Oh Dear.

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I’m not sure how clear the picture is, but the small black dot above the ‘X’ button is a dead ant.

Yes, an ant.

Yesterday, I discovered several ants on the desk where this controller, my laptop/tablet hybrid, and my USB keyboard and mouse are. I had no idea what they were after. There is no food on my desk, but at other times the ants have gone into my hybrid’s keyboard, eaten rubbers in the house, and occasionally one or two just roam around the desk. AFter inspecting the few rubbers on my desk, and looking at the two keyboards, I saw a lot of ants under the controller I’d just picked up. Upon closer inspection, and to my horror, I discovered a lot of ants swarming inside the controller.

I took it outside, and while some ants would occasionally move out through one of the buttons, I needed to get them out quick. I got a screwdriver and undid the screws on the back of the controller, and separated the back and the front.

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The L2 and R2 buttons came off, as did L1 and L2, but I figured this was normal, and that they would only connect with both halves. After getting an insect spray, an spraying around the controller (and once carelessly spraying the controller’s motherboard) all the ants (save for the one dead one in the first picture) were out. Now I just had to put it back together. After putting the L and R buttons back in place and rescrewing the controller, I opened antimicro (mapping software for controllers, which is handy for use with PS3 controllers or games with poor or no native gamepad support) and slowly worked my way through buttons, to make sure nothing (such as wires) had been eaten by the ants. Everything worked…except L2 and R2.

I left it there and checked the controller once again in the morning (it probably wasn’t the smartest idea leaving it out with rain as well, but I don’t think it got wet) and compared it to the other one (the only reason I bought this cheap, 3rd party PS3 controller was because it was part of a “two for” deal) and found that the wires that connected the L2 and R2 buttons to the motherboard had snapped off.

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In the picture above, that piece of board with the ‘2’ on it sits behind the R2 button, and the wires next to it (the clear-ish ones) are supposed to connect to the two dots below the ‘2’. The thing is, they were soldered on, and snapped off when I pulled the back casing off. While I could attempt to fix it, it’s probably cheaper and easier for me to buy a new controller. And I’ve learnt my lesson. This time, I’m buying a wired Xbox 360 controller. I’m so over mapping my own stuff.

As for how many ants were in the controller, this is a wide picture:

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Clicking on the picture for a bigger version should work, and all the tiny black objects on the table are actually ants. I think there had to have been at least 50 in there.

So, if you’re looking for some creative ideas for your old, broken controller, take out all the electronics, seal up the buttons with something son the ants can’t escape, and create your very own ant farm.

Gamesland News: Yogscast, Sony, Twitch and More

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Another week, another week of gaming news. Gamesland News features the latest news in one, easy-to-read format.

News:

- Youtube personalities Yogscast have been under fire recently because of their failed Kickstarter to create their own videogame. After the game went belly-up, Yogscast refused to issue refunds to the backers (even though it states that they must in the Kickstarter terms and conditions)., instead issuing backers with a different game. Also being called into question is the money issue; and while there are theories, not all details have been confirmed.

- Sony Online Entertainment had an issue with some of its site earlier in the week, due to the fact that they sent their payment information to the wrong address. The sites are currently back up and running.

- The speedrun times for both Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time have been beaten. Metroid Prime was beaten in 0:55 and Orcarina of Time was beaten in 0:18:10.

- The ‘dark editions’ of the Skylanders franchise, previously exclusive to GameStop, is now no longer exclusive for Trap Team.

- In the US, TV channel ESPN2 surprised just about everyone when they aired a preview for the DOTA 2 World CHampionships.

- The Uncharted movie is coming out on June 10, 2016. Mark it in your calendars, folks.

Disney Infinity 2.0 will feature a Guardians of the Galaxy playset and characters.

- Google is apparently buying twitch for $1 Billion.

- Sony, after several lawsuits, is finally going to give compensation to gamers for the 2011 hack. The choices will be, depending on whether or not you claimed a game back in 2011, either a free PS3 or PSP game (although the actual games are unknown), 3 months of PS+, or some free PS3 themes. The offer is a first-come, first-served basis however, and after $6 million worth of items have been redeemed, the offer will be over.

Questions? Queries? If there’s any questions that you have about anything in the Gaming World, leave a comment, and I’ll answer it as best I can!

That concludes the news for this week, but there’ll be another news article next Friday (1/08/14), so come back then for more news from the Land of Gaming!

It’s Gameception! Game Dev Tycoon Review

Name: Game Dev Tycoon

Price: $9.99 through Steam

Developer: Greenheart Games

 

Every so often, a great little, addictive game comes along and before you know it, you’ve spent far too much time on the game. Game Dev Tycoon is one of those games. It’s so simple, but at the same time so deep and rich in gameplay that you’ll play more of it.

At the start of the game, you get to name your company and your character, and you even get to choose an outfit for your character. So naturally I went with the most 80’s thing possible, I think it was some sort of knitted pullover sweater, but there’s a host of other options as well.

He first few games are made in a garage. This is where the basic game mechanics are introduced. Each section of game development has about 5 areas: naming, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, and bug squashing. Each of these phases is essential in creating the perfect game.

The first step is naming the game, as well as choosing the genre, topic, and platform. This may not sound important, but it is very important: certain topics will do better with certain genres and awful with other genres. In addition to this some genres will do better on certain consoles and worse on other consoles. Choosing the right combination of topic, genre, and platform is essential to create a best-selling game.

The stages of game development revolve around three sets of three bars, and these bars have to be adjusted just right to create a better game. For example, dialogue is very important in an RPG, but not so much in an action game. On the other hand, gameplay is going to be important in an action game, but not an RPG.

Finally, after these stages are complete, your character has to spend some time ironing out the bugs that are created during development. Following the game’s release, reviews will arrive for the game, with a score from four outlets, plus a one or two word comment. These one or two word comments are often annoying, providing no real feedback, but occasionally a full sentence will occur with some actual feedback about the game. Following the reviews, the character can conduct a game report and find out what did and didn’t work. This will reveal helpful things during game development (for example, it’ll show ‘great combination’ when a good topic/genre combo is chosen, and will have a ++ above important bars in the stages). These are well worth conducting, as they provide insight for future games.

There are four constant circles in-game that add more complexity to the game: bugs (covered already), design, technology and research. Design and technology affect the ratings of the game (generally the higher the number, the better) but research is really interesting. Conducting game reports and other such things will form research points, which can then be spent on more research for more game mechanics and better graphics and sound et cetera. This leads to the next form of complexity: engines.

Using mechanics researched, the character can create a game engine which will allow for better graphics and design choices. This is necessary to do pretty much anything other than a text adventure.

After a few hits, the character can move to an office and hire more people, which is again necessary for better games.

The simple gameplay, cutesy graphics and – there’s no other way to say this really – sheer fun of it all make this a great game to play: but it’s not without its flaws.

As mentioned earlier, the game critics never really do anything: they just sort of exist to help define what combinations are good, they never really give any feedback regarding the game, and when they do, it’s generally something you already know. The game also becomes laughably easy once multi-platform games are available to make: while before it would be a struggle to receive several thousand dollars in profit, once multi-platform games have been researched almost every game made, whether good or bad, will make at least $500k. Once optimisation has been researched and is implemented in the next engine that’s built, which makes it even cheaper to build multi-platform games, the game becomes incredibly relaxing to play – no worries about going bankrupt! Speaking of bankruptcy, my last criticism is more of a nitpick. Once the character/company goes bankrupt, they are sold off to another company and the game ends. That’s great and all, but it disrupts the flow of the game. It would have been very cool to keep working under this new company, and possibly even make enough money to buy yourself back! I think it would have made for a more interesting game, but there did have to be an element of failure, and I think this is a way of doing that.

Game Dev Tycoon is a great, cheap game that’s entertaining for a few hours at least (and once the main story’s completed, the character can keep making games. So it never ends) and is just pure fun. I do think that it’s not something you should play in long sessions – small bursts is better for this style of game, almost like a mobile title, which is good, because it’s been confirmed to be releasing on mobile devices: the perfect platform for this kind of game. But I think the only way to sum this game up is:

“Simulation games work well on PC” – Game Dev Tycoon

 

Positive

-        Great, simple gameplay

-        Good art style

-        Very fun

Negative

-        Critics too shallow

-        Multi-platform makes game incredibly easy

-        Bankruptcy disrupts flow of game

Hey! Where’s My Cross-Buy Content, Sony?

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Recently the Ratchet and Clank Trilogy was released for PS Vita, with cross-buy content available…for digital owners only. So everyone that bougt the disc version (including me) is out of luck for scoring the PS Vita edition.

This seems to be a rising trend for most new cross-buy games where the Vita version has been added as an afterthought. This same scenario happened with this year’s earlier release of The Sly Collection.

The funny thing is, this is actually contradictory to the Cross-Buy terms and conditions. Article 3a of the Cross-Buy Content Terms and Conditions states that

When you purchase a PlayStation®3 game disc, you will be entitled to receive the PlayStation® Vita digital version of the same game (also known as Cross-Buy content).

Many people have bought the game disc. There is cross-buy content available. People with the disc are entitled to the digital Vita version, but they are not receiving the digital copy. Sony is actually contradicting its own Terms and Conditions. I’m no lawyer, but that sounds very fishy to me.

I don’t know though. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing. But it would still be nice to receive what I am entitled to.

Gamesland Redesign and Feedback

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a large redesign of the site. I once had a bit of feedback regarding the design of the old one, which stated that the white-on-black text was hard to read, and I can understand that. So now the website is a bit easier to read, and I also think it looks far more inviting than the old design, mainly because of the colours and a few other factors. The content is all the same, and will remain the high quality content that was here before.

But that’s just the website. Here at Gamesland, I want to give readers the best possible experience. So want your feedback. Simply fill out the polls below, and I’ll attempt to adjust.

The Site Design

The News Posts

The Review Posts

The ‘Other’ Posts (currently non-existent)

Any Other Feedback?

 

So enjoy the site redesign, enjoy the content, and enjoy everything else.

P.S. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that I wasn’t supposed to be doing anything until the first. Well, it turns out we have internet, so enjoy the few posts.

Gamesland Update

Hello fabulous readers,

It’s not often I do a post like this. Oddly personal.

This week there was almost no new news. Just about everything was announced at E3 this year, and we’ve already covered all that in a massive 2633 word (approximately) post.

So I figured there was no point having a news update this week for the two items that would have been in it.

In addition to this, I’m going on (yet another) holiday tomorrow. Effectively, this means no updates of any kind until the first of July. Then I go on a separate trip, so the next time I’ll post will be the 10th of July. So, no frequent updates for the next two weeks.

 

So, until then, enjoy the steam summer sales (I’ve already spent $33 and I don’t even have a proper PC, just a laptop with not-that-great specs) and don’t forget that all of Halfbrick’s games are now free on iOS.

 

I’ll see you guys (metaphorically speaking) on the 1st of July, where they’ll be more news from the Land of Gaming.

All Halfbrick games free on iOS

For a limited time only, all Halfbrick games, from 2010 – 2014, are free on iOS. These include their newest game, Birzzle Fever, along with all their other classics, such as Fruit Ninja, Age of Zombies, and Colossatron: Massive World Threat.
Certain HD versions of games are also available.
Halfbrick makes great games, so don’t miss out on this offer!
For download links, and further information, go their blog post here: http://halfbrick.com/from-the-blog/all-halfbrick-games-free-on-ios/