Just Finished - Final Fantasy II

I’m excited to finally be able to review this game, as it’s the direct sequel to the game that got me into RPGs way back in 1990-91.

When I say Final Fantasy II, I literally mean the second game in the franchise; not the SNES translation of Final Fantasy IV ;)

I actually played a bit of this game in the late 90’s using the Demiforce translation patch (back in the good ol' NESticle days :D), but didn’t make it very far.

For the actual play-through, I decided to go with the Dawn of Souls version for GBA, as this includes updated graphics, an “official” translation and an updated soundtrack.

Read on →

Just Finished - Breath of Fire 2

Following on the heels of my playthrough of the original Breath of Fire, I’ve just finished Breath of Fire II.

Originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994, BoF2 is the direct sequel to the original. Although the protagonist is named the same (Ryu) as in the original, I don’t think he’s supposed to be the same person (the story takes place hundreds of years after the original).

You start off as a kid in a small town with your buddy Bow. You go visit the outskirts of town where there is a dragon sleeping and blocking a gate. You’re attacked by a demon named Barubary, who knocks the two out then disappears.

The story picks up 10 years later with the two trying to make it as rangers and taking odd jobs. You take a job trying to find someone’s lost pet, and from there, the game begins.

You save the pet (pig) in an old house where a hermit lives. This house introduces an interesting dynamic to the game as this becomes the location known as TownShip. As you make your may through the game, various people join your town or can be hired to improve it.

You can recruit builders, weapon/item shop keepers and magicians that teach you new skills and abilities. Also as your party grows, they can be stashed here in a big house and you can go talk to them at any point to get clues as to what needs to be done next.

Read on →

Submit Content to Reddit because people WILL see it

I just wanted to share a quick story as someone who occasionally publishes stuff (both in print and on the internets).

I’ve never really given Reddit a fair chance. Every time I would go there, it seemed like the front page just had random links to news stories, or links to pictures.

I didn’t really bother to dive in and actually look for content, or bother to checkout the subreddits to see what sorts of communities I might be more inclined to interact with.

Yesterday, I took a couple of my articles from this blog and submitted them (here, here and here) to see what sort of feedback/engagement I might see.

Generally, I see anywhere from 5-25 users a day pass through here. That all changed very, VERY quickly once I submitted my content.

Within 12 hours of posting, I’d managed to get up to ~ 900 unique users, and by the end of the day, it was over 1000! (over 9000 would have been sweeter :P)

I had some really great conversations around my content, and got some useful feedback as well.

I’ve posted content to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and elsewhere, but never really got any good engagement. After this experience though, I know the first place I’ll be dropping my new articles, and am even slightly more motivated to get them completed as I know what I can expect from the community :)

Please let me know if there are other communities you’ve found that generate good conversations around your content.


Just Finished - Breath of Fire

My original plan for my next playthrough was going to be Daganronpa, but after making it to chapter 5, I got caught up in an phone upgrade bricking (at least Wind ended up replacing my phone) fiasco and lost all my progress.

I didn’t really feel like starting all over again, so I started Lufia II and the original Breath of Fire.

I ended up sticking with Breath of Fire, though I want to get through both Lufia and Lufia II eventually ;)

I wasn’t really planning on writing about this game, but decided at the last minute, so all my screenshots are from the very end ;)

I played the Game Boy Advance remake on my phone using GBA.emu. Although I’m perfectly capable of compiling from source and side-loading the APK, I bought the version on the Play store as the developer deserves the support.

The story starts off the main character, Ryu’s hometown. He is one of the last members of the Light Dragon Clan, and the Dark Dragon Clan has just come to eradicate them.

When they set the town ablaze, Ryu’s sister Sara turns everyone to stone and ventures out alone to stop the invasion. She is captured, and the game begins with you setting out to fight the Dark Dragons and get her back.

Read on →

Fourth Royalty Statement

It’s been over a year since this book was published, and I didn’t think it would see the type of success it has.

Based on this last statement, I’m officially eligible to start collecting royalties off this book.

This will have to wait until next quarter as Packt only pays out if the total proceeds exceed £75; which the USD$78 I earned last quarter doesn’t ;)

Redmine is a very popular open source project management platform, but in order to extend it users need to be familiar with not only the Ruby language, but the Ruby on Rails framework as well.

This can be quite the barrier to entry for new developers, as they need to have a fair amount of knowledge coming in.

Based on the sales figures I have access to, as well as feedback and inquiries I’ve received over the last year, it’s safe to say that the Redmine community is thriving :)

I’ve updated the sales chart with my last royalty statement:

Ebook Mini Subscription Packtlib Mini Print Book Mini Subscription (3rd Party Mini)
Q1/2014 18 3 18 0
Q2/2014 73 1 33 2
Q3/2014 25 2 24 4
Q4/2014 33 2 31 2

If you’re one of the people that bought the book, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

I’m in the process of updating the knowledgebase plugin that served as the focal point of the book to be compatible with Redmine 3.0 and beyond. If you have any ideas for new features, or feel I should get cracking on the bug fixes, log an issue :)


Asylum Engine Update

It’s been a number of years since I had a chance to look at this project, but recently I updated the codebase to the latest version (sync with upstream ScummVM) and found that the videos no longer worked.

It turned out to be a pretty simple fix (see commit), but it rekindled my interest in the project.

Read on →

Block Retry using Powershell

I’ve been doing a lot of Powershell scripting lately, and one of the features I’ve really been pining for is the ability to apply some form of retry logic to either a function or a block.

Take the following sample:

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function RandomlyFail
{
    $rnd = Get-Random -minimum 1 -maximum 3
    if ($rnd -eq 2) {
        throw "OH NOES!!!"
    }
    $Host.UI.WriteLine("W00t!!!")
}

Depending on what the random number we get is, we’ll get one of two scenarios:

# Success
RandomlyFail

W00t!!!

# Failure
RandomlyFail

OH NOES!!!
At line:62 char:9
+         throw "OH NOES!!!"
+         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : OperationStopped: (OH NOES!!!:String) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : OH NOES!!!

Now, if this happened to be part of a larger script and we didn’t have everything wrapped in a try..catch block, execution could potentially stop there.

Since Powershell supports closures, we can write a function that accepts a script block as a parameter.

Read on →

Just Gave Up On - Terranigma

As someone in their thirties with a family, my personal gaming time is somewhat limited. As a result, I need to be a bit more selective with what I choose to sink any free time into; and grinding is not where I want that time to go. I’ll get back to this shortly ;)

I want to start off by saying I really enjoyed Terranigma. It’s a fun 3rd person action-rpg (similar to Link to the Past or Secret of Mana) that concludes the Quintet trilogy started by Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia.

I was a big fan of Soul Blazer (less of Illusion of Gaia) so I was really looking forward to Terranigma. The gameplay is similar (real-time battle) and the themes are similar (restoring the world).

Read on →

Third Royalty Statement

I’d love to say Christmas came early this year, but it looks like sales of Redmine Plugin Extension and Development didn’t quite hit the numbers needed to actually result in a royalty cheque. Ah well, there’s always Q1 of 2015 :D

I’ve added the latest numbers to those from my previous post in order to show the running total of units sold this year.

Ebook Mini Subscription Packtlib Mini Print Book Mini Subscription (3rd Party Mini)
Q1/2014 18 3 18 0
Q2/2014 73 1 33 2
Q3/2014 25 2 24 4
Read on →

Git Push to GitHub and Bitbucket

I just want to start off by saying how much I LOVE Git. I’ve been working with it for a number of years now (coming from Subversion and sharing code on Google Code and SourceForge) and have fully embraced GitHub as the “victor” (IMHO) for both online source control and collaborative development.

The one “downside” to GitHub though is that you don’t have the ability to manage a private repository for free. They do offer reasonable hosting plans, but I generally use private repos for client work or other professional backups.

Bitbucket on the other hand offers unlimited private repositories. They limit the collaborative features you have access to, but if you’re strictly mirroring or backing up, that’s not an issue.

In order to configure your repository to push to both, all you need to do is:

1) create a new repository on Bitbucket

2a) edit the .git/config of your local repository

2b) add a second url entry under the same remote as you’re already pushing to

3) now to initialze the Bitbucket remote execute git push origin -u --all.

This will attempt to push all branches to the remote named origin. Since the version on GitHub is already up to date, the Bitbucket version will be initialized and all changes will be pushed.

Now, whenever you issue a git push command, both remote repositories will receive the changesets!