I’m old. I love playing games from when I was a wee lad. I especially love playing a certain familiar game and having most of the items, all the dungeon rooms, enemies, and junk moved around in random places. It really screws with your brain.
I’ve made a random game of Zelda for the NES based on the randomised tournament runs and it’s been really fun. You can download the .nes file here to play on an emulator (I use OpenEmu).
That custom rom is actually pretty fun. I ended up finding the red ring early from somewhere and since there are red and blue Wizzrobes everywhere, it helps a bit.
To get the Zelda Randomizer application for Windows so you can make your own Zelda-related nightmare, you can visit the site. (Keep in mind that you will need a Zelda rom which I do not provide here.)
Sometimes I feel like I take certain things for granted, for example, my partner, my freedom of expression, religion, or the ability to go to any naughty site I want. I heard from somewhere that India’s government blocks naughty sites and thought I’d try it out (using the Epic web browser). I clicked a little button that gave me a choice of where I wanted to pretend like I was in and chose India. Then I went to a naughty site and this is what I came up with:
I removed the site because well, I wouldn’t want to cloud your mind with the evil of naked imagery and adult situations, would I? (No. Not on this weblog at least!)
I’m actually a little opinionated on this kind of censorship. I know there are some really intelligent and crafty people in India who could probably do the exact same thing I did and circumvent these little restrictions and watch all the porn they want.
Porn, for me, can be an educational tool. It can also be a tool to get out a bit of frustration, if you know what I mean. When used in moderation (and in normal situations), it’s not such a bad thing. I don’t see it as evil. It can be addictive, sure, but I don’t believe that would apply to 100% of the population.
India, I hear, has a problem in regards to sex and sex education. Myself, didn’t do a sex education bit when I was growing up, or if I did, it was done in a really non-sexual way. My mom basically gave my sister and me a book and said “Read this” and it had everything about it. It also covered homosexuality and maybe that’s when I started to think about myself and who I was. Indians, again, I hear, are not really open about talking about sex. So basically, they need to get the information from somewhere because sex exploration is a part of getting older and maturing. They may go to these sites and see some of this stuff and expect that this is how you act during sex and well, what you see in porn movies isn’t what it’s like in real life a majority of the time. People aren’t normally sexual like that. Maybe that’s what the Indian government doesn’t want Indians to think. Maybe it’s primarily for religious reasons. Maybe this is how they keep their citizens “safe”. I don’t really know, but judging from a lot of headlines, some kind of sex education needs to be done and more free access to these materials should be accessible. It would really make a difference. Banning “all” porn (I say “all” because ALL isn’t possible, but it’s also encouraging some of the most vile material as well), isn’t the way to go.
I do believe that the most horrible stuff needs to be censored though. I don’t think that it should only be censored, but the parties responsible for it need to go to prison or whatever. Absolutely. If any government wants to prevent their citizens from seeing that or accessing that, I think that’s perfectly fine. But who says what is “good” or “bad”? That’s the big question.
Ah, the title is advice I should be giving myself on a daily basis. I’m definitely one of those people who start projects only later to tell myself that it’s shit and I shouldn’t bother with it. It’s exactly why I say that I’m starting stuff here, and then post a little bit about it and then you never hear anything about it later. It drives me crazy because this literally affects just about everything I do.
In case you didn’t know, I am an university-educated and qualified game programmer. I’m just really terrible at the artwork. In my opinion, I’m not such a good pen and pencil artist. I can model things in 3D, but I feel like to do that, someone would have to be standing behind me with a razor blade on a toothbrush. I always have a half-assed general idea of how I want a character to look. What I focus more on is the story behind the character. What’s his or her motivation? What do they like or hate doing? How clear is their thinking? Are they in it for themselves, no one, or someone else? What is their relationship with others? Are they inclined to pick and eat mysterious forest fruit while they look for cemeteries?
I’ve been pretty proud of myself when it comes to my character designs and game development designs in general. I’m just really bad with the graphics and well, that’s enough to kill my motivation to keep working on it. The ideas are always there, but when it comes to the detailed character design, I’m hopeless. It keeps me from moving forward with the game in general.
In my spare time, I’ve been coding games where the character, in my opinion, is soulless. They don’t have a back story. He doesn’t have any motivation. The main character runs around and shoots things. He jumps over holes in the ground. He’s like a male version of Samus Aran with no motivation except to kill meat-hungry plants and animals. It’s not something I’m proud of because I feel like you must have that connection to the guy/girl/thing you’re controlling. Without it, I feel like games are useless. If there’s not a moment where you feel sorry for or you’re proud of your character, then it’s a total waste. If I made something and made it publicly available and the character or characters were shit, I’d be incredibly ashamed.
I feel like these are some of the things I need to work on but since game development (or IT work) is no longer something I do full-time, I just fit it into the very little free time I have. I don’t even know if anything will come out of it and right now, I don’t feel like this thing will ever see the light of day outside my office space.
I’ve thought about getting a group of people together to work on a fully developed story of mine, but I need a lot more money to make it happen and I’m not a huge fan of e-begging for money. I don’t want to waste my time, but I do believe in my ideas. I just need more people onboard, which I know how to initiate, but I just need to believe in myself a little more.
Don’t laugh at me. When I’ve had spare time this week, I’ve been playing Diablo 3 (Ultimate Evil Edition). I started playing the first one when I was a teenager and it was really fun. Then, years later, I played the second one and I’ll admit that there are times that I was addicted to it so bad, I’d play it for about 16 hours a day. So how does this third one stack up?
Instead of playing it on a computer, I bought the XBox One version so the gameplay mechanics have changed a bit. Instead of clicking my mouse 14.4 million times, I get to press the buttons on my controller 14.4 million times (not really, some of the buttons you can just hold down and your player will keep doing the same thing over and over again, which is nice. Unfortunately, this means I can just hold the A button and have a conversation with someone at the same time.)
I’ve made 3 different characters: a crusader (who I’m in Act 2 with), a necromancer (who I’m almost finished Act 1 with), and a witch doctor (who I haven’t started playing with, but played this character in the demo). Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel that different from one character to another. I can skip all the dialogue after I’ve played with one character because nothing really ever changes. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of maps don’t even randomly generate like they used to in first two. I basically know where I’m going and exactly what to do. In other words, if I’ve played one character, I feel like I’ve played with them all. I haven’t played as all the characters, so it’s possible that I might get some different kind of experience with them all.
The game play is simple. I haven’t died at all with any character. I’ve had to heal up about twice with the crusader. With the necromancer, I feel like it’s way overpowered. I haven’t had to heal up at all, and the skeletal mage summons kill everything really, really fast. So basically, I play this character facing the monsters and by holding the A button.
I don’t notice any of the music which is not good because I expect the music to set the mood. It doesn’t. I hear about 5 seconds of the Tristram theme every so often, and that’s it. Unremarkable, honestly. The sound is about as good as you expect. Sometimes you can hear a treasure goblin nearby.
As far as the graphics go, they’re pretty neat I think. The environments are really nice, and you can use them to kill your enemies (for example, falling logs, falling walls, etc). It does bother me how all the corpses look the same when you play as a necromancer though. The little monsters leave the same corpse as a gigantic monster. The corpse looks like a human torso, so it’s kind of weird to see a spider leaving behind a human corpse that was twice its size. The corpse explosion spell is pretty awesome though. I’ve never had any problem with the lighting in some places which is good.
My verdict is that it’s a fun game. It’s not addictive and I don’t think the replay ability is on par with its predecessors. I don’t really expect to play it again for a long time after I finish it once. Right now, I feel like if you’ve played as one character, you’ve played them all. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true because I’ve only played around 25% of the whole game (but that didn’t take me very long either). I think that playing it on a console works well. I think I’d much rather play it with a controller than a mouse.
Even after writing this, it’s not enough to get me to want to get up and play which is sad. I will eventually, but I don’t know how long it will take me to want to do something else. I guess the lack of addition is a good thing, or maybe my brain has changed so much from back then to now. Maybe I’m just adulting way too much now. That’s kind of sad.
Edit: Well, I finished the game plus its expansion with the necromancer in just a few hours of gameplay. I got to the end and said to myself “Oh my God, that was easy!”. It was really easy. Looking back, I can’t really remember any character I actually liked except the scoundrel follower and the guy you go and see when you need gems combined. I also liked the angel Auriel too for some reason. I will have to say that I really liked the last act more than the rest. It was quite fun. Now, I just have to finish the game with another character or try the harder level. (There are 5 different difficulty levels. Normal is the easiest.)
One thing that infuriates me about Nintendo is that they seem to half-ass all their products. There’s ALWAYS something that I go “why the hell wouldn’t they include that?” or “why is it so limited?”. I’ll admit, I’ve been a Nintendo fan for a long time and honestly, they have some really fun games that I’d play every day if I could. There are still games they announce that make me excited. And sometimes there are products and games that I don’t get so excited about, like when I was a kid and the Virtual Boy came out. Tried it for 10 minutes, then found something better to do. I feel sorry for my cousin who got one. Anyway…
This complaint is about their game called Miitomo that they made for phones/tablets. It was an interesting product because it was Nintendo’s first app for phones and for a while, it was pretty neat and funny. People were playing with it and it was a fun way to know stuff about your friends that, let’s be honest here, you wouldn’t give a crap about. After a while, it just got too repetitious and stale. Why? Because Nintendo has this habit of not making anything better that they release or the updates they do release are just so boring and unnecessary. So, they just let it stagnate and die. Instead of making it better, or including things that people really want, they ignore it and just quit. They could have made it a lot better and updated it with something cooler, but they didn’t. As a result, they’re pulling the plug on Miitomo in May. I’m not surprised about it really. I also see their Animal Crossing game going in the crapper within a year or two. (Again, it’s fun but incredibly repetitious. I could play the game with my eyes closed.)
Am I going to cry over Miitomo’s demise? Nah, because I knew from the beginning that they wouldn’t do much with it. I mean, surely there are things to that are more fun than walk around a small room with a poster or two on the wall, right? (The mini-games in it were migraine-inducing too…)
I guess that will be the end of that, then, won’t it? As I said, I’m not angry or anything because today was the first time I looked at it in a long time and that was only because I saw an update that said they were throwing in the towel.
I feel like my need for the Switch is about as great as my want/need for the Wii U. I’m just not as interested anymore given the limitations Nintendo builds (or doesn’t build) into their hardware. (The Switch would have been cool to have for a while and I probably would want one more than a Wii U.) I’m not much of a handheld gamer anymore. I guess that’s something I’ve grown out of in this adult life of mine. It’s a bit sad.
This is super random, but I really hate auto-updates. Long gone are the days when I’d look forward to OS updates on my Mac or iPhone because it seems like Apple is only interested in adding features to their newest products. How many times have I seen app updates for the iPhone X in the past few months? It’s been crazy. I’m sure, going forward, my little phone is going to be left in the dust while the OS is optimised for the absolute latest iPhone model while the updates that affect my phone are just going to make it slower and run hotter. Or the macOS updates are going to be centred on the touch bar that I don’t want, need, or have.
What I especially hate is when developers release a new version of their app and in the what’s new section, all it says is one of these:
We’re making the app better to use, so we update it every 2 weeks. (I think it’s because they want to stay at the top of the most downloaded chart.)
I’m not sure about anybody else, but I kinda would like to know what’s actually been improved. I don’t need the computer science explanation, I just want to know what bugs have been fixed and I mean the ones that would improve speed, improve the look, or something like that. I think developers should be a little more transparent like that or at least have a longer explanation of what work they’ve done. I’m perfectly fine with “Fixed spelling mistakes”. That would always make me happy.
The browser that I use as my default now, Vivaldi, does a really great job at this. There are actual things to look forward to with updates, they document them where people can see them, and they prove that you don’t have to go through 16 full number versions to bring in something new. It’s definitely annoying not to be able to distinguish what changed from Chrome 33 to Chrome 60. I’m sure 80 is right around the corner.
Still, I have a hope that new updates to software and apps bring something new and exciting to the table. I actually don’t have the auto-update features on anything turned on. I just get a notification of what’s changed then I can decide whether I want to install them. I usually do, but at least this way I can see what’s changed before I install it. I do this on my Mac, PC, Android devices, and iOS device. Security updates are different, but I’m usually well-informed of what’s happening in the security world anyway. I also don’t think that it’s smart to explain in detail what the security updates do before a certain percentage of people install them (an example of how telemetry can be used for good instead of evil).
I’m still hopeful and still looking forward to “remarkable” updates with stuff. My XBox One kinda auto-updates itself (because it’s always “on”) which makes me a little uneasy since I want to see the progress of Astroneer.
That’s all from me for the moment. Weird post but it’s been on my mind. You can never tell what I’ll post.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been focusing on feeling a little bit better and it’s worked minimally. I’m coughing my guts up every morning which isn’t really such a bad thing since it’s productive coughing. It’s a bit gross, but right now gross is good, especially since I have to get back into my regular life next week.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up a few games to play to keep me from going insane. I had a lot of time off and this time off has made me feel a bit unproductive I guess you could say. I have more coming up for a longer period so I need to start planning right now. It would have been smart to go away for a bit, but I can’t be bothered to do something like that. Not right now.
So what did I pick up?
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I’m a few years late to this. I have been playing Skyrim since it came out and a game in the bundle I got with my XBox One was the enhanced version. Of course, that’s pretty much the only game I played until I finally decided to install another game that came with my system, Prey. That was pretty good too. But then I hungered for something else that was similar to Skyrim, but it wasn’t Skyrim. I picked up the Game of the Year Edition of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
It’s like Skyrim but it was really hard. It took time to get used to the fighting mechanics and I still don’t really like them compared to Skyrim. I get my ass beat regularly. I’ve died a lot and unfortunately, when you die, the loading screen is up for a long time so it’s like the game actually punishes you for dying. A few times of that and I’m like yeah, I need to get up and do something else.
But don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun. The world is huge. Some of the characters are really memorable. I actually remember things from the game. I sit back and think about it when I am doing something completely unrelated. Unlike Skyrim, you can’t just go anywhere you want and expect to kill stuff. (Basically, the monsters don’t “level up” with you.) It’s a bit more of a challenge, but it makes a lot of sense too. It’s just a really fun game. There’s a spinoff card game called Gwent but I haven’t played it yet. It’s kinda built into the game anyway and I haven’t even tried that either. (I wasn’t a big fan of the card game built into Final Fantasy IX, so I hope this’ll be better, but then again FF IX was like a billion years ago.)
Absolutely, totally worth the money I spent on it. I’m sure it will keep me occupied for a long time. I really can’t wait to see what the development company comes up with next.
Cuphead: Don’t Deal with the Devil
A name that would scare off the most zealous of Christians and superstitious, this game is hard. Cuphead’s art-style mimics cartoons made in the 1930s which, to me, is a lot of the appeal. It’s downright beautiful. But it’s hard… oh my god, is it hard. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw my controller through the TV (or at my partner for laughing at me every time I die). There are a few difficulty levels of each stage and I always like to play the ones for wusses. Even that is super hard.
I know I’ve said a few times that it’s really hard, very hard. However, it’s so fun. It’s incredibly fun. It’s hard, but in a good way. Sometimes I die just from looking at the animation and not paying attention to what I’m doing. Sometimes I die in less than 10 seconds. Sometimes I finish 95% of the stage, then die. I can always retry. The loading screens don’t show if you replay the same stage which is nice, and even if you leave that stage, the loading times aren’t so bad. (Loading screens piss me off, have you noticed?)
If you haven’t played it, you really should. If you don’t want to play it, make sure you watch a video of the game play. It’s probably one of the most visually stunning games I’ve played. I’m looking forward to see what they’re going to do with the intellectual property. I hope there’s more. I’d pay for more.
Hearthstone and Gwent
It’s a card game. I haven’t really been a big fan of card games. I’ve tried, but haven’t had much interest in them. I’m not sure why. When Magic: The Gathering was so big, people were really surprised that I wasn’t interested or had no idea what was happening. Many years later, I decided to give Hearthstone a try. I played for about 10 minutes on my iPhone and it wasn’t incredibly boring like I thought it would be. I’ll play a bit later. Looked good so far! Haha.
Gwent, the game I mentioned earlier, has been sent to my XBox to install. Haven’t touched it yet. I’ll see how that goes.
Once upon a time, I had a HP laptop that I bought in 2007. I used it up until early this year. There were no speed problems with it, but it was starting to run really hot and noisy. It ran a few different versions of Windows and for the most part, I was a happy guy. It worked well for me and I am still amazed that it lasted as long as it did. (It was a fairly expensive laptop though. I don’t do cheap computers unless I’m desperate.) The hard drive died in it once and the mic/camera was a bit flaky, but its performance was absolutely solid. I could run everything I needed on it up until the end. (Gaming got a bit iffy though. The graphics card was getting to be obsolete and unsupported by just about everything.)
I retired that old laptop and replaced it with a desktop. I was trying to decide whether I wanted a HP desktop (I know, right???), a Surface Studio, or an iMac with a 5k display. It came down to how many pixels I could get on the display. The HP desktops weren’t really that impressive to me. I knew I wanted an all-in-one design and the power and resolution I needed just wasn’t available. The Surface Studio was just a bit overpriced and I was thinking, would I ever use it for what they’re built for? Probably not. Also, while I was considering it, I remembered how anxious I’d get because I got a lot of bad updates from Windows. I never knew whether the upgrades would go smooth or not. Some of them had left me without a laptop for a day or two. That left me with the decision to get a Mac.
I am no stranger to Macs. I got my first one around 2003 and it was great. It was one of those lamp-looking ones (the G4) and it, probably to this day, was my favourite computer (with the one I’m using now being #2 and the HP laptop being #3). After that one got a little too old, I gave it to my nephew and got one that wasn’t as visually stunning (the G5). That last one ran hot and I don’t think I got to use it much because at the time I had planned to move to Australia and I wasn’t going to bother bringing it with me, so I let my sister have it. If I’m not mistaken, she used it for a really long time. I bought one of the last PowerBooks, and headed off to Australia. That one was rock solid, but I got it right when Apple was transitioning to Intel processors. (The last time I checked, this one still works. Someone begged me for it, so I gave it to them.) To replace that one, I got one of the white plastic MacBooks that kind of picked up every bit of oil off my hands. I’m a very oily man. Not good, but the computer was good. No problems. I donated that one to a kid in The Philippines. THEN (this story does end), I got an iMac that started failing less than a year I got it. I was just about to go to the USA, so I thought I’d come back and take care of it. I called AppleCare who said that the warranty had expired 3 days before. So, it sat around gathering dust. (The graphics card was defective and the hard drive had already failed.) This jaded my decision to get another Mac. That’s when I got the HP laptop.
After the HP laptop’s hard drive failed, I didn’t have time to replace it (and I thought that the insides had melted anyway) so I got a MacBook Pro. I still have this one and I absolutely, 100% hate this piece of shit. It is the slowest computer I’ve ever used and it was slow when I first got it. Nothing I’ve done to it has speeded it up. I use it now when I HAVE to. I don’t use it because I want to. I got it with the impression that it will be as reliable as the other Macs I’ve gotten. It hasn’t had any major issues, but DAMN is it slow. When it isn’t cripplingly slow, it’s okay. I’ll give it that. I should have sold off that thing a long time ago.
The new iMac
So here I am. No technology has been 100% nice to me. I’m certainly not a Mac zealot. I have Windows 10 on here, but I use it only when I have to. I end up going back to macOS when I possibly can though because it’s been more reliable for me. I don’t get strange “An error has occurred somewhere” kind of messages. I don’t get error messages about drivers. It just works out really well for me. As far as programming goes, it doesn’t really get in my way. If I need to, I can just head over to my Windows 10 Bootcamp install. The display is gorgeous. I love all the millions of pixels. Everything’s crisp and clear. (It makes pictures on Facebook look terrible though.)
When I got this thing, I wasn’t impressed with the pre-installed memory of 8 GB. I also wasn’t impressed with the cost that Apple wants to charge for memory either. It is incredibly horrible. If this thing didn’t have user-serviceable memory, I wouldn’t have bothered. Seriously. I got an extra 32 GB for about A$400 and eventually, I’ll get another 32 GB. Right now I am standing on 40 GB.
I would have preferred the i7 version, but I don’t think the difference between the i5 and i7 will affect me that much. It hasn’t really been a problem at all, not that I’ve noticed anyway. The graphics card was the highest I could get with this model of iMac. The storage is at 2 TB. The OS is installed on flash storage so it’s speedy. The rest of the junk is on the hard drive part of the Fusion Drive.
So far it’s been a solid machine. It’s totally restored my confidence in Macs. It’s also made me happy that I no longer have to subject myself to the mysteries of the Windows operating system (unless I want to).
Oh, and I totally hate the Apple Magic Mouse 2. But you can read about that here. If you’re too lazy to click the link, basically it is the most uncomfortable mouse ever and the “scroll wheel” on it is so incredibly sensitive. Also, the charging port for it is ON THE BOTTOM. Do yourself a favour if you get one… get a better mouse that feels better in your hand… and one that works a lot better too!
Oh, and the Microsoft Surface?
Thinking about getting their Surface Pro? It’s really good. That’s what I usually suggest for people who are okay with Windows or they’re used to Windows. If you’re thinking of getting a new “laptop”, they’ve been pretty solid. I forgot to mention that I got one of these too, but it was the RT version. I liked it. The rest of the world didn’t. I’ve also suggested this so many times to people (who bought one and they’ve been happy), Microsoft should pay me!
Another part of my childhood destroyed by AOL. AIM will be shutting down on 15 December 2017. It’s actually okay though because I haven’t sent anybody a message using AIM in over 5 years (if not longer). It was actually the first messenger I used to chat with people on the Internet (including the AOL chat rooms).
Chatting back then was so much fun but I met some really weird people on there. I didn’t dare meet them in person though. At the time when I was around 15 or 16, I would chat with a lot of people. I was pretty popular because I’d pop into the gay chatrooms that were basically for older guys and they’d see me as fresh meat (and some of it was really creepy, thinking back). Of course, back then I don’t think that I had any sexuality at all. I was probably more into myself than I was in anybody else. I guess you could call that curious or questioning or something.
Years later, I met some really nice people. Some I am still connected with on Facebook. Some, I’ve lost contact with. I guess that’s okay. Not everybody is supposed to stay in your life forever, I guess.
So, goodbye AIM. It was great having you in my life for a while. Thanks for the memories.
Owning a new Mac gives me an uncontrollable urge to make things. I’ve tried podcasting a few times in the past and it went well the first time around. It was an exciting time of my life when I was moving from the USA to Australia, and I was in a relationship with someone who I probably needed to call it quits on. It was interesting. It was fun recording them with my friends in Texas.
Then, all of a sudden something happened and I stopped. I think it was just a case of “Why bother?” And I stopped. Later, I decided to do another one under a new name, and my heart just wasn’t in it. I felt like they were forced and I’d go into them with not much to say. It made for some really boring listening material. So many people at the time did them and they did so much better than I did. (That’s okay and it’s not meant to be negative. It’s just true.)
Every so often I go back to considering whether I want to record again. The answer has been no every time. The answer is still no.
Something that I have learned from my university studies is video production. I’ve been wanting to do something with it, but haven’t done much yet. I will though. I made my partner’s last cooking video very quickly because he was thinking about making a cooking channel on YouTube. I recorded it with my phone, and fired up iMovie, to make a simple video. (No, I wasn’t trained to use iMovie. I am trained in Premiere Pro and After Effects.) Most of that was to see whether he could explain to people how to cook Indian food. He did an okay job though. It was an excellent first attempt for him. I’ve been trying to talk him into doing something, but he’s always got other pressing matters to tend to–pressing matters that he refuses to acknowledge so I am nagging him a lot lately.
I’m also thinking of making gameplay videos at some point, but I’m not really sure 100% about that. I don’t want to really become rich and famous or anything. I just want to be able to do something that I enjoy, I guess you could say, and then edit it into a beautiful-ish masterpiece. (We know a masterpiece won’t happen!)
So it’s all about media. I am just thinking of what I want to do. If you have suggestions for me, you can comment here, or send me an email.