Yearly Archives: 2008

Gaming in 2009

I wanted to make a calendar of game release dates in 2009 (so I won’t forget), but apparently details are sparse. The only games that I’m remotely interested in that already have release dates are:

20 Jan 2009:

  • Mana Khemia: Student Alliance (PSP)
  • Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP)

17 Feb 2009:

  • Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (NDS)
  • Street Fighter IV (PS3)

17 Mar 2009:

  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (NDS)

Unknown Release dates (2009):

  • Dragon Quest IX (NDS)
  • Suikoden Tierkreis (NDS)
  • Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (First Half 2009) (NDS)
  • GTA: Chinatown Wars (NDS)
  • Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (1Q 2009) (NDS)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (Spring 2009) (NDS)
  • White Knight Chronicles (PS3)

Pretty slim pickings, but it’s probably a blessing in disguise, considering how much backlog I have. The following are games I still want to finish from 2008 or earlier:

  • Jeanne d’Arc (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy: Crisis Core (PSP)
  • Chrono Trigger (NDS) I’m very close on this one!
  • Professor Layton and the Curious Village (NDS) Yes, I’ll finish this, hopefully soon!
  • Disgaea 3 (PS3)
  • Final Fantasy IV (NDS)
  • Dragon Quest IV (NDS)
  • Castlevania: Order of Eclessia (NDS) Just started playing it last night
  • The World Ends With You (NDS)
  • Yggdra Union (PSP)

Wishlist for games to be announced in 2009:

  • Remake of Lufia 2
  • More PS2 remakes on the PSP, specifically Dragon Quarter
  • US releases for Disgaea 2 (PSP), Tales of Heart (NDS), Tales of Innocence (NDS)
  • More PS3 RPGs

Speed Reading

I came across a website that provided an online Speed Reading Test. Most people I know generally know me to be a fast reader so I decided to take the test.

My results: 472 words per minute screen reading, at 82% comprehension, which the website says classifies me as a “good reader”. Apparently the best readers can read at 700wpm at 85% comprehension, sounds tough =/

Try the quiz and post your results here.

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PTQ Kyoto 2

The last limited tournament of the season, it was last week, December 20 at Robinson’s Galleria. The format was Shards of Alara sealed deck. For once, I opened a pretty good pool. Unfortunately, I failed to make the follow through. Decklist and (short) tournament report follows.

(The decklist above only lists 39 cards…not sure what the missing 40th card was )

The pool was pretty meaty, with lots of removal. Unfortunately, removal doesn’t help if you don’t draw it. I lost round 2 to an opposing Mycoloth without drawing any of my O-rings. In round 3 I lost in game 3 to mana screw – I drew a lot of red burn but the mountain didn’t come out until I was on my last legs.

Round 1: 2-1 win
Round 2: 1-2 loss
Round 3: 0-2 loss

I was a bit frustrated due to having a nice pool but bad luck (and admittedly, not so tight plays), so I just dropped after going 1-2. My limited playing has been really bad lately, I hit a GPT top 8 at the very start of the limited season but after that all the GPTs and PTQs I joined I scrubbed out. I think I need to take a break from Magic for a while :p

Will probably resume playing when Conflux comes out (or if there are any good Standard tourneys in January)

Colophon 2008

Frontend: All page templates are valid (X)HTML. However, I choose not to claim valid XHTML (and no doc type declaration) since I can’t guarantee that blog posts I write are compliant! The site uses standard CSS and uses the Blueprint CSS Framework for the grid layout of the page. The site design is entirely original (if not simple and bland – I’m not very good with website design yet!). The site has minor usage of JQuery Javascript library in some parts.

Backend: The server side uses Python and Django behind mod_python on Apache, with a MySQL database. The following Django apps and Python libraries are used:

  1. custom made blog application by myself
  2. built-in (contrib) apps: admin, comments, sitemaps, flatpages
  3. django-tagging
  4. django-xmlrpc
  5. comment_utils for advanced comment moderation features
  6. template_utils
  7. django-pingback
  8. Beautiful Soup for XML/HTML parsing
  9. Pygments for syntax highlighting. See the Pygments Demo!
  10. Feedparser
  11. Markdown2 so that I can post using Markdown.

As is typical for hobbyist software development, I started working on this site with only a minimal set of features considered, but as I kept working I kept wanting to add more stuff. Some notable custom-made features:

  1. XMLRPC server, supporting Metaweblog API and Pingbacks. I actually only added the metaweblog support so I could post from Flock
  2. Autocard support (same as my previous Autocard plugin for WP) and syntax highlighting of code.
  3. Automatic extraction of twitter and delicious entries into the sidebar
  4. Gravatar support for comments

All entries from the previous “roytang / weblog”, “Roy on Magic” and “Roy on Django” have been imported using a custom data conversion script, but nothing is perfect so some of the older posts may be badly formatted. (Comment on those posts!)

Hosting: Provided by Webfaction.

roytang.net site update

Previously I hosted two separate WordPress blogs on roytang.net, the old one I’ve had since forever, and a separate one that discussed only magic related articles. It was a bit bothersome to have two WordPress installs though. Now that I’ve migrated to a Django backend, I decided to merge the blogs back into one.

The blog now has the following sections/categories:

  • Magic the Gathering – for posts related to MTG
  • Software Development – for posts related to Software Development (hopefully I can write more about this topic)
  • Gaming – originally I didn’t have this category, but looking at previous contents of the blog and my delicious links, this is one of the things I write about the most, so I made it a separate category
  • Weblog – everything else I can think of

Each category has a separate RSS feed you can subscribe to – so that if you’re only interested in MTG posts you can subscribe to the MTG category feed, etc. There’s also a master feed that syndicates all the posts in all categories, available at the top of the page.

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PS3!

I purchased a PS3 last week! As is typically with me making large purchases, a was wishy-washy about it for a whole two weeks (although Alvin had been egging me to buy one for months).

To show how indecisive we are, here’s the conversation we had at the store:


Saleslady: Sir, anong kulay ang gusto nyo? Black, silver or white?

Me: Alvin, ano gusto mo?

Alvin: Kahit ano, silver na lang siguro.

Me: Sige ate, silver na lang

(The saleslady proceeds to take the silver model out of the box)

Me: OK lang ba silver? Parang mas maganda black.

Alvin: Gusto mo ba black? Ayos lang sakin kahit ano.

Me: Meh, kahit ano naman e, di bale na.

Saleslady: Silver na ba talaga sir?

Me: Sige ate, test mo na.

(She turns on the PS3)

Alvin: Dapat nga ata black na lang.

Me: Ate, pwede pa palitan?

Saleslady: Naon ko na po e!


Anyway, yeah, non-sequitur. I thought long and hard about the PS3 purchase because obviously it’s more expensive than the X-Box 360 and furthermore, and the games are expensive as well. But you gotta go with the best really.

Our PS3 package came with 2 games of our choice, and we found out just as we were buying that we had to be picky about the regions as most likely R2 games (Europe) would not work on our standard definition NTSC TV. Yup, I had decided not to purchase an HD TV because, well, they’re hella expensive! For our two free games, we went with Metal Gear Solid 4 (obviously) and Valkyria Chronicles, both are PS3 exclusives.

MGS4 is a damn awesome-looking game, even on our SD TV so I can only imagine how much better it would be in HD. I wasn’t planning on playing it myself, but instead satisfied myself with watching the cutscenes as my brothers played through it. As is typical of MGS, the game was short and my youngest brother got to the ending cutscene within a mere four days after the PS3 was purchased! Luckily there’s still MGS Online and Hard/Extreme modes so there’s still some replay value there.

Valkyria Chronicles is the game I’m playing and I’m currently 8 chapters in. From reviews I expected it to be a tactical RPG like FF Tactics and the like, but after playing I find that it reminds me more of squad-based tactical games like X-Com: UFO Defense. The game is rendered in very detailed and beautiful cel shading and is a blast to play and also somewhat hard – actual tactics are needed to win battles unlike in FFT-style games where typically it’s not too hard to power through the battles.

Another slight disappointment was that the US Playstation Store wouldn’t accept a local credit card for PSN purchases, so I was unable to purchases Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix as it is currently only available on the US PSN. Thanks to some kind folks at the PSPinoy message boards though for facilitating the purchase for me. I was able to successfully download SSF2THDR but was saddened by the lag I experienced while playing online. Hopefully I can tweak some of the network settings on the PS3 to solve the latency issues.

Overall, the PS3 seems to have been a good solid choice. Now if only I had more time to play games!

FNM 19-Dec 2008

I’m on vacation, so it means I actually have time to hit FNM. I sleeved up the Kithkin deck (no more Blightning for me!) and headed over to Robinson’s Galleria (Getting

robbed along the way

fyi). Nothing surprising, I managed to make 3-1, good enough for fourth place and four packs with crap rares inside. My loss was to the mirror match, most probably due to my lower card quality, as I had only 1 planeswalker in my deck.

For reference, the Kithkin decklist I played:

I won round 1 vs Kithkin mirror (he drew no Ajanis), round 2 vs Red/Green warriors and round 4 vs Bant control. My sideboard was pretty much weaksauce and never delivered for me. I don’t think I need both Wrath and Stillmoon there as I didn’t think Stillmoons are necessary in the mirror. The guy I lost to had the right idea – he boarded in more planeswalkers.

My Phone Was Stolen

I wish there was more to the story, but the true story is rather short: I had a moment of carelessness as I hurriedly tried to disemabark from the crowded MRT, and by the time I was getting on an FX at Megamall I noticed that the front pocket of my bag was open and my phone was missing.

The PSP which was in the same pocket was still there so I guess the thief was in a hurry. My best guess for the point of attack would have been as I was lined up at the outgoing gates and rummaging through my pockets for the MRT ticket. I’m normally very careful in these situations but I was carrying more stuff than I usually do so I guess I really let my guard down here.

I’ve never actually been the victim of petty theft before, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I had someone try to call the phone, of course there was no response. We tried to lay a trap by sending a text message along the lines of “Hi, I’m the beautiful lady who wants to give you P20,000. How can I recognize you since we’ve never seen each other before?” but I doubt it would have worked. In the end, I’m told there’s really nothing I can do. At least I was running on prepaid so I don’t have to cancel the line or anything. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any sensitive info (passwords, etc.) on the phone.

My first reaction was actually annoyance at my own carelessness – especially since I tend to be vigilant 99% of the time, but that 1% that I let my guard down I actually get bitten. Although looking at it another way, if I wasn’t vigilant 99% of the time I might not have lasted so long without having a cellphone stolen. A number of people were amazed that I was taking it mostly as a matter-of-fact, as I should be emo’ing over my lost phone. It’s just a phone.

I’ll just imagine that my cellphone went towards providing a nice Christmas dinner for a starving family. Then that happy occasion brings their family back together and convinces the thief to turn away from his life of crime and walk the straight and narrow, and he gets a job and his children get to go to school and become productive members of society.

Meanwhile, farewell N73, I hardly new ye. Any suggestions for a new phone? The features I typically require are:

  • Call/text obviously
  • Cameraphone (I use it to take pictures of stuff I need to remember)
  • Bluetooth (since I prefer using my laptop to send SMS if possible)
  • MP3 player – actually I wasn’t using the MP3 player on the last one recently, but having a player on my phone saves me from buying an Ipod or whatever separately
  • Alarm, Tasklist/Event notification – I am not confident in my ability to wake up early without a cellphone alarm.

Other features (internet, radio, etc) are lower priority.