Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Big Weekend

from Friday at noon till 7:30 tonight I worked 33 1/2 hours. Now granted, only in youth ministry can playing video games with a teenager count as working, but still It was lot of hours to put in during one weekend! It all started on Friday with not eating lunch with students at the high school, they weren't eating because of Planned Famine, and I suffered with them. Then after that I had a meeting with other youth workers and from there I had to get ready for Planned Famine. It went really well. This year for planned famine we combined with two other churches to do it. Between the three churches there were about 45 students, which was really cool. Then this morning, the youth were in charge of the worship service. We had a band from another church (the Corydon Presbyterian church, who was one of the churches we did the famine with) come and play. At this service I gave my first real sermon in front of an entire congregation, and Abigail said I delievered it perfectly, so that was cool. Then at 3:00 pm a teen came over to my apartment and we hung out until youth group. Because this week so was busy Youth Group consisted of hanging out at Dairy Queen, and then I came home. Played video games with Abigail, and typed this.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I have an idea. . .

Yes, I realize that the majority (and it is already a small sample) have no care on this, but I'll post asking for opinions anyway. I had the idea of this summer running an RPG as an outreach and as a way to continue building relationships with students. Now, I know many would think this playing a game like D&D is a bad idea, and I would agree ("what do you mean I can't play a chaotic evil Drow Cleric?") However, my idea was to do an RPG based on the Chronicles of Narnia. Narnia is a perfect setting for an RPG, and the presence of Aslan can keep the game Christ focused. I know that there are at least 3-5 active youth group members who would be into this sort of thing, and there are another 6-8 "fringe" people who come on Fridays and/or Lock-in type events who would like to play. I guess the problem comes in that doing this is going to take a lot of work to put together. All of the nuts and bolts RPG rules for a Narnia game would have to be created, like what kind of racial bonus does a beaver get. (this is assuming that I would just make it a D20 resource and use the base D&D rules, I could make my own game as well). There is also the consideration that a lot of church folk have a bad conotation of the phrase "role playing game" (if they are even familiar with the phrase). I am just at the tail end of a big controversy over Halo, so I don't know if doing something like this would go over well (though if somoene thinks it is a bad idea for teenagers to purposefully expose themselves to tales told in Narnia with overt and direct Christian themes then they are daft). So, like I said most of you probably don't know enough/care enough to have an opinion but I'll ask anyway. Do you think this is an idea worth pursuing or not?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Best Weekend ever

With the exception of a meh Youth group meeting, I can say that this weekend has been awesome. It started on Friday by celbrating Valentine's day a little early. We did this by buying the new Champions of Norrath game, Abigail then took the day off from school and we played it together all day :) Then on Saturday my parents came by which was cool, and then that afternoon I went paintballing again at the same place as last week. This time it was four on four, and really fun. However, Friday was still the best. How many other guys get to celebrate Valentine's day by spending hours hacking through various evil critters with their beloved?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


So apperently I am sick. Monday, I definatly felt sick, though I felt a lot better after my system was purged from vomitting. So I thought on Tuesday I was fine. I ate breakfast and Lunch without problems. Though for some reason I was not hungry until later at night when I ate an egg roll. At about 3 in the morning I saw the egg roll come back the other way. At first I thought it was just a combo of to much pizza and to much stress, now I don't know what is going on. I don't have a temperature. I just have queziness and a problem keeping food down.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Top Ten games I want to see made

So Substitute teaching can be really boring. A lot of it involves giving an assignment and watching kids do said assignment. Fortuantly, I have devised ways to keep them quiet so I don't have any headaches from unruly punks, but I am left bored out of my mind. Sadly, reading while they are working is mostly out of the question because then they think I am not paying attention and try to get away with more stuff. However, I have found I can write what ever I want, because if someone starts talking I make eye-contact with them look at the seating chart, look back at them, and start writing again. This makes them think I am writing evil things about them to the teacher and they stop >:) when in fact I am usually brain storming about something. For instance, I wrote out a submission that I made for a monthly contest for Playstation Magazine called Pitch the Pros. After doing that I also made out a list of nine other games I want to see made, so here they are:

10. Vision Quest It seems that just about every turn based RPG made is in some fantasy world setting. This one would be set in the United States around like 1492. The main character would be an Iriqouis warrior who travels around the U.S. meeting various tribes and recruiting new party members.

9. Mage Knights: Virtual Dungeons: Duel Masters and Yu-gi-oh aleady have versions of their collectible game on the PS2, so why not Mage Knights? It would be really fun, and cost a fraction of what playing the actual game is. Online play would just make it perfect.

8. Magic the Gathering: Same deal as above

7. Star Wars: Sith Dungeons: Star Wars games have existed in just about every genre known to man. However, one genre they have yet to touch is the Diablo II style action RPG. I guess KOTOR is close, but still there is a difference between the two game plays. It would be truly awesome to run around as a Jedi through randomly generated dungeons, killing bad guys by the hundreds and picking up mad loot.

6. Private Eye: I like the whole idea of GTA gameplay, but I don't like the idea of playing a criminal. Someone really needs to make a game where you can do what you want and be a good guy! It would be cool playing a private eye in an open city environment with a gritty noir feeling. There could be a lot of optional cases that could be taken in addition to the main cases, and actual investigation/interrigation skills would be utilized.

5. Boondock Saints: This Foul Mouthed Movie is just begging for a game! It should go the route of Enter the Matrix and have an original story that uses original video footage for cut scenes.

4. City of Darkness: Timesplitters 2 is cool because every level you play a different character. In my opinion the best character was Viola. She wore a minstrel/clown costume and wielded a shotgun. The setting was a 1800's Gothic Paris. This would make a wonderful Zombie blasting, Vampire Hunting, Warlock killing game.

3. Eye Toy: Ninja Sword: One of the main reasons I got the Eyetoy was for a game like this to be made. I want to see a game where I use a plastic sword to hack at enemeis on the screen, as well as block their attacks.

2. Star Wars: Tatics: This is another area Star Wars has not been in yet, but a Star Wars strategy RPG would be awesome! It should be complete with the whole 2D anime-sprite look that just about every strategy RPG has.

1. Napoleon: This is the game I submitted for the contest, and here is the description I sent:
War games have been popular on the console for several

years now. However, wars outside of the 20th century
have yet to be exploited. This is a gap I think
Napoleon can fill perfectly. With a unique blend of
strategy and action, Napoleon would cast the player in
the role of the infamous, short, French general.
Players will make policy decisions that can affect
different areas of the game. Next, they select a
battlefield to their continual conquest of Europe.
Pre-battle the players can choose unit composition,
formation, deployment, and overall strategy. Instead
of commanding from a removed viewpoint players have
the option of playing a common soldier. Standing in a
straight line shooting at another straight line does
not sound exciting, but if the players had to manually
adjust for weapon inaccuracy then some rather tense
moments could be created. In addition, bayonet
charges would be extremely fun, complete with parrying
and basic combo attacks. If infantry is not the
player’s cup of tea they can instead take control of a
cavalry unit and hack through enemy lines, or take
control of an artillery unit and adjust the cannon to
find the perfect shot. Going online, head to head
against another would be general will complete the
package and make for a fully immersive and enjoyable

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Playing the game for real

So it is no secret that shooting games are by far my favorite type. It is also no secret that I can do a fairly good job at holding my own in them. However, today I got a chance to put my virtual skills to the test. One of the teens in the youth group lives on a huge farm and has a paintball gun, as does his brother. So today I went out there and played with them. We had a fairly level playing field because this was the first day any of us had actually shot a paintball gun at anyone, but they were both hunter and they both had camo, while I was wearing blue jeans and gray long sleave shirt that basically broadcast shoot me. Despite that fact, I got shot the least. Here are the following things that I learned from video game and applied

1. Stay High: We were playing on a hill, so I made sure that I was always near the top. This worked well, because I was a lot harder to hit. The two people I was playing against never quite figured this out, because on two occasions I snuck up on somebody by simply walking down hill. The first time I just fired to early, but the second time I totally had the drop on him and I probably would have been able to go for the melee attack to the back of the head, if I hadn't taken one mis-step that he heard, but I fired first and got him.

2. Stay Low: This one I picked up strictly from SOCOM where the game is spent in a pereptual crouch or crawl, however I think it is why I was hit the least, because I was usually firing from a crouched or prone posistion, while the others wer standing up. This was also helpful on the hill because if I dropped, then they couldn't hit me shooting at an upward angle.

3. Cover is important: Yes this is common sense, but it counts

4. Strafe: Yes I really did strafe back and forth to avoid being hit. In my ill-falted stealth kill, I was got in the relative open, so I strafed and it worked (though I did get hit once). However, I didn't jump up and down to avoid being hit.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

My Journey to the Dork Side is now Complete

I was looking at a message board for Star Wars Battlefront. Quickly glancing over the people bragging about how many kills they have and wonderful strategies to exploit. Then I saw a thread asking about Battlefront fan fiction. Instantly, an entire story just popped in my head. Seriously from start to finish it was all there. I decided it would be an absolute crime to waste such a creative burst, so I started writing. It took less than an hour to write this, which really shows it was all there from the beginning. So here it is, my very first ever Fan-Fiction:

Star Wars Battlefront: Skirmish on Naboo

Ash Urland looked out over the verdant field of short grass swaying ever so casually in the gentle breeze. He had only been planetside for four hours and he already had a bad feeling about this. Ash was not typically a pessimist, but from the concealed position he was sitting at behind the long fallen stone column there was not much to feel good about. He and his squad had been deployed to Naboo, the Emperor’s private vacation fortress. The native Gungans had organized a rather effective resistance. However, while the Gungan warriors could tell glorious war stories from the Clone Wars, they were no match for the new prototype dark troopers that could be found on Naboo, which is why he was here. The Gungans requested reinforcements from the Rebel Alliance. The Alliance was already resource strapped and all they could muster was one platoon of infantry with marksman specialists and one under-staffed platoon of vanguard. Ash shrugged to himself, he supposed it was better than still being stationed on Alderaan just waiting for action.

Ash scanned the area again using his electrobinoculars. Before him lay an open field with the remnants of head statues and columns scattered all across it. The Rebel Vanguard was up to his East in a concentration of columns setting a defensive perimeter. “Just in case” the commanding officer told him. Ash hated “Just in cases”. He looked at the forces behind him lying in the grass or crouched up against the ancient statues. The Vanguard, the few gungans, and his forces probably made up about two hundred, two twenty five max. His forces, the thought still seemed odd to Ash. They were not supposed to be his forces, after all his rank was only at sergeant. However, the ambush took care of that. Somehow the Imperial spies of COMPNOR had somehow found about the LZ, and they were ready. Thankfully, the Gungans were able to get the two hundred survivors out and put some distance between them and the pursuing stormtroopers, but not before their equipment vessel was destroyed, dozens of soldiers were slaughtered, and every CO down to Ash was dropped. The secret route the Gungans took through the bog did buy them some time, but the Empire was in pursuit.

Ash sighed. They had no choice they had to move on. “Alright, move out” Ash shouted as he gave the appropriate hand signals. The entire unit of infantry began to move in standard diamond formation across the grass. Of course once they were completely in the open the panicked cry came over the Comlink from the vanguard unit, “Two AT-STs and at least three squads of stormtroopers coming over the hill. Contact is hostile, I repeat contact is hostile.”

Ash cursed to himself and quickly gave the “all-out” command signal, and indicated they should head for the grouping of head statues situated in the center of the field. The entire remainder of the platoon broke formation and ran for the cover as ordered. Ash got behind a limestone head and began barking orders, “Set up a defensive perimeter and keep it tight. Stay under cover and out of the fire of those AT-ST, or. ..”

Ash’s words were cut off by the thundering blast from one of the AT-STs as three soldiers who were a little slow moving were sent flying from the impact of the blast. The Gungan on the ground beside him whimpered “We’sa going to die”. Damn Gungins, they did not always have to state obvious.

Ash’s death wishes to the Gungans were interrupted by a shout from his left coming from one of the marksmen, “Sir, we have hard contact to the West.” Ash quickly looked to the hill to his west and by a fallen pillar he saw Scout Troopers in defensive positions and saw that they were setting up shots with their sniper rifles. The Gungan’s words turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as one of the bolts whizzed by Ash’s head and went through and through the Gungan’s. Ash dropped and laid flat on the ground. This situation went from bad to worse. They were flanked, and with snipers doing the flanking no less. The AT-ST was hammering their position and taking out everyone that was firmly in cover. Ash could only assume the other AT-ST and the stormtroopers were focusing on the vanguard. He just hoped their mines, missile launchers, and wookies could hold back their assault. Ash did some rough math. The vanguard had only reported three squads their were probably more but if there was much more they would have been seen and there could not have been to many more to Ash’s flank. He guessitmated two hundred, but hell for all he knew there was an entire company waiting on the other side of the hill to his north. What he did know for sure is that they were pinned down and were about to be overrun. Ash got out his comlink, he did not care that it was not encrypted or any of that other proper garbage his situation was desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Ash knew there was a secret starfighter base on Naboo’s moon and he was getting help.

“This is the 82nd Planetborne infantry, to bogey base. Bogey base copy.”

A stuffy tech replied, “82nd you are broadcasting over an unsecured channel please cease and desist this activity according to protocol number.. .”

Ash cut him off, “ I do not care about your blasted protocols! Broken lightsaber, I repeat broken lightsaber.”

Ash could almost see the tech’s face turn white from the silence that returned over the comlink. He had probably never expected to hear the code for a rebel unit about to be decimated and requesting all available air support.

A different voice returned over the com-link, “82nd this is bogey one I am already airborne and I heard your cry for help. ETA for your location two minutes.”

Those two minutes for Ash felt more like two decades. He could not do much other than hug the statues around him for cover. The snipers were taking their toll on his unit despite the best efforts of his own Marksman to hold them back. The AT-ST stopped firing. The only thing that meant is that stormtroopers were moving in. He risked a peak and saw sure enough two squads running towards him. The stormtroopers began suppression fire. Ash leveled his weapon at them and pulled the trigger. Both squads and the AT-ST went up in a ball of flames. Ash was about to begin wondering what kind of ammunition he had in this thing when he heard the sonic boom, and then he saw the X-wing flying back up to space before the TIEs were sent after him.

Ash knew this was his chance. He stood up and began running to the snipers, they certainly would not expect an all out attack. Just as they were trained his unit followed him, while the marksman laid down covering fire. Ash pulled the trigger and shot a volley straight into a scout trooper. The scout troopers, while accurate, could not take out the whole unit with their slow loading sniper rifles. They were quickly over-run. Ash saw a squad of stormtroopers with a squad of four darktroopers in the grove at the base of the hill. He gave the hand signal and his unit dropped to the ground and opened fire. The stormtroopers returned fire, but they were outnumbered and being shot at from an elevated position, it was not much but in combat any extra meters gave the advantage. The dark troopers shot off in the air with their jump packs. Ash took one down in mid-flight with a well place shot. Another dark trooper landed just a meter behind Ash. He shot with his lethal blast cannon but Ash leapt and rolled to the side. He quickly dropped a grenade at the dark troopers feet and jumped back, avoiding another blast canon shot. The dark trooper never knew what hit him. The other two dark troopers wrecked havoc on the infantry but the marksman took them out before to much damage was done. As if they were playing out a training exercise, the rebel infantry moved to secure and set up perimeter around the grove at the base of the hill without so much as a peep from Ash. He did not mind, well trained men could function with out an officer anyway. Before Ash could even begin to catch his breath, the vanguard commander came over the comlink, “We have routed the stormtroopers on our side, and taken down the AT-ST. Our defenses held. We will see you at the top of the hill. Ash, led his unit in a charge just in case, but there was nothing to worry about. There was only a squad of stormtroopers left at the top of the hill and they were being attacked from two sides. It rained down blaster and bowcaster fire on them and it was only seconds before the last one fell.

Ash breathed a sigh of relief. The threat was just a small force sent to stop them and let the bigger force behind them catch up. They had fought through a lot better than Ash had hoped. As they headed for the mountains to find a place to set up a base to begin operations, Ash smiled. While two hundred soldiers was not exactly a planet taking force, who knew? With a little luck and the force they might even be able to eventually pull off a successful assault on Theed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Role Reversal

So on any given night that both Abigail and I are home a scene that will occur at some point through the night is Abigail is a the computer and I am playing the PS2, now before we were in different rooms and that was sad, but now that we have moved the PS2 into the same room as the computer we get to betogether both doing something we enjoy and talking about it with each other, and all is right with the world. However, last night was odd. Because I was the one at the computer and Abigail was the one playing the Ps2 online! Every time I have ever gotten Abigail to start enjoying a video game I have posted it because it is one more step in my diabolical goal. The most recent game that Abigail has gotten excited about is World Poker Championship. I have discovered that while she has a hard time remembering what is higher, the girl can play cards. So don't try bluffing her, because you'll lose. Along similar lines I am extremely excited about February 11th. The new Champions of Norrath comes out on the 10th, and Abigail is taking the day off of work so we can play it together all day!!