Stuck in the Nether


Just like me to get lost in the Nether…at least I had some pigman friends to keep me company while I searched for my portal…


Day Zero



I woke on a deserted beach, the afternoon sun just peeking over the mountains. I looked over at the small group of islands across the shoals and saw what I thought was a hut. Heading over to the building I tried to think about what was happening; I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know how I’d gotten here, and most importantly, I had no idea what the controls were!

I spawned on the beach facing South-East towards the ocean and a group of islands, Otmel being the nearest. I didn’t know much about the game, but I knew that I was probably going to die reasonably soon. Everything that I’d heard or read about the mod said that I’d be dying really soon. There was no tutorial, no instructions and no one there to help me learn what I needed to know, there was only survive. I hadn’t actually looked behind me at the mountains (and obvious expanse of land) before I’d started wading over to Otmel, looking around at the trees and seemingly abandoned building while trying to adjust to the very heavy motion blur in the game. Once I reached land, I started trying out some of the usual buttons, shift made me walk slower (and make less noise according to the ear on the right side of the screen) and space didn’t seem to make me jump. All of a sudden I heard a weird and nasty sound coming from the left and knew what it had to be. I started sprinting. (more…)

5 years ago


I bought it 12 hours ago!

5 years ago

Speaking of sleep, I’m not going to be doing myself any favours tonight! Bring on disappointment and/or excitement at 2:30am tonight!

Booze, Flying Power, La Noire



Wish this was my whole weekend rather than those assignments…



When @nathcarruthers got his HD5970.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

Battlefield Bad Company 2


Microsoft Open House Playdate



About a month ago a friend and I caught the train to Luna Park in Sydney to see the Microsoft Open House, an event showing off heaps if Microsoft products including Surface, Windows Phone 7, Windows Live Essentials and most impressively Kinect, the new Xbox 360 motion controller.

We arrived at the Crystal Ballroom at about a 3:45 and after a short wait we were led into a room full of computers, games, a DJ and a bunch of enthusiastic Microsoft employees who were too overly attractive to possibly have actually been interested in what they were showing us. After having a quick first glance at the table holding tens of laptops, from paper thin netbooks to beasty gaming machines, a Surface set up over in the corner and a desk with a few Arc Mouse/Keyboard combos we headed straight to the main attraction.

There were 5 Kinect booths set up, each with a massive LCD screen, an Xbox 360 and a Kinect all with different games ready to play. There was Joyride, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved, Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures and Harmonix’s (the guys that created Guitar Hero and make Rock Band) Dance Central which was by far the best game on show. We all got to play these games and try out the aforementioned laptops, keyboards, mice and the Surface and after about 90 minutes we were lead into another section of the building that had been transformed into Microsoft’s Open House.

After a nice little speech from a PR guy about how great Microsoft is doing, we were led into what looked like a tiny shop selling MS products and after another little talk the giving away began. The two people showing us around the open house had a little bit of an act going on that ended up with a few rounds of “Answer the Microsft trivia questions” with the winners getting prizes such as an Xbox 360 Slim, Xbox 360 games and an Arc Keyboard/Mouse set.
After the give-aways we were led through a series of rooms including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, office and an outside room where we were shown many Microsoft products like Internet Explorer, Foxtel on Xbox, Media Centre, Windows Live Essentials (in particular Photo Gallery and Mesh) and Windows Phone 7.

Once this was all over we were asked to leave straight away (presumably so we couldn’t sneak into the next group and cheat on their trivia) and given a show-bag on the way out. Looking into it I saw a white Microsoft beach towel, but underneath that found a brand new Arc Keyboard and Arc Mouse which was a great surprise to end the night.

After that we quickly caught a train back to Central and after a short stopover a Hungry Jack’s (called Burger King in the rest of the world) took the train back to Wollongong where, to finish the day off, I went and saw Tomorrow When the War Began, a film remake of a series of books I read when I was much younger, at the Shellharbour Cinema.

Legacy Worlds Beta 6 Milestone 1 is open


Legacy Worlds Beta 6 Milestone 1 is now open for registration. The game will actually begin on the 15th of July, with 18 players already registered.

To read about the new game, check out my preview, or head over the the Legacy Worlds Blog to see an introduction to the game, the announcement, a post showing off the administration interface and in a few days an explanation of the software Milestone 1 is running on and some insight into some of the decisions made in it’s creation.

To sign up, head over to

Legacy Worlds: Beta 6 Milestone 1


Legacy Worlds has changed dramatically since I started playing in Beta 4 about 5 years ago. Since then the much improved Beta 5 has been released, greatly enjoyed but sadly forgotten. Over the coming months several milestone releases of the long awaited Beta 6 will be released for play and testing in a new development model described in this post.
As TSeeker’s post explains, Milestone 1 (M1) “will include a basic, Beta 4-like game”, which sees some of the features introduced in Beta 5 left out in the place of simplicity, but also includes some fundamental differences and upgrades to the way the game is played.

Milestone 1's Overview screen. Click to Enlarge.

One change noticeable immediately when you sign into M1 is the much simpler interface; gone is the full-screen navigation bar with its drop-down menus and quick-access icons which has been replaced by a much smaller window displaying much of what is to be seen of the game. All of the games pages are accessible by using the large buttons to the left, although more content can be shown on each pages by using the ‘tabs’ shown at the top. This interface is obviously just a basic version of what is to come in later milestones, but it remains clean and well-designed making it easy to read and use.

Before I get into the changes that have been made to the actual game, I’ll quickly go through the major features that have been included in M1 as well as those that did not make it into this release. Firstly, most of the basic gameplay elements familiar to Legacy Worlds players are back including very recognisable Fleets, Map, Alliance and Enemy List pages as well as the usual happiness system (which has been tweaked significantly since B5). While the planet page has been changed slightly, players will be able to pick it up quickly using a similar Build/Destroy buildings system as well as a shipyard used to build, well, ships. This early release of the game however does leave out some features including the in-game forums, the marketplace, hyperspace beacons, rankings, trusted allies and donations as well as a little percentage I’m sure many of us won’t be too upset to miss; corruption.

While M1 has been primarily built to test the game engine with a basic version of the game, several improvements have found their way into the milestone including Battle Intensity, the Battle Viewer, Notifications and changes to the building process. In short Battle Intensity is a background feature that influences battle computations by slowly building up intensity as the battle starts; battles start at about 25% intensity and build up to 100% over the course of half an hour.
The battle viewer is a very useful tool new to Milestone 1, providing a detailed overview of all forces at each stage of the battle, even allowing you to look at the history of the battle as it took place. The viewer also gives a written history of the battle in which it explains the fleet movements of all empires involved as well as who switched status’ (Attack and Defence) giving a tool to spot traitors in a way that battle reports have never been able to do. One of the best parts of the battle viewer is that it allows you to retroactively view any battle that you have been involved in giving an insight into the tactics players and alliances have used in the past.

A very simple battle shown in the Battle Viewer. Click to Enlarge.

Notification are a quick and easy way to keep up with the game without needing to log into the game, also providing a useful warning to get back into the game if something is going on. Simply put, notifications come in two main customisable flavours; instant and daily. In M1, there are 4 different conditions and three options. For each of Admin Messages, Alliance Messages, Internal Messages and Alliance Messages you can specify whether you would like to send you an email instantly, to bundle all of the information into your daily recap, or to not notify you at all.

Finally, there is a slight change in the way that the building infrastructure works in the game. Rather than the conventional ‘pay for ships/factories, see them in the build queue, they come out’, you pay for them as they build instead. One way to look at it is you commission the creation of new ships and the game will tell you how much this will cost in total; your investment. Then as the ships are created, you will pay for them piece by piece until your investment is gone and your ships are built. Another slight change in the building system is that when you build or destroy factories, they must actually be constructed or deconstructed. That is, they do not just appear or disappear from your planet, but rather take time to build/destroy just as they would in the real world. Another nice addition is the inclusion of a ‘Jobs’ field in building descriptions which shows how many jobs the new building will produce, allowing you to compare your employment numbers with your total population.

The last significant change to mention is the movement away from ticks. Anyone who has played Legacy Worlds or any similar game would understand the concept of ticks, special times during the day when certain actions take place, say battles computations, income payments or planet control changes. In M1 and in fact in LWB6, ticks have been completely redesigned. Instead, a ‘tick’ occurs every minute in which all of the games calculations are made, just on a much smaller scale. This gives the game a more realistic atmosphere as the game updates in almost real time, also allowing you to make changes that take effect immediately rather than, for example, 7 hours later at the next cash tick.

All in all, despite the drawbacks of this only being the first of many milestone releases including a limited technology tree, excluded features and possibly the occasional bug (that’s what the bug tracker is for!), Milestone 1 seems to be a very solid core of what promises to grow into a complex “online intergalactic war game”.

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