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30th June 2017

A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.

16th May 2017

Finally got my pointing pictures up and into the Vault. Don't ask me why.

25th April 2017

Opened up a new section all for including stuff about the board game Super Dungeon Explore. There's not much in there yet until my own rules are finished, but hopefully will get some content in there soon.

Latest Blog Entry

Punting The Hunt

Computer Games Blog

This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.

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25th March 2017 - Come At Me Bro

After some sporadic attempts to get this game done, Scoob and I finally finished Broforce today. What a strange little game, full of chaotic action, explosions, and screen shake. For me, it was fun and frustrating in roughly equal amounts. It's a shame, as the developers could have added some simple options which would have made the game much more playable for me.

First, I found it annoying that you had to keep playing as random characters. I guess it made us play the entire roster, but there were some characters that were just totally pointless, and we hated using them. When you rescue someone, it should have shown you who it was, and given you the option of swapping.
There should definitely have been an option to turn off the screen shake as well. That shit got annoying quick.

There were a few other problems, like the annoying zoom out when fighting the last boss, so you could barely see where your teeny tiny characters were. There were also one or two bugs here and there, but the biggest problem was the length of the final hell level. We played through most of it a week or two back, then when we came to finish the game it put us right back at the start of hell, and we had to do the whole thing all over again. Totally stupid, to not at least put in some checkpoints.

Overall it was worth playing though, as it gave us a few laughs.

Rambro gets rekt

Rambro gets rekt

Brobocop upholding the law

Brobocop upholding the law

WTF is going on here?

WTF is going on here?

Seems like we have a bug hunt

Seems like we have a bug hunt

Slicing up some xenos

Slicing up some xenos

That's just gross

That's just gross

Release the hounds!

Release the hounds!

Special delivery

Special delivery

Punching Satan in the face

Punching Satan in the face

Pissing on Satan's grave

Pissing on Satan's grave

Back in January I logged into Tera for the first time in several months. I made a new character, the brawler Kallisto Blaze, just to mess around and give the game one more chance to win me over. Alas, it was not to be, and it has now been uninstalled.

Kallisto spins to win

Kallisto spins to win

Fisting an enemy

Fisting an enemy

Kallisto ready for action

Kallisto ready for action

17th January 2017 - The Aptly Named

I've never really been into console gaming, especially these last few years, but about a year ago I saw The Last Of Us for PS3 really cheap on ebay so went for it. I figured it would be worth a play through, as it has garnered huge amounts of praise amongst the gaming community. As I only really bought it because it is considered a "must play", and the PS3 is really old now, it's quite likely it is the last PS3 game I will ever buy. It seemed right, considering its name.

It's rare I get into games when first picking them up, and this was no different. I quickly started to stuggle with all the stealth sections, which I've never been a fan of in any game, and only played it for a couple of hours before something else got my attention. It took until a couple of weeks ago for me to remember I needed to finish it.

Though I continued to hate all the sneaking around, I still can't aim for shit using a contoller, and there were a host of little things wrong with it, overall it was a really good experience and I'm glad I played it.

The game is set 20 years after a global outbreak of a fungal infection which turned most people into mindless zombie-like creatures. With the world now in a state of total shit, you play as Joel, a man tasked with the job of escorting a young girl named Ellie across the country, to hopefully find a lab to create a vaccine from her incredible immunity to the infection. Along the way you have to fight through a horde of infected citizens, as well as deal with other people who will either help or hinder. Usually hinder.

Though the story was fairly formulaic, it was the characters that made this enjoyable. It was interesting that even the main characters were not really "good" guys. Cool and badass they may be, but these people were pretty much assholes, even Ellie. I guess that's what would happen after the apocalypse.

As stated, I had a lot of problems with the game. Firstly, the initial load time was insanely long. Not really an issue once you were in it, but still.
The frame rate also tanked a bunch of times, especially when I was near water. That poor old PS3 hardware really wasn't meant for a game like this.
I found out near the end, when I tried to save scum for the first time, that manual saves do not work. The game just reloads right back to the last autosave point. So I have absolutely no idea why there's even a manual save option.
And probably my biggest bugbear was how the games mechanics, particularly the listening mechanic, would change throughout the game. Sometimes I could listen and hear enemies all around me, but other times it wouldn't let me. There seemed to be invisible sound barriers at many locations that I had to step through in order to hear anything on the other side. Annoying.

Still, mostly a decent game and well worth a play through.

Note that as I could not get screenshots from my PS3, the following images are from some Youtube videos I found.

Tangling with the infected

Tangling with the infected

The main characters look ahead

The main characters look ahead

Renee from 24 makes her last stand

Renee from 24 makes her last stand

You are not Spider-Man, Joel

You are not Spider-Man, Joel

Bill gets his chopper out

Bill gets his chopper out

Ellie doesn't like Bill

Ellie doesn't like Bill

Ellie graduates to badass

Ellie graduates to badass

Joel gets a love bite

Joel gets a love bite

That's a lot of infected coming this way

That's a lot of infected coming this way

And the creepy weirdo award goes to... this guy

And the creepy weirdo award goes to... this guy

Lining up the shot

Lining up the shot

Yeah, they all say that

Yeah, they all say that

Save the girl or save the world? What would you decide?

Save the girl or save the world? What would you decide?

Continuing the trend of clearing things up from early last year, I'm now going to do something I should have done a long while ago, and report on some Blood Bowl games. Way back in May and June, after starting a new board game Blood Bowl league, I soon found myself needing some practice with the amazons and lizardmen, which were both new teams to me. I re-installed the computer game, and started a hard difficulty competition with amazons that had 4 divisions each containing 6 teams. I only played the first season, which saw me trying to gain promotion from division 4. I always intended to go back to it, but have not yet found the time or desire.

Though I couldn't remember what happened in the 5 games, luckily I found replays of them all so I could quickly wizz through them and remind myself what happened.

The first game was against elf team High Sea Surfriders. My worst fears came true when their ball carrier dodged through to score on just turn 2. The rest of the half consisted of a big ruck on the half way line, which gave me a numerical advantage for the 2nd half. I took control of the game, with Erika Zeal managing to get through on turn 12 to equalize, and Kallisto Blaze scoring in the last turn for the win.

The 2nd game was against another amazon team, the Tlanxa Javelins. This was a mess from start to finish, with both teams spending the entire match punching each other near the half way line. Twice I managed to push their ball carrier into the crowd, only for the fans to throw the ball deep into my half and put me under pressure. The game ended 0-0 with no chance to score for either team.

My third game was against the much higher rated orc team Da Severed 'Eads. This one allowed me to bring along Zara the Slayer, but I wasn't very hopeful of winning. Turned out to be maybe my luckiest game playing Blood Bowl. Zara was a boss in the early phases, knocking down their troll twice and bullying the black orcs. On turn 3, all the orcs were on my left flank looking to defend my main push, but I switched the play, with Erika handing to Kallisto, who managed to run down the right to score two turns later after wasting as much time as possible. The second half was a massive defensive performance after Zara got KOd right after the kick off. There were multiple orc failed pickup attempts. I noticed several times that they were not using their rerolls during these. Without doubt my main strokes of luck came in turns 8 and 16, as both halves ended with the orcs gaining solid possession of the ball within a turn's reach of the endzone, but I was saved by the whistle both times.

Game 4 saw me up against a Nurgle team Aukrug Eruptors. I remember these being hard to beat when I played with my orcs a few years back, and this one started much the same. One of the beastmen broke through on my right flank with support, and it took a great blitz from Xena Flame to bring him down. She then grabbed the ball, and ran all the way up the right to score on turn 8. 2nd half went my way also, with ball carrier Erika breaking through late on with support from Nikki Heat. On turn 15, one lady handed it to the other and Nikki ran in for the 2-0.

The last game was insane against the Pinkfoot Panthers halfling team. One particular halfling with the block skill called Nellby Hamson was the thorn in my side, seriously injuring Nikki in turn 2, then badly hurting Artemis Flash and Gaia Light on turns 3 & 4 respectively. The little git had me flustered, but I managed to score with Erika on turn 5. A pitch invasion followed, then an attempted throw team mate by one of their treemen ended with the death of one of the halflings. In the 2nd half I concentrated on killing Hamson, but could only badly hurt him after several turns of trying. Though I'd suffered at the beginning, the rest of the casualties went in my favour and they ended with very few players on the pitch. My 2nd TD came in turn 12 for Korina Jet, after she caught an accurate long pass from Erika. The game ended with me retiring Nikki and hiring a new Nikki.

So season 1 ended with a comfortable league win. Hopefully this little update will make me carry on that competition, as it's nice to win with amazons, which I can't seem to do in the board game.

The first half grind against the elves commences

The first half grind against the elves commences

My first amazon touchdown

My first amazon touchdown

A lot of angry women looking to kick the crap out of each other

A lot of angry women looking to kick the crap out of each other

Zara deals with a troll

Zara deals with a troll

The first half against the orcs goes better than expected

The first half against the orcs goes better than expected

Their beast gets hit by a rock

Their beast gets hit by a rock

Xena clatters their ball carrier

Xena clatters their ball carrier

Hamson fractures Nikki's skull...

Hamson fractures Nikki's skull...

...but I soon get payback

...but I soon get payback

28th November 2016 - Brothers & Transistors: A Tale Of Two Games

2016 has been a bit of a slow year for completing games, so recently I sat down to rush through two shorter games from a couple of years back that have quite a good reputation out there on the t'interwebs.

Up first was Transistor, a game by the same people who made Bastion. I could certainly feel a bit of a Bastion-like influence in this, but for the most part it was a very different game, especially the combat.
Battles can be fought in real time, or you can pause and plan out your attacks using something called Turn(). Using Turn() lets all your planned actions activate before the enemy can react, but then puts your skills on a cooldown until Turn() is ready to go again, leaving you very open to attack. I struggled quite a lot to get used to either form of combat, until later in the game when I had unlocked a nice selection of functions which allowed me to use Turn() to plan out some very powerful combos. Though I had struggled with the earlier bosses, by the time of the end boss fight I was so ready that I smacked him around with barely a scratch in return.

The story was a weird one. A lot of the lore was hidden in text files and messages that get unlocked as the game progresses, and as I was blitzing through the game I didn't care for any of that, and am not really sure about many things. The general gist was that some bad guys called the Camerata (who may have actually been good guys?) were trying to use a special sword called the Transistor to help rebuild the city, but lost control of it, and it ended up spreading something called The Process: machine-like things that are now taking over the city and killing everyone they can find.

You play as Red, a famous singer who has been rendered mute, I assume psychologically, after an attack on her life instead claimed that of her lover, whose essence was then sucked into the Transistor. Red now has control of the Transistor, from which her lover still speaks to her, and together they set out to try and destroy the Camerata and The Process.
Yes, as I said, it's a weird one.

I had quite a few issues with the game to be honest. Firstly, I couldn't get it running smoothly. Even forcing vsync on in the nvidia control panel, or trying some weird command line option I found online, couldn't stop this from stuttering around all over the place. Made me feel a bit sick.
Real time combat was pretty much unplayable for me. Red's abilities are not supposed to have a cooldown in this mode, to make it a viable option in addition to the Turn() system. However, all the attacks I tried had massive wind-up times, or a good second or two afterwards where Red wouldn't do anything, and I kept getting hit by return fire.
Very often during Turn(), the game would indicate I could do enough damage to kill an enemy, but when I unpaused and unleashed the planned combo, the enemy would be left with quite a lot of health left. Either I was missing something, or there was some strange shit going on there.
Using the jaunt function was also frustrating. This is like a dash or blink move, but sometimes it would only jump to maximum distance while other times it would let me dash a shorter distance. Sometimes it would let me dash over walls, and sometimes it wouldn't. It was a pain.

I can't really write about this game without talking about its music, especially after Bastion's was so good. Unfortunately, while it suits the game and is perfectly adequate, I just didn't find it as "cool" sounding as Bastion's music. While I would be quite happy to listen to any of Bastion's songs, there are only a couple of the lyrical pieces from this one that I have imported into my library.

Red poster

Red poster

Red thinks she's She-Ra

Red thinks she's She-Ra

Planning to take out the Jerk

Planning to take out the Jerk

The Camerata

The Camerata

There's always time for pizza

There's always time for pizza

The fight against The Spine was the hardest one

The fight against The Spine was the hardest one

Good riddance

Good riddance

WTF is going on right now?

WTF is going on right now?

Spanking the end boss good and proper

Spanking the end boss good and proper

Next up was Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons. This was an interesting little platformy-puzzle-thing where you control two brothers at the same time, one with the left stick and one with the right. I was surprisingly ok with this, and could control them both simultaneously for the most part, as long as I kept the left-stick brother on the left side of the screen and right-stick brother to the right. If they ever got mixed up for any reason then my brain would soon get all muddled and I'd have those kids running in completely the wrong directions.

The plot is simple, and follows the brothers as they set out to retrieve a cure for their dying father, after losing their mother before the start of the game. Along the way they meet all kinds of weird and wonderful characters who will either try and help them or hinder them.
It seems to be known mostly for being an emotional narrative-driven game, and I've seen reviewers online gush about the effect it had on them. Call me cold or soulless, but I didn't get that much of a response from playing it at all. I guess the biggest reason for that was the length of the game. As it only lasts about 3-4 hours, there's not really much of a chance to get invested in the characters at all, especially as they don't even speak (or at least, speak in a language we can understand).
The end of the game also annoyed the hell out of me. For a start, the main villain, who up to that point had already displayed incredible feats of strength and agility, gets absolutely destroyed by two little children in very quick fashion. Just wouldn't happen. And to top it off, the writers of the game came down with a bout of sheer Lord Of The Rings-itus when a weird owl/cat creature shows up out of nowhere to save the day and fly the cure all the way back to the starting location so that the father can get it. I just didn't understand how that creature even knew where the kids were to go and help. Had me groaning with disappointment to be honest.

Narrative issues aside, it was a perfectly fine game to play through, barring a couple of little irritations. Mostly, I hated how the camera kept rotating automatically all the time. I dearly wished it would just stay pointing forward. Also, it wasn't always clear when I had to keep hold of the interact buttons or when I could let go of them. Quite often, a cutscene would start as I interacted with something. Sometimes, this cutscene would play even if I let go of the button, but other times it would cancel the cutscene and I'd have to start it again. A minor quibble, but a quibble nonetheless.
Overall though, definitely worth a playthrough, but like Transistor, it's highly unlikely I'll ever play it again.

Troll dude throws them kids off his front lawn

Troll dude throws them kids off his front lawn

To me. To you. To me.

To me. To you. To me.

WTF

WTF

The brothers have a goat race

The brothers have a goat race

Someone's been playing Trine

Someone's been playing Trine

I wanna go for a ride on that!

I wanna go for a ride on that!

Not one for the arachnophobes

Not one for the arachnophobes

These two games are not the only two I've played since the last update. Though I wasn't expecting to go straight into Witcher 3, that's exactly what I did. Sadly the story failed to grip me and make me keep going back to it, so I haven't got very far yet, and it's been a good few weeks since I last played it. I want to get back to it again soon and hopefully get addicted.

I was incredibly happy to find its controls had none of Witcher 2's problems, and even though it's a newer game, the framerate and performance seem better than its predecessor. Good stuff in that regard.

Roach tries to climb the fence

Roach tries to climb the fence

I find her interesting because she's a client and she sleeps above her covers. Four feet above her covers.

I find her interesting because she's a client and she sleeps above her covers. Four feet above her covers.

Griffin proving a problem

Griffin proving a problem

Oh Geralt you naughty boy

Oh Geralt you naughty boy

This place seems inviting

This place seems inviting

Boxing a bear

Boxing a bear

One slice or two?

One slice or two?

Come on then, Wild Hunt scum!

Come on then, Wild Hunt scum!

A while back I also started playing the chaotic mental insanity that is Broforce with Scoob. This old-school-looking game fills the screen with bullets and explosions as you try and reach the end of each level, playing as characters that are not-so-subtly based on action heroes from movies and TV.
It's actually quite hard, mostly because it can be hard to tell what's going on with all the fireworks and destruction on screen. We'll get back to this at some point, and hopefully get through it all. But don't hold your breath.

Scoob brings the pain

Scoob brings the pain

Dropping off some packages

Dropping off some packages

Let's hope there's some dude with a sword I can shoot

Let's hope there's some dude with a sword I can shoot

21st September 2016 - Witch Way Should I Turn?

I can't believe it's been nearly 3 years since I finished the first Witcher game. How time shifts as you get older. Anyway, as the third game has already been out for well over a year, it seemed time to finally install Witcher 2 and push on with the series.
I actually installed this and played it for a short time right after playing the first one, but I had a lot of problems getting it to run right at the time, and as I hadn't really enjoyed the first one, I got put off from playing it until recently.

Now all's said and done, I definitely prefer this to the first one. In my opinion, the original game had a lot more wrong with it than right. But this one flips that around for the most part and has been more pleasant to get through. However, I still feel that this series is probably not for me, as there were still many things that pissed me off about it.

Firstly, the mouse delay/input lag problem. Holy shit this was annoying. If I ran the game without vsync, the mouse would behave properly in the game and in the menus, but the game would run very jittery. With vsync on, the game graphics ran smooth, but there was an obscene amount of mouse lag, especially in the menus. This made certain quests, such as the arm wrestling, impossible to do. Eventually I was able to use the Nvidia control panel to set up vsync with triple buffering, which made the graphics run smoothish, and got rid of most of the mouse lag, but not all. Not ideal, but it was the best I could get it.
The other problem concerning controls was how you had to wait for the previous animation to finish before you could give Geralt a new command. The amount of times I went to cast a spell or roll out of the way only for nothing to happen, just because he hadn't quite finished twirling his sword.
Moving around the world could also be a pain. There were times when Geralt wouldn't even jump down a 1 foot drop, or would not be able to run over a tree root. I also did not like the camera changing every time you climbed up to or jumped down from a ledge. It was kind-of sickening.

However, the improvements over the first game were gladly received. When I rocked up to the first town and picked up the contract quests, I was originally horrified when it looked like finding and reading books would be necessary again, just like in the first game. Later on I discovered this was not the case, which was a boon, even though I had already wasted some money.
The combat is definitely better than the previous game, other than the problems mentioned above, that is. It just felt way more action packed, and being able to cast significantly more spells was great.
I also experienced far less bugs, though there were some. The game also hard crashed to desktop on several occasions, which had me saving like a crazy person at every opportunity.

I'd like to say I enjoyed the story, but while it is filled with intrigue, plot twists, and cool characters, I simply had no real idea of what was going on in the world at large. There seemed to be so many countries, kings and advisors all arguing with each other, and backstabbing each other, that I couldn't follow it all. It doesn't help that I've never read any Witcher books, or that it's been so long since I played the first game, as I can't remember anything about it. Hmph. Politics.

I do really like how the games give you several important choices to make that can really change what happens afterwards. I've just read about all the choices you can make in the games and their repurcussions. I can't really remember what I chose during the first game, except I definitely chose Triss over Shani, and I know I did not side with the Order. Whether I remained neutral or sided with the Scoia'tael I can't remember. I'm also pretty sure I saved the werewolf guy, but I can't remember if I killed or cured Adda. Though I remember saving Abigail.
In this one, I killed Aryan (though this was right at the beginning and I didn't really know what I was doing), I helped the troll to stop drinking, I sided with the Scoia'tael over the Blue Stripes, I saved the elf women from the burning building, I did not let the mob kill Stennis, I decided to save Philippa/Saskia rather than Triss, I let Síle die, and I killed Letho at the end.
Many of these choices can really change what happens in the game, particularly depending on who you side with.

It could do with certain tweaks to make it much more playable, and it also needs a much better tutorial, as the one provided was tosh, and not really all that helpful.

I should really crack right on with number 3, but I'm still not sure if I have the motivation for that yet. Which is a shame. If I found these games as good as others seem to, I'd already be diving headlong into it.

Geralt baffles them with his dancing

Geralt baffles them with his dancing

Run away!

Run away!

Villain shows off his yoga skills

Villain shows off his yoga skills

I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse

I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse

Battling some wraiths

Battling some wraiths

Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls

Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls

That's an interesting name you have

That's an interesting name you have

Oh crap

Oh crap

Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses

Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses

Burn harpy, burn!

Burn harpy, burn!

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans

Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans

Stabby stabby

Stabby stabby

Don't make Saskia angry...

Don't make Saskia angry...

...you wouldn't like her when she's angry

...you wouldn't like her when she's angry

Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...

Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...

...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia

...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia

Referee!

Referee!

Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys

Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys

Dealing with the Kingslayer

Dealing with the Kingslayer

Our adventures through Arborea continued for a while, though we've not played for some weeks. While I quite like it for the most part, there are some awkward things about it that stop me from getting really invested. I find the controls a bit awkward, but that's nothing new for this type of game. When the mouse and W,A,S,D keys move you around, I always feel like I need an extra hand for activating skills. This has always been true for all the MMOs I've played, as well as games like Smite.
I'm also struggling to get involved in the world and the lore. You level so fast in this game that you can bypass three quarters of the zones, as by the time you finish one zone you're already too high level for many others. While that's probably a good thing if you plan on levelling alts, as you can go through different zones with them, for us it just makes all that content seem like a waste. Last time we played, we switched our questing tactics so we only did story quests and not all the little zone-specific quests. Hopefully this will keep our levels down longer, and allow us to visit more places, if for shorter amounts of time.

Not long back, they merged a bunch of servers and we lost a lot of items that we hadn't claimed yet, so that pissed us off a bit. We're unsure at the moment whether we'll go back to this.

It's a big bugger

It's a big bugger

Meeting a zombie-bear-thing

Meeting a zombie-bear-thing

Duke Volperon wants my booty

Duke Volperon wants my booty

Took us ages to kill this thing

Took us ages to kill this thing

One game I've managed to stop playing is League Of Legends, which I haven't touched for nearly 2 months. This damn thing had been pissing me off most of the year, but I carried on because Scoob likes it so much. Yet again, barring a few rare incidents, the idiots and AFKers were on our team, getting in my way as I tried to get to 300 wins. That should have been enough to dissuade me, but I think what has helped me quit the most were the changes they made to the pro scene after M.S.I. this year.
Up until then, I had quite enjoyed watching the pro games, and it kept me somewhat interested in playing myself. However, with more than double the games being played in the summer split, I wasn't able to keep up with them all and stopped watching after a couple of weeks. I can't even tell you who won, or who played well, or who is going to worlds. I just don't care any more.

Of course, I've had breaks before and always ended up going back, so this is a strong possibility. But for now at least, my time with the game is over. I've ended up on 295 wins to 270 losses, meaning I stretched the margin by just 6 wins, making the journey to 300 my worst performance yet. Sure, I wasn't quite at 300 wins, but I would have had to win the last 5 games without losing to make it the biggest increase. And on our last few performances, that just would not happen. The only great thing I remember happening was my first pentakill in one game where I was Katarina, who was one of the champs I think I got better on during these games.

I shouldn't really do this before 300 wins, but here's some sad pointless stats about the last 184 games:

Using Kat to do some work for a change

Using Kat to do some work for a change

Giving them the belly bounce

Giving them the belly bounce

Scoob unleashing Brand's powers

Scoob unleashing Brand's powers

Though I may play LoL again at some point, it's doubtful I'll be going back to Marvel Heroes. As expected, Scoob didn't want to carry on, but I tried to continue and finished chapter 2. I quickly got tired by the frequent and huge updates, as with my net speed it meant it often took twenty minutes or so to log in. I don't have that kind of patience. Shame, as despite its flaws it has some good things going on, especially for free.

Taking out The Hood

Taking out The Hood

 

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