Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Space Ninja Co-Op FPS

Warframe seems like a good replacement for Berserk the cataclysm, which irritated me. There is still a collectible card game that is gradually growing in size. And the cards do interesting things. The base damage of all the weapons doesn’t change but the cards you collect change the special abilities. And the more you practice with a weapon more (powerful) abilities can be applied to it. This is just the sort of level up system I like. More exiting special abilities to lean how and when to use rather than a dull increase in strength.

So for example I can chose to build a gun with greater critical hit chance and crit damage. Or go for an increase in ammo and clip capacity. If I know the map has heavily armoured opponents I may remove all my other abilities and use flat armour penetration. Currently the game has only 4 energy types: Electricity, Fire, Frost and Armour. Then there are a few mechanical upgrade cards. I haven’t yet seen an electric or frost enemies, but have seen a few that are weak against each of these elements.

The actual Warframe is like a skin-tight Mecha and so you also gain experience at using it and can give it different flavours with your collectable cards as well, like move speed or better shields. Some of the warframe abilities are more reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z than any Mechs I’ve seen.

Another similarity to Berzerk is the daily login reward. But better than berserk it doesn’t demand I play for an hour every 8hours. I can just login, look for an alert and leave.

Other than that the plot and world remind me of E.Y.E Devine Cybermancy and the foundry is a bit like TF2. I’m hoping it will allow us to trade cards at a later date and open up the resource items to an auction house. The gameplay is also reminiscent of Tribes Ascended in which I had great fun skiing but never really bothered fighting. Though in this one there are a lot of wall runs, backflips and general matrix fighting techniques I’ve found that I lack fingers to press all the required buttons on the keyboard.

The four player limitation is interesting. It’s certainly not an MMO, but single player is really hard so playing with at least one other person is best. I think it’s a good design decision especially considering the stealth elements of the game and the nature of the quests. Then again the stealth feels a bit unfinished. Currently you only gain experience from kills and loot is only found on corpses so there is no tangible benefit of being a ninja.

Maybe if there were missions that required you to never set of the alarm. Or you could hack the terminals, so the alarm cannot be activated in that room. But there also needs to be a card/resource/xp reward equivalent to all the minions you don’t kill to make the effort worthwhile.

The death mechanic could do with some work, failing the mission makes sense. But then I’m immediately safe back in my space station. Possibly if there were alert missions for emergency extraction it would be a bit more seamless. I know there are prisoner rescue missions but they are all set pieces and I’ve no personal attachment to the prisoners. I’d be happy to do an emergency extraction every time I failed a mission, then have it kept score like a Kill:Death ratio.

Overall it’s already been more fun than Mechwarrior Online. And also may take the place of LOL as my quick co op game. Depending on what happens at the guild level it may eat into my GW2 time. Defiantly also has more staying power than something like Deus Ex.

Amulet of Life Saving

It was a “charm of food preservation”, not an “amulet of life preservation” not that anybody noticed the difference until it was too late. I was a rather poorly child growing up, at least my mother though so. So she bought this for me from some old dude in a back ally. Not knowing what an “Amulet of Life Saving” was supposed to look like, or that they were illegal. It seemed unusual in the way that magic usually does. The chain was made of “preservation Charms”, often a single charm would be nailed to the door or your pantry to keep food from going stale. Only one charm is really needed though some people may put another on a luchbox or the like for travelling. The pendant was supposed to have been enchanted with troll’s blood for regeneration and fast healing. But eventually we found that the symbol ☣U+2623 was in fact made of vampires blood and was cursed, not that I noticed. Why would you want to remove your healing charm?

As for its effectiveness, well it didn’t make me any less healthy and rare meat sure rejuvenated me, never thought to try it raw. Nothing terribly bad ever happened to put it to the test either. Until … well I don’t really want to talk about that.

But yeah, I cant remove it and I cant really die, not that I look particularly alive. I do heal up, but that’s only really effective if I drink the blood of the living. I’m happy enough eating raw meat, but living like a vampire is a little extreme. Better I think to cover up with a coat and gloves, occasionally pretending I’m a leper or some such. I wasn’t always a free man, so this has only been a recent concern.

You see it wasn’t me who first found out I couldn’t properly die. And then by the time they killed me enough to make me realise my Amulet should have broken everything I was already trapped. I suspect at first it was some sort of assassins guild that bought me to practice on but then I had a fair bit of freedom. Well they were trying to take me by surprise as well as kill me. But at some point things changed…messily. Then I was imprisoned more literally and practiced on by several of the more unpleasant underworld professionals. Not something I can spend much time dwelling on. Eventually I wasn’t rescued but the dungeon that was my home was, unmade. Then being who I am I was able to extrude myself from the wreckage. It seems nobody was left that knew I would survive something like that. Thus my freedom was gained, such as it was.

I suppose you are wondering what happened to my necklace, well the few people who may have been able to help remove the curse chose instead to “improve“ on the enchantment, or attempted to copy it. Well I’m not really sure where it is, but I know that it’s magic lingers still.

And so I remain, cursed to preserve, not able to die and because of that not really able to live either.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


“There’s no place like home.” Said Alice as she left the world of Oz. What did she mean? Home is where your heart is? Home is where you hang your hat?
I spoke with my older Bro about this this week. Currently our immediate family is rather spread out. And like as not in the next six years it will only get more spread out. While generally mum and dad’s families are both based in Adelaide there are not actually many relatives there anymore.
So it won’t always be easy to catch up, maybe weekends away we can manage. But to have everybody arrive at the same place at the same time, well that may require us to have kids and be going on a family camping trip during the school holidays. Other than that we communicate with technology, GW2 or LOL for example. If that’s the case though then there is not a lot of difference between being in Australia or not (note: it’s un-Australian to be patriotic).

Where else could I picture settling down? What could be a new geographical location to call home?
I like the ocean, but not having everything go rusty from the salt spray. I like mountains but not steep driveways. I like hiking through forests with rockpools but not leaches. I like being indoors on my PC but also camping. I like not needing to wear a shirt or shoes but enjoy Taverns and coffee shops. I like learning and trying new things but I’m getting older and more resistant to change. I like new cultures and their philosophical standpoints but I can only speak English.

And then there is my ten steps to take with me and the risk of time travel.
I suppose for me I’ll take home with me because home is where my heart is and where I am I’m at home. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it and is hard to seek refuge there. Another way to look at it is that this body of mine is a gift from God, a vessel or a tent which I’m temporarily residing in and which is my responsibility to look after. Perhaps this is why nobody in my family has a specific attachment to real-estate. Or maybe it’s just because we aren’t farmers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kiteboarding: Starboard Tack

On the 6th of April I returned home tired from a mere four hours sleep, sore from sitting in a car all day, drained some unexpectedly emotional exercise. But regardless Tony was ready to go surfing and it was three months since we had last hit the beach. I think the main takeaway was that its good to learn with somebody else. ~30min of trying to launch the kite is exhausting, especially when it first involves walking half a kilometre through the surf to get to deep enough water. But in that gat the other person has time to recover.

I was pretty pleased with being able to stop and restart the kite on purpose without loosing the board. Also the starboard tack that gave me such grief last time was now easy. Tony was also making progress at changing speeds by shifting feet to cut higher into the wind. Moving the kite away from the edge of the wind doesn’t really help much.

Seems the next milestone is a long way off and in the mean time we merely need to spend time on the water. Probably a solid day would see some good progress. The most exhausting part is walking through the surf to get started. Once on the board and aquaplaning it doesn’t actually require much physical exertion. Once we can tack without stopping then it should be fine to use the shallower water and stay in the water for longer.

After that I may get some more photos.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Musings on a replacement car #6

So Sam's bought an i30 and I still really havent looked at one.

2010 – in this year a few things were improved
$10-20,000 – Drive away price
Full Service history – indicating that is was looked after at least a little.
USB and 3.1 Audio inputs – because I don’t have many CDs Although alternatives exist
Automatic – to handle Brisbane (paddleshift pretend manual CVT sounds good)
Hatchback - To better fit my bike and stuff.

  • To not hurry because the car should last 10+ years before I decide to replace it
  • Primarily Practical
  • Scenario 1: Going kitesurfing, need to fit the kiteboard 1450x440mm + bag 800x400x400mm + 1 passenger.
  • Scenario 2: Camping, swag 800x400x400mm + clothes 800x400x400mm + esky 300x600x400mm
  • Scenario 3: Comfortably drive from Bundaberg to Roma (7h, 600km) without needing to stop other than lunch
  • Scenario 4: Do I spend 90% of my time in my care alone?  Like for shopping and when it's raining and I dont want to take my bike.
  • Scenario 5: Giving 2 people a lift home from a sojourn, late at night, in the rain, with three PC's in the back, listening to Synthcore orchestral Jazz.
  • Aside from the above, Smallish and lighter: so its zippy around corners, as I don’t slow down much for them. Also smaller lighter car is better for parking and economy and power to weight ratio.
  • Zoominess / ability-to-take-corners-at-somewhat-unsafe-speeds. Because I’m old enough to know better but young enough to still do it anyway.
  • Powerpoint in boot for possible car fridge? Or miscellaneous electronica equipment
  • I wonder if I should install a Turbo?

Thus I’ll be looking for…

Mazda3 (SP25) Neo<Maxx Sport<SP20<SP25
Each model improves the car mechanically, so at least a MAXX Sport but an SP25 would be best, these have the engine from the Mazda6 installed. Second place because Levi and Tony bought Mazdas. I beleive the SP models have the engine of the Mazda6 installed.
options on carsguide

Lancer (VRX) ES<LX<VRX<Ralliart<Evolution
Each model improves the car mechanically, so get the level below Ralliart. (Ralliarts hold their value too well) Third place because they are have a really “dated” interior design. I'm not real confident about the differences in the models.
Camparing current specifications
options on carsguide options on carsales

Carsales, both the above cars within 250km of 4670

Swift (Sport)
Only the Sport is under consideration, it’s the 1.6L with full disk breaks and a sport seat. First place because it’s cheaper to run/maintain and I probably wont find one.

Toyota Corola (Ascent)
Ascent, or the Levin SX for nicer seats. mechanically there appears to be no difference.

Kia Creato (Si)
The (SLi) seems to only add trim but I may be wrong. Newer ones can come in a turbo version.

Ford Focus (Trend)
The Trend model has the same motor as the top level Titanium. The Sport has better seats than the Trend, so one of those two.
Drove the 1.6, seems to have a fair bit of go in it byt the transmission took a bit to get used to. I think I'd still prefer the 2
options on Carsales

i30 (1.8L Hatch)
Australia’s best car apparently. The brocure for these is neatly setout. the Active/Eleite/Premium only get better trim.

Impreza (any)
The smallest of the subarus, WRX seems like a good idea but probably out of my price range, apparently the AWD makes the services and maintenance expensive. But they also hold their value extreamly well.

RACQ Running costs
Forum topic #2 I asked about the Lancer Vs Mazda3, lots of people seem to compare these cars.
Forum topic #1 Civic Vs Swift, Prefer the swift but it has flaws.
Decepticon car badge ~$4 
?Bike rack on the boot lid is an alternative to boot space
?ROFLHarris’s Thingy is an alternative sound input and blutooth device, using a FM radio transmitter.
?Potentially add a towbar
?Potentially a 2-Way radio with some walkie talkies
Sassy seat covers
Aftermarket engine immobiliser, for the 5% discount in insurance from RACQ
?Spare key storage outside the car for when I go to the beach and stuff.
Extra electricity plug in the boot. adds the versitility of a fridge or laptop charger

The best place to get car buying advice is from somebody who is also buying a car.

Still Searching
Bundaberg Ross Gray
Bundaberg BMG
Bundaberg Coral Coast
Rockhampton DC Motors
Rockhampton norms
Rockhampton dealmakers
Rockhampton lawrence
Rockhampton Tropical
Gladstone Bill
Gladstone Anderson
Hervy Bay fcmc
Biloela Linemac