Friday, December 30, 2005

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Ah, Gradius V for PS2. How do I love you? Let me count the ways.

Ahem...erm... hello. Yeah, so this Gradius V game is great. 2-player good ol' fashioned shoot'em up. I love lasers, space lasers, space, and space ships!

Today's High Score is a Kouhei Tanaka track from the soundtrack of Gundam MS 08th Team. It plays during a large battle in which a single enemy ace pilot fights off all of the heroes of the show.

The enemies of the UC Gundam series are called Zeon. These guys have a WW1/WW2 German military motif in their appearances. Their clothing, weaponry, and mobile suits (big combat robots). You can kinda pick up on this through the music here, with its militaristic tunes.

This track goes well with pretty much any type of game which has you driving a huge, lumbering war machine of some sort. Good tune for Mechwarrior players or BF2 tank drivers.
Amazon doesn't sell the OST from what I can tell, so if you want the disc, try Ebay or anime sites.

I'm off to Fresno for a few days to celebrate New Year's. I'll be back on Monday. Seeya folks, and have a good New Year's :D

Monday, December 26, 2005

I updated the "About" link on the sidebar. It now features instructions on how to hire me for mercenary work.

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. Get any good gifts? Good GAMES? :)

My family doesn't celebrate Christmas, so I just ordered a Warcraft 3 Battlechest for myself. Long time video game ally, Dogar, also purchased the game. So if you'd like to join us for some Warcraft 3 play, send me an IM and we'll play! I can't wait to see 6 vs 6 battles.

Warcraft 3 must be a great game. It's quite old (4-5 years?) and still fetches $30-40 at retail. Yowza.


Today's High Score: Justin Burnett's "The Maze" for the film Dungeons and Dragons. While the movie was pretty craptacular, the music was pretty good. I love this track. It plays as the Rogue protagonist of the film maneuvers through a trap-filled maze. This track would go great with any fantasy game. It's got 'heroic adventure' written all over it :-P

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Had a long dogfight today in the skies over the Zatar Wetlands. I flew the F-35 (official website of the F-35) and my opponent, DirtyToe8, flew the MiG-29. We must've fought for 10 minutes, 8 of which were spent with DirtyToe8 on my tail the whole time. It was nuts! Neither of us could kill the other, although he had my fighter's health down to 30%. I managed to use MisterD's thrust vectoring tactic, which worked great and forced the MiG to overshoot me. The game ended with me on his tail. I sank a few Vulcan bullets into his wings but nothing too damaging ;(
I'm under the impression that the F-35 is slightly less agile than the MiG-29, in terms of turn rate. But that it's thrust vectoring engines make the F-35 the best jet to force pursuers to overshoot.

DirtyToe8, I salute you.

Dogfights can last way too long in BF2, especially if both combatants have basic flight combat skills. Missiles are too inaccurate, guns are too weak, and most importantly, there's no energy model in the game. This allows players to perform wild maneuvers without making any sacrifices.

In real life and in dedicated flight sim games, planes use up "energy" (think potential/kinetic) as they perform maneuvers. Make a sharp evasive turn at 500 knots, and your speed will drop considerably. Do too many turns and you're going to be going very slow, making it harder and eventually impossible to fight effectively. But in BF2, the energy model doesn't exist, and you rarely "bleed" speed off like you would in other games. Thus, dogfights can last forever, as your plane's energy is infinite.

In other news.. Indigo Prophecy is a great game. It's like an interactive movie, with a fun mix of all sorts of movie genres. You got your police/detective drama, some romance, mystery, and sci-fi elements. The controls are incredibly simple but fun, you just press buttons in sequence. No maneuvering around things, having to aim at things, or whatever.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who's looking for a unique new game. The music is great, too. Composed by Angelo Badalementi, who usually does film scores (such as the one for Mulholland Drive).
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Continuing the Christmas theme of High Score is Michael Giacchino's "Arnhem Knights" from Medal of Honor: Frontline. It's got a choir. And umm... stringed instruments. It sounds real good. (How did I ever pass Music Appreciation class in college?) By the way, if this song gets you into the Christmas spirit of giving gifts to complete strangers over the Internet, please purchase the following games for me: Warcraft 3 + expansion and Star Wars Battlefront 2... and umm, maybe Star Wars Galaxies, too. :-D

(Amazon doesn't sell the Frontline soundtrack apparently. But here's the game.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WOE! WOE IS ME! Still no word from Obsidian yet on that game tester job. I really hope I get that job, as I'd like to see how the game industry works, and see if I'm really cut out for it. It'd suck to graduate with an Audio Production degree and then find out I'm not a good fit for the industry. D'oh! Plus, I've spent so many countless hours playing NWN and memorising the rules that I really think I'd be a good QA tester for NWN2.

I had to fill out a questionnaire to send to Obsidian. When asked to describe myself on Obsidian's questionnaire, I ended my self-description by mentioning my being the "world's first video game mercenary", and even put a URL to this blog. I hope this got a laugh at Obsidian, and not a negative reaction ;)

At a job interview once, the interviewer asked me about how my resume listed my most recent job at the time: movie extra. I played a Japanese fighter pilot in the Michael Bay movie, "Pearl Harbor" (I get about 3 seconds of screen time, I was on the set for two days). The interviewer seemed to be really interested in this, and I think it helped me out a lot. I wonder if there will ever be a time when I can put "video game mercenary" on my resume? Eh, probably not for a while.

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Finally, it's Christmas time, so today's High Score is a clip of Patrick Doyle's track, "Non Nobis Domine" from the film score for Henry V. Non Nobis Domine, I believe, translates to "God is great". Even if you're an agnostic like myself, I'm sure you'll like this track :-)

Not really sure how this would fit into any game playing scenarios, but it'd probably go well with a church/temple setting in an RPG game. You probably think that's when the song is heard during the film, right? Well if you thought that.. you're WRONG. So very, very wrong.

Nope. In the film, this song plays after an incredibly bloody and destructive battle. The dead bodies of slain knights litter the battlefield. And then the King says, in a manner of speaking, "Yo! That was one wicked battle, aye? Survivors, let's sing Non Nobis Domine together while walking past all these corpses. Weee!" So the first voice you hear is that of the King himself, who had just finished chopping up people with his sword, and is smeared in mud and blood. The other voices all come in as more survivors walk into the screen, singing as they trail behind the king.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Actor Robin Williams, Battlefield 2 Sniper. I wonder if I could get him to be a mercenary :-P A couple weeks ago, he also went to the game store at my local shopping mall, as all the EBgames people were talking about his visit when I came into the store. Williams is a big gamer apparently. A fan of Quake and Day of Defeat, and apparently named his daughter "Zelda" after the video game character.

I've killed Emilio Estevez in Counter-Strike before. His player name was "Emilio Estevez".
So I said, "You're actor Emilio Estevez?"
And he said "Yep."
And so I said, "Mighty Ducks ... MIGHTY SUCKED! Bahahaha."
I then shot him in the head.
At the time, I didn't think it was the actual actor. But a few weeks later, I saw a video interview of him in which he said he plays Counter-Strike using his actual name. So I figure that probably was him, after all.

Mighty Ducks mighty sucked... man, I'm a comedy genius...

Anyway, Mr. Williams... if you read this some day... send me an IM and let's auction off our BF2 mercenary skills for charity sometime! :D
Been playing lots of Blitz 1941. Blitz 1941 is a free online tank combat RPG. You get a tank of various types (tank, self-propelled gun, tank destroyer, assault gun), form companies (parties) with other players, and then go out onto the PvP battlefields for experience points. Levelling up, you get access to better tanks and equipment. It's pretty addicting.

Usually, I hate these kinds of games, since they have no story to drive you forward. It's just pointless killing to level up. But Blitz 1941 makes the fighting itself quite enjoyable, as you have to time and aim your shots carefully during combat. So it's fun, pointless killing. :-D The sound, music, and graphics are all very well done.

Dogar and I are playing the game, so look for us. I go by CharlieSix (or CharlieFive if I'm on Axis). Feel free to Yahoo IM me at "Charlie_Six" if you want to play a game with us. Me and a group of friends are also playing the Rites of Ascension module series for Neverwinter Nights, and would welcome more players for that, too.

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Today's High Score: Trevor Jones soundtrack for the film, Dark City.

This track, called "You Have the Power", makes perfect "boss fight music" for pretty much any game. Despite it's use of synth instruments, I think it'd work great for when you fight an evil wizard in an RPG or somethin. It has this "Sweet Lordy, stuff is blowing up EVERYWHERE" motif to it. Course, that's what's going on in the movie when the track plays. Heheh.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today's High Score feature is Kenji Kawai's track, Attack the Wakabayashi, for the cyberpunk film "Ghost in the Shell: Innocence".

The track plays as Batou, an ex-Army Ranger and now cyborg detective, defends himself with an M249 SAW machine gun. Ever since I saw this scene, I've tried to reenact it in Counter-Strike and Battlefield 2, both of which feature the M249. Unfortunately, I've failed on each attempt, as the gun is largely useless in every game it appears in. Just too inaccurate.

If you're a fan of The Matrix films, you might want to check out the Ghost in the Shell series of TV shows, games, and movies. The creators of the Matrix, according to Wired magazine, was greatly inspired by the first Ghost in the Shell film. I'm a big fan of all things cyberpunk, so I love stuff like this. For cyberpunk games, check out Deus Ex and the HL2 mod Dystopia. These games, like GITS, let the player merge themselves with various cybernetic implants that give them cool abilities, like being able to camouflauge themselves with their surroundings using optical camouflage.

Here's a good BF2 weapons chart.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Doesn't look like my Ebay auction is going to get any bids. What a bummer :(

Today's High Score feature: Eric Serra's "Run, Shoot, and Jump" from the soundtrack of the James Bond film, Goldeneye.

This piece is very appropriately titled, and works perfectly as background music for almost all FPS games. I used to loop it for an hour while playing de_dust in Counter-strike, and it surprisingly never got tiresome. The short length of the track goes great with the round-based gameplay of CS though. Probably wouldn't work as well for respawn stuff like BF2 or Day of Defeat.

In the film, Bond runs from Russian AK fire, jumps over stuff, shoots at people, and eventually hops into a tank while this track plays. Sound familiar to any FPS games? Yep. :-P

In other news.. I'm currently playing Warcraft 3, Homeworld 2, Neverwinter Nights, Onimusha 3, Final Fantasy X, R-type Final, and plan on getting BF2 Special Forces, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

Ughhhh so many games....... not enough time to play them all.....

Thursday, December 8, 2005

mercenary for charity auction still has no bids. :-( Get in the spirit of the holidays, and please bid. :-) The auction ends December 11th and 100% of the proceeds will go to charity.

Last night, I got my ass kicked in Battlefield 2. Argh. A rare event, I assure you. But I'm starting to see why so many forum goers at complain about the over-powered jet fighters, and why many Special Forces fans enjoy the expansion's jet-less combat over vanilla BF2. I guess I never saw the problem since I spent so much time flying the jets myself.

But jets really do seem overpowered, at least the strike jets anyway (F-15 for example). I was constantly spawning, getting bombed to death by an airstrike, respawning, and then getting rebombed. Not fun.

And it's not like it requires any great amount of skill in order to bomb people en masse when in these strike jets, either. You simply fly over your target, drop your bombs, and the amount of destruction you rain down is really incredible considering how little effort it takes to dish it out.
To make things worse, ground forces have no real way to counter the jets, since the SAMs are so inaccurate. So that leaves fighter jets as the only way to shoot down a strike plane. The problem here is that most dogfights take quite a bit of time, 1-2 minutes on average. As a strike pilot, it's not too hard to evade a pursuer while at the same time, rearming bombs and performing multi-kill airstrikes.

So what can be done? Well, most people say that ground troops need better anti-air weaponry. I agree, but I don't think DICE should take this idea too far. Make the SAMs better, but not TOO much better. Anti-air weaponry is too computerised, too easy to use, and requires very little skill to use effectively. Some may disagree and say that a good SAM operator knows how to expertly time the missile launch, but I don't see this as a big thing to do. It's quite easy.
Players don't like getting killed by some kind of low-skill "cheap" tactic (which is why people hate strike jets in the first place: it requires little skill to kill ground people with one.) So getting shot down by highly accurate missiles all the time could get tiresome.

So here are some ideas on how to make strike jets more balanced:

1. Weaken the uber bombs that the strike jets have. Strike jets should NOT be so highly effective against enemy infantry. I think their role should be that of a multi-role fighter: capable of shooting down helicopters, hitting armor, and blowing up assets. Anti-infantry should not be a a major role.

2. Give rockets to the strike pilot, not bombs. Rockets have limited anti-infantry use, but are great for destroying vehicles, as the game's helicopters show. This would really help balance the strike jets. Not to mention, rockets are really fun to use. And in case you didn't know, real strike jets can carry rockets, just like helicopters. Strike fighters can carry a lot more, too. So if this idea was implemented, strike jets could get maybe... 20 rockets on each reload.

3. Give the strike co-pilot the same camera-controlled missiles from the helicopters. The current missile in the strike jet is just too boring and difficult to use (I think the strike co-pilot role has got to be the most boring thing you can do in all of BF2) . Remove that weapon entirely. The helicopter missiles are much more fun and easy to use, since you can guide them through the missile's nose camera.

Well, that's it. My ideas assume that implementing radical changes to the game would be too time-consuming and/or difficult. So instead of suggesting any big changes, I just ask for current features to be rearranged or replicated elsewhere. I really hope DICE does something about the jets. Just a few minor changes and gameplay balance can be really improved.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Alright, got a High Score feature and some personal news.

Personal news first: I applied for a QA Tester (game tester) job at Obsidian Entertainment. They need testers for Neverwinter Nights 2, and I love NWN1. I hope they hire me! I'll have to put off school for 6+ months and move to down to the Los Angeles area, but I think it's worth it.

Dogar, an NWN friend of mine, thinks this is cool but could maybe cause a problem: what if I get sick of the game because I spent so much time testing it? Haha, I hope that doesn't happen. I really want to sink my teeth into NWN2, and hopefully create some cool content for it through the Aurora Toolset. And hopefully I can do some amateur sound design work for some of the NWN2 community projects, too.

Anyway, I hope I can get into the NWN2 QA team and really make sure all the DnD rules are implemented the way Obsidian intends. In the first NWN, many aspects of the game's spell system weren't done very well. Many of the spells are way too powerful, while others are too easily countered. So many spells have unintended balance problems that I often refuse to use certain spells (like the Bigby Hand spells) because they're so overpowered, making the game too easy.

So wish me luck! Now onto the High Score feature of the day...

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High Score: Hans Zimmer's Black Hawk Down - Tribal War

This track is one of my favs. In the film about US Rangers in the Battle of Mogadishu, the track plays as an elite group of special forces troops blasts their way through enemy troops at night, with the help of Night Vision Goggles and a lot of stealthy manuevering. It's a really cool scene and the music goes great with Battlefield 2's Middle East urban settings.

The track is a mixture of electronic instruments, guitar, horns, and drums, that somehow comes together to give you a great track to play during your next battle. If Michael Giacchino's Medal of Honor represents a sense of nobility in conflict, Hans Zimmer's Tribal War represents the opposite: cold, calculated, merciless destruction. Check out the low quality clip below. If you want to hear more, and in the best quality possible, you'll have to buy the album.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Bid on my latest mercenary auction! Ends December 11th.
High Score: Michael Giacchino's Medal of Honor

Ever come home from a really good action or war movie, and then immediately want to jump into your favorite game to recreate all those cool action scenes you saw? To pretend you're the hero? Come on now, don't be embarrassed. You're amongst friends here. We've all done it before.

But have you ever tried listening to the film scores from those movies while playing a game? If you haven't, you might want to give it a try some day. It can be pretty fun, and provides a more immersive experience. Most online games have no background music playing as you play. By playing film scores during gameplay, you can add more emotional weight to the in-game events, which is exactly what these scores do for films.

A new regular feature of this blog will be High Score, where I present some of my favorite film and game music to play games with. Each feature will come with an audio clip that will be in low-quality 64 kbps sound and clipped for length.

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Today's feature is from Michael Giacchino's Medal of Honor soundtrack. Michael Giacchino composed the soundtracks for three Medal of Honor games, Call of Duty 1, many other popular games, as well as films like "The Incredibles". People like to compare him to John Williams (Star Wars composer), and I hear Williams may have been his mentor at some point, so it's no surprise. I love Giacchino's music, and try to listen to every composition of his.

This is one of my fav Medal of Honor tracks and has a "locomotive" feel to it. It goes great with FPS games, but especially WW2 games. The Indiana Jones-style heroics style doesn't fit quite as well with the more modern era war games, though. I think this has something to do with how more modern wars are presented to our minds in the media: as somehow less noble, just, and pure than what WW2 was about. Whether or not you agree with that judgement, that kind of presentation is commonplace and can rub off on you.

Most of the Medal of Honor tracks don't go too well with fantasy themed games, either, as they tend to mix in some kind of industrial/mechanized sound (like the train motif of this track). So don't go trying to play MOH music during a game of Warcraft or Neverwinter Nights.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Just posted my third mercenary charity auction up on Ebay.
Starting bid is $9.99. Click here and bid on me! :-D Auction ends on December 11th.

Q1. Why don't you accept credit card through Paypal?
A: PayPal requires I activate a Premium account in order to accept credit card payments. This costs money to maintain :(

Q2. You say to IM you between 4-11 PM PST in order to setup games. What if you're not online? And will you always be able to play when asked during those times?
A: I'm almost always going to be online, although I may be AFK sometimes. You can IM when I'm Away and I'll reply as soon as I get back to the computer.

I may not be able to play under all circumstances (emergencies, imminent exams, etc.). However, I guarantee that you'll have no problem getting the full 10 hours you purchase. Few people play games as often as I do :-P

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Played some BF2 today, Gulf of Oman, and saw some amazing F-35 fighter manuevers from a pilot named "MisterD". I'd never seen anyone pull off such wild tactics in mid-dogfight. When I logged in, he was really tearing up our forces on the ground, and no one could get into the air, since he and his wingman were strafing and bombing the crap out of everything. I finally managed to take off in a MiG-29 and vowed to bring him down. I shot down his wingman pretty quickly, but I don't think I ever managed to kill MisterD, although we dueled for at least 7 minutes. The closest I came was this one time, where I was on his tail and shooting him up with my guns. Just a couple more seconds and he woulda been debris, but the bastard set his engines into thrust-vector mode. This cut down his speed very quickly, and I overshot him. Within seconds, he was on MY tail.

This really blew my mind as I'd never seen someone activate thrust vectoring effectively in mid-dogfight. I was under the impression that the process takes far too long to initiate and reverse, and also makes the jet far too difficult to control, thus making it useless for dogfighting. But there MisterD was, with his engine exhaust at full afterburner, flames pointing straight down. I overshot, and he was soon on my tail and chasing me.

After a minute or two of evasive action at under 100 feet, I managed to shake him from my tail. I had about 15% health left in my MiG's hull. He then pursued my wingman's Su-34. Henry, who was watching me play, begged me to land my jet for repairs while I had the chance, but I refused to leave my friend in his time of need. (Not to mention the chances of being strafed to death while landing were very high.) So, I pursued MisterD's F-35 at max speed. And once again, he attempted to thrust vector behind me. But this time I had expected it... and I zeroed my throttle immediately. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough, as I was still slowly gaining on him. I held down the trigger, hoping to blow him up before this happened, but I knew I was too late. Refusing to overshoot him, I decided to ram my jet into his. With only 3 red sticks of health left, I assumed we'd both explode instantly. But nope, somehow I lost just 2 sticks on the collision, sending his jet bouncing upwards. I ejected from my plane, pulled the rip cord, and then began using my SVD, in mid-air, to snipe at his fighter (which was apparently unharmed from our collision).

Now, get this: he was apparently so enraged by my attack that he continued to hover his F-35, turned around towards my parachute, pointed his nose directly towards me, tore me to shreds with his Vulcan gun when I landed on the ground, and then smashed into my body with his plane!

Charlie_Six: hahahah MisterD, that rocked!
MisterD: were you that asshole I was chasing all that time?
Charlie_Six: ya
MisterD: god damn jets suck!
Charlie_Six: Wha? You rock in that F-35, man. Never seen anyone do stuff like that in mid-combat.
MisterD: lol


BF2 lesson of the day: the APC is the perfect Commander vehicle. Playing as an Engineer and the Commander of the team, I found the APC to be the best way to command, defend and repair your assets (UAV/artillery/scanner), kill enemies, repair friendly armor, and transport troops. The jeeps are far too fragile, and the tank is too slow to quickly catch up to people to repair them or to escape battles.

As a Commander, you're often asking people to defend your assets from enemy Spec Ops. With an APC, you can do it yourself. The speed of the APC lets you quickly travel back to your base and repel the attackers. Once there, you merely drive up to your damaged assets to repair them (engineer kit repairs stuff automatically while you're in a vehicle). Then, as you return to battle, you can often pick up some friendlies who need a ride to the front lines. Drop them off at the edges of the fighting, call in a UAV with your "T" key, and then lay down long range supporting fire. And of course, if your APC gets damaged, merely retreat from battle, hop out, and repair it yourself.

Another tip for Commanders: try dropping a supply crate next to enemy infantry, then follow that up with an artillery barrage ;) The crate acts as bait. The infantry tend to gravitate towards the box and slowly resupply at it, thus giving you enough time for the artillery shells to land on their hands. This works best in the full screen Satellite view of course.


I was hoping to find my Excel file on the damage statistics of the BF2 guns, but I've lost it. The best I could do was this site: "The Numbers Behind Battlefield 2" -
For me, the most useful info you can get from these numbers is that using body armor as USMC is almost pointless. Body armor reduces damage by 25%, but only for your chest and back areas. (Only Assault and Support kits have body armor.) 25% may sound great to some, but for the USMC, it will only protect you against one more Ak-47 or Ak-101 bullet. And that's to the chest! For every other area of your body, body armor does nothing. You can actually get killed faster by getting shot in the arm than in the chest, as a USMC Assault soldier. Unusual for an FPS game, eh?

Meanwhile, body armor for MEC/PLA kits seems useful, as it allows you to withstand 3 more M-16 bullets. Bottomline: Body armor is good for MEC/PLA, not so good for USMC.

Friday, December 2, 2005

I hope readers enjoyed my report on Operation 1. That was definately the best of my mercenary missions so far. Later missions with Pookie, and my most recent employer, iDash, have been great fun, but nothing was quite as exciting and funny as that mission (yes, I actually yelled "POOKIE NOOO!" over voice chat).

I don't think I'll be writing big entries like that for most of my mission descriptions, but I'll try to give the same treatment to especially memorable missions.

What's in the future? Well, I'm trying to work out a new system for selling mercenary time on Ebay. Do I setup a scheduled appointment time system? I'm not sure if the people buying mercenary time actually care about playing the full 10 hours they purchase in an efficient manner. It seems like both Pookie and iDash are pretty satisfied with the current system, and were primarily interested in simply donating money to charity with a fun gift attached. But what about everyone else? Hmm.

I've also made offers to play other games as a mercenary, not just Battlefield 2. Call of Duty 2, Neverwinter Nights, Day of Defeat Source, Natural Selection, and Counter-Strike Source. But I'm not sure if anyone's interested in merc service for those other games. In BF2, the stats tracking and promotion system gives people a real reason to want to stay alive longer. If a merc can keep them alive longer, they can get more points capping flags and what not. But in other games, there's no real advancement.

Games like NWN and other online RPGs let you advance, but make it hard to be a merc for people. Level gaps between me and my client will usually make it impossible to play together easily. We'd have to constantly schedule play times together, and in most cases, we'd both have to start at level 1, which isn't something most potential employers will want to do. This is one of my biggest complaints about MMOs: the inability to play with the people you want, whenever you feel like it.

There aren't that many games that are really supportive of mercenary work. MMOs would be the most obvious choice, at first, but due to level gap problems, it's not easy to do. FPS games usually don't let you find and reunite with another player very easily, so it will be hard to find and stay next to my employer during much of the fighting.

I guess in the end I'm just going to continue to assume people who are interested in buying a "game mercenary" are primarily doing it for charity, and then also just to have a funny story to tell their friends.

Before I go, anyone have some suggestions on what games people may want to hire a merc for? I'm thinking about buying Star Wars: Battlefront 2, as a young friend of mine (Henry, age 6, you'll hear more about him later) is a big fan of Star Wars and is always bugging me to get it. I didn't really like the first one though..

Thursday, December 1, 2005

In China, pOOkiepiez and mercenary Charlie_Six fight off a US invasion.

Operation 1
Client: pOOkiepiez


My first mercenary auction ended, and two days later I was chatting with my employer over Yahoo IM. I picked out a server for us using the All Seeing Eye server browser, and passed him the IP.

"What's your name in-game, boss?" I asked.
"pOOkiepiez," he replied.
"o_O" I emoted. "OK, what are your orders? What class do you want me to be? Medic?"
"Just follow me and watch my back. Let's go."

I was not expecting to be defending the life of such an oddly named person, but no matter. I had a job to do.

As the game slowly loaded (it's BF2, remember?), I got anxious and decided to jump around the room like a buffoon... a buffoon with a mission. I figured I played best when my heart rate was up, give my reflexes a boost.

Mission: Strike at Karkand

Karkand. I purposefully picked out a server playing this map because I wanted to give my employer a good first impression of my skills. I had always done well on Karkand maps, usually in the top 3 players of my team. The map's urban layout provides intense, relentless combat by funneling dozens of troops into small areas of battle. As a medic, I always had an easy time finding wounded troops to revive, giving me loads of points.

But I was worried. We were about to play on a 32 player map, but with 50 players. Can I really do well in such a crowded battlefield? Wasn't sure.

The map was loaded and the JOIN GAME button appeared. As I clicked it, I could hear that dreaded sound.. beepbeepbeep....beepbebebebeeep.... the Commander's UAV was picking up a dozen enemy troops in a single sweep. I cursed and prayed pOOkiepiez would do the smart thing: go to a rear base and hop into a vehicle before wading into that valley of death. I joined his squad, and then cursed some more when I saw his green locator on the map. The crazy bastard was charging headlong into the battle on foot.

Of course, I had no choice but to follow the crazy bastard. So I picked up a Medic kit and spawned behind him.

We rushed through some plants and began shooting at the oncoming hordes of USMC forces. We fought for about 10-20 minutes in your typical BF2 Karkand ways:
1. run into an alley like a pansy when armor comes rumbling down the street
2. run out of alley when you realise there's 5 Marines filling it with SAW and M16 fire
3. run past the back of the armor that just passed your alley, and run into another alley. Repeat Step 2.
4. check UAV recon info in the minimap and try to toss grenades into the right places
5. get blown up by enemy grenades thrown by enemies using Step 4.
6. Get blown up by artillery

The battle was going well. I was dropping Marines quite a bit, but most importantly, I was keeping Pookie alive. When his arm got torn off by a tank blast, I shock paddled it back on (don't ask how). When his skull was blown apart by a headshot, I planted my shock paddle on his forehead and he was back up like nothing happened. "Alright soldier, you're good to go!"

But a problem soon arose. I was fighting alongside Pookie next to some boxes in the southeastern part of Karkand, shooting at marines perched on the hill, when a friendly called out for me on the radio. "MEDIC!"

"Pookie, I'm going to go rescue that guy! Be right back, OK?"
No response. Pookie was too busy lining up shots with his Ak-101. So I ran off, and 10 seconds later, I found the fallen soldier in an alley. Probably hit by an artillery shell. Shock paddled him back up, and he ran off. Probably gonna be dead again in a few seconds. I ran out of the alley to look at the boxes Pookie was at, but I couldn't see him.

"OK I'm back. Where'd you go, Pookie?"
No response.
Again, nothing. Then I saw his foot sticking out from behind the box. Maybe he's prone. But nope. Foot was pointing upwards. Feet point down towards the grown when you're prone, they point UP when you're dying.

I rushed across the street, forgetting to check for hostiles. My right arm paid the price as a bullet tore into it. I glanced right and saw 3 Marines shooting at me from the bottom of the hill. I couldn't stop and return fire, that would be suicide against 3 enemies, and shooting while moving would be pointless due to inaccuracy. So I threw a grenade in the direction of the enemy. That'll buy me some time. The enemy will run away from the grenade while I try to revive Pookie. My plan worked. Two of the Marines ran for cover, the third went flying from the grenade blast. Didn't have time to admire his trajectory though.

I ducked behind the boxes and looked down at Pookie. He was dying and I had to act fast. I took out my shock paddles. My uncharged shock paddles. I had forgotten to recharge them after I had rescued that other guy. Shit! I rubbed the paddles together as fast as I could and then tried to shock Pookie back to life. But it was too late. His body vanished into thin air.

"POOKIE! NOOOO!! WHY GOD? WHY?!" I voice chatted.

Bullets slammed into the ground around me, followed by a close grenade blast.

I shouldered my Kalashnikov and emerged from cover to see the two Marines from earlier. I gunned them down with a single sweep of my gun. Three more Marines came charging down the hill. They hadn't seen me yet. I ducked down behind the boxes and lobbed grenades, causing them to flee. I popped up again and shot one down before he could make it to cover. The other two dissapeared behind a fence. I waited for them to come out with guns firing. But no.. instead, just one emerged as a Medic, rushing towards his fallen comrade with paddles at the ready. He dove towards his friend's body... but fell short. Way short. I shot his head open. The third then emerged.... as a Medic, too. He dove towards his fellow Medic's body and landed on top of him. Good dive. I shot his chest open.

More Marines on the hill, coming down fast. OK, revenge acquired. Time to leave! I turned around and ran towards the alley. I was taking fire. I'm not gonna make it. I pulled out my medic bag and held it close to my chest, hoping it would buy me an extra second of life. I was almost to the alley when a soldier emerged from the alley and began firing in my direction. It was Pookie, back from the dead.

"Go, go, go!" he yelled out as he dropped one of my pursuers. I ran into the alley and turned northward, with Pookie right behind me.

"Thanks, I owe you one," I said.
He replied, "You got it."

When the game was over, I emerged the top scoring player on the server, with more than 100 points and loads of awards. It was my personal best ever on Karkand. We logged out of the game and soon, Pookie left the following Ebay positive feedback on my account: "Guy is straight shooter. Killed many peeps for me. Delivers death. Awesome!"