Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bluetooth Blues

I love bluetooth. It sucks so much.

I was pretty happy today when I got my bluetooth keyboard I had gotten myself for my birthday mostly to use with my phone. I was fairly surprised when I had paired it to my Android phone that there was no way to use it to type into my phone. After a bit of research, some sites indicated that you have to root your phone then install an app which allows bluetooth to work on an Android phone. The app that was recommended had since been updated to work without having to root your phone, however, you have to shell out several bucks to upgrade from the Demo version. What's more. I was hoping to use the keyboard with emulators like Tiger SNES and aDosBox, but It won't fully work with them. So now I'm in the position that I need to choose to upgrade to the full version of the bluetooth keyboard tool or try my luck with another free version which requires that I first root my phone. I have to say, I am not amused at all.

This isn't the first time I've been frustrated with bluetooth either. I've been using bluetooth for audio and handsfree for quite a while with more than one phone. From my experiences, bluetooth audio is pretty unreliable. Many times, a paired device will either refuse to connect, connect but not pass audio or just act like there is no audio capability on the device. Sometimes, I can fix it by turning the device and bluetooth off and back on, but quite often, I have to unpair the device and re-pair (not repair) to get it working again. Like I said, I've had this issue with different phones and different audio devices, so it seems to be an issue with the bluetooth protocol itself.

I've also encountered another audio problem recently when I got a vehicle with built-in handsfree and bluetooth audio through the stereo system. The problem is that when I turn on the bluetooth on the phone, it automatically starts playing the next queued song on the default MP3 player in the phone through the car radio whether I want it to or not (usually not). I have to stop the music player manually every time I want to listen to internet radio or Pandora or something. This may be caused by the car stereo system rather than the phone, but It's still very very annoying.

So because of all of this, I both love bluetooth and hate it. I really hope that the next generation of bluetooth fixes all or most of these issues (and Google needs to add built-in keyboard support).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Transcendence playthrough started

I've started on my Transcendence playthough so go check it out if you're interested in space-combat RPG's.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Colobot playthough completed

Well it took longer than I wanted, but I've finally finished my playthrough of Colobot. You can see the whole series here: Colobot Chronicles
I may come back someday and do one or two user-made campaigns, but next I plan to do a playthrough of Transcendence.
I would also like to do some playthroughs of Left 4 Dead some time in the future.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Colobot Chronicles

I've started creating a video playthrough with commentary of Colobot which is one of my all-time favorite games. The series is being posted on YouTube and you can find the playlist *here*.

This is the first time I've tried doing any kind of game playthrough but I've watched several others and I wanted to give it a shot. You might wonder why I chose this particular game for my first attempt. There are three reasons. One, it's a great game that was mostly unknown to the game community. Two, I don't think anyone else has done any playthoughs of the whole campaign. And three, most of the videos I have seen are pretty low quality and I wanted to have something a bit better out there for anyone that was curious about the game to look at.

For anyone that does not know about the game, it's a Real Time Strategy with an unusual twist. Instead of giving your units orders like most RTS-style games, you can write programs for them to follow. This won't appeal to everyone as I'm sure many gamers won't want to learn to program to play the game, but you can also control the units directly. Not only that, but the game provides a few simple programs to assist and also programs from other players such as myself can also be loaded and used (amazingly, they're still *here*).

The missions follow your astronaut through a quest to find a habitable world for humanity to escape to. Specifically, you have to follow clues left behind by a previous unmanned (and failed) mission to find your objective.

Here are the episodes I've completed so far:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Latest updates

I've gotten a number of updates to my homepage recently.
I've gotten some information on the "About Me" page.
I haven't gotten a gallery up, but I've linked to a few galleries where I have posted some of my work.
The Tools page and Contact me is pretty much done for now.
Links is still fairly empty, but that should be changing soon.

Welcome to visitors of usshomestarrunner.com

Monday, March 02, 2009

Webpage updates

I'm thinking about getting back to work on my hompage at http://sparcman.net/Documents/main.html.

To begin with, I've updated my rather lame header image to a snappier looking one.

Old image:
Old lame image

New image:
New and Improved!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Half-Life 2 Episode 3 speculation*Ep 2 Spoilers abound*

I have my own ideas about what we might see in Half Life 2 Episode 3 and I wanted to put them up in my own space.

Lets start with a review of things revealed by the storyline so far:
  • The Borealis is an Aperture Science research ship.
  • Aperture Science is behind the portal gun in the game "Portal"
  • It vanished mysteriously while in drydock and even a part of the drydock disappeared with it meaning it was either vaporized or teleported. Since Mossman did find the ship it must have been teleported - presumably by technology similar to the Portal gun.
  • The ship is now located somewhere in the Arctic wastes.
  • Chell was NOT located in the arctic wastes when she escaped from GLaDOS and so is unlikely to make an appearance in person.
  • Eli was VERY concerned about the technology on the Borealis which makes sense as the Combine does not have any kind of local teleportation technology - yet.
  • Even the teleport technology that Eli and the others from the resistance have developed requires a transmitter and receiver device to make a controlled teleport. The Aperture Science tech bypasses those requirements.
  • Eli is now dead. Get over it already. He's gone.
  • The superportal is now closed, but there are Advisors still on Earth who will likely begin working on establishing a new connection to the Combine homeworld.
  • Kleiner's pet headcrab Heady is probably dead after having sneaked into the warhead of the missile. Though I doubt anyone but Kleiner will care about that.
  • Despite appearances, the G-Man is not human. He has the ability not only to jump around in space, but to distort space and time. On at least a couple of occasions, he appears like a vision - visible only to Freeman (beginning of HL2 and Ep2 when the Vorts are healing Alyx).
  • The G-Man and the Vorts do not share the same motives, but appear to have the Combine as a common enemy.
  • The Vorts appear to be sincere in their alliance with humans while the G-Man seems to have someone else's interests in mind.
  • The Advisors are more than just props in the game engine and in fact can be killed with some noclip action (you can even shoot them without noclip from the interior of the hangar before you step on the lift with Eli and Alyx as the wall they are hiding behind is not solid).
  • This strongly suggests that at least one physical battle with the Advisors is in Gordon's future, but poses an interesting problem as they are very tough to kill and Gordon has always been totally defenseless against their powerful telekinesis.
  • Dr Mossman's status is unknown. She may be at the Borealis or not and she may or may not be a captive of the Combine.
  • The Combine have been to the Borealis including soldiers and hunters.

Now for my speculations and predictions:
  • The game likely starts with Alyx and Gordon traveling to the Borealis in the helicopter.
  • I'm sure they will bring some assistance. Barney, Dog and Vortigants are likely candidates.
  • Perhaps the Vorts can shield Gordon from the telekinesis of the Advisors somehow.
  • Before the chopper can reach the Borealis, it will be shot down with Gordon, Alyx and at least one of their helpers barely pulling themselves out of the wreckage.
  • They'll find themselves on unstable cracked glacial wastes and will likely face headcrabs, zombies or whatever on the way on foot to the Borealis.
  • Once there, they probably need to deal with a guard force of Combine stationed outside the ship.
  • After they can make their way inside, they'll find some kind of evidence left by Dr Mossman revealing where to go next.
  • The ship is booby-trapped which is the only reason that the Combine haven't already retrieved the technology they're after, but means Freeman and company have to watch their step and split up on occasion.
  • At some point, they encounter the Portal gun and confiscate it, but instead of Gordon getting it, Alyx takes possession of it (after all, Gordon always gets to "have fun" with the gravity gun and now it's time for Alyx to get to play with cool tech). Besides that, it keeps the game from being "Portal 1.5". For a few brief moments, Alyx trades the Portal Gun with the gravity gun for some areas that need an HEV suit to get though and also need the portal gun. Once past such obstacles, Alyx gives the gravity gun back and takes back the portal gun (which she does use on occasion, but only when needed).
  • Before locating the Borealis teleport technology, they probably have to defeat at least one advisor and Gordon will need to have some immunity or a way to cripple the advisor's telekinesis.
  • They succeed at some point in destroying the Borealis and perhaps recovering the Portal gun in the process (using it to escape the explosion I bet).
  • At that point most or all of the advisors still on Earth have converged on the Borealis and are killed in the explosion giving Earth a bit of relief from the Combine.
  • This is the end of Gordon's role as a player-controlled character in the Half-Life series.
  • Why? With the death of Eli and considering how much Gordon has done, he will be selected to take charge of the human resistance and another character will take the front-line in Half-Life 3 (Barney? Chell? Dog? Dr Kleiner? who knows).
  • Not only that, He and Alyx will finally have a chance to explore their relationship and well... . They're almost certainly destined to be a couple.
  • (edit) G-Man will most certainly make an appearance in this episode and we will learn more about who he (it?) is and what his purpose is in this whole mess.
  • (edit) Perhaps we'll learn that G-Man is an agent of a force far more powerful and sinister than the Combine.