Sunday, September 30, 2012

Band Hero

So, other than Guitar Hero 6: Warriors of Rock, Band Hero was the last game I really had to do in the entire series.  Being that I don't have access to a copy of WoR or a console to play it on, it'll probably stay that way.

Anywho, what is there to Band Hero to set it apart from the rest of the series?

It's balls easy, that's what.

In fact, it's earned the distinction of being the game I will recommend to entry-level GH players.

Unlike the other GH games, it doesn't have a "hardest song" or a set of "hardest songs".  Most of the songs are really easy, and the remaining ones are moderate difficulty with the occasional hard spot.  This shows quite plainly in my sightread results, where I almost full game 5-starred both guitar and bass.  On guitar it was a matter of tapping a pattern of slider notes that I hadn't been prepared for on sightread, and on bass it was a matter of using star power in the right spot because the song only had 42 fucking notes.

The soundtrack is what the game lives off of, and this time around they seem to have put in a handful of good songs and then filled in the rest of the 65 song set list with completely meh songs.  The worst of the bunch being Bring Me To Life by Evanescence.  I actually unplugged my speakers when I sightread that song.  On both Guitar and Bass.  Just to give some contrast, there are three Taylor Swift songs and one Hilary Duff song in the game and I didn't unplug my speakers for them.  Just sayin'.

I'll give two overall statements:
  1. If you're new to Guitar Hero as a whole, then Band Hero is a very good entry point.  The overall lack of difficulty will let you get used to the mechanics and gameplay without being too overwhelmed.  Then once you've gotten decent you can move on to other games with more challenging songs.
  2. If you're already a seasoned Guitar Hero player, the only reason you'd ever want to get Band Hero is the fact that it provides 65 more songs to play.  You probably won't be challenged very much by the songs, but it's still the same game you're used to, and there are good songs in the game, even though they encompass less than half of its soundtrack.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Whole NFL Referee Shenanigans

Let me start off by saying that I'm not writing from the point of view of a fan of any team in the NFL.  I don't really care about football to be honest, it's something I watch with friends and family to be sociable (and get out of the house).  Since I've lurked moar, I know the majority of the rules and can generally keep up with things, but I have no favorite team.  I have friends who care deeply about one or another team, though, and recent events have provoked a response from me, that to be honest echoes what the majority are saying right now.

The recent crap with the referees that's been happening is inexcusable.  Any time you have someone in a position of authority that can't perform their job competently, you have a problem.  When you have the fans in the stands chanting "bullshit!" after calling unsportsmanlike conduct on a team's coach for trying to get a ref's attention so he could call a timeout, you have a problem.  When you have a referee throwing his hat onto the field, into the path of a wide receiver as he tries to run his route, you have a problem.

Apparently the real refs are on some sort of a lockout, and we have replacement ones from who the fuck knows where in the meantime.  So many people (players and fans alike, from what I've seen across sports-related websites) are calling for these "junior league" refs to be fired and for the regular ones who actually know what they're doing to come back.

From the point of view of a relative outsider, the solution is simple: do what it takes to get the regular refs back.  Before fans begin storming the field to give the refs a piece of their mind (or a foot to the crotch as it were).  Because if this goes on much longer, the replacement refs are going to need security detail before, during, and after the game.  But the simple solutions from people who don't really fully grasp what's going on hardly ever work out well, so I'll just say "I dunno".

Also, this edited Buffalo Wild Wings commercial highlights the whole thrown hat thing slightly better than my first link.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

last post ever about 10-bit h264

So I was watching some anime on the computer we got from our neighbors, just to see how well it could handle it with the software decoding and all.  Everything about that computer is a bit underpowered, except for one thing: the processor has two cores.

I guess I underestimated that.

mplayer2 goes "oh hey multi-core lol ok" and says "asking decoder to use 2 threads if possible".

I didn't try Totem or whatever the default Ubuntu 12.04 media player is, because whatever it is, it sucks.  At least with mplayer2 it will use fonts inside matroska files...

Basically, I watched all of Carnival Phantasm again.  Loading it over the network as well, just because I didn't want to transfer it over and have to wait for that.  mplayer2 complained a couple times that it thought the computer was too slow to play the file (most likely due to loading the file over the network), but I never experienced any playback hiccups.

Then I decided to watch some of the extra stuff like EX season and Fate/Prototype, both of which UTW encoded in 10-bit.

To my surprise, it handled it flawlessly.  Even loading it over the network.

I didn't bother to window what I was watching and open htop to monitor CPU usage, but since the playback was devoid of all the issues I had on this single-core CPU, I feel reasonably safe in declaring success.

So basically, anything I download in 10-bit now I'm going to watch on that thing until I can build myself a new desktop.

This means I can finally watch the K-ON! movie, since I could only find it in 10-bit.

Also, now I sort of feel like I need to re-watch anything I attempted to watch before but could barely do so because of the whole 10-bit thing.  This includes Fate/Zero and Mouretsu Pirates.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles

I'll admit, I've always been more of a Pop Tarts guy.  I always saw Toaster Strudel's necessity of freezing and applying the icing yourself to be a hinderance.  But lately I've always made a point to try every new flavor of Pop Tarts at room temperature as well as toasted and frozen.  That and I noticed that there were Toaster Strudel varieties that didn't have equivalent Pop Tarts varieties.

I was out with CAINE when I noticed Toaster Scrambles in the freezer case next to the Toaster Strudels.  They're basically Toaster Strudels, but with bacon, egg, and cheese inside.  They were already rather inexpensive, and they were also on sale, so I figured "why the hell not" and grabbed a box.

You get six of them in a box, and the listed serving size is one.  Unlike with Pop Tarts where the listed serving size is one but they're sub-packaged in twos, all six are in one bag inside the box.  So it's trivial to take one out, fold the bag over, and put it back into the box.

The directions are fairly simple.  Toaster to medium and toast for a couple of cycles.  Directions for a toaster oven are much of the same, but recommend fewer cycles.

They have further directions you can follow for if they're still cold (or have cold spots) even after being toasted, which happened to me.  Except that I was partway through eating at that point and was sitting at my computer, which isn't in the kitchen.  I didn't really feel like getting up to go pop them in the microwave, so I just continued eating them.  To be honest, now that I know that two cycles on medium with my toaster isn't enough (it's an old POS, that might play into it), I'm more inclined to just toast them longer.

If you do end up with cold spots in your filling, though, the recovery microwave directions work.  Simply microwave for 10 seconds on high.  I use a 1200 watt microwave, so, you know, microwaves can be unpredictable, adjust as necessary, etc.

As for the taste and texture, the crust is soft and flaky, and they don't taste too bad.  The egg and cheese were plainly obvious, and on occasion I noticed the bacon.

Personally, I feel as though Pop Tarts are a lot more of a guaranteed thing.  Pop them in the toaster on its lowest setting and they'll be done perfect in one cycle every time.  But then again, they're also stored at room temperature.  They haven't had a decent new variety in forever either, which is another reason why I'm looking around for alternatives.

Overall, if you're a Toaster Strudels person, or just happen to like your bacon, egg, and cheese for breakfast, they're a pretty good decision.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More YouTube CSS Tweaks

You could have seen this coming.  After upgrading my main monitor to a 1440x900 widescreen LCD, my previously-posted-about YouTube CSS Tweaks that were designed for 1152x864 needed updating.

I also used this opportunity to test my own directions for tweaking it to match your display resolution.  As listed in the comments, all of the calculations work.  Also, as a bonus, I went ahead and added the interface_height constant and changed the content_height calculation accordingly, though I still recommend disregarding this calculation and just tweaking content_height until it matches your available vertical space.

As a reminder, when tweaking, have the addon bar turned on, even if you don't regularly use it.  That way, when you have it off, there will be room to turn it on without scrollbars appearing.

I'm updating the original link with these new tweaks because I also included some more comments explaining all the various hard-coded values in the calculations.  For convenience, I'll also link the CSS from this post.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 6

This session's name is "The Most Planned-Out 30 Battles Ever".


Because I did a lot of looking back and forth between my item storage, the Frog Log, and the Shop List FAQ on GameFAQs before I even started actually playing the game.  From the previous session, I ended up at 39 of Toady's suggestions synthesized, which left 11 remaining.  After consulting the Frog Log and the Shop List FAQ extensively, I found eleven weapons in my possession that fit the bill and the corresponding eleven weapons I needed to buy from shops.  I then went around to all those shops and bought all eleven weapons.  The best part: the set I found let me keep my party the same for all of it.  So rather than having to swap party members around, I could just keep my usual party of Jaster, Kisala, and Zegram.

What I ended up with was two main weapons and two sub weapons for everyone, except for Zegram who only needed one sub weapon.  Taking advantage of both the main weapon and sub weapon slots cut this down tremendously from what I was originally planning, which was just doing a bunch of swords for Jaster.  Essentially I had a set of six weapons and a set of five, which meant it would take 30 battles to get all of them maxed.

In order to plan all this out, I took notes.  Remember that computer I got from a neighbor and installed Ubuntu 12.04 on?  Yeah, I've been using it these past few sessions, connected to the same TV as my PS2, using its picture-in-picture options to display the computer's video next to the PS2's video, and it came in extra handy for this one.

Where did I do the 30 battles?  Where else, but the easiest place in the game: Rosa.  Specifically, at the Residential Area Plaza.  The battles there are so easy that usually Kisala and Zegram can finish them in a matter of seconds while Jaster runs in circles thanks to my controller's analog sticks being rubber banded together.  Ah, the advantage of having a level 70+ party in the first area of the game.

Anyway, for all my trouble I got a costume for Zegram.  I then proceeded to pull all the random extra weapons I had out of item storage and sell them off.  Not that I particularly needed the money or storage space, but just so I never had to look at or care about them ever again.  So aside from all the special swords for Jaster, all that's really in there is costumes and random shields I've picked up around the game.  Fun fact: I've barely used the shield equipment slot.  I seriously contemplated getting confuse shields for everyone when I was going through Mother's Lair and someone was getting confused and killing a fellow party member nearly every battle, but it was just one of those "you know, I should really do this" things that I never actually get around to doing.

The research and preparation for this session took quite a bit longer than the session itself took.  This is the last of the short sessions, though.  Up next is a quick flyby of everywhere in the game to check for missed chests, then depending on how long that takes, the beginning of Ghost Ship Extreme, making sure to fill in the Hunter Record as I go so that I complete Hunter Record before I get to the end of Ghost Ship Extreme.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 5

This session was all about getting things done.  In it, I finished Revelation Flow, caught Hunter Record up to game progress, and finished analyzing and combining weapons I already had for the Frog Log.

Finishing Revelation Flow was mostly annoying because the items I needed dropped very rarely.  At least I was comboing it together with Hunter Record and Frog Log.  I eventually got the two remaining Crystal Staffs and the three remaining Galactic Compasses I needed.  Then I hopped over to Zerard and bought the random item Jupis needed to finish his very last ability, and as promised, I added it to his Revelation Flow while standing in front of the stupid idol girl that hands out the completion rewards.  The reward for completing Revelation Flow was a costume for Deego.

After that, I jetted to Ghost Ship to wrap up the remaining enemies I needed for the Hunter Record.  It was relatively straightforward, and while it seemed as though the spawn rates would occasionally change just to spite me when I had one of a given enemy left, I did eventually get it done.  The only entries missing from Hunter Record now are the ones for enemies in Ghost Ship Extreme, which I haven't started.

As for combining weapons I already had for the Frog Log, that's done, and I'm sitting at around 10 of Toady's suggestions remaining.  I can quite probably do the rest with random swords for Jaster.  Then I'll finally be able to sell off all the extra weapons I have lying around.

Between finishing Frog Log and doing Ghost Ship Extreme and its Hunter Record entries, I plan on doing a giant sweep of every area to look for chests I may have missed.  I know for a fact I haven't revisited everywhere since getting the psychic ability to tell where chests are on the map, so I've probably missed a few here and there.