My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 6

Read more “My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 6”

This is part 6 in a continuous series about my time in World of Warcraft, from when I started playing in 2005 and onwards. Part 1 is here in case you missed the beginning of it.

There’s been another change this time. I’ve decided to convert all the diary text to past tense and not have any of the blockquotes anymore. It makes it easier to adapt and split up text into more paragraphs.

July 2005

Bricaard was getting so prominent in the guild that I barely had time to do my own stuff anymore. I harvested the usual bout of herbs in the three zones I usually visited, but during this a couple of guildies invited me to help them out with various elite quests. Later I wanted to farm highborne undeads in Winterspring. I was invited then to UBRS but declined, but as the raid plans were changed to LBRS they repeatedly tried to invite me again. And later, Sino tried to invite me to a run in Dire Maul.

Doing UBRS/LBRS and Dire Maul could be okay, but I didn’t want to do them 24/7.

I tried various methods of farming to gather money for my epic mount quest. Some ogres in Deadwind Pass dropped money and loot, and were relaxing to farm. I quickly stopped farming blood elves in Azshara, however, after I discovered that they could heal themselves. I really despised that because of how long it took for a paladin to wear them down. A few satyrs nearby were better targets, but their loot was on par with the ogres, and they were closer to Ironforge. I also did another round in the three zones harvesting herbs. I don’t think I have had so much stuff for sale at the auction house at once. Unfortunately it was a slow process. I only reached 170g this day, and I was at 110g a day or two earlier.

There was a long way to the 400g I needed for the epic mount quest.

I helped Gast and Argethon kill Hexx in Hinterlands and release the captured gryphon pup. Then it was time for a genocide in Felwood. I joined Tamako, Stovamor and Saphire and we all went crazy killing teddies. The goal was to increase the reputation for the Timbermaw faction, and we also managed to wrap the green bar around from unfriendly to neutral. Unfortunately we needed to wrap the bar around a few times more before we could at least talk to the Timbermaw and buy formulas and recipes from them. It also got old fast just circling around the same green pond killing the frequently spawning teddies.

My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 5

Read more “My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 5”

This is part 5 in a continuous series about my time in World of Warcraft, from when I started playing in 2005 and onwards. Part 1 is here in case you missed the beginning of it.

I’m back writing this series after a big break pondering whether to continue it. Turns out that it’s a great way to condense my diary sessions and combine them with the relevant screenshots, and it also had a few readers as well, so I’m going to continue writing the parts. However, one thing I’ve decided to do this time is reducing the amount of screenshots as that really got out of hand in the previous parts.

But don’t worry, there will still be plenty.

June 2005

I started this month with various quests in Felwood and Winterspring, notably those about the lady by the warm pond, killing a patrol of white furbolgs, and getting ten rare pelts from yetis.

I did something to a meddlesome quest in Winterspring, I probably should have done some more – I cheated like the worst scoundrel. I had to traverse a deep cave with loads of elite dragonkin monsters. It was another one of Blizzard’s stupidly difficult quests. On the nice web site, Thottbot, they recommended that I took off all my equipment and then just ran inside, expecting to die a few times on the way. So that’s what I did. Soon I came to a symbol in the floor at the end that teleported me out on a mountain top where a lady was standing that I needed to talk to. Back in Everlook I put on all my gear again, and as a result of the “naked” trick I didn’t have to pay to get it repaired. In your face, Blizzard!2 June 2005

I was back in Scholomance where I tried a new AssistHelper add-on that made it easier to hit whatever the main assist was hitting. It made attacks more coordinated, killing groups of monsters more efficiently.

Nick, who had already been very helpful on several occasions, offered to help me level up enchanting by donating a lot of his enchantment materials from his horde character, Pannick.

Papo & Yo

Read more “Papo & Yo”

This third person adventure game was completed in less than four hours, but somehow it felt a little longer than that. It was for the most part easy but also charming, and with many original puzzle ideas. The closest thing I can find to compare it with is the American McGee’s Alice series, only without the combat. It had the same level of surrealism and also felt like it could maybe sort of fit into that universe somehow.

The game touches upon a light story of the small kid Quico and his alcoholic father in a few brief cutscenes, but by far most of the game is spent solving puzzles in arena after arena with metaphorical substitutes. In the beginning there’s another kid that teases you, and it doesn’t take long before you get the small robot Lula on your back as a jet to make double jumps possible. Lula can also be asked to fly over and activate a circle by clicking the right mouse button.

Screenshot

A general style of puzzle design is that white chalk lines means interactive stuff. Animated cogwheels drawn on walls can be clicked to make a building walk to a different place so you can jump across roofs. Handles can be pushed or pulled to tip over a stack of buildings into a “snake” you can run across. Keys can be turned to open up a passage, typically by walls and buildings being lifted away.

The Fourth Awakens

Read more “The Fourth Awakens”

This is a belated blog post about the seventh Star Wars movie that I’ve wanted to write for a while, but I wanted to watch it again for the second time first. As I was quite a bit disappointed after the first viewing in the cinema, I didn’t want to buy it – but luckily, the European Netflix added it recently and I could finally watch it again while taking down notes. I wanted to get my facts straight before berating the movie, write about how it was way too similar to A New Hope, and all the other things it got so very wrong.

But then a strange thing happened – I actually liked it a lot better this second time around!

I could still see a few bummers along the way, but this time I accepted a lot of the stuff I found wanting in the first viewing. Most of it actually turned out okay, and there’s so much to like as well. I think one of the problems of watching it the first time was not only the steep hype that no movie could possibly hope to meet, but also that most of us have had our own ideas about what happened in the many years between episode 6 and 7. And I’m not talking about the extended universe here as I’ve barely read anything there. I was never comfortable with fans coming up with their own stuff and tried to keep my distance.

Nevertheless I couldn’t help but get exposed to some of it through Star Wars video games. I did like the idea that Luke went on to become a master, teaching a new school of young jedis. But I also had my own ideas about what could have happened all those years. That Luke found some other love interest. What children they all had. Leia learning the force. The many adventures they continued to have. And I think that’s precisely one of the reasons why some of us were inevitably displeased with episode 7.

Luke failed something and went into hiding? That’s not a tragedy I had envisioned for him! Han and Leia are no longer together? Why? I imagined they lived happily together all those years! They had a son that turned to the dark side of the force? But that’s not…

You could argue for starting episode 7 in a peaceful situation where everyone is happy together and things start getting bad from there. However, now that I have watched the movie the second time around, I can’t blame J.J. Abrams & Co. for creating the situation that they did. Many years have passed and it sets up a much more interesting backstory that things didn’t plan out perfectly in those years. There have been problems along the way, just as we all have in real life. Then you can certainly debate whether the choices the writers made were the right ones for Han, Leia and Luke, but I decided to find peace with this. They needed to set up the backstory right in order to write an interesting new episode, and starting from an utopian moment would probably have sounded too good to be true.

But even so, there are still questionable things in this movie. Too many things mimics episode 4, but that’s not the only problem. I’ll try to get into all of those I found while watching it again for the second time.

And yes, there will be spoilers.

Transistor

Read more “Transistor”

Imagine if you took an isometric action RPG with a smattering of Robotron, changed the action to be mostly like V.A.T.S. from e.g. Fallout 4, added great Art Deco parallax graphics, a sword with staccato comments, and atmospheric music that often have singing on top as well – and you basically have Transistor.

It took me about 6 hours to complete this one but I was seriously considering abandoning it after an hour or two. The combat was innovative and polished but was still problematic for me. The gist of the game is a turn-based part where you stack “functions” (abilities) in a limited queue and them fire them off with super speed, making you feel like The Flash. Then comes the sour part. The queue needs some time to recharge itself and you are extremely vulnerable as things are now real-time. Because of the huddling nature of the confined combat areas, it’s easy to get pummeled left and right, even when zapping around with a teleport ability I earned early in the game. This goes back to me wanting to kill as many off fast as possible, and if my queue doesn’t deliver enough damage, I may take too much damage in the real-time part. Emptying the health bar temporarily burns out an ability slot, forcing me to use other means of attacking. Burning out all attacks of course means death.

For most of the game, this system just didn’t click with me.

Diary Games: Outcast

Read more “Diary Games: Outcast”

This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the many games I played from 2000 and onwards, translated and adapted from Danish.

All images are courtesy of MobyGames and shows the best 512×384 resolution.

April 19, 2001

I’ve had the original CD-ROM of Outcast for a while, but my DVD drive wouldn’t acknowledge it. Now I had a plan. First I installed a 317 MB alternative version from a “collection” and ran it. It started without problems but was very limited – no speech, no movies, no CD audio music. Then I renamed the folder and installed the original CD version. As usual it wouldn’t recognize my DVD drive. I then copied the executable file over from the limited version and hey presto; I now had an original that worked with my DVD drive with all music, movies and speech intact. Then I deleted the limited version.

Played a little bit of the game. I managed to get through the training level in the beginning where I had to sneak past my teacher Jan. The game had to be run in the penultimate resolution of 400×300. The best, which was 512×384 or something like that, was stuttering too much. Somewhat disappointing on a 1,2 GHz PC, but at least it ran reasonably well in 400×300 with all graphical details set to high. The game looks old fashioned today because of the low resolution, but I also know that it’s a long and challenging game. Some reviewers say 50+ hours – try comparing that to the 10-15 hours of Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.². There are also sub quests and even sub quests within sub quests. It might make the game confusing and introduce the non-linearity I’m not comfortable with yet.

Nevertheless I will now give it a chance and then we’ll see. I paid a lot of money for the original game.

Quote from Reddit

I asked my grandpa what it felt like to grow old. Grandpa is a man who will deliberate on which part of the newspaper to start with each morning, so I knew my question would take him some time to answer. I said nothing. I let him gather his thoughts.

When I was a boy, Grandpa had once complimented me on this habit. He told me it was good that I asked a question and gave a person silence. And being that any compliment from him was so few and far between, this habit soon became a part of my personality and one that served me well.

Grandpa stared out the window and looked at the empty bird feeder that hung from an overgrown tree next to the pond he built in the spring of 1993. For twenty years, Grandpa filled up the feeder each evening. But he stopped doing it last winter when walking became too difficult for him.

Without ever taking his eyes from the window, he asked me a question: “Have you ever been in a hot shower when the water ran cold?” I told him I had.

“That’s what aging feels like. In the beginning of your life it’s like you’re standing in a hot shower. At first the water is too warm, but you eventually grow used to the heat and begin enjoying it. But you take it for granted when you’re young and think it’s going to be this way forever. Life goes on like this for some time.”

Grandpa looked at me with those eyes that had seen so much change in this world. He smiled and winked at me.

“And if you’re lucky, a few good looking women will join you in the shower from time to time.”

We laughed. He looked out the window and continued on.

“You begin to feel it in your forties and fifties. The water temperature declines just the slightest bit. It’s almost imperceptible, but you know it happened and you know what it means. You try to pretend like you didn’t feel it, but you still turn the faucet up to stay warm. But the water keeps going lukewarm. One day you realize the faucet can’t go any further, and from here on out the temperature begins to drop. And everyday you feel the warmth gradually leaving your body.”

Grandpa cleared his throat and pulled a stained handkerchief from his flannel shirt pocket. He blew his nose, balled up the handkerchief, and put it back in his pocket.

“It’s a rather helpless feeling, truth told. The water is still pleasant, but you know it will soon become cold and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is the point when some people decide to leave the shower on their own terms. They know it’s never going to get warmer, so why prolong the inevitable? I was able to stay in because I contented myself recalling the showers of my youth. I lived a good life, but still wish I hadn’t taken my youth for granted. But it’s too late now. No matter how hard I try, I know I’ll never get the hot water back on again.”

He paused for a few moments and kept looking out the window with those eyes that had seen ninety-one years on this Earth. Those eyes that lived through the Great Depression, those eyes that beheld the Pacific Ocean in World War II, those eyes that saw the birth of his three children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

He had indeed lived a good life, I thought to myself.

“And that’s what it feels like to grow old.”Sozaiix3, /r/AskReddit/

The post I got this from is here. Sozaiix3 is not the originator but the source has since vanished.

Diary Games: The Beginning of the Millennium

Read more “Diary Games: The Beginning of the Millennium”

This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the many games I played from 2000 and onwards, translated and adapted from Danish.

In fact, this is the very first one with the first play sessions in 2000. As is the case with so many hobbies just like this one, it started in a casual manner and only gradually became more serious. It wasn’t like hitting a switch and suddenly I was writing hundreds of lines in each session.

I started writing diaries about my life in 1996 and have kept it up since then. Games were rarely mentioned as something I played one evening. I wasn’t really into gaming until I had sort of an epiphany with Gunman Chronicles, as you can read here below. In the end of the 90’s, it was mostly about coding and composing. I did complete Rama, Sanitarium and the first three Tomb Raider games in the end of the 90’s, but their sessions were sometimes months apart and the comments very brief.

Although better for the following ten games, the descriptions are still plain and the details few. However, it gets a lot more interesting in later blog posts as I dig deeper into my diaries. Later I also started grabbing my own screenshots, but for this blog post they are all courtesy of MobyGames.

Game Boy Music by Drax

Read more “Game Boy Music by Drax”

Thomas Mogensen not only composed a ton of awesome C64 tunes, he also composed for a few Game Boy Color games in the late 90’s. This page contains all the work he has done, including demo tunes.

The process of creating these tunes actually began in FastTracker 2. Thomas composed the tunes using samples from a Game Boy Color. The saved XM files were then converted to Game Boy Color binaries using a tool coded by Thomas Egeskov Petersen. The Game Boy Color hardware has two square wave channels, one wave channel, and one noise channel, but note that most in-game level tunes only use two voices.

Everything has been converted from the original XM files to MP3 for easy listening.

Alone in Space

Read more “Alone in Space”

Developer: Butterflyware | Released: 2016 | Genre: Adventure, First Person

I completed this first person action adventure in less than 4 hours. I woke up alone in a desolated space station on a stormy planet and had to find my way off. There was an abundance of corridors with tilted chairs and a ton of boxes that gave the game a very samey look. Most of the areas were mazes and there were connect or sliding puzzles to open doors, pass codes to find in big widescreen log screens, stationary lasers to cut doors open, sizzling magenta anomalies to traverse carefully, and much more.

I’ve seen reviewers on Steam pushing down the walking simulator stamp, but that’s not fair. Yes, there are sizable periods of time where you’re not doing much else than traverse a maze, but there are enough puzzles and dangerous passages to make it a real game. In fact, some of the dangerous passages even got me quite aggravated. There are no monsters or humans to be found, but the anomalies zapped me dead until I figured out how to throw down a metal bolt step by step to find my way through the parts that didn’t zap me. There was also a section with flaming gas leaks where I kept coughing and had to crouch or close rooms to kill the flames, and enough coughing meant death. Lightning could sometimes zap me dead in a corridor if my timing was off. There were a couple of sections with the air being sucked out fast.

And of course, don’t get in front of a stationary laser.