Fallout 3

I got Fallout 3. Unfortunately, because I was given a boxed copy, I am unable to tie it to my Steam account. I’ll get the disappointing things out of the way first: the animation is still stiff and unbelievable and it still isn’t funny. I would like more well-done humor in my games. It’s post apocalyptic, and dark humor should work very well. On the good side, the scale of the world is amazing, and I look forward to getting further in the game.

WordPress Upgrade, RSI, and the LAN

I upgraded to WordPress 2.7. The admin interface is now really slick. It’s gotten an overhaul and is now a pleasure to use, although it seems like it’s slower.  The main page just took an ENTIRE MINUTE to render! This is unacceptable, and hopefully I can get it sorted out. [EDIT: I enabled WP Super Cache, and it seems better. That’s odd because it didn’t seem to enable last time.] Unfortunately, I forgot, although I understood I was supposed to, disable my plugins before the upgrade. Result: white screen of non-loading death and me panicing. Luckily, Google revealed a very helpful page on how to disable plugins by editing the MySQL database, so now the site is back up.

I was hoping to get into RSI, which is an MIT research program. The first sign was that it wanted people who already knew what they wanted to do for their PHDs. (I seriously almost wrote “PDFs” there.) I checked my PSAT and ACT scores and they didn’t meet the minimum. Even though they said that lower scores could be balanced with strong recommendations and whatnot, I decided not to continue the application process. That saves my teachers writing recommandation letters then. It made me feel strange to request an essay from a teacher.

I’m holding a LAN with 8 people on January 2nd. I say 8 because we would need that many for a full game of Versus Left 4 Dead. Pat might not be able to come due to a New Years thing, but I hope it works out.

EDIT: Hmm… The delay in response time looks like it’s limited to default_socket_timout in php.ini…

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is coming along nicely. One of the really useful things with the dynamic difficulty thanks to the Director is that wide skill ranges can play. My dad’s fairly new to these things and he didn’t die, and I think it was his first time playing with another human, perhaps third time through the map outright.

I hope to get a dedicated server up, and I also hope that 56KB/s upload is enough…

I like the matchmaking, it works well and makes it very easy to find people to play with.

PS: Looks like ZoneEdit has been working for a while in pfWall. Now I need to get another NIC and get the hole in the wall…

Homework

I hope I’ll be able to learn my lesson this time: if it’s assigned more than one in advance, it’ll take more than an hour to do it. I stayed up until 1:30AM to finish an econ essay, and I will have Spanish vocab studying, a Brit Lit essay, and whatever else I get today for after school. Bleh.

The Left 4 Dead demo is set to release sometime today, and the Valve server admin mailing list is spazzing out because Valve announced there will no longer be a server browser in Left 4 Dead – servers will be added to a pool of available ones, and people will be matchmake’d into them. The only control over settings server admins will have is the MOTD and a banner image. They’ve said they’re taking the piles of feedback into concideration, though, so hopefully a traditional server browser will be included. The reason they get loads of servers for only the cost of software distribution is because people get to put up a server for themselves, and they control it, call it home, and are able to possibly get a better experience if they upgrade their servers. In a pure matchmaking setting? Doesn’t seem like it. I want to be able to pick the server I play on.

LAN Successful!

Brad was sick, 🙁 and everyone else showed up eventually. It was a scramble to get uplink – we ended up sticking a cable through a hole in the floor left over from the water radiators way back when. I didn’t get the Pentium 4 box up in time, but it seems to be doing okay now… We played StarCraft, and Pat beat me. (It was 7-person free-for-all.) We also played CSS with lots of bots in a futile attempt to simulate Left 4 Dead. Then we played Zombie Master. That was very fun indeed – I killed many people with my wonderful undead minions.

Spore

I suppose I should be grateful to the reviews for lowering my expectations of Spore. It’s an okay game. It can be really fun at times. The space stage seems unstable – it spontaneously crashed during the UFO piloting tutorial. After installing Spore at dad’s, I came to the unpleasant realization that save files are not tied to your account. I assumed my world was uploaded automatically, if not publicly, then at least to my account. I didn’t see a share button, not that I was looking for one. I guess it just annoys me that after going through all the pains of registering my account to my CD key and (I haven’t tested this, but) limiting me to one account per copy of the game, they don’t move my save files. This, to me, removes the scrap of good I was hoping for from this whole login thing. This is upsetting.

EDIT: Turns out it did automatically upload all my buildings and creatures, (they showed up under “My Creations”) but for some reason I cannot comprehend, the save file was not part of this. There’s only one save file, and if there is an upside to that limitation, save files following your account should be it.

Oblivion

Oblivion still exists. Sadly Bethesda doesn’t seem to have improved the engine much for Fallout 3 – the characters still move jerkily, and the voiceacting still leaves much to be desired.

I finished the Theives’ Guild quest. It was pretty epic and the ending gives you very, very nice things. I’m also in the Dark Brotherhood now, and the quests are kinda depressing. OOO upped the amount of gold that was required to be fenced to a whopping 15,000! I had to go down lines of shops and houses stealing anything worth money that I could get to. I got it, though. There are lots of vistas – I mean that in the sense of breathtaking view, not in an operating system full of fail – to catch one’s eye.

In other news, I’m waiting for the impending school to happen, I’m working on a HL2DM map of my house, and I have confirmed that Oblivion uses nav nodes. Which is bad. Also, I called Cavalier (for C2) and a high-level tech was able to confirm that they don’t do any filtering or blocking. W00T!

EDIT: Thanks to Ryan, I am now able to begin moving my machines downstairs into the nice, cool basement! ^^ I am happy! He helped by putting an end on the ubercable that comes down from upstairs where the Intertubes come in.

Oblivion

My love for Oblivion has found new life, thanks largely to Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul. The main feature of this mod, other than adding some new items and NPCs, is to disable change level scaling. In vanilla Oblivion, NPCs will be, at most, your level. Making their levels closer to static does not allow you to go anywhere and beat anything, but it does allow for a feeling of gaining power, something that level scaling does not.

I’ve been ignoring the main quest, and just exploring caves and forts, looting what I can manage. I’ve run into a share of amusing glitches on the way. Not only have I heard the hilariously inconsistent voice acting of the beggars, but once I ran into an NPC that had, for some reason, fallen inside a set of stairs. She was jittering back and forth. I could still talk to her. After leaving the building and spending some time elsewhere, I found her standing at the foot of the stairs, unstuck.

I haven’t been able to replicate this, but I was crouched on a roof in Bruma and, on a whim, I shot a guard with my bow. He ran past me, up a staircase and onto a higher level, ran into a small raised barrier for a bit, then fell off the ledge, and climbed back up. Another guard joined him. I really should have saved then. The next time I tried, the guard just ran around in circles below me. Why not let them jump? I shot another arrow at a random passerby, who turned out to be a powerful wizard, and threw powerful bolts of lightning in my general direction. That’s more like it. Then there are the amusing times when AI will get stuck on a fence, or in a rocky outcropping, at which point they become much easier to take out.

I was in Fallen Rock Cave and there was this huge Mud Golem that could take me down to a sliver of my health bar with a single hit. I slipped in and out a few times (while sneaking) first to get a journal for a quest, and later to try to empty a chest full of shineys. When I got a gigantic battle axe, I thought I might be able to take him. (This is the part where I found out how much damage the guy did.) I ran to the start of the corridor leading into his room, and started bombarding him with arrows. It turned out the corridor was too small – he couldn’t get to me!

That being said, it’s still an enjoyable experience. I’m willing to forgive the occasional outdoor framerate chugging, which may be due to both an environment mod I’m running and my aging hardware, and the lackluster story, which is a canned tale of the entire world in danger. I find myself wondering why if many of my enemies can make short work of my health bar, I’m the only one that can save Tamriel.

EDIT: Feel free to check out my screenshots.

EDIT 2: Realized the OOO link I had was old. It is now updated.

EDIT 3: There’a also an excellent unofficial wiki.

EDIT 4: It doesn’t make them completely static, but more static.