Wednesday, 13 May 2015

BBC Copy Proofing Still Bad

For a while I've taken to pointing out faults in stories on the BBC, and I'm still flabbergasted when mistakes are made, not least silly things like this:

Taps his feet... Not Foots....

It's so annoying, because this article isn't rushed, isn't really under duress, and unlike my own blog it's an official news outlet, this is written by a professional reporter and ergo professional writer.  Gah.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

I'll never pay to play an MMO again...

That is a bold statement, as a player with a major elitist streak in my past, many years in vanilla WoW and later versions, running guilds, running corporations in Eve and having some damn fun whilst doing it, how can I sit here in 2015 with tall that in my past and say I'm not going to pay to play an MMO again?

Well, Russia is one source, with games of the quality (damn high) and quantity of WarThunder, World of Tanks and other titles it's hard to say why to buy into the idea of paying subscriptions.

More traditional MMO's like Lord of the Rings, you can access that game free, but pay for content, and if you've paid for content you then still get access to it when you stop paying...

World of Warcraft has the opposite model to this the moment you stop paying they cut you off, your dealer cuts you off, and you loose that world, and to some extent you loose yourself, because in these MMO's we, as players, invest a little of ourselves in those character, they are us as we walk and live those virtual lands after all.

So, to be cut off from them leaves us wondering, leaves us missing them... But that pull, in the current economy is not enough to make me want to pay.

It's not essentially Sophies Choice is it... Sub to play a game, or eat better food... I know as a bit of a fattie, I'm picking the food, and so that leaves me playing free to play games.

Dungeons and Dragons Online has graced these pages 5 years ago, though not as good as Wow it was there, LOTRO also, there are others I've tried.

So, if Blizzard come out with a new game "Titan", whatever that maybe, what would I do?... Well, the first thing is read all about it, but all that time I'd not be thinking "yes yes yes"... I'd be thinking "how much how much"... and if it's more than a dollar, I'm out of there, I'm not paying £29.99 for a title then £10 a month any more, ever.

Is this a sign of the times?... I suppose it's a sign of my maturing, and choosing to spend my time more carefully, as I've gotten older the amount of time I have to play has lessened.  So, if I get an hour a night, that's 7 hours a week, that's then what 28 hours a month... so just over a day... If I'm paying a £10 monthly subscription, those companies have to run their servers 24/7 I get that, but I'm paying £10 for 1 day... That's expensive.

The counter argument is "play more", playing every day that's 33p ish a day... That's cheap, but who as an adult, as a real person, with a real life who has time to play every day?... Every hour of every day even for some titles to achieve what you need to as a top notch achiever?... Not me...

Students maybe, people with that ability to run on 2 hours of sleep... But not me, not a middle aged man.

What shocks me about this whole feeling I have is that, I'm actually at a time in my life where I could spend on games, but I don't want to, the price per play time does not stack up, free is much more liberating and I never have that niggling feeling that; if I put that title down for a week, I'm loosing out; for free, I can't loose out... And the title itself can't, though it has to run 24/7 server power and time is very cheap now, more so than 15 years ago when I became an online player.

And that server time and cost for the publisher can be offset by premium or shop offered items in the game.... This i believe is where AAA MMO titles now have to go.

Five years ago, I'd have had the opposite opinion, if I went back and asked myself, even in the pages of this very blog I've said that, but I have to say now the opposite is in my mind.  I want to play for free and spend maybe a little now-and-then on top-up items.

Where does this leave the next generation of MMO's for me...

It leaves me hoping, maybe in vein, that they are free to play.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


There's not a log going on, save to say I've been reading and following the Pathfinder RPG game rules.  Which are essentially D&D v3.5 rules. Message ends.

Friday, 1 May 2015

History of Sexual Violence During World War 2

Maybe I'm being a revisionist, maybe I'm reading or learning history different to others, maybe I'm just wiser or perhaps, and I suspect this to be the truth, the journalist who created this report, and the supposed masses who are ignorant of sexual crimes during and especially in Berlin at the end of World War 2 are just ignoring the obvious.

I'm talking about this report from the BBC:

It talks about Soviet troops raping and assaulting Nazi German women, we'll make the distinction that they were still Nazi's and as the report itself says "in the west German suffering was ignored due to the guilt for Nazi crimes", and crimes they were.

The wrath, pillage and rape of Soviet citizens was widely known, and understood, I was taught about it and in learning about World War 2, and the waves of troops following Operation Barbarossa it was generally understood to me, by my teachings, that the Germans were animalistic and treated the Soviet and sub-humans, and that included raping and killing the women and children.

I had read an account of a German officer on the Volga front who was "only interested in a little buggery", so whilst his troops had the farm wife and teen age daughter, he took the 7 year old boy to the barn... "All were killed later by the unterfeldwebel, who took great delight in stabbing their necks and holding them up by their hair as the life drained out of them" the account read, I remember reading this at around 12 year of age, it chilled me to the bone... What are people actually learning now-a-days?... Only of the heroic struggle?... Only of the Combat of Arms?  Only what Call of Duty teaches them?

The rape of German women, was not ignored, indeed there is an interviewee in the Thames Television series "The World At War", a German man named Friedrich Luft; a Berliner, and he explains how when the Red Army came (38m20 on wards) other members of the house hid whilst he lead the Soviet soldiers to two dead women's bodies from another flat... he explains, "I told them these are my women, our only women, in their broken German, or what they called German, they gave me condolences, but then moved onto the next house to get what they wanted there".

It always struck me more how condescending, about the Russians ability to speak German, and how lacking of guilt for the whole war that German man was... He comes across as a complete arsehole... But it never struck me as he was revealing a dark secret in the rape of Berlin, it was common knowledge, the status-quo.

The essence of the problem with German and Soviet peoples being ravaged of course is that, there are reports both German and Soviet forces pillaged and dismembered Poland in 1939, wind forward to 1945 the allies in the West were fighting the Axis alongside the Soviets, so the pall of guilt lies heavy over the honour of the victory gained.

It's clear in the post war Soviet Block talk of Soviet forces committing such crimes were forbidden, but why not talk of it now?  Is this another one of those Russian idiosyncrasies that they can't face?

I find many computer games made by today's, or even my, generation of Russian (War Thunder being a good example) have a very rosy idea of how the second world was was conducted... 

This is a very interesting ideal of what was going on, and is reflected in the game with the performance and action of the "Russian" aka Soviet vehicles...  If we spin into the "Making of" blog post...

"we worked with a British studio, veterans of video trailer production. Together with them, we have created one of the most successful trailers referencing the military. But the British have their own history and their own view on the Second World War and we, the descendants of our Soviet heroes had our own war and own memories of it"

And it seems, certainly sexually, for the "honour" of the Soviet soldiers sake yes, Yes Russia you do have a different view of the Second World War, and it seems; like in Germany; it's slightly too far through rose tinted glasses.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Week Without a Post?

Could I leave you, my darlings, without a post for a whole week?... No, of course I couldn't.

So what is going on?... Well, I'm trying to arrange a Friday night D&D game with a group of mates - but two of them are being quiet on the availability, one doesn't have a webcam or mic to join in with, one is eager and I'm getting blue balls about the whole affair.

I've been playing some games, notably Cities Skylines, and I've been made to play a lot of H1Z1 Battle Royale for the wife, our best result has been #2 so far, so near, and yet so far from a win!

Today see's the release of WarThunder patch 1.70, their 1945 release, and it's biggest item for me is the new British Naval Aviation line, which I'll look forward to unlocking and getting to ace status.

Beyond all that, I think we're going to be busy Saturday, the father-in-law is having his boat launched (seriously, a whole boat) so we've got to go to that.  Then Sunday we're meant to be going to see some friends, but I don't know what that'll entail.  If I can throw together a D&D game and their kids are in the mood I'll drag that with me and make them play.

Development wise for the Dungeon Crawler, I've been tidying up some of the C++ code under the hood, and I've formally sorted out the XML loaders, so that's the format for everything, settings and screen layout will be the next feature I look at.  Doors are still a work in progress, and I'm still mulling the whole steps thing...

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Beard Gate

I'm beginning to process the interactions I've had over the last week, with the grief and trying to keep busy I've shluft off a lot of stuff and am only now processing it... One item on the list was I had to collect one of the poodles from the clippers...

The lady who does the clipping, I've known her since 1989... So boy, teen and man... in 1994 I grew a beard...

So, 21 years... I've had a beard for 21 years....

She looked at me when I collected the dog the other day and said...

"Oh you're not growing a beard are you"

Go figure... Go figure.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Dungeon Crawler - C++/SDL - Loading Maps

Very quick update, I've been taking the XML Maps from the Editor in it's current form and loading them into the actual game now, this has required a change of several subsystems inside the Grid/Map loading code.

The most important change has been caching one copy of each image, so minimising memory use, and then customising them at a surface level to add walls, drawing all this once and then just rendering the one single image we hold in RAM, whilst the rest of the images can be dropped out of memory to again free more resources.

Anyway, here's a screen shot of the game (background left) with the map editor open showing the map in design.

Path finding of course routes around the walls, and tiles can be toggles as blocking or not, opening up the ability now to add doors or even hidden/false/magic doors.