Thursday, February 26, 2015
First thing's first. Let's talk about the Desktop + Cell Unification. Way back in the Windows Mobile Days, there was this beautiful little app know as 'My Mobiler'. With it you could fully use your mobile phone through a window on your Desktop. Since then, this has kind of become 'a thing', (And you've even released a 'Project my Screen' app that you've failed to update since launching it... ;?) and if you're truly serious about this platform being 'One System across multiple devices', let's see that here.
There is no reason (Considering that most of what I'm suggesting exists in Apps on Other Platforms.) that the phone and the desktop cannot FULLY play together if it's designed that way from the get go. Especially now that you log into the Windows 10 Desktop with your Microsoft Account. If you log into a Desktop, and a Phone, with the same Microsoft Account, from that point on (Assuming you select the 'Sync all the Things' options, which should be presented as an option when you first log in) you should be able to use either device for any phone related functions and have access to: Call history / Visual Voicemail, SMS / MMS History, Buying / Downloading Apps, Setting Alarms / Reminders, Etc. just as easily from either device.
Now, when the devices connect, you've got the potential for some serious awesome now. Bandwidth across all usable 'Connection' methods on relatively modern devices (Wifi, Bluetooth, USB), is plenty sufficient to fully utilize the hardware in either device from the connected device (And when it's not, a message indicating to the user that they need to utilize an alternate connection can be generated). So once the devices are connected, the PC should now have access to all the hardware on the phone (Cell Antenna, Wifi / Bluetooth Antenna, NFC Reader, Camera, Touch Screen, Speakers / Screen, Gyroscope, Etc,) and the Cell should be able to take advantage of whatever hardware the PC has connected (Especially the Second Screen, Keyboard, Connected Cameras, Speakers, Etc.), even if some of these connections require specialized app interfaces for them (Where others can just show up as 'Connected Devices' in the Windows Device Manager and thus become available to other applications, Both Ways).
Specifically, with a suitable connection between devices, a user should be able to make calls and send text messages from their desktop, manage any of the settings on their device, use any application they have installed on their device (Even if some of them must run through emulation, or screen projection when core device functionality is necessary), receive all notifications on the desktop, and as the device should be recognizing the hardware from the PC, they should also be able to utilize the keyboard, screen, and speakers for the device (Even if it's only through screen projection in necessary cases).
THIS would make Windows 10 the truly unified OS they've been advertising. And while some of this functionality may need a little baking time to get right, having all of this on the roadmap in a manner that any end user can access without needing to look for Unlocked Device Apps would Truly set Windows 10 in a position above the rest. (And even though I'm only addressing Phone and PC Synchronization here, this One Platform vision should apply to the Xbox One and any other Microsoft Devices... and maybe I'll explore that in a future post).
Like, not really. I mean, I'm not selling any stories. But when I make posts on Craigslist, I like to 'Spice them Up' a little. Here are my last two posts as an example. ;P
Moving Boxes... All of the Moving Boxes
Orrr.... you could just use them to move your stuff. Your call. Bring a Truck. We have a bunch.
make / manufacturer: Box Makers?
model name / number: Apple and Banana Style?
size / dimensions: Various. Plenty Big Though
Bookshelf with Infinitely Adjustable Shelves
So we're moving, and this awesome bookshelf didn't make the cut for the new space. There's just nowhere to put it. :? Our loss is your gain however, and for a cool $20, you can have a bookshelf that will accommodate all the weirdly different heights you can throw at it. Note the inoffensive white color that goes with everything, and the sweet shiny stickers (On the right side of the unit if you're facing it) that probably belonged to the eight year old girl that owned it before us. Add to that the six adjustable shelves, and this lovely unit will hold it all!
Those cute little 1" figurines that just 'have' to have their own shelf? You can do that! That weirdly tall art book that just can't fit on a regular shelf without losing the shelf above it? It fits! And no lost shelves in the process. There's no limit to the configurations this unit offers (Okay, there 'is' a limit, but you can do the math on that yourself. ;P) and it can be yours tonight!
Side note, if you're going to put significant weight above the halfway point on a carpeted floor (Like we did with the books), I would advise either fastening it to the wall, or leaning it at the angle displayed in the pictures due to it's narrowness and height, but that's up to you. Just don't come yelling at me if it dumps your *ahem* exotic novella collection on you when you pull a book out. ;P
make / manufacturer: No Bloody Clue!
size / dimensions: 36 x 76 x 7 3/4
Friday, October 10, 2014
The 'Problem' arose when I wanted to add another chapter to the story. See... you can have the table update the page numbers... or update the entire thing (Redoing all the Formatting, and pulling all the titles anew). I had manually adjusted the formatting of my ToC, and once you do that you can still use the 'Update Page Numbers Only' option... but updating the whole thing means you have to reformat (And in my case, Write in all the Chapter Names again) it. Now... before we continue... you can adjust an incredible amount of formatting option in the advanced Table of Contents generation menus. This problem was because I just went with the default, and then 'Manually' formatted it. If you're just deciding to add a Table of Contents... I'd spend a little bit of time playing around with the formatting options up front, and you can maybe save yourself this headache. >.>
ANYwho... since I needed to update it, AND I wanted to keep my custom formatting, I used this guide, to learn about Field Switches, and re-familiarized myself with Copying and Pasting 'Only' Formatting. (CTRL + SHIFT + C to Copy Only Formatting and CTRL + SHIFT + V to Paste Only Formatting) Specifically... I learned that you can adjust the Field Code to pull multiple heading levels, and then once I did that, I pasted my custom formatting on top of the pulled Table. From there, I merely needed to bring the now separate sections (It by default gives each heading it's own line) together for each chapter... which was as easy as putting in my delimiter of choice (I put a : after that 'Chapter X') and hitting DELETE four times for each line. FAR quicker than retyping everything.
All in all, I love working on this project. I've learned an incredible amount about formatting a novel... so 'One Day' when I end up writing my own original work... I'll be able to adequately format it for private printing. (If I ever go 'Pro' I realize that I'll have to play with LaTeX or something akin to that... Yay? ;P)
Monday, October 14, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
And THAT's official Ad Copy that I totally stole directly from the Official Site (Font and All). So if you want better, you'll just have to write it yourself. In all seriousness though, I'd love to give you more about the game, but sadly I do not have a copy of it to give you my impressions from. So you'll have to experience it yourself when it releases soonish. (I was slated to 'Beta Test' this little gem, but unfortunately life and luck prevented that from happening. So I'll just enjoy it in it's polished state once it releases formally. Perhaps I'll even write about it after that as well ;P). You can also of course learn more about it from the link to the site just above.
Why tease you about this title here then? Speaking of titles, what is the meaning behind this post's title? More important than either of those though, why am I asking so many questions today? The answer to the first two is simple. A one 'Brian Allison' (For I assume there is only one... >.>) posted on the 'Ackk Studios' Twitter that he was looking for people to listen to and write about the Official Soundtrack. I warned that I was no penman, but that I would gladly take the excuse to bring words to pixels... and shortly thereafter found myself saddled with "About 4 hours..." of finely crafted, classical (Gaming) inspired music.
Let me be upfront here and mention that I am no aural connoisseur. If you were to snatch a sample from beneath my earbuds (In the rare occasion I am in fact listening to music) you would likely scour your ears after the horrors found within. Let's just say, this song was... for an undisclosable amount of time... my favorite song (Not the video, just the song... and I know that's bad enough...). On top of that, the Pandora station that gets the most mileage out of me is this one. So this is less a dissertation on how this soundtrack fits into the spectrum of musical accomplishments, and more a few words from the dark recesses of my consciousness while the music finishes playing in the background.
What do I think then? Well it goes without saying that I love it. Not because I have such a limited musical vocabulary that synthesized bleeps and bloops (In the occasions that such sounds are present in this music) are enough to gain my love, but because this soundtrack dances through everything that was ever right in classical gaming music. It plays, sometimes overt, tribute to the music of games long past while maintaining an energy and overall presence that is truly it's own. You can believe, listening to this music, that the soundtrack itself is a reimagining of music from a well loved classic, and that fits perfectly the overall 'vision' for the game. The only negative thing I could say at this point is that listening to the soundtrack has now made me even more eager to dive in and experience this currently unreleased title. And that's not really a bad thing at all... (For them. For me it's terrible. ;P)
I close this as the Credits tune plays, which is not only quite an awesome coincidence, but provides a fitting backdrop to this entry. What did they do with the last song? Beat the game, pre-order the deluxe edition and listen for yourself, or imagine if you will a slow stroll through nostalgia as expressed musically on a piano, and you'll be at least part way there. In the off chance that you aren't yet interested in this title (And if you're reading this blog and fall into this category, I... don't even know you...), here's the most recently posted Trailer to remedy that (As I've not really talked about the game itself. This was, after all, a post about the Soundtrack).
Friday, May 24, 2013
What sounded like an explosion rocked the ship, and what had moments before been a pleasant exercise session turned into a panicked scramble for the bars lining the rooms walls. As the rocking grew more severe, if felt like the entire ship was tearing itself apart, and the grinding squealing sounds it was making as it did were enough to liquidize what little courage the men and women of the crew had.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Looking up at the counter, “The Child” was on a mission. She knew that the town Roose had what she was looking for. She knew that there had to be something here that would make her mother better. Using a chair that looked less like something you would sit on, and more like the kind of worn out furniture you found outside behind someone’s house. That ‘project’ that never got worked on, and whether it rotted as fertilizer, or held the tomatoes, it generally found its way to the garden. Using that to climb up where she could reach the counter, she began digging through the papers, vials, boxes, and more that littered the surface.
“The Child”, it may as well have been her name ever since her father had passed away. She was told that he’d gone on to a better place, that he was folded in the land’s final embrace, but when she asked if she could visit him there, they told her that it wasn’t her time to go. Ever since then it had been “Who will help provide for ‘the child’, you have no other family here”, and “What will you do with ‘the child’” asked of her mother by the neighbors when they didn’t think she was still listening. Opening a small intricately worked metal box, she frowned at the loose paper, and dried leaves inside. She’d seen some of the older folk sit around putting these together and smoking them on the porches. Finding them on the Roose’s counter caused her to wonder at the good effect they must have on people. But this wasn’t what she had come for, so she closed the box and continued her search.
Ever since that day, her mother had become more and more distant, her trips outside the home fewer and fewer, until finally they only ever saw company when it came calling. During that time she had become noticeably weaker, and had lost a considerable amount of weight. At first the Roose had refused to come to see her, insisting that it was normal for a woman who had lost her husband to mourn. But after the season’s had passed a full cycle, and her mother had not been seen for half of it, the Roose came to her. Standing beside the bed and never once opening her satchel, the Roose examined her mother, asking her questions about her diet, and about how she felt. She waited for the moment that the Roose would make her mother better, waiting for the satchel to come open and the Magic Words to be said. But after what seemed like far too short a time, she picked up her satchel and left the room. No herbs, no smoke, no tonics, and No Magic Words.
After the shock of what had just happened, she ran to her mother’s side and promised her, she would make her better. Getting no response from her mother, who had once again nodded off, ‘the child’ set off to find what she would need to help. And here she was, rifling through the many things on the Roose’s counter, not seeing the pouches or tonics that she’d watched the older woman use when people were ill. Frustrated, she looked once more around the room. Barrels that were held together by rusted hoops, and luck, holding tools and whatever was tossed into them in passing sat at the end of the counters she had just finished searching. Cabinets, that may have at one point had doors, lined the walls higher than she would be comfortable pulling the glass containers, holding all manner of things, from. The older wooden floor didn’t look like it’d been swept in years and the closet at the far end of the room with one of the barrels holding its door open was the only place she could safely reach, but hadn’t looked yet.
As she climbed down and made her way to the closet, a sound at the front of the building let her know she was no longer alone. Rushing in and crawling behind a convenient stack of books, she balled herself up as small as she could and hardly dared to breath. She didn’t want to get caught, didn’t want the Roose to stop her from making her mother better. She couldn’t imagine why the woman would want to stop her, but she would take no chances. She could hear the Roose come into her workroom and stop just inside the entrance.
“What in the lands…”
She could hear the woman moving about the room, and heard too, the sound of something being set on the floor rather soundly. The Satchel. Moving slowly, and as silently as she could manage, she attempted to peek around the books. To both see where it had be set, and also, to maybe see what the older woman was looking at now that the sound of movement had subsided.
“I don’t have time to… who would… the child… oh no…”
The Roose rushed from the room, not stopping to take her bag. As soon as the child heard the front door come too, she quickly rushed over to the satchel. It was far too large for her to carry the entire thing, but opening it up, she found the jars and herbs she was looking for. Using her dress to carry what she could, the child went back out the rear of the building and made her way home, careful to keep out of sight.
As she reached her house she waited in the trees until the Roose left, she had suspected the woman would have rushed here, and only then went back inside. Coming up to her mother’s bed, she couldn’t hear the heavy breathing that had been with her for the last few phases of the moon. Perhaps the Roose had done something this time. Sitting on the floor, the child began mixing the ingredients together. She had seen all of these things used to help people who were even worse off than her mother was, and every one of them had recovered to full health. So if she mixed them all for her mother, then there was no way that whatever she had wouldn’t’ be cured. Besides that, she knew the Magic Words.
As she sat stirring the thick concoction with a spoon from the kitchen that hadn’t seen a real cleaning in quite some time, the child considered how to get her mother to drink this… or if she ‘should’ drink it. Sometimes the Roose would apply her remedies to the bodies of the sick… but no, her mother would have to drink it. That way she’d get the full effect. Pulling the stool up to the bed, the child climbed up and shook her mother.
“Momma!” she called, “Momma, I got you a medicine. You can be better now Momma,” shaking her as she did she was frustrated that her mother wasn’t waking. “Momma!” she shouted, “Momma, get up! You have to drink so you can be better!”
The child jumped down from the stool and grabbed the mixture. Climbing back up to where she could see he mother, the child set the concoction at the head of the bed and began shaking her mother more vigorously. “Momma! I got you a cure, and I got the Magic Words! Momma, Wake, Up!”
She didn’t know if the person had to be awake for the words to work, so she decided to try. Standing as straight as she could, the child tried to do it the way she’d watched the Roose do it when she made someone better. Holding the mixture in her two hands, as she wasn’t big enough to hold it with one, the child reached out with it and taking care not to mix up the words she said, “Take this tonight, and you should feel better tomorrow. Drink this, and Be Healed.”
Nothing happened. There was no light, no sound, and no wind. The room was silent enough that one could almost hear the tears as they hit the stool the child was standing on. A firm hand on the child’s shoulder received no response, and some time passed in silence before she heard, “You did what you could child. She is beyond your help now.”
Turning in a rage, the child lashed out with her little fists, and shouted, “You didn’t make her better! You didn’t even try!” chest wrenching sobs beginning to form within her, “Why didn’t you help my Momma!”
Doing nothing to stop the blows, the Roose tried to put a hand on the child’s head in a comforting manner. She had never been the best at comforting children, “Your mother had a malady of the Soul Child. There was nothing my tinctures and tonics could have done.”
Glaring up at the old woman, the child spat, “And why can’t you cure the soul!?”
“The soul is beyond my reach little one. The Wise Men, that is their domain. My cures are cures for the body.”
“Then I will learn to cure the soul!” the child exclaimed, “If I learn to cure the body, and the soul, nobody will ever have to lose their momma!” For she knew, she had seen her father when he had passed, and her mother had the same stillness. She had gone to the final embrace of the land… and she would never hold her again.
“That is a noble desire child,” the Roose said, pulling the child into an embrace, which was enough to loose the torrent of pain that the little one had just barely kept at bay, “and I will do whatever I can to make it so.” And though nobody had wanted to take this child’s care in their hands as the little one’s noble intents were commonly seen as mischief, the Roose knew that her future had changed, and that the child would be her responsibility from here forward.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Write a short essay on the nature of human suffering as it relates to the outage of your favorite website. Seriously. Make it any length you like. WE'RE NOT MAKING THIS UP. Email your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll read them to each other and offer constructive criticism as we are able. If you choose this option, award yourself an extra 150,000 Quiz Points for purposes of the status list below. And nothing else. Seriously, nothing else.So of course, my head ringing with the blow I'd just received, I had share my 'Suffering', and because I 'love' you guys... I'll share it with you as well. ;P
You know... reading back through this... and "Labeling It" (Tagging)... I wonder 'what' was in the water last night... ;P (And holy snap! I had to trim my Labels down to 200 Characters... and this thing goes too many places for that. O.o!)
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I saw a post about how one of my friends could use extra bodies at the ECCC and as I was 'technically' available (I did work, but not until evening...) I texted him to let him know I was available, and in short order it was arranged for me to come in the next day and work the show. (This is on the strength of our having worked PAX together for a few years now. So it wasn't like I was just a random dude wandering in with no clue what to do. ;P) So the next morning, I wandered in, with no clue what to do... >.>
On a slightly more serious note, while I knew 'how' to work a show, I obviously didn't know 'how' to work 'this' show. So the obvious Customer / Exhibitor Service Overlaps were easy, but the 'technical' operational differences needed some clarification. Good thing I catch on pretty quick. ;P Though, at a certain operational level, you kind of have to. For anyone who's ever worked a show of any kind knows... things change... and sometimes you don't get any appreciable warning before they do. Of course, it's 'generally' not 'core' things that change, but the little processes... and as the 'majority' of what you'll be doing come doors open is 'little processes'... that can sometimes be a headache.
Anywho, I showed up to be a 'Minion' (PAX has Enforcers, ECCC has Minions), got my shirt, badge, and welcoming smile from 'The Lair', and made my over to the "Gaming" section of the show. On the way over I started to get that familiar show feel. People rushing to and fro, doors open imminent, and the last minute touches being made by the exhibitors. I will say, that having only done PAX in the past, I was a little surprised by the scale of the exhibitor booths... but I reminded myself that the entire focus of the Expo Hall here is different.
While PAX's Expo hall is the "Big Guys" coming in to show off their latest and greatest to the public, and interact with Gamers, mixed with a wonderfully healthy dose of the smaller guys showing off their work... Emerald City is primarily the smaller guys showing off their work, with the "Big Guys" being the glaze. Now there's nothing wrong with that (Especially since, while they cater to an 'Overlapping' audience... it is in fact a different demographic that the shows are targeting), it was just a different feeling walking through the ECCC Expo Hall for me. (For one, I could see over the booths to the walls, and the show floor is nowhere near as dark, or noisy with games and videos blaring at you from every booth. ;P)
Now before I continue, I must confess that there has been some... irritation between Enforcers and Minions in the past. No hate, but certainly tummies being rubbed the wrong way, and that is a problem with the individuals causing it, that has been attributed to the groups as a whole. We are not apples, and a bad, or even just sour, individual does not spoil the rest. Apparently, someone(s?) "Representing Themself(ves?)" as an Enforcer(s) [That's a headache to read... ;P] came to ECCC and basically communicated that "You're doing it all wrong". I want to make it clear that no Enforcer I know would approach another organization in that way, and I am ashamed that someone seemingly did (Of course, that's just one side of the story... but the take away is that this is a poor approach, and not something I would like to see happen in the future. ;?) So once I made it to my department for the show, it was time to see what they were doing wrong... ;P (Okay... I've run that 'joke' twice now... I think I need some new material. >.>)
After a brief orientation (Again, I've done a 'few' shows) and some instruction, it was time to hit the floor. Being a minion is at it's core a Customer Service position. Our 'Customers' are the Attendees, and in some cases the Exhibitors, attending the show. Each minion (This department, I won't assume operations for the others) is assigned an area where they are to monitor crowd flow, answer questions, and otherwise make themselves available for the odd jobs that pop up during a show. As I have some experience working with Exhibitors, I was primarily focused on taking care of their needs, while making myself useful wherever I was able.
The actual "Mechanical" part of the job is less interesting to write about (As much as I may love doing it. :P). Answering procedure questions for Exhibitors (How Load Out is handled, who to contact for X,Y, and Z, How late they're allowed to stay... etc.), pointing things out on the map to Attendees (The Sixth Floor... and the fact that as there are two buildings... Floors 1-4 can refer to either. ;P), and even escorting and Exhibitor from an Panel, and Running for Coffee for a Management Level Minion (Something that absolutely tickled me. I know I'm silly, but I can recall asking someone to do so for me on a number of occasions, as I knew I wouldn't be able to wait through the lines, so it was fun to be on the 'other' side of that. ^.^). But these are the little things that keep a show going while making the experience enjoyable to all parties involved, so I was happy to contribute my bit.
After my shift (Which is an entirely new experience for me as well. During PAX, my 'Shift' is Wednesday/Tuesday to Monday/Tuesday... with a few hours to nap each night. ;P) I was lucky enough that my friend had taken a room at the hotel nearby, and I had the opportunity to take a shower before running to work "IRL". I will confess... working a show and then going to work is a bad idea. I was exhausted... but I made it, with barely enough time to get home, pass out, and do it all again the next day. O.O
I did manage to rack up a few golden stars during the weekend. I was confused when they were placed onto my badge, and upon check-out I was informed that someone had 'busted' me doing a good job... so that was cool. (As I said in my dA Post, I was first teased that they represented Waffles... and the Waffles were a lie! D:)
So at the end of this "Mad Impulse", I was exhausted (The Nights leading up to the show were spent getting exceptionally little sleep, as there were a number of things that 'needed' to be done, and I was 'originally' planning to relax and re-energize over the weekend. O.o), pleased at how the weekend had gone, and lightly educated in the differences between shows. Have I the time, I can see no reason why I wouldn't enjoy "Minioning" it up again. ;P
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Sooooo... that Advent of Indies thing... yeah... December was a crazy month filled not only with the usual hustle and bustle of the "Holidays", but also a large sum of "Extra" hours at work, and even the joys of looking for, and changing jobs... So I kind of dropped the ball there. Alas, it seems that there is no surer way for me to fail at a project than to announce it in writing... All except for one, which I am proud to say I have kept to for the entirety of the year thus far.
Right on the First of the year, one of my friends had mentioned that she was going to take a photo a day for the year. Now... I'm no photographer. I mean, my Dad was, and I've had a childhood filled with "Family Photos" being set up, "Just So"... so I'm a little more in tune with it than some, but it's certainly not something I've ever felt "Called to".
That said, for some reason, when I read about her project, I was 'Inspired' and decided to take on the challenge as well. I am aware that 'Part' of it was the fact that for the last couple months I 'have' kind of wanted to take pictures 'On the Side', and another 'Part' would be the fact that this Christmas the "Household Gift" was a new DSLR, but that alone wouldn't have drawn out the crazy in me.
A "Larger" part of this project, for me, is that along with each shot, I'm making myself write 2+ Paragraphs... about the shot, about what's going on in my life, sometimes just 'Off the Cuff' ramblings from my thoughts. This has been amazingly inspiring for me. Typically, I try to make myself write, but then 'Real Life' gets in the way, and whatever project I'm trying to work on peters off. But this time.. there are even more variables that have been working in my favor.
First, I've been working on a Fan Fiction (Yes, another one. ;P) for awhile now. It's been on and off for the last year, and I'm ecstatic at the fact that I've been able to keep myself working on it when I get the chance. So, my writing has been pseudo consistent for a little bit anywho.
Second, One of the things that has killed my "I'm going to start writing" urges has been the lack of 'Inspiration'. I'm a workaholic, and not a lot happens in my day to day that's worth writing about. Sure I think sometimes 'Interesting' things, sure I have sometimes 'Interesting' experiences... but neither of these is predictable, and 'Most' of the time my schedule is / was... "Wake up and Rush to Work -> Work for 12+ Hours sometimes split across Jobs -> Come Home and eat my meal for the day -> "Maybe" spend some time trying to get things done around the house OR attempt some entertainment -> Sleep -> Rinse, Reuse, Ad Nauseum.
So having to first come up with (Though that happens "Last Second due to late nights at work most of the time. :?) a photo idea, but then to take it and post it gives me 'At Least' that to write about if nothing else. And thanks to this shift in Daily Planning, I've actually gotten accustomed to looking around me with a more 'Visually Inquisitive' Eye. I've always been able to pull stories out of the air, and likely always will (Not that all of them are 'Interesting' ;P), but I will admit that until recently the 'Natural Beauty' of the world around me has mostly gone by unnoticed. So in a little way, that helps to inspire me too.
All that said, There is one additional element that has helped this transition. Even as I type this, I am 'At Work'. I realized long ago that my "Workaholic" nature was killing my Creative Output. Now... I've tried in small ways to counter that.. but it always ends up boiling down to time / energy running out before I can get home and actually "Create". So I made a decision that 'This Year' I would either cut my work schedule to the bone (Work 'Just Enough' that I could pay my bills and not a moment more), so that I would have more time / energy, or that I would move into a job that allowed me the opportunity to "Create" even as I worked. I managed to luck into the latter... and this has been the best choice I've made in a long time. ^.^
Anywho, the long winded point here is that yes, I am writing again, yes, I am 'Creating Again' and I have the unusually good feeling that 'This Time' it will stick. In previous attempts I've never felt compelled to 'Write Even More' than I'd intended... and now, I can't help it. ;P
Monday, December 3, 2012
I’ve heard of “Advent Calendars” in the past, but I’ve never really looked into them, or paid them any heed. This however, an “Advent of Indies” is the kind of tradition I can get behind. For purely selfish reasons of course. A slow buffet of free indie games, and an introduction to a new purchasable / winnable one each day? Sign me up!… Or don’t, as thankfully this site doesn’t require that silliness. ^.^ It does however provide a free game (From each day until Christmas, and an opportunity to win a copy of a purchasable game (Though that’s of less interest to me, I just like the overall idea. ;P )
I was introduced to this (Follow me down the Rabbit Hole) through a PC Gamer RSS Feed Item, read through Game News Now an RSS Reader (Tailored “Shockingly” to games. ;P ) on my HD7. Apparently it was dreamed up by Indie Developer Jana Reinhardt of Rat King Entertainment (Who I’ve admittedly never heard of until now).
What I am going to try though, is to peek in each day, and briefly review/introduce (Depending on my interest, time, length/quality of the game, platforms the game is on, etc.) the bite sized game on offer for the day. This works on two fronts for me. 1) I get to try out new and potentially interesting indie games each day. 2) I now have a motivation to write, even if just a little bit, each day. Win-Win I think. =^.^= As an aside, I’ll mention the “For Sale / Gift” title, and provide whatever information I may or may not have about it.
Since I’m a bit late to the party, the first post will be covering the first 4 Days. I’ll also note that as I live –8 UTC and they who are hosting this live at +1 UTC, the “New Day” happens at 1500 for me, so I may occasionally be talking “About the Future”… ;P
Monday, October 31, 2011
I’ve come, I’ve Failed, I’ve Given Up. But that was the past. That was “Old Me”. This year, I think I can do it. There’s no particular reason other than it really shouldn’t be as difficult as I’ve let it be in the past to “Make” time for myself to just sit and write. So here I go for another year of “Literary Abandon”. Join me?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Okay, so now that I’ve beaten Chrono Trigger for the DS, I figure it’s time for a Review. Did I like it? Of course, it’s Chrono Trigger. Main Game wise, nothing’s been changed. That was never a concern. Did I like the Extra Content? Not so much. By the by, this is a review for people who have played the original game to completion. There are points that won’t make as much sense to you, and a few spoilers if you haven’t. You have been warned. (I also “Ruin” the extra content, but there’s not much there to “Ruin”. Again, just warning you.)
First the DS interface. The bottom screen provides a world map when you’re on the field, and an area map that fills itself in as you explore the different zones. On top of this they provide the ability to move using the Touch Screen. You move by touching a point on the bottom screen away from the Center. Close to the center and you walk, further and you run. Also, the “Action Button” (Talking to people, searching, opening a chest, etc.) is activated by tapping the screen, and whenever there are dialog choices they appear as buttons on the Bottom Screen. I don’t like this method of movement and have yet to meet anyone who does. Unless a game has been designed around this movement system, I don’t think it should be shoehorned in (It’s not “Bad”, just not something I like. It works fine.) . I will admit that I did find myself using it while “Grinding” a few times, as I could play the game one handed while doing something else (Using the Mouse/remote/etc.) with the other. There’s an entire post that could discuss grinding in games, but Chrono Trigger’s not that bad about it, so we’ll skip it for now. ;P
On both sides of the Map are customizable menu buttons. Direct access to your Item/Equip/Swap/Tech/Etc. screens, and even the Menu Screen itself are available via these buttons and they give you the ability to arrange them however you like. Like the movement I initially didn’t like them, though the fact that you can go directly to these screens without having to go through the Menu Screen, and the ease with which you can reach them (As they are along the sides of the Screen) kind of grew on me. With one tap access to screen that would normally be Menu –> Screen, it wasn’t a bad thing, and I found myself using them on and off as I remembered them.
Your actual “Menu Screen” has also been reworked. When you hit the Menu Button, your Character’s Base Stats (Name, Level, HP/MP), Time Played, and Gold are displayed on the Top Screen. On the bottom you have the Sub-Menus as larger buttons filling the screen. You can still navigate the Menu via the control pad, but everything has been reworked into Buttons/Tiles to make navigating via the touch screen easy. I found myself using the touch screen over the control pad occasionally as they really did a good job with it.
Finally, you also have the option of the Battle Menus and Character Status (Remaining Health/MP) appearing as they did before (On the Game Screen) or showing up on the bottom screen to keep the top screen uncluttered. I must say I enjoyed that, as it was just as easy to use as if it’d been up top, and it gave the whole top screen to the actual combat. Of course them Menus were redone in the Button/Tile Fashion of the Game Menu, in case you wanted to use the Touch Screen to navigate them. I just used the Controls for the most part though.
Now onto the Extra Content. The first one I’ll mention is the Arena Mode. As that’s the first one you can access. If you wait to use the Arena of the Ages until it’s “Reachable” in the Game Proper, you won’t have access to them until you reach the End of Time. There’s another little light column that shows up in the corner up the Hub room with the Lamppost that leads to it. They have however given you the option of going into the Arena directly from the Title Screen. You just choose which file you’re entering it from, and make sure to save before you exit it. It has no effect on your current position in the game, save that you suddenly have whatever items you’ve won in the Arena. (There is a point in the game where you’re stripped of your equipment and during that point the Arena is “Down for Maintenance”. ;P I thought that was a nice touch.)
The arena is pretty much what I’d feared it would be. You choose a character from four identical monsters with different elemental attributes, and you let them bash away at whatever other monster shows up in the Arena. You do not directly control the monster, so it’s very dry. There is the option to “Assist” it by handing it an item that Heals/Boosts/Makes it Cast a Spell, but it’s generally unnecessary. You can also train it (Which you need to do to raise it’s Stats so it can bash away at stronger monsters) by “Sending it out” into an Era that you’ve visited. Each of which upgrades different stats. You can even hand it the same limited items you can use on it during it’s battles to assist it in increasing it’s stats while it’s out. Sometimes, after in game criteria have been met, you’re monster will come back as a “Bigger Better” Monster.
That said, the reason you’d even waste your time there is because through this little Arena you can win items that you’d generally not have at that point in the game. The higher the tier you choose to fight in (The tiers unlock as your monster gets more powerful, and you advance enough in the game), the higher the entry fee, and the better the items you can win. There’s also the ability to get multiples of items that are limited in the Game, and even a few things that do not exist outside of the Arena. Though truth be told the “Arena Only” Items are rather lame. Accessories that are Character Specific which allow your characters to counter attacks of elements not their own 25% of the time. Seriously. And an item that “Might” reduce the enemies HP to 1 when you hit it… Maybe. I did spend enough time there to get enough of the End Game Equipment to fully equip my entire party. Something you can’t do in one play through of the Original Game. I guess you can also send your monster off to fight someone else’s… but I cannot imagine this adds too much to the interest as you do not directly control them.
I would have liked it a bit more if it either had more depth, or at least let you interact with your monster through items you could find in game. That way it felt like it was a part of something more than just it’s own little corner of the world. Maybe let you give it your old equipment/accessories when it went out to train or something. (Which would have in turn allowed you to recycle a lot of the things you were winning in the Arena, but not needing. Win/Win. :P )
The next extra comes in the form of a set of portals that open up in both the Prehistoric Era and the Middle Ages once the Black Omen rises. You need to enter the one in Prehistory first, and it leads to a village of Reptites from an Alternate Time Line or something in both times. (It’s very poorly explained.) In this new zone, known as the Lost Sanctum, you do a series of self contained quests that net you very powerful new equipment not available in the original game, and some of which is not even winnable in the Arena. It’s kind of neat at first, to get this extra content… but when you realize that it’s COMPLETELY self contained, and has not only no impact on the game proper, but also isn’t an offshoot of something that occurs in the game… it really comes off as “Tacked On”. It would have been neat had they worked it if not “In” to the story, at least “Around” it. That way it felt like it belonged. (Say that they descended from Azala’s people, and were scraping by in this new world they found after Lavos squished their home or something.) Also, the “Story” being told through this area was poorly written. It was hard to see anything more than “I have a Fetch/Kill Quest that I need you to do for me. Please do it and come back for your present.” So even in it’s own little world, it wasn’t well put together.
After that, there are these “Dimensional Vortex’s” that appear in Antiquity, Present, and Future once you’ve beaten Lavos at least once. Again little portals that this time lead to a series of randomly generated dungeons pulled from a stock of areas from the game with a new area or two mixed in that climaxes in a new “Dungeon” with a Doppelganger of Marle/Crono/Lucca respectively to fight at it’s end. These dungeons also have new equipment not attainable in the original game nor winnable through the Arena, and once you beat a Character’s Doppleganger, that Character gets a little Stats Boost. There is absolutely no story to them whatsoever… outside of a Completely pulled from the air fight with Dalton which not only makes no sense story wise, but is quite literally just dropped in there at the end of the Future Dungeon. (There is a little bit of dialog there… but it’s so out of place that I didn’t care.)
Finally, after you’ve beaten all three Vorti, the Bucket at the End of Time “Acts up” and you are suddenly able to access a new boss. It’s the Final Boss from Chrono Cross (I’ve already made clear how I feel about “that” gem). You get a little bit of Dialog from a Magus from this “Alternate Time Stream” explaining it, and then you bash away at it until Schala sends you home since you “Can’t defeat it at this point”. After that battle you get another Exceptionally short animation, a mini Magus Ending, and Crono’s Ultimate, no “Really this time” Ultimate Weapon. There’s no other reason to do it, and the ending isn’t all that hot. It, like the Vorti, feels tacked on. (Though it’s obvious from the content that both Dalton, and this ending are supposed to help “Set the Stage” for Chrono Cross…. ;? )
In Summary, I liked having the Extra Content. Even as bad as it was, as it gave me something I didn’t have before. I would have just liked it more, had they put a little more work into it. Overalll, I preferred the Arena, and the Dimensional Vortex’s over the the “Lost Sanctum” and Dream Devourer Boss, as they didn’t even try to pretend to be more than “Here you go, Extra Shat. Have fun”. It would have been completely the opposite had more work gone into making them a part of the game proper. Heck, I’d have liked the Reptite Village better had it just been better written. Seriously, a few scenes, and some better dialog to tie it all together, even with it being self contained, and I would have liked it better. As it stands, I would have preferred the “Lost Sanctum” had just been a long dungeon with possibly interesting connections across time, and the Dream Devourer to have just been another “Uber Boss” no questions asked or answered over what was delivered.
Do I still feel the game is worth picking up? Heck yeah, it’s Chrono Trigger. And while the Extras may not add considerable incentive, they certainly don’t detract from what was unquestionably an amazing game. Just don’t expect much from the Extra Content.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. There’s also an “Extras” option on the Main Menu. This let’s you choose a File and then presents an “Encyclopedia Chrono” for you of all the Songs/Artwork/Techs/Items/Movies/Beasties/Endings/Treasures you’ve obtained for that Save categorized into smart little submenus… as if the OCD “Completionists” didn’t have it bad enough. ;P (As and OCD Completionist, I happen to like this feature, though I wish it was accessible through the In Game Menu. The Bestiary is, but not the rest of it.)
It would have been nice had they fleshed this out a little more as well. Let you watch the Characters execute the Techs. (Possibly on the Arena only Smidges for the Lols. ;P ) Watch the Endings. (Since you’d have to beat the Game again at that particular point to watch it again) And see the Beasties execute their attack animations. Nothing crucial, it’s fine the way it is, but those little touches would have been nice.
Not Related: While browsing for images/videos to link in my review, I realized that I really just need to find a way to capture image/video directly from my DS myself, as it’s hard to find “Just” what I’m looking for. ;P On the positive side of searching though, I found this, which is rather awesome. ^.^
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Okay, so I went quite a while without ever playing D&D. Not that I didn’t “Role Play”. I’d actually tried D&D out when I was younger, and just didn’t like the system. By then, I’d already been playing a game of my own device, one that I’d already created “Some” Documentation for, and I couldn’t see a good reason to change over. So while I have Run RP Campaigns for 15+ Years (Started as a child, and never really stopped. ;P ) I’ve never “Really” played D&D. Until about a year ago. So now, I’m a complete package geek, D&D and all. I can even almost make D&D related jokes. Almost.
Anywho, one of the New Enforcers made a post asking people to describe their most recent character, and I figured I’d share my little monster here as well. ;P (He’s huggable.)
"Bekker" Trollkin from the Backwoods, 3rd Level Berserker (3.5, Iron Kingdoms) Chaotic Neutral
An Ugly, Sexist, and Sadistic Sociopath who's only redeeming value is that he's "likely" to get himself killed before the rest of the party... "Likely". Grew up hating his family and tribe for being larger than him, and was banished from his kriel after being caught torturing one of the younger trollkins. (They would have killed him if not for the intervention of his older brother) Originally started "Adventuring" to avoid being followed by those in his tribe that may have followed him to kill him. Prefers Blunt Weaponry, as things tend to live longer, and thus suffer more if they're not cut open.
“Specialties”: Causing Pain to others, and Killing things. Has fed Baby Bats to Alligators, and attacked the entombed body of a Past Ruler. (The last of which blinded him long enough for him to learn a new word. Chasm.)
Has a short attention span, and impatience that only tends to get himself and those around him into trouble. Can focus on something if it catches his fancy (As was proven when he and the party thief went to work breaking open the glass between his party and a view of unknown stars, to see where it led while exploring a Seerist Temple, almost losing the entire party to the vacuum of some kind of subspace.)
"Accomplishments": Once crushed a man's skull for looking at him (He may have said something insulting as well. It didn't matter, he was in a bad mood) and almost got himself and the party thief hung as a result.
Considered using a little girl found during a zombie invasion as a distraction/bait for zombies. This idea was shot down by the rest of the party.
Greatest "Achievement": Has survived this far into his life (As Trollkin heal rather rapidly, his logic follows that if he’s okay when he wakes up. It must not have been that bad.)
Most "Tragic" Moment: Lost his original WarHammer after attacking the "WitchFire" in an attempt to destroy it. Went through a period of mourning, in which he finally understood the concept of loss. Until he replaced it with a better hammer. ;P
Found in his Inventory: A Chattering Skull found in an abandoned castle full of undead things, and a necklace made from the teeth and foot of an Alligator he “rode” in the Marshes
Random Character Notes: Had never come near to death in his miserable little life. Since he’s been with this party, he’s been truly faced with his mortality, and has begun to rethink some of his life choices… slowly…