Left 4 Dead and Finals

The timing for the snow day was awesome. I was glad for the break. Four-day weekend! ^^

I played Left 4 Dead Versus and got ground into a fine powder. However, I knew it was a game, didn’t ragequit, and asked for advice when we finished and went back to the lobby:

  • Smoker or Hunter: try to attack the last one to go over a one-way ledge, the others probably won’t be able to stage a rescue.
  • You are not so much a team of four as two teams of two. Never let someone go off alone. Stick together.
  • The two in front crouch, the two in back shoot over their heads.
  • Talk. Coordinate. As Infected, wait for someone to stray, or plan an overwhelming Boomer, then Hunters and Smoker ambush.
  • As Tank, it is very bad for you in the open. A survivor running backwards can outrun a Tank, provided the Survivor doesn’t run into anything.
  • As Tank, bash physics objects around. Movable objects have a red outline when you look at them. Hitting a Survivor with one is devastating.
  • “Four in a bad situation is better than two in a good one.”

I’m halfheartedly working on Chemistry studying. I hope Monday will prove to be productive.


I discovered this amazingly well-done freeware indy game: Dyson. The player controls seedlings, which are spawned from Dyson trees. Dyson trees, as well as bomb-wielding defensive trees, grow on asteroids. The goal is to spread to other asteroids and defeat AI-controlled enemies. (No multiplayer.) It’s a very asthetically pleasing game. The interface is refreshingly simplistic. The dev team says updates are on the way, which is nice because currently there are some nagging deficiencies. It’s not possible to get anything but a very abstract idea of how long until additional seedlings grow ripe and fall off the tree. This can make it a waiting game. It’s also possible to take over an asteroid without destroying all the trees on it, which can very quickly eliminate a huge investment. Hopefully, as has been suggested in their forums, the game will soon require that all trees be destroyed before an asteroid can be captured.

Categorized as Games

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.

Categorized as Games

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…

Categorized as Games


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.

Categorized as Games


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.

Categorized as Games


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.