TideLog Archive for August, 2013

I’ve been following the free Xbox Live games with interest, and they’ve given me and friends something extra. The promotion runs until December, but you must stay a Gold subscriber to get them. They are free FOREVER (Unlike Playstation PSN+, they stop access to games if you cancel!). They’re not the newest games but there’s something for everyone.

Game 1 – Fable III

This was the kind of game that made me think, “Ah, no, not another medieval type game!”. Actually it turned out to be pretty good. My friend Jenny was the first one to try it as she likes role playing games. Playing as the Princess, Jenny had to try and bring Albion back to its former glory by gaining the support of each town’s followers, to overthrow the evil rulers of each, to become Queen of Albion, making everyone’s lives so much happier. As with modern Governments, you have to make decisions as the Queen, in the form of sacrifices, which make you popular with some people and not others, for example, if a big battle is coming up, do you increase taxes to make money to build your army, or do you ease tax and risk your army?

Overall a good game, one that Jenny keeps going back to!

Game 2 – Defense Grid

This game was fun at first, but quickly got annoying/difficult or boring. It’s a Command and Conquer-esque game where you build turrets to defeat aliens of differing sizes, shapes and strengths. You must defend military bases from waves of attacking aliens by positioning a range of tower-based weaponry, ranging from guns, flamethrowers, lasers, and powerful Tesla weapons, which are like the Tesla coils from Command & Conquer, they give out powerful electric shocks. The military bases are like mazes, some of them have an exit and an entrance, you must stop the aliens from stealing power cores, later levels are hard and have multiple entrances or exits. Weapons can be upgraded by getting XP points for killing aliens. I got bored after getting past story level 4, it was too hard, and annoying! Once you get over the complexity of later levels it gets old.

Game 3 – Assassin’s Creed II

This game was OK at first, it reminds me of Ninja Gaiden, but NG is a lot more fast-paced, and has more of a proper Japanese ninja feel to it, as it should, as that’s where ninjas originate. Assassin’s Creed is more of the same roof jumping, sword wielding stuff, but it’s just too slooooww, and mainly based in Italy in historical times. You have to do such tasks as hunting for feathers and paintings for Leonardo Da Vinci to decipher. It just got too monotonous for me, I gave up after the second chapter, it’s too much of an assassin-plus-Lara-Croft mix. Ninja Gaiden does the Japanese Ninja genre justice, Kana plays it a lot, she’s really quick! Assassin’s Creed is a slow snail-like wannabee.

Game 4 – Crackdown

As I kept reading in the reviews of this when I originally bought it three years ago, Crackdown is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. You play as an Agent, working with the Agency to crack down (hence the game name) on criminal gangs in Pacific City following the collapse of governments. There’s no storyline, you just have to take out gang bosses to get to the kingpin, while a game-show like voiceover man constantly gets on your nerves by saying things like, “There’s a race marker nearby, Agent! Put your foot down!”. Your abilities increase as you do races, collect orbs, and whack/smack and smash your way through the bosses and gangs. It gets old quick, as the gangs are CONSTANTLY (and I mean every second, almost) shooting a you, a lot of the bosses are protected by tons of guys constantly cowardly firing grenades and rockets at you. You die, a lot, in this, add to that if you even think of killing pedestrians, the Peacekeepers (the guys on your side) will start shooting you. The narrator then angrily says, “How many times do I have to tell you, Agent? DO NOT KILL innocent CIVILIANS!!”

A good laugh for a while, but nothing compared to Saints Row or GTA, where you can mindlessly blow stuff up and run it over!

Game 5 – Dead Rising 2 & Dead Rising Case Zero

This is the latest game in the free giveaway, but sadly it’s just another ZOOOOMMMBBIIIEEE game with absolutely NOOO BBBRRAAIINNSSS. For me the zombies in games crap got old and boring years ago. I still go back to Resident Evil 5 & Resident Evil: ORC, but Dead Rising is just another clone. You play as Chuck Greene, and his little daughter Katey, having to escape a zombie outbreak, using and combining different weapons to make them stronger.

Meh. If like me you’ve done all Resident Evil games, and Call of Duty, plus numerous other games with zombies, these games get old pretty quick. If however, you have a massive urge to eat human brains, and like dead stuff coming back to life, this is the game for you.

I’ll update when the next game comes along. These aren’t meant to be in depth reviews, just quick personal opinion.

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A big bug in the Linux version of Pinta has stopped me from using it as my Photoshop replacement. Here’s my situation: I have an image of one of our Superwoman models, for example, that is quite large, but Superwoman herself is quite tiny, in the middle of the background. I select the whole image, and copy it to the clipboard as-is. I don’t want to use the select or crop tool. I create a new canvas that is smaller than the source image in either height or width, and then paste in my image to the new canvas, so I can move it around and position it just right without having to guess using the select tool on the original.

Make sense? Hopefully! Anyhow, Pinta in its default state, SQUASHES the image to fit the canvas, if you tell it not to resize the canvas, and it looks completely wrong, it literally squashes the image from top down, you know what that looks like without a screenshot, right? I’ve fixed it in my own sourcecode copy and Pinta now behaves as I want it to. I’m not sure the devs would want my changes, but I’ll ask anyhow.

1. Grab a copy of the source, by whatever means by using Terminal (install Git first using “sudo apt-get install git”).

2. Then clone the repo with: “git clone git://github.com/PintaProject/Pinta.git”.

3. Now your source tree is ready, it will be in your Home folder under a folder called ‘pinta’. Install MonoDevelop, and open the Pinta.sln solution file using it.

4. Once open, find the Pinta.Core/Classes/Document.cs file, and after line 806, find:

            // If the pasted image would fall off bottom- or right-
// side of image, adjust paste position
x = Math.Max (0, Math.Min (x, canvas_size.Width – cbImage.Width));
y = Math.Max (0, Math.Min (y, canvas_size.Height – cbImage.Height));

Simply change it so it looks like this:

             // Modified by Tidosho. Image would be stretched/squashed if canvas was smaller and user chooses not to resize it.
// If the pasted image would fall off bottom- or right-
// side of image, adjust paste position
//x = Math.Max (0, Math.Min (x, canvas_size.Width – cbImage.Width));
//y = Math.Max (0, Math.Min (y, canvas_size.Height – cbImage.Height));

It’s a bit of a dirty hack, as it simply comments the procedure out, but it works. A possible fulltime modification could be a controllable scale type operation like in Photoshop where you control the scale using handles round the image, but I don’t think Pinta has a scale API.

UPDATE: It isn’t as serious as I first thought, but still annoying. The reason the image is squashed when pasted is because Pinta uses squashed thumbnails for use in the open documents list, and the History. As soon as you drag the layer pasted in, it corrects itself, but then you have to drag it back into position.


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