Like it says on the tin. Pretty nice week!
GENERAL GOAL CHECKLIST:
COURSE 1: CALCULUS 101:
HOMEWORK 1: DONE!
HOMEWORK 2: DONE!
HOMEWORK 3: DONE!
HOMEWORK 4: DONE!
HOMEWORK 5: DONE!
QUIZ 1: DONE!
QUIZ 2: DONE!
QUIZ 3: DONE!
QUIZ 4: DONE!
COURSE 2: COMPSCI 111:
QUIZ 1: DONE!
LAB 1: DONE!
LAB EXAM 1:
LAB EXAM 2:
LAB EXAM 3:
LAB EXAM 4:
Monday: Tough day. We made some dumb mistakes on our last group quiz in math that cost us a ton of points, I’ll have to be more careful on everyone’s behalf next time. Then it was off to compsci lecture, that wasn’t really anything. Then I went to eat and just dropped off to :zzz:
Tuesday: Another day off. Made a few edits to my project, went out to eat, played a bit of Crying Suns, then studied math some. I’d call this day a win ;D
Wednesday: ‘Nother tough day. Another grueling course of calculus, followed by a thankfully easy quiz in compsci recital, and then another compsci lecture, followed by another nice nap at home. Thank God Thursdays are off for me too…but man, math is getting harder. We’re working on derivatives now and that’s very difficult for me, argh.
Thursday: Gotta love days off. Got another 2 math HWs done with, then played more Crying Suns, and also published another entry on the job hunt. Productive day!
Friday: No math class on Fridays, yay! Just another compsci lecture and then a compsci lab, which was thankfully pretty easy. This was a very fun day, if not super productive, I spent all day reading Hometown by Matthew Keville. Very nice, though tomorrow I’m gonna have to really study some math, as I’m having trouble with these derivatives in calculus…
Saturday: Spent a LOT of time hardcore studying math, and also published a small review of my first semester I thought I already had! Dunno why it didn’t go through. Also made some more edits on my project, as a book came out recently by John Skalko I had to acknowledge. The editing struggle never ends…
Sunday: Went out to eat, did more edits on my project, and studied more math. Good times!
Things I Had To Finish This Week:
Just homework and studying.
None this week.
Things to Do Next Week:
See if I can get to a career counseling appointment, maybe an academic advising one too. Also gotta get ready for the next batch of quizzes and shizz…
Crying Suns. This is a sci-fi roguelike that’s *sorta* like FTL. In the far future, humanity has been unified across thousands of worlds under the leadership of the immortal Emperor Oberon, but it has become completely dependent on sentient androids called OMNIs. One day, all the OMNIs shut down, leaving humanity completely helpless! But as chaos spreads throughout the Empire, a clone of one of its greatest heroes, Ellys Idaho, awakens on a frontier planet isolated from the rest of the OMNIs. Guided by Kaliban, the only OMNI who apparently was not deactivated, he must choose a ship and a crew of clones along with weaponry and upgrades to make his way across the galaxy to figure out what happened…and of course, every time he dies, he’s re-cloned on the frontier planet and is set on his quest again.
In terms of gameplay? Much like FTL, you get to choose a single starting ship (unlocking more as you progress through the game) from choices with different capabilities in terms of weaponry, armor, fighters, and so on, choose officers to man weapons or squadrons to give slight benefits to those systems, and then make your way across 6 regions of the galaxy, each divided into 3 sectors (with bosses at the end of each, the regional boss at the end of the third), each of which is itself divided into a bunch of nodes. It costs 1 point of fuel to jump from node to node, if you run out, it’s game over, but you can buy more fuel with scrap you find in your travels or loot from defeated enemies (scrap is sort of this game’s currency). Now, every node in the game has a little event associated with it–sometimes its positive (friends give you more weapons or resources or whatever), other times its negative (enemies spring nasty surprises on you, damaging your ship), and other times it’s just nothing. But all of it is randomly procedurally generated. One nice thing I like about the game, though, is that if you die you can start over in the last region you were in rather than having to play through the entire game again, a la FTL or true roguelikes. Some folks might not like that, but ’twas good for me.
As you can imagine, you spend a lot of time fighting, but combat is a little different than it was in FTL. As in FTL, your ship stays still as you face off against the enemy’s, and you also spend most of the battle waiting for your guns to charge up then clicking on the parts (systems, i.e weapons or squadrons) of the enemy ship you want them to fire at, but MUCH more emphasis is placed on squadrons of fighters, which both ships have. Battles now have a hexagonal grid between your two ships, where you can move your fighters (the different types of which have a rough rock-paper-scissors of which beats which) and have them fight in real-time, and over the course of the game buying better squadrons of fighters is very important. The other difference between this game and FTL is the addition of planetary expeditions. Your ship has a certain number of ground soldiers (you can buy more at mercenary outposts), and on some planets you can send them down to hopefully get more scrap or weapons or whatnots–their success depends on the skills of their commanding officer you suspect; you get lots of loot with the right mix of skills, but with the wrong ones, all your soldiers will die, and if they run out you can’t send them down anymore.
First, the bad. Like I said, there are 6 regions total with 2 sectors each, so 18 sectors, each of which has about a dozen nodes, but visiting those nodes takes time as well as fuel (a la FTL); if you run out of time you fight tough, useless battles. It got a little repetitive for me at the end…most fights can be beat with relatively similar strategies once you get a good variety of squadrons, weapons, and upgrades, and there aren’t that many events; I only played through the game once and I already saw several events being repeated. Same with the planetary events, by the end of my run I was just waiting for my soldiers to finish their jaunts and get back to the ship.
However, the repetitive nature of the game is outweighed by its two strengths. First, the graphics. It’s pixelated, like FTL, but unlike FTL, it’s in 3d. That’s the best way I can describe it, it looks REALLY cool in motion. You just gotta watch it. Second, the plot is astonishingly strong. I wish I could say more than that but I can’t, because there are some huge surprises as you go through the game. Idaho and his crew are genuine characters, unlike the faceless crewmen of FTL, and the desire to learn more of his mysterious background, and what really caused the OMNI machines to shut down, kept me hooked, and I don’t wanna spoil anyone! All I’ll say is that the tagline says it was inspired by Dune and Foundation, and that’s sorta true, but don’t expect a retread of Herbert or Asimov. So yeah, definitely check it out–I got it on sale, but if you ask me it’s worth full price!
Hometown by Matthew Keville. This was a surprising delight. Essentially, a spooky, centuries-old horror has started to rise yet again in a very small New York town, infecting the populace except for a small group of teens (with attitude!) who have to make their last stand–and, of course, there’s more to the horror than initially meets the eye.
When I started reading this story, I thought it was OK, but by the time I got halfway through I was completely hooked and absolutely could not put it down. Call me a softy, but that may be because of the characters. Now, I’ll admit it’s a little cliched–the ‘good guys’ are artsy types, the town’s one Hispanic girl, and a lesbian, and a couple of other residents of the local high school defined by being generally decent human beings (tolerant, not racist/homophobic, and so on), while the bad guys (as the story goes on) are those who are either prejudiced in such ways or simply like dominating the weak, and it’s such people–much of the town–the evil exploits. So yeah, no points for originality, but man, I really ended up liking all of the protagonists and was genuinely invested in seeing them triumph over the evil. Without spoiling too much, that kept me completely glued to the story. They had such a great chemistry between all of them.
Aside from that, it’s competently written, and portrays small-town life (in both its good and bad aspects) quite well. Again, no spoilers, but while the evil beastie wasn’t the scariest thing ever, it’s unveiled in a satisfying manner and it is just scary enough for the purposes of this story. There’s plenty of gore, and a lot of sex too, so I wouldn’t recommend this for young readers of course, but honestly…despite the story being set in the 90s, it really gave me an 80s horror feel–a bunch of sympathetic “outsider” highschoolers having to band together and beat an ancient horror in such a way that you’ll be feeling good at the end.
There are a couple of flaws, IMO. First, as other reviewers have noted, there are so many characters it can get hard to keep track of them; I think the author might have done well to have a smaller band of protagonists. Secondly, and mild spoilers, but there’s one townsperson who’s working with the ancient evil, and it’s really easy to tell who, I spotted him a mile away, which made the climactic reveal much less gripping. So for those minor dings I’d give this a 4.5, but Amazon doesn’t let you give half points so I’m bumping this up to a 5. Definitely got my money’s worth! 😀
This entry on what sort of jobs I should be looking for:
Also posted an entry that should have gone up last month:
Also, as I mentioned above, moar edits on my project. So yeah, between the playin, readin, and studyin, I’d say I had a damn good week! Very productive!