Tuesday, March 6, 2018

D&D Series - Post 2 : Roll20.net

I'm still getting used to roll20.net, both as a player, and a potential DM/GM in the future. The one good thing I can say is that roll20.net is a lot less confusing to me than Fantasy Grounds. Roll20.net is a virtual tabletop that can be used for many, many, many, games, not just Dungeons & Dragons. Additionally you can use hand drawn stick figures, free art, or licensed material that can be purchased.

To me the only reason you would buy anything from roll20.net is if you are a DM/GM and don't have the time/don't feel like, manually setting everything up.

In all honesty the only reason to pay for any of the subscriptions (you can make a free account) is to either A) support the developers of roll20.net and/or B) you want to run games and have better game features for your players, and/or C) you can't stand ads. In my case my reasons were A and C.

I may end up upgrading from the Base to Plus Account if I ever decide to DM/GM a game, just to give the players for features to enjoy, but other than that I just wanted to support the community and also I can't stand ads.

To clarify, by "features" I don't mean content. In addition to the subscription, if you want pre-made/rendered/licensed materials to use then you still need to buy the modules. In addition you can only by modules that provide game content. They don't carry any of the rule books in digital form.

Monday, March 5, 2018

D&D Series - Post 1: DnDBeyond.com

While I know that most seasoned, or even casual players, probably know what dndbeyond.com is all about I figured after spending several weeks of on and off viewing, asking members of my gaming groups, and also dropping some gold on the services, that it wouldn't hurt to put an explanation out into the expanse of the interwebs for other newbs like myself.

The easiest, most direct, and simplest way to describe dndbeyond.com is that it provides A) a wiki like version of the rules, aka a compendium, and B) searchable, sortable, hot linked tables (or toolsets) of things such as monsters, spells, and weapons.

It is a digital wiki and toolset of the D&D rules that you purchase from them and freely publishable content.

While preference would be the deciding factory, the idea is instead of buying the printed books and information on D&D you would purchase the rules and modules through dndbeyond.com and access them through the means described above.

Buying physical copies, from any location, of the rules or modules won't unlock them in dndbeyond.com.

I honestly wished I had figured out what dndbeyond.com was before I bought a bunch of books recently, but I can't say that I prefer it 100% over the books.

In the end though I will most likely purchase all content through dndbeyond.com going forward.

My only reservation, and this has been confirmed by an employee of the company; they currently don't have a plan in place for the content you purchased for if the company goes under. Meaning, while you are buying access to the content with individual purchases, if they were to go out of business tomorrow, we would lose access to those. They don't have a plan in place to provide some sort of offline access for the content in such an event. That still concerns me given how much money is being spent.

Their subscriptions are only for additional character slots and then also being able to share your purchased content with friends if they join one of your D&D Beyond Campaigns, which are basically groups.

Monday, February 27, 2017

State of the Moleverse Address

So, some quick updates all around... Some good news, some bad, some "who gives a fuck" am I right? Anyway....

  1. I already grew tired of the new site design, even before I finished it, so it will be in "Under Construction" state for a while - www.darthmole.com
  2. About 8 months ago I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.
  3. About 3 months ago I took over the family business as CEO & President.
  4. About 6 months ago I took a break from my college courses (getting ready to start taking Masters courses) in anticipation of the Eastern European trip I went on last year and then recently the family business situation.
  5. I started streaming a couple of months ago: www.twitch.tv/iamdarthmole for two hours, from 8PM to 10PM Est, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It has been fun and the community, at least those who hang out with me in stream, have been awesome!
  6. In less than 12 hours from posting this my college courses start back up.
  7. In less than 24 hours from posting this I have a "trial" session at a local MMA gym to try out their Muay Thai training.
And with all of that written, and considered, a decision had to be made that was a reflection of my fortitude (-snirk- Yea I know) and an acknowledgement of my current health and professional situations. In short, the four main focuses of my life right now, save for relaxing; Work, Video Games, Health (workout), and School, all don't fit into said life. So, considering I need to work to live, don't feel like paying back my school loans yet, plus I still intend to become a therapist, and need to get my health in order, sadly the streaming, at least scheduled streaming, has to come to an end. I hate to do so when things looked like they were just starting to get traction but for the time being it has to end. I'll still stream when I have any down time and feel like playing a game with the community, the streams just won't be on a schedule any longer. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Apple, I Loath You, But I Now Loath Windows 10 More

So... after over 10 years of loathing Apple for various reasons, though more related to their mobile strategy and general attitude toward customers than their products, I've begun to consider that they may be the lesser of two evils in the OS world; the other being Microsoft. I'm aware Linux exists, specifically Mint and Ubuntu, however, there are some applications (mainly from Adobe) that I can't or won't live without and refuse to learn an open source alternative for, so it is either dual booting Linux and OSX on a custom built machine, which seems a bit overkill as Apple still looks to respect most of my privacy, or picking up a Mac for everything but gaming. I'm a gamer, I'm an adult, I'm a gaming adult and I'm ok with that. However, Mac and gaming aren't really married yet, more like an awkward teenage romance going on two decades now. So the idea is, once I need to give up Windows 7 in 2020, or my custom gaming/entertainment rig goes down, my current plan is to build a gaming only machine based on Windows 10, stripped down as much as possible and only use it for gaming, nothing else. I will then purchase a Mac, most likely Mini if they are still around and Apple hasn't mated with anti-privacy organizations, though I'll need to look into its Daze3D support, that I will use for productivity, web browsing, editing, etc., basically everything not related to gaming.

I'll go into more detail on why Microsoft has rubbed me so uncomfortably raw that I've decided to buy an Apple, unless something changes between now and then, in another post. That will most likely turn into a rant and frankly I'm already in an agitated mood as it is lol. The short of it; Microsoft is has become too arrogant, creepy, and stalker-like for my comfort and just like with a significant other, family member, roommate, or friend, when the "aw hell naw" alarm starts buzzing then they "gots to go."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

DOOM Review

A single, three letter, word can completely and utterly sum up my experience so far in playing DOOM, and that word, ladies and gentleman, is FUN. I don't remember playing the original DOOMs when I was but a wee mole, but I do remember playing Wolfenstein 3D and such so I wasn't really feeling nostalgic or anything like that. I don't remember the actual difficulty I've been playing it on but it is set to being harder than I generally play games and I haven't been rage quiting frustrated (almost was there a few times) yet. From the map layouts, the different strategies you have to come up, the different monsters, the graphics and music, the suspense of battle, and definitely the glory kills are just, to me, so friggin FUN. In some cases the glory kills are even therapeutic after taking on a lot of big guys that made you work for victory and you get all angry and pumped and are just like DIE! and then can kill them in such a bloody, rewarding, and body breaking fashion.... -cough- sorry, got a little excited there. I have been playing the game on and off since it first came out and recently made it back to mars after getting out of hell, so I haven't beaten the game yet, but so far I feel that I may even go back and play again to try and find all the secrets and this is one of the very few games that I've felt like doing so with. I generally can't replay games out of boredom (made my MMO life horrible btw). All in all, the game is simply FUN.

One Part of the Freezing Anime I Found Despicable

I really enjoyed the anime Freezing. I thought the action, story, and animation was good. I gave Freezing and Freezing Vibration, season 1 and 2 respectively, 9/10 on myanimelist.com though I still keep jumping from 7 to 9, sometimes even as low at 5, when I consider how the anime handled the mental, physical, and sexual abuse Satellizer experienced at the hands of Louis. It actually made me physically ill when they simply had Satellizer forgive him and move on after a single battle between her, Louis, Holly, and Kazuya. Even if you consider the six stages of grief/loss and say she was in denial the anime never again touches on the effects of having such horrors done to her, nor does it ever dwell into how horrendous it truly was for Louis to do the things he did to her. I don't understand, and have trouble accepting, how the anime could brush off something so vile and damaging so easily. I'm not sure if the Japanese culture looks upon sexual abuse so differently from Western societies that the way it was handled would be culturally acceptable, or normal, but it just makes me so angry that the anime portrayed the acceptance of such a terrible act. Excuse me while I go vomit after thinking about this particular situation for as long as I have.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why Windows 10 Can Suck It

When I think of Windows 10 many, many thoughts come to mind with frustration over the dishonest, forceful, and generally unacceptable ways Microsoft has pushed the upgrade to Windows 10 probably the most prevalent of them. I have two Windows 7 machines, and a Windows 10 Surface Pro 3 (more on the Surface Pro 3 experience during another post) and honestly I don't usually mind  upgrading operating systems if the one I'm upgrading to is decent and gets good reviews. I had Windows XP, skipped the hell out of Vista, went to Windows 7 (Vista Service Pack 2?) and then stayed the hell away from Windows 8. Windows 10 seems decent enough, at least from an operating standpoint but in addition to the underhanded antics of Microsoft in regard to the upgrade, the inclusion of the information tracking and data mining for Cortana and the mobile version of Windows 10 (even though it was a desktop/tablet installation) just rubbed me the wrong way. I found a way around that though, in that I decided to install Windows 10 on a separate raid in my main PC and only have it look at the main raid drive where I would install Windows 10 specific games and dual boot between that and Windows 7. Perhaps not 100% full proof but it alleviated most of my concern and frustration. That was, until, I read an article about how Microsoft lost a lawsuit for making their Windows 10 update prompt accept the BIG RED X as acknowledgement that the user wanted to install Windows 10. Yes, the "Close" X suddenly became "YEP, DO IT" for the Windows 10 upgrade prompt only. Sorry for my language but that is bullshit. Once I read that, my other frustrations such as the idea of yearly OS upgrades that force subsequent hardware upgrades, just like the loop today's mobile industry is in, and the supposed concept that suddenly I'm going to be lugging my desktop around in my pocket like a phone, flared back to life and I decided that no amount of future games is worth becoming another "successful Windows 10 upgrade" stat for Microsoft. So no, it won't make any difference to them, or their bottom line, but damnit, this mole will not be bought and will stand firm against such tactics and corporate policy!