A few days ago one of my friends told me that I should check out this new game with him that I’ve never heard of called Dauntless. I asked him to explain the game to me and it seemed pretty interesting.

Dauntless is a game developed by Phoenix Labs. The company is supposedly a small team made up of developers from other game making studios such as BioWare and Riot Games. Dauntless follows a “Monster Hunter” genre where you create your own character that starts off with really basic gear. As you progress through the game by defeating monsters you can upgrade your weapons and armor in order to defeat even stronger monsters.

There are all sorts of different quests and expeditions that you can part take in either solo or within a group. By completing objectives you can gain materials to craft new or improve your current gear. The combat system has different combos for different weapons almost like an MMO game like Black Desert Online.

The world that you play consists of a bunch of floating islands called the Shattered Isles. After a cataclysmic event Behemoths were dispersed throughout the game. Your player is known as a “Slayer” to the NPCs and you are supposed the eliminate the Behemoth threat one your adventure.

Overall, I think this game is pretty cool and interesting. It feels like the type of game where if your group of friends is feeling bored you guys could get onto Dauntless and just talk while hunting monsters.

Big CS:GO March Update

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO, has had a lot of interesting changes in the past few months. The most notable update though was the scoped rifles’ cost reduction in October of last year, and the latest update brings even more changes.

In this latest update the biggest change was towards the economy mechanics as well as a debuff to the AUG which I’ll write about later on. In Counter-Strike, you have to buy your own equipment with in-game money which you receive after winning or losing a round. Depending on whether or not you won or lost the round determines how much money your team gets.

Previously if your team won a round each player would get around $3250-$3600 depending on how your team won the round, and that stays the same. However, whenever you lost a round your team would get only $1400 each, and for every round you lost in a row you would get $1400 plus a $500 loss bonus for the number of rounds lost in a row. The maximum amount of money you could receive while losing is $3400 by losing four or more rounds in a row. This was to help the losing team to potentially make a comeback later on in the game if they were losing really badly. If you won a round after having a losing streak then immediately lose the next round; your loss bonus completely goes away bringing your team’s income back to $1400. In Counter-Strike it typically takes around $5000 for a full rifle buy with utility.

Keeping track of your team’s economy as well as the opposition’s can prove useful in winning certain rounds and determining what purchases would be in your team’s best economic interest. (If you survive the round you keep your current equipment and receive income for the next round. However, as a terrorist, you will not receive income for the next round if you survived and the round was lost due to the timer running out.)

The new change makes it easier for losing teams to have a better chance. With the economy update, losing rounds in a row still grants an extra $500 per round lost. However, losing the first round now gives you $1900 instead of $1400. Additionally, if your team had a accumulated a loss bonus, won a round, and then lost the next round; your income for the round lost would only be brought down by $500. For example, if my team had lost four rounds in a row our income would be at maximum loss bonus of $3400. If we won the next round by eliminating the enemy team we would receive $3250. With the new economy system instead of getting reset back down to $1400; my team would get an income of $2900 which is $500 less than $3400. This gives us a chance to have an improved loadout for the next round or potentially save for a full buy the round after.

Before the October update CS:GO and all previous Counter-Strike games have had the whole AK47 and M4 META (Most Effective Tactic Available). Whether you liked it or not these two rifles were the main weapons throughout the games’ generations. However in October, Valve released an update that reduced the two scoped rifles’ prices considerably. The AUG was made $3150 and the SG553 was made $2750. This was just $50 more than the main rifle for each team. Players used them more and people started to notice how effective the scoped rifles were. During the 2019 Katowice Major even the professional teams started to use the AUG in particular more than the M4. For a few months, the AUG was the main rifle of choice for the Counter Terrorist side.

With the economy change, Valve brought the price of just the AUG back up to $3300 which was its original price as well as bringing down a few of the shotguns’ prices by a few hundred dollars. Without changing the actual statistics of the weapons, Valve is trying to get players to use a larger variety of weapons instead of just the standard M4 and AK47.

Those were the main changes to the gameplay for this update. I think that the game is changing in a good way and provides players with more options towards what weapons they play with each round. In the past few months I think Valve has been doing a pretty decent job with their game.

Plans For The March Break

Around this time of the year the schools in our area get our “Mid-Winter break” although everyone just calls it March break. I don’t really have anything to do over the March break, but there are a few things I would like to do.

Just like every other year I plan on spending most of my days playing video games with friends. A lot of my other friends that I play with don’t really have plans over the break either, so most of the times I’ll be playing with them. For individual games, I hope to be able to rank up in CS:GO within the following week. I also want to catch up on osu! with one of my other friends that plays, and maybe play some Apex Legends if I feel like it.

If I’m not playing games I’ll probably be watching anime or working on the song I’m trying to write with the help of my theory teacher. I think it sounds pretty cool, but the goal of the project was to use the guitar for melody and a viola, violin, and cello for the harmony. So far I’ve kind of been thinking of only the guitar so I’m unsure if whether or not it’ll still sound the same when using other instruments.

During the rest of the time my brother, mom, and I are planning to try some new restaurants for a few days which we usually do during either the March or Summer break. I hope that there’ll be something that we find that I really enjoy, but either way it should be fun.

Overall, those are pretty much all my plans for the March break. As you can tell there’s not really anything elaborate planned, so it’s all kind of basic stuff.

Making Music In GarageBand

A few weeks ago when I didn’t go to school due to inclement weather, I got kind of bored since there wasn’t really any school work that I had to do. I decided that since I’ve learned a lot more about music theory over the past months, I tried making some sort of music in the GarageBand program.

When I first started I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t feel like setting up and recording actual instruments. Eventually, I decided to just draw in MIDI notes and started making chords. I wasn’t planning on making an actual song, so I drew in a few chords that I don’t even know the names of. All I knew was that they sounded okay and were in the same key. I looped what I had once to make it a bit longer. It was just an experiment with things, so overall it was only around 25 seconds long.

GarageBand does have many different instruments to choose from. But I actually don’t have all of the sound files downloaded, so most of the instruments are just different kinds of synthesizers. I chose a synthesizer that was electronic and kind of what I wanted but the sound of it wasn’t exactly right. However, you do have some default settings you can change to work on sound design which I used to make it sound a little bit better. I know that you can use external plug-ins like Serum that lets you do things like sound design a lot better than the default one though. Even if it didn’t sound good I had no real expectations or planned on anyone else to listen to it so I just left the sound the way it was.

I added a second track for bass, but it was just another different synthesizer playing the root notes of the chords in a lower octave. When you listen to the loop you can’t really even hear it though. At this point, I also thought the chords sounded a bit flat, so I did a rise and drop of volume whenever the chord changed for a wobble effect. I had used the volume controller before to fade things in and out, so that was pretty simple. It sounds interesting, but you wouldn’t want to hear in an actual song.

After I finished with all the pitched stuff I downloaded a few drum sound sample packs and put in a track for a hi-hat and crash. I only filled a few seconds of the track with the percussion since I just wanted to see what it was like. Working with the audio files of the sound samples was actually easier than I thought. I had expected to have issues with them being too long in length and end up clipping into each other but that wasn’t the case. It ended up making this really short weird triplet beat with a crash at the end.

Overall, I didn’t really plan to go anywhere else with the track, but I did learn a lot of new things about the program and used some of the theory I learned in making the chords. It was a lot of fun and I’d consider trying it again if I feel like it.