Monday, January 31, 2011

LBP2 level finally published!

At long last, the second version of this level is complete! I'm trying my best not to monitor the level and just let it sit, but history marks me as an impatient man.

A musical level creation: before and after LBP2

While everyone out there created unique and personal levels when the first Little Big Planet game came out more than 2 years ago, I spent a solid 2 weeks composing my musical tribute to Chrono Trigger. The game's musical tools took a backseat to all the other creation tools established, giving players the "bare bones" in what they could utilize. Limited instrument selection, one-note emitters, and roughly about 2 octaves worth of notes caused many people like me a large amount of grief in composing our favorite melodies.

But what I thought to be a challenging and near-impossible task became one of my most proud achievements in the first game - to create a musical melody to the ending music of Chrono Trigger - To Far Away Times. With only a few edits to the original song and a single different note to accommodate for the higher-octave note, I published my piano-only tribute to the LBP community.

The game's constraints, however, populated my level to such a degree that I could barely fit anything else in it. Decorations were practically non-existent, with the exception of a couple of stars and the earth, and I offered my pixel-rendition of one of the sprites used in the ending sequence as a prize bubble.

As if to answer the struggles of musical composers from the first game, Little Big Planet 2 gave players a midi sequencer, giving players a large group of instruments to use, all fully-scaled. Even better still, the midi-sequencer has its own limit, meaning that you can fully max out your midi sequencer without having to deal with space issues in your main level for creation.

Today, I'm adding the finishing touches to yet another 2 weeks worth of meticulous assembly and scrutinizing detail in my first published level in Little Big Planet 2, again for the same musical tribute. And the difference in construction vastly improved. To give you a sense of this, here's a quick list comparisons between both 2-week projects in LBP1 and LBP2

LBP1 level - (Entire level ETA 2.5 weeks; 2 weeks for song, half week for graphics and decorations)

  • Only instrument used was piano, used sheet music and ear as reference.
  • Scales were ranged to 2-3 octaves, hard to hit really high or low notes.
  • One note per speaker, so chords were 3-4 times the work.
  • Most of song made the cut, some parts were cut due to level constraints.
  • Entire music components made with physical materials, which filled up the level fast.
  • Had barely enough room left to add a pixel creation as a prize at the end.
  • Decorations were sparse, and vehicle was a plain box to propel switch that triggered song.
LBP2 level - (Entire level ETA 2 weeks; 1 week for song, 1 week for graphics and camera work)

  • Composed of 7 different instruments that closely matched the song.
  • Full-scale octaves, so every high and low note was covered.
  • Song was completed in its entirety - nothing was cut.
  • Midi-sequencer had own capacity limit, completely separate from the main level capacity limit.
  • Not only were all graphical components able to fit the level, but all necessary camera work and coordination were configured and setup in the sequencer.
  • Entire level is a cut scene, requires no user interaction to enjoy.
Just from the pictures alone, you can see how much cleaner the format is. Everything is laid out and labeled accordingly, and it's so easy to manage. The final product, when it's done, will speak volumes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Big Planet 2...story finished!!

If you're playing Little Big Planet 2 just as a game, you're missing out on the big picture. While the story mode itself is roughly about 7-8 hrs of gameplay, the levels themselves are so creative that you'll want to play them over and over again in awe. Just think...all the levels that were designed for the game were created with the very same tools at the players' disposal. In a very defiant way, Media Molecule just demonstrated their upgraded toolset with this sequel.

Earning more objects and stickers to use in your own imaginative levels are another incentive to replay the story levels again, especially when some of them require more than one player to achieve.

And even if you're the more reclusive type, there's plenty of levels online by other players that will last you quite some time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Big Planet 2, multiplayer, and counting numbers

It's only been the second day since Little Big Planet 2 came out and there are already some issues with multiplayer. There's no doubt that Media Molecule must have expected a lot of people to not only hop online to play people's level creations, but to simply just play multiplayer. Connectivity issues were a small problem in the first one, so you'd expect some resolution in the sequel. Unfortunately, within the first two days of the game's launch, the LBP servers must be chugging along, trying to accommodate the high load.

My first attempt at allowing someone to join was cut short promptly with a message saying they left only a minute later. Okay, I thought...fair enough. The person probably wanted to play more of the single player mode first. No biggie.

The second attempt, I became the joinee, trying to join into a game. A loading screen appears, and a loading bar as well. Sure, it's gonna take some time, so I'm willing to wait. And wait. And wait. 30 minutes later, and I just restarted my PS3.

The third try (second attempt as joinee) actually went through...up until right before the level started. Then a message suddenly popped up, telling me the leader kicked me off. For a game built to allow random multiplayer, the majority of online players seem quite persistant to play solo.

The fourth attempt (where someone wanted to join me in my level) was probably the longest and most successful (out of these) attempts...but only because they took forever to get into my level. Possibly I passed one of those markers that didn't allow more sackboys in, but I tried to faithfully wait by one of the spawn points for them to arrive, but they never showed.

I want to play with multiple players so bad, Media Molecule! Why won't you let me??

And one more thing....I enjoy how they tell you how many people are currently playing the story mode levels. Progressing further and further to the later levels, you notice the numbers dropping more and if to suggest that people play single player for only a little bit near the beginning. Take that as you will.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Little Big Planet 2 is here!!

It took Media Molecule 2 more months, but Little Big Planet 2 is finally here! Unable to resist a collector's edition, I placed this order back last July - that's how much I looked forward to this game. Let's crack this box open and see all the goods!

For an extra $20, it's not too shabby indeed!

Little Big Planet 2 book (or game) ends:

To be honest, I was slightly disappointed at the bookends, but only because I was expecting too much out of them. The picture made them look more sculpted than static, but I guess that's the quality of the image they used. So, to see them as just cardboard prop-ups made me sigh just a little. The shelf ends themselves, however, are pretty sturdy and are built strong enough to support the falling of any games to one side or the other, so I can't complain. Plus, at least there's some uniqueness in their appearance.

Little Big Planet Sackboy plushie:

This was more impressive than I thought. Maybe because the ones I saw in GameStop were slightly smaller than I remembered, but the plushie in this collector's edition is top-notched. With poseable arms and semi-poseable legs, it's not bad for an extra.

[UPDATE]: As quick as I brought this home, my wife kidnapped him and claimed dibs.

Little Big Planet 2 DLC:

This is where the collector's edition gets its stripes - ALL the DLC from all retailers. This is an extreme incentive over getting the game from one vendor than the other. Why separate all the cool DLC when you can just get all in one set?


Apparently the extra 2 months wasn't enough to catch the misspelling of the word "multiplayer" on the game itself. Though a character that looked like Mutley would be equally as awesome. How 'bout it, Media Molecule?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Big Planet 2 anticipation!

My imagination is bursting off its seams, awaiting the second installment of Little Big Planet! Since its delay from the initial November release date, it's been a long 2 extra months, but the wait will soon be well worth it, I'm sure.

Can't wait for more Stephen Fry voice overs, new tools and gadgets, and a wealth of new community levels just waiting to be created!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow...finished!

Gonna start this new year right to get a bunch of posts out of the way, and what better way to start it on the right foot than declaring another finished game on the board.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a great culmination of what a good 3D Castlevania game can be - all the fast-paced whip action you can get, with the right amount of difficulty without making you pull your hair. Even with the collection-like quests to improve your stats and inventory and the extra trials on the side, all of that is still optional and you can finish the game just fine without trying to be a completionist.

For the record, I completed the game once on the Hard difficulty setting. Sure, I died quite a bit, but every death taught me something new, something I could use to my advantage against enemies.

While I'm certain I'm powerful enough to take on some of the earlier levels with ease, it'll probably be some time before I play this game least until the new DLC is released.