Monday, February 3, 2014

Good Things

Showers that are just hot enough.
Finding a book that you don't want to put down, and are disappointed when it ends.
Costco Pizza.
Coming back to a level you couldn't beat a month before, and getting it on your second try.
Really comfortable pants.
Going out for a walk with no destination in mind, then finding something great.
Philly Cheesesteaks.
Donuts at 2 in the morning.
3 Hours of Smash bros with bros. (actually, any game with bros)
Meeting someone with a sense of humor.

Friday, January 31, 2014

LOL V DOTA: How, What, Why?

I've been thinking about something for awhile, and it's kind of come down to an emotion vs. logic debate in my mind. there are two games that are at the most basic level identical, mostly because one is a very loose spin-off of the other. Of course, I'm talking about League of Legends, and Dota 2.
The gameplay involves choosing from a large stable of heroes, making money and leveling up, and then fighting the other team. there are little AI controlled squads of weak enemies to farm for cash and experience, towers that defend their lanes, and jungles with slightly more dangerous AI opponents in them worth more that constantly respawn in their little camps. Both teams have 5 members and a base to protect.
And that is about where the similarities end. Since it's creation, Lol has sought to streamline their gameplay, and if you ask a Dota player, dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. And I agree, the gameplay is far simpler.
In Dota, the heroes' abilities are far more varied and unpredictable. It takes experience to see how some abilities are even useful. In fact, some abilities only appear to be useful in very specific circumstances.
Lol, in comparison seeks to make almost all abilities useful in most situations. In fact there isn't half the variation in abilities. This makes Lol far easier to understand to an inexperienced viewer or player, but also makes fights more predictable. I see a fireball shooting across the screen, and I know that it will most likely do damage, and maybe have some kind of CC effect. Even without having knowledge of my opponent, I'll have a pretty good idea of what their capabilities are just by observing them and their abilities.
Dota is not this simple. In Dota, characters have vastly more complex and varied movesets that are not only hard to understand, but hard to comprehend as well. Take for instance nature's prophet in Dota 2. His ultimate ability damages all enemies on the map. to a new player, the only thing they observe is a small root shooting out of the ground and doing them damage. There is no indication of why it's happening, who it's coming from, or if anything can be done to stop it. Compare it to Karthus' ultimate ability in Lol, which also does damage to all enemies on the map. It is immediately clear that something bad is about to happen to you, and if you can actually see Karthus during that time ,you can see him channeling the ability so you might have an idea that he has something to do with it. In comparison, his dota counterpart has a short animation to show that he's casting a spell.

What this means is that Lol is a far more predictable game, which is more accessible, but also has far less gameplay variation. An experienced player can look at the enemy items and heroes, and counter that build fairly easily. Lol is a game of stats primarily, and the player able to effectively itemize and counter his enemy will most likely win the game. In Dota, this is partially true, but it is far harder to predict enemy actions and itemization. Dota simply has far more variables in a fight.
In a fight, you need to consider damage, defense, and CC. Those are also the most important things for a player to be able to build. Typically casters are capable of damage or cc, support is defense or cc, and fighters are damage or defense. That's lol's hero pool. Dota also has these, but the heroes' abilities are far more varied.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Spooky Dark Souls Comic

I got an idea around bedtime for a real spooky comic. It's based off of a situation you can find yourself in.
If you've played a game called Dark Souls, you might know how horrifying it is to find yourself here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Video Games and Parents: the Advantage

Usually when we hear about parents talking about controlling their children's access to video games, or internet time, or new technology in general, it's in terms of how much time they allow in a day or a week. Half an hour a day, an hour a day, four hours a week.
For our generation however, we are generally much more literate in the form of media. I'd like to think the average 20 something man nowadays would know the difference between Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.
That's the thing, most people wouldn't just say you can watch one movie this weekend and leave it at that, they would find a movie and probably watch it as a family. It's up to parents to be the gatekeepers to their children's entertainment.
If someone plays a lot of games, then it becomes a lot easier to not only choose what should and shouldn't be made accessible, but to actually make choices and recommendations for games that have some educational value as well.
Maybe not educational value, but games that aren't designed primarily to keep attention, like Call of Duty, whose primary gameplay mechanic seems to be addiction, or an MMO. Games like these are very much designed to simply keep the player playing with ladders of rewards that are nearly never ending.
Instead, I'd recommend more indie games that reward exploration or creativity. Games like Scribblenauts or most of Double Fine Studio's output would be things I wouldn't hesitate to give children.
I'm just saying it'll be interesting to see the way this generation handles their children's gameplay habits.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let me tell YOU about my weekend

This was a pretty good weekend for me. I got to skype my Ma on saturday morning, I got a job offer for next year, and I went to a printmaking workshop, where I made a wheel skeleton design. Wheel skeletons are terrifying, if you've ever been stuck in a basement with them.

But Saturday night, oh man. I got an invitation from an old acquaintance from South Africa to go to a club, where they were serving unlimited drinks for 20,000 won all night. I thought, sure why not? But I ought to bring some friends just in case. So one of my Korean friends from work comes out for the fun, and together we head over to the club.

And the drama started almost immediately.

Once we got there, Tara (I'll just call the S. African acquaintance that for now) greets us at the door already fairly sauced, and leans against me, telling us that we have to go in NOW. We should definitely go in, NOW. We hurriedly payed the cover charge while she hung on my arm. I should mention that I have seen this woman about 3 times in my life, and never has it involved any kind of intimate contact, so this seemed strange. I wondered if it was just that cheap alcohol, but the reality was soon revealed.

Being the class act that Tara was, she told me that her Ex was in this very bar, and could I help her to make him jealous? It wasn't really a request, since she took me by the hand to the bar, scoped out her ex by the pool table, and then proceeded to grind on me while I was getting a drink. I was a bit embarrassed, but I hadn't come this far for nothing. so I got three drinks, and headed to the table, with Tara constantly rubbing up against me, and trying to put my hands on her.

Eventually her ex did come over, and they went outside to talk, leaving me with my Korean friend, and Tara's two foreigner friends, who were decent enough people. At that point, everything was looking up, and we played a game of darts, and drank a lot of very cheap, very sweet liquor. One of Tara's friends told me more of what was happening. It turned out that her ex was in fact a member of the armed forces, and had two kids and a wife back home, which just added to the overall mystique of the evening. 

Eventually we all got tired of drinking terrible booze and went outside to see what was keeping the lovebirds, and it turned out they were just talking.

Actually, Tara was screaming into the G.I.'s phone. He seemed fairly unfazed by the situation, but it was hard to tell what was happening. At this point, Tara's other friends want to go across the city to another bar, and my Korean friend and I decided that we had had enough for one night, and retired to a local bar for some actual honest beer.

I don't know what happened to Tara after that, and I hope I don't run into her again. Although one of our mutual friends got into a fistfight in the streets after meeting them across town, so it sounds like the magic continued without me. Viva Seoul!

Oh, and printmaking is harder than it looks. I recommend it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


The chicken is an amazing animal. It's hard working, and creates tons of eggs for most of it's life. It's easy to take care of, and can live off not much more than food scraps and seeds. It's also inherently edible... Is there anywhere on earth that people turn their noses up to a chicken dinner in favor of some other meat?

I mean, sure, it's not the finest dining experience, and there are tons of other more expensive meats. But who doesn't like a chicken dinner? Chicken burritos, fried chicken, chicken soup - the list goes on, but it's all just good. It's an amazing food, and an amazing animal. I love chicken.