Friday, December 22, 2006

America's Army -> to CS

How to switch to Counter-Strike Source from America's Army

Rule # 1
Never hold down fire. With rifles you want to BARELY burst the gun for 1 or 2 shots, sidestep to dodge, and then burst again. The sidestep allows time for your gun to regain it's accuracy, so then you can fire again, while also dodging.
Rule # 2
Crouching is almost always bad. Crouching makes you slow, and immobile, and the increase in accuracy is not really that helpful. NEVER crouch around corners. STAND to strafe around corners. It makes you faster, a harder target, and allows you to strafe back in if it's not safe.
Rule # 3
Aim for the head for single shots. Aim lower if you spray your gun (aim for the torso/legs).

Basic Rule for Shooting
The majority of your shots you want to be STANDING, NOT MOVING, and in between your bursts, you want to be strafing left and right to avoid enemy fire. Cover helps for strafing.
If you are spraying with a rifle, you generally want to be aiming DOWNWARDS towards their waist. If you are spraying with a SMG, just aim towards the neck/upper torso.

Run with your knife or pistol.
Buy a defusal kit.
Cover/Execute the objective.
Help your teammates.
Check every corner and watch your back for any flankers, no matter where you are.
Choose Auto-Assign.

Stay immobile in a long shoot out with an enemy facing you.
Ignore the objective (Unless it proves beneficial in the long run $$$$ if you're being stacked)
Crouch to approach an enemy.
Rush into a mess of enemies, especially when it is unneccesary.
Stack (Join the unfairly advantaged winning team).

Yes, counter-strike source is a terrible, unrealistic game.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Zelda and Predictability

The Legend of Zelda games are all pretty much awesome. They are excellently designed, beautifully executed, and the attention to detail aspect is amazing. Like many other games, they also follow a sort of a "model" which almost all of the Zelda games follow.

This model typically goes something like this:
Start the game with no inventory, in a small town or something. Give access to only 5% of the world, and set you off on your first quest with just a wooden sword or less.
That wooden sword will eventually get a shield companion, which in turn will both be upgraded to metal counterparts, and then eventually to the super sword and shield.
That 5% of the world will open up bit by bit as you gain items until all of the world is then accessible to you.
You know that any problems or puzzles you cannot solve will later be solvable by items you will get in the future, such as bombs, hookshots, arrows and the like.
The game structure will send you off to a dungeon, then once inside, make you solve puzzles and fight bosses, give you new items, and then those new items open up the new areas with new dungeons, then repeat this Dungeon->Item->New Area-> Dungeon until you get to the final boss. Add sequences of awesome in between, and keep the player busy with multiple side-quests and the like.

That is the formula for basically all the Zelda games. It doesn't really change at all, they just change the story... and a few gameplay elements.
It gets really predictable when you KNOW you will face 10 dungeons in this game, and you KNOW you will encounter GORONS, ZORAS, and KARIKIKAO village in the game. And you spend the first 10 hours saying to yourself, "I KNOW I'm going to get the hookshot, bow+arrow, bombs, and other items, but when?"

Not to say that Zelda games are bad. They are excellent, and amazing in every aspect, but this constant repeating of the EXACT SAME World, the same Locations, the same Characters (or Races if you prefer) , the same Items, the same gameplay mechanics... and all wrapped up in the same screenplay of "Small town hero with nothing, goes and fights in dungeons to get to the final boss tower and win..."
...just gets old.
But the formula is not a bad formula. It works, and it is an excellent gameplay model to guide the player through the world, but it has never really changed since the first Zelda games. And because of that, it basically removes any surprises for the story and gameplay.

Zelda a Link to the Past (SNES) was "probably" incredible for it's time. (I don't know.. I wasn't around back then.) Then came along Ocarina of Time (N64), and the jump to 3D with all new gameplay elements, horses, and all that just blew everybody's mind to pieces, resulting in the proclaiming of the greatest game of all time.
Now we have Twilight Princess, which basically borrows the same gameplay mechanics as Ocarina of Time, adds the "Twilight World" and you have almost the same game.

But I will still enjoy Zelda for what it is: An epic quest facing you off against unimaginable odds in a gigantic world where every aspect is just waiting to be explored.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brave New World

Brave New World by Alduous Huxley

Brave New World is a book set about 500 years into the future, where all babies are born in bottles in giant factories, given ranks from Alpha to Gamma, and given messages in their sleep of what is right, what is wrong, and how to behave. These messages are given to all children from the moment they are born to their teens. Depending on their class, the messages "condition" children as to what they like, what they don't like, and prepare them for their future jobs and roles in society as "Alphas," "Betas," "Epsilons," etc.
Essentially, all members of society are "conditioned" to the ultimate degree so that they speak only what they remember in their dreams, and act accordingly to a machine-like society.
Interesting World + 5

The characters were somewhat boring, bland, and especially because they are all so "conditioned" to the system that they only speak words and phrases that they remember from those hypnaeopedic messages in their sleep.
The only interesting character in the book is Helmholtz, who wants to fight the system, but doesn't realize it, or doesn't know how because of his inner "conditioning."
Bland characters -2

The story is fairly boring in itself. It was inevitable that they have to introduce a character that is out of place in the system or something, but it just felt so out of context and weird that it had to be an Indian, and an ascetic one at that.
Unsuspenseful Story -1

There were alot of plot-holes, unless someone more capable can explain them to me. Some characters in the book discuss their "conditioning" in various places, so that leads me to believe that they are aware of how they were raised, especially since other characters take tours of the "Baby Factories." So, why don't any of the characters rebel or fight the system? If they know that all their preconceived notions about life were unconciously given to them in hypnopaedic messages, then why don't they fight it? They just acknowledge it like they're happy not learning anything themselves.
Other plot holes: Why does an Indian reservation exist... really? Their excuse for it existing was because (1) The land cannot be used for civilized purposes due to certain things, and (2) they use it to study "uncivilized" people or something.
I can't really take that and it seems they just wanted that in the book for plot reason #4, and they couldn't think up a really good excuse.
Plot-Holes -3

Compare the book to 1984. Early in 1984, they introduced the idea of the "police" capturing and imprisoning bad citizens at night in a dream like procedure. This has you constantly in fear that Winston will be caught at any moment he treads rebellious ground.
In Brave New World, there's nothing like that, and there's no really conflict or suspense anywhere, except at the very end. So, it's pretty boring.

1984 (Suspense + Story + Characters + Psychological + World)
Farenheit 451 (Suspense + Story + Characters + 1/2 World)
Brave New World (World + Psychological)

So... 1984 > Farenheit 451 > Brave New World.

The world is interesting, yet not enough to keep the book up and running for the whole part.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mountain Pass SE

JoshTheGeneral's America's Army Guide to Mountain Pass SE (MPSE):
Note: This would probably be a more effective and more useful guide if I wrote it over two years ago.

100% = Excellent Strategy. Minimal Chance of dying and Excellent chance of winning.
50% = Works half the time. Die sometimes, works sometimes. 50/50.
0% = Never do this strategy.

General Strategies for MPSE:
1. GENERAL DEFENSE 95% Go to Defense Peak and shoot at the road for awhile, or until it's clear. After that, watch South-East hill for awhile from a safe distance shooting enemies, or helping your teammates in trouble. Afterwards, have your teammates report enemy positions and act accordingly to central peak, south-east hill, or the defense fork ridge, all while staying a safe distance from 203 spots and watching the convoy.
2. SOUTH-EAST HILL 76% Rush South-East hill by going straight over the top of DPeak and down the front side. If you maneuver correctly, you will not get hurt at all from the fall. Rush to the hill (while bewaring of snipers and enemy 203s on the assault cliff ledge) and pull out a nade as you approach the top. Pull it out and start cooking it 1 second before the other side is visible. There is a good chance you made it here before enemies, and now you can toss nades onto their heads while they scream in terror. Throw more nades and shoot enemies, but make sure not to get sniped or 203'd by anyone in the back trees or near Assault Spawn. After the hill is clear by sharpshooting or whatnot, you can either return to GENERAL DEFENSE, or SPAWN FLANK.
3. UPPER RIDGE RUSH 55% If you choose a slot that spawns on the ridge, rush up as fast as you can and get prone behind the first trees. Barely stick your head out the bottom side of the tree, so that the main portion of the North Cliff is visible. DO NOT, DO NOT stick your head out to the view of angry 203ers waiting at the North-East Cliff bump. Shoot any enemies who come into view, hoping not to get 203d. After it's clear, you can rush the ledge if appropriate, and begin a SPAWN FLANK or return to the convoy as fast as possible.
4. SOUTH CENTRAL PEAK 68 % Rushing South Central Peak is dangerous. Very dangerous. If you want to, you can rush out on the road, shoot any enemies looking at Defense Peak, and then start a SPAWN FLANK. Or, you can camp on South Central Peak, wait for the West High Ledge to heat up, try to pick them off, and then return to GENERAL DEFENSE. Or, you can camp on South Central Peak, wait for the road rushers and upper ledge rushers to pass, sneak around towards the road to the North side of central peak, and the kill the unsuspecting Assaulters on the West Upper Ledge by sharpshooting.
5. VALLEY RUSH 79%You may rush valley if it deems worthy to your team strategy. This strategy works best if you rush on the left side of the valley, stop and hide while the South-East Assault rushers to pass, and then go into the Valley Cubby"tm" to either shoot enemies, or wait it out. When appropriate you can flank South-East hill and return to GENERAL DEFENSE, or you may attempt a SPAWN FLANK.
6. SPAWN FLANK 83% A spawn flank consists of you entering the Assault spawn. This would probably be by the valley mouth. If you reach this early in the match (About 7-8 minutes left.) you may wish to flank upper ledge, although it is ALMOST always better to flank Central Peak. Flanking central peak consists of you running down the road, screaming "DONT TK ME" to your teammates, and then sitting on central peak shooting all Assaulters from behind. This is the best strategy for defense if done properly.
7. CONVOY CAMP 75% Camp at an appropriate spot in the convoy. My best spot is in one of 2 special trees that allows for an excellent view of the objective, while also keeping you hidden completely.
M-16 All of the strategies apply to M-16.
203 The 203 should probably stay on GENERAL DEFENSE. Occasionally, you may wish to rush SOUTH-EAST HILL, and attempt a SPAWN FLANK.
M-24/M-82 Will probably want to preform GENERAL DEFENSE, or, they may wish to rush the lower ledge, and camp in the corner for an ultimate flank. Other alternatives include Central Peak (NorthWest side) or South Central Peak, or valley.
M249 SAW The SAW is exposed and loses the stealth element because of its tracer bullets. You would NOT want to do UPPER RIDGE RUSH, and you probably would NOT want to do VALLEY RUSH. GENERAL DEFENSE is appropriate, as is SOUTH-EAST HILL.

1. THE ROAD RUSH 40% This consists of you being a maniac, rushing the assault trail, dodging 203s and sniper shots left and right, reaching Central Peak quickly, perhaps killing any Defense players who were foolish enough to camp at the base or rush the upper ledge, then preforming CENTRAL PEAK GAME.
2. CENTRAL PEAK 85% When you reach central peak, you are in a standoff with the Defense team. Once on Central Peak, you must be wary of enemy snipers, sharpshooters, or 203ers facing your direction. Jump hop, and side-step by whatever means necessary to dodge bullets and don't peak out too far. If the coast seems clear, or you need to move out, rush down south central peak into the valley mouth, where you will most likely be protected by enemy fire. Enter LATE GAME.
3. ROAD CAMPEROO 88%If you are a sniper, you may hide in a special trees, but DO NOT, EVER IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, stick your head out of the front of the tree. This exposes you very easily. When you need to see Defense Peak, slide out barely from the SIDE OF THE TREE. This minimalizes exposure. Or, you may wish to snipe through holes in the tree.
3. A. ROAD SNEAK 80% If you are not a sniper, you may wish to RUSH THE ROAD, except not as a maniac. You can hide in a tree in front of the assault trail, stay hidden from all 203ers and snipers for several minutes (Perhaps until the timer goes to 8 or 7.) and then move out onto assault trail. But watch the road for any rushers while camping. Check Dpeak, and if you are lucky, there will be no Snipers or 203ers watching you. Then you can rush to Cpeak easily.
3. A. ASSAULT CLIFF CAMP 94% This strategy mainly applies to the 203 or sniper. Camp near assault cliff ledge, watching Defense Peak, the Valley, or the Road for any enemies. When timer ticks down you may go South-East for the LATE GAME or go towards CENTRAL PEAK for the LATE GAME.
4. SOUTH EAST ATTACK 60% Rush South-East hill either off the Assault Cliff or the valley Mouth. This attack splits up into two categories:
4. A. CAMP and HIDE (SE HILL) 75% Hide in a tree (preferably on the back side of valley) and wait for the entire defense team to pass through. You may either shoot them as they try to flank, or emerge stealthily and head for Defense peak. Transfer to LATE GAME.
4. B. KING OF THE HILL 50% Rush to the top of SE hill, using the left side (preferably), and avoid all nades at any cost. Use your gun at this moment, it is more efficient than your grenades. Wait for the enemies to come over and shoot them as best as you can. After the ensuing firefight, try to sharpshoot enemies on top of Defense Peak. Time ticks down, so transfer to LATE GAME.
5. VALLEY RUSH 77% Rush into the valley using trees as cover to avoid being seen from Defense Peak. This is your primary concern. If you are seen from above, your stealth element is exposed for the LATE GAME and you may be naded. Once you reach the cliffside, you are safe from DPEAK, and now you have to worry about the valley. If there are any enemies, take them out and proceed towards the West valley Mouth. Shoot any enemies on Central Peak and creep up into the valley mouth when appropriate. Enter LATE GAME.
6. UPPER LEDGE 84% When you go upper ledge you must be cautious of 3 things: South Central Peak Rushers, North-West Central Peak Campers, and Upper/Lower Ledge Rushers. After all enemies are taken care of, rush down to Dfork and enter LATE GAME.
You may use smoke on the convoy to create a distraction. Do not use smoke as cover for the objective, it will only draw attention that the objective is getting taken. Unless you're sure the only enemy watching it is a sniper or something.
1.A DPEAK TOP 80% Rush up DPEAK from the left side, careful of any 203 or sniper fire. After getting halfway up, check the Yeti Ledge, then continue up the side. Once at the top clear out dpeak from behind, and kill all enemies. Take the convoy once it's clear.
1.B CONVOY RUSH 80% Go right from the valley mouth and rush towards the convoy. You may use the hill below fallen tree as cover to sharpshoot enemies. Once in the convoy, you must carefully check the pit and the cars, and the surrounding trees for enemies. Take the convoy if necessary.
2.A. SNEAKY B 80% Sneakily rush the far valley towards B, and take it from behind the door while no-one is looking. This is an excellent strategy if you are far outnumbered.
2.B DPEAK BEHIND 77% Rush the far valley, but go up on DPEAK From behind and kill enemies. Take convoy, etc.
2.C DPEAK FRONT 84% Instead, go up the front and repeat enemy killings.
3.A. Go to Central Peak and Commence Valley Mouth.
3.B. Rush Down and preform the CONVOY RUSH.

Apply GENERAL DEFENSE 95% , or if necessary, do a SPAWN FLANK any time possible. Check any of the areas for weakness that will allow an easy flank and rush them.
ASSAULT CLIFF CAMP 94% will almost always be your best bet. If you have sniper, you may want to be a ROAD CAMPEROO.

Take cover from 203s, snipers, and keep the high ground. Do not peak out of a tree - Slide out of a tree while using the road as a dark camoflauge. Hiding is your friend - There are many trees to help you. Always check the fog - You can always spot enemies who think they are invisible. Never peak out more than you need to - Snipe their heads while only exposing the hair of your head. Use burst on M-16... maybe.

Thanks for reading.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Inside Man

Okay, so this movie had some good stuff in it. The bank robbery concepts were somewhat interesting with all the costumes, switcheroos, safe deposit boxes, clues, and riddles. But it was pretty boring. I think you could condense it into an hour tv show or something, like the television show STANDOFF.

I haven't seen many Denzel Washington movies, but I got this itching feeling he plays that same character with the same personality in 9/10 of his movies.

I kind of hated all the characters. Except the bad guys. I was rooting for the bad guys the whole movie, and I said, "aww... why didn't they keep the diamond and get rich?" at the end.

The music was so cheesy, and the dialogue seemed to be a bit over-dramatic. And I really hate it when they insert random political statements and stuff about things everyone knows about, and does not need to be told again for the 20th time.

It was okay. I liked the robbery concept and such, but it was kind of boring and slightly cheesy.

***/5 stars.