Games I’m Looking Forward To: Far Cry Primal

I play a lot of First Person Shooters and while the Call of Duty series is my favorite for multiplayer, I have enjoyed the Far Cry series’ single player mode for quite some time. Especially the third and fourth editions which were much more open world in nature and had a lot of things you could do outside of the storyline such as hunting animals for materials to upgrade your equipment with. However, when I first heard about the upcoming Far Cry Primal which would take the open world back to the stone age I have to admit I had some skepticism, but after watching this gameplay footage it’s changed to being intrigued:

A chance to play as a Beastmaster and tame prehistoric animals for use against my enemies? Oh hell yes! Granted, this isn’t the most realistic approach to a stone-age shooter, but then the other FC games weren’t known for their high realism either what with their mystic superpower granting tattoos and weird drug-induced hellscapes.

In Far Cry 4 the wildlife was one of the more annoying aspects of the game as you never knew when a lurking panther or dive bombing eagle would show up to wreck havoc while you were trying to gun down an outpost full of enemies, but they could also be a lot of use if you tossed out some bait into the middle of said outpost or set a captured bear loose to do your dirty work for you. Plus you could mount up on an elephant and just rampage through the middle of a base for even more fun.

At first glance Primal looks like they just took FC4 and reskinned it as a lot of the same mechanics are present, but the addition of the ability to tame and summon animals adds a whole new aspect to the chaos you can cause. It’s not due to be released until March of next year, but it’s now on my wish list.

Almost ready for Christmas vacation.

I have three more work days and then I’m on vacation until the new year. Technically, I’m taking a week and a half off and the other week and a half is the holiday break we normally get each year. I’ve been working hard at getting the number of tickets in my queue at work down to an absolute minimum (currently 3 tickets are pending). Outside of work I finally finished decorating the Christmas tree last Sunday. The tree had been up for a couple of weeks, but I had bought a couple of new LED light strings — I finally found some that have the occasional twinkle bulb on them — and it wasn’t quite enough to wrap the whole tree. So I went out the next weekend and bought a couple more. The final result looks like this:

O' Christmas Tree! O' Christmas Tree! How long it took to finish!

O’ Christmas Tree! O’ Christmas Tree! How long it took to finish!

Yes, I was watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special as I decorated the tree. We’re in a much smaller apartment this year so it’s a little tight squeezing past the tree to get the stairs to the second floor, but it works. It didn’t take long for the cats to rediscover the joy of laying underneath it.

Jasper was the first to claim the prized sleeping spot.

Jasper was the first to claim the prized sleeping spot.

We also went shopping for a new wreath for the front door as our old one clashes with the door’s current color. Additionally, we bought a replacement solar light to hang off the shepard’s hook in the front yard. It came with its own, smaller, hook and we were trying to decide what to do with it. We chose to do something we had talked about many times previously and bought a small bird feeder and a small bag of wild bird seed and set up a Kitty TV outside the door wall.

So far no birds, but we expect they'll discover it soon. We'll probably know when the cats start trying to claw their way through the window.

So far no birds, but we expect they’ll discover it soon. We’ll probably know when the cats start trying to claw their way through the window.

As of this point in time we’ve completed all our Christmas shopping save for one nephew. Several of the packages are still in transit which is why the tree is looking a little bare at the moment, but they should arrive shortly and join the pile.

I’m really looking forward to having three weeks with nothing in particular to have to do other than visit family and friends. I plan to take full advantage of it by being lazy as hell and generally enjoying the shit out of it.

Today is SEB’s 14th Blogiversary.

catenergysavingmodeIt’s hard to believe that it’s been 14 years since the very first post I ever made to what would become Stupid Evil Bastard. It wasn’t called that at the start, but it wasn’t long before it would take on that name. That very first post wasn’t particularly profound or meaningful. It was a simple question to myself about what I was actually going to do with it now that it was up and running. Fourteen years later and I still don’t have a good answer to that question.

In those years I’ve managed to post some 7,749 entries and with the slowdown in posting over the last couple of years it seems like we may never break 8,000 entries. There have been some 87,322 comments and a grand total of nine podcasts. I still haven’t made an attempt at a Vlog, but it continues to be something I’m considering. SEB has run on 3 different blogging platforms in that time, has had a dozen different layouts, and has moved webhosts at least 4 times that I can recall. Traffic isn’t what it used to be, but some entries written years ago still see comments coming in several times a week. I came close to packing it all in no less than a half-dozen times over the years for one reason or another. Yet we’re still here and still occasionally have something to say. I was 34 years old when I started and I’m 48 now. It almost seems like a whole other lifetime ago.

I have no idea if SEB, or myself, will still be around in another 14 years, but for the moment you’re stuck with me.

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksjesusI’m often asked around this time of year, what with me being an atheist and all, just who it is I’m thankful to on Thanksgiving. My answer is simple:

I’m thankful to my wife who not only puts up with me and loves me when I’m at my best, but takes care of me and still loves me when I’m at my worst.

I’m thankful to my daughter for turning out to be a wonderful person despite having me as a father and the rather unconventional childhood she had to go through to reach adulthood.

I’m thankful to my mother for all the things she’s ever done for me which are too numerous to count.

I’m thankful to my brother and sister for their love and support over the years even when they didn’t always agree with my choices.

I’m thankful to my in-laws for so wholly accepting me into the family some 14 years ago.

I’m thankful to my friends for their friendship. Whether it’s someone I’ve known since I was in grade school or someone online I’ve never actually met, but have been hanging with virtually for years.

I am solidly middle aged at this point and there’s plenty of things I thought I would have done by now that will likely never happen. I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be in terms of owning a home or the amount of money I’d be earning and we often live paycheck to paycheck. However, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and gas in the car and two kitties who are spoiled. I may not have everything I want, but I have the things I really need and I am grateful for that.

I don’t believe there is an all-powerful deity providing me with anything. I do know there are people who have made it possible for me to provide these things for myself. So I don’t thank an imaginary friend for the things my real friends and family are due credit for.

Thank you.

White Christians are officially a minority now.

colbertfreakoutHere’s a bit of news sure to make the Religious Right freak out even more than usual. White Christians are now a minority in the United States:

Pew: White Christians no longer a majority – POLITICO.

According to the latest results from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape survey published Monday by National Journal’s Next America project, just 46 percent of American adults are white Christians, down from 55 percent in 2007.

At the same time, according to the report, the share of white Christians identifying as Republican has remained steady, even equal with the share of the party that carried President Ronald Reagan to his 1984 reelection. Nearly seven in 10 white Christians — 69 percent — identify with or lean toward the GOP, while just 31 percent do the same with Democrats.

So if you’ve been thinking the Religious Right has been more unhinged than usual lately, this is probably why. They know they’re on the decline and they’re going to get more panicky as their numbers continue to diminish.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau as of last year whites still made up 77% of the population, but more and more of us are moving away from Christianity.

In less than a decade, the gap in Christian identification between Democrats and Republicans has increased by 50 percent. According to the data presented, in 2007, 88 percent of white Republicans and 70 percent of white Democrats identified as Christian, an 18-point disparity. By 2014, 84 percent of white Republicans identified as Christian, but the share of white Democrats identifying as Christian fell by 13 points, to 57 percent, a 27-point gap.

Not all of that change can be attributed to the rise in atheism, but we’re certainly having an effect. It’s also worth noting that Christians are still a majority religion in America at 70.6%, but more and more of them aren’t Caucasian. You can bet these trends are going to cause more than a little turmoil as they continue to grow.

I’ve never actually said this to a user before…

techsupport

… but I have thought it from time to time.

I had a perspective shifting experience the other day.

When I was a kid we lived next door to an older couple we knew simply as the Walkers. I have no idea what Mr. or Mrs. Walker’s first names were in part because I didn’t know much about them in spite of living next to them for almost two decades of my life. In my mind they were ancient, but I’m guessing when I was a young boy they probably were in their late 40’s or early 50’s. I know they had a granddaughter who would visit from time to time. Mr. Walker would sometimes sit out on his porch and get mad at us neighborhood kids for making too much noise while he was trying to listen to the Detroit Tigers game on his portable AM radio. Beyond that they could’ve been a husband/wife pair of serial killers for all I knew about them. What they did when they disappeared into the recesses of their home was a mystery. I always assumed they watched whatever shows old people watch and do whatever it was old people do.

We moved into a new apartment last May and many of our neighbors have kids several of which are of the same age I was back when I lived next door to the Walkers. I’ll say hello in passing, but generally I don’t interact with my new neighbors all that much. The kids always reply with that unsure-why-that-old-man-is-talking-to-me hello that kids use. Occasionally I’ll engage in some small talk with the parents, but overall I don’t detect a lot of interest in their getting to know me so I keep it to trivial pleasantries and move on.

The other night I was passed by the kids as they ran around playing and it brought back memories of my own youth. The commute home is not short so I usually make a stop in the bathroom and on washing my hands I saw my reflection in the mirror and was slightly startled to see how old I am. I’m 48, but I don’t always think of myself as 48. I still think of 50 as a long ways off unless I really force myself to realize it’s less than two years away. There’s a lot of grey in my beard and my face is showing more wrinkles every day.

As I stood there boggling at the face staring back from the mirror I realized that I had become Mr. Walker. The old fellow you occasionally see wandering from his car to his front door or vice versa. I wondered if the kids in the area looked at me the same way I used to look at Mr. Walker. What do I do in that apartment I rarely come out of except to go to work? I wondered if they’d be surprised to know I would be sitting down to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for longer than I probably should that evening.

For all I know, Mr. Walker did some amazing things in his home. Maybe he was an inventor tinkering away in his basement trying to come up with the next big thing. Or perhaps he enjoyed carpentry as a hobby and made really nice furniture in his spare time. Or he might’ve been playing games on his Atari 2600.

Eh, he probably watched reruns of Matlock.

It’s an office disaster waiting to happen.

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Halloween was a bust in terms of seeing any kids in costume. The last thing we need is to keep a shitload of candy in the house considering that neither of us should be eating it. What to do?

Inflict it on my office-mates, natch! This is what the coffee station at work looks like this morning:

Tremble at the sight of Candy Mountain!

Tremble at the sight of Candy Mountain!

I’m a little worried I may be responsible for multiple diabetic comas today so if you see me on the evening news, well, this would be why.

Modding & Mapping Tools Coming to Black Ops 3 PC in 2016!

In a move that is sure to please fans who play Call of Duty on the PC, Treyarch just announced that they will be releasing mapping and modding tools for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 around March of next year:

black-ops-3Over the years, the Call of Duty® community has proven itself to be among the most passionate in the world – and we count ourselves fortunate to make games for you.

We’ve been listening to one of your top requests and are excited to announce that modding and mapping are coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 PC!

We’ve still got a lot of work left to do, but here’s our current plan:

  • You will be able to create Maps & Game Modes and more!
  • We will include Unranked Dedicated Server Files with the tools so you can run servers with modded content anywhere you choose.
  • We will provide an Unranked Server Browser so you can easily find and join servers with modded content.
  • Closed Alpha target date:  March 2016

The last CoD to offer dedicated servers was Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in 2011 and it was a hidden option that very few folks knew about and even fewer took advantage of. As far as I’m aware, no CoD game on the PC has ever offered map or mod making tools.

These servers will be Unranked meaning the ranking-up system won’t be in effect and all weapons/perks/scorestreaks will be unlocked for everyone so if you want that experience you’ll still need to play on Treyarch’s servers, but that’s perfect for LAN parties. This is a huge announcement and something fans on the PC have been asking for for years.

As a fan who plays Call of Duty on the PC it’s been disheartening to see the console versions getting the majority of attention from Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer games over the years while the PC versions of their games suffered. I’ve complained for years about a bug that’s existed in the PC versions of Call of Duty that causes killstreaks/scorestreaks to sometimes not deploy properly. It started in MW2 and has been present in every IW release as well as Sledgehammer Game’s Advanced Warfare released last year. Only the Treyarch CoD titles are free of this bug on the PC.

I was looking forward to BO3 already. This makes it even more appealing.

Games I’m Looking Forward To: “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3”

Call me the eternal optimist, but despite how disappointing the last iteration of the CoD series turned out to be, I’m still hopeful that the next one will be an improvement. Event if it isn’t, you gotta give Activision credit for putting together a cool commercial for it:

The wait is almost over. It’ll drop this Friday, November 6th.