All posts for the month May, 2016

Realizing that Microsoft would never leave me alone, I decided to drink the Kool-Aid (which should be spelled Cool-Ade, but it’s not).

I don’t exactly hate it, but I’m not crazy about it. It’s all very borderless, smart-phoney, and white, except for the grays and blacks. As I imagined, the big emphasis is on tracking and monetizing users. I didn’t expect this to be so unapologetic and in-your-face. It’s everywhere, but it seems to apply more to Windows “apps” than to anything else, especially those you buy in the Store. Since I don’t use any yet, I just turned off whatever system things bothered me, which were surprisingly few in number. Number one irritation was the peer update thing, so I dumped that fast. I think Microsoft can afford the bandwidth to force updates on me.

I miss little things, like the old-school calculator, better defined scrollbars, and some other “3D” things that made earlier Windows interfaces easier to use. I haven’t bothered with Cortana and have no plans to use Skype. I don’t mind Edge, but until I get used to it, I made IE the default browser. (Where is the Home button in Edge?)

I installed Win 10 Home on two machines — my school one and the gaming computer. Since I had 8.1 on the school one, I just did an upgrade and all went well (at least I think so). The gaming one had Win 7, so I decided to do a clean install. The Media Tool made this pretty easy. Restoration of backed up Steam games and Diablo 3 went smoothly. Diablo 3 wouldn’t start at first, but after seeing the word “protocol” in log errors, I knew I had to get proper Nvidia drivers instead of the basic ones Microsoft installed. All was jake after that. Oh, the sound didn’t work either, but Realtek drivers did the trick. All this was on the gaming machine. The school one worked right out of the “box,” probably because Microsoft didn’t mess with the drivers already in place. Even though I’m impressed by a nice clean Device Manager after both installs, I pity the average Joe Walmart trying to get his laptop to work with no clue about driver software.

In sum, the whole thing went pretty well, and while I don’t see any big advantages to Win 10, I guess it could be worse. At least this is Microsoft’s focus now, so I feel like a second-class citizen instead of a third-class one.


Well, I paid a 2D environment artist what I’d consider pretty good money… and he screwed me. I don’t even think it was intentional, he just sucks. Despite his portfolio not containing specific examples of what I wanted, he showed a good skill level over all and I’ve worked with him before, so I went for it.

Well, next time I’ll insist on specific examples. Fuck.

That said, now that I’m forced to produce my own assets, I’m changing to a voxel format, which is not only easy but pretty popular and is already making the game look better. I’m just on a crash course marathon for the next couple of weeks to keep the campaign on schedule. Woo!

The new and improved protagonist, still a work in progress:

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 4.54.27 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 3.40.39 PM

Remember V-GER from the first Star Trek movie? In case you don’t, the idea was that the Enterprise had to intercept an extremely powerful alien anomaly that liked to eat Klingon vessels and Federation space stations. The entity turned out to be Voyager 6, which had collected so much data that it became a sentient eater of planets. That’s sort of what happened to my silly little alt wizard, which I originally created as a mule to tote my main wiz’s extra items. Entirely by experimentation and accident, the mule is now V-GER, eater of monster armies.

ILA, mn, and I decided to brave the environs of Torment 10 last night, where I must say we all comported ourselves with satisfactory professionalism. I was especially surprised by my freakish mule, who managed to eat huge quantities of monsters while barely staying alive. She has a ways to go, as T10 (at least for a sub-600 paragon character) is very unforgiving, but I have hope that she will do great things (or, as Anthony Hopkins says in The Wolfman, terrible things, Lawrence — terrible things).

Image credit to this guy:


Or I will be as of tomorrow.

Long long story which I don’t want to recount right now, but the gist is, I’m 38, IT is not a kind industry to men of my age. Especially not corporate IT, which is all I know how to do at the level that I can be paid for it by an employer. My nerves are shot, I have no hope of finding another job and even if I did I’d just prolong this slow burning nervous breakdown I’ve been having for two years. I mean there’s professional frustration, and stress, and anxiety, and then there’s cardiac arrests and back breaking seizures.

Sooooo we may be selling our house, since Chris’ pay can’t possibly cover our basic expenses, forget about cutting the budget. Maybe moving south to saner markets (housing and food, not employment, because I am burned out. I am beyond burned out. This probably sounds ridiculous but my nerves are not just shot, it’s like I’ve got shell shock.)

I’ve been kicking around an indie game for 2 years now and I’m using some of our small savings to commission level and promotional art to give it a ride on KickStarter and see how that goes. I mean, I may as well. What I’m spending won’t even make one mortgage payment, and even if it did that would be one month longer to pull off the bandaid and not really much help. Maybe it’ll take off. Self employment I can do if I can get somebody to pay me for my talents. Sadly, taking in wookiee costume commissions won’t cover.

Sorry for sucking at updating this page and such like, and not being into Diablo clones and such well enough to converse. I’m glad that you few have stuck around, I like seeing your posts.

I’m off to finish learning the Unity engine libraries (I’ve got a pretty good start on them already) and diagram some level layouts for my artist.

We’ve been wanting to move out of Connecticut for awhile now, so maybe this will turn out to be an opportunity and everything will fall together. Fingers crossed.

Recently, when not doing Season 6 with ILA, I have been working on my demon hunter. I used not to care very much for this class because his early days were characterized by boring pew pew (which sounded more like ka-thunk ka-thunk). Of late, however, he’s pretty decent.

As you can see, I finally managed to get him a Focus/Restraint set, though I’m not pleased by the rolls. I think the key with this guy is going to be legendary gems, so I’m working on leveling those. I’m also not happy about the Krelm’s bracers, but it shouldn’t be too long before I find some ancient Strong Arms or maybe something better. Of course, the big change is the Marauder set which, as you will notice, synergizes primary skills with turrets and thus increases power by about 8000 orders of magnitude. The belt and Magefist gloves are also very important. (Note: even though the page indicates that the 6-piece Marauder bonus is not active, it really is. I’m using a Ring of Royal Grandeur in the cube.)

The big problem with the DH is Blizzard’s strange skill set, which makes a bow indispensable. Nearly every DH skill comes with the proviso “Bow only.” I’m not exactly sure what this means, but the way I read it, a bow is what you think it is: an archery bow, the kind you would use with two hands. As far as I can tell, this does not mean crossbows, either 1h or 2h. If this is true (and I’ll have to research this further), it means that a 1h crossbow set like Danetta’s does not benefit from the majority of DH skills. Surely this is incorrect, but that’s my interpretation. All I know is that once I went back to an actual bow, all those skills went ape-ballistic. I was initially worried about the DH’s inability to cube the Furnace (50% bonus dmg to elites), but Marauders and the proper skill choices obviate this problem. I’ve been one-shotting every elite pack. Rift bosses are trivial. (Update: I discovered that “Bow only” refers to every kind of bow, including 1h and 2h crossbows — see reply below.)

The best thing is that ka-thunk ka-thunk has been replaced by asplosion-asplosion. And speed. Man, this guy can move. Throw in Vault with no cool-down and he’s a bullet.

Meanwhile, my crusader is also coming along. Like the DH, she needs a truly uber weapon. She also needs quite a lot more health and resistances, but she’s got a lightning-damage thing going that seems to work really well right now.

The monk is also coming up but needs better gear.

The Survival mode finally arrived so I returned to my unfinished game with my level fifty-something character.

The biggest problem of Survival is that ammo now has weight – each mini nuke weighs 12! Fusion cores weigh 4! I had to ditch most of my weapons so now I’m really afraid of Deathclaws again. This really is a game changer, I love it.

Also, the only mods I play with are Better Settlers and Don’t Call Me Settler. Killable provisioners! Now it really makes sense to have your settlers well protected.

Survival and these two mods really make the game great again.