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.