Tuesday, January 20, 2015


About Santa Claus...

I gleaned this from another website so please don't sue me...

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal, SPY magazine (January, 1990) --- I am pleased to present a scientific inquiry into the existence of Santa Claus. 
No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. 
But since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. 
At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). 
This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to: 
hop out of the sleigh, 
jump down the chimney, 
fill the stockings, 
distribute the remaining presents under the tree, 
eat whatever snacks have been left, 
get back up the chimney, 
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. 
Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. 
On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. 
We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. 
The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.
Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.09 times greater than gravity.
A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thinking about Borderlands 2 ...

I have been playing the heck of out Borderlands 2 (with the gore turned off and language filter on). I love it! I probably love it too much.
However, if they make a Borderlands 3 (After the prequel), I have some serious suggestions:
1. Include the skins with the game and make them a free DLC. Instead of charging for skins, charge for different models - you know - things that take REAL effort to create! Different clothing models and different vehicle chassis designs, not just a different paint job.
2. Instead of discovering WHOLE guns that range from very common to legendary, place common to legendary PARTS of weapons so we can design our own weaponry. You could even task the Mechromancer (hint hint) to put them together with greater success than others. Maybe each class are better at making different types of weapons with greater success than other classes. The Psycho could have a better chance of making a cool grenade with greater radius and/or damage. Th Commando could be better suited in designing or modifying Assault Rifles - and maybe even have it so a gimped secondary weapon could be attached underneath the rifle barrel to fire in unison.
3. Make the world SEAMLESS like Azeroth. Only in specific instances have a portal to that region. It really takes me out of the game when I have to wait 8 seconds for the next "area" to load. Learn from Blizzard...
Anyways, that's all I have!

The ultimate First Person Shooter...

I ask myself ... what would the ultimate first person shooter be?
I distilled the qualities of a FPS down to seven things to consider:

1. Movement is variable and interesting. Put jetpacks, portal guns, double jumps, zero-G, teleportation, burst movement, ect. into your games!
2. Weapons, tools, vehicles and defences are balanced. I cite Tribes 2 as an excellent example of this. If you have one type of weapon (like a grenade launcher) don't make a dozen iterations of it but instead one grenade launcher that can preset to behave in a different way or have a cooldown on certain abilities. Give the players the power - but in ways that does not make every player a superman.
2. Weapons and tools that can be combined or together to produce different results and therefore generate interesting gameplay. Allow players to enjoy the feeling of combining weapons and/or tools together to create an interesting tactic no one thought of and executing it with success. The first "rocket jumping" is a prime example. 
3. Environments that vary and require forethought to navigate. No one likes playing over and over in a hallway ... nuff said!
4. In single player mode, AI that is not only good at predictive shooting but use tactics with an element of self preservation.
5. In multiplayer mode, make the players earn their victories. Victories without skill or effort produce a game that will be soon forgotten.
6. Introduce elements that make a gamer say "wow" longer than the first 5 minutes. Beautiful graphics are nice to have in a game but if it at the expense of a game with interesting and rewarding gameplay, then it is just a marketing tool to sell a substandard game.
7. Give the player(s) more freedom to create their own modifications, skins, models and maps. In these modded servers, make sure people know they are modded and not the original game. Giving the player(s) more freedom makes your game more awesome and fun. I cite Minecraft, Gary's mod and Unreal as prime examples of this.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My thoughts on the video game industry

When a company has a monopoly, they can do anything they want.
Microsoft is a monopoly.
What motivation do they have to improve a "service" when they have a monopoly?
It will be like this until the code is released that allows PC games to be played on ANY operating system.
Until then, we will be locked into a company that makes decisions based on profits. 
Imagine if you had full power over all the features of the software you owned. 
Imagine if you could fully access the registry of ANY software you installed. No more spyware as it would be as easy as editing a text file and deleting a line that says "run About:Blank". This would essentially end any bloatware and fix and spot inefficient and unnecessary processes that eat up our computer's resources for nothing in return.
You would have access to features that we once enjoyed when games were locked into a DVD. If they wanted to add more content, they would have to make a sequel. This weeded out terrible game companies as they would not last long if they made bad games ... it was all or nothing.
Now game companies have abused the DLC concept when they could have made the experience a more endearing one for their customers. Instead of offering FREE DLC to improve the game or patch up bugs and glitches, we have to PAY for things that should have been included in the original package.
Talk with your wallets, people (and sorry about the book I just wrote here).

My thoughts on the Lizard Squad

I don't care about these script kiddies that annoyed some people.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Borderlands and the mysterious gun population ...

The solution to Borderlands being "populated" with an excess of guns.
I was thinking about how many gun there was being dropped by creatures, robots, mercs, pirates and even popping out of boxes they could not possibly pop out of.
Then I had an idea.
What if instead of complete guns, parts or portions of firearms popped out. You could have a 100% of creating a moderately powerful firearm.
Or ... you could have a slim chance of putting together some potentially powerful weapon is powerful.
What if a firearm just didn't have to use up shotgun shells OR rockets but instead could have an element of BOTH? The shell would explode on target and release a shotgun like explosion, using a portion of both shotgun and rocket ammunition. In Borderlands, it seems we never run out of ammo (at least 80% of the time).
Make it so we could be wielding a weapon that WE put together that is unique to us and you will have a best selling game.
Maybe a grenade launcher that shoots the grenades from your grenade slot and when you run out of grenades, it shoots 10 shots worth of your shotgun ammo, I don't know! Maybe have a specific class that constructs weapons and has little combat value? Make it a truly co-op game.
Secondly, open up the world and make it seamless.
Third, give us verticality - jetpacks.
Fourth, I know you have friendly fire from our own hand-wielded weapons, but what about the turrets? It seems a little far fetched to have our turret blasting rockets and NONE of them hurt the wielder of that turret. Also make it so you can vote for friendly fire as long as everyone agrees, maybe?
Fifth, maybe normalize damage, hit points of creatures and difficulty for other players who have a higher level character than you. Make it an option that my level 21 Commando can go through missions with my friend who has been playing for a longer time with her level 43 Siren. This way the level 43 Siren does not wipe the floor with everything while I hide behind a rock having all the fun of watching her play.

Concerning the Turrets for the Commando, make them much less accurate and powerful unless the Commando controls the turret. This way, the commando could be exposed in exchange for the turret being as accurate as he is. Maybe instead of a stock machine gun and rocket launcher, make it so the Commando can put any two weapons he picks up on the turret chassis! The weapon would fire slower and may be less powerful, but it would add interesting tactics to the game. A double shotgun turret that is deadly and a double rocket launching turret that shoots 6 rockets at a time (that are less powerful).

Lastly, in my opinion, every encounter in an RPG should be moderately difficult in that there is a more than a 75% that you could lose something you don't want to lose. It doesn't necessarily have to be the loss of the character's life where you are "respawned" at the beginning. It could be the loss of equipment you worked so hard for, loss of "experience" or loss of abilities you had temporarily. If the game is difficult to play, it will be more enjoyable when you eventually overcome that difficulty.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I have a new printer ... that can print on transparency in COLOR

I have a new printer ... that can print on transparency in COLOR
Check it out ... these counters were printed in color and if I laminate a color printed transparency sheet like this with all the OGRE/GEV units on it, I will have a new set of counters.
Imagine, choosing and selecting infantry because the units are in green lettering.
Maybe you want to choose artillery but don't want to fish through heavy tanks and GEVs to find some.
You could bunch ALL the counters in one pile and instantly find Infantry, Artillery ... even OGREs by sight alone - through color printing.
Behind, I printed and cut out some transparent counters (not double laminated for thickness - but you get the idea).

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A story about my uncle... an adventure for all the kids I know in my family!

I came across a game that involves energy grapple hooks, vast cavern distances and a cute little newt girl, Maddie.
I love the game and I am glad I picked it up on Steam for about $10. It's definitely worth the money as I have replayed it a few times just to try to find all the collectibles.
Here is their website!

Saturday, March 8, 2014