Wednesday, 16 December 2015

WarThunder - Teams a problem for 109 players

Just to emphasise that previous post was no fluke, here's the team list after 5 minutes of play in my latest game flying out the 109G2 against a Russian team...


Yep, that's 5 minutes of play, and on the first pass we lost nearly ALL our fighter, why?... Because they only climbed to around 4000 meters altitude and got into a swirling diving match with the Russians to low-level, where the Russian then dominated and destroyed them all, in very quick order.

As for me, I got to 5,500 meters, chose to dive on one target, and then found I was going maximum speed with Russian after Russian ducking under my guns, until as I passed out the other side, this is what was in my rear view mirror....


This time, I got one hit on a target, earned me 400 lions, I destroyed a ground MG position for a little more and then I decided to just head on with the lot of them, the first guy set me on fire with a shot that for me would have just been a sparkle effect... from there on I just blazed away unable to move.

WarThunder - BF109-E3 & BF109G6 Matches & Teams

My strategy in both aircraft has basically been the same, climb for altitude off to one side, then fly at a shallow climb into the combat area, at the BR3.7 and below range I find everyone doing the same thing, we get wins, we get kills... So fun has that been, and so successful I've unlocked both the skins for the E3...


So, I jumped up to my next unaced 109, which is the G6.  Here's my progress on the modules:


And things are not getting any better, it's agonisingly slow to unlock anything, because either I'm shooting and hitting Russian aircraft and they put out their fires (scouts honour, I've hit La-5, Yak3 and Yak9's, had them burning as well as any other target - which would go down - only to have them put their fire out, and worse still they loose no fighting ability).

Now, I refuse to believe these players are excellent, in fact in the last game they were good to average opponents, but my team going into them was abysmal, first off, the German team, aside from myself off to one side and two chaps in the middle failed to climb, so straight off we're playing 9v9 and two thirds of our planes are at lower altitude... Next, they enter turning low level fights with lend-lease P39's, Yak9's and Yak3's.

At altitude, I'm coming into the combat zone at 5,500 altitude, 300km/h and looking for a target to dive on, by the time I'm there though there's only two other members of my team left and I have to dive into and through the whole enemy team.

760km/h screaming down on a Yak3, he's going a good 550km/h, my controls are stiff, but I'm waiting for him to try to duck under my guns... There, he ducks, I swerve... My shells totally miss, because of course even now going 600+ the guy looses no control, he can pull a tight barrel roll and rudder control it... I'd be in g-lock "Lost Control" doing that, but not he, for he has ghost of Comrade Stalin blowing into his belly button to keep him upright.

I pull up and away, not wanting to turn, 760/780km/h indicated, I pull up... from 30m alt.... 1600... I'm already down to 300km/h speed... I look behind....


Yes, that's the whole entire enemy team on my six now, and you see that La-7, he's closing that gap with me... But he was closing that gap even when I was going 700km/h.

I'm dead, and this is the annoying thing, I didn't do anything wrong... Diving into the fray at all was my mistake, I should have stayed at 5.5K, climbing to flyaway and live to fight another day.

Whenever I fly against Russian aircraft the same can only be said, I don't get kills, and I get killed.

I don't know, after a month of solid flying the American and German lines, maybe I need to take a leaf out of Tsung Tsu's book and get to know my enemy?  The problem being I don't have much advancement in the Russian aircraft line, since I dislike them, nearly all my vehicle progress in the Soviet tree has been tanks.

The overwhelming conclusion I have though, is that many players at the higher BR rating have either not learned how to energy fight, or don't realise they need to energy fight Russian planes, so I find myself alone and out numbered nearly all the time.

I've been trying to check this on different servers, EU, US, SA, RU... All the servers, it's not the players, it seems to be the match up, at the higher BR playing Germans in Realistic battle I get bad teams.

And this isn't to say I'm the best team member to get, but at least I try and climb, I try and get energy, and then I try to find targets, but then those targets are already in turning fights at sub 1000meters, it's a hell of a waste to have gotten to 5000+ meters, and even more of  a waste to dawdle all the way down to try and attack, they already know I'm there, and they're far more manoeuvrable to dodge out the way.

Successes are few and far between in the G6 and above, in the E3 they're plentiful and fun... The difference?... BR and the teams at those BR's.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

WarThunde - Performance - A Girl Gamers Opinion

In my quest for better Energy Fighting I've had a friend of mine reporting back to me about her efforts to do the same, starting as a fresh, but wary realistic battle pilot.

Her first problems were getting an aircraft to climb to usable altitudes, whilst I myself have been reaching to the 5,000 meters and up altitudes, she reported to me that being around 3,500 meters was about the average for her climb before engagement.

However, I realised she was quickly unlocking planes and jumping into them without upgrading them, so I've had her work on unlocking the upgrades for just one aircraft.  She chose the P38e, the first P38, as she prefers the nose mounted armaments and has only worked on the US air tree so far.

So, this P38e, rather poor in climb and acceleration, with a constant overheating problem.  She reports she can WEP to around 2,500 altitude, then has to level off, back off the throttles to bring the heat down out of the red indication.

This limitation, even after unlocking the better engines and other performance modifications left the plane under armed, and so with the ammunition belts unlocked she began to play, striving for altitude and then diving on targets.

Her problem, immediately struck her, as the same as mine... She could dive and attack, but targets were often initially only visible at very low altitude, so she's waste all her potential energy at near ground level dives...


Some targets would be at least set a light and go down, others would be problematic to hit, easily ducking under the guns of the low agility P38.


Whilst other targets seemed to only be hit after they've passed...


Her overall impression, un-inspired by me, is that once she had dived, once she had got into the tangle, trying to help team mates and knocking down targets; she would be immediately jumped by, usually unseen, more manoeuvrable opponents.  Whom would be on her tail and tear her to shreds.

Only with the intervention of a team mate - which she assures me has been dramatically infrequent - has she reported escaping to repair or at least make a soft landing somewhere, or even just flying around damaged unable to land, hoping for the end of the match.

This situation, seems rather odd, for historically speaking American aircraft, didn't operate in this manner, this mad clamour for altitude didn't happen, they had a leisurely climb from their bases in England then up over the English Channel, a minimum of 26 miles, but usually more like 40.  In the game, and yes I know it's a game, one gets between 10 and 20 kilometres.  Very much less than half.

German fighters I've found do climb well in this space given in game, but this perhaps reflects their post 1940 role of mainly being interceptors on the Western Wall, prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, I'm not sure, but certainly this cat and mouse, dive to kill then be killed situation is related to the balance of performance at height or manoeuvrability at low level.

I'm not going to say anything about the seeming over performance of any nation versus another, but certainly the tangle of an Energy Fighter, finding itself below a more manoeuvrable opponent simply results in a dead energy fighter.

So far I've not found a case where my 109 can out climb a P47, or P51, I've not found a situation where in a dive I can outrun them (these being the opponents I now mostly face), and don't even get me onto the subject of performance with mid tier Spitfires.

As for Susan, her problem has been disengaging also, she can't turn, she can't out climb, she has only the P38e model... One can say "Use a better plane", but still it should be a better plane than the ones it's pitted against, America had the choice of model and employed the P38 for a reason, but that reason in game is not it's fitness for purpose, it's it just being there.... being part of history.

Realistic, she says, should be more real.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Weekend : New Cooker

It has been a long weekend, we've been doggy sitting, and also finally we've had the new oven arrive, so had actually got to eat properly...



Here's the new baby cooking Sunday's Chicken Roast.

Indesit, Fan assisted, Electric, A rating all for less than £170... I can't complain.

I was very busy during the wekend, I've still not managed to get teh X55 rehooked up to the re-installed PC, but I did get to play some WarThunder, and ran into two nice fellows from across the Atlantic, CircleVIII and EvictedSaint, with whom I saw my energy fighting techniques are not that bad, just perhaps I need to start flying with wingmen, as we never lost a match together.

About wingmen, I've been promising to get back to the Wolfpack application I made, and get back onto their TS, after the fun of the first meeting, but I've found the serious high amounts of time for simulated play have not been coming my way.

I've been in a bit of arcade and a lot of realistic level battle.


Friday, 11 December 2015

WarThunder - BR6 - 109 Performance - Help Me?

I've got to preface this post with, I do not want this to be the usual "Russian Bias" rant at WarThunder, because in this case I've taken a look and I don't think it's Russian Bias which is my problem, it's lack of skill on my part... Let me explain.

I spent a fair amount of time last week playing WarThunder, playing Realistic Air Battles flying out the early tree 109's.  I flew the E-3, F2, F4 and G2 variants.  I got kills, lots of kills, I felt no frustration and I aced the G2-Trop for my trouble and unlocked the G13 and got well into 66% of unlocking the K4 variant.

Good progress for me, saying I can't play very often...

So, this week, I wanted to make progress on the 109 tree above the G2, specifically the G10 and G13, and unlock the K4.

Frustrated, wouldn't cover my feelings, first of all the default ammunition seems to make no impact on targets, I raked a P51D's belly with the dual 13mm MG and cannon of the G13, only to have it register 2 hits, I've sprayed seconds of fire at captured 190's only to see them sparkle, take no damage and turn away.  I've had to really calm myself down about not having the decent, or any, ammo belts unlocked for these planes and soothed myself with thoughts of "it will be better soon".

Unfortunately for me "soon" never came, I've been grinding all week, and all week I've had the use of the 109 thrown in my face, on one notable occasion I became the focus of every eye on my team - as they'd all been shot down - and I was back at 5K altitude (having already landed a crippled crate to repair and rejoin the fight), and all I got was abuse of a team member, whom was only a level 6 on his player card but of course knew all the tricks in the book, despite his having been shot down and my now dogfighting, not one, but four opponents at high altitude.  Of course I lost that dogfight, I did set an La-5 on fire, but he didn't go down, no of course he didn't... Meanwhile I've been burned, exploded, wings ripped off, pilot shot by a single clicking round from a B17 (yes through 83.9mm of armoured cockpit glass my pilot was sniped by a single round from a B17 gunner at over 400meters distance, didn't know a .50 cal had that penetration... oh, oh it doesn't, so my pilot must have had a heart attack that game!)

It's been dismal, and demoralising, and so I've just played another game... in the G10, I climbed high, the highest in my team, at 6K I leveled out and took a look around, there's 4 friendlies to my west, 2 to my east, east looks bad it's a Do17 and a 109 in a snarl up around 4K alt with a pair of Russian fighters (an La-5 and a Lagg3), I turn to dive to help just as both friendlies burn... Too late, too late, damn me.

The fight to the west is going on, badly for my team, but I see a 190 flying alone towards the western fight, he's right below me, he's moving, suddenly I see black smoke, he was on the tail of a friendly!... Damn it, Damn it!... But at least the friendly calls out his alt... 2.5K...


I drop my throttle, align my wings with his flight path and roll over and dive, I'm coming down on his six and he's not moving, not turning... he's not seen me!!!!


I come into firing range, and I put the pipper a head of him, and let my guns fire... the white and green streaks along his top side, I hear the squelching sound made by squib hits, I get one hit registered, two hits registered... and I flash past him and pull up to take my energy back into altitude.

Two hits, from a good 2 second burst... None of them made a difference, as I look over my wing, he's turned left and dived for the ground.


Unfortunately, I've been spotted, or he's called for help, so I see one of the La-5's to the west turn right, break from the swirling dogfight and start to come towards me... I'm zoom climbing up, 4000, 5000...5250.... before my speed is drained and I level off to make speed....

The La-5 was at around 2K altitude, some 8.4km away... Not only has he covered that distance, but he's climbed to 5000 meters and is going considerably faster to still be closing the distance with me...

HOW THE HELL DID HE DO THAT!  This is the core of my rant, I don't know how he did this, I don't want to believe Gaijin have programmed in some feature of the Russian planes I don't know about, or if you play from a Russian IP you get some benefits (the guy was speaking Russian in chat, I'm not just making this up).

His La-5, which has it came close was the Fn model, from a turning fight around 200km/h, had covered 7km of space and climbed 3000 meters in a mere minute.  UFO like performance!

But, I can see him coming, I'm now flat level, WEP on and gaining speed.... 350km/h.... He's still gaining on the distance to me... 1.4km.... 375km/h... He's still climbing, still gaining on the distinace to me 1.2km.... 390km/h.... He's not climbing, but he is still gaining on me... 0.8km... He's clearly levelled off, ready to start shooting, he wants speed now to close the gap...


I decided my only chance, is to turn on him, so split-S, inverting and pulling through, accelerating into wep at a point just below his aircraft towards me, as he starts to fire (I see his tracers) I return a burst of fire then his my rudder to skid past his shots... We flast past one another, I'm going 550+km/h back towards him... And I keep going straight, I'm soon at 4,500m altitude, 700km/h.... He is turning, horizontally!... The slowest kind of turn.... Yes I think, I'm going to escape this guy, or at least he's going to bleed energy now... surely!


Is he heck has like loosing energy, he's back on my tail now, we're going in the opposite direction, I'm at speed level, he's speeding up and already back behind me, I roll some, he's rolling with me, I don't want to loose my energy...

TRACERS!

Red tracers, flashing past my cock-pit from below, it's another Russian coming up at me, in a steep climb, he's below but coming fast, as I pass over the top of him he misses me, and I push the nose down to speed up more, I'm heading for base.


I'm down to around 2.5K alt now, and the IAS is red with warning, the enemies are not following me into this dive, I've got the speed, I level out... 750Km/h indicated, I'm sure I'll rip my wings off... WEP, vibration, altitude gone... Persuers... 

Well, they just gently now follow me in the dive, they catch me, at the bottom of my level out they're already on me, as if for every ounce of effort  I have, they have 1/3 extra...

I admit this plane is not unlocked, it's fully stock, but I'm struggling, utterly and totally struggling... I don't think I've played this wrong, I came from height, attacked an enemy, no dice, I climbed back to altitude... They followed, with ease.

All the rest of my team are down, I'm it... I'm low and fast, they are diving on me, can I take at least one with me, make this worth my effort?


I pull up, trying to take them with me, trying to lure them into a rope-a-dope, they've been blazing away with their limited ammunition, I have plenty... I go up, up... and up... 3000, 4000, 5000... They're behind me, the lagg however, is right on top of me... I'm at 200km/h... I kick the rudder over and wing over at the same time to cut the corner.... and WHAM

The 20mm shells from the La-5 cut my right wing off.

Never mind, it was a good fight, right?... I flew okay, they flew well, it was just numbers, there were two on me, two more on the way, right...

Yeah, but that 190... I had him dead to rights, he should have had more than two measly hits, he should have died... My shooting is bad?...

I go back to an unlocked plane, using an air target belt, the 109-E3.... Two planes shot down, one assist.... No my shooting is okay, I'm not going mad.  And yes I understand the slower flight path of the wing mounted 20mm from the E3 compared to the later G's prop mounted cannon.

So, I have to unlock those better belts on this plane, right, I need to find some way to get targets to earn vehicle research points... The Grind...

But what about those opponents, that seeming 1/3 advantage in acceleration, climbing?... Well the climbing we can see in the aircraft stat cards, the la-5 lists 22m/s climb speed, whilst my 109 lists only 13... That could explain some of the disparity... So, lets take an La-5 out, fly it straight and level - a better position than the one which caught me was in.

So, straight and level, radiator closed, fast fast... and climb....

I want it to climb 4000 meters before loosing energy...

I'm at 500 meters, so my target height is 4500... Lets see what happened at the top of my climb, and where that topping out was...


3900 meters... It topped out, at 3.9K... Nowhere near the wanted height, no-where near where the la-5 just caught me, nowhere near as good performance...

So HOW DID THEY CATCH ME, how do these Russian flying players always (and I mean always) get the advantage, even if below me and slower than me?

Monday, 7 December 2015

Energy Fighting & Windows Vista

This weekend, aside from having the car up on the ramps to fix a blowing exhaust, and generally running around looking after all our pets (oh and waiting an age for an Asda Groceries delivery)... I've been working on my Energy Fighting techniques in WarThunder.

My reason, I love the German fighter line, considering myself a specialist in the 109, and with the new spotting system I wanted to jump into simulated battle and see where my 109's took me... Unfortunately the one evening I got chance to set up Track IR and everything (after my windows 7 re-install) I found the Simulated Battle queue was only for Japan versus Soviet aircraft.

I languished about playing some US airforces in Arcade; something I've been doing all week, to learn about the new P38's and the new (to me) Apache and the early cannon armed P51 in the tech tree, bored however I set about Realistic Battle.

My record here has been dismal, as I treat it like a glorified Arcade, and I've found it easier to get vehicle research points by killing ground units, you'll see this in my player card as my stuka has something like 150+ ground kills in realistic and a thunderbolt has as many in the US tree for me.

But, I wanted to get practice in energy fighting, I've always found this awkward, I much prefer in my nature to turn fight.  Hence my early liking of British and Japanese airframes.  But Germany seems to be where my aesthetic eye has settled.


So, flying out my 109G/2 Tropical, I wanted to ace this aircraft and then work on unlocking the K4 variant, the final 109, which I've yet to unlock.

Two flyouts later, and I had little to show for myself, except the above very damaged but successful landing after tangling with an F4U and his raking me with fire.

Then something clicked, not only did I start to do the usual climb, but I started to get the feel for how to enter the energy fights, I started - amazingly enough - to get kills, and soon it all sort of clicked into place.

I was pulling dive & climbs slashing attacks at fighters, I was getting deflection shots into bombers, I was rope-a-doping P47's into trying to prop hang against my lighter airframe, and it was all a massive kill fest, I have had more successful flyouts, with more realistic air kills in the last few days than in the whole previous month, just though this ethereal something "clicking" into step.

My only negative would have to once again be the Yak-9's habit of putting fires out, in one example, which I hope to bring to you as a new video for my channel, I set a Yak-9 alight early in a battle, but then had to break off to deal with another Russian pilot, the second dealt with I only found the Yak had, not only put out a raging fire, but had managed to land and repair.

He returned to the fight, to make it a 1v1 duel, he versus I.  I energy fought to the better here, but still had to enter head-ons with him to defeat him in the end... All because those pesky pixies that put pouring flames out for pilots of Yaks.

Sign up to WarThunder with this link, and earn rewards based on my being a player, and reward me with gifts from the game as you level up!... Don't forget to come say "hi".

The other thing I did this weekend, was update the drive in the wife's Dell 6400 laptop, I put her a faster 40GB drive in there, and reinstalled Vista... yes Windows Vista.

Worked a treat, installing both service packs vastly sped up the time to live on the updates out of the box, which annoyingly the Windows Update service does not do, it insists on installing singular updates one by one, rather than jumping to Service pack 1, then jumping to Service pack 2 and then continuing, no it just goes through them as they were published...

But, reinstalled, and chrome installed, the desktop tidied and the right apps pinned to her start bar, lets home the machine now works right, it's mail problem had been a mysterious hardware pausing.  The whole machine would lock up, before coming back to life, however, I got to the bottom of this maybe by discovering nearly every screw in the chassis needed tightening.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

SDL - Bug or Problem with SDL_RenderFillRect

Got one of those annoying debugging problems going on, I'm not sure whether the problem is with the presentation buffer, or the data I'm drawing.


This code, draws a cross within a rectangle I've defined, and then it draws a hollow rectangle around them... Annoyingly, the calculation I've used for adding the width & height to the location makes sense, but it appears the rectangle is one pixel less in width... So the SDL call calculates or 
uses the rectangle to draw.


But, that's not the problem, below the code drawing this, I've asked it to actually fill in the whole rectangle...


However, the result does not fill in the rectangle...


I've tried this in both Visual Studio and Code::Blocks, neither seem to want to fill in.  I'm using the same colour, blend and settings, as you can see in the final code listing, just the call to the render fill rect function does not render a filled in rectangle.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

PC Upgrade - SSD

Main PC overhaul, it's been a long time coming, but I finally have an upgrade for my main PC.  It comes off of the back of Black Friday where I got 48% off of the list price, so got to indulge.

It's of course, a new SSD, I've bought a SanDisk, 6g/sec SATA, 2.5" unit.  Windows has been installed on it, Linux is not going on this directly, that'll go on another of my drives as a dial boot option.

For this SSD is for gaming.

WarThunder was 90% downloaded last night before I caught myself drifting off to sleep in my very chair, but other games have to follow, and I need to set up my Track IR (again) and my Sietek Hotas.

The driving force behind the upgrade has been oneof the drives (I carry 6 in the machine) has developed a clicky, sometimes whine, so I wanted to replace the main boot disk and then work out which was making this noise and retired it.

I only have to be very careful now in backing up all the data I want to store.

Vmware player at home will be my next task, I love vmware player, at work I've been supplied with VmWare workstation, and I use it so much to do different things with whole different systems, that at home I've also taken to being used to firing up Linux inside windows, or windows inside linux, it's just so much easier.

Anyway, main machine is literally up on blocks... Tonight, is sorting out the cabling and packing it all back together.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

WarThunder - Server Patchy

I was going to come today and say WarThunder server, all is forgiven, I was literally putting my thoughts together during one of the best Realistic Flyouts in my new BF109E4.

I'd had two kills, an assist, I'd landed and rearmed, returning to altitude, was just about to take out perhaps all three AI spotter aircraft... and I got the message....

"has disconnected from the server."

Foolishly, I thought "who?"

Of course, it meant me... I spotted I had a ping of zero, and I was returned to the menu, neither of my kills, were awarded, zero credits, zero progress... From THE BEST GAME I'VE HAD IN AGES....

So frustrating, I have my internet connection permanently monitored, it's up and running, so why was I disconnected from their end?... I could only guess, so I'm not going to bother.




Monday, 23 November 2015

WarThunder - Hit Detection/Reporting in 1.53

I've been having some issues with hit and damage reporting on WarThunder, and I wondered whether I should take this to the public forum or not for a few days...

Firstly, I was having issues with my Tiger H1, I'd get hits, and find them be glancing blows or they'd penetrate knock out crew, but never ignite fuel or ammunition, then I'd get hit and find my ammo burning so fast as to make me look like a zippo.  This discrepancy was not resolved for me with any change of ammunition, and as I changed to other vehicles the effects became more or less pronounced, but were always there.

Switching to aircraft, I found hits were registered a lot, however, many were sparks... But more annoyingly were hits reported to me as critical, or even pilot kills, which had no effect for the opponent... Here is my coverage of just one such instance, I swing into the path of a TBD, I aim for the cock-pit and get a report of the pilot unconscious.... Gun camera footage style, we can see this from the replay:








Clearly, I heard the ding of the critical, and the reported pilot unconscious.

So, at tree-top level, pilot unconscious, in a left banking turn... How did this TBD fair?...








Well, it flew on, and indeed on the return of the circle was firing it's .50 cal, main armament in the wings.

Unfortunately, I collided with it, whilst staring in disbelief, but this is getting typical, that aircraft should have gone out of control, that should have been a crash, my aim was true, and intentionally on the cockpit, both rifle calibre and 20mm munitions struck that area from my point of view.

From his point of view however, they only struck the left wing!

This is clearly something of the server-side, the WarThunder clients don't make decisions as to whom as shot whom, else they'd be open to external influence; we know they're not.  But clearly the server informed my client that I'd knocked the pilot out, when clearly he was still there flying.

Frustrating!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Human Resource Machine - Review

Another game I've been looking at, and enjoying, is one I saw Jacksepticeye playing abysmally on YouTube, I'd been aware of the developers of this game for a while, through their game "World of Goo", though I missed their second title.

So I was happy to pick up this, the third, the first game I've seen being a puzzle style game, based around what is essentially programming.  It's a form of assembler almost, as you have to really think hard to move values to registers, and jump for the comparisons, this is not your higher level language style thing at all... I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and enjoying it immensely.


The premise is to complete the task, so initially this is just to carry everything from left to right, "input -> output" over and over... So level 1 is easy, but then you can "optimise" it, using less commands might be "Start:   Input  ->  Output:  Jump to Start".


You run this, and it take just those three commands, but it takes lots more steps than just going "input -> output, Input -> output"... Giving you the end result challenges...

 


You can step through the "program" for your little man, and you debug what you're doing, and it does actually teach some very good lessons, I've had to teach myself to be ruthless, as I find myself very much programming verbosely, copying to place to place to compare things, when I could just hold one copy and compare to a value already stored etc, it's hard work to get things right, but then it's even harder to get the optimised number of instructions, but then sometimes harder still to get the right number of optimised steps, you literally (like a compiler) optimised for speed, or optimise for size...


At £7, this has been a great buy, and the music is nice too.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

WarThunder : Enduring Confrontation Thoughts & Tiger H1

In WarThunder, I've had a bit of re-grind to do, after months of absence from the game, I logged back in a few weeks ago to take part in the Enduring Confrontation test, they did two back to back, first was an EC with a set battle rating bracket, you chose your line up and the game put you into your battle bracket based on the maximum Battle Rating of the vehicle line up you selected, I only played air.

My immediate feel for this was, that I spent an eternity in my reserve bi-plane flying to a target, half way to which the timer for a better plane would be up, so I was stuck with trying to farm a ground kill or two before bailing for the better plane, or just being hunted by already airborne opponents, whom had fudged their battle ratings to overwhelm.

Now, the test was German versus Russian, and the Russian sides, in my experience dominated this and it was not very fun to play.  More fun than sitting in the Simulated Battle queue for 12-15 minutes without getting a game, but still not as fun as the next test.

The next battle test Gaijin undertook was an EC with a fixed set of historically accurate aircraft for the line up.  And you had the timers based on Battle rating for this.  I played both the Russian and German sides in this test, and I found it to be much more accessible, you understood much more quickly the tactical situation, you knew what the opponents would be flying, and as such you flew accordingly, it felt like you were more "there" in the moment, and you had a feel for what to expect and do.

For instance, in the first test, it was overwhelmingly, fly at each other, or over each others bases.

In the second, we have bombers, escorts, interdiction, interception, we even had some players flying to distant locations to kill convoys and targets, whilst others did diversions, we saw proper employment of the fighter-bomber role, we saw good use of fighters, and all in all it was a much better experience.

Whether gaijin took these same lessons away with them is unknown, becuase it's been weeks since that test, and there's been no sign of it, the forum post opened up for feedback is a whining nagging, rambling mess, which I can't make head nor tail of, there just seems to be great ideas for game modes from Gaijin, but then they ask the audience for feedback, and the feedback; as with everything on the internet; is so garbled they can't get a clear picture.

This echoes the tests some six months ago, of combined arms, where one selected tanks and an airframe or two and off you went, I remember playing excellent games with my BF110 flying close air support, I saw MagzTV publish videos in the same vein, showing how good close air support and working together is... You know what, not heard a peep about it since, can't find it in the game, can't get a simulated battle, can't play in those fun, real, ways.

So, I've spent sometime in Arcade Tank battles.  I can't stand arcade air battles, but I suffered them in this re-grind, to ace out all the lower planes again.  For some reason all the engine injection system perks were removed, and I had to re-earn them... Having done so, I then went into arcade tank battles, and set about levelling the new tanks in there up.

So, the Pz35(t) was brand new, and then I had to max out all the AA gun platforms.

The end result however, was my opening up the Hetzer and this baby....



As you can see, she's a beauty...


And that's where I stand with WarThunder, I wish Enduring Confrontation would come out.... I really do.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Big Catch Up - Gaming, Programming, Model Railways

Well, I've not been around here for a while... So, where have I been for over a month?...

Just busy... But that doesn't mean I don't have a bunch of stuff to share with you all, I think this break from posting started with the wife and I going on Holiday.  We went to Wales just as the Rugby World Cup started, have you ever been English in Wales as the Welsh beat England at Twickenham?... Not a good vibe towards the English, that's all I'll say.

But Wales was great, so great, we're going back next year.

One thing that struck me however, was that I heard people speaking Welsh, and not just on touristy things, down the coop, people speaking Welsh.  I've not been to Wales since the late 80's, back then as a kid I don't remember hearing anyone speak Welsh, it sort of wasn't done, at least not done in front of us English, lest the Welsh themselves feel self conscious or they avoided trying to make it look like they were talking about us.

Luckily now, speaking Welsh seems to be in vogue, and so I heard that strange, lyrical, twitter a lot.  Down the pub, down the shop, at the chippy... We only had one place where I was conscious that we were being talked about and they took the piss, and that was the chippy, where they over charged the wife for cod & chips, and were commenting on it in Welsh.

For you see there are some words, which just translate, and whatever the woman actually said, what I heard was "how much shall I add onto this English fish?"  And the reply was "double it"...  Hey ho.  She paid, she enjoyed the meal, whatever.

In programming circles, I've continued to be using Python in anger, moving from an Android based app to creating a new website for the company using Apache and mod_python.  This has been a learning experience for me, and I have lots of tutorials in mind to add to the blog.

Gaming I've been playing two major titles, Payday 2 and WarThunder, the later of which I finally bought a premium set the German 109 G2 and some little tank, so there, finally a premium owner, more about that later.

And I've been playing a game called "Human Resource Machine", again more about that later.

Finally, I've been helping the father-in-law debug his model railway track... I have a series of videos and a few pictures here for you all now:


Origami shunting sheds, with Christmas lights inside, then the diesel shunters and to the right one of the diesel (maybe a Deltic) loco's and just pulling out of the station on the right, one of the steam loco's.


Here we see the Pinkston and Bestwood colliery trains on the inner, tight, circles.  Then the Queen of Scots (Mallard class) coming on the outer radius, before we get a de-railment on the far side.

We also see the DCC sound loco struggling to move with the power needs.


A view of the seven station circumferences.



Some movement along the station side, pictured previously.


More footage of the outer radius.


Coronation Class (I think) on the back straight, with DCC Sound playing.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Personal Update: Network In Action

Today, well tonight, has been the first time I've put any stress onto my new network infrastructure.  Going form a wireless N solution to a true wired 1Gbps solution has been like night and day, and of course, unlike the office network this is 1Gbps where I know exactly what is going on.

So, I've had my old Pentium 4 based server, done a stream of 30mbps from it, whilst pulling 50mbps down from EA online (the Star Wars battlefront Beta), and I've also been streaming HD video from YouTube.

It has been an extremely lush experience.

Playing Payday 2 I've also been enjoying that, with the added stability of the network,

Unfortunately, my workstation needs a lot of work, and I think this weekend it's going to have to be a down time, I need to clean the PC, I've got a fan squeaking, and I've also got one of the mechanical HDD's making a real noise.

I am thinking of sneaking an order for a £30 120GB SSD from Amazon into the mix, and the same next month, to sort something better out for my Stream storage drive, unfortunately, I have two sets of car tax to buy, so this maybe nothing more than a pipe dream.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Personal Update: Networking the House

About six months ago, I told you all I'd bought some really nice shielded cat 5 cable, and I planned to install this between the router in the living room and the office, well today I've finally taken that leap, drilling through victorian ceiling and soot, missing twentieth century power lines and an awkwardly placed floor joist....

My ping which was round 83ms TTL is now 7ms, I have my full download speed from my supplier, and indeed I am.  But it was a bloody messy process.

I have sacrificed a few ethernet plugs to the gods getting the wire down and through, the first wire I pushed through just disappeared, I think along the back of the victorian cornice in the living room; one day I may find it.

My eventual trick was to use a 20mm polymer pipe to encase the wire, and also to guide it down the wall in the lower room, this resulted in the wire being out of sight (least colourwise) against the light coloured walls.


Monday, 28 September 2015

SDL2.0 Complete Installation on Ubuntu

I've just spent sometime, setting up SDL for development on my Ubuntu machine, and found that the Ubuntu library caches lack SDL v2.0, they have the older 1.2, but that wasn't good enough, so here is a little script I've put together, to get me all the dependencies (least what I think the dependencies are), download each part of SDL (SDL, TTF, Mixer & Image), extract them into folders, build and install them, and then delete the folder copy which was extracted.

cd ~
sudo apt-get install build-essential xorg-dev libudev-dev libts-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libasound2-dev libpulse-dev libopenal-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev libaudiofile-dev libpng12-dev libfreetype6-dev libusb-dev libdbus-1-dev zlib1g-dev libdirectfb-dev
wget https://www.libsdl.org/release/SDL2-2.0.3.tar.gz
tar -xvzf SDL2-2.0.3.tar.gz
cd SDL2*
./configure
make
sudo make install
cd ~
rm -rf SDL2-2*
wget https://www.libsdl.org/projects/SDL_image/release/SDL2_image-2.0.0.tar.gz
tar -xvzf SDL2_image-2.0.0.tar.gz
cd SDL2_image*
./configure
make
sudo make install
cd ~
rm -rf SDL2_image*
wget https://www.libsdl.org/projects/SDL_ttf/release/SDL2_ttf-2.0.12.tar.gz
tar -xvzf SDL2_ttf-2.0.12.tar.gz
cd SDL2_ttf*
./configure
make all
sudo make install
cd ~
rm -rf SDL2_ttf*
wget https://www.libsdl.org/projects/SDL_mixer/release/SDL2_mixer-2.0.0.tar.gz
tar -xvzf SDL2_mixer-2.0.0.tar.gz
cd SDL2_mixer*
./configure
make all
sudo make install
cd ~
rm -rf SDL2_mixer*
sudo ldconfig

Once this is all done, you need to edit /etc/ld.so.conf adding to it, thus:

sudo nano /etc/ld.so.conf

And add:

include /usr/local/lib

Save the file, I can now create an empty C++ project, or just a main.cpp, and include the following files:

#include <SDL2/SDL.h>
#include <SDL2/SDL_image.h>
#include <SDL2/SDL_ttf.h>
#include <SDL2/SDL_mixer.h>

The libraries to link against are:

libSDL2.a
libSDL2_image.a
libSDL2main.a
libSDL2_mixer.a
libSDL2_test.a
libSDL2_ttf.a

(Each .a also has a static .so, alongside, if you prefer)

This, of course the linker options on the command line are:

g++ --std=c++11 main.cpp -llibSDL2.a -llibSDL2_image.a -llibSDL2main.a -llibSDL2_mixer.a -llibSDL2_test.a -llibSDL2_ttf.a