Aliens Versus Predator Gold Features

The Alien franchise had always been crying out for a decent game to be made around it, and rather more than a year ago that game finally appeared. The chance to stalk dark corridors armed only with some paltry ammo and a motion tracker, jittering with terror and expecting to be set upon by a super-lithe xenomorph at any point, was too good not to translate into an action game.

Aliens Versus Predator, however, went further than yer standard FPS. For a start, it featured not one but three different races: Aliens, Marines and the Predator. The original game, though largely critically acclaimed, was ridiculously tricky, not least because it didn’t allow you to save except between levels.

Now here’s Aliens Versus Predator Gold, the souped-up version – although in truth this is more like the game AvP should have been on first release. There’s not a heck of a lot of difference to the original, overall. You get nine new multiplayer levels, a couple of new weapons for the Marine (automatic pistols and The Skeeter), and the much longed-for in-game save, which was originally added with the first patch.

The game engine has also been tweaked slightly to look and play better with the latest generation of video cards, though it’s hardly Quake 3 Arena, being functional rather than beautiful. Finally, the game comes bundled with the Prima Official Strategy Guide, which ain’t bad for free.

So what of the game? Well, like the films, AvP’s main mission is to instil a sense of continual terror – and it does that very well indeed. The single-player campaigns are routine fare – escaping from an overrun colony, infiltrating bases and so on – but make no mistake, this is nothing like a mindless shoot-’em-up. In AvP, you need cunning stealth, a complete mastery of your race’s capabilities, and nerves of steel to survive; run around blasting merrily and you’re dead within seconds.

The genius of AvP is in the design and variety of the three races. They’re not just superficial differences, they affect the entire way you approach the game. The Marine is the most familiar character, moving relatively slowly but with access to a lot of weaponry, the motion tracker and night-sight (which negates the former).

The Alien, on the other hand, moves incredibly fast and has a very wide field of view, coupled with an infra-red like ability to pick out prey in the dark. But with just its claws and tail as weapons, it’s vulnerable to long-range fire. The Alien is also the only creature that can actually crawl over walls or indeed any surface, making the levels a true 360 degree maze which can often become disorientating.

The Predator is most complex, a mixture of high-tech and low-tech weapons plus the ability to cloak and become almost invisible. With three vision modes it’s also the most sophisticated visually.

AvP’s levels, though not aesthetically amazing, are superbly designed: full of shadowy corners, nervous passageways and moments of horror waiting to happen. Enemies spawn randomly, though usually within given limits, so you can never really learn or clear out an area, and this only serves to heighten the continual tension.

Make no mistake, though, AvP is still rock hard. Even with the new save feature, which enables you to save a number of times depending on the skill level, you’ll be dying with depressing regularity until you fully understand each race’s style of play. There’s plenty of replayability, with three skill levels, bonus missions and numerous multiplayer levels.

AvP Gold is a superb example of how to do an FPS that bit differently, providing both tension and action while also demanding thought and planning. It’s not for everyone, but it’s highly recommended if you can handle it.

How Computer Programming Works?

Many people wonder just how a computer works. Some want to make their own games or application software. Some people are just curious. Regardless, Daniel Appleman’s How Computer Programming Works is a great starting point for those eager to learn the concepts of programming. The word “concepts” is important here. This program will not teach you Visual Basic, C or any other language. Instead, it teaches the concepts that are common to every language. Conditional statements, variable declarations, arrays, structures — it’s all here.

“But, I want to learn [insert language here] now!” some may say. Without a background in programming, learning a computer language can be difficult. Most books that focus on a particular language tend to assume a general knowledge of how computer programming works and, without that, they read like Greek. Dan’s book assumes almost no knowledge of how a computer works. Instead of starting off with the typical “Hello World!” program, it starts by explaining the difference between hardware and software. It’s only a few pages, but it’s good information. (It’s amazing how many are still not clear on the difference between RAM and hard drive space.) From there, variables, pointers and strings are explained thoroughly. The good thing here is that analogies and large full-color drawings are used to explain abstract concepts in everyday language. It doesn’t really read like a technical manual.

Now comes what some may consider the scary part — actual code. In a smart move, the book explains what code does without actually having the reader in front of a computer. While typing in a program from a book and seeing the results can be interesting, it is fruitless if the reader doesn’t understand what the program is doing. Some birds can imitate human speech, but the bird doesn’t understand what it’s saying. The book walks through the various structures (loops, branching, stacks, algorithms, etc.) and, while code samples are there, each concept is explained clearly and thoroughly with a real-world analogy accompanied by a drawing. (Some people learn by reading, and some learn visually.)

Toward the end of its 220 or so pages, How Computer Programming Works discusses the various computer languages available along with their advantages and disadvantages. It also provides basic information on Assembly Language, mainly because high-level languages like C++ and Basic are interpreted and/or compiled into it. The book also clearly explains the differences between such things as event-driven programming and object-oriented programming, Internet programming and even visual programming. While the emphasis is clearly on Basic and C, the concepts apply pretty much across the board to all languages. To wrap up the book, Dan states, “If all you wanted to do was find out a little bit about what computer programming is all about, you can stop here. However, if you are interested in learning more and writing your own programs, you should find learning a specific language a much easier process than it would have been without this book.” He concludes, “Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes (you will make a lot of mistakes — we all do). You will find yourself programming sooner than you thought possible, and having a lot of fun in the process of games described at” (For the record, I’ve never ever made a programming mistake — not even once. Oh, and I’m lying. A lot.)

Full of useful pictures and easy-to-understand, non-technical writing, How Computer Programming Works is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in programming. It provides an excellent primer for computer programming, and it’s short enough to read in just a few days. Those interested in programming are encouraged to get this book, either by visiting the book’s publisher, Amazon or your local bookstore. It is money well spent for those longing to code the next big hit.

Oh, and C++ is an inside joke because “++” is shorthand in the C language for incrementing the value of a numeric variable. Since C++ was the new version of C, it had incremented the version number. Is that geeky or what?

How did Clash Royale and SuperCell Games Fair for 2016?

Clash Royale is one of those revolutionary games that redefine or create genres. It set a standard to the name RTS, and blended together a sleek interface with controls fit for all, combining action and strategy in a 3D world. It submits good missions and great gameplay at times. Of course, I’m talking about Clash Royale for the PC, as Rise of the Black Dogs is a totally different matter. This game brings to you what you saw in the PC version, but lacks in many departments…perhaps all. I gave it points for the effort in their transition from PC to console, as that isn’t always easy. This is a mediocre game to put the least.

This is where the game delivers if anything. Your job in some missions is to build a base, fortify it with turrets, attack a force of units, etceteras. It results in some great moments in battle, especially taking place on a large scale battlefield. Multiplayer is quite fun as well, but the serious drawback – and I mean serious – is the fact that you can’t create bases and build up from there. It would have been so much fun to see that occur, but unfortunately it didn’t squeeze into this mediocre game of sorts. That is why people of using because of the premium currency that are too pricey for a casual gamer.

The graphics are great for Clash Royale, minus the extremely blurry look of the interface and bland textures. Otherwise you make for visually a great piece of work. The infantry units are so simplistic that they look like Lego figures. The graphics department should have been tweaked a bit before the release of this game. Textures are just plain one color mapping that could have been done by any lazy designer, and so you know it takes time and effort to build a game of graphics. You can visit this blog for more Clash Royale goodies.

Sound is where Clash Royale almost delivered, but failed once again. The briefings before each mission are intricately scripted and voiceovers are pretty good for in-game action. Well done, but make sure that you increase the fidelity in sound next time. It took me a while to actually understand some of the blabber.

Boom Beach Kicking some Serious Competition

Even though Boom Beach has recently undergone a change that confounds most folks, the game will be, no matter what the name, smells like a rose. From the possible hundred plus character animations to the amazing graphics to the possibility of a 3D Boom Beach, we are excited.

The showing, was of course, behind closed doors and that’s because this game is a ways out from being published. Even though it’s a 2013 release at earliest it will be the first second generation persistent world RTS and apparent Boom Beach is going to learn from its mistakes. Area without player killing?, Yep it’s there, but there are also PK areas for the folks ready to adventure . Tank mages? Nope, with the new skill tree if you want to be the best magic user your going to have to keep investing points into the magic tree as opposed to the combat tree, think something not so far away from the Clash of Clans skill tree. But, if you want to change your focus, I mean you don’t want to be the supreme baker of the land forever, at each level you’ll be able to free up already assigned points – keep leveling up and you’ll keep changing your focus.

Graphically, this game looks fantastic. This is especially true considering the development team’s goal of supporting users on 28.8k connections. Did we mention they want to have massive player get togethers that would lag the hell out of any first generation massively multiplayer RTS? Who knows if that will become a reality but they are trying to make it true.

From what we witnessed, Boom Beach cheats tool on Android & iOS is going to kick some serious ass in the character animation department. And we mean that in the literal sense – the movie below will show a character using martial arts combat moves. These aren’t just for show like the dance moves, you can be a monk like character and you’ll be just as good as a Barbarians and Archers. Yes, we know SuperCell has that as well, but does SuperCell have a front flip?

Combine the story, graphics, new animations and the fact they have already made an incredibly successful massively multiplayer RTS and you start to see where this is going. Without a doubt we’ll be covering this game in a lot more detail in the future, for now check out the the tips and tricks brought to you by the official site.

The Vent: Sega is kicking ass.

Greetings all, and welcome once again to The Vent, where discerning gamers have a voice. As this is being written, we still don’t have a President. Is anyone else worried that this may just be God’s way of saying “Get ready, kids. No matter who wins, it’s all going to be downhill from here…?” At this point, The Vent is toying with the idea that we should just let them wrestle for it.

Enough about that; let’s talk games. This week’s column will no doubt stir some people up, but it couldn’t go unsaid. The Vent touched upon this last week, but the more he considers it, the more he thinks it deserves the full treatment.

Sega is kicking ass.

It really is. Yeah, the PS2 is just barely out, and in a year, it will have given us some mind-bending software, but pound for pound, buck for buck, game by game, the Dreamcast is far and away the better system to own right here, right now. Why? Because Sega is cranking out one incredible title after another; it’s been doing this for a few months now, and it looks to continue for quite a while. Now, granted, these are fightin’ words to many of you, so The Vent will now spell out some of what he’s talking about.

What’s here already


Chu Chu Rocket
This one’s been around since March, but there are plenty of you out there who haven’t played it yet. Get it. It’s cheap, it’s incredibly addictive and it’s from Sonic Team. What more do you need to know? Nothing. Go.

Space Channel 5
A futuristic, retro-hip dance game with a sassy female lead character named Ulala. This one is short and not particularly difficult, but it’s fun, and the groovy, psychedelic atmosphere is very compelling. This should have sold much better than it did.

Virtua Tennis
Crack on a disc is what they should call this. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating. This may very well be the best tennis game of all time. It’s fun with one player, but get some friends to play against, and it’s the most exciting multiplayer game since Bomberman. The next Virtua Tennis game (and it’ll come, announced or not, trust us) will most likely have network play. And that’s gonna rock.

Who would have thought that Sega could make a game out of getting insulted by a fish? A technical innovation that became one of the most… unique… game experiences of recent memory, Seaman is staggeringly popular in Japan, where new versions continue to be released. This game is not something you can rent for a few days and get the hang of, but if you give it the time, it will sink its hooks into you. Deeply. And it’s undeniably original.

Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future
Say what you like about the diffused focus of this game — it’s gorgeous, beautifully atmospheric and (again) completely unique. Like many of Sega’s recent releases, this title blurs the line between “game” and “experience.”

Sega GT
This is probably the best racing simulator out there, at least until GT3 comes out. Although The Vent is patently baffled by the fact that so many people keep insisting it has amazing graphics. Are they looking at a different game?

This one opened the floodgates for the goodness that is washing over us right now. Yes, as far as depth of simulation goes, it can’t compete with Madden 2001. But, as The Vent has said before, there’s just something about knowing that there’s another human being on the other side of the game that makes it so compelling, it’s scary. An incredible game. Too bad it doesn’t support Sega’s broadband adapter.

Marine Fishing
Sega’s arcade conversions are a huge asset, and this is one of the best. It’s a bit short-lived (as are most arcade conversions), and you need that fishing pole controller to get the most out of it, but it’s still one of the purest distillations of absolute arcade fun you’ll ever come across.

Samba De Amigo
Another of Sega’s arcade conversions, this time taking full advantage of the Bemani craze Konami has cultivated both overseas and in the US. It’s a blast, even if it drains a man’s machismo so quickly the shriveling is actually visible. Those maracas are pricey too, at $80 a pair, in addition to the cost of the game. Damn Sonic Team and its creative ways.

Quake III: Arena
The online FPS finally comes home to consoles, although with a few limitations. The framerate isn’t great, and the limited number of competitors per map saps the old adrenaline a little, but the bottom line is this: You can finally log on, meet total strangers and blast them to bits with a rocket. And that’s worth a lot.

Jet Grind Radio
While mainstream worrywarts’ claims that this title should be banned for its unabashed promotion of graffiti and reckless skating sound somewhat silly to The Vent, the game’s appeal is impossible to deny. Once you get used to the slightly wonky control and camera, you can do nothing but get sucked into the unique attitude, graphics and gameplay of this cutting-edge title.

The slightly less-polished little brother to NFL2K1, this game nonetheless looks awesome and retains its sibling’s killer feature — the ability to pound it to a real live human being via SegaNet. There’s broadband support this time around too. (Supposedly. The Vent doesn’t have the adapter yet, so you can’t sue if he’s wrong.)

There’s really not room here to discuss everything that’s amazing about Shenmue. Suffice to say it’s like nothing that’s come before. And it’s very good.

Metropolis Street Racer
This one should hit the streets any day, and while The Vent himself can’t verify its quality, he’s told it’s simply awesome. It should be — Bizarre Creations knows how to make a good racing game (it made Formula 1 for PSOne), and this one has been in development for years. Literally.

Clash Roayle
At last. The SuperCell finally has an RTS worth raving about (assuming it actually shipped today). It’s beautiful, the characters are good, the story works and the world is actually interesting. It’s been a long time coming, but worth the wait. This one’s golden. Read here for more info.

What’s Coming

18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

      Oh, if you thought

Crazy Taxi

      was fun, wait until you try it in a semi. The best thing is, you’ll be able to race online. The fun may be shallow — after all, this is an arcade port — but it looks to be a great one.

Crazy Taxi 2
Or you could just wait for this game. It’ll probably be just as cool as before, with a new city and online play.

Daytona USA: Network Racing
It’s pretty old, sure, but it’s widely considered one of the finest head-to-head racers of all time, with four humans and over 30 CPU-controlled cars per race. Yeah, The Vent is excited about this one.

Phantasy Star Online
Yuji Naka’s online RPG is one of the cornerstones of Sega’s online strategy. Simply put, there’s a very good reason for the company’s faith in it. It looks awesome.

Sonic Adventure 2
Again, this is set to be an experience you can’t get anywhere else but on Dreamcast. The original was one of the best selling of the early titles, and it’s a safe bet the sequel will be better.

Alien Front Online
Early plans called for this title to pit arcade players against Dreamcast owners. Even if this doesn’t come to pass, Tokyo Wars-style online battle looks sweeter than candy.

Typing Of The Dead
Here’s one last example of the way Sega takes chances the other guys often don’t. It’s House of the Dead 2 — only instead of shooting the creatures with a gun, you kill them (again) by typing specific words on the Dreamcast keyboard. Sure, it’s a niche title, but there’s something really satisfying about typing the words “Hot Pot” and watching a zombie burst into gibs.

And there’s more …
Floigan Brothers
Ooga Booga
Gun Valkyrie
Bomberman Online
Bass Fishing 2
Planet Harrier
(Oh, please, please, please)
Crackin’ DJ
(probably) and that Samba-with -a-tambourine game whose name The Vent forgot (again, probably).

So you see, Sega’s doing all right. You literally have to look hard to find a sub-par Dreamcast title right now. Then there’s the third-party support, which, at least for the moment, is astounding. Capcom’s bringing out every 2D fighter or shooter it can muster, from Capcom vs. SNK to Gunbird 2, and while not every one is a winner, the fact remains that some are amazing, and PS2 doesn’t have them. Then there’s Ubi Soft’s Grandia II, Crave’s Ultimate Fighting Championship, Acclaim’s F355 Challenge: Passione Rossa (a port of a Sega-developed arcade sim) and (someday, supposedly) Sierra’s amazing Half Life.

In light of all this, there’s really no other way to say it. Sega is kicking ass, and pushing the boundaries of the genre as it goes. The company says it’s all about the games, and is truly putting its money where its mouth is. The Dreamcast may not be your first choice in a year, but right now, it’s an incredible value. And we all need to give credit where due: Good job, Sega. Way to take care of the people.



Most Common Facts That Are Actually Not True

What we like to think that we have the basics of life figured out, there are some things that never made the headlines. Here are facts that should become a knowledge but aren’t.

When we get sick with any illness, we seem to have this condition to believe that if we go to the doctor and get antibiotics then we can be cured. But this element of common knowledge isn’t the case. If you have a virus, you can’t get an antibiotic for it as this medication is solely for bacterial infections. If you decide to ignore this and push for an antibiotic anyway, you are at risk of building up an immunity to that antibiotic. Therefore, forcing it to become ineffective.

The Left-Lane
In the United States, the left-lane has been commonly known as the fast lane. But Department of Transportation all over the country are now using the power of social media to combat this incorrect information. The left lane is meant to be a passing lane so that you have a safe way to go around a slower car.

Thanks to mainstream media and Hollywood, we typically think of a drowning person as someone in the water screaming for help and flailing their arms. But (and what should be common knowledge), drowning is quiet because the mouths of those drowning don’t go above water long enough to inhale, exhale, and yell. Plus the victim can’t voluntarily control their movement and the arms are normally below the surface in the bodies desperation to keep afloat. Drowning people only stay afloat for about 20 to 60 seconds before drowning actually occurs.

I’m Sorry
Most the world believes that if you say, “I’m sorry”, you’re admitting that you’re wrong and accepting defeat. But this isn’t the case. The saying I’m sorry means that you are feeling sorrowful for what happened and it doesn’t mean that it’s actually an admission of guilt.

The Brain
There is a popular misconception that we only use ten percent of our brains, and that geniuses like Albert Einstein had their knowledge because they could tap into a larger percentage of their brain. While this myth is false common knowledge, there is good news! We do actually use most of our brains, if not all of our brain. It just depends on what we’re doing at the time and which section of the brain is activated. But if we used one hundred percent of our brain at the same time, that’s dangerous and we most likely behaving a seizure.

Freedom of Speech
Anyone who has gotten into an argument with someone else online they have probably encountered the phrase “Freedom of speech is my first amendment right and I can say what I want!” Well, that’s true, the United States First Amendment only protects your right to say whatever you want and not be punished by the government. But it doesn’t protect you from the consequences of your words.

Using a portable bathroom isn’t ideal for most of us as they are known to smell bad. How many of us have wondered why the port-a-potty industry hasn’t properly good way to get rid of the smell? They have come up with a way, it’s just that we’re not using the porta-potty properly. You must put the lid down after you’re done using the toilet and there is a venting system that filters the smelly air out of the porta-potty.

Room for Fish
Much of the world thinks that it is common knowledge to keep a goldfish and a beta fish in a small bowl, and therefore, not surprised when the fishes lifespan is weeks. However, the lifespan of these two fish are in years. So what is keeping them from living longer? Small bowls. Traditional fishbowls aren’t large enough for the fish to swim and grow, let alone get enough oxygen. A fishbowl is comparable to putting your fish in the toilet and hoping for the best.

Considering the large number of people who drink alcohol, you would think that this would be more well-known. Anything that alters your state of mind is considered a drug. Because alcohol alters your state of mind the more you drink it, alcohol is technically considered to be a drug.

When we look at our arms and legs, we see our veins which can range in color scheme from blue to even green. Because of this, there are a lot of people who believe that our blood is blue while it is inside of us and turns red once it is extracted from us. It should be common knowledge that our blood is red, and the only reason why veins are the colors they are is due to a combination of skin and light interacting with each other.