Blizzcon

The Reinhardt back story video is easily my favorite of the Overwatch videos released this year, the Hanzo backstory “Dragons” a close second. Both are well worth a watch.

And here’s a video of Reinhardt gameplay.

Elite Dangerous – Vacation time

Elite Dangerous is a seriously good looking game, but you know sometimes we’re in such a rush to get in and out of the stations that we never really stop to take in the sights and sounds of them.

So with a name like “Big Harry’s Monkey Hangout”, I figured this is a place to stop and take a tour. So here are my holiday snaps of the various parks and administrative centers.

Just arriving at Big Harry's and preparing for docking.
Just arriving at Big Harry’s and preparing for docking.
An impressive administrative centre.
An impressive administrative centre.
A picture from the tour bus.
A picture from the tour bus.

Nice place for a picnic.

Anothe park.
Anothe park.

Elite Dangerous, Control panel

Elite Dangerous, I love it as you might have gathered.

But while playing with a nice Hotas joystick and keyboard is great, I find it somewhat breaks the sense of immersion when you need to use the keyboard or joystick buttons to do things like engage your landing gear or deploy your cargo scoop.

What I needed I said to myself was a control panel, something with switches and buttons.
And there are a number of such things available, but I thought I’d have a go at making one for myself.

To that end I purchased a Teensy 3.5 micro-controller which would act as the brains for my panel. In particular one reason for taking this particular board was the presence of an SD card reader. This will allow me to store my key mappings on an SD card meaning I can easily change the functions of the switches without having to reprogram the controller.

The next major issue I had was finding a housing onto which I could mount the switches. And while a good number are available online, none really fitted the size (and price, yes I’m cheap) for what I had in mind. 

But where there is a will there’s a way. 
So using some spare MDF I had at home. I fabricated a housing to take the switches.

Count the holes, that’s twenty six of them. Six latch switches and twenty buttons.
That should cover me for most cases, anything else can be handled by the joystick.

A quick run of the plane and some sanding to take the edges off, followed by a quick spray of black paint.

Here you can see the tangle of wires connecting the switches to the micro-controller.
Don’t even try to solder these, spade connectors are the way to go.

I’ve not yet wired up the led’s for the buttons, so it’s going to become a lot more crowded in there soon. 

On the bottom you can see the micro-controller and SD card holding the mapping file I’m using, that’s a 8gb card holding a 1kb file. Memory has sure gotten cheap. 

Finally here’s the assembled panel, not perhaps as pretty as the commercial products. 
It works great and thanks to the configuration file is highly adaptable for use in both Elite and other simulators (looking at you Star Citizen).

Elite Dangerous – Generation Ship Lycaon

The recent Commanders expansion pack along with the introduction of multi-crews also saw the introduction of new mega-ships amongst which was a number of generation ship.

The first of these discovered was the derelict ship ‘Lycaon’ a ghost ship drifting on a solar systems edge. I decided to take a spin over and take a look for myself and see what the story behind this ship was.

I’ve included all the major points you need to hit in order to find this, along with story of what happened (there’s a spoiler warning before for those who like to see these things first hand).

Citadels

I’ve been arranging and running board and card games sessions for quite some time now and without a doubt one of the post popular games for both new players and veterans alike is Citadels.

It’s a deceptively simple game. The aim being to build a set number of districts (eight) which triggers the end of the game. After which the total value of the districts along with a number of bonuses from the spread of district types, first player to build eight districts, etc. are accumulated to determine the eventual winner.

The turns preceding this consisting of the players taking (changing) character cards which confer abilities to both hinder other players or assist the player. The channel being attempting to infer what the others will play and how to react accordingly.

My own version now a number of years old had become somewhat battered from constant transportation and play. So with the release of a new version of the game in 2016 I decided it was time to refresh my deck and purchase an additional copy.

The first thing you notice is that the game box is considerably larger then the one which preceded it. The preceding versions box would have been a third of the size, which made it much more convenient for transporting it for example down to the pub for a quick game over lunch.

As can be seen from the image above there’s a good bit of unused space and we get to see one of the biggest changes for the game; the addition of tokens for particular play variants.

The new cards are beautifully illustrated, with the character cards  a good size larger than the previous versions which had matched the district cards sizes. A word to the wise here, get card protectors on those character cards quick, they are the ones which get the greatest wear.

The characters and districts from “The Dark City” expansion are also included along with some new additions.

The crown marker has been remodelled  replacing the previous wooden version, much more regal. And as we all know in our games having that crown means first dibs on the “Assassin” and all the mischief that entails.

I’ve a games session coming occuring soon in which I’ll get to try out the new variants, but even without those it’s a solid upgrade to an already excellent game.

Trapped in amber

It’s that time of year for me, when hosting subscriptions come up for renewal and general housekeeping needs to be performed. In amongst the various hosted sites is an old friend which brings us back to where it all started in 11th march 1998, at 21:11pm to be exact !

 

Good old HIV aka Hot Internet Virgins, the site for our wee Quake 2 clan and the ancestor of this place.

It’s all very low-res these days, back then 1024 by 768 was the order of the day.
As was the use of the word Cunt, apprently.

It features quite prominently, as does our eternal hatred for that cunt McEltroy. Now I’m not sure what they did to deserve our scour, but I’d imagine they deserved it.┬áThe cunt.

It’s a nice time capsule of the gaming scene in Ireland back in the late 90’s.
Marvel at Nog’s flash expertise, groovy!
Who remembers clans like Doozer, Incarnate or Gun Islanders. The where the other Quake II clans of the time… *Shakes fist*

Looking back I’m still quite proud of my Paintshop Pro skills.

And finally for Max, I’ll leave this here.

Hard to believe it was Na-na-nineteen years ago ! Fuck we’re old.

Elite – Return to Lave

Back in 1984 if you where around to play Elite, your adventure started out on Lave station which orbited the planet Lave. Which as we all know “is most famous for its vast rain forests and the Lavian tree grub.”

Fast forward to 2017 and I’m once again in the Lave vicinity reminiscing about the old days of knocking about the Lave, Leesti and Riedquat systems. So with that in mind I kicked off the old Beeb emulator and got a side by side comparison view of the station.

The lush beauty of Lave as seen from space.

Lave, circa 1984
Lave, circa 1984
Lave, circa 2017
Lave, circa 2017
Lave, tourist information
Lave, tourist information

Humble Bundle – Freedom Bundle

There’s a great bundle currently running on the Humble Bundle site at the moment with a number of really great games (and the Stanley Parable to keep thing balanced *snigger* ) 

For $30 dollars there are some great games there, but as you can see from the screenshot above. Some of them are starting to run out of keys. So get your skates on if you want to take part.

And that it’s helping some great charities is just the icing on the cake.