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January update!

On 01/20/2015 at 11:33 PM by Michael117

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 photo pup5_zps7b5a98ab.jpgHappy new year everyone! First blog of 2015 HYPE! Sit down, get naked if you have to, and let's discuss everything that actually matters in the world today.

I played games, bought games, and settled into the new semester at school. Let's talk about it!

Games I bought

Diablo III - Never played this before. Bought with a Walmart giftcard I got around Christmas. Found a used copy on for cheap and in great condition.

Mass Effect 3 - Used the same Walmart giftcard, used and cheap. May finally get around to playing it, after all this time.

Resident Evil 4 HD - XBL had this on sale before new years. I already beat this game six times on gamecube and still like playing it, there's no reason I shouldn't own as many versions of it as possible.

Fallout 3 GOTY - An all time favorite. $10 for a new copy at Target. I'll play through this game again anytime.

Games I've been playing

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

I'm around level 40 in the multiplayer. The majority of the level designs in the vanilla game are really fun to play. There's one I really hate, but that's always the case with any online game. To say there's only one map you hate is actually quite rare, usually even the best of online games have more stinkers than that.

The big changes to movement mechanics are exactly what CoD needed to make this one not a waste of my time. Moving around the level is super fast so you're never out of the action for long, and once you find action the firefights give you a little more agency than you had in past games. You still die quickly, so you don't have a ton of time to dance around like you can in Halo, but the dashes, boost jumps, and wrist-shot grenade launchers among other things all help to make gunfights more entertaining.

It feels great to not be tied to the ground. If there's a big wall in your way, just jump over it. If you want to get into a building you can double-jump into the air and forward-dash through a window. You can come at people from just about any direction now, and do it quickly, instead of having to plod around and slowly work your way into buildings and up staircases.

Fallout: New Vegas GOTY

This was the game I played the most last year by far, but I didn't finish it. I took a break for a while, but now I'm back. I'm almost finished with the whole thing as well. I completed the Dead Money DLC and now I'm about to start the Lonesome Road DLC. I'm done with all the other download packs, and I only have one main quest left to do in the vanilla game. I'm so close to total victory I can taste it. The Mojave will be all mine soon, and all its factions will either stand beside me or die!

If you've never played New Vegas all you need to know is that it has robots that wear ten gallon hats and cowboy boots.

Dragon Age: Origins

I beat the game finally. I was pretty satisfied with how everything turned out. There was an interesting and unexpected curveball that a party-member threw at me right before the final battle that made me completely rethink what kind of person my character was. In the end I made a decision that I never thought my character would go along with.

Origins has disappointingly boring combat that makes it almost criminal to call it a tactical game as some people refer to it. I could go on about how much better Dragon Age 2's system is, but I think Dragon Age fans all smoke crack and continue to think that Origins was some kind of gold standard for combat and DA2 screwed it up. Origins is exceedingly boring, all you do is watch cooldown timers and look at lackluster animations. Dragon Age 2 changed a lot of small things to make the system better, like emphasizing status effects that allow party members to team up on enemies better, adding the ability to leap at an enemy once you come close enough so that you can close the gap quickly, and plain writing better skill trees with more useful abilities focused on teamwork.

The roleplaying is incredibly satisfying though, and the writing is genuinely great. The game is set in a high fantasy world full of tropes, but the writing does a great deal to turn most of those tropes on their heads. It was a real treat to read the dialogue that was written, and listen to the VO performances.


I'm taking trigonometry, computer science 1 in C++, and chemistry this semester.

C++ is really fun. DarkBASIC was quite simple and stripped down, or at least that's how we used it. C++ by comparison has been a bit more sophisticated and intriguing. At this point our projects have been about taking concepts we learned in DarkBASIC and learning how to do them in C++ in order to see the differences as well as learn some basic rules and terminology.

This week we did an assignment where we built a tip calculator, like one you'd use after dinner at a restraunt. I'm going to leave a few screenshots of some of my projects.

 photo Screenshot8_zps060a3ef0.png

A hang-man game I built last semester in DarkBASIC. I wanted to show this to you a long time ago but I forgot. There's an array of words, the program chooses one, draws the appropriate number of blank lines below the gallows, and the user gets six guesses before the bastard hangs, which he's about to in my screenshot. Most of my words were dumb and hard to remember, so I lose at my own game a lot. Many were moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

 photo Screenshot2_zpscbeadd20.png

Code taken from my latest assignment in C++. This section is where I have all my variables defined in the tip calculator program. If your server is terrible they get a hot 1% tip.

 photo Screenshot3_zps53fee990.png

This is hard to read but it shows a section where the calculations happen and a block of IF statements begins, related to the questionnaire.

 photo Screenshot4_zpse5dc11c4.png

This is the end of the program where a simple table is built to show the results to the user.

 photo Screenshot14_zps2087655e.png

The program is running on the right side. The user enters the name of their server, the amount of the check, and answers a short questionnaire to determine the tip percentage that you should consider giving to the server. 

 photo Screenshot15_zpsb136e215.png

The final screen where the results are presented. Jenn was pretty damn good, she should at least get $8.15.

I don't have the same enthusiasm for my other classes at this point, but we are only two weeks in, so they have plenty of time to grow on me. Programming is fun, that's the most important part. Computer science is why I went back to school in the first place, so the fact I'm having a blast bodes well.


British thrash band Sylosis came out with their new album and I like it so I'll leave a song from that. On a completely different note there's this kid on Youtube by the name of Peter Crowley that makes symphonic music of various persuasions, but mostly of the epic film score type. He's been steadily progressing over the years, acquiring better software, and arranging more cohesive pieces. He's always had a knack for melody that I appreciate, and if I ever started a gaming company and needed music I might just ask him. I'll leave one of his songs from a couple years ago.

What's on the horizon?

A February update of course! I have a lot of games I can play, when I find time to play them. I'll have plenty to talk about next month I'm sure.



Super Step Contributing Writer

01/21/2015 at 12:37 AM

Aww Corgi.


01/21/2015 at 05:31 PM



01/21/2015 at 03:59 AM

I had some trouble getting into the Fallout games my first time with them, but I'd like to try them again. Wow, Sylosis is pretty cool! Very Pantera.


01/21/2015 at 05:21 PM

Pantera is definitely one of the bigger influences on the riffs that Sylosis write.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/21/2015 at 05:22 AM

did u play Dragon Age for PC or console.  It's harder for PC, and is a lot more tactical.  Apparently it was "dumbed down" for consoles. Or so I heard.  I get that same complaint from a lot of my friends, but I played it on PC, and I always had to micromanage my team during battles.  Like you though, I still got sick of the combat.  

I think the combat in all three games is kind of lack luster though.  I'm playing Inquisition now, and it's ok, but like you said it's the roleplaying and writing that make these games so great.  I love that so much about Bioware games.  


01/21/2015 at 05:23 PM

I played on console and it's how you described. Dragon Age 2 was much better at it on console, I micromanaged my party all the time in DA2.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/21/2015 at 05:54 PM

yeah DA2 gets a bad rap, but I really want to try it again once I'm done with inquisition.  Some people swear by the game.  I want to try to appreciate it for what it is, instead disliking it for what it's not.  


01/21/2015 at 07:03 PM

The story is really good in DA2 and the combat is pretty decent, but the level design is where everything is terrible. You see the same areas too many times and Kirkwall isn't interesting enough of a city to spend 60+ hours there on its own, which you have to. They did a really decent job considering how rushed the game was I guess.

I like the story a lot. It's broken into three distinct acts and each one has interesting story beats in it. Also, it's not a world ending fantasy cliche story either. The entire DA2 is all about politics and smaller scale dilemmas between individual people as well as factions of people.

A lot of people have been complaining that games in general rely too much on overly dramatic armageddon plots, and Dragon Age 2 completely takes a different approach by having a well told story in a smaller scope where you're not saving the world at all.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/21/2015 at 08:37 PM

that was quite eloquent.  I really want to play it now.  Laughing


01/21/2015 at 07:04 AM

I have nothing to useful to contribute about the games. I couldn't get into Fallout 3, I hate the first person perspective - it kicks my claustrophobia into high gear and it's hard to have fun when you feel like your boxed in and uncomfortable.

Glad you're enjoying your computer classes. I hated chemistry, but I always liked trig, it has a lot of useful applications in real life.


01/21/2015 at 05:26 PM

1st person games are my favorite kind, I don't have any issues with it. I don't have trouble with any perspectives to be honest, I usually adjust to games fairly well.

Chemistry is really dry so far, but we have yet to do any labs and do experiments. The math is super simple in chemistry, but I'm having a lot of trouble keeping track of all the terminology and simple things. Our professor keeps telling us that chemistry is incredibly easy but the devil is in the details, and so far he's right. There's a lot of small places to make mistakes.


01/21/2015 at 10:38 PM

I think the biggest issue I had with chemistry was that I just wasn't all that interested in it. I liked organic chem, but we spent very little time on it. Biology on the other hand, I loved. Except when we had to dissect things. I made my lab partner do it, lol. It was a perch, poor fishie. Better that than a rat or a frog, though.


01/21/2015 at 07:27 AM

I played New Vegas last year.  That is a good game.  I didn't play any of the dlc though.  Dragon Age: Origins has a better story and Dragon Age 2 has the better combat.  I just finished Dragon Age: Inquisition, last night.  I was surprised by the ending.  I'll have to play through it again.  That won't be soon though.  It took me over 110hrs to finish it the first time and I still didn't get all the side missions. Laughing


01/21/2015 at 05:28 PM

Now that I finished Origins I can start Inquisition anytime I like, which I look forward to. Inquisition looks like a type of game I could get a lot out of.

I can't believe you didn't comment on the fact that I bought ME3 and will play it for the 1st time this year (most likely. I can't see why I wouldn't get to it at some point lol)!


01/22/2015 at 08:02 AM

Mass Effect 3 is not my favorite in the series.  Parts of it is like eating my favorite hot meal cold.  I think to myself, "this would be great if I could only heat it up", but I can't. Cry  Overall, it's a good game.  I'm just disappointed in how it ended.  I guess it's my fault for setting my hopes too high. 


01/21/2015 at 07:06 PM

Sadly due to incompatibility with Windows 8, I haven't managed to play Fallout 3 on my PC. I will try to search or ask around the forums for help and also see if I can change the compatibility to Windows Vista (the version Fallout 3 works).

Speaking of school, I just started university on the 19th. I'm sure it'll be harder later, but so far it has been interesting and i've been reading a lot of texts.

Great music choices. I already heard that Sylosis song and overall I really liked it.


01/21/2015 at 07:24 PM

I remember hearing about some Fallout 3 issues like that, I hope you can find a fix!

That sylosis song is probably the worst one on the album comparatively lol, but there's only two on youtube that I could use. I bought the full album this week and it's really good. The song i posted here is more simple and melodic, the other songs on the album hit harder and have much more mean guitar riffs.

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