It was a pretty weird day on Sunday... the day was pretty sunny in the morning followed by a blustery blow with some patches of rain. Mulled wine can really help with that though... Rather than have NSEG upstairs at Bar Nancy we had it in Bar Nancy's Salon. The Salon has two fireplaces and due to the renovations, there's a lot more floor space.
We kicked off the day with a short game (Escape: The Curse of the Temple... which clocks in at 10 minutes, real time) on one table while another table had a long game (Suburbia... which clocks in at 90 minutes). Both are great games from 2012.
Escape plays in real time and is quite stressful. It's really about madly rolling 5 die as fast as you can to achieve the result you need. Once you get it, you keep rolling for the next thing you need. Thematically you're all trying to escape from a temple while avoiding curses. It's a co-op so if someone gets stuck in the temple at the end of the ten minutes everyone looses. We just managed to get everyone out in both games we played.
Suburbia on the other hand is a lot more of a thinky game. In it each player is building a suburb in a city. Each player's suburb is affected and affects each other player's city. Each turn you buy a building from the market and place it in your city. You then adjust your income and reputation based on what it's ability is and if it triggers any of your other buildings abilities (for instance a industrial building placed next to a residential building will decrease your reputation). Then you adjust based on if the building impacts any one else's buildings (and vice versa). You then collect cash based on your income level and move up in population based on your reputation.
The most populous city at the end of the game is the winner (though cash adds to this slightly), but as you cross certain points on the population track your income and reputation will drop... it's an interesting tightrope to walk. A certain amount of tiles are removed from the game, so it can take a few games to see every tile... so it can take a while to get a good engine running.
A new game for me was a much older one... Saint Petersburg (2004). Effectively it's a market game that has 4 phases per round. In the first phase Craftsmen are placed in the market (who give you income), the second phase Buildings are placed in the market (which provides victory points and/or special abilities). In the third phase Aristocrats (who give you income and/or victory points) and finally the last phase provides upgrades which replace your buildings/aristocrats or Craftsmen.
One of the tricks of the game is that any unbought cards at the end of the phase move down into the second part of the market and cost a rubel less. Add to this the fact that you get a discount for each of the same card you already have. So if you are buying a gold miner (which costs 4) and already have 3, it would only cost 1. But if it's in the second part of the market it would cost you nothing.
The rules are simple, but I think the strategy is not as simple as it first appears. Often you'll end up with no money left and be run over by someone else who has used their money more wisely.
Le Havre: The Inland Port
Another new game was Le Havre: The Inland Port. It's a two player game by Uwe Rosenburg that combines Ora et Labora's rondel and introduces an interesting method to track and alter resources. Each round you can buy buildings which (generally) will alter your amount of resources. The trick in this is that the longer you wait to use the building, the more benifit you get from the building... but wait too long and you might loose the building altogether.
You can also use your opponents buildings, which also deny them the use of the building for that round... to do so will cost you a franc, but sometimes it can be worth it.
Some of the other games played were Alhambra, Cthulu Fluxx, Carcassone: The Discovery and Love Letter.
The next meeting will be on August 18 at Bar Nancy at 61 High St Northcote VIC 3070 from 3pm.
But for no apparent reason, it has been switching itself back on after a certain period of time. The thing is so quiet though that I couldn't hear that it was on. I assumed that it must have something to do with the LAN waking it up, but no... seems that it's the HDMI waking it up.
Here's how to fix it (thanks to a forum post in the OUYAboards)
Go to MANAGE > SYSTEM > ADVANCED
Scroll down and select "Developer options". When you enter developer options, at the very top right across from "developer options." Make sure "ON" is selected and not "OFF," so you can change settings in this menu.
Now go down to the third option. It should be "STAY AWAKE." Now uncheck this box.
And it works! Now my OUYA will be more energy efficient. If only there were some more great games to play on it!
So I got an Acer C7 Chromebook the other day. Sure it's not going to do very much... but y'know it's not a bad little laptop.
Initially I thought I was going to just install linux and never use ChromeOS, but it really does have some charm. It boots amazingly quickly and for just goofing off on the web it just works. There's been one time in the last few days when it decided it would just shut down, but apart from that it has performed without fault.
To be fair though, it doesn't do very much. But this does give it a real focus. Typing on it is fairly simple. The keys react well and there's a nice clickity clack as you type. I find silent keyboards to be rather annoying. I've only really found two beefs with the keyboard. First the Right Control key feels like it's in the wrong place. I keep hitting the fn key instead which causes some odd situations when I'm trying to Copy/Paste. I suspect that the distance between the f key and the Ctrl key is slightly different from my other laptops keyboard. This may be something which I get used to.
The other issue relates to the direction keys and the page up/down keys. They're tiny (half the size of the other keys) and the page up is above the left arrow and the page down is above the right arrow. When I'm not looking, instead of moving one space to the left I'll fly up the page. Often I don't realise and just end up typing where I'm not expecting to.
I'm actually surprised that I deal with the trackpad so well. Being used to the Thinkpad's nipple (er... Trackpoint) I didn't think I'd take to the weird buttonless trackpad.
But in reality it is quite easy to use. To right click you just press two fingers at once and to scroll up/down you swipe two fingers up/down. I'm still having some trouble using click and drag (selecting text I tend to drop the first or last letter).
The screen is quite vivid and just the right size and I like having the ability to store files locally (and on SD). It doesn't weigh too much and for what it cost and what it does, it's a good little machine.
Yeah, I probably would like a Chromebook Pixel and yeah I probably will install Linux on it eventually. But for now it's good to goof off on the internet, tap out blog posts, share my photos on Google Plus and write insane little stories. And in the end isn't that what life is really all about?
When I was younger I read webcomics. Because y'know... they were cool. I admit that I never really got into Penny Arcade. But being a fan of MegaTokyo I understand the connection that occurs between the creator(s) of a webcomic and their readers. I've read Penny Arcade every so often, but never have considered myself a reader.
And in the last year and a half, my digital gaming has dropped away. It's hard to make time for long stretches of game when you've got a young bub. I remember one night where I attempted to get through some more Mass Effect. Every time I picked up the controller the baby would start screaming (I believe she was around 7 months old at that stage). If I play a game it's usaully something that is quick or doesn't require much continuing focus.
I'm aware of Magic the Gathering (digitally it's quite good... it's quick and throwaway) and wargaming, but again it's not something I'm really involved in.
So with that said... what did I think of PAX Australia?
The Tabletop library was quite good. There was enough of a range of games to provide all tastes. On the first day Sharon and I were looking through the games trying to find a game to play. She was randomly reading out titles and said "Fluxx the Boardgame".
"That's not out yet." I said.
Apparently it was a demo copy. We played it out of curiosity and it's not that bad. It's a whole bunch better than Fluxx the card game. Has a definite end and has some strategy that you can employ. The rules are still fairly simple to explain and turns play very quickly.
The new Lords of Waterdeep expansion was available as well, but having never played the base game, didn't get to play it. The base game is OK, but I think you really need to get into the theme.
Oh yeah, right... so the tabletop library. The actual logistics of how it worked was fine. You pick your game, check it out by having your pass scanned and provide your licence or ID. Shame the passes didn't have barcodes on them in the first place. But once you got your barcode you could also use it for the console library.
The main trick though was finding a table to play on. Once you did that though you were fine. There were even little signs you could pick up if you wanted extra players or needed someone to teach you to play a game. Very clever (believe these came from Canberra). If you were playing a known difficult or rules heavy game, enforcers would ask if you need help (we were playing T'zolkin and got asked if we needed help with it about three times).
The tournaments and structured play were dependent on how invested the staff were in the game. I played Power Grid (which wasn't tournament, just a scheduled play) and we ripped through it. Was interesting to see the difference between the original version and the modern version. Due to a lack of tables, we signed up for an Agricola tournament which was about to run. It was my first time playing but was enjoyable. Obviously near the end of the game I worked out all the things I should have done... but eh.
Pretty much everything that had been on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop was very popular. Small World, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride. Powergrid and Lords of Waterdeep always seemed to be on a table somewhere all the time as well. It'd be interesting to see an official listing of what got played.
Magic the Gathering seemed very popular. The free showbags had a starter deck in each one (though by the end of the day, the enforcers begged people to take more copies). Their display was very prominent and when the power went out (about an hour before Power Grid) it was the only thing lit up. I didn't think Magic was still so popular.
Other interesting stalls included Game Salute, who sadly/happily didn't have any of the games I was interested... apparently they had some issues getting a lot of thier games down to Melbourne. I was quite eager to get a look at Impact City.. but not to be.
Greater than Games were showing of Sentinels of the Multiverse and giving away promos with purchase. They had an auction at the end of the last day and sold everything they had left including the price list. The box of every card went for $180... far too rich for my blood.
Was interesting that the food vans were in the big top with the console and tabletop... seemed a little odd. Fair range of different cuisines... though very much in the pricing that you'd expect at showgrounds. The takeaway joints in the shopping center did a bit of a roaring trade I think.
The console area was pretty good. Unlike the tabltop, because they had a certain number of consoles, they could keep track of wether the console you needed would be available. We played the Rabbids game for Wii U... it's not very good.
The Retro area seemed good, but didn't get a chance to take advantage. The beanbag... I mean handheld area was comfy and a good place to crash out. Still not sure why the PAX merch was in the big top... I guess they didn't know tabletop would be so popular.
Only went to a few panels. Managed to get in for the opening with Ron Gilbert. Was very enjoyable, the theme was the creative process... he essentially talked through his career from his start to where he's at now.
The second day managed to get into a Geek Parenting panel even though it was full thanks to my Sharon's sad face. It raised many troubling questions, but obviously there are no hard answers with parenting... less so it seems with geek parenting. I'm worried about how much of a collector Harley will be given how Sharon and I have such a pronounced case of acquisition disorder.
Also managed to check the second last and last rounds of the Omegathon. The second last involved a tower defence game on gauntlet mode. 20 waves, last person standing would move on and then the highest scorer. Suprisingly all four of the players made it through (for one of them it was quite dicey). The winner and second place winner were well ahead of the other players in score... so it was really a fair cop.
The final omegathon was Giant Jenga. This wasn't all that suprising as there had been a cardboard giant Jenga near the tabletop area. It's incredible how intense Jenga can be though. This was a best of three and the first two seemed to go very long and had some incredible moves.
There probably would have been more panels that I would have gone to had I been able to just walk in... given the option of playing more games or queueing for a panel I was vaguely interested in... queueing never really seemed like the better option.
The main expo hall seemed.... I dunno. Nintendo and Ubisoft had very big presences as did League of Legends and World of Tanks (both of which were new to me). There were a lot of interesting Indie games and some locals like Half Brick. Nintendo was running Pokemon tournaments as well as demoing Pikmin 3, the Zelda Windwaker and Link between Worlds.
Down the back was Laser tag and my most favourite Johann Sebastian Joust. Played two games of this, the first I ended up with one guy in front of me who cried "Behind you!". I'm no fool though, I didn't turn around... oh there was a kid there who pushed me... doh... Second time I went out almost immediately. We've backed Joust but are waiting for it to be on Windows (and for the price of Move controllers to drop). If you've not seen it before highly recommend checking out the video on thier website.
There iddn't really seem to be that many retailers though. There were a couple of comic stores, costume sellers and general geekery. But after a walk through we were pretty much done with it.
I though it being at the showgrounds was quite good. It's a shame they won't be there next year... thought they would have been able to expand to the other buildings. The Gun Show being on the weekend didn't really help though.
If you love Penny Arcade you really should be at PAX. But for us? Will we be back to PAX next year? Not sure... It'd be nice to see what panels are on before the tickets sell out. I guess we'll have to look at it next year and decide.
In the Night Garden is the worst kind of TV show for children. It's one of those that children are bewitched by and it drives parents crazy. We've been lucky enough to shield our little bub from it so far. I admit though, it's been somewhat sad that we've had to change the channel before the end of Giggle and Hoot's Goodnight Hour as she really does love Giggle and Hoot. Her bedtime is an hour later as well which doesn't help.
And it's a little sad that she doesn't have a goodnight ritual involving some beloved piece of mainstream culture... in a sense. I mean, yes it's hardly important for her to revolve her bed time with technology, but in another sense children's TV, especially when combined with a ritual (either going to bed, having dinner, having breakfast, getting home from school) becomes much more nostalgic than other forms of TV.
After a four-year absence - and time spent in the offices of an insolvency administrator - "good old Humphrey" is returning to his former glory days to light up the small screen on community station Channel 44.
Seven nights a week, Humphrey will be beamed into living rooms to say goodnight to the children of Australia.
In the segment, which will air at 7.30pm, his mum, Mumphrey, will read him a goodnight story before Humphrey blows a kiss and waves goodnight to his friends at home.
And that's not the only time he'll be gracing our screens. He will also appear, alongside fellow South Australian children's entertainers The Fairies, as part of a daily morning block of children's TV programming branded C'Mon Kids, running from 7am to 8.30am on Channel 44.
via TV Tonight
It's odd that one of the first games I really truly enjoyed on the OUYA was one that could really have been a game on an Atari, ColecoVision or Intellivision. The developer indicates that the game was inspired by Shark! Shark! for the Intellivision, but it's graphics are much simpler and it's gameplay much more twitchy.
You start as a small dot that can only eat small enemies. After eating enough, you'll grow bigger and can eat bigger enemies (you can eat anything the same size or smaller than you). Once you eat enough, you'll grow big enough to eat anything. And then you go up to the next level and your tiny again.
Enemies though are coming in from left and right, like insane drivers on a highway. As a small dot you have the ability to squeeze between them. As you grow bigger though while less can harm you, you can't dodge as well. It's a nice trade off that keeps the game interesting.
Three lives and your done. Except you'll want to play again. It doesn't come with a leaderboard (which would likely cause my wife and I to try and beat each other at this a lot more than we do now), but then again games of that era really didn't.
It comes with four difficulties: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Insane. And Insane is just that, I can survive for a while, but I'm lucky if I can get one or two small enemies eaten.
At worst, it'll be 3 minutes well spent. At best, it will be your default 2 minute game that you'll play over and over and over again. Definitely try it.
The game is utterly free, clocks in at 7.4 MB and is by Mason Barry.
Panic Flight Free is a "How Far Can You Go" game. You control a plane which has a set amount of fuel. Your aim is to fly a set distance (based on the course) while collecting coins, avoid dark clouds (which expend fuel faster) and getting power ups and refuels.
Interestingly, if you skim the dark clouds you go a little faster than you otherwise would, so there's a skill in skimming along without thwaking into the clouds. When you perform a loop the loop, all nearby coins and power-ups come flying to you, but with dark clouds nearby it can be dangerous. So there's some risk/reward opportunities.
There's mini-missions along the way, which encourage you to do certain things (such as complete a course, do tricks, buy upgrades and so on) and reward you for doing so. Eventually you can unlock a free flying mode which allows you to test how far you can go rather than be limited to a set distance.
As you collect coins, you can upgrade your plane and buy new planes. There's two currencies though, one is coins and the other are dollars. And it's probably no suprise that dollars cost real cash (at a rate of 4 in game dollars is 1 USD and scaling up to 1100 in game dollars are worth 59.99 USD).
I'm not sure how long you'd need to play to get to the stage where you'd want to hand over real cash for in game cash (but I was accidentally completing missions using in game cash at one point and still seemed to have enough to get along).
The music is repetitive and so so and for the most part the graphics are cartoony and fine. Strangely if you run out of fuel the stewardess will warn the passengers of crash landing and chide you "Captain! Try harder next time!". It's a fairly dodgy airline they're running, cheap on fuel and not firing pilots that continuously crash? It's not the sort of airline I'd want to fly with.
But the game feels like it needs a light touch to play. Tiny flicks on the left stick work well, but more than this sends your plane flipping out.
Some Androidiness pokes through as well (when the game is loading a level or a menu it pops up with an android looking message and spinning circle) and getting around menus can be frustrating (to get to the quests which appear on the left, you need to go down from the middle of the screen... it's not overly intuitive).
If you can control the left stick well, this may be a game for you. Otherwise you're likely to crash and burn.
Panic Flight is 26.4MB by Advanced Mobile Applications.
We're starting to see a lot of the projects we backed on Kickstarter bear fruit, a lot of them seem to be making their way to our doorstep. The other week we got our first physical Kickstarter reward, a projecto.
It's so tiny our 15 month olds hands are bigger than it (not her hand in the picture above). It's fairly bright and will work in dark-ish rooms, but for best results you want it to be quite dark.
Each wheel holds 9 photos from instagram (you need to provide projecto's website access to your instagram) and costs US$8.99. Based on our results you'll want to use photos that have bright colours. Using dark photos leads to dodgy results. Switching out wheels is easy and quick to do.
There's a focus ring to adjust the focus... of course it's quite small so it can be a bit tricky to get it perfect.
Yeah, it's an almost pointless gadget. It's fun to go visit people and force them to watch a slideshow of your baby. You can now get the projecto and as many wheels as your heart desires on the getprojecto website. A projecto costs US$26.99 and it's probably an extrevegant toy.
But the baby likes putting her image on the ceiling, then the wall. We've been having dark playtime, where she can run around the house (where all the lights have been switched off) with a headlamp... but instead she's been excited to use the projecto. So in that sense it's more her toy that we get to enjoy sometimes.
I haven't been keeping up with the news, so this is rather old... but VRDL have hit #14 in the DNN Power Rankings for June...
VRDL re-enter at a lifetime high of 14. A close game with Rat City at the end of the tour underlined their steep learning curve; outperforming this ranking come playoffs is certainly not out of the question.
They're clearly continuing to perform well and improving eveyr season.
So for a lot of today I've had hiccups. I had a session of hiccups from around 1pm-5pm and since then off and on (usually for an hour so a piece).
It's annoying, but it's not something I'd normally complain about... Except for the fact that I googled "Hiccups symptoms". Oh what a stupid thing that was to do.
I tend to avoid yahoo answers et al, madness occurs in those parts of the internet.
But Better Health (a Victorian Government webpage) states
Some of the diseases, conditions and drugs that may prompt frequent or prolonged attacks of hiccups include:
-Oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus)
- An overactive thyroid gland
- Pleurisy (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the lungs)
- Pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs)
- Kidney disease
- Brain damage, such as stroke or tumour, that affects the area of the brain which controls the diaphragm
- Abdominal surgery
- Chest surgery
- Certain epilepsy medications
- Nicotine gum
So let's see... I'm not using medications at all or nicotine gum and haven't had any surgery on my chest/abdominal area. Something clearly is wrong with me right?
I'm a little freaked out, but not so much so that I'll actually go to a doctor... I mean it seems stupid to go to the doctor and say "I've been hiccuping a lot"... but if it's still going tommorow I suspect I may have to...
I will keep you up to date dear reader on my ongoing hiccups...