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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
ICQ None given.
Description
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3180 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
 
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News Comments > Into the Black
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 15, 2017, 11:47 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Pigeon wrote on Apr 15, 2017, 10:27:
I thought the characters were much better developed in TFA, but Rogue One had a better overall plot/story. I think if they don't , you know, retell the plot of the original 3 movies again TLJ has a chance to be good.

I personally thought TFA was vastly more enjoyable than Rogue One for the reason you allude to: TFA had well developed, likable characters that you empathize with and root for, where as Rogue One got as far as a name and a costume for its characters, figured that was good enough to sell some action figures, and left it at that. I mean seriously, without looking it up, name everyone on the Rogue One team and describe their personality... good luck, lol.

I liked that Rogue One tried to go for a grittier take on Star Wars, but ultimately it was a film that was working from a hackish script, leading to a joyless and lifeless adventure. I just contrast everyone dying at the end of Rogue One, a moment that should have been devastating but instead was just mildly surprising, with Han Solo's death -- the selfish rogue dying because in the end he couldn't turn away from the ultimate act of selflessness: a parent loving their child -- or Rey taking up the light saber to face Kylo Ren, and suddenly the fact that TFA starts with a lost droid on a desert planet and ends with an assault on a super weapon doesn't bother me as much. TFA may have rehashed the original trilogy, but it did so through scenes that were thematically and emotionally satisfying.

edit: I had some further thoughts on why the Han Solo death works so well thematically and emotionally.

All stories depend upon the protagonist facing a crisis, and that protagonist growing and changing so that when the story reaches its climax, he or she can take the action necessary to resolve the crisis. The Han Solo character affects an air of selfishness and greed, but at his core he's a good guy, and his story, over the course of the original trilogy and in TFA, is ultimately one of learning to set aside his airs of self-interest so that he can fully take part in something bigger and more important than himself, i.e. the Rebellion, and contribute his essential goodness as a man to that cause.

As a result, TFA acts as a perfect coda to his story in the original trilogy. TFA leaves many of the details only hinted at, but the experience of Han's son turning to the dark side and the collapse of his relationship with Leia, has led him to retreat back into that shell of selfishness, a shell that was always more about self-protection than about who he truly was. Once Han and Chewie plant the charges, they could have slipped out quietly and accomplished their mission without incident, but when he see's his son, he can't do that. Because of who he is, because he is a good man who loves his son more than he loves himself, he has to confront him, to try to bring him home, no matter the risk to himself.

Han's brief experience of being a father figure to Rey and Finn means that when he's sees the young man for whom he is actually a father, Han can no longer hide from who he is and has to confront the crisis of his son. Han, a beloved, likable character, dies because he is the man he is, and because he takes the action that is in keeping with his character. As a result, we get a devastating scene, where your jaw drops in shock and horror, that simultaneously concludes the thematic arc of Han's character and gives him an end that fits perfectly with his growth and change over the course of four films. That's effective storytelling, even if Han has planted explosive charges before.

This comment was edited on Apr 15, 2017, 12:15.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
17. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 12, 2017, 18:08 Scottish Martial Arts
 
PHJF wrote on Apr 12, 2017, 07:27:
Also, PST has Magic Missile.

Sure enough. Looks like it was Sleep that I was thinking of.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 23:36 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Agent-Zero wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 23:30:
They are 2nd edition D&D spells. Avellone didnt design D&D. its from the pen and paper books

Some are. Most of the standard D&D spells aren't in PS:T, e.g. Magic Missile, and many of the spells, particularly at higher levels, are unique to the game. And even those spells that are official D&D spells tend to work differently than what's in the Player's Handbook, like Chromatic Orb.
 
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News Comments > Yooka-Laylee Released
2. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 22:16 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Frijoles wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 20:22:
Lot of hype for this one. Anyone know why? Looks like any other game. I haven't followed it a whole lot, but I see it mentioned in a lot of places.

It's made by Rare veterans and is intended to be a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie games. I never played the second one, but the first Banjo-Kazooie was outstanding, easily one of the best games on the N64. I'm reluctant to get this without reading some reviews, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on it to see what kind of reception it gets.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
4. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 22:14 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Yifes wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 21:38:
Isn't this just an update of the original game, with no additional content? How does having Chris Avellone help when he's not writing anything new for the game?

I think he had some input on resolving bugged/broken content, particularly in terms of resolving what the intended gameplay or narrative effect was supposed to be. I get the impression that his contribution was minor however. I did pick this up today, and played through the mortuary, and while I didn't notice any obvious gameplay fixes/changes, the interface is definitely improved, and the various quality of life improvements are nice. I'm not sure this is worth $20, but definitely grab it on sale so you have it the next time you feel like replaying PS:T: I've yet to encounter anything which suggests this is inferior to the original version.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
1. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 9, 2017, 12:09 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Such a nice day out today -- yesterday and today have been the first truly Spring days since I moved to NYC a month ago -- and... I'm stuck inside sick. I thought I was doing better than yesterday and could actually go out today, but a quick trip to the grocery store completely drained me. Bummer man.  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
8. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 3, 2017, 19:06 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Primalchrome wrote on Apr 3, 2017, 13:00:
Ahhh...the F-35. Does everything...poorly. Does nothing...well.

Classic example of why every retired general/admiral should be tried for treason if they accept a 'consulting' job with any contractor that they endorsed while in uniform.

In the event that we ever take the F-35 to war with a near-equal adversary, e.g. a naval skirmish with China in the South China Sea, and the F-35 performs as everything indicates it will, i.e. it's inferior to our current air craft let along what our adversaries have in development (albeit in limited quantities), then I truly hope that the relevant contractor executives and generals are all tried and convicted for treason and fraud. The F-35 has become a gigantic welfare project for the defense industry, which is typical, but one which is severely hurting our air power capabilities, which is not. Lockheed et al. have irreperably weakened our air power through the 2060s or so, and they have done so despite this being the most expensive weapons project in world history. Fuck these guys for their greed, fuck them for harming our national security, fuck them for the American pilots whose lives will be lost because they've been saddled with an inferior, deeply flawed aircraft, and fuck them for the rest of the American military who won't get the air cover they need because the F-35 is too shitty to do the job.
 
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News Comments > Batman: Arkham VR PC This Month
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 3, 2017, 18:55 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Question for the VR naysayers: have you actually tried it?

I got to try a Vive out for the first time at work on Friday and it was... cool, very cool. Once more fully realized games start coming out for it I suspect it will rapidly take over for any sort of game that is played in first-person, i.e. shooters, driving games, flight simulators, etc. There are reasons to be skeptical of VR, primarily economic, but the immersiveness and fidelity of the core VR experience isn't one of them.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a System Shock game in VR. Or an Alien: Isolation sequel in VR... *drool*
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
10. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 31, 2017, 19:25 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Here's what I see as this year's take on the old saying: March comes in like a lion and goes out like soaking wet lion.

Sounds about right. I got completely soaked on the five minute walk home from work today. Time to invest in a good umbrella I think.
 
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News Comments > HTC Adding Eye Tracking VIVE Ads
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 31, 2017, 19:19 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I finally got to try a Vive at work today. Apparently I had been at my desk for nearly two weeks now without realizing that a VR room was literally closer than the nearest coffee maker (which itself is really close by). I gave The Lab a try, playing with the robot dog who walks around in the initial entry area, and then playing the archery mini game. It was an... impressive experience. The depth perception was spot on, and once I got the hang of the hand controllers, manipulating objects in the environment felt very natural. While the archery mini-game was just that, a mini-game, it was genuinely fun, and the intuitiveness of it all and the sense of really "being there" was palpable. When genuine games start coming out for VR, these things will be a must buy. I can't imagine how cool a System Shock or Ultima Underworld like game would be in VR...  
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News Comments > Star Citizen Swapping DX12 for Vulkan
53. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 20, 2017, 22:04 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 20, 2017, 10:21:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote:
Rofl, nah, that kind of engineering job is hopefully all in my past now. I actually start my new job with Google's New York office tomorrow morning. By all accounts, Google engineering actually knows what the fuck it's doing. My last job though...

You have a 3 block walk to work? I'm jealous. Also, there's so much damn food in that office, but seriously the worst elevators I've ever used, haha. Then again, nearly every office building I've worked in, even the newest and most modern in NYC, has horrible elevators at 9am, but man, the Google ones in Chelsea...

Basically, yeah. Because of the way Hudson turns into 8th Avenue (but also stays Hudson if you hang a left at Abingdon Square, before turning into 9th Ave), you've got some weird mini-blocks in between, but in terms of numbered streets, Google is on 15th, and the closest numbered street to my apartment is 12th. It's a 10 minute leisurely stroll, and 5 minutes if you're walking at New Yorker pace, ignoring stop lights as is customary. Fortunately, the latter suits me just fine, as I'm tall, with a long stride, and have a default walking pace that is quite fast. In other words, I feel like I fit in well in terms of walking like I have somewhere to be, haha.

And yeah, the elevators get pretty crazy, especially around lunch time. I was at the office on Friday for a pre-start meet and greet between 11am and 2pm, and you had to squeeze in tight for every elevator ride.
 
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News Comments > Star Citizen Swapping DX12 for Vulkan
33. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 19, 2017, 19:35 Scottish Martial Arts
 
TorchMaster wrote on Mar 19, 2017, 16:21:
Excellent example. I hope this helps non-programmers to understand. You are also obviously alluding to the unspoken question: does CIG impose strong engineering training and procedures, or do their disparate teams, from all over the world that have reported morale problems, just mash some code together?

Thanks. That question was definitely on my mind when I wrote the response, and the ever lengthening development time on the game gives some strong hints towards which of the two situations apply.
 
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News Comments > Star Citizen Swapping DX12 for Vulkan
32. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 19, 2017, 19:28 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 19, 2017, 16:16:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Mar 19, 2017, 14:49:
Good software engineering practices are in short supply however. If you're working for the in-house code shop for a company that is in some non-tech related industry, then chances are your software engineering practices consist of "Here's your deadline, regardless of technical feasibility or the time necessary to do it right: get something that (barely) works by then, and we'll fix any problems later (but later will never arrive). Then, as your codebase accumulates more and more problems, and gets more and more neglected, it will become harder and harder to make any forward progress, so in response we'll hire some barely competent contractors to 'help' you out, primarily by committing breaking changes to your production codebase and generally not knowing jack shit about computer science fundamentals or software engineering best practice."

Do ... do you need a hug?

Rofl, nah, that kind of engineering job is hopefully all in my past now. I actually start my new job with Google's New York office tomorrow morning. By all accounts, Google engineering actually knows what the fuck it's doing. My last job though...
 
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News Comments > Star Citizen Swapping DX12 for Vulkan
20. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 19, 2017, 14:49 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Creston wrote on Mar 19, 2017, 11:58:
Seriously, someone who knows: How much work is it to switch from one API to another?


A serious but not back breaking undertaking if the system was well engineered to begin with; a gigantic cluster fuck if the modules that call the API were poorly engineered and too closely coupled to the specifics of the API itself.

Here's a simple, entirely contrived example: suppose you use a third party API with a function called add(a, b), which takes two integers, a and b, as arguments and returns their sum. Now suppose the developer of the API decides that that is too limiting -- after all, you often need to add more than two numbers -- and redesigns the function signature so that it's add(listOfInts), where listOfInts is an arbitrarily long list of integers. Now, your codebase breaks every place where you called add(a, b). You need to manually fix each call, perhaps changing your entire design for where you called add(), because this new add() function is really a different idea more accurately described as sumListOfInts() and you need to adapt accordingly. This is the cluster fuck scenario.

However, suppose rather than calling add(a, b) directly, you defined an interface with the signature add(a, b). You could then write an adapter class, which implements the add(a, b) interface by simply calling the 3rd party API. Now suppose the 3rd party API function signature change occurs. Rather than having to redesign any code that used add(a, b), you instead just design a new adapter class for the new API, still adhering to the previously defined interface. In this case, the new adapter which implements add(a, b) could take a and b, bundle them into a list, and then pass the list to add(listOfInts). Depending on the complexity of the API changes, this could end up being a non-trivial task, but on the other hand, it's just a matter of changing the implementation so that it still conforms to the interface definition. In this scenario, your codebase doesn't have to be redesigned, you just swap in your new adapter class. Ideally, you'll already have a unit testing framework in place for your old adapter class, so once you've designed the new adapter which uses the new API, you can confirm, through automated tests, that everything still works like it's supposed to, since both the old and the new adapter use the exact same interface and are therefore testable in the exact same way.

Good software engineering practices are in short supply however. If you're working for the in-house code shop for a company that is in some non-tech related industry, then chances are your software engineering practices consist of "Here's your deadline, regardless of technical feasibility or the time necessary to do it right: get something that (barely) works by then, and we'll fix any problems later (but later will never arrive). Then, as your codebase accumulates more and more problems, and gets more and more neglected, it will become harder and harder to make any forward progress, so in response we'll hire some barely competent contractors to 'help' you out, primarily by committing breaking changes to your production codebase and generally not knowing jack shit about computer science fundamentals or software engineering best practice."
 
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News Comments > etc.
23. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 19, 2017, 12:30 Scottish Martial Arts
 
This speech from the 1993 film production of The Killer Angels, Gettysburg, seemed apropos to the conversation. To sum it up, no two people will ever be truly equal, but what matters is that we judge a person, not a group, and do all we can to treat each other justly and fairly.  
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News Comments > etc.
22. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 19, 2017, 11:31 Scottish Martial Arts
 
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 19, 2017, 06:52:
snip

To be clear, I have no illusions about the rest of the, non-Western, world. Human beings as a species -- until the post WWII period and even then only some us -- have oppressed, dominated, enslaved, and exploited other groups of human beings at least since the dawn of civilization, and almost certainly in our prehistorical hunter-gatherer period as well. This is a constant of human nature, regardless of race; it's just that since the Enlightenment, the West leapt so dramatically far ahead of the rest of the world, that we got really, really, really good at enslaving/oppressing/etc. for several centuries and thus the present global hierarchy, particularly with regards to race and ethnicity, is largely defined by the highly successful imperialist endeavors of Western Europeans during the 17th, 18th, 19th, and first half of the 20th centuries.

This does not mean Western European Whites are exclusively racist, or that East Asians, or Arabic Muslims, or Africans, or native/aboriginal peoples are some how innocent of all sin. It merely means that for the most recent few centuries, whites were better at exploitation than non-whites, and so non-whites got exploited hard -- where as in the past non-whites would have happily done the exploiting -- and that our present world is in many ways shaped by the success of White Europeans conquering the world. Particularly with regards to "Racism in America", the only way we start to have equality, where content of character matters more than the color of your skin and all that, is if we recognize, openly and with clear eyes, that American whites got to start the game of life on an easier difficulty setting than American blacks or other racial/ethnic groups. That doesn't mean all whites have easy lives, or that no white person ever experiences prejudice; it just means that the game is subtly rebalanced in your favor if you happened to roll white American for your race and national origin when your parents were drafting your character sheet.

Finally, as an aside, I am not one of those liberals who will pretend that all cultures are created equal. I believe the color of your skin or who your father was doesn't or at least shouldn't matter for who you are. But I do believe that certain cultures develop certain ways of doing things -- which is the definition of a culture -- which makes them more effective in certain realms of life, such as not starving during winter, not dying when sick, and being able to put a man on the moon as opposed to only gazing at the stars and wondering what they are. Clearly, Western culture has been highly, highly successful and I do not want to disparage its accomplishments (my first degree was in Classics, so it would be the strange reader of Latin and Greek who didn't see anything of value in the Roman and Greek past). But Western Culture's success in the post-Enlightenment period does not imply that Western culture is more moral, at least not by default. At its best the West provides a set of values and practices that allows more people to flourish and live in prosperity and peace than any other culture, but at its worst, it's just been far more effective at achieving mankind's basest and most animal of instincts: the need to dominate and wield power over others.

It's not that Whites or the West are the bad guys, at least not any more than any other race or culture, it's just that when we decided to be bad in recent centuries, we were really fucking good at it, and the world we live in in 2017 is still directly shaped by our ancestors decision to rule the world.
 
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News Comments > etc.
16. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 18, 2017, 15:41 Scottish Martial Arts
 
As an aside, while racism against whites certainly exists, generally speaking, when "Racism in America" is being discussed, it's a discussion of how a dominant racial group, i.e. whites, used their dominance to exploit and oppress certain minority races and religious and ethnic groups, and simultaneously enshrined that dominance into the law and broader social hierarchy. Black people and Native Americans are both capable of negatively stereotyping and prejudging white people, but it wasn't white people who came here against their will in chains, to serve as chattel slaves, and then to be freed only to face lynchings and Jim Crow, and it wasn't white people who were driven from their lands and nearly hunted to extinction in the name of the "Progress of Civilization" and "Manifest Destiny".  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
18. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 18, 2017, 15:20 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Started to get settled into NYC. The West Village is completely awesome. Like, the best place I've ever lived awesome, even as a Californian having to adjust to wearing snow boots and a scarf in late March. It was 80F when I got on the plane in LAX! D:

For Battlefield 1 players, this guy is across the street from my apartment: http://imgur.com/a/wHh1T

P.S. I think I'm going to have to invest in a DSLR. So many great photo opportunities around here, and I am distinctly missing manual aperture and shutter speed and longer focal length lenses which smartphone photography lacks.
 
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News Comments > Turok 2 Remaster Released
4. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 18, 2017, 08:00 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Simon Says wrote on Mar 17, 2017, 14:44:
Is it just me or the "remaster" looks exactly like the original? Look at those textures... Common...

Compared to the N64 version, this is miles ahead. Was it remade using a modern graphics engine? No. But Turok 2 -- and it's predecessor, but Turok 2 was even worse in this regard -- was the game which started the, then yet-to-be-so-called, PC Gaming Master Race joke about "console fog". You literally couldn't see more than a few feet in front of you because the poor N64 didn't have enough video memory to be able to render more than that.

I think people tend to forget how shitty console shooters looked in the late 90s. Low-res textures and low-poly models aside, these games were being played on CRT televisions at 320x200. What they've done with this "remaster" is brought the game from late 90s console shooter to early 00s PC shooter standards (think Return to Castle Wolfenstein in terms of poly-counts and texture resolution) and then layered on some modern graphical effects, like motion blur, which is actually kind of cool, adding to your panic, when you're getting swarmed by the fast mini-dinos who don't do much damage but are hard to hit and always attack in groups.

This wasn't a remake, but as a "remaster" it's certainly improved upon a game which had some genuinely great level design. By far the best game in the series, and it was all downhill -- fast -- after this.
 
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News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past DLC for Linux
1. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 17, 2017, 09:25 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Glad to hear the Mac version is coming. This game has a massive install footprint (75GB), which is simply to big to have on my 256GB Windows 10 partition. I was really surprised at how well it performs in DX12 mode on my new MacBook Pro: 30fps at High Settings. That doesn't come close to what my GTX 1070 could do, but the Radeon 460 in my new laptop seems to be handling gaming surprisingly well: everything is entirely playable, even if for the same amount of money I could have built a beast of a desktop PC. But then, my new West Village apartment doesn't really have room for a full desktop gaming PC setup, and I bought this laptop primarily as a software development machine, and a (perfectly serviceable) gaming PC a distant second.  
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3180 Comments. 159 pages. Viewing page 4.
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