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Saturday, August 6, 2005

Get Down Tonight

So I hope people are enjoying the new look. My last theme was very Four Swords-inspired, and the switch to this one sort of corresponds with Twilight Princess' change in style from TWW/FS. Though more specifically the Forest Temple from Ocarina of Time was my inspiration this time around. I sort of imagine the main background as the forest outside the temple, the sidebar background as its stone walls/floor, and then the posts as its grassy courtyards. Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch ... but regardless, I really like how things came out.

And on the subject of Zelda, I've been playing a fair bit of it lately. My net connection decided to randomly cut out for a few hours, from about 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, so I played OOT for a bit. I never have actually played all the way through it again since my first time (not counting Master Quest, that is), and I still had an early save file on the cartridge from when I started a new game a while back. So I found myself needing to beat the Dodongo's Cavern when I popped in the cartridge (I prefer the N64 version over the GCN version, because first person aiming is easier with the N64 stick), which I did after watching Darunia make a fool of himself.

Also, I played through the original SNES version of A Link to the Past a couple days ago. I did it all in one sitting, without saving or dying (or using any potions/fairies), which I'd never done with the SNES version before, so I finally got to see that beautiful little zero next to Link on my save file. And from starting the game to the end credits, I think it took me about six hours to complete the game while getting all the major items/upgrades, which is a new record for me.

I found something out during that playthrough of LTTP, though: My reflexes are actually better when I'm tired. I had stayed up the whole night before that, and I was playing the game just to keep myself awake, but some of the crap I was doing -- without even thinking about it -- was insane. After the boss fight with Blind, especially, I just sat there for a few seconds and went, "Whoa..."

I came into the fight with full life, started out with a Spin Attack right as Blind appeared and used the "bounce" from that to propel myself far enough away to dodge the three fireballs he shot in quick succession after being hit. After that I fired off a couple quick sword beams to finish off the first head. So then that was flying around, shooting fireballs, and I just sort of danced around the room, dodging it and all the fireballs automatically, while shooting Blind's second head with more sword beams and taking swipes at him -- and again using the bounce back to dodge the following burst of fireballs -- whenever he got close enough. Then the second head came off. Now, if you've fought Blind, you know just how much crap gets to be flying around that room: Two heads, each shooting about two fireballs per second; Blind himself who shoots about one fireball per second, plus a burst of three whenever he gets hit by your sword itself; the occasional laser beam that Blind shoots in between fireballs. Except for a single fireball, I dodged it all ... and that single fireball was blocked by my shield. I completely owned Blind without ever taking a hit, and I was barely even thinking about what I was doing.

Now that's what I call getting down.

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Friday, August 5, 2005

Sign of the Apocalypse

As you can see above, from the note in my intro, I'm currently working on a new theme for my page. Yes, I know I haven't posted in months, and I have no idea whether I'll be posting very often after the change. This is just something I felt like doing.

Oh, and apparently Alan seems to think that me finally changing my theme will bring about the apocalypse. So hold on to your drawers and don't piss in 'em.

The new theme is up. Hold in Shift and click the reload button if you don't see it.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

I'm free again, you fucker!

Ah, finally, school is out for the summer. I had my Intermediate Algebra final today, and my other school is done for the year, so it's all over now. And a funny thing about that final: I only needed to get 60% on it (yes, the lowest D possible) in order to get an overall A in the class. Why? Because the final was only worth 20% of my overall grade, and my grade up to that point was 99%. But hey, that's not as good as my Beginning Algebra class was, where I only needed to get 50% on the final to pass with an A -- shows Intermediate Algebra is a bit harder, I guess.

The Zelda ownage also continues. I'm replaying Zelda: Four Swords Adventures again (this makes five times now), and I've discovered just how much ass a box formation jump attack kicks. Or a box formation down strike. It's oh-so-sweet to walk into a room with a Ball & Chain Trooper who's swinging around a flaming mace, only to jump right over the flame trail with a Roc's Feather and kill it with a single attack. Damn I love FSA's combat.

And speaking of Zelda, check out my new Twilight Princess wallpaper. A big thanks to James for getting me the high resolution art and screen shots, which I used to make it. Also, if you run at 1280x1024, I also have a version of it at that resolution. Leave a comment or send me a PM if you want the higher res version, as theOtaku only takes 1024x768 wallpapers.

On the anime front, I finished watching The Slayers a little while ago (yes, all three TV seasons, two OAVs, and five movies), and I finished up the first series of Those Who Hunt Elves since then. Gotta love a good fantasy/comedy every now and then. And since my parents signed up for Netflix, I now have access to even more anime, beyond that in my brother's collection. The first anime disc I've added to our rental queue is the first volume of His and Her Circumstances (aka Kare Kano), which I've been wanting to watch for a while now, as it looks like something I'd enjoy.

Having access to pretty much everything that's been released on DVD through Netflix also means I'm finally catching up on all those movies I've been meaning to get around to watching but never have, like The Matrix Revolutions and Kill Bill Vol. 2. It's amazing how much nicer it is to simply have movies arrive in your mailbox, rather than having to go out and rent them. Laziness wins again!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Zelda Ownage

Inventory: Master Sword, green tunic, thirteen hearts, Bow & Silver Arrows, Lamp, Hookshot, Pegasus Boots.
Damage Report: Approximately 30 successful spin attack hits, four Silver Arrows landed, zero damage taken.
End Result: Ganon sent crying.

Yes, if you haven't guessed, I finally completed my minimalist game in Zelda: A Link to the Past today. After what's probably come close to 50 tries, I've nearly perfected my strategy for fighting Ganon, and I finally managed to beat him -- without taking a single hit, at that. ... I'M AWESOME!

Heh, it's times like those that make me wish I could do video capture from my GBA/DS. The fight was amazing; I really wish I could show people. Just by the way you have to fight Ganon, I know it would look way easier than it is, too. Because the battle with Ganon isn't so much about twitch reflexes, like most of the other boss fights in the game. Rather, there's a lot more strategy involved.

An interesting analogy I thought of is that fighting Ganon is like a dance: If you want to stay alive, you not only have to know the right steps, you also have to be the one leading. Because, although Ganon's teleporting around the room may at first seem random, there is a pattern to it, and you can affect it with your own movements. Learning to manipulate his position in the room and the timing of his attacks is a big key to to avoiding damage. I may have to go back and play the fight some more, to hone the strategy down to precision, so I can write it all out in a little guide. I never thought a boss strategy in LTTP could get this deep, but now that I know it is, my inner obsession feels a need to learn everything about it.

Amazing, though, how I can play through LTTP nine times and still be learning new stuff, isn't it? Things like this are exactly why it's my #1 favorite video game. Even after years of playing and replaying, I still find things that make me go, "Wow, that's awesome!"

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Thursday, May 5, 2005

No Need for a Title

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So what's happened in the last three weeks? Well ... not much. School goes on as usual, gaming has consisted of PlanetSide and SSBM (yes, again), and net activity's mainly been revolving around OB. But I have been watching more anime lately. Last night I started watching Slayers, which has been hilarious so far. Looks like it's going to be a great fantasy/comedy anime.

Can you believe it, though? I still haven't gotten around to buying a new hard drive, my brother's old CPU, or Tales of Symphonia. I think this is a new low of laziness, even for me. I mean, I have the money, I just have to go up to the bank to cash some checks so I'll have the cash on hand. Plus, I finally got my birthday present from one of my brothers when he came up to visit for our mom's birthday, plus the money he owed me for taking care of his dog, so that's another $200. (Part of which I'll be saving, however. I figure it's probably about time to stop blowing all my money on video games, heh.) Seems odd to have so much money even after dropping $180 on a DS and Mario 64 DS just a couple months ago, though; feels like I shouldn't be able to make any more big purchases for at least another month. ... And no, even though I'm not used to having this much money, you can't have any of it.

Ah well, I figure if I'm happy with what I've got now, that's fine. The low framerate in PlanetSide is getting more annoying lately, though, so that CPU will probably be first on the list. It really sucks to know you're a better aim than someone else, but still get killed by them because they're getting better perfomance than you are. I'd probably get near twice the kills if I do now if I could get a solid 30 fps while fighting indoors. As it is, I'm lucky to get 15 fps if there's a lot of people in the building.

Oh yes, and there's new music in the Sound Test. Five songs that've had my attention lately, besides the regular mix of various gaming music that I listen to. Figured I'd toss them up for people to sample.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Count Down to Paradise

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Yeah, so I've basically just been ignoring my page, besides putting up the Skies of Arcadia mp3s. (Which, by the way, you should really listen to. I'll probably be replacing them soon.) Haven't felt like posting lately.

I have a bit of news, though, that may interest some. (It made Alan happy, at any rate.) OtakuFiles got a small update yesterday, with some new quotes and name changes. (I'll probably also add a few more name changes to the list in a day or so, as I track them down.) Not much for now, but I'm thinking of working on the two currently empty sections of the site, so there may be some bigger updates coming in the near future. So that's something to watch for.

Also, I watched the Tales of Eternia anime a week or so ago, and now I'm annoyed that the remake of the game is only being released on the PSP. Ah well. ... I can still get Tales of Symphonia on the GCN. Which I think I may get tomorrow. Either that or I'll start playing Metroid Prime 2 Echoes again, since I finished replaying Zelda: The Minish Cap (yay for 100% completion) a while ago and don't have anything else besides the usual PlanetSide.

Oh, and one more thing: If you want to talk to me, please instant message me over AIM. PMs asking me to add the author as a friend or sign their guestbook or asking if I want to talk generally get ignored. I dislike holding conversations through PMs, and hence I use AIM for that. If you have something to say about stuff on my site or things I've submitted on theOtaku, though, feel free to PM me about it.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Flying the Skies of Eternal Arcadia

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Two cinnamon rolls for lunch after I get home from school, then coffee and a Cadbury Creme Egg afterwards for dessert. I love Easter.

Anyway, if you haven't noticed, I'm doing something special in the Sound Test section of my page. Its origin can be traced back to Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, while I was doing my algebra homework. I normally listen to music while doing math work, but this time I decided to pull up the full Skies of Arcadia OST playlist in Winamp. It's not often I listen through a whole OST in one sitting, but even after I finished my homework, I had to keep listening through to the end.

It seems like every time I listen through the entire Skies of Arcadia OST, I reaffirm my liking of the game's music as a whole, as well as find new love for individual tracks that I may have somewhat overlooked. Most of the time when listening to music, I'll go through and pick out a few tracks to listen to, then move on to music from another game or whatnot. And while that's nice ... listening to the whole OST gives me the full experience, I guess you could say, and helps me to better appreciate a game's music.

So I really enjoyed that experience -- so much so that I wanted to share it. And that's what I'm trying to do with this little feature in the Sound Test. Obviously I'm not going to put up the whole 67 track OST, but I thought that choosing nine of my favorite songs (nine because that's how many fit in Flam Player's playlist area without scrolling, and it's close to ten) and putting them up for people to listen to would be good. They aren't necessarily my nine favorite songs -- it's so hard to choose! -- and I just tried to put them in an order than would flow well from one to the next, but I think they'll provide a good taste of the game's music. Hopefully I'll manage to put one up every day or so, with corrosponding comments on what I think about each song.

So enjoy. And, if you like, post some of your own comments about the songs (or just the feature itself) on whatever happens to be the latest blog post at the time. If this goes over well, I might like to do similar things with other soundtracks.

In other random news, I finally finished watching the Rurouni Kenshin TV series last night. And after all 95 episodes ... I guess I'd call the series "okay." The character introduction phase was decent, though it was kind of repetitive at times. And the Shishio story was really good -- definitely the best part of the series. But the rest was just sort of "eh." None of the other stories came even close to being as good, and some parts were just straight out boring. Anb then the ending annoyed me. I mean really, it seemed like half of the last episode was just filler, there for no other purpose than to take up time, when there could've been so much more. I doubt I'll ever go back and watch it again, but I am going to watch the OAVs next, which, from what I've heard, are better than the series.

I also started playing through Zelda: The Minish Cap again. I took it with me to school in my DS, along with the Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt demo and ended up beating the first two dungeons and infusing the White Sword with the first two elements by the time I got home. (Metroid never managed to steal any play time away from Zelda, heh.) This time, though, I'm going to make sure not to miss the Light Arrow sidequest. Until I get through the game with everything done, I won't feel like I've really beaten it.

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Desbreko's Recipe for Instant Ramen that Will Kick Your Ass

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Watch out, 'cause it may just be coming for your punk ass next.

Step 1
First, get a saucepan with a diameter just bigger than that of the block of instant ramen. The size is important, so make sure it isn't too big, or else your ramen won't end up being fit to kick anyone's ass. Fill it with water roughly twice the depth of the height of the ramen block (about three inches) and bring it to a boil.

Step 2
Put the ramen in to boil for 3-3 minutes, and leave the heat setting the same. Now, disregard what the packaging says, and add the flavor packet. Dump it out on top of the ramen, then use a fork to push the ramen down into the water so it's completely submerged -- this helps the ramen to cook evenly -- and try to mix the contents of the flavor packet evenly throughout the water.

After the first minute has elapsed, the ramen should be soft enough to start being broken apart. Use the fork to gently pull the ramen apart while stirring to distribute the heat evenly. The ramen should be completely broken up by the time the first two minutes have elapsed.

The third minute and a half or so is the most important stage of the cooking. By this time, the water should have heated back to a complete boil, so keep stirring in order to keep the ramen cooking evenly. After the full time of cooking has elapsed, remove the saucepan from the stove.

Step 3
Strain the ramen out of the pan and into a bowl. (Real men don't drink the broth.) Now, though close, the ramen isn't quite done. As you should see, it's still glistening with moisture. To truly be able to kick any ass, that extra moisture needs to be gotten rid of. (This is a balance between being cool and being hot; a form of The Subtlety.) Stir the ramen around with the fork and blow on it until it no longer looks wet.

Finally, upon successful completion of all three steps, you should now have a bowl of ramen that will kick your ass.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2005

18+ [M-VSL]

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No, that's not the rating for this post, but I thought it makes for a funny coincidence. That's the number (18) of [M-VSL] rated RPG sign-ups on the first page of threads in the Adventure Inn sub-forum on OB. Only two RPGs are based on video games (one Resident Evil, the other Silent Hill), and both of those are also [M-VSL].

So what am I getting at? Well, I kind of miss the old, light-hearted, game-based RPGs that used to pop up fairly regularly. The Zelda, Final Fantasy, etc. spin-offs which wouldn't garner a rating any higher than [PG-V]. What happened to those? Charles' Project Gamer and Sage's Final Fantastic Survivor were the two RPGs I've had the most fun in during my entire time at OB. ... But I haven't seen anything like them since Zidargh's Plumber Bros. Inc., which died pretty quickly.

So lately, various RPG ideas have been swirling around in my head. One stands out the most, and if I were to actually start any of the ones I have ideas for, it would probably be the one. It's a Zelda RPG. (Big surprise, huh? All of my RPGs on OB have been Zelda ones.) But, it wouldn't be like any Zelda RPG OB has ever seen before, and possibly even completely original to OB. Ideas for it have come and gone from my mind, but I think I've got the framework for it pretty well nailed down by now.

The story would be half original, half based on existing Zelda lore, and center around the Imprisoning War. It would be original enough (and completely disregard OOT's storyline) that no pre-existing knowledge of the Zelda storyline would be needed; everything would be layed out in the sign-up thread or exaplained through the Underground thread. Only a basic working knowledge of OOT's main character races would be required, and that could also be included in the sign-up thread.

One of the big things I'd be trying to do with the RPG is provide a large amount of freedom within a few fundamental constraints. People would be free to choose everything about their character (short of playing a male Gerudo) and play them however they'd like, doing just about anything they want. Say someone doesn't like where the main story is headed. They can all but ignore it, and create their own interesting little sidestory if they want. Or they can jump right in, and actually affect future events (determined by me and maybe one other person) by their actions.

So how would I go about doing this? The key word is "journal." The story would be told in the format of a collection of journals, which were kept by various soldiers (i.e. the characters in the RPG) taking part in the Imprisoning War. Like I said, this would enforce a few fundamental constraints, such as everyone needing to conform to a few key events layed out at the start of each chapter. But each person would be free to describe those events from their character's own point of view. Details could vary, as they do in real world historical accounts. And each person would be free to choose what to include and what not to include, what to focus on and what to pass over, in their posts. Maybe someone would mention some event in their post, and then a later post would expand on that from a different character's point of view, and then another person would pick it up, and so on. ... I've thought about it quite a bit, and I see a lot of fun possibilities with this system.

And beyond simply freedom within the basic plot, the system would allow for complete freedom in the area of when/how much to post. And though I wouldn't want it, it would even allow for people to drop out and join in part way through the RPG. (A character died, and therefore stopped keeping their journal? Or maybe only part of a journal survived to make it into the compilation? With posts being independant of one another, anything would fit in without trouble.) People would be free to make as many or as few entries as they wanted in any given chapter, since the basic plot would already be outlined, and it would progress no matter what.

Though before I get anyone's hopes too high, this is still all "in concept." I'm not actually planning on making this RPG at the moment, I just like coming up with new ideas like this, and they've finally gotten to the point of being worthy of sharing. If I were to give this the go ahead and start actual production of the RPG, I'd still need to map out a basic plot line for it. (And I'd most likely consult with James and/or Shinmaru for that, since I'm not too great with stories of any decent length.) I'm mainly posting this to see if many people would be interested in seeing this happen. If they are, I'll seriously consider putting real work into getting it up and running, rather than just tossing ideas around every now and then.

Oh, and it would have a rating of [PG-V]. Sorry, but there's no adult language or sex in Zelda games.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2005

The Web Site Only for Me

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Maybe some of you remember from a while back, some posts I made about a web site I was developing called Rupee Shards. It was going to basically be It's All About the Rupees with a different layout and name, which was also going to also include a sub-site for a Movable Type blog. After coding the basic layout, however, my interest waned. I was having a lot of trouble trying to make decent graphics that fit what I wanted to do with the layout, and development of the site just stopped after a few attempts.

Eventually, as my ideas for what I wanted to do with the site changed, I decided to basically just scrap everything but the basic layout. Off and on, I've thought more about what I'd like to do with the site, and my ideas are finally starting to form into something decent. Whether or not I'll actually start work on it again any time soon, I don't know, but when I do I'll at least have a set direction and goals for the site.

The first and foremost objective I have is to make it completely original. I decided I want it to be completely my own creation; coding, layout, graphics, I want to be able to point to it all and say, "I did that." While graphic design has never really been something I've been particularly good at (editing is more my thing), I'd like it if I didn't always have to rely on someone else's designs.

Hence, while I'll be keeping the layout pretty much the same, the whole Rupee theme is going out the window. As much as I like the theme, it just doesn't fit with what I'd like to do with the site. Though if I ever make a dedicated Zelda site, I've no doubt that the Rupee theme will be used again. (And it will continue to have its place here on my myOtaku page as well.) I love it too much to abandon it altogether.

As for content, what exactly I'll be putting on the site. ... I'm still thinking about that. I know for sure I want it to be a place where I can put up any articles I write, like an online portfolio of my "professional" writings. I figure having something of the sort might help when it comes time to look for a job in the gaming media. (I'm pretty sure that's where I'd like to end up, for a career.) And that also ties in with my wanting the site to be completely original; when people look at it, I'd like them to see it as all my own work, not something based off another's creation.

So I have that part nailed down, but it's what else I might want to include on the site that I'm still thinking about. If you look at It's All About the Rupees, you can see I have my banners and wallpaper up there (though since the site is dead, my latest ones aren't there), but I'm not sure what exactly I want to do with them. Like I said, making original graphics isn't really my thing, so you'd be pretty hard pressed to find truly original work in my graphics. And that doesn't really fit with the whole originality design goal.

My current idea is to maybe make a little mini-site dedicated to hosting my various banners and wallpapers and such, and just link to it along with the rest of my misc. web projects (such as OtakuFiles). That way I'd get the fun of coding another site layout (the part of web design that I enjoy most), while still being able to enlist James or someone for layout graphic design if need be, and without having to worry about content since the site would just be for whatever graphics I happen to make for fun.

The previously planned sub-site for a Movable Type blog has also been scrapped. I decided I really don't use my myOtaku page enough to justify having a separate site instead, so I shall simple stick with myOtaku for all my blogging needs. Which aren't many, hence the reason I don't need Movable Type.

But like I said, I have no idea when I'll start work on any of this. Web design is pretty much just a hobby for me, so I work on things as I please without any real drive to start/finish projects other than my own interest. I just thought people might be interested in the plans that are forming in my brain.

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