Monthly Archives: June 2011
Sonia G Medeiros is hosting a series for Fear Fridays on the topic of horror classics and she wants you all to join in.
What do you think of as “classic horror”? I’ll choose a Horror Classic each week to explore…and you’re invited to come along with me.
We can hang out and talk about classic (both new and vintage) horror and related topics. Everyone is welcome. Please join in! I’d also love to have guest posts on the classic horror topic. Come on over and join in the fun!
So head on over to Sonia’s for Fear Fridays and do the monster mash!
To be honest if you put a dollar sign on anything these days nothing seems worthwhile anymore. One would think that wanting to write the great American novel–or just the novel that was number 33 on Amazon for a week–would fall into this worthless category but if someone told me “hey b33m3R, we’ll pay you $6 bucks an hour, make you work 80 hours, pay you for 40, and all you gotta do is sit at your desk and bang out a boatload of verbage for us.” I’d reply with “what’s your favorite position and did you bring the K-Y gel? No. OK. I’ll just bend over.” And I’d do this with a huge grin on my face.
Robert Brockway wrote an amusing article for Cracked.com that is bound to make many an aspiring writer laugh and cry at the same time.
After a while, it does get easier though. But only because you will rediscover, with every single sentence, what an incredibly talentless asshole you really are. Every stilted phrase, obvious typo or terrible analogy will have you grimacing and swearing tiny vendettas at the horrible hack who wrote all this garbage you now have to fix.
Learning to edit is, quite simply, learning to hate yourself word by word.
WHAT IS A DIRTY CAMPER?
The only time a player can legitimately be called a dirty, low-life, scum-of-the-earth camper is in a Team Death Match or Free For All game.
Finding your own corner of some room or an enclosed space on a map with your ADS trained on the only entrance to the area in these game modes takes ZERO skill and is just poor sportsmanship (even when there are two entrances.) If everyone one did this in these game modes we’d all be sitting around pulling our peckers for 15 minutes. While some of you may find that fun, I find it just gets the controller all sticky.
THAT WHICH IS NOT CAMPING
Setting up camp near an objective, a flag in Domination, the flag in Capture the Flag, the bomb site in Demolition or Search & destroy, the M-COM station in Battlefield, IS NOT CAMPING. This is defending or guarding your objective.
Patrolling an area (larger than a room, about 1/4 of the map,) going back and forth and eliminating any enemy that tries to piss in your territory IS NOT CAMPING. This is controlling or holding down an area.
MIGHT AS WELL TALK ABOUT SPAWN TRAPPING
It is only spawn trapping if an ENTIRE team is camped in your spawn grounds keeping your team pinned down. Not a very sporting strategy but a viable one in certain circles.
ONE or two guys wreaking havoc and confusion in your spawn grounds are not spawn trapping you. Seriously, how can one or two guys spawn trap an entire team? Unless your team sucks that bad it’s not possible. Those guys are keeping you busy while their teammates attack the objective. Providing a small distraction is sound military strategy.
HOW TO DEAL WITH CAMPERS
If the camper is having a good day (notice that I did not say he is “skilled,”) the little shit probably has host advantage (in Black Ops.) The only thing you can do here is warn the rest of your team where his lair is and avoid him. No sense in you adding to his slow and steady killstreak, of which you can be sure will end in dogs.
In Battlefield the situation is not as cut and dry. The maps are larger with lots of prime sniper real estate. A skilled sniper overlooking–or a lone wolf controling an area near–your objective must be dealt with. And they are probably going to have to be dealt with more than once. Avoidance is not a viable solution here.
Use a camper hunting class. In Black Ops, Ghost Pro, Hardened Pro and Hacker Pro. Equip a Silencer and use Counter Spy Plane. Ghost Pro and the silencer keep you off the mini-map. Hardened lets you shoot through walls, campers will always hide in a corner to reload. Hacker Pro keeps you invisible to Motion Sensors, a favorite tool of professional campers. Hold on to your Counter Spy Planes and throw them up only when there is a Blackbird in play. Professional dirty, scumbag campers are killwhores, they won’t run something as useful to the team as the Blackbird, they’ll be running something like Attack Chopper and Dogs. Equip C4 and use it as an extra grenade. Toss it inside a camped room and set it off right away.
In Battlefield 3 there is absolutely no such thing as camping but there are those jackass snipers who like to hang out in the boondocks and pick your team off one by one. Anything that keeps your team from accomplishing its objectives becomes part of said objectives. On some maps dealing with skilled snipers is as simple as informing your own snipers to look out for him and kill on site. If someone has spotted him and/or you are absolutely sure of where his lair is, you can have someone blanket mortar the area. On some of the larger maps it may be necessary to dispatch a squad to deal with him.
Noob tube the fuck out of him, ’nuff said. In Battlefield 3, hop in a tank or some other ordinance ladened vehicle… You get the picture.
Learn the maps. Once you know the maps better you’ll be more aware of where campers like to take up residence. Go into Combat Training in Back Ops and learn to think like a camper. Those bots in combat training always use the most traveled routes. Finding the best places to hide and pick off a bunch of easy targets running by will show you where the best spots are to camp in any game mode.
Also look for the obscure, out-of-the-way camping spots. The ones that overlook the roads least traveled. These places are haunted by the lowest type of camper there is, politicians and lawyers have more scruples than these campers. I’m talking about the chicken-shit, avoid all confrontation, my-testicles-haven’t-dropped-yet, feckless camper. These guys equip sniper rifles and ghillie suits, hide in bushes on the outskirts of the map killing the odd passerby, and patiently build up a killstreak that will end in dogs. You need to find the alternative routes to these places because he will get you every time you come back at him from the same direction, mostly because that’s the only direction he’s looking in.
Once you’ve eliminated a camper from an area, stick around. Find a place to lay low. Campers are generally idiotic creatures of habit. Rest assured, he’s coming back. That should be another easy kill for you. Alternatively you could leave a claymore in that area if you’re fairly sure of the path he’ll be taking to get back.
In Battlefield 3 there is no safe way to learn the maps. Just relax and keep playing. Enjoy yourself and don’t let the game frustrate you. You’ll be surprised at how much faster you’ll get the hang of things simply by enjoying yourself. It is just a game.
WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN ACCUSED OF CAMPING
Just because you get called a camper by some guy frustrated with his inadequate performance or some dumb-ass, clueless teenager does not mean you’re a camper. Stop rushing off to some internet forum to whine about how you got called a camper when ‘you’re not.’ It’s just going to be another useless thread on the same old tired topic of camping and, quite frankly, it makes you look guilty. If you’re questioning whether or not you’re a camper then so are the people reading your post. Brush off his comments and try not camping in the next game.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH CAMPERS?
I would like to hear how you guys deal with campers, please leave a comment if you have the time. Not only will you be helping the gaming community, you’ll also give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
1/04/12 EDIT: Removed my Treyarch/floating apple gripe because it added nothing to the article and Quo said it made me seem bitchy. I also added some Battlefield specific information.
Thanks to Quo from PGL whose interest in this blog reminded me that I have not written a decent post on writing in quite some time. Quo, this one is for you. The idea for this blog post came to me when I was editing one of my novels and I re-read chapter 5 of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Just when I think I’ve nailed down my dialog I discover just how much of a hack I am.
Someone once told me that I write like I speak and I went to great lengths to correct this, though now I believe the smegger that told me this knew jack about writing! Writing like you speak may sometimes be bad for narrative but can be quite effective for dialogue. My biggest obstacles to writing effective dialogue are remembering to turn off the English teacher inside my head and ignoring the spell checker in Writer. The following examples I’m going to use to illustrate my points are from a novel I am working on. I’m nervous sharing my own work but I need to start facing that fear.
Unless your story takes place in a country club and everyone talks like they have a rod up their ass, formality is your enemy. One way to make dialog less formal is to use contractions.
“Do you think they killed Indians here?” The tall, lanky, pale boy asked.
“I don’t know,” the other boy said from atop the monkey bars.
After my last editing session became:
“Ya think they killed Indians here?” The tall, lanky, pale boy asked.
“Don’t know,” the other boy said from atop the monkey bars.
I contemplated changing “don’t know” to “dunno” but the character speaking has a British upbringing (not a British accent but brought up by a polite speaking English mother) and I don’t think the Americanized slang is appropriate for him in this instance. A few short sentences later I break from this wisdom.
“Don’t know,” the other boy said from atop the monkey bars. He was thinking about the fireflies, wishing they were fairies. He cocked his head to one side and tried to imagine Indians charging up the hill but after a year of playing Dungeons and Dragons everything just turned into fairies, orcs and goblins.
“Maybe,” he added with a shrug and jumped down onto his friend. “Watch it Roland!” Marley laughed as they tumbled into the nearby sandbox.
“Your people were fucked up.” Roland said earnestly as he grabbed a hand full of sand and lobbed it at Marley.
“Whaddya mean my people?” Marley Wright’s silvery-blue eyes flashed back, a little insulted. He bent over and brushed the sand out of his greasy black hair with rapid strokes of his hands.
“The pilgrims. They came over on boats and killed the Indians.” Roland’s back straightened and a truculent grin stretched across his chiseled jaw as he stared down upon his shorter friend. “Your people tricked them, like Sister Nancy said in history class,” he finished with condescending smite.
Marley squinted through the oppressive sun’s glare that silhouetted his lanky friend’s less than intimidating stance. With his blond curly hair and light skin Roland Augustine was one shiny breastplate and a pear shaped helmet from looking like his conquistador forefathers. But that was another month’s history lessons. How quick they forget, Marley thought, or perhaps it was just selective memory.
Marley says “whaddya”. Not too proper, eh? But young Marley is annoyed at the insinuation and the New Yorker in him is coming out. It makes this exchange a little more tense. I think it fits. I could be wrong. Oh God, there’s that lack of confidence thing again!
I fragmented solid sentences whenever I could and found myself omitting a lot of small words from my dialogue during this editing session. “You’re an asshole” became the more direct insult of just plain “asshole.” “Is that why you’re crying?” was changed to “that why you crying?” “I don’t like seeing people cry” became “don’t like seeing people crying.” There were a lot of “I(s)” and “I’m(s)” in my dialogue that didn’t need to be there. Tiny words that are often overlooked unless you are looking specifically for them.
Contractions simply will not work for another character in the novel, Zero.
“Piper, my dear boy, this delay is disappointing.” Zero leaned back in his leather high chair with the phone resting comfortably in the crook of his neck, his tone inflected an air of confidence that subtly noted his pedigree. “And, I might add, that a little more warning would be prudent. This is the third day that I have had poor Michael waiting in the park for your man.”
I could probably take out that sentence about his tone inflecting an air of confidence but I’m kind of attached to it. Sometimes I think that editing out these small writing “flairs” changes a story into just plain words. What do you think?
I also need to be careful when I write narrative. Take the following first draft for example;
He had slapped the bitch in public which generally speaking was not a wise thing to do. Even less wise was to do it when you were carrying five grand worth of drugs in your bitches backpack.
In this first draft I’m using my somewhat sarcastic “all-knowing” narrative voice but I really should be in the characters voice as this narrative is an extension of the characters thoughts. The character here being a Puerto Rican New Yorker drug dealer reflecting on the recent actions of one of his soldiers. So I changed it to this:
He had slapped the bitch in public while the bitch was carrying five grand worth of drugs in her backpack.
To be honest I’m still up in the air about this one. The first one sounds better to me, it has more character. It’s just not the character of the character thinking it. The edited version sounds too bland to me but feels more appropriate. What do you think?
I also don’t resort to using cheap dialog tricks like trick spellings and lexical gimmicks to convey a character’s background. I choose to do this with word choice, cadence (like in Zero’s dialog), and grammar as Self-Editing suggests.
“Chinga a tu madre. That stupid shit can’t do anything right.” Piper cussed, not sure whom he was really referring to, Roland or C-Wreck? Both, he decided, and vented a deep and prolonged sigh.
Chinga a tu madre. If you can’t tell he’s Puerto Rican after reading that you’ve never been to New York!
Notes from chapter 5, See How It Sounds of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King:
- The simplest way to make your dialogue less formal is to use more contractions, more sentence fragments, and more run-on sentences.
- Don’t let your characters speak more fully formed thoughts than they normally would.
- Good dialogue isn’t an exact transcription of the way people talk but is more an artifact, a literary device that mimics real speech.
- Read your dialogue aloud or have someone read it to you to see how it sounds.
Welcome to my Fallout: New Vegas Character Building Guide Addendum. Click here for part 1 which covers S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points allocation and Traits. Click here for part 2 which covers Skills and Perks. Click here for part 3 which covers crafting and closing arguments.
WARNING! – Definite spoilers in this part of the guide.
Been playing through the New Vegas wasteland for a couple of weeks now. I’m not finished with the game but my character is level 29 as of this writing and I thought I’d share my train of thought as I developed the character with you.
Armand Geddon, wasteland courier, gunslinger and lucky ladies man!
STARTING CHARACTER STATS
S-4. P-4, E-7, C-6, I-7, A-5, L-7. Tagged: Guns, Speech, Survival. Traits: Small Frame, Four Eyes.
CHARACTER STATS AT LEVEL 29
S-6, P-6(+4 eyes), E-8, C-7, I-8, A-7(+ small frame), L-8
|2 – Lady Killer
4 – Educated
6 – Comprehension
8 – Gunslinger
10 – Finesse
12 – Cowboy
14 – Toughness 1
16 – Action Boy 1
18 – Action Boy 2
20 – Grim Reaper Sprint
22 – Toughness 2
24 – Center of Mass
26 – Intense Training (+1 STR)
28 – Commando
|Barter – 55
Energy Wpns – 20
Explosives – 65
Guns – 100
Lockpick – 80
Medicine – 50
Melee Weapons – 75
Repair – 75
Science – 50
Sneak – 50
Speech – 80
Survival – 60
Unarmed – 29
+4 Damage Threshold
WHY I DID WHAT I DID WHEN I DID IT
Starting assumptions – I made my Strength a low 4 because I knew where to pick up my first companion (ED-E) and planned on getting him right away to help me carry stuff (which I did). I tagged Guns because tagging your main weapon is a must and Speech because I didn’t want to shoot my way out of every situation. Survival was tagged because I’m playing in hardcore mode. Small Frame and Four Eyes made up for my scavenging Perception and Agility.
Perk progression – Selecting Lady Killer at level 2 was more of a role playing choice than anything else. Educated at level 4 is a no-brainer, nothing else at this point is worth selecting unless you’re role playing a cannibal (eww!). Comprehension was selected at level 6 to give me an advantage when using skill mags and allows me to max out most skills at 80; whenever I need a skill higher than 80 I use a skill magazine. Gunslinger at level 8 was another role playing decision as Armand pretty much only uses That Gun. Finesse at level 10 because an extra critical chance is always nice and it fit with the role play aspect of Armand being a lucky kind of cowboy. I picked Cowboy at level 12 because it increased the damage of the weapons I’m using, I had to plan this one ahead of time and throw a bunch of skill points into melee at level 11 to meet the 45 melee point requirement. Toughness at level 14 because cowboys are always tough! Also had this idea in my head of running around in a Sheriffs coat and hat for most of the game; yeh… that dream ended when a Deathclaw handed me my ass in two swings! I picked the Action Boy perk for levels 16 and 18 and Grim Reaper’s Sprint at 20 because I prefer to be in VATS. Toughness at level 22 because cowboys are tough (I told you this already, geesh!) Center of Mass at level 22 because +15% damage is +15% damage. I took Intense Training at level 26 and added one Strength to make up for a poor primary stat decision. That Gun needs a 6 Strength to function at maximum capacity, I also wanted to trade in my fully modified Cowboy Repeater for a much more powerful Brush Gun. I could have taken the Weapon Handling perk but increasing Strength allowed me to carry a little bit more and increased my melee damage as well (I’d been using a combat knife on the weaker hostile denizens of the wasteland ever since I picked up the Cowboy perk, no sense in wasting good ammo on a dumb ass.) At level 28 I picked Commando to give me an edge in VATS with the Brush Gun in ranged fights. At level 30 I will probably pick Adamantium Skeleton but I may change my mind.
Skill point allocation – I didn’t keep a detailed record of what skills I allocated points to and when. I concentrated on Guns, Speech and Lockpick first and raised the others when I needed to. I threw a bunch of points into melee at levels 11 & 12 so I could get the Cowboy perk. I raised Medicine when I was at Nellis and couldn’t bare the thought of not being able to save one of the sick Boomers. I raised Medicine some more when I was on Veronica’s quest in an abandoned irradiated Vault. I got Repair up to 50 fast so I could make Weapon Repair Kits easier thus eliminating the need for Jury Rigging (hint: pick up every duct tape and scrap electronics you see).
So there you have it, that’s my toon at level 29. As I stated before not scavenging your Charisma is a good thing. It makes your allies that much stronger and a lot more dependable in a fire fight. There is no need to make such drastic base stat decisions when you create your toon. Rolling a balanced character will not hinder your progress in any way during the game. Your only major concern at character creation is what combat skill will your character be focused on; if you’re making a Gunslinger then Agility will be important, if you’re making a Martial Artist then Strength will be your priority.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES The following sites offer more extensive help for the game.
I’m pretty much with Gunns on this one. Especially if the pay service provides an advantage to a player in MW3 over someone who does not subscribe. The ability to buy equipment and make your Be A Pro toon better was the reason I never played NHL 10 online. It unbalances the game. It becomes a rich versus poor thing, or idiots with far too much disposable income versus the rest of us with common sense enough not to be surreptitiously duped into buying virtual items thing.
Xbox Ahoy is doing some video work for the CoD Elite site and he talks about this whole mess in the following video, offering a different perspective. Keep in mind that Ahoy (I say this with all due respect to one of the greatest game commentators alive) is completely biased as he is currently on Activision’s payroll. He offers the old if you don’t like it don’t pay for it clause rather than taking to the airwaves to voice your displeasure. I agree with Ahoy’s don’t buy it clause but not the part about voicing your displeasure with Activision’s decision in other ways. Even if this service is a complete travesty and insult to our intelligence there are just far too many morons out there who would still buy it, making taking to the airwaves our only recourse. It is really cool that Ahoy got this gig though, he’s very talented and sharp, I only hope I get to see the videos he’s producing for Elite.
Will the Elite service allow gay gamers a respite from the hostile environment created by ill-parented 12 year olds and homophobic adults as suggested at the end of this article on Wired? The first thought I had after reading this is ‘way to put back up the walls people have been trying so hard to tear down since the ’50′s‘. Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay men and women (some of the biggest bitches too!) and I’m sure the hate and homophobic bigotry on Xbox Live is the main reason I haven’t had the opportunity to game with any gay men or women on line (that I know of). I wouldn’t wear my mic either in their situation. But I fail to see how this would advance their cause any. I understand why they would want a corner of the internet to call their own but in order to fight the good fight you have to be out there fighting it, not hiding in some virtual closet with like minded people. That’s right, I said VIRTUAL CLOSET.
One thing is for sure, Activision needs to tread lightly here, else they boost the sales of Battlefield 3. The persistent problems with the CoD series are waring thin on me.
Annihilation, a new map pack for Black Ops will be available on June 28th. I’ve tried scouring YouTube looking for some decent analysis on it for you to no avail. Just people reiterating the glaringly obvious. There is this video with a fairly decent analysis of the zombie map at the end. Woody and pals talk a bit about it and a lot of other things in this podcast. But I found nothing with even a semi decent analysis of the multi-player maps. So, after viewing the footage I shall offer my own brief, semi-decent analysis:
Hanger 18: “Has a lot of Easter eggs.” Will these Easter Eggs be purely cosmetic or will they impact game play? Dominate the map by controlling the hanger and the “four main flow points.” Visually the map looks cool but I feel there is nothing ground breaking here, just another map.
Silo: A big wide open map. Reminds me of Array. “You need to stay on the move.” OK, making statements like that is only going to encourage camping. Find a nice little spot with your flank covered and wait for all those poor saps to pass by “on the move.” Spend some time in combat training on this one folks, you want to make sure you know all those nooks and crannies your friendly neighborhood camper will be hiding in. I foresee snipers doing fairly well on this map and everyone wearing their ghillie suits.
Drive-In: Inspired by Nuketown, but will it just be another frag fest that is voted to be replayed again, and again, and again, and again, and again? I’m curious about how the game play on this map develops. The middle of the map is wide open compared to Nuketown.
I’m kind of up in the air about getting this map pack. I have not been playing a whole lot of Black Ops lately. I don’t feel I’ve played enough to get my money’s worth out of Escalation. I’ll see.
One of my favorite YouTube gaming commentators did a pretty decent video covering tactics for domination on the map Grid. A lot of times Woody blabbers nonsense while he plays, this time he stays focused. I’m not a big fan of reinventing the wheel so here’s the video.
And here’s the corresponding callout map, created by INFINITE at HupitGaming, to help you out;