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October-December 2000 (oldest-to-newest)
I had to spend some time thinking about how to implement
part of the renderer. As it stands now it is not very
condusive to what I need to do. I think I've come up with
a scheme, but need to try it out before I can feel
comfortable with it.
Played a bit of
online. I lost, but it was a good learning experience.
The guy I was playing against was very fast and, not
wanting to slow the game down, I tried to be as fast in
order to keep the game from dragging. That led to some
mistakes on my part. Still it was fun - I'm sure I'll be
doing it again.
We close on the townhouse this Friday and everything
looks in order. I can't wait to have this done with. Of
course then it becomes a matter of scheduling painters,
carpeters, and other home repair contractors to work on it.
But not knowing exactly when we're moving in makes that
The house closed on Friday without a hitch. Aside
from the one major snag we hit a few weeks back the house
thing wasn't too bad. We will probably move in November
or December. Not knowing exactly when sure does put a big
question mark in things. Oh well.
In preparation for the big move I'm attempting to get
rid of a bunch of my old stuff. I have eight auctions
going on at eBay right now and that's just the beginning.
I estimate I'll have well over 50 by the time I'm done.
Most of the stuff is old PC games that I've been hanging on
to for some reason.
Take a look
if you are interested. I'll be adding lots more stuff over
the next few weeks.
It's always cool when Friday the 13th occurs during
October. Goes with that whole Halloween theme. Not that
I go out trick-or-treating mind you. Last year I did go
to a party as Darth Maul. It was a bit hot in the robe
and mask, but it looked cool.
The eBay auctions are going well. In fact they're
going better than I had anticipated with a couple of
Dagon's Lair 3-pack,
Rocket: Robot on Wheels for N64, and
have all been bid up higher than I was anticipating
(currently $15.50, $26, and $15.50 respectively). I've
also been pleasantly surprised by
(not the sequel) and
as they are both over $30 which I think is more than I
originally paid for them. In total, I put up 26 items in
my first batch. I'm waiting for those to finish before
putting up more as I want to get some positive feedback
points for the next round.
My word. Of the 26 auctions I had going on eBay, 24
received bids. Not only that, but the overall total value
of the final bids nearly doubled the starting values. I was
a bit shocked by
I'm not sure if someone is yanking my chain or if that game
is really worth $66. Hey, if they pay I won't argue. So
far I haven't heard back from the bidder so I'm guessing it
wasn't a serious bid.
Well I'll be darned. It was a serious bid. I
guess the game is pretty difficult to find. Why else would
someone pay $66 for a Sherlock Holmes point-and-click
adventure game? <shrug>
Let's see if I can get any programming done this weekend.
My weekends always seem to get occupied by running errands or
attending social events. I do need to get the next set of
auctions going on eBay, but hopefully that won't take more
than a couple hours.
I had a serious case of the unmotivators this
weekend. All Sunday I just felt so <blah> for lack of
a better term. I ended up watching a lot of TV and not
doing much of anything.
The wife is going out of town this week. Hopefully that
will let me focus my energies a bit more. I had an idea on
a new rendering scheme which would increase visual quality
at the expense of bandwidth. Exactly how much it tanks
performace I will have to see, but it could simplify things
quite a bit.
My weekends are constantly overrun with running errands
and getting things done which I've put off for too long. I
did get a chance to play a round of golf on Sunday, but my
programming time was limited to a single hour Sunday
Lots of new
on eBay with more to come. The only thing that might get
up there in price is the copy of Dark Tower, a fantasy
board game that seems to be quite rare. I picked that one
up for like $35 from someone on a newsgroup a while back.
While extremely cool with the electronic tower and D&D
motif, it's not a very good game. It relies too much on
luck. It's neat to have just to have it, but given the
choice I would rather have the $100 that the game is going
for in other auctions. Plus it would be one less thing to
move when the time comes.
Another weekend down the tubes running errands. I seriously hope
that once we get settled in the new pad that I'll have more free
time. For now I can't get a block of 2 hours to do anything.
That might partially be due to Jet Grind Radio and Majora's Mask
which I recently obtained. If that weren't enough, Shenmue arrives
this week too! Gaming nirvana for me is a tough thing to find since
I'm not a big fan of the more traditional genres (racing, sports,
I came down with something the weekend before this one
and it didn't let up until this morning. It wasn't so bad
at first - just a minor sore throat. Then it turned into
some minor sniffles. Finally I was just dead tired for 2
days. Luckily those two days were Saturday and Sunday so
I could still be productive at work. Still, it didn't put
me in the mood to program. I actually *did* fiddle around
for about an hour, but the code was broken and I'll be
darned if I had the energy to track down the bug.
The wife and I have been busy getting contractors lined
up to fix up the new house before we move in. We're
replacing the interior doors, having it painted, and putting
in new carpet. It's easy to justify these expenses when you
just spent over 100 times that amount on the house itself.
We're targeting a move-in date of December 16th. Let's hope
everything goes smoothly.
I'm heading off to Davis, California to celebrate
Thanksgiving with the in-laws. I got pretty lucky since I
like my wife's family a lot. We're playing golf tomorrow
(Thursday). I'm looking forward to that since I haven't
played with them in a while and hope I can show some
improvement compared to last time.
Zelda has taken up most of my
time lately. It's simply a great game. I'm also almost
done with Jet Grind Radio - it's a
pretty short game. I have Shenmue
waiting in the wings, but resolved not to start it until
after Zelda is finished.
Check out the new
Dungeons and Dragons movie trailer.
It was just posted today and really runs circles around the
too-much-like-Phantom-Menace first trailer.
We finally have some games
for purchase for NUON (or at least they will be in the next
couple days). Tempest 3000 is by far the spiffiest of the
bunch. And by bunch I mean two since there's only one
other game out, Merlin Racing. I haven't tried that since
E3 last year. It looked to be a fun, but standard kart
racing game. Still, I can't wait for Tempest. The music
kicks plenty of behind.
The house is officially ours this Friday when the
previous owner moves out. We're having a house warming
party on Saturday before the painting and carpeting gets
done. That way we needn't worry about spills. It will be
plenty empty without any furniture. We're bringing over a
TV, the Dreamcast, and Dance Dance Revolution for a little
party fun. Should be cool since I haven't played the game
The party on Saturday was fun. It was pretty low-key.
We played a little DDR, a little SSX (borrowed a friend's
PS2), and a lot of Assassin. The latter isn't a console
game, but a verbal party game.
It works like this. Everyone sits in a circle. One
person is the administrator for the game and thus does not
actually participate. The admin shuffles a number of
cards equal to the number of players. Two of the cards
are designated "assassin" cards (you could play with more
than two if you have lots of people). One card is dealt
to each person and everyone looks at their card to know if
they are an assassin or not (non-assassins are sometimes
called "villagers"). BTW, you could use something aside
from cards as long as it was easy to hide from your
neighbors and you had two distinct varieties to tell apart
the villagers and assassins.
Then the game begins. Each turn there is a "night"
round followed by a "day" round. During the night round,
the admin asks everyone to close their eyes. Then the
assassins (and only the assassins) open their eyes.
Somehow non-verbally (and hopefully without making any
rustling noise), the assassins agree on one person to
kill. They then close their eyes and the admin tells
everyone to open their eyes. The selected person is
announced dead and out of the game, no longer able to
speak. Then the day round begins as everyone that's alive
try to figure out who is an assassin. Once a consensus is
reached (usually by majority vote), one person is lynched.
They are dead and out of the game and are revealed to
either be an assassin or a villager (note the alignment of
the person killed during the night round is *not*
revealed). Then a new night round begins again.
And thus it goes until either the villagers win by
eliminating all of the assassins, or vice-versa. It's
great fun since after a few games you build a history of
who has killed whom and all the backstabbing and
Painting of the house begins tomorrow. We're really
looking forward to it as we think it will make a world of
difference. Carpeting is next week. Then we move in on
Every so often a bunch of us get together and play
board games all day (and night). This Saturday was such
an event and as usual it was great. I played a couple of
new games (the new
which is always great fun. We stayed up until 5am playing
so I was dead tired the next day when we went on a hike (a
hike in December? must be California).
Painting went well. The house looks great, although
now the old carpet is covered with spilled paint,
chippings, and other debris. New carpet will be installed
tomorrow and *that* will be awesome.
We bought a new TV for the new house. It's only 27"
(our old one was 25"), but it has component and s-video
inputs - aspects severely lacking in the previous set. My
aim was to get a cheap set that would hold us over until
we upgrade to HDTV (once it becomes a bit cheaper a few
years down the road).
The carpet is in and the new tile in the bathroom is
almost done (it just needs to be grouted). As predicted it
looks outstanding - we can't wait to move in.
I got a pleasant email from a fellow from Ireland (hey
Ian!) that just discovered the
Decaying Orbit website.
After reading his very kind email I started revisiting all
the DO stuff. I really did enjoy making the game - it was a
shame to stop work on it. Maybe I'll try to do a port to
NUON sometime in the future. That would be a hoot.
Normally being woken up by a phone call is not the thing to put me
in a good mood. However, this particular one was from Walmart to let
me know that my Playstation 2 had arrived. I had been in line the
day they went on sale and since they didn't have enough for everyone
(surprise surprise) they put the rest of us on a list. It took them
a month and a half to get to me, but I finally have one. Of course I
waited in the lay-away line at Walmart for 30 minutes before someone
helped me. Ah well. Now the decision is whether to keep the PS2 or
sell it for a profit on eBay ;)
I finally got the hit counters working again. I see by the
old log files that they were last used in April. Ah well, I'm sure
I didn't miss more than a couple million hits right? The Link
Exchange counter was always there, but I prefer using my own to have
more control. A side benefit is getting rid of the annoying "broken
image" dealies where the counters should have been. Jump to the
to check it out.
One of my idealistic goals one day is to write my own perl scripts
to do things such as message boards, polls, and whatnot. Sheeyeah,
like I got time to do that.
Forgot to mention that I saw the
Dungeons & Dragons
movie on opening night. It was definitely not as good as it
could have been. I hope
Lord of the
Rings can redeem the genre so that movie studios continue to make
After a weekend of moving we're finally in our new
place. It feels great despite the mountain of boxes left
First on the list was to set up the computer because
the cable modem guy came out yesterday to hook us up.
And boy did he. We're getting speeds at least twice as
fast as our old DSL line, and that's during peak hours
too. We're hovering around 2 to 3 Mbit/sec. In fact,
for sustained downloads I was getting over 4.5 Mbit/sec.
We just need to figure out a way to get the other computer
set up to share the connection.
Next on the list was setting up the TV, VCR, and game
systems. The new switchbox that I bought makes a world of
difference. It's the
Unlike most input-selectors which force you to push
buttons, this one automatically senses which input is
active and switches to it. Turn on the PS2 and it
switches to that input. Turn on the DC and it assumes you
want to use that and switches. Turn off the DC and it
goes back to the PS2. And not only does it accept S-video
inputs, it will convert a composite signal to S-video.
That way you can mix and match which inputs use which and
only need one output to the TV. I wish it would also do
component video, but oh well.
I haven't sunk my teeth into
SSX for any length of time yet,
but I can confirm that the music is awesome. I also
received copies of
for NUON. I don't have a player yet (I donated the one I
had to a movie studio so they could try it out), but I
should get a replacement soon. Christmas==GamingNirvana.
You may have seen this article
from Retrogaming Times Issue #40. It describes how someone
has finally achieved a perfect score in Pitfall for the
Atari 2600. That is actually pretty impressive since
touching any log or falling down a pit will reduce your
score. The fact that Alan Hewston could keep up perfection
for nearly 20 minutes is admirable.
The article has this little passage:
Early in this competition, I was the first to break the existing record
by collecting all but one of the 32 treasures. Shortly after that, Robert
Macauley and then Robert Mruczek had done better by collecting all
32 treasures in this game. Quite a feat, and the first to ever do so.
I hate to burst their little bubble, but the
DragonShadow team (Dave and me) did that a loooong time
ago. Naturally we have no videotape to prove it (dangblast
it), but we do have the map we made detailing every screen
in the game and showing what we believed to be the fastest
route. If Dave manages to find it I'll have to post a
scan of it. Maybe we could carbon date the page to prove
we did it first :)
*SIGH* While discussing it over email, Dave put it best:
"It took people 18 years to do what we did as kids?"
Yeah so we're showing our nerdy side here, but dang if it's
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