Archive for June, 2012

VGHVI Tekkit: June 14, 2012

Jun 26 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Partway through June, we tried out a Minecraft mod pack called Tekkit as our VGHVI game. (Patrick Holleman was kind enough to host.) I just wandered around taking pictures of the new blocks; here they are.

The first thing I saw was strange orange pipes; they turned out to be the top of some sort of automatic mining device.

These are the tops of automated mining devices

Looking down into a mine

Looking back into the mine once I have my draw distance fixed

Sunset above the mine

The bottom of one of the mine pits

Then I went into the nearby castle:

Castle entrance

An indoor farm

Some strange colorful pipes, I think for sorting

Our genial host

Pipe system on the roof

More roof ducts

Some pipe machinery in the basement

The output of those pipes

There's a lot more stuff in the item list

After wandering that castle, I traveled to another hall; I think that one was Pat’s, but I’m not completely sure.

Going for a ride

Approaching our destination

Inside the hall

Looking down from the roof

Walking through rubber trees

A strange apparatus

Computer monitor

Outside view of hall

Traveling back through the snow

An interesting tour, and I liked the way Tekkit was packaged; very convenient. There’s clearly a lot of stuff there; I didn’t have the energy to really dig into it (frankly, I’m still scared of getting sucked back into Minecraft, and it could be a lot worse with Tekkit), but it wouldn’t surprise me if Miranda has already started playing Tekkit on her own. Many thanks to Pat for showing us around!

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Rock Band Status: June 24, 2012

Jun 25 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I continued my tour through Tier 4 this week:

  • Foolin’: Not my style of music, but interesting enough to play.
  • Killing Loneliness: interesting enough variant chords and arpeggiation; something weird going on with the tuning (dropped D but something else beyond that) so I couldn’t play plugged in, which was sad.
  • Plush: pleasant chord variants, the arpeggiated bit was a bit hard for me, I enjoyed listening to those chord variants when plugged in.
  • My Sharona: pleasant repetitive bassy part that taught me to lift my left hand to prevent notes from sounding; first solo was fun enough, second way too hard/long.
  • Misery Business: fun single note runs, reasonably fun dropped D power chords, occasional quite odd chords mixed in there, half of which I could sometimes get. Unfortunately, the whole song seemed like it was tuned a half step low, so I couldn’t play it plugged in.

So: no revelations, nothing I’m planning to come back to regularly, but I’m happy to have gone through those songs. A bit of a pity that two of the songs were more unusally tuned than normal; ah well.

Which leaves me with only two songs and I’ll be done with Tier 4! Sir Duke and Humanoid, specifically; I was tempted to just finish the tier this weekend, but I had just enough errands to run on Sunday that I didn’t want to take a chance and squeeze in two more songs. Next, weekend, though! At least I hope so—I’ll be busy all day Saturday, but I should have time on Sunday. Though on Saturday I hopefully will have a chance to play Rock Band with Dan Apczynski and Kirk Hamilton, which I’m really looking forward to; I’m very curious what the game will sound like with good singers and with a plugged in guitar and bass. And I’m looking forward to trying out some of Dan’s guitars, I’m thinking it’s time for me to buy a better guitar to play with.

Liesl and I also finally got caught up on our DLC backlog on Sunday night: we went through maybe 35 songs, many of which were quite good. It’s enough of a blur that I don’t have specific recommendations to make here, but definitely a good way to take advantage of the fact that Miranda is out of town so we didn’t have to worry about keeping her awake.

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Rock Band Status: June 17, 2012

Jun 17 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

It was a busy weekend (we were doing other things on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons), but I did manage to find an hour and a half or so to practice guitar. And I actually went through a couple of new songs then (as well as my normal practice of older songs), though admittedly the fact I went through two was for bad reasons: the first song, Before I Forget, was the sort of metal that I dislike enough that, given that I got three stars on it the first time through, I didn’t feel compelled to play it through a second time. Lots of fast boring notes at the start, sometimes single notes and sometimes dropped D power chords; the rest was stuff that I’m better at playing (otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten three stars!) but not stuff I enjoy listening to more.

The other song, Here I Go Again, was more pleasant: certainly not one of my favorite songs on the disc, but I didn’t mind it. The solo was way too hard for me, but also super short; I managed to maintain good streaks through the rest of it, leading to me (rather to my surprise) hitting #74 on the leaderboard. (And that only took, I think, three playthroughs?)

I think that’s ten songs down on Tier 4, and seven left? I won’t exactly say that the end of the tier is in sight, and I still think there’s a decent chance that I’ll hit a Tier 4 song that I can’t get three stars on without more practice than I want to put in right now, but for now I’m enjoying my progress.

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Ni No Kuni Status: June 13, 2012

Jun 14 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I picked up Ni No Kuni yesterday for the first time in a while. For two weekends, I’d been too busy to play it; last weekend, I wasn’t so busy, but I was catching up on other stuff; and I’m busy this upcoming weekend. So I figured I should play it mid-week.

Upon starting it back up, I left the town I’d been in, and traveled to the next dungeon. It was dragon-themed, and started off looking puzzle-ish, with flames blocking one route and another route having a locked door. So I went in the third direction.

At which point I ran into tough monsters, and poison floors; these combined to cause me to act defensively in combat, and for me to worry about running out of magic. I didn’t take various branches of the dongeon, because they were covered with poison and I didn’t think they contained anything crucial (just chests with bonus stuff); I did reach a room that let me turn off some of the flames. So, with difficulty, I made it back to the entrance, where I could save and recharge.

What I couldn’t do was advance: the locked door was still locked, and I’d only turned off half the flames. So I guess I needed to do more exploring in that first direction; at the time, I assumed I should go down some of the poison branches, but now I’m thinking I should have used a spell to let me float over some pressure-sensitive plates in the room where I turned off the fire. In fact, now that I type this, I should have used a spell to let me float over the poison floors; silly me. (Maybe I would have thought of that if I’d been playing more regularly.)

But, ultimately, I’m going to stick with the lesson I took out of that hour and a half of play: this game is not for me. I don’t like JRPG’s, my Japanese isn’t good enough for me to enjoy the narrative (and I strongly suspect the narrative isn’t that good), and if my goal is to learn Japanese, there are much more effective ways for me to spend my time. No regrets about ordering the game and playing through the beginning, but I should have put it down some time ago, and have done so now.

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Rock Band Status: June 10, 2012

Jun 10 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I didn’t play any Rock Band the previous two weeks, because I was too busy practicing piano for Miranda’s violin recital. That’s over now, though (and it went well), so: back to guitar!

I did a little more review than normal on Saturday; fortunately, I wasn’t too rusty. And my triplet practice is paying off, I did noticeably better on Something Bigger, Something Brighter than in previous weeks! The new song I tried that day was Portions for Foxes; it was in a dropped D tuning, which normally I don’t like, but that’s largely because I associate it with metal power chords. (I have nothing against power chords, my complaint is with the metal part of that association, though I actually find power chords less enjoyable to play in a dropped D tuning.) This time, the chords were all over the place, including chords that included open bottom strings where that wouldn’t have made sense otherwise; worked well. And it was a good challenge level in general. I don’t plan to return to the piece, if for no other reason than that my guitar has a hard enough time staying in tune even when I’m not changing the tuning, but I’m glad I went through it.

Today I learned Fly by Night. Which took maybe ten tries (I’m not sure) before I got the third star? It didn’t feel that hard, and didn’t sound that bad when I played it plugged in; I think what was going on there was more that the song fairly regularly threw isolated chords at me that I missed (in some cases because the controller has a harder time detecting them, e.g. when I play an A chord one of the strings frequently registers as first fret), so even when I’m hitting most of the notes I almost never built up a streak. But I kept at it, and eventually managed to get that third star. Still, it took long enough that I decided two songs was enough for the weekend.

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VGHVI Minecraft: May 24, 2012

Jun 02 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Not many pictures this month: people either weren’t doing much building or weren’t telling me about it. First, a couple of shots of older scenes:

A deep cave with a waterfall going down into it

Looking down from the mossy tower

Dogs inside a house

Speaking of animals, Jonathan was spawning cats and kittens, here are some pictures:

Cat by a tree

Jonathan with cats

Cat and kitten in snow

Miranda and I decided to return to the cave that we dug out in the very first VGHVI Minecraft session back a year and a half ago. First, a picture from the door to the cave:

Moon through cave entrance

I dug out an alcove on one side, with a magic library in it:

Working on a library

Putting an alcove in the back

And Miranda built a somewhat more elaborate set of rooms on the other side:

Rooms with hearth

Sleeping alcove

You can tell that we both like libraries

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