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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Star Forge: Hold your base... forever.

Playing through Star Forge, the newest game from Hero Interactive. On Hard difficulty. (I don't typically go for easy difficulty unless I plan to rush through the game quickly.)

Essentially it's a unique form of real-time base defense where your forge is either constantly producing turrets or turret upgrades. Once the 'forge' produces a turret / powerup you drag and drop on the spot where you want it to be built, or drag a powerup on a turret to upgrade it (max 6 upgrades per turret).

I managed to complete the game in one sitting, and learned that a formation of a turret with (3-armor / 1-amplify / 1-range / 1 shock) surrounded by 2 towers with 4-armor / 1-range / 1-explosive worked quite well the entire game.


  • Powerups are introduced in this order: Armor, Explosive, Heal, Range (must have), Amplify, Slow, Recycle, Bomb (destroy one non-capital ship onscreen), Shock, Anti-Capital.
  • Save some upgrade slots for later when new powerups are introduced.
  • Range is a must-have when it's available.
  • When building a turret late-game put all of its upgrades on at one time, or it might get destroyed while trying to build it up.
  • Keep building heals otherwise. Do that and you can survive the last wave with around 12 fully upgraded towers or so.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ninety-Degree Dreams

Vertical Flip of the Zuma's Revenge Board Shark Den (link to tips from the older board), with 90 degree turns and curves of forty-five degrees. (As well as modern point gaining strategies.)

To be honest, I'm starting to run out of creative titles for my blog posts (I have produced around 200 posts in the blog's 20 month lifespan).

Meanwhile I've also managed to find a tour of SF in a marble run, this might help me out in exploring SF when I visit my friends over there in the summer. (maybe not, but the toothpick structure looks very nice.)

Addendum: Leaderboard is pretty high on the board. From various sources, 3.63M is required to get top 5, 3.46 million for top 10, 2.8 million for top 25, and 1.6 million for top 50.


  • The new tiki talk video introduces the double tap. Similar to the rule in Zombieland, one will open a gap. One more, and you'll be 100% sure to get a gap shot with max score. This board requires some triple tapping.
  • The bottom right fruit is almost always accessible due to the design; you don't need to work your way through a row of balls to grab it.
  • If you're having trouble double tapping the left-right sides (balls alternate directions and move quite fast), go for top/bottom gaps, where the gap shots / balls are more controllable.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Playthrough: Missile Command Boss 2

It's been seven years since I've last picked up the Hasbro remake of Missile Command and completed it. Since then I've only found one video of the game on it on the internet, so I've decided to play through a bit of the game again.

This is a four minute run of me playing through the 2nd boss level on Ultimate Mode. Yes, hard and tricky bosses (like this one) are probably why reviewers didn't get very far in this game mode.

One thing that I did like about the game was the breakbeat music soundtrack (which the game reviewers didn't cover or say anything about it).

Friday, April 22, 2011

At the Oz Korean BBQ Restaurant

Hmmm... so many to choose from.

Today we headed to the Oz Korean BBQ Restaurant in Sascramento after the Sac State CKI meeting. It's essentially a buffet with various types of meat, with the main difference being that you have to cook the food yourself. (You are given a grill to do this).

I originally wasn't exactly sure of whether to go for the 'all you can eat' for $25, or a single meal for $10. But after those who didn't want the all you can eat left, I decided to go for it. It's actually pretty good.

I say it's very fun, though with a lot of people, it took nearly three hours for everyone to finish eating.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Egg Board

This week is Easter, and that means I'll be hiding some more eggs this week...

This will probably be a tl;dr intro, but if you want some board tips (which is hardly any) skip past the bar. Otherwise if you want to hear random stuff, keep reading.

  • The board looks like the egg's made of chocolate, just pointing that out.
  • There's two weeks left of school to go for me. And then summer school comes directly afterwards...
  • I managed to get 1st place... barely. But getting a gold after 6 weeks of not getting one is quite a feat.
  • After hearing J-Ann's Everytime We Touch and a few other songs (who she is considered one of the best singers back at my hs) I've always wondered how she would sound like if she did a cover of "Hey, Soul Sister" Fireflies by Owl City.*
  • The song title reminds me of Cascada's Everytime We Touch.
  • Spring 2011 in Artwork might become Summer 2011 in Artwork... lol.
  • I've decided to open up my twitter again. It's up there on the top left in the nav pane. (Note: It's not available to the open public until I clean things up a bit, but if you request a follow I'll accept it.)
  • The most points that I have gotten on this board is 3,689,430, with a video replay (need xvid codec to play). It has since been improved in 2012 topping over 6 million.

TIP: This is not a good board for curve clears / gapshots, as you will probably need sun frog at minimum to clear a curve. For the latter, you will need to not clear balls right away and wait a bit. You can only gap shot one side effectively.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meanwhile at UOP

(Note: Event occurred a few days ago.)

Meanwhile at UOP (Univ of the Pacific), AES is having their BBQ, and I decided to have a bit of fun in the 'Pie the Professors' segment, despite the fact that I didn't know a few of them who I were throwing them at.

I later used this image as my profile pic, but none of my friends knew what this image was about.

In this Photo: Plenty of students were watching, including Gary, Kim (who wasn't watching, at least not in this picture), and Prof. Chen.

Small Note: UOP is no longer the name that you use to call Univ. of the Pacific. Instead, Pacific is the name to use. It disrupts quite a few names, like UOP Circle K -> Pacific Circle K. Many people still use UOP when they mean this university, though.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Unnamed Lava Board

Week Summary: In the past week I managed to get over 80 million total points within 70 no-powerup games, with an average score of 1.1 million. With powerups, the highest score reached was a bit over 5 million.

Time crunch on projects this week - including a senior project, so I can't really play much as a result. (One project is related to VR, located on the previous post).

For those who are still playing, there's a 30 idol reward if you manage to reach lvl 80... (confirmed by devs)


When the board was introduced again in November, a few new changes were made: the official name became Major Mouthful, Epic Fruit is not available (but it was fixed that Wed), and spirit animals can be used here. That said, a skilled enough player can get well over 9000 K on this board.

OK, this board is essentially Face Your Fear (Zuma's Revenge Board) flipped. They didn't have a name otherwise, but it looks like a lava board (at least to me), and it looks more hand drawn.


  • Balls are clustered so tightly together that Sun Frog might have some good uses here (it takes four well placed shots to clear a curve).
  • Double gaps are possible here if you don't mind sticking a ball very close to the end (Scott's statement about triple gaps being possible on the board is a bit misleading).
  • Epic Fruit is absolutely necessary for high scores.
  • Try to avoid tension when playing the last few seconds of the game and try not to look at the score. In very close games, it only takes one mistake to cost you the top of the leaderboard.
  • Note that when doing double gaps, if positioned correctly you can safely destroy balls on the first row with a hot frog without destroying the gap setup. (see above image)

VR and Modular Stuff

Image of the prototype version of the VR map that our group (of four) was doing for a class project (under construction), where users are required to find various objects in an office building.

A much simpler version of this map was used due to a lack of time (and knowledge converting from Sketchup to an OpenGL Format) to implement the entire building.

Currently researching ways to optimize memory usage for large buildings (with > 50,000 polygons).

Fun Fact: I like modular stuff. Easy to put together, very adaptable to different situations, and for computer related stuff, easy to reinstall just about anything with little need for pre-req programs.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sliding Gap Rule

What the pros usually don't tell you about manipulating gaps for high points. A must-read for this week's board, Life's a Beach. (And for some other boards, too) You need to have fast hands in order to do these techniques, so pick up on your speed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Note: This week's Zuma Blitz board is "Life's a Beach" (it was supposed to be last week's board) and its respective page is on this link: Life's a Beach. I will post a picture update of the board and an updated strat when I have the time to do so, as I currently have several school projects that I need to finish on.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Improv in the Banquet

An improv at the Circle K End of Year Banquet. You're given a few minutes to prepare, however, but as for the results...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The 5K Walk/Run

124E. Run and complete a marathon (at least 5K). (Goal Completed)

The runners at the starting line.

The goal description is incorrect as it's supposed to refer to a run/walk event that's at least 5 kilometers in length.

DNT (Delta Nu Tau) held their first annual 5K Oral Cancer Walk today, so I decided to try it out.

Without any training, I unfortunately slowed to a walk over half the time, but managed to complete it in 48 minutes 26 seconds. It was the first time that I did this.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vindictus Companion Cube

I actually find this surprising and funny as an April Fool's Joke. The companion cube is a reference to the game Portal. Given that Vindictus uses the Source Engine, which was developed by Valve Corporation, who made Portal... it makes sense.

(Note that although I haven't played Portal at the time the post was made, I later played (and completed) it when it became free from Sept 17-20, 2011.)

Zuma Blitz Playthrough: 10 Million

If a computer played Zuma Blitz, it'll probably play something like this. Adapted from Liang's strategy of double gaps, this game pulls off over 80 of them, half which are double gaps.

(Idea from a comment on Club Mojo)

In reality: You need 1 minute and 20 seconds of extra time MINIMUM provided you set up a two-ball width double gap and don't make any mistakes in between. This is actually quite hard to do without the beetle, since the game does not pump out time balls as fast as the video does in recent versions of the game.

Disclaimer: This is a tool assisted run. It is solely for entertainment purposes and proof that 10 million is indeed possible in a game.

Update: A player has actually achieved 10 million with this board type but it took around 2 minutes extra time.

Fun Fact It took 20 takes and a bit over 100k mojo to get lucky with the board layout to get this score.