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Crimson Crux

Pseudo-techblog where the Corsarius gets serious. Visit blog.corsarius.net for his alter ego.

SEA Games 2005 Fever

Monday, November 28, 2005 at 11:55 PM
Image courtesy of www.2005seagames.com
The Southeast Asian Games 2005 formally opened last night at the Quirino Granstand, Manila. Like advertised, the event was a low-budget affair, but it didn't reflect on the impressive show put on by the host country, the Philippines. It was the perfect union of austerity with pomp and pageantry. A festive mood was in the air all throughout the event, punctuated by the stirring performance of Maestro Ryan Cayabyab and the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra. (You can just feel the music beating with your heart.)
Image courtesy of wikipedia.org
I loved how the event was held -- from the stage set-up to the climactic torch-lighting to the presence of Ati-Atihan dancers to Rivermaya's once-in-a-lifetime co-performance with the Orchestra. The fireworks could've been better, but who cares when you've got the beautiful backdrop of Manila Bay?

The SEA Games, a biennial meet which started in 1959 (as the SEA Peninsular Games), will run from November 27 to December 5. The host country is aiming for the overall championship, something never before achieved (closest was the 91-gold medal finish back at the 1991 Manila SEA Games, second to Indonesia's 92).

By the looks of it, the Philippines is off to a good start, already bagging 23 gold medals after Day 2 of hostilities, rather, competition. For the latest medal tally and updates, do visit the Games' official website. Trace College, the Games' official sponsor, has done well with the site, though some of the links are broken. Websites for the Cebu and Bacolod areas of the Games are definitely also worth visiting.
Image courtesy of the www.2005seagames.com.ph
As for me, the Games fever has hit me (and hit me hard). I've been glued to the idiot box since last night's opening, forgetting the schoolwork just to witness the Filipinos' inspiring fight for the championship. Let's all hope and pray for an early Christmas gift for the nation, shall we?

Go for gold, Team Philippines! Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino!

Google Gangsta Style

Sunday, November 27, 2005 at 2:50 PM
Image courtesy of Gizoogle.com.
Gizoogle. It's not a search engine, but more like Google Translate -- this time, you're translating a site into gangsta speak! As its homepage says, it's "fo all you beotches who wanna find shiznit."

I found the Gizoogled version of my literary blog amusing, what with phrases like "So, it’s rizzle afta all. My eyes aren’t gang bangin' me." Another example will do. Compare this original snippet of text (from Slip of the Pen)...
"I pause in my thoughts; my mind goes blank. I take a deep breath, so deep I end up gasping for air. Staring at the back of the irate driver's head, I try to think of something, to justify anything, to vilify everything. But there is nothing."

...with this (Gizoogled):

"I pause in mah thoughts; mah mind goes blizzank. I takes a deep breath, so deep I end up gasp'n fo` air. Trippin' at tha bizzle of tha irate driva's heezee, I try ta thizzink of sum-m sum-m, ta justify anyth'n, ta vilify everyth'n gangsta style. But there is spendin', ya feel me?"

Dig it. Also, here's the Gizoogled version of this
blog.

UPD Reigns Supreme in Clash of the Brains

Thursday, November 24, 2005 at 11:30 PM
Image courtesy of wikipedia.org.
Another victory for UP Diliman's
Department of Computer Science, which is definitely experiencing a golden year!*

Congratulations to Ardee Aram, Michael Chua, Prem Rara, and Linda Sarmiento, champions of this year's Clash of the Brains, a computer science quiz show held by the LSCS. Ma'am Joyce Avestro coached the winning team, which beat ADMU, FEU, UST, and MIT.

The UP team actually got off to the worst start, finishing dead last after the first round. The team managed to claw back to contention in the second canto (third in the standings).

However, it was in the homestretch (difficult round) where UP bared its fangs, reeling one correct answer after another. The result is history.

Again, congrats to the quartet. You did the University proud!


*The whole acad year has been a parade of honors for the UP Diliman DCS, from the UP ACM Int'l Excellence award to the Imagine Cup to the PESO semifinals to the TMTC to the BPI-DOST Science Award. Whew. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, more to come.

Attn: Mobile Game Developers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 at 6:45 PM

Ever wanted to create your own mobile phone game? Or itching to get known and rewarded for your mad game development skills?


Then drop by the Mobigame 2005 Seminar to be held this Friday at UP Diliman. Mobigame is a mobile game development competition and training sponsored by MMOG Philippines and DLSU. Get to ask the questions which matter, get the facts straight about this unique test of talents. Hear from the personalities behind the competition. And of course, freebies await!

Mobigame 2005 Seminar
10am - 12noon
Friday, November 25, 2005
Engineering Theater, Melchor Hall
University of the Philippines Diliman

This leg of the Mobigame 2005 school tour is proudly hosted by the Philippines' one and only award-winning Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter, UP ACM.

UPDATE (11/24/05): Competition mechanics can be found here.

New AXE Game: Not for Feminists

Sunday, November 20, 2005 at 1:55 PM


If you can't win them in real life...
Mojo Master is a free game offered by AXE (yes, the deodorant brand for the male machismo) wherein you get to test your 'moves' on the girls, and ultimately seduce them. The game's tagline says all: "Play the Game or be Played!"
"Many faces have been slapped, many drinks dumped on heads, and many relationships ruined in the name of MOJO MASTER -- the fantasy game of seduction...a video game the likes of which you have never seen...that lets you let loose in a fantasy world populated by 100 TOTALLY HOT 3D GIRLS!...Build a solid repertoire of moves, win over all 100 girls, and you will be THE MOJO MASTER."

As you can see, the game's overview is decidedly chauvinistic. Wonder when will they craft a game where it's the other way around, i.e. girls having their way with guys, just to be fair.

Click here to play the game. Dial-up users will have to do with the Quick Version (which is still 37.5 MB); broadband users can enjoy the Full Version (111 MB).

Delinquence...

Sunday, November 13, 2005 at 3:00 PM

...is the name of the game a blogger shouldn't play. Apologies for having been late on the updates. The past week proved to be a hectic one (but of course, a lame excuse); Wednesday was the first day of my last semester in UP Diliman. I've also recorded my first sleepless night for the young term -- I wrote and collated a large chunk of our full business plan for the Philippine Emerging Startups Open (
PESO) Challenge. (Look for team Rijndael's public summary here.)

Yesterday was the big day for the week, as I attended the Launching of the UP Diliman Department of Computer Science's new abode. Presenting, "Helm's Deep":
The New Computer Science Building
Others prefer to call it "Mount Olympus". More specifically, its the new College of Engineering Library and Department of Computer Science Building, slated to be in use by the next academic year. Pity our batch won't be able to use it. (Masteral studies, here I come? Cough, cough.)

Alright, that's enough. Back to business.

Proud to Have Programmed in LISP...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 at 2:45 AM
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
...But not necessarily to have excelled in it!

Lisp
ranks up there among the most difficult languages I've tried. The UP Diliman BS CS program exposes its students to a wide array of programming languages and paradigms (object-oriented, expression-oriented, and so on), and Lisp was one of those 'heavyweights' in CS 150. Other languages were Perl, Tcl, Haskell, Python, Smalltalk, and Prolog.

The good and bad memories of Lisp:
  1. GOOD. Of course, hurdling a language most programmers would find alien always feels good. Image hosted by Photobucket.com
  2. BAD. "Give an overview of the Lisp syntax" was the question I drew for a 5-minute oral exam. It was the only topic I wasn't prepared for out of a dozen.
  3. GOOD. Sophia and I managed to finish LUKIM: A Pure Lisp Interpreter in Java on the deadline, evading an Incomplete grade!
  4. BAD. Have you tried coding a Lisp program by hand in a pressure-packed exam?
Even steven, I guess!


*Those nice Lisp logos come from Lisperati.com.

PC Technician From Hell

at 2:00 AM

Have you experienced being "helped out" by
this kind of PC technician? (Look for the second short short story, "PC Overhaul".) The one who has the penchant of equating the presence of Linux with a dysfunctional system?
LWN Tux Gallery
To these people: Super Tux will get ya!


*Animated Tux image courtesy of the LWN Penguin Gallery.

Free Drag-and-Drop Protopages, Anyone?

Saturday, November 05, 2005 at 5:20 PM
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I've set up my own Protopage, a personal bookmarks page which uses the much-hyped AJAX. Basically, Protopages make it easier for you to get to your favorite web sites and organize your hectic life. It's very simple:
  1. Create your own sleek Protopage, which is simpler than creating a blog. Really. Customizing it should pose no problem, too. The system makes it easy for you -- color theme, wallpaper, the whole enchalada. You don't even leave the Protopage while customizing it!
  2. Put your favorite links on it. I use mine as a springboard to my blogs. You can also create new "link panels", which are just lists of your links.
  3. Place your sticky-notes. Think of your Protopage as an organizer of your to-do lists and other reminders, all in one page. You can create new sticky-notes as you please.
  4. You can save it as your new browser start page.

Set up a free Protopage by clicking this cute button:
Add this site to your start page
RSS News Feed support is coming soon to Protopages, so watch out.

Greatest Gaming Engine Ever?

Thursday, November 03, 2005 at 4:00 AM

Baldur's Gate II screenshot
courtesy of www.bioware.com

Is
Bioware's Infinity Engine, the workhorse behind the epic Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale RPG series the best gaming engine the world has ever known?

Reading an ancient back issue of PC Gamer (December 2002, the Doom 3 issue), I stumbled upon Steve Klett's Alternative Lives Column, in which he declares Infinity to be "the greatest game engine in the history of the PC."

Of course, he wrote that a few years back, but his points are still undoubtedly valid. Read on.

He states:
"[Infinity] has given PC gamers more entertainment (and more entertainment value) than any other, and that includes any 3D first-person engine. In both quantity and quality of gameplay hours provided, I don't think any game engine can touch Infinity's contribution."

That coming from a guy who says he enjoys both first-person shooter and RPG genres.

I've more or less spent hundreds -- nay, thousands -- of hours playing all the major genres, but I'm biased towards role-playing, so I'm inclined to agree with Klett's bold proclamation. No doubt there will be gamers who'll (vehemently) disagree, especially Unreal/Quake/Doom fans. Who says those games weren't damn beautiful? They were, especially Doom 3. John Carmack is a genius, I tell you.

But the amazing depth that the Infinity engine posseses is simply a dream come true for both die-hard and garden variety pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons fans. The
three games and one expansion pack I've played which run on Infinity -- Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, BG2 Expansion: Throne of Bhaal, Icewind Dale, and Icewind Dale II -- were not by any means flashy, but they were revolutionary.

New game engines have arrived since the last use of Infinity (which was in Icewind Dale II), such as Bioware's own Aurora Engine used in Neverwinter Nights. But still, this pretty recent Gamespot article written by Matthew Rorie praises the timeless Infinity engine. "RPG engines just don't get any better than the Infinity engine," he writes. "...the Infinity games were perhaps the perfect marriage of form and functionality when it comes to computer RPGs."

* * * * *


Cover art courtesy of
www.mobygames.com


As an aside, I'm currently addicted to Rome: Total War. Damn, I have never seen gaming goodness such as this. Epic real-time battles, deep Civ-like campaign, gorgeous graphics, astounding music. If I'm starting to sound like I'm advertising the game, don't worry -- I am. I utterly love it. (Gamespot Review)

For the Shy Citizens of the Internet

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 at 2:20 AM


I did a double take when I came across
this great article while surfing the blogosphere. "Ten Ways to Keep Your Website Unnoticed on the Internet" actually made me laugh at times. It's the antithesis to many articles which give you tips and advice on how to make your website popular, i.e. rake in those all-important hits. A breath of fresh air, indeed.

A teaser for you guys: "Choose an obscure domain name. Make sure the name you select has no relevance to the content of your site, to you or your business." See?

Thanks to Matt of Utah for posting the article, which was originally written by Barbara White.