Saturday, September 11, 2010

Music: SomaFM

SomaFM commercial free internet radio

SomaFM is a listener supported, commercial free streaming internet music station. They started in some guy's basement in San Francisco as a micro radio station. In 2000 they switched to an internet only medium.

I listen to their content every day. If you like ambient/IDM music you should give them a try. And hey, if you like it enough and have some money to throw around, give them a few bucks. They are completely supported by their listeners to remain commercial free. My favorite stream on their site is "Space Station Soma". It's a mixture of ambient and mid-tempo electronica, perfect music for just chilling.

Vidya Games: APB by Real Time Worlds

I actually pre-ordered this game and participated in the games "Key to the City" event, which was basically an open beta before official release. At first I loved the game. I spent a good 2 hours in the social district pimping out my character. I played my 10 hours.. Then found about 5 extra promo codes and created dummy accounts so I could continue playing because I liked the game so much. During the KTTC event I did experience a few failures inherent in the game. The seriously flawed matchmaking system, lame single player missions, horribly unbalanced weapons, and aimbotters. I was willing to see past this at first, and after about a month from the games official release they improved the matchmaking system, and have definitely moved in the right direction towards refining how the missions play. They even improved much of the weapon issues but at the same time they broke other weapons. The weapon balance issues however are always expected in a new action shooter game, it can take a while to flesh all that out.

There are a few reasons why now I am a more casual player of this game, and I certainly hope they fix these problems soon. One huge issue is the current amount of people aimbotting in this game. It has seriously gotten to ridiculous levels. Legit players are even asking aimbotters how/where to aquire the 3rd party aimbotting programs in game, just so they can play against other botters without getting their asses handed to themselves. The game has the PunkBuster symbol on the loading screen, yet you can safely kill the background process while playing the game with no consequence. When they actually turned PB on server side, about 3 weeks after release, they introduced game breaking lag that really pissed off a lot of their player base.

Another huge reason is RTW's lack of communication and customer service with their player base about correcting current issues. If you ask them what they are doing about botters, they always in an almost preprogrammed way say "We are working on the issue.". This complete indifference on RTW's part has led to a group of APB players to start their own "Wall of Shame" to dish out their own brand of e-justice against the botting problem. This really should not be necessary. The gamers responsibility for the game ends when they pay the company for the product. As a customer I really don't demand much. It's not like I'm asking for them to give me sexual favors, just solid answers and actually addressing the issue. A lot can be done with just sincere communication. Overall they come off as just not caring, and companies who don't care about their customers usually don't turn much of a profit. That's probably one of the reasons they are currently in administration (bankruptcy) and are currently trying to sell the IP/assets for the game.

RTW raised $50 Million dollars for the development of this game and originally started development 5 years ago. In the first month of release they only sold 10 thousand copies in North America. Since the game was released on June 29th of this year the game has had a constantly dwindling player base. I honestly hope this game does not get shut down. I really want it to succeed, but if I had a hand in the purchase of the IP, the only reason I would buy it would be to get my hands on the code for the fantastic customization features of the game.

Overall, I really would not suggest buying this game. At least not before a more responsible company actually picks up the game with the intention of fixing the gigantic mess this game has been since inception.

Cool Story Bro...

Story time!

I wanted to post this yesterday after it had happened, but I was so completely pissed about what had happened all I could do was pop a few Valiums and take a nap. In the afternoon, I was driving around the rural outskirts of a small town just outside of the city I'm in. It was a rather beautiful day out and I was just enjoying the country scenery, having a Zen moment. Now mind you, I am an EXTREMELY careful driver. I've taken defensive driving courses and I always look about 10-15 seconds ahead of my current heading. Anyways, a city truck was heading in the opposite direction of me. About 15-20 feet before we passed each other, a huge fucking weed whacker of some sorts just tumbled out and fell right in front of my path. I did not have enough time to slam on the breaks and avoid the collision, but I did have enough reaction time to make sure the gas powered motor of the landscaping tool went in between my tires so at least I didn't have to worry about fucking up my tires or possibly bending my rims. As per the standard procedure, I turned on my hazard lights and pulled over to the side. I got out and inspected the damage as the jackass landscaper pulled up behind me (Without turning on his hazard lights, this guy was REALLY not bright). This old fat sweaty guy with a scowl on his face got out of the truck. He didn't say "Sorry." or "My bad." he just kept staring at me like I was some kind of fucking wizard or something. So immediately my first sentence was "Well, nice going jackass!". I was pretty pissed, this idiot could have prevented this from happening with a piece of rope... fuck even a shoestring could have prevented that accident. He then said "Who are you calling a jackass?!" I responded with "You! Jackass! You're the only person in the truck!".

After realizing that the damage to my car wasn't that bad I actually apologized for what I said. He then told me he was going to call it in, and I told him I really didn't have the time to deal with this (I had a person I needed to meet). After I explained this to him he then yelled "I'M CALLING IT IN!". At this point I realized this fat nothing just wanted to fuck my day up because of what I said earlier. So naturally, I flipped him off, told him to suck it, jumped in my car and left.

Soooo, about 4 hours later a state trooper showed up at my home. He was a nice guy. I explained to him what had happened and that really the damage wasn't much. I was able to actually snap everything back in place for the most part. He then told me "That's fine, but if you try to go after the state for damages we will place charges against you for hit and skip." My car OBLITERATED the weed whacker so I figured the state suffered more damages than me, cost wise. So, I apologized to the trooper for running from the scene. I told him that I hope they realized they need to tie down equipment in their truck next time, and that I was lucky it didn't go through my windshield and into my skull. After that statement we awkwardly bid each other a fine evening and he left.

It was indeed an experience to remember. Thanks for letting me vent, and feel free to comment!