Category Archives: Misc.

Blaugust Day 1 – Brain Tentacles

Blaugust2015

Every aspiring writer has heard the advice – if you want to be a writer, then write. That’s it. Sit down every morning/day/middle of the night at your desk/bathtub/local coffee shop and pour words onto paper/pixels/digital audio/the camera. Doesn’t matter if you’re an author, playwright, poet, blogger, vlogger or whatever the hell else is fashionable right now (Instagrammer?) — the act of doing is the act of becoming, not the other way around. If you write, you’re a writer — it’s that simple. Yoda said so.

But if you want to stay a writer, or a blogger, or a ballerina… you have to practice your craft and practice it regularly, and I’m using the word in its fullest meaning. A concert pianist can’t plink around once every week or so and still call herself a concert pianist; similarly, I’ve felt for some time that a blogger who doesn’t blog more than once in a blue moon (which was last night, see how à propos I am?) can’t in all honesty call herself a blogger. When people ask me, I tend to say “I have a blog”, not “I am a blogger” — and Beghast’s Blaugustinian madness is an attempt to recapture the craft by practicing it regularly, whether I want to or not, whether I have other shit to do or not, for a full 31 days. When several score other bloggers, vloggers, writers and gamers are also taking part, it becomes a sort of sublime collective madness which might be just what I need.

And trust me, I really do have other shit to do. I am possessed of a particularly active and energetic Instant Gratification Monkey:

instant gratification monkeyAmong others and in no particular order: I have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of games to play (that I never get around to because Fancy-Pants the Monkey never likes the one I’m thinking about right now and always wants to play the one I haven’t downloaded — which is ironic for an Instant Gratification Monkey, if you think about it– moving on). I’m trying to get in shape a bit more, which means waking up an hour earlier to throw my unwilling ass onto the elliptical machine I bought a year ago and have hardly used. I have work to do, in the sense of earning a living to pay the bills, which does kinda matter. I have about 3 metric tons of gorgeous yarn, 8000 patterns, and only 2 hands with which to knit or crochet all the lovely stuff I want to make. (Yes, I knit. I also hand out knuckle sammiches to people who laugh at knitters.) My mother is coming over for a month+ visit which entails not only dealing with said parent but also preparing the house for said parent — see Panic Monster at the Wait but Why link above.

panic monsterWe adopted a couple of rescued Basenji girls a few months ago and dealing with them is still quite a bit of work, mostly because they firmly believe that People Are Scary and that the lovely Outside is for gamboling and frolicking and not for doing your business in. Which means said business must clearly be done indoors (fortunately mostly on the hard tile which probably resembles what they were used to in the puppy mill where they grew up for 2 years). I have food to cook. Marmelade to make (yum). Pictures to take. A nose to pick. Clouds to watch. Time to waste. Shit to do, I tell you!

Excuses. If I want to be a blogger again I need to blog. I also need to get back to myself, the old blogger self who wasn’t afraid of 3000-word posts and didn’t care if people got bored halfway through and left. I never wrote for them, I wrote for me — I had opinions (mostly but not always about gaming), I expressed them, I was super happy when people stopped by and discussed them… but I didn’t really care whether they did or not. For me, blogging has always been a way to get things out of my head so that I can fill my head with more stuff, because I have that kind of a brain that’s always reaching out tentacles and at some point, you know, even your brain has to take a dump. (Just because a metaphor isn’t pretty doesn’t mean it’s not a valid metaphor.)

That’s still me, and Blaugust will prove it. I may be full of shit, but I’m a BLOGGING full of shit blogger. See you tomorrow — and if you’re lucky, it might even be about gaming.

EDIT – A handy-dandy link to the Anook Blaugust page/nook/whatever the hell they’re called. I’m not sure I get Anook, and I’m worried I’m getting to old to get this newfangled stuff kids do to community-ise, but it’s everybody in one place and has a list of daily posts, links to blogs, forums, blah-de-blah and so on. Last but not least, Belghast is a) incredibly well-organized, b) an evil overlord who loves our suffering and c) clearly completely insane for organising this and keeping on top of it.

 

 

 

 

Real Blogging

Blaugust is coming. A few other bloggers have mentioned it to me, either to cruelly mock my utter inability to post anything meaningful and/or regular, or to invite me to take part in a fun and slightly challenging event, or both.

I don’t know why I have signed up to do this.

I’m lying. I totally do — and it’s mostly because this poor blog has been terribly neglected and I’m stuck in the nobody-gives-a-shit-what-I-have-to-say-least-of-all-me rut, which never bothered me before. I started blogging to entertain myself and continued blogging to entertain myself and was just happily grateful that other people also found it entertaining enough to keep coming by. But at some point and when I wasn’t watching, I starting feeling as though I had to say things of import, big things, useful things, insightful things like the real bloggers out there do (by which I mean TBFKAL*, TAGN** and other acronym or acronym-less interesting people).

And I really don’t need to worry about that kind of thing. I just need to write posts that entertain me, like I used to do, and not care so much about having anything useful to say. I spent so much time advising other bloggers not to care about what their readership thinks and wants that I didn’t notice when I apparently started caring what my readership thinks and wants. I love you guys, especially those of you who have stuck with me through the posting drought and content starvation, but I actually don’t (and shouldn’t) care a jot what you want. This blog is for me and only incidentally for you — sure, it’s public, but that’s more so I can hold myself accountable to myself and not so much because I’m an attention ho (though I suspect there’s a little of that going on too; we all have an ego after all).

So maybe Blaugust will help with that. There was a time when, like Belghast, I could sit down at the keyboard and just write away — and I want that back. And since this blog was born in August, aeons ago in Internet time, August is as good as any to try and give it a Frankensteinian jolt.

Young FrankensteinIf you’re an interesting and real blogger and want to take part, the guidelines are in the above-linked Blaugust post.

Last but not least, this post was initially titled “Bits and bobs”, but while writing the ‘bits’ part I totally forgot what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be about, so I guess Blaugust is all you get.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

— Oh wait, I just remembered what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be, but Blaugust is coming and I’m going to save it for one of those posts. Provided I don’t forget again, of course.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

* The Blogger Formerly Known As Lum

** Who comes up FIRST in the acronym list of the free dictionary when you Google “TAGN”, ahead of such oft-used acronyms as Triaminoguanidine Nitrate — how cool is that? Unless you meant to look for TANG-the-drink and just didn’t type it correctly, in which case it’s probably a bit confusing.

Famous TAGN

 

SWG – Hangin’ with my Thune and other handy slash commands

Got a little bit of time to play in between massive work-dumps, so here are some more screenshots. They mostly involve Heloise, who is going to be my swordsman/doctor and just got her AOE melee attack (also known as Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom). If you scroll down past all that, you might even get some useful chat commands relating to structures (houses, harvesters, factories).

Below, Ysharros hanging with her thune pet in a purely decorative role. She’s not buffed (and just got killed by gurks for being a n00b), so she’s just using her level and her pet’s level to ensure Heloise can get the snorbal missions she desires. For the uninitiated, SWG missions are level-related and although I have no idea how the details work, I do know that more levels = more money (and harder missions, but not that much harder).

hangin-with-my-thune

Hangin’ in Hispania, Lok

Next, Heloise standing in a big pile of dead snorbals. Basically, once you acquire the Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom (aka SAMLAD), you target the lair and just spam that one attack while the three waves spawn and stampede in to attack you. Which is perfectly justified if you ask me, but it didn’t stop me from doing my best to cause a mass snorbal extinction event. For the more uninitiated, snorbals are non-aggro, perfectly harmless elephant-type creatures. They’re good milking too, incidentally, but that day I was all about the FILTHY LUCRE. Oh hey, that might be a good character name.

pile-o-snorbals-2

GREAT WHITE ZABRAK HUNTER

In another Hemmingway moment, here’s Heloise killing a Kimogila, yeah baby!!!

…OK, it’s actually only a baby kimogila. I feel guilty about it but I did take a selfie all the same.

Kimokill

RAWR

Let’s see, what else is in the pix folder… Oh yeah, my Entertainer-to-be busting some really, really, REALLY bad moves in Mos Eisley. I’d forgotten quite how bad beginning dancers are. She hasn’t had much playtime so she hasn’t improved, and I haven’t quite made up my mind to go the AFK-levelling route yet. I did it at the keyboard the first two times, dammit, and it was FUN. And, as it happens, Mos Eisley cantina is a totally happenin’ place, so maybe I’ll give it I shot. Dunno yet. Having too much fun using the SALAD — no, wait, SAMLAD attack on snorbal lairs.

Fleurette_begins_her_career

Stayin’ alive

OK last one, just to show folks the effect of using the various SweetFX mods as well as the ClearSkies mod (direct DL link here). It lets you see almost too far into the distance, something 2003 computers probably would have struggled to do — I know mine did — but it does cut out the insanity-inducing whistling sandstorms and the incredibly thundery rainstorms. Which, since I now live on Lok as a proud member of SWG-U, does make playing a little quieter. Even if those distant mountains look a little polygon-y…

clearskies-and-Nims

Nym’s Stronghold, Lok

Now on to some actually useful stuff for other SWG-EMU players. And if you’re not playing, come join us. You know you want to.

SWG Slash commands

These are for people — like me — who don’t like using radial menus because they’re slow, clunky, slow, annoying, and slow. If you’re extra-super-smart you’ll find ways to combine these into macros, such as a harvester maintenance-adminchars-power-naming macro that lets you do a bunch of things with a single button press (in this case add money and power to the harvester, name whatever alts you need as admins, and give it a funky coloured name if you’re into that sort of thing – which I am). They won’t make coffee, select a resource to harvest, empty a hopper or decorate for you, but they are useful. Check out this page if you want even more of them, just note that not all these commands are available in SWGEMU.

/pay [amount] — e.g. /pay 1000

Adds the specified amount of maintenance to the structure you’re in, near, or have targeted. Easy enough for houses and factories, can be a bit more hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to structures you’re not admin for, so no worries there.

/setpermission admin [charname] — e.g. /setpermission admin Ysharros

Toggle command which adds [or removes] the specified character from a structure’s admin list. This can be a house, harvester or factory.

/setprivacy (toggle)

Makes the specified structure private or public. Pretty sure this only affects houses, and it allows other people in. Or not, depending on which way you’re toggling.

/addpower [amount] — e.g. /addpower 20000

Or if you’re really lazy — like me — /addpo 20000. Adds the specified amount of power to the harvester you’re near or have targeted. Can be a bit hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to harvs you’re not admin for, so no worries there. I think.

/structurestatus

Brings up a structure’s status menu that tells you how much maintenance is in it and other details depending on the structure.

/transferstructure [charname]/target — e.g. /transferstructure Ysharros (or to whoever you have targeted)

Does exactly what it says on the tin. I can’t remember if it works for ALL structures or just houses and factories, but I suspect all. You get a lot back and your target loses a lot (or more depending on the structure).

/createvendor

Go on, guess what it does. Useful for creating vendors without going to the structure control terminal or whatever it’s called. Vendors are created in your inventory and require a house to be public, because what’s the point of having vendors if nobody can come in? (Storage. Company. Decoration. Moving on.)

/tip [amount] [charname]/target bank — e.g. /tip 1000000 Ysharros bank or /tip 1000000 bank (with target selected)

Tips someone from your bank with a 5% service charge if you’re lacking in ready cash as I always am. I could also be wrong on this one. I always forget the syntax. You’re welcome to try it out exactly as written above if you’re playing SWG. /halo

That’ll do for now. I may turn that list into a handier and dandier reference page if there seems to be enough interest. Or maybe just to remind myself how to bank tip someone. Speaking of mundungous tips, apparently I missed out on a ONE MILLION CREDIT handout two of my fellow Donkeys lucked into the other day. Dammit.

On the RL front, the rescuees are doing well, thanks to those who have asked. :) Here’s a crappy phone pic of them enjoying some sun. It’s still extremely hard to get near the black one, but she’ll creep closer when her sister is getting tickles.

girlygirls

 

SWG – Mastery and Miscellany

This CH stuff is all from a couple of weeks ago, in fact, because times they have been pretty busy in the meantime. More on that later (briefly, as it’s mostly RL stuff).

Ysharros went out hunting with the Donkey Business crew and one of the graul mauler lairs on Dantooine spawned an elite at the end. And not just an elite, but an elite + elite baby. Said baby, a Graul Mangler, took no less than seventeen attempts to tame (and trying not to kill the damn thing every time it aggroed after a failed attempt), even with Ysh’s awesome +taming camo pants. She needs more +taming gear, I know, and some whatever-the-taming-bonus-food is. Anyway, she got him. Suggestions for names welcome.

Graul_mangler

Later that same day I hit Master Creature Handler and headed back to Theed, the home base of the Stylish Corpse alt-collective (but not for much longer). I decided to hang out in front of the spaceport a bit and show off my Master status and awesome pets (as is apparently all the rage in front of Coronet Spaceport); within a few seconds another Master CH joined me, pulled out some of her pets, and we got to talking. A couple of minutes later we had half a dozen creature handlers of various levels hanging out and talking shop, and that is exactly what I loved about SWG — the fact that hanging out and chatting with like-minded folks can trump whatever else you might have been about to do. I’m glad to see it’s alive and well in the Emulator.

Turns out the Graul Mangler baby is pretty rare. I wasn’t able to find any info on it and nobody else had seen one before. It is now level 39 (compared to the level 35 normal mauler), so not much help because you can’t pull him out with another graul since Master CH is limited to 70 levels of pets. Baby stats below. I’ll try to remember to take a shot of the grown-up stats.

mangler_statsIf anyone knows or remembers anything interesting about these guys, do let me know in the comments.

Another couple of I’m-a-Master-CH-aren’t-I-awesome screenshots and we’ll move on. Note that those maulers are baby sized; they’re about three times that now.

Graul_babies

Ysh_MasterCH

In more recent news, the Donkey Business crew has finally decided to join an existing player association, SWG-University or <SWG-U>. In an amazingly Luddite turn of events, SWG-U doesn’t have its own website *gasp!*, but they are nonetheless an excellent, friendly, helpful and fun group of people, at least the ones I met. Their basic tenet appears to be identical to mine in most respects, i.e. “Don’t be a dick” — except I’m more exclusive (Just DON’T be a dick) whereas in the EMU, SWG-U is more “Don’t be a dick with characters in our guild” — which is about all they can control anyway, so it makes sense. A few Donkeys have already moved to the PA’s town on Lok (University Campus), and I plan on doing so as soon as time allows, which should be this week because work and that pesky Real Life game are finally letting up a bit. That’s my Swordsman/Doctor to be, Heloise, admiring the Lokian night sky.

University_Campus_Lok

Speaking of Real Life, here’s one of the reasons I haven’t been able to play much lately:

Twiglet_and_CocoWe rescued two Basenji girls who had to be rehomed together as they are litter-sisters and have only ever known each other. I gather they were supposed to be breeding stock for a puppy breeding operation, but the breeder had trouble finding a male and just gave these girls to a rescue. I guess it’s good that the breeder at least decided to rehome them (she says, trying to be charitable). For those who like dogs, might like Basenjis, and might like to rescue one, here’s the link to the rescue site: Basenji Rescue and Transport (BRAT). Do your research though: these dogs are not for everyone, hence the name of the rescue org.

Because the foster-mom was unable to meet us halfway, we decided to drive up to Missouri and get them, which was an almost 2000-mile round trip and, while fun, totally wore us out. But it’s going very well so far — the new girls get on really well with our dogs but are quite wary around people, especially the black one – who as the pic shows is not easy to catch on camera.

So that’s one of the things I’ve been busy with lately, why I haven’t played much, and why I haven’t blogged much. Hopefully the next few weeks will be a bit less frenetic. I wouldn’t mind having time to log into WoW again either…

 

SWG – I informed you thusly

It’s been linked all over the place these last couple of days, but I’m going to add a link here for the perhaps 1.2 people who may not have seen it elsewhere.

“It” being Raph Koster’s article, in which among other things he states

Well, my opinion is Jedi are evil. Heh.

I couldn’t agree more. The absolute BEST time to be in SWG (despite all the compromises and cuts and issues mentioned in the post) was at the beginning, before the first damn-it-to-the-ninth-circle-of-MMO-hell Holocron ever appeared on the scene. Brute force is not a good way to be doing anything in a game, unless all you care about is getting something just to say you got something.

I’ve never been like that, which is why I was so comfortable in SWG. And I know I’m not like most people, and that many people I know did (sort of) enjoy the Holocron grind — or maybe they simply enjoyed being able to say they were keeping up with the Jedi-Joneses — but yes, there was a time before Holocrons and the whole time after.

It skewed planetary economies, for one thing. It skewed player relationships, for another. And it turned the game into a giant, afk-if-possible grind-fest. That can’t be right. A repetitive activity is only a grind if it’s overly long and/or becomes tedious – but the profession grind, that was a grind and it fundamentally changed the nature of the game for a lot of people I knew, myself included. And everyone else, of course, as we ended up with NGEs and CUs and all the sturm und drang those brought with them.

The other thing that broke SWG, in my opinion, was caving in and putting in a loot system. But maybe that and Jedi aren’t that unrelated. Some players seem to care mostly about opening loot boxes and achieving things, even if they don’t value the achievement at all after it has been obtained.

Eh, I’m getting bitter and maudlin. Go read the article for yourself. Extra points if you know the title reference.

The Daedalus Project, part deux

It isn’t really, but it is Nick Yee from the above-mentioned Daedalus Project. If you’re a gamer, over 20, and haven’t heard of that rather massive study some years ago (in which I and a number of gamers I know took part), you might want to check it out. The data may be a little out of date but there’s still some really interesting stuff there.

Anyway, I got the following email today:

Dear friends and fellow gamers,
I’m happy to announce a new survey project aimed at gamers in general.
Fellow game researcher, Nic Ducheneaut, and I recently started a consulting practice around game analytics. As part of this, we’re gathering new survey data to explore a wide range of topics, such as: genre preference and motivations, hot button issues among gamers, etc. As with the Daedalus Project, we plan to share findings and conduct surveys at regular intervals.
To participate or to find out more about this study, go to:
http://nickyee.com/gaming/
And as always, I’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word about this survey to your fellow gamers!
Cheers,
Nick

I am hereby very happily spreading the word. And I really, really, really won’t even think the word GamerGate and how some people who study gamers (and write about them) have a firmer grasp on ethics and honesty than others.

Kickstarting stuff

Inspired by Atherne’s recent post, here are a few Kickstarter projects I’ve looked at and/or backed that still have a few (or more) days to go.

First off, a Shadowrun game which I initially backed out of nostalgia but became interested in for its own sake. I didn’t even play that much Shadowrun back in the day, but it was during my personal golden age of tabletop RPGs and I couldn’t not chip in a few bucks. The Kickstarter is doing quite well and closes in a few days. Click the image for the link.

HK final weekend

And then there’s THE MOST EPIC KICKSTARTER EVER, which set out to raise a modest 10k and ended up with Dr. Evil MEEELIONS. It also has a handful of days to go. I’m super glad my initial backing now comes with 8000% extra boxy and arty and cardy goodness, and look forward to getting hammered while playing it. Hopefully not literally.

Exploding kittens

Next is the MassivelyOP Kickstarter. Again, while I didn’t spend a whole lot of time reading Massively, I do respect it as a reporting presence in the gaming world and I’m tired of people in the gaming world losing their jobs. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Daybreak, and I’m sad both because I e-know or at least respect some of the folks involved and because I’ve got some skin in the game with Landmark and EQNext. AND because I should have known better than to believe the whole “this is going to be great for everyone!!!” announcements that were made last week.) I’m such a humble bundle that for the first time I backed a project for none of the rewards; also, the rewards were pretty lame, but that’s exactly NOT why I chipped in, so it’s all good.

I’m eagerly following updates on some older projects I backed. I have no idea if you can get hold of this stuff or not — if you can, yay for you, and if you can’t, ya boo sucks.

The first, Vow of Honor, is an RPG I backed for the above-mentioned nostalgia reasons, but now I’m really looking forward to getting the results into my hot little hands. For several years I’ve been wanting to get some tabletop RPG going again and it’s never really happened, for a number of reasons. (All right, curious Georges, here they are. 1) We only have 2 local players, one of whom is insanely unreliable (but I still love him) (not in a creepy cheating way) (he makes killer martinis – literally). 2) I don’t want to drive into ABQ and play with people I don’t know. That would mean leaving my Mum’s basement. 3) I haven’t yet looked into Virtual Tabletop options with any seriousness. 4) There is no four. The Holy Hand-Grenade taught us that.) On the bright side, I’ve wormed my way into a virtual game which should be starting Real Soon Now™ and can do some field-testing on the VT option he chose; it’s also a group with some dear, dear friends I haven’t seen in 15+ years, so I’m extra-keen.

And last but not least there’s The Breakfast Cult, another RPG I backed for a lark but now cannot wait to get, and for which my enthusiasm should require no explanation. Anything that manages about 8 references just in the title has got to be major win.

 

breakfast cult

I don’t really browse Kickstarter much, so most of these came to my attention through other people’s posts on Facebook and blogs and elsewhere. In that vein, if my beloved-and-much-abused-and-neglected readers are backing or watching anything interesting, please post a link in the comments below.

 

 

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