Onegai Blog II-beta is Here

As hard as it may be to believe you’d see a follow-up post on this blog less than a year apart, let-alone less than a week, you’re seeing it. Your eyes do not deceive you and those were regular mushrooms you had on last night’s pizza. So, here it is, the new site with improved structure regarding categories, correct attribution, and massive clean up. Here are the gritty details.

Change Log:
*. Created a new category structure separating, very clearly, the old owner's posts from the new. This parent category is known as O-Blogive (Onegai Blog Archive) and has more generalised, meaningful child categories.
*. Imposed a new rule of one child category per post (infinite parents).
*. Credited Onegai for all his posts.
*. Re-categorised all old posts under O-Blogive and their respective child categories.
*. Deleted all "Discussion" posts. No real, meaningful comments were made.
*. Deleted repetitive rant posts.

Of course, there’s still a lot more I want to do:

To Do List
*. Update banner. Yes, I'll miss it too, but the site need a new look now.
*. Reorganise pages and page structure (different from posts).
*. Re-format old posts to give them a distinctive style while maintaining a neater appearance.
*. Update outdated information where possible in old posts.
*. Add more external links to sources in old posts.
*. Add a few new posts.

Hopefully this will also start to work out sooner rather than later. For now, I’m pleased at what I’ve achieved.


Everything Has Changed

Some years ago, I accepted the offer of taking on ownership of Onegai Blog (also jokingly known to as “1 guy blog” one-gai-blog). At the time, the author had a lot going on and little time. In fact, he mentioned work and family troubles in the email he sent me and a few other friends he’d elected as possible candidates. He mentioned wanting to just close it. To quote some of his message

…[it’s just one of millions of blogs out there, nobody gives a shit really]…[I wanted to express myself and celebrate geek culture. I somehow got sidetracked and ended up posting a lot of garbage OTT rants about my personal world views, so I failed at the blog’s purpose…if anyone wants to take it over, they take full responsibility for it and everything I’ve posted…It would be nice if I could still write articles now and then and have whoever post them, but this is probably nothing more than a good intention. Maybe I should just close it down]…

I jumped at the opportunity because it seemed like a cool idea and I thought I could promote myself. When I found out I was the only one of the three of us that had shown any interest, I got all excited. I even managed to get the original author excited again. I thought everything was going to be great. Well, it wasn’t. Maybe this blog is cursed because shortly after that, my life got busy and besides neglecting my own sites, I started to actually feel disconnected. By and by, I became too busy and unmotivated to keep this site up, or mine for that matter. At most I managed to reply to and delete a few comments here and there. That was the sum total of my term as CEO of Onegai Blog. Pretty shameful.

Anyway, the world has changed so much since I took on this site and so have I. I still want to live up to all my own expectations, so I am going to start revamping this site over the next few months. I may not post new material but I will be deleting or moving pointless rants. I’ll also be editing existing articles and trying my best to improve them with fact-checking, citations, additional information, etc. I will be restructuring Onegai Blog, too and giving it a facelift (although I really love the banner and it’ll be sad to see it go). I will be generally bettering it. Basically, I want to keep this blog alive because it was a fun place for me and I think there are some valuable articles here.


A New Onegai Blog

Dear fans,

It is with great honor that I have accepted the previous author’s offer to take up the role of owner. This blog will undergo some big changes over the next few months and I will do my best to add far more content while make all existing consistent with a newer, simplified layout. The blog’s focus will also be changing to broaden the scope of topics although the primary target audience of the site — yes, that’s you, my dear otaku — will not be forgotten.

Changes to look forward to:

  • A new layout and possibly uniformity for older posts
  • Plenty of headers to automatically change randomly
  • A new and simpler review system for media
  • Possible inclusion of other topics such as coding, tech, etc
  • Possible reviews on more western media such as cartoons, comics, etc
  • Possibly more focus on music
  • Some possible tutorials on various things from hardware to software
  • Maybe, big maybe, some downloads besides images

So hopefully you’ll all like the new site and it’s new captain.


Cave Story – Review

Originally Posted by Onegai:

Genre(s): Action, 2D platformer, RPG components, non-linear plot

Alternative Name(s): Doukutsu Monogatari

Author: Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya

Platform(s): Windows

Year of Release: 2004

Licence: Free (original version)

Ports: WiiWare, DSiWare, Nintendo 3DS, Linux, Mac OS

Spinoffs: Cave Story+, Cave Story 3D

Cave story was created entirely by “Pixel” over a period of about five years. During this time he created all the graphics, music and code needed to bring his vision to life.

Cave Story’s gameplay is primarily somewhere between Commander Keen and Rockman. That’s jumping, shooting and using the right weapon — for the right enemy those who don’t know what I mean. But above this primary layer exists another, thinner layer of sophistication that one would find in RPGs and adventure game; the old find-that-item-talk-to-that-person routine. This is a good combination as it help break the monotony, integrates the story and gameplay nicely and helps separate the games into more distinctive segments. Though there are some other RPG elements, for the most part, the player must rely almost solely on his/her own dexterity to progress. For this reason, the game boasts some of the most fluid and intuitive controls I’ve come across. Still, for all the good there is some, albeit very little, bad. The game’s flaw lies predominantly in its inconsistent difficulty. While the first part feels a little tough, one soon finds oneself breezing through the game after gaining a rudimentary understanding of the mechanics. Then quite suddenly one reaches the final areas and finds oneself bombarded with handicaps and difficulties that include gauntlets of terrible battles with no save points in between. While this difficulty is actually a positive thing since most games today require nothing more than smashing random buttons to finish, the immense inconsistency almost detracts from the game.  All in all, Cave Story still gets a gold star for being fun enough to play through several times. All in all, I’m giving the gameplay 9/10

Judging 2D graphics is difficult by today’s standards because of all the advantages that come with modern technology. Larger capacity allows a greater number of tiles, more colours and higher resolution graphics. Modern graphics editors, even basic ones, higher productivity rates with quick copy-pasting, flipping, colour adjusting and filters. Still, despite all the available technology, Cave Story keeps it fairly leans and simple, maintaining the retro look. But despite this lean approach, Cave story manages to produce rich and vivid environments with beautifully smooth parallax scrolling. Furthermore, the chibi-style of many of the characters captures their essence perfectly and  is reminiscent of the old Famicom days. At the end of the game, the player is treated to an impressive slide-show of truly amazing pixel art (or is it Pixel-art). My only criticism would be that occasionally, in certain areas, it becomes hard to make out enemies clearly due the complexity of the the background, foreground and characters all working together but against one another. All in all, the graphics deserve an impressive 8/10.

The style of the music and SFX in Cave Story is truly a journey back in time to my childhood. Filled with nostalgia and packing some awesome beats and great synth, Cave Story has one of the most excellent sound tracks I’ve heard in a long time. While the music occasionally not suit the environment, it does for the most part and helps create an intense atmosphere. The compositions themselves are great and pack such a powerful punch that it’s easy to get immersed in the rythm of combat and great tunes well into the early hours of the morning. For this and for originality, for sticking to the style and for fitting the rythm of the gameplay, the game’s soundtrack gets a solid 9/10.

The story itself is by far the most intense, complex and immersive I’ve ever encountered in a one-man indie game. The characters are all rish in subtle detail and exceedingly well-developed. The plot and setting are quite unusual as are the Mimiga race that play such a vital role in the story. This makes the game special and unique to anybody who’s creatively inclined. On top of all the story has to offer is the fact that it is not one but several endings derived from three primary plot-forks the player can follow. While multiple endings can often be seen as as sort of gaming fad, in Cave Story they are as much an essential component to the game as the gameplay itself. Cave Story’s story is in the same league as any AAA game title — better than most in fact — and earns a full thumbs-up rating of 9/10.

Conclusion:Cave Story passes with flying colours at an average of 92% which earns it the A rank it deserves. There’s no wonder that this humble indie title has been ported to so many platforms and and received two commercial remakes. One of the few games that could silence even the most vocal of critics, this game is a must-play.

You can download this game along with the translation here.


Originally Posted by Onegai:

I must once again apologize for my aloofness. Sadly, work is taking a toll not just on my social life but even, would you believe it, on my internet life. But in a world where decent-wage employment is scarce, one take what one can get and one most certainly does not moan about lousy hours, doing other people’s work or having to take work home. I would likely return to freelancing if I could afford it with my medical expenses but currently the company I work at offers me a generous health and dental plan.

In essence, I’m saying that between health and work problems, I doubt I can remain able to keep posting on a regular basis, nor could I answer questions and comments in a timely manner.

I once wanted to just delete the blog but I realized that would just be plain unfair to the readers so I have instead decided to delegate. While I will still post, I’ll be handing over much of the writing to some online acquaintances of mine. Hopefully, they’ll be able to keep everyone entertained in my absence.

Here’s to the new future of this blog.

Software: RPG Toolkit

Originally Posted by Onegai:

Software Name: RPG Toolkit (aka “Toolkit”, aka “Tk”)

Software Type: Game (RPG mainly) Software Development Kit

License: Open Source

Features: Engine & Scripting language, Entity/Map Editors

Scripting Language: RPGCode (C-Based syntax)

Graphics Support: 2D only.

Last Stable Release: 3.1

More Features…

This is a little-known project I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while now because I believe it has potential. Although initially quite unwieldy the project was apparently recoded in C++ in the more recently releases and the scripting language, RPGCode as they call it, has been updated too. Sadly, work on this project seems to have been halted a while back and I haven’t seen many real games being developed using it. This could probably be attributed to Toolkit’s unstable engine/compiler and its terrible battle-menu plugin (Even the new one has major trouble detecting keypresses correctly).

Can I make my silly little dweeby RPG with this? Yes, but you’ll need to to be able to write your own dlls to give Toolkit the functionality it needs unless you’re making something with exceedingly generic mechanics. At the very least you’ll need to be able to program something. It’s not completely drag and drop.

Looking at the features. They’re good. No actually they’re great. You can use the map editor to draw 2D vector lines over a still image to create boundaries as well as creating layers from a single image. You can create event tiles or draw event areas that will trigger pieces of code. Variables are handled mostly by the engine so you don’t have to track flags, you simply use the editor to enter whether the trigger must only happen once or each time the collision takes place.

So all in all. RPG Toolkit is a great software and a great project, but it’s loaded with just too many bugs, flaws and imperfections for anything beyond personal amusement. It’s not even fit for freeware. To worsen things, most of the games being created using it are ugly, clunky things that include a mixture of bad artwork, ripped graphics, plagiarized audio (well one title at least) and generally unstable scripts. It’s a pity because I’ve seen Toolkit in the right hands and the project had/has so much potential. If a team got together and rebuilt this project, I think it could be an asset to beginner indie-developers.

You can download it here or on almost any page on the site.

…I’ve been wanting to do this article for a while. but never got around to it until now.

My Leave of Absence

Originally Posted by Onegai:

An Image Should be Here.First off, let me apologise to those who made comments. They’ve been sitting here awaiting approval for too long. My life is very busy at the moment and I did mention that there may be extended periods of inactivity on this blog when I first resurrected it. Secondly, I apologise to the readers as they’ve seen an image of 10,000 fists in the air every time they’ve visited Onegai Blog for the past two months. Yes, 10,000 fists are cool, but not ad nausea. It was never my intention to just drop off the map but my life has been chaotic lately. I’ve been trying to sort out my personal life, trying to restart my professional life, trying to write a book and raising awareness about all these internet bills from the SOPA and PIPA saga to the newer ACTA saga and the latest CISPA saga.

Anyway, to summarise: I’m back……….until I’m gone again. I’m hoping I won’t be though. I like writing this blog and I like hearing from readers – even if it takes me a month to check my comments🙂