Procedurally Generated - Now With Twice the Let's Plays

On Running A Webserver


For some unknowable reason, WordPress was unable to figure out where it’s installed, despite that not changing for let me check here… 5 years. I also can’t SSH into the damn thing for some unknown reason, which makes fixing things even harder and I’m pretty sure precludes the ‘fine I’ll just do it myself’ option. This is also wordpress’s biggest flaw, you need to balance not being an idiot with just 0777ing your entire /public_html so things just work. I’ve put a couple hours into this already, which is annoying.

In the process of all this, I also htaccessed some file into oblivion that was being brute forced to the tune of about 3 gigs/month. Now that’s persistence.

And the CPanel admin account has 18000 emails from backscatter for non-existent emails. *deeper sigh*. Double checked the email settings to make sure I’m not actually spamming people, but SMTP traffic for december is 250kb, I figure I’m good.

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Desert Bus 9: Sooooon

Less than a week away now, it starts at 10AM Pacific on Saturday. I also got in real early on donations and got 8 hours all to myself.

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Pseudo Review: Human Resources Machine

Human Resources Machine is a coding puzzler by the people who brought you World of Goo and Little Inferno.

You get some assembler-style commands and problems to solve.

You get some assembler-style commands and problems to solve.

The game tops out at a full null terminated string sort, which proves annoying due to the lack of anything resembling an IF statement.

The game tops out at around a full null terminated string sort, which proves annoying due to the lack of anything resembling an IF statement, functions, less than greater than comparitors, and code indenting. My implementation is horrible because I am horrible at assembler apparently.

I enjoyed my time with it, if only because playing with assembler is a bit of a novelty compared to day to day coding. It lasted me about 5 hours, and I skipped a couple of the more challenging optional puzzles because implementing solutions would have been annoying. If you don’t have a CS background, some of the puzzles may require you to break out the paper or search the internet to figure out how the underlying algorithm works, as the game does not hold your hand at all.

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First Impressions: Space Engineers Early Access

Space engineers is Minecraft, but in space and not as good. That may be an unfair comparison to make, but even against alpha minecraft I’m not sure it holds up too well. The next major upgrade seems to be planets to explore, which will definitely necessitate another look, but for right now, I’m done with the game.

This is my space hovel. I've basically got a nice production setup going here, hidden behind a whole lot of unfinished walls.

This is my space hovel. I’ve basically got a nice production setup going here, hidden behind a whole lot of unfinished walls. You’ll also note that the block size is waaaay larger than minecraft.

Right now the game has two problems for me. The first is that there’s no tier system/progression, which means you can create anything right out of the gate if you have the resources (which you have access to immediately as long as you can find them, which isn’t hard), but that means there’s nothing cool at the beginning you can’t build. The second is that automation is largely just pointlessly scaling up. Build a bigger ship so you can mine more resources so you can build more refineries and assemblers so you can build an even bigger ship to mine more resources with.

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On The Passage of Time

Been about a month since I dumped things out of my brain, in which time I’ve had a hard drive start failing, started a new job, read enough translated Xianxias to be incapable of remembering any of them, and played a few videogames.

I might do pseudo reviews for some or all of them, but in summary: Undertale (Amazing), Life is Strange (Also Amazing), Terraria (Meh), Starbound (better than Terraria, but lacking staying power), Abyss Odyssey (Surprisingly decent roguelike platformer/brawler), Race The Sun (decent zone-out dodge things game), and Space Engineers (Still deciding, but it’s no modded minecraft).

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On Regional Pricing

So I opened up steam and found this lovely surprise.

Congrats 2K, you've taken a title I was willing to pay full price for, and ensured I'm not going to buy it for less than 75% off.

Congrats 2K, you’ve taken a title I was willing to pay full price/pre-order for, and ensured I’m not going to buy it for less than 75% off.

*Sigh* Ignoring opening pre-orders 6 months early, sixty dollars was already a price point I was barely willing to pay, for a rare few games that I was assured quality and hundreds of hours of entertainment. I loved the new version of XCOM, generally like most of the stuff Firaxis has put out recently, and thus XCOM2 has about as much good will as I’m willing to loan out. Turns out that’s not $80 worth.

You’re competing against a market of low-price indies and my existing steam library, price accordingly people.

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On PAX 2015

Another PAX complete! My 3ds claims I walked 40k steps, got ~500 streetpasses and generally had a pretty good time. Highlights included a puzzle room in an actual vault that was hidden away in the card against humanity area, and some late night Johan Sebastian Joust (aka the only fun thing to do with a move controller). I also found a couple interesting looking games I didn’t already know about on the expo hall floor so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. There were also some substantial (for PAX anyway) panels this year, which was a nice surprise.

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On Curses and New Technology

So my PAX phone curse hit earlier in the month than usual, but was still powerful enough to reduce my Nexus 4 to unusable slag. For those keeping score at home, that’s 5 for 6.

Fortunately Google ships quickly. Unfortunately the only nexus device available for sale at the moment is the Nexus 6, which is about an inch larger than my previous phone. This is too big for my tastes (same footprint as a bloody 3DS XL) and I do not have enough pockets to be able to handle it gracefully. It’s also the first time my holster, originally for a HP Windows CE smartphone monstrosity, has proven to be insufficient. We’ve also transitioned to nano-sims for that extra little bonus pain. I now have a sim cutter if anyone needs to borrow it.

As to the phone itself, it sure is a phablet with Android Lolipop. I do appreciate that I no longer have to install Tasker to have a schedule where my phone knows when to be silent, though I am missing the ability to trigger off of cell towers and wifi networks. I’ll dig out my laptop and root it at some point, since I’m also missing the ability to deny apps the ability to do things with droidwall.

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Pseudo Review: Skyforge

Skyforge is a F2P MMORPG themed around sci-fi/fantasy gods.

It's also very pretty.

It’s also very pretty.

Progression (no leveling, no real reason to fight enemies) is largely managed by a sphere grid, and capped by a weekly resource limit (which means taking several months to several years to unlock every node). While it’s in theory larger than path of exiles, the general linearity and nodes being largely unexciting and samey means in practice you set a path to a class unlock you want and ignore the rest. You get three classes to start and can switch between them at any point. There’s no real penalty for dying, and there’s no real depth to the items you pick up.

The story/mission structure is pretty similar to the Destiny model. You have a main story thread that you skip through the bad voice acting, inane dialogue, and poor lip sync and have no clue why you’re doing things. You deploy from a hub to either various repeatable instances or some repeatable openish world locations. Both become incredibly boring incredibly quickly. There’s no joy in exploring the open world sections because missions are auto-acquired by entering nearby areas, and there’s no reason to go off the beaten trail. Quests are entirely what you think they are, and also fairly grindy.

The UI is passable, but you can’t turn off general chat, which means I learned all sorts of new and horribly offensive ways to insult strangers on the internet. There’s also a 2000-era hilariously bad profanity filter for some unknown reason. This is also likely your only way of interacting with other people. There’s no crafting, trading, auction house, only 2 or 3 group dungeons that can’t be soloed and generally no real reason to talk to people. There is a pretty decent custom character creator, which seems largely pointless when you are zoomed out as far as possible to see whats going on around you.

Combat is… interesting in theory. There’s no healing class in skyforge, which means that you’re relying in health orbs dropped every time you knock a health bar off of a boss. The problem is, it’s largely timing dodges to avoid massive 1 to 2 hit kill shots in a lag based environment. There’s also a problem of your screen being completely full of attack effects and being unable to see the boss winding up to telegraph said insta-kill. Bosses range from interesting to completely interminable (standing there repeating the same sequence of actions for 10 minutes). Non boss combat is both boring and harder than bosses about 1/4 of the time, because it’s largely based around aggroing large swarms of enemies. There’s no real kiting or watching patrols to pick off stragglers, you just fight the whole group and then move on to the next group.

Overall, about the only thing I can really praise about this is the monetization, which allows the unlocking of some classes early for money and some unique clothes. Everything is attainable in-game without buying in, and there’s no massive pay-to-win advantage granted to those who do purchase. The rest of the game feels like disjointed parts that aren’t deep enough and don’t form together to make an enjoyable experience.

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Pseudo Review: Path of Exile

Path of Exile is basically Diablo 2 with a few tweaks, and always online and F2P.

Like so diablo 2 it hurts.

Like so Diablo 2 it hurts. At least the potions recharge instead of requiring stacks of consumables.

The main draw of the game is its massive skill tree, allowing you to specialize pretty heavily. The meta seems to be focused around the hardcore ladders and constantly building new characters to try out different builds.

Which is also it's barrier to entry.

This is also its barrier to entry, this is basically a third of it. Each class starts at a different point on the grid, so in theory you can take any node if you’re willing to spend the points to get there.

If you were looking for more Diablo 2, this is probably worth looking into. Other than that it’s free, so you can always try and see if you like it.

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