Radical Bomb

The homepage for Steve Radabaugh

Thoughts on Video Game Difficulty

Playing games is something that I like to do to relax in the evenings. While there are games that I enjoy being challenged in and overcoming the challenge, as I get older I find myself wanting something a bit different out of games when I’m trying to relax. I get a healthy amount of stress from other areas of my life, so I’ve been turning the game difficulty down.

There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment that happens when you beat a difficult game or get through a difficult section. But, when I’m relaxing in the evening, that’s generally not the sort of thing I’m looking for. I enjoy playing through long story-driven games and I want to enjoy them similarly to the way that I enjoy a TV show or movie.

That’s not to say I never want a challenge. In education, there’s a concept called the Zone of Proximal Development. That’s where the educational content is just challenging enough that students can do it, but they have to develop their knowledge in order to do it. That certainly translates over to games as well. When I’m playing Beat Saber I play on Hard because that’s difficult enough that I have to work, but I can keep moving my whole body enough to get exercise out of it. Going easier is boring, but going to expert difficulty makes me just flick my wrists to hit the boxes and I don’t get as much exercise.

Other times when I want more challenge is if I’m playing online either against other people or cooperatively with people.

Uncategorized • January 25, 2022


Why a Blog?

I feel like going through my thought process on why I’m writing a blog is important.

Sharing content on the Internet is a good thing for people to do. Especially in these after times. Personally, it gives me an outlet to say the things that I don’t get to talk to people about on a daily basis since I work from home. Also writing daily is a good practice to be in. Seth Godin has talked about this many times; here’s a blog post by someone else that collects several of his quotes.

So, that maybe begs the question, why am I sharing everything on this blog instead of Facebook or some other Social Media network. What it really comes down to is that I own this blog. Any content I put on here is owned by me. It’s sitting on a server that I operate. When you post something to Facebook, then you are beholden to their rules and they only show your content to the people they think will want to see it. And they can remove it anytime they want. (feel free to replace Facebook with your Social Media platform of choice)

Also, for any service that you are using online, if you’re not paying for it, then you are not the customer, you are the product. Facebook is profiting from your attention. They make money from the ads that you see, and they only show content to you that they think will make you keep coming back so that you can see more ads.

Of course, you probably got here from one of those Social Media sites, because I share my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter as no one regularly checks blogs anymore.

Blog Meta • January 22, 2022


Adventures in a Trip to the Orthodontist

Today I had to take my daughter to Gilette to see the orthodontist. I gave myself 4.5 hours to drive what is normally a 3-ish hour drive, because we had snow last night, and I have to go over the mountains. I’m glad I had the extra time as the roads over the mountains were a bit sketchy.

Anyway, on the way back, I stopped in Buffalo to get gas before going back over the mountains. When we got back in the car to take off, the car started fine, and I could get it into reverse or neutral just fine, but I couldn’t get the shifter to physically move into the drive position. At this time it was 6:30 pm, so I knew that there would be no chance of getting a mechanic until morning. I had visions of driving my car in reverse to a hotel to spend the night, an idea I quickly abandoned.

I ended up pushing the car away from the gas pumps to a parking spot, with my daughter manning the wheel (with a LOT of guidance). Then I started Googling the problem and found some threads on X-Terra owner forums about people who have the same year of X-Terra as I do with the same problem. It turns out that a little piece of metal tends to come loose within the shifter that blocks it from moving into the Drive position or beyond.

With the guidance of the forum thread, I was able to get the piece moved back into place and get my car into drive. The trip back over the mountains was slow (due to road conditions) and uneventful. I’m extremely grateful that the problem was something that I was capable of fixing and that the Internet exists to provide answers. 20+ years ago, I definitely would have been getting a hotel room and finding a mechanic in the morning.

Steve's Life • January 20, 2022


The Pedestrian

I found myself with some free time this weekend due to everyone else being out of the house for a large chunk of Saturday. I had heard some good things about The Pedestrian, and since it just came out on Gamepass, I figured I’d give it a go.

On the surface, it’s a pretty normal 2D platforming puzzle game. However, it quickly adds complexity as it adds new functions to the puzzles. The gist of the game is that you are playing a character on signs, and you travel from sign to sign. After a bit, you’re re-arranging signs in order to play through the pieces of the level in the right order to get what you need.

The game originally came out on Play Station about a year ago. It came out on PC and Xbox on January 3rd and hit Gamepass on that same day. The game is fantastic, I ended up playing it the rest of the way through on Sunday. If you haven’t played it, then it’s worth checking out, and if you have Gamepass, then it’s a no-brainer.

Uncategorized • January 18, 2022


A Swarm of Pis

In general, I try to keep my posts written in a way that non-tech people can follow along. This one I’m probably going to go a bit deep.

This is my Raspberry Pi cluster. They’re running a Docker swarm. Docker is a software that allows computers to run programs in a sort of jail where they cannot interact with things outside of their container unless specifically allowed to do so. Since these are running Docker in a swarm mode, they can move applications from one raspberry pi to another in order to balance the workload amongst all of them.

Here’s a graphic that shows the 4 Raspberry Pis and the software running on each one.

Raspberry Pis are great little computers for projects, but they’re a bit unreliable for storage. So last week I finally got them working with saving all of the data for these containerized programs onto my network storage. It’s using NFS, and while it should have been easy to set up, it was a pain. Now, things are pretty well set up that if one of the Raspberry Pis goes down, all of the programs running on it should just migrate over to a different Raspberry Pi.

Now I just need to learn about more cool software packages to run on these.

Cool Stuff • January 17, 2022


Retrospective: The Amazing Spider-Man

I watched The Amazing Spider-Man with my son tonight. The one from 2012 with Andrew Garfield in it. This movie is a lot better than I remember. I didn’t remember much about the movie, I think I only saw it one time when it was in Theaters. If I remember right, I was pretty salty at the time that Sony was making their own Spider-Man movies that weren’t involved in the MCU, and I really wanted them to just sell Spider-Man back to Marvel.

I guess since the second ASM movie flopped and Sony started working with Marvel, and I got what I want, I was able to go back and watch this without the salt. I found this to be a solid film. It had a solid cast all around. I always enjoy finding Dennis Leary in movies where I don’t expect him.

If you’re like me and you wrote this movie off when it was new, maybe give it another chance. You might enjoy it more than you think.

Movies and Television • January 16, 2022


Thoughts on The Expanse

The final episode of the Expanse was released yesterday. I’ve been reading the books since I saw someone talking about the first one on Twitter back when the first book was the only one out. The 9th and final book was released in November. With the books and the show both wrapping up within a couple of months of each other, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to this series twice.

It’s been interesting to watch the internet fandom grow over the years. The show was originally on Sci-Fi channel and was canceled after the third season. Fans petitioned hard to get the show saved. I even pitched in $10 to fly an airplane over Amazon HQ with a banner that said: “Save the Expanse”. It was pretty well known that Jeff Bezos was a fan. I’m not sure if the plane helped, but Amazon did pick the show up for 3 more seasons.

Anyway, I’m a bit sad that there isn’t more to look forward to. (at least nothing announced). However, I’m quite glad that I got the shows and books that I did get.

Uncategorized • January 15, 2022


The Green Knight

I finally got around to watching “The Green Knight” the other evening. It’s been on my list of things to watch since it came out last July.

I told my wife that it was a really good movie, but she wouldn’t like it. It had a very surreal feeling to it, which I figured that it would after watching the trailers. The Story of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a 14th Century story and is one of the more well-known Arthurian tales. Much of the Arthurian legend comes from centuries of oral traditions that predate the first written account of Arthur which was in the 12th Century. Because oral traditions tend to evolve as they’re retold, there is no single canonical version of the Arthurian Legends which is true for much folklore and mythology.

The Story of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight exists as a text from its original author, who is unknown. It pulls influence from various existing folk-lore, but it does have a single canonical source. The movie definitely took some liberties, but it stayed fairly true to the original story.

The Cinematography was fantastic. I had to pause the movie several times to assist my children with bedtime routines, and each time I came back, I was impressed with whatever still image was on the TV.

The movie definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

I’m going to talk about the ending here a bit. The original story ends with the Green Knight giving sir Gawain just a nick on his neck, then he reveals himself to be the lord of the castle. Gawain then goes back to Camelot with the shame that he didn’t give the lord the green sash. The movie of course leaves that open to possibility. I think I prefer the movie ending where it left things open to interpretation. I wouldn’t mind seeing a deleted scene or something with the story’s ending in place, but I like the movie standing as is.

Uncategorized • January 14, 2022


The Birdle is the Wordle

You’ve probably seen posts similar to the one above on your social media in the past week or so. This is a game that’s gained popularity quickly in the last couple of weeks called Wordle. Each day is a unique puzzle where you have to guess a word. The colored blocks tell you if the letters in the word you guessed are right. If they’re yellow, they’re in the word somewhere, if they’re green, they’re in the right spot. You have 6 total tries to get it right.

What I find super interesting about this game is that there are 3 things that really work towards its current popularity. The first is that there is only 1 puzzle a day creating a feeling of artificial scarcity and making it like a quick snack that you can enjoy and get back to your day. The second thing is that everyone in the world is doing the same puzzle for the day. The third is that it’s really easy to share your results so that everyone who plays can know how you did. So you can see above that today I got the word right after 6 guesses.

Cool Stuff Video Games • January 13, 2022


A Tour of my Office

I finally got some blinds up in my office today, and since it’s new, I thought I would show it off.

Here’s the desk where I do any of my remote support and coding and general email and whatnot. The hexagons above the monitors are sound dampening to help with echos. They’re especially helpful when I’m on zoom calls. The actual desk is the podium that I build when I was teaching. I’ll probably eventually replace it with a new one built to match the workbench that’s opposite it.

This workbench is where I do PC and Phone repair and any other electronic work. The art piece hanging there is one I picked up last summer at GenCon. The wood for the counter came from my inlaws. It’s all wood from their property in Ohio.

This is my 3D printing station. Just the 1 printer so far. If I can figure out a way to make some money from 3D printing, then I’ll add some more. The sound damping tiles here are more for decoration than anything as there aren’t enough in this spot to make much of a difference.

This is just the North wall. I’m planning on putting something under the TV that’s hanging there. Probably a little table with a printer on it or something. The chairs will eventually be replaced with a little couch.

Cool Stuff • January 12, 2022