Tag Archives: Mobile App

Ingress – Drama

Last Saturday morning, I was training at Bukit Timah Hill with a few friends from Ingress for the Goruck event and there was some drama from the Resistance.

Our team met at 7am and walked to the starting point of the hill, with each person carrying a load of around 9kg. While we waited at the foot of the hill for our last member, I was happily hacked and blasted away at the Resistance’s web of links. It was so satifying to destroy two of their portals which each had a SoftBank Ultra Link, supporting about 23 links in total, I think.

Anyway, about an hour plus into our training, I got called out in the Ingress Comm section by the owner of the portals I destroyed.

01

Like, whaaaat??? That’s kinda mean-spirited, rude and obviously a butt-hurt reaction to me poking a hole in his link web. I showed my fellow Enlightened Ruckers and they all had similar reactions. This was just after we finished the three sets of going up and down the steep part of the hill, climbing all the way to the summit via the stairs on the third run. We were just about to start our physical training, so I put away my phone after I showed them.

After the training, I decided to punch more holes in the Resistance web out of spite, then tagged bluwarrior back in the comms.

02 Drama

Yeah okay, I’m a childish, petty person. But he started it! *throws a tantrum*

My response about training for two hours was pretty funny, if I do say so myself. But I wasn’t satisfied. I was riled up, pumped with leftover adrenaline and itching for a fight. So I poked the bear. And this was his response.

03 Drama

Like I said, Pokemon Go came out, so we all lost interest in Ingress. Just FYI, Bukit Timah hill has a ton of Eevee and Clefairies. Nearby, Beauty World has Pikachu, Vulpix and Ryhorn, though they’re still fairly rare. You’re welcome.

Back to the main story. Okay, I admit, I don’t personally know who bluwarrior is or what he looks like, but the opportunity to return fire was too good to pass up. To be honest, I don’t know who PathToNowhere is either, but I’m glad a fellow Enlightened Agent came to my defense, which just goes to show how supportive we Enlightened as a community are, unlike the unfriendly – almost militarian – Resistance. Guys, come on, haven’t we had enough of Singapore’s crap army system?

Side note: PathToNowhere seems to be a portmanteau of two cards from Magic: the Gathering (MTG), named Path to Exile and Journey to Nowhere. Both cards are white and do similar things: They exile a creature. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the handle PathToNowhere holds it’s own significance to its user, but it’s a curious little coincidence.

04 Drama

I MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. I FORGOT TO SCREENSHOT BLUWARRIOR’S REPLY. But I remember it went something like this:

bluwarrior: “You want to challenge a guy three times your age?”

And our replies:

05 Drama

I don’t know how old the other two are, but I’m 23, so I tripled it to 69. Heh, 69 XD

Sadly, he didn’t respond, so that was the end of my fun. But for my last jibe, I took over his church with a JARVIS Virus.

Disclaimer to the Resistance: This burn post is targeted at bluwarrior. I’m sure there many of you nice agents out there. He just isn’t one of you. Sorry for any smack talk, we are opposing teams after all XD

Here’s proof that we made it to the summit.

08 Drama

-Jace

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Title

Oh no.

I’m feeling it again. That downward spiral of playing game after game after game. Once again these games are piling up until one day I’m going to explode and delete them all. I’m barely keeping up with maintaining my blog. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to talk about (I have many, thanks to the daily prompts), it’s just that I’ve been so lazy.

See, I’ve been so lazy I can’t even be bothered to think of a quip for a title now.

What? If Megan Trainor can do it, so can I, so there.

Anyway. I’ve been wasting so much time during my off days instead of doing useful stuff like programming or writing or running. Even doing research on card prices for Magic: the Gathering (MTG) would be better than the dumb games I’m playing. Okay, not dumb. Just time consuming.

Hearthstone. Oh man I’m addicted to this game. Every time I return home after two days of work, playing it one of the first things I do. Because I can accumulate up to three daily quests, I usually spend my time playing until I finish all the quests I’ve accumulated. If I’m lucky, the quests will overlap and I can finish them in half the time I would have needed, but that doesn’t happen very often and so I end up spending three to four hours playing. I guess it’s my fix for MTG, because Hearthstone is essentially the dumbed-down and free version.

Hearthstone is my number one major time waster at home and the only reason I play at home is because I can’t do so in the guardroom during my off duty hours. Speaking of which, mobile games are starting to creep back into my life again. Ascension, Crossy Road, Mobfish and Scramble are just some of the mobile apps I’ve downloaded to pass the time.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not read a single storybook this year.

During our off hours, we’ve been playing board games in the guardroom as well. Risk and Mastermind seem to have become our go-to games during stand-down times and Risk games last well into the night. Now I spend more time playing games than I watching movies.

What the heck am I doing with my life -.-

Apart from MTG, Ingress is the only game I don’t regret playing because it makes me walk. Doing the missions also gives me topics to blog about. I’m currently writing about mission series that I do with my Dad and some other players which are part reflection and part instructional for other players to follow. We’re almost done with our second mission series, which we’ll finish this Sunday. Finally! That post had been sitting in draft mode for almost two months.

Speaking of exercise, I haven’t done much besides weekly dance sessions, semi-daily pull-ups (so far I’m only back at 15 pull-ups in a row) and short 1.5km runs during my working days. I’m doing my best to do some intensive exercise at least once a week, whether it be as strenuous as a hard hour of parkour training, or as relaxing as a three hour Ingress mission.

Sigh.

I think I’ll give myself til the end of March to get over this, then delete all the minor games on my phone and bring some books to read in the guardroom.

-Jace

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer

I found a new game a couple of weeks ago and it’s super fun. It’s called Ascension and it’s one of the most fun, replayable games I’ve ever played.

Ascension is a game for 2-4 players and each person starts with the same set of cards in their own deck. Throughout the game, they use the cards in their deck to gain resources (Runes and Power) in order to acquire better cards (obtained using Runes) or to defeat monsters (via Power) from the Central Deck, all the while working to gain as many Honor Points as possible. The game starts with a set number of points in the Honor Pool, which reduces each time a player gains Honor points, and is over when there are no more points in the pool. The aim of the game is to get the most Honor points of all players.

I actually came across this in one of the Digital Life segments from the newspaper, which was talking about fun apps to download. The article mentioned it was a fast paced, turn based deckbuilding game made by the top players of Magic: the Gathering (MTG), Pro Tour champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler. It was released almost five years ago in physical form, but now it’s been made into a mobile game.

Immediately, I was interested and noted it down so that I could download the app when I returned home. It had all the elements of games I play. First, it was turn based strategy (TBS). I love TBS games (as opposed to real time strategy, or RTS) because I need the time to think and plan out my moves. Chess was one of the first strategic games I learnt in my childhood and while I didn’t like it much (it was “flat”, but I’ll talk about that later), it did get me interested in strategy games. It taught me the value of patience and planning ahead, although I think I was too young to fully appreciate it.

Ascension was also made by top players of MTG. A game made by the best players of another game I already play? Damn, it’s bound to be freaking awesome. If the newspaper article had said nothing else about the game, this would have been reason enough for me to go check it out. Also, being a free game on Google Play helped. XD

Ascension’s also self contained. All the pieces you need to play and win with are found within the game set, which you just have to purchase once. It’s not pay-to-win, like say, MTG, where, if you don’t have the funds to buy a Tier-One deck, you probably won’t get very far in a competition. What this means is that Ascension is based more on the skill of decision making and probability, rather than purchasing the best cards available. And I don’t mean buying cards with real money, I also mean using your resources in game to exchange for cards to add to your deck.

It’s very similar to Booster Drafting in MTG. Each person starts of with three booster packs, opens the first one, picks a card from it and passes the rest to the neighbour on his left while receiving a set of cards from his right, from which he takes his next card. This continues until all the cards have been picked, then the second pack is opened and the process repeats itself in the opposite direction. Finally, the third pack is opened and passed in the same direction as the first pack. Everyone forms a deck of at least 40 cards then they split into pairs to play a normal game of MTG. Although you still have to buy packs each time you play a round of Booster Draft, it’s more like Ascension than actual MTG, in that a lot of effort and value is put into the decision making part of the game, making it more skill based.

I mentioned above that I felt chess was “flat”. I meant that it was boring and one dimensional. There’s no lore behind the pieces and everything is literally black and white. I like MTG because of the stories and the philosophies of the colour pie. I mean, this was how I learnt about flavour. Ascension also has it’s own lore that I haven’t had time to delve into, but I will, eventually. Chess is also a game that, over time, becomes about pattern recognition, not so much skill. There is no “hidden” information; stuff that you don’t know for sure that your opponent has or doesn’t have. All the pieces and possible movements are available for all players to see (public information), whereas in MTG, you can guess what cards your opponent has in his hand or deck, but you can’t know for sure.

Of course, there’s a lot less hidden information in Ascension than there is in MTG, but the element is still there, and that appeals to me very strongly. The feeling of mystery and successfully being able to predict what your opponent will do with the information you have is a lot more satisfying.

Being a game that uses it’s pieces over and over, one might think that, like chess, it would also devolve into pattern recognition and, to a certain extent, that’s true. MTG is fun because each game is unique, so the feeling of anticipation and excitement is there. But Ascension does play out differently each time. There’s enough complexity to ensure that happens, even if you’re playing with the bots. I myself play a different strategy each time, or at least variations of the same strategy, so the element of replayability is there. Besides, there are expansion sets one could purchase to integrate with the core set. These expansions add in different cards as well as new mechanics to the game.

Get Ascension on the App Store or Google Play and come play with me! It’s free and comes with a tutorial, so you can learn at your own pace.

I promise not to kick your butt too hard 🙂

-Jace

HabitRPG

HabitRPG is a mobile game app that allows you to track your habits and turn them into game actions that earn you gold and level up your character. Essentially, it turns your life into a role playing game where you play, well, yourself. It’s not new, it’s been around for at least a year. I downloaded it last year, but never started using it until recently. I’ve been using my physical notebook to keep track of things I needed to do, so I didn’t see the need to split or duplicate my tasks then.

I’m not sure why I actually started using it. Perhaps I was just bored. I still keep my notebook as a todo list, but I’ve started tracking my habits and using the HabitRPG Wiki to figure stuff out. If you’re a noob, like me, then you really should use the wiki, because there’s a lot of useful tips and tricks and also because I don’t feel it’s intuitive enough. For example, I didn’t know how to delete habits in the previous versions, which is why I didn’t start using it the moment I downloaded it.

The app came with a couple of stock habits (I can’t remember what) that I wanted to delete because I like starting with a clean slate. It was only in one of their updates did I find out you could swipe to bring up the delete option and I felt like a fool. But it seems I wasn’t the only one; the makers of HabitRPG added in a specific and more obvious button to delete habits because their users (i.e. me) weren’t finding the swipe feature.

I’ve played around with the app for slightly over a month now and I still don’t find it intuitive. It’s appealing as a habit tracker and time management tool, but I don’t really get the RPG feel of it. Sometimes, whenever you complete a habit, you can find things like food and potions. Sometimes you’ll get an egg, which can be hatched into a pet, which can then be fed with food until it grows into a mount. I don’t know if the pets/mounts serve any purpose other than for collecting and making your avatar look awesome. I did find out that you had to feed food that’s the same colour as your pet though. Well, you can feed your pet any edible thing you have, but if you feed it something that corresponds to it’s colour, it will grow faster.

The wiki also taught me how to use markup language to create titles to section off my habits, and this is what I’ve got so far.

01 Habits Part 1

02 Habits Part 2

Habits are directional, meaning they can be positive or negative. Being my OCD self, I arranged them in alphabetical order, starting with negative habits. Some habits are mono-directional (only good or only bad) or multi-directional (good if you do it, bad if you don’t).

Sometimes the dinner that is given to us by SAF while we’re on duty is either horrible or too little, so we have to order in. SAF says they spend about $5 per meal for us; I say give us the cash, we’ll order our own food. My usual order is exactly $5 anyway and it comes nice and hot. This habit is currently my only multi-directional habit for now. It’s good if I eat the SAF dinner because I save money, but bad if I don’t because it means I’ll order in and spend money. Having ice cream and milkshakes are self-explanatory, since they’re purely for enjoyment and resisting the urge to eat these treats don’t result in any immediate positive outcome.

The rest of my habits are mono-directional because there’s no direct flip side to not doing the habit.

I need to get back my pull-up strength again, so I’m doing my best to do 20 cumulative pull-ups a day. Well, cumulative in one session, not throughout the day; that would be lame. It’s a quick exercise I can do outside of camp as well, when I come back home from an outing or meal. I recently started doing the 7-minute workout as well (another app) and I quite like it. It’s high intensity interval training (HIIT) and after I did the first session, I actually felt a slight ache in my muscles over the next day, which was good. So far, I’m only doing one 7-minute block each session, but I’ll probably increase it as my fitness level goes up.

The good thing about the app is that it doesn’t lie to you, like some commanders in the SAF do. Ten seconds is really ten seconds in the app, not ten seconds per person. “One more set” is really just one more set, whether or not it’s up to the commander’s standards.

Okay, I’m venting. *breathe breathe*

Due to my asthma, I still can’t run for long periods of time. I can do short one to two km bursts, but that’s about it. I’ve also lost a lot of my stamina because of this. I don’t do parkour as often as I used to, but I’m still keeping up with my tricking, like kicks and handstands.

Since I started this blog, I’ve lost a lot of my fire. I still like writing, just not as much as I used to. Putting it down as a habit gives me a little more motivation to write, although the thought of missing a day is enough to keep me writing more for now (more on this next post). Also, +1 for me for finishing this post XD

The last habit I have is actually a learning session. I’m learning how to do iOS app programming, since my mentor Mr Sim passed me his old Macbook Air. They’re video chapters, and very step-by-step, which is what I need in order to learn. I like this way of learning; copying someone who knows what their doing before eventually understanding enough to make my own adjustments.

There are more functions to the app, but I don’t really understand a lot of it and I don’t plan to use many of those features either. I feel that the app is more tool than game, but maybe that’s a beginner’s bias. I’d like more game features, like actively fighting monsters, having mini games, or even moving around in a game world, but perhaps that might defeat the point of the app.

-Jace

Carousell

I’ve recently been using Carousell, a mobile app similar to Ebay, but specific to Southeast Asia. I think it’s much more user friendly and intuitive, as there are less options and requirements than Ebay. I can only compare it to Ebay because that’s the only other secondary market platform I’ve used.

For now I’m only trading Magic: the Gathering (MTG) cards and books. Two weeks ago, on Friday, I made three trades. Bought the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy at $25, Mastermind at $7, and did an even trade with MTG cards. My first three transactions went pretty well and I was very happy with them.

Not only do I plan to read the books I bought, I’m also going to wrap the covers in plastic wrap and resell them when I’m done. Perhaps I can even make a slight profit! As of now I haven’t sold any books, just cards. (I’m selling the Divergent trilogy and the Rogue Agent series, if anyone is interested!)

Last Friday I bought Ellen Degeneres’ book, Seriously… I’m Kidding for just $8. I’ve only read a bit of it and I can’t stop laughing!

But it’s not always good. After I bought Seriously… I’m Kidding, I was suppose to meet another guy to sell him $5 worth of cards. The plan was to meet him at Woodlands MRT station at lunch, around 12.30pm. I messaged him at 11.30 saying that I’d be on time, but he replied to say that he’d gone somewhere different for lunch. So we pushed it to 6pm, after his work. I had to go back to Jurong East station to pick up the book anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. When I went to pick up the book, I asked if he’d be there, but he said no, perhaps around 9pm instead. I was fine with that because I would be taking the train home anyway from town area. I could make a little detour.

Then the real problems started. Initially, I wanted to go check out a new churros place at Somerset, but when I reached there, it was already 8pm and there was a huge queue. In order to make it to Jurong East by 9pm, I’d have to leave at 8.15pm. The queue looked as if it would take more than 15 minutes to wait for, so I left empty handed. At least I found it and I knew it was popular.

As I left, I shot a message informing him of my location and estimated time of arrival. No reply. At 8.40, I sent another message saying I’d be there by 8.50pm, as well as a description of what I was wearing and carrying. No reply. At 8.55pm, I started getting worried and asked if he was on his way. Finally at 9.15pm he said his phone was dying and his meeting ran late. I asked if he could reach by 10pm, but he didn’t respond so I left at 9.30pm.

In the end, I was fined an extra $2 for overstaying in the MRT, so that just added to my level of annoyance. I left a message asking for mail trade, but he didn’t reply. So I decided I would have nothing to do with him anymore.

This was a very important lesson for me. Sometimes I’m too nice. I don’t like conflict, and I do my best not to go into an argument unless a) I can win flawlessly and b) winning matters. I don’t take action in anger very often, but when I don’t hold back anything.

Mum always says to pick my battles wisely.

-Jace

QuizUp

I was introduced to this mobile app game called QuizUp a few months back and I must say I’m very addicted to it.

The essence of the game is a quiz of seven questions and you’re pitted against one person from anywhere in the world. You have to pick a topic and you have ten seconds to answer each question. You can get a maximum of 20 points per question except the last one, which gives double points, making the maximum score 160 points per quiz. Of course, that means there’s a possibility of drawing with your opponent. You can also login with Facebook and challenge your friends in any topic available.

There are SO MANY TOPICS!! Not just topics you’d expect like General Knowledge, but also categories and specific topics. For example, there’s actually topic for Avatar: The Last Airbender!! (the TV series, not the botched movie)

QuizUp regularly updates the questions in the topics and adds new topics as well. In fact, a topic for the TV series Arrow was just released last week. Each new topic has a label that says “New” to indicate that the topic is, well, new. I’m actually waiting for Arrow to finish so that I can watch it all at once because I’m a self dubbed “completist“. But that’s a topic for another post.

Anyway, I love this app because it actually teaches me as I play. As you answer each question, it tells you if you got it right or wrong then shows you the correct answer. I’m getting a lot of “did-you-know” tidbits from this app!

Each topic has a one line summary, so that the user has a better idea of what the topic is about. Most of them are quite witty and punny and I get a laugh out of reading them. For example, Spelling has “Are you a gud spellar?” and Word Definitions has “By definition, this topic is about definitions.”

I’m tempted to call them… subtitles. 😀

I just started on Myths and Folklore and it’s really teaching me a lot on Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Aztec, Egyptian and modern myths. It’s LEGEND… wait for it… DARY!

My best topic so far is Riddles because it really makes me practice thinking “sideways”, which is awesome because I sometimes get new puns too! They came up with a new topic called Jokes, which I’m dutifully playing for the same reason.

I get to practice my English too, with topics like Spelling, Grammar and Phobias. How does Phobias help me? Well, first, I’m expanding my vocabulary (apiphobia means fear of bees and sciophobia, or sciaphobia, is the fear of shadows), but I’m also putting my etymology and linguistics skills to the test. Etymology is the study of words and their origins. The phobias really teach me root words of stuff; I know “phobia” means “fear of”, so whatever prefix the word has must be a variation of the thing a person fears. I.e. “api-” means “bees” and “scia-” means shadows.

QuizUp is a really awesome game. Not only is it fun, it’s educational and loads you up with random tidbits if information you can start a conversation with. Go get it! It’s free and available on both Android and iOS.

-Jace