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Messages - ironmage

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Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: October 01, 2017, 01:55:11 PM »
Valkyria Chronicles 3:  After a few victories with no casualties, the squad is beginning to warm up to Kurt, and he's managed to break the ice with two female squad members (Imca and Riela, both who have "issues"). At a couple points, I've been given a choice of two battles to pursue, although the consequences have not been made clear yet.  I wonder if the storyline branches too?  (If I get to choose, I'm going with Imca.  I like my women a bit anti-social).

There's been a joint mission with the team from VC1, against a particularly vicious imperial squadron, whom I will no doubt meet again.  It was fun to have Rosie and Welkin on my team again, but...tank machine guns in VC3 are totally nerfed compared to VC1.  You couldn't kill a chicken with these things, and AP and HE rounds, although effective, have limited ammo.

It has become painfully evident that there were at least two people involved in the translation.  One of them was close to pro-level (I think), but another appears to not understand Japanese at all; the translated text and the Japanese audio just don't match.

An easily dissected example is a line from the equipment shop.  The girl says: "Maido domo desu.  Kamisama wa okyaku-sama janakute okane-sama desu yo ne."  Literally:  "Thanks for your continued patronage.  My god is not the customer, but money, you know?"  There's a Japanese saying that "the customer is god", which roughly corresponds to "the customer is always right", so I would localize this as something like "Welcome to my shop, where the customer's money is always right!", or more liberally, "Welcome!  They say the customer is always right, but I'm just here for the money."  I don't think these are *good* translations, mind you, they're just the best I can do.

The actual translation text reads:  "I thank God, not because you are a patron, but because you're a well paying patron!"  Well, okay.  I guess they got some of the words right, but the concept is way off.  I wonder what else they get wrong, when there's no Japanese audio for me to cross-check with (or when the audio exceeds my listening comprehension, which is 80% of the time).

Questionable translation notwithstanding, I am quite enjoying my time with VC3, in sharp contrast to:

Fate/Grand Order: They've released the Okeanos chapter of the story, and to the already swollen morass of moe cliches, they've added a trope I detest:  The lolicon masochist.  Were this an anime series, I would leap to my feet, point at the TV dramatically, and cry out "DISQUALIFICATION!"  insert Phoenix Wright gif here

There's nothing left here for me but the treadmill of addiction, and that way lies madness.  I'm dropping this.  The next time I try a mobile game, I'll pick up on the warning signs earlier, and hopefully waste less time on it.  Bye-bye, Tamacat.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 25, 2017, 08:03:15 PM »
but did you use the tracking???

I didn't need to adjust the tracking, which is fortunate, since then I would have had to find the remote.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 24, 2017, 11:42:43 PM »
There were houseguests.  They brought a movie with them.  It was on magnetic tape.

Yes, I still have a VCR, but I hadn't powered it up in years.  Was it going to screech and grind?  Was it going to smoke?  Was it going to mangle their tape?

Alas, the outcome was far worse than I feared.  The VCR worked perfectly, and the movie was hideously boring.

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: September 24, 2017, 11:37:27 PM »
Frank Herbert - The Dosadi Experiment:  I wasn't paying enough attention when I picked this up, and it turns out to have been the sequel to a book I hadn't read.  Notwithstanding that, reading this wasn't really worth my time.

The major interesting ideas here are rehashed from Dune.  Dosadi is an extremely inhospitable planet, and after a number of generations, the colonists placed there have developed extraordinary survival talents (also see: Arrakis, Salusa Secundus), and, for some reason, an almost preternatural ability to read other people's mental state (also see: Bene Gesserit).  One of the alien races involved had a legal system that seemed quite interesting, but unfortunately Herbert didn't expound upon it adequately.  I normally enjoy figuring things out with incomplete information, but here I was left with more questions than answers.

It might be easy to attribute my confusion to having not read the first book (Whipping Star), but Dosadi didn't seem very well constructed to begin with.  Although the middle of the book held my interest, by the end, the roles and motivations of the main characters were unclear, and the whole thing seemed rather muddled.

I think I need to be more careful about checking reviews for anything Herbert wrote in the second half of his career.  (Dune is one of my favorite books, but the last two or three books in the Dune series were pretty bad.)

You know how you sometimes hear something good on the radio while you're driving to work, but you don't quite catch the name of the song, and then when you get home nine hours later you google a bunch of half-remembered song lyrics and partial band names and eventually find a song that's different from what you remembered, but still pretty good anyway?

That happens to me a lot.

The Burning Hell - Fuck the Government, I Love You

This isn't my usual style of music, but I liked the lyrics.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:55:09 PM »
Valkyria Chronicles 3:

Kurt Irving graduated from the military academy at the top of his class, and after leading the troops under his command to victory in his first two battles, his future looked bright.  But after unknowingly witnessing a suspicious transaction between a general and a civilian (spy?), he finds himself suddenly transferred to Squad 422 (The Nameless), a small unit populated by criminals and other expendables.

He is not welcomed.  The first squadmate he encounters almost kills him, half the team won't acknowledge him as leader (even though he's the ranking officer), and the rest ignore him completely. 

The plotline is parallel to VC1; as the narrator explains what the main Gallian forces are doing, I keep thinking to myself, "Hey, I was there for that!"  It looks like the writing is going to be more mature than VC2 (no "anime highschool", yet), but I'm a little concerned about the story telegraphing its punches.  (There's a girl with some silver in her hair and the "Mysterious Body" potential.  I hope I'm not supposed to be surprised at her true nature when it is inevitably revealed.)

The translation is fairly good (for being fan-made), although there are some technical issues, such as misaligned text. The translation project is clearly incomplete; I'm hoping that all of the main story was translated, but some of the ancillary material (newspaper articles and such) is still in Japanese.  I can cope with a little katakana here and there, but I hope I don't have to break out the dictionary later on.

My major complaint (aside from the lack of an official translation), carries over from VC2:  This is a PSP game.  The maps are still segmented into small chunks, and the AI is still as dumb as a concrete post.  As much as I love the VC style of gameplay, it feels wasted on a handheld.

P.S.  In case you're wondering, yes, I imported a physical copy.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 13, 2017, 08:38:29 PM »
Fate/Grand Order: Well, that was anti-climactic.  My intent was to blitz through the story, and call this game done, but I've hit a wall.  They're releasing the game in installments, and it seems chapter two is all there is for now.  My main characters have hit their current level caps (and farming for ascension material is apparently best done during events), so I guess I'm putting this on the back burner.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 10, 2017, 09:44:06 AM »

Fate/Grand Order:  I've now drawn a sixth Robin Hood.  This is starting to get weird.
The translation for chapter two is rather better than chapter one. The punctuation is notably erratic, but I can at least blame that on a rushed editing job, rather than gross incompetence.  It's funny how the improved translation makes the writing seem better, when it really isn't.
I haven't drawn any good sabers yet, and I still only have two 4-star servants.

Current mains:
Rider:  Martha (4*)
Lancer: Cu Chulainn (3*)
Assassin: Jing Ke (3*)
Berserker: Tamamo Cat (4*)
Archer: Robin Hood (3*) (yeah, I know, but he's still the best archer I've got)
Caster: Medea (3*)
Saber:  Accepting applications.

To be honest, I do have two 3* sabers in my deck, but the character art for Julius Caesar is just... weird, and, given his historical reputation, there's no way I would ever field Gilles de Rais.  (Okay, Medea was a pretty nasty person, too, but at least she's cute).

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 10, 2017, 12:47:13 AM »
There was smoke in the air today; it seems we're downwind of some forest fires.  The most obvious effect is orange-tinted sunlight.

Garden Log:  Ripped out the remains of the cucumber plants, dug the potatoes, got swarmed by ladybugs.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 06, 2017, 07:06:01 PM »
Garden Log Special Edition:

(official rules)

1.  Identify a victim.  This can be a friend, neighbour, or random person on the street.  Avoid known owners of plum trees, uniformed officers, people who live in the same house with you, very small children*, or people you have already victimized in the last fifteen minutes.
2.  Approach victim casually.  Try to avoid making the plums easily visible, but you don't want to look like you're concealing a weapon, either.
3.  In a loud clear voice, yell "FOR THE GLORY OF THE PLUM GOD!  NO BACKSIES!"  Thrust the container of plums at your victim.
4.  Run.  Run fast.  Don't look back.  The "no-backsies" rule is fairly widespread, but may not be acknowledged in all jurisdictions.

*If they're too small to carry the plums, you should target their parents instead.

(With the exception of the yelling and the running away, this sequence has played out several times over the last couple weeks.  It's frightening how much a single plum tree can produce.)

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 04, 2017, 10:29:06 AM »

Time to roll a new account then.

I need to reconsider what I want out of this game.

Sure, rerolling a few dozen times would practically guarantee better starting cards, but it's not like I'm going to get a complete set of Pendragon/Jeanne/Tamamo-no-Mae/Gilgamesh/Zhuge Liang.   There will always be a few really good cards that I can't get, or a limited time exclusive character with a really low drop rate.  As long as my objective is getting a perfect party, then I'm approaching the game on its terms, rather than playing it on mine.

I'm more than a little inclined to say "Screw you, Saber.  Screw you, RNG!  Jing Ke and I can beat this game without you."

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 03, 2017, 11:17:11 PM »

Fate Grand Order:  Why am I still playing this?

The writing is third-rate VN schlock.  A virtual reality simulation of future-Earth is predicting imminent disaster, so we're going back in time to fix some sort of damage to history.  Also, all famous characters in history apparently had personalities based on anime cliches.  The translation is abysmal.  I can't imagine a native speaker was involved at any level.  Fortunately, the writing being crap, it doesn't matter.

The gameplay is a vast improvement over Fate/Extra (which isn't saying much).  It's at least challenging enough that you can lose a character now and then, but it's still mostly a matter of preparation.  If you go into a battle with the right servants at an adequate level, you win.

So what's left?  Getting the party you want, which is pure gambling.  Humans are highly susceptible to inconsistent positive reinforcement.  And that's probably what's keeping me around...for now.

Let's Math.  The probability of a 5* servant summon is reportedly 1%.  Let's be optimistic, and say the chances of that 5* being Mai Waifu is 1/5.  The expected number of summons to get what you want is then 1/(.01/5), or 500.  500 summons costs 1500 spirit quartz, which at current rates, would run ~$1178.57On average.  It could easily be more.  If you pay $1000, and don't get what you want, it's not like you only need to pay another $178; the expected cost is an additional $1178.  No matter how many times you fail, the expected cost is always $1178.  (This assumes stochastic independence.  The server software might take pity on you.  Or mark you for a sucker.)  So far, I've paid $0.

There's currently a limited-time event on, which has increased drop rates for several 4* and 5* Saber units, and besides some of them being waifu material, I don't have any decent Sabers in my deck.  So, I spent all my free quartz / mana prisms / summon tickets, hoping, maybe, for an ArturiaAltria Pendragon, but any Saber would do.  Result?  I got a 4* Martha (a slight improvement over my current Rider), a couple 4* CE cards I don't care about, no Sabers, and my Robin Hood count is now five.

Conclusion: sticking with F2P won't get me the party I want on any sane timescale, but it would be absurdly expensive for me to try for the party I want via whaling.  There is no winning strategy.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: August 30, 2017, 06:39:44 PM »
Tomato plants don't live for more than half a year

What bleepery is this?

"Determinate" varieties of tomato generally die after producing their fruit. "Indeterminate" varieties can last longer, but frost will kill them.  Unless you've got a greenhouse, or are in a really gorgeous climate, tomatoes are an annual.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: August 29, 2017, 07:16:47 PM »
So, my tomato plant/vine went crazy producing a bajillion grape tomatoes, and then it died.  Why?

It was either old age...or murder.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: August 28, 2017, 08:52:50 PM »
Garden log:  I picked the onions on Saturday.   The white onions were, almost without exception, small, soft, wormy, or misshapen.  The yellow onions were almost all fine specimens of onionitude.  I'm not planting white onions again.

Cucumber production is ramping down (that's fine, I'm running out of refrigerator space for the pickles), and tomato production is ramping up.  Fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are completely unlike the cardboard you find in stores.  Juicy and salty and sweet....putting them in a sandwich would just be a waste.  Unfortunately, these tomato plants were gifts from a friend of my mother (I hadn't originally planned on planting any), and I don't know what variety they are.

There was also a gift eggplant...plant.  It looks really healthy, and has some small purple flowers, but I'm not sure if there's enough summer left for it to mature.

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