Decision Making at an Epic Scale

We are all made up of our decisions.

Where we want to go, what we want to do, who we want to spend time with.

Should I take a left, should I go faster, should I stop.

Should I buy this, should I study, what should I study.

Should I hang out with these people, should I respond this way to this person, is she the one?

The more decisions we make, the better we get at it after facing their consequences.

There is a war going on for your mind
If you are thinking, you are winning

from We Are Winning by Flobots

Having played lots of games when I was younger, I think the situations I face in games forced me to make decisions in an accelerated pace, so compared to someone who does not play games, they won’t need to think of things like “what happens if there was no industrial area in a city?”, “what are the possible permutation of things that can happen if I did this?”, “How much hull space should I have in order to make the best profits?”, “What happens if Aliens did invade us?”, etc.

I’ve listed out 10 things that I’ve learnt from the games that I’ve grown up with. Hope this gives you a better understanding of the value of games.

1. Demand & Supply

Games: A-Train, Simcity 2000, Transportation Tycoon

A-Train
A-Train

This is the first ever game that I stayed up all night to play. You can see the gameplay here. I think this is also where my love for jazz started as what sounded like Dave Brubeck’s Take five was a key soundtrack in the game.

SimCity 2000
SimCity 2000

SimCity have got to be the game that many grew up with. City planning, zoning areas for residential, industrial and commercial, planning roads and balancing the supply and demand to make sure the city grows into a metropolis.

Transportation Tycoon
Transportation Tycoon

This is a more advance version of A-Train and it really makes you think about meeting demand with supplies from all across the land. Building trains to bring iron ore to steel mills then bringing steel to factories to create goods to grow your towns. With a mix of trains, busses, planes, its a full time job.

I think this is also the very first multiplayer game I played, but can’t really recall how I hooked it up and who I played with. You can play it too as there is an open source version of it now known as OpenTTD, you can also play online at play-ttd.com in your browser if you like.

2. Teamwork

Games: Pardus, Minecraft, L4D2

Pardus
Pardus

After browsing a copy of FHM, I was introduced to Pardus and got hooked after experiencing my very first MMPOG. Its basically a browser based space economy game. It’s tiled gif art at its best at that time.

I remember working out timezones and planning for raids with people from all over the world. Social engineering, double crossing, working real life diplomacy, omg… it was awesome with just limited turns per day. With it being a browser based game, lots of page refresh was happening. The low tech-ness was part of its beauty. Its still there and ticking. Go try them out. It was so amazing for me that I setup an in-character online news site known as The Tiacken Tribune and even engaged in-game journalists to report the happenings all over the gif universe. Teamwork in and out of game. More awesomely I’ve also met the famous in-game character “Nathan Forrester” in real life when we both happen to be visiting Bangkok at the same time.

nickpansg in Singapore Minecraft Sudden Dawn Server
Minecraft

I found out about Minecraft properly after watching a documentary late 2012, tried it out and got hooked. The best part of it is working together to build a town. You can read more about my experience here.

Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2

I’m introduced to L4D2 by a few colleagues of mine and after trying it out in the office, we spent a few nights working together and killing zombies for a number of weekends. Good times.

3. Geography, Map Reading, Situation Awareness

Games: Uncharted Waters, Battlefield, GTA3

Unchartered Waters
Unchartered Waters

For the first time in my life I know where Lisbon is in the world. I traveled the world and even ship wrecked in the cold seas. Bought spices from India and traded them in Europe.

Battlefield
Battlefield

Never really got into Counterstrike, but Battlefield was really neat. Such First Person Shooter games force you to have good situation awareness. You need to know where north is, where places are. This whole plan view orientation in you mind is a map reading skills many of my lady friends lack somehow. Maybe they don’t play enough of such games.

4. Taking Risks

Games: Starcraft, Civilisation

Starcraft
Starcraft

The one game that stood the test of time. Released in 1998 it became the primary Real Time Strategy game for more then a decade. A big lesson from Starcraft is that you have got to take that risk and start your second base at some point. The longer you try to build that one perfect base, you will be swiped out in no time when you opponent is mining resources and building units 3 times faster then you.

Civilization III
Civilization III

The turn-based game that made a generation of colonists. Making decisive diplomatic decisions is part and parcel of the game.

5. Resource Planning

Games: Uncharted Waters, Plants vs Zombie,

Unchartered Waters Trading
Unchartered Waters Trading

Uncharted Waters also had a trading element, so making sure your hull if full of goods is always a must before setting sail for the next port. However to make more money, you need more hull space.

Plant Vs Zombies
Plant Vs Zombies

PVZ quickly throws you into resource planning mode as there is always just enough “sun” power to allow you to plant your plants to fend of the impending zombie horde.

6. Thinking Ahead

Games: Tetris, TripleTown, World of Goo

Tetris Classic
Tetris Classic

This is the classic version of Tetris I got hooked on. This enchanting game with its mesmerising Russian tune occupied my mind even when I was not playing the game for quite some time. To play it well, you simply need to be able to visualize what you are going to do in the next few steps.

Triple Town
Triple Town

3 grass makes a bush, 3 bush makes a tree, 3 trees make a house and so it goes. The space planning is easy, the tough part is figuring out 5 to 10 steps on.

7. Motivation

Games: Diablo II, Diablo III, Borderlands 2

Diablo 2
Diablo 2
Diablo 3
Diablo 3

Dungeon looting, click fest is what Diablo is known as. You keep killing monsters, keep looting chests and keep leveling up. The whole motivation of going to the next level is always there.

Borderlands 2
Borderlands 2

Very much like Diablo, Borderlands 2 is also a dungeon looting game. However, the art of it makes it an amazing experience.

8. Perseverance

Games: Karateka, UFO:Enemy Unknown (X-Com), Ultima

Karateka
Karateka

Back in the good’ol Atari days, I played Karateka at my cousin’s place. Level after level, it keeps getting more difficult. Have to just keep going and hope you beat all the bosses.

X Com
X Com

I believe I got stuck quite a number of times while playing XCom. So just need to keep at it and keep trying to pew pew the aliens away.

Ultima
Ultima

To me Ultima was borderline Role Playing Game and Sandbox. At times, I got no clue what to do next. Back then there was no wiki or walk thrus to refer to.

9. Troubleshooting

Games: Any game that required you to edit CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT

Edit Config.sys
Edit Config.sys

In the Pre-Pentium, 386, 486 days, before being even able to start playing a game, you need to make sure you have configured the computer in a certain way. Those who have done this, please comment below and don’t tell me I’m the only one who did this.

10. Getting a Wife

Game: Romance of Three Kingdoms 2

Romance of 3 Kingdoms
Romance of 3 Kingdoms
Romance of 3 Kingdoms
Romance of 3 Kingdoms

Yes its true. RTK2 thought me how to get a wife and I’ve blogged about it here.

Summary

So here is it again. The 10 things I’ve learnt from games.

  1. Demand & Supply
  2. Teamwork
  3. Geography, Map Reading, Situation Awareness
  4. Taking Risks
  5. Resource Planning
  6. Thinking Ahead
  7. Motivation
  8. Perseverance
  9. Troubleshooting
  10. Getting a Wife

So what about you? What have you learnt from games?

I want to ride my bicycle this 30 Mar

#safecycling
#safecycling

Slow down and don’t langgah (bang) pedestrians. A public service announcement on #safecycling from me.

As many of you know, OCBCCycleSG is going to happen again real soon, end of this month actually! For adults they have the 27km, 40km and 59km challenges which flags off start at the wee hours of 30 March. If you want to find out more or sign up for it, go to ocbc.cyclesingapore.com.sg.

I’ve always wanted to go for it but its either I have to travel, I’m unwell or I need to be somewhere… THIS YEAR i’m finally going for it with my brother and I have 2 EXTRA TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY! Woot!

All you need to do is go to ocbc.cyclesingapore.com.sg, see which one you want to do (27km or 40km) and let me know here in the comments and if you heng heng super lucky, I will GIVE YOU the 2 tickets. No promocode, voucher or anything, just absolutely free tickets. :)

Also just FYI, @OCBCCycleSG is also running an Instagram #safecycle contest and all you need to do is post a photo on Instagram about safe cycling with #safecycling then you stand a chance to win something. You can see the entries here. The picture above is mine, such good advise right. :)

Divine Intervention

Partners for life
Partners for life

Many people tell me I’m very lucky to have Pearl as my wife. She cooks super well and hosts some of the best home parties. She is so proactive that she have already fixed situations even before I know there was an issue. She manages the home finances well and simplifies complex bills for me. She looks amazing even after having three kids, have such a positive attitude and is constantly joyful. Her sixth sense is super powerful as she can read people very accurately, great ability to have in the team. The list goes on and some things she will be embarrassed for me to share :P

She always look happy when she is cooking
She always look happy when she is cooking
sexy mama
sexy mama

So is there a way to find such a good wife my friends always ask. I don’t really know how to answer this in a simple way, as to me it’s divine intervention. I explain this to my friends all the time and tell the same story, so I’ll write it down here and hope it benefits others in some way.

Romance of 3 Kingdoms
Romance of 3 Kingdoms

It all happened back in Sec 2 one day when I’m playing Romance of Threee Kingdoms 2 or RTK2 on my PC. You see, at the start of the game you can create your own character. I keep trying to create the perfect character and no matter what, I’m always not perfectly satisfied. Then during the game, I’ll save the game and only to reload the game from previous saved games if I’m not happy with how the game played out.

Romance of 3 Kingdoms
Romance of 3 Kingdoms

Then It dawned upon me. In the future when I’m choosing my wife, i’ll have similar issues, the only thing is that there is no save and load, also changing to a better one when a better one comes along is definitely not the way to go too.

How will I ever be satisfied with my choice. How will I ever be happy with my selection.

At that time, my elder sister also got her heart broken a few times and to the 13 year old me, it seems this whole BGR thing is super difficult. How will I ever figure it out.

So I decided to pray. I decided to entrust the whole wife selection process to the almighty. It was an ernest prayer and it would have been the most ernestest of ernest prayer at that point in my life.

There was peace. I knew I will not need to make this difficult decision of finding a wife, I knew deep in my heart that when my future wife showed up, I’ll know. How? I’m not sure, but i’m very sure I’ll know.

At the back of my mind, I imagine her to be a colleague at work. She would be smart, she will know what needs to be done and we will be enjoying each other’s company at work. There will be lunches, there will be laughs, there will be flirting and we will eventually get married and have kids. The 13 year old me back then thought this could be how it would happen, so no rush.

Just after the O-Levels I hung out with Leo from my secondary school a lot. The main reason was because we went Ice-Skating together, we went like every other day. Then during one of our skating sessions, he told me he will be meeting a friend after and was happy for me to join and I did.

I stretched my neck towards the frosted glass from inside the ice-skating rink to get a better look and saw her. She too bent forward a little from the outside to get a better view. She had short curly hair, happy cheek bones, youthful pimply face and a joyful smile. I thought nothing much about her as Leo always had good looking female friends and this girl looked average. This was the first time I met Pearl.

The 3 of us took the MRT from Dhoby Ghaut station to Bishan to have something to eat I think. I can’t really remember any details more than that. But what I remember clearly was that I said “Bye ?? (elder sister in mandarin)” at the end and that felt weird. She was older then me, but I do have an elder sister and calling Pearl ?? just felt super weird.

The next few days, I kept thinking about her, I can’t explain it, I just wanted to see her again.

I managed to get her number from Leo and asked her out to ice skate with us and she thought since Leo is a good guy, his friends should be ok too so agreed to come out. I held her hand while she learned how to ice skate and that was really nice.

A month later, Pearl was my girlfriend.

Our first ever digital photo together
Our first ever digital photo together

It was super strange, super strange to everyone even ourselves. Pearl’s friends did not understand as they knew her well enough that she will never date a dunno who just after a month. Also, being the geeky computer guy who never dared talk to a girl, its quite impossible for me to be able to convince a girl to be my girlfriend.

But somehow, we are a couple. A young couple, but a couple that believed that this relationship is much more than just girlfriend boyfriend. We both felt that if its not for marriage then we are both wasting our time, so we somehow worked toward it.

Till this day, I still can’t explain what happened in those first few months when we started seeing each other. All I can remember was trying to figure out holding hands, sending her home from school everyday and thinking about almost nothing else other then her.

It was love at first sight, but more importantly I believe my prayer have been answered and God sent me my wife.

My partner my wife
My partner my wife

We got married 5 years later.

A few years into the marriage, we both grew older and wiser, we started to loose the care free young couple in us and we became family building partners. Pearl became a mom three times over, had changing responsibilities at work and liked many different new things along the way which made her who she is today. Also with her in my life, I’ve changed so so much. Used to be a grumpy introvert, but now a lot more cheerful and friendly all thanks to Pearl.

So glam
So glam

In retrospect, as a teenager back then If I choose my girlfriend based on my own understanding, I would have never been able to predict what we would both be like today. I’m sure both of us will continue to change even after being together for 20 years, but I’m very sure its just going to get better. You see, I did not choose my wife, God sent her to me, so he already know all the things in the future and from his infinite wisdom, Pearl is the one for me.

On our honeymoon 1999
On our honeymoon 1999

She is really an angel that was sent from above. It can happen to you too, all you need to do is pray for divine intervention.

Brunch in NY
Brunch in NY

Love you many many much Pearl. Happy Valentine’s day in advance.


This post is part of a Valentine’s Day series, brought to you by Daddy Matters.