The Right Time to Start Blogging

With a wonderful influx of new people for Blapril, I’ve seen one of the ideas, comments, and questions that were critical to my success and though I would write about it a little further: the best time to start.

Many of our mentors have expressed this recently and in the past, as have I, but the right time to start is always today. This is really true for all things, not just blogging, but that early momentum really seems to help.

Something I’m prone to doing that I’ve also seen mentioned is the whole research and study phase, where I attempt to make sure I know what I’m doing to ensure that I’m “doing it right.” I saw this idea mirrored well in the advice section of Naithin’s 2020 Blogger Recognition Award post. The idea of abandoning my requirement of “getting it right the first time” was not an easy one, but I was desperately searching for some fundamental change in my life, so I took the risk. I invested as little effort as I could tolerate in initial setup so I could start sooner rather than later.

This also extends to lapses and “failures” too. It’s easy to get out of the habit of doing regular posts, and so far the key for me has been to just start again. Don’t overthink it, don’t dwell on it, don’t worry about yesterday, last week, or tomorrow. Just do something today. Doesn’t have to be a complete post either. The important thing is to start.

As you may have gathered, I think of my blog similar to how belghast got started, a Grand Experiment of sorts. I did not expect to succeed or keep writing for any length of time, I simply wanted to see where it would lead. By any measure I’ve been able to come up with, I consider mine to be a wildly successful experiment that has been nothing but a boon.

That doesn’t mean it’s not work or somehow becomes effortless. Mr. Peril recently wrote “It takes discipline and determination to do it regularly. But the more you write the better you’ll get. Don’t focus on others and what they’re doing. […] Just concentrate on your output and what’s good for you.”

In the last year, I’ve been far more lax and inactive than I’d like, but I had to focus on the choices that were right for me. I simply couldn’t find a way to plan and write posts in a way that didn’t interfere with some other important part of my life. And that’s okay.

By the way, I love this series of comics. I find then very relatable. I encourage you to go check them out when you have time.

Y’all take care, and I’ll risk speaking for the entire Blaugust community, we’re glad to have you. I hope you get as much or more out of it as I have.


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Rambling about Nintendo Stuff

1Goals completed: Desktop up and running, through no effort of my own, just decided to work today and not yesterday. Also got the desk clear enough to set my HOTAS up, so there’s that.

I actually don’t have a solid topic today. Funnily enough my children have been playing Animal Crossing New Leaf on the 3DS. Partially because everyone is talking about Animal Crossing and it’s the one we have that works. I’m actually mildly offended. Someone played as me and sold everything. My entire inventory and all my furniture and proceeded to mail all the resulting money to themselves. I’m not sure when this occurred, but I feel robbed.

They are fortunate that I haven’t played recently enough to know what I’ve lost in the process or they might found out just how annoying I can be as mayor. Pitfalls as far as the eye can see! Unfortunately getting screenshots from a 3DS is… an adventure. I’m also not being allowed to play, apparently.

I considered chiming in about Tom Nook since everyone else is talking about the game. A lot of people want to make him out to be some evil capitalist forcing you into indentured servitude, but I’m not sure that’s fair. Maybe I’ll consider doing some reading and writing a post about the economy of the Animal Crossing universe.

I’m still undecided on replacing my Switch and picking up the new game. I’ll probably order one of the Nintendo specialty screwdriver kits first and at least attempt to clean/repair the current one. I’m not optimistic, but it seems the responsible thing to do.

If anyone has or has used a Switch Lite, let me know what you think. That may serve me better in the long-term anyway. Among the many issues I’ve had with the traditional version is that the children often misplace the joycons and those little buggers can be devilishly difficult to locate, even with built-in locating features.

Another 7 months and I might even consider Pokemon Sword and Shield. Gotta wait and make sure they aren’t going to announce Ultra Sword and Ultra Shield. No, I’m not sore about Ultra Sun/Moon or anything. I like the series and the gameplay, but have little tolerance for their business model.

Either way, that’s enough rambling about Nintendo stuff. Y’all take care, and have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing.

 


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Just not feeling it with MMOs lately.

The problem is this: at the moment, I’m not finding MMO-style gameplay very compelling. It’s not necessarily a failing of the genre. It’s more of a personal preference. In fact, I’ve been trying to put my finger on it for quite some time and ultimately I just don’t think I’m feeling it at the moment. I’m not even certain it’s a gameplay issue, but a combination of content, effort, and social expectations.

When it first became noticeable it reminded me of how I felt when I stopped gaming entirely. It is similar in the sense that time and study are contributing factors to both situations. In the original sense, though, I had convinced myself that gaming held nothing of tangible value. I don’t agree with that now, as I better understand the value that it has.

The extra time afforded by lack of work and class transition allowed me to work on some of the games in my backlog, and I rather enjoyed that. So this is not the same. Those games were largely single-player, which led me to believe that the problem was something specific to the MMOs I would normally play. My first thought was time, but if I have time to play the single-player game, I have time to play the MMO, so that doesn’t really add up.

As recently as yesterday I thought it was related to the social commitment that MMOs represent. Most gameplay involves some manner of instanced content and it’s a bit of a dick move to just up and leave or afk in the middle of it. The in and out nature of house cleaning and project work seemed much more suited to the games that I could simply pause at will and the idea of being “on the hook” for any length of time was… not ideal. Still, there are plenty of MMOs with solo style content and lax enough death penalties that getting up and walking off is of little consequence, so that doesn’t seem quite right either.

At the moment, this has led me to believe that I simply don’t find it compelling enough to be bothered. My FFXIV social group is effectively disbanded for the time being, and without the shared experience I find that I don’t care. In theory, I could find a different social group to engage with, but I… don’t want to. I’d rather get caught up on the backlog and write blog posts. I find that the shared experience of 2-3 player co-op gameplay with people I already know much more interesting than PUGing away.

Of course, that could just be the impact of the “new shiny” also. Time will tell, I suppose. These things ebb and flow and it’s just odd to me that I find myself somewhat estranged from my go-to genre. There are some related thoughts that I’m not going to get into here like research and larger industry trends. Those can wait for another post. They’re tangential at best.

Today’s Plan: Clean my desk off so I can set my HOTAS back up. Maybe fire up Elite and double-check my keybinds if I have time and my brother is busy.

Y’all take care and stay safe.


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Delacy – Kilo Echo November

Or Lakon, for those that know. Either one is cool with me.

With Blapril in the air and me having slightly more free time on my hands, I’ve been entertaining a few thoughts related mostly by chance. That I even undertook the original Blaugust Reborn on a random whim and am still around is a marvel in and of itself. Even after just a year and a half it sometimes serves as a bit of a time machine as well. In fact, I find these events lend themselves to a certain amount of introspection since I got my start this way.

The name of the blog and its associated banner are a product of my interest in Elite Dangerous around that time. A game that has a rather large update on the horizon somewhere. At the same time, I’m not actively playing it and haven’t for some time. I did a weekly Warframe post for a while as well, which I also don’t actively play or keep up with.

I’ve actually been meaning to change the banner for a while now. That specific form of “Unidentified Signal Source” no longer exists in Elite. Of course, the name itself I feel still works well, but hopefully I’ll get the banner sorted out before the end of April. I’m strongly considering getting my HOTAS set back up now that I have functional USB ports and using Elite to create an ironically non-Elite banner.

As for what I intend to post for the next month, I have absolutely no idea. Got a couple more game-specific posts lined up and a commentary on my lack of MMO enthusiasm of late. So… three posts out of… 31ish? I guess that’s 10%, so there’s that?

Anyway, life still continues outside blog-land. Y’all take care.


BlaugustBOnlylogoHey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Something New – Dragon Quest Builders 2

title

While everyone else is running around playing Animal Crossing, I’ve been poking around with Dragon Quest Builders 2, which was on sale on Steam a few weeks ago. Truth be sold, my Switch is currently refusing to charge or I would have joined you.

I have to admit, there was far more gameplay to be had here than I expected, especially if you’re a fan of building and design. It does feature the typical limitations of cubic-voxel style building, so the overall effect is a thematic Minecraft with a little more story. The story itself is fairly simple and predictable most of the time, but the lines themselves are fairly well written and at least occasionally entertaining to one as easily amused as myself.

bath house

Much of the story-related building is either freeform with directions regarding decorations, size, etc, or a completely inflexible blueprint like this one. To be fair, the structures that start as blueprints are editable to your tastes after you have “completed” it. To progress the story you must build it exactly as specified. Each major island in the game generally has several very large blueprints where the NPCs will do most or all of the work, including providing materials.

construction menu

There are a variety of different blocks and furniture available depending on where you’re at in the game. So many, in fact, that individual items can sometimes be difficult to locate in the main crafting station, or not always in the section you would expect. Windows are in the category with doors and not in the building blocks.

dockhouse

Speaking of building, there are also some size limitations. In this image, the central area with the crafting bench and the glass floor behind it were all a single room but was too large to be detected as such. Likewise, the plaza/patio area had to be split in two before they would be properly tagged as rooms. Working out the exact details of what furniture a room must contain to get flagged as something specific can be quite annoying. A “hotel” requires at least one bedroom connected to a “reception room,” but fails to indicate what you need in order to create one of those. You must either continuously experiment or look it up.

eatery

For instance, the kitchen in this restaurant is a “simple kitchen” because I have yet to identify the specific decorations required to make anything else. Add some firewood and flour sacks and it becomes an “agricultural kitchen,” but not really what I was looking for.

rare cabbage

Farming is also an interesting activity with its own room type. When set up properly you can manually plant and harvest something once, then use the scarecrow to designate what grows in that field and the villagers will generally handle the rest. In fact, tasks like watering plants can only be done by villagers. While you do eventually start getting rare crops that create higher quality food and drop dyes, it mostly does its thing without you. As long as you’re on the same island.

medal shrine

There are a variety of exploration and puzzle-based activities as well, though most of the puzzles are fairly simple and exploration is mostly to either find these puzzle shrines or scavenger hunts that unlock unlimited crafting materials. Some of the smaller randomly generated islands have higher-end monsters that yield crafting recipes or trophies when they’re defeated. There are also some tamable animals and later on monsters, which have some sort of breeding/rarity system, but I haven’t spent a lot of time with that.

Most the main story gameplay took around 60 hours, though I was not in any particular hurry when I did it, so that time could probably be cut a fair bit with optimization. It has a variety of gates and checkpoints that require you to engage with a number of different activities. Most of my time alternated between some mix of exploration, combat, and gathering, or free-form building something a villager requested. Completing those requests are critical to having enough “generosity” to progress at certain stages.

tablet targets

I’m quite pleased with the game, overall. I’ve spent another dozen or so game hours beyond story completion just poking around and completing various optional tasks. There are a couple of small islands I haven’t unlocked yet because they’re crazy expensive and I’ve been doing my own thing instead of farming generosity.

My one large complaint is the multiplayer mode. It prevents travel to any of the other major islands and doesn’t seem to unlock anything for the guests. It’s more of a co-op building mode on the main island and less of a true multiplayer experience. It has value, but they could have done a lot more with it, especially in the end-game.

Y’all take care, and watch where you’re swinging those hammers.


BlaugustBOnlylogoHey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Something New – The Outer Worlds

title

I must admit, I did rather enjoy this title. Gameplay-wise it reminds me of Mass Effect, but with a slightly Firefly feel to it. It starts very early with the heavy-handed “trolley problem” style dilemmas that gave Mass Effect its gravity. The main story and the companion side stories were fairly compelling, though at times they seem slightly cut short.

Still, I’m sitting here writing this after having finished the main story and most of the side content, taking around 34 hours or so to complete. I don’t really intend to talk about the story as much as the setting and my reaction to it.

weak spirits weak body

See, it is by random chance that I’m playing it right now, but it seems eerily relevant to current events. Its strange brand of corporate dystopia is just familiar enough that it seems almost a commentary on events that didn’t occur until after its release. As an exaggerated reflection of current corporate culture, it leaves me both angry and depressed. It loses its value as an escape from current events because it constantly reminds me of them.

leave policy

Fortunately, we do not live in such a society. Not really. I really wish they had fleshed the setting out a bit more. The “current events” and people of the setting seem solid and believable. Even the villain’s motivation is reasonable and relatable.

What I’m talking about are the institutions and places that exist. Why do these specific corporations exist? Who founded them? Who runs them? Why is Vicar Max the only priest we meet in the entire game? There’s supposed to be this large organized religion and the only other evidence of it I saw was a ruined church on another planet. The characters are beautiful and wonderful but exist against a backdrop that seems… incomplete.

Still, I enjoyed a good playthrough, and now it’s time to move on to other things. It was, overall, a compelling story with a satisfying enough ending.

Y’all take care.

Research – Virtual Good Volatility?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately considering exactly what it is I would like to get from my data. What questions do I wish to answer and how exactly should I structure that… query. In the meantime, I’ve been working on different ways to sort and recombine data.

primal iron
NQ Iron Ore daily for the entire data center.

I just realized that I’m quickly approaching the one month mark, my original intended stopping point. I’m… not sure I’m ready to stop. Logically I have to stop eventually, but the longer I collect data the more likely it is that inflation and arbitrage will become detectable.

The mean price for that specific iron ore data is 141 Gil/unit with a standard deviation of 44 Gil. Even if inflation was absurd, say 10%, that would only be a 14 gil increase. That kind of number is easily lost within the volatility, and I’m pretty confident it’s not anyway near that high. At a glance, Iron looks more deflated over this time period than anything else. That’s assuming it’s even fair to lump an entire data center together like that. I’m not sure it is for Iron but I’m not certain exactly how to test that.

savage aim 8
Savage Aim 8 for Primal Data Center

I suspect it’s more helpful to combine items like materia that I know to experience some level of arbitrage. (M=32162, Std.D=2793) It also has a much more reasonable standard deviation than Iron Ore. Iron’s is 31% of the mean while Savage Aim 8 is closer to 9%. Is that even a reasonable way to measure volatility? Is it a good indicator of arbitrage? Must think about this.

That said, I need to double-check those prices at some point. If you randomly asked me what the typical buying price was, I’d say 15k-25k. I think that’s because I usually only see the ten lowest price listings, but I’d like to confirm a few manually just to be sure.

Okay, well, I’ve written and deleted several different paragraphs at this point, so I believe I’m done for now. It is my intention to write a post about The Outer Worlds tomorrow. I can’t tell if its particular brand of corporate dystopia is appropriate, timely, or offensive at the moment. Maybe all of the above, but it certainly isn’t helping my mood.

Y’all stay safe and take care. It’s not the best choice, it’s Spacer’s Choice.