Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tomorrow is Now

When you spend the last twenty-odd years shuffling around from school to school, you tend to get the feeling that school never ends. I never thought I would say this, but on Friday May 6th, 2011, I completed my last final for an undergraduate class. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as I handed in my exam and walked out the door. One of my friends threw me a small flask of whisky and I took my final sip of alcohol as an undergraduate. On the shuttle ride back home, my friend commented, "tomorrow is the next day of the rest of your life". It's an over-used phrase and cheesy phrase, but I took a moment to comprehend the phrase. I suddenly realized that I was done with school - no more waking up early for class, no more studying for finals, no more carrying around a bad full of books.

I am not sure what the future holds. I envy my friends who are graduating and already have a job lined up right out of college. There are some clouds in the future, but no apparent turbulence. The first fight is finished, now it's high time to move on to bigger endeavors.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Nav-Point Delta

Sometimes I take a moment to look at my life so far and look at the past decisions I have made. There's a couple path's I could have taken - some better and some worse. I can imagine how some decisions would have shaped my character - perhaps hanging around with a different group of people or sticking with some political ideology. All in all, I hate to sound like Al Pacino from Any Given Sunday, but life is a lot like football. It may not be a game of inches, but you cannot expect to win every battle or win every down. Sometimes you lose ground, but all you can do is stay goal-oriented, and deal with your current situation. I'm not the luckiest of guys, or the most successful, but I knew plenty of people who have made poor life decisions. Everyone makes poor life decisions at some point in their lives; it's just a matter of learning how to cope with them and move on.

Almost all derelicts I knew in life made mistakes, never accepted self-responsibility, differed blame to external factors, and never overcame their own struggles. Sometimes you cannot help these people because they themselves do not what's really their own worst enemy. We can only learn from these mistakes and hope to move on. I've only learned one things from my friends and family members that have overcame extreme adversity - life gets better. People always make excuses to justify their shortcomings. When they start doing it enough and people begin to sympathize with them, it becomes a habit.

Sometimes we all need a wake-up call to realize our true potential. A shift smack on the cheek to realize that they are headed the wrong way in life or aiming for the wrong goal.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

StarCraft 2 Tips and Helps

There are two types of people that play StarCraft 2, players that know what they are doing, and players that still think they are playing Civilization IV. You can spend hours practicing your micro techniques but there’s no use in trying to stop-and-shoot (kite) two zealots with marines while four more are tearing apart your SCVs. With that said, here are some tips that should prevent you from getting face-washed like a teenager in a Clearasil commercial.

1. Scout early, Scout Often.

a. There’s no way you can really know what to build if you do not know what your opponents are building. Likewise, scouting to see what structures are building can help you determine whether to expect an early rush or if your opponent will be susceptible to an early push.

b. If you notice your opponent is trying to mine for gas early in the game, then perhaps you should be concerned that they might attempt to go for technology early. Early gas and tech labs for Terrans could mean early reapers. However, a Zerg player might use early gas to get speed-lings, and later transition to Mutalisks or Roaches.

c. Build units and structures based on our gathered intelligence. Do not attempt to go for an early expansion if your opponent is building several production buildings early in the game. Instead, use the minerals to build defenses or units. If you see your opponent going for an expansion attempt to attack them – they will have more resources sunk in their expansion then they do in units.

d. Scout your OWN base and terroritory. Keep an eye out for proxy barracks, pylons, or gateways in your base. If you are playing a Zerg opponent, it would not hurt to place units or structures around the edges of your base to watch out for Nydus worms.

2. Simplify your game.

a. After scouting your opponent and getting a general idea what they are going to be doing, use a specific build order to appropriately counter it. Try to avoid building structures that you will not use.

b. Rather than over-committing to building defensive structures, attempt to build a good number of units which can defend your base if your opponent out-flanks your defenses.

c. Remember to manage your economy. In addition to building workers, make sure that you are spending resources on units, structures, or updates. There is little utility in saving sources.

d. Be prepared to adapt! If the game is not going your way, make adjustments. Build another type of units to support your existing units, or change your aggression tactics. Never overcompensate; StarCraft is a rock-paper-scissors game, where there is no one dominant unit.

3. Learn Build Orders.

a. Build Orders dictate what units and structures you build, and when to expand and attack. There are many common build orders on the internet that are successful. Each player may start or manage a certain build order differently, but they all follow a general idea or goal.

b. There are several “build orders” that players use to counter specific units, aggression tactics, or economic scenarios. A Build order is exactly what it sounds like – the order in which you build structures in a certain scenario. Each race will have multiple build orders. Some are very versatile, and while some are only useful for counter specific units and opposing build orders.

c. You can find several build orders online. YouTube has several channels and videos that are dedicated to showing off diamond-league players’ build orders. Force StarCraft on YouTube offers many useful build orders, and goes through each build order step-by-step while offering commentary.

d. These build orders will help you recognize what your opponent is trying to do, and stay one step ahead of them.

Once you have learned how to manage your game, you can focus on developing your micro-management skills. Sometimes it is overwhelming to keep all these things in mind. but they will all become second nature. If you get stuck in a losing streak, take a break from the game. Either watch your own replays and see what you are doing wrong or other replays on YouTube. Sometimes it helps just to stop playing the game altogether and starting afresh the next day. If you are still having trouble, play with or against a friend and offer each other feedback. Before you rage at your friends or opponents, remember that this is just a game – we are all here to have fun.

Appreciate, Don’t Player Hate, Congratulate

Good SC2 Replay sources:

· - Force SC2

· The UEN TV

· HD STarCraft

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crash the Net (and Hard)

There is a dream inside a dream,
I'm wide awake the more I sleep
You'll understand when I'm dead.

My college experience is rapidly coming to a close. It’s high time to look for a new employment opportunity and start considering what I am going to e doing this summer. Given the state of the economy, I am considering going to graduate school to buy time until some more jobs become available. That aside, I still have one semester left to wrap things up and enjoy the twilight of glorious age. I’m preparing checklist of things I need to get done before May so that I can tell myself that I truly enjoyed these four years of my life.