Computer Games

Two Games

This weekend, I have been playing City of Heroes (Getting all the badges for the Halloween event), Champions Online (Roughly ditto). Today, though, I’ve been playing Torchlight and Monkey Island 5.5.


Torchlight is a game by Runic studios, who are formed from the half of Flagship Studios who wern’t working on Hellgate:London. This probably doesn’t matter to you.

It’s very much a Diablo-style dungeon raiding game. Left click to do one thing, right click to do another, head down the dungeon killing everything you see. Go down a level to go up a level. The gameplay is directly out of Diablo, but with a brighter and more cartoon aesthetic. Closest newer thing to relate the style to is probably Dungeon Runners. It has the same “Five more minutes” addiction level as the Diablos did, and a couple of enhancements on the genre (For example: You start with a pet, who also has an inventory. If your inventory is full, you can send the pet off to sell everything and come back). My main problem with the game – some twenty levels down – is that I’m kind of waltzing though the levels on Normal. You can’t change the difficult mid-game, and I may have to start again at a harder level. It also suffers from some of the weaknesses of Diablo-style games, the central mechanic being all there is. You get new tile sets and new monsters occasionally, but the plot’s not really stable enough to carry you though forever.

That said, it’s really easy to pick up for five minutes and resurface five hours later, and it’s £15 on Steam. There’s a demo up as well, which has the first half-dozen levels or so (and if you buy the full game, it converts your demo game into a full game save, so you can continue where you left off. This is Neat).

Tales of Monkey Island 5: The trial and execution of Guybrush Threepwood

Started playing it. Didn’t stop until it was complete. The ToMI series has been getting progressively better as the series has gone on, starting from somewhere just above MI4 and increasing. This, for a few things it does that subvert several graphic adventure tropes and then dance on them a bit, is the best one of the lot. I ended this, and now I seriously cannot wait for the next one. If you ever liked the Monkey Island games, you should probably be following this series.

Now, more Torchlight.


Wreck a nice beach

I decided to start playing with windows seven amnesty by speech systems, it comes to conclusion that what I should not do is to do the corrections are anything but a suppose something with a stream of consciousness and exactly as I am saying it’s exactly how is this translates into recognised speech.

This is not strictly fair, because I’ve given this next to no training and despite this it appears to be picking up what I’m saying quite well. + Finding the accessibility features of are you to be really helpful in this regard. I’m not quite sure why you picked ” are you” instead of I.e. It doesn’t appear to deal with initialization so well either.

Certainly in my be good for first after documentation but anything technical a it’s not take into account production and were expected to be.

Of course possibly am not speaking clearly enough for it if I deliberately speak slowly and clearly I suspect the results are by far better than what I’ve been getting before. Or possibly not.

Possibly I’ll get far better results of some training although it does seem to be quite good at being in control windows using voice of mass keyboard. Although I wonder if I can say switched to Cromer without it actually doing anything. Maybe I can.

Experiment ends.


A Series Of Irritating Events

Day Zero: Aquarion loses his Halifax bank card (1) whilst in Cambridge. He reports it as lost.

Aquarion is sad.

Day Five: Aquarion gets a new bank card (2). He activates and signs it.

Day Seven: Someone phones Halifax with the old bank card (1). Halifax cancel the new bank card (2).

Day Eight: Aquarion attempts to get some cash out of an ATM. This fails, and his card is retained. Aquarion learns of the events of day Seven, and is not happy. Halifax deign to give him some of the money from his account in cash form, and issue a new bank card.

Aquarion is Miffed.

Day Ten: Aquarion gets a new bank card (3). He activates and signs it.

Day Eleven: Aquarion attempts to use the bank card at a supermarket. This fails, though he gets to keep his card this time. Aquarion learns that when they cancelled card (2), they also reset his PIN.

Aquarion is Upset.

Aquarion is of the opinion that if you’re going to do this, you should FUCKING MENTION IT AT SOME FUCKING POINT. And says this, paraphrased. Aquarion asks when he will receive his new PIN.

Halifax explain that with the postal strike, they really can’t forecast that.

Aquarion is Angry.

Computer Games

Eurogamer Expo

I’m sitting outside the Eurogamer Expo 2009.

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly impressed. The whole thing is a series of large TVs with consoles attached, each group of five or six with a different game on it. In a few cases there was something to stop people sitting camped, but not very many. As a result, I didn’t see a great deal more than I would have done watching gameplay videos on the website. (I could have queued for a while and got to play a game when someone got bored, but there was more to look at).

Stuff I did see was God of War III, which looked pretty much the same as GoW I and II did, only with More Epic and More Blood (I watched someone rip out the eyeball of a cyclops, which was quite cool). I’d like to play it, but not enough to drop a few hundred quid on a PS3.

I got to play Star Trek Online too, in the form of a “Ground Mission”. Actually, I picked up the controller after someone who had completed the ground mission failed to be able to find the exit and walked away. After pacing the level for a dozen minutes (it was a small level) I did the same as him. Graphics look shiny, interface looks Star Trek, it does feel “right”. It was interesting seeing the similarities between it and Champions Online, which is on the same engine. I’d like to have been able to play it, but since I have a CO 6 month subscription, I’ll get a beta key at some point.

Finally, as I was wandering around the lower level watching people playing God of War III, I saw an entirely unattended, unlabelled XBox 360 setup with some kind of fantasy game on it. After wandering around for a bit, talking to some NPCs and getting a quest, I recognised the skills system from the PC Dragon Age Character Builder. This was Dragon Age for 360, which apparently still exists. I’d not have recognised it. I’ve been watching the DA PC development quite carefully, but for the 360 it’s almost a new game. The interface is far more console orientated (The PC version looks like BG2, the 360 more like KOTOR). There are a few issues with graphical glitches and camera views (I want to be able to see the thing that just dropped behind me and attacked), but it’s interesting how the interface has been entirely redone and yet remained the same game.

So, in conclusion, of the three games I saw in depth, one’s for a platform I’ve no intention of owning, one I have on preorder, and one I’ll see later.

I think I’m going home now.


Victoria Sponge try 1

Victoria Sponge try 1

Originally uploaded by Aquarion

8oz Butter + 8oz Sugar, and blend.
+4 eggs, and mix.
+8oz flour, and mix.

split into two cake tins.

20mins @180, and stand.

Jam and whipped cream.

If you don’t whip the cream enough, the entire top layer will slowly subside and leave the entire thing a creamy, jamy, but very tasty mess, which is what happened to this one thirty seconds later.



Let me tell you about my character…

Yesterday, five people met in a tavern, and were recruited for an adventure by a tall man in black.

I started LARP a few years ago while I was living in Bedford. It’s been pretty good for me in general, as it saved my sanity while I was there and has provided many hours of fun and a few dozen new friends.

Also, in direct oposition to stereotype, I have a girlfriend as a direct result of RPGs, which is always nice.

But that’s Live Action RP. I haven’t actually done the Tabletop version since I was about 14, and that was D&D DragonQuest, which has roughly the same Roleplaying level as the average game of Monopoly. It’s something I’ve always meant to do, but have lacked people around who wish to do the same. Having unlocked the local Geek Nexus as location, this is no longer true, and this weekend the Estemed Mister Cooke ran a game of 4th Ed D&D at said geek nexus.

Well, we started there. The Pembury has a live music licence roughly twice a year, and we picked exactly the wrong weekend to do our adventure, so we decamped to our flat to continue…

… and the lift broke down somewhere around the 13th floor. We did not end up playing D&D in the lift as we waited for assistance, because that would have been far too sitcom-like. We were rescued, life went on.

The thing CC ran yesterday was a pure hack & slash, no plot game with pregenerated characters, purely to get us to speed on the system. As it happens, this turns the game pretty much into a modern version of DragonQuest.

The Warcraft-Style-MMO inspiration for the new system is clear. All character abilities have been turned into Powers that you can use Whenever, Once per fight, or Once Per While. Combined with stuff coming from the other direction (From Tolkien to D&D to Every Fantasy Game Setting Ever), and together with the charsheets that the GM put together (precalculating the maths for our skill checks, weaponry and defenses) the game flowed pretty smoothly after the first few combat rounds.

It’s fun, interesting, and will be done again soon. With plot, this time. For the pregens, we had six page character sheets with pretty much everything on them, but this is the page of my notebook I was using to keep track of stuff:

D&D character tracking