Social Medium

I can’t believe I hadn’t started using them sooner is all I have to say. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with Twitter and the connections that you are able to make with people that you probably never would have had an opportunity to do so with is amazing. The ability to directly message someone and ask for advice or respond to a thought or question is empowering.

Although I’ve never been that great at expressing my thoughts and translating them to text I can see the advantages and the addiction of blogging. If only I could take advantage of the strokes of inspiration I sometimes get to do so, and overpower  my self-destructive procrastinating ways . Blogs account for a large portion of my actual daily reading lists and I never really knew it, although a large portion of bloggers are associated with larger sites its easy to forget that they are people just like me with strong opinions and passions that were discovered and proactive. I plan to use my experience with technology and my growing social media skill sets in conjunction to actually create content aside from code and one day I hope that I will share the passion of those fighting the good fight, and for that I thank you Dr. Royal.


Tournaments Update

I’ve recently attended some local tournaments where I’ve had some success since my last tournament posting for Magic the Gathering. I attended a Grand Prix qualifier for Salt Lake City here in Austin that I ended up winning, the prize being a couple hundred bucks in prizes and an invitation to Salt Lake City to play in a large prize tournament.  Unfortunately I couldn’t attend due to school and flights being ridiculously expensive (Mormon prophet convention that weekend, seriously?!?!?). Nonetheless I was very proud and thrilled to know that my skills were sharpening to have beaten some of Austin’s finest.

The following weekend I attended a Pro Tour Qualifier in which the Prize was an expenses paid trip to Barcelona in mid-May for the Pro Tour. The Pro Tour is where the money and recognition is, and that would be the apex of my Magic tournament experience if I were to get invited to one. The tournament lasted from the early morning until late at night with hundreds of people battling for the coveted prize. There were roughly 10 rounds of play, and then a top 8 cut to single elimination rounds. I ended up getting 9th and just barely missing the top 8 with 5th-9th all having the same scores but I missed due to tiebreakers. It was a great experience and was glad to have taken part of it although my brain was completely mush after such a long day of battling wits.

State of the gaming industry

My passion for video games has been insatiable since as long as I can remember. I went through 3 original Nintendo’s by middle school just from use, and had a small collection of 5 1/4 floppy disk Dungeons and Dragons games for DOS that I knew by heart. I was that kid. I can’t remember a time where I’ve been more bored with games then now and it’s not from a lack of interest, maybe time.

The current release cycle for games is incredibly long, particularly for my engine of choice the PC. Most games are cookie cutter models of previous successful games and the cost of these iterations is not getting cheaper. Mobile device games are becoming profitable for developers with a fraction of the development cycle/costs, although they are a niche market they are alluring for an up and coming developer since the big game market is flooded with terrible releases. I have seen countless titles be in development limbo for years only to see their budget get cut and never release.

Game giants such as Blizzard and Electronic Arts are still milking their flagship titles with their newest releases of Diablo 3 and Sims 3, but what direction are we headed in this day when seemingly every scenario for a successful game has been thrown out there. How many Calls to Duty will there be before your 1 millionth headshot is no longer fun.

With the social nature of gamers within games the massively multiplayer online genre is thriving, there is hope. Dating sites for online worlds have been created, Twitter incorporation within game chat has been done, and being able to “/orderPapaJohns” is a thing of the past. I’m very much looking forward to what the next decade of gaming has to offer and can only hope that our children can enjoy another golden age of gaming as I saw it.

Minecraft Introduction

So I mentioned Minecraft in my previous post and then decided for those who aren’t really sure what Minecraft is might be interested in seeing a brief view of what it is really about. So I filmed the first few minutes of gameplay that should put it in perspective. Enjoy.


Mojang Finally Hiring

Mojang is the company that develops the free form sandbox building game Minecraft that is entirely coded in Java, and also happens to be one of my favorite games ever. The main developer goes by the name Notch and is well known for having basically developed this game on his own for the past 3 years. It spent a good amount of that time in a beta form where you could purchase it and have access to the game for whenever it was “released”. Minecraft’s main beauty lies in the developer community that has taken the game into its own hands with the ability to mod the game, it currently enjoys one of the most active modding communities in the world.

Unfortunately, Notch never actually came out with an API specifically for modding so it mainly involved developers painfully going through code and adding to Notch’s existing code. So any time a new version of the game was released it basically broke the game for all users that had created these elaborate worlds and had to patch it all over again.

Since Minecraft has enjoyed immense success since its release I’m imagining they finally have the funds  to put into development and Mojang has finally decided to hire more developers. Among the first group of new hires is a development crew called Bukkit, they are well known in the community for having developed an alternate version of server code that is technically more stable, uses less resources, and had a built in modding API. It seems their passion has finally paid off as they will now be getting paid for their work! Needless to say I am looking forward to a stable API to hopefully be making my owns tweaks to the game. Post apocalyptia here I come, mmm brainsssss….

Friday Night Magic, Part 2

Nic and I parted ways as the next rounds pairings were announced, we wished each other luck and headed to battle. This round I was paired against a fellow who admitted it being his 8-9th time playing Magic so I automatically assumed this may be an easy match, relief. Joel was his name and he was playing an aggressive red and green werewolf deck that attempted to overrun me early in each game. Luckily for me, my blue and black zombie was well suited to handle his early rush for my 20 life points with a lot of early removal of his werewolves and in both games I beat him with my combo to send my game-winner Mikaues to the graveyard and reanimate him cheaply.Overall Joel played well and could have fooled me with his solid play decision and near flawless play. In the end, we shook hands and I reconvened with Nic to find out he won his match as well.

My next match was not very memorable and honestly couldn’t recall more then beyond the guy eating a very large bag of fun yuns and getting crumbs all over the battlefield. I ended up winning and subsequently had a “bye” and a “draw” the next 2 rounds and cruised into the top 8.

The top 8 is single elimination rounds so one loss and you’re done so the pressure was on. My first match I didn’t catch the gentlemans name but he had a nice way about him. He was playing a Delver deck that had been doing very well nationwide lately and I had anticipated playing against such a deck so my sideboard was prepared. It definitely came in handy as the match went to game 3 and each one was very close. The end of the match was dramatic as everyone was watching us play and we were the last 2 playing, I ended up winning on my turn by a (very) lucky draw that cleared his army out and left room for me to finish off the beats.

I ended up losing in the semifinals to a guy that probably could have been a good friend in another life, Chris, we played and continuously talked about life, technology, and Magic. I still think he was trying to distract me but that’s ok considering he ended up winning the tournament, overall I had a great time and was satisified with my overall outcome and am looking forward to many tournaments to come.

Friday Night Magic, Part 1

As I mentioned before I’ve been getting back into the tournament scene for Magic and have been enjoying it tremendously. Every Friday night at most comic book/game stores you can find events hosted by Wizards of the Coast, the company who makes Magic. I decided to make my debut into the tournament scene at a local store here in Austin called Pat’s Games. Pat’s is a store dedicated solely to Magic and therefore only sells Magic cards and hosts tournaments.

After having brewed and battle tested my personalized 60 card deck with my new found Magic buddies I decided it was ready for the big stage. The tournament had 32 participants in which every player pays an entry fee of $10, which mainly goes to the store and prizes. This particular tournament was a Swiss-system tournament, meaning players get paired to face each other for several rounds and the top 8 players with the best overall record face off for prizes, nationwide points, and bragging rights.

I enjoy the Magic community due to how much you immediately have in common with your opponent and you will find players off all ages and types which usually leads to interesting conversation. My first opponent was a younger gentleman that I would guess was in high school, we chatted about how it was our first time playing at this location and how crowded it was. I could tell he was as excited as I was, but I didn’t want to give away my nervousness. Nic, as I learned his name was, put up a good fight and I nearly thought I would lose the match after losing game 1 in a best of 3 but luckily I pulled off game 2 narrowly and swept game 3. We shook hands and he congratulated me and we stuck together and chatted about Magic and life until the next round.