Rick Roll Thursday Music

What always amuses me about the Rick Roll is I grew up with Rick Astley's music, he's a really good R&B-pop singer. "Never Gonna Give You Up" isn't my favorite of his songs, but he also sang way too much about love and romance and sometimes "god" (whatever that nonsense is), not my favorite subjects. Anyway, haven't heard his new album, post 50.

Minecraft 2011

Was searching for another file, and found my Minecraft screenshots from my first real world. I bought it 2010-09-29, just before the Halloween update, but didn't really play much until the next spring; Alpha was buggy as hell, you can't imagine. Beta 1.3_01 was much more stable, and I settled down. I'm 90% sure WORLD 1's file is lost, but some images remain:

The "castle" was built up around a little gravel-floored valley, which I then walled up and paved over except the pond at the center. So the walls were a weird natural shape. I dunno if I thought cobblestone looked better than smooth stone, or just didn't have enough coal to make it; stone bricks weren't added until Beta 1.8.

Minecraft-20110228-001

Minecraft-20110228-002

There's no overview or underview showing everything, but these glass walkways and stone balconies were a sort of maze, a complex loop going up to the tower exit and around. The cave area below I just kept tunnelling down, not very methodically. I built a bunch of redstone wiring down there, not just the noisemaker/"stereo" up by my bed.

Minecraft-20110301-001-glass-castle

Minecraft-20110301-002-glass-castle

Minecraft-20110301-003-glass-castle

Minecraft-20110301-004-glass-castle

Minecraft-20110309-001-cake

Sadly not visible in any of these, the farm area where I took a natural "river" (a single source block up in the hillside), let it flow through a bunch of channels I dug to irrigate my crops, with a fence and door (no fence gates) all the way to the beach. I definitely didn't know how to make new water sources, water remained a frustration until some versions later.

Shortly after this, I got on the Shaftlands and Yogscast servers, and did a lot there, so my single-player world languished a bit.

I still do a little Minecraft many mornings when drinking my coffee, currently building a little mountain village (haven't converted villagers yet):

Minecraft-2019-07-09_00.06.01-mountain_village

A Little More Magia Record

The JP site has little weekly update comics, which have mostly been translated by fans:

Mostly just gags about bad pulls and events after they're over (in JP timeline; the EN timeline should be following the same pattern eventually), but a few honestly great jokes about Madoka like the one above. (in case you didn't know, read right to left)

Two pulls got me a better tree AOE DPS ★★☆☆ (Hinano is a monster in combat, everything dies in explosions), a fire DPS ★★☆☆, a light support ★★☆☆ (totally useless because main is light support), and… dark vampire DPS ★★★★! Hooray! Not the one I want, but an acceptable start.

magia_record-3638
magia_record-3643

Figured out where the equipment is, you get "Memoria" cards which give boosts and skills, assign them on the team screen, and eventually you can unlock up to 4 slots for these. I got a few ★★★★ cards from a free support pull (forgot to screenshot it) and they make a huge difference in killing shit above my level. Before, I near TPKd once, had a few HP left on one girl when I finished a fight, everyone else was dead (well, KO; you can't kill magical girls without SPOILER). Now nobody goes below half HP even fighting twice my level.

Tactically it's getting pretty interesting. I wish I had more combat layouts. The T-shaped one is more powerful, but gets me hammered by any AOE mobs. The X-shaped default only buffs one girl, and the main needs DEF UP to survive, but ATK UP is wasted on her. But I'm not willing to pay real money for the one I see in the shop, so it's grind grind time.

They really got the witch art style from the series into the game:

magia_record-3639
magia_record-3640
magia_record-3642

The one complaint I have is there's not a lot of Energy. So it's back to playing for half an hour, putting it down for 12 hours. Which is good discipline but normally mobage give you a huge burst of Energy at the start of the game to draw you in, before hitting you with the hard reality of the money-or-time economy. I'm not buying Energy potions or whatever they're called. I miss DanMachi's near-endless supply of "potato snacks" to restore Energy, from just doing dailies. You could run out, but it took grinding all day to do that.

What I'm Playing: Magia Record

A Puella Magi Madoka Magica mobage!

It's very cutesy, aimed at teenage Japanese girls and horny otaku boys, so I'm not likely to play very long, but I really did enjoy the anime series. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch that at the very least up to episode 4. Then it flips from "magical girls" to cute Lovecraftian horror and you'll be hooked to get to the end.

You don't play as the main characters from the anime, but entirely new characters. The main is very Madoka-like, except she took her contract, and the Homura-like Yachiyo antagonist/rival is great, a menacing rational magical girl. Kyubey is not yet a terrible existential threat.

There's the usual very long tutorial where you hit the buttons they tell you to. Eventually it lets you use the menu and go home and play around with the app. I don't even mind doing a campaign, but I want the ability to jump to home and change things, which tutorials prevent.

It's gachapon, and I haven't got enough for a 10-pull yet, so I dunno what the other characters are like. My free pull was a ★★★ tree-element flower girl, who's fine as long as she's not facing fire, which is like 50% of the fights where she's useless. I could reroll, but I never do that, I just grind a bit more.

Combat is turn-based, with 5 elements: Fire beats Tree beats Water beats Fire, and Light beats Shadow beats Light. There's a random selection of maneuvers that affect parts of an enemy formation or give bonus magia or damage, plus skills, plus limit breaks Magia Specials.

There's no equipment? But you can power up your magical girls with various gems, which seems much the same. It's a rich character development system, for sure. There's a bit of cheesecake in the costumes, which verges on lolicon already.

It's free to play, just don't buy anything from the store if you're not into blowing money on this kind of thing; you can apparently grind out most of the content free.

What I'm Watching: Dark

(Needed a little break from EVA which brings up both happy and terribly sad memories for me… So something "dark" instead)

Dark is a German Twin Peaks/12 Monkeys/La Jetée/Stranger Things/The Caves of Time CYOA mashup.

Kids go missing in the woods around a nuclear power plant.

Terrible English dubbing, often gravelly old people for the kids. But I find German harder to tolerate for long periods than most languages, even Dutch or Finnish, so I'm doing both dub and subtitles; the two are often hilariously unalike.

Is everyone in Germany supposed to be terminally depressed, or just this town? It's shot bleaker than any Scandinavian drama, everyone just stands around crying or staring blankly, with bursts of aggressive activity.

Guy leaves an office with, "Do you ever wonder where we took a wrong turn?" Dramatic non-sequiters abound.

Also wow these are some unattractive people. They've never seen the Sun, most are lined or lumpy before their apparent age, nasty looking hair. Cinéma Vérité is one thing, but this is going too far.

Senile old physicist doing the Log Lady routine. Drug dealing kid like Bobby in Twin Peaks. But there's nobody with any charisma or good looks.

Music ranges from '80s pop to some sorta dark atmospheric, both of which I love, to very gloomy, whiny incidental music which I could do without.

The actual plot so far—non-spoiler, this is all in the first couple episodes—seems to be someone using kids as guinea pigs for a time machine. But they do this in the most hamfisted way possible, creepy dude grabbing local kids instead of, say, taking strays in Berlin back to the Secret Underground Lab.

There's enough good parts, and more enough downbeat but interesting parts, that I'm still going in it, but I wouldn't call any of this compelling.

★★★☆☆

Neon Wednesday Music

Several of these /via xtheo, which is a fantastic synthwave & '80s tumbleblog/moodboard.

Note with Soundcloud, you need to hit the hamburger menu at the bottom right of the page, and turn off "Autoplay Station" or it'll randomly insert other artists. Which might be what you want other times, but not when listening to one artist. Bandcamp works like a sane thing.

Y C?

C has the great virtue that most computers have a C compiler installed or can get one from the vendor, and by typing:

% clang -o thing thing.c # or gcc if you must.

You get a binary that'll run on that platform. If you wrote your code sanely, you can recompile it on every major platform with no changes. If you find a place where a platform's different, you can add #if to fix that.

Contrast with every other systems language:

  • Do you have a compiler installed?
  • Is it portable?
  • Can you even fix non-portable areas?
  • Can you make a binary an end-user can run?
  • Can you call other libraries?

In C, the answer is always yes. In any other, it's "probably not, or only with great effort".

Someone was recommending Ada. It's not in standard gcc. You have to install something called "GNAT":

% sudo port install gnat-gcc
#  Ada is self hosted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-hosting)  #
#  You need to install an existing Ada compiler and then choose    #
#  an appropiate variant. For more info use:                       #
#  port variants gnat-gcc                                          #
% sudo port variants gnat-gcc
gnat-gcc has the variants:
   ada: Uses the MacPorts Ada (https://www.macports.org/) compiler to bootstrap!
   gnatgpl: Uses GNAT/GPL compiler (http://libre.adacore.com) to bootstrap!
   gnuada: Uses the GnuAda (http://gnuada.sourceforge.net/) compiler to
           bootstrap!
   macada: Uses MacAda compiler (http://www.macada.org) to bootstrap!
   odcctools: Use the odcctools instead of the system provided ones - does not
              work for x64 currently!

I dunno what to do here. MacAda hasn't been updated since OS X 10.4, which was 2005. I don't see any other ada in MacPorts. At this point I gave up and uninstalled everything. It's not a working language.

Go is fine except that it's a statically-compiled Java owned by Google, and every part of that is evil and wrong. The Rust Evangelism Task Force's constant whining has made me unwilling to even give all those &'s a chance, they're like digital Mormons. There's nothing really wrong with D Language except that it's not installed anywhere, and it's no safer than C for a lot of extra typing.

C isn't safe, but it's fast. It's pretty hard to use safely on large projects, but for small tools with static data buffers it's fine. You take some tradeoffs for any language.

For high-level programming, I love Scheme and JavaScript, and there's a ton of other good high-level languages. But if you need to write at the lowest level, and make it work everywhere, C's the only rational choice.