I Attended IEM Oakland!

Hi everybody! I’ve been a bit silent on the blog recently, mostly been working on my first quarter of schoolwork at the UCSC Games & Playable Media Master’s program. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding, and I’ll be updating you all as soon as the quarter ends and I can catch my breath. One of my favorite parts of the program are the other students; they’re all  driven game developers who look out for each other, and love to play board/video games together! Several of them are frequent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, and recently we got the exciting… [Continue Reading]

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The UMP Strikes Back

Recently, I got the chance to play PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, the battle royale simulator that took the entire FPS community by storm and beat King of the Kill at its own game. I played on my friend’s account, and earned a single kill in my first (and as of this writing, only) round: I’m not gonna lie, that’s the reason I’m writing an article about the UMP right now. The Heckler & Koch Universale Maschinenpistole was made to serve as a lighter and cheaper alternative to the equally-famous MP5 sold by the same company. It’s known for being extremely moddable, and perhaps that’s why… [Continue Reading]

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Duels and Dominations

I know a lot of people hate the Domination system in TF2, but it really does strike me as a particularly worthwhile idea I’d have definitely tried were I one of the initial developers of TF2. There’s no better way to teach somebody that they need to beware of specific enemy players, and before the time of cosmetics it was a clever way to differentiate who you’re shooting at by adding characterization to a single notable enemy. In a multiplayer shooter, I think it’s a particularly interesting challenge to try and visually separate the enemies so they don’t all look… [Continue Reading]

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I “hate” Dust2

There are many articles about what makes Dust2 a good map, about what makes it popular, and so on and so forth. However there are also many reasons as to why one would dislike Dust2 and that is what this article is about. Now don’t get me wrong popular maps are usually pretty good right? Unfortunately in a game like CS:GO popularity is also a downside. Because it means even if you add other choices into the mix you will still get the popular map 85-90% of the time. Which means a map like Dust2 is gonna get real stale real… [Continue Reading]

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Tactical Advantages You Can Gain with Weapon Skins

In the spirit of my old series where I cover all sorts of tiny aspects of Team Fortress 2 and the ways you can gain tactical advantages from them, I think the time is ripe to cover one of the more controversial cosmetic elements added to our favorite shooter. Cosmetic weapon skins have slowly spread across the Steam FPS industry like a plague, with Counter-Strike Global Offensive being patient zero, and for the most part their only function is to make an otherwise respectable weapon look garish or possibly badass. But is there a way to use them to your advantage? Of course… [Continue Reading]

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M1014 – The Ubiquitous Shotgun

I’ve written two articles on several guns that make very frequent appearances in games I enjoy playing: The SCAR rifle and the Mac-10 SMG. This almost requires that I write third third article on the final member of the triumvirate: The M1014 shotgun. (We’re not counting the AK47, its popular enough that nobody’s surprised it appears in every game ever). In most games, the M1014 fills the role of the balanced upper-tier shotgun; there’s nothing wrong with it in particular, but some other gun might trump it in certain stats. In the original Counter-Strike, the XM1014 was one of only two shotguns… [Continue Reading]

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Mac-10 & Cheese

Recently I talked about my brother’s primary weapon in his airsoft loadout, the SCAR rifle. His backup weapon is the Mac-10 SMG, which has an equally-illustrious career in video game history: The MAC-10 is an extremely compact submachine gun capable of spraying a truly devastating stream of bullets in a very inaccurate cone. This is not a sharpshooter’s weapon. Because of its high damage and compact frame, it has a reputation for being a criminal weapon, often appearing in the hands of villainous, poor or seedy factions. Left 4 Dead 2 factored this into the weapon’s design according to the developer’s commentary, which… [Continue Reading]

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SCARs of War

As mentioned in this video, I recently moved from Texas to California. This has given me some quality time to reconnect with my family members who live on the West Coast. In particular, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my younger brother, who I have loads of memories growing up with but he was a little young to really remember me. While showing me his hobbies and life focuses, he revealed that he plays airsoft, and showed me his primary weapon: I was pretty surprised that the SCAR rifle found a way to once again sneak into my life,… [Continue Reading]

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Twitch Chat: The Beast with a Billion Faces

The CSGO tournament ESL Cologne 2016 was this week, and despite the fact that each day began at my 1:30am, I’ve been staying up and loving every single day of it. It has all the highs and lows of high-level CSGO play, the shout casters are among the best in the world, and the production quality rivals traditional sports events. And yet somehow, one of my favorite parts of the tournament is the unfiltered meme-spewing echo chambers in the Twitch chat. Ever since Twitch Plays Pokemon introduced the concept of game streaming to me, I’ve spent countless hours watching various… [Continue Reading]

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ESL Cologne 2016 CSGO Grand Finals Today!

In 14 hours, the last teams standing are going to butt heads in the ESL Cologne 2016 grand finals! If you have any motivation to watch top-level CSGO play, this is the time to jump in and watch. Of the 16 teams that originally came to fight for the 1 million dollar grand prize, it’s Team Liquid and SK Gaming who have survived the brackets and move into the illustrious Round 30. Team Liquid has had an amazing run this tournament. Despite getting off to a rocky start (though not without a resounding victory over EnVyUs), including losing pretty handily… [Continue Reading]

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