Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

Busy Bee

Cripes, it seems like an age since I’ve managed the time to be able to sit down and actually write anything on here… probably because it has been an age.

So, whats been going on… sadly, absolutely zero on VI as I’ve been occupied elsewhere for the past week or so. I’ve managed to cram a fair bit of stuff into the spare time I actually get, and most of it has been to help out a few other folks.

Did a nice spanking new album sleeve for the upcoming Us Versus Them mini album which is due out later this year, as well as revisiting one of my earlier (and frankly, shite) album covers for them. Fuck knows if they’ll use the revisited version, mind – I think it improves on the original and is pretty close to what I wanted to achieve originally, sadly I kinda rushed the first version and it didn’t turn out half as well as I’d hoped – hence having a little bit of a second attempt at it. Course, the albums been available for a year now, so could be a bit late to go tinkering with the covers again. The forthcoming album sleeve, on the other hand, turned out rather spanking – if a bit generic.Still, I had a bit more fun with the back cover and went for some old skool b&w punk stylings. Nice.

In slightly unrelated, but still music-ish news – took part in the YakYak Summer Burn. The idea is simple – you compile a CD’s worth of summery tunes and mail two copies off to different folks, and in return – you get two CD’s of summery good stuff back. Finished compiling mine over the weekend, but due to pretty much existing from the twilight hours onwards for the past few days, still haven’t actually got out to the post office to shift them up, up and away. Should be able to remedy this a bit later.

Thought I’d knock up a piece of artwork to accompany the CD, although it’ll probably be a case of letting someone download the artwork and print it out themselves as when I went to print off copies myself, my printer decided to flash some lights at me menacingly. I’m assuming its out of ink, but knowing my luck – it probably just hates me. Anyway, a sneak preview of the sleeve should be around here somewhere.

The image on the sleeve was concoted from a fractal generated with the excellent Apophysis, spanked out and touched up in Photoshop. Whilst I was at it, had a little play with an image of my own for shits and giggles – a bit of Neon for the background, and another Apophysis generated fractal and some Photoshop tinkering later, and quite pleased with the end result…

I don’t really have much time to chill out with Photoshop and knock up my own stuff, so its a rare treat when I wangle enough time to do so.

Still working on a ruck of graphics for a few people, one of which is almost done – I’ve just been putting off pixelling the rocks for as long as possible because after a short survey of, oooh, 1 other pixel artist – we came to the conclusion that there really isn’t anything more fucking boring than pixelling rocks… except perhaps starfields. Starfields are pretty dull too. Give me spaceships and bug eyed monsters over that twatty dullness anyday. Which is lucky considering whats left for both projects once I get the rocks out of the way is spaceships and bug eyed monsters.

No screenshots yet, I’m afraid. Tis not my place to show em!

Inbetween all this, I’ve began working on the long overdue overhaul of Bag Full Of Wrong, as with a bit of luck – we should finally have some more games forthcoming soon (sadly, VI isn’t on the horizon for a release for a fair while the way things

are going). Not got much done on that yet though as I’m trying to squeeze it in between all the other stuff I’ve got to do and its relatively low priority. More news when I have some.

Oh, and bought a DS on Friday. I’ve had it in my hands for approximately 20 minutes since purchase as Mrs Bob has stolen it for Zookeeper. Bugger.

Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.




Ultra is an absolutely luscious looking homage to one of my favourite games of all time, Tempest. (In case you hadn’t worked that out from the screen shots!) and running in at a bargaintastic price of $10 is a darn near essential purchase for anyone who enjoys an eye monging visual shootfest.

Rather than following the often unfortunate route of attempting to clone Jeff Minters excellent Jag dreamgame, T2k, Ultra harks back in time to the original Atari version and ploughs its own furrow in a line of Tempest homages and variants.

As you might have gathered from the piccies – the first thing that hits you is how fucking beautiful the whole game is to look at – spikes shoot up the web in a blur of particles, the enemies glow and all the while a huge vortex swishes around in the background awaiting for you to clear the level and ride down the web into oblivion and ready for the next stage. Polished would be an ever so slight understatement.

The author throws in a few twists to keep you on your toes – your weaponry increases incrementally as you progress through the game – beginning with a standard plasma beam that whilst still perfectly capable, you’ll be glad to get the power and speed boosts later on. Also thrown in are a couple more powerful weapons, the “side arms” which produce two handy ships on either side of yours for extra firepower (especially useful for mine clearance too) and the Ion Beam. Use wisely though as you only get one shot per web and you don’t want to be caught slacking with spikes zooming up the web and flippers landing at a rate of knots. I won’t spoil just how evil the spikes become from web 15 onwards, but needless to say – it won’t just be the flippers you’ll be concentrating on in Ultra.

Another welcome addition is that of a save game feature (although most of the time, I confess – I keep forgetting its there) so you can take a break and pick up at the start of the web you last saved at. Not quite up there with Gridrunner++ resume best feature for all time great additions to games, but certainly appreciated.

I’m glad to say that most of the control issues I had whilst checking out the beta versions are now pretty much fixed, and congratulations to Rob for making it to a fully fledged release.

So, more eye mongingly beautiful than Tempest1000 and infinitely more playable than Tsunami2010, bloody addictive and cheap. And I *will* get past the 20th web before the end of the night, I will, I will I will! Its a bargain at $10, it really, really is.

Read The2Bears review of Ultra

Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

God, I love particles…

Ok, so it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, but it was fun all the same 🙂