Monday, May 25, 2009

Icefrog bug Fixed

No, there is nothing in the DotA community called as Icefrog bug and he definitely didn’t fix it. But there is a small problem in the game that is more of a nuisance than a bug. Consider that you’ve just reached your base after a team battle. But the opponents are making a counter-attack and so, you hurry back to defend your tower. Your ultimate is still in cool-down but is going to be over soon. Your team is waiting for your ultimate to jump in. You don’t see any cool-down animation & so, you shout ‘Go go go’. You dagger in & when you click on the spell, it says ‘Spell is not ready yet’.

This is what we call in our café, the Icefrog bug simply because, it is not really a bug. It is just an issue with the design that hasn’t yet been addressed by Icefrog. Though this is not a big issue, it is kind of annoying at times. Fortunately, someone out there has heard our prayers and has come up with a solution. A member of the dota-allstars.com forum called ‘DotA-Forum’ has created a file which is simply a picture and once it is copied to our Warcraft folder, you’ll get something like this:


It is indeed very simple as all you have to do is pick a color and copy the file. You might have to change an option which is clearly explained in the thread there. This is the thread where you’ll find the file and the instructions. If you were like me, praying for something like this to come along, well, add a post there after your download to show him your appreciation.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why watch the Watchmen?

Watchmen is indeed a movie with superheroes taken straight from a comic book. But it is nothing like Spiderman or X-Men. It isn’t filled with action, cheap one-liners & fancy gadgets. It is infact a story that takes place in the 1980s with flashbacks going back as far as 1940s. It is almost three hours long like The Dark Knight but unlike TDK, it moves at a very slow pace. It isn’t even the universal struggle between good and evil. It is then no surprise when I say that the audiences in the theatre were shouting for the interval to come save them. I too agree, that it wasn’t a masterpiece. But do you know why you should go watch it?

Going back to my last point about the movie, it isn’t the fight between good and evil. But it is about the line that separates what is good and what is evil. You see a person helping a handicap and it is obviously perceived as good, while you see a person torturing a cat and well, its simply bad. But it ain’t always this simple. Sometimes, certain actions that seem good today might actually be evil in the bigger context and vice-versa. At times, the line between good and bad is so blurred that it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two.

Though the movie doesn’t go deep into this question, I admire the simple fact that it did raise this question. There have been a few movies in the past where the hero goes out of his way and enters a mad killing spree for revenge or the greater good, but this movie has taken it to a completely different level. It sort of reminds you of the question the little kid asks at the courtroom entrance in the tamil movie Nayagan, “Are you a good person or a bad person?” to which the hero replies “I don’t know”. The movie Watchmen too, doesn’t give a direct answer. But the very idea put forward here, is to me, mind-boggling.

The movie also raises another un-answerable question - How valuable is human life? Though the movie doesn’t really answer these questions, it gives a very unique look into these questions. The answers lie in our own perception. That is exactly why I adore this movie. They say, art is something that has no purpose by itself. I believe art is more of a reflection of our own feelings. That is exactly what this movie is. By raising some controversial questions and not clearly stating the answers, the movie lets us come to our own moral conclusion about what is right and what is wrong.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Funny Facts and Rumours

Shawshank Redemption is a movie that really captures a movie goers’ heart by giving hope to those in despair. But what if it happened for real? Ok, that is not entirely impossible, but what about a movie like Three Kings? Can it really happen? Well, check out this article in cracked.com titled 7 Completely Unrealistic Movie Plots (That Came True). I love a good movie based trivia and there is more where this came from. The site cracked.com is loaded with articles that are funny and interesting which basically list facts, rumours and opinions which are simply weird or you weren’t simply aware of. Let me give you more samples of their lovely work.


Movies have so many shots altered through visual effects and most of us can spot one when we see it. But what if Jennifer Connelly’s tear in Blood Diamond was a visual effect? What if they had altered Brandon in Superman Returns in ways that you didn’t imagine was necessary? What if the perfect body of Angelina Jolie in Beowolf wasn’t really Angelina Jolie? To find out more, check out this article titled CGI Boobs: 7 Special Effects The Stars Want to Keep Secret. The site is not just about movies though. Check out this picture for example.


The wired car frame is not really a photoshop work, according to the site. It is in fact, a real life wire-frame sculpture by artist Benedict Radcliffe. To read more about it, check out this article 17 More images you won’t believe aren’t photoshopped. Then, there is an article explaining why some famous superpowers would really be a nightmare to live with. There is another one about some badass cartoon villains who lose to retarded heroes and one more about famous characters that are basically a rip-off. If you are looking for some light-hearted trivia to spend your time on, check out their site & leave me a comment if you like it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

DTS-Cup 2009

The country is right now immersed in the IPL T20 action but I was excited about a completely different tournament. For the past two days, I was busy following the action in the DTS-Cup 2009 that took place in Ukraine. It was an e-sports tournament that included just two games, Counter-strike and DotA. But these two games are enough to get most of the gamers excited. From DotA players’ perspective, we’ve been waiting for a LAN event for a long time now because LAN events reveal the true potential of a team which gets bogged down by latency issues in online events.

The event was streamed live in GarenaTV and Gamestah, so, I was able to follow all the matches as they happened. Their site too had a live feed but was rather rubbish as they probably didn’t have enough bandwidth in their servers to support the huge number of audience. Anyway, getting back to the event itself, a total of 16 DotA teams participated in the event with the top seeded teams being Ks.Int, Ravens, DTS and Next!Please.

The event got really exciting when Ks.Int and Ravens started losing in the Group Stage. Both the teams didn’t have one key player each because of various issues. Next!Please and Ks.Int got knocked out of the tournament very early. Even Ravens seemed to be struggling and DTS too entered the losers bracket in Round 1. Two relatively unknown teams 1dota and Os|One seemed to be the only ones who were yet to lose a match. Os|One defeated 1dota in the winners bracket finals.

Before I pull the cat out of the bag and reveal the winner, let me explain why this event is unique. This event has introduced a new style of game-play for the DotA community. We are all used to the combos and synergic spells being casted within a gap of few milliseconds in a confined area of battle and in 30 seconds we’ll know the end result. But most of the matches in this event were characterized by a chaotic play style where the fight starts with just a couple of heroes while others wait for the right moment to engage. Watch this fight for example where Ravens (Sentinel) push the base tower with just four heroes and Enigma enters when the battle is almost over.

video

If that wasn’t enough, some fights became completely chaotic and the battlefield gets stretched to twice the size where three separate battles take place at the same time. The fight below is split into two battles, one with Morph, Abaddon, Lion & Fiend, the other with Mirana, Tauren, Crixalis and Bane. Puck and Kunkka pass through the first battle to reach the second one. I couldn’t even see all the heroes together in one screen.

video

Finally, some sanity was restored in the event when Ravens gave a solid comeback beating 1dota in the losers bracket finals to get a shot at the undefeated Os|One. Ravens managed to beat Os|One in the finals but this being a double elimination tournament, had to play them again to eliminate them. But Os|One defeated Ravens with a late game pwnage by Tinker and stole the cup along with the $3,000 cash reward.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

ThunderStruck!

I’m in Chennai and it’s the middle of the summer. I don’t think I need to explain further about how hot it is over here right now. But it has been pretty cool in the evenings in the recent weeks. But nothing could have prepared me for the sudden rain that hit us last night. Rain in the middle of the summer is like moving from hell to heaven. As awesome as it was, there was something else that caught our attention when we were playing in Zion.

For every sound of thunder, there were more than 5 lightning, which wasn’t possible unless we had gone cuckoo. When we looked closer, we realized that it was the transformer at the end of the street that was spewing out sparks whenever there was a heavy gush of wind. You could say that it is a common site in Chennai, but that just shows how incompetent our Electricity Board is. Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, we took a video of the beautiful fireworks display.

video

The fireworks went on for a couple of minutes after which the power was shut down. There was no power in the area till late night. For a deeper understanding about our Electricity Board, check out my old post which I dedicated in their name.

Friday, May 15, 2009

She’s Alive!

After months of hassle, I’ve finally managed to get my old rig back in shape. I do find it hard to call it old because, I’ve replaced the motherboard, the hard disk, the data cable and even bought a new RAM for the wretched thing. Then again, new doesn’t necessarily mean better as most of the changes are only replacements, not upgrades, except for the hard disk which has increased in size from 120 GB to 250 GB. But sadly though, the operating system in the old rig, remains the same, which brings me to my point.

Earlier, I made a post about my experiences with Ubuntu, where I said that the Linux gave me a lot of errors & crashed in less than a week. Back then, I had only changed the motherboard and the hard disk which I thought were the only affected parts in the system. After which, I installed Ubuntu and had a very tough time with it. Then, I moved back to Windows and again, had a tough time with it. The same problems namely freezing screen and errors and OS crash returned. It is then I realized that the problem was not with Ubuntu but with my hardware.

It was hard for me to figure out which component was affected because the computer did run well for some time. The errors & screen freezes happened randomly after 5 minutes or a couple of hours of usage. So, after changing a part, I had to test it for a day to make sure that it was working. After weeks of testing by inter-changing parts between my two computers, I found the rest of the problem. They were the data cable and the RAM. How so many components in a computer got affected at the same time is beyond me, though I could make a guess. It was probably because of the daily voltage fluctuations here at my place. Anyway, we have a UPS for that system now, so, no worries.

The reason for me writing this post is to confess that the operating system Ubuntu is indeed user friendly and not as erroneous as I claimed it was in my earlier post. In fact, Ubuntu is a brilliant operating system which symbolizes so much more than just another software. True to his comments in that post, Bharath did try Ubuntu in his laptop and hopefully, he might post his experiences soon in his blog. The next time I’m made to format my C Drive, I promise to give Ubuntu a fair try and post my experiences in this blog. For now, as the old Frankenstein exclaimed, ‘She’s Alive!’

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exit College, Enter?

My project’s final review is over and along with it ends my college life. But I haven’t had time to rest or be sad about it because, I’m neither at home nor lonely. In fact, I’ve been busy meeting some of the people who were a major part of my gaming career. First, it was Ganesh anna, who was our guru when we first started dreaming of professional gaming. He wasn’t with us for long but he definitely had a huge impact on all of us (Gdn). He had to move on with his life & so, we parted ways before we could accomplish much.

We do still keep in touch & we still share some passion for gaming (especially DotA). Finally, we managed to have a get-together with him as a team. Unfortunately, Raja aka Arch3r & Karthik aka fRosT weren’t there, but it was a memorable meet none-the-less. It has been years since he left us, but he hasn’t changed at all in all these years. He is still able to dream as if he was a child without any worries about reality; he still searches for ways to improve though there isn’t a visible target; he is still the most modest person you can come across in your life. Everyone meets some person in their life who really inspires them and to me, Ganesh anna is one of those inspirations. Below is a picture of our meet (Ganesh is the last person to the right).


They say that there is a woman behind every man’s success. I say, in sports, there is a strong opponent behind every team’s success. In any sport, the best way to improve is to compete against someone. Without that someone to fight; without that someone to keep you on your toes; without that someone to make you stay on guard, you will become lazy. That is why, I consider the neighborhood DotA team, Atl as a major influence in our (Gdn’s) gaming career. When we first started, our aim was Agents (which was the best in Chennai back then) and after beating them, our aim moved on Roar (0mF). But 0mF was in a completely different league (simply put, better than us).

We needed someone in our skill range to compete & improve. That is when Atl spawned. They were new to the scene and they were definitely below our standard when they started. But they too had a leader who could dream & keep saying that the impossible is easily possible. Eventually, they caught us up & gave us a run for our money. Planning strategies, coming up with tactics to beat their positive points, making decisions & finally playing them on a weekend with full enthusiasm, now that is what gaming is all about.

Sadly, their leader too had to move on & so, we were left dry with no one to beat and no one to challenge us (something similar to what happened to 0mF). After months without a tournament, without a competition, without motivation we were struggling to survive. But now, they are back. The good old team is back along with their leader & we, have got a reason to fight. The picture below was taken when Atl visited our café (Zion) to play against us last week. Clockwise from the left-bottom, Richard aka D.Jack, Sathya aka nofear86, Jeyakumar aka Assassin (their leader), Anand aka Vulcan and finally, Anwar aka piranha – these are the five that constitute Atl. There are a few more in the picture namely Richard aka Pulse (the kid at the bottom-right facing the camera), me & Ashwin aka Gladi busy on the computers.

My college life is over and I’m not sure what is coming next. But for now, I don’t have time to think about it because, I’m busy reliving the best part of my gaming life.