[GAMING] Battlefield Hardline (PS4)

bf hd

EA has generously decided to send me up to HongKong (17-18 March 2015) for their Battlefield Hardline launch!

I’ll have a hands-on preview session as well as a group interview with Travis Hoffstetter, Senior Designer at Visceral Games.

I usually talk about the hardware I use, so it’s going to be interesting reviewing a game instead. From my experience and research, the Battlefield franchise is well known for its large team vs team battles (team size and map size – wise) as well as allowing gamers to pilot many different vehicles. Battlefield Hardline, true to tradition is set in a huge landscape, and will feature urban warfare.

Instead of having nation wars, Battlefield Hardline will have a cops vs criminals theme, and will feature new competitive modes and game modes. The Battlefield 4 single player was criticized for being somewhat weak, but in Battlefield Hardline, the single player mode is inspired by modern tv drama and promises to be extremely exciting.

So well, that’s it for the preamble. I’ll update with more information from the press event!

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the trailer and links =D

Get a piece of the action in the all-new Battlefield Hardline that brings you speed, strategy, and story.

Watch the official launch trailer for Battlefield Hardline: http://youtu.be/wI_sfiwYwd8

Battlefield Hardline will be available March 17 in Asia on Origin for PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Players can pre-order Battlefield Hardline now by visiting http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/buy or Origin at http://www.origin.com. Press assets for Battlefield Hardline are available at http://info.ea.com/products/p1478/battlefield-hardline.



[Click inage to check out the official dota2 blog post!]

TI5 is going to be upon us soon, and it’s never too soon to start planning a trip, because… cheaper air tickets!
I’ve been to all the TIs since 2012, and I’ve had quite a few people asking me about how much it would be and what to expect etc, so I thought I’d do up a post for people to refer to. I travel from Singapore to Seattle, and I prefer going by the Pacific Ocean route.

If you have any questions, or anything more that you’d like me to elaborate on, just comment and I’ll either reply, or add on in this post!

Expenses (At least SGD3,000, excluding food and expenses)
Air Tickets : SGD1,800 – 2,400
Accommodation : SGD800 for slightly more than a week
Local transport : Airport transfer – roughly USD 60 each way
Food : 20USD per meal
Admission : Estimate 200USD
Secret Shop stuff : up to you
Visa : SGD20

Air Tickets
I’ve travelled by Emirates, Delta and JAL. All of them have pros and cons.
I will personally try Asiana or Eva air next. I’m not keen on travelling in from Europe again though because that’s one big round.
I’d suggest that you get an international flight straight into (and out of) Seattle, rather than a flight into another USA airport followed by a domestic flight to Seattle, simply because I’ve had really bad experiences taking domestic flights. I had to wait 7 hours because my connecting domestic flight was cancelled, and on another trip, I had to wait overnight at another airport for my connecting flight after I was 10mins late for physical check in (I checked in online already ffs…)
I usually check out prices on skyscanner.com

I do recommend that you book really early, especially if you’re planning on getting a good location, or a popular hotel. August is the best part of summer in Seattle, and lots of people travel in during that period. If 2015 is going to be similar, the players stay at Bellevue for the group stages, and shift over to Seattle for the finals. If you’re only planning to go for the final event, then get a place in Seattle because travelling from Bellevue to Seattle is about 40mins each way. Bellevue is a really nice town though.
For TI4, I bunked in with 3 other people at an Airbnb apartment, and it cost us roughly 800 per person for more than a week.

Local Transport
Walking gets you almost everywhere in Seattle. I have walked from Key arena all the way to Pike Place, and back. In general, walking is friendly, the town is quite flat, weather is usually good during that period, save for some drizzles. The only transport you will have to budget for would be taxi to and from the airport.

Food in Seattle is GOOD. Oysters are great and I like eating their French cuisine. There’s a great variety for you to choose from, but do make sure to keep some of your budget and appetite for the famous Pike’s Place Chowder.
If you’re on a budget, there’s always the supermarket where you can get instant noodles or if your apartment has a kitchennette, you can do some basic cooking.

I’d suggest that you put aside a little more budget for admission, because ticket sales go really fast, and if you miss the release timeslot, you might have to pay a little more to get them off the black market. There might be different tiers of tickets as well, but I think a ticket on the black market was going for around 250 last year.

Secret Shop Stuff
I have never spent a cent on purchasing physical Secret Shop items, but I do know of people who spent thousands and thousands buying stuff for resale and such. You CAN survive the trip without spending a single cent there, and without queueing a single minute. But, WILL YOU?

Singaporeans are exempt from this, but you will still need to apply for an ESTA, which is a travel authorisation. I normally do so at this link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ and it remains valid for 2 years.
Some other sites charge more, I’m not sure why. So I just stick to this one. Approval is more or less instant, and you don’t need it to buy your air tickets. So, you can delay application until the day before you fly or so. (If you’re worried, then just apply earlier. After experiencing the process once, you’ll be clearer the next time.)

Places to Visit
– Pike’s Place, especially on a weekend. Eat the food (the chowder!), check out the first ever Starbucks.
– Aquarium and seaside walk. If you have some extra time to kill.
– Macy’s, Nordstrom etcetc. Lots of US brands downtown.
– The nearest LAN shop is very far away, and it’s called Game Clucks that’s over at 3333 184th St SW, Suite D, Lynnwood, Washington 98037. Here’s their facebook page, in case you REALLY need to play. https://www.facebook.com/GameClucksLynnwood I’d suggest just bringing your own laptop and using a wifi connection somewhere.
– the Space Needle, which was made more famous by InFamous.

Climate, Clothes etc
I’m chilled easily, but Seattle in the summer has really nice weather. TI4 was in July, and it wasn’t at it’s peak yet, but since it will be in August this year, you probably won’t see anything but blue skies and hot sun everyday. You should pack some extra warmer stuff in case though!
On a good, sunny day, I can go out in shorts and a long sleeved shirt, and a light jacket/cardigan.
On a moderately cold day (cloudy, no rain, but not much sun either), I’d be in jeans, a camisole with a long sleeved shirt over, and I’ll carry a hoodie for good measure. If it’s raining and cold, I’ll add a pair of tights/leggings under my jeans, and take a thicker jacket with a scarf.

TI 2012


TI 2013


TI 2014

The stage booths are, if I’m not wrong, the same ones that they used in TI2 and TI3. So, no banana, but you can use the booths for scale!

Lord of the Steakzz Part II (the Sparknotes version)


Sparknotes version, because it’s totally not cryptic.

It seems that without fail, every discussion about gaming in Singapore has to mention NS. I’m going to invoke problem solving quote #1: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Dude, that quote is meant to stop, like, ALCOHOLISM (let’s pin its failure rate on alcoholism just being a really difficult problem to solve). Surely it can be used to tackle what I dub the “e-sports and NS problem” (they don’t work well together).

Context: That’s the serenity prayer, and has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as a part of their program.

Just to prove that I wasn’t bullshitting. Also makes a nice frontpage photo.


Things you cannot change

– NS. It’s not going anywhere.

– Lack of wisdom. Yes, the first third of this quote essentially eliminates the need for the last third. We don’t have wisdom to know the difference. Whatever.

Yes. It’s not going anywhere.


Things that maybe can be changed

WOAH! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

There are two problems. One is very obvious. One isn’t. First, players in their prime who enter NS have difficulties keeping up with competitive gaming.

Second. Somehow or other, there are disproportionately more players pre-NS than post-NS. That kind of demographic is actually very different from many other first-world countries.

Why though? Let’s see possible reasons and think about how plausible they are.

#1 – Younger people just have more talent.

#2 – Pre-NS people just have more time.

#3 – Players who enter NS have to give up and never return.

#4 – Post-NS, most people have better things to do with their time.

They say it’s for career underachievers. It’s also a company I’d love to work for.


#1 is beyond my understanding, so I won’t discuss it. #3 is far too broad, but generally proven to be false, so I won’t discuss it as well.

#2 and #4 are actually closely related.

See, we’re in Singapore. There’s this thing called an “education” that takes up most of your time pre-NS. You’re really not going to be THAT busy when working (you ARE if you have a child, but “parents who play games competitively” are a VERY SMALL demographic in SG), or in University, unless (here I’m comparing the time spent in JC/Sec Sch vs. time spent at work or Uni for the same person):

(a) You’re making (or slated to make) a crapton of money (doctor, lawyer, investment banker), in which case, reason #4 applies.

(b) You’re underachieving in school.

(c) You’re not in school, in which case you have a short time before NS, so *bleh*.

(d) You’re too good for our education system, in which case usually reason #4 applies.

(e) You’ve fallen to a stream which gives you too little work (SOMEONE NEEDS TO REWORD THIS TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT).


It all boils down to reason #4. People have “better” things to do with their time after NS.


Lord of the Steakzz, Part I, talks about how it’s not NS. It’s the problems with giving the majority of power to people who fall into the above categories b to e. Here I have a different idea. Perhaps nothing needs to be done – it’ll happen on its own. Give the power to people post-NS. My grand bloghost (FURRYFISH) might advocate for more participation from female gamers. I advocate for more participation from older gamers who have “better” things to do with their time.

Because, seriously lah, one night, open one bottle, $200. One night, sit at LAN shop, $20. Best, go make a school of gaming called “Drunken DotA”. Got troll? Got rager? Got noob? Just unleash your drunken fury!

Maybe you can even have one on the house!

Worst case, all your friends call you no-life nerd. BUT THEN HORH, YOU CAN BECOME THIS NERD:

Recognize this nerd?



Games in Asia Meet Up

pic courtesy of Games in Asia

Was invited to speak on the panel of the Games in Asia Meet Up, which was held at the Wargaming HQ at Dhoby Ghaut MRT.

The time passed pretty quickly and I felt that certain issues weren’t discussed in detail, but I think that’s more because everyone had an opinion, as opposed to scheduling problems.

I noted down a few things in my book which follows me everywhere. I’m very big on writing.

QN : What do you think of eSports in Singapore?
I think that as with everything else in life, if you want something, you have to go ahead and get it. Those on top can only do so much for you, the rest of it is up to how much you want it, and what you’re willing to do to get there.
As a gamer you need to take yourself seriously, there has to be a level of professionalism. If you don’t even believe in yourself, that you can make a living and a future out of doing what you love, how are you going to convince everyone else around you?

QN : Is drive nature or nurture?
Drive isn’t something you can nurture. It comes with knowing what you want in life, and wisdom to know how to get there. Then all you need to do is create the opportunities, or wait for them to open up.
It all starts with WANTING something badly enough for you to go and do something about it yourself.
eg. Chawy isn’t exactly a personality, but he’s been finding a balance between knowing that his fans want to know more about him and being an excellent player.
eg. Ant doesn’t have the drive to succeed in gaming because he has other avenues in life that he would rather focus on, and that’s perfectly fine, by the way.

QN : Any tips on how to build the attitude that will lead to drive?
I think this is the million dollar question that everyone is asking. Even people in the Ministry of Education would like to know how to put drive into the kids nowadays. They can make it gradable, they can set up courses, but in the end, you can’t really build drive. And here in Singapore, everyone is just born with a silver spoon in their mouths, everything handed to them on a silver platter. There’s nothing to fight for. Everyone is just tagging along for the heck of it, and waiting for someone else to make the first move.

QN : Do we need the support of the government in Singapore?
As Jasper said, if you can’t even get something going on your own, why should the government set up something to regulate something that doesn’t even exist?
The government might be seen as an invincible entity in Singapore, but there are many aspects in which they cannot interfere with, your own desire and drive is one.
We can look at getting cooperation from the government, so that leave from NS, Schools, and work is easier, if we need to attend competitions, but what more do you really want from them? As Wanda mentioned, we have all the infrastructure, cheap LAN available, affordable internet, there’s nothing stopping us from doing what we want. As for 2 years of NS, a player who thinks about the game the most, is more likely to do better. Spend your book out time focussing on your game instead of your entertainment and life, spend your book in time thinking about strategies or memorising damage output, mana cost, skill upgrades, armour stats, reading changelogs etc (all of which iceiceice used to do in camp!)

QN : What is the first step towards getting one of the eSports regulatory boards set up in Singapore? (Jensen/Donovan)
I don’t actually think anyone answered Jensen properly on this one. I think it’s possible that we can do it Taiwan style – have a few organisations grow huge enough (eg, Asterisk*, iSg, SCOGA maybe… Scythe, FCG) and then decide to band together to become an informal regulatory board.
So Step 1 would be growing independant organisations to a level that they are influential, Step 2 would be getting them to cooperate with each other to form a board.

QN : How do you fix the misconceptions about eSports in Singapore? (Pokemon guy)
I really didn’t manage to catch this guys name, but I know he holds events for Pokemon. So to me, the greatest misconception not just in Singapore, but globally, is that eSports is for kids who like to play games. In actual fact, eSports is for adults (like any other career, or job), or for kids who can think like adults.

So these are the questions that I felt like emphasizing. I think that what Games in Asia is doing is great, and you all should go support them at https://www.facebook.com/GamesInAsia?fref=ts !

Looking forward to the next meet up, perhaps this time as a spectator =)

[Review] Alienware 18

I’ve been using the Alienware 18 for a few months now, and if you’ve missed my initial post on unboxing and first impressions, you can check it out here : http://furryfish.me/alienware-18-unboxing-and-first-impressions/

Before I start, I’d like to clarify what kind of user I am.
I’m a semi-pro gamer, that plays primarily DotA2. I have some games which I play leisurely, and they change according to my mood. They are : Hearthstone, FFXIV, World of WarCraft, Diablo3, SimCity. I’m a little past FPS games, but I do have a few versions of CounterStrike, Halflife and TF on my com too.

For those of you who are curious as to which set up I have, here are the specs.
I’m considering getting an SSD inserted, but not through Dell. Once I do that, my rating should go up!
But currently, it’s really fast anyway, and it doesn’t get me super high to have a quick start up. So I’m pretty happy as is!

system info windows ratingStreaming on Twitch is really fun, because I can put in 2 webcams! HAHA… ok I know that’s a little lame, but since there’s an integrated webcam, and I have my own c920 Logitech, I can do 2 angles at once.
other than that, here are my settings, and I’m not even pushing it. I normally stream on 1280×720, and my FPS is consistent, unless I tab out. (I use borderless windowed mode on DotA2)
It’s so powerful, that I can even leave FinalFantasy xiv on at the same time as DotA2, AND stream. Then, I switch between games (depending on whether I hear a FATE around the corner or not!)

streamhttp://www.twitch.tv/pmsfurryfish/b/479913586 Here’s a sample, if you would like to take a look!

Unfortunately I don’t really have much time to play other games, like titanfall or battlefield. Maybe IF I am sponsored the game or I get some time, I’ll test it out and add it into my review!

Customer Service
Nothing is perfect, and neither was my Alienware 18. I suddenly had a problem where the whole com would freeze and blue screen, and eventually it just gave up working on me, and I couldn’t use the factory reinstall disk cos some data was missing from it or something.

Whatever it was, I called up the tech support, and they tried to troubleshoot the problem over the phone. It didn’t work and they discovered that my mSATA died on me. Accordingly, they sent down a tech guy to my house to get it fixed up, and it was back to perfect working order within 2 days.

So, I’d like to commend their support, it’s really the best out there, really prompt and hassle free. When shit happens, it’s nice to know that they’ve got your back covered!




(dog and sheep not included)

Keeping everything I’ve said in mind, I’d now like to drop another bomb on you.
I hook up my BenQ monitor to my Alienware 18 and dual screen it, and play 2 games and stream.
What makes me sad about this is that I can’t fully maximise the refresh rate of my BenQ, because the 120/144Hz is only applicable when you connect using the DVI cable. The Alienware 18 only has a HDMI port.
HOWEVER! It’s still great to have dual monitors up, it’s technology’s gift to streamers. =D

(I know you can see my x51 CPU in the background, and yes, when I do use the x51, I use the DVI cable, for my BenQ monitor. )

All in all…
The Alienware 18 is a beautiful work of art. The design is reminiscent of it’s earlier designs, which I absolutely loved. (I loved my Area 51!), and when you use it as a desktop replacement, like I do, it’s perfect. When you’re just doing admin stuff, or surfing, you can detach all the wires and just carry it to your bedside and use it, and when you want some gaming action, just pop the wires back in and you’re good to go!
It is kinda large to carry around overseas, and to be honest, I have not managed to find a carrying case to fit it into. It won’t even fit into my cabin suitcase… So that’s a problem I’m going to have to solve.