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Sunstriker7

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  1. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Calypso in "Everything's fucking shit" Thread   
    Stubbed my toe on kitchen island. Threw my head back in pain. Hit my head on kitchen cabinet.
     
    10/10 Sunday so far
  2. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Pfhunkie in SoTM Submissions & Hall of Fame   
    OG Reach screenshot taken years ago
  3. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in SoTM Submissions & Hall of Fame   
  4. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Zatarita in Recorded Animations research dump   
    Hello!
    I recently moved across country, and I forgot my laptop in the other state -.- This put a lot of my projects on hold, Luckily it's with family. In the meanwhile I fell back to one of my older projects I can tackle. I've been studying recorded animations (RA), and I feel I have gathered enough information for an interesting read. Since I'm also working on scripting for other projects, I felt a good way to get a grasp is to write a program to process them. My goal is to create a IDE for halo script and RAs, since they're so closely related. I've already started writing an interpreter for RAs I call Radium. Hopefully with our collective knowledge we could expedite that a bit.
     
    Recorded Animations: What are they?
    A good way to think of recorded animations is "Emulated input." It's the engine controlling a character during say, a cutscene. A map can have many RAs, they are attached to a unit via script, or Devmode console
    (These will return a true value if it was able to start the RA on the unit, false if there was an issue.)
    recording_play <unit> <cutscene_recording> recording_play_and_delete <unit> <cutscene_recording> recording_play_and_hover <vehicle> <cutscene_recording> recording_play: will play the recording normally
    recording_play_and_delete: plays the recording, and deletes the unit it was attached to after
    recording_play_and_hover: plays the recording, and hovers once done. Think dropship; the pause between in, and out.
     
    You can see the remaining time on, or kill, a unit's RA
    recording_time <unit> recording_kill <unit> Recorded Animations: Where are they?
    RAs can be found in your maps scenario.
     
    To add one to your map:
    open in tag editor of your choosing, and find the Recorded Animations section.
    Add RA into the map. Save the scenario.
    open your scenario in Sapien. Add a biped marker, Assign the biped, give it a name.
    Compile the map, and attach the RA to the unit with the command above (console and devmode) 
     
    (Making one isn't easy right now, but theoretically is possible)
     
    Recorded Animations: How does it work?
    Well, I'll be honest and say I don't know 100%, but here is what I have found out. I haven't completely figured out the differences between the versions yet, this is only version: 4 control version: 4 currently.

    The header is structured as follows:
    struct RecordedAnimationHeader { char Name[32]; byte Version; byte RawAnimationData; byte ControlVersion; byte LengthOfAnimation; int Unknown1; int Unknown2; int DataOffset; int Unknown3; }; To be honest I haven't looked too much into this yet. I haven't concluded if unknown1 and 3 is padding or not. The header is pretty much the information we had available to us in our tag editors. 
     
    The Recorded animation its self is a bit more interesting. This is where I've been spending most of my time
    struct RecordedAnimation { ActorState InitActorState; ActorFocus InitActorFocus; ActionFlags InitActions; short InitWeaponIndex; short InitGrenadeIndex; Float InitVelocityX, InitVelocityY; Float InitFacingX, InitFacingY, InitFacingZ; Float InitAimX, InitAimY, InitAimZ; Float InitHeadX, InitHeadY, InitHeadZ; int SOMETHINGTODOWITHRAV4 int SOMETHINGELSETODOWITHRAV4 Float InitAdjustX, InitAdjustY, InitAdjustZ, Event RecordedAnimationEvents(); //Pseudo code, fight me }; All things prefixed are the units initial parameters for the RA. Most of the events inside of an RA basically just alter these parameters.
     

    Actor State:
    This determines the condition of the unit.
    enum ActorState { Sleep = 0, Alert1, Alert2, Stand1, Stand2, Flee, Flaming }; Actor Focus:
    Determines the units reflexes
    enum ActorFocus { Alert = 0, Relaxed }; Action Flags:
    struct ActionFlags { Nothing = 0x0 Crouch = 0x1 Jump = 0x2 User1 = 0x4 User2 = 0x8 Light = 0x10 LockFacing = 0x20 Action = 0x40 Melee = 0x80 VectorDesync = 0x100 Walk = 0x200 Reload = 0x400 PrimaryTrigger = 0x800 SecondaryTrigger = 0x1000 Grenade = 0x2000 Exchange = 0x4000 };
    Actions are kind of interesting. They act kinda like MIDI. Once the flags are set, if you don't change them back the action will repeat/continue.

    Lock Facing:
    Lock Facing causes all of the viewing vectors to synchronize. Hard Setting an exact facing and aim when a rotation is applied.

    Vector Desync:
    Vector desync causes all of the viewing vectors to desynchronize, allowing for independent control of the three viewing vectors. Move the head, but not the aim or facing for example.
     
    Weapon Index: Current weapon (Primary or secondary)
    Grenade Index: Grenades
     
    Vector2F Velocity:
    Velocity is used to control both walking, and driving. These are floats (I'm assuming since it was originally xbox) but for the most of the time the velocity is set to -1,0, or 1.
     
    (Note if vector desync isn't on you won't be able to alter these independently with events, it will rotate the whole group)
    Vector3F Facing:
    Controls which way the feet are pointing, and which direction the unit will walk.
    Vector3F Aim
    Controls the torso, and where the gun is pointing.
    Vector3FHead
    Controls the looking angle.
     
    Integer SOMETHINGTODOWITHRAV4:
    This is something that is only present in v4. Sometimes it looks like a reference, sometimes a tag. Most the time it's zero. I personally believe it has to do with RAs being called into another RA
    Integer SOMETHINGELSETODOWITHRAV4:
    This one is usually -1; however, there are some circumstances where I see it as something different.
     
    Vector3F InitAdjust:
    This is a final angle update before the RA begins. I believe this is so you can easily rotate an RA after it's been made for final adjustments without having to update all of the other vectors by a small portion over and over.
     
     
    Now the fun stuff.....
    Recorded Animations: Events
    Events are the whole way that recorded animations work. They are a single byte, and usually take a few parameters. There are four primary event types, and they're descriptors on the size of the time it takes to do the action.
        Instant: Instantly does the command.
        One Tick: Does the command in one tick worth of time.
        Byte Time: does the command in a byte sized chunk of time
        Short Time: does the command in a short sized chunk of time.
     
    they take up the first two bits of a byte.
    0x______10 is some function byte tme,
    0x______01 is one tick,
    etc.
     
    Every function has these 4 variations. When I give the functions later I will give you the instant function, to get the others just add the bit mask to it with your desired period.
    Eg.
    0x04 (binary: 1 00) = end
    0x05 (binary: 1 01) = end one tick
    0x06 (binary: 1 10)= end byte time
    0x07 (binary: 1 11) = end short time
     
    The time it takes to do the function is applied BEFORE the event happens. Think of it more as a delay. so if you tell it to do an event to update to primary fire, and you put a 120 tick time on it, it will wait 120 ticks THEN begin firing. If you want to pause AFTER the event, you put a delay on the NEXT event after it.
     
    If there is a time period designated, it will be the next byte or short in the stream before the parameters for the event.
     
    Example as it would show up in hex: rotate everything by (1,3):
    3a 3f 01 03
    3a = event
    3f = time
    01 = DeltaX
    03 = DeltaY
     
    So here are the functions I have found so far:
    Nothing = 0 ()
    End = 0x4 ()
    UpdateActorState = 0x8 (byte State)
    UpdateActorFocus = 0xC (byte Focus)
    UpdateAction = 0x10 (short ActionFlags)
    ChangeWeaponIndex = 0x14 (byte Weapon)
    UpdateVelocity = 0x18 (Float X, float Y)
    Still to be researched = 0x1C
    ChangeFacing = 0x20 (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
    ChangeAim = 0x24 (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
    Still to be researched = 0x28
    ChangeHead = 0x2c (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
    ChangeHeadFacing = 0x30 (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
    ChangeHeadAim = 0x34 (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
    ChangeAimHeadFacing = 0x38 (SByte DeltaX, SByte DeltaY)
     
    Some of these might be SLIGHTLY off, I'll update these as I learn more; however, the current understanding is these so far

    I'm still doing a lot of studying on how it works; however, for now as a brief dump I wanted to share what I had. I'll keep updating as I find out more c: If you have anything to share please do, it'll definitely help.

    PS Hopefully this wasn't too hard to follow, I will edit for grammar after work.
  5. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by aLTis in Ascetic   
    Ascetic is a small symmetrical map designed for 4-6 players. Best played on CTF and KOTH but other game types can be fun as well.
     
    The map was originally being made back in 2015 after I had a dream of a small map similar to Sandtrap. I didn't think the map worked well so I stopped working on it. In late 2019 I had an idea that might make the map more interesting: mirroring one side of the map and duplicating the middle building to make the map bigger. After messing around with that idea I got inspired to finish the map. Since the map is still fairly small it allowed me to put a lot of detail on it without hitting the engine limits which I'm used to and that gave me more freedom. I spent a lot of time working on visuals to see how good I can make things look and I hope it shows. The map still isn't perfect and there are some things I'd rather change (I wish I had done something better with the doors in the middle that serve no real purpose) but I don't want to spend any more time working on this since nobody is going to play this map anyway lol.
    There is a backpack weapons script that requires a Chimera build that supports scripting. There are 2 Open Sauce post-processing effects: ambient occlusion and volumetric lighting. Volumetric lighting also requires Chimera to work.
     
    There are a few well-hidden easter eggs in the map. You won't be able to find them using devcam so look for clues first. I challenge all of you to find all of the secrets!
     
    DOWNLOAD: https://mega.nz/#!RP5ihQSb!tSAgsnYzlnB5gUVAMyIMOIFNxx5kJiGHwvb9V71l7vk
     
    Author: aLTis
     
    Thanks to:
    StormUndBlackbird team and everyone else who tested the map
    Solink: Forge Island sky
    Halo CE Refined team: HUD
    Burney: some light textures
    ShikuTeshi: upscaled spartan textures
    MrChromed: upscaled armor cubemap
    CtrlAltDestroy / [ZMT] L33T: backpack weapons
    sbdJazz, Hunter,Iq and Marty McFly: post processing effects
    Some textures are from textures.com
    Some textures are from the map Seclusion
    Some assets are from Halo 3 and Halo Reach
     
    Screenshots:






  6. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by tarikja in December 2019 - SoTM Voting   
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
  7. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Funny Pictures and Videos (one per post)   
  8. DSalimander liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Forge World: Survival   
    @DSalimander
    I can't answer the first question but I can provide this:
     
     
    taken from a halopedia article https://www.halopedia.org/Modding#Halo:_Reach
     
    I do know that people have been making forge mods but I don't know what tools they're using.
  9. Tucker933 liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in What did you do today?   
    Finally got the metal I needed and so I built my welding table today. Just need to get lag screws to hold the vice down. Gonna add a lower shelf too but that's enough for one day.
     

  10. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Sceny in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    Pokémon Axe(d) would be a fitting name 
  11. Kavawuvi liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    I have to agree with you Pope. For me though, I think it's in large part because these IPs have not changed much, or when they do it's not necessarily better. I played the crap out of Smash on the n64 and gamecube. To me, the new smash just doesn't have the same charm that the older games did, probably because I've just played so much of the older ones and this new one is not radically new (b-but mah online multplayer! well, it's just the same shit but matchmaking now... and for a fee). I really enjoy the first and second gen pokemon games to this day, but after that they were just milking the same old cow with not much new to it. In this regard I appreciate Kava's review because I have a coworker who circle jerks the new pokemon game, but I had my doubts. I'm glad my friend likes it, but Kava's objective review showed me that while there's some good changes to pokemon recently, it's still not nearly approaching the quality I would expect from the highest grossing media franchise of all time. I enjoy mario kart only when my nieces and nephews visit, otherwise I'd rather hook 4 360 controllers to my computer and play Kart 64 on emulator. So far, the only game that I've played that held my attention was Breath of the Wild. I've also been interested in Mario Odyssey but haven't tried it yet.
     
    But there's also Minecraft,  Skyrim, and Doom, so it has that going for it.
  12. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Dark Circlet   
    I'm considering whether to go with Vulkan over OpenGL right now. I originally planned writing an OpenGL renderer and writing a Vulkan one later, but writing a Vulkan one now may be better for performance, especially on Linux.
     
    This does mean that this renderer will not run on certain old hardware, and it will take a little longer to write. According to this page, this is the hardware you'd need:
    Nvidia: GeForce 600 series or newer AMD: Radeon HD 7700 series or newer Intel: 6th generation Core (Skylake) or newer See Nvidia or AMD requirements Obviously, it will be difficult for most people to obtain such hardware since some graphics cards that meet the requirements cards cost almost as much as a copy of Halo (around $20-$40) and most people cannot seem to afford that, either. However, I don't care, because it's my project and I can do whatever I want with it.
  13. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did bring something unique and new to the series that was actually interesting, and, for a first game in the series to have open world in it, they did an excellent good job it. It has replay value to it, too, if you want to try your hand at Hero Mode and, if you bought the DLC, the insanely hard Master Mode. There are also many ways to tackle different problems, and there is a massive variety of content to explore and enjoy even without buying any DLC.
     
    Pokémon, on the other hand, tries to play it way too safe. They added exactly one thing to the battling system: bigger Pokémon. Not only is the mechanic uninteresting since they had (and removed) Mega Evolutions which were basically bigger, stronger, cooler versions of the Pokémon, but it's also broken:
    ANY Pokémon can do it at ANY time without sacrificing a held item, unlike Mega Evolutions They get 2x their HP, the whole "super effective" stuff basically gets thrown out since your Pokémon can now sponge nearly everything They can spam Z moves for three turns. Such moves not only partially bypass protect, but they can now raise your stats, lower your opponent's stats, change the weather, set up entry hazards, inflict status, delete Reflect/Light Screen from the field, trap your opponent, and more. See this page for a list of effects. They are immune to moves like Encore, and, if they have a Choice item, their item is temporarily disabled (thus they are no longer Choice locked) I'm sure these games take a non-trivial amount of time to develop. However, the latest games have showed just how rushed these games were. Removing half the roster, including some of my favorites like Ampharos, Skarmory, and Dragonite, doesn't quite sit well with me, as they said they did it for time constraints, but the game seems way too rushed for that.
     
    Really, if you want my honest opinion, I don't think the switch to 3D really has been kind at all to the series. Especially in the postgame, the character animations are often just plain bad. For example, rather than the box art legendary Pokémon having an animation for turning around, it walks in place and turns on a swivel. There is also a part of the game where a Pokémon uses an electric type attack on a door to unlock it, and the game simply cuts to black and plays the sound of it happening rather than showing it happen. It really seems like they put most of their time towards Pokémon Camp animations, a completely optional part of the game, rather than the actual cutscenes you have to watch to complete the game.
     
    I'm worried that they'll probably do what they did with Sun/Moon: release a "director's cut" version of the game for full price. This game, should they release it, would have stuff that should have been in the game on Day 1.
  14. Kavawuvi liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    I have to agree with you Pope. For me though, I think it's in large part because these IPs have not changed much, or when they do it's not necessarily better. I played the crap out of Smash on the n64 and gamecube. To me, the new smash just doesn't have the same charm that the older games did, probably because I've just played so much of the older ones and this new one is not radically new (b-but mah online multplayer! well, it's just the same shit but matchmaking now... and for a fee). I really enjoy the first and second gen pokemon games to this day, but after that they were just milking the same old cow with not much new to it. In this regard I appreciate Kava's review because I have a coworker who circle jerks the new pokemon game, but I had my doubts. I'm glad my friend likes it, but Kava's objective review showed me that while there's some good changes to pokemon recently, it's still not nearly approaching the quality I would expect from the highest grossing media franchise of all time. I enjoy mario kart only when my nieces and nephews visit, otherwise I'd rather hook 4 360 controllers to my computer and play Kart 64 on emulator. So far, the only game that I've played that held my attention was Breath of the Wild. I've also been interested in Mario Odyssey but haven't tried it yet.
     
    But there's also Minecraft,  Skyrim, and Doom, so it has that going for it.
  15. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Solaris in Recent Purchases   
    It's been a while, but:
    1. New Macbook Pro 2017 (Got it refurb).
    2. 2015 Buick Enclave
     
    I didn't really want much this Christmas. Just bills paid lol.
  16. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by tarikja in Funny Pictures and Videos (one per post)   
    lmao what? Australia pls
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_beetle
  17. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by PopeTX28 in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    I stopped playing my switch for about 6 months, then this game came out. After about 1 hour of gameplay, I stopped playing again.
     
    I ended up selling my switch and games to a co-worker. They gave the switch to their kid for Christmas. I just don't play Nintendo games like I use to anymore. Even smash bros was boring to me.
     
    Nothing against switches or nintendo. I just don't enjoy those types of games anymore.
  18. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Vaporeon in 32-bit-Enhanced Refined stock maps for Halo PC   
    There has been another update to fix lens flares that were broken on all maps using MEK tags. Also the "Assault on the Control Room" and "Two Betrayals" glass workaround was removed as the original shader works on full halo provided you use a d3d9 wrapper like dgVoodoo2. Since this is better than the fake glass used in refined I changed it back.
  19. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Invader   
    Here's an update for the month of December! Normally I post these at the start of the next month, but I felt like not doing that this one time because it's my project and I can (mostly) do whatever I want with it.
     
    This update is a bit smaller than last update, but it's also just as important as it introduces a new tool: invader-sound.
     
    As the name suggests, this tool allows you to generate sound tags. You can either opt for 16-bit PCM (you will need either the latest builds of HAC2 or Chimera to enable these in Halo!), or you can use lossy compression through Ogg Vorbis.
     
    Xbox ADPCM is supported, too, and you do NOT need to pirate obtain the original codec to use Xbox ADPCM with invader-sound, but note that ADPCM is worse, compression ratio and quality wise, than Vorbis. If you're unsure as to what to use, check out the readme.
     
    Added
    New tool: invader-sound Generates sound tags Added colors for various diagnostic messages depending on the user's terminal invader-info: Added `-T external-tags` which indicates the number of tags that use external resource maps, including indexed tags invader-info: Added `-T external-bitmaps` which indicates the number of bitmap tags that use external resource maps, including indexed tags invader-info: Added `-T external-loc` which indicates the number of loc tags that use external resource maps, including indexed tags invader-info: Added `-T external-sounds` which indicates the number of sound tags that use external resource maps, including indexed tags invader-info: Added `-T external-bitmap-indices` which indicates the number of externally indexed bitmap tags invader-info: Added `-T external-loc-indices` which indicates the number of externally indexed loc tags invader-info: Added `-T external-sound-indices` which indicates the number of externally indexed sound tags invader-info: Added `-T languages` which lists all languages valid for the map separated with spaces invader-info: Added `-T external-pointers` which indicates whether the map uses external pointers (sometimes occurs if built from tool.exe due to a bug with indexing raw data) invader-info: Added `-T tags-external-pointers` which list tags that have external pointers that were not indexed Changed
    invader-extract: Tag IDs are now set to FFFFFFFF when extracted. This will make extracted tags more reproducible independent of the map being extracted. invader-info: Now outputs some details in color on some terminals Fixed
    invader-build: Fixed an issue with some old device_light_fixture tags being treated as device_control tags. This generally did not result in gameplay issues, but it may have resulted in a prompt to "activate" it when the player was close to the object. invader-build: Fixed converting radians to degrees with the lens_flare rotation scale invader-extract: Fixed converting degrees to radians with the lens_flare rotation scale  
    As always, the latest build can be retrieved from https://invader.opencarnage.net/builds/nightly/download-latest.html
  20. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    Thanks!
     
    Yeah, I'm personally not a fan of boiling reviews down to a score out of 100 (or 10.0 as IGN likes to put it), as I think such a rating system is waaaay too arbitrary.
     
    But, if it was me doing it, I would've probably given it more along the lines of a 6/10 or 7/10. There are way too many areas where the games are just plain mediocre, so it just feels unevenly cooked - seemingly a classic symptom of a rushed game.
     
    But despite everything, I enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) playing Pokémon Sword. I think the game is good, yes, but certainly not $60 good. Fortunately for me, I got the game used on eBay, so I didn't have to pay full price.
  21. Tucker933 liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    The IGN review I watched touched on many of your same points and still rated it a 9.3
     
    For reference, they gave The Witcher 3 and Horizon: Zero Dawn the same score.
     
    Kava, I'll write your letter of recommendation if you want to work at IGN. I know you're a huge long time Pokemon fan and I appreciate your ability to still look at it objectively.
     
    Oh, here's that dumb review if anyone wants:
     
  22. Tucker933 liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    The IGN review I watched touched on many of your same points and still rated it a 9.3
     
    For reference, they gave The Witcher 3 and Horizon: Zero Dawn the same score.
     
    Kava, I'll write your letter of recommendation if you want to work at IGN. I know you're a huge long time Pokemon fan and I appreciate your ability to still look at it objectively.
     
    Oh, here's that dumb review if anyone wants:
     
  23. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Pokémon Sword and Shield Review   
    A few people have asked me whether or not Pokémon’s first core RPG entry to home console is good. Here is my answer. If you want a tl;dr, skip to the bottom section.
     
    Note that I played Pokémon Shield, but this review pretty much applies to Pokémon Sword, as it’s the same exact game except that two of the opponents are different and there is a slightly different selection of monsters you can obtain.
     
    Pokémon
     
    If you don’t know what Pokémon is, this might not be the best review to read to learn what it is, but I’ll sum it up.
     
    Basically, this video game takes place in a world where there are magical creatures known as Pokémon. You can capture these monsters in capsules known as Poke Balls, and you can use them to fight other monsters and make money.
     
    Many of these monsters also have have some sort of a threshold where they can “evolve” into more powerful Pokémon, usually having better stats and attacks. Technically, this is more like metamorphosis which occurs over a short period of time than actual evolution which occurs over millions of years. This threshold usually involves leveling up, but some monsters have different other requirements, and some have multiple evolutions. The games are rarely clear on these, so experimentation is encouraged.
     
    This game features 81 more of these monsters as well as updates to existing ones in the form of “Galarian” forms. Many of these are quite well designed, but some of them are kind of… eh?
     
    Gameplay
     
    Pokémon is a now a video game series that is older than many of the people who play it. It has built up a large fanbase, and it is one of the largest grossing media franchises in the entire world. Despite being over 18 years old, many of the core mechanics of the games have stayed mostly the same: it’s an RPG where battles are turn-based where, in most cases, the faster monster moves first. Players may have up to six monsters (known as Pokémon), each monster knows up to four attacks that the player can choose from once per turn, and many of the attacks that inflict damage to the other monster can do extra (super effective) damage depending on the type of monster being attacked.
     

    Turn-based gameplay like it's 1996! Now on home console. (for the seventh time)
     
    My only complaint about the core gameplay is that it’s too slow, as battles take far longer than necessary. There is a pause between each Pokémon doing anything, and there are often many other things that make the pause even longer. Text boxes appear, for example, make things a bit longer. Various other effects such as healing from leftovers or damage-over-time from poison or weather take a bit too long, especially when multiple monsters on the field are experiencing such effects and the game has to go through each of them one at a time.
     
    Indeed, most of the gameplay is you watching things happen rather than you actually doing anything. This has always been a problem with the core RPG titles, and I feel they could be made to be more consise.
     
    Story
     
    The story involves you and your rival, Hop, taking part in the Gym Challenge in the new Galar region. You have to collect eight badges, and then you can challenge the champion, Leon, who happens to be Hop’s brother. Meanwhile, Sonia, the professor’s assistant, uncovers information about a legend in Galar’s past, and these happen to be relevant to the game’s story.
     
    So basically, like most of the past games, bad things happen, and the box art Pokémon appear and have stuff to do with it. Usually the only bad things that happen are Hop stopping you every 20 minutes to remind you that he plans to be the very best or Sonia making you look at murals and artwork while telling you how it relates to a legend.
     
    Like nearly all of the past Pokémon games, the story just isn’t very substantial. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good parts to it, because it gets a LOT better near the end. Also, this isn’t to say that Pokémon needs a grandiose story line. However, for a simple story, this game has way too much button mashing dialogue that is usually, at best, vaguely important, and there are some points where it doesn’t give you much time to actually play the game.
     
    Often times, when an exciting thing does happen, one of the characters steps in to save the day rather than letting you do it. This puts me off, as it almost seems like the only parts of the game where you actually directly contribute to the story are few and far between.
     
    This is in stark contrast to the days of the first Pokémon games where you get to singlehandedly defeat a criminal organization while simultaneously crushing your neighbor’s hopes and dreams mere minutes after he realized them. It’s like the handholdingness is now finally a main feature in the game’s canon, and that just doesn’t sit well with me.
     
    Gym challenge
     
    The Gym challenge is, like most of the past games, a gauntlet where you must defeat eight different stronger opponents, earning a badge from each of them. Obtaining these eight badges gives you the opportunity to challenge the champion – your end goal. Like past games, you have to complete a small challenge for each gym leader to have the opportunity to battle them.
     
    I personally thought that many of the first few challenges were quite enjoyable. However, many of the later ones became more of a series of battles rather than an actual challenge. This leaves me torn as to which part of the game is better: the part with the better gym challenges (beginning to mid) or the part with the better story (mid to end)?
     
    Camping and Friendship
     
    Camping is a new feature added into the game which replaces Pokémon Refresh and Pokémon Amie. This feature allows you to interact with your Pokemon in a few ways, including talking to them, waving a weird wand in their face, playing catch with a ball, and cooking curry.
     

    Gotta catch 'em all? Not anymore! Now it's Gotta cook 'em all! Now fill out that Curry Dex.
     
    You can camp nearly anywhere including indoors in some areas for whatever reason. This can be useful for quickly healing up your Pokémon without a Pokémon center, and it provides a decent amount of experience points.
     

    Sorry. You're probably going to be long forgotten when Giga Sword and Giga Shield come out next year. Hopefully you won't be cut!
     
    Also, this gives you several new ways to increase Friendship, a stat that was merged with Affection, that, when high enough, this will provide varrious passive bonuses including an increased critical hit ratio, the chance to endure hits that would otherwise KO, and the chance to shrug off non-volatile status effects like paralysis. It is also a requirement for certain evolutions, such as evolving Eevee into Sylveon, Umbreon, or Espeon, or evolving Togepi into Togetic.
     
    Personally, I think merging affection into friendship was a good improvement. I never understood why it had to be a separate stat, as that overcomplicated things, so doing this made sense.
     
    Poké Jobs
     
    Poke Jobs are a new feature added to the game which allow you to train your Pokémon by sending them off to the wonderful world of free labor. While you can put any Pokémon in any job, different jobs are better for different Pokémon types, netting more experience points. Most jobs are explicit on what they want, but there are some jobs that are vague on this such as a job that only specifies it wants “intimidating” (Dark type) Pokémon.
     

    Hello, there! Welcome to the world of free labor! (image source: Serebii.net)
     
    Sending an individual Pokémon off to a Poke Job may not be as fast as training it, yourself, but you can send a large amount of Pokémon off at once, and you don’t have to interact with them until after they have completed the job. This can ultimately be more efficient, plus you can send Pokémon off to train while you aren’t playing Pokémon.
     
    Unfortunately, Poke Jobs have a slightly annoying thing to them in that, when the Pokémon return, they’re each put back in the PC in the first available slot rather than where they were organized originally. If you have a lot of Pokémon, then you may end up having to search for them.
     
    Generation gimmick: Dynamaxing
     
    Past generations of Pokémon games have introduced some sort of new mechanic or gimmick into battles. This generation is no different, as it introduces Dynamaxing.
     
    Dynamaxing allows a user, once per battle, to transform one Pokémon to a giant version of itself for either up to three turns or until it is switched out. This Pokémon gets its max HP increased, with a maximum Dynamax level resulting in a doubling of its HP stat. In addition to this, all of its attacks increase in power, have additional effects, and bypass protection moves for 25% damage. They also are unaffected by various other moves.
     

    Bigger means better, right?
     
    Personally, I’m not a fan of this gimmick, as I think the game has been made less fun as a result of it being added. Not only is it broken, but it drags on the battle for longer than needed. Since Pokémon have their HP doubled, they end up taking longer to defeat. Not only this, but they also gain the ability to spam extremely powerful moves for three turns without any drawbacks. Yes, both players can use this mechanic at any time, but that doesn’t make it any less balanced. It more sounds like whoever comes up with these mechanics ran out of ideas.
     
    Admittedly, this has made the game somewhat harder than past games, since most gym leaders use this mechanic against you. However, if you use it against them, then it doesn’t matter very much.
     
    The Battle Tower (post-game) also allows you to use dynamaxing, but most trainers at the start of your winning streak will not use it, so it can often times make for an instant win button.
     
    Graphics
     
    2D sprites, when made well, are timeless. It is a lot harder to do that with 3D, and as a result, many 3D games age like milk. There are games that do it right, though. For example, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a 3D game that will probably always look good due to its art style and fluidity, but a slightly newer game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, just doesn’t quite hold up.
     
    The same applies to Pokémon games. The core RPG Pokémon games prior to X/Y were all in 2D, and, in my opinion, none of them look particularly low in quality. Even Red/Blue/Yellow and Gold/Silver/Crystal, which were either monochrome or had a more limited color palette, stand quite well on their own. Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald were also fully 60 FPS games, and Black/White/Black 2/White 2 were 60 FPS during battles, and this extra fluidity greatly enhanced the presentation of the game.
     
    X/Y then bought the series to 3D. These games featured minimal texture filtering and low-resolution textures, and the frame rates were notoriously low, especially in larger battles. As a result, these games simply did not look good. Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, however, greatly improved the graphics and presentation of the games, and the frame rate was better. They might not look extremely stunning, but for a small 240p display, it didn’t look bad, either. When I went back to my Pokémon Y game or Omega Ruby game, the difference was stark.
     
    Now that the core series is on a home console, the games should look better, right? Well, yes. These games render at HD and textures and shaders are noticeably improved to match the much higher resolution. Compared to Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, this improvement is drastic.
     
    However, compared to other games that also run on Nintendo Switch hardware like Super Mario Odyssey (which looks better AND runs at 60 FPS) or even third-party games like 2016’s DOOM (which also looks better), it’s clear that there’s a lot of room for improvement for these games.
     

    Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) looks better than this!
     
    Ground, scenery, and foliage textures and texture filtering just don’t look all that good, many of the animations look very dated or otherwise off-putting, the water just doesn’t look very good when standing only a short distance from it, and the frame rate leaves something to be desired.
     
    Perhaps the most annoying problem is the insanely low draw distance of most objects. Things like berries, Pokémon, and people do not appear unless you are within their viscinity. This not only applies to the Wild Area where such limitations may make sense, but it also applies to towns. The Onix in Motostoke is one of the biggest offenders, as I’ve ended up running into it countless times.
     
    It’s an improvement compared to other Pokémon games made by Game Freak, but when you compare it to other Nintendo Switch games, it falls short.
     
    The Wild Area
     
    There is a new area of the game to explore: the Wild Area. This large, open area allows you to control the camera, and it allows you to encounter a wide variety of Pokémon. Initially, you’re only allowed to capture low-level monsters (you can still defeat the higher-level monsters), but defeating gyms increases the cap. Once you’ve completed the game, all Pokémon in the Wild Area will be become at least level 60. This means that most of the Pokémon that evolve from reaching a certain level can be evolved by simply leveling them up once.
     
    You can also find a wealth of items and use a separate currency, Watts, to purchase various items including better types of Poke Balls (not apricorn balls, sadly) and TRs (a “new” kind of TM that breaks on use but has more useful moves). When you beat the main story, Watts become very easy to accumulate.
     
    There are also berry trees which provide you with numerous useful berries. Some of the trees provide berries that can help you with training, too.
     
    Lastly, the Wild Area features a new form of battling called Max Raid battles. This allows you to team up with other players to battle a powerful Dynamaxed Pokémon. If you defeat it, you get the opportunity to capture it. You also obtain quite a few useful items,. Some of these items include berries, new moves, treasures, as well as items to increase the power of your Pokémon. They also have a difficulty scaling from one to five stars, with more stars meaning better items as well as better stats if you capture it, but it is also a higher difficulty. Once you’ve completed the game, most of them will be five-star battles.
     
    The Wild Area is easily the highlight of these games. However, the Wild Area is marred by numerous technical and graphical issues. Unfortunately, with the low draw distance in this game, things like trees and Pokémon are impossible to spot from a distance. The dynamic weather is also a little problematic, as you can’t see which parts of the wild area have what type of weather without looking at your map. If you change areas, the weather around you simply changes, instead. Lastly, enabling online connectivity infamously makes the Wild Area stuttery and slow, and it ends up getting filled with random players. You may think, at first, that this means that the Wild Area is suddenly a MMO, but these players actually only move around in random directions every few seconds, and talking to them just gives you a random item or scripted dialogue.
     

    Not with that crappy, fixed camera, it wasn't!
     
    Perhaps the largest issue with the Wild Area is that it just isn’t big enough. All-in-all, it’s a fantastic concept. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time in this when playing, but the execution falls short. Going back to the main routes of the game is also jarring because you are suddenly using a fixed camera. The whole game would have been better if this didn’t happen, but alas, tradition strikes again.
     
    Fewer Pokémon than before?
     
    Traditionally, Pokémon games have included all of the Pokémon species from past games, adding onto the roster with every generation of games. These games do not do that.
     
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are not the first games to feature a smaller Pokedex – an item used to record the different types of monsters you have captured or enounctered. That honor actually goes to Sun and Moon. However, Sword and Shield are the first core RPG games (not including the Let’s Go games or spinoffs) to not include certain species of Pokémon, as these games have removed over half of the complete roster. This has understandably resulted in a large amount of backlash beyond what Game Freak, the developers, probably would have predicted.
     
    Game Freak has given several reasons for this culling, and according to them, it seems it mostly had to do with time constraints such as needing time to make better animations. While it is true that they have improved on animation quality, this only appears to be in some instances. Most animations are visually and functionally the same as they were in Sun/Moon, especially when it comes to battling – most of the core gameplay of this game.
     
    Quality of life and other improvements
     
    This game features a number of other improvements. Many of them target people who play online competitively, but not all of them are for just those players.
     
    You can now use multiple amounts of certain items at once on a Pokémon up to as many items that will have an effect. For example, you can use 25 Rare Candies at once on a Pokémon to boost its level by 25, where before you had to press A three or four times per candy, but it will limit you to 15 Rare Candies if the Pokémon is level 85. This also applies to the new Exp. Candies (mostly obtained from Max Raid battles), which provide a set experience depending on the size of them, often times giving you more than one level at times if your Pokémon is a low level. This is, in my opinion, one of the best quality of life improvements to come in this game.
     
    Also, if you level up a Pokémon multiple times at once (such as through multiple Rare Candies or giving it a massive amount of experience), you can now press a button to skip watching the Pokémon leveling up. You will be prompted with all of the moves it learned from leveling up after it’s done leveling up, and it won’t evolve until after this as well. This makes training low-level Pokémon up much less tedious.
     
    Final thoughts
     
    This game has a lot of improvements going for it. They have fixed quite a few issues from the past games, as well as making it much easier and more efficient to train Pokémon. At the same time, they have failed to fix quite a few core problems, and they have introduced even more problems in the series for the sake of animation quality – something that they did not significantly improve on in most aspects. Not only that, but the Wild Area, while it has a lot going for it, also feels like a missed opportunity at the same time.
     
    All-in-all, this game seems like it was rushed to production, and that leaves my impression of the game fairly mixed. Also, unfortunately, Game Freak are not known for updating or expanding upon existing games except to fix bugs, so this is most likely all we will have, and while it’s a solid game, it seems to miss the mark as much as it hits it.
     
    Pros
    Lots of new, good content Many quality-of-life improvements Wild Area Many new features Cons
    Fewer Pokémon Slow battle system Story is not very interesting for an RPG Performance and graphical issues, including a low draw distance Fixed camera in most places of the game
  24. Sunstriker7 liked a post in a topic by Kavawuvi in Replacing the Halo Editing Kit with open source software   
    I'm updating the list to reflect the latest community developments. Basically, we can now make sound tags!
    Mozzarilla now has a fully-functional sound tag generator. This tool supports generating sound tags using arbitrary sample rates (I haven't tested this myself - I'm just going by what they said in the Halo CE Reclaimers chat). It isn't in the master branch, though, so you'll need to poke around the MEK repos if you want to test this. Invader is getting a sound tag generator soon, too, but there are a few things left for me to work out (Xbox ADPCM encoding, mouth data, and resampling of sound data to Halo's supported 22.05 kHz and 44.1 kHz formats) before I start uploading builds of it. You can test it if you want, though, if you're willing to compile from source. Both tools support .wav files with the common 16-bit and 24-bit signed PCM formats. Obviously, if you generate an uncompressed sound, you will only get 16-bit uncompressed samples, and Halo decompresses Vorbis audio to 16-bit samples, so 24-bit is going to mostly be useful for convenience.
  25. TCK liked a post in a topic by Sunstriker7 in Show Yourself!   
    I've been trying out the beard again: