YUMI: A Senran Kagura Mod Installer – March 19, 2017

This version of YUMI, which is my personal mod installer for the PC version of Senran Kagura Estival Versus should be treated with extreme caution because it may break your game and require Steam to verify the game caches.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A DEBUG RELEASE AND YOU WILL GET MESSAGE POPUPS WITH THE TITLE “DEBUG”. THIS IS USED AS SANITY CHECKS TO ENSURE THE MOD MANAGER WAS DOING THINGS CORRECTLY.

How to use?
First download the March 19th release from Google Drive. Extract this to anywhere you want. Secondly, run YUMI.exe once – accept the “Are you a pirate?” warning, then as soon as the GUI appears you’ll notice 4 new folders in the folder where YUMI is. You want to ensure you have the folders “ModsToBeInstalled”, “ModsAlreadyInstalled”, “Backup” and “Temp”.

You can download the Godray Uncensor Mod, which I converted to make it YUMI compatible from this Google Drive link. Props to the original author, nekomimi10 at LoversLab (NSFW!). Put it inside “ModsToBeInstalled” and hit Reload. It will then appear in the mods available list. Select it, and hit Install. It’ll chime when complete.

Don’t forget to set your game installation directory as the mod installer will remind you to do so if you think you can cheat and let it automatically detect the game path.

Uninstalling mods is not implemented at this time, nor are backups (that functionality is broken).

Screenshot(s)

How to make mods compatible with YUMI?

YUMI uses a INI file format that is parsed per mod when the lists are reloaded. This means that if there is a lot of mods in your “ModsToBeInstalled” folder, then it could lag YUMI. If mods are popular enough for SKEV, I’ll work on some cache system or something.

When making a mod, you need to ensure that the root directory of the mod archive like so:Basically, YUMI extracts everything but the mod.ini file into your game directory. In the case of the Uncensor mod, there are files in folders under the “GameData” folder which will overwrite the original game files.

The mod.ini file structure is like this:

[YUMIMod]
Name=My Senran Kagura Mod
Author=AwesomePersonOnSKSubReddit
Category=Graphics
Description=TooAwesomeForADescription

The first line is the mod ini header. You must make sure it’s typed like that, as this will tell YUMI that it’s a compatible mod. Next is the “Name” which is used to display it in the “Available Mods” and “Installed Mods” list. If you don’t have this set, it will come up as nothing or “Unknown Mod”.

Author is self explainatory, if not set it defaults to Anonymous. Category is unused in this build, but it describes the mod (ie. Script changes, Cheats, Graphics, Audio, etc). Last but not least is Description and I think that’s unused in this release. In the next release it’ll be shown before installation.

Once you’ve made the mod.ini, in your file browser select all files and send them to a compressed archive (Windows 7+) or use 7-Zip. Do not compress the folder. If your resulting ZIP file has this:

GameMod\GameMod\mod.ini
GameMod\blah.exe

Then you’re doing it wrong. You need to ensure it looks like this:

mod.ini
GameData\somefile.cat
GameData\somefile2.cat
GameData\sound\myNewSoundbank.awb

Got that? Good.

If anything goes pear shape, just verify the integrity of your game files and Steam will fix it up (hopefully). Please report any bugs to me, as that would be great if you can.

If you need help, then please use the Senran Kagura subreddit located at this link to ask your questions. You can also try using the comments here; although I am quite busy and may not reply in a timely fashion.

Enjoy!

Time to dust off the blog… and Pokemon Go thoughts

Nothing really much to say to be honest, apart from some stuff like Pokemon Go. Might as well write about it while I’m taking a breather between website development projects.

I’ve been looking into that game and for the fans of the Pokemon franchise, it works. It helps people who are big fans of the games or even the show to get outside and walk around catching the pocket monsters.

Without putting my hand into the beehive, I’ll just say that some people lack the knowledge to even read the warning that appears on the game loading screen – Be aware of your surroundings. Yet we have people being silly, running into traffic to catch a Eevee. Or even worse, people using the AR mode (where it puts a feed of your device’s camera as the battle background) in places like toliets and well… places where the camera should be disabled.

Maybe there’s a funeral on and suddenly people nearby scream out “I GOTTA CATCH THAT PIKACHU!!!” and upset the whole funeral setup. Not only is it inconsiderate but it puts not only yourself in danger but others as well.

While I have caught a few Pokemon myself and am about to level up to Level 5 so I can try my hand at a Gym Battle, I’ve lost a majority of interest in the game. I played the Red/Blue/Yellow, Gold/Silver/Crystal, Ruby, LeafGreen and the Nintendo DS rehashes of G/S/C and after throwing so many Pokeballs I just got tired of it. It’s just not my cup of tea anymore.

I still enjoy watching how much glitch abuse Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow gets, that game is full of coding bugs but yet talented people actually can use a glitch to fix another glitch, or even write completely new maps and such. Want to play Pong in the GBA generation of Pokemon games? Sure, with ACE exploits (which runs custom code from console/cartridge work RAM) you can.

As a hobbyist game developer I look at the flaws that Pokemon R/B/Y has, how they are exploited and just be amazed at how the game was programmed and how talented hackers can make stop the game from crashing or battle trainers that exist in the game but are unused… or even implement their own “glitch trainer” with working Pokemon that don’t crash the game.

But for now, I’m hanging up the PokeGear and going back to Ingress. Pokemon Go is just a new fad and given the amount of server downtime, I just don’t enjoy it.

Thoughts: No GOG version of the Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus PC Port

When I first heard about XSEED and Marvelous Games doing a PC port of the PlayStation Vita version of Shinovi Versus, I was hyped. The Estival Versus installment is more so a side story about deceased loved ones. SKEV was released on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4.

I also noted that XSEED had planned to do a GOG/Good Old Games (correct me if I’m wrong) version which I was aiming to purchase, mainly because having a Senran Kagura game for PC that’s DRM-free allows me to play the game on whatever machine I own because I purchased it – just like buying the retail copy back before DRM was a thing.

I’m not saying that Steam is a bad platform, but the fact it requires you to be either logged in or set to “Offline Mode” is annoying. So a few nights ago, I asked XSEED and Marvelous twitter the following question:

Hey @marvelous_games @XSEEDGames, does the PC version of Senran Kagura SV have any differences between Steam & GOG versions? – @coburn64

Soon after I went to bed, I got the following reply which I found in the morning:

@coburn64 @marvelous_games There is only a Steam version because we ran into some technical difficulties with our DRM-free development. – @XSEEDGames

I sent back:

@XSEEDGames Ah, thanks for clarifying. – @coburn64

Since the PC Port of Shinovi Versus is going to feature online play, it dawned on me why the game couldn’t be DRM-free: The game likely will need to have tamper and cheat protection against mischief makers, and Valve’s Anti-Cheat is pretty effective. While it may not catch the determined hackers that know how to work around the protection, but to keep the game from losing it’s momentum, you’d want to have some cheat protection against mainly people who want to ruin it for everybody else, be it godmode/infinite health, aim-bots and the like.

Sure, it would be nice to have a version on GOG that would be DRM free, but having online multiplayer support would be a nightmare if there was not some sort of cheat protection, plus update management. Unless you’re using the optional GOG client, you’d have to either re-download SKSV or download a patch file to bring the game up to date.

So, that being said, as soon as it hits the Steam Stores on June 1st, 2016 I’m going to throw my wallet at the screen and buy the game. Nothing wrong with mashing buttons, having flying boobs and girls getting serious with each other. Ahem. Uncensor patch when?

Opinion: Is Nintendo back-flipping and falling behind the Eight Ball? Seems so.

Ah, Nintendo. It’s a video game company I grew up with. In fact, my first handheld console I owned was a Game Boy Color with both Pokemon Red and Donkey Kong Country.

Now, take my opinion with a grain of salt as it is mine and mine alone. I’ve been supportive of the company throughout the eras – I’ve owned to date the following consoles: Game Boy (original phat), Game Boy Color (Pikachu Edition), Game Boy Advance (Purple), Game Boy Advance SP (Silver), Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS (original phat), Nintendo 3DS (original cosmos aqua blue), Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS XL (“New” quad-core model) and finally the Nintendo Wii U. Some of these consoles are still with me today – the others sadly were sold, stolen or broke down.

What I’m writing about is the fact that Nintendo seems to be sliding down the mountain at an alarming rate. A lot of people have said ever since the legendary Iwata died, Nintendo’s been back flipping. There’s a lot of debate on the subject and I don’t wish to go on that tangent, so I’ll just give a brief summary of what my overall thoughts are. Continue reading “Opinion: Is Nintendo back-flipping and falling behind the Eight Ball? Seems so.”

Nitpicking Senran Kagura Estival Versus (PS4 Version)

SENRAN KAGURA ESTIVAL VERSUS
Excellent PS4 game loading splash screen. 10/10

Before I start, this post is not to bash the developers of the Senran Kagura series. It is more so a post just showing the flaws of the game that a lot of gamers would just oversee. When you start game development, you get to a point where you need to tell your brain to not pick apart games you play.

For me, I find that hard to do sometimes where the errors just stick out like a sore thumb. Then I ask myself the question “how the hell did that pass QA checks?”. Some days I force my brain to operate in a “gamer” mode when playing games rather than attempting to pull apart games to see what makes them tick.

Estival Versus is not a serious game. As my friend puts it – it’s literally dripping with fan-service, and it excels in that field. The “Creative Finishers” are fun to watch even for the 100th time and it’s great to just be able to smash some buttons and unleash a few hundred-hit combos.

Let’s begin nitpicking with the most annoying thing in the Single Player Mode. Continue reading “Nitpicking Senran Kagura Estival Versus (PS4 Version)”

Pitfalls of PS4 DLC Region-Locks

I should have seen this coming, but alas one is sometimes blind.

As you have seen, I’ve got a region 3 copy of Senran Kagura: Estival Versus that is the Asian English release (the game ID seems to be the Hong Kong english release). While the PS Store displayed content from the Australian version of the network, I assumed the DLC would be region-free. There was some stuff in the store that was free, like the “Free DLC Set” and some other goodies. I was like “Sure, I’ll download that and customize my ninjas with the new outfits”… but when they downloaded they got stuck at “Waiting to install”.

Thinking I need to boot my copy of the game to make it install the goods. I booted it up, played a little and then paused the game – checking the PS Menu’s Downloads section. They were still stuck “Waiting to install”.

So, thinking my PS4 console was glitching, I rang Sony’s PSN Helpdesk. I got a very helpful lady that answered my call, and I explained what was going on. After some verification questions and such, I basically gave her a short run-down on the issue. She knew it affected some others, and asked me for the game ID. Since my copy started with ‘P’, she had to look it up and confirm it was an overseas copy. Unfortunately, she couldn’t help me out by telling my system to force the DLC install (or switch it to the correct region) because “We would have to check the console to ensure that the DLC was indeed stuck installing, and people weren’t doing shady moves”.

I’m not going to bash Sony for that, that is a completely legitimate point. It stops people downloading DLC in which they then say “Oh it didn’t install” and getting refunds, etc. I should have realized the DLC locks to the game’s ID and unfortunately, Australian DLC for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus doesn’t work with Region 3 (Asian) releases of the said game. So I either have to buy the Australian release of the game via the online store or just let the DLC collect digital dust.

After a few more questions regarding another game and a bug in the screen that appears after inserting a game (the one that says “Related Items/Activities”) that allows me to buy the game again even when I have the physical copy), and the support call was wrapped up.

So, gamer beware – play an import game and you want DLC? You’ll have to buy it in it’s region for it to install. Wrong region DLC for games will download, but not install… unless you’ve got the disc for the correct region.

As Battlefield Bad Company 2 says when you mess up – “EPIC FAIL”. I’m somewhat bitter about it, but I understand Sony’s point of view.

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus gets banished into R18+ category

Note that R18+ at the top right corner.
Note that R18+ at the top right corner. Australian Rating Boards, please explain?

Queue the artist’s favourite phrase “Boobs are life, ass is hometown” as Europe (and the other places of the world, I think) got their release today (18th March 2016) of Senran Kagura: Estival Versus while the US got theirs on the 15th of March. I’ve ordered the Asian Non-Region locked edition, which is in English and it’s on it’s way to me from Play-Asia. They shipped it last night (my time) and I’m hyped like a little kid in a candy store. But enough of that – on to the main beef of this piece.

I personally think the R18+ rating is too harsh for a game like this. You play as a female ninja from the roster, and you’re fighting (and stripping!) enemies on your way to victory. There’s the sexually suggestive one-liners that the girls say, Haruka is a complete tease and HAPPY BOOBS.

As for the rating, I can understand why SK: EV would fall into the MA15+ (Mature Audiences 15 Plus) category straight away since you’ve got almost-naked female bodies without genitals or nipples – confirmed as there was a bug that unintentionally made some outfits fail to load in the Japanese release that was fixed in a Japanese bugfix update – so I can also understand that this game is NOT for kids to play. “Mummy, what’s those big things that jiggle?”. Heck, the 3DS Senran Kagura games got M and MA15+ respectively (correct me if I’m wrong).

But for an R18+ rating on a game like this? I haven’t seen game play footage apart from the trailer because I don’t want to spoil it for myself but the game doesn’t have any sex scenes nor is it a hentai (porn) game. Those types of games get an X18+ rating. Yes, X-Rated games are a thing now after that classification came back from the graveyard.

Sure, SK:EV might have funny sexually suggestive dialogue and some characters that are a tease – I’m looking at you, Haruka – but I’d love an better explanation from the Ratings board why SK: EV deserves a R18+ rating. “High impact sexualised gameplay, online interactivity” doesn’t really explain much – why is it high impact? There’s no drugs. There’s no gore or gibs. At the very least, a R18+ rating is better than having characters get censored and/or clothed up because reasons. (Ahem, I’m looking at you, Nintendo of America).

Anyway, until I have my hands on a copy I can only sit on the fence. I hope to get it next week so I can jump back in and look at the new game in the series. I’ve included additional stuff that I’ve wrote since publishing this and a few more images below.
Continue reading “Senran Kagura: Estival Versus gets banished into R18+ category”

Mini Review: Senran Kagura Burst, Nintendo 3DS (NSFW…ish)

Press Start for Ninja Boobs!
Press Start for Ninja Boobs!

Reviews aren’t my forte but here goes. Today, I’ll do a mini review with the first western-released game of the Senran Kagura games on the 3DS. Screenshots were taken from my own hardware, and the use of them falls under “Fair Use”. Due to the questionable nature of the screenshots, viewer discretion is advised.

WARNING: The following review contains screenshots that may contain boobs, panties and/or other body parts that may trigger or offend other people. If you get triggered or offended easily, then this review is not for you.

Senran Kagura Burst is actually a remake/improved version of the first Japanese title, “Senran Kagura: Shoujotachi no Shinei” which is developed by Tamsoft Corporation and published by Marvelous! (yes, their company name includes the exclamation mark). That said game had some minor flaws, but overall got a decent recognition.

Burst was released in 2013 with English language dialogue by Marvelous! USA (formally XSEED Games, although they still use the XSEED Games brand, I think…). It contained a second story-line from the other schools’ point of view, bug fixes and other miscellaneous additions, changes, etc.

XSEED Games/Marvelous! USA have done a good job translating it and keeping it as faithful to the original as possible, unlike how all that “Fire Emblem Fates” crap is going down in the USA – I’ll say no more about that.

Originally, I thought the game was just be 2D sprites and static backgrounds, kinda in the sense like retro beat-em-ups. I was wrong. And I’ll explain why – keep reading below!

Continue reading “Mini Review: Senran Kagura Burst, Nintendo 3DS (NSFW…ish)”