Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bravely Default: Three Chapters Done

I love my new flying city, complete with shops, save point, ship for sailing in water, and dungeon for XP/JP grinding.  For some reason the inn still costs money, but at this point with my Japanese Elixir Mammon around, money is no object.  This flying city also has an autopilot function, granting me fast travel to anywhere in the world that I've already been.

Bravely Default is an example of a game that's really, really not possible to judge until you get many, many hours into it.  It keeps changing and giving me new options.  Among the five jobs I got in Chapter Three was the Salve-Maker, which can use its Compounding ability in battle to mix items together and make some really powerful stuff.  Also, its specialty, Healing Lore, doubles the effectiveness of HP and MP recovery, and becomes a support ability at job level 9.  I can't wait to get it mastered and send another Rejuvenation, I'm going to try some shenanigans to make it superpowered.

While you have to have Salve-Maker as your primary job to level it up and get its abilities for a character, it seems to be a job that's better suited to be a secondary job.  It's a solid job overall, capable of dealing large amounts of damage and supporting the party, if you have the items to throw at it.  I mean, fuck, one of the things it can do is double a character's max HP (and heal them for 50% of the new max in the process).  You can then combine that with the ability to deal damage equal to your current HP, and you see where this is going.

You can't even leave some jobs alone and just focus on others, because all the jobs have slottable abilities that are useful for other jobs.  Red Mage is a neat one since it can cast up to the fourth level of spells in both Black Magic and White Magic, giving you the mid-tier of each essentially, making it yet another solid job to keep around as a secondary, particularly for a primary job that actually uses weapons instead of spells.  It also has some support abilities that would work well for any of the casting jobs, as well as numerous ways of generating BP.

I haven't delved into Pirate or Ninja yet, but... you could conceivably make a character BOTH a pirate AND a ninja.  Since I haven't seen their abilities I don't know if you'd want to, but... yeah.  Just putting that out there.

So yes, Grandship get.

Forthcoming Series: Pursuit of the Perfect Frozen Burger

I've seen these frozen hamburgers and other similar sandwich-type-things in freezer aisles for a while, and partaken in a few, with some good and some bad.  But I haven't really properly prepared them for maximum quality, which being me I would require in order to compare them.

So basically, the main thing to note is something I touched on in a previous post about frozen sandwiches: thaw them out before heating them in the microwave.  They turn out so much better.  Don't even put them in the freezer when you get home from the store, just chuck them in the fridge.

Also, I'm always a little weary of microwave directions that involve leaving the sandwich in its plastic wrapper, even with one end open.  So for the purposes of this series of posts I'll be ignoring any such directions and placing the sandwich on a plate for heating.

Last but not least, if American plastic cheese-facsimile food product is included in the sandwich, I will be removing it, and adding a small amount of extra microwave time to melt some Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese or Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese onto the product after it's warmed up.  Cheddar is better, after all.

Also, why haven't there been any food-related posts here recently?  A few friends and I were going to start a dedicated food blog.  I was taking more in-depth notes about things and lamenting my lack of a decent camera (both phone and 3DS produce ass-quality 640x480 JPEGs), and in general holding any post I would have posted here so that it could be fully fleshed out for the food blog.  However, the food blog has yet to materialize, but I'm still getting random frozen things from the store.  So I've resolved to just resume posting food posts here until such time as we actually get the food blog going, if at all.  Which kinda sucks because we've got a really good name for it.  Anyway.

Basically in the near future you can look forward to more frozen food posts from me, in particular posts in the aforementioned series titled "Pursuit of the Perfect Frozen Burger".  Will a frozen burger ever match up to one that's made fresh?  Probably not.  Will a frozen burger still be delicious?  Sure thing.  Will the series be limited to just hamburgers or will it cover other similar things like chicken sandwiches that are often right next to the burgers on the shelf?  Limiting oneself is kinda bad.  I had a pretty decent chicken sandwich from a frozen section earlier tonight, actually, so I'm definitely including them in the series.

(also, a similar frozen food pursuit series might happen alongside it since there's something I've been lacking for a few years now, nudge nudge wink wink hype hype)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Super Mario World

So at MAGFest I bought a SNES and some games, one of which was actually five games in one cartridge: Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World.  I've never been all that great at the Mario games, the way he takes time to lose momentum after you stop pressing anything tends to contribute to this.

However, since I now legitimately own a copy of Super Mario World, I set out to possibly get better at the game, and get myself a save with all 96 exits.  Last night, I caped through the last three stages of Special World to victory.  After resetting to confirm my save had that sweet, sweet ★96 on it, I went and defeated Bowser to claim total victory over the game.

When I started, I couldn't even cape reliably.  I'd just randomly fall out of the sky after successfully doing it a few times.  But I seem to have gotten the hang of it, and have adopted the mantra of "Playing Super Mario World = Flying over entire stages".

So, things I still find annoying despite having beaten the entire game:
  • Water stages
    • Mostly Mondo with its changing water level, the underwater stages aren't so bad.
  • The golden fish in the water stages, that always seem to flip back over at exactly the wrong time.
  • Slippery stages
    • One specific stage in Special World comes to mind where regardless of how well you do, it all comes down to a jump off of a red parakoopa that flies up and down, to a slippery block, and then finally to solid ground.
  • Stages that look like they can be caped through until you hit an invisible barrier above the top of the screen somewhere
  • The fact that I can't remember where to get the cape other than Donut Plains 1, Top Secret Area, and Forest of Illusion 2 (with Green Switch Palace)
  • The fact that saving the game only saves world progress and Mario's current location.  Nothing else gets saved, so you lose all your extra lives (reset to 5), Mario's status (big/fire flower/cape), and Yoshi.
  • The hammer brothers that spew out hammers on their stupid flying platforms, seriously you have anger issues and throwing hammers around for no reason is not a healthy way to deal with them
  • Tubular (seriously, I used 54 lives on this one damn stage)
  • Iggy and Larry Koopa, because of their stupid see-saw platforms where you think you've got them knocked off but they stop just at the edge and then the platform tilts back up.  Seriously, won't you please go and die in the fire I'm trying to knock you into?
  • Magikoopas
    • I cheesed the cape on the stupid vertical pillars in Larry's Castle, because fuck you magikoopas why can't I cape-spin-kill you?
Random things I did that I feel good about:
  • I caped to the secret exit in Cheese Bridge Area, which involves dropping in altitude at a precise moment so you can fly under the first goal.
  • I somehow double-ate a 1UP mushroom in Top Secret Area and got two lives.  This only happened once, all attempts to recreate failed.
Anyway.  Super Mario World beaten with all 96 exits.  I know there's four glitch exits for a total of 100, I don't care, you have to do some frame-precise things to get those exits anyway, and the US version doesn't go above 96 on the counter, so there's no point.  I've done everything there is to do, and that's what matters.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Charlottesville Nintendo Zones

Because StreetPass was only designed to work in Japan, knowledge of where you can go for guaranteed StreetPasses in the US is a bit tricky.  Nintendo has a locator, but it doesn't want to work for me, probably because I've disabled IP geolocation for privacy purposes.

Anyway, I've started a Google Spreadsheet for keeping track of the Nintendo Zones around where I live.  I've set it so anyone with the link can view it and leave a comment, but only I can edit it.  If you're reading this and live in Charlottesville, VA, I invite you to help me fill it in.

Values of note:
  • TRUE - means StreetPassing the Nintendo Zone was successful
  • FALSE - means StreetPassing the Nintendo Zone was not successful
  • #N/A - location does not have a drive through
  • blank - not tested yet
  • red text - location has Nintendo Zone but it doesn't work correctly, try it anyway to see if it magically works now
When contributing, please provide notes in a similar vein to the ones that are already in the "Notes" column.  Of importance is whether or not StreetPassing from outside the location requires getting out of the car, specific parking spaces where it works the best, and where to go inside the location for best results.

Figuring out the SSID might be a bit tricky, but once you do, you can get it and the MAC address if you have a laptop with you (LOL JUST GO BUY ONE IF YOU DON'T HAVE ONE).  If you have a wireless router you can freely reconfigure, take down all the SSIDs your 3DS sees in the area, use the laptop to grab their MAC addresses, set your router's SSID to those (Make sure there's no encryption!  Configure MAC authentication on the router to secure it!), one at a time, and see which ones cause your 3DS to say that Nintendo Zone is available.  Then submit those SSIDs and their corresponding MAC addresses.

If you're unsure about the SSID and MAC address, provide what you think is correct, but note that you're unsure about it.

Why do I want the MAC addresses?  For HomePass, duh.  Everyone configures HomePass with a massive global list of MAC addresses, but I'd really just like those from the area around me.  Having a list that's too big is absolute crap for building up levels for Find Mii and Find Mii 2.  Besides, processing StreetPasses takes a lot longer when you have the DLC StreetPass games.


Edit (same day): Swapped spreadsheet link for a form link.  I kinda forgot about forms.  lol

Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking a step backwards

...and hopefully two steps forwards in the near future.

By the backwards step, I am of course referring to moving back in with my parents.

By the two steps forwards in the near future, I am of course referring to finding employment and then a single bedroom apartment.

This hopefully very temporary stint in my parents' house will be quite different.  They're going to be assisting me in getting rid of basically all my old furniture (desk and bed) and getting new ones that are easier to move between residences.  Hopefully I can get a new, smaller dresser that might be easier to move between residences as well.  The bed/desk/dresser set I currently have was purchased from This End Up back in the day, and is full of big heavy pieces of wood and is overall pretty horrible for anyone to move anywhere.

I've moved the majority of my non-bed non-desk non-dresser stuff.  All that's left is stuff that's fairly easy to shove in a box or a plastic bag and toss in the car.  Well, and three computers.  But, you know.

Also, I will need to procure a network switch.  My bedroom back at my parents' place only has one network drop, and no wireless.  This clearly won't suffice for three computers, let alone the fact that I want to build a new computer to be my primary gaming machine (the only part of which I have procured thus far is Windows 7), and get the necessary stuff to set up SpillPass-Pi for my 3DS, for three purposes: getting streetpasses without having to leave the house, eShop access, and sending net friend invites in Bravely Default.  I also kind of want a laptop, but that's a fairly low priority.

Anyway, I've removed that "10% - becoming homeless" entry in the sanity meter.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Upstream Saturation and You

So, I was watching the latest Far Lands or Bust (at the time of this writing, at least), and therein, Kurt mentioned that for the first time in a while he tried out Firefox, in place of his usual Chrome.  Everything generally went well, and he noticed much faster upload speeds to YouTube.  That seems like a benefit at first, but then he couldn't do anything at all on the internet while that upload was happening.

I've had a similar problem to this in the past with BitTorrent, and know from my experience in computer networking that the cause and solution are both very simple.

The cause is simply that Firefox is saturating his upstream on that one upload.  This means that anything else he tries to do has a hard time getting a request out.  This is akin to the Slashdot Effect, but affecting your upstream as opposed to an unsuspecting web server's downstream.  If you do manage to get a request out, you'll get the resulting page at pretty much the same speed as always, since your upstream being saturated doesn't affect your downstream at all.

The solution is to throttle the upload speed of the offending application.  Do a speed test sometime when you're not using your upstream for anything at all, and cap the offending application at 50-75% of your total upstream.  With most BitTorrent clients these days, this is trivial.  Unfortunately, in Firefox, there is no way to throttle its bandwidth usage.  A few searches for extensions or settings that might be relevant turn up nothing of use.

My suggestion to Kurt?  Use Firefox for day-to-day browsing, and use Chrome for uploading videos to YouTube.

Strangely, when I uploaded my silly 10 hour video that took this computer 20 hours to render, I used Firefox and had no such upstream saturation issue.  It was an older version of Firefox, but Firefox hasn't changed significantly since version 4.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Still No Vacation

See also: Tax on the Cupid.  This is the level 30 version.

Recommended party:
  • 3 Black Mages, 1 White Mage (yawn)
  • Angelic Ward on everyone
  • Black Resonance on your white mage if you can
  • Other support abilities up to you lol
  • White Mage job command: Black Magic
Special Moves:
  • Withering Ripples set to enable Poison and Sleep, and toss on an elemental weakness for us to exploit
  • Rejuvenation with max HP/MP/BP boosts and Cure K.O. just in case things go south.
  • Unleash Withering Ripples.
  • Default with White Mage up to 3 BP.
  • Sleep Khint, Poison Profiteur.  Reapply these statuses as necessary.
  • Spam your chosen element.  When your White Mage has 3 BP, let them join in, but save those BP.
  • Khint leaves the battle when Profiteur is around 50% health.
  • Profiteur will now start spamming Takedown for 2000 damage a pop (hug that Angelic Ward), but put himself in debt on BP every time he does it, giving you a free round to heal up with your White Mage, using Brave as necessary to top up multiple people in one turn.
  • Keep spamming your chosen element and make sure nobody dies, and you win.
Up next: At the end of July, Pollywog pg.  Perhaps sooner, Satan.  I need to get further in the story so I can buy the next tier of elemental spells, as Satan has a lot of health to wear down.  My black mages are high enough level to have the required level of Black Magic available, so it's just a matter of buying the spell scrolls.