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 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 ( 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.