Friday, August 12, 2011

NGC 4921

Click for better quality /!\ the picture is quite heavy (4.5 Mb)

     NGC 4921 is a barred galaxy located in the constellation Coma Berenices and it's situated about 320 million light years from Earth. This galaxy is called "anemic" because it produces stars at a very low rate. As a consequence you can see the new stars around the black dust ring around the center of the galaxy (all the shiny blue dots).

Annotated version

     This photo was taken by Hubble telescope in near-infrared and yellow light, that's why the galaxy appears to be white.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Demon's Souls

      Today I'll present you one of my favorite game on PS3 : Demon's Souls. It's a japanese RPG/Action game, developed exclusively on PS3 by From Software (Armored Core, Tenchu). It takes place in a dark, medieval world.

"Nowadays games are too easy..."
This guy will surely be the cause your first death
     The first thing that strike when you start playing this game is the difficulty. Some people think that games were better back in the days because they offered more challenge. Well, these persons should be satisfy by this game, it will give them a rough time. Why ? Because Demon's Souls is merciless and unforgiving. If you make a mistake you will instantly pay for it. You will be mistreated from the tutorial where you'll be violently killed by a boss until the end of the game.

A matter of life and death
    However, your first death in the tutorial is the first step of your learning about Demon's Souls' world. After your death, you are transported into the Nexus, a place between life and death. Here you can rest, learn magic, buy items, repair your broken weapons and armors or improve your character's skills. Most important, it is here that you can access the different levels of the game. But, when you die in this game, you loose your physical form and become a spirit. There are 3 ways to recover your body. The easy way consists in using the appropriate item but it's rare. You can also go to the place where you have been slaughtered and touch your corpse or you can defeat a boss. It doesn't sound complicated but when you are in spirit form you have only half of your health point. Oh, and when you die, all the enemies in the level will respawn so it won't be a simple jogging to get your body back.

A tense gameplay
Some bosses are massive
     "Just avoid being killed" some might say. Ok, but death is everywhere in Demon's Souls. Every fight, even against the weakest enemy can be lethal if you don't pay attention. Indeed, your character have stamina gauge. Sprinting, using your weapon, dodging, rolling or protecting yourself with a shield will lower this gauge. If the gauge is empty you can't do anything, and usually two attacks and one parry are enough to drain all your stamina. So it's crucial to managed your stamina otherwise it will lead you to your death, and you don't want to. Not only because you'll become a spirit (or stay a spirit if you already were) but because you will lost your "souls". Souls are collected when you kill an enemy and are used as a money to pay the blacksmith or to learn spells  but it can also be transformed into experience points. If it happened you have only one way to get back your souls : you have to find your body. And if you die again before reaching it, the souls will be lost forever. Most of the time you will die because of your haste and negligence. Demon's Souls is a very requiring game but won't  take you off-guard and even if death is frustrating, the satisfaction is greater when finally you succeeded. It's one of the most gratifying game I ever played.

Help and death come from other worlds
Help is always appreciated
      Demon's Souls have also some great online feature. By using the proper stone you can summon other players to help in your quest.  You can also leave messages on the ground, it can provide very helpful advices such as warning you about a trap or an extremly powerful enemy that you may not be able to defeat. Plus, when a player dies, he leaves a bloodstain on the floor, if you interact with it you'll see the last seconds of his life and how he's dead so you can try to not finish like him :). But interactions between players aren't always friendly, the game also provide a PvP function. You can invade another player's world and try to kill, which will provide you some souls and you can get back your physical form if you are a spirit. In this game the danger can come from other players.

Perfection doesn't exists
      Despite the awesome dark and desesparated atmosphere and a good background universe, the story of Demon's Souls is poor and sparse. The different NPC are really static and except the Black Maiden, you won't get attached to them. Graphically speaking, the environements are uneven but always oppresive, and the characters' faces are quite ugly.

      To conclude Demon's Souls is a cruel but gratifying game. It will punish your ignorance and imconpetence without mercy but each minute of survival is a victory. Despite some drawbacks, the game is a real black treasure with a spellbinding universe and a well thought out gameplay.
A sequel called "Dark Souls" will be out in October and will be released on PS3 and Xbox360.

I love this intro, it's like it says "Welcome to Demon's Souls, now you're fu*ked"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Post-it War

Some of you may have heard of it on the Internet, some people in France started a war in Paris. A post-it war. It all began in May when an employee of Ubisoft's HQ near Paris decorated her window with a Rayman image made of post-it. Some of her collegues found the idea cool and did the same on their own windows. Some time later, an employee of the french bank BNP Paribas made a new post-it image on a window in front of Ubisoft's HQ. From there, the two companies started a war to know which one could make the best post-it images. Then the idea has spread all over Paris and even in other cities in France and now several buildings are decorated with post-it pictures.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guild Wars 2 - Kekai Kotaki

     Just a small post to present one of my favorite artists : Kekai Kotaki. He is currently working as art lead on the game Guild Wars 2, he also worked on the first Guild Wars and he has done some illustrations for the card game Magic the Gathering. Check out his website, it definitely worth it :

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ghostly Space Spiral

Click the picture for a sightly better quality
     This picture was taken by the NASA Hubble space telescope. This strange spiral pattern (soberly named IRAS 23166+1655...) is designed by a star that is ejecting gas into the space. This star has a binary partner (another star orbiting with it) and this second star modulate the gas, giving it a spiral shape. The two stars are hidden by a dust cloud, that's why they don't appear on the picture.
Another pic of IRAS 23166+1655

     I really like this picture, it's one of my favorite. It's beautiful and a bit weird at the same time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

League of Legends

Kassadin, The Void Walker
A minion
     League of Legends is a game I play regularly. It's a DotA-like game, basically the goal is to destroy the enemy's base in 5vs5 or 3vs3 match. Sounds easy, right ? Well it's way harder than it looks :p If the rules are easy to understand, you'll have to use your brain to lead your team to victory. Each base is protected by 3 inhibitors that spawns minions on a regular basis. Those minions will follow one of the 3 lanes available (there is one lane for each inhibitor) and try to push throught the enemy base. But those lanes are protected by several deadly turrets that you need to get rid of in order to continue up to the enemy base. That's where you and your teammates step in. You have to choose a champion at the beggining of the game, each champion have his own abilities (there are 80 champions atm) and you have to prevent the opponent team to destroy your turrets and wipe out theirs.

Twisted Fate, the Card Master
     What I like in this game is that teamplay is really important. Your team must be able to rely on you and vice versa. And trust me this can be really fun when you play with 4 friends of yours.

     Another point I really enjoy about this game is the champions themselves. With 80 champions it guaranteed a large variety of gameplays and everyone can find a champion he likes. Dubbings are very good, some of them are just awesome. Indeed, even if the game can be hard, it's not totally serious and some champions' artworks and dubbings are very funny (Gentleman Cho'Gath is a perfect exemple). Speaking of artworks, I freakin' love them :D
In my opinion, the artists of League of Legends are really talented (both occidental and asian version, even if they have different artworks).

     To conclude, I think everybody should give a try to this game. It may be hard in the first place but it's really gratifying and fun to play with other people.

Click here for full pics

      High Command Katarina       
    Gentleman Cho'gath


Monday, August 1, 2011

First post

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's the first time I create my own blog even if I use the Internet for quite a long time. As I said in my profile I'm french and I don't speak english perfectly but I think this is a good occasion to improve myself. So, if I made some mistakes, please feel free to correct me.

I'm 21 and I'm a computer science student. I'm interrested in a lot of things but my principals hobbies are :
- video games (played Guild Wars for 3 years, Valkyria Chronicles, Demon's Souls, Metal Gear Solid... I can't name them all, there are too many of them)
- manga (such as Ghost in The Shell, Darker Than Black, Ergo Proxy...)
- music (mostly Metal but not only)
- astronomy
- art
- ...

To finish, this blog will be about all the things I like. Oh and I'm thinking about changing the visual aspect. Something less... dull.