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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

30th September 2019: Resident Evil Maps

<Old Stuff>

By far the most popular things on my old site were all of the Resident Evil game maps that I made. My Resident Evil 1 Directors Cut maps were made in August 2011, which was a few months before I started doing my original computer gaming blog, and therefore they were never included in it.

It makes sense that they are the first things I bring back as part of my <Old Stuff> series of blog entries.

I got the Director's Cut of the original Resident Evil for the PS1 back in the 90s, but back then I only got to the underground section, and never actually finished the game. For some reason in mid 2011, I made up my mind that I was finally gonna get through it. And not only that, I was gonna make some detailed maps as I went on the adventure.
I started with Jill in normal mode, as that's what I tried way back then...

These maps were used by JPTR when making his Resident Evil mod for Skyrim called "The Evil Mansion", which can be found on Nexusmods and Steam Workshop. You should check it out. It looks freakin' awesome.

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

After going through Jill's normal mission, I decided to go through the Chris advanced mission, just for shits and giggles. Though it was more challenging (yes I'm talking to you, Hunters!) I much prefer this mode as it forces you to go to a lot of the parts of the mansion you could just skip passed during normal mode.

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

29th September 2019: Website Version 7 Launch

This year has been a slow one for this website, and for all my hobbies in general. But a few weeks back I randomly decided to do something that will hopefully give me more motivation in the coming weeks and months.

Previous versions of this site contained a bunch of static pages, as well as blogs for computer gaming, tabletop gaming and art. What I've noticed is that, over the last few years, my attention has switched from creating and updating the individual pages to just adding new blog posts.

To that end, I decided to remake the site from the ground up, and make it act almost entirely as a blog, by combining all the old blogs together, and removing all of the individual pages.

During the big change, I did a lot of work completely separating the site content from the way it is presented, meaning that if I ever do another big redesign I won't have to go through all the individual files and change divs and image tags. I'll just have to modify some code and some css and I'll be sorted.

The switch to version 7 means that, as of now, a great many things that had their own pages on the old site no longer exist. I'll try and reintegrate the important stuff using <Old Stuff> blog entries in the near future. One or two other very specific things may be given their own pages at some point, but if they don't then I obviously don't find them important enough to exist online any more.

24th August 2019: Mixed Media Mayhem

So, this long-neglected hobby finally gets a look in, five years after I last tried to create any kind of artwork. It's not like I have ignored this on purpose though, as I've been thinking about art a lot, and over the last few years I've collected a great many different types of supplies.

I finally got my butt in gear a couple of months back, when I stumbled across a mandala tutorial on Youtube. It struck me as something I could try, looking like something that would need a whole lot of patience rather than a whole lot of skill. While that has ended up being true, I gotta admit, a whole lot of skill would have certainly helped, as this thing took hours.

Rather than just create a typical black and white mandala like most of those I found on the internet, I decided to just go colour mad, and use as many of my supplies as possible, just to get some use out of them.
Ball points, fineliners, felt tips, coloured pencils, alcohol markers, permanent markers, highlighters, paint pens, and acrylic paints all went into the image. The only thing I own that I didn't use was my watercolours, as I didn't want the paper to warp.

The plan was always to have different parts of the image to look like they were on different layers, and originally, I was going to try and do this as I was creating the image. However, it turned out I didn't have enough de-saturated and darker colours to make parts of the image look like they were further away. So instead, I scanned it into my computer and tried to create layers of darkness, and it's turned out alright, though not perfect.

Many Layered Many Coloured Mandala Madness

Many Layered Many Coloured Mandala Madness

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, even though it is a bit messy. I'm hoping I can keep some momentum and try something else arty, but I've still got wargaming stuff to paint and several dozen games to get to trying, and I've not done anything towards those for the last few months.

9th June 2019: Surviving A Blizzard

I don't think I booted a single computer game during March and April, with all my spare hobby time going into finishing my Warhammer 40K Tyranids. But in late May, I got hit by the same nostalgia wave that hit me around the same time last year.

Not only was it the anniversary of TB's passing, but the beta test for Classic WoW also started, and nearly every streamer I watch on Twitch dove into it. I don't know what came over me, as I never thought I'd play the game again, but I decided to re-install it. I couldn't help it. I just had to scratch that itch.

While all the streamers were going back and doing the same things they had done nearly 15 years ago, I went back into the game with a different objective: to do some things I'd never done.
See, while I've surprised myself by playing the game again, I still point blank refuse to pay any sub fees, as I just don't think the game is worth it. As the free account level caps your characters to 20, this left me with just one thing I could do, and that was to play through all the start zones that I had never played back in the day.

Up first was the Worgen start zone. Now I did make a Worgen at one point, named Kreethen, but I never finished the intro story and I think that character remains at level 7 on my original account. I made a new one named Kreethy, maybe a distant relative, and got cracking.
The story was alright I guess, though with some crowbar moments. The biggest problem I had with it was all the lag. At first I assumed the Classic beta had stirred up some new interest in the game, and a lot of people were jumping back in, like me. However, when I moved on to my next character all the lag was gone entirely, which was odd.
Kreethy ended his journey at level 15.

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Secondly, I started a Gnome called Huejackman, named after my original character Huejun. Back in the day, the Gnomes shared a start zone with the Dwarves, and I had played those quests several times on my alts. But in Cata, the Gnomes were given their own little intro area that I had never done. While I liked using the little dude, I ended up getting spat back out into Dun Morogh at level 5. Frankly, I was expecting more. Oh well.

Huejackman gets smacked around

Huejackman gets smacked around

Up next was the turn of the Draenei, as I had never done their start zones either. My only Draenei before this was a Death Knight, as I had really liked using my main DK Undeadbarry, and I created the Draenei just to do their start quests again.
I chose to make this character a female named Kallisto, but only as it wouldn't let me use Xenia or Karynna which were my first picks. I did end up regretting this decision, as the female Draenei has very annoying battle yells, and I couldn't find a way to turn them off. What was worse, was that these start zones were the longest and most boring of this little return to the game. There was just so much running backwards and forwards through large areas, constantly being sent back to areas I'd already been to. Thankfully, this character reached level 20, though only 2 quests before the end. But that meant I could mount up for those 2 quests and boy did it feel good.
It was definitely obvious that these areas and quests were designed earlier in WoW's development. They certainly gave me more of a classic WoW experience than I had expected. There were so many kill quests and fetch quests with poor to moderate drop rates. It felt like 2005 all over again.
The only real interesting thing was that this character was a pally, and holy shit they play so different now from when I played as Jackgooty back in vanilla.

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

This guy's missing his log

This guy's missing his log

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Not an area for arachnophobes

Not an area for arachnophobes

I have the power!

I have the power!

Up next was my first ever Pandaren, who I called Vizna. This was a breath of fresh air after the slog that was the Draenei zones. Though there were still a lot of the usual WoW kill and fetch quests, they all just flowed so much faster, and were situated much closer together. Like the Worgen quest line, there was a much better story that ran through the whole area.
My main issue was the fact that I'd chosen a hunter. I'd read that the hunters now get their pets from level 1, which I liked, but I didn't realise that you couldn't control it until level 10, which irritated me. But oh well.
Vizna ended her journey at level 14, after joining the Horde and travelling to Orgrimmar.

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Runnin' and gunnin'

Runnin' and gunnin'

You gotta be kidding me

You gotta be kidding me

That's one big ass turtle

That's one big ass turtle

Last on the list was the Trolls, who like the Gnomes were given their own little start area back in Cataclysm. As I'd never played a monk class, I went ahead and created one called Kraputkin, who in my head canon is actually Kropotkin's drunk and bad tempered uncle.
Just like for the Gnomes, this little area only got me to level 5 before it spat me back out into the rest of Durotar, so that's where I called it. I didn't really get enough time with the monk to differentiate it much from other classes that use energy, but the start area was definitely fairly quick and snappy, unlike the Draenei zones.

Though many things are different with the game now compared to when I used to play it, it was still a huge nostalgia trip to spend these hours playing it again. And to be honest there was certainly a pull to subscribe just for one month so I could play my proper characters again. But when I take a step back and not let the nostalgia cloud my vision, it's just so obvious that the game is just too dull to be worthy of me putting any more money into it.

So while it's been pretty cool and relaxing to chill out in the game, the way I feel right now is that I'll never visit Azeroth ever again. However, it must be noted that two weeks ago I would have said the same thing. I've also recently bought the first two Warcraft games from GoG, which may trigger another urge to come and play this in the future.
So while it will take something special for me to play, especially subscribe, again, I guess I can never say never.

High kick somehow works on a crab

High kick somehow works on a crab

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

It was also a Blizzard game that last had my attention back in March before my little hiatus from gaming, being the first ever Starcraft, which has been available for free on Battle.net for some time. It's a bit strange that I'd never played it before, but for some reason the classic Blizzard games always passed me by. Before playing this, the only games I'd ever played from that company were Diablo 2 and World Of Warcraft.

If I remember right, I got near the end of the Terran campaign, but I was really struggling to stay with it. I don't know what it is, but for the last couple of years I've really had a hard time staying interested in RTS games. Rewind the clock and at one point I'd have been all over this game. Maybe it's because I'm getting quite old and being able to concentrate is no longer a thing that comes easy to me. I don't know.

Anyway, this is a very typical classic RTS affair, which makes sense considering when it was made. It would be quite easy to never play it again, but I want to continue just to experience the story. I mean I've already got the basic idea of what goes on, and I know how Starcraft 2 ends as I watched some streamers play that final expansion when it came out. But it will still be cool to do it myself.

I'm sure I'll get back into it once all my painting is done and my love of computer games kicks back in.

Defending the area from the Zerg

Defending the area from the Zerg

My aircraft paint the town red

My aircraft paint the town red

Back in March, I gave the League of Legends match history web site a little check, and I found that the filters seem to work again. Well, at least a little bit. This allowed me to get some scores for my champs when I played the last few ARAMs. So here's some sad pointless stats from when I last played.

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