Nondescript

Blog 800: Don’t Be Fooled By the Blogs That I Got

Eight hundred blog entries! My target is always about 1000 words per entry, so I’ve come even close to that average, that’s… a whole lotta words. I could have written a whole fantasy epic novel sequence instead! But writing novels takes a hell of a lot more effort than… organising your thoughts on a subject into a coherent and structured narrative… … Uh… shhhhhhhh!

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Nondescript

Blog 797: Who Wants To Be Dungeon Master?

I’ve been playing tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons (5th edition) regularly for a couple of years now, with a small group of close friends. We started with one of our number running a big long campaign, then when we got to level 20 (and after I’d finally cajoled him into letting us fight the Tarrasque), the next started his big campaign. About half-way through the first, we took a small break to play the published adventure Dragonheist. During this second campaign it… fell to me to provide the interlude adventure.

Picture the scene: a man who has dedicated his life to spending years meticulously crafting scenarios hosting an infinitely-responsive adventure with only a week between sessions for planning.

Sweat dripping emoji, as the old saying goes.

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Nondescript

Blog 792: Monument

I’m big into software preservation. I think it’s important to maintain access to things as they were, not as you remember them or as you wish they were — accept them as they were, warts and all, or judge them to overall be wanting and discard them on that basis. This is most relevant in the area of games, where lots of classics are now unplayable and only remasters of various stripes can be had. Whether it’s new graphics or gameplay tweaks, most re-releases don’t fix only the compatibility issues to get things running again — they make changes too. I’m not here to argue whether those changes are better or worse, simply that they make these games different.

Luckily, I still have my original CDs for a selection of classics. While I can’t run some of these original versions on Windows 7 or 10, I still have the media — given a system that could run them, their ancient truths could be unlocked once more.

So I have found a system that can run them. I have built… a new old computer.

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Nondescript

Blog 784: I Get Locked Down, But I Get Up Again?

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything, that’s for sure. Before I get to rambling about the reasons (excuses?) for that, here’s a new video of Exon: from starting the game to playing an Arena match to indulging in the side-questy exploration that will make up… the actual game. Some glimpses of the inventory, journal, shop windows and even a surprisingly seamless performance of the save/load system are included!

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Gaming, Nondescript

Blog 763: If I Wrote… Starcraft II

Ahhh, Starcraft II is an interesting beast. I’ve never had any concern over eSports or online multiplayer, but I have huge respect for what SC2 did with its singleplayer campaigns — tossing the hyper-balanced melee factions out the window and expanding them with bonus units, configuration options and special abilities.

The things is… the meta-plot, of the Dark Voice returning to obliterate all life in the Koprulu Sector (The galaxy? The universe? It’s actually never really made clear that his ambitions are more than localised) is a bit of a mess. Like, Blizzard, you got away with that in Warcraft III because Archimonde was a literal demon — you can’t pull the same trick twice, and definitely not in such a different setting (at least not without groundwork that simply isn’t present).

Having said that, I think there are some good stories in the mix here, so maybe it’s time to do some reworking…

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Nondescript

Blog 762: Machine Reborn

There comes a time in everyone’s life when their computer dies unexpectedly. To be honest, I should be glad I’ve lasted twenty-odd years of computing without it ever happening. Every machine I’ve discarded has been because I wanted more power, not because they were from life untimely ripped.

Alas, it happened a few weeks ago to dear old Helios (named for the AI in Deus Ex), about 4 and a half years into his projected 5 to 6 year lifespan. This is the story of his death… and his resurrection.

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Nondescript

Blog 701: Rao Dao Zao On Tour

I’ve always been bound to the desktop, at least since the GameBoy gave way to the PC and all the delicious level editors it brought. I’ve flirted with cute netbooks once or twice, and while they have their uses as ultra-portable units they are also not very capable. I have never before owned a real laptop…

But with the most productive time of the year upon us, and family obligations looming that will drag me away from my studio and its brooding powerhouse Helios, I felt that it was at last time to equip myself with something that has a foot in both camps. Something capable, but still portable.

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Music, Nondescript

Blog 697: I Travel

It took me until far too late to even conceive of the notion that one could travel to a gig rather than waiting for it to come to one’s home town (or not). The first time I did it was to see Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s special gig in the Museum of Liverpool, then I followed them to London for the truly stellar Royal Albert Hall performance of Dazzle Ships and Architecture & Morality (I even bought the T-shirt for that one!).

Now, I’ve done it again, albeit to a slightly more modest venue. This time, I followed my favourite Greek synth-pop duo Marsheaux to… Norwich.

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