Ever since I first saw artwork from Episode of the Clovers, I just had to play a Littlewitch game in English. And apparently early last year, that wish was granted even though I knew nothing of it!

You’ve never seen a visual novel like this before. I don’t know what happened with Period, a later VN from Littlewitch, because they somehow saw fit to go back to the traditional “text box at the bottom of the screen” thing. What the hell were they thinking? Did they have to abandon something that looked this good? It’s like a freaking comic book! It’s beautiful! It could’ve been Littlewitch’s signature, in addition to Oyari Ashito!

This VN is short and sweet, you’ll be done with it in an afternoon, perfect length to pass a gloomy afternoon. Even the choices are simple and not too numerous: the moelicious Charlotte, the very cute and energetic Juni (who reminds me of my ex in some ways), and Shuhua, whose charms I have yet to find and thus will mention no further.

The stories are grounded in reality, a very prettified version of reality though. If I wasn’t already in Europe myself I’d be chomping at the bit fantasizing about getting my ass over there to study music in such a picturesque setting. Fortunately I’m already over here and I must say, once upon a time I thought all of Europe looked like Quartett. I’m wrong, sadly enough. I would say that Dresden might be a good place to start though. That city is really beautiful.

A word about the sex scenes: Quartett doesn’t have any prose. It’s all dialogue due to its presentation, so the prosy parts in sex scenes really stand out in a bad way. Charlotte’s just came out of nowhere and doesn’t seem to… mesh very well with what was happening before. Juni, though, was wonderful. The visual style is definitely this VN’s strong point, but the thing that propels it to greatness is that it doesn’t neglect the other parts too, like the music (which this is all about), or the story, or the characters. They could probably use a better composer for Charlotte’s song, though. Didn’t quite like the transition between the A and B parts.

I would recommend this to everybody. Gloomy, rainy afternoon? Sit down with this, and come night you’ll be cheerful, all’s right in the world, and Europe is a beautiful place steeped in culture and tradition, not at all a boring urban hell with everybody trying hard to dress like Americans. Signina’s trench coat is beautiful. The streets at night in Quartett are beautiful. Juni is beautiful, and so is Charlotte. A thing of beauty is always a joy to behold.

EDIT: I realized I should also put in a word here about the people who made it all happen: the translators. The translation patch is great, I noticed only one error but I forgot what it was. In all cases the text is transparent and flows easily (it’s dialogue after all). It’s only when the prose in the H-scenes kicks in that you start to feel that something’s wrong… but you can’t fault the translators for that. It’s basically what all good translation projects should be: transparent and out of the way, allowing one to enjoy the game as if it were made in that particular language. And I think they’ve achieved that.

Christmas Upgrade Time!!! not…

Holy shit, has it really been a year since I bought my EVGA GeForce GTX470 for a little over 200EURs? It was a great deal at the time, the GTX470 going from ~350 to a little over 200 was a massive discount – even now, the GTX570 is no lower than 289EURs. The GTX560 Ti is basically as fast as the GTX470, and has less VRAM too.

I must have really played the fuck out of it, haven’t I? Well… actually, in March I played a lot of G Senjou no Maou. Not something you need a GTX470 for. Indeed, even my laptop’s GMA950 could handle this.
eikichi's awesome
eikichi's so awesome
g senjou no maou
g senjou no maou
g senjou no maou

And then I played a lot of Homeworld. A LOT of Homeworld. But I only have this screen to show for it:
I think this must have been on the last level. I’ve spent 3 hours on that level already and I still haven’t cleared it, mostly because the maps are huge, traveling takes a long time, and I was focusing on capturing a few ships to increase my force.

There was also EVE Burst Error. I only spent a few hours on it, but a particular scene interested me. Why does everybody in this scene look like they came from Evangelion? EVE Burst Error predates Eva!
EVE Burst Error

And in between, I spent days and days on Minecraft! Minecraft was sluggish on the integrated 880G (RadeonHD 4250) graphics, but it might have been because I set aside too little VRAM for the integrated GPU. I’ll try it again I tried it with 128MB Sideport + 256MB of system RAM reserved, giving it 384MB of VRAM total, and it was very playable, 45-60fps with fast graphics and normal/far draw distance, Max FPS and Advanced OpenGL off. On the GTX470 it flew like nobody’s business, and the GPU itself didn’t even need to go up to 3D clocks. I found inter-island traveling slow, and I hated getting lost and dying from creepers, so I always built an overhead walkway network, lighted, naturally, so that on the ground every part of it would serve as a giant landmark.

I also played some PCSX2, although not as much as I thought I would. It’s funny, I don’t know why. I thought I would catch up on FFX and FFXII, but instead I ended up playing a lot of Suikoden 5. Suikoden 5 is a really awesome game, it’s too bad they canned the series after this one. I even bought an expensive Xbox 360 Gamepad for PC just to have a nice comfortable PCSX2 experience.

Of course, in the meantime, I leveled up my Borderlands character a lot, played a bit of CoD, played the hell out of Crysis 2, found that Crysis Warhead was much more satisfying than Crysis, had a lot of fun with Deus Ex Human Revolution, tried Leisure Suit Larry 7, played some Metro 2033 (too depressing!), had so much fun with Portal, tried Halo 2 but couldn’t get into it as much as I did with Halo 1 (that was a GODLY game I raped my Geforce 4 Ti4200 and Radeon 9500 Pro with it), and quadrupled my Folding@Home points with the help of my GPU.

Yes, I could have been happy with the integrated 880G graphics, but still the GTX470 was a great investment. But the extra 8GBs of RAM?

Yup, that came in handy too I suppose. This year I have little to no money left, but thanks to a friend and my girlfriend (so cute!), I got into photography.
what I want this year
Yes, if he had money, ritchan would actually buy a 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor prime lens for his F5 rather than spend more money on his computer! Isn’t that an amazing turn of events?

Minecraft & TNT :(

So, I heard you needed a badass computer to simulate massive TNT explosions in Minecraft. So I built this quick and dirty ugly POS in MCEdit:

That’s before I added the redstone wires and repeaters to detonate it. To my surprise, redstone connections fire away instantly. So as soon as I replaced the redstone diode with a redstone repeater, it stopped responding.

Which would’ve been OK as long as it took up some CPU. After all, with a 3.7GHz Phenom II X6 and 12GBs of RAM, CPU time is something I have plenty of. But it’s idling at 0%! WTF?

Ever17 for X360, CLANNAD for PS3

It looks like this generation of consoles is getting a lot of visual novel love. Ever17 is supposedly being remade for the Xbox 360. Seeing Tsugumi in 720p makes me cum lots and lots of love for her…

And CLANNAD is coming to the PS3. Don’t really care about that, I still have yet to start White Album PS3. Not that I spend much time gaming these days… it’s sad that when I have the means to hog a PS3 60GB, a lovely gaming PC, and a PSP, I rarely play any of those and my PS3 sits there doing Folding@Home.

“What just happened?” White Album

When it started out, White Album is great. It’s the only drama anime that doesn’t beat me over the head with foreshadowing, bad guys revealing their plots to the main characters for no reason whatsoever, and incredibly obvious plot twists. The first season even ended with Rina, my favourite character by far (followed by Yayoi) rocking out two venues with full length insert songs and proving that she’s still the queen. And Mugen was a great ending theme. Touya’s thoughts add a lot of depth to what is usually an incomprehensible, opaque protagonist in most harem leads in other series.

But then the second season happened. The best way to describe the ending is comparing it to an amputated limb. Something foreign (like a “yoku dekimashita” medal) was brought in to cover up the fact that there are tons of severed subplots just hanging out of the severed limb, with a neat fadeout to white. And then I get an incomprehensible duet between Yuki and Rina, whose sudden recovery from drinking poison is so complete and instant that she manages to get from the hospital to the event, dress up, and appear just in time for the song, and sing the song with her impeccable voice. Even though Touya only visited her once, with his crocodile tear glands working full time (as is the norm in the second series). All this from a series that I loved for its subtlety and believability.

She was like "WHAT THE FUCK".

Let’s introduce the characters with Touya. At first, he starts off appearing like a normal guy who just happens to have a girlfriend doing well in showbiz he hasn’t met for a long time. Yayoi starts making moves on him, but you know it’s just because of her job, and Touya scrams out of the taxi as fast as he can. He meets the incredibly hot and aggressive (lovely combination, that) Ogata Rina, whose strong-sounding voice actress (Mizuki Nana) looks more like Yuki’s character to be honest. She asks him for his number, and how can he refuse? She says she will get Yuki and him more time together. Then there’s Misaki, who pours out her weakass resolve to him over the phone. Then there’s Akira, who’s jealous that Misaki always relies on Touya even though he never even makes a single move on Misaki. Have I missed anybody? There’s Eiji, who’s weird. Haruka, whose story arc was definitely given a lower priority along with Mizuki Mana’s and Matsuyama Menou’s.

You realize soon enough that it’s all shams and lies. You know Rina definitely isn’t employing Touya just to get him closer to Yuki, as she is so shocked to find that Touya is shagging Yayoi that she immediately asks him out after she finds out (what kind of girl does that!?). You come to know that Misaki is actually a sly and manipulative girl who wrote her play in such a way that it would drive a psychological wedge between Touya and Yuki, thereby giving her just that little bit more leverage to pull him towards herself, but it all falls apart. And she even uses him to further the production of said manipulative play. And you find that Shinozuka Yayoi actually does, for some reason or another, find Touya irresistible, and she’s just using her job as Yuki’s manager to explain this tryst to everyone else. Akira, despite not making a move on Misaki all this time, somehow thinks he has a reason to get pissed at Touya after Misaki confesses, and then subsequently tries to have a relationship with Misaki, with predictable results. We know Haruka is… well actually, it was obvious from the start that she liked him too, but I can’t see a reason why. Anyway he fucked her eventually (he basically fucked everyone except Mana and her mother), so don’t you worry. You find that Eiji is actively trying to ruin his sister’s career in order to promote Yuki’s, which is just… fucked up, really. Good thing Rina shows some backbone and doesn’t take any more bullshit from Eiji, but it’s an uphill battle for her then. Oh yes, I totally forgot about Yuki. She only exists in order to make all of Touya’s conquests immoral. Really. She’s useless. Weak. Over-dependent on a boyfriend that isn’t there for her. At the start of the series, they call each other all the time and miss each other all the time because Touya doesn’t have an answering machine. Then she gives him an answering machine for Christmas. It feels extremely profound that by the end of the series Yuki has no time to listen to Touya’s lies about what he did with girl X, and Touya has no time to listen to whatever Yuki leaves him on the answering machine because he’s too busy shedding tears in order to fuck other girls. Their messages to each other grow trite and generic, a daily ritual of sorts to keep up this sham of a relationship. It’s because of things like this that White Album is a great series.

But as I said, the ending is like an amputated limb. All these plot threads are left dangling, untied. Please tell me that Yuki finally got enough and sawed Touya’s head off like in School Days. At least tell me they broke up. Can we please have at least one girl fall OUT of love with this guy who’s obviously using his tragedies and tears as an excuse to shag all the chicks in his life (seriously, that scene with Yayoi – or the scene with Misaki in his house). Which girl does he end up with? What happened to Rina, and why does she leave Touya when she got her voice back because of him? Did anything significant happen to any of the girls lives as a result of what happened in the plot? Did Menou have to know Touya when he was little? Was Mana even needed? How would Nagase know how to produce a single? What did Eiji leave the country to do? Can someone tell me how the angst at merely throwing a way a fake medal some stranger gave you when you were 5 can lock away one’s memories. Why did Touya give up finding tickets to Yuki’s concert so quickly? Why does Touya hate his dad? What really is going through this guy’s head? I have serious doubts about his characterization in the second season, especially that he is convinced that he is a hindrance to Yuki. Why does everybody have to know each other? Did Misaki actually extort money from Tamaru for getting her pregnant? What was the significance of Rina’s manager and fan also being Yayoi’s stalker? What was the point of pairing him up with Tamaru when it did nothing for his significance to the plot? Why wasn’t Touya’s father dead when Misaki found him, considering that he had collapsed about two episodes before? Could his death possibly have served a better purpose other than to give Touya another chance at knocking Misaki? Did Akira really have to get hit by a car? I mean, nobody really gave a fuck, not even Misaki.

I have no doubt that the original visual novel would have much better endings. If it’s in English, I would play it through to see Rina’s ending. The anime though leaves quite a bitter, strange taste in my mouth. At least I got a new favourite anime character, and an appreciation for Rina’s Character Single and the ending theme Mugen out of the deal. I would still recommend it though, to anybody who only has time for the first season.

EVE Online Incursion Carbon Character Creation

I bought EVE Online for 5 Euros before Christmas because I was under the impression that I could see my character do stuff like this:

Or create my character like this:

Instead all I got was a major letdown. No matter what I made, the characters looked horrible. So I gave up on the idea of making a beautiful woman, and made a guy instead, and made him look like a smart ass Confucius with a smirk.

But on the 18th of January, Incursion 1.1 was finally released. Oh yeah baby. I looked around, and soon determined that the Amarr Ni-Kunni was the only race with a female mesh worth my time.

Just so you know, it took a lot of retries to get a good looking face. As the Japanese figurine sculptors say, “kao wa inochi!” It isn’t perfect, but the Cleopatra-esque hairstyle made a huge difference. All of my friends here in Germany don’t agree though – boobs and ass are all that count apparently. Supposedly you get away with it by smothering an ugly face with a pillow and saying “oh but you made me feel so good” 😀 But I digress. If you want to see the face sculpting, look at the video instead, because I spent way too much time on the sculpting part to care about recording for you guys.
Many times I just quit after tweaking too many things in the character creation system because, well, it’s hard to make a beautiful face, and soon that very judgmental feeling you get lapses into a “eh, whatever, she’ll do” and that just won’t do now will it. Make no mistake, the character creation system has absolutely NO impact on how EVE Online plays out. You still can’t get out of your ship and walk around even though the devs have been working on that idea since at least 2006. The only thing you get out of this is a portrait that you cannot change for the rest of your characters’ lives. But the fact that I can change clothes for my character and tweak the size of her calves and arms is a good sign that eventually we will be able to see our characters walking around.

But still, look at this:

Yup, that’s the sign of a beauty right there – she looks good no matter what clothes she dons. Most of the hard work is done, just choosing a dress now.

I really don’t think she needs pants. It makes her legs look thicker. I tried all the pants. They don’t work.

Come to think of it, aren’t her boobs jutting out a bit too much at this angle? As you can see, the jacket makes her boobs appear much bigger than they really are.

Well I think that looks good, but maybe I’m just being unrealistic here. Can any girls who happen to read this post please tell me if this is unrealistic or not… because I don’t know. But I like it 😀

That shouldn’t be too much to ask. I think.

Anyway put the clothes back on, and I think we have a winner here. Now she looks religious enough to be part of the Amarr. Just imagine her strutting up and down the church aisle…

Lovely hip tweaking options to please your grandma. I don’t pay that much attention to a girl’s ass though. Is that too big?

That looks about right…

OK that’s definitely too big. It looks like a lampshade down there. I’ll have to turn it down a bit.

But still, just look at that. Oh my.

Nope, we’re a religious race here. Gotta stay religious and proper. She still looks good in this office woman outfit anyway.

Before we head off to the photographer’s – a subtle hint of blush to add some vulnerability to our decidedly independent, ferocious looking Cleopatra (why does she remind me of Cleopatra?). I once knew this girl who simply slathered on blush with glitter like there was no tomorrow, I wonder if it would’ve been proper etiquette to point out that it detracted from her looks?

DARN! What do you care EVE, the photo doesn’t go below the chest anyway! Come on!

Well if we’re going to have to wear pants, might as well choose an unobtrusive design.

Yup, that looks nice. I could see her pouring out coffee at an office.

I took lots of portraits, but the one that showcased her the best was just a plain pose that worked very very well indeed. Especially since it followed the rule of thirds.

As you can see, I also took the time to convert my smart ass Confucius with a smirk into a Chinese triad member… I think I really love making characters in general. The only problem is that I want my characters to have a meaning, which means they have to do something other than being created. EVE Online does just that, but doesn’t give much chances to show off my handiwork – hopefully that in-station walking feature gets implemented real soon. With swappable clothing please.

EDIT: The Amarr also have very beautiful ships. They’re symmetric, unlike the Gallente designs. So far I haven’t encountered anything in the least bit religious. I think the race thing is just for show…

G Senjou no Maou English patch is finished!

I didn’t realize it was already over a month since I last visited TLWiki looking for news on Devil on G-String. The English patch came out at Christmastime! Of course, the Chinese patch came out long before then, but reading traditional Chinese gives me a headache. And I don’t want my games to give me headaches. I really am a sad excuse for a Chinese.

But of course my appetite for more games like this is insatiable, even if I never have the time to play them. My latest VN I want to see translated is Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete, which happens to showcase its beautiful art in WIDESCREEN BABY A FUCKING WIDESCREEN VN!!!!

Playing Gran Turismo PSP

Because I’m too cheap to buy Gran Turismo 5 and a driving wheel for my PS3, which in turn needs to be jailbroken in order to spoof its firmware version as 3.50 in order to run the game, because I don’t want to install FW 3.50… I’m playing Gran Turismo PSP. I’m waiting for the GTX 570 to come out so I can see which cards drop in price then and then buy a graphics card instead for the same amount of cash it costs to get me Gran Turismo 5.

Having turned all the driving aids off, I’ve realized that oversteer is a bitch. A real bitch. No wonder I never do so well with my RX-7 – the driving aids hid the truth.

Yosuga no Sora tickles me

Yosuga no Sora started out slowly, with every girl that meets Haruka blushing beet red. I thought this might be a magic show about Haru’s ability to charm every girl who sees him, but I decided to give it some time. Then the maid started complaining about how she would always end up alone at get togethers:

And out of the blue, I see her masturbating, with her parents listening…
making up
well fuck them

At this point I was lolling very hard, but then I saw this:
after the fact
And I immediately felt sorry that I had laughed at all. It was as if I had betrayed her confidence in the viewer.

Yosuga no Sora. I’ll definitely watch the next episode.