Category Archives: Fun

Fun Friday: The Mandalorian (S2:E2)

Episode two… episode… two…

Let’s start from the beginning… we get a taste of another opening fight scene. It wasn’t great, but not terrible either. I suppose the best part was watching Mando pull a fast one on the little jawa looking dude and blasting him off with his jet pack. It also showed us another little trick Mando has up his sleeve for possible future use.

From there things didn’t really get us too far. Mando is looking for more Mandalorians and he gets an idea of where they are yet he’s required to take a passenger with him, even though he already has a good idea of what system they’re in before he even takes off…

Is it just me or is Mando being… too nice…??

I mean… He is still a bounty hunter yea?

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Anyways, I did get really excited once he made it into space and was met by two Republic X-Wing fighters! I was really, really, REALLY hoping for a great dog fight here and yet… I was let down by Mando making a terrible exit from that fight. I loved the quality of the cinematography as they were flying through the clouds and the maneuvers he was making to try and lose them, but I guess I was hoping for more.

And was it just me or was anyone else waiting for Sigouney Weaver to jump out in an exo-suit and help Mando out?!? As I’m watching the ice cave scene unfold I’m thinking to myself, facehugger… facehugger… facehugger… and then…

The replica eggs Xenomorphe in Alien | Spotern

ERRR MERRR GERRRDDD!!!!! GIANT FACEHUGGER!!!!

The chase scene here was actually pretty entertaining and I loved the various sizes of the Star Wars facehuggers.

I was not a big fan of how this scene ended though. Why did the Republic fighters even bother to save Mando and then pretty much leave him for dead? They were pretty much saying we’re going to help out but also… sucks to be you

I don’t know… I wasn’t really feeling how that scene ended. It just felt a little cheap as a way for Mando to escape. I would have been okay if the Republic fighters had just helped him patch up his ship a bit and called it even stevens. Whatever…

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After that, the episode ended a little abrubtly. I was expecting some sort of wrapup to the whole adventure but it looks like frogger will carry on to next week. On a final note…

Stop eat those eggs you little egg sucker!!

Fun Friday: The Mandalorian (S2:E1)

Feels like a parsec since we last saw Mando but damn it feels good to be back! Episode 1 didn’t give us any big plot points but it did entertain and even surprised in a couple of places. Jon Favreau does know how to tell a story on the screen.

One of the most obvious points I can make is that we’re going to see a lot more of what a bigger budget can get us. From the character costumes and set designs to the special effects and quality of cinematography, season 2 is going to leave season 1 in the dust, so to speak.

Which means we should see some better fight sequences and hopefully… hopefully… some great space battles. At times I caught myself thinking, “man if only they had this technology back when they made the originals…” But hey, I’m not complaining. I really felt back in the Star Wars/Mandalorian universe.

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The opening fight sequence was a good start but really left me wanting more. I appreciated the nods to the new armor set though and enjoyed seeing how Mando makes use of it. It’s a lot of fun watching him use his gear so I’m really hoping they continue to play into him upgrading his armor set, tools, and weapons.

Speaking of armor… and a little fan service… the Boba Fett call out raises a ton of questions. Did he not sit in the belly of the Sarlacc for thousands of years? How did the Jawas get his armor? How do you find rockets for that thing and did Boba not know how to use them in Return of the Jedi?!?!

Was anyone else waiting for Kevin Bacon to show up and tell all the sand people not to move? How many of those guys got sacrificed to that Krayt Dragon… and how did they decide who would go try to call that monster out?!

I really couldn’t help but think it was just a… BIG… ALASKAN… BULL WORM!!!

Alaskan Bull Worm by Anarchrist17 on DeviantArt
photo cred: SpongeBob

In all seriousness though, I was impressed with how it ended. I half expected the bombs going off on the beasts belly to be the end of it. I was happy to see the original plan fall through and to watch Mando have to freestyle his way to victory. I think this is where the Mandalorian really shines. Everything goes to hell and he’s got to think on his feet with the tools he’s got at hand. It was fun to watch.

Did anyone else notice Mando looks a little beefier this season?

Did anyone catch if it’s still Pedro Pascal playing the role or if/when he cut ties with season 2? Was really bummed to hear of the issues they were having. Loved him in GoT!

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Overall I thought it was a solid season opener. The fight and battle scenes were a solid start and it’s always great to see a flamethrower or two. I am a little worried about falling into a trap where we see side story after side story with out any real overall plot movement. Hopefully episodes two and three can start building us more into the plot of season 2.

Let me know what you thought of episode 1 and who the hell that guy was at the end!?!?

Fun Friday: Slither.io

It’s Friday, it’s time to talk something a little less serious and a little more fun!

Enter… Slither.io

Slither.io, which I’m not sure is pronounced Slither-eye-oh or Slither-ee-oh, is a great pickup game to kill a few minutes, play with your kids, or break the ice on a remote team lunch.

The concept is simple and very much like some old school snake. You control a little snake and try to collect orbs on the map. The twist is that it’s online and multiplayer!

As your snake moves around collecting orbs he grows bigger and bigger however you start very small. This means that players who have already been playing or started before you are much bigger. Much, MUCH bigger!

Players have to watch out for the other snakes because running in to one of them means game over, but you’ve got a couple of tools to use to your advantage.

You can zoom across the screen with some quickness at the expense of the size of your snake. This allows you to cut off other players and force them to crash into you. Another strategy is using the size of your snake to circle around a smaller snake and forcing him to be trapped.

When you eliminate another player like this, they drop an enormous amount of orbs for you snake to scoop up and grow even bigger!

A great part of Slither.io is that it’s completely free and accessible from any device with an internet connection. This makes it incredibly easy to pickup and run with it. It’s perfect for those remote work lunches when you need a solid ice breaker and a couple of good laughs!

Most play sessions will only last a couple of minutes making it easy to play any time, any where.

My kids love to fire up the game, pick a ridiculous looking skin for their snake, and then scream when the bigger snakes coming sneaking up!

My only knock towards the game is that you can experience a delay from time-to-time. This can make it difficult and an annoyance when you’ve built an enormous snake and then a bit of lag causes you to lose.

Overall I give Slither.io a 7/10 with a fantastic pickup and play rating!

Check it out and see what you think at http://slither.io/

AWS Deep Racer: Part II

The Race is on! Sort of…

So I’ve been diving in deeper to AWS Deep Racer, pun not intended… and I’ve managed to work through a handful of tutorials. I’ve built 4 different models to race with so far.

My first model, Mark-1, currently holds the best record on lap time, of my 4 models, for the October race sitting at position 737 of 791 total racers. The October 2020 track looks like this:

Mark-1:

The Mark-1 model used a very basic reward function that simply trained the model to attempt to follow the yellow dashed line on the center track. It’s a default reward function that reinforces the model attempting to stay towards the center of the track. It doesn’t get you far… but it does get the job done. Total race time: 08:29.214

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Mark-2:

With the Mark-2 model I tried to just build off of the first iteration. I added some additional logic to keep the model from trying to zigzag too much on the track as it worked towards finding the best center line. I also made a classic rookie mistake and implemented a bug into the reward function where instead of incrementing the reward value when the model stayed on track, I was just applying a default… this model didn’t even rank.

Mark-3:

With the Mark-3 model, still containing the defect from Mark-2, I played around with the Hyperparameters of the reinforcement model. As a part of the training system you can do more than just modify the reward function that trains the model. You can also adjust and modify the batch size, number of epochs, learning rate, and a handful of other Hyperparameters for training the model. Since I still had the bug in my reward function from the previous model, this model didn’t rank either.

Mark-4:

On to Mark-4… I caught my defect.. ugh… and fixed that up. I also decided that at this point I was ready to move beyond the tutorials and really start adjusting the models. So the first thing I did was take a look at what the competition was doing… Here’s a look at the number 1 model currently sitting at the top of the October qualifier…

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Well shit… I’ve got a ways to go to compete with this model. I mean this model is flying around the track. Mine looks like a fucking drunk wall-e….

So I’ve got some work to do but the current AWS Deep Racer app is down. As soon as it comes back I’m refocusing on speed first. I need to Lightning McQueen this bad boy if I’m going to stand a chance of even ranking in the top 100 for the October Qualifier.

Check back with me next week and we’ll see if I can get this little guy going!

The Boys are back in Town!!

The Boys is a new series on Amazon about what life would be like if Superheroes were more… flawed…

The season 2 finale is out today and I’ve yet to watch it, (so don’t ruin it for me!) but if you haven’t caught The Boys yet let me give you a little bit of background as to why my wife and I are catching new episodes every Friday.

The Boys is based on a comic book series that portrays a group of ragtag vigilantes that take on The Seven, a group of seven of the most powerful Superheroes in the world who abuse their powers. It currently holds an 8.7 rating on IMDb with a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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The show centers around a small group of average people known as The Boys who have been affected by superheroes in some way. Whether that’s because one of the Supes was careless during a rescue and someone died or because a Supe screwed them over (literally…) at some time. And Yes that’s Supe, like soup….

The main Supes are a part of “The Seven” and consist of Homelander – a sort of Superman spin-off, Starlight – probably the only good supe in the Seven, Black Noir – who is just a straight up mystery all around but most comparable to Batman, Queen Maeve – who reminds me a lot of a classic Xena Warrior Princess… The Deep – whose only power is to talk to fish. Really I don’t even know how The Deep is even in this group… A-Train – the fastest man on the planet aka the Flash, and Translucent – who has invincible skin that makes him invisible.

Amazon's superhero show The Boys: Cast, plot, sequel news - CNET

And each of these characters has some serious flaws. Homelander constantly teeters on the edge of insanity while trying to portray this wholesome image to the public but secretly being twisted in private. It’s like you watch every episode waiting for him to just lose his patience and use his laser eyes to mass murder a group of people. Seriously, I’m waiting for him to snap off and the show to take a completely different direction. We’ll see if it happens…

Then there’s A-Train whose battling to try and stay relevant as he starts aging and losing his title as the Fastest Man on the planet. This pushes him to the limit as he desperately tries to do everything he can to maintain that title, including getting into drugs and using them as a form of steroids to improve his performance.

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The most intriguing part of the show is watching the various characters as the wrestle with their identities. Both the Supes and The Boys (the normal guys) go back and forth trying to determine which side is really the right side. The line is blurred all the way through the show as each of them make choices that push them back and forth between good and evil. It’s a very blurred line on which characters are on the right side of the fight and it’s great to watch them unfold throughout the story.

By far my favorite character is not even one of the Supes but Billy Butcher. The leader of the guerilla group of normal people trying to take The Seven down. His colorful language and thick accent make him a riot and badass on screen.

Who's behind The Boys' mind-blowing twist?

If you’re looking for a new show to get hooked on during quarantine or you’ve got that superhero itch until the next superhero movie hits the big screen, I highly recommend The Boys!

Fun Friday’s: AlterKnight

Friday’s are for fun. So let’s get to it!

This Friday’s spotlight is on AlterKnight. A retro-RPG with nostalgic graphics and deep game play for such a modest concept. Best part is it was written, coded, sounded, graphic..ed.. 100% by my brother! Let’s dive in deeper on what AlterKnight is.

P.S. the world is randomly generated!

AlterKnight places the player in a world that was once peaceful but is now infested and overrun with monsters of all shapes and sizes. Players can explore the vast open world searching for quests, treasures, and surprises! Along the way players will fight back against the darkness and slowly reclaim the land unlocking new shops, taverns, and places to explore.

Damn little goblins…

Combat should feel very familiar for those retro Final Fantasy players. AlterKnight takes a turn based approach that forces players to balance their use of spells, equipment, weapons, and items found along the way. Oh and don’t worry about getting bored with combat, with over 70+ unique spells and 80+ unique types of equipment all randomly generated you’ll never run out of options for destroying your those damn little goblins.

Told you there was a lot of gear!

The cherry on top for AlterKnight is that you can play with your family and friends over WiFi! This makes all the little details like camp fires and dungeon lighting all that much more enjoyable when you can share it with a friend. Plus, the rewards and treasures are even greater when you’re adventuring together!

AlterKnight takes some of the things we love most about open world RPG’s and places it right into your pocket. With so much procedurally generated content, random encounters, customizations, and unique items AlterKnight will keep you entertained time and time again.

Download it here and follow along for future updates at: https://www.facebook.com/AlterKnightGame

Fun Friday’s Among Us

Not everything has to be so serious all the time, so today I’m doing a brief review of something a little more fun that the whole family can jump into over the weekend. Today we’re going to take a look at the wholesome, family oriented, gather round the fireplace fun game, Among Us.

Among Us currently has almost 2.5 million downloads on the Google Play Store with an average rating of 4.5 stars! It’s also available on the Apple App Store and Steam with just as great of reviews on these platforms. So what makes Among Us so great? Let’s dive in and take a look!

Among Us is all about working together online with a group of friends to prep a space ship for take off. You’ll play as one of the little astronauts tasked with running around the space ship and completing simple puzzles to prepare the ship for take off. The only problem is that one of your crew mates is an Imposter

The Imposter’s only goal is to sabotage the ships take off and murder it’s crew members…

Think of it as Clue in space but not so boring.

Each game starts by joining a lobby and waiting for enough other players to join to start the match. A level is selected and all players start in the same room. At the start of the match each player is notified, in secret, if they are an astronaut or an Imposter. It’s up to everyone on the team to work together, watch each other’s backs, and get their ship ready for take off before the Imposter(s) can ruin it all.

As players move around the ship completing tasks like fixing up wires or setting buggy computer programs straight the Imposters are taking secret tunnels, cutting power to light systems, and taking other crew members out (and I don’t mean to dinner).

While astronauts are fixing up their spaceship, they may discover a KIA team member and can call an emergency meeting to discuss who the imposter might be. During this brief meeting (I’m talking like 2 minutes to try and get your shit together) team members try to discuss and determine who the Imposter is. The meeting concludes with a vote and the team member with the most votes is ejected from the spaceship. Vote wrong and you may just kill off one of your best buddies…

Among us is a great way to spend some time with family and friends. With it’s easy to pick up and understand rules, interesting mini-games, and savage ‘trust no one‘ experience it’s a solid addition to any Friday night fun. If you get a chance to download it drop me a message and we’ll go a few rounds to see whose the better Imposter!