Kongregate: A collection of games

For those of you who do not have the bandwidth (internet or time) nor are hardcore gamers there are not many games (unless if you count the ones Facebook has to offer like Mafia Wars and Farmville).

Worry naught, Kongregate is here!!

The entire site is based like a game, and it is a collection of flash based games. RPG, Strategy, Multi-player, Adventure, you name it, you got it. Even for a hardcore gamer, I got addicted to quite a few games on this site.

A warning for office-goers though, you might get addicted to playing games!

Rise of Nations: Militia Rush

When I first heard about the idea, it sounded crazy. Crazy enough that it might just work!! Now kids, dont try this at home, you need a special set of conditions for this to work. You for one have to be Turks (since this strategy uses the Turks powers to the fullest). If your target happens to be Lakota (well you have hit the jackpot then!!)

Notice the above screenshot (its the 7th minute), what the Turkish player does is focus on booming, he builds many villagers (since they are cheap and fast), and gathers a decent amount of resources. With the surplus villies, he scouts for ruins. He ensures that he does Mil2 before he hits Classical age (that way not only military researches are cheaper, the siege is also available). On hitting Classical age, he builds not one but two siege workshops (since each workshop gives 2 free siege weapons for the Turks).

He also has ensured that he as a tower built, in Classical age, he researches Militia, which as we know is an extreme defensive tactic to fight an invasion.

(Contribution from Ameya Mane)

Build a senate and research Despotism. That way your villies get a +2 attack bonus. Also build a university in the background and have one scholar at least, this is your back-up plan in case you fail to retain the capital – in which case now you can safely boom.

Now, the money move … he gathers all his villagers and converts them into militia. That as his defense for his siege engines, he launches an attack on the hapless capital of his enemy. 7th minute, 4 siege engines … that’s fast.

Like all rushes, this move also depends on knowing beforehand the location of the capital and scouting.

Automating workflows

So you are stuck with submitting lots of data over and over again through a long web-based forms … sigh!! Wondering whether this can be automated.


You have entered into this community based competition where people register and vote on different entries (you see a lot of these competition these days … crowdsourcing the judgement to the community … another brilliant way out of making judgements!!), how do you win when your entry is hopelessly late and others are way ahead??

Well you see, all of these are workflows, and especially on a web environment they can be automated. The IT industry already does this, through regression testing. When they have to test and re-test the same thing over and over, they finally realized that an automated testing tool needs to be built which can do this task. Plus, we want to do this for free, right … enter open source.

I was tinkering with the open source regression testing tool, called Sahi and I realized the beauty of this application. Consider these scenarios –

  • A friend has participated in a competition. It is a crowdsourced competition where users register and vote for their favorite entries. Hmmm … all you need is a set of valid email-ids and voila!! From 500 votes to 2500 votes in no time!!
  • You are part of a web development team and in charge of testing all the minute details. The changes in the scope are coming left, right and center … you have to keep on testing the application repeatedly. Well, now its a one time thing!! Create different scripts for each functionality, and voila!!

Basically, if you are creative enough, and wherever there is a need to do something repeatedly, you can use this tool. Also, be on the lookout for captchas, I dont think it works with them.


If you have played the Fallout series and the Oblivion series, then you would know that Bethesda Softworks attempts at creating Fallout 3 was a botched up mess. The storyline was good enough, but the game itself contained so many glitches that gamers hardly got any smooth experience of game play. The game would crash so often that many would leave this game untouched.

That space of post-modern warfare which is FPS + RPG which was initiated by the likes of Halo (only hints of RPG) and Bioshock was left empty.

In comes Borderlands, a game by Gearbox Software. They have created this unique blend of RPG and FPS (its touted to be Mad Max meets Diablo). Interestingly Gearbox is no stranger to FPS games, with 6 contributions to the Half Life series, and massive contributions to Counterstrike … the company is a giant in the FPS series. They the elements well … shooting, crouching, crouch + jump, duck … they have a rock solid base.

The game is based on the planet Pandora (creativity at its peak, huh??), with the hero (to be chosen between a Rifle touting Soldier, a Sniping Hunter, a Covert Siren and a hulking Brick) searching for the mythical Vault and aliens. The search for aliens and Vault leads him onto many game quests and many more bosses which lead us to the uber-loot. The game designer did have a sense of humor … all the special equipment has funny comments written for us to figure out what the equipment does.

Borderlands has an interesting multi-player aspect where a player can complete certain plots of the game by himself, then go online and play co-op to complete the hard parts.

All in all a good smooth experience to play and it ensures you keep coming back for more. Give this a whirl if you are a CS and a Diablo fan!!

Guild Wars

I am a big fan of RPGs. Something about changing reality I guess. Diablo, Torchlight, Sacred … you name it, I have dabbled with that game if not played it to the fullest. Then came the era of MMOG (Massively Multi-player Online Games) … and MMORPGs were there.

Till date, I had always felt that India is somehow lacking on the bandwidth front. Not any more!! With decent enough speeds, we Indians can also indulge in a bit of online games. With winning titles like WoW, and free titles like 9 Dragons, 2029, etc. Which game to choose becomes a question.

Here I would seriously recommend Guild Wars … its your money’s worth. Its not a free game, but unlike its other paid brethren … GW does not operate on a pay per use model. You buy the game once, and you get to play it for a lifetime. It pawns WoW in this regard. With World of Warcraft requiring a good $20 a month. Which to some is expendable – the some being a good 21 million souls. With $40 for all the three titles, GW does score of WoW.

The reason why I am mentioning Blizzard so much is because a lot of people who have worked on GW have been Blizzard employees.

The game has a story line, but where the game stands out is the PvP area and its concept of guilds. Many players can be part of a guild, and there are many competitions between guilds. Players can choose different professions (Elementalist, Necromancer, Warrior, Ranger, Mesmer or Monk), depending on their professions their role in the battle changes.

The game play is simple and addictive. I havent finished the storyline (I only have 2 hours of my trial period left!!), but I am considering purchasing the trilogy.

All in all, awaiting GW2 and considering making this purchase.

Miro: Video going opensource

I am a hardcore VLC fan. For the past 6 years I have been using VideoLAN player without any complaints. I still dont have any complaint with it per se. In fact back in the days of my college, we used to say … when in doubt, use VLC.

What I am saying, is that its hard for any video player to get me to switch to it. I have tried many … but I find myself back to VLC for video and Winamp for audio. Until now. I had heard about Miro being an opensource community led player, had installed it as well … but I had not given it a whirl. I am glad I did.

Miro is a good replacement for VLC, it has community support, built-in downloaders (bittorrent as well!), a healthy set of video streams to download from … and all of then open-licensed (TED Talks, etc). It does take a bit more resources (which is probably why I will still use VLC for my laptops), but it simplifies the playlist management a lot.

Highly recommended that you give this a chance if you have an internet connection.

Resume tips: Putting the right foot forward

We always keep talking about customizing one’s resume to match the job we are targeting. In order to understand this better, I posted a question on the HR forums on LinkedIn.

Findings as follows –

  • If you are a Fresher
    1. Focus on projects and seminars, do your homework on these parts
    2. Do not forget your academics, and also the institute you are graduating from
    3. Extracurricular activities make a difference between a bland resume and a resume with a personality matching yours
  • If you are an Experienced Professional
    1. Relevant experience
    2. Team management skills
    3. Job stability
  • If you are aiming for a Senior Management position
    1. Leadership abilities and team building skills
    2. Richness of experience and high bandwidth of skills
    3. Crisis management

What do you think? Feel free to add to the LinkedIn discussion or through comments below!