Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Alone

Sometimes I feel truly alone in this world.  This world of mine, formed by my memories, my past, my sandcastles all forever washed away in the tides.  And that loneliness is not the feeling that no one cares, or that no one will understand, but rather that no one that matters still exists.  Because the world that I find myself in is not the one of my memory.  And it is not mine.  Yet here I am, in this unfamiliar, ever-changing reality, all by myself.  And I will never see any of those people again.  For they are not here.  Not in that form.  Not in this time.  And I will lose the people of this world once again, too, when the tide comes in and washes all those sandcastles away.  I will lose them all.  As I have lost them before.  And as I have lost even myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Things have been alright.  We're not quite "up to snuff" yet, but it's been an ok week, all things considered.

I finally finished off my System Shock 2 playthrough!  Having played through the entire game twice now; I think I'm safe in saying I can finally just put it to rest for all eternity now, as I really don't think there's anything more to be accomplished with it.

The GCC class went alright!  Teaching is hard, but people seemed to enjoy the class, which was great!  For the first time I was able to actually give some tips based on the things I was seeing in real-time as I was teaching, which is great as I've never been able to have the presence of mind / mental bandwidth to do that before.  As always, having multiple levels of things for people to work on seemed to work well.  I think the takeaway for me here is that one of the most helpful things you can do is run somebody else through your class and see where they mess up, because it's super likely that everybody else will have the same issues.

Somehow even without my job I am still feeling a bit stressed from all of the things I have to get done, sigh.  After thinking about it, it really just means I need to really just set aside more time by myself at home to just take care of things.  Really, I think we already knew that though.  But hopefully tomorrow will be a good start toward finding more peace with that again.

Boogie by the Bay was alright; pretty much went as expected.  Lessons were a mixed bag as always, but fun.  Actually having people that I know to hang around with and practice with made a big difference, so I'm glad that happened.  Other than that...not much to say about it, really.

Up ahead, I've gotta work on my setlist for FNW, put together a dance event, work on a bunch more letters, do some music stuff...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I wonder sometimes, how much I am "supposed" to write here, and which things I should say and not say.  There is no right answer, of course.

We're on the tail end of week 1 of unemployment now!  It's been relatively uneventful, to be honest, but not really in a bad way.  I haven't really done anything super out of the ordinary, but I think the amount of things that I've managed to accomplish and spend time on each day is really where I notice the big difference.  I'm keeping up with Inktober letters, working on music, tending to other things, etc etc.  It feels like normally I'd have to spread it out a lot more across different days, but now I'm able to start and finish a letter, but also have time for music in the same day, as well as grocery shopping, miscellaneous work, etc.  Perhaps most importantly, I just generally have so much more "me time" in general...just time spent listening to my music, at my desk, doing whatever it is that I'm up to.  I love it and I really think I have missed this a lot...it's one of the reasons college life was so great, I think.  I don't think everything is suddenly all coming up roses per se, but really it is making a big difference in the way that I can feel at peace, I think.

I spent a lot of time together with Mocha yesterday.  Gosh, was that only yesterday?  The days seem to stretch on and on now, since I'm managing so much.  Though the weeks seem just as short, heh.  Mocha really holds a special place in my heart now I think.  She is wonderful and sometimes it feels like all I want to do is just protect her and make sure that she feels loved.  Being with these meowmies is really teaching me a lot, I feel like.  The quails, too.  Watching them be culled was a really interesting emotional experience.  Not sure how to describe the feeling.  Even if I could, maybe it's not something I'd care to really write about here.  Not everything has to be said aloud.

I used to write a blog entry for every single OHC entry that I made, haha.  Don't think I'll write about every OHC here anymore, but this first one was quite fun, even though it was a relatively quiet round.  As I already knew, the OHC community isn't nearly as bustling as it used to be, so it's less exciting of an event, I guess.  But the actual act of composing really quickly hasn't changed at all, and though I am saddened that the community is less lively, it's still really fun just trying to churn out music.  It feels really satisfying, too, just getting something finished and calling it done.  I guess it's akin to quick sketching, in a way.  I haven't done any of it in such a long time.

I have to run around feeding various meowmies this weekend @_@  I will also be stopping by Boogie by the Bay, which should be pretty fun I guess.  I'm excited about going to dance WCS with other WCS dancers again, since that is always fun...and excited to hang out.  Not really as excited about actually improving in the dance; I just can't be bothered to at this point.  Besides, I have another dance scene that I feel much more of a responsibility to...

Speaking of which, I'll be teaching a class before the GCC dance on Sunday!  I'm not super stressed about it, but at the same time I haven't actually figured out my lesson plan 100%, so maybe I should be =(  Teaching is hard, ugh.

Progress in Tactics Ogre has slowed down as expected, haha, since I'm no longer playing it while walking to and from the train, and while on the train...but it's still fun to boot up every so often, like while lying in bed, or whatever.  Still going through the Law route for now (chapter 3L right now).

I do hope to get back to System Shock 2 and finally finish off that playthrough soon (ugh, it's been too long).  Once I get that done, I can turn more of a focus towards other things, perhaps...like Dark Souls!  We've been playing a bit of it and it's been quite fun!  (DS1 remastered)  It definitely has its weird quirks and difficult-to-understand bits, but the gameplay is pretty fun and deep, and ultimately feels pretty rewarding.

Return to OHC!

Super excited to be doing One Hour Compo again in a little less than an hour!  OHC is how I really honed my production chops, and I haven't done it on a regular basis since four years ago in 2014!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Uni-ball Signo 307 is the best pen ever

This is coming from someone who has written 1,091 letters over the past 11.25 years, so I mean it very strongly when I say that if you are looking for a fine-tip gel pen to write with, look no further than the Uni-ball Signo 307 series.




Many of you will probably be familiar with Uni-ball's classic UM-151 line, which looks like this:




In fact, I purchased some Hello Kitty branded UM-151 pens from Japan years ago and have been using both 0.38 and 0.28 black ink refills in them for =years=.


The UM-151 is a good pen.  A great pen, even.  It's a classic, and held up to any comparisons I made with other brands, whether it be the Pilot Hi-tec-cs, Pentel Sliccis, Zebra Sarasa, you name it.  I couldn't make the argument that the Uni-ball Signo was strictly superior, but I definitely preferred it and kept both an 0.38mm and 0.28mm on me at all times.  (Disclaimer: I have not tried everything...notably, I haven't tried a Pentel Energel yet...and I bet there are newer pens that have popped up in the meantime...)



...until I met the 307, labeled as "ultra micro".  You'll notice right away that the pen body itself is different and the pen itself is retractable rather than having a pen cap.  Trivial differences, to be sure, but I really do love the new pastel designs and "lighter" aesthetic.

What really makes the difference, though, is the UMR-83E ink.  The only real problem with the UM-151 pens was that the ink could sometimes (albeit rarely) dry out or be a bit inconsistent.  Well, say goodbye to those worries, because the UMR-83E refills and their fancy "cellulose nanofiber ink" really do away with that problem entirely, leading to perfectly smooth writing, forever.

0.38mm really is the perfect ink width for me, but these refills are available in 0.5mm and 0.7mm as well for those of you who prefer thicker lines.

To top it off, these refills use the same form factor as the 207, meaning if you want a more squishy rubber grip, you can use them in the Uni-ball 207 Premier, which looks like this:


Which of course doesn't look as cute, but if the grip is more comfortable for you, go for it.

The only disappointment really is that the "E" series of refill isn't available in 0.28mm sizing, so I'll have to stick with either the regular UMR-82 ink (don't have any on me actually...should order some), or go back to the classic UMR-1-28 refills and use them with the old signo DX series.  I dream of a day when I can get the 307 ink with a 0.28mm width...that would be amazing.

Anyhow, the ink and writing of the new 307s is fantastic and I haven't touched a regular UM-151 in quite some time because these are just =so nice= to write with.

MBTI in Software Engineering

Me (and a friend who also identifies as ISFJ) have been saying for a while that ISFJ, and SFJ / SF / F types in general are rare / underrepresented in our industry, but I realized while thinking about it today that while I've looked at some location-based statistics, I've never looked up MBTI representation within software engineering in general.  Well, there have been studies (however rigorous or non-rigorous) done on this, so we can put that question to rest.


This study from 2003 shows ISFJ as 2nd most underrepresented type (slightly behind ESFP) in engineering, with only a 2% representation, compared to 13.8% in the general population.
F types are also underrepresented (19% compared to 59% in general), and SF (12% compared to 43%) and FJ types (8% compared to 30%) are also underrepresented.  Another study which collates together a bunch of different results basically shows the same things.

These studies really aren't the greatest, but I guess now when I feel like I'm in a sea of T types in general, especially STJ and NTJ and NTP types, there's probably a good reason for it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Train problems =(  It took me 3 hours to get home...this is definitely the part of my job that I will miss least.

Hoo boy...let's catch up again.



Samurai Shaver Latency Calibration

It took way longer than it should have, but after hearing several (more) complaints about audio synchronization issues, I've finally finished implementing a nice audio calibration screen for Samurai Shaver, as well as changed the default to use predictive audio instead of dynamic audio for the slash sounds.  Latency calibration is always a tricky thing, and ideally I would have a more fully-featured system that also allows calibration of =input= latency...

There are basically 3 separate things you have to consider: input latency (time between your input and when the game processes it, usually low but notably higher for many touchscreen APIs), display latency (time between the game updating graphcs and when you actually see it), and audio latency (time between the game playing a sound and when you actually hear it).  You can't actually measure all three, but you don't actually need to either -- you just need two relative measurements of display latency vs input latency and audio latency vs input latency.

So if you show a pulse and time the user's tap in response to it, you're measuring visual + input latency.  Hopefully this is low enough that you don't have to worry about it in most cases, but that's not really a guarantee.  If you have 100ms of combined visual + input latency, then you need to show your visuals 100ms before the corresponding event processing.

If you also play a beat and time the user's tap in response to it, you're measuring audio + input latency.  This is usually higher (especially for android devices), and tells you how much to shift your audio track earlier.  If this is too high then any dynamic audio you play in direct response to user input will (necessarily) be delayed significantly, which can really throw off timing.

Anyhow, for Samurai Shaver I only took the latter measurement and act as though there is 0 visual and input latency.  In reality there is a noticable amount of input latency (and/or display latency, you can't really tell the difference), which means that the visual indicators will lag behind by that amount, which is a bit unfortunate.  Fortunately it seems to work out well enough anyways, and it's probably not worth the extra effort to add in more logic for.  Maybe for Rhythm Quest...except Rhythm Quest doesn't really have that much of a good way of compensating for input + display latency in the first place because of the nature of the game...

Annnnyways, that's probably more than you wanted to know.  Suffice to say that even though it's long overdue, I've finally got it working more or less as it should be.  Hopefully my fans in Asia will appreciate that work (not sure if people are even still playing?).



Tactics Ogre

I've made a heaping ton of progress in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together!  I finished my first playthrough (doing the Neutral route), beating the final boss and everything.  The last fight was a bit interesting -- it's a two-phase fight where in the first phase you fight both the boss's first form alongside with exact dopplegangers of the team that you send in, which is pretty interesting.  I definitely had to experiment with some different strategies for that fight, as just going at it head on was not working at all.  My units were...well, evenly matched, obviously, and then the boss's first form can basically just one-shot anybody in range.  After a couple of attempts at bumrushing the boss (didn't work at all) I eventually had better luck by removing all of my counterattack skills to reduce the amount of damage going around (on both sides), and then playing a longer game where I slowly picked off units one by one and retreated + healed as necessary, always making sure to stay out of range of the boss's main attack.  That paid off and I made it into the second stage of the fight, where your remaining units just have to fight against the boss's final form (a singular unit).  The second form didn't really involve a ton of strategy, more of just a test to see how well you got out of the first stage, but I eventually managed to just squeak out a victory.  Hooray!

After that you unlock the "World" feature, which allows you to jump back and forth along the story timeline and take other branches, unlock other characters, etc., while keeping your current army and inventory and all.  I went through the first sidequest dungeon again, but this time picked up all of the crafting recipe drops...unfortunate that Tactics Ogre has all of these hidden drops and quests and such that you basically have to read a FAQ to get info about.  They're not even guaranteed drops, either...sometimes the map doesn't even spawn the right enemy to drop them...

Anyhow, I finished that off, and afterwards I warped back all the way to Chapter 1 so I can start going through the Law route (my first playthrough was the Neutral route) and recruiting some of the exclusive characters from that route.  Because Denam (the main character) has to be in every story battle, the enemies levels always scale to his, but fortunately, these earlier chapter battles are easy enough that I've been taking the opportunity to use all of my lower-leveled classes that I got later on, like hoplite, juggernaut, matriarch, fusilier, bucaneer, etc.  Leveling has slowed down for those since they are now catching up and are around level 16-17, but anyways, it's good to see that they are finally getting to be on par (level-wise) to my primary units.  Some of them still seem a bit underwhelming, but 5 levels can probably make a significant difference, so I'll reserve judgment for now.  My gryphon is still having a bit of trouble, as it can't seem to take all that much punishment (gets hit easily, especially by magic), and on the flipside can't really dish out damage that effectively either as it has accuracy problems, even with a ring of agility.  Maybe I just need to keep leveling it...perhaps at some point I'll also see what the other monster classes have to offer.

I had this grand plan to have my Familiar learn the various "kiss"-type debuff skills and then transition to being a rogue, so she could use a crossbow or something to shoot from afar to accumulate TP and then use those debuff skills, but that really didn't end up panning out too well, so she's back to just being a mage.  Right now she fills the same role as Catiua in her priest class -- namely, a healer that can also cast offensive divine magic (though the familiar can't use the AoE damage spells).  That seems to at least work decently.



Cooking

I don't really know how, but after the Nth time of trying, something must have clicked or something because somehow I feel like I "get" how to make pan sauces now.  Was trying to practice braising chicken thighs in preparation for cooking some more of those quails that my best friend is planning to cull, and ended up reducing the braising liquid into a decent sauce...amazing.  I cooked a cod fillet I had in the freezer on Monday -- coated it in corn starch first, and unfortunately ended up sticking to the pan a bit, but fortunately that wasn't a huge deal as I ended up just scraping up the stuck bits later and adding sherry to make a sauce for that.  Feels like I've unlocked a small little world to play around with, which is pretty interesting as I'm not always sure how the end result will end up tasting.



Life and Work

For those who haven't already heard, this week is my last week at my current job!  It's been a good run, but it's time for me to (finally) put a close to that chapter of life and wipe the dust off of the proverbial slate.  I plan to just not think about employment at all for a good bit, as I definitely need time to myself to just focus on my own personal life.  It's pretty exciting!  Anyways, for now I'm basically just scrambling to get everything done in the last few remaining days I have...then I'll be home free!



Return to OHC

I don't have a ton of concrete plans about what I'll do with my time once work has ended, but one thing I do plan on doing is starting up with One Hour Compo again!  Pretty excited about that, as I feel like I've lost a bit of the confidence that I used to have when I was doing it every week.  One thing I still haven't quite figured out is how to resume doing my Monthlies releases along with my other music as well as how to handle that on Patreon, etc.  I don't want to just start charging 5x per month to my patrons, so I'll have to think of a good option to deal with that...maybe make one paid post per month for the entire monthlies release.  I could also switch my campaign to being a monthly one...it really depends.  Patreon is weird, haha.



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

*Nothing* is as exhilarating and exciting as making music.

Things have been pretty okay!  I think the past few weeks have been some steps in the right direction, which feels nice.



General Stuff

I saw Kiki in a dream the other day.  I really wonder, what they think of me, how they are doing, and if I really will ever see them again.  Haha, well, not like that's anything new, anyways.  Only time will tell.

It's better to prove yourself by following through, rather than offer promises.

I've been thinking a lot about regaining more of a sense of my old self, and I think I've really started to get in touch with some things and made some realizations.  Perhaps most importantly, I have remembered that feeling of calm and peace that I carried in myself.  Not all the time, for there were also many periods of uncertainty, but those times when I would be content to just be.  I think that feeling is perhaps a large part of what I have been missing in recent times.  That mode where you are conscientious about everything you do, carefully placing your movements and actions as if you were performing tea ceremony.  I tried on Friday to return back to a time of quiet in my dance as well, and I think it taught me a lot.  It amused me a bit because it went against quite a few things that I have been preaching generally when I work with others on their dancing, yet I understood so clearly that this was also an essential duality of my nature, not something to be left behind entirely.

Hoping to maybe mark the return of OHC and Monthlies next month =O



Tactics Ogre Stuff

Tactics Ogre (specifically, the One Vision mod) is proving to really be something that I have been sinking myself into...it's been pretty great.  Despite the fact that there are no sort of "cross-job skill combos" as there are in FFT (one of the funnest parts of FFT, IMHO), there is a LOT of opportunity for customization and flexibility in how you build out your squad and characters.  I've recently been exploring a bunch of these options to see what makes sense, and have learned quite a number of things along the way.

One of the main customization options is equipment.  First off, there different =types= of armor, and you can only pick two at a time to wear: Body armor which offers the best defense but is heavier, Helms which are a bit lighter but still offer good defense, Legguards which focus more on evasion, and Gauntlets/gloves which forego defense in favor of upgrading your offensive stats.  But past that, there are different classes of each, with some jobs being limited to what they can wear.  The Ninja class, for example, only has access to light armor and caster robes, so he can't go in wearing heavy tank armor.  You could focus instead on boosting evasion, but that would still probably leave you soft to magic damage.  Knights, on the other hand, can wear heavy armor, and they can't use 2-handed swords, so they also have a shield to help with their defense.

But wait -- there's more!  There are "sidegrades" (not upgrades) for both armor and weapons that let you make specific tradeoffs.  For example, you can craft gloves that sacrifice some of their strength bonus and give you a bonus to magic stats instead, for mage knights.  You can take a 2-handed sword and make it deal more damage, but at the expense of speed and accuracy.  You can take the avoidance bonus from legguards and replace it with a magic resistance bonus.  There's all sorts of flexibility!

It's pretty interesting because in general when thinking about equipment, you want to maximize the unit's strengths, but also want to cover its weaknesses.  Previously I was taking a bit too much of a min-maxing approach and as a result many of my units were a bit too frail.  I tried to forego defense in favor of speed (allowing my units to act faster) and all-out offense (everyone had gloves!), but I've since had to scale back on that to avoid my units dropping like flies.

Recently I've changed up a few of my builds significantly.  My two Valkyries/Spellblades (Rune Fencers), for example.  Valks are sort of a tricky unit to deal with since they can be front-line units but also can cast a limited selection of magic.  Previously I had them equipped with a one-handed sword or spear, and had them basically casting support buffs, as well as throwing items around -- basically full-on support units.  That worked out sort of ok, but the problem is that they were never super great at any of their roles -- if I wanted melee damage, my warriors and knights did better, and if I wanted healing, my priest can just sit in the back and heal from afar.  The support buffs were useful for a while, but nowadays the Sword dancer can actually apply them in a huge area (and I have him do that at the beginning of most battles to cover my team).  So right now I've changed things up so now my valks both have staves, as well as mage gloves and rings which boost their magic, so they are essentially mages, but a bit tankier so they don't have as many problems being in the front line.  This works pretty well because my lineup was actually fairly low on magic damage output, so this balances that out a bit.

My priest (actually called a monk) sits in the back and pretty much just does healing.  Healing doesn't really scale with stats (confusingly enough) which means I'm actually optimizing her for speed, so she has no weapon!  That said, sometimes she also casts a speed buff on herself or someone else (very nice), or casts sleep on an opposing unit (also very useful).

One unit I really haven't figured out how to work with is the Familiar, which is a faerie-exclusive unit.  This unit had problems in the original game as well, apparently.  It can cast healing magic, which lead me to basically use it as another cleric...though it can also cast a bit of offensive magic.  It also has a bunch of neat TP-requiring abilities, such as some nice debuffs and a large area heal...but the problem is that in order to gain TP you need to either deal or receive *physical* damage.  Unfortunately the Familiar is also really squishy and often dies if you put it in the front lines.  So it's sort of a weird conflict that I haven't figured out.  Right now I've tried giving it a dagger and shield, and an evasion cloak to boost its survivability.  It's still a bit awkward though, as if I need a heal, it's probably more important for it to heal.  And if it's attacking with its dagger, it's not doing a ton of damage or anything.  I could give it a one-handed bow, but again, that wouldn't really do a ton of damage.  It's a weird unit.
Update: I've actually had a short discussion with the creator of the mod regarding the Familiar!  He says he hasn't gotten around to a full proper rework of the class and so right now it's a support-type unit with some mediocre stats, but also neat abilities, haha, which is sort of in line with what I figured out already.  I also discovered that besides faeries, you can also have gremlins (didn't realize for some reason they are a different race altogether) and pumpkinheads (!) become familiars, so perhaps I just have the wrong stats for the unit to be effective.  I'll have to try and recruit some more faeries/gremlins to see.

I've changed up my winged human Canopus, which uses the "Vartan" class, as well.  Canopus has a pretty great mobility advantage in that he can fly, which makes a huge difference in many maps.  Previously I just gave him a two-handed axe and called it a day, but unfortunately as I got further on into the campaign, that led to him flying into the enemy, getting a great attack in, and then dropping dead soon after since he was super exposed and didn't have much protection -- Vartan can't equip heavy armor!  I also realized that it didn't make quite the most sense (?) to equip him with a melee weapon as he can't equip heavy gauntlets, so he can only wear the armguards that boost dex.  It's a bit confusing because dex DOES still increase melee damage as well, just not as much (well, it depends on the weapon, really).  It would be great if he could use a 2-handed bow or crossbow, but that option ended up being overpowered so it's actually not allowed in the mod (good reasoning).  Instead of a 1-handed bow I've actually just gone ahead and given him a throwing weapon -- so still a dex weapon, and still 1-handed so he can have a shield, but does more damage than a bow at the expense of having less range...which works out because he can easily fly behind enemy lines and get up close to the squishy units at the back anyways.

Anyhow, I'm actually near the end of chapter 4 (on the "neutral" route) at the moment, ready to go into the hanging gardens and deal with the dark knights.  Not sure how long until the end of the game, but that's where things really start to get crazy as you can essentially newgame+ back to the other storylines and finish other sidequests and such.  There is like infinity hours worth of postgame content so...yeah, we'll see!



Melee Stuff

I've realized that I need to be a little more dilligent in what I am focusing on when I am playing, lest I just keep on doing the same silly bad things over and over.  My current biggest thing is working in empty jump -> grab into my game for all characters, but here's some other notes for things that I need to work on.

All characters:
- Stay shielding on a platform when they are below you, angle shield down, WAIT, don't just drop through asap
(I really suck at this situation right now, every time I prep for a shield drop and either get shieldpoked or fall into a waiting uptilt because I did a braindead timing)

Marth:
- Empty jump grab
- Backthrow on platform to shield->shield drop uair
- Look for fsmash out of uthrow
- Uthrow to reverse fair
- Fsmash on tech away when under a platform
- Upair strings out of upthrow on FD
- Some random edgeguarding things

Fox:
- Empty jump grab
- Upthrow -> use up on control stick to fulljump ff upair
- Upthrow -> drill reset

Falco:
- Shinegrab
- More uptilt in neutral, and in combos

Falcon:
- Dthrow at edge -> REACT, either turnaround sh ff knee if close, or run out dj uair if far
(we'll see if i can get the actual timing right on the dj uair, if it keeps on clanking and they're too far to hit before starting, then maybe sh out is better than run off)
- Fastfall timing for sh knee to cover missed tech
(I miss this like every time right now and it sucks)
- WAIT before back sh knee to cover tech roll in

Sheik:
- Mixup between sh nair and run off dj nair to edgeguard
- Empty jump grab

Peach:
- Waveland on platforms to catch techrolls
- Upthrow -> dash attack instead of trying to regrab
- A lot of float stuff




Other Stuff

Been itching to play Space Alert again at some point, haha.

Tried Baldur's Gate 2 multiplayer a bit...the BG2 interface definitely takes a bit of getting used to and...I feel like this is definitely a game that needs to be played singleplayer, really.  I feel like it also requires a lot of knowledge going in already, like if you don't know what all of these gajillion spells do, good luck trying to figure out how to use them.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Things are not the best, and they have not been for quite some time.  As far back as January (http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2018/01/blog-post_27.html) (http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2018/01/i-dont-know-what-mistakes-i-am-making.html) even, and perhaps before that too.  For a while now I have known that I have been drifting further from who I want to be.  Part of it is inevitable...some things even if I tried, they would probably never come back to me.  But other things I know that I can reach again if I try.  And even if I can't, I still must try.  I have no choice; because that's just who I am.

I know, though, that I can do better.  I think I am on my way back...it feels that way already.  Things may not be the same as before once I finally reach back to the place, my place, the forest of life.  But I am on my way.  And I know I will get there, because I won't ever stop until I have reached it.

Sometimes, I realize and feel that the only thing I can do is to be better, to try harder.  To keep walking, unrelentingly, towards what I want, and have always wanted.  And to make the difficult choices along the way, of what to cast aside so that I can continue.  So that I can continue to remain the person I would like to be.

It's perhaps the first time in my life I have felt strongly that I have drifted so far away from what is right, from who I am.  But I have faith.  Faith that is built on nothing but my own fortitude.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

JaSmix 2018, Ludum Dare 42, More Tactics Ogre stuff

JaSmix 2018 was this past weekend, and was a great success!  Big thanks to everyone who came to the event, as well as the people who helped me make it all possible.  It was really satisfying to see all the planning and prep work that went into it pay off...it really looked like everybody was having a great time.  My classes went pretty alright too, all things considered!  Every time I teach I learn a little more, I think, about how to hold a workshop, keeping things going, and how to really convey and drill information down.  In any case, as I've written about before, my overall understanding of dance and partnering mechanics is a lot better than it used to be, so at the very least it's easier for me to drill down into what works and what doesn't and what are the important things to keep in mind and fix.

We had quite a good variety of workshops this year and I think 6 was a really good number to have!  Happy that that worked out since I have been conservative for the past 2 years with only 3 workshops each time.  Something that really struck me over the course of the day is just how much more comfortable and confident I have become with my own movement over the course of time.  That of course is mainly from social dancing, but also from glowsticking, and also my growth as a person too, perhaps.  It's really cool that social dance has provided a structure within which to practice and develop these things, I think.

Ever since last year I think, JaSmix has really become my most anticipated dance event of the year, haha, not really even close.  Viennese Ball of course is always really fun to see everybody and mingle, and Big Dance is great as a long-lived tradition that pulls out a good crowd of people, but I feel like JaSmix really focuses on social dance itself -- both improving and learning about it, and also having a lot of fun dancing to a night of great music.  There is a sort of very different energy when you're the one running an event, but at the same time it was intensely rewarding to see everyone out on the dance floor with such good energy.  Anyways, I'll definitely look forward to hosting it again next year.

And with that all squared away and in the books, the next thing to look towards is Ludum Dare 42!  Yeah...it's sort of one thing after another for me recently, haha.  Ludum Dare runs from Friday through Monday (this time with a new starting/ending time of 3:00PM instead of 6:00PM, which should be interesting), but I'll also be taking Thursday and Tuesday off, to give myself some much-needed respite and to recover from the craziness of LD and all that.  I still have some prep work to do for LD over the next two days -- setting up the project, testing a few things, making a post on the site, and of course the most important part: grocery shopping for snacks and food!  I really have no idea what will come out of LD this time; I'm sure we will work very hard on something, but I think it feels quite chill going into it since we don't really have any particular aspirations or goals going into the event.

Tactics Ogre has continued to keep me thoroughly occupied during train rides and such, which has been really great.  I ended up on the neutral route first, and am in the middle of chapter 3 at the moment.  I definitely have a good handful of units / classes which I have been completely ignoring, like a reptile whom I recruited and turned into a hoplite and then promptly proceeded to leave at level 1 and never use.  It's getting to be super overwhelming with the sheer number of classes and units, haha!  I also started recruiting a bunch of beast and dragon classes, but I decided to just focus on my Gryphon for now.  I've got that Gryphon up to level 10 after some light grinding, so that's great.  (my "core" classes are at lvl 14, with a handful of newer ones at 10-11)  Denam is still really kicking butt as a Ninja, haha.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ugh.  Starting yesterday, apps can no longer post to your FB profile, so automatic posting through services like IFTTT is a thing of the past now.  For me that means we're back to the dark ages where every time I make a blog post (like this one) I have to manually crosspost it to FB.  The silver lining is that now I'll just be making link posts, which means no more people just reading my posts on FB directly...you're gonna have to actually read it on this site itself, which is really what you ought to have been doing the whole time.  The automatic copy-paste onto FB broke all the formatting, linebreaks, and hyperlinks, so it was a wonder I even kept that enabled.


I was kind of overwhelmed and in the pits earlier this week, but I managed to hit bottom and am on my way up again, hooray.  We're getting all set for JaSmix on Saturday and the waltz workshop is coming along and coming together finally; I just have to make sure I can run through everything smoothly without wasting a bunch of time.

Tactics Ogre has been super fun and I've basically been spending all of my morning train rides playing it, whoops!  I just recruited 5 (!) more characters so I really don't know what I'm doing with so many people, haha...I have some new classes that are pretty low level (Dragoon, Warlock, Swordmaster, ...) so I might have to farm some EXP for them otherwise they'll forever be stuck underleveled.  I just got past a pretty tough rescue mission that took a number of tries (one where 3 units start dead and you need to use lifeline gem on them or win the whole battle before their timers expire), phew.

Denam (the main unit) right now is a ninja; he has good movement and speed and does really great double-attack damage against squishies like mages, and not bad damage against monsters either.
Then I've got a handful of frontline melee units -- warrior, knight, berserker, terror knight, which are all mostly interchangeable.  I have two archers, which have varying utility based on the targets (not very good at dealing damage to tanks).  A priest and a familiar, which have been pretty crucial in the harder missions for the healing they provide.  A wizard, who mainly just throws around dark magic damage, and then two spellblades (rune funcers) who can attack but also cast helpful supportive buffs.  That's essentially my main squad for now , but we'll see if I can get all the other classes up to snuff and see how they perform.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Decadance Final Show Rehearsals

Lots of writing from me recently, I guess!


Tomorrow will be the 3rd day this week that I need to work from home in order to get to Decadance rehearsal on time.  Our show is this Saturday -- only two days away!  (tickets still available) It's been a weird mix of relaxing and stressing, as working from home is nice but the rehearsals are mentally tiring.  On the plus side, since I'm only doing 4-5 pieces they aren't so much physically tiring for me (thank you, past me!).

The show is really coming together now (and not a minute too soon), and I think it will be a really fun performance, and a fitting end to the group that has really done so many things over the years.  As I drove back from rehearsal tonight it really struck me how much this all reminds me of the old days of yore when I was in marching band.  The stress, the performing, the camaraderie, all of it.  Even though it's really tiring mentally, at the same time I'm actually really glad that I have this opportunity to relive a little bit of that feeling one more time.  And hey, as a plus side: I'm not part of the leadership this time!  So, no super stressing out for me, haha.

Let's hope for the best in getting through these next two days!

Art is Nourishment for Living

I have been watching a few, mm....how would you say...."heartfelt" (?) things recently.  I finished watching Uchuu Yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further than the Universe), and also watched Caracol Cruzando, (which my friend was an assistant animator for!).

A Place Further than the Universe was very slice of life, very heartwarming.  I think to me, now having watched through the entire thing, it didn't really feel like a story that was about one thing necessarily, just a slice of life / coming of age / journey story, more in general.  I think as a whole the show felt a little...unfocused because of that.  There were a couple of issues and/or themes that were revisited a number of times, like of course Shirase-san's feelings about her mother, but I think in comparison Hibike (my favorite love and gold standard for slice of life now) really drilled down into specific things in more depth, like different plot points that spanned several episodes, combined with very overarching character development, especially with Kumiko.  Ahh, Kumiko's arc throughout the whole show is really so amazing.  I really can't....ok, hold on, going to stop myself from just fangirling here.

Anyways, I think I expected more of that from Uchuu Yori mo Tooi Basho, so I think I got something a little different than what I anticipated.  But I did like some of the things they went through, especially the interactions between Hinata and Shirase, I think that was pretty real for me, seeing these two characters try to work it out despite having really different approaches to how they handle life.  I think that's something that's really important to be gained from these types of friendships, and also just in general spending time together with someone during trying situations.  Megumi and Kimari's relationship too, I felt that was really interesting.

I quite appreciated Shirase-san's relationship with her mother, I think it didn't really resolve in one concrete way or another, and was not heavy-handed, which I think is very real.  There were those few moments when Shirase really came face to face with her feelings, and those felt very real, I think.  Like the part where Shirase says she felt really "futsuu", almost too ordinary, about being in Antartica -- how she realized she didn't particularly feel anything super special, and was wondering how she felt about that, even though this was something she really wanted to achieve for so long.  But in the end when coming face to face with her feelings all over this time, it really hit hard.

I think it's really common to make stories about loss and the past that I just don't approve of how they get resolved, so it's nice to see yet another one that treats it with both the respect and the honesty that it does.  Shirase-san really shares quite some traits with me, like her "I'm just going to prove everybody wrong by working even harder" attitude, her combination of skill and clumsiness, competitive nature, and especially her dilligence in the way that she thinks about her goals and her past.  Despite that, her story surprisingly didn't feel like it was something I super related to, somehow.  I'm not sure why, really...I think it's quite subtle differences.  I think Shirase's story is about her chasing after her past, and needing to come to some sort of understanding about it, wanting to change things from the way they are.  Ultimately she needs to realize her own feelings -- not only the feelings she has, but also what feelings she would like to have towards the past.  I think it is less about her letting go or not letting go, or how she comes to terms with it, and perhaps more about figuring out what she feels, and how she would like to go on from there.  I don't know if what I'm saying makes sense or not.

But really the show is not about Shirase after all -- and I think it would be a quite different show if it were.  It's about a shared journey of these four girls, and I think it does that quite well.

Anyways, especially right now during some slightly stressful times for me, watching these things really reminds me of important things in life, about what I should not be taking for granted, and about people that are really important to me.  I think when you are just trudging step by step through the daily struggles of life, it is really important to have these stories and feelings in your life to remind you of really what is meaningful and what is not.  Because sometimes we would get too focused on putting one foot in front of the other again and again, and forget to look up at all of the beautiful things that are passing by all around us.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Happy times, yet stressful times.


I have certain been stressed over the past few days...no denying it, really.  The plus side is that even though there is stress, there is light in my life as well.

Our Decadance finale show is coming up in less than a week!  (tickets still available at https://decadance.yapsody.com/)  At this point I'm pretty grateful to past me that I only signed up for a small handful of pieces; it's a good amount for me to be performing.  Some of the rehearsals have been quite hectic so I am glad that I didn't bite off more than I can chew!  Apparently I am still stressed out about it though, because I definitely dreamed about being in the show / dress rehearsal last night with all sorts of things going wrong, agh.  I guess it didn't help that I was thinking about it a bit before bed, haha. *sweat*

JaSmix logistics are all done with, finally, so I can kick back and just look forward to enjoying the event!  ...and by that I mean stress out about the workshops I'm helping to teach.  It will be OK!...but it's hard to not fret about it until I am confident about exactly how I am going to cover everything.  It is going to be super fun though, especially the glowsticking one...actually all of our workshops this year should be really fun -- please come out and stop by! :D

I still have a little more tweaking to do for the setlist for that night -- mostly finding room to fit all the good stuff, lol.  But not so worried about that part, really.



Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together!!!  I have started playing it in earnest, playing it on PSP.  Important note is that I am actually not playing the vanilla version of the game -- instead I'm playing it with the "One Vision" mod, which basically rebalances the entire game and comes pretty highly recommended from fans of the game.  For all zero of you who can actually understand it, a consolidated changelist can be found in the post at the top of this thread.  Note that I have never played Tactics Ogre before, so reading through the changelist meant pretty much nothing to me at the time, but it seemed to be a good idea and nobody really recommended NOT playing with the mod, so it was a no-brainer.  From what I can tell, it basically rebalances the classes in a major way -- archers used to be really overpowered in the original game, apparently, and some other classes like terror knights were close to useless.  There are a lot of skills and such that have been switched around, which is a bit confusing when trying to read up on strategy because many of the tips that apply to the original game may no longer apply.  But it's all new to me anyways, so it's pretty fun discovering what all the different classes are about and all.

Tactics Ogre: LUCT is...really complicated, lol.  I'm not sure how much more complicated it is because I'm playing with this new mod, but compared to FFT it has been a lot harder to wrap my head around just what I should be doing and how damage and stats and status effects work and all.  On the plus side, it has been really fun slowly learning about all of the workings of the game and getting my footing around everything.  The battles and unit management definitely have significantly different feel from FFT, and that was definitely disorienting at first.  Battles are much more large-scale and terrain and unit formation really matters quite a bit more -- which is pretty cool actually.  The battles do drag on for a bit longer in general but you do get the sense of a war of attrition which is kind of cool.  And yeah, building units is really quite different.  There's less of the whole FFT aspect of "build your own combos" which I think is a net loss, but it's still pretty interesting anyways and I'm sure I'm doing a ton of things wrong already haha.

Overall though I am really happy I started playing it; it seems like it will keep me engaged for quite a while since there is just so much stuff to explore.  Not only in terms of the mechanics, classes, equipment decisions (which are very nontrivial!), but also there are branching story paths which you can replay in a sort of newgame+ style sense, etc etc.  So, look forward to more updates as I learn my way around the game a bit more.



I'm finally starting to get the hang of Peach in Melee!  I'm still sloppy as all heck, but I can at least play neutral of some sort and I have been understanding some more key interactions and such.  She's really quite fun!  One thing that I realize I need to focus on is threatening more tricky grabs as different characters, so I think that should be my focus at the moment.  That includes just running up and raw dashgrabbing them as Peach, but also shinegrabs as spacies, and empty hop grabs as well as wavelanding onto platforms and grabbing.



This week will be perhaps a hectic week for me with all the stuff coming up.  But I am thankful for the light in my life.  Whether it is friends, or meowmies, or just some simple moments spent alone by myself.  These things will carry me through, I know.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

For those of you who do not already know, Princess Kaguya is the film that has affected me more than any other, and has a special place in my heart for the meaning it has.  It is in a sense, a difficult movie to explain, how it affects me so deeply, and how it really feels like it reaches you to the core.  It also seems to be rather hit-or-miss with people; some really get it, others may not.  It's certainly been responsible for a lion's share of crying, in any case.


Somehow despite always saying that Princess Kaguya is not a movie I can watch lightly, I found myself watching it for the =fourth= time the other day.  I am really glad that I did, though.  This movie, more than perhaps anything else, really reminds me of what is important in life.  On this particular viewing, especially, not only did I feel sad in this indescribable, soul-crushing way, but I actually felt compelled to really take responsibility for those things that are important to me, and to do a better job, lest I keep running away from them forever.

There have been other works, of course, that make me feel similar things.  As cliche as it might be to some, Undertale really did make me think about....well, maybe not so much "being a better person", but rather, relations with others, developing friendships in different ways, and forgiveness.  And of course Brave really forced me to confront family issues -- issues that before then I was convinced had no nice solution...so I shoved them into the corner best I could, since I could not see how else to deal with them.

But Princess Kaguya really affected me over the past few days, it feels like.  That it put even daily life things into perspective, and I realized just how silly it was to worry about certain things, when there are so much more important things for me to think about.

Recently I think the things I have been thinking about the most are regaining my "former self" -- "being Timm[ie]" -- as well as the way I interact with others.

Regaining my self is something that is long overdue, I think.  But I think I'm really ready to try living up to it.  It is not something that can be flipped on and off like a switch, but rather an ethos to live my daily life by.  But I hope that I can think about what I have done with these fleeting days of my life, and think to myself, "yes, this is me, as I should be."

It is easy to think of yourself as the best, and to pretend, to act, that you are invincible.  But it is just as easy to think of yourself as the worst, and to act as though you have nothing to lose.  But neither is true.  Both are lies, and in the end they would still hurt you, just in different ways.  Not just through self-deprecation, but the denial of honesty and vulnerability, in the name of a false sense of humility.

The first step towards improvement is acknowledging that you need to improve, yes.  But the second step towards improvement is allowing yourself the grace to fail and learn.  To want to improve, not because you are tired and afraid of failing, but because you would like to learn.

It's something that I am only now really beginning to confront.  I'm really not sure why it suddenly became more important to me.  I think, after all is said and done, regaining my former sense of self is more important to me, of course.  But I really think it would be nice, to be able to truly communicate with others, honestly, and to help each other in this shared human condition.  Whether it be West Coast Swing, Melee, teaching, socializing, planning...just anything.  I hope that someday I might have the courage to put myself forward and say "This is me; all of me.  And I accept you, as I hope you will accept me."

A third Meowmie -- Butternut -- has been added to the family, though she has not properly "joined the pride", as we say, haha.  Together with the fat baby quails, it has become quite a lively place.  These Meowmies have really taught me immensely about life; it's really amazing.  Lavi, Kaya, Mocha, and Goodnight Meowmie...I really have started to think about and value things differently because of these cuties.  I used to always maintain a safe distance.  But I think finally I am ready to face the world without this shell of mine.

I'll always keep it safe with me, though.  Always.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mm, yes, it's time for another update.

After being "interesting", work is actually going fairly well for me at the moment, which is really nice, actually.  I'm grateful.

I've put FFTA to rest, haha.  I went through and finished off the main storyline missions (while doing random other missions here and there), and there's no real reason for me to go and complete any of the other content in the game, as I already outlined in my previous post.  A bit of a shame, really, but that means that it's time to move onto something like Tactics Ogre, or even Baldur's Gate 2 (lol!).  Or, I could always be good and actually just continue dev work on Rhythm Quest, too...

Finished up another song!  So that's good.  Always good to get things done...it is nourishment for my life, I think.

Speaking of trying to get things done, JaSmix planning continues!  I think we've got our workshop lineup set, and yesterday I basically finished putting together the set list.  Since last year I've forgotten just how exciting it is to play music at an event...I guess I just have strong feelings about what makes good dance music.  As for my own workshop planning, it's coming along...I hope I can do justice to what I am trying to cover.

I've finished watching Houseki no Kuni, which was pretty cool, though not overwhelmingly so.  That means it's time to get back to Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, which I sort of left hanging midway through (whoops).  I'm excited!

Life is...in an ok place.  I think the day-to-day grind is getting better, potentially even enough to not be called a "grind" anymore.  I definitely feel a sort of spiritual and emotional discontent, but that is not quite so uncommon after all.  There are still some deep issues that I still carry with me...and I don't mean the ones that I never want to let go of, either.  Being the person you really want to be is a slow process that takes time, failure, and the willingness to embrace that failure.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

FFTA vs FFT

Can't sleep...I guess I might as well try to be productive for once.  Maybe I can reclaim a little bit of those late night feelings from before, when I was more...myself.


Work is..."interesting".  (again lol)

Our date for JaSmix finally got confirmed, phew!  Now all I have to stress out about is the workshops.  orz...it never ends.  But I really do want the event to go well; it has really come to mean a lot to me I think.  Let's hope it all comes together.



An update is in order about Final Fantasy Tactics Advance!  I have been sinking quite a lot of time into this game (less than the save file shows though, because I've been making VERY liberal use of fast-forwarding)...

Probably the funnest part of these types of games for me is planning for the future and doing all this thinking about how I want my progression to go.  It's for that same reason that I love the character creation and stat distribution challenges in System Shock 2 so much.  So naturally, the first thing I did when it came to FFTA was to plan out how I wanted my core squad of 6 to go.

I'll get into my core squad in a second, but before that, I should talk about how I struggled for quite some time on just how I wanted to play FFTA -- namely, how much of a perfectionist I wanted to be.  I started off the game truly playing for perfection: I did some early game shenanigans and grinding clan levels without actually getting character levels (via abuse of the recruitment quests) to get the cinquedea for Steal: Ability purposes, and did save-state abuse to make sure I got core squad members with really good Speed stats (the most important stat in the game is speed).

Ideally if you're super playing for perfection you actually want most of your other non-core members to stay as low level as possible (e.g. having a whole clan of lvl 2 chars other than your main 6).  That's because new recruited characters join your party with your party's average char level, and if you want great stats, you want to level people up in the right jobs.  You can't get a lot of the secret characters until way later in the game, at which point your core squad will have a bunch of experience through battles.  So ideally you want to have a low average clan level despite that (via all these lvl 2 dumb characters) so that the secret characters will join your party at a low level.

So I filled out my squad with low-leveled characters.  But I think the most ridiculous thing is that I started trying to really maximize my core squad's stats by changing people's jobs to the best stat-growth jobs every time before they leveled up.  I kept that up for quite some time, and it gets even more complicated because you don't even have access to the best stat growth jobs at first, because you need to learn abilities from basic jobs to unlock them.  So you need to pick from the jobs that you have available to you that still have good stat growth.  Actually, if you wanted to REALLY be perfectionistic, for all the human characters you'd use Steal: Ability to learn the prereqs, and for the other classes you'd send them on repeatable dispatch missions to grind AP.

Ugh!  So that was getting to be a ton of effort, and the main problem was that I wasn't finding it worth it.  I think if I was replaying FFT again, then things would be a different story, because FFT is simply awesome, bar-none.  But through this second go at FFTA, I now realize just what makes FFTA lackluster in comparison:

1) This may seem trivial, but it's not: The interface for managing and purchasing equipment is way more awkward than in FFT.  There is no "automatically equip with best recommended equipment", and even the mechanism for comparing stat boosts is awkward (you have to hold the start button?).  Worst of all when you go to the store, there's no "fitting room" feature like in FFT where you can shop for and equip new items all in the same flow.  Instead you go to the buy page and if you are buying weapons, you scroll through this GINORMOUS list of all the purchasable weapons for EVERY class.  And if you want to know which class can use a particular weapon, you have to go through the weapon's description, and then press select to open yet another separate screen!  Ugh!
2) Laws are not a fun mechanic and don't add anything to the game, really (besides plot and story relevance).  There's basically no reason to ever break them and they are so narrow that it doesn't really affect combat in a significant way except punishing you when you forgot to check what laws are in effect.
3) Having ability learning tied to equipment is an interesting idea, but in practice it means choosing abilities to learn and go for is less interesting (because you often don't have access to the really good skills in the first place, so you have much fewer choices), and it also means you more or less choose equipment based on the abilities you want to learn, so the actual equipment stats and boosts don't matter as much anymore.
4) The job system honestly feels much weaker and the job abilities in general are not nearly as exciting.  There are definitely some interesting combos for sure, like a paladin (able to use good swords) with the hunt ability, which includes "sonic boom" which is an AoE ranged attack that uses your weapon damage.  But in general not a ton of synergy, and not even a ton of good tradeoffs in terms of the best support and reaction abilities.  There are no movement skills to learn either -- instead replaced by combo abilities, which are not really important at all.
5) The battles are generally a walk in the park -- completely opposite to FFT, where even with good character builds was challenging.  Which I guess is good because...
6) The mission system really is quite tedious at times.  Dispatch missions were really not an interesting segment of FFT and it feels like over half this game is dealing with those.  I guess it is nice that you can now walk around the map while avoiding random encounters...but the encounters in FFT =were= what made the game so enjoyable to play in the first place!  All of these different missions also means it's incredibly hard to keep track of what you need to be stealing in order to not miss anything (I already missed a weapon you need to steal).  To make things worse, you really DO need to make sure you are stealing the right gear, because having the right gear ALSO means being able to learn the right abilities!
7) Lack of cool special classes is also something that is being missed -- I know some in FFT were basically duds (looking at you, Rafa and Malak!), but it was super fun getting to play with Agrias, right?  And deciding how to build her as well.
8) The whole race system SEEMS like a cool idea, and it is...but in actuality, it means =less= versatility and way less possibilities for combining abilities between different classes.  In FFT some of the coolest characters were the ones that combined job traits from entirely different job trees -- for example a character that learned all of the Samurai abilities, but then turned into a Black Mage -- Samurai are down the fighter-type job tree, but their abilities use your MAtk stat.  Those abilities are normally pretty lackluster but all of a sudden if you're a black mage with tons of magic attack power, they become super amazing!  Then you also combine that with the Samurai's reaction ability to evade all physical attacks, and it's an awesome class, though it requires a bunch of effort.  And then there's other crazy things, like making Agrias into a Geomancer so that you can learn Attack Boost, which she can then use to great effect because it applies to her Holy Sword abilities.  With the race system in FFTA there are way less job choices for any given character, which just serves to reduce the possibilities of these kinds of crazy things.  Besides things like doublecast + summon, there really isn't that much that's super exciting.
9) Abilities in general are just not that interesting.  It feels like each class has only a few abilities that are any use at all, and a bunch of the abilities are the same but just with different elements.  In FFT we had things like the Monk kit, which had healing (chakra), revive, ranged damage (wave fist), and super ranged damage (earth fist).  Very cool, very versatile.  In FFTA all of the fighter classes for Human, Bangaa, AND Moogle are basically carbon copies, sometimes with literally the same effect (one ability that does extra damage at low accuracy and another that does small damage with high accuracy).  And then you get gunner, gladiator, etc etc that have "bolt sword, ice sword, fire sword" which all do the same thing.  Those would be super useful if elemental weaknesses were super prevalent, but they're not!  In FFT you used fire magic against undead skeletons, for example, because it was really effective against them.  But in FFTA there aren't as many situations where it's useful.

Anyways...DESPITE all that rambling, I'm actually having an ok time so far, now that I've given up on being a super perfectionist (now I'm just being "reasonable").  Basically, it doesn't make sense for me to try to be perfect if in the end I'm not going to care about the game a ton anyways...

So with that all said, here's my core squad:

Marche
Paladin
Ability: Hunt
Support: Concentrate
Reaction: Counter
As I mentioned, Paladin + Hunt is a pretty good combo as Sonic Boom is pretty great with the better swords.  Concentrate is (uninterestingly) probably the best support ability for physical classes (+50% accuracy boost), and counter is much the same.  See how uninteresting things are already?  It's worth noting that because you can't stat-manipulate Marche (the main character), he actually is the slowest of the core group and ends up having the worst stats...lol.

Human
Ninja
Ability: Blue Magic
Support: Concentrate
Reaction: Counter
Another human, another concentrate + counter combo.  Whoop de doo.  Blue magic is pretty versatile though, so that's cool.  Ninja actually doesn't give you any good A-skills at all (some very weak utility abilities), but this guy is a ninja because that's the best class to level in as a human.  He equips steal when need be (marche and the moogle do as well).

Viera
Assassin
Ability: Summon
Support: Concentrate
Reaction: Reflex
Assassins are supposed to be really good, so I wanted to have my Viera be an assassin (though I'm having second thoughts now, since doublecast + summon seems really tempting).  So far summon hasn't actually been super useful, although casting regen on everyone has been nice.  The problem is that none of the A-ability sets work very well with assassin.  Maybe doublecast is worth going for after all...

Bangaa
Templar
Ability: Spellblade Tech
Support: Weapon Atk+
Reaction: Counter
Again, this is pretty boring.  This guy is mainly a Templar so he can equip good weapons...Templar does get access to haste and some other nice abilities, but let's be honest, you really just want to run up to people and whack them.  Spellblade tech gives you some nice attacking abilities (fire sword, ice sword, etc), but again, it's really just an alternative attack.

Nu Mou
Sage
Ability: White Magic
Support: Turbo MP
Reaction: Reflex
Sage offers the best damage-dealing spells, which means black magic is kind of redundant, so I'm switching this guy to white magic instead maybe?

Moogle
Gunner
Ability: Charge
Support: Concentrate
Reaction: Counter
This is so you can have ultima charge with a long-ranged gun, which should be a fun combo....once his MP gets high enough so that he can actually cast it!

So yeah, in conclusion...FFT is amazing!  And we all understand now why FFTA isn't.

After this I may actually try out Tactics Ogre...it has a PSP port so I might whip out the very same PSP that I used to play FFT...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On the plus side, my rash is healing...

On the other hand, I'm super sick.  Also allergies =(

myemie

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Future We Wanted

Ok, last time posting about this.  I just have a bookmark to it on my notes document because I feel like I wanted to say =something= about it, but honestly, what can I say that would mean more than simply reading it properly?

This is a piece by Leigh Alexander called "The Future We Wanted".  I've been following Leigh for quite some time, even back from when she was doing a lot of games journalism.  This is by far my favorite thing she's ever written.  It speaks to...ok, well, half of you have already guessed it by now, but yes, it speaks about the past.

"I’m in, I whispered. But I knew she would never be there again."

Things are alright, I guess.  I have a rash of some sort though, will get it checked out tomorrow morning. -_-  bleh.

Over the past few days I played through ESC, an interactive novel by Lena Raine (composer for Celeste).  It was pretty enjoyable and interesting!  Definitely a story with many layers, and I quite liked it.  Always nice to see interactive novels done right, since as you may know there are a ton of them with...shall we say, less-than-stellar writing quality.

Other than that, been doing more work on music this week/weekend...I have a commission project that I'm finally making headway on, and some other stuff that I'm trying to make progress on as well.

Work work has been pretty alright recently, actually, which is good.  Feels like I have been getting into a pretty regular routine of making my standard saute of rice, mushrooms, onion/shallot, and sausage for lunch every other day, but maybe this week I should change it up a bit; have not used the toaster oven at work much, so maybe I ought to be cooking some more fish fillets or even just sandwiches.  I did try a different type of instant noodle (tofu + bean thread noodles?) on friday with some frozen dumplings added in, which turned out alright.

Dance was interesting on Friday, I think somehow perhaps both fun and not fun at the same time.  Hard to explain, really.  It's like that sometimes, as I've written countless times before.  But in the midst of the darkness, there was a light that was shared.

Been contemplating starting up my playthrough of FFTA...haha...we'll see if I really pull the trigger on that one, or if I decide to do something else instead like Mother 3.

I got asked to DJ at FNW, lol, so I guess that is a thing.  Shouldn't be too hard as I already have to put together music for JaSmix and a different event too.  Speaking of which, we still haven't nailed down the date for JaSmix, but hoping that happens soon.  Bleh.

Have been focusing a lot of Falcon in melee these days, trying to get used to all of the canonical ways to read techrolls and edgeguard and such.  The thing that stands out to me most at the moment is covering missed tech / tech in place with knee; I still get the weak knee a lot of the time which is disappointing.  Well, I'll get it eventually.

I dunno...stuff.

Friday, June 15, 2018

I wish the rain would fall and fall, and block out everything in this world outside of my safe space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Personality Types (2018)

It's been a while, so I thought I'd go and retake some personality tests and see how my results are doing.


MBTI

From https://www.16personalities.com:
24% Extraverted - 76% Introverted
28% Intuition - 72% Sensing
19% Thinking - 81% Feeling
100% Judging - 0% Prospecting (lol!)
(40% Assertive - 60% Turbulent)

From http://similarminds.com:
My last recorded results that I can find are from way back in Dec 2011.  The results from back then:
Introverted (I) 75.76% Extroverted (E) 24.24%
Sensing (S) 64.1% Intuitive (N) 35.9%
Feeling (F) 66.67% Thinking (T) 33.33%
Judging (J) 75% Perceiving (P) 25%

Apparently the questions on this test are really bad for me now because:
Extroverted (E) 50% Introverted (I) 47%
Sensing (S) 72% Intuitive (N) 28%
Thinking (T) 62% Feeling (F) 42%
Judging (J) 93% Perceiving (P) 20%
Which types me as an ESTJ, which is completely off-base, lol.

Let's try one more, for fun:
From http://www3.psychcentral.com:
25% Extraverted - 75% Introverted
34% Intuition - 66% Sensing
46% Thinking - 54% Feeling
19% Perceiving - 71% Judging

My MBTI type as an ISFJ is rock solid though; that's really not ever going anywhere.  I think the exception is that for a lot of these tests I can imagine showing as more Extraverted since I am a lot more comfortable with social situations now.  They are definitely not energizing to me though; when I am stressed or in a bad place the last thing I want to do is interact with other people in a social setting.

Enneagram

From https://www.eclecticenergies.com:
Type 4 - 12
Type 1 - 10.7
Type 2 - 8.7
Type 6 - 6.7
Type 3 - 6.4
Type 5 - 5

I guess my Enneagram is sort of all over the place nowadays.  The last results I have are from Feb 2011, and look like this:
Type 6 - 8
Type 2 - 6
Type 4 - 5
Type 9 - 5
Type 5 - 4
Type 1 - 3
Type 7 - 2
Type 3 - 2
Type 8 - 1

Before that I identified super strongly as a Type 2 (Helper / Giver), and really was that type of person actually, to a fault.  Actually, Type 4's direction of integration/growth is supposed to be 4, which curiously is my highest score currently.  Seems too good to be true...maybe?  I do feel like I am more self-nurturing/aware than I used to be...

Reading over the type descriptions, I honestly still feel like Type 2 is the only one that really fits (???), but I think it is worth taking a moment to see what has changed that makes it a bit less obvious than it used to be.

I think before, when I was waiting for "those wings to lift me gently from the stream", as Kiki said, I was always felt with an intense desire to be loved, and to generously give to others in an effort to establish my self-value and in hopes of fulfilling that desire.  One of the biggest differences between me now and the me of 7 years ago is that I no longer feel an overwhelming fear of being and abandoned and unloved.  Of course, I still fear change/loss, and also failure, and I think the core fear of worthlessness (your failure makes you worthless and unloved) still speaks to me.  But I think

Still, type 6 being called the "Loyalist" makes me drawn to it by title alone, haha.  Consistency above all else...yes, I love consistency.  Maybe I could be a type 6 after all.  Who knows?  I don't...I could be a type 4?  Blah.

Ocean / Big 5

From http://www.outofservice.com:
My last recorded results for this are from way back in Dec 2011.  Here are the changes:
Openness          30 -> 24
Conscientiousness 97 -> 100
Extraversion       1 -> 1
Agreeableness     74 -> 82
Neuroticism       14 -> 95 (!)

That 100% Conscientiousness and 1% Extraversion, lol!  I love it.  I didn't actually expect to get 1% for extraversion because I honestly feel like I've become =significantly= more outgoing and sociable in the past 7 years, but hey, I'll take it.  The real shocker here is how the heck I managed to go from 14% Neuroticism to 95% when in reality it feels like it should have been the other way around!

I guess what this really is pointing to is the fact that in the past even though I was having a lot of hard times, I would generally keep it under wraps and stay "calm".  I feel like back in those years, I was very much this presence that was very quiet and reserved, yet also had a lot of issues bubbling up within.  Kiki described it very well when she said that "While you were quiet and sometimes a very calming presence, I remember you were quite loud inside that fragile body, with a wildly beating heart, wondering when someone else's wings would fold around your shoulders and lift you gently from the stream."  I am definitely less calm in that particular manner nowadays (e.g. I am way more laid-back instead of being very reserved)...perhaps I am just more aware of my own lapses of judgment and failures of character...before I probably was not even ready to confront them, but now I am pretty aware of the fact that I still really have problems dealing with failure, etc. etc.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Things have more or less just been continuing on as usual...for better or for worse.

Bathroom remodeling is finally starting to wrap up -- my bathroom and shower are functional again now, woo!

We posted about and shared our final version of Goodnight Meowmie, and are very thankful to everyone who took the time to play it.  I am still finishing up the post-mortem (I had a lot to say), but that should be up soon as well.

I had to deal with annoying issues at work for most of the week this past week, so that was myemie.  Maybe next week will be a bit better.

Made Okonomiyaki on Thursday, which turned out pretty successful!  Seems like that one will be a useful recipe to try out again.

Planning for JaSmix continues to crawl forward at a slow pace.  Hopefully we can nail down all the logistics and then I can start to stress out about what the hell to teach.  ugh.

I'm back at it with doing commission work!  Trying to knock a commission out of the way over the next month or so, so that is pretty exciting I guess.

Overall things are...ok, I guess.  I don't know, really. =/

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fanime 2018

Ugh, life.  Ok, let's get to it...

Fanime 2018

Fanime was this past weekend and it was a pretty fun one!  Fanime seems to have a different storyline for me each year -- last year, for example, was characterized by a lack of plans and a lot of just hanging out, but also by going to see aivisura perform and staying through B&W ball for the whole time with the rest of the Stanford crew.  This year it seems that the narrative was just taking it super easy and not really doing that much at all.  It was quite a different Fanime experience than I'm traditionally used to, but not bad by any means; in fact I was quite happy with how it went.

Wore the Journey cosplay to Fanime for what seems like the umpteenth time -- since VBall I've been a fully embroidered red cloak!  Next year I'll be adding more to the sleeves, I think...anyhow, I actually never bothered to put on the hood + mask once throughout the entire weekend -- next time I'll probably not even bother bringing it, unless by some small miracle I find it in myself to make another (not so scrappy) one.  I did meet one fellow Journeyer at con and ran into them once or twice throughout the weekend, so that was nice!  Other than that, people liked the costume a lot; someone even just came up and wanted to give me a hug, haha.  Oh, also!  For the first time I had a complete stranger recognize who I was and they told me they were a fan of my music.  So that was pretty awesome.  I've often had people from different slices of my life know the other parts of me, like people whom I meet through dance who happened to know of my music or whatever, but this was the first time a fan of mine just out of the blue recognized who I was.

Went to the Joe Hisaishi concert on Friday and aivisura's performance on Saturday!  Honestly I was way more pumped for aivisura's set, but I guess that's not surprising since I really love their music.  The Hisaishi concert did have some quite nice moments though.  aivisura played a few SU songs, they did their Yuri on Ice cover again which was really great (I still remember getting chills the first time they performed it), and then they also played Diamond Dove, Lonely Rolling Star, and ended with an encore performance of Here's How, which I totally called from a mile away, hahaha.  It was great getting to hear Lonely Rolling Star again and Here's How is such a great live piece, it's always fun.  Also, either it was just me, or Surasshu really leveled up his game!  He sounded so much more confident compared to the first time...good stuff!  Also, I've always been a fan of the aivisura sound in general but this concert gave me another chance to re-appreciate surasshu's drum sequencing -- it's something that I'll probably try and take a few notes from in the future.

No TGM in the gaming hall this year!  Which probably contributed a lot to the fact that I didn't have a ton of stuff to do, haha.  There were a bunch of Melee setups though, and I pulled out my laptop and ran faster melee for a while.  Played a bunch of friendlies with a random Marth main who was there, which was pretty fun, and got to play with some friends too.  No Bishi Bashi or 3rd Strike or anything like that either, but the most random thing they had there was a machine of...KeyboardMania!  Wow!  That's definitely something I didn't expect.  The machine was completely inaudible and neither me nor my friend had headphones so the only way I could hear any of the music was to put my head awkwardly right next to the speaker, but it was still sort of fun anyways, especially when we decided to try a really hard song and both try to "help" each other on the same side -- after 3 tries, we passed in the end!  They had the staples there too -- IIDX and PopN and everything, but it was free play and long lines, so bleh.  It was actually a shame they didn't have some random shmups or metal slug or whatever for me and my friend to goof off on, but whatever.

Let's see...what else...the Roti Canai at IPOH Garden was pretty yummy and there was this running joke about going back there and just continually eating more Roti Canai but in the end we actually never did.  Good to remember that option for future years, though!  The weather was actually pretty nice for the whole weekend -- was cloudy for the first half which was quite nice, until Sunday when the sun came out, but I didn't spend all that much time outside so it was just fine.

Perhaps the thing that struck me most about this time at Fanime was just how many different people and friends I ran into at con that I knew from various places.  I had friends from social dance, friends I knew from music production, and in general just lots of different sets of people; I was impressed by how many people I knew that were all at the same event; I didn't even run into quite all of them either.

Most disappointing thing was definitely the Stardew Valley cosplay "gathering", which aside from a nice Harvey, was unfortunately basically empty.  Whelp...

My loot haul was small yet good!  I got 3 different letter sets -- a Little Twin Stars one from Swap Meet (just $3!!!), and two others (Little Prince!) from Artist's Alley.  I also bought a nice microfiber cloth, also from Artist's Alley, which I'll probably use as a gift since I already have my Little Twin Stars microfiber cloths (thanks BZ!).  I saw some big Cinnamoroll plushies for sale in the Dealer's Hall which made me happy -- of course I had no need for them as I already have my very own big Cinnamon at home, but still nice to see Cinnamoroll getting more love.

As far as other people's cosplays go, probably the most notable ones were:

- A really awesome genderbent Moana (as a guy) + Maui (as a girl)
- Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!  Wow, did not expect to see her cosplayed!
- A whole gang of chefs from OverCooked
- Apparently there were a few other Gakkou Gurashi cosplayers too, whom I unfortunately did not run into, but that is super awesome!  Gakkou Gurashi <3
- A really giant Totoro

and there was also this guy in the Gaming Hall that looked uncannily like my brother. O_o  Seriously though, he totally looks like it...

Anyhow, that about wraps it up.  Pretty fun times and getting to top it off with the GCC dance on Sunday was pretty fun as well (that meant no B&W Ball for me this year).  Despite not staying at con super long each day, everything must have added up because Sunday night I slept for like 12-13 hours lol.  It was glorious.

Other Life Stuff

Unfortunately my respite was a bit short-lived as I went right back into the grind with more on my plate than I'd like...Monday I finally got around to doing a clean reinstall of windows (server 2016) on my desktop to fix some issues that popped up ever since the upgrade from ws2012.  I ran into a couple hiccups but things are more or less running smoothly again now, though I haven't brought =everything= back online yet.  I'm still trying to get the bottom of this strange issue where SSD access seems to slow down after extended usage, but it's not consistent and disappears after a clean reboot so it's difficult to track.  Hopefully I'll be able to track it down or it'll go away on its own...

We are finally more or less done with Goodnight Meowmie (v2.02), though I still need to finish writing the post-mortem report and make some gifs for promotion and all that.  Hopefully I can make that one less thing to worry about soon -- already got too much to sort out with all the other stuff I need to do.

As an aside, I'm actually feeling strangely unconfident about my music production recently, as I feel like it's been a while since I've properly felt really "in the flow" of things on that side.  I think part of it is I've done some more intellectual projects and need to get back into the swing of just going with my first instinct and not second-guessing myself or trying to plan for anything.  Well, nothing I can really do about that at the moment, though.



Monday, May 21, 2018

On Ludum Dare

While we're on the subject of Ludum Dare, I should take a moment to give an update on my general feelings toward the jam as a whole, and its (arguably) inarguable blend of awesomeness and mediocrity.

Ludum Dare has always been one of the biggest and most popular game jams, behind Global Game Jam with just over 3,000 entries being submitted for the latest round (GGJ meanwhile has had over 8,000).  LD is quite a different beast than GGJ though -- while Global Game Jam is very structured and involves going to an actual official in-person jam "site" with an organizer running the whole thing, Ludum Dare is this big asynchronous reddit-style mismash that just happens online.  It's coordinated and run by one person (!) and you can do it from anywhere you want -- usually from the peace and comfort of your own home.

The decentralized and lax nature of Ludum Dare has always simultaneously been one of its greatest strengths as well as its largest flaw.  Ludum Dare is super lax and basically anybody can do it.  Yes, there are rules and restrictions (don't steal content, etc.), but there are no prizes and there's no real hard enforcement of the rules.  In fact, since the #1 priority of the entire jam is around people just having fun making games ("your game IS your prize"), there are explicit exceptions made to the rules!  Need to update your game after the deadline to patch up some silly bugs?  Sure!  (Legally) using third-party assets in your game?  Go ahead -- just make sure you opt-out so you aren't included in the respective categories.  And it's for this exact reason that Ludum Dare is great for me -- making a game in a weekend is hard enough by itself, so I really don't want to have to worry about anything else at the same time.  I'm sure GGJ is a great experience, but don't want to go and meet new people and worry about moving my setup to a site and blahblahblah...I really just want to jam on games, by myself or with my best friend.

Ludum Dare is =far= from the only game jam of its kind, but it's the biggest and most well-known.  And really, the whole point of a game jam (versus just choosing a weekend to go off and make a game by your lonesome) is to have a community of people coming together, sharing games, playing each others' games, and giving feedback.  And Ludum Dare really does do that.

That said, Ludum Dare has had quite its fair share of......"issues" in recent years.  From changing to a new website (which many will probably agree is still really mediocre), numerous complaints about organization and administration (remember, LD is run by ONE person!), and more recently, rule violations and allegations of voting abuse, Ludum Dare...honestly could be better.  Ratings feel like a flip of the coin sometimes and this year we had *category winners* that were being ranked #1 in audio, graphics, mood, when they didn't actually create their own content.  ("Wow this music is better than anything else I've heard in all of LD!" ... well, it's also a professional studio album ripped off of SoundCloud that wasn't made during the jam...)

Now, I understand that things will definitely slip through the cracks sometimes -- heck, I've even had to make some small exceptions for myself too.  I think it'd be a mistake to hold people to the letter of the law instead of worrying more about the spirit of the jam itself.  But clearly things could be a bit better.  When people don't even realize they are breaking the rules, that's a bit sad.  When voters also don't realize those people are breaking the rules, it's also sad.  I've done my part as a proper LD citizen and called several people out on their third-party assets -- usually these people actually credit the original source in their game descriptions.  That's always been met with sincere apologies, and the team or individual in question opts out of the appropriate category after I point them to the rules.  Why does this continue to be a thing?  The website has very poor usability; adding multiple people to a team and submitting a jam game together is terribly unintuitive.  There's no search function!!!  If I want to find a game's page on LD by title I literally have to use Google.  The results page is way more confusing than it used to be.  Basically almost everything was better on the old site -- though I understand that the old site was also running on super outdated technology (wordpress???) and simply needed to be replaced at some point.  Still, it's sad that we just have so many issues, after more than a year on the new site.

But it's important to remember again, that LD has sprawled out into a big mess and despite the good citizens of LD's best intents (shoutout to all you good LD citizens; you guys are great), there really isn't anything that the community as a whole can do to fix it.  It's just in the very nature, structure, and foundation of LD to be that way.  It's not run by some organization, it doesn't have funding -- it's literally just one guy's hobby.  Random people from the community can make all the posts they want about how they want to help, or could do a way better job, or whatever...but there's no way a huge decentralized community is going to effect any meaningful change -- it'd be like Reddit trying to get together to write a novel (or think Twitch Plays Pokemon).  In the end, there's no way to call the shots and really effect change without a core person or group.  Could I imagine a stronger core running LD?  Absolutely.  But that's just not the world we live in.

Despite all its shortcomings, though, LD still really does serve my needs as a game jam.  It gives me an excellent excuse to craft my art, and it provides a community of people who will actually go and try your game and provide feedback.  Sure, the site...kinda sucks a bit...and really the whole thing ought to be run better...but I can deal with that.  Probably the most relevant downside of LD for me is that the ratings are really a crapshoot, and that can feel invalidating at times, but even that's really not so bad now that I've sort of "been there, done that", so to speak.  It's also a shame that LD suffered in popularity due to its more mediocre aspects.  But LD is still a great time for me.  I've made *22 games* for Ludum Dare, and each time it's been a blast, and super fulfilling.  For that I'm thankful, and hope that it will continue to be a great experience (while also hoping that it can get its stuff together someday, haha).