Monthly Archives: December 2012

I gaze into my Chrystal Chandelier….. and see….. mental fog….

Yeehar old with the out today! So, last year this time I began the Graet Deconstruction, decluttering the entire house ready for a redo, undoing habits, getting rid of dross in huge great bouts and scouring what was left for good measure. The Graet Deconstruction is near complete. In 2013, I will see the Graet Building of Personal New Things. Regarding our game project, I go forward alone but undeterred (because I’m enjoying it). It did what it was meant to do, now can go into a kind of dozy mode. I aim to… dunno… mess about in the GardenShed, poke about in code and potter. I want to keep it ready to go forward at any time, keep adding things and looking it over – my job to stay current and up to date with new tools as much as possible. I would like it to be there much later than now for the next generation to either develop further or just fool around with. I’m Mrs KeepitTickingGuy now. What they do with it later is up to them.

It is a dark and stormy gloomy windy day Catheeee, Heathcliffe, Catheee. Perfect for donning a carpet and gazing into the (imaginary but I want one!) chandelier, see what I see ahead. I think and guess….

That economic gloom will continue and get worse because if you keep doing the same thing you keep getting the same result. As a result of tightening, shrinking and deadness of the global economy and last years lackluster performances, AAA games will not be able to borrow. As a result of that they will try anything and everything to milk the playerbase I do predict therefore this:

We will see AAA games which have a box price to pay plus expansions which need to be bought,  plus a  sub required for the full game, plus a cash shop which sells pay to win items, plus no free trial (they want the upfront money and don’t care if it works, absolutely no intention to optimise either). It will call itself a sandbox because of all the ways they give you to pay. It will rely on hype to sell copies. I know we already have games something like these but they don’t call themselves sandboxes. Must use that word! I predict we will see some very cheap and nasty AAA things in 2013, this time not from greed and laziness but from necessity and desperation. And if the playerbase doesn’t pony up it’s game over for the company, I don’t think bailout money can be found.

I predict that any game which ignores context will fail and fold. Context: the setting within which the game exists and is played in real life. MMO’s like to pretend everyone has 24 hours a day to play on an expensive computer. Hence I predict the mobile and app market will rise (games fit into life = win) while the MMO market dips horribly (life fits around MMO = fail). I do not think that MMO creators and purveyors  wish to see their game in a greater context.

Indies will do really well! Flexibility is an asset, so is newness, so is creativeness. I look forward to the Indies of 2013. Most likely 2014/15 before the Indie scene really takes off, but this year should see a nice run of new ones even as the big studios lay people off. What is more with borrowing so difficult they are likely to be tightly budgetted and annoying though that may be, it makes them more likely to succeed.

Wurms will infest any game that dares to call itself a sandbox and annoy everyone by comparing it with Wurm.

Food prices will rocket and supermarket portions will get even smaller and that’s about it. Best invest in cabbages. I do not want to know if the constricted economy will cause upheavals. I stay out of politics. Only to say I hope some stupendous idiot doesn’t decide a war would be just the very thing to kickstart the economy. That’s more of a danger. Wars drive nothing, they are a sugar rush to internal spending and ultimately destructive on all levels to all things except arms dealers.

I do not think this will be the year in which clever people learn to address and neutralise aggression. It’s not even widely perceived as a necessary goal yet – we’re on balance more likely to blow up our planet than find a sustainable niche on it. We are not even slightly necessary to earth’s continued functioning – if anything we mess it up (big time). Far from being “lords of creation”, we’re pretty stupid creatures, fouling our own nest with horrible abandon.

And until we find a way to control the big aggressive (in the widest possible sense)  folk, we’re stuck with this stupid behaviour.

Tldr – next year is going to be rough buckets. Double-check your safety apparatus.

Categories: Things In General, Vague Rambly Stuff

Is that ure new Blackberry, awnice …ofc Ai’ve got a Raspberry Pi

for 2013, the other thing I got myself was a Raspberry Pi. Games…. have done their stuff for the schoolers I think, PlanetGardenShed is pretty much only my sandpit unless it comes in useful again for other people and I do want it trundling on in the background – people learn stuff by osmosis just as much as they do by concentrating. The Raspberry Pi will fill a nice big schoolish gap. Seeing what computers are made of in books is dishwater dull. I’ll let them figure out what parts and components it needs/can link up with to make it work and we can add to it and they can experiment. Should be fun!

(it’s basically a motherboard and some sockets, doesn’t cost any kind of fortune and it is a very neat idea – my neighbour got one a few months ago and I was smit.)

Categories: Oddments

Small Festive Fruit Salad – ((the best gifties) EQ2, GW1, Wurm, Wow) and some singleplayer games

Pressies thin out some as you get older, at least until you have grandchildren to make homemade ones, (hopefully), which I don’t have yet. So I spent Christmas play hours with the game that gave me the nicest gifts. So there.

The Big Girl looking unusually spiffy, (helm closed though (shy!))

It was Frostfell the first time I played Everquest II and I remember how impressed I was then. Nowadays the game runs much better and I’m still impressed. Every year more content is added. Gifts are given out daily (for quite a long time – right through early January) and accessible to f2p (and trial !!) players too. New items are added. Useful items, craftables, and decorative items. Yay! Thank you Everquest for that very seasonal and generous reminder that there can be, even in this old world, enough nice stuff for everyone if the effort is made. It does warm the heart. Hey, guess what I bought an expansion! Destiny of Velious (edit: no, sigh, I “misread”. DoV is not included. Dontcha just love advertising that makes you think something when something else is true) is now included with Age of Discovery, so it’s a very decent deal (not really so decent then) and I did want to treat myself to one game thing this year.  If it hadn’t been for their lovely Frostfell events, I wouldn’t have known that or decided to buy, so it payed off for them too. Now I can have a Mercenary – the Big Girl won’t be so lonely. You know, she’s a romantic at heart. Maybe that’s why she bought an outfit from the CS. Who knows perhaps …

Edit: So… in that case I think I’ll hold off trying out “gold”. I really don’t like sneaky stuff.

Much fun had in GW1 too. Err I never got near anything seasonal, because I got sucked into this quest about a Nornbear and then after that there was another interesting one,  and then I wanted to move my ranger out from pre-searing and so it went on. Great play, but no special gifties really. I think they go for cosmetic only, but I haven’t got anywhere near to find out.

Wurm is still settling after all the excitement of Wurm 1.0. . Here are some of the splendid (mostly hahaahaha!) things players are already making. I think multistorey has already and will, bring in much revenue for Codeclub AB. The playerbase, which loyally supported the game through to release and in last months lost quite some silver(euros) through disappearing enchanted grass and horses walking through fences, was very polite about the cosmetic santa hat gift (premium players only). Wurm has a very nice playerbase. There is also some problem that makes the game begin to stutter after about an hours play (not only me)  which is a bit offputting, so I didn’t spend too much time there. Thank you for the hat.

I had a yen to visit WoW (my comfy old slipper), and thought I’d see what their free trial is like and I did see a Chrismas tree in Dolanaar. It’s the silliest free trial I ever saw. All social functions and the auction house and mail are disabled (to deter gold sellers and spammers) so you get a fast run through some tramelled, cut down and incredibly bland content on a character which has a few clunky skills. Frankly if I’d started with this trial I’d never have bothered playing it. I most certainly wasn’t going to go and read up where to go for Chrismas events, let alone trail along there – probably not available for trial players anyway. I didn’t care to find out. WoW also runs very badly now meaning a sub is forever out of the question. For my purposes, sadly for I’m fond of it, it’s pretty much become a hunka junk, and the loss of old content doesn’t help (compare to the stupendous amount there is to do in EQ2 even on the most basic account). The fund for a computer with a better graphics card has been started and is growing in tiny increments – and we’ll get there but you know what all these games you have to play on high enders also miss? Most households don’t have 4 high end machines. One good one and 3 older is much more likely, with members of the family wanting sometimes to play together. Silly game vendors. Use brain.

Must be said, once I hit Frostfell I stopped bothering about looking at other games for the presents and seasonal events. I checked Vanguard, but I’m too new in it to know where things are, and never got as far as Star Trek.

The first of the single player games were already downloaded (a pound/5 spent here and there over 2012) and fun is being had with those. FTL – wow, I really like that. It makes stories as you go – that’s a new one, not played much yet, but what I did play I very much enjoyed. Spacechem – at top of the list for everyone in family to be told about because of how it makes you think – in a way that’s going to be very useful for coding, o I am sneaky, yes. I found an infant modding Legend of Grimrock the other day. My methods do most certainly work. Dungeonkeeper II – delighted! found on Gog. Used to have this but it used to keep falling over on my old desktop, which I binned this year. Now it runs nicely and I’m looking forward to getting further than the tutorial. Gnomoria – had this for a whiley, go my gnomes… go…. build me an empire. (yes, I talk to them). NeoScavenger remains terribly addictive. I thought I was burned out on it then I played it again and woops, ahm…. yes. Only for when I have time because I can’t stop playing it at one game. Two roguelikes in that list there (FTL is the other one), and both near the top for enjoyment. I didn’t think I liked roguelikes. Now I know eh. Plants vs Zombies. Whats to say. Much loved :). Ravenhearst – I like this game, you find objects in the clutter. It’s also good for me – my eyes are slowly getting not so good and all crises are greeted with the words “Where’s my specs!” I find it handy to practice spotting things in what is increasingly a difficult to visually decipher world.

On the upside all men are handsome now.

Think that’s about it… ahm downloaded but not yet played RealMyst, and barely started playing something called Tag – the single player games fit my life well, and I’ll be sticking with them mostly as things hot up. They are also very good value, most of them well under 5 euros. No subs this year apart from, much later, see if EQII gold is any good for a month, maybe 2. Although compared to other forms of entertainment, subs are cheap, it’s the commitment and pressure they bring I don’t need, and the lack of opportunity to play other games caused by a lockdown on budgetted funds and time. One sub game is already one too much. Playtime will be for play this year, not “I payed a sub so now so I should”…blah blah blah, no tx go away. Early conclusion…. single player games by Indies are far and away the best value just now (beginning of the year) and more diverse and creative than current multiplayer offerings.

Categories: EQ2, Fruit Salad, Guild Wars 1, Life On Wurm

Season’s Greetings to all readers

I wish you all the best of the best and  – happiness! Unconditional benevolence from me to all  – emanating… emanating…. eman… sniff, ooer I think the gravy has …

Emanate later, now must fix gravy.

Categories: Oddments

Blogmas card for family I don’t live near….


Wheeeeee !!!! Happy Christmas to all, wherever you may be – err I be fine up there I promise 🙂

This is our project I told you about – part of it anyway

Categories: Oddments, PlanetGardenShed

Last Man Standing (Wurm was my 2012 winner)

New Year in Scotland is a strange thing, overshadowing Christmas and going on for quite a long time. I stay home! People get a little carried away don’t you know and I can see the fireworks (and carryons) from my abode, if I am here that is. Nothing like sitting safely well above the world with a piece of cheese onnastick and glass champagne and just let everyone get on with it. Or more likely a mug of chocolate and wear a sleeping bag. It usually ends up freezing. Or just z through, which tends to happen more and more often these years.

I like a long New Year too, beginning the process day after solstice (tomorrow) but ending well before the last Scot finally takes to bed to try and cope with whatever excess they have been subject to. An excess of new years resolutions produces many casualties too. People feel so bad when they break!

I think the closest I get to New Year Resolutions is to decide what I want to work on in life, and play with in the next year (the blog stays!). In games, Wurm (which has been my main game in 2012) is getting less time, already decided – I have a lot more exciting things to do than sit clicking. I don’t actually mind the long timers when I’m doing something productive by the way, they leave gaps for blog writing or reading a good book or doing the dishes. But I still mind maintenance chores, so down she goes.

It crossed my mind to try some trading games this year, but the only economic model I ever find is “last man standing” (control of resource, killing of competition). Definitely not going to do that – it is dull and not great for other players. On Wurm the current jolly-japes is grabbing all the access points on new servers. They somehow rarely become public highways or heritage caves either. But they are people-funnels since players have to move through them to access other parts of the server. That is why there were so many markets on Celebration (5?6?7?). I wouldn’t mind a list of heritage canals and public highways by the way, for safe travel. A controlled access point is not a good thing for the wider community. People can be put on kos and unable to use just for a start and no, players cannot be relied on to only kos bad eggs. All to often kos is for vendettas, feuds, grudges or plain personal dislike. Kos control over an access point can be used to strangle competition too. The last jolly-japes (and a clearer example) still works too – gather all the horses you can feed and kill the rest.

The whole “monopolise resource” model is a total bore. If anyone knows of a game that doesn’t devolve to it, do let me know. In real life such behaviour is against the law because it kills the market, in games it does the same thing, only games designers are bit lax on how money moves and don’t realise that flaws in their system (eg badly functioning animal population caps) will allow it to happen.

There are as many ways to make money as there are people to think of them, but when monopolising something is so easy, and so obvious, you can hardly blame the playerbase for doing it. appears to be going for a double monopoly, canal plus horses. Can’t blame them when it’s so easy and lucrative – Wurm currency is real money remember. Players do try to object, but really its a systemic flaw that allows the hogs in and gives them free reign. Hog-rule makes trading pretty useless to be honest. I cba.

So trading is off the list for next year I think, playwise. Unless I find/hear of something bit more interesting than the above. Pvp? Well….same model mostly. I think I hold off on pvp. I want to tackle pvp on its own and the stuff I’m doing now is very much sandbox sans pvp. Too opposite for this year.

Single player games.? Yes, I think that’s it this year. Fits in with the house moves too, since I still don’t know if I’ll have the internet. Fits in with GardenShed and TwoFB too since a single-player spinoff is probably the first distant peak. Fits with I’m not feeling very sociable when I get home. Just as an aside, I’d definitely be in the market for a single player Wurmish environment. I think Wurm itself is firmly on a clump people together direction. But there are loads of other single player games to explore!

For 2013 single-player is the field, though I’ll keep an eye open for promisting new sandpits, I like those.

As the earth swings, and the season changes, Happy err – Swinggggg’s Eve to all !!

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Life On Wurm

Official party to celebrate release of 1.0 (or end of world either is fine) in Sweden! (Wurm 1.0)

party yr sox off in Sweden 0r watch the livestream on twitch

Edit: presentation part over now – recorded can be found here:

Categories: Life On Wurm

More weird smelling meat (Edinburgh)

Having the same issue now with an Asda chicken. Have supermarkets discovered a new preservative or something? It’s beyond a joke. It smells foul, unappetising (but not rotten) as it’s cooking. I won’t want to eat it. I also bought some beef from Asda but they delivered the wrong size and are supposed to be replacing it. See how that turns out.

Update: Asda never replaced the meat yet, and on the theory that supermarkets have to disclose preservative/irradiation on the packaging I ended up with a gammon. I guessed (might be wrong) that it’s something they sprayed on fresh meat to kill germs over the festive season when the shops shut for days. It smelled a lot like toilet cleaner (without the pine), whatever it was. The gammon was fine.

Categories: Oddments, Things In General

How to find the perfect starter village (Wurm 1.0)

There is really only one trick to this, and that’s to match yourself with the right people – it is not too hard. You’ll know what kind of game you prefer to play – fighter, builder, artisan, social climber – whatever. Register a forum account and look for starter villages advertising new players, then use the “members” tab to look for the person who posted the advertisement and have a read of their previous posts. It will give you an idea of what kind of person this is, and you can pretty much wing it from there.

To get names to check out you could also post that you are looking for a village – do a “hello I’m here” post. People tend to respond kindly to these. Once you’re in, the usual pratty attitude to new players can be found here and there, just move on if you come across one of these fools though, and you’ll be fine. Usually though people are happy to advise starters. Sometimes they might be busy, or indifferent. You should be ok.

And when you find a likely starter village, if thorough, visit first. But only if thorough – travel is difficult in Wurm so your first choice is likely to be the area where you’ll stay for quite some time. With this in mind the established spawn starter villages are probably a good place. The Inner City Orphanage springs to mind and I think there is one called The Sanctuary in Deli.

Pitfalls and types of village

Well noobfarming has been tried and tried again but fails every time. Some brainiac always figures that they can set up a factory with new players working for a pittance and then gets upset when they wander off. Fact is you can go it alone on Wurm and it does not take people long to work that out, or alternatively to find a village that does not require indentured labour in return for learning the ropes. If you like this style of play, factories aren’t too hard to spot – look for the terms “hard workers” in the ad 🙂

There are no game penalties for leaving a village that doesn’t suit – however mayors have been known to nurse grudges for years, attached to their chests like the cadavers of dead infants. When reading posts it’s wise to try and guess if this is that sort of person – talk of “quitters” and other terms of abuse directed at people who dare to leave or posts which personally attack other players should alert you,  I would think. You can survive these nuts anyway though. A good village provides an excellent buffer – in fact so does your own deed.

If trading is your thing, silver-interested individuals will post all about prices and suchlike when you check them out, or gold coins etc. People who arrive and attempt to play Wurm as a trading game pretty soon go mad, is the problem. This lot most likely to froth at the mouth. But it shouldn’t be to hard to find and join a trading village. (They probably also prefer “hard workers”).

Artisans are maybe best off with one of the established starter villages, easily spotted by their altruistic tone. They genuinely want to help, are usually situated near spawn (not always) and you can always forum message the op to see how you get along. It is hard to get materials, tools and a place to work when you first start out – hard but fun. Some people prefer to skip the struggle stage and get going on their craft.

Be wary of bribes, as in life. Something is likely expected back for fine tools and armours etc even if its that you are expected to bumlick and fawn.  Social climbing (/spit) is alive and well in Wurm, if you like that kind of quasi-social life all the usual types are easy to come by and they obey all the usual rules. You might like to know the flags – stone houses not wood, small wooden shacks frowned on, oak trees not fruit, white horses not black or omg brown, a caravel if at all possible, a large deed, and of course desirable ingame items.

Fighting villages – again easy enough to spot. If you are a PvP er you probably know what to look for. It’s on a PvP server? And… the op – posts on PvP matters (endlessly…. hehehe – ok I run now!)

That’s all I can think of really, but it’s quite a diverse world so there’s probably more.


In Wurm the “I Win” button is your own ingenuity and how you make use of what you have. Villages are a great resource and the forums are another great resource. There are loads of different kinds of villages. If you know what you like it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that is looking for new players and has the kind of people that suit you in it, just by hanging on the forums.


You could just pick a direction, walk until something kills you, see what you see, find what you find and meet whom you meet. It never harms to say hello in local. If people are absent or busy they won’t answer and if they are evil you’ve gained some information. If you’re lucky you maybe rescue a troll in distress or a beautiful damsel finds you passed out at the water’s edge – who knows?

Categories: Guides, Life On Wurm

For friend Julian (RIP lovely)

As the year draws to a close I want to write a short tribute to Julian who killed himself a while ago now, leaping from the North Bridge. He is not the first of my mentally ill friends to commit suicide in the past four years – he is the fourth. I am friends with many mentally ill people because a seminal experience in my life was being in a mental ward, as a patient, after a harrowing experience. I was there for a long time, and it’s something of a blur now but I got to know many extraordinary people. That was where I found out why I have never been able to cope as easily with some fairly innocuous things as other people do – a really sad thing sent me over the edge and I was diagnosed (finally) in my late thirties with clinical depression and it was a huge relief.

The result of all that, some 15/20 years ago now, is that I am probably mentally healthier than most people I know, being aware of triggers and able to spot the beginnings of trouble and take action long before problems arise. I have not needed to return to the ward once. They did an astonishingly good job of putting me back together. Julian was not a depressive, his disorder was more intractable. He was a paranoid schizophrenic. All the suicides took their fear and turmoil out on themselves, not on society, and certainly not on small children. They were good people and kindly, and had a lot to deal with – more than “normal” people can guess.

My friend Julian was a talented artist, and had got as far as exhibiting at the School of Art here in Edinburgh. I have a picture he made for me and my baby (at the time) hanging on my wall. I am one of the few people to posess one of his original works though many from his exhibition were sold as prints. He used to babysit for us as any friend would. We trusted him that much, alien invasion and all. He’s gone now, and I miss him.

While the time in hospital was excellent for me, and the time directly afterwards too in the days when aftercare services actually existed, the time recently for mentally ill people has been apalling. “Care in the Community”  is more aptly called “Neglect in the Community.” Some people that just can’t do it are simply left to sink or swim as best they can. And they sink.

So what? Well society as I wrote is slowly degrading around a nexus of lending and debt, and one of the degradations is the losing of good people whether they are well or ill for the sake of some specious cost-cutting. In this case also there is also the loss of a superb (if not great) artist. Loss to me personally is just that someone I liked has moved on, is gone. leaving a gap, a space, a … where once there was a person. I do not wish to live alone surrounded only by moneygrubbers and dullness. I want to be with people who know there is more, far more to life than money.

Julian was one such.

Categories: Edinburgh, Things In General

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