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2022.01.13

Trying Godot Engine Again

It’s about 10 years I discovered Unity and felt in love. The editor was great but I really liked programming in C#. I allowed me to both organize and creative.

Despite being the among the top 2 suites in the world, I’m increasingly annoyed by them. It became a huge spyware, heavy and the full of annoyances. Beside being super expensive (for Brazilian standards), the pricing model is much less indie-friendly than it’s nemesis, Epic’s Unreal Engine. Users pay upfront instead paying royalties of their own success.

Time to explore new grounds! In fact, I try new stuff all the time. It’s time to land in new grounds! Some criteria to consider:

  • Open source preferred, almost required.
  • Avoiding C++ (because my games would leak memory of certain). Javascript is discarded due performance. Rust is hot, but an engine supporting it is probably super beta.
  • Small footprint if possible.
  • Pro developer tools, like CI/CD headless compilation.
  • Big community or organization supporting it. The lack of big support is an abandoned project wannabe.

So for the past months I tried to play with several options. Notably:

  • Unreal is unbearably gigantic (7gb+), which hits specially hard on CI/CD. And Linux editor is buggy.
  • I was excited by Stride/Xenko, but months after the open source, it was basically abandoned.
  • Godot have that annoying scripting language embedded, but the no-go was the lack of a equivalent of ScriptableObject to create data assets.
  • O3DE is a possibility for the future. Lua as scripting language is a personal nostalgia.

Spark of hope

Then I read an article about creating data assets in Godot. It used C#. It was not a trick or complex. Pretty straight forward. I decided to try it again. Less then 100 mb later, with no need to install or register, I started my -again- first project. The goal was to load data from a asset created using C# code, just like a ScriptableObject in Unity. The test was a success.

So it’s time to try to create a full prototype game! I’m planning to joining one of the several jams they organize to motivate myself to finish. No prizes involved, just challenge. Things to explore in order to be conformable with:

  • Client-server multiplayer.
  • Scene streaming.
  • Animations.

Another idea is to recreate an old game of mine: PICubic. It was not commercially released, so it might be a good way to learn and expect results.

Some general thoughts

After a week that I’m playing with it. Some thoughts:

Cons

👎 The design principal that each node have only one script attached instead the super common component-driven approach lacks. Specially trying to design very complex systems using small parts, like the micro-services in the web development. I heard once there are a spin-off that implements this, but there is no traction in the community.

👎 C# integration is still not good. At least in my computer, the editor crashes each 30 min on a random time I hit play. Also, the editor do not display custom C# classes in the inspector. I design several vanilla classes to organize the code, but I had to transform them into Resources to be able to edit their data.

👎 Linking assets in the editor does not respect the class restriction. One could insert a Player asset instead Weapon and the editor will not complain. I have to check before using a external variable every time.

Neutral

😐 Refereeing nodes in the hierarchy and in the asset folder are two distinct things. Nodes in the hierarchy are accessed by NodePath while prefabs (here called PackedScenes) have a different type.

😐 GDScript: focusing on a custom language instead a vanilla widespread like C# or C++ is a waste of both newbies and Godot’s own developers energy.

Pros

👍 The everything is a scene approach fascinates me. I always thought this way in Unity: scenes are just a special prefab.

👍 Creating an automatic build pipeline on Gitlab was a breeze. Due the smaller container and less complexity, it takes less then 2 minutes to create a build on any platform. A empty Unity project takes this time just to download the 4gb+ image and at least 5 more minutes to compile.

The project development is somewhat slow for my taste, but they are receiving more and more financial support in the last months that might enable them to accelerate the pace. I’m specially interested in the new external language integration for the upcoming Godot 4.

2021.12.31

Game List 2021

Last year I published a post of my played games but the title was mistakenly name Media List 2020. It was a games list so this year it was properly named. This year I wrote much less about each individual game, so I dedicated a small space to comment each entry.

By far, the most important game I played was Cyberpunk 2077. At least, it was supposed to be the most loved and commented game. Whatever, here is a list of games of all games I played this year.

2021-01-13: Totally forgot to include both Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1.

Finished

  • 3 out of 10 Season 1 (7) : the self mocking humor is funny, but the gameplay is monotonous.
  • Abzu (6) : Underwater abstract exploration. Due the short length, it was ok.
  • Battlefield 1 (9) : the best in the series. The split stories, all good, allowed to explore multiple game plays.
  • Battlefield 4 (6) : really bad. The invincible hero trope to the last moment. Cinematic after cinematic.
  • Control (7) : it was in my wish list for quite some time, then Epic gave it for free. However, I must admit it was a bit off for me. The weird story was never fulfilling, the levels and flow was a bit repetitive. My impression that Jesse, the protagonist, was at the same time omniscient and suffering an amnesia. The Dr Casper Darling (played by Matthew Porretta) was a fun character though.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (7) I enjoyed quite a lot. Finished every single quest. Still, expectations were higher.
  • Gunpoint (8) : quick, easy, and charming puzzle-platformer.
  • Hyper Light Drifter (5) : loved by many. Not me. Hard and confusing, despite beautiful. I gave up.
  • Imperialism 2 (8) : finally played to the end the other day. The clunky old graphics and controls get a bit in the way.
  • Little Nightmares (8) (as watcher): I’ve made my wife to play this, a bit every night. Despite the lack of gamer’s finger coordination, she did fine and loved it. We will definitively play the second installment eventually.
  • Offworld Trading Company (7) (campaign mode): the campaign mode lacks the openness and do not add a great story to compensate.
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy (7) : this very quarky game about hacking and programming. Very experimental, both for visual and gameplay.
  • Tell Me Why (8) : my wife played this game with me. She loved the theme but she really sucks with the camera controls. We talked about the themes and storylines for weeks. I decided to be by her side to help her play the amazing Life is Strange, because she was liking the game but associated it with the mental gymnastics to just make the character walk.
  • Tharsis (6) : a survival digital board game. We have to manage action points, mitigate bad dice rolls and survive for about 5 turns. Short and agonizing.
  • Watch Dogs 2 (8) : after playing a couple of Ubisoft open world games lately (1 FarCry’s, 2 Assassin’s Creeds' just the last 2 years), I was expecting the same generic main protagonist and blend story. But I was genuinely liked this entry. Marcus is a likable dude and despite the exaggerated characterization of hackers, it had several storylines right.

Not finished yet (for a reason or another)

Most of them I barely started. Just to check the general flow or if it was working at all. Some It’s WIP. Few are collecting dust.

  • 3 out of 10 Season 2 (7) : the same of the first season. Funny and awkward. About to finish.
  • A Plague Tale Innocence (8) : beautiful production. Played just first couple levels.
  • Assassin's Creed 3 : It’s a big cut scene with some on-rails gameplay. Hated so far. :(
  • Astrologaster (8) : indie small game. Crazy humor. I liked it very much so far.
  • Blair Witch (7) : did not care much of the lore, but it’s a nice horror game.
  • Black Mesa (8) : the official/non-official Half Life 1 remake. The original one I did not play at the time. This remake is really good!
  • Crying Suns (7) : very similar to FTL, with a delightful story and context. My current run is in the Chapter 4 and about to finally finish.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club : not my style, but I heard so much good things about it that I’m intrigued.
  • Ghostrunner : 3D puzzle game action game. Think about 3D Super Meat Boy.
  • GRIS : beautiful first level.
  • Heaven’s Vault : highly anticipated game, played a bit and liked the story so far. As far I can tell, there is space for multiple runthroughs to explore all possible branches (not sure if I would do it).
  • Just Cause 4: (7) : repetitive like it’s predecessor. But it was crashing too many times. Hardly coming back.
  • Observation (7) : excellent storytelling, despite the clunky controls.
  • Overcooked 2 (8) : my family loved it and I’m trying to play the campaign with my wife
  • Snake Pass (5) : 3D puzzle game, installed to play with my nephews, but it’s controllers and specially the camera, are too clunky and annoying.
  • Supraland (8) : from nowhere, this game is surprisingly hard and much longer than I anticipated. Still, I’m loving the sarcastic tone and the bucket load of jokes.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments (8) : the best game in the series. 4 cases with somewhat similar mechanics and styles. Just one to go.
  • The Stillness of the Wind : installed.
  • Unravel Two (8) : still to finish with my wife. She struggle to use the joystick, but this game is quite forgiving, due the slow pace. The light story allows infrequent plays.
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse : it works. It’s all that I can tell so far.
  • XII : installed, played 2 levels. Very unique style but old controls.

Not finished yet (still from previous years)

Yet, there are some games that I did not quit definitively, but they are still to be played (therefor, not yet rated). A few are event still installed.

  • Baba Is You (7) : played some levels. To the second or third “world”, if I remember. SUPER clever.
  • Bad North (7) : nice but I still have to give it more time to shine.
  • Detention (7) : I was far in this indie horror game. I think I formatted the HD and lost the saved game.
  • Else Heart.Break() : it’s working. It’s all that I know
  • Everspace (6) : FTL in 3D. You command a ship that have to fight, explore and trade point to point, in a similar fashion of the famous indie game. I liked, but did not loved. Probably I am not continue to play.
  • Far Lone Sails (5) : I liked the concept but I felt lacking.
  • GRID 2 (7) : played A LOT. top tier racing games. Beautiful, despite the age.
  • Hand of Fate 2 : I liked the first game, despite the flaws. This second installment is more complete in every level. I shall play it. I’ve read the developer closed doors.
  • Kentucky Route Zero : this acclaimed game I was super excited to try.
  • Shadow Tactics (8) : I really liked the thinking of this game. It’s definitively one that I will try to complete sooner than later.
  • SOMA (6) : I haven’t gave it time to blossom, but I was not utterly involved either.
  • Subnautica (7) : it took me time to understand the whole open concept. But a saved save was lost and I’m not in that mood to retry it.
  • Sunless Sea (6) . The procedurally generated world is amazing, but this was not my cup of tea. Probably I am not continue to play.
  • Superhot Mind Control Delete (7) : played several levels already, yet to finish.
  • The Pillars of the Earth : loved the book. I barely started the game, so maybe it should not be here.
  • The Quiet Sleep (8) : in this weird indie game, you play the internal mind of a trouble guy during 3 scenarios.
  • War of Mine (8) : I’m far in my third play through, but still to see the game credits.
  • Witness (7) : quite adorable. Some puzzles are difficult and make you feel smart. Yet, the lack of pressure makes it a eternal secondary game. It’s also difficult to put it in a “continuous play” category, because you need to know at what point are you.

Continuous playing

I play them eventually. Most of them, strategy games.

  • A Total War Saga TROY (8) : One of the Epic Store exclusives (for a time), it impressed me. I’m about to finish my first campaign, playing the Amazons.
  • Cities Skylines (8) : After my friend mentioned that he was lost hours and hours designing his hometown, I reinstalled it and started to lose hours and hours too.
  • Democracy 3 (8) : always in Vogue.
  • Hidden Folks (7) : success with small kids and non-gamers alike
  • RimWorld (8) : MUCH more complex than Prison Architect, offered a great variety of procedural content. I did not finished a single play through, but it’s really special.
  • Rome Total War (8) : I played a lot last year. But it’s a quite long game. Once I finish it once, I might close it once and for all. The Troy is heavier, but ultimately better in every aspect.
  • Scythe : the award-winning board game that I still have to give a beginning to end match.
  • Stelaris (7) : slow paced super broad space strategy. The sense of exploration is still amazing
  • Surviving Mars (7) : loved board game that I played a couple of matches solo. Did not click to me, but I will still give it another try.
  • Ticket to Ride (9) : played online with family and friends. Always a success.
  • Wingspan : immediate success with my family and friends. Special mention to my 6 years old nephew comment: “It’s the best game I ever played”. He was assisted and played quite well.

Next games in my radar

Finally, here a list of games that I already have in my collection that I plan to play in the next months.

  • Hitman : I’ve never finished Contracts, but just because I was obsessed for being perfect. I hope to play more relaxed this one.
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate : hope to be better then the 3.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided : liked the first title, Deus Ex Human Revolution . I hope to like this one too.
  • We Are There Together : I bought to play with my wife using family feature on Steam (she shares all my games). HOWEVER, it is not included in the Play Together, so I am required to buy twice. :/ Trying to convince another soul to play with me.
  • Heavy Rain : I will play this critically acclaimed story-driven games from Quantic Dream with my wife.
  • Beyond: Two Souls : another story to play accompanied.
2021.12.31

Movie List 2021

Just a list of movies that I’ve seen this pandemic year.

  1. Be Kind Rewind
  2. Best in Show
  3. Borat
  4. Borat Subsequent Movie
  5. Bridesmaids
  6. Coming 2 America
  7. Cruela
  8. Don’t Look Up
  9. Enola Holmes
  10. I Care a Log
  11. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  12. Incendies
  13. Judas and the Black Messiah
  14. Lady and the Tramp
  15. Last Knights
  16. Live Twice, Love Once
  17. Mank
  18. Minari
  19. News of the World
  20. Okja
  21. Radioactive
  22. Roma
  23. Shadow
  24. Sound of Metal
  25. Sound of Silence
  26. The Chamber
  27. The Dig
  28. The Father
  29. The Informer
  30. The King
  31. The Midnight Sky
  32. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  33. Us
  34. Wasp Network
  35. White Tiger

Documentary

  1. American Factory
  2. Honeyland

Animations

  1. A Cat in Paris
  2. Luca
  3. Soul
  4. Your name

Shows

  1. Loki (S1)
  2. Mandalorian (S1, S2)
  3. Morning Show (S1)
  4. Queen’s Gambit (S1)
  5. Ted Lasso (S1 S2)
  6. The Spy (S1)
  7. This is Us (S1)
  8. Tiger King (S1)
2021.11.11

GitOps Lifestyle Conversion

I’m currently fascinated with Gitlab’s handbooks. I heard of companies trying to be more open to the public, but the extent that Gitlab is doing is unprecedented. They are documenting everything publicly. Most, if not all, internal processes are getting written for everyone to see.

  • How admissions are done? It’s there.
  • How and when employees are bonuses? It’s there too.
  • What is the ERP used? It’s there.
  • In fact, what is the whole list of external software and service used? It’s there too.
  • The scripts used to manage it’s own site? It’s there too.
  • Personal information, like employees actual salaries? Of course, are not there.

Too much information? Maybe. But it’s definitively inspiring.

Another source of personal inspiration comes from a guy on Twitter: Keijiro Takahashi. This japanese programmer does several mini-tools for himself but publishes everything on Github with minimalist’s licenses like MIT.

In contrast, I was checking my LinkedIn the other day then I decided to share my Gitlab and Github accounts. There are so many projects over there. #ButNot. Most, almost all, were private! Many game prototypes, small side projects. All locked. Some are basically live backups, since are not updated for ages. So I decided to do two things:

  1. Open some of the closed projects
  2. Git-fy some of my personal and professional projects
  3. Documentation as code for my new company

The first is pretty straight. Mostly checking a box. Sometimes adding a small README or LICENSE files. Few times making real changes.

The second is a new mindset: I have dozens of small projects, from games to personal scripts, that I’ve never used git to track changes. But not only I could get better control of it, but also I could share with the world. You will see more and more projects popping up in my Gitlab account page.

The third, follow partially Gitlab’s way. I’m considering in documenting most of the processes in git-like wikis. It will not only good sharing the knowledge with other employees and partners. It’s also good for tracking the business decisions that changed these processes. A rather clever approach.

2021.10.18

Certification and Credibility

Can you prove what you claim?

Do you fully trust in the media, banks or advertisements? I bet you don’t. And you shouldn’t. Not blindly. Trusting is a very delicate matter.

By living in a society you are required to trust other people. That’s the way to share the responsibilities. Each individual do a thing for another. You simply have to give a bit of trust in others. If not the if we should trust, the problem lies on how.

Source of Trust

The primary source of trust are the individuals themselves. You gain trust by living and presenting reliable results. It takes time.

Governments, on the other hand, use the power of law to reinforce what they want to be believed. They issue money, certificates, documents and they all MUST be accepted as they were the truth. What makes you believe that a $100 bill is worth the $100? Simple: the law says it so!

If you need to be trusted but you do not have the time to gain it organically nor cannot “fabricate” the trust? The solution lies on a already trusted third parties vouching, a…

Certification

Someone that you trust can vouch, give their word, for another one. That works like a web of trust. I trust my mom, that trusts her old friend. So, I might trust her too.

Language and professional certifications are the most common form. Several institutes, for a very diverse range of fields, can issue a certificate saying that you are good as you claim. Proficiency in Mandarin? Project management? Someone can certificate that you master it.

Double Agent

Certification agents must be impartial, indifferent from your own success derived from the certification, otherwise they might be incentivized to lie for you. It breaks the whole point of the certification as source of trust.

  • Accounting firms hired to validate a client company financial health might be interested in lying. The at-the-time famous Arthur Andersen participated in a giant fraud stating that it’s client’s, Enron, finances was ok. Enron bankrupted months later and AA was suited and had to slipt in two companies.
  • The 2008 financial crisis also can be attributed to rating companies, that stated that several risky bonds were good and risk free. They help clients to sell them to others, profiting from lying.
  • Some colleges graduate their students even when they have really bad grades. Flooding the market with awful professionals, it becomes impossible to assert which one is good and which one is bad.

There are several good certification institutes. But these authorities have to be constantly monitored. Also, their own processes have to be constantly certified, creating a big process of checks and balances.

It’s a worthwhile initiative for the whole society.

Post originally written in 2015-11-05. But was in draft mode by mistake for all these years.

2021.09.24

Rating Badge

As a programmer and businessman, I try to organize the world. So, I created a unified Ratings page consolidating all reviews that I did. Games, boardgames, books, movies and TV shows.

A few of them I wrote a full blog post. But most I did not. That was driving me crazy. I often mention the same games/movies on multiple posts. When it happens to a piece of art that I did not previously reviewed, I felt a pressure to do so. I even might do so, but now it’s not required anymore. Now the non-reviewed-but-rated are properly acknowledged. And I shall have the consistence.

I’m going to scan, in the next days, all previous blog posts to cross reference, but the main step was done.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Also, in a similar vain the previous post, Rating Art, I decided to give my ratings a more visual appeal. For now, beside the numeric 0-10 rating, it will show the according number of stars.

2021.09.13

Watch Dogs 2

Quite a surprise. After playing several Ubisoft open world games lately, I was expecting another result of a generic and repetitive side quest generator with a superficial storyline over it.

I was a bit reluctant to start WD2. I read that the original title was over promised and under delivered. The second one flew of my radar at the time. Recently I got it thru Epic free game initiative. Then I read some reviews and comments from the launch time and there was good ones. So I decided to check it out. Not without flaws, I enjoyed the time, the story and gameplay.

Likable Protagonist

Far Cry 3 presented the very iconic and infinite memerable villain Vaas Montenegro. However, Ubisoft writing team struggles to create memorable protagonists. I cannot name a single great protagonist in the Far Cry and most Assassin’s Creed’s (old and new entries) are plain boring. AC3’s Ezio Salvatore da Firenze is the top of mind. AS Odyssey’s Kassandra was nice, despite being put a split role with her unnecessary male version Alexios.

The player spend hours living a life of another person that she/he cares so little. It’s sad, really.

Watch dogs 2

Marcus Holloway is a new entry on the likable protagonist list. Optimist, clever and light hearted. His motivations seems reasonable and believable. However, there is a cognitive dissonance playing Marcus as a armed gangster, shooting on police and mob armies. From start to finish, all cutscenes present him, as well the other members of the DedSec crew, as non-violent watch dogs. People that fight to preserve individual liberties and respect life and diversity. Using machine guns to kill everybody on site feels wrong. I tried to play as much as possible as the way I understood the character: low profile, clever hacker.

For the rest of the crew, it’s a mixed bag. The only one that will definitively stick in my mind is the masked engineer Wrench. Horatio, the guy that works on Goog… Nudle, becomes relevant. The rest is the rest.

For villains and NPCs, none worth mention. In fact, the main villain, Dušan, is both idiot and annoying.

References

The hacker theme is presented as the usual Hollywood cliché. Type furiously into the notebook and any bank account in the world is yours!

However, the overall universe are set using are several references of popular culture. Movies, music and video games are often mentioned by characters. Some are more obscure, but most of the time these references are more common sense. For those that know them, they are quite fun. For those that do not, is exotic flavor.

Some references are less subtle: There is a search engine and maps company called Nudle. A rocket launcher Galilei commanded by a millionaire much like SpaceX. I linked the main villain company Blume as Microsoft, but it’s my own thing.

Watch Dogs 2 does not take the story and theme too serious. There is even a good dose of self mockery of being a hacker/programmer. It’s not a like FarCry’s Blood Dragon over-the-topness. WD2 translate complex problems into smaller bites to make it more accessible and fun to a broad audience.

Watch dogs 2

Gameplay

As I said before, it is possible to be Rambo and shoot everybody. Like GTA, you will attract police attention and will die, respawn and try again. But I totally feel that is not the way it’s meant to be played™. Harder, but more satisfying, is avoiding direct conflict and using gadgets and powers to sneak. The same could be said to old Assassin’s Creed games (the new ones embrace the direct combat as pillars).

The hacking abilities are more useful for small interventions, like distracting guards, then creating mayhem. Hacking citizens' phones in the streets is a fun for 10 minutes, than becomes quite useless. Event robbing their bank accounts, money in general, becomes irrelevant mid-game, after upgrading Marcus' drones.

Most puzzles are repetitive, but fun mini game.

At the end, the core mechanics are solid. Open world games tend to be repetitive, but WD2 scrambles the same basic mechanics offering variety.

Watch dogs 2
My Rating: 8
Metacritic: 75
2021.09.03

Rating Art

Rating things is a real art. Specially if we are rating art. Not much thought is put on it; eventually things start to get complicated and ambiguous.

Time

Also cultural references also change. What was good 100 years ago might simply be unacceptable nowadays. There are plenty of movies, sculptures, paintings and songs that portrait racism, misogyny or prejudice that were normal at the time. It’s complicate to reevaluate them using our modern mental framework.

Also, our own taste changing with time. Things that were cool when we were young might embarrassing years later. #cringe

Technology

Some technological improvements make it change our quality perspective. A silent or black-and-white movie, a radio quality song recording, an Atari Pong. But today, it’s hard sell to have such limitation in a modern piece of art.

Sometimes, these technological changes make plainly impossible to appreciate the art later on. For video games it’s particularly affected, since the medium in which it is consumed is part of the experience. Virtual Boy headaches during hours and hours of playtime were part of the nostalgia, but how to compare with a modern XR game if the hardware itself is hard to find and make it work?

Single Fixed Scale

Finally, we have to reduce all the rich details into a numeric scale.

I prefer an infinite positive scale, that always grows with new titles, would be better. So Pong would never be in the same league as a modern AAA 3D adventure story-driven game. But at the same time, one could honestly appreciate an old movie almost the same as flashy new one.

So having a single fixed scale, from 1-5, 0-10, percentage, or even the super weird American F-A concept, is a easier way to deal things. Almost everyone uses this in some shape or form.

My take

There are much to discuss.

At least for now, I’m going to simplify a bit my ratings. I use a 0-10 scale, with .5 decimals. There is no need for these decimal point. An 0-10 scale is enough to separate good from bad. Numerically, 9.4 is better then 9.3. But in practice, it most convey the information that is an amazing game/movie/book, not that one is better then the other. The details I expect to point are a qualitative analysis in each review.

Also, using half-points in practice doubles the range. It’s in fact a 20 point scale. No need for such granularity.

Updating all these past ratings with decimal points, rounding them up or down, depending each case.

One might notice that I’ve never used the 1-3 ratings and barely used bellow 6. It’s not a problem with the scale per se. It’s more about the selection process that occur before consuming a game or movie. I try to focus on award winning, previously mentioned and commented by someone else before. I might eventually rethink this scale to englobe all bellow threshold in a single category and focus on the above threshold scale.

This way I tend to consume only reasonably good products and, therefore, only set reasonably good ratings! Good for me, if you ask.

2021.09.02

Pandemic (The Game)

Since I started to follow the rising popularity of board games, 15 years ago, one game the games that was recurrently recommended is Pandemic, designed by Matt Leacock. When I finally had the chance to buy a game from US, it was one of the 4 games I’ve got.

At the prestigious BoardGameGeek’s top ranked games, Pandemic figured in the top 10 games for quite some time. Now the Legacy version is currently in the top 3.

Pandemic ( the game)

The main attractive at the time is the idea of a cooperative game. All players fight against the game itself. On video games its common, but was kinda a novelty for tabletop games. It plays well with 2 to 5 people and you can even play with children, because it’s all information is open so you can help the decisions for each player. Also because of been cooperative, it’s very easy to teach other people, because you can teach and repeat the rules while playing.

The let’s Save the World from a Pandemic theme was already fun, but now it has a almost historical and technical value to it. The game popularity spawned several expansions, spin offs and the most successful Legacy series, the campaign story-drive version.

Pandemic ( the game)

It’s my most played board game to date. For a reason.

My Rating: 10
2021.08.15

Books From 2021 (So Far)

I continue to read (listen in fact) almost every day for the past years. It’s in my daily routine when I walk the dogs. It’s a very different proposition from laying down and dedicate some time to read them. I have a urge of a secondary task when I am performing a no-brainer routine, just as.. walking the dogs. Otherwise, I just feel wasting my time my just walking and no thinking.

This is the list of this year’s books that I ingested. Later I present a list of books from the previous years that did not mention before. These lists are -definitively- not comprehensive ones. Since I’m not updating my GoodReads personal records nor writing about them in this blog, they are just the ones I remembered. Eventually I might edit this post in case I remember other entries.

  • Remote (by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson) (10) : I’ve read this book few years back and I’m planning to do a annual reading of this book, along with the other Jason Fried books. They are mind opener, very opinative and thought provoking. Yet so elegant and simple. It points advantages and disadvantages of remote working, some misconceptions and prejudices. During the radical change of life during the pandemic, it was still valid (it was published in 2013)
  • Foundation (by Isaac Asimov) (10) : a SCI-FI classic that was always in my “want to read” list. Since I’ve heard that it’s going to become a TV Show from Amazon Prime, it climbed up to the top of my next books. And it did not disappointed. A superb novel that deals with the idea of a guy that can forsee the future and plan each step to change it.
  • Parable of the Sower (by Octavia E. Butler) (9) : a 5 stars recommendation from The Wertzone, it was amazing and rich as I was told. The next book, Parable of the Talents (by Octavia E. Butler) (8) , also recommended, will be read soon.
  • Torto Arado (by Itamar Vieira Junior) (7) : this Brazilian first time author conquered most of national and international Portuguese awards. Tells a story of two girls from the almost deserted region in Brazil, fighting against poverty, misogyny and happiness.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (by Yuval Noah Harari) (8) : another hit from the same author of Sapiens, focusing on some pressing issues of the contemporary times, like genetics, robotics and artificial intelligence.
  • Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (by Klaus Schwab) (8) : the same vein of the previous book, analyzing global issues, from the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. I think I liked more than 21 Lessons
  • The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) (by Brandon Sanderson) (7) : in a universe that magic spells can be casted by consuming metals, Sanderson starts the sprawling saga with a epic heist.
  • Letters From An Astrophysicist (by Neil deGrasse Tyson) (7) : Tyson is a well known scientist and his polite, yet firm, way to respond questions in TV shows is also presented in this collection of letters received by fans ans not-fans alike. He talks a little bit of everything: science methods, physics, astrophysics and, but also about astrology and religion.
  • Project Hail Mary (by Andy Weir) (7) : The Martian was a mega hit. As a movie adaptation, it was the most [viewed and profitable project][https://screenrant.com/highest-lowest-grossing-ridley-scott-movies-according-to-box-office-mojo/] from the acclaimed direction Ridley Scott, which includes Gladiator, Blade Runner and Alien. It takes the same Weir' nerdy writing style, again with a very lonely protagonist and the rollercoaster plot. This time, I have big doubts that a film adaptation would be a similar success, due the complex narrative and scope.
  • Foundation and Empire (by Isaac Asimov) (6) : the second book have two different stories and is less interesting due the lack of the main characters from the first book. Of corse, it takes places centuries after the first book' events. The new characters are all nice, but the Hari Seldon previsions becomes both too mystical and precise to my taste.
  • The Miracle Morning (by Hal Elrod) (4) : I heard about it while listening the Jeff Goins podcast interviewing the author. He mentioned coming to Brazil to advertise his new book and discovering a huge fan base. So why not try. I found a very obnoxious self-help book about waking up early, do some exercises, meditate and suddenly one would become 999% more productive.

From previous years but not yet mentioned (and worth mention)

  • It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work (by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson) (10) : Like Remote, it’s worth to re read periodically.
  • The Name of the Wind (by Patrick Rothfuss) (10) : Kvothe’s early stories are fascinating. The universe blends Harry Potter with Lord of the Ring, with a very likable cast of characters.
  • The Hate U Give (by Angie Thomas) (8) : read years before the Black Lives Matter movement, is still a valid story about racism and police brutality. I’m yet to see the movie adaptation.
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (by Stephen King) (7)
  • Judas Unchained (by Peter F. Hamilton) (8) : the second book, just after the events of Pandora’s Star. Breath holding.
  • How To Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days, and survive to tell your story! (by Mike Coville) (7) : dogmatic but can serve as a powerful inspiration.
  • Artemis (by Andy Weir) (7) : first Mars, now the Moon. The this sci-fi story is well grounded in science and the protagonist is tenacious and
  • The Wise Man’s Fear (by Patrick Rothfuss) (5) : the The Name of the Wind’s protagonist transformed from a poor underdog in the first movie to a almighty demigod. There are basically no impossible obstacles that are solved a couple later.

For more books, you can check my online read list on GoodReads.