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29th-Oct-2008 03:31 pm - Taking from the Penny Jar
You've seen Office Space, right? If you haven't, stop reading this right now and go watch it. No, really, stop. I said STOP. WATCH IT NOAW.

Okay, yes, well, in that movie they use a criminal strategy apparently also used in some Superman movie. Basically, they round down the fractions of pennies used in bank transactions and deposit it into an account of their own. In theory, this has the potential to, in the long run, net you some nice cash.

Okay, now take off your fantasy-land cap and let's get back to the real world. Here, we must be 100% accurate to NINE DECIMALS. That means that after the engine takes already huge dollar amounts, churns them in a giant, insanely complex tax and governmental rule calculation machine, over a period of 50 years or more, they must come out on the other end accurate to hundred millionths of a cent. This means that every round down is less than a billionth of a cent. So even with the "billions of transactions a day" advertised in the movie, the most money they could possibly make would be a dollar a day. Yep. A DOLLAR. A DAY. That's $365.25 dollars a year, or a grand total of roughly $18,000 if you let that baby cook for 50 years. Oh boy, I might as well retire RIGHT NOW and live off the earnings of this amazing viruz! I'll be RICH!!.... Or not.
27th-Oct-2008 12:54 pm - Alas, I am teh sexy
So I guess my new Facebook picture must be pretty good, as I am now receiving numerous friend requests from random girls (with whom I have no mutual friends). Funny.
25th-Oct-2008 11:25 pm(no subject)
Last night I slept from roughly 1:00am to 9:30am... Then slept off and on this afternoon from about 2:00pm to 7:00pm. I guess that was my body attempting to make up for all the sleep deprivation I accumulate during the work week.

I've had tidbits I've wanted to share on any given day, but I've forgotten them all already. I s'pose they weren't that important. Let's see if I dig a few of them up from my memory.

The weather here is very weird. It's normally cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon. I suppose it's the exact opposite of living on the west of the mountains, which somehow presents a rather moderate weather (perhaps the ocean had something to do with it, too). The other thing that I noticed is the sky likes to be stark contrasts. One day there is literally not a cloud in the sky (trust me, I looked hard), which is actually an awe-inspiring sight...Seeing nothing but blue. The next day the sky is a mass of gray clouds. Recently the weather would have been warmish if not for the negative ten degrees induced by windchill.

The city, referred to as "downtown" here, is baffling. For a brief moment the feeling of being in a big city like New York can be convincing. Except that it's really not. The "city" portion stretches for about three blocks, after which there's about another block of "residential" city-like apartments, followed immediately by standard neighborhood houses. It's a bit strange, actually, and I long for those miles of metropolis. I want to take a trip back to New York... Can it really be all I remember it being? I'll walk along the park on a windy day and watch the autumn leaves blow across the streets in front of apartments, and it reminds me of the movies.
22nd-Sep-2008 10:36 pm - Shenanigans!
I've basically been getting by on shitloads of coffee. I learned that it's actually quite tasty with a lot of cream...and sugar.

Working for a client is awesome </sarcasm>. We get these "discrepancy reports" from testers. One I had to deal with last was along the lines of "this drop-down list is supposed to run an error when an invalid item is selected, but it doesn't." Guess what the REASON for it not getting an error was? That's right, all invalid items are automatically REMOVED from the drop-down so that the user CAN'T POSSIBLY select the wrong item. However, the client is "always" right, so what did I have to do? Yep, I had to ADD INVALID ITEMS to the drop-down JUST so that an error could get thrown. It was wonderful.

Also, we got our new milestone today. It's due on October 3rd. That's in less than two weeks. How much time did we estimate it would TAKE to complete the build? 160 hours. . . . We have to cram four weeks' worth of work into two. I'm beginning to understand why they threw me on this team...

I've been going to this good sushi place for lunch recently. Good california rolls, decent katsu, original yakisoba. The people who work there are also ACTUALLY Japanese. Why the hell there are Japanese peoples in Colorado I have no idea, but it's cool. The other day I asked for "California Roll" and the lady said "okay...just one?" Haha... I don't think I've ever ordered "California Rolls" before.
29th-Aug-2008 04:37 pm - Crashing Castles, or, Castle-folk
I will just write what I plan to be a short-ish writeup on Castle Crashers. Namely, as should be expected, a critique of its gameplay elements. Specifically (yes, that's somewhat redundant), the leveling / stats system.

First off, I'd like to say that I've only been witness to the strength and magic lines, so I have no idea where the agility/ranged line lies. That said, let me briefly describe how these two skills handle in practice.

The strength tree, obviously, focuses on pure melee power. Combine this with the plethora of combo skills you learn as you level up and it makes for quite a robust skill line.

The magic tree focuses on magical spells, which for the most part consists of a generally weaker AOE spell and a stronger, mostly single target spell. The real problem here is that the attack power of these spells is essentially equivalent to what you get from the strength tree, except that fire spells is far slower than doing melee combos. This is offset somewhat by the fact that your AOE spells eventually do multiple hits of damage (A maxed fire explosion deals three hits of roughly 30 damage... For a total of 90, whereas the single target fireball deals roughly 50 damage straight up). In theory, combining the AOE attack with a large group of enemies yields more damage potential than melee attacks... However, it becomes rather easy to hit many opponents at once (or in very quick succession) with melee attacks as your combo abilities grow. So, basically, magic has lower damage potential. The trade off is that you get to attack from a safe distance.

This is fine and dandy (somewhat...) until you start to group up and your melee fighter is killing twice the enemies and hence leveling twice as fast. This creates a very odd balance that only continuously grows larger as the game progresses.

Now, it could have just been that I was using a bad magic class. I was leveling with one of the unlockable characters until I switched to my already high level fire mage -- who was just about able to dish out the same damage... As long as the area wasn't filled with magic-resistant enemies... An aspect that I found odd considering that, as far as I know, there are no physically-resistant enemies, or at least not as highly (3/4 to 4/5 damage reduction) as the magical ones. Or it could be that I wasn't playing the class correctly. EG perhaps you're supposed to combine the magic attacks with physical attacks. This would, of course, completely destroy the long-range aspect of the spells. Stack that with the fact that your magical spells increase in range as you level them, and it definitely seems like casters are supposed to remain out of the fray.

I can only imagine this problem would be much worse if one class was a pure tank (defense leveling). I think the game could definitely benefit from more party sharing of experience.

Well, that's basically all I have to say about that. I wonder if anybody else had a different experience than I did..?
26th-Aug-2008 10:52 pm - A factual analysis of controllers
The debate of the best controller is a long-standing one, and one on which I have a strong bias. I have loved the Dualshock controller ever since I first picked one up for my Playstation (as a replacement for the original, rumble-less, analog-less one). There's no question that the original XBox controller is rather subpar, but I've heard many-a-people praise the 360 controller. I never thought it was anything special. Here I attempt to show actual evidence as to why I have concluded that the DualShock controller is superior (using a DualShock2 and 360 controller as references).

Read the full entryCollapse )

For those of you without the stomach to read through that entire article, here's the key points:

-360 buttons have hard edges that hurt the thumbs
-360 buttons are spaced closer together and are digital, making them theoretically better for fighting games
-360 thumbsticks have knobs that also hurt the thumbs
-PS2 controller has theoretically uncomfortable left stick placement, but seamless in practice
-360 shoulder 'bunker' buttons are uncomfortable to press and 'trigger' buttons aren't very "button"-like
-PS2 shoulder buttons are all comfortable to press

Feel free to contest any of these claims if you'd like, but most of it is factual and so the best argument you can likely give is that of ignorance -- "Oh, the buttons don't hurt MY fingers." Perhaps I'll give you that the 360 triggers are better for controller car speed (even though I found that holding the sticks in all the way were, again, uncomfortable), but then perhaps the DualShock3's new shoulder analogs are just as good (and more comfortable to hold in!).
10th-Jun-2008 05:22 pm - Babar
Not really sure why I'm writing this, but I am.

So, America is a two-party country. There's Democrats and Republicans. However, people can actually be more fairly divided into four parties. The most prominent of these is, perhaps, Libertarian. Libertarians have traditionally voted Republican, even though they technically share views with both parties.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because Bob Barr, the Libertarian nominee, was recently on The Colbert Report. While I think it's neat that the county is beginning to recognize the four party system, I can't help but also think that this will, at best, do for us what Roosevelt's Bull Moose party did: Split the Republican vote. Even though this could theoretically draft certain would-be Democrats across, Libertarians seem to be split between those who know what they are (Republican) and those who think they're really Democrats.

Granted, Bob Barr isn't anyone in the vein of recognition as Roosevelt, a former President, had been. But then again, there wasn't as global a coverage back then as is delivered via cable broadcast nowadays.
1st-May-2008 09:19 pm - Invasion of the Parents =O
Unlike MOST of my weekends, this past one was rather eventful. Oh, where do I start?

So, all of last week was devoted to doing final projects. I did three projects over four days. Not bad.

Then I had a film "final" on Friday, which consisted of waiting around for your turn, wherein you had seven minutes to argue your grade. At least that was the idea. My seven minutes was more like Jimbo (the professor) saying "Oh my God you're amazing. A plus plus plus." Soooooo, yeah.
Perhaps also of note is that for the past few weeks, Heather's seemed to have been rather a bit coy with me. On Friday, though, I pointed out how her pant cuffs were torn up. She was like "huh?" wherein a proceeded to grab the cuffs, which startled her and made her jump and yell at me or something (which I laughed at). After this event, she started playing with me like she used to. Rather curious.

My parents arrived via plane around 9:00 AM that day. I was waiting around to take the final (or perhaps it was afterwards) when they called. It took them 30 minutes to find DigiPen, and another 30 to find the art campus. Heather and Grant finished their "finals" with Jimbo and I headed out with them, where I met John -- also waiting for a ride. We talked about "omg we're graduating!" for a bit until my parents finally showed up.

The rest is, honestly, a bit blurry. My parents were tolerable (and perhaps even fun) for all of three hours before I was bored with them and just wanted them gone. They stayed in my room, so I had to try and live without a computer for a few days.

My graduation ceremony was on Sunday. Not too much to say about that, really. I found myself exceptionally reluctant to finally be done with this school. Odd, eh?

My parents helped me buy a car. I am now the ambivalent owner of a 2001 Ford Focus with 123k miles on it. Not my personal choice for a car, but, hey, it's a car.

On the job front, I might just take a job that does indeed have one of those crappy non-compete clauses, as it's looking like Microsoft really wants me. I take the gauntlet on Tuesday.

I should find out if there's not some kind of party this weekend.
24th-Apr-2008 05:30 am(no subject)
Firefly definitely died a very premature death.

Casanova is a really, really good movie. It reminds me ever so slightly of a Mel Brooks movie: light, extremely funny comedy.

Uhhhhhhhhhh... Ask me a question.
12th-Apr-2008 04:34 pm - On Hyper Dimension class skills
I've made a few posts about class skills in Hyper Dimension. As you may know, Hyper Dimension implores a bit of an FFVII materia-like system where you can put abilities into slots on weapons and armors ("slot" being a rather generic term, as some enchanted items like maybe a keychain or a feather can be attached for an effect). But the thing about this system, while being insanely customizable, is that it's slightly limiting. For one, this completely eliminates classes. I somewhat solved by having ability-specific slots. But there's still a lot of inherent problems with this, as I'd like more character-based abilities as opposed to materia-based ones.

And so I decided to add in a separate class system that allowed you to expand your abilities to allow for equipping of better weapons, or increasing your capabilities in a given field (magic) or ability (counter attack). This, however, brought up the problem of duplication: Should Evade & Counter be a materia skill or a class skill? What about HP+? This is further complicated by the fact that the game allows for materia splicing: You can put two materia together to form a stronger materia. All of this gave me a bit of a headache, and I decided perhaps I should make more active abilities be materia and more passive abilities be skills.

Then I went back and read my Mission-Lock post and saw myself explain how intricately awesome the materia system of FFVII was woven. There's also the fact that Hyper Dimension is SUPPOSED to be very materia based, as elementals (the materia) are not used in the sequel. There's also the fact that you can distinguish between materia on weapons and materia on armor. And so I decided to make it ALL materia. The active abiltiies go to the weapons and the passive abilities go to the armor. The "special" abilities, such as allowing you to equip a better weapon, go to accessories. This also solves my OTHER problem: that of forcefully limiting the class skills a character can equip (my main example was forcing them to choose between dual-wielding daggers or upgrading to allow the use of short swords).

There is, of course, another flaw here: I had originally allowed any character to equip any weapon or armor (but to great hindrance to the wearer if he or she wasn't skilled with it). With this new system, however, that basically makes all characters equal in class. My only solution would seem to be to force equipment to certain characters, or make abilities have to be "unlocked" before they can be used (I had originally devised a scheme based on killed enemies for the class skills). I *might* keep that in to handle that. Other options include limiting the number of certain equipments, forcing you to have ONE counter-attack character, for example. Who that actually is, however, is up to the player.

By the way, I don't make these posts just willy nilly. I want feedback... In fact, if I don't get feedback, I may stop making these, considering that DigiPen students freely see this now and I'm sure plenty of them would love to steal some of these ideas.
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