I finally got Blood Dragon to work and I played it for a bit tonight. Thus far I have mixed feelings about it. The developers seem aware of what does and does not make a good game and that is commendable. What is not commendable is that they know this and yet in the first 30 minutes of the game they do the exact opposite and then poke fun at you as if to say “Eh! Hah! We know this is bad!”
There is a problem with this kind of humor and I think it comes from it almost never working. Self deprecating humor requires an incredible amount of skill and most people can’t pull it off. Many will try but most will fail. By the time I had hit this popup I was already at the end of my rope and then more came anyways.
Tutorials are bad and should feel bad. Almost no game needs a tutorial in the game itself. Have it as a separate menu item where people can go train VR style like what was available in Metal Gear Solid. That game too had something of a tutorial in the game but it was very limited and unobtrusive.
It’s a shame too that the beginning of this game is so poor. The visuals are in many ways stunning, I find myself looking with mouth agape at all sorts of wonderful hybrids of 80′s action films and futuristic neon dinosaurs.
Additional misfortune comes from the introductory mission starting off amusing with a chaingun helicopter sequence (because that hasn’t been done in thirty to forty games in the last four years) but then immediately becomes an escort quest. Naturally I play all my games on the hardest difficulty and this meant that the escort had a sliver of life apparently.
He would be at half life and then “Die”. I have yet to die but I’m pretty sure I will do so at half life. I’m planning to take this life to the very end of the bar personally.
I’ll likely finish the game. I don’t know how long blood dragon is but I like to give games the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I find myself hating a game in the beginning and then loving it by the end. But there is absolutely no chance I’ll be playing this game from the beginning. The tutorial humor fell completely flat and it bordered on infuriating. I feel bad for the writers of the bit because I’m sure they meant well.
Frankly if the first thing I saw after the tutorial wasn’t one of the most genuinely badass monsters in recent times, I would have probably just quit the game.
It also doesn’t help that the legitimate version of this game takes forever to load and the pirated version loads in a matter of seconds. It’s just further fuel for the fire I suppose.
In unrelated news, My Pokémon tips post has become the most viewed post on my website. So I think in the coming week I’m going to collect my favorite tips and tricks for Pokémon and post them. Maybe over every day or just in one large post. We’ll see.
That’s that, once the Starbound Patch is completely and characters are wiped I’ll be getting back into that. The game design there is considerably better than with Blood Dragon.
I’ve started playing Starbound and it really is a beautiful game. The music is stunning, the aesthetics are one part cute and one part breathtaking, and the gameplay is nothing to sneeze at. For me though what really strikes home is the name. I imagine when they wrote the name they were thinking about giving the visual feel of space exploration but for me it harkens to the reality of space travel at its core.
We are likely for all time to be star bound. The immense energies that these bodies radiate out provide us with the necessary sustained power to fuel entire planets worth of people. They are the closest thing we have to an actual heavenly caretaker. Just like the biblical lords of old they can take away life in great cataclysmic events as easily as they can keep life sustained.
Space exploration will likely be a matter of bouncing from star to star. Much like on a personal level we currently bounce from home to home across the surface of the Earth. Each time our new home hopefully providing us with a slight improvement over the previous or at the very least making our professional lives more reasonable. On a stellar scale this would still be true. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t suspect that space commerce will ever really exist (we’ll try but fail), but on the broader scope of resource management and acquisition I do suspect we’ll still see this star hopping.
Every time I load up Starbound I’m filled with a sense of wonder. I imagine the future and all those people bouncing from solar system to solar system. Eternally Starbound.
Did I mention this gets me juiced to try and write “Lost in a Sea of Stars” fully? Well it kinda does…
So Liz has been watching some show about memory draining teenage alien mechs and it got me thinking. Which is about the only positive thing I’ve pulled away from that show, but I digress. In the show they show a guy having his memory shatter like glass because the machine needs his memories to run (they are so nutritious!).
He has a moment where he’s grabbing his head and shouting about how “Something should be there”. It got me thinking back to that period of my life when my Wisdom Teeth were removed.
I was apparently both awake and able to follow his commands during the procedure. When I needed to not bite through his fingers I managed to do so because he said “Don’t bite me.” We even had some sort of conversation (I’m sure I divulged state secrets).
However once I came to those moments were completely gone. My brain had not stored them into my LTM, they were (and are) lost to me forever. I don’t feel like they are gone though because they no longer exist in my mind. Think of it a bit like a computer that has had a certain program and the entire cache associated with that program wiped. The computer doesn’t know that the files are gone because it has no record that they ever existed.
Can you even know when you’ve lost something? Or is this just movie magic? I mean people can tell you you’ve forgot something and you can react to that knowledge, but can you know that your brain is degenerating? It seems to me that you probably can’t, my reasoning being that the device you are using to determine that your brain is degenerating is your brain.
So basically the line would read “The device you are using to determine if your device is broken is the device you are using to determine if your device is broken.” It’s mostly ridiculous and it seems flawed. If your brain is running at 100% capacity it can determine that it is running at 100% capacity, but if it is running at only 50% the best it can do is establish that it is running at 100% capacity of the 50% still functioning.
Yeah…this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. Or causes me to talk with myself for thirty minutes in traffic.
PS. About the only way I can figure you’d know is because another reference to the lost memory still exists. Which happens in SQL tables and other places. But in humans we replace information in memories on the fly so I don’t think this would be a plausible answer.
Today I accidentally went off the beaten path once during my drive home and then a second time intentionally. I’ve been eying this truck route each time I drive home. Wondered to myself if I can legally drive on it, I’ve seen tons (and I mean tons both literally and figuratively) of passenger cars driving down it. It looked like it was a more direct route to where I live and would cut down on my lane changing even more!
So today I took the dive and it was both thrilling and a bit scary. The route kept going for a bit and just never seem to reconnect to where I normally go. I thought “Great I’m going to Istanbul” but just about that time the route finally emerged from the mountains and I was not only on the right path but I was where I needed to go, passed a bunch of stupid stuff, and nobody had pulled me over.
I got home and checked to see if I was allowed to do that and it turns out that legally, yes, I can drive on the truck route. They just request that people don’t because its supposed to be for making truck driving faster and smoother. I wasn’t slowing any semi’s down (on the contrary I like to drive behind them), so at least I can sleep easy on that front.
There is another truck route before the one I took today that has interested me as well. I’m going to check it tomorrow and see if it helps me bypass the Sacramento split traffic nightmare. One can dream.
I sometimes play multiplayer games against myself. Magic: The Gathering, Chess, Checkers, and today I found myself playing Scrabble. The interesting thing about the latter case is that I started noticing a pattern with my scores. Both of my characters were ending up within a few points of one another.
I finished each game so close that it could be covered by a margin of error and I wasn’t looking at my scores until the end. I don’t really know what this reveals but it was somewhat neat to me. I’ve seen the same thing in other games when I play myself. I tend to clear my mind and just imagine each turn from complete ignorance.
It requires a lot of practice to make yourself not think about what you plan to do. Especially when you realize knowing what you plan to do means you change what you were going to do in response to what you planned to do which in turn means you must reformulate what you plan to do in response which…well you get the picture.
The only [rewarding] way to play games against yourself is to be fair. To make every turn count like it’s the most important turn of your life. It’s a lot of fun and it greatly improved my Magic game. If I play myself a few dozen times with a deck I’ve built I can start to play it with my hand face down on the table most of the game.
Doing so also serves to unnerve your opponent once you are playing someone. They wonder if you are confident or just retarded.
Little do they know, I’m both.
So yes, it would appear that I’m evenly matched against myself. This makes an awful lot of sense. I also just realized the best possible title for this post. But you probably already know that because that is what lead you here.
Which begs the question…
Amazon is thinking about adding a drone service to their various shipping options. Naturally this has people nervous because it uses the word drone and the last time we heard that it was because there are military drones that drop hellfire missiles on random people overseas.
Drone, I feel, is a word that has a lot of stigma and not all of it is justified. Personally I think this is super cool and would like to see it happen. My reasoning is that there are a series of negatives it can bring like privacy loss (if it is equipped with a camera) or potentially danger from falling packages but these are all things that are likely to happen with companies that will do this anyways while simultaneously not doing anything beneficial for you.
I know that sounds like “just give up and take it” but I mean more that we shouldn’t think that stopping Amazon will stop the snowball that is the NSA/TSA overreach. If people are genuinely worried about the Government they should actually work to change things and to end the hyper sensitivity that has arises since the New York attack [which I probably won't call by its tagline anymore].
Drones aren’t necessarily a bad thing. We can use them for all sorts of tasks, crop dusting could become much more fuel efficient, shipping packages by drones potentially frees up precious road space by reducing shipping vehicles, and though similar to the previous point you could use drones to quickly ship medications to people who desperately need them as soon as possible.
Imagine being able to bypass the obscene traffic in LA and deliver important medications to someone’s door?
They aren’t all great and I’m sure there is a lot of problems with them but I don’t think anything people fear is going to be accelerated by Amazon. If anything it will raise awareness and when the NSA inevitably tries to use them in the US (and they will) people will be more observant and potentially speak up.
Amazon is no saint for sure but they don’t stand to gain anything by providing a privacy concern for their prime members. That’s bad business and they tend to be in the business of making money, not losing it.
Just my 2 cents. I’m probably missing something.
Fatigue is strange. Some days without reason I find myself incredibly exhausted. This isn’t to say I’m not enjoying my new life (I very much am) and its not a cry out for help or anything. I just find it really strange. There seems to be mostly no rhyme or reason to it and its been going on for years. Any time I go in for a checkup they say all my readings are normal.
I’m guessing it has to do with circadian rhythms and this is why sometimes when I go to sleep later on accident I wake up feeling better than I do during normal sleep. I’ve been trying my best to make sure that I start having a regular sleeping schedule but it is different than the one I’ve had for years.
There are other things I’d like to talk about but I’m going to let them stew. NaNoWriMo really fried my brain. I might make my updates short blurbs with gameplay videos this week. I got bombarded with a lot of new games and I’d like to give them a quick play and talk about them. Maybe start playing a new game a day for an hour and talk about it and what I like about it.
Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I really like 3D Printers and I think you should to. So be sure to check out 3D Print My Gift by GE tomorrow! They aren’t paying me to say that but damn it sounds like an advertisement. I want the spy block or the pen holder. Although that spherical die (which sounds to be an awful lot like a ball) would be neat too.
PC Gaming is a strange beast. Every company is trying to carve out their own niche and create an experience they think will put them above their competition. But I find that the more people try and make what they have unique the more they make it less user friendly. Case in point: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Finally one of the items on Steam Sale caught my attention and I grabbed it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about FC3:BD and figured for a few bucks I could both afford it and seeing how I really liked FC3 I could likely enjoy it. The download took a few hours which is fair and to be expected. Then I had to wait for uplay to update which took far longer than it should have. Then I had to put in my CD key on Uplay to prove that I had purchased it.
Then I had to take a moment to reflect on why exactly Uplay exists? Who thought this extra unhelpful and poorly designed step was a positive step for their company? I understand Ubisoft is famous for terrible DRM practices and just being out of touch but Uplay seems to be the shining example of their disconnect from reality. Anyways back to the story at hand.
I installed the game, updated Uplay, then found my account details because who in their right mind memorizes their login info to Uplay. Everything seemed good, time to try streaming my crazy 80′s dragon battles to Twitch and…
It doesn’t work.
Cool. Alright that’s fine. Let’s just have steam verify cache and…100% correct files. Oh, well that’s fine I guess. How about I check their forums. Looks like other people are having my issues too and…Ubisoft says its not a problem on their end. Well that’s awfully strange. Maybe my direct X isn’t updated. No that isn’t it. Maybe my video drivers aren’t updated? No that isn’t it. Windows? Nope. Registry? Nope. Do I have anything installed that should conflict with Blood Dragon? Nothing I can see.
No old drivers, install verified, drive defragmented.
Maybe uplay is broken. I’ll just uninstall that and reinstall it and…
It uninstall Blood Dragon also. Sweet now I’ve got to redownload the game.
It reminds me of Games for Windows Live. The software broke constantly, didn’t stop piracy, and only had minimal perks. Turns out after a bit of searching I found out what the problem is. The game phones home before it reaches the login screen. The Ubisoft servers can’t currently handle the load from new people playing the game (apparently). If I were willing to wait 5 to 10 minutes it would actually work. Amusingly this problem is on consoles as well. So I suppose my earlier point about PC Gaming is somewhat moot.
I’m about to try using Uplay in offline mode. If this works I’m going to be awfully disappointed in Ubisoft (more than I already am).
Well it worked. I’m going to go play Pokémon now and psychically send my disappointing finger wags to Ubisoft.
I’m totally burned out today. I finished NaNoWriMo just in time for the end of the month and submitted my word count. It wasn’t easy but it was a ton of fun. In December I’m going to edit the story and probably put it up on Amazon to help expand my collection.
I do appreciate that they call me a winner. I suppose in some ways I have won. I took a rough transition month and not only survived it (as of midnight tonight) but also got a book written. I like the book and I think with a little editing it’ll be a campy read for someone. At over a hundred pages single spaced it’s a modestly large book. Then again it is just barely over the minimum limit for a novel.
Not that I mind. A win is a win and I’m genuinely glad I was able to see this to completion. Also in some hauntingly relevant news, after writing my post about minimizing chances for accidents in the Santa Clara/LA Area an actor from the Fast and the Furious died while being driven around here. It’s an ironic death to be sure but I wish his last name hadn’t been walker.
Damn shame that he died. Basically everyone deserves to live to an old age. If you are going to die it should be after you are annoyed living, if such a time comes.
This is going to be a super strange segue but I’d hate to end this on a negative so I highly recommend you go check out the James Franco & Seth Rogen take on the Kanye video “Bound”. It’s magical. I don’t really like TMZ but I may as well link to it for this: Check it here. Seth Rogen and James Franco are one of my favorite duos next to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKlellan.
I’ve probably told you this story before. But I’m like an old man, I tell stories and eventually people will say “Yes, Grandpa.” and pat me on the head after I finish. This story takes place back when I was in high school, naturally this means you can’t visualize anything I’m about to say or you are a dirty criminal. DIRTY DIRTY CRIMINAL!
Feel persecuted yet? That’s good, wouldn’t want you time traveling and making past me uncomfortable. Time traveling pedophiles (technically ephebophiles) are genuinely threatening our way of wholesome continuity. But before I derail this conversation into a strange fan fiction about cross dimensional erotica (as if you can’t find enough of that already) I’m going to get back on topic.
When I was in high school, technically shortly after I graduated, I went to Japan. There were many things I discovered while I was in Japan, like how travel makes me incredibly sick and my homestay has to suffer through me being near death the entire time they wanted to just enjoy learning from a bilingual healthy American (of which I was only one of these three things).
I also discovered that it doesn’t take long for people to shed their fixation on sexuality and nudity. In my youth I remember people harassing me and others for not being manly enough. Any kind of physical contact with another guy was “gay”. Amusingly even now I know a lot of male friends who do handshakes only because anything else might get them pregnant or something.
When we were in Japan though there was an opportunity to use a bath house. Amusingly, from what I remember, a lot of women chose not to. It was separated by gender so there was nothing weird like that going on. Most of the guys went to the men’s one and we weren’t alone. There were some random Japanese people. I think it was those Japanese people that caused the shift.
I remember us all sitting in the bath with our towels on and looking up at the sky. Because as you know if you see any nude man parts its all over. Then a random Japanese man walks over to the bath, throws his towel to the side and drops in. He doesn’t seem to care that we are around and he relaxes. Never once does he check to see if anyone is looking, if anyone is bothered, or whatnot.
He came to relax in scalding hot water because he’s free.
Shortly after this we all started to relax and just shrugged it off. Whatever, we might catch one another nude. It’s not like we are making out (and if any of us had happened to be gay there was nothing wrong with that either, but I’m working under the presumption that the half dozen guys who were staring up at the sky were doing so because of that weird ingrained fear). There was nothing sexual about the bath just like there is nothing innately sexual about nudity. That man who got in the bath didn’t do so because he was feeling randy. He wanted to relax and relaxing just happened to involve nudity.
It’s like seeing someone naked on an educational show. The context matters, this is something we lose in the US. In the US it is always considered sexual. This is extremely true if you are male. Heaven help you if you are a single man hanging out somewhere that is near a playground (like say a water front). My joke up at the top was a not-so-subtle jab at this illusion that there are pedophiles everywhere (there aren’t).
Sometime after we all relaxed we moved over the the pool area. The pool was warm, not quite as hot as the boiling bath outside but still not terrible. One of the guys on our trip (whose name escapes me) was constantly being pranked on the trip and he kept trying to fit in with everyone. He was a good person and I don’t think he deserved most of the heckling we gave him. But that’s a tale for another day.
At any rate he said “I bet I can pour ice cold water on myself after getting out of the pool.” To which we all laughed because that be the path to death. But sure enough he hopped out and sat on the stool and doused himself with a big bucket full of (and I mean this almost literally) ice cold water.
When they water rolled by the pool edge you could feel the temperature shift it made in the air. He started shaking (as you do) and shouted. Keep in mind that there are some Japanese people here, I presume this is not common for them. Anyways we all decide that we can’t let him be the best with one bucket. So we start upping the ante to two ice cold buckets, then three, before we knew it we had the entire line of buckets (thankfully nobody needed them at the time) and were chain dousing ourselves then quickly jumping into the pool to “recharge” the warmth and try again.
This went on for a bit and we were screaming and shouting. It was genuinely painful at times but it was incredibly funny too. It was, to my recollection, one of the most amusing things I’ve ever done in my life. Even in hindsight it sounds like such a strange tale but for us there was nothing weird going on. We had found a genuinely stupid game, as guys tend to do, and we were competing, as guys tend to do. I don’t know if anyone won because I don’t think anybody lost. In the end we all laughed it up and (finally) left the bathhouse.
I wonder what those Japanese men though of a bunch of Americans shouting like fools. Did it bother them or did it amuse them? I know I tend to smile when tourists do silly things in the states, I like to think that I give that same kind of amusement when I travel abroad.
When we left the bathhouse I remember Liz (and others) mentioning that they could hear us shouting. The story was very fun to tell then and I still smile when I think back to how dumb it was now. Yet I feel if this same story unfolded in the US there would be some strange extra connotations to it. Because we are absolutely obsessed with sexuality, it is why all our ratings systems dwell on it and pass over violence. We have yet to come to terms with the fact that nudity is just nudity, it isn’t anymore special than absolute zero. Nudity is merely the starting point before you add clothing. You don’t imply anything with it unless you intend to do so.
I will also note that if you ever have the chance to be very very hot (steaming hot) and then douse yourself with ice cold water you should do so. My skin was the softest it had ever been after that and occasionally I do it (though now alone) with equally good results. Considerably cheaper than buying skin products and you get immediate results.
So yeah, that’s my bathhouse story.