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Vaasman Blog

Actual updates? If you say so.

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For some reason, I take the time to write out all of these blogs. Most likely it's from intense boredom. This time though it may be because I actually got frustrated and had to stop playing games for a couple hours to cool off. I've been playing Minecraft, and I got to the bottom of a shaft, got blown up by a creeper and knocked into lava, losing my diamond tools and several mine car tracks that I wasted tons of steel on. Took a lot of self control not to just delete the world. Ofcourse now that I'm breaking, it is rather in this world outside of my pc. There's nothing ever on TV, I've read most of the books I bought over the summer, and I just got done watching The Social Network, a great movie, especially in the writing. Last time I updated was way back in ancient times so I'll give the 2-3 people who skim this an update.

I dropped out back last winter and slumped around for a solid part of the last year, doing basically nothing. Maybe not the world's greatest life choice, but whatever, nobody is perfect. This fall I actually did get back into school though, at UC Clermont, in Liberal Arts lol. It's community college for now, but if I get my grades up I might transfer to UC's main campus to work on a Bachelor's. Been doing well so far, though it's hard to compare Mechanical Engineering to community college Liberal Arts in terms of difficulty.

I did get back into reading books, which is something I haven't done in a long time. Most of my entertainment time is spent using the computer, and I began to regret it a bit. So I went out to Border's and bought a whole bunch of books people recommended to me.

I spent the summer reading the first 11 books in The Dresden Files series. Overall I enjoyed them quite a bit. The books definitely got better as they went along, though as a whole, it's pretty easy to sum it up as Harry Potter for adults, with a spoonful of Sherlock Holmes thrown in. I did appreciate the complexity of the main character, Harry Dresden, and the fact that he's not invincible helped a lot. And by not invincible, I mean he gets his ass kicked every book. I think at least once a book he was either stabbed or shot or set on fire. Jim Butcher might as well have called the series "The Wizard Who Takes Bullets Well." Really though I did enjoy them though for some genuine dialogue, snappy narration, and well conceived plots. There are a few things that bugged me however. Mainly the way things are named. Jim Butcher reached deep down into his creative bank, and apparently could only come up with the Never Never as his magic world running parallel to ours. The wizards all answer to the White Council. I mean I'm not asking you delve into imaginary languages J.R.R. Tolkien style, but as someone dabbling in creative writing, these feel like names I could make up in 3 minutes.

The next book I tried was How To Win Friends and Influence People. I've never tried a self help book and I figured it might be a good idea to get into this kind of thing, or at least see what it's about. Honestly though I didn't finish it. Not that it was bad, but I just didn't find it as anything but writing down common sense. Really, people like when I remember their names? No way. Oh people like when I compliment them? I had no idea. There were a couple that were a little more helpful, like never showing someone they are wrong overtly, but overall if felt like things I already implicitly knew. My other big criticism was that most of the examples described were composed for a business setting. It would have been nice to see more situations that were purely social.

I've slowed down since I got back into school, but I did start the Song of Ice and Fire series. I've read the first book and about a third of the second, and so far I love it. It's chock full of a lot of really messed up characters, which really don't seem all that messed up considering that people did a lot of crazy stuff in medieval times. It's pretty damn graphic too. A good bit of incest and violence all with plenty of detail. Some murder and power grabs and other very dark activities. My only concern so far is that I'm finding the second a bit harder to read. It's rather slow compared to the first, which starts of with multiple deaths and lots of development. I could definitely recommend it to anyone that is over 18 and appreciates fantasy that is low on actual fantasy and high on flawed humanity.

As far as games go, I haven't really picked up too many since my last post. Back in July I got Starcraft 2, and right around September, I was pretty much done with it. I liked the campaign and love the custom games, but competitive multiplayer in Starcraft has always bugged me. Mostly because if you want to compete, you have to go about 15 minutes or more with absolutely no down time. Taking a break means you will get steamrolled, hard. At least in first person shooters if you die or nobody is around, you can take a few seconds to catch your breath, and prepare. Starcraft 2 is too fast pace for that kind of thing, but then again if I move back down to a lower level on the ladder, it just isn't challenging at all. My other major concern was that the story was pretty weak and the dialogue was awful. I expect better, considering it's the same company who made starcraft and warcraft 3. The entire story is told with weak cliche's and dialogue straight from about three hundred throw away movies. They also ruined Kerrigan as a villain, and the ending was basically a joke. Blizzard is rich, they should be able to hire something better than a 3rd grader to write stories.

I played a few other games but mostly it was smaller indie games that kept my attention. I tried Penumbra on a recommendation, and honestly I didn't really think it was that scary. It was for a little while but I pretty quickly figured out you can just beat the dogs to death, and then it stopped working on my computer. It was unique though, and a great step towards their next game, Amnesia. I pretty much fell in love with the game as soon as I heard there were no weapons, and you just have to run like a sissy. I haven't tried a lot of the older horror games like the silent hill franchise, but from what I have played Amnesia is easily the scariest game I've played. Some of the puzzles were weird but mechanics of insanity and light, mixed with environments nearly pitch perfect in atmospheric execution, had me loving it all the way through. I don't know if it would be all that great for multiple playthroughs, considering plenty of it is scripted, but the initial run is truly intense.

I did get Vanquish and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood over Christmas. I tried Vanquish first, and I was done with it in two short sessions, with a playtime of maybe 6-7 hours. That's pretty damn short considering it has no multiplayer or co-op, and it's only real replay comes from scoring and difficulties. It got a 9 here but it just felt flawed to me. The core combat was fast and fun, but scenario variety was lacking, most of the weapons were underpowered, the story and dialogue were laughable, only sometimes in a good way, and there was little real depth to the product. All flash and no substance is a good way of describing it.

I liked Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood much more. While not as good as the second, I still thoroughly enjoyed it's setting and gameplay. Most of the same good stuff was there, of course so were most of the flaws. One part I really enjoyed were clearing towers, with a specific target you had to kill before you could scale the tower. Some of them were pretty easy, just run up and shoot the guy. Others took a lot of planning and guard manipulation to get right. I liked the freedom allowed for these scenarios. I was a bit put off by the lack of polish on the game though. Plenty of physics bugs and story bugs. Once during the campaign I turned invisible for a solid period until I restarted the game. I still had lots of fun, and anyone who likes the first 2 will like Brotherhood. The multiplayer was what really kept my attention. I don't think it necessarily has legs, but it's hide and seek method of play is really unique, and exceptional fun for a while.

Also I did try APB but if you ever check out SWM you'd already know that I wrote a lengthy review on how much I hated it. Honestly I've played a lot of games and I could say it was one of the worst I've played. How it got anything above a 3 is beyond me.

If I get bored again someday I might write some reviews some time, though it could be a while. I anticipate most of the titles I want this year are all going to be near the tail end of the year.

It's like your own personal secret diary, that billions of strangers can read.

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Anyone who's actually followed my blog knows that waaaay back in like October my gaming desktop kicked the bucket. I really wanted to fix it but could never motivate myself to because I have my xbox 360 and laptop to sate my needs. Well finally I got it fixed and god damn how did I live with out it?! Unfortunately the old motherboard and HDD are basically gone, but in their place I have an even faster motherboard and a 1TB HDD, which is a sexy amount of data.

I'm honestly not sure how I can use that much, I mean I game a lot but really I can't actually see myself using all of 1TB. I mean even if every game I ever play is ten gigabytes, a ridiculous exaggeration,that's still over ninety games. Rad. The new motherboard is nice too. It's been playing all my games just as fast as the last one, which includes Crysis maxed a 1680x1050, no AA, at around an average of 30-40 fps depending on the locale. I mean it's almost 2 years old now so I'm definitely not going to knock it if it stutters a tiny bit on those ridiculously huge Crysis locales at max, and it never dips to unplayable. Also this board supports HD audio, faster internet connections, and even more RAM, though I already am running 8 gigs of DDR2 so really I can't see that being a big deal for quite a while.

It's really nice to get back into all those games my laptop couldn't run, or at least run well enough to make it worth it. This basically includes games like Crysis, TF2, World in Conflict. Not that TF2 is the best looking game ever but playing online with 32 people made it run like a slideshow. Even Dragon Age was crawling on it at all low settings. Of course on the desktop it yawns and runs Dragon Age maxed at a solid 60 fps. That game really does look much much nicer, though like I said way back in my last blog post, it's still no looker.

So lets see, I've played a lot of games since my last blog post, I'll just go over each briefly, starting with Mass Effect 2. God it was great. The main story felt a little quick, but theyadded morecompelling characters and dialogue, fixed menu systems, gunplay that was so much better, and it suffers from much less technical issues. It's by no means perfect but damn it was quite a ride. I got into a lot of debate with people on whether or not it ME2 is in fact an RPG.I can at least understand that opinion, as it is much more focused on the gunplay than the last game. However I feel it has really succeeded at what the first set out to do: be a shooter/RPG hybrid. In ME1 gunplay didn't really feel very strong, because your guns did relatively little damage and there was really no effect for hitting anyone in a specific body part. It's largely been resolved in this game, and it keeps enough of it's RPG elements to still qualify as an RPG. Especially of course in the traditional sense, where you are really Role-Playing.

Before that I played Bayonetta and Darksiders. Bayonetta was a hilariously good time. This game is so epicly cheesy I can't get enough of it. Plus there's a ton of replayability and unlockables and even more difficulties to play. The one thing I didn't like was the last chunk of story, when the game suddenly starts taking the story seriously, even though it's crazier than a banana sandwich. The gameplay is a blast and I can just skip those melodramatic moments anyway so it's not much of a complaint.

Darksiders was definitely a great game too, though it really bothered me that they ripped off so much from other games. Everyone pretty much knows that already by now though. For what it's worth, I still enjoyed it, and found it's story interesting enough to get into, even if War tries his best to be unlikeable the whole game. The game felt short though, for a Zelda-esque experience at least. I managed about 14 hours and I think I found most of the unlockables. Overall it's still a great game but really it's just something to tide us over until more Zelda comes out. [spoiler] Actually something I'd really love to see is a sequel that plays in a co-op 4 swords style gameplay. That would really make it a more rewarding experience if they make a sequel. [/spoiler]

I've been recently playing a lot of Bad Company 2 and I must say this is a great game. The graphics for starters, are really good. The jungles especially feel realistic, very believable canopy and foliage is where this game shines. The one thing I thought was hilariously bad though were water effects. The standing water looks decent enough but rain and waterfalls look downright ugly. I did play the 360 version so I'm not sure if it's any better on PC. The story's about as generic as they come too, but really it's still a battlefield game and battlefield is all about multiplayer. Just as a quick reference point, it's basically what Modern Warfare 2 should have been. The gameplay is far more balanced, the leveling system isn't as inherently broken, though it still sucks in my opinion, and there are way less bugs and exploits. I've only played about 3 hours of MW2 online and that's about all I need to. It was very disappointing compared to the first, much like Gears 1 to Gears 2 was multiplayer-wise. I hope Battlefield 3 comes out soon but any fan of the series will love BC2.

And lastly I caved and bought Pokemon Heartgold. As a complete fan of the original blue and red, I was skeptical of the original gold, but I bought it and was pleasantly surprised. I didn't want any of the other ones though, because pretty much after the original 250, design just started getting lazy. I mean take pokemon like Pikachu for example. It looks like a cute bunny/mouse that shoots electricity. It's a great design, great enough that pikachu is basically the icon of the franchise. Conversely, can anyone seriously tell me with a straight face the pokemon Arceus is memorable, beside the fact that it's supposedly pokemon god? Or Giratina? Or any of those newer dragon types?Can anybody even tell me just what the **** Bronzor is supposed to be?I feel like the creators have basically run out of ideas, and are just slapping any random shapes to eyes and calling it the next pokemon, just to have more. Now so far I'm really enjoying Heartgold, I just got past the elite 4 (really 5). I'm starting to get into the newer pokemon areas in Kanto though, and so far I am not especially pleased with the truly messed up pokemon I am seeing.

Anyone want to recommend another PC game to play? I've been dying for a new game ever since I got it fixed. Let me know.

TL; DR

fixed computer, played some games, recommend me a newer PC game.

Yo Blawg...

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Updates? Yea I'm definitely out of Dayton come January, I just need to let the Dean know and that's that. I'm thinking I might head down it UC. It's cheaper, and it's closer to home. But most importantly, it's cheaper. I'd still like to do writing. Maybe. I should take one of those tests online really that tells you what you'd like to do. Of course I've been told those don't really work so whatever.

I got Windows 7 up on my laptop. I reformatted so it runs way faster now, thanks to getting rid of all that stupid school software. My desktop is still ****ed up. I should really take it to a best buy, or even have my more computer proficient friends mess with it. It's definitely a hardware failure, I tried reformatting with windows 7 and it won't even start up anymore. I just have to hope it was one of my less expensive components that's busted.

I've been playing 3 new games recently: Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed 2, and Forza 3. Forza 3 is really awesome, but I'm not much of a car fan. If it runs it's fine has always been my motto with cars. So when I play the game I can't really get into it a whole lot. One of my roommate's is a car enthusiast though, so he gets a lot more out of it. Assassin's Creed 2 was awesome as well. I really enjoyed the first a lot, but the second just feels that much more satisfying. The main problem I had was it just felt too easy. I don't think I died even once the whole game, which should really be an achievement but I won't make them write it in.

And then there's Dragon Age. I honestly wasn't too excited by the initial footage, but I trust Bioware to make good games, and it got excellent reviews, so I figured I would check it out. I'm definitely glad I did, it's easily my favorite RPG in a while. It has a few minor problems, but overall the gameplay is great, the story is awesome, the sound is excellent, etc. etc. I've heard a lot of people comparing this to the Witcher, which in someways is justified. They have similar art, similar themes, similar settings. Honestly though I thought playing the Witcher was excessively boring. I found it hard to keep going, whereas with Dragon Age I couldn't seem to put it down. Neither was particularly unique either way, but I don't really consider that a bad thing. One thing Bioware does better with there stories is simply tell it in a very compelling way. I think it's very similar to the formula Pixar uses when writing movies. Sure the setting isn't the most unique, and the themes are played out, but it hardly matters, because Pixar and Bioware can take an overused theme and breath life into it with incredibly strong dialogue, compelling characters, and great set pieces. The main problem I had was since my main computer is down, I have to play on my laptop, which struggles to run it even with everything on low. Once my desktop is fixed I'd like to go back and play again with all the graphics up and running at a smoother frame rate, even though it never really will be the world's most amazing looking game.

If anyone would like reviews put a comment down, otherwise I'll just be lazy and not write any. Much props to anyone who reads these.

Blog? Oh, I think I'm dropping out of college.

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So I'm in my 3rd year of Mech. Engineering at the University of Dayton, and I'm pretty much skipping every class. I really freaking hate doing all my homework and studying, so I think I'm just going to go in a different direction. I write here on the forums a lot and it makes me think I should write something. I mean, if I enjoy it, why not make a career out of it?

That's always been my philosophy. I mean if I'm going to be doing the same thing for 30 years of my life I might as well be happy, and for me that was never going to be something that included being a desk jockey for 8 hours a day. Plus I feel like I have really cool ideas for stuff I'd like to write. Sometimes I wonder though if anyone would actually want to read what I write, and it makes me nervous. I feel like I've always been a very creative type though, even if I'm not very vocal. Like on paper everything always comes out exactly how I want, I'm never nervous and I never say stupid things(well I wouldn't say never exactly ;) ) , because I can always go back and fix it.

Ahem, so gaming, yea, my desktop basically bricked and I can't find my original driver CDs to fix it. Gooood times. I'm thinking of just buying Windows 7 and upgrading to save myself the trouble. So now I'm doing everything off my crappy laptop which drives me crazy. It's got decent hardware for being 2 years old, but it's loaded with tons of networking and school garbage I can't get rid of or I lose access to the network. So I've been stuck playing WoW a lot. I haven't actually bought a game in a while. That's not entirely true I guess, I got ODST and Bowser's inside story last month, both were very good. Those are pretty much the only 2 games recently I got really excited about. I feel like there's been a big drought on games I am excited about.

I'll probably start updating more often. If I decide that writing really is my thing, I will want to practice a lot here, either in my blog or in updates, forum posts, etc. If anyone actually reads my blog posts then get excited! WOOOO!

I'm writing in my blog!

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It's been like a friggin year since I bothered updating my profile :D. It's ok though no one cares anyway. In fact even I don't care, I'm just bored.

My new rig is delicious.

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It's basically a future computer that is soft and moist that you can eat while you work.

kidding, but kudos if you enjoyed the reference, or are actually reading this blog.

Seriously though this thing is a monster. I'm going to put the specs at the end of this blog, but lets just say that it eats Crysis for breakfast. It's also a sexy devil. I bought an NZXT Blue Apollo case, as well as several components that run with blue LED lights, and a neon light, so it lights up blue each time I turn it on. It's like a night light really.

Vista rules. It includes a lot of features that really helped me out, even as someone who at least has a moderate understanding of how computers work. For example, vista looks up the drivers on new hardware. I bought a set of USB headphones, they're really nice btw, and they wouldn't work on my old pc. I was confused at first, but I tried em on the new rig and vista went online and dl'ed the newest software for them. Rad. Not sure how much it does this for but still I thought it was cool. Also the tabs at the right are nice, it's got the weather, a nice analog clock, and a meter for my memory and cpu's current usage. It also sorts files based on catagory, like it actually keeps games in the game folder. I was like OMG NO WAI when I found crysis in there already. I don't know it's a lot of little things like that, maybe it's not that great lol. The one thing is that when you first use it it checks EVERYTHING. Even programs that came with vista. But seriously in 64bit I never get lag, so that's hardly a complaint.

The only major concern is that Ibuypower.com, the people I bought it from, suck. They sent it and it came screwed up. I guess I can't entirely blame them since it was really a shipping error, but their customer service is a big pile of ass. I sent it back and it came working, but seriously **** that.

Anyway I lied about the specs because I'm lazy, but if you actually read my blog and want to know about them message me.

rest in peace 360 #2 Jan 2007-August 2008

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Is anyone actually reading this yet? I doubt it. Anyway I was playing castle crashers today which is a hilarious blast, but it froze on a load screen and then gave me the RRoD. Me am cry. The good news is I get my new pc on Saturday, and it kicks ass. Plus I think I'll just play on my room mate's 360, I've been trying to get him to try co-oping with me so maybe this will help.

Seriously I wish this were a more advertised game, no one I know is even interested in playing, they just watch for a minute and then leave the room, even after I mention the co-op ability. Not that it matters anyway since the 360 is now in the can for 4 weeks. Luckily beyond all the great games that just came out for the arcade, there isn't jack **** to play for the next few months on my 360, so it's not like it would have gotten any use anyway. My new pc on the other hand get's a crash course in Crysis on Saturday, and will soon be followed by World in Conflict and Battlefield 2. That should tide me over.

...Blog?

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This area seems to be painfully neglected. look at how sad and dried up it is. I think I must just be a boring person. I mean I have school and stuff but who really honestly cares.