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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in maxknight's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
12:41 pm
Addendum to last night's post
I forgot to mention last night that there is a lot to Graveyard Keeper that makes the game feel unfinished. You never get the opportunity to reach The Town, getting struck down by lightning before you can, and losing your Town Pass in the process. Multiple times throughout the story, they mention The Ship of the Dead, but nothing is ever actually done about it. There's multiple people that you meet that seem to serve very little purpose besides to sell you one or two items, with one in particular called only The Captain, who is always sitting in the tavern and rolling dice, but you can never actually seem to interact with him; he always says the same thing every time you talk to him, and although he's listed in the NPC's tab, there's literally nothing to be done with him.

On the other hand, the game also seems aware of this and makes fun of it at the end. So I'm feeling like the game was designed this way. It's really confusing. I kind of want the game to get some DLC that explores more of what is not actually explored in this as it currently is...

Monday, April 29th, 2019
11:53 pm
Graveyard Keeper is a fun game
So I picked it up some time ago, but only started playing it a little more than a month ago. It took a little bit to get used to the controls, but eventually I started to get the hang of it. In a small way it resembles Stardew Valley, which is an excellent game with the same mindset as Harvest Moon, but instead of managing a farm instead you are the local mortuary and have to manage the graveyard next door. There's a nested crafting system, in which you have to build things that let you make materials that let you build other things, and there is in fact some farming you will need to do, though getting access to the garden and then actually using it takes a short time.

Your end goal is to "get home", as apparently you were hit by a car and suddenly ended up in this odd place as the new Graveyard Keeper. You are directed to speak with people and learn what they want and in the end, there are six people you have to fulfill to finish the game. In a lot of ways, this game is high energy and moves quickly, but that only goes so far. The end game is very slow, forcing you to waste a lot of time to get it done as you are only waiting on one or two things that are needed to complete it.

That's one of the few complaints that I have about the game, the end game pacing is atrocious. Under no circumstances should it take as long as it does. The example here is the last person you are likely to need to help has a trigger involving one of the other people getting to the end of their quest line, and once you reach that point, you will be able to move his forward. The problem there is that the next two things he needs are things you likely won't have any time soon and even if you did, you can't give them to him in rapid sequence; you have to wait a week before you can give him the second, and then you have to wait yet another week to finally finish it. It's entirely possible that you got three of the six done before this last sequence, though, so it's a lot of waiting around. A streamer I watched playing this ran into the same problem and used the meditation spot outside of the house to pass time instead of doing anything during that time.

Although I only first started playing this game maybe a month and a half ago, I've completed it twice now. The reason is that there's a mechanic in the game that lets you automate several things, in fact, almost everything. After getting access to the Diary of the previous Graveyard Keeper, you also gain access to a smart zombie that was chained up in the basement of the chapel. This person enlightens you to zombie workers, and points you to where two of them were left behind in a rock slide. These first two zombies are really inefficient, but they server to give you an idea what they are capable of. You also are given three of the item that will let you animate new zombies.

There are advantages and drawbacks to using them, though. While they can perform crafting tasks for you, albeit at a slower speed than you could do, they will not generate any of the colored orbs that count as "experience" that you gather in the game and spend to unlock technologies. Zombies are great for doing the menial tasks that don't give much in the way of experience, though, and they come with several technologies which will make the game much easier than it could otherwise be. There is a quarry fairly far away from the house that you can get chunks of stone and marble from, and a mine that only zombies can enter that supplies chunks of iron and coal. Further, zombies use Porter Stations which allow them to run the chunks and coal from the quarry to home, where they will drop things off if there is room in stockpiles or trunks for their load. This is a godsend, as the closest source of stone and marble are far enough away as to make it untenable to try to use them overmuch.

Now that's all I used the zombies for, and in the end I wasn't actually doing anything with the load that they were sending to me, so I can't say I got all that much use out of them. There are many stations made just for zombie use, though, including the zombie garden, zombie alchemy table, and of course the random text generator, which makes things automatically that I even didn't know you could make! As such, I decided to try again and rush to get access to zombies, then go out of my way to accumulate enough of them to make the game go by faster.

Now this game keeps track of how many days have passed since the game started. It also keeps track of the rating of the church and the graveyard. I just finished the game for a second time tonight, and I finished it 54.4 days faster, with the same church rating and a graveyard that is 2 points higher in quality. I'm convinced that it should be possible to finish it even faster, however that depends on timing some things better, including taking the time to plumb the dungeon as far as you can, as soon as possible. On the other hand, there are ways to shortcut several things, meaning you only have to go to the dungeon for one thing: 5 bloody nails. Everything else you need from there to advance the needs of one of the characters you can either make yourself or purchase from elsewhere. In fact, many things that you would otherwise need to make for a quest you can just buy from people.

I could probably go on at length, but the takeaways should be that the game is a lot of fun to play, but the quests to finish the game require too much time with literally nothing else needed to be done. The pacing is terrible to that end. Definitely play it, just be aware that advancing to the conclusion will likely sap some of your strength.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019
9:01 pm
So I had a new thought regarding Touhou
Specifically, Marisa. One thing that is basically known is that the characters from this series are supposed to have particular abilities mapped out to them, either that they were born with or they acquired at some point. I figure that this is not any different for Marisa, either. However, as far as I can tell, no special abilities are actually stated for her, just her magic (which she taught herself first, then Mima taught her later), and an artifact that she uses to boost her power enough to make her actually strong enough to hit well above her weight class (the Mini-Hakkero, a magical furnace that is able to amplify the magical power fed into it).

So then, what power would Marisa have? It's actually fairly commonly used in fiction, fan or otherwise. In this case, I'm talking about being able to near-instantly copy magic that she sees used; an intuitive ability to understand the magic that is cast around her and immediately be able to use it. It explains why, after seeing Yuuka use her Master Spark laser, Marisa was able to use it as well, not to mention getting access to Patchouli's Non-Directional Laser as well. It also explains Marisa's frustration with Reimu's power, since it's not magic but spiritual power, and that's not something Marisa can copy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Marisa is a slow book learner, but if she's in the presence of someone casting magic, so long as she's paying attention, she will then be able to use it. The only reason she didn't steal more of Patchouli's spells is because Patchouli is foremost an Alchemist, and such Alchemy spells would generally require reagents; such things would be cumbersome to carry around, and many might be harmful or outright deadly to handle as a human (which Patchouli hasn't been for many years, being a Youkai Magician now).

Thus, it makes sense, and why it sometimes seems as though Marisa's magical repertoire is so haphazard, compared to some that might be more uniform. And now I have more to work with in case I ever get around to writing any of these myriad stories I've hinted at over the years. And yes, I still think about them from time to time. I just don't have the creative spark to actually do it, like, ever. Well, that or it's just my own inherent laziness...

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
11:23 am
I'm sorry, I made a mistake
What I meant to say in that last entry is that Birth of a God is DEFINITIVELY superior final boss music to One Winged Angel.

Deal with it.

11:14 am
I have an unpopular opinion
Well, I probably have a whole lot of unpopular opinions, but this one in particular I feel is REALLY unpopular... And that is that Birth of a God is a far superior final boss music than One Winged Angel.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
1:18 pm
Some thoughts on Golden Sun
Okay, so many years ago I found out about Golden Sun, but well after the games first came out, so I missed getting them when they were new. I got the chance to play through Golden Sun and The Lost Age via emulation, and actually beat them as well. They were a lot of fun, I thought, though I never really did any of the super bosses (that I can remember). Cut to a few years later and Dark Dawn was finally released, and after it had been out for a short time, I picked it up and smashed my way through it.

I never really gave it too much thought, though. In the last year or so, HCBailly did LPs of Golden Sun and The Lost Age, and I just finished rewatching them the other day... and it occurred to me that these two games were originally meant to be one huge game, but was split in two, likely due to issues with cartridge space and time constraints. This is mostly down to the fact that there are placeholders for both items and Djinn that are in Golden Sun which translates directly to counterparts in The Lost Age. Beyond this, the map from Golden Sun is still there in The Lost Age, but devoid of all towns and dungeons except for Mt. Aleph and the Lighthouses (none of which are actually accessible).

Dark Dawn takes place 30 years after the end of The Lost Age, and much of the world has changed. Entire continents have shifted, and the terrain is all very different from before. The Golden Sun caused a lot of devastation throughout the world in the process of reviving the power of Alchemy, and it caused many features to appear, disappear, or move outright. An example of this is Kolima Forest and town, both of which physically moved further northeast, the forest into the mountains and the town to the base of the mountain. Apparently, the town moved directly on top of a swamp, which wound up causing issues later, during Dark Dawn. The Golden Sun event caused the reappearance of Beastkind, a humanoid race of people with animal features which mostly lived in the Kolima area. The Kingdom of Sana conquered them, so they rose up and struck when they could, forming their own nation with the newly built Belinsk as the capital. Due west of their, Bilibin rose to their own nation as well with McCoy as its ruler; the border between the two is a place of contention.

The arrival of the Golden Sun caused many things to be uncovered, such as the existence of many Alchemy machines throughout the land. People are apparently predisposed to settle on or nearby these Alchemy machines, thus why Ayuthay, Kaocho, and Passaj are where they are. Most of these machines are entirely beneficial, owing to the fact that ancient cultures were mostly peaceful and desiring to advance the science of Alchemy. This shows in how the Alchemy Well creates a spring of water for one town, the Alchemy Forge allows for amazing works of engineering, and when the two are working together, pump large quantities of water to an entire region, preventing the place from becoming a desert.

On the other hand, there are Alchemy machines that do not have beneficial results, such as the Alchemy Dynamo that Belinsk was built on top of. This was a machine to activate the Eclipse Tower, which apparently had power over the moon to force an eclipse that caused monsters to run wild. This was likely an example of the power that Alchemy could wield to perform evil, and amongst the reasons that ancient culture decided to seal the power of Alchemy away, not knowing that doing so would cause their world to crumble and die. Apollo Sanctum was clearly built to combat the Eclipse Tower, though whether it was used back then to put a stop to the disaster, or only built but not used before Alchemy was sealed is currently not clear. One thing that is clear is that after Alchemy was sealed, all of the old Alchemy machines were sabotaged so they would not work should Alchemy be unsealed.

The Wise One, a living Philosopher's Stone, was likely amongst those that made the choice to seal away Alchemy. This is clear from the way that there are Wise One statues scattered about the world in Dark Dawn that restores your characters when you examine it. Between that and how it appeared in Sol Sanctum after the Elemental Stars were stolen, we see a being that has made it the sole mission to prevent the unsealing of Alchemy. It's hard to tell if The Wise One knew the world was dying due to the seal on Alchemy, but it made its choice on that matter when it charged Isaac and Garet with preventing the lighting of the Elemental Lighthouses.

There's still a lot of unanswered questions, including what's going on with the Psynergy Vortexes, who the Tuaparang are and what their aim is, what is Alex playing it, and what really causes the Mourning Moon every 10 years. Golden Sun is a series with many years between titles, and I think we are due for a new one, especially given how Dark Dawn ended. There is hope for a new game, given the rumors that Isaac made it into Smash Ultimate, but I'm not holding my breath. If, and this is a rather massive if... if a new Golden Sun comes out and it's only available on the Switch, I MIGHT get one for that. But again, that is a very, very big if.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
4:23 pm
Had an idea while on vacation
Don't ask me why I get these weird ideas, but they just sort of happen and I don't know what to do with them other than get the general idea down in here and come back to it later...

Cutting this...Collapse )

I think that's all I have for it. It's really more fleshed out than I thought, probably because I wasn't able to write it out at first. It's really a pretty interesting story, and it averts some of the more annoying things, like the competition between Daisuke and Takeru. Now could I write this? Not until I do some more research, which I've been meaning to do for quite some time now. But yeah, that's all for now...

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
12:04 pm
Sometimes... Digimon disappoints me
Finally managed to watch part 6 of Adventure tri. At least Daisuke and the others from 02 weren't just completely written off; they made it seem like they were singled out to be removed from play before the events of tri started. As if they would tip things just enough to prevent the events that actually happened.

But in the end, it all hinged on Taichi and Yamato once again. They didn't even manage to truly bring the 02 crew on screen, just showing them as shadows in stasis tubes. I mean, I get it, they apparently weren't all that popular of characters. I blame the way that 02 was written/produced; it was haphazard and there were things that were planned but then cut due to infighting by the ones actually making it. Further, Adventure had a lot that 02 lacked: actual developed antagonists from almost the start, uncertainty with the survival of the kids due to be cut of completely from home... In comparison, while we do learn about the Digimon Kaiser fairly early on, he didn't feel quite as sinister as Devimon or Etemon did. Further, the fact that the kids in 02 are able to leave and go home every night kind of removes a lot of the suspense and in many ways, let the kids succeed without forcing the kind of growth that the original 8 had to go through. It's likely this that drove people away from liking them compared to the original children.

And that's too bad, because Daisuke is my favorite protagonist from the Digimon anime. One of V-mon's final forms is my favorite digimon, period.

Of course, my disappointment has been building for years, since the first time I managed to watch the English subbed original anime. The localization has completely destroyed much of what the anime was going for, from changing the names of both the kids and digimon, to outright censorship that was really unnecessary. There's really too much to list here, and I believe I've gone over much of it over the last 5 or so years.

But this makes the fact that I loved playing Cyber Sleuth and am really enjoying Hacker's Memory that much harder. They keep a lot of the terrible localizations of names and whatnot in the English text, but the Japanese voice overs that were kept in the games uses the actual non-localized names, which gives a bit of disconnect. On the other hand, every so often, they manage to translate something better than what was done originally. This is the case with Paildramon's special: what was called Desperado Blaster in the English dub was localized to Death Parade Blaster in Cyber Sleuth/Hacker's Memory. That name feels much closer to what should have been.

Eh, I felt I had to say something since I finally got around to watching part six of tri...

Monday, July 2nd, 2018
6:20 pm
It bothers me...
When I go to read Harry Potter fan fiction, and they age up when Hogwarts starts. Everything is balanced properly against it starting at age 11, and not any time later or earlier. Earlier and they would graduate before becoming adults (unless you start adding years to the education), later, and you are forcing them to stay well after they become adults, which for that level of education, is really stupid.

I get why they are doing it; it's because they want characters to wind up in incredibly violent or more adult situations in earlier years but are too chickenshit to let it happen at younger ages. I refuse to read stories like that. It ruins my immersion.

Had another crazy story idea, but I haven't completely fleshed it out yet, so I don't want to say much... other than it requires a much alternate history where the Cold War escalated and what amounts to Global Thermonuclear War breaks out... and no Tic-Tac-Toe is gonna prevent it from happening...
Monday, March 19th, 2018
5:13 pm
Some notes about Ogre Battle 64
So a streamer friend of mine is currently playing Ogre Battle 64 casually on Twitch right now, and having never played it before doesn't want to be spoiled or have too much revealed about the mechanics of the game. Now this can be a really intimidating game to the uninitiated, and the player is very, very uninitiated for this kind of game. The fact that there are particular characters that you have to perform very strict requirements to recruit, and certain ones will lock out certain others...

And then there's the most important and nebulous thing in the game, Alignment. Alignment is a number that ranges from 0 to 100; 0 means completely Chaotic, 100 means completely Lawful. There are a variety of classes that need very particular alignments to change into, with the general rule that warrior classes run the gamut of alignments, casters tend to be lower alignment, and healers tend to be higher alignment. Male lawful classes include Knights and Paladins, neutral classes are Fencers, Swordmasters, Phalanx, Cataphracts, Doll Masters, and Enchanters, chaotic classes include Wizards, Archmages, Beast Tamers, Beast Masters, Berserkers, Black Knights, Ninja, and Ninja Masters. Female lawful classes include Clerics, Priests, Valkyries, and Freya, neutral classes are Archers, Dianas, Dragon Tamers, and Dragon Masters, chaotic classes include Sorceresses, Sirens, and Witches. There's also a variety of different monsters and demi-humans that also have their own alignments.

When you create a unit in OB64, you select up to 5 normal sized characters, or you can substitute a large size character such as a dragon, a golem, or other varieties of beasts in place of two normal sized characters, meaning that it can be any combination of 5 normal, 3 normal and 1 large, or 1 normal and 2 large in a group. Whenever you form a new unit, the characters alignment will try to average out with each other. This means little if it's a full high or low alignment unit, but if it's mixed, they will start to even out towards neutral at first, though this can be moved along somewhat in one direction or another depending on your actions.

To clarify that last point, lets talk about what causes alignment to move in one direction or another. To increase your alignment, it helps to keep the units level lower than who they are fighting. It also helps to fight units that are mostly lower in alignment than they are. Finally, the method of attack helps, too; choosing a battle strategy of Attack Strongest and refusing to give chase to units that have lost their leaders will keep their alignment from lowering.

Decreasing alignment, though, requires the opposite effect. Allow these units to have a higher level than the enemies they are fighting, and target units full of high alignment enemies. Choose the battle strategy of Attack Weakest, and hunt down and destroy the enemy. Keep a neutral alignment is much more difficult, though, as you are likely to see many ups and downs with them depending on what you do. The best attack strategy in this situation is Attack Leader, which will simply attempt to attack the leader with everyone that can.

Forming good units, though, can be difficult to do. Some of the most obvious are the Beast/Dragon/Golem units, where a single tamer leads two of the larger monsters. The most effective of such units tends to be one Beast Tamer/2 Hellhound unit, as well as the Doll Master/2 Golem unit, and the Dragon Tamer/2 Dragon unit. There are variations, though; substitute a Wyrm for one of the Hellhounds will be slightly weaker early on, but gets a breath attack when the Wyrm upgrades later in the game. The types of dragons are also of concern; Young Dragons upgrade to the appropriate colored dragon depending on the dragon's patron element, though if you carefully cultivate their alignment and stats, they can also become powerful Black or White Dragons as well. This also doesn't take into account the possibility of other unit configurations, such as the 3 Vultan/Gryphon or 3 Raven/Wyrm unit, or a particularly nasty combo I thought up recently of Cleric/Golem/Dragon.

But those are just for beast-type units. What about others? You generally want to mix like with like where alignments are concerned. This unfortunately means you'll be light on magic on high-alignment units, as only the Valkyrie gets magic naturally without equipping an elemental weapon, and it's not that strong. Similarly, you'll be light on healing on low-alignment units. A typical high-alignment unit might have 1 or 2 Knights, a Fencer, Phalanx, or Valkyrie, an Archer, and a Cleric, situated to take advantage of the most attacks and highest damage available. A typical low-alignment unit might have a mix of Berserkers and Ninja in the front protecting a Wizard and Sorceress in the back.

But it's also up to your imagination. An Archer in the center with Valkyries in the corners fights equally well no matter which direction they are attacked from. Other concerns include those that can use magic and which spells they can use, as there is such a thing as combination magic. There's also concerns such as the middle row: there are very few classes that can fight effectively from the middle row. The Archer, Doll Master, and Beast Tamer are amongst the few that have their best attacks from there; most classes will want to be in the front (physical classes) or back (magical classes) for more and stronger attacks.

The final consideration for forming a unit is their items. Specifically those held by the unit and used on the map. The number of slots that can hold items is determined by the classes that make up the unit; most physical classes can hold 2 items, while most magical classes can only hold 1, and large-sized can generally hold 3 items. Depending on how much space you have, you'll want a healthy mix of healing items, both those that heal HP and those that heal stamina. Heal Leaves and Power Fruit are good at the start, though money is tight and you won't be able to fully kit everyone out at first. As you continue through the game, you'll be able to afford to fill every space and use more powerful items: Heal Seeds and Packs (300 HP to 1 or 150 HP to all) and Angel Fruits for almost full stamina recovery. Of course, there's also passive items, like the Ansate Cross which reverses the gender of promoted soldiers (so male leaders promote soldiers to Amazons, and female leaders promote soldiers to Fighters), and rarer, more expensive items like the Resurrection Altar.

There's so much more I could probably say, but I think I've mentioned all that I can for the moment. I'll leave it at this for now...

Monday, February 26th, 2018
5:35 pm
I love Wizardry 8
At the same time, I hate Wizardry 8. I guess this is just due to my background of the Might and Magic series, but while there are things that Wizardry 6-8 do that are really awesome, there are things about them that really piss me off.

So let's talk about things done right, first. The skill system in Wizardry 6-8 is actually really good. Skills getting better through practice, plus being able to assign bonus points on level up is just really good, and the variety of skills is something that I love. Taking it further, the sheer number of races and classes that are available makes me want to play and keep playing. That's not to mention that 6 and 7 have really neat class changing mechanics that can help you really develop your skills and spells.

But then there's Wizardry 8. In 6 and 7, when you gain level you gain a random assortment of stats and some skill points you can assign to skills yourself. If your stats are high enough to qualify the minimum needed to become another class, you can then change classes to that, which will reset your level to 1 and set your stats down to the base stats for that class. Your skills and spell picks remain unchanged, however, and you will retain whatever spell levels you've already earned. In 8, though, changing classes is a little different. Yes, you need to have the minimum stats for the class you want to change to, but when you do, you retain your stats, skills, and spells. Yes, you are returned to level 1, as well, however, it retains what level you achieved in your previous class and will require you to get the experience needed to get to the next level that would be up next if you hadn't class changed, but using the experience table for the new class. Worse yet, you can never return to the class you changed out of.

Leveling is a little different, as well. Every level you get in 8 gives you 6 stats points and 9 skill points to distribute, and you can allot a maximum of three of either to any one stat/skill per level. Also, spellcasting classes get a spell pick (if any are available). All this adds up to class changing in 8 being a monumentally bad idea.

So how would I fix it?

I've given this some thought, and I think I do like the idea of the game recording your progress in the different classes, but I still think that resetting the experience to 0 is the better solution. But doing this without any kind of penalty would make it too overpowered. To counterbalance it, take the current stats and skills, subtract the base stats and skills, and then multiply the result by 0.75. Then add back in the base stats and skills (base racial stats, but not going below the minimum needed for the class, and base skills for the new class). Keep spells and spell levels. Basically a hybrid of the current system and that of the previous games. Also, being able to return to classes that you changed from, but starting from the level/experience that you left off at.

Oh, and there's an issue with the fact that even if you spend time as a Bard/Gadgeteer, you can't actually use instruments/gadgets after you change out of your class, despite having the Music and Engineering skills. This is a consequence of them not being listed for anything other than their classes. If I were to change things, I'd also make them usable by anyone so long as they have the skill and saved level from the appropriate class, and though perhaps not being able to place points in Music/Engineering at level up, still being able to train the skills with use...

But I get the feeling that it will take a lot to fix all of this. I'm pretty sure the class change mechanics are hard coded, meaning someone would need to decompile the exe and find how it works, then recode it and form a patch for it. I don't think this game has the following needed to do that, though. There isn't anyone out there that would consider this a worthwhile endeavor. Which is unfortunate, as Wizardry 8 could really use the help.

Of course, this doesn't even touch on the other massive problem with Wizardry 8: enemies scale to your level. If you level too fast, you might find that you start running into really strong enemies way too fast, and run into things you can't actually deal with. I don't mind this kind of scaling too much, but there needs to be limits that I'm not sure I've run in to yet. For example: I was just playing earlier, walking along the Arnika-Trynton Road and going a little off road to see if I could find hidden items. What do I see on the road, though, but a group of 7 Juggernauts (basically upgraded Piercer Modais), with some Crimson Poppies and a group of Seekers as well. What worse is that I tried to wait them out and let them pass so I could get around them, and instead here comes this Hoggar out of nowhere, not ambushing me but just being a nuisance. And that wouldn't be so bad if I could kill it before the other monsters approached (nearly did, but the damn thing got blinded while already paralyzed and after coming out of paralysis decided to run away when I probably could have killed it that round). I wound up reloading and trying to find a way to slip between the Hoggar and big group of strong enemies.

To be frank, it's ridiculous that you can run into such big groups of monsters that are that much stronger than you, and I'm not even playing on Expert! It's just Normal! And yeah, I could pull it down to Novice, but that's ridiculous, too. There's really no reason for it. Unfortunately, Mad God's Cosmic Forge tool doesn't have any patches for 8 the way it has for 6 and 7.

Really, it's kind of depressing how badly made Wizardry 8 wound up being. There was a decade between 7 and 8, and it really shows with how disconnected 8 is from where 6 and 7 were going. I'm actually really doubtful that 8 was where the designers were going when they were first fleshing out the story for 6 and 7...

Anyways, I think that's enough out of me for right now. Maybe I'll revisit this at a later time...

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018
2:14 pm
My Might and Magic Book 1 experience
The Might and Magic series is probably one of my favorite RPG series of all time. It's definitely my favorite CRPG series, for sure. I first encountered this series renting Might and Magic II for the Sega Genesis, and it didn't take long for me to be hooked. I must've rerented it 2 or 3 times after I first played it, and when I found the game on clearance sale at a Babbage's (and geez, when's the last time you heard anybody talk about that place?) I wasted no time snapping it up. I chose this game over Sonic 3, and never regretted it. Little did I realize it was actually inferior to the computer version (both DOS and Mac versions).

I had a blast playing through it, even if I never did beat it. Cut to a few years later and the family gets our first Windows PC, and not too long after that I get a piece of software called Fantasy 5. This came with five computer games all on one CD! It had The Summoning, Populous, Magic Candle III, another game I can't actually remember, and Might and Magic III. The only unfortunate part was that it had hard Copy Protection, and the manuals that contained the countersigns to actually being able to play the game were, unfortunately, electronic, meaning unless I was willing to print out the manuals (not really possible considering how long they were), I couldn't really play them. I did manage for a couple of them, but in the end, I had to give up trying to play these particular games (a shame, because I enjoyed what little I could play of them).

And then a few years later and I learned of two new concepts: Emulation and Abandonware. Emulation let me experience the NES version of Might and Magic 1, and the SNES version of Might and Magic 2. To be fair, neither are bad, though both have some issues that make them less fun to play. Then I found that there were web sites out there that hosted old computer games, which included all of the old Might and Magic games! I got the chance to finally experience the DOS versions of 1 and 2, and found that they were both difficult to play, but ultimately were better than their console ports. I played more of 2 than 1, if only because I had more experience with it, but still never got around to beating it.

And then I got the Might and Magic Millennium Collection, which came packed with 4 through 7, as well as Swords of Xeen built off of the same engine that 4 and 5 used. I tried each of these, and found myself enjoying them immensely, though 6 and 7 were quite an adjustment. Again, showing a theme, over the course of the next few years I never really got around to finishing any of them. It wasn't until 2007 that I finally sat down and belt out a win on 6. A few years later I sat down and managed to do it with 4 and 5 as well (the two games, Clouds of XEEN and Darkside of XEEN combine together to form one huge game called World of XEEN).

This was just playing the versions that I got all those years ago as part of a single collection. Then came GOG. A few years back there was a sale going on; a few series that I wouldn't buy on any other platform because an unfortunate thing happened many years ago and Ubisoft acquired the Might and Magic series. Ubisoft is utter cancer in the games industry, and UPlay needs to die a fiery death. But with GOG I don't have to worry about any of that. I took advantage of that and got a bunch of the older Anno and Settlers games, too.

With this, I now officially owned Might and Magic 1-9, which gave me a chance I never had before: I could play through the whole series. I kind of sat on it for a few years though, in spite of managing to rescue the saves from the Let's Play I started of Might and Magic 6, I never really did much else with them. It's only in the last couple weeks that I reinstalled them to this computer, and I've had a new desktop for a few months now. I started playing 6 just to get a feel for it and make sure that the latest Greyface patch works and let me tell you, the bug fixes and mouse look are soooooooo nice.

I also picked up and started Might and Magic 1 and 3 in the last few days as well. I got my hands on a tool called Where are We that provides an automapping feature and identifies places of interest as well as giving you a quick and easy way to sort through your party when you need to (also gives a nice listing of party effects and what, if anything, the current location prevents you from doing). For 3-5 it also shows you the enemies that are on the map around you and if you've gotten their attention or not.

But enough about all of that. This post is supposed to be about the first game, and I've barely mentioned it! I started it up and just took the default party out, which is a mistake since 5 out of 6 of the party are male, and that's actually a severe disadvantage in this game. Further, their stats aren't all that well balanced. Although I've spent a couple hours with these characters, I'm thinking I'm going to create a new party and use them instead. Fortunately, unlike in 3, maps repopulate every time you reenter them, so creating new characters and using them isn't a detriment. Doing that with characters in 3-5 means that you've stolen experience from the new characters by letting the old ones get it, and you can't get that back.

At this point, right at the start of the game, you have basically have to find a fixed encounter square and just keep going between it and the inn to save your progress, just slowly grinding out the experience for a few levels before being strong enough to be able to brave at least 4 consecutive battles in the cavern under Sorpigal. So, slow going to begin with, but I know it really picks up after you clear a few places.

You'd think that as old as the game is it would prove too difficult to navigate, but the Where are We tool really helps, since there is no map in this game in any fashion. I really recommend it for at least the first Might and Magic, though it works with the first five, as well as the first five Wizardry and three Bard's Tale games. If anybody chances on this Journal and wants to give these games a go, try them with the tool and see if it enhances you gaming experience!

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
1:25 pm
Yeah, I don't like the PSCave forum
I was checking out the thread on the translation for Phantasy Star: Generation 2 and while I found the collaboration fascinating and enjoyed watching the difficulties be surmounted, I found that once again I was getting annoyed at certain people... especially the lone moderator for the site. The translation was basically done and being beta tested, and what should happen? BenoitRen shows up complaining about choosing Dark Force over Dark Falz.

As it turns out, neither of these is an accurate translation for the Japanese name. An accurate translation would be... Dark Phallus. Clearly this wouldn't fly as an official translation, so it needed to change. In Phantasy Star this was Darkfalz, which was necessary because it was limited to 8 characters. In Phantasy Star 2, 3, and 4 this was Dark Force, because the name was no longer as restricted in length, and lets be honest, Dark Force makes a whole heck of a lot more sense than Dark Falz or Darkfalz.

However, there are certain people on that forum that have a massive stick up their butt and refuse to see reason concerning this choice of name. They would rather force the localizer to use a completely nonsensical name because it's "more faithful" to the original work. This is patently untrue. If this was supposed to be a completely faithful work, we'd just use the name Dark Phallus and call it a day. Of course, then this translation effort wouldn't be taken seriously at all.

And admittedly I have no part of this; I'm an observer who read through several years of posts after the fact and never really had a say in what was going to be in the translation. This doesn't mean I can't express my dissatisfaction with certain people who, right as soon as it was released complained loudly and immediately got their way forcing the translator to bend to their wishes on the matter, and then later was more or less telling everyone else off for doing the same thing and stating that we should just let the translation be finished now and once it's finalized people can look to create edited versions to fit their liking.

That's a pretty scummy thing to do in my opinion. This person needs to be purged from this forum and an actual impartial moderator appointed; someone that won't force their views on everyone and tell them their theories are wrong without giving sufficient proof and won't make arbitrary decisions on projects that they really had no part in and had no business making any changes.

Yeah, my frustration with this place is pretty high. I might have registered on there, but I have no intention of posting any longer, since I know my beliefs, theories, and viewpoints will just be slapped down by self-serving jerks who can't let anyone voice opinions and ideas that don't agree with their own.

Monday, January 1st, 2018
4:06 pm
Phantasy Star Theories
To be honest, I wanted to post these over on the forum at Phantasy Star Cave, but after reading several threads on that forum, I've come to realize that one of the moderators there, BenoitRen, is a toxic person who cannot accept any other person's theories but their own and basically won't allow anyone to voice their beliefs about the series, going so far as to just always pointing back to their own flawed arguments and posting heretical statements supposedly taken from people who worked on certain parts of some of the games and claiming them as gospel truth in complete contravention of evidence given in the games themselves.

As such, despite having just registered on the site a few days ago, I'm not going to actually post my theories there. I'll put them here, and if there's anybody out there that chances upon this journal, they can comment on it to debate things. Though I won't tolerate holier-than-thou people coming along and outright calling my theories completely wrong without truly concrete proof that invalidates one of my theories...

Gonna cut them, though, as I have a lot of them to postCollapse )

And that's all I've got for right now. I've been thinking of these over the past... maybe 4 days, though many of these I've believed for ages and I only started writing them down a couple days ago. A lot of it came from the many posts that I was reading over on PSCave, and admittedly some was written in response to some of the really stupid info being slung around that I recognized contradicted what I remember from actually playing the games...

So yeah, I'm sure I'll come up with some more stuff later. Might link this entry to a post there someday, if the atmosphere ever clears up enough so that alternate fan theories are actually accepted and are allowed to be posted without the people in power just coming along and slamming it all down as wrong without the proper evidence to back it up...

Monday, December 18th, 2017
10:33 am
Went to see Star Wars last Saturday
In 3D, too, though sat far too close since the theater was already so full. Have some thoughts I'd like to put down, but I'll put in a cut just in case I actually get any traffic that hasn't seen it, yet.

Cut to remove The Last Jedi spoilersCollapse )

I think that's all from me for now. I might choose to go watch it again to see if there was anything I missed.
Monday, May 22nd, 2017
2:41 pm
So, I've been playing a game lately...
The one I've played the most recently is Oxygen Not Included, a game that takes place in the center of an asteroid, where a group of three Duplicates are "printed" and find themselves having to survive, and ultimately, thrive. You start digging yourself out to give yourself the resources to construct the necessary structures to form your base; everything from tiles and ladders to move around, to outhouses and hamster wheels and "microbe mushers", which make the most simple kinds of food.

I picked this game up a few months ago, back before it was fully released on Steam Early Access. At that time it was labeled as Alpha and it was pretty simple and straightforward. There was less that you could do compared to now, fewer types of food, less options for generating electricity, etc. A little while after I got it, they released the Thermal Update, which added more temperature related gameplay, including keeping your dupes at moderate temperatures, while introducing specific biomes such as ice zones and molten zones. It also brought us the ability to make new clothes for dupes so that they can stand different temperatures better, or just make them look super snazzy.

The latest update is the Agricultural Update, which added more options for growing and making food, bringing us new plants and recipes in the regular cooker, and new grow tiles including one that allows for fertilizer and one that allows for both fertilizer AND irrigation. Also, certain plants require clean water for irrigation and some require polluted water, so now it's not just a given to purify all water and add it back to the reservoir. It also introduced Natural Gas and a generator that uses it for power, and new Natural Gas vents that create more of it. Also, some dupes create Natural Gas all on their own if they have the Flatulence trait.

I've had a few attempts to make a successful base, and I think I've hit on it with this latest one. I'll admit my base has a large amount of polluted oxygen, but on the other hand, I have the single most stable power network I've ever had. Since learning about Transformers and how Heavi Watt Power Lines can't go through tiles and doors, I've had to rethink how I handle power networks. It's been fun, though!

In addition to this, I picked up the DLC that I was missing from Cities:Skylines, though I've hit upon a snag with that game... Even on the lowest graphics settings it gets slow, even with a relatively small town. As such I'm going to hold off on doing much else with the game until I can afford a new desktop that can handle the game. Which is too bad because I was having fun with it.

Finally I picked up a new game called Thea: The Awakening. This is a game that makes you think of Civilization at first, but you only get one town. The game also has a gathering economy, where the map is littered with resources, but you have to manually gather them each turn with your town and expedition groups that you send out. Combat is different as well, as it's card based: each character has a card where the stats are taken from the character stats. Cards are split between offense and tactics, and tactics depend on character stats what they are allowed to do. You earn experience and research from basically everything, and once you earn enough experience, every one of your recruited characters get a random statup. Further every character must eat every turn and if they don't a few different things can happen. Also the town and any camping expeditions need something consumable to burn to keep the campfire lit. So if you don't have wood/straw/coal, you might wind up in trouble. Starts are also randomized, so you might not have easy access to food and wood right from the start.

All in all, it's a fun game, and one that actually seems to be running pretty good on this craptop that I have right now. Supposedly the company that made Thea is making a sequel now, so we'll see how it works out...

Anyways, these are what I've been doing recently. Oh, and I moved into what amounts to a separate apartment at my parents' house, meaning I have my own space, but they can just enter whenever and I can do the same to them. Less privacy in exchange for a third of the bills each month is not a bad exchange. I've already managed to save enough to replace some things that badly needed replacing, including my desk, which could be delivered as soon as Wednesday!

Definitely doing better, now.

Thursday, May 18th, 2017
2:30 pm
I think I've hit upon a new pet peeve...
Going through a number of pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction I find myself having a little trouble with the way people handling questioning with Veritaserum. I'm finding far too many people falling into the trap of "too much information" when the target of the potion is being questioned. From what I remember and can tell the person under the influence of said potion is supposed to answer questions directly and not volunteer more than what is being asked. If it's a yes or no question, the answer should just be yes or no; saying anything else beyond that just seems completely wrong.

I know there's some amount of creative license, but that seems too far. Ah well...

Monday, January 9th, 2017
12:48 am
Geez, it's been awhile...
Haven't posted since my birthday...

Okay, let's see... Got Phoenix Wright Spirit of Justice a few weeks back, and kind of binged to finish it as soon as possible (including DLC case). It added some neat new stuff to the lore of the series and gives me more to play with in regards to my own story ideas. Also in game news, I was clued in on a great deal on Star Ocean 5, so I went ahead and got it. About 12 hours in, playing on Galaxy difficulty and got my first game over... it seems there is an alternative game over condition meaning I have to keep a particular character alive at all costs... which is hard, because she can basically do nothing to protect herself, and further the boss battle I GO'd on is in a really cramped space and I'm down my main healer, meaning I have to use the backup that doesn't have very well developed healing abilities...

Okay, with that out of the way, I have an idea (or two) to get down here. As usual, I'll be cutting these, as I have no idea how long they may get...

Spoilers for... pretty much all of Phoenix WrightCollapse )

Okay, I'm done. I'll come back to this when I'm not falling over tired...

Sunday, November 20th, 2016
2:31 pm
So this idea just came to me...
Read something that made me think I could apply a similar thing to a different fandom. What I read was a Power Ranger story where Tommy and Kim had a baby they named Kira while they were still in high school. Kim passed her powers to Kat when this happened, and didn't get them back after giving birth, and then at some point after that she gets kidnapped and held for something like 14 years. The person holding her drugged her up and prostituted her, forcing her to have abortions every time she would get pregnant, and it was only after many years of torture that she managed to get away.

Following a similar thread, I figured I could apply some of this to a Digimon story, where Fem!Daisuke is taken shortly after the defeat of BelialVamdemon by a black-ops government organization that resented all of their data about the Digimon World being erased out from under them and decided the only thing they could do is capture a chosen and do tests to determine what makes them chosen and how to exploit it. They will hold her for four years, doing tests, injecting drugs, and some of those with fewer morals rape her as well. When those in charge notice her miscarrying the second time, they decide to stop the drugs and after a harsh detoxing, intentionally impregnate her in order to test if any kind of special powers or abilities will breed out of a chosen.

It's shortly after giving birth to a daughter that Daisuke manages to break free. Her powers react after being denied contact with her baby, and she winds up breaking out, finding her Digivice and her daughter and largely destroying the facility she was being held in. She flees and finds her way back to Odaiba, specifically the Yagami apartment. Hikari answers the door and sees her best friend standing there holding an infant and looking badly roughed up wearing the same thing she was when she disappeared.

Now it should be said that all of the chosen were worried, especially Hikari, Taichi, and Ken. They'd all been looking for her since her disappearance. Chibimon was with her at the time, but the only things he knew was that they were walking to school one day and Daisuke suddenly stopped talking and started to tip forward, then nothing as he got knocked out too. He woke up when Hikari found him, but they could not find Daisuke anywhere. He stayed with Hikari and Taichi after that.

I don't have a whole lot planned yet after Daisuke arrives at the Yagami apartment. The idea is that Hikari is surprised at the sudden arrival, especially with the infant. Daisuke won't be able to talk about everything that happened, but Hikari will be horrified about what she can talk about. Ultimately, this story is about a rogue government organization infiltrating the Digimon World and the chosen needing to mobilize to stop whatever their plans are. Oh, and Daisuke and Hikari discovering their feelings for each other during that time that Hikari is nursing Daisuke back to health, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Um... I think the only other thing I've thought of on this is the name Daisuke gives her daughter... I'm leaning towards Yukino, but that's not final. She'll play a small part in helping Daisuke and in getting the two of them together. Other than that, though, I don't know what else to do with this. I guess it's just another odd story idea to play with...

Sunday, November 6th, 2016
9:39 pm
Going nuts with this new idea...
So, assuming that Daisuke and the others aren't dead in Tri and that there's a Big Bad out there that everyone will converge to fight, I've got this thought about Daisuke and his Crest of Miracles... And the idea that he doesn't believe in miracles at all. I know I've mentioned this for another story idea, but this one will go along with Daisuke being missing after some sort of mission alongside Miyako, Iori, and Ken. In this case, during the final battle things aren't going well for the Chosen. When things start looking especially grim, Daisuke will dig deep into his own power, but because of his disbelief he will not have any sort of control over it. Lacking focus, when trying to bring the power of Miracles to bear, he will instead detonate it, quite literally erasing the entirety of the Digimon World.

A shield will form around Hikari when this happens, not due to her own powers, but because even with no control at all, Daisuke will still instinctively protect Hikari, even from his own power. All that is left is Hikari, Gennai, and a few select Digimon in a disconnected partition, utterly blank and unable to reconnect back to the Human World. Gennai will explain to Hikari about realizing that the Chosen would be unable to win and setting up this space in case anything could be done to circumvent the coming tragedy. Gennai explains about Daisuke, Iori, and Miyako receiving their crests, as well as Ken recovering his crest, but Daisuke being the only one unable to activate the crest. He'll then describe discovering that when in the digital space, human beings are connected to themselves, both past and future, and Gennai used that connection to discover just when Daisuke stopped believing in miracles: right after the defeat of BelialVamdemon.

This surprises Hikari, but then she recalls what Daisuke was like at that point, and comes to realize that she hadn't treated him very well that year they fought together, despite him being her best friend. She was off-put by his affections for her, and she reacted by turning away, to someone that she knew would set off his jealousy. It's at this point that Gennai tells her that they might be able to send her mind, no, her very being back into herself at any point that she was in the Digimon World. Hikari accepts and they get to work. Gennai orders her to enter her body right at the final battle with BelialVamdemon, but she has already decided to go back further, to right before she left the Digimon World after her first adventure. She has a plan!

Going back is disorienting, and very sad because she arrived in her body right after gifting her whistle to Tailmon. She gets through the tearful goodbye and the Chosen return to their world via the tram car. Hikari gets reacquainted with being back in time, then asks Taichi to have a talk with Daisuke, who at this point is her friend, and really almost her best friend. Basically, she wants Taichi to talk with Daisuke and get him to realize that he doesn't need to act out to get her attention; he just needs to be himself. After they talk, Hikari decides to tell him all about Digimon and her adventure and everything.

Daisuke will mature a bit from these conversations, and he and Hikari will grow closer because of it. I'm toying with the idea of Daisuke getting a Digivice early and joining Ken and Ryo on their adventure, but I'm not sure how to go about it. And I'm not sure if I wouldn't be stepping on toes by doing that.

Anyways, that's as far as I have it thought out. I'm not going directly for the Daikari 'ship, but it'll be there eventually. Daisuke toning things down and being himself will allow Hikari to grow more comfortable with him, and that in turn will allow her to entertain thoughts of being together with him. Perhaps not while they're still 11, but let's just say that Daisuke will not be given a chance to lose his belief in miracles...

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