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Technology

Java: What A Non-Programmer Needs To Know

Oft-criticised, rarely complimented, Java is very much a love-hate programming language: People absolutely love to hate it. It’s the language I begun with, which wasn’t the easiest choice, but the sheer number of Java jobs out there is simply overwhelming. Is this a language worth knowing, or is it dead on arrival? Oh… did I mention that Java is the language used to program Minecraft and all of the plugins associated with it? I bet that got your attention. Much like Python from two weeks ago, this is a broad, non-technical understanding of what Java is and what you need to know.

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Object Oriented Programming: What A Non-Programmer Needs To Know

We recently did a non-programmers introduction to Python; if you’re interested in learning more about the programming language, I’d heavily recommend you go to check it out as it’s a very soft approach to learning about programming, without the actual need to learn code itself. In the comments of last weeks post however, one of our readers, , asked us if we could do a sort of introduction to OOP, which is a principle that is often used in programming. Considering my first home-taught language was Java, which really is one of the strictest OOP languages I can think of, it’s fair to say I’m relatively experienced in it. I’m no expert, but I’m back once again to give you a non-programmers insight to this programming principle. What is OOP all about and how is it different to other styles of code?

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Python: What A Non-Programmer Needs To Know

Python is an interpreted programming language – For those of you who don’t know what this means, this article is exactly for you. If you do know about Python, but just want to see if your knowledge is up to scratch, then again, this article might well be for you. If you’re a well-versed expert in Python who just wants to check to see if a website got their facts right… I guess this article is for you too – It’s a way to look at Python from a non-programmers perspective and to try to apply the knowledge to learning the basics needed, without it seeming like we’re just stringing words together to make things happen. Although isn’t that what programming is all about..?

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Kickstarter Highlight: Defection #1: Running On Empty

Do you like Sci-Fi?

Do you like graphic novels?

Well then, Sci-Fi fans rejoice as there’s a brand new graphic novel coming to the market, but it needs your help to make it even bigger and better. If you love to help local projects come to life, help this one raise as much money as it can, but before you go and click the button to back this new story, why not check out what they’re offering us and what the prizes are for the campaign. Join us as we do our first Kickstarter Highlight in a very long time!

Click here to go to the Kickstarter Page

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Digital Download vs Physical – What’s Best?

In the current era of video games, we seem to have hit a weird snag. We’re seeing the prices of digital downloads rise whilst the cost of a physical copy is falling – it all seems to make no sense! However, what really is best for consumers? What is the best distribution method for developers and why are we seeing this weird shift in prices? When a physical copy sells for £35 and a digital copy sells for £45, is there a reason to back digital?

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Mad Catz Gone Bankrupt: But Who Were They?

Video game fans from the 90s and beyond will fondly remember the name Mad Catz, for cheap controllers and for arcade sticks that didn’t break your bank (or your parents). They were the controllers and sticks you gave to your friend when they came over as player 2. They were the people who made gaming accessible, rather than a luxury and we will miss them dearly. Sad news passed that they filed for bankruptcy on Friday, so alas, the time has come to shut the door on their peripherals. You’ll still be able to get them for a little while, so grab some while you can. Here’s a reminder of what Mad Catz have done for the games industry and how much we’re going to miss them in the process. We’re going to need a new Mad Catz like company to come and fill this rather sad void…

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Free Video Game Review: Champions Online

Like MMORPGs and Superheroes? Then this mix might be right up your alley, although this isn’t City of Heroes, but it’s made by Cryptic Studios – The developers of said City of Heroes. In my bid to turn people’s attention to free video games that are at least worth a look, I stumbled upon this free-to-play MMO with a heroic touch. So join me and my Superheroic avatar, the almighty… uhh… Timlah. I never said I was a creative sort.


Overview

Developer Cryptic Studios
Platforms PC (Windows), Xbox 360
Windows Release September 2009
Genre Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
Price on Steam £Free

Review

Gameplay

Completing a quest in an area

We’re going to completely forgo the story in this; it’s really hard to judge an MMORPG on a story, as really it’s a mish-mash of many stories. However, if you want to know, you play a hero who has been called to help the city from baddies.

Start the game as one of many different classes, go around and beat up bad guys, claim the rewards. All in the day in the life of a Superhero, right? Well that’s what Champions Online would get you to think, as an MMO built to reward you for being the best hero you can be. Help citizens, fellow heroes, people of interest and more as you combat the evil-doers who have infested Millenium City. Experience, money, skills and much more for those who play long enough.

Don’t be deceived by the above however – It’s a long slog until you’re anywhere near that level of heroics. It’s going to be a game with a lot of grinding, a lot of character progression and a lot of meeting people who don’t know how to get to a quest, so they aimlessly chase after you in a hopes that you know what you’re doing. Then you ask them if they know where they’re going, but they look at you with those big dumb avatar eyes and say “u noob”. People can be so classy at times!

“We’re all looking for that one person who has a clue.” – Kevin Kutlesa

My free ‘aura’. I love it! Sadly you can’t preview before purchase, so if I picked a duff one, that’d have been bad!

So what I’ve learned is that stat allocation is a bit different to a typical MMORPG – You don’t either manually upgrade the stats you want; nor does the game do it all for you. Instead, the game at key points will ask you to upgrade stats you want. This means you’re able to increase your stats even if it’s a stat you don’t necessarily need. This helps those who are making completely free-form champions, which is an option. Meanwhile, I decided to go pretty easy, so I picked a sword-swinging champion who just dishes out the pain. Sadly, he doesn’t have much health, but ho hum, it’s good enough to take on small groups solo!

There’s free auras in the game, allowing you to emit a cool glow. As well as this, you get a travel power. I picked Mach Speed, to move around super fast… However, you can pick flight right from the off. Why didn’t I choose it? I dunno. I was happy with just being super fast and I can tell you – I think I picked the best travel option. Nevermind that though, you go about quests, entering instances of varying toughness. You attack enemies by clicking on them, then pressing 1 for an auto attack (more or less), or other numbers which corresponds with the position of your champions abilities.

Graphics

As always, we believe seeing is believing here on GeekOut. The first thing I noticed is that the game looks pretty good for a free game. Ultimately it won’t blow you away graphically, but it’s entirely non-offensive to look at. In fact the hero creation screen was fantastic! The amount of customisation is truly exceptional, so top marks for the character side of the game. As an aside, within minutes of being in game, I saw someone who made their avatar look exactly like Nightcrawler, so excellent job there. The backgrounds aren’t as detailed, but this doesn’t bug me much… unlike these bug-men in the first area!

Audio

Slightly disappointing, except that opening screen, the music is pretty basic. But then again, would you want music blasting your ears off when playing an MMO? With this said, there’s enough ambiance to keep you sane throughout, so it’s not all bad. With a catchy enough beat, it’s all pretty well done. Just a shame there’s nothing more exciting when in the main cities! Still, there’s enough variety between different instances, that it does just about enough to keep you at least amused.


Overall

Is this a World of Warcraft killer? Oh God no! Is this the MMO to beat all MMOS? Definitely not! But shall I tell you what this game is? Simple, free fun. If you’re unable to afford a monthly price tag on an MMO, this might be a good time killer and a good way to get into the genre. The community seems nice enough, the customisation and the graph settings are excellent and the variety of classes seem varied and interesting. With this said, there are obvious flaws with it, such as the simple gameplay and weird selecting-then-talking mechanic previously discussed. If you’re interested in giving this a whirl, check it out on Steam.

Overall It’s a great fun time sink, exactly what you want from an MMO. I would recommend taking a travelling party with you in the world, but ultimately, you can make some friends on there. It’s a social game with a community who seems half interested in partying up and half entirely disengaged. The latter are probably just there to play a free game mind. Now we take it over to all of you – What do you make of Champions Online? Is this an MMO you would play, or do you think it’s not heroic enough for you? As always, share your thoughts below or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Git – A tale of changing code – Part 1

We have mentioned Source control before and touched a little on just how useful it can be. We also in this previous post said that we would try and issue a little tutorial. This is an attempt to do just that.

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Internet Nostalgia

Ahh for the good old days.

At the age of twenty-seven I already yearn for so many of the more enjoyable aspects of my youth: the old A4 boxes for PC games stuffed with bonus goodies now labelled “collectors edition”; playing Pokemon in between street lights in the back of the car; Angry Beavers.

But there’s plenty I’m glad has changed. I love that I can now see a face in a film and delve into my pocket to find out where I’ve seen that face before, if I’m ever looking for an answer to a question I’m never far from an answer, or that if I need a friend that it’s easier than ever for me to reach one. The internet and mobile technology, give us incredible power to discover and communicate, no need to remain ignorant when the answers are at our fingertips, square debts with friends in seconds when they organise awesome events. (more…)