Monthly Archives: July 2010

Improv Everywhere Star Wars Subway

Improvisation group Improv Everywhere stages a Star Wars scene on the New York subway.


ALERT! Urgent incoming messages from the corporate alliance!

World Building

One of my many hobbies is playing pen and paper role playing games, but even more than that, I like to run them. Periodically I wind up filling in for one of our groups regular GM’s (DM if you prefer).

Now for those of you who have never run a game, let me tell you a little secret. It’s a lot of work. First you have to come up with a plot and various hooks to entice the characters. Then you need to flesh out the story, build NPC’s and equip them, and of course, build the world. This is by far the hardest part. Of course, you can always use a preset campaign setting, such as the Forgotten Realms, or Dragonlance, but I find those to be way too limiting. Besides, every player you have has probably read at least some of the tied in novels, giving them a rather unseemly advantage.

I’ll admit that world building is always the part I have the most difficulty with. Specifically, the map making. My first campaign was an unmitigated disaster when I wound up creating much of the world as I went along, making a completely nonsensical mind boggling confusing planet. Granted I was 8, but that lesson stuck with me for most of my GMing career. Of my more current campaigns, 3 of the 4 currently have used preset maps and to some extent worlds.
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ALERT! Incoming Transmission!

TF2 Engineer Update Brings Golden Wrench Drama

Valve’s Team Fortress 2 is in the middle of their Engineer Update, their 9th class update since the game was released back in 2007 and as part of the update they have been giving out 100 golden wrenches supposedly given at random when people craft other items.
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New Muppet Video on Youtube

New Muppet video up on Youtube (which seems to be safe again after the recent shenanigans).

This one features the Swedish chef and even has subtitles (of a sort) available (click the little button on the bottom left to turn them on, the subtitles are funny, so worth it IMO).

The Muppets: Pöpcørn

Japanese Web-based MMO uses Oblivion Images In-game!

Excuse the hyphens.

I’m constantly hearing all of this great news related to gaming and such that happens in Japan, but for some reason it hardly ever seems to show up on the major gaming news sites until well after the fact, if at all, so I figure I’ll start posting some of it to see if there is any interest.

This time a Japanese Web-based (but supposedly developed in China) mmorpg called “Destare” apparently run by a company called Smith & Mobile Japan Inc. (who apparently also develop for some of the big mobile phone companies here in Japan) which was apparently using screenshots directly lifted from Bethesda Softworks’ Oblivion as backgrounds for their game.

This doesn’t appear to be an “inspired by” or based on type of deal, but actually straight lifting of images from Oblivion for use in the game.

Destare rips off Oblivion

This was originally reported on in the game’s forum (site and post in Japanese obviously, screenshot posted below in case the post goes missing or for those who can’t view the text for whatever reason), and then spread around the Japanese gaming blog world back in April. It seems there was a sudden “maintenance” downtime after the post, and the images apparently went missing from the game soon after.

Detail of Destare Forum Post

Loose translation for the Japanese impaired:
The left are screenshots of exploration scenes from the game and the right are the original images from The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.

From top to bottom
The water area is Fort Roedeck
The town is TalosPlaza
And the snow area is Apple-Watch

I asked a friend who was into Oblivion to check for me and he found the original images in an hour.
Seems the final exploration images were changed, but others are still there…

The original screen capture for reference, also hilariously shows a link to the Twitter account of the company’s public relations manager immediately to the left of the post, comedically and sarcastically mentioned in the comments, “I wonder if public relations manager Shimizu is the one who’s going to have to fix it?”
Original Screen Capture of Destare Forum Post

Apparently some other images in the game may have been “borrowed” from other sources as well. Have a look through the Google image results for the game’s name in Japanese.