The Witcher 3: Pretty Pictures, Part 4

Here’s a gallery of 18 HUD-less screenshots I saved while playing Blood and Wine – the last expansion pack for The Witcher 3. They are all from the new zone called Toussaint.

There should be virtually no spoilers in these screenshots – it’s mostly just Geralt and nature.

UPDATE: Since the creation of this blog post I’ve finished the expansion, saving another batch of HUD-less screenshots. I’ve overhauled the gallery with better screenshots – only four of the original ones remain.

I’ve used a Jetpack plug-in for WordPress to show the gallery in a nicely tiled manner. If you’re reading this in an RSS feed, open the blog post in a new tab in order to browse the screenshots in a viewer.

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

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Developer: CD Projekt RED | Released: 2016 | Genre: RPG, Third Person

I had a vacation between Christmas and New Year and I managed to complete the main story of the second and last expansion pack. I was invited to a new zone by a couple of noble knights in shining armor. The new zone had a different color palette, more vibrant and saturated, and the buildings looked like something from the southern part of Europe. But to be honest it didn’t really feel all that different. The dungeons, the caves and even the big town felt like it could just as easily have been part of the main game.

At least the people there were much friendlier towards Geralt. No more spitting as I passed by.

Screenshot

The second expansion followed the trend of a harder difficulty that the first expansion introduced. I was particularly miffed at the spewing plant monsters that spawned around a monster area, confusing me with bubbling pods and forcing me to run around all over the place. Sometimes I avoided a spot in the distance because I could see those pesky plants warming up for a fight. Some of the vampire enemies, especially the naked ladies, were also a bit too tough for my liking.

Quote of the Past

I think the most likely issue is that while there just has to be other life of varying intelligences around the universe given the sheer number of galaxies and stars, the odds of intelligence popping up at the same time are somewhat astronomical.

Our planet’s been around for 4.5 billion years. Homo Sapiens have been around for about 200,000 years. We just started using radio for less than 150 years. There’s a not-negligible chance we may wipe out our own species with engineered disease or war in the next hundred years or so if we don’t get some backup humans off-planet. (Thanks, religious fanatics with modern weapons!) So that’s a mighty short window to broadcast to another civilization.

If you look at history as a 24-hour day, even if two species pop up a couple of seconds from each other, they’ll likely miss the window to communicate with each other.

The only way contact is likely is if intelligent species can survive in a technological era for many thousands of years. That’s going to require other species to be a lot more reasonable than ours is proven itself to be so far.DennyA, Quarter to Three Forums

The Early AdLib and Sound Blaster Music

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This blog post contains my early AdLib music from 1991-93. Most of it are conversions from SID tunes on the Commodore 64. These were painstakingly transferred using a basic converter program, after which I had to spread arpeggio chords into real channel chords since AdLib had three times as many channels as the SID chip did. In some cases I even added a tenth Sound Blaster channel with sampled drums.

The editing was mostly done directly in the assembler listings except for a few of my own test tunes which was done in a prototype music editor that would eventually become EdLib. You won’t need an emulator plugin to play the tunes – they have all been saved as MP3 for easy listening.

The Alibi (AdLib)
March 1992 C64
Converted from Laxity’s original C64 tune. This is the standard AdLib version.

The Alibi (Sound Blaster)
March 1992 C64
Converted from Laxity’s original C64 tune. This version features a tenth channel with digi drums.

Colgate – Title Music
December 1991
Converted from Drax’s original C64 tune composed for the game.

Lollypop AdLib Music

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In 1994, the side-scrolling 2D platform game Lollypop was released for DOS, and in 1995 for Amiga. It was developed by Brain Bug and released by Rainbow Arts, featuring music and sound effects by Vibrants.

lollypop_title_screenlollypop_main_menu

This blog post contains all the AdLib music made for the DOS version, saved as MP3 for easy listening. Most of it was composed by Thomas Mogensen (Drax) and Torben Hansen (Metal) in EdLib.

The peripheral tunes made use of all nine channels that the OPL2 chip supported. However, the level tunes only made use of five to make room for the sound effects in the remaining four channels.

Peripheral tunes

Title Tune
1993-94 Vibrants

Hiscore
1993-94 Vibrants

Congratulations
1993-94 Vibrants

FastTracker II Music by Drax

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Thomas Mogensen, known as Drax in the European C64 demo scene, was known for his many excellent SID tunes there, but he also made more than 180 FastTracker II tunes from 1995 to 2003.

FastTracker II was a popular DOS tracker in the 90’s that used the proprietary XM file format. It employed samples as instruments, played with alphanumeric notes in patterns of typically 64 rows each. Up to 32 channels were possible. I have converted the original XM music to stereo MP3 for easy listening here.

3 Monkeys – 1 Beer!
June 1997 Maniacs of Noise

666
December 1997 Maniacs of Noise
A short sine waveform tune.

A Different Existence
June 2002 Maniacs of Noise

Quote of the Past

Why do most PC gamers like Steam, but dislike Origin?

There’s something to be said for customer consideration and there’s definitely very little of that when you only sell your games on Origin. Steam is the defacto distribution platform on PC and the vast majority of PC gamers use it. Not only that but they enjoy using it. As such, it makes perfect sense to support it (which is why every single publisher does except EA). It’s simply good for customers. It’s also good for business, as your game will receive more exposure and more sales (which is why Ubisoft still sells their games on Steam, even though they have their own digital distribution platform). It’s a win-win situation.

Imagine if every company only sold its products exclusively through its own storefront. Supermarkets, convenience stores, book stores, Amazon… all would cease to exit. Want to buy a box of Cheerios? Sorry, you have to go to your nearest General Mills store. Want some Colgate toothpaste? Check your local Colgate store. Want a new Nvidia video card? Gotta buy direct from Nvidia. Shopping would be a very inconvenient and irritating process. That’s why people don’t like Origin.Jerykk, Blue’s News Commenter, February 2016

My FastTracker II Music

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The contents of this blog post was previously a menu page, but I have since decided to change the menu page into an index of all the blog posts that contain chiptunes and tracker music. Hence this is now a blog post.

In 1995-98, I created 14 official tunes and another 14 unfinished work tunes in FastTracker II.

FastTracker II was a popular DOS tracker in the 90’s that used the proprietary XM file format. It employed samples as instruments, played with alphanumeric notes in patterns of typically 64 rows each. Up to 32 channels were possible. I have converted the original XM music to stereo MP3 for easy listening here.

Acid Jazz
February 1996
This was made in less than three hours without a keyboard.

Ara
March 1996
Originally created in summer 1995 but first finished in March 1996.

Bambi Funk
December 1996
Unfinished work tune. The deep leader from 1:10 was supposed to slide on a lot longer.

Quote of the Past

About achievements in video games:

Achievements aren’t so much player incentive as they are backdoor statistical aggregation. What makes them annoying is because they’re completely superfluous at best and intrusive at worst.

They’re intrusive because the obvious statistic aggregation pops up, ‘hey, you used the jump key!’ forty times in the first couple of hours, as proof to the publisher that, yes, you played the fucking game, and no, you’re not a vegetable.

They’re annoying because the best way to throw you right out of whatever immersion you’re actually getting from a particularly emotional moment in the game is to have a fucking achievement pop up right in the middle of it. “Hey, your good friend just sacrificed himself for the greater cause, 20 points!”

They’re stupid because just going through the list of achievements for a game is a spoiler for just about everything there is to do in that game. Which would you prefer: Discovering some Cool Thing™ on your own or being told that there’s this Cool Thing™ and then having your experience of it ticked off some like some theme park itinerary?

They’re superfluous because if they’re not skinner box shit, they’re things like “find every collectible in the game” and “complete the game on insanity using only your left pinky toe,” where you wouldn’t do them if the game itself wasn’t fun because nobody in the world gives a fuck about your achievements, and if the game was fun you don’t need any extra incentive to play it.Nalano, RPS forums, July 2012

The Witcher 3: Pretty Pictures, Part 3

Here’s a gallery of 14 HUD-less screenshots I saved while playing Hearts of Stone – the first expansion pack for The Witcher 3. Most of them are from the upper right corner of Velen as well as Oxenfurt.

There should be virtually no spoilers in these screenshots – it’s mostly just Geralt and nature.

I’ve used a Jetpack plug-in for WordPress to show the gallery in a nicely tiled manner. If you’re reading this in an RSS feed, open the blog post in a new tab in order to browse the screenshots in a viewer.