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15th December 2019: The Big Bugs

It's been over four and a half years since I finished painting my 40K Marine army, which at the time was the only full army I'd ever painted for any game I've played. Of course, I then went and wrecked it by adding more models to that army that still need painting, so until today I technically had no armies completed.

However, that has changed with the completion of my 40K Tyranids, which has been pretty much my only goal in wargaming for the last year or so.

While I'm glad I've got them done (though I still need to varnish them before I use them), I am a bit underwhelmed at the final results. The reason I sigh is not even due to my shit painting skills, but rather that I wanted them to look a bit more wild and strange when lined up as a full army. The biggest problem is, in order to get them painted as fast as possible, I cut some corners on the large infantry units, and their colours are more dull and bland than what is evident on most of the other units.

I also messed up some of the other units, like trying to do something weird with the Hive Guard only to have them turn out looking like very pale sea creatures. I also chose dark red and light blue for the Shrikes, the last unit I painted, completely forgetting one of the Zoanthropes had already claimed that colour scheme.

But while I'm a bit disappointed, I'm very glad they're done, and I suppose they look alright for a bunch of models that I've mostly collected from ebay over the last 15 years.

I really do wish I enjoyed painting, or at the very least I wish I could do it much faster. It would make all the models I've still got to paint look a lot less daunting.

Hive Fleet Odium Tyranid Army

Hive Fleet Odium Tyranid Army

Hive Fleet Odium Hive Tyrants

Hive Fleet Odium Hive Tyrants

Hive Fleet Odium Primes, Warriors & Shrikes

Hive Fleet Odium Primes, Warriors & Shrikes

Hive Fleet Odium Broodlord & Genestealers

Hive Fleet Odium Broodlord & Genestealers

Hive Fleet Odium Carnifexes

Hive Fleet Odium Carnifexes

Hive Fleet Odium Lictors

Hive Fleet Odium Lictors

Hive Fleet Odium Tyrgon & Raveners

Hive Fleet Odium Tyrgon & Raveners

Though I've made some progress on the painting side, I can not take my foot off the gas, not when I have a bunch of other armies and teams still to paint across a bunch of different games. Case in point, I still have another army of Tyranids to paint, this time in 6mm scale. These poor little buggers haven't been touched since the 90s, so are going to need some serious work to bring them up to date.
But I figured while I was painting Nidz, I may as well get these done as well.

Epic Tyranids up next...

Epic Tyranids up next...

10th December 2019: What A Dreadful Dirge

Oh what a journey I've been on trying to find some comfortable way of playing Dirge Of Cerberus. As stated before, I bought this old PS2 game after finding out it was playable with keyboard and mouse. Yet no matter what I did, I could not get the game to play as I wanted it to, either on the emulator or my actual PS2.

Firstly, I tried to get the emulator to work using the game's built in mouse and keyboard functionality, but it just wouldn't have it at all. I even tried other USB plug-ins, that people had reported having some success with in the past, but they wouldn't work on my machine. Maybe they were built for a different OS.

So, just to make sure keyboard and mouse actually worked, I tried the game on my PS2. Sure enough, the controls do work, but the mouse moved so slow I could barely get Vincent to turn with several sweeps across my mouse mat. My newest mouse may have had more success, as it has way more DPI than the crappy mouse I originally tried, but the PS2 would not detect that one. Typical.

So back I went to the emulator for my third attempt at trying to get mouse and keyboard to work. In this attempt, I changed the bindings that were set up for the controller, and rebound them to the keyboard and mouse. Now this way worked, to a degree, as the game assumed it was still picking up commands from a controller. However, it was still impossible to control as using the mouse motion to emulate the analog sticks was all kinds of janky, with delay and weird stuttery movements all over it.

With no choice than to play with a controller, I thought I may as well use the emulator as I could get some screenshots that way. This too caused its own issues. Using the software renderer, the game looks as it originally did, but the frame rate was unbearable, even using all kinds of speed hacks. Using the hardware renderer, I could get the game to run at its original 50fps for the most part, and could crank the graphics quality up. Though this threw up a weird problem with the skydome failing to render properly on the right half of the screen.
In addition, no matter what renderer was being used, most of the cut scenes would display in slow motion. I would understand if the emulator was killing my computer, but the CPU never went above 30%, and the graphics card usage didn't go above 70%, so I have no idea what was going on.

Still, some cut scene slow down didn't really stop me playing the game, so I soldiered on as best I could. But, as I suspected I would, I grew more and more frustrated with trying to play a shooter with a controller, and after the Shelke and Azul battle about a third of the way through the game, I decided to call it quits. I just was not enjoying it at all. The Shelke fight in particular exacerbated the problem, as she could move around way faster than I could even turn the camera, making it really hard to keep track of her.
Though I beat her first time, my shooting accuracy was shocking, and I had to use most of my healing as she could easily hit me as I tried to track the camera around to find out where she was. I just couldn't be arsed to force myself through it, especially not as I originally watched all the cut scenes on the internet a good decade ago.

Weird background graphics

Weird background graphics

Shooting the shit out of some aircraft

Shooting the shit out of some aircraft

Vincent channels his inner Chuck Norris on this Deepground soldier

Vincent channels his inner Chuck Norris on this Deepground soldier

How does he actually remote control that thing anyway?

How does he actually remote control that thing anyway?

I wonder where they got the inspiration for that weapon

I wonder where they got the inspiration for that weapon

Defeating Azul

Defeating Azul

I desperately needed to finish a game to avoid equalling my worst game-completing year since starting this blog. As the PS2 emulator was warmed up and ready to rock, I checked some lists on the internet to see what other games for that console I had missed, that looked like they might be fun. One such game that popped up on a couple of lists was called What's The Switch?, based on a 2000s cartoon called Kim Possible. I had fairly vague recollections of the cartoon, but thought it would be interesting to pick it up as it had a link to Dirge Of Cerberus, being that Kim's voice actress, Christy Romano, also voiced Yuffie in that game, as well as a lot of other Final Fantasy VII stuff.
So while I might not be able to complete Dirge Of Cerberus, I could definitely give this one a try.

The game is a fairly simple action platformer, though with increasingly frustrating platforming elements. I'm not sure if it was the emulator, my control pad, or just the game itself, but many times when I tried to jump or use the grappling hook, there was a slight delay on the character actually performing the action. It was embarassing, and annoying, to repeatedly just fall off the end of a ledge I was running towards because the character did not jump when I pressed the button, even though she still had a step or two left of ledge space.
As the levels progressed, and more hazards were introduced like lasers to dodge, or moving walls or platforms to jump or swing to, I got more and more cheesed off with the controls.

The fighting parts were more entertaining, if somewhat very simplistic. This is understandable, as this is essentially a kid's game. Even so, if there was a selection of different enemies on screen, who all needed their own techniques to defeat, things could still get a bit challenging. The hardest fighting parts for me were easily when I was trying to fight a bunch of enemies in the foreground, while some untargetable enemies in the background were throwing things at me like grenades or missiles, which were easy to miss as they approached.

It seemed like all the voice actors from the cartoon reprised their voice roles, which was cool, but while it sounded like the cartoon, it really didn't look like it, as the graphics in this thing were shockingly shite. I think they'd tried to make it almost pseudo 3D in appearance, and the way they'd designed the characters in order to accomplish this really spoiled the whole look of the game. They should have really stuck to 2D sprites and made them really match the way they looked in the cartoon.

Still, it's a much needed game done, and one that only took a few hours.
Now, I'd better go and play on my PS4, as I bought it in October and I've not touched it yet.

Shego insults Drakken

Shego insults Drakken

Preparing to fight some ghost monkey things

Preparing to fight some ghost monkey things

It's a typical mind-swap story

It's a typical mind-swap story

Shego packs a punch

Shego packs a punch

Bad graphics choices

Bad graphics choices

I don't think legs bend that way

I don't think legs bend that way

Someone's been playing Trine

Someone's been playing Trine

Smashing the end boss's monkey machine thing

Smashing the end boss's monkey machine thing

30th November 2019: Roll Those Dice!

We've played some more games of 40K recently. The first one was a 1500pt game, and like before we just played a pitched battle without any special scenario or objectives, but we added back in relics, stratagems and warlord traits.
I wanted to see more combat, so I went with all the combat my Marines have, as well as adding more terrain to the table. Shooting still very much ruled the game, even if we both rolled much worse than our previous game. On one turn we got some good combat where my jump pack Marines crunched into some of Scoob's Boyz, but my other Assault Marines got mowed down after their Land Raider got destroyed.
Scoob withdrew after 4 turns, with a Shokk Attack Gun, some Boyz and some Gretchin left to face my scattered heavy weapons, my Captain and a single Terminator.

The first battle kicks off

The first battle kicks off

Marines and Orks clash in a rare melee

Marines and Orks clash in a rare melee

There were few survivors

There were few survivors

A few weeks later we lined up again, playing the same type of game but stepping up the points to 2000. The first couple of turns went well for my Marines, but the Orks pulled it back as they got into closer range. The Vindicator exploding on turn 3 took out a bunch of Marines nearby. Neither army had much left after 4 turns, but again Scoob decided to call it, as his Morkanaut, last Mek Gun and last Killa Kan all only had one wound left. I was ready to call it a draw, but he realised at the end he had been slightly cheating, allowing the Morkanaut to fire twice with a stratagem only meant for infantry, so he allowed me the win.

That's a lot of Orks

That's a lot of Orks

The almost empty battlefield

The almost empty battlefield

And today we played another 2000pt game. This time we added in 5 objectives, and were going to play to a victory point target, with the objectives each having a victory point score of 200. However, after just the 2nd Ork turn, so many of my Marines were destroyed that I decided to call it. I had some stuff left on the table to have a good pop at Scoob's infantry, but had literally nothing left to take on his completely undamaged vehicles. Scoob said afterwards that he's noticed whoever is getting the first turn is winning, which in my opinion has always been the problem with 40K. In 8th edition it seems even worse, as with all the re-rolls, auras, stratagems and the like, if you have a good turn, it's possible to kick out so much damage that the game can be over straight away.
It's just not really striking me yet as a game I really feel motivated to keep playing.

The battle 3 line up

The battle 3 line up

The Orks make short work of the Marines

The Orks make short work of the Marines

The painting very slowly continues, but I am nearing one of my big targets. In the last couple of days, I've started putting paint onto my last Tyranid unit. Yes, I'm going to have to do a lot of basing and varnishing before I can use them. But holy crap I can't wait.

Work begins on the final unit

Work begins on the final unit

At the start of the month, a couple of little things happened in the board gaming world. For starters, we played our first game of Marvel Legendary for quite a while. Facing Mysterio and the Clone Saga scheme, we ended up choosing a bad combination of heroes, who were quite expensive to recruit. We found it tough to get up our combos, especially as we had to discard down to 3 cards at multiple points. By the time we'd built up enough strength to start knocking down the mastermind, the villain deck ran out and we lost. Oh well, it was more of a refresher game anyway.

About the same time, I finally received this little beast:

Something to get our teeth into

Something to get our teeth into

When I originally pre-ordered it, I was only going to have to wait a few weeks for it. Ended up waiting 3 months. Not that it matters, as we haven't got round to trying it yet. But still.

16th November 2019: Blood Bowl Catch Up

<Old Stuff>

Since nearly all of my wargaming pages were lost in the switch to the new site, I've got plenty of old images and information that I can re-upload whenever I want. Or when I can be bothered.

I figure bringing this site up to speed with the state of my Blood Bowl teams and their adventures is the best and easiest idea to begin with.

Up first are the documents. These documents contain the results for all the Blood Bowl games that I have ever played with my mates over the years, with most of them containing match reports of varying levels of detail.

The following links are to downloadable pdf files.

Seasons 1-4 (1994-1998)
Game Report: Lightning Screws Vs The Stompers (9th August 1996)
Season 5 (2010-2011)
Season 6 (2013-2018)

Following on from the info are the images. This is a gallery of the seven teams I've fully painted so far, with my Skaven, Dwarves and Lizardmen teams still to finish.

Bloodknights Chaos Team

Bloodknights Chaos Team

Constructicons Human Team

Constructicons Human Team

Ellyrion Fantasy High Elf Team

Ellyrion Fantasy High Elf Team

Heat Wave Amazon Team

Heat Wave Amazon Team

Ladies Of The Might Dark Elf Team

Ladies Of The Might Dark Elf Team

Rotting Chimps Undead Team

Rotting Chimps Undead Team

The Stompers Orc Team

The Stompers Orc Team

21st October 2019: The Frustration Unleashed

I played the original Force Unleashed back in early 2010 on the PS3. If I remember right, I quite liked the early parts of the game, but lost interest later on with both the gameplay and the lore, as I didn't like how many Imperial enemies could neutralise your Force powers, when no such enemies existed in the films.

When the sequel came out, it got worse reviews than its predecessor, so I never considered it until I picked it up on sale from GOG about a year ago.

As I'd not completed a game for 7 months, I needed a fairly short game to get through, so went with this one. Well, I'm glad it was a short one, that's all I can say.

For a start, the keyboard and mouse controls that are supposed to be in the game do not work. I read online you have to disable all the controllers in device manager for this to work, but it did nothing for me. So I had to play with the controller, and its incredibly slow camera rotate speed. Urgh.

I also had trouble trying to unlock the frame rate, which in the original game is fixed at 30fps. I found a modified .exe, which did indeed let me run at 60. However, I had a lot of weird bugs and glitches in the game, especially going up elevators, which ended up being the fault of that modified .exe. So in the end I played with the original 30fps locked version of the game. But even that still threw up problems, as the cut scenes seemed to want to run at over 4000fps, and kept stuttering. I had to run RivaTuner to cap those at 30 as well, just to make everything work.

Even after getting it to seemingly run right, and using the original .exe, I still had some glitches and crashes. This was most evident in the level where the rebel fleet turns up at the planet Kamino, and you have to repel Imperial boarders in a hangar. Three times I had to clear that level. The first time, when the game told me to remove the boarding clamps, it crashed. The second time, I killed all the enemies, but the game never told me to remove all the boarding clamps, so I was just stuck in an empty hangar unable to proceed. Pain in the ass.

I really had no fondness for the story or characters in this game either. The original Starkiller at least had some character development. This clone of him is very one note, and very boring. I don't remember what Kota was like in the original game, but his constant orders and irritating tone really pissed me off while getting through this.

I supposed it doesn't really help that I'm really off Star Wars lately, ever since that ridiculously awful Last Jedi spoiled the entire franchise for me.
But at least it's a game done at long last.

Tickling an Acolyte

Tickling an Acolyte

Stormtrooper loses his head

Stormtrooper loses his head

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

Wrecking some droids

Wrecking some droids

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Fighting my way through to Vader

Fighting my way through to Vader

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Before playing Force Unleashed II, the game I had originally intended to blast through was Bloodrayne Betrayal, which had been installed on my computer all year just waiting for me to get around to it.

The first Bloodrayne game was one of the few games I ever bought for the PS2 back in the day, and though it was quite janky, I've always remembered quite liking it. Well, apart from the end boss fight, which took ages, that is.

I bought Bloodrayne 2 on the PC not long after finishing the first one, but for some reason that I can't quite remember I had trouble with the camera controls, and so ended up watching the story on Youtube instead. Thinking about it, I could probably go back to that one now and see if I can get it working. I could do with an entertaining Bloodrayne game after trying this one...

I so very much wanted to enjoy this, but alas it was not to be. It just seems that the entire game was made to frustrate me. My primary antagonist here was the backflip mechanic. Now, the controls for the game provide a regular jump button, and also a backflip button. This is a fact I have no problem with. However, while playing, if you change direction and immediately press the jump button, then Rayne will also do a backflip. So there I am trying to just jump around while slashing and shooting enemies, and the stupid dhampir just keeps backflipping all over the place. Drove me mad.

It did not help that I found a lot of my commands would be ignored, almost as if the game would not do one action until the animation for the previous action had completed. So if I tried to dodge just while Rayne was finishing up the last few animations of slash attack, then she would not dodge and I'd get hit. It sucked how many times I died to that.

The game became most annoying when I hit any kind of prolongued platforming section, especially after starting to play as the bird. When I play an action platformer, especially when I'm playing a cool character like Rayne, I just want to go thundering into enemies and smash some skulls, not fart about jumping over saw blades and avoiding spike traps.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when, on chapter 7, I started to get some hard crashes. I'd not really enjoyed the game up to that point anyway, and I promised myself a while back I would no longer play games I do not enjoy. The crashes just pushed me over the edge, and I uninstalled.

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

Been thinking a lot recently about buying a Playstation 4, mainly because the first part of the Final Fantasy 7 remake comes out early next year, and I'll need a PS4 to play it. In addition, there are a few other PS4 exclusives I'd love to play, like Horizon Zero Dawn and Spider-Man.

Some people may think it's an obvious choice to pick one up, but I think about my previous Playstation consoles, and how little use I've managed to get out of them over the years, and it just makes me wonder if I'd get my money's worth out of it. My worry increases when considering how much I've struggled to find game time even on my much-favoured PC platform all year.

So I guess in an effort to convince myself a PS4 would be worth it, I've been looking at picking up some old games on the previous consoles from ebay, just to try and get some use out of them.

Speaking of Final Fantasy 7, the first game I've found for the PS2 is Dirge Of Cerberus, which I never really fancied playing years ago, but immediately ordered recently when I found out it is playable with keyboard and mouse. That's pretty cool for the PS2. Granted, my plan will be to try and emulate it so I can grab screenshots, but my old console is always ready to jump in if needed.

My PS3, which will soon be entertaining some Deadpool hijinks, needed a little bit of TLC before I got any more real use out of it. After 10 years of barely any use, the battery on the motherboard had given up, and it no longer remembered the date and time every time I turned it on. This meant I had to take the whole thing apart for the first time ever in order to replace it.

Here we go

Here we go

The old thermal paste barely even covers the CPU

The old thermal paste barely even covers the CPU

There's the little devil

There's the little devil

12th October 2019: Tabletop Trickle

So after a few months off, I've recently managed to find a little time and motivation to continue my tabletop adventures. Firstly, back before my break, I managed to finish painting my two Tyranid Primes. In the last few weeks, I've been working on the second Tyranid Warrior unit, which I've been trying to paint in classic Space Wolf colours of blue-grey and yellow.
I've also undercoated the other Marines I put together, so I can crack on at some point with painting all of those. If all goes well, in a few months all my Nidz and Marines will be finished.

Tyranid Primes done

Tyranid Primes done

Warriors nearly done

Warriors nearly done

Extra Marines ready for paint

Extra Marines ready for paint

Scoob and I managed to squeeze in a game of 40K earlier today, which was actually our first one all year. In order to just try and remember how to play, we picked 1000pts and went at it in a pitched battle, using no warlord traits, stratagems or relics.

The battle became bloody very quickly, with both of us rolling very well for our random amounts of shots. My Devastators and Whirlwind, and Scoob's Mek Gunz and Shokk Attack Guns, all rolled massive numbers and shredded their enemies with long range fire. Despite loads of Orks stomping forward to meet the Assault Marines and Terminators, there was very little close combat. We definitely need some more terrain for fighting battles over at Scoob's or this might be the case in nearly every battle.

After three rounds, Scoob had two Shokk Attack Guns and 21 other Orks left to take on my Whirlwind, Devastator squad, Primaris Lieutenant and Apothecary. He decided to call it there, as the Shokk Attack Guns were now targetable by my missiles.

Marines and Orks square off against each other

Marines and Orks square off against each other

Back in June, we had our second attempt at Game Of Thrones Risk. I thought I'd do a lot better this time, what with actually knowing the rules and victory conditions. However it was not to be. Like the other two players in the game, I started with 5 reinforcements per turn, but Gareth started with a massive 9 reinforcements per turn. I took it upon myself to try and disrupt him before he got too powerful. Unfortunately, for the most part, the other players did not do this, and my war against Gareth's grey armies saw my little black dudes getting melted off the tabletop.

The game saw the reds, commanded by my niece, quietly take enough territory to become the strongest force on the map. Like Scoob did last time, this was mostly due to the conquest in the north. By the time the other players started to fully turn against her, it was too late.

I get smashed at Risk yet again

I get smashed at Risk yet again

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