Friday 30 December 2022

December 2022: Virtual Reality

I'm back from a nice vacation where I got to try out a couple of VR tech things - firstly the Oculus, which is a headset and a controller for each hand that has a variety of buttons and joystick thingies, was really interesting. Pressing button combinations let you pick up, throw, point, push, holster (or back holster) many digital things and you can "cast" what the player is seeing on a TV monitor if you want an audience.

For a simple game like Beatsaber, where you just hold two light sabers and have to hit incoming boxes in the correct direction, it was fine. That game is really more like repetitive exercise since your memory is what will win you the stages.

For more complicated ones like Walking Dead all those hand things are far more important as you'll not only be picking up, crafting or healing yourself (by getting bandages and virtually wrapping them around your arm) - you'll also need to be stabbing walkers. Velocity is a thing so light hits won't kill the zombies  and the system is smart enough to know if you are doing a two handed strike, or holding the walkers head before you strike etc.

My main problem with the Oculus might just be a "me" thing: for the Walking Dead I got super dizzy because while your arms are functional, you move using the thumb controlled joysticks... it just felt super unnatural.

Then we also tried Far Cry VR at a Zero Latency arcade - its basically a large room you book for 30 minutes or so and pay per head. Again you get a headset but this time your controller is a rifle - and that's it! Six of us went in this cooperative game to play against Vaas and his goons (though it can go up to eight) and it splits you into two teams for most of the match. Expect to be moving a fair bit to take cover and don't worry about what you look like in real! :P

For safety if you move towards a wall or another player in the real world bit red caution shields appear to warn you of the fact. That wasn't a problem for us though, and no one ran into any walls or each other. Super fun experience that I highly recommend and want to do again. Oculus? Not so much.

Any who, that's all for now - hope you've all had a good Christmas and are having a Happy New Year! :) 

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Friday 16 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Wild Jim

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]  

Finally got decent ones for Jim the Lord of Storms. For some reason it was hard to get a decent portrait for him - I guess my prompt skills are improving?

He does wear hats, but I'm not sure he'd wear that.
I like the colors in this one!

Thursday 15 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Sylmeria

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]  

Today we have portraits of owl bear guardian and activist Lady Sylmeria. She was never happy with any quests that involved hurting her beloved owl bears! 

Wow, this was a fantastic result!
And this is her manwha (Korean comics) form.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Kantor

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]  

Today I'm back to AI generated imagery for my guild members and this is an attempt at my grandfather's  character. These look younger than what I thought they'd be, but maybe that's how he pictured himself?

You can see the unfinished diffusion as a spot on his cheek.

That's closer I think!

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Full Metal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy and The School of Good and Evil

Movies that will make you go "Huh?"

Full Metal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy

Directly continuing from the previous one this is very long as it decides not only to add a number of new characters but then has to try wrap up everyone's story lines neatly. While the main actors have improved even more now it is the plot and the main villain that are stupid here. For one, people just show up out of nowhere either mid battle, or mid conversation. Weren't you just on the opposite side of the country!? Those trains must be super efficient.

Also, the entire point of the villains evil scheme didn't make much sense at the end - nor how he was beaten, despite there being cool things occurring for that to happen. Ugh. If you've already survived the first two movies you may as well finish it off. If you haven't, then don't bother as this really won't make any sense.

The School of Good and Evil

When two best friends who are both treated as outcasts in their village find their way to the magical school of Hogwarts titular School of Good and Evil, they and the audience quickly learn that it is a most stupid place that teaches almost nothing and entry requires accepting to be kidnapped. Why two schools? To keep the "balance" because you obviously can't do that in one school right?

Despite that negativity there are nice sets, decent CGI and action pieces and all the actors and actresses do an ok job with what they have. Much like most of the princesses here they are very pretty but also ultra shallow. Entertaining enough if there isn't anything else on, but it's not something I'd actually recommend.

Monday 12 December 2022

Stargirl and Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

Superheroes being silly.


This three season series follows high school student Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) as she becomes the titular hero by inheriting a powerful weapon and all the enemies that come with it. While there is the usual high school drama at the start and actors who eventually look too old to still be in school, each season improves on the last and there are really awesome action scenes, a good death count and my favorite portrayal of Sportsmaster in any DC media so far. Worth a try just to see if you'll stick to it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

Certainly provides holiday cheer!

In this TV length episode, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) decide to try give Starlord (Chris Pratt) a surprise gift and a memorable Christmas by going on a ridiculous quest. While definitely not mandatory viewing I still recommend it as we enjoyed it immensely, despite a few jokes falling flat and most of the Guardians just being extras. We're definitely Mantis fans now. :)

Sunday 11 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Belghast

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]  

Decided to try someone outside my guild - this is what the AI thinks blogger Belghast the Aggronaut looks like, or at least my very vague description of him based on his character art.

Hmm, to young maybe?
That's better. I prefer it when it does pencil sketches!

Thursday 8 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Juris

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]  

It's Juris' turn for AI portraits and I think these are a good result for our resident writer.

Complete with evil twirly mustache!
Anime form!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Pyriim

[Part of the AI Art Gallery

Now for Wrothak's twin sister who is shorter than him, but I think putting "short" in the description affected the hair length instead. 

Cute result, but that's a long neck!

That's closer to how she'd draw herself I think.

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Wrothak

[Part of the AI Art Gallery

Now for one of our Canadian members, Wrothak the scientist - I think these turned out really good!

Hmm, apparently he has a beard too.
And this is his "epic beard" form!

Monday 5 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Trhia

[Part of the AI Art Gallery

Since I can't get good results for Jim, I decided to do his sorceress wife Trhia instead. She is a bit of a sorceress in real life too!

Anime style!
And in more traditional sorceress form.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of DL

[Part of the AI Art Gallery

Since our guild master "Dragonlord" is pretty generic I was more reliant on feeding the generator DL's standard colors of green and gold.  

Not bad despite the generic description I provided.
I notice it likes hiding his arms though.

Saturday 3 December 2022

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of "the Sky"

[Part of the AI Art Gallery]

An easy first choice. I tried describe my online persona as best I could and this was the result. Since "Skyrim" is a pretty well known game I'm sure that influenced these results a fair bit.

It insisted I have a beard.

Also I spend each morning brushing my long locks before adventuring!

AI Art Gallery

Playing with text to images!

As I previously mentioned I've become fascinated by text to image programs so I thought I'd setup a space to store the ones I've made. Obviously I'm only keeping the ones I think are OK as most of the time you can get some pretty ridiculous pictures.

Stable Diffusion: Portraits of "the Sky"
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of DL
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Trhia
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Wrothak
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Pyriim
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Juris
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Belghast
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Kantor
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Sylmeria
Stable Diffusion: Portraits of Wild Jim

Friday 2 December 2022

Skill and the Machine

A small collection of cool things.

Usually I'd work these into the end of month posts but since those have been preoccupied with the Ukraine / Russia conflict, I thought I'd just give them their own post here:

Have you ever played the browser based Game of Life?  Since it is a Turing machine some people have done crazy things with it - like compute a Fibonacci sequence! If that's too abstract for you perhaps Really Bad Chess would be more your speed, or this Powerball simulation which lets you play and win (and lose, big time) fictitious Powerball draws. Excellent if you want to see just how far your adds are of winning.

If you are feeling "artistic" instead, you might like to try Stable Diffusion - where you simply supply a prompt and their "browser" amalgamates what it thinks you want to see from images it can find. This text to image result can be horrific - I love it! I'm thinking maybe I should share me masterpieces (*snicker*) here on a regular basis. Definitely give it a try. :P

Thursday 1 December 2022

Warframe: Spectrosiphon Zephyr

A very fun build for defense type missions.

Of the Inaros, Chroma, Octavia, Harrow and Zephyr Prime frames I currently have - the Zephyr is my favorite, especially with Gara's spectorage replacing air burst (using the Helminth) and with the spectrosiphon mod installed. With these stats (150% DUR / 130% EFF / 175% RNG / 100% STR) this is how the powers work in tandem.

Tail Wind - lets you fly or hover to make the most of Zephyr's +150% crit chance while in the air.

Spectorage - creates a carousel of mirrors that attracts baddies into its center (there's a little more that it does but it's not important in this build). The spectrosiphon mod increases the chance (up to +50%) that enemies that die in the carousel to drop energy.

Turbulence - creates an air shield that makes you invulnerable to most ranged attacks (except nearby splash damage) for a time.

Tornado - drags nearby enemies into a tornado (or tornadoes), lifting them and basically making them helpless while dealing low damage. This damage can be increased by shooting the tornadoes (or you can attack them directly). A tap on the button lets the tornadoes run amok. Holding the button down keeps them in place.

So the sequence is cast spectorage where you expect enemies to pass - they'll want to come close to the mirrors. Cast a non-moving tornado in the center of spectorage which will pull them in. Kill them while they are helpless. Collect lots of energy. Repeat.

This defeats most infested units. Against gun wielders, either put this trap around a corner or you go around a corner after putting it to lure them in. Don't forget Turbulence makes you invulnerable to their fire. Very handy. Still doesn't replace my Loki for stealth, nor Slowva Nova for interception, but it's definitely one I'm keeping around.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

November 2022: NATO weighs in with words

With the war starting to spill out of the set boundaries "Defending Ukraine is defending democracy," says NATO and while the little country is finding ways to continue with power shortages as winter approaches, Zelensky has had more visitors in the form of Sean Penn and David Letterman while his forces continue to push East, capturing Kherson - the only regional capital Russia captured after invading in February. Here's an animated map.

Meanwhile Russia, whose economy is now truly in recession and dubbed a terrorist state by NATO, is aptly proving redditor Rhinomeat correct in his statement that "You cannot use logic or reason to dislodge someone from a position that they used neither logic nor reason to maneuver themselves into."

They are blessing their guns and vehicles to slay the Ukranian devils and are relying on ally North Korea to provide winter uniforms. Their other ally, Iran, has supposedly suffered some military losses too however they are currently busy beating up women at home and finding workarounds to their own laws which state they can't execute virgins. Lastly India has opted to continue to buy Russian oil, which in itself is a show of support for the Russians, right beside China who are currently experiencing their own riots.

These are more to do with the continued COVID lock downs though, which include being locked in theme parks, taxis and burning buildings. Regardless, their future war preparations continue as they have begun cloning drones being used in Ukraine and Russia. Just another reason for their rival the USA to not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons while strong arming others to say the same. Global Second Amendment anyone?

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Thursday 24 November 2022

The Walking Dead

Making zombies popular.

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) gets a terrible surprise when he wakes up to find the world overrun with zombies, and this eleven season show follows the horrific adventures he and his friends take to survive, showcasing decent action, a high death count, lots of gore and some really cool and grotesque costumes (for the zombies). It is a long watch though, so the quality of the plot often moves from episodes where you are cheering out loud for the heroes to episodes where you wish the zombies would just win already and kill all these morons.

There was literally one episode where a character was just chasing a mouse the whole time. I can't even remember if there were zombies that episode. Anyway... while it is a horror thanks to the theme, it is also primarily a drama because at the end of the day, the show is about people - not the monsters.

Title verified: There is a lot of walking and a lot of dead!

Regardless how that sits with you, this was so successful that it has spawned so many spin offs and games, with more planned and/or in production. Compared to those (that are currently out) this is obviously superior and will definitely scratch any zombie itch you might have.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Enola Holmes 2

Matches are dangerous.

Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), still in the shadow of her brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill), finally gets a second mystery to work on which is another missing person's case. While she still breaks the fourth wall a fair bit, this time around feels better plot and acting wise - greatly helped by Sherlock having a larger role in this film.

The greatest negative for me here is in the story construction - because it really feels that if Enola just left everything alone, it would have gone better and less people would have died. Oh well, still an OK watch - especially if you enjoyed the first movie.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

The Matrix Resurrections

Reloading an old save...

Game programmer Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) thinks he's going crazy when he has memories that took place in his games that involve a sentient machine race enslaving mankind and keeping them trapped in virtual reality. Unfortunately for him, he's not crazy at all.

This sequel to the movies (and by extension, this game) is very self aware, actively stating in the early minutes that among other things it is going to rely on nostalgia. Numerous flashbacks (and actual "flash" backs, because they are very quick - thumbs up!) are used as are previous characters - many of whom have been re-skinned (changed actor).

While this an OK movie, the problem is that it's THE SAME movie the previous ones were, just mashed together. And it's not a better movie for it. Despite the extra points I'm giving thanks to Jessica Henwick being there (yeah, I'm a fan), this is a tough movie to recommend.

If you haven't seen the original Matrix(es, but 1 or 2 specifically), go watch that/those instead. If you have... then, you've already seen this too? Basically this is just for Keanu Reeves fans I guess.

Saturday 19 November 2022

Voidstar: The Winner

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

Despite Amar's close quarters prowess, he could do nothing when the Gantulyst eidolon crushed him under foot, and Kela De Thaym could only damage the Profit-Taker Orb before being blown away by its artillery. Like Archon Boreal before her, the weakened Archon Nira was torn to shreds by the regenerating Void Angel, and Parvos' Protea was severely hurt in finally destroying Nef Anyo's Razorback with her summoned turrets.

This meant she was easy prey when the Void Angel finally came for her while the Gantulyst eidolon wrecked the Profit-Taker up but still ultimately lost to the giant spider due to the eidolon's weakened state. And so, the last two combatants finally faced off against each other: The Profit-Taker Orb versus the Void Angel!

Screeching as it unleashed its deadly attacks the Void Angel took the giant spiderbot to the edge of death before it unleashed hell upon the void nightmare. As it did before, the Angel retreated to the void to heal but since the Profit-Taker isn't some stupid eidolon, it continued to fire everything it had to disintegrate the angel's dormant body, forcing it to be trapped in its voidscape forever! [Um, I suppose that would work?]

"Dollie dollie, I a giant. Big and bad as Hunhow's heart.
Salty squishes are my diet. Death and murder are my art." -Profit Taker

Now free to search for the promise signal, the towering raknoid turned only to find that she was dwarfed by a giant, smiling face looking down upon her. "Hey, kiddo..."

That's brings Voidstar to a close, thanks for reading!

Friday 18 November 2022

Voidstar: Semi-Finals

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

As fewer combatants remained standing, the call of the promise signal grew stronger in each of their minds. An explosion in the sky signaled the destruction of the Balor Fomorian as the Void Angel ripped it apart from the inside, and this was echoed by an explosion on the ground where Kela De Thaym put an end to the heavily damaged Exploiter Orb.

While the sword wielding Shadow Stalker got curb stomped by the Profit-Taker, Vor and his Janus key further damaged Nef Anyo's Razorback but could not defeat it as the war machine's autocannons ripped him in two. Elsewhere, Malice managed to snipe at the Gantulyst eidolon before being caught and destroyed by one of its energy pillars, Zuud was put down by Parvos' Protea, and Teshin put up a heroic but ultimately doomed battle against Archon Nira who turned him to stone [and then broke his neck :P].

The easiest Archon.

Her brother Amar faced off against the Rhino specter in an equally long battle, and after dealing considerable damage to each other the Rhino's Soma and Dual Raza are not enough as he falls prey to the highly aggressive wolf archon. [Also, Amar is basically a Rhino Prime with cheat codes enabled so... there's that.]

Thursday 17 November 2022

Voidstar: Nihil vs Teshin

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

The Lich Worm Queen barely avoided the collapsing Teralyst, forcing her out into the open and right into the sights of the Balor Fomorian which promptly vaporized her. Derim Zahn also had no chance as he was eaten by Archon Nira, and the injured Archon Boreal could not match the regenerating Void Angel while Ballas [without the Lotus powers] couldn't keep up with Parvos' Protea.

Zuud's Tombfinger proved effective against the predictable Sprag who moves in straight lines, and while Lephantis slew Captain Vor, his Janus Key revived him as Corrupted Vor to ultimately destroy the infested ettin with his new Janus energy beams. The injured flying sentient, Ropalolyst was also killed when it fought against Nef Anyo's Razorback, only damaging the missile launching war machine.

"I find chaos... unsettling." - Nihil
They need to make more boss fights like this one!

Neither Nihil nor Teshin gave it a glance as it fell in the landscape beyond them, with both swordsmen keenly focused on their own duel. "Finally, a worthy foe," Tenshin remarked as he nimbly dodged away from Nihil's giant Vitrica. "Your persistence is disruptive to my efforts to order," the orokin giant replied as he fired shards of glass from his forehead gem down at the Dax warrior - but Teshin was too agile for him, and in a display of true mastery used his nikana to reflect one of the glass pieces right back into Nihil's neck. Eyes widened by surprise, Nihil dropped his sword and fell to his knees as blood poured from the wound. Using this opening, Teshin threw his Orvious disc and made it explode right in Nihil's face, ending the Glassmaker once and for all.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Voidstar: The Queen of Rathuum

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

With the number of combatants halved again, Mania jumped the Rhino with his twin Lacera but was easily laid low since he's almost exactly like a Loki. The last remaining acolyte, Malice, was more successful in sniping the wounded Ember with its Opticor while the acolyte leader, Shadow Stalker, carved up Amaryn and her ancients with his War great sword.

Executioner Dhurnam's close range weaponry [and previous injuries] also spelled his doom against Archon Amar, while the Profit-Taker destroyed the Bonewidow after taking some damage. The badly damaged Exploiter Orb was also still standing after torching a limping Zanuka. From the ridge, Kela de Thaym observed the Gantulyst eidolon annihilate the Nova specter who was only armed with kunai and ether daggers before she heard a tell tale "RRRREEEEEEEEEEE!" scream from beside her - the Teralyst eidolon had spotted her! [total role reversal because in game it is YOU that has to find the bloody hide and seek eidolons]

She looks like this guy from the Fifth Element.

Quickly jumping out of the way, the Queen of Rathuum deployed multitudes of rollers to distract the simple minded creature. It was too dangerous to get close to use her shotguns so again she employed her orbital strikes to destroy the last remaining weak spots on her opponent and finally destroying the eidolon!

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Voidstar: Angel vs Eidolon

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

Nihil watched the battles with great interest until a loud voice called out to him. "Ai yo! You call that a sword? You should see Hok's masterpiece!" yelled the self-referencing Ostron as he drew out his favourite Zaw. With a sigh, Nihil swatted him away with a gentle swipe of his Vitrica. Unfortunately there were equally mismatched encounters here as Mutalist Alad V could do little to Nef Anyo's Razorback, nor could the Wolf of Saturn Six throw his hammer hard enough to prevent himself being obliterated by the Balor fomorian.

Similarly Clem could only lightly injure Archon Boreal and M-W.A.M. did the same with Archon Nira before being crushed. Meanwhile inside the wreckage of a Grineer galleon Derim Zahn made good use of his turrets and relocator beacons to defeat the J3-Golem, and Teshin was wounded when dismantling Frohd Bek's Ambulas. On a lower floor, Sister Vala Glarios came face to face against the Lich Worm Queen. With both combatants equally injured and equally driven it came down to their weapons to decide this outcome, and since Liches have the superior guns this was the end of Vala's continuity. [I'm basing that off internet reviews and not experience, because the internet is always right - right?]

As an aside: the Zariman is currently my favourite map.

Despite being far from the surface, the Lich Worm Queen heard the shrill shriek of the Void Angel on the surface as it engaged the Hydrolyst eidolon with flight slams, powerful energy orbs and void spikes seriously damaging the giant creature and breaking many of its sydonias as it fought back with its own seeking projectiles, ground stomps, acid rain and giant gun that eventually damaged the angel enough to retreat into the void to recover. As eidolons are simple creatures, the Hydrolyst proceeded to ignore it which turned out to be a fatal flaw once the fully recovered void angel returned to finish it off.

Monday 14 November 2022

Voidstar: Warframes Executioners

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

The shots distracted Kahl enough to be startled when a robotic voice behind him boomed "You shall NOT be spared the rod... as those who came before you... Were. NOT. Spared.". Kahl brought everything he had and everything he could find against the Exploiter Orb, damaging it, but the soldier was simply too slow to dodge the giant spider robot's mortars. Nearby, the Profit-Taker had no issues against the already damaged Jackal, nor did the Ropalolyst against the limping Hyena Th. A heavily injured Shik Tal was easy prey for Amaryn's ancients, and Sprag finished off the badly damaged Mag with her Manticore hammer.

Numerous executioners also fell at this point, as Gorth couldn't keep distance from the Shadow Stalker, Harkonar's tricks didn't fool Ballas, Zura's ignis didn't save her against the Bonewidow,  and Nok could only wound his old captain (Vor) with his Sobek before being Seer-ed (Vor's pistol) in the forehead. The Excalibur Umbra launched a sneak attack on Lephantis, managing to destroy one of its three heads [the melee one] but was subsequently worn down by the ranged capabilities of the other two due to only bringing his Skiajati blade.

Across the field, Zuud encountered the Frost specter and thanks to her Tombfinger kitgun [which I assume she uses like an on-call crew member] could out range the warframe's Tigris shotgun while destroying it, ice shield and all. The Volt and Parvos' Protea also faced off against each other, and while the Volt was faster - dashing through the Protea's grenades and blaze artillery to cut her down - her temporal anchor rewound time for her, reviving her and reapplying the damage done to her opponent which was enough to claim victory!

"Protea... my beautiful Protea... she will preserve!" -Parvos Granum

Sunday 13 November 2022

Voidstar: Dhurnam vs Little Duck

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

With half the combatants now dead, the promise signal intensified - drawing a few more smart or lucky individuals from their hiding spots in the wreckage! [I had to add 7 wild cards because of all the draws those demolishers caused. Sigh!]

The Arbiters attempted to ambush Kela de Thaym but were out gunned by her Twin Kohmaks, Erra managed to ambush the Teralyst eidolon to further injure it with his sentient beam before getting obliterated with a similar result for the Auditor Denial Bursa against the Gantulyst eidolon. The Rhino specter gunned down Raptor RV with his Soma, Roky couldn't out K-Drive Mania as the acolyte switched teleported with his board and hacked the ventkid into tiny pieces with his Lacera, Dru Pesfor was unmade by Nova's antimatter drop, and Vay Molta could only damage Zanuka with her rockets before being blasted out of the sky.

In closer matches the already injured Zealoid Prelate could only wound Amar before the wolf Archon tore him to pieces, the Ember specter was badly hurt while chain fire balling Rana Del, and Malice out gunned the Infested Mesa. This is because Malice cheats with magnetize so her opticor will hit even when the target is in cover! [I hate it when she does that to me!]

A Lanka sniper shot from the ridge line struck Executioner Dhurnam in the back, but it was only enough to stagger him. Little Duck kept on firing, landing hit after hit but Dhurnam's armor was just too thick [also good reduction against Lanka damage type] - and worse - the more he was hit the faster he moved! Before she knew it, Dhurnam had knocked her down - twin Hek's gleaming in the star light. "You bloody mucker," she started, before being abruptly silenced as his first four barrels destroyed her metal head, and the second four barrels destroyed her chest which housed her actual head.

Octuple headshot!

Saturday 12 November 2022

Voidstar: Clem vs John Prodman

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

Elsewhere on the crashed ship, Clem spotted a Corpus enemy down the hallway and opened fire with his Twin Grakatas while yelling his usual battle cry: "Clem!". John Prodman barely had time to draw his Prova shock stick to block all the bullets before teleporting right beside his opponent and zapping the little Grineer, sending Clem flying into the wall. Somehow, this move that usually defeats everything, was not enough as Clem rolled back under John's next swing both guns ablazing. "Grakata!" Clem yelled as he emptied both clips into Prodman, knocking the Prova out of his hands.

"Clem?" asked Clem as both guns continued to click on empty, John Prodman still staring down at him. After a few tense and still moments, John finally shrugged and left in a pillar of light - leaving behind a signed poster of himself for this most worthy foe.

I still need to get me one of these...

Outside, the battles raged on with the Lich Worm Queen tanking the charger demolisher explosion, the Hyena Ng barely scratching the Hydrolyst eidolon before getting crushed under foot, the Saryn specter being impaled by the Void Angel, Archon Boreal easily defeating the mimic Jen Dro, Archon Nira taking only light damage while destroying Hyena Pb, Derim Zahn taking down the thief Maroo with his Sonicor, Teshin cutting through the Equinox specter's Shaku nunchakus, Frohd Bek's Ambulas taking damage while defeating Azoth, Cressa Tal losing to the multi-skilled M.W.A.M. unit, the J3 Golem melting the Arn Etina/Darvo Moa and the Nox demolisher exploding the Voidrig in a suicide run.

Out in orbit, the Jordas Golem made its approach but suddenly found itself encased in glass. Somehow it could hear an Orokin's voice in it's head saying but a single word: "Break." With a backhand swing Nihil the Glassmaker obliterated the floating infested mass with his Vitrica blade. [I'm using the version of Nihil that you fight against in his prison, so he's probably taller than he should be. :P]

Voidstar: Sargas Ruk vs Alad V

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

On the other side of the ridge Robotics Tech Jad Teran's nullifying helmets didn't save him against Sprag's hammer, nor did Ved Xol's opticor save him from the Wolf of Saturn Six. Baro Ki'teer had no chance against Nef Anyo's Razorback, Latrox Une's shield ospreys were not enough against the Balor Fomorian's death ray, the Mag specter barely won against the Gyre hyena [mostly because she's armed with a spear and shurikens], Angst was taken out by a self detonating ghoul called the expired, the Ropalolyst was only injured by the boiler demolisher's explosion, Executioner Nok shot down the Raptor MT and Executioner Reth managed to lightly injure Lephantis with his Drakgoon before being eaten by it.

Thanks to its electricity firing plasma rifles the Hyena Th barely defeated close range combatant Executioner Garesh, and the Frost specter was lucky in shotgunning the Ignis bearing Garv before his snowglobe melted. With good use of teleporting to a distance and his temporary shielding, Captain Vor defeated Armis Ulta while Lech Kril could only injure Sister Vala Glarios before she worked out to hit his tubes to kill him.

In one of the crashed Corpus capital ships General Sargas Ruk located Alad V cowering in a corner. "P-P-Please just wai..." is all Alad manages before the general incinerates him with napalm. "Regret will be your legacy!" Suddenly from the flames burst forth a round metal choker that locked itself around the general's neck forcing him to cease the attack... in fact, he found he could no longer move at all. Before him, Mutalist Alad V stood up grinning. "You Grineer are too arrogant, general. I will teach you to play nice," mocked Alad as he sauntered towards his prey. "Don't you see? It will be better if... when... we are one. Now open yourself up to me."

Alad V is really into bondage too.

Sargas Ruk could only scream in his mind as his body obeyed, revealing all his weak spots like a good slave. He would not survive what Mutalist Alad V had in store for him.

Thursday 10 November 2022

Voidstar: Kahl Fight Good

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

Explosions continued across the battlefield as more demolishers did their suicidal work. The Jackal survived its encounter with the bursa demolisher with heavy damage as did Grustag-3 member Shik Tal who barely scraped by against the machinist demolisher thanks to his rockets and giant shield. His brother Leekter was exploded by the hyena demolisher - a fate shared by the Valkyr specter whose talons took her too close and her paralysis skill too ineffective against the satyr demolyst. The Stalker was also obliterated when trying to melee the anti-MOA demolisher, but afterwards he just reconstituted himself to become the Shadow Stalker!

Elsewhere the sniper Ven'kra Tel was torn apart by Amaryn and her ancients, the Bonewidow defeated Misery who was self limited with only his scythe, Raptor RX had no chance against the Profit-Taker, Executioner Zura burned the Paris wielding Trinity specter to death with his Ignis, Executioner Gorth's Ogris rocketed the students of Cephalon Suda, the Sergeant [how did this guy even survive the landing] was easily handled by Parvos' time altering Protea, Zenith Galactical Tia Mayn was sniped by Executioner Harkonar, and the duel between specters Excalibur with dual skanas versus the Volt with a heat sword ended with victory for the latter.

Up on the ridge Kahl-175 faced off against Tyl Regor. "Would you look at you?" Tyl asked. "So fascinating. Tell me, why would you fight someone of your blood? Someone that loves you?" Kahl grunted, "You not like Kahl. Only Kahl like Kahl." Regor just laughed. "Foolish tube man, I AM YOUR FATHER!".  "Kahl has no father!" Kahl growled as he opened fire with his Grakata, but couldn't land a hit against the fast teleporting, hammer wielding scientist who thwacked him right in the chest plate. Kahl quickly rolled aside to evade Regor's follow up flying fist and in a smooth motion hacked through him with his Slaytra machete before sheathing it again.

"Kahl protect brothers."

"I'm not... done with you," the injured Regor coughed, suddenly unable to stand. "You done," Kahl answered. "Bleed to death. Kahl no need waste time on you." Grimacing, Tyl finally collapsed dead as Kahl walked away.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Voidstar: Acolytes Down

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

The thrasher demolisher screamed as it self detonated, but only barely damaged the well defended Auditor denial bursa. A poor result when compared to the self detonations of the demolyst Heqet who nuked the Icemire Hyena, the kuva guardian demolisher who tanked Nako Xol's Tetra to get into lethal range and even the Bailiff demolisher who managed to destroy a synovia of the Teralyst eidolon. Violence also became the first acolyte to perish when he went up against the Exploiter Orb as his melee only weaponry made it hard to hit the giant spider's weakspots while simultaneously putting him in range of its heavy flamethrower.

"Value the punishment I provide."

While the Cinderthesh Hyena couldn't keep up with Vay Molta's hellion jetpack and missiles, Zanuka hunter claimed victory against executioner Dok Thul whose healing powers couldn't keep up with the robots damage output. Nearby, Investor Relations Department Dru Pesfor fought the large drone 002-ER. The flying combat platform was fitted with powerful beam shotguns, but getting close to use them against its opponent in cover proved its undoing as Dru's glaxion slowed the drone's firing and already slow flying to halt. Also forced into slow motion was Ergo Glast and his MOA squad when hit by the molecular prime of a Nova specter. Their slowed lasers couldn't get through her null star shield as she disassembled them with her ether daggers.

The gunfire nearby was from Torment's Akvasto pistols as he tried to get a bead on the spry and loud mouthed Kela De Thaym, Queen of Rathuum, who couldn't get close enough to make use of her Twin Kohmak repeater shotguns. She didn't need to however, as her orbital strikes caught the acolyte by surprise and obliterated him.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Voidstar: Helpless Hyenas

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

In the chaos of battle Phorid was sliced in half by Mania's lacera. The acolyte took note that even the specters of the rail junctions had made their way here with a Rhino unloading its Soma assault rifle into a Loki, only to find the Loki was a decoy as the real Loki flanked him with its Burston rifle. The bullets bounced off the Rhino's iron skin though, and with a roar the Rhino quickly charged with dual Raza scythes in hand. Switch teleporting with his opponent didn't save the Loki from being eviscerated. [He should have used invis more! :P]

Rhino: The toughest early frame there is.

Another specter, this one an Ember, dodged the mortars of the Raptor NS who was promptly dispatched by a comet the Ember summoned above it. Nearby, the Raptor RV dealt with Hyena Ln2 by simply staying airborne and laser barraging the foolishly designed "Liquid Nitrogen" dog-bot. The larger Lynx model engaged against Rana Del who used her Investor Relations training to systematically destroy the Lynx's shield drones and the Lynx itself with her Glaxion ice beam.

Continuing the poor performance of the hyena pack is Lockjaw & Sol who couldn't evade Malice's Opticor due to the magnetic field the acolyte placed on them, and the Rabbleback who was unfortunate enough to come face to face with infested Mesa's peacemakers. It had no chance, just like the infested juggernaut that thought to take on the Gantulyst eidolon. It simply got kicked away, and even after transforming into the greater juggernaut behemoth it could only damage one of the giant's synovias with its tar-quills while hiding in its toxic fog before being crushed under foot.

Monday 7 November 2022

Voidstar: An Explosive Landing

[Part of the Voidstar: Warframe-128 story]

Battles raged across the debris striken planet surface, even as more ships crashed from the heavens. Palladino was surprised that so many had survived but was determined to follow the vision she saw. Separated from her allies she readied her Rakta Ballistica just as a large shadow moved behind her and with a graceful spin she let loose a burst of four bolts that wedged themselves in the heavy armor of Grineer executioner Dhurnam. Completely unphased and with the eight barrels of his twin shotguns already pointed at Palladino he pulled both the triggers, executing the Red Veil priestess with ease.

In the distance he spotted, Vem Tabook, a Grustag-3 ally who used similar weaponry but did not have the same luck when facing off against Archon Amar who promptly ripped off the soldier's face. At that moment Councillor Vay Hek flew over the battle field in his extensively modified body suit while laughing manically, calling everyone maggots, and firing at everything with his auto cannons yet somehow missing the many targets on the field. Upon landing he was promptly caught by surprise as a canister of condensed thermia exploded right on his chest plate, melting the metal and causing the Councillor to scream, curse and wail even more. A single Lanka sniper shot from close range through his head finally silenced him, as Little Duck darted to the next cover she could find. "That'll shut his mouth," she muttered to herself.

Little Duck usually takes the field against Profit-Taker.

Vay Hek's ghouls were here too, as discovered by Pelna Cade when he came face to face with the devourer demolisher that charged him with his wrist mounted hooks. Pelna's reflexes let him dodge the charge and drop a "slow" orb to impede his foe, but it didn't matter when the devourer launched one of his meathooks and caught the leg of Corpus Loan Reclamation agent, quickly winching him in like a fish out of water. In a panic Pelna managed to get one shot off with his Detron hitting the devourer square in his explosive vest - triggering the charge and obliterating both combatants. In similar fashion the heavy gunner demolisher self detonated as the Zealoid Prelate leaped through her Gorgon bullets and into melee range. While the blast destroyed her, the Zealoid Prelate was only injured and quickly looked around for more prey. [Why are there demolishers? I needed to fill out the roster!]

Voidstar: Warframe-128

"To all of you racing to that signal of promise... that siren song echoing in the black, remember that the promise of power, wealth and glory are just as strong as the promise of freedom. Somethin's out there, Dreamers. Somethin' nasty. Nora can feel it. Watch your back." -Nora Night

Since I haven't written for awhile I thought I'd get some practice in with this, which doubles as a 128 bracket tournament for most of the "named" characters in Warframe (simply using the =Rand() operator in excel to organize brackets). While I will lightly check on stats and such for this exercise I'm also removing some invulnerabilities to make the matches slightly more fair. Despite that, prepare to disagree with most of this fictional narrative! :P 

An Explosive Landing
Helpless Hyenas
Acolytes Down
Kahl Fight Good
Sargas Ruk vs Alad V
Clem vs John Prodman
Dhurnam vs Little Duck
Warframes Executioners
Angel vs Eidolon
The Queen of Rathuum
Nihil vs Teshin
The Winner

This tournament and story has concluded, thank you for reading!

Tuesday 1 November 2022

1000 hours of Warframe

Having definitely secured its place as my most played game in my Steam library, I thought I'd just put a quick summary of where I'm at as a free to player: Mastery Rank 22 "Dragon", and have played all regular frames so far apart from Gyre which I'm still working on, and the soon to be released Voruna.

My primeframe collection is growing too, with Chroma and Octavia joining the Inaros Prime which was my first. Zephyr and Harrow Prime are also sitting in the foundry waiting for parts and space. As I've gotten all I wanted from the Void Raider mission I'll probably be ditching Inaros soon. Chroma too since he can't seem to do anything well. Maybe Chroma goes first actually.

Boss wise, there are only a few I have left to find, fight and defeat. The last two Eidolons on Earth, the infested alien thing from a star event which hasn't happened for awhile, and the Corpus hero John Prodman in the Index. Favourite boss fight so far is against Nihil who is somewhat hidden in Nightwave offerings. Anyway, super cool game. Just also super addictive. :P

Sunday 30 October 2022

October 2022: Day 250 of the war

The Ukrainian "advance" (to reclaim territory) continues, inspiring the people of Kherson, a city captured early on by the Russians, to no longer accept their rubles. To be fair, it might just be because rubles are not worth much these days with all the sanctions.

Their opponent, President Putin, has had an explosive birthday month for after being angered by the Crimea bridge explosion on/near his birthday, his forces conducted a retaliation bombardment that took down a third of the Ukranian power facilities in two days. They also have an interesting method of recouping their lost people by sending captured Ukranian kids to be adopted by Russians, some of whom publicly stating said kids should be drowned and/or burned alive.

The Russians have also found allies in Belarus and Iran, the latter of which is doing some serious multitasking by killing protestors with religious fashion police. They're also making strides for an alliance with North Korea, who are busy shooting missiles over Japan for the shits and giggles.

In true Crouching Tiger or Hidden Dragon style, China continues to bide its time as Xi Jinping secured his third term in power. Is it worrying that they might have "police" stations worldwide where they can drag you in and beat you up? Maybe?

Germans have proven indifference is just as effective as beatings though, as these not so smart scientists discovered when they protested for climate change. They were simply left in the sticky situation they got themselves in and were proven to be the hypocritical morons they actually are.

Finally, at 50 days, the shortest serving UK PM has finished her low% speed run successfully crashing their economy. Good job?

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Thursday 27 October 2022

House of the Rings of Dragon Power?

Two fantasy prequels that are currently season one.

House of the Dragon

Set a hundred years before Game of Thrones, this fantasy series tries to emulate the original as much as possible but instead of having many point of view characters to follow each episode there's only two or three. House Targaryen rules in a time of peace with the strength of their dragons but unfortunate circumstances (and ye olde refusing to just sit down, chat and air secrets to solve everything) just continuously happens that slowly pushes the kingdom to the brink of civil war.

I'm not kidding about slowly either, YEARS pass between episodes and it's a little strange that some characters age while others seem "timeless" but its an entertaining watch regardless with decent plot, acting and CGI. Definitely recommended and looking forward to season two.

Rings of Power

A prequel to the Hobbit, this tells the story of the time before the twenty great rings were forged - when dwarves didn't yet dig so deep, elves more easily gave into emotion, hobbits were more racially diverse and humans as a whole were dirty scum. While the CGI is gorgeous and the acting is ok it's the plot and pacing that lets down this production - not helped by the main character who seems capable of cheat-code worthy feats.

Despite not being as tightly woven as House of the Dragon it is still a nice spectacle to watch and also one I'm waiting for season two. Recommended to fantasy fans, but not necessarily Lord of the Rings fans who would take more issue with what transpires here.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Adventure Games: The Dungeon

Plays like the old school computer games!

In this 1-4 player cooperative game, you must use your wits to escape from a fantasy themed dungeon which is revealed by placing large tiles with nice artwork as you explore. The story itself is driven by the dungeon story book which feels like one of those choose your own adventure novels. Expect to do a bit of reading!

A single tile will have multiple points of interest and on your turn you get to visit one, read the entry and see what happens. Then you can also try combine two items together, or combine an item with the location. Afterwards, its the next players turn and you are scored based on how much health you have left at the end of each of the three chapters.

Now there is a "save" ability so you don't have to play through this in one sitting, but it was so engrossing that we did and had a blast doing it too! The only downside is like a few other Kosmos games this has very little replayability, but at least you don't need to destroy the components (and throw the game away after) to win it.

Recommended, but just keep in mind this is less dungeon crawl and killing monsters and more puzzle solving and story telling.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

See (TV Series)

Where everyone is Daredevil.

In a world where the majority of the people are blind and the few "sighted" ones are hunted and executed for witchcraft, Baba Voss (Jason Momoa) tries his best to keep his family safe against the forces of a cruel and insane queen.  while the story wraps up neatly in three seasons it leaves a bit to be desired and a few action scenes are hilarious. For example, there is a big battle near the start and blind people are using ranged weapons?

Or even better, the queen sends her (blind) forces out through the wilderness, forest, mountains to track down sighted people? How do they even know who can see and who can't? It's also irritating that majority of the sighted people in this story are morons. That said there are very good and brutal action sequences here and in those moments the show really shines. Worth a watch for Jason Momoa fans. Otherwise, try an episode or two and see if it's for you.

Monday 24 October 2022

Warframe: Baruuk and Octavia

The monk and the bard.


All of Baruuk's pieces are gated behind a few ranks of the Vox Solaris syndicate which by default means maxing out your standing in Solaris United before hand. This monk is worth it though as his abilities include evading projectiles as long as he's not attacking (this is his only skill that drains continuous energy), an AoE sleep fart, and to summon a bunch of daggers that both mitigate damage (10% PER dagger) and shoot out to permanently disarm enemies in range. In my build of him I have 17 daggers and the daggers can also be given to your allies, so yes he can be pretty tanky.

The strangest thing is, Baruuk is a try-hard pacifist but each of those already mentioned abilities reduces his "constraint" gauge and when you unleash him using his ultimate, he goes into exalted kung-fu mode which further mitigates damage AND is very impressive to use but requires the augment mod if you plan on actually killing things in the steel path instead of just knocking them down. Fun frame, but its another one that needs warm up before having his full abilities ready (not as bad as Nidus though).


Designated as the best Warframe available currently, Octavia's main blueprint comes from the Octavia's Anthem quest. For her other parts you'll be doing the capture mission on Lua to find all the caches and music room puzzle and the super annoying 20 minute survival on Deimos (pray to RNG). That said, she is pretty awesome! As all her abilities stem from music, she comes with a step-sequencer in which you can compose your own stuff (or steal other pop songs) and anytime Octavia uses a skill she regenerates energy (slowly) for herself and allies nearby.

She can summon a ball that distracts enemies, create a damage zone to hammer enemies (or put it on the aforementioned ball so this zone moves, and create a zone that increases all allied damage based on the noise level. The louder the party, the more the enemies will die! Her most complicated ability is the "metronome" which gives you different buffs depending on what you do in time with your music:

Jumping to the beat gives a speed buff, crouching gives invisibility, shooting buffs shooting damage and meleeing buffs melee damage. It takes some getting used to! That invisibility seems mandatory for survivability though so get your crouch practice in.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Superhero comedies.

Thor: Love and Thunder

When a serial god murderer goes on the loose it falls upon the only god in the Avengers line up (Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth) to stop him! This seems to be an odd premise to base a comedy off, but most of this classic Thor adventure is set to the tone of "laughing in the face of death" backed by classic rock tracks and dosed heavily with high quality CGI. I felt it went on for a little too long though, and that the villain should have had more focus than some of the other extra characters. Still worth a watch.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

When Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) gains the power of the Hulk, she has to deal with being a female lawyer AND She-Hulk at the same time. Somehow, her strongest ability is that of breaking the fourth wall though - and it's something she does A LOT. Much of your enjoyment will be if you are ok with that, and if you dislike that trope then stay far away from this currently one season series. While the episodes are short and entertaining enough, it's also telling that episodes with guest cameos are much better than those without. Hopefully this improves in future seasons as currently She-Hulk can't stand on her own.