About Me
Hello, I am

James Williams

James is a standard issue nerd, practically to a fault. He was learning BASIC while his peers were learning to throw and catch. He enjoys walking around a well-lit 3D-rendered landscape but would prefer to stay indoors. He won't dance (don't ask him) but he will /dance and /manderville all night long. If you're interested in an in-depth analysis between the command techniques of various Starfleet captains, you are going to have a great time with James at parties (this is a lie: James doesn't go to parties).

Professionally, James is a seasoned developer with nearly two decades of experience. He enjoys all sorts of different programming languages, platforms, and programming methodologies. His own personal style is a spicy mix of functional and object-oriented: he even nearly understands monads!

When he's not working, he's probably poking at his personal programming projects. Beyond that: you might find him playing a turn-based RPG (or watching a Let's Play of a more action-oriented RPG), editing pictures in Photoshop, reading a novel with a spaceship on the cover, and always always always drinking far more tea than can possibly be wise.

(The lemur's name is Gary.)

My Recent Activity

I spent several hours this morning just sort of messing around:

  • figuring out the best way to push a Goblin off a cliff without getting murdered by hundreds of his friends (somehow, it involved an etheral kitten. I was surprised too.)
  • figuring out the best way to avoid traps without spending a disarm kit (it looked a lot like hopscotch; I hope Astarion had fun.)
  • trying to figure out a way to kill some sleeping ogres without then getting murdered by those same hundreds of friends (I never cracked this one; the ogres remain blissfully asleep an unharmed).

Didn't make much progress with the plot, but a good time was had by all. Especially Astarion, that dexterous jumpy boy.

I spent several hours this morning completely failing to make any real headway with the plot. I did manage to clear out a low level room and make something of a safe space for myself; but then I was tasked with taking out four bosses and I just have no idea where to even start.

Everything I've tried has ended up with a a very large encounter that I just have no chance against.

I can't even casually set things up for success because cut scenes keep triggering which eventually leads to a messy death.

The game is full of opportunity and wonder, but it pulls no punches.

I found this little forum post about how to cheese the cooking system and basically print money.

So that's one problem solved. I can now buy all of the restorative items I can find and not stress about staying in inns. Which is definitely helpful.

I've so far not stumbled across anyone selling items that restore EP so even that is a little limited.

Which is a shame because I'm increasingly running across enemies that demand to be fought with Arts. So I just watch my EP meter drain fight-by-fight.

Beyond just that, the balance in this game is completely weird. Encounters are either a literal walk in the park where I defeat everything before the enemies even get a turn or I very nearly die.

There is no middle-ground where a fight is interesting enough to hold your attention without necessarily being a huge risk. It's either a white-knuckled fight to the death or a giant nothingburger.

I wonder if the entire series will be like this or if it's just because this was the first and they were getting the hang of game balance.

I'm still not sure I really understand how this game is supposed to be played.

There are scattered areas where you can recover for free, however inns are far more common.

But inns cost money. And you don't get money from encounters, even though some encounters hit hard.

But you can't afford to grind out EXP from those hard-hitting encounters because recovery costs money and you only get money from side quests.

I'm just confused about what they want me to do. Should I be selling stuff to make money so I can heal so I can fight so I can get stronger?

I might need to look up some helpful hints.

As noted, I am taking the slow path through BG3. I am still in the starting area and only really learning the ropes.


Today, I discovered a cave just chock full of spiders. You don't necessarily realize the full number of spiders until you make one mad. Then you find out about all of the other spiders that are just kind of hanging around.

Also, they're magic spiders and are able to ignore things like "distance". Pretty fierce creatures, honestly.

By save scumming like it's going out of style, I tried multiple strategies to deal with the spiders. The best strategy I I found involved using a Flaming Sphere to destroy a whole bunch of spider eggs...only to discover that there were even more spider eggs that the spiders had decided not to bother waking up in any of my previous encounters.

I eventually gave up and decided that this battle was just beyond me. It was a bummer because the spiders were guarding an item I needed for a quest.

So I left down a new path and found that I could have Astarion creep around a corner while the spider was distracted, cast Fog Cloud on top of the thing I needed so the spider watching it couldn't see anything, and fumble around until he picked up the item.

Having mostly played games where the only path forward is "Kill the things. Get the loot.", it was amazing. Combining all the different ways I was able to try to defeat the spiders in combat and culminating in the non-combat sneaky-sneaky strategy for success was really special.

I know I am late to the party, but I have finally had a transcendent Baldur's Gate 3 moment of my very own. And I know that this is the sort of thing other people have been talking about for weeks and there's no real surprise here. But this one was my own and it felt wonderful.

This is such an incredible game.

This game is such a delight. For almost every other line of dialog, I want to share it with someone because it's so funny or cute or charming.

I'm almost tempted to stream it just so I can point at it and say "This! This right here!".

But then...

Recently, I noted that the game can be randomly horny, just a for a moment. And that's all fine enough, I guess.

But today, I met Olivier. And on top of being randomly horny, the game briefly became randomly homophobic.

And that is not okay. It'd be one thing if the response to Olivier's hitting on Joshua were "He's only 16! You're 25!" That's perfectly reasonable and it is gross and it is really not okay.

But "Eww. You're a boy! You pervert!" is just wrong on so many many levels.

It was brief and I expect it to remain brief; but I also expect it to be fairly continuous from now on. Based on everything else I've seen so far, it seems likely that they're going to keep hammering this as a cheap "joke".

And that is seriously hampering the delight factor for what has been, until now, an incredible experience.

Started the first chapter by taking the road to the next city.

I am a little over-leveled so I was making short work of every encounter. Mostly I was winning the fight before the enemy even got to have a turn. It felt nice. It felt powerful.

Then I ran into a Wisdom and it proceeded to show that this game is not to be trifled with.

I did win, but I had to expend a lot of resources and it one-shotted one of my characters from full-health.

It sent me running with my tail between my legs back to the start of the area where there's a rest-point.

Clearly, some caution is warranted. It turns out that I'm not as over-leveled as I thought.

I didn't read this one quite as quickly as the first one, but I finished it today.

This is an interesting one. It's way more "military sci-fi" than the first one was, to the point that I was starting to wonder if it had been stealth-published by Baen.

It also definitely paints the Chaonians in more of a gray-light. I can't figure out if it was doing that on purpose or not since they still seem better than a lot of the alternatives.

So, not as good as Unconquerable Sun but still quite good and I wish I could keep going. Sadly, the third isn't expected for a couple of years so I guess I'll need to find something else to tide me over.