The Animal Farm

March 31st, 2006

Grizzly

I have nothing really to update about, but I haven’t updated this month, and I feel bad about it. This past month has really been a bit routine as far as school is concerned. Class all but makes me want to kill myself so something interesting happens in them( with the exception of a few hilarious women’s studies lectures ). My nightlife generally consists of WoW or UT2k4 or programming. I have managed to balance these things with little struggle. It turns out that this semester, I don’t seem to get as obsessed with WoW like I normally do. I really want to play it some days, and others I don’t. This is good because it means I don’t have to force myself to do my programming school work. The fact that one of the projects is a pretty sweet game doesn’t hurt. I actually enjoy programming this game, almost as much as I enjoy programming ZT( which I haven’t done anything significant to in some time ). I am level 56 in WoW, so “phat lewts” will soon be a comin’ my way.

Brian was playing in a mud puddle the other day and managed to track mud all over our freaking carpets. This wouldn’t be so bad if we owned a vacuum or a rug scrubber, but we don’t. We decided to just throw them out since we were going to do that anyway in a month.

Bad Idea

You see, we got these carpets a Wal*Mart thinking they were ordinary, not magical, carpets. We were wrong. They have the ability to produce an INFINITE amount of what can only be described as beach sand under them. We had the same problem last spring when we packed them up to move out as well. We assumed that any sand they could produce had already been produced. We learned the hard way how bad it is to assume. After many pointless tries at getting the stuff out, I just used the Swiffer to push the sand into a box and throw it away. It was terrible. We had to mop THEN Swiffer the floor again just to get the remaining fine coat of the white death out off the floor. We succeeded though, because we are awesome. The room looks a lot better without the carpet though, and I might actually be able to use the Swiffer to keep it this way, the demon-carpets prevented this before.

I have an interview with Lockheed Martin in DC in two weeks, wish me luck.

~Zach

Polish people don’t have handles on their coffee mugs!?

March 31st, 2006

Drinking

Let me tell you why people who drink often bore me:
Whenever you get two of these people together, conversation invariably deviates toward one topic: what each person drinks. “Oh, I like such and such,” and “Oh, I don’t really like such and such, but I like such and such.” Soon, the conversation shifts toward what someone drank the other night and how much they had. There’s the frequent, “I was soooo smashed, and I did [insert crazy story],” where the crazy story is really a pretty boring story, but they think it was interesting because they were drunk. Which goes into another tangent on preferred alcohol types, which goes into another boring story. This cycle can last indefinitely. My attention span lasts about two minutes through it, at which point I start thinking about other things.

Yea, that’s all.

March 25th, 2006

Mega Man 2 Intro

If ever there were something to justify the existence of the internet, it is that you can download the Mega Man Effect

It is a bit long for a tag-line.

March 23rd, 2006

Has it Really Been That Long

I’d be extremely surprised if anyone still read this site given the frequency of the updates lately, but I will press on regardless. Kingdom Hearts II comes ou in exactly six days. For those who haven’t been keeping tabs, it features Pirates of the Carribean and Tron this time around. I loved the first one, and for this my excitement can barely be contained.

Zach and I gave Ragnarok Online another shot earlier this week and were vastly disappointed. First, they haven’t fixed the lag problem - lag spikes are frequent and very noticeable and will often be the reason you die. Second, you die. Quite a lot. It’s not that I’m opposed to dying, but when I’m thrust in a beginner’s zone and there’s only one enemy out of, say, five that I can survive, it’s frustrating. Third, they added to the frustration by making an event wherein monsters that could kill us in a single hit densely populated the world. When I say densely populated, I mean they were in about every town and were sometimes waiting at my spawn point to kill me fifteen times in a row. Oh, if only that were an exaggeration. Fourth, the economy is hopelessly flawed. There was a katana I could buy at a normal NPC vendor for about 2,000 zeny. When I went to the streets to buy the same exact item, people were selling it for 20,000 and up. The game just isn’t as fun as it used to be, and we threw in the towel after about two days.

World of Warcraft is looking awfully appealing lately. I’m typically rather opposed to MMOs. The majority are giant time-sinks with little in the way of quality. However, I’m coming under the impression more and more that WoW is different, if only slightly. The primary appeal is that Zach plays it, and I rather enjoy multiplayer with him. But I don’t have the $50 the game costs to initially start up, so I won’t be venturing into that world.

Zach and I played Unreal Tournament 2004 last night and got hooked pretty fast. First Person Shooters are an interesting breed. I dislike the vast majority. But titles like Half-Life 2 and UT2K4 pull me in, and I love it. UT2K4 is Halo 2’s superior in every way. Gameplay is faster and more fun, the vehicles are more interesting, the play is more varied, and the general attention to quality is better. UT2K4 lacks any sort of real single player, but as I will say again, Halo 2’s single player was pathetic. And the new UT looks like it’s going to push some technical boundaries in a big way.

Pentium inside.

March 14th, 2006

XML Can Bite Me

There’s been a big focus on standardization among software engineers in the last few years. The reasons are obvious - if you adhere to a standard way of doing things, everyone else immediately understands how you did it, and work progresses faster. XML is a standard way of formatting data, and it has caught on in a big way.

I don’t really like XML, though. It is supposed to have advantages over specialized formats. Namely, you no longer have to think about the data format - you simply think about the data in relation to other data. In the end, though, this does not seem to simplify parsing the data, as you now have to deal with an annoying data heirarchy which is often over-kill. Also, XML is supposed to be human-readable. This, however, is bloated. The tags add a lot of unnecessary space as does representing all data as character arrays. And there is currently no way to include binary data, which means that representing large chunks of data efficiently is impossible. Finally, XML authors are freely available to use either attributes or elements arbitrarily, which can further complicate reading and parsing the data.

Of course, XML has some benefits. You are able to specify rules among the data and validate the XML files according to those rules. You are also able to add things to the data without breaking previous loaders, so long as the original data is still in tact.

But when you look at it closely, I think the cons outweigh the pros. It seems like a lot of hocus-pocus to avoid including a format specification with specialized formats, and “standardizing it” seems like a clever ruse to try and get companies to avoid proprietary formats. Of course, maybe I’m wrong. A lot of very talented folks are catching on to this, and I’d like to know exactly why. So if anyone knows, I’d be happen to entertain your arguments.

I now proclaim it to the world!

March 10th, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

The employees of the Sci-Fi Channel have done exactly one thing right. That is Battlestar Galactica. And when I say right, I mean it completely validates their existence up through its creation. For those of you who have ever watched the channel, you know that that is a lot of validating. I don’t know if you saw the season finale. Part of me feels you’re geekiness has reached that level, but another part of me knows that there are too few of you to place any significant bets. However, if you did watch it, you know that the series is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

And on top of that, they had an episode of Firefly on prior! Now if they’d just get rid of this ‘Minotaur’ and ‘Dragon King’ trash, and produced more commercials which are better than most of the actual shows, they could be an actual decent channel.

And now I feel it’s time to advertise the newest workings of The Animal Farm - Parody! The name will change, but Parody is a 2D comedy-oriented RPG being developed by me, Zach, and Mel - Mel being the artist I randomly recruited who is dead-set on not flaking. There is a story written, some concept art, some design, and I’m going to begin heavy programming this week. I’m excited. Most prior RPG attempts have ended half-finished (although Guardian Sagas 1 did come amazingly close). But now I feel I have the skillz; it’s simply time to pay the billz.

Blue-Beard: What be yer name, boy?
Gxasddf: I’d rather not say.
Blue-Beard: Yarrr, this be no time to be keepin’ secrets, if ya get my drift.
Gxasddf: No, it’s not that; it’s just… really hard to pronounce.
Brian - 3/4/06 - Transporter 2
If ever there was a move to chronicle the general awesomeness of the Deadliest Man Alive, it would be Transporter 2. While the main character doesn’t have the same personality as our esteemed Gabriel, the general power is similar.

To review the movie - your ability to like it will be directly inverse to how often you find yourself screaming “That’s BS!” when over-the-top things happen. If you can’t handle a man flipping a car upside down in the air to scrape its under-belly along a crane to get rid of a bomb on the bottom and then landing perfectly, you won’t find any enjoyment here. However, if you like to see people visibly dodge bullets, you’re in for a treat.

What’s rule number 4?

March 3rd, 2006

Brilliant!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when the whole world affirms that you are, in fact, a genius. This happened to me last night, when it took less than an hour to implement a pretty wild flame thrower in Project Geo. Today I cleaned it up and made it more colorful. The next thing I have to do is implement homing missiles (and related weaponry) and then toss in a few enemy types while my team tosses in the others. The game is shaping up remarkably well.

I met Mel yesterday - my new artist buddy. She’s a hip cat with a penchant for shennanigans. That’s a bold-faced lie, of course. I have no evidence that she has ever performed a single shennanigan, let alone acquired a penchant for them. But she is a talented artist, currently applying her talents to Project Parody (name tentative). She also wore a Raccoon City Police Department shirt to the meeting, which made my feet tingle subtly. Interpret that however you like.

Note to Doss: Both the Deadliest Man Alive and the World’s Deadliest Man have been written into Parody.

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