To Waze or not to...oh nevermind

Recently we attended Derek's birthday dinner. Naturally, a few days before the day, I started checking Google Maps on my laptop on how to get to the venue as it was new to both Ban and me.

Me: Hey, since you use smartphone, maybe you should install Waze or Google Maps.
Ban: ...... *continues playing game on his laptop*
Me: Especially if Marge (name we gave his Garmin) doesn't know how to get there. Also, Waze can tell whether there's heavy traffic or not.
Ban: ......
Me: Oh wait, you don't have data plan. So forget about it.
Ban: ......
Me: You must be happy, right? No need to do extra work, installing *in a teasing voice*
Ban:
Me: *LOL*

See, naughty or not? :)

Robocraft: Dark Reinhardt gameplay

Here's a game that I remember to record hehehe. Sorry for the jerkiness. I really don't know why it's like that, especially since in game, it was ok. Please watch it at higher speed. I recommend x2 speed.



Dark Reinhardt did exceptionally well here, although there were only like 2 enemies who were fliers. Top score, top kills and top damage. Since then, it has won many more BA games than lost them. Proud of this self-built bot :)

Now I hope that the blink-crash bug is fixed very soon before Dark Tracer becomes obsolete :(


Robocraft: Dark Reinhardt

I built Dark Tracer because I thought the blink module, BLM, would be useful in BA. I managed to play with it a few times before a bug crept in: if the bot was damaged after it blinked, the game crashed. I wasn't the only one experiencing this and we had dutifully provided our feedback (along with the auto-generated crash reports) using the appropriate channel. So I can't play Dark Tracer at the moment :(

As for the shield module, DSM, it was obviously useful in TDM but I was skeptical about its use in BA (my preferred game mode), until I saw a few players using it quite effectively. There were 2 main uses: protecting bot while capturing towers, and protecting bot and team mates while battling multiple enemies. Hence, I decided to build a ground bot incorporating DSM.

So since this bot is meant to be on the front line, preferably with team mates (to maximise the benefit of using DSM), I opted for Mech legs instead of caterpillar tracks since it wouldn't be the hit-and-run kind of playstyle. Wheels are lousy and, as said before, I'm bad at balancing hover blades and rotors. Similar to Dark Tracer, I opted for Aeroflak and Laser (formerly called SMG) combination for the same reasons.

Here's my latest bot, Dark Reinhardt:

Dark Reinhardt 1

Dark Reinhardt 2

Dark Reinhardt 3

Dark Reinhardt 4

There was some leftover CPU, after building the main frame and placing the functional parts, compared to Dark Tracer. In fact, I wish I have more CPU to armor the latter more. The leftover is probably due to using Mech legs i.e. built vertically upward and not needing to armor up horizontally unlike Dark Tracer.

So I've used a significant portion of the leftover CPU to protect the back, where the DSM is, and the rest were used to armour up the front and one layer below to cover up the legs a little bit. See those rounded L-shaped aerorods? I've seen such protective armouring on other bots and decided to try it. I like how it looks :)

The weapons are all triforced, using aerorods. For the less-than-full armoured cubes, I used the rounded version as they have higher hp. Yes, they are also heavier but it's not a concern when using Mech legs. Same reasons applied to Dark Tracer.

Dark Reinhardt 5

Here's how the shield looks like. Still need more practice to place the shield better, especially against LML and to protect team mates ahead (Mech legs are slow!).

Oh, a little bit on the names of these two bots: they are obtained from Blizzard's upcoming FPS game, Overwatch. Tracer is known for her blinking and Reinhardt is known for his shield :) I know I'm not the only one who drew this connection when the modules' features were first announced.

Cholesterol: change of regime

When I last tested my cholesterol level, the pharmacists expressed concern over the total cholesterol level and especially the LDL (bad cholesterol). The next day, I met a friend who is a doctor and I took the chance to tell him the results. He advised me to seek medical help.

So, once back at PJ, I visited my regular doctor. Like my friend, he explained that they would look at all the indicators and not merely the Total/HDL ratio, which I had been using as a yardstick. Given my healthy diet, his conclusion was that I needed to exercise more @@. At that time, my exercise regime in a week was something like this: 1 hour yoga, 1 hour treadmill, 30 min treadmill or 30 min yoga or 20min swimming x 3 (2 rest days). And I need to increase this???

So far, the new regime for a week is as follows: 1 hour yoga x 2, 1 hour treadmill, 30 min swimming, 45 min treadmill x 2 (one rest day). I sometimes replace the 45 min treadmill with 1 hour yoga if I'm in PJ, rather than Seremban.

While upping my exercise, I am taking atorvastatin as prescribed by the doctor, for 3 months before going for the lipid profile test again. Hope this will work!

Franco with Groupon

Apparently, for the first time, there was Franco voucher available on Groupon. From my last visit, their food was expensive based on the portion they served. So I took this opportunity to purchase a RM50 voucher, shared with Ban. The discount was 33%.

I ordered their Mac Cheese. Sorry, no photo because I was so tired (after yoga class and had mild sinus). When it was served, I thought it had only macaroni and cheese but after some digging (oh, yes), I found some mushrooms (the Asian kind?) and 3 pieces of luncheon meat. It was filling but probably due to the cheese.

This time I made room for dessert as I decided to try their vanilla souffle (RM 16.80++). It was my first time trying souffle. According to their menu, souffle is normally served in fine-dining restaurants. I didn't know that and it just raised the bar for me hehehe.

Franco 3

Franco 4

As stated in their menu, it was freshly baked (needing 20mins). When served, the first thing I noticed was the vanilla aroma, which whetted my appetite. It was lightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. There was soft mashed custard inside. I know the proper term should be "fluffy" but honestly, I didn't think it was fluffy at all. Just mashed :)

It would have been much better if it was a tad less sweet. After a third way through, I had to drink some water to cleanse my palette. As much as I loved its texture, this just spoiled my desire to try it again in future.

Robocraft: Dark Tracer

From previous post, I said that I thought of having a bot with BLM specifically built for BA. I searched the CRF for a chassis that could fit 1 Flak, some SMGs and 1 BLM. However, since I do not know how much spare CPU the bots had, I was afraid to purchase any. Hence, I was forced to build one from scratch. I haven't built one from scratch for a very long time.

I tried using hover blades but failed to balance it. I know I'm quite hopeless at balancing rotor blades. So in the end I chose caterpillar track. Easier to build with...and I'm lazy to build hehehe. Hence, born Dark Tracer:

Dark Tracer 1

Dark Tracer 2

Dark Tracer 3

I wanted to have dual weapon types and when I asked Ban what weapons I should have, he immediately suggested one of them to be Flak, to counter fliers. Although it seems weaker now, Flak is probably still the best anti-air.

I chose SMG as the other weapon type since it is great at short range. So on a one-on-one duel, I have to be most cautious going against ground LML and plasma...or so I believe :)

Dark Tracer's SMG guns are tri-forced against other ground bots except for plasma. Rapid fire of plasma shots would usually devastate most armouring. Yah, see, better to play plasma bomber lol. But bomber needs to watch out for pesky SMG tesseract/drone.

The BLM is fully encased within, with some triforcing to redirect damage to other parts of the bot. This is quite important I use blink mainly to escape and so I will need it to be the last to go.

Oh and here's how blinking looks like:

Dark Tracer 4

So cool, right? It's like warping. The first time I tried it I was like "whoaaaah!". It was so cool and I so want it in my bot. Shomoho, a popular Robocraft youtuber, said he nearly wet himself when he first tried it (at 22:55) lol.

I first tested out Dark Tracer in TDMs. Mixed results as I find that BLM is not that useful in TDM and so the huge CPU sink (nearly 300) is a waste there. So, for TDM, I rather use other bots.

Here are the 2 BA results where I played Dark Tracer in:

Dark Tracer 1st BA

Dark Tracer 2nd BA

As you can see, Dark Tracer did well in both, ranking 4th position without the victory bonus. Its performance ranked among the top kills and/or assist and its damage was among the best too. Of course, having good team mates helped a lot and so I thanked them for the good experience :)

Hopefully Dark Tracer will continue to perform well for many BAs to come :)

Robocraft: Maximum Loadout

As stated in the last post on Robocraft, they were going to introduce new component: module. However, the major patch Maximum Loadout, did more than that. Key features are:
  • BLM: module enabling your bot to blink!
  • DSM: enable your bot to place a temporary fusion shield one a side (instead of, say, a dome)
  • SMG and Rail no longer have hit scan
  • Nano no longer damages enemies i.e. purely for healing allies
  • Multiple weapon types can now be mounted on your bot
  • Using modules and firing your weapons drain your power, similar to concept of mana in many ARPG games
However, there are major problems right now:
  • Too many things that cause Rail's inaccuracy, aside from needing to lead now that hit scan is gone
  • Flak damage is fishy. The trigger's radius seems smaller now and damage is erratic
The above problems plus SMG needing to lead now and the buff to wings and plasma damage result in the emergence of fliers. Many of them. Tesseracts/drones aplenty. Bombers aplenty. It was back to the reign of fliers lol. I myself did purchase a suitable bomber but this post is not about that bot.

I tried both modules. I concluded that DSM is most useful in TDM, where multiple allies can benefit from it. I have currently attached one to my mini smg elephant mech. Quite like it :)

BLM can be useful for both TDM and BA. I am still not sure how best to use it. Using it aggressively doesn't seem to work out in TDM. It's more commonly used defensively and that was I usually use it. I figured it's best used in BA for, say, capturing tower fast or to capture tower and then quickly retreat.

So I started thinking of having a bot specifically for BA, with BLM built in it. To be blogged in next post :)

Dragon-I

Although I'm aware of the Dragon-I outlet at The Curve for many years, I had yet to dine there until recently. I have never suggested it because Ban usually doesn't like Chinese food. They are usually not suitable for him.

However, not sure what happened but recently we went there after gym. I'm quite sure it was Ban who suggested it @@ Lol, oh well.

I ordered La Mian with Fried Chicken Taiwanese style and a glass of fresh corn juice. I forgot to take note of the prices :( I vaguely recall that the corn juice was just over RM 6 before service charge and GST.

Dragon-I 1

It tasted like milkshake. Delicious and sweet! I would order this again :)

Dragon-I 2

Dragon-I 3

Dragon-I 4

The soup was clear and simple, almost bland. Clearly stingy on vegetable. The noodle was, however, soft and nice.

The chicken was already cut into small pieces. Unlike many other fried chicken I had, including the supposedly Taiwanese style, this had mild ginger taste. Unusual, isn't it? It was crispy and quite delicious.

Apparently this dish was a little too much for me because I was already full halfway through the chicken. Or maybe it was the fresh corn juice?

Will I go there again? Probably but not often as I'm on an austerity drive :)

Robocraft: Rosefall's Ravager

With the advent of aeroflak, my beloved plasma bomber is no longer my prime choice. For a while, I favoured my SMG mechs and then LML came along, which not only put further back the viability of fliers but also put to question of which ground SMG is best suited for current meta.

If you want fast ground bots that can quickly take cover from missiles, then SMG cruiser or hover are the best. However, the former loses control too easily, especially on ice, and the latter is susceptible to flak (as stated previously). SMG mech is great at tanking and also jumping to avoid plasma shot but jumping makes it vulnerable to flak too.

Tesseract is still the best flying bot around but only if you're able to control it well. Sadly, I'm not.

So I usually just cycled through the current bots I have, playing many TDMs. I bought a few bots to try out, including a tesla plasma of which I was so bad at piloting it :) I did consider getting a walker copter rail bot but decided to wait until the next major patch which will introduce 2 modules - blink and shield - that surely will shift the meta again.

After playing gazillion number of TDM games (TDM earns many times more RP than BA, given the same period of time), I started to crave for BA games. I played maybe 3 BA games each day and I concluded that the best bot in my inventory for current meta, at least in BA, is Rosefall's Ravager.

Rosefall's Ravager 1

Rosefall's Ravager 2

Rosefall's Ravager 3

Rosefall's Ravager 4

Sorry for the bland colour. There are only 4 non-premium colours to choose from: sky blue, orange, white or grey. You can use a mixture of colours, of course, but I think a monotone grey gives the best camouflage to the bot for all maps. Yes, there are better monocolours tailored for each map but since I don't know which map I'll get, grey is the best.

This is a walker copter flak bot but it's used mainly as a walker i.e. find a good spot to perch on and snipe from there. The rotor blades merely improve its mobility.

Its back has the tendency to want to lift up. Too much uplift by the rotor blades? Also, if it knocks onto something while in the air, it wants to flip on its back @@. Its gun, being top mounted, has problem shooting directly below. Perching is the key. Of course you can also shoot when you're at ground-level with the enemy but that's not advisable (the bot is not a tank!) unless the enemy is nearly dead.

Other than that, it's a great bot to use but as with any bots, how you play it matters a lot. As stated above, need to find a good spot to perch and also to hide from enemy's fire. I commonly encountered many shots from rails, LML and flaks, and the occasional plasma shot from fliers.

Although some may think a flak bot is easy to use, it is not as a youtuber (either Lathland or Aavak) discovered. You have to learn to lead the enemies i.e. predict where they would go. It probably has the hardest time shooting ground bots than any other weapons. Took me a while to learn this.

My primary targets are fliers of course. Then it's whatever the situation demands. Enemy rail harassing team mates? Give him a few shots to make him retreat. Enemy LML? Degun him. Flak cannon has much more health than LML and I often outduel enemy LML. Enemy SMG/plasma is battering team's medic? Flak him.

At all times, be aware of the situation. Look around. Look at mini-map. Make sure there's suitable cover to use and use it frequently

One serious drawback of a flak bot is that it is a hard counter to fliers and hence if there are no fliers, then you'll have difficult time to shine, unless enemy's hover and mech bots oblige you by hovering high and jumping, respectively. This happened to me in one BA. Our team lost and I didn't do well in my team. Fortunately, it appears that copter LMLs are popular and there's also usually one plasma bomber and/or copter rail and so I continue to use Ravager for BA.

My best performance to date using Ravager:

Ravager's best performance so far

Usually I'll be in the top 5 of the scoreboard, without the victory bonus.

Well, things will change drastically once the 2 modules come in. I'll probably take a short break shortly after they are introduced and monitor the game via youtubers. Almost surely a game changer.

Financial salvos

Compared to a year ago, my income is lower but there's higher expense:

(1) Home loan interest rate is much higher.

(2) Rent is significantly lower.

(3) Dividends are smaller.

(4) Increased allowance to parents.

(5) Loss of a client whose fee accounts for almost all of my actuarial consulting fees.

Unlike previous years where I always had quite substantial net income, currently my income just meet my expense. This is unfortunate as I'm hoping to save money and invest in shares as they are cheap right now. Sigh. Instead, I have to watch my expenses. No extravagant stuff for sure. Fewer trips to restaurants.