Friday, February 29, 2008

All Things Starcraft

Starcraft has been pretty much THE game for me since it came out back in '98, sure there were flings with others, some of which I even still play, but no other RTS is anywhere as popular or can devour entire weekends like Blizzard's Starcraft. At about $20 US for the "Starcraft Battle Chest" you get the original Starcraft, Broodwar expansion, and two strategy guides -you really can't beat the gameplay value you'll get for this package. I'm going to assume that you are familiar with Starcraft for the rest of the article, but for those few unenlightened souls out there, here is a brief description of the game.The game, and it's expansion Brood Wars, revolve around a confilct between the Terran (human), Protoss (high tech aliens) and Zerg (mostly insect and animal based alien -think Starship Troopers) races in a game of domination. Most levels are simple "kill all other forces" while some are oriented toward getting an artifact and returning it to a specific point. To accomplish this you gather resources (minerals and gas in this case) and spend them on technology upgrades or physical units like buildings and tanks. Here is where it gets fun, after you have completed the game (without cheating!!!) and have wet your feet in the multiplayer on, now you can try your hand at some of the user created levels available all over or mods of the game with some even offering whole campaings complete with level intros and all sorts of bells and whistles.
General Starcraft Resources

  • Cheat: Free Technology UpgradesTo instantly upgrade your technology press ENTER then type "medieval man" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Free Unit UpgradesTo instantly upgrade all of your units press ENTER then type "something for nothing" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Infinite EnergyFor infinite energy, press ENTER then type "the gathering" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Instant LossTo instantly lose the current level press ENTER then type "game over man" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Instant VictoryTo instantly win the current level press ENTER then type "there is no cow level" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: InvincibilityTo make all of the other teams unable to deal damage press ENTER then type "power overwhelming" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Lift the FogTo prevent the fog of war from coming back, press ENTER then type "war aint what it used to be" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Receive 500 Vespene GasLow on gas? Press ENTER and type "breathe deep" and press ENTER again. Remember kids, inhalants are bad so don't try this at home.
  • Cheat: Disable Food and Psi RequirementsTo remove food and psi limits, press ENTER, type "food for thought" and then press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Build over supply limit as Protoss or ZergTo build over the supply limit of 200, have your Dark Archons mind control any protoss unit, and you can do this just as much as you want! To build over the 200 supply limit of the zerg simply have at least 8 drones and a whole lot of minerals. Next mutate them into a cheap building like a creep colony and rush back to your Hatchery ( Lair or Hive) and find any larvae and mutate it into the unit that you want and then while it is mutating stop the drones from finishing and ta-da! Sadly, there is no way to build over the 200 supply limit as Terran.
  • Cheat: Zerg MusicIf you are playing as zerg, enter "radio free zerg" and zerg music will play. (This only works for zerg)
  • Cheat: ExtractorPlay as the zerg and get 9 drones. Tell 1 of them to build an extractor, then build another drone. Cancel the extractor and you have 11 drones and 1 overlord.
  • Cheat: Build units beyond the supply limit During game play press enter and type "food for thought" then press enter again. You will be able to build units past your supply limit.
  • Cheat: Level SelectTo choose your level do the following:
    Press ENTER
    Type "ophelia"
    Press ENTER
    Type the name of the desired level.
    Press ENTER again.
    StarCraft level names consist of the race followed by the mission number. eg: terran1, terran2, zerg1, zerg2, protoss1, protoss2, etc.
  • Cheat: Disable Level VictoryTo continue playing after achieving victory, press ENTER then type "staying alive" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Receive 500 MineralsFor another perk press ENTER then type "whats mine is mine" and press ENTER again. Please forgive Blizzard's awful puns.
  • Cheat: Receive 10,000 Minerals and GasFor a helpful bonus press ENTER then type "show me the money" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Reveal MapTo reveal the entire map and remove the fog of war, press ENTER then type "black sheep wall" and press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Get 1000 more of every resource To get 1000 more of every resource hit enter and then type in SHOW ME THE MONEY and then hit enter again.
  • Cheat: Disable Technology TreePress ENTER then type "modify the phase variance" and press ENTER again. This code lets you ignore prerequisites and build anything you can afford.
  • Cheat: Enemy Can't Use PsionicsTo prevent the enemy from using Psionics, press ENTER, type "noglues", then press ENTER again.
  • Cheat: Fast Build ModeTo build units quicker, press ENTER, type "operation cwal" and then press ENTER again.

Starcraft is REALLY popular in South Korea!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cryptoquote Resources and Solving Tips

Cryptoquotes are those puzzles you can find in your daily newspaper or puzzle books all over the place. They are fun, help keep the mind sharp and with a few hints are not so impossible to do.
A cryptoquote (or cryptogram) is a coded phrase made by substituting an alternate letter for each letter of the alphabet.
General Hints..
  • Single letter words are 'A' or 'I"
  • In a two letter word, one is a vowel.
  • Double letter frequency: LL,EE,SS,TT,OO,MM,FF,PP,RR,NN,CC,DD
  • Digraph Frequency: th,he,in,er,an,re,on,en,at,es,ed,te,ti,or,st,ar,nd,to,nt,is,of,it,al,as,ha,ng,co,se,me,de
  • Digraph reversals: er-re,es-se,an-na,it-ti,on-no,en-ne,ot-to,ed-de,st-ts,at-ta,ar-ra,in-ni
  • Most common two letter words:of to in it is be as at so we he by or on do if me my up an go no us am
  • Most common three letter words: the and for are but not you all any can had her was one our out day get has him his how man new now old see two way who boy did its let put say she too use
  • Most common four letter words: that with have this will your from they know want been good much some time very when come here just like long make many more only over such take than them well were
  • 100 most frequently used words: about after all am an and are as at back be because been big but by came can come could day did do down first for from get go going got had has have he her here him his I if in into is it just like little look made make me more my no not now of off on one only or our out over said saw see she so some that the their them then there they this to two up very was we well went were what when where which who will with would you your
  • A question mark at the end often means the sentence starts with WHO,WHAT,WHEN or WHERE.
  • Look for common authors for quotes: anonymous, source unknown
Look For Common patterns in words.
  • aXX all,fee,ill,too
  • abXX bill,hill,free,see,till,toll,tree
  • XabX else,says,that
  • abXcX where

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pencil & Paper Game - Sprouts

I was introduced to this fun, yet easy to learn game around 20 years ago reading Martin Gardner when I ran across it again and thought it would be nice to share. - Scott

(Rules are from the World Game Of Sprouts Association
Sprouts Rules
Two players, Left and Right, alternate moves until no more moves are possible. In the normal game, the last person to move is the winner. In misere play, the last person to move is the loser.
The game is played with paper and pen. The starting position is some number of small circles called "spots". A move consists of drawing a new spot g and then drawing two lines, in the loose sense, each terminating at one end at spot g and at the other end at some other spot. (The two lines can go to different spots or the same spot, subject to the following conditions.) The lines drawn cannot touch or cross any line or spot along the way. Also, no more than three lines can terminate at any spot. A spot with three lines attached is said to be "dead", since it cannot facilitate any further action.
If an original spot were a motel, it would have three vacancies. Let's say three "liberties". A move uses up two liberties and puts only one back. The game, therefore, has to wind down. Eventually any live spots remaining are sufficiently depleted and isolated that no more moves are possible and the game is over.
It turns out that live spots at the end of the game are the key to making the game fun to play. These live spots at game's end are called "survivors". Suppose a normal sprouts game begins with an even number of spots. Left (the first player) will win if there are an odd number of survivors. If the game started with an odd number of spots, then Left will win if there are an even number of survivors. A mnemonic is, "Left is the aggressor. He needs to change things."
Here is an amusing, alternative way to teach the rules of sprouts. (1) Explain what constitutes a legal move. (2) Explain what is a survivor. (3) Say something like, "One of us will play for an even number of survivors, and one of us will play for an odd number of survivors."
This alternative formulation is sprouts pure and simple. But a novice taught in this way will play his first game at a much higher level of skill than a novice going by the "real" rules.
Sprouts was invented in 1967 by two extraordinary mathematicians, John H. Conway and Michael S. Paterson. The game was popularized by one of Martin Gardner's inimitable "Mathematical Games" columns in Scientific American. Surprisingly, Gardner did not mention anything about survivors, and for years the game was considered by many otherwise knowledgeable people to be almost unplayably complex. It was seen as being completely tactical, with each game being a single, mind-boggling calculation. But with the simple idea of survivors, strategical thinking finds its foothold and positions which Gardner thought difficult become child's play.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feburary 20 Total Lunar Eclipse Information

A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the night of Wednesday, February 20th for North/South American viewers. The Earth’s shadow will totally engulf the Moon from 8:00 to 8:52 p.m. (min eclipse at 8:26) Mountain Standard Time, or 9:00 to 9:52 p.m.(mid eclipse at 9:26) Central Standard Time with partial phases of the eclipse lasting about an hour and a quarter before and after totality. The Universe Today has a great article about it and eclpises in general. Now would also be a good time to print out a star chart , (or this one) )for free and learn a little about the night sky. Here is a link to the Wikipedia article explaining a lunar eclipse in detail. While you are at it, why not get Virtual Moon Atlas or Google Moon to see close up all kinds of surface features you wouldn't see with even the best ground based telescope. (Just don't zoom in too close in google moon or you'll discover a secret that NASA has been keeping for years)

70's TV Intros

Bigfoot and Wild Boy : I just found this intro to an old 70's show and have gotta say, I am sure it didn't run more than 10 episodes or so. Bigfoot is just about the same size as Wild Boy!

Bigfoot and Wild Boy

Space 1999

The Man from Atlantis: Patrick Duffy at his best!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Press Release From Nasa - Name that Telescope!

Don't bother to enter 'cause I'm gonna win...

RELEASE : 08-036

NASA Calls for Suggestions to Re-Name Future Telescope Mission

WASHINGTON - NASA announced Thursday that members of the general public from around the world will have a chance to suggest a new name for the cutting edge Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, otherwise known as GLAST, observatory before it launches in mid-2008. The satellite will observe some of the most powerful forces known in the universe."The idea is to give people a chance to come up with a name that will fully engage the public in the GLAST mission," said Steve Ritz, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The mission's scientific objectives are to: - Explore the most extreme environments in the universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth- Search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter- Explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed- Help crack the mysteries of the stupendously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts- Answer long-standing questions about a broad range of phenomena, including solar flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays"We're looking for name suggestions that will capture the excitement of GLAST’s mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy. We are looking for something memorable to commemorate this spectacular new astronomy mission," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We hope someone will come up with a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion."Suggestions for the mission's new name can be an acronym, but it is not a requirement. Any suggestions for naming the telescope after a scientist may only include names of deceased scientists whose names are not already used for other NASA missions. All suggestions will be considered. The period for accepting names closes on March 31, 2008. Participants must include a statement of 25 words or less about why their suggestion would be a strong name for the mission. Multiple suggestions are encouraged.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More Science Fiction Video thanks to Google Video

Google Video is just great for those old, out of copyright video. just poke around there and you can find all kinds of weird, cool stuff.
First Spaceship On Venus: 1962 Sci Fi - Space A spaceship is sent to Venus to investigate the source of a mysterious message left during the Tunguska blast of 1908

Phantom From Space 1953 Science Fiction Feature