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Mark Valentine
Houston, TX
I'm a recent college graduate seeking the best in life
Interests: music, game design, writing, video games, programming, mando'a culture and language, christian theology and practice
Recent Activity
Mark Valentine is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 16, 2010
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I've found, along with many others, that Mass Effect 2 is a very different experience from the first Mass Effect. I've also found it to be much more glitchy and buggy than the first one. I can't say for sure how much of the graphical issues are just with my computer, but I've encountered quite a few cutscene and level geometry errors that I'm sure have to be more universal. I hope to document those more thoroughly at a later date. For now, here are two screenshots of level decoration issues that I couldn't help but notice along the way.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2010 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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Remember when Borderlands was going to be beautiful? When it was detailed and polished and looked like a slick Fallout 3 + Rage mashup? (Not to mention when each character actually had a story and a reason for being on Pandora, such as Lilith looking for one of the other 6 Sirens in existence to learn more about her own powers?) Sadly, those days are long gone, with Gearbox's original design thrown away in a last-minute gamble to differentiate themselves. I was actually really excited when I heard about the change and saw the early promo screens for the new... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2010 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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I found this today while playing the Bayonetta demo on the 360. It's the first pop-up that you ever see during the actual gameplay. Great first impression; thanks for the spritual awakening, Sega. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2010 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I've recently decided to start mapping for the Source engine, and I thought it could be beneficial for everyone if I started chronicling my progress. This is my first real attempt at mapping in over 6 years, and even the one map I have released to my credit (DM-Zkorch for Unreal Tournament, receiving Insite's 3rd lowest score!) wasn't really "good," and all the really cool stuff (details, sweet skybox, trap...) was added by my good friend Christian. So essentially, I was starting from scratch here. I decided to start with something very basic to get my feet wet in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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I've returned. I promise no rigorous schedule, but I've been getting some encouragement to start back up, so I figure I'll post as ideas come up. Today's post regards last week's excellent announcement from Epic about their Unreal Development Kit, which has surpassed 50,000 downloads in its first week of release and already has updates on the way. Whether this release was in reaction to Unity releasing their cross-platform game engine (formerly $199 per license) for free to indie developers or if that's just a matter of coincidence, the end result is that there are now 2 well-known game engines... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
Enough said. I was in a pretty exciting car crash that I don't remember on Sunday, and I got to walk out of the hospital later that night after bring Life Flighted from the accident. Doubtless, a blog will follow when I've got enough good pictures. Seat belts work, don't do drugs, stay in school, and don't make unprotected left turns. Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
Something I would love to do, if I were ever to become a businessman, would be to open up a bookstore that served alcohol and let you smoke outside. Think Barnes & Noble with a wine selection and beers on tap, or more accurately, a combination of the Agora (it's an awesome place; don't let the website fool you) and Taft Street Coffee, two of my favorite Houston hangouts. I'm sure someone has done this already, or at least I hope they have. I can't imagine a place I'd enjoy more; the relaxed, peaceful atmosphere of a coffee shop inside... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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This is a pictorial narrative of a true story. Near the end of my Junior year, my friends and I stole a wall. This wall was made as a sample wall for the gigantic new dormitory the school was building so that the Powers That Be could see how all the colors would look together and sign off on it. Once the construction of Massive Dormitory started, the sample wall (known hereafter as "Wall") was leaned up against the nearest available building, which happened to include the campus police office. In fact, if you were looking out of the windows... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I needed to write something short, since I'm still working on the little series I hope to do on here. I've always wanted to try a flash fiction since I heard about them in my Creative Writing class; the number our teacher gave us was 500 words or less, which I'm really close to (it comes out to 509), so I'll count it as a victory. I was originally going to write a letter from one person to another, but then I thought a voicemail would be more interesting. This would also force me to do everything through dialogue, which... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
One Unheard Message "Hey, you've reached the voicemail of Rick Coleman. In case you've never called a cellular telephone before, I got this robot chick to tell you what to do regarding the beep." "Please record your message after the tone. If you'd like to page this person, press 5 now. When you have finished recording, you may hang up or press 1 for more options." "Hey bro. Um... Look, there's no easy way to say this; Danielle and I are running off together. We've been seeing each other for the last couple months and we've just really hit it... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
Traditionally in First-Person Shooter games, weapons with a zoom mean that you right-click and then you're zoomed in; sometimes, if you're lucky, you can click through two or three different zoom levels, although this can get hazardous in the middle of combat. I'm a sniper at heart, and I'd like to tell you about my favorite game to snipe in. Eric and I recently rediscovered the game Hidden & Dangerous, a fantastic tactical shooter from 10 years ago. I'd never heard of it, but Eric loved it as a kid. It has some technical wizardry that had to simply incredible... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
Today, I advise you to read Jeff Atwood's post called "If It Looks Corporate, Change It." Being a real person, and also being an e-learning course developer for a "professional" real estate training company, I see this kind of thing all the time, and it drives me crazy. (I confess that I'm probably also guilty of adding a headset hottie into a course or two, but darn it, it was against my better moral judgment.) I'm glad that there seems to be an emerging trend away from the Faceless Corporate Entity and that companies are trying to become more personal... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Game Developer's Conference earlier this year in San Francisco. Sadly, I only got the Expo Pass, which meant that I got to attend a total of 4 conference sessions on the last day of the conference. Of those four sessions, however, one was the fantastic "100 Questions, 97 Answers, 56 Minutes (on 300 Slides)" by Brenda Brathwaite. Out of all of those slides and answers to hopeful game designers and creators, the thing that has stuck with me the most was her approach to getting into game design. It seemed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I'm still somewhat surprised that iTunes hasn't offered a direct way for people to upload their own indie albums to iTunes. It seems like it would be a no-brainer to charge someone $10 to $20 per album upload, with Apple then taking whatever their usual cut is of each song/album download. Or, since they wouldn't have to pay a record label, maybe even taking a much healthier cut for themselves and then passing the rest on to the artist. (In doing research, perhaps the artist's cut is the reason why Apple doesn't do it; 2 years ago, Universal was getting... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
One thing I dearly loved as a child were adventure games. It started gloriously with Day of the Tentacle, carried on through Myst, and reached its peak with The Dig. While there have been some solid games released since the "glory days," the adventure game genre has largely fallen off of the public radar. (This is another long discussion we could have later.) Since I love basking in childhood memories, I started to wonder what you could do with adventure games now that we've had another 10 or 15 years of game design and ideas. While this is nowhere close... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I'd like to take a moment today to recommend one of my favorite indie games: Synaesthete. The best that I could do when I tried to describe it to my friends a year ago was that it's "entrancing, transcendental, beautiful, and focusing." I still don't have a better way of putting it; Synaesthete combines the rhythm and the shoot-'em-up genres in an interesting way, but there's so much more to it than that. The game encourages you to "trance out" and take all of the elements as one; the music blends with your input while the world transforms because of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
Note: Not for the squeamish. Enjoy.------- Game’s End The man woke up to find himself in the clearing of a lush tropical forest. As he fought through the disorientation of waking up and staring into the brilliant blue sky, he pushed himself into a sitting position, propped himself up against a tree trunk, and examined himself. He had bruises on his wrists and ankles, which contrasted further the highlights of skin developed from years of wearing rings and a watch, and he could tell from the stiffness of his muscles that his body had not been treated well recently. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
This was the last story I had to write for my Creative Writing class, and I think I did it in 2 or 3 hours the day before it was due just to get it out of the way. Despite that fact that it was basically a throwaway piece, I really enjoyed it and I think it came out well. I loved writing it as a children's story because (a) I hadn't done one before and it seemed like it would be fun, (b) it meant I could keep it glossy and breezy and not be as detail- or dialogue-heavy... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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I've come to love iTunes, albeit slowly. The only reason I really started using it was the same reason that most people did: I got an iPod. Through my years of usage, however, there have been several noticeably absent features that have really frustrated me. The first is the ability to queue up songs. This is a functionality that WinAmp has had for (at least) the better part of 10 years now. I realize that you can "Play Next in iTunes DJ" and set up a list of the songs you want to play, but that's not really helpful. I've... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
This is something that I started thinking about on July 7th when Derek Webb put his new album up for sale online. As you can see, there's no shortage of pricing options. What really bothered me was that, while they've attempted to cater to every crowd, I still can't get what I really want. For instance, say I definitely want the behind-the-scenes documentary. Naturally, I want the one with the highest resolution, but I don't want to have to pay for the 2 CDs, the stem tracks, or the t-shirt. I don't need the documentary on DVD, either. I just... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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You know what I would love to see from an indie game developer? A realistic, accurate atmosphere modeling game. I want to be able to play with clouds. I want to be able to adjust air pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity, distance to land/water, fronts of cold and hot air, their directions and sizes, and every other factor that goes into making cloud formations like the following: (Disclaimer: All of these pictures were found on the first page of a Google image search for "strange clouds." The originating pages are linked to out of common courtesy.) From Wired From... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
I love the idea of advertising, because at its best, it combines free thinking and creative problem solving with meeting your company's needs and building relationships with your customers. How can you catch someone's attention and make it worth their time? More than that, how can you make them appreciate and enjoy the fact that you just advertised to them? Ideally, advertising should be like trading: both parties should end up in a better situation after the transaction than they were before it. On the business side, this means an increased attachment to their brand by the customer and therefore... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
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I think it would greatly behoove companies to, as an integral part of their marketing and brainstorming process, have a panel of college students to consult as advisors. Get a group of 7 guys and 5 girls from all different walks of life (band nerds, gamers, skaters, mathletes, heavy partiers, etc.) and run your material by them. (The diversity is important, because there's no way you could ever know every subcultural in-joke or reference that your product or idea may bring up.) If your tagline, ad layout, product name or title, or anything else makes one or more of them... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter
It started, as most good things do, with a cup of coffee. (Actually, it was just a coffee cup, because I was working at Starbucks at the time and I grabbed it off the top of the stack; it's just not as good of an opening line.) "The Way I See It #51" grabbed my attention and emblazoned parts of itself in my memory. The quotation was as follows: "Americans spend an average of 29 hours a week watching television - which means in a typical life span we devote 13 uninterrupted years to our TV sets! The biggest problem... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2009 at Mark Valentine: Bug Hunter