IR Head Tracker

So I play IL2- Strumovik on and off. I’ll go a year or so without touching it, then fiend on it for a few months. Two things have always bugged me. My lack of real rudders (I’m tempted to build a rudder setup instead of spending 100+ dollar on some loose CF rudders that don’t even feel that nice, or even more for a decent Saitek setup) and the difficulty of tracking targets. I always wanted a headtracker, but IrTracker used to run for about 200 dollars. Now it’s about 100, but even then, I read about FreeTrack. Freetrack lets you convert a webcam and use IR LEDs to make a headtracking setup. Usually it involves taking the IR Filter out of your webcam and putting something like magnetic tape over the lens to block out normal frequencies of light. I instead opted for a Wii-Mote.

So I made a 3 point LED baseball cap, with a 9 volt battery just taped to the brim. It works quite well. The video doesn’t really show it’s true usefulness as I was flying with one hand and it was poorly calibrated. When I have it in the zone, I have great visibility in all directions, with the only trouble spot being totally behind me. I can usually manage a good peak though. Anyways heres the video. It’s really rough, but you should get the idea.

For reference sake, I used a wii mote through a bluetooth dongle connected with Bluesoliel. The IR LEDs are rated for 200ma and I have about 80 ohms of resistors connected to them. It’s pretty much super simple wiring wise. They’re wired in series. Also the LEDs are ground down so they produce a more defused light with a wider viewing angle. All and all, this crap cost me about 15 dollars, excluding th wii-mote which was just lying around.

Art: Ignition Trigger

http://kayinnasaki.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2bcjlt

Copied from DA…..

Cassara, with fire. One of those things I just have to draw periodically.

Besides just being incredibly strong, Cassara possesses an ability called the Ignition Trigger. This ability ‘triggers’ under intense emotional stress. This stress attracts fire spirits toward her until build so much spiritual pressure that the ‘ignition’ happens. The fire bursts into physical space and destroys things on Cassara’s whim.

The fire is not true fire, but selective, magical fire. Depending on Cassara’s anger it will either only burn things she hates, or, when extremely angry, things she has no concern for. She has no direct control over the fire usually, using it only as an impulsive action. Over time though she learns to focus her emotions in ways that lead to a degree of control over the flames, as pictured. Even still, the fire doesn’t act like a weapon she controls, but instead ‘accompanies’ her in her attacks.

I switched to using SAI for this picture. I only used photoshop to give her a bit of a breast reduction.

[link] Is the original.

Not that much of a difference, but enough to make a… well, difference. They look fine big like that I think, but they’re out of character. They’re probably still too big but theres a difference between “too big” and “titty monster”! The difference isn’t even that much, but anymore use of the liquify tool would probably lead to a muddy mess.

Posted in Art.

Blazblue Sucks (Random Post Compilation)

I got a few requests from people to post some of the stuff I say on other forms. This usually happens when I post a link to something instead of explain it and whoever goes “Oh wow why didn’t I see you say this”.

For the life of me though I can’t remember some of these other posts, so I’ll just go with this one from sirlin.net talking about why Blazblue is currently a terrible game. These are in response to other posts, but generally the context isn’t all that important…

Well I certainly dislike the game a decent deal and only touch it when other people want to. Heres theres MY reason.

Lets start with throws, because everyone knows they are rubbish. But that tech window isn’t bad just because it’s makes throws also extremely reactable for people with good reaction. 13 frames isn’t enough on it’s own to be teched on reaction, but with the throw startup of 7 frames(usually), some people become almost completely unthrowable. Someone like Justin Wong, who doesn’t play the game seriously and barely plays besides when he feels like dicking around in Chinatown Fair is, pretty much, basically unthrowable. Sure, everyone will get surprised occasionally and get thrown, but against some players it goes from a weak feature to a nonexistent feature. Also combo throw breaks are dumb and seem to only serve to make you not be allowed to relax a bit and recollect your self mid combo.

Oh yeah and throws have what, 0 proration? Fucking terrible throw system, guys.
Okay, now the second thing I noticed when I played the game. So you have these nice, huge, animu sprites and these nice big weapons and all that, but, somehow, everyone fights like they have T-Rex arms. The move sets feel like I’m playing Melty Blood! Any normals that do have decent range tend to be slow as dick. This struck me first when I was playing Tager and lamented how he has basically no good ranged pokes like potemkin. You gotta lota ass slow magnetism moves, but because of their speed, they don’t fill the same void. I remember thinking I’d play Jin because he looked like a cross between Johnny and Ky, but then when I played him I was like “Dang, these normals are pretty lack luster’. Of course then I realized within the game those are considered great normals. It seems ASW wants you either to be rushing shit down, or being kept out by zoners. Ugh. I like the dynamic between zoners and close in characters, but that doesn’t mean the close in characters have to be amputees. Using good normals to close that last bit of distance when getting in on a zoner is usually what makes that conflict so fun. Ironically some of the best normals seem to go to the zoners, who already are good at what they do. Sigh.

End of that story, I switched to Hakumen. Even though he sucks, at least he rewards old man virtues.

Okay okay, but I’m not done. So it’s okay that the game is unbalanced. First release and all that. It’s okay that Nu is too good, dumb balance mistakes hapena ll the time. What annoys me is, if you look at the systems, you can pretty much predict the tier list.

If you read about the systems you’ll be like “oh, okay, these are checks and balanced to keep zoners from being too good!”… But when you actually play the game, then you see no, thats not true. NEgative penalty seems to happen the most when rush down characters can’t get in. Guard breaks tend to happen to the rush down characters that can’t get in. Throw breaks let Zoners get out to range. Throws in general seem to favor zoners and all the crazy shit they put on the screen.

Also has guard breaks been good in any game ever? Even in good games that have them, people seem to groan about them even existing. Also why does negative penalty make you TAKE TWICE AS MUCH FUCKING DAMAGE. Oh my god is people blocking that much of a problem! MAYBE IT WOULDN’T BE IF YOU COULD FUCKING THROW THEM. OR POKE THEM. OH MY FUCKING GOD GUYS.
Also bursting is kinda dumb, but I think a burst that exists but you wouldn’t always want to use is okay. It does seem to suck too much right now though.
Also this game has the only tech rolls I’ve seen that are cool, since you can punish them something fierce and thats kinda fun. But I also hate that, if someone doesn’t know how to play and gets knocks down, they get their shit wrecked because they don’t understand the complex system for STANDING UP.

Well, it’s not exactly complex, but I think getting up safely should be a DEFAULT ACTION that you are able to MODIFY by pressing buttons.

Somehow the game is still fun, but I expected something more thought out from ASW. I’ve certainly had fun with worse games. But I’ve also had more fun with worse games. Fun doesn’t make up for the fact that a lot of the design ideas in the game are totally rubbish.

Wait wait wait wait. Now, I’m all okay with fewer buttons. I play 3 button fighters all the time. But

“Guilty Gear’s COMPLEX 5 button system” and BB’s “Easy to use 4 button system”.

One button is the difference between COMPLEX and EASY TO USE? Even though one of those buttons is a button that does weird shit? That’s just a ridiculous statement.

Depth per character? REAAAALLY? Man, people brutalize the concept of character depth. Depth does not equal “crazy gimmicks and game systems”.

STORY TIME. There was this game once. It was super duper popular. It was called Street Fighter 2. Then there was Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo which was less popular because people moved on to alpha because they didn’t know what ‘good’ was yet, and everyone was burned by Super Street Fighter 2 so whatever. We’re going to talk about Super Street Fighter 2.

Anyone who is any good will tell you that Super Street Fighter 2 has a lot of character diversity! You might be tempted to say “But no one controls dolls or bugs or throws sword!”, but please, bare with me. SF2 had no real systems outside of a basic combo system and very very limited juggle system. Yet the characters expressed a lot of depth and uniqueness! This had nothing to do with crazy core concepts, they just all played differently, even when they seemed the same. Ryu had great zoning and normals and was just great over all. Ken worse zoning, but had great anti air has tons of trickshot combos and tricks that makes him gimmick and mixup oriented. He had a super strong throw that could lead to all sorts of different mixup attempts. Balrog could rush down super aggressively, but against zoners he would have to play defensively until he got meter. Chun-Li has to vary her play style extremely based on her opponent. Bison has terrible defensive options but can deal insane damage and dizzy. Zangief is a grappler with actual good normals who can actually fight evenly with the series star fireballer, Ryu (infact, he may even have the advantage!).

This just keeps going. Depth comes from a lot of little things that all add up, not from some big, core gimmick. Also the system didn’t try and support one type of gameplay over the other, so all of them had a shot to be expressed evenly? Wanna block forever? Sure. Wanna try and abuse throws? Sure. Wanna play keep away? Sure. Want to rush down? Sure. Even if your particular character can’t do one of these things (though you can certainly try. See Thelo’s Honda compared to EA Megaman’s Honda), someone will.

Guilty Gear went in the right direction with this. The system generally only gives defensive options. Negative Penalty exists, but it takes so much work to get, that it’s a non feature. Otherwise, it only punishes blocking by raising your guard bar and it makes up for this by giving the defender green block and IB.

Guilty Gear characters have nuance and mostly aren’t dominated by their gimmick. Even when their gimmick dominates their game play, they have nuance. Nu can sit around throwing swords all day to zone. Venom has a bazillion possible setups to learn and create with his pool mechanic. He can’t just fill the screen with balls — thats one dimensional. He has to set up situations to express his gimmick.
Blazblue characters pretty much boil down rush down or zoning. Guilty Gear has more diversity in the heart of the game in the way characters interact. A character can be defined in many ways in Guilty Gear. Great normals, great setups, great throw great zoning, great whatever you want. I play the shittiest character in the game and I have a resource to manage that effects pressure AND damage output, unblockable setups in the corner in special situations, excellent poking abilities, but with limited reversal capabilities and strong meter dependence. Also he has one of the best throws in the game and very strong AA.

in Blazblue it’s like “Rushes down. Has a fireball. Can freeze things” Maybe you have awesome mixup or zoning but whatever.

Can’t have a good throw. Throws are bad. Normals are pretty ho hum and are designed mostly for pressure. Can’t really have a strong okizeme game since theres a lack of good knockdown and theirs a lot of ways to get up. Even if you do have good oki, you’ll have fewer chances to use it.
So what if you can freeze the guy? It’s just a combo off a poke. So what if you can mash D to throw laser swords? We’ve been doing this since Dhalsim. Counters? Old and with about the same gameplay as a prediction DP. Drain life? Who cares if it doesn’t change how you play. Throw bees on the screen? So what, we’ve been throwing fireballs, lasers, air fireballs, pool balls, limbs and.heck, even bugs already, for years now.

Some stuff in Blazblue is interesting. I think it’s cool that Litchi fights differently with her stick then she does without it. I think it’s cool that Tager magnetizes people. But for most of this stuff, the emergent game play from these gimmicks doesn’t add up to much. So what if Noel has button thats a rekka chain? Thats not all that different from just straight up rush down. Controlling the wind is neat, but you’re really not doing anything particularly special with it. It’s something and it allows her to do some stuff she normally couldn’t, but nothing that creates depth, magically.
The thing is, these abilities don’t have to magically create depth. They’re pretty much all fundamentally fine. It’s the core of the game thats lacking so it doesn’t let these gimmicks develop into anything other then what they are right now. Gimmicks.

Gimmicks are not the same as depth.

As for the designs of Blazblue being better, thats all opinionated, but I’ll just say the game looks great, but it seems that they are also less rememberable characters, by design. At least the story mode is better then GG so we actually get to learn something about them, but thats really it.

On how to change the game…

Lesseee….
Change throws. They don’t have to be GG 0 frame instant whiffless 1 button throws (That’d be nice, but whatever), but pretty much every number related to them need to be lowered. Startup, break window, damage output Damage output should still be relatively high and not go the route of SF in recent games. As long as the throws remain generally viable, a lot of characters will improve. Also no fucking throwbreaks for Tager’s 360. Come on you guys, seriously.

Change knock down system slightly. Give a damned default getup action (preferrably a get up like a normal fighter), make the quick getup look like the ’safe’ getup (the flipout. That looks like it should be the unsafe, fast one!) and maybe make rolls a little bit more risky. Having options on the ground can be okay but we don’t have to go crazy. Being on the ground is supposed to be “bad”, not “shrug”. Also more moves and combo enders that end in okiable knockdown.

Make guard crushes harder or make it so projectilers can’t guard crush( at least not with their zoning moves) so the rush down characters can actually exploit it.

Remove negative penalty, it has no redeeming value.

Modify some normals for the rangeless characters, by either speeding up some slow ass D moves or changing a move here and there.

Besides that, just balance the game more and make changes to characters that make for interesting properties and character interactions. It’s certainly doable.
Barrier bursts are sort of a neutral part of the game. Games without bursts are perfectly fine (and kinda preferable sometimes!), and games with good bursts have proven to be fine. The only thing you don’t want is for bursts to be too good. Then they’re disruptive.

I think improving them would be nice! Maybe make the DANGER state less extreme. But them being good or bad doesn’t necessarily effect the game much. It’s okay for an “OH SHIT” button to be risky and costly. I’d leave that one up to ASW.