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Life In The Slow Lane

Though I figure I owe this blog an update, I have accomplished very little since the last entry:

Watching: Dated gaming pundit videos.

I watched some old videos from JonTron, Angry Video Game Nerd, The Spoony Experiment, and Zero Punctuation.
I guess I was on a real negative gamer retrospective bent, as each of these series mostly lampoon what has gone horribly wrong with video games.  It should also be noted that, in each case, the creators of these videos have developed a fictional personality, which is a kinda cool and creative.

Playing: The same old, plus another old samey.

More Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead.  My current survivor in this post-apocalyptic zombie open-world roguelike, "Johnny," is doing quite well with his "slow and steady wins the race" approach.  He largely hangs around a reasonably-safe farm biome and never goes anywhere too dangerous.  I have "skill rust" turned off, and he has the "fast learner" perk, so he is racking up skills left and right.  Provided I don't do anything stupid, he could go on potentially forever.  Predictably, this game is turning out really boring, I'm not bothering to play it for long right now.

I am barely nibbling on Elite: Dangerous at the moment; the game is still good enough for me to poke my nose in with every update, but only that.  That seems a little strange considering how the game is really neat, one of the most immersive computer game experiences yet made.

The main problem is that it has me stretched out on the grindstone right now: earn credits to earn bigger ships to earn more credits.  Call it confirmation bias, but I was expecting that before I even bought the game.  The game's defense, I knew that I could tolerate a grind as long as I am enjoying the gameplay.  Unfortunately, in practice, I have found the activities are too sparse to justify the time required to get to the end.  This is when progression becomes a grind.

This problem gets exponentially worse because I noticed that I am being actively punished for progression.  This is because of insurance costs: every twenty credits you invest in your ship is one credit you lose, permanently, upon that ship's destruction (although Kickstarter backers of the product can have that reduced by up to 50%).  Progression is rewarded with additional liability?!  I imagine a lot of players are going to end up too afraid to pilot the spoils of their grinding.  Braben and Co. dropped the ball on that, they'll need to fix it before too much longer.
Magical kawaii goddess adventure yaay desu desu
I played quite a bit of Fantasy Life, mostly because I think I would like to finish it off before I put it down.  As I have opted to be a "master of everything," this is taking the most leisurely route possible, but I am now:
  • Master in one Life (Paladin)
  • Expert in 7 (Mercenary, Wizard, Angler, Cook, Alchemist, Carpenter, and Blacksmith)
  • Adept level in the rest (Hunter, Miner, Woodcutter, and Tailor).  
The grind here is actually pretty forgiving, it is mostly just a matter of unlocking access to the lands that have the greatest materials available, and then just meeting the bare minimum advancement requirement for each material.  Although, it should be pointed out, there are actually three more ranks above Master!  Maybe I'll specialize at that point.
Starbound has released a major update, the biggest since March 2014, and I gave it a spin.  Only a few hours in now, I have three primarily things to note:
  • The game is overall more refined.  It plays smoother, the combat system is a little better balanced (including a fatigue bar), and the crafting system has had a lot of its redundancies ironed out.
  • Progression is now tied to performing missions from a quest hub world (the "Outpost") and the result is cooler because now you have a whole adventure map instead of just a boss fight to look forward to.
  • They gutted the survival mechanisms of hunger and temperature, replacing them with temporary buffs for food and certain worlds that require certain "tech" slotting to visit.  It's a bit disappointing for me because I think those survival mechanisms had the potential to really give the game character, but I can't argue that their removal has not improved the overall flow of the game.
Starbound is still in early access, and perhaps for good reason: it's still not bulletproof; dang thing crashed on me when I died on the first adventure map.  Those of you who are waiting for a finished game before playing it might want to keep on waiting.

All the while, feeling steadily more cruddy...

Oh fickle fate, it seems just when I am about to motivate myself to do something productive in my free time, I get smacked down by something or other.

A "life hack" that was recommended in Reality Is Broken is the 10/2 system, where you time yourself as taking 10 minutes to work on something productive, and then 2 minutes to do whatever you want.  I think the original source page is gone on that, but I found a derived page that describes the process.  I made it into the 10/10 system, partly because I did not want to have to reconfigure my timer, mostly because I can not think of much things I want to do that would only take two minutes.  So I was doing that, and it was working...


...however, it seems I have caught a cold again.   Even as early as Monday, I had logged that I "felt under the weather."  Combined with a valiant struggle to wrap my head around how GameMaker Studio could make an immersive survival sim (not just a barebones approach, but doing it right) this cold defeated me.  As of last night, I even had a fever, but I suspect that was just me overdoing it on the decongestant.  I have had worse, but this bug has still made me miserable enough that I really need to let my immune system recover before weakening it with the stress of developer's block.

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