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Topics - Ramza

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The Soundroom / RIP Amy Winehouse
« on: July 25, 2011, 12:08:38 AM »
I'm a day or so late to hearing about this.

Makes me sad. I wanted to believe she would overcome addiction.

The Soundroom / RPGFan still likes game music
« on: July 24, 2011, 05:30:41 PM »

(it's also on the frontpage).

I love you Stephen. So much.

General Discussions / "Number Crunching"
« on: May 31, 2011, 05:52:26 PM »
I read Rob's editorial. Anyone else read it? I much enjoyed it, esp. cuz I like me some math.

My thoughts:

1) the problem isn't numbers (whether too few or too many). The problem is *always* hidden numbers. Which, if you're really freaking bored, you can approximate for yourself by testing something over and over (making sure you know as many possible factors as you can, esp if against different enemies with different attributes).

2) this idea on reverse-engineering a true hit/miss approximation is something we can take back to sports and their "Fantasy" equivalents. I am reminded of the opening chapters of Stephen Johnson's "Everything Bad Is Good For You," wherein he compares D&D to some of his favorite sports approximation statistics-games. Also, this: (be sure to read alt-text)

3) This statement needs further scrutiny:

Suppose we have a 5% chance to miss. Firing four times, we have a chance of missing all four shots equal to:

0.05^(4) = 6.25 E -6

Needless to say, that's an exceptionally small number. And yet these odds can happen repeatedly in games like Diablo and the aforementioned Fallout 3.

Outside of the very possible "hidden numbers" problem, this observation on Rob's part needs to be weighed heavily against human nature: that is, our ability to blow out of proportion the frequency of times things don't "go our way" compared to how often they do. How *repeatedly* in those games? And is it really so statistically unlikely as what you're expressing? Be sure to listen to the Radiolab episode on Stochasticity (that is, Randomness):

You flip a coin seven times and get eight heads in a row. OH MY GOSH! CRAZY! The likelihood of this (and, technically, any combination of eight that takes order into account) is 0.5 ^ 8, or 0.00390625. That's still about 200 times as likely as the scenario Rob lays out (.05^4). In any case, the eight in a row is a big deal if that happens on your first eight. You might think the coin is weighted. But out of 100 flips, how likely is it to get eight of the same thing in a row? How about out of 1000 flips?

And how many attack attempts do you make in any given game? 1000? 10000? 50000?

It's just important that we tend to focus on the frustrating aspects, when it feels like the numbers are "against" us.

I know people rant and rave on this when they have accuracy approximations in Strategy RPGs like FFT or Fire Emblem. But that's the thing about randomness: it's *random,* and unless you have a sufficient sample size, you can't very well go about disproving the odds displayed to you.

(I'm a HUGE fan of numbers!)


The Soundroom / "Songs To Test By" ~ Portal 2 soundtrack is free
« on: May 30, 2011, 01:15:08 AM »

So far it's just "Volume 1" -- looks like the music covers from the beginning of the game to a little before the halfway point of the single-player campaign.

Of note is track 10, "There She Is," easily one of the best songs in the game.


I know Konami's Suikoden box was put on hold (possibly canceled). But I don't think S-E announces this stuff lightly.

It is the 20th anniv of the Mana series, after all.

Based on the contents, "physical artifact" fans should be pleased to note that Children of Mana was previously a digital-only soundtrack release. This will put it in physical form. Plus, unlike the SaGa box, this one picks up on two arranged albums as well (which is really the only arrangements, outside select arrangements on drammatica or the "SQ" albums).

I'm totally saving up money for this, and if I'm still employed come September, I'm-a order it. :)


I left a comment to this article, because I was just so happy about it. Afterwards, another commenter made the following statement:

"Some musicians grew up with the Suzuki method. I grew up with the Uematsu method."

Friggin' love it.

The Soundroom / concerts you've been to recently
« on: April 17, 2011, 09:13:09 PM »
Tell us about concerts you've attended.

In the last year I've attended two (excluding MAGFest ... including MAGFest, that's like 15 more...)

Last August my wife and I went to see The Swell Season in Baltimore. Y'know, the people from the movie "Once"? It was a mighty fine show, standing room only though. Their final encore piece was "High Horses," which is my absolute favorite piece of theirs. So that was a win. Listen if you ain't heard Swell Season / Once soundtrack yet... -- High Horses -- When Your Mind's Made Up -- Two Tongues


Last night my wife and I saw Jars of Clay on their new "The Shelter" tour (promoting new album, playing with other artists on the album). For me, the best part was seeing Derek Webb, whom I had seen a little over a year ago when he was opening for / supporting Jennifer Knapp (when she "came out," he was the only one from the Nashville CCM scene still standing by her). Webb has a new instrumental album out called "Feedback," and it's surprisingly strong. Unfortunately, he didn't play anything from Stockholm Syndrome.

(here's a song from Stockholm Syndrome that I wish he'd played... cuz he had his electronic stuff setup for Feedback anyway... -- Jena and Jimmy, it's about racism, but you wouldn't know it unless you know the references)

Jars' set was almost entirely the new album, with a few tracks from the first album. For me, it was a travesty that they didn't play anything from albums 2 through 4, only one song from Good Monsters, and the *worst* song from Long Fall...

But here's a song from the new album that they played live that I'm starting to dig quite a bit.

And here's a song they didn't play last night, but they absolutely should have...

In conclusion, I would like to go to more concerts.

Who have YOU seen lately?

General Games / BLOKUS is amazing
« on: April 16, 2011, 12:01:27 AM »
My little brother started me on this board game he has called BLOKUS. It's like tetris pieces, sort of, and it's a competitive multiplayer puzzle thing.

And you can play the original game and all variations of it (# of players, shape of board, etc) for free.

Make an account (free) if you want to keep identity, or just hit "Guest" for quick games.

If you've never played this before, it is HIGHLY addicting. Watch out! I'm a big fan, and was "converted" in about 2 weeks. :)

General Discussions / I love april fools day
« on: April 01, 2011, 08:00:24 AM »
that is all

General Discussions / I'm 9999 today
« on: March 26, 2011, 05:31:23 PM »
I'm 9999 days old today. Tomorrow I break the "Final Fantasy damage cap" and become 10,000 days old.

(hint: this happens about 5 months after your 27th birthday).

Anyone else on these threads celebrate their own damage cap day?

General Games / Ghost Trick -- compare to Ace Attorney! Sequel-worthy?
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:17:35 PM »
I beat Ghost Trick this morning. I absolutely loved it. Yes, even the ending. My perspective may be tinted by rose-colored lenses (I'm in a pretty good mood presently), but seriously, I thought this game was genius.

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I had a pretty good feeling you were actually the cat since the first time I saw him walk in the junkyard.
I was reading over an old thread on this board, the whole Keiji Inafune "Japan sucks at making games" spiel. We all know how he quit Capcom recently, right in the middle of his own revealing of MML3. Which is bonkers. But whatever.

What makes me laugh is that Inafune said this when he himself was executive producer on Ghost Trick, and probably all other games designed by Shu Takumi.

Compare Shu Takumi's games to Western equivalents ... if you can find them. In my mind, Shu Takumi resurrected graphic adventures and also took them to new heights. The Ace Attorney series alone is proof of that. But Takumi-san is willing to experiment. A Japan-only release called "Kabu Trader Shun" had to do with the stock market. And then he did "Ghost Trick," which was all about manipulating inanimate objects to save people who had recently perished either in murders or freak accidents. Conceptually it was brilliant. The animation was refreshing (it's like HD Out of This World). And the puzzles were always hard, but never like "OMFG I'm going to tear my hair out!" -- I never had to go to GameFAQs for Ghost Trick, whereas I *did* have to for the final cases in Phoenix Wright 1 and 3.

I just think this is a really refreshing game and certainly one of the better graphic adventure titles of the last few years.

So here's a question for anyone else who's played the game: did you like it? Is it *better* than the courtroom-drama formula of the Ace Attorney series? And most importantly, is this a stand-alone title or do you think there will be a sequel?

Talk to me, peoples.

Single-Player RPGs / Getting psyched for Sakura Wars ~So Long, My Love~
« on: December 24, 2009, 01:22:37 AM »
As most of you know, NIS America has somehow managed to bring an entry from the Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen) series to North America. It's one of those holy grails of JRPGs that we thought could never stand a chance.

Anyway, Sakura Wars ~So Long, My Love~ (Sakura Taisen V in Japan) was developed and released a good four or five years ago. And to date, it remains the last game in the series. It takes place in New York City, and it has a strong, diverse cast of characters.

The game is scheduled to launch in February for both PS2 and Wii. A limited edition version will come with a second disc of just Japanese-language voicing (this was to avoid cutting voicing to save on disc space, as they had done with Ar tonelico 2 and some other games).

I'm playing a preview build of the English version right now, and even though it's not entirely polished, I have to share with y'all right now that this may well be the best game NISA has ever brought stateside. I am loving the crap out of this game. If it opens the doors to a possible localization of Sakura Wars 1+2 for PSP, that would be amazing. You may say "isn't it too late?" But when you remember how old Sakura Wars V is, one can definitely say "better late than never."

A more fleshed-out preview will be up on RPGFan soon. Also, if you wanna get pumped about the music, check out these old soundtrack reviews I wrote. -- the OST -- the (insanely awesome) vocal album

and also, Chris Winkler's import review, wherein he gave it an editor's choice award.

The Soundroom / Music written by me (Patrick "Ramza" Gann)
« on: October 31, 2009, 12:40:46 PM »
When I was a wee lad, I went to college for classical music composition. Belmont University, Nashville TN.

Well, I did that for a year anyway. And I found that ALL of my peers in that major were more talented/motivated than I was. So I transferred and got a degree in anthropology at a private Christian liberal arts school (Eastern University).

But the thing that got me started writing music was this project I did after a summer of working at a summer camp, which was certainly a life-changing experience for me. I met my wife there, after all. Well anyway, the winter after that summer, I wrote piano-solo instrumental pieces for all 36 staff that worked there that summer.

I did the same thing the next summer.

And the next summer.

The fourth and final summer I worked there (2004), I didn't write any music. I just got too busy, finishing college and preparing for real-world, marriage, etc.

But I finally found time for it, and I wrote the "summer 2004" CD and recorded it in the last month or two.

All the songs from those four CDs are freely available to stream and download *here*

2001-2003 were recorded on a baby grand ... the recording quality isn't too hot, but it sounds like a real baby grand, which is good.

2004 was recorded with a direct-in line from a pretty beastly keyboard. It's not a real piano (though it often sounds like it is), AND it's got some sweet clarity. No air/noise.

There are also some bonus tracks scattered in there where I sing and play on guitar... silly shit, I suppose.

I just thought I'd throw it out here on this board too, since I'm finally "done" with the project. It's about 90 songs in total. Let me know what you think if you're bored.


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