Games

I think I mentioned this before in the past, but I still find it funny that the very first person to wish me happy birthday is always some random game forum I signed up to in the past.

This year, arenajunkies.com, a wow arena strategy forum, wins that honor. It was followed shortly by gamebattles.com, the MLG website.

Renoki

Our iphone game is going to be entering Beta phase this weekend. If you have a touch, iphone, or ipad and would like to try out the game, you can email me the UDID for your device. You can get it by hooking up itunes and looking up the information there or downloading the free app “Ad Hoc Helper” which lets you email the UDID directly from your device. If doing it through itunes, please also include your OS version (Ad hoc helper app automatically includes your OS version).

Please send all requests to pandaprogrammers@gmail.com.

Thanks.

Renoki

Off-schedule already…

Went to the TSA/ASA/etc. Labor Day party yesterday.  We were planning on getting on the 11:30pm bus, but there were SO many people that we didn’t end up getting there until 12:30am because not everyone could fit on the bus.  It was PACKED.  There were so many sweaty dudes all over the place.  Oh well, it was fun, and I got a good use out of my new dress!

I think I’ve ruined my sleep schedule.  I woke up in time for a lunch today, but took a nap at 6:00pm.  I meant to only sleep until 7:00pm, but that totally didn’t happen – I just got out of bed at 11:30pm.  I also didn’t get any work done today.  I think I’ll stay up late to get work done, since I seem to be most productive late at night, and sleep in tomorrow, then just do work until around midnight and try to sleep then.  I need to stop staying up until 3:00am just to talk to Jack >.>

I’m still not sure how I feel about being a senior.  I’m looking forward to graduating and living in California, but I’m scared of having to find a job first.  I’m so terrible at technical interviews.  I’m worried I’ll be a failure and not find a job at all.  But Jack said he’d support me anyway, RIGHT??? :P

I miss my cats.

EDIT: I changed the temporary theme since you (Jack) were complaining about it.  I’ll find time to make a real one featuring Piggy, probably after TOC.  Also, I guess I miss you too.

FF13

Last semester I bought FF13. I think I’m only around 30 hours into it. This is a bit strange, given that normally when I buy a game such as this I tend to play it to completion. Unfortunately, I normally fall asleep after playing for an hour.

FF13

You can ignore all those stupid reviews of people talking about how linear FF13 is. I could care less. This is a JRPG. When have JRPG’s ever been non-linear? Just because western companies like BioWare have started making succesful non-linear RPGs where every decision you make has some sort of moral consequence does not imply that I want to have that in all my games. What do I expect from a JRPG? It should be pretty, it should have a fun battle system with depth, and it should have a reasonably interesting story.

Start with the good and move to the bad. FF13 is pretty. The graphics are pretty much some of the best things I have ever seen. Good job Square.

Moving on, FF stories have continuously gotten more and more bizarre as time progresses. Back in they day RPGs had a bad guy who took over the world and you had to stop him. You had a clear end goal and everything done in the game was building up towards that. I’ve progressed 30 hours into the game and I still have no clear indication of what I’m doing and who I’m fighting. All I know is some people want me to do destroy Cocoon but i don’t want to. So now I’m wondering around randomly in hope that through sheer determination and hard work a solution will present itself. It took me hours just to figure out what a Fal’cie was and I’m still not sure what their purpose is in this game. I have no motivation to play because I don’t know what I’m doing.

I still have no idea what this is…
FF13_3

Then you move to the battle system and it all goes down the shitter. On paper, I could see where the designers were going. You have 3 party members and they each are assigned a role, either DPS, tank, healer, buffer or debuffer. Then you can switch the roles of your party to fit the need. Enemy deals an infrequent burst of damage then switch to a tank with healer. Need to DPS down something, switch to 3 DPS. Long fight buff your part first then DPS. For boss fights, this works our relatively well. You are frequently switching between roles depending on the situation.

When fighting trash however, everything breaks. There is no point in buffing yourself because you might as well put 3 DPS and power down the enemy before you take too much damage. If your health lowers, you switch one person to healer and continue on. This gets unbelievably repetitive. It doesn’t matter if trash is unique because I do the exact same set of commands for each one.

To make matters worse, they will periodically place monsters that are clearly too strong for your current level right in the middle of your pathway. The game states that “Some monsters are too strong for you. You should skip them and fight them later when you are stronger.” Why the fuck would you do that? It would be like FF7 when you have to use a Chocobo to get around the Midgar Zolom, except they don’t tell you about it. Not to mention that sometimes, these monsters won’t seem unkillable for a few minutes. Then all of a sudden they will do some super attack and wipe your party. So you just wasted 5 minutes attacking a monster that you should have bypassed in the first place.

Even if you do end up killing him after 15 minutes of tank and spanking it, you get no reward and less experience than if you had just killed 5 little shit monsters. At least if you fought the Midgar Zolom you could get Beta. It’s a terrible design decision to place super strong monsters periodically throughout the hallways with the intention of you skipping them.

Finally, you have no control over the movement of your characters. You can’t have you characters spread apart to avoid area of effect spells and it’s frustrating as hell to watch as the 3 of your characters act retarded and deliberately move in front of the monster spewing a frontal cone of fire.

It is clearly the best strategy to group up here.
FF13_2

I was already pissed as hell in Dragon Age when the other AI controlled characters would walk across a pit of fire to follow me instead of going around, but at least you could control your main character (I actually liked Dragon Age’s battle system except for the AI). My guess is Square’s design team had a team meeting that went like this:

Designer 1: You know what game was great? Wii Tennis!
Designer 2: I agree. There have been tons of Tennis sim games before where you had to control your player’s movement AND swing the racket. But Wii Tennis makes it so much easier by having terrible AI control your movement.
Designer 1: Yes. It turns a game with depth into a game where all you do is look at a pixel and when it flashes you swing the controller.
Designer 2: This gives me a great idea. Let’s make a battle system where you can’t move and just press X to attack over and over again. We have an engine that could support movement, but we’d rather use a system that the SNES used.

If you’re going to make positioning relevant for the battle system, why would you not give us control on where we can walk? The only thing I’ve found to semi-control this is to exploit the fact that ranged attacks make your character stay in place while melee attacks move them closer to the enemy. But most of the time it doesn’t matter cause the boss will move around in circles while we’re stuck standing still.

Other gripes:
The music in this game is terrible. Everything sounds like eurotrance or something you would take LSD and get fucked up to. I guess I can blame this on the lack of Nobuo Uematsu.

The Paradigm system that determines roles doesn’t save them for parties. So whenever you switch your party members in and out, you have to go and reset each and every individual role setting. Talk about a stupid oversight.

Vanille’s English voice actress needs to shoot herself.

Chocolate chip pancakes

First day of classes is over. I never realized living on campus was so convenient! Especially with food right downstairs. I’m a bit worried I’ll get fat if I only eat campus food though.

I’ve only been to two classes so far, and both look pretty fun. I was really worried about Chinese at first, but it’s not as bad as I had imagined. The only downside is that the majority of the book is in simplified >.> I’ll just have to actually learn to recognize simplified, like I was supposed to the last two years…

Survey of Western Music History is pretty interesting, and it doesn’t seem like I’ll have to do much for it. I wish he had a list of music he plays in class though, because there was one he played today I really liked. No idea what it’s called. It’s even seemed to have changed since Jack took it, so I don’t have to take listening tests!

I think all my free time will be spent on ONiB. Not too much right now other than figuring out dates for auditions and booking the rooms, but I want to get a good head start. Most importantly, I need a script writer…!!!

In other news, I miss Jack.

Piggy kiss

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Let’s all recall Code Geass R2 where Jeremiah is fighting Anya. He pilots some enormous nightmare mobile armor (for lack of a better word). Upon the mobile armor exploding in a flash of fire and explosions, his normal nightmare mobile suit comes charging out. Upon THAT getting destroyed, Jeremiah himself comes charging out of another explosion to deliver the killing blow.

Did not think it could get funnier than this

Little did I know that this was probably a reference to Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann and is in fact child’s play when compared to the original

Was very wrong
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Gurren Lagann has been on my list of Anime to watch for some time now. I’ve heard comments on the order of “best mecha Anime of all time” so it was something I definitely needed to get my hands on. Not to mention I was eagerly anticipating the scene in which “Libera me” From hell would be used.

Row row fight the power

What I liked:

Absolutely loved the animation style. The ridiculous and over the top mecha style is extremely fun to look at. I’m a big fan of Anime that takes advantage of the fact that it is animated to diverge from the normal path. Whether this be drastically shifting the art style for a particular scene or deliberately leaving the scene in an unfinished state (at least, when it’s used sparingly and not as an excuse to cut animation costs). It really puts emphasis on certain scenes and adds dramatic flourish.

Intensity
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ttgl2

Fight scenes are great. Tons of action when needed and limited reuse of the same scenes. The battles were quick and to the point, with a clear victor most of the time. The thing that always baffled my mind is how bad guys have universally perfected the “teleport and run away so we can drag out the confrontation” technique. The last battle in particular is so stuffed full of things going on it is amazing to just look at screen captures. Everything about it just makes the Anime feel so badass.


This makes me want to beat up some little kids
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The major characters are all very well portrayed and likeable (exept Rossiu, that fucker irritates me). Simon is a innocent, nice guy shounen character that starts of weak but through determination and hard work becomes the strongest person in the universe. Kamina is quite possibly the sweetest character I have ever seen in any Anime, period. Yoko is of course there to prevent it from being a sausage fest and provide fanservice.

People die in this Anime. Sounds morbid but it’s true. If you’re going to engage in a war of the worlds between galactic super powers, somebody is bound to get killed. It is too ridiculous when everyone is saved due to miracle healing powers or some bullshit (I’m looking at you Naruto and Bleach).

Music is good. Opening theme is great, background music isn’t annoyingly repetitive, and climactic scene have appropriately epic music. I do with that they would have blasted “Libera me” From hell in one of the scenes, but I guess playing it quietly in the background is alright.

When people are acting emo, it is resolved by having someone punch them in the face. If only this worked in the real world.

What I disliked:

The stretch of several episodes with Rossiu being President and people rioting. It made absolutely no sense. The fastest way to eliminate racism and hate amongst the human race is to introduce an Alien race that is threatening to destroy your planet. I would have assumed in that situation people would put aside their differences and fight the common enemy (aka Independence Day style). Somehow, the people in this Anime act completely irrationally, which makes no sense to me.

People die in this Anime. Yeah, I liked this but I disliked how they pulled off some of it. I particularly disliked the final battle where, scene after scene, people sacrifice themselves to perform some extraordinary task or save someone. When it happens every five minutes, it loses impact and becomes stupid.


Simon being a beast.
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Overall:
This Anime is fantastic. This is definitely worth the time and is a must see for everyone. It definitely lives up to the hype I had heard beforehand and is vastly superior to any Gundam I’ve seen before. I’d defintiely say it is one of the best mechas out there, although I still think I enjoyed Macross Frontier a little more for the soundtrack.