Archive for October, 2005

@Bandung

2005 October 31

OK, the test’s over (quite some time ago). I think I did quite well. Thank God most of them are open book. That helps a lot.

Hmm, what to write? Many things happened since my last blog post… OK here are some random things…

I’m now in Bandung, the place where my maternal grandparents and 4 of my siblings live. I’ll be here till D-Day and then I’ll go to Jakarta (probably on the next day) to visit my paternal family. I’ll visit Purwokerto before going back to Jogja.

My maternal grandparents have 7 childs, no naturally they have tons of grandchildren (I’m the 2nd oldest)… Most of my aunts and uncles are going to spend Lebaran here also, and there are already lots of toddlers wreaking havoc here. Children, so adorable… They never fail to amuse me :)…

There’s a formidable go opponent here, my own brother Duta. In fact, he’s my first go opponent. He played go before me, so I was sandbagged the first time I played with him. However, fast forward around 1 year, I think currently we’re more on less on the same level :). I have played 2 19×19 games on my current visit, and we both won once. We also played on KGS 2 days ago (fighting different opponents), my rank went from 19k to 18k (again), and he went from 21k? to 17k?.

 Internet’s expensive here. Gotta go back soon…

Semester 5 test week

2005 October 23

I had the Visual Programming test last Saturday. I think I did well. There are still lots of tests remaining so this blog will probably be inactive for a while. The last test will be at October 27.

Life inside an RPG game

2005 October 21

(the ‘G’ in RPG stands for “Game”, so is “RPG game” incorrect?)

I’ve played lots of RPG games in my life. Rage of Mages, Nox, Diablo II, Baldur’s Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy X, and Star Wars: KOTOR are among those. A common “feature” in all those RPG games are leveling up, in which Diablo II was the best IMHO. However, many RPG addicts often point that the true essence of RPG is the “role playing” element.

To “role play” is to assume control of a certain character. Of course before we can role play a character, a character must exist. In most games, we usually have the freedom to create the character. Creating in this sense is not merely assigning a name and some stas, but also defining the personality (and often history) of the character.

For example, when creating a character I might decide that “Liore Amethia” is a half-elf mage. An avid learner, she set foot on adventure to enrich his knowledge and experience while ensuring that evil gets banished along his path. She has a fond admiration for children and plants.

Another character could be “Dallas Reignheart”, a neutral evil thief. He will work for anyone as long as the right money is given. He also tries to not be too entangled with a certain faction. He’s not comfortable with anything that wastes his time.

After creating the character, we must try to role play it correctly in the game. Imagine these situations and how each character will react…

Liore

Slum child: “Please m’lady, alms for the poor…”
Liore: “Here you go.”
Slum child: “Uhm, actually I have a sister that’s sick. Could you give me more money?”
Liore: “Oh, how terrible. Could you show me your house? I could bring her to a priest I know.”
Slum child: “Never mind…” (runs away)

Dallas

Slum child: “Sir, alms for the poor…”
Dallas: (ignores)
Slum child: “Sir…”
Dallas: “Get lost!”

Liore

Stanger: “Oh thank God! My lady, you look like an adventurer, would you care to listen to this weird thing I just encountered?”
Liore: “Speak on…”
Stranger: “Let me introduce myself…”
Liore: (listens enthusiastically)

Dallas

Stanger: “Oh thank God! Sir, you look like an adventurer, would you care to listen to this weird thing I just encountered?”
Dallas: “Are you trying to hire a mercenary?”
Stranger: “No sir, no… However, I think you might be interested to know that it’s related to the forbidden fountain myth.”
Dallas: “Aah, tell me then.”
Stranger: “Let me introduce myself. I’m John and I my house is not so far from here. I live with my lovely wife and daugthers.”
Dallas: (frowns, doubtful whether the story will go anywhere)
Stranger: “I have a farm besides my house – you could probably see it. It’s over there, see… – and my neighbor Janson usually helps me working it. A strong and nice guy he is. He’s also married, although he doesn’t have any child yet. Well, I guess that’s not weird considering that he just married Angela six months ago…”
Dallas: “Please, get directly to the point!”
Stranger: “Oh, ok, sorry sir. You see, the story starts just two days ago when I and Janson went to the river…”

Liore

Shopkeeper: “You seem to be interested in this item. For you, it’s only twenty one zennies.”
Liore: “Isn’t it awfully cheap?”
Shopkeeper: “Aaah… That’s because my source is special…”
Liore: “You wouldn’t happen to get it from a black market, would you.”
Shopkeeper: “I wouldn’t call it a black market, my dear lady. I prefer to call it…”
Liore: “Sorry, I don’t buy stolen goods.”

Dallas

Shopkeeper: “You seem to be interested in this item. For you, it’s only twenty one zennies.”
Dallas: “Hey, you must get this from the black market, right?”
Shopkeeper: “I wouldn’t call it a black market, sir. I prefer to call it a ‘special market’.”
Dallas: (chortles) “Whatever. Give me five of those.”

Liore

Goblin chieftain: “Please, please, stop! I have an offer! Spare my life!”
Liore: “After you slaughter those innocent childs? Feel my wrath, evil creature!” (casts magic missile)

Dallas

Goblin chieftain: “Please, please, stop! I have an offer! Spare my life!”
Dallas: “Speak quickly and don’t try to play games with me!”
Goblin chieftain: “No, no! Behind that drawer, that drawer! You’ll find map to our treasury! Take it, take all!”
Dallas: “Heh, stupid creature… Of course I’ll take your head too for the village leader!” (stabs)

Liore

Baron Ployer: “So, will you do the job?”
Liore: “Sir, it seems that you want me to trick the peasants!”
Baron Ployer: “They won’t notice anything different! Nobody will be hurt, and we’ll both get our share of fortune.”
Liore: “I refuse. Also, if you still insist doing it I will have no choice but to report you to Sir Eddington.”
Baron Ployer: “How dare you threaten me! Guards, attack!!!”

Dallas

Baron Ployer: “So, will you do the job?”
Dallas: “You’re asking me to do something very risky. I don’t think the reward is enough.”
Baron Ployer: “Ten thousand zennies. That’s final.”
Dallas: “Deal!”

While games like Diablo II limits our role playing only to our character’s equipments and stats, games like Baldur’s Gate II offer great role playing possibility. There are abundant interactive dialogs in the game, and our choice in those dialogs affects the storyline of the game world.

The thing that interests me is that people can virtually role play any type of character in a game. Give them a mean and grumpy dwarf, they’ll play him mean and grumpy. Give them a honorable and just paladin, they’ll play him honorable and just. Give them a sadistic evil mage, they’ll play him sadistic and evil.

Now consider life. In life, people usually have an ideal character they aspire to be. However, oftenly people role play that character (which is themselves) badly. An example is doing things or making decision that they don’t really agree. Why? What’s inherently different about making decisions in RPG games and life?

(to be continued…)

Awful statistics book

2005 October 20

I’m currently reading the statistics book made by UGM staffs. It’s one piece of a horribly written textbook. Here’s some rundows:

  • The book pours loads and loads of formulas without even the slightest explanation of the ideas behind it (like how a formula is derived). The joy of mathematics, resasoning, is practically nonexistant in this book.
  • Lots of unclear explanations.
  • New concepts/words are suddenly used without being introduced. For example, sample question 5.6 asks for “marginal probability” eventhough marginal probability hasn’t been explained before.
  • The layout is inconsistent, for examle the vertical space after a section name is not always the same. Numbering jumps happen, like from 1.5.1 directly to 1.5.3. No index. Of course, they probably use Ms Word to write it instead of the more powerful LaTeX.

You see, a good mathematics book will probably still be disliked by those who just don’t like math, but a book like the one I’m reading will be hated by everyone! I sometimes wonder, do the writers even think that they have produced a good piece of writing?

It’s actually not just this book, most Indonesian textbook sucks. Oh well, I shoulnd’t whine more. I should study for the test…

YIC article 1: Jangan memulai di ujung papan

2005 October 19

There are many interesting moves and positions to write about from YIC’s weekly meeting. Enjoy my first attempt:

Jangan memulai di ujung papan

The difficulty is easy so anyone knowing the rules of go should be able to understand it.

If you don’t know how to play go, you can always head to Hiroki Mori’s “Interactive Way to Go” (English/Indonesian) :).

Just another day

2005 October 19

The PKM monetary report was submitted successfully. What remains is to receive the last 30% of the funding on around December. Btw the guy said that there is no MIPA participant for this year’s PKM.

What else? The Linux class is done (the last attendance was 3 persons). For Visual Programming study, I think what remains to to learn the various functions that might be used on the test. What to learn next for the test? Hm.. probably statistical methods…

Bleh, nothing else interesting to write… Signing out…

PKM monetary report

2005 October 17

I made the monetary report for the Fractal PKM project last night. Hehe actually the due date is October 15 (it’s 17 now). I suppose they’ll still accept the report. However, I just don’t care eitherway :).

Anyway, the hardest part was to gather evidence of the spending (in the form of transactional notes you receive when you buy something (what’s the term for it? receipt?)). You see, I almost always ask for those stuffs and I archive it afterwards (I keep it in a plastic bag). The problem is that I didn’t separate the PKM stuffs from my personal stuffs! So last night was spent for finding needles in the haystack.

I needed to search trough hundreds of those little papers, and in doing so I realized that I probably spent my money for mostly 3 things: buying food, surfing the net on the internet cafe, and copying books that I never read later on. Food is no doubt necessary, but I think I’ll be a lot richer if reduce my internet time and limit books that I copy (only copy a book if you absolutely have plan to read it soon).

If you’re wondering, I didn’t search all of my receipt. I stopped after I found 2 receipt that seemed about copying PKM reports.

Btw, mid test will be from 22 to 27 this month. It means around 1 more week from now! Considering that I haven’t really studied much for this semester, it’s time to catch up! I think I’ll start with Visual Programming (it seems to be the easiest, and it’s also the first test subject). What I hate most about test week is that I’ll be sure to abandon subjects that I’m actually studying (in this case Japanese language and go).

How to write like a pro

2005 October 14

Writers like J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien seems to use adjectives excessively. I’ll give it a try:

It was a dull, silent predawn when a definite but brisk knock rendered me conscious. I assured myself, “Wake up! It’s now time to have sahur!” while walking carefully but bewilderingly towards the now-opened door. A brown and rounded tray was offered by hands that seemed to have been exhausted by time. I grasped the tray slowly while muttering “Thanks”.

Lol, I think it was quite bad. I need to immerse the reader more into the environment of the story :). 

Too much sleep!

2005 October 14

Yesterday and today I slept after eating sahur. It was because my stomach felt awfully full (while sleeping you wouldn’t feel it). The bad side effect was that I slept until relatively late in the morning so that I couldn’t play at KGS (and do other useful things) :(.

Anyway, yesterday people came to the Linux class. IIRC only one people there had Linux installed on his computer. I still have 1 more Linux class to go.

Tomorrow is the deadline to file the monetary report on PKM. I hope there won’t be any more followups.

Anyway, if you want to see photos of YIC’s meeting on October 9, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/agro1986/sets/1131431/

Level down: 19k :(

2005 October 12

Lol, I managed to be 18k only for a match (and that was a lost). I lost because of a misreading during the endgame. If I had read that correctly, I would have won the game slightly.

The second game I had on KGS today was a close win. I won only by a meager 1.5 points. I think I made too many unnecessary defensive moves (driven by irrational fear).

Gotta drill trough those tsumegos to improve reading…