All Updates

Finally finished Stormblood.

Of the FF14 that I've played, this is firmly in the middle: better than ARR; not as good as Heavensward.

The pacing of this expansion is super weird. Half of the expansion is a side-quest for the first half. And the way they split the locations so you don't fully unlock the first area until the end just left me unsatisfied.

The game is full of progress bars and number-go-up mechanics so it seems weird to suddenly have a strange non-linear thing all of a sudden.

Still, the characters were great. Some of the dungeons were quite a lot of fun (I'm glad I got to play Castrum Abania before they completely changed the Number XXIV fight this week!). And the Azim Steppe is currently one of my favorite places in video games.

So definitely something of a mixed bag: lots of good, lots of meh.

In any event: onward to the post-expansion patch content and then Shadowbringers!

About 7 hours in now. Still very early, but's 7 hours in.

Still very much enjoying it. It's just so cozy and pleasant.

I don't think I care for the battle system, unfortunately. It makes a big deal out of turn order, but my characters miss so many attacks that it almost doesn't seem like it matters.

It makes the turns end up feeling random more than strategic.

Still, the dialog, characters, world, and music all continues to delight. Other than the combat, this game is just knocking it out of the park on every axis.

Still very early in the game. Did the training mission and then there was the first "real" mission.

You were supposed to go west, but I thought you were supposed to go east.

The monsters to the east hit quite a bit harder than he ones to the west, so I spent quite a bit of time grinding until I could mostly get through unscathed. You don't get money for encounters, so there's no opportunity to upgrade equipment, lots of grinding.

Finally made it to the end of the path with most of my HP and EP in tact only for the guy to not let me in (apparently, the mines are closed and the moose out front should've told me).

Figured out my mistake, went west, and discovered that the so-called boss fight was very easy.

It was the first mission of the game so I doubt it was intended to be a challenge in any event. But a couple of hours of unnecessary grinding really sealed the deal.

I'm still extremely early into the game, so maybe they front-loaded all the good stuff...but so far, this is one of the best localizations I've ever seen.

The dialog is adorable and funny and the characters all have a unique voice that's just spot on.

If this is what the Trails series has in store for me, I guess I won't be sad to be playing it for...::counts games::...the rest of my life.

For reasons, I haven't been sleeping well the past few weeks. So it's not uncommon for me to want to find something a little casual, mindless, and meditative to want to do with my non-work awake-time.

Fortunately, gathering in FF14 fits the bill. So it's not uncommon for me to just put on a podcast, do a few laps of the Diadem, and zone out for a while.

Which is why I somehow now have a level 80 Miner (with a Botanist not far behind), even though I'm still in Stormblood.

It's silly since it's just an electronic diversion and I pay a subscription fee for the privilege, but...I am grateful that this game has so many ways to play and so many varied things to do.

After enjoying Eversion so much, I decided to hop right into another Alistair Reynolds book.

I've seen his name on book store shelves ever since I graduated from the children's section, but never picked up one of his books before.

That was clearly a mistake. So far, my second is already off to a very good start.

One great thing about my website being a custom app that I built from scratch: if there's some little thing about it that's bugging me, I can just hop in and fix it in a few minutes.

One less-than-great thing: if I want a big new feature for my website, I'm the idiot who has to go implement it.

I picked this up on a lark -- mostly as a diversion from the endless podcasts that I listen to. I'm 42% in and I don't know what to make of it. It's fascinating and engrossing and I think I'm going to end up having loved it.

Much like Dredge, this is a game I've started playing to be chill and relaxed. Like Dredge, that's also an odd thing to say about a game that's explicitly horror and even has a couple mild jump scares.

But they are very mild and it's barely even a game. Also much like Dredge, I don't expect to have much to say about this game on an ongoing basis. I just want to track it since I am playing it.

I'm a little concerned that I'll get bored before finishing it; but hey, I have a tag for that too.

I don't think I'm going to have much to say about this.

I'm 4 hours in and enjoying it. I expect to finish it.

It's very chill and (surprisingly for a game tagged "Lovecraftian") relaxing and I've been playing it when I need to be chill at relaxed.

"Chill and relaxed" is not conducive to small microblog updates. So I am mostly putting this here as a record of having played it.

Started Trails in the Sky this past weekend just to see what I thought about it.

It's my first Trails game and while I know it's well-regarded, you just never know if a game will click or not.

I'm not very far into it (I've done the first mandatory training quest and am grinding a little before doing the second, mostly to get the hang of the battle system) but so far: the dialog is funny, the art is charming, and the music is absolute fire.

I'd say "Why did no one tell me the OST for this game was so good?" except I've definitely seen people raving about it before. So it's totally on me for not listening.

Fortunately, it's on Spotify. So while I may not be very far into the game, I am enjoying the music well past where I am.

I'll definitely keep playing it. There's no easy mode, so it remains to be scene if I eventually hit a wall or not. But for now, it's great.

It's much easier to hop into and out of than Persona 5, too. So far, it's been great for couch-gaming while watching TV.

Got completely stuck in Okumura’s airlock puzzle to the point that I started feeling claustrophobic and all of my muscles were tensing up like I was physically in a small box.

So I watched a video walkthrough and got to the next safe room and now I don't think I need to play this again for at least a few days.

Definitely need a break.

You (hopefully) won't be able to tell, but I spent the day completely revamping the backend UI for this site.

When I first built this site, I built the admin interface first so I would be able to put data into the database so I would be able to then build the frontend site around it.

That means that the admin backend was really just a couple pages with HTML tables thrown on them.

A single HTML table was becoming a little difficult to scroll through as I've added more content, so it was time for a change.

The admin interface is now built inside the same layout as the frontend interface. I've also broken it up into multiple sections for each type of thing that I track; conveniently, I can now use the sidebar for navigation within the admin interface as well.

At some point, I want to add a real blogging engine to this site. At that point, I'll really need some admin UI so while it's functionally identical to when I started, this really was a necessary precursor to future enhancements.

It also means that posting and updating items is more visually pleasant for me. So that's a nice change as well.

iPhones print this site completely differently depending on the orientation of the phone when you push the print button.

I have no idea how to debug this.

Fortunately, this has to be the edgiest of all edge cases and I can live with it.

But it's just so unsatisfying!

Okumura's Palace seems to just go on forever.

Look, it's a good game. A great game even.

But perhaps we should entertain the possibility that a game can just be too long.

Since my resume is now just another part of this site, it inherits most of the styling.

I wasn't really happy with the way the font worked on my resume, so I've given the site a slightly new coat of paint.

At some point, I'll find some random header with the wrong font and I will be sad. But until then, I think it's looking pretty good!

I haven't really done any work on the site proper, but I did decide to move my resume into it.

Giraffe is pretty nice for this kind of thing.

In addition to just a straightforward tech-stack port, I've done a full content revision, which is a challenge because my career has really been 18 years doing the same job (just via increasing difficulty levels).

So I added some subsections to better tell that story and ended up needing to restructure the document and completely change the generated output. Again, Giraffe works really well for that.

So it took a fair bit of agonizing revision, but I finally don't hate my resume.

It's part of this project, so it seemed worth noting here.

Last weekend, I tried playing some Persona. After just a few minutes into Okumura's Palace, I realized I wasn't really having fun and found a safe room and bailed.

This weekend, I feel like I should go play some Persona...and just don't want to.

I really hope I'm not getting burned out on this game. I've been loving it so much.

I'm gonna let it cool down for another week or two before I start to panic, but there's a bit of a concern. If I don't even finish the game, how will I ever do my New Game+ which I've been looking forward to? What about P4G?

I'm sure it'll be fine. I just need a little break.

I was inspired to go do some stuff in Final Fantasy 14 instead of Persona 5 today.

And I kind of feel bad about it?

There are all these people wanting to hang out with me and I'm off doing something else.

I'm stopping Ryuji from going to the beach! I'm being a bad friend.

I guess that's the mark of a good game.

Played a little bit today to move the story along, but the game crashed after a long sequence of not being able to save (or forgetting).

So I guess I get to do some stuff over! At least it's fun!

I didn't play all day today (I had to do taxes :( ) but still spent several hours in and around Yongen-Jaya.

I'm still in between Palaces and just working on building up my confidants. This boy has such an expansive social calendar. When I was his age, I had four friends and we all just hung out together. There were very few choices to have to make.

I've found that this game has a real Civ effect on me; but instead of "One more turn..." it's always "Just one more day and then I'll save and quit..."

But one more day can quickly turn into a week.

Spent all day today on this. I unlocked and completed Futaba's Palace.

That storyline was just incredible -- and Futaba's crowning moment of awesome at the end was just ::chefs kiss::

The boss fight at the end of the Palace was long and drawn-out and I'm very glad I'm playing on easy. The SP management was bad enough as-is. I fear what it would be like on normal.

This is a pretty good game, it turns out.

Spent all day yesterday running around in Hydaelyn. Unlocked the Namazu quests and, perhaps most importantly, finished ranking up with the Kojin. I love my fake-turtle friends and the manta ray mount I got for my troubles.

It's time to conquer Doma Castle, but it'll probably be a bit before my static is ready for it.

That's good for me: I need to level up Summoner/Scholar so I can play all the roles when we're ready for it. Right now, I'd have to tank with Paladin. But I like being flexible for the group.

That was a full day of Persona-ing.

Finished Kenshiro's Palace, did several Mementos requests, and unlocked a couple more Confidants.

It turns out that the Royal edition I bought on Steam came with some SP-restoring items I wasn't using. Between those and easy mode, it's suddenly become very easy.

Which I quite like.

Great game as long as you don't try to play it too seriously. =)

Made it fairly far (I think) into Kaneshiro's Palace today.

I increasingly realize that it's not just the dungeon maps that I don't care for but the whole dungeon experience.

I am immensely enjoying figuring out how to spend my time each day, getting to know my friends and acquaintances, and learning about the story.

But the actual dungeon crawling and combat and Persona management? It's really not my cup of tea -- even on easy mode, the resource management around SP is becoming a bit stressful.

I'll stick with it because everything else about this game is an absolute masterpiece. But I think what I really want is an expertly-crafted slice-of-life visual novel dating sim without the JRPG parts.

I'm not sure that exists. Even leaving aside the differences in taste of what "expertly-crafted" means, I'm not sure the non-combat portions would have as much impact if you weren't trying to optimize social links and things to benefit it.

It's an interesting problem and one I'll have to start hunting around for.

Some of the half-baked plans I have for this site include an even-more half-baked plan to build my own OIDC provider.

Towards that end, I updated the session cookie keys to be a little less ephemeral.

This won't affect anyone but me (since I'm the only person who needs to log in to this site) but it's nice to not have my cookie reset every time I do a deploy or the webserver restarts.

It was also a nice low-impact, low-effort change -- I decided to Just Use Azure (tm) because .NET provides a very easy path for this with Azure Key Vaults and Storage Accounts -- which I hope will provide some much-needed momentum.

I am frustratingly bad at keeping people alive in this game.

Given that the game makes such a strong emphasis on no one dying (even on Casual mode), I'm not sure I have much of a future leading any of these houses.

Even on Casual, the Internet tells me that it's important to keep everyone alive through every battle so they can get experience. But that is very tough to do when all the enemies get multiple attacks and can essentially one-shot most of my team.

It's fun but also not and it's becoming difficult to decide if I should keep going or move on to something else.

The real test will be "Can I play this while watching TV or do I need to concentrate?" and I am still not sure of the answer.

I bounced off of Three Houses pretty quickly when it came out.

But...I've been playing Persona so I think I'm more open to the social bits of it. And listening to everyone talking about Engage, I figured it's probably time to start again.

I am definitely enjoying myself more and am already further in than I made it the first time. There's still something that's a little off, though. There are so many characters and it's a little hard to keep track of everyone. The UI could really use a spreadsheet mode.

I'm worried that I'll eventually just lose track of my team entirely and that'll be the end of another playthrough.

Still, it has already proven at least 100% more successful than last time.

I completely fail to understand the fast travel rules in Mementos.

Sometimes I can go up, sometimes I can go down, sometimes I can go anywhere.

It's inscrutable to me.

I really wish 8-person trials were not a required MSQ thing.

I don't mind screwing up with my static. We just laugh and try again.

But knowing that I'm inconveniencing 4 strangers who are just trying to roulette...I hate that feeling. Which just makes me nervous and I screw up more.

It's a whole thing.

I still do not care for the dungeon maps.

I picked this back up today to finish the second palace and I had the hardest time figuring out how to get to where I needed to be after sending the calling card. It had been a little too long since I found it the first time...

The boss fight itself was fun, but it definitely made me glad to be playing on easy! The mechanics and turn economy are a little too challenging, imo.

Now that the palace is done, I feel like I have some breathing room to socialize. That'll be nice.

Five months later, I finally went back and finished the last boss rush on Easy.

True to its name, this was dramatically easier. It was still an unpleasant experience (I really hate the last fight with the bosses that keep respawning and the cinematic attacks that completely break up the flow of the fight, not to mention the difficulty of Sephiroth making you do it all over again when you die...) but I was able to cut through it on the first try.

I've finally (finally) unlocked the Yuffie DLC which was the entire reason I was replaying it on PC to begin with.

Not sure when I'll actually do that (real-life has completely ruined my headspace for the foreseeable future: it's a mess in there), but I am happy to finally (finally) have it accessible.

I'd played the based game through on PS4 when it came out but never did the DLC.

It's finally (finally) almost time.

Still slowly working through the MSQ with the static and leveling other jobs.

But at this point, my main goal is to just climb to the top of the tower in Kugane.

Though if I ever do get to the top, I might not want to leave. It might be time to create a new alt at that point.

Made it to the final boss and was just absolutely murdered.

My party is in the low-to-mid-60s so I guess I'd need to get everyone into the 70s before I'd have a chance.

I'm not going to do that. Even with the fast leveling in the Pixel Remaster, the prospect of that amount of additional grinding fills me with dread. I am no longer a child in 1991 and I need to be at least a little more careful with my leisure time than that.

I shall consider this playthrough complete and catch the ending on YouTube.

Difficulty aside, there really is something special about this game: especially if you can cast your mind back to the state-of-the-art in the early 90s. Even today, the music is outstanding and the character staging during cut scenes is expressive and delightful.

I'm not sure I could recommend this to anyone today who isn't explicitly trying to explore the history of the franchise or genre...but if you are trying to do that, it's a real treat.

It's been a minute. Started watching a video called []("The DEFINITIVE Final Fantasy IV Analysis") and decided that it would probably behoove me to actually finish the damn game instead of watching a 5+ hour video about it.

I'm almost there. Spent a few hours on it today. Did a little grinding. Progressed some more through the story.

According to the guide I'm using (and yes, I've decided that a guide is a perfectly reasonable way to experience a 31 year old game because I do not have as much free time as a child in the 90s might have), I'm at the final section of the story.

I'm playing the Pixel Remaster and it's obviously tweaked to be easy mode (both in how quickly the party levels and how easy it is to escape from encounters) but even then, some of the random encounters are just brutal. When walking through the Giant of Babil dungeon, I kept getting encounters with multiple enemies that could one-shot most of my party. There's just not much you can do to counter some of that.

It was a good grinding area but, yikes. I'm not sure I'd have managed to play the SNES or Super Famicom version of this. I need that modern easy mode! (Ask me about Persona...)

Right now, I'm planning to finish this tomorrow. I would absolutely love to put FF4 behind me as I head into the new year.

Had big plans to spend my December break adding some features to the site.

In no particular order, I want to:

  1. Add support for microblog entries that aren't tied to a particular item
  2. Expand those free microblog entries into maxiblog entries for more essay-like content with a traditional weblog frontend
  3. Implement ActivityPub support

I'm wavering a little bit on (3) since I think it's probably just as valid for Mastodon to add support for subscribing to RSS feeds. But that doesn't seem like it's going to happen and there are possible dividends from just joining the fediverse. I'm still not sure yet.

I also want to spend some time looking at BookWyrm and seeing what the overlap/divergence between that and my implementation of books is.

So (3) is a much bigger job than (1) or (2).

Not that it matters. I haven't really opened the code up at all this month. I guess I have on more week? Seems unlikely.

On top of all of that, I still need to work on the backend UI as well. That'll be especially important if I start using the site a little bit like twitter.

Things to do. Things to do.

My static was finally able to tackle the next dungeon and we moved into Kugane.

I am really loving this environment. Kugane is gorgeous, the theme song for Kugane is gorgeous, the loading screen for Kugane is's just 10/10 all around.

Now that I've arrived, I was able to spend a very cold Christmas Eve working through some more MSQ and also just leveling my Warrior a bit by grinding Sohm Al and then The Aery over and over again. (I really love the Duty Support system and need them to expand it just a little bit faster than they are. As slowly as I'm moving through this game, they're going even slower with Duty Support. My timing sucks.)

I do not care for the dungeon maps.

Individual maps aren't labeled (just the general area they're in) and there's no indication which exit leads to which map.

For someone with no real spatial reasoning skills, no real ability to visualize things mentally, and no sense of direction at makes navigating quite the chore.

I pushed myself past my block and loaded up RF4.

Reminded myself how to farm and did a bit of grinding in the woods. It's mostly coming back to me now.

I can definitely say that Ventuswill is tired of my delaying and really wishes I'd just get on with the MSQ, though.

I really need to get back to RF4.

It's just that every time I think about opening it back up, I worry about all the systems I've forgotten about.

Then I don't play it and the problem just gets worse and worse.

I need to rip the band-aid off.

I am thinking about playing it a lot, which is a good sign. Just need to get past the sticking point, somehow.

I was looking for some light and easy SF reading and Space Team was recommended.

It fit the bill perfectly; I read it in just a few hours. I didn't even have time to add it to this website first.

It's not high art, but it's definitely diverting. And sometimes, we all need a diversion.

While I remain happy with the user-facing portion of this site, the backend UI is a bit thrown together and I'm starting to add enough items to make it a pain to use.

I guess it's time to start thinking about a real approach to editing.

I guess I should make a record of having played Immortality.

Well, I say "played" but it's definitely more "watched and scrubbed".

I didn't find all of the clips but I did roll credits and I think I have a decent understanding of what happened. I would like to find the rest of the clips but the randomness of it has completely sapped my will to do any more. Maybe in a few months.

It was definitely a great experience, though I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend it. The randomness of finding new clips and the squirreliness of finding the hidden clips is frustrating beyond what the artistry can deliver to counterbalance it.

If you do decide to dive in, pay attention to the content warnings. Even with them, I was surprised at how much sex and nudity was involved. Definitely a step past Her Story in that regard, to say the least.

I think I might have to have a policy of not trying to avoid spoilers.

It's hard to say anything about progress through a narrative-heavy game like this if you don't want to give anything away (see my previous update which is a little tortured).

Gonna give that some thought.

I've been enjoying the game, mostly because of the style and music and combat and animations. The story has been so-so.

But I just got midway through the second Palace where a new character joins the team and spends some time walking through the Palace figuring some life stuff out and...

It was a really beautiful moment. The writing, the music, the pacing, the visuals...they all combined to really be something.

I think I understand the love for this game now. Looking forward to keep playing.

Did the Starlight Celebration.

Really enjoyed the extra bits of wandering around and meeting some "familiar faces".

At one point, a character from Heavensward showed up and I wondered what they did for players who haven't finished that expansion.

Through the magic of ~buying two of them~ having a low-level character on a different server I haven't thought about in a while, I discovered that they just don't give you the option to go to that location.

So I suspect there are scenes that I didn't see because I'm just starting Stormblood.

That's movie magic for you, I guess.

Had intended to log in for just a bit and do the Starlight Celebration event.

Instead, I got distracted by a bunch of unfinished hunting logs.

I finished the Marauder log (and got a level to boot) and then did all of the Archer, Pugilist and Rogue logs that I'm currently able to do. (All of the rest are finished out)

In the process, I did another job quest for Warrior (now 52) and Bard (36), and Ninja (35).

I just need 43k more XP to get Monk to 35 (and the next job quest) but I think I should call it a day for now.

Still need to come back and do the Starlight Celebration, too. I'm very much looking forward to the reindeer mount.

Made it to the second palace.

Still loving easy mode, but I think the virtual novel parts are where the game shines. If there was a mode to just do the dungeons in story mode, I'd flip it on in a heart beat.

Related: I don't really like Mementos. Procedurally-generated dungeons are really not my bag. Oh well, it's probably manageable.

Took a bit of a break but finally finished the first Palace today.

Figured I should get back to it while I still remember literally anything about it; and I am on vacation this month, so it makes sense.

But deciding to play this game just feels like such a commitment. It's a super long game, of course, but even just individual play sessions ask a lot: especially if you play a Palace and find yourself between save points.

I definitely prefer an experience where I can hop in and hop out.

Yet, nevertheless, when I do finally center myself and decide to's really good and lots of fun.

Here's hoping that continues for the next 98 hours spread over 2 years.

Played "The Vault" a few dozen times and made it to 60 with my Black Mage.

I think I'm going to like the Stormblood BLM class quests. There's a lot of mystery and intrigue here and it seems like it'll be some good fun.

Spending some time leveling my Black Mage while waiting for my static to unlock the Sirensong Sea.

Keeping track of the salient differences between Blizzard, Blizzard II, Blizzard III, Blizzard IV, and Freeze might all be beyond me.

I started playing P5R a couple weekends ago; but I've got a history of bouncing off of Persona games so I held off talking about it until I knew if it would stick or not.

For this play-through, I've got two advantages that are keeping me from quitting as I have so often before:

  1. I am playing on Easy mode
  2. The game came with a ton of DLC items and money that's really making it easy to ease in

My biggest issue with Persona games up until now has mostly been the clock: I'm not very good at games and I usually grind to make up for it, but it's hard to do that when there's a ticking clock hanging over your head.

Plus consumables and items have always been scarce so even if I make the time to grind, I don't necessarily have the resources to do so.

But Easy mode is solving the "need to grind" issue and the DLC is, so far, giving me many many many resources.

I'm still in the first Palace, so I don't know if I'll actually stick with it long-term.

But, for once, I have hopes that maybe I'll actually see the end of a Persona game.

It's been a minute, but my static has been dutifully working our way through the post-Heavensward patch content.

I finally got into Stormblood this weekend and have been having fun exploring the first two areas. The environments in this expansion are really quite pretty; the team levels up their environment design each expansion and it's fun to see the accelerated evolution as I work through them.

It's definitely getting to a point where the EXP curve is flattening and I'm starting to wonder about the sustainability of having so many jobs. But also, I like them all and don't want to choose!

At the very least, I need to pick one in each role. But the choice is tough.

6 hours in and just unlocked class switching and...I don't think this is for me.

The story seems great (so far), the graphics are good, the voice acting is fine to good, the music is a solid B+ at least but...

There are so many systems (collecting, turn-ins, arts, skills, classes, roles) and I find that I do not care about a single one.

I also don't enjoy the combat at all. It's either too boring to hold my interest or is too chaotic for me to have a chance to influence everything before a wipe.

I think I'm going to call it and move on to something else.

To some extent, I was reading this to evaluate if it would be a good book to hand to a new junior dev.

I'm not really sure. There are parts that I think are great and parts where I think that Mark gets off into some paths I don't love (notably TDD) a bit more than seems necessary.

I think I'd probably put this on a list of other recommended titles but not necessarily single it out.

As for myself, I'm not sad that I read it. It's a good refresher in a lot of ways.

I still haven't answered any questions about what I want this site to become.

But I realized that I forgot to add the X-Clacks-Overhead header to all of my responses, so I've fixed that (and added a few other novelty headers) so at least I'm not letting the site just rot.

I have started to think of Edge as "our special little boy".

As in, "He's just a weak lil' guy, he can't hurt nothin' and you don't need to go trying to beat him up. He's just our precious little boy!"

He reminds me of when I used to wear ninja masks as a little boy. I was also not actually good in a fight.

For the first time since I started this project, I suddenly find that I am not quite sure what I want this website to be.

It was originally going to be an in-the-moment, somewhat curated, snapshot of what I'm doing with my life.

But I'm not sure what that means. The original goal was going to be largely centered around microblog updates (like this one) where I could share thoughts tied to a specific item.

But what if I'm having a bad day and read a trashy space opera in an afternoon but don't have anything to say about it (or any energy to log in and say it)?

Should I add it to the site later just as a "I have read this" tracker? Should I add a star ratings feature so I can rate items? Should I add a "review" section separate from the microblogs?

Specifically for books, should I make this a Goodreads clone? But isn't Goodreads good enough? Maybe not for the non-books.

But I don't always want to put a star rating on something. I certainly don't always want to write a prose review. Would their absence be interpreted as meaningful?

But ultimately, I can't decide if that would be an evolution for this site's theme, purpose and design...or a step backwards.

It opens up some presentational challenges as well. The original site design was very purposeful and that's a fairly major expansion of purpose.

So this will be something to think about in the weeks ahead.

I've been grazing at Xenoblade Chronicles 3 a bit for several weeks now, but haven't made it very far into it.

So far, the story and presentation are phenomenal, but the gameplay is a little boring.

I'm going to give it a bit to open up (which I think, based on some podcasts I've heard, is going to be when I "free the first colony") and then decide if I keep playing it or just find some YouTube videos.

Started playing RF4 a few weeks ago but lacked the wherewithal to mention it.

I am still fairly early in (I've only done the first boss fight and rescued Amber) but I think this might have some staying power.

I am really loving the loop and how many options there are for things to do.

It's doing a lot of the same things for me that Stardew does; but because there's an actual story, I don't think I will weary of it quite as quickly.

Worth an update of its own, the cut scene leading into The Final Steps of Faith trial was one of the best I've ever seen in any game.

It made me feel things.

I have not been not playing FF14, but I have been too tired to talk about it.

Still in between Heavensward and Stormblood (still taking the slow path).

In between, I've been leveling crafters and other jobs. Red Mage is still my favorite to play, but I'm doing less and less DPS to let my static level their DPS jobs.

Still haven't finished the non-Vath tribal quests.

Finished Heavensward last night.

That was a good expansion. I might have to NewGame+ it at some point to get the story a little more coherently (and not spread out over several months).

I was extremely disappointed in the final trial, though. I'm not sure what it was like originally, but now it's been nerfed to the point that it's barely a game.

It looked pretty and was great to watch but that just goes to show: it should have been a cut scene. Indeed, a cut scene would have been better because they could have had anime moves and things!

As the final climax of the entire expansion, it really undercut the experience. That said, I'm trying not to let it spoil everything that came before because the rest of it was really quite good.

I wanted to link to that big entry down below but to do that, I needed to add permalinks for microblogs.

That exists now. See?

That last "micro"blog was a doozy. Maybe I don't need to add a "real" blog engine after all.

Since this is my site, the character counter is just a suggestion, after all. Hmm.

One issue that I've had since the beginning was "How do I represent the different item types (book, game, project) in a strongly typed way while also reducing the amount of boilerplate I need?"

In C#, I'd just make some interfaces and an object hierarchy and call it a day. And while one can do that in F#, it's against the spirit of what I'm trying to learn.

I went down a few paths (including some pretty gnarly heroic reflection code, immortalized in this "delete all the old code" commit) but nothing ever really felt right. I ultimately just ended up copy-pasting a bunch of the same code into Book.fs, Game.fs, and Project.fs and moved on.

I've slowly been solving this, starting a couple weeks ago when I added some discriminated unions to represent each type (in this commit). That ended up with a lot of similar code in pattern matching blocks, but I felt okay about it because the compiler was going to help me out by noticing missed patterns.

Then, last weekend, I watched a talk from Mads Torgersen on "The functional journey of C#". He made a point that a big difference between OO and functional programming is that OO lets you put new behaviors in one place (encapsulated in the base class, perhaps) while functional programming makes you spread it out all over the place and duplicate things in each function. But the functional approach is more extensible since all the behavior is out in the open.

He said it better. Go watch the talk.

Anyway, I've taken that to heart and done a great big refactor today.

Before, I really wanted to be able to have a list of, like, FormField<'t> to support things like FormField<string> and FormField<DateTimeOffset> and FormField<string option>.

This is fine as far as it goes but:

  1. You can't put those in the same list because they're all different types
  2. You can't pattern match over the generic type so it's hard to do things with them

This wouldn't have been so bad in C#. I'd just have a non-generic FormField interface or something. I don't know. But in F#, it's kind of a drag.

So I embraced what Mads was saying about duplicating behaviors as needed. I now have a new "FormField" concept where each FormField is a discriminated union of everything that a form field could ever be.

I wrapped up a bunch of pattern matched functions to do things with these and it's kind of annoying but really not that bad. The compiler and tooling helps a lot here.

I'm pretty pleased with it.

I know this is far from perfect and not what an F# master would write.

But I think this is a solid improvement and shows how much I'm growing into this new-to-me language and paradigm.

I can only imagine six months from now when all of this seems really gross to me and I have much better ways to accomplish all of it.

I can't wait.

The infinite boss rush combined with "we'll go into an animation any time you're doing well to make sure that you lose your ATB charges and limit breaks as often as possible" as a hell of a way to design an endgame.

"We like the end of the game to be completely different from the 40 hours that came before so the player is dramatically unprepared. It's like two games in one!" -- Nomura, probably

I might have to put this one down for a few weeks.

The end of chapter 17 and the beginning of chapter 18 is just a non-stop thrill ride with no chance to catch your breath!

Or to save and go do something else.

Which is to say, I've played this for a bit longer than I wanted to play it.

But the end is in sight. My Intergrade experience is almost here.

Finished the Vath quest line.

Still got a fair bit to do for the Vanu Vanu and Moogles. They're never satisfied.

I was very amused that the final Vath quest was "Go talk to the leader" who told me what a great guy I am. Quest complete.

Decided to play a bit on my Steam Deck while we watched TV. I forgot that my gearsets don't sync over and didn't notice when I switched jobs that I no longer had the assigned gear.

The screen is so small that I also didn't notice that I spent about 40 minutes running around naked.

It's Eorzea so I'm sure the other players didn't even notice. But it certainly explains why I was suddenly so bad at crafting!

I really applied myself and spent several hours doing all of the GC crafter turn-ins and Zhloe Aliapoh's collectable turn-ins.

This is called "productivity". At least as far as Sunday is concerned.

Made it to the Shinra HQ lobby. I'd completely forgotten about the "break into the main reception desk" subplot.

But I think I'll save that for another day.

Anyone who's looked at the GitHub for this site can see that I need a lot of help...this one comes highly recommended so I have high expectations!

Today's the day.

I've spent the week polishing all the rough edges I could find.

I've got a commit ready to go to change the index route from "Under Construction" to...well...this.

I still want to write up something to put on social media to tell people about it (I am kind of proud of how this has turned out!) and then I can push that commit.

It's time.

I decided to mark this one as “Did Not Finish”.

It’s not a bad game at all, but I find that I just don’t care about it. Given the length of the games I play, I need to get better at abandoning them when I’m not super-engaged.

Might as well start that practice here.

After a solid day of downloading, I did manage to get the game running on my Steam Deck. It's very cool, although I continue to find that the PS4 controller is really just perfectly balanced for this game.

As heavy as it is, the Steam Deck is not perfectly balanced for anything.

Still, it is a nice novelty if nothing else. Looking forward to leveling some crafters while watching TV.

Just saw this recommended by Jerry Holkins.

I was just getting out of high school when this was published and I completely missed it. But it sounds rad so onto the infinite backlog it goes.

Utter failure today. My controller keeps glitching out, the game keeps crashing, and I don't have enough internal SSD space to even try to get it running on my Steam Deck.

It is definitely not an Eorzea day for me, for whatever reason.

Not sure if the first post-launch feature will need to be a no-context microblogging feature (possibly published to twitter) or a real blogging engine. Either way: do I actually have worth saying?

I've created a colophon. The site is feature complete! I'm not happy with the copy at all, though. So I need to spend a few days thinking about the writing. But I'll probably launch next weekend! Exciting stuff.

Added visible tags and individual item pages today. v1 of the site is nearly complete (indeed, I almost thought it was done until I remembered...) except for the colophon.

One more static page and then I'll just need to look at it very hard before making any small tweaks and going live.

I can't believe it's almost finished!

I got the "list" pages working under the "What am I...?" buttons in the sidebar. I am so excited about it. It looks so good.

Things are really coming together over here and I am starting to feel pretty proud of how it's turning out.

Is it just me or is Edge absolutely worthless? Almost at level 50, he has no evasion at all, and he is easily one-shot again and again. I finally just left him KO'd in the fight against Asura.

I am sort of surprised to learn this because I thought I was a purist but...I really hate random encounters. I thought I would never make it through the Sylph Cave.

So far, chapter 9 (practices for working on a team) seems the most valuable. Chapter 9 on its own might be a good book club topic one day.

I've been watching Mark's talks and reading his blog for a bit so I decided to buy his books. This one is a bit entry-level (sort of like Code Complete) and in some ways I'm reviewing it for if I'd recommend it to junior developers. But even then, it has some valuable insights. It's good to be reminded of the basics now and then.

I did a very small amount of refactoring cleanup. The code is really disorganized and it's not at all clear to me how to improve it.

More importantly, though: I did decide to add Markdown support. It was very easy thanks to the Markdig project.

Spent a little time with FF7R today while I still mostly remember how to play (to the extent that I ever did! I am...not good).

Cleared chapter 14. Moving ever closer to climbing a whole lot of stairs. (j/k, I'll probably take the elevator this time...)

The front page now has dynamic microblogs (like this one!) on it.

I'm still debating if I'm going to support markdown in these or not. The time to make that decision one way or another is fast approaching.

The project code is also really starting to get away from me: a lot of that is to be expected since I'm learning F# as I go, but it might be time for a major cleanup refactor soon. I just need to learn more about what that should look like.

I've completed the BTN and MIN quests for Heavensward. Gathering is so much more pleasant than crafting. (Except for fishing. I am just about completely over fishing.)

Starting to think about leveling my crafters again. Started trying to do some of the GC turn-ins and ended up spending an absolute fortune on Wind Crystals.

It's probably worth it, but funding issues will keep this at a pretty slow pace.

Half of my static is on vacation for a couple of weeks, our Heavensward journey is paused.

Instead, I've got SMN and SCH to 60 so I can heal in any content we'll come across before the next expansion. With my 60 PLD and RDM, I've now got all the roles covered.

I've now got all of the static content on the main "About" page laid out in a responsive fashion. Will start working on the dynamic stuff next time.

It's looking good! I'm almost tempted to disable links to pages that don't exist yet and put this up instead of my "under construction" banner.


First-World Hack: If you have two sets of Air Pods, pair one set with your phone and one set with your gaming PC. Put one bud from each set into your different ears. Then you can have podcasts in one ear and epic Soken music in the other.

Yes, this is obviously an extravagance.

Unlocked The Aetherochemical Research Facility yesterday; just about done with Heavensward. I wasn't going to play today, but actually ended up dipping my toe into the Moogle quests. That's inspired me to start leveling my crafters again so I did the GC delivery quests for all of them. Kind of a pain, but I got a level for each of them.

I started working on the user-facing site today! I've got the main layout built out and it's responsive and everything. One day, you may even see this very message in that layout! Exciting stuff.

Sunday was also for playing this game like it was my job. Did the level 60 job quest for PLD, got to the next job quest for SMN and SCH, and spent some time just working down the hunting logs for...well, everyone. I've neglected them, but you get achievements so I might as well. Also did all the quests to unlock the Moogle Beast Tribe quests. I knew they were crafting quests, but I still ended up disappointed about it.

Saturday was for playing this game like it was my job. I unlocked the next MSQ dungeon, did the next class quests for BTN and MIN, turned in my first collectables for scrip, unlocked the Vanu Vanu dailies, started to unlock the Moogle dailies but balked at needing to do 19 side quests to get there, did do all 7 side quests to unlock the Allied status for the beast tribe quests in ARR, and even sold some maps on the market. Time to do something else now.

Got to Matoya's Cave today. OMG: The music! The brooms! I just adored everything about it. What a delightful treat.

I've put some real data into the backend so I'll actually have something to look at when I start styling the frontend. Probably next weekend. We'll see.

According to my walkthrough, I'm barely 1/12th of the way through; and I've found myself with no desire to pick it back up.

At this point, I'm waiting for this to be my first "Did Not Finish" on this website.

Looking forward to finally unlocking Idyllshire so I can progress with my gatherers. They've been 60ish for so long now.

Waiting for my static to get ready to go fight a space whale, I've been leveling alt-jobs. Just about got my Paladin to 60.

Today, I am "feature complete" for the backend: which has allowed me to write this, the inaugural microblog in the production database.

Next up, it's all about presenting the data in a pleasant frontend!