Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Project 14: Sketch Fiction - Update

You may or may not have noticed, but I haven't uploaded any sketch fiction since my last project update. That's not great, but I am pleased to say that I have been writing and you should start to see new fiction posted pretty soon.

Of the five sketches I still have to finish I've mostly written 4 of them. I still need to finish and edit them, but I expect to get them up fairly soon now. The last one, well I haven't been too sure what to write, but I guess it's time to make the iron hot by striking.

So, I hope to post most of the sketches in the next week or two. I'm going to push my deadline to February 23, 2016.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blog: Video Games of January 2016.

A little while ago, I decided that I'd like to put together a "Game of the Games I Played this Year." This tends to be a little difficult though because I never actually remember what I've been playing after a little while. So, I thought it might be fun/a good idea to keep track of what I played this year.

I seem to have pulled it off, so far, and now, by time played, I have six "top" games for the month:
  1. Europa Universalis 4 - I played a lot of EU4 and I did it all in about 4 days (see the chart below). I don't think it would be weird to say I have some very mixed feelings about it, and not just because I'm now terrified of the Commonwealth.  

    I like EU4. It has a lot of depth and strategy, (which I'm still miles away from mastering) and the AI is good and not cheating too obviously.  Whenever you sit down to play it's always engaging and you get to make interesting choices and plans.

    It's also the worst "one more turn" game I've ever played. I've sat down to play an hour or two and stood up four or five hours later feeling a bit like you've lost control of your life. I found especially I'd only quit after the game punished me badly for making poor choices (see Polish Commonwealth) and so I'd leave with a mixed, my life sucks because I've played one damn game all day, and my life sucks because I just killed 100,000 troops and had to give up six provinces.

    EU4 also gets into your brain. I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about plans for the Ottomans and how I was going to expand, or fix a treaty, or get those damned provinces back from the Polish. This tended to make it a little to easy to fire up EU4 and start up again. I had to make a pretty conscious effort to put it away so I could a) actually get real work done and b) play anything else (like Final Fantasy).

  2. Final Fantasy VI (or 3) (for Super Nintendo) - Since I broke up with Ogre Battle (which I'll write a post about some day), I still feel like the dark days of winter are the days when you're supposed to play fantasy RPGs and Final Fantasy VI is a great game in that category.

    I was playing on my original SNES. Which gave me the full Woolseyized text, son of a submariner and all. I tend to think of the SNES version FF3 (with the arabic numeral) verses Final Fantasy VI (with the roman numerals), which applies to the later versions of the game. That may be a crazy thing to do, but it's what's been going on in my head for a while.

    Generally I've been having fun. The story feels a little strangled by the translation, but generally is good and once you get going is fun. Combat is good, but random encounters are evil (especially when you're trying to tell a story). There are slightly too many characters for the game to manage and not quite enough reason to trot them out in any quest. There's a button you can push that makes a ninja drop from the ceiling and you can fight him. (Also why are all ninjas undead?)

  3. Dishonored - I really like Dishonored (which should really have a u in it somewhere). It's fun and it's easy to slip back into, even if I haven't played in a while. Beyond that I'm feeling excited that we'll get to see Dishonored 2 some time this year (hopefully) and I also want to try my hand at a Let's Play and this seems like a good game to start on.

  4. Mini Metro - Holy crap! This little strategy game where you manage a metro system on a metro map is awesome. I played it a little bit when they had the web-only beta version running a while ago. Then it came out for real. I lost a day (oops) to the web-only version on my laptop then looked it up again when I got home and realized that the Steam version was on for $10 (CAD). So since then I've played a lot. I seem to max out most maps at around a 1000 passengers, but I like the variety of maps they have and the daily challenges. The only problem I seem to have (other than the lost day) is that it seems like you can't do the daily challenges all at once.

  5. Super Mario Maker - I don't usually set out to play Super Mario Maker that often, it tends to be a game where I see the box sitting by the TV and think, "Oh, I should play an hour." I really like designing levels as an exercise in thinking about game design and I also try to spend at least a little time playing other peoples levels since I think the game is a little low on players vs creators. Since I'm thinking about it, I do have two levels that I made recently that I'm kinda proud of, New Buzzy Lair and Always a Way. You can also see my profile page.

  6. Hearthstone - I don't play Hearthstone everyday, but I do like to play at lunch when I can and then occasionally while I'm watching the hockey game or as a way to wind down before bed. I'm not good and I'm lacking a lot of the high end cards to really get me moving (one day, Dr. Boom, one day), but I still have fun. It may not be exactly fair, but I do enjoy that feeling of watching your opponent make a mistake and leave you the opening to get your board control up and stable so you take the game over.

If you're interested, here are my total times in January for every game I played:

The units are in hours, I'm still a little baffled about pivot tables.
and I have a chart of which games I played on which days:

Sorry this looks janky, I'm definetly still trying to figure out how to embed google docs.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Blog: Favourite YouTube Videos (Volume 120)

In this volume of my favourite YouTube videos, we get awesome, get science and get musical.

  • First, the vlogbrothers host the Project For Awesome every year and this video is (a few of) the highlights from 2013.
  • Next, Hank enjoys some holidays and his favourite, nothing to do day, thing, answering science questions. #amI1percentnacho
  • Finally, Ben Chan, as a guy in four boxes, plays a parody on the themes from Final Fantasy.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blog: Favourite YouTube Videos (Volume 119)

In this volume of my favourite YouTube videos, we reverse engineer our own typesetter and answer real questions about real vlogbrothers.

  • First, we have two videos from Computerphile looking at "The Great 202 Jailbreak". This is a good look at the spirit of inventiveness that makes computer science interesting and at how complex a thing that seems simple, like printing*, can be.
  • Then to round out the volume Hank Green did Question Tuesday with his parents. Answering the most important question, how was John Green as a child.