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Is the Yellowstone Supervolcano About To Blow?

Cocoa Radix Re:Good time to start pumping out GHG then! (877 comments)

The last super volcano was 75,000 years ago. Light was blocked out all over the world. 35 centimeters of ash fell *2500 miles* away. The global temperature plunged 21 degrees. Mankind was almost extinguished, cut back to only a few thousand. This one...could be *ten times bigger*.

I was there; it wasn't really that bad. It just kinda ballooned, fisherman's-tale-style, over the last 75 millennia.

more than 5 years ago
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Indiana Bans Driver's License Smiles, For Security

Cocoa Radix Re:Beware the Unibrow! (459 comments)

Sorry, unibrows are not allowed, either!

about 6 years ago
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Players Furious Over Buggy GTA IV PC Release

Cocoa Radix Best topic in the forum (384 comments)

One of the first topics in the forum that caught my eye was this one. If you don't feel like clicking out, the OP reads:

The fanbois with quad-cores are bragging about the 50+ fps the benchmark utility gives them. However they are refusing to acknowledge that the fps sinks like the titanic whenever there is substantial action on-screen. Feel free to refute me with a youtube video that clearly shows your FPS. YOU CANNOT. The benchmark utility is useless and gives NO indication of real performance. Why don't you backup your statements with a video?

It took until page eight before someone posted a series of videos that appeared to be convincing. Before that it was seven pages of people posting screenshots and claiming that it proved their steady FPS. I find the general rage there to be hilarious, but at the same time, I'm very understanding, because nobody expects a major company to botch a release that badly. Kudos to Steam for offering refunds.

about 6 years ago
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Age of Conan Servers To Merge, Funcom Sees Layoffs

Cocoa Radix Re:No surprise (109 comments)

I'm glad to hear from another LOTRO player. I'm only just now getting to the twenties, and I have no plans on stopping for at least a little while, so it's encouraging to hear that the upcoming thirty-plus levels have something good to offer.

I will agree that LOTRO's crafting is better than WoW's. Too many WoW players seems to pick herbalism and mining (or whatever they're called) as professions and just sell stuff to the people who are actually taking the time to craft useful items/weapons/armor. I like that LOTRO forces you to have to create useful items to make progress in your craft. And it's not like in WoW, where, as a low-level tailor, I'd be grinding out really crappy armor that nobody would ever wear -- I'm crafting armor that's as good as or better than stuff that I'm getting from quest rewards.

about 6 years ago
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Age of Conan Servers To Merge, Funcom Sees Layoffs

Cocoa Radix Re:No surprise (109 comments)

Well, what they quickly found out was that AoC isn't a very well done game. WoW really is a slick game. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but polished and quite a bit of fun. This is why they have so many players.

While I don't play WoW right now, I have played a bit in the past (but only to the mid-thirties). I will agree with you wholeheartedly that it is not a perfect game (again, only made it to the mid-thirties), but that it is probably the single slickest game made that is also on such a grand scale.

I didn't realize this, however, until I played on some free servers in an attempt to accelerate my leveling just to see what some of the game's later areas were like. Maybe I was playing on a particularly bad "fast leveling" server, but I could tell that such an interruption to the game's delicate balance really wrecked everything.

I'd be at level one, with zero experience accumulated, and it'd be awesome to kill that first wolf or boar (or whatever woodland critter that I'd be fucking frightened to see in my backyard) and shoot up eight levels and collect sixty gold.

However, this immediately nullifies the usefulness of all quests in the area, so you're stuck with traveling already. And then as soon as you get to enemies who will shell out experience, you realize that all of your attacks are missing and you're getting pounded, because you skipped eight levels' worth of weapon/defense proficiency growth. Since you nullified the usefulness of all of your earlier quests, you're stuck grinding. Immediately.

Basically, I'm just trying to say that WoW's slickness comes from the developers' strict attention to balance -- even the player economy in WoW is a pretty beautiful thing.

I've been trying to find another MMORPG to play so that I don't have to be another "WoW junkie," but I don't know how successful I'll be. I haven't tried AoC, and after RTFAs, I won't. I'm currently playing Lord of the Rings Online, but I can't help but think that it's nothing more than WoW wrapped in Middle-Earth. And the player base is vastly smaller, so finding people to group with can be a chore.

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Guild Wars 2, however, because the original Guild Wars is such a phenomenal game...once you get past the fact that games with no monthly fee attract a lot of idiots, and idiots don't handle the character customization that GW gives you very well...

about 6 years ago
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Race and Racism In Video Games

Cocoa Radix Re:Remember kids (371 comments)

I don't remember anybody caring about doing the same exact thing to hordes of Hispanic zombies/evil mutations in RE4. And, naturally, killing hordes of white zombies in all of the RE games before that was perfectly acceptable.

How long until the first black Jack Thompson comes along and tries to convince us that RE5, among other games, will promote the senseless and widespread killing of blacks?

about 6 years ago
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Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music

Cocoa Radix Re:Overrated: same as all other music (68 comments)

darknb, you make a lot of good points. I just want to point out that I said that ambient music is OFTEN dull -- there is some ambient music that I very much like. Jeremy Soule, who did the music for the Guild Wars games, produced a largely ambient soundtrack, and I like it both in- and out-of-game.

Thanks for the suggestions of "Music for Airports" and "45:33"; I definitely will check them both out. I do admit fully to being hugely classically biased and just, on the whole, a giant music snob. But I am always looking to expand my musical horizons to include other good, intelligent music. (Oh, and I'm not the kind of Classical music lover who worships every single piece of music written before 1900 as a masterpiece -- I'll be the first to tell you that Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, or whoever had their off days and put out some pretty bad stuff.)

about 6 years ago
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Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music

Cocoa Radix Re:Overrated: same as all other music (68 comments)

I didn't forget Nobuo; he's one of my favorite, and, indeed, one of the best video game music composers. I was trying to give the names of a couple of lesser-known composers because I'd imagine that the majority of gamers know a lot of Final Fantasy music pretty well, whereas not so many would know, say, Dragon Quest.

about 6 years ago
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Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music

Cocoa Radix Re:Overrated: same as all other music (68 comments)

I'm very interested in the difference between house, trance, techno, and all of those (sub?)genres that someone like myself would group together as "techno." Could you give me the names of a couple of artists who clearly display the idiosyncrasies of each genre? I'd like to hear them all to be able to make the distinction via listening, rather than via Wikipedia.

about 6 years ago
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Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music

Cocoa Radix Re:Four words: (68 comments)

A lot of that has to do with what's called being a "cantabile" melody. Cantabile is Italian for "singable," or "in a singing style." If you think about Aeris' theme, it's VERY easily singable, and the fact that it's such a well-written melody makes it extremely memorable, too. If you think about the opera tune from FFVI, it's equally singable and equally great.

On the other hand, some great melodies -- like the Super Mario Bros. theme, for example -- are just as memorable without being particularly singable. Try singing it to yourself. I think you'll notice that a lot of the beginning is somewhat difficult to sing perfectly, though it does it get easier as it goes on. If you play an instrument and have a decent ear, try figuring out Aeris' theme, and then try figuring out the SMB theme. I can guarantee that you'll figure out the notes of the former considerably faster.

about 6 years ago
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Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music

Cocoa Radix Re:Overrated: same as all other music (68 comments)

I don't mean to be so brusque, but that's a really stupid statement. I've studied music seriously for some time now, and I truly believe that the music that's been composed for films and games comprises the deepest, most complex, and most intellectual music that's been written since the last remaining important "Classical" (really late-Romantic or Contemporary) composers died roughly sixty years ago.

That's not to say that all game and film music is brilliant -- far from it. Ambient music is often dull or lacks individuality, and techno music is really just mindlessly repetitive (most techno songs are one measure of music repeated hundreds of times with new sounds added in at fairly regular intervals).

The challenge that composers for games and films face is that their music must be memorable and enjoyable without being overly intrusive. I've heard it said that the best film/game music is that which you don't really actively pay attention to while watching/playing, but find yourself humming later on. I agree with this.

I'd urge you to listen to some of the great soundtracks out there. For film, anything by John Williams (Star Wars, Schindler's List, Harry Potter I-III) or Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings) should show you what extremely high-quality film music sounds like. As far as games go, Koji Kondo is obviously an extremely popular name, but some of the lesser-known composers, in my opinion, offer a deeper musical experience. Koichi Sugiyama (Dragon Quest) uses a lot of very unique harmonies and harmonic progressions, which gives his music an extremely individual sound; Ko Otani (Shadow of the Colossus) can use an orchestra to create any number of believable atmospheres without being "ambient" in the slightest.

All of this music works perfectly both in-game/in-film and out. And that's what makes it more than mere "entertainment accompaniment."

about 6 years ago
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Barack Obama Wins US Presidency

Cocoa Radix Re:who is teh winnar?! (3709 comments)

Oh, I see the typo...they meant to put "Black to work..."

more than 6 years ago
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Blizzard Sued By South Carolina Inmate

Cocoa Radix Re:Please Don't Give This Man Attention! (239 comments)

Most people forget that important little "Home Depot" bridge between the two...

Common mistake. Don't beat yourself up about it.

more than 6 years ago
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Frozen Mice Cloned

Cocoa Radix Re:That juicy t-bone steak (272 comments)

We can feed them to the remaining hippies we haven't gotten around to killing yet. We'll just tell them that it's soy, and, given the terrible texture and taste, they'll have no choice but to agree.

more than 6 years ago
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Nintendo DSi Sells Out Quickly, Reviews Coming In

Cocoa Radix Re:no GBA?! (72 comments)

Even if the DSi DID have a gba slot, what's the point? I know VERY few people who bring their DS out with them; most people use their phone as a camera (or, if they're really flashy, use a camera as a camera). The voice-recording software seems utterly pointless, as well.

The downloadable content and online store are nice new additions, I'll admit, but let's face it: they could've waited until Nintendo's next handheld is released. This is just Nintendo's method of weaning people off of the GBA (I can guarantee that some of the GBAs top titles will be available downloads as DSi-exclusive games), and picking up a sweet $190 for each unit sold.

more than 6 years ago
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Miyamoto Scrutinizes Mario, Zelda, Hails Portal

Cocoa Radix Re:Weird, I disagree with him (sort of) (145 comments)

You forget that Miyamoto is VERY into innovation. Pikmin, Nintendogs, Wii Fit (among others): those are all his, and all are/were pretty innovative ideas. Portal was innovative, too, and it's obvious why he really likes it.

I thought that Twilight Princess was an excellent game, as well, but while I played Mario Galaxy from start to finish -- and enjoyed it thoroughly -- its linearity kept it from being either challenging or exciting.

Remember Mario 64? How you pretty much had free reign over fifteen large worlds? In Mario Galaxy, there are some large worlds, sure, but depending on which objective you're on, you're really only allowed to visit certain parts of each world, and to progress from celestial body to celestial body, you just walk from point A to an obvious point B -- there's never any guesswork or exploration involved. For me, that's what made Mario Galaxy way too easy and predictable.

more than 6 years ago

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