Thursday, 20 September 2018

Eador: Overlord of Worlds

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

The wizard Arzang is hired to attack Erdu's magical shard (which is great for wizards) and does well with the initial sword rush strategy. Progress slows a little when he finds Erdu guarded by many centaur tribes and loses many adventurers fighting through the herd of horsemen.

Finally reached nuke level warfare.

Once he does reach Erdu's castle he unleashes a rain of brimstone (ritual) to soften up the defenses before attacking, and easily captures the enemy fortress. Erdu is captured and sent to magical facilities for study and experimentation. Who knows what one may learn from ancient physiology? Do they regenerate finger nails and sexual organs for example? These are important questions that Nesturs wants answers to.

With no other masters left, Nesturs easily rebuilds the planet Eador and becomes known to the general populace as the Creator and Protector God. For others, the Conqueror and the Overlord of Worlds.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Eador: True Colors

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

With only Erdu left, Shinordium is sent to assist his forces on a large unclaimed shard in completing "the talisman". Erdu's lands are encountered first but as allies, Shinordium just bypasses it - heading instead for the powerful local lord who owns 3 castles this time around!

Just to mix things up, the wizard hires a full squad of elven archers from a local mercenary guild (first time Nesturs has seen one) and finds them extremely effective - easily defeating all of the local lords strongholds. It is then, when Shinordium is farthest to defend Nesturs citadel that Erdu shows his true colors and declares war.

The firing squad is super effective!

Fortunately Erdu's champion is a bit of an idiot and Shinordium makes it to Erdu's lands - and castle - in good time. Erdu doesn't even bother defending - he just flees. Nesturs decides its time to end this coward once and for all.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Eador: Masters of the Universe

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

With the dragon dead, the next few masters seem to appear in quick succession: Ranadil, a cloud elemental whose only concern is creating a world of oceans, "Nameless" the mysterious shadowy douchebag, and Magnus - the most powerful of the current masters, interested only in knowledge and not in defeating the chaos (by recompleting the world).

I wonder if he "knows" how much of a ass hat he is.

Wizard Eineron is sent to deal with Ranadil and his barbarian and archer armies and achieves this task easily thanks to the magic crystal rich land the elemental has cultivated. Thellaphes has a harder time against Nameless who is guarded by dwarven clans with siege weaponry and a tricksy poisoner but he falls just the same.

Meanwhile the brothers Niredor and Mencor are sent to confront Magnus whose massive lands are tough to navigate due to the mountain ranges inhabited by manticores and hydras. After a long struggle they reach Magnus' castle where Niredor casts a ritual of mass hysteria so that the defenders damage each other and lose morale pre-battle.

Despite that, the archer and centaur guards led by a fireball casting ranger are very tough. Niredor is arrowed to death in the brutal battle and the army of both sides wiped out. Mencor's squad then attacked from the rear and with no decent troops left to defend him, Magnus could do little before Mencor beheaded him.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Eador: Untethered

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Sensing Nesturs rising power, Dorikos sends his dragon cultists to attack the mainland and Thellaphes is on defense duty. He gets off to a good start by befriending a djinn and finding a fireball scroll early but is then hampered in progress by a large ocean flanked by lands occupied by boulder throwing giants.

It takes awhile to build a shipyard large enough to make the crossing and Thellaphes loses most of his units on the shore landing but makes it to the enemy castle himself where the javelin guards give him no challenge. Dorikos retreats back to his world and Thellaphes follows.

Dragons, more OP than magic. Also immune to magic!

It certainly seems that Dorikos sent all his best troops on the offense because there's nothing that can stop Thellaphes from marching right to his front gate and destroying the dragon master's tether to the land, sending the overgrown lizard hurtling through space into the chaos.

Now is a good time to note that all dragons on Eador are immune to magic and are very deadly, which is why Nesturs forces tend to just avoid them. Fortunately Dorikos wasn't really supported by his kin, and ironically it was the dragons godliness (and tether) that proved to be his weakness.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Eador: Light and Dark

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

With Ul-Dagan defeated, the master Dorikos - King of all Dragons appears and he takes an immediate liking to Nesturs. With Erdu still allied to construct "the talisman", Nesturs opts to attack Herskil next. Why go for a lesser territory?

The wizard Assagh, who had previously aided in Oinor's defeat, is sent and finds himself in a world of free settlements - perhaps the easiest type of world since they usually have weak defenses and can be bribed with gold. What its low in is magic crystals which forces Assagh to make do with weaker cantrips for awhile.

Even with higher level guardsmen and a centaur ally, Assagh still has to skirt around a Hydra and sneak past some vampires before reaching Herskil's castle - which ironically is guarded by a large band of thieves! Weakened by stone rain, they and their master are no match for the halberd wielders and are all cut down easily.

With Herskil's death, a devil named Adrageron appears as the new master in space - Nesturs sends forth Assagh again - this time onto lands of chaos (demons) where people have lousy morale. Fortunately Assagh is strong enough to solo most of the enemies here, helped out by the exorcism spell and a well placed shipyard. The devil's castle is guarded by strong orcs and a demon summoning scout but they all fall to Assagh's mighty power. The wizard then exorcises Adrageron himself.

Demon lands are not immune to rainbows!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Eador: A Voiceless Scream

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

With Dariol gone, two new masters appear in space. Herskil, the Emperor of the Sun (possibly the Lord of Light) and another ancient named Erdu who hates Ul-Dagan's guts. Sensing opportunity, Nesturs allies with Erdu and agrees to help him form his "talisman" that will help Eador somehow. In exchange, Erdu will send a strike team to Ul-Dagan's mainland, as he knows how to bypass the force field.

All that's left is to distract the ancient engineer, so Nesturs sends Cleeren and the wizard Thellaphes to a large unclaimed dead lands shard to try gain Ul-Dagan's attention and it works. Their "landing site" territory is lousy though - and surrounded by water.

Still, the swordsman rush tactic works well and lets them defeat the nearby local lord who seems to have a javelin fetish. Erdu's citadel is nearby and as planned, is so lightly defended it almost falls over on its own. With them gone only Ul-Dagan remains, and his lands are in such a hard to reach spot that it is easier to build a massive shipyard (bigger = more sea hexes crossed) to reach it.

Ul-Dagan's heroes are well prepared when they arrive though, and Cleeren is killed by a surprise fireball from a high level enemy warrior. Despite heavy losses Thellaphes manages to avenge the scout then push forward to Ul-Dagan's citadel and destroy it, evicting him from the shard and back to... nowhere.

Don't mess with Thellaphes!

The plan worked as Erdu's strike team captured Ul-Dagan's mainland, leaving the engineer screaming silently as he fell through space to his eventual destruction in the chaos.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Eador: The King and the Vampires

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Olchyr had just returned to the mainland when Ul-Dagan attacked. The ranger hired the shaman Shelumu and allied with nomadic horsemen to help defeat the invaders, using his magic sword to dispel the evil spirits that stood in his way and finding a powerful spell scroll that would make Shelumu near unstoppable.

Indeed, Ul-Dagan's forces had no chance when the shaman began raising vampires on the field of battle and were quickly evicted from the shard. Alas, Ul-Dagan's still shield prevents any counter invasions so Nesturs attacks the brooding Elf King Dariol instead, to reunite him with Vianta. In death.

Yep, the backstabbing vampire is an ally!

Wizard Shinordium and scout Cleeren find themselves surrounded by elven forest lands - not rich in gold but rich in gems. It is tough to navigate those woods though as the elves are great archers and unicorns quite tough. Fortunately there is a small section of Holy Lands (loyal to the Lord of Light) who again agree passage for Nesturs proxies.

They eventually reach Dariol's castle, weakening it through use of an undead invasion (ritual spell cast by Shinordium) and then attacking it. The King is a gargoyle summoning archer (fortunately not the exploding type) and while he inflicts great losses on Nesturs troops, he ultimately falls in battle.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Eador: Misjudgement

[Interlude of the Masters of Eador Story.]

Just thought I'd put in an art post today, since it sort of deals with what happened in the latest story entry. When playing on low level difficulty (which I do for strategy games as I'm terrible at them) Eador gives you a gauge for any auto-combat events.

While all auto-combat is optional, I certainly used it a lot since the fighting does get repetitive. The only problem with it is...

The initial assessment is usually wrong! :P

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Eador: Fairy Dust

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

In space, two new masters appear - the Elf King Dariol who clearly has a thing for Vianta, and an "ancient" one (green skinned elf?) named Ul-Dagan "the engineer". Ul-Dagan in particular is quite abrasive so Nesturs tries attack him immediately, only to find his world is protected by some form of force shield.

Due to this, Nesturs sends Olchyr to attack Vianta instead since she now hates him for what happened to Oinor. The sadist mage Eleran is also hired to assist. It is tough to progress on the Fairy Queen's shard due to the low mining (low gold) and the high number of powerful treants milling about. Indeed it's easier to go through the small pockets of demon territories here.

Eleran is feeling ballsy.

Fortunately Nesturs tech level has been going through the roof thanks to all the huge shards (of other masters) he's been collecting, and his proxies bypass a lot of fighting simply by constructing a shipyard to sail them beside Vianta's castle, which ironically is guarded only by simple militia. Eleran easily defeats them, captures Vianta, and uses her in his experiments until she expires.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Eador: Out with the Old

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

With Lan'sharr gone, the wizard Niredor and his commander brother Mencor are hired on a small unclaimed but "developed" shard, almost fully explored with large cities and easily take out the citadels of Oinor and Stenriya simultaneously. The two masters now openly despise Nesturs so Mencor is sent to her world of rust to eliminate Stenriya first.

While Mencor's gear deteriorates quickly here, his troops do not suffer the same penalties which lead him to victories against pegasi, centaurs and the undead defending the castle. Mencor is victorious, but Stenriya, having forseen the outcome, flees into space - vowing revenge.

Out numbered and out leveled, doesn't make a difference.

Meanwhile wizard Assagh is deployed to to handle Oinor, and finds himself in lousy lands with little to no resources (no wonder Oinor always loses). Scout Olchyr is recruited to assist and forms an alliance with the local lizardmen. After defeating a centaur tribe guarding Oinor's castle, the old mage is thrown out on the street and publicly executed.

Nesturs had thought about sparing the Oinor, but then realized only a fool would let his foes live.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Eador: Pendrainne and the Lich

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

The mage Pendrainne and scout Farcol are sent to the next unclaimed land, a large desert one that also interests Oinor, Vianta, and Stenriya due to some mystic gear being present there. Pendrainne finds it in dwarven lands near Nesturs citadel, so he takes it by force before evicting the other masters off the shard.

At this point Lan'sharr the lich, another master, appears and openly declares his goal of exterminating all life while looking for allies. In his view masters don't count as "life", just their subjects. In response, Nesturs immediately send Pendrainne and the scout Slitt to kill the lich on his own shard and is surprisingly supported by Vianta who sends aid in the form of resources and troops: dryads and fairies.

Lich logic is awesome.

Lan'sharr has great defenses though. Driven by madness, the wizard Orongull now served the lich along with six powerful minotaurs at his castle. It was a bloody battle, with Slitt assassinating Orongull before being dismembered by the bull men. Pendrainne's forces met a similar fate, but the wizard still claimed victory with 1 HP remaining. That was all he needed to destroy Lan'sharr once and for all.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Eador: Warriors are Terrible

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Since the current masters aren't openly evil, Nesturs decides to attack a small unclaimed land next for the pure purpose of testing the warrior hero Irthorn, who is so slow to achieve pretty much anything. Fortunately the only competition here is Oinor's own warrior Farien who is also very hesitant to go into direct combat, and instead focuses on killing quest givers (meaning Irthorn's quests autofail).

Top left: Irthorn attacking Farien's citadel.
Bottom Right: Farien afraid to move.

Despite the snail's pace, Irthorn does find a lead about one of the 7 keys "being on a land of the dead"  and saves a woman from being trapped in the body of a phoenix. He eventually reches Oinor's citadel and manages to trap Farien in a corner territory while he lays siege to the castle. It is a difficult fight against middling opponents, but Irthorn eventually claims victory.

Nesturs makes a note not to use any more warrior heroes in the future.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Eador: Orongull's Rampage

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Orongull and the scout Dynrigg traverse Beleth's low population shard, with Dynrigg forging an alliance with the local lizardmen and finding some transcript about 7 keys of truth that can repair Eador. Meanwhile, Orongull and his double cast ability make him lethal to the Beleth's mounted knights and a worthy enemy warrior champion who almost reaches the mage but is ultimately fried by direct lightning bolts to the face.

Your cavalry cannot save you.

Orongull doesn't hesitate to disintegrate Beleth as he begs for his life, and continues on to another master's shard - a stoic mind flayer named Oumm. Despite losing his biggest spells, Orongull's power is so great that the level 0 cantrips eliminate all opposition - destroying Oumm with barely a challenge.

The destruction of two masters gains the attention of yet another, the ancient seer Stenriya, whom both Oinor and Vianta view as a cunning liar. Nesturs takes note not to trust the old and seemingly friendly hag.

Eador: World of War

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Commander Gavion is sent to attack Doh-Gor's world of war, fully benefiting from the cheaper army upkeep the land provides. It is a huge land mass though, and soon the scout Scoarudd and wizard Orongull are recruited not only to handle the territories but to also defend against Doh-Gor's encroaching forces.

With his border guarded by tough cyclopses, Gavion's force takes some time to find a weakspot to sneak through and lay siege to his castle. Doh-Gor's troops are numerous, but fail to match Gavion's swordsmen who suffer no losses in the final battle. Doh-Gor is slain and his magic pendant brought to Nesturs.

Walls with holes are useless.

Beleth shows great interest in this artifact and offers to purchase it from Nesturs for astral energy. Nesturs ups the price to the point where Beleth is begging and then agrees. It turns out the amulet is the prison of some god, and when Beleth frees him - gains a permanent alliance with the orcs. Not that it matters, since Nesturs attacks his world of death next.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Eador: In Space, Size Matters

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

On the next shard Faeris meets the forces of a new master, the fairy Queen Vianta, who preaches all about love and joy - freely giving resources to Nesturs representatives. The good will is broken when she suddenly demands tribute in return, but at that point Faeris had developed the lands enough to accumulate lots of magic crystals (which power spells).

Getting crowded out here.

The wizard Pendrainne is recruited to use said crystals to flatten Vianta's citadel, followed by defeating Oinor's weak forces once more - the swamps he put his citadel in didn't leave him much gold for defenses.

Beleth, seeing that this victory let Nesturs mainland surpass that of the necromancers own suddenly becomes a sniveling coward, offering some form of "alliance" against the other lords. This is because Nesturs can now assault other master's mainlands directly. More land = more power. Nesturs is tempted to silence Beleth for good but first decides to return the favor to his first invader: Doh-Gor.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Eador: Annoying Invaders

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

The wizard Phiruno competes against Oinor on the next small shard, and is almost defeated when Oinor's warrior champion Tharmun and his lizardman force manage to snake their way to Nesturs stronghold! Fortunately the adventurers hired to defend the place are worth their salt, driving Tharmun away.

Phiruno then makes use of the integrated Holy Lands to bypass Oinor's defenses and destroy his castle, achieving victory. His task isn't complete though, for as soon as the shard is captured, Doh-Gor attacks Nesturs mainland! On the defense, Oinor has the advantage of seeing through the fog of war but still needs to build up the capital and recapture territories again. Annoying.

Scout Faeris is recruited to help manage the populace (and even manages to ally with the rich halflings) while Phiruno learns a great AoE spell called Stone Rain. They once again leverage the Holy Inquisition for passage, and both manage to smash Doh-Gor's centaurs and arrow tower guarded castle, driving him off Nestur's mainland.

A better example of OP magic.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Eador: Exploding Units are the Worst

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

The scout, Dynrigg is sent to the next shard against Beleth's forces where he enlists the aid of dryads, fairies and finding that most of this land is faithful almost to the point of zealotry to "the Lord of Light". Since they still view Nesturs as "good" they do let Dynrigg pass through, but aren't as friendly to Beleth's evil champion.

Poison damages all opponents!

Dynrigg eventually lays siege to Beleth's stronghold there, and despite catastrophic losses to centaurs allied to the necromancer, the scout is successful, partially thanks to his success in poisoning their water supply before the battle but mostly thanks to the exploding gargoyles he learned to summon during his time with Archmage Kelaide.

Meanwhile in the void, another master appears - the barbarian Doh-Gor who wields a powerful magic amulet. He openly states his intent on destroying Nesturs. Soon.

Monday, 3 September 2018

September 2018 Status

Blaugust was pretty fun, and more than that it's filled up my blog list again to over 100! I'm not even sure I got everyone, just let me know if I need to link to you! I'll probably start culling the ones who don't have new posts every 3 weeks next month, as is the norm around here. :P

It's now back to working on these lists and some of these items are simply not budging thanks to my lack of focus. Playing 4 games at once is pretty bad for concentration, I just can't decide to either continue hammering them all and getting them out of the way (except Neverwinter since that just goes on and on) or cutting back and use the time for other things.

New for this month is a bunch of board game stuff, which technically also falls under back log.

    End the year with less weight (+1 kg from last month, running total: -1.9 kg)
    Draw 12 drawings of anything (7/12 - no progress)
    Make board game prototype (no progress)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (no progress)
    Clean out wardrobe (no progress)
    Complete NWO: Ravenloft (2/2, done)
    Update Facebook pictures (done)
    Destroy Black Mold invading the house (done)

Backlog Update:

FROM GIFTS (or freebies)
Sims 3
Hand of Fate 2 (in progress)
Sniper Elite 4 (in progress)
Battletech (in progress)
Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown (done)

+Board games
Witcher board game redemption trial
+Finish Tomb of Annihilation
+Finish Mice and Mystics
+Play more Pandemic Iberia
+Play more Zombicide: Black Plague

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Eador: Wizard Power

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

A new master, the necromancer Beleth, appears in space. His lands are a tier above Oinor's and demands in no uncertain terms for Nesturs to be his lackey. Nesturs refuses, and continues to attack the unmastered shards. The wizard Phiruno serves Nesturs next and blitzkriegs the heck out of the local lord with his spells, giving Nesturs a greater appreciation for mage champions.

Magic is OP.

On the next land, larger shard than any Nesturs previously conquered, the wizard Kelaide is enlisted and deals with the increased threats rather well and eliminates Beleth's champion quickly. The larger territories prove difficult to govern though, as some teeter near rebellion. The scout Dynrigg is hired to assist in this matter - expanding each territory through exploration as to avoid an overcrowding populace.

The slow pace lets Kelaide reach archmage status, and with Dynrigg bribing Oinor's troops to defect, has an easy time conquering the rest of the shard.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Eador: Too Good a Teacher

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

As masters were unable to manifest as themselves, they needed proxies to lead their crusades for them in capturing shards. Nesturs found his first proxy in an untested commander named Alleon, who was equal parts brash and violent - using sheer numbers of basic troops to overwhelm the local lords on the first two shards (basically zerg rush), which were then absorbed into Nestur's mainland. Power hungry, Alleon even destroyed Oinor's forces on the second land - an action the old wizard frowned upon.

The standard battle map.

Commander Marogund, Nestur's next servant was sent to a desert shard whose theme is stamina draining combat. Marogund is more of a pacifist, (very) slowly buying out the nearby settlements to increase his territory and resources, leading to a heavily supplied force when it comes time for him to lay siege to Oinor's castle. Defeating the adventurers employed to guard it, Oinor is once again forced to concede the shard to Nesturs whose mainland now equals Oinor's in size.

Through gritted teeth, the old wizard congratulates him and resigns as being his mentor.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Lessons Learned: Post your Opinion

This gem from the Prep Week is one of the major lessons I'm taking away from Blaugust and worth repeating:

Don’t worry that somebody else has already posted about a topic if you want to write about it.

That has always held me back. Hopefully not anymore.

And so this years Blaugust has come to an end. Thank you to all the participants and organizers, it definitely kept me busy!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Lessons Learned: Discord is Ok

With Blaugust wrapping up it's now the Lessons Learned week!

I've always been wary of Discord and the like, even for game use, but from this Blaugust experience I'm more on board with it now. I guess with familiarity comes acceptance. That's worth a Lessons Learned post in my book. It's still annoying how it asks me to verify via email each time I log in though.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Pitch Black

"Remember that moment."

This film follows a group of people who survive crashing into a seemingly barren alien planet. Despite the name, almost the first half of it is in broad daylight as the party realizes the planet has more than one sun, and never has night. When people start dying they suspect the dangerous convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) of the crime but soon learn that he's not the one they have to be afraid of.

Rocking the shotgun in handcuffs look.

Solid story telling, great ideas, decent acting and passable CGI make this survival film enjoyable. I'm sure most of you would have seen it by now but I still don't want to give spoilers on the off chance there are those who haven't. Yes, it's quite dated but I still highly recommend it, especially if you are a Vin Diesel fan. I give it four personal grooming appliances out of five.

Blaugust Staying Motivated: Much of this week I've simply not been in the mood to write. This is where being prepared pays off as you can just cash it in.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Eador: Everything is Broken

[Part of the Masters of Eador story.]

Commander Nesturs awoke in space. His previously black hair now burned with flame and his eyes glowed with godly power as he looked across the vast reaches to see the various shards of Eador, the broken planet, drifting through space and hopelessly trying to flee from the swirling entity in glacial pursuit known as "the chaos".

Beneath him he saw the small land he had previously conquered in life and found himself tethered to it somehow. "Greetings new born," came a voice from the ether. Across the emptiness on a larger island was an old wizard. "I am Oinor, a master of Eador just like yourself."

Space wizards, the very best or the very worst type of wizard.

"What the hell is going on?" asked Nesturs. Oinor laughed and explained the situation to him: how Eador was broken in the first place to jettison "the chaos", and now all the masters are trying to rebuild the world, except each is building it in their own image which is slowing down the process entirely.

Sensing an opportunity to gain an ally, Oinor decided to bring Nesturs to a smaller shard, unowned by any master, to teach him the karmic laws of conquering. Nesturs was very confused.

Blaugust Staying Motivated: Another staple of my blog are game stories. Much like reviews, they are easy to prep ahead of time. This one will continue after Blaugust. 

Masters of Eador

Eador: Masters of the Broken world is a territory control game with army combat that reminds me a lot of King's Bounty... in space? Perhaps it's better if I just tell the story...

Chapter 01 - Everything is Broken
Chapter 02 - Too Good a Teacher
Chapter 03 - Wizard Power
Chapter 04 - Exploding Units are the Worst
Chapter 05 - Annoying Invaders
Chapter 06 - In Space, Size Matters
Chapter 07 - World of War
Chapter 08 - Orongull's Rampage
Chapter 09 - Warriors are Terrible
Chapter 10 - Pendrainne and the Lich
Chapter 11 - Out with the Old
Chapter 12 - Fairy Dust
Interlude - Misjudgement
Chapter 13 - The King and the Vampires
Chapter 14 - A Voiceless Scream 
Chapter 15 - Light and Dark
Chapter 16 - Untethered
Chapter 17 - Masters of the Universe
Chapter 18 - True Colors
Chapter 19 - Overlord of Worlds

This story has now come to a close. Thank you for reading! 

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Sniper Elite 4 - Five Easy Tips

Killing people in the huge and beautiful maps of Sniper Elite 4 is quite entertaining, but for those who are having a tough go at it - here are five easy tips to make your life in Italy better!

#1 - Displace

Unless you are standing straight up, most enemies seem to have very poor vision even on "Authentic" difficulty. This means what they rely most on to find you is the sound of your gunfire. Regardless if you are sniping from far or hosing people down with a machine gun, as soon as you are done - change position. Preferably to a spot where you can see where you just fired from. Some maps have loud sounds that can disguise your gunfire which lowers the need to displace but eventually people will come looking for you, and the AI here is quite good at flanking.

#2 - Crouch

Crouch walk should be your favored position when moving. Enemies are hopeless at seeing you, especially if unalerted. Crouch run is riskier and should be used when you don't really care about stealth anymore. Meanwhile prone crawl is a bit slow for mobility and terrible for aiming at heads that are very close, but it is handy for hiding behind low walls and especially bushes. Enemy soldiers can literally be within arms reach before they know you are there.

#3 - Welrod instead of Melee

If you get up to an enemy soldier (or vice versa), pressing your melee button will instantly kill him. From behind this is silent, from in front less so. If enemies aren't in active combat then you can actually bull rush loners if you so choose, but this should be your last resort. Your Welrod silenced firearm is a much better choice since it lets you better control your position. Just aim for the exposed head (not helmet). Also remember you can throw stones to lure people into better shots.

#4 - Traps

All those lovely toys you pick up aren't just for show. While they are a nice surprise for people pursuing you, they are better used when you find a nice vantage point that you want to hold. Stealthily set up traps on the flanking approaches. Stairs, ladders, doorways and other choke points are the best spots for these. Keep track if they get tripped as they serve as a good indication of when to displace. If they don't get tripped, you can always just pick them up again.

#5 - Binoculars

For some reason you get more experience for scouting ahead with binoculars and tagging everything - people, vehicles, barrels, etc. before shooting at them. More importantly the binoculars actually tell you how far something is so that you can better gauge bullet drop on anything higher than Cadet level. It also pays to look before you engage as things like pill boxes, turrets and idling vehicles might escape your initial notice.

Blaugust Staying Motivated: Been awhile since I posted a guide. What better time to do it than Blaugust eh? :P

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Staying Motivated: Status Update

A quick way to fill a post sometimes is with a simple status update. I've started doing monthly ones of these this year, and thought a short one for today wouldn't hurt. While I could write about our guild hall in Neverwinter Online, which is 2 days away from finally reaching level 11, I'm just going to post a more real life one today.

It seems circumstances at my work place are changing and I'm getting tremendously stressed about it. Combined with big project deadlines next week that involve interstate flying, my morale is currently down in the dumps. Hopefully everyone else is having a better month!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Ori and the Blind Forest

Decent game, great story.

Made by Microsoft (in Unity) you'd expect big things from this platformer, and it does deliver. The story, music and art are all fantastic. It's in the gameplay where the flaws lie. You play as the titular Ori, a cute little rabbit of light who becomes a soul eating speedster at the conclusion of the prologue.

Combat is a mouse clicky affair in the first half of the game, and while you can out run all the enemies present you probably won't want to as eating their souls gives you XP. Enough XP lets you upgrade Ori to become a more lethal and more agile ninja, and in this game agility is key as you learn when you find the spirit trees (grave markers) of your other bunny kin so that you can eat their souls too.

Run little rabbit, run!

Unlike Hyperlight Drifter, the secrets here can all be found easily once Ori is upgraded fully. Also unlike Hyperlight Drifter, as you upgrade Ori the game gets significantly easier, which is good because by then you'll be tired of the instadeath traps and all that mouse clicking combat.

I quite like that in the later areas you actually need to keep the enemies alive to progress and that making a save point requires mana, otherwise you are stuck to using the few shrines that dot the impressively large map. All up it is a game I can recommend to those who enjoy platforming. As in really enjoy, as there are some jump puzzles here that are quite tricky (not Super Meat Boy bad though). I give Ori three and a half talking trees out of five.

Blaugust Staying Motivated Week: Reviews are a staple of my blog and for good reason - here's one I prepared earlier! :P

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Staying Motivated: Asking Questions

Gaining knowledge is always a good motivator, and every so often I simply ask a question as a blog post. For today my question is:

How do you pick which blogs to read everyday, especially now that it's supercharged by Blaugust?

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Staying Motivated: Oddities of Life

It's now the Blaugust "Staying Motivated" week, and one of the things that always help me against writer's block is to take inspiration, or in this case knowledge, from real life and share it.

Somewhat black hat info today: Only recently did I find out that all it takes to prevent someone from making or taking calls and/or all internet use on their device is to know their number (in the case of a mobile) and their provider. The second part can probably be guessed or brute forced since there aren't that many, at least where I live.

Then the process is simple. Call up the provider and say the device was stolen and you want to put a block on the number. That's it. No more details are required. They insta-lock down that account and that's the end of that. No other details required. It made it really easy, but perhaps it was too easy? Very strange.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Blogger

Short, non-gaming Dev Appreciation for Blogger today since it's been hosting this blog for free since 2011. Easy to setup, easy to use, and it takes most of the coding part out of my worries as a blogger. Sure, there are times when things go belly up, but those are few and far between (literally years apart). Looking forward to the next seven+ years of blogging with you. :)

Monday, 20 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Wizardy Online Permadeath

Death is a slap on the wrist in many MMOs these days with even "corpse runs" becoming extinct as far as I can tell. Even Dark Souls "punishment" is only a mild inconvenience when you think about it. Well, one MMO decided to go the opposite way and for that reason alone I really liked it. Wizardry Online was a tough SOB. It had unfriendly instructions, controls and difficulty spikes which really made it less than appealing for casual players to get into.

Yep, this party is boned.

On top of all that, there was a permadeath system in place that really put you on edge when exploring a new zone or even traversing an old one. The idea that your next death could be your last really pushed you to ask yourself if you -really- wanted to try fight those three monsters for a treasure chest, or if you should keep delving deeper despite already being wounded. All that, and it wasn't even guaranteed perma death - just the threat of it is effective enough.

This is because when you die there you respawn as a ghost and have to run back to a shrine / safe spot to resurrect. Reviving is simply a dice roll, with a base success of 90%+. You can even guarantee your revive by sacrificing items to whatever force is reviving you. The kicker is, when you run back to the shrine as a ghost all you can see are other ghosts, and reapers: apparitions of death that patrol the halls who can outrun you (hope you practiced dodging). 

Should they reap your soul, you get put back to the spot your body is at and can try run back to the shrine again. You also get a -10% chance to revive !each! time they do this. Fortunately, other players can pick up your body and move it somewhere closer to a shrine or even take you back to the safety of town (you still need to roll though). I thought it was a great system.

Alas, the rest of the game wasn't quite up to scratch and Wizardry Online ended up suffering its own permadeath. Still, if there's one system I would hijack from this game it is that one. RIP Wizardy Online. RIP. For those who want to see what it was like, I suggest watching Dremlock's short video on youtube.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Dark Souls

I previously talked about how I enjoyed Stalker's oppressive and challenging environment. Switch it up to medieval times, plug in a haunting sound track, up the graphics and add a whole cluster of WTF lore and you get Dark Souls, a game series known to be punishing and brutal. While that is somewhat true, especially at the beginning while you learn the timing for parry/counter and possibly at each boss fight after, it is also amazingly beautiful and rewarding.

Not everything is an enemy, but they can be if you play it that way.

It offers what seems to be near impossible situations, but through perseverance, skill and a bit of luck you can and will overcome them - and that feeling when you do is just amazing. Despite the grim surroundings, there are many moments of beauty as well - and the maps are so well designed to loop on itself as you open shortcut after shortcut giving you that feeling of progression.

Then there are the choices, those terrible - terrible choices. Do you use a limited resource to restore your humanity which increases your life and combat abilities but then leaves you open to other players invading your game? Most of them have murderous intent. On the flip side, while "human" you can summon other "human" players to join your game in a cooperative fashion which often helps with bosses. Dark Souls is a work of art.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Stalker

In mother Russia, your first quest is to kill yourself!

The Stalker series is easily one of my favorite to date. In it, you wander the irradiated zone around Chernobyl while solving mysteries, fighting men and mutants alike, and generally try to survive the oppressive and grim environment which tends to shuffle and respawn random encounters and anomalies every so often just to keep you on your toes.

Metro 2033 which has a similar vein loses out here since it squarely fits into the "shooter" category and gives you structured missions with often claustrophobic maps. Stalker is an open world. There are story missions, but you are free to just go hiking and spelunking to find those random powerful artifacts at your own peril.

Just don't be outdoors when the skies randomly go red.

Having the pack space and weight limit also forces you to decide if you really want to bring that second rifle instead of other supplies like food, anti-rad, bandages, or simply more ammo. Of course, your primary weapon might break at any moment so... perhaps a light pistol is a better alternative? Good luck taking down an army partrol or multiple blood suckers with that though. Sneaking by is always an option, as is getting factions to kill each other.

Challenging, fun and most definitely immersive

Friday, 17 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Mabinogi Combat System

Today's Dev Appreciation is focused on the cutesy MMO Mabinogi, which still has the best basic combat system of any MMO I've played so far. Unlike everything else which is basically trying to maximize your DPS rotations, fighting here is at a much slower pace using a rock paper scissors type format. A regular attack can be blocked or countered, a smash attack defeats defending stances but can be interrupted by a regular attack, and a counter stance makes you immobile and drains stamina for as long as you take it.

More skills, like this jump smash, came in later.

It's simple and effective, and given most of the NPC enemies have the same skill set also meant a talented player with a newbie character could still beat harder boss-type foes, while an advanced character with a less skilled player could still be losing quickly to lowly wolves. That's the way it should be.

I also quite liked the upgrade options of gear. Usually any piece can only be upgraded 3 times out with around 5 options on each occasion. The options add and subtract various stats, and the measurement of "balance" for weapons played a significant role. For example making a sword heavier gave it a wider damage range but throttled the balance of the weapon meaning an untrained character would always be on the lower numbers, but a character with high enough dexterity to make up for the terrible damage would thrive using such a weapon.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: To the Moon / Fear not this Night

This elegant RPG Maker game is fantastically crafted and is my answer to last weeks prompts from Belghast of "a game that made you cry" and End Game Viables "favourite or most engrossing story delivered through a game". It helps that the music for it is also amazing, and I've actually semi-learned "Everything's Alright" by Laura Shigihara on piano with voice. Can't replicate her talent or tone though.

On the topic of pieces from games, "Fear not this Night" from Guildwars 2 is also amazing, especially since you get to listen to the whole thing in game after beating Zhaitan. It's another one I've semi-learned though there's no way I can reach the key change near the end (after already octaving it down), so I just skip it. As a friend once said, you know I really like something when I start learning the music for it!

It plays soon after this part. :P

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Developer Appreciation: Neverwinter Online Barovia

It's the start of the Blaugust Developer Appreciation Week and I thought I'd start with the content I've most recently been playing, Neverwinter Online's Barovia zone and Ravenloft campaign in general. This is the best module in the game to date as it captures the horror setting quite well, aided by the day and night cycle currently only found in this zone. It also hands out some decent gear during the intro for those who have lowly alts who get little time to quest for their own equipment.

Great place for screenshots too!

There is no escape from some currency grind but at least here you will unlock all of the story campaign quickly, in fact - the quickest of all the modules. As a bonus, the story actually has a fun, semi conclusion for those like Shintar and myself who don't actually go into the end dungeons. Even so, you will want to hang around as it is an easy place to get riches, especially from the tailored hunt mechanic which sees your party sent to a private instance of Barovia to take down nasty hunt marks who are much more accessible than their Omu counterparts. The optional risk vs reward system there is inspired.

All up, Barovia is fantastic and here's hoping Cryptic continues building on the good parts and culling the bad with whatever adventure comes next.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

About Me: Half Truths

I've made a little game for today, the last day of the Blaugust Reborn "get to know you week". Much like Bhagpuss said, I'm in the boat of trying to be anonymously famous so I've made a list of things about me, but only half of them are true. Can you work it out?

I am proficient in archery.
I got a firearms permit before I got my drivers licence.
I was ranked as Grade A in 10m Junior Air Pistol.
The clarinet and flute are my instruments of choice.
I love swimming, especially at the beach.
Dishes of fish and seafood are my favorite.
Cooking one of my many hobbies.
Outside of pictures and videos, I've never seen snow.
I've done ballroom lessons, but prefer dancing salsa.
I've been a game master on multiple Ultima Online free shards.
I was interested in joining the one way mission to Mars.
Photos of me can be found in an insert of a particular Jazz CD.
Most of my own photographs are of birds.
My grandfather is a National Artist.
One of my nick names translates to Felix the Cat.
My real name is Joseph Skyrim.

Monday, 13 August 2018

About Me: More Viable Opinions

A continuation of prompts from End Game Viable - imagine if I only answered one of these a day! :P

What makes a game a “survival” game?

I'd say death mitigation, and not the type where you have to dodge out of "red circles" though that's possible too. More along the lines of, if your character stands still in a safe spot, with no hostiles of any kind around, they are still constantly dying. Something has to force the players to take action to survive, and idleness equals death.

How many different games can you comfortably play on a daily or weekly basis? What happens if you play too many?

Usually two at most. That way I still remember the story / controls / what I was doing or planning to do without requiring a "retraining" session. If I try for more, one just naturally gets pushed to the "play it later" section of my brain.

Do you prefer a silent protagonist or a voiced protagonist in your games?

I don't mind a silent protagonist but I always prefer a well voiced one. The key word is "well". If the protagonist is going to sound like a douche bag or woodenly reading lines, then it's better if they were silent to begin with. :P

I have a theory that most bloggers play healers or tanks in their groups, and a significant number of them are or were guild leaders.

While I was one of the founding members of my guild, I'm not the guild leader. We are both and have always been DPS classes though he's experimenting with tanking now (8 years in, lol).

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Blaugust About Me: Viable Opinions

End Game Viable has a huge list of blogging prompts, so I thought I'd go answer a few today.

What are your thoughts on lock boxes?

Lock boxes are gambling, and are only in games to make the devs more money. I don't mind that people blow their cash on this, especially as it hopefully keeps the game alive, but I'm never going to buy them / or whatever is needed to open them. Ever.

In your mind, what’s the difference between an MMO and an MMORPG? Or is there any? Are you careful about which term you use?

No difference to me. The role playing aspect in most of the ones I have played are often broken by min maxers who are more interested in math than role play, or the people who like acting as sparkly space vampire fairy miniature giant hamsters in settings that clearly shouldn't allow for them.

Why don't you play Overwatch or Destiny 2? How many console-exclusive titles do you have to be interested in before you buy a console?

I guess they aren't free? I don't buy games (for myself). As such there's no way I'll buy a console to play said games that I'm not going to buy. :P

How much do you watch streams during the week?

I don't watch streams unless a friend shows them to me. Unlike sports, the barrier for entry to games is often just money. If I want to see how a game goes then I'll just play it to experience it myself. Also, if the cost is more than free, I won't play it anyway so... why would I bother?

Besides, reading a summary about said game is way faster than watching a video.

Are game reviews valuable anymore? Or are they just entertainment?

I find them valuable and I hope others do too since I actually write some of those on this blog. It does help if they're also entertaining though! :P Lastly, as I said, its much faster to read about something than watch something.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Blaugust About Me: I Play Games

Today I'll be answering cherry picked topics from Gracie's Moonshine Mansion and Armagon Live. It's so easy to generate blog content during Blaugust. Thank you to Atherne for collating a whole bunch of ideas! :P

Talk about the first game system you remember playing, or a favorite game from childhood.

Battle City on the Nintendo Family computer was definitely a favorite of my cousin and I specifically because it was cooperative (one of the first I had), and had a map editor. It's funny thinking back to that, because now my MMO of choice is Neverwinter Online - which is mostly cooperative and had an editor, which was one of the main reasons my guild moved there. Pity the Foundry doesn't get much dev-love these days.

Single-player or multiplayer games? Why? What are the exceptions?

Single player wins by a tiny margin. Basically in single player games it feels you have more agency compared to an MMO where there are literally hundreds of other people doing what you are doing. Also, I hate waiting which is something that happens ofter in multiplayer. Doesn't stop me from MMOing, just means I'm usually more of a lone wolf when I game.

How do you choose what games to buy?

I don't buy computer games for myself which restricts all my gaming to free to play titles and gifted stuff. Buying others I simply use their wish list, or what I think they'll enjoy / be tormented by - depending on my mood. I never pre-order, and never buy humble bundles.

I do buy board games though, and I try to research as much as possible before purchasing them especially as they are generally a lot more expensive than software.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Blaugust About Me: My Favourite Things

I'm continuing with a few more of Belghast's writing prompts today, namely - write about three favorite items from any video game ever, and about any goal I achieved in the past and what it was like to work towards it and eventually get it.

My first favorite item are consumables: Health Potions or Medkits (things that keep you alive) - specifically the type you can carry and use at will rather than the auto-use on pick up. I guess this habit goes back to my Ultima Online days where there was no delay or limit on potion use and has carried on since, despite the Potion Poison mechanic in Mabinogi (debuff from overuse) and cool downs in Neverwinter.

Second favourite item is the Berserk Sphere in Doom. I am a fan of unarmed combat, and while I was ok with the regular brass knuckles in this game getting the power up that let you smash demons into pieces with your fist was amazing, especially when coupled with an Invulnerability Sphere. :P

Last item for this list also contains a previously achieved goal. This is the decorative trophy pet: Mini-Liadri from Guildwars 2, which you can only get by succeeding in the fight against full-sized Liadri, the original final enemy of the Queen's Gauntlet. It took me many, many attempts over 6 days and learning from others both through exterior sources (like Jeromai's guide) and through watching other players attempt the fight.

Because it was so difficult for me, that victory tastes all the sweeter.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Blaugust About Me: First Online

Today's writing prompts are courtesy of the Belghast himself. I'll just be cherry picking topics that go well together: mainly describing my first online gaming experience, how I got involved with my first guild, gaming friend transcendence and times when real life clashes with gaming life.

My first game experience was in June 2000 in a game called Ultima Online. Despite my first interaction with others being ganked by a wandering mob of PKs, my brothers and I were instantly hooked into this addictive sandbox and within a week saved up the gold to start up our own small guild ("Dragonarm") and this is the same guild I am still in today.

I was still in school at the time and boy did my grades suffer due to this new addiction. It would be years before I could get a handle on "real life is more important", and even today sometimes that struggle still occurs.

The guild has moved games a few times now, losing members in the process (around 142 losses to date according to the records) but there are always some who just stick with us no matter what. Canadian Wrothak is a great example, he was with us early on Ultima Online and now 18 years later is still with us on Neverwinter Online. His twin sister and ex-guildmember has also visited and stayed with us while visiting Australia.

It helps that my guild leader brother screens people that seek membership but loyalty like that is rare to find these days. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Blaugust About Me: Writing Origins

We're now in the "Get to Know Each Other" week of Blaugust, and there's a lot more of that going on in the discord channel! If you haven't joined in yet, now is as good a time as any. :)

Today I'll be answering some prompts from Me vs Myself and I, namely exploring my origins as a writer and why I enjoy blogging.

I always felt I was good with writing stories at school and always had the "I should write a book one day" idea in the back of my mind but the more I looked at writing novels, the more I stepped away from it due to the generally negative vibe I get from that whole scene.

This is especially true since I personally know people who try to get published and still haven't been, opting for the self-publish option instead. The idea of being "edited" also didn't sit well with me, the types of edits that change entire stories.

No such restraint sits in the blogging world, and the idea that I can just put my thoughts and stories up for anyone to read is a bit addictive. I guess that's why I like the creative outlet that is blogging so much.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Reviews (and a Daylight Review)

An updated map would have solved everything.

Due to terrible luck, a bunch of people get stuck in a tunnel as it collapses on both ends and begins to fill with water. Their only hope is an ex-rescue specialist (Sylvester Stallone), who does everything he can to defy authority and put himself in there to buy those civilians more time.

It works well as an action disaster movie though other than Stallone, you will probably not care for any of the rest in the party despite their individual five minute intros prior to the tunnel event. There's a lot of dead weight too, with at least a third of the group being removable and it wouldn't change the story much - though obviously it looks better if Stallone saves more people.

Make that 1/2 the group could have been removed.

It's hilarious to think that with an updated map of the tunnel system, the majority of the movie wouldn't have needed to happen. Stallone didn't even have to go in at all, or at least - not the way he did. Ah well, the benefit of hindsight right? This one gets two bracelets out of five.

Blaugust Note: Reviews are another main stay on my blog and are also good "ammo" to load up on for future posts! They also have the benefit of being pretty fast to write given most of them would be one and done. :)

Monday, 6 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Stories and Guides

Stories are a good method of writing practice and lend to being perfect "ammo" to store up in your "prepared posts" list. There are two major downsides to them though and the first is the prep time, especially if this is going to be a multi-post story which is exactly the type I like.

I tend to get creative on game play through stories in particular. This saves some time as you are already given a setting, main plot, and artwork (screenshots) to go with your tale. You just have to make everything cohesive, make some sense and ideally be as interesting as possible. I'm still working on that last part!

The second problem is this is the least read type of post. If you want the high numbers, write guides (as I suggested in the Specialized Skills post).

These also require prep time, not really in the writing because that should be succinct and concise, but in gathering the knowledge for said guide, be it a boss run battle, a cooking recipe, or a how to.

I don't do many of these because of that "someone else has posted it already" syndrome and it doesn't really lend to creative writing, but thanks to Blaugust I'm going to try break that trend.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Pretty Pictures

When you are struggling to find words remember that a picture paints a thousand of them! This is a technique Bhagpuss admits to using himself, and is one I'm going to use right now because I wanted to show off these two nifty posters I bought from the last Supanova Convention I attended.

Lothric, Lorian and Solaire.

There's always room in my house for Dark Souls. :)

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Future Tech

I am always interested in learning about new technologies and devices, hard ware in particular. So while you can talk about the new OS of your phone, I'd be much more interested in hearing about exoskeleton power armor advancements and electromagnetic levitation.

Yep, that last one came to light for me during the Masterchef Australia 2018 finale when Heston Blumenthal had food on a floating pillow. I know he used a floating plate in a previous season but it wasn't as visually stunning as this.

No strings, just the magic of magnets.

Turns out you too can get your own levitating items from Levitating X: Levitate Everything. Their "how to" video is particularly good, you should go check them out. :)

Friday, 3 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Pet Peeves

Sometimes a rant makes for a good post, but be careful not to go over the top in weight or in frequency as it will foster general negativity. Griping about unskippable cutscenes in a single player game is around the safe mark. Wishing death on others, which I still do from time to time, is probably a little extreme and is a good example of what not to do. :P

But really, people that cross the road without using a proper pedestrian crossing, without looking, and often looking at their phone while listening to music deserve what's coming to them. It's the modern method of natural selection.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

August 2018 Status: Blaugust Reborn!

Not really a Blaugust related post today but I just wanted to keep this status thing going to see how I'm progressing with my task list. Apparently I'm not. That's what happens when you prioritize gaming over other things! Eek!

Expect more Blaugust stuff for the rest of this month, and given my increasing work schedule it's going to be challenging to clear stuff off this list.

    End the year with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: -2.9 kg)
    Draw 12 drawings of anything (7/12 - no progress)
    Make board game prototype (no progress)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (no progress)
    Clean out wardrobe (no progress)
    Complete NWO: Ravenloft (0/2, only boons to go!)
    Prep Eador Story (done)
    Board game re-review (done)
    Witcher board game redemption trial  
    Update Facebook pictures (no progress)
    +Destroy Black Mold invading the house

Backlog Update:

FROM GIFTS (or freebies)
Sims 3
Hand of Fate 2 (in progress)
Sniper Elite 4 (haven't installed)
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Done)
Hyper Light Drifter (Done)
Battletech (in progress)
Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown (in progress)

COMPY CAN'T RUN (but I want to play)
Batman: Arkham Knight
Dying Light
Alien Isolation
Shadow of War
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Satellite Reign
Assassins Creed Unity
+Astroneer (Alpha)

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Blaugust Topic Idea: Specialized Skills

Blaugust Reborn has now officially started, (you can still click the link to join though!) and according to the structured format this week should be one of Topic Brainstorming and suggestion so I'm going to start off with:

Teach a beginner one of your specialized skills!

It doesn't have to be blogging related. It doesn't even have to be an "advanced" tutorial. Heck, I made a post about folding plastic bags once.

The real reason of why I thought of this is because Chestnut gave an open invite for Blaugust participants to be part of her mini-cast which has a voice recording requirement. It turns out I'm terrible at it and don't know what programs to use, why there's so much static noise, and why my mic recording volume keeps going up the longer I record. Eek!

Might be something an experienced pod caster wants to shed some light on in a "This is my method" post? :P

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: Listen to Advice

This is very fitting being the last of my Blaugust Prep Week series for this year. There's already a ton of good advice out there, most of which you can find in the Blaugust Discord channel.

I'm going to do just that and follow Wilhelm's advice (which I only saw through Bhagpuss' post) of:

Don’t worry that somebody else has already posted about a topic if you want to write about it.

My previously cancelled Day 2 post is one that echoes Syp. The best way to stay on time is to stay ahead. Have posts ready to go. Sure, there are times when it's a struggle to write but other times the words just seem to flow. Use that extra creativity and prepare future posts. That's what I try to do, and apparently I'm not alone.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: Word Killer

This next tip is focused on writing technique and editing; one I find challenging:

Lower your posted word count. 

It sounds counter intuitive but it makes for a cleaner and faster read. This depends on your content  as for stories you do want more verbosity.

I know it can get out of control - just look at any of my story posts! This is one of those tips that should be tackled by bloggers who want to refine their work.

For comparison, here is what this post looked like Pre-Edit:

This next tip is more along the lines of focused on writing technique and editing; one . It is also one I, myself find quite challenging and by no means have I perfected it yet:

Lower your posted word count. 

It sounds very counter intuitive but it makes for a much cleaner and faster read in the long run. This totally depends on you and your content though, as for stories you do want to make it more verbose to a degree more verbosity.

From experience I know it can get wildly out of control though - just look at any of my story posts! Anyway, this is just one of those left of field tips that should probably be tackled by bloggers who are happy with the volume of content they produce and want to take it to the next level through refinement refine their work.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: Picture Editing

Pixlr is still my photo editing tool of choice for blog pics. It's online, it's free, and it has a decent tool kit which makes it accessible for scrooges like myself. The main purpose of my editing is not an aesthetic one, nor one that is immediately obvious.

I make pictures smaller.

Why? Because file size is something you need to be mindful of. Nothing makes me flee a post faster than having a whole set of high res pictures slowly loading on one page. If you want to make a gallery post, have small resolution thumbnails on the "landing" page which when clicked link to the larger image. It's more work but I guarantee your readers will appreciate it.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: Build Bridges

Most blogs have some sort of number tracker on the back end that give bloggers an indication of how many readers their site is getting, but more inspiring is getting comments from readers on your posts. That's a much better sign that you aren't just shouting into the void.

Today's advice can be taken as a mini-challenge for this Blaugust: Everyday, comment on someone else's blog. It doesn't have to be the same one constantly, it doesn't have to be super long, and it doesn't have to always be positive or agreeable (but try not to be a douchebag).

Not only do you make someone else's day better, you will also make connections with other people who share your blogging hobby. Reciprocated or not, this will help you get your name out there and more importantly builds up your community with which you can share ideas, dreams, thoughts. After all, a conversation is usually better than a soliloquy.

I think that's a pretty big part of Blaugust is and it should be something that continues well after.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: First Words

Always make your title and first sentence great, catchy or interesting. It's usually only these that display on automatic feeds or search results, and is your hook to gaining readers so spend some time to make it the best it can be.

If you think that tip is useful, you should head on into the Blaugust Discord or just join Blaugust if you haven't already to find more!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Blaugust Prep Week: Time Allotment

Today is the start of the Blaugust Prep Week so for the next few days I thought I'd share some things that I try to do. Today's tip: Try schedule a time to post on your blog everyday (if you are posting daily). In fact, schedule three times for it.

Three times? Yes, because if you miss the first window then you will be more motivated to hit the next one. Also, consistent repetition builds a habit and it becomes easier to generate content when you hit that groove.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Hyperlight Drifter

Where "WTF is going on?" is never quite answered.

In a strange world full of talking animals, you play a wandering sword/gun slinger who is following visions of a dog to unlock diamonds. What? Yes. The plot is abstract, not helped by the fact that all talking is done via pictures rather than words. This is  cool, but also leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

There are some really cool scenes.

Game play wise though this is a solid product made in Gamemaker Studio. The controls are great, ideas great, music subtle in a good way, upgrades rewarding enough to strive for yet never make you overpowered and combat (which there is a lot of) is fluid. You will take a beating until you get used to the dash/evade system especially against your first boss. The many lethal traps are also annoying to practice against.

My main gripe is how secrets are handled, many of which are just due to the top-down camera angle provided. Sure, there is a tiny mark that indicates something is there, but were you actually standing at the characters location said places wouldn't be hidden at all. Also did I mention the lethal traps? :P

In an otherwise good game, those two components feel like cheap ways to make it "harder". Anyway, still a fun ride at least one time around (it encourages replays). I give this almost three dash sprints out of five.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Batman Begins

Currently the best Batman origin film.

Opening with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in a foreign prison makes for an interesting start of this superhero film. Indeed, the first act which deals with his history and how he slowly becomes Batman is the strongest part. Ironically when he does start showing up as Batman the plot seems to loosen up a bit (in a bad way), adding some tiny scenes that aren't necessary and strange flaws like added dialogue in inappropriate sections or a mobile vehicle seat that seems extremely inconvenient.

Jack Gleeson is in it too!

The theme of fear is what ties the movie together but it also makes the "fight" scenes one sided (but cool). Fight is in quotes there because there is no real fighting except for the start/end of act one and the finale. Just people getting their asses handed to them. That's not a bad thing, but it could be if you were expecting more beat em up instead of stealth take downs.

Despite the negatives I'm listing I still highly recommend this film. Acting wise everyone is great, the music is superb and as far as I'm concerned this is one of the best Batman films to date, only outdone by it's sequel - the Dark Knight. I give Batman Begins four blue flowers out of five.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Review of Air Supplies

Since I review almost everything else on this blog, I figured why not some of the actual products that helped us get through last June when we squeezed 8 (sometimes 9) more people in the house? My previous knowledge of airbeds was that they were bulky an inefficient to use, requiring hours to manually get air into them.

Because I didn't have one of these before!

The four we got from Kmart's camping section had no such issue and I found them quite comfy too, especially the Active & Co Comfort Cell (Queen Size) air mattress which was our bed for the whole last month. Durability - check! They did need a top up each week to retain firmness though. Also, the little air pump is fantastic, inflating said beds in under 5 minutes each. Not so ideal in camping situations as it  is cord powered (there is an alternate battery operated model), but this one was perfect for our needs.

The "Flocked" versions were also of similar good quality.

The pump also has a "deflate" setting but I must admit we didn't use that. It was simply easier, and more fun, to open the seal and literally roll on the bed to flatten it. Surprisingly good, and ones I would definitely recommend given the low price. :)