A Return to Lucis...
Final Fantasy XV just hit the PC. I wasn't too sure if I needed to buy it again, so I was holding off a bit. But I wasn't able to completely stay out of it. I just finished the playable demo Square put out on Steam, and I have thoughts.
Technically speaking, it's gorgeous. One thing Square has always been able to do is put lots of pretty pixels all in a row, and this game is no exception. Gameplay is just as clean. I had some initial fumbles due to my brain's training on the Playstation controllers from my playthroughs there, and there are things I'm still not certain aren't better done that way. But it all works properly.
That said, it's not without a price. Starting with an 18.7 gig download, and some serious system requirements. I'm not sure how close to the knees you'd have to hack the graphics settings down to run it on a marginal machine. The default worked well for me, but this machine has a fair amount of muscle.
It's got far more in it than I expected. It's not just an area or two. It includes all of Chapter 1, with a certain amount of the quests and hunts available. They're not all there, but the ones that are there are complete. The story included is rushed, of course, because so much had to be elided. But hey, all the "Entourage Simulator" parts were up and running. I got to fish, and Gladio got to setup the tent and camp, Ignis came up with several recipes and Prompto took a couple real winner pics. The end is a montage of the next several chapter cut scenes, but it doesn't give away too much.
Does it work as a demo? Well, it's made me want to go play the full game again, but they had me with the Playstation version. I can say if you're on the fence about it and prefer to play PC games, you could definitely do worse than invest the time in that demo download and see for yourself what you think.
This MOTB Ain't Wearing THAT!...
(this was originally written before my younger daughter's wedding, but it looks like I may need to haul it out again for a new set of nuptials here at some point)
I knew this wedding planning thing was going to be a project, but there are some odd things that are catching me flat-footed. Outside of the expected Charlie Foxtrots of guest lists (aka "Uncle WHO!?") and how to decorate a late 70's chapel into something that isn't so hopelessly retro without just draping the entire thing in tulle until it looks like we're trying to make sure no one catches malaria at the ceremony, I've run into something new.
Notes on Writing...
I'm writing a lot more lately (thank you Habitica) and I've submitted what I call a "Release Candidate" copy to my alpha readers. What that means is this is the best I think I can make it right now. If they approve it, it's ready to ship.
Now, the odds of them approving it as-is are low. I handed it off to some real Cimmerian Grammarians. That's what I want. Yes, this story is one I'm not all that invested in, that I'm doing first just so I can get the whole pipeline from my fingertips to a reader's hands/screen worked out. That doesn't mean I'm going to let it out there in bad shape. I want them to hit me with all kinds of notes and make sure it's the best it can be.
Anime Roundup: How To KeEp A Mummy
I've been watching anime (duh, like I ever don't) and there's a new one running now on Crunchy Roll that is just too cute.
It's called "How To Keep A Mummy", and it's about ordinary high-schoolers who end up with little versions of mythical animals. The first one is a young man who lives with his aunt because his dad is some sort of archeologist/adventurer who sends home a mummy for him to take care of. Only, instead of being some sort of linen wrapped eldritch horror, it's a tiny cute little squishy thing that tries to help and eats shirataki. His grumpy friend ends up with an adorable baby oni (demon/ogre), a bubbly girl in his class ends up with a small dragon that fits nicely into her backpack, and the grumpy delinquent ends up with a fuzzy, purple sheep-like thing called a baku, which is another type of Japanese spirit with a habit of eating nightmares (which that guy has a lot of).
The story is about them all figuring out how to relate to and care for their particular critter. There's some drama, but it's mostly just a gentle story of getting through the day. The humans are typical kids, and the critters, the mummy in particular, steal the show. Just pure, weapons-grade adorableness all over.
No one has explained what they actually are, or why they choose to move in with humans. There's some hinting that it's not always good. There are bad people out there, but we haven't run directly into any of that yet.
No one is shrieking about winning anything or shouting some complicated name for their next left turn. No bangs or flashes. If you want a calm, relaxing show and a dose of pure cute, I'd give this a try.
There's been several articles like Ready Player One is Everything Wrong With Geek Culture going around, where a person rips Ready Player One the novel and it's upcoming movie a new one. It's gotten to the point where a friend of mine posted on Facebook how the only people he hears from that are excited about this movie are white men. I also have some grave concerns about how this is going to pan out, but asserting that only men like the references in it is a problem.
I feel like you're erasing me. Believe it or not, I lived through that timeframe,too. And I was at least as much of a heinous nerd then as I am now. I was there playing D&D and arguing whether Ladyhawke was a good film with the rest of them. I wrote Apple Basic code to make those shifting argyle-patterns on the screen of the IIc's in the computer lab.
I like escaping too. And the metaphors I use for it area lot more like RP1 than any more stereotypical "Calgon, Take me away" moments. I am still waiting for Centauri to show up to zoom me away to fight Zur and the Kodan Armada. I'm still waiting for Vizzini in the Thieves Forest before being hired for the Brute Squad. I would sign up for a Ghost in the Shell implant today if I could.
I want to say this again -- there are signifigant problems with RP1. From what I've seen of the film in the trailers, there are some changes to the original materials that magnify those issues to an even larger degree. But let's see if we can't find a way to talk about those problems without erasing or belittling the actual lived experience of other people.
Wow-ing the crowd again...
Looks like some of my friends who were burnt out on WoW are thinking about playing again. So I'm holystoning the Guild bank and getting ready. It's been a while before I took it seriously. It will be nice to have a direction again. I don't mind holding down the fort, but with the way the content and raids work in the current expansion, I need some party members to get this to work right.
So pardon my mess. I have a BUNCH of air elementals to sweep up. They drop a material that we need to make a cool thing that lets your character turn into a dragon.
Hardcore Casual Gaming...
When the gang is all going on about the latest blast-aliens-to-green-goo, sometimes I don't pay as much attention as I might. I'm thinking about dropping shapes and making them disappear. Or that little librarian who needs my extensive vocabulary and word search mojo to keep the library from burning down. I know it sounds silly, but casual gaming can feel like a secret addiction. Especially when you get out on the mainstream gaming sites and message boards.
Don't get me wrong. I love a good AAA title with the best of them. I love to dig right in and get my hands dirty. But there are some days when all I'm up for is a quick something to do while cooking dinner and I don't want to haul something out I have to really think about. And that's where these games have snuck into my life.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is my current go-to. I played Pokemon a lot for a while there, but I live out in a Poke-desert and since I work from home I don't get out there as much as it takes to really keep up. It got frustrating. Pocket Camp is a little simple for my usual tastes, but it doesn't care where you are in real life so it works in better. It's so calming, it's perfect for playing as I'm trying to fall asleep.
I don't feel so embarrassed as I used to. The world has shifted enough that almost everyone around me has something going on their phone like that. And I don't hang around with the crowd that would look down on it anymore.
So tonight I'm probably going to hit level 58, and hopefully get to start building the giant robot statue that Static requests. ;)
Well, we've been at it a week and it's really turned out to be a good thing!
I got Aila and one of my daughters to join a party so we could all work together on some things, and it's going really well. We've taken down two party quests -- the Basi-list and a horde of Feral Dust Bunnies. I'm still fine-tuning my task lists and tweaking the penalties/rewards, but it's been kind of fun to look at my life from this perspective.
More importantly, I've been much better about keeping some things straight in my life. It does seem to motivate me well, and having real people in my life playing along helps keep me accountable.
So I'll keep at it. Right now we're after Lunar Shards. Hopefully they'll explain what we should do with them here at some point.
For some reason...
I was trying to find something on my hard drive and I ran into this little bit of pernicious biography:
We had chickens when I was growing up. We had two flocks - one for meat and
I don't remember why I wrote it (the file was dated 2006). I think there was a half an idea about writing up a thing about living subsistence when I was growing up. At any rate, enjoy this bit about chickens.
Dear Dribbling Little Junkmonkey....
Yes, I mean you. The foul mouthed heathen who skews the typographical hierarchy of the English language due to the high incidence of usage of the letter "F".
I know you got a sniper round right where the sun don't shine. That doesn't mean you need to discuss the procreative habits of several sorts of small mammals that loudly for the rest of the game. If you don't want my daughter to do that again, next time you're driving the Warthog please remember that "clearance" isn't just for secret agents. Yes it's an ATV but it's still captive to the laws of physics. That way when you drive up the hill you might actually avoid the 4' high boulders strewn about by the game to make that more interesting and not get yourself high-centered like that. Once you do that, you're sniper-bait.
If you decide for whatever reason to do this again, I recommend that you LEAVE THE WARTHOG. You might be able to flip it off the rock. If you sit there with your thumb in your ear like you did this time you're liable to get caught in the crossfire between two Ghosts who are merrily trying to knock each other out of the sky. This is also unhealthy. When you get hit, your discussion about the sexual habits and probable skin color of the pilots is not going to help you respawn any faster.
The Nazi B$&@() Driving the Ghost Who Turned off Voice Chat and Gave You That Negative Feedback
P.S. We're playing in the Recreation Zone. That means we're all supposed to keep it clean and not get quite so up tight about it. If you want heavy competition hit the Professional Zone, you mouthbreathing smacktard. Of course, that would also mean you should have some skills. So either zip your filthy howling screamer or learn to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside. Your choice.