Tuesday, August 28

Sweden Trip: Photos

During July I was in Stockholm doing a 3 week corporate finance course. It was a fantastic experience, so here are some pictures.

Thursday, June 21

Mum's Japan Trip Photos

For my 16th birthday I went to Japan for a week and it was brilliant. We visited the usual tourist spots, unfortunately at the time I didn't realise what a nerd paradise Akihabara was, so I missed out on all kinds of cool merchandise. What I enjoyed most Japan was just being in a different culture, that and the food. Anyway my mum has gone to Japan and took some photos, which reminded me of my time there.

Sunday, June 17

Short Guide To Weight Loss: Calorie Restriction

The previous post was a more generalised guide to weight loss. If you are relatively slim already, or those tips aren't working then you may need to calorie restrict. Calories are the most commonly used units of energy in relation to humans, joules are the better but less used alternative. Your body needs energy for its physiological functions, not enough energy long term = you die. You get this energy from food and drink. If you eat more calories than your body needs, you store it, primarily as fat. If your body doesn't get enough calories, your body uses its own energy stores (primarily fat). Calorie restricting is simply reducing your calorie intake, below what your body requires. This forces your body to use its fat stores (though there may be some lean mass lost).
For some terminology and referencing points 1 Cal = 1000 cal or 1k cal. 1 cal = 4.2 joules. 1 kcal is the energy required to heat 1 kilogram of water, by 1 degrees Celsius. 100 grams of chicken leg = ~ 240 kcal, 100 grams of broccoli = ~34 kcal, 100 grams of butter = ~717 kcal.

When calorie restricting the first thing to do is work out how many calories you burn in a day, which is commonly referred to as basic metabolic rate (BMR) or total daily energy expentiture (TDEE). TDEE is a more accurate estimate as it takes into account the physical activity you do during the day. There are a variety of ways of working out your BMR or TDEE. You can figure it out manually, using formulas such as in this BodyBuilding.com thread. Alternatively you can use one of the many free applications on the internet, on sites such as FitDay. Its important to note that whatever figure you come up with, is an ESTIMATE only and should be used as such. If you want a more accurate figure then you'll need to go a physiology lab or medical facility.

Saturday, June 16

Guild Wars 2: Human Elementalist Personal Story Walkthrough

So during the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event, I decided to record the personal story. 8 missions were completed before I found myself underleveled. Next time I may complete the reminder that are available in the beta. Click through to Youtube to see them all, here is the first mission with my characters slimeball of a friend.

Friday, June 15

Stop Using The Term 'MOBA'; Its Retarded

You may have heard of a game called League of Legends (LoL). You may have also heard its genre referred to as "MOBA". MOBA? What the hell is that, you ask? In this genre of game there are 2 human controlled teams, 5 players on each side. You pick a hero and your aim is to destroy the enemies base. Similar to an RTS, but there is much less focus on macro management, less resources to gather and you typically only control 1 unit. The genre started with Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) which was a Warcraft 3 mod. DOTA was immense popularity and eventually the highly derivative LoL and Heroes of Newerth (HoN) were created, among others. Somewhere along the line "MOBA" was used to describe the genre. According to this thread (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=279969) the term MOBA was applied to DOTA like games after the beta release of HoN. The term  gained in popularity due to the rise of LoL. There is a problem though.

MOBA is a fucking stupid term. MOBA stands for "multiplayer online battle arena". What does that tell us? Its multiplayer and online, which would include games like Mario Kart DS, Assassins Creed and Call of Duty. Its includes battling and is set in an arena. "Battle" is an ambiguous term. You can have a "battle of the minds", an arena is an enclosed area in which some sort of competition or conflict occurs. So any game with an enclosed map, and conflict (which is basically all FPSes) could be considered arenas. So what you are left with is an acronym that describes nothing. Most FPS could be considered MOBAs, Fat Princess could be considered a MOBA. So why did anybody created such a stupid term and why do people continue to use it?

Saturday, June 9

Guild Wars 2 Not Coming To Steam


So I'm sure some people will be disappointing. This would be the 2nd time that a developer has claimed a games absence from Steam, is because of Valves policy (remember the EA/Origin affair?). I wonder what the particular policy is? During the EA/Origin affair it seemed that Valve either wanted any DLC to be available through Steam and/or wanted a cut of DLC sales. Hopefully this is something Valve will change, because excluding high quality games on Steam, simply because you want DLC money, doesn't seem a good decision long term.

Friday, June 8

Game Review: Max Payne 3

Genre: Third Person Shooter
Developer: Rockstar Games 
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC 
Release date: 31/5/2012

Hopefully you've heard of, and played, the Max Payne series, otherwise shame on you. Max Payne 3 is the third instalment (o rly), developed by Rockstar. Despite several long, long, delays (original release slated for 2009), the game is finally out. While Max Payne 3 is a significant departure from prior games in the series, it manages to carve its own identity and be a bloody good 3rd person shooter. 

The story picks up sometime after Max Payne 2, with Max accepting a security job in Brazil, protecting a rich family. Bad things inevitably happen, and it's up to Max to try and fix the situation, blazing a path of destruction along the way. There is some humour to the writing, less than previous games, and its mostly relegated to things like TV shows (like GTA IV).  While the story isn't amazing, in true Rockstar fashion the story is presented incredibly well. Max's original voice actor returns, and the rest of the cast is brilliant. While the game abandons the static comic book style and noir aesthetic, of the past, Max Payne 3 has its own extremely unique way of presenting cut scenes and information. It works great, apart from when certain words are highlighted twice, by the subtitles and the cinematic style. Thus I eagerly anticipated the progression of the story, to hear how characters reacted and what Max would get up to. Elsewhere the game is extremely polished. Rockstars ear for music and sound is evident, with some brilliant choices of music.  Visually the game looks fantastic. Character models are very detailed, lighting is great and textures are usually pretty damn nice, though from time to time you may spot low resolution textures. There is a particular level in the game, set in the favelas, which is a master class in setting up a engaging and believable environment.This polish, most importantly, translates and augments the gameplay as well.

My PC Gaming Set Up

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Processor (4 CPUs), ~3.4GHz
Memory: 8192MB DDR3 RAM
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
PSU: Corsair TX 650
Mouse: Razer Lachesis
Keyboard: Razer Lycosa
Headphones: Sennheiser HD555 Open Headphone
Controller: PS3 with MotionJoy

Currently I can max the vast majority of games, if not pretty close. I really need to buy a better computer desk, because, as you can see, the mouse area is tiny and playing Max Payne 3, has made me realised how insufficient it is for reflex based games. I'll buy a better desk from Ikea, if I can figure out which one looks best.

As for upgrading, I doubt I'll need to do anything until late 2013, since the PS4/Nextbox won't be out until then. Perhaps I won't need to upgrade anything even then, considering how impotent the next generation of consoles may be.

Sunday, June 3

My Weight History, Before and After Photos

So a few years ago I was fat. I've always been a sporty guy but around puberty I started eating like a fat ass. I would eat something between 600-1000 g of food, 3 times a day. Understandably I got fat, the exercise I was doing wasn't enough to compensate for my appetite. I become unhappy with the way I looked and being younger I was happy to believe "I'll just do 100 sit ups a day and I'll get rid of my belly!". Naturally that did nothing and for a few years I was fatter than I'd like. I don't have any photos of this time, suffice to say I had a nice beer belly, despite not drinking a sip of alcohol.

Eventually I started uni and decided eating "healthier" would be enough to shift the weight, cue me eating a sweet potato with half a stick of butter for lunch. Thankfully being forced to buy my own food, and being stingy with money meant I was eating less, and walking around campus meant I shifted a few pounds.

Its Not Like Max Payne 3 Is Filling A Void In My Life Right Now

Here's a really exciting topic, websites that are worth reading!

Reasonable gaming coverage. Don't bother with the reviews though, they're full of the main tropes of gaming "journalism".

These guys must be the bro-est gaming writers out there. Fantastic podcast, quicklooks can be hilarious. Reviews are well written, though I often disagree with the score, but you can still respect the authors opinion.

Brilliant nutrition blog, straddles the line between scientific accurate and readable. His dietary suggestions have some resemblances to paleo.

Mark Sisson seems to be one of the big paleo players. His information is generally good and I would recommend the site if you are interested in improving your diet, how ever I disagree with many of his conclusions, such as his hard on for organic food. Avoid the forums like the plague, they're filled with the same dogmatic idiots that would have said "eggs are bad for you because of cholesterol!", until they discovered paleo.

Denise Minger is somebody who has a hard on for analytics and has used her talent to look at nutrition claims. You won't find a wide berth of topics, but what she covers, she covers very extensively. Only recommended if you can stand looking at lots of numbers and data analysis!

If you haven't seen the Star Wars prequel reviews, then lol at you. Their regular series; Half in the Bag is great to listen to in the background.

Wednesday, May 30

Short Guide To Weight Loss: The Basics

So you're overweight or fat. You want to get in better shape,"tone", or fit into a smaller pair of jeans, but how? There is a lot of bullshit out there, which aims to make a quick buck off your ignorance. So here is a short, basic guide to improving your situation and work towards weight loss.  If you are in decent shape and wants abs or to "tone", or some such, then you'll need to read the next entry. This guide will mainly serve people who are significantly overweight.

Now your aim should be to lose fat, not weight per se. If you lose muscle, that isn't helpful. If you lose water weight, that isn't helpful. Thus it is important to have a educated diet in order to maximise fat loss, while not at the expense of muscle or anything else.  You can go on some liquid vegetable diet for a week and lose 5 pounds. But some of that will be muscle, some of that will be water weight, and you may just put back on whatever fat you lose, if you go back to your old eating habits. It is extremely important to realise that this shouldn't be a temporary diet change. This should be a permanent lifestyle change, which also means it must be reasonable and sustainable.

Tuesday, May 29

Game Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Genre: RPG, Action Adventure
Developer: Bethesda Softworks 
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC 
Release date: 11/11/2011

The Elder Scrolls V:Skyrim is the latest in the long running series of Bethesda's open world RPGs and may be the best in the series. Set in a pretty typical fantasy world, the story revolves around you, essentially a Chosen One, who is tasked with ridding the world of evil. The story has some interesting nuisances, such as the Blades, but don't expect to be blown away.

Coming from The Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion, the world of Tamriel is vastly different with shifting political alliances, the landscape itself, wars and natural disasters have occurred since the last game. The history of what has happened the last 200 or so years can be pieced together through dialogue and books, though it is poorly paced at times, with you having no information about a particular event for hours, only to be presented with the option to ask an NPC later.

Visually the game looks fantastic, Bethesda seems to have finally gotten round to hiring good artists. There are plenty of sweeping vistas and dense forests, some cities with beautiful architecture and best of all the NPCs faces don't look like an amateur designed them! However technically the game isn't pushing the graphical boundaries, with many poor textures abound.

Sunday, May 27

Why ArenaNet Needs To Communicate Better With Guild Wars 2

How could you not love these models?
Guild Wars 2 is set to be the most hyped MMO this year and ArenaNet (ANet), the developer, have ensured that a lot of the hype is deserved. The game features a brilliant art style, a shake up of traditional PvE content, gameplay focused on skill, not gear stats, and much more. It may not be a WoW killer, nor a perfect 10/10 but I'm pretty convinced it will be a damn good game.

Recently ANet enabled early purchases of the game the ability to play in beta weekend events (BWE). These events gave a snapshot of the game and were meant to be roughly once a month, starting in March. The first BWE had the sort of problems to be expected, lag, crashing servers etc, but on the whole set good expectations for the release. So after this first event, fans were eager for the next BWE, expected in May. But it didn't happen. A few days ago ANet posted on Facebook, that there wouldn't be an event this month, and that they would tell us as soon as they planned another. Some fans were disappointed, some angry, some were happy to defend ANet. I was more in the disappointed/angry camp because ANet communicated poorly and misjudged how desperate fans are for more chances to play the game.

Thursday, May 24

In Defence of Fallout: New Vega's DLC; Dead Money

A while ago, when Fallout: New Vegas was still a new game, I heard about the upcoming DLC; Dead Money. Not being one to buy DLC on release I waited to see what peoples impressions where. Those impression weren't good. But a year or so later, I bought the DLC in a Steam sale and finally got round to playing. Dead Money isn't terrible, in fact its quite good.

However it has a big problem,  it isn't anything like the rest of Fallout 3 or NV. In 3 and NV, you may come across areas that you don't like but you always have choice. You can can bring alone your favourite companion. You can bring a variety of weapons, armour and stims. You can go back to town any time you want, and fully heal up and restock on ammo. If you don't like the area, you can simply come back later, when you are more powerful or have better equipment. Typically such areas are short.

Take 2 At Blogging Introductions

So I'm not much used to typing outside of forums, nor expressing myself. So lets make an attempt at a more informative introduction to who I am, and what I'm interested in, shall we?

I'm a 22 year old university student in Scotland, who is studying pharmacology. Now I don't actually have that much interest in pharmacology, or even biology, but that was the choice I made. I'm planning on retraining for finance and analytical work, which I find far more interesting.

I'm a "hardcore" gamer. Earliest console was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and I've owned a  Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii, Playstation 3, a high end gaming computer, Gameboy, Gameboy Colour and Gameboy Advance. Some of my favourite games include Super Metroid, Super Mario Galaxy, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Portal and DOTA 2 (see I tried to choose a wide variety for you!)

I've done sports most of my life, from badminton to basketball, but the last few years I've been interested in martial arts, particularly muay thai. I train a few hours a week, part of which is sparing. The want to go to Thailand and drink in almost 24/7 muay thai is strong.

Additionally I plenty plenty of time on gaming websites and forums, read health and nutrition information, thus my beliefs are somewhat similar to paleo, rather than the mainstream garbage of "fat is bad for you! meat is bad for you! whole grains are gods gift!".

So its summer now. University term finishes early in Scotland, in March in fact (with exams in April/May) which means I have a lot of spare time on my hands until I sort out how I'm going to formally educate or get work experience. So being self absorbed, and blogging about how my cat threw up a fur ball is something I may take it, to keep myself occupied (though I don't own a cat).

I'll talk about video games, I'll talk about health and nutrition, I may talk a little about me, if I say anything at all.

Monday, March 12

A Blog?

So apparently some people like using these things and I might start too. I'm a university student in the UK whose primary interests and thoughts seem to be about nutrition, video games, wasting as much time as possible not revising and exercise. So I may post about these things in no particular order.