Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Summarising post of the past few months

June 11, 2012

Wow, and again I wait a few months until I post here again! It’s terrible of me. Not that there are a lot of people who read this, to my knowledge (and pretty much all of those learn how I’m doing, elsewhere). So. I’m working on my master thesis and recently it has become clear that we’ll aim for the graduation of May/June 2013. We have also agreed on the work I will do and won’t do. It’s going relatively well I would say. There are still ups and downs, sometimes I run into problems, sometimes they’re easy to fix. I guess it’s all part of research. I’m currently working on the binary system, that is to say, a system with 2/3rds big spheres and 1/3rd tetramers (four spheres attached to each other). Here’s an image of a random, initial configuration.

Binary system initial random configuration

However it turned out that particles get stuck because the volume shrinks too rapidly compared to the particle movements and rotations. The single hard spheres did not get stuck, but these tetramers have a more awkward shape. So there were two options now, and I’m exploring both. First is to let the volume change less rapidly. This does mean that in order to get the same results, I will need to simulate longer. The second option is to let the particles start in the structure that we’re interested in (for the binary system that is the MgCu2 structure) and then see if/when it melts. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment. I will also need to recode the single hard spheres and the sole tetramer system to start in certain structures (fcc). Below an image of what the MgCu2 structure looks like.

A snapshot of the MgCu2 structure

I have more images but I don’t want to crowd this post with too many of them, so more of that later (if I remember XD). My project is going well I would say, so that’s nice.

Other than university, what am I up to? Well, I watch some tv now and then and I play a game now and then. I can’t do either of these things too often. I also read books, read quite a few of those since I last posted here. I should write some reviews or something!

I’ve played a little bit of Mass Effect 3 since I last posted here in February, I’ve played some Defender’s Quest and some Magical Diary. So not a lot really compared to the time frame, but that’s okay. Those last two I’ve only played in the past few weeks (Magical Diary has only been out for a bit and I didn’t know Defender’s Quest much before then) since I bought them, but Mass Effect 3 I’ve had since around launch day. All three of them, so far, are great games and I thoroughly enjoy my time with them.

Book wise, I have signed up for GoodReads, Shelfari and BookLikes. Maybe some day later I’ll post links to my profile(s).

Well, that’s enough of a summarising post I’d say. It’s probably best to talk about specific things in specific posts, I think, otherwise things get a bit cluttered.

How my master research is going

February 24, 2012

And again some months pass before I look at this blog again. This time my dad making a made me think back of mine. Since quite a bit of stuff happened today, and in fact over the past few months, I thought it was about time I wrote (another) update.

I’m still working on my master project. Things are going with ups and downs, now and then there is lots of progress in a short amount of time, at other times there are just problems that persist for a few weeks until I’ve figured out solutions (or sometimes, what exactly the problem is). I still don’t enjoy programming, though I do think I enjoy it a lot more than when I first started! My programming on tetramers and binary systems (single bigger spheres mixed with tetramers) is complete! Well aside from possible errors obviously, because you never know (I keep finding them!). The latest results finally look good though. I’m currently gathering data and making graphs for the equation of state for single hard spheres and tetramers (that’s two seperate systems). However the program I was using for it didn’t want to display the axis properly (certain points are meant to be closer together than others, yet the program keeps displaying them all within an equal distance from each other). I’m in the process of finding a different program that works and learning how to use it. I made the first steps today but I ran out of time since I had to go to a colloquiem. The colloquiem was interesting, it was about colloids and electronic ink, electrophoresis etc. It was tiring to stay at uni for a longer time but the subject was quite interesting so I guess you could say it was worth it.

On another note, there are more students in our room which upsets me a bit as it’s no longer as quiet and calm (aside from the heating, the copy machine, footsteps and typing sounds) as things used to be. It could be worse though, so far nobody has had long chats about unrelated things. This morning, someone (I assume he’s a student though he doesn’t look really young, but I could be mistaken) needed to work on my desk so I had to be relocated to a different desk. As I’m not so good in dealing with unexpected situations, it took me a while to get used to this new desk. I don’t know how long he’ll be working there for but I assume he’ll be there for the coming weeks at least.

I’m starting to be able to follow the work discussions better and better. Obviously there are theories that I haven’t heard of before but I can generally understand what people are trying to research and it’s getting more interesting than at first.

Another thing of my work is that sometimes there is more work to do than other times. If I’m stuck because of an error and I can’t find the error, at some point I stop looking and take a break. I find that difficult as I feel guilty sometimes when I work different hours than I should.

I’m not totally enjoying my project all the time, sometimes yes, but other times no. I tend to get stressed, especially on fridays (or thursday nights etc). But now that I think about it I do think I enjoy it more than at first. Perhaps that’s also because things are going well atm.

On a completely unrelated note: I am playing more video games! Lately I’ve been playing some hours of Skyrim, which so far is an awesome game. I do have most of the sounds muted, this helps me a lot.

Well it’s now time to cook so with that I end my post here, hopefully I’ll make another one soon!

My blog!

October 3, 2011

Wow, didn’t think I had made that many blog posts, I thought I’d made just a few. I recently remembered I had this place and figured it was worth another look. I guess I felt like writing, as well. I’ve started on my master research and am stressed from time to time. I guess this leads me into wanting to write more, because it can help make me feel better. Looking back, rereading some of my old posts, made me think it’s a shame I don’t write more. Maybe I should write more. It’d be good for improving skill and practising.

So, I’ll tell you about uni now. For just over four weeks I’ve begun on my master research. At the end of it I will have to write a master thesis. I also have to give three presentations, one near the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end of the project. At the end (hopefully) I’ll have my diploma! (which is what I’m mostly doing it for).

I work at home monday-thursday in the mornings, for about four hours. On friday I go to the university. There is a work meeting I have to attend in the morning. I spend the rest of the morning working there. In the afternoon there is a colloqium I sometimes have to go to – depending on the subject of the lecture. So far I haven’t been to one yet, the subjects didn’t seem relevant to my own subject (more on that in a bit) and to be honest I have been too tired also. I’m only going to uni one day a week but after friday I feel pretty tired. Stress doesn’t help of course. In the weekend I have off and I use the weekend to recover from friday.

I do programming and perform Monte Carlo simulations. Currently of hard spheres, which at the moment I’m extending to be two spheres attached to each other. Later on I will have to make a tetrahedron unit. The spheres represent colloidal particles. A colloid is a particle of certain (small) dimensions, but not as small as nanoparticles. This is how I was taught it, looking it up on wikipedia yields something slightly different for some reasons (I have a book that says otherwise :P). With the tetrahedric unit I hope to find the MgCu2 (I think?) crystal phase.

Especially the programming part is (so far at least, but I don’t expect it to change anytime soon) something I don’t enjoy. It gives me a lot of stress and frustration (when things don’t work out). When things do work out, there is something akin to euphoria (though not always as strong). Apparently it’s part of doing research, these ups and downs. Unfortunately this is not easy for me to deal with, especially the ‘downs’, the frustrations (obviously). I kinda wish I’d known more beforehand, though not sure what I would’ve done with the information. At least though I’d have known and been more prepared for it.

I get stressed frequently, especially when things aren’t working the way I want them to. Sometimes even in the weekends I feel stressed, while I should be relaxed instead. In the afternoons during the week (when I work at home), I  can be distracted and while I’m distracted I don’t feel much stress. When the distraction is over though, I usually get stressed again. I’m not sure how to improve this, how to be less stressed. Gladly though I can talk about it, which helps a bit. I’m also sure I’ll be less stressed when my boyfriend is here.

On a whole other note: I used to write here about video games but for the past while I don’t play many video games anymore. I do read about them but I don’t play them that much anymore. They just cost too much energy, especially now that I’ve begun with my research. I find it a real shame, I still have loads of possibly awesome games to play but I’m afraid I’ll not have the energy to really play a lot of games. I also have to admit that I get frustrated, perhaps more easily these days (though I’m not sure) and thus I can’t play games that are in any way difficult. Or rather, I can try but will end up not finishing the game. I have a lot of unfinished games really, though if you look on the internet I’m not the only one. (oh, BTW I did finish Dragon Age: Origins (awesome game) and Mass Effect 2 as well (great game also).

Instead, I read a lot. Reading doesn’t cost as much energy and I do love to read. I have a lot of books and can read quite fast.

Anyway, it’d be nice to post here more often, let’s see how it goes!

Props to EA

December 10, 2009

Both Mass Effect (PC) and Burnout Paradise (PC) have a system where you have a number of installs, and after that it’s over; you’ll have to contact support. Spore has a revoke tool but only recently I found out that ME and Burnout have one too! Which has me cheering since this is something I wanted for a while. So props to EA for releasing a revoke tool :). I have a lot less problems with this limited key system if you can revoke a key (although I don’t know how it works if you computer crashes before you can revoke it..), up to now I thought you could not and since Windows tends to get slower after a while (and possibly messed up, for some reason windows updates should help but they don’t always) and you upgrade your computer and so on, you would lose the game when all licenses are used up. So props to EA for doing this (yes, I know it’s released some time ago, my previous searches yielded nothing at the time). Despite that, I prefer the old system with a CD (DVD) and a key, compared to this you have x amount of  licenses etc. So good job EA, this tool is a good idea!

Yeah my computer was acting up, that’s why I searched for this tool. It’s been having crashes for a while but I’m having trouble to determine what’s causing it. At the moment I’m leaning towards either overheating of the cpu, RAM issue or a windows (registry) issue. Possibly more than one cause, since I have various types of crashes at certain moments I don’t think it is a single cause.

Does it..?

December 10, 2009

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder.. does it actually make a difference what people write? I mean – does it have any effect on the game industry, or are they just ignoring what I call the “sane people” and continue to put out sexist content? I’ve run into (not literally) quite a few people, especially younger people, who don’t think about whether this content is sexist but only care about ‘whoa I’m 14 and see naked female pixels’ etc etc.  It doesn’t seem to matter what I say or do, they seem to be stuck in their ways of thinking (or even used what I now know to be as flawed arguments). I’ve never been that great at convincing people, to be honest. The people I have discussions with are people stuck in their opinion, just like I won’t change mine, either. Anyway I guess sometimes I just feel a little powerless, because sexist content keeps being made and I’m not sure if we (as people who do not like this) can do anything about it in the end. Well, of course we can do certain things but it won’t stop sexist content – probably because there’s always gonna be that selfish jerk with his/hers “I don’t care **** what anyone but me thinks”.

But then again, we’ve come this far, women can study and have jobs just like men, people then didn’t give up either did they? I couldn’t give up if I wanted, I guess. I could not write about it here but it’ll always be a feeling inside whenever I encounter content that annoys me.

I finished the Last Remnant & read some more books

December 8, 2009

I typed a post but for some reason it was gone when I tried to add tags :(. Not sure if I want to write it again so I’ll just give a shorter summary. A bit tired at the moment you see.

I’ve finished The Last Remnant. Last time I wrote about it, I was already pretty close to finishing the game. It’s nice to have finished it, I can’t say anything about the ending though in case of spoilers (although I haven’t actually told anyone about this website yet or linked to it anywhere – yet. Content is key.).

I’ve also read a few more books – pretty good ones usually :). I’m reading more (romance) novels the past year or so (or half year?) than before. I guess I never really came across any good ones before (there are only specific ones I wish to read, really. Certain things I don’t want to read about. Quite frankly I do think in general books are better in their original language, as well, compared to the translation. Anyway). I used to read a lot of fantasy books (the past five-ten years), still do from time to time (still a lot to read). I’m also into sci-fi more the past year (or year and a half, maybe). I suppose me watching a sci-fi television series helps there, it made me realise sci-fi could be a fun genre to read. I also have some famous literature but I haven’t read most of them yet. Anyway, especially in regards to the romance novels (which I’ve read more of), it feels good to broaden my horizon in that sense. I really like watching (romantic) comedies (films), but some time ago it occured to me I’d not actually come across many good romantic books or novels. I’ve liked reading fantasy books for a long time. I read a lot of books at the library when I was a kid, most of those would be called novels I guess. Most weren’t about love but about things in life, school, family. When I got older most of the books I read were fantasy books, I kinda lost track of that part of me that likes to read novels, stories, romance, deep life things, family stuff. It feels good to be in touch with that part as well. I watch romantic comedies so I had it through there but it feels good to read it in books as well. I love to read and this only adds to it.

To be honest I’ve been reading more the past while than the while before that. I don’t know when exactly though (I know, it seems like a silly sentence). But I’m kinda glad to be reading more, it’s very nice to read a good story, with plot twists. A good story can be moving, surprising and can also make you think sometimes.

I can’t wait to play more of Dragon Age: Origins

December 4, 2009

(Of course, this title shouldn’t be taken completely literally. After all, I am writing this :P) I’m only a few hours into the game but really enjoying it so far. Once I’ve finished The Last Remnant I’ll definately play some more of Dragon Age: Origins. The story intrigues me and while the graphics may not be as good as those in Mass Effect, the world reeks of atmosphere and the voice acting is really good (so far at least). I don’t totally understand what they want exactly with all the DLC things going on (and preorder blabla) but I bought the Collector’s Edition and have a nice bonus disc with the making of documentary (not watched that yet of course), the soundtrack (which has some really good tracks in it!) and some backgrounds. I also bought the Collector’s Edition guide, which I’m looking forward to reading. On a sidenote: Tekken 6 I haven’t opened yet, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time I’ve played a few hours of. But all in its time :).

The Last Remnant

December 4, 2009

I’ve played a good deal of the Last Remnant, for PC. This is an RPG made by Square-Enix, who’ve made Final Fantasy X among other good games. The Last Remnant is more of a lower-budget, less good game. I bought it because it was on sale, and for that price I think I got quite a lot of play time out of it. I haven’t finished the game yet, I always want to do a lot of sidequests too, and there are quite a few of them (I find the main story much more interesting, though, the sidequests can sometimes get a little tedious).

The game has some issues, lots of things have been upgraded since the Xbox version (or so wikia tells me) but I do notice some slowdowns, framerate issues and the occasional crashing of the computer at times. The battle system of the Last Remnant takes a while to get going, and it takes some time to get your head around what’s going on. Now that I have much more skills available, it is a shame you can only give 5 orders per enemy per unit, I find now that often the options available are not the ones I would pick, and sometimes I can have a game over because of this (for example when I don’t want a union to engage a powerful boss). This might get a little better when I disable some skills but ideally I would’ve liked a bit more options. The battles can be a little slow, when you’ve given your orders it takes some time for it all to play out and you can give new ones. I read often in these times (when battling an easy enemy for example). When I’m battling against a boss then more attention is needed of course. Another not so good thing is that when you can have more units, the ones you can hire are always a lot lower stats than what you already have. So at the moment I have quite a few really good characters and the other half is, well, I wouldn’t call it rubbish but a lot less good, especially when they have to fight a hard enemy. And because you put them later on in the game in your union they won’t be as good as the ones you get near the beginning, generally.

It is a shame you cannot customise weapons or accesories for any characters other than the main one, and that for customisation of the equipment of the main character there isn’t a whole lot to choose from. Well, there is a lot, but most of it is generally worse than what I already have. There are further upgrade options of weapons but they are, as far as I know, not unlocked until much later on (if you do lots of Guild things). There are lots of components in the game but most end up being in my inventory because they aren’t needed. From time to time the other party members prompt my character to find them a certain component, it would’ve been handy if the game had told me where I could find it. Now I sometimes search on the internet and find it (or the other half of the time I simply leave it) but it would’ve been better if the game would tell me at least which area or monster etc.

Anyway, despite all its flaws I do like the game. The battle system is different. The graphics are nice but not brilliant. I’ve turned off the sound because after a while the battle music got a bit tedious (I do like the battle music, though). Instead I sometimes play my own music with it.

I probably wouldn’t have bought this game if it hadn’t been on sale, but for such an amount of money I got a lot of fun gameplay hours :).

A few thoughts on Mass Effect 2

December 4, 2009

Here’s a bit of a rant from me about the newly revealed character for Mass Effect 2. First things first, I liked Mass Effect. It wasn’t without its flaws but it had a good, engaging story and I really enjoyed playing it. Ever since Mass Effect 2 was announced I was pretty sure it was going to be a must-buy for me. However, the new party members don’t seem as interesting to me as the old ones. I’m not sure I quite like the direction of where they’re going in. For example, the character that was revealed last week (see here for example) is aesthetically not entire my cup of tea. By which I mean.. is it really necessary to have her breasts showing like that? If you’re gonna go into battle wouldn’t you want to protect your sensitive/vulnerable areas (or in fact, as much of your body as you can)? It only makes sense (just as the fact you wouldn’t wear high heels or anything silly like that, into combat). Unfortunately  most developers and/or publishers prefer to try to please some single young males over common sense & not annoying people who think it is ridiculous. That’s my opinion, anyhow.

I also find it a bit of a same that ME2 (Mass Effect 2) seems to approve more of the rogue / play by your own rules kinda morality, most of the party members revealed so far seem to be more on the Renegade side of things (compared to ME1 (Mass Effect)). Also it’s a shame that, so far at least, there aren’t many party members yet from the first game in it. I know they still have some to reveal but why couldn’t they have kept the old ones with some new ones? You really created a connection with the party members in the first game, I’m not sure if I see having a whole new party of mercenaries (so far I like the characters in ME1 more) fits in with my Shepard’s (from ME1) story (or how I think it should continue), if you get what I mean.

I’ve also read a preview that said ME2 feels more like a third person shooter than ME1. I’m more of an RPG fan and not so much a shooter fan (anymore, I used to play shooters quite a bit but no longer).

ME2 was going to be a must buy for me (I was even thinking of getting the Collector’s Edition) but now I’m not so sure anymore. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what other party members they reveal, but I’m definately hoping they’ll reveal someone likeable for once (it’s nice that Tali’s there though! I never really had her in my party much but she was an interesting character and hopefully it’ll be nice to learn more about her species and the flotilla etc.). It’s still too early to make a decision and much is not known yet (I don’t want to know too much, either). Generally I’ve come to trust BioWare for making great RPGs, for example Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins (I’ve only played a few hours so far though so it’s a bit too early to give a definitive comment on that one). I know they’ve made many more great games but I haven’t played them personally. So I’ll have to see if I think that this game is my kind of game, or I might buy it and give it a try anyway, because I do like Mass Effect (although there were some things there too that annoyed me).