Featured

First Steps in a VR World

Beginners guide to a becoming a VR Star in a whole new experience
Strap in, turn on and dare to play something that was once only possible in movies.

Beginners guide to a becoming a VR Star in a whole new experience

Strap in, turn on and dare to play something that was once only possible in movies. A revolution in technology and social interaction VR is our first true step into another world. Mapped to our movements this digital world is limited only by our imagination and creativity.

Getting your hands dirty

With your head somewhere out of this world the first lesson is how to interact with it. Most games work via scanners and wireless controllers so you can move freely in the eyes of the new digital world, Others like the machines available at VR Star are tied to mechanical tracking. These machines give you a physical connection to the world rather than digital, for example seating you inside a car complete with gyro and force feedback through the wheel, what better way to be fully immersed.

Walking through walls

Sadly, the real world doesn’t actually disappear, something to keep in the back of your mind. At present there are two ways around this, if you are lucky enough to live near and fancy a day out in bristol, the Cabot Circus VR Omni-treadmill experience is incredible, particularly for competitive shooters! In your more typical VR experience a controller button will walk or teleport you to available areas.

Master of your own destiny  

Choosing a VR experience can be like scrolling through Netflix these days, there is a vast array of diverse content. So how do you pick? Any good experience centre like VR Star, will have guides to help you choose something suited to you. If you are at home treat it in the same way, don’t go by reviews or peer pressure. Any good VR experience will attempt to immerse you, so if you’re not a horror fan stay clear of something more gripping than any movie you have avoided seeing!

Dressed to kill

Much like heading to the gym, VR can require a degree of appropriate dress. Pencil skirts or forty tog jumpers make for poor battle dress when rapid and prolonged movement is required. At home changing clothes isn’t a problem but if you have ventured out unprepared, many experiences like VR Stars cannons or racing simulators may be more forgiving.

Loosing yourself

As legendary pioneer Laurence Oates once said “I’m going for a walk, I may be some time”, he may not have intended to come back but you certainly should. When playing at home it is always recommended to have regular breaks just like using any other screen. This helps avoid eye strain and keeps your body adjusted to the natural world.

 

OUR FINAL VIRTUAL QUIZ!

Running every week from the 15th June to 27th July we have had a blast being involved and meeting some great new people locally. For our last contribution we have gone down the rabbit hole of the internet one last time and found some highly entertaining clips for our guests to enjoy

Paired with The Grapes Pub, Thoughtful Bakery, The Pig Guide & Honeys Cider

Running every week from the 15th June to 27th July we have had a blast being involved and meeting some great new people locally. For our last contribution we have gone down the rabbit hole of the internet one last time and found some highly entertaining clips for our guests to enjoy (Video round answers below if you know what your looking for)….

Raucus Does a Podcast

With all the Oscars hype we thought we would dig out our guest performance from 2019 on the Strangers in a Cinema podcast.

If you love your films we hope you keep listening, you may also recognise its host Paul from manning the Mic at our Abserd Nerd Quiz @ the Canon Bath.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake or Remaster?

After a nearly 4 year absence, 2019 has been the year where the Final Fantasy VII Remake has seen details, photos and even gameplay footage finally revealed to the world. A teaser trailer was shown at E3 2015 marked the official announcement of the remake fans had been craving, we were teased with snippets of visuals and videos but nothing more. That all changed at E3 2019, when Square Enix treated everyone to what they’d been waiting for.

But it has raised some interesting questions amongst fans: was it a remake or a remaster people have been asking for?

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief history lesson on Final Fantasy VII and the remake. Released first on the PlayStation 1 back in 1997, FFVII follows the story of a rebel group called AVALANCHE, led by protagonist Cloud Strife, as they try to save the world from the evil mega-corporation Shinra and the psychopath, scary Sephiroth. The story and characters received rave reviews and the game quickly became a mega hit for company Sqauresoft, who would later go on to become Square Enix in 2003.

FF7Credit: Kotaku.com

In 2005, at once again E3, Square decided to showcase the power of the new PlayStation 3 by demonstrating what the opening cinematic of FFVII would look like if it had PS3 graphics. Naturally, fans went mad and rumours started to circulate of a remaster/remake of the beloved game. After a decade of denying rumours, rejecting questions and practically being harassed with FFVII remake demands, Square Enix finally put the game into full production in 2015. 

OK, so let’s bring things back to the present. We now have some confirmed details about the remake itself and needless to say, there have been some big changes. Most notably, the battle system. Previously a turn based game, FFVII remake will have a turn based/real time hybrid system. This has not gone down well with some fans, who favour the slower, strategic element of the old turn based, or ATB, system. Gameplay footage though, showcasing the opening boss fight of FFVII remake, has converted some naysayers who now believe the hybrid system offers something for everyone and provides a perfect balance between strategy and action.

The next biggest change involves the length of time spent in Midgar, the opening city of FFVII. In the original game, the Midgar section was one part of the first disc, as the original game was split across three discs, and on average clocked in at around 5-7 hours of gameplay. In the remake however, which is being released episodically, the entire first episode is Midgar, which is rumoured to be on a whopping 2 blu-ray discs!  However, this does mean that Midgar, arguably the most iconic location of the original game, is going to be deeper and more complex than ever before.

https://www.gamepur.com/news/41242-final-fantasy-vii-part-1-will-only-go-midgard.htmlCredit: gamepur.com

As previously mentioned, the remake is going to be released episodically, which is a major concern for some old school fans. Some worry this means the game will be more linear, sacrificing the open world nature of the original. Others worry we could be waiting years in between each episode’s release, which could potentially harm interest in the game. If you finish part 1 and have to wait two years for part 2, are you necessarily going to return to it? To add fuel to the flames, Square Enix themselves have admitted they’re still trying to work out the logistics of how to do the rest of the game, meaning we could be looking at a long wait for the next episode…

So it begs the question: are fans after a remake or a remaster? Other Final Fantasy titles have been remastered in the past and have received rave reviews and given a chance for new fans to experience the games on the new systems. But sometimes, it felt a bit like a cash grab. There was nothing really added to the games. As a Final Fantasy fan, I purchased some of the remastered titles and thoroughly enjoyed playing through them again, but always felt it would be great to have a reinvention of some of these titles. FFVII still remains one of the most beloved stories in gaming and after seeing some of the footage of the remake, I for one am excited to see how this all pans out. Like others, I’m hesitant on some of the changes, particularly the episodic release, but ultimately I have hope that Square Enix are really going to pull this off. Plus, who’s not going to love a bigger, badder and beefier Midgar?

Written by James Davidson

The Pub and the People 

3 people enter a public house, laughter ensues. 

These jokes might have oft ended with a punchline cued to foreshadow such a blow, but it is the situation rather than the comedy I find interesting. Where could people of most walks of life be so consistently found throughout years? 

The public house or tavern is a strange diamond in the rough in our ever-changing society. The tradition of sharing drinks goes back to the dawn of civilization, with studies even suggesting it began our social evolution. These places hide a deeper truth than their drunken patrons leaving for home may allude to. Not that we take the time to think about it. It’s just the pub, right? 

Let us imagine a young musician working up to a first public performance, drinking slightly too fast and grateful for a helping hand toward the open mic. A nervous first meeting, or casual work on short notice. What other space can flexibly support the wide range of moments we find ourselves in that have no other natural home?

Rarely are people in the pub just to drink. The choice is to do it in connection with people, consciously or not. As the costs rise and the messaging about the dangers of drink increases, the livelihood of the pub is transferred to supermarkets, making it cheaper to drink at home with the incredible entertainment now provided in our front rooms. Our lives evolve as ever, but the big question is, how will the pub?

By Joe Turner McMullan 

Cuphead: Review

Cuphead Review by Joe Turner-McMullan

MDHR releases its vision of beautiful artwork on a gaming platform in a nod to 1930s animation. 

Playing as a couple of mugs who lose everything in a casino your only way out is to reclaim the debts of others. The Devil is a tricky adversary and the collection of reprobates you must reclaim funds from is as varied as it is hard. Utilising a wide variety of game mechanics and controls every level is a learning curve. One moment you may encounter Asteroid style destruction from above and the next Donkey Kong uphill hurdles, these are all made to work perfectly for Cuphead with its fantastical artistic backdrop.  

Reading into the practices and IMG_aec2323b-2de3-4594-aed9-0dfa8e9c9483preparation the team performed to create Cuphead is as fascinating as the final product. Hand drawn on over 50,000 frames (excluding changes or mistakes) the meticulous and painstaking process was a real labour of love. The frames were the inked and coloured before being transferred to glass. This process was taken from the 1930s Walt Disney style animations; however, this has never been done for a game before. The team looked into a way of doing short loops of animations to create a smooth crisp game style that matches today high standards and demands.   

Aside from the stunning and ground breaking artistic practice that went into the game, everything is packaged into a tight and very accessible gameplay format. The story comes in small snippets that are easily followed, the over world lets you navigate between missions in a very simple and satisfying way, you have the option to tailor your ability’s, level difficulty and type, meaning you never feel like you are grinding along in one direction for too long.

 IMG_b4afba2b-ef7c-432f-be77-f55c75f07dcb

For me Cuphead embodies the soul of all truly great platformers, a character that grabs you, a world that feels as deep as it is absorbing to look at and a gameplay model that will always draw you back in for more. The potential to be a Mario style classic is there and even if it is borrowing influences I think it combines them so well it is not to Cupheads detriment. The 1930s musical influence offers a fantastic mix of upbeat madness, blending perfectly with the controlled but unhinged madness of the visual and gameplay style. I would recommend this to anyone, it can be picked up and put down with ease but it is hard to forget. Perfect for filling those moments when you can’t decide what to watch on Netflix or don’t have the will to drop into a heavy multiplayer experience. 

10/10 

Written by Joe Turner-McMullan

Platform: XB1

Formula 1 Official Esports

received_10155473398306413As Esports continue to grow we have made our first foray into the competitive field. Partnered with Codemasters and Gfinity the official F1 calendar opens its doors through the new F1 2017 game. With qualifying events running throughout September the race is on for sponsorship and acclaim.

One event down and the gauntlet is laid. Finishing in the top 500 feels like a respectable performance. With only the top forty places gaining official racing positions for the Abu Dhabi final there is a lot more mustard to cut. Next qualifier is Suzuka and a personal favourite so watch those leaderboard times tumble.

Some tips and tricks for any of you looking to join me on the track:

Limit your driving sessions and take a break when your performance drops off. There is nothing more demoralising than watching time slip by as your sense of failure grows.

Don’t get to experimental with your car setup until your standard options limit your performance.

Always look out for where your delta is negative and understand why to consistently improve.

Make sure your controller feedback and settings are giving you the best possible feel for your driving style.

Best of luck,

@H00HAMAN out.