Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Sep 2019

Despite my desktop PC being generally more stable after the events of the Great Memory Scare of 2019, I was still encountering occasionally crashes when playing games. And by crash I mean the displays dying although the PC continues to run for a short while thereafter and after which they proceed to apparently stop operating completely. It only happens when playing games, and most often when playing Magic Arena and sometimes (rarely) when playing Starcraft 2 or Borderlands 2.

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Magic Arena’s community was in an uproar this past weekend over the latest state of the beta, mostly over the announced plans for Arena’s eternal Historic format that will become relevant with the coming rotation. It’s likely that Wizards will backpedal in some way in response to the community, but here are my thoughts for now: Historic cards to cost double wildcards to craft This is the universally-reviled bit and has been the target of much outrage, accursing Wizards of being greedy etc.

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Aug 2019

I might be lending out my PS4 next month when the latest annual release of a sports franchise rolls around, so I figured I’d finish off a PS4 game before the console vanishes on me for a few months. What Remains of Edith Finch came out on PS+ a couple of months ago and people are always raving about how good it is and how it’s relatively short, so I decided to give it a go.

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My current desktop PC has been with me since late 2015, so going on 4 years now. I bought relatively high-end parts for it at the time, hoping to be a bit future-proof so that it would last me longer than previous desktops. So I was a bit worried when I started encountering issues during the recent weeks. Here’s the timeline: May 2019, before my overseas trip. It happened a few times that the computer would completely shut down while I was playing Starcraft 2 coop.

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This past weekend was EVO 2019, the world’s biggest celebrations of fighting games. If I had stayed in the US another month maybe I could have gone to Vegas to attend and lose badly. Instead, I thought I’d write about fighting games. I consider fighting games one of my weaknesses, in the sense that (a) I easily succumb to the temptation to spend money on them; and (b) I’m not very good at them.

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May 2019

I remember when playing the original version of Civilization back in the day, the “most advanced” form of government was Democracy, with the only downside of it being you can’t declare war (because you had a senate that would stop you.) The other available forms of government were typically not very useful, but Democracy massively increased your trade output, so most often I would build the Pyramids (a wonder which allowed switching to any government immediately and without penalty), and spend the rest of the game toggling between Democracy and Despotism (for when I wanted to go to war).

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I often prefer having a randomly changing background wallpaper, even back in the day when Windows didn’t support it natively and I had to install various plugins to support it. I like the variance! The one I’ve been using recently was this set of wallpapers based on Street Fighter stage backgrounds, which I got from a reddit thread that I unfortunately can’t find anymore (I’ll update this post if I find it later).

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Apr 2019

Rami Ismail of Vlambeer points out some of the problems with the mobile app ecosystem: platform SDKs update so often, so older mobile games often break, such that the reasonable option is to make freemium games that you update continuously rather than single purchase games that won’t work a year later unless you burn capital on them: ”… I’m just a little wary of the smartphone market right now. I don’t currently feel at ease developing for those platforms because the SDKs change, their hardware specs change and when you don’t update the game just breaks.

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It’s been nine years since Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty came out, and the last expansion Legacy of the Void came out four years ago in 2015. I bought all three releases as soon as they came out and recently found the boxes while spring cleaning. Despite the game’s age surprisingly people are still playing it, including me. Not for the ranked ladder - whenever I go into the competitive multiplayer mode I find myself stressing out and feel like my blood pressure is going up and I can’t manage more than one or two games at a time.

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Mar 2019

Earlier this week, Google officially announced their much-rumored streaming game platform, Google Stadia. Initial thoughts: If this works out, it will greatly lower the barrier for access to AAA games, since people won’t have to buy desktops or consoles anymore, and you would be able to game on laptops without worrying about overheating. Sadly like many online services, it will probably be a while before it even becomes available over here in the PH (I believe even Sony’s Playstation Now is not yet accessible here) One would presumably worry about how well it would work with the limited bandwidth available to third-world countries like ours, but I had this worry too when Netflix first became available here, and that worked out fine Speaking of Netflix, if Stadia manages to have a Netflix-like unlimited access service, that can only mean my gaming backlog is going to get a lot worse!

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With the PS Vita recently being discontinued by Sony, I decided to work on reducing my Vita backlog a bit. One of the games I’d been meaning to play for a while now was Zero Time Dilemma, the third game in the Nonary Games trilogy. I’ve only previously played the 2nd game in the series, Virtue’s Last Reward, which is a bit appropriate given how the events in these games often unfold nonlinearly.

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The PS Vita has officially ended production. Sadness for the little handheld that could. The PSP that came before it was a juggernaut, and so was the 3DS it went into battle with. Unfortunately Sony never gave the Vita proper support, and third parties didn’t follow, so the handheld never lived up to its true potential. I haven’t had much opportunity for handheld gaming the past few years, since I don’t travel as much anymore.

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As I’m writing this, I’ve been grinding Eternal’s ranked ladder, trying to beat the end-of-month ladder reset and hoping to make Master rank again. Since this morning, I’ve been moving up and down the threshold of the Diamond I, the rank just below Master, hence frustratingly there has been little progress, less than 24 hours before the ladder reset. I usually do manage to hit Master rank a bit earlier than this, but I’ve been a bit busier this month for some reason, so my daily Eternal grinding had been reduced to the token one win per day.

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Feb 2019

Back in 2017 during a Steam Sale, I was trying to choose a Metroidvania to play. My choices came down to either Ori and the Blind Forest or Hollow Knight. My impression that was that Ori had the more challenging platforming, while Hollow Knight had the more challenging combat. I chose Ori at that time, and I enjoyed that game. Last October, Hollow Knight was in a Humble Monthly, and I decided to go for it.

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I picked up Slay the Spire during the last (Winter) Steam Sale, not really knowing what I was getting into. I had heard some good things, but I didn’t really know much other than it was a roguelite where I had to go through a dungeon. But it was cheap so I took the dive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it a roguelite, it was also a deckbuilding game!

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Jan 2019

I had been eyeing Lucas Pope’s acclaimed indie hit Papers Please on Steam for a while, but finally bit the bullet on it during the last sale. The story of the game itself is interesting, as Pope was more or less a one-man team, doing the design, code, music and art for the game himself. If you’re not familiar, the game places you in the role of a border inspector in a fictional 1980s totalitarian state called Arstotzka, a thinly-veiled parallel to communist East Germany and similar nations.

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Dec 2018

Back during the early days of gaming (both PC and console), there weren’t many game releases, and I had a lot of free time, so whenever I got a new game, I usually managed to play a fair amount of it. Ever since the advent of Steam and its constant sales, this has been a lot more challenging, especially since I have had much less time for gaming since I started working.

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I’ve been playing MTG Arena for a good while now, a little bit during the closed beta, and now I think we’re still in open beta (?) because things still keep changing around. But I figured I could put in a little commentary about how this thing is going so far. I’m coming off the POV of a long-time Magic the Gathering player of course, with a little bit of comparison to Eternal and Hearthstone, the two digital CCGs I’m most familiar with.

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I recently found a stash of old DOS games we used to play, so I thought I’d write about the early days of PC gaming. My PC gaming career (such as it is) started way back in the MS-DOS era. It was an interesting time to be a gamer, to say the least. It was a time when you had to make bootdisks and fiddle around with files like autoexec.bat and himem.

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Nov 2018

I said in my previous Duelyst review that Eternal didn’t really hook me. That was in Feb 2017. I stopped playing Duelyst after around six months. I started playing Eternal regularly July of that year, and have been playing regularly ever since. What changed my mind? I’m not sure, but once I got around to playing Eternal regularly, I found myself enjoying it. I think one of the main factors is that out of all the online ccgs I’ve tried, Eternal is the one that’s closest to Magic the Gathering.

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This meme appeared on my timelines again and so I thought I’d talk about DLCs for a bit. Spoiler: I largely disagree with the sentiment that the state of DLC in gaming is pretty bad. I’ve commented quite a few times on Reddit threads regarding this over the years, here’s my favorite one: What if they didn’t bundle DLC separately and just straight-up sold the game for a higher price (and with a slightly later release date), would you prefer it?

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Thoughts on DLC
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Finally had the time to play Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. Took just a little under two weeks from start to Platinum. Maybe mild, unmarked spoilers somewhere in this review, be warned! Overall: the game was amazing and spectacular and fun, especially for a big comic book fan like me, well worth the buy. Mechanics: Combat felt a bit weird to me at first, mainly because I was expecting it to be closer to Arkham-style combat, and I kept trying to use Spider-Man’s Circle Dodge the same way I use Batman’s Triangle counter, and that got me clocked by the first boss of the game (Kingpin) a few times.

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(“Late Game Review” because I’m trying to play through games on my ridiculously old backlog, so these games are pretty old) The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim came out on 11/11/2011. I remember I bought the game for Steam on launch day. I finally “finished” it after 350 hours of gameplay and seven years real-time. “Finished” in this case means “achievement complete”, not just “main quest complete”, because as any Bethesda gamer knows, that’s not how their RPGs roll.

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I used to play a lot of JRPGs, especially back during they heyday of the Playstation Era. These days, I only get to play a few, but I still enjoy a lot of the music tracks from this game, often the battle music since I prefer more upbeat tracks. Here are some of my favorite JRPG tracks from recent years: Rivers in the Desert (Persona 5) – easily the best song in the OST for me, and the rest of this OST is amazing so that’s saying a lot.

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Oct 2018

Rockstar was in the gaming news recently because they mentioned that some of them had worked 100-hour weeks on their massive sequel to Red Dead Redemption coming out soon (no idea if I’ll play this). The idea of 100 hour weeks seemed insane to me, and it got me thinking: I’ve done some serious overtime before, have I ever gotten close to that amount of work in a week? Luckily, I didn’t have to speculate too much, because I had data (I love data).

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Posted by under post at / Gaming Software Development / Syndicated: / 0 / 294 words
I’ve had a copy of this book for quite a while now, but for some reason only got around to starting on it three days ago. It’s not a particularly long book, but I pretty much devoured it in twenty four hours.Mandatory screenshot of old-school Doom The book traces the paths of the lives of John Romero and John Carmack – two legends of the software development world that changed PC gaming forever.

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(“Late Game Review” because I’m trying to play through games on my ridiculously old backlog, so these games are pretty old) I got my digital PS3 copy of Ni No Kuni during some kind of PSN sale a while back for like $10 and seeing as how the sequel came out recently, I figured I’d better finish the first game before my rarely-used PS3 decides to die on me. Anyway, the game was great and I enjoyed it enough to go for the platinum (post-game was a bit grindy though):

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Jul 2018

It has been a while since I had a bit of free time (work is busy busy busy). I thought I would post about something here. And I’ve decided (just now), that I need to post more frivolous things, a bit of dumb blogging as some might say. Today I will talk about what games I’ve been playing in the whatever little spare time I’ve been able to scrounge up. I find that if I don’t distract myself with some gaming, my brain tends to overthink about silly things like problems and deadlines that I can’t do anything about anyway.

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Mar 2018

While browsing through my old blog posts, I found one about my setup from 2010. I figured it was a good time to do an update. I like doing posts like these because it provides an easy reference for me to look back and see what I was working with at a certain point in time. What Hardware Do I Use? Desktop. I bought a new desktop rig back in late 2015, here are the specs:

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Jul 2017

Last week the local gaming shop had the Steam Link on 70% discount so I figured I’d give it a try. We recently got a new TV at home, so I was eager to try out some Steam games on the big screen. If you’re too lazy to click the link above, the Steam Link is basically a set-top box that streams your gameplay to a TV via HDMI, allowing you to enjoy your steam games from the comfort of a couch.

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Jun 2017

My first Persona game was Persona 4 Golden on the Vita – a fantastic game. After that I dived into Persona 3 Portable and eventually the spin-off games Persona 4 Arena (and Ultimax) and Persona Q on 3DS. So it was no surprise that one of the game releases I was most looking forward to this year would be the next numbered game in the series: Persona 5 on the Playstation 4.

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Mar 2017

With The FFXIII trilogy not being particularly well-received and FFXIV being an MMO, Final Fantasy XV has been a long awaited as the next mainline single-player game in the much-acclaimed series. This review will have minor spoilers. Story FFXV follows the story of Noctis, prince of Lucis and his band of brothers (okay they’re not really brothers, but they might as well be). They’re supposed to be on a road trip to get Noctis married, but things happen along the way and eventually they have to figure out how to liberate their homeland from The Evil Empire.

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I’m not a fan of scary movies. I don’t appreciate the idea of paying money to get surprised by jump scares or whatever. Back when I was a kid I remember my dad watching a Betamax copy of The Gate back home and me and my younger brother were watching with him and the movie seriously creeped me out. There was this one scene where a demonic eye manifested on the lead kid’s palm and that scene stuck with me for a while.

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Feb 2017

After Hearthstone, I tried out a couple of other digital CCGs: Spellweaver and Eternal, but neither one hooked me. The one I enjoyed the most and did pick up to play regularly was Duelyst. So this review is written from the perspective of someone who has played both Magic the Gathering (MTG) and Hearthstone (HS). Hearthstone, Spellweaver and Eternal played like digital MTG with some advantages, as I outlined in the HS post linked above.

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Old gamer rants follow. Gaming has changed a lot over the years. For one thing, there’s the internet now. If you got stuck in a game, you just head on over to GameFAQs or some other site and someone on the message boards will tell you how to get unstuck. Or you can even watch Youtube videos on how to do it! (Side note: I dislike having to watch Youtube videos to figure stuff out.

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Dec 2016

Just in time for the end of the year, I finally finished Xenoblade Chronicles X, which I started playing around the first week of August (5 months!), with 120+ hours of game time. The game doesn’t have the best graphics (WiiU, etc), but I really like how it looks and how the world is built and all the different environments and the weird and sometimes absurdly large beasts. There’s a whole lot of stuff to do in-game.

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May 2016

[][1]Totally different yo I am of course a long-time Magic the Gathering player. Over the past year or so I’ve also been playing Blizzard’s digital CCG Hearthstone (limiting myself to free to play since who has money to spend on two CCGs?) and I’ve been thinking about the design parallels and differences between the two. If you’re a Hearthstone player, you’ve probably read a lot of these things before, since many well-known pros play both MTG and HS.

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Or “How Did A Ceramic Pot End Up In Stellar Orbit”? Stellaris is a 4x space strategy game available on Steam. The game is created by Paradox, well-known for a number of other grand strategy games mostly with a historical basis such as Crusader Kings. I’ve owned Crusader Kings II for a while now but never got into it too deeply because (a) it’s just a bit too overwhelming; and (b) I find the combat way too obtruse.

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Dec 2013

It’s the end of the year, so it feels like a good time to look back at the books and games I’ve gone through in 2013. I guess it’s my lack of focus really but my reading rate has really gone down over the past few years, I guess in favor of TV, comics and games. (I guess comics count as reading too, but I’m talking about full-length novels. For 2013 as far as I can tell I only finished reading the following novels:

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Jun 2013

I wrote some stuff about Vita vs 3DS in a Reddit post, I thought I’d expand on it here. I have access to both a first-generation 3DS with ambassador status (this is actually my brother’s but he doesn’t use it much) and a PS Vita which is only a couple of months old. I use the Vita a lot more because reasons: The screen is very very nice, especially compared to the 3DS screens.

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Mar 2009

For the record, I purchased an original R1 copy of Street Fighter IV for the PS3 last Tuesday, and we’ve been pretty much playing it whenever we had free time at home. The one time I came in late to work during the month of February was because of Street Fighter IV. Street Fighter IV came in with ridiculously high reviews for both the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, the PS3 version garnering a 94 (universal acclaim) on Metacritic It can’t be denied that it’s an awesome game, although not everyone agrees.

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Feb 2009

Amazingly, despite my work schedule I still managed to finish a rather old-school RPG. I finished Star ocean: Second Evolution for the PSP today, clocking in 30 hours of playtime. I have to say I quite enjoy playing RPGs on handhelds. RPGs are usually rather long games so it’s nice being able to handle them in bite-sized chunks while commuting, et cetera. Star Ocean: The Second Story was probably one of the best Japanese RPGs to come out of the Playstation era, despite the lackluster translations of that time (hey, it was pre-year 2000, all translations were pretty bad then!

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Jan 2009

Finally finished Valkyria Chronicles last Saturday, clocking in at around 25 hours. Quick Review: Beautiful, beautiful game, even on my SD TV; it’s like watching a flowing watercolor painting When you start the game, all the dialogue/cutscenes seems a bit draggy but eventually you get used to the pacing and then you don’t mind because the battles are really engaging. Speaking of battles; I’m not sure if it would be good for beginners to tactical games.

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Dec 2008

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:

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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.

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Aug 2008

I’ve been submerged in work for the past two weeks or so, not having much time to do anything else aside from work and the DS, which lets me sneak in some Professor Layton, FFTA2 or Civilization Revolutions while waiting for bug fixes to be confirmed. So I took a break this weekend and won’t be reporting back to work until Wednesday. No plans really, just some unplanned downtime to unwind a bit…

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Jul 2008

May 2008

I was neglecting the NDS a bit, so I decided to look for some fun homebrew stuff to do with it. Here are some I tried (You’ll need some sort of flashcart to use these. Mine is an R4.): Pocket Physics – a neat little toy app that allows you to draw diagrams on the touch screen that would then become affected by physics. It’s a bit like a free-form The Incredible Machine that’s portable.

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Apr 2008

Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.