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Time Scale

We perceive the world on a time scale that is uniquely human. Yet infinitely many time scales are a possibility. The plant that patiently spends day and night germinating eventually stands tall.


The effect of change is a function of the time scale of operation. When nations are born they set out to foster prosperity for generations. The ebbing and flowing of ideas and exchange are set to a tune with low frequency and long wavelength, set to drive the effort forward for hundreds of years.

When abrupt disruptions and short-term thinking invade our outlook, we shrink into an tiny, ineffectual time scale that is at odds with the great deeds desired to be done.

Dice Games

In an action or rpg game, the player has to manage combat on top of the other meta game progression systems.  In a game of chance, the only thing we have to focus on are the dice and how they are cast.  The abilities we gain can improve our lot if we sequence it right.

UBER's Forced Mobile UX

I used UBER today to try out a promotion.  It was a challenging experience trying to use the service from my computer, and my patience was tested.  Here are the steps, in case your account doesn't have a mobile number associated (mine did not):

-> Can't login to UBER Eats because my account doesn't have a phone number associated, so I cannot verify via SMS

-> Login using the regular website using Google Authentication

-> Switch back to Eats to become logged in by association to the regular UBER site.

-> Place an order

-> Cannot place order because I don't have a phone number associated with the account

-> Cannot add a phone number via the website

-> Download the Eats app

-> Cannot log in to the Eats app, because again, I have no way of verifying via mobile number

-> Download the UBER app, login with Google (again), and add a phone number

-> Switch back to desktop to try and complete my order.  Error.

-> Login to Eats app and complete my order.

In the end, I really wasn't able to do anything from my computer.

The Magic of Discovery

It is upon all our known that the magic of discovery arises.

A few quotes from the Library of Lenia

Quotes from the Library of Lenia
"To see is to know, to know is to seek."
"The mind is a fragile vessel for the most valuable gems."

Hades

Great Gods! This game is good.

The rogue-like formula is presented wholistically in Hades, with all the tough decision-making, strategizing, and making tradeoffs between getting more powerful and staying healthy. It took me 17 runs to do my first clear, and I was immediately motivated to jump right back in to try winning with different weapons.


The world, characters, and visuals are my favourite part about this game. Greek mythology is presented very refreshingly, even though these are all characters that I have heard of and read about in the classics, it's another level when they come to life fully voice-acted in a family drama.


I ended up going with the longest range build possible, to avoid damage and kill from afar. My favorite powers were from Dionysius: inflicting stacks of 'hangover' would slowly whittle my enemy down with a poison-like effect. It felt a bit cheesy (doesn't mean executing it successfully was easy!), but the beauty of it is the decision about playstyle is entirely up to the player.

Here's my winning build! The spear's special let me keep a whole screens distance between the enemies and me. ^_^;;

Random Roguelikes

Games are really spiced up by randomness. Especially roguelikes, which put players on a ever-changing path to victory. Each step of the way, you can choose to go left or right and even try to take on harder challenges for more impressive rewards. Balancing risk and reward is an engrossing activity for the human mind. And so is pushing oneself to the limit and conquering difficult tasks.


A lot of rogue-like games that center around combat for it's obstacles. "Path of Adventure" is a text RPG where you have to fight monsters. "Hades" is an action game that has you battle the demons of hell. Dota 2's event "Aghanim's Labyrinth" repurposed it's action combat system with a rogue-like metagame.

I wonder what one would look like without combat? What sort of other skill check systems could merge well with with the rogue meta game? 

Play Has No Limits

 


Success!  It was a nearly smooth pre-order experience!  The only issues being... that the queue for the store led to a queue in the store (and the UI for each queue was exactly the same, leading me to think my queue timer reset).  In actuality there was so much demand that I had to wait an extra half hour after the first hour in line.  The other issue was a technical one... the purchase page for the consoles would not show up in certain browser conditions!  I got stuck on my browser until I figured out that it would not let me switch to a different one without clearing my cart.  Now I'm ready for my PS5 (a.k.a upgraded PS4) in November.  The first game I'll be playing on it is Monster Hunter: World.  Super excited for FFXV, too.  And planning to continue my progress in Bloodborne, God of War, The Last Guardian, and Persona 5.

Steam

Front page of my steam library. It's still growing over the years!  Given the massive backlog I should have the next 3 years of gaming covered.

My personal playlist on Steam for the rest of this year is:

-> Thronebreaker

-> Hades

-> Cyberpunk 2077

-> Outer Wilds

-> Risk of Rain 2


PlayStation

I got my first PlayStation (the PS3) in high school, after earning some teaching fees through tutoring. What a day when I received it at my doorstep! The first few games I picked up were Valkyria Chronicles and Flower. It also let me play the latest Street Fighter, Assassins Creed, and God of War games. I took it with me to university as my laptop was just not powerful enough to really game with. Funny enough, my first laptop actually died because I tried to run Deus Ex: Human Revolution on it!


Gaming with the PlayStation back-catalogue was great, and I even had the chance to try out some PS2 games, my favorite being Metal Gear Solid, and Ico. PlayStation really became my home for gaming from 2009 to 2015. The final few PS3 games that I played before packing it up were Metal Gear Solid 4 and Shadow of the Colossus.

For the PS4, I picked up the Pro on launch, and planned only to play a few select titles: Bloodborne, God of War, Death Stranding, Uncharted. The great bonus was that I subscribed to PS Plus and had a few new titles to try out every month. This introduced me to games like Infamous: First Light, Resogun, Wipeout, Nioh, and more. It was a great way to get fresh variety of games!

In the past decade, gaming has evolved so much on all fronts. I have a desktop PC that's capable of running the latest games reasonably well, and have grown a huge digital library. It seems less necessary to jump into the next generation ASAP, as my options for gaming are so much more vast than before. Sony and Square Enix are adopting a multiplatform strategy. And ultimately, my free time has become more limited and focused.

So looking forward to the PlayStation 5! I'm eager to play Demon Souls and the next God of War. And even catch up on some of the exclusives from the current gen. The PS Plus Collection is a golden trove the best titles on the platform. I have faith that the PlayStation gems will continue to grow and show us how games can really tap into our sense of wonder and emotions.

I'm playing on so many different platforms now, that I won't be able to call PlayStation my main place to game. But it will still be the console that brings endless unique and innovative experiences to my living room floor.


Fortune Teller in the Trials of Mana Demo

A little bit of direction goes a long way! Heroes need a bit of guidance and faith that they're heading towards their calling.


The bit of guided exploration quests in the opening town didn't really link together cohesively, but it was strangely fine as I knew where to go to make some progress.



Master Mode

I thought I'd take on a challenge and start a Master Mode run of Zelda.  My first playthrough on normal was super fun, but incomplete and I had gotten about a quarter of the map explored, ending on the stranded island quest.  Can't wait to swim there again!



The 2020 Home Setup

 It's quite a mess of equipment, but this is where I'm spending most of my time!  My posters are of One Piece, Nier, and FFXII.  Loving all of them but I have yet to finish the Final Fantasy.




Curiosity is the Font of Life

Exploring and discovering new concepts, seeing the surprises that we have not seen before, seems to me the source of life's direction. Curiosity that drives the mind towards finding the gem hidden behind the endless veils of time. The need to be there and experience discovery, is so strong that we would move worlds for a little bit of information. 

The Library's Call

Not the books, but the knowledge

Hidden between pages and within words

Voices of the Past speak and listen do they

The Wandering find a new light to brave.

In the face of insurmountable odds

In any context, the outlier, the strange, the unpredictable catches our attention. How is it that sometimes, things go in a way no one expects? In the sea of randomness, it's certain that something, or someone, will do the unthinkable. The hero steps away from home. The warrior fells a mountainous dragon. Those are the stories worth telling, for they are unlike any other.

Cat does not forget

Catalina does not forget

her favourite toy to pet.

A little mouse on string

A jump pounce and spring.


Surge


Achieved!  Mecha Paladin Surge was the final goal of the Brawl Stars season 2 Battle Pass.  So cool to finally have gotten him after trying out so many characters due the questing system.

I've been trying a Level 1 challenge to see how far I can get in rank with just a level 1 character, and this is the time to run surge a bunch to hit that record.

Found some data

I dug through my hard drives doing an update to my June 2020 backup. This week I converted all my old recordings of photoshop drawing (from my college days), and popped those onto the external along with some of my new work. In total, the full backup of my data was just a little over 3 terabytes.


That's with most of it dedicated to a huge backup of a few AVID projects.

With cloud storage being rather plentiful nowadays, my workflow has been to work from a cloud-synced folder. Most types of work (illustration, gamedev, writing) are fine in this situation, except for video for it's huge data sizes.

I did find some unsorted data lying around, and it drew a big comparison between the internet of old and the one of today. There's just so much stuff online now that can be consumed within the browser that downloading is pretty much unnecessary. In the past, I would fill up hard drives full of downloads and interesting media in case the servers disappeared or if I lost track of the source. Today that's hardly the case with the endlessness of the net that's just a search away.

In the unsorted data were some videos of a peacock from my family vacation. There's still data that's not on the internet that is slowly being forgotten and left to hide on old drives.

Fall Guys

Just looking at Fall Guys gameplay makes you want to jump in and try out the hilarity! It looks simple, colorful, and like something you could really do. Except it's actually a hidden challenge to get that coveted first place crown.

I got very close a few times! Only to be knocked away by a spinning hammer and run over by a huge ball.

The fundamentals are 3D platforming, and the design is based on the battle royales that let you show your dominance and always give you a chance to win. I found that a multiplayer platformer experience plays out much differently to a single player one. Where I really love Mario games and the sense of wonder that each new location in the games bring, there was only a brief sense of novelty to each party-like stage in Fall Guys. I think for platforming, the exploration challenge is more enticing to me than the multiplayer one here.

The game can definitely keep the pace of releasing new tracks and seasonal content, and will enamor many gamers to come with its easy to get into, guaranteed laughs design.



Spellbreak

 Spellbreak launched!  I've been playing since alpha, and though I'm not an expert at the game, I love the magic themed combat and spell-casting.  My favourite class is Toxicologist and my strategy is mostly spamming click and flying erratically.


It's worked alright... here's my best performance of the day!




Early on, Spellbreak had a lot of in-game customization, which allowed you to spec out your character as the match progressed.  In the current version, that is all relegated to a pre-game loadout.  My guess is that they found that having too many choices in the midst of combat was an overload to most players, and that there is more fun in finding rare loot.

My least liked part of the beta was the interact key, but I believe it's been brought in line with the Fortnite standard.  All's good!  As an MMO player it's still a bit weird to not have the on-screen cooldown HUD customizable, but that's just a minor complaint for now.

Looking at the long-term viability of the game, I do hope that Spellbreak is able to find its audience.  The combat is much more esoteric and a harder sell than the shooting that is found in other battle royales.  As a consequence, I think the game will definitely be rewarding to high-skilled players.  But that may not be a large enough audience to sustain in the current free-to-play market.

The team, Proletariat, have spoken about additional game-modes. I think a shorter, 3 to 4 minute format would do well with FPS players who enjoy getting in and out of action quickly. The combat system in Spellbreak is tuned to near perfection-- it feels great to fly around and combo spells. Really, extending this game could work in any direction the team takes it in, as it's core is fun and can support even a co-op campaign experience or more competitive modes.

A major benefit to Spellbreak's strategy is that it had a simultaneous launch on consoles as well! Compared to BR titles like Battlerite Royale (which was limited to a PC release), Spellbreak has a leg up in getting more magic-loving casters involved.

Catmull, Chapter 7

 -> Don't Feed The Beast - The Beast only wants to grow and grow and always hungers for more.  Don't feed it.  Focus on your team and it's mission to deliver quality.


-> Protect Your Ugly Babies - Every project starts out ugly.  The new ideas are so deformed and messy that they actually need protection before they can grow.

-> The Fallacy of Simplifying - Efficiency seems like improvement.  But doesn't prove it.  Cutting processes can worsen the output.

-> Balance is Dynamic - Conflict between teams is essential.  If one group 'wins' then there is no dynamic from which the best ideas will grow.  Find a balance in the push and pull of things.

A Month of Blogging

 August was my first attempt at one month of daily blogging. It's certainly the first time that I have consistently delivered on a resolution for a whole month!


What happened this time around?

I expanded the type posts that I make, allowing myself more freedom to create whatever I felt like for the day. I graduated from school, leaving behind my student self which was focused on learning. I set a new goal to share and connect with others. I updated my website!

The month-long blogging experience taught me a few things:
-> A new day, everyday. The wonderful thing about a daily activity is that you can wrap it up and get it done within the day. I try to focus on my new experiences and even though much of my day is spent at work, I'm able to find time for myself to read, play, and think.

-> A million distractions minus one. It's too easy to habitually look for news or excitement on social media. I still do it when the time permits, to my detriment. At the end of the day, its transient and immaterial unless you're valuably engaged in it. Having a small daily ritual helps me turn the phone off and focus on the task at hand.

-> A journey takes time. There's a ton of other projects on my mind that deserve attention, too. But it takes time and a lifetime's worth of work to navigate and figure out how to do it. What's worked best for me is looking ahead 20 years for some really long-term goals and building that path one step at a time.

Not every day is going to be a super amazing and productive one. But putting a bit of effort into blogging each day let me feel the nuances of the ups and downs, between which I hold a worthwhile balance and incessant self-examination.