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Splatoon 2 Global Testfire – Impressions

Part demo, part server stress test, part open beta – the Global Testfire is a timed demo over a weekend. Rather than divide the player base by region, the Global Testfire is only live for 6 x1 hour sessions, with a reasonable guarentee that 4 of these sessions are within normal waking hours for people in different time zones

These are short impressions, so there isn’t the same level of detail as reviews regarding the operation of the game – however in brief:

Basic Rules of Splatoon 2

  •  You are a squid that shoots ink with super-soakers.
  • You are in a squad of 4, all shooting the same coloured ink. You’re against another team of 4 shooting different ink.
  • Your ink makes you go faster and allow you to swim though your ink at great speeds. Enemy ink harms you and slows you down. You can also “die” if you are shot too many times by enemy ink.
  • Your team and their team fight to cover as much of the level with ink as possible within 3 mins. Most % of the map covered in ink wins. This is the only win condition.

The Testfire was locked to a single game mode and a rotation of 2 maps only, with limited load outs that you could select when you loaded the game, covering the 4 core weapon types you could pick from

Servers handled well, even on my terrible wifi connection. The game was really fun to play, smooth to handle – though I don’t really have much to add from my Splatoon 1 impressions. In one sentance, it’s the 3rd person shooter for all the family. Painting the map and avoiding the enemy is a ligitmate strategy. So’s destroying the enemy as close to their spawn as possible to prevent them from painting any part of the map. 3mins sometimes feels too short for a game, but it’s a perfect timescale for pick-up-and-play. 15mins of game time can be quite substantial in Splatoon 2

What is unique for this Testfire is the portable functionality of the Switch. As like any Switch game, its tremendously fun to just take the game into a coffee shop and play the game the same way you would, with the same perceivable graphical fidelility. The game is fantastic in handheld mode – and I can’t wait to play this game in local play when more friends get the Switch later in the year.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the Switch keeps things fairly quiet in headphone mode vs other portable devices. I get that Nintendo are keep the volume down to prevent hearing problems, but more often than not headphones don’t block out the sound of a espresso machine in a Starbucks, so you can loose sound from time to time.

Splatoon 2 feels at first blush to be incredibly similar to Splatoon 1. The game’s graphics, look and feel are very similar and you feel at least mechanically, the game is just a slightly improved version of the original game. So if you played Splatoon 1 and liked it and want more, Splatoon 2 is an instant purchase.

For those expecting a drastic departure – wait until the game comes out. The game’s core Turf War game will evolve over time with new strategies when the full weapon list is out – but the games got a new social hub, new expanded single player, horde mode and probably a bunch of other hidden surprises that we’ll find out about in the weeks running up to release.

Nomujoa – 2017 Update

The sites gone though a fair few changes [you can still see the OG site back on Tumblr in all it’s naive glory [and Animal Crossing posts]], but this recent update is about as close as I’ve been able to get to the site’s original intent – expressing a love for the things I work on and the world I experiance.

In the spirit of constant improvement, this site’s refresh includes a totally new homepage and user flow as well as a much improved experiance on mobile [better optimised – I’m still not completely happy with the formatting of the header elements for mobile].  To be frank, the original site build was really aimed at power users – people with great rigs and even better internet connections, and the site’s intent communicated rich content over an optimised viewing experiance. None of these are deal breakers for me, but I felt that I wanted the site to be not only more welcoming to a large audience, I also wanted users to understand that this was a personal brand portal – rather than just a portfolio page or just a blog page.

Thanks to a couple of coding changes to the core structure of the site, YouTube’s always improving “auto-scale” import features, Google’s excellent Motion Stills App, mobile gif optimising sites that work on almost any device and some improvements to the way the site’s backend handles response layouts, I’ve been able to significantly update the site’s look, feel & general quality.

  • 1. Full Width content for the homepage, and all video content in these pages [desktop’s only] exist on stream friendly YouTube, rather than as .webm videos hosted on the site direct. In the past, hosted video content either scaled poorly, or was simply too large for most connections to load the page in a respectable time. Now the background for some pages is entirely rendered by YouTube, so chances are if you see the background with a spinning background – give it a couple of seconds to load the background.
  • 2. Concise Homepage. While I’d still prefer a site displays new content above the fold and with as few clicks as possible, I have to concede that the site isn’t just about content – and not all users come to the site for the same reason [/wave to prospective employers, friends abroad, co-workers & my Mom]. This new homepage gives a quick glimpse at a couple of key areas of interest without bombarding them with useless stuff to load on the homepage.
  • 3. Just cleaner. The site’s just a lot less cluttered – uses full width better on all layouts. You’ll still be best served in desktop 1200px or wider, but those on tablets in landscape will get nearly the full experiance without any long load times, and mobile portrait users will get a decent, fast loading experiance for the most part.

Fundermentally, the biggest change in 2017 is less about creating massive posts with curated content and more about documenting a life well lived. I promised myself that once I was past the junior tier and junior salaries of my career as a producer, I’d start balancing my life better and experiancing more of the world, using the money I earn to enrich my life. While I’m tempted at all times by semi-pointless consumerism [and sometimes subcum, thanks Sony/Nintendo/Apple/Razer/Ted Baker/Tokyo/Every great coffee and cocktail bar ever/etc], I am traveling more, expanding my horizons often and generally becoming the person I want to be – rather than dreaming and hoping I’ll become someone interesting. And this site is a constant reminder to me about this goal.

Documenting this is important to me, because a lot of people I care about are in different parts of the world – and showing them this life is a key part of my way of communicating with them; and tracking who I am and what I’ve achieved [or not achived].

Thank you again for taking time to visit the site!