Heroes of the Storm should not be streamed on ESPN

I was pretty excited today to watch Heroes of the Dorm, a Heroes of the Storm tournament hosted by Bliz­zard.

I was a little bit confused when, part-way through the day, I saw a tweet that said Heroes of the Storm was now live … on ESPN3.

I figured they were trying something new, and were moving on to a broadcast station instead of just streaming it on Twitch and YouTube like normal eSports. I heard that ESPN had streamed DotA2, so I assumed that it wouldn’t be that bad.

When I expanded the tweet, the first thing I noticed was that there were a bunch of people tweeting at Blizzard about how they weren’t able to access ESPN from their country. I was a little disappointed that Bliz­zard had selected a streaming platform that wasn’t open to everyone in the world.

Regardless, I opened up the stream and waited a little bit for it to load up. I tuned in during the middle of the game, and noticed that the stream felt incomplete.

Upon further scrutiny, I realized that ESPN had essentially removed a lot of the user interface from the broadcast.

More specifically, there was no mini-map, no detailed information about heroes and their health, and no map-specific mechanic counters. Some of this information was somewhat present, but it was over­sim­pli­fied and unintuitive.

At this time, I tweeted:

(The full two tweets might not appear if you have Javascript disabled in your browser.)

I kept watching and it felt as if the casters weren’t allowed to get excited. They were spending a lot of time trying to make the gameplay as easy to understand as possible, and ended up going down as low as to say things that would’ve been obvious, even to someone who had never played Heroes of the Storm before.

To expand on why it’s so bad not to include the mini-map in the broadcast, ESPN basically treated Heroes of the Storm like a physical sport. Physical sports are fine to broadcast like that because there is only one ball, and the camera just follows the ball around.

Using the ball analogy, there are basically four balls in Heroes of the Storm at the same time. Of course, you can’t follow all four balls around at the same time, and doing a split-screen type of broadcast wouldn’t be the best because the individual quarters would be too small and unpleasant to observe.

Instead, the mini-map needs to be broadcasted so viewers can get a feel as to where the other “balls” are on the map, and how the “balls” are being played. If this information isn’t provided, the game feels suf­fo­cating and the viewer feels as if they can’t see the big picture of the game.

As for the lack of detailed information, I understand that someone who has never watched eSports before tuning into ESPN would get overwhelmed by all the information on the screen. But, eSports relies heavily on small calculations that aren’t present in physical sports (for example, it’s very likely and common for eSports fights to go down to the last several hit points, and for that to change the outcome of the game, but in physical sports, taking a step two inches too far will pretty much never make any difference).

Overall, I’m pretty upset that Blizzard passed on the Heroes of the Dorm broadcast to ESPN, rather than running it themselves (or with a professional eSports broadcasting company) who actually know how to ca­ter to an eSports audience.

The bright side to this is that this is the first day of the first ever “official” Heroes of the Storm tournament. I trust Blizzard enough that they have quality assurance analysts who are able to identify these problems, and hopefully they’ll be quick enough to make enough improvements before the next broadcast.




Trying out Cities: Skylines

I thought simulation games, like Sim City, were easy.

My experience today with Cities: Skylines made sure it was absolutely clear that they are not at all easy – at least not for beginners who have no idea what they’re doing.

I decided to try out Cities: Skylines because I’ve literally never played any simulation games before, and I wanted to try it out. I expected my experience to be very relaxed and easy – just build some roads, con­struct some buildings, and watch my city grow.

I had to completely destroy and restart my city three times before finally managing to figure out how not to immediately go bankrupt.

Cities: Skylines really puts your city management skills to the test. It starts you off easy, only having you manage a few utilities, but as your city grows, you need to keep track of everything that you would need to survive in real life.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stream my first experience with Cities: Skylines because my streaming software appeared to have some conflicts capturing the game. (When I did a window capture instead, I lagged so much that I think I had about 6 FPS. I already have pretty low FPS when playing Cities: Skylines without streaming, on minimum graphics settings.)

Steam says I have about four hours of game time on Cities: Skylines so far, and in those four hours, I built five cities (three of which no longer exist due to bankruptcy).

The first city I built that managed to stay alive reached almost 2.5k population.

The second city I built was with the infinite money mod, and served the purpose of easing my curiosity as to what the mid-game was.

I stopped playing when I realized I was getting overwhelmed and needed to take a break.

I feel like Cities: Skylines is a much more stimulating game than I originally thought it was, but I think I need to read up on it and do a lot of research on the intricate workings of the city before being able to fully enjoy the entire simulation experience.

This game received quite a bit of hype when it first came out because a lot of people said it was the better version of Sim City that everyone wanted.

I haven’t been completely captivated by the game yet, but I do feel like my first experience with it was positive, and I did have some fun. Although it won’t be a game that I will play on a regular basis, it’s definitely something I’ll boot up once in a while when I have some spare time.



Hard boiled eggs do, in fact, explode in the microwave

I spent the day at home today.

Before my mom left this morning to tend to the family business, she left some food for me in the re­frig­er­a­tor. It was tteokbokki, which is Korean-style rice cake with seasoning.

A lot of different stuff can be added in with the seasoning; my mom decided to put in some garlic, other boiled vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs.

I decided to eat this tteokbokki for lunch.

I mindlessly removed it from the refrigerator and put it in the microwave for two minutes.

A minute and a half later, I hear an explosion.

I realize that a hard-boiled egg had blown up.

Remembering too late that hard-boiled eggs explode in the microwave, I grudgingly get some paper towels and wipe down the inside of the microwave, dabbing at the remains of the splattered egg yolk. I yank out the rotating tray and wipe it down with a wet rag. After a handful of minutes, everything is cleaned up and ready to be used to continue heating my food.

But I’m not as retarded as you might think. I carefully inspect the food and find another hard-boiled egg. I furiously hack at it with my chopsticks until it’s in 12 different pieces. If there’s no albumen encasing the yolk, there obviously is nothing there to hold in the pressure and explode.

I put everything back in the microwave and set it for another two minutes.


I spend another five minutes re-cleaning the inside of the microwave.

Before putting the food back in the microwave for a third time, I just completely remove all the egg from the bowl and furiously let it fall in the trash.

There was a third egg hiding under the tteok.

I cleaned my microwave

three times




Yesterday, I vomited for the first time in four years

In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been out of action for a little bit, it’s because I’ve been sick since yesterday.

Apparently, something I ate on Wednesday night wasn’t safe – possibly some reheated pasta or some old bacon – and it upset my stomach. Enough that I randomly woke up in the middle of the night and vomited for the first time in literally about four years.

It appears like I got a stomach virus that is preventing me from digesting food, because, ever since I ate this morning, I’ve felt full all day, and the liquids I’ve been drinking seem to be sitting inside of me and sloshing around whenever I move.

So, I’ve been laying at home since yesterday, busily being sick. I start feeling a bit better when I go outside and get some fresh air, but then I rapidly become dizzy again and return to my bed.

I’ve been spending most of my time on my phone, browsing through Twitter, Instagram, reddit, and other sources of interesting content. I’ll probably be spending most of the weekend watching the North American League Championship Series (assuming I’ll be un-dizzy enough by that point to be able to look at my laptop screen for extended periods of time).

I’m hoping I’ll be better enough by at least Monday so I can start posting some more content and get back to my regular daily routine, but that’s not really a guarantee, so expect me to be missing for a little while longer while I recover.




Keumgang Martial Arts receives Diversity Award from Mundelein

Earlier today, Keumgang Martial Arts Academy, which is where I train taekwondo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, received the 2015 Diversity Award from the Village of Mundelein.

I went with the owners today to the reception and ceremony and shot video of the owner’s speech. That video is available on their YouTube channel:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YlJIGL9iKo

I also have a few photos from the event as well. The one I decided to post is of the owners holding the award with village staff, along with parents and students.

The framing of the photo looks a little strange and tight because I cropped out the young students who were sitting on the ground in front of the adults. (I removed them from the photo because there are some liabilities that go along with publishing photos of children that I prefer not to deal with.)

If you’d like to congratulate them, feel free to do so in the comments section of that video.



Four arsonists in Town of Salem and they still lose

Ed and I have been playing a browser game called Town of Salem lately.

Every time I get arsonist, I always win. As for the other roles, I’m still in the process of figuring out how to play the game.

Possibly as a side effect of that, Ed believes that arsonists are a little bit OP. Usually, when I’m an arsonist, I’m either solo or with one partner.

This particular game, there were four arsonists. And they lost.

Apparently this was a very historic event, so Ed told me to take a screenshot of the game.

… So here it is.



Snowflake-shaped ice crystals on my window

I live in the Chicagoland area, and as you may suspect, it gets pretty cold around here during this time of year.

I had my car parked at our family business’ outdoor parking lot, and when I went back out, I noticed that snowflake-shaped ice crystals had formed on my window.

You can sort of see them in the photo above, but I recommend clicking on it to view it in its full 2048 by 1152 pixel high-definition glory (you might have to click to enlarge it once again after you open the larger file, because some browsers resize images too big to fit on your screen).

It’s actually pretty interesting, and I’ve never seen something with such detail form on a car window before.



My irresolute resolution

I’ve never really liked new year’s resolutions.

I personally think it’s silly that you should set goals based off events, rather than off your own schedule.

I make goals for myself on a regular basis, as the opportunities arise, as I see fit. I think it’s suboptimal for the concept of new year’s resolutions to even exist in the first place.

What’s so special about a new year? Why not make new month’s resolutions? Are there such things as new decade’s resolutions, that hold more gravity and magnitude than new year’s resolutions?

If I realize half-way through November that I need to change something in my life, I’m going to set my goal on the day I make the realization; I’m not going to wait until January 1 of the following year so I set my “upcoming change” as my new year’s resolution.

In a way, I guess I do make new year’s resolutions.

But I also make a lot of new day’s resolutions, and my new year’s resolutions don’t necessarily correspond with the start of a new year.

They’re just resolutions.

It must just be the way it’s worded – a new year’s resolution implies that it’s something one will work on this year. It slightly irritates me that this person will work on this resolution this year, but not for the rest of his or her life. Maybe if they were called “life’s resolutions,” I would like them better?

Or just … resolutions.

As I click the “Preview” button on this blog post to look at what I’ve written so far, I see an advertisement for weight loss below this text – a before and after picture, where the woman in the “after” picture is quite obviously not the same woman from the “before” picture.

A countless number of people set weight loss as their new year’s resolution; maybe the hype behind new year’s resolutions is just a marketing strategy?

Unfortunately, not everyone is as critical as I am, and not many people share my opinion about new year’s resolutions.

I’m sure that, sooner or later, someone is going to ask me what my new year’s resolution is. If someone asks me online, the solution is simple – I can just link them to this blog post. But, in person, it becomes a bit more tricky.

In order to prepare for that, I decided to come up with a new year’s resolution to use for these particular conversations.

My new year’s resolution is to act more spontaneously.

I have a habit of planning things out in excess, preparing for a plethora of possible outcomes rather than just a few realistic ones. This sounds funny after what you’ve just read above, (the fact that I’m preparing for an in-person conversation that might not even happen,) but as much as it is ironic, it proves that this is in fact a legitimate resolution.

I like to wait for the perfect moment to do something, when I’m done thinking about everything that could go wrong, and preparing my mind and body for what will happen. Some might say that this is merely a sophisticated form of procrastination.

There are some things to which I already act spontaneously. When I’m speaking publicly to a non-pro­fessional crowd with an intent to entertain, I tend to do much better when I don’t plan anything at all, and just start talking. My resolution is to force myself to do this for other things as well. I think it’s best de­scribed with an example.

Before I write a paper, I like to make sure that I won’t be distracted for the next few hours. I make sure that I’ve gone to the bathroom recently enough that it won’t bother me during my paper writing. I make sure I’ve eaten enough so I won’t get hungry while writing, but if I’ve eaten too much lately, I wait before starting so I won’t feel bloated. I make sure that any possible relevant resources I need are readily avail­able, even if the chance of actually needing these resources are near-zero. I make sure that there are no other urgent matters to which I need to tend before starting. I make sure that my thoughts are organized in my mind, so ideas from unrelated topics don’t cloud up my mental outline. If any of these conditions aren’t met, I reschedule my paper writing time.

In 2015, I want to just go for it.

Rather than waiting for this idealistic atmosphere to begin my work, I want to just start.

If you think about it, all the things that could possibly go wrong don’t actually have truly negative con­se­quences. If I need to grab a snack, I can grab a snack, then continue writing. If I’m not feeling well, I can write a bit, then take a break and continue writing later. If I don’t have particular reference materials I need, I can pause writing, search for the resources, then resume after finding them.

Is this a resolution that I’ll actually end up working on? I’m not sure yet. Do I even want to try and give up some of my meticulousness, which is a trait to which I attribute a lot of my success, and exchange it for spontaneity? That, I’m even less sure about.

At the very least, it’s something that I can respond with when asked about my new year’s resolution.