The portrait of an artist (without talent).

There’s some nice offers running in the Steam VR anniversary special running through this weekend. 

I’ve most of what I wanted already, but one which I hadn’t picked up was Tilt Brush.

It’s a funky wee application from Google which lets you paint in 3D. At full price it was just a bit rich for my tastes but now that they’ve lowered it to €13.99 I decided to pick it up.

Stand back and be astonished at my first wondrous offerings.
If this software malarkey doesn’t work out I’ve a fall back option… the dole.

I know you’re spechless.

Guns of Icarus : Alliance

Those of you with a passing interest in Steampunk related games will undoubtedly have come across Guns of Icarus Online the steampunk themed multiplayer game of airship combat.

Guns of Icarus Alliance takes the initial team based combat and moves it from its PvP origins to PvE co-op play. Now rather than the combat  between player controlled Dirigibles, the players all work together towards a common goal against a computer controlled adversary.

And speaking of those Dirigibles that’s where it gets interesting, each is manned by a crew of four players including the captain. Game play consist of the Captain steering the vessel, while the other crewmen man the guns and attempt to maintain the various parts of the ship as they become damaged.

Alliance brings into play a persistent battlefield, where each of your battles counts towards advancement for your particular faction on a world map. As you play you earn points which you can also assign to battles to increase your factions advancement.

It terms of actual game player it can become quite a frantic and unforgiving affair as shown in the video below. Damage quickly escalates and if ignored can quickly bring down the ship along with all those on-board. Team-play is essential to keep the ship afloat.

If you already own Guns of Icarus Online you can upgrade with a 25% discount, while those who don’t have the base game can pick it up on Steam for €19.99 which includes the original game.

So is it worth getting?
With Steam the only score that counts is have you asked for a refund. While it’s not a perfect game, in this case I haven’t. There’s potential there and when it works it’s really engaging.

As to the shortcomings, personally I’d like to see more interaction and backstory being driven on the persistent world side. There’s a rich backdrop to the game which I can’t help but feel is not getting fulled realised, I’m hoping that will come.

The other issue is length of time it can take to get a game running. The player count is not that large so getting the necessary numbers can take a while for a game to start. It also doesn’t help that no-one wants to do captain (guilty as charged myself).

But that  said Alliance due to its co-operative nature and use of computer controlled opponents doesn’t suffer from this as much as the PvP side of the game does, so it’s not a deal breaker.

And for those of you with a more steampunk literary bent allow me to also recommend “The Aeronauts Windlass” by Jim Butcher. It’s the first book in a new series set also in a steampunk environment featuring airship combat between various noble families.

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.

Planet of the vampires

My current pastime on weekend mornings is watching old science fiction movies from the 60’s and 70’s, and yes they typically are as bad you think. That’s kind of the ‘charm’ of them.

But every now and again you unearth something unexpected, a forgotten gem and that in this particular case is “Planet of the vampire”.

Somewhat misleadingly titled since there are no vampires to speak off on said planet, the story concerns a crew of a spaceship which investigate the mysterious signal emanating from a volcanic planet.

And if that sounds familiar to you, that’s not the only surprising similarity you’ll find with a much later alien film. But we don’t want to give away too much since it’s worth watching for that woo moment when you start to see certain iconic set pieces.

It’s well worth a watch if you’re a fan of sci-fi and old sci-fi in particular, the film is visually stunning in HD, with its sets and costuming. Though as you’d expect from a film made in 1965 the tech’s a bit off, but surprisingly doesn’t look as dated as you might expect.

All in all, I really enjoyed.

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. The 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.

Rossmore – 2017.02.26

If you’re ever in the Monaghan vicinity one location you should visit is the national forest park of Rossmore which is situated approximately one kilometer to the south west of Monaghan town.

You feel mighty small look up at the Forest sky.
You feel mighty small look up at the Forest sky.
Forest floor
Forest floor
A waterlogged trunk of a fallen tree.
A waterlogged trunk of a fallen tree.
Part of the hydro-electrial plant, it looks like it could have dammed the waterway at one point.
Part of the hydro-electrial plant, it looks like it could have dammed the waterway at one point.
A small waterfall which feed into the area shown in the picture above.
A small waterfall which feed into the area shown in the picture above.
If compter games have taught me nothing else, I know that somehow turning that crank will get me to the next level...
If compter games have taught me nothing else, I know that somehow turning that crank will get me to the next level…
Moss is everywhere, though that not surprising in such a damp environment.
Moss is everywhere, though that not surprising in such a damp environment.
A memorial stone placed beside a redwood tree planted in the forest park in celebration of lord Rossmore's birthday.
A memorial stone placed beside a redwood tree planted in the forest park in celebration of lord Rossmore’s birthday.
The view from the summit where the old house used to reside looking towards the lower lake which contains a Crannóg (not in view).
The view from the summit where the old house used to reside looking towards the lower lake which contains a Crannóg (not in view).
The view from the summit this time looking down towards the carpark. At this stage the rain had started to come down, a not uncommon occurance in Monaghan.
The view from the summit this time looking down towards the carpark. At this stage the rain had started to come down, a not uncommon occurance in Monaghan.

Wat I’m watching and so should you.

I’m currently seriously addicted to The Expanse which is working it’s way though season two of the show (airing on Wednesdays). I really can’t recommend it enough, it’s without a doubt one of the best series available right now.

The first season is available for watching on Netflix, with the second also available stateside. Unfortunately though it’s not yet available across on these shores; but I’m sure the more industrious can overcome that particular hurdle.

For those of you who recognise the name that’s because it is based on a series of book written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Not read the books myself (going to order them after this season ends), but I’ve heard good things and with such a good adaptation I’m expecting great things from the source.

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.

What’s behind the Asp cockpit door ?

I’m a big Elite fan and if you’ve ever used either the external camera or are fortunate enough to own a VR headset you will have noticed there is a visible door behind you on a number of ships.

So naturally you get to wondering what’s behind said door, so I decided to take a look.

You’d be surprised at the amount of room you need to work back the distance of a Asp cockpit. I’ll not be trying this in an Anaconda anytime soon.