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.