Monday, 1 September 2014

WarThunder - Simulator Battles

I've spent a lot of time playing WarThunder, I've in fact only played WarThunder this weekend.  Importantly however, I've almost exclusively been playing Simulator battles... Not with any luck, I hasten to add...

I've spent a lot of time looking at clouds and seeing nothing, but I have been flying well enough and getting used to take-off and landing procedures.

I have to give a big shout out to "Viper" a nice chap I met in the Simulator Battles room... And whom took me up in a battle - where he absolutely owned - in ME109E3's... And where I ended up hit by flak and returned to base just as the wife started shouting me... She didn't care I was fighting a war... But hey ho...

Later I flew out in my P47 and was immediately bounced from above, out the sun, by Hayabashi's...

Even later still I flew out in my HE112, and saw nothing but got killed by AI - yes I could not even out fly AI..

And finally I flew out in my FW190A1 again, saw no-one... Finally spotted a target, dove on it and got a couple of hits, pulling out however I suddenly saw above me two La5's... And they tore me to shreds.

I think I'm okay at flying... I'm below average at spotting.. and I'm utterly useless at manoeuvring.

Now I have lots of screen shots, however, I can't find the memory stick they're saved on, so trust me they were stunning.

But later on Sunday night I came back to play again and my funds are exceedingly down on WarThunder,  so I played a few Realistic Battles, made 100,000 credits and called it a day.

I've unlocked two aircraft this weekend - the upgraded P47 and the Fw190-A5... Neither of which I can afford...

But I'm determined to play more Simulator battles.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

WarThunder - Experiments - Fw190-A1 Taxi Handling

Having read this page we have the following snippet...

"The tail wheel is freely pivoting but can be locked by holding the control column back as on the P51B"

This leads me to want to experiment with my Fw190 take off procedure, which right now is:

1. Apply Brakes.
2. Start Engine.
3. Check Rudder trim is neutral.
4. Apply 25% power.
5. Release brakes.
6. Apply slight right rudder.
7. Progressively increase power and right rudder until rolling.
8. Allow the tail to rise at 70 mph.
9. Rotate and pull up at 110mph.
10. Retract gear.
11 At 130mph and climbing raise flaps.

It may have to become:

1. Apply Brakes.
2. Start Engine.
3. Check Rudder trim is neutral.
4. Apply 25% power.
5. Release brakes.
6. Apply slight right rudder.
** As the airframe straightens, pull the stick full back to lock the tail wheel **
7. Progressively increase power and right rudder until rolling.
8. Allow the tail to rise at 70 mph.
9. Rotate and pull up at 110mph.
10. Retract gear.
11 At 130mph and climbing raise flaps.

We can also make use of this, if in the game on the landing, as we flutter on near zero power and touch down, pull the stick full back to keep the tail down and lock the straight running tail wheel.



I've just found this item on DCS handling of the Fw190-D9... You can clearly see that the rudder use is not violent here, and the pilot talks of gentle use of the rudder.

I will be experimenting with the brake stearing in WarThunder later this evening (written Friday before posting, so there maybe another Addendum).

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cold Call Calamity - British Gas & Virgin Media


I say this because I've had two calls this morning, the first from purporting to be from British Gas, and the second supposedly from Virgin Media... Both have my ire, and both just got up my nose...

lets dissect, the first call came from a Nottingham number, an 0115 land line number, so I was willing to answer... Wondering who would be calling, there are NO BRITISH GAS resources here, so I answer and this is how it goes:

Me> "Hello"
Click, click, clunk

And I can hear a lot of chatter, from a call centre, or at least a room full of a lot of people farming scams on telephone...

Me> "Hello?"

And finally, a voice, with a very strong Indian accent...

< "Hello"

Its a very strong accent, and a very deep voice, almost like a novelty voice...

Me> "Yes, hello?"

< "Hello"

Okay, creepy...

Me> "Who's speaking please?"

< "Can I speak to Mrs Xelous?"

Me> "Who's speaking please?"

< "This is British Gas"....

If he'd have said Korma Gas, or Rogan Josh Gas, I'd have had him onto the wife in a shot, but instead British Gas... with a Nottingham number, going to an Indian Subcontinent Call Centre... This is what is screaming "SCAM!" to me.

Its a local number, and NOT a local line, nor a local accent... Well, not local outside of certain corner shops (no I'm not being mean, I'm just stating the fact this guy was Indian, and did not say "duck" at all, so it was a big give away he was not in Nottingham, not Britain).

Me> "You may speak to me"

< "No, Mrs Xelous"

Me> "I'm the co-account holder"

< "And your name?"

Me> "If you're British Gas and looking at our account details, you can see my name, so you tell me"

< "No you must pass security"

Me> "You called me..."

< "Security, your password, can you tell it to me?"

Me> "No, you just called me, you could be anybody... Prove you're British Gas, you pass my security, how much was my last bill?"...

And the phone hung up... I've been and looked and British Gas seem to call everyone via local internet routing, so I was talking to this guy on a collective IP based network voice link, and it was being routed over the internet to the UK and then out of a Nottingham based service provider.  That explains the number, but the behaviour if the call centre staff is appalling, and I had a good chat with a colleague about how they should handle this.

And Irony upon Irony, my phone rings again, its an 0800 number this time...

So I against my will, but out of curiosity, I answer... And the comic accents carry on.

This time, we have a very deep feminine voice with an extremely strong Caribbean accent, I'd like to say where exactly, but Jamaica, or St Lucia... Somewhere there, I'm not an expert.... So she's called me....

< "Hello"

She's a head of the British Gas man, she's said Hello...

Me> "Hello"

(I swear to god, I heard her suck her teeth)

< "Where Mrs Xelous?"

Me> "Pardon?"

< "Mrs Xelous please"

She's just fucking rude, simple as, no telephone manner, no politeness, just plain rude...

Me> "She's unavailable, who's calling pleaser?"

< "Virgin Media"

Me> "Well, you can talk to me about our account"

< "Give me your password"

Me> "No, you called me"

< "Password please"

Me> "I don't think you understand, you could be anybody, you called me, I do not know you're from Virgin Media, you just cold called me..."

Teeth definitely sucked this time...

< "I'll call back later"

And she just hung up...

Now this is just weird, two calls, both from different companies, both asking for the wife, and neither able to grasp that they were asking me to basically reverse the security order of normality... 

BRITSH GAS  and  VIRGIN MEDIA... If these were your call centre workers, they sucked, they sucked so bad I've come to my blog to record their attitudes for posterity.

The numbers I was called from:

British Gas - 01159540170

Virgin Media - 08004089341

The latter number is apparently a legit Virgin Media number, which has called other people

And these other recipients have also said " they swiftly went off the call..."

Friday, 29 August 2014

Dog Fights, Dye and Death - War Thunder FW190-A1 Simulator Handling

A strange 24 hours have besieged me, first of all, I got to play some WarThunder, I set up Track IR and my flight stick and set off doing touch and go landings in various aircraft under Simulator conditions.  More about that later.

We have had the wife brother visit, all good, except the wife bought a new mat for her room and it was PINK... not Pink, not pink... PINK!... She decided to wash this for the first time, and has promptly dyed a significant number of other articles PINK!... Shesh...

And Death... yes, I was greeted last night with the task of retrieving a dead starling from the flat roof, collecting it up it appeared the poor thing had flown into the window and broke its neck.  But because it has been raining for a couple of days it had been up there at least three days and yesterday was quite sunny... The smell... The Smell of Death... urgh.

Anyway, back to gaming.  I've also been playing Minecraft, lots of Minecraft, my base is coming into some shape, and I've still been doing lots and lots of caving.

But last night my gaming attention was on WarThunder and playing some Simulator battles, not I was not interested in the current furore over bombers flying easy mode in Simulator battles, instead I was out for some fighter action.  Now I'm not an inexperienced online aircraft pilot, having flown lots of IL2 Forgotten Battles, in both personal and squadron time.  My main experience was with the Fw190-D5 and the P51 in IL2.  So I set about flying my American line first.

Whenever I come to Simulator (or Full Real Battle as I still like to call it) I spend a good hours getting myself used to my aircraft, lacking the P51 being unlocked - yet - I took to the P47 my current research focus.  My general practice routine is take-off, three circuits, landing.  Take-off climb to altitude, aerobatics, test nose oscillation (porpoising), test roll, fly inverted, immelman turn, inverted immelman turn, barrel rolls and then rudder turning on hard turns followed by another landing.  And finally a take-off, three circuits, attack the ground target, fly at low-level, usually under a bridge or something else, followed by a landing.

That's pretty much my hours up, of course all this lets me tune my controls, check my seat position with the Track IR and of course get used to the aircraft, its only a pity this difficult flying doesn't get counted on your Pilot log/player card.

Anyway, I did all this practice in the P47, switched to find a battle only to be informed "This Nation is Temporarily Unavailable".

So, I went to my Fw190, unfortunately still only the A1 version but I'm only 5K Xp from the D5... I started off by test flying a take off and I was immediately treated to a wild amount of left hand torque from the prop... A very very strangely high amount of left hand Torque... Now I've read the Bf109 was notorious for this (and experienced that in other simulators), but the Fw190 design was intended to improve on the 109, and they did improve the torque handling... With the wide track undercarriage... I need to recheck my memory against other Sims and perhaps the D5 model.  But the Fw190A1 is very very difficult to control on the ground.

Set on the runway, no problems, Revving up to 25% throttle with the brakes on, and you can move around and taxi effectively.  But the aircraft has a horrible tendency to spin around to the left still.  

If we take a look at the A1's cockpit we can see this indicator

Now, being a game we don't get any Feel for the world, the only feedback is visual and audible, the key visual feedback for the yaw are the two indicators, lets highlight them with a bit of colour

The upper orange line marks where the movement of the impetus we're giving via the rudder, I would love to be an actual pilot and be able to tell you what this control is, but I'm not a pilot so lets call it our "yaw input"... yeah, so our yaw input is telling us how hard against the pedals our legs are working.

The lower purple line marks the current inertial force the aircraft is experiencing in the yaw.  So, if the black dot swings all the way to the left, the aircraft is going to slew its tail left.  To counteract this I need left rudder, to move the upper dot over the lower... Balancing the aircraft whilst on the take-off run is a full time job.

Now, I'm not using pedals, I'm using a finger rudder on the throttle of the Seitek X45 flight stick, reaching this - even with my fairly long typists fingers - Now this makes me immediately scream "Get a pair of rudder pedals", but I can't afford them and I've had precious little WarThunder flight experience.

Here we can see I've put on left rudder, and the aircraft has swung the opposite way...

This series of shots shows us the aircraft swinging around as I test the throttle and rudder together, try this out yourself, taxi around, be patient.  Eventually try some take-off runs.


Here we see us in the air in the Fw190A1 just after take off, we've bringing the gear up, but as you can see the aircraft is effectively flying squewed to the left through the yaw.  I'm pulling opposite rudder and trying to stay airborne.  This gives us a very busy take-off procedure in the A1, and something which feels very alien compared to my experience elsewhere.

Landing with the Fw190A1 was far more of a success for me, coming into line with the runway early is important with that radial engine blocking the view forward, drop the gear and landing flaps at 190mph (yes I fly in MPH not KM) when below 500 feet.  Now the practice runway for the Fw190A1 is not brilliant, there are trees at both ends of the runway.

If this were a real airbase I'd have gone out with a saw and chopped all the approach trees down!  As the number of times I find myself brushing their tops and hearing them was very worrying.  But drop the nose and drop the throttle to near idle and flutter into the landing.

Coming in with power on results in the aircraft wanting to swing and roll left once again, the roll to the left naturally makes me want to push right stick to counter act it and the results are always the same:

The left torque is a killer in the Fw190A1.

That all said, don't always take the Test flight experience as a valid representation of the aircraft, with the Fw190A1 I noted that in Test Flight one can use Aileron trimming, there is no such feature on the combat aircraft.  So the flight models may not be the same... I in fact strongly suspect they are not, because jumping into the A1 in a player combat mission resulted in two very different problems.

The first mission I took off, made it to the cloud base, joined combat on the wing of a 109-F4, who took on a Russian I-16.  As the combat broke I got onto the tail of an I-16 myself and made hits, only to have the Fw190A1 simply refuse to nose over and gain speed, it flew inverted with my pulling back on the stick refusing to nose over and dive.

My idea was to do low yo-yo and come into the I-16 on the upward stroke then roll over and come down again, in a high scissor action.  The actual flight ended up with the I-16 turning flay, my 190 failing to gain speed and then I was hit in the left wing... Looking to my left I saw NO marks, nothing... I'd heard the hit noise and been informed by the game my left wing was hit, but looking there was no mark, the control surfaces were all in place, the control surfaces still moved.  But if I took off any of the right stick I simply rolled left... Crippled I thus flew straight for 5 more seconds as I tried to turn with the rudder and the aircraft just went out of control.

Looking at the replay there was no damage shown on the wing... But clearly the aircraft wanted to handle as if there were no wing on the left side!

A shame, and in the aftermath I simply joined the battle queue again and off I went, this time a desert map - don't ask me to be specific - but the take off run went badly wrong... The 190 left hand torque lifted me far left into the dust, I nosed up too early to miss an AA battery and the aircraft yawed left wildly - despite hard left rudder - and it tore the left wing off on the ground.

This torque seems very wrong, murderous, and combined with my finding the test-flight model to be different has me strongly suspecting a bug or fault in the game.

Tonight I intend to get IL2 Forgotten Battles out and try the Fw190 in there and also the D5 in WarThunder, see if they're the same.  A shame, as I had hoped to buy premium time this weekend and the week after next - a holiday from work for me - and play many simulator hours.

Oh, and the final drama of the day, around half eight a knock at the door found me facing a drunk woman asking for Richard and Porscha... No not here... "This is XXX address"... "yes, but there's no Porscha here"... she was very drunk.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Story Time - My Best Worst Day

Really this is a worst, best, kind of day thing... but first, let me set the scene, I graduated and had a good job I never really applied myself at; but luckily I got head hunted and promised riches beyond my wildest dreams in another job.  Fantastic!  Also I'd gone through five years of secondary school then two years of college and had a massive crush on a girl, and she was now my girl friend... only took me five years beyond the end of college to get her, but I got her...

So, I'm at this nice new job, and I've got the girl I wanted, but... She's a bitch... She hates me really, she was fine until she graduated as a junior school teacher, at which point she became so supercilious and strange she never turned off, and came home and was just a pain in my rear, you know she was either moaning about work, moaning about being a woman (yes this means moaning about periods) or hanging out with her ex - who used to and I believe carried on beating her.. More about that later.

All was going okay, I moved into the new job... But had to spend more and more time trying to please this bemoaning pain in the arse and got more and more tired, things at work got a big sketchy, they didn't really know what they wanted me to do, or understand the technology I could offer them - this was the days of the early internet and people wanted a "program" to happen in browsers but there were basic problems like I was barred from using the internet... To write Internet based applications.... YAWN...

Long and the short a day came when I knew something was going on; my spider senses were twinkling; I got into work, and someone had been on my PC, my password was changed, I was locked out of the network and there was that little note "just pop by and see Vanessa"... Meah, I knew it, I was canned, so off I went canned... Gone, I knew it, and I left no big deal... I'd even thought the writing was on the wall for a week because of a business problem, and project cancellation.

Anyway, I get into the car park, call the girl... No answer... In fact my call was actively rejected, hmm, weird, got some news about me for once, not you... Either that, or she was busy coming on, or coming off or enjoying the seeming fifteen minutes of level brain flight between the two states.  So I called the folks... And I remember laughing as they answered... "Well, that job is down the shitter"....

I wish I'd never said this to my Mother as since then and now (18 odd years) she's never shut the fuck up about it, I've been in my current job for 11 years, and never lost it, yet she's convinced I'm going to loose this job any minute... Not be made redundant or leave, but actively fired for being a douch or something... Yeah, she'd not make a great character reference for me.

Anyway, job canned, I get in the car and I drive home with a feeling of a great weight having been lifted from my shoulders.

But I'm driving home to she who must rule my life without actually wanting to commit to me, or sleep with me, or be nice...

And I open the front door, and nearly piss myself laughing even harder, pushed back through the door are her keys, she's left...

That's why she didn't answer the phone... So I have a scout around the house, yes the tampons, the always panty liners, the cloths and even a picture of her all gone, thank god.

I immediately celebrate with a trip to the shops, buy a huge £20 beef joint and roast it and eat great slices of it on fresh bakery bread... something I was banned from cooking, because she doesn't like the taste or smell... 

Either way you cut this, it should have been a terrible day... Employment lost, girlfriend of four years gone... 

You know what, it was the best fucking day ever!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Film Non-Sense : Re-Animator

We've been watching some really weird films of late, I've been trying to get the wife to watch something's I consider good, but which she just considers too much trouble...

My ultimate aim is being getting her to watch, understand and get "Amelie" in French and "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" in Russian...

Last night we started off with "Re-Animator", something I consider a classic... I leave the obvious observations behind, but something struck me as hilarious, something I'd not spotted before or at least not been conscious of being a teenager watching this mid-80's video nasty.

There's a scene in the film where they first animate a corpse, and the Dean of the university comes down and challenges them... And... He gets killed... So they reanimate him, of course, like you do... He of course goes crazy, so they lock him up in a padded cell, so the next shot...

We have him in his padded cell, he's salivating blood, he's banding his head on the glass......


And this is where I lost it....

This padded cell, the window opens on his office... With his awards on the wall...!?!?!?!

I was so busy laughing I couldn't figure out, "Did they bring his awards to show him how human he was?"  OR... "Did this sick fuck have a padded cell to watch random victims bounce off the walls as entertainment?"

I'm not sure which was worse?  But it entertained me....

Especially when his daughter is co-oped to sign the frontal lobe surgery in that very room...

Come to think of it, the office is probably the "bad" doctor there... But why has he got a padded cell in his fucking office?!?!?!?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Minecraft Ordeal 4

For my Minecraft Ordeal of late there's so much to tell... I've been renovating my home base, expanding and linking places with rail, I've been in the nether and finally found netherwart so started to brew potions, I've also found a village and turned it into a fortified position and also caved...

I've caved so much that the skeleton spawner has more than quadrupled the number of skeletons it generates, but my caving duties are still not done through my hole base chunk.


I've done the base out in a combination of yellow and orange colours, notably a lot of sandstone, for which I like the texture I have loaded...

My rail links come into a new arena like area I've opened up off the side of the base

Where rail links slice at a set level I've kept them below ground and capped them with glass causeways

And of course this new rail infrastructure has been pushed down into my dep mines

I've kept the inside pond in the base, for night fishing... Though I'm yet to find any wolves or cats to tame...

My next projects will be a highrise rail link to the fortified village, villager breeding and then I have a stables to build with the many mules I've acquired.