General Ramblings comments edit

I finished God of War on Saturday and have come to the conclusion that the concept of “save points” in games is crap.

See, I’m not a very good gamer and I don’t have a lot of time. I’m sure there are folks out there who had no problem getting through the ridiculous set of jumping puzzles in hell, which just goes to prove I’m not the greatest gamer. What happened on Saturday, though… grrrrr….

The last battle of the game is with Ares, the God of War. Big surprise from the title of the game, right? Anyway, you fight him and it’s pretty difficult but it’s not impossible. I lost the battle twice while I figured out how he moved and such, then killed him the third time. For a boss battle, that’s pretty good. If I fail about five times on a boss battle, that’s okay. Much more than that and I start thinking that maybe it’s a little too hard. I mean, I like a good challenge, but I don’t want to sit there fighting the same guy all day. I digress.

So I fought Ares and kicked his ass, only to be put into a second “boss battle” where you have to fight a seemingly infinite set of clones of yourself. I think I lost that battle probably 20 or 30 times in a row. Seriously. Fighting Ares before this was a cake walk. But I beat this clone battle, too, and thought, “Yes! I’m done!”

Fighting Ares the first time took about five minutes each battle on average. Losing twice means that battle ran me 15 minutes. 15 minutes after I’ve already played a bunch, so I’m pretty much done by the time I beat him. But there’s no save point, so I can’t quit the game after that because then I’d just have to fight him all over.

Fighting the clone battle ran between one and 10 minutes each time. Say that averages out to four minutes each, that means I spent roughly another hour and a half on the second battle. Like I said, not the best gamer, but I am persistent and I do want to win. Plus, I like to play on the “normal” difficulty because “easy” is generally not challenging enough to make me feel accomplished, but “hard” is, well, too hard. So I was playing on “normal” mode.

By the time that clone battle was over, I was frustrated and tired. It was late in the evening, and I just wanted to quit. Where’s the save point?

There isn’t one.

And you have to fight Ares again, but this time without your weapons.

Now I’m just pissed. After spending another 10 minutes fighting Ares, getting tantalizingly close to winning and then getting the shit kicked out of me, when the game asked me for the umpteenth time whether I wanted to switch to easy mode, I said yes. Then I killed Ares in about two swings of the sword, which was far less than gratifying after all the work I put in, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was done playing and couldn’t just save my progress and stop.

Of course, after the last battle there’s a save point, right before you run up some stairs and end the game without fighting anyone. Brilliance, guys.

The point is that I value my time and, while I like gaming, I shouldn’t have to be at the mercy of the game developer as to how long I should allocate my time to their game. I can’t count how many times I wanted to stop playing but couldn’t because I’d just lose my progress. Does that sort of mean the game developer beat me? Sure it does. On the other hand, I’m going to shy away from any game that either employs save points or has levels that take longer than, say, 10 minutes to play. I need to control how my time is allocated and save points don’t allow me to do that. It turns the game from being fun into being a chore, and that’s not why I play.

Game companies: It’s really not that hard. Lose the save points and let me save wherever I want. I promise I’ll be more willing to buy your games if you do.

General Ramblings comments edit

Playing God of War again (still). Learned something from a theological perspective last night: Hell is full of jumping puzzles.

See, I’m to a particular spot where my character, Kratos, has died and is trekking through the underworld trying to get back up to the surface and it seems that there are three major redundant puzzle types I’ve had to face so far, all of which are reasonably frustrating.

The first puzzle type is the “elevated platform” puzzle. This is where you have a bunch of somewhat randomly placed platforms, all at different heights, that you have to jump across. This puzzle is primarily made difficult by the inability to control the camera, so rather than being able to turn things around and see how high the next platform is or how far away it is, you end up jumping directly into or away from the camera and hoping that you don’t die and have to start over.

The second puzzle type is the “log rolling” puzzle. This is where you have a series of platforms that are connected together by logs that spin in an arbitrary direction (sometimes changing direction). The logs, of course, have blades on them - after all, it is hell - and since you can’t walk diagonal faster than the logs roll (you’d walk diagonal to both compensate for the rolling nature of the log and move across the log simultaneously, right? like a drill bit…), you end up having to do a series of jumps to cross them. Of course, if you hit a blade, you fall off the log and have to start over.

The third puzzle type, and by far the most infuriating, is the “bladed column climb.” This is where you have a huge column broken up into segments, each segment of which spins in alternating directions (so the bottom segment spins to the right but the next segment spins to the left and so on). Each segment also has the prerequisite blades on it. As the columns spin, you have to climb up the column, but if the blades touch you, you fall to the bottom and have to start over. The reason this is so infuriating is the scale of the puzzle - the height of the column is probably 50 times your character’s height, and you have to do two of these columns back-to-back. Not only that, but your character doesn’t really climb fast enough, so you have to “jump-climb” up the columns (if you jump while you’re climbing, you can move a lot faster, but in a more uncontrolled nature). I won’t even get into the level of profanity issued from my lips during that ridiculous debacle.

That said, all of that contributes to my firm belief that the rendering of hell is correct - it is, in fact, full of jumping puzzles.

General Ramblings comments edit

Took Jenn out for a nice dinner at Oba (our favorite restaurant) on Friday night and somewhere between the macadamia nut encrusted swordfish and the Kahlua and cream I asked her to marry me.

We’ve been together like five and a half years, living together for most of that, so I figured it was probably time. It was a complete surprise to her, which I think is cool. It was a really hard secret to keep - only Stu and my parents knew about it. (Stu even went with me to pick out the ring at The Shane Company, where, by the way, you should do all of your jewelry shopping - they rock.)

She said yes, which wasn’t necessarily unexpected but was really nice to hear.

And somehow the restaurant figured out what was going on and comped us our dessert, which was exceptionally thoughtful. I think my new scam might be going from restaurant to restaurant trying to get comped desserts.

No date has been set, no plans have been made. I’ll post updates as they become available. (I’m currently a big fan of the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower observation deck wedding…)

General Ramblings comments edit

I’ve learned a few lessons from watching others in the last couple of days that I thought may benefit the readers here.

From watching a lady on the news: If a person in a car that almost looks like a cop car (but has no markings) flashes a yellow light at you to pull you over, then comes up to your car in what almost looks like a police uniform (but with no badge or gear and no other markings) and tells you that he’s giving you a ticket but you can go ahead and pay him in cash right now if you want… I learned that the person probably isn’t a cop and you shouldn’t pay him.

From yesterday in line at the lottery ticket machine:

If you try to feed two perfectly crisp new $20 bills into the machine and it won’t take them, chances are the machine just doesn’t like the new $20s - trying six different $20s in all possible directions isn’t going to make the machine like them.

If you have a bill that’s run through the wash so many times you can barely make out the print on it, the machine isn’t going to take it.

If you have a bill that is missing a huge chunk out of the corner, is nearly torn in half, or has lived its life crinkled into a ball the size of a dime and jammed into the bottom of your purse, the machine isn’t going to take it.

If the lottery machine allows you to build up a credit by feeding multiple bills in, you don’t need to feed one dollar in at a time and purchase 350 one-dollar tickets. You can do all the bill feeding up front and buy several larger tickets to save time. No, seriously, you can.

If you aren’t just buying the random set of lottery numbers and the sheet you’ve marked your numbers on - which the lottery machine has to automatically scan - is torn, destroyed, or if you decided not to follow the instructions and mark your sheet within the defined lines, the machine isn’t going to take it, even if you try to put it in 10 or more times.

(All of these lottery machine lessons were learned from the three-person family immediately in front of me in line.)

Anyway, I hope you can all learn from this. I know it was all very educational for me.

downloads, vs, coderush comments edit

The new version has been released which allows you to provide an optional delimiter parameter for your Join Lines keyboard shortcuts that inserts the provided string between each joined line. Great for joining separate lines into comma-separated lists or providing a space as a delimiter when cleaning up XML elements whose attributes span several lines.

Go get it!