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2009 Jan 28 rinoa


Guy Blade Guy Blade---09:09:00


Alaskan Liberation
So, I beat Operation: Anchorage (the Fallout 3 expansion) a few hours ago. It was probably about 3 hours of content, but that may be due primarily to my character's build. Since the expansion takes place in a "simulator", you don't get to make use of any of your normal equipment. Instead, you are given a handful of weapons that never degrade and told to go do some objectives. It turn out, however, that nearly all of those weapons qualify as small arms. Among them was a particular favorite of mine--the sniper rifle. Since you are fighting humans almost exclusively and due to the 3x multiplier on sneak attacks, I basically snuck my way through the entire expansion dropping enemies in one shot with sneak attack head shots. Since this expansion wasn't explicitly targeted at people who were level 20, I think I may have had an easier time than was intended. In fact, the only times I died were when I stood too close to an explosive that I set off and when I ran out of ammo for the sniper rifle while too far away from an ammo drop.

It probably makes sense to pick up the expansion if you are starting a new game so that you can get access to the good equipment that it provides relavitely early, but it doesn't necessarily seem like something compelling for people who've already cleared the game.

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2009 Jan 27 namine


Guy Blade Guy Blade---19:53:00


Genre
So this morning, while on a telecon, I started downloading the expansion ("DLC") for Fallout 3. This forced me to make use of the Windows LIVE Marketplace which is a strange enough beast alone, but which provided this strange genre description:



I realize that "A Post Nuclear Roleplaying Game" has been the subtitle of the series since its inception, but I am loathe to accept the notion that three games constitute a genre. That would be like offering up the genre of the Katamari games as "World Consuming Adventure" or some other tripe. I think it would have been acceptable to place "Roleplaying" or even "First Person Roleplaying" in that box (yes, I realize you can go into third person; no, it isn't a good idea).

Filling the genre box with unnecessary information doesn't make it more useful, it makes it less.

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---19:51:00


Genre
So this morning, while on a telecon, I started downloading the expansion ("DLC") for Fallout 3. This forced me to make use of the Windows LIVE Marketplace which is a strange enough beast alone, but which provided this strange genre description:



I realize that "A Post Nuclear Roleplaying Game" has been the subtitle of the series since its inception, but I am loathe to accept the notion that three games constitute a genre. That would be like offering up the genre of the Katamari games as "World Consuming Adventure" or some other tripe. I think it would have been acceptable to place "Roleplaying" or even "First Person Roleplaying" in that box (yes, I realize you can go into third person; no, it isn't a good idea).

Filling the genre box with unnecessary information doesn't make it more useful, it makes it less.

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2009 Jan 26 terra


Guy Blade Guy Blade---11:05:00


Ice
So, it's hailing here--approximately pea sized. I've not seen it hail here before. I'm glad my vehicle is in a covered carport.

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2009 Jan 21 rinoa


Guy Blade Guy Blade---19:49:00


Locational Benefits
So, I had expected the various parts for my new computer to arrive before the end of the week. It turns out that, because I live less than 50 miles away from both the NewEgg distribution center and the Dell distribution center, both the new drives and the new mobo/processor/ram were waiting for me when I got home last night. I used the case that I had previously been using for eve before I switched eve to a low power single board system which saved me the trouble of having to find a new case.

I installed Ubuntu for the new fileserver (Ubuntu has been my goto distribution for about a year now). Unfortunately, there is some sort of bizarre issue wherein the enumeration of drives by the motherboard and by the kernel are different, so I had to use my old Gentoo learned skills to fiddle with the devices.map and manually reinstall grub.

It turns out that rebuilding a drive in a 5x1TB raid array takes about 6 hours. I hope to not have to do that again until the next doubling of the array. I'm now in the midst of rsyncing the 1.7 TiB or so from the old array to the new array. Even with switched gigabit ethernet, I expect that this will take several days. Hopefully I've over-estimated, but I doubt it.

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2009 Jan 20 elly


Guy Blade Guy Blade---12:55:00


camelCaseGameTitles
So, I just beat darkSector. It was a game that I picked up on a whim when it was on sale from newegg for less than $20. That fit within my general rule of thumb which suggests that I purchase any game with an average review score greater than 70% and a price less than $20 (obviously, the game must not belong to one of the genre blacklists: racing, sports, etc).

The game itself was rather decent if a bit short. It certainly wasn't anything groundbreaking or amazing, but it was fun enough to kill an afternoon. It was mainly a third person shooter with a handful of odd gameplay mechanics such as making use of a chakram as a primary weapon and not allowing you to use weapons dropped from enemies for more than perhaps a minute due to various plot machinations. Rightly or wrongly, it appears as though the second shotgun available in the game's shop could be better known as the "win button" because of its ability to decimate most enemies even in the late game.

Immediately previous to playing through darkSector, I had been playing The Force Unleashed. The gameplay in TFU is actually quite decent and the game is generally fun. I found the plot itself to be interesting as an explaination of how the Jedi were hunted down as well as a bit of expounding on how the Rebellion formed. My main complaint with the plot, however, is the complete lack of explaination for why the main character's attitude changes over the course of the game. My best explanation is "spite", but it seems strange that a character would turn to the light side of the force out of spite.

The game also has a few gameplay issues: it is easy for enemies to destroy you by juggling; there are lots of ledges to shove enemies off of, but no way to recover if you fall off one; checkpoints are arbitrarily spaced. Also, the game's acheivements consist primarily of "kill 100 enemies using x" and "kill 500 enemies using x" which is just laziness in a game where they could've instead had "throw an enemy out of the window of a space ship by hitting them with an exploding barrel", "kill an enemy by throwing a jawa at it", "use every force power on an enemy without killing it", or "make three gripped enemies hold onto the same object, impotently hanging on for dear life".

Previous to TFU, I'd been playing Resistance: Fall of Man. It was one of the early PS3 titles and is, again, a decent but not amazing game in its genre. It had a somewhat interesting plot, but was hampered by a couple of issues. Firstly, it was a first person shooter on a console which made the game much harder than it needed to be. Secondly, it used the now-standard "hide to regenerate" health system. Unfortunately, it divided the heath bar into quarters and only let you regenerate up to the next highest level requiring healing items to bride the gaps. This made it very easy to get into the same sort of condition that the "hide to regenerate" systems were implemented to negate: being one hit away from death with no health in sight.

Even before that, I had been playing Infinite Undiscovery--an action RPG for the 360. It is actually one of the more interesting RPGs that I've played lately. The character development of the protagonist is especially interesting (especially since the development is interesting and few games bother to do any advancement anymore). Of course, it is a Tri-Ace game which means that it involves item creation. This, coupled with the free DLC which adds items to shops, means that I spent most of the game with equipment far better than what one would expect to have at such a point.

Finally, going back to Xmas, I got Chrono Trigger DS. It was a very good port of the game--it had none of the problems that the PSX port had with slow transitions. It also added some new content in the form of a few new dungeons and a new ending that helps to tie in the link to Chrono Cross. Unfortunately, the dungeons seem a bit pointless because they open when you get wings on Epoch, but mainly provide equipment that is between the best available for sale and the best that can be found through the end game quests. This led to me going through the dungeons and finding equipment that provided me now benefit. The dungeons are also rediculously full of money (individual chests with more than 100 kilogold in them) despite the fact that there is no reason to ever spend more than maybe 20 kilogold in the entire game. Nevertheless, it is a faithful port of the game and the extra ending may be worth it to long time fans.

I should also note that all of the games that I listed in this (aside from CT:DS) can be found for under $30 with a bit of hunting (at least that's what I paid for them).

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2009 Jan 19 yuffie


Guy Blade Guy Blade---10:48:00


Yearly Doubling
So, earlier today I was getting ready to play Far Cry 2. I was, of course, going to play it on the PC which means that I was beginning the PC game ritual: rip the disc with BlindWrite, copy to mystique, install from image. Unfortunately, I looked at free space and I only had 3.1 GiB of space available on the 2 TiB array! I'd known for some time that space was getting scarce, but apparently I hadn't been paying enough attention. Needless to say, I'm opposed to deleting anything (I've always been a pack rat, especially of data), so I've bought myself a new set of drives to form the basis of a 4 TiB array as well as a bit of hardware to drive them. It looks like this is going to become a yearly occurance, so hopefully drive size increases continue to double to size of the $100 price point yearly.

If I'm lucky, I may even get all of the necessary equipment before the weekend since I ordered from NewEgg and Dell. Usually, I'd just buy everything from NewEgg, but they were out of stock on the low power Western Digital 1 TB drives (which coincidentally cost $99) and Dell was the most reputable place selling them. Then I can begin the ridiculously time consuming task of moving 1.9TB across a network.

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