Life – August 2015

posted in: blog | 0

Mmmm… Work this month has been pretty tough, with my days off being spaced rather awfully, and resulting in me having to work 7 or 8 days in a row each time.

Outside of work hours, I’ve been up to a few bits and pieces, not all of it productive of course…

 

Job Hunt

– have been interviewing for a desktop support / engineering position at Ocado, while the money seems good, if I do actually get the job it will be quite the radical lifestyle change for me, and that’s something that kind of terrifies me. I’d be going from an easy job doing 7 hours a day (including commute time) to a rather gruelling 14 hour work day (including 1hr commute each way), but i’d at least be getting a solid rota in 4 days on, 4 days off style. The more worrying bit however is that the position is in Hatfield, which means i’d maybe have to move house, and at the very least it would require buying a car to be able to commute. If it all works out, it’d be fine, and probably a good opportunity to jump into the next chapter of my life, but god the idea of it is scary.

TV

– Have been finishing up The Genius season 2 with my brother, only the finale to go now, such a crazy show; and speaking of crazy shows, I also got into Rick and Morty, the pilot episode was kind of weak, but giving it a few more episodes it very quickly managed to work it’s charm on me, the episodes and jokes are super hit and miss but the hits are golden and the emphasis on sci fi is pretty interesting and refreshing too. I ended up zerging through the first season pretty rapidly, and am almost up to current. I tried watching a bit of Steven universe as well but god that show was lame as fuck from the one episode I watched, I’m not sure I want to put myself through any more of that – Like I wasn’t particularly sold on the pilot of rick and morty as well but at least it was interesting, steven universe on the other hand was genuinely in the realm of awful imo.

Video Games –

– Ended up being tempted to try Final Fantasy 14 as some friends were starting it up, I really wanted to like it but the combat system seemed pretty dull, and looking ahead in the skill trees and such, didn’t look like it was going to get any better. From what I could see there didn’t appear to be any skill specialization or way to customize your character at all : can’t spec into certain type of skill, no traits or talents, no perk system, etc etc. Ended up dropping it after a few days, before I even hit the level cap of the game trial.

– Spurred on now by a weird urge to play something vaguely MMO like (Tree of Savior and Maplestory 2 can’t come out soon enough), I thought now would be a good opportunity to give EVE Online a try, I bought a starter pack back in 2013 and so dug out the key and downloaded the tiny client. While the game seemed neat and pretty interesting on a meta level, it (like FF14) didn’t seem to actually be much fun, more of a slow grind. After completing the tutorial it was hard to grasp exactly what I was supposed to be doing, I could make money, I could go on missions and destroy stuff… but what good would it do? Why would I want to farm this digital currency, or spend upwards of 5-10 minutes having a very dull space shootout. I don’t think i’ll be going back, there is an interesting game buried in there somewhere for sure, but short of farming up money for weeks to be able to afford a PVP ship and piss off other users, i’m not sure where the enjoyment is to be found.

– Which lead me to trying to find something long and vaguely addictive to burn some time on, which as it turns out, is ARPG’s, I played through the entirety of Van Helsing II, it turned out to be pretty damn fun, though not quite fun enough for me to run through it a second time on veteran mode, so after clearing that I thought i’d turn to Torchlight 2, which I started playing back in 2013 but never really got very far in.

Other Stuff –

– Weird feeling in my right arm/shoulder, feels like my arm isn’t in the socket properly, I used to be able to click my shoulders by raising my arms in a certain way but it doesn’t do it any more, it also feels like I can’t get much power into my arm, not really sure how to resolve it though.

The genius (Korean TV)

posted in: TV | 0

Did you enjoy Kaiji or Liar Game? Have you ever watched a show and thought to youself ‘This is cool and all, but I wish they would backstab each other more’?

Well do I have the show for you!

genius1

My brother introduced me to the show, though I have no idea where or how he found it, but ever since we started watching, we’ve been hooked, watching nightly. Episodes are 1hr long (1.5hrs long in Season 2), there are 12 episodes in a season, and so far there are 4 seasons, with season 4 currently airing.

The show is summarized pretty well in the english trailer below, but the jist of it is 13 people enter, they play a large game, then the loser gets placed in the 1v1 deathmatch for survival and picks an opponent of their choice. Large games tend to devolve into who can betray the other better, or similarly finding out who is trying to betray you and using that to your advantage, Other games often go down the route of who can exploit and understand the rules best.

The contestants themselves are an interesting mix of korean celebrities, ranging from weather forecasters, to kpop group members, to fucking BoxeR and YellOw from Starcraft.

It’s genuinely a really interesting game, in particular watching the group show their true colours, with some playing the social game, some just scraping to survive and others going for pure strategy and logic to win.

 

Here is a trailer, which is actually in full English, apparently.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQem4x_JGIg” ]

Those interested can watch here – http://kshowonline.com/category/71/the-genius , just be careful about scrolling the comments at the bottom of the video, as there are probably spoilers.

An Untapped game genre: The factory builder

posted in: Games | 0

So in very late 2013 we used to play a lot of Minecraft, the tekkit modpack in particular – this modpack included a ton of smaller mods within it, but the jist of it is that you gained access to factory machinery, electricity, pipes, pumps, conveyor belts, build things from blueprints, and a ton of other things which are less relevant to this blog post. Going on a personal mission to build a self sustaining mining/farming operation in tekkit was genuinely one of the greatest video game experiences i’ve had – planning out individual areas, before linking them into a carefully designed production line, to be broken down or sorted for later use (or stockpiling because you can).
For those unfamiliar, a vague example of something you could do would be like… an automatic mining operation produces gold and silver -> send it to the pulverizer to turn it into powder -> powders go into a machine to mix them into a powder blend -> blend goes into a smelter to make electrum ingots -> ingots go to another machine to turn them into ???
However of course in the above example, how do you seperate the gold and silver from everything else being mined, how do you select for those two powders to go into the mixing machine together, what happens if the smelter is full, etc etc.

javaw 2014-01-06 12-03-53-81 javaw 2014-01-06 12-04-41-53

This stuff has been around for years now, why then are there still hardly any games in this subgenre? One could argue that the subgenre has always been a part of games like city builders or other games with digitial economies but they don’t quite function in the same way, (eg. Commercial business in cities skylines require Industrial goods, which require staff from residential) and they certainly don’t have the magic I experienced back in 2013.

Zachtronics have gone a kind of offshoot with most of their recent games; spacechem and infinifactory – these games provide a single element of what I believe to be the factory genre, that being the complex engineering part, zachtronics takes it to the extreme making it a goddamn nightmare to even produce a single product in most cases, and while it’s very satisfying to admire your assembly once it’s finally done, most of the levels in these games are just that – levels, single compartmented achievements.

infinifactory
infinifactory
spacechem
spacechem

I haven’t really found much else that is similar and fully released, perhaps this genre is too niche? A few searches on google have suggested OTTD, but that’s about it.

But wait.

There are two on the way.

Big Pharma is one of the games i’ve had my eye on for maybe a year or so now? It looks to be similar to what i’m looking for, though i’m yet to go out and buy it because I want to wait for the full release. The jist of it however is to design and make a drugs factory – a mix of business sim and logistics puzzle, probably with some quirky machinery involved.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85I89ZrwIfU” ]

Factorio is the other one, which I only very recently found out about (It’s still in Alpha). Unlike Big Pharma, it sticks with the mining theme i’m more used to, and drops the business simulation stuff for what appears to be some form of base defence mechanic. I haven’t actually played this one yet either, but i’ll be keeping an eye on it to see how it turns out, because it definitely seems to have the massive factory thing that i’m looking for.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yDZM0diiYc” ]

It’ll be interesting to see if these two games do well upon release, Many people never played tekkit as it was kind of an oxymoron – a very grown up and complicated mod in a game primarily played by children and those that watch pewdiepie videos. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to me if it suddenly kicks off it’s own genre and set of clones in a way that minecraft introduced the open world crafting/survival bullshit phase that indie games are finally starting to phase out of.

Long story short: It’s strangely satisfying spending 2 hours designing something that will do a 3 minute task over and over again. I want to play more games like these.