Monday, October 3, 2016

The reasons I buy VIP tickets for the local event Game Start





After coming back from Tokyo Game Show 2016, I got online and got VIP tickets for local event Game Start. URL here for people wondering.

It was my second trip to Tokyo Game Show and I bought 2 days of TGS supporter tickets (About 7000yen for each day). I am sure some folks will wonder why do I even bother with a small local event. It has way less games featured. You don't get some of the more exclusive stuff like getting to play Final Fantasy XV.

Here's the thing, I love going to Japan. I love how big and awesome some of the things in Tokyo Game Show are. It still doesn't change the fact you will never be able to play more than 8 games per day without standing in line for hours. Did I mention you get only a maximum of 15 minutes per play?

The thing about going to Tokyo Game Show is that as much as it is awesome, the logistics and me flying to Japan can get expensive fast. Secondly you need to do a lot of advance planning like even getting online early to make sure you get the supporter tickets. Travel insurance, planning your leave at work, your flights, hotels. Oh and knowing how to navigate to the location. (This is not a problem for me because I been to Japan a number of times and know some really basic level of Japanese).

Also the queuing. Good lord the queuing. Want to buy a merchandise? Please queue. Want to play a game demo? Please queue. Want to enter the location early? Please queue as well.

Average queue time for games is about an hour. That is average. I had experienced queuing nearly 2 hours to buy merchandise.

Considering I went for both days of Tokyo Game Show. My knees and ankles were hurting so much I was walking slightly bow-legged and limping when I left the event hall. 7 hours of standing per day. (Show runs from 10.00AM to 5.00PM)

Because Tokyo Game Show happens way outside of Tokyo city (it is closer to Chiba then Tokyo) you going to need time to get in and out of the place (with tons of people). Also you hardly have time to eat, so I pretty much packed sandwiches and Onigiris for lunch etc.

This trip I only got to play about 6 games in total. Its quite disappointing not to get to play more games for me really.

Oh and I almost forgot, stage shows. Which I can't see well from the crowd and often miss because a lot of them have timings where they clash with 1 and another.

Tokyo Game show aside, Game Start for once I don't need to plan so much to visit it. Its S$70 bucks for all 3 days. I got VIP which I can get in early (though I can't this time cause of work reasons). I get to actually play games and almost all of them. The stage shows are usually held at one center stage.

Lastly at the end of the event, I can just take a cab home whisk myself home quickly in my own bed. I be ready for the next day if I am up for it.

Looking forward to Game Start this weekend.


http://imgur.com/a/bAoro
Gallery of photos I took for the trip. It has assorted ones so it won't be that interesting?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Git Gud - It apparently got on people's nerves

Yes I am pointing to this particular article from Rock Paper Shotgun. Link Here (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/05/18/editorial-an-end-to-git-gud-you-dont-need-to-be-good-at-games/)

For the TLDR verison.

It is totally fine for you to be bad and still enjoy the game. Though people here are questioning if you are familiar enough with a game/genre to be reviewing the game because you know its your f**king job as a reviewer. Also no one really gives 2 f**ks about if you enjoy playing a game or not. Neither do people care if you need to tell the world about it. I don't think you should care about people thinking if you are bad either.

ok now with those people in hurry out of the way.


I like to point out some things I have some issues in the article.

John talks about people being hostile for the video of the person showing footage of the DOOM play. First I will say that I agree that the comments are at times really hostile. At the same time looking at the more sensible comments. They almost all noted that this level of play is kind of bad for someone who is reviewing a game.

The main reason for that comment is that people want someone who is familiar with a genre/game to be reviewing a game. You most certainty expected a car reviewer to least be able to tell the difference between a auto-gearing car over a manual gear shifting car right?

Defending his play as enjoying the game makes even less sense as the reason the footage was uploaded is to showcase the game. You again don't expect a car review to go "Well that was a great joy ride and....what did I need to do again? Oh right review the car."

The whole point of the footage is to help people see and understand how the game is like. Putting out poor footage does not help the player who wants to know the game. It does not help the company making the game and ultimately it does help the image of the web publishing company.

It simple amazes me that the editor allowed this kind of footage up. The video footage is not a live stream capture of a first look either.




Next, he stated that even though some people take longer to clear a game. They can still give expert opinions on the game. That I cannot agree. If that statement is true, as long as I can build a table even though the table can barely stand I would be able to give an expert opinion of the craft of making a table.

Seriously though the only kind of opinion I can give at that point is really just a beginner's opinion of building a table not an expert one.

A job of a reviewer is as the name says, review things. We do hold some expectations of a reviewer as someone who is least above average in the knowledge of the thing or subject. Not another regular Joe who merely fiddles in the thing as a hobby. It is a paid professional after all.

You cannot pretend to be a professional and pretend to be a hobbyist at the same time. Paypal does this. You want to be like Paypal who at times pretends to be a bank and at times pretends not to be bank?

I agree with you it is wrong to shame people who not being good at playing games. The issue here is you are not playing games on a personal capacity. You are playing games as a paid writer/reviewer. You are required to least give an opinion of someone who knows more than the average Joe in that particular subject.

If you cannot even manage that, please consider another working in another profession.



P.S. Telling people to Git lost in the article is definitely not helping with the whole image for you as a professional writer.



I have some opinons about the need to Git Gud and the whole idea of games needing to be fun. Most of them are already talked about by Kayin. So I point you to his article.
Link here (https://kayin.moe/?p=3021)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trips. Trips? Trips! JUST DO IT TRIPS!

Here I am back again writing about my trip. This time around my trip was really short and it was centered around Tokyo Game Show or TGS for short.



For a change I decided to not bring much for this trip.. Essentially this is everything. Bringing so little was quite an experience. Though I still ended up with with another bag cause people wanted me to buy some stuff. 



So was traveling light great? It is. I did not have to worry about finding a place to stash the additional stuff I brought. I pretty much just walked straight out of the airport without waiting for checked in luggage since I only brought that bag.

I probably want to invest a little more in clothes that are meant more for travel. That can come slowly.


Alright so TGS. Way more people than I realize. Imagine from the start of the security check point to the entrance of the hall. That route took nearly an hour. I started the queue at 09.40am then actually stepped into the halls at around 10.30am

TGS starts at 10.00am and ends at 05.00pm. I will write survivors' guide for it soon. It be mostly text though.

Personally I am pretty disappointed with TGS. I am disappointed to see majority of TGS is mobile phone games. Least half the hall is mobile phone games. Then a quarter of it is schools that teach about game development. Then the last quarter is the companies we know like Capcom, Square Enix, Sony etc. No Nintendo presence of course. Nintendo no longer appears at TGS anymore mainly because of Nintendo directs because really TGS is not a great way to showcase your games.

Also standing for 7 hours nearly killed my legs. I was trembling when I walked back to my hotel. This made me realize as I get older traveling might be a problem after for events like these.

On the plus I finally got to meet up with guys like spooky, SK, Brandon within the Chaotic halls of the venue. This was honestly the highlight for me.

It also allowed me to escape from the haze situation in Singapore temporarily. 

As for the experience of going to TGS itself. That differs between people. Personally I just wanted to strike this thing off my bucket list. So yay to another thing off my bucket list.

If you want to see the rest of the picture for my Japan trip. You can find them here:


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Being a customer and serving a customer

Hi

This is my last email to your team in regards to asking about updates for my account suspension. I also be writing this letter as an open letter and it will be posted here (http://kilvear.blogspot.com/2015/08/being-customer-and-serving-customer.html) for people to read. I would hope that you forward this email to your manager or even better to your directors to read.

You can take your time with the investigation and I will just leave this email trail open to monitor how long the whole process takes.

Thank you to the Support team for reading this email.



Hi

I thought I just want to start by putting a face to the name. My name is Kelvin Thor. I am 35 this year. My day job is an IT support executive of branch company of a MNC. My daily work includes of course supporting users with their IT related problems. I also deal with provisioning of user accounts and their hardware.

Occasionally I will have projects coming like migrating user to new software, re-cabling works for older parts of the building. When I started this current job I was tasked with my colleague of setting up a new building including new servers, racks, cabling and even the new Audio visual equipments.

You could say I am just the IT guy. One that deals with almost all aspects of the IT in the company


Last week 13 Aug 2015, I got home and it felt like a long day.

Powered on my PC and had my dinner quickly. Tried logging on to PSO2 and I got an error message.

"You account has been suspended"

So I thought there was some mistake. I raised a ticket for this issue. There was an email reply quickly asking me for my details of my account which I quickly answered.

End of the next day I notice there was no response so I send another email asking if they required more prove that I own the account. And there was another quick reply saying they are already looking to it.

So goes 3 days which was Monday 17 Aug 2015 I sent another email regarding if there was updates on my account. There was a quick reply to let me know that they are still looking at it.

20th Aug 2015 I sent another email asking if there was any updates, as by now I was getting kind of impatient and wondering what is happening. I got feisty with the reply asking how patient I needed to be.

The reply came quickly as well stating they are expediting the investigation and there is no time frame to how long they will take.

At this point I am frustrated and tired. It seems to be I will never know if I even be getting my account back.

The whole situation looks like this in my perspective:

- My account is suspended for some unknown reason I can never know
- The investigation can take any time needed as long as they needed to
- My time based cash services are running down even though my account is suspended
- I have no recourse to all my money spent in the game (I guess time spent as well)

For some folks reading this, it be like "Oh its just a game you can do without it". That's true. Though I just want to at this point highlight what I am going through with an example below.


Imagine you bought a smartphone from a company. I will call it company Alpha here for easy reference.

One day the smartphone you bought from Alpha stopped working for without you dropping or bumping into it. "No biggie I will just send the phone back to the service and get it fixed".

Now your phone have been sent to the service center and the slip you received says they will contact you once they are done with the phone. For now you have to use normal cell phone and get through the time when your phone is at the service center. Though most of the time you feel that you would definitely preferred to have your smartphone with you.

1 week later not receiving any updates from the service center you decided to call the service center up in regards to the status of the phone. 

"Oh we still need time to figure out what's wrong but we do not have a time frame how long this will take but we are working very hard to sort this out. Please be patient and we will contact you once the phone is done"


At this point, you logically would probably just stop waiting for the phone and get another smartphone and never get a phone from Alpha company again.

This is least for the smartphone you can get another one. I can't. I can't just up and say "I am going to Japan PSO2".

Second, legally from the agreement clause of PSO2 Asiasoft is allowed do what they want since I agreed to the agreement.

Hence above I stated I have no recourse to anything.


I like to end here with my last few points:

- From my position I have perspective from both sides of being a customer and serving a customer. I have seen things get ugly before in retail. I always remind myself not to antagonize service crew. It is not a well paying job and you get remanded for small mistakes often.

- Currently I am doing my best not to antagonize the support crew at the same time I feel like I am being punished for doing the right thing.

- This situation with no recourse I can only suffer in silence and just move on


My main point is how long should a customer wait? how long can a customer wait? Is it better just to be transparent with the whole issue?

I would not know since I am not a manager or director in any capacity to make decisions.

I like to end here being just glad I wrote all this out. It at least helped me coped a little better by writing down what I have in my mind.

Thank you for your time in reading this.


Regards
Kelvin Thor

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fighting games is a niche and demands you spend time to learn it


"It’s designed to be accessible to more people than most fighting games tend to be. This is being managed by getting rid of hefty inputs for special moves and assigning them to a button instead. This means that you don’t need to spends hours, days, and months learning button presses in order to play competitively."
Siliconera isn't the first game press to say this statement

I have been hearing this statement regarding fighting games for ages. Every newer fighting game that comes out that allows you to execute special moves with direction plus buttons. You will hear that statement without fail.

Let me get this out of the way. Removing special move executions do not instantly make you Daigo, Justin Wong or Ogawa. If directional inputs made things easier, everyone would be an expert in Smash Brothers. (Link here for the saltiest rage quit for Rising Thunder)
 
Removing special move executions exposes the fact when you lose, you just are not good in fighting games. I think most people is will find it difficult to face with being bad at a game. (Which is one of the reasons Mobas are more popular. Less emphasis of 1 person and the team. Regarding Mobas' popularity that is another topic altogether)

Even Extra Credits cannot seem to agree with themselves whether dexterity requirement is good or bad for a game. Link here (about balancing skill vs power) and here (about making a game for speedrunning).

It seems at one point people want a game to get good at quickly and at one point people want to be awe by the sheer skill needed to play certain games.

Here's the thing. People can easily learn how to play Tetris. They also seem to quickly understand the fact that getting to Grandmaster rank demands you put in time and learn the game.

Strangely this doesn't happen for fighting games. For some reason I cannot comprehend when people picks up a fighting game they demand to be instantly good at it. The fact that the game demands you spend time learning it doesn't seem to get through to them at all.
 
I had a conversation in #poverty about this topic:
 
"What does Rising Thunder really want to solve? So did it solve the problem?"

The conversation ended with no one is really sure what Rising Thunder is in there to solve about fighting games. We do know the netcode is really good. 

So till the next game that claims to be the next big fighting game cause it removes the execution barrier. I will go play some really bad fighting games.

P.S. The speed running community is cool. I like them.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

31 July 2015

My watch buzzes as I programmed it to do so around 6.30am. It was designed with a smart alarm to wake me up during my light sleep phase. Sat up on my bed and quickly checked the weather for the day. 29-32 degree Celsius with thunder storms in north and west parts of Singapore.

Washed up, got into my work attire and sat on my bed reading some news and social feeds on my smart phone. Mentally running through some of the stuff I need to do at work. Picked up my earbuds rather than my headphones today as I forgot to replace my headphone's noise cancelling batteries. Do love my noise cancelling headphone but I guess not today.

Had my music player playing on my phone I put on my shoes and headed to the location for my company's bus pick up. I am lucky. The pick up location is within walking distance from my home.

On the company bus I quickly checked my online order of a book I got from Books depositary to see if it is shipped. Sadly its not. Then it was back to checking some gaming news on my smart phone while the music player runs in the background before I decided to just listen to the music and controlling the music player from my watch.

4PM phone rang. Picked up the phone to have my friend confirming the time we are meeting later. Colleague found a good deal on flyscoot for all their destinations. Fury of text messages beeped through whatsapp talking about it which also buzz my smart watch like crazy.

5.30PM and both my colleague and I quickly got on the company bus to leave our office premises. Watch buzz'ed again telling me I clear today's goal for steps needed to walk.

Text my friend telling him I be late as I made my way to the trains after aligning from the bus. Prior I was checking on my phone about the deals for trips and checking hotels. It was difficult to get hotels during the Tokyo game show weekend. I was already thinking of dropping the idea and I would prefer channeling my funds to my March trip next week.

Watch buzz'ed again with my friend acknowledging my message when I reach Orchard MRT station. I repled "On My way"with a template using my watch without taking my phone out of my bag.

Spent the evening talking to my friends before finally heading home around 10.30pm. Showers before tuning in to Summer games done quick. Got to see some great runs before I hook my phone up to power checked if there are anymore messages or emails I didn't read on way back earlier. Put on my watch and have it record my sleep before I finally lights out for the day.



This is just a piece is mostly to remind me to appreciate how much I used tech and how much I got out of it. I often forget how much a leap in technology we had. 7 years ago I wouldn't even imagine having the ability of checking out information on the go or watches that measures sleep.

Oh and yes I do spend evening talk to friends over coffee. It is something I enjoy more as I get older.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Never felt more ordinary in my life

Before I even begin writing this, there was this thought that this piece would serve more like a self check on hitting my mid-thirties. A point in life where you stand still, turn back and look at what has happened so far in life.

There was also thought that how ordinary and uninteresting this piece is going to be. Though I often remind myself this needs to be written even if it read by no one else except myself. Not in a narcissistic way but more really just want to have something to reference to when I come back to this piece again in 10 years time. 10 years is quite a while and a good mile stone to again look back at things.



So. This year I am 35. I am no longer a young adult but an slightly balding asian male (growing tummy) still with several insecurities in mind I learnt some stuff along the way. Even managed to travel the one country I dreamed of traveling and that country is Japan. I even brought my folding bicycle there and cycled 77KM through the Shimanami Kaido route.

Even with that, I never felt more ordinary in my life. This year I am slightly struggling with my finances for my family. There were thoughts of getting a 2 room HDB flat cause you know I am at the age to do so. It is one of those things that can actually generate income.

I look at back at my early thirties and late twenties. I can only say that I was in severe depression then. It is probably good to say this and be honest with myself. At that time, I have serious thoughts of offing myself. I was fighting depression and I felt like I was slowly losing it.

Eventually I quit my job and went for a long time without working. I couldn't bring myself to work or find a job. It was at that time I realize how burnt out I was. The stress of working broke me down more than I realize. The whole ordeal taught me a good lesson on balance. You know. The current taboo phrase in Singapore called "Work Life Balance".

I personally wonder how many more will lose it in Singapore. It is sad to even think about it.

Now in my chair in front of my computer, sipping water from my steel mug. The thought of being ordinary keeps coming to my head. It is probably the realization of several things in life that is often beyond your control and also the realization that you don't live forever therefor one would really spend more time trying to finish up things he/she wants to do.

Also the thought that none of my problems are unique in any sense. It gives me the wisdom that there is someone out there who faces the same problems before and solved them. How about unique problems? Well we learn by mistakes. So the only way to know if it is correct is to choose the better option for now. Note I said better not best cause it is often impossible to know if it is the best option until after.

With all this said, I can say I don't feel any better or worse being ordinary. It might just be the best thing in the world for me currently.