Sunday, 1 July 2012

New recording equipment, Wii 480p and 720p Xbox 360.

I've been playing Shadow Complex a lot lately thanks to the new glitches that I actually bought some new recording equipment to enhance the playback experience. For starters, I got my Xbox to record in 720p with the AverMedia Game Capture while before it was blurry 480i.

This capture device biggest niche is that you can record console games that support component cables without having to use the computer to record it. Meaning recording 480p Wii (and non-PAL Gamecube) and 720p Xbox360/PS3 is possible, 2 notable weaknesses includes:

* A separate External/Internal hard drive is required - unlike some DVD recorders that may include a HDD, this one requires buying a  NTFS or FAT32 hard drive. It has a hard time trying to record properly on 2GB Memory sticks. So it's a wise idea to simply buy a USB 2.0 320gb+ Harddrive. You'll get a good amount of hours of 720p recording. Roughly 2 hours of 10GB footage.

* No Livestream support. Unfortunately there isn't a way for the actual capture device to connect to a PC, there is a way to work around it which is what I am going to put down below this page.

----- Warning highly technical stuff here-------

Since my room doesn't have any component source TVs, I had to buy a converter, a Component to VGA converter.

Thankfully, it worked like a charm enabling me to record 480p/720p runs while playing it on a ~23 inch monitor. The best thing about this is that playing Wii games through this converter gave virtually no notable input lag unlike connecting it to a Component TV, which is a huge bonus. Luckily there are 2 VGA ports from the Component to VGA converter.  It has the VGA in and VGA out. I'll be using the VGA out and connect that to the monitor via VGA port and hey presto it works! I also bought a reverse variant of the converter which is VGA to Component. I bought that first after watching a lagless 720p recording setup with the popular Hauppauge PVR. Unfortunately it didn't work too well when I tried a similar way but using AverMedia Game Capture HD, as the signal kept on disappearing. But I kept it because I still noticed it has a use for a possible 720p Avermedia recording and livestream with a new internal capture card I just ordered.

AnubisGI has been a very useful video technician lately on the SDA forums, even having a sticky topic on how to use EZcap (the easiest, cheapest way of recording any console with basic composite cables). He posted a page of a discovery by Tranquilite who has found a cheaper clone that functions exactly the same as Micomsoft's SC-500N1 card.  It can capture component, HDMI, DVI and VGA. which is pretty cool actually.

Through a series of converters. I can do this

Xbox 360/Wii ->Component cable into > Avermedia Game Capture -> Component Cable into  - > Component to VGA converter box  -> VGA cable into a > VGA to Component converter box

From VGA to Component converter box, it splits into 2 paths
The VGA output to the Monitor
The Component output to the StarTech com Express Video Capture card.

So now I should be able to record a run (via AverMedia Game Capture HD) while live streaming (via Startech Com Express Video Capture card) at the same time without worrying too much on my computer hiccups.

I am hoping something good to happen sometime before or after the release of New Super Mario Brothers 2 in mid August, so stay tuned.

I also started buying some downloadable games on the 3DS thanks to the Anniversary Sale, yep Nintendo are doing something right. Encouraging buyers to pay download only games at a cheaper price. One of the games I've got is Mighty Switch Force, the soundtrack is amazing with headphones and listen to "Track 8 - Woah I'm In Space Cuba" it heavily reminds me of Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'.

Friday, 8 June 2012

E3 2012 Nintendo

So it's been a few days since the Nintendo Conference on Tuesday (UK Night). The big talk was about Wii U and the presentation was a hit and miss most of the time.

What went well:

Pikmin 3: This game was in the talks since 2008 and Shigeru only said last year that Pikmin 3 seems to function much better on Nintendo's new console. This year we finally get to see gameplay footage and there are a good amount of features that makes it different enough from Pikmin 2 such as:

- The introduction of Rock Pikmin,
- Controlling up to 4 leaders
- New camera angles when using the Wii U Gamepad
- Runs at 60 frames per second.
- And many more.

Support from Ubisoft: Unlike the other 3rd Party developers releasing games already out on XBox 360/PS3 such as Batman: Arkham City & Mass Effect 3. Ubisoft had the courage to create new games to take advantage of Wii U's features and put them into good use.
The video below is Rayman Legends coming out on XBox 360, PS3 and Wii U.

New games (timed) exclusive to Wii U includes ZombiiU which also takes advantage of the Wii U Gamepad to simulate how players use survival kit to equip weapons and tools (looking at the Wii U Gamepad screen and not the main TV). Ubisoft's conference received much better reception than the big gaming developers.

Reggie mentions his infamous quote:It's a bit of an insider but back in Summer 2007 where Wii Fit was revealed the first time, he said "My body, my body is ready." which only took off by storm only sometime in June 2010. This year Wii Fit U was revealed (for Wii U of course) and Reggies teases the audience to remember back in 2007 and mentions "My body was ready". Also he mentioned "Speed Run" on New Super Mario Bros U which made the IRC chat on #SDA wild.

New Mario Game for launch:
In the past history when Nintendo launches a new console without Mario, sales figures are not as high during the first six months. 3DS was a famous example as the launch line-up was lacklustre that it had an official price cut in less than 6 months worldwide. So a new Mario game on day one could give Wii U a good start.
However I am not putting this game as high as Pikmin 3 mainly because:
* Nintendo will release 2 New Super Mario Bros games this year:
 New Super Mario Bros 2 for 3DS [August 19th]
 New Super Mario Bros U for Wii U [Nov/Dec 2012]
* NSMB 2 theme is collecting gold coins.... 1 million of them.
* NSMB U notable features involves Flying Squirrels, playable Miis, Boost mode and Miiverse Messages.


What went wrong:

Fitness, dancing and singing games:
Should be banned to be shown during an E3 conference, pointless, boring, filler material.

The lack of first party franchises not relying on the plumber:This year's conference had 4 games featuring Mario/Luigi including:
* New Super Mario Bros 2
* New Super Mario Bros U
* Paper Mario: Sticker Star
* Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

The others includes:
* Pikmin 3
* Game & Wario
* Nintendo Land

Notice the lack of Star Fox, F-Zero and Metroid. F-Zero especially never had a chance to shine during Wii/DS days as its last (Worldwide) appearance was back in 2004. There was also a trend on Twitter saying "No Zelda". Shigeru said that Zelda on Wii U is still researching/experimenting and Skyward Sword took 5 years to develop and was one of Nintendo's biggest projects ever.

But sometimes bad things can lead to good things.... imagine these underused franchises getting a chance revive and shine in E3 2013 like Kid Icarus did back in E3 2010.

Nintendo Land presentation was weak:Nintendo Land is meant to be the 'Wii Sports of Wii U' showing off simple demonstration of the new technology. One mini-game involves 4 players (using Wiimotes) finding an invisible ghost (using Wii U gamepad). The players will win if they nab the ghost and drain the life points to 00 and the ghost will win if it manages to faint all of the human players. While it was a clever idea, the execution was slow paced which tends to bore the audience a bit. I remember the #SDA chat were spamming typical espeak negativity it managed to harden the blow as it was the last game to be shown during the Wii U conference. So basically, the E3 hype meter started off high with Pikmin 3 and it went lower and lower to rock bottom during Nintendo Land.

Death of Wii/DS:Not really a weak point but there was a lack of announcements for Wii/DS, it looks like they will be out of use by 2014, the end of two of the most important consoles in the early years of the 21st century.

Some good games wern't shown during the conference:
There was a few games missing that were shown after the conference where the fans/journalists gets to try out the 'work in progress' version of the newest games available in the booth. One of them was Project P-100 developed by Platinum Games, responsible for the amazing Bayonetta and decent Vanquish, the style seems to resemble Pikmin (controlling loads of mini players) but gameplay and objective is completely different!

Nintendo Meme Moments:
Even if this year was one of Nintendo weaker years it did have memorable moments.

After E3, there was a series of videos on Nintendo's E3 website where Iwata reveals the games in more detail. This is a simple clip that is shown right after Donkey Kong Crash Course minigame on Nintendo Land.

Non Specific Action Figure stole the show as it gained a huge fanbase since the Miiverse feature video was revealed on Monday. Even Iwata approves on Nintendo's Official Youtube page

That's all for now: Greenalink OUT.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Shadow Complex

Well I haven't been posting any new blog entries for a while but this week I haven't been recording any Phantom Hourglass segmented attempts at all... A month ago I was playing Shadow Complex casually as it all started off when a speed runner named TheEnglishMan asked me if it was possible to go through this specific shaft without the double jump for his Freshfile* any%** run. I gave it a go and it took a while to know (location wise) where it was because, back when I recorded a SDA Published run in 2009 I was playing nothing but New Game+*** Any% which only uses less than 20 percent of the entire map. I had no visual idea on the other 80 percent. So as I was live streaming my attempt, I managed to perform what TheEnglishMan thought was impossible (look at the first video player near the bottom of this post). So a few days later after nailing that trick consistently, I decided to record an attempt and I got a time of 50 something minutes, the attempt was rough but I got better and better, heck at one point I even found a new shortcut through some creative thinking, it enabled me to skip 2 more items, saving a whooping 7 minutes (look at the second video player near the bottom of this post). I finished that run in roughly 35 minutes!

Then in early may I was messing around to see if one of the Foam pickups could be obtained before rescuing Claire, there was one spot in particular that looked like it was possible. Unfortunately it wasn't but I did learn something in that session that changed the speed running meta of Shadow Complex completely.

The kind of exploit is unique that you don't get to see in other games, it wasn't a damage boost or corrupting a save file, it's pretty much unique for 2D gameplay with 3D graphics (aka 2.5D) I'll reveal more of it once I receive my HD recording equipment and break some new records of this game!

EDIT: The flash players were messed up (2 very similar videos) so I added a link for one of my videos. I'll update the text later when I have time.

Notes for readers not familiar with speed running terms:

*Fresh file means starting a run with absolutely 0 on every related stat as if you started a new file.

** Any% means completing the game as fast as possible with optional powerups (like the Jet Pack) to complete it even faster.

*** New Game + means starting an new run with your stats brought over from previous playthroughs, in this case having infinite ammo when the player acquire new weapons (Grenade, Foam & Missile) and a room that contain special golden guns to enable the player to use the most powerful weapon much earlier on in the game.

My creative time saver!

The shaft TheEnglishMan asked me to solve.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My very first Japanese import and other stuff.

I rarely buy products from Ebay because of the possible chance that the product ends up a cheap counterfeit.

However on Sunday I decided to have a look on Modded Consoles and imports and this is what I eventually bought in the end.

This product is a refurbished SNES that is modified to support not only 60HZ but also the ability to play American and Japanese games! It had a paint job too with a mixture of blue and golden brown colours. It features LED which happens when you turn on the system. Speaking of which I still need to order a power supply, controller and a SNES game!!

Now this is interesting. This is considered to be my first official Japanese import, the first official US import goes to Wario Ware Twisted on Gameboy Advance I got back in 2006. Now Bare Knuckle 3 is basically the Japanese version of Streets of Rage 3. Unlike the previous 2 entries of the series, this game has some notable differences including:
Extended cutscenes,
female thugs showing a lot more skin,
Easier difficulty overall (Japanese 'Hardest' is way less challenging than American 'Normal').

Click here to find out the full comparison between Japanese's Bare Knuckle 3 and Western's Streets of Rage 3

Now this product is pretty hard to find online and I got it at a reasonable price too, it also came with this product (look at the image below).

The Honeybee adapter, this nifty accessory enables me to play my Megadrive games from Japan (Bare Knuckle 3) to be played on my European Megadrive console. It came with Bare Knuckle 3 and buying both of them individually would cost me ~£20 more.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Awesome Games Done Quick 2012

What a marathon!

I've been following the Speed Demos Archive Charity Marathons since January 2010 and they have come a long way, if you don't believe me look below:
These major marathons took place during January each year.

Classic Games Done Quick
2010 Target: $5,000
2010 Final result : $10,000

Awesome Games Done Quick
2011 Target: $30,000
2011 Final result: $52,000

Awesome Games Done Quick 2012
2012 Target: $50,000
2012 Final result: $147,000

All of these marathons were raising charity for The Prevent Cancer Foundation, The overall earnings from these marathons alone is enough for nearly 10 years of cancer research.

I donated $8.55 this year, $3 was part of the Serious Time T-shirt I purchased online at and $5.55 was part of a chipin donation followed by a comment.

Here is a sample of a live speed run done by Cosmo, a very well known Zelda: Ocarina of Time player. This run had 12,000 viewers watching it live.

Expect another blog post soon.