Friday, January 8, 2016

My thoughts on gaming in the 2010s.

It's a new year and games are coming out as movies have come out - rehashes, reboots, ect, ect, ect.
In my mind I have always thought of gaming as an interactive experience that delved into creativity that books and movies could not touch. Heck, the computer gaming industry is bigger than any other entertainment industry. No wonder Hollywood likes to describe as basement dwelling losers who have no lives and are unfit to have mates ... they want people to shy away from this awesome interactive experience!
However, in the past few years I have seen a disturbing trend in this form of entertainment.
1. DLC. You pay $60 and then you find out that 25% of the game is missing. Yep! You have to buy more and more content that should have been included in the original package.
2. No more real hosting of the game in muliplayer. This means that a 'host' of a game can no longer kick or ban abusive and cheating players. I remember playing Tribes 2 and being able to host games with complete control over MY game.
3. Only about 32 people MAXIMUM are able to play in multiplayer first person shooter games. Again, with Tribes 2 as an example, 64 people could play at once.
4. Front ends that use up memory resources and CPU cycles. Uplay, Windows Live and EA Origin are some of the biggest offenders. They do little to prevent piracy as real pirates will circumvent their pathetic DRM and the customers that buy it legitimately suffer.
5. Difficulty of gameplay and ease of use of resources in the game cater to the least common denominator of player. These game companies do not want to miss out on poorly skilled players with wallets too. No longer do you really need practice and skill to win ... just spend a little extra money and you are the best! Tribes Ascend is a HUGE offender of this infraction. About 1/4 of all the weapons in that JET-PACK game are automatic weapons - weapons that take LITTLE skill to predictively use.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I thought I would public my TA Mortar reticle that I use with CustomDesktopLogo

That's right, Tribes Ascend reticles really stink!
Here is the one I am using:
Just save it as a *.png and you are set and use this program with it and you are set!

Friday, December 11, 2015

My thoughts more on first person shooters

Yes - I wrote that some time ago. Obviously, that was when they were still trying to develop the game. This game has had a very rocky start in that they tried to heavily monetize this franchize.
In doing this, they removed much of the balance, diversity of play and skill needed to really play the game as it was meant to be played. One would think that as time marched on that games like this - strategic jet-pack first person shooters would enter the user more and more into an environment where skill, teamwork, communication and strategy were more and more required to play.
Tribes Ascend went to the other way (as well as other titles, it would seem). I can only guess they are trying to pull in players from the younger mindset but in doing so I think they catered to the stupid, the lazy, the trollish and the arrogant.
Here are some traits that ALL first person shooters should have:
Normalize weapons effects and damage. Always be trading something of limited supply (energy, time, ammo, even health) for something you can release in a burst of fire (damage, area of effect, cone of effect, ect.). In fact a GOOD first person shooter will have diverse weapons that are powerful - in their own way and have soft and hard counters to those strengths.
Health does not automatically regenerate. This health regeneration tends to insult the skillful actions of a patient, trained player. If all you have to do is run away and come back to knife your opponent in the back - it's not a game I want to play.
Make all ranged weapons need an element of predictive shooting.
Think skeet shooting with a shotgun.
 If you REALLY want to go with hitscan or very very very fast projectiles, then make it so you have to "spin up" or "lock on", thus trading TIME and ATTENTION for an easier or more powerful shot.
Rate of fire is the most powerful element of any weapon in the game. Think about it.
If you miss with a slow firing weapon what are you left with? You are left with an opponent who is very aware of your presence who can then retaliate, dodge or run away before you can get off your next round.
If you miss with an automatic weapons, what are you left with? You are left with the ability to fire many many rounds after that with each bullet correcting your aim. After about 1-5 bullets (depending on your skill) the other 15-20 bullets are going to be right on target.
So, if that slow firing weapon does 100 damage and your automatic here does 5 damage per shot, which one does more damage, on average?
You miss with a slow moving weapon (like a spinfusor): 0% damage for the next 2 seconds.
You miss with a fast-firing weapon (like a SMG or autoRifle): 5 shots miss with 20 hitting, well, that's 100 damage!
How do you correct the automatic weapon problem? Make the weapon overheat after a few shots, make each shell wildly inaccurate past 20 meters and if the weapon DOES overheat and you STILL try to fire it - make it blow up in their hands, doing health damage!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Howdy folks! I know a lot of you that read my blog come here for the Steve Jackson gamer that stole our post apocalyptic thermonuclear collective hearts but as of late I have been branching out to other boardgames and computer games.

As with any download, you have to be cautious of viruses. Personally, I use a website called VirusTotal. All you have to do is drag and drop the *.rar, *.exe *.zip *.jar, ect. on the text field, hit the blue button "Scan it!" and you're off. I have saved myself countless hours of trying to pry trojans, virues, worms and rootkits off my main drive as in the past I have been the victim of "RansomWare".

My nephew likes playing this hugely popular game Minecraft and this cute little guy keeps wanting me to install Modifications. I took me a few tries \before I got the hang of it but mods sure are fun! Have you ever wanted to know what items makes what recipes?
Well ...
Where was this mod when I was playing? WOW!
Now, to run the mods, you have to have "Forge" (a mod installer) and maybe this supporting collection of code called "CodeChickenCore-1.8". Both are *.jar files and just are dropped into the Mods folder under the ".minecraft" folder when you enter in %appdata% into the RUN command.
Here is how you do it!
Step 1
Just press [WINDOWS]-R and this pops up.
Type in %appdata%. I know. There should be a
button on the start bar for this folder!
Step 2
In %appdata% there is your illusive Minecraft folder!
Here you can drag and drop packs that change the
look of the game (resource packs), skins,
maps  (under saves) and finally mods.

Step 3
If the "Mod" folder does not exist already
make a new folder and rename it Mods.
Step 4
Drag and drop *.jar files here for
Forge to load up for ya.

Here are some of my favorite Minecraft Tweaks:
Favorite skin Calvin & Hobbes (It's a toss up!)
Favorite Mod InventoryTweaks
Favorite map generator McDungeon
Favorite Resource Pack Silver Mine

Friday, September 25, 2015

As of late, I have been playing some cool games....

Wargame AirLand is a wonderfully interesting series. It is a Real Time Strategy game that does not follow Starcraft 2 in any respect.
Every unit is precious.
You lose that M1 Abrams platoon or that few helicopters you could potentially lose the conflict.
I give this game an off-the-cuff rating of 8/10.
I would give it a 9 or even a 10 for it not having a map and unit editor. Heck, I would be happy with a map/scenario editor!
Another application I picked up on the Steam Store is the Tabletop Simulator. It is pretty rough in it's present form but I see great potential for this game type in the future in that it will revolutionize the way we play once physical turn based games. It will forever blur the line between computer and table top gaming.
In fact I think it will spawn another entire type of computer game: The Virtual Table Top (VTT) or as I say "VeTT". Now all we need to do is shake off these Micro$oft chains of which we are bound. We need Steam to run on Linux - and all the games Steam sells to work with Linux.
I give this one a 7.8./10. I would give it more but there is no way to code in behaviors, rules and logical boundaries into the playing pieces and board.
Now for some person words:
Back in the late 1970s, 1980s and even the early 1990s, it was a magical time for table top game playing. When I was younger, I could play risk in my back yard under the moon and no one else besides my siblings knew we were playing a game of Risk with rules no one ever heard of. One time, we all created 12 "reinforcement cards" with a total of 24 unit reinforcements in all with a maximum of 4 per card. We even allows to gave 4 special cards mixed in that changed the game in some fundamental way, but only for ONE round of turns (everyone had to follow the rules for one of the turns). The point was to make the "reinforcement card" as hilarious and creative as possible. Think paratroop penguins invade South America or Polar Bear Cavalry defend Kamchakta.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ever hated reinstalling windows? I have found a solution. This is my digital Hard Drive adventure.

I was wondering one day that if I could just copy the Windows installation to another hard drive every day or so, it would make me proof against the evil people that create Cryptolocker. 
All you have to have is another hard drive (or thumb drive) at least 10GB (For Winxp) and 300GB-400GB (for win7), a wonderful program called "Rufus" and another wonderful collection of useful tools called "Hiren's Toolkit". I just used this program called Rufus to place Hiren's.BootCD.15.2.iso onto a USB flash drive. It's that simple.
Here is how you do copy one Windows Installation to another:
1. Insert a USB Flash Drive at least 600MB in size.
2. Run Rufus
3. Select the Hiren's.BootCD.15.2.iso in Rufus.
4.  Let the files copy to your USB Drive.
5. Restart your computer and press the key that takes you to the boot menu.
6. Boot from your USB Flash Drive
7. Open up HBCDMenu and navigate to Programs > Backup > FastCopy
8. Run the program Fast copy.
You should only be seeing this if you booted into
USB Flash Drive only.

9. Choose your Source (the hard drive you have your windows installation on you wish to copy).
10. Choose your destination drive (The drive you hopefully formatted for the purpose).
11. Let them copy by pressing "Execute"!
12. Boot up the hard drive you copied and there you have it. No more having to reinstall windows, drives, devices, settings, ect. ect. ect.

Check this out: You can BOOT from a USB flash drive!
I was running mini-Windows XP from a USB flash drive!
There is application on this little bootable wonder called "Fastcopy" made by H. Shirouzu. Once I booted into my USB flash drive, I found a hard drive with about 320GB on it. I had JUST installed a fresh copy of Windows XP on another 1TB drive with all the drivers, applications, settings, just EVERYTHING you do NOT want to do twice (as in the case of having to reinstall your OS). Now I wanted to just COPY and PASTE this Windows XP installation with all my bells and whistles onto this 320GB drive and have the 320GB drive boot up.
The 320GB drive with this copied Windows XP installation booted up and worked perfectly.
I am going to purchase enough USB flash drives and USB external drives enough to backup my OS every three days or so. This way, I will have three completely disconnected drives with a CLONE of my current installation of Windows on it and it it gets a virus - no problem! Just go back to a previous version, copy over the last installation and I will have won over these sleeze bags that thought they had me.
Why all this zealousness? Well about a week ago, some piece of garbage somehow got cryptolocker* to run on my computer and it encrypted all my files and wanted 2.3 ฿ (about $500) to receive the "key" to unencrypt it. Thank goodness I did not have anything important on it like my family photos or my childrens books I am writing.

Tin Foil Hat Time!

Gee, I wonder why Micro$oft didn't want people to do this? 
It is a total fabrication of Micro$oft that an Operating System MUST be "booted" into and "reinstalled" in order to work.
It should be as easy to copy and paste the installation that works for you and leave it at that. You should have the choice to cut the applications and services that YOU DO NOT USE out of YOUR copy of YOUR operating system. This has a two fold result:
1. It keeps your memory open for what you have your computer for: running applications that is NOT windows.
2. Gives you more power over a piece of hardware that is YOURS, not a corporation's.

* (I didn't capitalize their name to show my contempt of their 'work' - or lack thereof)

and ................................

Friday, September 11, 2015

What about a touch pad on the left mouse button?

I sketched this up as a concept for a mouse that give the user a more precise experience.

What do you guys think? I am going to put this $30 device on my computer mouse next week. I will update if it works really well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Is it time to jump from Chrome to another Web Browser?

Is it time to jump from Chrome to another Web Browser that does not censor us and our extentions (like adblock)?
It is almost there. Google is not some benevolent corporation that loves us users. They are after our right mandated freedom to do what we wish in blocking material we find offensive and unimportant to us. Advertisers wish to assault our senses with garbage. We have the RIGHT to block that influx of unwanted information that might influence us. I will continue to search for applications and extensions that will block ads. Before I was ambivalent to ads. Now they are my online enemy because of the unrighteous and unjust censoring of tools I used to save me time and energy.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I think I found a precursor to the mighty ORE Mark 2

Maybe this version of the tank is a manned version of a cybertank.
What do you all think?
I am not even sure WHAT to call this. It looks like some military took all their extra weapons they were not using and threw them up onto six individual tank chassis!

Friday, August 28, 2015

"What happens to the OGRE after it leaves the board?"

The question was asked on the forums "What happens to the OGRE after it leaves the board?"
Well, I have an answer:

People throw it a welcome back party, of course!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Howdy folks. I am sorry I have not produced much content in a long stretch. I think I have exhausted just about anything I could say about OGRE/GEV. Unless Steve Jackson comes out with an additional expansion that builds upon the original game, like a good sea surface or air-based variant of OGRE/GEV, I really do not have much more to contribute.
I seriously believe that Steve Jackson will never make a\n RTS Computer game based on the lumbering, building-sized cyber-tank because it would seriously dent into the profits of the board game and I agree with him.
Lately, I have been playing Hearthstone. Previously I played Magic the Gathering. This art-heavy game is of beautiful design but one practically needs a bachelor's degree to effectively play with all of the cards and unlimited combinations of probability mechanics. The game mechanics is so slippery when trying to predict the outcome of any deck and this is made much less predictable when you make the sample size a deck of 60+ cards.
Blizzard intelligently created two constants that were before quite variable in Magic the Gathering.
1. They kept the mana acquisition near linear. Every turn you got one more mana to work with, thus increasing the number and power of cards increasingly until the game is over. Rarely does a Hearthstone game last more than 10 turns. In Magic the Gathering, games could drag on for an hour.
2. The sample size of the deck is reduced to 30 cards. In reference to point #1, a player could typically be near the bottom of their deck after ten turns.

In my opinion, one simple game mechanic that ruined the game was a card that allowed someone to disproportionately destroy more minions that anything else could do. I quit every game when this over-powered mechanic is used. Thank goodness the card is relatively rare.

Thursday, July 16, 2015