R.I.P. First Assault Online

After less than two years being publicly available, the latest Ghost in the Shell game is now in the process of shutting down. It’s sad but not unexpected, as the title has suffered, and laboured, under it’s status as a Free-to-Play title after being paid for as part of Steam’s Early Access program.

The game itself has a simple idea; you’re an Operative of Section 9, from Ghost in the Shell. Choose from the Major (Motoko Kusanagi), Batou, Togusa, Saito, Pazu, Borma or Ishikawa. Log in, kill things, get better weapons, continue killing things. It could be considered a first person, GitS-sourced version of Warframe, albeit with far-less stellar results. But there were many faults with the game, at least from my standpoint.

(NOTE: I stopped playing at the release of 2.0 because it felt like it was trying to emulate Overwatch and it’s ilk by becoming a ‘hero shooter’. So all explanations were pre-2.0, which dropped July 17th 2017)

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Google-less

Google (or should I now call it “Alphabet’s Google”?) as a service and as a family of products have essentially taken over the Internet in terms of how many people use it. We’re constantly told to diversify ourselves and never put all our eggs in one basket in every facet of our lives; pensions, banking, news, information etc. Yet when it comes to online presence we’re more than happy to lay ourselves entirely at the doorstep of Mountain View, CA.

For years we’ve said ‘Google it’ instead of ‘Look online for it’. Nobody says that a product is part of ‘The Alphabet Inc. Family’, but a part of ‘The Google Family’, despite the former being truth because of the name recognition alone, and the mindset the brand name evokes. We’re a long way past the days of ‘Don’t be Evil’, and given the recent firing of Jason Damore over his emotionally bland (but factually correct) memo that was circulated internally and then leaked (as an aside, how much is on the table for the person responsible never being fired over this?) alongside the outright, thankfully temporary, Google-wide ban of Jordan B. Peterson, it gives the wary pause for thought.

But it shouldn’t be just the wary that are taken aback by the brashness and blatant leanings that the web’s largest company has, both politically and ideologically; it should be everyone. The poster declaring that ‘You’ve had a bit too much to think!’ is becoming chillingly accurate. Every person that has all of their online eggs in the Google basket should be concerned about the G-Man potentially knocking on your door with the G-Ban.

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[Up]Stream [Down]Stream [Just]Stream

I have a Twitch account. You all know that right?

Of course you don’t, because I never use it.

That is going to change. Mainly because I have invested far too much money in hardware that is meant for streaming, to stop just before I get to the point where I am ready to actually do it. A fair few people around me already stream regularly, and while some do it for the money (and seem to be only interested in it for the money), I want to do it because I think I would be good at it. As much as YouTube is about the personality, it is more often than not also about high quality video editing and gaming the system. Twitch appears to be less so, so long as you have a decent connection and a good PC to stream and play on.

I have gone beyond purchasing gear to just use for Voice Chat in games. I bought myself a full XLR microphone and interface set to make sure that not only would I have good quality but I would be future-proofed. I also bought the Elgato Stream Deck, on release, mainly for it’s integrations with OBS, but also because it can be used for hotkeys and shortcuts without the need to memorise key combinations and modifiers.

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Simple Simon met a PiMan.

I’ve always been a fan of the Raspberry Pi. Ever since it came to the public marketplace in 2012, makers and tinkerers alike were crazy over it, as was I. After all, who couldn’t be at least slightly interested in the idea of a computer the size of a credit card, running Linux with standardised inputs and outputs. The mind boggled at what could be done.

I got my Pi (Model B+) in 2014, and immediately I was fooling around with it. My first goal was a webserver, before I realised how limited the Pi actually was. While those limitations have mostly been remedied by better specs, initially they were a gauge of what could be done with the machine. I tried a media center with XBMC before finally settling on using Volumio on it to turn it into a music player, affectionately called Pi-Fi on my network. I always toyed with the idea of buying the latest version and turning it into an emulation machine (RetroPie now works up to the PSx), but never really went forward with it.

But buying a Chromebook lead to another limitation that I hadn’t thought of before: Chromebooks do not print in the typical way. You can’t just hook a USB printer in and hit CTRL+P on them. They use Google Cloud Print, and while I could just set that up on my main machine, not having it on is the point of having a Chromebook in the first place.

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VIDEO – The Lost Episodes of Half-Life 2

YouTube, somewhere along the way, has been on point with recommendations for me, at least in the realm of gaming. The site recommended the channel GVMERS, and since then I’ve been happy to see them show up on my feed. Them and Raycevick do longer form content about gaming history, and fill the gap in my viewing habits that All Your History by Machinima left behind, though without the topics being recently released or upcoming franchises.

This particular video teases Valve’s trepidation of a third game in a series, but also goes into a lot of projects that I didn’t know about in regards to their episodic system, and in hindsight is fascinating that Valve (at the time) would allow third parties a stake in their prized series.