måndag 24 juli 2017

Gaming & Runescape

At the moment, I’m not playing that many games. This is sort of supposed to at least partially be a gaming blog. I have an Old-school Runescape account that I log into like one every other day. All I do on that account is buying and selling at a place called the grand exchange. Which all in all takes about 10 seconds, but I sometimes stay on for 2 minutes anyways and then I log out. After all, you have to report the bots and expose all scammers you see before you log out. Many times, I have traded with bots who are begging and just after they select to accept a trade I decline it, which often results in the bot saying something and then logging out immediately. When I started buying and selling stuff I had about 250-400k. k means 1000. Probably a shortening for kilo. Everyone knows what a kilo is except for people living in the US which are using the imperialistic measurement system. I earlier thought that as a funny reference to Star Wars but surprisingly it’s called that. Anyways, now, today, I have some more money. I have just used all my money to buy stuff that I will sell but when I have done that I will definitely have over 5m, 5 million. I got perhaps at least 300k in between this time from a drop party that occurred though. And maybe another ~150k from some people dropping rune armor. It’s surprising how many events you can bump into from just logging in for a brief moment every now and then. If I keep buying and selling using all my money at a time I estimate that I eventually will make 2.7m each time I do so. But it’s still a bit of time before I get there. 2.7m is what an old-school bond costs which can be redeemed for 1 week of membership. So, when I earn that much money I will have free membership forever and ever. Not that I plan to play too much Runescape anyways. I may however try to increase my ranged level in order to “pk”, that is kill other players (pk = player killer). The thing about Runescape is that it takes a lot of time to level up various skills that exists in the game. I mean a whole lot of time. Some people easily spend over a year in gameplay maxing their stats (besides socializing, questing and whatever you do in the game). Taking time is no issue if the game is fun though, right? The problem is that it is extremely BORING to level up and extremely repetitive. For instance, to level up your “mining skill” you have to click on rocks in the game, wait for the player unit to do some animation and repeat this process many, many times. When your inventory is full you may also want to place the mined ores you get from the rocks in the bank. So, you must waste time running back and forth to the local bank. I bet banking is easier for members however in the game. To put it bluntly, Runescape is not worth your time. I saw that a game from the Professor Layton series is available for iPhone so I might buy that game in the near future. 

söndag 23 juli 2017

Oils and fat

I have recently read a book from 2007 about fat acids and oils and their health affects on us humans. I learned that we consume way too little omega 3 in correlation to its opposite called omega 6. The book also brought up some other general stuff and it compared different oils and how the author thought they were good for us or not. Examples of oils mentioned in the book was rapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil etc. Some oils were good but most of the ones mentioned in the book were apparently bad. Coconut oil is good for frying since it can handle high cooking temperatures well without having the fat acids break or turning poisonous. I also read from a source outside the book that coconut oil shouldn’t be mixed with sugar since it will increase the likely hood of gaining weight and in long term make the body more insulin-resistant. As a rule of thumb, cold pressed oils are healthier since they will not have trans-fat. Trans-fat is created when refining oil because of the heating process involved. Usually this will only cause about 0.5-1.5% of the fat turning into trans-fat, but nonetheless trans-fat is still not healthy. Natural trans-fat from wild animals are according to the book okay to eat however. In general, the author claimed that the organs in human bodies tries to protect itself against trans-fat as much as they can but every now and then small amounts slip through anyways. Trans-fat is poorly structured building blocks for cells unlike proper fat. It increase the likely hood that cells will turn malignant.

There is saturated fat, unsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. It’s not like you should stop eating fat. Otherwise the body will start its own production of fat. Polyunsaturated fat is sensitive to heat and light. Oil should be stored in a dark place, no higher than room temperature and sealed from air. Preferably oil should be stored in the fridge if you don’t consume it within a week. Polyunsaturated fat or unsaturated fat is fat that can contain omega-3 and omega-6 acids, as well as many other types. Most often these acids are found in creatures living in the sea. The sea is cool, mostly oxygen free and protected from sunlight which means that polyunsaturated fat can exist there without going bad. So to consume more omega-3 you should eat fish and seafood. To get enough omega-3 you should eat fish almost daily. I don’t do that so I have started taking fish oil capsules twice a day as a substitute. Hopefully that should make me healthier.

lördag 15 juli 2017

Book review: Programming in Lua, Fourth edition

I have read a book called Programming in Lua, fourth edition to learn how to code using Lua. My aim has been to integrate Lua with other languages, in particular C++. Because when you code in C++ things quickly become messy and you must write a lot of redundant code that also pollute the project file tree. In C++, you are sometimes forced to create two files for a class, one header file and one source file. In most other languages that I know of you only need one single file to store a class. Lua also offers an automatic garbage collector so that one doesn’t have to fiddle with freeing up memory in a program. I should of course mention that it is usually favorable to divide objects into two files in C++ by default. Lua should in theory simplify things and let me make modifications to a program while it is running.

I have therefore read the book cover to cover to learn about Lua. Presumably I have some insights about the book that could be good to know before reading it. I did not read the last 2 or so chapters properly however. This book has provided me with a solid overview regarding lots and lots of important details about the language and how to implement it. The book also has exercise tasks that are good to do to get an even better grasp, but I didn’t do any of those. Yet I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Personally, I have already from my past have had quite extensive experience of programming and computer science in general, as well as math. This book is like an information shotgun with tricky code examples to explain some of the info. Not only does it tell you everything at once but it also does so in a way that can be hard to read unless you really pay attention and focus. And even then, it can be difficult. Out of the blue this book often assumes deep insights of specific areas in mathematics or computer science without providing any details, which all piles up to the difficulty of reading the book. Luckily though for the reader is that Lua supposedly is an easy programming language. Some parts of the book are easy to read, probably because there is no need to over complicate simple and straight-forward information. I guess that is also the case when people in a normal context would teach Lua.

To stay motivated to keep reading this book and not stopping after the 1st chapter, you need a true interest for learning Lua. But even that might not be enough so you need to make a deal with yourself to read at least one chapter a day. Or else you may never finish the book. Now why is motivation a problem for this book? The answer is that this book is all about difficultly presented information without exception. I read this book as mentioned cover to cover and I did not come across one single joke in the entire book. Some books at least have an inspirational quote at the beginning of each chapter. Here it’s all about having a serious face all the time.

To sum up: this book was difficult to read. On the flipside, I might not have learned as much if it wasn’t difficult to read.  If you want to make sense of this book you also should make sure to read the chapters in chronological order starting with chapter 1. Each chapter pretty much assumes that you know everything written in previous chapters. So, make sure that you at least decently understand a chapter before you read on. I am glad that I read this book because it provided me with so much information. When I started reading I knew basically nothing at all about Lua. When I finished reading it I felt like I was a pro at Lua, despite not doing the exercises. It goes without saying that this book is not for everyone. Although I believe everyone can understand the most basic and fundamental topics about Lua explained in the book. As mentioned I really don’t recommend continuing reading upcoming chapters if you don’t understand the one you’ve just read.

onsdag 5 juli 2017

Game review: Freelancer

Freelancer is a PC game that I got the summer 2001 or 2000. Probably the former. I had played it before that on the demo version. This game can be played in single player with a story mode, as well as multiplayer online. There have been multiplayer mods in the past but I don’t think too many people play this game anymore. The game is basic in what you can do in it. In the single player game mode, you start out as a guy named Edison Trent on the planet Manhattan. While on a planet you can at most visit 5 different places (by clicking on icons on the top of the screen). The places you can visit are the spaceship launch area, bar, spaceship shop, goods shop and upgrades shop. The goods shop allows you to buy or sell stuff which you can’t use, only carry in your ship. The goods will have different prices in different space stations or planets which allows you to earn money by trading them. Some goods are however illegal and can cause police units to attack you. Just carrying goods in general will increase the probability that NPCs will attack you (even friendly ones).

The planet Manhattan is basically a futuristic New York. As one will see from playing the game, many star systems and planets are named after real cities. The background story for the game is that “ark” ships flew away from earth to begin a new life far away in unknown space. The earth and its nearby planets as well as moons were controlled by humans but apparently, they were at war all the time with each other. Then suddenly one day an alien spaceship uncloaked out of nowhere and blew up the sun with a single missile. Thus, killing everyone except for some guy on the dark side of Pluto. This survivor then headed out into space to warn the “ark” ships that had fled earlier. The ships had fled due to the war and such stuff. The game of course hardly tells you anything about this as far as I’m concerned. I only learned this from seeing the extended intro for the game on YouTube. These ark ships were each sent from different countries/continents or fantasy lands. I’m confident that the “Liberty” ship is meant to suppose the American “ark” ship. This sort of explains why many planets are named after real cities, namely because the founders came from earth.

Anyways, the main character, Trent, is as usual minding his own business in the local bar having a drink. I guess he has been doing that all his life. Then for some reason I can’t really remember he gets a job offer from the police who needs him to help them with a mission, which includes escorting some cargo ships. Trent manages to impress these two police. One of which is a main character in the story, named Juni. Juni is the police officer giving Trent new jobs each time there is something new happening in the story. So eventually one job leads to another and suddenly Trent and Juni are involved in some heavy stuff. In between story missions you get to do whatever you want. When you have reached a high enough level you are allowed to do a new story mission. To level up you must earn money or complete missions. I think there is a limit to the maximum level you can achieve while not having finished all the story missions so you are basically forced to do them. You will want to do them though, because the game is kind of boring unless you follow up on the story. While not doing story missions you can get hired to do small missions like killing a few space ships, destroying a base, arresting someone etc. Missions where you get to kill a few spaceships can be compared to online MMO games where most quests are simple and tell you to kill 10 silly monsters. Now also take into consideration that one mission can take like 15 minutes to complete. First you need to fly a good bit to wherever the mission is at. Then you must complete the mission, and lastly fly all the way back to a station or planet just to get a new mission. Hopefully the new mission isn’t to kill another 10 spaceships.

There are hidden and hard to find ship wrecks on secret areas in space containing loot. The loot can be goods and usually some special and quite good weapon. You can buy lots of different ships in the game and configure them a bit by mounting different turrets as well as missiles on them (there are also mines but they are pretty boring). You can also upgrade the shield and engine for the ship. The way you are supposed to find the ship wrecks is by talking to people on space stations providing you with clues about mysterious areas. Then you follow patrol ships going about in those areas. Eventually you will be able to either spot a ship wreck on your ‘scanner’ or see it in your mini map as a red x mark. The easiest way to find ship wrecks is to just google where they are and flying to their corresponding locations on the map. You can mark locations on a map by which you then easily can navigate to. You cannot however mark “up” or “down” on the map though. The game is in space and in 3D and some wrecks are not in the mid area which should be noted. Pretty much all ship wrecks are in dangerous location, usually with radioactivity damaging your ship.

In the game, you can explore different star systems by flying around and going through “jump gates”. There are many “known” star systems on your “star map” that you can set waypoints to but there are also quite a bit of hidden star systems that you must find on your own. These tend to be located at the very edge of the known universe. There is even a star system that is very far away with alien space ships. These space ships will drop one of the best weapons in the game. I didn’t find out about most of these hidden star systems until random people I met online playing multiplayer brought me there. These hidden star systems also have places where you can get the best ships and upgrades. These ships and upgrades costs a fortune though. All I got to say about single player mode is that it is great, given how old the game is. Mostly because of the story. The game music is very creative and suiting for all things that happen. Many great games also have good music I have found out. I like the vastness of the world and that there are so many interesting things to explore. You feel quite free while playing the game and not so boxed in. One important thing I mainly found out in multiplayer is that you can temporarily boost the speed of your ship by pressing tab. This is actually really important to do during combat. I think the introduction in the game missed to point that out.

The multiplayer mode for the game can give you a varying experience. Many servers are heavily modded and the game experience will vary depending on where you play it. In general it can be fun to fly around and explore with other people in a gang. But it can also be really annoying having gangs or individual players on servers constantly trying to kill you if they get a chance. Usually these annoying people guard important planets in the game making it all worse. You can also do missions as a team with other players, but these missions quickly become repetitive and boring. It would have been better if there were some sort of story mode for the multiplayer gameplay as well instead of just having that in single player. However, that is understandable that they didn’t put too much effort in the multiplayer gameplay. As far as I know most people didn’t play much online multiplayer by the time the game was made. Like I said I got it in 2001. The game was probably made somewhere around the year 2000.