Thursday, March 31, 2016

Alphabet of the Human Heart - M and N

It's back !

It's been a little too long since I went back to the Alphabet book. It's a lovely book, really thoughtful present. It has a lot to say and a lot to make you think about. I'd thoroughly recommend it (link will go in at the end !)
First up - M is for Mood.

"If your life is out of balance, seek to balance your moods. Many things can cause them to swing. Drink, drugs, diet, stress. To find balance, go back to basics. Bring your body and mind down to earth. Sleep well, eat healthily, exercise, choose your thoughts carefully."

I have the mood swings. I know other people do too. Our minds play tricks on us, the mind distorts our perception of the world. For an unfortunate number of us (more people than will admit it!), the mind twists our mood to the dark.

Resist ! My mood improves immeasurably when I talk to people. When I look at people and get a smile answering my grin. When the people I look to for engagement with what I send them reply and take me up on the implicit offer of humour I try to put in all I communicate.

The looking forward to Comic Con in May ! Tickets booked. No clue still (except for James Bond) for cosplay.

However hard it may be (and it can be really tough), look to the bright side. Resist that temptation to allow your mood to pick up on the dark.

M is also for Meditation.

Meditation takes many forms. For some, it'll be carefully practiced routines. A way of thinking that will put you at peace. A series of movements that exercise your body and allow the brain to switch off.

I try to slow my breathing, slow my heart, stop the incessant murmuring that my thoughts can become and look at the world. To observe. To really see. To watch how other people do things and ask, can I learn from what they are doing to do what I do better.

To meditate is to be at peace. With oneself, with the world.

I need to learn how to trigger the meditative state better, to help me sleep better. I can do the slowing of the breathing to put my body at rest but those thoughts keep jabbering in my head and block the sleep. It'll come :-).

N is for Negativity.

So many people fall into the negativity trap ! Me too. I find I need a fairly constant reinforcement from outside, or I start falling into a depressive cycle. Sometimes that reinforcement is just being noticed. Or getting a reply in from the people I find special.

What's in the book ?

"Life looks the way you look at it. A positive point of view sees a brighter future. A negative perspective paints a bleaker universe. Always remember that your outlook will be your outcome. A few small changes can make a huge difference. For instance, try saying yes to every question you're asked (within reason). You'll discover new places, meet new people and live a happier and richer life."

I look at the internet and how people behave on it. A lot of the time, the internet is infested with some really nasty people. But there are the exceptions. I mentioned the Heychrissa streamer. Yeah, she has a potty mouth but behind that is a lovely person who entertains her little band of followers and part of how she does that is by following the chat and joining in. Dunno how she does that to be honest, I can barely keep up and I'm not the one playing the game.

But yeah, so much negativity out there, it's far better to start from a positive outlook. The outlooks reinforce. Positive outlooks bring smiles, negativity breeds anguish. One reason I try to pass encouraging messages to the various people who's videos I watch is to pass on positive energy that helps them keep going. To encourage, to balance the negativity.

Negativity has a place, sure. But it's better to look for the positive ways out of situations. It can be difficult yeah but it's so worth it.

N is also for Now.

Now is the opposite of one of my worse characteristics - procrastination.

From the book : "Life is fleeting. Miss the moment and it'll be gone forever. To make the most of life, make the most of every moment. Forget the past, ignore the future, be present to the present."

This means you ! You reading this on your phone when you should be talking to the people with you ! The phone will wait for later. Smile at the people with you. Give now your full attention, other things can wait.

I know there are things I need to do in the future. I'd like to move out of here and onto a boat. But I also know there are things I need to do to set that up, so I don't miss the opportunity when it comes my way.

That's the thing - open yourself for being spontaneous. If there's something more fun you can be doing now, embrace the fun ! Send that nice message to the person. That nice message could be the start of something wonderful.

It can take a bit of bravery to live in the now. Do it ! It's a good place to live.

And that's it for today. I'll try not to leave it so long next time before I bring you more of the Alphabet book. Now you're asking : "Where can I get this lovely book ?" Here we go - Gratuitous Amazon link !

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sleepy go work now ?

Would really much prefer to be as the dwagon in the thumbnail.
Or the ever lovely Ben.
That one knows the value of a good set of zzzz's.

Back to work tomorrow though. There are still a few hours of leave to go though and I fully intend for them to be very chilled out. Earlier, I was watching more of the cricket and another couple of good games today involving Sri Lanka vs South Africa ladies and Sri Lanka vs South Africa men. I've enjoyed watching the games in this Twenty20 world cup so far. It's not the pinnacle of cricket, although it's become the big business attraction. It's a bit of fun, nothing more. The results are so random that it's not a case of the best team winning. It's more a matter of which individual plays a blinder on the day. And that's not what cricket should be about, it's a team game.

At the moment, I have a River City People album on in the background (Say Something Good, the one with California Dreamin' on it) and a Heychrissa stream is just starting up. I may also put another Nanomon together tonight.

I've been gaming too, the game of choice for me at the moment is Rebel Galaxy. I'm really enjoying that one. Here's my current ship :
That's a Mastodon class light frigate and is the first ship up after the starter ship. It's doing me well so far as I learn how to play the game and what does best. At the moment, I have Big Pink Lasers that make bad guy ships melt. This is good.

Plans for tomorrow include (after work!) topping up again on supplies, they've actually lasted about right this time. Could do with more Easter Eggs ... although the locust horde was already descending on the supermarket last Monday. I'm not holding my hopes up for discount eggs, the supermarket I intend to raid tends to jiggle its stock around quickly and I suspect they won't have any eggs tomorrow evening.

Few stats ... I haven't listened to as much music as usual (due to having the cricket on!) for a break but there's been a fair bit listened to while gaming and videos have been on. iTunes tells me I have listened to 917 different tracks (some duplicate) since starting my leave. That works out to 2.2 days of music listening to.

I dunno how much video I've watched but since resetting the counter at the start of my break, I've downloaded 116GB down the internets to my desktop (the counter only knows about what the desktop does, it doesn't count the many bits and bytes taking my music from laptop to hifi) and those 116GB includes downloads for games.

I'm getting really distracted by separating my attention between stream, singing along to some of the music and tapping out this post (and an iPad game) so I'd better sign off.

Oh - quick note before I go, I've rejigged a little of the stuff you see over to the right (on the normal web template, not the mobile one). The Fuelly sticker got taken off because I stopped updating that a few years ago when my attention span withdrew inwards due to what was happening with my outsides.

I've tidied up a few links as well as adding in a new section for gaming people. There aren't too many gaming people links there yet, instead of adding all the people I occasionally watch, I added the people where I watch most of what they come out with. Word of warning ... they can be dangerous ...

Totalbiscuit has made me get many games due to his enthusiasm for games he loves. It's infectious. May that continue for many years to come (he is fighting cancer and hopefully beating it).
EnterElysium is the fella who got me interested in From The Depths. His videos of that are oft chuckle inspiring.
Aavak is another From The Depths person, he's making me want to check out another building game called Robocraft.
Scott Manley is the King of Kerbals and has taught me pretty much all I know about orbital mechanics. Which isn't much but hey ...
And HeyChrissa is guilty for me getting back into the legos ... May she get enough cash soon for the Chrissa Needs A Lego XWing fund.

I have to say, the internet is a pretty toxic place but that HeyChrissa stream is the first one to get me encouraged to actually get a Twitch account and join in with the chat. That's partly down to the chat being awesome, partly down to the streamer interacting with the chat (interesting to listen to as well, mixing her own observation with one hell of a potty mouth, whatever will she come out with next ?).

It's great to chill out to. I'll often start watching with the intention of reading something and then just watch the stream. In fact, I should do that now ! She's playing a gorgeous looking ... tech demo for VR called Adrift. Astronaut lost in space navigating a space station that's been ripped apart by some calamity. It has absolutely stunning visuals and this window is covering them up !

Cya !

Saturday, March 26, 2016

BEHOLD ! The Great Ship Typo 0

Here we go.

Not much to look at but it is a genuine trimaran and I got the bow pretty much as I wanted it. Just needed a flag to put on the two blocks making up the pointy bit.

I'm not going to do much more in this game but I did want to make a (barely!) functional ship before putting it away for a while. It's in alpha at the moment, which means it isn't complete yet. It's very promising, which is why I wanted to support the developer by picking it up in the Steam winter sale. I think it'll get a huge amount better too and I really enjoy watching the EnterElysium and Aavak videos about it. But ...

I'm not getting on with the camera or the build controls. You move the camera around with the usual WASD plus alt and space to go up and down. But ... they change orientation according to how the mouse points the camera. Plus I couldn't find the 1x1x1 cube to fill in the little gaps.

Perhaps I've been a bit spoiled after the real world building block thingys ?
He's the latest of the NanoMon and arrived the other night while watching a HeyChrissa stream. I don't think that's something that will change any time soon, I'm still enjoying watching other people play games like From The Depths and various more, than playing them myself.

Bit weird that isn't it. Perhaps I'm missing the days of the old World of Warcraft (before the guilds started splintering under the weight of end game raiding pressures) when there were a bunch of us together having fun with the game and how we all reacted to it.

That said, I have the England cricket on at the moment and there is a little voice inside saying "Your outsides are nearly all healed now ... you could play again !". Nope. It hurt a lot after the first few games when I was a kid, I would not look forward to the hurties now considering :

It's cold out there still !
I have no muscle conditioning at all at the moment;
My hip is not at all healthy;
My reactions are apparently shot;
I don't think I could give the team what they need.

It's been a quiet week off, which is exactly what I wanted and needed. Most days have had the mornings spent watching the cricket. It's the Twenty20 World Cup at the moment, so lots of matches and a fair few have had nailbiting finishes. A good number of games have had the results in doubt right up to the final ball. It could have gone loss, win or extra time. At the moment, England are having a nice little revival with Buttler and Captain Morgan giving the fielders a run around.

And then the evenings have been either gaming on my own (3 have arrived in the GoG sale and Battlefleet Gothic might join them !) or enjoying watching the gaming livestreams. I've watched Man Of Steel again ahead of watching Batman vs Superman, probably on Friday next week after the crowds settle down.

Are superhero movies starting their wane where the inspiration and production is becoming a bit wearing ? Deadpool was better than I expected. The Captain America Civil War movie has my hopes up for it being better than the last very tired Avengers movie. Hopefully we'll see the return of space scifi movies and series soon. Killjoys and Dark Matter are definitely right up there with the best.

Jos Buttler is definitely acting the superhero part at the moment with his batting. They're definitely having better conditions out there (Indian subcontinent) than here, I just looked outside and we have sideways rain that is putting a (literal) dampener on the pizza cravings I've been having.

Time for me to hit Publish now I think !

May you have a great Easter break with many chocolate eggs. It took a bit too long for me to build the Typo 0 this afternoon so my egg is still waiting for me. (Too late now, trying to cut down on all my snacking)

And I think it may not be pizza to go with easter eggs for afters, it's looking like weather for ducks with brollies out there ...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Aaaaand ... break time

I have holiday time !

Feels like I've really needed it. The signs I usually get that tiredness and fatigue are creeping up on me is an inability to recognise which day it is. Not a sense of general befuddlement, more having to look up the calendar to check the day of the week. Sounds odd doesn't it ? Maybe.

I feel the tiredness creeping up too when I start looking to do things. I usually react unconsciously to that by becoming perhaps a little bit hyper ? Bit like my body realising it needs to do stuff and clicking up a few gears to allow me to do it.

The really daft thing is that my body hasn't been letting me recover from when it clicks up the gears. I can be nigh on dead on my feet in the evening not wanting to do much more than enjoy watching the gaming videos and livestreams but when I go to bed, that's when the insomnia will strike. I think that's getting better though.

So this week will primarily be about catching up on that energy deficit ahead of perhaps a few busy months.
I could do with more cushions.

(An Ikea run isn't one of the things I have in mind, although a new sofa wouldn't go amiss)

Intentions for this week ?

Well so far I've enjoyed :
Saturday was sport. England unexpectedly got a massive result in the cricket with a win against South Africa. Impressive stuff, great to watch before settling in to watch the Six Nations climax with England again winning in a bit more style than against Wales the other week where they tried to give it away in the last minutes of the game. Oh and watching the HeyChrissa livestream where she did part 1 of a Dead Space 2 playthrough.

I've played a little of Dead Space 1 but ... it really wasn't my game. It's all about the jump scare and to be honest, I find those more annoying than exciting.

This is where I admit to being distracted on Saturday by what could perhaps be described as an Elite bender ... I think it may have been 10 hours in the game ... Oops. The current target in that game is the Imperial Cutter, biggest ship in the game.
The Imperial ships are very nicely themed with organic lines. Very pretty. For an internet spaceship.
That's me looking out at my current ship, a pretty spiky Python set up as an armed trader which so far, has turned the tables on every pirate that has tried to stop it.

Yep. Pretty game. Hadn't been back in for a little while but ended up having a big long session on Saturday. To get the Cutter, I need to get my character a few more ranks in the navy. I got from 40% to 65% through Viscount and need to get through Count, Earl and Marquis before getting the Duke rank that lets me get the big ship. To get the rank, you need to run missions. I've been trying to figure out what gets you the most rank.

Donation missions - seem to be the quickest, most effective. But they're rare.
One stop trading - are what I'm doing most of. Ferrying cargo from one place to another, finding cargo to deliver. It keeps me interested in the game by having me visit multiple new places.
Multi stop trading - didn't seem to do much for the rank progression and was hassle. I won't be doing any more of these.
Smuggling - these get you several percentage points (at Viscount) at a time. I'll be doing lots of these. But they are inconsistent, if you smuggle the wrong things it doesn't give you any progress towards the next rank.

Yep. Kept me interested in the game enough to do a tonne of missions and stay in until they were all done. Not sure when I'll be back in there though. I definitely won't be doing that Voyager challenge run this time.

Did I do any gaming yesterday ? Nah. Managed to avoid it. I was watching what was actually a pretty darn good motor race in the Grand Prix. (And built a Lego Y-Wing later!). Talking about the motor racing is one thing I'm going to do sometime. (Stop ! I hear the yawns already ...)

Yeah, it was actually a pretty decent race. What you look for in sport (hell, all types of entertainment) is unpredictability. Cricket gives you that on every ball. Motor racing suffers because it tends to degenerate into a procession where no one can overtake. It actually did for significant amounts of Sunday's race but there was enough incident (thankfully Alonso and Gutierrez are ok after a horror crash!) to keep most of the result in doubt.

You'd think that would be the same for what I watched on Friday too ... London Has Fallen seemed to be a waste of a cinema ticket (I'll wait and catch it free-ish off Skymovies) but I did watch Fast and Furious 7 in the evening. Dull. Very dull. It's a shame they have flogged this franchise well beyond its sell by date because the original was a pretty decent action car movie.

At some point this week, I'll be watching Man Of Steel ahead of the Batman vs Superman movie coming out. I thought Christian Bale was one of the best Batmen, hopefully Ben Affleck won't ruin it.

Today saw me heading out to get supplies in. Tis hungry work relaxing !

Especially when there is Lemon Sherbet flavoured popcorn in the shop and none in my cupboards. I saw that look of "EEooo" ! Don't knock it until you've tried it. But then again, I am a fan of Lemon Sherbet.

What was odd though, no Mini Eggs ! I suspect they have sold out even on the Monday before Easter.

I better sign off now. I'm hoping for a chilled out relaxing week. I may raid Book Barn at some point ? Would be better with a friend in tow to encourage to buy books. There's that motivation thing again I mentioned up top. I'll go up those gears in order to keep people company.

Yep. Sleepy times now, time to rest, recover, heal more ! (my outsides are sooo close now to being fixed)

Oh and I had a Thought ... I nearly built the Lego Y-Wing during the Grand Prix, actually built it afterwards. There's a Le Mans 24 hour coming up and a simple fighter won't take up much of that. Anyone want to get me a Lego Death Star ? Hmm ? Lego Star Destroyer would do nicely too.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Random Mondayness

Random thoughts today ! Completely random ones ! Anything could happen in the next half page !

Really looking forward to the Easter break. I'm having mine next week because I'm pretty beat. Energy reserves are low, combined with the effects of a heavy cold which just isn't shifting. (I feel better today and was croaking along to Seal last night).
But yeah, that kinda sums me up on the bus this morning.

Before getting in.

Before the teacake.

Teacakes are life.

Did I mention something about randomness ?

Dunno what I'll be up to next week. It will definitely involve lots of chilling. I won't be doing that Voyager Challenge thing in Elite, I've not actually been in game for a couple of weeks. Elite is like that with me, a bit hot and cold. I feel as if I've done all I want to in the game except for grinding the rank to get to the best ship.

There's an operative word there : "Grind". When a game becomes more of a job than what you do at work all day, it's time to walk away from the non fun game and find something more fun to do.

Nanoblocks ? Perhaps. I still have a bunch of nanopokemon to put together. Not tonight though.

Computer weirdness - it's been stable for a couple of weeks now. I was worried ... due to a couple of hard crashes (where it just stops responding and a buzz comes out of the speakers - something even more drastic than the Blue Screen Of Death). But it's been ok. It's weird though with things like watching game streams, where I have to stop it doing the science sums or the stream breaks up. The science sums run at a lower priority, so the machine does what you want it to do taking resources away from the sums. You normally don't notice it running although it does get in the way of the games a bit. I usually remember to turn it off before embarking on a games session.

What have I been playing ? As well as From The Depths (the Typo 0 will be a Thing next week. Yep. An Ugly Thing probably !) there has been Darkest Dungeon. It's one of those games that scores with gameplay over anything else. It's another brutal game ... You take 4 heroes into a dungeon where it's getting darker and darker. If you run out of torches ... the monsters get very tough, although your heroes (anti-heroes?) punch harder too.

Character death comes quickly in this one. I've lost 3 so far in this play through as I'm learning what they can do. Oh and my Vestal decided to go on a drunken bender that saw her absent without leave for 3 weeks.

Yep. It happens. Shoulda send her to the cloisters instead. She wouldn't have gotten syphilis there !

And now you're giving me the Really Strange Looks.

Yep. Darkest Dungeon, I recommend it. The stronger games for me are the ones that tell a story of their own. A story that can be different with every play through. In this one, instead of you being herded down a linear story so straight it might as well be a book, the overriding story is a light part. The true story is the one your heroes are going through. It's good when the games throw you unexpected events. It makes them different, makes them interesting, makes you come back for more playthroughs.

I need to restart the Alphabet of the Human Heart posts. I haven't forgotten those and it's a lovely book and one of the best, most thoughtful presents I've had for a while.

I have more plans for Comic Con ! Perhaps a stop off in part of London after instead of heading straight back. That would be real good. Long day ? Yep. But definitely worth it. Still no clues on the potential cosplay outside of acquiring a black DJ, a bowtie and pretending to be James Bond.

Come on. Every boy wanted to be James Bond at some point in their life.

I had the model Lotus Esprit carsub too. Wonder where that went ?

Computers ? I saw a story that said that retail sales of PCs is in severe trouble at the moment because the free Windows 10 (which I am holding off on*). And if they have lots of stock, that means they're cheap ... Could mean I could upgrade this one for pennies.

*(this language has changed, I am now contemplating Win10 instead of keeping it at bargepole length)

Except when you look at it. In the last few months, I've changed Power Supply, Graphics, Sound, I should have put a new hard disc in too. All that's left is the mainboard and processor, which are only a couple of generations old. If you get a retail machine, it's likely to be using sub par components and they're usually not upgradeable.

I'm better sticking with what I have. The processor is ageing but the rest of it is real good, especially with a modern graphics card pushing pixels around.

Plans ?

Allegiant is likely to be Wednesday. I don't see anything interfering with that at the moment.
PIZZA ! Friday. Maybe. Depends what I get up to in town on Friday pm. I may well disappear back home again and collapse in a heap.

But if anyone has plans they'd like me to be involved in, you know I'd jump up and say Where to ? :-). Especially if Easter Eggs are involved. I have one of those tempting me in the kitchen cupboard that needs to be passed on to someone.

How to refer to people ? Seen a few things about this lately. I like to call ladies as I see them : Pretty Lady or for the seldom few : Very Pretty Lady. You may not think it yourself but there's that Eye of the Beholder thing. All women are gorgeous. Some just don't realise it. Saying that though, my mind always goes back to pulling certain pictures of one special lady out of my head.

It's sad though. Some people take it the wrong way. I saw a comment on the Register by a particularly anti-fun feminist that basically said that any kind of advance is sexual harassment. I bet they'd report anyone who held the door for them too. That's really sad. I smile at everyone equally, I hold the door for everyone. Gender is irrelevant there.

That said though - there is a point to the gender politics. It's not equal. And it should be. I know women who are really smart and know what they're up to, they get ignored or their ideas get overriden by idiocy coming from other areas. That's wrong. Especially when the ideas were dismissed "because she's a woman". I've heard that from colleagues and despaired for them. All sides of it, the bigoted scumbag, the project that doesn't go the optimal way and the woman who will think twice the next time before bringing forward the great ideas.

I'm fairly careful with how I interact with people. I like to have an idea of how they will react. That has made me inhibited in the past, perhaps still inhibited now. I've heard some comments that people think I'm flirting when I'm just trying to get a chuckle out of someone.

Is that flirting when there is no further intention behind it ? Perhaps how the gender politics end up getting silly. No. There's more to it than that and Bad Touching is just one example of what should not happen.

Gosh - this was supposed to be random stuff ! (Ed - yep. Pretty random. Objective achieved).

Closing thought - be good to each other.
And I've been typing so long that my speakers just did the biddly-boop noise they make when shutting down due to not being used for too long.

More noise required !

Next week off work should be good and I definitely want to have as many excuses as I can get to escape the confines of the house and Do Stuff.

PS How could I forget ! It's International Pi Day. The only one there will be in our lifetimes seeing as the numbers won't like up again until the year 4159.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Something Stirs In The Mists

Another picture heavy post today !

Hmm. I wonder if that means there will be fewer words in the Wall Of Text. We shall see. At this point in post writing, I rarely know myself how it will end up.
There we go ... taster image !

Yesterday was the first chance in a while for me to sit down with enough free time likely to build the most complicated nanoblock kit I've done to date. (Spoiler - it earns its 5/5 difficulty rating). Yep. Easy Saturday staying in, partly because the bugs that have been with me since Xmas were well and truly back in force.

Back badly enough actually for me to admit defeat on Friday and head home instead of having a wander around Bristol centre like that plan had been. Ok, part of that plan had included chilling out at the cinema, dunno what I would have watched though because apart from Allegiant, not much appeals at the moment. And we're planning to see Allegiant with the work-ish mob. I also have a few cinema vouchers for in town which I thought were running out in June ... which actually run out in December ! Must check the actual dates sometimes instead of remembering wrong info.

Pictures ?
Perhaps the most significant time in a ship's life, the keel laying. That's the first couple of layers of blocks down, including a couple of 8x2 for it to stand in.
(for all of these, click for bigger).

A few more layers up and you start seeing why I held off until a quiet weekend ... Lots of bits ! They're roughly placed as they came out of their bags. Nanoblocks are a bit disorganised like that. Or organised differently ? Yep. We see my plank (an older plank, distinguished by parts of the edge covering falling off !) getting steadily more covered in random small bits of plastic.

And a ship.
With the cannons coming in.
And the upper deck, prow and aftcastle getting started. Little spoiler. That mast up front ... is not supposed to be a mast. I suspect I was showing signs of addled brain bugs when I was misreading the instructions and seeing 3d'ish ness when it was actually telling me that wasn't supposed to be a mast.
More colour ! And the deck of the ship taking shape even more. Note - there are bits of white off the edges of my plank ... I still need to clear up some assorted clutter ! (I thought leaving my white sock in one pic was ok !)
And there we have my error with the ... ermmm, that's actually supposed to be a ... bowsprit corrected.
And the amount of cluttery blocks on the plank steadily reduce ... That has the foremast taking shape, most of the ship is together at this point.

All that was needed was the most difficult part ... The masts and sails ! These were super fiddly.
The foremast and flag were ok but that mainmast ... it needed placing on 3 tiny blocks simultaneously and each of those 3 points were super unstable. And I appear to have nearly knocked off the anchor too ... Oops !

Really pleased with this one. It looks (small but) spectacular. I must get my old wooden ship down for a comparison.

I still have a few kits to build. A great mate, Luth, donated a couple of Lego kits which may end up being something different to what they're supposed to be ;-). And I have a few not-quite-nanoblock (same size, different maker) critters to put together to join :
Current avatar ... And ...
PIKA ! Pika now adorns my speakers and Char has taken up a position next to my other dragons.

PS It did take a while to put together the pirate ship. 4 episodes of Sanctuary and 1.5 rugby matches (finished before the second half of the England game started).

Thursday, March 10, 2016

On a Hunt For Names

Short post today. Kind of a follow up to Tuesday's post about the From The Depth imaginary ships.

I've had names buzzing through my head and they're giving me much amusement. I thought I should share ! Saying that though, some of the names will be of Real People, so for those, I'll just hint here.

Before that though - I did actually have a little look at the game again today and made a start on designing the Typo 0 class battle barge. Yep. I'll be echoing our glorious Royal Navy's tradition of using Type numbers to distinguish the major warship classes. Other navies do that too, although I think it's more things like Project numbers for Russia. China uses the Type designation.

What does our Navy have at the moment ?

We have the Type 45, which is our newest ship (until the new big aircraft carriers come along).
That's an air warfare ship. Its job is to knock down enemy missiles before they can threaten other ships. Our other major warship is the Type 23 :
That's HMS Montrose. She was designed at a time when us Brits were worried about Russian subs coming over and lobbing nuclear missiles at us, so she's designed to hunt those submarines down. The Type 23s are getting old now though, so they're looking to replace them with the Type 26.

That Type number thing is a good tradition to have. So I'm gonna steal it :-).

Oh - you may have noticed a little fondness for ships. Maybe that started as a result of the fairly regular ferry crossings we used to do ? Partly. Those were from when I lived in Northern Ireland, we'd come back across to see the grandparents at major holidays and we'd take the ferry. A little due to keeping an eye on events like the Volvo Ocean Race (lost track of that one) and the Vendee solo non-stop round the world race ? Perhaps. But these ships definitely have their own personality when you bring all that complex machinery together.

I think that's what really draws my attention to them. They have so much machinery on board and it all has to work just right. And they're the home for the people who crew them too. Perhaps the narrowboat I end up will be called a Type 4.5 ?

The Americans use numbers too but it tends to be looking at the first ship in the class. So their Arleigh Burke class Destroyers have the DDG 51 name (DDestroyer Guided missile) and I think the Zumwalt class is named DDG-100. It used to be DD-X while it was still a paper ship.

So about these From The Depth ships and their names ?

RN Tradition had the Type 23 follow the Type 22. Type 45 followed two failed concepts after the Type 42. I think Type 26 has come about because 6 follows the 5 of 45. So here I am starting with the Typo 0 (deliberate typo).
Not much there yet is there ... Lots to learn.

I'll have to do more in the game before I do proper ships. I need to learn the way all the various bits of things like engines and guns fit together before I can go past that Typo 0 class. It's a bit more involved than watching someone's videos, even if those people (Aavak and Enter Elysium) are rather good at showing how to design these things.

Fun with ship names ? Here goes. I can't give the proper people's names here but here are some.

Boss class high level surveillance ... objects. Cos my boss is very tall and sees everything. I think he'd chuckle at that.
Snow Queen class corvette - small, fast, designed as a hunter of stragglers and an expert wielder of Pointy Things.

Aircraft and carriers ?
Kitten class attack helicopter. Release the Attack Kittens !
Truthseeker class helicopter carrier. Just because. There would be a Craziequeen in this class too.
CG (ah ha ! Laputa) class helicarrier. Cupid's Gift loves the kittens. (The Truthseeker would be an ocean bound ship).
The carriers would have loads of Kittens on board. This will take me a lot of learning though. You can put helicopters, blimps, jet aircraft and spacecraft in the game but it's a challenge to make their AI behave. EE's helicopters and jets tend to try and get ... intimate ... with each other (they appear inside each other). So - small steps and learn gradually.

(There's a reason why CG's ship is one with lots of kittens that lives in the sky but it would give away something that won't go past a Facebook that's locked down to me and friends only)

Sleepy class submarine. You knew I couldn't leave myself out. Or maybe I'd put my name on one of the fortresses.
Admiral class battleships. And these would bear the names of a few people I know. The Admiral would be where the really big guns start appearing. Or would it ?
Commodore class first ?

I think the fortresses will get named after people I knew who are no longer with us. These are placed over resource collection areas and don't move. So they'd be memorials.

You need other ships in a Navy too, auxillaries and repair ships. These have a place in the game too but I don't think I'd want to put real people's names to them. Old car names ? Ford class, Vauxhall class, Rover class (that would go on the one that keeps breaking down), Lexus class (for the shiny ones). Pet names ? Typo 0 is definitely a Scruffy ship.

For now though, I'll be looking forward to putting more time into the game so I can build those Dragon trimarans. Perhaps an Egg or Hatchling class for ships I put together before feeling confident enough to build the winged trimarans ?

Some of the other names might come out too. Iceangel class, Bashara class, Finlay class. Nocimi for a stealth ship (not sure if you can do those in game ?) And then there's TV and other media too. One of our team caused hilarity on Monday when he used "THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS" as his identifier when dialling into our weekly meeting. Mysteron class, Thunderbird class, Fireball XL-5 class, Stingray. There are also names from gaming like Sarai, Souleater, Zaphyr, Fubb*, Makai, Stone, Luth, Belana, lots more where that came from.

*(yep, if you think you know what that means, you're right)

When playing Moo2, I tended to take names from the album I was listen to at the time. So at the moment, it would be Beiderbecke class and after that it'll be Shania or the Twain.

Yep. Lots of amusement thinking up names. And lots of names that I can't put here due to the privacy policy !

The intended name for the narrowboat is still Sleeping Dragon. Mostly because of this pic :
Any more ideas for ship or class names ?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Building ye Olde Ship

There's a game I really want to get cracking on.

It's like having the tools to make awesome things but ... not having the time and mental energy to actually do it.

What's the game ? It's called From The Depths and my interest has sparked due to seeing the creations of one Enter Elysium (youtube guy, check him out at the link, I find him entertaining). Here's one of the ships (from the FTD site) :
Looks rather spectacular doesn't it ? If a bit crude but ... gameplay should beat graphics. If the core gameplay is good, you can always excuse crude graphics. Developers of major titles should take note !

I think part of the appeal is me liking to put things together, combined with liking to see machines do their thing with elegance and efficiency. Big explosions help too. Have a peek at some of the EE videos, there are some very satisfying explosions in there as AI battleships go Boom.

That's one thing about this game. It looks darn spectacular when the things are going boom. But it's AI. I'll pull up a few real life ship pictures in a bit and ... I really hope we never have to see them do their thing because, you know, sailors on board, I know a few of them and kinda like them. If they go somewhere dangerous, I'd like to see them come back. We should have confidence in the ships we send our people out in but ... hopefully they won't have anyone shooting at them !

Real ships ? Real stuff is always handy for figuring out what to build in games like this. Yep. Even stuff like Minecraft. You can get inspiration for form fit and function from all things. Even geese like in those Klingon battlecruisers. Yep. I see what you did there Mr Star Trek ship designer. Or gulls maybe, they're definitely birds of prey when it comes to attempting to eat pasties near the sea side.
That's the American Zumwalt class destroyer, the most modern warship in the world at the moment. It's probably the closest in look to how a From The Depths ship would end up looking like, with all flat sides (because that's what's easiest to make in the game). You wouldn't need that big superstructure in the middle though. There's reasons for that (and on the Type 45 below) which don't apply to the FTD ships.
That's Britain's latest warship. Glorious isn't it ? Especially with that Dragon on her bow. May it be there for a long time.

Yep. Again with the big tall construction so they can see out a bit further. The FTD ships don't need those. They don't need the accommodation or crew support space either because, you know, AI. Just a few blocks will do. (This is part of what I find daunting about the game, putting those AI in and setting them up).

Guns ? Pointy Things ?

At the moment, real life ships typically have stuff on like many defensive missiles, a few offensive missiles, big guns, medium guns, little guns. Whatever fits the need. Maybe we'll see railguns and lasers coming in sometime. And there will be magazines to feed that. That's a problem actually :
She is HMS HOOD, (picture from HMS HOOD association website) who sadly did not survive an engagement with the Bismarck. A fairly lucky hit caused an explosion that transmitted to the magazine, blowing off the back end of the ship. Only 3 crew survived out of 1418.

And now you see why, while I find the Boom and explosions spectacular, I want to see it restricted to Game Space and not Real Space. Reading books like Red Storm Rising (Tom Clancy) and HMS ULYSSES (Alastair McLean) are rather too good in their description of the destruction that can be wrought in war.

Game stuff ?

What would I look to design for my FTD ships ? The fun stuff involves :

Railguns - sound great, not too great in game.
Guns of all sizes - of varying effectiveness. They make things have holes, which is a Very Good Thing in games like this.
Missiles - look pretty and go boom. Also good for knocking down enemy missiles.
Lasers - kinda like toothpicks but effective over time.
CRAM Cannon - oh my. The EE and Aavak playthrough involves a CRAM cannon that fires 2m shells. Yep. Boom.

And you need to put on a hull (duh), AI blocks, generator engines, thrusters, propellers, helifans, hydrofoils and balloons so there's somewhere to put the guns. Oh - shields too. Shields can be pretty.

But that general hullform ? I think I'd avoid the monohull shapes of the Zumwalt, the Type 45 and pretty much every other warship out there. Nah.
That's RV Triton, a ship built by the Brits as a demonstrator for the trimaran hull form.  You know catamarans like the channel ferries ? Whereas a catamaran has 2 hulls, a trimaran has 3, a big long thin one in the middle and two short ones either side. It's supposed to allow faster speeds and more efficiency. But there's also a reason why it hasn't been used for warships (any ships !), where do you put everything.

Saying that though, the Americans have been trying with :
That's USS Independence, which is still a trimaran but instead of the outrigger hulls being in the middle, they are drawn back. All that space up top is used for a humongous flight deck.

Again, not something useful for a FTD ship, although the bigger ships in there will be aircraft carriers too (the AI is very dodgy with those).

My Dragon class ? Trimaran with the outriggers being the wings. The ammo and generators go in the centre, where they are protected by all that hull. Missiles can be on the outriggers, to take advantage of that long and thin outer hull. Cover the forward hull in smaller conventional guns. And aft ... a massive CRAM cannon overlooking the whole ship.
Something bigger than that big gun perhaps. Yep. You can make some very silly guns in this game.

I do feel though that a Dragon ship would have fire coming out of the bow. Perhaps that's where the lasers go ? Or torpedoes. But yeah it's :

Want to put those ideas into some kind of form that can be shown off. Like the Lego/Nanoblocks!
Wanting to beat the game (and it is a rough, tough, very difficult one);
Needing to learn the tools provided;
Watching everything (probably not) do what was intended;
Seeing the Boom happen.
And having other games and real life stuff* drawing the attention too !
*(like more thoughts for a real life barge to live on - definitely a monohull!)

But that would be boom in the game and not in real life. Because games have a save and reload option, we can't do that in real life with people.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Happy Doggie Visit Day

And a Happy Mothers Day too. At least over here in GB, I gather it's a different day in other countries !

It is another of those festivals/days of the year that's become over commercialised but we still take it as a good excuse to show the appreciation. Because I live 180 miles away from my mum and dad and the travel is harder for me now*, we look for excuses to gather up again and this is one of the better excuses. Flowers are involved too this time around and they're definitely appreciated :-).

Me and my dad hold our emotions in somewhat, it's a trait that we can find it difficult to let them out and express them.

*Travel tiredness ? I'm not feeling it as much as usual today. Perhaps this is a sign that I got better sleep over the weekend as I'm fixing on the outside ? Maybe, hopefully :-).

But you know who the star of these weekends is.
Hello Ben ! I came in quietly so the old fella didn't rouse too much from his slumber.
Happy sleepy fella. This was way past his bedtime after we finished watching SpaceX launch rokkits again. They put their satellite into the sky with the usual aplomb but disappointment again on the attempt at landing the first stage. It went splat into the recovery barge. Kind of as expected because it was a difficult launch but ... you should aim to succeed at even the hard things. They'll crack it.
First priority in the morning ? Definitely Bacon. He's a sensible dog, knows what's important. Like ...
Having a good shout at the window cleaner man. I could just hear the thoughts of : "What is that stuff you are putting on our windows ? Take it off IMMEDIATELY ! BARKBARKBARK". He's not too vocal is Ben but he brings out the bark sometimes. Look at that tail in permawag too. (Window cleaner man got a little bit of slurp later)
And then conflict ... He didn't know which stimulus to pay attention to after the bacon sarnies started arriving ... Look at that, all ready to jump into action.
Yep. Hungry puppy demonstrates that gravity is optional again. (He was getting his ham treats and that's when he gets his pain and heart tablets too - you can understand how he's associated treat with yey)
Not all jumpy though, he accepts the proffered rewards like the distinguished old gentle fella he is. A gentle grab with fingers all safe. Yep. Fingers ... but not anything in reach of that ever wagging tail.
He does show his age though when he has to take himself off for a little lie down. Poor fella. It's why we don't bring Ben and my sister's dogs together, because the young dogs wear the old fella out. I think he still thinks he's like a puppy, so he tries to keep up even though the batteries aren't up to that any more. Ha ! Like me with the cricket.
Normal service resumed. You really don't want that bacon sandwich but I know someone who does.
He likes to keep an eye out for his people too with Puppy Patrol checking out the neighbourhood. We keep an eye on him when he's out the front like that. He likes to go out there and check things out but he's a timid fella who will come back in again rather than violently defend territory like some dogs will, or run off to explore like others. Goldie was a lovely dog but we couldn't let him out the front like that. He'd be off exploring.
This scene tends to play out around dinner time when we've finished munching and the leftovers are there ... Ben would like to let everyone know that you should hurry up and take those away meatscrap smells and put them somewhere and that his munchie bowl would be the ideal place.
It's not all like that though, we train the dogs to not be beggy. This is Ben being around his people but having a little sleep to avoid being too tempted. He's used to getting food in the kitchen, not in the dining area.

Sunday !
And flowersman threat to people assessed as "Yep. I stay zzzz now." He was a bit sleepy from all those bacon scraps and ham treats with sneaky pills.
But waking up again later to resume Puppy Investigation Patrol duties. And ...
Will you play with me ?
Yes Ben of course I will because you're still a big lovable puppy at heart. Gentle play because I wouldn't want to see him try and run around on that poorly paw.
And he's a dedicated cook's helper too. Here he is going : "Smells lovely dad, don't need to cook mine too much, rare will be just right for me."

He's a lovely dog is Ben. We don't know how much time he has left but he still seems pretty strong, despite having to ration his energy out between sleeps. We'll miss him when he's gone because he's a loyal bundle of lovely slurpage. Like we miss big old wolfman Scruff and wannabe greyhound and rapier tongued Goldie.

I'm trying to take as many pics of Ben as I can when I'm there, although he is a bit camera shy. He tends to hide when I wave the phone camera in his direction. It does help to remember them, I have the two old pictures of Scruff and I know there's another one as he's about to go SPLASH in a puddle with a massive doggy grin. I have barely any pictures of Goldie.

It's a shame they can't stay with us longer. As a pic I saw again today says : "He's only here for part of your life but you are all of his life." Awww.

Pets are family.

PS Apparently my phone camera has developed a crack ! Oops, dunno how that happened !