Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Life at Trivandrum!

I have just spent a week at Trivandrum, Kerala for training in TCS. Having spent a lenient school and college life, I had my share of fears about entering the office-goer's life. But rest assured, my fears were baseless. I enjoy coding programs and I seem to be slightly above average at this. This combined with my love for typing in a keyboard and sitting in-front of computers, has made the whole experience a dream. Then again, this is just training.

Learning here is a completely different approach compared to our educational system. We are not taught in classes here; that is, not completely. Corporates practice self-learning. That is, they will teach you the basics, but it is you who has to learn on a daily basis. Meaning, we get a computer (in the lab) and we are given time to practice the art of coding. We are given questions but no answers. We have to figure it out ourselves. Our educational system never teaches us to think. We were given questions and the answers. Education should in fact teach us to think, not restrict us by giving us finite amount of answers for finite amount of questions.

Let me also mention about the life and the climate. This is completely a new experience for me in this aspect. Shops here shut down by 9.30 or 10pm. Waking up at 5 in the morning daily and having to wash some of my clothes by myself is a new experience (but I've got a shower!! :D) There are lots of book stores, opticals and liquor stores. The roads are like hill slopes and I see a lot of Bullets and Volkswagens and Fiats. Guess the people here have a good taste at least when it comes to automobiles.. :P That kinda sums up Trivandrum, in my perspective at least. The climate is extremely pleasant at times and a little hot at times. But most of the time, it is just good enough.

Life here is pretty good then. I just wish I had a laptop and an internet connection. But hey, I ain't complaining!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Sword!

As expected, the trip to Hyderabad was an experience which I won't forget anytime soon. The trip was not about winning but was about having fun together. We managed to do just that. Actually, forget Hyderabad; we had so much fun together on the train at night that we couldn't stop laughing for an hour. I'm sure our co-passengers weren't very fond of the noise we were making but we couldn't really help it!

The trip was awesome fun, the place was quite good, the climate was comfortable and the facilities were good enough. Though the bandh threatened to ruin it, it really couldn't stop us from having fun. Apart from all this, hanging out with players like Prasad aka Gizmo and Deb aka RiZr who are simply the best in the country, is simply superb. Ravi as usual was an awesome host. We came Third in DotA which ain't bad though our performance against the Runner-ups JnP was dismal to say the least.

The icing on the cake is definitely the prize. We were offered either Rs.800 cash or Rs.1000 worth mouse-pads and we opted for the mouse-pads. In our team, we call it Paai (tamil for mattress). Though we have been gamers for the past 5 years, we never really had much of the usual gaming gears like costly mouse, mouse-pads and headphones. Every time we go to a tourney somewhere and we see our opponent pulling out his Paai from his bag, we go "Ok, game over".. It is because, the gear represents not just professionalism but a stronger desire to win. It shows that they are more dedicated, they have the time & money to spend on gaming and they are better equipped. After seeing our opponents pull out their sword-like Paai for five long years, we have finally got a sword of our own. It is one huge Steelseries Qck+ mouse-pad.. Too bad that my gaming career is gonna come to an end very soon. Or so, I think..

Here is a link to the pictures we took in our trip - Picasa

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hyderabad Here We Come!

I think my prediction is going to fail. I expected someone to drop out at the last moment and it hasn't happened yet. Actually, more people got added and now 8 of us are going to Hyderabad. The tickets have been booked and the train leaves today. Apart from the last ImbaGamer tournament, only four or five of us attended the other tournaments. ImbaGamer with the Atl guys was awesome.. Its again with 8 people now. So, time to have fun..

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Preview of the trip to Hyderabad!

Weirdly, the very next day after I posted about how we used to make videos of our games to study them, Praveen took videos of a game from the encounter between Gdn and Atl. This proved to me that he is indeed serious about this. So, I got my motivation back and we are back to put up a fight. The only difference is that, this time, its not just about winning. This time, its about having fun together one last time. So, I could say that I'm having the time of my life..

We decided to have a practise session against Chennai's best team 0mF. Thus, we had a night-out at a cafe located in the other side of Chennai. If this little trip is a preview of our trip to Hyderabad, then I really can't wait for it. We lost three games & won the last one. But never during our entire night of gaming were we upset or tensed. We enjoyed every second of it and the first two games were rather close too.

On the way back early morning, it was drizzling. Though my tinted helmet made me blind, I had a nice ride back home. Sadly though, by the time I reached home, I was completely soaked. The most amazing part is probably that none of us felt tired at the end of the 6 hour gaming session. We usually get beaten so badly that everyone feels tired and bored. But this little trip, was an exception. At this rate, the trip to Hyderabad should be a blast!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Peaking into the DarkSide!

After three days of misery, I finally found some relief today. I'm not entirely sure why though. Today, our local rival team Atl showed up at our cafe for some weekend fun. But they needed one player and so I offered to play for them since my clan had 6 players ready and available. This was a so-called serious practise match for my clan while it was just a weekend out together for Atl, which is exactly the attitude I was looking for.

So, we played a total of four games out of which both teams won two games each. We sincerely learned a lot from each other since the games were very competitive. I for one, enjoyed the whole experience immensely because I was having fun. In my team, I used to play seriously and expected everyone else to do so too. But though they seemed serious in their own way, according to me, they were anything but serious. That is why I was extremely upset for the past three days.

Anyways, thanks to team Atl, I'm charged up again. The other reason why I felt relieved today was that, DotA's mask has been torn off. Players claimed that it was about strategy, stuns, ganks, combos etc. But the result of SMM tournament today proved that the current version of DotA is all about farming. This was further proved in our matches. I have now joined the DarkSide, so to speak. Its all about farming. LoL could become a true spell-caster's game but not the current DotA. I'm not entirely happy though, coz I'm yet to find a truce with my team. But I enjoyed being their opponent.. xD

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Drifting Away!

I have been disappointed with my team for a long time now. Not because of their gaming skills but because of their lack of communication and weird attitude. But then again, a team will always have its ups and downs. We get upset, then we patch up, it happens all the time. We are one of the few clans who have stuck together from the start till what looks apparently like the end. For the first time though, I feel that I won't have fun when I'm with them.

Having fun is the most fundamental requirement for a team to stay together. Nothing else matters as much when we are having fun. Earlier, when we used to lose a lot of games, I used to take the replay home, watch it again, take notes, then take videos of important battles, encode the videos to copy them in my thumb drive and take them to Zion, invite everyone and watch the videos with the whole team. This is how, I believe we improved.

So, I always saw losing as the major step to learn something new. Even losing didn't upset me as long as I had fun. But now, my team won three matches today and I was half asleep during most of it and I didn't even feel happy for their victory. In fact, to tell you the truth, I was just hoping that they would lose.. :D

I wonder whats happening to me! But whatever it is, I don't like it! This isn't the way I want this relationship to end!

People will forget what you said; People will forget what you did; But People will always remember how you made them feel..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Kinda Perfection!

I was still upset today because of yesterday's debacle. The day got worse as I was having problems with my internet connection. I tried to spend the day in front of the television but that didn't work out so well after some time. So, I finally decided to go to Zion in the evening. A combination of racing and music was enough to get my spirits up, at least temporarily. They were provided by the games Grid and Guitar Hero III respectively.

Then, I had a good practise session with Raja in Need For Speed Most Wanted. We went through the videos of some quality racers and tried to learn the lines taken by them at every corner. Watching replays, playing one on one, oh yea! the day was looking pretty good. But still, I wasn't completely satisfied, somehow.

The final finishing touch came at night when Bharath showed up and we played a DotA clan match. We got so thrashed that I enjoyed every single second of it. Maybe I'm just plain weird, but I just love getting beaten at practise games. A defeat can teach you more than any number of victories might. I had this sadistic satisfaction when I returned home. Waa! Wasn't this a perfect day!! :D

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yet Another!

Yet another day, yet another plan, yet another failure! When I went to sleep last night, I was planning the line-ups and trying to imagine the fun we planned to have the very next morning. We had planned on meeting up at Zion (10 of us) at 11 in the morning to play (practise) DotA. It was a simple plan, nothing complicated, nothing that would hurt your conscience.. But no..

At 11.30, 5 people showed up (including me). Out of the five, one guy braved his fear of the impending exam to come play with us; another guy had to struggle at home to come to Zion and finally, I didn't get much sleep but still managed to get there. Sadly though, the other 5 didn't feel that it was necessary to show up as planned. They had their own reasons. Everybody has their reasons. Not all reasons are excuses. But all who showed up were made idiots.

I can just see it now. On the day that we are supposed to leave for Hyderabad, one guy is gonna ask "Didn't you get the SMS I sent last night? I can't come today.." and another guy is gonna say "My stomach isn't so good, I can't come" Raining on my parade is something that my teammates love to do, I guess! None-the-less, we shall brave on.. Damn! I hate hyped up expectations & eventual failure. I get so sarcastic in such situations..

Friday, November 20, 2009

Its never that Easy!

Haha! My last post did sound too good to be true and it was. They backed.. It doesn't really surprise me. But what does surprise me is that, we are still trying. When I say we, that includes me. Weirdly, instead of being upset, I'm still trying to get things finalized. The plan now is to attend the BYOC at Hyderabad one week later. That means, I have to cancel my Bangalore trip because I don't wanna travel twice in two weeks. I'm not that dedicated, lol! I would rather sit at home all alone and work on my website. Being alone is so much easier. No expectations, betrayals or upsets..

These series of incidents in the past two or three days showed me how we all have a unique way of looking at the same thing. I mean, for example, you see a guy on the road shouting at someone and you think, what a jerk he is. The guy next to you sees the same thing but wonders what the other guy did to piss off this guy. Both views are probably correct in some way, but what makes the difference is that, the two people will eventually take the opposite sides in this argument.

It doesn't even have to be opposite. Someone else might think, what idiots, fighting in the street and disturbing the peace for others. It really intrigues me when I wonder how someone else perceives in a different way, the same situation that I'm witnessing. When I saw this trip to Bangalore as the last outing in the life of a 4 year old team, someone else sees it as an opportunity to win an event and someone else is worried about losing. When the views are so different, it just means that we have grown apart..

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Last Trip!

I was coding in PHP yesterday but I couldn't complete the work because of some error which I couldn't solve. I started again today with a fresh mind and just retraced my steps and I figured it out. I missed a pair of single quotes.. zz... I seriously need more practise in coding so that I stop missing braces and quotes. Didn't do much coding after that though because today turned out to be rather interesting.

I was trying to decide whether to attend the BYOC at Bangalore this weekend. I didn't have any company for the trip and that was the major reason why I was hesitant about this trip. There were further developments in the situation but nothing conclusive. Suddenly, I received a call from Bharath saying that they were coming to Bangalore. That was a shocker!

So, I finally have some company and after a long time, we are actually gonna go out as a team. An opportunity live the good old days one more time. I'm thoroughly excited about this one. I strongly believe that the best part of being a gamer and having a team is getting to travel places to attend tournaments. I don't think Vijay and Raja are coming, so, it ain't exactly our team, but still, we are going out with friends and we are gonna play as a team. Sounds fair enough. Looking forward to a memorable weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Favourite Television Programme is Back!

Top Gear is back!! That too in HD! Oh yeah! If you don't know what Top Gear is, then watch a couple of YouTube videos and find out for yourself. Unlike the start of the last series, no hype, no secrets revealing episode was promised this time. It was a simple, straight-forward, Top Gear episode where as usual Jezza breaks stuff, May gets lost and Hammond gets mocked for being short. After the first half was over, I almost felt a bit disappointed since I was very hyped up about watching the first episode of the new series. But the episode finale was just perfect.

In case that little paragraph about Top Gear was a total bouncer for you, then, just relax and take a look at this amazing video that I came across at topgear.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Mystery of Sleep

Rain stopped.. Sad.. It didn't even last a week. There is yet another reason why that saddens me. It is because I slept for almost 12 hours last night. I mean, over-sleeping during rainy days is rather a natural phenomenon because no one likes to get up from bed on a rainy day. But I on the other hand, was sleeping for just 7 hours during rain but once it stopped I slept for 12 hours. Actually, rain has nothing to do with it. I never did understand why I sometimes sleep a lot for no apparent reason.

Today, I think I solved that little mystery of mine. I tried to rationalize my behaviour like Gregory House would and it struck me. For the past 4 or 5 days, I had slept only for 7 hours and suddenly, I slept for 12 hours last night. The only difference I could think of between the past 5 days & last night was that, I was upset last night. Not just upset about something in particular, but I was depressed in general. Thus, I wasn't very enthusiastic about the next day. That is why I never felt like getting up.

Usually, when I'm enthusiastic about something, I wake up easily even if I had slept only for 4 hours. I used to stress that motivation is a huge factor in getting something done. I guess, it even affects the sleeping patterns. That is just the cause of the problem. Now I need a solution. I'm not sure whether I can really find one, but I have to try something. So, my solution is, to write this blog. Haha! Its actually quite rational. I blog only at night times. Now that the blog is just a personal diary, I can just vent my feelings here. It is general belief that letting out the emotion reduces the pain. Thus, it all adds up.

The downside is that, the blog is gonna suck more now, for people who don't personally know me. Oh well!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LoL First Impressions..

Woo yea!! Got a new template for the blog. I was browsing for ways to create a dynamic button using CSS for my website and suddenly, I came across some templates for blogs. So, I decided to get one for my blog. It was relatively less time consuming and once I figured out how to retain the widgets while changing the template, it was a simple matter of copy-paste. I'm sticking with the black theme because, well, I just like black themes.. :D

Anyways, lets step out of the real world for a minute. The climate has been heavenly for the past couple of days. The sun has barely been visible and it has been raining most of the day. If you go out on your bike, the cold wind makes you feel like you are in some hill-station. Its probably too bad that I'm spending most of my day sitting in-front of my computer. Sadly, we don't hang out on the streets with friends like we used to.

I tried my hands at League of Legends today. Its a game which combines the concept of DotA with elements of an MMORPG. Some famous developers of DotA are involved in the development of LoL. Besides that, its a free game and so, I had to give it a shot. On paper, the concept seems really cool. You get a summoner which is basically like your Wow character and this levels up as you play more games. Then, once you enter a game, its the same heroes, items and towers with two more spells from your summoner.

Chat and stats are built right into the game. The interface looks pretty good but the characters are more like animes. This may be a good or bad thing depending on whether you like animes. Inside the game, they have tried to make things easier for a new comer by recommending heroes and items. Then again, its going to take some time for me to go through them. The biggest challenge is probably to retain interest till we get familiar with all the spells and the items. As far as first impressions go, the game looks pretty promising. Will try it for a couple of more days and maybe then, I can make a call on this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Come Back!

After spending a couple of days doing pretty much nothing, I'm back to my old self again. I'm still not convinced about getting back into DotA, but I just played one match at Zion. Besides that, I did finish coding my website's DotA replay database feature. No database of this sort has ever been created just for Indian gamers. Completing the coding after struggling for some time gave me a sense of accomplishment which I really enjoyed. This may probably be the only reason I even bother to work on my website.. :P

I'm a guy who loves riding my bike. I would go anywhere in any traffic just for the satisfaction of riding my bike, though its just a CT100.. :D Thanks to this craze, I don't walk much. Even if I have to just go to the next street, I take my bike. It was raining today and the weather was so pleasant. There was a slight drizzle, enough to make you wet but not enough to make you change your clothes. The weather compelled me to take a walk and so, I did. The last time I took a walk was months ago in Hyderabad. Before that, I don't even remember whether I have went for a walk in Chennai. For the first time, I did..

I saw Changeling, the movie directed by Clint Eastwood. It was a movie worth watching but didn't really impress me. But one character in particular caught my attention. If you have seen the movie, the following post might make more sense. Of course, the movie was all about Christine Collins, the mother who lost her son and went through a lot to search for him. But the movie was also about corruption and politics in the justice department. There is a character in this movie called Detective Lester Ybarra. He isn't given much importance in the movie. But weirdly, he caught my attention the most.

Personally, I don't much trust today's police department. The one depicted in this movie is probably as bad as it can get. Detective Lester works in this corrupt department, but manages to do his job. Usually, an individual either fights against the evil around him or gives into it and becomes a part of it. But he did neither. He worked in a corrupt organization but did what he could. He didn't rise up against his seniors' crime, but he didn't sit back and relax or go home and moan. Come what may, he held his breath and did his job. It was Christine who suffered and Gustav who fought. But to me, Lester was the real role-model. In today's corrupt world, the best you could is probably just keep your mouth shut and do what you are supposed to do.

Monday, November 2, 2009


After spending two days doing pretty much nothing, I'm about to successfully enter the third day. Life is not as good as it can be, but it still is moving pretty fast. Almost 15 hours or more spent in front of the comp, per day. I don't know whom I'm trying to punish or what I'm trying to prove, but weirdly enough, I'm satisfied.. Well, that's enough self-loathing for one post.

Our topic for the day is going to be House M.D. Its an American television series about a self-obsessed doctor who also happens be a genius and a jerk. There are lots of characters that I sympathize with or inspire me or feel disgusted by, but nothing can describe how I feel about Hugh Laurie's character Gregory House. Let me put it in perspective by including some famous characters. What if a guy lived among us who was as lunatic as Joker and as determined as Batman but with a medical degree? What would that combination give us?

It would give us a mastermind who doesn't care about anything or anyone's feelings but would sacrifice everything including his life to get what he wanted. But what does he want then? He just wants answers to puzzles that other can't solve. Thus, there is no fight between the good and the evil, there is villain who wants to rape the heroin and no hero who needs to save the heroin for himself. There is but one guy who is both the good and the bad guy by himself. He drives anyone and everyone around him, mad..

Then, it really gets interesting once another character is added into the story who is the only person that can bare this guy on a daily basis. Thus, a genius who has only one friend not because he is busy at work but because he is miserable in life. Regardless of all these, the reason why I like this character the most is that, he will speak his mind in your face. For instance, every time I see someone talk on the phone in the middle of a movie in a theatre, I get extremely upset and distracted. But I don't say anything because I prefer to be polite. But House would just shove it in their face. He is everything we can't be in our life. He is annoying, brilliant, careless, witty, straight-forward, rational and sad.

The series was originally created to resemble Sherlock and Watson solving mysteries, though our Sherlock is annoying and the mysteries are medical. But House is about much more than solving puzzles. He is character whom you wouldn't know what to do if you meet him in-person: kick him in the groin or get an autograph. I would suggest, both..

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Screw Up!

We have all had bad days.. We have all done something stupid once in a while. But today, I really do feel miserable. I guess, yesterday's post was a pretext for what was gonna happen. What happened was that, I agreed to take care of the Chennai leg of a tournament that someone else was conducting. The concept behind the tournament wasn't that great from the gamers' perspective because they stand to gain nothing quantifiable and they have to travel, pay a registration and take effort to participate in the event.

Then again, two teams did register online and a few more were in talks with me. Thus, I concluded that we would probably have four teams or at least a minimum of two teams and thus, I can organize this event and I went ahead even postponing it today based on the teams' request. Well, surprise, surprise! The teams didn't care whether they were the best or not, they didn't want an opportunity to beat their rivals and they just didn't bother. So, the obvious conclusion was that, why waste money to attend this event? They backed. Now, I had to inform the event's owner and the cafe's owner that the teams rather want to play a friendly clan match and thus they are heading to a different cafe to have fun.

Most of that might not have made much sense, but don't worry. I'm not writing this for someone else to read. I'm just looking for a way to stop feeling miserable. Remember? From yesterday, my blog officially turned into my personal diary. So, my next plan of action is, to get addicted. No, if it was physical addiction, I wouldn't be rationalizing about it in my blog. When I'm upset, I usually go on a movie marathon or something to cheer myself up. This time, its going to be House M.D.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back to Blogging!

Now that I have another website where I can properly reach out to an audience and do some professional writing, my blog will turn back into a personal crib-dairy. I'll still write some interesting stuff in my blog but I won't try to make it interesting or relevant to a general audience. It is just going to be about me, me and me. I basically started blogging to vent out some personal feelings which I felt I needed to express badly. It later grew into something else when I realized that a lot of people were reading it. But now, I'm back to its roots. So, if you don't know who I am, my posts hereafter might not seem that interesting to you, sorry.. :D

Being a gamer, my comeback crib is again about gaming. For long now, I have been both a competitor in and organizer of gaming events. Though most of the organizations that are promoting gaming in India have failed miserably, I crib only about the attitude of the gamers, but not about the organizations. One obvious reason for that is that I don't want to go on record against organizations that are genuinely trying to help. But the other reason is that, gamers are the sole reason for the existence of such an industry, not the organizations. Therefore, it is the gamers who need to get their act together, first. Organizations don't even matter without the gamers.

So, whats wrong with the gamers? Well, as I said long before, they just aren't gamers anymore. Four years back, when I went out of my city to participate in gaming tournaments, I saw so much dedication in the gamers and a mad desire to win. You could really see it from the way they talked, moved about, fought, shouted, screamed and played. I used to think that, we (players from Chennai) could never really be that dedicated and that is why we would never win. I attended WCG in Chennai this week. I saw gamers from all over the country doing what they did best, fight!

But the players from Chennai, they never really put up any fight. The CounterStrike team MakeWay though, did show a lot of spirit. But they couldn't match the players from Mumbai. They were rather confused after their defeat. They couldn't understand why they lost even after almost matching the skill level of the Mumbai players. But I think I know the answer. They weren't desperate enough to win. They discussed for hours together about their match after their defeat. They were extremely upset, but still, they weren't as dedicated as the others.

The worst part is that, I envy their dedication. They were probably more dedicated than what we could have ever been. They cared enough to be upset and to crib about it. It mattered enough for them to be heart-broken. That is hardly comparable to the current DotA scene in Chennai. The DotA teams here have no fight left in them. They don't care anymore about winning and losing. They don't care if they aren't the best team in the city. They don't care even if they couldn't beat their favourite rival even once. Once we lose a match, we are supposed to brainstorm or even fight to figure out what went wrong. But the current attitude is 'Ah! That didn't work. Oh well!'.. It seems pathetic to me. Maybe I'm the only one seeing it this way, but somehow, I really feel sad about it.. Giving up on our dreams is a part of growing up and settling down. But at this age, why have we given up?!! :(

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Site!

It has obviously been more than a month since my last post. This is not because the past month was mundane, actually, if my daily life was boring, I would be blogging more actively. I didn't blog because I was taking care of another website. Its not actually an excuse but just a reason. The website is www.esportsindia.com. Bharath aka scrib and Praveen aka Spk had this idea to create a website and to start organizing gaming events when I was working in Hyderabad. When I returned from Hyderabad, I was under the impression that I would be joining TCS soon and thus decided to spend most of my time in Zion.

After a week or so, I realized that TCS isn't going to call me anytime soon. Thus, I needed something else to do. I had lots of time in my hands and Praveen was eager to start a website and try our hand at creating a home for the competitive gamers in India. Since this was something that was already in my wish-list, the decision to join him was easy for me to take. Just when we bought some web-space and the domain, Bharath joined Amazon and thus, he couldn't spend much time with us.

Me & Praveen went ahead with the works on the site. Praveen was neither the coding type of guy nor was he interested in designing. Thus, I ended up doing most of the design and coding with some help from friends and relatives. This is basically how our site was born. Some people wondered why I created this site. Well, I don't have any quantifiable reason, I just did it because it was fun & it still is. I'll continue to work on this site, as long as it remains fun. I don't know where we are headed but right now, I'm enjoying it. It is just a month since we started the site and it is already receiving around 200 unique visits per day..

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chennai's very own Blur!

Nyx used to be my favourite cafe because it had something which I haven't seen in any other cafe in India; it had an atmosphere. Nyx was a place that I could just go to, to chill and relax. It also had a variety of consoles and a proper PC setup for serious gaming. It was just ideal. But sadly, Nyx was closed a few months back and Blur became my new dream cafe. But Blur is targeted at the general public and the horde of people who already visit the complex for movies. Though I appreciated the new approach, I was upset at the way they ignored the hardcore gamers.

The Blur management basically refused to provide the games like DotA, Counter-Strike, Trackmania etc. which are played by the hardcore gamers. They said that if they install these games, the pros would scare away the newcomers. If you read my previous post, then this would actually make sense in a city like Chennai. This worked very well at the start and the huge cafe was full most of the time. But I think the crowd started to decrease after a while. Now the irony is that they sponsored some college tournament by giving away free play-time at Blur for the winners of the very game that they refused to support - CounterStrike.

Today, I finally managed to spend some hours at Blur. Weirdly though, I was rather disappointed. The computers had an awesome configuration but the number of games were rather limited. For example, there were only three racing games (Grid, NFS MW, DiRT) in the computers. Come on, there are lots of awesome high-graphics racing games out there and what about the steering wheel or at least a bloody gamepad? Ok, Blur was anyways not meant for pro gaming and so, lets talk about the consoles.

The console section is located on the same floor as the arcade section which means, the place is deafening with sounds of machine guns and explosions even if no one is playing anything. I was looking forward to those awesome rocking seats with built in speakers and what not! Sadly though, all the consoles and thus the seats are placed one after the other and thus, you hear every god-damn game that everyone is playing over there which when combined with the arcade noise, is hell. I was looking forward to playing some good co-operative mode games but sadly, I couldn't even hear the guy sitting next to me.

Even the maintenance was rather poor. Some of those chairs' speakers weren't working. Nintendo Wii had very few game titles. To top everything, the cost varies from Rs.40 to Rs.80 per hour. Even Nyx's price was only between Rs.25 to Rs.40. For such a premium price, I would expect top notch service. I would expect a stampede of games and a perfect atmosphere. I should at least be able to try the different games to their fullest. But sadly, none of the games had a finished profile, meaning that, if for example I wanted to try Gran Turismo IV, I would have to drive a Lexus instead of Ferrari or Lambo. The least they could've done is put up a banner displaying the different games they provide. But they were rather keen on asking my friend to not take pictures inside the cafe.

All things considered, Blur is a huge disappointment for me. Though it could provide some good fun for everyone, it is rather a superb opportunity wasted thanks to vision-less management. More than that, they charge premium price for a mediocre product. Like they say, never meet your hero because you would only be disappointed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gamers or Spiritless timepassers?

According to wikipedia, gamers are people who spend much of their leisure time playing or learning about different games. Then again, people from different walks of life have different opinions about this. For example, my HoD claimed that gamers are drug addicts and a parent that I know believes that gamers are gamblers. But to me, gamers are people with time in their hands & passion for competition running through their veins. I will accept that I wouldn't have become a gamer if I was busy in dance classes & cricket coaching. But, if it wasn't for the competitive spirit that was burning inside me, I wouldn't have become a gamer at all. Sadly, today's gamers don't seem to have this spirit. In fact, today's gamers are people who like to hide behind a cupboard till the storm passes & then claim that he did his part to save the old man who was caught outside; basically, they are spineless cowards.

Why such harsh criticism against my fellow gamers? Well, its because I'm growing tired of this attitude shown by today's gamers. In the past year, there hasn't been even a single cafe/national gaming event in Chennai. Why? Because the only two games popular in Chennai (DotA & CS) already had clans a couple of clans who are good it. No one had the guts to stand up & fight against these clans. So, there were only two teams competing in events & thus, even a good cafe like Zap was forced to stop conducting events.

This is an age old problem now and there is no point in continuing that argument. But still, what pisses me off is that, even those special few gamers who still play in this dead city, are such cowards. Best example is probably the players at our local cafe, Zion. Except maybe one or two, everyone plays purely for fun. Of course gaming is for fun, but it will became a mindless cartoon if we don't add the element of competition in it. After a couple of failed attempts, they just give up and claim that they are playing for fun or that they don't like the game. They don't fight, they don't play their hearts out, they don't sweat, they don't research, they don't apply their mind or take any effort. They think that I'm better than them just because I have a clan of my own. Any person with a brain that works would figure out that I'm not natural at video games. I reached this level, purely because of my competitive spirit.

The irony is, I was once, in their shoes a long time ago. Me, Vijay (Maxi) and Karthik (fRosT) were just a bunch of new kids that visited a gaming cafe. We played against a guy who beat us 4 on 1. We got really pissed and planned for weeks together to beat him, in 4 on 1. Then, we improved in leaps and bounds to face them 1 on 1. I can never forget the top team back then, which was called Ashes. Praveen (Spk) and Riaz (00) belonged to that team and they were unbeatable at Age of Mythology.

Then, there was an expansion pack for that game which brought in new civilizations and powers. This was enough to motivate me & Vijay to practise our ass off in the newly updated game in a hope that we could catch them off-guard using the new strategies that come up with the additions. We literally studied international replays, took notes, mugged up strategies and trained like mad men. We then challenged them and played two games every day for a week and lost all the games. After a week, we started to win and then, we were almost unstoppable. Later, when Ashes collapsed, those two players and one more joined force with our little so-called team and thus, my team (Guardians) was created. My team might not have achieved much in the national arena, but I still have that sense of satisfaction because, we worked hard with a dream and we reached it. That is what gaming is really about.

Gamers in our cafe refuse to play in tournaments. Just to make them play, we are planning to introduce a rule by which, the winner is selected almost randomly, regardless of who won the game. That is how bad the competitive spirit really is, in today's gamers. The biggest joke of all is probably that, the parent's words that I quoted earlier, is almost gonna come true. To encourage competition, if we go ahead with this fun-tournament format, we will turn gamers in gamblers..

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The 3D Experience!

Some friends of mine said that Ice Age 3 was visually stunning in 3D. Thus, for no apparent reason, I went to Final Destination 4 which is also in 3D. As soon as I showed my ticket, Sathyam charged me Rs.20 extra for a glass that I should return when I leave the hall. I already received word that the movie is a disappointment & after paying more money for it, I took my seat with no expectations at all. When the movie started, it was all normal and I was able to see some depth in the visuals & everything was going fine but suddenly, I was stunned.

In the title animation, there was a splatter of blood which suddenly shot out of the picture and entered the real world. That is when I started to see the magic unfold. A guy talking on his phone was late to the movie & just crossed between me & the screen. At that exact moment, a rod poked out of the screen at full speed & to me, it appeared as if the rod from the movie had just hit the guy (in real life). There was a race in the movie and there were bits flying of the racing cars. Those bits flew towards the camera & I actually blinked when it was about to hit the camera. It was an involuntary reaction of my body to what my brain was perceiving as an impending danger to me eyes. How friggin awesome is that! The best shot though, was a snake moving slowly towards you & when it suddenly attacked, I got the urge to catch it with my hands.

I explored this 3D technology when a driver update for the latest graphic cards hit the net to turn our nVidia card systems into 3D enabled gaming machines. The idea is very simple actually. Our brain perceives distance between objects because both our eyes don't see the exact same picture. Just try closing one eye & remember what you see. Then close the other & compare it what you saw before. There will be a small difference between what the left eye saw & what the right eye saw. This data is used by the brain to calculate the distance between various objects thus giving us, 3D vision. The image below shows the difference between what a left eye & right eye will see in real life.

So, the trick is to capture the movie using two different cameras similar to how our eyes see things. Then, project both videos on the screen and to make sure that one eye doesn't see what the other eye is supposed to see, we get the glasses which filter (using shapes or colors) out the video that is meant for the other eye.

This simple technology produces amazing results. Even in a simple shot where a guy walks between the camera and the main character, you are able to see that this guy is much closer. He doesn't exactly appear next to you like how the business adverts claim, but he does seem out of the screen. Watching the camera travel over a grass surface in 3D is enough to get me excited. It simply looks much better than our usual 2D cinema. Why aren't all our movies in 3D?!! This is just better & creates a much more realistic experience. Forget IMAX, this is way more exciting. Thanks to this movie, my expectations have sky-rocketed for the James Cameron's Avatar.

To sum it up, NO, the characters won't jump out of the screen & dance with you. But, you will be fooled at least for a second and when a nail speeds towards you like a bullet, that one second will be one helluva experience. Watching a 3D movie is a worthy experience to actually add to your BucketList, if you are a true movie buff.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grid, Try before you Die!

This is not a complete article that can explain Grid to you in three paragraphs. Besides, you can anyway find a lot of reviews on the web considering that it has been a while since this game was released. But the point of writing this post, is to make sure that no petrol-head misses this awesome game. Even if you are just a gamer who likes a couple of racing games, this is worth a try. Let me tell you why..

I tried this game a long time back but back then, I played only a lap or so. Today, I played the game for well over an hour in a proper rig and let me tell you, its one of the best racing games that I've ever tried. I'm not a guy with usual tastes & you will understand that when I say "I love ProStreet". For those of you who don't understand why that is awkward, is because, the game was hated by the fans of the NFS franchise. The reason why I loved it is because it reminded me of Colin McRae which is considered by many as the best racing franchise ever. How does all this explain about Grid?

Its very simple. Grid is like the friendlier version of ProStreet. Gamers hate ProStreet because it is too hardcore and tough meaning it ain't fun. I had to sweat & swear at the top of my voice while trying to finish that game. I used to get frustrated & upset after trying certain races for long hours but to me, that was fun. I loved the way the game challenged me to push myself to the extreme and made me struggle & fight, thus giving me a real racing experience. That is just my personal trait. Grid on the other hand, will give you the same feeling of a real life racer but without the frustration part.

The first couple of races, you might crash & burn. But once you get a hang of it, its an entirely different experience. It is not street racing; the races take place in proper tracks or blockaded streets with proper curbs etc. The cars are not like toys; they handle like a real car & so, taking the corners in the proper speed is everything. You can't crash into walls without paying a price for it. Don't worry, there is a small icon at the bottom left that will tell you when to break. Besides, the difficulty can be set for every single race which also implies that if you race with higher difficulty you will simply get more points. Instead of having to restart a race after a major crash, if the difficulty is set low, you can simply travel back in time dynamically just seconds before the crash & try the corner again.

Besides all these, what captured my attention was the reality in the way the car handled. If you go too fast, you WILL crash. If you go too slow, you WILL be overtaken. If you make a mistake, you will pay the price. The car won't turn like a remote controlled toy but would rather drift on all four wheels if you are too fast in a corner. You should know exactly when to brake, which line to take in every corner & when to step on the accelerator again. All those three factors together decide whether you make it out of the corner instead of just pressing the left/right arrow & bouncing back from the wall without damage. Pushing your car to the limit in such circumstances knowing very well that if you even slightly push it beyond the limit, you will crash, is an intoxicating experience. This is what games are supposed to do, which is to make everything feel real & then challenge you to push the limits. Grid caters to both the hardcore racers who are looking for a challenge & the fun loving casual gamers. So, it doesn't matter which category you belong to, just give it a try..

Friday, August 28, 2009

Do You See What I See?

If you had read my previous post, you might have wondered why I said it was part I. Well, for starters, no, the day didn't get any worse than that, though personally, I didn't get any better either. But, that is part I because that is only one side of the coin. Yes, it was indeed a day that I could've lived without but I did go through it. Instead of regretting it, I've learned to accept it. Accept in what sense you ask? Well, what else do you think could've happened that day if it hadn't gone the way it had? Would I have been any happier? Any better? Don't think that I'm getting all emotional or spiritual. Its actually, something much more complicated. I'm talking about Perception.

By no means was that day a great day in my life, I'll agree but the day wasn't a completely miserable. For example, it had been years since I last saw Annamalai & I wasn't sure whether I would ever see him again, but, there we were, walking alongside each other & chatting. I'm not a big fan of taking a walk, but there I was, walking in the heavy rain through the flooded streets while listening to music in my headphone. I didn't do these out of compulsion. I did it because I loved doing it & that is the truth. What I'm saying might not make much sense to you, but like Lester says in American Beauty, "it will, someday".

To me, everything in life is about perception. My buddy Bharath probably feels that I'm obsessed about perceptions because I always quote it as the reason for most of the things in life. It is perception that makes us who we are. We are all unique in our own ways simply because of our perceptions. It is how we see things, how we see the world around us. But the trick is to realize that ours isn't the only perception.

In simple terms, the concept of perception can be explained using the question 'Is the glass half empty or half full?' The answer to this depends on your perception of life. But yes, everyone knows that perceptions differ; why is it such a big deal, you ask? Well, simply because it plays such a big role in our daily life. Imagine that you are watching a movie with your friend. If half a glass of water can be perceived in two different ways, the number of ways in which the movie can be perceived is limitless. At the end, you think it was a superb movie & your friend thinks that it was a stupid movie. If you keep clinging to your perception, then you will end up saying that your friend has a poor taste in movies. But the fact is, he didn't see what you saw; he saw something completely different.

As dramatic as it may sound, that is the truth. Understanding this perception and accepting it is the secret to success as well as peace of mind. It is said that some people become great leaders because they are able to inspire others. The truth is probably that, they became leaders because they were able to project their perception to others in a way that others can also see it. Once you realize the power of perception, you also start to accept the actions of others which in turn gives you peace. If this entire post made no sense to you, then you probably read something completely different from what I intended to express.. :D

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just One of Those Days!

We have all had a day when everything seemed to go wrong. From the very moment you wake up, you feel miserable & it only gets worse as the day progresses. If there is one among you who hasn't felt this way about a day, then please leave your name in the comments & I will contact you for an autograph.

From that intro, I'm sure you would've guessed that I just went through such a day myself. Ah ha! Got you! My day was .. er.. hm.. ok.. I give up, it was miserable. Yes, there is no denying it, it was a day when the angel watching over me said “Buddy, I'm taking a coffee break” but then, it didn't return for a whole day. How was my day that bad you ask? Well, my plan for the day was very simple. I was supposed to meet an old schoolmate of mine & go for a movie.

But lets not jump into that part straight away. The day began at 6.30am when I was in the middle of my dream. I suddenly felt an urge to attack the loo and so, I woke up abruptly. Yes indeed, diarrhea. I felt miserable & got a tablet from the nearby pharmacy. I took the tablet & settled down in my chair & the power went off. Cursing my luck, I slowly got ready to leave.

All was well & I met my old friend, Annamalai at the station. We had to take a walk to reach the Prasad Multiplex which we happily did as we discussed our lives. That was the calm before the storm. As soon as we reached the theatre, we came to know that the show (Kandaswamy in tamil) was canceled. By this time, as a result of that tablet and probably because of the long walk, I started getting vomiting sensations.

My friend suggested that we go to his office, his room & then my room. But I had to politely refuse the offer & I instead suggested some snacks by the lake & returning home. He agreed, but I couldn't walk for long. Thus, we took two breaks to cover the same distance & we couldn't eat anything since I was feeling much worse now. That is one reunion cut short & I had to return home.

When I reached the station, I realized that it was Sunday & there were no trains till evening. Having no knowledge of Telugu or Hindi, I dreaded bus travels. So, I took an auto to the nearby station for which he bluntly over charged me. Then I decided to risk getting on a bus & I found one that said 'Borabanda' which in a train, is the stop before mine. So, I got on it. Unfortunately, the bus routes aren't always the same as the train routes & so, it left me at a dead end.

But that conductor understood some English & so, I got back on the same bus for the return journey to somewhere else. Following his instructions, I caught a share auto from there back to my place. But I still had a long walk back home but the whole journey took so long that I was actually feeling better now. The climate tempted me to walk back home & so I did. There were some rain drops but then again, I thought it was normal at this time of the year & so, I continued. Suddenly, it was a heavy rain but no point in stopping now, I was soaked anyway. Thus, I returned home at noon & I hadn't eaten anything so far. My friend actually called to check on me. End of Part 1.. :D

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bharath's B'Day!

Yes, I know, its a late post. Bharath's birthday was on 7th August. Then again, better late than never. So, here are the pictures and the video that was taken during his birthday party.

The first picture inevitably is that of the B'Day boy himself. To the right hand side, you can see our colleague Narayana. It was time for some sweet revenge & so, I found the stupid hat they made me wear just a fortnight ago.

Next up is the picture of the cake made specially for our Bharath Krishnan.. :D
Ok, enough with the boring pictures. Here is a video of the main event..

Friday, July 31, 2009

Life in Hyderabad

I'm writing this post from a train, meaning that I don't have anything in particular to say. Its an hour long journey & I need something to do & so, here we are. I'm returning from a visit to my colleague's new house which is in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Even my office is located in the outskirts but at the opposite end of Hyderabad. To further delay this already long journey, the trains over here seem to get caught in traffic a lot though they aren't that frequent. Its anyway better than the chaotic traffic on the roads here. Chennai's roads may be more congested & Mumbai's roads may be more jammed but I have never seen such anarchy on the roads anywhere.

Having said that, I would like to confess that I would love to travel in this city. Anarchy in driving is something that a guy like me would enjoy unless I was in a hurry. But that is not why I love riding in this city. The magic word is climate. People here may not realize but they have an awesome climate throughout the day. Coming from Chennai, I know how it sweats while on a public transport; I know how hot it is while sitting on a bike at a signal. Over here though, the sun is hidden for the most part of the day; there is no sweat; there is but frequent drizzle. It doesn't exactly feel like a hill-station but it reminds you of the ones you have been to. A climate like this can actually change a person. It might not change you spiritually but it will change the way you look at things. Like what you ask? Well, unlike ever before in my life, I fancy a daily walk over here. On that bomb-shell, I sign off coz my station is here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still writing notes..

Now that I have settled into the lifestyle of an office-goer, a lot has changed. Though my office is just like a friend's house, working as if I'm doing an assignment with my friend isn't giving results. Its no more a close set of friends with the same mindset & objectives. I believed that my four years in a competitive gaming team would have taught me about working in a team.

But I realize now that, as a gaming team, we never focused on set objectives. Our only objective was to do our best. But in an office, it is very different. Its not about doing our best. Its about getting the work done. For that, we need clear set of objectives, a process to reach that objective & finally, documentation of everything to make sure that everyone (including us) understands what is happening.

In an office, an idea in the mind is worth nothing when those working with you aren't aware of it or don't understand it. This makes more sense especially in a creative or managerial job. Since I'm in a managerial position currently, I'm beginning to understand not just the need for such documents but also the purpose that each document should serve. Never thought I would come to such an opinion, haha!

Monday, July 20, 2009

B'Day Treat

As I said in my previous post, I received my first substantial salary recently and it was also my birthday. To top it off, I visited Chennai and so, it was obvious that I had to treat my team. I don't think I need to explain more. I'm sure you could imagine what would've happened. If you have any trouble visualizing the scenario, here are some pictures to help you out.

From left to right: me, Bharath, Karthik, Ashwin, Vijay, Riaz and Raja

The Heavy-weights

The average eaters

The innocent and the naughty..

Sadly, I couldn't reach Ganesh anna. Praveen decided to assemble his 10 newly bought computers instead of joining us. Siva had to take care of Praveen's cafe. Together, these people constitute my gaming team, 'Guardians'.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My B'Day!

I think it was my first ever B'Day away from home. Apart from that, yesterday was a superb day. Lots of 'firsts' on my B'Day. For the first time ever, I have rent a room along with my friends and we shifted to the room yesterday. I drove a car to & fro for work (yet another first). My friends here bought a custom made cake (so far cake-cutting has been restricted to college). And to top all this, I received my biggest ever sal, 10k.. :D Now that, is a day to remember.. Enjoy the pics..

Instead of B'Day bumps, they decided to embarrass me by making me wear that stupid hat. That is Ravi in the background.

Near the cherry it says 'Guitar Hero'.. O_o

Money, haha!

Finally, went to sleep in our new home..

Finally, a video of the cake cutting.. The one decorating me is Majid (Neo) and the venue is our office.. :p

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pursuing Dreams

I've moved to Hyderabad and am planning to stay here for a couple of months. The main purpose of the shift is to work here in a gaming company called Golive. Though I did get selected in an IT conglomerate during the college campus recruitment, I doubt that I would be getting the call letter anytime soon. Besides that, a career in gaming for me is almost a dream come true. So, if there is an opportunity for this to become reality, I'm definitely going to give it a shot. And so, here I am, giving it a shot.

In real life though, a dream is never really a dream simply because, it costs a lot. In life, pursuing a dream demands sacrifice and risk. Fortunately, I didn't have much to risk in my pursuit since it is not some unknown company, but it has demanded a lot of sacrifice. I obviously miss my family, my friends, my stuffs etc. but more than everything, I miss my life. I had lots of freedom during both my school and college days, which meant that, I spent a lot of my daily life infront of my computer. I had certain daily routines of reading RSS Feeds, going through some forums, playing a couple of games with my clannies, taking my bike for a ride etc.

Now that I'm not near my computer, it feels, different. I don't see my wallpaper anymore, I'm not able to listen to my favourite list of songs, I don't get my daily dose of favourite games and I don't have the pleasure of being online 24x7. A lot has changed, but I'm still working in a field (gaming) that I'm familiar with; I'm still able to play games, though not that frequently; I'm still able to make a late night blog post; but most of all, I'm still with my friends. Bharath and Majid are with me in Hyderabad working in the same office. Its a life that is worth being called a dream.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Every Beginning has an End, ours just wasn't that Epic..

The inevitable has happened. Like most gaming teams in Chennai, my team 'Gdn' was also struggling to survive thanks to lack of motivation and pure laziness. We rarely played together and once in a full moon, we went out for a clan match. To be exact, we went to other cafes and had a clan match twice a month. Considering that me & Bharath were at the end of our student-life & Praveen had sort of settled with his cafe, it was obvious that we were getting ready to move on.

But for the past two months, Raja aka Arch3r and Praveen aka Spk didn't come out with us for any clan match. For months now, I have been under the impression that its gonna end. But the meaningless absence of two key players somehow mad me angry. It was obvious that Praveen just didn't want to play without Raja. But Raja's reasons were weird & didn't make any sense to us. At this point, let me make it clear about how I feel a life in gaming would come to an end.

Gaming is not like going to office daily & suddenly retiring one day. Gaming is about showing so much passion that even daily office-goers would look like lazy ducks and finally, when its time to move on, we simply lose the passion and play for fun, once in a while. A true gamer wouldn't just sign a resignation letter & call it a day, he would slowly reduce his playing hours & just try to hang on to it as long as he can. When there is no other option, he would resort to casual gaming (which is spending one or two hours, twice a week) and go out with friends once in a month and have fun.

That is exactly how I think I would retire. Gaming is neither a kid's sport nor an addiction to simply stop one day. Gaming is something that gamers try to do professionally (meaning competitively) while others do (play) for fun or to relax. Therefore, there is no question of throwing the towel & giving up. Everything in my life has been about gaming for the past 6 years & I've learned so much thanks to gaming. I've become a better person, a more confident professional and most of all, I've gained so many friends whom still change my life every single day.

If I say that I won't play anymore coz my life comes first, then I'll be ridiculing my past 6 years including all my friends. This is my life & this is what I do. Yes, I may not play 7 hours a day anymore, yes, I may not keep track of every single international match, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't play anymore. If none of this made any sense, just look at Ganesh anna. He had to get a job & move on years ago, but he still kept in touch with the game if not with us. Though he is now working 6 days a week, he is still eager to play with us & attend a gaming tournament. Best of all, he still wants to win & he is still fired up about it. Now that, is a true gamer.

Why this long lecture about quitting gaming, you ask? Well, coming back to the very first line of this post, the inevitable has happened as Raja today called it quits. Of all the gamers I've met, I didn't expect Raja to be the one so dumb. Of course we quit, but all we asked for was to play with him once or twice in a month. But he prefers to rather spend 3 hours a day in the gaming cafe than play with us once a month. Well, he was indeed the most talented among us, he was the most enthusiastic among us, he dreamed like only a child can, and finally, he proved that he is still, only a kid. I would have rather preferred a night-out to celebrate the occasion of a gaming team moving on with life, but sadly, he had to get it all wrong & make us look like kids. But none-the-less, these 6 years will probably be the most memorable in my life and I owe to this team, Guardians..

From the left: Praveen aka Spk, Vijay aka Maximus, Bharath aka scribbler, Raja aka Arch3r and Deepak aka TD. Below is a picture of Raja holding the team shirt.. Just posted it for good'ol memory's sake..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friend or Teammate?

  Contrary to what most grown-ups think, gaming (at least according to me) is not about sitting alone at home all day in-front of your computer screens & controlling some virtual character.  Gaming is about hanging out with friends, having fun, being competitive, having discussions on strategy and basically growing up as a team.  Gaming is not just a passion, it is the means through which we (gamers) build our relationships.  Therefore, maintaining our relationships in gaming is as complex as a relationship with your girlfriend or probably even a lot more complicated.  Having been a part of a team called Guardians and having spent 5 years with them, I know of all, how it is.  I've toured together with them to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Trichy; I've worked in part-time jobs with my teammates; one of them is my classmate; a couple of them are my cousins; a few of them are people that I really admire.  So, they play a major role in my life.

  Gaming teams are usually like Hollywood Celebrities' marriage, they'll split before you realize they were married.  But we have been together for a long time (relatively) and I'm trying to understand how we pulled it off.  Of course, you too have friends and you might wonder what is the big deal about having a team.  Well, teammates are completely different from friends.  Friends are just friends, they might be your neighbours, classmates, colleagues or relatives.  Friendships don't have a purpose or aim.  We have friends simply because we value our relationship with them and we like to spend our time with them and share our life.  A teammate on the other hand, has a purpose, a common goal towards which we have to work together.  A teammate is a person who shares your passion, enthusiasm and love for the game as you motivate eachother to become better.  If a friend is someone without whom you can't enjoy your victory, then a teammate is someone without whom you can't even win.

  Now that I've defined the role of a teammate, let me explain why this relationship is more complex.  A friend doesn't have to be with you every day, meaning you can even live in different cities and still be friends.  You just send him/her an SMS every night to show him/her that you thought about them & when he/she is in-town, you get together & share your memories.  But you can't have a teammate who rarely plays with you.  You can't say that he/she is your teammate because you went to the movies together.  A teammate has to spend a considerable amount of time with you every week, doing something related to your passion and working towards your common goal.  A teammate isn't there to share your life; he is there to make your dream (which is also his dream) come true.

  Since gaming in our country is looked at as a childish, playful or sometimes even as a devilish concept, its hard to dedicate one's time and effort into gaming.  But that is exactly what makes it special.  Teammates are a bunch of friends who believe in something that others don't and they strive hard to achieve something that they alone can dream about.  But if a teammate can't find time to be with his team, then he isn't just being lazy, but he is making his teammates look like an idiot.  Friends don't have to remind themselves that they are friends; parents don't have to tell their children that they love them; but teammates have to be there for their team.  Because, without the players of the team, the team has no meaning.  If a member of a team doesn't participate in the team's adventures; if he is continously absent in their endeavours; if a team doesn't get together at all; then is there really a team?  The line separating a teammate from a friend can sometimes be very blurred and if you don't realize it soon enough, the line won't disappear, but you'll be at the wrongside of the line.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Snaps of Ooty using Lumix LZ8

I went on a family trip to Ooty and we had just bought a new camera a few days earlier. So, I put it to some good use and here is what I managed to capture.

The camera was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8. It had some impressive reviews & it costs around Rs.7,000/-
in Chennai.

The picture of the sunflower was taken just after rain. The camera automatically detects whether it is flower or a scenery or a face that I'm capturing & based on that, it sets the exposure, aperture etc.

The color and contrast was perfect in almost all the pictures. It has Image Stabilization which is very important to avoid blurry pictures. It also has a 5x Optical Zoom. Digital zoom is just hogwash because its just like pressing the + button in the Windows Picture Viewer.

It is a 8.1 megapixel camera which is more than enough for an entry-level camera as this can give wide-screen resolutions up to 3264 x 1840. If its not wide screen, it can go even higher.

I've uploaded these pictures and a lot more to my picasa album in 1600 x 902 pixels. To know the details about the aperture, ISO, exposure etc. of each picture, just click on 'more info' at the right hand side in the picasa album. Here is the link to check them out in their full glory..