Monday, January 28, 2008

GameLog 23 & 24

Really difficult 2 weeks at work trying to get everything back on track for the start of term made for my worst playing weeks since I started recording. I'll average out the the times for the week, but it was pretty much the same formula during the whole 2 week period; Crusader Kings or trackmania to get going, a bit of TF2 at night followed by more Crusader Kings after 10pm.

Crusader Kings (16h) - After a few years of solidification, we start to look around the map for potential new targets. The King of France had recently been excommunicated making claims on his land dirt cheap. I still had reputation issues and a boatload of prestige so I'd have rathered a cheaper reputation option for declaaring war rather than the cheaper prestige. We wait out a couple of years to see if anyone else jumps onto the heretic and finally Wales is the one calling to arms.

France has lost the majority of their French land to Norway and Brittany, so it has a wierd mix of Irish, Welsh and Southern English provinces to go with a solitary French capital. I head off over the sea to get a jump on his capital with a regiment from Moray as no-one's at home and his vassals aren't too keen to get involved against the pope. Just as Wals is about to fall we join the war and call all able bodied men to arms. The top of Scotland send troops to Ireland while the main body from norfolk, York and Northumberland regions aim at the Welsh provinces. We catch a lot of their army at sea and have taken the main provinces before they start to challenge. A final push on Kent drops the flag on the French ramparts and we claim the French throne. The vassals of France more than double our economic power, and we've only taken a slight hit in reputation.

After another consolidation period I had almost forgotten about a declaration of war against Zaragoza out on the Iberian peninsula. Norway was down that way beating up on the muslims and I had agreed purely to save face and keep Norway as allies. With everything squared away on the home front, a new battle looked inviting. We rally some of the provinces in southern France to take the Mallorcan islands while they are busy against the northern Nordic push. They fall quickly and we vassalize them just in time before the King of Tangiers, who somehow was the monarch of the region, can get there.

I notice that vassalizing muslims don't hit our reputation, so we pressgang Mallorca to push on to Zaragoza. As smaller muslim provinces fall they too are vassalized and pressganged into the snowball. Soon enough we have 1/2 the Iberian peninsula under our control and a 20,000 strong force to go head-to-head against Tangiers. We forge ahead and pick off individual counties from the Castille duke until we have the mainland completely vassalized. Cordoba is the only one to be claimed our own as the technology of the muslims in that province would be a great boon back in Scotland.

The King of Tangiers had a number of counties under his own demesne along the western side of Africa. These fall with a few minor skirmishes and we enforce the claim of King over Spain. Old Donald Dunkeld, a previous patron of Atholl and friend, had managed to get into my court before the fall of Tangiers so he get gifted that dukedom. His wife is also given title over western Africa. Both are old and have no descendants, so I'm hoping they'll filter back my way after they pass away. Should be a useful way of laundering reputation if it works ...

TF2 (8h) - 3 more [QGL] matches over the 2 week period. A grrreat 3-2 win over the Grr Armada vaulted us up into 12th, but 2 losses to -PC- and HoC have us sitting in 17th. There's still some teams above us that we have beaten previously, so hopefull we can get in a challenge to keep us in the top 20.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Naturally speaking?

A few months ago I saw Russell Deer use Dragon NaturallySpeaking at work for dictation. It seemed okay, but didn't pick up my voice very well. It certainly needed training. After a laptop blowout I moved his data to a new machine, but for some reason he stopped using it anyway.

I picked up Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 to see how it would fare for blogging but so far it is a drawnout process. I am guessing it's going to be easier to use a combined approach of dictation and patchwork from keyboard to fill the missing gaps and punctuation.

Monday, January 14, 2008

GameLog 22

Crusader Kings (57h) - Yes, nearly 60 hours on a 3 year old game that I only started on Tuesday. I had been poking around the paradox forums looking for snippets of wisdom or at least some things I wanted to know. The after action reports were Ok, but lacking a little class compared to the Footy Manager ones. I did happen to find a link to one problem I was searching for in an AAR for Crusader Kings instead of EUIII, so being a little bored I had a read of it: Real men to it Alphabetically; an AARgau. Or, "How to conquer a game one county at a time (BTW, there's ~1000 counties) in alphabetical order". It was great. 2 hours of reading page after page of witticisms and game dynamics I was hooked. I wanted to play it more than ever and I'd learnt enough about the game and what's achievable from the AAR to make a pretty easy transition over to it. The game still lacks an intuitive interface. Well, it's intuitive once you've done it, which is Ok to move around and get to the data you want, but if you didn't know something was possible you'd never find it.

Our first run at a dynasty started at the bottom end of Ireland with Munster. it was really hard to find anything to actually do for the first part, so I let the game roll and got used to the pace of it. I then started for real with the Duke of Moray, Scottish heartland and stomping grounds of Clan Cameron. As a duke it was a little easier on the money than a small county, but rebellion against the scottish king looked a certainty. My 2nd wife is William the Conqueror's daughter, so we ally and take apart Scotland. Unfortunately the game crashed and revealed there were no saves. At all. Gone. Just like the marketing drive at work. It was 3:30am anyway so it was taken as a sign to head to bed.

We start afresh the next night as Moray but this time it's Norway that come to the party. Scotland implodes from a vengeful king with a fistful of rivals, and we hold back to the verry death to swoop in and claim the crown, just like a good game of "King of the Hill". After all the fighting the rest had gone through, I'm sure I received a few glares, but they happily put their troops away and wait for my instructions.

Norway gets uppity with Sweden and we oblige with the war, but are content with shouting insults across the North Sea as things at home look much more interesting. Sweden has Nothumberland and a few other English duchies after William's death left the country in disarray. We swoop on a vacant Northumberland claiming the rich seat of York for ourselves and vassalizing the rest. We also work on Norfolk while there aren't any troops around as well as finally putting some steel into a bothersome Hereford county.

We could easily sue for peace from our island and get to fixing up our tarnished reputation, but Norway actually looks like it might be in trouble so we venture the seas to help out. While the battle rages back and forth though Norway, Sweden is left relatively vacent for us to put our tents up and camp out a healthy peace deal.

Now we're really overboard with a bad reputation and the vassals are losing patience. We keep our heads out of some juicy battles and prepare for a civil revolt. The Dunkold family is everywhere in Scotland as proponents of the previous rule, but with the passing of the old king we get things back on track with only 2 duchies looking problematic.

Some in-fighting helps weed out the poor rulers, but my daughter's hubby (20 Martial) puts up a good fight, flooring 2500 men with only 350. We re-vassalise them instead of demanding everything so he can fight for us. They also had claim to 1/2 of Scotland and the crown, so it's a prestigous windfall to not claim back the lot.

Europa Universalis III (6h) - Advanced Scotland a little further. Trying to pick and choose our way through the battle lines.

World of Warcraft (5h) - BundyBear, 70 Warrior. Got back into it with the boys to push through Slabs. Having 5 in a room is the way to go for instances.

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

TF2 (2h) - First time playing the game for over a week was a [QGL] clan matchup. We dropped 2 quick captures to 6P before clawing back 1 ourselves. I'm guessing we were all a bit rusty as we improved a lot toward the 2nd half, as I moved into attack and got anotehr back, only to lose ours in a great melee in the middle. We had theirs out again but we time beat us. 2-3. Very close one. Certainly don't mind losing games that intense and tight.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

GameLog 21

Europa Universalis III (35h) - Played through Burgundy to get into the swing of things from a more dominant position. Annexed some of the lower german provinces and vassalised Spain before falling to a massive French army. Played as Scotland to try out the colonization features. Seems to take forever to get a colony up, and it really takes forever to build a base income for tiny nations. Pulled into 3 simultaneous wars against Novgorod, Burgundy and Poland by our allies. Thanks.

Football Manager 08 (6h) - Barrow, 14th EC, Season 2. A few more weeks under the belt to get to the December holidays. I found out that many of Sandy's relllies came from Gateshead, and I'd tried to play them at the start of this version after seeing the stadium size in the Andy Preece writeup, but they had dropped out of the conference. Seriously looking at swapping over and keepign them up as Barrow is lacking something at the moment.

Hellgate London (5h) - VRBones, 9 Engineer. A little more online with Matt.

World of Warcraft (5h) - BundyBear, 70 Warrior. Got back into it with the boys to push through Slabs. Having 5 in a room is the way to go for instances.

Trackmania Nations (4h) - Cameron's Fave. He found the driving wheel in the cupboard while cleaning up, so it's also out on the desk to give him some driving practice.

TF2 (2h) - How the mighty have fallen. Only a single session at Matt's to show them what it's like.

Friday, January 04, 2008

EU3 things I wanted to know

Europa Universalis is a pretty goood game for pure strategy fans, but it really does lack a helpful way to show what you want to do. Sometimes things aren't possible, but more than likely it is possible, just not intuitive whare the bloody button is to do it.

Here's a list of some of the things I had to google up or hunt down outside the game:

  • How do you make one army out of multiple armies?
    Click and drag a box around all the armies in the same location, then you have access to the army manipulation buttons above the selected armies.
  • How can you request military access?
    There are a lot more diplomacy options below the orignally viewed ones, scroll the list down. (Why is it hard to see that the list is scrollable? probably because they are proper buttons and fit the screen neatly. Bad UI)
  • How do you gain back reputation?
    You don't apart from the dribble that your leader gives. (still looking though)
  • How do you board boats?
    Send the boat into the sea (not at the port) then move the unit into the sea. Make sure there is a transport, not just galleys or fighting ships. Don't move more than the number of transports.
  • Where can you see what maintenance a unit costs?
    Upgrade to v1.21, then it is in the tooltip when hovering over a unit.
  • After a restart the trade values look wrong?
    It takes a month to apply supply / demand. Funny how it only happens after you restart the game, not a resign / load.