Tag: PC

Unexpected technological developments

Unexpected technological developments

I had a few friends over this afternoon as a last-ditch hangout for Winter Break. Back to school Tuesday.

Woo-hoo.

We watched a couple of movies together. Mortal Engines was a total dumpster fire. Then Isle of Dogs was a decent palate cleanser in spite of it being super weird.

However I’m not planning on talking about either in heavy detail today. Nor am I planning on going back to talk about Green Book, as I mentioned in my Fantastic Beasts post yesterday. Though out of every movie I just mentioned, Green Book is the one you should see.

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A leftover from my plans to maybe talk about the movie today.

It’s a really solid period piece following a working-class Italian-American family man chauffeuring a gay, black, eccentric musician across the Deep South during the 1960s. Super great music, characters and a well-written script.

Would highly recommend.

Though if you hadn’t gathered it from the leading information on this post, instead of talking about movies I have an update on something totally different.

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting a computer for Gladeo stuff. I didn’t touch it for a while because the semester got busy and there wasn’t a lot of space in my room to fit a new PC.

But when I cleaned my room recently, I pushed back my TV cabinet so there would be that necessary space. After that I wanted to sit down with my Dad to set the computer up, but there have been various waves of sickness running through the house.

I didn’t expect all of that to come to a head tonight. I simply underestimated the drive of my friend Juan, who is super into computers. Like builds his own PCs from scratch.

Which sounds familiar if you remember my Bumblebee review, I’m sure.

When I first got the machine he asked about the specs, but as someone who doesn’t pay that much mind I wasn’t even really sure where to find them. Time went by and we all kind of forgot about it.

But then we went to grab something in my room tonight, he caught sight of the machine and started to look it over. One thing led to another and soon enough part of the hangout turned into setting up computer time.

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I’m officially a proponent of free labor.

Turns out that extra space I laid out works pretty well for what I need:

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Even though I might not keep the extension cords squished between the machine and my desk, I’ll have to decide later.

In the meantime we booted this thing up and decided to take a look.

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Check out that pretty display. It’s certainly a step up from the desktop Mac that was there before, which I might not ever have to plug-in again considering I took everything that I wanted.

So now I have a brand new computer to toy around with as the spring 2019 semester begins.

… Or actually, perhaps not so soon. Apparently the machine can’t connect to wi-fi, and we might have to figure out a different way to get the thing online.

I’ll have to sit down with my Dad and look things over later. Maybe tomorrow.

For now I’m going to go back to waiting on that super blood moon and watching Bob’s Burgers with the crew. Because god damn that show is funny.

Armageddon on the Grid

Armageddon on the Grid

Once more I rise from the dead.

Sorry about the second short break from blogging I took the last few days. The cold I tried to pretend I wasn’t developing during finals week hit me extra hard once the high stress of exam season began to dissipate, and for two days all I could do was sleep and cough my head off.

However, if there was any benefit to take away from sidling the edge of death, it was that I have seen the face of Armageddon and am prepared for our inevitable, collective demise.

An Armageddon that is: Armagetron.

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Welcome to a game that I had basically forgotten about until my Macintosh Desktop rescue. The original file had not been opened since 2009, when I discovered it during that sprite animation camp I talked about in my Smash Bros. wallpaper post.

But unlike a lot of the other relics of oughts Jasoncana, Armagetron Advanced is totally rad. After all, it’s a simulator experience based on the light cycle races from 1982’s TRON.

I had this whole plan set out after replaying the game to record footage so I could show off my sweet Armagetron skills, maybe even gif a few seconds of me dunking on computers.

Except turns out I don’t exactly have good screen capture software that doesn’t make the footage come out like this on the other end. Forewarning, this video is very choppy and kind of nauseating.

Was not going to be able to get the high-octane action that I originally wanted out of showing this game off.

Luckily Armagetron isn’t complicated to explain, even if there’s a nice amount of depth under the hood for things like customization. If you’ve seen the race sequence from the original TRON, you know exactly what you’re getting.

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You move around a digital grid leaving trails that immediately destroy (or derez) opponents. The aim of the game is to be the last man standing, with points earned for killing opponents and lost for ramming into other light trails or “committing suicide” against arena walls.

On top of customizing the color of your light cycle, Armagetron allows you to set up matches with as many AI (or people given a decent lan party) in as many parties as you want. Everything from the AI’s intellect to the size of the battlefield and the amount of time light trails last can be altered.

For the most part, each trip to the grid feels unique because of the timeless style Tron imbued on its light cycle sequences. It makes for cinematic experiences even in a fairly basic simulation.

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Yeah, the wall popping in after you seems like a graphical issue… But boy is it cool in practice.

It helps that on top a great general style, the game features really crunchy sound effects for the racers speed, doppler echoes as opponents move past and — of course — digital explosions.

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Lots and lots of explosions.

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Particularly your own.

Where I would argue Armagetron thrives the most is in its simplicity breeding implicit storytelling. A lot of computer players are named after applications like “word” or “excel,” so it feels as though you’re duking it out with your own computer’s software out for revenge after yet another 2,000 word essay.

Plus, I’m a fan of situations where I need to time my turns and thread the needle:

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Always exhilerating.

Or, like you can see in the featured image, those moments when you’re boxed in and have to survive as long as possible driving in a square on the off-chance the AI dies before you run out of room.

Extra graphical touches like sparks when you grind as close to a wall or light trail as possible without killing yourself really sell these scenes:

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The amount of times I died just trying to get that feeling of barely evading death are uncountable.

But of course that feeling of narrowly avoiding death is only superseded by the thrill of a well-won victory after pulling off death-defying tricks.

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This basic victory screen is far more satisfying than it has any right to be.

While there isn’t a whole lot to say about Armagetron Advanced past the basics, it still earns my high recommendation. If you want to feel like Jeff Bridges, this isn’t a bad place to start.

In fact, while throwing this little post together, I discovered that the game has gotten updates as recently as 2016.

I haven’t tried it the most recent update since I’m still stuck in the nostalgia trip of my beloved 2009 version, but from screenshots I know there are plenty of different game modes and graphical styles to choose from now.

This fan project stretches all the way back to the original Armagetron in 2004, so there’s a ton of love put into it. Even if it’s not getting much in the way of development recently, I’d still say you should all go support it.

Armagetron Advanced is something that shouldn’t just be derezzed into obscurity.

Deltarune is delightful

Deltarune is delightful

I’m a few weeks late to this particular craze, but after staying up until 2:00 a.m. finally finishing the first chapter of Deltarune I have an unbridled desire to gush about everything.

That’s probably going to involve a number of spoilers for an experience that I truly believe everyone should have for themselves. Because of that I’ll aim to be as vague as possible, but even so you might not want to read this quite yet if you haven’t played the game yourself.

Here’s what I can offer as a general teaser introduction.

Deltarune is the follow-up to indie game developer and chip tune musical genius Tobyfox‘s now-famed 2015 RPG Undertale — That one where nobody has to die. It’s available on just about every gaming platform imaginable, so if you haven’t dived into this universe at all you should.

The newest game, released just a few weeks ago, takes a somewhat different spin on the kill-or-spare game mecahnic from Undertale. It allows you to follow Kris, a human living in a world of monsters, as he deals with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of school.

Until certain events leave him and the local bully, Susie, taking on an adventure to save the world.

I know that’s pretty vague and somewhat derivative, but it’s nowhere near as dull as I made it sound.

Please just play the game if you haven’t.

Trust me when I say it’s all worth experiencing as blindly as possible. As a result, the rest of my discussion is going to go on under the spoiler-laden read more line here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed me rambling in vague generalities if this is as far as you’ll go. Just come back and  let me know when you’ve gone through the experience for yourself!

Continue reading “Deltarune is delightful”

Jason’s got a Brand New Toy

Jason’s got a Brand New Toy

When I first sat down with Gladeo’s founder Michelle to talk about my responsibilities as the managing editor for the Gladeo League, one of the things we discussed was some of the problems I’ve had during our biweekly Google Hangout meetings.

See my laptop is super old and doesn’t hold itself together very well when I attempt to video conference with people. My cell phone is a good alternative, but it can be awkward to keep it in place and deal with the slightly more wonky frame of view.

So I’ve had a bit of a long history of making it three-quarters of the way through a meeting before everything drops out and I lose it.

Obviously we don’t want that happening if I’m leading the meetings myself, so Michelle very generously offered that I take a computer that had been bought for Gladeo to help with things like video editing.

If it weren’t clear enough by the fact that I’m writing this post right now, I picked up that computer today.

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I’m not a huge computer technical nerd or anything so I can’t say whether or not I’ve got something phenomenal in terms of hardware on my hands, but that’s really not what I’m focused on anyway.

I’m just really grateful to have the opportunity to hold on to this in the first place. It feels like the kind of job perk for my new position which shows some trust.

Plus, it comes with certain other perks:

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Hell yeah bubble wrap.

Who needs fancy schmancy technical doodads when you can poppity pop some bubs?

It occurs to me how silly it is that I’m even vaguely excited enough about the bubble wrap to mention it here when I have an actual for real new computer on my hands… But I guess I just have silly priorities.

Because currently I have no idea what I’m going to do with this computer.

Not only is it my first desktop PC, but it’s also kind of gigantic for my room. So I might have to move some stuff around to give it the proper space it’ll need.

Thus, while I spend the next few days probably figuring out what to do with the computer, I have bubble wrap!

All’s well that ends well.



P.S. — I know I mentioned it over the last few days so I wanted to give y’all some closure. I got 100 percent on that Psychology quiz today that I was worried about.

Just goes to show you that I’m literally my own worst enemy when it comes to stressing about things.