All posts by Fox

Avoiding Village Roadshow Lawsuits – Australian Edition

Recently it has come to my attention that Village Roadshow is going to start issuing fines to people in Australia, caught downloading via torrent. I’m going to put a little guide together that tells you how to avoid being fined $200+. This is stuff you should have already done, but since I know a lot of people are ignorant of how torrenting actually works, this may shed some light. Furthermore, I’ll throw in some links about how to change your DNS (the thing that pulls up websites, to put it in very basic terms) in your router, though this isn’t entirely required, it is helpful (but can be difficult for people who aren’t entirely sure of what they’re doing).

First of all, if you’re running the latest version of µTorrent, get rid of it. Now. The latest version of µTorrent you want is version 2.2.1, and anything after this version is an ad-filled mess that reports data about your usage back to Bittorrent Inc’s servers. Not only that, but because of the risk of it being full of spyware, a lot of websites, trackers and even other clients ban µTorrent which means torrents with lots of seeds and leechers often won’t connect to most of them.  You can find 2.2.1 here at oldversion.com (for Windows only) but I would use some of the other alternatives, since that version is so old.

A better idea would be to switch torrent clients entirely. there are a number of well made, open source, comprehensive torrent clients available, such as qBittorrent (available for Windows and Mac) and Deluge (Available for Windows, Mac and Linux). I personally recommend qBittorrent.

Once you’ve installed a torrent client that doesn’t suck, you need to make sure you setup your upload speed and torrent encryption, because the default settings will strangle the shit out of your connection, and the lack of encryption means your ISP can see exactly what you’re downloading. Depending on what you use your internet for, your overall speed, and if you have any data caps, your upload limit should be 5-50% of your total upload. Here’s an example:

Approximate upload rates for torrents depending on your internet plan. Click to open

To set your upload rates and torrent encryption, first open your torrent client. I’ll also be For the examples here I’ll be using qBittorrent and (sigh) µTorrent.

qBittorrent

For qBittorrent press Alt+O or go to Tools -> options, then down to the “speed” button. Tick the box next to the first “upload” option, and then set your upload speed according to that chart.

If you have no idea what your upload speed is, just set it to about 15. You might get less priority when downloading torrents, but if you’re entirely uncertain as to your internet plan that’s about as safe as you can get. With qBittorrent you can also click on the upload and download notifications at the very bottom of the client, and set your upload (or download if you like) from there.

The green arrow shows the download speed limit, the red arrow shows the upload speed limit
Clicking the speed limit brings up this box

You can also set a scheduler so your torrents download overnight, but I’m not gonna go into that now.

Next you’ll need to enable torrent encryption. Torrent encryption makes sure your ISP cannot see what you’re downloading. This also makes it harder for other parties to see what you’re downloading (though no impossible, we’ll get to how to fix that later). In the options of qBittorrent, go down to the “BitTorrent” button, and force torrent encryption. It should already be enabled, but you want to make sure it’s always on.

Do NOT enable anonymous mode, or you’ll pretty much never be able to download anything ever again.

Note: These options should work on MacOS exactly the same

µTorrent

For µTorrent you’ll need to press Ctrl+P or go to Options -> Preferences. Click the “bandwidth” button on the side and then set your upload speed. Just like qBittorrent, you can also set your download and upload speeds from the main interface window exactly the same way you do with qBittorrent.

Green arrow down, red arrow up

Setting encryption is done pretty much the same way as qbt. Go to the “bandwidth” option on the sidebar and set torrent encryption to “forced”

And finally, µTorrent has a very annoying habit of trying to make you update it to the latest version constantly. You DO NOT want to update it. Absolutely DO NOT let it update. When you first run the program, it’ll probably pop up a box asking if you want to update it, make sure you uncheck the “check for updates” box and select no. Next go into the options under “general” and uncheck all the boxes under Privacy.

Fuck. Off. µTorrent.

I still very strongly recommend not using µTorrent. Please. Please use something else.

But torrent sites are still blocked?

Ah so they are. The best method to fix this is to set the DNS in your router to either Google DNS or Open DNS. I use one of each. Both of them are reliable and don’t block torrent sites. Both of those links contain information on changing your DNS so you will see blocked sites again. You may need to reboot your router and computer after changing them to see any effect. I recommend changing the DNS in the router, not in your operating system, but if it proves too challenging, you may be able to follow the next instruction:

Buy a VPN

This is probably the easiest way to get around torrent blocks and the threat of paying out the arse because you don’t think it’s worth paying $27 to see a fucking movie in the cinema. Or $35 to buy a fucking blu-ray. The best company I’ve found is Private Internet Access. They have an app for each operating system including Android and iOS, and their speeds are good enough that you can torrent at full 100/40 NBN speed through them without slowdown at all. You can even set your account up in your router so you’re permanently connected to your VPN. They also have servers in about 50 different countries. VPNs are also useful for buying games online cheaper than on Australian stores, or watching blocked content on YouTube. At around $55 AU a year it’s also reasonably cheap, and unlike free or extremely cheap VPNs, they don’t sell your data to 3rd parties, log your actions or get overloaded and slow right down. PIA also offer full encryption, so good luck to anyone trying to prove you downloaded Dunkirk when all the computers in the world wouldn’t be able to decrypt a man-in-the-middle attack.

P.S. This isn’t a paid for article, I genuinely think Private Internet Access is a great VPN company. They’re not the only great company, but they are decently priced for how comprehensive they are.

EOF

Agents of Mayhem – Everything I Dislike (and a few things I like)

Welcome to yet another one of my reviews where I list all the things I dislike about something, and a handful of things I like. Since I initially wrote this review on Steam, and eventually ran out of space, I will be keeping my review up to date here. While I am sort of enjoying playing this game, I cannot recommend it at its current price ($60US on the Australian Steam Store as of game release – 15/08/17). Here is a list, that I will update while I play the game, detailing things I’m not happy with, or problems with the game. Most of this is opinion and therefore is subjective, but as a big fan of the Saint’s Row series, and having bought this game due to the developer and their previous work, I am unfortunately mostly disappointed. This review is a work in progress, which means I’ll be changing it as I play the game, or the game gets updated. This article will contain some spoilers, but they are mostly minor.

This review covers release and the small patch a few days after and is up to date as of 22/08/17 additionally I have added a section where I will be moving certain “bugs” as they are fixed or patched.

Note: Most of the things listed in this review will be specific to the PC release only, despite the fact that I’ve tagged this article as both a PS4 and an XBOne article. Undoubtedly, a lot of the things I’ve listed will be platform agnostic, but there will definitely be some things that are isolated to PC only.

Things I Dislike:

  • The dialogue, the characters, everything is extremely poorly written. It’s extremely basic and generic. I doubt the same writers of Saint’s Row wrote this. Edit: Then again they might have. I think I have rose-coloured glasses on for Saint’s Row 3 and 4.
  • The humour misses the mark, hard.
  • I cannot tell who the hell the demographic of this game is, the characters swear, but the game is “safe”, in that a child could play it very easily without hassle, the game holds your hand a lot, the enemies are pretty simple, it is just not challenging, even if you crank up the difficulty. Edit: the enemy difficulty and density gets better as the game progresses…but…so do you. You gain levels, and health/shield which better protect you from the many more enemies thrown at you.
  • There is only one weapon, an alternative fire for that weapon, plus a “special” attack per character. Unlike the weapon wheel full of fun guns SR had, you have to choose a different character if you want different weapons.
  • Weapons auto-aim. You cannot turn this off. Since some people say you can, you can switch it to disabled, and your camera won’t follow your target around by itself, but certain weapons will still hit your target even if your aim is very off. Rama is the best example.
  • It feels like a single player third person Overwatch clone (by clone I mean it shares a hell of a lot of similarities with Overwatch, and feels like it was steered in that direction to appeal to a similar audience, it’s not literally a third person Overwatch) on the SR engine with its skill-set independent heroes you can change around between on the fly. I don’t dislike Overwatch, but I don’t particularly enjoy it either. This feels like I’m playing that without any humans to actually challenge me.
  • When in motion, either on foot or in a vehicle, the camera controls snap back to behind you constantly, even though I have a MOUSE to move my camera around with. This cannot be turned off.
  • The Mayhem ability. It’s your special ability and it’s supposed to be super powerful and ultra useful. It is not. It lasts about 3 seconds, which lets you kill about 3-4 enemies (if they’re spread out, which they usually are) and takes FOREVER* to charge. In a mission you get a chance to use it once or twice maybe. On the other hand the “alternative attack” charges in about 5-6 seconds and it usually much more useful (e.g. being able to launch a grenade that splash damages everyone around it if you’re playing Hollywood) Spending skill points increases Mayhem time and effectiveness, however you won’t end up having those upgraded for a long time yet. *Edit: If you have Hollywood in your team, and his group passive is upgraded, you get Mayhem abilities very often, and some characters are actually useful when their Mayhem goes off. Johnny Gat is the best example in my opinion. Edit #2: It is really dependant on who you’re using in your team as to how effective your mayhem attack is. Some characters just stun everyone around them which isn’t particularly useful compared to actually doing damage.
  • Not a big deal to me, but no cooperative play. You can select three heroes at a time, you would think the game would let you coop with 2 other people, but it doesn’t. I believe Saint’s Row 2, 3, 4 and Gat out of Hell are coop friendly, why this isn’t I have no idea. Edit: The game does have multiplayer, but it’s not story mode cooperative.
  • The character customisation just…blows. The upgrades don’t even seem particularly useful. Edit: most aren’t useful. They’re just alternative methods of play, sort of.
  • Hardtack is one of the characters you start with. His main weapon is a shotgun. A shotgun that does zero damage to anything about 3 metres (10~ feet) away. It just doesn’t connect with anything past that range. It’s the most useless shotgun in any game ever. You can get an upgrade that increases the distance the shotgun makes contact in….but it also decreases it’s damage. Absolutely pointless. Edit: Trying to level up Hardtack really sucks, because even with upgrades his shotgun isn’t anywhere near as powerful as Johnny Gat’s or Red Card’s
  • Hardtack’s triple-jump barely ever works. Edit: actually a handful of player characters triple-jumps seem to work with varying degrees of success.
  • On further observation, almost all weapons have very short range. Much, much shorter than you would expect. Of course, the enemies don’t suffer from this ailment at all.
  • Every single one of the civilian cars sucks. They’re all utterly useless. Edit: there’s also only about…20? different ones. They’re also all as slow as shit.
  • You can’t get into the LEGION military cars, even after the LEGION soldiers get out of them.
  • I don’t have any graphics issues because I updated my drivers. But occasionally a lot of things explode on the screen and my fps dips for about a half a second. Not really an issue.
  • I’m decently far into the game now (edit), and there aren’t any mini-games like Saint’s Row had. There are things scattered around the map that you can blow up, but they’re not really “mini-games”. The one where you put a shield around a person strapped to a bomb then detonate the bomb is kinda fun though, because the person with the shield ends up in a bubble that bounces around the place, and if your physics glitch out (which I believe is intended) they go flying.
  • There are some shitloads of physics glitches. Floating enemies, trucks loaded with cargo exploding once you’re in range enough for the physics engine to kick in, items bouncing around. Edit: The small patch fixed this a tiny bit, but it’s still a problem
  • Cannot fire from vehicles. Which is a step backwards from the Saint’s Row series.
  • For some reason on the “pause” menu, is an option to “Erase all save data”. This seems…well…bizarre, and increases your risk of accidentally clicking it and erasing all your data.
  • Johnny Gat in this game is only Gat in voice and model. He is not the Gat from Saint’s Row. I mean, for one he’s a cop. This is explained by the whole “alternate universe” thing, but still. He definitely has some of the best dialogue in the game though. If you don’t want to cringe much, make sure Gat is your main character. Avoid Braddock (even though her weapon is one of the better ones) because her voice sounds so fake and put-on that it gets old very quickly.
  • The radio is terrible. It’s just the same electronic background noise on every channel.
  • You can’t ride motorbikes, there are none in the game on the streets, and the parked ones are not able to be ridden.
  • There is no vehicle customisation other than 8 different skins per vehicle (10 vehicles total).
  • There is also no player customisation except for 6 or so skins for each character and then 6 or so skins per character’s weapon.
  • Warping. No one opens doors or anything, they just…warp around. Like straight through the car’s window into the drivers seat. Enemies also warp into the area instead of arriving in vehicles or helicopters. Edit: can be explained by the futuristic setting, but it’s still a bit of a cop-out
  • While driving, vehicles within your draw distance but far away disappear randomly. In fact the draw distance in general is sort of broken.
  • There’s a cooldown on melee attacks. The cooldown is about 3 to 4 seconds.
  • Cash is a bit useless. I never used any until I was level 8, and then I had so much left over after I had bought upgrades that it didn’t really matter. This isn’t really a negative, since cash ends up pretty much worthless in Saint’s Row after a while too, including it in the game just seems kinda pointless. There’s like 5 different typed of resources you need to be running around picking up constantly, which is ridiculous.
  • Apparently everyone in Korea speaks American English.
  • I only really just realised this, but the map is tiny. I’m not sure if I’m into the game far enough yet, or if any more maps unlock, but the map size is about half of Steelport (Saint’s Row 3 and 4) and about a quarter of Stilwater (Saint’s Row 2). Remember when Volition made Red Faction Guerilla and the map was gigantic (albeit empty). Everything to do in this is very close together.
  • Repetitive LEGION lair dialogue over the PA system gets annoying after you’ve heard the same line 5 times per lair, and I’ve done about 8 lairs so far and there are at least that many more to do. It’s funny the first time, but it gets old fast.
  • When you first load the game, or teleport back into the Ark, you are not given control over your character for a minimum of 3 seconds, and a maximum of about 15. Everything has loaded, you just can’t do anything until the game randomly lets you.
  • Friday has really shitty dialogue. It’s just extra shitty and I can’t stand it. She’s also a bit of a creeper.
  • Can’t change the contents of your squad unless you deploy
  • There are “Mayhem Knows” load-screens where some of the characters from the game show up and a soundbite plays detailing something “witty” (see: stupid) about them. This extends the load screen much longer than it needs to be.
  • You CANNOT run over enemies. They either dodge your vehicle, or even if you hit them dead on, they don’t take enough damage to die and bounce off your car. I have yet to kill anyone who wasn’t a civilian (who are easy to kill) with a vehicle yet.
  • There’s no way to upgrade melee strength, so the more you level up, the progressively more useless your melee attacks get.
  • Each time you return to the Ark, the game penalises you by uncapturing one of your outposts you’ve captured, giving it back to the enemy. THIS IS NOT A BUG IT’S A FEATURE AND IS FUCKING MORONIC. THIS IS IN BOLD BECAUSE OF HOW FUCKING ANGRY IT MADE ME.
  • Despite being able to apparently climb walls, most of the heroes suck at actually doing it.
  • While unlocking the vehicles is alright, each vehicle has an arbitrary amount of unlock blueprints needed. No two have the same number. Some cars have 1 blueprint needed, others 10.
  • Everything after this line added on 22/08/17
  • After antagonising LEGION enough to max out their response (like you max out the police in Saint’s Row or demons enforcers in Gat out of Hell, the game throws difficult super soldiers at you. But they are seemingly endless. They keep coming forever, and the only way I found I could get rid of them was by going back to the Ark.
  • Dead bodies jiggle around on the floor a lot, constantly causing me to think they’re still alive and shoot at them.
  • Johnny Gat’s shotgun occasionally does no damage to certain female-only enemies.
  • Some of the “side missions” (like the above-mentioned rescue-the-guy-stuck-to-a-bomb-by-putting-them-in-a-bubble mission) glitch through the floor, making them impossible to complete.
  • When driving, a lot of things are still indestructible, causing your car to dead-stop on things. Especially heinous when racing and the game forces you to take certain jumps that if you misjudge  slightly, make your vehicle stop.
  • Civilian vehicles plough over you without slowing down or stopping. The vehicle-driving AI is terrible, and doesn’t give a shit about you at all. It will absolutely run you down in the street.
  • Vehicle damage is not representative of the health shown on the car’s HP meter. Car looks totally fucked before it is anywhere near it.
  • The game tells you to repair your car and shows locations you can have it repaired…when you’ve got about 10% damage on the car. Even the weakest of the player cars takes a hell of a pounding before it blows up. The civilian vehicles on the other hand are weak and will blow up just by being shot at – but only if you’re driving them. They’re significantly harder to destroy if you’re just shooting at them yourself.
  • Slight Spoiler: A character mission for Kingpin has you driving vehicles to beat an “unknown racer” at certain circuits around the city. The time limits given are long enough that you could probably sprint them on foot if the game would let you, and you’d still make the times with plenty to spare.
  • Doomsday weapons all follow the exact same, boring formula every single time they show up. If they didn’t take pot-shots at you constantly, there would be absolutely no reason to destroy them at all. Unnecessary time wasting bullshit.
  • Your callable vehicles are equipped with an AI. The AI has no real purpose other than to say “witty” things. Instead it’s an annoying fucking pile of wank that says dumb, annoying shit.
  • Terrible FOV (field of view) and zoom. No option to change either.
  • Johnny Gat’s mayhem ability causes him to fire against walls and into the air sometimes as it’s not able to be redirected or aimed at all. It even does so when there are targets out in the open.
  • Joule’s melee often fails to connect.
  • Everything in the game telegraphs, making avoiding things without thinking simple.
  • While doing a lair invasion, the AI on the PA system continuously told the LEGION NPCs to “protect the captain”. It continued to do so even after I killed everyone in the base and reached the extraction point. So did I kill the captain or not?
  • Game occasionally draws objects on top of each other. Example: I was driving as fast as I possibly could, using the nitrous and then stopped dead, the game already had 3 cars parked on the side of the road, and then decided to draw 3 more on top of them, causing them to jump out of the parked cars and explode.
  • Daisy moves about the same speed as everyone else runs…when she has roller skates.
  • You need to rely on RNG (random number generation – where you hope the game “rolls the right numbers” and gives you proper items when you loot the crates strewn around the game) for character/weapon/vehicle skin and vehicle blueprint unlocks.
  • Red Card, a German (and a good guy), seems to ADVOCATE FOR FUCKING EUGENICS. WHO WROTE THIS SHIT?

Things I Liked:

  • Plays like a Saint’s Row game, which is why I bought it in the first place.
  • Driving is top notch, better than Saint’s Row 4 or Gat out of Hell.
  • Game is smooth as butter, seems pretty well optimised. This could be isolated to my machine, because a lot of people have told me that I’m wrong about this.
  • The world is pretty nicely crafted, if a little…boring? Seoul has no soul. But it looks shiny and futuristic.
  • You can still murder civilians. You can’t seem to kick them in the groin or throw them around, but you can shoot them to death
  • It appears that vehicles from Saint’s Row 3/4 are unlockable by finding “blueprints”
  • The unlocked cars from Saint’s Row have been given a very slight face lift
  • The one-use craftable items are actually useful
  • The upgrade cores actually make your characters a lot better. Except Hardtack.
  • The usual collectibles everybody loves that Volition is known for strewing across their games. (this is half sarcastic, but seriously, it wouldn’t be right if this game didn’t have 50 million collectible items)
  • There are robot cars, some drive ads around, some are utility vehicles. Also robots float around showing ads which is kinda cool
  • There are upgrades after a certain level which show collectibles on the map.
  • Pressing X and calling in your car is handy as fuck
  • The game does get better the more you play it, but doesn’t really reverse anything I’ve listed in the negative section unless otherwise specified
  • The game has NVidia Ansel, which is pretty awesome if you’re into taking super high resolution screenshots with an adjustable camera
  • A bunch of characters (not sure if all of them – Johnny Gat doesn’t seem to have one) have a skin reminiscent of Marvel superheroes (e.g. XMen, Iron Man,
  • Once you get your hero to level 10, it unlocks a secondary trait, so you can lose your weaker characters. e.g. Johnny Gat becomes armour piercing, so you can get rid of Fortune or Kingpin
  • Took me a while to realise that Kingpin is Pierce Washington’s alternate universe alter-ego.
  • Enemy speech has context depending on which hero you’re playing. For example, Braddock was a military commander who trained many of LEGION’s troops before they defected from her command and joined LEGION. They say snarky remarks about the training and joining LEGION out from under her.
  • The game has a very diverse cast of people, which, before someone calls me an SJW, so did Saint’s Row. Instead of having the usual muscular white dude/s it’s got someone from everywhere on the globe.
  • Everything after this line added on 22/08/17
  • Some of the explosive barrels kinda look like Daleks (Okay, not really a positive, but I found it amusing)
  • Slight Spoiler: The Johnny Gat mission with the robot police officers was actually pretty amusing, and enjoyable.
  • The game is actually VERY stable. I have not had a single crash yet in (as of writing this) 24 hours of playing. I have tabbed in and out constantly, and abused the game a little bit and it’s been fine.
  • Each character has unique dialogue recorded for it, for each time one of the mission givers talks to the group. Whoever is your currently selected character will do all of the talking. You can change it on the fly.

Fixed Issues:

  • Game resets itself to windowed each time I start it. I prefer it on Borderless or even Full Screen, but it insists on starting on Windowed.  This seems to have been fixed. EDIT: OR NOT. Sometimes it seems fixed, sometimes it fucks up again.

Even Yahtzee shits on this game.

The Gentle Giant

Perusing Facebook this morning, I came across a post by a friend, Tim Jordan, who wrote a story about his grandfather. The story was quite moving and I asked him if I could publish it here, of which he gave me permission. So for your consideration, here it is.

My grandfather was in WWI.

That’s a fact that still absolutely confounds me but my mom was the youngest of 7 children, the only girl, and there was a significant gap between her and her youngest brother. I remember a picture from the newspaper of him at the train station holding a sign that said GO TO HELL GERMANY and that also confused me as a child because my grandfather was the gentlest of men and I couldn’t even imagine him saying hell, which along with butt and guts I considered the worst of words at that age.

My grandparents lived in Olla, Louisiana, more accurately on the outskirts of Olla, in the middle of fucking nowhere; an ill kept state road farting away into nothingness just before making it to their home. A home my grandfather carved out of the landscape using stones and trees from the very land where the house stood. It was purely functional, a small 4 room shack with a porch and a cistern off to the side, long sealed away before I was born and the source of many warnings I ignored. How I never ended up as a literal Timmy in the well I’ll never know.

Over the last 20 years or so I became more and more interested in Grandpa John and in talking to my mother we both began to slowly realize a pattern of severe depression and possibly psychosis. He never held a job for long and spent lots of time at home rarely moving from his favorite chair except to hunt the occasional squirrel. There were lots of other signs too but I won’t go into them here because I really want to go back to WWI.

Grandpa wasn’t in France long, maybe about three weeks, before he was sent back home. He was uninjured physically but most definitely suffering from what we would now call PTSD. He was never quite the same, outwardly the gentle giant we all knew, but prone to bouts of psychosis where he didn’t know where he was, vomited profusely, cursed up a storm, railing against the horrors he saw in the war. I heard some of these stories as a child, listening in where I wasn’t supposed to, and I can remember climbing up in his lap as a child to comfort him even though I didn’t understand at all what was going on with him. I never saw him in any of those states though. He was always so kind and loving and willing to hold us kids for as long as he could, before we wiggled away to chase the cats in the yard or catch lizards that were cute until they bit you.

Grandpa eventually fell and broke his hip, spent a while in the hospital, then came home and required a hospital bed and after care. I can’t say what happened to his mind at that point, maybe it was dementia, which runs pretty rampantly on the other side of the family, but it wasn’t like dementia I’d ever seen before. He just seemed to give up and sadly languished there for a decade or more.

He was mostly silent but would occasionally shock everyone by talking and letting us all know how aware he was about what was going on around him. Maybe those were just random moments of lucidity. In the 80s, small town America, physical and mental rehab weren’t exactly the norm so nobody really knows what was going on with him. Occasionally my grandma would wake up in the middle of the night to find that he had climbed out of bed and was sitting in his favorite chair. These moments made me profoundly sad for him.

When he died, the first of my grandparents to pass away, I was glad that he was finally at peace but I felt like I hardly knew the man yet at the same time I felt like he was a kindred spirit. We don’t have much left of him anymore. We have some pictures and my mom has his favorite coffee cup, a little dainty piece of china decorated with pink flowers.

I can always remember the day he died because of what my grandmother said one time when were visiting his grave. “He died on the longest day of the year,” she said. “It was certainly the longest day for me.”

 

Mass Effect Andromeda – Everything I Dislike So Far (Part 3)

Another entry in my list of things I dislike about MEA. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m actually enjoying playing MEA a fair amount, but it’s still making me cringe quite often. Also since the last post it updated to 1.0.0.7 and then to 1.0.0.8, so this post will actually be two entries in one – the one I wrote for 0.7 and the one I wrote for 0.8. This post contains spoilers. Also videos for the first time.

Part 1   Part 2

Main Menu

  • Menu takes a long time to decide that a unit upgrade is available.
  • Mouse very, very rarely, ceases to work in menus at all. Game must be restarted

Dialogue

  • You meet new allies, the Angarans. Instead of telling you what they’ve been calling the Kett the whole time, they call them the Kett too. How about telling me what they’re really called?
  • “I need to change your entire planet’s climate so my people can live here, lol” ‘oh OK, but do this task first’
  • Jaal threatens to kill me in my sleep. Hilarious.
  • Sohkaa and Ryder treat each other like fucking idiots
  • “Are all humans so quick with words?” after I went afk and left the screen paused on dialogue for 5 minutes (not really a complaint, but still)
  • “They put every credit they made into my education” how very Americocentric of the writers to assume capitalism would be universal.
  • “niche” said like NITCH
  • “download some movies for me lol, I like bad movies, I’m literally a walking meme” – Liam
  • “just be yourself and the flirts will flow” holy fuck I just lost brain matter
  • “Damn politicians”
  • Using the question-mark option in some conversations throws out a total non-sequitur, making it sound awkward when you put the conversation back on track
  • “tell me more about fighting Kett” needs to be selected constantly, never greys out even when you’ve exhausted all options.
  • “Want us to get out and push?” ‘Veeeerrry funny Ryder’ No.
  • “by who?” “by whom.” fuck off SAM you cunt.
  • “you took out the kett crown jewel” seconds later “we want to hit the crown jewel of the kett” so did I take it out yet, or do I still need to take it out?
  • “what the actual hell” fuck off with your tumblr meme shit
  • What sort of rude fucking bastard ends a conversation with “I’m good for now”?
  • SAM SHUT THE FUCK UP I KNOW IT’S COLD

Game

  • Dumb fucking escort mission in the Angaran settlement when you first land (Hidden City)
  • The Angarans draw a bead on me the second I take out my scanner
  • What the fuck accent do these things have? Is it African, English, Australian? All three? Why do they have EARTH ACCENTS?
  • Ryder is told the Angaran people get kidnapped. Looks bored as fuck, like he’s about to fall asleep standing.
  • Avela seems excessively enamoured where 5 minutes earlier she didn’t give a single fuck
  • Background plants behind Avela shimmer terribly
  • These aliens I just met are WAY too trusting.
  • I don’t remember picking up a universal translator?
  • Peebee’s writer is a stupid fucking cunt. She is the most fucking irritating piece of shit in the game.
  • The entire crew is unmotivated to do the fucking jobs they’re supposed to be, instead opting to make dumb wisecracks and say other stupid shit.
  • Not even on my second planet and I have a full roster of crew. There are no more companions to collect.
  • Whoever wrote Suvi is a fuckwit. Her dialogue is pure shit.
  • Right-click doesn’t skip dialogue.
  • AWWW DRACK IS ACTUALLY A SOFTIE. Most boring fucking trope ever.
  • Being biotic is literally an oppressed state, like being Black or Asian
  • Talking to Cora again immediately after ending the automatic cutscene changes her mood, her stance, everything entirely.
  • You can call an Andromeda Galaxy alien a BIGOT for calling YOU an alien. IDPOL HAS GONE TOO FAR
  • Cutscenes starting with you standing 30cm behind your chat target like you wanna fuck them
  • Every time Peebee talks I want to shoot myself, or better, her in the fucking head.
  • And her flirting is just absolute fucking trash
  • Not only is she annoying, she’s a thief, a liar, and a menace and should be in a fucking jail cell.
  • SJWs literally wrote appropriation into the script
  • Suvi talks about the least interesting thing about her (not that there is much interesting about her) too much – her stupid fucking faith.
  • SHE BECAME RELIGIOUS IN HER TEENS. HER PARENTS AREN’T RELIGIOUS. SUVI IS DUMBER THAN SHIT.
  • Aliens have weirdly human personality traits.
  • A protester with red hair has hair that looks like it was put on over the top of another hairdo
  • The protesters are ridiculous as fuck.
  • Reporter quest ripped directly from Mass Effect 2/3
  • At least Addison looks less stupid as of 1.0.0.6
  • With the amount of load screens, this game would be irritating as fuck to play on a non-PC
  • Game continually sends me back to the Nexus. That’d be fine if it didn’t take 5 minutes of cutscenes each time.
  • WHY DON’T YOU JUST TAKE A FUCKING NAP MID SENTENCE RYDER, YOU SLEEPY LOOKING FUCKING CUNT
  • Ryder tells Spender he’s onto him well before he has any evidence or even reasonably doubt to be able to have him arrested, making sure Spender can clean up any mess he needs to or disappear.
  • You can leave Voeld in the middle of nowhere which causes a 2 minute fucking leave-the-planet cutscene.
  • After this line is from 1.0.0.8 
  • After rescuing Nillj, his companion speaks to you but is not in range at all, so only her subtitles show up but her audio isn’t heard. She doesn’t seem to come closer either.
  • If you don’t have a weapon drawn, you cannot use melee.
  • Using the remnant elevator causes the game to undraw the AI companions, and then redraw them again at the top.
  • The AI companions act like they contribute to kills during combat. Without mods, they do zero damage and are nothing more than a liability.
  • An item disappears and reappears when using the omintool. Item can be clipped through when omnitool not used. I made a video of it, here or embedded at the bottom of the post.
  • NPC walks around me several times, then walks off. Video of it Here or embedded at the bottom of the post.
  • Addison is probably the most inept, useless, and fucking stupid character in the entire game.
  • You can’t talk to NPCs without them facing you, which gets irritating.
  • Nostril holes look stupid as fuck
  • The whole “sibling in a coma for the entire duration of the game” is pretty fucking stupid
  • There are 5 videocom consoles and you can only use one of them. In about 30 hours of playing, I’ve only used them once, what’s the point?
  • SAM things it can boost the Angaran’s computer power despite not having actually interacted with an Angaran computer before, and not knowing how much processing power they do or do not possess.
  • A graphics glitch made it look like Ryder had a mouthful of metal, like Jaws in 007
  • Some quests marked as complete remain in the menu, and don’t elaborate what else needs to be done to ACTUALLY complete them.
  • Jaal’s clothes blow around like there’s wind when there isn’t
  • Ryder asks Jaal about biology. Jaal fobs him off completely leading me to believe that the writers never bothered actually fleshing out the Angara. Lazy as fuck.
  • WHY DOES A HOLOGRAM HAVE EYELASHES

No doubt there’ll be a part 4 soon, but I’ve already catalogued a lot of the shit that pisses me off, and I’m finding it harder to find new things that aren’t completely dialogue based. Also there are mods now, so I can remove a lot of annoying things. EOF

Mass Effect Andromeda – Everything I Dislike So Far (Part 2)

Since I wrote part 1, the game has updated once again to 1.0.0.6, and some of my critique is out of date, but most of it still applies. Here’s part two. Possible spoilers ahead.

Part 1

Main Menu

  • Still can’t use enter key to select anything from the game’s opening menu

Dialogue

  • “have a Dirty Squirrel” the bar has dumb as fuck names for drinks. Because they couldn’t possibly just use existing names.
  • “Fine, you can be a regular” said to Scott Ryder by the bartender.
  • “Be careful, the snark is strong with this one”
  • DUTCH HAS THE MOST WANKY SHIT DIALOGUE SO FAR.
  • “You can’t deploy and omelette without deploying eggs. And eggs won’t get you steak” WHO FUCKING WROTE THIS SHIT
  • “They’re scanning us!” ‘WELL SCAN THEM BACK’ genius dialogue. 10/10.
  • Ryder snorts in his dialogue, subtitle says he “exhales”

Game

  • NPC bumped through a crate, NPC was then difficult to interact/talk to. Once dialogue was initiated, NPC proceeded to walk BEHIND the player character.
  • NPC fucking asks me to talk to it a second time to start the quest it has.
  • Game breaks 4th wall. Example – an NPC has a quest icon above his head, instead of asking him how he’s going, and then him responding that he has some trouble and could you look into it, your dialogue starts immediately with “is something wrong?” despite no indication that anything is wrong in the first place.
  • Seems almost everyone who isn’t a random filler NPC has a dull, monotonous and very mundane quest for you to do.
  • Pathfinder gets paid for completing tasks.
  • Pathfinder also needs to pay for items and equipment, as if he’s not the most fucking important thing in the entire goddamn galaxy at that point.
  • A quest involves finding ingredients for “new cocktails”
  • Junk, filler quests everywhere. I cannot state this enough.
  • The Nilken Case. The options are black and white. You cannot choose for him to go into community service (although one of the options makes that happen anyway) or serve 3 months in a cell, you can only choose to release him or exile him.
  • Addison randomly talks to herself. Possibly the worst design choice ever, to include this fucking batshit insane character.
  • Brecka’s accent sounds fake as fuck
  • The drop pod/AVP is similar to the Inquisition Powers in DAI (this isn’t a complaint, just an observation)
  • Default load screen times are excessive.
  • Ryder’s face lags and changes in an instant.
  • Kett aliens seem to speak in alternating accents
  • Somehow the aliens damaged their ship without actually attacking it at all.
  • Ryder makes first contact with the Angara by being an arrogant fucking prick. Very American.
  • Aliens speak to each other in English, after starting dialogue in their own language.
  • “Hidden City” not actually hidden at all.

This concludes part 2, part 3 should arrive in the next couple of weeks, since there’s so goddamn much wrong with this title.

Mass Effect Andromeda – Everything I Dislike So Far (Part 1)

I bought Mass Effect Andromeda about 2 weeks after it first came out, and I’ve played through as much of the first planet as it would let me (which wasn’t all that much). As I’ve played the game, I’ve wrote down what has annoyed me. Here I will detail what has annoyed me about the game so far. POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Main Menu

  • mouse highlights wrong item on hover (fixed – sorta) after update 1.05
  • Game loads for a significant amount of time after exiting character creator back into the main menu

Dialogue

  • Almost all the dialogue listed here will be goofy. As a general rule, if the dialogue isn’t goofy, it’s flat fucking boring.
  • “I feel like a 600 year old popsicle” after coming out of stasis.
  • “since when do rocks float” ‘just go with it’ when flying above the first planet you come to, to complete the tutorial level, Liam and Ryder have this exchange.
  • “it’s like they didn’t finish building it” after it was stated that the Nexus wasn’t built.
  • “can you tell me where the welcome party is hiding” after boarding the Nexus and seeing no one around
  • “you’re a BRAVE PIONEER” don’t blow smoke up my arse, NPCs.
  • Liam continually mentions the Nexus is vacant
  • “Unknown Error” spoken like VI has never spoken either word before
  • MEMES LOL
  • “14 months and you start stooping to poetry”
  • “ugh goddamn poetry”
  • Tann’s voice actor seems to be playing a “character” and is doing it badly.
  • Scott uses “uh” to answer questions
  • Suvi sounds fucking stupid
  • LIAM SPEAKS IN MEMES
  • “oh you know things? good for you, I know things too” Wow, Peebee you sure showed them
  • “We nearly died!” “YEAH BUT IT WAS TOTALLY COOL” – definite seizure probability.

Game

  • textures shimmer
  • blank, non-moving faced weird fucking NPCs (noted as fixed with update 1.05, but not actually fixed)
  • Ryder’s hand passes through an item he is grabbing hold of in a cutscene
  • too easy to cut off dialogue/dialogue doesn’t complete often
  • clunky movement at times (but combat is very satisfying)
  • Rocks. Are. Floating.
  • animation of shooting at corpse doesn’t contact
  • dopey, clueless expressions POST 1.05 update
  • Scott Ryder seems overly happy immediately after his dad’s death
  • Foster Addison is excessively stupid. Holy fuck.
  • Female Krogan – goofiest fucking Krogan in the galaxy
  • Numpad keys are totally randomised
  • Not much difference between selection colours – already chosen dialogue very slightly different hue from unused dialogue. Gets really fucking confusing during times where you revisit a character.
  • Animations do not match voices
  • Textures popping in and out during interviews
  • Weird model tooth overlap
  • Vetra is an atypical turian
  • Two audio files from the same NPC can play simultaneously, creating some weird fucking shit
  • only 2 squadmates compared to 3 in Dragon Age Inquisition (minor annoyance)
  • 3 different NPCs talking over each other…
  • Peebee is an annoying fucking Mary Sue who speaks in Tumblr memes.
  • Pretty sure they won’t be calling it “3D printing” so far in the future
  • Quests with no clear objective
  • After selecting to land on a planet, the decision CANNOT be cancelled.
  • Weapons loadout cannot be changed at the ship without leaving the planet.
  • Pee(nis)b(reath)ee walks like she’s shat in her fucking pants
  • No choice of whether to recruit or abandon new team mates, they are automatically added.
  • Ore remains behind after being picked up, instead of disappearing.
  • Game flickers yellow in certain areas, due to the ingame filter having a certain boundry the camera crosses
  • Group dialogue reads/plays out like a fucking terrible sitcom, without a pathetic laugh track
  • Game arbitrarily forces you to leave Eos. No real reason at all, just so you don’t exhaust all the content on that planet straight up.
  • BORED ALREADY WITH NO DESIRE TO PLAY ANY FURTHER.

Hopefully I’ll end up playing more, so I can make a part 2, but until then, this is all. EOF

Bachelor Recipes – “Stuffed” Potatoes

I love potatoes. They’re the best vegetable there is. And I’m gonna show you how to make awesome “stuffed” potatoes. The “stuffed” is in quotes because stuffing them implies removing potato to make room for filling. We’re not doing that here. That’s a waste of potato. Instead we’re gonna layer everything on top and microwave the shit out of it (or bake it if you’re pedantic)

Ingredients:
6 medium potatoes
Cheddar cheese
2-3 rashers of bacon
a tomato
steak seasoning (optional)

About 6 medium-size potatoes
6 medium-size potatoes

Wash your potatoes and place them into a microwave safe dish

Put the potatoes in a microwave dish and seal the lid
don’t forget to seal them in tight.

Put them in the microwave for around 12 minutes. I’ve never had a potato explode, but if you have, prick them first. I don’t usually

cut up 2-3 rashers of bacon, and 12 slices of cheese (two per potato), and dice your tomato
stuff you’ll be layering onto your potatoes

Cut up your ingredients: dice the bacon and tomato, and cut about two slices of cheese per potato

once the potatoes are cooked, cut each one in half
cut each one in half

Once your potatoes are ready, slice them in half like so

place them on a plate like so
place them on a plate like so

Plate them up, add optional steak seasoning to them if you like

layer the bacon onto them. You can also put steak seasoning on the potato halves first before you put bacon on them if you like
layer the bacon onto them.

Layer bacon onto them.

layer the tomato on top
layer the tomato on top

Now layer the tomato on top of that

you want about 1 slice per half a potato
you want about 1 slice per half a potato

Start to layer the cheese over each potato, you’ll probably have leftover cheese after you cover everything

layer the remaining cheese on top
layer the remaining cheese on top

Just layer the rest of the cheese over what you’ve put down already

microwave for around 6 minutes
microwave for around 6 minutes

Microwave at high power in a 1000w microwave oven for about 6 minutes. You can probably bake or grill them too, and they should be as good if not better. This is the easy way, I like easy.

voila!
voila!

Plate and serve. These are super full of fat and salt, so they’ll probably give you a heart attack.

Enjoy

Song Rundown – China Girl, by Iggy Pop/David Bowie

This is my first article in some time, and it comes in the days after David Bowie’s untimely and very unfortunate death from terminal cancer. As I have been oversaturating myself with David Bowie music, I’ve been taking particular notice of the lyrics to the song China Girl.

When I first heard this song several years ago, I just assumed he had met a nice Chinese girl on one of his tours and formed a relationship with her. Only after looking into it more did I realise it was actually an Iggy Pop cover (of which David Bowie makes shine). It was also around this time I had a lung collapse and was given a tonne of IV morphine while they reinflated my lung. I’ve also been on prescription painkillers for a good deal of years. Now the song started making sense. The lyrics to the song are very clearly speaking about heroin.

Let’s start with the first two verses:

I could escape this feeling, with my China Girl
I feel a wreck without, my little China Girl
I hear her heart beating loud as thunder
When I look at my China Girl.

I’m a mess without my little China girl
Wake up in the morning, where’s my little China girl?
I hear her heart’s beating loud as thunder
Saw these stars crashing down

Heroin, also known as China White is an addictive substance that once stopped constant intake of, causes withdrawal symptoms. He is feeling a wreck, and in the second verse, a mess, without his little China girl. Heroin addiction can cause a rush of anticipation when a user knows they’re about to take another hit. Heroin addiction can also cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate, or palpitations when in withdrawal, hearing her heartbeat could be his heart not beating in proper rhythm.

Obviously, waking up in the morning after being high the night before, in the starting throes of withdrawal will have you searching for your drugs.

The stars crashing is the feeling of IV opiates making their way to the brain. Vision goes black and you “see stars” as it returns. In this instance however, he has not yet taken a dose. This feeling could allude to a sense of dread or depression at sobering up.

The third verse:

I feel tragic like I’m Marlon Brando
When I look at my China girl
I could pretend that nothing really meant too much
When I look at my China girl

Feeling like Marlon Brando could mean he’s either feeling sorry for himself, or perhaps guilty. He is in the grip of an addiction, and isn’t sure how to pull himself away, he has drugs, he’s not going to just throw them away. He doesn’t care about anything else except getting his high. Nothing else means anything at that point. He must quench his ‘thirst’.

I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the white of my eyes

We will assume he took his heroin for this verse, everything is brighter, everything feels better, all is good.  Here I believe he feels bulletproof, he’s high and he’s king of the world. Some users inject into the whites of their eyes, but here I believe he’s in such ecstasy that his eyes have rolled back into his head. He’s probably lying on the floor off his face.

My little China girl you shouldn’t mess with me
I’ll ruin everything you are
You know I’ll give you television, I’ll give you eyes of blue
I’ll give you a man who wants to rule the world

This verse seems to talk about his constant use of the drug. The drug is addicting him, and he’s going to ruin the fantastic, fun, feel-good high by being addicted fully to it. To a constant user, shooting up is more like relief rather than feeling a high, causing frequent users to continually “chase the dragon” or up their doses looking for that “first rush” again. This often leads to an overdose.

And when I get excited
My little China girl says
“Oh baby, just you shut your mouth”
She says, “Shh.”

He’s in bliss and stupefied. Any higher and he’ll be dead. His heart rate has slowed, he can’t talk, just feel great. This could be after a second dose, or he could have overdosed.

If anyone has other ideas, feel free to drop a comment.

Vaccination and Raev.net

Recently it has been brought to my attention that Googling for vaccination in Australia brings up links to a disreputable site full of anti-vaxxer morons. To try and boost the search results of reputable vaccination sites, this post will be pretty much full links. Not vaccinating your children is what idiots do, and if you happen to be one of them, you should read all about vaccination risks and other common misconceptions about vaccination provided in the last couple of link-words. Further more, websites like the Australian Vaccination Network (who I refuse to link to, and instead will be linking to Stop AVN) are totally, entirely full of shit. Here are the links contained in this post, in bullet-point format.

 

 

I’ll probably write another one of these one day when I’m not tired and trying to fill space quickly, but until then, this is all.

Well, shit

Well shit, I fucked up good. I transferred the domain to a new host and webserver, and in doing so, forgot to take a decent backup before my domain transferred over. Unfortunately, the latest backup I had was from April 2011. So a bunch of posts have been lost. I can probably restore a few, if I can remember which ones they were, but some will be lost forever.

EOF