Gaming hard in May

Well May is starting quite strong on the gaming front, I’ve kicked off a Diablo III character restart for the sixth season. I like the seasons in that they give me a reason to fire the game up once more, last time I had to roll a new sessional character but this one I got to restart an existing one.
I’m not a massively focused player nor do I tend to play the game with a group but I’m keen to see how the next run progresses, and attempt to complete more tasks this time around.

This week FlyinPinkMunki and I patched Elder Scrolls Online, we stumped up and bought a plus membership and then rolled two new characters. We had been discussing this for sometime and what with the Dark Brotherhood content incoming we couldn’t think of a better time to be returning. I’ve finally got around to creating an Imperial character and will let you know how we get on.

Last but not least is Overwatch which officially goes live later this month but is in open beta between the  5 and 9 with those who have preordered getting a 2 day head start. I have tried to vary the characters I play but have found that Pharah, Zarya and of course Mei are the ones I’ve favouring at the moment. I can’t wait for this game to go live as there are so many people that I follow who are playing it, if you want to add me I can be found on BT welshtroll#2579.

Finally we are still kicking around in The Division as a select few of us head towards level 20 (Yes we can blast through content but it is nice to have a regular gaming evening with some old timer clan mates). The game doesn’t do a great deal to hide the mechanics so a weekly group actually works better for me as continually play would just frustrate me.


Old coder eyes

This week there were two occasions when I had chance to glance at some code shortly before it was due to be rolled out to live. In both cases I looked over the code, not in any official capacity as both had been through testing and peer reviewed before I even set eyes on them.

However I found underlying problems in logic that would result in either unhandled exceptions or the wrong information being transmitted. Neither is a good outcome and I pushed both of these back to be refactored by the developer.

At no point do I consider superior to any of my co-workers but it struck me as weird that I was able to spot such things after only a cursory look at the code. Maybe it’s due my history in mainframe coding, where running your code was a right pain in the arse, so beforehand you walked through the logic to ensure it worked as it needed to.

Bruce-almighty-jim-carrey-typing-computer (1)

In my COBOL years when I was new to everything in the workplace and I was learning the ropes I had a co-worker named Tim, to whom I owe much of my early programming skillsets. I wasn’t that he told me how to solve issues, but rather how to get myself in the correct frame of mind to analyse my work, processing the code like the the machine would.

Maybe in today’s development environment it’s too easy to just compile and run the code and check the output rather than walking through the lines.
If the output is correct then this code goes to testing, again the same tests are performed just by a non-developer. The same tests are going to pass again and this code will be lined up to go live, where the end user will subject the code to more variations and non-test condition situations than could have catered for.

I know this is of course one area that test driven development looks to improve matters, I truly look forward to the day I get to see some TDD that is implemented correctly rather than half baked attempts that just cater for the happy path testing.

Maybe I’m fast approaching the “I’m getting too old for this shit” destination of my working life. Somedays it really feels that way, however other days, like today, I wonder if I need to step up and teach those less knowledgeable developers those lessons that I was given that turned me into the Pain the Arse I am today.


Crossing the Streamers

Since our gaming marathon I’ve found myself watching a lot more streamers recently and it’s left me pondering if it something that I’ll ever want to get into more seriously.
I both like and dislike the idea of interactions in equal measure maybe that’s why I enjoy the Forge snip-it style, however since forge has stepped away from the live streaming component the fact you were streaming by default.

At this juncture I’m happy to carry on watching others Stream, while I save clips via Forge and maybe on occasion firing up OBS to broadcast some gameplay. Nothing too serious yet.


Everyone and their Mum appears to be playing either The Division or Stardew Valley, during the evenings my friends list on steam is littered with players of each. I bought Stardew Valley for FlyinPinkMunki a few weeks back and a few of our close friends are playing the title. There seems to be many layers to the game with the basics soon evolving into more complex pathways that you have to learn and manage.

I may look to pickup The Division in April once the hype has died down and I have some more time on my hands (maybe). That’s if the service and MOT on my car don’t cost more than I expect.


Game Roundup 2016 week 11

The Silent Age

TheSilentAge Playability 4 | Graphics 2 | Audio 3 | Longevity 3 | Originality 4Over the weekend I completed the game The Silent Age, I’ll not lie I was a little worried that the game was a very basic Point and Click adventure and on some levels that is exactly what you get.
However you soon brush that aside as the story unfolds and you have to interact with and overcome some challenging environments (don’t worry there are no Longest Journey rubber duck puzzles).
The game is usual £6.99 and in my experience lasted between 5 and 6 hours, which includes some replay time to obtain outstanding achievements. This maybe not as cost effective as some folks would like, personally I picked the title up during the Christmas Sale on Steam so didn’t fork out the whole cost, that said it’s not far off what I would pay for the game, around £5.50.
The graphics were of suitable quality for the genre however the launcher didn’t see to be able to retain my settings so I had to reset them each time. The background music was good and the voiceover the same, there are subtitles by default which I often look for in games what with living in a household with a 6 year old.
Overall : A rather enjoyable title that I would recommend to fans of the genre who want to play something original.


Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

shadowofmordorI’ve returned to Shadow of Mordor recently as I remembered that I hadn’t really got anywhere with the main story line as I often get waylaid by gutting orcs left, right and centre. It’s trying to not let the same thing happen this time but it’s rather difficult going from A to B as I get distracted easi……. ohh look shinies. As a fan of the Assassin Creed games I’m pretty sure I had the same problem, maybe some games are just too open-world for me.

Fingers crossed I can focus on completing the main storyline and put this one to bed.

The Ship

theshipLast Friday I joined the HTMT folks in a game of murder, suspense and sneakiness, but mostly murder in vast amounts with varying objects. If you haven’t encountered The Ship before it’s like a murder mystery, only your in on the action.
In the multiplayer element of the game, once a player is opted in they are given a target to kill, but that also means someone onboard is hunting you as well. The game also employs a needs system that requires your character to perform actions that may leave them open to attack, such as reading, eating or showering.

The game is good fun in a large group but you soon become very paranoid of every other person who is near you. This usually results in you running away or butchering someone innocent with a mannequin’s arm that you picked up from a wardrobe.
Some of the maps seemed to work well, others seemed to be very focused on granting people the opportunity to kill other players. This was fine until my lack of scoring resulting in me being booted from the game and banned for 30 minutes (which was more like 90). There is a local server option can be used, which maybe the way forward next time.


It was a game blast

Good morning and happy March.

Last weekend FlyinPinkMunki and I took part in a gaming marathon called GameBlast to help raise money for the charity Special Effect. Along with 3 other people our team played for a collective  130+ hours and raised over £630 in sponsorship.

gb catPersonally I achieved my personal goal by setting up HItbox streaming for 24 hours, I then tacked some additional hours beyond the stream too in the remainder of the weekend. I covered the following titles as part of the event:

  • Left 4 Dead 2 (Group Game)
  • World of Tanks
  • DeadCore
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Rocket League (Group Game)
  • Audiosurf 2
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes  (Group Game)
  • The Long Dark
  • Orcs Must Die! 2
  • Team Fortress 2 (Group Game)
  • AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome
  • World of Warships  (Group Game)

I have to say it was really good fun and I plan on taking part in the event next year, hopefully with more players signed up so we can run some bigger gaming events and possibly relay timeslots to cover the whole event.