The original American McGee Alice was a game of its own, a game that defined shooters for the insane. Well, since we are all insane, let us go insane again, for the new Alice game.
Alice Madness Returns is the sequel to the original game. It takes place years after the ending events from the first game. Again, you befriend the trusted cat, who guides you through the world of Wonderland.
Wipe that smirk off the cat's sly grin.
Meet the new Alice.
This time, Alice is more a mature, fine lovely lady, yet you would not want to mess with her, she is just as frightening and evil as ever. Get in her way and she will make lunch with you.
Alice is so lovely.
Yet, she can be so evil.
The graphics in the game is noticably much better, objects are more defined and crisp. The controls match up with the visuals, no longer will you over jump or miss the ledge.
The gameplay has significantly improved. It is much easier to attack, dodge, and do other sorts of tricks. Alice can twirl in the air, which by the way, is so much fun. She can also dodge by becoming a fluff of butterflies. No longer is weapon ammunition rare. You are given both a melee and a ranged weapon early in the game to use.
The problem with the first game was that you quickly run out of ammunition before you could dispatch the first set of enemies, leaving you with no other choice but to revert back to the painfully slow knife throwing combination.
Get in her way and you will be dinner.
Alice sounds wonderful, the voice actors did an amazing job bringing out the liveliness of the characters. You will definitely want to turn up the volume as the game progresses.
Twirling Alice in the air is so much fun.
If you are in for some wacky fun, why not give the game a twirl.
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The long awaited Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released. What is it like and has it lived up to its name? It sure has! But it will not satistify all gamers.
When you first start the game, you will notice a different atmosphere in the gameplay. A change in the game series is that it now introduces experiences. While Gran Turismo 4 already rewarded gamers with experience after each race, Gran Turismo 5 is a lot more persistent about it. In fact, the game stalls gameplay by making the player grind for more experience in order to advance to the next level. If you simply want to hop into a car and play the game from beginning to end, then this is not the game for you. In fact, I was stalled at many points in the game and prevented from advancing simply due to the inadequate amount of experience that I currently have. There is a set amount of experience required in order to participate in the next race. I was fustrated, and so will many other players. The game itself makes the player repeat many races in order to advance to the next stage.
The dreaded endurance races are also back. Unlike Gran Turismo 4, where you can have a b-spec driver race the 24 hour races for you, Gran Turismo 5 separates races into a-spec and b-spec modes. Furthermore, the experience requirement prevents you from transfering between a-sepc and b-spec races. In other words, if you lack experience b-spec mode, you can not use your a-spec experience to level up. This can be fustrating and not to mention driving 24 hours non-stop in the endurance races will be a long route. Hopefully, the game makers will release a patch that allows saving in pitstops soon.
The new gameplay now supports up to 16 cars per race. This is an additional 10 cars in contrast to Gran Turismo 4. But be warned, when there are more than 5 cars on the screen, the frames per second will drop a lot. I was disappointed at this, since I expected the strong cell processor should have been able to handle a lot more.
As usual, photo mode is back and better. This time, you are able to take photos in game during replays. Furthermore, you can drive in preset locations such as Tokyo, Japan. The photos and images that are produced are simply fantastic. The game indicates that it can produce images up to 18M in resolution. However, there are three resolutions that really occur, which are 6M, 12M, and 18M. You need to find the right combination of cars and background in order to take a full 18M resolution photo. Normally, a 12M is the best that you can take, which is still very good. A 18M photo probably requires a premium car.
Photo mode at a preset location.
Although the game consists of over 1000 cars, there are only about 300 cars that are classified as premium, the rest are standard cars. The difference in premium and standard cars is the level of detail on the car. Premium cars are those that can be purchased in the new car dealership, while the used car dealership normally sells standard cars. To be honest, standard cars look as if the car textures itself were ripped from a Playstation 2 version, perhaps from Gran Turismo 4. But the cars that are truly premium are simply amazing.
It feels as if the number of race events has decreased in Gran Turismo 5 compared to its predecessor (GT4). There are 9 race events in each of the 5 series: beginner, advanced, intermediate, expert, and extreme. This gives a total of 45 race events. There are also special events, which pits the player in special driving events such as learning the Nurgburing in a Mercades Benz to rally racing. In fact, unlike its predecessors, rally events only occur in these special events.
One noteworthy race event is the tarmac races. The night time tarmac races are realistic. They are dark, but you have the option to use low and high beams to help you see. The turns are also very sharp. While you can barely see the upcoming corners, you will feel the adrenline pumping in your heart as you race towards the finish line. This makes a deadly combination and is a recipe for disaster but is a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. You can also enjoy the fireworks that light up the sky, your screen.
Stunningly beautiful tarmac night race.
Fireworks are a major distraction when driving at high speeds but also a beauty to see.
I consider Gran Turismo 5 a great game, I also played its predecessors from 1 to 4. I purchased this game as part of my collections. I recommend you to try the game as well, you will like the real driving experience.
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Call of Duty 2 was a fantastic game. It set a roadmap for future games. The developers have followed up with another excellent game, Call of Duty Modern Warfare. While the predecessor games in the series were based during the World War 2 era, Modern Warfare focuses on "modern" tactical combat.
The player assumes the role of a soldier in modern time undertaking various missions around the world. The player is equiped with advanced weapons such as the M4 or AK47. Other times, you are given advanced warfare technology to complete your mission. During one mission, you wipe out the enemy forces using air supported attacks.
Provide air support during the night raid.
You have the opportunity to operate a wide selection of weapons.
You play along your best friend and mentor, Captain Price. At various times, you also participate in missions related to the younger Captain Price. Can you live up to the name of the young captain and save your comrade, or will you fall in the demise of hordes of enemy swarms?
Follow your orders from Captain Price who is also your mentor.
The game does not have a health system. Instead, the character has a regenerative health system, which somehow replishes itself after a few moments. So, whenever you are hurting from multiple gun shot wounds, simply hide behind cover and you will be healed automatically. While this system is designed for a younger generation, it takes away the traditional treasure hunting and adrenaline in classic shooter games.
Another popular game style that is well evident through out the game is the infinite spawning of bots. Whenever you gun down an enemy and you do not advance the game, more enemies will continue to spawn regardlessly. So, it is important to continue to advance the game at all times.
There are even more enemies waiting for you inside.
The atmosphere is well defined. The background visuals clearly help set the mood that you are in a war. Wherever you go, there will be plenty of things to see. Take note of your surroundings soldier, you will need to map out all the cover spots and sniper positions quickly.
Use your surrounding to stay hidden while keeping up.
In a battlefield, using all your sensory systems is vital to survival. This game does well to aid your auditory senses to the maximum potential. Even if you are just enjoying the game, listen to the surrounding ambient noise. You will be able to hear realistic gunfire, explosives, cries, and your own heartbeat.
Can you handle the pressure?
Call of Duty Modern Warfare pits players in intense warfare. Gear up soldier, get ready for combat.
Have you got the guts to stare down the barrel of a gun?
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While I already covered a small number of design patterns in an earlier article "Article 17 - Technical Interview Questions - Design Patterns", there are many more design patterns worth noting. Although some design patterns may not be as common in interview questions, they are, nonetheless, invaluable to have. Learn them.
The Factory pattern is useful when you have multiple ways to instantiate a particular object and you want to ensure that the instantiation process is consistent.
Consider a function that returns the length of a stick. We can instantiate this stick object using various constructors for different regions (since different regions have different measurement scales: imperial, metric, and others). Instead, we can use the Factory pattern to define functions (as part of the Stick class, which are normally static methods) that convert and return an instance of the class. For example, some methods can be fromCentimeter() or fromFeet() that generates a Stick object of a certain length given either centimeter or feet, respectively.
Factory Pattern Example.
Abstract Factory Pattern
The Abstract Factory pattern is related to the Factory pattern, except, this pattern uses a common instantiation interface and lets the concrete (often derived class) provide the particular instantiation.
For example, a Document abstract factory class could provide the interface createLetter() or createMemo(), while derived classes will implement those methods to provide specific objects such as a BorderedDocument class.
This pattern is different from the Factory pattern, which generates objects as an instance of itself, whereas the Abstract Factory pattern generates an object of any derived class.
Abstract Factory Pattern Example.
Resource Pool Pattern
This pattern is used to maintain a consistant number of resources available for the program. Initially, the program will generate x number of resources and sets them aside in a pool. Whenever the program requests a resource, it retrieves it from the pool.
This approach is used whenever generating and destroying a resource is expensive, often the case with database connections (handshaking and authentication procedures may be expensive).
Beware of resource leaks which can occur from many situations. Consider a multithreaded program, where each thread acquires and returns a particular shared resource (i.e. database connection) from the resource manager. If any particular thread acquires a shared resource but dies before returning the shared resource, it becomes a leaked resource (like a leak memory). One method to prevent or recover is to have the resource manager perform more duties (at the expense of more processor utilization) to determine any overloaned resource and reclaim it at a future. For instance, a maximum time limit per loan. However, setting a correct limit is difficult, so this approach may not be the best. In an incorrect situation, the time limit may be too short, and thus prematurely terminating the thread's work. In other (worst cases), all threads acquire all resources and hold them and more threads are waiting the resource. What we have is starvation.
This pattern, although used, is a lack luster method to add functionality in the future, that was not added earlier. It removes the need to rewrite the original code for additional changes. While it works, and avoids breaking the original class's functionality, if the original class changes functionality, this pattern may not behave as intended.
It works by encapsulating a reference to the original object, and overriding any particular method it wants to extend functionality. The overrided method normally calls the original's object's method as well (provided it wants the original functionality).
Unlike the name suggests, this pattern allows dynamic swapping of different algorithms that share the same interface. For example, we are given a list, and we want to sort this list. Using the Strategy pattern, we can sort the list using quicksort, bubblesort, selection sort, and any other sort that implements the same interfaces as these. For example, the Java Collections.sort() function uses this pattern to allow the virtual machine to change the sorting algorithm depending on efficiency (internally).
In this pattern, a common object is shared between multiple objects to reduce memory consumption.
One good example, is Java's Integer class. In this class, there is a static variable called, MAX_VALUE, which is shared between all instances so that any object can declare a maximum integer value using the same value.
This pattern is used as a hook in which derived classes can provide a specific implementation to a particular generalized algorithm. For instance, we may have (in the base class) a function that performs some generalized traversal of a binary tree and which each node traversal, the algorithm will invoke the hook() function. A derived class can override this hook() function to perform the traversal in different ways, such as preorder, inorder, or postorder traversal.
Template Pattern Example.
This is an important pattern, it is used to separate logic (algorithm) and the object's definition.
When we have a structured object, say a filesystem object that contains a list of files and folders. We want to support some operations on this filesystem. Initially, we may want to have the functions open(), or read(). Later we may want to add functionality such as search(). We do not want to change the defintion of the File or Folder class.
What we would do is have a Visitor object that understands each object that it can use and visit the lise of files and folders, recursively, and operate on them again. That way, when we add functionalities, we minimize the number of changed class definitions.
For this to work, the visitor object must know each concrete object that it works with. However, each concrete object (being worked on) only needs to know the interface of the visitor.
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