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Personal Shtuff

It’s never easy to go through a personal struggle, especially when you do it alone. Within the past month I’ve gone from great to good to terrible to decent to terrible (again!) and then back to decent. I’ve seen a very dark corner of my life and had some wretched days that I hope to never return to again. As of right this moment, I’m doing alright but I know it can change at any time.

Probably the hardest and most frustrating part about going through adversity alone is the fact that you are fighting yourself at every corner. Every single decision, every single thought and feeling is against yourself. You try and figure things out, analyze things, explain the reasons for events and actions but you have no second objective entity to bounce ideas off of, all you got is yourself. And being you, you almost always come to the same conclusions quickly. And before you know it you’ve just reassured everything you first proposed, only throwing out the truly insane ideas (or maybe not?).

Instead of returning down that path (I’ve done it before and it is not pretty) I’ve decided to ignore searching for “real” answers and just take what I’ve been given as the answer. Though not always applicable to all personal struggles, mine in particular should be easier this way. To be honest, I cringed right there when I typed out “easier”, because frankly it’s not easier. A better word for it might be salvageable, or carry-able? Regardless, I basically mean that in not trying to analyze too far and to go out and get that answer that I need to move on. Instead I’m taking what I’ve been given and working with that and using it as the answer to move on and to try to clean up the mess that has been made.

Anyways, I’ll be making more posts more frequently on a variety of stuff and I’ll be updating the blog itself so hopefully everything goes to plan this time (:

*Cough* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InHtHX3l-sQ *Cough*

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Over the last little bit of the summer I decided to see if I could play through some retro games that I’ve never had the chance to play before. Games that either I didn’t own the system (console) to play on or even just games that I never cared for or were too difficult to keep me going. Currently, I’m working my way through Final Fantasy as I never owned a NES (my first console was a PlayStation) and I have never been that big into RPGs.

So why would I play an RPG game if I’ve never really enjoyed playing them? Well, part of the reason is I’m bored and I need to keep my mind busy and working on something and trying something new is excellent for that. Plus, I have a brother who is crazy about RPGs and I wanted to beat him to playing the first Final Fantasy (he beat it shortly after I started 😦 ).

So after a very rocky starting (failed to equipped my weapons or armour LOL) I finally got a good save where I wasn’t dying every second battle :). This is my current team: Ahab (fighter), Vij (red mage), Tisq (black-belt), and Ofeb (thief). I should note that I made up all the names (except Ahab => Moby Dick reference) and that’s mostly because the game only allows for the names to be four letter long and since my name is five, it got shafted. Of course I’m playing it on an emulator (JNES) since I lack the time to go on a wild goose chase to find a working NES and reasonably priced Final Fantasy cartridge.

My Team in Final Fantasy I

In playing this game, I’ve come to realize a couple of things about the gaming industry. This game, whether you deem it as a flaw or not, doesn’t really tell you anything. Granted, I don’t own the manual, which as I understand it actually tells you about the spells and what they do which would be mighty helpful :). Regardless, the game makes no attempt to actually tell you how to play or really teach you too much about how to succeed. At the end of the day, you actually have to put in the effort to play and figure some stuff out. For instance, I didn’t even realize that I never equipped my weapons or armour until I actually tell the game to. Putting the stuff in the guy’s inventory isn’t enough and you have to actually equip it. Although probably not the best example, as I may just be a huge dunce at RPGs (I will admit to it) it wasn’t so obvious to me. Other things, such as getting poisoned and realizing you’re still poisoned after you healed up at the inn. How was I supposed to know that I have to use a Pure potion to get rid of the poison? Again, this doesn’t make the game bad, just a little frustrating in the beginning. Though I do feel that the game could be a touch more friendlier in pointing me in the right direction sometimes. But then I get thinking that this is exactly what Egoraptor was talking about in his Sequelitis video.

If you haven’t seen it, you should. Egoraptor goes into great detail about why the games are so different from today’s generation to the NES/SNES generation. He primarily talks about how games teach the player how to actually play the game. I won’t go repeating what he said, cause he said it so well already…HERE. So in essence, Final Fantasy to me at least is actually fairly good at teaching me while playing or, as Egoraptor calls it, Final Fantasy has solid conveyance. I learned most of the game through actually playing rather than googling FAQs or guides (which I hate doing and consider it just a touch below cheats). Of course, as I mentioned before, there are a few spots where they could improve on the conveyance in my opinion. But some of it may be just that I’m a newb at RPGs, which I can totally see ;).

Anyways, I hoped you enjoyed this post and I hope you take a look at Egoraptor’s Sequelitis videos (unfortunately he only made three 😦 ) and maybe let me know what you think. Have you ever been in the same situation? Or have you even encountered a game where you had no idea what to do? If so, give me a shout. I’d love to see what other people think.

Oh and as usual, here is my song for the week ==> The Strokes – What Ever Happened

-AlphaRed

Been a few months since I last posted so I thought I’d have a go at it.

Since May I’ve finished my spring/summer semester at university, passing all my courses (thankfully!) and was even able to find accomodations for the fall semester. Turns out that finding a room/apartment for four months is nearly impossible as every single landlord wants at the minimum eight months, which I completely understand. Especially given that most students that they rent out to only need the eight or 12 months. I, on the otherhand, am only at the university for the fall semesters and I head back home to my co-op placement/job. So an eight month lease/rent is of no use to me.

I also started digging into more C programming during that time. I even got super confident and tried my hand at modding the Quake 3 engine. Only to find that it’s not as easy as I thought, so I went back to square one. Started learning the SDL API so that I could start cranking out some graphical games, even if they are only 2D to begin with. Built a crappy Tic-Tac-Toe game, I say crappy because it had some major flaws to the program if you knew how to exploit it. I keep saying that I’d have to rewrite it to fix all the problems but I’m a lazy programmer and it kinda scares me to have to rewrite it all. Currently, I’ve kept at the SDL and C programming and I’m writing my own blackjack game, though it isn’t turning out exactly how I’d like it to. I can say for a fact, that I’ve learned plenty from writing both these programs and realize that I’m only gonna learn more.

Anyways, I think I’m done for now. I’ll try and post sometime soon (end of week maybe?) but until then I’ll leave you with a song that has grown on me over the past few months…

Interpol – NYC
-AlphaRed

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.” – Antoine Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars

This quote from one of my favourite French authors/writers is one that I find most extraordinary. Antoine Saint-Exupery is probably best known for his childrens literature entitled Le Petit Prince, or in English, The Little Prince. A childrens book that is probably so much deeper than one realizes but it indeed is. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you take a look. Having read it in both the translated English (which isn’t too bad tbh) and also in the French (thanks goes to my Grade 12 French teacher, Mrs. Robertson) I must say that is goes far beyond what you would expect.

Anyways, back to this quote :P. This quote is taken from his biography that Antoine wrote in the 1930s (just before his disappearance in 1944) entitled Wind, Sand and Stars. Though, I haven’t read this book (yet) I have taken a look at bits and pieces of it. In particular, this quotation strikes me as a very important piece of advice that anyone could take into account (and should).

At first glance, one would easily pick out the meaning. I’ve heard a few interpretations. Some people say that Saint-Exupery was merely saying that love isn’t about appearances, hence the “gazing at each other” and that it is more about looking forward or moving forward. Others suggest that it is more about working together to move forward rather than “butting heads” and facing off against each other.

Though both of these are valid interpretations, I’d rather look at it another way. The way, I believe, Saint-Exupery intended it to be seen. If I have learned one thing in my 20 years (coming up to 21 soon ;)) of living, it’s that one must always check the context of what one is reading/looking at. In this case, I decided that I would look at the English translation (all his books are in French) of the quote along with the surrounding paragraph. With a bit of luck, the book was located in my University’s library (along with online PDFs) so I’ll paste the whole section here.

No man can draw a free breath who does not share with other men a common and disinterested ideal. Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. There is no comradeship except through union in the same high effort. Even in our age of material well-being this must be so, else how should we explain the happiness we feel in sharing our last crust with others in the desert? No sociologist’s textbook can prevail against this fact. Every pilot who has flown to the rescue of a comrade in distress knows that all joys are vain in comparison with this one. And this, it may be, is the reason why the world today is tumbling about our ears. It is precisely because this sort of fulfilment is promised each of us by his religion, that men are inflamed today. All of us, in words that contradict each other, express at bottom the same exalted impulse. What sets us against one another is not our aims-they all come to the same thing-but our methods, which are the fruit of our varied reasoning.

A few read-throughs of that paragraph will make his intent very clear. What Saint-Exupery was really talking about was how people love those who share the same vision as them.

This becomes almost 100% apparent once you read the quote again. Saint-Exupery was jsut saying that those people who love one another have to share the same goals, the same “effort”, the same “ideals”. He talks a great deal about comradeship, or comraderie and specifically between pilots. This it because Saint-Exupery is actually a pilot himself. There is a great story in his biography about where he was lost in a desert with a co-pilot after they crash landed. Amazingly they survived and I think this experience lended itself to what he’s writing here.

Recently, I was able to experience this sort of love that he talks about when I was dating a friend. I can say, that in many ways we certainly “gazed at each other” but in many more we looked outward together. Unfortunately, for reasons I won’t disclose (tbh it’s hard to understand) the relationship ended about a month ago. And it’s been rough, but what makes it even harder is this quote. To know that we had so much “outward looking” troubles me every day. Maybe I’m just some sort of manic depressive or someone who just can’t give up. All I know is that everytime I think of her, I think of all the outward looking. I think of everything we had going for us. Of course I think of the bad stuff too, but it doesn’t seem to compare.

I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t rant about this. Not my place to really talk about it. So I’ll just end this here. Hope you all are having a good day/week/month/year, cause tbh, the last month (for me) has been a battle and a half.

-Alpha Red

So here it is. I’ve given up living how I was and now I’m going to go on a new journey. A new journey of letting go. And it will start now.

So I’ll probably being using this as my new outlet to say whatever I’m feeling. Since this place won’t ever get any publicity, I don’t think it should be too much of a problem (though private things will remain private).

So let me start off with a new song that I found while watching the movie The Girl Next Door. Ya, the one with Elisha Cuthbert, about the pornstar next door (not the one about the murder, which I admitedly almost watched). It’s from a Canadian band that, frankly, doesn’t get the amount of attention they should. So here it is, Sloan’s “If It Feels Good Do It” from their 2001 album (the same one another of my favourites, “The Other Man”).

So have fun bros!

-AlphaRed

Yo yo!

Had a few hours to myself a weekend or two ago and decided to tweak and update my Wilson CQB animations. I even got a little bit fancy and added the proper textures and self-illuminated lighting to show it off. And I must say, it looks quite good now. I’ll leave a link here for anyone to take a look and comment or critique as they wish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3fwEbVmpGk

In other news, university is coming to an end so I’m getting ready to hit the books and buckle-down and study. This term should prove quite a challenge so I’ll probably be not spending any time on any 3D projects nor any coding projects. But after, I can see myself taking a closer look at the Q3 source and maybe trying to whip up something along with going through the rest of my Learning C book.

And in between all this, I still gotta purchase some more Christmas gifts which is proving to be quite the challenge. Some of my family are easy to pick out things they need/want but others are a little harder to buy for. I think I just need to sit down and really put in some time and think about it. What I find is that I think of the best gifts AFTER I purchase their gift or even after Christmas itself. Of course my hindsight is horrible, though my OB textbook says otherwise with a perceptive bias known as hindsight bias. Regardless, I’ll hopefully get all my shopping down ASAP so I can concentrate on other things.

So in the meantime, I’ll try to post something new every few days whether it be a new song that is stuck in my head, or a website or game that I’m playing/addicted to. So I guess I’ll see you all later…

-AlphaRed