Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock
don’t say I never try anythingOkay, I will never pick up on WoW no matter how often everyone else posts about it. But everyone has such a good time playing and talking about Guitar Hero / Rock Band, I figured it was worth a look. After all, I did enjoy DDR a lot, and I was good at it without taking too long to get good at it. With the recent release of Guitar Hero 4, I was able to pick up the game and two Les Paul Controllers for about $75. GH3 is a welcome addition to my PS3 game collection which is growing very slowly on account of available moneys and lack of games.
God what a hopeless idiot I am for not knowing GH3 and Rock Band are not the same companies anymore, right? I guess there is a lot of drama between red octane and harmonix and activision, but oh well. This game was cheap, I have two guitars for it so I can play with Alison, and I'm enjoying the game. A recent update to the PS3 will allow my controllers to work with rock band should I decide to get it anyways. After about a week I am around the hard-medium-to-easy-hard stage. I can beat the normal tracks in medium with about 95% notes hit, and I can play one or two hard songs, but difficult songs mess me up on medium and I'm trying to play the harder songs to get my note recognition faster before really moving on. Overall I like the game and how it is similar to DDR, but what annoyed me is the career mode. I don't really care to battle guitars. I don't care about winning money or custom characters. I don't want to fight to unlock songs. And I want to play co-op with Alison which forced us through another career mode but oh well. I just want to play a guitar, play any of the songs I want to, and be a rock hero wooo! Pretty much immediately I was putting in the cheat code to unlock all songs, and much prefer it this way. I don't know a lot of the songs but they are fun to play. Has anyone played the new one? What tips are there for stepping up from medium to hard?
Doh! Forgot to mention my favorite song: Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones in 1966. I can't believe it's that old of a song.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Once more in the Saab, dear friend
better title than “LAXitive” I guess…It feels good to be home now! I've actually been busy since my last update. I went to Ohio from the 13-15th to see people since I haven't been working a lot. I got in later than I wanted on Monday but no one could give me a ride earlier. Had dinner with my mom that night and later went to Jo's. I spent Tuesday out at the KSU airport. It was Kent's turn to host the regional flight competition. I hoped to help judge but they had enough already so I mostly just talked to people I hadn't seen in a while. It was great to see the planes and everyone since I spent just about every day from 2004 to 2007 at that airport it's kind of weird to be away from it now. Had dinner with Tim and my dad and then went to Tim's apartment to play some Quakewars.
Tim (Alkali) and I are pretty good at Quakewars together, and it would be awesome if more people would play with us. We stick together, usually with me as an Engineer and Tim a medic. I sometimes change my class depending on the objective, but typically it's my job to complete the mission and tim's job to revive me when I get shot. I prefer offense and Tim likes defense, but we usually just play on the Strogg (Alien) side. We played for about 2 hours. In one mission we were on the human team and it was our job to construct a generator underground. It's a good map that requires teamwork by the GDF (humans) to get into the highly defended area. If people just rush in randomly you will get mowed down or set off a mine. The strogg side was putting up a strong fight and we were getting pissed off so I came up with a strategy. I waited for some teammates to run in before me to take the fire, then I jumped in onto the generator, setting off the mines and dying. Then tim jumps in behind me to revive me and we got the generator built. After that we were able to rush the map before they could get a solid defense up. I had a good airstrike at a critical time to finish the map too, but it was our classic revive strategy that won the map. I always wish more people would get the game before like Wolf:ET, some people are just too good.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008
LAN Weekend and Days OffThese days it's getting hard to tell the days that I work from the days I don't. I'm enjoying being on reserve, or "On Call" for an airplane Eagle doesn't fly anymore. I've gotten called into the airport once out of 6 or 7 days and it doesn't look probable for many more days. The way to tell my days off from my days on are that I can travel on my days off. I did just that on Saturday, traveling back to Cleveland for a LAN Party hosted by one of Jo's coworkers, Caleb (Not sure exactly what his handle is, ma shtie or something).
It was a fun time, a great minilan. Caleb provided bawls, hamburgers, and good amish sweet bread or something. It was pretty much pure sugar. The network had some small hiccups, but I got to play some good Quake 3, and UT2k4. I have to say I am not a UT fan when playing with all those mods. I think it was an RTS mod where you get experience points which can be traded in for powerups. The whole reason I play FPS instead of RTS is to avoid that. It's no fun to jump in a game and be pummeled by someone with a ton of points. Most FPS set everyone pretty much the same so it's a game of skill. The highlight of the day though was definitely ET:Quakewars. Finally! This game has been out for a while but no one wanted to play it with me, due to WoW and xboxes. It really doesn't take too much to run, I was playing decently on my macbook pro. Being the only person who really knew the maps and gameplay, I took the role of the leader as a medic. I didn't think it would be fun for everyone else if I just ran through the levels completing the objectives myself. I shouted out what needed to be done, what classes were needed and where, revived teammates, and showed how all the different classes worked. I think everyone enjoyed that. We ended up playing pretty late into the night. I want to keep it up, but no one else has actually bought the game, so we can't play online. It was good to see Jo and Tim, and wish Dan would have stopped by. The party broke up about 1am eastern.
Crashed for about 4 hours on Jo's couch, before waking back up to jumpseat back to Dallas. Big thanks to Jo for picking me up, dropping me off, and letting me stay at his place even with work in the morning. The flight out of CLE was delayed by a flap issue or something. The captain boarded and we sat on the plane for 90 minutes before finally departing. I don't think there's been a cloud in the sky since Ike rolled through, but it was raining monday. I had planned to go to the "Big Tex" Texas State Fair with Alison, but it was looking like we couldn't go. By the time I got home though, the rain was clearing up, and although there were some short showers, we did go to the fair and had a pretty good time. The fair was pretty much a game of "how much $ can we take from you before you start to notice". After paying $14 for admission and $10 for parking, you had to buy a bunch of tickets to do anything. We walked around the free stuff, shops, and the auto show was pretty nice (one of few free things there). The food is always really popular there, even though it's not good for you at all! I got a turkey leg and a fried snickers bar. We walked everywhere to find that one place with the fried snickers bar, and it was something else, that's for sure! Very hard to describe, and it was good..but not really $4 good.. Alison and I both agreed just a normal snickers would have been better and cheaper. But by all means you should try one if you get the chance. It's not bad. We didn't want to ride a lot of the spinny fair rides since that's where you hear about people getting killed on in the news, but we rode on the big ferris wheel and the carousel. The wheel was $6 each and the carousel was $3, and most of the rides were 2-4 bucks. I didn't really like that approach, although I guess we saved money compared to an amusement park. I don't want it so seem like I didn't have fun either because I had a lot of fun and it's great to hang out with Alison. We have our routines and stuff we do together a lot, but this was special :D
Tuesday I spent working on my website again on the friends page. From 1.4.2 to 1.5, this is a very big change, although it doesn't look like anything changed from the initial look. It's largely a backend change where instead of copying the code several times and editing it for each person, I created a multidimensional array of friends and their website data, and I run a loop of the same code until it runs out of people. This means one day I should be able to sort by post date instead of person if I choose, and it's far easier to edit overall. Also, and this is a big one: You can now control the image on the friends page yourself! RSS feeds can contain a link to an image if you set one, and my page will use whatever you select. If none is set in the feed, it defaults to an image saved on my site. LJ uses your default pic I believe.. Anyways if you're not sure if the image is yours or mine, click "History" and see if it displays a pic in the title. If it does, that's the pic I'm also using on the friends page. So now if you don't like the pic there you have nothing to complain about. The last thing is that "Tweets for Today" doesn't light up, you actually have to write something constructive.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Computer Issues, TV and PS3Hmm well I guess it's been a year so time for a PC post.
My desktop computer is being more picky than an old car these days...Before Quakecon 08 it needed a speed boost. Hmmm Athlon 64 3500+, 2gb ram, 256mb geforce 6800gts, aah probably need a new video card. It's great living close to both a micro center and fry's electronics. Micro Center is having a deal on Geforce 8800GT 512's so I pick one up and when I get home it looks like everything is great. Quakewars and Flight Sim X look great! Lots of detail in flight sim and...what's that sound? My airplane's propeller sound should be constant but it's stuttering like it's going to quit... But it's not the game. My entire computer seems to come to a halt for just an instant, but it's constant. Every single second, exactly once a second there is a little stutter. It's most noticeable in games where smoothness is key, but it's happening in windows too. The mouse stutters, music is interrupted, and by a few days I'm paralyzed with rage at this little tick my computer has developed. It's unusable! In safe mode without drivers it works fine, so I'm thinking it must be a software problem i.e. driver or resource conflict. I would remove everything but the barebones components of a computer (Proc, 1gb ram, vid card, mobo, 1 hard drive w/windows) and it would work! The stuttering was gone! I would begin to add things back into the computer to see where the conflict was and the stuttering would come back randomly.
Sometimes I would start it up, it would work and when I rebooted it stuttered again! And removing whatever it was wouldn't stop it until I took away everything. Other people online had reported similar problems with driver fixes. I tried new drivers, beta drivers, 3rd party drivers... And I was so sure it was a software problem since it worked in a barebone config and safe mode. Not having another desktop system (Alison has an iMac) I was finally to the point of shelling out another 200 bucks for a new video card to see if it was really a hardware problem. So I got a new one and it worked perfectly... I had a bad card all along. I returned the old one disguised as the new one and got my money back. Woohoo.
But that's not all! Just about a week ago my windows hard drive, the 200gb maxtor PATA drive (same drive) started clicking itself to death after a power outage so I went and bought a 350gb Western Digital SATA drive on the cheap to replace it. My computer wouldn't auto detect it and after a few hours of painful testing I decided that drive was bad too. A quick exchange at Fry's got me a Seagate 500gb for about 15 dollars more. Quality control is not up to par these days. Chinese products, gotta get rid of them. Anyways new drive works fine but reinstalling everything is a pain and there's some stuff on my old c: that I need to figure out how to access without it booting off that drive. I'll probably bring it to CLE in Oct and have Jo extract it to a flashdrive or something.
Also my Razer Copperhead laser mouse seems to be quitting on me. It will suddenly stop for a few moments. You'll hear windows drop it and redetect it. Sometimes it'll drop and that's all you get until a reboot. Why can't I just play my games? :( :(
On a more upbeat note, 50 bucks bought me a row of LEDs from ikea with some neat features and different colors. I laid them out behind my desk and they complement the blue light inside my computer pretty nicely. I can change the color depending on my desktop background or have them rotate colors automatically. Some pics and the one on the right is a 20mb video of it auto changing colors:
Changing topics away from my desktop, Alison and I were recently trying to get a nice flatscreen HDTV. And well...sorry schultz don't mean to steal your thunder but I know you know your stuff. So we ended up getting the same one, the Samsung LN40A550. It looks great, and well..you can't just get an HDTV and not get an HD player. Enter....the PS3
That's right, I have a console.
I got a Ps3 because it has blu ray. I guess I would have preferred the xbox360 since I could pay money to play online with friends despite being able to play with them for free on the computer. The fact that it plays games and acts as a decent media client is extra. I got gran turismo 5 and alison got harry potter. GT5 looks pretty good with the high res. There really aren't many good games for ps3. About half of them are sports games and the other half are GTA IV and Guitar Hero. Might get GH3 later though. Don't really have the money to grab a few games yet after the tv and ps3... I also don't want any games I'd rather play on the computer like FPS.
The unit itself is pretty nice. I got it used on craigslist with 2 wireless controllers, a bluetooth remote and hdmi cable. It's a 60gb model so it plays most ps2 games also, a big plus. I like the black and silver and it complements the TV nicely. It sits inside the TV stand we have and when it has been on for a while it will get hot and the fans turn on and it's pretty loud. We had to rearrange the living room to put the couch a lttle further away from the screen cause it would give us headaches, so the wireless is nice.
To get the media client stuff working, BobOmega pointed me to a program called tversity which is a streaming and transcoding service that runs on your PC and will stream video, music and photos over a LAN and even the internet. It also can connect my ps3 to steaming video such as Skynews and NASA TV. The best part is that it will reencode your divx, xvid etc files into a DLNA compatible format on the fly. So I don't have to reencode everything to get it to work. There are some downsides to it, such as the service can't run as an admin, only a local user. That means I have to log into my computer for tversity to start. I want to just be able to hit the power button, walk away and have the service run like file sharing. This way I could keep a password on my computer but people could still access media. The other downside is that tversity takes an itunes approach to content and builds a database of all videos and music. Now you can have a folder view only - and no streaming content, or you can use metadata to arrange everything and frankly who has the time for a beta program such as this. That's what you get for free I suppose. Ok some pics and then this post is finally over..
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Quakecon 08 post
since no one else has done itQuakecon came and went quickly this year. The usual group had grown a bit. Tim brought down 8 people from Ohio to stay at my apartment. Luckily it was only for the first and last nights. They reserved a room at the Hilton Anatole for the majority of the event. It was nice to see Tim and we had fun driving in my car, but as always I wish more of my friends would come down.
This was the first year that I volunteered with Tim, Adam, March, and Matt. The day that is typically wasted standing in line I spent helping lay down cat5 cabling, crimping network cables (I suck at it) and doing check-in. It was a long day but it felt good to give back to the event a little. My main motivation however was the fact that I had no one to stand in line with this year.
Overall the convention was pretty good but it seems to be stalling a little bit. 2005 was a huge year that saw us kicked out of the Gaylord Texan for being rowdy. 2006 was "almost a year without Quakecon". With only a month or so advance notice and a significantly smaller BYOC, QC kind of returned to its roots so to speak. A lot of the big sponsors and shows such as hard ocp were missing, and to this day it is still hurting. 2007 and 2008 have grown since then, learning to maximize the hilton anatole's arena for maximum BYOC and sponsor area. 07 was fun because Will came down. 08 was a year by myself again.
Featuring Quake Live as the main event this year, I was disappointed at the lack of Quakewars! There were about 6 main servers, but it was hard to keep enough players in one. Hell this game was still beta during the last Quakecon! The problem in my opinion was bots in the servers. It's something that may turn into a rant in itself one day. Bots should not count as players in game servers! You would be playing the game like normal and all of a sudden you notice you are on a team of bots versus a team of humans. Umm...wonder who's gonna win that one? Of course no one wants to join your team to help because its full of stupid bots and you're going to lose. I played a little quakelive and it's fun and it's everything quake4 is supposed to be, but I spent most of my time in Quake 3 Arena servers. I played some really great players, even got into a 1v1 match which tied at one match each before he had to leave. The BYOC was its normal self, and is always great.
Quakecon's problem now is how stale the events are becoming. Yes there's the quickdraw tournaments. But this year you have to be present at the stage to play. No more "Price is Right" style announcements to the BYOC with a happy gamer running down the aisle. There's the "what would you do for a geforce" or whatever where they are shaving people's heads for video cards. Seen that, didn't think too much of it to begin with. There was more Guitar Hero/Rock Band than Quake featured at the closing ceremony. Todd Hollingshead didn't even know the quakelive player's handles in the finals. ATI's swag shirts were embarrassing. Ventrillo had a corvette they were giving away, but not everyone who attended got a chance to win it. Raffle tickets for the vette were given away as prizes for other shit. Of course I won nothing like every year but if I was to win anything in the world it would be a losing ticket for a vette. Congratulations you didn't actually win anything! Think about how many people could have gone home with a video card and a new love for ventrillo instead of the one guy who now gets raped by taxes on a new car that will cost so much to insure. People shaved their heads, legs, and did all sorts of crazy things just for a chance at that corvette and the person who ended up winning got the very last raffle ticket given away. They threw it in a shirt during the closing ceremony. How's that for randomness? I suppose it's technically no different than any other ticket but you have to think they didn't shuffle very well. And a sinus show by another other name...well i still wouldn't go.
What made this year good was that I got to spend quite a bit more time there and seeing my bro and adam and maybe even matt. I'm just surprised that I got so much time off work to be able to go. With '08 done, QC's 3 year deal with the anatole is expired and I hope they renew the deal because it's a nice location. As always, I would like to see more of my friends go next year. I think next year I'll spend a little more time on the suggestions forum too!