Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

death toll

the heat of H1N1 seems to have died down a bit. I think the whole nation was pretty terrified by then. A strain of flu capable of transmitting through physical contact. I think the people responsible did a great job keeping the flu from blowing out into epidemic proportions.

However, there are things more terrifying than a strain of animal flu: the road. So far, there are only 77 fatalities recorded for H1N1 within a period of almost a year after it struck. I admit 77 is a big number, I'll give you that. In the recent Ops Sikap conducted during the Raya season, death has reached up to 210 deaths - within 2-3 weeks. This number easily overshadows the H1N1 death toll.

H1N1 suggests a death rate of 6.41 people every month - scary number!
Get this: this means that death rate on the road during Ops Sikap (2-3 weeks) is 70 people per week, 10 people daily. Which is really terrifying. H1N1's death toll has been made insignificant in comparison.

H1N1 is fatal to those who belong in the high risk population: children, seniors, pregnant women, diabetics, low immunities and those who have serious ilnesses. Other than that, your chances of hitting it are close to none. what about roadkill? Just about anyone has a chance - as long as you're on a road or a highway. Sometimes, it doesn't matter whether you are a careful driver or not. Some accidents happen because of someone else's recklessness.

What bothers the most is not many realize the danger they are going through while on the road. Some people fail to realize the amount of carnage that is bound to happen when two tonnes of steel collide. there are opinions that suggests that the disturbing death rate roots from our attitude on the road. I have no objections there. Some attribute the quality of vehicles (especially local brands, lacking safety features and such) and poor maintenance of the vehicle itself. All the opinions points out that ignorance is the leading cause of death. I wouldn't argue with that.

Some might say that death is fate and there is nothing we could do to stop them. I beg to differ. Yes, I know when its "time", its "time". No stopping that, I believe. I believe that we can decide how we would like to "go". I mean, if not then how did the phrase "mati dalam kekufuran/keimanan" exist in the first place? it clearly shows that some parts of fate can be changed, even death. death is inevitable. but how do we "go" is something we can change.

If the time should ever come, let it be because of fate. Not of ignorance.

Ignorance should be considered as a natural cause of things to happen, like fire and stuff. Because it comes naturally.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gamer discussion: FPSes and some comments on REALISM. And also FANBOYISM.

hi. Im pretty simultaneously busy and lazy to write anything thoughtful or useful to anyone or myself lately. So...lately, I have a crush on just about every cute girl i meet.

nah, im just playing with you. I can guess that hook didn't work too well.

Between this year and next year, there's going to be a number of great games I'm really looking forward to. Most of them are FPSes (first person shooters). Let me tell you: teasers, trailers and live demos are great marketing strategies. It helps to keep the consumer base salivating and wondering about whats more to the product. The mind would be playing simulations of what fun gaming possibilities are possible based on what they have seen and that fuels the curiousity and desire to obtain the specific product. There's going to a lot of competition next year for game companies.

Theories aside, whenever I watch videos or read of communities sites I can't help but notice user are badmouthing each other because of several differences that didn't really matter at all. For example, which platform (XBOX360, PS3, PC and stuff like that) is better? It doesn't really matter if yours is the best. I guess the reason people keep flaming other platform users while trying to prove their point is that deep down inside they felt disappointed that they are stuck to playing on the same platform. They lack opportunities to explore other platforms and see what others are talking about.

My point is: if you really think a particular platform is better, please try to avoid condemning (do the words fit? thats like 3 verbs in a row) others. Yes, I understand your enthusiasm trying to convert others into joining your beloved platform. But these people might just be like you. Most people can't afford to enjoy more than one platform. I mean, I couldn't and probably won't have enough financial stability to do so for years to come. Its at least fair to let us enjoy what we have. I think its ok if we could try to politely convince (again: verbs 3 in a row) others if the current platform is just pure marketing bullshit and people are getting their money stolen under their noses.

i could go on and on but lets move on to: REALISM.

Another major topic discussed by gamers everywhere. Realism in graphics: realistic graphics seems to be a major appeal for most gamers (or people who think they are gamers. Well, I'll discuss on what is a real gamer and types of gamers in another post). there are occasions where some of my friends saw me playing classic vintages I've grabbed from abandonware (google it) or bootleg game sites (I'm still buying originals, though. If wallet permits - another topic to consider: Piracy. Later posts i guess). They were disgusted and appalled at the sight of me playing them. y'know games like metroid, doom 2, planescape torment and warcraft 2. They said: "Eww, the graphics are ugly" or "Buruk juga dia pny grafik".

"Yeah, if you notice, these games date back to the 80's and 90's. I guess you weren't a gamer back then" i thought. i became a gamer somewhere in the 90's (how that came to be is a slightly interesting story - save that for later posts). I understand that visual and audio appeal are important but i doesn't translate to real value. Shooting the same stuff and walk through the same artistically and beautifully designed landscape can get dry real quick.

Let's see the realism aspect of gameplay. Most gamers whine how unrealistic games can be. Like, how you run, jump while gunning and still hit a target. how you can be revived from a quick zap with a defibrillator. How you can survived a grenade blast. It goes on and on. Let's get the facts straight: when there's a high degree of realism, it is called a simulation game. Face it, simulators are boring if you're not into that shit. they are the least fun for gamers who think of 2D graphics like girls with no "feminine" features (but they still make up with their personality. All the time). If you think realism is they way to go, try playing Armed Assault 2, Operation Flashpoint or America's Army. I might enjoy them because partly maybe I am a military geek.

I'm not sure how many would enjoy playing shooters with no crosshairs, no ammo count, no HUD notification of where a shot is coming from, no health bars, no minimaps, how equipment weight severely affects performance, one hit kill and other stuff that happens in real life. Like weapons malfunctioning when sand and water gets into the bolt mechanism. Then, you would have to play a minigame where you desperately do a takedown on your weapon and clean vital parts - all during a firefight. Like thats possible.

America's Army 3 for example. Your soldiers are bound to the Rules of Engagement, ROE (google that too), which means you cant be shooting every all moving object you could put a round into it. you'll have to identify it as threat. Do they carry weapons? Are the colours hostile? What are the circumstances? Do you have orders to engage? Where is your superior officer in the situation? Are they retreating (according to the Geneva convention, you can't shoot combatants in the back or when they are retreating)? For the average gamer, its all too overwhelming. Face it: most gamers are a shallow bunch. they gawk at hot beach girls with fake titties (ok, well. not all of them).

what I'm trying to say is: most real-life-like games are given unrealistic features because they have been tested by playtesters and proven to provide optimum excitement to players. Or in simple terms: because they are FUN. Face it: You come back home from work to unwind. Real-life involves huge amount of stress. You play games to get away from all of that shit (plus The Sims 3 is an evil game. YOU ARE THE REAL PUPPET). Unrealism can help give players through those "holy shit!" "Ahahah! Whoa that was wicked shit AWESOME!" moments we could remember and retell like a grizzled, bitter war veteran.

Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate realism. It takes real effort for developers to create a game with those minute details of realism. It can be exciting if you are genuinely interested. To me, a game is a product we buy with cold hard cash. It represents the investment and effort made by the hardworking people in a company. It is the fruit of their long brainstorming sessions finding ways to deliver us the excitement not remotely possible in real life. I am often put off by money making ploys of companies trying to make quick bucks. For example, games based on a movie franchise and one of those Chinese MMOs - little production values and the company owners posted in my PCGamer pretending like they know enjoy or give a damn about this whole gaming thing, if you know what I mean.

Finally, my take on realism: games provide you with the right amount of the right stimulus, your brain generates FUN. It doesnt get simpler than that. Im going to talk about political sensitivities in games but I'll save that for later.

And my take on FANBOYISM: well, maybe I won't say more on the matter but I would like comment on game famously known as DOTA. I don't hate the game. its fun. Its exciting. when played with friends. What disgusts the most is when someone plays DOTA a lot starts claiming themselves as hardcore gamers (like "DOTA is the best game ever in the universe" bullshit". Its a mod goddammit. Why Warcraft III didnt get any credit?). These people walk around like they're SO hardcore and start l33t-speaking about how they PWN the game and shit. Yes, your unmatched skill and vast insightful knowledge all the characters and item combo are valuable assets to the gaming community. "Oh, you do play other games? Oh, like what? Bejeweled? Diner Dash? Jojo's Fashion Show? Bejeweled 2?" Oh oh, and probably the only shooter you've played, other than CS, would be a game about a frog shooting colored BALLS out of its mouth which consequently blows up other matching color balls if they are 3 in a row (take a guess what game it is. Haha). I guess I am humbled because these games can't compared to the awesome skill requirement, which you possess, in DOTA.

here's a teaser video, on a game time proven to be fun (I hope):

I like what they did to the audio. the sound effects are awesome and spot on, especially the part during the deafening shellshock. Its been done before but its still awesome. the weapons have a satisfying feedback. multiplayer seems to be very exciting. Definitely something to look forward to.