Sunday, July 31, 2005


"Pandora." The word was repeated throughout the debating chamber. What did it mean? What could it mean? All through the party after the success that day it had put a pall on things. "Ancient legend." She had said. "Which legend?" A few knew it and they told the others. The story. The box. An ancient story, from the earliest times of human civilization. "What did it mean now?" Some form of Greek parable maybe, in a mixing of traditions? Or just a story? Curse that girl, why couldn't they get the young to communicate properly these days? Another argued that it wasn't her fault, "What does Pandora mean?" The council were called back to session and a new subject for debate was considered. The meaning of Pandora.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A few FL screenshots.

A bit of combat.

The sith departed from the 5 approaching Jedi Knights for those can't read the fubared labels. Well - you would, wouldn't you?

Pactice makes perfect

and more practice

and even more :)

Space Simulations.

By far the most impressive title I have seen in this genre is Freelancer. An awesome game. It merges several traditional genres to be honest, mixing role-playing with elements of shoot 'em up and of course, flying a space ship. Lots of spaceships. If you are old enough to remember Elite, a wire-framed graphic interface that at the time we all thought was so good it was like Traveller on a computer then this is the game that Elite wanted to be. I liked it so much it was my original reason to get BroadBand. Then I got heavily involved in Clan life online and ended up hosting my own 24/7 Freelancer server. All the online stuff is free after the original purchase of the game and having been at the centre of a massive Freelancer community for a number of years now there is a wealth of Mods, add-ons, walkthroughs, articles etc. Most (but not all) are found at Lancers Reactor. A thing that I and many others encouraged within the community was the sharing of knowledge and that has trickled down to being the norm at many places. There are still alot of secretive people out there though which is fair enough. Freelancer is a massive enough game to have lots of secrets. To the point where in one clan we trained our members to be able to cut it with the very best on ANY server (the Jedi Knights - hello to any who read this :)). It's not enough just to tell people how to do stuff in this game. You have to teach them, expanding on their natural talents and minimising areas where they're not so talented just like in real life. I like the game that much that the bug still very much has me, despite being unable to play online right now due to some kind of weird glitch with my pc (looks meaningfully at the box with an image of a large axe in his mind) years after discovering it. I'm impressed. Try it.

I'll also produce different reviews on some of the mods etc. here from time to time and, of course rant away about ... ohhh, lots of things about this game.

For now I'll organise my links into a Freelaner section and tell you a little about a place called The Nexus Forum Index. I first came across this place almost immeadiately after it's conception but was very restricted on the amount of time I could give being server police and moderator on two different servers. So didn't bother joining (sry). I thought it was a darn good idea then though as I do now. A cross server forum for role-playing and much more, in fact - in their own words:

"Everything here is the same as Siruis, and more. People can RP from different servers. I.E. People from Excelcia can RP with people from Asgard. You can recruit here for people from other servers. So if you need more members, come here to recruit, and get people to join your faction and server. Thats about it, any questions PM me."

Sirius is referring to the Sirius Sector the area of space that mankind fled to at the end of Starlancer, the precurser of Freelancer.

There are lots of servers Excelcia being sadly no more as a server, (or at least i've not been able to find it and get only broken links to their page. Looks like many servers still use this as a mod though. If you know I'm wrong on this - pls. let me know.) and Asgard being just a couple available. This is not a Massive Multiplayer Online like Eve & I'll review some of them over time as well. Freelancer servers that is, not MMO's. I've already played at alot but they constantly change like the web itself being in a state of flux and I'll try to keep things as current as possible.

And Nexus is at the beginning of it's life in web terms I feel. So good to know about.

Have fun.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Woohoo - the weekend at last!

GhostWolf said...
"this is the second time ive had to write this grrrrr.
you started the rant soo well then realised you had the answer all along. my old house had three levels to it. the top two had the same layout if viewed as a map. but the bottom one would look more like a corridor.the layout does look different then the outside on some places. so stop this silly ranting and find one that worthy of my time reading it. "

Such a good comment i just had to base today's post around it. A chance to show off in no small way as well.

What you say is, of course, indisputeably true, dear wolf. I used to live here:

Some 20 years or so ago (Fuzz has a deep, dark and long past) where i was heavily involved in Live Fantasy Role Playing. Can't resist more pics of the old place though; hope you don't mind too much whilst i indulge myself.

View back across the courtyard showing the ancient Oak and the ridiculously spooky (and very haunted) Chapel.

View from across the moat (in my day dry, but now re-filled) showing the Chapel roof and the "Ref's" tower. Finally a stunning ariel shot for a sense of the sheer scale of the place.

It took me a good few months just to find my way around when i first joined. Now if pushed i could probably produce a pretty accurate map of the old girl including hidden rooms, secret doors and passages and the stupidly complex catacombs. There's something like 700 rooms in total and if anything it seeems a bit of a cheat if in-game we had an auto-mapper always showing our location. Ok, any one of us could have sat down and mapped as we went (and don't think it was at all simplified by us ref's who would construct false walls, doors, rooms, corridors etc. to suit the dungeon/whim at the time) but in all my years as a Live Role Player I have never yet seen anyone actually do it. What I have seen hundreds of times is parties and individuals going the wrong way (often, but not always after killing the guide). I remember with fondness bordering on post-traumatic stress disorder a New Years' meeting on the Leeds moors. 5+ hours in extreme survival conditions at sub-zero temperatures spent hunting first the party, then the monster's, then trying to get the two to connect without being too much of a control freak. Oh those happy hours. Don't know how we all didn't freeze to death. That was a big wide open space, though. Peckforton was a fish of a different kettle entirely. People would often get lost for hours - indeed, referee's were encouraged to take an (unpaid) assistant ref with them when pre-setting dungeons to assist in such (& other) eventualities. So - you're rght. Buildings can and do look different on the outside and inside - but only to a degree. The moment i set foot through this doorway, there was little doubt i was entering a castle.

Auto-maps are dodgy things though - supposedly meant to simulate our memory of being places before. I think they give misleading information that is no substitute for actually getting lost somewhere and having to figure it out for yourself.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Rant in C sharp.

Ok, it's been nearly a week & i've only managed to talk about 1 game - & i couldn't get that to work properly. Time for a misplaced rant in the best traditions of an old-fashioned game player. Have you ever noticed that in many games when you enter a building the physical layout inside has nothing to do with the external architecture? I have, and find it really annoying. True i used to use the same trick when creating maps for use as a DM (Dungeon Master) - but what the player's saw was an accurate picture, revised once the interior had been finished.

To give an example of this mis-sizing, consider this building from Neverwinter Nights:

(fig 1)

And the other view:

(fig 2)

Shown on the map as:

As you can see - there are two doors. Go in the first door - shown in fig1 - and it looks like this:

Go in the second (fig2) and this is what you get:

As you can see it clearly doesn't fit which just makes me irritated. When you kick in a door with a scream of "DEATH AND CHAOS!!" i reckon you deserve at least a chance to know what size building you're getting into ... wait a minute, what's that staircase doing there? What do you mean they're on different levels? Well ok, it's a bad example, but i'm not going all the way through now looking for another one. You know what i mean. Things should look right all the time and we shouldn't have to suspend disbeleif at any stage. And that's another thing - why hasn't anyone invented a game console that plugs straight into the brain yet? Lazy game designer's - That's who I blame! Or maybe Russians, or aliens even. Well, i did say it was misplaced.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


"Pandora." The ancient had said and became terrified. That human speech had been used was in itself almost unheard of. All lessons ended. The sounds of birds and animals became silent. Liquid ceased to flow and the Sun hung suspended in the sky. For a few moments the planet itself stopped, caught by the ancients' terror.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Time to show off a few images ;)

Che Guethatcher. A pity we didn't print this one during the falklands war or the poll-tax riots. (on T-shirts @ £8:00 a throw. If you're interested though, drop me a line - I'm sure something could be arranged ;))

Derren Brown. The UK's own mini-mentalist striking a particularly spooky pose. Notice how the eyes follow you? That's because he knows what you're thinking.

Good old Ronnie fantasizing about Fava beans and Chiante....or maybe something else. This one was deemed far too frightening to be published anywhere but here. Hope you can understand why. (If not, again drop me a line - this time to be put in touch with a good shrink.)

Monday, July 25, 2005


Still no joy with MTW & the film was in french. What i get for buying from dodgy geezer's in pubs i suppose. Work shortly so time to switch everything off. More later.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


"Pandora," it began as a whisper in the listening halls. "Pandora," it was always broadcast with fear bordering on panic. "Pandora." It was whispered in the shadows and in the places where light breaks through the high windows. "Pandora." It seemed like a prophecy of doom. "Pandora." The lowliest visitor to the the halls of power heard it whispered before anyone dare say it out loud.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fuzzies experiences of Medieval Total War

Despite playing alot of other similar war games i've never actually played this so today after an ear-bashing on how good it is from a friend who will remain nameless to protect the innocent i thought i'd give it a go.

First came the install. Easy enough with only 2 discs and no crazy switching between them a dozen times like some other games. Then came the no-cd patch (the amount of noise my pc makes is an issue & i have a fairly noisy dvd-drive so i always try to play games with no cd in if i can. It's also a pain to keep switching cd's if i want to play another game). First i downloaded one that said it was an exe fix as well as a no-cd crack so i try that - and it crashes when it tries to play a campaign, although other game options work fine. Ok, so much for clever files. Being the forward-planning fuz that i am i didn't keep a copy of the original exe so now it was re-install time. That seems to go without a hitch & i run a test with the cd in to see if it's a different issue. It appears to be. On a fresh install i can still not start a SP campaign. Then again - my friend did mention a patch so i go in search of 5.6M download later (and a few hours being distracted by a search for looney sounds....erm, long story anyway...) and i install the patch or rather, discover i actually downloaded the rome total war patch so have to download another, this being an 8M download. That done and installed, i try again to have the game crash when i try to start a single player campaign. Hmmmm....i consider reprogramming my pc with the large axe downstairs in the shed. Time to reach for the X-Men 2 cd i still haven't watched.

Friday, July 22, 2005

First post

two ....

two ....

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nahhh man, this mics down



two ....