Friday, July 7, 2017

Reflections

As I am about to embark on a new journey in my life soon, I can't help but reflect on my past endeavours. What I have done. What I have accomplished. Whether I have contributed to the betterment of people's lives. And moving forward, the uncertainty that lies ahead, whether I will be able to fit the job, how well I will work with the new "gang". Exciting things I will learn and pick up, the refreshing insights and how I can chart the organisation's direction forward in a whole hearted mindedness.

Exciting times ahead. I pray all will be well. I will treat everyone nicely :P

I also think about long time ago, when I was in Hong Kong for industry attachment during my uni days. I had the honor to meet 2 good people. In over a short span of barely 3 months, they have given me each one feedback that I will always remember and regard them as my guiding light. Really grateful for Leo and Violet's friendship.

I worked with Leo for a couple of months. During our exchanges of a mix of English, Mandarin and Cantonese, he observed something about me. That I am able to interpret things very quickly and apply them according. In chinese, the similar phrase is 举一反三. At that time I did not appreciate fully this compliment. Over the years, I have gradually learnt of this trait of mine, and have "roughly" been able to employ them to good use.

Violet was also with Leo in the same bus depot I was attached in. We also had numerous communications over the few months. One day,  she told me something that was really out of the blue. Something that I have never wildly thought of, and to many people, may not even come off as a nice comment.

She said I am a person of a certain naivity. Someone who looks at the blue sky and appreciates the clouds. Someone who chooses to look at the positives and draw strength from it. Her last sentence was gold. She hopes that I will never lose this trait in the future.

Today, as I reflect on this comment. I understand totally what she is saying. And everyday I have been applying this philosophy. I don't know why, but that is really what I am about. Superficially, yes, it is some sort of negative connotation. But sometimes, that's what we need in life. In this world.

I draw another example which struck me very deep. When Rurouni Kenshin rescued Kaoru during their first encounter in her dojo, he said he preferred the ideal world that her father strives to pursue, and does not like the current situation of society. I think it strikes a very strong note on the passion and drive to make everything better. To make the world better. And I feel I also have some similar sort of belief.

So as I move forward, I will carry my believes and character, knowing that I can truly make things happen, and make the world better for everyone. Wish me luck :3

ESO and Space

I never thot ESO has such a big positive impression on me. I never liked Skyrim because of its combat. Never liked MMOs becos of the dungeons restrictive playstyles, forcing gamers to play under a prescribed set of moves and actionsnin order to complete the dungeon and rewarding the best gear for doing it. There is the lack of freedom that i desire in a game.

So ESO is not entirely not that, but its mechanics gives gamers a truly desirable approach to play it. And i find it very attractive.

Another quick note to drop is the discovery of the game Elite Dangerous. Ive always liked No Man Sky but its longevity is severely cut short by its lack of content and multiplayability. So ED manages to have that and a very robust universe. So looking forward to playing it .

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chasing and Missing

One morning ~8ish, I was on my way to attend a course in Devan Nair Institute. I took the train to Jurong East, and was going to cut through Westgate, then J-Walk through NTF hospital, to the institute. The first confectionery just outside the station was open but selling very few variety (maybe overnight ones :p). There were also very few customers. I decided to skip it and go for the other one found in the hospital instead. The second confectionery displayed a totally different story. An entire array of different types of bread laid bare for customers to pick, warm and fresh. The queue was long but there was enough staff to service them. Both I believe are Singaporean companies.

Several thoughts crossed my mind. The first confectionery definitely has the advantage of being the nearer one to the MRT station. What then is the opportunity that it failed to capture? Or is it welfare for its staff not to get up so early?

What is the modern day role of a confectionery? Is it still to provide the neighbourhood with nice warm bread for their breakfast? I remember the last scene of As Good As It Gets, and it really struck a vibe in me. The first and foremost goal of a company is profit. But is serving its societal function really taking such a back seat at this time of age? Are we really just KPI chasers?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New Top Favourite

Every of my kakis know my favourite franchise is Soulsborne. Demon Souls, Dark Souls 1, Dark Souls 2, Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3. I've always enjoyed them to the max and invested hundreds of hours in each of them.

Used to love Dark Souls 1 most, and I consider it not just GOTY, but also GOTD. Game of the decade. But that was before Bloodborne was released. Close to 2 years later, I can safely say that it is now my top favourite. The combat, the bosses, the lore, the ambience, the weapons. Best of the best.

I don't think it will be very easy to find another game to take over this throne. Not in the near future.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Interim Thoughts

Somehow, I feel that all these stuff really are interconnected and if we understand a fuller picture of all these, we get a new understanding and appreciation of our own lives. Perhaps if I give description to each of them they may link up in my mind first

Predestination and its misconception
There is this belief in the scientific world that everything is fixed. There is no “if”. The so called randomisation is also deterministic, not so random after all. This means that the universe as we know it will only have one timeline, unlike the opposite of infinite possibilities. Personally, I quite subscribe to this concept. It means that something always happens for a reason. There is always a cause behind the effect. If computational simulation is so accurate and removes virtually all assumptions, it will be able to simulate all the outcomes of the universe. (That, by the way, is the Oracle in the Matrix trilogy).

This is pretty much aligned to many religion’s belief of Fate. Things are fated to happen. However, most people I can see have taken this concept the wrong way. They think more along the line of “if things happen this way, it’s fated”. It is an indication of passivism and resignation. But the fact of determinism is not this. It doesn’t mean that anyone should give up trying and attempting. However, if after the attempt and failure still occurs, we must accept the result and acknowledge that it is the fix course of events. We do not give up trying and fighting.

Intention vs mechanism
A recent teaching I received touched on the topic of intent. It is the determination to do something. Mechanism on the other hand is the action of doing something. How and what method is adopted is defined by the mechanism.

This theory says that, in order for a result to happen, it is based on 100% intention and 0% mechanism. If the result you desire does not happen, you have not had that intention at all in the first place. Pretty extreme, but we should look at it at a more philosophical angle. In that perspective, it makes sense. And it links up to taking full responsibility for a result.

Playing the victim game vs owning responsibility
If you do not take full responsibility, you have just shifted the blame on something or someone else. Then you are playing victim to a certain outcome that you do not desire.

But the key thing we have to realise is, whether it’s a good or bad result, it is YOUR result. You can choose to take it, or shift the blame.

If you play the victim game, you enjoy being “the right one”. You get sympathy. You get support. However, you do not get to take action. You do not progress. You will keep on repeating never ending cycle.

But if you assume full responsibility, although you will suffer and feel bad, you will get to take action. You will get to progress and improve on the situation. And this is one attitude everyone should have.

Emotional intelligence
Still reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I can see that it’s going to enable me to obtain a few more interesting concepts that I can apply in my life. Looking forward to this.

Interim conclusion
I’ve always felt that, unless you apply what you’ve learnt, you have not learnt anything at all. We should all keep in mind about this, and be real practitioners of what we choose to believe in.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Nioh Beta

Looks like this year just seems to be getting better and better for gaming...

Although many people have dismissed No Man's Sky to the abyss, for me, it was a decent enough effort for a 14 man team to have come up with the game that it is at the moment. Although many features were found missing, it still gave me the feel of unknown and exploration that I have not experienced before.

So I was planning on doing this until the end of September, when Darkest Dungeon will be released. But something pleasantly spoiled my plan. Nioh.

I had tried Nioh alpha a few months ago, and it was really very hard for me. The enemies hit very hard and I can be dead by a samurai 3-hit combo. Then I have to wreck my brains to deal with 2v1 or 3v1 situations when under normal circumstances, it will be very sure defeat. The health potions are also super few, 3 to be exact. Farming them is not very easy for beginner because only the hard hitting samurais will drop them. By investing in a certain ninja ability, your starting potions can be 4, but is still pretty limited, looking at the enemy placements as well as the mini-onis. I only played 2 hours during the alpha, but my interest in Souls-like games kept me going for this beta. The first stage was indeed a grind which can be very disheartening and disengaging for most players.

Then I hit another shock when I suddenly realised (although the starting screen always show :p) that the developer is Team Ninja. That's when it struck me. NO WONDER IT FEELS LIKE NINJA GAIDEN!!!

I never completed NGS :P Nioh isn't as hard, but it is close. It took me about 5-6hrs to finally unlock the first boss shortcut. And it took me another 2-3 hrs to finally beat the first boss. The night before I won I had wanted to give up. Gaiden Souls doesn't look as tempting to me as I thought it would. I just offed my PS4 and kept mulling about my defeats. Luckily I caught a second wind and managed to beat it the following night.

After the first boss, the player will be able to join other people's games to farm XP, gear and elixir drops (much more generous). The game feels much more manageable from this point onwards and at this moment I've been reinvigorated to continue my journey in this beta, hoping for the best but mentally prepared for another round of tough enemies.

I also feel like this beta is the deepest beta I have every played in any pre-game releases. Sure, typical Soulsborne beta usually have at 2 bosses. But this beta has 3 major fights, and the upgrading and skills progression system is fully decked out to the players. I am now able to test out all the weapons and movesets (you can replay old areas and bosses) and by the time full release comes, I will just be able to go all out on my planned build. One last feature is the beta lasts for more than a week! I have never seen any developer doing this before. I think they have gone a super long way to deliver a well polished game, and sincerely hope I will be able to sustain and finish the beta.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2 Interesting Developments in Gaming Industry

So there are 2 games I'm currently playing. There is a third under my radar but we shall save it for a probable next post. Come to think of it, these 3 games are really interesting because of what they are.

No Man's Sky, Pokemon Go and Darkest Dungeon.

Darkest Dungeon we shall talk later since the PS4 version will only be out late next month.

Pokemon Go is interesting because of the technology it is based on. GPS & GIS system, coupled with augmented reality. There are many naysayers of the game, and many are condemning it and accusing it of making people become ignorant of the real world, and the cause of social degradation. Brainless. Dangerous. The way I see it is more than a social experiment. It literally opens up a window of opportunity for anyone doing any kind of work, to explore the usage of AR and GPS itself. IOT is here. Big Data is here. Geo related systems is here. VR/AR is here. It's time to smell the possible advantages and chances for future tech development. The overall betterment of the society. Can't wait to see the next big thing based on these exciting tech.

No Man's Sky was also released recently, yesterday to be correct. Many critics question the depth of the game. The lack of multiplayer. The focus of the game. To me, it defines a brand new genre. Of exploration, progression and experimenting of the unknown world. It is not a good game to stream. It is not a good game to post Youtube videos. In fact, to me, it is not really a "game" LOL. It's more like a personal journey that you take and encountering any events that are thrown to you, and how to take each of these and the environmental restrictions and barriers, and when you overcome them, forms into a unique AND individual experience that no other game will be able to provide you with. I'm still ~3 hours in, and still so much more to explore. I don't even want to spoiler myself too much in what I can do and what I can't do. And that's the real thrill of the game. Hopefully future patches/expansions of cooperative element, freights and base building will arrive soon enough for this game to develop into its full blossom and potential.

Sidenote:
Many peeps have been complaining about the multiplayer lie that Sean Murray had made during the talk show. It's fair, he may have lied, but to be honest, we don't have to take it too seriously.
  • He probably didn't know it's going to launch without the multiplayer during the interview. The team may have hit a major obstacle which rendered the multiplayer impossible to be launched on release date.
  • He may have freaked out and gone overboard in selling too much
  • The question we have to ask ourselves is: did it really matter? Was it really within our expectations?
  • It's a trend nowadays to release pre-complete builds of the game, and take months to slowly add content in. The bare essentials are launched and additional stuff come in later. In this sense, should we really complain so much on a SMALL developer for launching it? If people can wait for Destiny content to be release from a giant of a company in Bungie, why the flak on Hello Games?
  • The only things that Hello Games should take flak for is the constant game crashes experienced by everyone. I can just forgo the textures popping in and out, but it will be a professional crime to launch a game with numerous bugs that lead to crashes. This should be the top priority for them right now, making the game playable again, without corrupting save files and such. Multiplayer can come later.
  • But shouldn't be too late, not when the player base is starting to trickle away.


Update: The more I play the more I feel I wish to add in more about No Man's Sky. It's been about 5 days of playing already. Interestingly, unlike the rest of the community, I've only experienced one crash in the game, and it's not even during the warp travel.

I have to say this game is really one of a kind. Apart from a few key unlocks you need to obtain during the initial stages, it is really a total vast unknown space of exploration right in front of you. And I get that a lot of gamers really may not be able to measure it with their own expectations. Coupled with the crashes and bugs of course :P

What kind of planets will I encounter in the next system?
Will there be many space pirates?
Should I upgrade my shield and weapon tech first?
Should I gather rarer resources to upgrade stuff?
Does the next planet have extreme weather conditions?
Will there be occasional storms that render my walking distance very limited?
What if the drones shoot on sight?
What if the planet has full of predators?
What if the planet has no flora or plutonium?! How am I going to recharge my landing gears?
Should I look for better ships? In that case earn more money first?

The concerns are just endless and it's really up to you to decide what are your next steps to take.

In terms of trying to bring the player an entirely new and spacec exploration experience, I believe they have managed to do that. This is what the crew in USS Enterprise feels every time they go for exploration. It just feels totally convinceable.

Although the tasks to perform are rather routine after ~5 hrs into the game, there is still this element of uncertainty and you really chart your way through this vast space. I have no regrets buying this title and participating in this amazing project. It's a job well done by a developer of 14 staff.