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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Parnautical Activity Scandal

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Yesterday the PC gaming world had a bit of a scandal pop up involving the newly released game Paranautical Activity by Code Avarice. Story after story began popping up on gaming news sites, and blogs. While I wanted to write about the situation I actually sat back and watched. My reasons were that everyone else was producing the same story, and well......everyone was more or less bashing this indie company into the ground for the remarks that were made and I wanted to see more develop before I spoke on this. So here is what went down, and my opinions on the situation that has severely wounded this company.

Yesterday was supposed to be an amazing day for Code Avarice as a indie gaming company. Their new game released on steam and was featured on the Steam Store front page which would have (hopefully) netted them thousands of dollars due to the front page exposure. Instead, the worst nightmare of these up and coming developers came to be. There was an error on steams end, which marked the game as still being in "early access" an error which Mike Murderbeck, one of Paranauticals developers who had worked long and hard on this game took very personally. What followed was a tirade of insults against steam on his twitter feed questioning the "Monopoly" steam has over the PC game market as well as accusations of them being Incompetent. While his frustration was totally understandable at this point minus being a bit unprofessional his outburst was pretty harmless. However moments later this seemingly normal rant would get a lot more serious when he would post a "death threat" against the owner of Steam "I'm going to kill gabe newell. He is going to die". To question the business policy, as well as the hold Steam has on PC gaming is one thing, but to issue a public death threat against anyone seems to have crossed the line. Soon after the post popped up, it was deleted.....but so was Paranautical Activity" from steam. Valve made the decision to pull the game from steam, while leaving the community page up as well as allowing any updates to people who have already purchased the title.

Since all this has happened there has been a whole lot of bad press, and comments from the gaming community. Some of Code Avarice's hardcore fan base claim that steam has overreacted and since steam is the only worth while distribution platform for PC gaming that their decision is ruining the careers of everyone involved. However the majority of comments that I've seen are more along the lines of "Don't bite the hand that feeds you". In his defense, Mike Murderbeck has apologized for his outburst, and openly admits that it was a stupid decision. Earlier today Mike announced that he is stepping down from Code Avarice in this blog post. Later an official apology was released on the companies website to Valve, and Gabe Newell.

Gabe Newell

What is next for Code Avarice? This is a good question. Travis, another one of the developers, and owner of Code Avarice has stated that he will not kill the company and start over. So it will be an uphill battle for sure. The company is no stranger to bad publicity and outbursts like this. Mike has been known to verbally attack critics of their games, and according to other developers and bundle release platforms a "Nightmare to work with". However, despite the bad reputation I have to say that since he has stepped down from the company I think it is possible for them to make it back onto the steam platform. I'll go further to say that I do feel bad for Travis, and the other developers who worked long and hard on a game, and did nothing wrong to be punished for the actions of someone else now that they have left the company. I understand steam removing the game and cutting ties with a company who issued threats against them. However with the person now no longer associated with Code Avarice I think the right thing to do would be to give them a second chance. I contacted Code Avarice on twitter and asked if there were plans to get the title back on steam.


I think PA is done with Steam. I am in no hurry to deal with it. I will just move on to the next title.


If you are interested in playing Paranautical Activity though, the good news is that you can head over to http://codeavarice.com/ and click "Buy Paranautical Activity" to purchase for $9.99.

Psi's conclusion
I feel like Monopoly is a strong word to describe the hold steam has over the PC market. There are other distribution methods out there and honestly it is not Gabe Newell's, or Valves fault that the other methods are lackluster to say the least. However, there is a good argument that for an indie developer steam is almost needed to succeed into today's market. Sure, some developers such as Adam Ryland has built a sturdy fan base off of his Total Extreme Wrestling simulators and does his publishing through http://www.greydogsoftware.com/. However this is a rare exception, and to be fair Adam has been building his fan base for years with his EWR titles. I also feel that blaming an entire team of developers and company for one persons outburst is totally unfair. Was a death threat out of line? Of course it was. Nobody, even Code Avarice is claiming it wasn't. However the situation has been dealt with, apologies have been given and people are now moving on, and so should we. Myself and everyone who helps with Ragetrip Gaming wish nothing but the best for Code Avarice in the future, and as fans of indie gaming I hope that this developer continues to release games for the fans of their work and the entire PC gaming market.

~*Code Avarice Links*~
 Code Avarice Official Website
Code Avarice Twitter

Will I Rage? Recettear: An Item Shops Tale Review

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When I first heard of the game "Recettear: An Item Shops tale" I had mixed feelings about it. I always thought that it was an interesting idea, but how could they pull it off without the game being incredibly boring? However even though I've slept on the game for awhile I decided to pick it up, give it a play through and write up this review. So here it is....my review of the indy RPG title "Recettear: An Item Shops Tale".

In the beginning...
Upon starting the game I noticed 2 things right off the bat. First is from the graphics, to the Anime style characters the game has that old school RPG feel to it. This is NOT a bad thing though, it suits this title well. The second thing that I couldn't help but notice is while the subtitles are in English, the few words that the characters actually speak are not. Not a big deal, but slightly amusing to me. In this first scene you kind of get an understanding what is going on. I am not going to give away the plot, but I will say now that I actually really enjoyed the storyline of this game. Now here is my first gripe about this game (if you can really call it that). The tutorial seems to drag on forever. You can click Escape to move past each part but if its your first time playing that could possibly leave you confused as hell. However, it's nice to have that option for the future. I'm not saying the tutorial isn't needed because it is. I'm just saying that for a gamer with little patience (which sadly I see more and more of these days) it may be too much for them. Another good thing is, this game is compatible with any Windows recognized controller (including your 360 controller!) which is how I decided to play it since the original key bindings suck (x,y,z Asian setup).

The joys of owning your own shop
Once we get passed this awful tutorial we learn it is our job to buy items to stock our shop from either the Merchant's guild or the market, both of which have good items that you should always stock up on. Also after a few levels, we find out that we also buy items from customers, which we are able to haggle on. The main goal of this game is to buy items, and sell them for a profit so that you can pay back a weekly debt. If you fail to pay it back the game ends and you start over at "Day 1" again although you keep your level and items accumulated. This Debt rises every week also, which keeps things difficult. After a few more levels, you'll get the option to do "Orders" for customers where they will return in x amount of days to pick it up which is a neat little addition to mix things up a bit. Each time you open your shop, you must run through several customers who you need to haggle a price with, and make sure not to anger them too much so that they don't storm out of your shop. In a weird, fantasy RPG way....you kind of get to live out your Pawn Stars dream! After you've played for a bit, "News" also begins to happen, trends, and certain items sell for more on some days, and less on others. So make sure to keep up with that, and restock your shop accordingly. That's another little addition that keeps it from getting too dull.

Adventures?
Now, for you who are gawking at the screen wondering "what the hell? Where is the combat!".....This section is for you. Another aspect of this game is "The Adventure guild!". With this game you have to manage your time, so its not always best to go on an adventure, which is more or less dungeon crawling. The reason being, it takes up your ENTIRE day so your shop is closed that day, where restocking in town only takes up one 4 blocks of time (almost like a pie chart. Opening shop takes 1 piece per time, shopping in town takes 1 piece from the time you leave to the time you return to your shop, and the adventure guild takes 4 pieces (the entire day). So use your time wisely. Adventuring can be very profitable though seeing as if you are successful and don't die in the dungeon you get to keep all the loot you find to sell. If you do die, you get to choose only one piece of gear to bring back out of the loot you found. Just make sure you balance out your dungeon crawling, restocking, and the actual running of your shop or you will be in trouble.

Shop Customization
As you slowly gain merchant levels (level up) you unlock certain abilities. The ability to change the floor, wallpaper, counters, Carpet, and generally upgrade your shop. I personally wish that there was MORE customization options available. It feels like they rushed on that aspect, which could have added a little more replay value and personalization to the game. It is there though, and good enough to keep you comfortable with it so I won't complain too much.

The Bad
I will start off with the default controls for the game. I had to actually "look up" how to click on "options" or "start game" in the menu. I could move up and down with the arrow keys, but enter, spacebar, nothing was working. Apparently it was either x,y, or z (I forget which). If you are going to port a game from Asian standards to the rest of the world, you need to set the default controls to what they know. Luckily as soon as I did manage to click "start game" my 360 controller was auto recognized so I didn't have to deal with odd keyboard controls and configurations. If you don't have a controller you may though.

Another thing that I thought could be a lot better is the customer AI. Once you get a feel for each character type, its easy to remember exactly how low or high you can haggle them. For example the child is really broke, the old man is super stingy, and the dude in his 20's - early 30's is a bit less so. If they randomized each customers buying/selling habits it could have made the game a lot more interesting.

This isn't just a knock at Recettear but at most all games now. I really wish the storyline had of lasted longer. The storyline isn't super complex but it does its job to keep you interested and I feel that it ended far too soon. However AFTER the story is over, you can keep playing for as long as you can pay your payment each week, which becomes increasingly harder and harder each week.


All in all I have to admit while being skeptical going in, this game far exceeded my expectations. It's unique in a market that's overflowing with clones of popular titles and dares to be different. Are there aspects of the game that need work? Yes. But the game is polished, fun to play, and has some replay value as well. I know it isn't a new release but I still hope to one day see a sequel made to this game. I think it has A LOT of potential.

 Rating
3.5 out of 5

While the game is very fun, has decent replay value and has amazing levels of originality going for it there is a lot that could be improved upon as I've mentioned above which is why I gave it the 3.5 out of 5. Hopefully one day we will see a sequel with all those things fixed. Still an amazing game as is, and I'd suggest it to anyone who is into single player "Old School" style RPGs.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

The truth about Furry Paws...

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Every guy on the planet (unless you are a complete scumbag) will do something that is just for their significant other once in awhile. Well that was furry paws for me. My girlfriend is REALLY into breeding, training, and competing pure bred dogs. So when I found the browser based simulation Furry Paws I figured it would be something both of us could do together. I am a huge animal lover myself, and while I don't share her passion for the inner mechanics of breeding and showing these dogs, I do love dogs. However going into this game, I felt like it was going to be something that I would "put up with" to make her happy. I was wrong. What I found was a game that is really fun to play.


When you first go to the furry paws website you will see the screen above. To get started, all you have to do is pick from the impressive list of breeds and name your first dog. From there you will be ushered to another screen where you confirm this dog selection and name, as well as create your user account. Once you are signed up, and ready to start playing you run through a tutorial that teaches you the ropes and how to get started. The tutorial is also good because it earns you the in game money needed for a new player.

On my account, I decided that my kennel will be Miniature Pinschers exclusively, who will specialize in Musical Freestyle (dancing min pins for the win!). The game is surprisingly in depth with genetics, competitions, and much more. I was very surprised at the detail put into the breeding, training, and dog competitions. Like I said before, I was never against the game, I just never thought that it would be as much fun as it actually is for someone who isn't really deep into dog breeding. As you (and your dogs) level up, new things unlock. You can expand your kennel, build your own training area there, where you can host your own competitions (another way to make money). Your dogs can be registered at level 5, and much more. To gain extra money you can play a select few games daily, and play Bingo at ANYTIME (I know I played bingo for what felt like hours my first couple days in the game). There are many things you can buy, including collars and leashes which advance your dogs stats, food which has a chance to advance stats, and even other animals that you can put on your pet farm in the game (Once you unlock it) such as the baby purple dragon that I've got sitting in my attic (extra storage space). You can also own a "Mall Store", where you can sell goods that you buy on accident, find, trade, or possibly even get on one of the "Random events" that happens while you browse the site.

As gamers, we tend to play the biggest and baddest games out there. Top of the line First Person Shooters, MMORPGs, ARPGs, RTS, MOBA, etc. But the more hardcore gamers tend to frown away from browser based games like this. For me, I find that as a hardcore gamer I love having a game like this on my second monitor, giving me something else to do WHILE I'm playing other games, or waiting in match queues. This is a game that you can comfortably log into once a day to care for your dogs and such, or you can play it throughout the day as well doing bingo, working your mall store, etc. The community here is a very good one as well. The most Non-Toxic community I've come across in my years of gaming. Upon entering the chat I found the players to be super friendly and helpful. Cussing, Trolling, and being generally toxic will not be tolerated at all in furry paws.

The staff of Furry Paws are also excellent. The game creator who goes by the name Kahlem on the website was quick to get back to me about my desire to write about the game and use some of the game's graphics.  There are players, who are designated "New Player Helpers", who help new players by answering questions and giving advice, and the moderators are par none. I had an issue that I used the "Mod Box" for, and they were more than helpful and I was set up within a couple hours of submitting the ticket.

On the real money side. There are "FPP dollars", which you pay for with real money. However, they aren't super expensive, and aren't needed at all to enjoy the game and have champion level dogs. There is also the option of becoming an "Elite" member for the amazingly low price of $20.00 a year. Again this is NOT needed at all to enjoy the game, but if you do enjoy the game it would be nice to enjoy the perks of being an elite member, and knowing your helping a great game, and even greater community of people.

In conclusion I am not one to usually write about this type of browser based game. In fact there are only 3 of these games that I've found to be worth my time. This game is a gem that keeps you interested, cares more about the community than making a quick buck off of them, and has a very friendly community. I urge everyone to at least go check the game out. After all there is no download, it's completely free with a very simple sign up.......what do you have to lose? Click below if your interested in checking it out and I'll see ya in game!


Furry-Paws.com: Your virtual dog could be the next champion!
All images above are owned by Furry Paws. I was given permission to use them in this
blog by the owner and creator of furry paws Kahlem.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We must stop the BOTs.....

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It seems like bots have increasingly become a problem in most online multi player games from World of Warcraft on to League of Legends. There are many reasons for this, and hardly any of them benefit the players. Even if your not a gold seller, or trying to use these bots to level accounts to sell. Let's say your just an average Joe who wants to use a fishing bot in wow to get an inventory full of fish while you sleep. While it wouldn't be a bad thing if you were using those fish personally, most of the people who'd do this would be selling them, flooding the marketplace, and therefore ruining the economy for the honest fishermen out there. You see where I'm going here?

I have never been a HUGE League of Legends player personally. However do to friends playing and such I finally pushed my account up to level 30. I found early on that my favorite map is without a doubt ARAM. One lane, constant fighting it almost has that "Death match" feel in shooters that I love with a much faster pace than your normal 5v5 summoner's rift. However I learned just as quickly that ARAM is over-run with bots until level 30. The reason behind this is there are a ton of websites, and forums out there where people go to buy and sell items in game, as well as accounts for games. Now here is where my view on this gets tricky. If you've played a game for awhile, worked your ass off on it and decide you are done and want to sell your account.....I really see nothing wrong with that. By all means get some money, or an account on a different game for all your hard work. HOWEVER, this opens the door for people who run bots constantly to level, and sell fresh max level accounts. This is a bad thing. ARAM seems to be the main spot for these bots, because it's much easier to program a bot for one straight lane, opposed to a more advanced map like Summoner's Rift. 

It is very easy to spot these bots in ARAM. They queue up together 4 deep for some reason and all stack on each other, and move as one. You will often get in a game leveling in ARAM where it becomes obvious quickly that you are the only human player on your team. It's a very frustrating thing indeed. The fact is that most games, the bots only really effect the economy such as the farm bots in wow, and the bots we've seen in diablo style games as well. However with League, it's actually effecting your game play. I know for a fact that on my way to level 30, I have reported well over 100 bots. I'm not sure how effective these reports are, but I did. It seems that in Summoner's Rift this kind of thing doesn't happen. I know some people will say "Oh, well just don't do ARAM until 30".....but I LIKE it. Why isn't Riot doing something about this? Apparently Riot Games has issues statements about bots running rampant in Dominion mode but nothing really about ARAM. 



Ragetrip Gaming does not condone botting for any reason really. Sure, it wouldn't hurt anyone if you were farming fish, to use personally for raids in WoW. But lets face it, how many people are really using a bot for PERSONAL use only and not to make money, or ruin the games economy? Shooters have always been the absolute worst with wall hacks, aimbots, etc. These people are the absolute worst because they aren't botting for any monetary reason at all. No real life money to be made, no in game money to be made. Most of these kids do it to get their rating up. Why even bother playing the game if you suck so bad you have to bot to get your rating up? You have achieved nothing. I can halfway understand why the botting in LoL, WoW, etc. Happens. Money. Be it virtual, or real life money from selling items or accounts. At least they are getting something out of it.I think that it is time to take a stand against botting in a major way in ALL forms of gaming. This is a huge problem with the PC gaming community that needs to be tackled head on. 

First off to the players. If you see someone botting REPORT IT. If you have time, grab a screen shot to send WITH the report as proof. I know sometimes we say to ourselves "They never do anything about it, so what's the use?"...But the fact is, it's better than doing nothing and watching your favorite game go up in flames. At least you are trying.

Now onto the GM's, MOD's, etc. Start monitoring things more closely. LISTEN to reports, and research. It's easy in league, if you get a report for botting slip into spectator mode and watch the suspected bots play. If you start perm banning these accounts in huge numbers, and it becomes super hard to get a botted account to 30 the people making money on this will move on, since it will totally kill their profits. While there IS botting in WoW it is nowhere near as destructive to the game as it is to others. Why? Because blizzard has no problem banning people. I do not play wow anymore, and haven't for a long time. But that is one thing I have to give to blizzard, is that they are constantly fighting to keep botting down to a minimum. 

I think botting, and hacking are probably the two most destructive elements to the PC gaming community. We have an amazing community with guilds, forums, websites, and the best modding community out there. We ALL need to band together and report these bots, and the GMs and DEVs need to actually review these reports, and do something about it.




Monday, July 14, 2014

SL DJ School needs your help!

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If you were big into Second Life back in 2007 you'll no doubt remember just how big the Second Life DJ School was. If you were a DJ, Club Owner, Club Manager, or knew anyone in these fields you more than likely at least heard of the DJ Education titan. Second Life DJ School created and ran by Joanie Neddings, prided itself on educating, and training DJ's to be the best of the best on the grid and since it's creation has produced many of the top DJ's to ever work an event in the virtual world of Second Life. After a 3 year run SL DJ School would close in 2010 to be sold to Host Crate owner LustyLexy Larimore. The School remained closed until 2011 when SL DJ Academy was getting ready to close its doors. However, with the close of that school came the rise of Premiere DJ Academy ran by Rosalie Difference & Psilocybin Rain which would quickly take over the market with quality classes, a partnership for streams, and vendors for the best tip jars, and other club equipment in game. SL DJ School was then purchased by Rosalie Difference, so the brief resurgence of the Second Life DJ School came to a quick end, and the school's legacy was safe in the hands of one of the Schools original and most notable teachers. Eventually Premiere DJ Academy would be sold do to personal (real life) issues with both Rosalie Difference and Psilocybin Rain. Since then, there has been a few schools popping up on the grid, some good, some not so much. The landscape of DJing in Second Life has changed, as has the club scene. But now, one of the original teachers of SL DJ School, and Co-Owner of Premiere DJ Academy has begun a fundme account, in hopes to bring back this beloved landmark DJ School. I sat down with Rosalie earlier to talk to her about her new project to bring back the school.


Ragetrip Gaming: What made you decide to bring back the SL DJ School after all this time?


Rosalie Difference: You know there's always a part of me that will forever love DJing, and being apart of a school. I knew when Premiere was getting ready to be put up for sale that I would want to come back and do it all over again. Only took 2 years but I've been thinking about it since Premiere DJ Academy was sold.


Ragetrip Gaming: But why now? What made the timing right to do so at this point?


Rosalie Difference: Well the thing about SL is that it and RL have to have a  balance. Previously when owning Premiere I was in the process of filing for divorce, wasn't sure where I would be living, what I would be doing, and other many uncertainties. Which lead for my original decision to put it up for sale in the first place. Now, I work steady hours, in probably most stable job in the country. I have time to dedicate to it, and a pretty strong support group who is eager to see the business thrive and grow.

Ragetrip Gaming: That's right, your currently serving in the military as well. It's awesome that with such a busy schedule that your taking the time to get back into teaching in Second Life. As a DJ myself who learned DJing from you in fact, I see that your class could be beneficial both in and out of second life. For example people looking to start an online radio station, learn to DJ for there gaming streams, or even possibly to get an understanding to take the skills and apply them in real life. Do you offer a payment option for people who aren't into SL, or who are new and would rather pay via credit card or paypal?


Rosalie Difference: It's certainly a hectic life, but I thrive on a little chaos! As far as the payment options, yes we will be hosting in and out of world instruction. With a number of ways to book classes. We will be utilizing paypal, as well as the small marketplace forum Fiverr.com for a few alternative ways to pay. As many residents are not fond of putting money into a game, but with this skill, it's something that can be used not only in Second Life, but really any online setting, and even real club use for our mixing classes. So giving our future clients a little bit of versatility often puts them at ease.


Ragetrip Gaming: I know that currently you are working on raising the money to fund the project to pay for such things as Tier, a new build, as well as advertisement and other things needed to get it up off the ground. How is that whole process coming along?


Rosalie Difference: It's still in it's initial phases but the turnout has been wonderful so far. A few of our former affiliates, students, and even former staff are excited to see the project launch that they have generously donated funds to help us. We still have a bit to go, but the noise has certainly been humming about the social media, the founder herself has been in a sharing frenzy and backs the new launch 100%, She's been a great motivator so far to help get the word out.

Ragetrip Gaming: For the people who are considering donating to this cause are there going to be perks for donating at different levels and such as you'd see on kickstarter campaigns and such?

Rosalie Difference: Yes, we definitely want to be able to give back to these supporters. We have levels at all different price ranges, including access to custom made DJ Drops, DJ Intros, Free Classes to utilize or give as gifts, and many more coming each day!


Ragetrip Gaming: Excellent indeed. You are still my go to person for intros and drops. Your work is without a doubt the best in all of SL. Have you been around the club scene lately? I went out to several clubs a few weeks ago and I have to say that most of the DJ's I saw were terrible. What's your take on the current state compared to how it was say 2 years ago?

Rosalie Difference: Actually that's been apart of my research lately, I like to do a in depth look at the state of things before I jump head first into them. I have to say I was a little surprised at the state of DJ knowledge recently, and at some pretty high traffic clubs too. Though it's apart of the knowledge gathering, finding that target audience, there is a lot of good we can do on the grid these days. One thing that I hope to be able to assist with is that growing as a DJ, some DJs just don't need basic classes, they already understand the use of the program..but now we can mold them into something people pay to see. Developing Personalities.. Developing Mixing Skills. These are things that I feel some are lacking. You can go a long way with a personality while you DJ.


Ragetrip Gaming: That was always my logic. Developing that persona is just as important as the technical aspect of things. So tell me, if all goes perfectly and you get the funding needed. When do you hope to be open for business?


Rosalie Difference: Absolutely, to this day, you are the only student I've ever had that racked in more money per set than I did! But all jokes aside, the funding is an integral part and it decides a lot of the timeline we will have. The quicker the funding the quicker the opening. We do hope though that we can aim for sometime in August. This would be absolutely ideal. But we understand planning and building are never sure with time lines. So until that happens we will continue to move forward with what we can.

Ragetrip Gaming: Thanks for the cheap plug. Seriously though it means a lot. I am pulling for you to get that funding you need, It is a great cause, and you always do great work and support the DJ and Club scene in SL 100%. I know your busy so is there anything else you'd like to say before I let you go?


Rosalie Difference: Honestly, I'd love to hear from anyone who has any feedback with the state of DJs on the grid. I'd love to hear about peoples experiences, what they would like to see, what they think doesn't work etc.. We work for them. Without them we wouldn't exist. So I hope to meet all those supporters on the grid, feel free to stop me when I'm out and about club hopping and last of all I just wanted to send out a huge thank you to all of the students, teachers, and supporters out there. You guys are awesome!


SL DJ School needs YOUR help. To bring the school back in it's full glory will cost, and Rosalie refuses to tarnish the legacy of the SL DJ School by bringing back an inferior product. This is where you guys come in. If your interested in looking more into how you can help, go to SL DJ School FundMe to find out more information. This is a very worthwhile cause. I have made a good amount of money and made quite the name for myself as a DJ in SL, and it all started with a class just like the ones that will be offered by Rosalie. In case people don't know, I am Psilocybin Rain, I have been a DJ in Second Life for close to 4 years now, and was nominated for DJ of the Year for 2013. These classes can help you as an SL DJ, and if your not in SL, you can contact Rosalie for information on how to pay with Paypal and learn outside of SL. You can learn Sam Broadcaster for the Radio style, personality based DJ, VirtualDJ for a more club style, live mixing DJ format, or even Nicecast for the Radio style for MAC users. Taking this class outside of SL has many benefits. If you'd like to set up an onlne radio station, DJ for your friends in other formats, or even take your skills to real life and become a DJ For Hire at parties, wedding receptions, etc. This is a great first step into learning the process of DJing on both the technical aspect, as well as character development, etc. For those of you who are on Second Life, or plan to join Second Life an education at a well known school such as SL DJ School is very important. It is a lot easier to get work at a quality club if you have an education at a top school such as SL DJ School. It also gives you contacts, and info from clubs currently looking for good DJs, the technical knowledge, as well as an idea on how to develop your on air personality. Alumni also gets technical support, and constant help through the schools group.

As of now, donations to the school have already began to pour in. Different donations levels receive different "gifts" as an incentive to donate. You can receive a free custom DJ intro from Rosalie herself for a $20.00 donation, A free basic class and custom DJ Drop for $35.00, and more. I will personally vouch that these are great deals, and Rosalie does some of the most amazing intro's that I've ever heard. Both of my trademark DJ Intro's were done by her, and any future intro or drop work will go directly to her. In my honest opinion this is one of the most worthwhile fundme campaigns you could possibly donate to. Not only can it benefit DJ's getting a free intro, class, etc. But for those of you who just enjoy going to clubs in SL, and the whole nightlife of the game. You are contributing to bettering the education and quality of DJ's on the grid. We've all been to clubs that host some just downright bad DJ's (If you do voice overs, over top of dead air then I'm talking to you!).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Heroes of the Storm (Technical Alpha) First Impression

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I received my Technical Alpha invite to test out Heroes of the Storm last night. I've been curious about this one for some time, since I heard the announcement that it was being made. While I was interested, I wasn't exactly "excited". Blizzard has shown signs of phoning it in, and living off of a reputation that is long gone for some time now (at least in my opinion). With that said, I wasn't about to get super excited for it like I was for Diablo III, only to be terribly disappointed. After playing most of the night last night, and half of the day today I am ready to give my honest first impression of Blizzard's new free to play MOBA.

*NOTE*
Remember that the game is currently in the technical alpha phase. HotS is nowhere near finished or polished. I am giving my first impression of the game with that in mind. When the game is released, and even beta I'm sure the game will be A LOT more polished, and complete with many many changes.


Ragetrip Gaming first impression



The first impression matters, and honestly what has become a blizzard trademark the first thing we see when loading HotS for the first time is a pretty epic cut scene. Blizzard has grown to make amazing opening cut scenes as we saw in Diablo III (Sure the game sucked, but the opening scene was awesome!). This one will not disappoint either.


The Beginning
Once inside the game, you go through a tutorial mode as Jim Raynor and meet up with Uther (from wow) who tells you why your in this strange place. From there, Uther leads you to a town that is being attacked by none other than Diablo. The tutorial walks you through a battle with Diablo there, followed by another full game simulation to teach you how to use your skills and what not. Overall the tutorial was fun, and the dialog between Raynor and Diablo is pretty epic.

After you've worked your way past the tutorial, you must play a game with all AI team and opponents to get a better handle of an actual game. Once you hit lvl 2, you can do Co-Op vs AI. Do one or two games there, and you'll unlock actual 5v5 PVP.


Team based objectives over lane phases & item boosting
Unlike traditional MOBA games HotS is not about pushing lanes, killing your opponents, and gearing up from the item store. In fact, there is no item store in HotS. Instead, with levels, you get to choose new abilities which make your character stronger. With the lack of gold gain, there is no real urgent need to stay in a lane. Instead, Blizzard offers objectives. Teams need to work together to clear jungle camps, but unlike League of Legends, when you kill a camp you must stand there a few seconds and those minions who are dubbed "Mercenaries" will go to the closest lane and push it for you. There are easy, through hard mercenaries that appear 5 minutes into a game. I find this to be a bit funny, that to get mercenaries to fight for you, you have to beat them down, but it is a unique way to go about it.


The Maps & Map Objectives
There are a few different maps one with a pirate like theme, one with mines, and another that is the dragon level, and I'm sure more to come. Each map hosts different objectives. Each map is unique with it's own traits. You will still have your mercenaries there, but the team objectives will change.


The pirate map, your team must work together to secure doubloons to pay the pirate, who will then use his ship to blast away at the enemies defenses. Whichever team gets the most doubloons each time the chests spawn and pay the pirate first gets to use that special assault. The interesting thing is, when you die, you drop those doubloons so expect team fights to ensue during this phase which happens every few minutes during a game.


In the mine level a mine will open up at both the top and bottom lanes. Your objective is to go into these mines and collect the skulls of the minions inside that you kill. Once collected. Remember, your team isn't the only one in the mines and like the pirate level, if you die you drop your skulls so expect violence in these mines. There is a boss down there as well that drops a ton of skulls. Once that's downed both teams will spawn a golem on the regular map, who's strength is determined by how many skulls your team collected.

The dragon level is a bit different. Instead of collecting items for your objective every few minutes you get the options to take control of two key points on the map, one on bottom and one up top. When the same team controls both, someone needs to click on the dragon statue in the middle. Doing so will turn that character into this dragon, who can rush lanes, enemies, etc. Doing massive damage to them until it dies or wears off.

Some people hate that there is no item shop, or gold and with that no real reason to stay in lane. I actually enjoy the fact that there are more team oriented objectives and commend the developers for not taking the easy route and making another DOTA clone. I understand the people who don't like it as well, but honestly if your looking for a more traditional MOBA, perhaps you should stick with DOTA 2 or League of Legends.


The Queue system
The Queue system in this game is totally different than MOBA's we are used to. Instead of the champion select mode where people choose, fight, and bicker over who they will be playing blizzard has taken an approach to this that I actually like a lot. You pick who you want to play, and then queue up and it matches you with a team. Sort of like Dungeon queuing in wow. Sometimes you may be stuck with 2 support or what not at this stage in alpha, but it seems to be pretty good at balancing the classes. I do think this needs to be tweaked even more like wow, where it selects 1 Tank, 1 Support, 2 Assassin's, and one specialist (only for solo-queue) to make it a lot more balanced.

You can however invite your buddies into a group to queue together and pick your own roles. I think this should be left alone since some teams may "want" to play with some strange comp and do well with it. But for SOLO Queues, I'd like to see it be a setup like I posted above so that you don't randomly get 2-3 supports in random queues. Other than a little fine tuning though, I do quite enjoy being able to play whoever I want to play, and it not be a race for who types "BOT" or "TOP" first. It also eliminates a lot of fights, and arguments that take place in other games. Some people claim that it destroys the strategies before a match and coordinating your picks.....but lets be brutally honest for a second....that rarely happens in Solo-Queues to begin with in normal play, and since it's alpha and the ranked system isn't in effect yet we have no idea what sort of changes will be made in solo-queue ranked play.

The one thing that does irk me though, and this is really an issue of it being alpha with only a select few people getting invites thus far, but the skill level of players, and lack of overall teamwork and caring. There is NOT an option to report bad players. You can report for harassment, cheating, etc. But at this time (It is alpha after all) no reporting of bad players, or afkers. I'm sure the reporting of AFKers will change, but since blizzard caters to the casual player, I'm not holding my breath for being able to report unskilled players. It's not the lack of skill that really bothers me though, it's the lack of teamwork. I can understand that the game is new, and different and there is going to be players new to MOBAs in the alpha. However, the fact that everyone just runs on there own and seemingly ignores objectives in some games is awful. I guess you get the same in league and DOTA 2 in low level games as well. Also a lot of people are so used to league and DOTA that they are just programed to lane for 5-10 minutes straight but its still frustrating as hell, and with the lack of players since its alpha it's even worse. My advice is if you get into the alpha work on finding a team who will get in your voice chat server, and work together as soon as possible. There are TONS of people on the forums looking for teams to play with so they don't have to random queue so it shouldn't be too difficult. I forced myself to random queue all night last night just so I could write about my first impression of it as well.


Graphics, Voice Overs, and Soundtrack
The graphics are pretty awesome. The maps are unique and visually pleasing for sure, the cut scene at the beginning is great, but that's a given with blizzard games. There is small issues with heroes and such that I'm sure will be fixed by release. Overall though, the game is amazing in it's looks and I have really nothing bad to say about the graphics and level design of the game. The voice acting is what you'd expect from Blizzard if you've played any of the other blizzard games. Humorous at times, light hearted and fun. The music is actually really awesome. You get throwbacks to old school Warcraft games, and other blizzard titles in it. If your a fan of the old games, this entire game is almost a love fest from blizzard to it's fan base.


The Item Store
There is so much complaining right now about the prices in the item shop. I've looked into it, and the prices are around the same as in other games such as League of Legends and as of now, you can even purchase characters and even SKINS with in game gold and patience. I can't really speak on my thoughts on pricing. This is alpha, and who knows what will change before launch. You CAN buy stuff right now, I bought a nice bundle pack of heroes, which once the wipe happens you will be reimbursed your purchase price in in-game currency to re-buy what you like. But if your super concerned about high pricing just don't buy anything. Do what a lot of other people do. Wait, be patient, and earn your heroes and skins via gold.


Quests?...
Another interesting addition to a Moba is daily quests. You get these quests daily, which could be "Play a support role in 2 games", or "Play a character from Diablo". These games must be completed in PVP games and award a large experience gain as well as gold gain. This is one of the ways you'll earn your gold which is the in game currency to buy Heroes and Skins. I like the addition, since these quests get you gold, which means free heroes and skins. There is also another quest option, but I am not high enough level yet to use it so I cannot comment.


Mounts
Mounts are another addition that aren't typically in MOBA games. By hitting Z you can mount up and ride your horse around the map, and get back to things quicker after a death. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about mounts as it associates to game play just yet....however, there is no denying that this is awesome....



Conclusion
While I will not sit here and tell you that this game totally dwarfs league of legends and DOTA 2 and that blizzard is on it's way to being the undisputed king of MOBA's.....I can tell you that the game is fun, adds a lot of new features to a genre that has become stale with all of the DOTA clones out there, and has a ton of potential to be a really fun experience for it's players. Do I see it being a serious "E-Sport" like League of Legends and Dota 2?.....No, I don't. Do I think that's a bad thing? Not at all. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy League of Legends and play it often. While I'm nowhere near pro, I do love playing it. However with Heroes of the Storm it doesn't feel as "serious". It's fun, exciting, and games generally take 20-30 minutes to complete which are usually much shorter than League. I'm saying there is room in the market for an innovative MOBA with new ideas and mechanics that maybe isn't as "hardcore" as the others.....and to all the "Elite" and "Pro" League and DOTA 2 players......Give it a shot without comparing it to the others. Like I said, I love league myself....and this game WILL NOT replace league for me, not by a long shot. But if you give it a shot, you might find a fun, not-so serious game that you can play when you don't really have time for league, or your burnt out from all that Elo grinding. In conclusion the game needs a lot of work, and even then I doubt it will be a super serious, hardcore game. Blizzard hasn't been about the "Hardcore" fan base since Wrath of the Lich King (and some could argue even earlier than that). However that doesn't automatically make it a bad thing. If you go into this game looking for a new LoL or DOTA 2 your going to be disappointed. If you are going in with the mindset of having fun, while playing as your favorite characters from Blizzard's library then I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find and have a great time.....that is, unless they totally screw it up before release.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Steam Summer Sale 2014: Halftime Report

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We are over halfway through this years epic steam summer sale. Midst the controversy of the reddit gamers trying to "fix" the team contest, and many gamers complaining that steam trading cards are nothing more than a cheap way for valve to make a quick buck there have been some pretty decent deals on games. I personally have 141 games on my steam account and I know folks with a whole lot more than that, so this year I haven't spent nearly as much as I have previously since the list of games that I really want is a lot shorter now. However, even I have purchased a few titles.

Despite the people complaining about the trading card system, which I personally have no issue with (in fact some of my friends who don't use them have earned 3-4 games just from selling their cards off) there is no doubt there has been some pretty decent sales thus far this year. For example just looking right now I see Batman Arkham Origins, Bioshock Infinite, Kerbal Space Program, and Child of Light to name a few of the current deals.

I don't know how you guys feel about the steam sales, but I'm actually a huge fan of the summer sale, as well as the winter sale. This year, due to a lot of issues that has come up I didn't have as much money to drop as most years so I put myself on a $100.00 budget for the entire sale. We are over halfway in, and I've still got over $50.00 left. So far, I have picked up the following titles personally.

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Legendary edition)
  • Kickbeat (Steam Edition)
  • Brutal Legend
  • Cthulhu Saves the World
  • Game Dev Tycoon
  • Outlast's "Whistleblower" DLC
  • State of Decay
  • Contagion (Gifted to me. Thanks Kurio!)

Of course I had already played Skyrim on console, but I decided at such a cheap price, why not get it for PC just to check it out with all the amazing mods I could load up? Kickbeat was an impulse buy, but pretty fun (if you have a 360 controller). However there were a couple impulse buys that turned out to be real gems to me. First I have to give a huge plug to Game Dev Tycoon. I've always been a fan of Tycoon games, and I lost myself for 2 days in this one. The second is Cthulhu Saves the World. Sure, it's got old ass Nintendo graphics....but Cthulhu is an amazing troll, and the idea to make him the hero of the story makes for an amusing time playing. Bottom line is, with my meager $100.00 budget, I still have over half of my money, and 4 days left on the sale. That isn't bad considering I picked up 7 games and a DLC already.

I've seen people complaining on forums, and in replies to other article about how the sale sucks this year, and how trading cards are ruining steam. I think those folks are going a bit to the extreme with it. If anything, these cards give you an opportunity to get more games by selling the cards if you don't care about ranking up your steam levels. As far as the sale being "bad" this year.....There hasn't been any deals that I considered "amazing". But there have been several deals on indy titles that I would have never picked up otherwise, as well as a few big name titles like Skyrim, for people who may have never played it on the PC. I think that the gaming community as a whole needs to just lighten up a little bit, and start enjoying gaming again instead of sitting around mean mugging everything all the time. What do you guys think? Get any good deals yet this year? Let me know in comments!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Will I Rage? Marvel Heroes 2015 Review

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When Marvel Heroes first arrived on the scene a year ago there were a lot of bad reviews of the game, and fairly a lot of the points made were legitimate complaints. However, in a years time the game has evolved, and with input from the player base, constant updates and an upgrade to the business model I believe that its time to take another look at this Gazillion title.

Original Complaint #1: Heroes and costumes drop rate almost non-existent
It's true. When Marvel Heroes first dropped if you got a hero to drop, or a cool costume you were insanely lucky. The drop rates were horrible and it felt like they were kept that way to increase sales with real money. However, this has all but been fixed as far as characters go with the introduction of Eternity Splinters. These are a form of currency in game that drop quite frequently, and with these you can now purchase new heroes. Costumes are more or less Item Store only still (Unless your extremely lucky) as are Team-Ups. however costumes are purely cosmetic, and Team-Ups are useful but not needed. So I'm actually fine with them making them their main source of micro transaction income. I believe that the current model is perfect. You can purchase costumes, heroes (if you choose to be lazy), boosts, stash tabs, etc. with real money. Stash tabs are the only thing that you could argue is a "must have", and that is only if your a hoarder. So if you do horde, buy a tab or two it won't kill you.

Original Complaint: #2: There isn't much to do at end game....
This is also true. In it's very early days there was a couple things you could do at end game. Terminals and a couple purple terminal challenges. However today there are many things for a level 60 to do to keep busy. You have daily green & red terminals of course, the special "cosmic terminals", and the newly added "One-Shot" Terminals. Right now the only One-Shot is the Man-Ape one, but more are on the way.  You also have a newly designed level 60 cow level, X-Defense, Midtown Madness, PVP (although still beta), as well as the newly released "Raids". Currently there are two, surprisingly challenging raid fights with more on the way.

Original Complaint: #3: "Gear optimization is horrible, and melee characters are almost impossible to play!"

First thing I'll say is since release they have fixed defense and dodge rating, so melee characters do just fine now. As far as itemization goes they have added plenty of new things. The addition of Legendary items (must be leveled), Many uniques (both character only and any character uniques exist), cosmic items including rings, cosmic medallions, much better costume cores, Blessings, Enchants, Rune words, and insignias. Furthermore a lot of old stats, and older items have been tuned. All in all, itemization in Marvel Heroes today is doing just fine, and constantly improving.

Original Complaint #4: "My favorite hero sucks!" or "My favorite hero isn't even in the game!"
Admittedly it sucks when you get your favorite hero, and 15 minutes later you come to that horrible realization that "wow......he sucks....". Luckily since release most characters have been significantly reviewed, reworked, and made significantly better. Also every month, another hero is up for "review" and is tweaked, and sometimes totally reworked. Now it can be equally frustrated when you find out that despite how popular you feel that character is, that he/she isn't in the game. At launch a lot of heroes were missing. However since then, there have been many more released, and there is a huge list of heroes that are confirmed to be released over the next year including some villains such as Venom, The Juggernaut, and Magneto. So if your favorite character isn't currently in game, rest assured that soon enough he/she will be and if the amazing game play of Dr. Strange, Taskmaster, and Psylocke to name a few is any indication of things to come it will be worth the wait. For a list of all current heroes click the following link. https://marvelheroes.com/heroes/list

Original Complaint #5: "The free "starter" heroes suck!"
In the beginning you had a very few choices as your "starter" character. You had Storm, Scarlet Witch, Thing, Hawkeye, and Daredevil. Not a great selection at all. However now days, your choices of a starter hero are much larger with Human Torch, Storm, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Punisher, and Captain America. A much better selection to choose from than the original few characters offered a year ago.


Ragetrip.com conclusion
These are just a few of the complaints that I heard the most from people early last year about Marvel Heroes. However I must say that over the past year with the addition of everything above, as well as an entire new chapter where you get to travel to Asgard and do battle with Loki and Kurse that Gazillion has been busy taking these complaints to heart, and giving the players the game that they truly wanted. Admittedly some characters still feel under-powered, over-powered, and in a couple cases glitchy. However these issues are fixed each month with character reviews. I will not tell you that marvel heroes is the perfect game. There are a few issues that I wish would be changed. First off, the inability to add a "second" action bar, so instead you have to cycle through them. This is doable with hot keys, or even better with macros. However it would make life a lot easier to add a second action bar. We've been using the old diablo II method of dropping items to trade for a year, however this has been fixed with a brand new "Trade Screen". What I will say is that over one years time that Gazillion has completely turned around a game that had a lackluster release at best, and made it an incredibly fun game to play. Is it perfect? Of course not. But what game is? If your looking for a game with incredible replay value for each character, an ARPG/MMO hybrid that brings fresh concepts to ARPGs such as the addition of the MMO exclusive Raid content then give Marvel Heroes a try, you won't be disappointed!

Original Score: 2.5/5

Marvel Heroes 2015 Score: 4/5    (Impressive improvement to the original game in one years time)



Download Marvel Heroes Today and try for free! http://www.marvelheroes.com or download on steam!



Monday, June 9, 2014

STUDIO 777 (FUN) Joins Forces With Troy Tomasso

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STUDIO 777 (FUN) Joins Forces With Troy Tomasso



STUDIO 777 JOINS FORCES WITH LEGENDARY INVESTOR AND MARKETER TROY TOMASSO

NEW YORK AND SECOND LIFE -- June 9, 2014 -- STUDIO 777™ (CAPEX: FUN), the #1 Skill Gaming Nightclub, Mall and Resort in the Second Life® virtual world since 2009, today announced the beginning of a partnership program with Troy Tomasso Marketing. Mr. Tomasso will join 777 in the capacity of Marketing Consultant. Beginning with a six month initial term, he will work with the rest of the Management Team to reduce costs in Marketing and Advertising and to monitor the cost effectiveness of Advertising activities.He will assist in the development of low cost or free Marketing strategies, such as Twitter. He will report back on click through rate and cost effectiveness of existing ads.

Currently, STUDIO 777 is in the process of completing a L$6,000,000 Initial Public Offering ("IPO") on SL Capital Exchange, the #1 Stock Market Simulation Game, its largest ever. The IPO (Ticker Symbol: FUN) on the Capital Exchange Stock Market Simulation Game began at 5:00am SLT (PDT) / 8:00am EDT on Saturday, June 7, 2014 and as of Monday, June 9, 2014, 70% of the IPO shares had been sold. The IPO Application is at http://www.slcapex.com/home/story/system/8182
 
 and FUN message board at http://www.slcapex.com/forums/browse/FUN
 
.

Over the past five years, STUDIO 777 has entered into projects and partnerships with many of Second Life's top creators, including VISTA Animations (777 is the exclusive venue to win Vista AOs as prizes), Hurricane Choppers by Hurricane Diesel (Custom 777 Bikes as VIP gifts and prizes), Sky Vista Skybox Rentals (Sky Box giveaways, more to follow post IPO), Kayliwulf Kingdom Latex, Vander Reich, Lalaland Sims & Homesteads, Rian Jayaram of Dvandra (Custom web based security systems), Jack Jaehun (Custom script eject systems), Gemini CDS, PK Pounceworks (Custom sim wide chat relay system), Dawn Pienaar (Custom scripting), 0moon0 Moonites (Custom scripting for JADED Designz Contests), R&A Core (Exclusive gaming products), Pi Games, CobraTech, Hippo, Earn2Life, Smartbots, Bletaverse, Steven Gaudio groups, Ads-O-Matic, Subscribe-O-Matic, Second Ads, The SL Enquirer Media Group, SHX and many others. STUDIO 777 is always interested in new projects and opportunities, especially with management that has demonstrated, proven track records. STUDIO 777 is delighted to partner with Troy Tomasso Marketing.

Luke Slingshot, Founder and CEO of STUDIO 777, commented, "Troy Tomasso is a legend in marketing and we are honored to to benefit from his ongoing advice and counsel. He's been inventive and creative throughout our IPO process, and continuing our partnership provides another example of the great opportunities at Capital Exchange. Thank you Troy and welcome aboard!"

'I am excited to become part of this dynamic and rapidly growing company. With Troy Tomasso Marketing becoming a private company, there is more scope for Consultancy work like this', Troy Tomasso added. 'As an investor in STUDIO 777, I will do this work for free to facilitate the great plans that Luke has shared with me.'

ABOUT STUDIO 777: Since 2009, STUDIO 777™ has welcomed over 1 million Guest visits with over 50 million minutes spent at 777 in the Second Life virtual world. With 30,000 Group Members, 1,400 Live Events with international DJs & L$ prizes, 50 Mall Stores, and L$250 Million Linden won by Players and Guests, STUDIO 777 has gained a reputation for trust, integrity and fun. 777 has been ranked third highest in traffic in Second Life and honored to be named Second Life’s #1 Skill Gaming Nightclub & Resort. Visit STUDIO 777 in Second Life at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sol%20Hermosa/114/93/35
 Twitter @Studio777Club and on the web at http://www.Studio777s.com
 
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ABOUT LINDEN LAB: Founded in 1999 and headquartered in San Francisco, Linden Lab makes shared creative spaces that inspire and empower users to explore and share their creativity with others. For more about Linden Lab, its products, and career opportunities please visit LindenLab.com.

Safe Harbor Statement:

This press release contains statements which may constitute forward-looking statements. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of STUDIO 777, members of management, and assumptions on which such statements are based. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Capital Exchange is a fictional stock market simulation game operating for entertainment and educational purposes only. All activity regarding Capital Exchange is governed by CapEx's disclosure statement at http://www.slcapex.com/content/disclosure
 
 and full rules for CapEx participation are at http://slcapex.com/content/info
 
.

Copyright © STUDIO 777 Partners. All worldwide rights reserved. Second Life is a registered trademark of Linden Research, Inc. All trademarks, product data, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective Companies and no endorsement is implied. STUDIO 777 is proud to be equal opportunity and welcomes all applicants.

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CONTACTS:
For STUDIO 777: Luke Slingshot, KariAnne Starsmith
In world: Luke Slingshot, KariAnne Starsmith
Email: Mr. Slingshot: lukeFLL@gmail.com, Ms. Starsmith: karianneinsl@gmail.com

For TROY TOMASSO MARKETING
In world: Troy Tomasso

SOURCE: STUDIO 777