The Last Colony
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 10:00 am

The Last Colony is a great book by John Scalzi.  I've read it a bunch of times but I just re-experienced it in audiobook format for the first time.  It's a really good audiobook too.

The Last Colony is part of my favorite Scalzi series, the Old Man's War books.  It's a universe where humans are colonizing, aliens are generally upset with us for doing so, earth is treated like a military recruitment center, and super-humans are green.  I can't do the setting justice, but I can say it's one of my favorite book series ever.

I highly recommend The Last Colony.  If you're interested in the series you should probably start with Old Man's War but you can feel free to skip the second book and move right into reading The Last Colony.  It actually provides a much better paced story if you skip the second book, Ghost Brigades, and jump right into The Last Colony instead.

There are so many cool sci-fi things in this series.  I don't want to spoil any of them by giving you plot information though.  I'll leave you with this... If you are a Sci-Fi fan you absolutely owe it to yourself to pick up Old Man's War and get acquainted with this amazing series.


RevieWii-Uing the Situation
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 9:58 am

I haven't bought a new console since 2007.

Back in 2007, I could see an ad announcing a $100 price drop for a PS3, blithely assume that it would be backwards compatible, run out and impulse-buy the dern thing that day – even in a non-pay week. Then I could gnash my teeth and wait for games to come out. Oh, "everybody knows" the consoles time their big releases for November? Over here, "Black Friday" is the anniversary of some things burning down. I remember the Games Drought of 2007 and how it led to the Succession of Poor Gaming Purchases of 2008, and the Surprisingly Low Trade-In Prices of 2009.

Good times. I won't even talk about the Second PS3 Purchase of 2012, because I regard that as replacing some failing parts in my old PS3 and putting it in a slimmer box.

So, early adoption didn't work so good for me last time, and I didn't upgrade in 2013. I swore to hold off until prices dropped and there were enough good games out. Besides, I still had so many PS3 games to play.

I've noticed recently that prices are dropping into the realm of "Hazza's Stag Party" (regrettable but affordable, as long as it's a one-off), there's a few games to choose from, and I'm running out of PS3 games. Like the fan whose toe was squashed by Prince's original support band's tour bus, I can feel the time pressing near.

As a PS3 owner, I just assumed that when the time came to upgrade, I would get a PS4. But my impulse-purchasing days are over. I've got a wife and two credit cards kids to support. Now I have to think before I buy. This ... "thinking" has provided room to question my assumption. Into this room, doubts and even perhaps a modicum of product research have crept.

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Dungeons & Dragons Online – Ed Greenwood Interview (Complete Interview)
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 10:07 am

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

Here is the complete interview with Ed Greenwood, recorded for the Dungeons & Dragons Online Adventure Pack Haunted Halls of Eveningstar! DDO's take on this classic D&D module can be found in the game! Visit DDO.com for more information. Details: The main interview took place in Canada in November of 2013. Once the main interview wraps up (at around 1:03), a secondary interview begins. This secondary interview was recorded later, as a "pick up session" for several other in-game Dungeon Master lines along with specific questions related to in-game journal placement. NOTE: The interviewer was not mic'd during the pick-up session, so the session includes quiet sections towards the end when the interviewer is asking questions. Interviewer: Jerry Snook - Community Manager, Dungeons & Dragons Online (also thanks to Knockback and Purplefooz, among others, for their work on the questions and implementing the interview in-game.) Interviewee: Ed Greenwood - Creator of the Forgotten Realms and creator of the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar Hope you enjoy it! The photos are just a couple of quick picks taken on a phone at the time. Thought it'd be worth including them.


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Global Netflix
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 3:45 am
A reader alerted me to a story about Netflix wanting to make Netflix global, by letting everybody access all Netflix content everywhere, with no geo-blocking or regional restrictions. Unfortunately that turned out to be not a real announcement, but an overly enthusiastic interpretation of a line taken out of context in an interview done when Netflix launched in Australia. The CEO of Netflix is basically saying that he isn't worried about VPN use of his service (as people pay for that), and that if one day Netflix goes global, the VPN issue would go away. That isn't the same as announcing a plan for a concrete Netflix Global service.

While the EU revealed a Digital Single Market Strategy without geo-blocking, that also is more a statement of intent, and not an announcement of anything happening anytime soon. Many European governments, especially the French, are worried about cultural imperialism, and the effect on global film and TV industries if everybody can freely watch American TV and films.

What Netflix is trying to do is telling their customers that it is okay to use VPN, while not being explicit enough about it to get them into legal trouble with the copyright holders. The people who sold the US rights to some TV series to Netflix would much prefer Netflix having to pay far more for global rights, while Netflix would like to gain more oversees customers with the possibility to watch that TV series via VPN without Netflix having to pay for it. Earlier this year The Guardian revealed that Netflix has 30 million customers in countries where Netflix isn't even available, so all of these *must* use VPN to access Netflix.

While legally in a grey zone, this strategy gives Netflix a competitive advantage. Other services are far more restrictive and require an US address and credit card before a customer can watch their TV on demand. That is a lot harder to get around, and it is safe to say that there aren't 30 million people doing it.

As an European living in Belgium, the most annoying TV on demand policy to me is that of Amazon. You can watch Amazon Instant Video in several European countries, like the UK, France, and Germany. But Belgium, which is smack right in the middle of those three, doesn't have access because Amazon Instant Video is only available in the large countries which have a local Amazon store. Parcels with books and DVDs can cross European borders, streamed TV shows can't. And I have a hard time imagining that the rights holder gave Amazon an European license which excludes all the small countries, so I don't believe that this particular case is a rights issue.
Tobold's Blog



Video of “Community Management in the Culture Wars”
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 3:11 am
Game talk
The GDC Vault has posted up one hundred and forty free videos from GDC 2015. Holy Cow, almost as good as being there. Among them is the talk that Rich Vogel, Gordon Walton and I presented on “Community Management in the Culture Wars.” I’ve embedded it below, and I’ve also added it to the already [...]


五月病と不眠症の関係とは
Posted by 不眠症を治す方法をあれこれ検証【実体験・口コミ・調査】 [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 8:25 pm
五月病という言葉もかなり一般的になってきました。日本では4月から学校に入学したり、新しい職場に入るということが多いです。そうした慣れない環境ではストレスも多いですが、4月という大事な時期を乗り切るために、みなさん頑張ります。ただ、そうしますと心身に疲労が蓄積します。これが脳の機能を落とし、憂鬱な気分になったり、集中力が落ちたり、不眠症になってしまうのです。これは自律神経の面からも説明できます。自律神経には頑張って活動するための交感神経と、眠ったり休んだりして休息するための副交感神経があります。この2つがバランスがとれているのが理想的な状態ですが、新学期などで心身が頑張ると、交感神経が過緊張になるのです。すると、副交感神経が働きにくくなり、不眠症などの症状が出てしまうというわけです。そして不眠症は眠れなくて苦しいだけでなく、睡眠による体力の回復がしにくくなりますから、その疲労がさらに五月病を悪化させる原因にもなりかねません。それでは五月病はどうやって対策すればよいのでしょうか。まずは心と体をリラックスさせてあげましょう。具体的には軽い運動をすることがおすすめです。神経のバランスを整える効果があるからです。また、夜寝る前にはテレビやパソコン、スマホなどを見るのは控えましょう。光で脳が興奮してしまうからです。ストレッチで肩などのこりを取ったり、ホットミルクやココアを飲むのもリラックスにとてもよいですよ。


Sticky: DDOCast 376 – DDO Debates: Character Building
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 7:36 pm

Posted in DDO DebatesDDOcast PodcastDDOCast Site News

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DDO Debates returns as guests FailedLegend, Steiner-Davion, & Propane tackle questions relating to character building!  Then Steiner-Davion & Shamgar look at this weeks news! Check out www.ddocast.com for mp3 audio, our show calendar, swag, archives, and more! Want to support the show?  You can feed the kobolds (give money) on our website www.ddocast.com!  We use […]


Unofficial PBE Patch Notes for 3/30/2015
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 3:13 pm

WIP Post


New Profile Icons

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Champion Changes

Bard

  • Attack Range is now 500 (down from 550) [Note: reverted to live]

Blitzcrank

  • Overdrive [W] - Mini rework
    • Now gives 70/75/80/85/90% movement speed (up from 16/20/24/28/32%)
    • Movement speed now decays over duration
    • Duration is now 5 seconds (up from 8)
    • Now slows after the speed buff expires by 30% movement speed for 1.5 second.

Dr. Mundo

  • Sadism [R] - Cooldown is now 75/65/55 seconds (down from 75 at all ranks)

Evelynn

  • Dark Frenzy [W] - Now gives 4 movement speed for 3 seconds. Stacks up to 4 times.

Fizz

  • Urchin Strike [Q] - AP ratio is now 0.3*AP (down from 0.5*AP) [Note: reverted to live]

Nidalee

  • Base Health is now 586.2 (down from 631.2)
  • Base Health per level is now 75 (down from 90)
  • Primal Surge [E] - Cooldown is now 16 seconds (up from 12)

Rek'Sai

  • Tunnel [E] - New mechanic - Tunnels have now a second cooldown on use.
  • Queen's Wrath [Q] - AD ratio is now 0.2*AD (down from 0.3*AD)



DDO Screenshot of the Week #216
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 2:04 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

Njrvjjn finds a forgotten cavern in our 216th DDO Screenshot of the Week!


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Free Champion Rotation
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 1:18 pm

This week's free champion rotation has been posted. These champions will become free to play starting tomorrow March 31st.





Unveiling the Future of League of Legends

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

 

Almost one year ago, we debuted a new way to play League of Legends in a silly, fun game mode that turned competitive balance on its head in celebration of the yearly troll-fest known as April Fools. While we were ultimately kidding, many of our designers saw the opportunity to work on a true evolution of League gameplay inspired by URF. After reviewing player feedback and hammering out brass tacks, we felt confident we created the most refined gameplay experience League has inspired yet, all in time to iterate in preparation of the next competitive season.




A Castle to Call my Own
Posted by MmoQuests.com [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 10:34 am
I’ve never built an enormous castle in minecraft before, but yesterday I decided why not. The one pictured above took most of the day off and on to build, but I adore it. It’s enormous, 33×33 tiles, and probably more than 33 tiles high. It looks out over my property, and right now it’s completely … Continue reading A Castle to Call my Own


New Posting Schedule
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 10:00 am
If you haven't noticed, I've been on a bit of a post streak.  I started posting every day sometime in December and I kept it going for about four months.

It was a really good exercise and I had fun doing it, but in the past week or so I've felt like I can't quite keep up the pace.  I don't want writing to become a chore, because I really enjoy it right now.

So, I'm going to try moving to a 5 day per week post schedule.  I've noticed that my posts on the weekends don't get read as much anyway, so I'm going to try to aim for a post each weekday.  Except for April 1st.  No one takes anything serious on that day and it's right around the corner.

Anyway, I'm giving myself permission to skip posting on weekends if I don't feel like it.  You might still get 7 posts per week, but I'm not going to hold myself to it.  We'll see how 5 days per week feels for me going forward.

That's it for housekeeping.  Expect a return to your normally scheduled programming tomorrow.  And thanks for reading my writing!  You guys make it fun to keep posting!


The Trap That Could Not Be Resisted
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 7:36 am

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

To a hireling, it can loom larger than life, a veritable cornucopia of everything the hireling is, or was, or wants to be.


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Pillars of Eternity - First Impressions
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 8:55 am
I've played Pillars of Eternity for 16 hours now, which is longer than some other games are long, but short on the time-scale of this game. I'm still in Act 1! So this isn't a review yet, but just some first impressions.

Pillars of Eternity is most definitively and old school game. Gameplay is very similar to Baldur's Gate, but the world and story is original, and not licensed from Dungeons & Dragons. There are a few modern comfort functions added, but mostly the game offers very little in terms of handholding or even just tutorials. You are supposed to find out things on your own.

Sometimes the modern touches clash with the old stuff. For example you have a modern 3D character creation tool where you can make your character look as you want him to look. But then you need to choose one of only 66 2D character portraits, and of course none of them even remotely fits the character you just created in 3D. You might as well not bother, as most of the time you only see the 2D portrait anyway, unless you zoom in a lot.

In Pillars of Eternity you control a party of up to 6 characters. You create one character at the start, the other 5 are companions which you can either pick up during the adventure, or create yourself if you have the money. *Spoiler* The first three companions you meet are a wizard, a fighter, and a priest, but you don't know that when you create your main character. What works very well is making a rogue as your main character, so you get your companions with their stories and have all the basic classes covered. If you insist on let's say making a wizard, you end up with two wizards in the group, or miss out on that free companion. Plus you have to spend money on hiring a rogue companion to open locks and disarm traps, and the created companions don't have a background story and have less dialogue and interaction.

Personally I like Pillars of Eternity a lot, but it is not the most accessible game, designed more for veterans than for new players. Combat takes a while to get the hang of, as it is in real-time, with optional pauses. You have various auto-pause settings, or can pause the game with the space bar whenever you want. What is very helpful in combat is the option to zoom in very close, as you need to be precise. The game allows friendly fire, and my rogue once managed to backstab one of his companions because that companion was too close to the enemy and I mis-clicked. Area effect spells are rather tricky, because combatants tend to move while the spell is cast, and you can easily burn your own party with a fireball. At least path-finding has much improved since Baldur's Gate, although sometimes characters still get stuck and can't find a way to melee the enemy.

Pillars of Eternity is a very big game, and I can see myself spending many hours playing it through. Being an explorer at heart I'll probably just play it once, but if you want you can play through the game at different difficulties, including very hard settings with permadeath and reduced access to comfort functions like the stash. But there is also an easy setting with a reduced number of monsters for those who are mainly interested in playing through the story and exploring the world.
Tobold's Blog



March 30 - April 5
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 March 2015, 6:32 am

Spring is in the air, and so is another inch of snow for those of us on the east coast of the United States. We don’t sweat it, though. It’s just that whole lion/lamb thing you read about.

If this week’s release list had happened a mere month ago, you’d be reading about Project: CARS right now, followed by typing in a comment to the effect of how Axiom Verge was robbed, but this is the New Week Crew you’re dealing with! We live to bounce your expectations around a bit, but we’re not heartless: You’ll still get to say Axiom Verge was robbed.

First, though, let’s play a little Truth Or Dare. I choose truth, because any dare I take that’s videogame-related is bound to disappoint.

My dirtiest nerd-secret is that I don't like Star Wars. I find the storytelling to be incoherent after the original 1977 release and the technology appears to be following some kind of backwards Moore's law where everything gets crappier every year. Also, the existence of midichlorians means the rebels are just fighting to replace a divine-blood monarchy with a divine-blood oligarchy, and at that point it just becomes about what color the people blowing up planet-sized objects full of people are wearing.

My second dirtiest secret is that I like Star Wars games, because who wouldn't love to be a space-wizard?

Son of Nor, then, gets my Game of the Week nod. It offers all of the fun of being a Jedi without any of the messy philosophical questions like "Ok, Yoda. Up, your mind make. Is fear a bad thing or a good thing?"

What else we got, crew?

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March 23rd, 2015 – Stupid free magazines and puppies
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 March 2015, 12:14 am



March 26th – Randumb
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2015, 12:22 am



March 21st, 2015 – Fire Bad in Austin
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 March 2015, 11:52 pm



Temple of Elemental Evil in DDO
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 March 2015, 2:30 pm

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Temple of Elemental Evil in DDO On Wednesday March 25, Severlin, Steelstar, Knockback, and Cordovan from the DDO team posted a video on YouTube to preview the upcoming Temple of Elemental Evil quest from Update 25, which should be coming out sometime in April. The first thing i noticed while watching the video is that it […]


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New Star Wars Canon Timeline
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 March 2015, 10:00 am

Oh my god.  It's so tiny.  Look at that new canon timenline.

Just compare it to the abridged version of only the novels for the Legends Expanded Universe.


I'm having trouble letting go of the old Expanded Universe.  Can you tell?




The World of Online Games
Posted by Write The Game [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 March 2015, 8:14 am
Games that can be played via the net, with aid via internet may end up touted mainly because free game. These games are played using a computer all of which eventually have to have any feasible link with the world-wide-web. The internet business of on line flash games is quite vast it truly is largely […]


The price of verbosity
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 March 2015, 8:31 am
I was following a link from a post from Bhagpuss about turning your blog into a pdf or ebook file. The software didn't work for my blog. So I googled for similar services and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM failed to turn my complete blog into a book. None of the programs could handle my 4,985 posts with the 188 MB of data in XML format. Too bad, I would have liked to offer the pdf or ebook file to my readers for my upcoming 5,000th post.
Tobold's Blog



Final Fantasy Type-0 Wrap-Up
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 March 2015, 12:54 pm

I finished up Final Fantasy Type-0 last night!  As always with Final Fantasy spin-off titles it was really interesting to see what they did with the game and where they differed from normal.

I think the best thing they did with Type-0 is making it a mature game in a way that no other Final Fantasy game has been before.  Within the first few minutes you see an actual tragedy of war.  Death and being mortal are huge themes throughout the whole game.  And death often happens brutally, with blood.  Blood may not seem like a big deal in a game with war, but there is rarely any blood in a Final Fantasy game.  I'm surprised by how much weight it gives to the injuries and death in this game.

The themes and the story in Final Fantasy Type-0 are the strongest parts.  I loved watching the members of Class 0 develop together as the story progressed.  By the end of the game I felt a connection with each member, even though there are 14 playable characters!  The developers made it work somehow.

The counterpoint to this is the combat... it's not horrible, but it's not great.  After the first couple hours you will have seen everything the combat system has to offer.  The game is only about 15 hours long for an initial playthrough, so it's not a huge slog through the game but I was pretty tired of combat by the end.  It's basic hack n slash action-oriented gameplay without much depth.  You can assign a couple abilities to the face buttons on the controllers and that's it.  There are much better combat systems out there if that's what you're looking for.  Despite the combat, it's a good game.

It took me about 15 hours to beat Type-0 but the game is definitely set up for multiple playthroughs.  I can tell that the story would feel different a second time through, knowing what I now know.  There are big revelations at the end of the game that change how you look at things.  I also suspect that there are new missions and cutscenes on subsequent playthroughs.  Luckily, there's a New Game Plus option!  You can pick up right where you left off with your character development while taking them through the game again.  I love New Game Plus options in games, I wish they were more prevalent.

I'm glossing over many of the imperfections that exist in this game.  They're there because it's a port of a handheld game originally made for PSP.  You could nitpick a ton of things that result from this, but I had fun with the game overall so I'm not going to.  Just keep in mind, you're not getting a game built for the PS4 from the ground up.  This is a handheld port.  You have been warned.

I'm trying to think who I would recommend this for and I'm not entirely sure.  I like the game as a complete package, but I can't endorse it on any one aspect alone.  I suppose if you're a Final Fantasy fan you probably know whether or not you'll get it.  If you aren't a Final Fantasy fan chances are good that you're going to skip the game.  Like I said, I had fun with Type-0 and that's what matters to me.

There's a secret ending buried in the game that hints at a sequel.  The online community is already calling it Type-1.  After playing Type-0 I would definitely buy that game.  That's a pretty solid endorsement from me.  I liked Type-0 enough that if they made Final Fantasy Type-1 I would buy it day one, no question.

Final Fantasy Project Article List





The DDO Chronicle: Issue 135
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2015, 5:10 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

The latest bonuses, events, news, and more from the world of Dungeons & Dragons Online!


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