Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book 26 and an Iron Fisted Wraith

Back to books !

It feels like it's been a long time. Quite spookily coinciding with the cricket season and the reactivation of the Warcraft sub.
(Picture unattributed - it's from Pinterest and they don't play nice at all with attribution. Let me know if it's yours, if you'll let me keep it there and it you want a note/link).

To the book ! More natter later.

This one was Iron Fist, the second in the X Wing Wraith Squadron books by Aaron Allston. It picks up on an excellent start from the first book and runs from there. There are new characters to replace those lost in the first book. Not all of the squadron survives this book either ... It's part of why these books have a certain compelling factor to them, you don't know who is going to survive out of the characters that don't have Plot Armour*.

*Plot Armour - a device where certain things have to happen, certain characters have to be in one piece for later. Like Picard could get captured (multiple times actually), Data could have his head blown off ... but they'll be back for the next episode.

Anyway. The story in this one follows the first, where the Republic born from Rebellion is trying to track down and deal with the Warlord Zsinj. He's an elusive one .... with a very powerful and nigh on unchallengeable Super Star Destroyer, the Iron Fist of the title of the book.

Just for chuckles ... Lego Super Star Destroyer build video ! I'd love to put one of these together but ... It's still £550+ for an unopened one on That Auction Site Everyone Knows About.

To the book !

Yep. The Wraiths are set up this time as a pirate band, with them even stealing the fighters they use to prey on a star system. The hallmark of these books is clever tactics and strategy, where it's believable that the squad have everything in hand for the plan .... and then react as the plan falls apart around them.

Oh and the characters have a lot of fun throughout the books and you, the reader, are invited to share in that totally free form fun.

I won't put too much more but I'm looking forward to reading the last book of this three and then there's Isard's Revenge if I can find where I buried it in the mountain of books.
I'd say that's me but ..... I suspect Cyberkitten got there first and stole the chair.

Actually no ! The shadow off to the left is Cyberkitten's mountain of books ... towering over mine.

I may acquire more Stuff tomorrow. Legoland ! Looking forward to it. On a school day too. (I have tonnes of flexi credit built up and I need to burn some of it down).

I haven't been posting much lately, the ideas haven't been flowing like they can do. Hopefully another post soon !

Haha, I suspect a Legoland post may appear over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This will likely be very random.

There ! You were warned.

Now let's see what random thoughts are in my head :

I've been ... cruising along is probably the right term for it ? Work is busier than usual ... and there's a change coming there too. More on that in the next month or so when we figure out what it's going to be. I'm highly valued where I am at the moment ... but the boss people are actually quite supportive and want to put me in a spot where I'll be happier. Quite where that be depends on what the best fit is ... and that will need a little thought and not rushing into things.

As per usual, I'll set things up so they don't have to chase me (too much) for "Sleepy how do that ?"

That's enough about work though. It's often a challenge (be boring if it wasn't), always fun and there are some great people around in the team who politely laugh when I unleash daftness on them. That can happen a fair bit. Because if I draw out chuckles from them, that cheers me up a lot.

I like being around people who chuckle at the daftness.

Check this daftness out :

You are right.

It is an abomination of a race car. TRUE ! I fully admit to that. Stands out though. I've been enjoying playing Motorsport Manager again. It's early days (and I've injected a huge amount of cash to allow me to skip the early game, finish last all the time but grind for money) but at the start of season 2, the team will start to challenge the leaders ...

It's a great game for the strategy person who is also interested in motor racing. The racing side of it seems very nicely done and gives believable (and quite challenging to win) races. The strategy side between races has its contrivances like the money model working per race instead of per month like is usual for things like salaries. The workers don't get paid in the off season ! But outside of that, it is an incredibly sound and accessible racing managing game and I'd heavily recommend it to anyone interested in that. It's a rare game that is harsh and fair at the same time. If you make mistakes in this one, you'll be punished. But the logic behind it is impeccable. The game stemmed from a mobile game, which was simpler but also pretty good.

There will likely be more screenshots from Motorsport Manager but it's one I'll enjoy playing offline.

Roguetech might get another look too, although I'm waiting for patching with that one. The mod requires the current beta patch, which has a few issues.

There will be another video at some point ... all plans to do that in Roguetech were abandoned due to how awkward I found it to set up (self inflicted wounds with a mod).

What's the video about ? I need to open this game again soon ! I kinda want to do that when I can record though, which needs quiet time and enough concentration to be ok with the voice and not make a total hash of it. I will be coming out with Firefly quotes like ...

I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar ... closely followed by :
Did something just fly off my gorram ship ?
(Battery compartment !) Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal ...
This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode.
Firefly was an amazing series full of wonderful, interesting characters. It would be wonderful to pay a little homage to it while making a video about a futuristic frontier pilot.

More quotes ! From Serenity courtesy of IMDB and from the Firefly series courtesy of wiki people. Go peek ! I bet you'll be chuckling and laughing within the first few lines.

I've also been spending the time in Stellaris ... The plan for this game didn't start out this way ... but it kinda turned into seeing how long we could go without going to war, while still being strong. We managed 205 years before I got pulled into a war by the other people in the Federation. I actually quite enjoyed that unintentional pacifism, enough to perhaps try an actual Totally Pacifist race ...

They fight to defend themselves ... but the one I'll do will have issues with talking to other people. Could be a good one for the Star Trek Next Generation ship models mod that I have waiting.

Anyway. Stellaris was left last weekend in about 2425, with a War In Heaven about to break out. Not decided yet which way I'll go in that ...
An older map ... My mob are now in a federation with two of the races at the top and we spread into all that empty space over to the right of the map.

Talking of starry things ...
Advent is sorted ...

One last random thought .... I'm up to 3202 tracks listened to so far on the laptop ! A few have been favoured by the random number generator and listened to 3 or 4 times so far. There is still only a 1 in 5 chance (rounded) of a repeat track ... Must get the new Ting Tings album soon. They do great music.


Just listening to the lead track off their coming soon album. Could take some getting used to. Wrong Club is amazing though.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Two mechs enter. One Mech leaves.

Curious isn't it ?

The catch phrases that stay with you and that you keep using sometimes come from really poor sources. In the case of that last one, it comes from Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome where the law is Two Men Enter. One Man Leaves.

A crazy film ... probably the second best of the 3 Mel Gibson Mad Max films. (The second is the best in my opinion). The newest Mad Max with Charlize Theron stealing the show is the best one in a crazy series of super daft movies. Must watch that newest movie again sometime.

I need someone to draw me a MechaSleepyDwagon at some point too :-). Maybe spoilers for why I want it. I have someone in mind .... They're called Alex Foxtrot Whiskey and here's a link to their site. And .... ideal post thumbnail pic !
I was quite chuffed and impressed when the Alex delivered that and its fellows on the big pic.

Just had my tea actually. I don't think there will be any gaming tonight. Pain level has gone into moderate level with occasional yelpy spikes. I'll be ok there, just my body telling me to have an easier night than usual without dipping into the games.

They've been frustrating ... As I mentioned in the last post, I tried checking out the Battletech Roguetech mod. It vastly expands on the equipment available and opens up all sorts of possibilities with the engines of destruction that you control in game. But ....

Modding in the Dragon with Tea icon from the last post apparently irretrievably broke my profile (I got it up and running with a different email address) and that was the start of problems. I eventually did get the mod running but .... got frustrated and tired with it.

A video series on that would have been an utter nightmare.

I haven't been in Warcraft for just over a week as well .... I think I just found other things to play and watch ! Many streams have been on. Oh and the Warcraft playstyle tends to aggravate the pain issues instead of alleviate them.

Other games ? I did really enjoy watching the cricket over the weekend. It's been a classic series where one side seems to be on top. Then they blow their advantage. One side seems to have blown it. And then come out on top of the other team. That's what we need in sport. Predictability leads to boredom. Cricket depends on wickets falling, the mostly unpredictable event. However .... the wickets are usually set up by the bowler out thinking the batsman and coming out with something that's a huge surprise.

That's the plan at least. One of the issues I have with the Battletech game is that almost all of the missions see you outnumbered 2 to 1. Never 4 or 5 enemies facing your 4 mechs. Always 8. Or 9. Or more. Without an ongoing campaign to hook me in, I got bored with that.

I tried out one called Frontier Pilot Simulator. Here's a pic from their site :
I think this one is highly promising. It could well herald a video or two.

What is it ? It's an early access game set on an alternate near Earth planet in a scifi universe.

The game sets you in the pilot seat of an advanced helijet. The engines you see on the wings there rotate forward and back to move you around. But ... you quickly find out that's not a good idea because while they're pushing you forward, they aren't holding you up and you plummet like a rock.

They've also implemented ground effect, which is something we see on today's helicopters as well. As they get close to the ground, the rotors that make lift by furiously pushing air downwards get more effective ... The air being pushed down bounces off the ground and pushes the aircraft up more.

This gets rather tense as you're maneouvring over a landing pad that's raised up from the ground. The differing levels of ground effect lead to the aircraft trying to tip over. It's an early access in development game but it looks like they have a really sound flight model.

And all of that is far better shown in a video. Where of course you will see me pinpointing perfect transits and making landings with no issues.

Oh look ! A pig is flying by the window !

The weekend finished off with a dose of Stellaris ... The current game is with a race style I don't play much, it's a bunch of goody goody Federation builders ... With suitable ships :
And the Fleet has grown since then.
I nearly quit out of that game but it's developing nicely. The first war I'll carry out will involve invading an enemy's space via a wormhole. Sounds familiar doesn't it ? But a tad reversed .... I don't have to do that yet so I'm watching the enemy while they fight it out with another neighbour. If one gets strong, I'll attack the strong one before they take over the weaker one.

Lots of scope in that game.

It's been too long since I've been in the books too ! I'm still midway through XWing Wraith Squadron - Iron Fist. I may go back to that one tonight.

Later !

Monday, September 03, 2018

In the Stars .... plotting.

I've been getting lost in that Stellaris game again ...

Gaming is good at the moment. On the one hand, I'm enjoying my time in World of Warcraft again with an active guild and fun stuff to explore. That may be a little time limited perhaps though. On the other, I had an epic Stellaris campaign that I took all the way through to fighting the Fallen Empires (brutal campaigns) and an end game crisis.

We need a thumbnail though ! Check this out.
I'm working up to doing a heavily modded Battletech play through using the Rogue Tech mod, plus a little addition of my own. Check out the Company Logo. I haven't started that yet because I may well record the play through, for however long it goes. I'd be heavily editing that, because after a while the battles blur into each other. So I'd be picking out the important parts and wrapping a few battles together.

Looking forward to it.

I said to someone not too long ago that I'd tell them whether I thought the Stellaris DLCs were worth buying ... Here we go :

Apocalypse - gives you planet killer weapons and space pirates. Optional, the space pirate marauders are highly annoying and the planet killer weapons are end game things.
Utopia - buy this one. This expansion opens up a new set of Ascension perks and other mechanics.
Distant Stars - meh. Optional. It opens up new clusters of the galaxy with hidden dangers ... I haven't seen these properly fire yet ... but I'm only in my second game with them in. More buy than not buy.
Synthetic Dawn - buy it. This one allows you to play as machine races, which are an interesting variation on playing as the typical organic. Things like energy being required instead of food and actively needing to build up the population instead of watching it grow naturally.
Leviathans - Optional, it adds in a series of mid level power encounters which are quite varied in nature and level of menace. I enjoy these encounters and I'd miss them.

Ones I don't own (make your conclusions as to whether I recommend them !)
Humanoids, Plantoids - give you new ship models and species appearances. Meh.

On top of that is a vast array of mods that are available for the game. I'm using a few quality of life improvements (like a speed dial feature) and some mods that change and expand on game mechanics. Oh and then there's the ship models :
Click for bigger as per usual ! At this point, the Swarm had 10 fleets of 40k power each. Each of those is a fairly powerful fleet. The game makes you split your fleet up like this and it's a good feature when you get used to it. Each separate fleet can be given attack duty, blockade duty or back to base for upgrades or repairs.

In the above shot, I'd gathered the massed fleets together for an invasion of a Fallen Empire homeworld. My swarm had 10x 40k power fleets, the enemy had a few 60k power fleets plus a hefty space station. A brutal fight but the swarm prevailed.

The mod in this case is the Star Wars Rebel Ships mod and the larger ships are Mon Calamari cruisers forming the Battleship wings. If you zoom in real close, you may be able to make out a mass of Corellian Corvette zooming around.
This was the final fleet action of the game, with 12 massed Swarm fleets advancing on the last vestige of the Machine Contingency which had awoken to sterilise the galaxy with only the Swarm able to deal with them.

It was an intense campaign when it kicked off in the end game. Very enjoyable.

The latest campaign has quite different ships. I've only unlocked the corvettes and destroyers so far. Here they are :
Shiny ! The next game will have Next Generation ships and something must have gone horribly wrong because I'll be playing a machine assimilator race.

Warcraft ? I definitely enjoyed the social aspect of the raid I was involved in on Saturday. We made an attempt at battering the content from the last expansion. The social side was awesome, with lots of fun over the voice comms. But it did remind me of the very fiddly and punishing mechanics that exist in the raid encounters in WoW. A single mistake or misunderstanding of the mechanics is punished very heavily.

I think that's made up my mind somewhat on how heavily I'll stay in WoW in the weeks to come. A younger me would have been grinding away to get to the required gear level and I'd have been training myself in raid modes. (I have an idea ... but haven't played that idea for quite some time).

I'd honestly rather play different games now than be subject to those raid mechanics. Like Stellaris !