Photos here.  After five years, my good ol’ A8N-SLI Premium has been retired. It had itself a long run, but it’s now been replaced with the following wolf in sheep’s clothing:

Specs are as follows:

  • Lian Li A05NB case
  • Asus P6X58D
  • Intel i7 930
  • 6GB 1600MHz RAM at 7-7-7-24
  • ATI Radeon 5770 1GB
  • 80GB Intel X25-M SSD
  • 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green
  • Sata Lightscribe DVD burner (I didn’t know about Lightscribe until now… neat stuff)
  • Front panel card-reader/fan controller/temp monitor
  • Seasonic X-650 modular power supply
  • Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler (It’s huge, but it DOES fit inside the Lian Li A05NB)

I’ve posted a gallery of all the parts and the build process here.

I HIGHLY recommend the Lian Li case.  It’s a joy to work with, it’s compact, and it’s light.  It’s also interesting because the power supply goes in the front, and the airflow is back to front.  This is good because the fresh air hits your CPU first, rather than last.

The Seasonic power supply was also a very nice surprise.  It’s my first modular supply, so it has that going for it, but it’s also very quiet.  I should mention also that the packaging is something worth experiencing.  Totally fancy.

And of course, having an SSD make for some really fast startup times (for Windows and applications in general).

I have been playing a lot of Rogue clones lately. Since the original Rogue is all ASCII and keyboard controlled, it’s a bit hard to just jump in and play. I thought it would be useful to put together a list of the Roguelike games I played as I gradually learned to play.  If you’ve never played Rogue before, and you’d like to try it, this list should be a good starting point.  It will start you with full mouse control and work all the way towards full keyboard control.

Info About Rogue

  • Rogue is a dungeon crawler game.  Your general goal is to collect gold and items and defeat monsters as you descend the floors of the Dungeon of Doom.  The ultimate goal was originally to find the Amulet of Yendor.
  • Rogue was created in the early 80s.  Check out the wiki if you want to read about it.
  • Rogue is turn-based, which is usually synonymous with slow in the gaming world.  With Rogue, though, once you are used to the keyboard commands it can play really fast.
  • There are a ton of Rogue clones, termed “roguelike” games.  I built a timeline of the more famous ones here.
  • You get one life.  When you die, you have to start from the beginning.
  • Most roguelikes are free, and a lot of them are open source.

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I was looking through the wiki for Rogue the other day and though it would be interesting to see a timeline of the major Rogue clones. So I made a little chart as an exercise (and now I know what I need to play). I’ll let it speak for itself:

A Brief Timeline of Rogue Clones

So I finally sat down with Rogue, the game from the early 80s that was the inspiration for many of the Dungeon Crawlers I’ve played over the years. It started with Desktop Dungeons, which I spotted on my TIGSource RSS feed. It’s easy to play, but tricky to master, and it has a surprising amount of depth. Most of the Rogue aficionados would probably scoff at its use of graphics, but it makes it easier for noobs like me.

So I played that for a bit (I’m still working through the different classes, actually), and then I thought “Maybe Rogue is on the iPhone…”. Of course it is! In fact, there’s a free version called simply “Rogue” by Gandreas Software that’s pretty good, and Rogue Touch was $0.99 a few days ago so I picked that up, too. So far I’ve played Rogue Touch more, but I think it’s because I have some “I bought it so I better play it” guilt. The free Rogue has the classic ascii graphics, an interesting glyph-based (you draw commands on a 9×9 grid) interface, and it’s a bit faster to play. Rogue Touch seems a little bit easy compared to the Gandreas version, but maybe it’s just me.

Anyways, now that I’m finally playing it, I can understand why it was so hot when it came out. I’m also starting to understand why some people prefer the ascii version. It’s a lot faster, like vi compared to Word. I’ll probably gravitate in that direction once I get a better feel for it.

I recently built a cocktail arcade cabinet from scratch.  I talked about fabrication previously, and I’d like to outline the software I’ve got on it for those who are interested.  It wasn’t an dead-simple setup since emulators all have different interfaces, but I ended up with a setup that’s relatively streamlined.

Goals

It’s important to figure out what emulators you want.  I had decided that I wanted the 8-bit and 16-bit consoles, as well as MAME.  I don’t have any analog controls, so anything requiring that was out of the question.  My primary goal was a cabinet that would play Donkey Kong, but I wanted the ability to play other things as well.  My final list of emulators was as follows:

I had a really good time with Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is very similar, except for one game-breaking issue.

In Warlords, the gameplay is largely strategic, except for the fact that you don’t know which pieces are going to slide in when you make a match.  This was the only real flaw in the game for me.  I’d make a match, then a bunch of attack pieces would slide in and the computer would get a free strike on me.  The good news was that you could mitigate this frustration a bit by matching pieces in areas where there weren’t attack pieces.  As long as a full match wasn’t randomly inserted, you’d be ok.  A bit awkward, but the rest of the game was so good I could overlook this little flaw.

Galactrix goes with hexagonal pieces instead of square.  This make for more possible moves.  The problem is that the pieces can now come into the board from all sides.  With the board being so small, it amplifies the issue from Warlords.  If there are attack pieces on the board, chances are any move you make will result in a random attack piece coming in and the computer getting a free strike.  What interesting is the better you play (the longer your combos), the more random pieces slide in, and the more chance you have of giving the computer a free attack.

I played Galactrix for a few hours over the course of two days.  My final 10 games were against the same ship that kept winning because of random pieces.  After that, I quit and uninstalled it.  I really really really wanted to like it but based on the number of swear words that came out of my mouth, I wasn’t enjoying myself.

I’m still in on the next Puzzle Quest, though.  Hopefully they’ll come up with a way to remove the randomness so I can strategize a bit more.

I just finished Halo: ODST.  It’s a short experience (about 6 hours or so), but the atmosphere of it was really interesting.  Nice music, too.  I’d definitely recommend it at the Black Friday prices I’ve seen (30 bucks).

I like that it came with an “All the Halo multiplayer stuff” disc, too.  I think that’ll probably just be the disc that sits in my Xbox if I’m not playing something else.  You never know when you’ll want a little Halo Multiplayer :D

I recently posted some photos of a cocktail arcade cabinet I built, and Ithought I’d go over the fabrication for those interested.  Aseries of photos taken during the process is available here.  I also took some photos of a Revenge of Doh cabinetfor research purposes, and those are available here. I’ve detailed software in a different post since that was asignificant undertaking in its own right.

I was inspired to make this cabinetafter watching a documentary called The King ofKong.  It’s about a guy’s attempt at beating the highscore record in Donkey Kong.  It made me try Donkey Kong onMAME, and snowballed into wanting a proper arcade cabinet to enjoyclassic games.  I was also in need of small table for a cornerin my apartment, and an arcade cabinet was the perfect fit.
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UPDATE 2009.12.12 – I’ve detailed the fabrication here, and the software here.

It’s time I let everyone know what I’ve been working on over the last month. I bought a bunch of woodworking tools and have been very secretive about it, but the physical part of it is done now. So here it is:


That there is a cocktail arcade cabinet, which I built for 1. Retro-Gaming and 2. Breakfast-Eating. There’s been an empty corner in the apartment for about a year now, and I figured it was time to fill it. So there ya have it.

This is just The Unveiling, though. I’ve posted a short gallery here so y’all can take a look, but I’ve also taken a bunch of photos of the whole process, and I’ll go in depth on it all next week (hopefully).

I’ve just gotten word from my friend Chef Tomm that he’ll be teaching a Chinese Cuisine class November 21st at the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, CA. This will include how to make hand-pulled noodles. Check out the November class schedule at the PCI hobby classes page for more info. I would highly recommend this class regardless of your hand pulled noodle skill level. At the very least you’ll get a hands on session with some primo noodle dough (he makes some awesomely stretchy noodle dough).

You can get yourself a 10% off coupon code if you drop Chef Tomm an email (cheftomm-at-hotmail.com) and mention my name.
Also check out Chef Tomm’s website. He’s got hand pulled noodle recipes and videos there, too.