01 November 2014

Front Line Assembly - Fatalist


Spending wisely

I used to spend a fair bit on books at Kinokuniya monthly. The expenditure was considerable.

I had done a reality check and also some comparisons a few years ago. I thought the money could be better spent on books from Amazon and Books Depository. The prices at Kinokuniya was and is far too high, and can be double or triple the recommended listed price. I could get double or triple the volume of books for the same amount of money I had spent.

From then, I have reduced my purchases at Kinokuniya to the odd stationery item like a pigment ink technical pen or paint brush and a few magazines annually. Since then, I have been buying from Amazon. One has to be realistic.

31 October 2014

Seven levels in ten days

I made level 7 in ten days. Level 8 will require 600,000 APs and that is the AP equivalent of going from level 1 to 7.

That seems somewhat insurmountable. And that would require twenty days or more given that the double AP period runs out on 15th November.

I don't want to play intensely for twenty days. I think from now on, it will be a case of opportunistic capturing of portals and placing resonators, only when it is convenient and when I am free. I will stick to the game of course.

It is a good game, I would recommend it to my friends.

My in-game name is shyuechou as can be seen from the screen capture. If you do want to play with me, I am on the Enlightened side.

30 October 2014

Enough of these games! Ugh.

Civilization V and what not

I will be removing Imperium Romanum, Grand Ages: Rome from my computer. They will not make a good expenditure of my time. There are other Roman-themed city building and empire building titles out there that are much better.

Last night, I gave Civilization V, spelt with a 'z' because it is American, a try for about two hours or so. It was not addicting but compelling in the sense that one wants to see various tasks completed only to find that it doesn't really do much, there is little payoff despite the promise of one. The game play is fundamentally not very different from the first installment which I played many years ago, likewise the subsequent ones. Overhyped and overrated. The graphics of the individual units and terrain were polished and well done, it was a pleasure to behold. I will be uninstalling this from my machine soon. I may give it a second look some time but the fact is that a simple game is too time-consuming for what it is. No thanks.

Ingress with consequences

Playing Ingress means that one switches on one's GPS almost all the time. What this means is that one's location data is fed to Niantic Labs which in essence is owned by Google.

Playing Ingress is also a massive drain on the battery power. The constant and intense usage probably reduces the battery's lifespan greatly.

However, I am in awe of the enthusiasm and amount of effort exhibited by many hardcore players. Haha. A good game but not necessarily better than any of the A-list titles out there.

Walking with Ingress

Ingress does not increase the amount of walking that I do. For those who are sedentary, it can be of a benefit.

For me, I walk between over 20 km per weekend and run and walk during the week, I find that my amount of walking actually lessened considerably when I have Ingress with me. Walking with Ingress means that I would have to slow my stride down.

Hacking and deploying resonators do not take much time but establishing links take a fair bit longer.

I am within 100,000 APs of level 7 now. I was thinking of slowing down when I hit level 8 but I am getting bored. I will attain level 7 and let it be casual.
I need to remind myself to go to bed and not want to finish that last sketch at 1:45 am.

The sketch can wait.

A fistful of games

I have a backlog of over three hundred unplayed computer games. I do not suppose that I would ever be playing the vast bulk of them.

I had bought a large number during the Steam sales with discounts up to 80 to 90%. Paying $2.00 or less for a game is painless. On average, I pay between $5.00 to $10.00 per game.

Over the weekend, I played a bit of Supreme Commander 2 which was a simplified game as compared to its illustrious predecessor. The gameplay was pretty much the game and the graphics likewise. It was a good game and it was satisfying after a long day at work. I had set the parameters so that the game was a short half an hour to an hour skirmish. That would be enough.

I have always felt that the Supreme Commander games could have more varied and imaginative maps. The oddly symmetrical maps, yes, it was probably for game balance, appeared sparse and bland, there was no feel nor atmosphere.

In a way, the Supreme Commander games had reminded me of an old favourite, the Total Annihilation games that I had enjoyed then. It brought back memories of the Dark Reign games as well.


I had explored Imperium Romanum and Grand Ages: Rome. The latter was apparently a sequel to the former. I had enjoyed Roman building games in the past but these two were lacking to say the least. The interface of both games was a hindrance to gameplay. I spent an hour on them.

I had also tried Tropico 3 and Tropico 4 for about half an hour and they were unsatisfying. The interface of both games were clumsy and annoying. I would soon be removing them from my computer.

I have no regret regarding the unplayed games. There is much to do and experience. Games are but a facet of life.

29 October 2014


Ingress is an augmented-reality game from Niantic Labs, a startup embedded with Google. Ingress is a real life capture the flag game buttressed by the usage of GPS and a database to overlay a physical landscape spanning the globe. It is played with a mobile phone with GPS and mobile data enabled.

I started Ingress on a Tuesday, 21st October 2014. The game has been around since beta since two years ago. I had no awareness of its existence.

Kun Rong had asked that I join him and thus, I did.

In a week, I managed to make enough APs to go from level 1 to level 6. My objective is to reach level 8 fast and then just play it casually.

Has the game been fun? Yes, it has in some ways, not groundbreaking but something well-executed.
I am at my 50th ink drawing this month, I will go back and count. I do want to know how many I did for September and August.

27 October 2014

The two upcoming films that I have an interest in watching are Fury and Interstellar.
The weekend was too short, I had wished it was longer.

Gone Girl

I had thought that Gone Girl would be an emotional family drama but it had turned out to be a bewildering story with numerous plot twists in the vein of a Hitchcock film from the sixties. It was compelling and disturbing. A worthwhile film. Recommended.