Carmageddon Release Day

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I notice that Carmageddon : Reincarnation is released today yesterday officially.    As a Kickstarter backer I’ve been playing various alphas and betas for months now, but here’s finally the point where the rest of yall can play the game.

It’s totally worth it.    Did you ever see the movie Death Race 2000 ?    Yeah, that’s what this is; the game producers aren’t allowed to say it.    Did you ever play the original Carmageddon, which had the world horrified with its violence ?     You should play this game.    (Today, I’m sure the game will provoke less than a yawn next to Grant Theft Auto).   Well this is a big graphical update with new game modes.

Here, I've selected the mode Death Race, which is simply a race.   Except every opponent you wreck, you can steal their laps !

Here, I’ve selected the mode Death Race, which is simply a race. Except every opponent you wreck, you can steal their laps !

But it’s cracking good fun.    Your car will behave in a way that feels very correct on the physics side, even as all the unreality of gaming sets in.   Fall off a cliff and into the water ?   Recover for a few thousand credits.     Get your car mangled horribly so it doesn’t move ?   Hold down the repair button and it magically puts itself together.   And always, there are peds to kill.

The loading screens are full of the "Giggle - Blood and death and sex" kind of silliness.

The loading screens are full of the “Giggle – Blood and death and sex” kind of silliness.

The object of the game varies, but each race/game features tracks filled with people wandering to and fro, which you can take out and waste.   One game even asks you to take out every last one of the 600+ people on the race course – never managed to do that, myself.    Destroy your opponents cars, beat them in races, and stay as “The Fox” longer than anyone else and you’re winning the contests.

Falling off the top of a bridge.   Rats !

Falling off the top of a bridge. Rats !

I put up money to back this on May 30, 2012.     It was slated for a February 2013 release.   It finally got around to being finished on May 21, 2015.    The result is worth it, but certainly cooled any ardor I had towards Kickstarter as a funding method.

I win most of these, since I selected the easiest difficulty mode.    Time to kick it up a notch.

I win most of these, since I selected the easiest difficulty mode. Time to kick it up a notch.

For sale today at $30 this is pretty darn good value.

Avoiding a (literal) beatdown

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Work training is finished.   (It was even valuable!).   I walked up and down the mean streets of Echo Park a couple more times, made some nice interlocking fields, until I saw something extremely disturbing.

I was doing the Ingress walk.     There’s two portals close to each other, and you can’t get a key unless you have none.    You also have to wait five minutes between hacks.   This encourages you to walk back and forth to acquire enough keys to have one for recharging, along with enough to make links and fields.     So I was doing this between three portals.

As I get back into the car, I see a couple of home boys down the street near a bus stop.    The last thing I want to do is make assumptions, but I also don’t want to get beat up.    Shaved heads, wife beaters and athletic shorts.   These guys were talking really loudly to each other and making gestures my way.   And the one guy says “He’s walking around like he OWNS the place”.

That was it for me and Echo Park.   I am not going to get beat up or robbed for this game.    Combine that with the filthy streets, strewn with garbage and dog shit, and the bums getting sick all over the sidewalk, and the locals can have this area.     I was figuring I was pretty safe at 12 noon !

I got in the car and drove right past them, as I struggled to get turned around and head back to Dodger Stadium.    They got quiet, which is hopefully a good thing, and just let me drive away.   Still, it doesn’t pay to take chances.

However, now I’m down and out with the brutal cold that’s going around.    I just woke up from around 24 hours of sleeping (with a few Dad breaks, dealing with sick children) and I’m still half dead.    At least I’m not so wiped out I can’t sit at the computer.

I got my first comment from someone I met in the game – seems that with me spreading around the blog in the Ingress community, people are reading.     Cool.    I don’t care who’s reading this, ENL or RES, the purpose of the blog is to share the ingame experiences and document them for posterity.

Which reminds me.    You may remember Jeruwaho from when I was back playing Everquest 2.    I spotted him in the game and said hi – he picked Enlightened.    I wonder if there are more of you that I know of out there, from outside Ingress.    But it does seem to be guaranteed that I’ll find myself meeting more of you.

Many activities are performed

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Here’s a guy who is a 4×4 type of enthusiast.   He has a satellite modem, a well equipped offroading truck, and he uses it to capture portals which are beyond the reach of the cell phone system.

His video skills are not slick and polished, but talk about giving me a slice of life !    It’s incredible the lengths this guy went to, to capture these portals.

In the meantime, my portal capturing was in Echo Park this morning.   I walked Sunset Blvd and linked a bunch of stuff to the training center I’ve been at the past two days.

Somebody even linked to the top of my fielding efforts.

Somebody even linked to the top of my fielding efforts.

Possibly time for one more try tomorrow morning then it’s local agents problem to keep things up (or not).    I’m not 100% sure, as I’m not feeling all that well.

Extreme Paranoia Moment

I put out a call on the comms.    “I’ve got some time.   There are two hugely long links ending off the 14 freeway.   Are they still up ?”

“Doc, they’re still up.    (Links to intel map were provided)”

I found myself getting directed to a park, and then a gazebo, and wrecking the portals.   One was a campfire, making killing it extra easy, while the other was shielded with one item only.

As I sat there finishing up, I was in Ingress operative mode.   Phone plugged into the car charger.   The car is parked right next to the portal, engine running, since I wanted the phone to charge.     And after a few minutes someone else pulls up, and parks right in front of me.

Is that – an enemy operative ?     Giggling, I hopped out of the car and took a look at who was in the other car, and got no reaction.    I typed madly into the phone, communicating with the rest of our areas agents, and got lots of feedback.   Then, the lady in the car gestures towards me.

“Why hello ma’am.    Do you know what THIS is ?”    I hold up my phone with Ingress running on it.    I am rewarded with a completely blank look, and the certain knowledge that this lady is not an Enlightened agent.

Hopefully now, I’ve learned my lesson.     No, the random people you are seeing are not agents.     I’m not that good at spotting them – unless they’re stealing my keys, or I’ve previously been told what they look like.    Smarter to assume that no one else out there is trying to undo my work.

Killing those links should make whatever the greens are planning to do much harder.   Here’s hoping.    At the moment I think they’re blocking the shards from reaching Santa Monica, but they could be upping the ante and trying to create a megafield.

 

Operation Lombardi Ranch

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Operation Lombardi Ranch was a simple, big success.

I count 8,430 MU protected.

I count 8,430 MU protected.

By the time I got home tonight one field was down, but it’s the 507 MU field.    The rest are still standing strong.

Big ole fields

Big ole fields

Operation Work Training is less successful.   There are two portals in the parking lot of the facility, and nothing you can walk to easily.    Dodger stadium is pretty inacessible, and it looked closed and unfriendly at 7 am.    So I went into Echo Park instead.

This is definitely a seedy neighborhood, but it was full of portals and overwhelmingly Resistance.   I captured a few, hacked a bunch, and got 20 minutes of Ingress walking in over the lunch break.

The bad news is, this is a very involved and active training.    There will be no goofing off instead of listening.   At least it’s mildly interesting, and relevant to my job, so I can’t overly complain.    The kicker – There’s no phone signal inside the building.

I’m surprised that no one (that I can find) made a picture or a video showing “What the hell are you doing ?” like I’ve experienced.    Non-players watching me play Ingress give a lot of suspicious looks, or worse, they know me and look at me like I’m crazy.    The search for such a video or image produced a few videos that I liked.

Dogs of Ingress – The maker wanted to fuse Watchdogs and Ingress, but it gives a great feeling of what it’s like to play the game.

Always Eric Fullerton – This guy apparently started about a month before I did, and makes lots of videos.   It’s entertaining to watch other people playing and learning about the game.    He does a great job presenting a “slice of life” for an Ingress player.    The video below was a pretty good one.

 

Planning Ahead

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For the next three days, I’m stuck doing a required training for work.   Why am I stuck ?    I don’t care about this stuff.   It’s not important, but it’s required for various reasons.    So I’m spending the next three work days in the Dodger Stadium area instead of Burbank.

Dodger Stadium, 11 pm Sunday

Dodger Stadium, 11 pm Sunday

There are a lot of portals around the stadium itself, and plenty nearby.    Time to go on a tear out here ?   I sure hope so.

My hope is, that the training is the usual BS and that I can simply walk out and goof off most of the time, take loops around the area and do whatever I can.    Can you imagine a three day Ingress binge ?   I sure can, and I like the idea.   I’m a bit familiar with nearby Echo Park, and when I looked I was surprised to discover that it’s a gigantic Resistance L8 farm.

Most of them, Level 8 !

Most of them, Level 8 !

But there’s also the local situation (Canyon Country).

Well what do we have here ?

Well what do we have here ?

The thought process is simple.    Head to Lombardi Ranch, and link to the Parrashar Indian, and get some keys.    Head to Parrashar and link to Central Park.   Finally, on the way to Dodger Stadium. link to the Bible Tabernacle, and cover most of Canyon Country / Saugus in Blue.

The greens in our area do like to be active at 3 am however, so I may wake up and find some/all of these links are gone.   But that’s the possible plan – it depends on if it’s smarter to just head out to Echo Park early, or go for the large fields.  One of those triangles is probably 5,000 MU, with the others being a few thousand each.   Pretty hard to resist those kinds of numbers.

Beginner’s Video Guides

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Didn’t Ingress much today, just got out of the house for a little bit.    It was worth it though – I managed to make a new record sized control field (5,038 MU) over Saugus/Canyon Country.

When I started playing Ingress, I was extremely frustrated.    It was only luck that got me past the first hurdles and more into the game.     But it turns out that Niantic / Google has produced very high quality video guides to the game.

I’m not a big video watching person.    But most people are.    These would be very helpful for anyone trying to get started and figure out the game.

Beginner’s guide to Ingress – I would have benefitted from watching this first, before playing more of the game.

A Better Beginner’s guide – Ah.   I love that first woman’s voice, she sounds Scottish.    I think this is older than the first one.

Me, I’ll again share what I think every new agent needs to know.

  1. Join the Resistance!
  2. You must go to the portals you’ve looked up on the Ingress Intel map.   Ignore any advice about wandering around until you find one.
  3. Do not play while the car is moving, and learn just how the speedlock feature works.   The game is best played walking, but you can only walk so far.
  4. Make links.   You get good AP for that.
  5. Make control fields.   Smallest is best, actually, until you’re level 8.    Fields generate tons of AP.
  6. Hack everything.    Hack all the time.    There’s no such thing as too much equipment.
  7. Make contact with the other agents.
  8. Accept help.   People really do just want to help you.   It’s a team game.   By the same token, feel free to help others out.

Friday Wrapup of Ingress Insights

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There was a nasty traffic jam last night on the I-5 freeway northbound.    Three separate car accidents in the slick road conditions caused by a light rain.    The commute home was very slow and everyone was very annoyed.

But not me.

The freeway is covered with XM, ie, the “mana” for the game Ingress.    However, Ingress has a speedlock feature requiring you to move at a slow speed (let’s call it < 20mph) for your game actions to work.   This is irritating because the perfect recharge activity is when you’re moving gently down the freeway, but certainly faster than 10-20mph.    You can collect enough XM to fill the scanner in a few miles, but you can’t use it.    Recharging will be locked due to travelling too fast, aka “the speedlock”.

Not a real medal.   Funny anyway.

Not a real medal. Funny anyway.

Yesterday, I emptied the scanner maybe 13 times as we crawled northward on the freeway.

What I’ve settled into is stopping along the drive home at two different spots.    These are easy on, easy off freeway exits.   I park the car and wait for the speedlock to disappear, then I empty the scanner.   Instant recharge badge points, and keeping the teams portals from decaying, or being vulnerable to attack.    Time wasted : Maybe 3 minutes.

I’ve also gotten a better handle on what items to keep, and which to simply recycle quickly.    Level 3 and lower weapons get no consideration, they get recycled quickly.   Level 4 and lower resonators, if too many accumulate, also disappear.  Level 5 resonators fill up quickly and get killed too.    Recycling does give some XM, but not nearly as much as a mid-level power cube.

I used my first ADA flipper today too.    I found a tough portal in a green farm, with two AXA shields on it.   That would be hard to take down, what with the other nearby portals zapping me as hard as they can.   But one ADA and the portal is mine, all the links break, and I’m that much closer to killing the farm.   (And I did kill the farm before lunchtime was over – barely.)

An ADA Refactor, aka a "Flip Card".

An ADA Refactor, aka a “Flip Card”.

Being more careful with the gear allows me to hoard more of my favorite things – Keys.   Shields.    Power cubes.     I never seem to have much issue with weapons, any portal I attack will always fall.    I’ve yet to not have resonators to fill up a portal as I desired.    And power cubes can almost always be used – the team’s portals always need charging.

It’s a different ball game regarding teamwork in this game.    You have your personal levels and badges and whatnot.   But the main point of the game, the global score, is absolutely a team thing.    I always build off of others links.    I upgrade their portals, and they do the same with mine.    Equipment can be passed along between players as needed, and it only makes sense to do so.    If I manage to run into someone needing things, I’m sure I’ll pass them on.

teamwork

Quite a social game, and yet this rather antisocial guy is thriving in it.

Understanding Ingress and Shards

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The megafield is finally down.    I guessed wrong – the greens were active in Baja California and went off-roading to Coco’s corner and took the anchor.    And it went down on a day that I found myself without too much to do.    I used the time to create fields across the Sierra Highway area of Canyon Country, and found it all knocked down later that night.    Even with that, Santa Clarita is pretty much 90% blue, with Canyon Country approaching 100%.

Canyon Country, 10 am today.

Canyon Country, 10 am today.

Burbank is a different story, being very much in play although blue dominated.    The field falling down must have resulted in a lot of green activity, because when I reached downtown this morning, most of the blue fields were gone.    I rebuilt what I could in a limited time, with backup from teammates.

And Burbank

And Burbank

I’m feeling a bit more calm about the whole thing – this is a game, even if it’s a game that pretends you’re a secret agent in a bitter hidden war.   Remember to enjoy the experience and not to get too caught up in the bitterness.    One person can make a big difference here, but the biggest thing to do is keep plugging away.    With enough players on your team contributing, you can overcome anything thrown at you.   And of course, the ones you notice the most are the green guys who are the most active, so don’t let that bother you.

I finally get what this crazy shard game is all about as well.    The best explanation for it is……. air hockey.    With multiple pucks.

These are the goals, to either defend, or get a shard into.

These are the goals, to either defend, or get a shard into.

The Enlightened can score in Taiwan.    The Resistance can score in Santa Monica, California.

OK – but how can you score ?     Also on the big board are the actual “pucks”, called shards in Ingress.    If a link exists from the shard portal, to the goal, then you score.    It has to exist at a time specified for shard movement, which is random and not known to the player community.

That is a shard.

That is a shard.

The shards look like a differently-colored portal on the Intel map.   Each team can capture the shards, since they are portals as well.    This one is currently owned by the Enlightened.

Enlightened have this shard.

Enlightened have this shard.

Whatever this Filoli Estate is in Redwood City is covered by the Enlightened; shard is held by them, and even blocked (?!) on its way towards Taiwan.    Resistance would have to capture that portal then link southward, and given how green the area is I’m assuming that would be a tall order.    Most of those unlinked portals are full strength and all 7 and 8 level resonators.

 

This is further confirmed via the nice little tracker someone built.

A mere 500 odd kilometers from Santa Monica.

A mere 500 odd kilometers from Santa Monica.

So each Air Hockey shot takes place at a random time, and when a shot happens, depending on which team owns and links to a portal, the shard will move closer to that teams portal.    Depending on the links, of course, and any blocking activity that the other team has thrown.    So it’s very much a war for the shards, to say the least.

What if a shot happens to the shard in my example above ?    Nothing.   Enlightened have possession of the shard, and can’t move it closer to Taiwan so it will stay put.   Presumably, someone has the strategy of clearing the way for a link across the Pacific Ocean, will then remove the blocking link, and make the transoceanic link to move the shard to Taiwan.

Resistance strategy on this shard would be something like getting a team in to capture the portal pretty close to a guessed time for shard movement, and link southward to a more friendly area.    Or whereever.

This is why keys to Santa Monica’s “The Big Project” portal are in demand right now.    People are ferrying these keys across the country and the world, in an effort to be able to link whatever portal to Santa Monica.    If the link exists at the time of movement, then it’s a score for the Resistance.     Linking this portal to the Big Project in Santa Monica would be a score.

The scale and dedication at which this game is played boggles my mind.     Using a private plane or a helicopter to capture portals.    Driving (or flying!) to another city to ferry keys around.    These people make me look like a filthy casual.

Monster Megafield

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Someone on the Resistance side is cackling madly now at what they’ve done.

Now that is a megafield.

Now that is a megafield.

This covers Los Angeles, San Diego, parts of San Bernadino, and even better covers the Niantic event (Anomaly, big yellow circle) in Santa Monica.

The field came into existence early Sunday morning and is still up Sunday night.    Probably because the three anchor points are well chosen and difficult to reach.

Anchor #1 – The top of Mount Whitney, which is accessible only by hiking.   You have to plan carefully to reach the summit, and access is even restricted by quotas.   The story is that it was apparently taken via a helicopter ride (!).

Anchor #2 – Ancapa Island, east of the Channel Islands in the ocean off the coast of Los Angeles.    It has three permanent residents, and I’ve never heard of a boat that goes there.

Anchor #3 – Coco’s Corner, a rest stop on a deserted gravel highway that runs through Baja California.    Stop, have a cold drink, and hack a very unique portal.

I spent the day at Disneyland, which in addition to being the happiest place on earth, is also covered with portals.    I lost phone power pretty quickly, all things considered, but I’m sure I’ve boosted the unique hacks and unique captures badges some.    No links could be created – the megafield prevents them.    I will be very happy when my Anker battery gets to me, which is supposed to hold enough power to boost the phones use by a factor of three or more.

I’m assuming it will stay up until someone gets to Ancapa island and knocks down the portals, since all things considered this is probably the easiest place for agents to reach.   I mean, if the Blue side has guys with helicopters I’m sure the Greens have some folks with boats in LA.    Perhaps sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, life under the field is a different tactical challenge.    With no links possible, this is a great time to take down portals solely for the purpose of killing links.   It’s all about defense, as this will semi-permanently kill any fields that are hit.   I’ll be up early and ready to knock down what I can in Burbank outside of my normal haunts.

How on Earth these guys punch through all the intervening gameplay to make these links is a mystery to me.   It must rival a military operation.    Definitely not my kind of thing, I’d rather stick to making a spiderweb of fields, and failing that knock down what the enemy puts up.

Steaming through achievements

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,

I’ve been enjoying capturing the various Steam achievements.    This is the kind of gamer I am – patiently accumulating various accolades/powers.    Currently I’m working on getting the final AdVenture Capitalist achievement, as well as Long Live the Queen.

For achievement #10 in AdVenture Capitalist you need a certain number of angels, first of all, so I’m continuing to play the game and restart it pretty often, just to accumulate the unimaginably large numbers of angels I’ll need to unlock literally everything in the game.    That would give me achievement # 430.

And I have two ways to show off my achivements.

And I have two ways to show off my achivements.

I managed to get two different information bars – by achieving Steam Level 20.   I spent a bunch of pennies on buying cards and ended up level 20 so I could show both of these bars.   The first one shows the achievements that I’ve decided to feature on my profile, and the second shows the rarest ones that I’ve achieved.

I selected :

  • Endless Space – destroying five fleets in a turn.    It was a fun game, half remembered, but I was surprised at winning so many battles all on one turn.
  • Warlock 2 – Hoard 1000 gold.
  • Long Live the Queen – Survive to coronation.    Not very rare but I was happy to play through the story and pull it off; over all the other ones I’ve managed to achieve.
  • Mafia II – Help Leo out of a tricky situation.   This little part of the game had so much attention lavished on it that I remember it well.   You help the “old boss” to escape the City before he gets whacked.
  • Civilization 5 – Build all the wonders.
  • Space Ace – Complete the game in Ace mode.    Twas a lot easier than I remember it being in the arcade 30 years ago, but still.
  • Carmageddon – Because I’m enjoying the game, and it’s coming out for release real soon – late May 2015.

All of my rare achievements just mean I managed to get very far in Fallen Earth versus the general public, who must have mostly picked up the game and gone to level 10 and quit.    Apparently, I also don’t dive very deep into a lot of games either.

Steam continues to amuse, as I pick up games for next to nothing, and I tend to focus on those with achievements I can earn.    And then – I don’t play them.   But they’re there, ready for me, so I guess it’s all good.     And the nice thing about Steam is, I’m again completely anonymous.    Time to buy another lemonade stand.

Feel free to look me up on Steam – MrrX.

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