Monday, October 4, 2010

My strange life: #1

I want to talk about it. Whatever it is. I stare at this Swiss Army knife and then I stare some more. It hits me like white lightning. It's perfect. It was manufactured from a sound design, made by people who cared about its quality, forged by hands that craft a million others like it. And they're all perfect. They're made with discipline, and oversight—descending from foresight.

I stare at the multi-tool, the genius of it speaks to me. Strange as that may seem, I can sense it's imbued with greatness, the greatness and ingenuity of humanity. And I want a piece. I've always wanted a piece of that genius.

Whether it's hubris or long-experienced recognition, I'm a smart dude. Yet, I've never completed something as smart as the Swiss Army knife. That saddens me, but doesn't surprise me. At 23, I recount how many times my willpower has failed me, lack of willpower. How many times I've had great ideas with terrible execution. How many times have I competed at something and not tried to identify the goal of the competition?

These ramblings are scarily coherent, and hopefully they don't resonate with any of you. Hopefully anyone reading this feels they've had a more productive life than I've had. Luckily, my life is far from over; this reflection helps me keep the faith that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. Just like my teacher told me in the 1st grade.

Contributor's post: something I forgot to put up, but it's worth the read

As I was at work today (I work at a high school as an IT tech), a student, we will call him Willy, came in and asked if he could stand there for a minute to cool down. He’s a chubby kid, black, and has an attitude. Since it’s blazing freaking hot in Georgia I naturally sympathized with him and told him he could. While I was standing there working on a computer, Willy asked where our clock went. I then proceeded to point behind me and show him where the clock was on the wall. I didn’t think much of it, because he could just be totally oblivious. Then he asked again, I pointed to the clock once more, but Willy asked for a digital clock. Starting to figure out what was going on I cover up all the digital clocks he tried to look at and told him to tell me the time on the real clock. My suspicions proved true and Willy can’t tell time. Trying to help him along I told him that the minute hand was on the 10, he told me it was 3:40 PM. After that it was silent, Willy then asked if I was calling him dumb, naturally I responded by saying no. He kept at it though, this time asking me if it was because he was black that I was doing this to him.

That’s where my point comes into play here. Has our society been so dumbed down and favored that our high school age children can’t even tell time? Is the world becoming so favored that knowing how to read a normal clock is becoming ancient knowledge? To make matters worse people are starting to look at it as a stereotype, just like Willy. Where do you think America is going now?

-Brian

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Ode to Youtube Addiction

I'm an addict. There's no rehab for my addiction, or maybe there is, but who cares. Learning from watching Youtube videos of the games of I play, being played by better players than me, well, I just can't stop myself. I cast TF2 matches now on www.livestream.com/ubersamba. I've learned from watching extine, day9, Husky, HD, Crota, and others.

So I'll be doing a series of reviews of casters. Just mentioning it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Covert Missions - Breakout

Best mission in the game, really. It's actually even more fun at higher difficulties because Tosh's kill count will end on the absurd. Immediately push Tosh forward, but conserve his energy until you come to the first main base. Whenever you come to a base, always take down detectors, then siege first. Raynor's forces can handle anything except for siege. When you break through the lines, destroy the units, leave Raynor's forces to handle the buildings. Keep pushing forward, softening up Dominion troops for Raynor's forces as best you can, but never stop moving. Kill the ghost and cast consumption on a friendly marauder. To free the first set of prisoners, edge around the detector, go west through the vehicles, then north slightly, turn on your psi shield and kill the detector, then the siege, then cast the your AOE infantry dmg. Clean that up. Go south and up the little ramp on the west. Kill the raven patrolling, then the siege to the left. Move back down to the mouth of the base, psi shield and take down the detector, then any siege remaining. Then focus down bunkers and any scvs repairing bunkers. Same deal, kill troops, but leave buildings for Raynor to destroy. Freeing the second set of prisoners is also easy. Psi shield to take down the raven, then clean up the rest. You might have to cast your AOE spell on the infantry while taking down the raven if you're taking too much damage. Move on to the next base. Psi shield the detectors when Raynor's forces are there to back you up, move behind the entrance and take out the siege behind the walls, then finish off the bunkers. Move up, nuke the detectors, clean up, then move up again nuke the detectors, especially the ones on the northwest of the final base, since that's where siege and bunkers are concentrated. Make sure you take down the planetary fortress before taking down any production buildings, and Raynor's forces should do the rest.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Covert Missions - Welcome to the Jungle

Pain in the ass mission if you want to get the relics. There's one outside your base to the east. There's one just below the main protoss base in the northwest in somewhat of a nook, and there's one in the northeast corner of the map perched behind a photon cannon and some enemy troops. Get your economy up quickly. Build up goliaths, marauders, medics, and a couple of marines. Send them to destroy the two mini bases to the west, and then the one to the east. Send your scvs to collect the terrazine and protect them in between attack the Protoss bases. Make sure you have a bunker at the northeaster entrance of your base filled with marines. Also, have a few scvs accompany your goliaths for healing. Constantly attack or defend, no downtime whatsoever. Also prevent toss from capping terrazine, but at the same time never leave a scv collecting terrazine undefended. Expand to the eastern mini-base, but make sure you fill a bunker with marines there. If you want to get fancy and destroy the northern main enemy base for the feat of strength, make sure you always focus down pylons and air units first, as your ground army should be comprised of mostly goliaths and marauders.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Covert Missions - The Devil's Playground

Don't build a single additional scv in this mission. Immediately build 1 refinery and send 2 scvs to collect gas. Build a second barracks, 1 with tech lab, 1 with reactor. Pump out marines, medics, and a handful of reapers. It's actually quicker (and more fun) to kill the Zerg bases for the cash than to just simply mine. Immediately send some forces northeast and get the second command center with additional scvs and reapers. Send the command center and scvs back west and mine the 2 patches west of your main base. Keep pumping out troops and reinforcing. The northeastern Zerg base is the only one with mutalisks, so leave that one for last. Make your way through the Zerg bases counter-clockwise starting from the south and working your way up. Focus spine crawlers down with reapers and kill hatcheries next. Remember to micro back reapers for healing. Medics are key, and you only really need marines in this mission to take down the mutas, so go heavy on medics and reapers. While you're attacking, build bunkers on the eastern and southern entrances of your base and fill them with marines. Make sure you're checking all the ledges with your reapers to snatch up the resources. If it looks like you're killing bases with ease, stop building troops. If you want the Red Lobster achievement, here's how. Take about 3 - 5 reapers and send them to the brutalisk when the countdown is at 1 minute to 45 seconds. Attack the brutalisk and slowly kite your reapers to the eastern exit of the brutalisk "island." Kite the brutalisk as far out in the lava as you can and when the time is running down, hop your reapers back up west to the brutalisk "island" and laugh as the monster pulls a Houdini disappearing act. If keep destroying bases and picking up minerals, you'll beat the mission very quickly. Just keep a few marines at your base in case mutas come to attack your scvs. Bunkers will easily protect against zerglings.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Colonist Missions - Haven's Fall

This mission is even easier than Safe Haven, even though it's slightly longer. The key is a combination of Banshees and Vikings. Send your vikings over to the immediate eastern Virophage base. Have your vikings destroy all the air units here. Quickly build a banshee to take out the ground forces. Send your ground troops there to help clean up. Build more banshees and then some vikings to kill that base easily. Now keep building an army of 3:1 Vikings to Banshees, garrison ground forces at your base, and don't build any more ground forces. Build a bunker at the southern entrance to your base. Take your Vikings and Banshees and destroy the far eastern base next, taking time to macro down the spore crawlers first. Regroup your air forces and attack the northern base from either side in a concentrated attack. Don't attack frontally, because there are hydras guarding it. Again, macro down the spore crawlers. Regroup and reinforce and attack the southern Zerg base from either the west or eastern side, again, not frontally. At this point, you'll have a silly amount of Vikings and Banshees to clean up the base expediently. Push your forces hard and the mission will be over in record time.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Colonist Missions - Safe Haven

Start up the economy and build nothing but Vikings for the rest of the mission. Build a bunker at the south-eastern entrance of your base and fill it. Send some Vikings east and destroy that base with ease. Build up a second starport, put reactors on both, and keep pumping out Vikings. Remember to build an armory to upgrade weapons, then armor. Eventually send the Vikings to the south-eastern nexus to destroy that. Remember to set all your Vikings into assault when the scouts are dead. Destroy the Nexus, ignore the rest of the buildings if you want, and reinforce. Go along the western edge of the map with your Vikings and take out the final nexus. There's a lot of air (scouts/carriers) here, so use the Vikings' superior range to your advantage. Kill the nexus as fast as you can. By this point you should have a bunch of vikings in the south, and bunch up north that you've recently built but haven't combined. Good, keep it that way. Send all your ground forces to the town that the Protoss are attacking And send your northern Vikings to attack the mothership. A vortex will entangle your northern Vikings, but if you micro'd your other group should be fine and still attacking. Destroy the carrier escort, then the mothership. By this time, your other vikings should appear. Focus fire all your forces at the mothership, taking advantage of your superior range when possible. The mission will end quickly this way.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Colonist Missions - Outbreak

This can be one of the most satisfying missions to complete on higher difficulties. First thing you should know is that firebats own all in this particular mission. Marauders are great too if you've done Smash and Grab before this mission. Immediately send your starting troops out to the north and slightly west to starting destroying infested structures. Set up your economy and build a bunker at each of the northern entrances of your base (southern entrance won't be attacked until later). Don't fill the bunkers until night is imminent. Remember to get medics out so that you can constantly stim to destroy buildings faster. Always focus fire the buildings. On normal and hard you can stay out at night if you focus fire buildings down fire and then kill the infested. And remember, firebats own infested Terrans. Don't reinforce your troops at night, instead reinforce your bunkers and keep scvs at them for repairs. Play conservative at night, but still destroy structures. As soon as day breaks, stim all your infantry and reinforce your field troops, empty out your bunkers as well. Keep up the macro and build extra bunkers and bunkers at the southern entrance. 1 firebat and 2 marines to each. And keep on moving to destroy structures. You'll eventually get hellions, but bring them back to your face to roast zerglings get repairs constantly. They'll be toast out in the field at night. If you always remember to focus down the infested structures, you'll be out of this mission quite quickly. Also, remember at night to stay away from positions where you can't attack structures and will be choked on infested Terrans.

Starcraft 2 Campaign Speed Guide - Colonist Missions - The Evacuation

This is somewhat of a boring mission, except that you get firebats to play with. Bring the starting force to your base, killing as you go. Immediately flesh out your economy--mineral and gas. Pump out some marines and medics at first, then add some firebats. Get 3 barracks and pump out mostly marines. Fill up the bunkers along the route and add a second bunker and a missile turret to each ramp on the evacuation route. 1 firebat and 2 marines per bunker. Make sure you don't close up both ramps so that you can get down there to destroy the Zerg bases when you get bored (on normal diff). The Zerg research is also down and around the Zerg bases. When you do attack the bases, make sure you kite the forces around the spines crawlers before taking out the spine crawlers. And always make sure you have a garrison guarding the transports. If you keep pumping out units and micro them right, you should be able to guard and attack at the same time.