapons that you can split in ranged and melee categories. You always carry 2 of these and switch from one to the other with one click. You have a special button attack but you have to be careful as you carry 2 weapons but can only have one special attack. The combat is real time with the life visible around the enemies and your health bar. Each weapon have its plus and minuses, with for instance the mortar doing a lot of damage but needing a lot of time exposed.
  3. RPG components: For everything you destroy you gain XP points and you eventually level up. For each level up you can carry a “spirit” that give you passive enhancement. In addition you can upgrade all your weapons. For that you need to find an upgrade material and some coins and get into the forge. You then have to pick an option between 2. Once the upgrade level is bought you can switch the effect at will in order to create the best combination.
  4. Difficulty: There is no official difficulty setting. I did however enable the infinite lives. In addition to this you have the idea of deities. You can invoke an idol, it will give you some bonus but will also give to your enemies. I did most of the game with 2 idols, tried with 4 and reverted quickly as it was too hard for me. You can stack as many idols as you want (and have). Also I fell a lot…
  5. Visuals and sounds: This is to me the big selling point of Bastion. First you have the Stranger narrating your adventure. Take too long to move and he will say you take time to think. Fall and he will say that barrier may need to be installed. It really reacts to what you do. The soundtrack has some very inspired tracks. The visuals are very beautiful as you can see below. All in all Bastion has a strong identity.
The Kid and the Stranger in a cinematic

The Kid and the Stranger in a cinematic

Actual gameplay from the game

Actual gameplay from the game

Last words: I did really enjoy Bastion and found the experience fresh. I played it in the subway when it was not too crowded. I think I must have played 10-15h total. There is an automatic save each time you go back to the Bastion and you can replay any level as well as do weapon specific challenge levels. I liked the ending. I wish there was more moments like it during the game though.

Here are the 15 first minutes of the game on Xbox

Hope you will give it a chance and enjoy it.

Have a nice week end.

By Sebastien Grobelny

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is over for some time now, but some people are still saying their goodbyes, like the team of tvtag that gave Walter White a proper sendoff, into space…

By Sebastien Grobelny

Lynx

I promised you Photography, Pets, Games and Stuff and Pets were missing so far.

Hope you will like this picture of a lynx.

Lynx kitten from the Point Defiance Zoo

I couldn’t find the credits for the pictures.

If you want more pictures, the whole article is on Zooborns here

By Sebastien Grobelny

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