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uBer GeeK

intelligent rants n raves and 2 sextillion cents worth of opinions on games/hardware/incompetent and competent devs and software tools and the occasional Milwaukee Tool talk

Author: xkey

Of pizzas and popes and mmo's

Posted by xkey Wednesday January 30 2008 at 5:19PM
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Just put a pizza in for supper - yes, fine cuisine is it not?

... and in my cognitive web of grey matter I couldnt help but think of Fr Guido Sarducci - SNL and his pope in the pizza remarks ....

... which eventually led me from humor to fun to pondering concepts of MMOs and the teeny tiny dungenrunners one i've been playing lately - the "schticks" get old with some of the equipment indentifiers in that game but once in a while a new one comes along that is good for a laugh or grin

- i can picture lil kids 'role-playing' in cardboard boxes as outfits/armor and with cardboard or plastic swords ... melee battle ensuing ... ah to be young again ... not really :) I am enjoying watching my daughter develop and grow and encounter situations for the first time :) children are like reliving/revisiting one's youth slightly differently

probably why I don't need so much escapism or 'adventure' in mmos but it's still nice - i ...have good morals and it just would be so wrong to slay thousands with an imbued sword but for some reason it can still be quite fun to do so in a game

i think part of that is the risk-reward besides the daydream/fantasy aspect;  i'll probably write a few posts over the next 2 weeks in the forums on concepts related to risk-reward in gaming etc

for now i'll wax nostalgic over  Diablo 2/LODs   "hardcore"



The cold wind blows and I fear not

Posted by xkey Wednesday January 30 2008 at 10:19AM
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No, not deep in philosophical thought here - it is really freaking cold out , though the 'weathermen' got the forecast a little wrong in that we merely had a dusting of snow.  Temps bottomed out around -5 with 50+ mph winds rattling windows pre-dawn (not sure where that put the windchill but i was inside sleeping off and on so it really didnt matter to moi)

Nothing game-wise for me on  Jan 29th - just a lot o errands and coursework and no work - work today though for a few later.  It took me forever to do my taxes yesterday (had to track down daycare totals and information for last fall) and then it seemed like my other errands/tasks were all taking 10-20% longer than they should.  I managed to exercise twice though ...more than i had been the last 5 days or so [biked at the gym, did abs at like 10 pm at home last evening]

Today I have to finish the course-reading material I did not finish yesterday [several hundred pages each week for this present masters class, i have now had tired eyes 4 of the last  6 days and that is very rare for me]. 

Err almost descending from fact-stating to whining so enough of that :)

Life is good - woke up this side of the grave rather than 6 feet under :)

On the plus side I will when this course is over  jump back into LOTRO (founders cost will save me $5 a month over most other pay-for mmos so it's an added attraction besides the purported improvements since month 2).

I will also splurge and bump my inspiron 9400 up to 4 gigs of ram from 2 - should see a 10-20% improvement for some of my computationally bound code and other apps(like fractal generation etc). I looked at other options like selling this lap off and buying a new one etc but the nvid 8600 option for laptops right now isnt much of a step up [am running nvid geforce go 7900 gs] it's mostly like   1 step up and 9 steps to the side.  a much faster drive was also an option i looked at but .... if i can keep more apps in memory it'll be better than going from 5 to 6 ms  to 4  and 10-11 ms to 8 ms or so on the drive.  also i'd have to ghost the current one OR go through some reg processes again due to a few of my applications needing new key/reg codes [like mathematica for students from wolfram ... which expires in oct and i dont think i'll renew anyhow; it wasnt too expensive but i dont like the concept of basically leasing software or outrageous costs for full-blown versions ... rubs me raw as a developer. so i'll probably stick to using my maple for students  & maybe d/l and use sage (u washington - free as in beer)]

i'm not lazy ... just always busy - love staying busy and so really dont care to upgr the drive per reasons above and the fact i'd have to do a DOD wipe and then try to sell this present one on "schmeebay"

so just memory upgrade on this thing - my warranty expires feb 1 2009 - by then there should be better options for high-end vid (without breaking the bank like some of those underperforming over-priced beasts from widow and alienware

also owe the ex-gf some money from a couple years ago for the posh place we lived - i was only paying the elec/heat/cable and i'm an upright dude [not a bent over gorilla like at the gym?] so the rest of my refund will go towards a few nice things for my kiddle and paying the ex  1/2 back what is fair.

I will be able to afford tCoS but if they don't send me a beta-key pretty soon i'll probably say scr**-it and go beta Warhammer   AoR and just buy that and never buy tCoS - my time is not infinite. [time may not even be infinite ....]

Well, i'm off to read about 50 pages between now and lunch with another 100 pages after lunch today [seriously! lol i will probably take a break and play some more DungeonRunners as a get-away vacation for my brain for an hour later]


The cold wind blows and I fear not ..... i feel only the warmth of my own Hell searing the flesh away from my soul


40 hour Days/ Evolutionary Computations

Posted by xkey Monday January 28 2008 at 7:18PM
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That's what I need - then again be careful what I ask for right? ha

Hey Hey happy day my "Evolutionary Computations" book by Watanabe & Hashem arrived today.

ISBN 3-540-20901-8

I won't have the time to pop it open for a week or 2 or 3

Oh my "Todo list" has approximately 1100 items on it at present [of varying priorities such as "learn to skydive", get married again someday, ....] 

Back to this 40 hour day concept - that would free me to play 10 hours a day and still have 5 to sleep and 25 to do everything else ... not sure if it would be worth it in the end - some things are best left unfinished (like a terrible tasting meal at a 5 star restaurant ).

I hope to get to my tax return info later tonight - i'm still in the midst of more masters homework [did i not mention this course had enough assignments to fill the QE2 cabin to cabin? mua ha ha ha]

ummm i played DungeonRunners until 3 am this morning - that's the problem

I'm cogitating some thoughts on death and games but may make that a forum post when i'm through pondering in the background of my mind



TurboTax the 1 player MMO / DungeonRunning-ing-ing

Posted by xkey Monday January 28 2008 at 12:23AM
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Ugh my eyes are so fried i was just going to go play for an hour with my TurboTax deluxe 1 player MMO so i can file and get my refund asap but i'd hate to enter in the wrong amounts - i want all my $$ back so i can spring for spellborn and war

Completed all my masters term papers and assignments due today, have my notes prepped for tomorrows assignment [well one of them, no notes ready for the other assignment] - man this systems class has a ton of work ... as in full-time job work each week almost - homina homina throw another straw on this camel's back :)

therefore it follows q.e.d. i'm going no-brainer for 45 mins until the coffee wears off - dungeonrunninginginging

is there a *nix  "echo" in here ere ere ere? :)

sorry nothing informative tonight,


Concept Programming / Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) / OOP / Snow

Posted by xkey Saturday January 26 2008 at 1:37AM
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More snow - if it could snow and be 70 degrees that would be fine - this 15 -20 degree garbage ... bites - i'm retooling my resume and moving away during the middle of spring to warmer pastures

Was reading de Dinechin's presentation on Concept Programming , he makes some good points - some of what he states has been covered b4 in software engineering articles, some of it is a modification or simplification (which is good lol better than increasing complexity) of ideas. Some of it is a little more 'new' insight; it's a good read whether or not one comes away with a different style or impetus for ones future software projects.

Likewise, aspect oriented programming can complement OOP -  and has a place in the latest rage "agile" development as well.  It really is a "slicing" of the old concept of "modularity" down to a finer, smaller piece; more of a refinement or logical extension at a more detailed level.

I need 30 hours in a day ... "make it so #1"

Huxley is ... late, conan is late, ... gw2 looks like it is going to be late, spellborn ... may be late, i'm thinking software companies ... dont have enough dev staff


Hmm i'm not usually of the mind that our US govt is great, or smart .... or that they are totally incompetent - they exist, lie for the most part, and take legal (and sometimes illegal) bribes from various entities

BUT i am dang happy when they give us citizens some of our $$ back to "stimulate the economy" because I can put the money to good use in buying spellborn & warhammer lol

Spent the day reading my masters assignments and doing homework besides a little work-work and house-work : a single dads work is never done neither is a single mothers

got an A in my last class sooooooo "I just want to celebrate another day of living ......" 

k that rant over .... dont need to self-pat my back , prefer to be hungry for each and every challenge like a ravenous pit bull ... oh wait they like to chew peoples limbs off - i'm not that hungry!

coffee is wearing off ... good thing too since i have to be up in 5.5 hours and shouldnt go play lol

i'm still wondering where the heck my genetic & evolutionary algorithms book is from amazon .... might have to contact their customer service tomorrow

no more new books for a while

i have decided i won't re-sub to LOTRO until the middle of feb; i need to get ahead on homework, code up some combinatorics algs, and play some more GW and dungeon runners since  they are a) free,  b) easy and c) somewhat fun even if they are 'simplistic'       and i'm thinking of installing sword of the new world since it is "f2p" or maybe the 21 day trial of eve off steam  



Dungeon Runners / Snow / Beautiful Christian Women

Posted by xkey Thursday January 24 2008 at 2:03AM
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hmmm snow - more of it - what the heck? we need MORE Global Warming!!!

Dungeon Runners - so far i'd give it an 8 out of 10 - i'll break down into multiple categories after I get more playing time in  [have about 2 hours in so far]

Beautiful christian women - better than strippers by a country mile [hmmm , i think a country mile is more than a nautical mile ...]    I've been talking to a beautiful one, wonder what she thinks of MMOs & RPGs *raises eyebrow*

Cass is doing better at least in terms of eating, sleeping, and her energy level and demeanor - her cough is still present though :(  not any worse though - going to go turn the temperature up and hit the hay myself now.



DungeonRunners / Masters / Respiratory zzzzzzz

Posted by xkey Wednesday January 23 2008 at 1:45AM
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D/l and installed Dungeon Runners today - might go pass out playing it after posting this.

My daughter has had a respiratory virus that won't "stand-down" since 3.5 days ago and i've done everything i can : popsicles, vaporizer 24x7, house has been kept quite warm (baby, it's cold out there!), plenty of liquids/juices, plenty of love, she's napped quite a bit and slept an okay amount though whenever she'd whimper or stir i'd pop up out of bed and check on her so i'm wickedly tired .... if i was in my teens it'd be no problem but i'm 20 years removed from that so i'd like a lil more than 3 hours of sleep a night lol   - did get my daughter to eat some chicken noodle soup today, and i've been giving her a few doses of toddler decongestant/expectorant as she is really draining from this virus and  it's affecting her bronchials and her stomach :( :( :(

anyhow, started my new masters class today - holy mozambique batman it's going to be a boatload of work for one single class!  like QE2 boatload of work! 

i'd toss more opinions out but im just too whipped tonight and i want to go see how Dungeon Runners plays

oh wait .... started to put some time in reading the spellborn forums - if my tax refund is bountiful enough i might just get spellborn - it's breadth and girth are growing on me and i know someone (Cynthe from Canada / mmofaces) who has been play-testing it for quite a while and last i recall she thought it was quite a decent mmo :)  and i respect her thoughts and opinions quite a bit sooooo might just have to check out spellborn :)



2 moons 2 pathetic

Posted by xkey Tuesday January 22 2008 at 11:16AM
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I spent 30 minutes trying to get it to launch via the "start" button on it's launcher  after it had updated with all its patches to the most recent version.

No dice - no error message no nothing it just spins away into the distance disappearing - didnt notice any processes or services running when i pulled up task manager - wasnt going to hunt and do a pre execution vs post execution comparison to see any processes that might have been left lying around from it's failed attempt at execution.  If playing a game OR even getting a game to install is that much mundane searching work it is good for *bleep*.

Since it is presently in beta they really need to have their app do install logs and execution logs - i couldnt find an execution log so i could open it up and see what the last thing it successfully completed was.  I also ran through their list of things to try should it fail - my drivers are always up to date, cache and temp files have nothing to do with the exe launching sheesh etc etc

yes i .... talk about staying upbeat but when a company AGAIN doesnt do any reasonable amount of quality assurance and testing before release to beta it's pathetic with a capital P.  what ever happened to the art of debugging? logs? execution traces?  i dont care if the game is free for ever and ever i'm done over el fin    i'd rather go step through .net code than screw around with someone's pitiful app

i've got plenty of games that do install and work just fine

i dont feel like forming more conjectures and wasting more of my time doing leg-work that acclaim should have already completed - could be my security settings ar ehigher than they expected [oh i poked my holes in my firewall and added the launcher in kaspersky so that isnt the problem - that's trivial to do; i do have active-x turned off because it is a security risk across all versions of winblows i'm also running the nov 2007 directx sdk w/distributable runtime yada yada -  i also have js turned off but man i cannot see any reason why js would cause an app in the process of launching to just disappear and disengage the process.  oh and their recommendation of dep settings i already had it set for only for essential winblows modules.

maybe someday they will hire staff with a clue,

i''ll go back to gw and lotro and maybe install spellborns beta later

95% of programmers write pathetic and/or ugly code , who the hell hires that 95% and why the hell dont they pay us in the excellent 5% a lot more for saving their posteriors?

Updates / 2 AI Pioneers --> 2 Bizarre Suicides / 1 xkey post snow shower = food black hole

Posted by xkey Tuesday January 22 2008 at 1:01AM
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Well besides putting in minimal work , I finished up my last program for my present masters course, I am updating 2moons right now (stupid mini-launcher kept crashing on vista - who tests software these days? seriously!),  then i'll either play it for a few or go update LOTRO.

hmm AI is becoming like the curse of the pharoahs tombs ... or maybe it's sentient already and striking back? muahaha hmm not cool

and i really seem to be a black-hole for food - hundreds of dollars worth a month and it's not pricey food - it's just the sheer quantity i burn mentally and physically like after shoveling tonight  - i was blessed with a very high metabolic rate and a great intellectual capacity that devours food to fuel my synapses.

well just killed the minilauncher and edited the launching shortcuts for winblows and for x-fire to use the full 2moons launcher exe - not sure what the purpose of the minilauncher is and quite frankly i dont care at this point since there was an issue with it



Death, Taxes - Reverse Engineering hmm

Posted by xkey Monday January 21 2008 at 1:36AM
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Random order tonight -

When my tax refund comes in [waiting on some project w2s so i'm not even sure how much it's going to be at this point]  I've been pondering either a new mmo [like warhammer] or a console  - such tough decisions ...

Death - one of the guys who did a lot of RPG and game design over at palladium books is dying of cancer - bummer , i'm pretty sure i met him at one of the gencons many years back (when it was in Milwaukee) or maybe a sci-fi or comic convention in chicago then? anyhow he seemed genuinely nice and really into the details and nuances of  game design

something i think a lot of people today really dont analyze well enough [also not enough people are not nice but that's not a gaming discussion for the most part lol]

and in case someone is actually reading my blog - whatever happened to the guy that reverse engineered a lot in the WoW client and built his bot he was selling - i know they slapped a cease & desist or lawsuit of some sort on him but there were large gaps in time where i wasnt reading gaming news other than joystiq .... i think if i am recalling correctly one of the terms associated with his prog was slider or glider [im thinking wow glider or something along those lines but it's been almost a year since i read about it ]


2 Moons is Better than 1 & XML Hacks

Posted by xkey Sunday January 20 2008 at 11:29AM
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well maybe for making out *sly grin*

installed 2Moons, will play a few mins later after i complete a flowchart, some pseudocode and some code; in about a weeks time I should have some thoughts & notes on 2moons

patched LOTRO up-to-date but won't get to playing it today - packers game is on - GAME ON

picked up the unlock kit for Nightfall last night - for when I finally progress to playing it , i'm playing the last few quests in prophecies and the first few in factions - i'm weird like that mostly taking things in order...

didnt want to drag the kiddle to church today , is still well below 0 and her cold has taken a turn for the worse :(

definitely think it's time to relocate to warmer locales  ...definitely definitely [in his best Rain Man]

my book recommendation for today is  an O'Reilly published book -  XML Hacks by FItzgerald , have thumbed through it sitting on my coffee table [yes i sit on my coffee table a lot ... ],  it's a great lil XML book



Exploiting Online Games: Cheating Massively Distributed Systems / Chess / xkey version 2.0

Posted by xkey Saturday January 19 2008 at 2:07AM
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Let's take the title in reverse order:

xkey version 2.0 - my daughter , well okay different gender but still a revision of me that's for sure - she's trouble with a CaP TTTTTTTT   finally passed out asleep - 2 yr olds should be sleeping more than 9.5 hours a day shouldnt they?  lil dynamo like i was!

Bobby Fischer died today - wonder if that means he can return to the US now without facing charges for that last chess match ....

and there's a new book out "Exploiting Online Games: Cheating Massively Distributed Systems" by Hoglund & McGraw

Hoglund's done some research I respect so I expect the book is probably pretty good [not dissing McGraw just havent read any research by him is all].  Amazon has a good price on it right now

I've perused the TOC and will be buying the book - just dont think I have the time to read it right now ....  still want to poke around  Game Programming Gems 6 and code up some of my combinatorics research ideas ...and sleep - i do so like to sleep a few hours a day

oh but hey this is a gaming site right ... mmo?   I logged some decent hours in GW today

and yeah yeah it's cheesey its linear  - it's not random enough - it's not WoW no raids no this no that - yeah but when u've got a kid and like to solve problems ...sometimes the last thing u want is to solve a ton of problems or grind in a game!   GW is kind of like fun mindless playing - i dont have to remember a ton of details from one week to another; once my kiddle is older then I'll want a lot more challenging MMO

I'll be re-upping my LOTRO (last time i played was release month) to see how it's changed. i've contemplated re-upping my EQ2 but .... i've only so much time to play each week  and i'm really looking forward to warhammer

black hole sun ..........


X-fire - IEEE & ACM - Fonzie

Posted by xkey Thursday January 17 2008 at 11:14PM
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x-fire puts out more patches and revs than anyone but maybe microsoft

soooooooooo why isnt their software any better  than a 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10? lol

ahhhhhh nuff of that

well i finished half of my masters homework for the week so i think i can go log an hour in GW

aren't i the ravenous MMOer *tongue in cheek*

re-upped my  IEEE membership; likewise for ACM - i need a few hours away from research though and staring at a nice 6 inch snowstorm and  the return of winter cold in the town that made Fonzie famous or is it vice-versa?

Warhammer Online:Age of Reckoning & Stargate Worlds & GW2

Posted by xkey Thursday January 17 2008 at 2:33AM
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Don't be a hatah as they say and I am not hating on any of the games coming out in 2008 but the 3 in the title will be the only ones I will "probably" purchase - see post #1 in my blog on this site to glean why I just dont have the time lol

Do I think some of hte other ones might be good? yes chronicles of spellborn looks good

Do i think some will fall flat on their face after a short time ala vanguard? sure conan will be a flash in the pan - it just does too many things "wrong" and just won't have the creativity or sufficient variety in keeping within it's own pseudo-devices.  I think a game like Warhammer has a lot more creativity in the pipeline and a lot more variety in war :)

I am a sci-fi fan DUH   and well since there is no Farscape or Dr Who or Babylon 5 mmo i'll give stargate worlds a whirl ;)

GW2 - wonder if it's slipping - as long as NCSoft isnt slipping they should marry the best of GWs' pseudo-mmo with a true mmo and produce a game hopefully as fun and with a lot of pvp-goodies in GW2.

I probably will pass on any Marvel MMO  - I was always more of a Dark Knight and DC Universe fan.

Saw the news online the other day about the persistent Might & Magic mmo that will only require a browser? I am thinking .... I'll believe that when I see it and see where the quality falls on the spectrum..



Visual Stud 2008 installed

Posted by xkey Thursday January 17 2008 at 2:08AM
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i'm not handsome but i'm dang cute with a hot body and radioactive mind  DOH...

maybe after i play around with XNA i can get to playing a few hours of GW this month.
What is up with Perpetual Entertainment ? Did they hire such cruddy devs AND lousy proj mgrs that they fell into a ditch and get run over by license repossessors? [Gods & HEroes just seemed like a fun idea ... still does - maybe they can sell it to someone that can 'get r done']

Hey hey hey TR1 come out to play - maybe i should have bought intel's tool suite, but i like visual studio for ease of use - seriously MS gets at least one Gold star , they get the other when they get ALL of TR1 implemented in vs 2008

I've been debating playing mmo's again - it would mean going from 6 hours of sleep a night to 4 or 5 and using the time to play + besides being able to play a few hours (just to see the new updates in some of my games really and make some new compadres) when my daughter is hours and hours and hours away at her mothers for a week each month

I got in on the LOTRO founder option, but havent touched it since the first month it was out;  I'll probably play a bit of GW in the near future [very very near (near near) future]

Oh!?! and i've never played a single minute of WoW though i was a HUGE AVID RABID player of d2&d2LOD; i just think WoW is too 'easy' in too many respects and well i'll wait for Blizz next MMO *maybe*.  I like Blizz - really - I saw diablo at a friends umpteen million years ago and I was hooked - had to snap up D2 on release day and likewise the LOD x-pack. I just ... don't jump on bandwagons unless it's a really sleek, sexy, 0 to 200 snazzy bandwagon.  Raising a daughter alone and working on a masters and working part-time and the upkeep of a house etc just doesnt leave me with a lot of time to play games that are not "too fun" or are "too much work" - i'm more into playability - hence my affinity for GW.

...back to visual studio .... i jettisoned eclipse to free up some room on the laptop for it , keeping netbeans ..gotta love netbeans 6 gotta :)



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