Just got through the first week (out of 14) of my second semester…It’s not so bad. Thankfully I’m only taking 2 courses (so I’m a part time student), which makes it a little less stressful.
GENERAL GOAL CHECKLIST:
COURSE 1: CALCULUS 101:
HOMEWORK 1: DONE!
QUIZ 1: DONE!
COURSE 2: COMPSCI 111:
LAB EXAM 1:
LAB EXAM 2:
LAB EXAM 3:
LAB EXAM 4:
Monday: Got access to the online components of my courses early in the morning today. God damn, a little over 30 bucks each for both of them…it’d be even more if I bothered with the physical textbooks. College sure loves nickel and diming ya…
Then I went and attended my classes. Both went easy enough. My Calc 101 class seems like it might be a decent chunk of work, but the prof says we’ll be able to take quizzes in groups (the tests will be solo, ofc), so that might make things a little easier. My compsci class, on the other hand, looks to be pretty much just like my intro class, except with the lab component from my Bio class–I have to do work on the computers in the computer labs, and every lab I have a quiz or two. Well, no biggie.
Tuesday: Studied calc a bit and spent the rest of the day hanging out and eating. My editor also got back to me with some suggestions about the latest draft of my project. Yeah, editing takes time, but it’s worth it, I think he’s made some sizable improvements. It may be a while before it’s ready to go (still waiting on someone to write a foreword for it) but it’s gettin there ;D
Wednesday: Went to my first set of “real” classes. Math was pretty fun, actually, working in groups reminded me of being a kid back in middle and high school. The compsci lecture was simple enough too, just a review of some things I learned in Compsci 101. Then I went home and watched a little more No Guns Life.
Thursday: No classes today, thank God. I like having extra days off, having to go back to uni every day (especially in the mornings) kinda wears me down. Just watched some more No Guns Life and studied.
Friday: Played some Phantom Doctrine and took care of my first Calculus HW. Also got mah Blasphemous physical artbook in the mail! It’s REALLY nice.
Saturday: Studied a bit and played more phantom doctrine.
Sunday: Same as above.
Things I Had To Finish This Week
Nothing in particular other than a quiz and math hw.
Nothing accomplished on that front this week, but no biggie.
Things to Do Next Week:
I really should see a career counselor for some advice on gettin’ the sort of jerbs I’d really like, I might write an entry about this later.
Nothing this week, Star’s on vacay~
Finally marathoned No Guns Life. I gotta be straight up, this series isn’t the *most* original thing I’ve ever read. The hero is a hard-boiled cyborg detective who says he hates kids but is actually a big softy who’s good with kids (what a surprise) and his strong sense of justice (and desire to find answers about his mysterious military past) leads him to fight the big, evil German corporation that controls his megacity and conducts unethical experiments on people (usually turning them into cyborgs whose minds are completely controlled by implants or other things) in a world where cyborgs are commonplace. Yeah, it’s like something you’d expect from Shadowrun or some other cyberpunk setting.
Still, the anime carries out this sorta-cliche’d plot with aplomb and style. The designs are really cool, I love Juzo (the protagonist’s) gun-head and most of the other mecha looks pretty cool. He’s not the most original protag, but he’s very likable, as are the other characters (Tetsuro, who’s pretty much his sidekick, the mechanic girl, Juzo’s needle-throwing rival, etc). IMO Juzo is sorta overpowered, but still, the fights are a lot of fun to watch. The detective bits, which start showing up in episode 6, are also pretty interesting. The way the story unfolds–as we see the heroes get more and more enmeshed in various conspiracies relating to both the evil corporation (Beruhen), ordinary cyborgs who just got enhanced to improve their quality of life, and a terrorist group (Spitzberugen) that wants to destroy all cyborgs–is also very compelling and intelligent, and does a great deal to keep the viewer hooked. In general, that sums up the series pretty well. It’s not a world-shaking cyberpunk anime and it might not stay with you long after you watch it, but it’s a straight-up fun ride. Music is excellent too. Can’t ask for much more than that. Gonna check out the second season in April, most def!
Phantom Doctrine. This is essentially just like the Firaxis X-COM games, except set in the 1980s in the Cold War rather than the far future, sort of like Xenonauts, but you’re fighting against humans rather than aliens–specifically an Illuminati-like conspiracy called the Beholder Initiative. You do the same things, more or less, as you did in XCOM and XCOM 2: You have a central base you can upgrade and update (though you can’t change its layout like in the original XCOM from the 90s) to get you more money and better equipment, and you have to defend various cities across the globe from the nefarious machinations of your opponent–which you do by launching tactical missions from a 3D isometric perspective where each of your characters can either move twice or shoot.
However, this game adds a new twist on the formula. In the Firaxis XCOMs, EVERYTHING was random-number-based, more or less. You would get bonuses to hit based on whether or not your target was in full or half cover, but it was still a roll of the dice–you could conceivably miss a shot with a 99% chance to hit when standing *right next* to an alien just due to the RNG, which was very annoying. However, there’s none of that in Phantom Doctrine. Every shot does a fixed amount of damage based on both the cover the target is in (if you’re in full cover you’re only “grazed,” while standing out in the open means one shot will usually kill you) and a stat called “awareness” which allows you to dodge shots entirely, but once it runs out you’ll start taking full damage. I really appreciated this, it massively reduces a lot of the frustration in combat due to randomness.
You also don’t need to fight that much if you don’t want to. Unlike the XCOM games, since this game involves spies and espionage, you can get your guys disguises and such that let you just waltz through whole stages if they have the right skills (namely the Actor perk/skill) and plant bombs, steal files, assassinate with sniper rifles, etc. So that’s also fun, though it can get frustrating when your cover is blown because the notification only appears on screen for like a fraction of a second.
So yeah, the game is fun and compelling, but I have to say, in terms of setting, much as I like it, I think I understand why an alien opponent is so popular in these planetary defense simulators (XCOM as well as Phoenix Point). There are two reasons. First, in Phantom Doctrine, the enemies you face stay essentially constant throughout the game. Yeah, their abilities improve–they get better armor and weaponry, some skills and perks, and so on–but fundamentally they operate just like your agents. When fighting an alien opponent, however, there’s so much variety. XCOM has multiple enemy types that not only get stronger over the course of the game but do very different things. You start off fighting weak aliens or stormtroopers that can only pew pew at your guys, but then you mean shapeshifters or mind-controllers, then those terrifying Chryssalids that can spawn more of themselves, and finally late-game enemies like the Sectopod mecha, which use artillery and very heavy armor. The same applies to Phoenix Point, where you start with standard Anthron mooks, who advance to artillery Chirons and shapeshifting Tritons and then to mind-controlling Sirens (though there was supposed to be a LOT more stuff…;_; )Not only is there more of a sense of progression, i.e the game throwing more advanced enemies at you as you master more and more of its systems, but it also keeps the game from getting repetitive.
The same also applies to the advancement of your troops. Again, there’s some of that in Phantom Doctrine–you start off with relatively weak pistols, submachine guns, and so on, and by the end of it you have all sorts of ammo types, explosives, and so on. There are also base upgrades to unlock and all that. However, for the most part (aside from some spoilery things I don’t wanna mention here), all the tech you can get is ‘normal’ weaponry from the 80s–bulletproof vests, better guns (going from Uzis to MP5s) and so on. In XCOM and Phoenix Point games, you obviously get scifi stuff, starting with “normal” assault weapons and going to lasers, railguns, power armor, and so on. Now, that wouldn’t be appropriate for a game like Phantom Doctrine, but still, it gives you much more an impression of getting stronger and advancing, since there’s not as much difference between an uzi and an MP5 as there is between an assault rifle and a plasma caster!
There’s also a fair bit of repetition, unfortunately. One of the other aspects of the game is a “investigation analysis.” There, you put all the secret files you gather on missions on a board and attempt to draw connections between their keywords to find the identities of enemy agents or locations of Bases. Despite the cool, spy-fiction idea, in practice this is really repetitive, nothing more than a word-matching game. They would have done better to remove it entirely, IMO.
Still, Phantom Doctrine is very fun, and really gets across the feel of operating a spy ring and doin’ all that Spy vs. Spy stuff. The lack of RNG is also very much appreciated. So yeah, definitely a worthy buy! Too bad its creators went out of business…;_;
Just studyan math and compsci. This stuff about limits in my calc class doesn’t seem so bad…
Nothin. Ergh, I made some annoying little errors–accidentally made edits to an old draft of my project–that my editor is trying to sort out. Argh, well, thankfully he’s not mad at me. I gotta be really careful next time!
Anyways, pretty good week. Math is definitely harder than it was last semester, but strangely enough, nothing I can’t handle. Might write an entry about that too, later 😀