Thursday, October 27, 2011

And Yet It Moves

For whatever reason, this post sat here as a draft for a while.  Enjoy.

This is the first game I got from the Humble Indie Bundle 3 that I've beaten.

And Yet It Moves is a puzzle platformer.  You need to find the level exit, and in doing so, you need to traverse all kinds of terrain and hazards.  To aid you, you can rotate the level.  All of the levels require extensive use of the rotation ability.

The graphics themselves have torn paper edges, and the main character appears to be made out of paper.  This is made clear in one of the levels where there's lots of fire, where getting hit by the fire makes you burn up.

As you progress through the game, the puzzles get harder and harder.  Towards the end, levels were taking upwards of half an hour or more for me to get through.  The game itself is actually pretty short, I beat it in a single sitting.  The credits are presented in the form of a level, and getting to the end of them unlocks an optional level (and an achievement).  Finishing this optional level without dying unlocks another achievement.

Some of the achievements are pretty crazy, like the one that requires you to fall through an entire level, never landing, and die from fall damage at the very end.  There's another that's similar that I actually was able to unlock, where you simply have to navigate the level using only the level rotation buttons, and can land as much as you want.

Overall I'd have to say it was pretty fun, but short.  I might go back and achievement whore a bit, but overall it doesn't really have a lot of replay value.  And no, I don't consider achievements to add anything to replay value.

More anime backlog

Finally getting to the last few bits of it.  I honestly don't know why I keep putting this stuff off.  There's going to be some stuff from my re-watch list in here as well.  Everything that's on the re-watch list will be noted as such.  The re-watch list is less prioritized than the backlog, for purposes of maintaining sanity.  Also, because clarification is good when it's needed, I have notes below the list to hopefully accomplish that exact purpose.

Also, jump break, because why not.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


So, I've been playing around with the Twitter feed in the sidebar over there.  I think I'm done now.

I had briefly updated the Blogger-approved Twitter widget to its most recent version, but it had that annoying "add this to your blog" image at the bottom that I couldn't get rid of and had tooltip text in some other language.

I don't know why I didn't know about this sooner, but Twitter has an official widget thing.  Which is what you see now.  I guess it's because of the fact that since I use TweetDeck, I don't regularly visit anymore.

I sincerely hope that this one will show retweets...

Also, just because I am who I am, I grabbed a copy of the widget Javascript that the widget remotely loads from Twitter's server, and put it up on my site, where it won't ever change except when I want it to.  So there won't be any unexpected "congratulations, this thing now looks and/or operates different(ly) and you have no option of going back to how it used to be" bullshit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm tired of this

Harem anime almost always have some element of "main character does something that gets misunderstood, female cast member punches him", but some shows just take that too far.

Furthermore, when there's some sort of secret that needs to be kept, the worst possible thing to do is to introduce a "referee" character who constantly keeps tabs on how well the secret is being kept secret and threatens something horrible if it gets out.  It removes all sense of fun from the story and only results in that one character being annoying.

What series am I talking about that has both of these elements?  Seto no Hanayome.  I'm watching it because CAINE is showing it this semester.  We're currently 17 episodes in.  It seems like it's a pretty funny show, but these two elements detract from it and make the viewing experience less than pleasurable.  Let's run down the list of characters whose names I remember or whose roles I can uniquely identify even while not being able to remember their names.
  • Mawari - aspiring cop, but just annoying.  Provides some of the funny "we're yakuza, she's with the police, but we're in an informal semi-friendly relationship" element.  However, "Do I need to teach you the rules of society?" repeated several times an episode just makes me feel like I'm listening to a broken record.  Does she have any sort of dynamic personality, will her character ever be developed, or does it just stay static, boring, and annoying?  "Do I need to teach you the rules of society?" could be extremely sexy if implemented right, such that some characters in the show and some viewers of the show would respond "I'd let you teach me the rules of society...".  Too bad this isn't the case.
  • Saru - Just annoying.  He's supposed to be "the funny pervert", but he's too ready to shift a misunderstanding onto the main character.
  • Runa/Lunar/however you want to romanize her name - seriously bitch get off your fucking high horse.
  • The "referee" girl - At first I thought she was pretty cool, because I tend to like sword-wielding female characters.  But then she revealed her role as referee and immediately went into the routine of annoyance.
  • San's dad - I can understand a father not wanting his daughter to grow up, and I can understand him being a bit aggressive with the main character given that he's a yakuza boss, but still... every goddamn episode he goes batshit crazy because of one tiny thing that gets overblown.
  • Maki - always trying to kill the main character, with or without a reason.  Annoying dual personality.
  • Main character's parents - I feel like I've used the word "annoying" a bit much in this post, but... their inability to stand up for their son is very annoying.  They just agree with every single insult flung his way like it's nothing.
That's all I can really remember.  I was assured that the show abandons the first element of people always beating up on the main character, but I haven't seen that happen yet.  I've already rated it a 2 on MAL, and I hardly ever rate a series before I finish watching it.  This is the series that got chosen for a full slot over Azumanga Daioh?  Give me a fucking break.  This is shit in comparison.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall 2011 Anime

I'm only watching two shows this season.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume - The followup to the very well-received first season, and it's still got the same humor it had before.  I'm enjoying this season thoroughly.  The only downside is that the new OP/ED aren't as good as the ones from the first season.  The EDs in this season maintain the tradition from the first season, of being different per episode.

Fate/Zero - Set in the fourth Holy Grail War.  Other than that, fairly similar to Fate/Stay Night.  Seven masters, seven servants, fight to the death, winners get the Holy Grail.  The masters are different since this takes place ten years before Fate/Stay Night, and some of the servants are different as well.  In fact, most of them are.  The only one that's the same is Saber.  The first episode is 45 minutes long.  You'll want to watch Fate/Stay Night before this.

I was thinking I might watch one or two other things, but nothing else really jumped out at me and all the series I hear people talking about are generic fanservice series with only a bare shell of a plot.  The only other series I'd considered was Gundam AGE, which I'm hearing mixed opinions about.

I seem to say this every season, but maybe I'll go through some of my backlog...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

posting with my voice

Just because I can I'm writing this post by talking to my computer

It's kind of balls

There doesn't seem to be a good way to make it do, as are periods

I see I'm going to have to provide a translation of this post because it's not interpreting things quite correctly but generally it's getting it done

voice recognition is kind of weird I guess maybe I should train this thing Moran I don't know yet that more and was suppose to be I don't know what the five fuck fuck shit this case pays and this thing doesn't recognize the word P. I. S. S. -K. had been teaching fuck because there is no way it was ever going to recognize it otherwise hello alok O. L. L. O. L. their radio ads of three attempts by finally got it face palm

villa when a train this thing Italia to tighten rules speech pattern that it's really hard to do that natural speech pattern OK took in that time the trouble is this became too quickly for this thing I am speaking to quickly for this thing ended types the wrong version of the word to and continually gets things wrong in the hosts giving away as possible OK with the shit what the shit

I think I will disable this now and just type in the translation because this is seriously flawed to a flock fuck fuck to a whenever mind oh and never mind I didn't say and all I said was though never mind face palm

Translation (with somewhat correct punctuation as well)

Just because I can, I'm writing this post by talking to my computer.

It's kind of balls.

There doesn't seem to be a good way to make it do commas or periods.

I see I'm going to have to provide a translation of this post because it's not interpreting things quite correctly, but generally it's getting it done.

Voice recognition is kind of weird, I guess maybe I should train this thing more, I dunno.  That "Moran" was supposed to be "I don't know".  What the fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck shit piss.  Piss.  Piss.  This thing doesn't recognize the word P-I-S-S.  I think I had to teach it "fuck" because there was no way it was ever going to recognize it otherwise lol lol lol it took three attempts but I finally got it *facepalm*.

oh god this paragraph I don't even.  I was mentioning how difficult it is to train the voice recognition thing because it tells you to speak in a natural speech pattern as you read the text it provides, but doing so is difficult when you're on the spot like that.  I also mentioned that I was speaking too quickly for it, which seems to make it mess up.

I think I will disable this now and just type in the translation because this is seriously fucked up.  Fuck.  Fucked.  Oh never mind.  Oh never mind.  I didn't say "and", all I said was "oh never mind" *facepalm*.

Overall, all I can say is, lol @ the Microsoft Speech Recognition program for Windows XP, which you have to install the Speech Recognition SDK to get on WinXP.  I only installed it because UT2k4 has voice control options for bots, and you can make them get the fuck out of a vehicle they just stole while you were running towards it.  If the bot's call sign is "charlie" then all you have to say is "charlie get out" and it's like magic.  Too bad there's no commands to tell the bots to take or defend a numbered point on an Onslaught map...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hey, TweetDeck...

... I'm not updating you.  Not because I disagree with any change that may have been made, but because of this:

Thanks to that, not only can I not see the changelog, but there's no update button.  The information might be visible elsewhere (say, their website), along with said update, but...  I'm lazy, and your shit should actually work.

Edit: well, I can probably get the new version off of their site, but the changelog isn't there.  So no, until there's a changelog visible somewhere, I'm not updating.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flash games!

It's been quite a while since my last post on the subject, and the internet being what it is, naturally, there's more flash games to be had.

This is the Only Level 2 - You've gotten through level 1, and now you're on to level 2.  Can you beat the level?

Achievement Unlocked 2 - The original had 99 achievements.  This one has 250.  That are also Newgrounds medals.  And when you unlock them all (which is necessary to beat the game), they make a picture.  What is the picture exactly?  You'll have to find out for yourself.  This game features not just one, not just two, but five main areas to move around in while getting achievements.  Plus, a hidden Hot Coffee mode!

Upgrade Complete 2 - More upgrading action!  Lots more upgrades, more ship parts, and you can still outfit your ship exactly the way you want!  As usual, you have to buy upgrades to get started.  The grid system on the ship eliminates my gripe about the first game, where ship parts would move when I clicked on them with the intent of upgrading them.  They stay locked into the grid now and won't move unless you drag them elsewhere.  Also, just like with Achievement Unlocked 2, the Newgrounds medals form a picture when completely unlocked.  Also, this time there's a final boss that appears once all the upgrades from the upgrade menu are purchased, instead of just endless waves of regular enemies.  Better all around than the original, or should I say... an upgrade of the original?  Only complaint is that the character avatars get colored weirdly at the high levels.

Elephant Quest - From the same guy that's responsible for the This is the Only Level and Achievement Unlocked games.  You're a blue elephant (surprise, surprise), whose hat was stolen one day by a wooly mammoth.  You really like your hat, so you set out on a quest to gain the power necessary to defeat Wooly and get your hat back.  There's side quests too.  When you level up you get credits to spend on stat boosts in a grid similar to the sphere grid system in Final Fantasy 10.  Except that here it takes a lot less time to progress through the entire thing.

RPG Shooter: Starwish - A decent story combined with side scrolling shooting action and a level up system that lets you power up your ship so you can kill stuff more better.  Plus, New Game Plus, so you can keep upgrading and become even more broken, and multiple endings!

Well, I only have five this time around, but... Quality over quantity?  I dunno.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guitar Hero 5

Now that I'm done with Expert Guitar Career, it's time to sit down and discuss my thoughts on the game.

There are some graphical improvements over previous games, as always.  The venues look great.  But that doesn't really matter when you're only going to be looking at the fretboard the entire time.  The best graphical improvement is thus the fretboard itself.  Gone are the busy, distracting designs.  It's simply black.  It has a design, but it's black.  Contrasts well with the notes and doesn't get in the way.  For-fucking-finally.  Though honestly we had the "Black Highway" option in Guitar Hero: Metallica, it was strangely gone from Smash Hits.

Gone is battle mode.  At least in the PS2 version.  I do know that the PS2 version is tremendously stripped down from the versions for current-generation consoles, and to a certain degree that can be expected.  Party mode ships without its ability to make a playlist and the drop-in, drop-out play that was touted in all the promotions.  Also, the "play with any instrument combination" bit of hype is "play with 2 guitarists or 2 bassists" on the PS2.  The game will only let you use two guitars.  And by the way, that's actually exclusive or.  Once you have two guitar controllers joined into the band, the game won't allow any more.

The controller itself is great.  The only problem I've had with it so far is the location of the star power button.  I can activate with it, but I can never get my front-end activations right.  It just feels awkward.  I'd love to have it where the GH3 Kramer had it.  Also, despite their effort to prevent you from hitting one of the two start buttons accidentally, I still find myself doing it.  The controller is actually the very same controller that ships with the PS3 version of the game, and has a USB receiver.  The receiver also has a two port USB hub in it, which is important for connecting a microphone for vocals, since the PS2 only has two USB ports.

Also, now that I have a controller with a touch strip, I've had the opportunity to try it out.  All I can say is: it's pointless.  Beginners don't use it because slider notes come up with no warning and it's difficult to shift up there and back down to the fret buttons, and advanced players don't use it because it's inaccurate, it's impossible to tell where you are on it, and the "tap it to strum" feature interferes with tapping fret buttons in solos.  So just turn it off in the options and forget it even exists.

Even though the controller still has a detachable neck, it looks like they learned their lesson from the GH3 ones and actually have proper male/female connectors for it now.  The connections are solid and the neck doesn't wiggle.  I can't really complain.

Just like with the GH3 controllers for PS2, the receivers are keyed to the guitar they came with.  Also, just like the older controllers, you can press the sync button on the receiver to force it to look for any guitar.

Back to the game.

In addition to the standard modes (Career, Quickplay, Head to Head, Training) and Party mode, there's also Free Play.  It's basically equivalent to the Party mode, except you get to choose your song instead of it just being on shuffle with an option to skip in the pause menu.  Both Party mode and Free Play turn on no-fail and remove star power and scoring points, but the difference is that Free Play lets you make six-song playlists.

Actually, that's one of the best features that the current generation console versions of Guitar Hero have had for a while that the PS2 never got until now: making a six-song playlist in Quickplay (and in Free Play lol).  You scroll through the list selecting songs with the green button, and when you're satisfied, you hit start to play.

In terms of other new features, we have hammer-on/pull-off chords now.  Which can be confusing when they're really close together.  Overall they're pretty fun when you can hit them.  Check out the intro to Judith by A Perfect Circle, which has some pretty fun HOPO chord sequences.

There are some new cheats this time around as well: with the HOPO chords comes the Always HOPO cheat that turns any note it possibly can into a HOPO.  It disables your ability to get high scores, but it's fun nonetheless.  Try it with Always Slide on and you'll only ever need to strum repeated chords.  There's also Free Drum.  I don't have a drum controller, so I haven't tried it out, but since it disables high scores, I can pretty much infer what it does.  It most likely turns the drum part for any given track into a freestyle part where you can just play whatever the fuck you want.

The most useful of all of the cheats, however, is Focus Mode.  It disables the venue in the background, so there's less stuff to distract you from the notes.

Playing through the game, you'll notice that something isn't there.  Something that all previous Guitar Hero games have had up until now.  What could it be?  Money.  You no longer get money for playing a track, and unlockable things no longer cost money.  This is a good thing, it means that all the clothing options that are available are unlocked, and whenever the game says "You've unlocked more stuff!", you don't have to pay money for it.  It's just there, ready to be used.  The whole "infinite money" system from World Tour and its derivatives was a step in the right direction, and this was the ultimate solution.

Soundtrack-wise, the game is fairly varied.  It's a combination of oldfag music, 90s music, new stuff, metal, and weird stuff.  Also, why did it seriously take them until Guitar Hero 5 to put Smells Like Teen Spirit in a GH game?  Also, for some reason, there's a rap song.  Yeah, it's got Zakk Wylde on guitar, I don't care.  Rap in Guitar Hero?  Seriously?

In terms of overall difficulty, it's a pretty good game for newcomers.  There's only three truly difficult tracks.  Some of the rest have complex bits in them, but overall they're way less difficult.

Overall, other than the fact that the game lacks the features that were stripped out of it for the PS2, I can't really complain.  It's a decent addition to the franchise, and it's exactly what any fan of the franchise wants: more levels.

Monday, October 3, 2011

10-bit h264 vs. 8-bit h264

Everything's going to shit right now in the fansub world because groups are moving to the 10-bit color profile for the h264 codec.  The claims are better quality with smaller file sizes.  But how much of a difference will it really make?

First up, there's no point.  The source video is still 8-bit.  No matter what you do, describing an 8-bit color in 10-bit won't make that color look any better.  You can't add information that wasn't there to begin with.  It's the same reason that transcoding music from a low bitrate to a high bitrate doesn't result in an increase in sound quality.

Second, using more space to store color is supposed to save hard drive space?  How exactly does that work?  Plus, with the general "just buy more hard drives" sentiment that asshole fansubbers give to people complaining about file sizes, how exactly do you justify now suddenly caring about file size?

Third, anyone who complains about a release being 10-bit only is met with insults and rude remarks about upgrading codecs.  Yes, I've installed the version of CCCP that can handle 10-bit.  Yes, I have the version of CoreAVC that can handle 10-bit.  That doesn't mean I want 10-bit releases.  My graphics card can't decode them, which means I will have to rely on software decoding, which is unreliable even with CoreAVC and means I'll have to close Firefox, Steam, and TweetDeck just to get enough system resources for smooth playback.

Fourth, I can't upgrade my hardware.  No money, unemployed.  Besides, I don't know of any graphics card currently on the market that has support for hardware decoding 10-bit h264.

Fifth, not that I'm in this boat, but anyone stupid enough to use a set-top box or video game console to watch anime can no longer do so with 10-bit releases.

What brought on this rant?  UTW's lack of an 8-bit release of Fate/Zero.  Yes, they submitted one to TT, but it goes to a page on Nyaatorrents saying that the torrent ID is invalid.  Assholes.  Also, they didn't specify "hi10p" in the filename, so it's impossible to tell that it's 10-bit unless you visit their site or read the torrent comment.  Being that I RSS download things, it's entirely possible for me to end up with something 10-bit that I never actually knew was 10-bit.  I'll be renaming all of UTW's Fate/Zero to replace the "h264" with "hi10p".