Saturday, July 27, 2019

Life has continued to be pretty good these days...

Took another crew out to the deep for Space Alert and we managed to successfully complete all of our missions, including a hilarious SNAFU where we managed to end the mission with the right side of our ship completely falling apart and two of us knocked out by a plasmatic fighter...

DJed for FNW again yesterday!  Man it is really warm these days, sometimes I forget since I'm always indoors with A/C at home now (spoiled...).  It wasn't as stressful as last time, maybe I was just nervous that day or something *shrug*.  Anyways, my next gig will be JaSmix, going to make sure to cram all of the best songs into my set for that of course!

I've started trying to work on my JaSmix workshop as well.  Thinking about teaching these things has actually definitely given me the impetus to actually improve my dancing, which was sort of a pleasant surprise.  I guess it's as good of a motivation as any to try something a bit different with my dance and really explore it so that I can talk about it effectively.  Well, hopefully anyways.  We'll see how it goes.

Was really happy with my OHC entry this past week, had a sort of System Shock 2 vibe going with some neat rhythmic filtered pads.  (Speaking of System Shock 2, been thinking about going back and finishing that Ponterbee Station playthrough...)  I've started on the next composition on my plate which is another VGM remix -- that one is coming along, but fairly slowly, which is slightly concerning, but I guess not all of these can be things that I knock out in a single hour...

Studied Puyo a bit for PPT and it's definitely been more than good enough to cover my butt when I totally screw up in Tetris and fail to do anything meaningful lol.  There's still a lot of experience that I need on both sides to really understand a lot of effective play though.  Sometimes in Tetris I still just sort of blindly downstack without really doing anything effective.

The other week I was thinking a lot about tactics games and why Tactics Ogre really impressed me, even though in some aspects it was less "cool" than FFT.  I went and looked at some FFT mods actually, seeing if there was anything that was maybe worth playing through, but in the end decided not to.  I think the thing about Tactics Ogre (or, the One Vision mod specifically), is that it really managed to bring "Tactics" to the genre, which I appreciated.  In these tactics games, both class design and equipment choices should always be about tradeoffs and specialization.  It doesn't make sense to have a unit that is a jack-of-all-trades because you can only do a single thing per turn, so specialization is the name of the game.  But there always needs to be strengths that are balanced out by weaknesses, and each unit needs to have a defined role.  There can be mages that have high magical attack, but really weak defense.  That creates the need for knights which are really good at defending squishy units -- and in Tactics Ogre they even come with movement-inhibiting abilities that prevent enemies from just waltzing right past them and attacking your squishy mages.  But then you've also got archers which can attack the mages from afar without having to deal with the knights, but only if they have good positioning.  Again, it's all about tradeoffs.  That's an area where FFT definitely falls short -- FFT is more about just making cool combos and doing the most damage with everyone.  In FFT if you deal more damage, you do more damage to EVERYTHING, and class and equip configs just become a matter of who can out-DPS everything else and have the speed to apply it.  In Tactics Ogre on the other hand, you have Ninjas that can dual-wield daggers/katanas, which are excellent against squishy targets like mages and archers.  So the ninja is this specialized assassin unit whose role is to use high mobility to take out the high priority targets, and use high evasion and one-time defensive abilities to avoid getting killed along the way.  But ninjas can't really do nearly as much damage to tanky knights, because knights have a lot of defense, and that defense gets applied to BOTH of the hits of your dual-attack.  So what do you do if you need to take out these heavy knights?  Well, you either need mages, or you need a berserker unit that can wield a massive two-handed hammer/maul to chunk through their defense.  Again, more specialization.  Even in unit formations, there are tradeoffs -- you want to have your tanky frontline units surrounding/protecting your DPS dealers in the back, and you don't want to just leave holes in your formation everywhere, but at the same time if you clump everyone up that's just asking to be hit by AoE magic spells.  Tradeoffs!  That kind of thing is just not possible in FFT since you only have 5 units or so...

I finally got a "god run" in risk of rain 2 with Rex, and unlocked the final achievement, so now I've unlocked everything in the entire game!  It started off with an early 57-leaf-clover (best item in the game) and ended up spiraling way out of control when I got another 57-leaf-clover, some other good items, a ceremonial dagger, shaped glass, etc.  The early game was a bit stressful since Rex needs very careful HP management, but once I got to a certain point the shaped glass + ceremonial dagger was just sort of decimating everything and I also found a teddy bear printer and got myself 13 teddy bears so I had a ton of evasion as well.  After a while I ended up stacking FOUR shaped glass so I was now dealing 1600% damage and things were just melting even with just my auto-attack (not even my secondary attack!).  It got to the point where the ceremonial daggers would just insta-kill everything that spawned, including the teleporter bosses, and I basically only ever had to attack at the very beginning of a level to get things started.  Pretty insane.  Even after leaving my computer running overnight (perched in a safe spot), I was still pretty much instantly killing everything.  The only thing that could possibly kill me is Happiest Mask, which is currently bugged and sometimes the ghosts actually end up attacking (and dealing damage to) you for some reason.  So after getting bored, that's how I ended up going out.  (Would have liked to go to a shrine of order at some point for the lulz, but didn't find one.)

Went to see the 3rd Hibike movie a couple weeks was good, enjoyable, but certainly not up to the level of either of the anime seasons, nor Liz and the Blue Bird.  I think there were some really interesting feelings that got evoked with how much things changed, and how inconsequential some things seemed when put into the perspective of transience (or maybe that's just how I feel about everything) the same time it feels like the movie was not really saying that much, and some of the themes really felt very muddled, especially when compared to some things that happened in earlier seasons that were very very very strong.  Their performance was certainly beautifully rendered, I'll give you that...

Monday, July 15, 2019

It's been half a month...sorry!

Let's see here...

My new mechanical keyboard
Is a joy to type on.  For reference, it's a Pink Filco Majestouch 2 with cherry MX 'brown' switches and it looks just beautiful.  I've really gotten used to the feeling of the keys and there's definitely this feeling of tactile satisfaction that just....still makes me just want to press on the keys randomly every once in a while.  The Razer Basilisk has been working out pretty well too -- I think the only thing I wish I could do is configure the media keys to respond or not respond to certain apps (too often it tries to control a youtube video in chrome or whatever instead of foobar running in the background) but it's not a huge deal.  Having a modifier click + mouse wheel as volume adjustment is way more useful than I would have thought -- really glad I decided to map that combo.

Dear Toki
Is the game I ended up putting out for Friendship Jam and people seem to have enjoyed it!  It's a short text-based game about writing letters to reconnect to a long-lost friend and you can play it here.

pCloud as a replacement for Dropbox
Has more or less been working OK, though I've found that the automatic syncing function feels quite a bit slower than directly working with the pCloud drive network-mapped folder.  That might warrant some changes in how I organize things and what files/folders I'm choosing to make available offline, but I'm going to have to do some experimentation to know for sure.  It could be that I always grab things from pCloud Drive (?? not sure if that will work well for mapping my desktop folder to it) but use the make available offline option...

Risk of Rain 2
Has continued to be pretty enjoyable as I just continue to do random runs on Monsoon difficulty.  I've actually just unlocked two new items -- the guilliotine and the royal capacitor, both of which are actually very very good items, so that may actually have an impact on my runs moving forward.

Puyo Puyo / Tetris
I've gotten slightly better at Puyo, but most of my random practice has actually been maintaining 4-wide combos in Tetris, which has just been...a fun little mindless thing to practice every now and then.

Dance stuff
I'll be teaching a styling workshop this Saturday (come out to the GCC and join us!) and am also continuing to put things together for JaSmix next month (woo!)

Overall is continuing to go pretty well these days.  I had a lot of things that I felt like I needed to take care of these past couple of weeks, yet I also managed to take care of a lot/most of them, I feel like.  I had a couple of music commissions to work through, for example, and I knocked them out extremely quickly (being able to work fast is really a blessing).  Even taking care of a bunch of random adulting stuff like new insurance plans, replacing car air filters, blahblahblahblah.......

I'm somewhat inspired to try shui zhu yu yet again (lol) by a recent visit to a sichuan restaurant (I want to try and do better than them), but actually my most recent cooking experiment has been sous vide BBQ pork ribs cooked for 36 hours which actually turned out pretty great!  I made them a bit on the salty side because I used a bit more dry rub than recommended in the recipe (oops) but they were very tender at 145 degrees and weren't really a ton of work either.  Definitely something I'd endeavor to try again.

I thought about Kiki a lot last week.  I still love her deeply, that is plain as day to me.  Though it's a bit sad, I think it's also a bit of a relief.  That that aspect of me perhaps may never change.  When something was once so important to you, that you can't help but keep it close to you, even if you didn't try at all.

Space Alert
I took a new crew out to The Deep for a try at some sessions of Space Alert this past weekend, to a surprising great success!  As usual I was the acting captain on our Sitting-Duck class ship, along with our chief engineer who had flown a couple missions out to The Deep in the past; the other two were newbie cadets straight out of the academy and we had to show them the ropes and bring them up to speed...I probably ended up barking out a bunch of orders to them during our simulation missions, but they had good instincts, at least for rookies -- they communicated their actions more clearly than my previous squad had, and they even shot some extra laser charges towards the end of the mission just in case.

I woke up in the cloning vat two days after and came to the realization that our first live mission had failed.  Unsurprising, but I still grimaced when I looked at the black box recording and realized what had happened -- in the heat of the action, both of our rookies had tripped -- one was trying to get port side and slammed right into the firing console for the main laser before picking herself up and limping the rest of the way.  I reprimanded them a bit afterwards, but one of them had managed to fix a fissure on that side of the ship with the battlebots and interceptors, so I admitted I had to give them some credit.

We ended up having 3 successful missions into The Deep, one with only a single scratch on our armor by a grazing attack, no less, making it my most successful new crew yet.  We even tried our luck at one of the longer missions out by the nebula, though as quickly as we moved, it wasn't quite enough to handle the constant barrage of threats.

Still, I had to count my blessings after it was all over.  Thinking on the missions also made me question the tools I bring with me on every mission -- I've always known how to work the pulse cannon better than anyone; if you've got an extra fuse and know where to poke the console, you can overload the safety threshold on the phase capacitor and extend the range out to match that of the other laser cannons.  But lately I've been wondering if I should perhaps pack my Special Ops equipment instead, or maybe a crescent wrench that I could use to jury-rig the rocket launcher like ol Yoshiko used to.  I'll have to think on it, for sure...