proud to report

March 31st, 2008 by Shalewind

Just a few things here before I continue with a very busy morning. My performance appraisal went very well and I’m very pleased with the outcome. Now I’m still working on putting together a secure web application. It’s very tough, but still pretty cool. I will say its awesome being able to use the skill set I tuned up to make for something I’m getting paid to do. Got a big meeting this morning over its architecture.

Did some steaks last night – tried a new bottom round cut. Wasn’t too bad, but I need to find a better tenderizing solution – the marinade I use for the thinner low-end cuts didn’t work as well. Live and learn.

I’ll have my 1000 in Lost Odyssey this afternoon, got everything but the final skill learned and the last boss. I’ll post my opinion of the overall after I finish it but so far, still very impressed. Three things:

  • The Temple of Enlightenment sucks. It reminds me of the crashed dungeon in Lufia II only this is in 3D. Not particularly fun especially if you are looking for treasure. Sorcerer Fu… Easy even at level 68.
  • The Immortal wasn’t too hard but he took some getting used to. I got him on my first try at level 69. All I can say is that double cast Reversa (with Ming and Sarah) and HP Max 3 Reversa (with Kaim and Seth) is essential to beating his 175,000 HP in 30 turns or less. I think I did it in ~20. Persistence is a must, as is careful timing of your revives so you don’t get wiped out. I didn’t bother healing, because it just makes Reversa stronger.
  • Treasure Trove is not a good achievement. I have it now, but I still think it is not a good achievement. Fair warning – not every item is in the Prima guide. And also – there are 24 under sea treasures, 2 under sea treasure hunts, and 1 undersea pirate. Yes, they count.

I finally played some Halo 3 Heroic Maps. Not much to say about Rat’s Nest. Foundry is not my kind of board. I hate having enemies come at your from behind and this happens to me constantly on Foundry. I’m in love with Standoff though. Pretty awesome map: warthogs, bases, a variety of other weapons, and no sniper rifle. Simply cool.

That’s about it for now. Have a great Monday!

  Current Mood: Busy   
Listening To: This is Your Life – Switchfoot

Posted in Halo 3, Main Posts, Video Games, Work | No Comments »

Happy Easter!

March 24th, 2008 by Shalewind

We have a door here at the office that has been broken since early last week. The only thing wrong with it is that the pressure hinge is cut so it slams closed… loudly. We, day one there was a small post it note sign informing us to not us the door. And sure enough throughout the day I heard nothing but bang, bang, BANG! (I sit next to the door) Well as the week went on the sign went from a small note, to a bigger note, to a full sheet of paper with high lettering.
   So I come in the office today to find no less than three sheets of paper informing us the door is broken. I anticipate this will still not be enough and will surely find the entire door covered in paper by tomorrow.

It got a little colder here today. I stepped outside and it was freezing! I thought we were done with that? Happy belated Easter to you and yours, I hope you enjoyed the weekend.

I finally nailed a Pot Roast last night after some three or four failed tries. As I suspected, previous failures resulted from not budgeting in enough cook time (my 3 pound rump roast took about 4 hours stove top by the way). I also have a meat thermometer now (a simple poke and read affair) which has aided greatly in the cooking of succulent meat. I recommend a good horseradish and worcestershire rub for the roast itself. Braising liquid is much a personal choice – I may try a cheap red wine next time.

On the gaming front, we had an excellent little Halo run last night. This was following a horrid big team affair over the weekend however. I’ve also decided to update my stat algorithms for the Halo Stat Tracking. This is for several reasons, such as placement in team games isn’t a good indicator of performance and I was using it as a keystone in a lot of calculations. Not sure when the changes will be up but I’ll send out FTA notes with more info.

It’s confirmed Rainbow Six Vegas 2 doesn’t have 4 person co-op. When you remove this feature, which you already had implemented, even if poorly, I think you have made a poor design decision. Users always get upset when you take functionality away. Other than that I here it is a Vegas 1 clone with a run button and new maps. Probably won’t be dropping the $60 on this one.

Lost Odyssey is still cool, but you probably knew this. I’m about 38 hours in and on disc four. I still love all the characters. My only major gripe has been the English voiced songs are for the most part not so good. I of course have been spoiled with good game music from Playstation hits like Metal Gear Solid and Xenogears. Compared to those, the full voiced songs in Lost Odyssey are cheap and empty. Of course the in-game music is very good. And that’s my only complaint so it is still my vote for best RPG on the 360.

I just found out you can share Pandora stations with friends. I totally am going to have to do this. Of course I’m presently on a Techno kick as its extremely easy to code to.

I’ve got my one year performance appraisal coming up now. Wish me luck!

  Current Mood: Pondering   
Listening To: As the Rush Comes – Motorcycle

Posted in Cooking, Main Posts, Video Games | 1 Comment »

Dustin’s Neverending Trip

March 18th, 2008 by Shalewind

I had a really fun weekend hanging out with Dustin who was down for the week. We are finally getting some normal rain here Dallas. My car was getting dusty so it’s nice. Trying out a new blog post layout.

A few updates:

  • I haven’t had time to play Lost Odyssey in a week. This irks me.
  • Fable 2’s concept art over on IGN is truly scary. It would take a substantial miracle for me to have any interest whatsoever in this game.
  • Hackers suck. Designing a secure web application that is hacker safe is VERY tough and tiresome. ASP.Net makes things a little easier.
  • My wife is going to make me some new socks! That’s right, make them.
  • If you haven’t seen this All Your Base Video. You need to. Now.
  • Pandora Radio is like the coolest thing since MP3s in college. It’s an online radio that customizes itself based on the sound patterns of songs you like. Very rocking. I’ve got seven stations for different moods.

That’s it for now. Signing out.

  Current Mood: Focused   
Listening To: We’ve Got Everything – Modest Mouse

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Big Weekend

March 10th, 2008 by Shalewind

Had a very good weekend but not much overall going on. Couple of updates all around.

I’m a little late on the ball of this one, but I wanted to give a moment to honor the passing of Gary Gygax, one of the founding fathers of D&D. I have read many others speak to his life and achievements far more elegantly than I could express so I will only say that his works changed my life in a very real way and his spirit for the game will be missed.

In some happier news, my cousin Blair and his wife Andrea are going to have a baby! This is the first of my cousins to have a kid so this is kind of cool. Of course, my wife’s side of the family has been doing this for years.

From the Ashes has some new stuff up as of last week. Dustin and DJ have both added some pictures to the gallery. Also, we now have After Action Reports for the Halo 3 statistics section. I’m pretty proud of that little setup (full of Bungie website graphics for the weapons and medals too).

The more I play of Lost Odyssey the more I am convinced it is the best RPG for the 360, period. It’s also good proof that a Japanese RPG can be done well on the American platform. A few things I have noticed that I like:

-The story is good.
-The plot is pretty standard but more than acceptable.
-The characters have pre-existing relationships.
-The love story is not some sappy teenage affair (big plus).
-What I thought was going to be a series of depressing events has turned into an uplifting experience.

In sum the game is fucking fantastic and I recommend you play it now if you are even a partial fan of RPGs. I think it is probably better than FFXII but it’s a close call.

The rumors and release material for 4e continues to impress. I’ve seen some pre-release character sheets and I am very eager to see more. Were I a rich man (which I am definitely not) I’d consider purchasing the developer’s OGL SRD which runs about $5,000 but will allow developers to put out material for 4e faster. A good idea for a publisher. The rest of us will have to chomp at the bit until June 6th.

That’s about it for now. Have a good week!

Posted in From the Ashes, Main Posts, Video Games | No Comments »

Online Mashup

March 3rd, 2008 by Shalewind

The amount of spam that comes into my blog staggers the mind.

Had a fairly good weekend. We are now bracing for the one day of cold and rainy weather before returning to some semblance of normal. Well as normal as Texas ever gets. All this pressure shifting is playing hell with my head though.

My mother’s computer is still not finished as UPS attempted to deliver the memory to my door (I wasn’t home) marked it delivered and then failed to drop it off at the office. This creates a unique problem in that after it’s marked delivered there isn’t anything I can do. I have to take it up with the shipper (NewEgg). This, for the record, sucks and is a horribly inefficient process.

Couple of updates on the gaming front:

Lost Odyssey remains fucking awesome. I’m still on Disc 1 (there are four) and feel confident that this may be the best RPG to hit the 360. The voice acting and graphical expressions are amazing and the story is fairly intriguing. I can’t wait to get some more characters.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 comes out this month. Supposedly the character creation is both more in depth and easier to manage. The Co-Op improvement they worked so hard on are apparently only for 2-Player Co-Op (ouch!). However, it’s also been stated that ALL of the multiplayer modes (and two more) are available in the new one. So hopefully this means Mission will be open as well. Oh yeah, they have stat tracking too, which I’m always a big fan of.

Microsoft has reported that 360 sales are falling but profits are climbing. I think we all know WHY this is occurring (call it the red-ring effect) and I pray this trend doesn’t continue. It’s time for the PS3 to put some pressure on them so we have some real market competition. Maybe Blu-Ray’s victory will assist.

A few of you might find this interesting. The most popular games for the 360 based on logging in to XBOX Live (whether multiplayer or not) for February:

Call of Duty 4 3,350,362
Halo 3 2,524,448
Gears of War 678,770
Mass Effect 518,215
Rainbow Six Vegas 464,256
Guitar Hero III 406,038
Assassin’s Creed 385,429
Forza Motorsport 2 344,714
Rock Band 341,756
The Orange Box 271,932


A couple of observations: First, it seems that 65% of the online community is only ever playing two games at a given time. Second, holy crap a lot of people still play Gears of War. Also, Mass Effect seems to be pretty popular. Finally, why the fuck aren’t any of these people playing Lost Odyssey? (admittedly I bet a lot of RPGers aren’t online).

I follow a webcomic called Erfworld where a wargamer from present day is thrown into a fantastic world of a turn based war game. It’s slow paced but extremely good with pop culture references. Well, we dropped an All Your Base reference in the last one that about floored me. Cool stuff.

Posted in Main Posts, Video Games | No Comments »