Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Nerdy stuff’ Category

Middle-aged man plays Overwatch: update

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Playing Zenyatta, a hero who’s a healer but who can also debuff enemies and dish out some damage. At the expense of low mobility. Zenyatta is a harder hero to play than Lucio because you have to aim your healing, while at the same time you are less evasive and that much easier for enemies to pick off. Plus being a good damage dealer requires good aim, which I don’t have.

Based on my stats in this competitive match, I held my own and did pretty good, but my competitive skill rank is between 1000 and 1100, which I think means that I’m in the bottom 10% of players, maybe worse, so my good performance here was relative to the players on the other team being pretty bad.

Whenever I rise above 1100, I fall back down after a few games. I am stuck at my level of incompetence.

I think this means that middle-aged men aren’t any good at playing videogames. I am sure that if I were in my teens, after putting so much time into this game, I’d be at a higher competitive skill rank.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

In the future, will the government pay people to drive virtual trucks?

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Self-driving trucks will soon put all truck drivers out of work. What will they do instead? Every other industry they might migrate to will also be laying off workers because of automation. Pizza delivery will be done by robots. Stores will no longer have cashiers. Even the cashier-less McDonalds won’t be hiring anyone, because robots will be in the kitchen making the hamburgers.

The government could simply give everyone a basic income check. But there’s too much political opposition to that. The idea of poor people getting something from the government without having to work for it drives a lot of people, especially conservative blog commenters, crazy. Even free healthcare for everyone, which is an important first step towards a basic income, outrages the conservative types.

Furthermore, there are some legitimate concerns about people without the kind of structure to their lives that comes from having a job becoming social problems, joining gangs, committing crimes, etc.

Thus paying people to do virtual jobs like driving virtual trucks could be a necessary first towards a true post-scarcity economic model. And it’s a lot better than paying people to drive real trucks because the virtual trucks don’t pollute and don’t waste any scarce natural resources. Plus the truck simulator provides reinforcement of civic values because you have to obey the traffic laws.

* * *

Am I serious, or is this just tongue-in-cheek?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 29, 2017 at 12:37 pm

American Truck Simulator bugs

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Look at that 65 mph speed limit sign on a regular city street. One of many bugs in this game. It’s not as polished as Overwatch.

But still, not buggy enough to make me stop playing. A very strangely enjoyable game. Although I don’t see myself become one of those total truck-sim geeks with a steering wheel gas/brake/clutch pedals setup that costs hundreds of dollars, plus side monitors to see your left and right mirrors.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

American Truck Simulator

This game, only $20, gives you a pretty realistic representation of what it’s like to drive a big rig around Nevada, California, and Arizona. Although this review is based only three runs runs: Reno to Truckee, and Reno to San Rafael, and San Rafael to Huron. On the first run I damaged the truck a little getting out of the loading dock (the hardest part of the game). On the third run, I ran the truck off the road and got stuck, and had to call for assistance.

Graphics look great with my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti videocard and a 2560×1440 monitor.

I’m using an Xbox 360 wireless controller for PC to control the truck. Steering is very fussy using the left joystick of the controller. The game has sensitivity settings for the steering; I adjusted it down and I think that helped a little with the steering.

The game is in 1:20 scale, so a 5 hour drive in the real world only takes 20 minutes in the game. And yes, 95% of the world is missing, so it’s only a simulated experience and not the real thing. Furthermore you are only allowed to drive on designated roads; you can’t wander around on the side streets because they don’t even exist.

It’s a much more mellow game than Overwatch, no one is trying to kill you. I didn’t even get a traffic ticket for not being able to stay in my lane and for accidentally turning the wrong way down a one-way street. I hear that this game is popular with older men.

The unrealistic part of this game is not the graphics or how the truck operates, but the fact that driving a truck is very profitable. Even though I drove the truck off the road, I still got paid handsomely for the run. Maybe in the past driving a truck was a decent middle class job (my grandfather drove a milk delivery truck in New York City), but today driving a truck is very low paid work, and someone who drives the truck off the road won’t get a job again. In the near future there will be self-driving trucks, and all truck drivers will be out of work.

In the screenshot above, I’m heading for Santa Maria, CA. It’s dawn. There’s a very light rain, so my windshield wipers are on. There are three “cheat” elements displayed: the left and right rear-view mirrors on the upper left and upper right, and the GPS display on the lower right (which also has other useful info like your speed and gas tank level). You can turn those off for a more natural experience, and then you have to use the right joystick on the Xbox game controller to look around at your mirrors, but the game is hard enough without also having to deal with that. Also, you’ll have to use the smaller in-dash GPS that’s to the right of the steering wheel.

And now I’ve just gotten off the highway at Santa Maria.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 25, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Overwatch update

Played five competitive matches tonight: two draws, one loss, two wins. So I moved up very slightly in the ranks. Need to get to 1500 to get out of the bottommost tier.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

New hero coming to Overwatch

Tomorrow is a big day. A new hero will be introduced to Overwatch, Orisa, who is a black African female robot, thus adding more diversity to the game and totally destroying the archaic notion that heroes are white male humans.

Orisa will be the third robot hero. We already have the non-talkative nature-loving Bastion, and the Buddhist robot Zenyatta who wanders the world, helping those he meets to overcome their personal struggles and find inner peace.

Zenyatta is the only overtly religious hero. Will Blizzard ever introduce a Christian hero? Don’t count on it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Middle-aged man kicks ass at Overwatch

8 kills with only one death. Take that you snot-nosed teenagers! Fear the middle-aged gamer!

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Games other than Overwatch that a middle-aged man can play

Vainglory

I’ve written about this game before, but I can now say this is the absolute best game I’ve played during the last two years. As an iPad game, I find it much easier to play than PC games. It’s just a lot easier to tap where you want to go than to use a mouse to do that, especially when every fraction of a second delay can get your hero killed.

This game is a “MOBA,” similar to the very popular PC game League of Legends, played in teams of 3v3. You move around the map, you try to capture objectives and/or kill the enemy. Although you do inevitably die, it’s a lot less frustrating form of dying than in Overwatch.

Also it’s free. Yes, if you want to spend money, you can buy “skins” for your heroes, but that’s just a waste of money in my opinion. Skins have nothing to do with the gameplay. You can also pay to unlock heroes, but I have every hero unlocked from the in-game currency I “earned” from playing the game and I never paid a cent. (Of course, people paying money to unlock heroes and buy skins is what keeps the game in existence, so it’s good that many people do that.)

This game would probably be even more fun if I got into a team that used voice chat, but I haven’t done that.

Hearthstone

Theoretically, this would be a good game for those who like to think but don’t have quick reflexes, because underneath the fancy graphics and complicated rules (which admittedly would be way too complicated to adjudicate if you were playing this game in person with physical cards and no computer) it’s just a 1v1 card game. You have a bunch of cards in your hand, you play a card, stuff happens, you draw a card into your hand. It doesn’t require any more hand-eye coordination than online poker.

I found this game very fun when I first started playing it, and actually I played the game regularly for a few months. But eventually I came to realize that this game has the same pay-to-win revenue model of mobile games like Clash of Clans. You would have to spend hundreds of dollars to buy the cards that you would need to have a competitive deck. Eventually, this turned me off to the game.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 12, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Middle-aged man plays Overwatch, part 4

Lucio

So far, Lucio seems like the easiest hero to play. Lucio has ranged-based (30 virtual meters) healing power that’s always on, so even if you have absolutely no skill in hitting buttons or targeting, by merely being next to your team members and not dying, you are helping the cause.

The best way to avoid dying is to always be moving. Running around in circles, zig-zags, or whatever, makes it hard for anyone to pick you off, and any damage you pick up that doesn’t kill you is quickly healed up by your always-on healing power.

Occasionally there’s an enemy hero in front of you, and clicking the left mouse button here to fire your “sonic” gun will result in a kill. I’ve had a few successful games where I killed more enemy than I was killed myself.

”Mystery Heroes” game mode

I discovered this game mode in which you are randomly assigned a hero, and then randomly assigned a new hero after you inevitably die. This is the best way to learn all of the heroes. Even if you plan to “main” one or two heroes, you have to know what all of the other heroes do in order to be good at the game, because you need to know what your other team members are trying to do, and you need to know what to do when you see an enemy hero. For example, if you see an enemy Reinhardt, you don’t want to get close to that guy if you’re playing Lucio! But there are many wimpier heroes that you can take down as Lucio in a 1v1 duel if you get the drop on them, even if, like me, you suck at aiming your gun.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 12, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Overwatch review part 3: do I like it?

Otis the Sweaty writes in a comment:

So do you like this game? You didn’t really review it, you just described it.

The concept and the graphics are fascinating, the interface is slick. I find it mildly amusing but sometimes frustrating. There definitely isn’t that addictive feeling in which I can’t wait to play the game and can’t pull myself away from the computer. I could never imagine myself being so immersed in this game that I forget to eat and sleep and eventually die, a story we occasionally hear about from Asia.

Even though Yakov doesn’t like it when I use this excuse, I think that it’s an age thing. I think that when I was 20 years old, I would have found this game a lot more enjoyable. Although I suppose that the tendency to get addicted to playing videogames is one of the things for which I should NOT envy the young. However, I think it’s related to the ability of 20-year-olds to focus on things for longer periods of time, and their greater ability to learn and absorb new experiences, and to give things their 100%. As we get older, we get set in our ways and become resistant to change, and learning new things is a type of change. For example, there are so many old people who refuse to learn how to use a smartphone.

Many other people, mostly all of them younger than me, do find Overwatch very addictive. It’s the biggest hit multiplayer videogame of 2016. Only Counter-Strike GO matches it as a most-played multiplayer first-person shooter, and the Counter-Strike franchise has been around for sixteen years while Overwatch is less than a year old. It takes time for top games to pick up a playerbase (unlike lesser games which peak the month they are released and then die off). Overwatch is still in the expansion phase.

I personally found Vainglory, a “MOBA” for the iPad a much more enjoyable experience. It doesn’t require any precise aiming, you just tap the enemy you want to fire at (or use a stylus, I use a Bamboo stylus) and your character attacks. I find it a lot easier to play than the most popular PC MOBA, League of Legends, because it’s a lot easier to tap the enemy on a touchscreen than it is to find him with your mouse pointer. While I still lack the quick reflexes necessary to make it to the very top of Vainglory rankings, I’m an above average player because the game also involves a lot of strategy and slower tactical thinking.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

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