Monday, 18 March 2019

Space Race Championship Release Details and Preview

There’s not much longer now until Space Race Championship releases. I’ve said that plenty of times before, but this time is different. This time there’s an actual date. And I’m running a sale on all previous novels before that date arrives. Here’s the run down of dates before I give a new preview for the latest novel.

Already started from today and running for a week is a price drop for The Alternate Adventures of Halesowen. Taking over from midnight on 25/March will be Secrets Behind the Truth, again for a week. On 1/April, Elemental Heroes will be passed the baton of the price drop. The price for all three during their week on sale will be 99p, making for a pretty good deal. After Elemental Heroes ends its week on sale, Space Race Championship goes live.

It's already up on the Kindle Store, allowing preorders until release on 8/April. There’ll be the usual post upon it’s release, but with the details of release out of the way, it’s now time for another preview. With Tom and Lee set up with what they’ll be using for the Championship, they’re now in training for when it starts.

The Space Kicker moved forward with increasing speed, then made a drop at the last second. Lee quickly swapped to the rear camera to see it pulling around to enter the hangar. Swapping to one of the cameras within the hangar, he watched a blue blur appear for a second on the feed.

Looking up, the Space Kicker had pulled up in front of the viewshield.

“How was that?” Tom asked.

“As good as could be expected,” Lee said. “Now would you be able to do roughly the same thing except approach from below?”

A pause of a few seconds, in which Lee had a feeling Tom was doing some calculations. “In two tries I think I can.”

It took him three. On the first try he overshot and ended up boosting over the DSSC instead of through it. On the second he scraped the upper lining of the hangar and had slammed to the floor trying to correct it. On the third try, there had been a moment where it looked like he might have failed but managed to pull it off.

“Yeah!” the exultant exclamation came through the speaker. “This really is great. I really must thank you for entering me into this. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.”

Lee smiled at that. “You’re welcome. This is definitely fun for me as well. We’ll give it a few more runs before heading back down.”

Lee recited the next checkpoint he had in mind. This one involved something similar to what Tom had done during Space Racer, but instead of strafing around the fittings of the hangar roof he needed to dodge around several smaller ‘craft. That couldn’t really be done, but Lee was leaving it up to Tom to create a pattern of random shifts before flying through the DSSC’s hangar.

“Going good,” Lee stated, seeing the pattern of left, left, right.

The Space Kicker then strafed left sharply before driving a long right. Lee watched as it continued on for longer than it needed.

“Pull off!” Lee exclaimed, but only received crackles from the speaker.

Lee watched as it finally faltered in its constant speed, then stopped. It stayed still for a minute.

“That… wasn’t meant to happen,” Tom said in a questioning tone.

“Are you sure everything’s fine with it?” Lee asked. “Do we need to return?”

“All reading fine.”

“Scanning for static pulses,” Lee informed, having thought on the next reason for a failure. “Irregular patches around, and some thin streaks…” It was an odd combination. The patches were uncommon but not unusual. The streaks of static meant someone had been firing a special type of laser infused with the stuff.

Hitting one of those streaks alone wouldn’t be enough to cause issues, but enough of them in close proximity would.

“Move away from the area,” Lee advised. “Too much static, and I think someone might be training using CSP lasers.”

“Aren’t they meant to be prohibited to security forces only?” Tom asked.

“I think they might be, but it’s always possible a friend of someone in security is helping that friend train in a more active way.”

The Space Kicker moved away from the area, with the DSSC following suit. The two set up a new checkpoint to practice, but no sooner had Tom started than Lee shouted for him to abort.

“Static streaks inbound! Get inside quickly!”

Lee kept his eyes locked on the scanner, now tuned exclusively to look out for static, and just about heard Tom say he was inside when the streaks passed over the central point of the scanner.
The lights flickered slightly, but that was the only effect the static had on the DSSC.

“I recommend we head back down,” Tom said. Lee hadn’t heard him enter. “Even if we aren’t being targeted, I don’t think we’re going to get much more done today unless we were to head out further.”

“I’m sure the crew of the Sur-C are tracking the static appearances, but I’m still reporting it.”

“As you should. Land at mine and I’ll get a full diagnostic run on the Kicker when we land.”

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Switching to the Second Year - Looking At My Experiences of the Switch's Second Year

 The first year of the Nintendo Switch gave me plenty of great experiences. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hooked me into the game and further into the Zelda lore than I had before. Super Mario Odyssey proved to be a great game, as did Splatoon 2. There were twelve games bought in total for that first year, and the second almost hits that amount again.

The second year for Switch might not have been to everyone’s tastes, but for me it gave just as many greats as the first. Dragon Quest Builders I count among that number, along with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Skyrim [even if they are both games I owned on other systems, it’s the experiences I had with them on the Switch that count]. So just what did I get up to with the Switch’s second year?

Kirby Star Allies is an interesting one. Much the same as The Legend of Zelda, most of my experience with the series was through Super Smash Bros., and much like with The Legend of Zelda I had been toying with getting a game in the series and seeing it through to the end. Star Allies was my choice, and as much as I did enjoy my time with it, it didn’t grab me enough for me to try everything. Perhaps like Skyrim and many other games I’ll go back to it one day and see the true hook of it, but for now Kirby’ll forever be waiting just before that final boss on the main campaign.

Rogue Aces was bought purely because I was wanting a flight combat game. And for these smaller games, that’s kind of the reason I bought most of them this year. Rogue Aces didn’t provide the flight combat I was after, but I did find a good game. Not one of the greatest of the second year, but a good game that provided a number of hours of arcade mayhem in planes and a good feeling of one more go.

E3 came around and gave a very in-depth look at Smash Ultimate, but it also gave the shadow-drop of Fortnite coming to the Switch. I’d already had a good play of it on my Xbox One, but having it on a portable access as well would be good. It barely got played as not long after I dropped the game from play. I’d had my fill, and a portable version couldn’t convince me to keep playing. I have recently returned to in in this last month, though, and am enjoying it once again.

I’ve always been talking about Nintendo making a game that allows a player to go exploring Wuhu Island, with access to sports and other activities they can freely play. Turns out, a game like that already existed on the Wii, and got ported to the Switch in August. Go Vacation offers four islands to freely explore, with plenty of things to do within them. Sure, a few of the activities were basic and most that required motion wouldn’t ever fully work in handheld mode, but it still proved a good game to play and makes me wish even more for Nintendo to try their hand at such a thing.

Not long after I got my hands on that, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate released. I’d spent a good amount of time on 4 Ultimate on the 3DS, and this looked to be a better prospect as I wouldn’t have to be dealing with that little nub of a c-stick for camera control. And I certainly am happy with it. Diverse environments, tough monsters, and plenty of weapons and armour sets to be working towards.

E3 gave plenty of games to look over, with one of those being Starlink: Battle For Atlas. A toys-to-life game that made the toys optional – by allowing everything to be bought digital. And it’s digital the way I went. And I’m glad I did. Starlink offers a beautiful amount of worlds to explore and a compelling gameplay hook. The characters all have unique personalities, reacting to the planets they visit when you play as them. And the Switch version has the bonus of including Star Fox content – with more of that coming in a future update. When this game released, plenty of people were saying how this was a better Star Fox game than what Nintendo had put out with Zero on the WiiU.

And that is true. While I’m not the best person to really say anything about such – having only played the 3DS remake of 64 – it does seem that the series tried different things which didn’t work, and has now put it in a place where each entry is set to fail based on what new thing it offers. For a first run of Starlink, I played mostly as Fox, right up until the end. And it did feel as though Starlink could be a worthy direction for Fox to take. I’m sure others would disagree, though.

A day before the Pokémon Let’s Go games released, the update of the Switch eShop brought a number of games. It was around that time I was wanting to find a tower defence game to really get stuck into. And that’s where Swamp Defence 2 joined the ranks of my games – for free, thanks to the numerous amount of gold coins I’d saved. And it was classic tower defence as I knew it, and I was having plenty of fun with it. Unfortunately, that fun was cut short when progress was halted right at the start of the third area. It was simply a corruption of the level design itself that would crash the game after a few seconds. It was quickly uninstalled soon after.

No matter, as Let’s Go, Eevee! was a great experience in the world of Pokémon. I’ve already talked about it in my first impressions post, but the rest was just as great as the beginning. Now on a second run, I won’t be using the starter Eevee just to compare experiences. After all, they did make the starter an overpowered monster.

Once again I found myself going for a small game not long after Let’s Go’s release. Still within the strategy genre, this time is was business management with Hot Springs Story. This one is a fun business management game. Basic, but fun. It has a fixed end where you can see how well you managed the business within that time frame, giving the feeling of wanting to beat that previous score on a new run. But there's plenty of opportunity to get different results each time as you prioritise who you invite and where you choose to invest your money.

Another one I’d given a first impressions on was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is definitely my best in the series. Though it could do with a few extra modes, what is there is a great game. Stamina battles are fun and easy to access, and all the quality of life changes make getting into a game easier than ever. Even online, unless you want a specific type of match and don’t want to join an arena.

The last game is one I’ve been waiting for for quite some time. Advance Wars is seemingly never getting a new entry, but here comes Wargroove as a perfect fit for those who crave what Advance Wars gave. And the Switch is the perfect fit for it. Just like with Advance Wars, I’ve spent most of my time creating and playing my own creations, but the actual strategy of the adventure mode is fun to crack and get three stars on. The extras are nice as well. And even though it’s a small game in terms of being an indie, there’s a lot on offer here that very nearly matches what Advance Wars offered.

The third year of Switch is looking a lot better than the second. The mainline Pokémon games of Sword and Shield recently got announced. Animal Crossing is coming this year. The Dragon Quest games of XI and Builders 2. Super Mario Maker 2. And plenty of others that look to make up a spectacular year on par with the first. Those games are sure to be added to my collection and become a part of the great games I already own. And based on my 3DS play time, I can already tell that the Switch’s will be looking very similar at the end of its third year.

Friday, 1 March 2019

March '19 Monthly Update

The first thing you’ll notice is that I’m no longer using the primary label within the titles any more. With the new labelling, I felt it was a holdout from the old system that no longer needed to be present. You’ll also notice that my ebooks are now taking space on the sidebar, with a link to my Amazon Author Page.

With Google Plus closing down, I needed a new place to promote myself. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for, though. I had been looking at Patreon as a way for people to support what I do without needing to buy one of my ebooks. With the closure of Google Plus, I now have a Patreon page. It’s still a little basic at the minute, but I plan to inject some detail into it to go with the posting of my works on there.

I had a Towering Offense last month, looking at ideas for the tower offense genre of games. We got to some Customised Camping with the latest in the Crossing to the New Life series, and I gave some thoughts about the announcement of Pokémon Sword and Shield. A video of Forza Horizon 4 showing off more of my custom routes was uploaded to Youtube. Both the video and post of Star Wars Battlefront content are missing, though. Good reasons for both.

For the video, I said I wanted to showcase the new heroes and the new mode together - even if I still use arcade for the heroes. Well, that new mode got delayed into this month, and it's probably coming at the end of it. May as well save it for another Star Wars month, just like the ideas for changing up EA's version of Battlefront.

This month is going to be quiet. Space Race Championship is nearing completion, so I'll be giving another preview of it this month. I really need to get additions to Wattpad sorted and a bit of website management done. If something does come up, then I'll be sure to post about it, but this month really is preparation for the next few.