Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Professional game reviewer?

I've done a quick check of all the game reviews that I've written (and sold) so far and I get the number 67! Although I aimed for 100 reviews at least before considering myself as 'professional' enough (heh), but 67 is a staggering number! Especially considering that I've done these as my part-time work! :)

This number excluded the game articles that I've written (4 of them) and the movie reviews that I've written (2 - worst experience of my life, seriously... they want me to write about movies that was popular in the time when I wasn't even born yet! Ish, I realised my mistake for offering these sort of writing services real quick and rejected any further orders from the guy - sorry!).

Anyway, just wanted to post something up to fill in the void when I won't be around (for a couple of days at least - I had to attended a friend's sister's wedding in another state). :)

Have a great day, guys! Til I return from my long voyage! ;)

Monday, November 24, 2014

How humans learn to subconsciously connect with their eyes

Humans are the only primates with a large, highly visible sclera - the white part of the eye - which makes them easier to track and read than the eyes of many other animals. Imagine trying to read the emotions of a hamster without any physical cues other than what’s going on in those black, beady pools. Those adorable little enigmas...

Have you ever wondered why humans have sclera (the white parts of your eye ball) and an iris, while animals don't have the sclera?

This article just prompted me to think about this lol and I think it's fairly interesting to warrant a share on my blog :P Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My mountain of shame

Based on the similarly titled article on PC Gamer and as usual, this post has been in my drafts section for ages lol :P

So, this mountain of shame refers to the huge pile of installed games that you have on your computer that are so dusty from being terribly under-used and ignored.

I'm usually not the sort who install only one game at a time and play it until I've gotten bored of it and then install a new game (while removing the old game). I like variety (who doesn't?)! So that I can play different games of different genre depending on my mood. :) 

Not to mention, I have loads of installed MMORPG games that I will NEVER finish playing on my computer as well... even though I have not logged in more than 10 minutes, or even at all, in a very very long time. That unfortunately includes my Ragnarok Online 2, Rift, WoW, Dragon Nest... etc. I still miss my WoW characters very, very much though!

There are even some games that, even though I've finished playing, I could not bear to uninstall - and I'm not even sure why. Perhaps I was thinking of playing it a second time, but at a higher difficulty (if there is such a thing in that particular game). Most of those are indie games like Aarklash, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Banished and Don't Starve, and some of them are casual games like Castle Storm, Disney: Infinity, Toy Defense, Plants vs Zombies... lol

(Edit: I've started playing Banished again and I finally knew why I abandoned it in the first place... once I get my population up to around 150, my villagers will die off even with thousands of food available lol. Anyway, I did some googling and now I'm sitting on almost 300 pop spread across 2 major towns :))

Anyway, what's YOUR mountain of shame? Feel free to comment below! :) 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rant - Zeus

I haven't done a rant in quite a long time (since like my undergrad days)

Anyway, I came across this article and it got some of my blood boiling...

As a PhD (or postgrad) student, for several years you’re paid to study something you care about and learn how to think creatively. 

..........uhm, some poor postgrads (I'm not naming names here) PAY the university to do work that other people GET PAID for. In fact, the people who actually GET PAID to do the work, did not do their work and push all their work load to you... the student and you cannot really complain to anybody since A. Your PI doesn't care (and he/she also 'asks' you to do his/her work all the time - you're practically his/her personal secretary + lab manager + science officer + store/inventory keeper + intern/undergrad/mix-mode trainer and unofficial supervisor + middle man with suppliers) and B. If you don't do the work, your life at that place will turn into a living hell. It's a great system, huh?

P/S: Just ignore the 'zeus' in the post title - it's just s way for me to keep track of my different rant posts since I can't seem to remember the last number that I was at (and I'm too lazy to go find out). :P

P/P/S: This was actually written ages ago (like a week ago lol) but I've forgotten to post it up - it remained in my drafts folder until I found it today :P

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baba Yetu - Civilization IV Theme Cover - Peter Hollens feat. Malukah

You've never heard epic music if you've never heard of this amazing song! This cover totally blew it away!


Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina!
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye
Jina lako litukuzwe.

Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, milelea milele!


Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni. (Amina)


Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, simovu mwehu (?)

Baba yetu, yetu, uliye
Jina lako litukuzwe.

Swordsman brief review

Seriously, since I've stopped playing WoW and Rift, I can't seem to find a nice and new MMORPG to settle down again... until I found this. I love the combat system (though not its looting system). Instead of button spamming, you actually need to direct where you want to punch or kick at. Plus, it's a martial arts-based game. 

Plenty of players around, awesome soundtrack and graphics, love the storyline... this is a game that is should have been so much more... maybe it's on its way there :P

If the title of the game seem familiar, well, it's because this game is based off a movie with a similar title (that stars Jet Li) as well as a popular novel by renowned wuxia author, Louis Cha.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Landmark Beta review

I've gotten myself a Landmark key ages ago and I played the game (not that long ago). 

It's a pretty good voxel-based game that focuses on gathering, crafting and constructing. You can claim a land for your won and build your cave, house, fortress or whatever on it, but you have to pay a sum to keep the land or the land will be returned to the game and someone else can come along and claim it for their own.

I was interested in this game since A. I like voxel games (very creative) and B. I like survival games too (gathering and crafting). However, I find the constructing part of the game a bit too complicated for someone who isn't a pro-builder like myself. The blocks are very tiny and there is no drag option (to quickly replicate the same blocks in a line) and I had plans to build a huge, double-storey house lol.

One of the stuff that I love the most in this game is the mining feature. You can practically dig yourself a cave in there :P There are also secret places on the map for you to find and explore. These places are usually caves and have monsters inside that you can kill :)

On another note, the graphics are amazing! It makes the block look realistic and not at all cartoony (like most of the other voxel-based games).

Lastly, screenshots! :)

P/S: Bam! I've written this within like 10 minutes lol :D

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This War of Mine review and tips

My review is down at the bottom of this blog... enjoy! :)

I've been reading through the reviews and I found this haunting... in a world where war is so dehumanized and can seem so far away from our daily comforts, this game let us, somewhat, feel the pain and horror of war. You are not an elite soldier fighting enemies in a foreign land... you are one of the locals, scavenging and hiding from the soldiers - fearing for the lives of the people you care for, day and night. 

Excellent review by Grimno.
Entered a building with other people.
The building's description had said "Danger" which ment hostiles. Bandits.
I grabbed my knife and was ready for those bandits.
I saw one bandit and after breaking in through a window, she ran calling for backup.
One guy showed up with a shotgun and chased me off but I waited.
He searched, and couldn't find me and then I got the drop on him.
We fought, he couldn't shoot, and three stabs later he fell.
I grabbed the shotgun and went inside.
My friends needed food, and these bandits were killers. They deserved what they got.
I grabbed food, supplies, and another bandit showed up!
I fired at them with the shotgun, and they dropped with a gurgling scream.
One bandit ran after me! Surely they had a knife!
No... she ran past me to the man's corpse.
She was crying. She called me a murderer.
I fired again and she dropped.
There was silence then, and I had to hurry up and grab the rest of the supplies before more bandits showed up.
I opened a closet, and snagged the food.
But, the inventory of the closet said "Private"
Someone owned this wardrobe?
I looked outside toward the other building, and between the two.. a garden someone built?
One guy had mentioned they were running low on meds.
This.... no.. it couldn't be. It just couldn't be!
This wasn't... this wasn't an abandoned building being picked clean.
This was another group's safehouse.
These people are.... were.... survivors!
...and "I" was the bandit.
I'll expand this review after I've actually played the game. In the meantime, you can enjoy looking over its YouTube videos or buy it yourself! :) It's an indie game that deserves so much more attention!


I've finally played the game and boy... it's rather nerve-wrecking to see the characters in the game go into depression one-by-one... especially when I was sneakily stealing supplies from an elderly couple and I panicked when I was discovered... leading into a violent butchering (in my first playthrough when I had thought the old grandpa was going to kill my character). 

But on my second playthrough, I just steal the stuff and left them alone - they pleaded with me to spare their lives and I did, but on my return trip there a couple of days later, I saw there are corpses on the bed of the house.... Nerve-wrecking right?)

It's an emotionally-taxing game that's for sure... especially when you're so attached to your characters after learning about their regrets (during the war) and their background stories that are unraveled as the game goes on and as they STAY ALIVE... It's heart-breaking to get your favourite character killed by thugs while you're desperate to get food for your team of survivors. 

The game is very tough when you approach the higher levels. I'll explain more later.

Since I kept restart the game whenever I'm left with 2 survivors (with others dead and rotting), I've noticed that the major game events are consistent - so you might want to start your first playthrough as some sort of tutorial. For example, you can predict when winter will come (around Day 30++) and you can get as much fuel (and water, coz during winter, you'll need to waste fuel AND filter to get water from snow) stocked up BEFORE winter.

Tips and hints (The list will get messy down there, sorry! :P):
1. [Workshop tips] One of the first things that you must build is a metal workshop - for tools (lockpicks, crowbar and shovel). This is vital!

2. Next, build 1 less beds for your team, for example, if you start off with 4 people (This happened on my 3rd playthrough lol), you will need at least 3 beds. Chairs are unnecessary earlier on.

3. [Upgrading tips - VITAL] Then, start gathering materials to upgrade your workbench first.  You will need workbench level 2 to reinforce your home from future attacks (less supplies stolen in raids - let's just say I had an experience where all my food (6 meat) was stolen in just 1 raid) and also to build animal traps for a steady, but unpredictable supply of food

4. For food, a way to 'cheat' the system is to only let your peeps eat raw food so that they will remain 'slightly hungry'. If you can get canned tuna, eat those first (vital members of the team will get first dibs ofc) as these are one of the few stuff that will definitely get stolen by people if you get raided at night. Food on the stove will not get stolen - so if you want to store a lot of food, cook a batch of them and leave them on the stove. You can never have too much food... seriously :P

5. Stove and radio is optional - radio is not really useful despite its tooltip. Stove is only needed when you have shtload of water to cook some nicer food (not that it makes much of a difference) for your peeps.

6. [Upgrading tips - VITAL] In anticipation of winter, get your metal workshop upgraded, so you can get that axe crafted. Then, head over to chop all the useless furniture in your house (you can also chop furniture in other places as well, but for now, just stick to your house since chopping causes a LOT of noise). - you can easily get loads of wood and fuel this way

7. [Trading tips] Stock up on meds and use meds as trading materials (if you're careful, you won't need too much meds to cure/heal your peeps) - since the supposedly 'ultimate' trading materials (cigarettes and coffee) are rather worthless.

8. [Trading tips] Diodes cost quite a lot (if you trade for cheap stuff) and you don't need it (except for radio) earlier on, so my advice is to sell the load of them for more vital stuff, like food.... which are very sparse.

9. [Before winter tips] Save up for water before winter coz during winter, you'll need to waste fuel AND filter to get water from snow.

10. Note that some of the members in your team may have orange lettering underneath their 'likes' or 'are best at'. These can be troublesome. For example, Bruno the Cook is a smoker. So, if he doesn't get his smoke and he is depressed or sad, he will pick fights with other team members and may cause severe injury. Some members of your team may crave coffee as a way to cool down their nerves as well. Although these are not exactly necessary, it's still an easy (but 'expensive' and rather slow) way to get their EQ back to normal.

10. [Defending your home] Also note that your team can use crowbars and axes as weapons in response to any raids to your house, so make sure all your guards have a weapon. You don't need to craft knives if you already have crowbars and axes.  Unfortunately though, SHOVELS are somehow NOT considered as WEAPONS.

11. Don't forget to keep food stocked up as well.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stonehearth (Alpha) review

There's even day-and-night cycle in the game! :) Look at mah double-storey house!
An excellent voxel-based game that has a survival, resource-gathering theme. After watching the sample gameplay video put up by the developers, I knew I simply must try this game out. And guess what, I enjoyed it very much! :)

However, there are plenty of glitches still in the game - like workers becoming idle and not returning to work even after days (they don't even go to eat). It is as though they were caught in some invisible quicksand and was unable to budge. 

There's another bug with beds (P/S: I didn't put them very closely together - I left some space in between beds so they could walk to their beds). There will be beds available but some of the workers go ahead and decide to sleep on the floor - they even have the nerve to complain about it after they woke up lol. Stand-alone walls are not working - cannot build those yet as well as some jobs that are not yet available. 

Since the game is still in alpha, I guess I can excuse a lot of the glitches. But from what I've seen in the game, I have high hopes that the final, released version of this game will be extremely good. :) I have faith in that. It's just that there are some tweaks needed for the current game mechanics and there are more content that are on their way into the game. The devs have a lot to do! :)

Cute little buggers, they are!

My workers stockpiling stuff on the stockpile.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The problems of being a 'girl gamer'

And I consider myself pretty hardcore too - I put in hours of gameplay per day and I will play games every day without fail (at least 30 minutes for each game that I "multi-play" :P). Currently, I have to put in 30 mins for my Sparta: War of Empires; 30 mins min for my The Settlers Online and 15-30 mins for my Pockie Defense and prior to sleep, around 15 mins of Plague Inc... 

I hardly have any left for my Borderlands: The Presequel, my castle in Roblox or my towns in Banished T.T My Kingdom of Amalur is probably buried in meters thick of dust and all my MMORPGs are under even thicker piles of dusts. And now I was hooked onto Stonehearth (Alpha) after watching its gameplay video... and I went and got it lol (even though I simply do not have the time to spend on these games). Maybe I'll write a review for the game... it's amazing. Voxel-based but the people and stuff in it are so cute!

Anyway, that's not the point of this blog post. I'm writing about all the problems that I face being a 'girl gamer'. Note that I do not agree in differentiating guy gamers from girl gamers... we are all gamers... and we are UNITED! xD However, the 'girl' part does come into the spotlight once you read what I have to say about 'girl gamers' that would probably not be applicable to 'guy gamers'.

1. Can't find a group of girl friends, who game like you do, for multiplayer

Like seriously! All my girl friends are all interested in girl things like buying new clothes or at the very most, casual games like Candy Crush Saga. If I wanted to, let's say, play Diablo III on multiplayer, there are absolutely no one that I can reach out to. Heck, even my guy friends don't play Diablo III. See my dilemma? From what I know, guys can easily find some buds to play games with, but girls can either find guys who play the same games as she does and hangs out with them or play single player all the time. If she has a brother/s, then she could always LAN with her brother/s, when he/they are in the mood lol. Most of the time, my bro is like Hearthstone, Hearthstone, and DotA... facepalm! (That double 'Hearthstone' is written on purpose btw)

2. You almost always get harassed (sexually) if you play MMORPGs or online FPS (mainly these 2 genres are the worst of the lot) once the guys know that you're a girl IRL

It doesn't even matter if you're actually hot or not lol. They will start hitting on you like there's no tomorrow. No wonder I like to play as a guy character when I first started out in my first true MMORPG, WoW. There will be nobody that will keep trying to get my attention by doing stupid stuff... like fly hacking heh (those old days when flying is not allowed in Azeroth :) ) And yes, there's this stupid guy who fly hacked just so he could show off to me and was banned on the spot xD

3. People will think that you're a tomboy for liking hardcore gaming

I'm not exactly a perfect example for this statement coz well, I'm... a wee bit tomboyish... even until now. HOWEVER! This is not true for quite a number of 'girl gamers' out there, I'm certain. Girls, don't believe in what other people say - you can be girlish or ladylike even if you put in hours of gaming every day :)


[I'll add more later, gotta give this topic some 'in-depth' thinking]

Friday, November 7, 2014

Plague Inc - A guide to conquering the world with your disease!

And kill off the entire human population. :P

Okay, so it's very easy to do conquer the world in Plague Inc and I'll just cut to the chase. Do note that I've only started playing and am still using bacteria as a way to infect people, but I reckon the principle of the game is pretty much the same even if you're using viruses or something else.

1. Start your disease in a poor country

First, it's best to start in a poor country. These countries have low hygiene, low capability to develop a cure, has a huge base population and low medical personnel. The perfect cauldron for your disease! 

However, once you get pro at this game, you can easily try to start your disease via the european countries (those cluster of countries around UK looks juicy lol - plenty of transportation access).

2. Increase your disease's infectivity!

Since you're starting in poor countries, these countries are usually hot, humid and arid. So, the best way of transmission would be Insects (Best), Blood (Secondary) or Airborne (Secondary). You should also get Rats once you hit countries with more urban areas. 1 level of evolution into these is sufficient - you don't need to get level 2.

For symptoms, anything that can increase infectivity should be your first choice. Rash and Cysts are good choices for starters and for poorer countries. You should gradually spend DNA points on symptoms that will increase infectivity in urban and wealthy countries too.

Once you get any of those, I must simply emphasize on getting Water 1 transmission. This is the only way you can get to that pesky island up north (hint, hint, Greenland). Get this early on so that you can widen your spread and cover all the countries in the world.

3. Increase the resistance of your pathogen

Once more and more people get infected, your disease will become known to the world. This is the time to spread even faster (before they can develop a cure) by making your disease as resistant as possible. The first to max out is bacterial resistance. Then, drug resistance (so that you can infect people more quickly in wealthy countries) as well as cold resistance (Hint: the wealthy countries up north).

You should also start spending points on inhibiting any attempts by countries in developing the cure.

4. Increase severity and lethality of your disease

Once (or slightly before) you get complete global infection, start getting symptoms that increases lethality AND inhibits the progress for a cure. These will usually cost a lot of DNA points, so you may want to de-evolve some of the 'increase infectivity'-only symptoms or methods of transmission since you have no use for those. Do note that de-evolving only gives you back 2 DNA points - it's really pitiful - so consider it for some time before de-evolving a symptom.

Furthermore, keep stacking up abilities that slows the progress of the cure! Don't forget to pop all bubbles that pops up, especially the blue ones!

If you get any mutation bonuses, then good for you :)

This is also the time where you shouldn't be spending any more DNA points on transmission.

5. Laugh evilly at the screen

Get those 'muahahahaha' ready when your disease managed to caused the extinction of the human population!


P/S: I've just started on virus and I can say that the gameplay is pretty much the same except that for virus, it has a higher rate of mutation so you may want to de-evolve some symptoms in order to lower its lethality. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wave or study music

There had been a major hype some time ago on using the so-called 'wave' music (alpha, beta, delta waves mainly) that are tuned to resonate with your own brain waves to help you sleep or study etc etc. 

I bet there are plenty of websites dedicated to promoting these type of music and truthfully speaking, some of them are pretty nice to listen to - they sounded a bit like epic music but more repetitive :P

Honestly speaking though, I experienced a time during my university years when I just couldn't absorb anything that I've studied and it's definitely not helping that I was distracted by some other stuff as well during that time. I'm not sure whether it worked or not though, but I'm certain that writing notes out onto a paper that I've folded into a brochure format (for carrying the notes around easily) works for me :)

So anyway, what made me to think of this old and dusty draft in my blogger is because well, I've submitted an application for a position on AsapSCIENCE's team (I really hope I get it but I don't really have a lot of faith... to be honest. They did say that they will only accept remote working ONLY if that candidate is exceptional... I'm just... pretty much average).

However, since I've already written this outline, I thought you guys might be interested to know more. I did some digging, mind you, but I haven't really dug deep enough yet. I still need to verify the many cited journals on those sites that markets study music products (like CDs and stuff), but so far, from what I've dug up, it's not looking promising. And oh, if anyone's wondering, everyone can cite any journals they want for any article, but whether the results are really compelling and that the experiments and researchers are credible (or that even the journal itself is credible)... that's another question lol.



Does the so-called study music actually help improve your studying?

Students are always desperate to find a shortcut for studying… nobody likes to study for exams and will usually leave it to the very last minute or get easily distracted by the tinniest of distraction like a lizard on the wall. Thankfully, there are plenty of study aids available that actually help students to study, like mind mapping, and also some that are at the border of quack science and true science. A fine example of these sort of ambiguous ‘study aid’ is the so-called study music that reportedly uses certain frequency music to trigger the production of beta waves from the brain. They claim that this method can help improve studying and even treat ADHD.

The ‘theory’ is that this sort of music produces two different frequencies from your left and right headphones. For example, a frequency of 60 Hertz goes in one ear, while a frequency of 40 Hertz goes in the other ear. They claim that the difference in cycles (which is 20 Hertz, in this case) will result in musical beats that are in the beta pace and the brain will start to pulse in step with it. This, in short, is called binaural beats.

But why beta waves? Beta waves are scientifically associated with a mental state of being wide awake, which, when you think of it, is extremely useful if you have to burn the midnight oil. In addition to excessive caffeine intake, you will be so awake that you can sprout wings (like Red Bull). Beta waves are also connected to concentration, which is exactly what you need if you want to try to ace tomorrow’s exam with only 1 night of study. There are also several other study music that uses gamma waves (since it is associated with cognitive learning), alpha waves (associated with relaxation – they claim that you’ll need to have a relaxed and open mind in order to absorb new information) and theta waves (associated with creativity, for when you needed to get that 7000 creative writing essay done within a night).

Furthermore, music has always been known to be able to stimulate certain response in the human body.  Try watching a horror movie with the sound off (muted), then try watching the same horror movie with the sound on – notice the difference? It’s not as scary anymore. In fact, if you watch any movie or video with the sound off, the movie won’t be as good or even make any sense.

Despite the fact that brain wave entrainment is a real phenomenon, it is only useful in investigating how the brain works. There are absolutely no scientific proof and theoretical basis that it has any long-lasting effect on brain function. In fact, there may even be some deteriorating effect of constant exposure to brain wave entrainment, just so you could cram stuff the night before the exam. My advice? Don’t waste your money on these sorts of ‘study aids’ and hope for a miracle… study in advance and not at the very last minute! And of course, study smart!


So, what do you think? Is it really that useful? Is it pseudoscience or real science? What's your experience with using these sort of wave music?