I had to work last night, and before work I was messing around with a laptop, so very little gaming to speak of. When my frustration peaked I did play a little Diablo 3 which felt pretty cathartic, honestly.
So I’m vexed by Linux and this laptop. I have an old Lenovo V570 that was cheap when I bought it a long time ago (it came with Windows 7 pre-installed, that’s how old it is). I had it set up to dual-boot into Linux Mint and Windows 10 Preview. Since Win10 Preview isn’t a thing any longer, the other day I decided to reformat everything and make the laptop a dedicated Linux machine.
I’ve tried two distributions, Ubuntu and Linux Mint and they both have the same problem: the laptop won’t wake up from Suspend. (Granted Mint is based on Ubuntu so I shouldn’t be surprised they have the same issue.) So I close the laptop, then open it and I just get a black screen. Fans might be running but there’s nothing I can interact with. I have to cut power and restart. For all I know maybe the screen just isn’t waking up…it’s hard to say.
If this was a desktop machine I’d probably just roll with it but for a laptop it’s an issue. I looked at /var/log/pm-suspend.log and I don’t see any errors, so I think the problem isn’t the suspend itself, but waking from suspension. I’ve Googled and tried lots of things but it seems like Linux Suspend issues have been with us a long time and it’s tough to get current info. I’ve checked the size of the swap partition, put esoteric scripts in /etc/pm/sleep.d/, tried installing various kernels… so far nothing works.
Currently I have Mint 18.1 installed. Before wiping the laptop I think I had Mint 16.something and it had no issues with Suspend. Now I wish I’d just re-sized the partition rather than wiping everything.
At one point I did see a tip to add something to grub to force it to wake the keyboard. The theory was that when you opened the laptop when it was suspended, the keyboard didn’t ‘wake up’ so it was effectively dead so there was no way to wake the machine. I lost that page in a reboot though and haven’t found it again yet!
I’m not averse to just trying a different distro, if someone can recommend a good distro for noobs that isn’t based on Ubuntu.
Or if anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this issue I’d appreciate that too. In truth I can only work on it so long before frustration mounts since everything I try has to be tested by Suspending the machine, finding that the fix didn’t work, then killing the power, then booting everything up again. It’s pretty time consuming.
With the holidays (and short work weeks) over, I decided to move Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force night back to Mondays. Having Tuesday and Thursday marked off for scheduled game nights felt a little constricting when I was hot on some other game.
Anyway last night culminated in a great battle. I guess the downside of turn-based JRPGs is that you can go a long time just grinding out rote battles where you’re more focused on being efficient than worried about any danger. Then all of a sudden, things change.
In this fight last night 5 of my 6 characters got KO’d very early. It happened so suddenly that my first thought was it was one of those unwinnable battles that JRPGs sometimes spring on you. But nope. My last man standing managed to get Tiara, who is my primary healer, back on her feet. The two of them went into defensive mode, chewing through supplies while they got themselves outside of the ‘1 hit until death’ zone, then Fang (my main DPS and as close to a tank as I have) battled the baddie while one by one Tiara got the rest back on their feet. I had to make sure everyone stayed spread out as much as possible because the boss had a potent AOE. I also learned the hard way that my AOE heals will HEAL THE BOSS if it is in range. I did that once and learned a hard lesson…then did it a second time through carelessness! Argh!
Harley was the last one back on her feet and I think it was fitting that she got in the killing blow. When the dust settled out packs were empty of potions, our magic was depleted and… the game didn’t offer up a save point or an easy way home. In fact it expected us to push on. Luckily I had a “Return Wing” that warps you out of and dungeon. We headed back to town, re-supplied and now we’re almost broke. I think we’ll have to do some grinding to replenish our wallets before we push on with the story.
But it was a really fun battle and re-ignited my enjoyment of the game. Apparently I’ve put about 20 hours into it so far. It’ll be months before I beat it at this rate!
In case you’re really bored, here’s the last few minutes of the battle. We were already on the rebound here, but I have the PS4 set to only record 5 minutes and even then it felt too long so I trimmed off some of the footage. Oh and yes, I do have a couple characters fighting in bath towels. Very practical, plenty of freedom of movement (and it’s appearance armor, only).
I’ve FINALLY started playing Let It Die, and it’s thanks to the marketing team at GungHu and/or Grasshopper. Here’s why.
This weekend they had some kind of event celebrating a million deaths or something. I don’t even know WHY, but I knew that logging in this weekend got you some awards. FREE STUFF? I’m in. But you didn’t just have to log in. You had to log in and enter the tower (ie actually play the game). When you returned to the Waiting Room, this little golden cart would come careening into your waiting room. Inside was something amazing! (Maybe.) But you couldn’t open it for 19 hours. That meant you had to log in again the next day to find out what you got, and as long as you were there why not head into the tower and then another golden cart shows up!
Hey it worked for me, I logged in every day this weekend.
This game is so gory and so gross. Normally not my thing at all, but the gameplay is fun enough that I could look past it. Mostly. The blood is so over-the-top that it doesn’t really bother me that much, but it’s stuff like my character chowing down on a live frog that is kind of off-putting. And then there are the looks I get from Angela when she walks past and sees my female character running around in what she calls the bootiest of booty shorts (characters start wearing almost nothing). I guess I should pick a male body next time.
I’m really glad its a free game as I never would have purchased it, but now I’m feeling like I should spend some money just to support the game. In the process of learning to play I’ve been doing some research on the game and I was really encouraged to see a good number of people saying the same thing: that they’ve been pleasantly surprised and have spent money not because they felt like they needed to, but because they wanted to support the developer.
I’m never going to be great at this game and I’m never going to get far into it. I got a character to level 12 before a gang caught and killed her. Luckily I’d seen somewhere that you should have a few fighters going at the same time so you don’t have to start from scratch. I pulled my level 8 fighter out the freezer and went in hunt of myself. I took an explosive mushroom that weakened my former self, so it was a pretty easy fight.
Apparently (I learned this after the fact) that means my level 12 body should be back in the freezer. I hope so! I’m still trying to learn the death system. When you die you can use an item you (mostly) buy with real money to resurrect. Or you can return to the Waiting Room and spend in-game currency to “Salvage” your body. I’m not sure what that does…I think it gets your items back but I’m not sure if it gets your body back. Or you can go find your former-self and kill it and get the body, but not the items, back that way.
Anyway, I’m having fun puttering in the game. I’ve only been as far as the 2nd floor! Who knows how far I’ll get. Possibly no farther than I’ve been. What keeps me going is that weapon mastery persists between bodies. So if I die and have to start again, I’m now kind of a badass with my fists thanks to the work prior bodies did. I also am finding blueprints that, once researched, lets me purchase gear which is a huge boost over running around in my undies with the new body.
Of course typical me, no screenshots, but here’s a super-short clip I saved for a friend after I encountered his character in my game:
One of my gaming goals for this month is to finish the campaign in Diablo 3.
This morning I was playing and… I died! It has been SO LONG since I died in Diablo 3 that I didn’t really understand what was happening for a few seconds.
Then I felt a moment of euphoria… was Diablo 3 going to turn into an actual game instead of the mind-numbing busy-work it has been? You hold down a button and move around and collect loot until you have to go back and sell or smash it, then return for more. Seriously it has been incredibly tedious so far. I should have pushed the difficulty up I guess. I’m playing on Hard, I can’t imagine how mindless Normal must be.
Unfortunately the euphoria was short-lived as I realized that death really has no consequences. You can revive right where you died and aside from having to spend a handful of coins to repair your gear, there’s no harm done.
I’m not really hardcore enough for hardcore but I wish there were some setting in between. Something that give death some sting but not the pain of having to start fresh. I really miss the old Diablo games where you’d drop your gear and have to try to get it back. You’d have to have backup gear to help you recover from a death…it was really interesting.
Later I died a second time, but then res’d on the spot and kept going. What’s weird is that right now I seem to have two states: Full health and dead. In both cases it seemed like I was 1-shotted by a powerful enemy or something. It happened so fast I never really saw my health dropping.
But meh, push a button and stand up and keep grinding through mobs… YAWN.
I know the conventional wisdom here is to play MP and I’m sure that makes the game much different. For for solo players, Diablo 3 is a real snooze-fest so far. I’m hoping once I unlock Adventure Mode it’ll get more interesting.
This morning I turned in our cable boxes and canceled TV service, and I feel curiously melancholy about it.
I had to sit and think about why that would be. For the past few weeks we have deliberately not used the cable box and gotten by on Hulu, Netflix, Playstation Vue and assorted apps (kind of as a test run) and it’s been fine. We still have more to watch than we have viewing time.
So I’m not melancholy for any practical reason. I think for me cable TV was kind of a tradition, I guess. When I was a little kid, we just had an antenna on the roof and we got 2 channels…3 when the stars (or more accurately, weather conditions) aligned. I have a clear memory of when cable TV arrived in town and suddenly we got 13 channels. THIRTEEN! It was like the world opened up to me, particularly since one of those channels was PBS and as a budding nerd I was blown away from some of the stuff on there.
It’s hard to remember (or imagine, if you’re a younger person) what life was like before the Internet and even satellite TV (by which I mean, TV signals bouncing off of satellites so a signal could get anywhere virtually instantly). We were all much more isolated then. If something wasn’t happening in your geographical area the only way you’d find out about it was if it was on the papers or was big enough to be carried on the national news.
I was what they used to call a latchkey kid. I’d get home from school at 3:30 and my parents would get home at 6:30. There were no other kids in my neighborhood so I filled those three hours more or less sitting in front of the TV. Cable TV was my babysitter/friend, I guess. So I guess the 10 year old still living deep down in my soul is going to miss cable TV.
The funny thing is, I am NOT a person (these days) who turns the TV on just for noise. If I have TV on, I’m actively watching it. If a TV is on in the background it actually tends to annoy me. (Angela is a “TV on for noise” person, which leads to a certain amount of friction between us!)
In practical terms, the biggest impact of yanking the cable box out of our quickly dwindling home-theater stack has been losing the time display on the front of the box. We were up too late last night because we lost track of time. I do think there is some kind of technology you can get to replace that functionality. They call it a “clock” or something like that.
The weirdest bit of the whole process was I went to the Time Warner Cable office with all my stuff. There was a lady greeting folks as they came in, there was no line, and the person who assisted me asked no questions about why I was canceling cable. I was in and out of there in 5 minutes. If I’d called, I would’ve been on the phone for an hour, I imagine (and still would’ve had to go to the office to turn in my gear). It made me feel pretty good about the company, I have to say.
Anyway I think my melancholy will vanish as soon as I see that $80 bill (for 200/20 mbps Internet) where the $160 bill used to be.
It’s been about a month since free-to-play Playstation title Let It Die launched, and I still haven’t really played it. I’ve tried to play it on no less than 4 occasions but each time the universe conspires against me. Either the dog needs to go out or Angela decides on an early dinner that night or some other interruption. Problem is, it’s now been so long since I played the tutorial that I’ve forgotten everything I learned, and it’s a weird-ass game so that might be a problem. I’m not even positive I want to play it since it’s so gross, but I’d at least like to give it a try.
[Oh by the way I managed to take exactly zero screenshots last night so sorry for the wall of text today.]
Yesterday Diablo 3 got patched. For this month only (as I understand it) you can play through a re-creation of the original Diablo inside D3. One of my January gaming goals is to finally finish the Diablo 3 storyline. I’m in Act 2 and can’t go back to Act 1 without losing progress, and you need to be in Act 1 to check out the Diablo re-make (again, as I understand it). Since I didn’t want to lose progress I created a new character, but Adventure Mode doesn’t open until you’ve completed Story Mode. I started a new Story Mode game but didn’t see the portal in Tristram. Either I was looking in the wrong place, or you can’t get to this content from Story Mode.
I guess this all just means I have more incentive to complete Story Mode sooner rather than later. Oh and I had a laugh at myself when I created the new character. I’d said somewhere that “even on Hard difficulty” Diablo 3 was pretty easy. My bad I guess, since Hard is the 2nd easiest out of about 16 (literally) difficulty levels. There’s Normal, Hard, Expert, Master and then 12 tiers of Torment difficulty beyond that. What a noob I am! I had no idea.
I can still only play Diablo 3 for so long before I get bored. When I hit that point last night I jumped back to Shadow of Mordor and it’s like the game heard me talking about how easy I’ve been finding it, and decided to school me. I’ve done something, either gotten to a point in the storyline or leveled to a critical point…something I’ve done has changed the game. There are now caragors (the big hulking dog-ish things) roaming all over the place and Orc captains are springing up like weeds. I died three times to caragors last night when they came charging into a battle I was in the midst of. On top of that, several times I’d get into a fight with some run-of-the-mill orcs and uruks and suddenly there’d be one or even two captains there.
Long story short, I guess I died half a dozen times last night, and of course every time I did, the orc captains grew stronger. Video game life has a way of balancing things out, though, and towards the end of the night I unlocked a new tier of powers and now I have a skill that lets me shoulder rush uruks with shields in order to break said shields, and when I leap over an orc it gets stunned. I also suddenly have this flurry attack power; not sure where it came from but it’s potent. So over the course of the night the game got a lot harder but then eased up a bit due to new abilities. I was getting really frustrated at one point last night but by the time I quit I was back to having fun.
I did manage to complete one of the wraith’s story quests (the ones with Gollum) and I got Ratbag in position as a War Chief. Now I just have to finish thinning his competition to complete that quest. So…progress!
Vera Rubin died last month, and her obituary in the NY Times is a fascinating read, not just because of the great work she did in identifying the mysteries of dark matter in the universe, but because of the obstacles she had to overcome in order to even be given a chance to do that work.
I can’t pretend to know what it feels like to be a woman fighting to be considered equal to men in so many aspects of our culture, but Dr Rubin’s story at least shows how much progress has been made inside of one lifetime. For instance, in 1948 Rubin was turned away from the astrophysics program at Princeton since they didn’t allow women in that program. Another story recounted in the piece is how she had to meet with astrophysicist George Gamow in the lobby of the building where he worked because women weren’t allowed in the offices.
Even though I had a 3-day weekend thanks to the New Year, I didn’t do a ton of gaming this weekend. Instead I watched a lot of TV. Football for one thing, and after a long and idea-filled thread at Imzy, I started in on a new (to me) anime, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, which I’m enjoying so far.
Next week we’re canceling cable so I signed us up for Playstation Vue, and I’ve been messing around with that a lot. I find the interface is taking some getting used to, but overall we’re fairly pleased so far. Anyway in the course of messing about I started watching Booze Traveler on the Travel Channel and got inexplicably hooked. It’s about some townie from Boston who travels around the world sampling various alcoholic beverages while taking in the local culture. I like booze so I’m interested in that aspect, and it’s fun to see the places he travels to. It’s much better of a show than I expected it to be.
I also watched Tiny Fey, Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, based on the true story of journalist Kim Baker’s time in Afghanistan. I enjoyed that very much, and I was delighted to find it on Hulu. Since when does Hulu get recent movies?
Beyond that, we’re working our way through the DC superhero shows on Netflix. So yeah, lots of TV.
I did start up Diablo 3 again. After one session on the launch PS4, I installed it on the PS4 Pro. It hasn’t been patched to take advantage of the Pro’s extra horsepower, but it runs much quieter on that system. It’s one of those games that makes the fans on the launch PS4 start to scream in protest.
I’m playing D3 as a barbarian on Hard mode and it is still ridiculously easy, at least for the parts I’ve played (I’m in Chapter 2). And so much loot. Too much, really. As a natural pack-rat I can’t just leave stuff laying in the dirt, so I’m constantly heading back to town, trying not to be overwhelmed by all the choices I have, and feeding most of the stuff to the Salvage yard. Honestly I get bored playing D3 pretty quickly, which makes me sad since I loved both Diablo and Diablo 2 back in the day.
The other thing I played was Shadow of Mordor and man I’m confused by some of the choices the devs made in that game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a blast playing but I feel like the more you struggle, the harder it gets, and vice versa. I haven’t really been focusing on the “main quests” but have been roaming around the world collecting things, doing side quests and slaying lots of orcs. There are these “Conflicts” on the map that tutorial text told me were struggles between orc captains and that if I didn’t break them up, one of the orc captains would win and grow stronger. This wasn’t happening for me. I also had a bunch of skill points I couldn’t spend because I wasn’t powerful enough.
Then finally, I died. And when I did it was like time moved forward. The conflicts got resolved and some of the Captains got stronger. I also gained power somehow, which unlocked the next tier of abilities. Seemed odd that my death resulted in enemies getting stronger. Then I died again shortly thereafter (when a cave troll noticed me hiding in some bushes) and more conflicts got resolved and more Captains got stronger.
I’m really enjoying it though. I’ve started playing this game a few times before and it never ‘stuck’ for some reason, but this time it sure is. Even more so now that I’ve encountered this old villain: