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Author: Alex

A Peek at Revelation Online

A Peek at Revelation Online

In the never ending quest for new online games to play with friends, our group recently decided to try out Revelation Online. At first glance, this appeared to be another Blade and Soul, one of the control schemes even mentions that it’s suitable for those familiar with it. Fortunately, it too has no monthly fee, just an upfront purchase. There are three packs available currently, the cheapest being $17.99. The higher tier packages just come with in-game items…I was highly tempted to buy the highest tier package just for the cat mount..

The highly tempting cat mount in the highest tier founder's pack.
The extremely tempting cat mount in the highest tier founder’s pack.

That aside, we all started playing for eighteen bucks. The download was pretty short on a fiber optic connection, but older connections may understandably take a couple hours to download around 18GB[?]. The graphics are about what you’d expect from an MMO, and everything has its own creative touch. So far the combat feels akin to B&S, but that could be because I made a Blademaster. All of the classes can be found here; furthermore, you can also read about additional features such as the social construct which is heavily unique, PvP information, and the other MMO essentials. The six classes seem to cover a wide array of play styles and roles. I will be testing out more than one class for sure.

The six currently available classes to choose from. You’ll more than likely end up trying out more than one.

The biggest pitfall? A lot of parts in the game are in Chinese or Russian still. This wasn’t acknowledged out in the open in an easily accessible place on their site. This makes figuring out item details a chore at times. Communicating the process to do something in-game to a friend boils down to, “click the option that looks like a man raising his hands followed by a table with 3 books on it.” Yeah, it’s funny, but sometimes frustrating. Especially when I don’t know what a consumable item does. Fortunately, most important consumables that you are given are translated at the current time.

My initial impressions are looking bright; we will see how it unfolds as I progress. The play style really made me want to keep at it. Grinding did not feel like grinding due to the combat mechanics and quick rewards. Very few may actually make this mental link, but I felt an almost Maplestory-esque sense of reward from the voluntary grinding that I did. The game rewards you with points for watching through the cutscenes, and rewards playtime with loot at very short intervals. It definitely has the science of work / reward down pat.

I will post another article in the coming days with an updated opinion after more playtime.

Pokémon Go Map

Pokémon Go Map

With the recent Pokémon Go patch to 0.31.0, finding nearby Pokés is harder than ever. Instead of fixing the three footstep issue, they have removed the footprints all together. The radar that once had minor functionality is now marginally less useful than the Stevie Wonder Bomb Defusal Squad.

"You gonna ... start defusing that bomb soon? This is serious, Stevie."
“You gonna … start defusing that bomb soon? This is serious, Stevie.”

Anyway. Niantic is not communicating at all whatsoever; that does not come to a surprise for any Ingress players. This failure to relay information to their customers is highly frustrating, and leaves all of us guessing which direction the game is going. Fortunately, there is a remedy for the lack of nearby Pokémon information. Enter: PoGoMap. Ahmed Almutawa, or their GitHub name, AHAAAAAAA, has created this website and GitHub repo for the Python-fueled map. There is a download section on the website which will deliver you to a tidy package that can be easily deployed to a server. If you’re more programmaticaly inclined, you can snag the Git repo from here and deploy it to your own server. There are a few steps that are needed to get it up and running; however, I got it successfully working on a DigitalOcean droplet in about 10 minutes.

This API needs an account from either the Pokémon Trainer Club or Google in order to work. I highly recommend that you create a throw away account, not tied to your regular information in any way. If you do not, you definitely risk a ban on an important account. From what I have learned, the map appears to make queries at certain distances to retrieve the nearby Pokés, so you don’t get a list of all Pokémon, just the range that you select to scan. So far, 5 second intervals seemed to have worked for me, but other users have reported that they could not locate anything when making requests faster than 10 second intervals. The real power comes into play when multiple accounts are used to scan; this allows many locations to be scanned simultaneously. You can even set alerts for specific Pokémon that you need to catch, which assists in completing the good ol’ Pokédex.

A sample map rendered by the PoGoMap people.
A sample map rendered by the PoGoMap people.

Chances are that in the future, Niantic will permanently ban some IP’s and possibly some ranges of IP’s to prevent this from functioning well as a hosted application. Word is that some ranges have already been blocked, namely services such as DigitalOcean; however, I have not run into an issue with my set up yet. Some additional code changes have happened recently, not sure if it was made intentionally to block these types of applications, or simply otherwise. Either way, Niantic has as much public relations as a hidden CIA operation.

EDIT: Niantic actually responded about this yesterday. Think twice about running these maps, they actually made a pretty good argument about this.

If you need help setting it up, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

The Difficulty of Working in an Office

The Difficulty of Working in an Office

Working in an office feels like the equivalency of smashing a library and a somewhat popular bar at 5 o’clock together. You want to participate in the conversations that people are having; however, at the same time you want to wring them out for droning on while you’re attempting to focus. Looming deadlines force you to utilize every ounce of focus that you have left, lest you be labeled useless or lazy.

Sure, some people have free time between calls but they don’t realize that other people are not in their “free time” period like them. Not everyone takes calls either. As a software engineer, it’s incredibly crucial to focus while determining where bugs are in the code, or developing the flow for a new feature. Have you ever tried to remember several numeric groups in order while someone annoyingly said other numbers out loud? Try counting backwards from 50 while someone throws out other similar numbers. That’s the frustration of working in a fucking office. You want to rail the dude(tte) in the face for trying to screw you up, but you can’t even be mad because it’s his or her job to be shouting the similar numbers.

For fuck’s sake, if you want to be a productive coder, you need a separate environment. A quiet one conducive to working on complicated, puzzle like materials. The problem is you’ll have a harder time convincing your accounting department of this restructure than convincing them that mandatory butt plugs for all employees will repay itself in one year.