Monday, March 30, 2009

GameLog 84&85

Really light on over the past 2 weeks as an assignment was due on Friday.

Football Manager 09 (34h) - Gateshead 1st Blue Square North. Found a great striker for loan and pushed through the turns. once out of the congestion of trophies we started racking up the wins to lead the league. Pretty confident I'll go up, but the finances aren't fully in order as well as a bloated roster from the initial setup. I'm warming to the 3D view, it's got enough info in it to make it worthwhile over the other views.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (2h) - Level 37. Finished up the main quest line with the last boss only having one turn (which was my mistiming). Infinite turns kinda ruined it, but luckily I was close enough to the finish to push it through.

Skate 2 (2h) - Procrastination time.
Street fighter 4 (1h) - Procrastination time.

Trackmania Nations Forever (1h) - Just a bit of time at CCG

Monday, March 16, 2009

GameLog 83

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (14h) - Level 34. I've got a build now that pretty much wins without the opponent having a go, so I think I'm done. Getting deep into the campaign, maybe a couple more hours to go.

Team Fortress 2 (8h) - Playing late at night instead of studying. Procrastination.

Football Manager 09 (6h) - Been hankering for Empire:Total War, but FM09 has been waiting on the sidelines longer. Gateshead are the team of choice again. 09 has finally blocked off my secret strat of employing 8 coaches off the bat, but looks like it's lifted up a bit on the loaning of players, so it's a team full of someone else's players that will hopefully get me across the line. First one only lasted 10 minutes before ripping a tendon. Hope the rest don't implode as I have no loaner left to fill the gaps. At least I can hand them back (return to base warranty).

Trackmania Nations Forever (3h) - Week 4 of Competitive Computer Games at St Lukes along with a couple of sessions on the "Real F1" server.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hamish has another go

TC Hamish took its time, but finally did the 180 and is now heading back up the coast for another try at rain delivery. Wind gusts are picking up again after a relatively peaceful morning.

The surf was amazing this morning. Not as big as last night, but still clean and pitching well. Usually when Bargara gets big it's with a strong onshore as the fetch is usually only from here to Fraser. Water was a bit murky, but still worth the early morning rise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What? Wait! Where's my rain??!?

We headed down to the beach after tea and I was surprised that the wind had died and also swung offshore. The waves were looking awesome. Best I've seen Archie's and probably worth an early morning dip.

Checking the map back at home and it looks like the predictions have in fact turned into a rather boring drive-by from TC Hamish. And aren't you forgetting something Hamish? Aren't you supposed to cross the coast and dump a couple hundred mms into our dams?

Hamish likes Bundy

TC Hamish seems to have a soft spot for Bundy. For the past couple of day it's looked like coming straight in at Bundy, but even now that it should be moving on down the coast they are predicting it to loop around to line up Bundy again.

That's all well and good, but I'm not that keen on meeting Hamish face to face. A long distance relationship with rainy gifts please ...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hamish does the twist

Predictions for Cyclone Hamish's path are getting wierder. Now it's expected to do doughnuts off the coast, flaunting its 250 km/h winds.

GameLog 82

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (32h) - Put off getting this for a bit to see whether it was worth it for the PS3, but finally decided that mouse is going to be less frustrating after seeing there's a timed mode in the game for jumpgate hacking.

I think the original game was more addictive, but that said I still stayed up to 3am Wednesday night, followed by 4am Thursday night even when I knew Friday was going to be a big day. The whole package is more polished and feels more like an RPG with puzzle elements rather than a puzzle game with an RPG framework. The game itself is addictive, although the puzzles aren't as such.

The puzzles are interesting though, and I like the slight variations between the different modes. They all rely on core spotting and manipulating skills, but give slightly different criteria to complete the puzzle. Mining rewards maximizing new gems, Hacking rewards fast spotting and direction manipulation, Haggling rewards direction manipulation and reading future moves, Manufacture rewards combos and future moves, and fighting puts all skills to the test depending on your setup.

One benefit of having it on Steam is that I get to see exactly how many hours I've put in the game instead of giving a ballpark.

Skate 2 (4h) - Mainly skating with Cameron. He's getting pretty good in bowls and is able to do handplants at will along with hippy jumps and grinds. Lining up grinds are still a problem, but they sometimes are for me too.

Trackmania Nations Forever (2h) - Week 3 of Competitive Computer Games at St Lukes along with a couple of sessions on the "Real F1" server.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hamish Outgoing?

12 hours later and the beeline for Bundy may have changed. If Hamish comes into Hervey Bay we're in trouble for storm surge and high winds, but if it passes outside Fraser Island we're just going to get a blow.

Matt survived pretty well. No real storm surge or flooding with only 70mm overnight.

Hamish incoming!

Cyclone Hamish is heading down the coast. Good luck to Matt & Nat & Scott & Greig & Tanya up in Mackay. The beeline for Bundy looks ominous though ...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Where have all the Shed Men gone ?

Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Long time passing ...

Last Friday was Shed Men at my place. I'd offered up my place for the men's night as we've just built a new shed / garage and changed up the back yard. With power on in the shed it's also a comfortable place to offer rather than the old asbestos caravan shed.

At first I thought I'd do a slide show of my WCG exploits overseas running computer games tournamnts, but another topic kept creeping back into my mind. My shed isn't really a shed. In fact it's not my shed. It's Dad's shed. But my side of the shed is purely somewhere to park the car and some additional storage. On Dad's side there is a workbench with tools, nails and screws to fix things.

Most of the sheds I have been in are farm sheds. They have a certain character and there is definitely a manly attitude attached to such a building. Lots of big tractors, tools, wire, and many projects in some state of completion. Most of the sheds used to host Shed Men carried this feeling of a man's domain. "This is where work gets done!". Mine is not like that. Or more to the point, my side of the shed is not like that.

Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Long time ago ...

There is a generational gap between what Dad thinks of as a shed and what I think of as a shed. For Dad, a shed still contains the workbench because it's needed to fix things. Why don't I fix things? Why don't I feel the need to have a workbench as a mandatory requirement for my shed?


I knew the answer, but it would be the topic of the night. What makes modern men have less of an urge to fix things yourself? The service economy. I work to gain money with which I can spend on other people providing services I cannot / don't want to do. With the service economy in place I can specialize my skills to become more and more valued, providing even more incentive to utilize others to fill in the gaps.

Consumerism is good. It allows a higher degree of specialization, hopefully in an area you enjoy. With everyone specializing, the world can accelerate its total knowledge and have a higher overall output.

It does have a weakness though: Dependence on others. If you cannot fix a car anymore you are at the mercy of others who can fix cars. We as a society need to trust that each service provider brings appropriate value, for without proper value and trust people will revert to doing it themselves, undoing the gains in efficiency through specialization. Dependency can also be affected by disruptive events such as an Earthquake where regular services are severely compromised. Heh, just realised that I have BOM open tracking a Cat5 cyclone heading our way. How ironic.

There's a whole section I was going to talk about that I skipped because the conversation didn't really head that way, but with consumerism the power is with the consumer as long as they vote with their feet if not receiving service of value. This could be anything from poor customer service or lamenting about the demise of the corner store to large food chains. The power has always been with the customer, but rarely has been exercised. If you want good service you need to make the extra effort to change to another provider and make it clear the reasons why. This is the only way that value is enforced. Why are there many fast food joints? Because they are servicing the need of the community who values speed and consistency over quality and health. That's starting to change with things like subway offering speed and consistency AND a healthy option. People have voted with their feet and that in turn has changed other fast food provider's patterns. It's not black and white though and there are times when you're going to get munched by the global machine for being in the minority, but usually apathy from the consumer is where the system gets out of control.

Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Work to pay for everything
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn.

So back to Shed Men. We broke out for a discussion to mull over the idea of whether you're a 'fixer' (first reaction is to think "I can fix that") or a 'phoner' (First reaction is to phone someone to fix it), and whether there are any experiences to share one way or the other. The chat was very lively and after 10 minutes I had to start bashing things to get everyone's attention.

The final point for the night was a reflection on Shed Men itself. Why are we gathering in a shed? Because it's a blokey place to be. We're cooking steaks on the barbie and drinking beer. No salads allowed! (although some still sneak in some greenery). A shed is a man's retreat, but it's only a retreat if you're a "fixer". If you're a "phoner", you're unlikely to use "just popping out to the shed to sharpen the mower blades" as an excuse to get to a place of solace. In fact you may not even have a shed!

So where do you go? Where's your cave that you go to when you need to relax, unwind and just "be"?

For me it's computer games. I can easily lose myself in virtual worlds. It's relaxing, intense, intriguing, amusing and addictive all when I need it to be.

Others may not be so lucky ...

Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the Shed Men gone?
Work to pay for everything
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

GameLog 81

2 days up at Rocky for Uni put a little dent in the play time.

Civ4:BtS (25h) - German campaign is going great. The Luftwaffe have decimated all comers with first Poland (grabbed it all before Russia joined in) and then an agressive France brushed aside with air bombardment. I had taken most of France before May 1940, so the war reads a little topsy turvy with Vichy France being established before Netherlands joined in.

England also fell to air superiority. Their northern fleet had been holed up in London and Inverness and made good target practice. The whole island was pretty much gutted before I managed to get some paratroopers in there to mop up. Italy then joined in so I moved the planes down to Tobruk to continue pounding on the English occupying Egypt and Iraq.

With only a handful of cities left, the only thing that looks ominous is a potentially early Russain campaign. I can't see USA being a problem since they'd have nowhere to launch from.

Skate 2 (8h) - Finding and playing spots.