Another Day Install and Impressions

Another Day is a first person shooter from Allstar. It's in open beta, which like all other open betas basically means it is out. I played this last year during a test and it didn't perform that well. Now, on my new machine with everything set to max it seems to play just fine. I didn't notice any framerate issues during gameplay. To get it installed, head over to the site and login. As an additional note you might see no rooms when you login. Click the "채널이동" in the middle of the screen. This will take you to the channel select screen. Choose "일반 채널" which puts you in the general channel. You might have defaulted to the beginner channel, which is usually empty. Though, don't expect a lot of players. While an interesting shooter, it hasn't gained that much traction yet. Allstar is not a major portal.

Install is pretty straight forward. Press game start a couple times and get your usual round of pop-ups asking for permission to install various controls, etc. Once you get the installer panel you see to the right, push the lower left button "전송시작". That will start the download. After the download is finished, the button will change text, push it again to start the actual install. Basically keep pressing "다음" through the whole install and accept terms when they appear. It's not a huge download or a long install, so it shouldn't take you a long time.

Once in the game you'll want to go to the options and up your screen resolution and up the various settings. This game defaults to very low settings, and once or twice during the game I noticed that it actually reset itself to low settings, I had to jump into the options in game and set them to high again. I'm not sure why it did that. The model in the shot on the left is on low settings. You can see the very muddy armor. The option menu is of course the one with the gear icon in the upper right. Once in there go to the "비디오" tab, which is the third one and make sure everything is set to "상" which means high. "하" is low and "중" is mid.

Guns are fairly standard in this game. You can carry multiple guns dependent on size. You'll see a "+X" number at the bottom, this translates to how much more you can carry, but different sized guns take up a different amount of space. A big gun might take 4 or 5. In the equipment screen you'll want to drag the guns you want to use down to the equipment bar for each class. What makes this game special are the suits. Your suits can come equipped with jump jets for your 2 battle classes, while the sniper can come equipped with a cloak. You can by better helmets, suits and packs that house your jump jets and cloaks. The helmets are interesting in that they have a function in game. If your helmet gets shot, you'll see broken glass and you might lose your radar if your helmet is blown completely off. I don't have a shot of that, but in the video below you can see me blowing the helmet off someone. He would have seen broken glass as it was hit. The jump jets can propel you quite far ahead or you can use them for short bursts to the side to avoid fire, a grenade, or an enemy with a hand-held ripper.

The maps are interesting and varied with a good mix of outdoors, inside, tunnels and even air ducts present on a lot of maps. There isn't really anything to interact with on the map, but some maps have doors present that you can open. It could add strategy but the matches are you usually too fast to really use those. You won't find a lot of places where a team could hole up and defend. So this is mostly a chaotic run and gun. There are lots of places for an ambush though, so it's pretty easy to get the drop on someone if you can find a safe place behind a barrel or some boxes. However, you want to change location after that because they do get a camera on you after they've died. They'll be expecting you next time. The radar shows enemies well so if an enemy spots you, you can be sure any nearby enemies know you're around. So picking ambush spots and moving around is a good way to add up the bodies.

This is a good looking shooter. It performs well and it has a couple of innovative features like the suit and the way the helmet can be blown off. It makes for a pretty fast paced and interesting game as people jump around the map firing at each other. You have to be able to spin fast and shoot as the guy you have lined up suddenly rockets past you and blows you away from behind. The only real problem is lack of players. There is always at least 1 game going on, but you don't have a lot of choices if there is some shark in there destroying everyone, or they all want to play bomb maps and you just want a straight out deathmatch. It's worth checking out, but if the body count picks up, it's a definite must-play

Allstar sign-up

Allstar is a portal I meant to cover before, but I seem to have forgotten to write about it. I found some old sign-up photos stored away in my blog photo directory but they're out of date now. Allstar has changed their sign-up page a little since I took those screen captures. However, signing up for this site is pretty straight forward and easy. Head over to the site and have your i-Pin ID ready.

Start by clicking "회원가입" underneath the red login button. Ignore the impulse to use the foreigner sign-up form. If you do this, your account takes time to be verified. They expect you to fax or attach a scan of your passport for verification. Using the i-Pin you can pass on your details to the site through the normal registration process. So choose the left-most option. Then click the i-Pin tab on the next page and launch the i-Pin interface. Sign-in and it will pass on your details to the website. Fill out the rest of the form and away you go. The form has all the standard questions. I can't recall right now if the ID and nickname can be the same or not. Their captcha has changed. You don't write what you see, you might have to do a math question. So basically put in the value of what you would get. For example the current captcha on the foreigner registration page that I can see says "8+4+5" so I'd enter 17, not "8+4+5".

The reason I bring up this portal is of course a first person shooter by the name of "Another Day". I played this game last year during one of the beta tests, but it didn't run that well. I tried it briefly a few months ago again and it was much better. Now with the new machine I'm going to give it a proper go and write it up.

Psychic Online first impressions

Well, I got to play through the second test day of this. It hasn't garnered that much attention. I think I only counted about 20 people online or so. A couple of them were "Gstar" accounts which is the big games expo going on in Busan right now. I debated going down, but since I'm still fighting some allergies I decided not to. What can I say about Psychic Online? Get yourself a hobby. Any hobby, doesn't really matter what it is, you'll just need something to do during the waiting time.

While getting into client and lobby is pretty quick, getting into a game isn't. We had a nearly full room and sat there forever. I have no idea why. Eventually half the people left the room and made a new one. So I joined that. We got all set to go and....hold on. I'll tell in you 3 minutes. I've never seen a level take so long to load. They're not that big. This particular one was almost tiny. Just an area around a gas station. I almost felt like I should have taken a before and after picture. The second and third times loading it didn't seem to help it along. Slightly faster, but still rather lethargic.

Once in the game it's much better. Frame rate was okay. Seemed to be locked around 60 on my rig, which tells me that the game itself is probably limiting. Your movement speed is so-so. I felt a bit like I was plodding around. The speed run didn't feel all that fast compared to say Warcry. I think the scout units were faster. They were always running up behind me and stabbing me to death. Hence why I'm looking behind myself in that picture. The main focus of this game is the "psychic" powers. I'm not entirely sold on them yet. They're interesting enough, but there isn't much focus on them. Previews always show these dueling psychic masters, but in game, you can't really do that. You fire off one ability and there is a serious cool-down before you can use another one. My medium soldier guy had 2 abilities. He could push stuff away and pull stuff toward him. Other than people anything I tried to push didn't really move that far. I was getting visions of a guy blowing stuff out Jedi style. Not happening in this game. The scout type people could turn invisible. The snipers could slow people down around them and the heavy guys.. well I'm not sure exactly what it was they did. Maybe over the weekend I'll try out the other classes. With all the waiting, I didn't actually get to play all that much. They have several training missions you can use to bump yourself up a few levels to use better weapons.

The beginner guns are pretty weak. You can unload a whole clip into someone and they probably won't die. So it's worth getting to level 4 as quickly as possible, say via the training missions so you can get that next gun. I think there is too much focus on the guns in this game, for a game called psychic online. I would expect a heavier focus on cool powers as you duke it out.

Overall I think this has potential. The loading issues need to be addressed. I really hope they'd consider tweaking the powers a bit to put a little more focus on them. It seems a bit unbalanced that the scout can turn invisible for the duration of a fight, but a medium guy gets a single repulse attack. That one repulse attack is not as powerful as being invisible.

Psychic Online Guerilla Test

The Psychic Online "Guerrilla Test" begins today. It runs until the 24th but it's only open from 5-7pm each day. Kind of a short window. I think I'll be able to take advantage of a few minutes today before I must head out. Tomorrow I think I can probably put in a couple hours and try and get some screenshots and a video. They don't seem to be letting us download the client ahead of time so that is only going to cause delay.

Battery Open Beta

Battery entered open beta on the 11th of this month. I got to playing it on Sunday night when I was taking a break from Warcry. It has a few different features which make it a bit unique, but also a bit of a challenge to play. I've only put a few hours into it so far, but I'll comment on what I've experienced so far.

The first thing you'll notice when jumping into this game is that there are health packs. Yes, you can actually make a nice run at getting tons of kills and make up for the occasional lapse with health packs. Enemies will randomly drop a few things. They almost always drop their weapon, which you can grab to replace yours if you run out of bullets. They sometimes drop health packs, and even rarer they'll drop power-ups that allow you to call in artillery or an attack chopper. These power-ups are powerful for a couple reasons. One, they do massive damage. The artillery can really pound a side, and the helicopter flies all over the map automatically attacking the other side. The helicopter can be shot down if someone grabs some rockets though. Two, the player who calls them in gets credit for the kills. A helicopter who gets on a run could easily add a dozen to your kill record. These can be called tons of times each round by both teams.

The guns seem fairly standard and deteriorates over time. So you'll need to repair them as you go. Repairs don't seem overly expensive. Some guns can't be repaired. On your inventory screen you'll see them as the guns that have some extra text on their boxes. You can "win" guns and other bonuses as part of a post round lottery. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but after each round, 2 spinners come up and various prizes and things can be won. I've received a gun, bonuses to XP, money, etc. I'm still investigating the full system of how everything works. I tried to change my default gun and I can't seem to use my grenade anymore in game. I'm sure there is a good reason for that.

Finally the other major change I noticed is that there is no set base in this game. Both teams will start at a fixed location but if your base is invaded by the other team who camps it, your spawn will change to another empty location on the map. The map I played several times seemed to have 4 major spawn points. I don't know what happens if the other team spreads out in those locations. I've never seen a side try it. This is interesting, but also a little chaotic. You're advancing on an enemy and suddenly they are popping up behind you. There are also fixed gun emplacements around the map. These work on a heat system. Heat goes up quickly then you've got to give it a break. Short infrequent bursts are the best way to use it. An incoming horde actually won't take a lot of damage from it as you'll quickly overheat and it takes awhile to cool down. You can also pick up a flamethrower as an extra on map weapon instead of a rocket launcher. This is a pretty quick kill weapon. There is also partially regenerating health. If you take massive damage but survive, your health will regenerate to 50%. Beyond that you'll need medkits to heal. Each one is good for 25%.

I think I'll stick with this for right now. Get a few more hours in and investigate the system a little more. Warcry is still on hold, as is Born to fire. I shot as mall gameplay video in which you can see the fixed emplacement and a bit of a go against bots. The bots aren't entirely pushovers in this, much like the bots in Sting.

Born to Fire - Open Beta

As Stanly mentioned in another comment, Born to Fire was playable the past few days as a partially open beta. However, I think it's finished if I'm reading the notice correctly. When I hit play its announcing that the "real" open beta is coming December 2. So I wasn't able to play it, but they do have a bit of a funny intro video up on the site. It seems to suggest there will be a medic class in this game.

New machine

I'd mentioned before that I got a new machine. The old Dell laptop did a good job for a long time, but eventually it got a little tired. This past summer it was hotter than usual and it really struggled with the heat. Even with a cooling pad. For a long while I couldn't even turn on a game without it overheating. When I really wanted to game I had to resort to an ice pack on the keyboard. I double bagged it..but still. It was time to replace it. So in early October I ordered up the parts and put it together.

The new machine I'll be using to check out all these great Korean games contains:

  • Samsung Syncmaster 2030 @ 1600x900
  • Intel i5 760 @2.8Ghz
  • Gigabyte Geforce GTX460 1GB
  • 4 GB DDR3 1600Mhz Ripjaw RAM
  • 2 x 1 TB Seagate HDs
  • DVD R/W
  • 750W power supply
  • A handy little card reader
  • and a pair of Britz desktop speakers, but I mostly use headphones.

All of this is wrapped up in a nice 4 fan case. It has 2 big fans on the top of the case to suck out more hot air. Their part of a top unit that also has 2 extra USB ports. They plug into the back panel to give you better access. If I need to I can also mount an optional 2 fans on the side panel, but so far it is running nice and cool.

So far it's done a fantastic job and given me good framerates on every game I've played completely maxed out. I'm quite happy with it, and I'll probably use this for the next couple years or so barring any major catastrophes.

Warcry Impressions

I've been able to put a few more hours into Warcry and sometime later tonight the "Final Ground Test" will finish. I've mostly played two classes, and gained a few levels. In the image you can see the costume I bought for my paladin which you can compare to the one in the last post. It has no real in game effect, but it does change the color of the effects on your skills. I also spent some time playing an alchemist. I didn't really do a lot with snipers or the rangers. I did play about 99% of my rounds for the "Empire" side.

The paladin is your typical soldier. He's got a middle of the road gun and a decent melee weapon. He gets two passive abilities. One is a shield, the other I never got around to exactly translating. He also has two active abilities. One is a heal, the other is an invulnerability. Each class has a "super" ability that can only be purchased at level 6 or higher. It has a 90 second cool-down which carries over if you die. I did okay with him but I got eaten alive by enemy shamans. They are the counter part to the alchemist. I'll talk about them more in detail in the next part. The paladin is a little slow, but if you can make it into a group enemies, activate your short invulnerability you can do some heavy damage before they take you out. Every character can "run", which is a forward double tap, but it uses up your action points which you might need for an ability. So you might run a little way, but if you run full tilt to the battle you're going to be shooting blanks. Overall I liked him, but sometimes you can't just run headlong into things and you need to think about it, team up, etc. He can equip two items which are magic orbs that have various powers. You get a choice between fireball, flash bang, poison, and smoke. Poison is very deadly. It will almost kill a character if they get near the gas cloud. These carry over between characters. Characters can also equip a ring and necklace specific to their class. They didn't have any necklaces available, but they have various rings which give different bonuses. The one I grabbed gave a 25% bonus to action points.

Alchemists are the wizards. They're quite powerful, but also vulnerable. Which is how wizards typically are in games. They have skill which is an instant kill when it's fully upgraded. At least, it seems to be for the evil side, the Horde. However, when I used the same skill on my Empire character, people didn't seem to die as much. Whenever an enemy shaman hit me with the instant kill crow of death, it looks like three crows coming at you, I was dead. That was it. Nothing you could do. The attack passes through walls. All you need to launch is a half second of visibility. The attack is made by putting the cursor on the enemy and right clicking. You can even jump up from behind a wall, target them and fall back down to safety. The attack will go out and seek them and kill them. It's incredibly powerful. Not as long range as the sniper rifle. I think I survived maybe 5% of the death crow attack against me, but it seems like as a good guy only about 75% of the attacks I made resulted in instant kills. I played matches where the Horde side had 6-7 of their 10 players playing shamans. It was a gong show. You could barely move without seeing crows sweep in. On top of that evil shamans super ability is a massive area of effect fireball which can kill anyone within a huge radius instantly. After a few rounds of that I found a more balanced room. A similarly built good team doesn't seem to have the same power. So, the character classes are not carbon copies of each other. I did play a couple rounds as a bad guy and the horde soldier's abilities were more focused on attack than defense. His passive skill was a bonus to his attack damage. The alchemist weapon is kind of an artillery cannon. You can shoot orbs out and if they hit someone, they'll blow right away or they'll stay solid and blow after a couple of seconds. Great for shooting around corners. Targeting of the instant kill ability is rough. Plenty of times it seemed like my cursor was read and I was clicking but nothing happening. Resulted in more than one death.

Warcry currently only has two play modes. Team death match and...wait for it... plant the rub the crystal. I played one round of this. It's hard to make a Korean shooter without plant the bomb. This is a terrible game for it because you have two classes which have instant kills: Snipers and alchemists/shamans and one of those classes shoots through walls. When you choose quick play you'll get the screen you seen on the left. This is your map choice. The upper area contains the team deathmatch maps and the lower area is the rub the crystal maps. In this game mode you have to find 1 of 2 giant crystals and use your action key on them until they're activated. The other team has to wipe you out and/or rub the crystal in the other direction. Wax on, wax off.

Overall it's a decent little game. I have no idea when the actual release is. This is supposed to be their final test I believe, so it may be going live here any time. It has been a very long wait. I beleive I first heard about this game nearly two years ago. This practice of throwing a "coming soon" banner up on a gaming portal and taking two years to release kind of bothers me. At first, you're excited and can't wait for it. Then you realize it's going to take a long time to come out. You almost forget about it for awhile and then suddenly out of the blue you just happen to be on the site one day and you go "Oh yeah, that game." and find that it happens to be out or there is an open test up. This is driving me nuts with "Black Metal" right now as it looks to be very interesting, but they haven't updated in months and I have no idea what is going on with it. I'd recommend this one as a slightly different take on the shooter genre in Korea. Graphics are decent. Maxed out, it ran well on my new rig, and looks not bad. Level design is interesting. Most maps are not exact mirrors of each other which is kind of nice. They are close, and have similar features, but room layouts, even towers and things might be present on one side that aren't present on the other.

It took awhile but here is the gameplay video I recorded.

Technical Note on Korean Video games and Windows 7

I forgot to note that when I first launched Warcry I was met with a black screen. With Warcry done for the night I also tried to install and launch Karma Returns to be met with a black screen. It turns out there is some issue perhaps with Aero glass and these games. You need to go to the game directory where the exe resides and right click it. Bring up properties and got to compatibility. Once there disable desktop composition. Click okay and you should be good to launch the game. Should you find yourself faced with a black screen and only a cursor present try this.

Warcry - Final Ground Test

Well, I finally got a chance to play Warcry. It seems like there might be a few more games coming out now. Which hopefully means I'll get a chance to add a little more to this. I've also gotten myself a new rig which I'll detail in another post. Warcry is curently doing their "final ground test". I didn't realize there was a finish time each day, so I played 4 rounds and then quit, thinking I could go back later. I'll have to wait until tomorrow.

As for the game. It's not bad, but very melee heavy. I played as a Paladin for the good guys. I had a huge mace like weapon. The gun I had was pretty weak. I only managed 1 kill with it in 4 rounds. Other than snipers, most people were doing melee only. Melee, at least for the characters I found, seemed to often be the first hit wins. It seemed to frequently stun lock me while they finished me off. The same seemed to happen to them.

The first couple rounds didn't go well, but then I moved on to another map. After being horribly slaughtered I was all over this map and finished 20/10. It's tough to get momentum in this game and the game seems to know it. You get voice over rewards even after your second kill. It doesn't have to be together or anything. Just your second kill in a row without dying gets you one. 10 kills regardless of deaths gets you a voice over reward, and as you get higher and higher you get more and more crazy voice overs. With games going to 150 kills they don't expect many people to really get that many kills I guess.

You always start each game at "level 1" in that game. As you level up you unlock abilities. The Paladin had a shield ability, passive, as well as a healing ability, active and a couple others. You can't actually buy a lot of equipment for this game. You can buy some jewelry which gives you some small bonuses, and costumes, but no guns, melee weapons, etc. A little strange for a game of this type in Korea.

My initial impression is interest. As I get more of a chance to play it I'll do up an install guide and screens as well as a fuller review.

Mobicle visit - Part 2

Here is the second part of my visit to Mobicle. In the first part I discussed their game TK Online. In the second part YJ and I talk about the Korean gaming market and where Mobicle is headed. First we talked about how the gaming markets differ between some countries. The most obvious difference between Korea and the Western gaming market is that Korean games, with few exceptions, are free. Korean games, as we know, work mainly on a microtransaction model. You get the game for free, and as you play you can purchase small things like XP boosts, costumes and other things like that to change your game.

The Western model typically has one buying a game and getting the complete game. Later you can buy expansion packs to add to the game. In recent years a lot of publishers and developers have been experimenting with downloadable content (DLC), to the chagrin of some players. Many Western players take exception to this model, especially when DLC is available at release time, feeling it should have been included in the game. However, Koreans are quite used to having to buy their extras. Another big difference is that most games available in Korea include no single player content, campaign or story.

YJ said that they prefer the current style of microtransactions. He sees it as better for consumers and developers. People have more control over what they buy and what is made.

He also said that the Japanese market was difficult to crack. It is different as well in that the Japanese prefer single player games. So it is harder to get an online game to catch on. TK Online is currently in development there, but it is yet to be seen how popular it will be.

I mentioned to him that I found the long closed beta style of a lot of Korean development to be a bit of a tease. Sometimes you'll see a game added to a portal and be put into closed beta a year or more before it is playable. I felt that Some players might get tired of waiting for it to come out and give up on it or move on. He told me that most gamers here are used to that so they don't see it as having any kind of major impact on their business. He said that sometimes there are a lot of unforeseen delays.

The game portals here are like the publishers in other countries. They are currently shopping TK Online around and have had interest from Neowiz, CJ, and WeMade. Their goal is to eventually tie it in with one of the sites and get it off its standalone site. Good thing we can sign-up for most of the sites, I should warn him away from Mgame and Nexon.

When asked if he preferred developing mobile games or online games, he said that they were very different, so it was hard to pick one. He said that Mobile games can be developed pretty quickly. Less than 1 year usually, while online games can take a very long time to develop, as we've seen.

He said he was very interested in Netmarble's upcoming "Marble Station". This will be a standard platform for web-based games. Due to their partnership with CJ who is tied into Netmarble they'll be able to work with it. This plays into their company's direction.

Mobicle wants to focus on three things right now: iPhone/mobile games, Social Networking Games and Online games. They've released a few iPhone games already as I mentioned last time, and have several more on the horizon. They've integrated some of their games with Open Feint, a popular social networking app on the iPhone, but actually want to develop their own replacement for it.

Mobicle sees that socializing is key factor to game enjoyment. They want all their games to have some kind of chat and interaction built into them, it is why they have such a heavy multiplayer focus with their games. YJ feels the gaming trend is pushing to MP, and I'd have to agree with him. As much as I enjoy good single player games, it seems the market is moving very heavily towards multiplayer with a lot of shooters coming out with very short campaigns which are little more than the tutorials of old. No more 30 mission stories like Doom gave us. You barely work up a sweat and all you have ahead of you is multiplayer. At least I haven't heard too many 12 year-olds screaming in my ear here.

I quite enjoyed the visit to Mobicle and hopefully if they have some big happenings in the future I'll get to go up and see them again and write about it here.

Undead Defense Champion

Undead Defense Champion is a bit of an oddity. Despite the website address this game isn't an online game. This is a free to download zombie defense game. Download and set-up is pretty easy. You don't even need an account. Head over to the site, click the link, wait for the main site to come up and choose "game download". Install, during which you can choose an English option, and you're done. The English choice seems to only be for the installer. The game itself is still in Korean, but it's pretty easy to figure out.

Controls are standard for a game of this kind. You can carry 4 weapons at once. A knife, grenades, a pistol and one main weapon. As you defend against the zombies different areas will open up and you can get additional weapons in those areas. Hit 'E' to swap weapons. The menu is fairly straight forward. Half in English. I just changed the resolution to 1920x1200 and set it to "high". According to fraps I was getting about 40~ frames per second. It's a decent looking game.

The game progresses in rounds. After you clear all the zombies in the round a new round will start. There does seem to be a time component as well. If you don't finish one fast enough and there is one or two stragglers it will start a new round. There are a few "boss" rounds where there are some very tough zombies. One of the most difficult I've found so far is round 20 where there are 3 or more chainsaw wielding zombies. They're very tough and the second time through I didn't pass them. The game can go on for up to an hour. I assume, I haven't gotten past about 30~ minutes so far. You have 2 extra lives to help you last. Some zombies will spawn with guns later on, and zombies will have various speeds and toughness mixed together. Sometimes they will be both fast and strong. you want to be fleeing and dropping grenades or shooting backwards at that point.

The pathing is a bit off in this game. There is a spot where you can stand, pictured below, where if you step through the doors most of the zombies will turn around and go back around the other way. If you're in a bad way it's a good spot to exploit the AI and pick off a couple and step back through causing them to turn around. This does not always work. I would say only about 70% of the time so far. If zombies are close to you they will follow you through and the odd one will charge through anyway, so don't completely rely on this trick. It's pictured right and you can see me exploit it at the end of the video. If your health is below 25 when the round ends you'll be bumped to 25. Zombies will drop ammo boxes and med-kits. Med-kits seem to heal around 50%. Other than that, there is another bug where zombies will just walk over stuff, including debris. There is fire on the stairs. Don't try to jump over it you won't make it and you'll die fast. You cannot use the fire extinguisher you find in one hallway near the trick corner either. Trying to open it does nothing and it's very explosive. After the 20th level you need to head upstairs or you'll catch on fire.

All in all it is a pretty fun game. A good time killer. I'm hoping to make it to the end sometime and see if there is anything special there or not. I just need a good strategy for the chainsaw zombies.


Thanks to Stanly for pointing this one out. Battery is a first person shooter due out this summer. I missed it because it isn't directly connected with any game portal. Even though Naver does a pretty good job of indexing new games, I still find games I miss from time to time. All I know so far is that it's coming out this summer, and they are using motion capture for the models. I'm going to attach a few screenshots I found. This is being brought out by Webzen and seems like it will run on an independent site and not as part of a portal. Webzen is also responsible for Huxley and if you have an account from the old Huxley website, it looks like it works. I seem to have an account already for this game and the only way I can imagine having it was from when I created an account for Huxley last year.

Mobicle visit - Part 1

I went up to Mobicle a couple days ago. As you know Mobicle produces TK Online which is the first Korean game I've found that actually has an English option. Even though many developers are now targeting the English speaking market overseas they forget that there are tens of thousands of English speaking foreigners in South Korea who are potential customers as well. True, not all want to play video games but even if a few hundred were interested in a game it could provide a boost to many games out there.

Mobicle is a company that has embraced the foreign market. In addition to providing TK Online in English, they also have contracts in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China and The Philippines. They have a dance themed game that they've been working on in The Philippines for about 4 years which has around 4000 concurrent users called "iDate". They're hoping to try and bring it to Korea later. The company currently has around 53 employees. On Monday I met YJ who had just come back from a business trip to China where he was meeting their partner. YJ and I got a chance to talk about their business, their games, and the Korean gaming market in general.

Mobicle's bread and butter is their mobile games. They were founded in June 2004 as a mobile games company and it wasn't until 2006 that they started to branch into online PC games. They are responsible for the very popular Ma-gu Ma-gu a baseball game. They have a partner ship with CJ Internet to develop some games for them. As I walked around the office I could see many poster boards for the various cell phone games they make. Some were instantly recognizable. Recently they've begun to release games on the iPhone as well. From the list YJ sent me it looks like they have nine games out for the iPhone now including Cubetrix 3D which has gotten some pretty favourable reviews.

The first thing we really talked about was TK Online. It is what had drawn me to the company after all. TK Online has actually been in development for about 3½ years. However, 2 years ago they had some server issues and had to redevelop the server code from scratch. This is what has delayed the release so long. Also they are pushing the games in foreign markets right now. The game just completed its 3 closed beta in Malaysia, and is also being developed in Japan right now. Mobicle wants to finish the game overseas and then bring it back to Korea. So this means we may actually be waiting a little while for it. We can always hope that they will keep some kind of open beta open for us though.

I asked YJ what inspired TK Online's style. He said that Starcraft is a powerful force in Korea and competing with it wasn't exactly what they wanted to do. he said players enjoyed combining items to make different gear and that helped to set it apart from games like Starcraft. He also compared the game to Avalon, which is a similar styled game being released under another service. These kinds of games are helping Korea develop the RTS market. They feel that a company like Blizzard has so many years of research and data under their belts that their games come out very good and polished. Other companies who want to get started don't have access to that kind of experience and resources so it takes them time to reach that level. Perhaps in a few more years we'll see some very good home grown RTS games here in Korea.

Up Next YJ and I discussed the Korean gaming market and how it compares to other countries they do business in and the Western model.

Upcoming Tests

Looks like Warcry is finally going to be open for play. June 18-20 will see the game open up. I will do my best to get on for a bit and record some video and get a few screen shots. Maybe we'll get a chance to find out if this is going to be interesting or not.

Battlestar is entering "pre-open beta" on the 10th. Not sure exactly what that is, but maybe it means that open beta is not that far off. You can watch a decent video on the main page right now that shows off the game. It looks like a very interesting FPS/RTS combo similar to Natural Selection, if you remember that old Half Life mod from long ago.

Apex just finished a closed beta test a week ago. Hopefully we'll see an open beta before too long.


Today I went up to Mobicle. I met YJ their international business lead. We talked about TK Online as well as their other games and Mobicle in general. We even got into discussing the Korean game market and international markets. Mobicle has spread out globally and has several international contracts. I'm just going to toss up a couple pictures right now, and later I'm going to write up the various things we discussed. He gave me a tour of their office and I took a couple photos.


Blackshot is a first person shooter from Gametree. I have also found the game in beta on a site in Germany. I haven't checked that version out yet, but I assume that this version has a much lower ping. As I mentioned before Gametree doesn't allow foreigner registration. So either borrow a friend's ID or get them to make an account for you. Once done, head over to the site.

Installation is straightforward. Hit Game start. It'll give you a pop-up about downloading the game. Hit Okay. It'll ask where you want the download, choose a place and let it go. In the screenshot you'll notice I unchecked a box. This box sets Gametree as your home page. So probably you want to uncheck it. After it's done downloading, installation will start automatically. Next next that to completion then head back to the page. Hit Game start again and it'll give you some message about an update. Press game start a third time and it'll launch the update launcher. Once that is done, it'll auto start the game. Once in the game you'll be allowed to make a character.

For some reason I can only choose female characters. Perhaps because my friend's ID is female or maybe you need to unlock the male characters. It's rather odd, and there doesn't seem to be much explanation yet. My choices seem to be either a skinny scout or a rather hefty M16 toting linebacker. I'm going with the scout as I like to do a lot of running around and flanking at times. I'll update later if I'm able to unlock the other characters. There are two character slots available. I'm not sure if that is the max or if more can be unlocked.

Blackshot offers some unique gaming modes. One of those modes is some kind of bunker defense game. You can play solo or with up to 3 companions. The goal is to defend the bunker for around 8 minutes. Enemies will constantly spawn and sometimes some of those enemies will be suicide bombers making a dash for your bunker. You need to keep the bunker intact so the more enemies you kill and especially the bombers, who take 2% off per explosion, the longer it stays alive. After it's over you get some XP, and both times I tried it I got a free piece of armor. Once or twice random helicopters will show up and clear the area for you. Some of the enemies will drop grenades and guns but you can't leave the bunker. You need to mouse over them, they will have a green icon, and press "G". You'll auto-equip them. You can only carry one gun, so you'll switch out the one you have. Your pistol has unlimited ammo.

I played this for a few hours tonight, the intro was written a few hours before and I stopped to play, and all I can say is that it is rough. Compared to Unit, there seems to be a steep "getting used to it" curve. It will be hard to avoid comparing this to Unit since I'm enjoying Unit more than I thought. Right now I'm ranked around #100 overall in Unit. On Blackshot I don't think they've invented a number low enough to describe my rank. I was going 1/15 in my early games. I got slightly better as it progressed but I never surpassed a 1:2 kill:death ratio. This comes from a combination of factors.

Grenade radius seems to be larger than Unit. So many times I thought I was safe and I ended up losing 70-80 health. I didn't last much longer after that. Guns seem to be extremely important in this. My starting gun seemed extremely under powered compared to what I was getting hit with. I'd empty half a clip into someone and it seems like only 2 or 3 bullets from them would kill me, even when they weren't head shots. 99% of the time I got the drop on someone they responded with a head shot. The rest of the time the head shots didn't seem excessive. I really don't know what it was, but every time I caught someone looking the other way or I'd come up behind them, they'd spin and it'd be a head shot.

This was very frustrating. Compared to Sting which was head shot crazy this is kind of middle of the road.

Guns can be purchased a couple ways. You can buy them by the hour or purchase them for a single match. Hourly purchases range from 1 hour to 30 hours and in game purchases run for about 10% of the price of the hourly rate. For example one gun cost around 500 points for an hour rental, but about 40 points for a single match purchase. You can average around 200-300 points per match even as me getting slaughtered. If you are in game and want a new gun, press the "B" key and you'll get an overlay to purchase a new gun. This helped me slightly, as did increasing the mouse sensitivity, but I think I'd need a lot of practice at this game. I was pretty good at flag capturing though and made up some points through that. A kill is worth 1 point, a flag worth 5 points, but somehow in the end kills still seem to be worth more money and experience wise. Grab a lot of flag points and get slaughtered and you won't find yourself really getting more experience and money than someone who has half your points but they're all from kills. Armour seems to be only available from this map. After a win you get random pieces and other odds and ends. You can't buy it in game and the store doesn't seem to have a big selection. So you might want to play some bunker maps to build up your character.

The other play mode is set the bomb. I did better at this, even winning a couple maps. However, my luck ran out and I ended up getting slaughtered non-stop in the next round. Everyone caught on to my tricks.

Overall I think this is an interesting game. The survival bunker map is kind of interesting. I'm not sure how much more I'd play this because I'm enjoying Unit so much these days, but if I get bored with Unit I might give this another go. Perhaps in a couple weeks I'll do a "Weekend with Blackshot" and see if I can't change my luck with some time getting used to it. Menus are standard, nothing fancy or unusual here. I'll see if I can annotate a screenshot, but looking at the menus for of the other games I've done should tell you what is going on.

I decided to try Youtube for the video this time. I've been less than happy with the quality of Viddler recently. I think the next video I make I'm going to try and get it at 720p. I've been recording in Fraps at half size, but I'll need to record full size to do that.

Warcry UI Movie

The folks over at Hanbiton have released a UI video for Warcry. This has been in beta for some time now so I'm hoping these last few teasers are a run up to the actual game being released. This Is Game tells me that the game has been in service for about a year and a half. I'm not sure how long it was developed before that, but I think Korean games need to come out faster. The teaser time is exceedingly long. So I think they really need to keep them a secret longer. It's one thing to build some suspense, it's another thing to string people along for a year and a half waiting with no announcements about an expected release date, or at least not one I can actually find.

A weekend with Unit

I've decided to spend a little more time with Unit. I may do more of this in the future as time permits and games are sufficiently interesting. Initially I wrote Unit off due to the cheesy graphics on the site. However, the English option gave me pause and I played it a bit more. I have now played the game about 20 hours or so. Not a lot for a first person shooter, but more than I'd put into some passing games that I put up here.

After 20 hours, I can say that Unit starts to grow on you. Well probably before that point. I often found myself thinking, "okay, this is the last round and then I'm turning it off." When I do finally turn it off, I realize I had thought that an hour before. This game is still in beta and I did experience some technical issues while I was playing.

As I mentioned before, the sound has some hissing/skipping/something weird going on. There isn't much you can do with the sound settings so I wasn't really able to play with them a whole lot. Also a few times a game has counted down to start and then instead of loading, it pops up a message saying "Please try again later". I immediately push join and it counts down again and joins the game which has already started. Also, I once played a round where we played for about 30 seconds it suddenly said "Game over, you win!" but there were no stats like we'd normally see and we were kicked back to the room. Everyone seemed very confused. Other than that there were no other clear cut technical issues.

There was an issue I found with a couple players. I don't think it was technical, I'm sure they were hacking. If you watch this video you can see towards the middle.

The guy takes a full clip to the face which bends him over backwards and he keeps running then shoots me through a wall from 40 feet off with a shot gun. He was doing that for a couple games. When I finally got host, I banned him. Screen name was "Ryuk" and belong to a clan who call themselves only "A". That was a couple days ago. Today I encountered him again with a clan buddy. They both seemed capable of taking far more damage than anyone else on the map. They still died, but slowly.

This map you see in this video is a Mercenary Free For All. These maps are fun for a few minutes, especially if you get a defensible position. However, they quickly turn into an episode of loony tunes. People can spawn almost anywhere and get a 3 second invulnerability when they do. You constantly have this situation where one person dies, someone spawns and kills his killer and someone else shows up and wastes him and then someone else spawns, and it goes on and on. A killing chain. It's difficult to get any momentum at all unless you can get a bunker or something. That map you saw there has one building that has a flight of stairs in it. If you can get up it, you can sometimes hold it for awhile and get a rhythm going before anyone gets you. Due to the nature of the game it can take awhile for someone who knows you're there to make it back to the place since people are constantly popping all over the place. Even if they get back over there they might figure you're not in there anymore and forget about it. I've been able to have runs of 5-10 kills which is far better than simply running around.

Team death match has been my favorite so far. One of the popular maps for this is called "Sweden". There are 2 opposing bases with 3 entrances/exits each. A central bridge, a couple sniper buildings, and lots of hiding spots to get the drop on people. Controlling the bridge usually means your team will win. From the bridge you can quickly move between all 3 entrances and exits (overlooking 2, direct access to 1) so a good team can cover everything and really pen in the other team. I played for a couple hours with a fellow calling himself 바보 (Korean for fool) followed by some other characters I forget. Very good and most maps were a duel between him and I for top spot. He won slightly more than me, but I had some very good games both on his team and against him where I started the game 6 or 7 and 0. In addition to your team winning the match the players individually compete for the most points during a game, and the game will inform you if you're currently leading. Annoying if two people are dueling like we were. "You've taken the lead! You've lost the lead! Assit! You've taken the lead!" it can get pretty rapid fire until someone pulls away.

Experience works interestingly in this game. You get XP based on the rank of the person you kill, assists (more than 60% damage to someone and then someone else kills them), head shots, and stacking kills. Each time you kill someone you get 5 seconds to kill another person to have it become a "multi-kill" twice I've hit 5 and once I hit 6. The progression is something like: multi, triple, monster, ultra, crazy then at 6 it just said "6 kills!!" Kind of a let down. It says that you get a big XP boost if you get 5 kills in a row like that.

I also got to make a new character and find out more about buying things. Characters and guns are permanent. Not rentals. Armor is a rental. Characters let you assign 7 points to various stats. To make an assault guy, a sniper, etc. I'll attach a screenshot below. Guns get repaired, and armor has to be bought every 30 days. It is nice to see guns as permanent. If you don't play for awhile you'll lose your armor and have to but it again, but at least your guns will be there. Some armor choices can be made between adding stuff to give more defense or more speed. Grenades aren't rentals but they can't be repaired. I assume when they run out you need to buy a new one, but it's okay, they're pretty cheap compared to everything else.

After playing this some more, I think I'll continue playing it. I didn't think it would stand-up to AVA, but it has proven more interesting than I initially though. So just because there is some girl holding a gun in an entirely inappropriate way on the website, don't pass the game over. You might be pleasantly surprised. I still don't know what "Justice for all" means. There doesn't seem to be any clear-cut sides in the game and they're referred to as mercenaries. The English in game is great. I didn't notice any weird sentences, so I think they've paid to have this professionally translated. At the time of writing this I'm ranked 158th globally. So this really isn't that hard of a game to get into.