Monday, December 31, 2007

GameLog 20

Hellgate London (18h) - VRBones, 13 Engineer. The trip up to Matt's place meant new games to see & play. The only thing that was of interest though was hellgate London. Supposed to be like diablo, but plays more FPS. It seems Ok to play, but not gripping. Played single player though to ~13 to get the feel of the Engineer as I wasn't impressed by the subscriber model for playing online for the elite levels. Hopped online to playu a little with Matt to see if it was more entertaining. Didn't add much in the way of tactics, but it added another dimension to the fragfest. The game needs buddies and and beer to make it shine.

Football Manager 08 (10h) - Barrow, 17th EC, Season 2. Back into it mainly due to the lack of options at the moment. Played a lot of things but none gripping enough to keep me going.

Europa Universalis III (8h) - Played through some of the Irish provinces to see if I could hold England back and unite Ireland. Did it on the 3rd go as Munster.

TF2 (8h) - Still hooks me in (like to 3am christmas eve), but just less times I'm starting it up. All the updates are killing the crap out of my FPS too :/

Medieval II: Total war (3h) - Scotland now has William Wallace and a whole horde of henchmen from the north to pound the English. I"m not done with the Vikings yet, so it'll be a wintery Wallace for a while.

Trackmania Nations (2h) - Cameron's Fave.

Facebook Poker (1h) - 11147. Mixes well with other turn based games.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

GameLog 19

Medieval II: Total war (14h) - Got into the Britannia campaign as Scotland. It plays almost identically to Rome: Total war, so I'll probably do a bit more then try another campaign writeup like the History of Briton one from the RomeTW series.

TF2 (10h) - Still hooks me in (like to 3am christmas eve), but just less times I'm starting it up.

Battle for Wesnoth (10h) - Finally settled on Wesnoth for a multiplayer game when Ben came over. We'd been discussing what types of games we wanted to try, but most of the games I had weren't actually multiplayer in the sense of true LAN. Most sent people online first. Civ 4 was another option, but my copy is munched. Wesnoth served its purpose though. Later I played a bit more of the custom scenarios to get back into the swing of it.

Halflife 2 (6h) - One uneventful night I thought I'd try something different and give the HL2 campaign a go. It did have a good feel to it, and even though it's incredibly linear it did a good job of hiding it. I also liked the pacing. Parts are hectic non-stop run&gun, then either a commentary section or a semi-puzzle to figure out how to get to the next room. The raven aarea is leaving a sour taste in my mouth though, I'm not big into the horror stuff and it detracting from the game. May or may not play any more, but I'm intrigued by Force's recommendation that the ending of HL2: Ep2 is a cliffhanger.

Uplink (3h) - Managed to store the link path so it was easier to play again for a while. Want to get into some more interesting missions as the ones at the moment are getting stale.

Football Manager 08 (2h) - Barrow, 15th EC, Season 2. Played enough to pull out the coaching data. Losing interest and other games crowding it out. After playing a stint with Arsenal for the coaching it'll be a long road to get to that status.

Europa Universalis III (2h) - Another one pulled out to see whether it's LAN multiplayable.

Trackmania Nations (2h) - Another one for the LAN and a few races for Cameron.

Facebook Poker (2h) - 11027. Mixes well with other turn based games.

Monday, December 24, 2007

7 star coaches (pt 2)

I've been looking at page stats and hits on this site for a while as it's in the same account as the St Luke's tracking stuff I've set up and I noticed a number of hits onto the FM08 7 star coach rankings. I originally placed it up so I wouldn't have to keep googling for it, but I'm amazed it's ranking this higher than a lot of other FM fansites. Although the initial post isn't original stuff, I have expanded on it since then and thought I may as well share ...

Back in FM07 I dug up the 5 star coach rule and deduced a function to calculate any star rating. This was really handy for LLM clubs where getting a 5 star trainer wasn't much of an option. After looking at the new FM08 7 star ratings, it was identical to the original 5 star system to get the top tier, but was it the same formula?

The original FM07 formula was pretty simple. Assuming the main attribute is 'M':
Star = INT((A+2)/4)

If there was a secondary attribute ('S') then it would be 1/4th the weight of the main attribute:
Star = INT(((M*4+S)/5+2)/4)

Unfortunately the new 2 stars are 'additions' to this basic structure to give more definition at the start and end of the spectrum. There is an additional break between a 1 & 2 and the slightly better 3,4, & 5, as well as more definition at the top end by dividing 14 & 15 from 16 & 17.

The new formulas to calculate any star rating in FM08 is simply tho old formula with the 2 new steps added as separate chunks:
Star = INT((M+2)/4) + INT((M+17)/20) + INT((M+4)/20)

As before, replacing 'M' with '(M*4+S)/5' at each point gives the star ratings for training areas requiring a secondary attribute. For Set Pieces it has 3 attributes, but it's simply a replacement of 'M' with '(M*3+S+T)/5'.

Eventually I dumped the formulas in favour of an Excel lookup to get rid of a 0 star rating at 1 skill which kept making the output look untidy. I could have added another int() division to take care of it but the formula was stretching it anyway.

My Excel sheet to calculate coaching stars shows in blue what the expected star rating will be, then changes to green if you update what the actual star rating is once they are employed. Let me know if you ever see a red calculation, as that indicates that the calculated star rating was different from the actual star rating entered. I'm pretty sure it's right though as I spent 1/2 hr trying to find out why 1 value was out of place only to find out it was me not being able to count stars properly (Doh!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tesla car

Been thinking about getting a motorbike for the daily commute to work, but Sandy's against the idea. The other thing that has me interested is the new electrics that don't look silly and perform Ok:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Portal Poster - 35 / 100

After singing along to "Still alive" and digging around the net for portal related stuff, the poster I ordered 2 weeks ago turned up on my chair when I got home. Valve released a limited edition of signed lithographs for Portal, TF2 and HL2 a few weeks ago and although I wanted the TF2 one, the picture just wasn't that interesting. The Portal one of GLaDOS seemed to work well and looked like it would be a good candidate for the collection.

It also came with a rather tacky authentication certificate, but the gloss print and the signing was worth it. For the record I got number 35 of 100, and seeing I went straight to the store after the announcement I guess they sold out rather quick. Went back to the site on Monday and they weren't even selling the ordinary lithographs anymore [Edit: now they are]. Should make for a good investment as one of the best moments in gaming.

For all the poo-pooing of Steam, it was a morning update message that alerted me to these being available. So all the pestering actually did get more money out of me. GG.

*Bonus cupie doll for picking up the name of the book holding the lithograph flat or finding the ghost in the machine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Still Alive" Diagnosis

I dug up an interesting "Still Alive" diagnosis for portal that postulates a split personality for GLaDOS and that all the stuff she said was true if you take this into account. I like it. A lot of the offhand comments from GLaDOS support a fragmented personality if viewed externally rather than accepting that GLaDOS is toying with you.

If this diagnosis is true though, that all GLaDOS comments are legitimate, then the last few lines of the song have a more sinister undertone. Maybe the "personality cleansing" you did may not have been quite as successful as GLaDOS hoped:

Portal - Song Lyrics:
And believe me I am still alive
I’m doing science and I’m still alive
I feel fantastic and I’m still alive
And while you’re dying I’ll be still alive
And when you’re dead I will be still alive

Monday, December 17, 2007

GameLog 18

Football Manager 08 (22h) - Barrow, 18th EC, Season 2. Well there's the downswing. FM has a penchant for putting your team in a downward spiral of poor performances leading to poor morale leading to even more bad performances. It's hard to break out of it, in fact it's one of the frustrating parts of the game. The time when you REALLY want to make a difference, you feel powerless to change anything. Once we got into the cups it helped kick our losing ways, but we're still rated below the majority of other teams in conference premier so it's going to be tough getting past mid-table.

Uplink (10h) - Started Sunday looking for something different. Might have to look at picking up SimCity Societies since I didn't know it was out yet, or Civ4:Beyond the Sword. I got caught siphoning a million from someone's account so I started again. With the save/load of bounce patterns it's a heck of a lot easir to get set up with a lot of time up your sleeve. I got back to the same position in only 2 hours, so it should be pretty easy to push into more interesting missions.

TF2 (8h) - [QGL] lost to both Mad Dogz (expected) and Clan A, but hurting the most was a non-entry of score that cost us 4 places on the ladder. I still reckon we're top 20 material, probably a bit more teamwork as we're all pretty rusty. I'm suprised that I'm playing far more than most other players according to steam. Maybe I'm loving this game more than others?

Facebook Poker (2h) - 8617. FM08 mixes well with other games.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wiimote Hack for Multitouch Display

Incredible Wiimote Hack Creates Multitouch Display: "Using a Nintendo Wii remote and some software that he ginned up himself, Johnny Chung Lee of Carnegie Mellon University took a few ballpoint pens, replaced them with IR lights, and presto! Since the Wii tracks IR lights, Lee found that practically any surface -- a projector screen, a tabletop, an LCD screen could be turned into a multi-touch screen "

We use a lot of interactive whiteboards here at school, but this technique seems more useful and easy. Multipoint looks amazing.

Music Theory (Pt 2)

Intrigued at the chromatic equidistance alignment to the diatonic scale, I whipped up an excel spreadsheet to calculate the harmonic values and the error.

The tonal equivalence is pretty good for the most part, especially locking in G and F as the major derivatives from the C based scale. The sacrifice of E, A and B at 1/2 a microtone are on relatively large dissonance valleys, so it should 'sound' Ok compared to losing a G.

It still amazes me that a simple rising scale of 12 equal tempers can accurately place the diatonic scale at 2 spaces apart sometimes while only one space apart on others. One thing that it does make is that each major chord has 4 semi-tones between the 1st and 2nd note, then 3 to the 3rd. (C->E=4 E->G=3, G->B=4 B->D=3, F->A=4, A->C=3)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Music Theory

A while back Matt Farthing had offered to teach a bunch of us how to play the guitar in the School lunch break. It eventually dissolved once we were past he basics, but I did have a chat to Matt about the musical scale and he mentioned something I wasn't familiar with: "each note on a keyboard rises one 1/2 note counting the sharps". This led to a related problem; where's the sharp key between the B&C and E&F? If the white notes are usually a full tone apart, why does it sound natural going up the scale only playing the white notes? Wouldn't there be a marked difference when you hit F and C? Is this just what we are used to?

I dug up some stuff on the net, but nothing really got to the bottom of the problem. Lots of music theory, but mostly history or the blanket statement "Here's C, and here's a chord". I then found Jeff's music theory page and a whole lot of maths harmonics clicked in to make sense. I still didn't know what happened to the missing black key, but it shows why there is a discrepancy between the spacing of the notes. It seems odd that the tonal equidistance of the chromatic scale works so well when translated to 2,2,1,2,2,2,1.

Steaming pile of ... (Pt3, or is that 4?)

Found this as someone's sig.

Monday, December 10, 2007

GameLog 17

Football Manager 08 (20h) - Barrow, 6th EC, Season 2. Really hard to tell how long I have played FM08 as I regularly leave it open as I'm doing other things and it's now over 7 days play time for the savegame. Going to have to start logging again methinks. Finished season 1 in the top spot, but finding it more difficult to pick up the top loaners that carried the team last season. Some good purchases should see us contending by the time the season is through ...
TF2 (19h) - [QGL] won 3-2 CP_Well match over Drunkards in Combat to vault us into 16th on the ladder.
Facebook Poker (4h) - 8412. Can easily fill in the time waiting for a good hand with FM08, which makes this be played more than it should
Facebook Pirates (1h) - Level 7. Found one guy that kept fighting back each time I attacked him, so that made the push to level 7 a little more interesting.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Chistmas music

... is streamable

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

7 star coaches

EDIT: 7 star rating formula
To get 7 stars in STRENGTH
Your coach must have: fit =>18

To get 7 stars in AEROBIC
Your coach must have: fit =>18

To get 7 stars in GK
Your coach must have: gk =>18

To get 7 stars in TACTICS
Your coach must have: Tac =>18

To get 7 stars in DEFENDING
Your coach must have: def =18 & tac =>18 or
def =19 & tac =>14 or
def =20 & tac =>10

To get 7 stars in BALL CONTROL
Your coach must have: tec =18 & men =>18 or
tec =19 & men =>14 or
tec =20 & men =>10

To get 7 stars in ATTACKING
Your coach must have: att =18 & tac =>18 or
att =19 & tac =>14 or
att =20 & tac =>10

To get 7 stars in SHOOTING
Your coach must have: tec =18 & att =>18 or
tec =19 & att =>14 or
tec =20 & att =>10

To get 7 stars in SET PIECES
Your coach must have: tec = 17 & men+att =>39or
tec = 18 & men+att =>36 or
tec = 19 & men+att =>33 or
tec = 20 & men+att =>30

Dual core TF2

Command to unlock dual core support? Doubles frames! - Gamers Underground: "mat_queue_mode 2"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Barrow promoted!

Finally got round to pushing the last couple of games to the end of the season. I had some good talent brought in on loan, and Hadji mid-season set the formation for the remainder of the season as 5-3-2 with a counterattacking style. I'm impressed by the new version of 5-3-2 in putting the midfielder on attacking runs too. You can flood the box easilty with 5 man crossover runs onto the 2 central defenders. Id have thought it would cramp up but the new engine keeps the guys active. It's not a goal frenzy for the AttMid either. Lots of lovely passes from all 5 players with ample space for the wing backs to cross in. As in FM07 it has problems with a DMid formation, or another 5-3-2 box, but I couldn't get my usual 4-3-1-2 working at all.

GameLog 16

TF2 (13h) - [QGL] won 3-2 on 2Fort with me top scoring.
Football Manager 08 (13h) - Barrow, 1st ECN, Season 1. 6 points clear with 2 games to go in the season. Can't wait for the new season to release some deadweight and look for some better talent. The Loans system feels broken for low league clubs.
Pokemon Diamond (5h) - Just seem to be collecting berries rather than progressing...
Facebook Pirates (3h) - Level 6. Made up an excel spreadsheet for the odds to attack higher levels. Looks like it's not worth it until level 6. Should make a proper blog on it.
Facebook Poker (2h) - Not sure whether to count this stuff, but I'm checking facebook more and more even though is still feels a bit useless. Poker and Pirates are a distraction.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

StreX releasing again

StreX has another track ready for download. Mass gave it the thumbs up before the TF2 match tonight, so it's coming highly recommended. I like the idea of an extended set laid down rather than piecemeal sections, and for free too!

read more | digg story


After a couple of dropouts we finally got our game underway tonight vs ACSSL. Started pretty rosey with ET & me wiping out the initial rush, but only left me standing with no medics. I scouted their base enough to spot & take down some engies setting up position, so we pushed through next spawn. 1-0 to the good guys so we wall up for a bit.

Rubba's positioning of teleporters, turret & dispenser was causing a lot of havok for their attack, but they countered with double spies to break through. The malleable defense of soldiers and demomen kept them out though.

We ran another couple of sorties, but without the extra defense we traded caps for 2-1. They set up a defensive turret in their flag room to keep the single pushes out, but we were locking down again. They had problems with a player dropping, so that also helped out a bit.

Though the final minutes we succumbed to a big push, but had also penetrated the turret defense to nab one ourselves. I stayed back at their flag room to kill the sole medic returning for the cap and managed to hold off a few more before they got through. 3-2.

The final seconds tick down and we're feeling in control. They are taking down our defensive sentry with ease, but we've got too many bodies in the way to let them through. 3-2 final score and we're happy with the effort.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Steaming pile of ... (pt.3)

Umm ?


... Oh stuff it I'll load up Footy Manager.

Monday, November 26, 2007

GameLog 15

Pokemon Diamond (20h) - Berries and breeding time...
TF2 (11h) [QGL] won 4-0 on 2Fort. Far more comfortabe on that map. Next week has us defending against ACSSL again on 2fort, so I'm pretty confident. Might even play this week :/.
Football Manager 08 (9h) Barrow, 2nd ECN, Season 1. Out of all cups so it's now a race to the endo of the season. We placed higher than expectations on all cups, but Hadji breaking down with a thigh strain sealed our fate in 2 of them.
Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships (8h) - Trawling through the DS games looking for something playable. The game feels a little tight, with no real access to a lot of information you need to make the game play. Well that's not entirely true, the info is there, it just isn't in a very presentable format. The card game itself looked a little simple with essentially no casting costs, but the overplay on top of the basic cards is what makes it involving. I like the challenges, but I don't know how to get past level 1 in the duels (played ~20 duels) :/.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Study Aboard The Scholar Ship

When I was at Uni, I used to describe the residential college experience as unique. It's like shoving 18-25 year olds onto a cruise ship. Well, as it happens, the Scholar Ship is just that!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

GameLog 14

Pokemon Diamond (17h) - The DS is becoming a system I'm using more and more since you can just jump into the game where you left off with a minimum of fuss. Diamond is playing a lot like emerald at the moment :/. I've been spoiled by Puzzle quest, Zelda and Brain age utilizing the pen for virtually everything and it's wierd going to a game that is predominantly keypad. Intuitive interfaces FTW!
TF2 (9h) [QGL] lost against Hyphen gaming. Once I saw kinnear in the hyphen squad I knew we were in trouble, but Steam is what really killed the game.
Football Manager 08 (6h) Barrow, 10th ECN, Season 1. Tough section ahead with cup matches cramming up the schedule. At least the rotation players are getting a go.
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (5h) - It's hyped up enough to get me into trying it out.
Puzzle Quest (1h) 26 Druid.
Brain Age 2 (1h) Morning wake up.
FIFA 07 (1h) Competitive Computer Games @ St Luke's.

Presence Presents

For Sandy's birthday I decided to do something about her internet presence. She had been using my hotmail account for mail and steck trading signups and didn't really see the need to get her own account.

The trouble is that there is more then just an email to build an online presence. Many sites require an email as a 'starting point' and frown on using the same address for more than one account. This rules out any chance of me and sandy using the same forum or social networking technology unless I used another email account when signing up. Since I usually jump on to test things first I'm used to using my hotmail account as a throwaway rego and spam account rather than thinking to the future.

The real solution was to get Sandy her own email account, and from there expand to MSN messenger, Facebook and of course, a blog.

While I was in the mood for setting things up I also took the time to get a couple of website names locked down.
- (and will hopefully be a blog for all of the family to contribute to since no-one else has a blog.
- will be the new name for this blog so I can move it if need be. Hopefully I can syndicate this feed onto bowesclan too.
- will be for the PhD stuff, but probably pointing back to this site until I get it in place.
- is locked away for a rainy day, but I doubt I'll need it as should suffice as I've used VRBones everywhere, not Tony Bowes.
- is also locked away in anticipation for Cameron's online emergence.

GoDaddy offered additional privacy for bulk purchases, so that got a couple more bucks out of me to get the last couple. Should be worth it in the end.

Steaming pile of ... (pt.2)

on Thursday I finally get into a clan match. Hop on 1/2 hour early to play a couple of warmups and get Ventrilo set up. Inside the server itself it's fine until a minute before it goes live when there's wierd lag issues. Teh game starts and I'm seeing almost everyone running around as scouts or heavies. Obviously they aren't because 1/2 of them are shooting rockets at me. The doors on Well are also stuffed, showing a seethrough backface of the door model instead of a shut door. I log out and relog and it's still stuffed so I play 1/2 the game like that. We're down 0-4 so I relog again, this time fixing the model and lag issues. We stop the rot at 0-5, but the damage is done.

After the game I kill TF2 only to find a happy Steam update screen telling me that there's a new update that it happily downloaded while I was playing, as well as a new game coming out that you're sure to want me telling you about. AAAAAARRRRRGH!!!!!

Steam, get the hell off my computer. Just leave it alone. I don't want your popups, I don't want your automatic downloads, especially for games I'm not playing anymore, and ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM PLAYING A GAME! You are supposed to make my gaming time enjoyable, not ruin it. This hasn't been the only time either. I have had it update 3 times when I'm playing other non-steam games. I could have excused it for not knowing that I'd be wanting to use MY computer outside of its little steam world, but an update in the middle of a TF2 session, for TF2 (that couldn't possibly be applied until I finished anyway). Whatever happened to the common courtesy of asking if I would like to download it before you kill my bandwidth and processor.

I had a dig around the settings (3rd time doing so) and finally found an option to turn the auto updates off. Or so I hope. There was also an option to turn off the daily ads they keep ramming down my connection, but it doesn't work. I swear I'm gonna throttle some valve developers if the autoupdate removal option dosn't stick.

There are still issues with the friends system not giving up-to-date status information (If you're telling me they are in the game, they should be in a game, not offline 1 hour ago) and the join friend's server option just doesn't fit well with TF2's full server problems.

If there was ANY way to play TF2 without steam I'd uninstalll it in a flash, even forgoing Half life2 if need be. Just .. please .... go away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

[QGL] forum

Mongie made up a forum for us all to .. err .. discuss stuff.

Old TCM review

More vanity googling led to an old AusGamers review of Total Club Manager. Looks like it was the height of comma trade where every sentence wouldn't be complete without a comma or 4.

Monday, November 12, 2007


TWiT made me join Facebook to see what it's about.

GameLog 13

TF2 (17h) 42 points with soldier. [QGL] played and won a tense game over McOhnd.
Football Manager 08 (15h) Barrow, 8th ECN, Season 1. Still in 8th, but have played nothing but cups for a month so I'm 3 games in arrears. 1 win away from 4th, so I'm not too fussed. Picked up a neat purchase in the form of a moroccan international happy to play at my level. We made it through Shrewsbury with a 2-1 win away from home to book a 3rd round spot in the FA cup. We're still in the other 2 cups too, so it looks like another month of cup matches coming up.
Puzzle Quest (8h) 26 Druid. Pushing forward on the quest line now that I have the combos working
Brain Age 2 (2h) Morning wake up and when Cameron demands it.
FIFA 07 (1h) Competitive Computer Games @ St Luke's.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Need ventrilomix for [QGL]

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

GameLog 12

Bi-weekly doesn't really feel right for a gamelog. There's a lot that happens in a week, let alone 2 weeks. Might have to knock it back to once a week again.

TF2 (45h) I'm starting to get top 3 positions pretty regularly now. GameArena has a league set up for TF2 and is the biggest league in the world so far. Hoping I'll find an oldskool team to join up wif. Playing for 5 hours straight also leads to gamerStink(tm). It's been away for a while, probably since QGL days, but it's certainly shower time after a good sesh of TF2.
Football Manager 08 (35h) Barrow, 8th ECN, Season 1. Even though the savegame says I've been playing for 2 days, I think it's counting times when I've left it running in the background while surfing the net or doing stuff around the house. 35 seems more likely. A bit suprising even at that count. I'm only getting into the first season now, probably 1/3 the way through. Even though there was a lot of work starting up the team and reorganising training / staff / loaners / tactics, it's looking like 70hours for a season.
Brain Age 2 (6h) Morning wake up and a couple of times when visitors are over.
Puzzle Quest (5h) 21 Druid. Kinda guessing at the usage as PQ pops out in the mornings or over at youth for a couple of spare minutes.
World of Warcraft (4h) Past level 70 it's feeling a different game. I'll play if Sandy is in the game, but TF2 keeps me more entertained at the moment.
FIFA 07 (2h) Competitive Computer Games @ St Luke's.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I'm a razer boi now!

Greig decided to pick up a new quad core box from the local supplier on his trip back from Noosa. he needed a spare keyboard too, so that was enough reason to finally swap over to the Tarantula and DeathAdder from last WCG's goodie bag. That and the new headset is making the area pulse blue light all over the place. Several firmware and driver patches later and it's back to TF2

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tf2 review

GameArena have reviewed TF2 and have struck on a really good point, you can't stay mad at the game. Ties in nicely to what I was trying to get at in my criticism of steam. Steam still blows. It even wiped my stats! I have popups for games I don't want, and it's forever updating itself spontaneously, even if I'm playing another game. FFS valve, if you're going to invade my machine at least you could let me know beforehand. TF2 still owns all tho, and I really hope it's the Next Big Thing(tm) in competitive eSport.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Haven't looked at GameCreate for a while, but happened to notice that the new verion is out of beta. Might be just the shot for CCG.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bowes Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms: "The Arms which he claimed varied between Ermine, three bows paleways in fesse gules."

Bowes - Wikipedia

I had a hunt for Bowes related stuff on the net. Not too much there, but at least there's more reference to the villiage of Bowes at Wikipedia

Monday, October 29, 2007

my.stlukes - BlogThis test

my.stlukes - 3.0: "Welcome to my.stlukes! "

Friday, October 26, 2007

Found an interesting vid off a library site that has a great take on Web 2.0:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

E for All: Civilization Revolution interview

Civilization Revolution looks interesting, but I'm not sure whether the move to a more action packed format will actually increase gameplay. I hope they don't blur it into an RTS .. Multiplayer has always been something that I've only found use for as hotseat, or small LAN. Once the game gets past the ancient era its pretty much over one way or the other and I lose interest in playing (or the opponent does). I don't think it's really a suitable candidate for the 'thrill me' console crowd. Gonna have to wait for some in game footage tho.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Map Concede vs Map Select ver.2

After last WCG I was fired up to redo the numbers for map concede and map select for a size 5 map pool. The results were a little intriguing.

As the size of the skill difference between the players increase, the starker the difference in the different map selection methods. 4 map concede continues to remain at the same level regardless of additional map bias as it continually selects the middle ground where there is minimal bias. 2 map concede BO3 performs the next best with an additional bonus of map variety. Map select BO3 with random 3rd is another step below with only .4% difference in methods over a 10% map spread at 53% win chance for player 1. This difference in methods extends to 4% difference when player 1 should win 70% of the time and map spread is up to 20%. Single map random selection gets hammered quite severely, but more to do with the lack of 3 matches as it is more or less in sync with the true skill if you look purely at the average. The spread blows it out of the water though, giving 10% to 20% change in outcome depending on the map. Comparing this to other differences, it seems vitally important to not use random method when using 1 map. Map concede would keep the spread to whatever bias the middle map provides.

Finally some stats and figures to get my own head around the problem and to show the powers that be.

Monday, October 22, 2007

GameLog 11

Back to it. WCG threw my weekly reflection out of whack a bit, as well as cutting seriouly into game time. It was great to meet up with familiar referees & players, as well as getting an opportunity to meet more from the best in the world.

Steam now has stats tracking for TF2 and Portal in 2 week increments, so it'll be easier to make up for a couple of weeks missing by having a 2 week GameLog.

TF2 (30h) Still has that oldstyle feel that hooks me in. I love it. Hope it becomes the Grand Unifying Game of all team based FPS.
Puzzle Quest (20h) 19 Druid. The flight back gave a lot of time to get stuck into Puzzle Quest on the DS. It's an addicting game and most spare moments I had I'd be playing it. It's actually surprising how easy it is to pull it out, flip the lid and you're in the game immediately. Even a 20 second window would be meaningful enough to pop it out and shuffle a couple of manaballs around.
Portal (11h) 2 hours to finish it, 4 hours to finish advanced, so that must have left 5 hours of trickjumping and listening to the JoCo soundtrack over and over ;)
World of Warcraft (8h) It won't go away that easy, but it sure is being neglected.
Brain Age 2 (6h) Another pick up on the DS. Sandy and I are using it as a good social wakeup game. Cameron is even in on the action and is demanding 'little poota' whenever it comes in sight. He's got the hang of clicking through the menus with the stylus to get to the drawing or piano game, so that's something I guess.
Trackmania Nations (2h) Some after-work destressing when Cameron is around. Otherwise it's straight into TF2!
FIFA 07 (1h) New season of Competitive Computer Games starting at St Luke's with FIFA this term. I'm writing the proposal for next year's events and it looks like we might drop to a one game format, with TrackMania leading the vote so far in terms of fun factor, ease of playablilty and ease of competition management.


I'm not much of a fan of carmac, he's outspoken and almost up himself. Last year he slammed double elimination as a format in favour of the intensity of single elimination, but then whinges when single elimination doesn't deliver. The thing is agree with most of his points, but for different reasons. He just seems to gloss over critical issues that have much more impact than the surface issues.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Zero Punctuation does Orange Box

Found a neat little snippet on the EG forums pointing to a Zero Punctuation review of Orange Box. Awesome. I dug up a couple more of his interviews and he speaks my language in terms of game taste and style. He's from Brissy too, local talent FTW!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

FIFA finals @ WCG

Study material for FIFA this term at St Luke's.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Since reading about Portal that was coming in my pre-order of Orange Box I've been waiting to see how they'd updated the game. I managed to play a 5 level demo at WCG since Valve had a stand there. It was pretty much what I expected, nice and slick though. Couldn't figure out how to put the box on the trigger the first time playing it, but others may have not solved it either as later on there was a big sign on the monitor saying "PRESS 'E' TO PICK UP THE BOX". The guy on the stand was from Valve too, so I had a great chat with him regarding Portal, TF2 and all things Steamy.

Finally got a chance to sit down and play it today, and although it only took ~2 hours to finish the game, the final level was AWESOME. So involving, it really felt like you're breaking out. The end credits were even more spectacular with a Johnathan Coulton song

Portal song on MySpace

Sunday, October 07, 2007

WCG 2007

.. is over in Seattle this year. Nice city; reminds me of Brisbane.

My phone's slowly dying because of the 110v power over here (takes forever to recharge fully), so I'll need to get the photos up when I get back.

The WCG press interviewed me on day 1 after the openng ceremony. We talked for 1/2 hour about my previous involvement and about QGL, however it looks like most of the stuff didn't make the article. They could have at least spelled Bundy right ...

I'm eyeing off a Nintendo DS lite over here. After playing the Puzzle quest demo a while back on the PC I've been itchng to get the game. Since it's not out yet on PC and it's still going strong on the DS I think it's enough to pick it up by itself. Add to that some addictive little brain games to justify the purchase and I'm sold. Apparently they are cheaper over here than in Singapore. Wouldn't have expected that. Games are $20-$30 too.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Steaming pile of ...

TF2 is amazing, I wish it was on anything but steam. Admittedly that's the first time it's borked out since I've rejoined, but it brings back lots of memories of waiting for no reason. And the uncomfortableness of knowing you can't do anything about it apart from madly clicking refresh (even though it's illogical, it makes you feel better). This strikes at the heart of what I hated about CS too. Gaming is about personal enjoyment. I don't enjoy waiting for a round to end in PUGs where there is no real connection to the team winning or not. I don't enjoy the game forcing you to sit out even when the best strategy was to rush early. Games that take control away from you are BAD GAME DESIGN. There are some times you may relinquish control back to the computer, like finishing a level and sitting back to watch a cut scene, but if you are forced to do it then that's another thing entirely. Non-skippable cutscenes, non-autoacceptable quests, etc are agonizing for the repeat player.

Games are there to provide a framework for the player to partake in the game. The game should never EVER get in the way of what the player wants to do next. The success of this boils down to how natural the framework fits the task at hand as well as engaging the user to stay within the framework. Tetris has basic controls, basic game mechanics, but I've never wanted to throttle the game designer because I couldn't shoot a square or ask it a question. The framework and portrayal gives the user an environment to work within; to move & rotate shapes to make solid lines. I certainly do get frustrated with the game, but at myself for not thinking fast enough or placing a piece in an incorrect spot. That's the real difference, I'm blaming myself, not the game or the mechanics. Now if you had a tetris clone where you could only enter one keypress a second, or only rotate one way, etc. I world get mad at the controls because they do not let me do what I wanted to fulfil the requirements of the game.

So back to steam ....
Does forcing me to "try later" impact on gameplay? I doubt they'll feel my deathstare back at Valve HQ, but it's made me play another game instead of waiting. I've put down lots better games than TF2 and never picked them up again because something else grabbed my attention. I'm sure I'm not alone in doing so, and I'm sure it will cost them in the long run.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Some images for the open betatest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GameLog 10

World of Warcraft (15h) BundyBear, 70 Warrior. Finally made it!!!@! I was anticipating making the ding on the weekend, but some XP rich quest lines at the bottom of netherstorm had both Sandy and I popping the big seven oh in the space of 5 hours on Friday night.
Fury (12h) The first weekend of the open beta "Fury Challenge" was a pretty frustrating one. MASSIVE load times of over a minute to get into maps. Something's definitely awry as the system is reporting a footprint of 600Mb for the game when there's 1.6Gb memory allocated to something. Either there's a massive memory leak or there's some services somewhere that's not reporting ~750Mb of memory usage. Killed all services, dropped the game to the low spec renderer and lower spectral settings to help it get by, but it's still painfully slow. Once the game is loaded it stutters a little before happily running along at > 80 fps. Typical session would be sign up for queue (~3mins), tourney map loads (1min), wait for match to start (30 secs), play for ~8 mins, finish up and zone back (1min), run back to battlemaster (1min with semi zoning), join queue again. Almost 50% of the time outside the actual gameplay with no real recourse for making it faster. It's even slower if you want to go buy skillups or the like. Toward the end I'd take the queue waiting time as the skillup time, even though you couldn't apply it immediately because you're "in the queue".

2 hours in a session was enough to frustrate the hell out of me and made me put it aside to cool down. I was in a foul mood all weekend and it was largely due to the frustration over fury. A couple of hours away from it and I'd thought up some different strats and combos to try so I'd be chomping at the bit to get back into it. There's something there that grabs me, but I hope the load times are just part of the beta process. Definitely ordering more memory for the PC too, hope that will alleviate some of the grief.

Powder (5h) Just .. one .. more .. go.
Trackmania Nations (2h) Finals for TMN at St Luke's. Brendan cleaned up the finals as expected, but a pretty good showing all round saw lower than average times.
Sim City 4 (2h) The game is still buggy and has memory leaks. Can't believe that you can lose a whole session's worth of building without any ingame backup measures. Forcing myself to save before zooming in / out as that's where it seems to die the most.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

GameLog 09

Bit late on the update for last week, but it's all down in Outlook so it's easy to catch up ...

World of Warcraft (23h) BundyBear, 69 Warrior. The big push to 70 is on. lined up some quests that had the best gear as rewards up to tier 4. Playing some BG's to build an aggressive armour set.
Powder (9h) Just .. one .. more .. go.
Trackmania Nations (3h) Getting toward the end of the season for TMN at St Luke's.
Sim City 4 (4h) Been feeling the need to develop a new zoning layout for a while.
Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (2h) Fixit, 51 Druid / Defender. Sporadic runs on the spider and initial centaur for goodies.

Monday, September 03, 2007

GameLog 08

Company of Heroes (7h) Playing the World in Conflict demo reminded me just how good Company of Heroes was. Playing through in hard difficulty this time.
Powder (7h) Just .. one .. more .. go.
Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (6h) Fixit, 47 Druid / Defender. Ben's made it to the end of legendary, so a quick run and I'm prety much there too, although somewhat undercooked. I've missed the whole elite level to get up into legendary, but at least I can find potentially the best stuff now.
World of Warcraft (5h) BundyBear, 67 Warrior. A Nice run thru Sunspring villiage to knonck over a bunch of quests.
Trackmania Nations (4h) Finding it easy to jump into this once I'm home. Cameron's still demanding it.
Neverwinter Nights 2 (2h) Veeyar, 6 Pally/1 sorc. Into Neverwinter city.
Bioshock Demo (2h) Took a while to get the demo running, but it was worth the weait for the eye candy. I'll dump it into the same category as Quake 4. I see what they are trying to do, but it's just not my cup of tea. I want to be entertained, not scared. The plot is so superficial. Why would you immediately start trusting someone on the end of a walkie talkie. Why would you inject something into your arm without a moment's hesitation? All brushed aside in the FPS mentality. The progression is bluntly linear too. Powder has more gameplay to me than this one.
World in Conflict (1h) Not bad, but seems to lack the atmosphere of Company of Heroes, and the intensity of Warcraft 3. Made me blow the dust off CoH tho.

Monday, August 27, 2007

GameLog 07

Neverwinter Nights 2 (12) Veeyar, 5 Pally/1 sorc, Highcliff done.
World of Warcraft (10) Level 67 and a pretty good chestpiece off one of Gruul's sideline quests.
Trackmania Nations (6) St Luke's day included competitive computer games as a stall, so I got to play a couple more hours while 'supervising'.
Powder (1h) Please let me beat powder soon so I can stop playing it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

GameLog 06

Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (20) - Another LAN means TQIT is pulled out again.
World of Warcraft (10) - Level 66. Completed Ring of Blood to get a shiny axe. Scott's started another 3 characters.
Football Manager 07 (4) - Worcester are back at it.
Trackmania Nations (3) - Cameron's starting to demand "race car"
Neverwinter Nights 2 (1) - Finally got a working DVD from the LAN so I could install it again. Mine got crunched from the old athlon box :(.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chocolate Rain - 8 bit remix

Awesome remix of Chocolate rain. I don't recall 8-bit sounding so good.

Only thing was waiting for the difficulty level to go up and it breaking down into real funk. That would have topped it off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GameLog 05

Wow - 20
Space Rangers - 2
Guild Wars - 1
Tmn - 2
Powder - 1

Monday, August 06, 2007

GameLog 04

Wow (14)
Overlord (7)
Tmn (4)
Bookworm (1.5)
Powder (1)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

ESWC finals for TMN

part 1
Part 2

Algorithm March

Found a little gem called the Algorithm March from JapTV's Pythagoras switch.
“Pythagoras Switch” wants to help kids have that moment of A-HA! We want to raise thinking about thinking, to flip that epiphany switch in every child.

I think the Algorithm March does this eloquently as alone it looks like dour excersize video, but combined with others the true meaning of the march is revelaed.

Monday, July 30, 2007

GameLog 03

Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (7.5 hours) - Made it past the titan at the end of the original game. He's a massive step up from any other monster or boss in the game, and required a change in strategy, albeit to a simple 'ranged attack with poison' that any character could do.
Trackmania Nations (6.5h) A few sessions online got me back into the swing of things. Mixed with a national Karting championships in Bundy for added incentive.
World of Warcraft (6h) - Sandy's catching me again. Need more quality time for getting quests done.
Overlord (6h) - Didn't expect it to be directly involved, but more indirectly like Dungeon Keeper or Evil Genius. It plays a lot like Fable and has that XBox feel to the graphics and story structure. Your minions are really an extension of yourself to kill / fetch / do things, and it seems almost cumbersome to have to actually hit something yourself. It has an interesting take on advancement too where you can replay any area you have done to get more items / gold, almost as if the game is taunting you; "go right ahead, spend your time doing stupid things while I wait here for you to do something useful like the next mission".
Powder (5 h) Gotta stop playing this. Stupid little addictive game. Was supposed to be a simple diversion and it's got nothing on any of the angband variants. Can't get very far into it though, so I think that's what got the hooks into me at the moment. Once I finish the main boss I'm guessing it'll get dumped pretty quick.
Bookworm (1h) - Hmm, another bookworm spell coming on. I'm looking at making a website to host "the ultimate bookworm game" where the board is posted up each 50,000 points for people to find the best word.

Monday, July 23, 2007

GameLog 02

Finally settled of updating outlook calendar with the actual time spent rather than trying to make an autonomous CPU count (did't work for smaller games like Powder).

I was expecting the count to be down this week due to bible study, youth, Transformers, and other after hours activities. The LAN certainly restored balance.

Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (22 hours) - A Saturday LAN for the youth turned into a big TQITfest, followed up by another impromptu LAN on Sunday with the main protagonists. Even though I made up a new druid, after the end of it the old one was a better build. Instead of going all the way to the end of nature, my main one had only gone 1/2 way to get the nymph before finishing off defense. The total speed from equipment and auras made for high damage and escapism too.

World of Warcraft (7 hours) - Guessing at this point. Will have to check the logs.

Powder (6 hours) - Still haven't got a character down past level 10 let alone to the end. Seems pretty arbitrary about gear drops and skill gifts as to whether you can get a character to survive. Finally found divination that gives identify spell. Fits Ok with rogues, but they aren't the fastest class around.

Trackmania Nations (3 hours) - Competitive Computer Gaming started up for the 2nd season of TMN at StLuke's. It also saw a look-in at the LAN, but some maps made Sandy motion sick.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A week of gaming

Every now & then I catch myself staring at the game icons festooned over my desktop deciding what I'll play next. I play a lot. A real lot. And not just on one game either. I've had spates of 20+ different games in a week before as well as times when I'm only dragged to one for hours on end.

Typically I'll have a games folder on my desktop where every icon goes once a game is installed. All the most common games I'm playing have additional icons beneath the games folder so I can get to them quickly. When a new game is installed I'l usually toss the least played game icon into the games folder so that there's only ever one row of icons to browse.

Recently though I've had an additional row to the right with alpha and beta testing games + demos that are only there for the short term. It has meant though that more than 30 game icons are littered around the place.

On one such icon-staring occasion I decided that it would be interesting to log the different games I play and how much time I spend playing. This post will hopefully be the first of many weekly updates into what games I play.

I started looking for an automatic application tracker that would monitor how much CPU time a process took up, but it seems that I might have to resort to logging with outlook to get a true indication of time. I had also considered a public calendar to update, but this will do for now. See how the motivation levels hold up after a few weeks ...

So here goes, Week 1. Not the most entertaining week to start on, but you gotta start somewhere.

World of Warcraft (16 hours) - WoW has had somewhat of a resurgance recently as Sandy and I have moved into outlands. Spent a fair bit of time tidying up some loose ends such as 300+ in cooking and first aid, as well as getting exalted with Night Elves for epic mount.

Space Rangers 2 (7 hours) - Probably coming to the end of its hardcore playtime for me; there'll be many more seesions in the future though. I picked up Space Rangers after looking around Total Gaming for other games to buy with tokens (I'd bought into the digital purchasing gimmick to pick up Sins of a Solar Empire on preorder / beta and had loved the no-DRM approach). I hadn't heard anything about SR2 before I saw it there, but for a russian based game to clean up major strategy awards I though it'd be worth a shot. I love it. Best turn based strategy out there!

Bookworm Adventures (5 hours) - Not sure exactly how long Sandy and I played Bookworm Adventures, but it was far more than the 1 hour "demo". Gameplay is more like boggle than the original Bookworm, but there's enough strategy to hold over certain tiles to the bosses to make it entertaining in its own right. Makes me want to play Bookworm tho.

Powder (4 hours) - A brief mention of Roguelikes on GameSetWatch had me itching to get back into it again. The man that does the stats for produces a little game called Powder for GBA. Plays simpler than what I'm used to, but it's compelling non the less.

EDIT: Looks like google calendar has a public side of things. Might try that out for the logging.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WoW test warrior build

Wacky warrior build to try out. Should play like stunlok, but be a little more agressive.

Edit: wasn't agressive enough and I rarely used devastate, so I'm going to try going even deeper into frenzy. At 61 this means I get both concussion blow and bloodthirst, although it won't change too much by the time I'm 70. Might have to respec by then anyway.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heirarchical Temporal Memory

Jeff and the team at numenta have released a free platform for developing applications with Heirarchical Temporal Memory. Going to have to look closely at it to se if it fits in with temporal ROAM.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Feelings in games?

After reading a great article about the feeling of achievement in Eve Online, the original GameSetWatch question that started it all up made me reminisce about the time I saw a big 'D' that scared the pants off me.

I'd been playing Roguelike games almost since their inception and had picked up a new variant of Moria that had colour! (most of us poo poo'd the idea as it felt all too graphicky, but we played it anyway because it actually did have better gameplay).

I'm down at ~level 20, when I turn the corner to see an out-of-depth 'D' only a couple of paces away. OMG. 'D's are ancient dragons, one of the more tougher critters in the game and usually down near the level 50 mark.

I turned to Andrew playing next to me and we both freak out a little before looking at all the options and strategizing how to run away without getting eaten or dare we attack?

After 15 minutes we've come up with a semi-decent strategy to take him on (there's no going back) so we take another step and the 'D' changes to red.
Ancient multi-hued dragon! Biggest, baddest dragon around and NO chance of escaping now. We're both screaming at the screen and then, catching ourselves, laughing at each other getting so worked up about one little ASCII character ...

Imagination, the best graphics card bar none.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This individual has been taken for repairs

Bret headed off on his Tassie holiday yesterday and Iain marked his absence by placing a sign on his desk.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


My phone contract has finally run its course and it's time to get a new one. I've been without my k750i for almost 2 years after it was pinched on my way over to San Fransisco, and my old t610 is great, but the charger doesn't fit well anymore and 1Mb onboard just doesn't cut it nowadays.

The N95 is certainly drawing the plaudits at the moment, but including a GPS that I won't use and a 5megapixel camera that stil doesn't beat our current digital, it's looking like overkill. I like the fact that it has a 3.5mm headphone jack, as there's lots of different things I could do with that (earbuds for on the move, headphone/mic for talking here at home, and output tospeakers for music).

I've settled on an e65 with a $49 cap plan at Optus and I must say. B. E. A.utiful!
Just about all the features I was after came a neat little package. Actually, the size wasn't an issue to start with as I've used the K-JAM at work and it seemed an Ok form factor, but taking the e65 out of the box I was surprised how thin it was for what it could do. Fits in the hand well and even with a somewhat bulky hard case protector it's still thinner than I was expecting.

WiFi is awesome. Never going back. My mobo had wifi built in, but there was no real reason to install it as the system was flaky enough without running stuff I didn' need. It took 5 mins to get it up an running as an access point, most of the time finding the antenna and downloading the latest driver. With it up and running it was a cinch to start browsing straight from the phone. At work it was a tad bit harder to get past the proxy server, and entering the authentication each time I need to get out is painful and certainly going to make it all but a novelty. Connectivity brings all sorts of goodness though. I'm still getting the exchange setup at work to transfer over wifi, but once that's in it'll mean I can receive emails anywhere in the school.

Wifi also brings fring. When I was looking at whether skype could be put onto the e65, I stumbled upon fring as a solution for all voip apps that I use! amazing! Can't wait to test it out. In essence that could mean virtually $0 spent on calls as 95% of them will be within wifi zones. I'm going to be pushing it to get close to the $300 cap anyway, so it's probably a moot point. Hopefully wifi will help me out in Seattle too.

Setting ringtones was pissing me off, but Sandy finally found it hidden in profiles. Makes sense once you find it, but it seemed strange not being able to do a simple mobile task. Sandy was claiming that not understanding how a mobile works is a sign of old age. Pffft.

Contacts needed a bit of a shuffle as the t610 just brought them all over as individual numbers. I brought them into Outlook where it was a bit easier to organise them. You can't seem to set contacts in groups that translate from outlook into the phone though. I later found out that my St Luke's Outlook also had my contacts from a previous sync with the t610, so now I have doubleups too :/

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm an Expert!

It's official, Experts Exchange have marked me as an expert after a couple of days answering questions. Now I'm able to ask the
hard questions that I've been trying to solve here at St Luke's.

I recall having an EE account earlier in their incarnation as a free service, but they must have shut down old accounts once the paid service came in. Not entirely sure whether it's a workable model with paid membership as it is competing with many other free sites, but the quality of answers is certainly there.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

World Builder Projects

Another good link for lots of world builer projects

Friday, May 25, 2007

Andrew's YouTUBE

Andrew (Bitshuffler) on YouTUBE.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just passing by ...

Last Friday was Music Trivia and Karaoke night for youth. Joseph made up some questions for the trivia which included some Rolf Harris songs, so now I have bits of Rolf popping into my head. All I have to say that the boys who put the powder on the noses of the faces of the ladies of the court of King Caractacus were just passing by ...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

RPG card game

Latest update: 7/12/09

Version Info:
version 0.8 - Simultaneous play. Deck to 10 cards total. Challenge dungeon has battles on the way out. Treasure changes
version 0.7 - Fleshed out the rules for the game a little more in a walk along the beach with Sandy. Mainly the play rules and deck construction.

- A game for 2 players with 2 decks of cards inspired by computer role playing games.
- One player plays the "Hero" the other plays the monsters, villians etc. One deck of cards is for the character, one for the generation of the opponents.
- Cards from the hearts suit represent life points, cards from the clubs suit represent attacking moves, cards from the spades suit represent defensive moves, cards from the diamonds suit represent treasure.
- The hero and the various monsters and villians are defined by a specific combination of cards from their respective pack of cards. The character definition is made up of 3 hearts cards and a play deck of 7 cards of clubs and spades. Monsters also include a treasure pile of 3 cards. The character level is the average of all cards that make up a deck.
- Players take turns attacking and defending simultaneously until one player is reduced to zero life.
- If the hero wins, a treasure card is drawn from the treasure pile. This card can eventually be converted into a card of equivalent rank in either hearts, spades or clubs to improve the character for the next adventure.
- Battles continue until the hero is defeated, or the hero beats the final 'boss'

- The initial character definition of the hero includes 2,3,4 of hearts, Ace,2,3,4 of clubs and 2,3,4 of spades. Since the average value of all cards is 2.8, therefore the hero starts as a level 2 character (almost level 3).
Updated to here: 7/12/09
- The opposing player can then choose a monster to play. If playing a scenario, the scenario chart tells the opposing player what monster to play next. If playing a challenge, the opposing player can construct a character definition so that the monster's level is one below the hero's. At the start the monster may need to include blank cards (jokers or diamonds) in the play deck to reduce the level of the deck below 3.
- Place all hearts cards (that represent current life total) in the character definition in front of the player. Place all remaining hearts cards from the deck in an upside down pile to the side. These will be used later on to swap in or out when the hero or monster gets damaged so that the sum of all hearts cards in play is equivalent to the current life total.
- Players then shuffle all attack cards and defense cards (and dummy cards) into a deck.
- Draw the top card to see who goes first. The player with the highest rank card starts. If the rank is the same, the player with the attack card goes first. If both are attack cards, shuffle and redraw. Draw another 3 cards and place them all into your starting hand.

- The attacking player starts their turn by drawing cards from their deck until they have a hand of 4 cards.
- The defender plays first and can play any defensive card. If there are no defensive cards available, you may play any other card in your hand (attack or dummy cards) face down for a defense of 1.
- The attacker can then play any attacking card in their hand. If there are no attacking cards available, you may play any other card in your hand (defense or dummy cards) face down for a defense of 1.
- Any amount of attack above the defensive value is applied as health damage. The defender reorganises his health cards (hearts) to represent the new value. EG: Defender plays a 2 of spades, attacker plays a 5 of clubs, 3 damage is applied to health.
- If the defender's health is reduced to zero or below, the battle ends. If the hero wins, progress to the treasure drawing phase. If the monster wins the game is over.
- If the defender is still alive, the players start another turn with defender as the attacker and the attacker as a defender.
- Any cards played this turn are placed at the bottom of their respective decks.

- The Ace and picture cards have special rules for their play.
- Ace: The ace of clubs is a dart, and will cause 1 point of damage regardless of what defense card is raised. [Rule for Ace of clubs]
- King: the Kings are not played like other cards, but are placed in front of the player during their turn IN ADDITION to a defensive or attacking card being played. The king in play add an additional point to defense or attack (depending on the king) for each subsequent card played. EG: playing a 9 clubs with a king of clubs in play will now be 10 points of damage
- [Jack, Queen rules]

- If the hero wins the battle, the monster shuffles the treasure cards in their character definition and the hero chooses one.
- The the hero can then convert the treasure card drawn to any other card of equivalent rank that is not currently in their character definition. EG: 5 of diamonds is drawn, the hero can convert this to a 5 of hearts, 5 of clubs or 5 of spades if they do not already have that card.
- If the treasure is converted, the player may then remove any card from their character definition to keep the number of hearts to 3 and the total attack and defense cards to 10.
- The hero may also hold onto the treasure card (or be forced to if they have all cards of that rank). Find the equivalent diamond card in the hero's deck and add it to the character definition. This card can then be used in subsequent treasure phases to combine with other treasure cards to give a higher rank to convert from. If the hero already has the same treasure card in thier character definition already, they cannot choose to take the card as treasure. The card may be used in conversion or aggregated onto another treasure card to make a treasure card of a rank that you do not have.
- Note that treasure cards in the character definition still add to the character level. Sum up all card ranks in the character definition including treasure and divide by 13 [possibly change deck size to make it divisible by 10?]

[flesh out]

Instead of playing a challenge where the monsters are on average a level below the hero, you can play a scenario where the monsters and rooms are laid out on paper and can be played like a choose-your-own-adventure

[more to come]

Monday, May 07, 2007

New card game

I've been thinking about creating another card game that plays like an RPG but uses a standard deck of cards. Obviously it'll have to use come creative interpretation, but I think it's possible. At first I was thinking it would turn out like an SMS game I was working on with a rock-scissors-paper type army listing, but recently I've been looking at a more involved one with scenarios and individual battles.

The current thinking is to have hearts represent current life points, clubs to represent damage, spades to represent shields or armour and diamonds for treasure. There would be an assortment of monster definitions which had a combination of cards to give an approximate strength, so a lightweight critter could possibly have 2,3,5 of clubs, 1,2 of spades, a 2 &3 of hearts and a treasure chest of 1,2,3. Hearts start on the table as life points, clubs and spades are combined into a deck and are drawn and played as the main part of the game, and one card from the treasure chest is randomly chosen if the monster is defeated. The treasure can then be converted into a card of equivalent cost in either hearts, spades or clubs to advance the character.

Last night I had a dream of a different type of game that played like a How to host a murder mystery crossed with liar, liar . Players are randomly dealt a card which sets their "character". Players then mingle and chat in character to determine who is the killer (the person with the highest card). It was more of a theatrical event in my dream which probably wouldn't play that way, so I'll leave it as that.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Birfday too mee!

Another birthday is coming up so a convenient party was thrown together for this weekend. Sandy made a great cake in the shape of a computer with 5 jellybabies holding toothpicks on screen attacking a yellow licorice allsort blob. Suffice to say it was an apt representation of some of our latest WoW dungeon crawls by the Bowes clan. Might see if I can dig up a pic of it ..

Went and got a new chair today as a Mum & Dad present thing. Saw one that looked like an areon for $650, but there was only one left (the floor stock) and it .. err .. broke .. while I was fiddling with some knobs on the back. Sitting in a rather comfy black leather high-back exec chair that was 1/4 the price at $139. Feels about 90% as good as the 'galaxy', but a bargain at that price. I'll still keep a look out for an areon or the like as I'm needing a good quality chair to 'look after' my back. This one's a good placeholder and much better than my older chair which had a sunken seat that slid you out.

Other birthday gifts included a lunchbox, marsbars everywhere and some licorice allsorts. :9

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

Russell, describing an old lady shown on SBS standing next to a younger female:
"The bottom's fallen out of the market mate!"
Nick was after a gravity experiment earlier, so it linked in well.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Card Chess

Not sure why, but this post didn't come over from VRWorld. Oh well, here now...

I was reading through some game design websites a while back and hyperlinked my way through to a discussion on creating board games and card games. I'd thought those areas were pretty much dead, but it seems there is still games being dreamed up all the time; even Settlers of Catan was only developed in '95. It prompted me to think about writing up the game that I made up in my teenage years when looking for something to do with a pack of cards handy. I started out thinking about how you could play chess with cards, and it eventually grew from there. Even though the game may not play exactly like chess in its current incarnation, the working title 'Card Chess' is still appropriate as the chesslike moves are enough for people to feel comfotable with the basic concepts. You can certainly apply your chess mind to it, as thinking several moves ahead and setting up multiple attack points are still core strategies. So here goes, Card Chess v1.1 ...

- A game for 2 players with a standard pack of cards inspired by chess.
- One player is 'red', the other 'black'
- Each player has an army of 2 Kings, 2 Queens, 2 Jacks and 2 tens of the colour they are playing.
- Players take turns to move one of their units in any allowable direction, as in chess.
- Instead of 'capturing' pieces, an attacking move is to simply 'cover' your card over an opponents. A covered card cannot move. If the card on top moves off to another position, the uncovered card is now back in play and can move freely once again.
- Since there are 2 kings, the game ends when one side has covered both kings.

- The remaining 36 cards are aligned in a 6x6 grid to form the playing surface. It is broken up into 3 6x2 areas; Black's starting area, the terrain, and Red's starting area.


B = Black starting area
T = Terrain
R = Red starting area

- Cards making the startup areas of the playing surface are played face down.
- To create the middle Terrain, shuffle all 2,3 & 5 cards (12 cards in total) and deal into place. This should give 6 red terrain segments and 6 black terrain segments.

- A King's movement is similar to a King in chess (one space in any direction). A queen moves like a queen in chess (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). A Jack moves like a bishop (diagonally). A Ten moves like a castle (horizontally & vertically).
- When moving in a direction (horizonally, vertically or diagonally), your unit may stop at any card on the playing surface in that dirction up to and including the first card of the opposing colour. EG: Playing Red would mean that Black terrain cards and black unit cards stop further movement. As a reverse of this, you can pass over or land on any turned over card on the playing surface, any terrain of your colour, or any card of your army.

2 modes of setup are currently used; one for beginners and quicker play, and one for a more competitive, balanced start.

1. Fixed starting positions
- Each player sets out their army in the same format as below:

TJKKJT <--- Black army
TJKKJT <--- Red army

T = Ten
J = Jack
Q = Queen
K = King

- You may wish to have cards of the same suit together (EG Diamons on left, Hearts on Right), but as there is no distinction between suits in the game, it is not important)
- This method give the players a known starting position with a random terrain in the middle to give slight variablity (you can even play without the terrain in the middle for training purposes with people that may not be familiar with chess movement)
- As with chess, the player starting first has a slight advantage.

2. Progressive starts
- Each player starts with all unit cards in hand and the playing surface completed.
- Decide who will play first, via coin toss or mutual consent
- Players take turn placing any unit in hand anywhere in their starting area that has not already been occupied. Players should keep in mind the terrain in play and also currently placed cards to judge the most effective position for the placed card.
- When all cards are placed, the starting player can now move units.
- The starting player's advantage of moving first is balanced by their opponent who places the last card in the setup phase

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Andy Preece - Retired

I've installed Football Manager 07 again since this system is looking stable, and since the writeup of A history of Briton for Rome: total war added more depth to the gameplay, I've decided to do a commentary piece again.

It so happens that looking around the fansites while waiting for the install to complete I found that LLMaddict is putting up prizes for a Low League Manager challenge. Say no more!

I've played barrow a couple of times now, and could pretty easily get them up into 1st division, so I decided to try another nore challenging tack. Start the game unemployed and skip the first 2 months. What this does is let the game stabilize with all the free players and coaches that are 'available' at the start of the game to be absorbed into existing clubs. One of the big exploits was to get in quick and nab some quality coaches that are at a loose end at the start of the game, so this gets around that and makes it a bit more difficult. So I started up a large DB with ~20 leagues and let it play ...

After 2 months there was only one position vacant, and that of a division 1 club that I'd hardly get (and didn't want to either, no point attempting a low league challenge from 1/2 way up the ladder). There was nothing to do but roll on the turns until another vacancy came up.

September ... nothing.

October ... nothing. I don't like the way this is heading.

November finally brought up a conference national appointment. I had been looking at the table and seeing Barrow languishing at the bottom I was kind of hopeful that Brian Keen would get the chop to let me in. It wasn't to be though, but another conference north team in Worcester had dropped to the depths of relegation when they were expecting a possible promotion battle. Andy Preece stepped aside, but still remained at the club as a player, so it left an interesting scenario to view my takeover of the club from a 3rd person's perspective (akin to what I did with Asterix in A history of Briton).

So I put up a new blog, Andy Preece's blog. Well, not really Andy Preece, but a documentary of the game from his perspective, as if he were writing a blog about it. I stripped out the normal date/time stamps of when the posts were written and replaced them with manual titles so that I can make it look like they have been posted from a time correlating to the game.

After putting up a few posts I then fixed up the title bar a little with some graphics. After spending the better part of a week working on the new St Luke's website it felt odd sitting there dog tired at 3am in the morning, making up transition fades and debugging CSS. Oh well, it's done and although it wasn't exactly the look I was after, it'll do for now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Word of the Day: Curmudgeon

There's been a number of times that John Dvorak has been called a curmudgeon on TWiT , but in episode 93 a new level of cantankerousness was added.

Indie Games

Need to try Fastcrawl at home, doesn't work at work (heh).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He expired in fearful agony ...

Sandy has been digging into some family history of late, and had come across some old news reports back in 1892:

Fatal Accidents at Bundaberg, July 25.
Two fatal accidents occurred on Saturday. A child named Sydney PASHLEY, 4 years old, was run over at North Bundaberg by a bullock dray, its head being severed from it's body.

At Fairymead a workman named Conrad RODEGER fell into a tank of boiling juice. He got himself out, but was fearfully burnt. He was removed to the Bundaberg Hospital, where he expired in fearful agony on Saturday afternoon.

Another fatal accident occurred to-day. A well known farmer named Joseph NEWELL, of Kalkall, was leading a horse which had been newly broken in to harness, when the horse bolted and threw him under the dray, the wheel of which passed over him, killing him instantly, his neck being broken.

Quote of the day goes to Conrad and the obit writer for terming his death as "expired in fearful agony". Ouch.

And I thought the current news was graphic ...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Virtual Terrain

In an attempt to get the research side of the PhD underway, I googled up a few more sites to do with procedural terrain generation. First a nostalgic look over Pierre Terdinam's terrain work from back in the amiga demo scene, then a trip over to Thatcher Ulrich's Chunked LOD stuff.

After poking around for a while I found an old project that I had thought had passed on, but it seems alive and well. The Virtual Terrain Project attempts to bring together all forms of data collection, storage and visualisation of anything to do with virtual terrain. Of most interest is a whole page on artificial terrain generation, which covers a lot of the bases that I had been looking at. Some recent IEEE papers on terrain synthesis make the scene look alive and well too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fractal Art

Since this box is starting to settle down, I was in the mood to change the 'tranquility' background that's standard for XP to something a little more .. widescreen.

After a quick visit to Facelift, I had a number of images to choose from, but seeing some fractals poking their heads up made me remember the old fractint days. Fractint is looking a bit long in the tooth now, but at least Ultra Fractal is keeping the light burning bright for artistic interperetation of fractals. There's some awesome galleries popping up over the net with UltraFractal images, like DeviantArt and Paul DeCelle's work.

Paul's pic of eternity (pictured here) wins my desktop for now ...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Machinima + flash = WIN!

Microsoft have put out a great new promo site for their developer productivity tools using some great vids from the machinima crew. I'd really like to see those vids on TV, and the production quality looks like it' there, so that might be where it's intended (Although I'm guessing that their intended audience may not watch that much TV anyway).

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Stefan Grouter is completing a PhD down at RMIT working on procedural 3D models for virtual worlds. Looks interesting, and a possible liason partner in the future if this temporal ROAM stuff ever gets underway. After months of procrastination I've finished the proposal, only to find that Ron is snowed under and unable to take on further students. Looks like there's some interesting oportunities afield though.

Tell it like it is (was) ...

Had a dig around some old GDC articles on Stefan's site. A couple of Gamasutra links later and I'm reading some awesome stuff from the Grassroots Gamemaster about the way game design is; and how it used to be:

You know the difference between a vocation and a profession? One is done for the love of it; the other for money. That made by the other may be damn good, but no matter how good it looks, no matter how expertly executed, no matter how many external criteria are met, to the person with a beating heart and insight there is something dull, something dead in it. The former may have pennies (if that) for a budget, may result in 8-bit pixels or pencil sketches instead of elaborate 3D graphics, but there is something far more alive in it than everything a multi-million dollar mediocrity could ever hope to deliver.

A grassroots gamemaster designs games because he loves them. He doesn’t need the fancy technology because the reward comes from the look in the eyes of the players; the excitement in their voices. (If he can use his talent and experience to make good electronic games, so much the better – but that is not a primary motivator.) He plays them with his friends – in the same place, the same room – as a way to spin an adventure in the here and now; a spontaneous unplanned adventure that emerges out of the dialogue, the relationship, of the creator to the players. The game, indeed, serves as a catalyst to foster a larger relationship – one that goes beyond the mere confine of games. His passion for what he does is infectious. He just needs some room and a little time to weave this magic, and his friends are sure to join. He is a poet. He
hasn’t forgotten what makes the best things tick.

Amen to that. Where's the essence? Where's the Quan !!@!

AngBand anyone ?