Thursday, November 10, 2005

Battle.net blues

So since I've been playing Warcraft 3 on battle.net, I've noticed a few things.

Most everyone on battle.net is a kid, or at least acts like one. impatient, immature, ignorant. They also fall into 2 categories from there, which is "pro" or "noob". im afraid im in the noob category compared to some of these lifetime battle.net pros. I'm sure theyve been there since the day it came out. but there are worse noobs than me, unfortunately.. and whenever i get in a game with them i have to smile because they make me look better ;)

The downside to legitimately purchasing blizzards Warcraft 3 is that since they have battle.net, they eliminated the ability to connect peer-to-peer tcp/ip connections. so no more "lan" games with your friends across your internet connections. although I think I've figured out that we can hook up a windows VLAN, and that might actually work. but its a much bigger pain in the ass than the ability to connect to a specific IP. battle.net is also not that great when it comes to matchmaking or finding the games that you want. its uncategorized, so basically thousands upon thousands of people get put into the same chat room.

the custom games is where my interest in warcraft 3 really is. the original game is pretty boring but people have come up with some ideas to add depth of gameplay and replayability to it. one particular favorite map, dota-allstars, is obviously the most popular custom game online. but there are lots of other interesting ones. TD (Tower defense), where you basically build towers and defend waves upon waves of enemies. there are many different flavors of TD, they're all pretty good, and i dont have time to try ALL of them. theres also something called battleships that i really like. basically DOTA and Battleships! take out the tedium in a warcraft game. you just control one hero or ship, and the computer takes care of unit production, so theres basically an equal force of baddies streaming out from opposing forces and cancelling each other out, except for your intervention. you only control your one unit, and its upgrades, and try to stem the tide and give your side an advantage.

So I'm determined to learn how to snowboard this year. I've done some reading on how to teach yourself basic turning and control, so i guess ill just go from there. in addition to that, the people i met at the LAN party last week are planning on going weekly, so i think ill try and join that group. going out soon to buy a board, bindings and boots. possibly goggles too. i didnt have much trouble learning skiing, and i was really enjoying it except i didnt really have anyone to go with the past 2 seasons. Loralei won't come within 1km of a ski hill ever again, no matter how much i nag her. she had a bad experience on the bunny hill once and figures thats the end of it. i figure everyone falls down their first day, but i guess it deters some more than others.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gaming Spree

So, I've almost started a new job. it all depends on me getting the controlled goods clearance, which shouldnt be a problem. the interesting bit about this contract is that theyre paying me weekly. im used to getting paid with a 2 month delay, so its definitely going to be different... but good, especially since christmas is coming up.

I should be saving my money for a proper house, but i think we may end up renting a townhouse just for convenience for another year or two. I was talking with melanie, loraleis sister, and shes only paying about 90 bucks a month more than what im paying now for my 2 bedroom apartment. and for that she gets a full townhouse, huge basement, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and more living room, dining room, etc. basically more of everything. which would make life so much more comfortable till i get enough saved up to buy a house.

of course when i know ive got money coming i have to go out and spend a bit, because ive been holding out trying to conserve. so i got a new creative X-fi soundcard, a few pc games, and some boardgame expansions.

for the creative x-fi soundcard, i just bought it to replace my onboard soundcard which might be good, but it has bugs and they havent updated the drivers in a year. so i decided id go out and get something that will hopefully last another oh... 10 years or so. soundcards dont really change that much so it wont likely be obselete for a very very long time.

as far as how i like the card.. i don't. its better than my on board one, but its not necessarily good either. it sounds nice, but it took me about an hour to get the speakers set up properly with it. instead of installing software from the cd, i figured id just go download the new stuff from their site and skip installing all the crap. WRONG. apparently the software you download from the website doesn't have even a basic speaker connection test, and a lot of the options arent available. so back to the cd, and then update, theres an hour wasted. the card itself sounds good, but the software is crap. i dont need another media player/music library organizer, why does everyone think i need another media player? and as far as the actual hardware goes it was pretty simple to set up except it has one less jack in the back than the audigy and sblive and every other soundcard. which is exactly one less than it needs. bastards!

my audio connection is discreet 6 channel, meaning that 3x 2 channel wires go between 3 jacks on the soundcard, to the speaker amp. no problem. but theres only 4 jacks. so..... where do i plug in my headset? i can either plug in my headphones, OR my mic. not both. ONE MORE DAMNED JACK. of course if i had payed out another 100 bucks to creative to get the next step up, i would have gotten a front panel that would be worthless except for it would have the one more jack that i need.

another knock against creative and their shitty soundcards is their lack of proper dolby digital encoding. they have a digital spdif output on the back of their card, but this only supports 2 channels, unless youre playing dvds and passing the DTS/DD signal through. this hasnt changed in years. i have an onboard nvidia soundstorm which does dolby encoding, which was GREAT! one wire, 5 channels, fucking fantastic. why hasnt creative done this? it seems like the obvious choice since a ton of new speaker sets support digital, why not make use of it? IDIOTS.

anyhow thats my soundcard rant, i hate it but ill probably put up with it for another few years.

new expansions for memoir 44 the military strategy boardgame came out. i got 2 of them but i didnt buy an extra board. new miniatures and new scenarios and terrain tiles. fun stuff.

also picked up an expansion for puerto rico which adds a bunch of new buildings to the game. definitely increased the replay value there. i think its still tops on my list of favorite boardgames of all time.

i went to this lan party this weekend, which was kinda fun. i havent done that in ages. got to play some warcraft 3 on the lan, and some unreal tournament 2004. i had so much fun with warcraft 3 and the custom games that i had to go out and buy myself a legit copy and get on to battle.net :) other legit purchases include neverwinter nights diamond. it includes the original game and 3 expansion campaigns for the low low price of $30. now it is a 3 year old game but its a fantastic adventure engine, which has withstood the test of time. and you really cant beat the price for the amount of content you get. now if only neverwinter nights 2 would come out it would be even prettier than the engine they used for knights of the old republic.. droooool.