It’s been a few weeks since the last wrap-up post. Things have happened. Quite a few things. I’ve seen a few more movies and even reviewed one that was excellent.
This week, however, saw a few things I hadn’t expected or that I forgot were about to come up. The first was that I saw the launch of a YouTube channel. This one’s special because it’s dedicated to gaming, but even more important, the person starting it (Peter Saddington) intends to pursue the great dream of many gamers (myself included): to play games as a full-time occupation. Take a look:
As you can see, Peter’s got quite the passion for gaming and for doing what’s super scary at its core – committing publicly to being serious about making a living pursuing his passion. He even is sharing that with nearly complete strangers like myself. He feels like he can make an assessment of a game in the first 15 minutes of play. I think there will be a few exceptions, but that might just be due to how some games are designed.
I had the chance actually to chat with Peter on the phone briefly this evening. You can feel the seriousness and energy he has, even on a short call. I can’t help but want to see him succeed, and I’ll try to help as best I can. I didn’t mention this blog, but I might bring it up at a later time. I’ll probably share more of his videos on social media, however. He’s currently reviewing gaming PC configurations that fit his budget, which is a good idea, since a very high-performance rig is a necessity, especially for somebody that hasn’t been deep in the gaming scene for multiple years.
The next thing I hadn’t reminded myself strongly about was the US premiere of the Sword Art Online movie. I purchased my ticket quite a few months ago and set a calendar item. I got a couple of reminders from the ticket company, via email. That helped me to get a bit hyped for it. I’ll probably see it again once it’s in wider release this coming week.
That’s all for now. There are some fun and festivities this weekend, but that’ll be for another post. I hope everyone else’s weeks have been good. It’s March! Things are warming up in the northern hemisphere. Let’s enjoy the changing season.
This is kind of a hard question to answer because we have so many races in World of Warcraft but it’s fairly safe to say that Legion deals a lot with Elven history, there’s an entire zone dedicated to Tauren lore, Stormheim is a fairly strong piece of Vrykul story… and so I got to thinking.
For me, it would be either the forsaken (undead) or the trolls. Some important things have happened in recent lore that affect them, so a treatment of that would be interesting. Also, undead and troll dungeons are fun!
At the urging of someone close to me, here’s my review of Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, based on my having attended the US premiere in Hollywood.
It’s a fascinating look at a “what if” situation. Specifically, it continues the situation introduced by the series itself, so I’ll go over that briefly before digging into the movie.
In the TV show, Sword Art Online (SAO) is the newest of a near future’s virtual reality (VR) massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). In this fictional future, VR terminals, called NerveGear, completely immerse players, temporarily shutting down their real-world body’s motor and sensory functions. That means that usually, users must log in someplace comfortable, like their beds at home, or a secured location. One player does so from a place that’s not their home, but it’s a spoiler, so that’s all I’ll say about that.
At any rate, there’s a significant event in the SAO game world, attracting all players to the same location. It’s thousands of individuals. The event is one unique to the game world, created by its lead developer. What happens is a terrifying thing: an ominous entity appears and tells them the game’s real objective. The only way to leave the game is to “win” it, by conquering the final boss in the highest dungeon. All players are affected by this condition. They cannot log out!
Unspoken is also a terrifying secondary condition. Dying in-game results in real-life death. The first season of the series is then the adventures of the main protagonist, Kirito, and the friends he gathers in-game. Kirito has gaming experience, and specifically with an early release (beta) version of SAO, which leads to his having fine-tuned skills and knowledge of the game’s behavior. He’s quickly labeled a “beater” (beta cheater) due to that when he’s found out. That pushes Kirito to go solo, refusing to team up formally with any other players. It drives him to quickly level up to be the first to conquer and progress through the massive 100-level dungeon. He later has trouble and finds out that the higher levels require huge teams, so he must have allies, and it progresses from there.
The second season takes place in a post-apocalyptic, shooting-based world, Gun Gale Online (GGO), that, while safer than SAO, had it’s own real-world connection to a problem player. It deals with a slightly different set of real-world issues as well. It’s worth a watch.
I was late to the screening (80-minute drive directly from work), so I arrived at the tail-end of the movie summarizing this 2-season plot. The film is watchable, on its own, due to that. It’s been more than couple years since the SAO game ended, and many “survivors” of SAO were admitted to a unique set of schools to complete their real-world education and (not mentioned) rehabilitation, after having spent years logged into another world. Some, like Kirito, had also joined other VR worlds after SAO or joined its newer, fantasy-based successor.
There exists in the post-SAO future an augmented reality (AR) game, called Ordinal Scale. This game exists as a separate visible (to players) overlay on top of what they see in the real world, via a less bulky head-mounted display, much like Google Glass. Unlike VR games, players must be physically conscious and, importantly, real-world locations matter. If you’re thinking of Pokemon Go, it’s a logical evolution of that type of AR game. In Ordinal Scale, there are boss battle events put on nightly, which rewards the players participating, if they manage to virtually survive and if the boss is defeated. Players receive short notice as to the location, which is usually either an existing public space, or a cordoned off space, so there’s a controlled safety factor the game’s developers are aware of.
The movie begins, however, with Kirito, and the others, noticing strong things happening to players, and specifically to SAO survivors, after some of the battles.
The movie’s worth a viewing so that I won’t go too deep into its plot. It’s related to the events in the original SAO game, but for a character not seen in the show, but with a connection to many SAO players. Ordinal Scale does touch upon a few of the current worries around AR, but the fictional world also offers some interesting solutions to some, such as having specifically planned-out places for players to safely gather. It also encourages exercise, which a VR player like Kirito quickly finds is hindering him a bit until he comes up with a creative solution to help him progress. He and others notice that the bosses are bosses they’ve seen in SAO before, giving them a useful leg up on dealing with them and also ensuring they do the most damage, which affects their ranking.
The number 2 ranked Ordinal Scale player also is a key figure and appears to be an SAO survivor as well, which quickly gains the attention of Kirito and his girlfriend, Asuna, who recognizes him first as a former guildmate from SAO. They’re concerned that this player is connected to strange happenings stemming from Ordinal Scale, and Kirito gains a rival since one can’t make it to #1 without going through #2.
There’s also a virtual idol appearing in many of the boss battles, Yuna, who also happens to be a pop singer with many fans in their real world, and who has an upcoming concert in a major arena. She serenades players as they battle, granting both a bonus buff at the beginning and granting an experience point boost to the top player for each victorious battle. There something strange about her, and many don’t know if she’s a real life person, or a virtual idol, like Hatsune Miko. This ambiguity does matter, but any more description of her is too much.
If fantasy-based action appeals to you, this is a must-see. If you have an interest in AR or VR, I’d say give it a look as well. It’s a great adventure, nonetheless. I do want to see it again, not just to see it from a further back row, but because it is entertaining. I’m giving Ordinal Scale a top recommendation, and I do hope that more anime series get a movie if this one does well in a wider release. US release is March 9, so mark your calendars!
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The sky is blue. That’s normal, I know, but one always notices it more the day after being completely covered in rain clouds.
There’s more energy available from a clear sky, so I’m more inclined to open my blinds in the morning on bright days than on gray days.
It’s important to remember that waking up, whether it’s a blue or gray (or black – space station dwellers sleep too) sky, I’m awake, and alive, for another day. There’s potential. The day can be a good one.
It can be. I can be. We all can be. Let’s be good.
It was a very dry desert, but also, a very cold one.
I live in what could be considered a desert, but it’s not always because it’s hot, but sometimes, it’s because of the cold times. In some ways, I feel like winter can be harsher than summer. That might be because it’s sometimes harder to warm up.
The warmer summer months are only rough for me when they’re humid, making sweat and evaporation of that sweat less comforting. I’d take a dry summer night over a dry winter night any day.
Lately, I’ve thought that I don’t often do a thing that I see many bloggers do very often. That thing is: sharing other people’s content. I don’t just mean the link sprinkled here and there. I mean something like bringing attention to their stuff, driving interest their way.
OK, it’s time to do something about that.
I’ll start off with a blogger that has been super consistent for a very long time, John Saddington. The thing that first caught my attention was that he gets up, writes, and posts something, every single day. That’s super challenging.
Not only that, but his posts are often a peek into the mind of a software developer, human, dad, and lifelong learner. His currently visible project is a daily VLOG (video log). Making a video every single day (he still writes as well), especially if you’re learning along the way, is tough. When I think of giving up on any of my experiments, I remember this. John’s post (and video) today might have been a bit of a kick for that too. Check out the video:
How John sees and executes new projects:
1. Time box
2. Create artificial constraints to simplify your experiment
3. Create accountability
4. Invite others into your experiment and process
At this point, I think I understand the above, but I honestly need to get better at all those points. For example, I started the 100 Days Of Code challenge, but have fallen off on that, so my time box is broken. I can see now that since I didn’t force myself to stick to some artificial constraint (always do work at the same time, for the same amount of time, one hour), it became super hard to get motivated enough to do any work. I’ve got almost no accountability here, and I think only one person knows I even started this.
The last point, inviting others in, is the scariest part. Nobody wants to look like they don’t know how to do a thing that they’re public about, but I realize that that’s how you stay accountable: somebody is watching what you do, so you want to have something done, on a regular basis.
I feel like John is a person worthy of daily attention. I’m even using a piece of software he’s published, Desk, to type up this post. Subscribe to his VLOG, add his blog to your reader. It’s that good.
The best book I have ever read is tough to decide. For now, I’m going with Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton. I read it back when I was in high school.
I think I first became interested in it when one of our math teachers, Mrs. Kinch, mentioned it, if I recall correctly, during a math club meeting. I acquired a copy of that book and blitzed through it in 2 days (an all-nighter on one of them!) I liked that world of the island and the things that went down. There was some mention of chaos theory in there, but it was the suspense and action that hooked me.
I wasn’t interested in Crichton’s writing until this book, but I became a fan after. I usually stick to his sci-fi-fi stuff, though, like Congo and Timeline. I also started to pay a bit more attention to illustrations in sci-fi novels after this book. Some of my favorite books overall also have some figures or diagrams scattered through their pages.
I already was heavily into reading by the point I found Jurassic Park, but I became much more active at my local library, checking out more books and devouring them. I dug into Piers Anthony, Heinlein, and a few others in sci-fi and fantasy authors’ works for years after JP. It was another big push in my love of reading.
Now, it’s your turn:
What is the best book you have ever read? Why did you like it? Did reading the book change you in any way? What way? – Prompt source is here