Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

What I’ve Been Doing

Posted by Stropp on December 10, 2013

It’s been a while, so I thought I might let you guys know what I’ve been up to.

Aside from working, busy there, I’ve been getting a little gaming time in over the last few months.

Minecraft

I have pretty much cooled off on this one. Still occasionally get the urge to play but it doesn’t last long once I’ve logged in.

Terraria

I’ve been playing more Terraria than anything else. Mostly just digging and exploring and getting nuked by the imps once I’ve reached the Hell layer. I probably need to set a few goals to gear up before those layers.

Neverwinter

I’ve done a little bit of Neverwinter. I have run into a snag with one of my characters by having completed all the quests up to level 15/16 by level 14 and now can’t effectively beat the L16 bosses in a quest. And I’m not sure how to level without just grinding.

It doesn’t really capture me either. It just feels too linear.

World of Warcraft

I resubbed to WoW the other day, just out of boredom, and from reading Wilhelm Arcturus’ account of his return to Warcraft. I started the patching process and got to playing but ran into driver problems. After updating the video drivers I found WoW started crashing my ADSL, probably due to the updating process. It crashed when updating when not playing, and also while playing.

I’ve had this happen once or twice before with other games updating or downloading, but with WoW it seems a lot more persistent.

I’m thinking seriously of a new computer, mine is six years old and no longer effectively plays newer games. (Bioshock Infinite crawls like a snail.) I’ll probably update the modem at the same time.

Steam Games

I’ve spent a little on Steam sales over the last few months too. Bought a few early access games: Godus, some of the Zombie survival ones, and some others. The good ones seemed to also require a better PC, some didn’t catch my attention, and others were perhaps too early access for me. Those look like they’ll be good but not yet.

Wizardry Online

I started Wizardry Online when it first came out. Didn’t really care much for it back then, but I was curious to see if it had improved.

Nope.

The worst thing was the slow typing quest text. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been little of it, but it went on, and on, and on. So much so that the devs had a in-game joke with one character repeatedly interrupting for more text. Ugh.

It’s also very very empty.

Other

Other than that, I’ve been doing a little reading. Slowly getting through A Dance With Dragons. About a third to go. It was hard getting into this one, but I’m hooked now and progressing faster. I like that some of the earlier characters are getting some time again. I was feeling like I missed Arry. Tyrion just keeps getting in deeper and deeper. But no expectations. Red Wedding anyone?

It’s been a tough year business wise. Really hard getting new clients. It feels at times nothing is working, but now it appears some of my efforts are paying off. I spent $4K on a marketing program for tech businesses which has been brilliant and I feel like things are happening because of it. Still just got to keep at it. And looking forward to the Christmas break. I’ll still be available for work but I might leave the alarm off in the morning.

As I mentioned, I’m strongly considering a new PC. I just have to decide if the budget will cope with it, and how much to spend. The place I’ll be buying from has a number of models, but I’m deciding between a hex core with 16GB RAM and a hex core with 32GB. Frankly the 32 is very tempting, but budget might dictate the 16Meg instead. And of course, if I want 32 later it’s just an upgrade (maybe just a couple of extra sticks.)

Anyway, enjoy your holiday break and always remember: Winter is coming.

 

Things That Make You Go Gagh!

Posted by Stropp on October 22, 2010

I sometimes borrow the expression, Things That Make You Go Hmm. It refers to those things that cause me amusement, bemusement, head-shaking, confusion, or other minor forms of mental disturbance. Sometimes though, that’s not enough.

So what are Things That Make Me Go Gagh?

Gagh! is the internationally and parentally recognised term for disgust. That and it’s also a Klingon delicacy.

This morning I awoke and checked my feed reader and found myself universally disgusted by the self-entitled douchebaggery being perpetrated against the developer of the Minecraft game, Marcus Persson by a bunch of criminals/script kiddies/12 year old/crybabies who think that they can ruin someone elses livelihood because they’re not happy with the pace of the games development.

These people who want Notch to increase the frequency of updates to once a week have been running a DDOS attack on the Minecraft servers now using a botnet of some 80,000 hijacked computers. It took a while apparently for Notch to figure out that it was in fact a DDOS attack, and then a message appeared on the 4chan message boards.

Minecraft is currently experiencing a stimulation provided by us.

It’s purpose is to send Notch a clear message of how the future of minecraft will turn out unless he gets to work, namely by influencing the amount of sales taking place, due to the attacks.

Start providing your customers with the updates that you promise them.

We have roughly 83,000 bots available, and preserved for this seizure, we could if we wanted to keep this going for weeks, however we have decided to give it a week, and see whether or not your attitude, and commitment will change, we believe it will when money stops rolling in for the time being…

anyhow, no we’re not from roblox, or any other minecraft clone, not to mention none of us have been around 4chan for years, and nor has any real 4channers for that matter, its all newfags now, and has been for quite a few years.”

The stupidity of this statement astounds me.

First of all, Notch is providing the updates the he has promised. There’s a Halloween update due out on the 31st of October, which I am sure he has been working hard on. Although now with the time he has had to devote to dealing with this DDOS attack, will the Halloween update be ready? Notch has said on his blog that he is behind schedule.

Second. As Living Worlds points out, Notch is a single developer working on this project, he’s getting married sometime soon, and he is forming a company to continue the development of Minecraft. While I don’t agree with the characterisation of the DDOSers as terrorists (I think the term is tossed around too freely these days) since there is no terror involved. However, the activity is certainly criminal in several ways. But I digress.

  • Programming is hard. It’s also not an exact science. Sometimes implementing features or fixing bugs take as long as they take. This is so much more the case with only one developerĀ  when you can’t run a bit of code past some other eyes.
  • The guy is getting married. Even though the bride does most of the planning and work on getting the day right, the groom also takes on a lot of time consuming responsibility. Unless he is Raymond. How selfish is it to demand Notch put the wedding on hold just because you think he’s not working hard enough?
  • Setting up a company takes time, depending on where you live. I know. I did that myself late last year, and while Australia makes it easy to set up a company, it’s not set and forget. I understand the US also makes it easy to start a company, but Persson hails from Sweden and I believe many of the European countries make it very difficult to start a company. That’s got to take time away from development.

A third point. While Notch may be the sole developer on Minecraft, currently, he is taking on developers to work on the game. That alone will slow down the pace of development, at least initially. These new developers will have to be brought up to productivity and that will take time. Notch will be the one training them, and that will take his time away from development. It’s well known in the software industry that adding programmers to a late project only makes it later, and that is the reason.

While Minecraft is not late since it doesn’t have a release schedule, adding developers will slow it down for a while. Anyone with half a brain would know that.

And finally. This whole attack is the epitome of the saying, cutting off your nose to spite your face.

It’s purpose is to send Notch a clear message of how the future of minecraft will turn out unless he gets to work, namely by influencing the amount of sales taking place, due to the attacks.

Putting the future of Minecraft in jeopardy because you want more updates to the game you’re playing, and you want them now?

At the very least, they’re delaying the very updates they want more of.

These people are dense.

So yeah. Currently full of disgust for these self-entitled idiots who think the world revolves around them.

Gagh!

I Mine. I Craft.

Posted by Stropp on September 28, 2010

Boo to Notch.

I had quite a lot of work to do last week. And guess what? I spent waaay to much time in this silly little game called Minecraft just mining and crafting. When I should have been on the phone digging up work, I was hiding from the dark digging for iron, gold, diamonds, and firestone. When I should have been building software, I was building deep vaults and air pyramids. When I should have been fearing incoming bills, I was being scared out of my wits by creepy noises coming from somewhere beyond the wall.

Notch. It’s all your faults I tells ya!

Minecraft is an interesting little game with an interesting business model, both of which a somewhat counter-intuitive. Especially to conventional thinking.

First, the graphics and gameplay.

Minecraft uses a really basic graphical style which does run counter to conventional wisdom. Fortunes are sunk into giving games the best graphics possible. Even some casual games gave million dollar budgets these days. Minecraft on the other hand doesn’t obsess over state of the art graphics, in fact it uses the low end graphics consistently to give itself something of a retro look.

And I’m not sure if ‘better’ graphics would do anything to enhance the gameplay, which is also really simple. But in that simplicity, there are a large number of choices.

Crafting is simply a matter of putting resources or blocks into a crafting panel in a certain order and shape to get a tool or item out. Put a couple of sticks and three diamonds and you get a diamond pickaxe, or a diamond axe depending on where the diamonds go. Put some metal and sticks and you get rails. It’s really simple, and intuitive once you get the hang of it.

Similarly, dig up some stone and you get a block of cobblestone. Drop that block along with others, and you can create a building, statue, column, stairs, whatever. On my last game, I built a spiral staircase on top of a hill up 10 squares into the sky. Then built some dirt scaffolding and created a base on top of that, 28×28 squares, and then built a pyramid on top of that. Then I followed the spiral down through the earth until the bedrock to start mining diamonds.

That, I think is the addictive nature of Minecraft. It’s a sandbox, but there’s always a bit more to do. When i thought I was about ready to quit for a while I’d come across a blue block. Aha! Diamonds. The quest continues. Even my coffee got cold. (Very rare.)

The other counter-intuitive thing about theĀ  game is the business model.

Minecraft is in alpha. That’s right, the game hasn’t even reached beta and the developer is taking pre-orders in order to fund the development. This strategy has been so successful that in the days following the Paypal lockout, over 60,000 customers paid 10 Euro each to download and ‘test’ the game. You don’t hear of that kind of thing happening very often. In fact, with MMORPGs it’s often the opposite complaint made after release, “I don’t want to pay to beta test this game!” (Said in a rather cranky fashion.)

So, my recommendation?

Give it a go. It’s only 10 Euros, which is about $14 Australian. (Not sure what it is in US these days.) It’s not a bank buster so even if you don’t care for the graphics or gameplay it’s no big deal, and you get to support an indie developer.

But whatever you do, don’t try it if you have other stuff to get done.

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