29 May 2006

DotA, the newest addiction

It's all Bryan's fault...

If not for him, we wouldn't be watching X-men 3 on Friday. We wouldn't have walked into a LAN shop and like a pair of mountain tortoises, asked if they had DotA.

Make no mistake, Bryan was nowhere near us, but it was his fault...

Before we knew it, we lost two and a half hours of our lives, in a deceptively simple looking game.

DotA is a Warcraft 3 map that allows you to control ONE single hero. You join any one of the two factions - Night Elves or The Scourge. Both camps automatically spawn minions that rush along the 3 red lines on the map you see, towards their mutual annihilation. Since both sides produce at the same rate, the fight is an endless tug of war unless YOU - the player, makes a difference.

The Forces of Light have 38 heroes while the Forces of Darkness have 39 heroes to choose from, each having a unique set of 4 powers. Combined with a selection of 6 out of 128 items, it makes for a mind boggling set of possibilities.

DotA-Allstars, the official site
DotA Database, source of the map. I can't read the language though...





Last minute

Stupid Kelly. Disappeared for 5 whole years and the first thing he asked was to help his cousin do Java.
"When he wants it?"
"She needs to hand it in tomorrow"
"Tomorrow??!!! I want a finger of yours as payment", I replied grumpily.
I downloaded the code given by the lecturer inside and guess what? It's empty!
"I want two fingers!!"
"Ha ha, I need my fingers to play games"
So he's going to buy me dinner on Saturday. I'm not going let him pay of course but I have my right to grumble and demand fingers :p

Gaga called me out for a game of Pirates. We chose a chess table and set up our game. To counter his fondness for La Furie and large ships, I chose HMS Alexander for her speed and La Resolucion for her power. I filled out HMS Alexander with a captain, a musketeer and an oarsman. For La Resolucion, I gave her a captain. Gaga chose 2 large ships and a small one. Seeing that he has several crewmen, I knew that he must have picked his special crew that allows him to have 4 more point values.
The "local seas" was in the shape of macaroni. Our home bases were at the far ends. 3 wild islands were scattered in between. The island furthest away from us held the most gold. Due to the tight constraints of space, forts were not allowed to be played.
The horn goes off. HMS Alexander sped for the nearest island while La Resolucion sailed gracefully towards the richest one. My plan was a gold grab. It was fortunate that Admiral Gaga picked slow ships. I ended my turn.
To no surprise, Gaga revealed a crew that gave him 4pts. He then revealed a helmsman that gave his flagship greater speed. This won't be a cake walk after all.
HMS Alexander made landfall first but so did Admiral Gaga. He stole the gold under my nose with an explorer, which allowed him to cart off all the treasure. I signalled HMS Alexander to set course for the island furthest away while my flagship went for the island with the largest yield.
Contact! My English captain sailed up to a small enemy ship and revealed the musketeer and himself. Cannons were fired and the opponent was left derelict. While distracted, she was rammed on the port side by an enemy battleship. She was boarded but the attackers were repelled quickly. In the fight, her oarsman was lost. HMS Alexander then fled for land and docked. Meanwhile, my flagship also made landfall.
Pursuit was hot on both my ships. As La Resolucion delivered her booty safely onto the home island, the remaining two enemy battleships bored into HMS Alexander's position. She hopped into safety at the next island but alas, her captain was lost. The two battleships tried to blockade the island but she broke out while Admiral Gaga was on the wrong side of the island. She fled for the home island and was safely escorted into port by myself.
Admiral Gaga called for a return to port and the tattered remains of the combined English and Spanish fleet gave chase. HMS Alexander went ahead in a daring attempt to sneak a broadside attack. Without her captain, her crew were too slow and she was sunk by the enemy flagship. La Resolucion caught up and gave a valiant battle but in the end, the two ships turned on her and all hands were lost.
The gold was tallied and victory went to Spain and England.

La Resolucion (SS-009, Spanish, Spanish Main, 12pts, Uncommon)
HMS Alexander (040, English, Crimson Coast, 8pts, Common)


27 May 2006

Fiasco: Stardock vs StarForce

Read something disgusting...

[Excerpt from CGW, June issue, page 89]
...Stardock's attitude towards its customers and the availability of updates provides a bizarre side note to the game's release. Galactic Civilizations II, like its predecessor, ships without copy protection. If you want to install it on your home machine and laptop, go ahead. If you want to take that laptop on the road and leave the CD at home, feel free. The game comes with a serial number, but it's totally optional and only used to register the game for updates. So far, so good. And the game's sales success suggested it wasn't being hurt by ease of piracy.
That directly contradicts the business model of companies like StarForce, which operate on the premise that copy protection helps sales by reducing piracy. Still, that doesn't explain why a moderator on the official StarForce forums responded to a thread about the protection-free sales success of Galactic Civilizations II with a link to a website that made the game available illegally. It seemed spiteful and petty, effectively illustrating the polarized attitudes in the digital-rights debate. Fortunately, the forum link disappeared after a query from Stardock and a similar e-mail to the offending download site resulted in the game's removal within hours...
/Bruce Geryk
p.s. The article was corrected for grammar mistakes but I left it in American English, as noted by the 'z' in words like Civilizations.

Perhaps this was an unilateral action by her moderator but StarForce showed herself as a pretty nasty company. When some technical sites claimed that her copy protection software was the cause of system slowdowns and crashes, StarForce threatened them, forcing them to back down. The gaming community knew better and got wary of buying games that utilised StarForce.
On a joyous note, Ubisoft announced that it will no longer use StarForce.

Ubisoft officially dumps StarForce, by Gamespot
Boycott StarForce, by glop.org

Friends, please check if you have StarForce installed and remove it. That means you too, Morgaga. It came to you via "Freedom Force: The 3rd Reich"
Games that use StarForce, by Similarities.org

Meaning I'm infected too...


21 May 2006

12 May 2006

MarioKart DS Ti kum

Nitendo DS is the new Nitendo handheld. They have MarioKart as well and this is their ti kum.
I have Mario, Princess and Bowser. Now waiting for Luigi...