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Friday, March 27, 2015
Slowing it down
Posted: 2:20:00 PM 0 comments
Not a whole lot going on this week. Work has been slow on roncli.com, but I'm hoping to pick it up and finish off major coding this weekend. Right now I'm working on allowing files to be uploaded straight through the website, which will allow me to manage the files without having to do something silly like FTP.

The Six Gaming Podcast was in rare form this week, as we had a solid episode and a good roundtable discussion about how microtransactions have been shaping modern gaming.

Ron's Bronze Plays returned for more League of Legends action, and this week I teamed up with Veg. The first game seemingly almost guaranteed disaster when I was put onto Jinx, but I outplayed the other ADC enough to earn a win and a promotional series. The next game I was on Janna, but our team could never get going as every lane seemed to feed. The best game of the day was next up with a 54 minute epic Morgana. Despite not having the kill lead, we kept up with objectives enough to grow a 10000 gold lead. Although we got aced twice in the enemy base, being 3-inhibitored multiple times allowed us to just play patient with Baron, and march in and win. The final game wiped all that out, however, as it ended up being a 3v5 after our jungler failed to connect and our ADC didn't start playing until about 3 minutes, and ragequit another 3 minutes later after having a severe level disadvantage. As a result, I remain in Bronze IV, but am still a game away from a second set of promotions. One of these times they'll go my way.

Finally, on my YouTube page, you'll find a metric boatload of Descent and Descent 2 videos I've been uploading, including my horrible start to the DCL. The highlight was an absolute crazy game in Fuzed where Jackeh outlasted me in a game to 20, win by 2. The final score was deep into overtime, 26 to 24. Fantastic game. I still have yet to earn my first win, the skill of the pilots still playing is clearly above mine. I have some targets to try to get that win off of, however, and will hopefully get on the board before the end of the current DCL season, which ends at the end of the month.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Whirlwind Week
Posted: 3:01:00 PM 0 comments
A roundup of what's been a Janna whirlwind of a week!

Schedule


I've come to realize that, even after ending Six Minutes To Release's raiding run, I still only have one night a week to myself. That night is tonight. Every other night, I've got something going on:


It's a pretty busy schedule, but I look forward to a lot of these things throughout the week as well. Things feel pretty balanced right now. I still long for 40 hours days, though.

Descent: Underground


This past week, though, things got a bit crazy, because I found out that one of my favorite games of all time is being rebooted.

Descent's fast-paced, six-degrees-of-freedom combat made addicts of us all! Descent's frenetic and pulse-pounding action were light-years ahead of its 1995 release date. Like us, many of you still share war stories of your epic network battles. You remember your heroic shots, your death-defying maneuvers, and matches ending with a narrow escape as the tunnel collapsed behind you.

Sadly, as consoles took over and PC games were pushed aside by publishers, great games like Descent were left to languish in obscurity. A whole generation of gamers grew up without Descent's heart-pounding, non-stop action, robbed of the true 6DoF space adventure that is their birthright!

The Drought Ends TODAY!

This is a quote from the Kickstarter for Descendent Studios' Descent: Underground. This is a brand new Descent title, setup as a prequel to the original Descent series.

On one hand, I can't contain my excitement. I backed this project early and big once I learned of the direction that former CIG developer Eric "Wingman" Peterson was taking it. To have another Descent game being made from a set of dedicated developers who are listening to the community to make the game the best Descent game ever made is like a dream come true.

On the other hand, the Descent community has had its share of disappointments.

The official Descent 4 game was cancelled. Numerous projects have been started to try to mimic the Descent experience. Many of them have been cancelled, and those that did make it to production had no community support and were simply not Descenty enough for the community to back. And others who have tried to bring Descent back have been issued cease & desist legal documents by Interplay.

So why now? More importantly, why Descendent Studios, a team that never found the Descent community until after they launched their Kickstarter? While I have faith in their ability to deliver on their project, my faith with Interplay is not there. I really have to question Interplay's motives. Do they plan on this being some kind of cash grab? Are they thinking of screwing over Descendent much the same way PTMC's Dravis screwed over the Material Defender at the start of Descent II? That would be ironic.

Six Gaming Podcast


So the podcast happened this past week, with Episode 5 and its highlights now available on YouTube.

I'll be blunt, it's not our best showing. News seemed to be disjointed, the hosts were distracted with Twitch chat trolls, and the Round Table section was rather, well, bland. Hopefully next week, we'll be a little more exciting. SGP always seems to be better with more hosts.

Ron's Bronze Plays


This week I played with Colzaratha's smurf. It didn't seem to help a whole lot.

The first game, he played Ahri while I played Morgana. He did not have a good game. Every lane lost, and we slowly bled out. The second game was much of the same. I was again on Morgana against a Graves/Annie combo in the bottom lane that our ADC fed substantially.

We got our first win in game 3 when I played Janna. I had some strong Janna play this weekend, and got some crucial knockups to force the win. I tried to make it two straight on Janna, but despite more strong play, the rest of the team didn't have it in them.

In the final game, Colz and I switched roles, with me going mid Lux and him on Morgana. I went off for a 12/2/21 carry, and Colz and I ended in style. Result of the 5 games was an increase in 11 LP to Bronze IV and 88 LP.

Website Update


Last night, I was able to finalize the data I'm putting in the game box on the website. My article about the sorry state of gaming APIs really came to mind. While the Blizzard API has come a long way and the League of Legends API is pretty good, the Steam API still sucks (it's still missing an achievement feed), and an official XBox API isn't even a thing yet.

Really. It's 2015 people. Let my data go! Let my data be free!

Anyway, I still have to code out detailed pages for my WoW feed, get profile pages for my Diablo 3 characters, display detailed history of my ranked play in League of Legends, and at least show off the games I am playing on Steam, even if getting the achievements I have for them is rather archaic.

But honestly, this is the home stretch. After that is the life section, which really is just going to require me to set featured pages.

After that, I have a lot of content to update, which includes transferring my music collection to SoundCloud, updating all the tags on my Blogger and Tumblr sites, and recreate many of the pages from the existing site on the new one. That's not really a lot of stuff. Hopefully coding can be completed this weekend, and I can start on the content next week. I'm still committed to finishing by the end of the month.

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Monday, March 09, 2015
Weekend Roundup: SGP #4, RBP #7
Posted: 5:33:00 PM 0 comments
First of all, stop what you're doing and subscribe to the Six Gaming YouTube channel. We go live with the Six Gaming Podcast every Saturday at 11pm ET, and post highlights from the previous episode the Monday after every episode. On the Podcast, we talk a lot about Blizzard news and games, but this week in particular, our fourth episode of the reboot, we had a lot of discussion about happenings from GDC and PAX East. @show_san dropped off the podcast at the last minute this week, leaving me to host. I was largely unprepared, as you'll see in the video. We did, however, talk a lot about virtual reality, free game engines, and more. I enjoy being there because it's an unscripted chat with friends about today's gaming topics. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

I also do a weekly show called "Ron's Bronze Plays", highlighting my struggle to get out of the Bronze rank in League of Legends. I figure if I could do it in Season 4, I can do it in Season 5, right? Riiight. This week, the seventh on the season, showed why it's still going to be a challenge.

I started out with a Lux game where Sivir decided she was going to curse out Morgana two minutes into the match for not taking the right skill to start. It only got worse from there, and although we had great dragon control, we couldn't crack the bottom inhibitor, and despite the other team not having a jungler we ended up taking the loss.

The second game I got a wild hair up my ass and played Caitlyn. My support Thresh, though, took far too many risks... risks that got him killed repeatedly. He ended the game with 13 deaths. I recovered from the catastrophe, though, getting 8 kills, my most as an ADC in ranked. The game was really back and forth until we threw at Baron late, and they 3-inhib'ed us.

In game three I went back to Lux, and I had a poor showing, my first game in a while where I didn't even register a kill on her. The other team's Master Yi was the story of the game as he'd get repeated triple kills, completely cleaning up in team fights.

The final game of the night I went back to Morgana and finally had a half-way competent ADC in Tristana who knew that engaging a Draven/Leona was not the best idea. Unbeknownst to us (until she got 17 kills in 20 minutes), we had a mid-laner LeBlanc on a smurf whose main was Platinum 3. We facerolled HARD, with LeBlanc getting 3 kills in 5 minutes, including one on a Shaco jungle gank when she was at low health.

I only lost 13 points on the night, though, so a good week next week can get me right back into promos. Hopefully my mechanics won't be as terrible as they were this week. Current stats: 9-15, Bronze IV, 77 LP.

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Update on roncli.com redesign
Posted: 5:03:00 PM 0 comments
For about five years now, I've grown to despise the style of my home website and this blog. Yeah, it was okay at first, but even my limited design skills have surpassed the current design of the site. It's long overdue for a change.

My design goal for the new site was to do something custom and have fun with it. Technology for the sake of technology, if you will. I came up with a good set of topics for the site and, in my head, figured out what each section would look like. Eventually I wrote up an outline of requirements, and then translated those requirements into a project in Asana to keep me organized.

Then, those tasks sat there. roncli.com was created as a project in Asana in February of 2012, over 3 years ago. I started the site in ASP.NET, then switched over to a solution in node with Express as the web server and Backbone as the front end. Neither of these solutions got far. I was just far too busy with other things to make a project of this magnitude worth doing.

However, once I switched jobs earlier this year, finding the time to work on the project became much easier. In May, I rebooted the project for a 3rd time, moving to a solution in the young Rendr library for node. Since then, with the exception of a month and a half towards the end of last year (thanks, Warlords of Draenor!), I have made steady progress.

And, that progress is accelerating.

I divided the project into 7 major milestones:

  • Framework - Basic things such as the site design and account management.
  • Blog - Interfacing with Blogger. I expanded this to include Tumblr as well, because I wanted to include my creative works as well.
  • Pages - On the old roncli.com site, pages are basically /page.asp?PageID=1. I hated that then, and I hate it even more now that I know about things like SEO. The new site allows for arbitrary HTML pages to be created anywhere at any time, not limited by the site design but only by the HTML I use.
  • Music - Included with this section is a media player that accepts YouTube and SoundCloud media.
  • Coding - A basic section that shows the projects that I am working on.
  • Gaming - Dedicated to all things games, this section reads in data from various gaming APIs for display in one section.
  • Life - Largely based on the Pages section, this section is simply a collection of things that don't fit in the other categories.

So far, 5 of those seven milestones are complete. I'm currently working on the Gaming milestone, which is a bit more involved than the others simply because I'm reading from no less than 4 data sources to get the data that appears on the site, and coordinating the APIs required for them are kind of a pain. The last milestone, Life, is simply content, so really I'm very close to being functionally complete, which is very exciting.

The drive to complete this site ultimately came from a number of different forces. First, this site is showcasing me. Everything I share with the world will be somewhere on that site in one form or another. Second, it showcases that I can actually code what I say I can code. With node being a relatively new technology, and rendr a very new framework (rendr just went 1.0 this year), having a body of work is something I can point to and say yeah, I can do this.

Lastly, I kind of want a new start. Not in the sense that I am starting over as a new persona, but rather a new home base from which I can operate out of. When I do something, I want to be able to share with people a place I can be proud of. To me, roncli.com needs to be a thing, not just a dumping site for files and old hobbies.

My goal is to launch by the end of the month, so if you follow me, be sure to keep an eye out for the new site. I'm very excited about what I am doing, even if it's just on a small scale. I have other plans beyond roncli.com as well, but getting the base established was a big necessity for me before trying to branch out from it.

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A Recommitment
Posted: 4:02:00 PM 0 comments
I recently went back in time to the beginning of this blog and revisited the things that interested me back then. I found that I did a heck of a lot more blogging then than I do today, largely because I made a commitment to keep people updated as to what I was doing.

I started this blog when I was working on OSMusic.Net back in the day. I had a lot of free time, largely because I had no idea what kind of focus (and design, for that matter) I needed to get the site to take off. I ended up doing things in my free time that didn't help the site along. Such as blogging.

Blogging became a regular part of my life in mid-2005, and it was fun. I wasn't involved in much back then, as TiS 1 had died and TiS 2 hadn't been thought of yet. I started blogging about on-again-off-again gaming, then about the struggle I had with maintaining all of my side projects, then focus shifted to stresses at work, until finally things got so hectic I pretty much just fell off the face of the Internet, only blogging on major events such as hurricanes or job changes. I've tried to kickstart things over the years, but nothing has stuck.

But with the revamped roncli.com website on the horizon (I'm looking to finish coding and content by the end of the month), I strongly feel that a recommitment of sorts is required to keep content on the site fresh, and to enable easier Nightstalker-stalking, so to speak.

So, here's the deal. I do a lot of things during the week that I've taken for granted. The Six Gaming Podcast, World of Warcraft raids, League of Legends streaming (specifically Ron's Bronze Plays on Sundays), and other random streaming events.

I also still code a hell of a lot. Previously, I'd blog frequently about my findings with certain things, which would result in code snippets that show you how to read an NWS weather feed, or double buffer a list view. I still want to do stuff like this, especially since I'm playing with cutting-edge libraries such as rendr.

I just haven't given myself enough time to do any of this. But with me no longer running raids for Six Minutes To Release, that time now exists.

Therefore, here's my commitment. On days when I do something noteworthy, I will blog about it. You won't see me talk about every WoW raid, or every line of code I write, but it'll be frequent enough to give everyone an idea as to what's going on in my world.

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