Sabtu, 29 September 2012

Garshasp Temple of the Dragon Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Garshasp Temple of the Dragon is a simple spectacle fighter.

The story starts with Garshasp and his wimpy brother going in the Temple of the Dragon, in search of the Mace of Trit. Now that is the first problem - this game has a story. Its a problem, because of two things - the worst voice acting i have heard in a long time, and unskippable cutscenes.

The game would have being better, if the story wasn't there at all.

At least the gameplay is better then the story, but not by a lot. The biggest problem is that there is no camera control, therefore you will find your self making blind jumps, or being hit by an enemy you didn't saw, and this gets really frustrating after a while.

Also Garshasp Temple of the Dragon is a really slow burner, because you dont have access to your cool attacks at the start, you have to unlock them by leveling. You cant get to the interesting part, without dying of boredom.

As far as combat goes its standard spectacle fighter like Devil May Cry, or God of War, but its just not as good. This mostly comes from the bad sound effects, that make you feel weak and puny, instead of  making you feel like a bad ass, killing machine.

To add insult to injury, Garshasp is plagued by frame dropping, even on the lowest settings and this makes me think that this game is more of a joke than anything else.

To top it all of, Garshasp Temple of the Dragon is a disappointing and boring experience. 

I hope you liked my review of  Garshasp Temple of the Dragon .
If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.
My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.
Kamis, 27 September 2012

Things you find on the internet...

I check the blog statistics every now and then (not often enough if I wanted to manage this blog more professionally - but hey... I am an artist at the core not a blogger)... but... there was a referring site that looked strange. I followed the link:

and found this:

Someone took the time and effort to translate all my gamasutra blog posts to chines - taking out my text from the images and putting new text in. 

I don't speak any chinese so I can't say if they did a good job or not - one thing is for sure - they do a quick job. The tutorials appear on their site a day later... and they have been doing it right from the start.

The do mention me as the author - so... thanks for the extra exposure. :)

Primbon Jawa
Rabu, 26 September 2012

Dogfight 1942 Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Dogfight 1942 is an arcade flight sim set in world war II.

Do i really need to know about the story? You are a pilot in WW2, you must follow orders, engage is aerial dogfights, and complete missions. That is all you need to know to enjoy the game.

Before i start the review, i want to point out the this game is best played with a xbox 360 pad, and i strongly recommend using one. Also there is no built-in in joystick support.

The most important thing in a flight sum is the plane handling and i am happy to say that Dogfight 1942 doesn't disappoint. All of the planes have weight, inertia and they cant turn on a dime, this makes them believable and enjoyable to fly. For fans of WW2 planes, the game  also provides a large selection of over 20 planes.

The sense of speed is also fairly good, because of effects like zooming out, and motion blur. And this is where my first complaint come is, the game has too much motion blur, and no option to turn in down. 

Now lets talk a bit about the guns. Every plane has several machine guns, rockets ,and if the mission requires it - bombs. I would like to point out the the bombs hit detection is kind of bugged, and sometimes when you hit the target - it doesn't take any damage.
Still the weapons feel very destructive, because of the good sound and visual effects. Probably half of the budget went in to the explosions - they are just very detailed and beautiful.

Now i can tell you where the budget was extremely small - writing and voice action. Some of the lines are really really bad, because they tried to imitate the military lingo of the '40s and they failed completely. They also failed in the british accents, which are juts horrible. At least the american accents are a bit better - i can listen to they without wanting to kill myself.

But the biggest problem i have with the game, is that it runs terrible. Even on my middle class PC is lag and stutters, on minimum setting. And that is just unexceptable, when i know for a fact that this PC runs better looking games, without this bugs. I hope that this gets resolved soon, so i can give this game a positive recommendation. 

To top it all of, Dogfight 1942 is a fun, fast arcade flight sim, with some serious performance issues, and terrible voice acting.

I hope you liked my review of  Dogfight 1942.
If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.
My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.
Senin, 24 September 2012

Gotham City Impostors Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Gotham City Impostors is a multiplayer FPS, that takes place in Gotham City.  

The setting is really unusual and unique. For some reason Batman and Joker are gone. Therefore some of Gotham's citizens dress as Batman, and continue his mission of protecting the city. But every "hero" needs a villain, so the criminal organizations cosplay as Joker, is an effort to bring chaos to Gotham. 

As you can probably see it is a funny, batshit crazy story, that doesn't take itself seriously.

This craziness is present in every aspect of the game, from the funny tutorial, to the impractical costumes. For example, you can have a fat Joker, wearing a kilt. You can have a skinny Batman, with a bat symbol taped to his chest.
This game will just make you smile.

But what really matters is the gameplay, and it doesn't disappoint one little bit. The weapons have great sound effects, which gives you the feeling of power, every time you shoot. I can even go as far, as to say that it feels better the Call of Duty in some places.

But the thing that really sets Gotham City Impostors apart from other modern military shooters, is the gadget systems. They are usually things that utilize thevertical elements of a map, like a Grapple Gun, or a Jetpack. That type of vertical play is usually a feature of arena shooter, like quake, so its nice to see it making a comeback. 

One of the problems that the game has, is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. Some of the weapons are strange and funny, like the slingshot that fires grenades, or the cannon that shoots homing parrots. And on the other side, you have normal machine guns, SMGs and Sniper Rifles, and that is boring, I would really like to see the developers embracing the batshit crazy nature of the game, and give us crazy weapons. 

Speaking of Sniper Rifles, that is the only imbalanced thing that i have seen so far, and i really hope that it gets fixed soon, because it really gets on my nerves.

Now, since this game is free-to-play, on PC, i have to address their model. I can very happily say that it is not pay-to-win. You can get every non-cosmetic item, if you just play for free. But if you decide to pay, you can get XP boosts, cosmetic stuff and items don't impede the balance in any way.

Still as other free-to-play games the matchmaking is a bit of a problem. If you want to play Team Deathmatch, good because that is the only mode that you can get enough people. If you want to try Capture The Flag, or Kill Confirmed, you just cant.

To top it all of, Gotham City Impostors is a game with a lot of customization, good sense of humor and fun combat. 

I hope you liked my review of  Gotham City Impostors.
If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.
My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.
Sabtu, 22 September 2012

Borderlands 2 Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Borderlands 2 is a FPS, RPG with a metric tone of weapons.

The story is set after the opening of the Vault from the first game. Because of it, the world of Pandora now has Eridium, which is extremely valuable mineral. Also for some reason there is another Vault filled with treasures, just waiting to be discovered.And of course your are a Vault Hunter searching for the Vault.

When you start the game, you get a vision from the Guardian Angel. She tells you to follow some ClapTrap, just like in the first game. 
Then comes the first problem i have with the game - the first 2-3 hours are boring as hell. No interesting characters, weapons, or locations. The game really kicks off when you get to the city of Sanctuary. The game is a really slow burner, but once you get to the city the story, characters and cheesy jokes get much better.

Now gameplay, that is the second problem i have with Borderlands in general. The weapons feel weak, with very small recoil and bad sound effects. This makes the game really boring, especially if you are playing alone. So if you dont have friends to play it with, you will probably hate it. 
One good thing that i can say about weapons, is that they starts getting cool effects, much earlier then in the first game, but that is about it.

Another big gameplay problem, is the vehicle handling. Who was the genius who taught that you should steer with the mouse, for the PC revision? This kills all enjoyment, you may have had in a vehicle.

Still Borderlands 2 deserves to be praised for the PC port. Its is perfect in every way - from the massive array of video options, to the gampley options. You can adjust the gameplay to your preferences, and that certainly wasn't the case with the first game.

The RPG elements are close to those of Borderlands 1 - a talent tree with lost of passive effects, many randomly generated weapons that you change frequently, and a fairly interesting side quest.

To top it all of, Borderlands 2 is more of the same, therefore if you liked the first game, you will love this one, but i certainly did not.

I hope you liked my review of Borderlands 2 .
If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.
My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.
Rabu, 19 September 2012

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is a HD remake of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2. What else could it be?

As the name would suggest, this is a game about skateboarding. You have to do tricks and complete missions in 2 minutes. The objectives range from getting the high score, to collecting letters of SKATE. Its a compelling and well executed concept.

This remake has the same fluid and satisfying gameplay of the original games, with added improvements like better animation quality and, of course, HD textures.

Since this game contains two game, they are not 100% complete. There are only 7 maps,but this is a good thing, since these are the best maps.
Due to legal issues is the soundtrack is not the same (list of songs) the only song from the original games is Superman. It is still a good soundtrack, but its just not the same.

But the biggest missing thing is the map editor. I loved making my own maps in the old games,  and i am king of sad that i cant do it in this game.

The thing the made me rage the most, however, is the atrocious PC port. I haven't seen a worst port in years, no graphical options AT all, no resolution change, no Vsync, and no Windowed mode. Also you cant rebind the keys. If you want to change anything, you have to edit the .ini filed manually, and that is just unacceptable. 

At least it works with a 360 pad, cuz god knows that its impossible to play Tony Hawk games with a keyboard. Take this is a warning, don't buy this game, if you don't have a 360 pad (or something similar)

To top it all of, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is a very good HD remake with a terrible PC port.

PS:THPS3 DLC has being announced, and i am kind of exited, because 3 and 4 where my favorite games from the series.

I hope you liked my review of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD.

If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.

My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.

Apache Helicopter - modifications

In the last post I mentioned that it's fairly easy to modify the basics and create variations once you have the core shape down. 

So as requested by some here is a modification tutorial bringing the Apache more in line with the helicopter used in the HeliAttack3 screengrab at the top of the last post. 

Instead of the usual start with a simple shape I take the helicopter from the last tutorial.

You can download it for free at the bottom of the post.

Keep the guns and missiles separated when exporting your art. Add them as separate objects attached the the base shape in your game engine to allow flexible use (e.g. firing and rotation for aiming). 

Here are the two helicopters side by side in the scaled down size.

I hope this shed some light on how quickly you can reuse and modify vector elements and create new assets for you game or illustration needs from existing images.
Primbon Jawa
Senin, 17 September 2012

Black Mesa Source Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

Black Mesa is a source mod, that completely re-imagines the original Half-Life.

You probably know the story of this classic, but for those who don't - a crash course. You play as  the Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist who works in Black Mesa. One of the experiments creates a resonance cascade, and aliens appear. Have fun escaping the facility.

As i pointed out Black Mesa is a re-imagines, not just a HD texture pack, that means that a lot of things are changed. The first changes become obvious, as soon as you start the game. The train ride is even cooler then before, showing a lot of the experiments happening in Black Masa. It takes exactly the same path, as far as i can tell, and its a feast for the eyes with all of the new HD textures.

The thing the really impressed me was the lobby. It had a lot more offices, and people who where just talking about physics, experiments, or just some small talk. This made the game much more immersive and believable.   

This is how the entire game is, all of the maps are based on the originals Half-Life, but some of the things are changed slightly.

Some of the game mechanics are also a bit different. The largest and most notable is running. Its the only change that cant be turned off, because you need it for some of the platforming sections. 
The changes also include Iron sight for some weapons, auto-aim (who even uses that?), and others, and they can be turned off, if you want a cleaned, simpler experience.

I found some minor bugs in the mod, but nothing game braking. For example some of the enemies, sometimes shoot threw wall and also you allies are total idiots, just like they where in 1998.

I left the best part for last - its FREE. All of that excellent content, new voice acting, HD textures, new animation and much more for free. I advice everyone to try it, because you have nothing to lose. You can find a guide of how to install it here.

To top it all off, Black Mesa Source is the best mod i have seen, and its perfect for people that are looking for experience an close to that of the original Half-Life.

I hope you liked my review of  Black Mesa Source .

If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.

My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.

Apache Helicopter

Here's something close to my heart. Ever since doing the art for HeliAttack 2 and 3 back in 2003 and 2005 I fell in love with helicopters. They just make great game assets. 

Back then it was all pixeled and took what seemed like forever to create. In the game there were a few helicopters with limited variations. 

Creating a similar object in vectors allows for easier manipulation and variations. It also makes animations a lot easier and more flexible. 

This tutorial looks a little bit more complex than the previous posts - but I tried to break it down into easy steps and simple shapes. I hope it worked. 

As with all the tutorials prior I use squares and circles and deform them rather then 'hand-draw' the shapes. With the body of the Apache-style helicopter it might be easier to 'just draw' the shape with the straight lines tool rather than place squares and modify them later - but it takes a little more skill to get the shape right that way.  

Now you have a basic and recognizable helicopter. It's a good point to save and continue with a new file to give you a base shape to go back to when creating variations.

The next step is adding details (guns, missiles, rocket launchers, etc.) and then add depth to the helicopter by adding some highlights and shadows.

I use basic shapes in light and dark colours - in this case white and black - with transparency to shade the object. This allows for easy changes to the base colour (e.g. an army green or a bright red for an enemy object) without having to redo the shading. 

If you want softer shadows and lights use a more yellowish tone for the highlight and a dark brown or dark purple for the shadows. 

Here's a version scaled down  

to something resembling an 
iphone (lo-res) ingame size: 

I hope the complexity of helicopter didn't scare you off and you enjoyed the tutorial. In the end it's just another bunch of simple shapes combined to form something bigger. 

As promised another free bit of art to make up for the long time between posts. Enjoy!

Get the source art (svg file) of this tutorial for
Download inkscape SVG file in ZIP archive

Primbon Jawa
Minggu, 16 September 2012

Emotional Explosives...

This tutorial started out with some illustration request and I got a little carried away with the facial expressions I could add to a simple bomb. I thought I might just share the fun and turn it into a tutorial.

Like most of my tutorials this one starts with basic shapes - circles and squares and simple lines. If you are new to the tutorials it might be helpful to read from the beginning. Even though they are not in a special order some of the skills used here have been explained in a more detailed way in earlier posts. 

With the basic elements in place it's a matter of working out the expressions you are after... Adding different mouth shapes, squinting or enlarging the eyes.

I will add a page or two with the facial expressions here soon. For now I want to finish another tutorial I have been dying to complete first - a cartoony helicopter to take me back to one of my favorite jobs (doing the (pixel) art of HeliAttack 3 in 2005).  

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did - and believe me I really missed doing tutorial art and writing these little posts. 

Get the art (png files) of this tutorial for

As a special treat to make up for the long time between tutorials I uploaded the explosives as PNG-images in 256x256, 128x128, 96x96 and 64x64 pixels to be used freely in your projects. 

Primbon Jawa

Still alive and kicking...

After a long time without posts [due to all sorts of issues but mainly due to lack of piece and quiet] I finally get to sit down and write some new tutorials and reply to questions and requests.

To make up for it I will start off with some free stuff:

First of all 'Wild Surf - Paradise Island' is free for iOS now:

Primbon Jawa
Sabtu, 15 September 2012

FTL: Faster Than Light Review

Hi, my name is Nik and today i am reviewing:

FTL: Faster Than Light is a space roguelike-like with interesting gameplay and a lot of replay value.

The story is simple and kind of a cliche. You carry important information for the Federate fleet and for have to get to them, before the Rebel fleet catches up with you. A simple task, if the Federate fleet wasn't on the other side of the universe. 

On your journey you will have to overcome a lot of obstacles, which will probably kill you a lot of times.

The game will have you managing your crew and ship systems while you fight. This happens in a top-down, RTS view of your ship. 

The ship itself is split in to room, and some of them house important equipment, like life support, shields and others. Some of these systems work better, if you have a crew member operating them and this is where my first problem with the game lies. There are only four systems like that, so when you get four crew members, you will never move them unless there  is some extreme situation, like fire.

When you are in combat, you don't command your ship's movement, but rather which of the enemy's systems to target. Your goal is to destroy their hull, before they destroy yours. Of course you have to deal with other matters as well, like boarding parties, repairing any equipment that is damaged, by the enemy, and others. This are the fight mechanics, in a nut shell. 

You can also upgrade your ships using scraps that you get from fallen enemies. Scraps are also currency, with which you can buy new weapons, parts and others, therefore you have to manege how you spend the scraps.

As a previously mentioned you will die a lot, because the game is very unfair. But if you complete a curtain task, you can unlock new ships,with different starting weapons, and installed systems. This gives the game a lot of replay value.

Now one of the biggest problems i have with the game, is that there are only hotkeys from your weapons. You cant hotkey your crew, your drowned, or clocking system. This can make micro a real pain.

To top it all of, FTL: Faster Than Light is an interesting game with a ton of things to try and a lot of exploration. 

I hope you liked my review of FTL: Faster Than Light.

If you did, comment, share with your friends, like me of facebook, or follow me on twitter.

My name is Nik and i hope you are having a nice day.