Sunday, July 10, 2011


Wow! I haven't posted here in almost a week. Oops =/
Scratch that, two days. Forgot about S.978.

Anyways, I may as well plug some stuff.
I've been a bit busy with several things.
Among them, an anime, and a game.

The game is called Sanctum. It's an indie somewhat-multiplayer somewhat-online tower defense first person shooter and how can I string along tags to make the description longer? The game is like tower defense in that there are successive waves of enemies which try to make their way to your "Sanctum" - a glowing blue orb - taking the shortest path possible. You construct towers to both obstruct their paths and hurt them, and if too many enemies reach your Sanctum, it's game over. Of course, the game is played from a first-person view point, and you have a set of guns as well - an assault rifle, a sniper, and a slow gun. There's a minigun rumored to be coming out as well. Guns certainly help pass time during the waves. The game can be single player, or can accommodate up to four total in multiplayer. In multiplayer, you can shoot your allies to send them tumbling, too!

The game runs really smoothly - even on my computer, which essentially has no graphics card - and the gameplay is fast and addicting. It's graphics are well-made, and the game doesn't feel like the tower defense and FPS genres had to be forced to mix together - it manages to make a cohesive mix of the two. You could theoretically forsake all guns or all towers - which I imagine would make for an interesting game - but it's more strategically sound to invest in both. The game also has a "DPS" meter in the top-right which I especially enjoy in multiplayer when butting heads. In addition, the game is only $15! (It's currently $3.75, until tomorrow at 9 AM I believe)

However, the game does have a few downsides. There isn't too much variety in towers, maps, guns, or enemies, it seems. Then again, no tower defense has that many towers or maps or enemies, and when compared, this game seems to have an "average" amount of each. While it would be interesting to have a variety of guns to choose from, the game has all the basics covered - a fast, inaccurate one; a slow, high-powered one; and a purely tactical non-damaging gun.

I'd urge you to get Sanctum.

Anyways, on to the anime. I've always had a certain penchant for stories which involved heavy usage of mind games. Death Note, Liar Game, and A Song of Fire and Ice among them. I enjoy the intrigue which goes on, and the drama which spawns partially from heavy usage of dramatic irony. Then again, it's always great when a character pulls a plan out completely from left field. I guess that's how I got hooked on Code Geass. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a bit late to the party.) In short, it's like Gundam and Death Note combined in one, if you're any fan of manga/anime. If you're not, Code Geass is robots and mind games. A third Michael Bay, a third drama, and a third intrigue. It's great, and it's free online.

Surprisingly, Code Geass also hits on some heavy issues, and really left me reeling at a few points. (I haven't even finished the first season yet!) The concept of "the ends justifying the means" is definitely a theme, as well as "survival of the fittest"/social darwinism, nationalism, imperialism, and free will. It's led me to think that manga/anime can actually address heavy issues like this a lot better than western literature. Anime and mange in general are more dramatic - that is, their characters behave less realistically by overreacting. This allows messages to be conveyed a lot more easily, and put out for the reader's consideration. Action is a lot faster due to the images, so you don't have an idea spread out between paragraphs, or going on in a huge block of incomprehensible text.

Aaaaaand that's my plugging for today.

Friday, July 8, 2011


So, there's been a lot of recent hype about Bill S.978.
I wrote this up in response to a Buzz post, and thought I might as well repost to here, to spread this. Oversensationalism, eat your heart out.

Bill S.978 is meh. Oversensationalized. Not a problem. Why?

- You are only liable to be sued if:

1. You willfully commit copyright infringement. This means that you can claim "I didn't know there was copyright!" and not be held liable. This is also why movies have that screen in the beginning you can't skip past, telling you that copying the movie is copyright infringement.

2. You infringe on copyright for financial gain. This means that if you're not making money, you can't be held liable. I'm not sure if you can protest this by saying, "I didn't mean to make money!" but it seems that you could. And if you try to make money but fail, you can't be held liable either. Though in that eventuality, you probably have bigger problems than S.978. Like bills.

Oh, in addition:

3. You have to have more than 10 stream views in a 180 day period. This is probably the easiest clause to fulfill. 10 views on one video or 1 view on 10 videos both fulfill this. Oh well. The next one is damn hard to fulfill.

4. You have to make $2,500+ off the streams/videos/whatever or cost the company $5,000+ in licencing fees. Again, if you're not a major streamer, you're unlikely to be restricted by this at all.

Note that these four points are ANDs not ORs.

So you have to know you're infringing, infringe for financial gain, post more than 10 vids in a half year, and make more than $2.5k or cost the company more than $5k. Pretty damn hard if you ask me. And in conjunction with point 3, if you're making more than $2.5k off of 10 views, stop complaining. I would buy licensing fees if I was making that much.

And before you ask, "What about the major streamers? You added caveats for them!"

Well, they can buy licences from the companies. I doubt it would cost much, given that if you had to get a licence, you're making $2.5k off of that every half year, or $5k yearly. Some companies, like Mojang, will even allow streaming in their ToS. And what company would seriously go after a game streamer? "Oh no, he's streaming our game! We can't have that! Stop letting him publicize our game and promoting it! We need our game to stay UNDERGROUND!"

Whether you think S.978 should be blocked or not is up to you. Just don't buy into the sensationalism. Read the bill yourself.

And that's my spiel.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Fireworks displays are so short =(

At least they're easy to blog about.

My thoughts during the (only 15 minute) firework display:

10:00 - shitshitshit who's shooting at me?
10:01 - I feel stupid now
10:02 - Oooooh pretty...
10:03 - Hey! Someone's taking a video of this!
10:04 - ...with an iPad.
10:05 - Wow. Fireworks behind me too?
10:06 - Nope. Just echoes. Lots of them.
10:07 - What if, instead of blowing up all these fireworks, we helped out some of the impoverished?
10:08 - Nah. Silly idea. What would starving children do with fireworks?
10:09 - Why is somebody taking pictures of fireworks with a digital camera? The shutter speed isn't fast enough!
10:10 - And why the hell are they using flash?
10:11 - What if I could shoot fireworks from my hands?
10:12 - Oh hey, a police boat is on the water.
10:13 - I really would like to shoot fireworks from my hands.
10:14 - Ow my ears.
10:15 - These past 15 minutes would make a decent blog post.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Other Pokemon Irregularities

Yeah. I promise I'll end this soon. There's just so much to write about!

The Pokemon world is kind of messed up, really. Why?

Everything is a pun. Based off words the scientists naming the Pokemon don't know. As far as I can tell, neither salamanders nor turtles nor birds exist in Pokemon worlds. Only Charmander and Squirtle and Pidgey. How the hell did the scientists come up with those names?

Oh. That's right. The Pokemon only say their names.

"Hm. What should I call this creature?"


"I know! I'll call it a Pikachu!"

Real imaginative of them. But then again, they only have a 5th grade education, so I suppose it makes some sort of demented half-sense. I'm pretty damn glad we don't call dogs "woofwoofs", cats "meows", and alligators "ohshitgetthisoffme".

And what do people and Pokemon eat?

Okay, before I get into that, why aren't people considered Pokemon? Because they can say more than one word? Because they're bipedal? Because they have thumbs? None of those are unique to people.

Fuck. Now I want to be able to catch trainers in Pokeballs.

Anyways. Back to the diet issue. I highly doubt all the inhabitants of the Pokeworld subsist on berries/trees/milk alone. Where do they get their protein? I assume some people must like to eat meat.

Think of all the food possibilities! Tauros steak. Tossed Oddish salad. Deviled Pigeot eggs. Fresh caught Magikarp. Spoink and Eggs.

Does this mean there are huge Tauros ranches where Tauros sit in stalls, eating Rare Candies all day before being sent to the slaughterhouse? Are there rows and rows of Grass Pokemon sprayed with pesticide to keep the Weevil off? Are there fried Caterpie delicacies? Is eating Growlithe a no-no in Western culture?

And with the speed at which Pokemon breed, the only endangered ones would be legendaries.

Also, all mammalian Pokemon are platypodes. All of them lay eggs, instead of giving live birth. Do you have any idea how easy it would make IV training if Pokemon gave live birth?

Also, Pokemon reproduction is just messed up. All Pokemon can breed, so long as it's male-female or genderless Pokemon with anything. How the hell do Magnemite make eggs anyways?

No. Please. Never mind. Do not need to find out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


In case you don't have G+ yet, or just don't want to read the "Welcome" screen...
I just got in today, and so far, it's pretty spiffy.

Each person has a bunch of different "Circles" which are basically groups of people you can broadcast to. I imagine that on a boring day you could make a Venn Diagram to try to sort people, but that would get complicated quickly, unless you lump everyone into a "People" circle.

So adding people to circles is easy. You hover over their name, and there are a bunch of checkboxes you can tick. It's a very intuitive system!

Interestingly enough, you don't have to have someone in your circle for you to be in their circle. It's sort of like Twitter's following system, where you follow people, and people follow you except you broadcast, and people broadcast to you. When you view a person's page, you can see who is in their circles, and who added them to their circle. It's pretty general though - it doesn't say who is in what circle, but that's probably for the better. (Oh. My. God. I cannot believe that she has a circle without me in it. Wait 'til I tell everyone.) Back to categories. There's even a category to see the posts of people who have you in their circles who you don't have in your circles called "Incoming". Of course, the "Stream" category is all-encompassing, which is nice. Even better...

Yeah. None of that.
However, with the advent of Google's Web Store and Google+, I worry that if the two are (they will be) interlaced, you'll never see the end of Angry Birds high scores. Google+ is already connected to some other Google services, like Picasa and Gmail. People you add to circles without G+ can be sent emails with the message. These emails also invite them to G+! G+ also has chat; perhaps that will be integrated with Gmail chat?

It'll be interesting to see how this and Buzz interact. One or the other will die. Buzz has been a success so far, but it's basically a more minimal version of G+; perhaps it'll just be dropped? Currently peoples' profiles have a "Buzz" tab which lets you see what they've posted to that, but that seems really awkward. Like social networks within social networks within. No. Just no. Stop.

Posting is easy, and attaching photos, videos, and links (or your location, though I don't know why you'd do that) is very easy. In addition, rather than "liking" posts, you can +1 them.

It's a little change, but I really like this feature. Now if only we could give posts -1 as well, and have branching comment paths and then....waitagoddamnsecond.

There's hangouts which are basically video conferences/chats, and sparks which are interests/likes.

One very cool feature (to me at least) is on the profile screen.

You can see what your info screens look like to different people. I personally like limiting what information about me gets out and what doesn't, so this is great. You can also keep track of all your "+1's"; I try not to leave stray marks all around the web, so this is pretty cool as well. You can also download all your posts and comments if that's what you're into.

Unfortunately, somewhat opposite to the whole privacy deal is that no matter who you limit your posts to, anyone who has access to that post can share it with anyone else.

I really don't like this. And while you CAN prevent your posts from being shared, not only does it not apply to comments you make, it has to be applied individually to every post. Ew.
I suppose we'll all just have to be more careful about what we post to the internet. (Pffffftt. Like that's happening.)

In other words, Google is trying to solve the whole privacy issue by....eliminating it altogether?
I think that they should make it easier to be private, not harder, certainly.

You can also edit posts and comments, in addition to preventing your posts from being commented upon. I really like the edit feature. It even adds a (Last edited) tag so people don't go back and change their words!

So, what makes G+ better than Buzz or Facebook or Twitter or any other social network?
It's Google. They'll rule us sooner or later anyways. Give in now, get goodies sooner.

Pros: Intuitive. Doesn't take forever to figure out. (As I'm just reintroducing myself to Facebook, I can attest that Facebook does take a forever to figure out.)
Groups are easier.
No application spam. Though that may change.

Cons: Privacy. I like privacy. Then again, most social networking sites don't have great privacy. (Looking at you Facebook)
Beta. There's not many people on it due to it being Beta, so that kinda defeats the whole social networking bit. Unless you've got a slew of imaginary friends.
No real reason yet to switch. Like any other new application, Google will have to give a reason for users to switch better than "You can do all the same stuff here." Google has to do something to make G+ unique, and it has to be something social network users want but don't have. What might that thing be? No idea. Maybe porn in the sidebars.

Addendum: I just found this out. So, there's an updates widget in the top-right. That's all fine and good, but when you click on it, it loads updated conversations, and lets you post on them. That's amazing.

Also, hovering over the post date of a post tells you the exact time it was posted. (Yes, like Facebook and many other sites.)

So my final message? G+ is a shiny Facebook, but doesn't have a compelling reason to use it yet. It's got a few minor things on Facebook, but xkcd summed it's defining quality up already.
Unfortunately, I don't think that's enough.

I might do another update in days to come as G+ is polished up and as I discover new features.

Friday, July 1, 2011

More Pokemon

Alright. So I'm writing about Pokemon until I think of something better to write about.

Anyways, another thing which has always irked me about Pokemon is the ability of NPCs to stay where they are. All the time.

I'm not talking about this, either.
But that lady paces back and forth the entire fucking day.

Whenever you as a trainer find that, "Golly gee, all my Pokemon fainted!" you yourself faint and find yourself magically carried to a Pokecenter. First off, it's pretty creepy that someone you just met carries you all the way to a Pokemon center, even from out at sea. Second, why aren't you obligated to do this to trainers you defeat? For that matter, why don't they faint? They just keep standing there and mutter about their loss!

For that matter, why do you get money when you win a Pokemon battle? It's not as if you're robbing them, and if you were, it certainly wouldn't be through any way so chivalrous as to challenge them to a battle! And for most people, that money seems to be an entire paycheck.

Speaking of paychecks, where does all this money come from? How do they earn money standing in the middle of a forest? Perhaps by beating other roaming trainers, who gain money from beating other trainers who...

Sorry, doesn't work like that.

As a closing thought, if a little runt of a trainer at 10 can gain a full team of Pokemon and beat the region's toughest trainers - the Elite Four - within a few weeks of heading out of town...the Elite Four must not be very  elite.