ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
Hi. Yes, I'm alive. There's been a bit of things that happened since my last post.

Health )

PAX East 2013 )
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
A Thought: Epic hilarity would occur if the crew of the SSV Normandy showed up on Atlantis in the Pegasus. Although I'm pretty sure Tali'Zorah would run circles around McKay, both out-doing and out-snarking him. (Tali'Zorah made this drone in a cave! With a box of scraps! No, seriously, she can do that shit. "Please Shepard; I'm a Quarian! Give me a hunk of scrap metal, a circuit board, and some element zero, and I'll have it making precision jumps!")

I'm really liking how all the races in the ME universe are distinct and nuanced. None of the major races seen are monolithic entities, and each have their own social issues, not to mention prejudice between the different species that exists on a spectrum. The minor races are a bit less nuanced, at least so far, but that's mostly because they're not heavily intertwined with the plot. So you only see a few examples.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
So, on Monday this past week, over lunch, DMark managed to convince me to download League of Legends so that we all could play against the internet. (Because we actually tend to be pretty good at that) What is LoL? It's a PvP RTS sort of like Demigod: control a character on a team, level him or her up throughout the game by beating minions or other players, and then destroy the other team's base. Unlike Demigod, LoL is a) free, b) has 1 map, and c) has about 80 characters, 10 of which are free any one week (and then they rotate through the 80). So there's a lot of mechanically interesting characters to play.

In case it's not completely obvious, I'm sort of addicted.

(It might have been decided that there's a specific character that I have to play when she's needed, because otherwise, the namespace collision makes life too confusing on TeamSpeak. This would be the identical namespace collision I ran into for FFXII that had me twitching during cutscenes for the first 20 hours.)

Today, a bunch of us piled into a car and drove out for really good Chinese noodles and Gaming Underground, an awesome used game store with arcade machines and systems and screens to rent so you can play old school games right there. I was convinced to finally try DDR, and to my utter surprise, I found that I like it. I absolutely suck right now, but I like it and I was able to play without utterly fucking up my knee again. (This involves keeping a grip on the back bar the entire time so every jump and twist is supported by my arms.) So yay me. I CAN SORT OF JUMP AGAIN!

Speaking of gaming, I finally finished reading Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, which I bought back in March. (It took me so long because I mostly read it in 10 minute chunks on the subway on my Kindle, and there was a month I chose to read Black Lagoon manga instead) It's actually a really good argument about how aspects of games and game design can influence and affect the real world in very positive ways. From Chore Wars, the ARG that convinces you that chores can be fun, to Folding@Home, the protein-folding distributed computing program that comes on every PS3 sold to further scientific research, McGonigal gives examples of how positive games have been in small ways in reality. And argues the point that my generation is a generation of gamers, and that gamers have a huge, mostly-untapped potential to do a world of good. It's certainly an interesting read, and sort of makes me want to hand a copy to my parents who said that gaming would never help me in real life.

(And now, since apparently I can't deal with that much optimism, I'm reading what might be one of the most depressing books I've ever read. And my high school lit classes were awash in shining examples of depressing books.)
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
I'd picked up Hydrophobia: Prophecy on Steam on a whim a few weeks ago when it was on pre-order. Okay, the whim was entirely driven by the trailer with the very pretty fluid dynamics, and I'm very happy to say that said fluid dynamics were not pre-rendered. Apparently, the studio who made the game had an aerospace/aeronautical engineering PhD formulate new equations for the fluid mechanics in the game, to make it as realistic as possible with current hardware and the engine. This is significant. Fluid Dynamics Are Hard. Trust me. As it is, I am pleased with this.

It came out today, I've played through Act 1, and I'm pretty sure this was $10 well spent. The setting is some underwater city/boat, it's attacked by terrorists, and who's the one on the job that's gonna save everyone or at least get out alive (because it's the PC, and we know how these things work)?

That's right, the goddamn female engineer. *pumps fist*

Damn straight.

(Kate is having A Bad Day. Her computer stopped working, it's her day night off and she's apparently a workaholic, and then goddamn terrorists attack and now she's swimming up elevator shafts and dodging fire and shooting dangling cables so she doesn't get electrocuted because the entire place is flooding. Oh, and has to hack through her own security system.

Clearly, she and Chell need to go commiserate.)

Apparently, my recent games have featured a female protagonist. Considering my list of games to go through, unless I decide to go play Assassin's Creed 2 or something, this trend is going to continue for the near future. I AM TOTALLY OKAY WITH THIS.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
PAX East was this past weekend. Apparently, I have successfully avoided con crud, so go me! I also Did Not trigger my tendencies towards misanthropism due to large crowds of people and went all three days. (Seriously, after a point with dealing with more than 10 people at a time, I just cannot handle being around other humans. I don't know why.)

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )

Then I zoomed off to campus in time for Ides, the semi-annual Assassins' Guild seminar on mechanics and game writing. Which is not part of PAX, but is included here anyway because my life is circular.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory asking why do you make my life difficult? (life on hard mode)
So, my reluctance to pre-order Dragon Age II actually has little to nothing to do with the fact that I haven't finished the first one nor played the demo yet. It actually mostly stems from the fact that, once again, there's Day 1 DLC. Which is irritating in and of itself, but what's got me currently pissy at EA and Bioware is that said DLC was included with the purchase of the Signature Edition (for no extra charge). The Signature Edition was available to everyone who pre-ordered before 2/11 (or thereabouts), and was in fact the edition you would get if you did so.

DA2 showed up on Steam for pre-order on 2/12.

I'm kinda pissy at them. To the point where I'm leaning towards just waiting until the first time the DLC + game pack goes on sale on Steam. It's not like I have a dearth of games to play. In fact, in some ways, they might have done me a favor.

I think my current plan for finishing games is
-DA1 (Origins [currently in Denereim], Awakening, and the 2 DLC packs left)
-P3P (think I'm in September)
-SMT: Devil Survivor (I'm on Day 7, I just need to grind because I chose the crazy option on first playthrough)
-Mass Effect 1 (2nd to last major mission; I suspect 5-8 hours total, including time to remember how to be a sniper)

Then, in some order:
-Mass Effect 2
-Dragon Age 2
-KH: Birth By Sleep
-SMT: Devil Summoner 1 and 2

This is not counting to to be released games:
-Catherine (July)
-Okamiden (mid-March)
-Portal 2 (April)

If you notice something strange on that last list, yes, AtlusUSA has announced that they're localizing Catherine, the game that proves that Atlus has indeed discovered the way to put sheer WTF into game form. It also further convinces me that if we can figure out how to turn WTF into energy, we'd solve the energy crisis. Of course, that means Japan will rule us all, as they are the undisputed masters of generating WTF, but hey. In any case, I will most likely end up pre-ordering Catherine, feel slightly dirty for doing so, and will live in abject fear of what Atlus could possibly include as preorder bonuses. Oh, the things I'll do to try to ensure the existence of a hypothetical Persona 5 (or localized ports of ALL of P2 even!) in my hands.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I've decided that digital distribution is going to be the death of me. Or at least my wallet. I thought it was bad with Steam, but I finally bit the bullet and bought a few albums off iTunes (Yoshida Brothers) and AmazonMP3 (Ladytron, Little People). This plus Grooveshark? I am this close to buying the discography of God Is An Astronaut, which is apparently my latest obsession along with the Yoshida Brothers. The latter of which I somehow got hooked on while asking Pandora for chiptunes. What is this I don't even.

Speaking of digital distribution, I should figure out within the next, uh, 7 days if I'm pre-purchasing Dragon Age II off Steam, or if I'm going to wait for a few DLC packs. I downloaded the demo, but haven't gotten around to playing it, and don't really want to until I finish Origins and Awakening. There's also the problem that I've been thinking of picking up KH: Birth By Sleep and possibly a Layton game before PAX East. Yes, my life is hard.

In other news, I'm working on a tenday for the Guild, and recently got convinced to write a three-day as well. I'm clearly crazy. Recent discussion among Guild members has made this a fraught endeavor. Ironically, we started designing the game as a backlash against some of the recent trends in Guild writing, because we wanted to be a bit edgy and different. Now, it looks like there already is a backlash, and these things are going to be demanded of us. It's taking a bit of my focus to recalibrate things, just because the environmental dynamic got shifted. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, I just fear that we (the GMs) might be under a harsher microscope. Luckily, we have roughly 11 months.

Then there's Ides (a game mechanics writing talk/discussion session for Guild writers), which of course is happening the same weekend as PAX East. I was thinking that I really wanted to go to Ides this year because I seem to have acquired the job class "Mechanics GM" recently. That, and my zephyr class has turned into a source of mechanics discussion lately. But I've already paid for a 3-day pass to PAX. At least it's on the Sunday; I hit my threshold for being able to deal with crowds Saturday night last year, so we'll see. I guess it depends on if there are panels I'd want to see.
ultranos: greyscale photo of laptop and coffee mug filled with some beverage (coffee and data)
I got distracted from DA:O a few weeks ago and am now attempting to get back into it. It's surprisingly difficult, mostly because I shed the all-consuming "MUST PLAY NOW" feeling, and am probably on a more normal play schedule. Just mildly frustrating since I'm near the end of the game and should just really dedicate a weekend to finishing the damn thing in a single go. Then I need to get through Awakening, because my pile of games to play is growing larger. Portal 2 is already pre-purchased, and I know THAT's going to eat my life. Possibly want to replay Portal beforehand.

I also downloaded the Dragon Age II demo. Haven't yet decided if I'm buying it at release or if I'll wait a bit for the DLC packs. I've also been eying Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, since I've heard it might be the best KH game yet, and I guess I'm willing to give Square-Enix a chance to redeem themselves. (I still have my friend's copy of FFXIII sitting unplayed on a shelf) But I need to finish P3P first.

Got my 3-day pass to PAX East this past weekend (along with the rest of my house). I'm a little grumpy that they changed from the Hynes, but that's just because it was stupid-easy to get to. Looking forward to playing Steel Battalion again and seeing what indie games are around this year. Also hoping to try out the 3DS, if it's there, because I want to know if I'll need to actually buy one or if I'll be happy with my DS for awhile yet (please note: my DS is a first-generation. Yes, the one before the Lite. It's a solid little beast). I figure I'll be visiting the GAMBIT booth a bit, though.

And I bit the bullet and finally bought Bahamut another 2GB of RAM today, bringing the final total to 8GB. I noticed DA:O starting to hang a little during play with Firefox and LyX running in the background (probably more Firefox than anything else) after being on for a long while. Honestly, Bahamut probably just needed a reboot (it might have last been rebooted sometime last year...), but it really shouldn't be doing that. And for some stupid reason, I started looking at graphics cards on Newegg. Can't afford a new one yet, and I don't exactly need one since Bahamut plays all the current games just fine with all the parameters turned all the way up, but it's good to keep an eye out since I'm about 3 generations behind (Bahamut's running with an NVidia GeForce 9800 GTX+). Of course, finding one that'll fit the motherboard is the tricky part. Or buy a new processor, because 2 cores isn't enough (it totally is right now, but that's because it's got the tail-end of the Intel Core2 Duos at 3.0GHz. Which is still respectable these days, even with the existence of Quad Core and I7)? Yeah, would be an expensive proposition, and I'm pretty sure Bahamut's got quite a bit more life in itself yet, as it's only 2 years old.

This is why I like building my own computer. I know exactly what's in it, how long it'll last, and how to replace things piecewise. It's awesome and budget-saving.
ultranos: red stickman on fire (the burning!)
Seeing as how the end of 2010 was marked by Crazy Rapid Spending on my part (damn you Steam and Amazon Student! *shakes fist*), my List of Games To Play and List of Books To Read are both rather long. And in an effort to make me actually, you know, not have made this a complete waste of money and make me play/read them, would people be interested in reviews of either or both?

Books to Read in 2011 )

Games to Play List )
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
1) I seem to have signed up for [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking. Mine's here. Um. I'm not quite sure how this happened. I blame the dullness of watching solder melt.

2) My job got exciting again! And...I actually can't really talk about it too much. *kicks the ground* Cutting edge research means you actually kinda do need to practice information security. But it might involve rail guns. Maybe.

3) I suddenly want to buy a lot of Nerf guns. *stares at the Longstrike and the Stampede* I wish the Longstrike actually acts sort of like a sniper rifle, with a much better range than other guns. I was very disappointed by the Longshot's range.

4) Why did the not-really-awake part of my brain decide this morning that writing a sequel to "Tilden's Law" would be a really good idea? The sane and rational part of my brain is already gibbering in a corner.

5) I STILL WANT HOT POT. [personal profile] abyssinia, I'm torturing myself over here.

6) I got myself addicted to some indie games on Steam recently. Chief among them is a shmup called Beat Hazard. It uses your music files to generate weapons, ammo, power-ups, enemies, and bosses.

My music is literally trying to kill me. And it is AWESOME.

7) I finished All You Need is KILL by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. It was good. I posted a review on [livejournal.com profile] book_buzz, and I'm starting Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri, which is also very good so far. I'm really impressed by the Haikasoru Imprint books so far, and have a pile of books in translation I'm chewing through, with more to come. As I said, I'm planning on posting reviews on book_buzz, but would people be interested in me crossposting the entries here as well?

I just figure there are probably people on my flist/circle who would be interested in Japanese sci-fi and fantasy. (Sci-fi with characters of color! Written by non-Western authors! With strong female characters! I'm actually dead serious about the last one.)
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
1) It's that time of year again. I spent a portion of last week watching LoadingReadyRun do their annual internet telethon OF PAIN, FOR THE CHILDREN. That being, of course, Desert Bus for Hope, where they play the most godawful boring game ever, Desert Bus, for as long as people on the internet donate money. This year, they had to play for 5 days, 21 hours, and raised probably over $200,000US (after the e-checks clear), all for Child's Play. Child's Play is probably my favorite charity, ever since they started in 2003. The goal of the charity is to provide childrens' hospitals all over North America and the world (it started in Seattle; now, there are hospital options in Egypt and they want to add more) toys, games, books, and movies for sick kids.

If you're interested in giving to a charity, but not sure which, I encourage you to check this one out. They've been doing fantastic work, and there's nothing quite like the feeling that you might have made some hospital-bound sick kid's holiday's a little brighter.

2) I took advantage of Steam's one-day deals this weekend and picked up two of their indie games packs. I'm becoming more and more of a fan of indie games, as they do some pretty interesting stuff. So far, out of the 9 new games from the packs, Beat Hazard (shmup that uses your music to generate levels), BIT.TRIP BEAT (chiptune Pong on speed and acid; you can tell your life by the audio fidelity), and Shatter (Breakout on acid) are the big winners. The Polynomial is cool, but screws with my spatial sense something fierce. ("There are the instructions in front of me! There are the instructions behind me! Oh god, there's a dude who's going to EAAAAT MEEEE! WHAT AM I DOOOOOOIIIING?")

3) Friend and I managed to secure ourselves copies of the super-rare Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzanoha vs. King Abbadon, complete with Jack Frost dolls dressed up as Raidou. They're super cute. I'll get around to playing it after I finish Mass Effect 1, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Assassins' Creed 2, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 1: Raidou Kuzanoha vs. the Soulless Army. (You would think I was making those titles up. I'm totally not.)

Also, I suddenly want to cosplay as Raidou. I don't even cosplay! What is this I don't even

4) I have spent the last 4 days being incredibly sleepy. I have no idea why.

5) I should go write things! Or something. Thing is, I have about 4 things I want to write, but can't decide, so end up reading fanfic or playing indie games instead. <-- My First World Problems, let me show you them.
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
1) I am dithering about Yuletide. I'm not convinced about my ability to be inspired enough to write anything to completion in a month. I don't even know what fandoms I'd request or offer. Mostly because I haven't looked at the list yet.

2) I made mushroom pasta for dinner. This makes me exceedingly content.

3) I considered going home for Thanksgiving, but before I could make a decision, the really good deal on tickets sold out, and I'm reluctant to pay $350+ for 48 hours home. Especially when I'm going home in a month and three days. I feel bad I got my mom's hopes up, but she said she totally understands and would have done the same thing. But I am Very Good at guilt. On the positive side, I don't have to deal with TSA four times in less than 2 weeks.

But I'm seeing who else in the area is a Thanksgiving orphan and semi-hosting a Thing. Although I'm itching to make a beef tenderloin or leg of lamb instead of a turkey.

4) A friend of mine showed me a video last night that has since become the craziest earworm EVER: The Complete History of the Soviet Union, Through the Eyes of a Humble Worker, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris


5) Another reason I'm dithering on Yuletide is that I should probably spend my energy generating ideas and the basic plot structures for this tenday I'm writing. I haven't had to work my gamewriting chops this hard since Centauri, and in terms of writing, I'd say Synchronicity (our tentative title) is a level above at least. Oh god, this thing is going to be crazy. Hopefully also awesome. If we're really good, it'll be crazy awesome.

6) This is having no mention of the crazy 'gateverse AU that popped into my head today and that [livejournal.com profile] abyssinia4077 has, of course, totally encouraged. I blame Darker than BLACK, actually.
ultranos: greyscale photo of laptop and coffee mug filled with some beverage (coffee and data)
[livejournal.com profile] beanpot asked for an expansion of a discussion I had with her today about the gaming industry, women, violence, and ethics. As this is a topic near and dear to my heart, as well as somewhat close to an essay I've been meaning to write for approximately forever, you are about to witness a very lengthy essay on the topic. Look what happens when I don't have homework.

Into the Looking Glass: Games, Women, Violence, and Society )
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
So as I mentioned on Thursday (Thursday?), I went to PAX East this weekend. It was a highly-fun weekend where a couple thousand gamers descended on the city of Boston for three days of gaming and gaming-related panels and music. Video games, boardgames, card games, tabletops, you name it, it was probably there. Plus, companies came to show off their new wares. Let me tell you, NVidia's new 3D graphics card (that actually does 3D) is really, really sweet.

Yeah, I'm going to babble about the con )

Today, I decided to forgo the last day of PAX in favor of going to something else. The Tamagawa University's Taiko and Dance performers put on a show at the campus auditorium. I wasn't entirely familiar with taiko prior to today, beyond the basics, but all I can say is, if you get a chance to see them, do it. They're amazing. They're doing a bit of an east coast tour right now (I think they're going to be in DC for the National Cherry Blossom festival on 4/10, I think).
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
Yay, PAX East tomorrow! I've...mostly got all my work done. But PAX! I'm a little excited.

Doing a crazy stupid thing tomorrow and going to show up roughly 4.5 hours before the doors open officially to try to get concert tickets. Hey, the Protomen are playing (among others)! Did I mention there's a possibility of snow tomorrow? And we'll be waiting outside on the sidewalk?

Well, conventions ARE for doing crazy-stupid things.


ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)

Memoranda from the Usual Suspects

Media List:

Currently Watching:
-- Supergirl(hiatus)
--Pitch (hiatus)

Currently Playing:
--[null] (PS3)
--[null] (PS2)
--Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
--[null] (PSP)
--[null] (XBox360)
--Endless Legend (PC)
--Fallout: New Vegas (PC)

Currently Reading:


-The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
-Fortune's Rising, Sara King

-Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, David Daley


"So she's good cop, he's bad cop, you're morally-questionable cop, and I'm set-things-on-fire cop."

"Sounds about right."


"WARNING: When attempting to be clever, make sure you not actually just being stupid."


"Did you remember to sacrifice the goat before burning the ISO to the DVD-R?"

"Crap! Um, I've got a charred piece of meat here."

"That's called a steak. That's dinner. What about the sacrifices?"


"I escape through quantum-tunneling. What do I need to roll for that?"


"Why is it called a 'Monkeylord'?"

"Because it looks like a spider."


"I have a moral objection to this problem. It implies microwaving a steak."


"Did you eat the crazy cookies this morning?"


"The GPU goes 4 by 4, hurrah, hurrah."

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