June 28, 2010

Flying Cougar Forum Signatures

The custom Flying Cougar Forum signatures are here. Just email me at tyaust666@gmail.com and tell me your name and rank you want on it.

Also available in black or with a background of your choice.

June 27, 2010

New Design New Stuff

You may have noticed the new design. Deep in our fortress of nerdiness we decided to give the blog a new colour scheme and to make Tyaust do it. Well, after a few hours of playing with the template editor the new design is finally done.

In other news, we have a new segment on the blog. Free Fun is a game review of any free game we stumble upon and want to share with the world. Our first review is on the minimalistic, xkcdesque platformer, jvgs. Check it out and hopefully you'll like it as much as I did.

June 25, 2010

Free Fun: A Review of jvgs

A few days ago on the xkcd fora I discovered a free game with a similar minimalistic artistic style to the xkcd comics. This game is called jvgs.

JVGS is a free, open source platformer for the PC, Mac and Various Linux distributions. In jvgs you play as a poet trapped in a dangerous world that is fading away. All that is left are broken streams of thoughts that tell the story. The story that is told by these streams of thoughts are the poet's memories of the past and also tell of his sadness as the world that he once knew begins to fade away into nothingness.

The game has a simple system for controls. The left and right keys move you left and right respectively, while space bar allows you to jump and the left Ctrl button allows you to use weapons and abilities. The controls are fairly responsive however they can easily get you killed if you miss your jump by just a wee bit. If you die in this game you are sent back to the title screen where you can choose to quit the game, when you come back after closing the game out what level you are on is saved, or you can try that level again.

The levels are all fairly short and range in difficulty from "so easy i could do this in my sleep" to "facesmashing into the keyboard hardness". All the levels contain platforms which are formed by the poetry, and yes you can fall between words to your death. I have only became stuck in between letters once in the multiple times I have beat this game. In each of the levels you have to reach the end which is a shape that will lift you up to the next level. The level objectives vary from killing your way across the level, to collecting objects to a boss fight against a giant fanged pacmanesque monster.

To kill an enemy you must jump on it, like in Super Mario, or use a weapon on it such as the grenade or throwing knife. The main enemies in the game are these rodent like creatures, which can be quite lethal if you miss your jump, crabs that move around in no particular pattern at high speeds, porcupines that if you jump on them you will be impaled to your death, velociraptors, strange flying creatures and venus fly trap monsters that you must jump over top of.

JVGS's soundtrack consists of tracks from Nine Inch Nail's Ghost I-IV album which consists solely of instrumental music. The music greatly adds to the melancholic atmosphere throughout the game. The game has not much for sound effects other then when you crush your enemies, when you use equipment and when you die.

I would recommend jvgs to anyone who enjoys the xkcd webcomic and platformers. It is a fun, simple and quick game that takes about a half hour to beat on your first playthrough if you are not a god at platformers. This is a beautiful game with a unique minimalistic art style and excellent poetry.

We're Still Breathing

It's been a busy month here at Flying Cougar Productions with finals and all that fun "important" real life stuff. But we haven't been sitting around on our collective asses twiddling our thumbs and watching paint dry. ICLiiPSI has been working on more videos (which still must be sent to me so I can record commentary...). I've playing games to come up with some reviews, as well as avoiding raging about gimmicks in games (read: Kinect and Playstation Move). Udunnojack, well we think he may have been eaten by a rabid gopher but he should poke his head around here soon enough. But do not fear we are still alive (I think) and will be providing you with a summer full of gaming and nerdy goodness.

June 10, 2010

No Updates This Week

Due to the laziness of the employees at Telus there will be no updates this week. I am without an internet connection due to my modem crapping out and having only Telus supplying them in my area. So once again our dual commentary, full length game video will be postponed.

June 7, 2010

Coming Soon

This month will be a busy month for us here at Flying Cougar Productions but we have big plans. Firstly my computer is finally fixed and that means a graphics update will be coming soon to the Youtube channel and the blog. Secondly our director of videos, ICLiiPSI finally got unbanned from XBOX Live, again, which means our first complete gameplay video will be coming out, featuring dual commentary by Udunnojack and your's truly. Finally we will be starting a new program where we showcase independant musicians in our videos. If you know of an independant artist which would like some free advertising then contact me at tyaust666@gmail.com

The Rise of Microtransactions

Ah microtransactions, the dreaded word of many MMO players in the west. Nowadays a growing number of high quality MMO's are going free to play and will be paid for by microtransactions. The latest game which is adopting this growing trend is Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online which will be going free to play this fall. This is not a surprising move for Turbine as they already have another free to play MMO in the market as well, Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Other MMO's such as Aika online are already a free to play game with a microtransaction system which will be opened soon. This is a growing trend which will most likely change the western MMO markets into one that is similar to Asia's.

However many gamers would rather pay a subscription then use microtransactions. These gamers have a personal philosophy of believing that all features of a game should come with with the subscription and players should not be given advantages due to being able to spend real money to buy ingame bonuses.

However many of these microtransactions are purely cosmetic or give extremely small advantages. Let's take World of Warcraft, the largest MMO in the world currently, for an example. In WoW there are microtransactions for small cosmetic changes, such as race, name, gender, and faction changes, ingame non combat pets, and mounts.

The largest barrier that is slowing the process of changing the payment systems to that of microtransactions is the prevailing fear among gamers that people with money will be able to simply buy their way to getting the best gear. However the direction of current microtransaction based games is going is that they will primarily be used for cosmetic changes. The only way someone can buy their way to the top is by buying gold or other people's characters, which is often against the rules of many MMOs.

In the end only time can tell if whether the the microtransaction payment method will become big outside of Asia. However, judging by the increase of microtransaction MMOs entering the western markets it appears that this growing trend may become the next main method.

June 1, 2010

This Week's Releases

Note: All releases came out on June 1st unless otherwise noted.

XBOX 360
Bass Pro Shops: The Hunt
Alpha Protocol
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Resurgence Pack (June 3rd)

Alpha Protocol
Planet Minigolf

syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow

The Sims 3: Ambitions
Alpha Protocol

Bass Pro Shops: The Hunt


Diamond Trust of London