Author Archives: O.G. Geeks

Borderlands 2 Level Design – An Insider’s View

Concept drawings for Flanksteak, Borderlands 2 NPC, courtesy of Gearbox Software.

Borderlands 2 has been one of our favorite games to blow hours on over the last year.  Seriously, who doesn’t love farming Mick Zaford endlessly for shiny new Maggies?

With all our hours spent on Pandora – almost as many as spent in Tamriel – we’ve developed a genuine fondness for the locales and inhabitants of Gearbox Software’s dysfunctional dystopia.  Naturally, we’re pleased any time that Gearbox gives us a glimpse behind the veil with their “Inside the Box” blog series, posted on their Gearbox community blog.

In this “Inside the Box” article, Gearbox Senior Designer Keith Schuler gives Borderlands 2 fans a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the level design process for the BL2 mission “Hunting the Firehawk.”

Warning, if you’ve not already played Borderlands 2, Keith’s article does contain some major spoilers.  If you’re past the “Hunting the Firehawk” mission, however, you are guaranteed a few AHA! moments while reading Keith’s article.


Have a Moxxi Monday!

Hey Sugar – here’s a little Moxxi love for your Monday.  Enjoy!

Borderlands 2 Cosplay - Mad Moxxi

Enough Moxxi for your Monday, Sugar?

Thanks to Flickr user Erik Estrada for sharing this great Borderlands 2 cosplay. Check out more of Officer Estrada’s fantastic cosplay photography on his Flickr photostream, here.

The Tamriel Beer Garden at PAX East – You’re Invited!

Bethesda's Tamriel Beer Garden Invitation

Invitation to the Tamriel Beer Garden hosted by Bethesda

If you will be lucky enough to attend PAX East this week or are near the city of Boston, check out this sweet invitation to the Tamriel Beer Garden, hosted by the good folks at Bethesda.

The Tamriel Beer Garden will take place on Saturday night, March 23rd, at the Castle Meeting Space in downtown Boston, from 6PM to 11PM; admission is on a first come, first served basis.

According to the BethBlog:

We encourage fans of The Elder Scrolls to gather for themed food and drinks, music, merchants, cool giveaways, and more. And if you didn’t get your PAX tickets before the event sold out, the event will be your first chance to play The Elder Scrolls Online.

This sounds like an amazing event to check out for fans of the Elder Scrolls Series – wish we could attend.

Postcard from Skyrim – The Glare of the Dragon (Wallpaper)

Hey there!  Sorry for not being in touch for a while, but we’ve been busy forging our way through the Rift, slaying ice trolls, frost dragons, you know the drill.  Plus our 4G connection is cr@p in there with all those durn mountains.

In any case, we were thinking of you when we saw this interesting vista  – enjoy.

skyrim wallpaper dragon's glare

Where the h@ll did I put my Oakleys?

Good Morning: Sunrise in Skyrim Wallpaper

Skyrim Sunrise

Nice morning for some fishing.

Click the pic for the wallpaper.  Hope it brightens your day.

Fallout Cosplay – NCR Ranger Combat Armor

Fallout New Vegas NCR Trooper Ayacon 2011

Check out this sweet Fallout: New Vegas cosplay of an New California Republic Ranger in NCR combat armor, shared by Flickr user @MangaChild.
We’re not sure who the cosplayer is, but kudos to them for the great work on the NCR combat armor set.  Thanks to @MangaChild for sharing these great pics.

Fallout New Vegas NCR Trooper Ayacon 2011

Fallout New Vegas NCR Trooper Ayacon 2011

Check out more of @MangaChild’s cosplay photographs at @MangaChild’s Flickr page.

Is Far Cry 3 Really “Skyrim with Guns?” – Our Impressions So Far

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

Sunscreen? Check. Flip-flops? Check. Assault rifle? Check.

Far Cry 3 is like Skyrim with Guns!” has been an oft-repeated quote even prior to this month’s release of Ubisoft’s new open-world, sandbox first person shooter (FPS).  Here’s our brief take on that claim and some of our impressions of Far Cry 3 thus far.

First off, Far Cry 3 (on the PC) is gorgeous.  The island archipelago wherein the story of Far Cry 3 takes place is huge, incredibly detailed, and graphically stunning.  In this sense, the visuals of Far Cry 3 remind us of the immersive graphics of a modded version of Skyrim with visual settings maxed.  As you run about the islands’ hills, rain forests, beaches, and cliffs in first person, you truly feel transported to the tropical world of Far Cry 3.  If you are short on funds for a trip to Fiji or Tahiti this year, playing Far Cry 3 on a solid gaming PC may be the next best thing.

Far Cry 3 Screenshot 2

Grab me another mai-tai when you get a chance, would ya?

We also found some similarity between the sense of wonder and exploration conveyed by the respective huge maps and numerous locales of Far Cry 3 and Skyrim.  It was this sense of untapped opportunity to explore, especially early in the game, that most gave us the sense that Far Cry 3 is “Skyrim with guns.”  Of course, not unlike Skyrim or the Fallout games, your perception of the hugeness of the world of Far Cry 3 diminishes as you do check-off discoveries through the course of the game.  But it’s that early feeling of unending possibilities in Far Cry 3 that most reminds us of Skyrim.

Crafting in Far Cry 3, on the other hand, does not remind us of Skyrim at all, and instead feels somewhat unnecessary and somewhat tacked-on.  Crafting in Skyrim conveys that aforementioned dynamic of “unlimited possibilities” for much longer than the crafting dynamic in Far Cry 3.  For example, in Far Cry 3 you hunt and skin animals to create and upgrade your gear: backpack, wallet, ammo pouch etc., but you can only create and upgrade each item once, and there is no opportunity to sell previously created and no longer needed items.  In Far Cry 3 the crafting dynamic seems completely independent of the in-game economy.  Of course in Skyrim you can play the game as an alchemist who never does anything but hunt for ingredients, create potions, & sell them in the market if you so choose.  In Far Cry 3, once you’ve hunted and crafted the gear you need to carry enough weapons, ammo, and cash, you may as well stop hunting and crafting since loot and related cash proceeds will cover any needs you have far better than crafting.

Far Cry 3 also implements a basic skill tree and points dynamic.  This falls far short of games like Skyrim, however, offering little divergence or variety in the paths the player can assign points to.  In fact, we have largely ignored the skill tree and points during our latest play-through, as they do not seem to add much to the basic FPS dynamics or our enjoyment of the game.

We love the Fallout games (still playing Fallout New Vegas) and feel that they (obviously, since they are all Bethesda games)  better fit the bill of “Skyrim with guns” in large part due to the wonky, somewhat awkward combat dynamics shared by all the Bethesda games.  Far Cry 3, on the other hand, does do an excellent job of incorporating tight and fluid FPS mechanics into its open-world sandbox.  In our opinion, Ubisoft has done an admirable job of joining the fluid FPS combat of a CoD or Battlefield type game into the sprawling open-world map of a Bethesda type game.

So is Far Cry 3Skyrim with guns?”  Not quite, in our opinion, as it lacks the depth of Skyrim on many levels including crafting, player inventory, storage, homes, skill-tree, etc.  That said, however, Ubisoft deserves kudos, in our opinion, for doing an admirable job of bringing the sense of unlimited sandbox possibilities offered by games like Skyrim to the genre of the FPS, perhaps better than it’s ever been done before.  In some ways, Far Cry 3 could be better described as a “tropical island Grand Theft Auto in the first person with C0D-style gunplay.”  But that’s another debate for another time.  What’s your experience with Far Cry 3 been like so far?

Far Cry 3 Screenshot 3

Enjoy this sweet roll, mother****.

Kieran Strange’s New Holiday Song – “Merry Undead Christmas”

Check out our favorite pink-haired Brit singer Kieran Strange’s new Holiday song “Merry Undead Christmas” before the zombies get you too.

By the way, Kieran is straight lethal with candy canes:  consider yourself warned, undead party crashers.

BUY the track:
FOLLOW Kieran on Twitter: @kieranstrange


Some Gorgeous Skyrim Cosplay to Start Your Week

Katsucon Skyrim-1 courtesy of LJinto

‘Nuff. Said.

Katsucon Skyrim-3

Katsucon Skyrim-4


Please check out more of LJinto’s great cosplay work here.

Wing-Tipping: Crazy, Brilliant, British, Bad-Arsedness

Holy cr@p check this out – have you heard of “wing-tipping?” If it sounds like some sort of sophomoric shenanigans perpetrated by young punks, you're not too far off. Only these “punks” were young RAF fighter pilots over the skies of England, circa 1944, and their “shenanigans” involved fighter plans and Nazi V-1 rockets, the earliest cruise missiles… wait, what?

See, back in 1944, following the Allied invasion of Europe via Normandy, Hitler was pretty pissed. In addition to landing at Normandy, the Allies had not only achieved air superiority, but dominance over the skies over Europe. So Hitler was really bent, but lacked a way to strike back at England without his broken Luftwaffe. This led to the development of a host of infamously strange & innovative weapons systems, some which worked better than others. (Research “foo fighters” if you want to explore some real weirdness.)

One of the more successful of these “vengeance” weapons developed by the Nazi mad scientists was the V-1 rocket, which would come to be known as the “buzz bomb” due to the distinctive noise made by the V-1's rudimentary pulse-jet engine. These precursors to the modern cruise missile were launched from the European continent and guided towards London by a basic gyroscopic guidance system. Pretty soon, Hitler's goons were lobbing these terror weapons at England as fast as they could build them, eventually launching nearly 10,000 V-1's.

Needless to say, the Brits were not going to take this abuse from Hitler lying down. They in turn developed a number of crazy countermeasures of their own, including “barrage balloons” with steel cables that were intended to cut the wings of incoming buzz-bombs as they flew by.

Perhaps the craziest of the British countermeasures came to be known as “wing-tipping.” And, yes, it's as freakin' balls-to-the-wall nutso as it sounds. RAF pilots learned from hard experience that shooting down a V-1 would often lead to huge explosions of debris that would damage or take down the RAF interceptor. So, the iron-sacked pilots of the RAF did the only thing they could: they used their own planes to tip the wings of incoming V-1's, hopefully disrupting their gyroscopes, sending them off-course. Wuh?!?

The technique involved the RAF interceptor flying alongside the V-1, carefully lining up his wing within six inches of the Nazi rocket's horizontal stabilizer, and gently “nudging” the V-1 off course by disrupting airflow over the rocket's stabilizer. WTF?!?!

Check out this amazing photo of an RAF plane in the act of “wing-tipping” a V-1 buzz-bomb… freakin' incredible:

This has to be one of the most brilliantly crazy examples of ingenuity and heroism we've ever heard of. In our opinion, the famous Brit slogan of WWII is better stated as “Keep Calm & Carry On Your Giant Balls.” In other words, pure bad-assedness, Brits: we bow down in awe.


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