Now Playing – 4/6/2014

I had a new idea for a blog post series, which I am going to call Now Playing. Occasionally I am going to write blog posts detailing what games I am playing at the time or have played since the last Now Playing update. Sometimes it will be one dedicated game, while other times I will jumping between several games.

Now PlayingI won’t be posting this Now Playing blog series regularly, but just every few months to give you an idea of what games I’m playing at the time. Every few months once I switch to a different set of games, and beat some of the ones I am currently on. Hopefully some of the games I am playing now will introduce you to something you haven’t played yet, or something that sparks your interest.

Currently you will notice I am currently in a major PC mode. My game play moods switch from Console to PC and I do not really favor any over the other. I play all systems, old systems, PC and all handheld systems.  I am an equal opportunity gamer that will play a game regardless of system, always defaulting to whatever console / system seems to have the best version of the game (when it’s a cross platform game).

 

Terraria

This is the primary game on my Now Playing list. Currently I am about 60+ hours into this game, and still going strong. I find myself playing it less and less right now than I was because I started a few other games alongside it.  Anyway, the game itself is very good. It’s a new (almost new) genre that hasn’t yet been fully established. It’s currently drawing interest, and becoming a popular genre. Another game very much like it is Starbound. I haven’t tried that one yet, because it’s in Alpha and keeps clearing peoples data currently.

I highly recommend this game. I am still playing it on-off throughout the next month or two, trying to finish building a giant castle and underground city. Even after 60+ hours I have yet to get even one world in Hard mode.  Highly recommended game.

Skyrim

I have been slowly working through a “Perfect Game” of Skyrim. There has been no real rush or time limit. I have been playing it on the side as/when I am in the mood. I am currently about 40+ hours into what is going to end up being a 500-600 hour game. Every time I beat another game or two, I stop and put some more time into Skyrim (20-30 hours each time I get back into it), slowly crawling myself towards that perfect game.

Sleeping Dogs

This is a great game, which is plagued by errors, bugs, and very horrible controls. Still the overall game play and combat mechanics keep me coming back. I am not entirely sure if I am going to beat (and get a perfect game on this) anytime soon because I am only loosely addicted, but overall it’s a great game. Each time I pick it up I find myself working through a few events, favors, and story missions. Slowly working myself through the game. Still have sessions of slaughtering everyone in my way when I start getting slightly bored. I have to take breaks from it, because it’s not “digging” into my like other games sometimes do, but it’s a great game and I expect to play it through to completion. Overall though, this is the one I am “currently” playing the most out of all the ones I am currently playing.

Just Cause

This is a good game. Graphics are pretty raw, but that’s because it’s an older game.  I am not really “feeling it” right now… so I am kind of, but not, playing it at the moment. I got through the first tutorial mission into the free-form part of the game, made my way through the map doing a few things and getting use to it. Some of the mechanics are not very well built, but the game itself can be very fun.  I don’t see a need for it at the moment while I am working on some of these other games, however… it is in my list and I might end up playing it after I beat a few of these other games.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

This one I am about 19 hours into, and about 70% done with the game. This one is very good, and is one of my primary focuses right now. I have been stuck at one part for a few days, and every time I am in the mood I give it a few tries. Once I clear that part, I can easily finish this game in under a day. Once I beat this one I will be done with it for awhile. Very good game, but under rated, buggy, and overall sloppy mechanics. The game itself though is very fun, and has a very strong strategic element once you really get into it.  I plan on beating this one within this upcoming week if possible.

Overall

That’s about it for now. I have 5-6 more that are downloaded/installed on my PC since I am in a pure PC mood, but none of them I am currently actively playing.  I might release another blog post in 1-2 months detailing what I am playing at that time, and which ones of these I stopped playing by that time.

Note: Any game I have played, I tend to go overboard on getting perfect. So I tend to learn (or can easily learn) anything about that given game. So any questions about any of these games, feel free to load up in the comments.

Now Playing Series

This blog post is part of a series. Here you can find links to the Next post in the series.

Final Fantasy 10 – Thunder Plains – Easy Lightning Dodge

I recently found myself tackling with the lightning dodge mini-game in Final Fantasy 10.  I spent several hours attempting it (like I always do when trying to get a perfect game on Final Fantasy 10).  however, this time I decided to spend some time doing research on this.  So I ran across two things online, that made the overall attempt very easy. One of them made it almost full-proof. To me, it feels just sort of an exploit (albeit a welcome one).

Final Fantasy 10The first thing I found was a very well laid out map, which can be found here: Thunder Plains Map  This map is very detailed. It showed both Northern and Southern Thunder Plains, as well as lightning strikes which details out how many strikes happen in each area subsequently.

Another thing I ended up finally running into was this post: How to dodge lightning bolts  Which also had this video linked to it: Final Fantasy 10 Video

So basically after doing a lot of research, this was the ultimate solution here. I was able to clear the Final Fantasy 10 thunder plains lightning dodging game, without even realizing. I looked at my clock and it was 5:30. I did not even count, I just started doing it. I messed up a few times.  Then it went smooth when I got the rhythm down. I kind of zoned out, and when I looked back at the clock it was 6:08. I figured at that point I must be done, so I headed back to see my numbers, and I was up to 585 lightning dodges.  Very easy and smooth experience.

To get it precise watch the video and see the exact pattern he uses. If you play around a minute and run a little lower than he does but at a diagonal angle you will find a spot that triggers the lightning strike even slightly faster than his video, making it even quicker than that.  Very easy and good technique to use to get you past the annoying lightning dodging mini-game.

Hometown Story – Tips

From playing Hometown Story, there were a few things I figured out how to do that were fairly complicated to get the hang of initially. I didn’t spend too much time on Hometown Story, but enough to figure these things out. More about the game itself can be found here and the game can be found here.

Hometown Story was a good game, and there is a good chance I’ll play it again in the future when the mood strikes.

Hometown Story

Hometown Story: Misc. tips and trick

Getting Married: In Hometown Story the marriage system is a little odd. When you initially get the blue feather, it’ll ask you to make a wish. Don’t. Instead stay in your shop for 2-3 days.  After a few days (around 10:00 A.M. one of the nights) each one of the bachelors/bachelorettes will come into your shop one at a time (in no particular order). Each one of them will propose to you. Say “Yes” to whichever one you want, then it will automatically use the blue feather and allow you to get married. Then the credits will role, and the spouse will be in your shop.

Closing the shop early: Hometown Story doesn’t allow you to close the shop outside it’s normal operational hours. The people will stand at the register awhile before getting mad and leaving (typically about 2-3 hours). An alternative, is to remove all items off the shelves before leaving. That will keep them from standing around angrily, and then leaving.

Upgrading the shop: You have to get both of the twins to move into your town before you can start upgrading. They are both blacksmiths. You would then talk to them, and select request into of the buy option. That will allow you to upgrade your shop. The first update starts at 3,000 gold and requires 10 pieces of wood. Each subsequent upgrade, of course, costs more money and materials.

 

Sonic and Knuckles – Virtual Console – Knuckles Lock On

Sonic and Knuckles is a game my kids recently started playing. I’ve found out a trick to help you do something interesting when using the Wii Virtual Console. I have been a gamer since I was very young. I was gaming through the entire “Sonic” era and played almost every sonic game that existed (as I grew up). Even now I go back and play some of the older games when the mood hits. At the moment both of my kids are in a huge sonic phase and they play a lot of sonic games. Because I’ve been a gamer for so long, it makes it easy for me to help them unlock things that are otherwise tricky to get access to.

Sonic and KnucklesMy kids recently got interested in a game called “Sonic and Knuckles” and they wanted to play it on the Virtual Console inside the WII software.

There is a trick to allow you to play Knuckles in the past game. If you go and also download Sonic 1, 2, and 3 then you can play Knuckles within those games. Basically just go into the game on the Wii Virtual Console, hit the “Select” button, and select which one you are interested in playing. It will reset the game, activate the Lock-On technology, and start it up with the correct game (playing as Knuckles).

It’s a little tricky to get use to, but if you have kids that love Sonic (or you want to play Sonic) then it’s a nice caveat to an already cool feature.

More information on this game can be found here: Sonic and Knuckles’

The virtual console has a great selection of Sonic titles, and it definitely is easier than breaking out the old systems when your in the mood to play it. It can be a little glitchier than the original versions but nothing game breaking and most of them are easily avoidable.

Civilization 4 Basic Tips

Civilization 4 is a very good game, and a lot of time was put into building and testing it. I have recently been putting a lot of time into it and I have all of the expansions (Beyond the Sword and Warlords).  I have been playing one specific game for awhile, and during the time I have been playing, I have learned several tricks of the trade. Some of them are listed below.

Civilization 4 – A Small Checklist

Civilization 4

1. Don’t use Nukes unless you really know what you are doing. They are not as good as in Civilization 5, and they cause permanent relationship damage. In civilization 4 For every nuke you drop on someone, that person gets a -2 to their relationship rating. Anybody that considers them “good friend” will also take a relationship hit.  It’s OK early game, but once you get late game it becomes very hard to retain your game. After several nukes, it starts to affect how often the enemy goes to war with you. On top of that, after nukes are dropped several times, random areas are started to get affected by Global Warming, which causes a lot of damage to cities and surrounding tiles. Basically the minor affect that you get from nuking enemies, is nowhere near worth it for dealing with end-game attacks and relationship issues. There are times when you just need to buckle down and build up because you are unable to get out of war. The more nukes you drop early game, the harder it is to stay out of war late game when it is critical (sometimes) to be able to get built up with units and so forth. Civilization 4 specifically was intended with these mechanics in mind.

2. Accept Vassals early on, when the situation allows you to (assuming they are not enemies with every person on the map).  During my big game, I was refusing vassals throughout the entire game. At least 10 different times I had every small power asking me to become my vassal.  I kept refusing.  Then, late game there were two major civilizations, mine and one other. Somehow those civilizations that asked me to vassal, all suddenly asked him. So I had one civilization that had almost as many cities as me, and a huge military, suddenly obtain almost every civilization on the map as a vassal. So I had myself, another huge civilization that had about 5-6 vassals, and 3 other civilizations on the map. The other 3 never went to war with me, but the other large one constantly started wars because I had mistakenly nuked them two times early game, and treated them like crap. So basically I am up against about 70% of the total map all attacking me at once ,and every time the major civilization starts war, they all start war since they are vassals.  This is making it very hard to build up enough military to expand at this point since all my resources are spent trying to defend.

That’s about it for now. As I get other advice, or thoughts on Civilization 4 I will add them to this blog post.

Skyrim Mods – A collection of some of the better mods out there.

I play a lot of games, obviously..I make it a  habit of writing blog posts about topics that might help others. Generally they are things that take me a lot of time to figure out so it saves other people some time.  I have started Skyrim and I am well over 100 hours into the game. I have collected various mods that I have been using since I started playing. Some I added early, some were added later in the game..but I have played extensively (for the most part) with them and some of the ones that I use come highly recommended.

So the current mods I have installed are listed below, each in their own section with respective links…as well as my thoughts and personal notes about each one.

Before we start, please note that currently I am using NMM to download and install ALL of my mods for Skyrim. They recently had some issues and went down for a few days, they are still working on ironing out some of the issues but for the most part they are all ironed out.

Let’s begin, the NMM you want to download is located here: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/modmanager/?

I am starting to use this site as my main modding site for both downloading mods and building/uploading mods. The NMM only works with certain games, but they are working on adding more game support on a regular and consistent basis.

The mods I recommend below were all installed and managed via NMM, which is highly recommended. I have had nothing but a wonderful experience using the program so far.

Official Patches and DLC

1. Dawnguard
2. Hearthfire
3. Dragonborn
4. High Resolution Texture Pack

These are simply the official released content (I did not list Fall of the space core because I don’t personally use it..but you can if you want).  These are simple included in the Steam legendary edition anyway…So not hard to get, I don’t remember if the texture pack came installed or you had to install it separate..I don’t remember that.

Unofficial Patches and Fixes

The following mods are for misc patches and fixes:

1. Skyrim Misc Patches Collection – SMPC – SMPC http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23833/?
2. Unofficial Dawnguard Patch – Unofficial Dawnguard Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23491/?
3. Unofficial Dragonborn Patch – Unofficial Dragonborn Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31083/?
4. Unofficial Hearthfire Patch – Unofficial Hearthfire Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25127/?
5. Unofficial High Resolution Patch – Unofficial High Resolution Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31255/?
6. Unofficial Skyrim Patch – Unofficial Skyrim Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19/?

The game is VERY buggy by itself. All of these patches help to fix the crap out of Skyrim and that’s all they do..fix errors, issues, bad references, messed up conversations, broken questions and so forth. If you don’t use ANY other mods whatsoever, I still highly recommend these..it will greatly improve your Skyrim experience.

UI Overall and options configuration menu

Before downloading ANY other mod, download SkyUI here: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?

This actually redoes the UI in a nice way, but more importantly this has the only mod management mod built into it that allows other mod configuration options to tap into it. Almost all major mods are supported and almost every mod on this list has all of it’s configuration options built into this small mod that is built into SkyUI. From what I can tell the mod configuration feature is not standalone and is ONLY found within the SKyUI mod. Highly recommended.

Misc Mods

1. Run for your lives – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23906/? Very basic mod. NPC’s run and hide in their houses when dragons come, helps to keep the NPC’s from dying. I think this one is glitchy or having trouble working though…I recall it not really working, but I still haven’t uninstalled it..I may check later and make sure, and perhaps tweak it to work if it doesn’t.

2. Realistic Needs and Diseases – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/26228/?– Highly recommended. I am running it out of the box settings.  The only setting I changed was the sound affects of the yawning and so forth..but this makes the game much more realistic without being overly annoying.

3. Dynamic Time Scale – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10594/? – High recommended especially with the Realistic Needs and Diseases…it slows down time at intervals and makes the game MUCH more realistic.

4. A Matter of Time – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/44091/? – Just simply shows what time/date it is in game in a nicely laid out UI added to your HUD. Very simple and easy to use/configure.

5. Smart Cast – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/43123/? – Redoes a lot of the casting systems and works very well. High recommended and also has several multi-cast options and presets as well.

Bigger and Higher End Mods

1. The Dawnspire – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/20751/? – One of the best housing mods in the game. I use it all the time. It allows void storage features which let’s you dump ALL your items into one place, then it auto sorts them throughout the house..even has a spell so you can link up to void storage anytime you want..I never have to run back anymore I just throw my stuff all into Void Storage via the spell and sort it out back at my house when I am ready. It auto-sorts everything and has more features than it knows what to do with.

2. Vilja in Skyrim – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/26393/? A companion, and one of the best ones on the market from what I can tell. This is the one I have used the entire game, and it was very well put together. The voice acting is weak at times but it is still a VERY good mod.

3. Blaze of Eventide – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25097/? One of the best mount mods I have found and the mod has a lot of great features. I ride him everywhere and have not ran into any problems with it so far.

4. Phenderix Magic Evolved – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/5898/? Adds a guy in various cities that allows you to buy a lot of really cool spells. Pretty good spells at that. Definitely worth getting.

5. Falskaar – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/37994/? – A college student who tried to get the developers attention..he finally got hired by Bungie. He created this continent/quest mod and it is one of the best and highest rated content mods created. He even got hired by Bungie because of making this mod, which was his sole reason for making it. Very good mod and definitely worth the download. This is content I would even pay for it’s so good.

6. Halls of Dovahndor – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25448/? – A house. A very large house with good features. You cannot access it until much later in the game. I haven’t been to it yet, but It had a lot of endorsements and seems like a very good mod. I am definitely going to use the house as a secondary living area when I get to that point in the game (nowhere near that point in my current save file).

In Closing

As I come up with other mods that I download/use I will post about them here, and continue to leave feedback about mods that I consider must haves for Skyrim. Thanks for reading. Any questions, concerns or recommendations feel free to throw them in the comments. I always respond and will even update the blog post with contributions.

Thanks!

Netherworld 2013 My Experiences

A post about Netherworld… I know it’s a little delayed, but I had a lot of other personal projects going, and have had this drafted for awhile. I finally got around to finishing it.

For the first time in my entire life I went to a haunted house. Netherworld to be exact. I have a habit (because I am a IT guy) of trying to find the best of the best when I do anything, or work with anyone. In this situation I wanted to find the best haunted house that I could drive to, and I found Netherworld. It was rated number one in Georgia.  My first thoughts were that it wasn’t going to possibly be scary. It was just weird people running around in costumes, I was wrong.

Let’s just go through my entire visit, and you can decide for yourself.

Additional information about netherworld can be found here as well.

Netherworld

Netherworld Parking

Finding Netherworld wasn’t that hard, with the GPS. Parking on the other hand, was a nightmare. It depends mostly on what time you get there. They open the actual haunted house at 7. I think they open the ticket booths a lot sooner. If you come REALLY early, you can get parking inside the Netherworld parking lot. There is very limited parking and they fill up quickly. After that you basically have to drive down the road, and start filling in parking lots. Every single company or parking location down the entire street sells parking, so you need an extra 5-20 dollars in cash just to pay for a parking spot. The later you come, the further down the street you find yourself parking, the more expensive it is, and the further you have to walk. We got there pretty early, had to pay 10.00 for parking and walked close to 3 blocks or better.

People can be seen walking for up to 1-2 miles from parking spots to get there.

Once parking is out of the way and you are on location, then things get started.

Tickets, Lines, and speed passes

Lines are absolutely huge if you have a standard ticket. You buy tickets for 30.00 and they are unlimited use for that night. Then you get in one (of two) lines. Each long is very long, stays long, and overall the later it gets the longer the line stays.  You can bypass the lines if you pay for a speed pass. They are 50.00 and well worth it. I plan on getting those from now on when I go for repeat years. It’s easy to get in/out of the ticket booth but there is a horrible line for each section of the haunted house.

If you don’t mind staying in line then go for it, otherwise (if you have the budget), I recommend the speed passes.

Parking Lot + Gift Shop

The Netherworld parking lot (after dark) is filled with a lot of people running around in really cool costumes. I saw a zombie type dude, a lady that was suppose to be blind with a minion she was following around, and much more. Overall the entire parking lot experience was great. Nothing was too specifically scary in the parking lot but because they ran freeform through the crowds, it’s very easy for them to get the drop on you and startle you out of nowhere. They are specially trained at sneaking up behind people and popping up at the worst possible moment. I got startled more than once definitely. They are all good actors with a good sense of humor, and very good at what they do. It makes the entire parking lot experience a lot more fun.

The gift shop is worth it. The items are pretty expensive, but they are things you can’t really get anywhere else and are almost all Netherworld themed. If you have some extra cash, you can find some cool stuff here but it’s not required to have a good time. You can enjoy the haunting house, parking lot and skip the gift shop altogether and still have a great time. If you do have the funds then most of the items I reviewed seem very high quality. We got a shirt and a jacket from them, and so far the jacket has been very high quality, so was the shirt. Everything there seemed very high quality, but still a little over priced (but what gift shop isn’t).

Haunted Houses

This specific year there were two haunted houses, each with a different theme. All I have to say about this is wow. They were both awesome experiences, both were next to terrifying, and very fast paced. The only thing I don’t like was the line format because you have someone behind you wanting you to keep moving. You can’t slow down for much time to enjoy the sites without someone rushing you, especially if you get someone annoying behind you. The first time I went I had a kid that kept poking me and saying keep moving. I was having a great time but very angry about the aggravation. The second time I went through it was at a better more enjoyable pace. So if you have the wrong people behind you, it really lowers the level of enjoyment overall.

Anyway..the special affects were top notch, the actors playing the various scary monsters were extremely enjoyable and VERY lifelike. They were both really good themes, and really great experiences. There were also several times where various environmental affects actually touched you, and certain affects leave you wondering how they are even humanly possible. There was one point when there was a bridge that really felt like it was going upside down. Even now, I cannot tell if it was really twisting sideways a lot, or if i was all an optical illusion.

Closing

In closing I am 100% sure that I will never miss another year of Netherworld. Every year I plan on going to Netherworld, buying speed passes and having a ball. I recommend anyone with the extra cash and some time on their hands to try Netherworld.  If you had a choice between any of them in Georgia, I would definitely recommend Netherworld haunted house.

Skyrim – Quest Checklist

Well I just recently went back to playing Skyrim..I was 20 hours into a save that I took a break from, so I wanted to try picking it back up again.  Obviously, since I am a perfectionist I needed to come up with a way to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Skyrim is a huge game with a lot of stuff to keep track of. Hence a quest checklist. I went through the guide and created a check list (so to speak) breaking down all the quests and so forth by type. Includes all the main quests, civil war quests, factions quests, side quests and so forth.  It also covers a great deal of “misc only” objectives. Overall it has all the “quests” in the game. I did not include checklists for quests that are in self contained dungeons, and obviously a lot of the misc ones (just in the misc objectives) but overall the core quests throughout the entire game are all included below in a quick, easy to use, easy to fill out checklist.  I might expand on this list later if I decide to add more sections for my own personal list, if I do then I will post it here as well.

This was a personal Skyrim list for personal use, the Status is the only field you have to update. Just clear out “Complete” from the few I have completed, then as you finish them in your game, just mark them Complete. You can copy/paste them directly into a word document, Google Drive, or practically any other type of document.

Any suggestions/requests, feel free to leave comments and I will considering following through on any quests, and obviously if you have any questions about Skyrim feel free to ask those in the comments as well.

Skyrim – Main Quests

Quest Name Status Notes
Unbound Complete
Before The Storm Complete
Bleak Falls Barrow Complete
Dragon Rising Complete
The Way of The Voice
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
A Blade in the Dark
Diplomatic Immunity
A Cornered Rat
Alduin’s Wall
The Throat of the World
Elder Knowledge
Alduin’s Bane
The Fallen
Paarthurnax
Season Unending
The World-Eaters Eyrie
Dragonslayer
Epilogue
Skyrim – The Companions Quests
Quest Name Quest Giver Status Notes
Main: Take up Arms Complete
Main: Proving Honor One of these turns you into werewolf. Be careful once cured you can’t get it again.
Main: The silver Hand One of these turns you into werewolf. Be careful once cured you can’t get it again.
Main: Blood’s Honor
Main: Purity of Revenge
Radiant: Animal Extermination 1 Aela After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Animal Extermination 2 Aela After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Hired Muscle Farkas After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Trouble in Skyrim Farkas Complete After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Family Heirloom Skjor or Vilkas After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Escaped Criminal Skjor or Vilkas After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Rescue Mission Skjor or Vilkas After Take Up Arms
Radiant: Striking The Heart Aela After The Silver Hand, Before Blood’s Honor
Radiant: Stealing Plans Aela After The Silver Hand, Before Blood’s Honor
Radiant: Retrieval Aela After The Silver Hand, Before Blood’s Honor
Radiant: Totems of Hircine Aela After Glory of the Dead
Radiant: Purity Skjor or Vilkas After Glory of the Dead
Radiant: Dragon Seekers Skjor or Vilkas After Glory of the Dead, and main quest A Blade in the Dark

Skyrim –
College of Winterhold
Quest Name Quest Giver Status Notes
Main: First Lessons
Main: Under Saarthal
Main: Hitting the Books
Main: Good Intentions
Main: Revealing The Unseen
Main: Containment
Main: The Staff of Magnus
Main: The Eye of Magnus
Radiant: Rejoining the College N/A Complete First Lessons.
Radiant: Tolfdir’s Alembic Tolfdir Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Out of Balance Drevis Neloren Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: An Enchanted Journey Sergius Turrianus Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Restocking Soul Gems Sergius Turrianus Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Valuable Book Procurement Urag Gro-Shub Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Shalidor’s Insights Urag Gro-Shub Complete First Lessons.
Radiant: The Atronach Forge N/A Complete First Lessons. Complete Ritual Spell Quest Conjurer to unlock full potential. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Forgotten Names N/A Complete First Lessons. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Aftershock Tolfdir Complete The Eye of Magnus.
Radiant: Rogue Wizard Tolfdir Complete The Eye of Magnus.
Arniel’s Endeavors: Part 1 Arniel Gane Complete Under Saarthal.
Arniel’s Endeavors: Part 2 Arniel Gane Complete Part 1.
Arniel’s Endeavors: Part 3 Arniel Gane Complete Part 2 and The Eye of Magnus.
Arniel’s Endeavors: Part 4 Arniel Gane Complete Part 3 and The Eye of Magnus.
Apprentice Radiant: Brelyna’s Practice Relyna Maryan Complete Under Saarthal.
Apprentice Radiant: J’Zargo’s Experiment J’Zargo Complete Under Saarthal.
Apprentice Radiant: Onmund’s Request Onmund Complete Under Saarthal.
Ritual Spell: Destruction Faralda Destruction Skill 90
Ritual Spell: Illusion Drevis Neloren Illusion Skill 90
Ritual Spell: Conjuration Phinis Gestor Conjuration Skill 90
Ritual Spell: Restoration Collete Marence Restoration Skill 90
Ritual Spell: Alteration Tolfdir Alteration Skill 90

Skyrim –
Thieves Guild Quests
Quest Name Quest Giver Status Notes
Main: A Chance Arrangement
Main: Taking Care of Business
Main: Loud and Clear
Main: Meet the Family Shows up in Misc.
Main: Dampened Spirits
Main: Scoundrel’s Folly
Main: Speaking with Silence
Main: Hard Answers
Main: The Pursuit
Main: Trinity Restored
Main: Blindsighted
Main: Darkness Returns
Radiant: No Stone Unturned
Radiant: Reparations Complete Taking Care of Business. Have to get kicked out of the guild to get this one.
Radiant: Moon Sugar Rush Complete Meet the Family. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Armor Exchange Complete Scoundrel’s Folly.  Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: The Litany of Larceny Complete Meet the Family and Finding a Larceny Target in subsequent quest. Shows up in Misc.
Additional Job: The Numbers Job Delvin Mallory Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Fishing Job Delvin Mallory Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Bedlam Job Delvin Mallory Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Burglary Job Vex Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Shill Job Vex Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Sweep Job Vex Complete Meet the Family.
Additional Job: The Heist Job Vex Complete Meet the Family.
City Influence Quest: Silver Lining Complete Meet the Family and 5 additional jobs in Markarth.
City Influence Quest: The Dainty Sload Complete Meet the Family and 5 additional jobs in Solitude.
City Influence Quest: Imitation Amnesty Complete Meet the Family and 5 additional jobs in Whiterun.
City Influence Quest: Summerset Shadows Complete Meet the Family and 5 additional jobs in Windhelm.
City Influence Quest: Under New Management Complete Darkness Returns and all 4 other influence quests.
Skyrim – The Dark Brotherhood Quests
Quest Name Status Notes
Main: Delayed Burial
Main: Innocence Lost
Main: With Friends Like These…
Main Sanctuary
Main: Sentenced To Death
Main: Whispers in the Dark
Main: The Silence has been Broken
Main: Bound Until Death
Main: The Cure for Madness
Main: Recipe for Disaster
Main: To Kill an Empire
Main: Death Incarnate
Main: Hail Sithis!
Side Contract: Kill Narfi Complete Sanctuary. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Ennodius Papius Complete Sanctuary. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Beitild Complete Sanctuary. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Hern Complete first 3 side contracts. Available during Whispers in the Dark. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Lurbuk Complete first 3 side contracts. Available during Whispers in the Dark. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Deekus Complete first 5 side contracts. Available during The Silence has been Broken.  Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Ma’randru-jo Complete first 5 side contracts. Available during The Silence has been Broken.  Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Anoriath Complete first 5 side contracts. Available during The Silence has been Broken.  Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Agnis Complete first 8 side contracts. Available during The Silence has been Broken. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Maluril Complete first 9 side contracts. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Helvard Complete first 9 side contracts. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Side Contract: Kill Safia Complete all previous side contracts. Unavailable during Death Incarnate.
Radiant: Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! Complete Innocents Lost, and kill Astrid.
Radiant: Honor Thy Family Complete With Friends Like These…
Radiant: The Feeble Fortune Complete Breaching Security and earn the bonus. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head Complete Hail Sithis.
Radiant: Welcome to the Brotherhood. Complete Hail Sithis.
Radiant: Cicero’s Return Complete Hail Sithis. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: The Dark Brotherhood Forever Complete Hail Sithis.
Radiant: The Torturer’s Treasure Part 1 Complete Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: The Torturer’s Treasure Part 2 Complete Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: The Torturer’s Treasure Part 3 Complete Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head. Shows up in Misc.
Radiant: The Torturer’s Treasure Part 4 Complete Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head. Shows up in Misc.

Skyrim –
Civil War: Stormcloak Rebellion Quests
Quest Name Status Notes
Main: Joining the Stormcloaks
Main: The Jagged Crown
Main: Message to Whiterun
Main: Battle for Whiterun
Main: Liberation of Skyrim
Main: Rescue from Fort Neugrad
Main: Compelling Tribute
Main: The Battle for Fort Sungard
Main: A False Front
Main: The Battle for Fort Snowhawk
Main: The Battle of Fort Hraggstad
Main: Battle for Solitude

Skyrim –
Civil War: Imperial Legion Quests
Quest Name Status Notes
Main: Joining the Legion
Main: The Jagged Crown
Main: Message to Whiterun
Main: Defense of Whiterun
Main: Reunification of Skyrim
Main: A False Front
Main: The Battle for Fort Dunstad
Main: Compelling Tribute
Main: The Battle for Fort Greenwall
Main: Rescue from Fort Kastav
Main: The Battle for Fort Arnol
Main: Battle for Windhelm

Skyrim –
Daedric Quests
Quest Name Quest Giver Status Notes
The Black Star Azura
Boethiah’s Calling Boethiah Requires level 30.
A Daedra’s Best Friend Clavicus Vile Requires level 10.
Discerning the Transmundane Hermaeus Mora Requires level 15 to begin blood harvest.
Ill Met By Moonlight Hircine
The Cursed Tribe Malacath Requires level 9.
Pieces of the Past Mehrunes Dagon Requires level 20.
The Whispering Door Mephala Requires level 20. Requires main quest completion Dragon Rising.
The Break of Dawn Meridia Requires level 12
The House of Horrors Malag Bal
The Taste of Death Namira
Thieves Guild Quests Nocturnal
The Only Cure Peryite Requires level 10.
A Night to Remember Sanguine Requires level 14.
The Mind of Madness Sheogorath
Waking Nightmare Vaermina Requires level 14.

Skyrim –
Minor Faction Quests
Quest Name Faction Name Status Notes
Word Wall Revelations The Greybeards Requires main quest completion The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Shows up in Misc.
Meditations on Words of Power The Greybeards Requires main quest completion The Throat of the World. Shows up in Misc.
Rebuilding the Blades The Blades Requires main quest completion Alduin’s Wall. Shows up in Misc.
Dragon Hunting The Blades Requires main quest completion Alduin’s Wall. Shows up in Misc.
Dragonslayer’s Blessing The Blades Requires main quest completion Alduin’s Wall. Shows up in Misc.
Dragon Research The Blades Requires main quest completion Alduin’s Wall. Shows up in Misc.
Tending the Flames The Bards College
Finn’s Lute The Bards College Requires completion of Tending The Flames.
Pantea’s Flute The Bards College Requires completion of Tending The Flames.
Rjorn’s Drum The Bards College Requires completion of Tending The Flames.
The Heart of Dibella Temple Quests Related settlement Markarth. Related divine Dibella.
The Blessings of Nature Temple Quests Related settlement Whiterun. Related divine Kynareth.
The Book of Love Temple Quests Related settlement Riften. Related divine Mara.
The Bands of Matrimony Temple Quests Related settlement Riften. Related divine Mara. This is the quest involving getting married. You can only get married one time, and make sure it’s the right person that I want to marry in-game long term.

Skyrim –
Side Quests
Quest Name Region Status Notes
Blood on the Ice Windhelm Enter and exit Windhelm 4 times.
Forbidden Legend
The Foresworn Conspiracy Markarth
No One Escapes Cidhna Mine Markarth Complete The Foresworn Conspiracy
The Golden Claw Riverwood
In my Time of Need Whiterun Complete main quest Dragon Rising.
Kyne’s Sacred Trials
Laid to Rest Marthal
Light’s Out Solitude
The Man Who Cried Wolf Solitude
The Wolf Queen Awakened Solitude Complete The Man Who Cried Wolf.
Missing in Action Whiterun Enter and exit any of the buildings near the market in Whiterun.
Promises to Keep Riften
A return to your roots Blackreach Begin daedric quest Discerning the Transmundane.
Rise in the East Windhelm
Rising at Dawn Marthal Contract Vampirism.
Unfathomable Depths Riften
The White Phial Windhelm
Repairing the Phial Windhelm Three days after completion both main quest The Throat of the World and side quest The White Phial.
Captured Critters Shows up in Misc.
The Forgemaster’s Fingers Orc Strongholds Non-Orc Race.
The Great Skyrim Treasure Hunt Shows up in Misc.
Masks of the Dragon Priests Numerous pre-requisites (see quests walkthrough).  Shows up in Misc.

Best Movies I’ve seen I Have Ever Seen

I play a lot of video games, but sometimes I get in the mood to watch movies or television shows. I’ve watched a lot in my time. This blog post is intended to highlight some of the best movies and television shows I’ve seen, to date.

I tried to make this all mostly spoiler free, but there might be a few minor ones that crept in there.

Inuyasha

This is actually a television series so it can’t be in the best movies category, but there are several Inuyasha movies as well and they are all rank up there as some of my favorites. Inuyasha is one of my favorite anime’s that were ever created. I have seen all the episodes and all of the movies. It is a very good series to get into if you like anime. I recommend just started with episode number 1 in season 1, and just going through them one season at a time. About season 2-4 somewhere around in there, watch the movies.  It is a very good anime that will draw you in very fast. You can buy the DVD’s online but they are like 100.00 per season, at least the last time I looked. So the best bet is to find them online or look around for them. Definitely worth taking the time to watch.

Supernatural

By far the absolute best series I have ever seen in my life. I went all the way through the current season, and i am still watching it on TV every Tuesday.  It is the best series to get into but I do not recommend even considering getting into it mid season or not starting at season 1. You can find them all on Netflix and PSN, and Amazon. IT’s a very popular series, very easy to find, and definitely worth it. The acting in the entire series is great, and I have yet to see a bad episode. Some of them aren’t the highest quality (maybe 3 out of the entire run of seasons) but even those were good episodes.

The two main actors are some of the best I have seen and won multiple awards, and the pairing between the two is perfect.  They are great working together. I also have to say that I have not seen them cast a bad person in the shows. Every single character they introduce they seem to find the perfect actor/actress for…except perhaps in two situations, besides that they pick the best people for the best part and that really helps bring everything together into one of the best TV experiences that I have ever had the pleasure to watch in my life.

Blood Trinity

It’s another anime. It isn’t Inuyasha, but it was definitely good. It had a great story and brought some really good ideas to the table for people that have an imagination.  It is something to definitely think about if you have nothing else to do. It isn’t a very long series so it takes less than a week (if your persistent) to get through the entire series and get it wrapped up, but it’s worth every minute of it.

Limitless

One of the best movies I have seen. I have seen almost every move (almost) that has come out, whether it was in the theatre or on TV. This is one of the best ones, and by the end it really makes you think. The lead actor was perfect for the part and the special affects while they are on the drugs is even better. Seeing how they react once taking the drug. The movie is very good and its highly recommended.  Especially the ending, which will leave you with a huge smile on your face.

Mama

One of my favorite movies, and definitely in the best movies category., with a pretty good plot line and two of the best child actresses I have seen to date. Child actors that actually have a great deal of talent to bring to the table, and together they really brought this movie together into an overall great experience.

White House Down

One of the better action movies. Probably one of the best ones I have seen. Jamie Fox and the other guy do a great job working together as a team. Brings in the right mix of Action/Adventure, and still keeps an air of comedy that only Jamie Fox can pull off. The movie is great from beginning to end, and one of the few movies that literally did not have any slow moments throughout. Highly recommended and definitely worth watching.

The Next Three Days

Ah..this movie holds a special place in my heart. A man’s wife is wrongly convicted of murder, so he goes out of his way to get her back. The entire movie really made me think about a lot of things about life, the justice system, and how screwed up our court system can really be. Makes you wonder how many other people could really be suffering through something similar. I kept telling myself that if it had a bad ending I would hate this movie and never watch it again..so many times it seemed like it was going to drop off at the worst possible time, but the movie came through for me. It was  a great movie, a great ending, and just was one of the most powerful movies that I have seen to date. Probably on the list of one of my top favorite movies of all time.

The Conjuring

Saw it in the theater, and one of the only movies I have seen in the last few years that was actually scary. If you haven’t seen it, then it is urgent that you see it. If your not much into horror movies, this is a whole different style of horror movie and you will still probably like it. Very good movie, VERY good soundtrack, perfectly timed throughout the entire movie to make you jump more than you feel comfortable. It was one of the better ones that I had seen, and one of the only ones that I actually had my eye on when I first saw the advertisements. Everything was perfect from the hype, the marketing, all the way down to the implementation. Definitely recommended.

Final

If I think of any more and/or watch anymore I will post more information about them here.

Grand Theft Auto 5 – Tips and Tricks

I’ve been a hardcore gamer for almost 30 years. One of my favorite series is Grand Theft Auto, especially Grand Theft Auto 5. To top it off, I am also a perfectionist, so I find myself trying to get perfect games in most of the games that I play. Grand Theft Auto 5 being one of them. The purpose for this post is to outline some tips and tricks I’ve uncovered while playing Grand Theft Auto 5. Both online and offline.

Grand Theft Auto 5The game I am going to write about now is the newest Grand Theft Auto installment, which is Grand Theft Auto 5.  I have been playing  (at the time of this first writing) over 100 hours in the game. I am close to 130 hours total, with a pretty good bit of achievements. I have finished all the spaceship parts, under the bridges, submarine pieces, nuclear waste, almost all of the freaks and strangers, bought several of the properties, finished about 75% of the main story missions, and I am currently working on the stunt jumps and some other things. Overall I have gotten a lot done in the game. Over the next few months I will finish the rest and close it out for a perfect game. I am taking a break from it right this minute in an attempt to get some time clocked in Skyrim.  However, I will be going back to it on and off for the next month or two until I complete it, please note that as I play the game in the coming months I might come back and add to/expand to this blog post to add more information.  Let’s get started.

Middle Finger Time

The first thing I have noticed is a fairly simple feature in Grand Theft Auto 5.  If you are in a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle. Set your selected weapon to your fists, and fire. Your weapon will be your middle finger. You can give passer-biers, cars, and pedestrians the middle finger and your character will also throw in some color commentary during that time as well. This elicits an angry response from whoever is on the receiving end of the middle finger.

Most people probably already know this, but I didn’t figure it out until late in the game, so I thought I would mention it.

Helicopter Access

In a minute I am going to talk some about the “Under the Bridge” events in Grand Theft Auto 5, but before we discuss that we need to discuss helicopters…because your going to need one to get that anyway.

Basically the game itself makes it pretty hard to get a helicopter unless you know where to go, what to do, and how to get one. After over 130 hours of game play I have found (and memorized) how to get two different types of helicopters anytime you need.

The image above is the first location.  Directly where the marker is, there is a hospital.  It’s easy to find, just find the lowest interstate heading out of the city. Once there, pinpoint it on your map, I have the location memorized.  If you can’t find it, then go near the area and die and let it re spawn you at the hospital. Once in the area circle the building until you see a ladder going up. Once up there, you will see another ladder going up. Up on that roof is one of the spaceship parts anyway, but besides that are two helicopter pads. 95% of the time there is a large ambulance chopper for you to steal. Quick, easy, and without raising attention. There was only one situation where the helicopter wasn’t there, and I just went down the road and came back, and it re-spawned. Most of the time there are two.
Now to explain how to get the better helicopter. Generally you will first go ahead and get the ambulance chopper explained above (makes it a lot easier to find the next one which also happens to be the best one in the game.
The location listed above is a military base. Fly your other helicopter over it, but out of site until you see a helipad. About 60% of the time a Buzzard will spawn there.  If not, fly down the road, fly back and check again. After checking 3-4 times at the most one should appear, if not be a little patient. So far I have only found armed Buzzards, not sure if unarmed form spawn here. Anyway, by default it’s armed with missiles and machine guns.  It is also the smallest helicopter in the game, which is required for some of the under the bridge events. Some of them can’t be done with the regular sized helicopters.

Under The Bridge

 
I am just going to point out a few of the “aggravating ones” to save you some time on trial and error.  First off the two southern bridges at the bottom of the map are hard to trigger. Basically any bridges that are very close to each other are hard to trigger. If you trigger one bridge, then go under another bridge before the completion message for the first one is over, then it glitches on the second. It’ll either not give credit, or give credit but not update in your menu. Either way go under each bridge one at a time, nice and steady and make sure to give the message from the completion of each one time to complete before moving under the next.  Go slow and deliberate and count to make sure you get each one you go under.
Also, make sure that your helicopter doesn’t touch anything. If it bumps the water, bumps the side of the bridge or anything then it will not normally give you credit. Give it some time to practice and it doesn’t take long to get really good at flying the helicopter around.
The size of the helicopter matters a large chopper like the ambulance one, will do most bridges..but there are at least 5 that seem to require the buzzard. Two of them I am thinking of in specifically that were very complicated and I had to have the buzzard to finally get them to trigger.

Tire Destruction

 
A little fun thing to do on the side. Get a sniper rifle, hide somewhere really good and blow the tires off of passing vehicles. Just something fun to help pass the time when you don’t feel like doing anything else. It also greatly improves your aim by hitting a moving target that is such a small target to hit. Just a way to practice some without having to be in the shooting range.

Sewer Escape

 

The exactly entry/exit points for the sewer can be seen here: http://gtaforums.com/topic/606124-where-are-the-sewers/  Basically this unlocks after the first big heist.  The sewers are glitched. The cops never chase you into the sewers. So anytime the cops are on you, and you want to shake them, head into the sewers. Just head to the nearest entrance and go straight into the sewers. This is great for long missions where it forces you to trigger the police, and you can’t seem to shake that 3 star wanted level for you to be able to complete that mission. Perfect for those, and other situations where you want to get away from the cop.

Get The APP

The most important piece of advice I can give you is get the IFruit app from the android market, and several other platforms as well. Anyway, this app has a checklist breakdown of every single quest, collectible, side event and so forth. Use this app/list as you play the game and check stuff off as you complete it and/or find it. I guarantee it’s the easiest way to track yourself to a perfect game and makes keeping up with stuff very easy.

Final

 
As I put more time into the game and continue playing over time, I will add more stuff to this post as I find new stuff and/or think about new stuff.  I am also willing and able to answer pretty much any questions about Grand Theft Auto 5. So if your stuck, need help, have questions or anything just throw them in the comments and I will answer the best I can.