Domination Achieved


The City is now dominated.   Burbank is 100% under my gang’s dominion.

After tweaking my commute once again, I was able to cover the entire Burbank airport and surrounding area.   Lunchtime jaunts across town also allowed me to finish up the flatlands area and beat the bot gangs into submission.     Now it’s a matter of filling the town up for defense – 200 men are possible in each square.   A lot of them currently have a bare 15.

It was nice to have an excuse to cover the town and see the areas where I grew up.   So many memories.   And it’s all enabled by a location-based smartphone game.

You can kind of get the idea from the screenshot, but unfortunately, the game does not load all the areas past a certain zoom level, and Burbank is bigger than that level.

2015-03-27 02.04.58

The only area I don’t have is that small grey blob which belongs to Monolicious, a member of Harvesters of Sorrow.    And that’s fine.

The game now becomes a matter of Santa Clarita errands, long distance travel – ie, off the commuted path – and taking random drives to dump my men.   I’m not sure how long that will stay interesting but we’ll see.

Trying many titles, Very Old to Old


, , ,

GAME 1 : Xenonauts

Xenonauts game continues and has reached February 1980.     I have several countries at maximum funding, along with four bases each having four interception aircraft.

I decided to add another dropship, so I bought a Charlie and enough recruits in North America to crew it up.    They do not have good gear, given that everything I’m making takes forever and goes to the African crew; but they were started on moving up the ladder in ranks and abilities.

Then the Terror mission hit me in Panama City.

Thanks to being on easy mode and having the ability to save and reload, I managed to get through this one after perhaps a dozen false starts.     Go one way, and the Reapers eat your squad and wipe you out.    Maybe I should go this way instead ?    Reapers wipe me out.    Let’s head down the center instead.    Sebilisians shoot us to death, leaving the last two guys cowering under cover – where the Reapers found them and ate them.

I finally got a decent start and managed to lose a single squaddie – only the third guy killed in the game.    Matt Damon sprinted through the streets of Panama to spot the Lizards and take one out.    As he slipped the full auto clip for his rifle to “on”, he spotted a second Lizard and his anxiety increased; he ran past the bastard as he emptied his clip into the beastie, dropping it with a death rattle.

The second Lizard he’d spotted was taken down by his squadmates as the covered him.   Squatting down, he barely has time to react before finding out there were three Lizards standing next to each other, as the survivor clips him and he knows no more.

The survivors managed to slowly work their way across the map and wipe out the aliens.

Getting to this point took almost a week.    I was frustrated enough that I found myself playing additional games instead.

GAME 2 : World of Tanks

You don’t HAVE to play the game like a completely obsessed ADHD-driven teenager with Aspbergers.  (But it does help…..)     Instead, taking advantage of the new log in and get credits feature (50,000 per day!) makes me happy to move forward towards the usual holding amount of 8 million credits (just 400,000 to go), and I get in a match or three before logging off.

The M3 Stuart from China is now elited and also my best “Spotter” having gotten two games in a row with the special medal.

GAME 3 : Spore

Spore got a bad rap when it came out.     The game’s team didn’t manage gamers expectations very well and led the rabid-fan segment to believe there’d be much more to the game.   The truncated release version spurred tons of “But you promised!” comments.   Add in nasty DRM with a splash of EA-hating, and people just didn’t like this title at all.

I played a complete game again over the last few days.     Other than getting it confirmed to me that yes, the Galactic Adventures Add-on sucks, I completely enjoyed the game once again.

Now, EA is not yet done having problems with this title.   My username, for whatever reason, could not log in to the game’s servers.    Surprisingly, creating a new one was a matter of filling out the web form – no need to tie a key in to EA’s servers, probably because this title is so old – and I’m up and running again.  All my creatures are still sitting on one of my PC’s, but really, I don’t care that much, to find them and reintegrate them into the game.    The only nagging problem here is those achievements don’t mean much given this being the fourth time I’ve reset them.

But it’s a lot of fund to play through all the stages.   Even though the details are very wrong, I love playing the story of Evolution, and on towards a simple yet engaging future of space exploration.    Will Wright’s last game remains bittersweet.

“GAME” 4 : Steam

Having raced tanks to the top of my charts in World of Tanks, naturally I end up doing the same thing with Steam.    I keep buying $3 games and trying out other things, but I’ve moved Spore into my top ten games played which it deserves, and keep trying out whatever is fun (Carmageddon) and what isn’t (Age of Wonders III).

We may soon have three Steam accounts in the house – Dad, Son, Daughter.    My daughter is making videos with Garry’s Mod, which at the moment consist of slide shows set to music.   She’s doing a good job with them, and she’s trying to figure out how to animate characters and what not.   I haven’t looked at this stuff at all however.    Then my son is fascinated with Beam.NRG Drive and can’t wait until it comes out.    I’m thinking that each of them should have separate accounts instead of sharing one, even if they have to share a computer at the moment.   I don’t know.     I don’t have to decide until Beam.NRG Drive is available for purchase at least.

And for the moment, Dad’s still working on his Steam Game Backlog.

What has happened to this blog ?


, ,

When there’s a lack of things to post about, then, well, I guess I don’t post.

I should have something to write about City Domination sometime soon.   I don’t want to commemorate again “I’m going to do XYZ”, rather, I’ll commemorate actual accomplishments.

Marvel Heroes is not bloggable at this stage.    It’s childishly easy.   Literally.   I turned my 11-year-old son loose on it and he didn’t get killed either.    So the question is, when will Captain America make 60; we’ll find out when it happens.    At that point I think I might want to move the difficulty level up.

Xenonauts is not particularly bloggable.    I’ve moved along in my Easy Game #2, and have yet to lose a single soldier.     (I guess I have learned a few things).   Three bases are established with possibly a fourth one coming soon.    Each of the three has a minimum of three foxtrot interceptors, which are catching most of the UFO’s which appear.

And that’s what’s going on, pretty much.

Fail State


Well, that didn’t take long.     I gave up on my Xenonauts game.

I established three bases on the world : North America, Europe, and Indochina.     The aliens decided to attack a vulnerable base (Europe), at which I had built no facilities for defense.    No missile facility.   No soldiers for defense.    So they destroyed it and with it went my hopes for finishing the game.   Well, plenty of lessons learned there.

Three bases may have been too many.    I was also holding on to a lot of money, and fat lot of good that did me – for a few hundred thousand I could have defended the base.    But the idea of trying to dig out of that whole didn’t appeal to me at all.

So I started a second game immediately.    This time, I built a base in the Sudan, and a second base at roughly Shanghai.    Both these bases should pretty much cover pieces of all continents except America, especially once multiple radar bases are established.

Having re-learned the squad tactics necessary in the game, I’ve managed to play for three game weeks – and eight alien crash site investigations – without getting anyone killed.    Research is going along well, and I’m already producing Jackal armor.     Let’s see how Game #2 comes out.

Xenos and Marvels



I’ve continued blowing through the levels of Marvel Heroes.    Levels don’t seem to mean too much – just enjoying the chaotic combat and letting the character power element just take a back seat.    Next step, at some point, will be trying out the red terminals for an actual challenge.

Woo Hoo !  Level 50.

Woo Hoo ! Level 50.

Captain America is currently level 51 and I should be able to reach 60 in, perhaps, two weeks time of just casual playing.   Or a couple of nights of intense constant combat, but that’s starting to get boring.

He’s been geared up with all uniques and continues to collect the relic items.   Relics, for the uninitiated, are items that stack and provide more power the more relics you collect.   Presumably there’s some limit to the size of the stack.

So, tiring of Marvel Heroes, I started up Xenonauts.    Boy, this game is the XCOM successor all right – it’s almost exactly the same game that I played back in 1995.    And it’s a total blast.

I started out with Easy mode, which should make the game pretty simple, and very quickly built up three bases – NA, EU, and China.    This covers most of the planet and helps me to keep the funding going.

Covering most of the globe into December 1979.

Covering most of the globe into December 1979.

The gameplay is standard – alien UFO’s dodge around the planet, and you seek to spot them with radar.    If they’re spotted, you can send jets up to intercept and shoot them down.

One of the things the game failed to tell me – I can send up *more than one* aircraft on each intercept.     I can take both of the Condor class planes that you get at the start and simply click on both to send a two-plane convoy after an alien.   I only figured this out after getting lots of planes shot down and wondering, “What do you mean, Easy mode?”.

Other things I should have paid more attention to – setting up the soldier templates with how I wanted my soldiers geared up.    This helps a lot rather than tediously giving each soldier the equipment I wanted.     In the end, I just gave each person items individually.   Right now the squaddies are decked out in Jackal armor with a mix of laser pistols and laser rifles.

Ready to plink away at the aliens.

Ready to plink away at the aliens.

You also need to research and understand the aliens technology, which I’m working on slowly.    I bought a second lab at a second base, and have it crewed with a few scientists.    I’m unsure how careful to be about maintenance expenses, given a few careful gameplay tweaks the developers implemented.

Firstly, you can do an “airstrike” on a crash site you do not want to attack, for instant cash.   Second, if you recover items from the aliens they get sold.   This means you can’t outfit your squad with plasma rifles from the aliens – you have to make them yourself.    This generates more money for you obviously, but I’m still getting the hang of it in this first game.

Heh.   First game.    I can’t recall the last time I finished an XCOM game.   But I sure want to finish this one.

Tactical mode - dead aliens to the left

Tactical mode – dead aliens to the left

This is a good, good game.   Very deep and requires a lot of time to play.    It’s perfect for me.    With my premium time expired in World of Tanks I expect this and Marvel Heroes to be games of choice for the time being.

Marvel – ous Heroes


Thanks for the comments to yesterday’s post.     It seems like I should just dive in to Marvel and enjoy the game, and if I hit the cap or otherwise want to start again, I can buy more “game” via a new hero for a few bucks.

I went ahead and unlocked the Hulk anyway, with eternity splinters I’m granted at login at some point.    The Hulk was always my favorite growing up, and I had several years worth of the comics before I sold them all after moving out of Mom’s house at 21.    I’ll have to play him, but first, let’s try Cap.

It didn’t take long.   I uncapped Captain America and have him all the way up to level 15 already.    The levels came fast and furious as I ran through the content the way it’s obviously meant to be chewed up – smack things around fast and furious.

The limitations of the Marvel game are quickly obvious – bank space.   Naturally.

You have one slot, at start.

You have one slot, at start.

It looks like I can spend real money and get more bank “slots”, each of which will open up space for 48 additional items.    Yeah, I’ve done these games before, and I can tell that bank space is not going to be a priority unless I start obsessively playing the game.

Compound that with the fact that it’s shared among all of your heroes and I can see the priority will be based on people, and not gear.   That’s fine actually – this should be a bit different of an experience, then.

And next, there’s the bugs.

That looks cool.   I can make purple items.

That looks cool. I can make purple items.

All I have to do is pick up additional items, find anything that’s blue quality, and I can craft a nice purple item.    Except, when you try to craft one, it fails.

Lazy websearches reveal this as a unfixed bug.

Lazy websearches reveal this as a unfixed bug.

This error continues after logout, and after waiting a day to see if it would just “go away”.    I’m assuming this is permanent and means the crafting system isn’t all that useful.

At first I didn’t get the cutscene art – it probably comes from not reading comic books for this many years.     But all the cutscenes are not animated, just drawn pen-and-ink style, with voiceovers.    Kind of like how you would experience Marvel as you read the comics.     Once that lightbulb went off for me, I enjoyed it more.

Dipping my toe in everything


, ,

Over the past week it’s been all about Steam games, with some World of Tanks thrown in.    After installing about two dozen games I’ve managed to enter and play a few of them.

  • Banished is an interesting game.   It’s very slow paced – you want to carefully balance town services, foresting, food production, and population growth.     So slow paced I’m not sure I want to wait that long to see if I succeed, which is unexpected since I’m a slow paced kind of guy.   I find myself still playing up Stebbingdon, but at 10x speed.   Currently sitting at 130 population with a stable base for additional population.
  • Carmageddon has been updated with a career mode and engine optimization.   The game is a lot of fun to play at this point.
  • Flatout 3 is the last of the excellent value Flatout games that I’ve yet to play very far through.   I might not play much though – the career mode seems lacking, and the Steam achievements don’t make up for it.
  • Spore is getting playtime again, with my first world entering civilization stage.     However, my old login did not work and it’s apparently a known issue.    In Gamespeak, this means it’s a bug that’s never getting fixed.   So all the crazy creatures my kids created over the years are gone (well, sitting on the old PC in the other room) as I build up yet another login for the game.
  • I went ahead and bought Xenonauts on a 50% off sale day.    After playing through one alien landing and ground action, I think it’s an awesome successor to X-Com.    I’ll have to keep going and see if that holds up.
  • I am not impressed with Age of Wonders III, but neither have I really tried to play it.   I got in, and back out.

Now Marvel Heroes is an interesting MMO concept.     While I recall the odd post about it in the blogosphere (nothing specific), I come in knowing almost nothing about the game.

First point – it’s pretty free, it seems.    There is an in game currency (credits), an in-game premium currency (Forgot the name), and RMT currency (G, as in “Gees”).     You can play one of the starting heroes for free, but after one, it will cost you to unlock more heroes.   Then again, you can use the ??? to unlock heroes.

What I’m unsure of is if I need to both unlock heroes, and un-level-cap them.    If it costs $5 – $10 to add a hero to your account, I can see myself doing that – I want to play as the Hulk.   For the moment, I’ve decided to play Captain America through.

Your team window, and being inside of the Avenger's Tower.

Your team window, and being inside of the Avenger’s Tower.

They have an interesting concept with the heroes though.   You can play a large selection of them up to level 10, and I’ve done just that.      Once they hit level 10, you can only keep one leveling up, so I’m told.

The fights are fun.    Captain America is an ass-kicker.

The fights are fun. Captain America is an ass-kicker.


Beginner Banished



I found myself on Steam again this past week.

My daughter (14) has developed a fixation on Sonic the Hedgehog.    Other than knowing he exists, I was completely ignorant of the Sonic franchise at one point; no longer.     I am treated to discussions of his characteristics and all the other hedgehogs regularly.     One outgrowth of this is she wanted to get Garry’s Mod (“Get me GMOD, Dad”), and eventually I went ahead and got her a Steam account.

Waiting for sales is foreign to little miss “I want it all, and NOW” so we paid the full $10 out of her money and I got to look at it.    It seems like a well done FPS sandbox game, but she wants to use it to make videos and is finally starting to dig into the computer and learn the technology.    Thank you God !

And so, after fiddling around with that, I began to wonder why I’ve not gotten Banished going and loaded that up.    Banished, you’ll remember, is the single player game that gives you a few families which you need to build up into a functioning village among a random map.

After a couple new false starts (all my previous saves are on another computer, and not valuable, as apparently I’d rather start over than dig any of them up) I think I have a good village started.     I went with “Super Easy Mode”, selecting no disasters in addition to easy.    Stebbingdon has a population of 34 and is built with a few strategies in mind.

The first one I've saved.

The first one I’ve saved.

First, is the idea of using a forest carefully for multiple needs.      If you build a herbalist, gatherer’s hut, and hunting lodge, you can overlap the three of their forest circles for min-maxing.   Add in a forester’s lodge just to plant trees and you keep a really nice forest for this use.    Just next to this big circle I built a second forester’s lodge for gathering logs.

The cluster to the left, and the village right and up top.

The cluster to the left, and the village right and up top.

After a while I found my starting storage barn to be filling up, so I built three more homes and a new storage barn.    The population started eating more than we’re bringing in, so the next step is more food.    But the other key item is the trading hut – the best way, so I’m told, to gather stone and iron for the long term is to trade for it.    Probably by using the renewable resource of trees, and selling firewood for them.     My traders hut is completed, but no traders over the short period of time I had it running before logging off.

Stebbigndon so far.    Storage barn is offscreen to the north.

Stebbigndon so far. Storage barn is offscreen to the north.

Many sales were had since I’ve last really looked at Steam, and I find myself putting a ton of stuff onto the wishlist in case it goes on sale.    Then I’ll get an email telling me “Hey!   Buy this !”.    I’ve missed out on several, including for Beyond Earth and a couple other things.     And installing a bunch of stuff onto a new computer can be a bit of a pain.    But there’s no question that Steam is valuable for building a game library, being exposed to new stuff, and getting things cheap (on sale).

The Broad Base Building continues


World of Tanks milestones for the week include :

Unlocking the Cromwell.    The Crusader is definitely a fun little tank, but the medium Cromwell is supposed to be a beast.     I’m waiting for the sale that lets me buy this guy.

Unlocking the VK 30.01D.   This is the “new” medium stuck into the tree before the 30.02D.    I might not bother to buy this thing, and instead free XP all the modules – just like I did long ago with the PZ III/IV which I eventually bought and drove just for this purpose.

Unlocking the Archer.     I really like my British Valentine and expect to keep playing it.    While it’s no fun when you’re fighting Tier VI’s with it that just destroy you, against Tier V’s I’m useful and I’m a god against Tier IV’s.     Whenever I’m interested, I can now work on the 2nd set of British TD’s.

Running the “Party Prep” missions.    That was a simple, silly, and fun set of missions that I was glad to play through.    Got a fair amount of XP, 300 gold and a premium day, and enjoyed the whole thing completely.

Buying many Tier IV and below tanks, including the B1, AMX 105 AM, and others that I really don’t remember.    Got the SU-122A as well, but this one has a large crew and so I chose to only buy the tank and wait for a crew training special.     Alas, this weekend is 50% off gold training which I don’t want to spring for – I want credit training only.

I now find myself with a large stable of tanks that I’ve bought and never even driven.    The collector impulse, apparently, is very strong.    Nor do I really want to start with most of them – I’m more interested in “Project 30″ to get every tank I’ve driven up to 30 matches.    You see, after the first match, the tanks appear on the list, so for whatever reason I enjoy the idea of working them up all at once.

The weekend special is mostly about 3x crew XP which supports that idea – just drive your elited tanks, or ones which you want to improve the crew in.    The number of tanks I have that I’m still wanting to work up to 100% is really high, along with my GW Panther which is **this close** to having Sixth Sense, and the MT-25 who’s halfway to the LTTB but with one 99% repairs crewman.    Add in the desire to stockpile credits and it’s a no grind weekend.

Match 20,000


I finished my 10,000th match in October of 2012.   It took nearly a year and a third (including hiatus) for me to reach the next milestone – 20,000.    I’ve been looking forward to this thing for quite some time.

Reaching milestones is one of the fun statistical things related to World of Tanks, and if you had asked me at some point in the past if I’d ever reach this stage, I’d have said “No Way”.    Finding myself with that many matches under my belt, makes me feel great.

For my 20,000th match I chose the MS-1.   It now has 1,100 matches all by itself and is my most played tank still, by far, so it was not hard deciding on this one.    I opened up the match all excited.

Would have been better as Tier I only.   Oh well.

Would have been better as Tier I only, for a real possibility at stomping. Oh well.

Tucked myself into a sniper perch, and waited.

Tucked myself into a sniper perch, and waited.

Found a likely suspect hiding in the bushes.

Found a likely suspect hiding in the bushes.   Shot him once.

I continued to sit there and shoot.   Instead of seeing how bad I got hit, all I could see was how many shots missed (A couple).

He spotted me, and took aim.   I continued to sit there and shoot. Instead of seeing how bad I got hit by a shot, all I could see was how many shots missed (several).

It's me or him at this point.

It’s me or him at this point.

So much for that.

So much for that.

What an embarassingly bad game.    I got just a bit overconfident in this beast, with my BIA, 100% camo, plus 77% third skills, and I blew it because of that.

Just sitting there and getting shot is not the right way to play.    All I should have done was move, once he trained his gun on me.     Oh well.

To atone, I went ahead and tried out my Jagdpanther (#3 most played) which had much better success.   Mind you, I haven’t driven this thing in forever, but for match 20,001 I wasn’t too keyed up.     A top gun and a game turn around on the Siegfried line, along with 3 wins in four matches, made me feel much better.

And the grind goes on.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers