Xenosaga Episode 2: Greatest Combat System Ever? :(

July 23, 2007

I love RPGs. I love a good challenge in a video game every once in a while. But some of the stuff that goes down in Xenosaga Episode 2 is completely bullshit. I know, this isn’t a particularly recent game, but I picked it up recently since Episode 1 was good but not $50 good so I waited until this went down a lot in price.

That being said, I liked the storyline in Episode 2. Granted, some of the cut-scenes were long, and a couple were longer than a half an hour, but that way ok for me. What was not ok for me was the battle system. It has the standard RPG look (attack, use magic, use an item), but uses a combo system that provides an incentive to time your attacks very precisely. It and all the complicated features of the game (like team attacks) are explained in about ten seconds at the very beginning of the game and there’s no way to look back at it later, so you end up left in the dark about it even if you spend a decent amount of time leveling up.
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HOWTO: Call Matlab from Java {Kinda}

July 12, 2007

Looking over some of the reports on my blog reveal that pretty much everyone to this point looking at this blog look at the Java / Matlab post and not much else. Therefore, here’s everything I’ve learned concretely on how to call Matlab from Java and what NOT to do to save you some grief:

What I did:
Make a file that contains all the commands you want to run when MATLAB starts. My script file looks like this (named scriptName):

cd /directoryWithMATLABScript/
myMATLABScript
quit

The Java code I have used is a modified version of the code here. Now, use the following Java code to call MATLAB with the commands from your script:
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Zen and Ghost in the Shell

July 12, 2007

For quite some time I have had a penchant for characters that exhibit Zen-like or Buddhist qualities. Perhaps it’s their cool demeanor in the face of danger that allures me, but it’s hard to say. But what qualities are “Zen-like” or “Buddhist”? Wikipedia names these qualities as having mindfulness and concentration for Buddhism and Zen (since Zen is a school of Buddhism), and an “emphasis on experiential wisdom” [1].

In the landmark movie Ghost in the Shell, the character embodying these qualities is certainly Batou [2]. He is always mindful of his surroundings and of those around him, even when those around him aren’t. A key example of this in the film is the following part of the film upon the team’s capture of the Puppet Master:
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