Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Bonus points to you if you recognize what (or who, rather) the title of this post is referencing.  The 'r' is intended to be rolled.


A while back some of the one of you may have noticed me talking about a neighbor giving us some computer stuff.  To be precise, a monitor, a keyboard, and the computer itself.  I really really wanted to use the monitor given that it's a widescreen flat panel LCD, but there was one hitch: they gave us the wrong power cord.

The computer itself arrived later because they wanted to wipe the hard drive before giving it to us.  It arrived with a note saying it had Windows Vista on it.  I did boot up Windows exactly once.  I poked around in it a bit, went "lol", and then installed Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit on it.  It's not exactly getting a lot of use right now, as I've set it up to be a home theater PC, but there's relatively low interest, and it needs both more RAM (it has 1GB, I dunno how much the motherboard supports) and a better graphics card (ANYTHING other than an integrated Intel GMA por favor, it has a PCI-Express x16 slot).  I use it periodically because I've moved my PS2 into the other room where it can be plugged into an UPS with a perfectly functional battery, where I don't have to worry about a power blip happening while I'm saving and corrupting my save file.  I also installed Minecraft on it.

Anyway, back to the monitor.  The computer (and therefore monitor) are of the Gateway persuasion.  Gateway, in whatever infinite wisdom was necessary, decided to use a non-standard power cord for the monitor.  Rather than having the five-sided deal we're all used to that goes with CRT monitors and desktop power supplies, it has a rounded end that kind of looks like Mickey Mouse.  My dad said he'd come up with something, and came home from work one day with a power cord that fit the bill.

After a bit of growling at either Windows or the nVidia drivers, I finally got it plugged in and recognized.  I actually had to swap which heads my monitors were plugged into in order to get it recognized.  Probably something to do with how it's a DVI monitor and the other monitor is a CRT, I'm not sure.  It runs at 1440x900, which is an 8:5 resolution.  It also has an uncontrollably bright backlight, meaning everything looks a bit brighter than it should.  For games, that's generally a good thing as for whatever reason most games are designed to have lower light levels in their environments, but the color difference between it and my sole remaining CRT is extremely noticeable and there's not a lot I can do about it.

This all came together quite nicely juuuuust before the three day headstart access to Guild Wars 2 began.  I had enough time to run all the games I have installed and configure them to run at 1440x900, which in a couple of cases involved hand-editing config files to force games to run at that resolution (UT2004, I'm looking at you, Y U NO have anything above 1280x960 in the options).  The other case was Beat Hazard, but after setting it to Fullscreen and restarting I'm not entirely sure it's necessary.  I just have it in there to force the issue.

Also, while poking around in config files I figured out why my install of the original UT was so fucked up: its config file was severely corrupted.  Made it generate a new one and re-set all my settings, and the game works so much better now.  Yes, I still play the original UT.  It's the only place where I can enjoy the original Domination gameplay mode, plus I have a bunch of funny player models for it that I've set up as bots.  So I can headshot Spider-Man, The Flash, and Big Bird if I want to.

Wow, this post is really scatterbrained.  One final thing.  Just like any other time I've changed display resolution, the criteria for whether or not a post on here gets the Wall of Text award changes along with it.  The layout is fixed in width, so only the height of the post matters.  Just like before, I'm not going to go through and re-evaluate old posts to the new criteria.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 4

I started in on Frog Log right away during this session.  I'd already made nine of Toady's suggestions playing through the game and/or getting ultimate weapons.  My first task was simply to pull all the random trash weapons I have out of item storage, max any that need it, and make any combinations possible.  I figured I'd maybe get three or four combinations out of this and I'd have to run around buying things rather quickly.

It turned out otherwise.  By the end of the session I was up to nearly 30 of Toady's suggestions made, out of the 50 I need to complete Frog Log.  I actually didn't complete maxing and combining my already existing weapons, I still have Lilika, Jupis, and Zegram left.  But the fact that I've gotten as much of it done as I have without ever setting foot into a weapon shop is pleasing.  I don't know how many more I'll be able to make, but surely it'll put me in the mid-upper 30s, if not in the low 40s.  Then I can just buy some random crap swords for Jaster to combine and be done with it.

Another thing I worked on this session was farming the rare items I needed for Revelation Flow.  I have it down to just Jupis needing anything at all, and he simply needs three Galactic Compasses and two Crystal Staffs.  He also needs some random other item that I'll grab once it's the only thing left, and add it to his Revelation Flow while I'm standing in front of the stupid idol girl who gives out the completion rewards.

The last thing I worked on during this session is the thing I've been working on all this time: Hunting Record.  I now have Chapters 1 through 13 and Alistia complete.  Ghost Ship has some stuff done but still needs a fair amount.  I actually stopped doing Hunter Record in an attempt to farm up the last few Revelation Flow items I need, but they're proving to be quite rare and they exist as random drops in Ghost Ship anyway, so I think next session I might just move on to completing the Ghost Ship entries for the Hunting Record.

Given that I've been rather paranoid lately about my save getting corrupted due to my UPS' dead battery (UPS sees power fluctuation that it deems unsafe, tries to go to backup power, backup power is dead, everything connected to the UPS turns off), I've moved operations into another room where there's a fully functional UPS and our 50" plasma TV to play on.  I'm also taking advantage of the TV's picture-in-picture feature to have a newly acquired spare computer running Ubuntu 12.04 at the ready to scroll through guides and stuff.  I'm actually typing this blog post on it, and it's proved quite handy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 3

I kind of feel like an idiot.  Between last session and this one, I realized a critical detail about weapon synthesis that I'd missed up until this point: it's not about the specific weapon you use as a component, but the level of the weapon itself.  Each step of the way simply requires a weapon that's at or above a specific level.  The keyword there being "above".  Basically, for the Seven-Star Swords and Jaster's other special swords, I could have been using higher level weapons that I could just buy from a merchant, rather than having to buy two lower-level weapons and combining them to make something that fits the level requirement.

The FAQ I've been using to piece together the synthesis chains does make note of this, but really doesn't stress it enough, given how much time it would save if you know "oh hey I can just buy stuff from the guy on Mariglenn to make the fully upgraded forms of the Seven-Star Swords".

That said, I'm going to continue with things the way I've been doing them, because I'm almost done.  Also, I've been recording all the information as I verify it, in a TiddlyWiki, that once I'm done I can easily upload somewhere on the internet for it to get the same zero views that this blog gets.  It's a long way out yet, because there's one thing I need to verify that I don't get until beating Ghost Ship Extreme, which I can only assume will take a while, even with all the ultimate weapons.

The TiddlyWiki guide I've been putting together uses the method I was assuming I had to do, which means it calls for extra weapons to be crafted periodically that are likely unnecessary.  If I feel dedicated enough I'll do a New Game + run through the game and reverify stuff using weapons from merchants at the end of the game.  Since the only thing that carries over in New Game + is the costumes you've unlocked, I'm not in any huge hurry to do such things.

Anyway, on to stuff that happened in this session.

Well, really, it's pretty much the same as the last session.  Doing the obligatory 15 battles per sword so I can synthesize them, and going from one location to another filling in the Hunting Record.  Also, cycling party members around getting their weapons to MASTERED status, but that's not a huge priority since I can do it faster with crystals.

First up was the weakest of the Seven-Star Swords, Kingdom Master.  Up until this point I'd been going in reverse order from most powerful to least powerful, but Dark Cloud takes a metric fuckton of synthesis steps, and I tend to put off daunting tasks until I absolutely have to do them.  This pretty much can't be reduced because of how you obtain the base sword for Dark Cloud, Duke Nightmare.  You have to synthesize it from a Demon Rouser and a Majestic Halo.  Being that I used the Demon Rouser I already had from a quarry reward for a different synthesis, I had to make it as well as Majestic Halo.

After Kingdom Master, as you might have guessed from reading the previous paragraph, it finally came time to make Dark Cloud.  I bought and maxed all the swords necessary for prerequisites, then I started combining and even though it took a lot more swords I had Dark Cloud done before I even knew it.

With Dark Cloud finally complete, the next thing to do was complete Ghost Ship so I could get Dorgenedge and make Jaster's ultimate weapon, Dorgencalibur.  I progressed through Ghost Ship, encountering a rival a few times and eventually convincing him to not be so antagonistic towards me.  This happened once he realized we were both in the same boat, as we'd both been told the ship's treasure was ours to have if we could make it there.  The final boss ended up being the corrupted version of the ship's (and therefore the treasure's) owner.  The rival ended up being none other than Dorgengoa, from the past, who promptly faded out of existence after I defeated the final boss.

With Dorgenedge in hand, it finally became time to make Dorgencalibur.  This one was very straightforward as I already had suitable weapons maxed and ready to go.  First things first though, I worked my way back out of Ghost Ship like a true adventurer would, by walking out rather than teleporting.  Once I got back out I took a few attempts at Seventh Mystery.  Seventh Mystery is a seven question quiz about various random things in the game.  Eventually I got all seven questions right (they're different every time) and got the Key to the Underworld, which is used to open Ghost Ship Extreme.

Once Dorgencalibur was done and maxed, I used Excelion Shards, Hyper Crystals, and Omega Crystals to get it to MASTERED status relatively quickly.  This ended up being the last ultimate weapon I got to MASTERED status, meaning I got everyone else's done while doing all the Seven-Star Swords and special swords for Jaster.

I suppose up next will be Frog Log and more Hunting Record.  Frog Log is basically more running around buying weapons, maxing them, and synthesizing them (this time paying attention to Toady's suggestions), and Hunting Record simply requires a lot of grind and thus works well with weapon synthesis which also requires grind of the same type.  I'm nearing completion on the Hunting Record, too.  I have Chapters 1 through 10 and Alistia done.  I plan on finishing Chapters 11 through 13 and Ghost Ship before taking on Ghost Ship Extreme.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FLoBathon Recap

So, in terms of raising money for Child's Play Charity, FLoBathon was a complete and total success.  Despite taking almost an entire year to raise $29,220 with regular FLoB episodes on YouTube, Kurt put forth the lofty goal of doubling that to $58,440 in three days, with the incentive that if it happened, he'd go to MineCon.

$58,440 totally happened.  In fact, the count was up to over $70,000 before the end of the livestream.  I think it helped that for the last day Kurt had an overlay showing the current total on the stream, so people could see exactly how much was raised and attempt to GET various funny amounts, the most common of which was ending it with 69 cents.  They talked about this during the stream, but there totally were the two factions, the breakers and the fixers.  The breakers donate random amounts of cents extra, and the fixers try to get it to a nice round value.  It's fun to watch, and it helps the fundraiser to boot.

Before the weekend even began, Child's Play Charity promoted Far Lands or Bust to the Platinum sponsors section, alongside such names as Amazon.com and Microsoft.  And also a boatload of gaming-related things.  Also worth noting, MAGFest is a Gold sponsor.

The livestream was not without its large events, a few of which were actually positive.  On the first day, Kurt had at various points during the day pretty much the entire Kerbal Space Program team from the Mexican indie game company Squad on.  In addition to giving him KSP codes to give away, they also added Kurt Kerman to the game, complete with a model that has red-blue 3D glasses.  It'd be Kurt J Kerman, but apparently there's some issue in the naming with the fact that none of the other Kermans have middle names.

On the second day, Notch himself was around in the chat talking to people.  Kurt basically said that we didn't need any huge donations from Notch to reach the goal, that the Farlanders could do it themselves.  Notch agreed, since he'd just donated $10,000 to Child's Play during the Qubetubers stream while Kurt was streaming for them, but he did give Kurt a few Minecraft gift codes to give away.  Also, the guy who made the texture pack he uses for FLoB episodes made a special version for the stream that Kurt switched to during the second day.  It puts some Sixelona art in the crafting bench window, little "stay away, Wolfie!" symbols on cacti, and changed the beds to say "FLoBathon".  Otherwise, not a heck of a lot changed.

I actually missed the second day's stream because I was out having fun with friends in real life.  Don't worry, I watched the archive on twitch.tv.

On the third day was when the sad and frightening stuff happened.  Kurt was progressing as normal, then decided to go on a break to eat food.  So he exited and backed up the world while he ate, and when he came back, Wolfie was no longer there.  Re-watching the archived footage proved that Wolfie had been there before he went on the break, in fact, he was in the process of trying to push Kurt around when he exited Minecraft to make the backup.  The previous backup was too far away to use, so Kurt really had no choice but to press on without his companion and FLoB mascot.  He tried restoring from the backup he made just before the break, but Wolfie wasn't present there either, though I and a number of people in the chat did hear the "wolf shaking off water" sound right as he started playing again.  He left a chest full of bones, food, and some pink wool along with a message on a sign for Wolfie, and then pressed on.

It almost immediately came up that if he took damage, Wolfie might teleport to him.  Perhaps against better judgment, Kurt decided to test the theory.  He got shot by a skeleton in a nearby cave, and no Wolfie.  Then the frightening part happened.  Leaving the cave, it got dark, and a zombie was bearing down on him as he frantically tried to pillar up to make an elevated hidey hole.  He ended up having to kill the zombie and got taken down to half a heart of health in the process.  Fortunately he keeps a stack of wheat around, so he was able to make bread and get back to full health, but it was still really scary to see him that low on health in FLoB, given that he has yet to die in that world.

So, the livestream ended without Wolfie, but with SethBling's suggestion that Wolfie could probably be re-obtained using MCEdit.  Since it was a glitch that caused Wolfie to disappear rather than an actual death, it might be a bit more legit to find Wolfie in MCEdit and move him back to Kurt, but we don't know what's really going to happen in that regard.  Technically, if Wolfie still exists in the world, there would be seven tamed wolves in the FLoB world.  The original five that drove Kurt crazy and then never reappeared after he crossed an ocean, the extra Wolfie from the hidey hole paradox episode, and of course the real Wolfie.

Also, there was a pre-built monument (aka a derp tower with a somewhat decent base) where he decided to end the stream, so he pressed F3 on top of the derp tower.  Once again my guess was fairly close, although it was farther off this time than before.  In both celebratory livestreams so far I've submitted guesses based on mathematical constants.  The first time it was based on e, just multiplied by 100000 so it would be somewhat plausible.  Guess 271828, final distance 292202.  This time I took π and multiplied that by 200000.  Chopped off the decimal places to end up with 628318, final distance was 699492.

So, hopefully something reasonably legit can be done about Wolfie, and FLoB can continue with its mascot and sidekick.  In before "tame another wolf and pretend it never happened".

Monday, August 13, 2012

Check out the Food Page

I've put up another page accessible in the Pages section over on the right.  It lists every food product I've reviewed, with summaries of each review and links to all the posts that contain the full reviews.

This is by no means the end of me posting food reviews as regular blog posts.  It's not even intended to replace full reviews.  Rather, it serves to better organize my food reviews and make them more accessible as they get buried by other posts, while at the same time providing a quick reference.

Head on over and check it out.

Edit: and of course, if you see a food review that isn't listed, feel free to point it out in the comments on this post.  I had a tough time deciding whether some of the posts where I mentioned food were "review-y" enough to add to the list.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More Guild Wars 2

So, unlike last week's stress test where I was asleep during it, this week I was actually awake and played most of it.

It began rather roughly, with the servers constantly going up and down.  After about an hour things stabilized and I was actually able to play.  Being that it was a four hour stress test and an hour of it was already gone, I decided to focus on doing the jumping puzzles.  I took my ranger to the Charr one, which I'd heard the general location of after the last beta event, and after a bit of exploring I found it.

Now, it's important to note that prior to this, the only jumping puzzle I'd done was the Asura one.  So, I was expecting the Charr one to be about that long and maybe as difficult.  But no, the Charr one is relatively short and easy, and after I stopped derping and missing jumps and having to repeat the same part over and over again, I made it to the boss at the end.  He'd already stomped me once solo (I'd forgotten that I was downlevelled to 13 from 17, so I was like "he's only level 12, I should be beating his ass into the ground!"), but the second time I had the aid of another player, and this time we did the stomping.

There's a small chest there, but it's not over yet.  There's a note on the ground that hints at a pressure plate further upwards.  Along one of the walls is another series of platforms that eventually leads up to the pressure plate.  That opens a door that takes you to the actual reward chest.  That's it.  It's that short.  A third player joined us, grabbed the reward chest, and then as we were jumping around being idiots celebrating the cave started raining rocks down and killed all three of us.  lol

Anyway, a bit has been added since the last beta weekend.  When you hover your mouse on a skill that has a chain, where it turns into another skill after you use the first one, you can now see the entire chain and be able to better understand its properties.  Also, you can now do Ctrl + right click on a skill to make that skill your autofire skill.  Which is pretty amazing.  Say you only want to do two steps of your chain in skill slot 1, then follow up with skill 2.  Set skill 2 to your autoattack, then hit with skill 1 twice and let the autoattack kick in.  There you go.  Also, you can set it to your self-heal if you want, and automatically use your self-heal every time it recharges, which could be handy in the heat of combat.  Aside from tactical situations like that, though, you're better off leaving skill 1 as your autoattack since it doesn't have a recharge and everything else does.

Also, two more vistas were added to Lion's Arch.  One of them was balls easy, you just run up to it and grab it.  The other was a bit tricky, because you have to poke around and run through some bushes on two occasions to find the path to it.  Then there's a rather tricky exit, which I never quite got and kept dying of fall damage.

The rest of my time I spent in the level 15 Charr area, because that's where I actually needed to be so I wouldn't be downlevelled.  I killed some shit and helped a few NPCs out, got a vista, and then...  it was time for dinner.  But it was also half an hour left in the stress test, so I didn't feel too bad about quitting early.  Also, they put up an announcement saying "hey guys half an hour to go", reminding us that it ended at 4PM Pacific time, but they completely misspelled "Pacific".  They spelled it "Pacfici".  lol

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 2

Rather than doing any of Ghost Ship during this session, I spent this session simultaneously working on three things that work together very well:
  • Filling in the Hunter Record
  • Synthesizing special swords and Seven-Star Swords for Jaster (also synthesizing Deego's ultimate weapons)
  • Mastering people's ultimate weapons
All of these work well together because they all involve fighting large numbers of battles.  Because of the hunter record working the way it does, the best way to fill it in is to find a place where the stuff you still need to kill spawns and run in circles, killing everything.  Some enemies are far rarer than others, just to prolong things.

So, the first thing that happened is that I got Deego's ultimate weapons.  His ultimate axe looks awesome, and well worthy of being an ultimate weapon.

After that came synthesizing sword after sword for Jaster.  First up, I finished his penultimate sword, Diabolos.  I can't get his ultimate sword, Dorgencalibur, until after beating Ghost Ship.  Then, I made the ultimate form of the Libra King's Sword, which is called Ruler's Horn.  Switching over to Seven-Star Swords, I followed that up with making Ixion in the factory and then progressing it to its ultimate form, Guard Axis.  I continued on down the line, ending up with Earthshaker.

The other four Seven-Star Swords I haven't yet made, but I've pieced together how to do each one from the FAQ I'm pulling information from.

Mastering people's ultimate weapons takes forever, because each stat has a maximum of like 90 something, they typically start low after the last synthesis (the starting point depends on the stat's value on the combined weapons), and you get one point in a random stat per battle.  That said, I got through Deego and Zegram.  Kisala's mastered her boots, and Lilika's working on her stuff.  Since Jaster can't be removed from the party, his ultimate sub-weapon has been mastered for quite some time now.

My compulsion for completeness won't let me put the game to rest without the game completion, weapon synthesis, and ultimate weapon mastering being done.  I've got quite a long way to go yet before even really completing all aspects of the game, though.

Edit: ...aaaaaaaaaaand after I posted this I kept playing, and finished the factory.

A Few Days Later Edit: I guess I should mention what my project with Jaster is.  Basically, all four of the special swords he has can be upgraded via fairly straightforward synthesis chains.  There are also the seven Seven-Star Swords, which can also be upgraded.  I'm upgrading ALL of them.  I've got three of his four special swords fully upgraded (Ruler's Horn, Zeo Sychros X, and Diabolos), and similarly three of the seven Seven-Star Swords upgraded (Earthshaker, Guard Axis, and Gryphon Lord).  I've worked out what the synthesis chains are for the remaining swords, it's just a matter of getting all the component swords and then fighting 15 battles per sword.  Dorgencalibur will be the last one, so I can conclude the whole thing with his ultimate weapon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Not This Shit Again

Okay, now Valve has changed the Steam Subscriber Agreement to, among other things, forbid class action lawsuits.

It seems to be the fad lately, with Microsoft, Sony, EA, and probably others having already done the same thing.

The thing that gets me is that this is in a EULA, a dubiously legal document to begin with.  Being that it's drafted entirely by them and for all intents and purposes is trying to trump law, you'd think the people it applies to would have some say in what goes into it, since we're forced to agree to it.  But no.  The difference?

It's not a contract.  Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, nothing in it actually matters.  It's a purely one-sided agreement that they give themselves the right to change at any time.  Disagreement means forfeiting goods you have legally paid for.  To me, that's just wrong.

To highlight exactly what I am saying, I will refer to digital distribution services that unfairly restrict your right to do what you want with what you purchased as "encumbered digital distribution" services.  This effectively differentiates Steam from GoG.  On GoG, all games are unencumbered and once you purchase them, that's it, you own the copy, no questions asked.

This also highlights a point about encumbered digital distribution that's been lurking in the shadows all along.  You do not actually OWN the copies of the games or whatever you purchase digitally.  Compare that to physical distribution.  I look up at my stack of jewel cases for games released before encumbered digital distribution was all the rage.  Nobody can ever deny that I own a copy of StarCraft, its expansion Brood War, Diablo II and its expansion Lord of Destruction, Myst, Riven, etc. because I have those physical copies there to show that I do indeed own a copy of those games.

But with encumbered digital distribution, you never own the copy of whatever you just purchased.  You're just paying for the license to be able to use it so long as you remain on good terms with the company you're paying.  You don't get the same rights with the good you just purchased as if you had an unencumbered physical copy.  For instance, you can't lend it or resell it, both of which are perfectly legal to do with unencumbered physical goods.

The other thing that disturbs me about encumbered digital distribution: it depends on the life of the controlling company.  If they go bankrupt, what happens to your purchases?  Most likely, you'll lose them.  That would never happen with unencumbered distribution.  Given that things can turn from awesome to crap in a company almost in an instant these days, it's definitely something to keep in mind.

So if you want me to enter into a contract for the use of your service, that's fine.  Call it a contract, and let me negotiate the terms so that it benefits me as much as it benefits you.  So long as you make poor attempts at disguising a contract as a one-sided agreement, I will continue to declare that it doesn't apply because I was forced into it under duress.