Tuesday, 28 December 2010

On Super Meat Boy & Difficulty In Games

So far I've spent about £13 on games in the Steam sale. For that I've gotten Super Meat Boy, Knights of the Old Republic and Batman: Arkham Asylum. I've also still got Mass Effect to play from the last sale, and I reckon there could be a few more things to come. I dithered on Knights of the Old Republic for a while, until I asked Will about it...

00:23 - Rosti: Knights of the Old Republic worth £1.75?
00:25 - Morbis: YES
00:25 - Morbis: ITS THE BEST GAME
00:25 - Morbis: I HAVE EVER PLAYED
00:25 - Morbis: IN
00:25 - Morbis: MY
00:25 - Morbis: ENTIRE LIFE

When you're being fantastic offered games at less than the price of a pint, heck, barely even the difference between buying a sandwich for lunch and just having instant noodles, it's pretty hard to turn it down.

Thing is, right now I don't really have the time to get into anything that's going to consume me in storyline or gameplay for hours on end. So I started off on Super Meat Boy, on the basis that it's a fairly basic platformer and I can dip in and out of it. It's also difficult. Really fucking difficult.

It's not the most difficult game I've ever played - that title goes to the legendary I Wanna Be The Guy by a fairly long margin - but I'm still finding it pretty tough going to get through. Even though I'm progressing at a phenomenal rate compared to how I did playing IWBTG, I'm finding it far more frustrating. I'm no stranger to ball-breakingly difficult games, if anything they're pretty much the only games I play, but there are aspects of SMB that annoy me.

The thing with IWBTG is that the controls are responsive and the gameplay is tight. You press a button, and your character does exactly what it is told. If you die, it's your fault because you didn't press the right button at the right time. Even when random shit flies at you, and there was no way you'd have been able to avoid it unless you knew it was coming, even when there are sections that feel impossible, the blame always lies on you and not the game. The difficulty is because sometimes you've got to be pixel-perfect with how you move, and absolutely spot-on with the timing for your button presses. And you can do that, because the controls are completely responsive.

Super Meat Boy, on the other hand, doesn't have that. You have so much fucking inertia and there's so little friction that the control is so much more difficult. You go for a long jump, you land on the tiny ledge, and then you slide right off the other fucking side because you don't stop properly. Other people may see things differently, but at times like that I don't feel like it's my fault. I made the jump, I landed on the shitty tiny ledge, and it was the imprecise gameplay that let me down.

SMB is still a decent game. Some of the levels are really fun, the gameplay is pretty good and I'm still playing through it and having fun, but damn the controls piss me off sometimes. I like things to feel responsive and precise, not slippery and sluggish.

It's why shmup games tend not to implement the laws of momentum in their control systems - it doesn't matter that you're a spaceship flying through air, you need the precise control or the game just becomes impossible (even more than it already is). Poor controls can make the difference between a game being challenging but fun, and just feeling unfairly difficult and frustrating.

I would say making a game truly difficult is an extremely difficult task itself, and I think there are very few games that manage to do it properly. Most modern Japanese arcade games manage it, mostly because they have to. With an arcade game you need to make it difficult so that people die and put more credits in, but you also need to make sure it doesn't feel unfairly difficult, or the player will just give up and won't play it again. If there isn't that element of challenge, that element of your death being your own fault, and the element of "I'll be able to do that section if I just have one more go..." then the game won't offer the same experience. It has to be hard but fair.

The main reason that I don't like playing Civilization at harder AI levels is that I just don't find it fair. I know it's possible to beat the AI on the hardest settings, but I don't like the idea that they are making it difficult by basically cheating. They can't make an AI good enough (which, to be fair, is not really their fault given the complexity) so they have to make up for it by essentially throwing some handicapping elements in there.

If anything it seems like most developers recognise the difficulty in making challenging games, and as a result just don't really bother any more. Most games I play nowadays seems to be fairly straightforward and I guess aimed at a different market. It doesn't necessarily stop them being fun, but I do think that it completely alters the aspect of it. Playing games isn't as rewarding as it used to be, and there's far less credibility in achievements. Some of the older Super Mario games (pre SM64) are fucking tough to get through, and the modern games like Super Mario Galaxy are far less demanding in terms of difficulty.

It's a slightly different focus of games being something to be enjoyed, rather than something to be beaten, which I guess isn't a bad thing, but I think it does dilute the market quality a little bit. Console games are console games now, as opposed to a decade or two ago, when they were mostly just ports of arcade titles. Kids these days don't experience the joys of having to play the first couple of levels over and over and over again, the eternal wondering of what level four actually looked like...

The only really irk I have with the fact that difficulty has gone down the drain is that there are still plenty of titles that offer 100% completion, it's just that completion now comes in the form of collecting shittons of items and other largely tedious and time-consuming tasks that I really dislike the notion of having to do if I want to truly beat the game. Completing most video games nowadays just means that you don't have a social life, when it used to mean that you didn't have a social life and you were fucking good at the game.

I guess I should complain less about SMB's deliberate implementation of frustrating controls onto the challenging gameplay, and be happy that the gameplay is at least challenging. It's not up to IWBTG levels of sadism and fantastic level design, but it's still a pretty good game, and I'm far from breezing through it. I quite like the leaderboard aspect of it too.

Also, as an aside, what the fuck happened to cheat codes in games for unlocking content? I have no issue with the idea of unlocking stuff, but it used to be that if you had friends round then you could just enter in a cheat code and you had everything unlocked for multiplayer levels. Now you actually require people to remember memory cards and save files and shit, or you're stuck to just the most basic tracks/maps/cars/etc. Who the fuck wants to play multiplayer Mario Kart Wii if you can't play Rainbow Road and the other good tracks? It's a real fucking pain in the ass.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Censoring Pornography on the Internet

This is actually a bit of an old story (well, only a week or two old, but that's a while in internet terms), but I had other crap to write about at the time. This story mostly being the reaction of ISPs to the government's proposal to censor pornography on the internet in the UK, which is that it's totally unfeasible.

The reaction to this in the USA has pissed me off a bit, mostly for their whole "UK government is totalitarian big brother and this is what happens when you don't have a constitution". If nothing else, it annoys me because this is grossly hypocritical as the US government has been trying to impose what is a pretty similar thing.

Regardless of thoughts from over the pond, the idea is still fucking stupid in my opinion. Above all, as the ISPs have pointed out, it's grossly impractical to actually implement something like this. It's as if politicians really don't have any idea how the internet works whatsoever, both on a technical and social level. It's like they imagine there's a ton of pipes going into ISP servers, some labelled "news", some labelled "youtube", some labelled "pornography", and it's just a matter of sticking a huge valve on the pornography one.

I mean, the first stage that would be a pain in the ass would be deciding which sites are and are not pornographic. In a general sense you can take a fair bit out, but there's absolutely no way to make a perfect filter. You will either let some porn sites through, or you will block legitimate sites. There is no middle ground there. And what about sites that aren't dedicated to pornography, but still have indecent images/downloads/etc. Should you carpet ban sites like Isohunt, RapidShare, etc, because it's possible to get porn on those, even if plenty of the time people are using them for non-pornographic means. What about Google Images? If you turn safe search off then you quite often get some sort of porn pretty much regardless of what you search for. Would they ban all of Google, or would they somehow go to the incredible lengths to make something that only catches the porn? It'd be a complete nightmare, and if there's one thing I've learned from high school internet filters, it's that if they are not perfect people will find the chinks in the armour and they will exploit the shit out of them until they get found and sealed by the operators.

The second problem is that the system in place will allow people to opt-out of the filter (as it fucking should, to be fair). This would add a whole shitload of logistical nightmares for ISPs to maintain and operate this list of people opting out of the filter. Plus it's a complete ball-ache for people to have to ring up their ISPs just to be able to view porn. Especially for late-teens who, I would strongly argue, (almost) have a basic human right to be able to view porn, yet won't be the people who pay the bills and will therefore either have to ask their parents if they can please have porn, or go without. At the very least it should be an opt-in system and not an opt-out one.

But still, ultimately it should be up to parents to monitor what their kids do on the internet. It's not like there aren't already tons of tools at their disposal to do so if they so wish. Internet Service Providers do nothing other than provide the service, and it's really not up to them, in my opinion, to control or monitor what we do with it. Should United Utilities monitor what I do with the water they provide me, lest I use it to drown kittens? Do Shell have an obligation to make sure the petrol they sell me is being used for my cars, and not for petrol bombs? If I buy a knife from John Lewis, should they send someone to tail me to make sure I use it for slicing vegetables and not people? These might be ridiculous situations, but really the fundamental principle isn't that different. If parents don't want their kids watching porn, then they are the ones responsible for denying them access to it. After all, isn't that what parenting is all about?

Plus, it's not like the internet is the only way to watch porn. When I was from the ages of 12-15 I didn't really have a constant internet supply. We had dial-up that had to be plugged in and charged per minute, and my dad was stingy and didn't like us using it much. That didn't stop me. I still had a VHS tape which I'd recorded various late-night shows to watch, and there was plenty of nudity in those (plus Tarrant on TV was awesome anyway). Maybe not hardcore sex, but meh, I was only 14 and didn't know any better. If you're going to censor it on the internet, there's still other ways for kids to get stuff, because teenage boys do have a knack for that sort of thing.

Which leads me onto the whole other side to this argument: is it really that bad a thing for kids to be watching pornography? Personally, I don't think it's a huge deal whatsoever. I'd use the "I watched/saw porn on the internet/TV when I was pretty young and it didn't screw me up" argument, but that'd just leave me open to personal attacks and examples of "yes it fucking did". My first argument would that it's actually not that easy to accidentally stumble across porn of the internet unless you've got safe-search off, which you won't unless your parents have turned it off. Yes, there is a fuckload of porn on the internet, but you're only really going to find porn as a kid when you're old enough to look for it yourself, and I'd argue that kids who are old enough to search for porn are old enough to see it.

You can't get pregnant from watching porn (or get someone else pregnant), you can't get any diseases or infections from it - as sexual exploration goes it's about as safe and harmless as you can get. I can sort of see the argument that maybe it will warp our kids into sexual deviants and rapists, but firstly I don't see that happening just from watching porn from an early age, and secondly if you're worried about stuff on the internet fucking your kids up, there's far, far more disturbing shit out there. I'd happily let my kids browse xhamster and 8tube all day if it kept them off the likes of ED and 4chan. Hardcore pornography doesn't have anything on some of the fucked-up shit that's out there on the internet (lets name 2girls1cup, goatse and lemonparty as just a well-known examples), and I can say this confidently as someone who is well-experienced in both.

I appreciate that the psychology is complex, and that I have pretty much zero knowledge of psychological development in children, but I feel fairly sure from self-experience that it's more likely to desensitise kids more than anything else.

I think half the issue comes from associating anything involving children and pornography to child pornography, which is really an entirely separate issue (and one I definitely would be arguing against, not for). Not denying kids access to view pornographic material is an entirely different kettle of fish to sexual child abuse. There's a whole world of separation between not censoring internet and actively making a child watch pornography, let alone any actual physical sexual abuse. I really don't think that they're even connected.

The fact is that kids are going to be curious about that sort of thing, they're going to experiment sexually, and they're almost certainly going to get their hands on porn regardless of any internet censorship. And, in my opinion, their ability to view porn is not a particularly bad thing, and certainly isn't worth the ludicrous amount of effort it would take to crack down on it. Just because a child isn't old enough to have sex does not mean that they shouldn't be old enough to experiment and learn for themselves - so long as there's not a predatory creepy old man involved. It's just part of growing up, and it should remain a part of growing up. Either way, if parents feel it necessary to sexually frustrate their kids until they're old enough to leave home and pay for their own internet, then that should be up to them as a parent, not the government or ISP companies.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas 2010

This year's Christmas was the same sort of standard affair as every other year. Go round and see various relatives, eat too much, drink too much, plenty of arguing and bickering and then all the old people fall asleep in front of the TV.

So, onto Xmas swag. I'm finding as I get older I get more and more mundane items like clothing, but I still got some cool stuff:

  •  A Samsung 24" 1080p monitor for my laptop, which is most definitely my main present. It's half for my laptop, and half for my future desktop once I get one. It's weird that for the first time I've got my most awesome present and I can't really use it for another two weeks or so. I have a desk at home, and there's nowhere I can really use it. Most of the time at home I have my laptop on the table in the kitchen and there's not really scope to use it there. Plus if I want to use a bigger screen I'll just use the HDTV in the living room. I tested it just to see that it worked and looked OK, but I'm probably not going to use it again until I get back to Cambridge :P
  • A Bialetti stove-top espresso maker. So now I won't have to put up with crappy instant coffee when I'm at university, or at home for that matter (my dad already has one but I don't really feel like I'm allowed to use it). I could have just got a percolation coffee maker thing, or one of those cartridge things, but I've used both before and I reckon you get better coffee out of a stove top, even if you're diluting it and adding milk to have a cup of coffee rather than espresso. Now all I need is a portable stove so I can use it at the IfM as well...
  • The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking, by Simon Singh, because his other books are good and this one sounded pretty cool. I've also gotten Stephen Fry's autobiography, which I didn't ask for, but which I'm looking forward to reading.
  • A new gel-comfort bike saddle, because the one I've currently got on my bike is ball-breakingly painful after an hour or so of riding (almost literally too) 

I've also got some chocolate and dosh, and in what has been a sort of unwritten tradition for the last eight or nine years, a Liverpool FC calendar. Oh yeah, and I got clothes (which are nice, and I'm seriously grateful for, but it's hard to really get enthusiastic about them).

I got knocked out of the Tetris champs yesterday, and in the pretty undignified form of a whitewash as well. To be fair I lost to someone who could quite possibly win the tournament overall, and I'm still coming back from a year of not playing, so I was never really going to stand much of a chance. Failure is just success rounded down.

Still, it would have been nice to have at least kept it from being 15-0. There were times when I almost scraped a few points, but ultimately Hebo was just too strong for me. I finished in the top 32 at least, so I can't be too disappointed with that. And if he wins I can claim 17th place. Mostly I'm just a bit irritated because I know that I'd worked a bit harder on my seeding I could have gotten a fair bit further into the tournament, given that the last 16 is a double elimination format, rather than single elimination.

Anyway, an hour or so after my match, my copy of Yotsuba&! Volume 9 arrived through the post, and all tetris woes were quickly forgotten. I don't think it's quite as funny as some of the past books, but it still cheered me up, and there were a couple of points that had me laughing out loud for a good thirty seconds or so, so definitely good stuff.

And onto one of the best parts of Christmas: the holiday deals! What with it still being bank holidays and stuff I've yet to visit proper shops and things (and probably won't because I hate shopping lol) but there's some cool shit online.

The first being that if you're in the UK you can get Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box FOR FREE if you click this link. I fucking love Burnout, and Burnout Paradise is awesome and the only thing that's really kept me from getting it so far is that I don't have a current-gen console and I tend not to buy games much for my laptop. But still, free is free, and when that free thing is also FUCKING AWESOME then good times are had by all.

The other thing of note so far is Steam's holiday sale. I don't quite understand how sales work when you've got digitally distributed content, and you don't actually have any physical stock to clear out, but I'm really not complaining. I just got Batman: Arkham Asylum for £3.75 - it's one of the best games of the last two or three years, and I've had pints of beer that are more expensive than that. Pretty much fucking everything on Steam is at least 25% off, and they have a huge catalogue of games. As usual, Valve are getting me to cough up money on games that I won't really find the time to play for another six months (I bought Mass Effect ages ago and still haven't played it), but fuck it, I'll buy them while they're cheap anyway. Plus it's Steam, so it's not like they're going to take up space on my hard-drives while I'm not playing them - I can just download them when I get around to playing them.

Anyway, going to try and get some solid work done for the next few days, so might not make any blog posts for a bit. Hope you guys all had a good Christmas Day and enjoy the rest of the holiday :D

Thursday, 23 December 2010

On Rafael Benitez

Today came the news confirming what had been rumoured for most of the week: that Benitez was to be sacked from his position at Inter Milan. And now, what with Hodgson's tenure at Liverpool being anything but secure, and the club now being under new administration, there's more frantic rumours and discussions over whether Rafa will find his way back to Liverpool.

Now I'm personally undecided on the topic. I'm honestly not sure whether I think it would be the best thing for the club to kick out Hodgson before he's really had a proper chance to get settled, and go through yet another transitional period with yet another manager. I will, however, defend Benitez's record, because it seems that some football fans have an absolutely fucking ludicrously short memory when it comes to managerial success. Any football fan claiming Benitez has no credentials whatsoever as a manager is a complete idiot, and here's why:

Firstly, lets look at results. Before coming to Liverpool he had his tenure at Valencia. They weren't a bad team when he arrived in 2001, far from it, given they'd finished runners-up in the Champions League both seasons prior to his arrival. Still, Benitez won their first league title in over thirty years, breaking the Barca-Real deadlock on La Liga. In 2004 he won the league title again and the UEFA Cup before resigning as manager over differences with the club's director of football. He inherited a decent squad, but I don't think it's at all possible to suggest that his time at Valencia was anything less than fairly successful.

So, to Liverpool. First off, I've compiled some statistics on league form for Liverpool, which was supposedly Benitez's main weakness during his time at the club.

SeasonPointsPositionFrom 1stManagerOther Honours
2000/01693rd11HoullierFA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup
2002/03645th19HoullierLeague Cup
2004/05585th37BenitezUEFA Champions League
2005/06823rd9BenitezFA Cup

At a glance, there's nothing particularly remarkable there, or at least there's no huge difference between the results under Benitez and those under Houllier, which is sort of my point. I see comments that Benitez "took a club fighting for the title and made them a mediocre mid-table 7th-place side". No he fucking didn't. Even last season, a season that was supposedly disastrous for us, we still finished closer to the leaders and with more points than we did the season before he took over. The fact that we came 7th was more a mark of improvement on the rest of the teams below the top four, rather than a particularly horrific season by Liverpool.

In the two seasons after the treble and then the close-run title fight with Arsenal, Houllier had us struggling to make the Champions League, and even when we were in it we were struggling to get to the latter stages. Benitez significantly improved upon that. His first season the league form was terrible, but we didn't have a great squad inherited from Houllier, and frankly it was a miracle that we made it to the Champions League final at all, let alone won it. The season after that saw a pretty impressive points haul in the league (though not enough to come close to Chelsea's whopping 91 points that season) and an FA Cup win. The season after that wasn't great for the league, but we got to the Champions League final again, and were arguably the better side that time around, even though we didn't win. The following season we had a respectable points haul, and then in 2008/09 we almost won the league.

It shows how ridiculously fickle fans are, and just how short-term their memories can be, that people could regard Benitez's time at Liverpool as something other than extremely successful. He didn't take a top club and throw them down into mid-table. He took a team struggling (and sometimes failing) to stay in the top four, was usually weak and uninspiring in Europe, and he turned them into a team that was challenging for the title and was a force to be reckoned with on the European stage. And then he has one shit season (but in terms of the last ten years, not that shit, and everyone forgets anything he did before that.

Not only did he improve results, he made Liverpool more exciting to watch as well. I have a great amount of respect for Houllier and what he did in his time at the club, but his style was boring and defensive. We would play defensive counter-attacking football, and generally would just try and hold onto 1-0 leads. Under Benitez there was fast-flowing, attacking football. We beat Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford, won 4-0 against Real Madrid at Anfield (and 5-0 on aggregate). There was also the Champions League quarter final against Chelsea, which we lost, but which finished 7-5 on aggregate, and the 4-4 second leg was one of the most epic games of football I've seen.

Even ignoring Istanbul, and the other honours Liverpool won under his reign, Benitez made a team which was enjoyable to watch and which, when firing on all cylinders, could produce some absolutely magnificent attacking football.

So onto his second major criticism, which would be transfers. This one is a bit harder to defend, not because it's an indefensible standpoint, but more that I don't have the figures and statistics so readily to hand.

First off, I'll say that yeah, Benitez definitely made some odd choices in the transfer market, or at least Liverpool did under his management. Frankly, I'm not so sure that every single player purchased by Liverpool during his reign was actually signed by Benitez, especially the likes of Robbie Keane, who was signed, rarely played under Rafa, and then was sold on at a loss less than six months later. I don't understand why Benitez signed Crouch, persisted in playing him back when he had an epic goal drought, and then dropped him from the team when he was actually started to show some form. I don't think his handling of Alonso was particularly brilliant either.

Benitez made a few dud signings. Morientes, Josemi, Nuñez, Voronin (though he was free, to be fair), Maxi and Aquilani. Lucas is showing some potential now, as is Ngog, and they're both still young players. Babel could be regarded as a shit signing, but I think there's an aspect of him just being not played in his natural position often enough.

However, for all his meh signings and occasions of poor man-management, there are plenty of gems in there. Reina, Torres and Alonso, just to name three completely world-class ones. And how about Mascherano, who wasn't even making the West Ham starting line-up when we signed him, and turned out to be an absolutely fantastic defensive midfielder (albeit a bit of a crazy one). There are plenty of other solid signings, such as Agger, Skrtel, Sissoko, Insua, Benayoun and Kuyt. It was his decision to move Carragher to centre-back alongside Hyypia.

Benitez also totally overhauled the youth setup in 2008, which is something that probably won't truly show results (if there are any) for a few years yet, but the trickle of decent talent coming through currently, and their youth cup wins might suggest that he's not done a bad job there either. He also put a fair bit into foreign youth players as well, such as Pacheco and Suso.

Sure, not all of his transfer dealings were strokes of genius, but at the very least most of the shit players we bought were either free or cheap, with the only notable exception being Aquilani, but Benitez isn't the only manager to have spent a lot of money on a player who is permanently injured.

Like I said at the start of this post, I'm not entirely sure if re-hiring him at Liverpool would be the greatest decision ever, but I certainly don't think it would be an awful one, because Benitez is not a bad manager. He's not a terrible manager just because he had a bad final season at Liverpool and didn't have a great start trying to impose his attacking style of football onto Mourinho's famed ultra-defensive Inter Milan team. Really, the main issue he has seems to be working under people, especially if he can't get his way with transfer funds, because he's managed to fall out with the club owners at Valencia, Liverpool and now backfiring quite spectacularly at Inter Milan

There are those Kopites who apparently only joined us in 2008/2009 when we were top of the table, and who can only remember Benitez's rant at Ferguson and the subsequent loss of the title race and then the dire performance last season. And then there are perhaps those who have been going to games for a bit longer than that, who have slightly longer memories, and who can recognise what Rafa did for the club and that maybe at the very least we'd have been better off not sacking him and replacing him with Hodgson in the first place.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Fansubbing Update Shizzle - 22/12/2010

Not done one of these in a while, but then I have been busy with university work, and nothing seems to actually get done while I'm busy. Stuff piles up until I have the piece of mind available to yell at people to do things, knowing that when it gets to me I'll have the time free to get it done, and not be a hypocrite for yelling at people for stalling and then stalling myself. Or at least, that's the idea. It seems usually that everything unclogs and gets done while I'm free, and then gets to me just as my period of free time runs out and I'm snowed under with work again.

Anyway, what I know on projects that I'm working on:

Kimi ni Todoke - Episode 18 should hopefully be out in the next few days, though I can't really see us getting through the rest of Season 1 before Season 2 starts airing in January. It's still a bit TBC, but I'm pretty sure we're going to carry on and do Season 2 as well. At the very least, I want to just because I think it's an absolutely awesome show and I enjoy working on it.

K-On!! - The live DVD is still going to be a while, but the Ura-On!! DVD specials shouldn't take that long once we've got the raws. Though that's pretty much granted given they're only a few minutes long.

Musashi - I spent five hours this afternoon in AFX working on this, and pending it getting through the QC check the typesetting is done and we'll finally have it released in the next week or so, hopefully before Christmas. It's been an absolute bitch but it really does look like we're almost done, and it's only taken us ten months! :P

Daa! Daa! Daa! -  Episode 65 should be released pretty soon, though I'm not sure the pace is going to get that much quicker after that. Maybe things can get moving if people are poked a little bit more, but I'm not sure.

Rainbow - Episode 23 was stalled because our translator disappeared without translating the signs, though they're translated now and just waiting to be done. 24-26 might emerge soon, but are entirely dependent on our translator reappearing, so I wouldn't bet on them being out particularly quickly.

Mahoutsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto – Natsu no Sora - We released two episodes of this last week! The final two episodes are actually not that far away from being done. They're still most likely not going to be out for a while due to the general speed of the project, but it is at least seeing progress again. 

All the stuff I'm working on for Saizen is still stalled (Slam Dunk and Igano Kabamaru), and I wouldn't bother putting any sort of rough date to when new episodes come out for them, just because they'll come out whenever people bother to un-stall things. I'm also working on Broken Blade for Monokage, but that's waiting for the next episode to come out on Blu-Ray, which I think is still another month or two away.

For new Frostii projects, we've almost finished subbing the first Koe de Oshigoto episode (yeah, seriously, we're actually going to release it), which is a joint with Saizen. We were looking at doing Beelzebub next season, but it's going to be done by Crunchyroll, so we'll probably not bother given it's almost certainly going to be longer than fifty episodes. We're still sort of lacking translators but we can do joints with Saizen (most of the staff are in both groups anyway), so are open to suggestions for what we should do. Same goes for any old series that aren't really subbed properly (or preferably at all), and Sylf might translate them if he likes the look of the series.

Monday, 20 December 2010

On Eyes, Teeth & Cave Shmups

I trudged through snow and went to the dentist today, having spent most of the afternoon clearing my grandparents' drive of snow. I'd sort of anticipated it would be knackering, but not quite as tiring as it turned out. Plus when you wrap up as warm as possible because it's -10°C outside it then means you get absolutely baking hot once you start doing strenuous physical exercise. DCBC members may be pleased to note that the paedo-hat (a felted Thinsulate baseball cap with warm ear flaps) made an appearance today, though the paedo-jacket (a crappy waterproof jacket that's about five sizes too big for me) didn't on account of it just being cold rather than cold and wet.

The paedophile hat and jacket, modelled not-so-beautifully by myself
I checked out fine at the dentist, as I pretty much always have done, and hopefully will continue to. While waiting to go in I was reading some of the leaflets they had inside the waiting room, which basically described what various procedures entailed (root canal replacement, fillings, teeth restoration) in fairly graphic detail and with pictures to boot. Most of them sounded pretty damn horrific and to be honest it probably wasn't the best choice of material right before my appointment, because I scared the shit out of myself somewhat. I should have just gone for the Where's Wally? book instead.

I also went to the opticians last weekend and have got myself new glasses to replace the ones I broke a couple of weeks ago. I'd forgotten how damn expensive they can actually be if you don't want ones that look like complete ass. Because I went to Specsavers I got free extra shit with the glasses I bought, though it's one of those things where the "free" stuff is clearly worked into the massively inflated price you pay to begin with. I had the choice between a second pair of glasses that I would never need to use, an anti-glare tint that supposedly makes driving at night easier, except I rarely drive at night, and reactalight lenses, which is what I went for. Basically it means that when I make the transition from a light area (eg. a garden in the sun, full of snow) to a dark area (eg. a shed) my glasses render me totally blind for several seconds. Still, they're fairly cool.

One thing I've never really understood is why you're meant to go to the dentist every six months, and yet people only get eye tests every other year or so, probably longer if they don't wear glasses. Apparently I have a small scar on the surface of my eye (caused by me being a retard with contact lenses a couple of weeks ago) and I'm not allowed to wear contacts for a week or so in case I get it infected and all hell breaks loose on the surface of my eye. Which I'm pretty damn keen to not let happen.

When you've got teeth troubles the standard procedure to fix your teeth is to use a high-speed drill to take out more of your tooth, and to then shove a hunk of metal in the gap. That's pretty hardcore shit as far as parts of your bodies go. Plus, if shit goes wrong with my teeth, I can most likely live with it. I'm sure false teeth are a pain, but ultimately if you have false teeth you can still eat stuff. Hell, if worst comes to the worst, I've got a blender. Plus teeth are fucking robust.  I'd rather not go through the pain of having teeth problems (wisdom teeth coming through is painful enough), but the fact is that I could probably continue living normally if I had issues with them.

My eyes, on the other hand, are a different story. If shit's going wrong with my eyes, I'd like to know about it before it gets serious. If my teeth hurt, I'll go to the dentist, and presumably get a filling or something and life moves on. If my eyes hurt, then I'm pretty sure that shit is already going down. I'd probably rank my sight as being pretty fucking high up the list of "senses I'd rather not lose", and I really don't get why people aren't encouraged to get their eyes tested more often. At least more often than for teeth. Plus you can diagnose other shit through your eyes. My grandfather was diagnosed with high blood pressure after an eye test (not long before he died from a heart attack), and you can diagnose diabetes too. And as medical tests go, eye tests are pretty damn fun. Except for the one where they let you sit in the dark and stare at a blinking LED for a bit before they flash a ridiculously bright light in your eye to photograph your retina. That one isn't so cool.

In other news today, Ketsui, ESPGaluda and DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou were included on MAME! By which I mean, they were actually released a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't paying enough attention to anything to notice!

But still, I've been waiting for Ketsui and DDP DOJ for like two or three years now, and it's totally awesome that they're finally out. I'm a huge fan of Cave, and their shmups are my favourite shmups (I quite like Touhou games too, but each run takes like twenty minutes, if not longer, and most of the devout fans of the series seem to be complete weeaboos). I'm not quite so much of a fan as I used to be before HarmoNicks continually thrashed all my high scores and took most of the motivation out of me, but I still love them and they're my favourite arcade games by a large margin after the Tetris Grand Master series. DoDonPachi is my favourite shmup game, and with the exception of a few I'm not a huge fan of, I love pretty much all the Cave catalogue that I've managed to play so far (Toaplan's are decent too).

I even have the t-shirt:
T-shirts courtesy of the awesome Matt "Lordstar" Lord
I've not really had much opportunity to play them yet on account of having been out all day and practising for my Tetris Open match this evening, but I've given them a bit of a try. Ketsui is about what I expected from Ketsui Black Label on the DS, but DOJ is an absolutely different beast entirely. I know it's regarded as the most difficult game by Cave, but holy fuck is it difficult. It took me like five or six runs before I even managed to get past the first boss, and I've yet to get anywhere near the third level (I'm not using continues, obviously). I'm not that good at shmups and I've yet to get to a second run or 1CC anything more than a few Touhou Easy/Normal modes. But man, it's way beyond any difficulty I've seen for the standard game mode on a modern shmup.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

So... Much... Snow...

I went climbing at Awesome Walls in Liverpool with my uncle last night. As I left the house it was snowing a fair bit, and I walked to the train station in about half an inch of snow. When I got to Sandhills, there was nothing on the ground. We went climbing for about four hours (I could ramble on here about how fucking brilliant Awesome Walls is compared to any other indoor climbing centre I've ever been to, but that's somewhat off-topic).

So we get outside into the car park, and find the cars in the car park are buried under a good three or four inches of snow, which was a bit surprising. It's sort of weird to go outdoors, having not seen anything outside for several hours, and find things are completely not how they were when you last saw them.

My uncle gave me a lift home from Liverpool, which I have to say is possibly the most terrifying experience I've ever had in a car. We were driving through fairly thick snow and ice, with very little grip, and he was going pretty damn fast (for the conditions) and just cutting through all the traffic. When we got a bit closer to Ormskirk there was a ton of traffic backed up on Northway as cars had presumably failed to get up Holborn hill, or had accidents on the roundabouts or something. So we took an off-road route through Aughton instead.

This then meant we got stuck outside Town Green, behind a few cars that couldn't get up the tiny hill leading to Prescot Road. To be fair, the snow was epicly thick by now, probably about five or six inches, and it was packed to ice underneath on the road. We spent about twenty minutes getting this woman in a Vauxhall Corsa moving. Her front wheels were just spinning like crazy whenever she used the accelerator. Once we'd cleared the road and got moving again, and after an epic sideways moment crossing the railway bridge on Prescot Road, I finally got home.

I don't live in the countryside; I live in suburbs between Liverpool, Preston and Manchester. I'd expect this sort of epic level of snowfall maybe in the Cambridgeshire Fens, but not here. I'm pretty sure that I've never seen this amount of snow (around 8-10 inches) in my entire life, let alone falling in the space of maybe six hours at most. It's crazy. I'm not surprised the game at Anfield today has been called off

So, rather than just rambling OMG THE SNOW, and adding to the plethora of hype on Facebook, Twitter and the like, some pictures (click for full-res):

That pedestal thing with a snow-cake on it is our bird-bath.
It turns out it's actually pretty useful for gauging snowfall.

Definitely glad that I don't have anywhere to be for the next few days :P

That is eleven inches. Measured at various points around the garden, and it seems to all be between nine and eleven inches, except for bits where it's drifted up against the house and stuff.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

What The Fuck For The Week - 16/12/10

Let's roll.

German Man Castrates Daughter's Boyfriend

First off, the story of a man cutting off a guy's balls for going out with his daughter. In the father's defence, the man in question was 57 and going out with his 17 year old daughter, but I still reckon it might be a something of an overreaction.

I'd probably be pretty damn fucking pissed off, were I in that guy's shoes, but I'm not sure taking a knife to another man's genitals would be my preferred course of action. I find it a bit weird that this guy is being charged with attempted murder too. If I was trying to kill a guy, I would be aiming a bit higher than his scrotum. Hell, I didn't even know it was fucking possibly to die from being chopped up down there. I could imagine it being painful as fuck and almost certainly one of the worst experiences it's possible to have, but it's not something I would expect to be potentially lethal.

I think the lesson to learn from all this is that you probably shouldn't date 17 year olds when you're older than their father. Especially if their father is a crazy Russian psycho.

Man Writes "FUCK OFF" On The Side Of Harrods

I have to say, if you ever get fired from your job and feel pissed off with your former employee, I don't think there's a better way to get revenge than doing this:

The story, courtesy of Gemma Raven, is that a man fired from his job as the store Father Christmas barricaded himself into the lights control room and wrote the message. Apparently he was massively drunk at the time, and as drunken ideas go, I think this is definitely one of the best ones. I'm impressed that he managed to figure out how even to do it, because there's thousands of lights on the outside of that store.

My personal favourite part of the article is the quote they have at the bottom:

“Honestly, I am disgusted, ” said Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmas time.”

Firstly for the way she phrases the whole incident, but above all for the way she quantifies what she says and implies that "fuck off" is a perfectly appropriate message for children, so long as it isn't Christmas.


This one is courtesy of muf, courtesy of Needle. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Toylets.

Now the website confused the shit out of me, aside from the bemusing things I could figure out from the pictures. Thankfully, Kotaku has a decent grasp on things.

Apparently it's game hardware designed to solve the common problem of young boys and slightly-drunk men and struggling with their aim while urinating. Except this being Japan, they can do better than just the standard act of putting a sticker or something on the inside of the toilet to give people something to aim for. Instead they've gone with the interactive video game approach.

What really got me is that this isn't just some crazy Japanese indie game company who is producing this stuff - it's Sega. It's the company that produced Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Mega Drive. It's the company that dominated my childhood for several years, and they're making interactive pee games. And what I really fucking loved about it is at the bottom of this page, where as far as I can tell this thing gives you the option to use a save file if you have a USB memory stick.

As ridiculous and unnecessarily high-tech this idea seems, to be honest I actually really want a go, just for shits and giggles. It looks fucking awesome.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Chrome For A Cause

As a company which has recently had issues with breaches of privacy, as well as issues over the stance on how the internet should work, as well as various YouTube issues and of course the fact that are in a prime position to completely take over our lives, Google probably have a fair bit to prove that their company is as honest and free of evil as it says it is.

Chrome for a Cause will go a fair way to doing that. Google are pledging to donate vaccinations, clean water supplies, books, etc for charity for every so many tabs that Chrome users open over the next few days, providing they're using the plug-in.

I don't really use Chrome that much, aside for try to reduce lag on Tetris Friends, but it is a nice browser. If it wasn't for the fact that I have Firefox set up how I want it, and I find it's awesomebar history search stuff generally works better for me than the one on Chrome, then I'd probably consider Chrome as a more permanent option.

I think it'd be nice if they offered this extension to Firefox and other web browsers, because I have to say that it's a pretty shameless push for people to download and try Chrome, thinly veiled under the guise of being a generous, charitable act, but I guess the bottom line is that if they give a ton of stuff to charity then the ulterior motive maybe isn't so important.

I'm unsure how I really feel about this sort of thing being successful. If giving stuff to charity turns out to be a good way to get people to try/buy/use your product, then we could see it a lot more often. Which on one hand would be so horribly uncharitable in itself, but on the other hand would result in large sums of money going to charity which wouldn't otherwise.

I'd definitely recommend people download Chrome and make the switch for the few days, because free stuff for needy people is free stuff for needy people, and it's really pretty negligible effort on our part.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Back home for the next five weeks or so. Back where I can relax, and where I don't have to go outside because all my shopping and cleaning and general stuff is done for me. It's dangerous to get into the lifestyle of doing fuck-all on a daily basis, because it's not like I don't have any work to do over the vacation, but I think I'll try it out for a few days at least and then get cracking on work. That said, I've not even bothered to unpack yet except for stuff that I've actually directly needed in the last 24 hours (toothbrush etc), so I should probably start with that.

The problem with not doing work is that it's FUCKING AWESOME and the whole "meh I'll do it tomorrow" point of view is so fucking easy. I don't even bother with putting shit off until tomorrow. I just put shit off until later the same day, and then keep doing that until it becomes 9pm and I figure it's too late to bother doing anything any more.

While Christmas is fairly crap holiday in itself, now that I'm not an easily excited 12 year old, I'm still looking forward to it a fair bit. Just the nostalgia of the decorations, and being at home with people. Having the whole family round, people having too much to drink and then the evening descending into a ton of bickering and shouting... there's some strange appeal to it. Plus I get to sit around and eat far too much, and that's always a good thing.

I've got my 2nd round Tetris match this evening, again at 1am, and from chatting with my opponent it seems like I might actually get to play this time, rather than having an automatic bye. It should still be a fairly easy game judging from the seedings, but after watching some of the games yesterday I'm definitely not taking it for granted. There are definitely some awesome-yet-poorly-seeded players out there. There are also quite a few who I reckon will be pretty formidable if they keep playing and hone their skills a little bit. The later rounds are definitely going to be interesting.

I've almost finished a Tetris VS guide I started over a year ago, and then got bored with and never finished, but have recently made work on again. I'll probably release it on here and then cross-link to it on HD and TC, we'll see. Depends how much effort I want to put into adding diagrams and fumen stuff, because it's far easier to format shit on here than it is in a forum post.

It's also almost a year now since I switched over from LJ and started this proper blog, and I may commemorate it in some way, but currently I can't think of one I can do particularly well so I might not bother. Anniversaries are fairly arbitrary anyway.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

WTF For The Week - 08/12/10

Not done one of these in a while (exactly two months, actually) but I've been too busy with work and stuff to actually be on the internet enough to actually find stuff.

First off with a mild WTF that is also one of the most hilarious fails I've seen in a while.

Broadfield pub petrol bomber runs into lamppost

There's a better quality video and a bit of other blurb on the BBC article but I can't actually embed that stuff.

I've obviously never actually petrol bombed somewhere, but I can't imagine it's that hard. You break the window, through the Molotov cocktail through it, and then you run away. None of these steps seem particularly difficult, yet they manage to fail quite spectacularly on all three counts. It's always nice when you get stories of criminals being caught for their crimes due to their own horrible ineptitude. There's something of a sweet justice to it.

NYU Professor Gets Camera Implanted In Head For Art

I think this is definitely the strangest article I've seen in a while. In a bizarre demonstration for the lack of privacy in the modern world due to CCTV et al, he's implanted a "third eye" camera into the back of his head and it'll broadcast live to a museum installation.

What's also pretty funny is that it breaks student privacy laws on campus, so he has to put a lens-cap over it while he's at the university. Given he's an acting professor, I'm pretty sure that this is going to end up being most of the time, which seems like it'll ironically make the whole thing somewhat futile.

Star Rugby Player Quits Team After Sex With Dog

This isn't from this week, and I actually saw it like a month ago, but this article is so ridiculous I thought I'd put it in anyway.

I don't really have much to add other than a massive "WHAT THE FUCK", except for maybe the fact that it wasn't his dog, but a team-mate's. If there are any social conventions for indulging in sexual acts with dogs aside from 'DONT FUCKING DO IT' then I'm pretty sure getting with one of your team-mate's canines is a no-no.

There's a picture up on the internet which, go figure, I'm not going to stick on this blog, but if your morbid curiosity gets the better of you then Google is your friend.

A final thing that isn't a wtf, but just that this photo is really fucking cool:

Clicking should take you to the original sized photo. That's a pretty impressive amount of snow.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fuck My Life Is Average

This is something of a Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off, except that these are all fairly temporary things that are pissing me off right now, rather than stuff that just annoys me in general.

My Room Light

My room in college only has a single fluorescent light in the ceiling, and it's currently broken. Not only is it currently broken, but it has been for over a fucking week, and despite me filing a maintenance report within five minutes of it dying on me, it's still not been fixed.

College does fucking weird things to us. If a light breaks at home, I'd just replace the bulb (actually, that's a lie - I wait for my dad to replace the bulb, but if he wasn't around I'd totally do it myself). Here however I just file a maintenance report and then bemoan when it takes the maintenance people OVER A FUCKING WEEK TO CHANGE A LIGHT. I probably couldn't even do it myself either, because the ceiling is a pretty high ceiling, and it's not a standard fluorescent bulb that I can just buy at a convenience store. It's also got a weird cover over it and I'm not sure how it comes off.

What also pisses me off is that it's fluorescent, and therefore doesn't just not turn on when I flip the switch. It turns on after about five seconds, stays on for half a second, goes off again, and then repeats this. Every time I walk into my room I flip the switch, and then get met with epilepsy-inducing flickering until I turn it back off. Currently I'm having to light my entire room from a shitty 60W desk lamp in the corner. Fucking pain in the arse.


Because it's still bloody cold. It's apparently minus two Celsius right now, and I'm writing this post at 1pm. What the fuck.

I Broke My Glasses

Yesterday as I bent down to tie my laces, my glasses fell off my face. I picked them up and bent the frames slightly to tighten them a little, as I do fairly frequently, and in doing so snapped one of the arms off. Meaning I now have the option of wearing the glasses which I have poorly attempted to fix with sellotape (and which still fall off my face), being moderately blind, or wearing the contact lenses I have. I've gone with the contact lenses option, which is fine aside from the fact that I hardly ever wear them, and when I do it'll just be for going out in the evening or something, and as a result my eyes are objecting pretty fucking strongly to having them in for 16 hours straight.
I guess there's a positive in that I've already got a trip to the opticians scheduled for 24th December (because my mother is crazy and has no issue with booking appointments for me on Christmas Eve), so I can at least cough up an extortionate amount of money and get some new frames in a couple of weeks, but it's going to be a fair pain in the ass until then.

My CUED Password

I got an email from the Engineering Dept yesterday evening informing me that my password for the computing system is going to expire in four weeks. What really makes it a pain is the paragraph that followed that:

If you have not changed the password in 4 weeks your Central Engineering Department Computing account will be suspended, and you will need to go to the Engineering Department Computer Operators in person with photographic identification to set a new password before you can access the system again.

See, I'm not planning on going to the Engineering department in the next four weeks. For just over three of those weeks I won't even be in Cambridge given it's outside of term. So I'll have to toddle off to the department at some point this week just to change my password so that I'm not locked out of the computing system when I get back after Christmas. I could ssh in and change it, but I've tried it before and it's a complete faff to install all the stuff and get it working, and I never use ssh for anything.

It's fucking stupid I even need to change my password in the first place. I don't think I even have access to anything remotely worth keeping secure. And even if I did, having to change passwords on a 12-month cycle is fucking stupid anyway. How the hell does that do anything to increase the security of the system? If I'm changing my password every few weeks, then sure, it means I'm not likely to use main passwords that can be stolen from other things, and even if they are stolen they won't be valid for long, but how exactly does an annual password change work with that? If someone's stolen my password then they'll most likely have had several months to do whatever with it, and changing it now isn't likely to help that much.

I don't even fucking use the CUED computers that much anyway any more, because I spend more time at the IfM or working in my room. I'm apparently going to be at the IfM for all of next term, so I'm not even sure if it's worth changing my password because I don't know if I'm ever going to use the system again. I just know that if I do need to use the system again and can't because I don't have a password, then I'll be massively pissed off at the huge amount of faff I'll have to go through just to do whatever most-likely-trivial thing I need the computers for.

TC and c_t

Don't even really have much to say here. Just wtf and why is it that TC admins seem to get infected with a disease that over time makes them prone to random outbursts of being FUCKING RETARDED AND CRAZY followed by ragequitting.

Fansubbing Stalls

Mostly stalling on Rainbow, because other projects are old/slow and there's not so much leecher bitching that we're not getting the releases out quickly. I'd put it entirely down to the leecher bitching that I'm pissed off, but the stalling itself does genuinely annoy me regardless of whether leechers complain about it or not. I've found time and motivation to get my shit done, and it'd be nice if other people on the project did the same, life issues aside. I feel it reflects badly on me when stuff gets released epicly slowly, and it does irritate me.

People asking when the next episode is going to be released are OK, but people just complaining that the next episode is taking too long can fuck off.You guys don't know any circumstances to why things might be slow, and you all seem to act like we have the episode completely ready and then we just sit around, deliberately not releasing it so that we can piss people off. We are, for the most part, working as fast as we can within the confines of not being paid for any of this and having a job/education outside of fansubs.

If you want proper right to moan at people for being slow, then stop being a leecher, join a group and fucking do some shit yourself. It's not like there aren't decent groups recruiting new staff. AFK isn't that hard to learn, and any monkey can time if they are prepared to take two minutes to learn how to do it. QC isn't that hard either providing you can proofread fairly well or are prepared to put a fair bit of time into it.

And Rainbow is a fucking shite series anyway. You guys are lucky we've not dropped it just for being an excessively melodramatic and formulaic pile of crap.

Monday, 6 December 2010


Finally term is over, and I actually have free time to get some stuff done! Or apparently not. Because sure, I don't have lectures now or course work (that's a lie - I've totally got a huge project to hand in when we get back in January), but I do have Malcolm in the Middle to watch, and a Civ IV game running with Nick. Both of which are far more compelling and take up far more time than lectures and examples sheets ever could.

Really I've not got that much stuff to get done anyway. I need to write up a constitution for the mahjong soc to get it registered, and I've got a fair bit of fansubbing things to get through (which I'm making not-terrible headway on to be fair), and then I need to organise the various messy piles of lecture notes scattered around me room into a folder, and then I am pretty much done with chores to do.

The whole massacre-asking-Audia-out-fail quote got on the front page of Reddit again, which is minor lol, and I like how it's my line that always gets used for the title. It annoys me a little that the short version is what Daz stuck up on qdb.us (where it is currently the best rated quote) because I think the long version is also fairly amusing:

<massacre> Rosti, can I ask you something as a close friend?
<Rosti_LFC> you could ask me something as a complete stranger, but go ahead
<massacre> Do you reckon Emma would go out with me if I asked her?
<Rosti_LFC> errr....
<Rosti_LFC> ask her yourself?
<massacre> no fucking way until I get a second opinion
<Daz> dude she's in the channel
<massacre> no she isn't
<Rosti_LFC> yeah she is mate, look up
<Rosti_LFC> she got op'd yesterday
<massacre> fuck
<massacre> PLAN B
<massacre> spam the channel
<massacre> with text
<massacre> so it goes
<Audia> hi
<massacre> off her scrollback
<Rosti_LFC> ahaha
<massacre> FUCK
* massacre has quit (PLAN C!!!)
<Audia> I'm going to go install Windows 7 right now
<Audia> so I'll be offline for a bit
<Audia> if he gets the balls to come back in here in the meantime tell him the answer is yes
<Rosti_LFC> rofl
* Audia has quit (QUIT)
<Rosti_LFC> that was some hardcore nerd courtship ritual right there
<Daz> Oh man, I wish I could fuck up asking a girl out that badly and still succeed
<HarmoNicks> that was pretty epicly lol
<Daz> right guys
<Daz> my brothers
<Daz> I want you to make a pact with me
<Daz> That none of you says anything if he comes back before she does
<Daz> Because I'd feel bad if I left such an opportunity to fuck with him pass
<HarmoNicks> I see where this is goign
<HarmoNicks> *going
<Daz> >;)
<HarmoNicks> you going to pose as her?
* Daz awards 10 points to HarmoNicks
* Daz is now known as Audia
<Rosti_LFC> dude, he'll know from the hostmask
<Rosti_LFC> it'll be like the first thing he checks
<Daz> ah, true
<HarmoNicks> plus if emms gets back and sees you posing as her she'll tear you a new one
* Audia is now known as Daz
<Daz> well you guys still stfu
<Daz> I can stil do stuff with this

... 10 minutes later ...

<Rosti_LFC> wb massacre
<massacre> ;________________________;
<HarmoNicks> I was expecting you'd be gone for longer
<massacre> I got bored smashing my head against the wall
<massacre> I feel so fucking stupid
<massacre> what did she say when I left?
<Daz> <Audia> I'm going to go install Windows 7 right now
<Daz> <Audia> so I'll be offline for a bit
<Daz> <Audia> actually, I'm so fucking embarrassed I'll probably stay away for a while
<massacre> :(((
<Daz> <Audia> if he gets the balls to come back in here in the meantime tell him I don't think I can even face him again
<HarmoNicks> :((( indeed
<Rosti_LFC> woah, harsh
<massacre> waahhhh fuck
<massacre> last time I ever fucking ask you anything Rosti_LFC
<Rosti_LFC> yeah, my bad
<Rosti_LFC> totally should have told you to fuck off and that you couldn't ask me anything
<Daz> don't feel too bad mate
<Daz> I'm just fucking wit ya
<massacre> wat?
<Daz> <Audia> I'm going to go install Windows 7 right now
<Daz> <Audia> so I'll be offline for a bit
<Daz> <Audia> if he gets the balls to come back in here in the meantime tell him the answer is yes
<massacre> oh FUCK YOU
<massacre> CHRIST
<Daz> ahahaha
<Daz> you love me really mate :)
<massacre> D:<
<massacre> I don't
<massacre> but to be honest it has just sunk in and I don't care :)
<HarmoNicks> GOOD END
<massacre> girlfriend GET! :D
<HarmoNicks> bets on how long before this gets put on bash?
<Daz> ahaha, way ahead of you
<Daz> like 15 minutes ahead
<massacre> christ I hate you
<massacre> I'm filled with so much joy and rage simultaneously I don't now what to do
<massacre> It's hard to scowl and grin at the same time
<massacre> still, who cares
* massacre has a girlfriend :D

For the record, they had their year anniversary a couple of months ago. No fucking clue how it's lasted that long.

Another awesome thing I saw on the internet yesterday, courtesy of Nick Owen, was a fan-made trailer for the Green Lantern. I'd already seen the official one, but this one was pretty awesome:

None of the stuff he's done in AFX is particularly impressive, but I think he's done a pretty awesome job with the clips he's thrown together and it must have taken a fair bit of work to collect them all and collate them together. I also absolutely the concept of Nathan Fillion playing the lead, just because Nathan Fillion is FUCKING AWESOME and Castle and Firefly are two of the best TV series ever.

And while we're on the topic of people who are FUCKING AWESOME, a video from James Rolfe (aka AVGN) that I first saw years ago, but watched again with Nick last night, showing just how epic Jackie Chan is

As a final thing, my first Tetris tournament match was last night, and was reasonably anti-climactic because my opponent didn't show up, so I got a bye. His stats didn't look that amazing so I was hoping to whitewash him anyway, but it would have been nice to have at least played a competitive game. My second round game should also be pretty easy, and I've played against HR_larry, who is my third round opponent, and he's a decent player, but I'm fairly confident I can win that match. Still working out how the fuck I'm going to not get destroyed against Hebo Mai though.

So, looking forward to Christmas and New Years, and it's hopefully going to be a fun few weeks. Most of the Frostii projects should also un-stall now that I'm free, because I can confidently shout at people to get shit done, knowing that when it gets to me I won't be busy and end up stalling it and being a massive hypocrite.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Holy Shit What Is This Cold

What with me being from the North 'n stuff, there seems to be a general consensus that I should be used to the cold, because the North is a cold, dreary place and we've all evolved over time to eat plenty of fried stuff so that we've got blubber to get us through the harsh winter nights.

To a mild extent this could be true. I would postulate, however, that the North West, where I live, is actually not that cold. Not compared to Cambridge at least. Sure, we can average out at over 290 days of precipitation a year (ie. it's fucking wet) but generally that means that there's lots of clouds which stops it getting stupidly cold. We also don't have this ridiculous arctic wind that swirls around Cambridge freezing your condensing breath to your own face.

When I'm outside I do generally seem to have more tolerance to the cold than others, and I can apparently get by with fewer layers, but I put this down more to my ability to harden the fuck up than anything else. But I am a scrawny, skinny little shit, despite my diet of chocolate and fried stuff (occasionally combining the two because deep-fried Mars bars are EPIC), and I do sort of have limits.

The Cam freezing over is one of those limits. It's been a bit chilly the last couple of weeks, but things properly cranked up a few days ago. It was fucking cold this weekend, as I found out spending five hours sat in a boat on the Cam on Saturday, and it's still fucking cold. I woke up this morning to open my curtains and find snow everywhere. Standing somewhat against popular opinion, I really don't like snow. There are acceptable places for snow, like on mountains and in small plastic globes, but pavements and roads that I have to walk and cycle on aren't fucking one of them. Snow is even number 33 on my list of things that piss me the fuck off.

I appreciate that other people might have it colder. I appreciate that actually this weekend Cambridge is far south enough to have mild temperatures compared to Wales and Yorkshire (people in Canada who can boast below -30°C on a regular basis don't count - you guys should just sodding live somewhere else). However, you guys aren't students in Cambridge and therefore you're not expected to just function as normal despite there being snow and ice everywhere. The joy of snow is massively reduced when school isn't cancelled, and you're still expected to attend lectures and cycle 2.5 miles to get to your supervisions.

Really I'm just hoping that we're using up snow quota for the year. It's only November for christ's sake, it shouldn't be this bad. If it means we get a milder February (because yes, weather totally works like that) then cool, but if this is just the sign of things to come then FML I'm getting some studded bike tyres.

In non-bitch-snow-related stuff, the Tetris Open Championship thing draw is up, and I've been seeded 29th. The way things are looking I've got a decent shot of getting into the final 32 (assuming I can beat HD_larry, which might be tough), but I doubt I'm going to be able to get into the top 16, because it'd require me beating 4th seed, Hebo_Mai, and she (?) is pretty fucking epicly fast. I would get slaughtered playing against her even when I was playing regularly, let alone coming back from a 12-month hiatus. First match is Sunday 5pm PST, which works out around 1am on Monday morning here. Given lectures will have finished and I'll hopefully have no reason to be up early on Sunday or Monday, I should still be awake and not too tired by the time the match rolls around.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Tetris... We Meet Again

As a fair few people probably know, I'm pretty shit-hot at Tetris. And not in your standard "oh I can set the rocket off on the GameBoy" pretender Tetris prodigy style. I mean some proper fucking skill. Those douchebags who claim Tetris excellence can't maintain speeds of three pieces per second (linked video doesn't show that, but meh, I can do it I swear).

That was all well and good for fucking up my childhood when I could have been out getting good at sports and talking to girls, but I got bored of it. [As an aside, to set the record straight, I didn't actually pour that many hours a week into it, maybe three or four at most - I just played it regularly for several years and had some natural talent.]
Anyway, I got bored with TGM. Or at least, it wasn't as magical as it used to be, and breaking records just seemed like a horrific slog for very little reward, and the fact it was taking me months to break records and demonstrate real improvement just ceased to pique my interest any more. So, about 8 months ago, I announced my retirement from the world of hardcore Tetris. I've still kept playing TGM off an on, but I no longer really care for my own records and beating them. I'd like to get Death Gm (and I came SO FUCKING CLOSE to it yesterday D:) and all that shit, but I can't really see it happening any time soon without aeons of pain and frustration, and so I've stopped giving a shit.

That was until the sponsored Hard Drop tournament caught my attention. It's still got a week to run on the entry, and it's already past 200 entrants, with some pretty big names in there. What I've really come to realise is that I wasn't bored with Tetris, I was bored with TGM. The thing was, at the time there wasn't really a stable multiplayer scene that really offered a decent alternative. I was running a league that had marginal success, and there were a handful of players on Blockbox, but there wasn't a really strong, coherent multiplayer scene to offer a proper option outside of the arcade scene.

I think the main issue was there was a lack of a decent official Tetris game for the PC. The fanmade ones aren't mainstream, and they probably never will be, and as a result they won't really get the same buzz as the other games do. I don't really want to be one of the best at something that only a handful of people really play, because I don't really see the worth in devoting my time to that. Back 6-12 months ago, Tetris Friends was a pile of shit. It's still for the most part a pile of shit, but it's dragged itself up enough to at least offer proper potential for competitive play. It's laggy, combos are stupidly overpowered (apparently that's being fixed soon), and it uses SRS which I'm so not used to with a keyboard, but it'll do.

So what is this post? This is me announcing that I am no longer retired, and I am going to return for this tournament and kick some fucking ass. Well, probably not too much ass, because I'm still rusty as fuck on account of having not really seriously played multiplayer Tetris in over a year. But still, from the games I've played in the last few days I reckon I can put in a decent show and maybe get top 32 or top 16 if I'm lucky. I'm going to get myself back into the top tier of players, and I'm going to reclaim my title of fastest UK player from no-name douchebags like Paul676 (just kidding dude, nothing personal ;P). Actually, I probably won't bother with the fastest player title because 40 lines is frustrating, painful on the wrists, and ultimately it is boring as fuck. So keep your shitty 40 lines title :|

And aside from that? I don't really know. I'll probably still keep playing TGM, but I'm pretty sure that I'm defecting and placing my main focus on multiplayer. TGM4 isn't going to get released; the series is pretty much dead, and I'm not really motivated to put any more time into it. The VS scene on the other hand could really grow over the next couple of years, and it feels far more worthwhile. Plus multiplayer matches are ultimately fun for me, and TGM has sort of lost everything other than that offline time-killing aspect.

I might switch back from time to time. Mostly because I get shit to inspire me, like the latest KAN video (which is actually like two years old, and just unseen footage until now)

That video is some amazing shit. Not really in a way that a non-Tetris player can appreciate fully, but really, I watched that and was amazed. Not only is he fucking quick, but his placement style is so impressive and efficient. And then of course there's KAN's typical ability to be able to see the pieces in the credit roll despite them being completely invisible. I can safely say that I will never be that good at TAP, no matter how much I play.

I'm also reconsidering starting the league again now that there'd be some proper strength and competitiveness to it. I might also set up a clan ladder system, given that there are definitely starting to be enough players for clans, and they're forming on HD, but as of yet there doesn't seem to be any proper competition structure in place for them.

That'd mean TC would need a clan, because sod representing anything else (except TEC, obviously, but they don't really have the players other than KS and maybe Blah). As much as I might be jaded with TGM right now, TC is and shall always be the best community, and we should show it by diversifying a little bit and having some epic players for VS as well as just TGM.

Kevin, Amnesia, all the other people who feel they've achieved all they can in the soon-to-be-dead series that is TGM. Come join me on the dark side, and together we can rule the Tetris universe (though not as father and son - that'd just be fucking weird)