Friday, March 28, 2008

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Yes yes, I am many days late for this post to mean anything but I have now begun slowly collecting characters.

By the way, Pikachu is an evil little bugger! I love his moves. I can see why people hate him so.

For those reading the above statement and then scratching your head, let me summarize Brawl and why Pikachu is the cheapest character there. Brawl's premise is simply: Toss your opponent off-screen. Instead of traditional life bars, you have a damage percentage. The higher it goes, the higher you go. So the idea is to damage your opponent quickly and then use a move that will smash your opponent off the screen. The controls are brutally simple. You have one button for a regular attack, one button to perform a special attack, and a third to block attacks. By tapping your controller's arrow keys or analog stick, you can do other moves.

Now, Pikachu is extremely cheap for the following three reasons. One, his basic special, if you are damaged and standing too close, will punt you from the arena. If you're too far, it shoots this little spark forward which still knocks you backward. Two, he has this little human cannonball move... which can punt you from the arena. Finally, he can call a vertical bolt of lightning. Now, it can punt you off, but the bolt comes down from the top of the screen. And it can juggle you consistently upwards...

This is one evil electric rat!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The web is FULL of talent

Today's blog is all about various online comics I read. Now I'm not going to go for the standard staples of CTRL+ALT+DEL, Penny Arcade, Sluggy Freelance, VG Cats or PvP. Most, if not all of those, are really commonly read. Most people are well aware of them, and if you are not I've linked them all up so you can visit them at your leisure. Instead, I want to focus on ones you may have missed in your surfing.

The first is actually a second comic from an artist whose original work I loved. The Phoenix Requiem is a comic by Sarah Ellerton, who also has a completed work called Inverloch. The art is stunningly beautiful, and the story is well written thus far. I suggest you check it out!

The next is also very well done, but definitely far more wacky. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, written by Chris Hastings, is a hilariously random take on action comics. Based off of Hasting's forums posting name and some drawings, it has evolved into a multi-issue comic with a good amount of backstories.

Looking for Group is another great read. This one actually has a team creating it. It's a take-off on fantasy-based worlds, and is filled with inside jokes for gamers of all types.

The final comic is WTF Comics, as written by Jeremy Waller, is based off of Everquest, but still has a very relevant story for any lover of fantasy stories.

Have fun with the added reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Koontz is the MAN!

For those who do not know, I am an avid reader of fiction books. I originally was introduced to Koontz's writing through Intensity. The novel is an engaging roller coaster from start to finish, and really got me hooked on his style of writing.

Since then I've collected several of his works and been reading through them. So far I've gotten through Dark Rivers of the Heart, Night Chills, and Strangers. Each of them is a great book, with a great story. However, as I have been reading through Watchers, I'm noticing some common themes in each of them. For one, Koontz's main character cast normally includes at least one ex-military man in varying degrees of disillusionment. For another, he uses similar props in his books. Bell JetRanger helicopters, Chef Special pistols, and Jeeps feature in most of his novels. Also, some of his villains are similarly obsessed with the same beliefs.

Like I said, it's not a bad thing, but to me, at some points in the novels it feels like he's just shuffling in and out the same cards in the deck and placing them in slightly different order.

I'll have to see if the patterning continues throughout his writing, but I still highly recommend the novels listed above.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of Pocketshop??

Ok, I'll admit it, I've been neglectful of Pawkeshup recently. But let me settle up why right here.

Pocketshop was originally intended as a farming mule. Basically I planned on getting THF to 15 and farming around Gustaberg for money for Pawkeshup. This way I could keep her relatively clear of the immense item clutter I have and put her to good use. I already had a gardening mule (Cepago) who had been pressed into service growing tons of plants. I figured that eventually I'd do the same for a mule to craft as well, leaving Pawkeshup the glorious position of just leveling.

Well, the trick of farming is that you need space to farm. Plus my gear has continue to grow as time as gone on. I have a ton of weapons and armor scattered over my mules. Literally an arsenal of some degree, covering levels 1-65 in several jobs, mostly through versatile multi-job pieces. So I decided to go about expanding her space a bit.

When Aht Urgan came around, I had this great idea to get her access to there so I could get a mog locker. Pawkeshup, at the time, was getting plenty of imperial standing points from BLM burn parties and soloing, as well as the occasional RDM party. However, that turned out to be quite a great deal harder than I had expected it to be. See, to get access to the mog locker, you need to deliver supplies to an outpost. Sounds easy... until you realize that all the routes to the outposts are lined with deadly monsters. I chose one I thought, lacking any spell-casting ability, I could reach. I got a stack of powder and a stack of oil, and headed out.

So after I homepointed... I decided that I would need to make a decision. Did I want to keep chasing after more space for Pocketshop or forget it? I decided to pursue some added melee levels in hopes of getting strong enough to outrun the bad guys. I tried leveling whm on her, but it's painful after playing a Tarutaru with tons of mana.

But I continued to level in hopes of gutting out a run to an outpost. And then along comes Dancer. Dancer, a melee job that gets to cure itself and sneak and invis itself. And so I set to work at getting level 30 for Pocket to gain access to Dancer to allow me to go further with her.

Finally, after a while of intermittent leveling and a very kind power level from Anyka, Pocket made 30. And the next time I got on, I got Dancer as my first advanced job. Currently at 7, I'm gunning to get it to 30 as well. Partly so that I have all my skills and a healthy buffer to keep them, and partly so that I can do other quests.

To be honest, it's refreshing to have a character to mess around on who I can just leave geared to level whenever I want to. So as long as that's fun, Pocket will keep on leveling.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My name is Paul McKenna, and I can make you watch!

Two posts in a day~!!

I felt the need to post about this. Last night, my wife and I watched "I Can Make You Thin" on TLC. Admittedly, we could both lose some weight. I personally was 170 pounds when I interviewed for my current job, and I am now tipping the scales somewhere past the 210 pound mark.

My former employer was a very active food service job, while my current job is sitting in a chair answering calls. So I have definitely packed on the pounds, and after watching this program I do understand why.

I was one of those hated people who could eat anything and never gain a pound. My metabolism was of heroic proportions. I also did a lot of bike-riding, worked in a physical environment, and used to eat with a good degree of moderation. Now, according to Mr. McKenna, I am eating unconsciously, and numb to the natural biological urges within my body.

I'd have to say he has a point.

What McKenna proposes is not a diet, or another lose weight quick fix. He even says at the start of his show that it is not an infomercial. What he proposes is to just be a more animalistic, instinctual person. Say what you say? Well, I'm oversimplifying it but that's in essence what he is saying.

His four golden rules are:

-When you're hungry, eat
-Eat only what you want
-Eat consciously
-When you are full, STOP EATING

Very simple stuff, but all based on the normal survival instincts of the animal kingdom. You rarely see terribly obese Giraffes in the wild do you? Because they listen to what their body says. McKenna states, correctly, that we have begun to eat for reasons far beyond the need for actual nutrition. Because of that, we are growing fatter and fatter.

He proposes a simple life change: Eat Consciously. Basically, remove distractions, eat slowly, and taste what you eat. So I've decided to try that. However, one thing I've learned: It's really hard to chew peanut butter and grahm crackers 20 times, it gets rather pasty.

dancin'... Dancin'... DANCIN'!

So I've decided on a new project. Now I dunno how many people have seen this site, but basically it was made by a guy in the game development industry that one day up and quit his job, then filmed himself dancing around the world.

Also, as you may or may not know, we can now dance in Final Fantasy XI.

I have decided to combine the two and make a new video for the first time in forever. I will film "Pawkeshup: Dancing Around Vana'Diel".

When it's ready, expect a post here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

138,300,000 gil

That's what a Guttler will run me on Ramuh. Why I asked my Dynamis shell's administration what it would cost is beyond me, but honestly I've needed a goal for my time on the game. I have yet to get a second level 75 job, and given my lack of playtime I most likely will be waiting a long time for that.

So I have begun seeking some form of purpose for my in-game life. With Dynamis and Sky gone due to, again, my playtime, I need something to work for. I had thought to craft, but after returning, however briefly, to WoW, I cannot stomach the endless grind of crafting in FFXI. Same for fishing or getting my Lu Shang's Rod (however I haven't ruled that out yet).

For now I am leveling Dancer solo, which is enjoyable. I just reached 15, which means I have access to my first Waltz. I can see how attractive this job is, with the ability to heal myself on a quickly renewable resource.

For now, that is helping me to slowly build back to 200k, with small items I am gathering. How I will achieve the cash for this monumental feat is beyond me.

... Maybe I'll just stick to fishing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eve: Online review

When I was young, my brother had this big, beautiful book of illustrations. All of them were space-themed, and primarily featured massive space battles. That was where I first gained a love for the space-shooter-style games. I loved flying through space, whipping wilding around the terrain and enemies.

I always wanted more though. When I started playing MMO's, I found their depth appealing. I loved building up my characters, seeing them gain strength and venture further afield.

When I first saw Eve, I remembered that book my brother had. When I learned more about the game, I thought this was a match made in heaven: High end graphics combined with deep gameplay. I could just see myself as a lone-gun bounty hunter trolling the vast emptiness of space for my prey.

However, my original computer just barely met the required stats for the game, so I knew it would not play well. So I watched trailers and player-made movies. It all looked so good.

Enter my XPS m1730. This thing has power to spare, so I decided it was time. I signed up for my 14-day trial. So what did I think of it?

Did I mention it's pretty? It really is. Very. It's very much like those gorgeous supermodels of stereotypical legend. Beautiful and devoid of any real thought. I'm fairly certain I could play this game with a blindfold with enough practice at clicking, cuz that's all you do.

You double-click to go in a direction. You right-click in space to choose a destination. You press a function key and click to attack. Click, click, double-click, click.

There's no visceral feeling of flying. Even your movement feels like moving in water. You turn excruciatingly slowly in comparison to what you really want to do. Your weapons even shoot slowly, in a classic turn-based playmode. I shoot, they shoot, I shoot, they shoot.

Even money-making is grinding. You fly to the area to mine, you mine, you fly back, you sell, you rinse and repeat. It's the ultimate in grinding.

The game does have its high points. The explosions are pretty. The skill system is brilliant. Select a skill, and whether you're logged in or not, you continue to train it. Which is a good thing, since some skills take days to learn, in real time. And I am sure you can turn better, have faster ships, et cetera. But the game will not hold me that long.

Pretty as it is, I'd rather play an ugly game with a lot of personality.