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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Swiftblade Annoys Me

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My first thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap can be found on OtakuBoards. It's an awesome game, even in comparison with the rest of the Zelda series, and anyone who enjoys action/adventure games owes it to themself to play this game. I'd go into more detail, except I'd just be repeating myself after that post on OB. More thoughts will be posted after I play the game more.

One thing I will say, though, is that I dislike that pansy-ass teacher Swiftblade. The dash attack he taught me freaking sucks. Whenever I dash into an enemy, unless the attack kills it, I end up getting hurt while dashing past it. What the heck is up with that? I want the dash attack from A Link to the Past back. With that one, you could dash right through an enemy and just keep running, without taking damage. That was a good and useful dash attack.

Stupid Legolas impersonator.

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Sunday, January 9, 2005

Now Playing #74

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Band: Blue Oyster Cult
Track: Don't Fear the Reaper
Time: 4:53
Size: 74.1 KB

Yeah, so this is another one of those last minute selections out of my folder of random midis. Because, 1) I'm lazy, 2) I'm sick and don't feel like bothering to search for something, and 3) ... Okay, so there is no 3. But it looks stupid to list things off like that when there are only two.

Oh, and with that new 512 MB stick of RAM, I can now play PlanetSide for six hours straight (with a decent amount of stuff happening) before it becomes too laggy to play. That's quite a jump from the one and a half to two hours I'd get before, and considering I rarely play for six hours at a time, I'm extremely happy with the purchase. Though I do wish I had a better CPU, so I could run the game at 1024x768; a 1.7 GHz Celeron doesn't quite cut it, leaving me stuck at 800x600 with the graphics as low detail as possible.

PlanetSide will soon have another competitor for my time, however, as I'll be getting Zelda: The Minish Cap this week. Which also means, don't expect many updates for a while, and also expect to see me on AIM less. Because, on top of that being the normal pattern for when I get a new game, this is Zelda. Nothing gets between me and my Zelda games -- you should all know that by now.

And in closing, the Bombardment theme from Skies of Arcadia is freaking awesome. Yes, I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. There's a midi version of it in the archive, but it pales in comparison to the awesomeness of the real thing. ... Now I'm wishing I had better headphones to listen to it through.

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Thursday, January 6, 2005

A Super Smash Bros. Melee Rant

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Right, so I've come to the conclusion that fighting CPU characters in SSBM is no longer improving my skill at the game. I've always known CPU characters are no substitute for human players, but I thought I'd at least be able to keep sharpening my comboing skills and whatnot against them, even if they didn't act like human players.

I mean, it was like that with the original SSB; I could fight CPU characters, develop combos, improve my reflexes and move timing, and then have that practice pay off when I fought other people. That was how I became a baddass at the game, even though I didn't get to fight many humans later on when I started getting really good. Even if I couldn't predict peoples' moves like I could with the CPU characters (and it's not even funny how good I got at predicting the CPU characters in the original SSB), my timing was still good enough to hit with any part of an attack I wanted, so as to control what direction my opponent would be knocked, which I would use in setting up combos. Everything I got good at while fighting CPUs, short of the move prediction, I could apply directly to my fights with human opponents. That gave me a real edge over a lot of people, considering how much I played the game -- I don't think I've ever played a single other game, not even SSBM, as much as I did SSB.

But with SSBM, that doesn't work. Because not only do CPU characters act differently than humans, they also play differently. They bend the rules of the game, in order to make the difficulty higher. What this has done is widen even farther the gap between fighting humans and fighting CPUs. Now you can't even practice timing and combos against CPUs, because a lot of combos and whatnot that are good against other humans simply don't work against CPUs. Their speed and/or recovery time is just too good, beyond that which is possible for a human. (Case in point is when I can hit a CPU with a smash attack so that they're hit into the ground, bounce slightly into the air from the force of the attack, and while in mid-air, they pull off an attack to hit me before the next move in my combo can connect. Not once have I been able to do that, nor have I ever seen anyone else able to do that.) And because of that, a lot of things that work against human players simply aren't possible against CPUs, meaning you have to drastically alter your playing style every time you switch between human and CPU opponents.

And you know what? I'm finally sick of it. I played SSBM for a while just now and practiced wavedashing. In training mode, doing it back and forth across Final Destination, I started to get good enough at it that I could see some applications for it in battle. And what's the logical progression of that train of thought? Yes, I quit training mode and actually tried to use it in battle. But it turns out, CPUs don't really care about wavedashing; not to say I'm perfect at it or anything, but even when I did manage to pull off good wavedashes, they weren't any more effective than a dodge roll. CPUs are fast enough that the extra bit of speed and unpredictability gained from wavedashing just doesn't make much difference.

Now, the reason this pisses me off is that it makes it pretty much impossible to actually get good at wavedashing through using it against CPUs. Because if it's not any better against them than a dodge roll is, how will I know when it would be more effective against a human? Sure, I may get better at the actual act of wavedashing -- the timing of the jump and air dodge -- but I still won't be any better at applying it to combat. And at that point I might as just continue playing training mode, wavedashing back and forth across Final Destination, which I'm not about to do unless it's going to influence my effectiveness against human players.

I'm already good enough at beating CPUs; I don't need more practice for that, and I don't think I'm going to get much better at it than I am right now anyway. With not being able to continue to improve, the game loses a lot of the fun that keeps me fighting those CPU characters when I don't have anyone else around to fight. It stagnates, becomes overly repetitive, and I stop playing altogether, until I get so rusty that I can't even hold my own during the times when other humans are around to fight me. That's certainly not something I want to happen, since I really do love playing SSBM with a group of friends and having a decently even fight.

So I've decided I'm going to make more of an effort to try and get people together for multiplayer gaming. For playing SSBM, and whatever the heck else people want to play. I'm tired of being confined to the single player modes of my GCN games, and it's about time I did something about it.

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Whew. I just spent 5+ hours working on OtakuFiles. All those chat logs that Syk3 sent me are on the site now, bringing the total number of archived logs to 142. Quite the collection, eh? They're great for a laugh when you're bored and have some time to kill. Thanks again to Syk3 for the huge contribution.

Sadly, however, the History and Members sections remain empty. But, now that I've got all the mind-numbing work of adding those chat logs done, getting a timeline put up in the History section is my next priority. So if anyone knows the exact dates of past OB events -- such as when version changes took place, and other big stuff that would be worth putting on a timeline -- send me an e-mail or IM or something. I'll be collecting dates and information for the timeline in the coming weeks.

In PC/gaming related news, I've ordered some new RAM for my PC, which should arrive either today or tomorrow. Right now I have a 256 MB stick of DDR266 RAM, which just isn't cutting it for playing PlanetSide. (Most people would call PlanetSide running on my system unplayable, but I seem more patient with that sort of thing than usual.) So, what I've ordered is a 512 MB stick of DDR400 RAM -- that's twice the capacity, running half again as fast, which should make PlanetSide, and my whole system, run much smoother.

I haven't, however, yet bought a Nintendo DS. I've decided I'm going to wait until I get Zelda: The Minish Cap and the player's guide for it and Zelda: LTTP/FS, the latter of which I've been meaning to get for a while now. (Though I don't use them for the walkthroughs while playing through the games, player's guides are great reference material for all sorts of information.) After that I'll count up my available funds again and see how much I've got left. I really want to have enough left to get a new hard drive, since I've had to pretty much just stop downloading anything at all big for lack of free space. So we'll see how things go.

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Sunday, January 2, 2005

Now Playing #73

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Band: Chumbawamba
Track: Tubthumping
Time: 3:25
Size: 62.2 KB

The first time I heard this song was in a Love Hina AMV, and now I always think of Keitaro getting smacked around by Naru whenever I hear it. Great memories, heh. I'd say more about it, except I don't really have anything to say. This is one of those last minute midi selections, since I've been occupied with other stuff for the last couple days.

First, I went to an all night thing my church's youth group had for new years. 12 hours of ... all sorts of crap. Some was fun, some was boring, some was annoying -- standard youth group event. The main reason I went, other than to just see some of my friends again, was for the free time where we could play video games up on the theater screens through projectors, which is always fun.

Most of what I ended up playing was the original Super Smash Bros. Not Melee, but the original, for the Nintendo 64. We would've hooked up my friend's GCN and played my copy of Melee, but the majority of people there wanted to keep the N64 hooked up for some reason.

But anyway, I mopped the floor with most of the people there, even though I hadn't played the original SSB for probably about a year or so. Once there got to be two other players that were pretty good in the same match with me, though, I couldn't keep up, and ended up placing third behind them. One of them at a time with two other not-so-good players in the match, I could take without too much trouble, but two of 'em together managed to beat me by one point. (They tied at +1 each and went to sudden death, while I was an even 0.) I figure there's no shame in losing when you haven't played in about a year, while the other two players still play pretty regularly, though, and it was a fun match.

Oh, and I thought this was amusing: While the N64 was being set up, me and my friend overheard some people talking about someone or other being good at SSB, and then one person asked, "But is he Jon Goudy good?" Apparently, I've garnered a reputation of being an excellent SSB/SSBM player among the church's youth group, heh. It's just too bad I'm so rusty at SSB; I'd say I was only playing at about half the level I was when I was at my peak. But then again, when they fought me, people said they wanted a challenge -- getting a match where they would've been OMGWTFOWNED instead might not have been too appreciated. :p

Jumping ahead to yesterday and today, I finally got my PC put into the new case I got for Christmas. ... The Christmas before last, that is. Yeah, I've been extremely lazy about it, but there really wasn't much reason to do it. In fact, all I've got out of it is four more USB2.0 ports, only one of which I'm using, and two firewire ports, neither of which I have a use for. I would be using the onboard LAN port (the port was blocked in my old case), but I tried it and Windows doesn't recognize that it's even there, so I'm still using my old ethernet card instead.

The reason I finally got around to switching the cases, though, is because I'm hopefully going to be buying a new hard drive and some more RAM some time this week, and I didn't want to install them in the old case, only to have to move them over to the new case some time later. In fact, the Sunday ads are sitting out on the kitchen table right now, so as soon as I post this, I'll be looking through and comparing local prices to those online.

Also, I'm hoping to get a Nintendo DS and Super Mario 64 DS this week. One of my friends got one for Christmas and had it at the new years thing, so I got to watch her play it for a bit. It looks freaking awesome. A handheld, souped up version of Super Mario 64 with wireless multiplayer. ... How could anyone not love it? The graphics were better than the N64 version, it looked to control just fine with the control cross, and camera control seemed quick and intuitive. I no longer have any worries about SM64DS, and I can't wait to get a copy of my own.

Yeah, I just played SSB for an hour or so against three level 9 CPU characters, and I was only scoring about half of what I used to get regularly. (Around 8-10 points for a five minute match, instead of 18-20.) Makes me kind of sad that I've lost so much of my skill at the original, even if I am still getting better at SSBM.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Now Playing #72

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Game: Final Fantasy II
Track: Ancient Castle
Time: 0:57
Size: 9.92 KB

Yeah, so I completely forgot about updating this, what with all the stuff happening around Christmas. Though I think it's kind of funny that I actually posted on Sunday, the day the midi was supposed to go up. Odd how things work sometimes.

But anyway, I decided to end this year by rounding out the collection of Final Fantasy midis in the archive. With this track from FFII, there's at least one midi from each game in the main series released so far, plus one from FF Tactics.

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Generic Christmas Post

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So I suppose people expect me to make a post and tell what I got for Christmas. ... Well, the joke's on you, because the list is pretty boring:

1. $205 (That's USD, by the way.)
2. A Logitech Cordless Click! Optical Mouse. (Finally, no more crappy roller ball. And it's got a scroll wheel, whee!)
3. A new hat. (I'll have to take a picture of myself wearing it some time.)
4. Some new shirts. (Okay, maybe I was wrong. I mean, this one is pretty exciting.)
5. Stocking stuffer ... stuff. (Mmm, candy.)

So yeah, most of my presents were summed up in that first entry. I'll be getting a 512 MB stick of RAM and a new hard drive (80+ GB) with it, as well as Zelda: The Minish Cap when it's released on January 10. For right now, though, the new mouse is the biggest thing. I'm really loving it; so much better than the piece of crap I was using before.

Also, it's my birthday in nine days (January 3), so I'll be getting even more cash then. And with that, plus anything else I have left, I plan on buying a Nintendo DS with Super Mario 64 DS. Oh, and something the whole family got for Christmas was a wireless router, so if the DS ever gets online support for stuff at wireless hotspots like I've been hearing, I may be able to get access right from home, going through the router to the DSL line. That would be extremely cool.

If you're wondering what I actually did today. ... Um. ... A bunch of stuff happened, now it's later, and I'm tired. Yeah. ... If you're lucky, I might go into more detail tomorrow or sometime thereafter. One thing that happened will need some testing, anyway -- has to do with tweaking my graphics card. Hopefully it'll help improve PlanetSide's performance.

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve Change-up

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My myOtaku introduction and OtakuBoards banner/avatar have both undergone changes. The introduction changes I'd been thinking about for a while, but the banner/avatar was just kind of spur of the moment.

For the introduction, I just started from scratch for how it's layed out. Before, I was using a table with a few CSS attributes, but now I'm using divs exclusively with CSS. Makes for a much cleaner way to organize the stuff, even if all the CSS has to be inline, and it makes it a lot easier to edit. Or, in other words, tables = teh suck, divs = teh awesome. Only problem is, the bottom-right corner is kind of empty now. ... Guess I need to make more web sites, so I can have buttons all the way across the bottom.

As for the OB banner/avatar, I kind of got tired of the previous set and decided to look into making something new to use. Alan suggested something from Ranma , since I hadn't made any banners based on Ranma yet, so I gave it a shot. Originally, I wanted to use this picture of Ranma, as it's one of my favorite pieces of art from the series -- and in fact, I still have a basic design for a banner using that picture -- but I couldn't find a font that looked right with it. Maybe I'll find something suitable if I bother to look around, but I'm happy with the banner I ended up with. The two pictures I'm using of both the boy and girl Ranmas are a couple more of my favorite pieces, and the Ranma logo fits well with the banner. (Of course, I had to use the variant with the little P-Chan heads; it's the best one.) Though I think I may need to touch up the logo a bit and fix a few little cropping mistakes.

Overall, I'm happy with the changes, but what do other people think? Getting feedback on stuff is always nice.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

OtakuFiles Launch

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You know, I really meant to work on OtakuFiles and launch it on Sunday or Monday. I really did. Then I started playing PlanetSide, and I just sort of stopped caring about meeting that artificial deadline. So, consider that there's a really fun event going on in PlanetSide right now and that I skipped playing today just to finish up OtakuFiles, you people should be grateful I didn't wait till after Christmas, heh.

But yeah, the site's up now, though two of the sections are currently empty. (Those being History and Members -- content for those pages will be coming in the near future, assuming I don't get too lazy.) I'll hopefully get around to getting more stuff put up after Christmas, to fill out the site some more. Oh, and also, if anyone's changed their OtakuBoards screen name and it's not on the list, e-mail or IM me if you want it added. Obviously I can't know of every change, so I'm only tracking the ones that I happen to notice.

Also on my agenda for web design work is a reformating of my myOtaku introduction. Now Playing and the Midi Archive will likely stay where they are, but I'm going to be redoing the Shameless Plugs and will likely ditch the Current Interests thing altogether. When I put it in, I thought it might be an interesting little addition. ... But it isn't really, so away it goes. The only thing I really like about it is having a place to link to OCRs and other funky crap, like the Numa Numa Dance linked to up there now.

Oh, and coming back to PlanetSide, anyone even remotely interested in the concept of a MMOFPS needs to watch this fan-made trailer. It's freaking awesome, and yes, I am trying to recruit people to PlanetSide.
Small Version - 8.13 MB
Large Version - 16.7 MB

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Now Playing #71

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Band: Cutting Crew
Track: (I Just) Died in Your Arms
Time: 4:26
Size: 52.0 KB

(I Just) Died in Your Arms is another song I discovered through watching anime music videos (a Ruruoni Kenshin one), and I just had to snag the mp3 out of my brother's collection. And as everyone knows, that usually leads me to searching for a good midi version to put up here. Obviously, I found one.

This song is one of a few that I've been able to sit and listen to on loop for hours while I do whatever on the PC. (Mostly, working on OtakuFiles stuff -- more on that later.) The melody and rhthym are wonderful, and there's just something about them that avoids becoming horribly repetitive, while the lyrics blend in perfectly. I really love this song.

(I Just) Died in Your Arms, by Cutting Crew

I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must have been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight

I keep looking for something I can't get
Broken hearts lie all around me
And I don't see an easy way to get out of this
Her diary sits by the bedside table
The curtains are closed, the cat's in the cradle
Who would've thought that a boy like me could come to this

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

Is there any just cause for feeling like this?
On the surface I'm a name on a list
I try to be discreet, but then blow it again
I've lost and found, it's my final mistake
She's loving by proxy, no give and all take
'cause I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

It was a long, hot night
She made it easy, she made it feel right
But now it's over, the moment has gone
I followed my hands, not my head; I knew I was wrong

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now, for an update about OtakuFiles. ... I didn't work on it at all yesterday. (Playing PlanetSide, raking leaves, watching Rurouni Kenshin ... the time added up.) I'd still like to launch it today, like I said in the comments of my last post, and if I get off my butt and work on it, I'll still be able to, but probably not till evening. I really only need to get one more section made, and do a little more work on another, before I'll be uploading the site, and then I can add the last two sections in with updates.

If I do get it done today, I'll edit this post to let people know. Or, if it's late enough (after 9:00 PM my time, and hence, after 12:00 AM EST and a new day on myOtaku), I'll just make a new post about it. Or maybe I'll wait till tomorrow anyway, just because.

Watch the Numa Numa Dance while you're waiting, if you have nothing better to do.

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