.hack//G.U. Last Recode

Going for a curteous output for this page. Plenty of games and dabbling. Lest not forgotten babbling, it's the most fun.

About 9 years later, all 3 of these G.U. games are on PC and PS4.  I grabbed the Steam version of .hack//G.U. Last Recode today and it’s 40 GB install is downloading.

The redone graphics look really nice.  I am a bit cautious of the increased XP gain and easier boss fights, but it was a fun series and I hope to see the original 4 games get redone, and most of all, some new content, short of the 4th episode they added to G.U. for this release.  This version is still a single player faux-MMO and I’m good with that.  Eventually an online game that doesn’t bomb would be cool, but by all means, take your time and get it right.

I’m glad to see this came out as it caught me by surprise. From the look of the steam forums, this game is selling, so I’d love to see support for the series continue, after such a long break.

As you can see from the thread history, I bumped the old thread for about 9 years ago to note this PC remaster.

I played a few hours last night, between watching the console disc recap videos and playing the start of Episode 01. I played 2.5 hours and very much of that was cutscenes and info to game dynamics. Keeping in mind I read all the game and forum community content, as you can get extra areas, art and other bonuses from doing so.

Last night I played in VR, via using BigScreen with my Oculus Rift. Think of it as playing on a giant curved LCD, in a virtual room. The game ran very smooth. Considering when I last played the games, it was on a PS2 over CRT using S-Video. Playing the remastered edition @ 1080P is a treat. Maps are legible along with the world and character designs looking incredible versus PS2 era. The actual game is not VR at all, but playing on the virtual screen is pretty dope.

I left the graphic options to default. Essentially high except shadows and water, iirc. Load times are also quite short running from my SSD and that’s always appreciated. I have not seen any performance or stability issues so far either. I am playing with a Sony DualShock 4 using the licensed USB dongle along with DS4Windows driver for Xbox 360 mapping.

I did not notice a huge detriment to battles yet based on the XP boost. I feel like the original game also had quick battles and meters, but my memory could be fuzzy. I enjoyed these games before and having the option to play them in such a crisp environment, is really cool. I cannot argue with the $50 asking price, since you get all 3 of the .G.U. chapters and the newly added 4th one.
You can play with cheat mode if you want to breeze out maxed through the story. I’m playing normal. Also you can pick any chapter, console disc or the parody content from the main menu. It’s nice that the menu select is part of the game, as this makes it much easier to pick your chapter when in a full screen window, versus a steam popup form.

There are keyboard controls based off WSAD, but they are not really clearly defined when you start playing. I tried to finger fumble on the laptop since I don’t have a gamepad with me at the moment. Arrow keys work like your targeting system, but to be honest, play it with a dual-analog stick gamepad if you have the option.

I’m playing a few games at the moment but am near the end of Episode 1 of G.U.. I can say the avatar fights are way better than they were on PS2. I remember cussing and replying them to clear the fight. I am currently around level 37 (cap of 50 for episode 1).

It kind of funny playing in The World, logging out to the desktop environment to check email and forums. I hope to see some more games made for the series. It’s a good time and if you like story heavy RPGs, pick this up. PS4 digital or physical and Steam digital option for PC.

If you switch audio sources while playing, your best bet will be to save, then go back out of said episode to the Title select menu. Audio should restore back to your current audio device.
I run into this switching from Rift view and audio, back to headphones and external display. I see this with fairly many games but ones like Final Fantasy XIV would require me to do a full logout. I cannot think of other games stuck with audio shuffling at the moment but enjoy that you can stay in the same application via the .hack chapter select core menu. Especially for the sake of not losing active window and display.

Mario Odyssey

Fun random fact: I used to have some bike parts named Odyssey, so I got used to the spelling. Back on topic, this latest Mario game is exceptionally good and enjoyable.

I played over vacation and as of writing have 500+ stars and have played some of the hard mode post-main story content. I think the best attribute of the game is being enjoyable, while not being too difficult, until you complete the main story line. That being said, I also have the amiibos and that means with Wedding Peach, that I can jump back up to 6 health at any time with a few seconds available, even in boss fights.

I tried playing the Mario Galaxy games but did not find myself enjoying them enough to complete them. Perhaps it was the Wiimote controls, I’m not sure as it has been some time since I tried those games out. Along those lines, you do get extra control functionality with the JoyCons detached, via wiggling. Most of the time it’s not necessary to clear an area but can make some challenges easier. I largely played with JoyCons detached in Odyssey. Tablet mode works great too if you are away from a TV and your Dock.

I very briefly tried multiplayer but can say using a second controller to control Cappy, does make it a more detailed experience, since some jumps trying to time hat jumps solo, would be difficult compared to working with a second player. As you progress, there are some online scoreboard side-games too.

Control options and moves progress as you do in the game. You can do most all of them immediately, but as you play the relevant usage will come to you. You can view all of these in the Select / – menu.

Seriously I’m ending the review there. The game is really well constructed and is not a chore to play. Personally I feel like most studios are releasing grind-quest games with no actual enjoyment or care in their processes, so this Mario game from Nintendo is a long-needed breath of fresh air.
I have heard more than one person tell me they have an XB1 or PS4 that they are bored with. By all means is this is you, grab a switch and play Mario and or Zelda. Then look forward to more content coming down the line. If you are tired of playing math simulators, Nintendo and indie devs are where the heart of quality gaming lies.

As always, I purchased my own copy of this game. I have no oversight or compensation for the opinions expressed here. If I ever land a job with Nintendo or any sort of compensation, I will inform of such. Have fun! I do suggest a Switch for the holiday season if you don’t have one, and if you do, I think you would be hard-pressed to not enjoy Mario Odyssey.

I played pretty heavily since a midnight release on 10/27, got 500 stars and there are still plenty of things I did not complete. There are classic platforming sections as well as the 3D world content. This is a game made by people who wanted you to enjoy it and also played it themselves for pleasure.

Desktop Window Managers

I enjoy using multiple operating systems. I love Linux for performance but I have to say most of the window managers are nowhere near Windows or OS X in terms of control and keyboard shortcut operations. This is very rant filled of an opinion, as I do quite a bot of text editing work and am a huge user of Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab to navigate between multiple open windows. If may seem minor, but when editing multiple bash scripts, having to select your other window with the mouse instead of jumping tabs by keyboard… is clunky.

I guess the burden of choice also leads to an inconsistent UX in Linux distros. I would say we should step back and know that this is a limiting factor to having people fully switch from Windows or Mac OS. That stuff really matters over time on your day-to-day computer usage. Personally, I tend to manage my Linux installs over SSH from a Windows box, or occasionally a Mac as well. Hopefully this comes to become a little cleaner an operation on some Nix ditros, but as I mentioned, it’s difficult to get everyone to agree. One person’s issue is another person’s workflow to it working as intended.

This rant came up encoding videos, where my bash scripts were not simply a Ctrl+Tab, followed by a Ctrl+R to replace strings for the next output. When you are grinding out the repetitious stuff, shortcuts are helpful and can lead to better automation too. Depends on what you are up to, but the emphasis on a clean UX, is what gets people to invest (mentally and emotionally) to your platform.

Yay printed again

I am happy to say I was accepted for a submission I sent into 2600: The Hacker Quarterly that was printed in the current Autumn issue of Thirty-Four, Number Three. Debt Journey is the article name that narrates some of my experiences over the last few years. If you have feedback, either negative or supportive, please send it to letters@2600.com for the sake of dialog in the magazine. You can drop me a direct line too if so inclined, but I really enjoy the letters section, to be honest. It lends a little more validity to write a message than bang out some keyboard rage on twitter or wherever like that.

Besides that, go to some local meetups too. I don’t get out to a ton of them (different meetups) but I enjoy 2600 1st Fridays. It’s a nice way to meet locals in the area and despite what you may think, you do not need to be a super computer user to go. Just talk, maybe listen a little bit and you will likely have a fine time. Case in point relating to the printed article, it doesn’t really deal with technology at all. In all actuality, I have learned many great things from people also not in the tech space. It’s cool to hear how people problem-solve and can help you also hone your own observation and resolution skills.

Jolly Friday! 🙂

Culdcept Revolt

So Culdcept Saga was an awesome card game.  Think Magic the Gathering meets Monopoly.  We used to play this really heavily on Xbox 360 and Culdcept Revolt released on 3DS / 2DS on Oct 3rd.  I checked local gamestop stores but they seemed to have gotten a really small stock since no stores have it in the local immediate area.  So I grabbed it off Amazon.

I will add my codes and stuff if anyone else gets this and wants to play.  I saw this game was coming out over the last month or so and got pretty hyped about it.  In respect to series history, it seems to have started out on Dreamcast and first came to the states on Playstation 2.  The edition I became familar with was Culdcept Saga on Xbox 360.

If I had to guess, this will be a limited run game and become pretty rare here in the USA.  The Xbox 360 version came to fetch a good markup too over time, if I recall correctly. Edit: I went to a local center city gamestop and they told me 1 person pre-ordered it an picked it up.  So yes, very limited stock it seems, at least to gamestop stores.  I scooped a copy up from Amazon.

This game is quite good.  Especially if you played Culdcept Saga before.  Deck creation, battles, the map types you know and enjoy.  You get access to online content as you progress in the single player story.  The story content is not some mind blowing tale but it’s a good RPG story of a crew trying to defeat the nasty evil rival.  I’ve beat about 7 of the single player levels and continue to play.  Work your strats to have level chains with your lands, while trying to match creatures to land types.  Your base deck will be limited so work with that, then buy more booster packs in the store with your story credits.

There is also some paid DLC.  1 story quest with 3 battles is $4 USD and everything else is cosmetic content like dice skins, book covers and character outfits.  You can get the cosmetic content for around $30 USD extra but I only purchased the story content and downloaded the 2 free DLC items.  After a few battles you should have access to the normal in-game store and the online DLC store.

Playing this game on a dual-display system is incredibly nice.  Very smooth to view details, while you can also change map detail attributes with the right shoulder buttons.  If you want to see monster HP, Toll fees, etc.

Add me up on 3DS btw.  Nintendo still has the 12 digit friend codes for Switch and 3DS / 2DS.  My 2DS FC is:
4356-5252-5397
If you visit Philadelphia, you might catch my streetpass too.  I’m looking to get out for the Mario Odyssey event here on 10/24 too.

What’s up?

If you wanted to play any games, I’m mostly playing Nintendo Switch and PC games. The PC side is mostly exploring VR content. I added my Nintendo friend code in my profile / user block, so feel free to add me up. I have Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2 for multi and am replaying Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

In respect to security, 2017 is a rolling dumpster fire. It’s hard to link all the crazy breaches this year, but there seems to be a new one almost weekly at this point. Security is hard but I feel like lowest bid and lowest effort are a huge factor in many of these. Nothing is perfect but most of these seem to have forgotten basic practices. I tend to focus on how the systems are laid out, to then know what should not be open to the public internet. I have seen some thing that instill terror for sure.

Speaking of terror, VR horror games are insane. I only lightly dabbled in a few because being in a virtual horror world, is pretty creepy. I am also hoping Don’t Knock Twice gets locomotion support soon, so I can terrify myself a bit with that.

Another random note is some MicroSD cards I bought failed, but it turns out SanDisk has 10 year warranty. Emailed support, sent front and back pics of cards, then got a shipping label to return them. Yay to having some extra storage for the switch and whatever else around the house. Winding down here to say Happy Fall! I’m looking forward to the temperature dropping a little bit since 80 F+ temps are a little much for me.

I forgot to mention a RetroUSB HDMI NES console showed up a couple of weeks ago. Playing Nintendo classic games directly outputted to HDMI is super crisp. It took several months for my order to come in from the manufacturer but I am really a big fan of this console. Between the day job, a little side-work and researching, I like to try and relax with some games. That’s not much of a shock if you have been to these forums before.

Enjoy the upcoming Halloween season! 🙂

I have also been doing extra consultation work to help someone get their backups running, an idea of what they have on the network and some performance tuning. That tends to put new projects here on the site pretty low on the list, as you may be able to tell with the CMS on the page index.

It’s not the most appealing task, but I see so many places lacking documentation. Like what do you have here, let alone how does it work? Are these things getting patched and what do they connect to? I dabble in lots of things but I hold on to being a generalist, since it helps me have a good understanding of how things work and how to fix them in a pinch and to try optimize them. I have done a little work with DevOps but I kind of chuckle if the premise is to spawn a new server instance in the event of a failure without seeing why it failed. That would be an automated fail loop. Haha I get it, some people gotta go fast and do not have the time to check their work. I’m not saying everyone ignores the failures and means to fix them, but it seems easy to shrug off an issue if you can spin up a new environment in the event of fail, and presume all is well until the next time.

I remain to enjoy naps. Also occasionally leeching free wifi to play online games. Walking dogs is what’s up too.
I still crawl around social networks a bit, but some days I consider deleting my accounts. I did that on MySpace but then someone just relaunched my username with their account. Hahaha, good times.

Pi-Hole

Pi Rasperry Pi-Hole config quide:
Howdy and welcome to another thread.  I have a history of not being a fan of advertisements and do not run those banners on this site.  Besides a security concern, I think advertisement gets really creepy online.
Pi-Hole is an Operating System with dns capabilties and use of adblocking lists.  The added benefit of the request being denied even without plugin-based web browsing, is pretty handy.

Before you install, be sure if you are using a RaspberryPi or whatever device, that your user password is one of your own.  You do not want to go default with your LAN traffic.  If you wanna log a fun time, you can use one of these for short-term logging a little CTF monitoring style.  Logs are configured to purge after a few days on your standard Pi-Hole install. Please be sure to update your OS image with latest patches via said package manager.  In my case I set the primary network connection to a static address.  I have the service connection IP address details to use the actual router as DNS server.  Since all your other network DNS will be set to the fixed IP Address you bound to your Pi-Hole installed device.
SSH is likely disabled.  I like to administer my SSH session by serial to usb in the case of my Raspberry Pi installs.

Follow the install guide and advisory on their site about the bash | pipe install.  Quick comes at a trade off when you do not review the install process part for part.  If you go for the easy install and read the disclaimer, you can run the single line install:

curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash

This thread is for administering and keeping yours updated, as with my configuration I ran into update issues using just the one connection.  Details ahead cover enabling a second connection to fetch updates, since you will have the primary network connection with a set IP address that handles DNS requests handed off from your router / main DNS device on your network.

To do updates to the OS and Pi-Hole local web services device / OS, I disable the service network connection to resolve conflicts of web requests to get out locally.  All the LAN clients will be fine getting pages.  In this case, I suspect the localhost calls in the Pi-Hole logs relate to my network layout and the device being bound to serve back to itself.  When logged into the [deviceIP]/admin configuration page I would also get failures to resolve list update servers.

Having plugged in a second USB NIC or using Wireless as an update connection, I ran the following commands to handle my network adapters.  Turning off the static address service NIC. In most cases likely eth0 as shown below

sudo ifconfig eth0 down

Do some pings and the like to see they should now resolve.  Do your updates etc for the OS.  In my case, Raspbian on a Pi 3.

Once those finish, load up the Web Admin panel for your Pi-hole install. Get your ip address for the active network connection with:

ifconfig

Connect to that IP address in a web browser and add ‘/admin’ into the address bar at the end of the IP Address without the quotes around the path.

Login with your admin password to the admin panel and you should now be able to see updates are pending.  You need to start with the FTL update.  To do this, return to your SSH session.  As I mentioned I am working with serial over USB, but you can enable SSH over network if you so desire.  One more service for a network heavy component, so choose of your own accord in concern to security to conveinence.
On that SSH console, run:

pihole -up

Wait for the updater to get and deploy the new FTL version.  You will likely also be treated to the Web Interface and Pi-Hole version also being to current revisions.  Great!  Almost updated and running live AdBlocking again.
Still on your console, seeing the update completed you want to turn back on the main network connection we disabled for updating.

sudo ifconfig eth0 up

Overviewing network setup above:
Main Internet router will be your DNS server on the Pi-Hole device.  Manually set client DNS or change your DHCP server to set client DNS to the static address of your Pi-Hole install. (192.168.0.1 default-ish router)  Check your current IP config to get details if you do not know current network base configuration.
On the Pi-Hole install, set the primary network adapter to an address in that subnet (say 192.168.0.10)  Make sure DHCP server /or/ router will not also try to assign that address in it’s pool.  The Pi-Hole DNS primary will be set to your local router (as above default-ish router 192.168.0.1)

I hope to have avoided huge gaps or inflected confusion in this thread. Jolly adblocking.  Even if you like making money from it, you have to know it is a vulnerable vector and kind of a shaky market.  I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m sharing details to help block them on places that run them without respect to visitors.