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Crimson Crux

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

CS Week Revised Sked

Monday, February 27, 2006 at 8:30 PM

Due to the (unfortunate) suspension of classes today, some events in UP Diliman's Computer Science Week 2006 have been shuffled.

Events for tomorrow (Tuesday, February 28):

10:00 - 11:00 - Opening Ceremonies
11:00 - 12:00 - Student-Teacher Dialogue
12:00 - 01:00 - Grand Pakain
01:00 - 02:00 - Inspirational Message from the Dean followed by a Talk by Dr. Paco Sandejas: Career Paths

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is tentatively moved to March 6-7, following the same symposium schedule. Events for the other days will still follow the original schedule.

Silver Flame: The UP Diliman Computer Science Week 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006 at 11:45 PM
The DCS Firefoxes

UP Diliman's
Department of Computer Science celebrates 25 years of excellence in computing diversity in its week-long Silver Flame, to be held from February 27 to March 3. Everyone's invited to a week filled with symposia, company talks, various competitions, and a culminating night -– all of which showcase the intelligence, innovativeness, and flair that UP DCS students have been known for.

The theme Silver Flame honors the silver anniversary of the Department while highlighting the fiery fervor for the Department's pursuit of excellence; rightfully so, for DCS students are known within the College of Engineering as the DCS Firefoxes.

Incidentally, this is going to be the last time that the UPD DCS shall celebrate its anniversary in Melchor Hall. The department is slated to move to a new, larger building early next year; one can also think of Silver Flame as the Department's grand farewell to the historic edifice.

Inquiries can be made through email (upcsnetwork@gmail.com). The week's packed lineup of great events:

February 27, Monday

Engineering Theater

8:30 - Opening Ceremonies

10:00 - Undergraduate Research Symposium: Networking and Distributed Systems

12:00 - Grand Pakain

1:00 - Company Talk by Accenture: Accenture Education Program (Summer Intership)

2:00 - Undergraduate Research Symposium: Computer Security

4:00 Student-Teacher Dialogue

February 28, Tuesday

Engineering Theater

8:30 - Undergraduate Research Symposium: Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics

12:00 - Lunch break

1:00 - Talk by Dr. Paco Sandejas: Career Paths

2:00 - Undergraduate Research Symposium: Biomedical Informatics

March 1, Wednesday


8:30 - Distinguished Alumni Lecture by Prof. Peter Valdes (Engineering Theater)

- CS 32 Quiz Bee (MH 233A)

- Java Cup (MH 209, MH 215)

- Siemens Company Exam for Batch 1(MH 515)

12:00 - Break

- Accenture Company Exam (BE AVR)

1:00 - Company Talk by Innove: WiFi / Globelines Broadband (BE AVR)

2:00 - CS 12 Programming Competition (MH 209)

- Quizzardry (Engineering Theater)

March 2, Thursday

8:30 - 2nd UP ACM Programming Competition (MH 215)

- Webmaster's Challenge (NEC AVR)

- Siemens Company Exam for Batch 2 (MH 525)

12:00 - Lunch Break

1:00 - Awarding Ceremonies (Engineering Theater)

March 3, Friday

8:30 - The UP Parser Editorial Exam (MH 233A)

10:00 - Company Talk by Gametel: Mobile Games (Engineering Theater)

11:00 - Company Talk by Siemens (Engineering Theater)

12:00 - Lunch Break

1:00 - CS 196 Presentation (BE AVR)

2:00 - Company Talk by Anxa: Introduction to Mobile Application Development
(Engineering Theater)

5:30 - Flame On!: The CS Night (Blue Onion, Eastwood)

The Man Behind Gaming's Best Soundtracks

Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 10:20 PM

Jeff van Dyck is the genius behind several of computer gaming's finest OSTs. One of his latest masterpieces is the music for Rome: Total War and its expansion pack. (Rome's soundtrack is the best I've heard in my whole life. Period. See the game review here.)

The award-winning composer also worked on the previous titles of the
Total War franchise, plus notable EA Sports games.

You can download selected MP3 files from Van Dyck's site. If you're a gaming music aficionado, you'd be a fool to miss out on these music clips. Van Dyck's work (especially on Rome: Total War) reminds you of epic Hollywood movies...did anyone mention Gladiator?

LISP, Prolog to Go Mainstream?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 at 12:20 PM

'Exotic' Programming Tools Go Mainstream

I didn't quite expect this, but I guess it's about time these languages are used by more people. Let's see if they upgrade from "mainstream" to "popular" in the years to come.

(Does this mean my brief exposure to these languages might not have been in vain? Gasp!)

UP ACM General Assembly

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 at 11:55 PM
UP ACM General Assembly

UP ACM members, clear your calendars for the first GA of the year!

General Assembly (Recruitment and Renewal, Free Food, and possibly Parlor Games, haha)
Feb13, 5:00 PM @ D.Consunji Room, UP Bahay ng Alumni

See you there!

Game Review: Barbarian Invasion (Part 2)

Saturday, February 04, 2006 at 9:00 PM

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Box Cover

[Read Part 1 here.]

The Nitpicking

I'm a picky gamer who's quick to find fault in the games I play, but oddly enough, I noticed only a few with Barbarian Invasion. These ‘flaws’ don’t really subtract anything from the game’s goodness.

The expansion is billed as having improved battle AI, but I still saw some AI quirkiness from time to time -– for example, individual units that are part of a legion sometimes go astray of the main pack and end up at the enemy’s area. (To console myself when this happens, I’d just whisper, So long, sucker. I don’t need idiots in my army!)

If your PC barely meets the game requirements (see next section), you’ll be able to play the game alright, but the fun factor will be decidedly limited. At worst you can only “enjoy” the campaign map, as the real-time battles (especially the ones fought at “night”) will put a strain on your machine.

And let’s not forget one fact -– the original Rome: Total War was very challenging and complex, and Barbarian Invasion even more so. If you’re a Rome veteran, then by all means jump into the expansion, but newbies better master Rome first before trying to lead the hordes!

The Wrap-Up


MS Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP, Pentium III 1.0 GHz or Athlon 1.0 GHz, 256 RAM, 8X CD-ROM, 2.9GB hard drive space, 64 MB 3D Accelerator Card, Full Version of Rome: Total War


Barbarian Expansion, like the original game, appeals both to turn-based and real-time strategy gamers, to pure strategists and the action-oriented, to gameplay-first and graphics-first players. The game is addictive, the battles furious, and the campaigns engrossing. Everything you wanted in a strategy game can be found in this game.

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Huns

Barbarian Expansion sticks true to the formula of the Total War franchise -- historically accurate but exciting games. In fact, Rome: Total War and Barbarian Expansion have been used by The History Channel to portray massive battles of antiquity.


Every sound in Barbarian Expansion is either enchanting or adrenaline-pumping. The music fits the mood of the game –- sometimes dark, sometimes brooding, sometimes charming, but consistently reminding us of the classical and mysterious past.

But you’ve never truly heard the game’s music until you get into the real-time battles. Every sound is realistic –- the screams of men incinerated, the crackle of burning buildings, the thunderous hooves of the cavalry, the whizzing sound of arrows, the creaking of catapults, the taunts of soldiers (“Stinking rats! Stinking rats!”), the whistling of snow-laden wind, the general’s booming battle speeches -- all in all, the true sound of war. And that’s not counting the background music a la Gladiator.


Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Onagers

As mentioned, both the campaign and battlefield maps are delectable pieces of eye candy. What’s more impressive is how the game renders hundreds upon hundreds of warriors on the battlefield, and have them all slug it to death. Want elephants stampeding upon the enemy legion, tusks throwing the infidels into the air? Or perhaps a cavalry charge slicing through the peasants’ ranks? Or better still, fireballs hurtling from the skies? The game delivers ‘em all.


The original Rome posited you as anyone from the Romans to the Carthaginians, from the Greeks to the Gauls; conquering the world was a unique sumptuous experience for each one. Barbarian Invasion features new factions and dimensions to the game. What more can you ask for?

Assuming Creative Assembly won't supersede themselves in their next installment of Total War, you can actually waste away your entire life with this game.


As an avid PC gamer for years, and having explored more or less every existing genre, I dare say that the original Rome: Total War ranks up there with the greats. Its expansion, Barbarian Invasion, is essential to continue that gaming goodness.

There are many must-haves in the gaming world, but this one is a must-have of the must-haves.

Game Review: Barbarian Invasion

Friday, February 03, 2006 at 11:50 PM
Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Logo

Rome: Total War Barbarian Invasion is the fitting follow-up to one of the best games of all time.

The original game found you building the Roman Empire; now, you have the chance of destroying it! Lead barbarian hordes to the gates of Rome and Constantinople, sacking cities along the way and plundering to your heart’s empty content. Or become the protector of the civilized world, and take the helm of either the Western or Eastern Roman Empires.

Barbarian Invasion adds 10 new factions (such as the Huns, Goths, and Celts), 100 new units, and the concept of hordes -- factions plundering the world in search for new homelands. Night battles and new unit capabilities (such as swimming) have been introduced. Also, religion now plays a vital role in your empire -- pledge loyalty to the tenets of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, or Paganism.

Being an expansion pack, Barbarian Invasion is basically the same dish served with added spice. Result: a delicious meal which leaves you hungry for more. For people who haven’t tried the original Rome, you’ll need to get acquainted with two gameplay screens, the campaign map and battlefield.

The Campaign Map

Let it be said that it was Rome's campaign map which made me buy the game.

I first noticed the original Rome being played on a net café, with the campaign map onscreen, and I was instantly enamored. I found out about the impressive battlefield maps only later, when I took the game home.

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Map

Rome's campaign map was a piece of art, with the terrain beautifully rendered and the world simply bustling with activity. Trade routes were animated with caravans and ships, wonders of the world dotted the map, and a Sicilian volcano eruption was even put in, adding panache to the game.

Barbarian Invasion
continues the tradition and improves upon it. The expansion's campaign map now scrolls and zooms more smoothly, erasing one of my pet peeves in the original.

The game revolves around the campaign map, and you'll spend a lot of time here improving your cities, spying on your rivals, assassinating their generals, and ordering your armies around. Think of basic turn-based strategy game stuff.

One can actually finish Barbarian Expansion through the campaign map only, but then you'd be missing half the fun by not commanding your armies on the battlefield.

The Battlefield

My jaw dropped when I played my first Rome battle.

Watched the blockbuster movie Gladiator? Felt the thrill (or bloodlust) when watching the battle between Maximus' legions and the barbarian Gauls? If yes, then there's a Rome gamer tucked within you.

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Saxon

The whole Total War franchise is famed for its battles, played out in real-time with thousands of 3D warriors battling for supremacy. It goes without saying that you need a good-performance gaming machine, what with added effects such as weather and sandstorms.

Fight the battle as Attila, Hannibal, and the Caesars would've fought it. Be advised -- the battle can be overwhelming at times. A good scene from a Barbarian Invasion battle would be like this: fireballs streaking down from the skies crash down to your city, incinerating your legions, while the Huns scale your walls with siege towers, impervious to fiery arrows let loose by your archers.

[Continued in Part Two]