Signup for the new Skill of The Month has started! The skill this month is: Divination. Please signup at http://www.rsbandb.com/skotm, you will need a valid forum account to signup. Signups close on the first day of the month. The competitions begin as soon as signups close.
The June competition continues until July 1st.
Hi everyone! This will now be the official thread for our weekly PC Gaming Event!
We are in the process of redoing our PC Gaming Event; if you have any suggestions for what we might do, post here!
When: Every Tuesday, 8PM RSBandB Time/MDT (7PM PDT, 9PM CDT, 10PM EDT, 2AM UTC, 3AM BST)
Where: Our servers are hosted at 184.108.40.206 Add us to your favorites!
Started: April 30, 2009
Run By: Pfkninenines and Earth
We are switching up the games each week so that we don't have duplicate games in a row anymore.
Event Winners & Prize:
9/16/14 - artofdvorak - Surgeon Simulator 2013
10/28/14 - Col. Sanders - Metro 2033, Risen, and Sacred Citadel
11/18/14 - Vladimir Putin - Not Claimed
1/13/15 - MageGuy08 - Cave Story+
1/20/15 - Apathy - Not yet claimed
Minimum: Potato from 2008
Recommended: Better potato from 2012
Mac: Minimum: Tin-foil-wrapped potato from 2012+
If you're wondering if your computer can handle any of these games, please refer to the 'Can You Run It' site. It should give you an idea as to your system specs, and what they can do. It's not 100% accurate, though it should give you a baseline.
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch can be found here on Steam.
Our very own Duke Juker wrote a guide for Half-Life 2: Deathmatch here!
Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is free and can be downloaded from Steam
We’ve finally reached what was hyped as the climax of this 15th-year celebration of looking back at Runescape’s storied history. The Gower Quest. We were promised irreverence, silliness, classic British humour, nostalgia, and references aplenty. Did this quest deliver on expectations? Let’s see…
**OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING: DON'T READ IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE THE GOWER QUEST AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED**
To give a brief background for those that may not be aware, The Gower Brothers (Ian, Andrew, and Paul) were the original founders of the game we all know and love with the help of the rarely-mentioned Constant Tedder. The brothers watched the game grow and develop, staking a large claim in the thriving MMO market. Runescape, under their leadership, transitioned from a rough-around-the-edged multi-user dungeon to a fairly polished game with serious recognizability in pop culture. All but Ian left around the end of 2011, but their influence on the game still remains. Andrew was typically seen as the writer and overseer of company operations, Paul the story nerd and quest writer, and Ian the one who worked on the more behind-the-scenes stuff.
The last quest Paul worked on writing was Ritual of the Mahjarrat, and many would agree that this quest along with While Guthix Sleeps signalled a transition in quest tone. The vast majority of early Runescape quests were simple, light-hearted, and often were used to jab at the boring nature of quests found in other games. However, the last 5 years have seen big storylines emerge as the primary form of storytelling in the game. Smaller, less explosive quests seem to be overshadowed by big, booming, impactful developments in the game lore. This quest seeks to evoke the nature of “old school” questing, and I feel it did just that and more.
Our journey begins at a farm south of Varrock, which apparently now is the property of the Gower brothers. All three are there, in-game, and their models are spot-on. The problem the player is presented with is that the cabbages no longer are growing, for some strange reason! And of course, the best way to find out exactly why this is to speak with the cabbages directly. The Gower brothers claim they would help us, but because we so often insist that we loathe handholding in quests, they’ve decided to be so kind as to let us figure it out on our own. This was the first of many small in-jokes that made this quest perfect.
After fiddling around with some small things found on the farm, the player successfully crafts a Cabbagespeak Amulet. And boy, was it worth it. The strange diction of the cabbages was silly, somewhat bewildering, but it felt exactly how I imagined it would be like speaking to a cabbage. According to our Brassican comrades, they are rioting because they do not have party hats and refuse to grow until they get what they want. “We leaf, we chief!” was the line that made me lose it. However, it is then found that this riot was not the true root of the problem. To get to the real source of it all, we must traverse the Black Hole “realm” to reach the “behind sceneries”! Using a recoloured Disk of Returning (which is also, of course, untradable), the player is abruptly whisked away.
The Black Hole was almost a perfect callback to Jagex’s earliest form of player punishment outside of the fact that here the player cannot be seen, but has the ability to move about. Through a series of old-style use-this-thing-on-another-thing puzzles, the quest then proceeds on into Thordur’s office through the Gates of Lloigh-enn (a reference to the old flames on the RS2 login screen). Here, we are informed that in order to reach the “behind sceneries”, we need to be filed as some sort of new content! Regardless of which option is picked, the player finally is taken to the magical watering hole that is the Behind-the-Scenes Bar.
This place makes the quest a 10/10. So many characters to talk to, such perfectly thought-out humour, bumpin’ music, and much more. I want to go here in real life. Seriously. Knock back a brew with Sueros whilst poking fun at Lucien? Yes, please.
Tea with Mod Raven and Guthix, discussing politics and philosophy? Where do I sign up??
But I digress, I think you can tell I love this place. Seriously, talk to everyone, take your time to examine stuff, just drink it all in! You may find some stuff you wouldn’t have caught otherwise…
From here, we talk to Spiral Orb only to find that the Life Altar, the fundamental source of power for cabbagery (located in the basement of the bar) has broken and that three pieces are needed to fix it! Three characters in the bar have eyes on each piece, and so it’s now our job to find Lucien, Steve the Chaos Elemental, and Thok in order to retrieve these fragments.
First, Lucien will inform the player that the Wise Old Man has already stolen the piece and hidden it away in his personal back chest. In order to recover this piece, a bank heist will need to be staged after forming a crack team of specialists. To distract the clerk, Romeo agrees to help out after being given some rather interesting dating advice from each of the God Wars bosses. For the job of distracting the guard, the actor Guthix joins the squad in exchange for our help in getting him to join a group of acting cabbages in a production of “Put Those Edicts Back Where They Came From, Or So Help Me!” Next, we need a way to remove the gate from our path and the perfect duo for the job is good ol’ Tim and Crunchy! After quenching the thirst of some other environment artists, their services are ours. Lastly, a lockpick specialist is required, and a certain penguin named Sphenishchev is just what we need. The only thing is that the poor fellow is afflicted by a condition that prevents all who meet him from ever remembering having encountered him (a joke about a 2009 hide-and-seek glitch that allowed players to click repeatedly on penguins to stack up tons of points). The heist is then staged, and the piece is ours!
Next is the lovably erratic Steve, who then directs the player to the Grand Exchange portal for a lovely little pipe puzzle for the second piece. The puzzle is befuddling at first, but once one takes the time to look at it a bit, there’s no need for a guide. Through the whole thing, a myriad of economic jabs are made in the chat window, making allusion to several instances of economic shift in Runescape as well as many common knee-jerk reactions of the players. Puzzle done, now on to the final shard!
Thok is kind enough to drink with us and tell us that Max is taking care of the piece he has in the Beta Portal, so we should find him there. We then find Max there, and his dialogue is nothing short of brilliant. Star Wars jokes, the ability to taunt his inability to train Invention, and more are here to be found. Max refuses to fork over the last piece until we’ve maxed each of the three beta skills… Riding, Sailing, and Bankstanding! True to expectation, these skills are meant to be as camp and silly as possible, and they deliver. On top of that, we get a nice chemistry joke upon examining one of the skill doors! That’s it, the last piece is in hand, and time to save the day by fixing the Life Altar.
But oh no! The graphically reworked Black Knight Titan has lured us for our Disk of Returning by killing the Cabbagemancer and setting a trap he knew we would spring! However, by fending off the Titan’s attacks and summoning the Gower brothers to convert the life runes to cabbages, the lure proves unsuccessful. Ian does have pity on the poor creature, sadly, and allows the new model to enter the real game anyway (with th ability to toggle him back by speaking to the old model at the bar after the quest). With the Life Altar repaired, cabbages are growing again, the Gower brothers have become the new cabbagemancers, and the player can now continue their journey know that they’ve done some good in the world… Or at least in some world.
In summation, this quest is as close to perfect as it gets, In my opinion, we’ve been in dire need of light-hearted adventures with little to no lasting story implications and this felt like a glass of cold, unsweetened iced tea on a hot day. Refreshing, lively, spirited, evocative, and just downright fun. I think we need more quests with this sort of tone. The fourth-wall breaking will get old if they continue to use that trope, but if they leave it be for a while, it’s another ingredient in quest-writing that can spice up the whole dish. So please, if you’re reading this and have not done this quest, you are without excuse! Go out and experience the joy for yourself! You certainly will not regret it.
We Leaf, We Chief! A run down of the monumental Gower Quest celebrating 15 years of RuneScape, will it be a 5 out of 5 quest? Also, a look at Telos drops, and advancement in the crypto-currency field!
I was presented with the awesome opportunity to work with the Steam VIVE VR headset. I got to try out a whole bunch of impressively made games and applications, experiencing being able to interact with a virtual environment with the same precision, speed, and finesse as I could when cooking. Trust me; mouse and tablet can't even come close to the speeds you can achieve with a pair of fast hands when you've got tasks as complicated as changing tires or swinging swords. ... OK, maybe that last one's a bit exaggerated...
Recently, I was presented with the even more awesome opportunity to develop an application for the VIVE. I won't get into details (mainly because I'm not allowed to), but basically, I make stuff in Unity and walk around it.
How cool is that?
Sounds hard, doesn't it? You gotta account for head position and controllers, fast movements... heck, how does one even get the headset onto Unity? Don't you need to translate all this coordinate code in raw data format that the sensors pick up, figure out which sensors are broadcasting them, and then paint a picture out for both controllers AND the headset?
Turns out, Valve released a VIVE Unity plugin. Download it. Import into Unity. Plunk, onto the stage. Suddenly, you're walking around a grid world. Didn't even take half an hour.
Woooooah. I can make a whole world in here! One I can actually pretend to touch!
Getting coordinates isn't that hard either. The library already maps to some rendered controller sprites. All you gotta do is get their position and rotation, or even attach other ray-casting objects to them, and lo and behold, you've got a sword, or a gun, or a hand-held nuke launcher firing off into the distance.
And when I say distance, I mean it. Sure, the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks like it's got a vast landscape, but one can only imagine the sheer intensity that a virtual reality headset can dish out. You're not really looking at a flat screen in that thing. It uses fish-eye lenses to flush everything out just like you're actually looking at it. Stand on that cliff, and you're actually looking at the grand canyon. It would take forever to walk to the other end.
So where am I going with this? As much as I like advertising VR in general (AYAYAYAWESOME!), I've got a slightly different topic in mind.
Note how I mentioned it was easier than I expected earlier on to get the headset working in Unity. Well, of course the reason for that is because when the library was built, it was built so that anyone could pick it up and do stuff with it. Otherwise, just brute-forcing it to work and not adding any API documents... well, that would be easy to do, but it wouldn't be worth it, would it? Nobody would use it, nobody could do anything with it. At least, not until someone makes a better library to make it easier for everyone.
And that's the thing. We like easy just as much as we like hard. We pursue intense challenges to answer a problem so we'd know the solution, and after presented with the same problem again, suddenly it's easy because we know what we're doing. Along with bragging rights, we can solve the same problem over and over and even extend it to help solve even bigger problems. We like doing hard things, and we like getting easy things done.
Originally, the mere thought of VR was but a dream and a monster of questions. How do we achieve 60FPS on 4000x2000px resolution and still run code processes? How do we detect physical positioning with real-time speed? Now it's done. The technology is out there, and ever since Oculus brought out their first prototype, we've got headsets coming from Microsoft, Sony, Steam, and even third-party competitors looking to sell at cheaper prices!
It's only been a few years; why is VR suddenly so big now? Because it's been made easy. The questions have been answered, the problems have been solved, but most importantly, the ideas have been shared. Now it's easy to do, and so more and more people are doing them. We are attracted to easy. Somebody built a quad-copter in a workshop once and now we've got police training falcons to hunt down malicious drones.
Mind that easy is not always good, though. Doing dishes is easy after weeks of practice. Does that make them any more enjoyable? No, they're a chore; nobody wants to do that. Because cars are so easy to handle now, plenty of drivers not yet ready for the road are getting their license. Because of all these public domain libraries making game development easy, dozens of indie developers are actually getting their inexperienced game-making into the online stores.
OK, no. I never said easy is bad. The fact that more game developers CAN make their own ideas into a game means there are a lot more worlds out there to explore, and at cheaper prices too.
My point is that there are a lot of ambitious individuals out there taking on the brunt of the work to make the same sort of work easy for the rest of us, and they deserve respect. They are the folks that study math because it's fun, who were actually good at social studies, and who didn't take a minute to scrap the dirt off their hands right after plunging them in mud. They worked, and they slaved, and they built their creations, and they threw them up into the air shouting “Here ya go, world!”. Big props to you guys! You are simply awesome!
Not only that, but while we definitely should take advantage of these shortcuts, we should not be relying on them to do everything. One should research them; find out how they work, and even improve on them with their own ideas. Unique ideas are going to require some thinking, and without the experience, practice, and training that only application can provide, you're going to end up with something that's already been done before. A shoddy dollar-store version of what could have been a result. Sure, research says it might sell, but you can definitely do better than that.
So go do something difficult, alright? Make the effort, and do it until it becomes easy for yourself later on down the road. You'll thank me for it.
Until next time,