Monthly Archives: April 2013



fun ūüôā

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine, PlanetGardenShed

Meanwhile, under a car park in Edinburgh

The things I walk on top of daily. Nobody does upmarket-creepy like us!!

Categories: Edinburgh, Shorts

April Fruit-Surprise Salad (Wurm, Vanguard)

Oh well, I’m kind of glad Wurm gave me a push. I’ll start with Wurm because I’ve decided to back out fast – well as fast as you can do anything in Wurm, which isn’t all that quick. I’ll contract to just paying for one premium on Celebration (plus upkeep) and wait and see what happens from there. I’ll hang on to the North Independence deed as long as I can but I think that has to go too. I am not sure why this has caught me on the funnybone – size of the price rise? Well, it’s more an annoyance than a gamebreaker. Bombshell way it was done? No, that’s normal. Wierdness of increasing prices (on a sub!) by 60% when the rest of the industry is becoming more price competitive? Nope that kind of sheer peculiar is totally normal for Wurm and even what is the word… entrancing….

A combination of constantly accelerating decay and having to log in frequently whether it’s convenient or not is much more likely to be my problem. It’s a high maintenance game! And I don’t need another job/mortgage/dependent. Anyway we’ll see what happens. I was only going to go dormant at the end of 2013. Bringing it forward feels like a relief which tells me I’m doing the right thing (for me). I hope dormant is good enough because I don’t want to quit completely. I do want to deinvest though. Some people will be extending themselves to buy extra premium and silver before May 2, I do not intend to do that. I know there’s probably some moneymaking opportunity there, but¬† metagaming for real profit doesn’t float my boat (tedious). Plus, when I get caught up in sweeping changes I aim at somewhere near revenue neutral and get in a position from which I can move/wait it out. The poor old Wurm ingame economy such as it is, is going to be a bit strange for a while – just guessing.

The good news is that this will free up time to finish the Begunner’s Guide and perhaps I can even do some more guide/informational Wurm posts. I’d like that. It’s such a fascinating game, and very different to anything else. Doing guides helps me see that afresh. Yes, the root of my problem is the time that maintenance demands in Wurm and that’s making me scale down – it was on the cards already. The price rise just made me do an unscheduled evaluation – and I realised I’d rather scale back sooner than later.

I wish I knew enough about Vanguard to do guides, but I definitely don’t !! (yet)¬† The magic persists even though the merge of Halgar and Telon servers resulted in a laggy mess. With graphics turned down it’s playable and I’m hoping things will improve.¬† I have no idea why Vanguard attracts me so much. The obvious things are that the classes are all distinct, the levelling is slow and satisfying, the questing is interesting, for the first time ever I’m reading the lore. I’ve thought about it a lot. And I’ve decided those things are all great but not enough to explain why I am so magnetically drawn to this game. Luckily I don’t mind not knowing things if I know I don’t know them. I am quite happily prancing about on an assortment of alts all now orbiting level 10 apart from a couple of stragglers and two that are in their teens. They do not have marvellous clothing, nor am I excited about Vanguard housing. From what I can understand it’s another one of those “you have to maintain it” deals and I think I’ve had high maintenance up to the gunnels. They are just simply fun to play. I like the new spells you get every two levels. That reward system both encourages you onward and upward and breaks up the levelling cycle. And, most importantly, those spells are often interesting and suprising – not just some stats wrapped up in some sparkly stuff. It makes a big difference.

I also like the small touches you come across here and there. Generally Vanguard is sort of empty, which I don’t mind since wide open spaces are the kind of thing I was brought up with. I like it when my eyes do not bump into stuff on their way to the distance. It’s fine and eases my soul. Where I come from sometimes the entire landscape was punctuated by only one small shrub. But in that apparent emptiness there are things to discover, and I like that too. Mysterious giant bones. Small settlements in the middle of nowhere, a pair of fighters sparring, copper pots. Just odds and ends, yet someone put them there perhaps for a reason, or maybe they were forgotten. The game feels layered and historied. It is an artefact.

Those two were the only games I played this month. Due to the people currently in charge of this country, life is unsettled and I’ve been scuttling about (like most people) getting hatches battened down for the inevitable stuff hitting the fan. Throughout the land costs are way higher than officially reported and wages (and other income) are regressed to danger point, budgets need to be rethought, but at least the unprecedented barrage of forms and other garbage has ceased streaming through my letterbox. Four months of it – unbelievable. I’m hoping I can now ignore the morass of incompetence above me for the rest of the year! I will try to anyway. But I’m not promising to play more games because things are now so peculiar in this country that anything could happen. Heh there are very much times I want to stick my head out of the window and yell “make the madness stopppppppppp so I can get back to my normal routine!! (I better not.)

There’s also that I’m enjoying PlanetGardenShed more than before now that it’s beginning to hang together, albeit as a structural prototype. It’s become more of an escape than other games – I don’t know if that will continue. I think… even just having a play-space where nobody is experimentally poking at me me hoping I’ll magically create money from nothing (or do their work for them)¬† is providing more relief from life than gaming possibly can. Other people’s creations are still highly intriguing, and always will be. I read more, far more blogs than I ever write posts on mine. It is like visiting other worlds, familiar, but different. I’m addicted. But just for now perhaps life’s tide is at a place where I don’t want the demands that go with enjoying stridently commercial offerings. That’s my theory and I’ll keep it for as long as it fits.

Categories: Fruit Salad

Price of Wurm goes up

I’ll leave Rolf to explain:

I have no strong feelings or thoughts about this, but I’ll probably end up cutting payments to Wurm because I have a family to bring up which is far more important to me than supporting a game, no matter how fond I am of it, and our cost of living has gone up quite a lot too. Was planning to review involvement in June anyway due to the amount of time Wurm eats in decay mitigation, possibly leaving in December (or going dormant). If you add a 60% rise in premium fees to that, time spent on futile chores is even less attractive.

Well, I’ll have a think about it all, but definitely shed anything more than I need to keep a toehold going and if that’s not possible within my budget I’ll have to (regretfully) quit.

Categories: Life On Wurm

Yay for young people with brainssss

gzzzz on your celebrity young man, you completely and utterly deserve it!

Categories: Oddments, Shorts, Things In General

Cucumber Eye Frizbees

When this family began, the first baby could only just about hold a mouse. Yes, as soon as they could do that they were exploring mimmies computer along with everything else the great world had to offer. It was part of the scene and part of their new little lives along with dandelions, clouds, peas, stones, butterflies and everything else. Then after that we went into about seven years of intense crafting. The productivity of the young is stupendous by the way.

This house became a truly wondrous cave full of glue and sculptures, paint and pictures. Clay, salt dough, old sprirographs collected from charity shops, rescued barbies, rocks, homemade kites, cardboard houses, collages, stars, moons, suns, butterflies, fluffy toys, things that talked to you when you stood on them at midnight, spiders, seedlings, meandering crayons, poetry, practice writing, drawings, paintings. I seldom left the house without glitter in my hair or opened my handbag without distributing sequins upon all and sundry. I liked it very much ūüôā – I think you can tell.¬† A lot of time was spent clearing workspaces, organising the general production and finding places for everything. The kind of housework I truly do not mind.

About 5 years into that crafting phase school erosion began in earnest, and although crafting continued unabated for a while, mental escape became more of an issue. This happens to us all I think. So, the focus shifted. Suddenly there grew piles of books, an interest in handheld gaming toys. Things that allow you to escape for a little while to another world and have some headspace that isn’t to do with grades, friends, competition. Discretely (and a bit sadly) I began storing the best of the crafted and gently steering the need for a mental haven into making a game ourselves as documented pretty much in this blog. Nothing too hefty, all more exploration and experiment. And above all everyone here and anyone that ventured in was encouraged to play!!!

This paid off of course – is it really all that surprising? The grades of my gamers are uniformly excellent, and years in maths are skipped. Etc. Games make you think, whether playing or creating them. So, that lasted a goodly while too, and now it’s teenagers, and the computer is fading. It looks like it’s going to be a few years of creating our own cosmetics, and otherwise developing personal style. They are finding themselves. (I will continue computer work in the background – I’ve discovered a couple of gaps in the schooling. Plus, I think I just like it.)This is also (as also documented) the best time to deconstruct, declutter and generally redo everything ready for their early adulthood, and my bit where they go off and do own thing. I solo half the time as it is, so that’s not going to be a big strain but at this point I can make my domestic environment more conducive to the things I like. What a lot of words. I’m having a big redo in preparation for the next years.

I will not write our eye-frizbee recipe fully since it didn’t quite work out (cucumber, green tea and witchhazel are what is in it). It was meant to be eye-gel. It smells great! And is quite nice to hold in one’s hand… very cool and smooth, but I think we should try again hahaha – oooo fun! I do hope I’m in for five years of cosmetic production to match the crafting and computer/book phases.

This weekend – avocado!

Categories: Comparisons, Introductions, Oddments, Things In General, Vague Rambly Stuff

Week of strange calm

I’m glad it’s Friday, Friday quite late but everyone is tucked in bed and warm and fed and reasonably hygaenic which is quite good enough. Odd week. My heating works – yay! My zapped hard drive cannot be fixed – boo! I found a really nice gold colour for the Hobo – yay! The wheels on the Hobo don’t go round and round – boo! Yet – yay! And – now that April’s carefully constructed deathtrap has been fully deployed with all it’s intricate little parts that neatly fit together, we’re into the more straightforward time where the nation has to deal with it as it unfurls, which means I can (gratefully) return to PlanetGardenShed unless required to make soup/provide ear/help out/mop up/¬† – who knows. At some point this thing will have to be dismantled. The only way is up!

So… Gardenshed! Well, I’d hoped to have something nice to screenshot, and I could put the gold colour on the hobo, but I think I’ll hold back a bit. Mostly I’m happy. I’ve got a working prototype – for PlanetGardenShed, that is, not for any game yet. It’s a basic workspace that will soon look ok (when some easy textures are added) and where I can try things out, build things, mess about generally. Basic as in a basis, a framework, a good starting point for many directions. It works in that pressing keys makes things happen – I can add more as and when I want to try things. Wheels going round for example. I think that’s because I don’t know how to script for grouped objects. The little green shoots of learning C++, HTML5, Python are growing steadily. It’s all interesting and engaging, and thank goodness, a hobby.

A strange thing is happening.

Grey, metallic and bleak as it is, I spend more time now in GardenShed than I do playing games. Still, I did manage to squeeze some in – Fruit Salad as soon as I have time. And yes, I do know that Margaret Thatcher died, but not much to say about it as I didn’t know her personally and wasn’t particularly impressed when she was prime minister. One thing struck me, despite concerted media pumping and hype there is not an upsurge of national mourning. The BBPropaganda is in a pickle since they unbiasedly report and play the nation’s top favourite songs every week. “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead” is number two, and they have had to have a wee agonize about what to do. To unbiasedly report, or not to unbiasedly report – and play it. Apols to Hamlet.

The art of safe protest is not dead, it would seem. The late prime minister’s legacy is the current crop of brats partying on the bones of the weak. Like me, a lot of people don’t like that. A lot of people aren’t going to mourn the passing of it’s most famous advocate. I hate “interesting times”.

Oh alright then – for anyone interested, one Golden Hobo:


Categories: Oddments, PlanetGardenShed, Vague Rambly Stuff

The Eternal Problem

sometimes only a diagram will do:



You know it’s been 20+ years since I tried this coding lark, things have improved but not a lot. Too many moving parts that all do their own thing. Parts get all picky about what they’ll work with and barely remember that if¬† their stuff doesn’t join up with other stuff,¬† it isn’t worth using. Wonder how many incompatible dodos “cornering the market” has bred during those years. Clearly I didn’t miss anything much. Appalling lack of progress – just like dentistry which remains painful and barbaric and hasn’t moved an inch forwards on that rather huge issue in thirty years either.


Here’s someone else’s take on it; his is much more interesting than mine, I may add:

Categories: Comparisons, Game Design and Creation, Oddments

Windows Media Player

The ancient laptop with it’s Vista (I know, I know) has always run Windows Media Player when I start Guildwars 1. I don’t understand all the intricacies but the Windows Media Player is somehow bound to the operating system only then the EU ruled that that was wrong so now it shouldn’t do that but it does. Or did. I have managed to disable it and I have no idea how, which isn’t very helpful to anyone including me so sorry. Old age…

This is going to bug me for a long time. Let me see, I accessed a submenu I’d never seen in my life before… where the heck was that thing? It was called “default programs” but it was¬†not the “default programs” (a window’s special)¬† that comes up when you try to set default programs. This one actually worked. And I wasn’t looking for default programs when I found it which makes sense because they’ve obviously made it non-obvious. I’m definitely going Linux.

I didn’t know I had managed to disable the Media Player until I ran Guildwars which was a few weeks later, which doesn’t help. It hasn’t just gone by the way – when I log out of guildwars there is one of those disapproving “plung” noises and a pop-up with a red message complaining it can’t run the media player. Hope the lappy doesn’t explode then (somehow I don’t think it will).

Now if I could only remember the completely unrelated thing I was actually trying to¬†achieve when I found this default program submenu, millions of people all over the internet who have fruitlessly googled “disable Windows Media Player”, “uninstall Windows Media Player” and “stop Windows Media Player from running ever, completely, kill it nao”¬†will be very happy indeed.

Categories: Oddments, Vague Rambly Stuff

Bought Frayed Knights: The Skull of S‚Äômakh-Daon

which is 50% off just now at Rampant Coyote:  !

and I’m keeping Twitter. The noise to signal ratio is colossal but I love not having to load online news to see the headlines. Regarding the heading I have had the demo of this game on my hard drive for over a year to remind me to buy it and now feel sort of guilty getting it at a discount. Delighted to have it though and expecting many happy hours with the full version after which I will doubtless write about it here (and on baby blog GamingIndie). I wish I’d stop writing about too many things at once… Do you think it’s the cold? I haven’t been able to get the heating engineers on the phone yet after the Easter Weekend so my flat is arctic, apart from this room which is a¬†few degrees¬†above zero. I’m over fifty and should probably be taking aspirin. Due to living in Scotland (it toughens you up)¬†I find I can cope though. It’s much nicer being in my living room than being at a bus stop in the biting wind and rain/snow waiting for a bus. MUCH nicer. It’s a minor one-off problem and I’m fine.

Also, I have sufficient food due to a flying (bus) visit to the supermarket (nearest fruit and veg is 0.9 miles from me Рour local economy is zero) and have been able to make headway with the paperwork and Wurm improve/repair. And box model spaceships!

Theres a lot of¬†media interest¬†today in the systematic persecution of the poor, ill, disabled and low-waged (yes it’s spreading upwards, average-waged people are next). Well it’s too late now to be making the right noises. All this stuff has been planned and going through parliament¬†for months. Yesterday was just the final¬†implementation. You know, it doesn’t matter whether you use a bullet, cold, hunger¬†or ceaseless hounding and harrasing to kill another person. Dead is dead.

The press and tv have been just not reporting these policies or their logical outcome, which has made me feel as if I’m going slightly nuts. In future I recommend Hansard to anyone who “didn’t realise” this was about to happen. Statistics for hypothermia and suicide are not hard to find, I’m not posting them here. I’m not a big fan of statistics. However, even in their massaged form they show an increase already.

To cheer me up, I signed this petition (no, I don’t think there’s the remotest chance of him doing it since it’s not possible, but oh how I’d love to see him try. For the full year. Without help from well-heeled accomplices.)¬†– Here I am with only a few days of cold to deal with. Not hard to imagine what it would be like if this was permanent. My heartfelt thanks to the other 347 000 people that also signed, over today and yesterday for reassuring me I’m not mad. I really was beginning to think I was on my own in thinking that all these measures are harsh. Or that nobody cares.

Update: at close of play today the above petition is over 400,000. It is very heartening to see 400,000 people calling BS in unison! I still haven’t¬†managed to contact¬†the heating engineer. And now I’m going to go and play S’makh-Daon.

Categories: Oddments

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