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(Edit: I've updated this with some newer information gained in the few days of playing around I had after writing this.)

Okay so I've been participating in the Open Beta of FFXIV, and I just finished the last of the three opening storylines, so I want to opine about it a bit. )
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Placed under multiple cuts because big.

Dorms )

Me )

Other stuff )
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So I dropped my DS Lite today. It seemed to be okay, until I tried it again at the end of the day... and found out that the touch screen isn't working anymore.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. I don't know what to do now.

This needs fixing as soon as possible, but I don't have the money to repair or replace the thing.

Nintendo will send you a factory-certified replacement at a reduced price, which looks like the best option for me given all the other things wrong with mine... but even that would set me back $85. $55 less than a normal DS Lite purchase, but still too much for me to afford.

I'm in a bad spot for this right now. I need help. But I'm mature enough to know that there's not much anyone else can do for me at this point.

I just... I wish things would stop breaking. Why does everything have to stop working when money is the tightest?
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So I actually reinstalled and tried Maple yesterday.

Tried out the Knights of Cygnus and the Aran. It was actually surprisingly enjoyable-- especially the latter, which is surprising since normally I won't touch melee classes with a 40-foot pole.

Quests have, in fact, been balanced out. There are storyline quests now that will actually take you from level 1-17 on quest experience alone, which is a major turnaround from the Maple of my day, where the sole method of leveling up from like level 5 on was just whacking a bunch of monsters for hours on end.

Other quests seem to give better experience now, too. I'm curious to see how far I could get on quests alone, without any aimless grinding. Though the gaps between the storyline quests are getting larger with each successive quest, which may make that difficult.

But I suppose the point is moot anyways. A lot of shit went down last night, and it looks like I may be quitting both Maple and Mabi again.

So it goes.
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OKAY so hey I should probably post an actual update here or something. 'Cause stuff has happened and I can go into more detail here than on Twitter.

First-- the problem with my loan was that I hadn't enrolled in enough credit hours to be eligible for the money. So I had to take care of the whole getting into Japanese thing in order for my loan to disburse and my expenses to be paid for.

That worked. I finally managed to get into contact with Deguchi-sensei. Apparently he didn't get my first email back in December. So I am LUCKY that I happened to try emailing him the day before classes began to check if he had gotten it.

He gave me a kanji test, which I passed-- sort of. He was a bit dissatisfied with a few things related to the way I wrote-- minor details like which strokes are supposed to cross and which ones aren't, which is a bigger deal in Japanese than it is in English. He agreed to let me into the class on the condition that I meet with a native speaker to get help with the smaller details in my writing. He fired off an email to someone who he thought may be able to help with that, but neither of us has heard back yet. In the meantime, I've been working on it on my own, and I think I've been improving. With luck, I may not actually need it after all.

Small note: apparently my さs are wrong. (They look like that one does; with the last two strokes connected.) According to him, that form of writing (called Manga-ji, apparently) isn't acceptable in a formal context like school, and it has to be written with three separate strokes. But it's perfectly acceptable for some reason to write ち with the strokes connected. Don't even ask me, I don't know. It hasn't been that hard to adapt to, though.

I also have a sinking feeling that my ふs and ゆs are incorrect for the same reason (I write them each with a single stroke), but if that's the case, then there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to correct myself-- my ふs and ゆs look absolutely idiotic when I try to write them with multiple strokes.

Compared to my other classes, my Japanese class is shockingly small-- about 25ish people, which I'd hazard a guess is barely more than a quarter of the size of my Sociolinguistics class. The class size is even more surprising when you take into account the fact that this is a combination of the 201 and 202 levels.

But enough about that! Let's talk about DORMS.

This is a whole new world. And I don't think I can adequately describe how utterly alien this world is to me. I know I'm not new to the whole college thing, but this dorm thing is a whole different animal.

My dorm room is part of a four-room suite with a single shared bathroom. All of my suitemates (7 in total, including my roommate) know each other already, since they started in fall quarter and lived in the same rooms.

I had a hell of a time trying to keep all their names straight, but of course they all got mine straight away (since they only had one new name to learn this quarter-- mine-- while I had seven, plus the various friends and girlfriends that have came and gone over the past couple days. >.<).

The doors between each room and the bathroom stay open pretty much all the time (save late at night or early in the morning when people are sleeping), so it's almost like a big apartment or something, with people moving from room to room fairly freely. The bathroom may as well be a hallway or something (it's long and narrow like one, anyway)-- unless someone's naked and getting into the shower or something.

Which brings me to another thing-- no privacy period. The only places with any semblance of privacy are the toilet (picture a public bathroom stall, only without the lock on the door) and the inside of the shower, which is only separated from the rest of the bathroom by a flimsy little curtain. The closet (which also serves as the passageway between the room and the bathroom) can afford some limited privacy if a) the door to the bathroom is closed, and b) your roommate is either asleep, out of the room, or has his attention fixed elsewhere. There's no door between the room and the closet.

The shower situation is so awkward I can't even tell you. I can only assume you're expected to wander into the bathroom naked or something? because there's no private space to change before you get in. (I opted to solve this problem by showering while everyone was still asleep, and leaving on my underwear until I'd gotten in and shut the curtain.)

Took me a while to figure out how the shower is supposed to work-- I took a shower the first morning, but couldn't figure out how to adjust the temperature. Cold shower for me. That was not pleasant. I figured it out properly the next day, though, thankfully.

Everyone's pretty friendly, but I have absolutely nothing in common with them! I feel like an alien or something. I'm pretty sure they all drink (I'm also pretty sure they're all underage, but it's not my responsibility to police them), they all work out regularly and do sports, and none of them make a hobby of using the internet like I do.

I brought gaming consoles, but didn't even unpack them for like a week because I've been so busy and it didn't seem so important anymore. And I've still yet to unpack the books I brought. I think I overpacked. >_<;;

On the upside: I have a wireless connection that I can use with my Wii (but not my DS). And I've finally made some progress in Persona 3 for the first time in ages. I'm at the point right after you recruit Fuuka.

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Oh hey I was gonna do a Christmas post wasn't I.

Well, better late than never!


  • Shirts. One of which is an Avatar shirt, lol. I've never even seen the movie.

  • A kickass jacket.

  • $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. Bought And Another Thing, A Wrinkle In Time, and The Sorceress with it. $8 remaining.

  • $50 in Wal Mart gift cards. Used to buy a prepaid WoW card. $20 remaining.

  • A Classic Controller for the Wii.

  • Socks and underwear. You would not believe how much I actually needed these.

  • A metric fuckton of sweets. They're all gone now.

  • A bunch of hygiene stuff that I'll be needing for the dorm.

  • A microwave! (Okay, it wasn't actually a christmas gift, we got it a few days after christmas. But it's still awesome!)

And technically the laptop and external hard drive were early christmas gifts.

IN OTHER NEWS: I leave on sunday holy shit holy shit holy shit.

Nervous as all hell, but I guess it's going to be alright.

I just wish my fucking loan would disburse so I could have the money to pay the bill and not owe the school just under $5000. >|
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Uh-oh, looks like it's time for another one of Matt's opinion pieces.


Okay, so I'll admit it. My time on World of Warcraft has utterly changed the way I think about MMOs.

Those on my flist may or may not be aware that I've recently gotten back into Mabinogi. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I ever quit was because Alpha had stopped playing, and the game isn't really any fun alone. It's a fun game, and sufficiently removed from the train wreck that was Maple Story.

Between quitting and starting up again, though, a lot of time passed and a lot of things happened. This isn't about the game being different; this is about me being different. Despite all the updates made to it, Mabinogi has stayed the same more than it has changed. The game hasn't stopped being fun, but it has started to feel alien.

Take this announcement on the official Mabinogi forums, for instance. Reading this thread, and the responses to it, has driven home just how much my outlook on MMOs has changed.

Two years ago? I probably would have been singing the praises of this announcement right alongside many of the other posters in there. Things looked much more black and white to me back then.

Now, though, I've had the experience of what a game is like when run by a company that actively supports the modding community. And it could not possibly seem more mystifying to me that these people are so fervently against "modders", and that Nexon would have a blanket ban on all mods, both harmful and harmless.

I'll admit that some the "hacks" that get used in Nexon games are a far cry from the mods enjoyed by the WoW community-- many of them are outright malicious, and these games certainly have their share of cheaters-- a problem not remotely as rampant on WoW as it is in Mabinogi, and on Maple Story especially.

But I have a very big problem with the fact that strictly aesthetic mods are being tarred with the same brush as such hacks. That's what Nexon is doing.

Many of my friends will know that I make a minor hobby out of custom soundtracks. Since the music in Mabinogi is stored externally in .mp3 format, it's a cakewalk to replace the music files with my own in order to customize the soundtrack-- but uh-oh, I guess that makes me a dirty modder. You can get banned for that, can you believe it?

This is one of the reasons that I now feel like I'm nothing more than a guest in the world of Nexon MMOs.

I'm a little dumbfounded that this is what they're focusing their attention on, rather than combating the rampant botting that goes on in this game. It's disgraceful how easy it is to bot in this game, and how difficult it is to go five feet without tripping over a gold-farming bot. And this, while I could get banned for my custom soundtrack? It's almost farcical how out of line their priorities are.

I'm not quitting the game over this, don't get me wrong. I just find it utterly surreal how alien the Nexon MMO culture seems to me now. And it is a culture, make no mistake about that.

I'll just continue in my role as outside observer of the indigenous peoples and their strange folkways.
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Took care of my FAFSA and my student housing application the other day. That's a relief, but also, holy shit is it surreal. It's like, seriously, I'm having an impossibly hard time imagining myself living in a dorm. And holy shit I'm going to be even further away from my friends than I already am! Aaaaagh nuuu ;;

At the same time, though, man am I glad I'm gonna have a meal plan. One less thing to worry about.

Incidentally, I didn't actually need to get another measles shot. My mom and I both misread my immunity records; the info for the first shot was transcribed from a different institution, so only the date was filled in-- which made it look blank unless you were paying attention. So, yay for not having to get stuck with needles?

[Project Oracle]

Also incidentally, I updated the Project Oracle page with info on a few new characters.


Did I mention I got a copy of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons from my dad a week or two back? 'Cause I did. I've been screwing around linking back and forth between Ages and Seasons now that I can. Gives me a good excuse to replay Ages, now that I've finally found my fucking copy of it.

And now that I've played through both of them? I can say that Ages is definitively the better game. The season-changing mechanics of Seasons was interesting, and it had the better music of the two for the most part (not a small thing in my book), but the plot was dull as all hell. You can tell that Ages was made after Seasons, because it plays around with the plot a lot more; stuff actually happens between the beginning and end of the game, instead of just having you going around collecting MacGuffins. And the villain in Ages is more interesting; Onox is just kind of a generic "rawr I am a bad guy" type villain, but Veran is... well, she's also that, but her methods are a lot more interesting.

I imagine most of the plot of Seasons was written back when it was still going to be a remake of the first Zelda game; whereas Ages was probably written after they decided not to do that, so they realized that they actually had to make the plot workable on its own merit.

Still, I'm glad I have both games now. They make for a pretty interesting experience as a pair.


Nintendo had a deal for Wii owners that originally bought the Internet Channel for 500 Wii Points; now that they're offering it for free again, they give you a free NES game-- so long as the game in question costs 500 Wii Points, of course. I'm a little annoyed at this; I would much rather have just had my Wii Points refunded, but what can you do. So I got Ghosts and Goblins.

Wouldn't you know, I can't get past the first area. Fucking flying... gargoyle... thing.

[Computer] still falling apart. The down key is pretty much fucked now; it works about 30% of the time. Firefox is randomly crashing; I have no idea if that has to do with the computer or what, but it's annoying. It still has problems with overheating. And it's still got the hinge problem I'm sure I've complained about here already.

On the upside, I'm probably going to be using my student loan to get a new one... so there's that.


I got a hold of Chip Tuned Rockman. It's pretty cool; not revolutionary, but cool nonetheless.

Also, I figured out how to rip sound effects and music from WoW's data files. This is very useful, especially the sound effects.


GUYS it's actually starting to get cold. Like, I finally had to turn on my heater and I got the urge to make hot cocoa the other day type cold. Man oh man do I ever love autumn. Because who doesn't love freezing to death?


I still have nothing. Like every Halloween for the past... how many fucking years? Ugh. I can't tell you what I'd give to be out of the house and not having to deal with trick-or-treaters.
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After five years of being stuck at the very end, I finally beat Final Fantasy IX today.

For all that buildup... Trance Kuja and Necron were pathetically easy. All it took was a little bit of grinding and getting my strategy in order for once. (WHY did I give Steiner Auto-Float back then? Jeez no wonder I couldn't beat them before.)

Two down, nine to go
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Now for the super hard optional dungeon. oAo;;
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Downloaded and tried out the demo of Dissidia on my PSP.

It would be a lot of fun if my fucking analog stick worked correctly. >[

Aaagghh WTB non-broken electronics ;;


Aug. 13th, 2009 01:10 am
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Cut for width. D| )

See that tower? Six stories tall, plus the roof. Literally touches the sky.

I built that damn thing. From the ground up.

Now I'm working on digging a few basement floors. This thing's gonna touch the center of the earth. Well, the bottom of the game map, anyway.

^ Hella fucking addicting game.
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So I found out earlier what Final Fantasy's "Beastmaster" class is called in Japanese.


(Before you comment about the character's name: I used a save file from the english translation patch on the japanese rom. >>;)
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I spent all day yesterday completely revamping character and battle animations. And now, I have a video up. :DDD

The whole thing with the characters jumping around the screen, plus the spell casting animations, are brand new. They came out awesome-looking, and I'm so excited about it. XD I just had to take a video of it; the fights in this game look WAY better now.

I'll be uploading a demo of some revamped dialogue sequences later today or tomorrow, possibly. I'll make a post when I do.
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Whoops! Cut for length )

Hah HAH.

Jul. 29th, 2009 11:38 pm
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So I finally figured out how to get the RPG Maker 2003 engine to do Instant Death and Petrify effects. X3

Only problem is that Petrify can't prevent enemies from targeting you. Instead, I compromised and made it so that all attacks miss against petrified characters.

I really do need Light/Dark damaging spells, so I'm not going to convert Hama and Mudo into instant death effects. Rather, I think I'm going to use Death and Break as the Dark- and Light-based insta-death spells; Light-users will learn Break spells, and Dark-users will learn Death spells, in addition to the damaging light/dark spells I've already implemented. I'm still gonna use the Persona framework for the spells, so Light will have Break, Mass Break, Final Break, Mass Final Break, and Samsara, while Dark will have Death, Mass Death, Final Death, Mass Final Death, and Die For Me.

Just like in Final Fantasy games, Petrify will be instant death to enemies, but will act slightly different on PCs.

(Incidentally, I also added in Slash, Strike, and Pierce attributes for weapons. X3)


Jul. 16th, 2009 01:44 am
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Literally impossible to find. >:E

It's supposedly from Ragnarok Online, but I didn't find a track with that title in its OST. Most searches for the title seem to turn up results related to the video where I first heard the song. (This, starting at 6:40)

This is very frustrating.

Can anyone help? DX
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So. In what appears to be a temporary lapse in sanity, I've decided that I think I want to revive my old game project, Project Oracle. REMEMBER THAT OLD THING, GUYS?

I'm a much better writer now, I have a better handle on the difference between good ideas and bad ideas, I know a bit more about game design, I have better access to sound and graphics assets, and I generally know my head from my ass much better when it comes to technology than I was in High School when I started this thing. I'm kinda dying to get my hands dirty and make this thing not suck.

I still don't know how to balance a game, though, orz. I guess I'll have to improvise. Unless anyone knows how to balance stats in RPG Maker 2003? Heh, yeah, I'm not banking on it. Right now the game is on the wrong side of way too fucking easy.

However. What started as a self-insertion story involving me and my friends, I think I'm going to revise into an original story with original characters. Characters BASED on me and my friends, granted, but the cheese factor should be significantly reduced.

The basic story's still contrived and unoriginal, but I think I'm going to stop caring. I'm sure a lampshade here and there will make it all better. 8D

I'm already coming up with tons of ideas. )

^ Check out the cut if you're interested in the details of the game.


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