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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn

I just started playing Horizon Zero Dawn. I've basically finished the tutorial sections and done a couple of the side missions. I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far; I love the aesthetic with the beautiful scenery and the strange robots, the story is very intriguing so far and it's being told very well. I'm not completely sold on the Farcry-like crafting system, and the experience/skills system looks a little bit light for something that otherwise feels like an RPG, but they should be fine.

The game controls well, though I wish I could remap a couple of functions, Specifically I would like to put roll on a shoulder button: if I'm rolling it's probably to avoid a charging enemy, in which case he's probably not in my screen anymore and I will need to spend time finding him again. With roll on a face button I have to stop controlling the camera while rolling, if it was on a shoulder I would be able to track the enemy while rolling, which would be much better. I've been saying this for more than ten years now: there's simply no excuse not to allow the player the ability to remap his controls any way he pleases. I'm thinking about picking up one of those fancy controllers, perhaps I'll be able to remap the controls that way if I do plunk down the cash for one.

So... Rost has just sent Aloy off to find some stuff, and there seemed to be something bothering him. Now there's any number of things that it could be, but for some reason I have this strange suspicion that he's going to die, and he knows it. He mentions that there's something he hasn't taught her, and for some reason I just keep thinking it's a lesson that requires his death. Probably paranoid, but it's hardly unusual for writers to kill a character in order to provide motivation for the protagonist and/or free them up to go on a solo adventure.

Only one way to find out I guess.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Other days

I work in a very small team. Our project manager just left this week, which leaves our team very diminished and without guidance or direction.

The Khador forums, which I enjoy a great deal and visit five or six times a day, just closed down yesterday and might not be going back up.

I just got a phone call from my family a few minutes ago telling me that our cat just died.

Yeah, I just.... whatever. At this point it feels like nothing is going anywhere. I have neither direction nor motivation right now.

I needed some electrical connectors for my (currently non-functional) CNC machine. I went to the only shop that I knew to sell those kinds of things, that has been around for at least a decade (if not two decades or more). It had closed down. It was there the last time I was in the area a few weeks ago, but now it's gone. This really has been a time of things just going wrong. Not everything of course, but quite a number of things big and small have either suddenly gone wrong, or their slow decline has come to a head. At least that's how it feels.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Some days

I had a rather depressing thought today. First some context.

I just took a week off from work. I was hoping to relax and also to get a ton of stuff done. Stupid I know; relaxing and getting stuff done are two mutually exclusive activities. Well, tomorrow I go back to the office, and I have only managed to achieve a small fraction of what I had hoped to do, but I didn't get much "relaxing" done either. To be fair I had fun, I spent quality time with friends and family, so it wasn't time wasted, but... I don't think I ever actually stopped feeling stressed.

There's many reasons for it of course, but one of them is that things are really weird at work. I don't know what's going to happen next month; I could end up in a different team, a different company, a different sector, or just unemployed. Well, I've kind of felt that way on and off for... a long time now. This job just hasn't given me much in the way of job security.

Not having good job security is a bit uncomfortable when you're "trying to get on the property ladder". I've been investing in a flat for a while now. Well, it looks like the project fell apart, and I have currently started legal proceedings to try to get my money back. Fun stuff.

For several months now I've been trying to get into CNC machining. It's been harder than I expected; I'm trying to get into it on the cheap, but it turns out doing it that way requires certain skills that I don't posses. Well, I've been making progress, but it's been very slow. That's at least partly because I've just been having trouble getting anything done lately, for various reasons. Anyway, in the last couple of weeks I've finally managed to carve actual designs into actual wood.

That was pretty exciting; in fact it got me all fired up and I immediately put down a fair bit of money on tools and materials to hopefully allow me to produce actual useful items. While waiting for that stuff to arrive, I slowly started trying to produce more complex pieces, solving problems as they showed up. But one problem that I started to encounter was my computer just randomly crashing mid-carve. I figured this was a good time to update my operating system; perhaps that would make the issue go away? A fresh start seemed best, so I did a clean install of the newest version of the OS. Now it... still crashes, but in a different way. Sigh. Well, at least I was able to find some possible fixes for this new crash, which I will test out if it keeps happening.

A fresh OS meant re-installing the controller software, which was a pain - and probably used up most of my remaining internet bandwidth for the month. Oh, did I mention that I moved recently (one of the other reasons why I haven't made as much progress on the CNC thing as I would have liked), and so far they haven't installed internet yet, so I've been using expensive and limited bandwidth through my phone? Good times.

Anyway, I finally got it up and running again, ready to carve at last. And just as I prepared to try to run a job, the spindle stopped. No idea why, it just... stopped. I poked around the controller box a little bit, but I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to electronics, so I couldn't fix it. I'm fairly confident that the problem is the controller and not the spindle; that could make it cheaper to fix (at least if I knew what I was doing), if not easier. But I'm pretty much going to have to spend some time online figuring out how to fix it, order some parts that will take weeks to arrive (possibly even a month or more), then hope that I was right about the problem and it starts working again, otherwise... I dunno, buy a whole new spindle, controller, and power source, and try to find a way to mount them on the (not very modular) CNC frame I currently have? Plop down a huge amount of money (that I can't afford) on a higher-quality system that should work much more smoothly right out of the box? I don't know, but I don't think I'm going to be making much progress for the next few weeks.

I was probably stupid for trying to get into a new hobby anyway, seeing as I already have one: Warmachine, and tabletop gaming in general. Well, I say that, but I haven't actually played a game in over two months, and it's been over four months since I've played Warmachine.

But I can still paint, right? Yes, except... well, my first attempt this year ended in disaster. After that I decided to power through the X-Men, hoping to get to a point where I could try the Marvel miniatures game with my friends. But after the first one I basically stalled, getting almost no painting done in like three weeks. Then I found out that Knight Models has dropped the Marvel license, so the X-Men basically have a shelf life as far as gaming goes.

Since moving to the new place I've been trying to get into a better routine; waking up early, getting a bit of exercise, eating healthier, that sort of thing. For a while I seemed to be making a bit of progress, but in the last few weeks that's all stopped. I'm feeling quite guilty about how much sugar and junk food I've been eating lately.

I've been trying to find a really good pen. Long story, but in the last couple of months I've spent more than I would have expected to on a number of pens that I hoped would be what I was looking for, and they have pretty much all let me down. Like, I've bought reasonably expensive pens that just flat out did not work. What's up with that?

Oh, and my flat is suddenly full of flying ants or termites or something. This seems to happen like once a month? I don't know what it is, could there be eggs in the furniture or something? Or are they getting in from outside somehow?

So what was the depressing thought?
My job status is uncertain.
My investing in a home has fallen apart.
My wargaming hobby might not exist anymore.
My miniature paining is just not happening.
My CNC experiments are failing.
My attempts at improving my health, fitness, and daily routine have stalled.
I can't even seem to buy a damned pen that works well.

All of a sudden it feels like my whole life is failing. I've been dividing my time between several pursuits, and right now they all seem to be going south at the same time.

Somehow the idea doesn't have much impact though; I'm just kind of resigned to it I guess. Well, that and I do know that going through a rough patch isn't the end of the world. Honestly, I could use some change right now, so the fact that some things aren't working could be a good thing in the long run. For example, if I do get the CNC spindle working again, it might actually solve a big problem that I had with the system before and I was simply working around rather than putting the effort in to actually fix, meaning it could be a net gain when all is said and done. Perhaps the same could be true for some other items on that list. Right now, I sure hope so.